Comment

Tools of the Trade

Written by ALP Cycles Coach, Jennifer Sharp

MYOFASCIAL RELEASE. Sounds fancy, eh? Chances are you're already doing some sort of myofascial release. Whether you use a foam roller, normatech boots, a lacrosse or tennis ball - you're attempting to release the tension due to trauma, posture or inflammation. Or in a cyclists case - attempting to make your legs feel better after doing hundreds of thousands of pedal revolutions in a single ride. Sometimes doing it is down right painful. Yet after you're done, you feel 10 times better.

WHAT IS FASCIA?  Our bodies are wrapped by fascia, a thin, elastic type of connective tissue that runs from the tip of your toes to the top of your head. It supports and protects our muscles, organs and though there's a lack of scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness, it's used widely within the alternative medicine community "to treat skeletal muscle immobility and pain by relaxing contracted muscles, improving blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulate the stretch reflex in muscles." 

This is my personal quiver of myofascial balls, wands, pilate ball and Wave trigger point tool. Each one has a purpose and I don't leave home without them. 

This is my personal quiver of myofascial balls, wands, pilate ball and Wave trigger point tool. Each one has a purpose and I don't leave home without them. 

WHY MYOFASCIA? If you've ever felt stiff or had trouble moving, then you've likely damaged the underlying myofascia and muscles. If you continue to train despite this muscle soreness, then you might experience more soreness. It might even get to the point where barely brushing the surface of a tight and sore muscle can leave you with tears (hello IT band!). So how do you ease the suffering?

First of all, stretching helps. Spending a few minutes a day post exercise can make a world of difference. Using gentle movements, you can help ease the discomfort. You can also press down and hold sore areas for a few minutes by rubbing, palpitating and rolling the tissues. 

And that's where myofascia balls come into play. 

This is the RAD Atom coupled with the RAD Rod. Use the Rod post exercise to lightly flush your muscles and combine it with the ball to target specific muscle tightness. 

This is the RAD Atom coupled with the RAD Rod. Use the Rod post exercise to lightly flush your muscles and combine it with the ball to target specific muscle tightness. 

I've suffered from chronic lower back pain and it flared up this past New Years. After visiting a chiropractor multiple times and getting immediate but no long lasting relief, I made an appointment with my primary care physician to identify the cause. A trip to the x-ray machine revealed mild degenerative disc disease and a couple of treatment options: physical therapy to start and potentially surgery if things persist or worsen. 

I started seeing a physical therapist immediately and discovered my gluteus medius wasn't firing, which cyclists need to power the pedals. Instead, my power was coming from my lower lumbar and quad dominate pedal stroke. It was only a matter of time before a weak core and misfiring muscles would cause me enough lower back pain to barely get out of bed in the mornings.  

Moving my body is my livelihood. And cycling is an integral part of that movement so with the down time I had off the bike, I decided to throw everything I had at figuring out the issue and how to fix it. On a whim, I took a myofascia release workshop at my local yoga studio and immediately felt the benefits of this body work. 

After 3 weeks of stretching, doing physical therapy exercises, pilate movements and myofascia work, my back felt much better. So much, that I can finally train again, consistently. And though I'm not completely sure if it was one exercise over another that helped with my healing, I now make myofascia release a part of my everyday routine. Because a happy, fluid, pain free body is a fast body.

The Wave Tool is my newest myofascia tool. This tool combines IASTM edges and massage surfaces to completely treat myofascia pain, restrictions and adhesions. 

The Wave Tool is my newest myofascia tool. This tool combines IASTM edges and massage surfaces to completely treat myofascia pain, restrictions and adhesions. 

  1.  Spinaris T, DiGiovanna EL (2005). Chapter 12: Myofascial releaseAn Osteopathic Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment (3rd ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 80–82. ISBN 978-0-7817-4293-1.

Comment

Antidoping Rules

Comment

Antidoping Rules

by ALP Cycles Coach Patricia Schwager

As a license holder of USA Cycling, you have to be aware that you can get drug tested; no matter at which level you are racing (professional, amature, local). This is because USAC is a recognized sport of the United States Olympic Committee. For this reason it is super important that you know the anti-doping rules. 

If you are in a registered testing pool (RTP), then you are required to fill-out anti-doping whereabouts 365 days a year. You can get tested in & out of competition. If you are in the international testing pool (ITP), the same rules apply as for the RTP with 1 addition. The athlete must provide a specific 60min time slot every day between 5am-11pm that anchors the athlete to a specific location. All athletes are responsible for updating their whereabouts at all times- 3 missed tests within 12 months would lead to a positive test. Filling out whereabouts and getting frequently tested is part of being a pro athlete. Things are a bit different if you are not registered in a testing pool. You have no work with keeping whereabouts updated, but you still can get tested in competition. Even at a local race!

