Coaches' Blog

Coach Ainslie










In the winter conditions outdoors can be wet, sandy and salty. Additionally there can be more debris in the road and the cold can affect your equipment adversely. I can remember doing rides when I was a full time cyclist where my derailleurs would freeze from road spray and the chain would get rusty. As you can imagine this can be rough on your equipment. Here are some tips from the experts about how to keep up your machine. 

1. Mechanic with the BMC pro cycling squad Kevin Grove says "Ride the heaviest, most durable tire you can for winter training! Then you can switch to the lighter tires when the weather is warmer and you want to really smoke the others on the group ride!"

2. Grove also comments "If you ride on a salty or wet road, do a wipedown of the frame and chain straight afterwards." This will remove water and salt to help avoid corrosion and rust on your frame, chain and exposed parts.  

3. Grove recommends "Lower your tire pressure by 10 psi or so if you ride in areas where the downhills are still wet/damp in the shade you'll have better traction."

4. Mavic mechanic Marcel Vangarderen suggests "Check tires for small cuts or imbedded rocks. Make sure to pick out the stones. If the cut is not too big you can super-glue it back together. Only do this on winter training tires, never your race tires."

5. Vangarderen backs up Kevin on frame care and adds "wipe your chain after wet rides and apply lube asap to avoid rust." 

These are just a handful of tips from guys in the know. For more complete list you can call your local bike shop and get their ideas. Whatever you do, keeping up your equipment will make it last longer and operate more efficiently......Ainslie

Coach Ainslie










Happy new year everyone! We're now into January. The holiday season has passed us by and its time to get serious about training for the 2017 cycling season. 

Through December and this first week of January you've been doing short duration, moderate intensity FTP/Threshold type work. In my last post I suggested incrementally adding time until you could do 30min or so. This should be a 6 week cycle where you allowed a rest period after week 3 and then commenced another 3 week cycle. In the next week or so you should allow a 1 week rest to "reset the gauges". 

The next cycle you'll enter will introduce some VO2 type work. So, above threshold stuff. The idea is that as we get closer to the start of the races your training should become more specific. So, effort intially should be in the 20 to 30 second neighborhood and start increasing in duration as you proceed. These should be done around 110% of your FTP. A beginning recommendation would be to see how you feel after you do 3x1min 15sec@VO2. 

This workout might look like this:

20min warmup/ride out of town (you need some open road for these)

5min tempo @Z3

5min easy @Z2 recovery

3x1:15 @120% of FTP

5min easy spin Z2 recovery

3x1:15 @120% of FTP

Minimum 30min easy spin home (Z2)

For more info on how to set up your training in January and Feburary or determine your FTP shoot me an email.....Ainslie 




Coach Ainslie

We are just about into December now. In Colorado the weather has only just turned fall/winter like and we've enjoyed a late period of great riding outside. Here's what you should be doing for training right now.

Unless your racing cyclocross or racing in January your training should be relatively low intensity right now. Through November you should have been taking a somewhat unstructured approach to training and logging some longer easy miles. I also encourage my athletes to allow for cross training activities just to keep them mentally fresh. Cross traning, aside from contributing to the rest equation, will also help to rebalance a cyclist since cycling is incredibly sports specific.

Now that we're about to arrive to December 1st it's time to introduce the first elements of intensity. In December you should be starting to do some threshold/ftp work. Duration will start out relatively short, and start increasing as you move through the month. By January 1 you should be feeling fairly comfortable doing efforts up to 30min at threshold/ftp. 

Weekends can include some longer group rides with some harder riding but it's my opinion that you should still avoid race type efforts in December. Group rides tend to encourage riding that is harder than necessary so remember what your goals are and reign yourself in if the pace goes through the roof. My advice is to follow wheels and let the other guys flog themselves senseless at the front. Nobody remembers who "won" the winter group ride in March. 

With an organized and sensible approach you can enter the 2017 cycling season with your best fitness yet. If you'd like to get your training dialed talking with a knowledgable coach can help you create a plan that works for you. 

Coach Ainslie













With cooler temperatures arriving and daylight becoming less and less I have cyclists ask me frequently should they get rollers or a turbo trainer. Both devices offer great benefits that will help you improve your fitness but the answer isn't totally cut and dry. 

I think every cyclist should learn to ride rollers. For creating a smooth, fluid pedal stroke there is no better tool than rollers. Rollers magnify any irregularity in your pedal stroke thereby "forcing" you to become smooth. You can do relatively high heart rate stuff with rollers but a potential downfall is that it can be hard to do high power stuff. Some rollers have the compatibility to accomodate a resistance unit however rollers make a short, sharp out of the saddle effort nearly impossible because of the risk of coming off the drums. 

I like rollers because they keep you engaged. If you stop paying attention you'll fall off. Additionally they are the most like riding your bike since you are, essentially, riding your bike on three rolling drums. This combination makes the time seem to go by faster and its more fun.....if fun is something you could say about indoor training. I also find that you can rack up quite a few miles on the rollers if thats your goal. 

Former US Postal Service pro Marty Jemison says "Rollers are great for your spin and position. If your position is bad. It will be harder to ride the rollers. If your position is good you'll be able to ride very smoothly. The rollers are also good for your core." He also  adds "a turbo trainer is great for pushing watts and specific workouts. Using both in your training best." Marty does go on to add his real preference is to try and stay outside no matter how adverse the conditions. 

On the other side we have the turbo trainer. It makes indoor training approachable for everyone and doesn't require the skill that rollers ask for. The turbo trainer allows you to make short, sharp efforts without the risk of falling off. Many turbo trainers come with a resistance unit and they make power training very easy. Newer trainers interface with a computer and allow you to monitor any number of parameters. With power training being in vogue right now the turbo trainer has a clear advantage.

