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road racing

Keep learning. Keep striving to get better

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Keep learning. Keep striving to get better

Last weekend, in Colorado Springs, was the USA Cycling Coaches Summit. Every two years coaches from around the country come to USA Cycling to increase their coaching knowledge and knowhow. 

ALP Coaches, Alison, Jennifer, and Ruth attended the coaching summit. Over the course of 3 days, there were 18 presentations. One of the 18, was how to Build a Sustainable Coaching Business prepared and presented by Alison and Jennifer to 75 coaches . Alison and Jennifer used ALP Cycles Coaching's business model and ideas. They encouraged other coaches to find their coaching niche, build a recognizable brand, and aim to treat their own coaching business as professionally as possible. 

Jennifer and Alison during their presentation at USA Cycling

Jennifer and Alison during their presentation at USA Cycling

The other 17 presentations ranged from; effectively using data, monitoring muscle glucose levels, applying science to optimal performance, cardiac risk in athletes, mental preparation, heat adaption, disordered eating, and more. 

Ruth learning about muscle cramping

Ruth learning about muscle cramping

There was a lot to take in and learn in the 3 days. After the summit, each coach got her own take away lesson(s). 

Jennifer- My biggest takeaway from the weekend is that there are so many faucets of cycling that generating income and finding pockets of revenue require some ingenuity. From collegiate cycling, to grand fondo's, to tracking glycogen, to pedaling symmetry, and paralysis through analysis. As data analysis become more mainstream and training plans start becoming computer generated, cycling coaches are going to have to shift from how they've done things in the past and make sure they stay relevant in today's market. I really like Kevin's initial question- "Who here has the silver bullet?" Meaning who has the secret to everything? And the truth is no one- but we can keep searching for it and figuring out what tools work best for each of us. 

World Time Trial Champion Amber Neben's coach, Tim Cusick,  presenting on the Power of Data Analytics in Endurance Coaching.  

World Time Trial Champion Amber Neben's coach, Tim Cusick,  presenting on the Power of Data Analytics in Endurance Coaching.  

Ruth- My biggest takeaway was the number of coaches and how they inspired me to apply myself in different ways to be a more effective coach. Through difference presentations and talks, roughly 150 coaches were able to share their passion which I found contagious. There are many approaches to take, and more one that is the be all and end all way, but we keep learning and exploring all the time. 

Alison- My biggest take away from the weekend was how important it is to really explain the 'why's' to our athletes and to teach them about their training and their sport. Ask questions and get the athlete involved in their training and athletic experience. There is so much more to training and coaching than a training plan. A successful athlete is one who is well rounded, knowledgeable, confident, buys into their training and recovery processes, takes care of their body and their hydration and nutrition needs. A coach is there to lead the athlete, guide the athlete, teach the athlete, and prepare them so, come race day, all they have to do is perform.  

We strongly believe in continuing education for our ALP coaches.  Just like our athletes, our coaches must strive to raise their game to stay on top of the sport and the ever growing knowledge on the body, training, cycling, recovery, data, etc.  Thank you USA Cycling for providing valuable knowledge and tools for our coaches. 

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Join us in January for winter training camp in Tucson. We ride, we learn, we teach, we become better and more confident cyclists. Prices go up next week, so reserve your spot now. 

 

Tucson Training Camp

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Director Sportif Experience at North Star GP- part 1 team building camp

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Director Sportif Experience at North Star GP- part 1 team building camp

By ALP Coach Patricia Schwager

This blog is about my experience with directing the All Stars Collegiate Team at the North Star GP. It was my first DS job and I was super excited for the opportunity.

About the All Stars Collegiate Team: riders get selected at Collegiate Nationals. Racing for the Collegiate All Stars Team is a unique chance for the girls as they get top support for 2 weeks (at camp and during North Star GP) - all they have to do is race their bike. They get to race against the top women racers in the country- plus they compete in front of the team managers of the top women teams in the nation. Showing a good performance can give them the chance to get a contract with a team.

 I flew to Minneapolis a few days early to meet up with team manager, and ALP athelte, Jill. Together we pre rode the 2 road race stages and made sure everything was ready when the girls arrive.

Notes about one of the stages, making sure I can teach the girls everything about this stage

Notes about one of the stages, making sure I can teach the girls everything about this stage

 Day 1: arrival day. I did airport runs, helped the girls to build their bikes together, packed the van/ car and then drove out to our camp in Amery WI. An easy spin to shake out the legs rounded the day off.

Day 2: was a hot day so we started our training ride early in the morning. 3 hours Endurance including some blocks with rotating pace lines. I was very happy with the improvement- the pace line in the end of the training looked nice and smooth and the girls were riding closely together.

Day 3: 2 hour ride with skills, drills and tactics. We practiced: leadouts, TT-starts, closing gaps, riding up the middle and slalom around teammates, feeding from the car and handing up bottles from the road side. We ended the session with some skills like touching elbows, shoulders etc. In the afternoon I cleaned all the bikes for the girls.

Day 4: was our travel day back to Minneapolis. We stopped in Stillwater for coffee and to pre drive the famous Stillwater criterium course. Buying groceries, settling in in our nice host house and a very easy recovery spin were the other tasks on our program.

Day 5: the day before the race. We got up early to pre ride and do openers on the TT course. I rode with the girls and gave them advice for the TT (which line to take, how to ride the turnaround etc.) Around noon we had a sponsor function at the Medica headquarters (Medica was our team sponsor).  After that the girls all got a massage and had time to relax while I attended the DS meeting.

The whole idea of the camp before the North Star GP was to create a team out of 6 individual riders. My goal was to find the right balance between working hard and having fun. I tried to teach them as much as possible in the 5 days- without over doing it or putting pressure on them. I joined every training ride on my bike- so I could see or teach things 1:1. In my opinion a coach on the bike can teach better than a coach sitting in the car.

I made them work together on and off the bike. We had meetings every day to talk about different topics and the girls asked me a lot of questions. We had nice campfire chats (of course with eating S’mores) and played games or just sat together after dinner to talk about random stuff. A big thank you to Sue and Jay Kakuk for hosting us on their farm- they provided us with delicious food and they also make the best cookies called: Kakookies!

I was very impressed and pleased how everything worked out at camp. The girls were willing to learn and showed great team spirit. We were ready for 5 days of racing!

Part 2 of this blog will follow, to share the experience about racing at NSGP.

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