Preparing for the First Race of the Year

By O’Brien Forbes

Preparing For Your First Cycling Race of the Year

Thanks to my friend Chris Fischer for some of the ideas in this article.

Click here for full article

With a solid winter and early spring of training behind you, the first bike race of 2016 is quickly approaching. Be it your first race ever or the first race of the year for you, there is likely some anxiety to overcome. I have been racing for 30 years and I still get extra nervous for the first race of the new season.

Channeling your race day nerves could actually improve your performance. One way to help prevent undue stress on race day is to not leave the logistics to the last minute. Having your bike ready, your gear ready, and knowing what to do when you get there will allow you to focus on what you have been training for rather than unexpected events.

Your Bike

Make sure your bike is ready. This may sound obvious, but a frequent common mistake is showing up on race day with tires in poor condition or shifting issues. Spend time and effort beforehand to ensure your machine is good to go. It is that simple.

Race Bag

My race bag list is something I have been trying to perfect for some time. While it is well-stocked on race day, I am always making changes to it. Pack it the night before you leave.


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Last minute race ……

Israel “Izzy” Lizarraga was supposed to do a crit Saturday. Worked pulled him away from that. At the last minute, we decided that you should travel to Baja, CA and do the 4th stage of the Baja State Cup games.  Glad he went, Izzy took 3rd place in the road race Sunday!  Nice ride Izzy!

Coach OB, online cycling coach, training with power, Ohio

Izzy, on left. 3rd place

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Tornado Tombragel

Greg “Tornado” Tombragel stormed to 2nd place today at the Oxford, Ohio road race. This was race #3 in the Ohio Spring Series.  Greg got in the winning move that went from the gun and was a driving force for the break that lasted the full 70 miles.  He was pipped by Zak Lewis (former Coach OB cleint!) of Madtree Breweing at the line.  GOOD RACE to my client, teammate and friend!

Coach OB, online cycling coach, training with power, Ohio

Greg Tombragel, 2nd place!

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New to Cat 3’s!

Coach OB, online cycling coach, training with power

Connie, on left, 3rd place







My rider Connie Wanberg scored a 3rd place in her SECOND race as a Cat 3 in the Ken Woods Road Race in Wastedo, Minnesota.  She has made tremendous strides in her training!  VERY PROUD of her!  Good work Connie!


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Weight Loss

4 Common Weight Loss Mistakes to Avoid

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 | By Dr. Rick Kattouf

4 Common Weight Loss Mistakes to Avoid

During the holiday season, workout volume may be reduced a bit as compared to the high volume of training during the peak of your racing season. A concern for many individuals is weight gain during this time. As a result, this can lead many individuals down the path of jumping on the bandwagon of the latest and greatest food fad and/or diet. On the surface, it seems pretty simple, right? Just cut your calories and you will lose weight. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple.

Typically, diets and food fads revolve around restriction; whether it is calories, macronutrients or a combination of both. Before you jump on that diet bandwagon, always remember my trademarked acronym for D.I.E.T., Disaster Imminent Every Time™. Let’s examine a few reasons as to why calorie restriction, diets and food fads don’t work in terms of enabling individuals to achieve meaningful and sustainable results for a lifetime.

1. The Lack of Focus

When individuals are focusing on losing weight, where is their focus? Well, their focus is on weight loss and this is exactly the problem. When athletes focus on weight loss, they tend to focus on diets, cutting calories, choosing foods and meals that they think are going to be low in calorie and help them lose weight, etc. Having a goal to lose body fat and lose body weight is great, but we cannot be result focused. Rather, we have to be process focused. Remember, results are simply the byproduct of a great process. The process is eating right, getting the proper amount of sleep each night, working out smart, etc. According to Michelle May, M.D., “people get so focused on weight loss, they are willing to do unproven and potentially dangerous things that can backfire and cause serious health problems.”

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Make the most of your trainer

By Coach OB

How to Optimize Your Indoor Training Plan

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 | By O’Brien Forbes

How to Optimize Your Indoor Training Plan

Some riders love it while others loathe it, but putting your time in on the trainer is a must for the majority of riders that are preparing for the first races of the 2016 cycling season. Riding your trainer involves more than just hopping on and turning over the pedals. There are a few key points to start thinking about now as you develop your indoor trainer plan. Getting and staying motivated and having a proper trainer set-up are pillars upon which to build your trainer workouts. If you can maintain those pillars, the final component you need is a structured training plan.

