Coach’s Corner – The Pee Stop


It’s pure pleasure to be able to read, formulate, calculate, create and track the numbers generated by the folks that I work with. From casual cyclist to pro, it is as rewarding to hear about their success as it is to have a fun ride myself.  The mind does wander though, and every once in a while you discover little nuggets like this one….

My guy, let’s call him “Willie”, had the unfortunate experience of having to take a pee right in the middle of the ABR state road race championship. Willie had a good day with a strong 2nd place finish.  I got to thinking, “what does pulling over and taking a leak really look like within a power file?”  It looks like this:

“Your heart rate up to that point was averaging 133 – 137 the entire time you were racing before that (the bathroom break on the side of the road).  It was 158 average for the 1min and 18 sec pee stop and maxed to 163!  Your highest HR average for 1 minute during the whole race was 163.  This means that the stress of stopping, coupled with effort of trying to push it out fast, was almost the most taxing thing that you did on the bike all day!  Fascinating stuff and sorry to say that you’re looking at a feature in an upcoming blog post.  Do you have any pictures you want included?”

Luckily for all of us Willie didn’t offer up any pics.

Good luck and go fast!

Rob Kelley


Categories: Coach's Corner

Tuesday CCC Updates

Correct Podium

Photo: Kelly Clarke

- Looks and sounds like everyone had a great time at Caldwell Woods hosted by xXx Racing-Athletico. Thanks to the entire xXx Racing crew but especially Kevin Corcoran and Alan Treuthart for pulling together a sweet new venue that has even more potential for next year. Give these men a high-five the next time you see them. To help make sure the Cook County Forest Preserve knows you enjoyed the venue and want it back next year, leave a message at tweet at them @FPDCC, or post on

- Next up the CCC heads west to Hopkins Park. Info for Hopkins Park is already here and look for the regular course update on Thursday with some tasty new bits.

- Caldwell Woods results are posted to USAC here and CCC Overall Standings are here.

- CCC Series t-shirts and beer koozies are for sale over on the store page.

- Concerning the starting times of the Single Speed vs. Junior 15-18 categories, we are reviewing the situation and will make a decision by Thursday.

- Say hello to a few new 2014 series sponsors who just joined up last week.

Yojimbos Yojimbo’s Garage – Yojimbo’s Garage is a single-location, brick and mortar bicycle shop on Chicago’s near North side established in 1997.


shield_banner_1TENSPEED HERO – Unable to sell capes – at least until we find a way to fly, TENSPEED HERO works up a sweat crafting cycling gear for you to sweat in. We picture steep cliffs, hot tarmac, and breezy coasts as we design with primary colours and other ones, too. Always considering a cyclist’s swiftness and deft determination, if our small friend-based company had a board of directors it would be called the wheel of directors. Together in vibrant regalia, we aim to keep you awake and dreaming.


 Newins Illinois Vehicle Auto Insurance – Newins Illinois Vehicle Auto Insurance is a leading Chicagoland based insurance agency dedicated to helping customers find affordable and convenient auto insurance that suits their lifestyle.

Red Writing Logo Red Writing gets attention and gets to the point. Red Writing delivers compelling copywriting, technical writing, and information design for Web sites, marketing, training, and reference materials.


- Speaking of series sponsors, we have several outstanding photographers who are out there each weekend grabbing snaps of everyone. If you want to use their photos, always make sure to give them credit for their work. And if you really want to help these folks out purchase one (or more!) of their photos.

The Bonebell and SRAM are excited to present the Big Marsh Mashdown, an informational event geared toward showing riders around the Big Marsh Bike Park Project. On Saturday October 18th there will be site tours and raffles paired with casual racing for everyone to see what Big Marsh is and learn about what it will be—a world-class bike park on Chicago’s south side! Volunteers have been hard at work cutting trails for the day’s three fun races, which are each open to all skill levels and all off-road bicycles. Race proceeds will benefit Friends of Big Marsh. Registration is open here.

- We hear your concerns about the new bib numbers ripping at the edges, but the old Tyvek ones used to do the same thing if you pinned them through the little holes at the corners. Instead watch this video for the correct way to pin a number. You should only need 4 pins, maybe 6, but really no more than that. That being said, if you are the type of person who “falls down go boom” a lot, bring your own pins and use as many as you need to keep that number on your jersey.

- And finally… it seems we have to remind at least a few of you every year at this time the difference between heckling and just being a jerk. Please don’t be a jerk. If you need a refresher, see the CCC’s guidelines herePsimet’s post here, or Ryan Kelly’s words of wisdom here. Its totally cool if you and your friends call each other POS’s in private, but when you’re out in public, where there are young kids and people not familiar with CX and heckling, doing so makes you look obnoxious and the rest of us like fools. We’re not saying don’t heckle. But when the best you can do is “You suck!” or some variant, do us all a favor and just don’t say anything. Instead, ring your cowbell haarder and come back next week when you have something more creative, funny, supportive, funny, crowd pleasing, or yes… funny to yell. So in short, be excellent to each other and party on dudes!

