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After a solid cross season Isaac Drew came out swinging at the first road (sort of) event of 2015.  As junior’s will his fitness and strength have upped drastically since this time last year.  We started seeing version 2.0 on the BH group rides.  Heavy cross winds, cold, some rain and the kid hung in, no problem.  36 gravel miles at Barry Roubaix and one podium later is a solid way to start the season!  Juniors are very rewarding to work with.  Given the right direction their improvement can be astounding, and we’re looking forward to bigger an better things for Isaac this year.


Rob Kelley


Director of Coaching


The Guy

Tim Gehr is like a boxer.  He’s done everything asked of him on the bike and in the gym…..hard core.   It’s only March and it’s great to see him already benefitting from the hard work.


The Races

First Tim began a 5 race time trial series put on by our friends at ABD back in mid-January .  With sights set on the overall win in the ABR men’s 4 category the first 4 have been good!  They’ve all been indoor on CompuTrainers to date but the last 10 mile TT is outdoors on a course that suits Tim just fine.  All flat out power.  Most importantly is the fact that his power is at least where we had hoped it would be at this point and continues to grow.

The Upgrade!

To top off of great start to 2015 Tim managed an upgrade within USA Cycling to category 3.  Based on seeing his skills on the bike and numbers on the computer my bet is that the 3’s are in for another great competitor.  He also rounds out what might the best cat 3 team in the Chicago area.  Tim’s steady and seemingly unending power is going to be a huge benefit to his mates on Team Bicycle Heaven.




Congratulations Tim!  After all of the work it’s a thrill to see you reaching season goals already and we’re proud to call you a Training Bible athlete.









Rob Kelley


Director of Coaching

Sprint finish of the race

Training Bible’s own Nicolai Brochner is… doing what Nicolai does.  A mechanical after making the front group of 25 in the UCI 1.2 Ster Wan Zwolle last week was the only thing that killed a chance at another fantastic result.  Yesterday he motored to 5th in the hyper-competitive and tactical UCI 1.2 Rabobank Doorpenomloop.  It’s early, but this is confirmation of great form (as a result of the rare level of discipline that Nicolai takes on every off-season combined) with just the right amount of prep lading up to Sunday.  His new teammates at Riwal Cycling Team all killed it!  These are the last few k’s:

Here’s is his take on the key parts of the race:

“It was crazy! 200 guys on bike paths with crosswinds and crashes. The race split up several times but I was in the front most of the time with my team who rode really well for me. With about 50 km to go 15 guys got away in the crosswind and we didn’t have anybody there so I bridged solo before the gap got too big. I was pretty fried after that effort and did too much work but still got 5th in a really strong field and felt good for the first time in a while so am happy.” 

Looking forward to another great year with the Danish Missile


Riding with an InfoCrank power Meter.

Our friends at Verve Cycling have introduced their InfoCrank to the US market.  The main attributes versus the competition are increased accuracy and power readings from both the right and left crank arms.  Other crank based power meters read from one crank arm……and multiply that by two.  InfoCrank’s power meter measures each leg’s power with unprecedented precision.  No guesses, no math. 

After having reviewed other power meters and found discrepancies between lab results and those from real world use out on the road, Verve’s focus is in producing a hyper-accurate power meter.  The true tangential force is measured by a precision placed Wheatstone bridge arrangement of industrial quality strain gauges.  The strain gauges (4 in each crank arm) measure only the torque that moves your bike forward, eliminating any other “noise” generated by additional stress or strain on the cranks, chainrings or pedals that do nothing to propel your bike forward.

Initial Impressions.

The first thing you’ll notice is its’ very stout look.  In addition to the coolness factor this sturdy construction helps ensure that it will remain intact even through wicked impact.  Power meters aren’t cheap, and so this is what we like to hear given the insanity that bike racing can create.  The 694 gram InfoCrank is a forged 6000 series aluminum crankset with an integral 110 BCD compact spider and machined recesses in each arm housing individual left and right power metering modules. The cranks are available in 170, 172.5, and 175mm lengths, and in a black anodized finish.

Thanks Rob Chinn for the install!

Thanks Rob Chinn for the install!

Verve does it right.  They focus on what they do best, which is to create as accurate a power as is possible to build.  They’ve left the spindle and chain rings to the experts at PraxisWorks-  These guys know what they’re doing, and with the ever driven Adam Haverstock at the helm have been making hay.

The End of Constant Calibration.

Another great feature is that this power meter does not require you to re-calibrate prior to a ride.  You may have to re-calibrate after a crash, but after a crash this is the least of your worries.  The design and layout of the strain gauges automatically eliminates data drift over time, compensating for temperature and pressure changes. This ensures that it will reliably measures power in all conditions.   Per Verve: “accuracy of an InfoCrank will not change over time. This means you DO NOT need to Calibrate using your bike computer, ever.”

