How to Map Out Your Season, with Toms Skujins, Kiel Reijnen, Joey Rosskopf, and Larry Warbasse

Trevor did several great interviews with four top pros—Toms Skujins, Kiel Reijnen, Joey Rosskopf, and Larry Warbasse—for an article he was writing several years ago, and now we want to share their full wisdom.

Joey Rosskopf
Joey Rosskopf. Photo credit: Ray Rogers

Today, we’re digging into the archive for some season-planning knowledge. Why now when our seasons have been demolished? Because it’s never too early to start soaking in the wisdom of seasoned veterans on how to best map out any season, particularly next year’s.

Trevor did several great interviews with four top pros—Toms Skujins, Kiel Reijnen, Joey Rosskopf, and Larry Warbasse—for an article he was writing several years ago, and now we want to share their full wisdom.

There’s no other agenda, they just had a lot of good things to say, from starting your season right to picking your moments in that season to peak; from fending off fatigue and overtraining to ending your season right. All that and much more on today’s episode.

Let’s make you fast!

Episode Transcript

Chris Case 00:12

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of Fast Talk your source for the science of cycling performance. I’m your host Chris case, Trevor Connor. Coach Connor you’re sitting next to me today we’ve got a special one today.

Trevor Connor 00:26

We do I don’t think we’ve ever done anything like this have

Chris Case 00:29

not exactly No. So this

Trevor Connor 00:31

is the quick background on this is several years ago I did an article talking about planning out your timing your season I think was can’t remember the title but that was the theme of it was your timing your season. And I got these for what I thought were pretty amazing interviews with with pros. That each interview was 2030 minutes long, and then I realized I’ve got 600 words

Chris Case 00:59

to To use for the article, right, you’re right have a lot of access.

Trevor Connor 01:03

So I had these amazing interviews and I grabbed maybe one quote from each interview. And I always felt like that was a bit of a waste, because there’s so much great information in these interviews that just never got shared. It never got out there. So it always been at the back of my head of it would be great to put together a podcast where we just play clips from these interviews. Sure. So I don’t think there’s a big message to share here, or giant theme,

Chris Case 01:34

except how to map out your season right in the nuances thereof in the different parts of a given season.

Trevor Connor 01:42

Right. So that’s, you know, we we broke it up into exactly that. But I think the what we hope you get out of this is listen to these interviews, and I think for everybody, somewhere in one of these interviews or a couple of these interviews are some great pieces of advice that Hopefully you can, you can grab

Chris Case 02:01

us. And I think it’s worth emphasizing that, you know, we’ve we’ve had pros on the show before and we like to hear from pros in certain circumstances because they’ve figured some of this stuff out. They race a lot. They race a lot more than probably any amateur out there. But they’ve also figured some things out that anybody can apply to their season and I think that’s why we want to hear from these four guys. Do you want to mention these four guys, Trevor? Oh, you’re gonna make me pronounce these names pronounce these names, because there’s some of the some of the hardest but not the hardest. jamaludin Abdi jabber off would probably be the hardest one. He’s from way back. You might not even remember him. How did you just do that? Didn’t have to jafra


the Tashkent tear.

Trevor Connor 02:51

I am just going to give a general for the rest of time apology to most professional cyclists out there. I am going to be What’s your name? We do podcast where we have to pronounce when these names and Chris sits here. It’s like that. When you watch the actors like moving their cheeks and trying to practice doing different syllables. Wow, exactly. And Chris Well, Chris will spend like 10 minutes going here is how you pronounce it. And finally I will get it in the practice. Then we go into the show and they’re just


awful. Hey,

Chris Case 03:25

under pressure? I don’t know.

Trevor Connor 03:26

First one. Fairly easy. We have Larry waterbus. There you go. Did I get that? Yeah. So tell us a little bit about Larry.

Chris Case 03:34

Larry is a former national champion. He’s written for some domestic teams. He’s written for some French teams. He’s had a world tour career. And he brings a lot of wisdom to this episode.

Trevor Connor 03:49

This was a fantastic interview with Larry and there’s probably more clips from him partially goes it was also the longest interview in this episode than anybody else. Next up we have an I think I’ve got this one because he taught me himself. Tom’s sketch

Chris Case 04:07

Yeah, there you go. He that is that is a tricky one when you look at that name it looks like school surgeons or school friends or something but yeah squinch another great mind I guess you could say in the in the sport very thoughtful about his training knows physiology. Well, in a sense, spends a lot of time in the United States, but is a Latvian national road race champion back in 2019. used to ride for the Hincapie racing team back when it was a development squad in the US that he wrote for Cannondale drapac when it was named that and he’s been with trek segafredo for three years, punchy punchy rider has done really well tour California. Great guest

Trevor Connor 04:53

Yeah. Now he is in the inner the longer interview we did with him. He talked about how he really focuses on The classics but he even held the polka dot jersey in the tour. Yep.

Joey Rosskopf 05:05

Next up and

Trevor Connor 05:08

this one apparently I keep getting wrong keel reinen that’s

Chris Case 05:14

the correct pronunciation. Kind of looks like Kyle ryden but it’s kill Ryan. And he’s an American writer. He’s, again one of these writers that spent a long time racing domestically with Jelly Belly team type one, United Healthcare. Then he stepped up to the world tour and he’s been in the world tour since 2016. Again with trek segafredo really great guy, sort of one of those riders being American. We know him but he’s a little bit more anonymous. He’s kind of a Domestique, he finds his moments. He’s a punchy writer has a good kick. And another great source for content today.

