A Sign Of Success To Come Following The Team Tactics & Race Strategy Training Camp: 4-Questions With Paul Chia
Paul Chia has been a competitive road cyclist for many years, racing in the ultra-competitive SoCal road and criterium scene.
Having recently earned his Category 1 upgrade (the highest distinction possible for a non-pro racer), Paul has been working diligently, each year, to refine his ‘race-craft’ and achieve success at the races.
That is why when we announced the Team Tactics & Race Strategy Training Camp, Paul was one of the first riders to say he would be there!
The three-day training camp was about far more than fitness.
It was almost entirely dedicated to helping every rider learn the strategic and tactical elements of racing necessary to get results all season long.
And we are excited to say that it didn’t take long for Paul to apply the lessons learned from camp!
He sprinted to a spectacular 3rd place finish in Sunday’s CBR Series Opener Criterium.
The event coincided with Day #3 of our training camp and offered our Athletes a chance to apply the principles learned with the support and guidance of our coaches before and after the race.
With Paul’s success fresh on his mind, we asked him to answer a few questions about the camp as well as his racing goals for this weeks BWC Athlete Profile. Enjoy!
Primary Sport/Discipline: Road Cycling
Average Hours of Training Per Week: 12-14hrs
Upcoming Goals: The San Dimas Stage Race
Paul Chia has been a "student of the game", so to speak, in his cycling for many years and loves to race as much as he can. Photo Credit: TRU Cycling
Question #1: You were very ‘scrappy’ in the Masters 45+ race at the CBR Series Opener Criterium, scoring a hard-fought 3rd place finish against some big teams. How did the race play out for you?
Paul Chia:From the gun there were relentless attacks and break-aways, it was an aggressive race!
I was attentive to anything that could be dangerous, which put me into a couple of solid break-aways, but each time the peloton reeled us back.
Being the first race of the year, and with a few new teams and faces in the peloton, the bunch was very motivated to keep the race together, meaning it was very likely to be a sprint finish.
After about 30 minutes of racing, I followed another dangerous break-away. I could feel that the peloton had a lot of momentum and the anticipation of a sprint was building, so decided to sit-up and wait for the group.
It was time to ready myself for the sprint.
That turned out to be a smart move as that break-away was quickly caught.
During the last 5-laps I tried to fight my way through the pack toward the front and onto the big teams lead-out trains.
There was a lot of chaos in the peloton with various teams wrestling for control of the front. Because there was so many big teams and not a lot of room, I took what I could in regards to position.
Going into the last turn I was somewhere around 10th wheel, a very good position coming into the headwind sprint down the home-straight.
From the corner I maintained good momentum and followed the wheels.
I had a good “kick” and accelerated around many of the riders that were falling-away to grab 3rd place in the 45+!
Note: This race is a combined peloton of 45+ and 50+ racers, making the race very complex as there are many teams and riders in each category vying for the podium.
I am very pleased with the result from Sunday, especially knowing this is the first race of the season. I hope this is a sign of good things to come!
Coaches Perspective/Coach Brian: This was an exciting race to watch and I was so happy to see Paul sprint his way onto the podium!
Being on a smaller team, Paul had to cover numerous dangerous moves that came early in the race, which sapped precious energy. All to often this is the kiss-of-death for riders on smaller teams as they deplete their energy reserves before the race has solidified.
One thing we discussed at the Team Tactics & Race Strategy Training Camp was sprint timing.
On Day #2 we worked on ‘timing’ the sprint to help each rider understand when they could go all-out to the line without slowing.
We did this so that each rider would then be able to identify what positioning they needed to jockey-for should the race finish in a sprint.
Obviously Paul took this lesson to heart and made the most of it!
He is a pretty ‘handy’ sprinter anyway, but with the confidence in knowing the position he should hold going into the final corner, Paul could follow attacks during the race and still be competitive in the sprint.
Well done Paul!
Paul Chia sprinted to 3rd place in a very challenging and aggressive race at the CBR Series Opener Criterium in the Master 45+ category. Photo Credit: California Bicycle Racing
Question #2: At the Team Tactics & Race Strategy Training Camp we did “on the bike” work as well as video study sessions on sprint timing, positioning, and tactics. Did any of this help you find your way to the podium on Sunday at CBR?
