My 2014 season retrospective

In the large picture my 2014 season was a radical departure for me; from the typical road/mountain training to the esoteric specialty of track sprinting. This new focus resulted in my best-ever season!

The big change last year was that I shifted back to periodized training for 2013, with a ton of help from Steve Heaton, which gave me my best season since 2007. So I have now continued with periodization in 2014 (and will for 2015 too) as it's hard to argue with the better results. I no longer believe consistent, year-round, unvaried training makes sense for anybody. Too many experts will tell us so, and my own experience argues in favor of them.

My better results at the track over the previous few seasons convinced me that concentrating on track racing was a move in the right direction, and that doing so even more for 2014 would be an exciting change. And to focus even more on my now-known strength as a sprinter; a direction I started going in 2013, but have now embraced fully. 

But I was very uncertain how to train specifically for track sprinting. In the past my races lasted between 40 minutes and 3 hours; now my longest priority race is under 1 minute! I had read tons of posts by cycling coaching authorities shooting down any cycling benefits from weight-lifting. But all of them were coaching for typical types of racing (endurance), not for track sprinting. I needed an expert to help me negotiate these unknown waters, and I knew weight-lifting was likely going to be a big part of my training. Even though I was initially skeptical that lifting weights would make me any faster. 

So I made the big change and hired a real coach, Jeff Solt. He has helped me tremendously in what is uncharted territory for me (and not the subject of specific scientific studies). In the past I either self-coached, or followed Mark Edwards' team workouts (for 5 years, with no significant change in my power).

But I started last fall by working with our very own Ed Price, a Certified Personal Trainer. We focused on light weights, with lots of reps. Then we progressed to heavier weights over a few months. 

In January I agreed to have Jeff coach me, and in February I started working out at Mike Bodge's gym, Capitola Fitness, as Ed didn't have all of the equipment I'd need. Jeff also had me do various on-bike workouts, from rolling- and standing-starts in various gears, often on my track bike, to moderate tempo road-rides. 

I guess 'the proof is in the pudding.' All of these changes bore fruit, even over my great 2013 season:
  • Set new personal best standing-start 500 m individual time trial (37.2 seconds vs 38.67 in 2013).
  • Set new personal best flying-200 m individual time trial (12.04 seconds vs 12.26 in 2013). 
  • Set new personal best first (standing-start 335 m) lap in team sprints (25.47 seconds).
  • Set new personal best peak power (1402 watts vs 1391 in 2009; this may not seem like much, but I'm 53 years old now!). 
While I did race a little on the road, my only 2014 road win was at a CCCX circuit race, plus a few other podiums. The rest was mediocre, plus a couple DNFs. I expected this, as my training no longer makes any effort to prepare me for that. But I was able to improve my track results, with a Masters State Championship gold and two silvers, plus an Elite State Championship bronze.

My training seems to be helping, and I hadn't really approached my potential in weights at the time I set these PBs. During this off-season I'm focusing on gaining strength, as all of the signs support that direction, and I'd be surprised if I don't get further improvements. 

I'm looking forward to the 2015 season!