Conquering Your El Guapo

I was climbing a tough hill on my bike Saturday afternoon and it made me think of a scene from one of my favorite movies, The Three Amigos, and the main villain, El Guapo. Here I will share how I connect a thought from a funny scene and movie into a critical component of training. It sounds crazy and it probably is but hang in there with me…

I have been running and biking for over eight years now and coaching for the last several. I know what I need to do to get ready for a big race including the training block that comes prior. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always learning and incorporating what I learn into my training but in the big picture I know what it takes to get ready and it takes a lot. Depending on the race course, I replicate the conditions as much as possible.

In today’s example, I am training for a World Championship that includes a bike portion with hills equivalent to what I find in the beautiful farm lands of San Antonio, FL. San Antonio offers several routes for cyclists and for distances that can go very far if needed. What I have found over the years is when I incorporate San Antonio into my training block, it gets me what I need. Specifically there is a 12 mile section that is out-and-back (6 miles each way) just northeast of San Antonio that leads to a small town called, Trilby. Remember Trilby…

Now back to The Three Amigos and El Guapo. El Guapo is the villain in this movie who is attempting to take over the small town of Santo Poco. Steve Martin who plays the character, Lucky Day, is one of the Three Amigos with Martin Short (Ned Nederlander) and Chevy Chase (Dusty Bottoms). Near the end of the movie as El Guapo is planning to take over the town, Lucky pleads with the residents of Santo Poco to stand up to El Guapo and fight for their town. Lucky’s speech shares how we all have a personal El Guapo that we must face and conquer. It’s so funny as in this case he references the town’s El Guapo is actually El Guapo himself.

1:52 Brief Video of Lucky’s El Guapo Speech

For me, El Guapo is the 12 mile loop at Trilby. I know the specific cracks in the road at the top of hills so well now that are breaking me. I drive to San Antonio an hour each way so I can ride to Trilby. I do this as it’s the hardest loop I have found to get me in the best condition for my A races. This weekend I completed the loop but by all means I did not conquer Trilby. It will take me another seven weeks to conquer Trilby and that will be three loops when I do it. When I conquer Trilby it will not be hanging on but driving through the last mile. Then I will be ready for the National and World Championships at the end of April.

So what is your El Guapo? Find what is difficult for you and attack it to make you better.

– Add Health to Your Life

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