Skip to content

Getting in Touch with Why

By USAC Level 1 ALP Coach Jennifer Sharp 
Do you know why you do what you do? Do you know why you like to ride your bike, do intervals, work where you work, and live where you live?
Can you really get to the root of why? What if you could get in touch with the why’s? If you could work from the inside out of what and how you do what you do and align yourself with the why?
I’m assuming most of you are reading this post because you have some connection to cycling – you race, you’re thinking about racing, or maybe you just like to pedal your bike. We like to ride our bikes. But why?
I love the wind in my face.
And why do you like the wind in your face? 
Because it symbolizes freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
And why is freedom and the pursuit of happiness important?
Because we have one shot at this life and I want to live it to the fullest.
And why is living life to the fullest important?
So I wake up each day and end each day knowing I am happy, content and inspired.
And why is being happy, content and inspired important? 
 
Because that’s how I choose to live my life.
____________________________________________________________________

It’s mid July and that means CX season is a couple short months away. ALP Coach Alison Powers has created an 8-week training plan that will get you in the best shape of your life to start the CX season strong and prepared- and it’s only $100.http://home.trainingpeaks.com/products/trainingplans/plans/cyclocross-8-weeks-until-cx-season-intermediate-to-advanced-rider

____________________________________________________________________

Suddenly riding a bike isn’t just about riding a bike. It’s a way of life, a lifestyle, a choice. When we get in touch with the why’s of what we do, we strike a chord into what motivates us, what gets us out of the bed each morning, what keeps us doing what we want to do. It’s empowering. And now those intervals have more purpose. I am more in touch with my values of why I do what I do and it inspires me to do more.
So I challenge you – figure out your why’s. Whether that be with cycling, racing, life, a job, friendships, relationships, etc – ask the why’s. Then ask the why of that, and the why of that, and the why of that, and finally, the why of that.
Because when we get in touch with the why’s, it makes the how’s and what’s easier.

Interested in learning more? Watch this TED talk that inspired me to get the the why of why.

How to deal with an injury

By Swiss Miss, TrainingPeaks Certified, and ALP Coach Patricia Schwager

My July blogpost is about how to deal with an injury. I chose this topic because I’m just getting back from an injury and that’s why I’d like to write about it. Being inured was a hard time for me and I learned a lot about myself during this time. Being injured probably taught me a lot more than if I would have been racing and training like planned. I think that I’m an easy athlete to work with but things are definitely different when you are injured. Have you ever been injured and had to take time off the bike?

Of course, I have been injured during my long career as a pro cyclist. I’ve crashed, had broken ribs, injured my knee(s) etc. But as crazy as it sounds, I never actually had to take a lot of time off or miss races due to it.

So this situation was all new to me. The difficult thing was that my injury was an old injury that had returned. This means I made the first mistake by getting back on the bike and I kept racing even while the original injury was happening. Now I was forced to pay for that mistake. The only thing we could do was to figure out what is causing that pain in my right thigh and how to solve it. I could not keep riding my bike through the pain.

ski patrol

Yes, I was struggling with just riding easy, resting a lot, and not racing for almost 2 months.

I just love to ride my bike and if I don’t ride my bike, I like to be active and do other things. I can enjoy a rest day and taking it easy, but spending a whole day on the couch, watching TV just isn’t my thing.

Of course, as a pro athlete it is even harder if you are forced to take time off during the race season. There is a lot more pressure to perform or deliver results. Everything you think about is to be back on the bike and racing as soon as possible.

I still hoped to be able to race my Nationals, but time was running out to get fit and ready to have a good race. This added even more stress on me.