Trevor Connor 05:54

I really enjoy about Kyoko. I’ve actually interviewed him a bunch The first time I ever interviewed him. He was kind of the young guy on the scene. Now he’s in his 30s. And as you said, You don’t hear about him much because he’s more Domestique. But very smart, very wise when it comes to training. He actually has an exercise science degree from University of Colorado. So my understanding is on his team. He’s kind of the, the Wise experienced rider that a lot of the other riders talk to great and he always every interview I’ve ever done with him, he has some really good wisdom to share. Nice. And then finally, Joey rosskopf

Chris Case 06:35

that’s also correct pronunciation. You’re really disappointed, aren’t you? I wanted to hear you butcher some things. No, Joey another. Another writer, started domestically American. came up had a amazing result at a tour of Utah several years ago, really impressed Cadel Evans and George Hincapie who had relationships with The BMC team at the time and he stepped it up and he rode with the BMC team. Then it turned into this CCC squad. extremely good time. triallist has won the National Time Trial championship. And sort of a mellow guy takes a while for him to come out with things. But he does also share some wisdom in this episode.

Trevor Connor 07:22

Absolutely. And the one disclaimer or apology I’m going to give here is again, these were all interviews I did for an article. So we weren’t thinking podcasts at the time. Most of these were phone interviews, which means they’re going to be a little lower quality. And particularly to the guests. In a couple cases, I apologize because they weren’t expecting it to necessarily end up on a show. So I’ll say Joey’s isn’t the best quality. Mm hmm. I think he might have been doing his dishes when he was talking with me. Hey, that’s great. So there will be some background No little flavor

Chris Case 08:00

of life as a world who a rider you have to do your own dishes. What

Trevor Connor 08:04

this is actually, Chris, you can talk about this more than I can. But a lot of these pros are doing a lot of interviews and they have to train they have to recover. They have to make sure they’re eating and they can’t keep just taking dedicated time off to do interviews. So

Chris Case 08:20

they’re multitasking at all times.

Trevor Connor 08:22

They’re they’re generally multitasking when you’re interviewing them.

Chris Case 08:25

Yep. Very good. Well, let’s dive into it. Let’s make you fast. This episode of fast Talk is brought to you by whoop. I think one of the most fascinating aspects of bootstrap is this sleep coach that they off. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Trevor Connor 08:45

Yeah, something I like about this sleep coach is it’s more than just a number. So they do give you in the morning, a percentage for how well you slept.

Chris Case 08:54

quality indicator, right?

Trevor Connor 08:57

Which I look at but then I i The value is diving into it. You can really go no pun intended deep where you can see the whole heart rate profile of your your night asleep so you can see when you are awake. When you are in deep sleep when you are in REM sleep. It will really tell you a lot about how much was awake you know how much as I’m moving around, how much good quality deep sleep did I get you can dissect the the nightly sleep patterns and learn a lot about yourself and then once you’ve started to dissect that and learn what your typical sleep pattern looks like that actually something that also goes beyond the the assessment they give you is be able to look at a bad night or a particularly good night and see how it varies from what you are used to. Woop is offering 50% off with the code Fast Talk that’s f a s t ta lk at checkout. Go to whoo that’s w h o p dot Calm, and enter Fast Talk at checkout, save 15%. sleep better, recover faster, and train smarter. Optimize your performance. Woohoo.

Chris Case 10:11

So the episode again is about mapping out your season, we’ve broken that season into several parts. Let’s start with starting the season, appropriately enough.

Trevor Connor 10:23

So yeah, two of the interviews, we talked about the start of the season. So these are the first two that we’re going to play. We have a quick one from Joey, where he talks about how great he feels at the start of the season. But very quickly by end of March, he’s feeling a little tired. So talk a bit about that. And then we will talk to Larry about the fact that most pros see their peak numbers before the season even starts and yet, that’s not when they’re on the best form. So he’s gonna It’s hard to explain he even says that But it’s a really interesting point to think about. Do you have a point in the season or find you frequently have a point in the season where you’re feeling a little stretched, you’re feeling a little overreached and you have to figure out how to get through that

Joey Rosskopf 11:15

just depends on your race schedule everyone either differently structure for the year but has been pretty similar the last two years. I think I have a little like at the end of March, it seems like you started gear so motivated. train a lot December in January. I mean, a lot of guys are trying to remember, but even if you do two full months, December, January, lunch hours at home, and then I’ve done surveys in the Middle East, Middle East Brant February the last two years. You’re jumping right in and you have a pretty full month of racing in February. I’ve always felt good then coming off the training. But yeah, month or month and a half later by the end of March. It seems to be There’s a little bit, get a little slower gain a little weight, think the body is just trying to catch up, recover.

Trevor Connor 12:10

all right now let’s hear from Larry. I’m big on the fact that it’s not just about getting strong. It’s about getting strong at the right time. How do you feel though? Do you agree with that?

