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What I didn't know then...we'll teach now - Criterium Clinic

April 19, 2019

What I didn't know then...we'll teach now - Criterium Clinic

4 things I didn't know about Criterium Racing...we'll teach in 3 weeks.

by Alison Powers ALP Cycles Coaching

My first roadie race was in 2005 in New Hampshire. It was a Criterium, and other than watching the Tour de France on TV, I had never seen a road bike race. I knew nothing about racing a criterium and I made many mistakes that day. On April 27th, my fellow ALP Cycles Coaching coaches and I will be coaching a criterium clinic from Specialized Boulder. We are going to teach the things I didn't know 14 years ago in New Hampshire. 

4 things I didn't know about Criterium racing...we'll teach in 3 weeks.

The 3-day tour starts and finishes in the small town of Avon near Beaver Creek. 

1) Tactics. I had no idea about race tactics in a criterium or really any race at all. I had a fair amount of mountain bike racing in my past and I just usually rode away from the field on the uphills and hoped to not get caught on the downhills. That tactic didn't work in this criterium. I rode on the front of the race for the entire race, pulling the rest of the Cat 3/4 field around and around. 40 min later, with 200 meters to go, everyone - EVERYONE - sprinted past me to the finish line. In this year's clinic, we will teach you different ways to win bike races based on the course and your own strengths and weaknesses. 

2) How to ride in a group, especially around corners. Part of the reason why I rode on the front of the race, that day in New Hampshire, is because I was afraid to be near any other riders. And, going around a corner in a pack of riders, forget about it. That made me really nervous. Riding in and navigating through a group of riders is a skill. we'll teach that skill.

3) Sprinting - I was a typical ride-by-myself-hammering-at-all-times kind of rider. I never changed pace. I never got out of the saddle, and I had never sprinted on my road bike. Sprinting is so much more than fast twitch muscles. It's about body position, muscle recruitment, gearing, timing, and positioning. 

4) Cornering - I did not know that my "normal" cornering skill and ability was faster and more confident than most other rider's abilities. 14 years ago, I slowed down to wait for the group to catch back up with me after each corner (I did not know about attacking, or breaking away, or finishing solo). Fast cornering, on any terrain, is about confidence, ability, and speed. 

2018 ALP Cycles Crit Team

After coaching and teaching for 10 years. I now know that my mistakes above are common "unknowns" for many bike racers - both new and experienced. Come join Jennifer, Patricia, Brie, and me April 27th for 3 hours of criterium racing 101 learning, practicing, training, and becoming more confident and faster. It's only $50 and the proceeds go to the ALP Cycles Racing to pay entry fees for team races. Pre registration is required and up to 5 upgrade are points available. Register here.

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Alison Powers

Alison Powers only recently retired from cycling, finishing her final season on the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. Her career has spanned a wide array of wins, including the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship where she won in memorable fashion by soloing after an early breakaway that obliterated the pro women’s peloton. Other standout results during the 33-year-old’s 2013 season include the win at Redlands Bicycle Classic, second at the Tour of Elk Grove, third at the US National Road Championship and the US National Time Trial Championship, and stage wins at Cascade Classic, Tulsa Tough, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. Hailing from Fraser, Colorado, Powers has been racing bikes professionally for eight years and is a true athlete with her career beginning as a teenager in mountain bike racing. In her mid 20s, she added in alpine ski racing before switching over to the road. In addition to being the current Criterium National Champion, Powers has two other national championships (Time Trial, Team Pursuit) and 2 NRC titles (2009, 2013).


About ALP Cycles Coaching

ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Shawn Heidgen, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at http://alpcyclescoach

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