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Old 10-22-09, 07:04 PM   #1
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Where to start to find a coach?

I'm thinking of asking for a cycling coach for Christmas. Where should I start to find a good one?

After 3 years of recreational riding, last year I raced collegiate and USCF for the first season and really enjoyed it. 75% of my "training" was group rides, trying to keep up with guys faster than me. Over the summer I moved from TX to northern KY and just rode recreational in the hills of the Ohio valley and loved it, it was beautiful. Now I'm in Ann Arbor, MI until July. I don't know anyone or any groups, and I only have my road bike, so cross and mtb are out as training methods during the winter. I am interested in getting a coach in the coming months to see what I can do racing next season.

I considered a powertap and self training, but I think maybe my money would be better spent on a coach.


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Old 10-22-09, 07:51 PM   #2
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Bad coaching is at best a waste of money. Good coaching is priceless. What really screws things up is that a particular coach may be horrible for one rider but the best thing since sliced bread for the next guy. The problem is that each coach has a formula and that formula is not a universal solution.

Self-coaching also has its own pitfalls. You can read all of the books that you want, but there is no single training method that works for everyone (see above). We are all individuals and we all respond in our own ways to the various training stresses. This takes years of making mistakes to eventually figure out what works for you.

If you are an analytical mind and will read a lot about different training strategies, then spending the $'s on a PT is probably money well spent.

If you get a coach the first thing that he/she will want you to get is a PT since it is very unlikely that they will ride with you to get a gauge on your effort levels and fitness.

Do the math.

As for me I have been riding for so long that 10-speed has changed its meaning. I don't need a coach or a PT to tell me that I suck and always will. I already know this from years of painful experience.
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Old 10-22-09, 08:03 PM   #3
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I'm with mollusk on this one. Pretty much any coach these days is gonna want Power numbers. You also need a trainer. Coming from Texas, Ann Arbor is gonna seem like hell on earth over the winter.
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Old 10-23-09, 09:56 AM   #4
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I'm self-coached and love it. My suggestion is to buy Friel's book, The Cyclist's Training Bible, and come up with your own basic plan. Because you're both young (I assume, because of the collegiate racing) and new to the sport, you can make significant gains even with a plan that is only 90% "optimal." Value-wise, if you have the $, a powermeter is a better expense for now.

I realize that you actually wanted to find a coach, not alternative options, so I suggest you start reaching out to the local racing scene. Not only will many of them have coaches that they can recommend, but some teams hire a coach to develop a basic training plan for the team. If you join, you get access to the plan and the experience of older racers, plus all of the other team benefits.
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Old 10-23-09, 11:43 AM   #5
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i've done, in order, the train by doing group rides and races approach, the self coach using friel approach, worked with a coach no powermeter, worked with a coach using power, and self coach using power.

of these, by far, no contest, not even close, the best gains I made as a cyclist came the first year I worked with a coach (this was without power, just HR, PE, and honest feedback). there are obvious disclaimers to my experience given the various stages I was in my development as a cyclist and the metrics for these gains, but my thoughts are that the best investment a cyclist can make toward their development is working with a coach. the things I learned about training cycles, building workout schedules, recovery schedules, etc. are invaluable and I continue to use now.

now, how to find one. I strongly advocate local coach who coaches athletes similar to you, knows the races you'll be competing in, and has open communication lines (in this day and age of email, this should be a no brainer). the place to look is in your local racing scene, find out who folks work with and pay attention to their results. that's how I found the coach I used. it's great to talk strategy with your coach prior to a race and tell him/her (yes, women can be a quality coach too) that you think you should attack on the little hill after the big hill on lap 4 coming out of the gravel section, or whatever the race situation is and have them agree or disagree, etc.

also, a good coach might prefer that you use power because it makes their job alot easier, but any coach worth paying doesnt need it.

fwiw, I think you're thinking your development wisely.
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Old 10-23-09, 06:42 PM   #6
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TrainingPeaks has a list of coaches that you can use. Interview the coach, and see if the chemistry works. Be very upfront with your goals.
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Old 10-23-09, 09:23 PM   #7
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While it's a far cry from TX, A2 has a decent cycling scene.

I don't know if Bobby Livingston (T-town PA) is still coaching or not. PM me, and I'll put you in touch with him.
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Old 10-23-09, 11:16 PM   #8
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A good coach will run you $2000 for a season at minimum. Some local cat 1's will train you for less, but it's hit or miss.

Personally, I'd try the powertap and self coached method first. $650 for a built/wired powertap, $15 for 'the book', and free usage of For less than $700, some sweat, and the occasional dry heave, I've built my FTP from mid-upper 200's to 315-320 in one season.

Gig em. =)
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