Interview with Lynda Wallenfels of LWCoaching.com

ALWs announced back in November, IMBCS is proud of one of our first official partnerships for the 2015 season with Lynda Wallenfels of LW Coaching. Lynda agreed to partner with IMBCS by participating in an interview for our website to discuss the merits of mountain bike racing for all levels from fist timer, to beginner, to seasoned veteran racers!

Lynda Wallenfels is one of the most respected mountain bike coaches in the world who had a very successful international racing career before and after becoming a naturalized US citizen in 2000. She is a regular contributor to Velo News, Active.com, mtbracenews.com, XXC magazine, Mountain Flyer, TrainingPeaks.com, and Bikepackers Magazine. She has excellent training plans available for our IMBCS participants ranging from 1st time racers all the way to seasoned endurance junkies. I urge everyone interested to take advantage of Lynda’s excellent training plans, and coaching abilities. She is a kindred soul, a joy to speak with, and a welcome addition to the IMBCS family. Join me in personally thanking and welcoming Lynda and LW Coaching!

http://lwcoaching.com/

Now on to the interview with Lynda…

Bruce: Lynda, first of all, I would like to thank you for partnering with IMBCS for 2015. I know we have a wide variety of racers and abilities who are all eager to hear what you have to say about your training plans, as well as being pointed in the right direction to a plan, or a stack of plans, at your website that would be the best fit for their individual needs. So why don’t we start with a background question. When did you first start racing mountain bikes, and perhaps you could tells us about some of the most important highlights of your professional racing career?

Lynda: It sounds like you have lot of excitement and momentum with your State MTB series. Your racers are lucky to have such a well-run series to take advantage of this season.

I did my first mountain bike race when I was 19 years old. I am now 45 so that tallies up to 26 years of racing – wow! Over that time period I won six national championships and a silver medal at a world championship event. I have raced everything from short track to cross-country, downhill, 100 milers, 24 hour solos and bikepacking 300+ mile events. These titles are a drop in the bucket of great cycling moments I have collected. Some of the most memorable events in my book have been smaller local events promoted and raced with heart among friends.

Bruce: That’s an impressive, wonderful career to say the least, Lynda. Here in Iowa we have many mountain bike riders in the state who are potential participants in racing. That includes youth, young families, women and men who are on the fence about jumping in to try a race. This question targets that potential group because for whatever reason, they may be afraid to dip their toe in the racing water so to speak. In your experience over the years of racing your mountain bike and coaching others to ride their best, why should one consider racing a mountain bike? What suggestions would you have to those who may find themselves holding back, and not participating for whatever reason to give it a try?

Lynda: Riding mountain bikes is a fun recreational outlet for many. We all enjoy being rewarded with fitness and skill improvements in our riding no matter what our starting level is. Racing encourages improvement and provides motivation to take it to the next level. A great way for new riders to get into racing is to volunteer for a race first to watch and learn how everything works. Then they can more confidently strap on their helmet and race the next one. A first timers program of “volunteer one race, get one free” is a program that has had positive results in other leagues I have worked with.

Bruce: That’s a really good idea that I don’t think any of us at IMBCS have thought of up to this point. If a potential rider who has not yet participated in a race is out there reading this, what do they need to do to prepare themselves to try a race?

Lynda: For your very first race, sign up, wear a helmet and gloves, learn the rules then give it a go. Don’t worry about being first or last, just go out there and have fun and see what it is all about. Enjoy being a first timer! Volunteering at a prior race is a great way to be involved and observe how everything works.

Bruce: You may be setting off a trend at raising our pool of volunteers this year. What got you interested in coaching mountain biking athletes?

Lynda: When I was racing pro cross-country on the World Cup and National cross-country circuit in the early 90’s I was lucky enough to be coached by Joe Friel. His methodology fascinated me and I drove him crazy with the amount of questions and ideas I had. He is a great coach and inspired me to be a coach also. I love coaching mountain bike racers. It is my dream job and I am lucky enough to be living it.

Bruce: Thumbs up on the dream job! Are you still racing?

Lynda: Yes! The bottom line is I love riding and racing mountain bikes and will never retire!

Bruce: I know that after singing professional opera for 25 years, I love teaching and passing it on to others. I have already experienced and been through it all, and tried about everything in the process. Do you find yourself bringing everything you have tried and experienced in your professional racing to your coaching?

Lynda: Absolutely! Being a racer brings a lot of know-how to the table when you have personally experienced many of the situations an athlete may encounter.

