Coaches' Blog

Coach Ainslie

Phew! Finally the CAS panel handed down a long anticipated verdict regarding Alberto Contador. I, for one, am glad to see that they opted for a two year ban. However, I am massively disappointed that his suspension was back dated. I feel that the panel caved to pressure from other entities. Contador is very popular, has a lot of money and has friends in high places. I gotta say, I feel that this allowed for the decision to be delayed AND, ultimately, is the reason they backdated to decision too. 

Do I believe Contador doped? Absolutely! I think he knowingly doped. He weighed the risk and felt that if he got caught, he'd be able to wiggle his way out of it. The evidence of plasticizers in addition to the clenbuterol is pretty damning but, his people did a fine job of having that particular item dismissed.

I would have liked to see the ban be two years going forward from today. Contador (and another prolific Tour winner I won't mention) have the benefit of money and political pull that has allowed them to have a somewhat teflon like quality when it comes to this stuff. I would be lying if I said that I didn't have concerns over whether or not the rules are enforced uniformly across the board. Would another athlete without these resources be able to way-lay the process? Would another athlete recieve a back dated suspension? Even though they continued to race? What if it was you or me? 

So, Alberto is cooling his heels until August. At least some action was taken. Was it the right action? I'm sure the debate is going to go on long after I've stopped thinking about this. 

(photo from Cyclingnews.com)

Coach Ainslie

 

There are typically two camps out there when it comes to weight lifting during the winter for cyclists; those who do and those who don’t. Every cyclist can benefit from an organized weight plan. During the course of a race season, a cyclist’s power diminishes as fatigue accumulates and bodily resources get spread thin. Many cyclists begin their racing season somewhere around March or April and continue with minimal breaks straight through September or October.

 

Completing a fully thought out and periodized weight training program over the winter will help to increase on the bike power and allow you to maintain power later into the season.

 

It has been my experience that most cyclists, because of the energy demands required, cannot maintain a lifting program throughout the race season. Thusly, (over) the winter is a good time to combine lifting with your bike program. The right weight program will synchronize with your riding to create a tolerable workload that works towards the overall goal of entering the next season with a higher level of power than the previous.

 

Beginning with a relatively easy adaptive period will introduce your body to a new exercise modality and signal your muscles, tendons and ligaments to adapt accordingly. Additionally, you will begin to establish the neuromuscular pathways required to complete your lifts effectively and efficiently while reducing the risk of injury. This period will also allow you do “dial” the moves so that when you get into the big meat (read maximal weights) you will be ideally prepared.

 

After you’ve completed an adaptive period you’re ready to get into the fancy dancy, more complex and specific moves. The appropriate plan will address the complete athlete and any weaknesses will be identified. Addressing these weaknesses will help to “bullet proof” the athlete going forward. That is, the types and duration of potential injuries would be reduced or eliminated.

You’re switching person from ‘you’ to ‘athlete.’  Get consistent.

Appropriate lifts will train the musculature of the legs, core, gluteals and low back to perform at a higher level and, under stress, extend the period before fatigue levels become too great to continue. Much like your training on the bike, your lifting program should be graduated in sets, reps and weights. Keeping records is highly recommended so you can track forward progress and identify if you’re at a plateau. If you’re anything like me, keeping track in your head starts out great but, that system breaks down rapidly! Working with a personal trainer or your coach will help you to avoid plateaus.

 

Other benefits to lifting are balancing left to right inequalities and shoring up core strength. Solidifying these two elements will create a greater ability to produce sustainable power as well as create better posture while on the bike. I’ve been accused of having the “cyclist slouch” more than once. If you think about it, the major muscles of the pedal stroke, the quadriceps and hamstring, are anchored at the pelvis. And core musculature is what stabilizes the pelvis. So, having this element tuned up is advantageous in many ways.

Coach Ainslie

Today I had one of my cyclists come in for a bike fit. "J" is a cat. 2, good cyclist, spend part of last season in Belgium. We got the bike on the trainer and had him start riding and, whoa!, it was clear that he needed this thing adjusted. J mentioned he was dealing with a nasty saddle sore also and that he hadn't been able to ride consistenly because....well, cause it hurt too damn much. 

Bike fit is one of those things that many cyclists think they can approach casually. BUT, ask any cyclist who's had a good bike fit done and they'll rave about it! And for good reason. Proper position on the bike will decrease lactate production, decrease heart rate, decrease discomfort (maybe most important) and decrease drag due to wind. 

Proper position will INCREASE power, climbing ability, duration of rides, power at threshold, duration, at speed, before fatigue sets in and...the list goes on.

Your local bike shop usually have the tools to at least do an initial fit but, a cycling coach or fit studio will be able to get you all set. If you're in the NoCO area and you wanna get your bike dialed, gimme a call or email!

