Monday, October 21, 2013

How and why to hire a cycling coach

Reposted from USA Cycling.

How and why to hire a cycling coach

By Robert Annis

Cyclists are both gadget and performance obsessed; we all want the best and brightest new thing to help us on our never-ending quest to go faster. Listen to the chatter before your next group ride, and you’ll likely hear someone bragging about spending $2,000 or more on a new aero wheelset that promises to shave seconds off their 40K time-trial pace or pining for a new $4,000 carbon frame that’s a few ounces lighter than their current set up. But too few cyclists are willing to invest in something that’s practically guaranteed to help them improve.

Hiring a coach is arguably the best investment a cyclist can make, whether it’s a budding junior racer with professional ambitions, a weekend warrior looking to podium in the local crit or a masters competitor looking to out pedal Father Time for another season.

“Doctors don’t operate on themselves, and good lawyers don’t represent themselves in court,” said USA Cycling-certified coach John Singleton of ProMotion Fitness in Indianapolis. “The same goes for cyclists. If you want to excel, you need someone with a critical eye who can look at things more objectively than you can yourself. You can get bombarded with information and input from anyone and everywhere.”

Finding a coach is easy – particularly if you’re using the free “Find a Coach” function on USA Cycling’s website – but finding the right coach for you is a little harder.

Ask your fellow racers for their recommendations, but keep in mind their skill level and goals might be completely different from yours.

When searching the database, check out the coaches’ credentials -- level 1 coaches are more experienced and generally have more knowledge than a level 2 coach, who in turn, is more experienced than a level 3 coach. If you’re focused on a type of riding, such as mountain biking or track, it helps if your prospective coach has experience with that specific discipline.

Location is also a factor. Do you need a local coach who can routinely ride with you or watch you race or do you prefer someone who will simply create a personalized training plan and follow up once a week via e-mail?

One of the most important factors that’s often overlooked is personality type. Will the two of you mesh well together? Some racers prefer a coach with a drill sergeant-type demeanor, while others would prefer a more laid-back approach.

“It’s important to have a relationship with your coach,” said elite cyclo-cross racer Nicole Borem. “It’s more than just getting along. You need to be open with him about your life, about your training. I talk to my coach everyday during the season … that’s more than most people talk to their families.”

Borem has worked with two coaches over the past several years, Don Gallagher and Mark Fasczewski. A busy work schedule – Borem works up to 60 hours a week as an anesthesia nurse – means she often has as little as 10 hours a week to train. She credits proper coaching as the main reason she’s able to compete at a high level in the sport, most recently winning the Elite Women’s division in the Indiana CX Cup Series last December.

Before hiring a coach, be sure to talk to at least three, discussing your history in the sport as well as your future aspirations and any time or family obligations that might impact your training. Discuss their coaching style – what’s their approach to training, how much contact you’re expected to have -- and ask for references. Be as honest as possible and expect the same honesty in return.

“If I have a 6-foot, 120-pound 17-year-old kid who wants to someday ride the Tour de France, that could very well be a reasonable goal,” Singleton said. “But a 250-pound, 35-year-old person with the same goal isn’t realistic. A coach should help mold expectations and determine realistic goals.”

The more audacious the goal – such as winning a race series or capturing an elusive state or national championship – the sooner you need to be working with your coach, Singleton said.

If you do decide to hire a coach, realize that, ultimately, your fate is in your own hands.

“Your coach gives you a plan, but you’re responsible for your effort,” Borem said. “You can have the best coach in the world, but if you’re not putting in the work, you’re not going to see results.”

Of course, the opposite is true as well. Singleton warns most coaches actually pull constantly on the reins, trying to keep their racers from doing too much or too soon.

“A coach’s job is to see the entire forest, whereas most riders can only see trees or even limbs,” Singleton said.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Giro Rosa Stage 4 by the hour

So far I've been talking about the race. Today was fairly uneventful as the peloton never let anything get off the front. The pace was high on the few climbs but most everyone was able to keep up and then it was a fight for the finish. I cruised in behind the mad dash up the finish hill, and will be ready for tomorrow.

