In Norse mythology, Thor is the god of thunder, oak trees, and strength. Today, Thor Hushovd lived up to his name. They say that having the yellow jersey gives you extra strength; I wonder if being named after a god does, too?
In case you don’t know, Hushovd is a sprinter; a man for the flat roads and fast finishes. Mountains are not his forte’, and he was suppose to lose the yellow jersey today. Apparently, though, he did not get the memo. Today’s profile (elevation map) was uphill from the beginning, with 4 ranked climbs. Thor’s tenuous lead of 1 second was sure to evaporate, but it didn’t. Cadel Evans, lying in 2nd overall, is 30lbs lighter, and one of the best climber’s in the business.
Let’s take a look at two keys from Hushovd’s tactics; don’t get overwhelmed, and don’t quit. Thor said in the post-race interview that all he did today was watch Evans. He took a very complex, potentially overwhelming problem, and reduced it to the most basic element. When I talk an athlete through a race beforehand, I am very careful not to overwhelm them. We focus on one, maybe two things. Don’t make things harder or more complicated than they need to be, drill down to the core issue and focus on that.
Hushovd actually lost Cadel’s wheel with 1k to go, but said he rode his own tempo, then made an effort to get onto the back of Cadel’s group at the finish, leading us to the second take-away from today – don’t quit. If, like Thor, you can keep from getting overwhelmed and resist the urge to give in – you’ll go far.
Steen A. Rose is an elite cycling and triathlon coach. He started coaching in 2003, and has been an Elite Coach with Training Bible Coaching since 2009. Steen is also captain of the Sun & Ski/Subaru Cycling and Triathlon teams. He has been racing since 1997, holds a Category 1 license, and has 13 state championships, 3 national medals, and 4 international podiums to his credit. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org