Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 174 - Lucas Wall - Develo Coaching

That sort of time frame, just trying to make incremental changes the whole time. That’s really difficult. And I feel like in the college environment, it is it can be more challenging because whether you’re a junior or senior, you’ve got seniority.
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 174 - Lucas Wall - Develo Coaching

[00:00:00] That sort of time frame, just trying to make incremental changes the whole time. That’s really difficult. And I feel like in the college environment, it is it can be more challenging because whether you’re a junior or senior, you’ve got seniority. But, you know, there’s the freshmen and sophomores coming up. And so there’s always this kind of push to be always getting faster. And that is a really hard scenario to succeed in like continually. I feel like when you have some ups and downs in terms of seasons on seasons off or putting in maybe a big chunk of training, no matter what that focus is, there can be some short-term performance declines when that happens, even though you’re kind of building fitness for the future and you can make long term bigger gains.

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Jesse: [00:01:37] Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I’m your host Jesse Funk. My guest today is a cyclist and as he described himself kind of a hobbyist in cross-country skiing. He’s done many, many sports throughout his life, but has a big emphasis in cycling. He has his master’s in education and student development. He’s also a candidate for his master’s in exercise physiology, one of those rare people that ends up with a double masters somehow and puts us all to shame, or at least me. He’s the coach and founder of Develo Coaching. If you’ve been around with the podcast, you may have listen to this episode, but he’s the coach of Alexey Vermeulen. That was episode 165. If you want to listen to that after this one. Welcome to the show, Lucas Wall.

Lucas: [00:02:19] Oh, thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.

Jesse: [00:02:23] Yeah. Thanks for joining me. Thanks for the clarification about Alexey. As I was doing my research on you like we were talking about before we got recording. But the listeners are privy to this. I saw kind of some kind of connection with Alexey, but my assistant didn’t officially tell me anything, so I was like, “There’s something there, but I wasn’t sure.” So maybe the question I want to start with is how did you and Alexey get hooked up and maybe like, how do you find clients? I always kind of wonder how that works. Like, I found my coach kind of word of mouth. I just wonder how different coaches, like, develop their stable, so to speak.

Lucas: [00:03:07] Yeah, and I think that varies for a lot of people, but my experience is just working with local cyclists. And so I got connected with Alexey through our club, working with the junior program through the entire Velo Club at the time, and that just kind of grew into working with him individually. And then that’s where a lot of my clients have come from, some, some directly through the club, some through references of other athletes.

[00:03:34] Alexey has helped to drive traffic to me over the years for sure, just having been rode mountain bike gravel and having good success there. That’s great word of mouth. But then some of the other people I worked with too. So yeah, a lot of it has been word of mouth and I feel very fortunate being in Michigan and there aren’t a ton of cycling coaches. I know people who are in the San Diego area and actually have family in that area and that’d be a completely different sort of market in terms of finding clients.

[00:04:09] But for me, yeah, a lot of word of mouth and just being active in the community. I help lead a new racer program each year through our club and a race series. And so some of those things evolve over time, not necessarily immediately, but a few years later down the road sometimes have athletes that come to me.

[00:04:28] So that’s been my approach and it’s worked really, really well and I’ve enjoyed it. I’m not a marketer by like a not a natural marketer. And so it’s been great that it’s been something that’s been able to just kind of develop organically and take advantage of that. So yeah.

Jesse: [00:04:49] That’s one of those things where so if you, the listener didn’t listen to the episode with me, Alexey, we spent like 20 minutes talking about athletes marketing themselves and that whole thing. That’s one of those things where it’s like sometimes you can force it and do marketing, so to speak, but then some of it’s just like being social, talking to people and then like time, like some of it. That’s what I say. Like some of it isn’t in terms of force, like I can pay for ads and that kind of stuff. That’s like, like a force approach. But other ways, it’s like doing your thing and then gradually people kind of finding you over time and just being patient about it.

Lucas: [00:05:31] Yeah. And I see I’m not a natural marketer, but at the same time, I’m aware you’ve got to you have to be involved in one way or another, and there’s lots of ways to do that. And for me it’s been easy to be involved with my athletes and be involved with programs that are going on, and that’s it’s been successful for me. I haven’t had to worry about trying to do some more direct marketing, maybe some more traditional things. Even social media something as I look at my schedule and how where I spend my time, you will find that I’m not very active.

Jesse: [00:06:07] Yeah, like your last tweet was like retweeting from something from Alexey, from, like, over a year ago.