Pro cyclocross athlete Amanda Miller says "Typically I like to use the trainer, especially when I have a specific workout to do. I am able to concentrate more on the effort while on the trainer, rather than worrying about falling off the rollers. However, I like to mix it up, especially if I have to ride in doors for multiple days in a row. Amanda also adds "Rollers [do] feel more like riding your bike outside and also give you something to focus on (balance)."

The downfall of the turbo, in my mind, is that it doesnt develop pedaling fluidity in quite the same way and frankly, its incredibly boring. With the bike locked into the device its highly stable and no finesse is required. 

So which is best? To me the answer is: depends on what your goal is. You can see that the above mentioned pros recognize the advantage of both in their training and racing. In an ideal world you could have both. I realize that its not always feasible to have both though. If you need to work on developing power than the turbo trainer is the way to go. If your goal is to develop a fluid pedal stroke, reduce the monotony of indoor training and actively spin your legs, I think rollers are the way to go.

Everyones opinion will be different so you have to find what works for you. At the end of the day, as long as you continue with your training on the days with inclement weather or cooler temps it doesn't matter which device you use. 

The winter season is rapidly approaching. Get my cycling specific strength training plan on my website:

Coach Ainslie

I noticed on facebook recently a number of friends and a few pros saying "season over!" Indeed we have arrived to the "off season" for more than a few of us. If you are racing 'cross, you're on a different plan. For the rest of us, off season has different meanings. For some, its time completely off the bike. For others it means switching to your mountain bike or some other sport. What should you be doing right now to get refreshed without digging yourself too deep a hole?

After the racing season, its important to give yourself a physical and mental break from organized training and the stresses of racing. All that accumulated fatigue takes a toll on your central nervous system, adrenal glands and immune system. Its important to take time at the end of your season, no matter when it is, to recharge your "batteries." This will not only refresh you physically but mentally too.

So, what should you be doing? TIme off can take many appearances.  Whatever you choose to do, it should be about allowing yourself to relax a little bit, not worry about structure or training plans and allow your body to recover from the rigours of all those miles and hours. 

Many of you have been pursuing organized training and racing since February or March. Thats 7 or 8 months with a grand total of maybe 14 days of "rest." I've said it many times but, to most cyclists (endurance athletes in general) rest is figuratively and literally a 4 letter word. This is your time to not let rest create anxiety for you. You NEED this time to rebalance your body. You've been wildly out of balance and you can take this time to enjoy yourself too. 

When I was racing, my dad was a doc and he studied up on endurance sports and training. He used to say that we could put down the "living like a monk" and actually have a few cheeseburgers and fries. I loved the idea of "doctor endorsed" junk food. It doesn't mean you can go hog-wild on the looser dietary options BUT, it does mean that you should take steps to restore some of your fat stores and not feel guilty about it! In general you can loosen up somewhat for a few more weeks but, don't dig the hole TOO deep. 

If you DO choose to continue with riding, make it fun. Take off your HR monitor or power meter. Just go out and enjoy riding for the sake of riding (remember that?). I think fall riding is some of the best riding so, go enjoy it without having zone requirements or time limits creating anxiety. Riding should be unstructured and low in intensity. No hard efforts. Save that stuff for later. 

What I suggest to my riders is 1 week of total time off the bike and then an additional two weeks of unstructured riding and/or cross training. Not more than 2 weeks off of exercise though. If you let it go too long, you can actually experience too significant a detraining effect which would mean you're coming in at a lower level of fitness than is desirable. 

So, to recap --

- Only 1 week of no activity

- Cheeseburgers good

- 2 additional weeks of loose training of some variety

- Refresh mentally and physically

- Try to have some fun darnit

Many of the athletes I work with will also be beginning a winter strength training plan. This plan will be geared specifically for cyclists and will be coordinated with their riding to keep overall work load managable. For more information on that you can email me.

Coach Ainslie

So, about 2 weeks ago my wife and I started the #Whole30 plan. If you're not familiar with Whole 30, think "orthodox Paleo". That is, keeping your foods to whole ingredients and eliminating foods that strict Paleo nutrition gurus suggest you take out. To get a feel for what those items are go to

As of today we're at day 18. I won't lie, it has been hard. The first two weeks I was pretty unhappy and hungry. That happened because of two things:

1. Me not being mentally agile enough to assemble appropriate snacks

2: My body starting to transition to a more fat based metabolism.

This week I can say that I'm feeling much better. I've learned what snacks I can have that are Whole 30 compliant AND my cravings to eat beyond the prescribed 4 meals a day has abated. The worst part for me is the evenings after dinner. I'm going to attribute this to boredom and perhaps not hitting the right percentages of macro nutrients during my day.

Melissa and I were talking this morning and we were both commenting that we've both noticed a difference in our mid section. Additionally I notice I AM sleeping better. Anyone that knows me knows that sleep is an elusive animal for me so, improved sleep feels really incredible. The Whole 30 folks claim that improved sleep is a benefit one can expect.

I still want that glass of wine or dessert item occasionally but not to such a degree that its overly frustrating. Melissa hasn't had that craving. 

I did notice last week that when I went riding my legs were feeling depleted. After adding in more complex carbohydrate sources I started feeling better on the bike. Those items for me were sweet potato hashbrowns and roasted potatoes. There are lots more options but those are things I know I like and know how to prepare.

Thats where we are today. We have 12 days left. I'll try to touch down either by video or here a couple more times before we hit the end.....Ainslie