I need a fresh start.. warning: lenghty.
Sorry, this is lengthy, skip to the fourth paragraph if you care to.
Ok, so I'm basically at an all time low right now mostly mentally wise because there's just no sign's of anything positive in my cycling right now, whatsoever. I've come for some advice/guidance on how to get through it all because I'm so lost right now. What I want to know is what do I do!!!??? I can't finish with the pack anywhere I go (races, training hammer fests..) and honestly speaking, I'm fed up with it!
Here's some background before I begin a very angry rant: I got my bike in July 2011 after the tdf, all I did that year was ride with my dad super easily just to enjoy the bike, how it should be. Then in May 2012 I joined a local club. This club had 3 rides at the time - Sunday long rides (anywhere north of 100km), Tuesday hammer fest (race pace freaks), Thursday 'moderate' rides (30-35kph avg. basically fast for the slow ones). I started going on Thursday rides and wow was that ever tough. My first ride I got dropped in <10min. I kept going back though and all I did was hang on the back until I could leave with the group, and finish with the group. I had to learn many things the hard way such as going hard after we crested the hill instead of only on the hill just to keep up. After I was able to hang on I started taking 1 pull, then 2, 3.. and so on. Now I can sit on the front all day long and not even be tired. I progressed very rapidly (within a few months), I went from getting dropped instantly to Thursday night pro. By October, I found a coach/team. This is a great team, we've currently got riders at Junior track pan-am's in Mexico, and riding for Canada at Tour de l'Abitibi and soon to be at Worlds. I raced once in September, got dropped like expected but finished a respectable 6/18 and didn't give up. This was to give me a taste of racing before I went into my first 'real' season of training/racing with at least some experience.
The winter of 2012/13 I trained my butt off, I trained so hard in my basement on that trainer that I didn't miss a single hour out of the 80+ that I was scheduled for except for 2 rides that I got sick and had to skip. Honestly. I had my first FTP test in January which I went out too hard for and scored 247 FTP. In march I had my second one which I felt like I was peaked perfectly on that very day, nothing was wrong (mentally, physically etc.). I had the ride of my life and left it all out there. I hit my goal exactly on the dot and increased my FTP by 25 watts to 272, with a w/kg of 3.68. This is where everything goes downhill.. This test was followed by a week of recovery, and then a new training block.
My racing season started 2 weeks after the test and I got dropped 20 minutes into the race, okay, I can deal with that, it's my first year and all, I just need some more experience, I'll get there soon, that's what they tell me. Every race since then I've been dropped within 20 min.
Now I'm sitting here, and I'm so fed up with getting dropped. It's really gotten on my nerves and has pushed me over the edge. I have no idea where to start because when I look back at my year I've done nothing very wrong. Ya I've missed a few training rides here and there, cheated out on that interval and there was even a few weeks where I only got out a few times because I was swamped with homework, I might not be on a strict eating diet, and no I don't have a power meter or even train with HR. I go by RPE which is still probably wrong. But what really pisses me off is that no matter where I look, who I ask, or whatever, it's the same answer every. single. time. "Just go race some more, you need experience, and keep riding". Well there's a problem. The only 'racing' experience I'm getting is registering for one. I can go there all I want but if I'm not actually racing the race, I'm not getting any experience racing. It's hard for a first year racer with 1 year or less under his belt of training to jump into races with National, World, Pan-am riders in the field. There's a difference between 'ride with the fast guys to become one' vs. learning to ride like a fast guy first and becoming one. You might say I have only 1 year under my belt and I just need to keep riding but that's all I do and it's obviously not working for me. But why is it that I can't even hang with them for 20 dam minutes? I'm not looking to win anything, or go to Nationals, or get signed anytime soon. I just want to finish a race with the same people I start with, and not alone from the ***.
Could it be my bike? training? coach? diet? attitude? I try my hardest when I get on the bike, I do my intervals, I rest enough, I ride with fast groups, I do everything in my power and can't even race with the pack. My HR skyrockets the moment the pressure get's put on and within minutes I'm otb. I'm trying to strengthen my mentality every ride but I think I lack fitness to do so. I don't think I should be struggling so much 10 minutes into a ride, am I not fit enough? or strong enough yet? Like I said, I do train a lot.. I should at bare minimum be able to hang with the pack for a 1-2 hour ride or race by now. I havn't even made any progression, still getting dropped right away. I just find it amazing how I can invest so much time and money and effort into my bike and still get dropped so easily and quickly.
Sorry for the length but I'm just so mad at how crappy I've been this year, I made so much progress from May 2012 to March of this year, and now it's like I'm making progress rapidly in the other direction.. I just don't know where to start (bike, coach, training etc.). My dad asked me about what I want to do with my cycling in the future and I can't even answer the question, it's really taking a toll on me now. It's making me more angry and all I want to do is go ride my all day so I can just improve a little bit, see some positive sign. I've always been an athletic kid, and always one of the best of my team (soccer, hockey, baseball, football, lacrosse) so it's not that sports just aren't for me. And at the end of the day it's not genetics or equipment, it's just the fact that I'm the only one no matter where I look that can't hang on for dear life in the first 20 min of any hard ride, when even the first timers can.
It picks at my brain every day and I can't take it for much longer, I just need to see some slight improvement or just the potential for improvement. I've thought about just giving the sport up because I can't go anywhere with it but I can't let it beat me. I just need to prove to myself, my dad, my coach, and my team that I too can ride like the rest. The only answer I ever get back is "go race some more", "you need to train more", "give it some time" but you know what? I've done all that, and where has it gotten me? I wouldn't doubt it got me back to my 2011 year, just some crappy rider. What do I do differently next year to race a race, instead of just ride behind one?
I'm sorry if this offends you or if I repeated myself a lot or however it makes you feel, I'm just in need of some help right now, I'm not thinking straight, thanks for any feedback, go ahead, lay into me.