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-   -   To get a Coach or not (http://www.bikeforums.net/33-road-bike-racing/918645-get-coach-not.html)

gtrob 10-21-13 07:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by topflightpro (Post 16177835)
I think the suggestion to find a local group to ride with is probably the best one.

Friel's Training Bible is great, but it isn't a beginners book. I read it when I first started riding and all it did was confuse me. My assessment after the first time reading it was that I needed to quit my job and divorce my wife and devote my life to cycling to be decent. I re-read it a year later and it was much more helpful.


I completely agree. I read it about 6 months into riding which was a bit of a waste. Im rereading it now after a full season of racing and can appreciate it much more. I think for someone on the bike less than a year should be focused on getting into group rides, especially the novice rides that most clubs have.

As for cost, why not try it for 2 months and if it doesn't seem worth it then stop. Even if you only use a few months I am sure you will learn more than enough to justify the cost.

echappist 10-21-13 08:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gtrob (Post 16177891)
I completely agree. I read it about 6 months into riding which was a bit of a waste. Im rereading it now after a full season of racing and can appreciate it much more. I think for someone on the bike less than a year should be focused on getting into group rides, especially the novice rides that most clubs have.

As for cost, why not try it for 2 months and if it doesn't seem worth it then stop. Even if you only use a few months I am sure you will learn more than enough to justify the cost.

because some of the benefits won't show up until you've gone through base and build and then some races.

my own coach prescribed training that was very different from what I had been doing (which got me good but not spectacular results), based on the types of racing I was doing. From November until mid March, I doubted if I was actually getting stronger because the numbers i was tracking didn't show much improvement over the previous year. Once the racing started, I landed on the podium twice in the first two weeks. That convinced me. Also, packing a somewhat decent sprint (one of my weak points) after spending an hour in a break also convinced me.

Then in early April i got injured due to my own idiocy, needed to start over, and again had differences with my coach regarding how I wanted to approach things for a race in late may. Since I was paying for service, I went with his suggestions. At the end of May i was able to upgrade out of the 4's (ha, a cat 4 with a coach!) and then podiumed in my first cat 3 race. Overall, it took me about half a year to see the forest from the trees and realize that the metric I was tracking wasn't worth as much as I (and others) valued it.

carpediemracing 10-21-13 09:03 AM

If I could set out a cycling curriculum, like for a school, then there would be three stages of coaching.

1. Riding technique/skills. This can happen during base training so no racing necessary. Work on group riding and solo riding skills. We did this at school and turned out a pretty impressive (to me) group of riders. One actually beat me in a race in the spring, a race that was my first target race. To do this the coach and the client need to ride together.

2. Pedaling technique, for lack of a better term. Someone I'm helping (coaching might be a bit much but definitely trying to advise) gave me some power numbers. Things didn't look right so I gave him some pedaling tips. He improved his 5s power by 40% on his first ride out after reading my email (1000w to 1400w). It wasn't fitness, it was simply technique, and based on his peak power I knew his 5s power at 1000w was too low. This needs to happen after base but it can happen in the first year of racing. In the example I list it's a Cat 3 with 2? 3? years of racing under his legs.

3. Tactical coaching. This can happen in the first year of racing but is most useful after the rider has done 5-10 races. If it happens from the start it can inhibit a rider tactically since they won't try everything first. The rider example above, he shared a bike cam clip of a finish earlier this year. He approached the race properly for a sprinter type (field sprint finish) but he's not necessarily a sprinter based on what I've seen. I gave him some ideas on approaching the corner when in a field, taking into account the exact course, his power curve, his riding style, and the (very experienced) competition (one or two ProTour pros, lots of racers that have been racing 10-20 years). He got second in a field sprint there recently - based on his numbers and his position it would have been difficult for anyone to come around him and at the same time it'd have been hard for him to actually win. Last year I gave him some advice when he was racing at Bethel. He instigated a break, drove it hard at a critical time (we almost caught them), and then got 3rd after 2 guys escaped the break. He was determined to make a break stick and I told him how to get it done.

Based on those caveats/definitions I think a coach will help.

Training... maybe I devalue training too much. I realize that getting xyz done in abc time will take structured training but for most racers the basic non-training points above will make a huge difference, and it'll make it almost immediately with no need to change training plans. When a racer lines up for a race there's no more training, no more fitness stuff to work on. It's all about tactics and, to some extent, the technique required to execute those tactics. I've beaten many, many, many racers that are much, much, much more fit than I am. It's not because I'm more fit - I'm not. I struggle to hang with decent Cat 5s and I get shelled regularly by Cat 5s, 4s, 3s, etc. I can do well in races because I apply the stuff I list above, the stuff that I try to teach others, the stuff that I think every racer should know.

furiousferret 10-21-13 11:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by echappist (Post 16177708)
So what did your tri coach do that's different?

