The Analyzer Presents: “Why do I need a coach to ride a bike?”

The first time I heard of someone having a coach in cycling I thought it was the strangest thing I’d heard of.  “Why do I need a coach to ride a bike?” I didn’t really understand how having a coach made sense for a hobby like bike racing.  Once I researched it a bit more, I realized a coach in cycling is somewhat like having a personal trainer at the gym.  It’s someone who helps design workout programs to hit your goals.  Every coach offers different levels of programs, from general workout guidance to full programs encompassing every aspect of your physical and mental performance.

At one of Freddy’s training rides at Dyer, including perimeter and hill laps.

Last year when I started doing these crazy 6 hour races, I realized pretty quickly that there was a big difference between finishing the race and competing in the race.  Midway through the 2017 FLE season I started training with Freddy Viera of F2 Performance Lab.  

One of the early training rides out on the levy. And one of the few selfies allowed.

Initially Freddy would set up long rides to get my legs ready for a full endurance race.  With a mix of singletrack, gravel, and asphalt, the two of us would head out and ride for 50, 60 even 70 miles on a Saturday morning.  Freddy did a great job of keeping the pace right where I could *just* hang on, but each week I could tell I was getting stronger.  

Sunrise before the 6 hour endurance race at Dyer, my first test of training results. Of course, Coach beat me.

The first test after a few weeks of training was a local race, the 6 Hours of Dyer.  While not part of the FLE series, it was a good hard race and at the end of the day I had done well enough to get 2nd overall.  Who beat me? Freddy did, of course!  Jerk! But I could tell the workouts were helping for sure, and I looked forward to the remainder of the FLE season.  Each race I was doing better and better, and by the end of the season I was finishing middle of the overall instead of just completing the race.  

The hill at Dyer, one of Coach’s favorite training grounds.

Even though it was just the two of us most days, Freddy did a good job of keeping it fun and interesting.  At the end of the FLE season I had won the series for Cat 3, but more importantly I’d gotten in great shape and had fun doing it. The social media interaction was just more fuel for our rides. Freddy’s an involved and generous Coach when it comes to time and support.

Another training ride, another selfie, another comment from Freddy.

That allowed me to do fun things like climb 12,000 feet at ORAMM over the summer, and go into the fall FSC season strong.  Once the Fall rolled around, I added a power meter to the equation and that opened up even more possibilities for training.  Knowing what kind of power I could put out and for how long, Freddy tailored workouts to improve weak spots and designed the training for maximum efficiency.  We had so much fun the group grew from just the two of us in the beginning to a dozen or more on some days.  It’s been great fun training with other guys and girls and to see us all do well together, knowing the hard work we’re putting in between each race.  

Overall I’d say having a coach for cycling has made a lot of sense for me, and there are many aspects of coaching with F2 Performance Lab that we’re still exploring.  From workouts, bike fits, race planning, nutrition, and just about anything involving improving your performance on the bike, you should definitely think about working with a coach.  If you want to jump into a ride with me, check out F2 Performance Lab on Facebook as they post the regular training rides on non-race weekends for anyone to come out to.  But as Freddy says, bring your legs…

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