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Coaching for LD?

Old 02-05-10, 11:01 AM
  #1  
rodar y rodar
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Coaching for LD?

I`ve set my sights on riding a double century in the nearish future and think some personal coaching for my technique might (or might not) be worth seeking. Since I currently dabble in a lot of different kinds of riding (commute/utility, road, weekend tours, mtb), I know how to ride a bike, but it`s always been solo riding- nobody to emulate or to point out really dumb habits I might have. I can`t help wondering if a knowledgeable person would be able to pick up on some obvious things I`m doing or not doing as far as pedaling method, body and hand position, shift timing, or whatever- maybe something that never even occured to ask about. Do you folks think it likely that having a coach ride along and observe me for three or four hours would be able to make suggestions that would yield a noticeable difference in my efficiency?

As far as training goes, I`ve already found a wealth of information on the UMCA website and I imagine it shouldn`t be hard to find answers for specific questions here or on other forums. Mostly what I`m considering is a one time thing, or possibly one now and then a follow up in a few months. Do people even offer a service like that? A few years ago, when there was a lot more money (relatively speaking) flowing through my checking account I`d have probably just coughed up and given it a shot, but I really can`t throw money around like that anymore unless I`m pretty sure it`s going to buy me something worth while.
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Old 02-05-10, 11:42 AM
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Do you NEED a coach? No plenty of people complete double and longer without them. Is a coach a good idea? Quite possibly. I have been building up to longer and longer events over the past few years and my training has become more focused along the way. However my training is still not all that structured. I do not have much of a structured plan at all other than ride regularly. I know I am not getting the most out of my time as a result.

I am planning on working with a coach this year in preparation for the Everest Challenge. I interviewed a few different people in my area (SoCal) and have settled on a someone, though I have not started my training yet. One person has years of experience, is a really nice guy, and live in the same city as I do. Unfortunately he is just way too expensive for me, $200/month with unlimited support or something like $75/hr for ad hoc services.

The person I am going with will created structured 6 week training block tailored to my goals and availability. In my case he will be creating two 6 week blocks that build on each other leading up to my main event. He provides this service in essentially two level: 1) month to month program where we discuss my training on a weekly basis and make adjustments accordingly for $60/month - 2) $100/training block with limited review of progress but the plans themselves are tailored to my needs. All progress is tracked using Training Peaks

I am likely going to go with option two just because it is such a good value. I'm sure if I find I need/want a higher level of support I can switch to the month to month service. This person is not local to me (I'm in Pasadena and he is in San Diego), but another person who lives near me uses this guy and is very happy with him.

Another option if you are diligent and can figure things out for yourself would be to purchase a training plan from Training Peaks for $100. There are several plans on there. Problem for me is I don't have 5 days a week to ride and the person I am going to work with costs the same and will develop a plan around my availability.

Good luck with your training and your goal of completing a double century.
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Old 02-05-10, 01:53 PM
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Thanks for the response, MTBM. And thanks for the luck, too. Maybe an example would be a better way of explaining what I`m trying to ask.

Welding is a small part of my job. I pretty much knew how to do it when I started in this position, and the other guys in the department also pretty much knew how to do it, but I found that we all learned a lot by watching each other, comparing notes, and offering suggestions. A few years ago, my employer paid for an instructor to come out to our plant and give a short seminar to us and that really worked wonders. He talked for a while, watched us all wled in different situations, made suggestions, and repeated the cycle. What a difference! Even though we work together and self coach each other, none of us were really experts at it and a few hours of attention from somebody who really knew what he was doing taught us more than we had managed to teach ourselves in the years before that, which was even more than I ever managed to figure out on my own.