And a coach is more than power numbers and gps logs. Sh**, you can email that stuff to me and i can analyze them for a low intro rate of $25/month. The point of a coach is someone who knows you well enough to develop a program that works for you so you can excel in the events you are targeting. Things like minimal effective dosage and specificity. There's a lot more involved there than what meets the eye.

The three big things a tri coach did for me was swim technique, scheduling, and accountability. For me the big difference between Tri's and Road Racing is its all about numbers in Triathlon. There aren't any drafting tactics, its just pure wattage conserved at a set distance.

Road racing (which I admit am inexperienced at) seems to be much more about tactics. A racer who is new to the sport, needs someone not only to improve thier power on the bike overall but to work with the coach on how to race and tactics. Hypothetically, I could hire a coach, nail everything in his plan, and still get shelled in a race because I don't know to hold a wheel, position myself, etc. Maybe I'm reading too much into CDR's shill, but he seems to know his stuff.

For the reason above, I've limited myself to 5 guys that are all local.

Racer Ex 10-21-13 11:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mattm (Post 16177378)
Well as a coach, I'm not surprised you think everyone needs a coach.

Never wrote everyone needs one. My comments have been the same since long before I started coaching BTW. Look up posts by Vinokurtov.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mattm (Post 16177378)
Also I think it'd be good for someone with a coach to read/skim the Training Bible (or similar books) so that they at least know wtf their coach is talking about.

In this context, that's good advice. As noted though it seems to be the default advice for new riders, which is like telling people a Ferrari is a good learners car.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mattm (Post 16177378)
Thanks for the gf/skiing tips though, that might come in handy!

I started skiing at 7. The stories I could tell.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jnobles (Post 16177275)
So how does one figure out a good coach and a great coach. I am afraid of getting the cookie cutter coach. I know that I want to ride competitively, but I want to do it right the first time. I am starting this at 46 years of age, work and have a family so I need someone who can work around all of that and bring out the best in me so that my experience is a good one.

Start that thread. I'll work on the mods to make it a sticky.

The cookie cutter coach is one of the biggest problems out there right now, IMEO (new abbreviation: "In my educated opinion". Jandro, please copyright for me). One size doesn't fit all, which is another deficiency with steering people towards the Training Bible before they've had experience training.

Racer Ex 10-21-13 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carpediemracing (Post 16178096)
Training... maybe I devalue training too much.

Sprinter.

grolby 10-21-13 01:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Racer Ex (Post 16176398)
I'm reminded of the guys who take their girlfriends skiing for the first time. They put them on hand-me-down, poorly working and fitted equipment (because she doesn't need good equipment as a beginner) , act as the teacher when they can barely do the sport themselves (because why pay for a lesson until she decides she likes it), then complain later that she hated skiing.

Writing this one down.

Course, I have no intention of putting my wife on a hand-me-down bike, either.

Coaching: actually, I'd really like a coach and am mostly not sure if I can afford one. Or where to look around here (I'm new to the local scene). But having someone experienced watching from the outside and telling me what I'm doing wrong or what I could do to improve would beat my own introspection even if I'm silly enough to think that six years of racing (well, four, really) means I sort of know what I'm doing. Obviously I don't, or I would be threatening the podium more often. I'm not too worried about whether I have "enough" talent; it doesn't take a superman to do well in Cat 3. And it should be obvious to anyone who's been commenting on this board for a few years why a good coach can get you somewhere faster than your own introspection. Think about how much easier it is to identify the areas of potential improvement for other riders you know than for your own self*. That's my experience, anyway - having the distance of not being the person trying to get better makes it a lot easier to accurately assess the situation. Having someone else to do some of the analysis for me is definitely worth spending something.



*Assuming you really do know more than one thing about racing a bike; I admit there's no shortage of posters here and real-life riders who think they're a lot smarter than they really are about racing. Me included, no doubt.

mattm 10-21-13 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by grolby (Post 16178863)
But having someone experienced watching from the outside and telling me what I'm doing wrong or what I could do to improve would beat my own introspection even if I'm silly enough to think that six years of racing (well, four, really) means I sort of know what I'm doing.

+1

I feel like I should be paying the 33, since a lot of (ok, most - ok, some) the feedback you get here can help you fine-tune your training. A slower feedback loop than with a coach, and also after-the-fact, but still.

