23Jun 2017

Summertime boasts long-days and warm weather, which makes it one of the most exciting times of year to be an Endurance Athlete.

With so many events and races, not to mention a plethora of training partners to do them with, summertime is a great time to be outdoors for a workout.

However, the summertime-swelter can be draining and potentially stifling for even the most experienced Endurance Athletes.

So what does it take to cope with, and train in, the heat?

To answer this question we assembled three of our best body-cooling techniques to help you beat the summer heat and #TrainYourPotential:

Your chances of performing your best in the heat can be greatly improved by utilizing the three techniques described below. Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com.

#1- Get Your Sweat On
A little known fact is that when skin is wet, it signals the body to stop producing sweat or at least dramatically reduce it’s sweat-rate.

With this in mind, it is extremely important for Endurance Athletes to wear clothing that ‘wicks’ sweat from their skin.

 By using high-quality performance clothing, made of ‘wicking’ fabrics, our bodies will continually sweat, which helps reduce our core-temperature and, by proxy, perform optimally.

#2- Water Alone Isn’t Enough
Our bodies may be primarily comprised of water, but it’s the electrolytes in that water that allows cells of all types to function normally.

With this reality in mind, and the increased sweat-rates referenced above, that we suggest all liquid consumed during exercise in warm weather (or hotter) include some form of electrolyte replacement.

There are many great electrolyte replacement products on the market, and even a few worthy home-style methods, that will infuse the required electrolytes into your workout routine.

Regardless of what product or method you choose, what matters most is that you consume more than just water during each workout.

Every water-bottle should include some combination of these five essential electrolytes: sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and calcium.

#3- Ice-Socks Aren’t For Feet
Another way to keep core-temperatures cool while training in the heat is to find creative ways to use ice.

When placed on the skin, the melting ice cools the skin, reducing an Athletes core-temperature, and allowing the body to have some reprieve from the high sweat-rates brought on by training in the heat.

One innovative tool that uses ice to cool an Athlete on a hot training day is called an ‘ice-sock’.

An ice-sock is a knee-high stocking (commonly called panty-hose) filled with ice, tied-off at the top, and draped around the Athletes neck like an ice-pack. This simple home-made cooling technique is used by professionals around the world and offers a great cooling effect.

As a bonus, place the ice-sock high enough on the neck to allow melting water to flow down the front and back of the Athletes jersey. This maximizes the benefit of the ice-sock.

A salt-stained jersey is an indication that hydration habits likely have some room for improvement. Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com.

In closing, it must be said that there are limits to the effectiveness of these techniques, and that heat-exhaustion is a risk for every Athlete that exerts themselves in warm weather.

Thus, it is very important for every Athlete to use common sense when performing workouts in the heat and know that there may be conditions that it is unwise to train in.

However, under normal circumstances and with use of the techniques above an Athlete can keep their core-temperature ‘in-check’ and make summertime training far less prohibitive… and possibly even enjoyable!


Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!

-Brian and Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching

16Jun 2017

For Dustin Stock the training for Dirty Kanza, The World’s Premier Gravel Race, was somewhat unconventional.

Having committed to doing his first marathon, just four-weeks prior to the DK-100, he needed a unique training plan that included both high-volume runs and rides. A challenging combination to balance for even the most experienced Athlete.

In addition to the substantial time commitment that training for both types of events would require, Dustin had to contend with a winter full of unpredictable weather that included rain, snow, and extremely windy conditions.

However, despite these significant challenges, Dustin had very successful performances at both the Wisconsin Marathon and Dirty Kanza-100.

Following his epic day on the Flint Hills Gravel, we caught up with Dustin to talk about the events and his new-found love for Gravel racing in a four-question interview. Enjoy!

Dustin rode hard all day and attacked the heralded Flint-Hills gravel to finish his DK-100 strong! Photo Credit: Dustin Stock.

Athlete Bio:
Primary Sport/Discipline: Gravel Riding/MTB/Running
Average Hours of Training Per Week: 8-12hrs.
Upcoming Goals: The 2018 Dirty Kanza 200-Miler

Question #1: Congratulations on a great ride at Dirty Kanza Dustin, as your first gravel 100-miler, what was the most memorable part of the race?

Dustin Stock: Well… sometimes it takes and event like the DK to make you a tourist in your own state!

The DK takes place only 100-miles from where I live, and yet I have only passed through Emporia on the interstate.

For the race, the town opens its doors and gravel roads to the DK riders, it was a beautiful thing to see.

It’s a non-stop party, throughout the town, until the very last rider passes the finish!

The event features incredible views of rolling green pastures in the Flint Hills and miles of minimally-maintained gravel roads.

I couldn’t ask for anything more for my first gravel race and can’t wait to get back next year for the full 200!

Coaches Perspective/Coach Brian: Talking with Dustin leading into Dirty Kanza, I had trouble describing the experience he was about to have. Any gavel race is an adventure, but Dirty Kanza is not called “The World’s Premier Gravel Race” for nothing!

He was in for more than an adventure, it was going to be a full-on epic day in the saddle!

Yes, the route was amazing and the course was brutally challenging, but it is the Mid-West welcome party that each finisher receives that lifts this event to legendary status.

I am excited to report that Dustin had such a great time that he immediately said, “I’m hooked!” following the race and committed to doing the 200-mile DK next year.

It will be a stiff challenge, but one I know he will excel at!

Dustin paced a friend during her first marathon, while on his first marathon, just weeks before he tackled the DK-100. As you can see, he was all smiles! Photo Credit: Dustin Stock.

Question #2: You did your first marathon only a few weeks before Dirty Kanza, and then completed your first 100-mile gravel race at DK. What was it like to prepare for, and do, two vastly different events so close together?

DS: To be honest the most difficult part was training in the winter. Luckily, Coach Brian made it easy for me. I looked at my schedule on TP and just made it happen.

Doing a combination of running and riding every week kept training entertaining. It also gave me flexibility in my training schedule, which was necessary due to the unpredictable and inclement weather.

Having been through it now, I can say that it is much easier to knock out a 90min run in cold, windy, and/or snowy conditions than a 3hr. bike ride!

Coach Brian: When I started working with Dustin it was apparent that he needed a flexible schedule that would prepare him for both the Wisconsin Marathon as well as Dirty Kanza.

In addition, the piercing wind, frequent snowstorms, and driving rain he confronted while training made flexibility more than a convenience, it was a necessity.

Although marathon training and preparation for an endurance cycling event such as Dirty Kanza bear many similarities, completing both in such close proximity is difficult for even the most experienced Athletes.