Lucas: [00:06:13] Yeah, I believe that. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy social media in some ways, but I sometimes look at it and say, if it’s going to look good, if it’s going to be authentic, you kind of have to commit a little bit to it. And at the moment, it’s one of those things I don’t necessarily have enough energy to commit a ton of time to or consistently. And so I’ve just chosen like, I’m not going to worry about it. 

[00:06:37] So yeah, and I think for marketing, if it comes off as authentic and that’s where I like to just be involved in activities that are happening, whether it’s leading clinics or doing […] or whatever those happen to be, those are things that I enjoy. Those are contexts I enjoy and I feel like that comes off as a whole lot more authentic than if I try and do some other things that I’m not necessarily as into. Yeah, And like I say, and I also recognize I’ve been really fortunate in terms of the scenario so that I haven’t necessarily had to try and find more avenues and try and push some business that way.

Jesse: [00:07:13] Yeah, and that’s fair. I mean, I think. There’s something about the marketing, things like being authentic. I’m really bad at the social media stuff. So I kind of stick to my avenues of like under the podcast, which we do the video version. If you’re just listening to the audio version, the video version is on our YouTube channel, And then I also do like a just a show about running because that’s my background on the YouTube channel.

[00:07:39] So it’s like all my efforts are kind of focused on that. And in terms of like, that kind of fills my like “coaching” or whatever with the YouTube channel because I can be like, “Oh, let’s talk about running. Let’s talk about like the little nuances of things” and like why we would because, I mean, we can talk about like, let’s talk about periodization. We can have a video like it did a video about that. I’m like the general. But then it’s like, Look, why are you doing this at this point in time? Or like, you know, does this fit in with your particular skill set and like, what are your raw skills and how do you apply that?

[00:08:15] Because there’s no, as you know, there’s no like one size fits all perfect training plan. You can just be like, here, this, this works. If you do this, you’ll be Olympian and like, that’s not right. That’s not how it works.

Lucas: [00:08:27] Yeah, Yeah. I mean, I think about those things and I like to dig into those details because it’s all where is the athlete starting from. What sorts of skills do they have as an athlete, as a person? Where can they leverage those things where areas they need to grow? And if there was a one size fits all sort of thing, we just all be using a spreadsheet or an app on our phone. Yeah, and I always tell some people sometimes coaching is not it’s not rocket science, but there are a ton of different ways to do it.

[00:09:02] And so you can find 100 different answers to a problem. And a lot of those will be good, but some might be better because they fit the context a little better. Yeah, and I think a coach brings some experience that can help narrow those things down where an algorithm or an app, those are details that don’t necessarily take into account so.

Jesse: [00:09:22] One thing I think is, is interesting about trying to coach even just a singular athlete. And I don’t know if you’ve experienced this with Alexey. I know I’ve gone through this personally where it’s like so like, say, for me historically, just adding mileage tended to make me better, faster or whatever. This is younger me, me this year’s been like still dealing with Achilles tendonitis. I can’t put any mileage in basically. 

[00:09:53] Anyway, but then there’s kind of a breaking point where it’s like adding more mileage doesn’t necessarily help. And then you need to do something different. I’ve seen where, like, athletes will go through like, like, you know, so like my kind of natural tendency is endurance is good for me. Power sucks. Like I’m a terrible sprinter. Like sprint finish is not great. So then I can add, lean into that strength. But then eventually there’s diminishing returns and then you’ve got to do something different.

[00:10:24] So it’s like season after season after season, you’re like, okay, I just need to do this one thing and we know we’re going to get gains. And then, oh, now we’ve got to take a whole different strategy with this athlete and then like reassess. And I think. That’s where you can’t replace a coach with an app or something because there’s there’s that nuance there where you go, oh, like I’m going to kind of put words in your mouth like, “Oh”, like “Alexey’s peaking here.”

[00:10:53] Like, now we need instead of having him do you know, I don’t know, like a three by five at 105% FTP or something. Now we need him to just focus on like 32nd sprints to really boost up his power. Something like that’s all, that’s all we need to do the next three months or whatever.

Lucas: [00:11:09] You’re right.

Jesse: [00:11:10] So anyway, so I just that experience, I guess could you talk to that? And if you’ve gone through that with different athletes.

Lucas: [00:11:20] For sure, and sometimes those are really dictated by events. And Alexey’s a good example because there are some extremes in terms of what he’s done coming into racing at the professional level. In the 23 level, you come from being a junior and the volume you need to bump up to kind of make that step is really big. And you’re definitely kind of drinking from a fire hose in terms of just trying to stay afloat and not do too much, but make that step.