As far as my day, here's how it went:

Wake up 5 min before alarm

walk down for breakfast, try to relax but 5 other teams fighting for food/service

8:45 back in room packing bag
9:15 at the van to load up to go to stage
9:29 rolling out 1 min early
9:52 arrive at stage find parking on the streets with steep hills
10:00 go to sign in only one other team waiting today so it will be fast
10:10 go search for a restroom
10:20 getting PowerBar race food ready
10:35 head to the start line find some shade to wait in
10:45 130k race start 10k of neutral all down hill through the town.... 40k into the race we stop for a train, team cars bring water & girls take nature break.... 1k of neutral again
2:05 finish race Claudia got 5th
2:15 cleaning up getting sandwiches and fruit from Nadia (swany) for transfer
2:45 loaded and leaving race for over 500k transfer (the longest one of the tour)
3:15 stop for gas and more food
3:45 settled in the van watch a movie on my iPad to relax
4:15 eat some more
5:37 still in car
6:05 stop for gas
8:10 we made it!!
8:31 shower
8:47 walk down for dinner (we are the only team at this hotel, it will be relaxing)
9:45 massage
10:15 meeting
10:30 meeting over 
11:00 write this all down. 

time to sleep tomorrow is going to be hard two climbs one right from the start and one at the finish and its not easy in between 


Monday, July 1, 2013

Giro Rosa Stage 2

This morning we left a little early so we could go drive the 25k circuit. It was nice to see the whole course before racing. There's usually so much going on that you don't get many opportunities to see the entire course. 

Once Team TIBCO parked, had a short meeting, and signed in, a few of us headed out to warm up and ride a few sections of the course. Today's route
 was going to be a tough one. It was 4 laps with a flase flat into a 1km steep climb at the beginning of each circuit. The corner heading into the climb had a median in the middle of it so it was going to be tricky with a large field.  Unlike yesterday, the field was sure to break up heading to the finish. 

The first lap was very tight, it's always that way because everyone is fresh. As we counted down the laps there was a little more room to move up through the field as the miles, I mean kilometers, wore on.

There were sprint points on the line at 1 to go and that was going to be a critical part in the race.  Just before then we started the last lap, Claudia Haussler, our pink jersey hope, had a flat. Chantal Blaak and Jasmine Glaesser stopped with her. I panicked a little bit and wasn't sure what to do. Initially I started to stop with them, then I went with my 2nd instinct, the advice of my husband, and waited at the back. It was perfect. Just after the start/finish line I started to hear the cars honking which meant a rider was coming up through the cars. I looked back and there was Chantal with Claudia on her wheel. The field was racing towards the climb and after Chantal dropped Claudia off at the back of the long line that was the field, I motored past all of them to deliver her just in time to start the climb at the front of bunch. I was blown but Shelley Olds had stayed in a top position and was able to take over care of Claudia over the climb.

It was a good thing I started at the front of the climb because I used the entire length of the 150 rider peloton to fall back as I wobbled up the 16% pitch. I recovered all I could after this maximum effort for the last time up the climb. I was being patient in 'conserve' mode and found myself in a split of 15 just off the main group over the top of the climb. I rode within myself confident we would catch back on. I also knew I had more work to do once we caught in keeping Claudia safe to the finish and making sure there were no time gaps. As soon as we caught I went to find Claudia. When I saw her Jo Kiesanowski was with her so I was more calm, knowing we both could work together to keep Claudia up front. For the last 15km, Jo and I tried to keep the 'Claudia bubble' up at the front, moving her up and keeping others out of her way. The sprint finally started and we all rode in together across the line. It was a chaotic day but at the end we kept Claudia in contention so it was 'lavoro ben fatto' and we will 'combattere di nuovo domani'!    

Lorena (Lauren)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lauren Stephens recounts Day 1 of the Giro Rosa for Team TIBCO

Giro Rosa Stage 1

Today was my first day to race in Europe and I could not have had a greater opportunity than this. The Giro Rosa is the biggest stage race in women's cycling; what a way to start my international career.

The atmosphere was something I had never experienced. We were celebrities and the stars of the show. We went to sign in as a team like you see the men do in the big races on tv, photographers were everywhere, fans were excited, little kids were getting autographs. Everyone had a kind word for us, too bad i didn't understand what they were saying!

My teammates advised me that all the racers nerves would be high in the first day. Of course this meant to stay towards the front to avoid crashes and chaos. To start things off right we went to the start line as a team so we could stay together and move to the front quickly. The first sprint, for points and time, was a quick 10km into the race. Manel Lacambra, our director, had warned us leading into the sprint the course would be technical.  We entered the town through a tunnel followed by a U-turn then a series of turns before we arrived at the sprint. The field so was strung out!  I had never seen a women's field so long which meant I had found my way too far to the back of the race.  Each town had a mixture of pave and turns to make it a bit more difficult. I learned my lesson quickly and was sure to be towards the front of the field as we approached each town.

