Weekly Wisdom: Become a more complete cyclist

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I’m thrilled to introduce you all to Alison Powers, multi-time, multi-discipline American national champion and founder of ALP Cycles. Alison and her fellow ALP Cycles coaches — Jennifer Sharp and Patricia Schwager — have graciously agreed to share their experience, stories and advice with you all in a ‘Weekly Wisdom’ training tips column. Additionally, once a month, Alison will respond to your training, riding or racing questions in an Ask Ali column.

You’ll surely get to know all three of these wonderful women a little more as we go along, but in the meantime, here’s a little blurb about head-coach Alison Powers:

Alison is the founder and owner of ALP Cycles Coaching and has been coaching cyclists for seven years. She’s a USA Cycling Level 2 certified coach as well as a certified TrainingPeaks Level 1 coach and brings an unparalleled knowledge and skill base to cycling and bike racing.
Alison raced bikes professionally for eight years and is the only person in American history to win all three road national titles (time trial, road, criterium) in one year. Along with Alison’s current national titles, she won three previous national championships (criterium 2013, time trial 2008, team pursuit 2008) and two National Race Calendar (NRC) titles (2009, 2013). The reigning road and time trial national champion retired from professional racing at the end of the 2014 season to focus on her coaching business. Prior to become a professional cyclist, Alison raced for the US National Ski Team. She has true love for sport and conditioning for sport.

In addition to online coaching, Alison specialises in coaching skills clinics and team training camps.


If there was one magic training tool that you could use to become a better, faster and more confident cyclist, would you use it? For most of us, the answer would be a resounding “yes”, right? Well – there is a magic training tool but most people simply aren’t aware of it. What is it? Improve your bike handling skills.

While training, most people are focussed on how many watts they are pushing instead of how many times they brake through a corner. Being able to carry speed through a corner or sit in the draft of a peloton is free speed. No intervals or recovery days are needed for free speed.

Thirty minutes, once a week, is all it takes to vastly improve your skills and gain free speed through corners, in a pack, on single track, etc. With good bike handling skills, you will be relaxed and recovering while others struggle.

Six drills to improve your bike handling skills.

This is just a small sampling of the many bike handling skills and drills that can be done to make yourself a better and more confident cyclist.

The Slow Race:

Pick a start and finish line about 30 meters apart and go as slow as possible from start to finish. Practice this drill standing and seated.

Goal: improve balance

Cone Pick-Up:

Place a cone or water bottle on the ground and slowly ride by and pick it up off the ground.

Goal: improve balance, body/ bike separation and the basic beginnings of proper cornering.


Get a cone (or water bottle). Slalom and ride through the cones while standing and seated.

Goal: improve dynamic movements, bike/body separation, ability to look ahead, balance.

Off Set Slalom:

Set a cone (or water bottle) slalom with direction changes and ride through the cones while standing and seated.

Goal: improve dynamic movements, bike/body separation, ability to look ahead, balance, working the bike and speed creation.

Bunny Hop

Set two cones or a water bottle on the ground and practice jumping over it while riding.

Goal: learn to avoid holes, curbs, debris, rocks, etc. Improve timing, ability to looking ahead and ability to anticipate.

Parking Space Figure-8’s

Find a parking space or two and ride figure 8’s within the space.

Goal: improve balance, ability to steer your bike, ability to look ahead, brake-feathering

Got questions for Ali? Post your question in the comments below or send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #askalp.

ALP Cycles Coaching alpcycleslogo - edited 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.

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