Q&A on Training Grit, Psychological Tricks to Beat Fatigue, and Stage Racing, with Grant Holicky

We address questions on how to train grit for race situations, if you can safely override the central governor, and training for a five-day stage race.

Grant Holicky cycling and triathlon coach

Longtime Fast Talk Labs contributor and coach, Grant Holicky, joins us for another Q&A episode of Fast Talk.

With Grant’s help, in this episode of Fast Talk we tackle questions on race tactics (including the infamous “shake and break”), if and how you can train grit in races, how to safely override the central governor and a greater discussion around the ethics of pushing past this fatigue threshold, training for a five-day gran fondo stage race, and the dirty tricks of road racing.

Our first question comes from David Sommers, of Madison, Wisconsin. He writes:

“My brother and I often train together. We like to go on long rides at sunset through farm country, hoping to inspire cowboys on horseback to race us. I tend to practice wheelies, while my brother is more concerned with perfecting his ‘shake and break’ technique and shifting into the big ring for some tomfoolery with guys on horses. My question is, which of us is doing it right? Who is cooler?”

The next question comes from Gabriela in Buenos Aires, Argentina:

“It has taken me a long time to realize that I don’t know how to suffer in a race. In training, I seem to be able to really hurt myself. But when it comes down to the crux moment in a race, I tend to give up early. Why? Why does this happen only in races? How can I become as determined in a race setting as I am when training alone?”

This question comes from Berto in Perugia, Italy. He writes:

“I have read much about the science of the central governor theory of fatigue. Now I want to safely employ psychological methods to gain more from my performances. How do I do this? I’ve heard that limiting feedback can be a good thing. Is that true? I’ve heard that deception can help me, to a point. Is that true? If these things are true, how do I implement some effective strategies for pushing safely past that point where I initially feel ‘fatigue’ in my training and racing?”

This question comes from Dave Stohler in Bloomington, Indiana. He writes:

“Back when I was really into racing bikes, I was obsessed with being Italian. I learned Italian, I idolized Italian things, ate Italian food, rode Italian bikes. But then I was in a breakaway with some Italians and they played a mean trick on me, shifting my downtube shifter into a huge gear when I wasn’t looking. Is this fair? Are all Italian racers meanies?”

This question comes from Justin in the UK:

“I’ve never done a stage race of the 2021 Haute Route Pyrenees before, which is a five-day stage race. With the race being in early July, how and when should I be trying to replicate the demands of five hard mountain days in my training program?

The demands of each individual day will be quite different to other road races I have done, given their overall length and each timed climb section is likely to be 40 minutes plus, with two or three each day.

How should I structure my training to get the best adaptations?

Also, given most of the riding will be sub-threshold, should I be incorporating lots of low carb and fasted endurance rides in my training to encourage my body to burn fat as a fuel?”

Episode Transcript

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