Once we made it through the first couple of towns we were on wide flat roads along the coast. A few teams tried to form some breaks but nothing ever stuck. We rolled along towards the finishing town were we would do a two lap 15km circuit that made its way between two towns. The first lap was relatively safe but as we began the second lap the riders became a bit more aggressive. Several crashes happened in the corners as we passed through town. I luckily made it through them all safety. My teammate Shelley got caught up in one but was back in the bunch quickly and safely.

As we approached the last turn, still 3km to the finish, I had my teammate Claudia Haussler, or GC threat, on my wheel she wanted to move up so we did. I found Shelley so I left Claudia with my teammate Jo and moved up with Shelley. After three or four near crashes in the peloton I found my way right on Shelley's wheel at 1k to go. We thought it was a little to far out for me to make a move so we waited. Shelley got through a gap that closed on me so I was pushed back, not able to help for the last push to the line. Shelley freelanced and sprinted to 7th place but it wasn't our day, I know with my help and a little luck Shelley can get on the podium.

The whole race was a great experience and to find my way in the mix at 1k to go was a pretty nice feeling too. I feel like I belong in these races and can't wait for the 7 days ahead.

Lauren Stephens

Thursday, June 20, 2013

NVGP Support

NVGP from the background

Elbowz Racing p/b Boneshaker Project had some success at Tulsa Tough and we then travelled to NVGP for the 5 day stage race. We had a strong team of 6 riders (the max allowed) slated for the race so Heath Blackgrove and I played support role for the team.  Heath would be director/soigneur while I was the mechanic/soigneur and in both cases just did whatever they guys needed to be ready to race.  For the guys to be at their best from the first day to the last, they needed to have nutrition, recovery, maintenance, everything needed to be perfect. Their bikes and bodies had to be ready every day to be at peak performance. Every day seemed like a long day. The races were sometimes the most relaxing part of the day, when you had time to think, to breathe for a minute. Every day was a new challenge, from logistics, to navigation, and last minute adjustments. The 6 hrs you get to sleep are so nice, but that was your only down time! 
The first stage was the 22km Time Trial  and I was thrown into the fire.  We only had so many extra deep wheels so I had to grab wheels off one guy’s bike 30 seconds after their finish and I had approximately 90 seconds to run over and put those wheels in the next riders bike before they took off! Oh and it was pouring rain. I looked like I had jumped in a pool and was exhausted. My head was spinning so much and everything was becoming blurred together. I was really confused when I saw our last starter, Michael Sheehan, riding to the start house as I was packing up to leave! I turned around, swapped his wheels and sent him off.  One of 6 stages down.  
Before every stage all the bikes were washed, bottles rinsed and readied, cooler packed, riders picked up and dropped off. The rain we had a few of the days didn’t help, it just made everything more difficult. In the crits I was in the pit, ready for any crashes or mechanicals while Heath was on the course shouting instructions to the team. During the Road Races, Heath drove the caravan car making the tactical decision while I handled the bottles, food, mechanical assistance, and fed Heath course info and kept track of the situation via radio. I got to change one front flat for Joe Schmaltz during the road race and helped pushed Logan after his flat. Logan flatted at a bad time as the race was splitting apart and Shimano was close by who changed it for him.  When you are a new race mechanic you want to experience to get out there and perform your job but you also did your job if there aren’t any problems for you to fix. The two flats were just bad luck as there were probably 15 flats that day so I guess we just had our share. The guys had great results and I felt a part of that because they got to relax and recover. Their bike was race ready when they needed it and all they had to do was sit in the chair and drink their recovery drink after each stage.  Heath and I took care of the rest. All in all the reason I wrote this is to say that you should have a lot of respect for the guys that do the dirty work. It’s nowhere near as glamorous but just as important work as the domestique on the road. Bike racing is about body and machine, and when you take care of both, good things will happen.

