Workout Wednesday * Time Trial!

Workout Wednesday * Time Trial!

The first step to training properly is to have a starting point, a baseline.  Knowing your heart rate zones and your power zones focuses your training and makes your time on the bike much more effective.  So today’s workout is a Time Trial.  While it might look “simple” on paper, it’s far from “easy.”

Bottom line is that you’re riding as hard as you can – as absolutely hard as you can – for 30 minutes.  At the end of the TT you should feel completely spent, like you gave every ounce of energy in your body – as you should have.

Our goal in the TT is to determine your Functional Threshold Power (FTP), or Functional Threshold Heart Rate.  FTP represents the “gold standard” for cyclists and triathletes, as the ultimate goal for all of us it to be physically and mentally able to ride more powerfully for longer.

True FTP is based on the highest average power (normalized) or average heart rate we can maintain for a 1 hour all-out race effort.  This is nearly impossible for most of us to do with any amount of reliability, so we ride a 30 minute TT and make adjustments to average power (not HR).  We reduce our 30 minute normalized power by 5% to arrive at our FTP.

If you ride a TT using only HR data (no power), we still ride a 30 minute TT, but use the average HR for the final 20 minutes (still ride the first 10 minutes at TT effort, but only use the average for the final 20 minutes).

Riding a TT is a necessary component to a well structured training program, so rest up for several days leading up to your TT, then go after it!

The TT can be done indoors or out.  I have my athletes ride their TT indoors if most of their upcoming quality training will be indoors.  Conversely, if most of their upcoming quality training will be outdoors, I have them do their TT outdoors.  There’s typically a measurable difference riding indoors vs outdoors, so it makes sense to set their zones based on the riding they’ll be doing.

The entire process to ride your TT (warmup, TT and cooldown) can be done in 1 hour.  Here’s how to do it:


  • 5 minutes easy
  • Fast pedal.  1 minute each.  95 rpm, 100, 105, 110.  Followed by 1 minute Recovery Interval (RI)
  • Fast pedal.  1 minute each:  100 rpm, 105, 110, 115.  Followed by 1 minute RI
  • 5 minutes at tempo/threshold.  (First 4 minutes at a power level/effort slightly lower than expected TT effort, followed by 1 minute at planned TT effort)
  • 5 minutes RI

Main Set  —  Time Trial: 

  • 30 minutes.  As hard as you can possibly ride (pacing yourself properly).  If you’re riding with HR only, hit your lap/interval button 10 minutes in, then use your average HR for the final 20 minutes.  If you’re using a power meter, use your normalized power for the entire 30 minute effort.

Cooldown:  5 minutes (or more).

You’re done!!  Congratulate yourself on a fantastic effort.  A future post will provide you with zones for both HR and power.  If you ride your TT in the meantime, please feel free to contact me to set your zones.

Best of luck, and please contact me with any questions.


Winter Indoor Training * Your 2018 season begins Jan 4!!

Winter Indoor Training * Your 2018 season begins Jan 4!!

Hi Riders,

Our annual Winter Session of Indoor Training begins January 4, 2018. We’ll train in the basement of Penn Cycle: Woodbury once again, as we have for the past several years. We’ll train twice per week in the winter session, on Monday and Thursday evenings.

Monday evenings at Penn Cycle Woodbury (5:30 pm start).

  • 10 sessions including January 8, 15, 22, 29.  Feb 5, 12, 19.  March 12, 19, 26 (No Feb 26 or March 5 training).
  • Training held at Penn Cycle’s Woodbury location
  • Cost for 10 training sessions is $149 (less than $15 per training ride).
  • NOTE:  I extend a 50% discount to the athletes I’m currently training 1-1.

Thursday evenings at Penn Cycle Woodbury (5:30 pm start).

  • 12 training sessions, including: Jan 4, 11, 18, 25.  Feb 1, 8, 15, 22.  March 8, 15, 22, 29.  (No March 1 training).
  • Training held at Penn Cycle’s Woodbury location
  • Cost for 12 training sessions is $179 (less than $15 per session).
  • NOTE:  I extend a 50% discount to the athletes I’m currently training 1-1.

