You may be wondering how a full-time bicycle tour guide keeps their fitness up, and ready to ride on short notice… with clients that can be in top shape. Well even if you haven’t been wondering, I have. How do I maintain and improve my abilities on the bike? Easy: hire a Cycling Coach!
But for years now, I have virtually ignored my cycling stats. I often go weeks at a time without downloading my Garmin activities.
Why? Because I needed a break from monitoring every little detail about every single workout. Back in the day, I recorded and charted heart rate, average speed, distance, PRs, etc… I still have the stacks of workout journals that I kept for years. For the “youngs” in the audience, that’s how we did it old school – with pen and paper.
When I moved to Asheville 7 years ago, I decided to stop.
I went cold turkey by cycling and running in Asheville, where I initially didn’t know any of the routes… without a computer. Which is very old school.
And I loved it! When I ran, I let my feet take me wherever I wanted to go for as long as I wanted to run. I stopped racing. I rode to discover great routes, and I didn’t care how fast I went or how long it took. I enjoyed years of being all about the experience, not the statistics.
So why change now? Because I find that I am missing the structure and order that having a plan brings to a busy life.
And, let’s face it, I am getting a little older and I need to work in a different way toward maintaining fitness, flexibility, strength, muscle mass, speed, endurance…all while holding tight my love of cycling. Can I have both worlds and keep them in balance?
Enter David Hoag, my new coach. We’ve only been working together for a few days, but already I am grateful to his boss, Robbie Ventura, for recommending him.
You can read about David’s background and credentials at the Vision Quest website. I will share what I have learned about David thus far.
First, he recommended a book for my reading pleasure. This was a good start (despite the title – more on that later). One of my favorite questions to ask someone when I first meet them is “What are you reading?”. So, now I am reading Fast After 50 by Joe Friel. No, I am not 50 years old yet, but I am a planner (smile). I will keep you posted about what I learn.
Then, realizing that I am struggling with proper fueling on the bike, David suggested that I try GoMacro bars. And guess where I found them? French Broad Food Co-op. David doesn’t yet know that I am a local food, whole food, fresh food, veggie loving, foodie nut. And still, he recommended a food bar that the French Broad Food Coop carries? Yes, this is going to be a good fit.
So I took my initial Functional Threshold Power Test at Beer City Bikes on Wednesday, and the results provided David with a starting point for building my new training plan. The test consists of a warm-up easy spin before things really get started. Then you will begin to ride as hard as possible at a power level that you can maintain for 20 minutes — and if you are lucky, Michael Potter will be there to crack the whip until you nearly fall off your bicycle. I really needed his encouragement to get me through the final two minutes of the test.
If you have been reluctant to take the FTP test, I encourage you to take the plunge. It is hard, but worth the effort to have a measurement of your lactate threshold to kick off a new training plan.
Now, if I can just figure out how to use this new power meter. Stay tuned for more tales from a coached Velo Girl.
(More recommended reading: The Cyclist’s Training Bible also by Joe Friel).