Mat Stephens

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 2 Nature Valley Grand Prix

Cannon Falls is a 93 mile road race for the men and women. This is an unusually long road race for the women. The most exciting thing that happened in the race was when the break took a wrong half way through the race. We were making our way through a town with a series of turns as we come up on a right hand turn suddenly the break is heading towards us making a left hand turn on to the same road. The race was neutralized. The officials decide to stop the peloton to re-establish the 40sec gap. I wish I had a picture the riders were scattered across the road with the cars spread out behind. Directors were out of the car bringing food and water to there riders. Girls were taking the opportunity to take care of nature.  And the best part was they stopped us at the bottom of a hill. 

At the last QOH a new break of three was off the front. Claudia attacked up the hill stringing out the whole field up the hill. It all settled down at the top but the break was still up the road. 

The next important section of the race was a gravel road the team plan was full gas on the dirt then see what happens. Amanda went in first wheel with the team lined up behind her. The group was all back together and we were almost to the finishing four two mile circuits. The race was aggressive through the finishing circuits. Claudia got in a break but was caught just before the final lap. About kilometer from the line there was a steep hill. My job was to lead out to the top of that hill. With Claudia sitting second wheel with Shelley on her I made a move to the front just before the turn on to the hill and I sprinted to the top. There were a few more turns to the finish but all down hill until the final 100 meters. Jade Wilcoxson (Optum) took first and Shelley took 2nd. It wasn't our day but tomorrow is a new day at the uptown Crit Friday evening. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

First Day NVGP by Lauren Stephens

The first day of Nature Valley is a double stage. In the morning is a 7.7 mile TT in St. Paul along the river followed by a criterium in downtown St. Paul in the evening. 

The weather was not ideal. It started raining about the time we arrived at the couse andit continued to rain through out the TT. Manel (director) hadna simple plan "full power" pretty straight forward.  Our top rider Claudia Hausler finished 6th 21 seconds behind the leader followed by Selley Olds 25 seconds back. I finished 48 seconds back. 

After the TT we came back to our host family to eat and sleep before the Crit. Our Crit wasat 6:15 we headed out about 4:00 to get stuck in traffic and only get there right at an hour before the race. At first it was a little stressful but then I made the decision there was nothing I could change so just stay calm and get focused. 

As soon as we arrived to the Crit we had our team meeting. The plan was for me to go for the intermediate sprints and set Shelley up for the finish. I got caught up in a crash only 8 minutes in to the race. When I got to the pit Andres (mechanic) was there to check my bike over. With everything being good to go I calmed down relaxed and focused. Quickly the first sprint came around at 18 to go  I finished 3rd. The second sprint was at 8 to go I finished 2nd. Shelley and I had a gap along with a Colivita rider after the sprint. We kept our gap for a lap. Once we got caught it was 7 to go I fell a little far back. My team was at the front. At 1 to go our lead out was in jeopardy with Optum getting organized behind us. 

We finished 3rd with Shelley. She is now only 10 seconds back and will be wearing the most aggressive rider jersey today. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lauren Stephens First Outing With Team TIBCO

Air Force Classic was another successful weekend for Team TIBCO. We had a strong squad of 6, Rushlee Buchanan (Saturday director), Joanne Kiesanowski (Sunday director), Melanie Spath, Sam Schneider, Amanda Miller, and Lauren Stephens. We had 3 different Victories. Saturday Amanda Miller lapped the field and took the leaders jersey. Then Sunday I (Laruen Stephens) went solo late for the victory. Joanne Kiesanowski took 4th both days and won the overall.

The weekend plan was racing 101. We wanted to make the race hard since we had 6 of the 40 girls racing. We were confident in all of our girls. We attacked and countered until we had the move we wanted. It was fun for the plan to be so simple and so successful. The best part of the weekend is that we had 3 different victories!!
Next up Nature Valley.

Friday, May 10, 2013


The MotoGP race was awesome!! Met ppl from a over the country and world and all Lauren and I had to do was drive down to Austin. Ben Spies had a decent race, was still dealing with some injury issues and finished mid-pack. We definitely want to go again.

Lauren Stephens Tour of California Press Release

FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore, is proud to announce Lauren Stephens has been invited to race the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial Race as a guest rider for TIBCO Women’s Pro Cycling Team. Join us in congratulating her and wishing her good luck. Lauren has continued to have a stellar season and we look for more great results for her as the season goes on. Read more about the race below.

