Planning a Limited Racing Season with Colby Pearce and Grant Holicky

How do we map out our seasons and prepare for a couple events? Do we still need to periodize? Can we be on form all year round?

Grant Holicky cycling and triathlon coach

We all understand that to race or ride our best, we need to periodize our season. That’s obvious and essential for a pro who’s racing upwards of 80 races in a season. Simply put, they wouldn’t survive if they went hard all the time: They need a base, they need rest, and they need peaks. But what about those of us who only have three or four races in a season. Or to take it one step further, what about those of us who don’t race, or who may do a gran fondo at some point. How do we map out our seasons and prepare for those couple events? Do we still need to periodize? Can we be on form all year round?

Today we’ll dive into these questions and talk about what we can learn from the pros. Even though they do a lot more races, the same physiological principles apply when you’re talking about reaching your best form. And the pros have learned a lot about how to do that right. We also discuss what you can’t take from pros. The simple fact that they do so many races means they can race themselves into shape. That’s a lot harder to do when you have a month between each of your events. So, we’ll talk about what not to mimic. Next we’ll dive into a few scenarios including one in which you have four or five races in your season and they are all within a short time frame; a second scenario in which you have four or five races but they are spread out with long periods of time between each; the scenario of doing a single big event; and finally, the scenario in which you don’t participate in any official events, but love to hit the local weekly group ride. Today, we are using a roundtable format with three top level coaches to answer these questions. Our first guest is the now famous, much loved Colby Pearce. Also joining us is the always infamous, also loved Grant Holicky with Forever Endurance. Now, let’s make you fast!

Primary Guests: Colby Pearce: Former pro cyclist; coach and bike fitter and Grant Holicky: U.S. national swim coach and cyclocross coach

Episode Transcript


Welcome to Fast Talk, the velonews podcast and everything you need to know to write.


Chris Case  00:10

Hello, and welcome to Fast Talk. I’m your host Chris case, sitting down on a snowy day here in Boulder, Colorado with that lover of organization, Coach Trevor Connor. Take a guess at how many Trello accounts that guy has, oh, my God, it’s a lot. Which brings me to the theme of the day season planning. We all understand that to race or ride at our best we need to periodized our season. And that has to do with planning. It’s obvious and essential for a pro who’s racing upwards of 80 races in a season to plan ahead to periodize. Simply put, they wouldn’t survive. If they went hard all the time. They need a base, they need rest, and they need peaks. But what about those of us who only have three or four races in a single season? Or to take it one step further? What about those of us who don’t race at all? Or just have a single granfondo? At some point? How do we map out our seasons and prepare for those few events? Do we still need to periodize can be on form all year round. Today we’ll dive into those questions and talk about first what we can learn from the pros. Even though they do a lot more races, the same physiological principles apply when you’re talking about reaching your best form. And pros have learned a lot about how to do that right. Next we’ll talk about what you can’t take from pros. The simple fact that they do so many races means they can race themselves into shape. That’s a lot harder to do when you have a month between each of your events. So we’ll talk about what not to mimic. Next, we’ll dive into a few scenarios including one in which you have four or five races in your season. And they’re all within a short timeframe. A second scenario in which you have four or five events, but they’re spread out with long periods of time between each another scenario of doing a single big event. And finally, the scenario in which you don’t participate in any official events, but love to hit the local weekly group ride. Today we’re using a roundtable format with three top level coaches to answer these questions. Our first guest is the now famous, much loved Colby Pierce. Also joining us is the always infamous sometimes loved grant hoggy with forever endurance I kid of course, grant is just as special, if not more so. And who’s that third top level coach? Well, we’ve given Trevor the benefit of the doubt we’re given that top level status to him too. He’s here. As always, as we’ve already mentioned on the show, there are some exciting things happening at Fast Talk Labs. We’re growing quickly. And we’re particularly excited to have Colby and grant on the show today because we’re hoping to get them to be a more regular part of what we offer part of this Fast Talk Labs family if you will keep an eye on our website that’s Fast Talk and watch for future Fast Talk Labs podcast channels on your favorite podcast app. And as always reach out to us at Fast Talk at Fast Talk Now, let’s make you fast. So Chris, we’ve


Trevor Connor  03:22

been kind of excited to bring aftershock headphones onto the show is one of our sponsors. As you know, I’ve been using them for four years that I met when I first got mine I thought they were just kind of gimmicky. They they claim to be bone conduction, so they sit on your your cheekbones and they send vibration, so your cheekbones that go directly to your eardrum that allows you to keep your ears open and you can hear your surroundings. And remember to say again, now that just got speakers on that just sit really close to yours and it’s completely a gimmick. But I remember what you know, right after I got them actually put them on, I put my fingers in my ears to block my ear canals. And they actually got louder. So this actually truly is it is bone conduction. That’s your cheekbones. And if as you this is if you’re out for a ride, you want to listen to some music or listen to any particular podcast. You can have these on here your music, but your ears are completely open so you can hear cars and everything else. Right?


Chris Case  04:21

Exactly a lot safer that way. Of course when I’m riding


Trevor Connor  04:23

with Chris I prefer to have the completely noise cancelling headphones since I just don’t have to hear.


Chris Case  04:30

That’s not nice



at all. Trevor, sorry, Chris.


Chris Case  04:33

This episode was sponsored by aftershocks the award winning headphone brand best known for its open ear listening experience. Powered by patented best in class bone conduction technology aftershocks headphones sit outside your ear so you can hear your music and your surroundings. aftershocks is a must have headphone for cyclists providing the ultimate level of safety and comfort without compromising sound quality. To learn more and save 50 bucks on aftershocks, bundles visit aftershocks calm calm. That’s a and use code Fast Talk.


Chris Case  05:20

We’re live in the studio.


Trevor Connor  05:22

five minute timer. Just stop.



You’re done. We’re out. Cut. Thanks


Colby Pearce  05:27

for listening.



Great show.


Chris Case  05:32

All right. Well, it is a pleasure to have our two, one of two of our favorite guests in the house. Today, we’re going to do a little roundtable we’ve got I don’t know how many years of coaching experience in the room, but like 100, probably probably close to 100 years of experience, honestly. So it’s a pleasure to have Colby Pierce. Grant Hauser.



Thank you.


Chris Case  05:53

And as always, Coach Trevor Connor, shoe with us in the studio.



How many years do you



just wanted to make sure,


Chris Case  06:01

well, I’ve coached Trevor and life skills,



purpose, air, your life,



your life coach.


Chris Case  06:07

I play one on a podcast.



I’m here for you. Yeah, I know that feeling.


Trevor Connor  06:10

You have done a horrible, horrible


Chris Case  06:13

trying. It’s all about the effort ever.


Grant Hollicky  06:16

Chris is a coach and process oriented coaching. The results aren’t working out.


Chris Case  06:21

We’ll get back to that in another podcast. Well, today, we want to talk about season planning. But we want to have it be a bit more approachable, a bit more practical for people out there that first of all, aren’t pros. Because I don’t know how many pros are listening to our show. If they are that’s great. This show might not pertain to them so much. But we’ve, from our survey, gotten some results back saying we love hearing from pros, but we want something that speaks to us a bit more. And a lot of people, amateur riders, they’re racing, maybe they’re doing one big event a year, maybe they’re doing a handful of events a year and they’re spread out months in between. They’re not doing 20 race days a year, they’re not doing 50 race days a year for certain. So this episode is all about how to plan that season. When you’re doing limited racing.


Trevor Connor  07:15

Go we actually got to ask you what’s the biggest season you’ve ever done? The most number of races?


Colby Pearce  07:23

I sure I’ve had seasons that are had more than 80 starts somewhere in there. Maybe Maybe 90 with all the really dinky You know, every dinky Tuesday night Truck Race or whatever.


Chris Case  07:34

But that was back in the day. That was back in the day. Yeah,


Trevor Connor  07:37

my biggest was 120 somethings


Chris Case  07:42

don’t show up. He only he only asked you the question so that he could throw that stat in there


Grant Hollicky  07:47

not only notice, notice how he didn’t ask me because then it just would have seemed like he was lying. What’s your biggest star total? 30 520. So you got to have somebody like Colby who he thought was gonna be high. And then he can just Trump them.


