December 06, 2009

Great (Cycling) Video

This is making the rounds - and is really nicely shot. I've done a few video projects, but nothing close to this...nice job guys:

PUSH PULL from Landis Fields on Vimeo.

November 09, 2009

Archive #2 - Cutting Edge Hydration Strategies

The Tour De France is a unique crucible. Weeks long, extreme temperature variations, exhaustive exercise day after day, and otherworldly nutritional demands; Is there a better place to learn and maximize performance for the athlete? One of the areas of deep interest over the last several years is the relationship of hydration, thermoregulation, and performance.

Awhile back I went to a presentation by Dr. Stacy Sims, a post doctoral research fellow, and exercise physiologist at Stanford University. Dr. Sims was part of an exciting project with Dr. Allen Lim, chief physiologist for Garmin-Slipstream. Their goal was to help the team optimally prepare for the Tour De France, and to create effective thermoregulation and hydration fueling strategies for the race.

They project focused on a few critical components, namely a pre-race preparation/acclimation phase, the daily nutrition and recovery of the athletes, and the pre, during, and post event hydration needs. Through the course of the presentation Dr Sims touched on some rather interesting approaches and outcomes.

Hydration and Thermoregulation
First some background on water, hydration and thermoregulation. The human body is 55-65% water. Water is an essential aid in biochemical and metabolic reactions, it cools the body, and helps maintain the acid base balance.

Hydration is the equilibration of total body water (TBW) carried in the intracellular (66% of TBW) and extracellular (33% of TBW) spaces. Dehydration, medically speaking, is when the body contains insufficient water volume to maintain normal body function.

One of the foundational responsibilities of water is thermoregulation. Thermoregulation is “the ability of an organism to keep its body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperature is very different.” For you and I, that means maintaining homeostasis between 37 – 40C (92-100F). Thermoregulation is vital to the maintenance of exercise intensity. Find yourself much on either side of that range and you are in for some trouble.

The Problem(s)
Dehydration, and its role in thermoregulation and performance is broad and complex.
It has been shown that a state of dehydration of as little as one percent (1%) leads to decreased aerobic endurance. At three percent (3%) there is a decrease in muscular endurance, while at four percent (4%) there is decreased muscle strength, fine motor skill, and heat cramps. In addition the maintenance of blood volume is essential for maintaining stroke volume and plasma volume.

Different athletes have different sweat rates, but most will sweat at between 1.5 – 3.0 Liters per hour. That means a 150 pound cyclist can reach 3% dehydration in as little as 45 – 60 minutes with no fluid intake (1 Liter = 1 Kilogram = 2.2 pounds). Unfortunately, gastric emptying is typically in the range of 0.8 – 1.3 Liters per hour, so you are on the defensive immediately. The more so if you start your race or training session hypohydrated (0.5-1% dehydrated) as most of us do by some estimates. You simply can’t drink enough fluid to offset the loss from sweating.

All of this sweating leads to thirst. There are two kinds of thirst. Hypovolemic thirst is the result of sweating, respiration, and/or bleeding. It is a decrease in the extracellular fluid and blood volume. Osmotic thirst is the result of a decrease in the intracellular fluid (e.g. too many solutes). Both depletions must be addressed prior to the onset of thirst.

While there are many products on the market that purport to help with your hydration and electrolyte balance, the truth is that most of them also contain a significant carbohydrate (CHO) load in order to also be seen as a viable fuel source (yet not quite enough to actually be a viable fuel source) and to be palatable. There are a couple of downsides to this. First, the CHO actually serves to increase core temperature (gotta process that food!), secondly it impedes gastric emptying. Often these sports-drinks contain too little sodium to effectively replace sweat salt losses as well. Sodium loss through sweating ranges between 0.8 – 4.0g/hr

The Solution
Dr Sims came up with a comprehensive set of solutions to the problems presented above. First, the team undertook a preparation/acclimation phase that included 30 minute bouts in the Sauna at 100 degrees immediately after their regular training rides. This was to both increase tolerance of warm temperatures and to systematically dehydrate the athletes to create a natural increase in Red Blood Cell (RBC) volume; a natural ergogenic aid.

The next step was to create a specific “Pre Event” drink in order to attenuate dehydration and to provide an ergogenic buffering effect. This pre-event drink was used primarily in the time trials and contained sodium bicarbonate and sodium citrate mix in a proprietary ratio (sorry, can’t give away ALL the secrets!), and a 1.5% sucrose concentration. The team used approximately 100 Liters of this mixture during the race.

The goal of the ‘During” drink was to attenuate dehydration. Carbohydrate was generally supplied via food stuffs. The “During” drink was a proprietary ratio of sucrose:glucose, with sodium citrate, magnesium, b-vitamins, and potassium. It contained no Sodium Choloride (NaCL), instead they used Sodium Citrate due to its decreased gastrointestinal stress and higher water retention rate, and inherent buffering effect. The team used approximately 10,000 Liters during the race

The “Post” drink was intended to stop the stress response, rehydrate, promote muscle repair and glycogen regeneration. It contained, among the list, a 1.5% solution of maltodextrim, potassium, amino acids, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins. They mixed over 8,000 Liters during the race.

Each of these drinks was formulated to be slightly hypotonic to increase absorption rates since water goes into the higher solute compartment in simple osmosis. The drinks were <270mmol/L solution compared to the blood plasma which is ~285-290 mmol/L. The ideal composition included roughly 100 mmol/L of Sodium, 6 mmol/L of Potassium, and 1.5 – 2% CHO solution (most sports beverage drinks are in the 6-8% CHO range).

Carbohydrate was also optimized. A sucrose/glucose solution was used during the races as it provided the best balance between increased water and sodium absorption and the highest possible CHO load without negatively affecting the osmolality (an indicator of fluid balance and ease of transport across cell membranes). The recovery drink used a 1.5% solution of maltodextrins, which are absorbed almost as rapidly as glucose with less gastric distress and impact on osmolality.

The Results
The validity of the project can be seen in a number of ways.

The preparation and acclimation component, especially the dehydration protocol, saw the athletes’ red blood cell concentration rise by up to 4%, and total plasma volume to increase by ~7%. This is a natural ergogenic aid akin to erythropoietin supplementation. There was also a decrease in exercising heart rate, an increase in work capacity and less total sweat loss during the race.

The “Pre” event drink was shown, anecdotally (n = 1), to increase power by ~7-8% on a 40Km time trial from 365W to 385-390W (time equivalent of 57 seconds!).

During the race the athletes routinely ingested two times the normal volume of liquid, yet suffered no GI distress. For the balance of the Tour the team used NO IV Drips! That is virtually unheard of in grand tours. At several points the athletes’ urine was ruled ‘too dilute to test’ a testament to the effectiveness of the hydration strategy.

On the results sheet the team placed two riders in the top 10, finished second overall in the team competition and team time trial. During the Stage 18 individual time trial the team had three riders in the top 10, all within a minute of the stage winner.