Bruce: We’ve all heard the oft used axiom, “If you want to get better at riding your mountain bike, just ride a bunch” as a means of training for racing. What in specific does a training plan from LW Coaching provide for a rider compared to the old axiom of “just ride a lot”?

Lynda: Just riding a lot will get you from being unfit to fit but will not make you fast. Following a well-designed training plan will take you from fit to fast. Fast is what you need for cross-country mountain bike racing. LW Coaching training plans are periodized to take you through a base training cycle then a race specific cycle. Along the way you build aerobic fitness, then tempo and threshold and polish it off with race specific preparation.

Bruce: Fast is good. We’ll take that. Lynda, we target winning finishing times for our traditional XC races as follows: Category III to be 35–45 minutes; Category II to be 60–70 minutes; COMP to be 90 minutes; and Category I to be 120 minutes. In addition, we have added a 4 hour solo marathon category in 2015 at 4 of our venues. What kinds of plans would be most appropriate for those different levels and durations?

Lynda: Here is the link to my training plans page http://lwcoaching.com/mountain-bike-training-plans/

For the Cat I racer in your cross-country series I recommend this training plan stack:

Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Build, Peak and Race Training Plan

For the Cat II and Cat III racer:

Category 2 Sport Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
Category 2 Sport Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Training Plan

For the single-speed cross country racer:

SINGLE SPEED Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan

SINGLE SPEED Cross Country Mountain Bike Build, Peak and Race Training Plan

For the Masters 40+ cross country racer:

Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan
Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race Training Plan

For the marathon racer choose the most appropriate base plan above then follow it with one of the these plans:

50 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Personal Record Plan
50 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Finishers Plan

Masters 40+ MTB 50 Mile Personal Record Training Plan

Bruce: Some of our riders in Iowa like to focus and race only traditional XC length races as listed above. Some like to focus on endurance events like our 4 hour marathons (a rider could be able to do 40-50 miles depending on the course), a 50 mile race, a 100 mile race and even longer events that allow them to travel outside of our state (Dakota Five-0; Leadville; Chequamegon 40/100 as some examples). Some like to try and mix a couple of endurance events into their regular XC racing season. What plans would you stack for each type of racer – traditional XC; endurance events only; a mix of traditional XC and an endurance event or two?

Lynda: I love that in our sport we have the opportunity to race different kinds of events. Our LW Coaching training plans have been designed to stack in a modular fashion to enable an athlete to focus on different types of events throughout the season. I recommend connecting with me on my LW Coaching training and racing forum for further answers on specific training plan stack recommendations.

Bruce:
Our racing season opens on April 19th and has a total of 11 events spread out until October 4th for the season ending event. Here is our schedule…

The 2015 IMBCS Season Schedule

IMBCS #1 – April 19th – Illiniwek Abermination
IMBCS #2 – May 3rd* – Beverly Fat Tire Frenzy
IMBCS #3 – May 31st* – Seven Oaks MTB Race
IMBCS #4 – June 21st – Ewing Park MTB Race
IMBCS #5 – June 28th – Peterson Pits Recreation Area
IMBCS #6 – July 12th – FORC Side Thrill Ride
IMBCS #7 – August 8th – Hin und Zurück TT
IMBCS #8 – August 16th – George Wyth MTB Race
IMBCS #9 – August 23rd* – Sugar Bottom Scramble
IMBCS #10 – September 12th – Summerset Shootout
IMBCS #11 – October 4th* – The Mullet Fall Classic

*Race includes a 4 Hour Marathon Category

Bruce: It is now just about the beginning of 2015, so based on the schedule you see above, what would you suggest to our racers on when should one start training using your plans to prepare for the series?

Lynda: The best place for all athletes to start is to build aerobic fitness with a Base training plan. After completing a Base training plan, progress on to a race specific plan. Choose one base plan then one race specific plan.

Base training plan options:

Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
Category 2 Sport Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan
SINGLE SPEED Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan

Cross-country racers, choose from one of these race specific plans to follow after completing your base training plan

Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Build, Peak and Race Training Plan
TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Plan
Category 2 Sport Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Training Plan
TIME CRUNCHED Category 2 Sport Cross Country Mountain Bike Training Plan
Category 3 Beginner Cross Country Mountain Bike Training Plan
First Timer Cross Country Mountain Bike Training Plan
SINGLE SPEED Cross Country Mountain Bike Build, Peak and Race Training Plan
Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race Training Plan

Marathon racers choose from one of these race specific plans to follow after completing your base training plan:

50 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Personal Record Plan
50 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Finishers Plan
Masters 40+ MTB 50 Mile Personal Record Training Plan

Bruce: Being that we are all amateur racers trying to balance out the combination of a relationship, family, work, training, racing, and the stresses of life into one basket, what suggestions do you have for striking a happy balance and finding training plans that allow us to participate at the best level we can? Are there plans available that cater to a racer who might be constrained on the amount of time they can devote to the sport?

