As coaches, we continually look for ways to make our ALP athletes better, faster, stronger, and more knowledgable. We want them to be the best athletes they can possibly be.
Personally, when I (Alison Powers) think back to my racing and training career, I wish I had known many of the things I now know as a coach. So, that lead me to think of ways we can teach our athletes this 'high performance' knowledge so they can raise their game to the next level. With some brain storming we came up with a new training/learning/teaching camp. The ALP Cycles High Performance Camp.
What is a high performance camp? A long weekend (Thursday-Sunday) in Boulder, Colorado where we dial in bike fit, proper training, nutrition, and recovery methods, strength training form and exercises, determine weakness and start to fix those, and make sure each and every athelte is 100% prepared to kick ass in 2017.
Confident bike riders are fast bike riders and one way to gain confidence on the bike is to practice skills and become proficient bike handlers. That's exactly what we did on day 1 of camp.
We worked on body position, vision, bumping/contact with other riders, balance, cornering, and climbing technique.
Fast bike riders are not only confident on their bike, they are comfortable and powerful on their bike. For our second day at camp, we spent time at Revo Physiotherapy and Sports Performance in Boulder. We spent 90min learning cycling specific strength exercises we can do to not only become stronger, but to eliminate pain and have correct body dynamics on the bike. Each rider also got a comprehensive bike fit complete with electro myography to see which muscles are working, and which are not.
While some riders were getting their bike fits dialed in, others were learning and experiencing the benefits of motor pacing. Come spring time, nothing prepares the body and mind for racing like motor pacing. With a 10mile loop, each athlete got time behind the motor working on leg speed, drafting, paying attention to the wind, anticipating speed changes, and going fast.
In addition to the on-bike learning each day, we had 5 off-bike presentations. The presentations focused on specific topics to help our athletes take better care of their body, their mind and mental focus, their equipment, and their confidence. Thursday afternoon, I did a presentation on the benefits of mental imagery and how to practice it (sorry for dropping the 'f' bomb, Mom).
Saturday, it was time to put into practice the things we had been learning. During our 3 hour bike ride, we climbed 5,000ft, did 3 race simulations on a hilly, technical loop, worked on paclines, descending, and ended with a speed limit sign sprint competition. Legs were good and toasty at the end of the ride.
We used pee sticks to test riders hydration and nutrition on the bike, and recovery off the bike and from day to day.
Sunday was all about sprinting. When it comes to a sprint (field sprint, sprinting from a small group, etc), it's all about positioning, timing, and gearing. We worked on all 3 and ended with a 3 lap mock race that ended in a sprint finish. In addition to the learning, several riders set new peak 5 and 10 second power numbers.
The goal with this High Performance Camp was to arm our athletes with the tools, knowledge, and knowhow needed to raise their game another 5%.