If you get tested at a race / competition then most of the times a chaperone is waiting for you after the finish and will tell you that you got picked for the anti-doping test. You have to sign a notification paper and the chaperone will accompany you as a ”shadow” to the control station. Sometimes there are no chaperones; you are responsible to check if there is an anti-doping control and if so which bib numbers got drawn for the control. DNF doesn’t save you from testing you still can get choosen. This is really important as a missed test will count as a positive test. If you have to go to an Anti-doping test you have your rights but you must also follow the rules. You may be required to provide a urine sample, a blood sample or both. It is very important that you declare all medication and supplements that you are using on the testing form. The following link to Anti-doping 101 for Athletes explains the procedures: http://www.usada.org/athletes/antidoping101/

WADA logo.png

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) prohibited list is the international standard for identifying substances and methods prohibited in sport. Broken down by categories, the list identifies which substances and methods are prohibited in-competition, out-of-competition or in some cases by specific sport. The list gets updated annually. That means as an athlete you have to be very careful when taking any medications or supplements. You and you alone are responsible for what you put in your body.  Also be aware that things you take can last in your body and can leave a trace in your body for a longer time. A good example here is the use of marijuana and cannabinoids, both substances are prohibited in-competition.

Never ever just take something assuming it will be ok- if you are unsure don’t take it. Ask before you buy medication or a supplement and ask your doctor before he/ she prescribes your medication. Always double check, making sure that you are looking for the exact name of the product. You can check it online: http://www.globaldro.com/ or for supplements you can check it here: https://www.usada.org/substances/supplement-411/ Or you can call the drug reference phone line: 719-785-2000 press option 2.

Ask your ALP Cycles Coach about advice/ help if you are unsure about the antidoping rules!

If you are on strong medications, then you shouldn’t be racing. Your head has to be in the game while racing and being on some sort of painkiller drugs, for example, can affect your health and performance.

In some situations, you may have an illness or condition that requires the use of a prohibited medication. In this case you have to file a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemptions). But you need to do that well in advance of a competition/ race and USADA has to approve it. Do NOT race or compete while your TUE is pending as it is not officially approved and therefore you will not be exempt. For more information about TUE process, please visit: https://www.usada.org/substances/tue/

more helpful links:

https://www.usada.org/

https://www.usada.org/substances/prohibited-list/

https://www.usacycling.org/resources/race-clean

https://www.wada-ama.org/en/content/what-is-prohibited

 

Comment

Tour of Colorado- Big Mountain Passes

Comment

Tour of Colorado- Big Mountain Passes

 We'd like to invite you to our 3rd annual ALP Cycles Tour of Colorado Big Mountain Passes. A 3- day tour, in and out of Nederland, through some of the biggest mountains and passes Colorado has to offer. August 3-5 2018. (lodging starts on the 2nd). 


The 3-day tour starts and finishes in the small town of Nederland. Day 1 will be Nederland to Grand Lake over/through Rocky Mountain National Park (the highest continuous paved road in the United States, reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet) over Fall River Road- 85miles, 8,900 ft of climbing. A flying fun descent welcomes us into the small Lake town of Grand Lake. 


After breakfast, we leave Grand Lake and head for Keystone. Day 2 is our "easiest" and longest of the Tour. Grand Lake to Keystone over the very scenic Ute Pass (9,165ft). 89miles, 5,000ft of climbing. While in Keystone you can take advantage of the Spa, and happy hour for our last night of the tour. 


Day 3, we leave Keystone and start climbing right away over Loveland Pass (11,990ft). A long descent and gradual downhill over roads and a mountain bike path brings us to Idaho Springs where we'll turn and climb Oh My God Road to the Peak to Peak Scenic Highway. Today is perhaps the hardest day of the Tour at 70miles, 7,500 ft of climbing. 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Lodging in Nederland at the Boulder Creek Lodge (2nd), Grand Lake at the Grand Lake Lodge/cabins (3rd), and Keystone at the Keystone Lodge and Spa (4th).                            

-Breakfast each morning                     

-An opportunity to ride with and learn from ALP Cycles Coaches Alison Powers, Patricia Schwager, and special Guest Brie Walle.                                                                

-Wine, cheese, happy hour in Grand Lake and Keystone.                                                   

-On bike nutrition and hydration (NBS/Breakthrough Nutrition and ride food/snacks)        

-SAG/Follow Van                                                                                                                  

-ALP Schwag

PRICE

Price for the 3 day/3 night Tour (double occupancy) - $675

Bring a friend incentive: Bring your spouse, a family member, and/or a friend and save $50 ($625). 

