To Run or Not to Run  

Comment

To Run or Not to Run  

Come Cyclocross season, or during the lead up and build to CX season, we are often asked about running. Should our athletes run in preparation for CX? The short answer is- yes. But, it’s not that that cut and dry.

When it comes to running and CX racing, it’s important to think about what type of running is done in a typical CX race. To break it down, here are basic questions to make the answer, and your training, a little more simple.

Photo by SnowyMountain Photography

Photo by SnowyMountain Photography

Is there running in cyclocross? Yes

Is the running fast? Yes

Is the running long and/or for many minutes? No

Is the running basic, in a straight line, on even terrain? No

Is the running variable (i.e. uphill, downhill, different speeds/terrain)? Yes

Does the running require explosiveness? Yes

Does the running require riding a bicycle afterward? Yes

With these questions and answers in mind, we want to make our run training specific to what the demands of CX racing are.

There are two goals when it comes to running and CX racing. 1- maintain momentum, and 2- be able to get through the run section and still have the ability to get back on the bike and race hard (as opposed to recovering).

Now, back to the original question; To Run or Not to Run? If you (the racer) get off your bike and slow down (lose momentum), then you should probably add some CX run specific drills to your training. If you (the racer) are so gassed after getting back onto your bike that you have to soft pedal and recover for a bit, then you should probably add some CX run specific drills to your training.

What are CX specific run drills? We know that the demands of running in CX are so much more dynamic and explosive than being able to run a fast 10km on pavement.  The demands of running in CX racing are dynamic, require the ability to have fast leg turn over, jump and land over obstacles, run up steep hills, climb stairs, etc. After doing all of this, the CX racer must get back on their bike and continue riding and racing hard. Good drills and skills to develop this are- quick feet ladder drills, agility drills, plyometrics, and short and/or steep run (sprint) ups. Do these skills and drills on all difference terrain to develop the ability to be strong, powerful, and quick on all terrain.

During race season, if you spend 20-30 minutes one day a week on these skills, your overall run speed, and ability to ride hard after running will improve immensely.

Happy Training!

 

Comment

Do’s and Don’ts of the Off Season

1 Comment

Do’s and Don’ts of the Off Season

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

The off season is here and that means time off, time for vacation, or time for activities that you can’t really do during race season. Unless you are racing CX races- then your situation is different.

There are some things you should and shouldn’t do during the off season. Even though it sounds like an easy time, the off season is an important time. Believe it or not, things you do during the off season have a big influence on your next race season.

Spending your time on the couch for a whole month isn’t the right thing to do and neither is riding/working out like crazy.

I have had to learn it the hard way- I admit that. I’ve made mistakes during my past off seasons. Mainly because I can’t sit still and just like to be active. Resting can be hard too!

-Your last race of the season might be in the books for a while but keep riding! It is a good idea to get in some longer rides during September and even into October. Make use of the (hopefully) nice autumn weather and your good fitness from a summer of racing and training.

-The next step is to take a real break (2-3 weeks). After a long race season, it is important to rest your body and mind.

-It depends on when your first race will be in the new season, but your structured training should start again in November.

-The idea is to build up your fitness for next season step by step. Your coach should be able to provide you with a good plan that fits your needs and help you to prepare for next season.

-Next to riding your bike, this plan should also include strength and cross training. This is essential as it builds up full body strength that got lost during race season. Next to improving your fitness, it will also challenge your mobility and balance and helps to prevent injury.

________________________________________________________________________________

Interested in a training plan, but not full on coaching? That’s ok! We have you covered. ALP Coach Coaching has created a 12-week off season training plan complete with strength training exercises, videos, and on bike cadence and leg speed drills. You will not find a more detailed and in depth 3 month training plan. The goal of this off season strength and training plan is to make you are more complete athlete with challenging full body strength and coordination exercises and workouts, and on the bike workouts to increase your leg speed, leg strength, and endurance. Check out the TrainingPeaks training plan here.

