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Swimming In the Current

Written by ALP Cycles Coach, Jennifer Sharp.

As a coach, I'm always looking for ways to improve my coaching game. I read anything sport psychology I can get my hands on, study race tactics, share information with other coaches and I also get to apply self-coaching to see if what I'm sharing actually works.  I'm also blessed to be married to a coach and we frequently bounce ideas off of one another. When I found myself floundering in the national level crits this season, struggling with how to surf the front of the field verses tail gunning the back, Benjamin had some suggestions. But it was ultimately up to me to figure out how to apply those skills and execute them within the field. Below are the tactics I applied to my game this year that made a significant difference. No matter what level of racing you're competing at - these tips will come in hand to elevate you to higher levels. 

Have confidence. At this point in the season, you should have a pretty good idea of how your fitness compares to others. And if you raced as often as I did (55 races this season and counting...), make no mistake - you should be fit. Start the race with the confidence of knowing you can finish. You belong here. Own it.

Mindset is everything. The moment you pin your race number on your jersey, claim that time for yourself. Don't let anything penetrate your bubble. Turn your phone off. This is your time. Don't let distractions get in your way of performing at your best. Warmup to your favorite music, feel into the effort and get mentally ready to go to battle. These women you're about to race are not here to just ride around with friends - they are here to beat you. Get ready to turn it on and show up to the line prepared, sweaty and ferocious. 

The Pro 1/2 Women lined up at the start of Lake Bluff Criterium at Intelligensia Cup in Chicago, IL. ALP Cycles Coaching athlete Daphne Karagianis of Chicago Women's Elite finished third in the omnium.

The Pro 1/2 Women lined up at the start of Lake Bluff Criterium at Intelligensia Cup in Chicago, IL. ALP Cycles Coaching athlete Daphne Karagianis of Chicago Women's Elite finished third in the omnium.

Establish your spot. Regardless of the size of your peloton, you need to establish your spot. Instead of backing off and out of a spot because someone else wanted it more, make yourself big by getting in and out of the saddle, broadening your shoulders and anticipate accelerations. Find the flow in the course. Stick to the faster routes- on the outside of corners, sheltered out of the wind, and get ready for the surges. Focus on leg speed - distribute the workload through high rpms instead of clunky accelerations, which can also translate into burning matches. 

Be patient. After about 20 minutes of racing around and feeling like your head is going to explode, things will ease up. Don't waste any unnecessary energy in the first part of the race. Remember - everyone feels good in the beginning. The trick is to manage your energy so you have enough left in the tank for when it matters most - the finish. (Note to self - ahem, Jen!)

Practice positive self-talk. This one can apply to any time you're on the bike (or off of it, for that matter). Tell yourself good job! during the race. Celebrate small victories. We often beat ourselves up by criticizing our every move - instead, be your own cheerleader. Focus on process goals during the race such as cornering and passing 2-3 people per section verses outcome goals. 

Keep at it. Cycling is full of failure. The only way to get better is to keep at it and continue to work. That means throwing yourself back into a race even when you come in dead last. Learn from your mistakes, apply them to the future and keep challenging yourself to continue the journey.

Have some tips that work for you that you'd like to share? We'd love to hear what works best for you. Please leave a comment below! 

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How to stay Motivated for Racing in the Summer Months 

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How to stay Motivated for Racing in the Summer Months 

By Alison Powers

It’s finally summer time.  The weather is nice and the days are long. However, for many bike racers, June is a tough month, motivation wise.  Early season races have come and gone, goals have either been met or not quite achieved, you pretty much know how your season is going to turn out, and the motivation to train and race is weaning.   Just as bike riding is at its best, people are tiring of riding and training.

The question becomes how to stay motivated to train and race through the entire race season which can last until September.

For most of us, having a goal is the #1 motivation to ride our bike.  This goal can be as simple as finishing a charity ride or Grand Fondo to something more intense such as winning a national caliber stage race or Master’s Nationals.  However, if your cycling goal is in the spring or in the beginning of the summer, once your goal ride or race is finished, it’s easy to lose the motivation to keep training.  This is why it’s important to have another goal in mind for later in the season. This way you keep your bike riding and racing motivation going strong. 