We are limiting this year's tour to 17 riders.

For more information and/or to sign up, send an email to alison@alpcyclescoaching.com

Comment

Training Quality

Comment

Training Quality

by ALP Cycles Coach Patricia

If you like to get stronger and improve your performance, then you should make sure your rides (or WO's) are high quality vs just adding up a lot of "empty training miles" or  "junk miles". Working with my athletes shows me that WO quality isn't always executed properly. How does one prepare for a ride or WO? Do you read the WO instructions clearly or do go out on your ride and loosely follow the WO instructions? Are you aware of your focus on the bike? 

Below, are a few things that one you should pay attention to in order to make training more efficient.

quality.jpg

Before the WO/ ride:

-Read the WO instructions, export the WO to your bike computer (if your WO is planned with the TrainingPeaks WO builder) or write stem notes if necessary. Ask your coach if you have specific questions that relate to the intent or focus of the workout. The idea is to relate your training to your fitness and race goals. Think about a good route for your training. If you have intervals or efforts to do, make sure there is a good place / road to complete them within your route.

-check weather forecast and dress accordingly

During the WO/ ride:

-cadence: have you ever looked at the cadence distribution chart in your TrainingPeaks account? If you check the cadence distribution chart (in uploaded WO's) you can see how much time or % of your rides are spent with coasting (0-5rpm). Coasting is empty training time. Sure there will always be some coasting in an outdoor bike ride but if 30% of your 3h ride were spent with coasting then you waisted training time and your WO was not high quality. It's important to keep your cadence up to respond to pace and terrain changes. It also helps keep your muscles activated and alert. Pay attention that you keep pedaling while riding in a group, sitting on the wheel/ in the draft of a friend or while riding downhill.

-are you riding in your correct power, HR or RPE zone(s)? Pay attention that you are riding in the zone you should be riding in. If you are doing an active recovery ride you should be riding in Zone 1 (RPE <3). If you are doing an Endurance ride you should be riding in Zone 2 (RPE 4-5). Make sure you also complete your intervals or efforts in the prescribed zones.

-rest between intervals is really important. Make sure you are resting properly in-between intervals / efforts. This will make sure you are ready for the next interval and you will also have better quality in your intervals. Note that there are some specific WO's that won't give you a total rest in-between intervals so make sure to follow the WO instructions.

-listen to your body: cut your ride time shorter if you are feeling tired or extend a ride for a bit if you are feeling great. Do not go out for a WO or ride if you are feeling sick.

ALP team.jpg

Post WO /ride:

-refuel your body with a snack or meal within 30 minutes of finishing (ALP Cycles Coaching recommends to have a recovery drink from NBS!) https://www.bt-nutrition.com/store. Make sure you're getting enough protein for recovery.

-stretching and foam rolling

-upload WO to TrainingPeaks and add feedback/ comment(s) for your coach. (uploading WO's doesn't need to be done every single day but uploading your WO's every 2 or 3 days is key for your coach)

Remember riding longer isn't always the better option! It is better to do a high quality 2.5 hour WO/ ride instead of a low quality 3.5 hour WO/ ride. The same goes with how many intervals you are completing. It is better to do 4 high quality intervals vs 6 low quality intervals. If you struggle to hit the goal wattage of an interval/ effort then it is a clear sign that your body is tired and that you should stop the intervals. While most of your training is very structured, make sure you're having fun too! Incorporate an unstructured ride now and then to enjoy the bike.

Happy Training!

Comment

Comment

Criterium 101: Presented by ALP CYCLES RACING

Toad - DownersALPRacing.jpg

Want to try criterium bike racing but don’t know where to start? Already racing but want to learn how to be more efficient and faster? Want to hang out with some really cool women and have fun on bikes? Then this clinic is for you!

When: Saturday, March 24, 2018 from 10am – 1pm

Where: TrainingPeaks Headquarters

            7007 Winchester Circle

            Boulder, CO 80301

Who: Any female racer (Category 1-5)

Cost: $30 for three hours of hands-on learning!

Join ALP Cycles Racing, and USA Cycling certified ALP Cycles Coaching coaches, Alison Powers (2013 National Criterium Champion), Patricia Schwager and Jennifer Sharp (Current Colorado State Criterium Champion) who will teach you what you need to know for successful and fun criterium racing. Specifically, we’ll be discussing cornering in a group, sprinting, race tactics, safety, and have a couple of practice races.