________________________________________________________________________________

-Off season is the perfect time to work on your weaknesses (bike handling skills, leg speed, etc). Talk to your coach if he/she doesn’t already address this point!

-Work on your bike handling and riding skills. This can be very simple, go to an empty parking lot and set up some cones or water bottles. Work on skills like: picking up water bottles, cornering, track stands, bunny hopping, riding figure 8’s, taking off jackets, arm warmers etc., riding no-handed, 180 turns, the list goes on. Being able to master these skills will make you feel more comfortable on your bike and make you a better bike rider.

IMG_3032.JPG

-If you have to adjust things, like your bike position (for example), use the off season to do it. The same counts for getting used to new shoes, new cleats, pedal systems, saddles. It is never a good idea to dial in or change important equipment once race season has started.

-Try to avoid weight gain in the off season. It is ok to enjoy some goodies but don’t overdo it. Being a little bit heavier during winter is no problem as long as you can lose it come spring time.

-Analyze your past race-season and set goals for the next season. Sit down and reflect on the past season, what went well, what went wrong and where can you improve or work on. Set your goals for next season and write them down.

As an ALP Cycles athlete, you will get a review and goals questionnaire. This helps us coaches a lot because feedback from our athletes is very important. We will go over the completed questionnaire and discuss the answers and options with our athletes. We do this because our goal is to make coaching even better for the approaching race season.

Enjoy your off season!

Coaches Fat Bike .JPG

1 Comment

Final results ALP climbing challenge 2017

Comment

Final results ALP climbing challenge 2017

The 4 day ALP climbing challenge is done and we did the math! The final standings are posted below (this includes the additional ft from any socialmedia posts that were tagged with  #alpclimbingchallenge) We had 41 people that joined our Strava group for the climbing challenge. 24'881ft were reached to win the challenge (congrats to Lynne Anderson) We d'like to nominate Kate Hrubes for most inspiring, she did a ride with 90 hill repeats at 4am....Overall we saw a lot of very impressive numbers, congrats & great job to everyone that joined! Stay tuned for our KUHL-est photo winner....

ALP climbing challenge 2017 top ten:

lynne.jpg

1. Lynne Anderson 24'881ft (10h53)

2. Nina Donohue 22'432ft (10h19)

3. Rachel Plessing 20'520ft (9h55)

4. Terry Petersen 17'786ft (10h46)

5. Kate Hrubes 14'168ft (9h47)

6. Cory Popovich 13'878 (7h15)

7. Libby Russell 12'696ft (7h43)

8. Lily Williams 11'729ft (9h53)

9. Alison Powers 11'516ft (6h28)

10. Jae Meyer 10'775ft (6h50)

#alpclimbingchallenge

Comment

Comment

Climbing challenge day 3 standings

Today is the last day of our 4 day climbing challenge. The top 5 standings after 3 days are posted below. Who will win?

1. Lynne Andersen 18‘767ft (8h12) 

2. Nina Donohue 17'714ft (8h59) 

3. Terry Petersen 15’279ft (9h14) 

4. Cory Popovich 13'878ft (7h15)

5. Rachel Plessing 12'841ft (6h18) 

#alpclimbingchallenge

Comment

Comment

Climbing Challenge Day 2 standings

Below are the standings at the halfway point of our climbing challenge (2 days out of 4). Hopefully we see many of you today at our ALP ride, starting from the Boulder Justice Center at 9am. Lots of climbing can be picked up on our ALP climbing ride!

Top 5:

1. Lynne Andersen 13‘452ft (5h33) 

2. Terry Petersen 10’026ft (5h42) 

3. Hans Munz 9127ft (9h59) 

4. Libby Russell 8084ft (4h30) 

5. Rachel Plessing 7466ft (3h34) 

#alpclimbingchallenge

Comment

1 Comment

Climbing Challenge Day 1 Results

Here are the standings of our ALP Climbing challenge after day 1 (yesterday September 28th) Please note that we will add on the extra ft you can win with socialmedia posts in the very end!