I May Never Ride Without Right/Left Power Again.

The most exciting aspect from a coaching perspective is the very accurate independent right/left side power measurement.  Assuming you use a Garmin head unit you can take advantage while riding by using the “% of Power” display on your Edge head unit.  Verve offers the O synce Navi2Coach head unit and it will do the same.  It is a very telling set of numbers!  Inconsistencies are right there in front of your face.  Being a right-handed person mine is skewed to the right leg.  A typical reading for me is 40-45% power from the left and 55-60% from the right.  It takes some effort to balance these out by focusing more on the left leg while almost soft-pedaling with the right.  As a coach this jumps out as an area ripe for improvement.  Both in the gym and on the bike it has become a limiter that I now can easily focus on and improve.

The goal is to get a 50/50 reading without having to limit or increase effort with either leg, and in addition to the on-the-bike % display you can download your power files and see right and left power numbers using these: and Garmin Connect and even the new  Right now the only numbers I am seeing are my own.  We’ll have both an elite road racer and triathlete on a set ASAP and look forward to a better analysis via those at the top of their sport.

More Efficient Training- Instantly.

This feature has inspired change to the fields I suggest for viewing on a head unit.  The first order of business during the base phases of training is to build your aerobic threshold.  These are the types of intervals that I’ve found to be most effective.  By looking at the % of power per side, power, watts/kilo, cadence and heart rate you can drill down further into the perfect scenario to build the duration and wattage at aerobic threshold.  It also makes the trainer time go faster!

Data Field Set Up

Data Field Set Up

Your balance in power is like cadence; ride without thinking about it, look down and that is what you’re physically comfortable with.  I am already seeing about a 2% – 5% improvement in my left versus right leg power.  This is the result of 3 weeks of pedal stroke focus, while riding in general and also with reps like these, and work in the gym that is geared toward strengthening the left leg while maintaining the right.  It will take some time to realize the true impact through the base and build phases.  For a cycling coach this is a found piece of gold!

Per Joe Friel there are “three markers of endurance fitness: aerobic capacity, anaerobic/lactate threshold and economy.”  We’ll see as we progress in our testing, but it seems a given that using this tool correctly will increase economy.  Even small changes in the right direction to these markers provide gains in effectiveness.  So it’s looking like this system increases the universe and accuracy of information in ways that can make you go faster.

We’ll keep working with our InfoCrank and let you know the effect it has as we mine more data.


Rob Kelley



Unless your going to nationals the end of the cyclocross season is almost here.  It’s a sort of sad/relief combination of feelings; sad because this stuff is too darned fun and a relief because we don’t have to think about being ready for battle every week.  The one very clear component though is the fact you’ll need to take a break after your season ends.

We call this the “transition period”.  It generally lasts from 2 to 4 weeks depending on the extent of in-season training and racing.  People that I work with who race bikes for a living are instructed to stay off the bike until they start longingly looking at it again.  As counter-intuitive as it may sound, you need to give up a good portion of the fitness and form that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.  Those who try to remain fit all year will not be as ready as they can be when it counts.  Even worse, they are likely to experience physical and/or psychological burn out at some point.

As a coach I expect to have to reel in the new athletes that we work with.  It’s rare that someone needs a kick in pants.  Endurance athletes are so used to over-training that the first few recovery or transition weeks will completely freak them out!  “Trust me, this works” is a common part of conversations related to this topic.

The transition period of your Annual Training Program is defined by a complete lack of structure.  If you feel like taking a hike, riding, going for a ski….whatever, just get up and do it.  Don’t look at power or heart rate.  This is also a great time to eat whatever the heck you want.  Keep an eye on your weight so that you don’t dig yourself a giant power to weight ratio hole, but no more than that.

Joe Friel uses a term called “Christmas star”.  You’ll run into them over the winter for sure.  They’ll be killing it in February to the point that by riding with them you may begin feeling nervous about your own fitness.  They may also kill it at some criteriums in the spring.  Wait though, because right when you start feeling awesome again they’ll be wondering why they chose this ridiculous sport….and then for them it’s downhill from there.

Good luck with your last CX races of 2014!  Don’t leave an ounce of effort on the table.

Rob Kelley



Recovery is a cornerstone of fitness and form. If you are a cyclocross racer you are almost surely training at a level that induces fatigue, while recovery allows your body to repair and increase form and fitness.  Back in the day, pre-Joe Friel periodization model, overtraining was the norm in endurance sports.  It’s pretty easy to do if you have an obsession like we do for cross.

Overtraining can have effects ranging from tired legs on race day in its most common form, to an extreme as severe as the premature retirement of a professional athlete. Per Mr. Friel “overtraining is best described as a decreased work capacity resulting from an imbalance between training and rest”.  If you have a bad race there is at least a decent chance that you have not given yourself the rest needed to recover up to that point.  When many athletes have worse than expected results though they do the opposite of what is necessary to address the issue….they train more.