World's Top Women Cyclists Selected to Compete in 2013 Women's Time Trial Race

LOS ANGELES (March 18, 2013) – Race organizer AEG has confirmed participants for the third annual Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial Race, presented by SRAM, which will begin in San Jose at 12:45 p.m. Friday, May 17. This year’s invitation-only event will showcase 15 riders, including several event veterans, from the ranks of Olympians, world champions, national champions, and champions of other prestigious cycling events. The women’s race is an ancillary event of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California 8-day cycling stage race, and will take place prior to the men’s Stage 6 individual time trial, using the same course the men will ride later that day. The race against the clock will be headlined by riders from top women’s teams, including Specialized-lululemon, TIBCO, Exergy Twenty16, NOW and Novartis for MS, Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, and Vanderkitten, as well as several individual racers. "As the largest stage race in the country, the Amgen Tour of California provides a unique opportunity to highlight the many facets of cycling," said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports. "We are honored to host another worldwide showcase for the best women in the sport today, and to provide even more depth and thrills for the millions of fans who will tune in that week." The full Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial Race roster includes:

• Exergy Twenty16: Alison Tetrick (USA), Mara Abbott (USA) and Kristin McGrath (USA)

• NOW and Novartis for MS: Alison Powers (USA) and Robin Farina (USA)

• Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies: Jade Wilcoxson (USA) and Brianna Walle (USA)

• Specialized-lululemon: Evelyn Stevens (USA) and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (GER)

• TIBCO: Jasmin Glaesser (CAN) and Meredith Miller (USA)

• Vanderkitten: Rhae Shaw (CAN)

• Katie Compton (USA)

Amber Neben (USA)
Julie Dibens (GBR)

For additional rider information, please visit: The Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial Race will offer a $10,000 prize, as well as potentially help shape the outcome for another important race on the women’s calendar – the USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships on May 25 in Chattanooga, TN.

"It’s thrilling to ride in such a coveted event as the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial Race," said Kurt Stockton, Team Director and Race Team Manager, NOW and Novartis for MS Women's Pro Cycling Team. "As an added bonus, the full-length course is the ideal preparation for the 19 miles that will determine the 2013 U.S. Time Trial Champion – you can bet riders will be fine tuning and putting in every ounce as they prepare for that competition."

The San Jose time trial is a 19.6-mile course that begins on Bailey Avenue and features a climb soon after the riders push off the start ramp. As the racers navigate around beautiful lakes and golf courses, they will prepare for the most difficult finish posed by any Amgen Tour of California time trial course. Once they make the final right turn on the route, they will face the strenuous, three kilometer climb up Metcalf Road to the finish at Metcalf Motorcycle Park. The riders will gain nearly 1,000 feet in elevation and attack several pitches with a grade of 10 percent or more. "The time trial in San Jose is going to be a real test," said Specialized-lululemon rider Evelyn Stevens, who competed in the 2012 Olympic Games. "They saved the best for last on this course – the climb to the finish line will definitely be a feat to tackle with so much elevation gain so quick. It will be awesome to watch and participate in." Fans who cannot attend the race in person will be able to tune into the racing excitement and see real-time results from the women’s and men’s races on the Tour Tracker at About the Amgen Tour of California The largest cycling event in America, the 2013 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race, created and presented by AEG, that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course from May 12-19, 2013. For more information about the men’s and women’s races, please visit About Amgen Amgen discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science’s promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, bone disease and other serious illnesses. With a deep and broad pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people’s lives. To learn more about our pioneering science and our vital medicines, visit Follow us on About AEG AEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Company, owns or controls a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, Sprint Center, The O2, Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE and Best Buy Theater Times Square; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), two Major League Soccer franchises, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Bay to Breakers foot race and the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race; AEG Live, the organization’s live-entertainment division, is a collection of companies dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring and a variety of programming and multi-media production. For more information, visit AEG today at

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Joe Martin race report by Matt Gosling

Joe Martin Stage Race cat 1/2 field stage 2:
The morning started off with thunderstorms and the unknown if a race was going to even start. We lined up in the sub 50 degree rain and immediately in the neutral zone flats started. A large wreck at mile 30 covered the entire road and many, including myself, had to chase back on. Once the group was back together a Moto went down on a roller and again caused another chase.

A break rolled at about 45 and the field was content. We rolled on towards the mountain and there was much concern of a tailwind as this would have favored the feather weights and caused some damage. I moved toward the front and found the climb to not be that bad. It was a steady pace and once over the top it was full gas. The remaining miles just disappeared as we descended at an insane pace.

