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Time Trial- How To

Last week, we had our monthly ALP Ride. The goal of this month’s ride was to not only pre ride the Haystack Time Trial Course near Boulder, Colorado- but to dial in our time trailing strategy so no matter what the course, our ALP athletes would know how to look at the course and come up with their own individual race plans.
Alison_Powers_National_Championship_TT_ImageCurrent National Time Trial Champion (for one more day), and ALP Coach Alison Powers lead the ride and talked about the key elements of Time Trialling. These elements included-
1- How to look at a course and break it into sections- then create a plan for each section
2- How to carry your speed and momentum- especially over varied terrain and corners
3- How to create speed and momentum- especially over varied terrain and corners
4- Being aerodynamic while limiting movement and staying relaxed.
We analyzed the course, came up with a race plan, and tackled each section with 100% effort. We brought out the GoPro so our ALP athletes could see how they look on their bikes while going hard. Post ride, we analyzed things such as- does the athlete stay aero dynamic, where is their head position, and how much movement do they have when riding?
Here, USAC Level 1 and ALP Coach Jennifer Sharp, goes into more detail with tips you can do to dial in your own time trialling and go faster than ever.
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Aiming for a belt buckle at Leadville? Join us in June for our Leadville Trail 100 Pre-Ride weekend. We will dial in race strategy, lines and technical features, pacing, hydration and nutrition, and training. After this weekend, you have 6 weeks until race day.
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Time trials are the purest of all bike races. It’s you against the clock; where your legs do the talking. It sounds simple in theory – the fastest person wins. But it’s far from the easiest discipline. Time trials are a true test of not only physical but mental fitness. Below you’ll find some tips that will help you in your next time trial.
1. Dial in your equipment. Preferably, several weeks before your race. Showing up to a time trial with a bike for the first time without any saddle time can spell disaster. If you can, get a professional bike fitter to assist you in dialing in your position. The shorter the TT, the more aerodynamic you’ll want to be. Equipment also includes race wheels and a rear disc, aero helmets, booties, skin suits, etc. If you have long hair, put it in a bun and tuck it inside of your helmet or braid it. If your time trial is under an hour, take off your water bottle cage.
 
2. Practice, practice, practice. Once you’ve dialed in your equipment and position, you must practice being in the aerodynamic position. It will take your body a little while to adapt to this position, and riding your time trial bike in the aero position is the best way to do this.
3. Cornering. You can’t win a time trial by cornering, but you can lose it in the corners by dumping your bike, over-braking or going off course. Practice corners and 180 degree turnarounds. It’s okay to come out of the aero bars to navigate a corner. Just get back up to speed and into your bars as quickly as possible.
4. Limit your movement. Meaning, don’t look down at your computer, back behind you, in front of you and repeat. Keep your eyes forward, neck turtled, and arms in the aero bars. Additional movement creates drag and extra drag slows you down. Your legs should be moving and that’s it.
5. Pre-ride the course. If you can pre-ride the course a week or more before, do it. Practice key sections and time yourself so you know how hard you need to push it during each part. Memorize sections so you know how much further you have until the finish. Visualize the course before you go to bed each night, practicing key sections in your head.
 
6. Time trial is about what happens between the ears. Positive self talk is critical to your success. Coming up with a mantra in practice will help you during a race. Alison came up with a great one, printed on the collar of every ALP Cycles Coaching jersey: Better. Stronger. Faster.

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Join our ALP Cycles Coaching Family. 3 Coaches and 2 Coaching levels to choose from. We ride with our athletes, spend quality time with each athlete (in person, on the phone, over email), and really take the care needed to develop each person into the best cyclist they can be.  http://alpcyclescoaching.com/coaching.php

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Have any tips you’d like to share? Please use the comment section below.
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Trail Etiquette

By USAC Level 2 and TrainingPeaks Level 1 certified ALP Coach Alison Powers

It’s mid-May and we are eager to get out on our mountain bikes. As the snow melts and the singletrack starts to clear, it’s important to remember our good trail etiquette.