Luckily, Dustin is very dedicated and tough-as-nails, so putting in the requisite time and preparation for both events was never in doubt.

Question #3: What is one of your long-term cycling goals? And what is next on your cycling ‘to do’ list?

DS: Before the DK I would have told you some bike-packing and single-track fun rides, but now I am hooked on gravel racing!

I had a blast at Dirty Kanza and am looking forward to more. My “A” goal for next year is to compete in the DK-200… and beat the sun!

**Note: It’s an unwritten goal for most DK riders to complete the race before sunset, a suitable challenge and accomplishment by all accounts!**

I have a few other gravel races that I hope to do leading up to Dirty Kanza, but those will depend on my schedule.

Coach Brian: When I followed-up with Dustin after the event, his immediate response was, “I’m hooked”!

Hearing his enthusiasm and recount of the experience was awesome, I was so excited for him and proud of his efforts.

What’s more, he immediately said, “let’s find some other gravel events this year and start the planning/training process for the DK-200 next year”.

As a Coach, that conversation was immensely satisfying, Dustin had worked so hard and now he was already thinking about what else he could accomplish, very cool!

There is no doubt that 2018 will see Dustin pushing his limits at all sorts of gravel events as he prepares for his assault on the DK-200.

The finishing chute at Dirty Kanza offers a hero’s welcome to all riders that complete “The World’s Premier Gravel Race”. Photo Credit: Dustin Stock.

Question #4: Describe your favorite workout in your training program, also, please share a ‘knowledge-bomb’ you have learned while training with Big Wheel Coaching.

DS: For some reason I enjoy anything with intervals, the higher the intensity the better!

Being a newbie to training, early-on in the training process, I would go too-hard on easy rides and not hard enough on interval days.

With Coach Brian’s help, I believe I have the whole physical effort (Perceived Exertion) scale figured out, and strangely enjoy the P.E. 9+ efforts most!

Coach Brian: I love hearing that an Athlete loves hard training and challenging intervals!

Once Dustin learned how easy a recovery ride should be, it helped him go even harder on interval training sessions.

By blending his hard-core work-ethic with this method of training, which had him riding more at the extremes of the spectrum, very easy and very hard, definitely took his training to the next level.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about Dustin Stocks’ epic ride at the DK-100, as much as we have enjoyed sharing it!

Having had a taste of the adventure and excitement that is Gravel Racing it’s easy to see why he is hooked on this type of riding and already looking forward to the 200-mile edition of Dirty Kanza in 2018.

Whether your cycling goals take you out on the open-road, onto the single-track trails, or to the back-roads of a gravel event, custom-tailored training and individualized coaching can be your ticket to success.

Couple these resources with a well-developed work-ethic and ample recovery, and tasting success is only a matter of time! Just ask Dustin Stock.


Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!

-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching

09Jun 2017

Performing your best on event-day is the primary goal of any training plan. However, the reality is that event-day success is predicated on more than just training alone.

One such item that most Athletes will be forced to navigate on their way to their goal-event is travel.

Whether an event is only a few hours away or multiple days away, it requires Athletes to plan for and cope with a whole host of travel-related issues.

So, how does an Athlete mitigate the challenges of travel with minimal disruption to their training and preparation?

To answer this question we have identified the following five tips to help you maximize performance and minimize travel stress leading into your next big event. Enjoy!

You can find healthy food options to boost your immune system at a truck-stop if you look hard-enough. Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch.

#1: Boost That Immune System!
Continuous endurance training regularly suppresses and compromises an Athletes immune system, it’s the result of working-out and pushing our limits. Additionally, travel is an extra stressor for our already hard-working immune systems.

While our immune system is constantly fighting to keep us healthy, doing so while it is being confronted by new germs can make it very easy to fall ill or otherwise not be at our best.

To combat this, Athletes can begin taking immune system boosting vitamins and minerals leading into and through any of their travels. Vitamin-C is at the top of the ‘most helpful’ list, but also included are anti-oxidants, zinc, beta-carotene, and Vitamin-E.

There are many great products available at local drug-stores that combine these immune system boosting nutrients. We suggest Athletes use them before, while traveling to, during, and returning from any event they go to.

#2: Utilize Compression Garments
Compression garments are not the most fashionable athletic clothing available, but despite the fashion faux-paux they serve an important purpose.

Although science has not always embraced the idea of compression garments during exercise, empirical data and personal experience shows that they are well worth the investment for travel, especially leading into a competition.

Wearing compression pants or leg-sleeves during travel helps reduce swelling that comes from sitting for prolonged periods of time, such as long drives or flights.

By reducing the swelling your body must combat, post-travel, you will be able to perform and train regularly more quickly than an Athlete that did not use compression garments.

Getting to a race takes more than just great training. An Athlete must be able to travel to their chosen event and perform their best. Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch.

#3: Stay Hydrated, Don’t Get Depleted
As much as proper hydration is a corner-stone of endurance athletics, it is equally vital to our bodies during travel. During travel our bodies are exposed to unusually dry conditions (note: airplane cabins are exceptionally dry), which leads to accelerated dehydration.

Additionally, it has also been shown that dehydration intensifies the symptoms of jet-lag.

The moral of the story is that staying adequately hydrated while traveling takes more effort and fluid than our normal surroundings.

We suggest keeping a water bottle with you at all times during travel. As a bonus, add electrolytes or the immune system boosting nutrients referenced above to maximize your bodies ability to cope with the stress of travel.

#4: Increase Sleep & Monitor Sleep Quality
Getting adequate sleep, and specifically deep-sleep, is must for any high-performing Athlete.

Travel introduces us to unfamiliar sleeping arrangements, be it hotel, host housing, or even a vacation home, all of which can make getting adequate sleep difficult to achieve.

To combat sleep disruption, Athletes should consider adding sleep-aids to their travel bag. Good examples are eye-masks, ear-plugs, melatonin, white noise, and/or tart-cherry juice in order to sleep as deeply as possible leading into an event.

By maximizing sleep quality with the techniques above, an Athlete can minimize the performance-reducing affects of travel.

Gathering with friends or fellow participants for an easy ride can be a great way to “spin-out the jet lag” following a long bout of travel. Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch

#5: Add ‘Easy Miles’ To Your Post Travel Routine
Once you have arrived at your destination and training can resume, it can be very helpful to add easy miles to your training routine.

