Coaches' Blog

Coach Ainslie

Today didn't let us down at the Tour. As expected, the winds off the North Sea swept through the peloton and things blew apart. Similar to a FB post my brother, Hugh MacEachran made, the conditions today pretty much sum up my European racing experience. Riding in echelons, no echelon or in the gutter. There were big splits in the group today and the big favorites lost important time. The riders are fond of saying you can't win the Tour in the first week but you can certainly lose it. Quintana and Nibali didn't make it into the first split and it is going to make their 3 weeks incredibly difficult.

Tejay Vangarderen, Froome and Contador made the first split and they and their teams put down the hammer to make sure the previously mentioned riders never got back into the race. In particular, this benefits Tejay because it eliminates two riders who could potentially displace him from the Tours final podium. 

The final sprint was a reflection of what we're likely to see for the sprint stages in this years race. Cavendish, Kristoff and Greipel contested the final sprint with Greipel prevailing on the line. If you add in Degenkolb these are the 4 primary sprinters to watch at the Tour.

Most interestingly of all, Fabian Cancellara managed to come around Cavendish in the sprint to take 3rd. After time bonuses this put him in to the maillot jaune. This was a calculated move without a doubt. Men like Cancellara don't do anything by chance and you can be sure he and the team management were seated in front of the results this morning putting together a scenario. This also shows the caliber of rider Fabian is when you consider he went to the line with the sprint specialists and still managed to get around Cavendish. Fabian fancies himself more of a classics and TT man but, in a pinch he can sprint too.

Tomorrow brings a 157km ride from Antwerp to Huy, Belgium. If the name Huy sounds familiar it should, this is the famed, and dreaded, climb from one of the early mid week spring classics. Its particularly nasty and it will make for an interesting finish. The race will take in primarily flat roads until the last 50 or so kilometers. The the profile gets pretty bumpy after this and I think we can expect to see small breakaways and the GC men making their way to the front. Joaquim Rodrigues with Katusha is my pick to win the stage. He's historically performed well on the Mur du Huy and he'll be salivating at the opportunity to shine on one of his favorite hills.

Thanks for reading. 

This year the Tour de France is 3,360mi long. In honor of the race my entire library on my website is on sale for the month of July for $33.60. Go to http://www.geminitrainingsystems.com/books-and-videos to check it out. You can also follow me on Twitter = GTS_Coach_Ace

Coach Ainslie

Good on ya! Thats what Rohan Dennis may be hearing from his Australian compatriots. Dennis handily won the prologue at the Tour today. It should come as a surprise to no-one since he set the Hour Record last year. This is a versatile athlete and today he got everything right!

The heavy favorites such as Cancellara, Tony Martin and Tom Dumoulin came close but could not close the deal ultimately. Those boys looked great and it was obvious they were absolutely flying. 

The GC men finished somewhat further down the standings. American Tejay Vangarderen was the highest placed of the GC favorites in 20th. This will put him in good stead for the coming days. The trick, as everyone can remember from last year, is to stay out of trouble in the first week. 

I'm somewhat dismayed at the ride of Contador. He finished 44th on the day and he never looked like he was comfortable on the bike. I realize its only the first day but, having been in cycling now nearly 30yrs I'd like to think I'm somewhat familiar with the athlete. Contador looked tired, slow to me. He didn't appear to have the snap that he usually exhibits on the bike. Time will tell and its entirely possible I'm wrong.

Tomorrow is a 166km flat ride from Utrecht to Zeeland. This being Holland, there is plenty of potential for wind which will split the group up if the big teams shred the race with echelons. I can tell you from experience, having raced in Holland myself, if the wind materializes it will be hectic. This could rule out the pure sprinters such as Cavendish, Sagan and Kristoff. Look for a lesser known rider or rouler (man of the flats) to take out the stage.

You can also follow me on Twitter = GTS_Coach_Ace or on youtube: AMacEachran2014

Coach Ainslie

We are into July and the Tour de France. The race starts on the 4th and will wrap it up in Paris 21 days later. This is one of my favorite times of the year and I can't wait to see how it unfolds.

The favorites return this year with big ambition. Chris Froome would like to add to his palmares with another win. However, he has to make it through a nervous first week. If you'll recall last year, he had a hard time staying upright and eventually abandoned the race with injuries.

Alberto Contador is hoping to do the Giro/Tour double this year and will be going big. He brings with him a very capable team and the experience of having won in the past.

Vincenzo Nibali would like to add another Tour victory to his CV also. Nibali also has a very capable team in the form of the Astana boys. Fabio Aru, in particular, will be at his service in the mountains. Lets hope they can avoid scandal because the UCI has them under the microscope.

Nairo Quintana is the dark horse this year. His Movistar team brings a strong crew with Alex Dowsett and Alejandro Valverde given the job of being his 2 first lieutenants once they hit the mountains.

This year I'll again be blogging my analysis and predictions throughout the event. I'll also do a few video bike reviews so you guys and girls can get a look at what some of the teams are riding. I'm going to try to have a few "guest" commentators also just to mix things up.