Before training for goal #2, it’s really important to take a mid season break. After 6 months of solid training and racing, our bodies and our minds are tired. This mid season break usually comes in June (depending on race goals) and lasts in duration from 5-14 days. My “recipe” for a mid season break is 4-5 days off the bike (no hiking or running either), 1 free day to ride as much as you want to, then 2 more days off the bike. By the end of this mid season break, the athlete is fresh, motivated, and most importantly, excited to ride their bike (see Ruth Winder's blog about  the importance of a mid-season break). 
 

While training for goal #2, it’s important to keep it fun.  By this time in the season, most of us are tired of doing intervals, and are tired of riding the same roads over and over.  The best ways to beat these “midseason blues” are to find ways to mix up your riding.  Try riding new routes with new people or riding at different times of the day.  Mix up your interval sessions by doing them up a hill or change the length of each interval and rest period. 

My favorite way to keep training fun is to ride different bikes.  If you are a roadie, summer is a great time to hone in your bike handling skills (not to mention build great seated power) with mountain biking a couple times a week.   You can even throw in a short track race here and there to take place of your VO2 intervals.  If you are a mountain biker, spend some time on your road bike and add in a road race or two to test out your fitness and race tactics.   


Cyclocross racing is a great goal #2 or goal #3 to have.  Cyclocross mixes both road racing and mtn bike racing and is a fun way to stay in race shape and work on your skills in the fall and winter months.  Come July, if you are tired of racing and training, it’s the perfect time to take a break from racing, spend some fun time on your bike and aim to ramp up for the Cyclocross season that starts in late September.

Here are a few workouts to keep training and motivation fresh-

-Bottom to top intervals- using the terrain available; ride hard from the bottom of a climb to the top of the climb. Really push it all the way to the top. Recover on the back side.
             
- Hour of Power- put that power meter away and just go out and ride hard. Sprint to speed limit signs and push the pace after the sprints.

-Friendly attacking or group rides- Ride with a friend and take turns “attacking” each other as you would in a race or join a spirited group ride that challenges you with city limit sprints or climbing out of your comfort zone.


             Happy training and remember to enjoy each bike ride.

 

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What is the Ideal Cadence?

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What is the Ideal Cadence?

  Riding a bike is different from other endurance sports. When we ride a bike, we have the ability to change gears and to choose a cadence to pedal with. However, one of the most confusing aspects of cycling is to understand what the ideal cadence is.

Note: Higher cadences imply an easier gear, with less torque applied. In turn, a harder gear implies slower cadences with more torque applied.

           For the most part, the higher the intensity and/or speed, the higher your cadence should be. The big reason for this higher cadence is that it stresses the aerobic component more. A higher cadence engages slow twitch (Type I) muscle fibers, which are the oxidative fibers, thus saving your powerful and fast twitch (Type II) muscle fibers for when you need them- sprinting, attacking, climbing, surging. Pedaling with a higher cadence also generates decreased muscle tension and blood vessel compression. This allows blood to flow to the muscles with O2 and carry waste products away easier.

          However, a high cadence also puts more stress on your cardiovascular system, thus raising your heart rate- more so, if you are not trained to pedal with a high cadence. It’s important to understand that being able to pedal with a higher cadence needs to be learned and adapted over time. It can take the body months of training to learn to pedal effectively at a higher cadence.

            One way to understand cadence and generating power is to think of pedaling like weight lifting. Let’s pretend you are given 1 minute to squat 2000 lbs. You are allowed to pick any weight to do so. If you choose 1000lb, you must do two repetitions in one minute. If you choose 20lbs, then you must do 100 repetitions. The weight you squat is equal to the gear on the bike and the squat reps are equal to cadence. The answer is somewhere in between 20 pounds and 1000 pounds and will be different for each person. If you choose too heavy of a gear (weight) it will result in excess muscle fatigue while choosing too easy of a gear (weight) may not get you to where you need to go. 