Coach Ainslie

Very proud of our Colorado contingent for their performances at Cyclocross nationals this past weekend. Pete Weber, Brandon Dwight, Brian Hludinski, Greg Keller and Skylar Trujillo to name a few! Well done boys.

Another old friend of mine did quite well, you might have heard of him....Adam Myerson? I started racing around the time he did and we go way back. Good show Adam!

One of the things that I love about Colorado is that our riders consistently to well at many races not only all over the USA but, all over the world.

So, congrats crew. Good luck to those of you going on to Worlds!

Coach Ainslie

Resolve To Do Nothing...Sort Of

Yes, the New Year is now here! Many of us resolved to do things like lose weight, exercise more, do this, do that. But what will happen to those resolutions? By the end of January, maybe as late as February, those resolutions go by the wayside.

As a fitness professional, I see many people start out their resolutions with great enthusiasm and commitment. However, quite often, they let it go before they have a chance to effect a change of any real significance.

What’s the reason? That’s the $64,000 question.  Many of us, when we resolve something, really mean it this time. But along the way we start to feel that it’s either not a reality, or we feel that we’ve gotten at least part of the way to our goal and we can relax a little. Well, here’s what I resolve: I resolve to do nothing…sort of…That’s right, I said nothing. And here’s my reasoning. Resolutions go by the wayside, because they are sudden and unrealistic goals. We resolve to make sweeping changes in our lives without laying down any of the groundwork, or setting attainable objectives.

In my professional opinion, the most effective way to make lasting changes is to start out small. What’s the first thing you do when you build a house? You build the foundation. Well, resolutions are essentially the same way. You have to start small and then build on that.

Now, even with 10 plus years of experience, I’m not saying that I know what to do in every case. What I am saying is that to make wholesale statements about what I am going to do is not necessarily a reality. If I am going to work out more, first I try to get myself into the gym or out the door to train once or twice a week for, say, one hour. After having achieved that on a regular basis, I up the ante. I get into the gym or out the door to train for 1hr three times a week. After that maybe its 90min two to three times a week. AND each workout has a purpose.

I see so many people in the gym or on the road on the first Monday after the New Year that I have never seen before. These people have good intentions and are determined to reach an advanced level of fitness and health. But by the end of February or early March they are no longer around. Most often the reason behind this is that they haven’t reached their goal in record-setting time. And at this point they give up.

With that said, recognize that setbacks may occur. And that’s okay. The key is realizing that along the way (because we are human and we are making changes in our normal routine), sometimes we will lose focus or stray from the path. The trick is maintaining that focus and getting ourselves back on track.

Attaining your fitness and/or health goals is like climbing a mountain. You may lose a few steps along the way, but you’re still higher than you were when you started. It’s important to remember that, like most things in life, the path is not always a smooth ride. There are twists and turns that are unanticipated and will slow us down, but if we are patient and deliberate we will ultimately reach our end goal.

It sounds corny, but it’s not necessarily about the goal; it’s about the process. Cycling, health and fitness are lifelong pursuits. Our bodies and lives are dynamic. Therefore goals are constantly evolving. Even the most highly trained athlete is always trying to achieve the next level. Perfect health and fitness is hard to define.

So give yourself a break! When you lose focus or fall short of the goal, look at what went wrong and ask yourself “what are the changes that need to be made to get back to where I want to be?” Here are some tips:

-First, set short term, reachable goals as well as long term goals.

-Second, write down these goals and put them in a place where you can see them everyday. Repeat these goals out loud to yourself every morning and night. Never mind the fact that anyone who hears you saying this out loud may think that you’ve truly tipped over the edge, just do it! Affirming your intentions in open air goes farther than you’d think.

-Third, when your short term goals have been met, set the next set of short term goals that will help you towards your long term goals. As you get further along the continuum of success, treat yourself with small rewards to positively reinforce the behavioral changes that you’ve made.

The combination of setting realistic goals, reassessing your progress and reaffirming your commitment will help you to make the healthy lifestyle changes that you can maintain for a lifetime.

 

Ainslie MacEachran is the owner and head coach of www.geminitrainingsystems.com and www.orchardsathleticclub.com

You can follow Ainslie on twitter = Cycle_Coach_Ace

Coach Ainslie

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a safe and fun New Years Eve.

2012 is a new year and a new opportunity for you to acheive your goals as they relate to cycling. But, as important as that is, don't forget about your development as a person too.

My resolutions this year center around trying to be a better dad, a better business owner/coach and a better cyclist. Maybe I'd like to try to exceed 10,000mi this year.

A buddy of mine out east tweeted this morning "Remember that we're all the same a**holes today we were yesterday. Every day is a new chance to smash this life, not just today!" He's right. Every day is your chance to become whatever it is you're striving to be. Make the most of it!

Pages