Larry Warbasse 12:19

So you’re talking about time of year, the right time of year? Okay. I mean, it is kind of interesting, because it’s something we talk about a lot actually. Like, like, you know, among us pros is like, we all said, our best numbers in January, okay, so like, you know, we’re all doing these powered tests and like, you know, like, we’ll go to our January cancer, everyone’s doing their best numbers ever, or in the first like, first like races, the numbers are just insane, you know, but then again, I don’t think that necessarily even means that were the strongest that will get you know, because it’s just we’re more fresh at the beginning. The air and all those kind of things. So I guess this is sort of a different answer to your question, but just because you’re setting your best numbers doesn’t even mean you’re performing your best actually. So half the time I’ll have my best results and stuff when maybe like I won’t do any crazy numbers in the race or something like that. But I guess it’s just that’s another thing it’s hard to quantify your your whether your max power tests are even your best fitness I guess. Sorry. This is hard to explain. But But yeah, so I guess for a lot of us will go to our January camp will be absolutely smashing it. But if we were to say have the same race that we have in July in January, we wouldn’t perform as well in January as we would in July, even though our power numbers would be higher. So that’s kind of confusing and hard to explain, and I don’t think any of us can exactly explain it. But that is how it is I guess the thing is, you see a big problem with a lot of guys who really go all in for two or down under and then they’re flying in January You know, there’s like a lot of these Australian guys sometimes others, but then it’s like if season finishes in February you know, it’s like they’ll be absolutely flying the first couple of days of the year but then I don’t know they do too much they don’t take enough recovery or something. I don’t know exactly what but it just seems like the whole rest of their season is just average after that and you know, a guy I had a Australian teammate before who just said like Look, I don’t want to do too because it’s just it’s too much in January and and I’d rather be good later in the year when there are more important races to him for and I guess his goals were later in the year and so he didn’t want to go to another because it was just too early and and it’s not like you can’t be okay unless maybe Greg on our mat. He’s incredible. Like he can win from the big Getting out of here to the end of the year. But not everyone can do that. Right. And so there are some guys who pick pick their battles.

Chris Case 15:09

So that last thought from Larry really leads well into the next section we want to talk about, which is how to pick or having to pick what part of the season you’re really going to focus on when you’re going to peak. Let’s first hear from Kiel and what skeeled going to talk about, Trevor.

Trevor Connor 15:27

So we almost didn’t include this one because this is where you’re really hearing a Pro’s perspective and Kiel talks about how long the pro season is now. I mean, they’re racing January through October, and they’re doing a lot of races. So I thought for a minute about that really doesn’t apply to a lot of us who just do a few races in the year. But things are changing for the amateur world as well. Now we have things like zwift where you can be racing all year round, and a lot of us are doing that. So that traditional, you don’t Turn a pedal over in anger until April model that most of us followed is disappearing a bit. So I think a lot of what kiehls says applies to all of us.

Kiel Reijnen 16:15

The first thing that comes to mind for me is something that’s really changing in the sport that we as writers are noticing is the season length is unbearably long at this point. And something that used to exist and now exists are these mid season breaks. Sometimes they’re a week, sometimes or three days. There is much mental as they are physical, but it’s becoming not like a sport, like like I think of Ironman is one or boxing, where you have you have an event, there’s a specific build up to that event, and then a decompression time post event. I think, you know, for guys who are two stars, you’re seeing a lot more of that kind of targeted racing. Where they have a handful of targets throughout the season. They’re not afraid to shut it down in between rebuild for for the event. And, and this whole idea of base training, followed by intervals followed by, you know, seven months of racing and maintenance is not realistic anymore. I don’t think it’s I don’t think science backs it either. And I do think that fatigue is is a bigger issue than it used to be because the races are not necessarily longer, but they’re definitely harder, more kind of across the board and there’s no vacation races, everyone tastes every race. every race is an opportunity. So you have to, you have to pick goals, you know, now, no one shows up. The team captain says, Yeah, I want to be good from January through October. It’s just not realistic. So, you know, teams are focusing on specific goals for specific riders. And I think part of that is finding out that specific dreaming For for an event, like you’re saying not months in advance, but sort of right before that event, work. And you find form is such a kind of fleeting thing I’ve been there, there’s kind of a saying that we all have that if you’re on a forum, nothing matters. You can lose sleep, you can get a cold, you can, you know, have to travel, you can do all this stuff. And somehow if you’re on form, you’re just on form. But when it’s done, it’s gone. And doesn’t matter how much you rest or how much you treat this, that how much asleep, you’re not informed anymore. So why is that? You know, what, what is how is that happening? And because it’s so important for us to be able to predict when we’re on form, we need to understand more about why that happens. And I do think part of it is this tendency in the sport to overtrain to to look at this kind of macro cycle. of the year as a big base build up, followed by efforts followed by racing and maintenance. I don’t think that that is the best model anymore. So what is you know, you have to have some sort of base fitness, right? Otherwise, what are you doing your intervals from the base fitness year, you’re starting from scratch every time you do your weekend effort, so that doesn’t work. So there needs to be some sort of maintenance, base, aerobic whatever, but then kind of a hard punch quite near the event is maybe all you need to spur a lot of these systems as opposed to, you know, the kind of old school year old mentality would be a race race to fitness, you know, you sometimes early season races that used to not be as hard to get that intensity in and then you’re good to go. That’s it’s too much for too long. I think anymore. So what do you what intrigued me about what you’re saying is how little time it took how close to the event? You really can up your game and coming into three weeks before the knocks fatigue is maybe just as important as coming into it.

