XC versus ENDURO really????
As a coach I look for ways to get the best performance from my athletes and 9 times out of 10 the answer is not that complicated. In fact, with a lot of coaching it can be about common sense and simplifying things. There is far too much info out there and people try to blind you with science, but really remove all the nonsense and it is pretty simple. Before people say it, yes science is really important which is why I go and use the testing facilities at Southampton University. For any of my athletes wishing to get this kind of data, the lab guys, and I am sure they wont mind me saying it, are the geeks of sport science. This really works for me as they do the best testing out there and I get this data to transfer to my athletes (science meets art)
Having been working in this industry for some time now we come across lots of rivalry between sports that maybe just maybe should be complementing each other rather than the whole 'we're better than you' mentality. We wear baggy shorts you look weird in that lycra stuff, or man get a hard tail and ride up that hill.
This is a perfect case and why I have my athletes already applying it. XC riders and ENDURO riders taking part in each others' events to help them with their weaknesses.
Many XC lycra wearing riders are weak on technical riding especially when at high speeds and so cost themselves time by slowing down. Enduro racing forces you to tackle technical sections at high speed and effort, normally far more technical than an average XC race, so what better way to improve than to go to the extreme and get skills lessons from ENDURO riders/skills coach. I have XC riders already doing this and have been working with great skills coaches too. My role, so to speak, is to get riders as strong and as fit as possible for racing and that means I have to look at help from experts in their fields.
A coach should never be afraid of using others to get the best out of their athletes, this is just good coaching.
Now to the baggy short ENDURO rider, these guys have loads of natural talent to throw a bike down a hard technical course, but in their racing they have lots of racing sections joined together by a non timed sections of heading back up hill. Once up the hill they need to be as fresh as possible to nail the next section, this is were we need that XC fitness to come in to play. Teaching these riders to recover while riding up hill, so getting them also to race non stop.
It is all about getting the riders to work on the areas of weakness. Now this said it's not for all! Some will want to ride a section full gas for a few mins then sit on the ground by their bike momentarily dying as they try to get their breath back. Others will want to hit the brakes and get off and walk over a technical section and then get back on and ride. These are just choices but if we are looking to improve our fitness to maximise our quality of riding, or just not to die every few mins, then maybe just maybe we can look at the other side of the fence for some ideas?