[00:11:54] And so there’s not always a lot of you know, we often focus time on how do we optimize things and how do we maximize these things. And and there’s definitely in that context, there’s a lot of how do you not just overdo. And so the specificity and some of those things that I think get a lot of attention are they’re not even like in the realm of main concerns because you’re just trying to how do we manage from step-step-step.

[00:12:22] And then once you make that step, then then it becomes a little bit more of how do we optimize things and how do you do some training that’s going to be more focused on events. And then having worked with him for more than a decade, he’s the types of events he’s focused on, the types of race calendar he has changed quite a bit. On the road, he do a ton of events, you know, every weekend, often two races, sometimes midweek stage races, things like that.

[00:12:55] And now I can’t remember how many races he did this last year, but let’s say maybe. I think it’s maybe 15 to 18, and a few of those are pretty low key sort of. They’re in the neighborhood and they’re fun. So kind of a dozen main events, let’s say, for the year. And for this past year it was there was a series, the Lifetime Grand Prix series was a big focus. And so instead of peaking for one single event, the goal was to kind of spread that more over season.

[00:13:25] And so the type of training that we did was intended more to kind of span the season rather than hit a couple of peaks. But at the same time it’s frontloaded with Unbound, which is a ten hour event depending on conditions for the elite riders. And then the season ends with him doing events like Schwab again. And then Iceman, you know, you’re like 90 to 120-minute events. And so the first part of the year is very much focused on endurance and volume and trying to make some gains there.

[00:14:00] And then fortunately, they weren’t jumping between long and short events in the Grand Prix because then it made it easier through the year to then transition to doing some more speeds, do some more focus to look at some of the things that maybe you’re just struggling with in events. And those are often the efforts like those 32nd sprints or something where you don’t have time.

[00:14:22] I mean, you have time, but energy isn’t really a good fit for that sort of training when you’re also trying to prep for an event like Unbound. Yeah, and then contrast that with I worked with master’s level cyclocross racers and they have a full-time job in kids and they’re doing a race season of, say, 12 or 15 cyclocross events, all within three, four months.

[00:14:46] So it’s a pretty tight schedule and you’re trying to hit things from threshold to anaerobic and neuromuscular, some sprint things just with all the pace changes and just the high intensity. And that’s a scenario where they don’t have time to do 20 hours a week. And maybe that would probably would have worked for a couple of my riders.

[00:15:09] Have they had that sort of time that would have helped their fitness? But, you know, you’re working with a 10 hours average maybe. And so that is where I feel like optimization of how do we get the most out of your time really helps. Yeah. And sometimes that’s one of the demands of races.

[00:15:26] But then learning that athlete, you know, an athlete that if we did certain things with them, worked great if we tried. But he was not an anaerobic sort of guy, so we worked on anaerobic, seeing if you’d respond, really didn’t respond. And so we found that time was really just best spent on his strengths because training some of his weaknesses didn’t make a big impact, but then took away from some of that energy that could go into maybe threshold or FTP work.

[00:15:55] So yeah, I mean, it’s always in the context of the athlete’s schedule and personal schedule as well as event schedule and then over time learning where to spend that time and energy to get good returns. Because for some people you’re going to put time and energy in and they’re going to respond. And for others they’ll respond in some areas, but not others. And that’s just kind of a process of experimentation. So.

Jesse: [00:16:23] Yeah, I think that’s that’s always the tough part. I kind of talked about this before is like figuring out where to spend that time. And then, like I said, knowing like, do you lean into the strengths? Are you true? You try to shore up the weaknesses because it gives you don’t, you know, like one of the things like my coach in college would say is that so I like the 5000 and I want to do the 10,000 got injured and didn’t end up working my senior year.

[00:16:50] But as we were getting ready for the event, I’m training for it. He’s like the world record holder for the 10,000 still for the last lap, still went like 53 seconds or something like all out moving last lap, like that’s its fastest lap. So it’s like, just being aware that I’m very good at. I’m going to have one pace and I’m going to stay there all day. But also knowing like that weakness of mine, that higher and speed you still need to be able to close.

Lucas: [00:17:25] Right.

Jesse: [00:17:25] So then it’s a decision like, you know, where do you spend the time? Do you spend time on that like steady state, like, oh, we’re just going to work on just hitting that pace all day? Or do you spend a bulk of time really working on that close? This is all like in my case, obviously.

