What's Cool In Road Cycling

The Off-Season Checklist

This fall and winter the Toolbox crew is teaming up to bring PEZ readers an off-season series on well, the off-season! It’s all about the details that go into stepping it up for the 2006 race season. The sooner you start the more you can accomplish and we are collectively licking our chops to get started.

During the race season there are cycling-related “issues”, improvements, and projects that are hard to find time for after training and racing. Some, like heavy gym work to build strength, detract too much valuable on-bike time. Others, such as bike fit changes, may ultimately involve radical changes that can cause problems when you’re putting on big miles and intensity.

For instance, the off-season is the perfect time to solve “that problem” with your knee or back. Maybe your pain is bike fit related or perhaps it needs to be corrected surgically. The off-season is the time to dial in all aspects of your training and positioning. Git ‘er done as the comedian Larry the cable guy says.

A Small Example: Yoga for the Cyclist
As I have written before, the fall is a great time to take a mental and physical break from the bike. For many of us (you know who you are!) that break is down right torture. If you need to keep yourself busy, use the time to take up a yoga routine or flexibility program. Both will benefit your cycling and you may even like it! Talk to me about your core strength and flexibility after an off-season of yoga and/or a stretching program.

And there are soooo many more off-season projects. In the coming weeks and months we’ll cover more than enough to keep your training full steam ahead until the race season resumes. Here are the topics we have on deck as part of our off-season series.

The Season in Review
With all the free time you have on your hands, I know you are going to sit down with yourself, your teammates, and your coach to review your season. Take in the “big picture” point of view to troubleshoot what didn’t work and what did. If you have a season’s worth of power data, now would be the time to crunch those numbers. Figure out why you went well in this race or missed the mark in another.

Powermeter 101
Now that the off-season is here you might have some mula freed up from racing expenses to start training with power. These days you can start training with power at an entry level price of roughly $800. Whether you are on the fence or just getting started with your powermeter, I’ll take you through a step by step process to have you up to speed maximizing your off-season training with you very own power data.

Bike Fit
Cyclists can spend countless hours researching their perfect “next” bike when instead that time and energy should be used to be properly fitted on their existing bike. Bike fitting is a vital cornerstone to your performance. A properly fit athlete will be stronger, faster, more comfortable and safer: “Power with personal comfort; effective and efficient biomechanics”.

I can’t emphasize the importance of fit enough, if you are having any pain or discomfort while riding there is a good chance the cause may be a physiological or biomechanical issue. Your bike is your second home: take the time and spend the money to make it fit like a glove.

Follow along with Stephen Cheung, who will be spec-cing out a brand new bike following his recent accident. As the first step in that process, he will be getting a full bike fitting this October courtesy of Brian Walton and Cadence Cycling. From there, he will be sourcing out the optimal bike and related components from a “function-first” approach.

Resistance Training
We’ve written about the benefits of a resistance training here before and we are going to revisit the subject this fall. We will focus break down resistance training into core strength, actual training with weights, and also on-the-bike strength training.

Physiological Testing
The off-season is a fantastic time to get into the lab with your local physiologist and establish baseline measurements. More so than a field test, performance testing in the lab provides insight to why you are the way you are. Our resident physiologist, Dr. Stephen Cheung Ph.D will tell you what you can expect and look for when you saddle up in a physiological testing lab.

Time Trial Set up and Aerodynamics
Unless you are on a Pro Tour team, you are going to have to be extra proactive making sure your time trial rig is dialed in and your aerodynamic position on it is as good as it gets. It won’t happen overnight. I, personally spent over 6 months last winter and early spring taking care of every minuscule detail relating to my time trial set up, my position, my training, and racing. Former winner of the Pays Basque Time Trial stage over future 5 time Tour de France Winner Miguel Indurain, Brian Walton is going to tell you about his experience and wind tunnel testing.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. In addition, we have already covered a host of topics, such as sport psychology, that can be implemented at any time of the season. If you have specific topics you would like to see, contact our Toolbox Editor Stephen Cheung at [email protected].

Frank Overton
For more information about Frank’s off-season coaching programs please check ‘em out @
FasCat Coaching.com

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