USA Cycling Coaching Summit Recap

USA Cycling Coaching Summit Recap

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the 2012 USA Cycling Coaching Summit and their brand new Conference Center at the USA Cycling Headquarters. This is a bi-annual conference to expose the USA Cycling coaches to current topics to help keep them on the cutting edge of what’s going on in the sport. Some pretty big names were there – I’ll tell you about them in a bit.

The summit took place over three days and was packed with information. Here’s a brief recap from the weekend.

Friday 10/12: The talks today were mainly focused on the latest news from the USA Cycling organization. The CEO, Steve Johnson gave a nice overview of how the organization came to be what it is today, so I had a really good history lesson. Kevin Dessart explained some of the changes that are going to take place in the certification process (namely that they are moving to specialties, as there are a lot of cycling disciplines contained within USA Cycling.) Jim Miller explained athletic pathways; Larry Nolan gave some good info about regional talent ID camps. Chris Snyder of the USOC explained how they were moving to utilize new technologies to make resources available to the coaches of all the national governing bodies (NGBs).

One interesting topic that was briefly covered, as it was (is) hot news, was the USADA decision on the doping investigation that was made public just a day or two prior to the conference. To summarize Steve Johnson, he said it was our responsibility as coaches to not form opinions on emotion or what we read in media reports, but to read the USADA Reasoned Decision, and more importantly, the rider affidavits. He also let us know USA Cycling is simply the enforcer of the punishments (in reference to the 6 month suspensions the riders got), but they did not write the sentences.

The day finished with a ribbon cutting/champagne toast to the new conference facility and a reception catered by Salsa Brava. I had a good time chatting with some of the TrainingPeaks staff who made it down for the event, as well as a very animated cardiologist.

Saturday, 10/13: Today’s schedule was jam-packed. Talks started every hour and went 50 minutes with a 10 minute break to allow us to switch conference rooms if we needed to. This was also the first conference I took all my notes electronically, through a program called Evernote. I think this way (notes are searchable) it will make my review and follow up of things I learned a little easier than if it was all in a hand written notebook. I went from learning about the changes in physiology of masters athletes to how women need different training approaches due to hormone levels. From what the USADA is doing to help keep athletes better educated on supplements, to an educational talk on Para Cycling from Mike Durner.

Lunch was provided by TrainingPeaks, and I got to meet a twitter friend, Richard La China. There were some software tutorials by Melissa Schwartz on TrainingPeaks and by Hunter Allen on WKO+. Oh, and we got free TrainingPeaks socks. Gotta love free socks!

After lunch the entire groups were combined for the afternoon sessions – BodyGeometry fit by Specialized and insights into the TT position from Todd Carver of Retul. These might have been better as choice sessions, but still interesting to see that even WorldTour level pro cyclists can get as far as they do without a proper fit.

The final talk of the afternoon was from Jamie Staff, who is redesigning our national track sprinting program to try to bring it to the next level. Some interesting takeaways from this are the demands of BMX riders can often translate to track sprinting, and track sprinters should be able to get to 250rpm. Wow. (See my post from today about my RPM revelation.)

The evening social was at the SRM service center, which is a pretty neat facility! I’d been there once before for a WMBA talk, and one of my WMBA friends works for them and was helping with the event. They gave away more socks!

Sunday, 10/14: Today was a half-day, and I started the day with a tough decision. See Allen Lim talk about the science of nutrition, or Neal Henderson (coach of Taylor Phinney and many other elites) talk about high performance coaching. I opted for Neal’s talk and one of the key things in his talk validated my Triathlon Success Strategies product development. After a talk on business culture from Kozo Shimano (yep, that Shimano) and some interesting data on athletes’ hearts, including video of ultrasounds of healthy and not so healthy hearts.

You can imagine by the end of the weekend we were all pretty drained! But to sit near big names like Hunter Allen and Neal Henderson and to meet other coaches and share experiences and have discussions on coaching best practices, was fantastic. I learned quite a bit and applying what I have learned will only make me a better coach. Now please excuse me while I have a bowl of grape-nuts.

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Nicole Odell

nicole@neoendurancesports.com

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