Stage 1: Choose Your Battles

Phillipe Gilbert is one of the best cyclists in the world. Indeed, in the middle of June he was ranked #1 in the World Cycling Tour. Today he gained a few more points towards that ranking, his first ever Tour de France stage win, and his first ever maillot jaune.

If you follow pro cycling, even marginally, you probably heard about Gilbert’s string of victories in April, taking 4 massive wins in 11 days. Any one of those results would make a rider’s career, and to string them together was just spectacular.

Last week, he gave a hint of his form and a foreshadowing of what we can expect at the Tour, by winning the Belgian National Championships. Okay, you’re asking what you, the average cyclist, can learn from this. Well, I’m glad you asked. Gilbert was winning everything in April, and is winning again now, but do you know what he was doing between then and now? He was training. No races. Too often we as cyclists get caught up in events, and forget to train. Racers race every weekend. Rally riders do every rally then can get to. How many people do you know that haven’t missed a group ride since Clinton was president?

Your goal may be as dramatic as the state championship, or as humble as finishing the Saturday ride with the group. Whatever it is, make it your chosen battle so that you arrive fresh, fit, and hungry.

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

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