Every week, Alison Powers and her fellow ALP Cycles coaches — Jennifer Sharp and Patricia Schwager —share their experience, stories and advice with Ella readers in a ‘Weekly Wisdom’ training tips column. Additionally, once a month, Alison will respond to your training, riding or racing questions in this #AskALP column.
Got a question for Alison and her team? Simply post your question in the comments below or send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #weeklywisdom or #askalp.
Question: How do I find a good cycling coach?
Finding a cycling coach is pretty easy. If you Google “cycling coaches” many options come up. Here in the Denver/Boulder area alone, there are at least 40 coaches you can choose from. However, finding a good coach and a coach who you like, trust and can openly talk to, is a lot tougher.
A good cycling coach will give you a lot more than a training plan and basic data analysis. In my mind, a coach is a teacher of the sport. The sport of cycling is much more than watts, fitness and riding your bike fast in a straight line. In order to have success you must learn how to be an athlete, learn how to train, learn how to race and how to recover. Success involves skill, confidence, fitness and luck. Your coach should be by your side teaching and showing you how to learn and how to get all these attributes that champions have. A good coach will help you find your path to success.
What do you want out of a coach?
First, before you begin the search for a coach, it’s best to determine why you are looking for a coach and what you are looking for in a coach:
– Do you want a coach you can ride your bike with?
– Do you care whether your coach is local or lives out of town?
– Male or female?
– Do education and coaching experience matter?
With your coach criteria determined, you can now begin to look for a coach who matches exactly what you are looking for.
As a cycling coach who owns a coaching business (ALP Cycles Coaching), our best advertising and best source of new athletes comes from word of mouth from our current ALP athletes. This means, you should ask around. Ask friends, ask teammates, ask competitors; who is your coach and why do you like having this person as your coach? What does this coach do really well? What do you wish the coach would do better? The more information you get, the better.
Interview potential coaches
By this time, you should have a few coaches emails and/or phone numbers. Contact these coaches, tell them you are interested in coaching and schedule a phone call or in person meeting if possible. I suggest you ‘interview’ several coaches. Your coach will be someone who you tell everything to (the more a coach knows about your life, your training, your stress, your schedule, etc- the better of a coach they can be) so you must be comfortable with this person and trust them with your cycling, your goals, your emotions and your money –because getting a coach is an investment.
Hiring a coach is an investment
Lastly, as you narrow down your search for the perfect coach for your goals, try not to make your decision based on money and monthly fees. Just like with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Hiring a coach is an investment in yourself, your cycling and your goals.
Your questions for Alison or any of the other ALP Cyles coaches don’t need to be limited to the topic at hand. Ask them anything! Post your question in the comments below or send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #weeklywisdom or #askalp.
ALP Cycles Coaching is a Boulder-based coaching company with three female coaches at the helm: Alison Powers, Jennifer Sharp and Patricia Schwager.
Each coach brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. Roading racing, track, endurance mountain biking, time trialling, making the leap to living and racing in Europe – they’ve got you covered. Find out more about Alison Powers and her Alp Cycles coaching company at here.