____________________________________________________________________

It’s mid July and that means CX season is a couple short months away. ALP CoachAlison Powers has created an 8-week training plan that will get you in the best shape of your life to start the CX season strong and prepared- and it’s only $100.http://home.trainingpeaks.com/products/trainingplans/plans/cyclocross-8-weeks-until-cx-season-intermediate-to-advanced-rider

____________________________________________________________________

Once we finally decided that I’m was not going to race the road race Nationals in my home-country (Switzerland), I felt much better. Instead, we decided to take the time to get the physical treatments done, heal and recover, and get back to normal training along with some local racing. This was the best plan to get me back to 100% as soon as posisble. The new goal was to be back racing with my team in July. Luckily it all worked out and this week I’m racing with my team in Canada.

My conclusion:

-If you feel that something isn’t right don’t just push through it

-Try to figure out from where/why the problems and pain are coming from

-I had to learn to be patient and to really listen to my body.

-I had to learn that ignoring pain wasn’t the solution.

-Once we knew how to treat the injury, we were also able to come up with a plan. That helped me a lot, it is important to have a plan and a goal.

-Step by step back to normal training

-Trust and listen to your coach! Do exactly the workouts/ training you are supposed to do

A big thank you to my coach! I know she always gives me very good advice but for sure she had a hard time with me in these 2 months. That’s why I appreciate her help, patience and support even more.

Thank you also to my team to give me the time to recover and a reasonable race program for my comeback.

July ALP Ride- Team Tactics

Wednesday morning was our monthly coach/athlete ride. We call these monthly rides the ‘ALP Rides’. Each ride has a specific focus and goal for the workout. This month the focus was on team tactics and team racing.

Alison brought several of her jersey’s she’s won over the years and teams were divided up- yellow team, green team, red team, and an ALP Cycles team. Each team came up with their own race tactic for the section of road that was our ‘race’. We did 4 races in duration from 3-4.5miles. After each of the race segments, the teams got back to together and talked about what went well and what do to better for the next race.

Some of the tips and tactics that were learned-

– Be aware. You must be aware of your own racing (positioning, effort, etc), but you must also be aware of what’s going on around you. Where are your teammates, what are the other teams’ tactics, who’s riding in the wind, who’s doing what, etc. The ore aware of the race situation and whole picture you are, the better of a bike racer you can be.

– Start to become aware of what you are doing and how it’s effecting your team and your teams’ potential outcome of the race.

____________________________________________________________________

It’s mid July and that means CX season is a couple short months away. ALP Coach Alison Powers has created an 8-week training plan that will get you in the best shape of your life to start the CX season strong and prepared- and it’s only $100. http://home.trainingpeaks.com/products/trainingplans/plans/cyclocross-8-weeks-until-cx-season-intermediate-to-advanced-rider

____________________________________________________________________

-Look at the course and start to learn where the race will happen- hills, corners, wind, etc. Have a race plan in place that takes all of this into account.

-Have a finish plan. It’s one thing to have a race plan with your team, it’s another to take that race plan all the way to the finish. The more specific the plan is, the better.

– Most important- have a race plan, but also have a plan B and a plan C. Races don’t always go according to plan so you must have an open mind and be able to switch plans on the fly as needed

Looking over our ALP Athlete’s ride files from the day, proves that this ride was very race specific. For the 4 races, we had IF’s of .90-.10. It was full gas. Plus, half of the racing was in the rain, so that extra stimulus added was a big bonus that is hard to get on our own.

Yellow team proved hard to beat with 3 of the 4 wins. Green team was quite strong as they had two in the winning move each race, but they didn’t quite know how to put it together as a team to beat the individuals. It was a great learning experience and tons of fun.

____________________________________________________________________

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.

____________________________________________________________________

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

Leadville Trail 100 Pre-Ride Weekend

This past weekend we were in Leadville, pre-riding the Leadville Trail 100. It was a fun and jam packed two days. Here is a re-camp of what we did.

Saturday

Short talk about the course, and the sections we were riding that day. We started at the bottom of Powerline and headed toward Columbine in the pavement and dirt road sections as well as Pipeline. We talked about thinking like a roadie in those sections, and finding people to work with, staying out of the wind, etc. We also talked about  learning your heart rate and where you go into the Red Zone. You want to avoid that red zone when racing Leadville, so it’s important to know your “governor”.