Top 5:
1. Libby Russell 5415ft- 2:58hrs
2. Terry Petersen 5016ft- 2:46hrs
3. Rachel Plessing 4178ft- 2:01hrs
4. Hans Munz 3741ft- 3:02hrs
5. Lily Williams 2707ft- 2:02hrs

3 more days to go!

#alpclimbingchallenge

GOPR3228.JPG

1 Comment

1 Comment

Lead up to Worlds

Preparing for the World Championships feels like preparing for any other race. Only this time I traveled to Europe about 4 weeks before and raced 2 stage races equaling in 10 race days over 11 days total. After that block was finished it was about some recovery and then back to work continuing to build over the remaining two weeks. 

Photo taken by Cor Vos 

Photo taken by Cor Vos 

 

Katie Hall and I spent our lead up to the World Championships in Sittard, Holland. The USA Cycling National Team has a home there where we got to stay with other athletes and staff. We've been learning new roads and having the chance to explore this area of the world. 

We trained a range of long endurance rides and shorter intervals to get our legs prepared for the 156km of racing this weekend. We knew the weather in Bergen would possibly be cold and rainy making Sittard a pretty ideal place to prepare. My last set of intervals for the year were some short on/offs. They hurt but I put the picture of suffering up a climb for my teammates in my mind and finished my last interval strongly! After they were finished it was a stress free ride home knowing that I'd done everything I could and now it was time to recover before race day. 

Katie and I enjoying a little bit of sunshine between rain clouds! 

Katie and I enjoying a little bit of sunshine between rain clouds! 

The course here in Bergen is going to make for an exciting race. We do 8 laps of our course, it's a fairly hilly course but with equally as much down hill. It will be a good hard one. Really important things will be making sure to eat and drink plenty durning the race. Being smart and not uselessly using energy. If the weather is cold and rainy keeping warm over 4 hours will be important too. Using a good pair of gloves, shoe covers, and a hat will help with warmth. 

All we can do as athletes is train our best, recover our best, prepare our best. Trust in the work we do and go into the race ready to give it everything we’ve got. 

 

Arrived in Bergen with the rest of Team USA 

Arrived in Bergen with the rest of Team USA 

1 Comment

3 Days to Go #alpclimbingchallange

1 Comment

3 Days to Go #alpclimbingchallange

Our annual Climbing Challenge is this week! September 28th- October 1st will be year 3 of the ALP Cycles Coaching Climbing Challenge. You will have 4 days and 9-11hrs max (depending on age) to climb as much as possible (the contest will be keep track on Strava-here). We will have prizes and fun activities to do and to participate in.

To up the anti, we have added more prizes and competitions for the 2017 edition. In addition to the top 3 receiving; A free month of coaching ($225 value), a one hour skills/clinic with your ALP coach of choice ($85 value) and ALP Schwag (hats, NBS Drink mix, T-shirt, Pactimo Jersey), we will have a best photo contest, and most inspiring competition. Plus you can add vertical to your total by using social media and the hashtag #alpclimbingchallenge. 

Add vertical- Every time you post about the Climbing Challenge (use #alpclimbingchallenge) we'll give you an extra 50ft of elevation. Yes, we'll do doing math... G

Best Photo- use the hashtag #alpclimbingchallenge on either Instagram or Facebook and at the end of the 4 days, the 4 ALP Coaches will pick their favorite 2 photos.  Prizes are ALP Schwag (hats, NBS Drink mix, T-shirt, Pactimo Jersey). 

Screen Shot 2016-09-30 at 2.03.49 PM.png

Most Inspiring- While our Climbing Competition will have only 1 winner, many riders will be able to inspire. Inspire themselves, inspire others, and live to tell a great story about it (57 hill repeats on an overpass is one example).  Prizes are ALP Schwag (hats, NBS Drink mix, T-shirt, Pactimo Jersey). 

We have also upped the anti on the rules for the Climbing Challenge. 