      There is no one cadence that is optimal all the time. Different situations will dictate different cadences. Wind, fatigue, climbing, descending, sprinting, etc., can alter what would be our optimal cadence.

       When given the opportunity, changing your cadence slightly to engage different muscle fiber types is a good thing. For example, if you are climbing a long sustained hill and you have determined that riding up the hill at 80 rpms is most beneficial. However, standing and pushing a heavier gear at 70 rpms for a minute or so can be quite helpful in recruiting different muscles, using body weight to push down the pedals, slowing down your breathing, etc.

        Each person must experiment and try to understand what cadence is best and at what times. Sometimes, just going with a free choosing approach will be best, other times, doing a specific cadence drill will benefit you more. Understanding how cadence works is the first step in helping you understand what cadence might be best for you and in what situations. 

 

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Superior Hill Climbing

Photo by ProVeloPassion, Mary Topping

Photo by ProVeloPassion, Mary Topping

Written by ALP Cycles Coach, Jennifer Sharp

The last lap took everything she had. She crossed the finish line euphoric and then slumped over her bike, weaving to a stop and bent over, exhausted from the effort. 

We all have a pain cave. The question is - how deep do you dig when you approach it? How willing are you to push beyond your perceived physical and mental limitations? And what is it you fear most that you tend to avoid because it shines a light on an area you need to address?

For me, it's hills. Hills challenge my bigger frame and fast twitch physiology. And in many ways, when the going gets tough, I crack quickly under pressure. Maybe you can relate or maybe you'd replace hills with sprinting or riding close to someone else. 

We all have fears, excuses, easy to come up with reasons why we don't practice our weaknesses. But as both a coach and athlete, I urge you to practice those weaknesses. Strengthen the skills that challenge you the most. 

A couple of weekends ago was our local highlight race of the year: Superior Morgul. It had it all: a parking lot crit, street sprints, time trial and the queen stage road race, finishing at the top of the esteemed "Wall". It's a Colorado classic. Last year at the finish, I crossed the line in tears telling my husband, "don't ever make me do this again. No matter what." The wall made me question the joy and fun I have in cycling, rocking me to my core.

So a couple of Sunday mornings ago, much to my surprise, I was leading the Omnium. And the question over breakfast became, well - why wouldn't I do the road race? The risk: Benjamin thought after last year our marriage may hang in the balance if things didn't go "well." But the gains? Well the gains far outweighed the risks: my teammate Jenna was in a close second and I could help her win; it would be great training and prep for my season goal of Master World Track Championships; and I would conquer some hill inner demons. 

Armed with 10+ hours of sleep, a fresh perspective and a willingness to go for it, I pinned on a race number. Even if the strongest climbers who only showed up for the road race danced up the wall and left me in their dust, my competition were the other omnium riders and I had a fighting chance of winning. 

So on the third lap, the climbers climbed and I found myself pushing HARD through the climb, losing contact from my rivals. Luckily I wasn't alone and finished the race with six other women. On the final climb, a rider attacked and was chased to the line while I fought an ugly uphill battle, coming close to overcoming the attacker but didn't have quite enough. Had I beat her, I would have won the overall. Me. This girl. Going from self-defeat a year before to what if's. The point total was close: Tracy at 101, Emily at 100 and myself at 100. Beating just that one person would have leap frogged me into first. Woulda coulda shoulda!

However, the biggest lesson of the weekend came the day after and seeing a photo of the race winner, Emma Grant. Just after crossing the finish line, she was hunched over her bike, gasping for air and showing signs of the enormous effort it took for her to cross the finish line first. She went all in. She pushed so hard because she wanted it so bad and she prevailed. 

When I think back to those final moments as I battled toward the finish line, I know I sat up just enough, settling. What I'm inspired by and can't wait for is to push so hard that I collapse from the effort. That even those that can climb (or sprint, etc.) push as hard as they can despite the risk. Because if you're not pushing 100%, then are you still chasing the dream?

