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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    When you start out fresh it is a ton of fun.
    i think one of the reasons it starts out being fun is that it is easier to harbor the illusion that one will be the next great cycling superstar when new. after a few races -- for most people -- they realize that even if they are 'good' at that level, they're not world-class and will have to get on the process of doing some hard work to rise up a few levels, which is most likely where they will stop.

    i'd wager that many of us know more people who stopped racing after 1-3 years than continued on for 5, 7, 10 years.

    with proper guidance at the outset, perhaps more people would set themselves up for longer-term enjoyment of the sport. of course, not all coaches emphasize that aspect.

  2. #27
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tetonrider View Post
    i think one of the reasons it starts out being fun is that it is easier to harbor the illusion that one will be the next great cycling superstar when new. after a few races -- for most people -- they realize that even if they are 'good' at that level, they're not world-class and will have to get on the process of doing some hard work to rise up a few levels, which is most likely where they will stop.

    i'd wager that many of us know more people who stopped racing after 1-3 years than continued on for 5, 7, 10 years.

    with proper guidance at the outset, perhaps more people would set themselves up for longer-term enjoyment of the sport. of course, not all coaches emphasize that aspect.
    I'm not sure if proper guidance is the end all for that part though.

    If you want to succeed in racing, it really takes a great deal of dedication, time, and motivation. I think the reason that a lot of people stop after 1-3 years is because it frankly just is not sustainable for most people. You have to have the right personality and the right people that surround you that are supportive.
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by tetonrider
    with proper guidance at the outset, perhaps more people would set themselves up for longer-term enjoyment of the sport. of course, not all coaches emphasize that aspect.
    Quote Originally Posted by Creatre View Post
    I'm not sure if proper guidance is the end all for that part though.
    it is my opinion based on observation of a number of friends/riders/racers that the enthusiasm that exists at the beginning can often work against a person as far as long-term enjoyment of the sport goes. i know a number of people who were incredibly gung-ho and put in tons of hours (18, 20 or more hours/week as amateurs--including through the winter on the trainer) only to burn out. i think -- again, my opinion -- that with the right coach they might have burned less bright at the beginning but still be in the sport.

    some of these people were coached, by the way. some of these were cat 1s, so it wasn't about lack of 'success'.

    i'm sure there are lots of examples of people doing massive hours and still enjoying riding/racing 10 years later, still as a cat 3, but i would bet that they are more the exception than the rule. treating training like a pro when one is not a pro -- or not ready for that type of volume -- seems to have an adverse long-term effect for many.

    EDIT: want to add that i mentioned big volume (for a non-pro) just as an example. definitely not the only reason folks lose interest. for guys who have been racing 10+ years, how many of the people that you started out with are still in the sport?
    Last edited by tetonrider; 10-23-13 at 10:03 AM.

  4. #29
    illusoryly superior Ygduf's Avatar
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    so wait, are any of you not coaches?

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  5. #30
    Banana Pancakes furiousferret's Avatar
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    One of the major problems with coaches is most coaches are good athletes, and some of the clients are not. Tyler Hamilton may be a good coach for a Cat 1, but what about a 55 year old new Cat 5?

    In 2009, I tore my achilles tendon, and during my recovery tore it again. The constant injuries caused my coach and I cut ties. The guy just got frustrated when his plan was not working and my guess is he never really had to deal with a situation that did not go according to script.

    Now that I'm in my 40's, training isn't a guarantee and one extra day can put me out for months. Back in my 20's I would run 70 miles a week and never even considered overuse; in fact I used to mock those guys that were constantly injured, and just thought they didn't really have the heart to do it. Now that I've been on both sides of the fence, I know Tommy Danielson disease is a real thing.

    Some coaches just don't have the right skillset for their clients, for example

  6. #31
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
    One of the major problems with coaches is most coaches are good athletes, and some of the clients are not. Tyler Hamilton may be a good coach for a Cat 1, but what about a 55 year old new Cat 5?

    In 2009, I tore my achilles tendon, and during my recovery tore it again. The constant injuries caused my coach and I cut ties. The guy just got frustrated when his plan was not working and my guess is he never really had to deal with a situation that did not go according to script.

    Now that I'm in my 40's, training isn't a guarantee and one extra day can put me out for months. Back in my 20's I would run 70 miles a week and never even considered overuse; in fact I used to mock those guys that were constantly injured, and just thought they didn't really have the heart to do it. Now that I've been on both sides of the fence, I know Tommy Danielson disease is a real thing.