IMG_4579We got on our bikes and did a short cone drill to get everyone’s head up, and eyes looking down the trail.

Once on course, we rode well together. We stopped at each of the aid stations and talked about strategy for feeding and what to expect in the feedzone.

After 1.5hrs of riding, our feedzone for the day was at Twin Lakes. Heidi and Josephine had water, Osmo, muffins, nuts, and other yummy ride food for us. We restocked in anticipation of a 2-2.5hr round trip up Columbine and back.

We were surprised at how little snow there was above treeline and made it almost to the top where the turn around is in the race. While climbing Columbine, we counted the switch backs- 8-, and really found what our HR governor is. Also talked about gearing for the race. You want to have a big enough gear to ride fast on the pavement, but not too big of a gear to have push when climbing.

Before we descended, we briefly talked about what it’s like to have two way traffic on this part of the course.

DCIM100GOPRO

Once back at our Feed zone, Heidi and Josephine had more snacks and drinks for us (including cokes).

IMG_4582

Then it was time to get back on our bikes and head back the way we came. After 4hrs of riding, it was a good test to see how our legs would do and feel on race day.

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

Back at the house, Heidi and Josephine had Osmo Recovery drinks and quiche’s ready for us. After 6hrs on the bike, those tasted wonderful and were much appreciated.

We finished Saturday by having a short talk about what to expect on race day, how to dress, how much and how often to eat and drink, how to pace, and start corral position (very important!).

Sunday

DCIM100GOPRO

Sunday’s ride was shorter, but with just as much climbing as day one, we were in for a big day. We started in downtown Leadville, at the race start, and talked about the neutral start and how to maneuver yourself in such a large group. We found land markers and distance so we knew when the first climb started and how long it is. Up and over St. Kevins and toward Sugarloaf. We talked about thinking like a roadie again in this section and where good places to eat and drink are.

At the top of Sugarloaf, we stopped and looked at all the Powerline poles and found our “this is the top of the climb” marker, so we know when coming back up Powerline, where the top is. Our goal is no surprises on race day.

DCIM100GOPRO

We descended Powerline to our Feed Zone where water, Osmo, and snacks awaited us. I was surprised to see the small stream at the bottom of Powerline was no longer. It was filled in.

DCIM100GOPRO

Climbing back up Powerline, the question was- do I walk or do I ride? We talked about the pros and cons of each and came up with a plan.

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

We descended Sugarloaf and started the pavement climb back up to St. Kevins. We decided the stand up- sit down technique was best for this climb. We noticed the rollers along the top of St Kevins and made mental note about how they would feel after 90 miles of racing.

The Leadville 100 is actually the Leadville 103. The last 3 miles are tough and they are a big surprise if you are not ready for them. So we made sure to ride the surprise 3 miles to the finish. Once back at the house, we had Osmo recovery drinks and quiche.

It was a great weekend of riding. We had over 105 miles of riding in 10hrs. Now it’s time to rest, before another block of specific preparation for the 100.

IMG_4583 IMG_4586

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

IMG_4580 IMG_4581

Training with Minimal Time

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

For most of us, we don’t have 15-25hrs each week to train and ride our bike. Between family, work, and life chores, it’s hard to find time each day to ride. We have to make the most of what time to train we have. We want to achieve cycling success and gain fitness but how do we do that with just 3-4 days per week on the bike? The short answer is- quality over quantity of riding.

FullSizeRender (3)With 8-12hrs of training time a week (or as little as 5) that most of us have, we have to make every single workout count. Every single pedal stroke must count, or else you are wasting your time. This means recovery rides are out. Your recovery days are your days off the bike. When you do ride, aim for higher intensity. If you only have 60min to ride 2xweek, then make those sessions really count by including intervals. Warm-up for 15-20 min, then do 25min of high intensity intervals (Lactate Threshold, VO2 Max, and Anaerobic Capacity). Cool down for 10-15min and you have just completed a high quality workout in 60min.