Trevor Connor  08:02

Mm, Ross.


Grant Hollicky  08:06

Fair enough. I don’t have an arm wrestling ring going I don’t I don’t have an argument for that to be completely honest.


Chris Case  08:13

Well, let’s jump right in Then, shall we? First of all, what can we learn from looking at how a pro plans their season? Are there things that we can take away from those that race upwards of 80 100 times a year?


Colby Pearce  08:31

Yeah, absolutely. Um, I mean, one thing that I kind of try to relate to address with all my routers is that um, people you know, if you start training with intent, meaning you’re building load adding load consistently on the bike from December one which is depending what climate you’re in some athletes will do that January one is also common, and also depends on when your season you know, some your season goals are. Even for someone who is building, building and racing consistently, maybe start racing in February or March again, depending on where you are in the world. By the time we get to about the summer solstice. So about the third week in June, man, almost everybody assuming they’ve had a relatively linear run, things have gone well, they’ve been building they didn’t, you know, get the flu for two weeks or break a collarbone or have any really big setbacks assuming that that build has been relatively linear overall, they almost always need a real break. That’s the time when you start to be like doing a few rides me like man that’s stung that climb I that was the first time I really felt internally overheated. You’ve already got several months of hard training and racing under your belt. But you can’t quite see the light at the end of the tunnel. assuming you’re racing through August or September. It’s the seasons the end isn’t around the corner, but you’ve already got a ton of work behind you. So psychologically, it becomes a very long sort of tunnel at that point. And then physically, it’s just the buy doesn’t respond to people look at a calendar like Oh, 52 weeks in a year. That means I can train hard for 40 of them and lift. That’s not the way humans work. They just don’t humans are seasonal without getting down to 10 In this one of the problems I have with Swift, and trainerroad Love you guys, but can’t do criteriums all year long. So, anyway, humans are seasonal. We’re all seasonal animals, we have to kind of hibernate like bears a little bit. And then in the summer, we come out and run around and play in the mountains.


Grant Hollicky  10:14

Well, and I think it’s really easy to get down this road of whether you’re World Tour masters writer, where do I put the brake, go on vacation with your family and don’t bring a bike?



What? Yeah, I


Grant Hollicky  10:25

know. It’s amazing, right? Like, do a run that’s frolic in the surf. But those breaks are really important. I think one of the things that you’ll hear Colby and I talk about a lot we talked about on this podcast in the past, start with where you’re gonna put right and then maybe build your season around that. And then if that needs to shift because you got sick, or you broke a collarbone like I did, or any of those things, then you shift it. But if you have a starting point, and you know where your mid season light at the end of the tunnel is, everything gets a lot simpler. And you can raise full gas into that knowing I got three more weeks, three more races, I get to really shut down for a little bit of time.


Trevor Connor  11:03

I love the fact that I will often give athletes a break, or they’ll go on vacation with their family and be terrified. Okay, give me off my bike for 10 days, and you’ll lose all my fitness and then they come back and they do an interval set and crush the number.



Yeah, and they’re amazing, right? Like,


Trevor Connor  11:17

what happened? I thought I’d lose some fitness ago. Well, you probably lost a little fitness but you’re rested. Mm hmm.


Grant Hollicky  11:23

Well, and if we, and if we look at science, I mean, what they lose is they lose freshness, they lose a little sharpness, they’re not really losing fitness, the the blood numbers are pretty similar through two weeks of bedrest practically, at threshold or lower. I mean, you’re gonna lose some peak, you’re gonna lose some some of that top end, but you’re not losing nearly what you think you’re losing. You know, when I was a swimmer, the the old swimming conversation when we were kids is one day offs, a two day setback. And it really messed with our brains. I mean, you know, I have an athlete now that I still battle this with and she’s in this place was like, I took a day off, I’m three days behind. And my day off, you’re


Colby Pearce  12:00

probably ahead. First of all, you just added a day that for


Grant Hollicky  12:05

some coaches had some really funky formulas. Man in this day and age, you know, and we’re gonna, we’re gonna talk about this a lot, I’m sure, of course, this this podcast, we’re not talking about a pro rider. We’re talking about somebody who has a family, somebody has a job, somebody has a life outside or off the bike, that life load is extreme. And as Coby talks about the seasonal change, you have a job seasonal change, you have a family seasonal change, you have these rhythms and flows. And and you got to be able to buy into the rhythm and the flow. And I kind of understand where you go. And where we take our vacations. So many of us do it the same weekend, every year, spring break, if you have kids, for the July all those things, that’s just such a simple way to start this whole system. And I think that ebb and flow in that rhythm is is crucial.


Trevor Connor  12:56

So it sounds like we’re saying the one thing that we can you can take from pros, or one of the things you can take from prozess, you still need to periodized your season, you can’t go on a race that much. So I can just do high intensity go really hard all the time, you still need the base, you still need that build, and you need a rest.


Grant Hollicky  13:09

Well, and i and i think you know, if you’re not racing at all, maybe you’re doing one granfondo something like that, are you doing an early season crit and you’re not doing another race for a weeks, you know how you build the base, or when you hit the sharpness or all those things, that can be a little bit of a comfort thing that can be a little bit of where you like it. And I have a lot of athletes that like to do the sharpness right away, because it gives them something to think about instead of that monotonous base riding all the time in February when they’re on trainer. But what we really, and Colby alluded to this 20 years ago, 30 years ago is all about race. It’s all about racing into shape. People didn’t pray breaks, people didn’t do that stuff, but we know better now. And so if they know better, they’re the ones that are really doing the science. We should take that from that.


Colby Pearce  13:57

There’s a beautiful, kind of weird tension in the world of cycling across all levels. And as an analogy, I’ll say, I mean, think about the step forward we took when we removed shifters from our downtube and added them to where our brake levers are like everyone would agree except the old the geekiest old codger ever, that that was a huge step forward. Anyone?


Trevor Connor  14:19

Anybody a bike with down to?



Of course you do.


Colby Pearce  14:23

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. But it was a massive step forward in in performance, safety, all kinds of things, right. So that’s a big step forward. And and there are a lot of carryovers from the sport of cycling that people haven’t quite let go of. And a lot of those carry overs exist in the world of bike fitting. There are lots of Italian wives tales, and most of them are garbage. A few of them are quite useful, but most of them are complete crap. And it’s the same thing with training. There’s some old you know, the Can you race yourself in a shape which I know will we can talk about that as well.


Chris Case  14:53

Yeah. Why don’t we flip this around? We’re talking predominantly about what you can observe pros do about rest. What can we observe about pros when it comes to peaking that can be applied to the Masters race or the amateur racer out there? Right.


Trevor Connor  15:09

So I would say one of the things that you can still apply when you look at a peaking schedule, so let’s say you even if you’re just doing one granfondo, or one race, a lot of people focus on that, well, I need that recovery, what I would recommend is, you also need that phase beforehand, where you actually beat yourself up a bit coming weeks before the event that week where you go, I can train harder, I’m going to train longer, I’m going to hit the end of this week fatigued. So I say in order to peak you have to have something to peak from. Yes, otherwise, you’re just not training, right? Yeah.


Grant Hollicky  15:38

So in keeping in mind, the training is stress the body, right. So doesn’t matter who your coaches are, what the philosophy is, you may stress the body with volume, you may stress the body with intensity, depending on how much time you have available all those things. But yeah, you have to have a stressor period in order to taper off the stressor, period. And otherwise, you just get stale.


Trevor Connor  15:58

And to actually take that one point further, whether you are a pro or just doing the Saturday morning group ride, if you want to get stronger, the fundamental principle applies to everybody. It’s it’s stress the body stress the body to a level that it’s not used to, and then recover and let it adapt. And a lot of people who don’t raise, they will still want to get stronger. And they get frustrated, because they kind of do the same thing. Right? They never stress and just say why aren’t I getting better? Mm hm.


