When a gap appears in the race schedule, inevitably the question is, how should an athlete use that time. High Performance Manager Darren Roberts takes up the story.
Photos: Ben Winder
Racer’s schedules tend to be pretty packed out these days, and not just with the main championship or series they’re racing. There are various nationals, one off events like Crankworx, sponsor commitments and of course testing the bike and its various components – so down time can be a rare thing. However there are times when a gap opens up between races presenting the athlete with two or three weeks to do as they please. This can present a number of challenges for the athlete, do they take actual time off, have a complete break and if so how long for? Should they train, and if so what training should they do and where? Should they stay in Europe between races or head home?
You can imagine a rider struggling to find the results they want probably feels the need to train even harder in the time they have – when in fact they may need a break, equally you might think a dominant athlete should have a break when in fact they may well need to push harder in any down time. In the past this has been a haphazard approach, but the top riders have access to bespoke performance coaches like Alan Milway, so any gaps or potential down time between races will have been well planned for in advance. So the question isn’t whether they should do something or not, but all the factors that have to be taken into consideration relevant to what they’re trying to achieve. It’s rarely about ‘what’ they should do, but ‘how’ they should do it.