Categories: News, Racing, Updates

2014 Caldwell Woods Pic, Vids, and Race Reports

Categories: Photo, Reports, Video

2014 Caldwell Woods Preview

- Here we go, the first race of the 2014 Chicago Cyclocross Cup at Caldwell Woods hosted by xXx Racing-Athletico.

- Registration will be in picnic pavilion near start finish line. Remember reg closes 30 minutes before the schedule start time of each category.

- This year the CCC is going even more green with biodegradable bib numbers. They aren’t quite as tough as traditional Tyvek numbers though, so please do not fold or crumple them up. If you do you risk not being scored. Numbers on your left RIGHT side (not your back!) so the officials can read them.

- Results will be posted as soon as possible on the CCC’s new 4 sided results board. Please do not crash into it and break it. Full results will be posted online Sunday night and series standings will be updated later in the week. This is the first race, so series standings are the same as the first 30 finishers, duh.

- Porta-potties will be located in the small parking lot nearest Devon and Milwaukee adjacent to registration.

- Teams can set up tents anywhere, but xXx recommends doing so in the field across from the beer garden for viewing the field, hill, and finish line.

- Main parking will be at Aquatic Center with pedestrian/racer access to course along north side of Devon Ave.

- xXx Racing will be awarding cases of Goose Island beer to the top step of the podium in the Cat 1/2/3, Women Cat 1/2/3, Masters 35+, Masters 45+, and Masters 55+ races, assuming those winners are all 21+ years of age.

- The equipment pits will be one sided as a two sided pit would require additional course crossings for fans.

- Additional info over here on the static preview page.

- Remember to use the hashtag #CaldwellCX so everyone at home or in other parts of the country can follow along.

- The course. Its new and untested, but there’s a Goose Island beer garden… so have fun and watch where you are going.

Categories: Course Preview

Coach’s Corner – Developing VO2max


VO2max is defined by Joe Friel as (in bold because he’s the MAN when it come to cycling coaching):

“VO2max, also called “aerobic capacity,” is a measure of how much oxygen your body uses when exercising at a maximal effort for an extended period of time. It is typically measured with the athlete wearing a breathing apparatus that determines how much oxygen is inhaled and how much is exhaled. The difference is what was used by the muscles to produce energy. The more oxygen one can use, the more aerobically fit that person is.”

It is essentially the maximum output that you are able to sustain for 5 – 6 minutes.  When developed it is one of the most lethal weapons in your arsenal.  Bridging up to someone, attacking, hucking up to the group when things are cooking and the general lungs in the mouth feeling we all experience during certain portions of a cross race are all situations that require a stout VO2max type effort.

Once you have laid down the foundation for your ftp, and some time toward the end of that period in your annual training program, you’ll do well to spend time building power at this rate.  Because not everyone has access to a proper VO2max test (but most with a power meter have a good idea of their ftp) we took athletes with varying strengths over the period of a racing season and analyzed the percentage of difference between ftp and VO2max.  This variance was normally between 25 and 15%.  While equated to road race specialties these designations will help you find a place to start relative to power output.  Sprinters were in the 25% range, all-arounders (roulliers) had about a 20% difference and good time trialists were closer to 15%:

Sprinter: ftp /.75

All Arounder: ftp/.8

Time Trialist: ftp/.85

So, as example, if your ftp is 300 watts and you are a sprinter then simply take 300/.75 to arrive at a goal of 400 watts.  It can be a little daunting at first because pegging that kind of power for 6 minutes will be out of your reach at that point in the season.  As with every phase though it is a progression beginning with shorter duration so hang in there, you can do this!

You should have some good legs and a strong mental outlook for these very taxing efforts.  That will require you to schedule these after an easy day.  Doing these after a tough day is like a punch in the stomach!

Take 5 minutes off between sets for each of these different durations.  2-3 sets in a ride is challenging enough to push your limits without wiping you out so completely that you can’t complete the intervals at the power level that we’re looking for:

VO2max2: warm up for 20 minutes.  Then a 2 minute interval at prescribed wattage, followed by 1.5 minutes of recovery x 3 is 1 set.

VO2max3: warm up for 20 minutes.  Then a 3 minute interval at prescribed wattage, followed by 2 minutes of recovery x 3 is 1 set.

VO2max4: warm up for 20 minutes.  Then a 4 minute interval at prescribed wattage, followed by 2.5 minutes of recovery x 2 is 1 set.

VO2max: warm up for 20 minutes.  Then a 6 minute interval at your max, followed 3 minutes recovery x 1 is 1 set.  (You’ll have a good idea of what kind of power you can push by the time you get to this point.  Settle in at that power and push yourself to your limit for the duration of the interval).