Getting Prepared

Climbing on your bike and pedaling like a rabid dog and going nowhere, in the literal sense, can be a rather large mental obstacle to overcome. It’s important not to look at your indoor trainer sessions in that way. You have to look at the good that comes out of the training. By no means is the trainer an absolute replacement for the road. For those that are limited in time or restricted by weather, etc. a lot can be accomplished riding indoors. And with that, you need to build your excitement level. If you dread your trainer rides, you are setting yourself up for failure from the start. Don’t look at the session by itself. Look to the future and say, “By doing this today, I will be a better cyclist come March!”

Setting Up Your Training Dungeon

Unless you are training for Iditabike, you probably want to do something other than stare at a white wall when on your trainer. Try to have some sort of entertainment when you ride. Music, watching TV or a movie, or even watching bike races are all good options. Have the entertainment mood match your ride.Create playlists for recovery rides, tempo, and interval sessions. Or, watch an action packed movie when doing intervals. All of the above will help the time go faster which can make a huge difference when you are staying in one spot pedaling in circles. The faster the time goes, the sooner it will all be over. Make sure you have proper ventilation or air movement when you ride indoors. If your body starts to overheat, especially doing harder efforts, it can essentially shut itself down thereby hindering the work you are trying to do. Riding inside, you don’t have the benefit of the wind rushing over you. Ride in a cool room. Set up a fan or two that blow on your torso and legs. Most ceiling fans do not provide enough of a cooling benefit. Use box fans or a good oscillating fan, or both. Finally, dress with the essentials when you are on your trainer. Wearing too much clothing will prevent your body from keeping itself cool.

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Long Term Goal Planning

Long Term Goal Planning for Cyclists

By Coach OB

Click here for original article

2016 is almost here and it’s time to start picking your target races and thinking of how you will prepare. You may think it’s early, but now is the time to start thinking about your goals for next year. The earlier you establish the plan, the easier it will be to achieve those goals.

When building your long term plan, the initial step is to select the two or three events that are focal points for the coming year. For the sake of the article, we will pick three separate criterium races, each one month apart, starting in May and ending in July. Once the races are selected, take some time to forecast, or plan your time, leading up to the event. From there, break your goal preparation into smaller “periods” of training. Such detailed long term planning is essentially a road map for success.


Begin by placing the races in the Annual Training Plan (ATP) feature in TrainingPeaks. Now, do some forecasting; a two-step process. First, do your best to lay out all known life events. Life events are days when you might be able to train, but not with total devotion. Will you be going on vacation? Any business trips or big school projects due? Any holidays coming up? All distractions need to be considered when planning the training leading up to the focus event. Use your main calendar in Training Peaks to post these dates. Try to use such non-bike related events as rest periods if possible. That being said, you can’t plan for everything. Life always throws curveballs. You may have to be flexible and make more adjustments along the way.

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Off Season Strength Training

Good article here about off season strength training

The Importance of Strength Training for Endurance Athletes

By Taylor Thomas

on line cycling coach, cycling training

Click here for original article

When talking to cyclists I often get the same response when discussing the importance of strength training. It typically goes something like, “I don’t want to take away from my riding time.” The fear is that any time that’s available would be better spent training specifically for their sport, and not on strength and conditioning. This sentiment is not unfounded for time-crunched athletes looking to squeeze every possible gain from the time that they have available.

However, the importance of strength training cannot be underestimated, and the shoulder seasons are the perfect time to integrate off the bike training. This is the time to identify weaknesses and strengthen those areas. Shifting a small amount of time to strength-focused training can lead to big gains when the volume begins to increase.

Why Strength and Agility Training?

Most non-elite athletes have a hard time understanding how time spent training off of the bike is a productive part of reaching their overall goals.  While it seems counter intuitive to many, it’s important to recognize that when training the focus should be on well-rounded athletic development and not a singular strength. This means identifying weaknesses and working to improve those areas in any way possible. Working on strength and agility allows you to shift your focus towards areas that don’t get proper attention when the focus is 100 percent on the bike. Areas like the core, lower back, and upper body can always benefit from off the bike exercise. These are areas of weakness for many cyclists and if strengthened, it can result in increased power and improvements to a rider’s form.

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