Special blog post by ALP athlete Andy Bennett (coached by Jennifer Sharp)

       For the first time in my cycling career I now have a game plan to work around. Having a planned workout structure is allowing me to work on my weaknesses, and improve my strengths. In past seasons I would find myself doing the same type of workouts throughout the year. Having a coach has given me the opportunity to learn new workouts, not only on the bike, but in the gym as well.  I have always liked to push a big gear with low cadence; we (Jen and I) have been working very hard to improve my overall cadence and leg speed. The varieties of cadence drills I have been introduced to are showing me that I can produce the same power (watts) with a higher cadence. These drills are something I would have not been working on without Jens insight.  I have always thought being able to turn over a bigger gear would increase my speed and power, but I am quickly learning that is not true.

Jennifer and Andy riding the dirt last season. Perhaps, with his new training plan, roles will reverse and he'll drop Jennifer in 2017. 

Jennifer and Andy riding the dirt last season. Perhaps, with his new training plan, roles will reverse and he'll drop Jennifer in 2017. 

          Structured training allows me to hold myself accountable for my workouts. With that being said, having a coach who takes to time to know you on a personal level is great. Personally, if someone is thinking about hiring a coach, I would tell them to find someone they “click” with and go for it. Being coached by someone who understands you and your schedule is a great feeling. The benefits of a coach are countless, from the vast knowledge they offer, to the everyday encouragement and motivation they provide.

            I honestly did not know what to expect, in regards to having a coach. I was unsure if I was going to be able to complete all the workouts while working full time, but that has not been an issue. I am thoroughly enjoying all the different types of workouts I have been doing:

·      In the gym or at home.

·      On the road, or in the mountains.

·      Even on the track.

       Being able to plan my workouts around open training at the Velodrome has been something special, especially with Colorado’s winter weather always changing. Also, having scheduled rest days/weeks has been very beneficial. I can already see the benefits of it. Last season, I was riding well, so I tried to keep my fitness up as long as I could. I eventually over did it, causing me to end my season early. My body was so tired and over worked it got to the point where I was not having fun doing the thing I love.

        Having a coach has been very beneficial for me, not only for my 2017 racing aspirations, but my overall health. Being coached by someone who understands your goals and limitations has made these past months extremely enjoyable.