Outside of rare circumstances that include inclement weather and high-winds, adding easy mileage to your pre-event training routine can help you acclimatize to new surroundings.

Lengthening warm-up time as well as cool-down times by 15-30min., per training ride, can go a long way to helping travel weary legs get back to feeling ‘light’ and ‘sporty’.

Whether your travel is during the preparation phase of training or leading into your goal-event during the ‘taper’ phase, adding these five tactics to your travel can make the most of your hard-earned fitness.

These simple techniques can unlock your bodies potential and help make your best performances possible despite long and arduous travel across timezones or even continents.


Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!

-Brian and Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching

02Jun 2017

The summer months are upon us and that means that our BWC Athletes are out training, racing, and participating in events across the the country… and some are doing so across the pond in other countries too!

Infinit Nutrition makes great hydration and nutrition products for Endurance Athletes. Photo Credit: Infinit Nutrition.

BWC Partner Discount: Infinit Nutrition
With the heat and humidity that comes with summer training, maintaining adequate hydration levels is a high-priority. Additionally, pre and post-workout hydration should include electrolyte sources so our bodies can replenish depleted electrolyte stores in order to maximize the effectiveness of upcoming training sessions.

With that in mind, Infinit Nutrition has offered BWC Athletes and Newsletter readers a 10% discount on any online order using the discount code ‘bigwheel’.

Our Athletes have found success with many Infinit Nutrition products, including, but not limited to, the ‘Go Far’ and ‘Speed’ hydration mixes as well as the liquid nutrition and cramp-preventing calorie source called ‘Trip Wire’.

You can also make your own custom hydration mix if you prefer a unique blend!

Check out the Infinit Nutrition Online Store: http://infinitnutrition.us/

USA Cycling Talent ID Camps are a great place for Junior Athletes to learn the skills necessary to take their racing to the ‘next level’. Photo Credit: USA Cycling.

BWC At The USA Cycling Talent ID Camp
For those Junior Athletes looking for a way to spend their summer in the saddle, or for parents looking for a fun activity for their junior cyclist, check out Big Wheel Coaching at the USA Cycling Talent ID Camp in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Coach Joy will be leading and coaching various segments of the six-day camp that will serve as an audition and selection event for the US National Team Tour of Ireland roster.

For more information about the camp, which is being held June 16th-21st, please follow this link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/USACWeb/events/userfiles/system/files/Allinfo.pdf

In addition to being a great opportunity for junior Athletes to be seen by nationally recognized coaches for the USA Cycling Junior Program, participants that sign-up through Big Wheel Coaching are eligible to waive the ‘late registration’ fee.

Interested riders can contact us through BigWheelCoaching@gmail.com to be eligible for the discount. Please include “BWC @ USAC Talent ID” in the email subject line.

Coach Joy was interviewed by 4iiii Precision to talk about how Coaches and Athletes utilize power in a time trial. Photo Credit: 4iiii Precision.

Coach Joy Talks Tour Of California Power Files With 4iiii
And for a Coaches perspective about the importance of power-meters in the recent Amgen Tour of California, Big Bear Time Trial, check out Coach Joy’s interview with 4iiii Precision Power Meters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfNdxrmqZkA&sns=em.

It offers great insight into how power-meters are being used by world-class professionals to achieve their best in an altitude racing scenario. Enjoy!


Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, And Have Fun!

Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching

26May 2017

Time-trailing is amongst the most specialized and challenging components of bicycle racing. With purpose-built bikes and ‘aero’ equipment galore, it is a discipline that can take years to master.

For Cynthia Sjogren, testing herself in a time-trail just happens to be her definition of a good-time.

Having spent the majority of the Fall, Winter, and now Spring training for, and racing, the Southern California Time-Trial series, Cynthia Sjogren capped off the ’16/’17 TT season by winning both the overall series championship and the California State Championship event (in her age group) last weekend.

Following this success and arguably her best TT performance yet, we caught up with Cynthia to celebrate her success and learn more about her big time-trail win in a four-question interview for this weeks BWC Athlete Profile. Enjoy.

A gold medal performance was accompanied by a state championship jersey for Cynthia Sjogren at the 2017 SCNCA State TT Championships. Photo Credit: Steve Sjogren.

Athlete Bio:
Primary Sport/Discipline: Time-Trialing/Climbing
Average Hours of Training Per Week: 12-15hrs.
Upcoming Goals: The Glendora Mountain Road TT

Question #1: Congratulations on your State Championship Time-Trial win Cynthia, great job! You have been working very hard for this result, tell us how the race unfolded and your pacing strategy.

Cynthia Sjogren: Thank you!

Last year, I was too conservative with my pacing and was very unhappy with my time. It haunted me for a whole year!

This time around, I made-up my mind to hold my 20Km pace throughout the race, leaving me to “hang-on” for the last 5-mile stretch of the race.

 I knew I would suffer for the last 15-minutes, but was confident I could do so.

I am exited to report that this strategy paid off and I dropped more than two-minutes from my 2016 finishing time, which is very satisfying.

Coaches Perspective/Coach Joy: Cynthia really set the bar high with this time-trial performance!

I sent her a text-message the morning of the race and told her to “bleed out of her eyes on the final stretch” and she did just that!

Making the choice to hit her 20Km pace proved that she can likely add some speed to this pace in future events too!

Following her performance last year, I knew she was hungry for a better result at Lake Los Angeles, which is why Cynthia has been working on the small details, all season long, to improve her time. Her result was both exciting and satisfying for us both. She rode excellent!

Question #2: You have raced this championship time-trial course on multiple occasions, how did these past experiences help you perform your best in the championship race?

CS: The Masters 55-59 Women race a shorter distance than the standard 40Km course at State Championships. Our race is 17-miles (nearly 30Km) which is a hard distance for me to wrap my head around…

Normally, I race 20Km events in the SoCal TT series, and in years past have raced the full 40Km course at Lake Los Angeles.

All of these experiences and especially my recent performances in the SoCal TT series gave me the confidence that I could be very aggressive with my pacing and not fall apart in the closing kilometers.

Coach Joy: Just the week prior, Cynthia finished in a close 2nd place at the Santiago Canyon Time Trial series finale. With that result, she locked up the SoCal Time Trial Series overall win for yet another year.

Having this confidence, as well as all the experience she has from racing multiple early season events in inclement weather, on roads with dirt, mud, and wildly unpredictable wind, has prepared Cynthia for a great performance at the Championship event.

The State Championship course is simple with only right hand turns and predictable conditions, which allowed Cynthia to focus on unleashing every watt she has worked all season to develop.

