Epic Training Athlete — Vineman Testimonial

One of the most gratifying things I do in my life is coach other cyclists.  Helping them realize their dreams fills me up with pride, a sense of accomplishment for them and for me and completes me as part of the human race.

What follows is a testimonial from an athlete I coached in preparation for the Vineman half-ironman.  Her email gave me chills…

I’ve known George for years but this last year I engaged him to coach 
me for the Vineman ½ Ironman distance triathlon. We started working
 together in January when I flew out to California to pick up my new 
bike, wheels with a power tap and to do some field tests to establish 
baseline power data and benchmarks for workouts. George was patient in

the beginning as I asked tons of questions about understanding the 
power data, what it meant and why I should care.
This was the first time I had ever worked with power data. Actually, 
I rarely even rode with a computer or a heart rate
monitor in the past. I was all about “having fun!”

We had a rough start to the training. Training in Colorado outside in 

the winter just doesn’t happen, so the beginning of my training rides 
were inside, on the trainer: mentally challenging but effective. And 
frankly, I can’t say that once I started riding outside in the spring 
it got any less mentally challenging. This was one of the worst 
springs in Colorado.

I had so many freezing cold rides where I pretty much crawled down 
the road that I thought it was never going to get better. Those early 
rides were just a creating a foundation for the “real thing”. In April,
 I had a 17 mile Time Trial. I’ll never forget the call with George 
saying not so gently that I spent 85% of my ride at a cadence between 
60 and 80. Not good at all! After he chewed me out about that…the 
good news, I had strong power data: a 10% improvement over my last 
test. Keep up the good work!! I was a horrible spinner and I knew that
already , I just wasn’t expecting George to be so relentless. 
“How are you going to ride fast if you can’t pedal fast?” is what he 
would say to me and over and over again. So, I had tons of drills 
both on and off the trainer to improve my
spinning skills. It was not easy for me and a topic of many 
conversations but I did get better.

Besides my cadence, George was all over me about my weight. 
Once I got over my emotional baggage about it and understood that it 
wasn’t personal the weight came off – slowly for sure. George was 
always presenting the weight issue from a technical perspective – 
watts per kilo and how good it would be to lose weight and improve 
power! In the end, I dropped just over 10 pounds. People were noticing 
how good I looked. All my friends knew I was working with “George” a
nd they got used to me going on about what I called the George Factor. 
The daily emails about my food,weight, HR, my uploaded power data,
 my workouts, how the ride went, our discussions over cadence, 
my monthly tests, the weekly conference in calls, etc.

Slowly, there were small victories…the weight loss, the solid rides, 
and the monthly improvements in my field tests. The real proof came 
one day riding with some friends up Carter Lake. I would have normally
been last up the hill…and by minutes…but this time I was third and 
feeling strong. A call to George at the top was the highlight of the 
ride!! The training was working! 
It wasn’t always easy juggling the cycling workouts alongside a crazy 
work schedule and the other activities I was participating in, 
especially the Crossfit workouts that I was doing. With Crossfit, 
there is a lot of aerobic strength training with “heavy” weights and 
George was worried that I was going  to bulk up…or rather that 
I wasn’t going to slim down. It’s all about  the watts per kilo he 
would tell me over and over again. Watts per kilo! Watts per kilo! 
And just in case I forgot. Watts per kilo! Less weight on the bike 
will make you faster. 
Again, I had to remind myself that this wasn’t personal…it was all
 about the bike! Additionally, George isn’t a fan of “junk” miles 
and believes that rest is more important than trying to make up missed
workouts. He learned that I like to quilt and when he sensed 
anxiousness over missing workouts in my voice or emails he would say, 
“Do I need to schedule in time for you to quilt?” In other words, 
just chill girl! Everything will be just fine. That’s when I 
understood that he always wanted the best for me.

A few weeks before my race, I had a practice day of an hour swim, 
a 33 mile bike and an hour run! I sent my report to George and we 
both agreed, “I was ready”. 
Before the race (Vineman) we talked about my power 
and time goals. My power goal was 200 watts with a time of 3
hrs30min. George said I should target 3hrs15min so 3hrs15min it was! 
I didn’t have the pre-race jitters like I normally do. I hadn’t 
really trained on the swim or the run so I was just going to go for 
it on the bike. I had one of my best swims ever and onto the bike I 
went! I previewed the course before hand and knew it to be very rolly 
with a couple of hills, lots of twists and turns and very bumpy roads. 
All I could hear in my head was George saying to me, “If I felt the 
bumps in the road, I wasn’t racing hard enough!” Okay, George, I never
 felt the bumps so I guess I was racing fast enough! When I was about 
14 miles from finishing, I looked at the watch, did some calculations
and thought…geez if I push a little harder I just might make that 
3hrs15min goal. In the end, I completed the bike in 3hrs 21min! I felt 
strong throughout the entire ride and I even passed other riders on 
the hills! That’s never happened before. I had a kick ass GREAT bike 
ride for me. 
I was super excited and smiling in transition. Now onto 
the run. Certainly not my strength. Actually, I pretty much suck at 
running so I simply headed out with smile on my face saying it
will be what it will be. I negative split the run which is unheard for
 me. I had one of my best runs ever which I attribute to being so 
solid on the bike. Overall, I had a super solid, awesome race. One of 
my best races in years! I uploaded my data to George later that day.

 My average power: 197 (great job) and my cadence was over 85 (great 
job). He was proud of my effort…and so was I! For me this year, it was
 all about the bike and it paid off with a great race! George was a 
good mix of compassion and hard ass for which I am truly thankful. 
He is extremely technical/knowledgeable about reading and understanding
power data. He took a personal interest in my success unlike previous 
triathlon specific coaches I have had and I felt accountable and 
wanted to get better. 
I would certainly recommend George as a bike coach for anybody that 
wants to improve. I am doing an Ironman next year. I think I’m going ]
to start mentally preparing myself for the “George Factor”. 

Thanks for everything George. Lida

3 thoughts on “Epic Training Athlete — Vineman Testimonial

  1. Wow, what an awesome write up and kudo’s to you Coach George! Major feather in your cap. Shows what good training and good coaching can do.

  2. Damn, didn’t know you coached in addition to your long list of accomplishments. Impressive George! Great testimonial, good stuff!

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