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racing

The Art of Being Prepared

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The Art of Being Prepared

By ALP Coach Alison Powers

The art of being prepared comes down to one simple thing—no surprises on race day.

Preparing for race day is more than training and recovery.  Success on race day requires precise preparation. These means the things you can control should be dialed in, ready, and give you confidence to have the best performance possible.

“Fail to prepare and prepare to fail”—famous quote by someone who inspires people to get their shit together.

Gila TT AP.png

Preparation begins the weeks leading into the race.  Do your homework and learn things such as- what is the length of the course, what are the fitness and skills demands of the course/race, when do I need to register for the race, who will be my competition, winning times from previous years, average weather temperature for that time of year, etc. Once you know this basic information, talk it over with your coach, and come up with a plan for success.

Preparation continues the week of the race.  During this time, make sure your equipment is dialed in. Bike is clean and in good working condition- same with tires, cleats, suspension, etc.  Missing the winning breakaway because you couldn’t get it in the big chain ring is not a good excuse for a bad race.

The day before the race is where little things you do to prepare can make big differences.  These include, pre riding the course, checking who’s pre-registered so you know your competition, eating and hydrating well, preparing your race bag (clothing, shoes, helmet, extra clothing, recovery drink, etc) and day of and race food and resting and sleeping.

SnowyMountain Photo

SnowyMountain Photo

Preparation continues the day of the race. Most successful racers have a well-tested pre-race routine and they stick to it. Dialing in your own pre-race routine will ensure that you arrive at the start line feeling calm and ready. This pre-race routine includes things like; having a schedule for when to eat breakfast, when to pack the car, drive to the race, pick up race numbers, and pre-ride the course. This will help ensure you don’t forget items at home and you’re ready for everything.  This routine also includes food, drink, bathroom, etc. The goal is to know exactly what to eat, when to eat it, when to pee, and when and how much to drink.

The goal of all this preparation is to give you the best possible chance to have a successful race.  During the race, you must put this preparation into place. Have a pre-race plan and stick to it as best as possible (or have a plan B and/or C incase plan A didn’t work). Make sure to eat and drink according to plan, and trust that all the hard work you have put in will pay off.  

Finally, your preparation continues post-race. After cooling down, make sure to have a change of clothes, post-race nutrition (food and/or recovery drink), and give some thought as to what went well and what you can improve upon so come next race, you are better prepared for success.

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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. 

challenge-accepted.jpg

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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A Mid Season Review

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A Mid Season Review

It's hard to believe, but it's almost July and that means we are more than half way through the spring/summer race season.

Every summer we watch riders and racers just going through the motions. Without giving much thought to their training and racing, they enter race after race, get the same result, and do the same training each week. Come July, they are burned out, don't want to ride their bikes, and personal goals have not been achieved. All of the time, money, and training have been a waste (super unfortunate).

To avoid this pattern, take a step back and evaluate the first half of your race season. How has your racing been? Have you accomplished your goals? What do you need to do to become better, faster, stronger?

Every year we ask our ALP athletes to fill out a Mid Season Review. Once filled out they send it back to their coach and schedule a phone call. After a phone call to discuss the review, the coach and the athlete make a plan of attack to ensure the second half of the season is strong, enjoyable, motivating, and goal achieving. 

Goal setting, evaluating, planning, and executing is a continuous process. To ensure you get the most out of yourself, and your training, do a mid season review. Check in on your feelings and energy levels (both mentally and physically), look over your training and race data, set new attainable goals, and make a plan to have a great finish to the year. 

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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. 

challenge-accepted.jpg

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. 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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Black Friday- a T.R.U.M.P Workout

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Black Friday- a T.R.U.M.P Workout

Looking to burn off some of your holiday eating and get fit at the same time? This workout is for you. A throwback to a blog post we did last year- The TRUMP workout. 

No matter how you voted, how happy or unhappy you are about it, Donald Trump is our new President. 

Here at ALP Cycles Coaching, we decided to use this opportunity to create a new workout. Just like President Elect Trump, this workout will take you by surprise, kick some ass, then leave you feeling mentally and physically drained. 

We present to you our T.R.U.M.P workout. 