Each year a variety of new technologies and methodologies are rolled out in the search for speed and consistency. Technicians buzz around checking details, tightening torque wrenches and generally pondering the speed to be gained. Similarly, the athletes and soigneurs engage in their own daily performance dance. Legs are embrocated, stretched and massaged. Food is constantly ingested and chased by fluids, prodigious amounts of fluids. All in the quest to take the athlete right to the edge of performance

One of the most demanding elements of the race is the quest to maintain hydration, electrolyte balance, and thermoregulation. This year Garmin-Slipstream brought in a leading researcher to help create the perfect plan for the team. By combining a rigorous pre event acclimation camp with the creation of some truly high tech mixtures for each phase of the race the team was able to succeed in the battle for results and the battle for the long term health of their riders. With notable increases in work capacity, fluid retention, and red blood cell volume; and with notable decreases in gastrointestinal distress, exercise heart rate and overall heat stress it can be argued that this type of cutting edge research and implementation was a key element in the team’s success. You can expect this project to make it into your list of hydration and fluid options within the next 12 months or so


- Maughan, R. J., and T. D. Noakes; Fluid replacement and exercise stress: a brief review of studies on fluid replacement and some guidelines for the athlete. Sports Med. 12:16-31, 1991.

- Takamara, A., Y. Tetsuya, N. Nishida, and T. Morimoto; Relationship of osmotic inhibition in thermoregulatory responses and sweat sodium concentration in humans. Am J Physiol Regulatory Integrative Comp Physiol 280: R623–R629, 2001.

- Gillen, C. M., T. Nishiyasu, G. Langhans, C. Weseman, G. W. Mack, and E. R. Nadel; Cardiovascular and renal function during exercise-induced blood volume expansion in men. J Appl Physiol, 76: 2602 – 2610, 1994.
Hargreaves, M., and M. Febbraio; Limits to exercise performance in the heat. J Sports Med., 19: S115-S116, 1998.

- Montain S. J., and E. F. Coyle; Influence of graded dehydration on hyperthermia and cardiovascular drift during exercise. J Appl Physiol, 73(4):1340-1350, 1992.

- Sanders, B., T. D. Noakes, and S. C. Dennis; Sodium replacement and fluid shifts during prolonged exercise in humans. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol., 84:419-425, 2001.

- Sims ST, Rehrer NJ, Bell ML, Cotter JD. Preexercise sodium loading aids fluid balance and endurance for women exercising in the heat. J Appl Physiol 103: 534–541, 2007.

- Sims, ST, L vanVliet, JD Cotter, and NJ Rehrer. “Sodium loading aids fluid balance and reduces physiological strain of trained men exercising in the heat.” Medicine and Sciences in Sports and Exercise, 39 (1), 123-130, 2007

Archive #1 - The Training Week

Nearly all of us have limits on our available training time, yet all of us are looking to improve our cycling abilities and performance. This often creates a paradox where we try to cram as much “stuff” as we can into our rides, but end up with sporadic fitness gains and performance. To this end let’s look at some ways to organize your training to accomplish all of the above and more.

The Training Week – Classical View
Cycling, like many other sports, is built on the history of what came before. It has been, for example, a long standing tradition to take a rest day on Monday after a weekends racing. The rest of the training week has followed a similar pattern: Tuesday is for sprint work, Wednesday is for threshold training, Thursday is long endurance day, while Friday is a tune up for the Saturday and Sunday races. This plan, as the story goes, puts the most intense workouts early in the week, when the body is most prepared for them.

This pattern has been drilled into athletes, and coaches, for a long time, and is often considered to be merely the micro-cycle component of a periodized training plan. Tudor Bompa, long credited as the father of periodization, first introduced macro, meso, and micro cycles in the 1950’s. Indeed, the original concept of periodization was built on Hans Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), which looks at the stress placed upon a system, and the adaptation that occurs as a result.

When he came to the United States in the 1980’s Eddie Borysewicz brought a similar structure to the training program at the United States Cycling Federation (USCF, precursor to USA Cycling). His plan, espoused in the seminal (for US riders!) “Bicycle Road Racing – Complete Program For Training and Competition,” included Monday rest, and sprints on Tuesday and intervals Thursday. Wednesday was endurance, while Friday was recovery/tune up. Saturday was high intensity/race simulation and Sunday was the longest and hardest day.

Recently I was cleaning out some of the vast clutter that is my filing system and came across the 1994 U.S. National Team training plan for Senior Men. The plan was written by then National Team Coach Chris Carmichael. In thumbing through the pages a familiar pattern began to emerge. In the forty weeks of training listed there was not one week where the “Monday rest” pattern was broken. Fortunately, there was substantive variation in the day to day program design of the rest of the program, a testament to Carmichael's embrace of modernization of training even then. Interestingly, there is no mention made of lactate threshold based training. It is either Aerobic, Anaerobic, or VO2max!

The Training Week - Updated
The previous examples are not offered as a “what not to do” but more as back drop when looking at your own training. To be sure the foundations of periodization are sound and should form the basis of your plan design. Rather than preach a “perfect” model for organizing your week, let’s look at some of the factors that may play a role in how you might schedule your week and optimize your workouts.

Optimize Your Training Time
If you are on a limited training schedule you have to learn to optimize the time you have available. That means cutting out the ‘junk’ hours and focusing on the task at hand. While it sounds logical and doable, you’d be surprised how easy it is to squander training time. Take that extra 20 minutes to warm up and you’ve cost yourself both the 20 minutes, and the positive training effect of having stepped up the intensity, even if it’s only to a tempo pace. Multiply that over 3 training days and your 10 hour training week only has 9 hours to accomplish the goals you set.

One of my current favorite workouts is what I call a “Sweet Spot – Level 2.” A traditional “sweet spot interval” is doing 88-93% of your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) for 60 minutes. If you do a 15-minute warm up and cool down then you’ve got a very good training ride in an hour and a half. A level 2 effort takes the warm up and cool down and moves them up to tempo efforts (ok, maybe a five minute warm up). Instead of rolling around for 20 minutes at 50% of FTP, you are on the gas immediately and holding 70-75% of FTP for the warm up cool down (ok, maybe five minutes warm down too). In the end you have the same 1.5 hour workout, but you have a higher total training stress score and more aerobic development.

Another favorite workout is the 3peat Threshold Workout (or 2peat, 4peat, etc). Find a climb that is at least 10 minutes long, the minimum needed for a true threshold level workout. Time yourself up and down holding a steady threshold effort on the way up and a brisk recovery pace on the way down. Now that you have a baseline see how many up/down cycles you can do in an hour.

Around my house that is a 3peat climb on Montebello Road; a 2-mile climb that averages around 10%. It usually takes me about 15:30 to climb at 300W (which is about my FTP) and about 4:15 to descend, so if I do 3 up/down in an hour it gives me about 45:00 minutes of threshold work, a nice recovery between intervals, and a serious dose of climbing. As fitness goes up I can push harder to try and get as far below an hour as possible. My current best is 55:55 with individual intervals of 13:35 at 350 Watts, 14:44 at 319 Watts and 13:54 at 343 Watts, for a total TSS of 100.7 and an Intensity Factor of 1.07 at 258 Watts average/322 Watts normalized (My FTP was set at 310 at that time, but was probably closer to 330). Since it’s about 15 minutes each way to the climb this is a pefect workout on those days I don’t have long to ride.

