ALP Climbing challenge day 1 - standings

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ALP Climbing challenge day 1 - standings

The 2018 ALP Climbing Challenge has begun! Below are the standings after day 1 (files that are uploaded as of now). Remember you can still join and win, we have 3 days to go! #alpclimbingchallenge

1 Lynne Anderson 3h 6673ft

2 Vale Boss 3h40 5509ft

3 Giuseppe Sarpietro 2h01 4442ft

4 Jennifer MacDougall 3h32 4416ft

5 Alison Powers 2h24 4201ft

6 Marco F. 3h16 3215ft

7 Scott Baumfalk 2h30 2579ft

8 Roberto Romagnoli 3h19 2336ft

9 Tronel Guy 1h40 1903ft

10 Martine Demaria 2h44 1801ft

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3 Days to Go #alpclimbingchallange

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3 Days to Go #alpclimbingchallange

Our annual Climbing Challenge is coming! October 4th-7th will be year 4 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- Link coming early next week). 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 2018 edition. In addition to the top 3 receiving; "ALP Bucks" (ALPb's), the winner gets 400 ALPb's to be used on anything ALP. Coaching, race team fees, clothing, ALP Tour of Colorado, etc. Second place gets 250 ALPb's and 100 ALPb's to 3rd place, 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...

Best Photo- use the hashtag #alpclimbingchallenge on either Instagram or Facebook and at the end of the 4 days, our ALP Coaches will pick their favorite 2 photos.  Prizes are ALP and KUHL Schwag. 

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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 (70 hill repeats on an overpass is one example).  Prizes are ALP and KUHL Schwag.

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 (October 6th, 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. 

Join our challenge here- https://www.strava.com/clubs/478046

Good luck and see you soon!

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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Off-Season

Written by ALP Cycles Coach, Jennifer Sharp

 Focus on skills and drills in the training season and apply them to races.

Focus on skills and drills in the training season and apply them to races.


Summer is winding down and many parts of the country have already seen a shift of weather, signaling the end of a long road season and for others the start of the cyclocross season. Whether you take a break now from structured training and racing or do it after cross, it’s important to get the most out of your off-season. This is where the biggest gains can be made.

The off-season is an interesting term in itself. As a competitive athlete, do you really get down time? And is “off-season” the best way to describe this time of year? Are you really taking time “off”? TrainingPeaks refers to this time of year as the “transition phase”, which is about 2-4 weeks in length when you do unstructured training as a means to recharge both mentally and physically. My husband, Benjamin Sharp (2012 United States Olympic Team Coach), refers to this time of year as training season, as compared to race season. Regardless of what you call it, the time of year where you take a break from competition and hit the reset button is a necessary part of the periodization process - especially if you want to continue to see improvement season after season.

So what exactly is the best thing to do over the off-season/transition phase or training season?

  • Address and rebuild your physiological profile. During the race season, it’s hard to gain fitness since you’re often racing and recovering. The training season is a great opportunity to get those foundation miles in and focus on the various energy systems you may neglect during the race season.

  • Address your nagging or lingering injuries. Do you have a little pain in your lower back/neck/shoulders/achilles/etc? Now is a great time to seek medical attention and give your tendons/muscles/body rest so that it can fully repair itself. Take the time to make an appointment with a physical therapist/body worker or doctor to get to the root of the issue and really dive in.

  • Lack motivation? Cross train! This is a great chance to run, hike, swim, practice yoga, strength train, cross country ski, or do basically any cardiovascular training.

  • Goal setting. What better time to take inventory of your 2018 season than now? What went well? What areas need work? Setting both process and outcome goals can help you stay motivated in the 2019 season and beyond.

  • Catch up with friends and family. Cycling can be all-consuming. You likely sacrificed some social engagements over the season. Make a point of spending time with your friends and family members without feeling like you have to fit some intervals in first.

Ben always says that everyone is making gains in the race season. But if you can go into the race season at a higher level by making improvements during the training season, you could be ahead of the game.