The weekends, or your days off work, are great days to get in longer endurance rides. Aim for 2-4hrs with as much zones 2-4 as you can fit in. To much sure your ride is as quality as possible, avoid coasting and soft pedaling as those two things do nothing for your fintess. You’d be amazed by how taxing and tiring it is to go ride for 2 hour at zones 2-3 without coasting or soft pedaling. Want to make it even harder? Aim for a 95+ cadence- the entire time. This is a very quality 2 hour ride that will beat out any 3 hour ride with time spent coasting, surging, and soft pedaling.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

June Coaching Special! Join ALP Cycles Coaching and we’ll waive your start-up fee- a $75 value. When you’re an ALP Cycles athlete you get to ride with your coach, receive feedback on every workout and race, and learn race tactics by some of the best bike racers in the country.  ALP Cycles Coaching takes the care needed to develop each person into the best cyclist they can be.  http://alpcyclescoaching.com/coaching.php

_______________________________________________________________________

Your weekly training hours are precious. Make the most of them and make every bike ride and every workout count.

Here is an example of a week of training with minimal time.

Monday- Off- rest day

Tuesday- 60min ride with 5x5min HARD (Upper LT/Low VO2) 2.5min rest between intervals.

Wednesday- Off- rest day- perhaps some yoga, or easy cross train

Thursday- 75 min ride with Under/Overs- 2x15min at Low LT zone with 30 sec HARD every 4.5min. Rest 8min between intervals

Friday- Off- rest day

Saturday- 3hr Endurance ride Steady zones 2-3- 90+ rpm.

Sunday- Cross Train or endurance ride

To take the guess work out of training with minimal time, ALP Cycles Coaching has created a 13 week training plan, on TrainingPeaks, with three bike workouts a week. By the end of the training plan, you can expect to have become a better, faster, and more complete cyclist.

____________________________________________________________________

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.

____________________________________________________________________

 sandy 1st

Criterium Racing- tips and skills

This past Wednesday evening was our June ALP ride and the  topic was criterium racing. Criterium (crit) racing is a lot more than going around in a circle for 45min and sprinting at the end. Tactics, skills, team work, and fitness all come into play when racing a crit.

ALP CritThe things we talked about and practiced were:
-Tactics- decide on a race plan (tactic) pre ride, and execute it in the race. However, be open and prepared to switch to a Plan B if Plan A doesn’t or won’t work.
-If you are racing on a hilly crit course, there are places where you need suffer and push hard (uphills and toward the finish) and there are places where you can recover (downhills and corners- if you have proficient cornering and descending skills).
-Depending on the course, you may need to switch into your small ring to save your legs and carry speed. We talked about where to shift, what gears to use, big ring/small ring?_____________________________________________________________________________________

June Coaching Special! Join ALP Cycles Coaching and we’ll waive your start-up fee- a $75 value. When you’re an ALP Cycles athlete you get to ride with your coach, receive feedback on every workout and race, and learn race tactics by some of the best bike racers in the country.  ALP Cycles Coaching takes the care needed to develop each person into the best cyclist they can be.  http://alpcyclescoaching.com/coaching.php

_______________________________________________________________________

-There will be times in the race or on the course where you need to stand up and get out of the saddle (to accelerate or to climb). There are also times when you need to have your hands in drops (corners, sprints, accelerations), and there are times when it is ok to be in the hoods.

crit pic-When racing a crit, your line through the corners and around the course matters.You want to choose the shortest line, protect your inside through corners, and take the straightest line to the finish.
-A really important race tactic is to read other people and other teams in the race. Watch and listen to what your opponents are doing and anticipate their next move. 

– Lastly, positioning in a crit is very important. The better you are at keeping a position near the front of the race, the more energy you will have at the end of the race for when the going gets tough. Being at the front of the race makes it easier to carry speed through corners, follow attacks/accelerations, and sprint for the win.