Recognize Stress
Hans Selye referred to the effects of either “eustress” (positive/beneficial) or “distress” (negative/detrimental) on the system. Eustress resulted in feelings of improvement, increased muscle strength, and other markers of a positive impact on your training. Distress, on the other hand, leads to tissue damage, fatigue, and ultimately can lead to overtraining. The challenge is to recognize the difference.

Let’s look at the Monday rest, Tuesday sprints model for example. You race on Sunday and do pretty well, although you are tired. Monday comes and you are feeling pretty good, but it’s a rest day so you chill. You don’t sleep well on Monday night, work stress is piling on, you ate a double death burger for lunch and now you “have” to go do your sprints or else you’ll lose fitness and never upgrade! The workout is a mess. You don’t even come close to your top speed or max power, your heart rate is stagnant and you feel so slow you think about giving up the sport. Clearly you’ve experienced more ‘distress’ than “eustress.”

While that is an extreme example of how life, for us working stiffs, can interfere with your ideal training plan, it does offer a little insight into possible modifications to your training that won’t cause you to lose fitness or motivation.

Ride Hard Fresh
Time and again coaches advocate recovery over additional intensity, volume, or both. Improvements in Chronic Training Load (CTL) are most effective long term when the ramp rate (or gain) is approximately 6 – 8 TSS points per week. If the athlete is gaining CTL at a faster rate it is generally unsustainable long term.

Let me take a step back here and define what is meant by Chronic Training Load. CTL is a measure of accumulated training stress across a long period of time, typically at least 30 days. It is expressed as a rolling average of Training Stress Score (TSS) points per day. For example a CTL score of 100 means you have averaged 100 TSS points per day over the length of your ‘snapshot’ (eg 30 days). By tracking your training across time in this manner you are able to get a good overall picture of both your training trends and fitness improvements.

Time and time again athletes forego that advice in the pursuit of fitness gains. Unfortunately that tends to create randomization of training. That is to say that week to week the athletes total training load shows wider variation than that which is recommended for a ‘responsible’ progression. Are you one of these athletes?

If so, try something different. Schedule your weeks training around a more gradual gain and then play with the daily specifics to try and address physiological needs. If you are focused on developing FTP, spend lots of training time at FTP. If your focus lies in VO2max development, spend your training time on that. The caveat is that you have to scale back the volume, and possibly the frequency, of training you do, but that doesn’t matter. If you’re target is 600 TSS points for the week and you can get it done in 9 hours instead of 12 you’ll have three more hours to spend on another part of your life while still making steady and substantive gains in your total fitness.

It is far too easy to fall into a predictable pattern of training. Coaches and other athletes will readily offer you the ‘perfect’ training week as described across time. However, with the demands of work and family often taking priority it is common for one’s training to stagnate on a traditional plan. Rather than continuing to follow the same patterns to the same conclusions try to vary your training around a few core principles.

Freshness: Training should be a positive stress in your life. If you start a training ride and are carrying residual fatigue from the weekend races give yourself an extra day to recover.

Focus: Look at your current training. Are you optimizing your training time or just riding around on your bike? Find or purchase some high quality, highly focused workouts that will help you get the most out of your limited training time. If you use a power meter, look at the files. Did you ride for two hours and average 50% of your threshold power even WITH the 2x20 minute intervals? Perhaps it’ time to try some focused tempo efforts!

Consistency: Try to create a realistic training plan that allows you to progressively improve your fitness over time. Sure, you can ‘get fast’ in a few weeks of heavy overload, but you’ll ultimately pay the price in reduced motivation and time off from training later when the cost of those hard miles comes due.

Putting these elements into your weekly training schedule will help you realize consistent gains, have more fun, and chew up the competition at the next race (which is the fun part!)

November 05, 2009

Housing At CX Nationals

This is for all those headed to Bend for Nationals....

I rented a sweet house with some available beds/rooms for the week of the races (wed - sun). The house is located about 2 miles from the race venue, is over 2500 square feet and includes: Outdoor rock gas fireplace in private patio area, large kitchen for entertaining and cooking at your leisure, large eating bar and formal dining room, wine chiller, comfortable beds and linens, plush towels, Jacuzzi tub in master, full DVD library of movies, and more!
We have the following available at way better than hotel rates -

Master Bedroom: 1 King Bed - reserved
Guest room #1: 1 Queen Bed - reserved
Guest Room #2: 2 Twin Beds - $75 night ea w/2night minimum. Book your for all 4 nights for only $250
Bonus Room: 2 Twin Beds - $75 night ea w/2night minimum. Book your for all 4 nights for only $250
Plus: 2 full sized Fold out Beds - $65 night ea w/2night minimum. Book yours for all 4 nights for only $230
The garage will be set up as bike heaven. In addition to tools and workstands (and possibly a mechanic on site), we'll have two computrainers as well....ready and loaded with various workouts and options to be sure your training is optimized in the runnnup to your race no matter the weather. We'll also be leading a few outside rides, weather permitting.

We will plan to co-op purchase and preparation of food to help keep costs down and quality up. I'm working on a meal plan (well, ok my wife the super-chef is making the plan) and will forward it to those attending. If you have a specialty, and want it included let us know and we'll add it to the mix...

Need more information? Drop me a line - -
Full information will be sent upon receipt of your non-refundable, but transferrable, deposit of $100 via paypal to the same address

This is gonna be fun!


November 04, 2009

Articles Archive

I've written quite a few online articles over the past year and a half. Some of them were even pretty good. Yet time and again I forget to post them on my own blog - that seems sorta silly. So, I'll be posting a variety of old articles and labeling them over the next couple of weeks. It'll give me something to do and who knows may even provide you with something worth reading!

Among The Upcoming Topics:

- Cutting Edge Hydration Strategies
- Cutting Edge Nutrition Strategies
- Optimal Tapering Strategies
- Managing Your Training Week

and more...

October 15, 2009

2010 Team Program Announced

Team Debuts Inaugural Road Program For 2010

SUNNYVALE, CA (October 15, 2009) – Sterling Sports Group is pleased to announce the addition of a regional road program for the 2010 season. Built on the foundation of our successful Cyclocross Team, the road team is focused on developing a core group of riders and offering a comprehensive team racing experience. We are looking for up to five (5) riders in the following categories for membership on this Northern California based team (Selected riders must be committed to a focused training and racing program for the 2010 season):

•Category 3 Men
•Category 4 Men
•Junior 17/18 Men
•Masters 35+ 4/5 Men

The Sterling Regional Road Team will support a core group of riders with a road/criterium specific coaching program, regular team based training/tactics rides, a team race mechanic at marquee events, access to substantial pro-deals from sponsors, and great prices on the best looking kits in the peloton. Team training programs start in January, and are led by USAC Elite Coach Matt McNamara. Training includes regular group rides on weekends and a weekly training schedule delivered via your own online training log. Potential team riders should be committed to attending the twice monthly team rides in the winter/spring, and as many of our weekly rides as possible during the spring/summer.

