Championship Strategy: Segmentation

Break It Down

26“If you’re there at the end, no matter what went on in the rest of the race, you made it to the end and must go for the win.” Tania Smith, Champion Strategist

Boonen is one of the Great Segmenters

How well you compete in the race finale may determine the result but is incomplete as championship strategy. You can win without having the best day because a winner breaks the race down into phases of effort and puts it together at victorious moments. Segmentation is a means of coping with pressure. Segmentation gives power in real time. It enables a proactive and reactive vigilance and response in the moment.

Race reports of segmentation specialists are rich with detail and keen with insight about what really happened in the race. The consistent winners often have a dynamic interview presence because they can recall and relate the characteristics of each segment of the race. Time trial specialists may be shooting for a certain time split per kilometer. Stage race specialists may set a periodic alarm to eat during the day’s stage to recover for the next day. Classics segmenters know when the fight comes for each marked segment of cobbles, climbs…whatever.

One technique for segmentation involves several championship activities: course preview – marking out key features in distinct portions for pacing, tactics, power application, safety; weather as it relates to route – planning for cool descents, rainy technical sections. Most importantly, great segmenters understand the race rhythm.

Many great performances happen from simply contemplating the many variables associated with outdoor routes and applying multiple tactics to address each segment. There are self-tricks for segmentation. Coping with a lack of confidence for an overall win, a champion may instead think about near perfect execution of this first hill, then surviving the hard surge expected next, etcetera, instead of starting a race with only the finish in mind. Some parcours are so difficult, segmentation is necessary. The king of such courses, Paris-Roubaix is overwhelming but positioning for the few kilometers into key segements, which  decide the winner is over in minutes. So segmenting that course into what it takes to get to that point, executing that and leaving it behind once accomplished, leaves energy for the next critical fight. In Paris-Roubaix, this must be done for each cobbled section or about 3 dozen times!!!

A great segmenter says, “Done deal; just ahead, another hard section – over. Now finish first!”

Prayer for Segmentation

“Little by little…until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” 27Exodus 23:30

We ask to see the portions of a greater whole.

Ponder Am I breaking down courses, events, and strategies into enjoyable parts that aren’t overwhelming? Affirm I set goals within goals. Watch successes mount with each passing mile.

26Conversations with Tania Smith. Leave it to a mom-wife-nurse-community minded-athlete to figure out how multi-tasking ability can be translated into victorious race scenarios. Tania and her husband Darryl lead the Bay-area Spoke of International Christian Cycling Club.

27The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

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