The details-

If are you under the age of 30, you have 10 hrs in 4 days to climb as much as you can. If you are 31-49, you have 10.5hrs in 4 days to climb as much as you can. If you are 50+, you have 11hrs in 4 days to climb as much as you can.

You must have a Garmin or an on-bike computer that has GPS and can be uploaded to Strava. You must create a basic Strava account (it's free).

All rides must start and end in the same place- with the exception of the Arkansas Mountain ALP ride (September 30th, 9am at the Boulder Justice Center).

Ride time starts when you get on your bike and stops when you get off your bike. (i.e. no warming up/cooling down without your computer on and ride time started). All climbing must be done on a bicycle and no motors or ebikes are allowed.

You do not have to live in Colorado. That's the cool thing, no matter where you live you can participate (as long as there is something you can climb on your bike).

You do not have to do the challenge in order to come on the Saturday ALP ride. This challenge and the ALP ride are open to everyone. So invite your friends, family, teammates, etc. The more the merrier! This is our way of motivating people to train for a fun/hard event and giving non-ALP athletes a chance to ride with us and see how cool our little ALP community is.

We'll be posting updates on the Challenge here and on our Facebook event page.

Wondering how much vertical it will take to be competitive? Check out last year's results and event recap. 

Good luck and see you in two weeks!

IMG_3073.JPG

1 Comment

What does Team Mean?

Comment

What does Team Mean?

ALP Coach Alison Powers was asked to be the guest speaker at the EPA Region 8 yearly awards ceremony. The topic was Team Spirt. Here is her speech. 

I grew up ski racing which is very much not a team sport. It’s the racer against the clock, and nothing else matters. Your teammates can’t help you carve a perfect turn, and your coaches can’t give you the ability to ride a flat ski. No matter the country or whom you train with, it was athlete against athlete. There were even times, at the highest level of the sport, when it felt like the coaches were not on my side. With medals to earn and world rankings to achieve, if you had a bad day, the coaches were not always there for you. It could be a very lonely journey to achieving top performance.

What I learned from this individual sport of ski racing was to be tough, and to take care of myself and my needs, and to not show weakness. With limited spots available at World Cup races, the coaches were going to take the athletes who showed promise. Either the athlete could achieve good results and success or they were showing progress in the hopes of achieving success in the future.

My own god given talent was not great, but what I was good at was working hard, giving 100% every day, and showing the coaches that I wanted to be the best. No weaknesses.

AP cortina.JPG

Fast forward 5 years to one first of my cycling teams. Having achieved descent success at an individual sport- ski racing-, I had no idea what “team” meant. I took care of myself, I trained by myself, I raced by myself, I ate what I needed to, and I went to sleep when I needed to. I lead by example and I showed no weaknesses.

This self sufficiently lasted until my results came to a stand still. I was no longer getting better, faster, or stronger. Riders who, in my mind, were on better teams, who had better equipment and who being provided better opportunities, were beating me. After years of pushing back weakness, I had no idea I was the one holding myself back. Relying on myself was causing me to not grow as an athlete or as a teammate- and thus, as a person.

In 2013, a man named Mike called me and offered me a spot on his new women’s cycling team. Instead of blowing sunshine and rainbows my way- as most team owners did-, he told me I was a head case and come big events, I couldn’t perform. I asked why, if I’m a head case, would he want me on his team? He thought he could fix me. Fix my self confidence and help me perform. I could be his little project. I told him to F-off, and hung up the phone. Then I cried on every bike ride after for a week. Did I really have a mental weakness? After 15 years of toughening myself up, was I a head case?

It took a while, but once I let my own personal toughness guard down, I realized I was a head case. The weeks leading up to big events, I would start to fall apart and come race day, I couldn’t put the pieces back together.

I called Mike back and asked; if I’m a head case, which I now think I am, how can you fix me? He said with teamwork. He thought he could help me achieve results that had eluded me over the years. But I would have to work with him and the team. We would have to be a team who communicates and is honest with each other. I had to trust him, the other staff, and my teammates and in return they would trust me and provide me with the things I needed. I would have to allow the team to help me. 

