Epic Race Team Coaching
At Epic Coaching we don’t just write a physiological training plan to make our athletes stronger fitter and faster. This is a fundamental mistake that a lot of riders with a lack of good experience and knowledge in cycling make.
Being strong or having good functional threshold power and a strong critical power curve are of course fundamental to being a good road cyclist but if I had to evaluate its importance in percentage terms I would say only 50% of a good performance in a road race was down to how strong you are. You can be a very strong rider sit on the front of a domestic pro race all day and not win the race because you rode it wrong – or rode it correctly , what Ive just described is a day in the life of a domestique.
So if its not just about being strong, what is it about?
Its about understanding how to race. A very simple statement but an extremely involved subject.
The skill base involves:-
- Tactical ability
The battery analogy is a good way to describe what we mean by this. If you can imagine for a moment, you start the race with a battery whose size is determined by how much good training you’ve done. Every time you have clean air in front of you and you are not sat in the wheels the battery is depleting. When your nose is in the wind it depletes at an incredible rate. When its gone its gone.
Every move that you make- attacking- driving hard on the front- moving to the front on the outside of the bunch – being caught on the wrong side of the bunch during a cross wind etc etc eats in to your glycogen stores. Learning how to race effectively and efficiently through good race coaching and feedback will accelerate the learning process dramatically. Once you are extremely efficient in using the power you have you don’t actually need as much power to be able to perform better. The David and Goliath story isn’t a world away from what we are talking about here.
This seems incredibly obvious and for some riders this isn’t a problem. A lot of riders however do doubt their own ability. Why wouldn’t you? The average odds of winning any UK road race are approximately 80/1. We help riders to develop this ability by going into races with particular goals to achieve during the race which don’t necessarily involving a result. In fact worrying about gaining a result- top five -top ten or twenty can seriously inhibit riding well. We build the confidence in the athletes ability to race effectively and be able to recover in the bunch after efforts and not get dropped as they would generally have themselves believe will inevitably happen.
- Tactical Ability
This is quite possibly the most important part of racing at an amateur level. A lot of newer riders into the sport now only have an understanding of how to race from watching racing on TV. Domestic racing couldn’t be further from professional classics racing in terms of team riding. It isn’t about team orders, sitting on the front and driving into a cross wind, driving a race up a climb as a team. These are all romantic notions to see all of the team on the front but wholly inefficient and a guaranteed way of “burning all your matches” in the lower categories of racing.
Good tactical ability is about learning how the race reacts at what part or point during the race and understanding group mentality and psychology. The group of riders in a race almost become one living breathing body that thinks and feels very similarly. At numerous points during the race it will get hard and eventually it will snap and the break will go. If your one of the riders that attacked early on and made it hard- or made the attack just before the break went…then you’ve wasted some of your battery power. A tactically savvy rider will make two hard efforts during a race. one to get in the break and one to win the sprint from the break. Some riders will say that certain riders are lucky and get in all the moves. There is no such thing as repetitive good luck in racing, these are all sound racing decisions made through good judgement.
Our coaching plans focus as much on the psychological side of training as we do the physiological side to develop all of the facets we have just covered. We assist riders in approaching training with a different mindset and help create psychological training plans for hard intervals on everyones friend ‘the turbo trainer”!
How We Deliver Our Coaching
We use training peaks as the coach rider interface to deliver our coaching, we ask for feedback on the sessions through TP and analyse data thorough TP and a platform called WKO 4
For each individual rider we also have a coaching group with up to three coaches in at any one time. This is for a few reasons. First – there is always a coach available to answer a needy query. If you have a technical question – there is a wealth of experience to be able to be able to give a concise answer, and If you are a young rider there is accountability ( we always add a parent to these groups too).
At Epic Coaching we have developed numerous riders just starting out in the sport into professional bike riders. We have a select team of five coaches all with international racing experience and honours. They all have their own individual strengths as a coaches which we believe works extremely well when we combine as the coaching team we are at Epic.