Grant Hollicky  16:28

Yeah, we need to look at that in a micro scale on a macro scale, right macro being the whole season or a month or a training block, look at it as a micro scale to maybe we want to day blocks or three day blocks, and then recover off that three day block. But what we do see is so many athletes who don’t do a lot of racing, they’re going to do the same loop every day or the same loop every other day, and they just try to go faster on it. You know, I still think there’s this prevalent idea of how many miles Did you ride. And it’s something that the pros have really moved away from, yeah, they’ll cover miles and they’ll look at it later. But it’s time and we’re doing so much based on time, you know, I was up for three hours, it doesn’t really matter how far you went. And when you start looking at how far you went, that three hours starts to get a little bit faster, you get a more aggressive, you get more aggressive because we’re athletes, or we’re human nature, we want to do better than yesterday. And we’ve all been taught that by every Nike ad ever yesterday, right? So we’re gonna try to be better than yesterday. What’s Nike? just screwing us up all


Chris Case  17:23

over the world. Ruined degree.


Colby Pearce  17:28

It’s an opportunity to educate the audience. So, on that topic, if I can share a story I’ve been telling my athletes recently, and that’s about quantifying the load and how athletes think about load. Things have changed significantly in the last several years with the addition of power meters, because that tracks up riders output. So before power meters were around riders used to go for a three hour ride. And they had maybe a heart rate strap, they had their cat kilometers so they could count time or a wristwatch. And they had speed. But of course, weather plays such a massive role in their results on that ride that no two rides are comparable. You can’t do a ride in June and then a ride in August and compare them back to back and say, Oh, I was faster in August for sure. Because of course, temperature change or pressure. Humidity plays such a large role in that, that we have no idea whether you actually put out more power or not


Grant Hollicky  18:16

run at all. I think it’s great to on that same point. You get into this idea of I love it when the tour puts up the metric of that was the fastest time ever right and was like whoa, is downhill with the tailwind reverse. Of course, it was on trial ever. Let me show up at that course I want at I’ll rip it. Right. Right. So and I you know, I listened to this all the time with triathletes. I know that it’s a cycling show. So we shouldn’t bring that up. But they they talk all the time about you know, I did my best mile swim time. Like do you know how people measure a mile swimming course in a triathlon? They throw a buoy out there. Yeah, that looks about right. Right. And so even if we have a laser cider, now this stuff’s not relevant. Right? Right. So right. I think that’s that’s a huge point. Yeah, of time in the season time of who you are, what you’re wearing, there’s so many metrics and output and response is Right, right. Unbelievably different.


Trevor Connor  19:08

You know, I measured my swim time the last triathlon. I did an





Trevor Connor  19:12

close. I actually discovered that of walking along the bottom of the pool as faster Yeah.



that’s saying something





Colby Pearce  19:22

with your feet on the bottom.


Chris Case  19:25

That’s cheating.


Grant Hollicky  19:26

Yeah. Might be but you know what, only if people can’t tell.


Colby Pearce  19:29

So compare this to someone like a high jumper. Now how does a high jumper train let’s say that their best PR of all times that they did last year at the World Championships was six foot zero inches. I’ll use American units just because yeah. So does a high jumper then take their break afterwards? Go back three weeks later and then immediately set the bar to 11 foot 20 you know, eight inches and try to best the PR No Did they set it to four five, nine, or 511, and just try to come barely under their PR, and then work up in that single workout and quarter inch increments till they beat their PR. Do they every single time they go and do a highjump workout, which might be two or three times a week? Do they try to add a quarter inch to their previous PR? No. You see where I’m going with this? What do we do with power meters, we all glorify our best five minute effort ever our best 20 minutes forever just because they conveniently fit in those bins and they’ve been beaten into us. They’re good durations to watch for obvious reasons. But every time we go out, if I went out and did 405 watts for five minutes, every single other five minute effort I ever do past that point is going to pale in comparison if it wasn’t as good. Now high jumpers understood this innately because they’ve always had a direct way to measure the actual output of every jump. I mean, yeah, of course, they’re tiny fractions of this. And that probably a track surface, and probably when an amateur played into it, right. But those are minor in comparison to how those variables affect performance in cycling up a five minute Hill, or a 20 minute climb, or even more so on a flat road for 20 minutes. So what I think a lot of cyclists and even coaches still haven’t really grasped is that you have to look at your power output and your your output as a rider seasonally and understand where it is in the big picture. And this is perhaps one of the most important roles as a coach, as for us to constantly get the rider to back out and look at the forest and stop focusing on trees because they do an interval workout in March. And you give them a four by four vo two or five by five, five by five or whatever hard thing it is. And they go and they immediately look up their old power numbers and whatever software they’re using. Oh man, I suck right now, last summer, before you know I won that race. I smashed it I did 375 for all five by five. And now I can barely do my best one was 349. And then I fell off a cliff. It’s like Well, okay, but that’s not the way it works. Humans don’t progress infinitely. There’s not a linear progression, there’s an undulation to training load. And that rule can be synopsize. With, there are many times in your season, when you have to take a couple steps backwards to take several steps forwards.


Trevor Connor  22:06

Look, I did. So I did my last race just over a month ago at the end of the beginning of October. So we’re now middle of November, I took several weeks off, I got finally back on the the trainer last night and did intervals. And I was probably 4050 watts below what I was doing those intervals at a month and a half ago. And to tell you the truth, I looked at my waters last night and like, Oh, I don’t normally do this.


Grant Hollicky  22:32

Yeah, but compared to a month and a half ago, you know, be crying. And well. And I think I think that that idea that it’s not linear. And some of what you have to play into that too is how it feels, you know, you take that two steps forward, maybe you don’t even take a step back, maybe you just stay in the same place. But oh my gosh, it feels awful compared to those two steps you took forward. And and and then the other thing we won’t even you know, we don’t even talk about this the 5% difference between every head unit on every and how it’s gonna measure right? Like, I have multiple power meters and my carbon one reads slightly different than my aluminum one, right. And in this all this is real, right? You can get a brand new carbon power meter like, dude, I’m gonna be amazing to the data and you’re 20 watts lower apples to apples, oranges to oranges and understand what those things are. And Colby hit the nail on the head. I mean, that we shouldn’t be expecting athletes to understand that. But that is what you rely on a coach for. And I send sometimes coaches miss that too. It’s just how do we how do we load? How do we do it? How do we load the load needs to be better load needs to be higher.


Trevor Connor  23:35

So 2018 I finally kind of sucks. I always experimental myself. So I kind of succumb to what everybody has done because I was down to doing eight, nine races a year. And everybody’s, you know, all the athletes I worked with were saying, you know, why is it that you like, they love to talk about CTL? Why do you let your CTL come way down? Why don’t you just kind of maintain the level? You know, why do you you let the fitness come down. So if I went, Okay, fine. And I had a really good season 2017. So as I was all excited, and I can show you the graph, and so one year you just see my CTL never really dropped, right, right just stays at that level. And at first I was like, Damn, I’ve got something to this because in March, I was flying. I was doing really well in the races. By May I was done.


Grant Hollicky  24:19

Yeah. In talking about drop off a cliff and we alluded to this in the cross episode. One of the things we found out about max chance was we left him up a couple years ago and he was super motivated his first year on the road, first year pro on the road. He’s really driving, driving, driving, driving, driving. He was just hanging out there was hanging out up there and everything I got back from the athlete was I feel great. Yeah, dude, I feel great. Dude, I feel great. And I’m begging him to take that break. But Dude, I feel great. shows up it Colorado classic, and he’s off the bat day one off the back. And then we started scrolling back and what we were looking at wasn’t the number. It was how long we were steady at a





Grant Hollicky  24:56

and you know, two years prior and this is one of the benefits of Working with an athlete for a long time, two years prior, he was too long at a different load. And that was 20 CTL, lower than a load, he was too high or too long at this time. But for him, it became a duration. You have six weeks at load, and then we have to take a break. And that’s different for every athlete, and you have to kind of understand that athlete. But I think one of the battles you’re going to fight with athletes is how they feel. Okay,


Colby Pearce  25:24

I feel great. I feel


Grant Hollicky  25:24

great. How you feel is there’s relevancy to it. But one of the things you have to remember is still need a break. You can feel amazing. But if you don’t take that break, doesn’t matter. You were living on borrowed time doesn’t last forever, right? It’s even an idea of like, Hey, I feel great in the first five minutes of this time trial at 110% of Lt. But you’re living on borrowed time. This is how it works.


Trevor Connor  25:49

And the point that I really wanted to make there is it doesn’t matter how much you’re raising, like some people look at pros and go, Oh, they’re doing tons of races. 2018 I did four races, and I was burnt out.