Classic symptoms are lower power numbers, higher heart rate, general fatigue, irritability and a disinterest in training and racing. You don’t want to get to this point!  We know that most people can handle 3 – 4 weeks of hard training and racing before needing a “week off” for recovery.  So your best bet for success is to look at your season ahead of time and plan those recovery weeks into your schedule so that you feel good when it counts.  If you’re racing cross every weekend you may have a less than stellar race directly following a recovery week.  This varies from person to person and can be disconcerting if you’re not used to plugging rest into your program but, trust me, it’ll pay off in the weeks to come.  Assuming that you are racing every weekend during the cyclocross  season, a typical recovery week looks like this:

Monday – off or strength training (strength maintenance phase this time of year)

Tuesday – off

Wednesday – 1 – 1.5 hour zone 1-2 ride

Thursday – 1 – 1.5 hour zone 1-2 ride

Friday – off

Saturday – opener

Sunday – race

Likewise, you need to include recovery days within each week. These can be easy zone 1-2 workouts (“workouts” because strength training and running count) or completely off.  2 – 4 rides with high intensity and/or long duration per week, including race day, are about all a human being can handle.  Take easy recovery rides in between them.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelley



Starts are huge in cross. Whether you’re on the 1st row or the 10th, a good start can be the difference between a great or mediocre day on the bike.  Maintaining your position and/or passing large groups of people while charging down a straight at the beginning is a heck of a lot easier than making up large gaps throughout a cross race for sure.  Plus it’s fun!

First off you need to have a solid warm up in prior to staging, or else the violent effort needed is going to hit you like a ton of bricks half way through the first lap. Grip the bars tightly in the drops or on the hoods.  Most like the hoods but how often do you see roadies sprinting for the line on the hoods?  Make no mistake; this is a series of short and all-out sprints.  Get your weight back a bit, at least over the top of the saddle.  When the whistle blows jam your hips forward and off you go.

BMX is awesome, just wanted to put that out there. Growing up in that sport teaches some pretty wicked skills for sure, including how to go from a standing start to max speed fast.  While you won’t win a cross race because of a great start, you can lose one with a bad start.  You can win a BMX race purely because of a great start so it’s a large part of training and the core principals are the same.  Notice the hip action, pedal position and all-out/dead-lift type effortBMX Start

As with every aspect of bike racing, practice is crucial. Do 2 or 3 starts the day before race day to get the feel.  You need to find the starting gear that best suits you, get comfortable getting your cleat engaged quickly and work on shifting up as you spin each gear out.  This is a fantastic video and instruction from one of the best in the US: Cyclocross Start

It’s also a very good idea to incorporate focused and fitness based start reps into your training regimen at least once every other week. One or two sets of these is a solid addition to a skills oriented day and will also help train the body to accept and recover from what is one of the toughest efforts of the race:

Warm up for at least 15 minutes.

1 rep: All out sprint for 200 meters. Settle into FTP +10% and peg it there for 1 minute.  3 minutes off between reps.

1 set: 5 reps. Take 8 minutes off between sets.

Hit up some single track for the last half of your ride to work on skills (and to have lots of fun)

Warm down for at least 15 minutes

Good luck and go fast!

Rob Kelley


Screenshot from 2014-11-03 15:21:16

It’s not possible to personally thank everybody who came out to #CamptonCx enough for what they’ve help this race become.  It’s crazy to think that the next edition of this race will be the tenth.  Back when we first put this on, nobody had any idea how much the ChiCrossCup, or the sport in general, would have taken off.  By “taking off” we partially mean this, too (if this picture really doesn’t show who the “big air” champ of the day was, somebody better come up with proof quick):

This guy won the big air competition at Campton CX. #cxisboss #cyclocross #veldrijden #chicrosscup #chicagocx

A photo posted by Ethan Glading (@thepenultimatestage) on

  The Chicago Cylocross Cup isn’t just great because of people flogging bikes to seemingly inhuman feats, though.  It’s also great because of our “traveling” photographers who make our sport, our people, and our beautiful parks look even better:  


It’s great because of all the racers who slap on cameras, upload race videos, and let us delight, during the week, in their suffering from the weekend (including Ashley, who recorded the full Women’s P/1/2/3 race):


It’s great because of our dedicated spectators, who support the vendors (sometimes to the point of buying up all their hot chocolate):




It’s also great because of guys in horrid blazers riding fat bikes, great payouts, and race organizers who come flying down hills only to spin out on the course they designed (in front of a camera, of course).

So, thanks to all of you for making the Chicago Cross Cup fun, and making yesterday a great race!