Lucas: [00:17:40] Right.

Jesse: [00:17:40] But it’s, you know, it’s all time constrained. Like everybody’s always getting older. There’s this season’s always close. Like, you know, it’s it’s a gamble. And I think when you have, like the history, like you do with Alexey, I think there’s some ability to make pretty educated guesses about like we know he responds in this way or doesn’t respond in that way. We know he’s getting older, so we probably need to take these.

[00:18:10] But then, like in that case where I was a collegiate athlete at the time, you kind of have a little bit of background with each athlete, but you don’t have that much background. And it’s a tough situation. And then you, you know, talking about. We’ll get to this is we’re talking about maintaining across the season. I want to ask you about that and how you approach that. But just like with the collegiate schedule, you’re racing, you know, within a nine month period, 25, 26 times like it’s just a constant barrage of like trying to top in performance.

Lucas: [00:18:48] Yeah, and that’s hard to do, you know, that sort of time frame just trying to make incremental changes the whole time, that’s really difficult. And I feel like in the college environment it is it can be more challenging because whether you’re a junior or senior, you’ve got seniority. But you know, there’s the freshmen and sophomores coming up. And so there’s always this kind of push to be always getting faster.

[00:19:15] And that is a really hard scenario to succeed in like continually. I feel like when you have some ups and downs in terms of seasons on seasons off or putting in maybe a big chunk of training, no matter what that focus is, there can be some short term performance declines when that happens, even though you’re kind of building fitness for the future and you can make long term bigger gains. But yeah, when you have that sort of just incremental continual competition, that can be really difficult in terms of finding that steady progress and maintaining that. Yeah, because I feel like. The peaks and valleys aren’t as accepted in that sort of context.

Jesse: [00:19:59] Yeah. It’s like you always need to be on a peak and then you end up injured and then you’re like, way down in the valley and it’s —

Lucas: [00:20:07] Yeah. And we know that you can’t always be on a peak. I mean, that’s not, not realistic. So. Yeah, and to some degree that’s what pro cycling is like a little bit. I think we have this idea that pro cyclists peak for their events, but that typically is the top guys on a team. A lot of the rest of the guys just need to be in shape for a lot of the year because they’re helping out at this race in that race and they’re not they don’t have the luxury of really, really focusing on on events.

[00:20:41] And a lot of the attention in cycling is on the Tour de France and everybody is everybody who’s hoping to make the tour team on their individual team is focused on that. And so they’re trying to build into that. But that’s not the reality. The other 11 months of the cycling year or, you know, nine, ten months of the cycling calendar, race, calendar. So, yeah, that’s the idea of peaking is great.

[00:21:08] But I think in cycling where there’s so many races and then in a collegiate running setting and some of those other settings where there’s just a big race calendar, you don’t have that kind of nice build and recovery. That might be an ideal sort of setup, you know.

Jesse: [00:21:25] So so I want to ask you, you know, along these lines, you talked about like I don’t know if you said it was last year or a previous year where Alexey was racing kind of across the season for a whole tour series. That’s one of the, I think, such a challenge, something I like to try to do because, you know, you go to a race like you want to be competitive, you want to go to a race and be like, it’s just a workout like —

Lucas: [00:21:52] Right.

Jesse: [00:21:54] It’s because you’re in a race. Like if you’re like, it’s just a workout. It’s very hard to hold yourself back because you’re going to be like, “Man, like I want to go.”

Lucas: [00:22:02] Yeah.

Jesse: [00:22:04] So what is your approach either with him or in general to trying to take that like, say you said, I think it was like 12 races, so it probably was more than this, but let’s say once, once a month or something that he’s racing. How do you set up that schedule to have kind of a generally high-performing body, even though maybe it’s not like the ultra peak we try to hit in like traditional periodization?

Lucas: [00:22:33] Yeah, a lot of that comes down to pre-season preparation. So for example, this year with the Lifetime Grand Prix kind of gravel mountain bike series started at Seattle in April and then went through Big Sugar in October. So it’s kind of a six, seven, seven month technically range. And so starting out was a number of the event while Seattle was a mountain bike race, it’s 2 hours and then I think Unbound was second and you’re like 10 hours.

[00:23:09] We did not focus on preparing for Seattle or that was not like a key event just because we knew what was coming next and what was necessary to do that. So unsurprisingly, that was not his best event of the year, which is still disappointing. I mean, the reality is you still go in having done a lot of training, just not very specific. And because the volume was really going to be super important as you come into events like Unbound, then it was also doing Belgian waffle ride and I’m forgetting a couple of others, but some long ones crush on the Tushar.

