Who We Are - Who We Coach ~ International Cycling Coaches News and Events
Here you will find articles reprinted from magazines and websites. We begin with “Training with Power... What's next after Heart Rate Monitors” , followed by “Crash Course in Off Season Cycling Skills” and “Base Training ”.

Training with Power - The New Era of Training

The wireless heart-rate monitor came out in the early 1980s and training has not been the same since. While most of the changes brought by heart-rate monitoring have been positive, we may have become too concerned with pulse.

Heart rate-based training has limitations. One is that it's not sensitive to sudden changes in effort. When doing intervals, for example, heart rate takes several seconds, or even minutes, to "catch-up" with the work level. Because of this, some have decided that an interval doesn't really begin until heart rate reaches the prescribed level. This artificially increases the duration of intervals. As far as the other systems of the body are concerned, the interval started as soon as the effort increased - not when the heart rate caught up with it. Heart rate can also be highly variable as it is effected by temperature, hydration, sleep, caffeine and other factors.

For intervals shorter than about two minutes, heart rate has limited value and it is useless for short, sprint-type repetitions. Yet many attempt to set intensity for such workouts based on heart rate. Heart rate training can be done very effectively in steady efforts done below the lactate threshold. Above threshold we have to be a bit more creative in planning your work and rest intervals and selecting terrain and pace descriptions to get the most out of the workout.

Athletes also have come to believe that the only purpose of training is to elevate the heart rate. This leads to a myopic view of training, one in which the cardiovascular system is all we're concerned with. There are many other systems that deserve attention in training, including the muscular, nervous, energy-productions and pulmonary systems.

Training with Power: In the early 1990s, Uli Schoberer made a special crankset for accurately measuring bike power output on the road: the Schoberer Rad Messtechnik (SRM) was born, and cycle training changed forever. With an SRM Powermeter, a rider could see and analyze their actual intensity as it relates to force at the pedals. From there we can design athlete specific power training goals and do interval workouts that closely mimic or even exceed the requirements of the sport. Since power is unaffected by wind or hills, it is an excellent way to gauge intensity. We know that power is directly related to cycling performance. The more power you can generate, the greater your potential for getting good results in races.

Powermeters are the wave of the future in bike training. In a few years we'll all be talking about watts and kilojoules the same was we do about heart rates now.

Check out the Speed Zone for PowerTap.
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Crash Course in Off Season Cycling Skills

Cyclists and Triathletes train more than just about any other athletes, especially in the race season, so when is there time for any skill work? In the winter of course.

Working on your cycling skills is more than just turning, braking and transitions, to really improve your cycling speed, get down to the basics of your pedal stroke and efficiency.  The fundamental skill in riding a bike is pedaling, the difference between pedaling smoothly and efficiently and not can be dramatic to your endurance in races and in triathlon not  only to your bike leg, but also to your run as wasted energy on the bike cannot be made up.

Use the whole pedal stroke. A simple, but effective way to teach your legs to pedal more effectively is to ride one legged. This is a skill, so it's best done early in a ride when you are still fairly fresh. It can be worked into a ride in about 10 minutes after warming up. Simply unclip one foot from a pedal, and pedal with only one leg. You will feel what it really feels like to pull back across the bottom of the pedal stoke, up and over the top. Start with 5 or 6 repetitions about 15-20 seconds with each leg, but gradually increase the number and the length until you can pedal smoothly for over a minute per leg.  The first couple of revolutions are usually no problem, but before long most riders feel and hear a clunk as their foot comes over the top of the pedal stoke. The noise is your freewheel ratchet, re-engaging after you leg speed catches up to your bikes speed. With practice you'll be able to avoid this lack of power and smooth out the rest of the pedal stoke. You should do this in different gears, pedaling fast in an easy gear and pedaling fairly hard, like up a small hill, to feel and work on both your strength and coordination. Concentrate on moving your feet in a circular motion.

The second drill is to simply pedal as fast as you can in an easy gear for 20-30 seconds at a time. The trick is to pedal smoothly, with little or no upper body bounce. Although maximum leg speed is not a big factor in Time Trials and non-drafting races working on this in training will make you faster and increase your efficiency which will save you energy. To spin fast and smooth you are working on neuromuscular coordination, by teaching your muscles to fire efficiently you can generate  much more power, and spin faster, you go faster and save energy.

f you are a triathlete in drafting races, leg speed is even more important as it will make it easier to accelerate out of corners or to get back on a wheel (in the draft) if another rider opens up a gap and you are forced to go around them. Good leg speed will also afford you the luxury of expending much less energy when in the draft of the group, which translates into a better run.

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Base Training

Winter time is the most important training occurs. If you build a good base, you go way farther in the season with better recovery and less fatigue.

Here is how specific you should be at this time of year and why.