    Some coaches just don't have the right skillset for their clients, for example
    True. Where I really learned how to coach others was from my father who was my hockey coach for years. He was never an athlete but had heart, compassion, understanding and all the other things I listed earlier. He taught me empathy and flexibility, he taught me how to be compassionate. I used this when coaching high school hockey, they all listened and we had no issues in an entire season. It's often not the message that was delivered but rather how it was delivered.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  7. #32
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tetonrider View Post
    i'm sure there are lots of examples of people doing massive hours and still enjoying riding/racing 10 years later, still as a cat 3, but i would bet that they are more the exception than the rule. treating training like a pro when one is not a pro -- or not ready for that type of volume -- seems to have an adverse long-term effect for many....

    For guys who have been racing 10+ years, how many of the people that you started out with are still in the sport?
    It's a big turnover, especially in the lower cats. I tend to see the same people at the front end of the field for years in the masters races, but these guys have pretty much self selected and have a bunch of talent. Those folks also have been athletes since they were kids in many cases.

    Big hours is certainly a factor in people burning out. One of the SOP's handed out to new racers is "ride lots". So folks go out and ride lots. Riding lots can be boring and take a lot of time away from an actual life. It also can cause overuse injuries, especially if you're older or haven't been riding lots. And riding lots can make you slower. I've seen this time and time again.

    So the solution to being slower is to ride lots lots more, because obviously you haven't been riding enough if the first place because, as we've read time and time again, that's what you need to do.

    And they get even slower at 20 hours a week. Then they say eff it and quit the sport, thinking they lack talent, because the guy who's training 6-8 hours a week is kicking their ass.

    On topic, that's not necessarily prevented by a coach, because some of them buy into the ride lots philosophy and apply it across the board. But it can be prevented by a coach who doesn't. It's funny how even really experienced folks, left to their own devices, just pile it on. Having an expectation that a new racer will do better than people with years in the sport...long odds.

    Mostly this is because we equate training to work. We are considered hard workers if we put in long hours at the office. If the top sales person in the office only works 3 hours a day he's going to hear "imagine how good you'd be if you worked 10?"

    People don't get that they might be the best sales person because they work 3 and not 10.

    One of the two best interview questions for a coach might be "How many hours will I be training" followed by "I only have 5 hours a week to train, do you think I can get faster?"

    The answers should be "How many hours do you have?" and "Yes".

    And when you're hiring a coach, they should be asking you questions as well. If they aren't then you're probably just another drop of water in their income stream.

    ------

    On another note before you go looking for a coach you should write down the following:

    What are my interests? (TT's, crits, don't know, Etc)

    How many hours do I have to train? (be honest)

    Do I have any physical limiters? (Asthma, joints issues, Etc.)

    Am I going to really follow the program? (be very very honest)

    Why am I getting a coach? (be very very very honest)

    -----

    Answering those questions will help you formulate more specific questions and enhance the back and forth during the discussions.
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 10-23-13 at 12:14 PM.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    It's a big turnover, especially in the lower cats. I tend to see the same people at the front end of the field for years in the masters races, but these guys have pretty much self selected and have a bunch of talent. Those folks also have been athletes since they were kids in many cases.
    my fault for not being more clear on this one. when i wrote 'how many people you started out with?' up above i was trying to ask those who have been in the sport 10+ years how many of the people they started with (meaning those who were also new in those same cat 5 fields…you know, the guys who you were sorting out skills and tactics in those early races) are still racing.

    i didn't mean the guys who were racing, say, 35+ A's that were out there that day and are still out there--there's probably been some self-selection that has already gone on.

    the attrition rate is VERY high, methinks.


    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex

    One of the two best interview questions for a coach might be "How many hours will I be training" followed by "I only have 5 hours a week to train, do you think I can get faster?"
    it is amazing how much one can do with surprisingly few hours, if they are the right hours.

    makes me realize that perhaps when someone asks the 'i'm new. should i get a coach?' question, the respondents should at least ask 'how much time do you have to (/want to) devote to the sport?'

    if someone is not time-constrained at all (time to ride AND figure out what to do), there may be an argument against coaching. the guy who has 8 kids, 3 jobs, and 2 other hobbies may find more benefit in entrusting the 'what to do' portion to someone else and devoting limited time to actually training.

    (i'd still say that someone with the right coaching would likely progress faster for any given amount of time.)

  9. #34
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    I know guys who lament their results, which was part of my point in that other thread. They want to do better, and yet don't really do the right training for what they want to do well at. One guy I race against, who is a pretty solid racer all but became a total bag of crap by the end of the season because while he primarily raced crits he spent most Thursdays doing ridiculously long hilly road rides. Then he'd do three crits over the weekend and by mid July he became pack fodder.

    Fun fact is he's a 'coach.' Much in the vein fudgeworth asked if everyone is a coach.