[00:23:47] And so you’re looking at 6 to 10-hour sort of planning for that duration of event. And so just volume is a really, really big part of that. We do a little bit of speed work in there because there’s going to be pace changes and things like that, some threshold in there.

[00:24:06] And unfortunately sometimes you flat and you got to chase back on and that’s a real thing you need to be able to do. It’s also just part of training, but a lot of that is just spending a lot of time doing endurance and sort of tempo work because that’s just that is the key demand. And the biggest limiter for those types of events tends to be fueling.

[00:24:27] And so the more kind of endurance and aerobic-based fitness you have is going to help with that fueling part of the equation because you can rely on fat as a fuel source more. You’re not going through your carbohydrate glycogen stores as quickly. And so those you can kind of maintain some of those better, both through the combination of the training and trying to improve fat burning through that, but then also practicing.

[00:24:55] So you’re capable of consuming 100 plus grams of carbs an hour and also practicing how you do that. And then the flip side is like not overdoing it. So your body’s used to having a ton of carbs because that doesn’t help with learning to burn fat. So there’s a balance of a lot of that and a bunch of that is frontloaded in the season.

[00:25:17] And then as we got through some of those big long events, you developed a huge aerobic just kind of foundation of fitness and then it’s easier to focus on doing some intensity. So as he’s starting to get to some of the shorter mountain bike races where there’s just a lot of natural variation and high intensity portions of those sorts of events, then we added that intensity drop volume for sure.

[00:25:40] And nutrition even changes a little bit because we weren’t worried about trying to do as much of the big carb intake during events because the events weren’t as long. And so we’re still trying to maintain a big part of that aerobic fat-burning sort of fitness because he’s doing this multiple years. And so trying to keep that in mind, setting him up for the future.

[00:26:04] So yeah, there’s a lot of kind of ebbs and flows from the type of training he’s doing, but also the fueling that goes into that. And it doesn’t always perfectly balance, like I said, for Seattle with the mountain bike race. I mean, he went, he raced. There are things we could do better this neck of this coming season with that but yeah there’s there’s a little bit of a give and take that happens with all of it for sure.

Jesse: [00:26:31] So one thing you said reminded me of I spoke with Ironman great Mark Allen back on episode 131 and when he and I were talking, we were talking about the Norwegians and kind of the upcoming big speed changes in long course triathlon. And we were talking about how a lot of the like physiological components between some of these athletes are pretty close. Like, you know, maybe one’s a little bit better when just one or the other, but when it all averages out like they’re getting pretty close to being about the same time.

[00:27:09] And one of the big differentiators that he had suggested or we talked about was like the fueling strategy and figuring out how to kind of optimize the body for fuel. I think particularly we talked about how like. We were talking about the project sub seven, sub eight that was going on and that happened this year and how like fuel is the kind of ultimate biological limiter.

[00:27:38] Like there’s just a certain point where like you can’t make your body digest anymore. Like that’s all it can do. Like you can’t make the cells work any faster. So I’m just kind of curious how you guys work on the fueling strategy. You’re talking about working on optimizing fat burning for fuel over just like a strict carb. There’s so there’s some training component to that. So so how do you approach that? How do you tweak it for various races? What’s your kind of philosophy in that direction?

Lucas: [00:28:15] Yeah. From a training standpoint and how do we focus on burning fat as a fuel, that’s how much of volume consistency in the training and then the intensity that you’re using. And so high volume really consistent with the training day to day, week to week for those periods.

[00:28:34] And training intensity kind of in some of the common cycling zones, zoning training zones or training levels you’re at an endurance or zone two sort of level and even oftentimes kind of low in that. Then the goal is just you’re really fueling almost all of that activity through aerobic respiration in the cells. You’re not varying pace a lot.

[00:29:00] And so because with those variations of the pace, your body makes up those quick changes with anaerobic fuel, and so you’re creating more lactate and which is using glycogen to do that. And that gets recycled, recycled. And that’s that is also a part of training. But you don’t want to be relying on the glycogen to begin with. You really just want to be focused on how do we get the most fuel coming from fat burning as you can.

[00:29:28] And so let’s just big volume, steady pace is a big part of that and because that typically takes the longest amount of time for the body to adjust and the enzymes, mitochondria, blood flow, all those things tend to take longer than some other adaptations that can happen.