Chris Case 20:13

Next up, let’s hear from Larry. What is Larry going to talk about, Trevor?

Trevor Connor 20:18

This is a pretty long stretch from Larry who dives into a whole lot of sides of mapping out your season. So he talks about how much bass you need. He does as a member. He talks a bit about the length of the season, but then has some really great points about how to map out your season is very individual and actually even uses a story about Cadel Evans, showing how CODEL really learned what worked best for him. That wasn’t the same for everybody else. The last thing that I found really interesting in the interview with Larry is he then talked a little bit about when to start doing that high intensity and it was interesting to hear him say he doesn’t do any intensity until about two weeks before his first race.

Chris Case 21:04

Well, that’s a short amount of time. That might not work for everybody, but it works for him. And that’s kind of the point.

Trevor Connor 21:10

Right, though I think the the bigger point that he does make that I think applies to everybody is intensity once you start doing intensity. It, you’re on a timeline. We’ve talked about this before it, right. So I think the point that he’s trying to get across is, if you start doing intensity in November, you’re changing your season.


All right, let’s hear from Larry.

Trevor Connor 21:37

So when you and your coach are mapping out your training, how much does timing play into it? meaning there’s a lot of people feel well, the earlier I start up my season, the better if I can start in November instead of December, I’m going to be that much stronger. Versus I’ve seen other people take the approach of saying okay, here’s when I want to be strong. And then they work backwards to figure out where they should be at each point in December, January, February, and so forth.

Larry Warbasse 22:08

I definitely think the second is the is the way to go. I guess the thing is, is like, to me, one thing that I’ve learned, since I’ve become a professional is the importance of recovery. So I really try to apply that throughout the season, sort of like on a micro and macro basis. So even on my recovery days, I’m trying to like, put my feet up, do nothing, nothing, nothing, and then goes all the way until when I’m talking about the offseason is I’ll take I think this last year, I took almost six weeks off. So I mean, totally, I didn’t touch the bike. And so I’ve arranged like when I was 23 months, I took two weeks off. And then since I’ve been a pro I’ve taken usually between three and six weeks and to be honest, I think you pretty much started Zero once you take three or six, so I don’t think it matters that much as long as you know, you don’t gain 20 pounds or something. But I guess for me, what’s most important is to focus on the recovery in the offseason and then go from there. So maybe that means trying to adjust your race schedule if you need more recovery and not start so early. But yeah, for me, I think I started training, middle, maybe second week in November or something I started training this year. And then, you know, I started racing in January, which was maybe like a little bit quick, but I think it’s enough time maybe you’re not going to be as good as the guys who start in October in January, but I guess it’s a long season. So


you have to

Larry Warbasse 23:48

think about that as well.

Trevor Connor 23:51

So what is do you feel good timing, and I almost asked this question twice, once as a top Pro, and then once thinking more art target audience, which is going to be more your amateur writer. How much time do they need from their offseason through through base? When should they be thinking about starting to do their top end work and then reaching the point where they’re, they’re on peak form and should be taken advantage of it? Is there a standard timing or is it truly truly individual and what are things they should be looking forward to say it’s time to make my switch now?

Larry Warbasse 24:28

I definitely think it’s pretty individual. It’s like, I guess now I think back like, I remember when I’d be going to the camps with DMC and we’d go and CODEL would just ride. He never do any intervals. He just ride, you know, just, he just ride his own pace. He goes, slow up the climbs, you know, let everyone else go do their efforts, whatever, whatever and he just ride you know, and I remember being like, how is this guy so good when he doesn’t do any of the interviews? You know, and, and everyone was like, has the same quiz, like, how can canal just not even do any efforts? I don’t understand. And then I was like, you know, the young guy, so I like well, I’ll just ask him, you know, everyone else was too scared to ask him. So I asked him like, hey, like, How come? How come you don’t do any of the efforts? Like, why do you just run? He said, Well, you know, like, I know, over the course of the year years, my coach and I have figured out that like, it really takes me a short amount of time to get really fit and I can only hold that fitness for a certain amount of time. So he said, I’d rather just ride here and wait till it gets closer to my objectives and that’s when I’ll really start training hard, because I don’t want to be too fit too soon. And then, you know, lose that before my important objective and I was like, Okay, well, you know, that’s pretty fair and good answer. So, you know, I think it is different from for everyone and I guess for me, it’s it’s really hard to say I guess I’m not as dialed in as someone like he was. So I think everyone’s different though, and I think pretty much is just trial and error figuring out, you know how it is, but I think if I was an amateur I wouldn’t even be stressed about having only a month to train before my first races. If I was really really gunning, then you know, I think two months would be plenty of time and three months would be awesome, you know, and then from there on, you know, you can just keep going, I think so as long I think the other important thing and this is one thing I’ve applied the last couple of years is just to have good breaks in the season two so if I’m starting to get tired, I’ll just take three to five days totally off the bike wants to buy and for me that’s that’s huge because it totally like resets you refreshes you and you really don’t lose like any fitness.