Grant Hollicky  25:59

Mm hmm. We get in this conversation about swimming. I hate to bring up, bring up swimming again. But there’s this conversations to this conversation that swimming is a burnout sport. Because it’s tough sport, you chase walls and you stare to black line. Swimming is not a burnout sport. The type of training that is prevalent in swimming is burnout training. Right? So I think this is something that everybody has to understand. We’ve watched a million athletes burn out on the bike, these bikes rad, you can ride outside of time. And then I’ve watched athletes ride inside on the trainer 630 in the morning, every day because their jobs, and they never burn out because of how they’re training and what they’re doing and where their mindset is.


Colby Pearce  26:39

So it’s not the stimulus. It’s not the restarts. It’s not the it’s how the load is applied.


Trevor Connor  26:43

Yeah. And the timing.


Chris Case  26:45

Yes, contacts are very, very important.


Grant Hollicky  26:48

So one thing I wanted to jump in here, we’re talking about what we can learn from the pros and how we build a season. One of the things is actually having a focus race, having an a race or having a peak race. We see this across a lot, you know, you walk into a season, and they’re trying to race every single one of these 15 to 20 cross races at the highest level that it can get to. And we understand why especially now that people are chasing USAC points or UCI points amongst the pros. But you still have to have this understanding of what you’re what what’s the race, what am I really peaking for. And obviously nationals goes on that list for a lot of people, but maybe it’s your travel race where you know, there’s great USAC points, you know, maybe it’s a mid season c one for a pro rider, but learning where,



you know,


Grant Hollicky  27:30

pros are prioritizing what it is that they do. There are training races out there. You know, there’s the old bike mines, the old old school. If you’re racing in legwarmers it’s a training race. Yeah, right, take them off, it’s no longer a training race. And that maybe falls into some of that euro. Not Nazi thinking. But there’s something that triggers right you take those leg warmers off and you know, hey man, I’m in it.


Colby Pearce  27:52

This is real. There’s also something worth mentioning I’m the type of race has a much bigger impact on the riders physiology in certain cases, so for example, you do 15 or 20 cross races, every weekend in a row. Every one of those races is a maximal effort of a given duration. And most for elite riders, that’s an hour. But you know, for a lot of other categories, 45 minutes or 50 minutes, 55 minutes. You there’s no you can do a 15 minute criterium or an hour and a half long criterium. And you can sit in most the time and so you’ve got some snappy accelerations out of the corners, depending on how flat it is. You may not even have that many of those. And then you’re falling wheels. So the point is, the old school racing to shape model was based primarily on road racing and a lot of the older, old school European road events. Riders could go hide in the peloton for a 40 stage race or five days dangerous. Yeah, because they got to make it up the climbs. But the rest day, they’re just falling wheels. It’s like a giant motor pace session. That’s a far different load than when you’re racing cyclocross. Every weekend when you cross the line at the end of a cross race, unless you intentionally shut it down, you’re smoked. And it’s the same is true with cross country. Yes. And that goes into why my taper models will different for those events. You have to be fresher for those types of efforts than you do for a given type of road race. It depends again on the road race. Hill Climb is different than 100 mile flat road race in the southeast. Yeah, which is also different than 100 mile flat road race in Colorado where everybody thinks it’s gonna be easy. And then of course, people are crossing the line separated by minutes, you know, with blood coming out of their nose. But,


Chris Case  29:24

yeah, all right. So we’ve talked about some of those things we can take away. Let’s flip it around. What can’t we take away from pros looking at pros.


Grant Hollicky  29:33

So I think a lot of what we look at with pros is what are their race days like Kobe alluded to this before. Even their flat one day races are 250 K, they’re big races, guys, they’re not counting a whole lot of criterium says, as race days, so or their three week stage races so there’s something like this that adds some monsters load to what it is that they’re doing. And and they can approach There’s in different ways, there’s eight guys on the team now they can hide maybe they’re only getting bottles for the first half of that race, and then they jettison it out and just rolling in. So a lot of their season model or what a pro is doing and what they’re counting as a race day or how they’re peaking for that race day is very different from a rider who’s riding a local schedule. They haven’t maybe a couple long one day races, you know, use Colorado as an example, early season boulder obeys a long race. That’s a pretty heavy miles for almost every category. Unfortunately, not so much for some of the early women’s categories. We’d love to see that extend. But then you’re into summer solstice, crit, crit, crit, crit, crit, crit, crit. And that load is very different in a one hour crit. You know, even if your job is to go blow that thing up. The intensity is not through the roof, it’s it’s solid intensity, but it’s only an hour long. And then we talked earlier, volume and intensity are loads, right, that volume short, maybe the mid mid load intensity, talked about across race, high intensity, lower volume, and how you judge those things. So it’s difficult to use the pro rider model on county race days, or to race yourself into shape, because the races they’re doing are so incredibly different than the races we’re doing. For the most part.


Trevor Connor  31:16

Yeah. When I have worked with several pros, where their race calendar is so intense, basically from March on, you barely give them an interval session. Yeah, it is really about just let’s get you recovered and ready for the next race and just ride easy or rest, which you just can’t model after at all, unless you’re doing that volume of hard race.


Grant Hollicky  31:36

I know it’s hard to find that many races right that race recover volume model that they’re doing in Europe, early season, right, starting with St. Sebastian in February, and it’s a month of race, recover race, recover race, that’s it. Maybe a couple openers, and that’s it. We’re never going to model that here. You know, because even if our biggest load is a race Saturday, race Sunday, usually one of them’s crit. And then you have five days in between. We’re not talking about a five day stage race, three days single day race, midweek single day race, end of the week, single day race. I think sometimes people don’t quite understand the load of a pro rider during those blocks either. You know, we we focus on the the the classics, we see the weekend races do they’re doing Wednesday races like crazy. Mm hmm. And we’re not in that place, even if we’re going to do on our Tuesday night credit, that loads a very different animal.


Trevor Connor  32:27

Well, this is the one thing I want to bring, I’m not sure if this fits under what you should take from pros or what you can’t take from pros. But most Pros will tell you, oh, I need 810 races in my legs before I really feel like I’m ready to race. So if you’re racing three races in a season, you’re not even halfway there. And I do believe that there’s just there’s something you get from race intensity, you cannot simulate with intervals, you can do all the interval work you want that first race of the season is going to be a shot to the lakes. So again, this is fit under take from pros or don’t take from Bros. But if you’re only racing three races in a year, you need to find ways to get that race intensity before you go that first event or you’re going to be pleasantly unsuppressed or



unpleasantly surprised.


Grant Hollicky  33:12

Yeah, and I think you have to get creative on that. And as you noted, you know, you can go to the zwift in the basement, you’re never going to push what you push in a race setting. Maybe get out there with some of your buddies and spring each other and race each other for a one minute effort or give somebody a head start trying to run him down something along those lines that that inspires you the way race day is going to inspire you. And so when we get into that place where we’re going just four or five races in the season, that’s probably super important to model some training sessions going into that first race to give that because that first race is always difficult. Let’s go there.


Chris Case  33:46

Okay, let’s let’s that’s the scenario. So person X has four or five races he wants to do in a season and we’ll talk about two scenarios here. First scenario being person x wants to do all those races in their crammed together in an eight week stretch. And then the second scenario we’ll talk about is they’re all spread out. Let’s let’s dive in.


Trevor Connor  34:06

First, we’re going to talk to scenario a, because that is Ontario racing. So okay. Coaching up in Toronto, yeah. season starts mid April, it ends at the end of May. Okay. And that’s because that’s the only time we have snow.


Chris Case  34:20

Perfect snows come in June and no, so so dive into that, Trevor. What what? What’s that season typically look like?