When she’s not training for time-trials, Cynthia loves a good long ride in the mountains! Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch.

Question #3: What is one of your long-term cycling goals? And what is next on your cycling ‘to do’ list?

CS: My goal is to keep training/racing so long as I am having fun.

I am going to do the Glendora Mountain Road time trial next week, Sherman pass road race in July, and the Hotter’n Hell Mt. Baldy Hillclimb in August, so I have a lot climbing in my training future.

Coach Joy: Cynthia has had a great run on the time-trial bike this year and I think she is really excited to “switch it up” and start heading to the mountains for plenty of climbing!

Having the opportunity to race very diverse events from flat time-trials to Sherman Pass at altitude allows us to keep her training fresh and diverse, which helps keep her engaged, excited, and focused all through the training process.

It has been a big push with plenty of structure to prepare for these flat/rolling time trials, so having the chance to hang-up the TT bike for awhile is just the ‘shot in the arm’ she needs to keep her motivation high going into the summer.

I would also add that it doesn’t hurt to be heading for the hills just as the heat is rising in the valleys!

Question #4: Describe your favorite workout in your training program, also, please share a ‘knowledge-bomb’ you have learned while training with Big Wheel Coaching.

CS: No surprise here, I love climbing repeats! I also love super-long endurance rides.

My knowledge bomb, if you can call it that, is; most often, the workouts that I dread are the ones I need to perform the most!

Coach Joy and Big Wheel Coaching are very good at ascertaining what my weaknesses are and assigning me challenging workouts that are within my reach. These workouts address weaknesses so I have the opportunity to continually improve.

Bottom line: trust your coach, Brian and Joy are 100% on your side.

Coach Joy: I like to give Cynthia one training ride a week that targets one of her ‘weaknesses’ (although she doesn’t have many weaknesses these days!) and buffer it with a climbing ride so she gets the best of both worlds.

Cynthia is awesome about doing all the workouts prescribed but especially those that are both mentally and physically challenging. Because of that, she has been able reap the rewards of that work ten-fold at the races, as well as her favorite group rides.

It has been great to see Cynthia, whose known to be a bit of a diesel, develop explosive power while maintaining her impressive endurance base fitness.

Coach Joy and Cynthia have been working together since the beginning of Big Wheel Coaching and the pair are still going strong! After all these years they are still finding ways to improve. Photo Credit: Cynthia Sjogren.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about Cynthia’s recent TT success as much as we have enjoyed putting this article together!

Time-trailing, like all cycling disciplines, rewards Athletes that develop a deep-base of fitness and learn the specialized skills necessary to excel. As Coaches, it is our passion to help Athletes both learn the unique skills of their chosen discipline and develop their best fitness as they journey toward their biggest cycling goals.

So we ask, what is your goal that, like Cynthia’s 2017 TT success, could be a year in the making?


Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!

-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching


19May 2017

There is little question that interval work, also known as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT for short), provides tremendous value to Athletes of all fitness levels, but especially for those looking to develop their capacities and become more powerful.

With regards to HIIT training, one does not have to look hard to find a plethora of information on the web detailing the myriad of workout types.

Unfortunately, many times the workouts described leave-out critical information or read like a complex math equation rather than clearly outlining the execution of the workout in question.

Thus the focus of this weeks BWC Newsletter is ‘how’ to perform every interval session to the best of your abilities.

To begin, we must outline the basic components of an interval or ‘effort’, there are five: Duration, Intensity, Specific Prescription, Recovery Fraction, and Repetitions.

We will detail and describe each component using the following sample workout:

Sample Workout: Attack & Bridge Intervals
After a solid warm-up and on a rolling road, perform the following Attack & Bridge Intervals: -2x 2min. at 360w+.

-Begin each interval w/a 10 sec. sprint, as if you are attacking to a break-away. After the ‘attack’ sit down & stay in the drops for the interval.

-Maintain a cadence of 85+ rpm throughout each interval (excluding the sprint) and be sure to maintain a relaxed upper-body, no erratic body language when you begin to suffer!

-Recover for 3min. between intervals and 10min. between the two sets.

-Complete the ride with consistent Endurance work at a comfortable cadence.

-Warm-down as necessary, 10-15min. Ride up to 2.5hrs total.

The 5 Components Of An Interval
1.) Duration: Every interval has a time component. The time component can be measured in minutes or seconds, depending on the goal of the workout.

For the sample workout, each Attack & Bridge interval is 2-minutes and starts with a 10 second sprint.

2.) Intensity: Every interval has an intensity prescription. The intensity can be prescribed via power (in wattage), using Heart Rate (in Beats Per Minute), or possibly Rate of Perceived Exertion (1-10 scale).

Note: RPE would be used if you do not have a data collection device or when power/H.R. values are irrelevant for the interval being prescribed.

The intensity portion of the interval is what denotes an intervals difficulty (note: not all intervals are intended to be leg-breakers).

For the sample workout, the intensity is described for both portions of the interval. It starts with a maximum effort, 10sec. sprint, followed by 1:50 of sustained work at 360 watts, or more.

3.) Specific Prescription: Some workouts are more specific than others and therefore some specifics or notations are included in the workout description.

Oftentimes the specific prescription includes information about cadence targets (example: “perform… w/a 90+ cadence), Heart Rate and Power Zones, road/trail suggestions (example: “perform …on a steep climb”), or even body position requirements (example: “perform… in the drops”).

For the sample workout, the protocol details a cadence of 85+ rpm for the duration of the 2 min. interval. As a maximum effort, the sprint component of the interval does not require a cadence clarification.

4.) Recovery Fraction: After every interval there will be a recovery fraction. Unless otherwise prescribed, this time is meant to be devoted to FULL recovery from the prescribed effort… not continued work.

It is important to take this time to get your Heart Rate down and allow your legs to recover. This will prepare you for the next effort or set of intervals.

For the sample workout, the recovery fraction is 3min. between intervals and 10min. between sets.

5.) Repetition: Every interval prescription has a number of repetitions denoted. This could range from a single 20-minute interval to eight 1-minute max-output efforts, or any variety thereof.

Pay attention to the repetition component, just because one interval is easy, repeating the prescribed workout may prove to be difficult, especially if there is a short recovery fraction.

For the sample workout, the description requires two-sets of 2 Attack & Bridge Intervals. The interval sets are separated by 10-minutes rest.

Sometimes, performing your individual training plan requires letting training partners ride-away in order to stay disciplined to our own workout protocols. Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch.

