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November 8, 2017

Pushing your limits in cycling (advice from Frank Schleck)

When I was at the Tour de France this past July I overheard former top pro Frank Schleck give this advice to some junior cyclists on the subject of pushing your limits. Here is what he said.

October 20, 2017

Learning new tricks in the off season

With a break from racing and large volumes of training, the off season frees up some time to learn and grow in new areas that will support your cycling improvements and your wellbeing.

Here are a few ideas on areas you may want to focus on

if you carried a little extra weight during the year, now would be a good time to establish a better eating regiment and lean down a little so that when you increase your training load, you are already at an ideal weight.

If you struggled to stay focused on long time trials or solo intervals, the off season is a productive time to dedicate to some mindful training. A meditation app like Headspace will take you through a 30 day program of mindful focus training that will benefit you not only in your cycling but also in your life.

Some cyclists struggle with pack cycling, maybe there is fear or they don’t feel comfortable bumping other riders or taking turns at a higher speed. The off season is a great time to grow in this area by practicing bike handling skills. You can ride more off road on a MTB to develop skills. Ask the local “pro” rider to take you on a few training sessions with the goal of learning and practicing improved bicycle handling.

If you don’t have a strong sprint, this time of year can be used to dedicate to specific training geared to improving your sprinting ability with extra sprinting drills and off-the-bike strength training.

If your pedal stroke is choppy and you struggle with higher cadences, specific pedaling drills and exercises will help you make gains in this area. This is also a good time of year to invest in a bike fit and get set-up efficiently on your bike before you increase your training load.

The off season is traditionally a time of recuperation from a hard season with a short break from the bike, followed by slow miles that gradually increase. and off-the-bike strength training. To keep things interesting, why not focus on new areas of personal and cycling growth that will make you feel alive and support your goals for 2018!

Special invitation to join my Online Coaching Group with a new yearly membership for $499/year! Learn more >>

October 12, 2017

Planning your Cycling Year Ahead

We all have areas that we would like to improve on for next year. Taking time out to contemplate what you would like to achieve in 2018, both in cycling and in life, and then writing it down, is very productive.

Your goals can be specific result focused goals or more process and internal goals. Writing down goals is very powerful and can sometimes lead to magical results. What’s just as powerful is to put your goals up where you can see them on a daily basis like on your mirror. We tend to forget our goals so having a visual reminder is powerful.

Seeking Continued Progress

Human beings are wired to seek continued progress which is a positive thing, but we should also take time to focus on the areas in which we did well in this past year. Let’s take some time to reflect on the things that we did really well and give ourselves a pat on the back! Whether it was training in a more disciplined way, having some breakthrough rides, or showing up for each ride ready and positive, give yourself some self love and a big “well done”.

Planning your Cycling Year

If your next year is likely to follow a similar flow to this past year, you can review the current year and use it for planning purposes. Look to see where you felt at your very best and put out some of your highest power, speeds, and best results and performances. What was your training regiment during that time? What was going on in your life? An online training diary like TrainingPeaks will provide you with a detailed history of your training that you can review and learn from. Duplicate the things that worked and observe and learn from the things that did not seem to work for you.

More is not always Better

We are inclined to think that we need to always build on last year, that we should add more training volume, more intensity, but that might not always be the best way forward to achieve additional improvements. If you often felt quite fatigued during the year and lacked motivation, you may be better off cutting back on the training volume and intensity or, alternatively, plan for more recovery blocks of 1-2 weeks a few times during the year. More is not always better and our body works in a cyclical manor where there is a down time to every up time. Working with and not against this natural flow of nature will support your progress longterm as well as your mental and physical well being.

Good Habits are the Foundation

Our human minds like to look to the future but what are you doing today to support your goals? Good habits are the foundation of your success.

Instilling good habits of training discipline, and learning to stay consistent with those habits, is the surest way to achieving your goals and new levels of cycling performance.

Do you want to train with more focus during the off season? Check out my 12 week base training plan available through TrainingPeaks. Use promo code: “base” to get 20% off today!

October 9, 2017

Advice for Junior Cyclists and Parents of Young Cyclists

I began my road and track racing career back in 1987 at the age of 12 and spent lots of time in junior development programs both in South Africa and in France where I was selected for the French National Team (my dad is French).