Alison_Powers_National_Championship_TT_Image.jpg

This idea of admitting weakness and asking for help when I didn’t know the answers was totally foreign to me. But it was awesome. A giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I was free to learn, ask questions, and continue my growth as an athlete and ultimately as a teammate and team player. My teammates were no longer my competition, they were there to help me, to support me, and in turn, I supported them. We raced together, we trained together, we ate together, we had success and failures together, and through it all, we got better, we got faster, and we won a lot of races. We were a team. A family in sport. Personally, I was no longer doing everything possible that was best for me. Instead, with an open mind and willingness to try new things, I started to do things that were best for the overall success of the team. That year, I had some of the best results I had ever had and the most fun. Thanks to the team, I was able to grow and have success as big events. I may have still been a head case, but I was able to be honest about it and ask for help with no judgment.

I wish I knew what I know now. Perhaps, while ski racing, it wasn’t that the coaches were not on my side, it was that I pushed them away in my desire to be self sufficient and strong. Perhaps I held myself and my own results back, by not trusting the people who’s job it was to help me and to teach me how to grow as an athlete.

Learning how to be a true member of a team has helped me in both my personal and professional life. I do not know everything nor am I as tough or as strong as I’d like to think I am, but I have friends, family, and coworkers who have my back. And I have theirs. Together, we are tough, strong, and knowledgeable. 

We are a team

AlpsCycles2Edit-171.jpg

Comment

ALP Cycles Racing team- year 1 recap

Comment

ALP Cycles Racing team- year 1 recap

by ALP Cycles Coach Patricia

Fall is coming and the 2017 road race season is ending soon. This blog post is about year 1 of our ALP Cycles racing team. Why did we decide to have a women's race team next to the coaching business? We wanted to do something that was different, something that no other coaching business can offer. Plus we like to share our knowledge/ experience. The 4 ALP Cycles coaches together can offer a huge amount of experience! We believe that coaching is a lot more than just writing a training plan, looking at numbers and talking to an athlete every now and then. Riding with our athletes and teaching them is very important to us. Working with our team riders 1:1 on the bike during training riders or coaching them at races has helped all of them to become better riders and racers.

AlpsCycles2Edit-65.jpg

 

How did this year with team team exactly look like?

-team rides: team rides happen twice every month. Each time, 2 of the ALP coaches are there to ride with the team and teach different things. Here are just a few examples: we worked on pace lines, skills, climbing, descending, TT's, sprints etc 

-pre-riding different race courses as a team! We took the team to different race courses and pre-rode the circuits, looked at critical points of each race course, talked about different race scenarios/ tactics and dialed in our team tactic for the races. We did that for: Boulder-Roubaix, Koppenberg, Hygiene TT, stage 3 of Boulder stage race (Lyons-Nederland), Morgul Bismark circuit race

-team camp: we headed to Grand Junction for a spring team camp in April. This was important for team bonding and working together as a team for a few days back to back.

-sending a coach to team races: at the beginning of the year we marked 7 races as team races. The bonus of the team races is that one of the ALP coaches will be at the team races to coach the team riders. This includes: working out race tactics (team work, how to race together!), pre-race and post race meetings with our team riders plus we of course also watch the race& cheer for the team :)

AlpsCycles2Edit-19.jpg

2017 was a good start for the team. It is nice to see what the team achieved and that our coaching/ teaching is paying off. Although it isn't just about results. It is about understanding how to race as a team and how to use different skills and strengths of each team member in order to have success. The highlight was for sure that the team raced at the Colorado Classic against all the top US teams.

The team will continue in 2018 and we are very excited about season 2 of our ALP Cycles Racing team. We are looking for new riders, in case you are interested email Alison, don't forget to add your resume! Alison: alison@alpcyclescoaching.com                                           

Or join our ALP Cycles climbing ride on September 30th in Boulder to talk& ride with the 4 ALP Cycling coaches.

Comment