A Season Over – The Importance of Self-Review

No matter what type of sporting discipline you participate in, it is always important to review your season once you have stopped racing.

For those of you who read my beginners’ guide to racing earlier this year, you may remember that I talked about the importance of having goals to aim for during the season (and also beyond),  in order to achieve what you want to achieve – it is incredibly difficult to feel satisfied and contented if you don’t know what you want out of the season.

So for those of you who set goals this season, whether those were distance related, time related, or just getting on your bike more, it is important to revisit the aims that you set yourself at the beginning of the season and to compare them to what you did actually achieve.

Original Goals – Realistic or Unattainable?

At the start of the season, you would have had an idea, whether you wrote it down or not, as to what you wanted to achieve.  Nobody can tell what the future holds and nobody can tell you that you can’t achieve what you want to achieve, as everybody has to have a dream, but it is important to be true to yourself.  This means that you have to be honest with yourself too.  For example, there is nothing wrong with wanting to win a Premier Calendar or a National Series event this season, but if you only started racing this season and were a fourth category rider at the start of the season, the likelihood is that you will struggle to get a ride in a National Series event, and if you are a male fourth category rider, then you can’t even enter a Premier Calendar.  Don’t get me wrong, being honest with yourself is not easy – everybody wants to feel that they are better than they are, it’s only natural, but you have to have a reality check at some point, if only for your own sanity.  Otherwise you will spend your spare time dwelling on the fact that you have failed in your mission, wondering where you went wrong and basically mentally beating yourself up.

 

(c) Martin Holden Photography

 

Achieving Targets

If you achieved your targets, congratulations!  And, if so, the next port of call for you is to ask yourself how you can build on what you have achieved this season, and whether you feel that you pushed yourself in achieving those goals, so that you set some more SMART goals for next season.

Missing Targets Is Not The End of the World

Sometimes life gets in the way.  Sometimes you get ill.  For the majority of people (and that will include most readers of this article), cycling (or any sport in actual fact) is a hobby that you do in your spare time.  It is important that you remember that fact.  Cycling is fun, a way of keeping healthy and fit and making friends.  Even if you are competing, you still should always remember that you are doing it because you enjoy it, not because your life depends on it.  And if you feel that it is the latter, and your whole sense of being in life is dependent on the results you get, then you need to have a word with yourself, my friend, because getting depressed about what you haven’t achieved is not healthy.  And if your “team mates” are not supportive enough, you do not have to stay with that team or club.  Your mental well-being is paramount – without that basis you cannot prepare yourself mentally for the challenges that life throws at you.

(c) Ed Rollason Photography

Evaluating the Season

If you haven’t achieved what you thought were reasonable goals, ask yourself why that might be.  Maybe you have had a stressful time at work, or a member of your family has been ill, or you just haven’t had the spare time to dedicate to training.  Some things are out of our control and as an adult you just have to accept that fact and move on.  Instead, look at what you have achieved this season in spite of all the other issues you have had to deal with and take those achievements as a positive.  Don’t beat yourself up about not getting the results that you thought you were capable of, but use them as a stepping stone for what you want to achieve next season.  Don’t underestimate the British weather either – if you wanted to go under the hour on a 25 mile time trial but every single time you rode an event it was horrendously windy, that is something out of your control, so just deal with it and move on.

In Conclusion

If you have missed some of your targets this season, do yourself a favour and list the goals that you wanted to achieve at the beginning of the season in one column, then in a second column list how you did in reality – you will probably find that you were not too far wide of the target, and if there were things that appear to be out of reach, think about why that might be and how you might be able to change things to achieve those goals next season.  If you use a training diary, or an on-line tool such as Garmin Connect or Strava, have a look back at all of that data you will have created and try and evaluate it to see whether you might have done too much leading up to the event where you didn’t hit the target, or you might have not done enough.

In the grand scheme of things, life is incredibly short.  This isn’t a dress rehearsal and you have to take the best out of the challenges that life throws at you.  Be honest with yourself, think about what you could have done to make things better and then you can start thinking about what you might want to achieve next season!

So until next time, enjoy riding and keep safe!

 

 

What’s in a team name?

Team IG-Sigma Sport Presentation 2012 - Image ©Copyright Team IG-Sigma Sport

Team Sigmasport-Specialized of 2011 has become Team IG-Sigmasport of 2012, to most this is a name change and not much else but in reality it’s a lot more than that, it’s a new direction and a great new opportunity but it’s also a great reflection on the direction cycling is taking in the UK at the moment.

The last two years has seen a lot of development within the Sigmasport-Specialized team and it’s been great to be part of it. Since I joined the team for the 2010 season we have gone onto become UCI registered, take in the Tour of Britain, Tour Series, Premier Calendars, stood on national podiums and enhanced our reputation across the water in Europe competing in France, Belgium and Holland. The team’s development has mirrored that of the flagship store of Sigmasport down in Kingston Upon Themes, which now operates out a grand new building and feeds the ever growing appetite of a new breed of cyclists.

It’s been exciting to be involved with the development, as a fan of the sport you see us riding around criterium’s or plugging through road races, but it’s not all about the racing. Spending time with sponsors and promoting events and products is just as much part of the job now. As interest in the sport has grown, so has the responsibility to be accessible and open to your own sponsors and the public who want to become involved at events throughout the year.

So now moving into 2012 the team has taken a new step, another stage in its development. IG Markets have come on board as title sponsor and our role as riders has grown even more diverse and important.  The first month of the season has seen me standing on the rooftop of IG Markets in Central London for a photoshoot, heading fourteen hours across the world to Singapore for a Criterium, doing laps of Manchester Velodrome with a camera attached to the bike and having a shiny launch of new kit and products in the big smoke of London. Of course there’s been some bike racing too, that is after all the ‘day job’, in fact it’s been a strong start for the team in its new guise with five race wins already under the belt.

It’s race wins that make a successful team but with cycling’s new corporate popularity and with more and more of the wider public choosing to watch and become involved in the sport it’s key to be open and accessible to develop that ‘ownership’ vibe so people in the offices of IG Markets of whoever your sponsor may be can relate to you and truly feel part of the team and journey.

After stepping off the plane in Singapore and having some rest we were taken to meet some of the IG Markets employees of the Singapore office, while they enjoyed meeting the faces behind the jersey’s they see and support, it was great for us as riders to meet people that follow you from half way across the globe. They may follow us through social media or websites but now they have a face to put to the image and report too, it was great to develop that link with them.

It’s great that cycling while increasing in popularity and demand does keep this accessibility. So a team name for us this season is much more than just a shuffling of the title, it’s an opportunity to push the team in new places and develop the connection the public and sponsors have with the team both at events and away from them. It give’s everyone a slice of the action!

 

You can see Team IG-Sigmasport at all of Britain’s top races this season and follow them through both Twitter and Facebook. You can now also log into the riders training and race information through the Strava website and find out more details on the team’s own website.  Now you can’t get anymore helpful than that!

Minty
 
 
 
 

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