But does that relate to bicycling? I don`t have other riders in my social circle, don`t go on group rides or to big events, and that isn`t likely to change since my work schedule is out of whack from the rest of the world (also prefer doing most things by myself). I`m just wondering if a few hours with a coach, or even a more experienced rider, would likely have me slapping myself on the forehead and wondering why I had been doing this or that diferently all along. I won`t turn down any training advise, but what I`m mostly looking for is the mechanics of pedaling and handling and shifting- the training stuff on the UMCA page seems like plenty for my purposes and between the nutrition/hydration threads here and my own experimentation I think I can cover that aspect sufficiently. Does it sound like I`m barking up the wrong tree anywhere?
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Old 02-05-10, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
I won`t turn down any training advise, but what I`m mostly looking for is the mechanics of pedaling and handling and shifting- the training stuff on the UMCA page seems like plenty for my purposes and between the nutrition/hydration threads here and my own experimentation I think I can cover that aspect sufficiently. Does it sound like I`m barking up the wrong tree anywhere?
For far less than any coach, you can buy an inexpensive pair of rollers (maybe even find a pair used on CL) and master the mechanics of smooth pedaling. I bought a pair of rollers for $150 including shipping, and found them to be the biggest help in my form and technique.
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Old 02-05-10, 05:26 PM
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Ah I see looking more for help with cycling technique than with a training plan per say then yeah? CliftonGK1 offered a good idea. Anther idea might be to use the regional forum on the site or another site like Road Bike Review to find a cycling club in your area. Folks on these boards might post about group/club rides where you can find other like minded crazies like us who could help you with your quest. Additionally you could post something on the regional board(s) in search of recommendations for a local coach, then interview the recommendations to see if they can help you with your needs. I would think it best to find someone local for what you need. You are in Reno so you should be able to find someone in the Reno/Tahoe area for sure.
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Old 02-06-10, 01:10 PM
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I think you should make the effort to find other riders to ride with-- you can learn a lot from watching what others do--and it won't cost you anything. Read as much as you can, try what you have read, and don't go out too hard...

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Old 02-06-10, 01:21 PM
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+1 on finding a local club and going on some rides with them.

I understand that your schedule doesn't match most people's, but it can't hurt to at least check and see when local clubs have rides. Maybe you'll find a few you can fit into your schedule. When you go on the ride, talk to the ride leader and let him/her know that you would welcome any advice he/she or any of the other experienced riders can give. You'll probably find they're very happy to help. Who knows, you may find you like riding with other people some of the time. I ride solo most of the time, but it is nice to ride with others occasionally. It's also good practice, since you are really better off riding with others in your double century to conserve energy, and you'll want some practice before that.

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Old 02-06-10, 09:14 PM
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Allrighty. I always figured that indoor riding was just for when the weather was too nasty to mess with, but after reading the responses I searched a bit more and I see it`s got its own place. Didn`t realize that rollers were something different either. On U-Tube, they kind of look like fun- sort of like a carnival ride! I`ll see what I can do about finding people to ride with. There are two fairly active groups in the area that mostly meet on weekends, but last year they had evening rides midweek too. So far the schedules don`t show any, but I think that was only later in "prime season", so they`ll probably do it again and this year I`ll try to hook up with them. I did spend a day last Fall riding with two local couples (took some vacation time) and had a blast. Most of the route that we covered that day I had ridden previously on tours and day rides and I noticed that the grades weren`t as steep with company along. Well, they also aren`t as steep without camping gear, but it was fun to BS while riding for a change. Thanks for the advise, gang!
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Old 02-07-10, 07:57 PM
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The local randonneuring group here has a wealth of experience and knowledge in long-distance riding.

I haven't tried it, but I think I could probably ask, and get a couple of very experienced riders to hang with me a couple of hours if I actually needed tips on technique, etc.

I notice also, there's a lot of variation in what people ride, how fast they go, etc., in long distance riding, which might make coaching a little less useful. Whatever the coach told you to do, somebody somewhere just rode 1200k doing it the opposite way and all that.
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Old 02-10-10, 12:22 AM
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I made a living coaching track racers for a a few years. There is definitely value in having a good coach. But there are also an awful lot of charlatans around these days -- most especially in the "fitting specialist" category. So you have to be pretty careful. Get references -- I know several "coaches" who never got past cat. 4 in their racing days. And it pays to make sure the coach you are looking at knows the area in which you are specializing. I trained world champions on the track, but I'm not qualified to coach LD riders.