T- Tempo

R- Race Winning Interval

U- Under/Overs

M- Muscle Tenson Interval

P- Push-ups

Warm-up for 20-30min and include 4x1min 100+rpm intervals to wake up your legs. 

Main Set-

8 minutes at Tempo (zone 3) 95+rpm 

2 minutes rest

3:40 minute RWI at VO2 (zone 5)- Start with a 10 second sprint and keep drilling it for 20 more seconds. Then, settle in at VO2 (zone 5) for 3 minutes. Finish with an out of the saddle 10 second sprint like you are sprinting for the finish line of your 'A' race. 

3 minutes rest

6 minutes of Under/Overs. For 6 minutes, alternate 1 min at Tempo, 1 minute at VO2.

2 minutes of rest

5 minutes of MTI at Sweet Spot (Zones 3/4)- aim for 60-70rpm. Keep your upper body calm, relaxed, and core tight.

1 minute rest and then get off your bike and 

30 seconds of Push-Ups. 

Get back on your bike, rest and recover. Still feeling peppy? Then do a second set. 

Cool down for 15-20min, foam roll, stretch, and drink recovery drink (we like Breakthrough Nutrition's NBS recovery drink). 

Happy training!

 

 

 

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How To Deal With The Heat

Written by ALP Cycles Coach, Jennifer Sharp

It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere and temperatures are hotting up. While each person responds differently to heat (some thrive, others wilt) there are a few things you can do to beat the heat and ensure you have a good performance.  Below are several tips that you can start using immediately that may benefit your performance.

When should I ride? Keep in mind the time of day it’s the hottest. In Colorado, that means from 11am - 6pm is HOT. We highly recommend getting up early (at daybreak, if possible) and getting in those big miles early before the heat of the day. 

ALP Cycles Racing athletes beat the heat with cold water and Breakthrough Nutrition's NBS.

ALP Cycles Racing athletes beat the heat with cold water and Breakthrough Nutrition's NBS.

What should I drink? While water is the obvious choice, athletes also benefit from a sports drink of some sort. As you exercise, you lose water and electrolytes through sweat. Hydrating before you head out on a ride is one way to combat this loss of valuable fluids. I’ve personally had great success by drinking a preload hydration mix (that has an increased amount of sodium) 60 minutes before an intense effort like a crit or short track race, or even a long, intense training ride followed by a bottle of cold water (we like Breakthrough Nutrition's NBS line of hydration, pre load, and recovery mixes). 

How do I stay cool? Two words: ice socks. Yes, it might seem a little weird when you by a box of knee high panty hose at your local pharmacy but filling it with several handfuls of ice and tying it up and putting it on your back between your shoulder blades will give you instant relief from the heat. Why panty hose? Because when the ice melts, you’ll have a small, discrete carrying case that you can reuse. In really hot conditions (85 degrees and hotter) Alison said she’s also emerged her jersey in a cooler full of ice water and then puts it on just before she raced. I also recommend carrying an extra water bottle full of ice and dumping it on your head throughout the effort to stay cool. Or get someone out on course to douse you with some water. 

Benjamin Sharp (Jennifer's husband) douses her with cold water at the top of the Snake Alley climb. Photo by Erika Fulk.

Benjamin Sharp (Jennifer's husband) douses her with cold water at the top of the Snake Alley climb. Photo by Erika Fulk.

How can I acclimate? If you really suffer in hot conditions, the best way to acclimate to them is to ride in them. Unfortunately there’s not an easy way around this. You can take it slow by starting your rides in the morning and working toward riding during the heat of the day. Start off exercising easy and slowly increase your intensity. Heat acclimation happens within 4-9 days of training and full acclimation occurs in about 14 days. Here’s a link to University of Connecticut’s Heat Acclimization recommendations: http://ksi.uconn.edu/prevention/heat-acclimatization/

When should I stop exercising? Cycling is earmarked with pain and suffering. We push our bodies to exhaustion and beyond normal warning signs. However, heat exhaustion and exertional heat stroke should not be taken lightly. If your body has a difficult time with heat and you feel like you may pass out - then stop. Using the tips above should help dealing with the heat. 