Base Training. LSD. (Long Steady Distance) Long duration, fairly low intensity, HR 135-150 in most cases (65%-75% of your maximum HR). This training increases the size of your heart, your volume of blood, the number of blood vessels and the capacity of your lungs.

The more you can do the better. The problem with going too hard or not being at a fairly steady pace is that it causes more fatigue, so you can't do the kind of volume that is beneficial. This type of training is causing adaptations to you body in a certain way. High intensity training causes adaptations in a very different way. These two types of adaptations get in each others way more than anything. 2-3 intensity days and 2-3 LSD days or lots of in between training (long hammerfests) will get you quick, but very limited fitness gains. Also go too hard in the winter, and you're fried in May.

Imagine your muscles are factories producing PowerBoxes. Oxygen is needed to make PowerBoxes, and oxygen is delivered in trucks (red blood cells) from your lungs on roads, (blood vessels) to your factories. Base training is like building more and bigger roads and more trucks. Intensity training is building bigger better factories (energy production in muscle cells). You only have a limited number of workers to build either factories or roads and trucks. If you don't build the roads and trucks, you'll never be able to run your PowerBoxes factories at full capacity.

LSD training can be road, MTB, running, hiking, cross country skiing or almost anything else that is steady and long in duration. Most effective if you keep it under 75 % of your maximum HR. Their does need to be some time at high intensity (above 75 % of your maximum HR) to maintain the muscle cells production capacity. It is best if this training is cycling in the race and pre-season, but now it can be riding, running, skiing etc...have fun!

You can't get specific in April and hope to make big gains if you haven't done the base work. Build them roads!! Knowing this, if you do go harder than you should on a ride that's fine. But then, you have to factor that into your training over the next few days. Especially if you are busy at work, school or both, you can build up fatigue fairly quickly, then you will have trouble doing enough volume and going hard enough when you need to go hard.

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Some Quick Tips from Some of Our Favourite Pro Racers

If you've got a tip to share with the world please send it to: Tips , we'll be sure to credit you and your sponsor if we post it.
Or, if you have a specific question that no one seems to be able to answer, please ask us! Send it to: Help

Cross Training
(Thanks to Gina Grain of the Victory Brewing Women's Professional Road Team)
Regenerate you mind and body in the winter with some cross training! Cyclo-Cross, mountain biking, running, rowing, climbing and swimming are just a few of the activities that I like to do in the early part of the winter season. Keep fit, but don't let yourself get burned out by too much indoor trainer or roller rides in December and January. Cross training will also make you stronger in parts of your body that will probably benefit from the extra strength once you start racing again.

Cyclo-Cross on your MTB
(Thanks to Andreas Hestler of the Rocky Mountain Bikes Team)
Want to do some Cyclo-Cross racing but you don't have a Cross Bike, no problem. A mountain bike is well suited to most Cyclo-Cross courses, remove both your water bottle cages and bar-ends so that carrying the bike is easier. Next find some fast tires, narrow semi-slicks, like Michelins work really well. You might also want to increase the pre-load on your shocks as you won't need as much travel as in a MTB race.  Finally, make sure you check with the organizer, some only allow Cyclo-Cross bikes at their races.

The Mechanic Says
(Thanks to our Master Mechanic Gerry Huizinga of Straight Up Cycles)
Do not power wash your bike, please. High pressure hoses can easily penetrate the seals on bike parts and wash all the grease out of your hubs, headset, bottom bracket, and pedals.
Do use a high quality chain lube on your chain and cables in the winter. The chain will be especially prone to more water and grit. Keep it clean and keep it lubed or you'll be replacing your whole drive train before you know it!

Muddy MTB Races
(thanks to Amber Chorney, Team Gary Fisher-Saab, Silver Medalist, 2000 Canadian MTB Championships)
On really muddy days where this is likely to be a lot of running (ick!) spray your  (clean) pedals, shoes, frame and derailleurs  with Pam. That's right Pam cooking spray will help to keep the mud at bay for at least a few laps.

Road Hill Climbs
(thanks to Suzanne Macht of Team Kappa, BC Hill Climb Champion)
Be sure to leave your water bottles behind at the start of a hill climb, the extra weight can slow you down.  Also remember to take all extras off your bike for any TT, Crit or RR, you do not want your pump falling off into someone's spokes, nor do you need the extra weight of a seat bag.

Race Numbers
(thanks to Sandy Espeseth , Victory Brewing Women's Professional Road Team, 2000 Canadian National Road Champion)
Always crumple you paper numbers up into a ball, then flatten them out. Your numbers will be less of a wind catching parachute on your back. Bring you own safety pins to the race too, sometimes the organizer runs out and only gives you 6 pins for 3 numbers! Make sure your numbers are easy to read so you don't get missed at the finish!

Wind trainer warm up
(thanks to Leah Goldstein, Israel National Team, 2 x Top 15 World TT at Championships)
Take you wind trainer to races for warm ups and cooling down. On rainy days you can stay dry, on hot days you can stay in the shade and you never have to watch for cars or other riders. It's a great way to mentally prepare for the race because you have so many less distractions and worries.

