Until about three years ago or so I didn’t even know what an A, B, or C was. This term I am referring to is actually used in the corporate world. Sure it’s used in cycling to define what level you are at mostly when talking to another cyclist you haven’t ridden with. It’s almost like describing your handicap in Golf. But this term A, B, or C I am referring to is what kind of competitor are you?
In the corporate world one of the most famous A’s was Steve Jobs. It was described to me as A’s only want to work and hire A’s. B’s want to be around B’s and C’s. And C’s only want to be around C’s. This isn’t meant to be a blanket true statement but generally how it works in the corporate environment.
A’s are willing to work around the clock to get the job done. They don’t really have other outside interests except a family. A’s are the smartest in the room and they know it. They are either near the top of the organizational chart or are climbing up it. A B worker may put in the hours but generally aren’t as smart as A’s. B’s have a life outside of work and outside working 40-50 hours a week they aren’t focused on work. A C generally is watching the clock. They prefer to only put in 40 hours a week and aren’t emotionally attached to work. For the most part a C isn’t looking for that promotion but looking for stability.
In the triathlete world I am not sure this is completely true but I do see this as a guideline. ‘C’s’ are the casual athlete where most of the sport fits in. If not for C’s races wouldn’t be held. C’s are the fastest growing segment of sport in general. They are the bread and butter of the sport(s). They tend to do a few races a year for fun. They may have one or two ‘A’ races but generally they don’t have a plan. More than likely they workout 2-4 times a week if they have the time.
They are seen as family comes first and if they have time they will workout. C’s are the one’s who have a major race on their bucket list. They will do a few 1/2 marathons, 1-2 marathon’s in their life and once the kids get old enough may complete an Ironman. C’s generally don’t workout 12 months a year. Most of them will take time off around the holidays as well as after a big race. I would say a C works out up to 9-10 month’s a year at most. I know this because I use to be a C. When I was a C anyone above me competitively (not ability) I thought was an A. It wasn’t until I became a ‘B’ that I realized there was actually three buckets of competitor’s.
I am a ‘B’. As a B competitor we normally workout about 11-12 months a year. We generally try to take some time off after a big race but find ourselves back training fairly quickly. We may not train at 100% but we feel the itch to keep pushing forward. We have a training plan that we try to keep to but sometimes other factors get in the way. We tend to have several races a year including a few ‘A’ races that we want to do very well in. B’s aren’t satisfied with just one marathon or Ironman. Generally they will do several over the course of their life.
To a ‘C’ competitor we are seen as an ‘A’. We know we’re not an A because we don’t have the extra dedication to get us to the next level. We tend to fall a bit short because we don’t want to become obsessed and burn ourselves out from the sport. When you’re a B more than likely you train consistently 5-12 hours a week and If you’re in Ironman training you may step up your training to 15 hours a week for a short time. As a B we are working out several times a week and a few double session’s. We’re more concerned about hour’s of training overall than training X amount of days. B’s and A’s are the most critical of themselves.
The ‘A’ competitor is very detailed in his or her training. They will stick to their plan and know what it takes to get to the start line. They have the training plan mapped out for the next several months. Their diet is generally healthy, take the right supplements, and more than likely they have a coach. The ‘A’ competitor may not be an A level overall but more than likely they would be considered an ‘A’ in their age group. Their training in season is 10+ hours a week and will have several weeks at 12-15+ hours. They are the smartest of the three groups. They know they can take a week or two off from training after a race and become stronger. Most A’s have been doing this for several year’s and if they have a family are generally better at managing their time than a B.
Overall I don’t believe being an A is sustainable for life. I am not sure it’s meant to be either. All pro’s are A’s and their professional life end’s by their late 30’s. I am guessing here but assume at some point they fall into the B category to stick with an active lifestyle. Those that are at the top end of their age group may go back and forth between an A and a B during the year. B’s generally are in the sport for life. C’s come and go from the sport. But as I mentioned earlier they are the reason the sport continues to grow.
So are you an A, B or a C?