Learn The Trade

 

So this morning A1 CC was finally born!
Our first ever group ride ‘the A1 bun run’ as I’ve dubbed it, took place this morning with Dublin’s phoenix park being the meeting point.
There was a bloody lion roaring in the background and everything!
What a great bunch of lads though.
It really is nice to get out with all the members in person.
So cheers to all who could make it!

New to cycling

Asides from that I got speaking to a mate of mine on the ride, a guy I know from university.
Although a very fit guy who has done plenty of triathlons, he is a relative newbie to the sport of bike racing.
We got into the conversation about racing abroad and he asked about what I thought about him doing so.
I love that he asked the question to be honest!
But it shows a huge issue or problem with cycling at the moment and we see it all too much at A1 coaching.
Mainly with the younger guys, but also with some of the newcomer lads at an older age.

Learn the trade

Cycling doesn’t have to be overcomplicated lads.
The top guys are at the top because they do the simple stuff really, REALLY well.
Nowadays before lads learn the basic techniques such as descending, riding in a group, riding an echelon, basic do’s and don’ts in a bunch or even changing a tyre, they’re on about power meters, Garmins, Strava and racing abroad.
This is not the fault of my mate, if anything it shows how enthusiastic he is.
However, while a very savvy bike rider, for someone so fresh to the sport, he still has a pile to soak in and learn in Ireland before he considers leaving.

What did I do?

I had an uncle that was one of the best riders in the country when I started cycling so he had a leash on me and this is where I learned my craft.
So if you’re a young rider reading this or you have a son or daughter starting out in the early stages of their career please take note, because I’ve been there and bought the ticket.
(Actually my folks bought the ticket!)
My uncle wouldn’t let me leave for France when I was 17 and he was totally correct!
It was a certain “no you’d crack” answer, along with stating that “you need to win at will in Ireland and learn a lot more about bike racing before you leave for France or Belgium”.

Guess what? I didn’t listen.

My uncle sadly passed away at the end of that year, after which I went and won the nationals and left for France soon after.
I knew he’d be pissed if he was around, but I wanted to prove to him and myself that I could handle it.
But that’s the thing: I could handle it, mentally I was fine and physically I got there too – after a whole pile of suffering.
However, while I did learn all the basics of group riding etc. before I left, I didn’t learn one crucial thing before stepping up a level.
How to win!
I eventually came home and done that at a later stage but I messed up by not staying at home for another season!
I could have learned the same things and won races in Ireland rather taking a hammering in some shithole in northern France.
To a young rider a season seems like a lifetime.
Believe me I know.
But in the grand scheme of things career-wise, 6 months is nothing.

Take home points

Don’t overcomplicate cycling too early.
You need to learn how to do all the basics that are nowadays taken for granted extremely well before you get sucked into a lot of the bullshit that might lend you a few extra watts in the short term.
I know lads that have skipped the basics and try to learn them at a later stage and trust me it is so much easier to do this when you’re young.

Apprenticeship

So before you buy your son a Garmin, a set of flashy wheels, power meters or anything like that, invest in getting him the right level of exposure to the simple things.
Look at it this way, if your son wants to become a carpenter you don’t go and buy him a fucking De-Walt chop saw.
Well I hope not anyway!
No, you hopefully source him a good apprenticeship where he learns the basics – so he doesn’t take his fingers off.
Cycling is essentially the same, apart being a silly waste of time, it’s actually dangerous not to learn the basics right when you start cycling no matter what age you are.
If you’re unsure of what to do yourself, or for a child of yours in regards to any of the above please don’t hesitate to contact me.
It’s crucial to get this stuff right and too many young lads are making the same mistakes year in year out.
By for now!
Aaron B.

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