Trevor Connor 26:52

So going back you said one to two months or three months would be great Are you talking about when you start doing your intensity, get ready for races. Are you talking more about

Larry Warbasse 27:01

just writing in general that’s just starting up? I mean ideally you would have like one to two months to just ride you know and then you know maybe I guess first month ride second month do some zone three stuff third months do high intensity. I’ll go through these mini cycles over the course the year and you can add some high intensity in there just before your first races but not exactly peak for your first races. Yeah, just so you can at least compete and then your really big goals whenever those are I guess then have the really full build before that. Okay, so

Trevor Connor 27:36

when you say add some intensity before your first races and sorry to get so

Larry Warbasse 27:40

No, that’s okay. I mean high intensity like 445

Trevor Connor 27:44

Yeah. Are you talking weeks before month, a month before?

Larry Warbasse 27:48

A couple weeks before maybe I think like before I raced in Australia this year, I would have done the first few weeks just riding you know, the couple few weeks after that. So in three, and then two weeks before the race, I started to do some intensity like high intensity, some high intensity. So that’s like, the only time I went over threshold was in the two weeks before that.

Chris Case 28:12

Next step, we’re going to hear from Tom’s and it looks to me like he’s gonna talk a bit about sort of a classic way to map out a season. Is that correct, Trevor?

Trevor Connor 28:22

It’s a bit of a classic way. But it’s still something even though a lot of these pros talked about how you map out your season is changing. I think one theme you’re going to hear throughout is you kids can’t be strong all year round anymore. So you really have to pick targets. And Tom’s takes that a little bit further and says, when you map out your season, the best thing to do is identify your targets and then map backwards and I think he gives some really good advice on how to do that.

Chris Case 28:51

Great. Let’s hear from Tom’s

Toms Skujins 28:55

well for me, and I think most of the riders The first thing is you picked you kind of know your schedule, and you pick the races you want to do good at, and you, you pick the races, you’re, you’re going to do well and you pick the races that suit your skills. And you go back from that. So you don’t really start with the building phase you start with, where do I want to be good. And for us, there’s a lot of racing throughout the year. So you really have to focus on the races you actually can do good at and will do good at. And that also that focus is not just physically but also mentally. Because a lot of the times it’s a lot in the head than in the legs. So you and you start going backwards from that you pick the first race Well, yeah, the first race you want to be really good at and then you can count on a good month that you can be at the top level, for sure you’re going to be racing really good throughout the year as well. But there is edge that you still need to win races. And once you decide where that’s going to be, you take, I usually take two months, because I need a good, good block of intensity to really get me going. I take two months before that I start doing some hard races, some maybe not even suited for me, but as long as the racing scarred, that’s all you need. And well not necessarily suited for me for sure it’s better if they’re suited for you. But at the same time you then you’d want to do good at them and try too hard. You for sure need some racing miles and just focus on intensity cut back a little bit on the volume. And before the two months of racing like to get the race like center under you. I do three months on a perfect, perfect scenario three months of build, or I do mostly base miles. focus a lot on core. I do the first month, definitely I do a lot of running. I do mountain bikes I do. I do go swimming, I do a lot of gym work, just because Cycling is very easy on the bones easy on the joints. And you still need to live as a human. So you need that running that impact thing, that impact part of it. And you need to just be actual human before your bike rider. Because we all will get skinny we all will get twigs for our arms and just have frog legs but you need you need to be a human first as well.

Chris Case 31:43

Let’s hear a little bit more from Larry. This time what’s he talking about? Trevor?

Trevor Connor 31:48

So you’re going to hear him again talk a little bit about doing that intensity late. Larry gets into dives a little further into this whole idea that we can only last so long I think he has some interesting points about what actually sets our limits. And I’ll let him talk about that. He also talks about the fact that if you pick these targets, you can peak and you can hit a higher level if you peak. And then finally, he’s just going to go into what sort of interval work he does at what time of the season. So he’s gonna go a little further into that. So this is a kind of bit of all over the map conversation, but he has some really interesting points that I think are worth listening to.

Chris Case 32:32

Excellent. Let’s hear from Larry.

Trevor Connor 32:36

So you do feel top race form being a full strength? There is a time limit to that, that there might be some people who can keep it going permanently, but most of us we have a limit.

Larry Warbasse 32:48

Yeah, I think so. And I think it’s not even just physiologically, but also mentally because it’s like when you’re trying to ride the razor’s edge in terms of diet, training, everything like you know Your body kind of breaks down after a while, you know, I mean, especially if you’re trying to be really lean, and you know, for us, like, diet is really important. And I was trying to lose weight over the last month, and I was really, really just on it, you know, like, I was counting on my calories, which is a bit excessive, but I thought, I can do this for a certain amount of time. And, you know, after a few weeks was like, I just one day I just cracked, you know, and it was like, just had to eat a bunch of cookies and pizza and ice cream. Because like, you just can’t keep it going like that for that long. At least I can’t mentally and so it’s just a combination of everything. So but physically, I also think you if you have a peak, you can be at a higher level than if you were to just try to stay at the same high level over the whole course of the

Trevor Connor 33:50

year. How big a difference Do you think it is?

