Taking on a New Challenge
After spending the last 2.5 years training for an Ironman, David decided to focus this year solely
on his true passion, biking. However, to keep things interesting he chose to take on gravel
racing. Not only does gravel racing require excellent fitness, it also requires excellent bike
handling skills and a keen understanding of race tactics.
In order to improve his downhill bike handling on loose gravel, David practiced specific skills
over several months in addition to his normal training. Additionally, he worked on the tactics of
pack riding. To learn these skills, he initially started doing virtual races on Zwift and then
progressed to outside races. Knowing when to take a pull and for how long, when and how to
fuel while in the peloton and when to cover a move, and when to let it go are all skills that he
specifically practices over several races.
With greater knowledge of these skills in hand, David picked the 106-mile FOCO Fondo as his
“A” race with a time goal of 5:45 which qualifies for the coveted bolo tie. (Leadville has a belt
buckle. If you do enough races, you could put together an entire outfit.)
David’s willingness to embrace specific skills practice both in “b” races and training sessions, as
well as completing over 88% of his scheduled workout hours enabled him to place 31/204
overall and 4th in his age group. He also received the bolo tie. All in all, an excellent first
season of gravel bike racing.