[00:29:50] And you’re really looking for a number of different changes that are happening. Whereas if you’re trying to develop. You know, anaerobic capacity. That’s something to respond more quickly because the mechanisms involved are a little bit simpler, easier for your body to build. And so it happens faster most of the time. So yeah, the aerobic side of it and learning to burn fat or getting your body to do that better just takes a lot of time.

[00:30:18] So that’s the training side of it from the nutrition side of it. We haven’t Alexey in particular is good at having a generally a good solid quality diet. So that’s something we haven’t necessarily focused on. But I do think that’s important. When you’re doing a big volume, you’re going to have a fairly or you’re going to have a big contribution of carbs to that diet just to process all that.

[00:30:41] At the same time, you need to make sure getting in prime protein and some fat in that diet, you’re looking to burn fat. Hopefully some of that is coming from your diet, not just off of your body stores. So just a general well-rounded diet, but also making sure you’re eating plenty because as you try and make a lot of those fitness gains, your body does that best in a well fed state. So if you’re kind of chronically undernourished, that yeah, that’s chronic energy deficiencies are not a good scenario for trying to improve fitness.

[00:31:17] And then on the bike we kind of train the high carb things roughly once a week, maybe closer to once every ten days. And so that’s something that has to be done over a long time. Alexey came in with a lot of experience in terms of eating on the bike. And so that was not that was a pretty easy process for him. But we were conscientious about it and trying to do it in steps and make sure you’re not getting gut rot and some of those things that can happen.

[00:31:48] And I will say his experience in doing that was pretty good. But some of that is also just practicing like it is. It’s a chore to take in that many calories while you’re riding a bike, especially if you’re doing that in the context of events like Unbound or Belgian waffle Ride, where it can be hard to just literally get things to your mouth, whether that’s fluid or food. So doing some practice both in terms of just the sheer volume and consistency throughout a training session at that, but also just the logistics of like how do I carry it and get it in my face while I’m on a bike.

Jesse: [00:32:23] Yeah.

Lucas: [00:32:24] So yeah, we definitely practice that. If you practice it too often though, then your body starts to get used to having a lot of carbs available and it wants to burn the carbs because you get more ATP out of each per unit of oxygen available when you burn carbs as opposed to fat or something else.

[00:32:43] So your body likes it if it’s available. But it is definitely it’s the most limited fuel source. So we don’t do that too often because we don’t being able to burn fat as a fuel source and rely more on that, it’s going to help you out a lot and those really long events. So you’ve got to train so your body can absorb it, making sure using good combinations of carbohydrates. Because if you’re trying to do that all through glucose sort of thing there, the channels that absorb it through your gut, into your bloodstream are limited.

[00:33:18] So if you’re using different types of carbohydrate, then there’s different channels that absorb those. And so you can get more in an hour. So we’re trying to adhere to all those things. But yeah, ultimately how much your body can process is really a big limiter. And if you’re out of glycogen or really depleted, not necessarily zero, but pretty depleted, the intensity you can maintain is about 50% of what you could before. So that’s just a huge decrease. And I’m definitely not the first to the kind of high carb intake on the long events.

[00:33:54] But as I started seeing that, I just kind of quick run through the numbers in terms of if you’re able to take in this many grams of carbohydrate, that’s X number of calories. Here are the kind of rates of calorie usage that somebody is doing in an event that lines up with power output. This way, if we can bump that up, how does that compare? And you’re looking at significant differences, not necessarily huge all the time, but sometimes 15 to 21 differences in terms of what’s sustainable from an energy standpoint.

[00:34:22] And over the course of an event like Unbound that goes from like front group to second group, that’s like top five to top 25 and maybe even a little further back. So that’s I mean, that’s a significant difference. And then Alexey, this year I had had a flat and had a chase back on at one point. And those are the sort of scenarios where you don’t get to optimize your pacing in the race. You just I mean, you got to go hard.

[00:34:49] And so you do have sometimes have those scenarios where you’re going to use more glycogen because that’s what the race demands. And so yeah, so we try and prep as best we can so that then you’ve got a little bit of room to play with because, yeah, race does happen.

Jesse: [00:35:09] So. Before we start to wind down, I want to ask you specifically in the fueling department. So this is what I’m well out of my big triathlon training. But like, this is the struggles I had with cycling is, number one, just the amount of time you got to spend to be good at it. And I was never great at that.

[00:35:32] So my longest rides, you know, go out the height of my training years ago now I’d be like five hour ride, you know, somewhere around 80 ish miles or so, 75, 80 miles. And, you know, I can take gels with me, but then it’s like getting gels the whole time. Like, not the whole time, but just like, is your main fuel source.