Commit to making 2019 your best season yet and come up with a solid training plan with your coach today.


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What does Team Mean?

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What does Team Mean?

As ALP Cycles Racing prepares to enter it’s 3rd year in existence, ALP Coach Alison Powers explains what team means to her and the value of being part of a team.

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.

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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. 

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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

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ALP Cycles Climbing Challenge

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ALP Cycles Climbing Challenge

Fall is around the corner and that means one thing; the Climbing Challenge is coming. As the race season winds down, many of us are stuck looking for something to do. We have great fitness and no event to use it in. Not any more. October 4-7th will be year 4 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). We will have prizes and fun activities to do and to participate in.

The 4-day challenge is highlighted by our ALP Climbing Ride on Saturday October 6th. We start in Boulder, climb up 4-mile to Logan Mill, up and down Arkansas Mtn to Sugarloaf, up to the Peak to Peak, and finish with the shelf road to Eldora Ski area- a 26mile ride with almost 5,000ft of climbing and sections up to 17% on dirt roads. It will test everyone's fitness, bike handling, and comfort zone. i.e.- a chance to make yourself a better and more complete bike rider. The Arkansas Mountain Climbing Day will be mandatory for any local riders doing the Challenge. This ride is open to ALP, non-ALP, and wanna be ALP athletes/riders/racers (so invite your friends, family, and teammates).  We provide coaches, a van stop with snacks, and NBS drink mix and water. 

Here is a link to the route on Strava-https://www.strava.com/segments/10356632?filter=overall&gender=F

 The road up Arkansas Mountain 

The road up Arkansas Mountain 

 The finish line

The finish line

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. 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.

Prizes- This year, our prizes are "ALP Bucks" (ALPb's) for the 4-day challenge. The winner gets 400 ALPb's to be used on anything ALP. Coaching, race team fees, clothing, ALP Tour of Colorado, etc. Second place gets 250 ALPb's and 100 ALPb's to 3rd place. 

If you are interested in joining us and/or would like more info- please email alison at Alpcyclescoaching dot com

In addition to the actual Climbing Challenge, we will also have a social media photo contest. Using the hashtag #alpclimbingchallenge, we'll pick the best photo of the 4 days and that winner will receive KUHL schwag/clothing. 

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#crossiscoming

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#crossiscoming

Last weekend was ALP Cycles Racing's 3-day cyclocross training camp. We had 14 riders, one coach (Alison Powers), and utilized 4 different locations for specific skills and drills. 

Here's what we did:

Day 1 was based out of Specialized Boulder (thank you Specialized!). Using the pump track and cones, our morning session focused on body position and vision drills. We also dialed in our dismounts (right hand on the top tube before dismounting), remounts, and suit-casing the bike (elbow on the inside of the saddle). CX includes time off the bike with the occasional running and jumping, so we worked on agilities and foot work drills.  

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Over lunch, we chit-chatted, bonded, discussed equipment, tires, and race day routine. 

Our afternoon session was all about grass and off-camber cornering. We practiced line selection, braking (or not), passing, vision (most important), and body position. Although everyone's legs were toasted by the end of the day, the stoke level about new skills and confidence was high. 

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Day 2's morning focus was dirt, gravel, and loose corners. We did drills that show how balanced body position can lead to smooth and in-control cornering. More vision drills were brought into play, as were passing, and accelerating out of corner drills. Later in the morning, we worked on riding over logs and obsticals without having to dismount. 

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Another team bonding lunch in which we discussed race schedule, team ride dates, and women's cycling.

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Our afternoon session was all about putting it together. We set mini courses that included, sand, stairs, off-camber, and technical challenges. Thanks to a slashed tire, we also got a mini course in sealant, tubes, booting a tire (thank you $1), changing tires, etc. 

We ended day 2 blissfully cooked. 

Adventure ride was Day 3's focus. After 2 days of skills and drills, it was time to ride and enjoy our bikes. We did a 33 mile loop that included- singletrack, dirt roads, paved roads, 3500ft of climbing, a twice dented rim, and comfort zone removing challenges.

