S.M.A.R.T - How to Set 2020 Goals
2020 is just around the corner! Our athletes are getting pumped thinking about next year; the races they want to win, making the podium and getting faster, better and stronger. This week's blog post is about how to set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. 
The Importance of Cycling's Mid-Season Break
 Mid-Season break is a time to take (literally) a break from the daily training/racing routines and usually occurs around June/July. Similar to "half-time", it's a time to re-set physically and mentally.
Shoulder Exercises and Stretches Every Cyclist Should Know
One of the more common injury types amongst cyclists are shoulder-related. We spend countless hours bent over on the bike (in combination with desk-work) which lead to "rolled shoulders" / poor posture and eventually, injury.
3 Preparation Tips for Cycling Stage Races
"It's officially the start of "Stage Racing" season and riders are priming their legs and lungs for the first set of performance(s). All the off-season training and preparation will be displayed as athletes anxiously await in the final countdown before "game time." There are two aspects behind preparation for a Stage Race: the physical time and energy and the mental aspects."
Training To Be Healthy
Winter is in full force and base-miles and intensity are increasing. With the increased training, cold weather training conditions, and all the viruses that are floating around, the body is often put into a suppressed immune state. The same formula occurs in season, with big racing blocks, added life stress and travel...point being, we are human and we will get sick. This weeks' blog post is about what to do (or not do) when sick. 
Mental Toolbox - Noticing: Thinking vs. Feeling
"Sitting behind the motor itself is soothing and calming - it's getting to that point that can be the challenge. If there's someone in front of you that's tense and surging, it will ripple throughout the group. Similar to riding in a group on the road - if you find yourself around someone who is moving erratically and unpredictably, it's only a matter of time before something disastrous happens. The best thing to do is to put some distance between yourself and that rider."
Planning for 2019 and Beyond
"Got the winter time blues? As the winter solstice approaches, it may seem like FOREVER until the warm summer months. Whether you're finishing up cyclocross this week at Nationals or completed a full road race season and in the midst of some serious winter base miles, now is a great time to check in with your goals for 2019 and beyond."
How to Get the Most out of Your Off-Season
Summer is winding down and many parts of the country have already seen a shift of weather, signaling the end of a long road season and for others, the start of the cyclocross season. Whether you take a break now from structured training and racing or do it after cross, it's important to get the most out of your off-season. This is where the biggest gains can be made.
Dear Athlete: Help Me, Help You
"A great coach should be an athletes best advocate. We're looking out for your best interests - to help you succeed at your goals and perform at your absolute best on game day. And although you may think otherwise when you're assigned intervals and hill climbs, we really are putting you first."
How to Prepare for Race Day
Race season is almost here. Some of our athletes will kick off their 2018 road racing season this weekend. Everyone is excited to finally pin on a number and make use of all the training during the winter months. But in order to have success, you should be well prepared for race day and do your "home work." 
The Best Recovery Tool of All Time: SLEEP
It's choose your own adventure time...it's been a long week. You've had multiple deadlines at work and still managed to fit in your daily training prescribed by your coach. You've had to cut your nightly sleep totals by 30-60 minutes each night and by Friday, you're more than ready for the weekend. Do you: A) let loose and unwind from the week. Go out with friends, have a few drinks, stay up late and plan on catching up on your sleep during the weekend - that's what coffee was invented for, right? Or B) Get a nutritious, well balanced meal and head to bed early.
Tools of the Trade
Myofascial Release: Sounds fancy, eh? Chances are you're already doing some sort of myofascial release. Whether you use a foam roller, normatech boots, a lacrosse or tennis ball - you're attempting to release the tension due to trauma, posture, or inflammation. Or in a cyclists case - attempting to make your legs feel better after doing hundreds of thousands of pedal revolutions in a single ride. Sometimes it is downright painful. Yet after you're done, you feel 10 times better. 
Training Quality
If you like to get stronger and improve your performance, then you should make sure your rides (or WO's) are high quality vs just adding up a lot of "empty training miles" or "junk miles." Working with my athletes shows me that WO quality isn't always executed properly. How does one prepare for a ride or WO? Do you read the WO instructions clearly or do you go out on your ride and loosely follow the WO instructions? Are you aware of your focus on the bike?
Training During Winter and The Holiday Season
"The winter and the holiday seasons are coming closer. Most of my athletes enjoyed their off season break sometime back in October or early November and by now it is time to be back in training for next season."
ALP Cycles Racing Team - Year 1 Recap
"Why did we decide to have a women's race team next to the coaching business? We wanted to do something that was different, something that no other coaching business can offer. Plus we like to share our knowledge/experience. The 4 ALP Cycles coaches together can offer a huge amount of experience! We believe that coaching is a lot more than just writing a training plan, looking at numbers and talking to an athlete every now and then."
The Ups and Downs of Injury
"Injuries come in many varieties: both acute and chronic. As an athlete, they're inevitable. As a cyclist, they're almost a rite of passage. No matter how you end up on the road of injury, the results are the same: healing takes time."
Superior Hill Climbing

The last lap took everything she had. She crossed the finish line euphoric and then slumped over her bike, weaving to a stop and bent over, exhausted from the effort. 

We all have a pain cave. The question is - how deep do you dig when you approach it? How willing are you to push beyond your perceived physical and mental limitations? And what is it you fear most that you tend to avoid because it shines a light on an area you need to address?

3 Tips on the Art of Suffering
Shhhhhh…. Don’t tell anyone new to the sport but cycling is based on suffering. A lot of suffering. You have to push your body to the extreme to overcome gravity, inertia, strong winds, and at time physical ailments just in order to cross the finish line. It can be painful, gut wrenching, exhilarating and 100% satisfying.
How to Build a Team: Trust, Confidence and Guidance
Deliberate practice. You can apply it to anything you're trying to learn: musical instruments, racing cars, martial arts, any newly acquired skill and of course, bike racing. But practice is more than just riding a bike - deliberate practice is a method of acquiring and learning a skill. It's breaking down movements with rigorous skill assessment, doing that movement repetitively, getting specific information feedback and working on better skill performance.
The Importance of Team Work
As the road racing season approaches (and has started for the lucky ones that got to race in Australia - me!) it’s important to remember the importance of teamwork.
Indoor verses Outdoor Power
Unless you live in the tropics or some warm southern state like Arizona or Florida, chances are you’ve succumbed to the trainer this winter. While the trainer is better than not getting on the bike at all, you may experience differences in power output. I asked a bunch of coaches, from my fellow ALP Cycles coaches as well as my network of colleagues to see what their experience is with indoor verses outdoor power, and it turns out they all agree that for some athletes, there is a difference. But just how much of a difference is unpredictable at best.