Have some tips to share? Please leave them in the comments below - we’d love to learn what works for you! 

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Don't forget about our Winter Park Mountain Bike Capital USA with an  All Star line up of mountain bike coaches, you'll learn, ride, and improve your mountain bike skills and confidence in a town known for it's singletrack. 

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Kids - don't try this at home. Jennifer is tossing a bottle back to Alison in the follow car at last year's Pro Challenge. (She caught it!)

Kids - don't try this at home. Jennifer is tossing a bottle back to Alison in the follow car at last year's Pro Challenge. (She caught it!)

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A Mid Season Review

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A Mid Season Review

It's hard to believe, but it's already July and that means we are more than half way through the spring/summer race season.

Every summer we watch riders and racers just going through the motions. Without giving much thought to their training and racing, they enter race after race, get the same result, and do the same training each week. Come July, they are burned out, don't want to ride their bikes, and personal goals have not been achieved. All of the time, money, and training have been a waste (super unfortunate).

To avoid this pattern, take a step back and evaluate the first half of your race season. How has your racing been? Have you accomplished your goals? What do you need to do to become better, faster, stronger?

Every year we ask our ALP athletes to fill out a Mid Season Review. Once filled out they send it back to their coach and schedule a phone call. After a phone call to discuss the review, the coach and the athlete make a plan of attack to ensure the second half of the season is strong, enjoyable, motivating, and goal achieving. 

Goal setting, evaluating, planning, and executing is a continuous process. To ensure you get the most out of yourself, and your training, do a mid season review. Check in on your feelings and energy levels (both mentally and physically), look over your training and race data, set new attainable goals, and make a plan to have a great finish to the year. 

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The Art of Being Prepared

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The Art of Being Prepared

By ALP Coach Alison Powers

The art of being prepared comes down to one simple thing—no surprises on race day.

Preparing for race day is more than training and recovery.  Success on race day requires precise preparation. These means the things you can control should be dialed in, ready, and give you confidence to have the best performance possible.

“Fail to prepare and prepare to fail”—famous quote by someone who inspires people to get their shit together.

Preparation begins the weeks leading into the race.  Do your homework and learn things such as- what is the length of the course, what are the fitness and skills demands of the course/race, when do I need to register for the race, who will be my competition, winning times from previous years, average weather temperature for that time of year, etc. Once you know this basic information, talk it over with your coach, and come up with a plan for success.

Preparation continues the week of the race.  During this time, make sure your equipment is dialed in. Bike is clean and in good working condition- same with tires, cleats, suspension, etc.  Missing the winning breakaway because you couldn’t get it in the big chain ring is not a good excuse for a bad race.

The day before the race is where little things you do to prepare can make big differences.  These include, pre riding the course, checking who’s pre-registered so you know your competition, eating and hydrating well, preparing your race bag (clothing, shoes, helmet, extra clothing, recovery drink, etc) and day of and race food and resting and sleeping.

Preparation continues the day of the race. Most successful racers have a well-tested pre-race routine and they stick to it. Dialing in your own pre-race routine will ensure that you arrive at the start line feeling calm and ready. This pre-race routine includes things like; having a schedule for when to eat breakfast, when to pack the car, drive to the race, pick up race numbers, and pre-ride the course. This will help ensure you don’t forget items at home and you’re ready for everything.  This routine also includes food, drink, bathroom, etc. The goal is to know exactly what to eat, when to eat it, when to pee, and when and how much to drink.

The goal of all this preparation is to give you the best possible chance to have a successful race.  During the race, you must put this preparation into place. Have a pre-race plan and stick to it as best as possible (or have a plan B and/or C incase plan A didn’t work). Make sure to eat and drink according to plan, and trust that all the hard work you have put in will pay off.  

Finally, your preparation continues post-race. After cooling down, make sure to have a change of clothes, post-race nutrition (food and/or recovery drink), and give some thought as to what went well and what you can improve upon so come next race, you are better prepared for success.

Shout out and big congratulations to ALP Coach Ruth Winder for winning the uphill time trial at Joe Martine Stage Race. 

Good luck Ruth and your UnitedHealthcare team for today's road stage.