These 3 days of training camp were amazing. We bonded as a team, dialed in important skills before the season even starts, got 3 days of specific training, and have more confidence to excel this season. After some rest and recovery this week, we are ready to rock and roll. 

Thank you Coach Alison for your coaching and guidance, Specialized Boulder for hosting us, and Tin Shed Sports for taking care of our bikes and tires. 2018 CX season is going to be great! 

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To Run or Not to Run  

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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.

 Explosive drills can help with run up speed

Explosive drills can help with run up speed

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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 (2x week during the build up to race season) on these skills, your overall run speed, and ability to ride hard after running will improve immensely.

Happy Training!

 

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The Limiter

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The Limiter

By ALP Coach Alison Powers

"I'm 100% sure I can't do this" I told the yoga instructor after she showed us the next pose we were suppose to get into and hold. With tight shoulders and a delicate elbow, I was sure that my body would not get into or like the pose.  The nice instructor came over and, in less than a minute, I was in the pose doing something I was convinced my body couldn't do and it actually felt good. 

I'm 100% sure I can't do this. All it took was one silly yoga pose and I lost all self confidence in myself and my body. Without the nice yoga instructors help, I would have never tried that pose, would have never learned that I actually can do the pose, that it felt good, and could help me with my tight shoulders. My mind and mental state would have held me and my progress back without even giving myself a chance to try, learn, and get better (or more flexible). 

As a coach, I see athletes set their own mental limiters before training and competition even begin. They have set themselves up for failure before giving themselves a chance to succeed. This time, it was me, setting myself up for failure- in front of our athletes. 

The mind and one's mental state are powerful tools. If you don't think you can do something, then guess what, you can't. Our body is capable of doing so much more than our mind thinks it can. When it comes to making progress either as an athlete or a person in general, the mind is the limiter. 

When it comes to your own training, racing, confidence, bike handling skills, or challenging route with lots of climbing and descending, how is your mental state? If you truly believe that something is too hard, or you are not good enough, or won't be able to complete it, and you don't give your body and chance to really try it and give it a go, then guess what? You just made your own self-fulfilling prophecy and you won't be good enough. You won't get good enough. You won't become more confident. And, you won't achieve the results and goals you have set out for yourself. 

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When it comes to challenging things, if you really do want to get better and grow as an athlete and/or person, then you must be open minded and willing to really try, give 100%, try your best. Allow yourself to have success. Sure, there is a chance that you won't be able to do that thing, but there is a very good chance that you learn something along the way that makes you better. 

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ALP Tour of Colorado 2018

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ALP Tour of Colorado 2018

The 2018 ALP ToC (Tour of Colorado) is already over and the "Sadness Watts" are already kicking in.  

The route we had planned this year started and ended at the ALP Cycles Coaching "home base" in Nederland CO. This year was the toughest Climbing Tour to date with 21,000 feet ascending over 240 miles in 72 hours.  Below is a summary of each day.

-Nederland to Grand Lake (79.6mi and 8992ft)

The first day was probably  the toughest day not only because of all the challenging climbing, but we started off in "Spring Classics" type conditions in the pouring, cold rain. The climb up Old Fall River Road (gravel) was muddy and made today feel like a 5 hour cyclocross race.

 top of Old Fall River Road (Rocky Mountain National Park) due to the rainy conditions, the gravel road became super muddy

top of Old Fall River Road (Rocky Mountain National Park) due to the rainy conditions, the gravel road became super muddy

-Grand Lake to Keystone (90.2mi and 4877ft)

Day 2 had the least amount of climbing but was the longest day in distance. Lots of scenic gravel roads as we rode around the Williams Fork Reservoir and then up to Ute Pass.