In addition to yielding to uphill riders, hikers, packing out our trash, etc. we must all remember to take care of and maintain the singletrack we are riding.

When we are on our road bikes, our tax dollars pay for the maintenance of our “pavement trails” and roads we ride on.  When mountain biking, on the other hand, it is organizations like Nederland Trails Area Organization, Vail valley Mountain Bike Association, and Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails, and local volunteers and residents who take care of and maintain our great trails.

Winter, wind, snow, and water all wreck havoc on our trails. Trees fall, trails become rivers, mud and puddles form. In order to keep our singletrack single and our trails fun and enjoyable, it is in our best interest to be good trails users. This means if you come across a down tree, either cut it out yourself or go over it. Do your best to stay on the trail and make as little impact as possible when getting around a down tree as going around will eventually lead to our single track turning into a double track.

Ride with a hand saw and cut out the tree yourself

bobGo over the fallen tree and stay on the trail. Here is an example of people riding to the right of the trail to ride over the down tree. If continued, this trail will turn into a double track.
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If you must ride a wet and muddy trail, ride straight through the water and mud. Stay on the trail.

Here, riders have started to avoid the mud bog that is on the trail and, in doing this, have widened the trail and ruined the grass to the left side.
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We are all in charge of taking care of the great mountain bike trails we use– no matter where we live and where we ride. Be nice to the trails and they will provide years of endless fun for us and future generations.

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Teamwork

By Swiss Miss ALP Coach Patricia Schwager

For my May blogpost, I chose to write about teamwork. What does it really mean to work together as a team? And what does it require? It isn’t that easy and it takes a while to put a team together that also really works together- in every situation no matter what.

Cycling is an individual- and team-sport. It isn’t a game like soccer or football but it really can become a game of strategy. You might be able to win a local race just because you are super strong but on the pro level, this doesn’t work.

We all know; together you are stronger than alone. However, if not all the riders are fully committed to the team, you can have a very strong team, and still fail. On the other hand, you can achieve great things with a team that really works together, even if the team doesn’t seem the strongest on paper.

Racing for a (pro) team means the team has a plan and strategy on how to win the race. Things that play a role on what that plan is: race profile and type, as well as skills/abilities/fitness of the team riders and the GC situation- if it’s a stage race.

For example, the race plan could be that it is your job be to work early in the race. This means covering attacks or create a breakaway. It can also mean you must ride in the wind all day, if the team has a leader-jersey to defend. Or you might have to save your energy to be fresh for the final and help your leader in the sprint lead-out. If you are a protected rider/ leader, your team mates will work for you. But this also means you have a lot of responsibility to pull off the result in the end.

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Aiming for a belt buckle at Leadville? Join us in June for our Leadville Trail 100 Pre-Ride weekend. We will dial in race strategy, lines and technical features, pacing, hydration and nutrition, and training. After this weekend, you have 6 weeks until race day.
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A very important role in the team, is the Team Captain. Racing without radios makes communication more difficult and communication within the team is super important during a race. The Team-Captain’s job is it to keep things organized in the race, make decisions or change tactics, if getting advice back at the team car isn’t possible.

Whatever job or team role, for that day is, you have to be committed to it 100%. Every team rider has to fulfill their job to make the plan work. You can’t have any thoughts about doing your task at 90% and save some energy to get your own result in the end too.

We all like to achieve good results or win a race. I think the hardest thing to understand about teamwork is that sometimes you really have to sacrifice your own chances in order to make the team-plan work. Of course- roles change from race to race. One time you are the “workhorse” another time you are in the right breakaway and get a chance to win the race yourself.

This might sound strange, but for myself- there is no better feeling than winning a race because of great teamwork. It doesn’t matter if I, or one of my teammates, won the race. Teamwork is one of the facts I like most about cycling!

tibco

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ALP Cycles Coaching specializes in skills clinics. Our coaches work with individuals and teams to better their bike handling skills, team tactics, and overall confidence on a bike. Check out http://alpcyclescoaching.com/cc.php for more information.