Your heart rate will not react fast enough to use as any type of a gauge for the 2 and 3 minute efforts.  It can be a guide for the 4 and 6 minute intervals though.  If you know your heart rate zones and see that you can go with a higher heart rate then adjust the power to suit and you’ve just gotten stronger!

Good luck and go fast!

Rob Kelley


Categories: Coach's Corner

Tuesday CCC Updates

- Today is the Autumnal Equinox, so we guess CX really is here!

- Congrats to everyone who raced, spectated, cliniced, and generally had a bunch of fun at the Trek CXC Cup this past weekend. Full results are here.

- Up this weekend the 2014 Chicago Cyclocross Cup kicks off at Caldwell Woods with our hosts xXx Racing-Athletico. Look for the course preview on Thursday morning and more info here on the preview page. Several categories are already filled but you can still get on the online waitlist which is used first on race day.

- Before the race make sure your USAC annual license is renewed. Remember, only Men Cat 5 and Women Cat 4‘s (all age groups) can race on a One Day license. Plastic license are also sooo 2011 so install the USAC app on your mobile device.

- Speaking of USAC licenses… we’ve asked many times in the past so this is the last time we’ll mention it. Please make sure your rider profile is up to date and correct with your USAC license number. No, “Pending” is not a valid license number. We will not be cleaning up license numbers before races as we have in the past so if you want to be scored properly please update those rider profiles. Thanks!

- Next week the CCC heads West to Dekalb, IL for Hopkins Park. A few quick notes:

  • Kid’s race at 2PM!
  • Dave’s Slow Foods will be back, with veg offerings. More menu info soon.
  • One2Go Services will be there and recording times, so check that your email address is correct in BikeReg
  • Hopkins Park is a Single Speed Cyclocross World Championship 2014 “Golden Ticket” race! First man and woman in the SS category win a free entry into the race! More details at

- From our friends up North… “Once again, BelgianWerkx is proud to hosting the Grafton PumpkinCross race held on Saturday October 11, 2014 at Lime Kiln Park in Grafton, Wisconsin. Last year we had a number of Chicago area racers join us and provide fierce competition throughout all categories. We would like to extend a $5 “tollway” discount to all Illinois riders who pre-register using the link and enter “IL” in the coupon code area. So signup, climb the sledding hill, slalom your way back down,  grab a slice from the food truck and slam your podium beer! We’ve got it all at PumpkinCross!”

- And finally… Lagunitas and Village-Verdigris Cycling have partnered up for 2014. VVCycling and Lagunitas will be providing beer (typically larger growlers) for the adult podiums throughout the season.  They started with the xXx Relay CX and will continue the donations through the end of the season.  VVC’s way of bringing a little more cheer to the CCC. Based in Petaluma, California, Lagunitas opened a new state of the art brewery in Chicago, making it the largest craft brewer in town (1.6 million barrel, 300,000 square feet).  This new facility includes the TapRoom, which offers a great view of the brewery while sipping craft beers and enjoying some good food.

Categories: 1 - Sponsors, News, Racing, Updates

Coach’s Corner – Lactate Threshold

09/17/2014 3 comments


After you’ve conquered a 45 minute tempo interval it’s time to take on the phase of training that requires you to develop your muscular endurance.  Muscular endurance is gained by working to increase your power at your lactate threshold (AKA functional threshold and anaerobic threshold) as well as the duration of that effort.

These intervals are meant to build that lactate threshold (LT) power.  Once completed, you will have a 45 minute to 1 hour killer effort in your arsenal.  You’ll also use this very important number to re-set all of your power zones because, from the standpoint of information, LT is ground zero for an endurance athlete.

Do these on a stationary trainer or outside on a flat/false flat course.  Grass is fantastic as it provides some good resistance:

LT10: 3×10 minute intervals at lactate threshold with 3 minutes off between them

LT15: 3×15 minute intervals at lactate threshold with 3 minutes off between them

LT20: 2×20 minute intervals at lactate threshold with 8 minutes off between them

LT25: 2×25 minute intervals at lactate threshold with 8 minutes off between them

LT30: 2×30 minute intervals at lactate threshold with 8 minutes off between them

LT45: One 45 minute interval at lactate threshold

As with the AT and tempo intervals, once you know your heart rate and wattage at LT you can keep an eye on your monitor and adjust up or down to suit.  As an example; if your LT is 165 BPM’s/300 watts and you see that on a particular day your heart rate is less than 165BPM’s at 300 watts then increase the wattage.  When that happens you’ve just increased your LT power!  Note these changes and feed them into your program going forward.

Make sure to complete the duration properly before moving to the next.  Slowly and methodically building to your objectives will help prevent burn-out and injury.  It’ll also make you faster!

Thanks for reading, and send an e-mail to with any questions.

Rob Kelley


Categories: Coach's Corner, Updates

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