 

 

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T.R.U.M.P Workout

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T.R.U.M.P Workout

No matter how you voted, how happy or unhappy you are about it, Donald Trump is going to be our new President. 

Here at ALP Cycles Coaching, we decided to use this opportunity to create a new workout. Just like President Elect Trump, this workout will take you by surprise, kick some ass, then leave you feeling mentally and physically drained. 

We present to you our T.R.U.M.P workout. 

T- Tempo

R- Race Winning Interval

U- Under/Overs

M- Muscle Tenson Interval

P- Push-ups

Warm-up for 20-30min and include 4x1min 100+rpm intervals to wake up your legs. 

Main Set-

8 minutes at Tempo (zone 3) 95+rpm 

2 minutes rest

3:40 minute RWI at VO2 (zone 5)- Start with a 10 second sprint and keep drilling it for 20 more seconds. Then, settle in at VO2 (zone 5) for 3 minutes. Finish with an out of the saddle 10 second sprint like you are sprinting for the finish line of your 'A' race. 

3 minutes rest

6 minutes of Under/Overs. For 6 minutes, alternate 1 min at Tempo, 1 minute at VO2.

2 minutes of rest

5 minutes of MTI at Sweet Spot (Zones 3/4)- aim for 60-70rpm. Keep your upper body calm, relaxed, and core tight.

1 minute rest and then get off your bike and 

30 seconds of Push-Ups. 

Get back on your bike, rest and recover for 8 minutes before doing a second set. Still feeling peppy after doing a second set? Then do a third. 

Cool down for 15-20min, foam roll, stretch, and drink recovery drink (we like Breakthrough Nutrition's NBS recovery drink). 

 

 

 

 

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The 3% Rule

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The 3% Rule

By ALP Coach Jennifer Sharp

3%.

You spend money on equipment, coaching, nutritional advice, etc., yet are you getting the most out of your racing? If you knew that you could improve your cycling by 3% and increase the likelihood of winning a race - you’d do it, right?

At this point, you’ve probably pined a number or two to a jersey and raced. And by now, you should have a good idea about what you need to take with you in your race bag (click here for a race checklist). You’ve likely figured out that a gel 15 minutes before the start of a time trial is better than 15 minutes after you complete an effort. And hopefully it’s been at least a little while since someone clued you in on not wearing under-roos beneath your cycling shorts. 

While there are a million general rules of thumb you could apply to becoming a better racer, there are two things that can help you with that top 3% of improvement: your warmup and cool down.

Why focus on a warmup? A proper warmup promotes blood flow to your legs by increasing your muscle and body temperature. By warming up, you dilate your blood vessels, improve your range of emotion and can mentally prepare for the effort at hand. Your warmup should be specific to the type of race your about to do - whether that be a road race, crit, time trial, short track, endurance mountain bike race, etc. 

Chicago Women's Elite Cycling Team Warming up for the Time Trail at Joe Martin Stage Race

Chicago Women's Elite Cycling Team Warming up for the Time Trail at Joe Martin Stage Race

What kind of warmup? For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to focus on crits. At ALP Cycles we prescribe the following warmup protocol: 

Total crit warmup time: 38 minutes

10 minutes in zone 1/2, easy spinning

3 x 1 minute high cadence (110+ rpms) with 1 minute of easy riding between. 

2 minutes zone 3

1 minute easy

4 minutes zone 3 

1 minute easy

2 minutes at functional threshold power

2 minutes easy

:30 seconds HARD

5 minutes easy

After you complete your race, you should immediately start thinking about your cool down as a way to aid recovery. Post-race go for an easy recovery spin or hook up to the trainer. Your perceived exertion should be a 3 or less out of 10, with a cadence between 80-100. Easy cool down rides help you recover from the race more quickly and allows you to train again in a shorter amount of time. If you can grab a recovery drink (3:1 - 5:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio) and sip it while you cool down, even better. Cool downs should last anywhere between 15-20 minutes.

Want to learn more about the 3% rule or other warmup protocols designed for your specific race and what you can do to maximize your results on the bike? We can help! Contact ALP Cycles Coaching today.

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