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setting goals(3 posts)

setting goalsjust starting out
Jun 3, 2002 12:14 PM
i'm in my first year of racing. i just upgraded. i'm looking ahead to the remainder of the season and having a tough time setting goals. i'm curious as to how people arrive at them. i know that i can work on improving my TT time. that is straightforward and the type of goal that i can set easily. my question applies more to road racing. there are so many factors -- including different levels of competition at each race -- that setting goals like top 5 or top 10 seem sort of meaningless. or at the very least, misleading. i guess i'm just wondering how the veterans out there determine goals and "success".
flexibility is keylonefrontranger
Jun 3, 2002 1:17 PM
The key to setting goals, I've discovered, is to challenge yourself with them, REALISTICALLY. Make your goals a stretch, but not impossible to achieve, and be able to reassess them at any point during the season. Leave contingency plans for things like getting injured or even being ahead of schedule. For instance if you decided that your goal for this year was to finish top-3 at State, but then the unthinkable happens: you pull a hamstring or break your collarbone the week before! Fine, skip State, rest the injury properly, rebuild your form and then go to a late-season regional / national calendar race instead. Bonus: you'll be rested and coming back onto peak form when everyone else is typically fried from a long season. Or, if you set a goal of finishing top-5 at a couple of "A" priority events, but now you're consistently making the podium, then either upgrade again or start traveling to bigger events or a harder district.

Now that you've upgraded, instead of using metrics like placings that will be much harder to achieve at first, try for different challenges like strategic goals. For example, if you tend to hide in the pack a lot, then set a goal of creating and/or getting into a breakaway, rather than just sitting in. It doesn't even matter whether the break ultimately succeeds, because it's the means, not the end you're looking to achieve. Or if you're not a sprinter, try leading someone who is one out for a prime or the finale. If you're a lousy climber, try riding as domestique for someone who's a phenomenal one, either pacing them for as long as you can until you blow up, or protecting them from the wind through the flats until things get vertical. Spend a couple of races learning how to attack, and attack all kinds of crazy places to figure out what works best for you personally. It will require you to use these races as "throwaways", but ultimately the knowledge you'll build of your physical and tactical strengths will be of greater value.

If you don't ride for a team or have good team support, then these types of goals will often require you to make an alliance / collusion with riders from other teams or other free agents willing to work with you. Doing this will stretch you tactically, socially and physically, and is a great way for developing riders to build onto their total racing knowhow.
measuring success by the graded approachPack Meat
Jun 3, 2002 1:55 PM
In this sport you really need to take a big picture approach because even for the Pros victories can be few and far between. This is a list of goals that add up to a successful race.
1. showing up to the race
2. showing up on time
3. showing up with all of your gear
4. finishing the race
5. keeping the rubber side down
6. getting a good clean start towards the front of the pack
7. not getting dropped
8. working at the front and just sitting in and sucking wheel
9. winning a prime
10. breaking away and staying away for a couple of laps
11. leading a team out for a win or in some other way executing a planned team tactic.
12. finishing top 10
13. finishing top 5
14 finishing on the podium
15. winning