Nationals Aftermath

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Evan Cooper of CRCA-Bicycling recently competed in the 17-18 Nationals out in Orange County, CA… I am very happy to report, although Evan didn’t get the top results he had hoped for, he actually peaked for the events and rode to his potential…

In Day One, he had a great ride in the TT, coming in 59th, dead center in the middle of the field. Now, Evan’s not a great time trialist, so for him to finish mid-pack in the hardest TT of the year with the nation’s best talent, that’s saying something!!! His HR average for the entire effort was JUST below his threshold… This is a pretty impressive number. I remember riding to my absolute limit this year at the Somerset Circuit TT, flying along. My LTHR is around 181 and I averaged 178 bpm… So, for Evan to be able to maintain this effort all ride and not crack for a non-time trialst tells you something… He rode beyond his limits…

Two days later was the crit. Our plan, the training plan, was to ensure he was firing on all cylinders for the RR (final day). So, the training, hopefully, was going to allow Evan to ride better and better each day… In the crit, he was able to fight his way to the front and stay there for most of the race… Another crazy race, massive accelerations, 27 mph for over 70 minutes. His average HR for the day was dead-on his LTHR — scary… His HR went over 200 bpm some 8 times… He drifted to the back near the end of the race, saving himself for the RR… He had a goal and stuck to his guns…

And in that road race, Evan told me he had his strongest day on the bike. He said he certainly felt best on this day, getting stronger from the TT to the crit to the RR… From a coaching standpoint, I was very, very pleased. But, when you feel that frickin’ good, sometimes it’s hard to rein in the watts. The course had numerous climbs splattered throughout, and Evan was able to stay at the front. His teammate, who all year has been noticeably stronger than him, was spit out the back.

That file was nuts. Absolutely insane. Evan reported having to dig deep several times, but each time he was able to hold the pace. His HR also dropped very fast when he could recover, an excellent sign. For a rider with a LTHR of 194, he spent over 30 minutes at 185, 26 minutes over 190, and a whopping 15m over 195 bpm… 🙂 In that file, he had over 6 8-minute efforts where he AVERAGED 195 bpm… Hello!

A third into the race, he started following moves. Every one, as a matter of fact. The kid was bridging gaps with Nick Bax! However, his activity during the race bit him in the arse as the 10-man move got away on the final climb… Evan was able to stay with the decimated peloton even as others, who weren’t active, got dropped… Even though Evan rolled in mid-pack, he was very happy to finish higher than many others who didn’t show their face all race… He of course was disappointed, but there were a plethora a positives to take from this experience.

What I admired most about the effort was that he was able to dig deep from the first minute to the last, his HR getting up there for every effort, his cadence never really dropping. He had the condition… He didn’t ever have to muscle that gear to death. Even though he reported having to dig deep several times, in the file he was under control. This is called FORM, my friends!!! This is the most impressive HR file he’s sent all year…

So although there was no top result, Nationals to me was a success. He was stronger and stronger for each event and was able to ride hard with the nation’s best. Evan still has to work on his racing tactics, but that will come instrinsically. If he continues to race hard, he WILL succeed. I’d much better have him race aggressive and get 50th than race passively… We’re looking long-term, and with Evan’s mindset, I foresee huge, absolutely huge success in his future. I don’t even think he knows how strong he is, how strong he can be… 134 pounds, FT of 300 — you do the math!!! The motivation, the drive that he has, you simply cannot teach that. My greatest task is to almost hold him back… Physically, he’s becoming a monster, his power data very similar to Nick Bruno’s… We keep him very even-keeled, very level-headed, apply no pressure to those shoulders.

His time will come… and I want to be there smiling, arms crossed…

Thanks for reading.

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Thursday, August 14th, 2008 | | |