Larry Warbasse 33:56

That’s kind of tough. I’m not not really sure. I think it’s probably again different for everyone. I guess for me, like, from my best performances over the course of the year to my worst performances, it’s I mean, it’s it’s more than 5% probably, you know, but it’s hard to put an exact number on it. Do you tend to do the same types of work all year round? Or does it change up depending on where you’re at relative to your target races, so it changes a bit but I’ll use a lot of the same intervals over the course of the year and I guess the ones that I would do less frequently around the whole year are like a really high intensity stuff so you know, more of the like, zone five stuff I would do that only really in the race season, but you know, a lot of the zone three stuff I’ll do throughout the whole year you know, tempo sweet spot, and then threshold work will get you know, closer, closer to the race season and and throughout the whole race season. And then yeah, just the high intensity that’s really a lot closer to the races. So yeah, but you know, a lot of the zone three work, the strength, you know, like torque, that kind of stuff that I’ll do throughout the whole year.

Chris Case 35:15

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Trevor Connor 36:04

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Chris Case 36:30

this next section is all about fatigue. Let’s start out by hearing from Joey rosskopf. Trevor, what’s he going to mention?

Trevor Connor 36:41

So I think we heard in some of the previous interviews, talking about the fact that you just can’t stay strong all year that at some point you’re going to fatigue so Joey dived into that a little more and talked about how he handles it when he gets stretched. So starts feeling fatigue and He actually, throughout his interview kept going back to this recovery, this fatigue, what happens when you’re digging yourself into a hole? So this is part of the interview where he just really hits on that topic. What do you do when you face that situation where you’re feeling a little overreach to feel like you might be pushing some burnout, and you have to keep racing,

Joey Rosskopf 37:24

you have to keep racing the whole time. That gets pretty tough. But um, the one good thing about racing all the time is you never have to worry about training or what intervals you’re gonna have to push yourself feeling. The pain is just getting caused to when you’re at the races, and that’s enough for training stress to not get off to worry about doing any of it on your own. So even if you’re racing every weekend, or every few days or whatever, it’s not it’s kind of nice because you can just feel confident riding an hour or two easy every single day that you’re not racing. I like big blocks of training, but then at some point you also start to get a little antsy. Do you just not seeing the results of your training? tested during, like at any races? There’s nothing to do but right easy if you feel like you’re getting tired, at least that’s the only thing I can figure. So then I feel I feel like I’m doing myself. Like I’m benefiting my performance. If I’m doing an easy coffee shop, right? Every single day that I’m not racing, you just have to be confident that you’re tired because you put in a big block of training already. And then with the races, you’re definitely not losing any fitness and tired you’re not going to gain anything by training. So it sounds like it’s, it’s almost a mental game.

Larry Warbasse 38:41

Yeah, well, I mean, it’s a

Joey Rosskopf 38:44

it’s a positive At least, that’s one less thing you have to worry about, which is going out and doing quality intervals. If you’re to that point in the season when you’re already tired and you still have to race, the forcing yourself through training. Oh, it’s just one less thing you have to worry about. But if I get to that point, Then I’m doing this always just biding my time basically until I can get two weeks between races when. And that’s usually enough for me by and that that really tired point, like take a couple days off the bike and then have time to build back up with a couple Easy Rider block of training. Sort of reset. I find it that takes about two weeks for me. If you’re tired because you’ve had a crap ton of training and racing, then you just need to stop digging the whole because if that’s the reason you’re tired, nothing, no hard training is gonna make that better. I don’t think it’s just a good time. Correct. I mean, but if you’re, you know, if you’re tired, if it’s something more acute, you’re tired because you went to the club two days ago, and then you went to the race on the weekend and you felt tired and got dropped and then maybe you can just leave perfectly. And then your body can still handle some training load my head you’re tired from from the bike, then, Dan, it’s just time to stop digging a hole and your body recovers the rest of the year.

Chris Case 40:17

Next up, we’ll hear from Larry, again. What’s he going to mention?

Trevor Connor 40:21

same sort of thing. So he again talks about how everybody is different, but really hammers on this idea that the biggest mistake you can make is to overtrain. And I actually found this really interesting cuz when he first brought this up, I thought he was talking about coming into the season too hot, and he actually corrects me on that and talks about the importance of going into races. Mm hmm. Not fatigued. Are there any big mistakes that you see people make that they should really avoid in terms of doing things too? Doing things too late, doing something for too long, that sort of stuff. So looking at it from a timing perspective,

Larry Warbasse 41:08

I think the biggest error is just overtraining. You know, I mean, I’ve seen guys do any different kind of training, like, I’m someone who believes, really like, there’s 1000 ways to skin a cat, or whatever the saying is, so I’ve seen guys who never even do overs, zone three in training, and then they can go to a race and they’re incredible. And then or you see one guy who does massive volume, one guy who does, like the least amount of volume you’ve ever seen, and they all somehow perform well. And so I think everyone is different, but I think the one place where I see a lot of people make the same mistakes, is just overtraining, you know, and not taking enough recovery and, like, these guys will just absolutely train the house down. They get to the races and then they’re just too tired. And that’s even even I’ll see guys coming off the offseason, you know, overtrained because they train so hard in the winter because they were so motivated to be good. You know, that happens to a lot of guys or they’ll be flying for the first race or two, and then they just die and happens to a lot of professionals. And these are guys who have, you know, some of the top coaches in the world. So I think that’s something to be really conscious of just not doing too much.