Want a final, finished look at the course? You’ve come to the right spot.  An army of Bicycle Heaven volunteers sauntered out there today to set up.  It turned out fantastic… if you’ve got a little sense of adventure, anyway:

For your entertainment/obsessive preparation we’ve put together a little film of the course.  Please note that those folks weren’t going 100%. Lap times are expected to be in the high 7’s for the middle of the P/1/2/3 field and around 10:00 for the middle of the 4’s field.


Some of the more exciting features this year are a couple of large logs.  The first will be at the exit of the first pass of the woods.  It’s just high enough that you’ll think it’s easy to clear. It’s also just high enough to scarf your chain-ring if you don’t respect it.

In pre-rides today, most people were clearing it just fine, although some were also running.

Hillary tackles the log.

Hillary tackles the log.

On the other hand, there is a second, larger, even more awesome log about 25 yards after you exit the woods for the second pass. The P/1/2/3 guys were trying all sorts of techniques with a fast hop and a very fast dismount taking about the same speed.  This will be a great feature to watch and will likely be a spot where skilled riders can put decent time on their competitors.

For more details, keep your eyes on @ROKCoach and #CamptonCX

Thanks to everybody coming out to race tomorrow. We’re looking forward to having you and hope you enjoy what is sure to be a great fall afternoon.

Rob Kelley gets air at Campton Cross preview

We’re fresh off the final course recon this morning, and have put together some videos for you.  First, here’s a quick snippet of the best spots:

This is a FULL MONTEY preview (no banner tape, yet). Expect a long, fast course that rewards folks who can muscle their bikes over stuff at full speed:

If you’re looking for any last minute Camtpton info, we’ll be sending it out via Twitter.

Now, for the best part- we’ve compiled some videos taken over the past few years from our race.  This is our 9th annual version and the new (partly new!) course will not disappoint.


Very well produced (AKA: Hope it doesn’t rain)


The hard-hitting interview (AKA: Mara breaks down Cyclocross)


The hard-hitting promoter interview (pretty sure he’s joking about the nudity, but you never know with that guy)


Great costumes




Thanks everyone for posting such awesome clips on the web!


After 2 – 1/2 seasons in he US, and 2014 with the fantastic outfit that is the Bissell Development Team, Nicolai has decided to go with a Danish team also focused on younger riders for the 2015 season:  Riwal Cycling Team.  They will most likely be the best team in Denmark and as a result offer fantastic support to their riders.  Nicolai will be lining up at some of the best races in Europe, as well as increase his chances to make the 2015 U23 Danish team for the 2015 world championships (in the US next year!).


The training is going very well  so far and we’re looking forward to another great year.  You can follow him on Twitter.






Rob Kelley



Race day can be a little stressful. Certain stressors; pre- hot date, pre-roller coaster ride and certainly pre-race jitters, can be a good thing.  These are referred to as “eustress”.  They’ll hone your senses via hormonal and heart rate changes.  After racing bicycles of many forms for a long darned time, along with looking at heart rate files from many people competing in all disciplines of cyclosport, I’ve found that a lack of nervousness on the line normally translates to a lackluster performance.

As mentioned in this article though, even too much of this positive stress can take away from performance. A good speech teacher will tell you that the best way to combat the fear of public speaking is to show up completely prepared.  Racing a bike is the same, so have your routine down.

An important part of this, especially for the violent effort right out of the gate that cyclocross requires, is the pre-race warm up.  Arrive with enough time to be able to casually ride the course when officials allow it, and do this 37 minute session on a stationary trainer leading up to staging:

15 minutes in zones 1-2 heart rate/power, nice casual spin with increased cadence as you progress.

Do two 30 second intervals at maximum effort with 5 minutes recovery between them

Take 3 minutes recovery after the last 30 second interval

Begin an 8 minute interval at 30 – 35% below FTP. Slowly increase power so that you are at FTP by the fifth minute.  Hold that pace for the final 3 minutes of the 8 minute interval.  As example; if your FTP is 300 watts start at 200 and slowly bring it up to 300 over the first 5 minutes.  Peg it at 300 for the final 3.

Spin in zone 1-2 for 5 minutes and then go to staging.

Give this a try during training on a day when you’re planning to do some hard work on the bike. You may want to tweak it a bit to suit you and best to try new things prior to race day. A good warm up before a crazy interval session will also improve your results.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelley


Hopkins park cyclocross

Some quick thoughts on Hopkins Park, with more to follow:

  1. Another big, great field out there. This series just continues to get better.
  2. Wide open course with nowhere to rest. So fun… and painful… and fun.
  3. The Bicycle Heaven Juniors team is really doing great. So much fun to see the kids progress day after day and race after race!

Quick “highlight” vid of passes and crashes at the Hopkins Park CX race is now up. Full race footage to follow. Thanks to everybody for making this a great race!