Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What do you think elite level sport is?

My recent posts on Luke McKenzie have been both praised and criticized, as is expected when you present ideas and evidence that perhaps the common way of thinking might not be the best line of thinking, or that there may be a way to do things better and more effectively.

The fact some might blow off this sudden jump in Luke's performance, when there is clear evidence of a change in training style and philosophy, shows a mindset which is lazy, stubborn, and facing a ticking clock. If people and athletes who are pursuing elite level sport want to wait until something is proven to the masses, then it is too late. Your competition has likely been doing it for many years, and you've been getting beat frequently and regularly by it.

That's what elite level sport is, trying to find an advantage to see the most effective and best ways of gaining performance and training adaptations, BEFORE THE COMPETITION DOES! If you think you can just do what everyone else is doing and just beat them at the same game, you better be sure you have the best athlete(s).

One example...When I raced XTERRA professionally, during the 2006 season, I knew I was never going to beat the likes of a Conrad Stoltz or Josiah Middaugh, racing the same bike(s) they raced. They were just too good on the bike, I needed an advantage they didn't have. So I went and got a 29er, (they rode 26 inch wheels then), which was a rarity during that time. In fact, many in the XTERRA pro ranks laughed at me, thinking I was just a sucker for the newest fad, as I was the only pro riding a 29er. (I also chose to go to the extreme and ride it fully rigid, hoping the fire road sections would really help me, and to keep the weight down). Unfortunately, some mechanicals and injuries kept me from continuing with the season, and I decided to switch to Ironman. But now you can't go to an XTERRA event and find a 26 inch wheel, practically. That advantage is lost now. Everyone in the field wised up. I didn't take advantage of the situation as well as I could have, but certainly, that opportunity was there for me. If I had used it more effectively, who knows what it would have meant for my career.

Now that everyone knows about 29ers and uses them, it's great that they are proven. But if you were waiting for proof, the opportunity is lost in elite level XTERRA.

Is Luke's change to 90+ rpm's on the bike proof enough for you to change the way you ride in long course? That decision is up to you, but you must also ask yourself if you're willing to give that opportunity of change solely to your competition, because some of them will be doing it. That's what elite level sport is.

Coach Vance

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