Even after coaching and racing for many years, I am always thankful for the lessons that teach you about strength and vulnerability. Thank you Emma, for showing your courage. And thank you to my competitors for allowing competition and areas where I can test my ability. And most of all, thank you Universe for gravity and hills.

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Mid Season Break

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Mid Season Break

Taking time off during the season can be tough for athletes. Here are a few reminders why you should and why you should enjoy it. 

As an athlete you train so hard all throughout the year. For cyclists a season can go 11 months straight from when you start training to through the racing season to your month off in the offseason. Without proper rest and recovery you won't be able to properly train. 

After 6 months of solid training and racing, our bodies and our minds are tired. This mid season break usually comes in June (depending on race goals) and lasts in duration from 5-14 days. A good “recipe” for a mid season break is 4-5 days off the bike (no hiking or running either), 1 free day to ride as much as you want to, then 2 more days off the bike. By the end of this mid season break, the athlete is fresh, motivated, and most importantly, excited to ride their bike. 

I recently had my mid-season break, most afternoons I was taking naps. Twice I fell asleep for 2 hours in the middle of the day. Just goes to show that I really needed that break. My body was ready for some serious rest. Now I am ready to begin training again and hit the second half of the season strong!

It's important to really take the time to enjoy your mid season break. Do the things you might skip during really hard training! Make sure you are getting a proper mental break. Put the bike and training out of your mind while you spend time catching up on other parts of life! 

Train hard, rest hard. 

Ruth 

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How long between workouts should I wait before doing another hard workout?

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How long between workouts should I wait before doing another hard workout?

By ALP Coach Alison Powers

The most important aspect to riding and racing success is hard training. The second most important aspect to riding and racing success is recovery; for you can’t ride hard, unless you are rested and ready to do so.  But, how do you know when you are rested and ready to ride hard?

First, we must define what riding hard or doing a hard workout means. People have different opinions, but for us at ALP Cycles Coaching, a hard workout is one with intervals at Lactate Threshold and/or above, or endurance training rides with a Training Stress Score (TSS) of 200 or more (within 3.5hrs).

There are a couple of ways to know when your body is ready for a hard workout. 1- The ‘sensations’. How are your energy levels? Are you motivated to ride hard? When you lay in bed, do you feel tired? Does riding hard, feel like a struggle?  What is your resting heart rate? There are signs and symptoms your body gives you, and if you are good at listening to your body, then you know when you are ready to ride hard again or perhaps need another recovery day.  However, most people are not good at listening to their bodies. Thus, another way to know if you are recovered and ready to ride hard again is the data. If you use TrainingPeaks or WKO, you can look at your training load and your training stress balance (TSB). If your TSB is below -15, there is a good chance you need some rest and recovery before riding hard again. Secondly, if you are doing a VO2 workout and are not hitting the numbers, then shut it down, stop the workout and head home. You’re tired. If you are hitting the numbers and finishing the workout, then all signs show that you are rested and ready to ride hard.

Rest is more important that many people give it credit for. A recovery ride 1-2 times a week is crucial.  In general, recovery rides promote blood flow which helps decrease inflammation, remove waste products, and loosen stiff, sore muscles.

For a recovery ride to be productive it has to be an easy, mellow, short ride.  If you ride any harder than “recovery pace” (zone 1 >55% of LT) you are putting a training stress on your body instead of recovering.

So, to answer the question above—if you go an entire week and not feel good then I’m guessing that you are not resting hard enough. You’re stuck in the middle of half ass resting and half ass training.

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D.S. at Tour of Chongming Island

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D.S. at Tour of Chongming Island

by ALP Cycles Coach Patricia

Today's blog is about my experience and adventures from last week in China. I gave my debut as D.S. (Sports Director) for Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank at the 3 days Womens World Tour (WWT) race in Chongming Island. To prepare myself, I tried to gather as much info as possible.

During my racing career, I never competed in China or at the Tour of Chongming, so I asked some of my former teammates for feedback. Two weeks before heading to China, I also spent time at the Tour of the Gila to learn some more tips& tricks from TIBCO D.S. Ed Beamon.

