The real test
Work on the trainer is a necessary evil for most of us, it’s isolation of that one thing we’re working on without the distractions of the rest of the world. The trainer is the first step in a learning process, but nobody I know makes riding the trainer their goal – there’s another step. The transition to riding on the road is where things can go wrong as riders revert to old habits. The point of riding with a coach is to ensure that you get the most of your hard work on the trainer.
The ride types
Individual coaching: This, as the name would imply, is going for a ride with a coach and working on what you and the coach agree needs to be worked on. The advantage of this type of ride is that you don’t spend time practicing things wrong or reverting back to old habits. The time saved in this type of ride early in the transition can be significant.
No-drop rides: The coaching goal of a no-drop ride is to teach riders that there are ways to keep a group together, even if there are differences in strength. There are plenty of no-drop rides which go at the pace of the slowest rider, but as a coach there’s no point in my being there.
Drop rides: Otherwise known as fast. This is where learning tactics begins. Riding in a group, you’ll become aware that there’s a defensive tactic that will allow you to stay with the group. That defensive tactic becomes your baseline, something that will allow you to ride with the fastest of groups with confidence. Once you have that, group rides become more fun.
Can’t-drop rides: Swimmers in a pool don’t get dropped ’cause the other swimmers are only going to get to the other end of the pool and turn around. Can’t-drop rides are a lot like swimming in a pool. The coaching advantage of can’t-drop rides is that the coach sees the rider at high intensity, when things often go wrong.
A word about distances and directions…
I have no sequential memory, which means I’m both directionally retarded and chronologically clueless. I can’t tell you where the rides go or when we’ll be back, ’cause I honestly don’t know.