Trevor Connor  34:29

Well, so the first thing I’m going to surprise people with is the biggest mistake I see a lot of athletes make up there is they still burn themselves out. So that last race at the end of May beginning of June, is the provincial championships, the races that everybody really cares about is right at the end of that block. And you wouldn’t believe how many guys are racers don’t even make it to those last couple of races because they’re done. And their philosophy is the season is really short. So I need to come in firing on all cylinders. Yes. And I realized now get you through April. Might be get you through the first week of May, but then you’re done. Mm hmm. So I have always struggled with the athletes, I coach, if they’re saying, you’re not going to be your best that first race, really focus on the base, where my belief is, if you do a good base season, like really build that aerobic engine, you go into the races, what you’re going to find is, I can sit in the field, I can stay with the elite group, what I don’t have is that one minute jump at the end to win the race, but I can finish seventh eighth. And that’s what I want for the first race. And then it really doesn’t take long to turn you from that to somebody who’s competing for the win. But you want to be there, you know, that season. So I’ll use that example that kind of mid April to first week of June, I don’t want them really on top, really good race forum until sometime in May. Right. And that in the big races are


Chris Case  35:47

assuming that their peak or their target races are at the end versus at the beginning of that block.


Grant Hollicky  35:53

Sure. And you can look at it in microcosm, Mr. Big season two, I mean, you still can take a little two day stand down or a little three day stand down in the middle of that race block. If there’s something really special for you as the first race of that block, and you want to to really well, the first and the end, how do you get creative in the middle? Right? How do you get that little rest in the middle? Or, as Trevor was noting, maybe the races you’re not as aggressive or super focused on are the ones in the middle? And so maybe you have to train through them or recover through them? or something along those lines? Yeah, but


Trevor Connor  36:24

the one thing I have never seen is somebody’s been successful at being a top form, even for that shorter period of time.


Colby Pearce  36:31

Right? That’s interesting. It makes me wonder if that sort of a failing of human nature, which is that I think all athletes have such a vested interest in the outcome of their races. And the easy trap to fall into is let’s say you have an eight week block of racing. What you want to do is go into that first race, that first race weekend, assuming that it’s one of your races, you really want to do well and your your ideas to run hot through all eight weeks. Well, I grant like you were saying some athletes may not have eight weeks in their system, they might be like maximum got six weeks tops. But even if you are an athlete who’s got eight weeks tops, what we all want to do as humans is we want to have two or three or four weeks before where we’re just smashing it in training. We’re setting all our prs and everything’s going perfectly, build that confidence. And that’s great, you’ve got confidence, and then you can go to the line and just be ready to annihilate people, which for the record causes its own set of problems. Oh, my God, yeah, right. I’ve gone to the line under that false veil at times, and it’s just usually those races that have that go very poorly. But that said, and I’ve watched a lot athletes go through that too. So different lesson in and of itself. But point being is if you think you’ve only got six weeks or eight weeks, or however many weeks maybe you don’t know how many weeks you’ve got to talk fitness or a certain CTL. That’s okay. But think about it logically. The smarter way to play it is to time the peak so that you are on form with your first weekend racing, go out and perform step two, the line with sensible confidence, confidence in yourself confidence in your training in the process, and then let the results be what they are, do the best to execute on the day, you’ve done all the work. And that takes a mature athlete to get to that point. The athletes who are younger in their careers or perhaps don’t have as much unshakable self belief will want to go to the line having proven to themselves several times that they can go rip up their local climb super fast or when the group bride and what they’re not putting together necessarily is they’re probably they’re basically spending the race days in training.


Chris Case  38:19

Yeah, they’re in they’re effectively extending that



they’re trying to Yeah,


Chris Case  38:24

yeah, now 12 weeks, if you’re talking about a week where they’re trying to be on top form, but for the four weeks preceding that, they’re actually on top form. They’re smashing it. That’s 12 week block. Right.


Grant Hollicky  38:33

Right. And I think we have a great story from my past and this when I first started racing, cyclocross, and around here I mean, the guys my age are really special riders and special racers and we go out on those Wednesday, worlds days, which used to be


Colby Pearce  38:48

everybody they weren’t they were true. And they were Wednesday worlds here.


Grant Hollicky  38:51

Yeah, they were epic. You’d go out and I’d go out and I’d be I’d be measuring my training based on Wednesday worlds. With the front group. Yeah, but front group and then I rolled into Saturday when this weekend and I’m like, I’m way off the back. And what you know, what I started to come across to is what people were using Wednesday worlds for and the top riders were using them for a high level pace,


Grant Hollicky  39:13

skill day. We’re rolling at high levels of pace and I’m working my skills or I’m gonna work my start and then I’m gonna float to the back and I’m gonna work my way through the field. So what do we use in our Wednesday group rides for right what do we use in our Saturday group rides for and if we’re using for race days, if we’re using them for confidence, we’re using them to keep our buddies in their place. Then that yeah, that season extends a lot and and things get real dangerous real quick. Yeah,


Colby Pearce  39:38

which plays to a bigger point, which is expand over a long timeline. Look at the athlete and see think about whatever analogy you want to use, how many bullets they have, how many really deep days do you have in the tank? And a lot of athletes don’t distinguish. They don’t understand that concept. So they use them without really thinking about where they’re placing them on professional writer. This is takeaway that we can get from pros, a real pro knows when to save that super deep effort. They know and I only have a larger cache of them to begin with, but they also use them strategy. But the concept is still the same. I mean, just because those people are point one of 1% doesn’t really matter. That concept still applies, which is they have a limited number of efforts they can do that are super deep. And that applies both to volume and intensity. So they know they’re not going to do a seven hour training ride, walk through door absolutely shattered. No smart pro really does that. Or if they do, it’s very calculated. And it’s a very calculated build with a specific rest before race. But very rarely do they do that most train days are about stopping just short of that line. And then saving that day for when they need it on race day when they’re racing for the win or the racing for the best result they’ve ever had. Or they have to throw down in the high mountains to be a Domestique for the guy who’s winning the three week grant or whatever it is,


Grant Hollicky  40:53

well, and I think there’s a there’s a great point to be made for that is that just because you could do another one doesn’t mean you should do another one. Just because you can roll another hour doesn’t mean you should roll another hour, so that there’s that real fine line between what I am capable of, and what is appropriate for today. And then one one last thought on this stuff, too is it’s something really important to keep in mind is if we’re training for confidence, or racing for confidence, Hey, Mark, habitus was the greatest sprinter in the world, what eight years ago, he was untouchable, he didn’t win every race. Right? gibellini did not win, every race stuff happens. And you got to have that understanding. And that ability to look at a process oriented goal, not a result oriented goal. Dude, I agreed sprint for third because I got boxed in back there. My was my output was fantastic. I timed it. Great. I did everything, right. That’s bad luck. And there’s a lot to be taken from that. It’s not as we talked about with high jumping, it’s not a set result. Right. And and you got to be really careful that


Trevor Connor  41:56

when you think about the wiliness, racer in the world will win like 15 to 20% of the races. And that’s the winning is most people, it’s maybe 5%. So if you’re doing three to five races in the season, you can do the math.


Grant Hollicky  42:10

Yeah. And I go in every race to win. And I think there’s a great idea to go to some races to do totally different things. And if you’re fortunate enough to have a team, go to some races and work for somebody else, and then go to some races where you’re going to try to win. And that may mean you’re getting the breakaway. And that might not work. But you have to take those risks, and you have to figure out what it is that you’re trying to do.


Trevor Connor  42:32

There is nothing more fun than to go to a race and saying I’m racing for my teammate. So I’m going to get on the front and smash myself and finish.



That’s great.


Trevor Connor  42:40

I just get hurt everybody.


Grant Hollicky  42:41

It’s on last Thursday. And I and I think Rogers missed that right there. You know, some of this is his dog hanging their head out the window with the tongue flapping in the breeze just going yeah. I love that. And I think that’s one of the reasons most of us got into athletics, right? And then it morphs very, very quickly into how did I finish what place that get what’s going on? Right? You know, when you ripped it.


Colby Pearce  43:06

We need a photo of that face, we can put the show notes.


Grant Hollicky  43:10

I find it I get some good pain faces.


Chris Case  43:12

I don’t want to get us to off track. But I will I wonder if we could use a case study here and and use a particular pro to say what he’s doing right and what he’s doing wrong. Because first of all, he’s the most talked about router in the world right now. He races across disciplines. But he also seems to get the fact that he can’t win everything. So he has to dip in and dip out talking about Matthew Vanderpool, of course. So he’s racing cross. He’s racing on the road. He’s racing mountain bikes. Next year, I’ll probably be winning dirty Kansa What’s he doing? right and what’s he doing wrong? I know it’s hard. You’re in front from the outside to judge but it seems like he’s picking those battles.


