We’re back again and ready to dish out the sweetest love/relationship/racing advice you’ve ever heard! (Or possibly not – I’m not a professional at this stuff). Anyway, the oracular Heather Nielson and I are here to answer your questions in simple language that we can all understand. As ever, if you need advice in how to perfect your experience of love then leave us a comment below.
Anyway let’s get on with it. Here’s the latest relationship-saving advice to help you win at love.
I have been married for over 10 years to a smart and beautiful woman who i adore. She is loving and patient, she is a wonderful mother to our children, and I love her deeply. We are very happy. Here is my question: Recently I bought a new cross frame. What brand of wheels should I run on it, and should I go tubeless? If so which brand do you recommend. Also, handlebar tape color?
Dan says: Jimbo I’m glad you cut straight to the heart of what makes a great relationship work, wheels. They’re the single best way to gain a massive performance increase in your love life as they significantly reduce your rolling resistance and make it much easier to accelerate away out of corners. The correct answer to your question is that you should always buy the best wheels that you can afford. I think when it comes to your safety and performance, your loving wife will agree that her antique jewelry is a reasonable sacrifice. Of course you have to go Tubular and you have to go carbon Jimbo. A husband who loves as deeply as you clearly do owes it to his wife to ride the best. I’d suggest you take a good hard look at the Revolution Wheelworks Rev38X as for your tires, that’s going to depend a lot on what your typical season is like. Wet/muddy, dry/sandy, snow and so on. I’d say start with Dugast, either in the Pipisquallo or Rhino options depending on how muddy your season’s looking. As for bar tape, I say you make a romantic declaration and go with your beloved wife’s favourite colour.
Heather says: Wait what?! buy your wife a bike. NEXT
I just keep following the wrong wheels, not getting in the right breaks and end up getting dropped.
Dan says: This is a familiar problem for those new to the racing life richcyclist. Sometimes we just want to settle down and go for a nice leisurely solo ride, or maybe a meandering ride with one favourite partner, but that’s not racing now is it? No, racing’s all about the high-risk, high-reward thrill of the chase. It’s about choosing the wheel that flashes you just so in the moment and tempts you to come and get it. Of course, that means sometimes we’ll make mistakes, but the important thing is to not get disheartened by the occasional tactical error. As long as you’re always wearing your helmet, what can really go wrong? Instead, look at each dropped wheel as an opportunity to learn, and relish each missed break as a story to tell, maybe even a bullet dodged. Instead of asking what if? Ask yourself what next?! You might also want to consider changing up your tactics. Instead of following wheels and joining breaks, how about you go on the attack and make the first move for a change? Make them come to you!
Heather says: sounds like you just need more practice! Best advice i ever got from any coach was race race race race race!! Get to know the riders, what are their strengths and weaknesses? Learn to read a race…. BE PATIENT! and most of all…. make sure you’re having a good time 🙂
I have been told love is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all that is required is two hearts and a diamond, alas at the end you are looking for a club and a spade. Any truth in this analogy ladies?
Dan says: Michael, I’m sorry but you’ve been lied to. Love is nothing like a deck of cards and is instead exactly like a bike race. Otherwise, why would we have this column? If you can’t bury your significant other deep in the pain cave while riding the cols or setting tempo at the front of the bunch then you’re not going to be able to do any better with a spade…
Heather says: just like in poker, a bike race changes with every pedal stroke or ‘hand’ you’re dealt. You can only control you. And just like in poker and a bike race, it takes everyone to play the game. things are never black and white and sometimes we make mistakes. It’s about learning to accept the changes around you and decide what it is YOU want! Don’t just sit there in the middle of the pack doing nothing. You can’t win a race in the middle or answer an attack now can you? Put yourself in a position of EMPOWERMENT and keep pedaling on!
so, you know, at the beginning of a “race” there’s some amount of positioning, attacking, covering attacks…and how that all settles will determine a lot about the “race” will unfold. do we have a dangerous breakaway, or so high a pace that the group stays mostly intact, or just a few riders that the group isn’t really worried about will get away. my question is, how much energy should i spend in this early part of the “race”, as opposed to saving my energy for the mountain top finish? also, any tips on how to get a sprinter over hills with the rest of the group? thanks.
Dan says: great question ant1 and you highlight the importance of positioning. You’re absolutely right that many results are decided early on due to these opening manoeuvres. I’m glad though that you’re aware that while these opening gambits are important, they shouldn’t distract you from finishing it off properly. After all, the goal of every race is to finish well. But remember that you’re not necessarily riding for your own goals, sometimes you’re riding for the team. Maybe you’re sacrificing yourself early in the race to make sure your team captain gets over the top. Maybe you’re leading out the sprint to bring it home strong. Just remember that while every racer wants to win, sometimes nice guys really do finish last.
Heather says: You can’t do it all! You can’t be the BEST at ALL of it. everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and granted there are a few ‘roleurs’ when it comes to bike racing as well as dating…they seem to be able to get all the girls/wins. The key is in being honest with yourself at what YOU are good at. Practice/train your weaknesses and get out there and DO/BE/RACE your strengths…..It all makes you a better person/bike racer overall anyway right?!
I often ignore team orders and go on “solo” breaks. I usually get caught before the finish and get told off by “my director”. I like the long “solo” break but clearly the team does not support this activity. Is it ok to go on a “Solo” break? How many “races” a year can I pull this move?
Dan says: Solo, firstly I have to ask if your first name is Han? Because if this Solo has been Han’d then that’s a whole other level of question… Anyway, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going on the occasional solo break. We all need some alone time every now and then and we all occasionally love the thrill of doing something outside of the usual team instructions. Where soloing becomes problematic is when it starts to interfere with team goals and objectives. Maybe your current level of soloing is heightened due to dissatisfaction with the number of chances you’re getting in the current team environment. If that’s the case then I suggest that you sit down and have a serious and mature conversation with your director. Any good director will have the best interests of their rider/s at heart and will want to work with you to get the best possible performance out of you. If that’s not happening it’s only right and fair that you raise the issue and air it all out before you find yourself drinking too much and riding alley crits with strange teams.
Heather says: *fist bump* you and me…we think a lot alike. i LOVE solo attacks. and I’m actually pretty aggressive as far as females go (on AND off the bike). HOWEVER, I’ve learned that you can’t SOLO every ‘race’ nor can you attack every race solo. It’s all about balance….and mostly….it’s about learning to read the race. Sometimes soloing is the answer…but you have to read the race first. savvy?