Base Training Myths, Cycling Team Roles, MTB Stage Racing & More – Ask a Cycling Coach 281

What happens when you do high intensity efforts during base training, what it was like for Amber to be a pro domestique, and tips for beginner racers on their first year of racing and mountain bike stage races. Tune into Episode 281 of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast for this and more!

This was a fun episode and we covered probably the most crucial question we’ve ever covered on the podcast – are you a left or right-handed bottle grabber and are you a spout up or spout down drinker? :joy:

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Podcast ~1:30:18
A dual side load bottle cage for @Jonathan and @Pete :slight_smile:


This was a good episode, but i had some follow-up questions about off-season.

I live in a place where we dont’ have a lot of daylight for the winter and often weather is terrible for cycling. But, it’s easier to stay warm running, plus you can drive up to the mountains and find some snow (and get above the clouds where there is sun).

How do you guys like to program or otherwise manage your cross-training, e.g., running or cross-country skiing? Drilling down to a “threshold” and calculating TSS doesn’t seem to make sense to me, it’s not necessary and i think only gives the illusion of precision. So how would you approach this in the alternative? Maybe just, get your heart rate up to a certain level, and go for a certain period of time (so basically using hours instead of TSS)? Or maybe just, only use RPE and go until you’re tired?

Second, any fun hacks to get the impact of lifting heavy if you don’t have access to heavy weights (in this COVID world)? I’m thinking like pistol squats or something because when you’re starting out, those are hard. Maybe clap-push-ups? Anything else?

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@Pete You said to calibrate your power meter and trainer every ride. Do you need to calibrate both if you use power match? I normally only calibrate my power meter every ride.

Only the power meter is really needed when using PowerMatch.

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We need more of Pete and his dry sense of humour, the episode regarding leg warmers was funny, this episode took to another level :ok_hand:


I don’t have much experience with running or XC Skiing (Living in California has made me soft) so I will leave that to someone else to tackle but as for as the lifting side of things - there is a lot you can do with body weight. I would recommend getting a TRX style system, they even sell ones that attach to door frames to make it easier. Beyond that if you can get pull ups in, that would be a plus. The big ones for lifting for me have been Squats, Deadlifts, pullups, bench and pushups so trying to find TRX workouts that mimic these would be ideal.

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I normally just calibrate the PM as it doesn’t require a spindown

Thanks, i’ll check TRX out. I think the biggest challenge is posterior chain. With banded pushups, pistol squats and other types of one-legged squat, i think you can replicate squatting pretty well. But i really know of no way to adequately replicate a heavy deadlift (single-leg with body weight helps balance and stability but not really strength). I also still need to figure out where to hang my pull up bar because i agree with you. As an MTBer, grinding up a 20% grade at 55RPM actually does end up requiring some lat strength (because gravity is insufficient to counteract the forces).

PS, i figured out how to deal with running and things like XC skiing. I think i’m just going to do an RPE / iso-effort model. I.e., rather than matching the duration (I can do 3 hours cycling easy but would be hard pressed to run for 3 hours), or trying to calculate “strain”, I’ll just go out and do the workout, try to roughly match the target intensity, and get myself the right amount of tired, and duration will be whatever it will be.