As we approached the finish everyone seemed to have hidden energy and here was a lot of jockeying for position. The final stretch in it seemed we took up 6 lanes as the field was all over the place. Left turn, then right, then a kicker that will make 110 feel like 200. I was good through the kicker, but the finishing false flat was the longest I have ever seen a finishing banner.

I was stoked to finish in the front group during a tough stage with not so great conditions. Today we on to another 92 miles and a challenging crit on Sunday.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rockwall Sunday

Rockwall Crits went well Sunday. We ELBOWZ were only 3 strong and with the flat windy course doing any chasing was a losing proposition. We had to be attentive and always go with the bigger moves and be represented. We covered a few moves here and there from the gun, letting the odd solo rider have their space. Once the race had heated up I started a move of 5 that had most of the big teams represented and Bret came across per usual. When he got there we dropped the hammer and shed a few so we were down to 4. Nick Torraca patrolled the dwindling field and waited for us to lap which we did at halfway to go. Bret and I each got in solo moves but the other breakaway riders had their lapped teammates keeping us in check and with the 20+mph winds being solo didn't last very long. Finally as Bret was getting caught from a solo move, Nick attacked to shred the field into 3 groups and once it all came back together I launched hard to throw a dagger. Bret (who smartly eased up before he was caught when he knew he couldn't ride away solo) saw the competition's heads' drop in despair, jumped, and came across to me almost immediately. With 10 laps to go we didn't look back and knew we had it won. I let Bret down by losing the sprint on Saturday so I had to pay him back by towing him around to the finish. Ha JK! We like to trade turns winning and Sunday Bret was due. After Bret and I had flown the coop, Nick got away with Sam Croft (Giant) and won the sprint for 5th. Nick is a great teammate and learning more all the time. It won't be long until he is the one throwing daggers at the end!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What did I say! I certainly tried to get first but I got 2nd. Trending upward at least! Tmw must be first for sure.

Friday, April 12, 2013


'Stage race' day 2 at the track. Got 3rd to the Carlson's. I think they felt bad about beating up on me so they bought me dinner! Thx guys! Day 1 was 3rd at the ThurNC. I like this trend!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Waco OMNI Stage Race

I woke up early Sat morning to drive down with Michael Wert from GS Tenzing for the weekend's racing down in Waco.

EARLY wake up, I stayed at my mother's house to make it easier to meet up with Michael in the morning and so had a great breakfast and coffee before the drive (thanks mom!). We get there and go through the whole hassle with all the TT gear (that was allowed). Skinsuit that i need help getting into, shoe covers, trainer warmup, pulling out all the stops to get those fractions of a second. Well it turned out i needed fractions to eclipse my teammates! We had a great ride for ELBOWZ with 1st through 4th and an 8th! I finished 5 seconds behind winner Heath Blackgrove and some fractions of a second in front of my teammate Michael Sheehan and 1? second in front of Logan Hutchings. In a 2.87mi course there are a lot of places to gain or lose 1 second! 

The crit was later in the day, being a points based stage race it would be hard to get the right move we wanted up the road. Anyone else up the road with one of our guys could mean them jumping over us on GC. It was a tight, Fawley-centric ;) course with 2 long stretches to the finish. Nothing got very far away until Logan made a massive counterattack and he was gone solo with about 18minutes to go. The field behind would resign itself to sprinting for 2nd. Coming into the finish, Bret Crosby made a great effort on the front to keep us in prime position. I made a mistake when Michael and I got split up coming into the sprint and so the sprint was a blur but we managed to have Heath, Michael and I finish in the top 7? of the field sprint so not all was lost.