Trevor Connor  43:55

He’s let’s pick one really simple one. The biggest thing you did right was pick his parents.


Chris Case  44:01

Sure. Sure.


Grant Hollicky  44:04

Well, I think okay, is a great note is really, really great note here is after worlds who heard from he disappeared and how long he disappeared for he disappeared for a month plus, and then he pushed back to sort of his cross season twice. Yeah. Because it was I need to recover and I’m not ready. Now I’m ready. I’ll step in. And he stepped in. And he did really, really well. And it was really fun. As a cross specialist watching that first race, his first four laps. He was at disaster. Yeah, his little mistakes he was making. He was all over the map. But what is different about vanderpol is it took him four laps, and then he had it again. And just like look amazing. Again, it might take us four races. But all right, that’s a genetic special piece there. Right. So what does he do? Why aren’t we doing that? Where’s that big break that we’re not doing right? Where’s that? Gotta make mistakes like crazy, but it’s first four laps in my season. Now he may be figured out in a race, but why aren’t we giving ourself that break the first race, we’re back in cross, or we’re trying to figure out how to do that Off Camber. So that was the biggest thing I saw Adam is this very focused of when he stepped in road after cross worlds disappeared, the middle of road season when he stepped over to the mountain bike. Then it was very, very rarely cross road mountain bike on the same month, so to speak, right? They’re very split off and then, and then you see him with realistic expectations. I really think that’s another thing the first mountain bike race he stepped into. He wasn’t. And listen, this is a guy that we’ve watched get really frustrated with himself. And when he gets frustrated with himself, he checks out. You see that in the cross setting. You see that even when he balked at Worlds? That wasn’t him mentally. But when he was done, he’s done. Right. And so he got his butt kicked in a couple of mountain bike races early season for him. But he didn’t see that dejection. He understood where he was stepping into, and he stepped into it appropriately.


Trevor Connor  46:02

And this goes back to right where we started this whole podcast, which is sometimes as regular Joe’s will look at the pro season go oh my god. It goes from February until October. If they can last that long. I can last that long. You have to remember the season last that long? No, no parole. Yeah, they don’t. They take breaks. They have points in the season when they’re strong. And they have points on the season when they disappear. And you talk to any Pro. When they get get that week where they’re not to do anything. They go and sit on a beach. Yeah, they’re on a beach.


Grant Hollicky  46:31

And I and Instagram kind of shows that now. Right? Yeah, they are. Yeah.


Chris Case  46:36

The only? Well, there’s one exception to that rule. And it’s the gates brothers because they are in every race, but there’s actually two


Colby Pearce  46:47



Grant Hollicky  46:48

Yeah. And and they’re in a lot of those races. They’re the first rider



and the last ride.



Yes, yes.


Colby Pearce  46:57

So book getting a peloton.


Chris Case  46:59

Alright, sorry for the tangent. But yeah, let’s jump into scenario B. Now, typical rider, regional rider wants to do his five races throughout the season, and they’re really spread out. He’s going to do land run 100. In March, he’s going to do a road race in June. He’s going to do you know steamboat in September, something like that. Where there’s huge there’s months quarterly quarterly, a quarterly race schedule. Yeah, something like that. What? How does that person set up their their season. So all started


Trevor Connor  47:29

out with going back to something we said earlier is this issue of, you can’t have race legs until you’ve got some racing in your legs. And so when it’s this spread out, you can run that risk of every race as your first race. So whenever I work with an athlete who’s in this scenario, you sometimes you got to go with the poor man’s approach to it. But leading up to that each of those events, we need to find ways of getting raised intensity even it was just Hey, there’s a Tuesday night throwdown going on. I want you to go to that. I don’t care if you win, but I want you to destroy yourself. Mm hmm.


Chris Case  48:02

Yeah, you You said it. You’d come into each of those four races kind of stale. And then that’s your one shot and then over, I screwed it up. Yeah, I didn’t have the legs or I didn’t have the the race confidence or something. And then oh, I gotta wait another month. So that that’s the that’s the danger there. What else would you add to that? Colby?


Colby Pearce  48:21

I would add that. So this comes back to our logic about how riders tend to think that they’re different from pros. Let’s be clear, there are differences between amateur riders and pro riders, or aspiring writers and those who get paid. The World Tour pros are riders, men and women are riders who have already self selected to be in the top, top 10th of 1%, or maybe even a slimmer percentage than that. But that doesn’t mean that basic training concepts and basic concepts of load do not apply to you as they do to them. So I think the error in logic that I see happening repeatedly is riders assume Well, okay, I’ve got my four races laid out for the season. And yeah, those are going to be pretty hard. But if a pro goes the entire year, and trains all year, which we’ve talked about that most cases they don’t, I’m just going to train all year and get fitter and fitter through my four races. So I’m going to try to go really good for my first one, and then I’m just going to live from there, and it’s just going to get better, right, it’s going to get better and better. And that’s that’s not the way to look at it. If you’re truly going to break the season into thirds or quarters. treat each one like your world championship, treat each one like vanderpol does, now obviously can’t take a month off. But what we what I run into with my athletes a lot is they’ll do a national championship and then in Sunday and Tuesday morning, they’re emailing me going where’s my training? Right? Right, your trainings in in training peaks right now. Right? He says nothing. That’s what you’re doing? Nothing. Right. Right. And they’re there. Then I get the discussion of I’m worried about losing fitness. My next race is eight weeks away or six weeks away in this model, right in our yes in our sanada yo Bay. So to that end, I think you need to treat each one like a little peek and then have a small Valley afterwards and then is that That’s the perfect way to look back and reflect on your preparation.


Grant Hollicky  50:03

Yeah, maybe your peak is maybe your peak needs to be lower right? Maybe


Colby Pearce  50:06

you needed more two more of those race intensity throwdown days or you hire a motor Pacer or safely, or you for individual builds to for different races with four peaks, more or less. Yeah, that’s how I would tackle it if the time depending on the type of race and yeah, train and where you live and all those other variables, of course, but fundamentally, that’s, that’s how I would look at that model.


Grant Hollicky  50:27

Yeah, your your CTL graph ought to look like Front Range. Yeah, right. Peak Valley, P value peak Valley.


Chris Case  50:33

And it’s


Trevor Connor  50:34

nice, and you get out of this is each so when you talk about one way in which you can progress through the season is each race is an experiment for the next maybe you try peaking strategy for the first one to go. Yeah, that wasn’t right at all. You have the time now before the next race. To adjust that, try a different approach. And keep adjusting until you find what you like variables, pull levers.


Grant Hollicky  50:57

But you know, and now as we roll this into the fondo,


Chris Case  51:00

yes, one one big race, you’ve got one scenario, see, if you will, is you’ve got one shot to get it right, let’s add some pressure like this is a very useful event.


Grant Hollicky  51:10

That was one of the first things I was going to say is try to find a way to unload the pressure on that, it’s really, really hard to have that one race be the only race, the only performance measurement all of those things. Even if you’re not going to add little races, I would add little tests, little opportunities to see what you can do that special. And if you only have one thing in the season, well, let’s look at it for from a couple different angles. If you only have time. For one thing in the season, you’ve had a really busy life, let’s have those goals be appropriate for you, and have fun. Yeah, and have fun, right. And if you’re looking at it and gone, you know what, I just don’t want to get too serious. I just want to have one race, I want to keep it fun, then keep it fun, you know, and so I don’t think you build your whole season around that one single granfondo race, it’s way too easy to miss it. Or it’s way too easy to obsess and get in that last bit and refuse to rest or refuse to lay off the build. So if you’re looking at that one thing where you know, I want to be successful, I want to be to completion, then communicate that with your coach, let’s make sure we’re working toward completion, and fun and all those things.


Trevor Connor  52:19

And that’s an important thing. We’ve had a lot of listeners that contact us, but how do I build towards the granfondo unusual at this as I’m not there to win it? I’m there to have the experience, right. And so they wonder what’s different. I will say, some of these build and peaking strategies we’re talking about are still important, because you don’t want to go the granfondo burned out because you’re on your best form a month ago.



Mm hmm.


