Feb 11, 2013

What Else is Training Camp for?

Denise Kelly, National Team Women's Road Coach (Cycling Canada), asked the athletes in South Carolina what they learn at training camp.  Training camp is for a lot of different things like racking up volume and accumulating fitness before the race season starts.  Everyone knows that. But this another way I like to see it:

I'm a big fan of Toastmasters.  I was a member of St. Lawrence Toastmaster's Club in Montréal.  It's the place to practice public speaking.  You can try new things, mess up, and make a bit of a fool of yourself in front of everyone, and it's 100% okay. You're not presenting to your boss or a potential client.  You have nothing to lose if you choke-up or stutter, just a heck of a lot to gain.
Marie Paule Gagnon welcoming Lex as a new member of Toastmasters a few years ago (http://www.toastmastersmontreal.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/lex-albrecht.jpg)
Training camp is very similar.

It isn't a championship race, you're not defending a teammate's jersey, and you don't have any UCI points on the line.  There is no podium and no results sheet. Training camp is the place to try out new things.  Pushing yourself a little hard, testing different climbing and pacing techniques, cornering, descending, working on team time trialing, lead-outs... and if something doesn't work, it's 100% okay.  Just like at Toastmasters.

It's also an ideal opportunity to benefit from the strengths and experiences of the other riders, and use their feedback to improve.  Just like fellow Toastmasters constructively evaluate eachothers' presentations, riders can offer other athletes the same type of valuable tips.

You often have to fail about a zillion times before you succeed.  Training camp is a great opportunity to trip up a little bit.  You can figure out what works and what doesn't, so that you'll be ready when it counts most.

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