Trevor Connor 42:28

It sounds like everything you’re saying is coming into the season. If you have a choice, you’re probably better coming into the start of the race season, a little a little underdone.

Larry Warbasse 42:37

underdone than overdone. I guess I guess what I’m saying is coming into the races. So like I was saying before, if you’re on the verge of overtraining, you you still have the option to take recovery, right? So just making sure you take that recovery, but I’m saying like coming into the actual races themselves rather than the seasoning General is to make sure you’re well rested and you’re fresh coming into the races. So, you know, if you want to do a massive block of training in the offseason, that’s fine, but just make sure you have enough recovery. So I guess the thing is don’t do too little in the offseason, but just make sure you’re recovering from what you are doing. You know, I guess there’s a difference because like, I wouldn’t encourage people to not train in the offseason so that they’re fresh for the season because, you know, then they don’t have the whole base and everything like that, but, but I guess it’s fresh for the races. Not exactly necessarily the season, but but for the season. You know, that means you can always take recovery if you’re going to if you’re feeling overtraining, yeah.

Chris Case 43:44

Finally we’ll hear from Kiel. What’s he going to talk about in this clip,

Trevor Connor 43:50

he’ll talks about the importance of a midseason rest, and this is where you’re going to hear a pro perspective. He talks about July because if you’re a pro, and you’re not The tour there’s nothing going on in July so you take a rest, but I think this applies to everybody all of us need a point during the season where we should just take a longer good rest and that’s going to help set you up to have a stronger season later.

Kiel Reijnen 44:19

So with the calendar I’ve had the last three years, we don’t do a tour de france so and for those who don’t make the Tour de France team on their on their respective teams, same kind of opportunity. July is dead. And that’s really important that’s that’s where I’ve taken opportunity to take a midseason break a week off reset, not lose all my fitness but but come down to a level where I’m not constantly in a state of fatigue and trying to balance fatigue versus sharpness. You know what that would that kind of chunk in July allows me to do is to prepare really well for August. And that’s been huge for me because I always seem to be able to perform for the rest of the year after that. You know as you get towards October Maybe fatigue sets in again. But that that ability to reset there, I think the people who do reset there you see them performing second season while the guys who haven’t had the opportunity to reset they’re really just continue to get worse as the season runs to the end. They’re just hanging on until until it’s done. So, especially guys, you know, that are performing the tour, that kind of thing. It’s like you’re just hanging on for dear life till it’s over at that point. And that’s why you see, you know, a lot of the tour stars are pretty vacant at races like Colorado races, like worlds, the sort of late season races, the top two are guys, you know, there’s always exceptions. You know, I don’t know what to tell you about Valverde. Apparently, the sky’s the limit. But for most of us humans, mere humans, it’s a it’s too big to ask to keep that rolling. It’s always it’s really dangerous and easy when you’re on form to go well, I’m on Form I got a race I got a user’s form I got it. Sometimes you can extend that that form of that fitness for longer if you’re a little more careful with it, you know, if you treat it a little more gradually, so instead of saying, Hey, I’m on form Yeah, you know Colorado fairly well, let’s let’s do Alberta. Maybe instead you take a little rest after Colorado, you do a hard week, and then you do you know, and then a week after Alberta, or two weeks after Alberta, well, that’s a you know, the athletes I coach. One of the things I always like to tell them is that a peak is the first symptom of burnout. That one right Greg totally is pulling the plug before the other symptoms appear. Yep. Which is the hardest thing to do because when you’re feeling great, it is a go and it is. Exactly.

Chris Case 46:52

And on that note of finishing your season strong. The last section we’ll talk about here is the end of the season and how to reap the rest. Ward’s of that tail end. First we’re going to hear from Joey rosskopf. What’s he going to specifically talk about Trevor.

Trevor Connor 47:09

So Joe is going to talk about the end of the season. So when you’re getting into a everybody is different. But let’s say August, September, there’s still some racing going on how you manage that. And this is probably my favorite part of Joey’s interview where he brought up this tournament of the exact wording, but this great expression of let all the race and you’ve done settle in, and I liked his wording better, so we’ll let him talk about that.


Great. Let’s hear from Joey.

Joey Rosskopf47:44

By the time we get to August, if you’ve been racing during the year, pretty much like you can only be yourself. Just benefit to ride easy. Let them racing circuit. You’ve been training for months made it seems like a long time. But as long as you’ve been racing, that in addition to the training, just have to ride it out. That’s like how I always start to feel good. And at the end of the years, like, just let all the racing soak in. You already done 60 days of racing, then you’ve got enough to recover from her like that expression, let the racing soak in. But a lot of people can’t do that. A lot of people when they don’t know if they don’t realize that they’re just tired, but they, they start to slow down in the races get bogged down or get to the bottom of one of their waves of up and down peaking and they just try to train harder. They think they need to be better. But I mean, that’s like one of the just something you can you should embrace something. I don’t know what people should do, but that’s something I embrace at the end of the year, is getting to the point where I don’t feel like training. You’re gonna make me much better than I just sort of posted out For the rest of the day, for certain parts of the end of the season and usually come really good again. It’s sort of like I just feel overall more relaxed when I’m not having to think about animals that I need to force myself to do at home. It’s just a rewarding part of the year to get to. When you put in the training, you put in so many races, and now you’re rewarded with being able to, to just ride it out and let your body rest and go from race to race rather than race to training.

