• The way of a coach.

    B68 Marathon, Breckenridge, COSome of you may...or may not know...that 2008 was the first year that I worked with a cycling coach. After the end of 2007, and having just moved to Colorado, I though I would look into the option of having more structure in my seasonal program.

    While living and racing in Iowa, I was self coached. I read the books, surfed the web, and learned by trial and error. Though I was self coached, I felt I was very very successful. At the end of 2007 it became aware to me that I had stalled out. It seemed that from 2006-2007 I was not getting any faster regardless of what I did on or off the bike. So, right before I moved to Colorado in October of 2007, I started doing some research. Who do I choose to coach me? Do they need to live close by? How much experience do they have? Do they do the same racing I do?

    After thinking over the above questions I approached Lynda Wallenfels of LW Coaching at last years 24 Hours of Moab. I knew Lynda from many angles: as a fellow endurance racer and as an Ergon sponsored rider. Her appeal to me was experience and attention to detail. Also, she has experience racing on a lot of the courses I would be racing on this year. This would be key for events like the Leadville 100 and other high altitude races.

    In late October 2007 my season officially started. From this day on, I would wake up every morning to a specific workout in my Inbox. Training rides would last from 1 to 8 hours, depending on the up and coming goals. New for the year, Lynda had me training with power. This concept was 100% foreign to me. But as the months went by it became increasingly clearer how a specific effort would apply to a certain style of racing. It became clear how hard I could go...and for how long. If I ever did have a question, help was not far away. Lynda was always available to chat via phone or email....something that was important to me when I went searching.

    Through out the season, I never 2nd guessed anything I was doing. Everything I did on and off the bike felt right. Lynda kept it fun...and gave a reason for why I was doing what I was doing. In fact, for the 2008 season I rode my bike much less than in previous seasons. The quality was higher....and the quantity lower. The move to Colorado was smart from a training perspective. Access to flat roads east of town...and the ability to climb for hours to the west let me peak for my specific "A" races...such as Leadville.

    I mentioned above that LW Coaching is specific. For my "A" races, I was emailed a spreadsheet with pacing and nutritional guidelines. For the Leadville 100 this year, I knew what I had to do each hour.....what HR to ride and what to eat. It was simple, I just followed the directions I taped to my stem. Lynda's plan for me worked perfectly as I met my 8 hour goal. Course recon was also another item on Lynda's plan for me. For every major race I had this year, Lynda had me riding the race course in the months leading up to the actual race day. There was no surprises come race day!

    Are there any negative sides to having a coach? In my mind, not really. I like to ride my bike....a lot! So on those Spring days when I want to ride for 5 hours...and coach has a 1 hour day planned...it's hard to stay off the bike. But you have to look at the larger picture. A training plan is like adding to a pile. Little workouts add up to something big.

    For those of you thikning about a coach...and don't want to drop a bunch of money....I suggest checking out Lynda's pre-built plans. These a great for those who want help reaching an athletic goal...but still want to attend to everyday life and family commitments.

    In 2009 I will continue to use LW Coaching. A trust has been built and I have seen the results both on and off the race course. Come November 1 the 2009 season is underway.