PC:Yes, it helped tremendously!
I learned how to better position myself and time my sprint optimally. The tips helped me to read the course and field properly.
Coach Brian: One of my favorite components of a training camp like we hosted is that we get to work one-on-one with every Athlete to help them bolster their weaknesses and maximize their strengths.
For Paul this meant working through the various tactical considerations for what we call, “under-dog sprinting”. That is, navigating a sprint without the benefit of a full lead-out train or teammates.
In essence, we wanted to teach our riders how to be opportunists!
Having recently received his Category 1 upgrade, the highest level possible for road racing, Paul could easily think that there is nothing more to learn as a racer…
But that would be far from the truth!
Instead, Paul remains a “student of the game”, working to build his fitness and hone his tactical approach to racing.
I know I can speak for all of us at BWC when I say it was incredible to work with Paul and his CBS Cycling/DNA Racing teammates at our camp!
As the owner and lead technician at CBS Cycling in Santa Clarita, Paul Chia has had his share of "off the bike" awards to go along with his recent Category 1 upgrade. Photo Credit: Paul Chia.
Question #3: As a newly ‘minted’ Category 1 Road Racer, you are still learning and working to improve your skills. What is something you learned from the Team Tactics & Race Strategy Training Camp that you can use all season at the races?
PC:I can use everything we learned in every race of the season!
What made a particular impression on me was the methods we learned to “do my homework” before an event.
Now I have better tools to evaluate the critical aspects of a course and to research who will be my competition at a race.
Coach Brian: “Doing your homework” is a concept we go through with all our BWC Athletes regardless of the size or type of event.
We think it’s an often over-looked element of coaching, mainly because it is far easier to focus solely on the fitness aspect of preparation.
In reality, there comes a point when no more physical improvement can be attained before an event.
That is when the best way to positively influence your chances of success is by researching the course, the competition, the weather, and anything else that might be useful to know during the event.
At the Team Tactics & Race Strategy Training Camp we helped each Athlete develop their best strategy by fully understanding their strengths and weaknesses as well as likely event outcomes, so they were as prepared as possible to capitalize on each scenario.
Paul Chia and his CBS/DNA Racing Teammates are known for their pink team colors that can be easily picked out of a crowd! Photo Credit: Ken Vietzke
Question #4: What is one of your biggest cycling objectives for this season and what events are you most excited about?
PC:I want to win a race!!!
My main goal for this season is to win a race. In truth, that is what brought me to the Team Tactics & Race Strategy Training Camp.
I want to give myself every opportunity to achieve that goal this year and knew the camp would help me work toward achieving that goal.
I have been close to a win in the past, but I have always been missing something…
I should also say that I am looking forward to racing with my teammates at CBS/DNA Racing this season!
My first target of the season is next weekend at the Santa Barbara Road Race, a hard, circuit-style, road race that is usually brutalized by cross-winds.
After that I am focusing on the San Dimas Stage Race, the various Rosena Ranch Circuit Race events throughout the year, the entire CBR series, and The Sea Otter Classic in NorCal. It’s going to be a great season!
Coach Brian: I am so excited to hear that Paul has a full season of racing ahead and plenty of opportunities to achieve his goal of winning a race.
My guess is that following up on all that we worked through at the Team Tactics & Race Strategy Training Camp, Paul’s first win is not far off.
And if there is one thing history has taught us about winning, it is that winning is a habit… meaning that once you do it once, subsequent wins are easier to achieve!
We hope you have enjoyed reading about Paul Chia’s racing success in his first race of the 2019 season as a part of the Team Tactics & Race Strategy Training Camp.
We enjoyed working directly with each rider that attended our camp as it was our sole focus to help each of them make 2019 their best season yet!
And for anyone who missed out on our Training Camp, know that a 2.0 version is already in the works!
So, stay-tuned to our social media channels for an announcement about future BWC events that can help you maximize your event-day performances.
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
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