It's the crowd-sourced coach, for free! So basically all y'all are my coach.

echappist 10-21-13 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by furiousferret (Post 16178510)
The three big things a tri coach did for me was swim technique, scheduling, and accountability. For me the big difference between Tri's and Road Racing is its all about numbers in Triathlon. There aren't any drafting tactics, its just pure wattage conserved at a set distance.

Road racing (which I admit am inexperienced at) seems to be much more about tactics. A racer who is new to the sport, needs someone not only to improve thier power on the bike overall but to work with the coach on how to race and tactics. Hypothetically, I could hire a coach, nail everything in his plan, and still get shelled in a race because I don't know to hold a wheel, position myself, etc. Maybe I'm reading too much into CDR's shill, but he seems to know his stuff.

For the reason above, I've limited myself to 5 guys that are all local.

don't get me wrong, tactics and racecraft are important, but you can get that stuff for free from more experienced riders and being introspective after races.

That's not the reason you pay a coach, though a good coach should know enough about race tactics to give you pointers for your races.

the reason you pay a coach is to get a set of training plans tailored to the racing you are doing while managing teaining dosage so you don't burn out.

gsteinb 10-21-13 01:41 PM

I guess the difference I see is a ski coach teaches someone not to crash into trees and people. Cycling coaches mostly look at numbers and/or hand out training plans. They work the engine. Until someone decides they really want to race a bicycle committing to a training program seems to me to be a big ask. I'm all for skills clinics. Teaching people how to ride in a crowd. All good things. The same way little league teaches youngins how to play the game, before they get them training to excel. We don't really have that in cycling on a large scale. So I generally think a guy should do a race before deciding how far they want to commit. I know a lot of guys who were strong as oxen but really didn't have what it took mentally to be at the pointy end of a race at the end. Scared them to death and they didn't like racing.

revchuck 10-21-13 02:02 PM

Gary - I'd love to attend a skills clinic. Problem is, they're either offered exclusively to Juniors or located in CT. :)

Racer Ex 10-21-13 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16178996)
Cycling coaches mostly look at numbers and/or hand out training plans. They work the engine.

Based on my experience, that's often the case, along with the "cookie cutter" syndrome.

But there are also coaches who help you prepare mentally and tactically, and help you define use your skill set to your best advantage. My current coach came out to Nationals a few years back, went out to the course with me, and made a suggestion about bunny hopping a traffic island. Probably made the difference between the silver and bronze medals.

Of course the major "certifying" body or companies are all about the training plan.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mattm (Post 16178905)
So basically all y'all are my coach.

This is laying out an open bar in front of frat house...

http://i1277.photobucket.com/albums/...ps1ad0db3e.jpg

gsteinb 10-21-13 02:10 PM

Right on. But we kicked this off with a guy deciding he wants to try racing. There's a big difference between taking a ski lesson (s) and having a ski coach. I think a newly minted 5 should have some cycling lessons, but not necessarily a coach.

rkwaki 10-21-13 02:11 PM

Well...
I coach a couple on here and some other. Have directed many, was a Cat 1 by 18 raced a bunch...
Even with that experience I still reached out to the man above (Ex not God, though some may say one in the same) for a little direction. Regardless of time, experience etc. sometimes you just need a second set of eyes to substantiate your thoughts or give a different perspective.

Racer Ex 10-21-13 02:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16179091)
Right on. But we kicked this off with a guy deciding he wants to try racing. There's a big difference between taking a ski lesson (s) and having a ski coach. I think a newly minted 5 should have some cycling lessons, but not necessarily a coach.

Again, as I pointed out to my client Matt, I never said (or wrote) a coach was "necessary". We kicked this off with a guy asking this:

Quote:

Originally Posted by jnobles (Post 16174588)
Is getting a coach when your beginning cycling and want to race a waste or can it be a good idea and why.

Because there's no such thing as a "racing lesson" in many places (thankfully that's not the case everywhere) you end up with a huge noise to signal ratio as far as "advice" goes. I've had new riders tell me that the "star" cat 3 told them how to corner...and that advice was completely wrong. Or they figure they need to ride 30 hours so they are in shape. And so on.

My point is, and will continue to be that The Right Coach can be a good idea. Great idea even. Then I explained why. Which sort of was exactly answering his question exactly, and not making an extrapolative jump into the "everyone must have a coach" swimming pool.

The Right Coach is a registered trademark of Racer Ex LLC, CPA, WPOD, MBA, AARP.

