Staying Safe In A Group

crashing in a group while cyclingThere are times when you’ll find yourself in unfamiliar company, either on a group ride, a charity ride, a fondo or a race.  You’ll be surrounded by people you don’t know, you’re not familiar with their handling skills and you’re not even sure if they are comfortable riding in a group.  In situations like these, you’ll need to be on high alert and ready to defend your space and yourself.  Let’s face it: if you’re stable, sure afoot (awheel?) and not afraid of contact while you’re riding, you’re actually pretty hard to knock over and crash out.  If you’re nervous, twitchy and afraid of contact (I.E. you panic and steer away from the guy bumping you) then you’re going down sometime sooner rather than later.

Protect Yourself By Protecting Your Bars
Defending yourself includes the space immediately around you and especially around your handlebars.  Your bars are your lifeline to your bike: if someone knocks them or takes them out, you lose complete control of your machine and are significantly more prone to crashing.  If you’re always defending your handlebars, you’ll be a lot safer, you’ll be a lot more stable and steady, a lot more confident and you’ll be a lot less prone to going down.

In order to defend your space and your handlebars, follow these simple tips (and practice them regularly with your regular group ride buddies and teammates):

By |April 27th, 2015|Coaching, skills, technique, Training|0 Comments

Coaching: W’ Power And Effective Workouts (Podcast #54)

CP ChartWhat is W’?

W’ is the brain child of Dr. Phil Skiba.  He describes W’ as the amount of work (in joules) that an athlete can perform ABOVE their Critical Power.  (Critical Power, or CP for short, is essentially the power a muscle can provide without fatiguing significantly.  It is similar to functional threshold power, but there are a few differences.  For the purpose of this, we’ll consider CP and FTP to be the same.) Essentially, W’ is a measure of energy, specifically a measure of Anaerobic Work Capacity, or how much anaerobic effort an athlete can put out before fatiguing to exhaustion.  If you look at the chart above, you’ll see a black line drawn through the power curve.  Although this represents an effort during a workout, it perfectly illustrates W’.  Everything below that black line would be considered aerobic work that can go on for a LONG time.  Everything above that line would represent W’.

As a clearer description, Dr. Skiba has likened W’ to a battery in the past.  He has suggested that each effort above CP/FTP causes your battery to drain a little bit.  Once you let off the gas and drop below your CP/FTP, your battery begins to recharge.  Unfortunately, the recharge is slower than you think, especially the harder you work UNDER your CP/FTP.

Once you’ve expended all of your W’, it’s game over, you blow up and you’re done for the time being.

There are some hypotheses about what causes W’ to recharge and what happens when we expend all our W’.  Those are for another podcast, where we’ll talk about how to possibly improve W’ recharging, but for now, we’ll deal with practical application of W’ using Golden Cheetah.

Check out the video podcast for some information on W’ and how you can use it to interpret your training (assuming you’re using a power meter.)

wprimevideo from Rob Manning on Vimeo.

By |March 24th, 2015|Coaching, podcast, power, Training|0 Comments

Coaching: Rolling A Climb

Rolling hillsMost people think a climb is over when you crest the top.  That’s just not true.  In fact, the top of any climb is just the beginning of something else.  And that something else can be one of the greatest tricks in your arsenal.

To put in perspective how you can add a powerful weapon to your climbing quiver, let me ask you a question: How many times have you seen someone crest a climb, only to drop their head and soft pedal (or worse, coast) over the crest?

Let me ask you another question: How many times have you seen determined chaser manage to close a big gap by driving through the crest of that climb?

I know I’ve seen it all the way from the Pro Tour ranks down through the smallest group rides.  And I know that the guys riding out the crest of the climb are getting a lot of extra speed that the soft pedalers are missing out on.  I’ll also tell you something: the physiological cost of that speed is really, REALLY small.

Read more about getting bonus speed in the hills after the break:

By |March 16th, 2015|climbing, Coaching, Indoor Training, Training|0 Comments

Tailwind Coaching E-Bootcamp (March 16th – April 26th)

The Group rideIf you looked at the calendar recently and wondered where the “(Not so) off season” went, you’re not alone.  If you’re starting to sweat your fitness level a little bit because you’ve been lacking motivation to get on the indoor trainer and hammer out some miles, you’re DEFINITELY not alone.  If you’re thinking you have about 8 weeks until you should be riding with your buddies, racing or setting PRs in gran fondos, well, I’m right there with you.

That’s why I’m running a six week e-Bootcamp to kick your fitness up a notch or two.

Each week, you’ll receive an email with your weekly training plan, some relevant tips to help you achieve the week’s goals and my expert guidance.  Here’s what to expect:

  • A 6 week training plan, delivered each week of the camp.
  • Coaching support (just respond to your weekly email with questions)
  • Nutritional advice, training physiology concepts, mental toughness tips, recovery advice, and more delivered each week.

How much?  A few hundred dollars for 6 weeks of training plans, coaching support and training advice?  How about $60?  That’s ten dollars per week.

Sorry, The Tailwind Coaching E-Bootcamp is closed!

Check out the e-Bootcamp information page for more detailed information.

Entry deadline is March 13th.  Expect your first email on March 14th with your first week’s training plan and further details.

By |March 5th, 2015|nutrition, physiology, Training|0 Comments

5 Secret Tips For Huge Gains This Season – Podcast #53

Cycling in the rainDo you have big goals this season?  Are you trying to break a gran fondo PR or win your favorite race?  Are you stuck on how to make this season your best season on the bike?  A lot of the cyclists I talk to have ambitions such as those I mentioned, but they don’t necessarily know to go about achieving them.  They keep on doing the same things they’ve done for the past couple of seasons and and hope they will magically find more fitness than they did before.  This approach is how Einstein defined insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

I’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you make that leap from a “good season” to a “great season”, and I’m going to share them in today’s podcast.  Check out the show notes, links and episode guide after the jump:

By |March 2nd, 2015|Coaching, podcast, spring, Training|0 Comments