Often I wonder why riders show up at group rides week after week, only to get dropped half way through the ride and get upset about it. You know that guy or gal. What is this person doing (or rather not doing) that causes this cycle of failure? I can’t judge everyone’s routine, but I can almost guarantee that the effort put into the bike, diet, rest, or combination of all of them is not up to par. If you want to ride like Sagan, try matching a his training regiment (or at least some semblance). You cannot ride well, if you stuff your face with anything and everything and just be a group-ride whore. You must hydrate correctly, eat to sustain . . . not entertain, and spend time on your bike! Your time in the saddle should be a minimum of 150 to 200 miles a week OR less miles with hard interval training. Theodore Roosevelt once wrote, “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure . . . than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
It is time for you to quit living in defeat. Failure is absolutely fine, if you busting your butt. I still dive into group rides with stellar riders and get dropped, every now and then. That is a good thing. It shows me where I am in my training and points me to a week area (climbing, sprinting, cadence, etc.) that I need to improve when I am out on my bike throughout the week. What is not good is doing the same thing week after week and expecting different results. What is the point in having a nice bike with a matching kit, when you ride like $^%&? It’s a rhetorical question, but the answer is . . . there’s not one. Sure, it’s a free country. Ride how you want to ride, but the same guy struggling at the back every week and not doing anything to correct it (except whine or give excuses) is ridiculous.
So, what is the solution? Ask good riders what kind of training to do. Search the Internet for a few good interval routines. Hydrate throughout the day, not when you start the ride. Have a good riding weight. Maintain your bike. Just above all else . . . TRAIN your body. You cannot wish to be a good rider. It’s sacrifice and dedication. Dropping to a lighter bike, changing your crank or cassette, or sucking down 30 packs of GU gels each ride won’t work. It’s not your shoes or your pedals. It’s not your helmet. It’s not the heat. It’s not your genetics. It’s not your wheel set. It’s you. Work on you.
By the way, I say this out of love for cycling. I want us all to ride well. I am not trying to be arrogant or mean spirited. I’m just telling you what you need to hear.