It’s rare to find age-groupers who can maintain the level of accountability to themselves that they need to perform optimally. It’s very hard to be accountable to oneself—it’s too subjective. This is an activity where participation is voluntary; you’re inundating yourself in discomfort. How easy is it for you to fall off the wagon in that paradigm? It’s ridiculously easy to back out on yourself. Even the opposite is true: People can push themselves too hard without an outside perspective—this is a Type A, overachieving community, and success does require a little OCD behavior. But it can get out of hand and become damaging and counterproductive also!
I think a lot of age-groupers start second-guessing and inventing their own stuff when they encounter the inevitable bumps in the road. At some point you have to allow yourself to be dominated by a singular process for a period of time—otherwise you’re never going to know what you are capable of. It takes most of us at least four years to run decently off the bike for goodness’ sake—how’s four to six weeks of consistency ever really going to show us what we might ultimately be capable of?
Bobby McGee is a renowned biomechanics expert and mental coach who has assisted athletes in every Olympic Games since 1998. McGee, who once rode more than 1,000 miles in his native South Africa in seven days on a whim, did his first triathlon back in 1984. The nature of his training these days is with his 5-year-old on a trail-a-bike.