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Bragging Rights

As coaches, we are very proud of our athletes when they achieve success. So, we are taking this opportunity to brag about our athletes’ most recent success. In no particular order, we have–

TTT Nationals- 2 ALP athletes, 1 1st place, 1 3rd place

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Boulder Roubaix- Sandy North 1st place

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Maverick Classic- Nina Donohue- 1st place Hill Climb

Ridgeline Rampage- Jon Maule 19min faster than 2014. Rebecca Hodgetts, 2nd Pro Women. ALP Coach Jennifer 1st place in the 30 min race.

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King of 2nd places- Dana Fallon – last three weeks of TT’s- adding watts and taking off time

Marathon Mountain bike national champion- Jenna App with a time of 5hrs 58min.

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Tour of the Gila- Kristie Arend 1st place in the 3/4 Criterium, Abby Mickey 2nd place Pro women Stage 1

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Adelaide Tillinghast- killing it on the collegiate scene and winning pretty much every race she enters.

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Join our ALP Cycles Coaching Family. 3 Coaches and 2 Coaching levels to choose from. We ride with our athletes, spend quality time with each athlete (in person, on the phone, over email), and really take the care needed to develop each person into the best cyclist they can be.  http://alpcyclescoaching.com/coaching.php

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Reaching Your Potential

By USAC Level 1- ALP Coach Jennifer Sharp

An athlete recently shared with me a triumph in his Training Peaks comments that I would like to share with you (after I got permission, of course).

      “At the start of the ride, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel. My legs weren’t particularly sore, but they knew I had a pretty hard ride yesterday. Mentally, I decided to just sit in and allow the ride to develop, but once the first hill sprint came . . . my competitive little devil came out, so I launched from the middle of the pack to overtake the two guys out front. Not for any particular reason other than I knew I could, so why not try?
      Ironically, i also decided to just sit-in for this ride. How I end up at the front all the time? I really don’t know. I just end up there.
      We had another set of rolls that we hit hard, and turned into a crosswind. After a couple moments, I looked back and realized that 6 of us had dropped the whole group. I was pretty cooked, so I sat in for a couple minutes before starting to help in the paceline. A group of Cat 2/3 racers had joined our ride, so it was a solid and controlled effort. We had about a 5 minute gap, but had it not been for two stoplights we would have never been caught. ;-)
      Anyway, the final hill sprint came. A newer rider I’ve been grooming was taking a pull. We always hit this last section really hard, so I was hoping he’d make the jump because I was tired and it would have been a great excuse to sit up. But alas, it wasn’t to be. We caught him, there was a lead out, so why the heck not? I laid down a pretty hard sprint–I think that’s where the 20 seconds over 1,000 watts occurred.
      After the ride, the Cat 2/3 riders tried to recruit me onto their team . . . again. Initially, last year they wanted me to join them as a lead out guy, but this time they were talking more about providing me the lead-outs. We’ll see! I guess I will start racing crits starting next Tuesday
      . By the time I get to Cat 3, I’ll have a team lined up with a sprint train. ;-)
    I know that all sounds like bragging about bullsh*t, but it makes me proud–it shows that the efforts I made over the last few years really have paid off. When I was younger, I was plagued with this concept that I was “average” and “average” meant that I would never be the top of anything, but one day a buddy (former pro mountain biker) that all it takes is time in the saddle. So, I started to ride more. I started to ride in groups. I started doing A-group rides with the goal of getting dropped just a few miles further than the previous week. I knew that some day I’d be a part of the group, but I never really thought I’d be at the front and yet here I am. My biggest hope is that I’m the hand that pushes the next person over the cusp of accepting average to challenging their potential.”
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Aiming for a belt buckle at Leadville? Join us in June for our Leadville Trail 100 Pre-Ride weekend. We will dial in race strategy, lines and technical features, pacing, hydration and nutrition, and training. After this weekend, you have 6 weeks until race day.
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This is the beauty of our sport – the ability to give back. It’s taking the lessons we learn and sharing them with newcomers. The more we learn and share, the more we grow as a community.
I encourage you to surround yourself with people who encourage you to reach your potential – and someday you might see yourself winning the sprint. And best of all, you may be able to encourage someone else and see them win a sprint.
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A More Complete Cyclist

