From cycling on Zwift to the Gravel of California

Eric, who is based in California, was referred to Rob at Propello Cycling Coaching by a co-worker. Already an enthusiastic recreational cyclist, he mostly used his bike to commute and also did some gravel riding.

‘I was an avid mountain biker in my 20s, then left cycling for the next 20-odd years, aside from commuting to work on my Keirin track bikes.’ Eric says, ‘In 2015, when I turned 49, I decided it would be nice to have some gears (and brakes!) and I built up a steel cyclocross bike to be an 'all-rounder' for commuting (with panniers!) and gravel-riding, which was growing in popularity.’

In general, Eric describes himself as a person who enjoys self-improvement and learning new things as well as a bit of healthy competition - in particular participating in group rides.

Propello Cyclist Eric
Eric Coached by Propello

When the pandemic began, Eric purchased a Wahoo KICKER smart trainer which is designed to replicate the sensation of cycling outdoors. He also downloaded the cycling app Zwift and found it a lot of fun participating in group rides, following their training plans and getting involved in some of the races.

After a while, however, he felt as though he wasn’t really getting the results he expected. ‘I made good initial improvement through my self-guided training but after a while, my Zwift racing results began stagnating.’ he says, adding, ‘I was interested in seeing if I could push my riding to a slightly higher level, and I was interested in learning more of the foundational principles of effective training.’ It was at this point that his colleague recommended cycling coaching by Propello.

To begin with, Eric had the simple goal of improving his performance in the Zwift races. Over time, however, this changed. ‘My goal evolved to focus more broadly on improving my cycling fitness and becoming generally more knowledgeable about training/physiology/etc.’ he says. Then, halfway into his first year of training with Propello he entered Grinduro. This is a Gravel Road Race meets Mountain Bike-Style Enduro and so he wanted to be well prepared for it.

Eric feels that he developed a much better understanding of the principles of training and the biggest improvement he noticed was the 20% increase in his FTP and his general aerobic cycling fitness. Unfortunately, his gravel event was cancelled due to wildfires in California, but he did manage to set some significant PBs.

‘I set a number of personal bests - including the second-fastest Strava time for all 55-64 yr-olds on "5 Miles of Sullivan", a 5.6 mile/4.4%/1,312ft climb in my local Santa Monica Mountains. I missed #1 by 4 seconds.’
Propello Cyclist

Lately though, he’s trying to focus more on the joy of riding rather the what he calls the tyranny of the data and numbers. ‘I've been spending less time on Zwift, and more time working with Rob to diversify my training, adding weights, yoga, and trail running.' Throughout, he has enjoyed his Propello experience, saying, ‘I've loved working with my coach!’

This has been Eric’s only experience of bespoke cycling coaching and he has very much felt the benefit of following a process which is unique to his needs, ‘I've really enjoyed the experience.’ he says, ‘The only "low point" was a feeling of burnout after a long summer of hard training -- then being unable to apply the training to the Grinduro event. But even then, my coach turned this into a ’teachable moment’ and reinforced the concept that there is an ebb and flow to training, and to growth in general. The journey can be as rewarding as the destination.'

'I really appreciate the ability of bespoke coaching to provide, well, “bespoke coaching”!' Eric continues, 'Sure, I’ve had an overarching goal of ‘improving’…but the definition of ‘improvement’ has changed over the course of our training, and will doubtless continue to change, and Rob has been able to provide great/productive frameworks at every step. I can already feel the excitement of my new road bike, and how that will introduce new riding experiences, new potential events, and new fire for some effort on the Kickr.'

Our coaches work with cyclists from all over the globe and are experienced in a range of disciplines including mountain bike, CycloCross, mountain bike, track and road. Our bespoke cycling coaching is designed to suit your unique physiology and we have three cycling coaching levels to suit your lifestyle.

We also offer individual coaching consultations to cyclists who are seeking to make adjustments to their performance. To discuss the type of cycling coaching that might best suit your goals, get in touch with us today!