5 Guidelines To Executing A Perfect Interval
With an understanding of the aforementioned “elements of an interval”, a structured interval session can be performed following these guidelines:

1.) Execution
Perform interval training sessions on similar (uninterrupted) pieces of road. This allows for the greatest chance of creating repeatable efforts and successful workouts with minimal stress.

Certain interval sessions require specific road conditions (or indoor-trainer conditions) such as a climb, downhill, or false-flat. Because of this, it is important to be flexible with ride routes and consider riding to your favorite climb to perform your 4min. climbing intervals and then riding home.

Performing intervals on a ‘loop’ style route can be difficult and cause anxiety, both of which can result in a compromised workout.

2.) Laps 
If you are using a Garmin or other GPS Computer, press the ‘lap’ button on your device before starting your interval session. This simple technique will make it easier for you, or your coach, to decipher when/where intervals start when analyzing workout data.

It should be noted that sprint efforts and other very intense intervals need not use this technique. When sprinting or performing a maximum effort, your entire attention should be focused on the road ahead. This direction is as much about your personal safety as it is about achieving a high-quality workout.

3.) Be Disciplined About Recovery Fractions
Proper interval training is predicated on determining when an Athlete can no longer repeat the prescribed workload. If hard work is performed between intervals, it could potentially lead to a poor performance in subsequent efforts.

Remember, Zone 1 is called Active Recovery for a reason!

4.) Do Not ‘Over-Achieve’ On The First Few Intervals
If you are feeling strong and the intervals seem easy, enjoy the respite!

Not every interval has to be a smash-fest, in fact, it is sometimes better if they are not. A good rule of thumb is to target the mid-range of the prescribed Power or Heart Rate range. If you get through three-quarters of the prescribed interval(s) and still have ‘gas in the tank’, then push the limits!

Once the training session is complete, report this potential intensity discrepancy to your coach, the interval protocol may need revision, and is likely a sign that you are getting stronger!

It should be said that some intervals, specifically sub-threshold efforts (Endurance and Tempo work) are doubly important not to over-do. These zones need to be developed independently and are not adequately developed when an Athlete rides harder than the workout prescription outlines.

5.) Approach Each Interval With Focus & Be Prepared For Work
We find that approaching each interval as a ‘stand alone’ effort is very beneficial for our Athletes, as it can be daunting to perform multiple efforts and sets of intervals.

Don’t get overwhelmed by thinking thirty-minutes down the road. Instead, use your energy to focus on the effort at hand and you will likely be surprised at how powerful you can be!

Whether on the road or trail, interval training can be wildly effective, just be sure to select the correct road or trail for the job! Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch

We hope this article has helped detail and outline the important components of interval training for you. By taking the time to understand the unique protocol of an interval session and how to effectively execute the workout, you are sure to gain maximum benefit from your training program.

With these techniques in mind, deciphering interval protocol ahead of your next workout will be easier and allow you to put more energy into performing your best.

And this is all we ask of our Athletes, to give their best!


Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!

-Brian and Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching

12May 2017

The journey from casual cyclist to bike-commuter to budding racer has been a rather rapid progression for Ryan Voth.

Having conquered a few long distance events such as the San Luis Obispo Gran Fondo and the Giro d’San Diego, Ryan has recently shifted his focus to shorter, more intense riding found in his local criterium-practice group-ride.

It was the speed and technical aspect of these rides, as well as the camaraderie that encouraged Ryan to sign up for his first criterium race at this years’ Redlands Bicycle Classic.

As a local, racing the Redlands Bicycle Classic is the best opportunity for family, friends, and your community to experience the fast-paced world of bike racing. So it was of no surprise that Ryan, who lives in nearby Loma Linda, chose to make his racing debut at the Redlands Bicycle Classic this past weekend.

Following his hard-earned 6th place result in the rain soaked event, we had the opportunity to catch up with Ryan about his race, how it unfolded, and how his training is progressing for this weeks 4-question BWC Athlete Profile. Enjoy!

Athlete Bio:
Primary Sport/Discipline: Road Cycling/Racing/Gran Fondos
Average Hours of Training Per Week: 10-12hrs
Upcoming Goals: Spring & Summer Criterium Racing

The Redlands Bicycle Classic was not Ryan’s first time in the rain, but racing in the rain during a criterium was quite different than riding the San Luis Obispo Gran Fondo in soggy conditions! Photo Credit: SLO Gran Fondo.

Question #1: Congratulations on completing your first criterium, Ryan! You earned a great result despite some chaos within the peloton. Tell us about the race, how did it unfold?

Ryan Voth: Thanks so much! There was definitely nervous energy in the group all the way through the first 20-minutes of the race. Luckily, I had the support of many people cheering for me to keep me focused, including my wife, a close CAT-3 friend and other buddies from our local cycling club – Team Redlands – Mike and Danny. Feeling supported and being provided counsel leading into the race played a large part in helping me push through the jitters of a first race.

At the start, the race was guided by an instructor who ‘lead-out’ the first five laps. This provided everyone in the peloton time to settle into the group and see the racing lines of the course.

The race had a variety of participants, from seasoned group riders on club teams to riders in jogging shorts and t-shirts. Needles to say, I did not expect such a wide range and it was very important to choose which wheels to be on and which not to be on…

Because the road surface was wet and it was drizzling at the start of the race, there were a number of factors that made this race challenging:

1- I was worried about wearing the appropriate clothing for the conditions.

2- I had never cornered at race-speed on wet surfaces that included manhole covers, road reflectors, paint-lines and other obstacles.

3- I was unsure of how my braking performance would be affected in the wet conditions.

4- Never before had I been forced to adjust my riding line to account for water and road grime being sprayed in my face by the rider in front of me.

5- How would I adjust to the other riders in the pack who were braking and shifting in seemingly odd places, like mid-corner?

After considering all that, if I could go back and do it over again, I would have brought a set of warm clothes including wool socks!

Almost from the beginning, the race split with novice riders immediately falling off the back of the group. This happened even before the instructor let the group go. The first few laps were very fast, but after that the group settled into a reasonable pace.

 The more I trusted my bike not to slide out in the corners, the more confident I felt moving up in the group. Holding a wheel on this tight course was difficult and was further compounded by the wet road surface. I had to constantly look out for riders diving into corners on the inside, and be sure not to overlap wheels.

With two laps to go there was a substantial rise in the tempo. Unfortunately, this resulted in a crash due to overlapping wheels in turn-1. Luckily, I was not overlapping wheels and was able to avoid going down despite being bounced around by other riders.

