What it Takes to Be a National Champion with Erica Carney – Ask a Cycling Coach 306

Erica Carney (Allar) is one of the all-time best American crit racers, but her goal of winning a pro national criterium championship took years of hard work to achieve. Tune in as we answer your questions about tactics, bike handling and more, and discuss what Erica did to improve her tactics and abilities each year to finally win the 2017 Women’s Pro Criterium National Championship.

Youtube Live Video:

Join us live for our live premiere, Thursday April 29 at 8:00am Pacific!

Topics Covered in This Episode

  • 00:12 - Erica’s cycling achievements
  • 1:24 - Reflecting on working towards a national championship
  • 3:56 - Doubting her ability to win national crit championships
  • 5:50 - The lessons learned through experience
  • 8:30 - How Erica got started racing
  • 9:50 - How track racing helped with crit skills
  • 11:14 - Specific skills and the difference in training from track to road
  • 13:12 - Learning to train more effectively
  • 14:48 - Shifting responsibilities to be an effective teammate and mentor
  • 17:47 - Erica’s favorite courses
  • 19:14 - Team support vs. individual success
  • 22:06 - Training without power
  • 23:45 - Efficiency and her skills as a sprinter
  • 26:38 - Pre-riding the course and strategizing the finish
  • 27:28 - Practical training and Erica’s favorite workouts
  • 29:28 - Listener Questions: Body type and large fields
  • 32:46 - Being nervous in large fields
  • 34:21 - Tactics for small vs. large fields
  • 35:50 - Racing solo against teams
  • 38:01 - Racing multiple events in a day
  • 40:48 - Cornering, braking, and line choice
  • 45:46 - Training tactics and techniques
  • 47:35 - The ideal final 3 laps of a race
  • 49:29 - What does Erica wish she did more of during her career?

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Potentially stupid question but I’m curious.
If it’s live, how do you know the timestamps of the topics covered? :thinking:

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This one was pre recorded (I think), but usually the time stamps are added after a live livestream.

Correct- this one is pre-recorded and will be premiering for everyone tomorrow morning. You can still join and leave “live” comments (many of us TR folk will be in the live chat) but the podcast itself is not being filmed live tomorrow.

This seems available for download now.

can we please have @Nate_Pearson back? honestly I’ve skipped the last few episodes.


I haven’t skipped as I’ve still enjoyed the content, but I agree it’ll be great to have Nate back soon.

I assume he’s away busting his butt on AT and hopefully recharging his batteries to whoop the rest at Cape Epic. The absence of his energy on the pod and forum is noticeable, but not unreasonable :grin::+1:.


Have not had a chance to listen to this yet and I agree about Nate but I think what we need back the most is racing. The best episodes always revolved around @Nate_Pearson being able to ask the questions we were thinking and the race recaps and pre race discussions always served as the most interesting frameworks to bring those questions out. It made it feel a bit less rehearsed even when they are working from an outline, left room for some trash talk, etc. The other part its easy to miss is its hard to have as much spontaneous banter over zoom. The mic lag/clipping causes so much chaos if you talk over each other, laugh or take jabs in ways you could get away with in person.

I cant imagine how hard it must be to still produce content every week when there have been no races, a ton of research got stalled from covid, people cant even plan future events to obsess over.


I happened to really enjoy this episode. Thanks for bringing Erica in to share her perspective and thoughts. I especially liked her responses regarding getting started in large fields. I personally prefer racing as a team rather than racing as an individual, but it was interesting to hear her thoughts on that too.


Agreed. I thought it was a great episode with some interesting perspective and suggestions as well.


I enjoyed the podcast with Erica. Interesting to hear how she trained and some good tips on how to scout a course. I don’t know much about track racing but would’ve enjoyed hearing more about it. Get her on with Amber too, maybe some more good tips would come from it.


Agreed. My favorite episodes typically have @Nate_Pearson. He seems to ask pointed and easy to comprehend questions that are on everyone’s mind. I also have a hard time relating with pro’s and elites due to their lifestyles being so drastically different. I will say the successful athlete podcast has really been helpful in this regard.


I don’t know everything about this lady but I thought she recently graduated for the teaching gig. Recently as in I thought '18 or '19. She might have won the national crit while in college if that’s right along with the collegiate stuff so it wasn’t like riding a bike was her only responsibility.

Yeah, they didn’t go through her whole career in order. She actually raced professionally for quite awhile (maybe 11 years?), and then went back to school to get her teaching degree. She won her national crit title before racing collegiate.


Out of curiosity I went back a ways…

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Not saying she wasn’t a pro before or anything, just that she had a few things going on.

Thanks for the corrections and info!

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