    A coach can and should help you find the training appropriate for what you're doing.

  10. #35
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    It seems that CDR has hacked Ex's account.

    to whom do you report this when the offender is himself a mod ?

  11. #36
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    I know guys who lament their results, which was part of my point in that other thread. They want to do better, and yet don't really do the right training for what they want to do well at. One guy I race against, who is a pretty solid racer all but became a total bag of crap by the end of the season because while he primarily raced crits he spent most Thursdays doing ridiculously long hilly road rides. Then he'd do three crits over the weekend and by mid July he became pack fodder.

    Fun fact is he's a 'coach.' Much in the vein fudgeworth asked if everyone is a coach.

    A coach can and should help you find the training appropriate for what you're doing.
    Ronnie Coleman - "Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights."

    Applies to cycling as well....
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Ronnie Coleman - "Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights."

    Applies to cycling as well....
    thread drift, but if anyone hasn't ever seen, or hasn't seen in a long time, 'pumping iron', you should. schwarzenegger's personality is on full display.

    my personal favorite moment is when he is asked what his 'type' is, and his response boils down to 'any woman with a pulse.'

  13. #38
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I was one of those that raced in the bike boom era, burned out and quit. If I had to think of one thing my coach helps me with, it's preventing a repeat of that.

  14. #39
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Yeah when I was a 2 back in the 90s I was on the major mile JRA plan with little to no rest and basically drove myself into the ground. I had no clue what I was doing at all, and definitely always did more the slower I got.

  15. #40
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Yeah, that and the team dynamics killed me. We were one of the most successful teams in the 80's that spawned four pros but we were a train wreck otherwise.

  16. #41
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    Yeah when I was a 2 back in the 90s I was on the major mile JRA plan with little to no rest and basically drove myself into the ground. I had no clue what I was doing at all, and definitely always did more the slower I got.
    That's interesting. Back to your point in the other thread about results, maybe for many the right training is to hire a coach. I know I don't know what I'm doing, but that's part of the fun for me, figuring it out on my own. I think a year or two down the road I might get a coach, for now I'm enjoying the learning process and not focusing too much on the results, other than the simple 'do better than last time' goal.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
    That's interesting. Back to your point in the other thread about results, maybe for many the right training is to hire a coach. I know I don't know what I'm doing, but that's part of the fun for me, figuring it out on my own. I think a year or two down the road I might get a coach, for now I'm enjoying the learning process and not focusing too much on the results, other than the simple 'do better than last time' goal.
    your post and recalling gsteinb's made me think about a way to create framework to address the OP's question.

    it all comes back to individual goals. the more clear someone is about his/her goals and needs, the higher the likelihood they can find a good match. coaches and athletes have a relationship.

    this can include:
    * amount of available time (limited time? tons of time?)
    * timeframe (someone who wants to improve as quickly as possible may have less tolerance for missteps)
    * intellectual curiosity (how much of the 'why' does someone need to know?)
    * type of learner (some people learn best on their own, others prefer guidance)
    * motivation (self-starter…or needs encouragement)
    * accountability (some work better when they know someone else watching; also some people just put more effort into their training when they're paying for it, as opposed to getting it for free/creating their own plan)
    * strategy/tactics (some people's 'race' is the group ride; for other's, it is a personal best on the local hill -- or a crit win; does someone need tactical advice, and if so is it better from someone who currently races vs stopped racing 10 years ago?)
    * proximity (need someone who has raced your local courses? want someone to occasionally ride with you in person?)

    no single answer implies whether or not one should get a coach or which coach to choose, but thinking through the answers can be valuable when interviewing coaches.

    the #s /analytical stuff is (relatively) easy to do on one's own or to find in a coach. the softer relationship stuff often gets short-changed but can pay bigger long-term dividends.

  18. #43
    Powered by Borscht ovoleg's Avatar
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    I'll tell you what a bad coach is: When you tell them you have no interest in doing CX and they keep having your workouts scheduled around improving your CX skills like jumping barriers and running with a bike . Terrible communication doesn't help either especially if you get injured, you kinda tend to do things on the fly.
    -Cat-3-o-meter: 8/20

  19. #44
    going roundy round wanders's Avatar
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    Both my wife and my coach are better than I deserve.
    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
    Damn.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by wanders View Post
    Both my wife and my coach are better than I deserve.
    Since when do you have a coach? It's not me is it?

  21. #46
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    Found this thread through a (for me) first time successful search. Some great information here and I thank you all for it as I was looking for the right types of questions to ask. I have decided that a coach is right for me this upcoming year to add more structure while working towards my goals.