In that moment, I remembered some advise I had received about crashes, when there’s a crash, look ahead and pedal hard! This helped me re-gain focus, clip back into my pedals, and get back with the pack.

With one lap to go, I made a big move on the main straight-away to make up five positions going into turn one. From that point there were no opportunities to move-up safely in the peloton because of the increased speed and conditions (given my level of experience).

On the final straight I accelerated with all I had to make up two more positions to cross the line in 6th overall. It was exhilarating!

Coaches Perspective/Coach Brian: I am so excited that Ryan had a successful first race. The rain was an unexpected issue that was not on our radar during the week when we talked race strategy.

Instead we focused on what to expect within the peloton, how to navigate the corners, and in what ways Ryan could use his strengths to maximal effect during the race. Luckily, Ryan reacted well to the soggy conditions and made the most of this adversity to have a great race!

I could not be more proud of Ryan for his blend of tenacity and calm nerves in this stressful environment. He navigated it all very well and has a great experience to show for it!

Ryan Voth got his start in cycling by bike commuting, but now he is regularly working the front of local group-rides having spent a winter developing his fitness. Photo Credit: Ryan Voth.

Question #2: Having found success in your first race, you signed up for more races in the coming weeks. What is it about criterium racing that has you so excited?

RV:  I’ve been told, “Ryan, you’re a big boy and you put down a lot of power.”

By working with Coach Brian, I have been able to increase both my endurance and power, which is great!

Although I am aware of my limitations as they relate to climbing and longer, more sustained efforts, there is something empowering about finding what my body is built for and working in that direction.

Criterium racing offers fast-paced, short duration efforts with close-quarters riding in a tactically challenging environment. It is challenging in so many ways! It’s about testing oneself against others; physically, mentally, and tactically.

One needs all three – physical, mental, and tactical ability – to come out on top. It is an exciting task to work toward that trifecta…

Coach Brian: First time racing experiences are memories like no-other, especially in cycling as it is such a unique sport. In Ryan’s case it is easy to see why he already signed up for two more races.

His enjoyment of the close-quarters riding, the precision bike handling and skill-set it requires, and the application of strategy while at a high physical output is something that is best experienced, not explained.

In the coming weeks we will be honing the tactical element of Ryan’s riding to help him prepare for these events as well as continuing to push his top-end fitness to the maximum.

Question #3: What is one of your long-term cycling goals? And what is next on your cycling ‘to do’ list?

RV: I have plenty of beneficial structure in my professional life. As for cycling, it has gone from a hobby to something that is infused in all aspects of my life, but I still prefer minimal structure over long-term goals.

By striking this balance, cycling and training feels more like a journey, which is much more exciting for me. I initially started working with Coach Brian for accountability through the winter in order to increase both my fitness level and riding skill-set.

Coach Brian: What I appreciate most about working with Ryan is his perspective and the joy he has for cycling.

The overwhelming majority of Endurance Athletes are Type-A, driven, and goal oriented individuals, but sometimes that drive can cause us to lose sight of the beauty and community contained in the sport of cycling.

As much as Ryan’s training is about fitness improvement and metrics, it is also about experiencing all that the sport of cycling has to offer. He has challenged himself in Gran Fondo’s, local group-rides, and even utilized bike-commuting to help him achieve his training goals.

His open-mindedness toward all that cycling has to offer will take him far in this sport and I am excited to work with him on his journey!

Squeezing in morning workouts despite a busy schedule has payed off for Ryan as he raced toward a well deserved 6th place at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Photo Credit: Ryan Voth.

Question #4: Describe your favorite workout in your training program. Also, please share a ‘knowledge-bomb’ you have learned while training with Big Wheel Coaching.

RV: Structured workouts are tedious but beneficial, so I tolerate them because I want to earn the gains I’ve set out to achieve with Coach Brian.

Trying to incorporate these concepts and skills from our structured workouts in a group-ride setting has been very helpful for me.

Knowledge-bomb: It takes more than impulse to reach for the higher hanging fruit!

Coach Brian: Great knowledge-bomb Ryan, I like that! With Ryan (and with all our BWC Athletes) every workout has to have a real-world benefit. The workouts must be able to translate to improvements in the area of cycling the Athlete is striving for development in.

For Ryan, his enjoyment of group riding allows for so many great discussions on tactics, energy conservation, and group-dynamics, all of which are aimed at helping him get more from each training session and group-ride so that he can have the confidence and ability to excel in his upcoming races!

We hope that you have enjoyed reading about Ryan Voth’s first racing experience and all that he conquered to earn a well deserved top-ten placing!

The journey from bike commuter to lycra-wearing speedster has been quite the ride for Ryan, and as his passion for competition takes him into the racing element of the sport he, and anyone reading this article, is sure to benefit from the wisdom he shared above:

It takes more than impulse to reach for the higher hanging fruit!


Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!

-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching

05May 2017

As an endurance sport, cycling is superior to many other sports in the endurance genre because of its unique blend of man, machine, hard work, and adventure.

However, the notion that cycling is a group activity, although true, is not necessarily due to the social aspect that most riders enjoy. Instead, the reason that cycling is a group activity is because drafting on a bicycle allows the “multiplier-effect” to be in full-force.

Exactly what is the multiplier-effect?

The multiplier-effect is a rule you are already familiar with, it sates that the total power of any group of cyclists is greater than the sum of the individual cyclists riding in it. You’ve likely heard the saying that “the sum is greater than it’s parts,” referring to sports teams or successful businesses.

In cycling the multiplier-effect means that every rider in the group contributes more than just another pair of legs.

With this in mind, we have created the following list of Group Riding Skills & Rules Of The Road for anyone, new or skilled, to take note of, and practice.

Group riding is one of the most enjoyable aspect of cycling, following these simple rules is sure to make each ride with a group safe and enjoyable. Photo Credit: DeAnn Para.

Rule #1: Stay With The Group At All Times: Never Get Dropped!
This is not always the easiest advice, but it is the most important aspect of group riding!

A group of cyclists are not just more efficient than an individual rider, they are safer too. Cars and other ‘road-users’ are much more likely to be courteous and predictable around a group of cyclists rather than a lone-rider.

It is important to remember that at one point or another, every rider in the group will be tired and possibly suffering. In most instances it is better for that rider to work hard for a short period to stay with the group than suffer the consequences of having to ride the remainder of a 100-mile ride solo!