Colby Pearce  52:39

So for sure,


Trevor Connor  52:40

yeah, I want the base and you still want to limit the time that you’re doing some hard work. So you can go there and feel like you whether you’re racing or just there for yourself, you still feel like you had a great experience.



And I agree with you completely. If


Trevor Connor  52:52

you have one event and you really focused on it. Yours you’re going to have an amazing season or a horrible it’s always good, even if it’s just can’t do this granfondo in June, be aware of an event in September just in case everything falls apart in June, you got something else to look to.



Colby. Yeah, I


Colby Pearce  53:10

agree with those comments. I mean, I’ve had seasons where I’ve had almost one event per season, but I’ve also been racing for three and a half decades. So yeah, I know that that comment doesn’t apply to to most of our audience. Probably, hopefully. But yeah, I would agree with that. I think some run ins You know, this is where what do you have? That’s a local tool. Okay. Sometimes that can be limited. If you’re in a place where there aren’t any good group rides, or maybe the group rides aren’t safe, which is unfortunately becoming more and more common these days, right. Arguably some of the group rides in Boulder aren’t that safe anymore?


Trevor Connor  53:43

cracked ribs back that one?


Chris Case  53:45

Yeah, absolutely.


Colby Pearce  53:45

Maybe the group just don’t work for your schedule or etc. And you’re not the type riders gonna go out and hire a motor Pacer, which would be another option to stimulate race intensity? Well, you know, there are a lot of things I don’t like about Strava there are a lot of things I love about Strava Strava segments are they’re basically your Do It Yourself race. Yeah, yep. And those can be really useful. So you lay out a calendar and you say two weeks before, I’m going to go smash this Strava segment that is applicable to my race load. So if you’re doing a fondo with a lot of half an hour climbs, maybe you do, maybe you pick a 20 minute climb, and a 30 minute climb locally. And you go warm up for an hour or two and then you smash those and and you see what you can do and then you’re building up to that and it’s like your trial race run and yes, go so as far as to rehearse the food, you’re gonna Oh, during the fondo the hydration strategies that breakfast, breakout your race wheels, use the same kit, do as many things as you can on that day. The more rehearsals you have prior to your one event of the year to make sure everything’s dialed the better. I mean, I did masters national Time Trial championships this year, just because they’re in the backyard and car springs. And I made a crucial error. I actually changed the padding material in my URL bars. The day before I was dumped. Sorry I did it about five days before thinking I was dialed but what I forgot was I wore a long sleeve skin suit on They were on bare skin, the new pad was perfect run the long sleeve skin suit, I was constantly sliding off the back of the bars. So I started the time trial within the first 800 meters had to call myself a dumb ass because,


Grant Hollicky  55:13

well, we’re not first time. We’re not gonna judge Toby too much because I am racing that cross race tomorrow on a bike that I built today. So it’s gonna be



built it or you know,


Grant Hollicky  55:28

if I built it, it would be one of those cartoons where you take two pedal strokes and everything falls off to build it. No, no, Eric. Eric Eric’s looking over everything right now.


Trevor Connor  55:38

So something I’m going to add to that if you are you have you’re just targeting one granfondo in the season, and you’re just there to ride. Something that’s very, very important is find ways to get experience riding in a peloton. Beforehand, I had that horrible experience of being in a granfondo where just because of horrible coincidental timing, the a group and the C group merged. And there were a couple riders in the C group who suddenly found themselves in a very fast, very experienced group.


Chris Case  56:07

He told the story. Tell us a yes. And it’s ends. It’s not a pleasant ending with a woman. They


Trevor Connor  56:12

got guttered and they flipped out. And yeah, she crashed hard lost teeth. Yeah, really? Yeah, it was a horrible, horrible experience. And if you’re going to go to a granfondo, you need some comfort. So just go Saturday morning group ride, you have to go to the race one, find one that just everybody riding together, but give them comfort in a group. Yep.


Chris Case  56:32

Final scenario we’ve got for you. I don’t race at all. I just want to kick ass at the Weekly Race or weekly group training ride or whatever you want to call it, the throw down. Wednesday, worlds, whatever it is, right?


Grant Hollicky  56:45

So So step one, make sure you’re not being that guy. And what I mean by that is, we’re watching a lot in the group rides around boulder is that people are using them for their races. And I just haven’t really, I haven’t told anybody else. So you know, that guy’s guttering it or they’re doing this or they’re doing that. So understand your group, right? Right, understand the group project getting into if this is a no drop ride, then don’t be the guy that drives drop everybody, if this is a really focused training ride, don’t gutter it, do those things, but understand what it is that you’re trying to be and Don’t be that guy. But, you know, if you’re in that place, this comes down to again, what we spoke about a little bit with the one race to season idea. Why is this the scenario you’re in, if it is busy schedule, as it is those things, then really, let’s customize a plan and a program and a training schedule that builds around what it is that your life is. So maybe if it’s about the weekly training rides, let’s look at the season or the ret the load, recover, load recover in a microcosm. Maybe it’s a Tuesday, Wednesday, today load with a Thursday drop and maybe some openers on Friday. Then we hit the group ride on Saturday. And then we Tootle around a little bit on Sunday. We do our day off on Monday. But how do we load in a smaller plan? So that Yeah, we have load, we have recovery built in there to then look at your vacations or your work schedule or your family schedule, and have that be the punctuation on your season. Right. So hey, I got a four week block of I really want to smash for Saturday rides. Great. Now take a break. This is almost an easier way to overload yourself not racing it just every week. I want to go beyond it. I want to be on it. I want to be on it. Understand there’s weeks you’re not going to be on it. And a lot of times while you’re not on it. This is the coach and all of us about say this. Probably not that you’re not on it because you’re out of shape. It’s probably not it’s probably that you’re not on it because you’re tired. Yeah. And that leads into that negative feedback loop. I’m not on it. I must be out of shape.


Colby Pearce  58:45

I better train more.


Grant Hollicky  58:46

Gotta train harder. Still not on it. Got to train more. Yeah,


Colby Pearce  58:50

yeah. Does downward spiral.


Chris Case  58:53

Alright, Colby, what do you think in that scenario?


Colby Pearce  58:56

So yeah, I think this is a I’ve had several clients who’ve been in this scenario, or in this situation where they’re having trouble making it perhaps out of their local, local town or local area, but they do have either a weekly criterium series or weekly group ride and that seems to be kind of the method or the, the repetitious circuit that they’re sort of stuck in, right. And maybe that’s by design, maybe it’s by circumstance. But the problem comes when you’ve got weeks and weeks of this same load. And what is the enemy of progress, it is static load. And this is a basic concept. I think a lot of athletes Miss and maybe even some coaches, simply that it doesn’t matter if the load is high or the load is medium or the load is low static load is the enemy of progress. It’s the enemy of change. It’s when we want change in coaching. That’s the objective. We want to make an athlete better than they are. So when we have the same load for 40 weeks a year when there are places in the country who have these types of events, right, right. I mean, boulders got local group, right, that goes off at least 40 weeks. And I’ve got a couple clients in Austin who do the driveway criterium series, that thing runs, it’s probably over 40 weeks a year, it’s crazy how many times you can race that PR in Portland that you name almost any city in the West, you’ve got similar situation. And the problem is, whenever that load is the same, then you run the risk of just sort of getting it at first, if that load is challenging to your system, you’ll respond to it, you’ll get stronger and stronger, and then you’ll adapt to it. And then you’ll get to the point where you can start to successfully apply your best ability, whatever that is to that load. And then you keep loading and keep loading with the same load and the response changes it has to so either you get injured, or you get sick, or you get burned out, or you get bored, or you just start to suck. Mm hmm. And so how do you avoid that situation? Well, basically, I’m agreeing with what grant said, which is be smart about it. Look, very pragmatic way to look at it is integrate some lifestyle factors into this 40 weeks of group brides and say, I’ve got a wedding to go to. So that takes care of that weekend. And then it’s my anniversary, so we’re gonna go on that weekend, or my daughter’s ballet show, or whatever you have, and build it around that and don’t feel bad about it, take the ones you’ve got and use them and maybe there then you can start to add load and crescendo and say, the last couple weeks of this four week block, I feel like I’m probably gonna go pretty good, we’ll build a program around that I will enjoy myself, I won’t take it too seriously, because it’s a group ride. Safe and enjoy it. Yeah, and get what I’m going to get out of it. And then, and I’ll mention that if you’re doing this, if this is your cycle, I would encourage you to consider looking at something bigger, I think there are there’s a certain type of athlete who gets stuck in that little micro cycle. And really, when you when you look at yourself, honestly, there’s a good probability that you have the ability to ride at a higher level, but you’re finding reasons not to. Now, I’m not saying everyone’s in that camp, there are people who just can never leave their city, and this is what they’ve got. But most riders in that situation aren’t in that situation Mark aren’t boundaries, by those circumstances, they’re actually they want to go do an old route or a road race, or you know, some fondo or state race that’s in two states over and they can drive there. But they’re finding reasons not to do it. And probably most of the time, those are fear of failure based.