Maybe you’d like to ride with us? Interested riders should submit a team application by November 15th , better yet come to our INFORMATIONAL MEETING at The Bicycle Outfitter on November 11th at 7:00pm (Dave Prion at TBO has even offered a “team discount” of 10% off to attendees that night). Preference will be given to those athletes who most ably demonstrate the balance between competition, camaraderie, and fun in their approach and attitude. Applications and program descriptions are available on the company website The final team roster will be announced December 15th , and training programs start January 1st. Please drop me a note to reserve your spot at the meeting, or to answer any questions – !!

Cost for the program is $250 ($100 for Juniors) and includes:
•1 year membership on the team.
•Road/Criterium Specific Training Program, including an online training log: January - August
•Optional Personal Coaching program for $99/mo ($175 membership fee)
•Team Training Camp in January including performance testing & bike fit, and long rides each day
•Race Mechanic/Support from Bay Area Mobile Bike Repair, at 5-10 designated team events
•Regular Training Rides on weekends (2x/month) and weekly training with the return of Summer
•Category Specific Race Plans – we’ll work with each category to generate results and upgrades for all
•Access to Pro Deals on team bikes and equipment thanks to our sponsors.

Sterling Sports Group ( is the result of over 20 years of passion for the sport of cycling. Sterling Sports is a growing company focused on creating a seamless interface between athlete and coach, technology and personal attention. They can be reached at 408.891.3462 or

September 29, 2009

Race Report - CCCX #2 - Justin K

This was a very strange race in so many ways. I was a bit late getting to the venue which impeded my warm up and my pre-race bike prep. I rode a few practice warm up laps and I found myself to be very challenged by the course from both a physical and technical perspective. I changed the wheel/tire brake setup on my by bike a few days earlier and only tested with a light practice ride the previous day. I was not sure how the setup would perform in race conditions.
I could also see from my pre-ride that there were likely to be a lot of wipeouts/pile-ups on the descents and in sandy sections that may to need to be avoided during the race. I got to the start line and was pretty much in the middle of the group. Since my main goal was fitness and my secondary goal was assessing the equipment changes, I was not fighting it out for a front line start.
The start was pretty quick and I held my position through the first climb and started passing before the beginning of the descent portion. As my suspicions played out, the downhill sections and the sand took its toll on riders. Many people were remounting which improved my overall position. I took a corner too fast and suffered a wipeout-front end slide. On remounting I noticed I had bent up my derailleur and jammed my chain-I guess I should limit any wipeouts to the left side, not the right, haha. Several riders passed me. Straighten the derailleur and fix the chain...rolling again...repass on the hill right after the tarmac straightaway. Rear shifting erratic, spontaneous and no front derailleur action - not a desirable situation. On the downhill bumpy sections I kept on bottoming out my front rim (oops, forgot to check my tire pressure during my pre race bike setup.) I continued around the course and it seemed odd to me that there were so many riders least thats what I thought they were doing. On to the barrier and run-up to start another lap - I hate running-heart rate went through the roof, totally sucking wind.
Did all that several more times including another slide out or two (or more) with the old catch it at the last second before a total yard sale... I felt like my fitness sucked, could have used an 02 tank strapped to the rig. Having very little control of my gears and a front end that was constantly bottoming out and wanting to slide out in the corners made things very challenging. Crossed the finish line. I was thankful the race was over. I was so disheartened about my poor fitness/lack of energy, the poor performance of my rig (no controlled shifting and front end wash out) that I left right after the race to go home and drown my sorrows. Since I was sure I was last, there was no point in checking my placement. At the car I did check my tire pressure. A whopping 19psi up front and 25psi in the rear-made a mental note - check the tire pressure BEFORE the race next time idiot. I assumed I was in last place because I didn't really see riders on the course, other than those that were practicing.
I gathered up my courage to check my finish this morning. A DFL isn never the end of the world-maybe better than a DNF. To my amazement I got 4th. I guess the people I thought were practicing were actually racing, never really noticed their numbers...they were all so nice and gave me plenty of room to pass. I bet this never happens again.

August 11, 2009

Training Theory Applied - Part 3


Racing is not training. The argument is that you can't create a 'true' race intensity effort during training. Ok, maybe not but that's no reason not to try and make the efforts you do put in as effective as possible.

Yes, I'm speaking of specificity!

In the hierarchy of training theory specificty ranks near the top (so it's no coincidence that it's my third topic I guess!). If you are not addressing specificity on most of your rides then you are either - just riding around, or wasting your time. A bold statement though that may be, I think I can demonstrate that it has merit.

The short explanation of what I mean by specificity is to DO WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO on any given day/ride. For many riders there are degress of specificity on any given workout, which although defensible, is not the point. The point is to do what you're supposed to do. "What you are supposed to do" will be answered in the next Training Theory Applied topic, but for now let's give it some metrics.

If your Functional Threshold Power is 300 Watts then your Threhsold level workouts should be very near the neighborhood of 300W. If your VO2max Power is 425W, then it's a fair guess that VO2 specific workouts should be right around 425W (*I chose FTP/MAP intensitites specifically due to their race level relevance). This begs the question "how near" should they be - good question. It's fair to say that for Threhsold level workouts you should probably be in the ball park of 90 -105% of FTP. For VO2max efforts you have an effective range of 85 - 110% of MAP (Maximal Aerobic Power).

Which leads to the next question - how long? Since the goal of workouts at FTP and MAP is to hit the needed workload, and maximize the effectiveness and total volume of time spent there you have two considerations - length of interval and length of recovery. Let's start with FTP efforts.

Several studies have looked at the minimum and maximum duration of workouts in order to determine the optimal range. For the most part it is well established that 10 - 12 minutes is the minimum interval duration for a worthwhile threshold level workout. The maximum is likely in the neighborhood of 60 minutes of focused FTP work. Certainly you can do much more than 60 minutes of threhsold work when intensity drops to 90%, especially when factored as Normalized power (which I believe has great relevance, but isn't the be all/end all of rating an effort), but the key word is focused.

On the recent Santa Cruz Mountain Challenge I spent the first 2h41m at 90% FTP Normalized! That was a hard day but if we look at the variability index of that ride we see it was 1.19, so it wasn't a very focused interval and therefore lacked the requisiste Specificity! In fact the longest quasi steady state interval (VI < 1.05) of that ride was a 30min block at 286Wavg and 303Wnorm, and I'm not sure I could have done that a 2nd time that day!

Which takes me back to the 60 minutes of accumulated threshold intensity on a given interval workout. It is a good target.

Recovery - another key component. On focused, SPECIFIC threshold efforts you shouldn't require too much recovery. Figuring that you "should" be able to do a 60 minute block of this intensity, then a five minute recovery from the standard 20min interval should be plenty.