    I think having interviewed a few I found the right person but three quick questions if I may:

    1. Is it reasonable to ask as part of the training for skills drills (i.e. cornering, sprinting best practices, etc.)?

    2. Does anyone here have experience with Peaks Training Group coaches? I assume that they work on similar principals, I feel like I've found the right person to help me, but any thoughts on this company's programs would be appreciated.

    3. If you have experience with PTG, any thoughts on the cost structure? I was planning to do the bronze level to start which includes regular email/text, FTP testing (but not power profile or fatigue profile), weekly analysis, planning, and Training Peaks upgrade

    On what I'm looking for and why I was thinking bronze level... I'm about to be 45 yrs old, love to ride put in almost 4000 miles this past year. I do a variety of charity and a few century rides each year. I'm reasonably strong from a plodding stand point but don't train effectively. I want to be more structured with my riding but still be able to go out once a week and simply enjoy the day. I've purchased a racing license and plan to race in about 5 events for my own enjoyment (but don't want to come in last), I have a goal to beat my prior time in the Alpine Loop Fondo by one hour, and some other event based goals. I should also mention that while I'm fortunate to be able to ride during my work day almost every day that I'm more than an hour from the nearest cycling groups organized rides so most of my riding is done on my own or with one other person who lives nearby.

    Thanks again for this thread, it has helped me a fair bit now it's just about choosing the right person/group/baseline

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    Hey Robbyville, thanks for popping this thread back up.

    I'm no expert, bit I did recently start with a coach. I met her at clinics she does for my team, so I already knew she was great and didn't have to pick.

    But, I just wanted to answer your first question, twice.

    1. If skills drills/strategy/etc is important to you then yes you should ask for it, and find a coach who has those skills, can communicate them, and is willing to integrate them into your program. (Mine does this, and I did ask her about it before committing to her, it's important to me.)

    2. If you don't feel like you can ask this directly to the potential coach, then you need to think about why not. If it's you - realize that the coaching is something you pay for, for you, and you should be totally open and honest about what you want out of it. No secrets from your coach. No posing. No hoping you can have something, if you want it, ask for it. If it's the coach sending you a signal that you can't ask stuff like that, then that might not be the right person. Of course, if it's price structure, they will tell you if it's included or costs extra, and then you get to decide.
    ...

  23. #48
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    Thanks Valygrl,

    That's kind of what I was thinking. One of my "interviews" mentioned it explicitly that skills drills play a role, the other did not but when I asked said that if I wanted it then absolutely. Definitely re-enforced that this would indeed be solid two way communication. The second fellow I just seemed to click with, perhaps more age appropriate as was brought up elsewhere in this thread, he had just the right level of intensity for me. The other potential coach was also very animated and enthusiastic on the phone, both really seemed to enjoy talking cycling and performance which I'm not used to in my neck of the woods.

    But both are from the same Peaks Coaching Group which I don't know if it should play a factor or not. The fellow who did my fit last year (did a really nice job) is also a certified coach with another company but not sure that I clicked with him as well and so have not contacted him to discuss.

  24. #49
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I don't think you can go wrong starting out racing with a coach. Any decent coach can help you get ready for Cat5 and what follows. However, I do not think it is necessary. You might want to try going it on your own by using some sample training plans first, maybe a clinic if there is one near you. I guess it depends what kind of athlete you are. Do you need to be guided or do you like to try things on your own? If you are the latter, save the coaching after you have learned things by firsthand experience. Results mean little in Cat5. It should be all about learning.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    I don't think you can go wrong starting out racing with a coach. Any decent coach can help you get ready for Cat5 and what follows. However, I do not think it is necessary. You might want to try going it on your own by using some sample training plans first, maybe a clinic if there is one near you. I guess it depends what kind of athlete you are. Do you need to be guided or do you like to try things on your own? If you are the latter, save the coaching after you have learned things by firsthand experience. Results mean little in Cat5. It should be all about learning.
    Unfortunately there are no groups near me. Closest is an hour drive away. I will ride with them a little this summer but I'm fortunate in my job that I can take time during my workday to ride. I can ride right out of my office and have 14-75 mile loops on great roads with very little traffic (and no stop lights), but it would be difficult to add an hour in each direction during my work week.

    I'm in the boat where I think I've hit a plateau with my own training. I know I can use sample training plans, and I've read most of the training/racing with power, etc. I've also come to the conclusion that I'd like to have help understanding my information, accountability to a training plan (I hate to disappoint others but seem to have no problem deluding myself ) I've tried on my own, not the racing part but the losing 40lbs, getting back into riding, but want some guidance.

    I haven't made the decision to go with Peaks yet so still looking for any thoughts. I was lucky enough having started up this thread again to arrange a conversation with a potential coach from this board so that's pretty cool!

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