Monday, July 16 , 2018, 1:43 pm | Fair 72º


Bob Wilcher: Life Is Easier When You’re Moving Forward

Don't let complacency stall efforts at self-improvement

If you don’t know anything about bike racing, then you probably don’t know the word peloton. It’s the term used to describe the big pack of cyclists riding together. The cyclists in the front are working harder than everyone behind them because they’re blocking the wind, which can account for 30 percent of a rider’s effort. But they take turns with other riders in the front to share the effort.

Bob Wilcher
Bob Wilcher (John Conroy photo /

The riders at the back of the peloton are vulnerable to getting “dropped” or separated from the pack, because when the front riders pick up the pace the group reacts in sequence. The riders at the back are the last to react, and sometimes the pace is too fast for them to catch up. Even if they do catch up, they use a lot more energy than the other riders, and several bouts of that can be very exhausting.

The way you perform well in a bike race is similar to performing well in life and in health. If the riders in the back of the pack want to perform well, they need to move closer to the front. A rider’s position in a peloton is constantly changing because nobody is chained to anybody else; therefore, the riders maneuver around. In order to do well, a rider must hold his or her position by constantly moving to the front. Other riders who want to perform well are doing the same thing, and if you just become comfortable with your spot, then you’ll soon find yourself at the back of the pack struggling to stay with the group.

Sometimes the riders at the back of the peloton are very strong and conditioned, but just being in the rear makes for a much more challenging race, and those riders will never perform well.

So, what’s the message?

Success is not about reaching a goal and then quitting. Success is about setting goals and striving to improve who you are on a consistent basis. As soon as you become overly complacent with your position and no longer strive for goals, then your momentum shifts. Things are either moving forward or backward. I don’t believe that anything really just stays the way it is.

Would you rather be on the basketball team that is ahead by 2 points at the start of the fourth and final quarter, or would you rather be on the team that has just scored 10 straight points to be within 2 points of tying the game? I’d rather be on the team that has the momentum, because it’s so much more powerful of a position.

You’ve got to take action if you want something. You’ve always got to look for opportunities to move forward and improve yourself, because without forward movement and progress, we are creating a much more difficult path. It becomes very difficult to deal with life’s continual bumps in the road when you’re already working so hard just to hang on.

This is exactly what the novice cyclist goes through at the back of the peloton.

— Dr. Bob Wilcher is a chiropractor and personal trainer in Santa Barbara. He owns Killer B Fitness, a personal and group training studio at 126 Powers Ave. Contact Wilcher at or 805.448.2222.


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