VO2max Effort Length and Recovery: Since MAP is so much harder and more wicked than FTP you should look to maximize total time spent at VO2max! Which is to say at between 85-110% of VO2 Power. This range is cited in one of my favorite research papers by Thibault when he lays out his graded MAP interval protocol. Accumulated time at/around MAP is an important consideration because even a motivated athlete has a hard time doing MAP efforts of longer than five minutes for more than 2 or 3 intervals (eg 15minutes of accumulated VO2 time). I think it is an elegant representation of specificity! He even covers the rest intervals necessary at these varying intensities. Without reading the whole paper it is a fair estimate to say recovery time should be at a 1:1 or 1:1.5 interval/recovery ratio. As you gain fitness you can play with these recovery times.

Which brings us to our last point on Specificity for today. How do you know when to stop? A classic rule of thumb is to stop the interval when you can no longer hold at least 90% of the intended workload. This rule of thumb is fraught with problems however - for example if you hold 90% of 90% FTP - you're really only doing ~81% FTP. Not quite the intended effort level! So a modification is when you cannot hold the intended % of FTP or MAP workload you are likely done for the day. For example if you start a 20min block at 90% FTP and cannot hold it after 10, recover and try again - if you still can't hold it then go home and rest.

Too often athletes squander their rides on easy pedaling and unfocused efforts. By addressing your specific workout needs you will see quicker progression and more overall satisfaction with your fitness gains. It will also translate into stronger race performances and more confidence that you can put the hammer down when necessary!

August 06, 2009

Patterson Pass Road Race

I haven't raced a road race all year - and have only pinned a number on four times in all (3 crits and a track race), so why am I doing a hilly road race? No, I'm not a climber, not even a pretend one, but this course just seems like it might be a good training ride. Climbing, wind, wind, climbing...what could be better at fostering some fitness? Here is the course map:

Looks like about 1500 feet of gain in ~3miles. Sounds like Old La Honda, but we'll see. Strategy? Go early and make 'em chase me (geeze, I hope they aren't all reading this). I figure the Normalized power will be roughly the same overall, so I might as well make it a big time trial. 3 laps of the course should be enough I think. I'll let ya know...

July 17, 2009

Cyclocross Programs Annoucement

Company Deepens Committment To The Cyclo-Cross Community For 2009

SUNNYVALE, CA (July 17, 2009) – Sterling Sports Group is going ‘All In” for cyclocross in 2009 by offering a full complement of ‘cross related programs and activities. Company President Matt McNamara noted that adding elements like a cross specific webinar, weekly training series, online training programs and performance testing & fit packages specifically for the CX community was a logical step for the company: “We are a performance coaching company committed to the culture of cyclocross. We couldn’t think of a better way to demonstrate that commitment than to broaden our reach to the cyclocross community through these innovative programs.” Among the program elements:

- CX Training Camp – All ‘crossers are invited to sign up for our 2 day training camp September 18 – 20th. The camp includes baseline performance testing, group rides, position assessment, and training program orientations. Camp costs between $150-$375 depending on affiliation

- Training Series – Starting September 8th we’ll have a 6-week training series on Tuesday nights. Each week we’ll tackle a different element of ‘cross competence including: starts, mounts/dismounts, hills, intervals and a practice race. Training Rides are $30/each or $120 for the whole series.

- ‘Cross Webinar – We will be hosting a Cyclocross Training Webinar on August 27th. It will cover ‘cross specific training and racing requirements including program design, equipment selection, interval formats for racing, and more. Webinar is $15.

- Online Programs – We have developed several cyclocross specific online training programs available through our website. These programs are geared to different levels of racer and those training with power or heart rate. Online programs start at $50.

-‘Cross Specific Testing & Fit Package – Get an idea of where your fitness is, what to train to be faster, and get a complete Pro-Fit in one easy session. A $225 value, only $150 for Cyclocross! Valid til October 1st.

To register for any of these exciting programs simply visit us online at, drop us an e-mail at, or call us at 408.891.3462

Sterling Sports Group ( is the result of over 20 years of passion for the sport of cycling. Launched in late 2003, Sterling Sports is a growing company focused on creating a seamless interface between athlete and coach, technology and personal attention. They can be reached at 408.891.3462 or

June 10, 2009

Training Theory Applied - Part 2


In the first post of this series(is it a series?) I wrote about The Athletic Mindset, and the triangulations that form it: Zen Buddhism, The Flow State, and Expertise. Now the trick is to employ these elements in a manner that helps drive development. For the most part that can be summed up in one word - Consistency.

If we take the precepts of the Athletic Mindset to be worth striving for, then bringing consistency to your workouts is an elemental first step. Yet, it is often difficult to master. There are too many distractions, too much work, too few hours in the day. Whatever the rationale it really boils down to a question of committment. Instead of striving for consistency, many athletes follow the 'too much, too little' paradigm. They'll have a world class ride, better still a world class week or two and then, because the training was so focused, too focused, they over cook themselves and training plummets for a day, a week, or a month. Or perhaps training is steady and work/life/family/stress gets in the way and training plummets. Whatever the reason it's these 'ON/OFF' patterns that result in sporadic fitnes gains. The challenge is to establish a new pattern...


Consistency is really just making the committment to steady progress with your training. My recent ToolBox article on Pez Cycling News covered some of the traditional approaches to organizing your training week, including how some of those traditions may contribute to sporadic fitness. As noted in the article it is often a good idea to take a larger view of your training. One way to do that is to look at your goals for a particular block (threshold development for example) AND how that fits into the big picture of training towards that marquee goal you've set vis-a-vis training load. Another way is to look at the individual rides and better manage their efficiency. First let's look at Training Load.

Thanks to people like Andy Coggan, Hunter Allen, Eric Bannister, Phil Skiba etc. we have any number of ways to track training load for both individual workouts and over time. Personally, I like the Coggan model because it is built from a solid platform of research and it's pretty intuitive to understand (you can brush up on it here). I also like it because it's part of the WKO+ software that I use, so I don't have to do much to keep track of the numbers.

There have been several good threads about training load on the Wattage forum. They have dealt with the imposition of training over time - usually reflected in one's Chronic Training Load (CTL). The consensus seems to be that a gradual ramp rate of 5-8 TSS points per week (20-35 points per month) is sustainable long term up to an athletes as-yet-unknown optimal training volume. Of course the duration of this 'gradual build' is set by ones current CTL and, therefore, may not be the best tracking method for those alread close to an optimal training load (then again do YOU know YOUR optimal training load?). One thing is certain, by approaching your training load in a more longitudinal fashion you will likely build fitness at a rate you can maintain, and still see improvements throughout.

Let's say you have 10 hours a week to train. Theorhetically you have a maximum training load of 1000 TSS points (1 Hour at FTP = 100 points) per week. It is much more realistic to expect between 500 and 800 points in a given week for the same 10 hours (really, how many hours per week can you do at FTP!). You can then make an educated guess as to your individual capacity and set your training load accordingly. You may find it quite liberating to know that you only have to hit 550 TSS points this week and 555 TSS points next week to meet your long term training goals (hint - have long term training goals!). This awareness provides a great starting point for another element of consistency - the individual ride.

