Real Science, Real Simple: Tailwind Coaching

2015 Battenkill Training Plan Now Available!

 2015 Battenkill Training Plan Now Available!It’s no secret to anyone who is familiar with this blog and with my podcast that I have an eternally romantic view of the Spring Classics.  The Belgian Holy Week of de Ronde and Paris Roubaix is one of the most captivating weeks on the calendar for me, and here in the northeast US, the Tour of the Battenkill is no exception.  It’s also no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with America’s Queen of the Classics, as evidenced by the ridiculous cramps I suffered in 2011 and the awful back spasms that knocked me from the race in 2013.  That doesn’t mean I don’t still love it, though.

As of today, 11/15/14, registration is finally open for the Tour of the Battenkill 2015 Pro/Am Race and the Tour of the Battenkill 2015 Open Race/Gran Fondo.  As I do every year, I’ve analyzed the route, pored over the details of the climbing and descending, and I’ve put together my 2015 Battenkill Training Plan.  For those of you who want a little extra edge, remember that you can always add Training Plan Support for a “semi-custom” training experience.  Keep in mind that this 20 week monster plan is power meter compatible, heart rate monitor compatible and even suitable for those training just on perceived exertion. You can add it to your cart below, or you can visit the Tailwind Coaching Battenkill Training Store for a few other suggestions to help you on your quest for the famed chocolate milk.

America's Queen of the Classics returns for it's 10th year!  Featuring a new start/finish at the Washington County Fairgrounds and a new course clocking in at 68 miles in length, featuring 8 dirt road sections totaling 15 mile of unpaved punishment and throwing 4029 vertical feet of climbing with a maximum gradient of 17% at you, the 2015 edition of Battenkill is sure to be a monster.

Be prepared to lead the pack with this 20 week training plan.  Used to increase threshold power a massive 21% (on average) and power racers to several top 10 finishes and podiums in last year's race, this year I've revised the plan to further suit the changes in this year's race course, especially the dirt road uphill kick to the line!

I've also added a bonus strength training workout to help you get on top of the muscular fitness necessary to succeed in a race of this magnitude (requires a kettlebell, purchased separately, or access to a gym.)

Posted in Battenkill, Classics, Coaching, power, racing, Road bike, Training | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Effective “Off Season” Training – Podcast #46

trainingtriangle 300x223 Effective Off Season Training   Podcast #46With the onset of cold and damp weather many cyclists abandon outdoor riding in favor of sitting on the sofa.  Granted, with the NFL season half way done and the drama heating up like an episode of “The League”, it may sound really fun to just kick your heels back for a few months and give in to holiday laziness.  But should you really just back completely off activity for a few months to recover?  Should you spend it doing nothing but 12 ounce curls (I.E. drinking copious amounts of beer?)  Should you throttle your activity back so much that you put on 10 pounds of insulation?  Well, I’m going to say, unequivocally…


You should be spending your off season (or “not so” off season, as I talked about back in podcast #27) doing something that will ensure your success in the coming months.  This could be cross training, this could be hitting the gym and lifting some big heavy things, or it could mean sitting on the indoor trainer.  But which of those things will help you create an effective off season?

In today’s podcast I’ll talk about building a solid base of fitness during the cold months.  I’ll cover:

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Posted in Coaching, Indoor Training, off season, physiology, podcast, Training | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost Art of the Group Ride – Podcast #45

Foundation 2012 group ride 300x225 Lost Art of the Group Ride   Podcast #45Everyone loves a group ride, right?  Group rides are chances to catch up with friends, get in a good workout, chase a  few stronger riders or tear the legs off your riding buddies.  But a group ride is as much a dance as it is a ride, and there are a number of things you SHOULD have learned along your journey as a cyclist. Whether you are a group riding sage or a newly minted rookie, you should observe the rules, the etiquette and the sanctity of the holiest of Sunday cycling practices (aside from watching the pros on Eurosport, of course…)

In today’s episode of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast, I’ll wax poetic on those things that you need to have learned in order to execute the perfect group ride, and I’ll cover a couple of things in the cycling news sphere that caught my attention.

That said, today’s podcast will include:

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Posted in beginner, Coaching, group riding, Motivation, podcast, technique, Training | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Setting Tempo

photo 3 300x300 Setting TempoFrom the latin “tempus” meaning time, tempo has come to represent a large number of definitions across different parts of life.  Typically read on a page of music notes, determining how fast or slow a piece should be played, it takes on new meaning when applied to cycling.  We’ve all heard the ubiquitous phrase of “setting the tempo”, usually at the front of a peloton (note that said phrase is often augmented by specific adjectives denoting suffering, like “infernal” or “blistering”.  And more often than not, someone of the Jens or Fabian stature is the said disher out of epic pain, simply adding to the mystique of the setting of that tempo.  But I digress…)  We’ve come to realize pace, speed and tempo are almost interchangeably linked, much like the internal tempos we become acutely aware of the deeper we delve into the cave of pain, either of our own volition or that of those sitting in front of us.

Getting back to tempus, we could articulate many different bodily machinations as fitting it’s definition.  The pounding of our heart as we grind our way up our favorite climb is a perfect example of the rhythmic undertones of tempus.  Our breathing falls into this category too, as inexorable as the march of the second hand on your wrist watch.  But in cycling, as in the face of a clock, we think of tempo as the metronomic revolutions of our legs upon the pedals, incessantly ticking away a beat to accompany the rhythm section playing throughout our bodies.

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Choosing A Power Meter – Podcast #44

photo 3 300x300 Choosing A Power Meter   Podcast #44Power: it’s the ultimate in training metrics.  Nothing beats the pinpoint accuracy of training with an output measurement such as power.  You can know at each moment of each ride how hard you are working, if you’re burning matches and if you’re going to be paying for this effort later in the day.  The question most people end up asking themselves is “which power meter should I choose?”  And rightly so.

With the myriad of power meter options on the market, offering tons of different features at different price points, where should you start looking in your quest for technological bliss?  And when it comes time to plunk down your hard earned cash on (arguably) the biggest training tool you’ll have (aside from a coach), which one should you choose?

In this episode of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast, I talk about some of the ins and outs of choosing a power meter, from considering how much mechanical ability you have to how much money is in your bank account.  As you listen, you’ll hear me discuss:

  • @ 8:55 – What is a power meter?  How does it work?  What categories should you think about when choosing a power meter?
  • @ 26:49 – Discussion about each type of power meter, including Stages, Powertap, Garmin Vector, Power2Max, Quarq and SRM
  • @ 49:39 – Which power meter would I pick (and which have I picked in the past?)  The answer may surprise you…

If you like what you hear, click through to the Tailwind Coaching Podcast on iTunes and rate it 5 stars so that I can reach more listeners and help more people get stronger on their bike.  Don’t forget to post any questions to the Tailwind Coaching Facebook page, and don’t forget to support our sponsors and help to keep this podcast free, and help me to get this information to more people and help grow the racing community.

Now that we’re winding down the season, you might want to think about planning your next season and squaring away your training!  Check out my modular training plans in my online store and think about building your offseason strength with some weight workouts.  And don’t forget to save 10% with the coupon code in this week’s podcast.

Posted in Coaching, components, podcast, power | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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