Lynda: Absolutely. I have a TIME-CRUNCHED series of training plans. These are low volume training plans that maximize the time a busy person *does* have. You know, kinda like – train smarter, not longer. Here is the menu of my TIME-CRUNCHED mountain bike training plans.

TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Plan
TIME CRUNCHED Category 2 Sport Cross Country Mountain Bike Training Plan

Bruce: One of the exciting things we saw in our Iowa series last year, was the participation of a lot of youth in the under 18 category, as well as a lot of older racers (such as myself) in the 50 – 65 year range. I hope we continue to attract these types of racers as I really want our series to cater to all ages, and abilities. Do these younger and older racers need to train in a different manner than say a racer in their prime athletic years of 19 – 35? What plans would you suggest for the young and old crowd?

Lynda: Younger athletes respond more quickly to training and recover faster than the 40+ racer. I have a high school mountain biker resources page on my site and will be adding more information here for the junior athlete in the coming months. For the over 40+ athlete I have a series of Masters 40+ mountain bike training plans . An 18-year-old athlete has different natural abilities and training requirements than a 40-year-old athlete and will thrive on a different training plan. The most obvious change with age is a slowdown in recovery. The 40+ athlete has less time and room to absorb training mistakes. A master’s athlete excels on a targeted and specific plan with more recovery, more intensity and more strength training than a younger athlete.

Bruce: I know I have enjoyed the forums you provide at LWCoaching with follow up questions to the plans I have purchased. Are the forum options open to anyone who purchases one of your plans?

Lynda: Yes, as you work with any of my training plans I am available for support with telephone consults or on my training and racing forum . Here are the forum question guidelines and tips to help you get started.

Bruce: Thank you very much for your words of wisdom, experience, advice, and sharing with us Lynda! I really appreciate it, and I know the racers that participate in IMBCS appreciate it as well. I highly recommend checking out one or more of Lynda’s plans. I am in my third season of using the Masters 40+ plans for XC racing and can attest not only to the plans themselves, but Lynda’s excellent follow up customer service on the LWCoaching.com forums, and in her monthly online coaching forum.

Get Training!

 

IMBCS Survey Results

Earlier this month, the IMBCS Advisory Board asked those available to participate in a quick ten question survey as we discuss various topics moving forward with the 2015 season and beyond. I would like to emphasize the word beyond. Change and improvement require incremental steps, time, funding, and patience. Many of the questions asked in the survey were with the beyond in mind.

That being said, thank you to one and all who took the time to participate in the survey and provide comments. There have been 72 responses recorded at this time. Each member of the Advisory Board has had a chance to see the results, and we will be meeting before the end of the year to put our creative heads together, and discuss and consider steps for next season and beyond.

I have also been in direct communication with our 2015 race directors for their comments, concerns, ideas, and thoughts. Mix in the tutoring I am receiving in messages, emails, and phone calls from our neighboring state series directors, and plenty of thought is going into the IMBCS future.

The results of the survey are available online at SurveyMonkey for those who are interested.

Continue reading IMBCS Survey Results

2015 Iowa Series Dates

Start training. In 2015 the Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series returns to ten turns it up to eleven races!

We will be revisiting all of 2014’s venues: Illiniwek Abermination, Seven Oaks, FORC Side Thrill Ride, George Wyth MTB Race, Sugar Bottom Scramble, Summerset Shootout, and The Mullet Fall Classic. We have two new locations: Ewing Park and Center Trails in Des Moines. And Beverly Park in Cedar Rapids is returning after a two-year hiatus.

Update 12/15/2014: The Ewing race has changed date since the first announcement, and the additional June race we hinted at earlier has been confirmed. The list below has been updated and renumbered to reflect these changes.

Continue reading 2015 Iowa Series Dates

New IMBCS Website

Welcome to the new Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series (IMBCS) website. This is your primary source for information and news about the series and the individual races.

The pages for the upcoming 2015 races will have up-to-date information as the race directors finalize their plans.

We have created pages for all of last season’s races so that you can easily find results and photos.

The site will be continually updated throughout the year (and future years), and we will add new features. So, as they say, check back often. Or, if you prefer, use the “Entries RSS” link to subscribe.

Sincerely,
Eric and Katherine Roccasecca