While variations in weekly training volume are easy for most athletes to see in the real world, they have a much harder time with the idea of moving training specificity from theory to application. By this I mean simply that they waste valuable training time goofing off. You know exactly what I start out on a two hour training ride and spend the first 30 minutes just riding along "warming up" then you knock off your 2x20minute intervals and roll back home at 'cool down' pace and call it a good day. While that is a 'specific' workout, it is not an efficient one. Consider that if you only have 10 hours to train in a week, you've just wasted 10% of your training time in an endurance or recovery zone that wasn't necessarily needed. Instead maximize the time you have by remaining cognizant of the goals for that workout and adjusting your efforts accordingly. Often I'll advocate starting a ride at the top end of Endurance, or even Tempo, to try and kickstart the workout while maintaining a higher average power. This is especially true on longer aerobic and tempo interval rides where the variability index would be lower than a higher intensity VO2 or Anaerobic intervals workout.

June 09, 2009

Matt's Training Update

Awhile back, well late April actually, I posted a short summary of my training year so far. Of note was the vast scarcity of miles and consistency. It wasn't that impressive, but it was motivating!

Since then I've been more focused, yet more relaxed as well. This goes to my embrace of consistency over haphazardness. I started to look at my training in the long view - eg where I want to be when Cyclocross season hits. I know that I want my Chronic Training Load (CTL) to be at or above 100 points/day. I also know that getting there in 12-16 weeks is a much more responsible approach than doing it in 8 weeks (recall that my starting point was a CTL of about 30). This realization brought with it a certain tranquility. I've repeatedly stressed a gradual build in fitness to my athletes and now here I am living my own advice. There is a certain comfort that comes from knowing I need to do about 500-600 TSS points per week in May and early June. Frankly, it's pretty easy - I can do that volume on about 8 or 9 hours a week of mostly structured training. Those totals step up a bit for the next 6 weeks to between 600-700 points, and therefore a few more hours, but it's still a very stable, steady, and do-able progression. Here is the CTL Progression:

and the Performance Manager Chart since December:

June 03, 2009


Cyclocross Team Returns With Enhanced Program For 2009

SUNNYVALE, CA (June 2, 2009) – Sterling Sports Group is pleased to announce the kickoff to our 2009 Cyclocross Race Program. Built on the foundation of our successful 2008 race team, version 2.0 offers prospective team members a comprehensive racing experience. We are looking for select riders in Northern California, Colorado, New England, and the Pacific Northwest who are committed to a focused training and racing program

The Sterling Cyclocross Team will support a core group of approximately 20 local riders with a cyclocross specific coaching program, a team race mechanic at marquee events, access to substantial pro-deals from sponsors, and great prices on the best looking kits in the peloton. Team training programs start in July and we will have a team house at Cyclocross Nationals in Bend, OR this December. This year the team will include up to five riders on each of our Regional teams: Colorado, New England, and Washington/Oregon.

Sterling Sports Group President Matt McNamara noted that “the team was a such a blast last year that we just had to continue and expand it. As a performance coaching company I cannot think of a better way to support the racing community, and build awareness of our services than through the team. I was proud to see our jersey appear on podiums throughout the season and have our program attract great racers like Mike Sayers and Liza Rachetto, and sponsors like Leopard Bikes, SRAM, Ritchey, and Northwave. I’m really excited that we are able to expand in 2009.”

Maybe you’d like to ride with us? Interested riders should submit a team application between June 2nd and June 28th . Preference will be given to those athletes who most ably demonstrate the balance between competition, camaraderie, and fun in their approach and attitude. Applications and program descriptions are available on the company website The final team roster will be announced June 30th, and training programs start July 1st. Team clothing orders will be submitted July 15th and racing starts in September!

Cost for the program is $350 ($175 for Juniors) and includes:
• A team kit (Jersey/Short)
• Cyclocross Specific Training Program, including an online training log: July – December
• Optional Personalized coaching program for $99/mo ($175 membership)
• Team Training Camp in August including – performance testing & bike fit,
• Race Mechanic/Support from Bay Area Mobile Bike Repair, at top tier events like Bay Area Super Prestige, NCNCA Cup and Districts.
• Regular Team Training Rides
• Access to Pro Deals on team bikes and equipment thanks to our sponsors.

Sterling Sports Group ( is the result of over 20 years of passion for the sport of cycling. Launched in late 2003, Sterling Sports is a growing company focused on creating a seamless interface between athlete and coach, technology and personal attention. They can be reached at 408.891.3462 or

May 01, 2009

Not Cycling, But Impressive

Thanks to those in uniform for all they do:

April 20, 2009

Those Arduous First Miles

I've finally crossed the mythical 1000 miles threshold for 2009. Yep, 1140 as of yesterday. I'm 'happy' about it - honestly I thought I had about 50 hours, but it turns out its more like 66! Hold that praise a second, here are the numbers from the first four months of the year:

Month Duration Distance TSS kJ 1'w 5'w 20'w 60'w
Apr-2009 14:36:31 276.14 931 9914 454 310 265 237
Mar-2009 18:53:17 324.13 1242 12153 446 330 306 228
Feb-2009 15:24:12 257.49 789 10187 374 301 232 210
Jan-2009 17:34:07 284.32 866 10998 406 316 271 219

Not exactly tearing it up, but maintaining I guess. This past week was my best training since December - all 9 hours and ~178 miles of it. Rather than look at the time/miles as unrewarding I'm choosing to see it as a foundation upon which to continue my transition back to some fitness.

Saturday I jumped on the local 'race-ride' aka The Spectrum Ride. It starts near my house and is a good test-piece to see where you're at. There are a couple of 'ouch' sections - Arastradero, Alpine, and a couple of spots on Canada - but generally the ride is easy enough that getting dropped isn't a worry. Despite that fact, this was still the hardest sustained ride I've done this year. My peak 60min effort was 273Watts normalized and we averaged 23.5mph for the 40'ish mile ride. A solid Level 3 workout. Friday I'd done the 'noon ride' and knocked off a 20min effort at 293Wnorm - so the combination made for a nice couple of rides. One thing I did notice was that I just didn't have the leg strength to close a gap on a small, hard, rise one time. It's never fun to have the guys on your wheel give you a push to close the gap, it's embarassing, but I deserved it and was really trying (sorry guys). I've got a ways to go, but I can start to see some progress in my ability to push a bigger gear and sustain the effort. I'm optimistic enough to consider racing Cats Hill in two weeks in the M35+ 1/2/3's...though I should just continue training instead!

April 15, 2009

Training Theory Applied - Part 1

The Athletic Mindset:

One of the first tenants of my approach to training is the cultivation of what I call "The Athletic Mindset". Though I've used the term for years - even going back to my first coaching clients in the mid 90's, I thought it wise to see if I was unique in using this term. The only other relevant references from a simple Google search are for a speaker series by Don Thomas, a former college professor and coach in Dalton, Pennsylvania, who offers an 8-hour course on Athletic Mindset Training($119 for adults) to help athletes learn to discipline their minds for athletic success; and a book by Christopher Bergland called "The Athlete's Way". I haven't read the book, nor seen the presentation so I think I'm safe in ascribing my perspective on the athletic mindset to my own experiences, research, and opinions, lots of opinions.