Again, stay with the group at all times, it’s the first and most important rule of group riding.

Rule #2: Always Be On A Good Wheel
Riding in a group is all about trust, each rider must relinquish a small amount of control of their destiny and entrust it to their fellow riders.

It is because of this that there is an unwritten rule in group riding, always be on the wheel of a predictable/safe rider, regardless of the speed, but especially on unknown roads and at a fast pace.

Besides being good business, this rule has a flip-side…see Rule #2a.

Rule #2a: It Is As Important To BE A Good Wheel As It Is To Be On A Good Wheel
Just as it is imperative to be on a ‘good’ wheel’ while riding in a group, it is important to BE a good wheel!

Being smooth to accelerate and brake, not being erratic, and otherwise helping the group be a predictable and safe environment for other riders makes you a ‘good’ wheel.

This should be the primary goal of every rider in the group.

Stronger riders pulling longer, not faster, is the name of the game in a group setting. Photo Credit: DeAnn Para.

Rule #3: Know Your Role, Everyone Adds Value
It is easy to think that the riders working in the pace-line or working at the front of the pack are the most important to the group.

Although there is truth in that statement, everyone in the group adds value and helps the group move along safely. An accurate illustration of this group dynamic is this; how effective are Santa’s Reindeer without a sleigh to pull or Santa to help guide them?

The moral here is that every rider in the group can add value by looking for road hazards, sharing a gel-packet, helping with a mechanical issue (if one arises), giving directions/guidance, or motivating another rider who is tired.

Rule #4: At All Times While In A Group, Ride As If Your Are Driving A Semi-Truck
The idea here is that Semi-Trucks up their speed slowly, brake early, and avoid quick maneuvers.

When riding in a group it is important to accelerate and brake smoothly and predictably. This is especially important as the speed goes up. The faster the group rides, the more predictable and aware everyone in the group must be.

That goes for those who are riding at the front as well as those who are in the draft. Again, everyone adds value!

Group riding is a team effort, think migrating birds, not swarming bees, this will serve you well out on the road. Photo Credit: DeAnn Para.

Rule #5: Keep Your Ego In Check, Group Riding Is A Team Effort:
Group riding is more like a flock of migrating birds, than a swarm of angry bees.

In the case of the swarming bees, each bee is only concerned about it’s individual needs and/or task, it is only through countless direction changes and course corrections that they do not collide into each other!

Migrating birds on the other hand, start their journey as a group, complete their adventure together, and share the workload along the way.

Basically, by working with the group, rather than resisting it, each rider is contributing to the groups goal of riding any given route as quickly as possible.

Don’t be the rider who thinks they can ride harder on their own, because that only works until you get tired, a group of cyclists is always faster than an individual rider on any terrain.

Group riding is arguably one of the most exciting and enjoyable aspects in the sport of cycling! The thrill of speeding down the road in a peloton of riders is simply exhilarating.

By following these simple rules we are confident that you will ride in a group more confidently and with less stress than ever before.

And what’s not to like about that?


Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!

-Brian and Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching

28Apr 2017

Big Wheel Coaching was founded with a mission to help Athletes – from entry-level to elite – achieve their best through individualized coaching guidance and purposeful training.

Over the years, that mission has expanded from personalized coaching to include presentations, clinics, and team gatherings designed to teach skills and otherwise develop the abilities of groups of Athletes looking to achieve their best.

Goal Setting with the Big Bear Cycling Association started with an in-depth powerpoint presentation as well as an accompanying worksheet to help Athletes work through the goal setting process. Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch

This month we had the opportunity to give a Goal Setting presentation to the Big Bear Cycling Association in the first installment of their 2017 Education Series. This Education Series event was designed to help BBCA Members develop, outline, and plan their 2017 season goals.

Our Goal Setting presentation opened with an understanding of the importance in developing challenging goals that will push folks beyond their comfort-zone. From there, we shared specific strategies to help members create a “plan of attack” to achieve their goals.

We concluded the process with a discussion centered on the notion that adversity and set-backs are bound to happen and that it is how we respond to this adversity that most heavily influences our ability to achieve stated goals.

All of this was intended to give BBCA Members the tools, skills, and motivation to push through adversity in order to achieve their best in 2017!

Beyond the enjoyment we had discussing each of the members goals, the real power of this presentation was how it encouraged community through the shared goal-setting experience. As members revealed their goals, it was discovered that other riders in the club had been in similar situations or worked to accomplish comparable goals.

For the BBCA, Goal Setting was a participation sport, with plenty of discussion and the sharing of ideas to help each member achieve their stated goal. Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch

Some members had achieved their previous goals, while others had fallen short. Regardless of previous outcomes, by opening-up and sharing their goals and experiences, it brought members closer together in order to better support one another in their endeavor to make 2017 a break-through season.

Goals ranged from getting back to cycling on a regular basis following an injury, to riding a first 100-miler, and on to accomplishing a personal-best time at a goal event such as the Tour de Big Bear in August. Each goal was sincere, powerful, and motivating to the Athlete, which immediately improved their chances of accomplishing the goal!

We are very excited to have had the opportunity to share our experience and perspective on the Goal Setting Process with the Big Bear Cycling Association and are excited to follow their progress as they work toward their goals!

Coach Joy brings her extensive racing experience and personal flair to the pages of Redlands Magazine on behalf of the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Photo Credit: Redlands Magazine.

April Bonus News: Redlands Magazine Taps Coach Joy For An Article About The Redlands Bicycle Classic

The 33rd Annual Redlands Bicycle Classic begins next week (May 3rd-7th), and for Southern California Cyclists, this is as big as bike racing gets (outside of the Tour of California).

This year, publishers of Redlands Magazine were looking for someone to write an article from an ‘insiders’ perspective that would build excitement about the long standing Redlands institution known as, “The Classic”.

We are excited to share that Coach Joy answered the call and authored a great piece for the Spring 2017 edition of Redlands Magazine. To read the article in its entirety follow the link below. Enjoy!


BWC looks forward to seeing you on the road in May!


Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, And Have Fun!

Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching

21Apr 2017

The Warrior’s Society Vision Quest Endurance MTB Race in Southern California is something of a right of passage for anyone looking to bolster their Endurance MTB Racing credentials.

The race features 11,000’+ of elevation gain in a staggering 60-mile route profile that will leave even the most proficient climbers looking for appropriate training grounds.

For Chris Hill, Vision Quest was more than just an event on the calendar, it was his first major target in a season full of races.