We had the top 4 spots in GC with danger men Stefan Rothe and Shane Haga sitting right behind us. The circuit was super cool with a tight & twisty section, a drop of a descent to a tailwind flat, that leading into a significant hill coming into the finish. Well the strong men of the race showed themselves after a few laps of feeling it out as all top 6 on GC made it into the day's break! ELBOWZ had the tactical advantage of 4 v 1 v 1 and so we rode to confirm the gap before the action would begin. The hotspot sprint set off the first round of action and a few laps later Heath made a devastating attack that saw him solo. Logan made the next move to get across and this time Stefan and Shane made their stand and not allow anyone else to get away. The pressure was too much, Logan made the junction with Heath and the hard chase by Shane and Stefan set up the opportunity for me to attack and make it across to the two after a hard chase. You don't know if subliminal messages work telling your teammates to turn around and see you're right behind them so STOP PULLING FOR 5 SECONDS! but you sure as hell do it anyway! I'm glad those guys are on my side, they saw I was just behind and waited for me, allowing me to catch on and recover. We rotated together with only 3 laps to go, assured of our victory, the only thing left was for Michael to win the sprint against Shane and Stefan behind which he did. Bret (who i forgot to mention made the race super hard from the gun thus setting up our breakaway) made the statement even louder by winning the uphill sprint for 7th from the field. It was a definite show of strength to finish 1-4 on GC (and bret's top 8 as well) and bodes well for our form for the upcoming national series races.
BTW i have updated my coaching services so check that out.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Race update

Lauren is heading to Del Ray NCC crit, Nathaniel is doing Hillsborough-Roubaix in IL, and I am doing a stage race in Waco, and some teammates are in San Dimas CA. We got the country covered! Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Secret

And now the secret weapon of the Stephens' household.... 5lbs of White Rock Coffee espresso. Full Gas!!

Monday, March 18, 2013


The Primavera at Lago Vista as it's now known is a Texas Monument. The race has been around for 30 something years and has winners such as Lance Armstrong, Mariano Friedick, Chann McRae, Chris Hipp, CP Thalken, and many more including quite a few of my ELBOWZ teammates!  ELBOWZ always targets this early season race to make our mark on the Texas scene. We brought a full squad, fresh off wins at Walburg and Pace Bend to contest it on the first weekend of February.  The thing is, Lago Vista weekend didn't start that Saturday, it started months before then in the off-season. As the off-season started I had decided I was going to start coaching after talking about it for so long. I left my full-time job to focus on training and coaching. My training all winter went well and had good results at the races I entered up until Lago Vista with a few podiums at smaller races but no wins. I was even a bit nervous going into the weekend. Walburg and Pace Bend are hard races just a week before Lago and the days in between I didn't let up. Tuesday was a hard 4.5 hour ride with climbs, Wednesday was time trial intervals, and Thursday was a 5.5 hour ride. Saturday came and i was probably the most fatigued I had ever been starting a race, I was nervous! 

Saturday started quickly, everyone wanting to stay up front with the strong winds. ELBOWZ was attentive each time up the hill, looking to be represented in every move. About an hour into the race I saw a good time to jump away and 2 others came for company. We were away for a good bit and I knew it was a matter of time before Heath Blackgrove or Joe Schmalz came across. I don't know how they both got away from the field without anyone with them but they did, it's Heath and Joe, of course they did. I switched into teammate mode and as soon as they caught on I drove on as hard as I could. I knew they would take care of the finish, I just had to make sure their escape from the field counted. Heath and Joe took turns attacking and I hung on for dear life. Heath got away with one rider and took the win, while Joe and I attacked the chasing riders to take 4th and 3rd respectively. 