Racer Ex 10-21-13 02:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rkwaki (Post 16179096)
Even with that experience I still reached out to the man above (Ex not God, though some may say one in the same)


The people sipped their wine
And what with God there, they asked him questions
Like: do you have to eat
Or get your hair cut in heaven?
And if your eye got poked out in this life
Would it be waiting up in heaven with your wife?

God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them;
The people cleared their throats and stared right back at him


gsteinb 10-21-13 02:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Racer Ex (Post 16179218)
Again, as I pointed out to my client Matt, I never said (or wrote) a coach was "necessary". We kicked this off with a guy asking this:



Because there's no such thing as a "racing lesson" in many places (thankfully that's not the case everywhere) you end up with a huge noise to signal ratio as far as "advice" goes. I've had new riders tell me that the "star" cat 3 told them how to corner...and that advice was completely wrong. Or they figure they need to ride 30 hours so they are in shape. And so on.

My point is, and will continue to be that The Right Coach can be a good idea. Great idea even. Then I explained why. Which sort of was exactly answering his question exactly, and not making an extrapolative jump into the "everyone must have a coach" swimming pool.

The Right Coach is a registered trademark of Racer Ex LLC, CPA, WPOD, MBA, AARP.

I didn't say you did, mr. sensitive. :p

rkwaki 10-21-13 03:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Racer Ex (Post 16179218)
Again, as I pointed out to my client Matt, I never said (or wrote) a coach was "necessary". We kicked this off with a guy asking this:



Because there's no such thing as a "racing lesson" in many places (thankfully that's not the case everywhere) you end up with a huge noise to signal ratio as far as "advice" goes. I've had new riders tell me that the "star" cat 3 told them how to corner...and that advice was completely wrong. Or they figure they need to ride 30 hours so they are in shape. And so on.

My point is, and will continue to be that The Right Coach can be a good idea. Great idea even. Then I explained why. Which sort of was exactly answering his question exactly, and not making an extrapolative jump into the "everyone must have a coach" swimming pool.

The Right Coach is a registered trademark of Racer Ex LLC, CPA, WPOD, MBA, AARP.

You too?




M-aster
B-a........
A-nonymous....

It's an exclusive club though we don't know who all the members are.

shovelhd 10-21-13 07:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by revchuck (Post 16179069)
Gary - I'd love to attend a skills clinic. Problem is, they're either offered exclusively to Juniors or located in CT. :)

Hey CDR. Road trip.

Racer Ex 10-21-13 08:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shovelhd (Post 16179950)
Hey CDR. Road trip.

The two of you would be more like "antique road show".

Sorry, too good a set up to resist.

carpediemracing 10-21-13 09:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shovelhd (Post 16179950)
Hey CDR. Road trip.

I wish I could.

FYI One of the instructors (Rick) is not racing next year (if not longer), selling off his bikes. I haven't talked to him but it's unlikely that he'll be an instructor.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Racer Ex (Post 16180075)
The two of you would be more like "antique road show".

Sorry, too good a set up to resist.

I realized today I'm closer to 50 than I am to 40. That's sort of scary.

Jandro 10-21-13 11:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Racer Ex (Post 16179218)

The Right Coach is a registered trademark of Racer Ex LLC, CPA, WPOD, MBA, AARP.

Well, that's spot on. Copy looks good, too.

Make a road trip to the Bay Area in January and do the Early Bird Clinics and Criteriums. Best way to get into racing, IMUEO (UnEducated because I'm biased and I can't exactly 'start racing for the first time' a second time). Lots of knowledgeable instructors; many of whom still race (and win).

gsteinb 10-22-13 05:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Racer Ex (Post 16179218)
Again, as I pointed out to my client Matt


Isn't it easier to name folks you don't coach? The list would have to be shorter

my client matt
my client gary
...


I like the ring to that. My wife just legally changed her name, maybe I should I as well.

Racer Ex Client Gary

Kinda going the Metta World Peace route for verbosity

echappist 10-22-13 06:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16180652)
Isn't it easier to name folks you don't coach? The list would have to be shorter

my client matt
my client gary
...


I like the ring to that. My wife just legally changed her name, maybe I should I as well.

Racer Ex Client Gary

Kinda going the Metta World Peace route for verbosity

Namaste

gsteinb 10-22-13 06:25 AM

Quote:

I move on to the next aisle and ask the nearest Whole Foods clerk for help. He's wearing a visor inside and as if that weren't ******y enough, it has one word on it in all caps. Yup, NAMASTE. I ask him where I can find whole wheat bread. He chuckles at me "Oh, we keep the poison in aisle 7." Based solely on the attitudes of people sporting namaste paraphernalia today, I'd think it was Sanskrit for "go **** yourself."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-...comm_ref=false


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