While trying to keep this post short and to the point let me say that the Athletic Mindset is merely a way to approach your training that encompasses both a sense of awe and a sense of purpose. There have been innumerable passages dedicated to the creation of a positive mindset, learning to discipline the mind and body, or improving your mental attitude. Rather than rehash what you MUST do to achieve optimal performance I'd rather encourage the athlete to look at their sport as a vessel for expression of their best self. We are often at our best when we relinquish control and expectation of an outcome and simply do.

For me there are several points that triangulate the Athletic Mindset. One eloquent expression of is the Japanese Zen Buddhist Philosophy. When you have a moment click the link. The mere reading of the passage will calm you.

Another point is attached to the concept of the flow state as described by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in his seminal book "Optimal Experience: Psychological Studies of Flow in Consciousness. Many, if not most, of us can identify with the feeling of being in the flow, the trick is to make it part of each workout or competition.

The third triangulation is the concept of expertise. The term "expert" is tossed about in the daily vernacular of our culture without regard to the true nature of the idea, nor the strident efforts necessary to cultivate an expertise. Malcom Gladwell, among others, has written about "This idea - that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice - surfaces again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is a magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours."

Taken together these three ideas can form a foundation for ones approach to sport and the practice of sport. My philosophy is that when you can attach these precepts to your sporting life, and perhaps your life in general, you are opening the door to your potential.

April 09, 2009

Training Theory Applied - A Preamble

To me, one of the points of coaching is to develop and elucidate a performance vision. The background for that vision must be based on science and an ability to understand the complex series of relationships that coalesce in cycling. From aerodynamics, biomechanics, tactics, psychology, and nutrition, to the deep intracacies of exercise physiology and it's relationship to performance, a coach has to Know, Live and Love all the elements. Certainly every coach has particular strenghths, and good ones tap outside resources as often as possible when they reach an impasse or need assistance (let's hear it for message boards and google groups!), but the essence of the vision must be your own. My own...

This year I am in the fortunate position of getting to put my vision to the test - on myself. I've been lucky enough over time to be reasonably fit and reasonably competitive on a mostly unstructured program. If I ride quite a bit, say 10-12 hours a week, I get in a modicum of shape and feel competitive in races and strong on rides. Don't get me wrong, I know what I've done and can do. I'm very diligent with my powermeter, I download most every ride and have 3+ years of good data to review. I can easily tell you my Mean Maximal Power values or recite my tactical or psychological strengths and weaknesses. Still, I don't think I've done more than a handful of structured VO2/MAP workouts over the past three years, haven't worked on my sprint much, motorpaced, improved my climbing or even been that focused on my nutrition. I've just kinda gotten by on a modest amount of ability and a lot of years on the bike. Which begs the question (or questions) what can I do on a structured program and don't I owe it to myself and my athletes to try that which I've prescribed? This must be the year to find out...

April 08, 2009

What Out of Shape Looks Like

I have been doing about nothing on the personal cycilng front. As a point of validation let's look at my Performance Management chart over the past few years. It is both inspiring and depressing! Anyway, here it is (explanations below the image):

So let's review some data...
1. Trends - clearly I'm all over the place on consistency! From a low of 24.3 TSS/CTL points at the end of January 2007, to a maximum of 83.3 in Mid May of 2008. There have been 4 or 5 serious interuptions in training since January of 2007.
Typically they are periods of low activity lasting approximately 10 days to 3 weeks. Most training is between 55 - 80 TSS/day. The December 2007 Training block is the most substantial break from regular cycling I've takn in the last 5 or so years. It was a legitimate 4-weeks off the bike. It really set me up for a good 2008...but I had some hills to climb in the fitness arena.

2. Racing During This Period - despite my lack of sustained fitness, I did do some quality racing. Among the results I'm happy about:
- 3rd State Championships Masters Track Sprints, July 2007
- 3rd Masters Miss-n-Out American Velodrome Challenge, June 2008
- 4th State Championships Masters Points Race, July 2007
- 4th Single Speed CX NCNCA Cup, September 2008
- 5th State Championships Masters Kilo, July 2007
- 5th Masters Keirin American Velodrome Challenge, June 2008
- 5th Masters Scratch Race American Velodrom Challenge, June 2008
- Completed Elkhorn SR Pro/1/2 - 4 stages, ~230miles, June 2007
- Hit a personal best FTP of 340 Watts in November of 2008

3. So Now What? Well, I guess it's time to get back on the bike and start building some fitness. Currently my CTL is at a world class 30 TSS/Day - which I think is the equivalent of getting up and walking to the refrigerator. My body weight is at 170.6, body fat at a hair over 12.5% according to my Tanita (but really I think it's probably closer to 15%!). I'll do some testing this week and get a 'true' baseline of my fitness. If I were to guess, I'd say my:
- FTP ~280W
- 5s Power - ~1200W (best of 1380W)
- 1m Power - ~500W (best of 600W)
- 5m Power - ~350W (best of 420W)
My lack of riding is most visible to me in my 5min efforts - I just can't go very hard for very long! That and my pedal stroke is just crap rigth now! Well, all this lack of fitness does allow me to test some theories for training load and specificity over the next few months. Stay tuned, we'll see what we can come up with...

March 21, 2009

Milan - San Remo

Not quite as dramatic as last year..but it's still La Primavera:

We were married in Italy and spent the first part of our honeymoon in Finale Ligure, right on course about, I dunno, 30-40 miles from the finish. It is a beautiful area and the roads are spectacular. Every where I went I imagined the field coursing through in full flight. Yay spring!!

March 03, 2009

Twitter This!

Guilty as associated!

February 25, 2009

So Much More Out There

I read

Sometimes I run across stuff that is fun, funny, classic, and imperative.
If you haven't seen this you should:

Some people have some free time so they do stuff Such as this. It includes a whole lotta things like this (yea, you've probably seen 'em, but have you seen all of them?):


or this:

But This one may be best:

Webinar Series

Based on the success of our first couple of webinars we've swallowed the Kool-Aid and worked up a webinar series for aspiring athletes.
Here is our preliminary schedule of webinars:
Feb 25th - Interval Training
March 11th - Individual Race Tactics
March 25th - Team Race Tactics
April 8th - Tapering Strategies

more to follow!!

February 12, 2009

Pure Power Exposed!

Certainly you all know Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin fame. Well he's not content to have a wicked fast starts on the mountain bike (01 World Cup in Napa Mens Start)..Ryder thought it would be a good idea to try and break Jonathan Vaughters record for the climb up Haleakala, the 10,000 foot volcano in Hawaii (yep, 0 - 10,000 in about 57Km!). Here is the video:

Ryder Hesjedal :: Haleakala Attempt from Media One Multimedia on Vimeo.