One down one to go. Sunday I was less nervous. I was just as tired Sunday as Saturday, and I had ridden well on Saturday, so no big deal, on with the race! Sunday's course was counter-clockwise with steep climbs and a long descent that requires continuous pedaling. Right from go it was a different race. It seems Heath rode so strongly during his win the day before, that his chain couldn't take it anymore and the first time up the steepest hill, Heath's chain quit on him and Heath had to retire. Saturday I was nervous about my form, Sunday I felt the responsibility of getting a result with us down a Heath. Michael Sheehan performed my role of the day before by getting in the early break and letting Logan Hutchings, Joe and I follow and conserve. Up the hill we three found ourselves drug across to Michael's break and this group of about 15 consolidated our lead down the hill. From there on attrition took it's toll up the hill where we dropped a rider or two each time up for the next couple laps. With an hour left to go Lawson Craddock made a strong move up the hill with Joe on his wheel. I followed a few riders who were desperate to make it up to them and then I jumped hard at the last bit of hill and went across. We drove it at the top but we three had one passenger that wanted to wait for his team captain that was in the small chase just behind. We had all made the move and had no designs on waiting for anyone. He refused to pull and so we refused to pull him. Ironic about the symmetry of it right? We three ganged up on him and attacked up until he blew up. I was out front and Lawson came across, but Joe couldn't shake the wheel sucker so he fell back to the chase. Now being out front with someone who Heath had said not to take to the line was weighing heavy on my mind. I knew I wanted Joe with me but I couldn't sit on or sit up. So knowing Lawson saw this as his best chance for winning and knowing Joe was behind, ready to shake the chasers and join us, I rode VERY conservatively. I had hoped Joe would appear from behind and we could use our numbers to overpower Lawson, but we saw three laps to go and no one was in sight behind with the section of hills up next. I watched Lawson like he was going to steal a baby. I never let him or his shadow out of my sight. I rode within myself up the hill waiting for an attack, but it never came. At the top of the hill Lawson stopped pulling through as frequently as before, I was even more weary. We did the descent where I could relax a little and ready myself for the next time up the hills. I rode the same as the lap prior, attentive and within myself. Up the steepest hill I was pulling and noticed his shadow moving... backwards. I wasn't quite sure what to do until I looked back and saw he was struggling. I hit it as hard as I could. I think he blew up, I didn't care, I had the gap, I had to make it to finish without cramping or flatting or bonking or all sorts things that would creep into my head. I had 25 minutes alone with my thoughts, only a lead car to chase, and a moto official for company. How powerful is your desire, your ambition, your mind? I know the closer
I got to the finish the more the pain went away. I was glad to win, for my team, for my hard work I've put into training, and for all the names that have come before me in the past. My name is on the list.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

First Dallas Thursday nighter of the year. Bret Crosby and I go 1,2 OTF. Same story, new year!
Pic is of Bret and Ben coming across to my group up the road.

Friday, March 15, 2013


rode with a guy today that does testing with Nibali on the velodrome. they were doing aero testing on the tt bike. pretty cool!

Mateo with Nibali
Lo and behold this article showed up on cyclingnews the next week. He told me he was flying to Milan to work the next week and he wasn't lying. Mateo is the tall Italian looking guy in the back with dark hair and goatee.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nathaniel giving it a go at the Mineral Wells Stage Race P/1 race. He had a nice 5th in the TT after being sick recently.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cedar Hill

Here are some pics from this past weekend's Cedar Hill Circuit Races. Bret and I were in the break of 3 on Saturday with Bret taking the win and me 3rd. Sunday we had a few less teammates and I ended up alone in a break of 4 with ex-Pro field sprinter Jason Waddell and two Think Finance/Mercy teammates Colton Jarisch and Caleb Fuchs. I ended up losing the sprint to Jason and getting 2nd. I was being more conservative because of the situation and in hindsight I still don't know, there were hundreds of decisions to be made in the last few laps and who knows what would have happened! That's why we toe the line and not ask for power files at the start of the race! The good news is after a hard first day I didn't fade and was still able to have snap and good power, looks like training is going pretty good.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Anyone know of a good motor pacing spot near 635/75 or near there?
Did some work for the FCS team yesterday. They are having their training camp this week so bikes are getting dialed and shined up for the photo shoots!
Check out the custom Zevlin bar tape. Yes please!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bret Crosby and I went 1,2 at the Park Place Wylie Criterium riding for ELBOWZ Racing. We attacked until Bret got up the road w eventual 3rd place Adam Koble (Giant) and then I bridged across. We rode the last half of the race dodging potholes in the dark night riding a 3 up time trial. When we saw the lap cards we took turns attacking Adam until eventually Bret got away. Poor Adam rode hard to chase Bret and I beat him in the sprint for 2nd. It was a good race to get the season going!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Selling an SRM on eBay right now:

SRM Hollowgram Crankset 172.5mm Cannonade BB30 Power Meter PC V

I have a second one ill post later.
Lauren's new team bike. Has a few old parts on it but still pretty clean. Pic was taken outside of her classroom, she teaches high school Math when not racing the NRC circuit.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Had one of my most epic rides ever yesterday. 8hrs, 256km, jammin the whole way.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Good luck Karoly Godo! First big race of the year at Copperas Cove, always an epic one!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Michael Johnson brought his bike by for some new tape and a tuneup. He is racing for DNA Racing next year hence the bright green on stealth look!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The routes look different when everything is painted white!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It's raining, yes. Your competition is training today, are you?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lauren kickin it old school at the lake!

Lauren Stephens won the Bronda's Duathlon this winter. Btw she got 3rd in the Men's race!

Ben Spies' new ride I just built up! 13.1lbs