Beyond that is the very good point that one can learn a great deal from fellow riders, club-mates, etc. Twenty years ago "professional" coaches were almost nonexistent, and in a lot of ways the sport was better off for it. In my experience most LD riders are quite friendly and more than happy to help with advice, training suggestions, and the like. They're not likely to add any magic to your riding -- but despite the opinions of some, neither is a professional.
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Old 02-10-10, 08:02 PM
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Rodar-

I like your analogy about welding, but I personally think that welding is much more technical than long-distance riding, more akin to say downhill MTB racing. That being said, riding with other people will (at least it has me) pushed me to levels that I didn't think were possible for myself and you definitely can learn "tricks of the trade" from others.

I'm currently trying to increase my stamina to complete at least a 200K by this spring. Luckily, the randonneuring crowd in Seattle is very active and has many events. Most of my training is during my commute and then occasion group rides. I would agree with others comments on the site and find people to ride with. There is also a plethora of information on the internet. In the end, it seems to be a combination of trial-and-error and hard-nosed discipline of getting on the bike.

My $ 0.02
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Old 02-10-10, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
The local randonneuring group here has a wealth of experience and knowledge in long-distance riding...
^^This. When I got interested in long distance riding I found my local randonneuring group and joined their email list. They do lots of rides in addition to official brevets. I have learned a great deal from them; the experienced riders are more than happy to share their knowledge with a newbie.
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Old 02-11-10, 01:38 AM
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Intheways, you`re probably right about the difference between distance riding and TIGging. Yeah, there are a few Seattle Randoneurs on the rbr commute and touring subforum who always seem to have something on the burner- unfortunately, I don`t think there are any organized rando groups in my neighborhood, but I`ll definitely seek out some company.

Good luck on your 200K. That`s my immediate goal too (also, probably for this spring). My current best was 108 miles in the not-so-spectacular time of 9:55, last Oct. I`m still comming out of my winter semi hibernation, but a good bit ahead of where I usually am this time of year. I`m shooting for 300K this fall, hopefully the double will be within my reach next year.
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Old 02-11-10, 07:17 AM
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Here I am - when can you send cash? I also take Pay-pal......

Over the years I've gotten some pretty good deals for acting as a "domestique" or ride sherpa. And the list of people who have followed my wheel on some very long rides is filled with RAAM finshers as well as week-end riders with more money than time.

If you ever have a ride to want to go on, and really want "help" of all sorts to finish, then just call.....
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Old 02-11-10, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
...And the list of people who have followed my wheel on some very long rides is filled with RAAM finshers as well as week-end riders with more money than time...
Sorry for going off-topic here...Richard, how come you never did RAAM yourself??? I know some of the people you've ridden with, I bet you would have put in a pretty respectable performance.

Back on topic, Rodar you should hire Richard, I would, there is nothing better to get you down the road than some honest in-your-face advice.
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Old 02-11-10, 09:38 AM
  #16  
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All of you have made valid points. I have been doing Ultras for let's see... this the beginning of my eighth season. I am also a coach that specializes in helping riders make the transition from recreational century riders to Ultra cyclists. What qualifies me to do that? Well besides all the courses, seminars, and workshops and licenses I've probably done everything wrong at least once Seriously, I can't believe some of the bonehead moves that I did my first couple of years.

When I started I joined the local "long riders" group. At the time the Rando scene wasn't that prominent or organized. But gradually, the RBA built a core group and I think we have a pretty healthy scene now in San Diego. I learned an awful lot on the long riders email list and through the school of hard knocks. As I think back I know I would have learned a lot more from a dedicated mentor, or an official coach-athlete relationship and much quicker as well. Let's just say that the school of hard knocks isn't pleasant during a 600km.

So what advice do I have? If money is an issue then find a group, but go one step further and find a one to one relationship with an experienced Rando or Ultra racer. Working with a coach might be most helpful and spending even just a couple of sessions with someone can significantly improve your technique, your nutrition plan and your BIKE FIT!
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Old 02-11-10, 10:24 AM
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Well for one thing, RC is WAY out of my neighborhood, and besides that I`m guessing he`s out of my price range too