A little data from the effort:
Time: 2:32:45 (old record 2:38)
Average Watts: 349 (4.81W/Kg)
Work Done: 3201 Kj - that's about 1280Kj's an hour, for 2.5 hours..impressive!

USA Cycling Develoment Camp - Webinar

USA Cycling presented a very informative webinar on their Development Camp program. It's a great opportunity for young riders to experience a true 'racing' camp experience and get their names and faces in front of some of the USAC Coaches (helps with selection hint hint). You can download the webinar HERE - but be's a big file (71MB) so it may take awhile!

February 11, 2009

Annnndddd ACTION!

This weekend I'll be sitting in the directors chair, well assistant directors chair, for the Los Gatos Women's Elite Team as they tackle the San Jose Criterium on Saturday and the fabled, albeit reduced, Amgen Tour Of California Women's Race. I'm excited to work with the likes of these ladies. They are all fast, smart, and just good fun. We don't have our strategy dialed quite yet, and I wouldn't tell ya if we did, but suffice it to say that we think we can pull a podium, er rabbit, out of our collective hats. I mean let's look at the crew....
JVM - Jenny is tenacious and fit....
LVG - Super Pro Laura Van Gilder is flying the colors this weekend and will surely be an asset when it comes to keeping the ladies on the sharp end of the field. All that and she'll still finish in the money!
MEA - Shelly Olds gets a lot of, deserved, press and praise on the Nor Cal circuit, but don't think Mary Ellen doesn't know how to dial it up to top tier on command. I've watched her completely SMOKE some talented womens fields. This would be the proverbial feather in her cap....and ME likes a challenge!!
KF - yea, though she be but small, she be fierce! Prime hunter? Set Up gal? Kim Fong will certainly be put to the whip this weekend, and she'll respond glowingly
Karla - she may not be a one name wonder in Nor Cal quite yet..but she very well could be after this race.
Starla - really, we need some sort of Karla/Starla pnemonic here. Don't worry you'll see her smiling face at the front.
Lindsay - she could be the next 'thing' in women's racing 'round here. We tested her last week and her VO2power was AWESOME! Like over 5W/kg awesome..and it's only January.
Erin Dunn - another slayer for the cause...Erin has good fitness right now, lucky Erin.

There are some heavy hitters coming to town for sure. Columbia, Webcor,Proman, Tibco, etc...pretty much all the speedsters. But don't think for a minute that the end result is pre-determined...that's why they call it a RACE!! And anything can happen in a RACE! See you out there

January 23, 2009

Webinar Coming Jan 28th

Sterling Sports Group is pleased to announce the first in a series of Training and Racing Webinars designed to facilitate your development in cycling. Matt McNamara, a USAC Level 1 Coach, will be hosting an informative and useful webinar on Developing Your Annual Training Plan on Wednesday February 28th from 4 - 5:30pm. This is much more than a simple rehash of the 3-weeks ON/1-week OFF methodology. Instead it is designed as a comprehensive look at your training and racing plans for the 2009 season. Have you set your goals? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? What workouts work best for you? What workouts do you need the most? January is a great time to sit down and answer, or better yet refine your answer to, these questions. We'll cover some sound principals including the value of base training, creating a responsible High Intensity Training (HIT) plan, and tracking your progress throughout the year. The webinar includes several DIY-Worksheets and planning tools that we'll walk through together. The emphasis will be on power based training, but we will address heart rate and perceived exertion as valuable metrics too.

The clinic is $20 and registration is exclusively through PayPal. You can sign-up on our website - - or by sending your registration fee to info at sterlingwins dot com. Once registration is confirmed we will send you the webinar packet, including worksheets, sign-on information and link. Future webinars will be scheduled bi-weekly, check the website for upcoming events.

See you online!

January 15, 2009

2009 Fired Up!

Every year, for the past 20 or so, I get increasingly jazzed for the start of the cycling season. Some years it's because of my own aspirations, most years it's the return of european pro's to competition. In the 80's it was events like the Ruta del Sol and Tirreno Adriatico that kicked off the seaon for me. Of course in '88 we had to wait for Winning to come out, but the pictures of the field riding along some warm coastline always enticed. La Primavera, Paris-Nice, Vuelta Andalucia (Ruta's new name), Tirreno, these are Spring. By the late 90's the season started moving earlier with the arrival of the Tour de Langkawi and Tour Down Under. With the rise of the internet it became easy to get immediate results for a road season that now lasts the better part of 10 months. Add cyclocross or track racing and there is great racing somewhere year round. Still, the return of pro road racing is it's own special beast. New teams, new colors, the chance to see how your favorites are doing. Sweet!

So, we're quickly coming up on the start of the 09 season and the excitement is building for the Tour Down Under. Say whatever you want about Lance - he may be a jerk, an ego-maniac, a doper, but he's certainly compelling! I've never been a big 'fan', but i'll give the dude his due....Lance is a bad-ass when he wants to be. Of course there are plenty of other story lines to follow besides that, thank goodness. I'm curious about Columbia and Garmin of course, but also interested to see which new Belgian rises in April, how the 100th Giro will play out, and what team will be a revelation. BMC in europe? Katusha? Liquigas or Silence-Loto? We'll know soon.

I'm not more psyched for this year than others...just about the same I guess. But it builds slowly and next thing I know I'm sitting in front of a computer screen trying to discern the action at Tour of California via video-feed! Last year I sat and watched nearly every stage in real time (it helps to have a job where you work real early). Throw in the local racing scene...Snelling, Cherry Pie, Merced, and it tends to keep me busy.

Typically I'm 'preparing' for one of them, trying to squeeze in miles and intensity to be ready for Merco, or riding old la honda looking for better numbers before Pilarcitos. Not this year. Instead I'm trying to enjoy a slow build towards a different kind of season. Different means less worry about continually chasing race fitness or some abstract idea of what being an active racer means. Different means putting in some fun races on the track and aiming for top 20 finishes in the big crits like San Rafael, SF Twilight, Cats Hill and maybe a few others. Different means putting the time and effort into a full cyclocross season. That sounds fun to me.

January 07, 2009

2009 Clinic Schedule

We just released our 2009 Camp & Clinic schedule for Sacramento and the Bay Area. In addition to our traditional favorites like climbing and descending we've added some level 2 clinics targeted at racers and advanced riders. The schedule is complete through mid-July and we'll have the Fall schedule up by the 1st of April.

Upcoming Events:

2009 Full Events Calendar Available Here
Bike Fit Clinic January 17th 8:30a - 12:00p
Climb & Descend Level l 1 Jan 31st, May 9th Feb 7th 8:30a - 12:00p
Climb & Descend Level 2 April 4th June 7th 8:30a - 12:00p
Speed Camp Level 1 March 21st, July 18th March 22nd 8:30a - 12:00p
Speed Camp Level 2 April 18th April 11th, June 14th 8:30a - 12:00p
Time Trial Camp May 10th 8:30a - 12:00p
Mini Camp Weekend March 6 - 8th May 23 - 24th Fri - Sun