Group Ride Tactics, Green Tea, Overreaching and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 213

Group ride tactics to help you move through the field, how green tea affects endurance performance, how to recognize, overcome and avoid overreaching and much more, all covered in Episode 213 of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast.

Youtube Live Video:

Topics covered in this episode:

Update on TrainerRoad Pricing
Green Tea’s effect on performance
How to hold momentum through corners
The history of how Nate met Chad, Pete, and Jonathan
How to deal with mid-workout interruptions
Tips to improve confidence racing crits
How to brake while cornering
Cat 2 to Cat 1 upgrade strategies
What is overreaching and what does it feel like?
How to factor in mobility when choosing your bike
What is better: a TT bike, or a road bike with aero-extensions?

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Episode Notes:

• Coach Chad’s Functional Overreaching/ Non-functional OR/ Over-Training Syndrome Diagram (“Complete with coffee stain” - Coach Chad)


For some reason @Nate_Pearson looks completely different facing the camera and not side-on. Maybe it’s that you can’t see his amazingly sharp parting quite so clearly.


@Nate_Pearson what are the supplements you take? Specifically the EGCG ones in this episode.

Thank you for answering the green tea question. I had no idea. May have to learn to drink the stuff.

Just some generic amazon one for ecgc. I don’t know it’s efficacy.

Embarrassingly, I don’t know all the supplements I take off the top of my head. It’s a lot now but I haven’t been sick since December so I’m just going to keep taking them knowing full well they might have zero impact on my well being.

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Thank you @Nate_Pearson.

As far as all the supplements, (like other things) if it works for you, keep doing it.

First time I am going to watch the video afterwards! That is due to various topics!
I just wanted to reach out to you guys stating that you are doing a very good job - as far as it concerns my fitness, cycling and cycling knowledge as well as adding features constantly - because of that I absolutely unterstand and follow your price increases. Anyways I am very happy with paying all year long but rarely train with TR in the summer. I just love riding my local hills ;-). I guess I am giving the outdoor sessions a try later that week.

Keep up the good work and thanks again!

@chad Congrats for proposing! But what is it with your cycling? I jumped onto the kudos / follower challenge you three had back two years ago. Aren’t you not cycling at all right now?


Snaps to TR for getting my podcast fix out on time!
It’s true that you suck Nate ( in comparison to Jonathan of course). :wink: He’s really good at his job.

I enjoyed the little dive into FOR, NFOR and OTS. Top work Chad.
It’s been a little while now that I use my nose to let me know when I’m pushing too hard and recovery is inadequate. A runny nose for several hours after a workout is the give away for me. Although, it doesn’t stop me doing it over and over again.
@chad Please post a link for the study into URS you were reading. My apologies if you already have and I missed it.

My day job often adds a ridiculous amount of physical activity to my week. I never know how much work I’ll have to get through each week so the TR plan suffers as a result. It’s taken a solid 18 months to learn the basics of what happens when I push my training boundaries.
My worst case was watching my pickup slowly roll into a house and resting a cordless grinder on my thigh before it had stopped spinning. Both around the same time and very small lapses in concentration in the scheme of things.
20 years of experience wasn’t enough stop me pushing myself over the edge. If I’d listened to the podcast before trying to manage my own version of TR plans, I’d most likely be further along than I am right now.

All this talk of balancing fatigue with training stimulus makes me wonder how long it’s going to be before TR releases a new calendar feature?

PS. Green tea extract in sports supplements in Aus have been linked with some horrific outcomes. That and overdoing supplements in general.
There are loads of young men presenting themselves at liver specialists with livers that look like that of an old alcoholic.

I think part of the reason the cornering near the limit is scary is because when you are near the limit of traction any little problem with the road (bumps, dust, a tiny bit of gravel) mid corner is the difference between success and crashing. And those little problems are hard to predict.


@Rosscopeco, I’m not sure the paper (position statement) is public access, so I might get in trouble for sharing it, but here’s the extract with the title of the publication and edition and date:

Credit was given to Maree Gleeson, PhD., at AIS, and if you search on her you’ll find abstracts like the following:

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On cornering, I attended a high performance driving/racing school many years ago (seriously fun!). The day started with a classroom session which was basically a lecture on how tires work and how to brake and take corners fast by managing the contact patch between the road and each tire. (e.g. exactly why is it bad to brake while corning at the limit or exactly what is happening and why when a tire loses grip and slides). Contrary to popular belief, in a car road race with corners, braking, line choice and corning are the keys to going fast.