Lucas: [00:35:54] Yeah.

Jesse: [00:35:54] Do you do that? Do you take, like, salty crackers? Do you take a sandwich? Like, what do you take with you? So I’m kind of curious what your indoor Alexey, however you want to approach it. I’m picking on him because he’s been on the show and coach him. But you know, how do you kind of approach that, that literal, like fueling choice? Like what are we taking with us, say, on long rides? Or I would not assume you’re going to like pull up peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of your pack during a race, But maybe I’m wrong. So, like, I’m curious how you approach it.

Lucas: [00:36:29] Yeah. It. You know, we talked about the whole fueling aspect just being a key limiter, and it really is. And one of the challenges is getting it in your face consistently for at an Unbound, you’re like a ten-hour sort of thing is what I always have in mind. You know, for the elite rider, sometimes it’s a little faster, but you still kind of always have 10 hours in mind because sometimes conditions are terrible and that cannot be, you know, sometimes that’s not a big deal, especially being practicing for hour one and two and three and four and five. The trick is that like around eight hour, eight or nine, you can be really, really, really sick of it.

[00:37:07] And so part of the practice is what do you like? What can you tolerate? Can you tolerate this for a couple of months of preparation? That’s it’s usually pretty good indicator that you’re not going to be sick of it by the end of a race. And then some of it is recognizing like is having that plan. And for your race, here’s what I’m consuming, here’s where I’m getting it, here’s how I’m trying to get it in, but then also recognizing that sometimes that’s not going to work and it’s okay to kind of switch it up because you could have been relying on one thing and you’re like, I’m I’m done. Like, I cannot do another one of those.

[00:37:43] And then recognizing there’s a plan B. So one of the things I really worked on my athletes with the last few years is kind of having Plan B for lots of scenarios. Everybody doesn’t want to flat or crash or lose this or have that happen, but we all know those things happen. And so how do we plan for that to happen? Not because we want it to, not because it’s choice A, but because we know those things are going to happen.

[00:38:08] What is our Plan B? And so from a nutrition standpoint, we have our plan A plan that we’re trying to make happen. And then whether you miss a feed or drop something or just cannot tolerate taking in another bottle of whatever it is, what is something else you can take and recognizing that in in a perfect world that might not be what you use, but in a realistic, actual real world scenario that this backup option is going to be better than nothing.

[00:38:39] I think I’ve seen with a lot of athletes, it tends to be either all or nothing. And so really trying to create that gap in there where, no, this perfect scenario isn’t what is happening, but we have backup plans that can be good. And so so yeah, and that can vary. It can be gels, it can be the various chews, it can be drinks. I’ve found for a lot of athletes, what seems to be working best is the high calorie drinks. Just because in the context of gravel events, they’re way easier to manage. Just getting them in.

[00:39:14] The challenge with them is refueling. So they don’t necessarily work for all events because you don’t necessarily have self-support or pick where you can leave your stuff and then pick some of your own stuff up later, or you don’t have team support where you can get hand ups from others. And so there’s an element of what are you going to work with that the race provides, but because you can’t carry all that fluid, so 400 calories in a struggle.

Jesse: [00:39:44] Or just going to strap like a five gallon jug onto everybody’s back and just —

Lucas: [00:39:49] Right. Yeah. And that’s not very practical either. So it’s bottles and it’s hydration packs and all that, but it’s a point. Yeah. So logistically it does become a challenge and sometimes necessitates that you then you have food, even though that might not be your preference just because that’s the only way to be able to carry enough stuff either between checkpoints or just because it’s essentially all self supported.

[00:40:14] Yeah, so it does vary, but for the really long events, people are mostly finding the high calorie drinks are, are the most convenient because it’s the easiest to keep up with. Otherwise it’s like food wrappers and other stuff and like trying to take bites and chew and yeah, it’s just hard. In training sometimes that’ll vary because people want a little bit more variety. So we try and practice some of the race foods in training, but you know, sandwiches and aren’t unheard of. And yeah, and I think that’s fine.

[00:40:50] Again, sometimes we focus on what’s perfect or what’s optimal. And sometimes there’s an element of how do we keep it realistic and sustainable. And yeah, and not environmental sustainability, but just kind of the sustainable habits of training, racing, that’s a huge thing I work on with, with athletes just because if you’re really into the sport, there are a lot of things that we do that are kind of excessive and they’re not things you can keep up throughout a season or over the course of multiple years.

