Coached To New Levels of Success

Reprint of cycling column from New England Sports Magazine

The age-old saying “it’s just like riding a bike” implies that once you’ve learned to ride, it is difficult to forget. But those who aspire to higher levels of cycling will tell you that there is always something more to learn about riding a bike. Just ask John Grenier.

Grenier starting riding seriously at the age of 32 and quickly got the racing bug. He performed well in a variety of races, including time trials, road races, and criteriums. Over the next few years Grenier kept working hard to improve his skills and performance but got stuck at Category 3 level racing despite his strong natural talent. “I was fairly strong but once we got to the end of the race I was rarely in a position to win or be a factor in the finish,” explained Grenier. “As a 3 I was pretty much pack fodder.”

At the advice of a teammate, Grenier hired coach Adam Myerson. Myerson is a professional cyclist, coach and founder Cycle Smart Solutions for Cycling (www.cycle-smart.com). Myerson brought clarity to the situation and results followed quickly as Grenier’s true potential was unleashed.

Myerson customized a program that was in balance with Grenier’s lifestyle as an older racer with serious personal commitments as a small business owner (Grenier runs a bike shop, Rainbow Bicycle & Fitness in Auburn, Maine), husband and father. “I didn’t need him setting his alarm clock for 4 AM so he could get in 2 hours of training before getting the kids ready for school,” explained Myerson. Instead, Myerson led Grenier through a non-traditional approach to periodization based around his personal restrictions. “We focused on doing a lot of hours in the fall when he had time to do 20 hours per week…He gets to the holiday season really, really fit but not race fit,” explained Myerson. Grenier can then take a break from training around the holidays when the shop is busy and then build up for early season races in March and April.

Grenier wasn’t used to this approach which focused so heavily on base training and he was skeptical in the beginning. “I can remember starting the program and immediately thinking it was too easy… I always liked to train hard and I thought easy days were a sign of weakness. Adam had to teach me to put my ego in my back pocket and let weaker riders drop me when it didn’t suit my training.” Grenier stuck with the program and the very next season he won his first Category 3 race and accomplished a long held goal of upgrading to a Category 2 racer.

In addition to a more sophisticated training program, Myerson helped Grenier to focus on his personal strengths to select and ride races more strategically. This has led to higher levels of success and they now work toward even loftier goals for Grenier. “We’re focusing on Masters Nationals,” explained Myerson, “he’s a national caliber racer.”

Many serious riders are willing to dedicate lots of time and money to achieve their goals, but Grenier is often surprised that the value of coaching is missed by so many. Grenier explains, “It’s funny how a guy will drop $5,000 on a bike without a moments hesitation but will balk at spending a quarter of that on a coach, even when they know for sure that they would get more out of a coach.”

 

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