If you are reading this, you are curious about the value a coach might bring to your cycling and want to know more about the benefits of working with a coach. Read on for our take on this, or skip directly to the details of our offer on Coaching for the Haute Route.
Benefits: expertise, time-saving, personalisation, race-smarts…
Coaches are experts in their field, and have the qualifications and “palmarès” to prove it. Their advice saves you the huge amount of time you would otherwise need to invest in developing your own training programme and in separating out what actually works from all the pseudo-science and inappropriate advice that is published every year.
It is very easy to get advice on how to improve your cycling performance. You only have to pick up a magazine, do a quick internet search, purchase a couple of books and ask your training buddies or club coach and you will very quickly gather a mass of information. The problem is that very little of this information will take into account your specific needs.
Performance during the race depends essentially on two factors:
- How well you prepare
- The way you ride the race itself
The first depends on the quality of your training plan and how well you follow it. For a training plan to be effective, it must take into account a host of personal, individual factors such as:
- Your history as a cyclist
- Your technical ability
- Your current level of fitness
- Your personal constraints
- Your personal objectives
The plan needs frequent adjustments as the weeks go by, as your strengths and weaknesses are revealed and your rate of progress becomes clear, and as unforeseen circumstances force changes in the plan.
Doing this well requires time and expertise: hence the first part of a coach’s value to you.
The second part of race performance is how well you ride the race itself. Thousands of bike races have been won by riders that were not the strongest, but made the most of their abilities and the race conditions to beat faster riders. Our coaches at Alpine Cols are experienced competitors that understand this and will give you invaluable advice to help you pace better, place yourself better and judge the right moments to make your moves.
Managing your energy is particularly important in a seven day stage race: it is no use being in the top 50 on Stage 1 if you then drop to the 300th place on Stage 3.
Learning “race-smarts” from your coach could help you finish much higher up the order: this is the second part of the coach’s value to you.
The bottom line:
If you engage a coach, you are likely not only to improve faster but also to reach a higher level than would otherwise be the case. Only you can judge how much this is worth to you!
Preparing for the Haute Route
If any amateur cycling objective justifies a coach, surely it is the Haute Route. The Alpine Cols coaches have ridden a total of 25 Haute Routes between them, so it is fair to say that we know the event inside out!
This is our offer for fully individualised, one-on-one coaching to help you reach your best.
We strongly recommend you invest in a power meter, and would be happy to advise you on your choice. If this is not possible, you should at the least have a bike computer such as a Garmin that records each of your rides, including GPS, altitude and cadence.
After signing the contract, we ask you to complete a Rider Information Form. This asks for all the information your coach needs to begin preparing a plan for you.
The questionnaire is always followed by a meeting (ideally face to face but in practice often by phone) to refine the coach’s understanding of specific points, and to agree details of how you will communicate.
The coach will then send you an outline plan for the period from the current date until the start of the race, together with a detailed, day-by-day, session-by-session plan for the first month.
We strongly recommend you arrange to meet face-to-face with the coach as early as possible and go out for a ride together. This will enable the coach to identify your strengths and weaknesses, not just in physical terms but also in bike-handling, placement, climbing & descending, bunch riding and pacing.
After each ride, you should upload your data to Training Peaks or Garmin Connect.
The coach will review your progress regularly and exchange with you by email or phone as often as necessary: normally once per week.
You should communicate anything that might affect your progress or your training plan to your coach, and especially anything that stops you from training (a business trip, a family weekend, an injury…)
You will receive an updated plan every two weeks for the coming month, and more often if necessary.
We strongly recommend you join one of our training camps in the mountains. There are numerous advantages:
– accustom your body to accumulating several days in a row of tough riding,
– work on the technical aspects of climbing, descending and braking with your coach,
– verify that the training to date is on target,
– identify strengths and weaknesses to address in the remaining time available.
At the end of the race, your coach will debrief the experience with you and make suggestions for the next year.
If you wish, the coach will continue to work with you until the end of the 2014 cycling season.
€100 one-off set-up fee
€265 per month for on-going coaching
€350 per day for riding with the coach (plus travel expenses, if any). This fee can be split between several riders if you come together.
Please contact Marvin Faure