Anyway, I do appreciate the suggestions here and I think the biggest one that keeps comming up is to get with other riders, so I think that`s my best bet. I`ve also been checking out the current food threads and making a list of things to try. On the wider front (Google), I`ve run into some info that suggests that a pesky mystery knee issue I have sometimes is likely related to going too far over my head too soon, so I`m going to watch that too and be carefull not to get in a hurry. If I don`t get there comfortably this year, I`ll keep myself up better next winter and start further ahead- much better than another go-round with X-rays and MRIs that don`t show anything.
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Old 02-11-10, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
Well for one thing, RC is WAY out of my neighborhood, and besides that I`m guessing he`s out of my price range too

Anyway, I do appreciate the suggestions here and I think the biggest one that keeps comming up is to get with other riders, so I think that`s my best bet. I`ve also been checking out the current food threads and making a list of things to try. On the wider front (Google), I`ve run into some info that suggests that a pesky mystery knee issue I have sometimes is likely related to going too far over my head too soon, so I`m going to watch that too and be carefull not to get in a hurry. If I don`t get there comfortably this year, I`ll keep myself up better next winter and start further ahead- much better than another go-round with X-rays and MRIs that don`t show anything.

Overuse injuries are common when you don't build your mileage up gradually. Just take your time and make realistic goals and your mileage should increase gradually over time. I took a 18 month approach at building my mileage and targeted a specific goal event. I started training in May of 2003 with my short term goal being my first Ultra was in June of 2003 and a longer term goal at being ready to ride hard by October of 2004 for the Death Valley Double Century southern route . You might be able to see a progression of my improvement year over year on this page on my website. Keep in mind that you won't always see improvement because weather conditions can make a HUGE difference in your performance over the same course even if you are more fit than the previous year. For example, I was quite fit for the 2009 edition of the Furnace Creek 508 and the 60 mph gusts of headwinds and my crew vehicle having a blowout and a flat spare tire thwarted my efforts at a personal best.

In June of 2003 I did the Grand Tour triple century. Yeah you read that right my first Ultra was a 300 mile event. Long story but I signed up for the 200 miler and was talked into or pressured to ride the 300 miler by a father/daughter tandem team -- she was 14. Anyway, I did the Death Valley Double Century southern route October that year but my goal from the beginning was to target that event and come back 12 months later and really ride well. As I mentioned before I learned many many things my first two years of Ultras.

One thing you mentioned was "food". The faster you want to go the less food you will eat. I am currently sponsored by Infinit Nutrition. I have used many different nutrition products throughout the years and they all are adequate if used in the right applications. Use whatever nutrition product works for you but as the years went by I used less and less "food" and more and more liquid nutrition. As you transition from just wanting to finish to setting a new personal best solid foods is one thing you wean yourself off of.
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Old 02-11-10, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Vireo View Post
In June of 2003 I did the Grand Tour triple century. Yeah you read that right my first Ultra was a 300 mile event. Long story but I signed up for the 200 miler and was talked into or pressured to ride the 300 miler by a father/daughter tandem team -- she was 14.
Was that tandem rider and his daughter from Bakersfield with a 508 totem something like red legged frog?
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Old 02-11-10, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
Was that tandem rider and his daughter from Bakersfield with a 508 totem something like red legged frog?
YES! Rohel Caragao super nice guy and his daughter is a sweetheart too.
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Old 02-12-10, 12:18 AM
  #21  
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Gotto be careful of the crowd you hang out with. You end up doing things like that triple. You're lucky he didn't talk you into doing the quad.

btw his daughter still is a sweetheart only now she's a college sweetheart. She doesn't ride the bike much anymore though...
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Old 02-13-10, 11:37 PM
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I`ve run into some info that suggests that a pesky mystery knee issue I have sometimes is likely related to going too far over my head too soon, so
One method of diagnosing knee "issues" is to simply ride a spin bike with very little resistance at a relatively high RPM. (80+)

If you develop soreness on a spin bike with slight resistance then you should seek professional help if you ever expect to ride pain free. This of course, assumes you know your correct saddle height and pedal/foot/cleat placement.

Unfortunately, there are people who will never ride bicycles extensively without some discomfort.
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Old 02-19-10, 12:41 PM
  #23  
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"Richard, how come you never did RAAM yourself???"

I think I have this one figured out. You have to go ride some 500 mile ride or something to qualify for RAAM. That's to weed out all the people that are half-nuts. Because for RAAM, you have to be full-nuts.
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