2021, the first year of the new world, and we’ve been through a ton and we’re not at all out of the COVID woods. With everything that has happened in 2020, it's easy to lose sight of what life was like and where we are heading for next year. There are many things that are pointing to 2021 being a new beginning on many levels. There’s a vaccine on its way. Despite the number of positive cases of COVID rising across the US, we have a better handle on the needs of sick people and better treatments. This might come off as ramblings of an optimist but hope is powerful and there are objective changes on the horizon that will make bike racing and events come around in 2021.
It's that time of year, like every year in the past, where we’re in a big planning phase with our athletes. With how 2020 saw waves of event cancellations 6 weeks from each peak event you were going to do, it’s easy to take a “wait and see” approach. Unfortunately that’s poor practice in periodization and motivating athletes to be their best and with positive outlooks into 2021 events, we have to fight that urge to wait until events are happening again and get to peak fitness regardless of the unknown spring.
Here are some things that I’m seeing in my Source Endurance athletes gear up to handle as we push to the light at the end of the COVID tunnel:
Weight gain, aka the COVID 19 lbs, aka the quarantine cookie weight, aka election drinking game week. I know I’m personally going into a solid weight loss phase. Now’s the time to weigh yourself and make plans to be at peak weight before you start doing intensity. Adding intensity on to a hefty weight loss goal can be really hard, but taking it slow and losing healthy weight each week while picking up the intensity in a controlled periodized manner is the way to go.
Zwift + E- Racing in general, whether or not you want to make a competitive go at it and make race goals, it’s a great way to acquire time at threshold and push longer efforts without as much mental fatigue. If you have legitimate race goals, check out the latest weight cutting webinar and indoor oriented coaching products. SE will be expanding our offerings in the Zwift and e-racing world as we get into winter and more and more of our athletes shift to indoor workouts.
Re-thinking what your chosen events will look like. Big sanctioned, spectated races are going to be few and far between. A small gravel race in a rural community that at one time you thought was too small or too far, may become your A race. You won’t be alone in that thought, and said small rural gravel race may become a huge event with dozens of professionals showing up to flex. Your local group ride, in the absence of much sanctioned racing, may become a sponsored weekly event with prizes, wrap your head around those ideas and, once safe, take part.
Goals and peak event decisions. By now you’ve seen and felt cycling somehow shifting. Maybe you can’t put your finger on it exactly but your local road race hasn’t posted their Facebook event, or the local association hasn’t updated their calendar or website since early 2020. There seems to be limited pro team announcements. Especially on the USAC and UCI side of things, there seems to be problems or at the very least, less opportunities. Don’t let this really get to you but try to shift with cycling. Don’t that curmudgeonly local rider who only runs tubular alloy wheels because they are unwilling to change and miss out on new technologies and ride quality. Don’t get stuck on one specific kind of event and miss out on the fun that other events may bring.
If 2020 taught us anything it’s that we have to go with the flow and make the best of what we have. When you’re looking at your 2021 event calendar and planning things out, yes check the sparse USAC and UCI road calendar, but also look through whatever channel possible for an event you want to do, an event that will be fun, and you’ll likely find that even non sanctioned events are wicked hard and bring just as much joy and prestige as a Pro 1 road race. That’s one of my major predictions for 2021, events will come back but they will more likely be unsanctioned. That doesn’t mean smaller and in many cases that allows for more fun formats or even larger purses. Whatever your peak event is, gravel, unsanctioned weekend road races, pick up crits, or professional stage racing, as it comes back, we have the experience and knowledge base to coach you through your goals.
Zack Allison earned his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at Colorado State University. As part of his education, he participated in many hands on exercise science practicum and internships, coaching many types of athletes, specifically cyclists. Zack’s affinity for cycling started at the early age of 14 racing on the east coast. He quickly moved up the amateur ranks to race on the elite national circuit. This level of competition sparked his interest in exercise science, taking him to Colorado State University. While racing for his alma-mater and on various amateur teams he saw many podiums at the Collegiate Championships and Pro/Am events. Zack is currently living in Fort Collins, Colorado and has raced for Elevate Pro Cycling and currently races for Clif Bar. He also co-founded and operates Bike Sports, a bike fit studio, adventure experience, and gravel bike racing business. Growing up with great mentors and coaches, Zack has a goal of paying it forward. He hopes to use his education and racing experience to bring success to Source Endurance and his clients.