Want More?  Join us twice a week for only $289

Each ride is approximately 90 minutes long.  There will a different focus on each night (Monday and Thursday), with threshold, VO2 Max and leg strength being key areas of emphasis.  Then it will all come together the final weeks to simulate the rigors of outdoor riding.  Each rider will be 100% prepared for the outdoor season in April.  Each ride is 100% unique, and the training load will progress throughout the 12 weeks.

Can’t join us @ Penn Cycle?  I’m offering the exact training via email.

For those selecting this package,  I’ll email your training each week.  You have the same choices as the “live” riders – The 10 “Monday” ride plans for $89, the 12 “Thursday” ride plans for $109 or all 22 training sessions for only $179.

*** For everybody involved in this series of rides, I’ll also create a private Facebook group.  This “member’s only” access will allow us to ask questions, to have a private dialogue and to help us maintain continuity.

I look forward to seeing you the first week of January at Penn!

Coach Bob

Winter 2018 Training Sign-up

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Indoor Training begins Thurs, Nov 2

Indoor Training begins Thurs, Nov 2

Hi riders,

It’s that time of year already! Indoor training begins Thursday, November 2, 2017.

Other than the first night, we’ll train in the basement of Penn Cycle Woodbury, as we have for the past several years. We’ll train once per week in the fall session, on Thursday evenings, beginning at 5:30 pm. We’re limited to 25 spots, and it will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Fall block of training includes 8 sessions (7 more after the TT), each Thursday from November 2 – December 28, with the exception of Thanksgiving. Start time is 5:30 pm. Each session will be 60 – 90 minutes long, and will build on our work the previous week. We’ll continue this progression right through the Winter block of training (Jan – Mar). Cost remains a bargain at $119 for all 8 sessions (less than $15 each).

The first session will be a Time Trial, and I’ll set your training zones based on this.

After the TT on Week 1, the subsequent sessions will focus on: Max power, cycling-specific leg strength and pedaling efficiency.

These are NOT your typical run-of-the-mill “spin classes.” Rather, they are structured training sessions designed to systematically and progressively improve your key cycling metabolic systems and leg strength.

Training in this group setting is without question the best way to improve your cycling fitness and to begin your prep for the upcoming season. You can expect an improvement of your Functional Threshold Power of 10 – 15% (or more) by the time spring arrives, so without question, you’ll be 100% ready for your best season ever!

Next Steps:

** If you plan to join us this fall, send me a confirmation email ASAP.
** If you can’t make the training sessions in person, I have an option for you as well. Email me if you’re interested in exploring this option.

REMINDER: This is open to the first 25 people, so contact me right away.

I’ll send out more details to the confirmed riders as we get closer.

Thanks in advance. I look forward to seeing you Nov 2!!


p.s.  My 1-1 coached athletes receive a 50% discount. If you can’t make every session, and if you can tell me up front which you’ll miss, I’ll deduct that from the $119.

Time to rebuild the engine

Time to rebuild the engine

Most people’s seasons are coming to a close, or already have.  Hopefully you’ve taken some well deserved down time to rest, recover and get rejuvenated.  It’s a long season and by the end we’re mentally and physically tired.  So taking a couple weeks (or more) to just chill makes a world of difference in our outlook and attitude.  So if you haven’t taken some downtime (as I discussed in the last post), I highly recommend you do so.

For those of you who have backed off and are feeling ready, it’s time.  Time to rebuild the engine.  Make a commitment to yourself this off-season to address your shortcomings.

A couple things you should consider doing to build your foundation for success next season include:

  1.  Spending most or all your ride time this month (October) on endurance level.  Solid level 2.  Nothing above this level.  If you know your numbers (HR and/or power), you should spend nearly every training minute right in the middle.  If you don’t know your number, a GREAT way to estimate using HR is with the use of the “Maffetone Method.”  I won’t go into detail here (I’ll spend an entire post on it) but use the following formula to determine your optimal endurance HR.  There are 3 options, depending on your fitness level:
    1. Inexperienced riders:  180 minus your age minus 5 = the HR to train at for this endurance level month.  For example, if you’re 40 years old the formula is 180 – 40 – 5 = 135 beats per minute.
    2. Moderately trained riders:  180 minus your age = Endurance training HR.  The formula for this same 40 years old would be:  180 – 40 – 140 bpm
    3. Highly trained riders:  180 minus your age plus 5 beats = Endurance training HR.  For our 40 year old, the formula looks like this:  180 – 40 + 5 = 145 bpm.
  2. Mobility and strength.  I should probably separate these 2 into their own categories, but for today I’ll keep them together.
    1. After spending the season on our bikes, we’re tight.  Our legs are tight, our hips are tight, our upper bodies are likely tight and our thoracic mobility is likely very limited.  Every day, every single day we should be spending several minutes working on mobility drills.  And yoga is another option.
    2. This off season I’d like you to dedicate yourself to getting stronger.  Legs, for sure.  But core strength (our entire core, not just abs), shoulders and arms as well.  And our posterior chain especially (back side of our body).  Spend this first month with relatively low weight and high reps (12 – 15 reps) to get our bodies accustomed to the movement.  Make sure you use perfect technique, and accept nothing less.  There will be plenty of time for strength gains, so focus on technique and “grease the groove” so that when you add weight next month your form will remain solid.

So that’s it.  Let’s get to work and rebuild that engine of yours.  Remember that next season’s success is created in the off season, so if you’re ready, let’s get going!

Contact me with questions or if I can help you create your off season plan.  See you on the road or in the indoor studio!


Fall has arrived, and it’s time to back down

Fall has arrived, and it’s time to back down

Fall has arrived here in the north land, and this change in seasons generally means a change in attitude, outlook and training.

For many athletes, the race and event season is winding down.  It’s been a long season and by this time many riders are tired – both mentally and physically.  The toll is often heavy and many riders are more than ready for the season to end.  Training requires a huge commitment in time and energy, and races are accompanied by stress and anxiety, especially when travel is involved.

Bodies are tired, training isn’t as much fun as it was earlier in the season and it’s harder to get out as the weather becomes colder and more unpredictable.

If you have any of these feelings, don’t fret.  Understand that this is a typical phase of the training year and that it’s now time to move into the next phase.  And that phase is:  Ride for the fun of it!  Remove all stress and expectations from yourself and your riding.  Just ride.  Remove your heart rate monitor or your power meter.  Ride with your friends purely for the social aspect.

Some people call this the “Transition” phase of the training season.  And it’s appropriately named.  Regardless of the label you put on your training at this time of year, the end result is the same.  It should be a period of rejuvenation, of doing different things, of not feeling bound by a schedule and generally taking a very low-key approach to training.

This is a perfect time to cross train, to keep active but to keep your outlook fresh by engaging in different activities.  For example, running, hiking, stair climbing and rowing will keep you fit but will challenge different muscles.

The actual length of this transition period may be different for each person, based on several factors.  But one month is a good starting point.  The bottom line is that at the end of this transition period, hard off-season work will begin in earnest for next season.  So make sure you’re totally rested and refreshed before moving into any more heavy training.

So the bottom line goals for the next 4 weeks include:

  1. Reduced training volume
  2. Low intensity workouts
  3. Cross train
  4. Take time off the bike
  5. Enjoy the season!

Add your comments below, then GET OUT AND RIDE!!!  (Or cross train)

Hill Training in Afton * Thursday, August 31

Hill Training in Afton * Thursday, August 31

This Thursday (Aug 31) is Week 3 of our Fall 5-week hill training in Afton.  We’ve increased our training load and intensity each of the first 2 weeks and we will do so again tomorrow.

These fall training rides are perfect preparation for riders competing in the Chequamegon Fat Tire fest MTB race.  These rides are also perfect for riders preparing for cyclocross season, for triathletes preparing for a late season Ironman, and they’re perfect for riders of all ability levels to improve fitness as the season winds down.

Weather promises to be good tomorrow, so let’s take advantage of the day and get some high quality work in.

Be on your bike and ready to go in front of Selma’s Ice Cream at 5:15.  I’ll do a quick pre-ride briefing and describe the ride plan, then we’ll roll out by 5:20 for a 1.5 – 2 hour ride.

Please contact me with questions.  I look forward to seeing you and your training partners tomorrow.