What to bring: Fully functioning road bike with drop handle bars, brakes, helmet, water, a snack, and an openness to learn! Clothing options will depend on the weather. When in doubt – wear too much!

All participants must be USA Cycling licensed, sign a release and wear a helmet. One day license option available to all category 5’s. We will have waivers to complete at check in.

To register, please visit this link: https://legacy.usacycling.org/register/2018-824

Please arrive at least 15 minutes early to check in, and to sign release waivers. Licenses are available at usacycling.org. Should weather become an issue, we will move it inside and have off the bike discussions.

Comment

Keeping bike fit off the bike. What to do when riding isn't an option.

Comment

Keeping bike fit off the bike. What to do when riding isn't an option.

By ALP Coach Alison Powers

        Good fitness requires consistency. Good bike riding fitness requires consistent bike riding. However, for some of us, it can be tough to find time to fit in 3-4 bike rides a week. And for others, due to travel, work, family, and other constraints, being able to ride once a week is a good week. So, the question becomes, ‘how do I stay fit, when I can’t be on my bike?”.

            If consistent bike riding cannot be achieved, then the goal becomes consistent exercise. Being able to exercise 3-4 days a week goes a long way in gaining and maintaining physical fitness. 

Options for off the bike training include-

 -Strength training and plyometrics. Squats, lunges, box jumps, plank, push-ups, pull-ups, jump rope, and hip bridging are all great examples of strength exercises that can be done anywhere and with little to no weights needed. Aim for full body, multi-joint exercises, 2-3 times per week.

 -Cardio cross training. The goal of cross training is to maintain or increase your cardiovascular fitness (the ability of the heart, blood cells and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to the working muscle tissues and the ability of the muscles to use oxygen to produce energy for movement) which is what cycling requires. So, the better your cardiovascular fitness is, the better your bike riding fitness can be.

     Examples of Cardio cross training are- running, hiking, Nordic skiing, stair master, brisk walking, etc. The goal is to get the heart rate elevated and have it stay there for a certain amount of time. If you are short on time, aim to do more intense exercise- i.e. Hard and high intensity intervals.

 - Make the most of your bike riding time. The time that you spend on the bike is valuable- especially if you can ride only 1-2 times a week. This means every pedal stroke matters, every minute matters, and time should not be wasted. Quality rides limit the amount of coasting and/or soft pedaling. Also, when you are on your bike, ride hard and come home tired. When you are on your bike, you are getting the best training for bike riding fitness, so don’t waste it.

    When I have athletes that travel and will be off their bike for several days, I plan their training to accommodate that. This usually means that prior to the travel, they have a hard training block of as many days as that athlete can handle and/or have time for. Then, when they travel, they get a rest and recovery block. The goal is to recover from the hard training prior to travel and then rest and recover and be ready to train and ride hard once they return back home. Their ‘travel training’ is usually a hotel gym strength and plyometric workout followed by foam rolling and stretching.

              If you can’t spend consistent time on your bike, aim for consistent exercise. Make sure to have quality training/exercise and balance it with 1-2 days off a week—more if you had a big bike riding block. Make the most of the time that you have on your bike. The goal is always quality over quantity of bike riding.

 

Comment

Community

Comment

Community

Other than taking over the world, our goal, here at ALP Cycles, is to build community. Through our coaches, our athletes, and our race team, we have a group of cyclists who enjoy learning, trying new things, being challenged, and most of all, enjoy riding and spending time with each other; Community. 

Over the past two weekends, we hosted 2 Mock CX races to prepare our ALP riders for CX Nationals in Reno that are happening this week. The CX season, here in Colorado, ended early December so our riders needed that race atmosphere and effort in their legs and mind to be 100% prepared to have a great race in Reno. 

MockCX people.jpg

Having a practice race with 5-6 people is one thing. Having a practice race with 12-15 racers is completely different and more race specific, so we opened the Mock Race invitation to anyone who wanted to come; CX racer, rider wanting a good workout, heckler, etc.

What we got was more than 25 eager riders. From Jr. racers to 60+ racers on mountain bikes, happy to "race", have fun, and dial in their race skills despite the chilly 14 degree temps.

mock cxourse.jpg

Originally, we had planned to do one Mock race, but the turn out for the first one was so good, that we decided to do a second race the following weekend.

More than 35 riders came for race weekend #2. It was amazing. The camaraderie, the good vibes, and the enjoyment of racing bikes with a group of like minded people was amazing. We had spectators, teammates cheering, hecklers, and family members supporting. This is bike racing in Colorado. Everyone was there to have a good time, get a great training day in, and be with people who wanted to do the same thing. 