In this video I share my thoughts on developing junior cyclists and how best to support a young cyclist with their cycling journey.

Do you want to train with greater focus and purpose and achieve some personal breakthroughs in 2018?! Check out my Coaching Group. For just $49/month you receive a proven training plan plus you receive expert coaching. Learn more >>

September 29, 2017

Is your Power Meter slowing you down?

Is your power meter holding you back? Are you so caught up in your power reading and what you think your power limits are that you may unintentionally hold yourself back in a group ride or race situation when you see numbers that you believe are not possible for you?

Recently, I participated in our local A group ride which is more like a race. I decided not to ride with my power data visible on the screen and what I discovered, is that I was more immersed in the process of racing my bicycle without any focus on perceived limits (what maximum power output I believe I can produce). The surprising outcome was that the ride turned out to be one of my best rides ever and I hit some new record heart rates! Without my live power data visible, I found myself freed from the perceived limits that focusing on power numbers had subconsciously instilled in me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do love training with power and it’s an incredible tool to evaluate your progress and train in a more precise way. The problem arises when you look to the data to tell you what your limits are and then hold yourself back when you think you are cycling above your ability which may not be the case. The mind is so powerful, and when you expand your belief about your capabilities beyond what you thought possible, a breakthrough performance results.

Looking at the power data does work for some cyclists. I have clients who thrive on looking at the data and it helps them stay focused and on track in a time trial or breakaway. One of my clients, who just finished 2nd in the UCI World Masters time trial championships in Albi, France, is a great example of this. He fixates on the power reading and never lets up on his power target, no matter what. This is someone who can ride 4 hours indoors at 300 watts average and the power curve is an almost straight line. Most people have not developed that kind of mental toughness and focus.

I, on the other hard, am more of a “feel” and instinctual cyclist. During my professional racing career I would oftentimes cover up my power and heart rate readings to ensure I was not distracted from racing.

We are all wired differently and to discover what will work best for you is a process of experimentation. To discover what works for you try cycling without your power or heart rate data visible in your next race or competitive group ride and see if you find yourself more “in the game” and less focused on your perceived limitations. Concentrate on your breathing, staying relaxed, and focus fully on the game of competitive cycling. You may surprise yourself with a breakthrough ride and some record power numbers when you review your data!

Do you want to train with greater focus and purpose and achieve some personal breakthroughs in 2018?! Check out my Coaching Group. For just $49/month you receive a proven training plan plus you receive expert coaching. Learn more >>

August 29, 2017

Mental Training for Cyclists – Inner vs Outer Performance

In this video I share some insights on how you “show up” to your next training ride or race determines your experience. When you show up inner directed your experience will feel more rewarding compared to when you show up outwardly directed, where you place a lot of emphasis on the result and how you compare or are perceived by others. This applies to both sport and life in my experience. Please leave a comment and share.

August 23, 2017

Tour de France bicycle tour

Each year coach Simon leads an incredible adventure at the Tour de France with Gourmet Cycling Travel. Check out some of the epic cycling and thrilling race viewing when you travel with us to the Tour! We still have some places available for the 2018 Tour de France!

August 7, 2017

Hydration Tips for Cycling in the Heat

Hydrating enough during a hot summer ride can be challenging. Here are a few tips to ensure you are not losing an excessive amount of fluids on rides and also some tips on how to stay well hydrated going into every ride.

July 31, 2017

Can You Achieve Your Full Potential Training Mostly Indoors?

If you had asked me a few years ago if a cyclist can achieve their full potential by training mostly indoors I would have said “no way”. My opinion has changed since coaching someone who has proved me wrong by achieving incredible success with training primarily indoors but racing outdoors. 

July 8, 2017

TrainingPeaks Intensity Factor (IF), Training Stress Score (TSS), EF & VI Explained

Part 2 Interview Q & A with TrainingPeaks head of education Dave Schell. Questions asked – what is Intensity Factor (IF), Training Stress Score (TSS), VI, EF and how to approach the numbers and charts in a healthy way realizing they are mathematical models and may not be a perfect reflection of your current race specific form.