 Each day we set up 2 to 3 van stops with snacks, ride food, water, NBS drinkmix etc

Each day we set up 2 to 3 van stops with snacks, ride food, water, NBS drinkmix etc

-Keystone to Nederland (66.8mi and 6985ft)

The last day started off in the rain again. The first climb up to Loveland Pass was wet and cold, but the views did not disappoint. Luckily things looked better on the other side and we stayed dry for the rest of the ride. From Idaho Springs, there was another challenging gravel grind up to Virginia Canyon Road.

 riding up Virginia Canyon

riding up Virginia Canyon

For some athletes, the last three days were the toughest riding ever experienced. Everyone finished with tired legs, gained fitness, stronger mentally and with all smiles for miles.  Just 364 days until the next ALP Tour of Colorado! Join us next year, and until then, check out some more stories through pictures on Instagram #ALPToC

 fun was had all 3 days :)

fun was had all 3 days :)

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How to Find a Team

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How to Find a Team

Special blog post by ALP athlete Manuela Escobar

For my entire life (20 years), I had lived in the comfort of my parents’ home in Colombia, a country I love. But then,  time to pick college came and I made the scariest but best decision of my life: moving 3,091 miles away from home to Colorado and start my undergrad at CU Denver. Even though I did not know a single soul in Denver or Colorado, I did know that it is the mecca for cycling in the United States so that was incentive enough for me.

 Team ride focused on racing tactics

Team ride focused on racing tactics

11 months after moving to Colorado I cannot emphasize enough how important finding the correct cycling team has been for me. I joined ALP Cycles racing because it is the team that fits best my personality and goals as an athlete. Today, the question that I get asked the most often is “how did I find the team?” Personally, I think that the perks of cycling or any sport in general is that anywhere you go, usually you will find a strong and friendly community eager and willing to take in a new person to grow and enhance the sport even more. This is why I would like to share some general tips of how to find the correct club anywhere you go.

 

First of all, it is important to know what you want from a team as well as what you can give in return. In my case, ALP Cycles Racing was looking for more Cat 1 and 2 riders and I was looking for a team in which I could race some Pro and UCI races so it worked out perfectly for both. The team also had two collegiate racers which made it more fun because I was also going to be racing collegiate. Furthermore, the team also hosted two team rides every month with a specific focus such as tactics, attacking, cornering, sprinting, and more. However, if you just want to go on coffee rides, on very early  rides, if you want to just race criteriums, race PRO, not race at all, etc. the most important thing is to put yourself out there and meet as many people as possible.

 Easy rides should always include coffee and lots of chatting

Easy rides should always include coffee and lots of chatting

Social media today plays a huge role in the sport. Strava, Facebook, MeetUp, and USACycling.com are great platforms to use. As soon as I moved to the U.S, I began to do some research about how cycling worked around Denver and Boulder. I searched for local teams and bike shops on google, I joined numerous groups on Facebook, and I even started to follow a bunch of random people on Strava to know what were the popular routes around the area. I didn’t even know what was Lookout Mountain before moving to Denver but thanks to Strava, I found my way to the top of it from downtown Denver two days later. During this “research period” I created a list of about five teams I could potentially join. By sending emails to the team’s organizers/managers I then scheduled phone calls with them to chat more about what were my goals for the season.

Being active in the race scene creates a great impact. First, look for the racing calendar on the internet, register to race, and when you are there strike up conversation with the other racers, officials, and coaches. Getting to know how each team works in the racing scene will help you get a better idea of how they work.

 Racing as a team for the win is as awesome as it sounds!

Racing as a team for the win is as awesome as it sounds!

Weekly group rides are also a great way to meet people. They will help you to learn more about local routes, make new friends, and learn about how to ride in a group. In most places, there are weekly group rides for all levels of abilities. So if you want to go full gas and prove who is the fastest there is a ride for you. But if you are also looking for an easy social spin there is also a ride for you.

Just remember, the great thing about this sport is having fun and meeting like-minded people. Having a team in which you feel comfortable in will make riding and racing much more enjoyable.

 A local ride I found on Facebook and decided to join. Look how many new friends  made!

A local ride I found on Facebook and decided to join. Look how many new friends  made!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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