Of course the trip to Chongming Island (near Shanghai) included a long travel/ flight and a huge time difference (+14hrs to MST). I left my house very early Monday morning to arrive at the race hotel on Tuesday evening 9pm.

Day 1 on Chongming Island included a ride with the team to shake out the legs from the long travel. Since we had not received the team car yet, I joined the girls for the ride. Good thing that the spare bike was my size :) The 2nd day included a sponsor function for our team sponsor Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). It was a great experience to learn more about the Chinese lifestyle and the people who attended the event were very interested to learn about the team and lifestyle of a pro cyclist. Later on, I had to attend the Team Managers meeting and went to the licence check (to pick up numbers, timing chips etc).

 

Then race included 3 days of racing. All 3 stages were on flat terrain. Tour of Chongming Island is a pure sprinters race and all the teams bring their best sprint squad. Every day, the race ended in a bunch sprint. Our goal was to place our sprinter Kendall in the top ten.The challenge was that my team included some young and new riders and 5 of the girls have not raced much  together. This meant we had to optimize teamwork and maximize all the help for our sprinter Kendall, to set her up for the sprint finish each day.

 

Bad luck on day 1, as 2 of my riders were involved in a crash. Luckily they were ok and able to rejoin the bunch. I was happy to see how the girls improved each day  and we reached our goal with placing Kendall in 11th in stage 2, 6th in stage 3 and she finished 16th in GC. Those placings will give the team important WWT points.

A few fun/ weird/ special facts or experiences from my trip to China:

-the race organization assigned each team a translator (which was very helpful!)

-the maximum altitude reached in the whole race was 60m

-the most interesting part of the race: racing over the 10km long Yangtze River Bridge. The bridge included a "climb" and the only real QOM of the entire stage race.

-watch out for scooters...they buzz around in every direction and you can't hear them as they are all electric

-it is hard to find a supermarket, similar to what we know from in the US or EU. One evening, I drove around in circles for 40 mins trying to find a supermarket (with the help of our translator). We ended up in a very small store 2 mins away from the race hotel.

-all the Radio Tour announcements were in both: English and Chinese

-the roads were in good conditions and every day we had a lot of spectators along the race course

-The Chinese love to take pictures

-Food: the race organization provided full accommodation and meals, however the food was still a challenge as we were not allowed to eat any meat (meat in China usually has a much higher Clenbuterol level which can create a problem with the anti-doping rules). Salad or fruit were not advised to eat as well (only cooked veggies were ok, although we weren't too keen on veggies anymore after our team swanny found a big/ fat caterpillar in her spinach) and also the tap water shouldn’t be used to drink or brush teeth.

-The lunch box we received each day included: 1 banana, 1 bag milk, 1 snickers, 2 sweet buns and 1 fermented egg...yeah you can imagine that my riders weren't too impressed with that lunch box after the race

-I learned 3 Chinese (Mandarin) words: Bingxiang (cooler for bottles), Nǐ hǎo (hello) and xiè xie (thank you)



The Tour of Chongming Island was a great experience. I really liked my role as D.S! Directing at a WWT race is definitely another level. Even though the race was very well organized, it took extra work for us to make sure the girls had everything they needed/ are used to and to perform well. Thank you to my team staff for the great teamwork!

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5 Tips to Avoid Getting Dropped

By ALP Coach Alison Powers

1. Get in the draft

Learn to draft off other riders and be comfortable riding in close proximity to others. If you draft behind another rider who is cutting into the wind you gain an advantage. Up to 40% less energy can be used in the draft when a group of people are riding together. To be the most effective when drafting, a cyclist needs to be as close as possible to the bicycle in front of them. The shorter the distance the larger the decrease in wind resistance. This means, if you stay tucked nicely in the group of riders, you will save energy, and thus, have more energy available for uphill or fast sections, and have less of a change of getting dropped.

