The Fall and Winter are traditionally considered to be offseason for most disciplines in cycling, but in Southern California, this time of year is when the SoCal Time-Trial series and offseason XC MTB racing heats up!
Recently the three-round Triple Crown XC MTB Series wrapped-up with Klayton Sproles winning his category in each of the three races.
He managed this while adding a few of SoCal Time-Trial Series 20KM events to his ‘off’ weekends.
Having been out of the MTB scene for over ten-years, Klayton was surprised by his success and thankful to see that his off-road skills were not too rusty!
Following his win in the final round of the Triple Crown MTB Series we caught up with Klayton for this weeks BWC Athlete Profile, enjoy!
The Triple Crown MTB Series In SoCal featured three technical MTB courses, each of which Klayton won. Photo Credit: Triple Crown MTB Series
Primary Sport/Discipline: Road Cycling & MTB Racing
Average Hours of Training Per Week: 8-14hrs.
Upcoming Goals: The Leadville Trail 100 & Masters National Championships
Question #1: Congratulations on sweeping the three-round Triple Crown XC MTB Series, Klayton! Being your first MTB races in over ten-years, were you expecting this success? Do you have any event highlights from these races?
Klayton Sproles:Thank you!
I was expecting to get my butt handed to me since I have been out of the MTB scene for so long. And everyone knows racing in So Cal is fast, regardless of the discipline!
The highlight for me, from the three-rounds of racing, was being welcomed back into the MTB community.
At the races there is great camaraderie amongst all the competitors!
Coaches Perspective/Coach Brian: I am very excited for Klayton and proud of him for winning each round of the SoCal Triple Crown MTB Series.
Although Klayton was unsure of his fitness, I had confidence in his preparation and knew that, as a tenacious competitor he would “rise to the occasion”.
What made the success even more exciting was the knowledge that leading into each race we developed a specific plan that Klayton executed perfectly every time!
Question #2: Besides XC MTB Racing, this offseason you have been racing the SoCal TT Series. How are you balancing training for both 20KM time-trials and cross-country MTB racing?
KS:In my personal opinion, the two disciplines complement each other very well.
I love both types of racing, so it is fairly easy for me to stay focused and motivated for each event.
For the most part, I just look at my schedule to see if a race works, then I do it! I know it is tough on my coach to fit it all in while still having an eye toward 2019, but we make it happen.
Coach Brian: Racing Time-Trials and XC MTB events may be similar in the notion that both are “flat-out” efforts, but each require their own specific type of fitness in order to be proficient.
For MTB racing, it’s a “wide-open” form of racing that requires repeated above threshold efforts. While time-trialing requires an Athlete to hold the highest possible steady-state output over the race course.
So there is your dichotomy, short violent off-road efforts vs. steady-state lactate-buffering in an aerodynamic tuck!
Thankfully, Klayton has been consistently training for many years so his aerobic engine is well developed.
This means he can handle the workload of adding intense discipline-specific workouts to his weekly training routine.
The podium was full of smiles and even a furry friend at the SoCal Triple Crown MTB Series! Photo Credit: The SoCal Triple Crown MTB Series
Question #3: What are your biggest cycling objectives for next season and what events are you most excited about preparing for?
KS:I have two major goals for 2019:
#1: Masters National Time-Trial Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
#2: The Leadville Trail 100 MTB race in Leadville, Colorado.
I am having a blast riding my MTB at the moment and am really excited about the opportunity to compete at Leadville!
As for Masters National Championships, I must admit that I am a tad nervous. I really want to have a great performance there, but know that the competition will be fierce.
Coach Brian: Both of Klayton’s 2019 goals are in Colorado, which poses an interesting challenge since he lives very close to sea-level and both events take place at altitude.
With that in mind we are already discussing various ways to adapt to the thin-air and help him be in the best shape possible for both events.
Luckily there is still plenty of time as both events take place in the late-summer.
This allows us to build Klayton’s fitness in a robust way before his major targets.
Klayton enjoyed the low-key and fun atmosphere of the MTB races. Photo Credit: The SoCal Triple Crown MTB Series
Question #4: What is/are your favorite workout(s) in your training program? Also, please share a ‘knowledge-bomb’ you have learned while training with BWC.
KS:My favorite workout is definitely the “soft pedal” days that Coach Brian prescribes from time to time.
And I also love motor pacing!
It’s so hard, but gets me in shape quick!
As for a knowledge-bomb, one thing I struggled with in the past is communicating regularly and adequately with my Coach.
Over the years I have had a more than a few Coaches, all with different backgrounds and using different training methodologies, some good, some not so much.
Coach Brian and I talk regularly, I work to tell him everything I can about my training rides and the races I do.
He encourages this communication, as it helps him see the whole picture of what is going on, and over time I have seen the improvements from it!
So the moral is, trust your coach, do the work, and it will pay off!
Coach Brian: That is a perfect illustration of the dichotomy of training stimulus!
Most Athletes can benefit immensely by simply riding VERY easy and VERY hard.
Sure there are more layers to it, but at it’s core, that is one training principle that is quite simple.
In regards to communication, that is such a critical element of the Coach/Athlete relationship.
Detailed communication is important, despite all the data available to us these days, it is the feelings and experiences of the Athlete being coached that are most critical to guide them to success!
Despite all the suffering out on course, Klayton made time to smile for the camera! Photo Credit: The SoCal Triple Crown MTB Series
We hope you have enjoyed reading about Klayton Sproles Triple Crown MTB success as much has we have enjoyed sharing it!
Although the Fall and Winter is considered the “offseason” for most cycling disciplines, there are still a number of great events (especially if you are a cyclocross racer) that can keep your fitness suitably sharp to keep training fresh and fun.
You might have to look off-road or consider time-trialing as Klayton has, but who knows, it might end up that your two biggest season goals come from it!
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
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