Time Trials
New to the TT or an old pro, here's some advice to get you off on the right foot

Canadian National Road Champion and Pan American TT Champion Sandy Espeseth training on her TT bike, very aero!
  • Check and confirm your start time, do not be late!!
  • Start your computer when the timekeeper tells you 60 seconds to go.  Easy math, no more worries.
  • Ask the holder if they are ready just after you start your computer, clip in one foot, up to your saddle, then clip in the other.  Make sure you are in the right gear for you (this may be big or small ring, practice some starts in advance). Sit on your saddle and take deep breathes and focus on the task at hand. At 10 seconds to go grab your bars, ensure your strong foot is at 2 o'clock in it's pedal stroke. Stay seated until 1 second to go, then out of the saddle and accelerate in a nice straight line. Standing too soon will only allow lactic acid to accumulate in your legs.
  • Tell the holder if you want to be leaning more to one side or the other.
  • Do not miss your start time!!
  • Ride fast, stop your computer when you cross the line, then deduct 61 seconds to see your time.
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Tips for New Racers

Equipment and Clothing

Must Have Items

  • Helmet proper fit is a must, straps should be snug.
  • Cycling Shorts, padded cycling shorts are a must for comfort on long rides.
  • Water bottle and on bike holder, to carry water or a sports beverage.
  • Emergency Equipment, pump, spare tube, tire levers, spare change (in case you have to phone for help or really need a snack!)

Very Good to Have Items

  • Cycling Shoes, stiff soled cycling shoes transfer more power to the pedals and are easier on your feet. Some models work with the pedals to securely hold you feet for maximum efficiency
  • Cycling Jersey, trim fit for aerodynamics and comfort, perspiration wicking fabric, rear pockets for carrying food, jacket or tools
  • Tights, cool weather gear to cover the legs and stay out of the chain. The added wind chill of riding can make it feel quite cool, always keep your knees covered on rides when the temperature is below 15 Celsius.
  • Gloves, padded cycling gloves provide comfort on long rides and protect your hands in the event of a crash.
  • Eye wear, to keep bugs, rain and debris out of your eyes, also good protection from wind on fast downhills.
  • Light Jacket, preferably one that folds up and can be easily carried on the bike in case you have to stop, or the weather changes.

Nice to Have Extras

  • Cycling Computer, for speed, distance, time and average speed.
  • Heart Rate Monitor, to monitor your intensity.
  • Long sleeve cycling jersey, for cool days.
  • Gortex Rain Wear, for the hardcore rider to keep the weather at bay.
  • Fenders for rainy days, to keep road dirt and water off you and your riding partners.
  • Clipless Cycling Pedals, for maximum efficiency.
  • Shoe covers, to keep feet warm and dry in rainy weather

Other Things to Always Remember

  • Take an extra team/club jersey to every race to wear on the podium
  • Drink bottled water when traveling, especially in small towns and when staying in places that remind you of the movie "Deliverance".
  • Keep your knees covered at temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius.
  • Write your name in felt pen on your road wheels (rims and tires) so you can identify them if you get a wheel change in a race.
  • Write your name in felt pen on all of your club/team clothing (because everybody's looks the same!) and just about everything else you own especially when traveling with a team or a club.
  • If you put your spare wheels into a service vehicle always have your race number written on a piece of thin cardboard (cereal boxes work best) in thick felt pen, the easier your wheels are to identify, the better the chance of getting your own wheel if you need a wheel change.
  • Take clothes for all types of weather to every race, have a checklist so that you never forget to pack anything.
  • Take food and water to every race, don't count on anything being there.
  • Never wear the same pair of cycling shorts twice without washing them!! If you only have a couple of pairs, wash them by hand (especially the chamois) , using an antibacterial soap (like clearasil), rinse really well then roll them up in a towel, twist the towel really tight a couple of times, then hang your shorts to dry.  Unless you live in a very humid environment they should be dry in a few hours.
  • Always wash yourself really well. If you are prone to saddle sores, the same antibacterial soap that washes your shorts should be used on your butt.
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Crash Course in Off Season Cycling Skills

Cyclists and Triathletes train more than just about any other athletes, especially in the race season, so when is there time for any skill work? In the winter of course. 
News and Events

Base Training

Winter time is the most important training occurs. If you build a good base, you go way farther in the season with better recovery and less fatigue.
News and Events

Some Quick Tips from Some of Our Pro Racers

Regenerate you mind and body in the winter with some cross training! Cyclo-Cross, mountain biking, running, rowing, climbing and swimming are just a few of the activities that I like to do in the early part of the winter season.
News and Events

Tips for New Racers

Equipment and Clothing
Must Have Items, Very Good to Have Items, Nice to Have Extras and Other Things to Always Remeber.
News and Events

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