Chris Case  1:02:06

But I was gonna say, creating those natural undulations in the training, load through vacations, or whatever busy weeks is good. And you can do it on a season long basis. You can do it on a monthly long basis, you can do it on a weekly basis. So you can set up your training and look at your schedule for that week and say, You know what, I got a lot of meetings that one day well, that’s okay, that’s a good day. And this week is that’s my going to be my rest day or my recovery day or whatever. So let’s plan backwards from there a little bit and use those those other things in life strategically.


Colby Pearce  1:02:42

Yes, ma’am. things out on that busy day where you’ve got a ton of meetings, you know, you’re going to be smoked, you could still start to choose to start the the training credit. But maybe your objective then is you’re going to literally be last wheel and just float and enjoy it and use it as an opener not contest the finish and it’s going to be considered your rest day. also point out that maybe you have an eight week or nine week or 12 weeks stretch where you don’t really have anything happening. There’s no Fourth of July vacation, there’s no whatever. Be smart. Don’t think I’m Superman, I can make it through all 12 weeks and smash everybody and win every preme in this training cred. You probably can’t be smart. Take a break halfway through. Just don’t do it. Do something else. Go for a long ride. don’t ride your bike, figure it out. Yeah, go for a hike.


Trevor Connor  1:03:22

So I have an athlete that I coach up in Toronto, who he’s never done a race in his life. But he goes religiously to what’s called the donut ride, which is the big Saturday morning ride. Yeah. And when I started coaching him, I basically said, Look, you got a choice here. I can keep you mediocre to decent all year round. Or we can pick a couple points in the year where you’re gonna be really strong. So it’s kind of, we’re gonna do a build without a target event. Right? It’s kind of a target period. And we chose the ladder. And what I love is all a lot of the guys in the donut right just don’t understand him and they asked him about some like, some points in the year you show up and on other times you’re right, absolutely ripping us apart. But I’ve talked to them but he’s like I really like this I prefer to have that. I have a six week period where I can just crush everybody and I am on form and he enjoys that a lot more than just being kind of decent


Chris Case  1:04:17

right around Yeah, he’s not putting on a number but for him that’s his outlet that’s his racing outlet in a sense all right it’s time for take homes we got 60 seconds on the clock for you Mr. Grant halki from Forever endurance unplugged in the five oh am or five minutes. It’s gonna quickly turn into one minute and go


Grant Hollicky  1:04:36

well without max here to screw me up in the first 10 seconds. So sort of being unlucky most right. I think the the big takeaways here are maybe step one, find a coach, find somebody that can help you map out the season. And that may or may not mean you have to hire somebody full time and maybe have somebody that can just give you some consultant some just some thoughts of, of what this season ought to look like. We can be our own worst enemy. We can be the people that Want to do a little more, a little more a little more? Be smart about your rest. Be smart about your loads, and make those two things very distinct and clear. We talked about it in training, when it’s time to go hard, you go really hard. And if it’s a base a base, but when we look at this big season, let’s look at it the same way. You want to have a really big load, be focused on that load. You want to recover, put your legs up, don’t do anything.





Chris Case  1:05:27

All right, cool. Yours. You’ve done this several times before, take it away. 62nd. Take homes on season planning for limited racing.


Colby Pearce  1:05:37

Yeah, all agree with grant, I think a starting point for a lot of people tackling this kind of equation could be to hire a coach. I mean, I’ll say hire a good coach in any case, but



we want to respect you taking new clients, by the way.


Colby Pearce  1:05:50

Depends on the client is getting the answer is depends. So I think the key is to look at the fluctuations or natural wave like function to any season like this and consider where the events fall, and then how you’re going to apply load and recovery within that. And that can be a confounding equation to look at for a rider. That’s where a coach’s objective I can really help and experience and discernment. So this is this is key to the equation. But some athletes may be able to figure this out on their own. But really, what I’m trying to say is respect the wave of load relative to your competition dates, whether your competitions are clustered closely together, or whether they’re spread out, we saw the same basic principles, which is you have to train hard enough to get yourself better. And then you need to taper off and rest so that you don’t go to the to the event carrying too much fatigue. When your events are spread out over a longer timeline, then as we discussed, it becomes a question of dear Are you trying to maintain peak fitness for all of them? Are you taking a couple of those events as part of your progression and part of your build towards the peak events. And there’s a lot of minutiae, and subtleties in that. But really, I think, looking at the big picture, and considering the application of load relative to accomplishing dates is the big, the big takeaway, that’s a really critical process. And even if you figure it out yourself, or you think you have it figured out, it’s not a bad idea to have someone look it over and give you their opinion, because in coaching, you know, coaching is 80% Art 80% science, right? See what it did there.





Colby Pearce  1:07:24

there are a lot of ways to skin a cat. And an experienced coach could look at what you have written down or your ideas on how to apply load, and they probably will have some good input one way or another. And that’s Food for Thought you run it past a few people. And now you’ve got a good recipe.


Chris Case  1:07:38

And you saw them that recipe. Pinch just enough just


Colby Pearce  1:07:41

like threshold



result, green cells,


Trevor Connor  1:07:44

a five minute timer screen, sorry, Green Hill,


Chris Case  1:07:47

Trevor, Coach Connor 60 seconds, you know how to do this, go for it.


Trevor Connor  1:07:54

So whether you are just doing a granfondo, you hit the Saturday morning race or training rides, everyone’s well or you’re racing, just a couple races a year or you’re pro doing 60 races, there are a few things that apply to everybody. One of them is we all like to perform, we all like to PR we all like to have points where we go, Wow, I am just doing better than I’ve ever done. If you want to get to that point, versus just always kind of be the same level all the time, there are certain principles that apply. One of them is overload and recovery, you have to do that you have to have points of really stressing yourself in times where you let your body adapt and recover. The other thing that applies no matter what is you need that period of time where you’re doing more of that base work to improve that aerobic engine. And then you need that period where you’re hitting yourself really hard with the high intensity work to build that, that top end fitness so you can hit your prs. And just be aware of the fact that when you hit that point, you’re on a time limit before you have to take a break again. And timing that being aware of that. Knowing when you want to hit those points is really key no matter what you’re doing. Chris


Chris Case  1:09:09

well, mines kind of on the practical side of things I love. I love mapping and maps and planning. And I feel like I’m a pretty organized guy. So I like to think of these, as I alluded to earlier with them thinking of these undulations throughout the season, throughout the month and throughout the week. And you know, you can do that by if you’re if you’re a user of training peaks. You can do it there by like dragging and dropping and matching it up with how busy you are in life in the vacations you might take in the business trips you might take if you’re not on training peaks, you know, like do it in Google Calendar, color code everything. See how many meetings you have one day and and and map your weeks around that maps your mumps months around that. I think sitting down before the season begins and how Having a plan is great. And looking at it from that broad point of view is great. And then getting into the season itself. You know, know that you’re going to change things know that you’re going to need to change things you’re going to want to adapt the schedule as life comes at you in different ways and being able to sort of drag and drop your life around and your training life around in different ways to make a better blend of load and rest. Is is really helpful if you can see it and visualize it in front of you. That was another episode of Fast Talk. As always, we love your feedback. Email us at Fast Talk at Fast Talk Subscribe to Fast Talk on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Google Play. Be sure to leave us a rating and a comment. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talker are those of the individual for Colby Pierce, the infamous Grant halki the very organized Trevor Connor. I’m that guy Chris case. Thanks for listening.