2. A little bit now or a lot later

If a gap does open, close it quickly. A little bit now or a lot later means you can suffer a little bit now and close the gap, or you can suffer a lot later when you are all on your own and chasing the group. If a gap does open, do not panic but be decisive and quick in your response to close a gap. Why waste 1-2 (or more) minutes chasing the group, when you could have dug a little deeper and closed it in 3 seconds and then be back with the group and recovering in the draft?

3. Be aware of terrain changes and wind conditions
 

Every time a group ride comes to a hill, the riders surge and the pace picks up. If you pay attention and see the hill coming, you can be ready to shift, stand up, and follow the pace of the group. If you are not aware and did not see the hill coming then you are caught reacting to the group and you are already a step behind, slowing down, and struggling to keep up. Be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to act on what is going to happen- be proactive. If the group is riding in a tail wind and then makes a left hand turn, there will be a cross wind. Plan ahead (before the turn) to be on the side out of the wind when the group exits the turn.

4. Spin, high cadence pedaling

Make sure you are spinning the easiest gear possible (for you) in a group. Be aware of the other riders’ leg speed and cadence and make sure you are pedaling at least at the same cadence or hopefully slightly faster. Spinning at a higher cadence allows you to react quicker to pace and terrain changes than one that is mashing a bigger gear. You can always switch to a bigger gear later on in the ride- as you get tired or have to close/create a gap- but it is very hard to go the opposite way- to go from mashing to spinning without losing power.

5. Suffer, HTFU, and never give up.

The best advice I have ever gotten about bike racing was this- ‘whatever you do, do not let go of that wheel. The pace will slow down and it won’t go this fast forever.’ Bike racing and hard group rides involve suffering. Our hearts beat fast, our legs hurt, it’s hard to breath, but if you can dig deep and push yourself to stay on the wheel (in the draft), the pace will slow and you will still have contact with the group. If you give up too quickly, you are forced to ride on your own and will never know your limit or how much you can really suffer to stay with the group. Do whatever you can to stay with the group- shift gears, stand up, sprint, grunt, cry, vomit—whatever it takes.

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3 Tips On The Art of Suffering

Standing on top of the podium makes all of that suffering worth it. ALP Cycles Race Team athletes Cory Popovich and Sandy North's smiles say it all. 

Standing on top of the podium makes all of that suffering worth it. ALP Cycles Race Team athletes Cory Popovich and Sandy North's smiles say it all. 

Written by ALP Cycles Coach, Jennifer Sharp

Shhhhhh…. Don’t tell anyone new to the sport but cycling is based on suffering. A lot of suffering. You have to push your body to the extreme to overcome gravity, inertia, strong winds, and at time physical ailments just in order to cross the finish line. It can be painful, gut wrenching, exhilarating and 100% satisfying.

When I first started racing back in 2004, I stumbled upon CyclingNews mental tool box. I was fascinated with how the mind worked and how something as simple as changing your perspective toward any obstacle could make a huge difference and decrease your suffering.

By decrease your suffering, you can increase your joy of the experience.

So how do you do that? Here are my top three mental tools that I find myself going to over and over again.

ALP Cycles Head Coach Alison Powers discusses bike handling techniques to give riders the tools they need to ride their bikes confidently.

ALP Cycles Head Coach Alison Powers discusses bike handling techniques to give riders the tools they need to ride their bikes confidently.

1.     USE POSITIVE SELF TALK. The voices in our head can make or break you. Cycling is hard enough. If you don’t make the break, can’t keep up with the group, or hit a certain power threshold, then it’s really easy to let the negative voices creep into your head and take over. It takes a conscious choice to break the pattern and snap out of that funk and focus on the positive. Olympic Training Center sport psychologist Diana McNabb once shared with me her rubber band trick: put a rubber band around one of your wrists. If you find yourself traveling down a path of self-doubt and negativity – snap that rubber band and tell yourself, you CAN do it. The act of snapping the rubber band can break the pattern of negativity and work like a charm.

