Train your brain: Dealing with failure

In the midst of putting time and effort into training and racing, one element that can often be overlooked is making sure you’ve got your head in the right place. The mental aspect of cycling is just as important to success as the physical. Maintaining focus during a race allows you to follow through with race strategy, save energy, stay nourished, be aware of race dynamics, and give your best effort. During training and daily life, having a good mental outlook helps maintain the consistency and lifestyle that supports your cycling habit through persistence, healthy habits, intense effort, and quality relaxation.

One of the challenges every cyclist will face is failure. At some point everyone has a bad workout, gets dropped from a group ride, experiences a mechanical problem that ruins a top placing, or fails to meet a top goal. Learning how to deal with these failures—small and large—is an important of being a cyclist.

Marvin Zauderer over at Pez Cycling has an article Putting Failure in its Place, that provides an introduction about how and why people respond to failure in different ways and gives some ideas about handling it productively. It’s not a guide to dealing with failure, but it’s a good place to start thinking about how disappointments affect our outlook and how we can react them. If you’ve never taken time to think about how you deal with set backs—on or off the bike—I think this is a good time to start seeing how you can learn and adapt when you fall short of your own expectations.

Use TrainingPeaks WKO+ on a Mac with CrossOver

Big Update! Details on using new versions of WKO+ and CrossOver were posted 1-27-10. Check the new post for a much simpler process with these new versions.

Post updates:
(Updated 1-16-10 with a correction/addition regarding running WKO+ version 2 with builds later than 102. WKO+ version 3 will be covered separately, though reports are that it works, too.)
(Updated 6-4-09 with info to assist people using something other than WKO+ build 102 (i.e. build 103 or later).

Mac users training with a power meter or a heart rate monitor have limited options for quality training software. If you want to use the best training software out there, TrainingPeaks WKO+, but who don’t want to run Windows, the following is one option you can use. It’s not clean, it’s not pretty, and those pretty much mean it’s not very Mac-like. But it can save you from needing a box just to run Windows, using a virtualization application (Parallels, VMWare Fusion), or dual booting with Bootcamp.

What you need:
  1. Desire to run WKO+ without ever starting up Windows
  2. Mac with an Intel processor
  3. GoldenCheetah, Garmin Training Center, PowerAgent, or other software to download data from your power meter or heart rate monitor
  4. CrossOver Mac (30-day free trial, $40) [version 7 is covered here; version 8 will be covered separately in the future]
  5. TrainingPeaks WKO+ (30-day free trial, $99) [version 2 is covered here; version 3 will be covered separately in the future]
Oh, and maybe a little bit of luck. But hopefully the following detailed information will eliminate most of the need for luck.

CrossOver Mac is a commercial version of Wine, the open source software that enables you to run Windows applications on a Mac or Linux computer without actually running Windows. Why would you want to do this? Running CrossOver Mac is a great way to run a single Windows application because it saves you from buying, installing, maintaining, safeguarding, backing up, and even booting Windows.

The downside is that WKO is not a supported application in CrossOver Mac so it requires some additional manual set up, the device download into WKO+ does not work, nor does the in-app help. (Users much smarter than me may be able to custom-configure their CrossOver installation to enable device download or enable the Help viewer; I would be eternally greatful for the sharing of such knowledge.) As a result, you need to download data using another Mac application, export the data to a csv file, then import it in WKO+. This process usually takes much less time than simply booting Windows, so I haven't found it a problem.

Now that you know that background, let’s get to business. Check out the WKO+ with CrossOver Mac installation directions (PDF, 42 KB; updated 1-16-10) for all the nitty gritty. If you have additional suggestions, please leave a comment. If you try this, I recommend you bring your own tech savvy and patience. Since I can’t see exactly what you did and all of your settings, I’m not likely to have many troubleshooting tips other than, “Try a clean installation of CrossOver and WKO+ following the directions exactly as written. Oh, and good luck.” But I do hope these details offer some assistance to others interested in a Windows-less WKO+ experience.