MockCX2.jpg

Community.

As I type this, Colorado racers in Reno are waking up on race day and getting ready to kick Reno and all other states butt. Good luck! You are ready and you are prepared. 

appetra.jpg

Comment

Tired of energy bars and gels? Try this recipe!

Comment

Tired of energy bars and gels? Try this recipe!

by ALP Cycles coach Patricia Schwager

You’ve probably heard all the rage about making your own food for on the bike. A lot of companies in the market are coming up with more organic and natural recipes for their bars and gels, but they can be expensive. Plus it’s not as much fun to buy them when you can make them inexpensively right in your own kitchen.  Over the past month, I’ve been experimenting with a few recipes for healthy and sustainable foods during training rides. My favorite food on the bike currently? Energy date balls! You might have already heard about these delights- this is my personal recipe. All ingredients are easy to find (Trader Joe’s!!) and it’s super easy to make. This recipe is best made using a food processor. Enjoy!

 

  • Prep time: 10-15 mins
  • Cook time: none!
  • Freezer time: several hours until firm
  • Serving size: as many balls as your heart desires :)
  • Approx calorie count: depends on what you put in your tasty balls- but on average 200-400 cal
  • Protein: depends on what you’re putting in- you can certainly add more with protein powder

Ingredients (this recipe makes 12-15 balls)

  • Dates (454g, 1 lb) buy the pitted ones to save time
  • Nuts (any kind- favorites incl: hazelnuts, cashew, walnuts or almonds) (1/3 cup) 
  • Sea Salt (2-3 dashes)
  • Coconut flakes (1/3 cup)
  • Cocoa/almond spread- TJ brand or Nutella (1 heaping tbsp)
  • Vanilla extract (1 capful)
  • ****Food Processor****

 

Instructions:

1.) Place nuts into food processor in small batches, grinding roughly 10 seconds each batch. 

2.) Toss dates into food processor in small batches, chopping until a paste consistency.  

3.) Put nuts and dates into a big bowl, and add the remaining ingredients, mixed together using a spatula or using clean hands ;-)

 

4.) Shape balls using your hands. The size is preference- I like mine about the size of a pingpong ball 

*Hot TIP: use water to keep your hands moist- it will make the a lot process easier and less sticky*

 

5.) Roll the balls in coconut flakes (this keeps the balls from sticking to your fingers)

 

6.) Place balls on a baking tray and place in freezer

*Once the balls are firm, store them in a Tupperware container or plastic bag. 

*Keep them in your freezer until you’re ready to take them on your ride. 

*Transport energy balls in a plastic bag or wrapped in foil

Options- be creative with your own recipe:

  • You can use a variety of nuts
  • Use cinnamon or cocoa powder instead of the vanilla extract
  • Add cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips
  • Use peanut, cashew or almond butter instead of the cocoa/almond spread

Comment

Comment

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from ALP Cycles Coaching! 

Take a moment to reflect. Look back at 2017 and be proud of yourself for things that you did well. Dedicate yourself to things you would like to do better for 2018. Realize what is in your control and make it happen.

Here's to a really great 2018! 

 

Comment

Gain Fitness and Burn off Holiday Cookies with this Holiday Workout

Comment

Gain Fitness and Burn off Holiday Cookies with this Holiday Workout

Here in Colorado, our winter weather is sometimes not conducive for a big 'burn lots of calories' ride before eating a holiday dinner. For those that like to ski and/or play in the snow, winter weather is great for them. For those of us who prefer to ride our bikes over the holidays, snow and cold is not so great. The good news is you can have your pie and eat it too, thanks to a high quality trainer workout. Done properly, this workout is 75min with an Intensity Factor of .83. The interval part of the workout is 40min with an IF of .91-- as hard as your local crit race. You'll work on your aerobic engine with tempo bursts, anaerobic power with 8 VO2 intervals, and your leg speed with cadence drills.

All in all, the perfect workout for a Holiday morning.

wreath.jpeg

Tempo Bursts and VO2 intervals- Trainer workout

Warm-up

10 min zone 2- 90+ rpm 3min tempo 2 min rest 2x1min fast pedals (100+rpm) to get the legs going- 1min RBI- rest between intervals 2min rest -Main Set- 1x15 min TEMPO (zone 3) with 10sec bursts every 2 min- a burst is a mini seated high cadence sprint

5min rest

8x1min high VO2- 1min off

Finish with 5min tempo at 85-95 rpm

Cool down 10-15min

Foam roll, stretch, shower, eat.

screen-shot-2015-11-25-at-9-46-38-am.png

Happy Holidays from ALP Cycles Coaching!

Comment