Lodge – Outdoor Adventures
Granby, CO Colorado
As bike season approaches and athletes in the community prepare for bike events and races such as Ride the Rockies and the Winter Park Mountain Bike Race Series, I want to share some bike training tips. I met with Steve Stalgren, a local USA Level 3 bike coach for road and mountain bikers, to discuss training and racing.
Steve and his family moved to Grand County in November but know the county well since frequently vacationing and Nordic ski racing at the YMCA and Devil’s Thumb while living in the Front Range. He has been bike racing since he was 21 and last summer raced the USA Cycling MTB National Championships in the cross country division for the Cat I, 40-45 age group. He hopes to qualify for the championship race again this year in an upcoming race.
This winter he stayed in shape by Nordic skiing and racing in Grand County. He raced against all his biking buddies.
“The 40-45 age group in road and mountain biking and Nordic racing is very competitive; and it’s been like this for the last 20 years,” he says.
Why do bikers need a coach?
“Athletes realize that they aren’t doing enough. If you don’t know how to train or you get busy and only have so much time to train, a coach can put together workouts to make you a better biker. I will ask clients, Do you want to just finish or do you want to finish at the top of your age group? If you want to be at the top of your age group, a coach can help you achieve that.”
Do you discuss mental training with your clients?
“Mental training is important. When you can visualize a descent or climb, you prepare for the course, and feel good during it. In any type of biking from road and mountain bike racing, to 24 hour racing, you need to visualize your ride, and not panic. If you think about panicking, you will. When things go badly, bikers need to remember to relax; that’s why you need to learn mental training. You have to repeat positive words and encourage yourself that you are doing well. I only talk about mental training if an athlete wants it. Not all clients are interested. Some people are just not into the mental aspect of training. Some do well, and some do not.”
Who can benefit from a coach?
“An athlete who wants to get better but doesn’t know how to, or an athlete who has been trying for years to get better and just can’t. Hiring a coach can keep you accountable to a plan.”
We discuss recovery as an often overlooked part of training. Steve says, “Every athlete needs to train hard and have a recovery week. My recovery week includes no biking or an easy ride, or hiking. There are no races on a rest week either. It also helps to have a mental break.”
Now at age 41, with 20 years of racing under his belt, Steve still trains hard, races when he can, and often will bike with his wife, Erin, a personal trainer at Never Summer Fitness. He admits he is competitive: “It’s fun to win, and my inner wiring says I have to be the best.”
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