Stay tuned to www.geminitrainingsystems.com for the daily run-down. Feel free to leave comments with your thoughts or predictions too!

 

Coach Ainslie

Here's an article I wrote a couple of years ago that had wide viewership. Thought I'd post it again.

1. Have A Plan.
No shooting from the hip. Whether you’re talking about training, race
preparation or racing, always have a plan. Proactive behavior will allow you to
know whats coming up, how to prepare more specifically and reduce stress. If
you look at successful pros their season is planned out ahead of time.
Additionally, they start their preparation for an upcoming event days before if not
weeks.
2. Sweat The Details.
A successful cyclist pays attention to elements from the exact timing of
nutrition to how long it’ll take to drive to an event. Don’t take a lax approach to
the process. Things like taking food and appropriate fluids on training rides,
proper inflation of your tires, packing your bag for a race, post race nutrition,
making sure your bike is in good working order, do you have enough money for
the entry fee, safety pins if the registration at the event runs out and the list
goes on. Being detail oriented will help to insure that you are prepared for every
scenario.
3. Rest As Hard You Train.
I say quite often that it takes as much discipline to make yourself rest as it
does to train hard. Many cyclists are guilty of not resting enough. That means
both taking enough easy or off days OR staying within specified training
parameters on active rest days (hr or watt limits). Not resting “hard” enough will
eventually create a situation where you can’t train hard enough. Training is about
intensity and if you can’t generate the appropriate intensity, you won’t reap the
corresponding physiological benefits.
Additionally don’t short yourself on sleep. It not only matters how much sleep
you get but in which hours. Going to bed at midnight and getting up and 8 or 9
is not gonna have as much benefit because your extending the hours your awake
too.
4. Don’t Overthink It.
While the above mentioned elements are part of the key to success, you
can’t get overly mired down in the details. Over-analysing every single watt,
kilometer, calorie or hour trained or slept will drive you insane. Keeping a training
journal allows you to put all this info in a central location where you don’t
necessarily have it spinning around it your head. Have trust in your plan or your
coach’s plan. The last and most successful of the Samurai warrior culture,
Miyamoto Musashi, said one of the keys to his success was that he didn’t think
two moves ahead, he lived in the moment of the battle. Try not focusing as much
on the outcome and more on the process.
Coach Ainslie

Phew! Been quite a while since I posted a blog post here. 

HOWEVER, now I'm back and will try to be more regular. 

We're now into June in the race season and many of you are racing every weekend, sometimes both days on the weekends. In addition, I'd wager some of you are hitting a group ride or training race during the week. Training around this time of year starts to resemble feathering the throttle so that you have adequate rest to accompany all the intensity in your schedule. 

Rest varies for each individual. Some people prefer to cross train in some way at a lower intensity, others do more easy riding. Regardless, make sure you're off-setting all the hard riding.

Additionally, make sure you are fueling your efforts. That is, making sure you're getting enough calories and the right types of calories. This is NOT a license to go crazy with the food though.

I promise to be better with the blog going forward and its in my plan to blog the Tour de France again this year. Thanks for reading....Ainslie

Coach Ainslie

As we slide into winter the need for indoor training increases for many of us. It's a necessary evil that some people embrace and some dread. Indoor training doesn't have to be death by terminal boredom though. You can try different strategies to make it more entertaining and productive. 

1. Have a plan;

     Just getting on the trainer and riding for the sake of riding may not be the most productive use of your time. Before you get on the trainer you should have an idea of what your workout will be. Is today a structured interval or endurance type ride? Active recovery? Single leg drills? Whatever it is, try to have a plan. I find that executing structured riding also makes the time go "faster."

2. Ride with numbers;

    Having your heart rate or wattage displayed in front of you will help you stay focused on the task at hand. Paying attention to staying within certain parameters will make your ride more productive from a fitness standpoint. It IS actually possible to build fitness riding indoors. 

3. Minimize distractions;

    Set up your trainer in a location where there will be minimal distractions. Taking calls, texting, having kids or other people interrupt you can disrupt your workout and keep you from completing your entire workout. Find a place that is comfortable, well ventilated and will allow you to focus on training. I will listen to music for most of my workouts. I would only turn on the tv if I have to do an endurance based, steady state ride that was perhaps longer in duration. 

4. Reduce overall time;

    If your training plan calls for a 3 hour ride, you can reduce the duration somewhat. I tell my clients that they can reduce the over all time by as much as 30 or 40 percent as long as they hit the structured elements their plan calls for. Stacking up too may days in a row indoors can make one a little kooky. If you're not totally tuned into the ride, physiologically it won't be as effective. Keeping the time within a reasonable limit will save your sanity.

While indoor training isn't always that much fun, it can be an effective tool for improving your fitness over the winter. Following these steps  can help you be more productive AND have a more positive outlook on winter training. 

 

Ainslie MacEachran is a  level 2 coach with www.getzoomperformance.com. His book "The Cyclist Guide to Off Season Strength Training and Nutrition" is available on iTunes, Amazon.com and BN.com.

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