By ALP Coach and current Road and Time Trial National Champion Alison Powers

If there was one magic training tool that you could do to become a better, faster, and more confident cyclist, would you do it? For most of us, the answer would be ‘yes”. Unfortunately, not very many people do this one thing. What is this one magic ticket? Improve your bike handling skills. While training, most people are focused on how many watts they are pushing instead of how many times they brake through a corner. Being able to carry speed through a corner or sit in the draft of a peloton is free speed. No intervals or recovery days are needed for free speed.

30 minutes, once a week is all it takes to vastly improve your skills and gain free speed through corners, in a pack, on single track, etc. With good bike handling skills, you will be relaxed and recovering, while others struggle.

Here are 6 drills you can do, on your own, to improve your bike handling skills.

The Slow Race

– Pick a start and finish line about 30 meters apart and go as slow as possible from start to finish. Practice this drill standing and seated.- Goal- work on balance

Cone Pick-Up

– Place a cone or water bottle on the ground and slowly ride by and pick it up off the ground. Goal- balance, body/ bike separation, and the basic beginnings of proper cornering.

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We have a new 12 week training plan for your Leadville Trail 100 success. Created by ALP coach and 2013 2nd place finisher Alison Powers and ALP Coach and Swiss Miss Patricia Schwager.Check it out here

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Slalom

– set a cone (or water bottle) slalom and ride through the cones while standing and seated. Goal- dynamic movements, bike/body separation, looking ahead, balance.

Off Set Slalom

– set a cone (or water bottle) slalom with direction changes and ride through the cones while standing and seated. Goal- dynamic movements, bike/body separation, looking ahead, balance, working the bike and creating speed.

Bunny Hop

– set two cones or a water bottle on the ground and practice jumping over it while riding. Goal- learn to avoid holes, crubs, debris, rocks, etc. Timing, looking ahead, anticipating.

Parking Space Figure-8’s

– Find a parking space, or two, and ride figure 8’s within the space. Goal- balance, steering your bike, looking ahead, feathering brakes.

This is just a sampling of the many bike handling skills and drills that can be done to make yourself a better and more confident cyclist.

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Join our ALP Cycles Coaching Family. 3 Coaches and 2 Coaching levels to choose from. We ride with our athletes, spend quality time with each athlete (in person, on the phone, over email), and really take the care needed to develop each person into the best cyclist they can be.  http://alpcyclescoaching.com/coaching.php

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April ALP Ride

By ALP Coach Alison Powers

Last month, I explained how important it is for a coach to ride with her/his athletes and here, at ALP Cycles Coaching, we make it a priority to ride with our Colorado athletes. This past Wednesday was our April ALP Ride. After our coaches meeting (we ALP coaches have several meetings a month), the three of us filmed a on-bike skills video for our athletes. We really believe that developing sound bike handling skills makes for better bike racers and we want our athletes to know what drills to do and how to do them.

Then it was time to ride with our ALP athletes. We pre rode the Koppenburg course. We talked about forming a race strategy, using landmarks to get into good position leading up the the “hill”, how to ride the hill, and we finished by doing Race Winning Intervals up and over the hill.

Despite the wind, and the looming snow, it was a fun and quality evening on the bike.

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Join our ALP Cycles Coaching Community. 3 Coaches and 2 Coaching levels to choose from. We ride with our athletes, spend quality time with each athlete (in person, on the phone, over email), and really take the care needed to develop each person into the best cyclist they can be.  http://alpcyclescoaching.com/coaching.php

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Every Friday, we do a blog post. Each coach, Patricia, Jennifer, and myself, pick a topic to write about. Our question to you is this– what do you want to know about? Any special Blog Post Friday requests? If so, comment below on your topic of choice.

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