1. Have a plan.
You may be able to get pretty fit by winging it, but truly remarkable accomplishments, whether upgrading to Cat 3 or scoring a belt buckle in the Leadville 100, require careful execution of a training program.
2. Be prepared to scrap the plan.
You’re scheduled for 20 minutes of pyramid intervals, but your legs feel like you spent the last few days constructing a real pyramid. Spin today. Hit it hard tomorrow instead. Your plan should be etched in clay for molding to your needs, not in stone for beating yourself up.
3. Ride at the edges.
Once a week, go so hard your eyes hurt. Follow it with a ride so slow the snails yawn. The combination makes legs strong.
4. Be true to yourself.
Cyclists are pack animals. Enjoy the camaraderie, but don’t let your training goals get trashed by constant king-of-the-mountain contests, town-sign sprints or the all-hard, all-the-time mentality of the group. If you can’t trust yourself to go easy when you need to, ride alone.
5. Do what sucks.
You hate climbing because it’s hard for you. You should climb—because it’s hard for you.