Chris Case 49:38

Next up, we’ll hear from Larry with a little bit on the end of the season and how it can be the best time to race.

Larry Warbasse 49:47

I have a teammate. He’s my teammate now on Aqua boost sport, but he was also my teammate when I was there with I mean with BMC. And I remember it was September I was doing a race, Franco Belgian, I was just pretty much cracked at the end of the season like, you know, just been eating ice cream sundaes every day in Belgium for like, a couple weeks before and like, I was just like, I don’t really want to be at this race in Belgium, whatever, whatever he’s like, Man, this is the best time of year. I was like, What do you mean? He said, if you’re motivated now, this is when you can win races. You know, he said, This is when everyone else is totally de motivated. No one wants to be here. So if you want to be here is that you’re already way ahead of everyone else. He’s like, this is my favorite time of year. He’s like, I don’t even care as much about the middle of season as I care about the end, because I know at the end, that’s how I can get results. And it’s like, it’s really true, actually. So you need to pick pick your times. So

Chris Case 50:48

finally, we’re going to close with some final comments from Larry again on recovery. Trevor, any further thoughts to lead into this last clip?

Trevor Connor 50:59

I thought this would be a good one to end with. I did say at the start of this episode that there isn’t really a theme except for talking about the season. But if there was a theme that all these guests kept bringing up, it was the importance of not overtraining, it was the importance of recovering as a matter of fact, when asked both Larry and Joey for their final thoughts, they they kind of hammered on that. So we’ve already heard Joey hammer on it. This was my final question to Larry of anything else you want to say. And this is what he immediately went to.

Larry Warbasse 51:35

I mean, I guess the one thing is just make sure you get enough recovery. You know, I mean, I said that before, but I just something I want to emphasize is, you know, I think one of my biggest mistakes that I’ve made over the years is just being overtrained and not taking recovery seriously. And I think learning how to recover well is Probably one of the most important things you can learn in cycling, because training is great. And I love training. And I think a lot of people who are really into cycling, but they love it, you know, but, but if you want to be good in the races, you have to be well recovered as well. And so I think just never underestimate the importance of recovery. And that’s just something I think it’s good to reiterate, because that’s Yeah, it’s probably the biggest mistake I’ve made in the past. And I’m sure I’ll make it in the future as well. But make sure make sure you get your recovery. So

Trevor Connor 52:33

to you, there’s different levels of recovery, like every week, you need to have a day or two that’s focused on recovery. But at a higher level. It sounds like you’re also saying that at certain points of the year you need a full week or more where you’re recovering.

Larry Warbasse 52:46

Absolutely, exactly. I think yeah, there’s like the micro and the macro and like, yeah, like Like I said before, like one thing I found over the past couple years is like if I’m training really hard, and then I just start to feel really fatigue. I just have to And I take three to five days off. You know, even in the middle of season like, a few years ago, I had, I think six days between two races. And I literally took five days off. And I guess twice I’ve done this and the race after those five days I took off. We’re both some of my best rides is professional. So, you know, it’s maybe a little bit contrary to what’s like regular wisdom, but for me, I found that that works pretty well. So I wouldn’t recommend that like all the time, like, don’t go take five days off before every race but you know, like, if you’re really fatigued, I think it can really help. So

Trevor Connor 53:41

one of my favorite things in the world I coach a lot of masters athletes, and most of them take a spring break where they go to the beach with their kids, and they’re always terrified. They’re like, I’m gonna be off the bike for a week. I’m gonna lose all my fitness. What are we going to do about this?


I was

Trevor Connor 53:56

going to look let’s just worry about it when back Go enjoy your trip. They do and they come back. And one of the first things I haven’t do a couple rides, and then one of the first things I have them do is either some intervals or a power test, just because 90% of the time, they’re riding stronger than before the trip

Toms Skujins 54:14

just because they’re recovered. Yeah, for sure.

Larry Warbasse 54:17

Yeah. Yeah, no, I think I think that’s huge. And I think that’s like, yeah, like I was saying something. I definitely didn’t realize the importance of when I was younger, when I was younger, I felt like I just train, train, train, train, train, you know, I go to a training camp and I want to make the rest day of training day so you know, I so I didn’t lose fitness. And it’s like, I wish I wish I could go back and you know, tell myself how dumb I was. But yeah, that’s just the way it is. So you live in.

Chris Case 54:47

Just a final thought. We realize it’s the middle of August. This season isn’t a season really at all. It’s been basically demolished at this point. Not a lot of racing going on. It’s starting up in Europe for the pros again. But we we know that this stuff is what we call the journalism world. It’s evergreen content, it will be valuable to you now. It’ll be valuable to you next year, the year after that you can potentially create your best season ever next year when you get back to racing by starting early, taking in all of this wisdom from these four riders, and applying it to next year’s plan. That was another episode of Fast Talk. As always, we’d love your feedback. Email us at Fast Talk at Fast Talk Labs comm or record a voice memo on your phone? Send it our way. Subscribe to Fast Talk wherever you are to find your favorite podcast. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talker are those of the individual for Tom Skujins, Kiel Reijnen, Joey Rosskopf, Larry Warbasse, Trevor Connor. I’m Chris case. Thanks for listening.