[00:41:18] And so how do we balance other things? And sometimes that’s as simple as nutrition, Sometimes that’s how do we balance in other parts of life. But yeah, it’s you can’t always go with optimal because it’s not always practical to keep that up forever.

Jesse: [00:41:38] That’s fair. More questions I can have, but we’ll start to wind down on time here. So look at you. Could you listen to the episode with Alexey but I ask a question of each guest for entire year. So you’re one of the last the almost the last guest. Next week my recording will be the last guest for this season to round out this question. So the question for you now is how do you celebrate your wins?

Lucas: [00:42:04] How do I celebrate my wins? I think one of the things is that I don’t often celebrate my wins enough as a coach, like I’m invested in my riders doing well, but at the same time I recognize they had to make it happen. So I’m always a little bit detached from them to success. I think maybe the most concrete example of celebrating my wins is the season Alexey went to the world tour. I bought myself a new desk, which is still a desk I use, and that was kind of a recognition of I don’t I may never, never coach another athlete that rides at the world tour.

[00:42:46] And I also had a couple other athletes that are really good seasons that year. And so it was part like I may never have a season like this again as a coach. So occasionally I’ll, I’ll pause and do that, but sometimes also like a cyclist, you’re like, Yeah, and then you move on to the next thing because there’s another race, there’s another thing happening. And so yeah, I would say probably don’t celebrate those enough in the moment. I’m like, that was exciting. The next day it’s on to the next thing.

[00:43:21] I guess in my coaching hat I would say, yeah, you need to pause at least at the end of a season and look back on all the things that happened. And yeah, sometimes we measure ourselves too much day to day as opposed to taking a big picture look at it. But yeah, the desk is sometimes something that I think about and I’m like, that’s why I keep working. And it is good to have some reminders that sometimes it goes well.

Jesse: [00:43:47] Well, I think that’s kind of an interesting answer to it, because, I mean, the desk is a tangible thing and I think generally. I would discourage people from like buy a new thing or whatever. But in some of the cases, like I think. If I look back, it was like with triathlon training for any long time listener know that I didn’t end up getting my pro license because I crashed and the whole thing.

[00:44:18] But just like as I developed, it’s an expensive sport. So like as I got better and kind of saw those wins and gains, then I would like upgrading gear and be like, okay, now I can justify like spending a little bit more and getting even nicer stuff. And so sometimes I think buying things is actually a good way to go about it. Not necessarily like why I won that race. So I’m going to go take a $60,000 loan and get a Mercedes or something.

[00:44:45] Not like that. But just like like your desk is that’s a part of your everyday work environment. Like it’s in some ways like me or Alexey, like being like I’m getting a new bike or I’m getting new race wheels or whatever. Like it’s yeah, you’re, you’re reinvesting in the thing that you’re doing because you succeeded. So sometimes I think that’s a really good answer to that.

Lucas: [00:45:07] And sometimes we have goals that other people don’t see. I think it’s easy to if you get on the podium, there’s some recognition in that and your name’s on that list kind of forever. And then there are other goals that we accomplish that nobody’s ever going to know a number one that was a goal or that we succeeded. And so sometimes I do think it’s helpful if we recognize ourself in some way or other and nobody knows about the desk. You’re probably the first person other than my wife that knows about the desk.

[00:45:34] And so, yeah, it’s really for yourself, and I think it’s good to celebrate those sometimes. But yeah, I can’t really think of anything else I’ve bought myself. But it was a reminder, you know, sometimes it goes well and it’s good to recognize those, even if you don’t have some sort of other recognition that happens.

Jesse: [00:45:55] Yeah. No, that’s good, Lucas. If people want to get in touch with you, there’s coaching, they have questions, any of that kind of stuff. Where can you reach out to you?

Lucas: [00:46:05] Best place is through the website, old school website which is, and there’s contact down there. Just go straight to me. It’s probably easiest way to find me. Yeah. And otherwise if you’re in Ann Arbor Spring Training series, every year we run I’m out of the clinics help them with those. Yeah And otherwise I pretty much I follow my athletes so yeah, get in touch with them and —

Jesse: [00:46:34] They’ll make it happen.

Lucas: [00:46:35] Yeah, right.

Jesse: [00:46:37] Awesome. Lucas, thanks. Thanks for hanging out with me today.

Lucas: [00:46:40] Well, it was great to sit down and always fun to talk cycling and coaching.

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