Bicycle Road Racing. Eddie Borysewicz (Eddie B) bible of cycling. It was the go to training book for cycling in the mid to late '80s. Somewhere along the road I'd loaned out my original copy and it was gone. I finally wandered over to Amazon and ordered a used copy in very good condition.
Why would I want a training book from 1985? Because it wasn't just about training, in fact, the training aspect of the book is only one of the nine chapters. The remainder of the book talks about the different techniques and tactics needed to be a complete racing cyclist. For $10, I really just wanted to refresh my memory on the principles that were instilled in me as a teenager who was in love with the bike.
It still boggles my mind how so many of the people that race today, locally at least, have absolutely no concept of the technique and tactics of bike racing. So much emphasis is put on training and getting faster that riders ability to go fast, is way out of balance with their skill level. It's so bad that I've heard some local riders say they are thinking of not racing road because it's just to dangerous.
Case in point, I started racing road in the fall of 1984. After 1991, I'd switched to mountain bike racing but still did a few races here and there, and it's only really been the last couple years that I've gotten back into road racing again, traveling to bigger regional races. For a few years I was doing 50 some road races a year. A few weeks back I was in my first race that was actually stopped because of a crash. I see this happen regularly now in Cat 4 races. Is it caused from riders lack of skill? Or is it coincidence? I don't know. One thing is for sure though, when I was a junior we use to go to a park and practice touching wheels and bumping handlebars at low speeds, teaching ourselves how to get out of bad situations. We even did tumbling drills at the Olympic Training Center so we knew how to tuck and roll to avoid serious injury. It was just as important as our Tuesday and Thursday interval training.
Racing Tactics for Cyclists. Oddly enough, Prehn was a student of Eddie B, and features in Bicycle Road Racing. I haven't had the opportunity to have a look at Prehn's book but I'm sure it covers many of the same techniques outlined in Bicycle Road Racing.
Eddy B was a fan of cyclocross and mountain bike training to help build handling skill too. That's probably where my love for cyclocross stemmed from. At the time though, we'd just ride our road bikes off-road through Wilderness Park in Lincoln.
My point, put the power meter and heart rate monitor away one day a week. Find a couple riding partners and go out for a slow ride. Bump elbows, touch wheels and practice riding in an tight echelon. As your comfort level increases, increase your speed. Be a better bike handler, be a smarter rider.