Women’s Cycling: Training Approaches

In my ten years of racing on the pro/expert level, I ran into one major obstacle in my training … men!


As a stubborn, independent woman with goals for success in cycling, I was determined to push myself hard. With my head clouded by illusions of "more is better", I trained often with men.

The men I trained with were also racers, which would have been fine if they were beginner or sport level riders. This was not the case, and my male training partners were some of the strongest in their fields. I struggled on, fighting days when I felt exhausted, constantly working to stay "on their wheels" just out of my reach. I did my sprints, long endurance days and even intervals with men. This did not happen every day, but more often than not, I would chase some guy, just to prove I was equally as strong.

It was several years later, when I had retired from racing, that I realized how wrong I had been. I had been working in Italy as massage therapist for a men's team of world-class cyclist, when I was laughed at for my query about riding with them.

"You're a woman! You're not as strong!"
Oh.

Suddenly I realized they were right. I was a woman. It didn't mean I wasn't a strong woman, it just meant I wasn't a man, and shouldn't be comparing myself to them. All those years of chasing the men's wheels had been the worst I could have trained!

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