Race cars are obviously a bit different than bikes but the basics easily transfer over to cycling. Anyone who is interested in how to corner better should check out stuff on the internet generally relating to how to drive a race car (or even better how to road race a motorcycle). Corning, braking and corning lines are such a huge part of car racing and there is more a driver can do to change things so generally the way the basics and the “why” get explained tends to be clearer than the stuff I see on corning and braking on bikes.

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This is very true. I spent many, many years driving advanced racing simulations, and read Going Faster! to fine tune my sim racing skills based on real driving techniques.

The general issues of traction distribution (acceleration, braking, turning) and line selection (all corners need to be taken in context for best use) are all applicable between 2 and 4 wheels in most cases. The application of turning technique will vary a bit, but there are more similarities than differences, so there is much to gain from looking at the concepts from car and motorcycle racing.

While the physics is a bit different, there’s still an understeer if you’re braking while turning. In a bike, braking will try to counter your lean, and it’s also easier to lock up and slide out, but even if you’re threshold braking on a bike, you’re still going to induce a bit of understeer from braking during the turn.

I don’t expect the proper line selection to change much between car/bike, just the speeds as a bike can typically take the turns faster, but should (as far as I know) be pretty similar brake, apex, exit. This is what really helps me to visualize a countersteer, since if you do a quick movement to take the best apex of the turn, the countersteer mechanics just work themselves out instead of thinking about all those instructions like put pressure here, turn the handlebars this way, etc…

@Nate_Pearson having just gone through the process you described for upgrading to cat 1 I appreciated the context you guys were giving around the challenges there. I think you hit on most of the main points pretty well in the discussion but would add a few things

First, as background you and I have fairly similar characteristics on the bike. In particular I have a decent TT but can’t win a P123 TT, can ride a break fairly well but can’t compete with sprinters in an elite field.

Most of what you are focused on for getting upgrade points is correct. Stage races with cat 2 fields and smaller road races will serve you well. In particular the points given for that 11-20 field size in road races are out of line with larger fields and you’ve noted that already.

The points I’d encourage you to focus on are two fold

  • Don’t be afraid to race P123 or P12 road races. You said you don’t have the ability to hang in those races and only have the fitness for elite crits right now. I think you’re limiting yourself here - if you can’t compete in the sprints you’re going to have a really hard time getting upgrade points in crits
  • Learn how to read the race conditions and get into breakaways. Pete mentioned this, but it is worth highlighting. If you can get yourself into the right breaks you will get points even if you finish DFL out of the break. In my experience I can attack again and again in a 35+ field and just bludgeon my way into the break of the day but in a P12 field I have many fewer realistic efforts at getting into the break of the day. You need to master the skill of reading which break is the right one in a P12 field ASAP, thus my first point. Even if you don’t think you have the fitness to hang in there right now I’d recommend you start getting those reps in ASAP as it is probably more important than your overall fitness

Edit: If you want - look at my race history and where I got my points - I imagine you’ll have a fairly similar path in front of you, although hopefully you can pull it off in less total time. If you want to dive into any of the results or how I picked races let me know

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Great tips! Can you link me to your road results page?

Nate, Chad and Pete discussed very briefly about putting the cleat as far back as the shoe would allow. I was curious if there is any benefit to this, if so, what and how many cyclists are doing this? I’ve felt like my cleats are a little too far forward, but have been riding for a few years with the current set-up and am a little hesitant to change it.

In general, it reduces loading on the calves. This can be something that is very individual, but I like it better than being more “on the toes” with the cleat set to have the ball of the foot over the spindle (the age old default setup). I find I tend to cramp less with cleats more rearward.

Some tri people also like it so their calves aren’t as stressed going into the run.

Anyone making the cleat shift should also consider a saddle height adjustment, if the shift is more than a few millimeters. If you move the cleat around 5mm back, I’d consider dropping the saddle 3-5mm, then adjust based on feel after some riding.

I’m getting an error trying to listen to this episode from the apple podcast app. Anyone else? Been on vacation and just catching up!!

Please please can you guys do the experiment of aero road bike with clip-ons vs TT bike.

Really interested to see this.

Also maybe aero road bike with a TT cockpit?

I believe this as been done a few times in wind tunnels. If you can get the same position the bike frame saves less watts than you’d think.

Usually you can’t get the same position and that’s where the TT bike shines. It allows you to get lower and more forward.