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After a number of years essentially ‘winging it’ when it came to training for 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, it hadn’t really occurred to me to engage a coach. Much like bike fit, if -like me- you’ve been riding and even racing for over 20 years, you just kind of know how to train, right?
A trick question, obviously. When my race partner Alex suggested talking to Tom Jones at JBV Coaching, I was intrigued- and a bit worried. After all, I ride because cycling is fun. And training -actually training- didn’t sound like much fun at all. Our first meeting with Tom put most of my fears to rest- in addition to an impressive resume as a coach, racer, physicist, and mechanic, Tom is also a nice guy. While we won’t give away any of his trade secrets, go beyond the fold to find out what we’ve learned so far…
The most important thing that Tom has done -and done since our first meeting- is listen. As a coach, his role is to help riders achieve their goals. If those goals aren’t understood or the path to meeting them isn’t compatible with the rider’s schedule or lifestyle, its not going to work. Though I left our first meeting with some good tips, recipe suggestions, and exercises, the real goal was for Tom to suss out Alex and my goals and schedules in order to put together a six-week training plan.
Though I’ve historically been good at ramping up the saddle hours leading up to my solo and duo 24 hour races, Tom felt that I was neglecting power work. The idea is that upping my workout intensity and frequency over previous years’ would allow me to teach my body to recover quickly without running myself into the ground on regular 4-6 hour singlespeed rides.
Overall, Tom has been responsive to our feedback and to my variable travel schedule. He’s taken the time to respond in depth to my questions and has been willing to push back on my requests (usually for more hours and fewer intervals) when he feels that they would be counterproductive.
Is it working? I am feeling stronger than we have in the past, and I’m able to do intervals that I’d never even considered in the past and my average speeds on Albuquerque’s notorious “fingers” ride have been startling. Next weekend is our last, long shakedown ride before the race- a 70+ mile dirt road epic. I’ll have a better handle on our chances then. My guess? It’ll go well.
I met Tom Jones at local cyclocross races when I was first starting to race. As a young’un and newbie to cyclocross I was awed by the JBV Coaching’s staff’s approachability and small words of advice. The small group of elite racers that make up JBV Coaching welcomed and engaged me immediately, helping to improve my fitness and techniques. Overall, just a great group of guys who love to ride bikes fast and help others do the same. I have watched several of my friends achieve the next level as road/cross racers while still maintaining their lives and jobs. Intrigued I convinced Marc, to set up a training plan with JBV Coach Tom Jones.
As with Marc I ride/race because it is fun and is not work, so the idea of being on a schedule for my rides worries me. However after working with Tom’s custom made training schedule it has given me an excuse to ride the bike, and feels like it is making me stronger. Tom has been very receptive to make changes in my training plan to allow time for my move to Flagstaff, AZ within the next few weeks. More importantly I am recovering from my rides faster. My legs are not staying sore for days on end after my normal self induced training for the endurance races.
This January I am feeling stronger and am in better shape than I have been in the past. Like Marc pointed out, our epic shake down ride is only a week away. We will see how our time this year stacks up against years past. As long as there are no mechanicals and the weather is just slightly better than horrible, we will be able to smash our time and distance record. (At least that is the plan)