2.     KEEP PUSHING. Say you’re climbing a hill and it just keeps going and going and going. You’re pushing your body to the limit – your heart rate is through the roof, your muscles are screaming at you and you know you could just pull over and the pain would quickly stop. This is where you really have to fight the urge to back off. Acknowledge the pain. Tell yourself that you know it hurts, but you’re going to keep pushing to the next tree. And once you get there, you keep pushing to the tree after that and the tree after that. Each time you push your body that much further, you build confidence that you can go further even when everything hurts. Our minds are often the biggest limiter.

Surround yourself with positive coaches, teammates and friends and enjoy the process.

Surround yourself with positive coaches, teammates and friends and enjoy the process.

3.     SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE. This applies to all faucets of life. If you want to focus on positivity and growth, then finding positive like-minded people can make a huge difference. They’re your support system and cheerleaders. These are the people who make mistakes, learn from them and can laugh about it later.

Have a tool that you use you’d like to share? Please add a comment below. 

 

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Team Camp 2017

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Team Camp 2017

Last week, ALP Cycles Racing, had their team camp in Grand Junction. We call it a "team camp" instead of a "training camp", because camp was so much more than training. It was about he team; building team bonds, building team skills, and starting to think as one team. Everyone rides for the greater good of the team. 

 

Our first day of camp included a lap of the Colorado National Monument.  Climbing was the name of the game. In the saddle, out of the saddle, accelerating, recovering, chasing, etc. Climbing is so much more than just chugging up a mountain. It can be very dynamic and we practiced that together. 

Pacelines for miles was Day 2. Actually, hours and hours of paclines. For almost 4 hrs we practiced double paceline, rotating paceline, single paceline- all in the wind and with rumble stripes to keep us tight (and out of the road). The only way to really get better at something is to practice it, over and over again. The progress the team made was truly amazing. By day 3, everyone was comfortable riding closely to each other, paying attention to the wind, and riding well together and fast. Our speed was impressive. Each rider was confident, smooth, and the entire group moved quickly and well together. 

Team Camp included two ALP Cycles Coaches- Alison Powers and Jennifer Sharp- to teach and share racing and training wisdom with each rider. 

Team Camp included two ALP Cycles Coaches- Alison Powers and Jennifer Sharp- to teach and share racing and training wisdom with each rider. 

Day 4 was a short but sweet leadout day. After an evening talk explaining the in's and out's of leadouts the women were dialed and ready to practice, try different orders, and get the last little bit out of their legs that was left. 

Off the bike, the team ate together, cooked together, foam rolled together, and had racing and training discussions each night. It truly was a team bonding camp. Yes, we got a lot of training, (~13hrs in 4 days) , but more importantly, the women are bonded as a team and ready to race as one team.

Happy hour leadout talk and how-to's

Happy hour leadout talk and how-to's

Update- ALP Athlete and ALP Cycles Racing team member Andrea Printy is racing the Tour of th Gila with the Amy D Foundation team. After two days of racing, she sent us an update-- "

So far, the Tour of the Gila has been both a learning and an humbling experience. Yesterday’s 68 mile race was relatively mellow for the first 58 miles. I used this race to try new things, including going for an intermediate sprint, jumping on a break, and getting water bottles from the team car and distributing them. The rest of my race was spent trying to move up. It was exciting to have two Amy D. riders finish in the top 15!

Today’s race was the hardest road race I have ever done. The first 10 miles were aggressive, with teams vying for the sprints and QOMs. Holding a position was extremely hard for me, even on the side of the peloton. While our two GC riders made it up the climb, three of us got dropped with 64 miles of racing and a few thousand feet of climbing still left. We drew on each other’s strengths, kept the wheels of the struggle bus spinning and, with the help of three other riders we picked up along the way, made it to the end. There were many thoughts going through my head today: "Why am I doing this?... My feet, legs, and back are killing me... I want a beer!" I felt rewarded at the end of the race when I looked at my Garmin and saw that I’d worked really, really hard. #Makingdeposits."

Good luck in today's Time Trial Andrea!- And Coach Ruth Winder as well. 

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