October 31, 2016
By Alison Powers, ALP Cycles Coaching
As coaches, we continually look for ways to make our ALP athletes better, faster, stronger, and more knowledgable. We want them to be the best athletes they can possibly be.
Personally, when I think back to my racing and training career, I wish I had known many of the things I now know as a coach. So, that lead me to think of ways we can teach our athletes this 'high performance' knowledge so they can raise their game to the next level. With some brain storming we came up with a new training/learning/teaching camp. The ALP Cycles High Performance Camp.
What is a high performance camp? A long weekend (Thursday-Sunday) in Boulder, Colorado where we dial in on bike fit, proper training, nutrition, and recovery methods, strength training form and exercises, determine weakness and start to fix those, and make sure each and every athelte is 100% prepared to kick ass in 2017.
Confident bike riders are fast bike riders and one way to gain confidence on the bike is to practice skills and become proficient bike handlers. That's exactly what we did on day 1 of camp.
We worked on body position, vision, bumping/contact with other riders, balance, cornering, and climbing technique.
While some riders were getting their bike fits dialed in, others were learning and experiencing the benefits of motor pacing. Come spring time, nothing prepares the body and mind for racing like motor pacing. With a 10mile loop, each athlete got time behind the motor working on leg speed, drafting, paying attention to the wind, anticipating speed changes, and going fast.
In addition to the on-bike learning each day, we had 5 off-bike presentations. The presentations focused on specific topics to help our athletes take better care of their body, their mind and mental focus, their equipment, and their confidence. Thursday afternoon, I did a presentation on the benefits of mental imagery and how to practice it (sorry for dropping the 'f' bomb, Mom).
Saturday, it was time to put into practice the things we had been learning. During our 3 hour bike ride, we climbed 5,000ft, did 3 race simulations on a hilly, technical loop, worked on paclines, descending, and ended with a speed limit sign sprint competition. Legs were good and toasty at the end of the ride.
We used pee sticks to test riders hydration and nutrition on the bike, and recovery off the bike and from day to day.
Sunday was all about sprinting. When it comes to a sprint (field sprint, sprinting from a small group, etc), it's all about positioning, timing, and gearing. We worked on all 3 and ended with a 3 lap mock race that ended in a sprint finish. In addition to the learning, several riders set new peak 5 and 10 second power numbers.
The goal with this High Performance Camp was to arm our athletes with the tools, knowledge, and knowhow needed to raise their game another 5%.
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, 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://alpcyclescoaching.com
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