While any edition of this event is sure to epic, the 2017 version was something special, as an early morning rain-storm made trail conditions sloppy and tested every Athletes mettle. Just finishing on this day could be considered a victory!

After finishing on the podium, earning a hard-fought third place, we caught up with Chris Hill about his race and what lies ahead in his 2017 season in this weeks BWC Athlete Profile. Enjoy!

Chris Hill completed select prep-events leading into his big goal of Vision Quest and his hard work paid off with a podium result! Photo Credit: Chris Hill

Athlete Bio:
Primary Sport/Discipline: MTB/Road & Road Cycling
Average Hours of Training Per Week: 12-15hrs
Upcoming Goals: Grizzly 100Km Endurance MTB Race

Question #1: Congratulations on an excellent Vision Quest Endurance MTB Race, Chris! You battled through some pretty epic conditions, tell us how you landed on the podium?

Chris Hill: Vision Quest was epic this year!

The official race write-up from the promoter said it was one of the two hardest years on record. The light rain that came down early the morning of the race made trail conditions very difficult.

Due to recently graded fire-roads the fine layer of dust turned into cake-batter with the rain. Twenty-minutes into the race the entire lead group was walking our bikes through the mud! As the day continued we battled cold temperatures, slick descents, and clogged drive trains.

All-in-all, it was consistent pacing on the climbs and cautious descending that helped me get on the podium. I saved enough energy on the second climb to actually be able to “race” on the third climb (even though there are many spots too steep to ride).

Saving my energy for what I knew was going to be a long-day paid off with a podium result, I was third overall!

Coaches Perspective/Coach Brian: Vision Quest was Chris Hill’s first big goal of the season and he performed beyond expectations! When we did his post-race debrief, what I was most proud of was how he handled all the adversity he faced during the event.

From numb hands to mud-covered glasses, and even some nutrition challenges, Chris battled all day. This persistence paid off as he was able to catch and pass a rider on the final climb of the day to claim third overall. By pacing himself well, he had the energy to race hard for the final two-hours, which is hard to do in a six-hour event!

A podium performance at the Orange County HUNK’R was an unexpected result given it was Chris Hill’s first road racing event. Photo Credit: Chris Hill

Question #2: Prior to Vision Quest you tried your hand at a new type of road event called The HUNK’R. You scored a nice podium result there too. What was your impression of that event and racing on the road?

CH: The Orange County HUNK’R was my first road bike race. Having done mostly multi-sport and MTB races as an Endurance Athlete, I was a bit intimidated going into HUNK’R.

The race was very cool. It’s based on a new concept of mass-start racing, each race features 100Km race-distances with prize money 20 deep. The total prize purse was $10,000.00, so the race attracted some very serious riders from all over the SoCal and even out of the area.

Not knowing what to expect I tried to stay with the main group as long as I could. I discovered how mentally and physically challenging road racing can be. I also learned how awesome it is to “sit-on” in a big group speeding down the road or trying to bridge back to the peloton after getting dropped.

Coach Brian: I was really excited when Chris decided to do the Orange County HUNK’R event. Even though he is not a ‘roadie’ per-se, he does a large majority of his training on his road bike. He especially loves his local group ride the Tuesday Morning World Championships (TMWC for short).

Leading into HUNK’R we discussed drafting, positioning, and the intensity of effort that would be required at various moments to stay with the peloton.

I think it is pretty obvious to see from his 3rd place result that he excelled in this type of racing. I am sure that means more road events will be coming up on his race calendar.

Question #3: What is one of your long-term cycling goals? And what is next on your cycling ‘to do’ list?

CH: My long-term goal is to keep learning, discovering, and getting better.  Whether it’s on the road, MTB, or through multi-sport, my goal is to be fit enough to race, have fun, and be in contention at any race I do.

I have a busy race season planned this year. I’ll be giving the Kenda XC Endurance series a try, I’ll do the next HUNK’R in the fall, and shoot for a good result at the Grizzly 100Km MTB in Big Bear in September.

Coach Brian: Chris definitely has a full schedule of events this season and it started with a great performance at Vision Quest!

With endurance MTB goals it is always a delicate balance to develop the appropriate level of fitness to compete in six and eight-hour races with the intensity required to feel strong.

Luckily, Chris is a student of the game, and has a great deal of enthusiasm to back-up his intense work ethic. This combined with his fierce determination makes him a stiff competitor in any event he signs up for!

There were numerous hike-a-bike sections at the 2017 Vision Quest that had to be navigated, which made this already grueling event even more challenging. Photo Credit: Chris Hill

Question #4: Describe your favorite workout in your training program, also, please share a ‘knowledge-bomb’ you have learned while training with Big Wheel Coaching.

CH: My favorite workout is my 1-hour Friday recovery ride. Ha, just kidding!

 Although that is probably the one I look forward to the most, my favorite ride is what I call my mid-week power ride. I do this Wednesday morning ride of 2-2:30 hours using power protocol. Coach Brian mixes up this ride from week to week. It’s usually some type of interval holding a certain wattage (4x5mins, or 2x10mins with accelerations every 2mins, etc.).

Whatever the protocol, I always know its going to hurt, which is why its my favorite! I believe it’s this mid-week ride that has contributed to the biggest gains in my fitness.

For a knowledge-bomb, I found out early-on in the training process the difference between “riding” and “working out”. Riding with purpose (to get faster, hit prescribed numbers, and sustain high-level power outputs) makes the ride have meaning. I have discovered that when I find meaning in what I do, I tend to see results.

Coach Brian: Wow, I would not have guessed that Chris’ favorite workout was any of the Wednesday smash-fest interval workouts that I prescribe for him. That’s good to know!

These Wednesday protocols are very purposeful and focus on the specific efforts that will help Chris achieve success in his upcoming events. These workouts are not just about big power, they are about changing pace, developing neuromuscular strength, and otherwise simulating the conditions he is likely to face at the races.

And as Chris explained, once he sees the purpose and benefit in it all, doing the hard-work becomes that much easier. It’s a win-win for both parties, and I couldn’t be more proud of his progress and performances!

We hope that you have enjoyed reading about Chris Hill’s Vision Quest success as much has we have enjoyed sharing it!

Through consistent training that is focused on event targets, goal-crushing fitness and success can be achieved. From the coaching perspective, event-specific training is about more than just specific workouts, it is about skill-development and building a swath of experience that the Athlete can draw upon at their event to maximize the fitness they have worked so hard to achieve!

It’s a recipe that is sure to see you achieve your highest potential.


Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!

-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching