Stradalli Cycle’s Alex McLaughlin Reviews Cycle Training Environments  

It’s difficult to say which cycling environment is better. On one hand you have the incredible view after a long ride to the top of a towering mountain or the environment where you’re treated to an incredible view after a tough battle into ocean winds.

This weekend the Stradalli Cycle team is experience both. Some of us are in Tucson, Arizona preparing for the upcoming season and attending several events while the rest of us stayed back in Florida.

The benefits of training in the mountains are pretty simple, but riding flat roads exercises requires a different skill set completely. In order to be a successful team, every member has to be prepared for every situation that may come up during a race in which they are called upon to fulfill a role they aren’t used to. Cycling is truly a team sport despite what people may think. No one rider will dominate without the help of the team. The amount of tactics, communication and pure fitness that go into winning a race is what makes cycling such an incredible sport.

Thus the different training environments this week for the team. The entire team couldn’t leave town at once, but we can make the best effort possible to improve the areas where we think we are weakest. I sat out the mountains this weekend partly because I wanted to be at work making sure things ran smoothly and because I have already spent an entire month of this year training in the mountains I felt it was my turn to stay back and help the team on the home front.

I am a have my cake and eat it too type of person, but I want to and need to be responsible for the time being. I love the mountains more than anything, but I need to keep my cool and help my Stradalli teammates improve as much as they can in the areas I can help but also learn from them as much as they learn from me. I want to be at the front with all my teammates in the mountains. I don’t want to ride by myself in the big races. Winning races requires us to stick together. I can be happy with riding along the beaches and enjoying the views for a while if it means helping to strengthen the team overall.

I’m not calling myself the most experienced guy on the block by any means, but I have spent my fair share of time in the mountains. To make it to the top requires two huge things. The ability to say no to quitting when things get hard and the ability to recognize the going will get tough down the road no matter what. Sacrificing for your team is more important than personal ambitions. Having that sense to keep your efforts in check over time will help you in training and in racing. Attacking the bottom of a mountain is fun, but it isn’t always the smartest decision.

I realized the more I did that, the more tough it was for me at the top. I also learned the more I did for myself in the begging of races, the less I could do for my teammates at the end of a race.  If I wanted to win and be there when it counts, I had to learn that lesson. I know the Stradalli guys are going to be better from their Arizona training experience. Check out what I am currently doing for training below.

Am I upset I am missing out on the mountains? No because no matter how much I improve this offseason I know that I will get nowhere without the team and they need to improve as much as I do. When your team is at the front of a race making everyone else’s life miserable, you get an incredible feeling. That’s what the work is for, self improvement but also doing whatever it takes to help the team improve as well.