Cycling Terms and Slang

Finding a one stop shop for cycling lingo is tricky. One of the best glossaries I've seen is Cycling Terms and Slang, which was shared by Bilko (a.k.a. Phil Stephens) and will soon be posted on the new Marymoor Velodrome website. It’s a great source for looking up a wide variety of words and acronyms related to road and track racing.

If you’re looking for other resources, visit the Glossary of cycling terms post from last summer.

Race Calendars and Pre-Registration

For those of us in the Midwest, the outdoor cycling season gets it’s start in March. But where are the races? Currently, there isn’t a comprehensive list of all races in a particular region, but checking state association, velodrome, and a few race listing websites will help you track down the events in your area. Depending on your plans for racing, you’ll quickly find a couple of sites that work best for you.

A few samples from the Midwest include:
I recommend checking the race calendars weekly for new races, changes, and cancellations. Make sure to look ahead 3 weeks—if not further—so that you can make decisions about your race schedule and pre-register. Many races accept online registration and payment, but some still require you to mail in your registration, which is why I recommend the 3 week window. Planning ahead will often save you $5 and a bit of time at check-in on race day.

Learning to Live in the Pro Peloton

If you aspire to be a Euro pro, there are a few skills you may want to start working on now. As Velonews' The Explainer shares in his Daily life in the peloton article, language skills and the art of relieving oneself make for pro peloton prowess.

While English has become common in the pro peloton in the last couple of decades, being able to speak some French, Spanish or Italian will help you connect with teammates. And the fans. But learning when and how to heed the call of nature is something that will simply help you make to the end of the race without unnecessary discomfort. Or embarrassment.

If you need some help, grab a copy of Rosetta Stone to polish your Polish (or any of 30 other languages), and become an on-the-bike whiz with tips (both practical and legal) from

What to Put in your Race Bag

After a couple of years racing as a junior, I finally came up with a bag where I kept all of the stuff I took to races. After a number more years, I had it down to a science so that I wouldn’t forget anything on race day and was always prepared “just in case” the unforeseen happened.

So what’s in my race bag? You’ll have to visit me at a race to find out because I’m going to share what’s in the race bag (800k PDF) of Lowell Kellogg, a many year cycling veteran and elite level coach. While our ingredients are eerily similar—down to mesh pockets for the shoe pocket so they can air out—he tosses in a couple extras that you may find handy in instances where nature calls or you need to darn your socks. And this great write up comes courtesy of Sgt. Bilko (a.k.a Phil Stephens), long time cyclist, announcer, bike industry guy, and all around fun guy who’s active at the Marymoor Velodrome in Bellvue, Washington.

Finding the Good Roads

If you’ve lived and ridden in one area for a long time, you probably know all the good cycling roads in a few hour radius of home. But if you’re new to an area, you can spend weeks finding dead ends, gravel, quaint roads that become thoroughfares, and all other sorts of adventures. If you’re lucky enough that one of the sages of your area’s cycling scene has documented the best routes around, your life will be much easier.

I was happy that during my time in Madison, Wisconsin the Bombay Bicycle Club put together their collective wisdom in Great Dane Rides (by Michael Bieberitz), which served as a tremendous resource for me for more than a decade. It’s a simple book of ride maps and descriptions sorted by difficulty and distance and spiral bound. It even included a note that encouraged the book’s users to photocopy pages to take along on rides. The only thing better would have been water-proof foldable maps that I could have reused more times.

If you’re in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, we’ll hit the map, too. Joel Howell has compiled his years of riding in the area into the Washtenaw County Bike Rides book from the University of Michigan Press. The included rides feature many local jaunts, as well as those that stretch well beyond the county but pass through Washtenaw at some point.

If you’re looking for guides to riding in your area, search for books or resources put together by local clubs, travel and tourism agencies, or just passionate cyclists. Long time residents are sure to find new routes or rediscover lost ones, and cyclists new to an area can get on with finding the best roads, routes, and terrain without the near death experiences I’ve happened upon in new cities.