We practiced these tips and skills in 3 mini races- each person for themselves- no team work. It was hard, it was fun, and we all learned a lot.

crit2After the ride, we served up Osmo recovery drinks and ate snacks while we talked more about tactics and advice for the upcoming Colorado races.

Mental Training- stay in the comfort zone or strive to go further?

ALP Coach Jennifer Sharp was in Colorado Springs this week coaching the USA Cycling Talent ID Mountain Bike Camp. While there, she was asked a question by a young athlete that spurred this blog post. 
A young athlete asked me recently:
“So, do I just need to lay it all out there and go faster on the downhills?”
I thought to myself, pretty much, this is mountain biking after all. But I knew better than to just say that. This was a perfect coaching opportunity, to help her strive to her potential. And her question was loaded – requiring more than just a yes or no. She was tentative on the descents, coming in at the back of the pack during our single track session. Rather then letting her brakes go she would skid out on the loose scree, making it harder on herself and for anyone behind her.
“Well, were you out of your comfort zone?” I asked.
“Yes, all the time. It’s like I have two voices. One telling me I need to be careful, that I could hurt myself. The other tells me that it won’t be that bad and that I should hang it out there,” she responded.
mtMy suspicion is that she listened to the voice telling her to be careful more often then not. So much so that she was limiting her potential.
“Have you hurt yourself going downhill?”
“I have crashed a couple of times. But nothing really serious like some of the other girls.”
Our conversation continued and I asked more questions, trying to get a sense of what really was behind her first question. Being a young athlete, whether in actual age or new to the sport, can be humbling. Sure you may have surpassed your friends that recreationally dabbled in the cycling, which quite honestly, is most people. But once you put yourself in an environment where you really see how you stack up against your peers and come in the back of the pack, you feel like you’re back to square one. The skills you mastered to get ahead of most people are just the tip of the iceberg and an eye opening experience.
When you’re faced with the reality of whether or not you want to take your sport to the next level, do you embrace it and strive to go further? Or are you comfortable with staying right where you are? Coming to terms and asking ourselves this question is something we all must ask ourselves in our journey as athletes.
In a sport with great risk for injury and potentially death, this risk factor is the unspoken language we all feel. Do we sit comfortably on our couch and hope we don’t die from boredom or do we get out and live? And if we choose to live, how do we manage those fears that keep us from living the lives we truly want to live? Or to be the athlete we want to be?
_____________________________________________________________________________________

June Coaching Special! Join ALP Cycles Coaching and we’ll waive your start-up fee- a $75 value. When you’re an ALP Cycles athlete you get to ride with your coach, receive feedback on every workout and race, and learn race tactics by some of the best bike racers in the country.  ALP Cycles Coaching takes the care needed to develop each person into the best cyclist they can be.  http://alpcyclescoaching.com/coaching.php

_______________________________________________________________________

As an athlete, I’ve found positive self-talk keep those doubtful monsters at bay. I’ve found what works for me of when and how to use it, especially when I’m out of my comfort zone. It could be when you’re climbing, descending, cornering, in a pack, out in the wilderness on single track – where ever you find yourself listening to the battle between those little voices in your head. As rational as they may seem at times, you will at some point need to turn them off and just move your body.
Back to that young athlete…
Tonight, before you go to bed, visualize yourself going downhill and pushing yourself. Not the self you are now, but the self you want to be. And tell yourself that you are better, faster, stronger. The dream downhill descender. See yourself practicing perfectly, floating above obstacles, looking to where you want to be, moving effortlessly. The more you can practice in your mind, the more you can apply it to the trail.”
IMG_4442She was quiet, I could tell she was thinking about something. I let it sink in and then added, “Practice in your mind how you want to perform and the rest will follow. Cycling is about the process.”

____________________________________________________________________

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.

____________________________________________________________________

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.