Stacey Barbossa has had successful race season thus far. After Nats-triumph 2017 2018, she was in incredible condition for 2019 build. Only so many hours in the day, with her experience, SB can rely on virtually saving all her bike-racing days for cyclocross. Maybe we will decide on a unique peak for MTB Nats before select CX season, but for now the champ champ is 100% content racing her cyclocross bike, and the split is working splendidly for her. As a coach, I have 0 complaints. #RoundIsRound
The woman rides with pride and she has a lot to be proud about. Her endurance-sports career has gone from multisport to road (crit, TT, road-racing), to cross-country MTB, to cyclocross… She has always excelled at everything she’s put her mind to and cyclocross became her next true goal, she contested her first Nats in 2010 and thereabouts began to change her game. The woman is world-level and I am keen to say she has built herself into noble cyclocross specialist. This woman is the real deal.
2019, the champ champ decided for forego Worlds in order for another pursuit at Nationals. We had very smooth build as always through the months, she came into early-Aug with deep base at lactate threshold – I knew she would respond well and begin to snap into condition as we electrified her cyclocross workouts. I also had her at Wednesday Worlds every week.
Barbossa’s race season started off with 1st place at Carpenter CX, yes, no pressure LOL, gotta start/end year off same way now, no prob 😉 The next day at Whirlybird she fought hard with Kate Cummings and finished 2nd. Then war (WARRRRRRRRRRR) at Nittany, huge race, tons of pro teams, the race is entirely a derby, buckle in and go – don’t need great luck, just can’t have any bad luck. I love the timing of this event, gotta be sharp and gotta perform at high-level – let’s go, we blink and race season is over. Nittany is a monument event and one of the region’s best. Barbossa brought out the knives and fought to 3rd on day 2.
Town Hall is our quintessential cyclocross race course, bravo to PACX, they nailed it. SB put in crushing performance with stunning velocity to take 1st. Then at Bubble, which is rough, arduous, and a bit technical, she put in another winning performance. This was nice to see because we were deep in build weeks – she was responding perfectly to this heavy training stress.
Then we had Lucky CX and Cooper River weekend, 1st and 2nd. Lucky CX a tech and super-rad course, Cooper River more like drag racing up and down carpet — Barbossa put in lion effort on day 2 at Cooper River, blasted off front with group. Soon it was Barbossa and Cummings off the front, Barbossa drilling it all race, as if she were in personal TT. I told her if she raced, we should maximize training and put down 100% throw-down effort. SB was so strong here, still able to contend long sprint on road for 2nd. #championbehavior
In middle of more blanket-heavy build weeks, she was 2nd and 2nd at Hippo CX and Crossasaurus. Then we pushed through Charm weekend with no let-up or recovery, she battled well for 8th and 11th. Then full block of recovery and she raced that following weekend, I was adamant her form would be A+ that weekend and she was 1st and 1st at Kutzown (ppl love/hate this course; no doubt, Kuzt is quintessential cyclocross racing and you must be excellent performer in discipline to go fast here) and Westwood CX.
HPCX was one-day event this year and SB fought with everything, riding gloriously and landing on 3rd, losing two to riders from CO. #oxygendoping #justkidding #muchrespect
Stacey Barbossa was standing on firm ground here. I began to set up her taper – she is type of rider who thrives on activity and with the depth of her base and current anaerobic tolerance, we could dose her taper more slowly…
She took 1st that next week at Caffeinated CX, the NJ CX State Championships. Nice to get that one there, all that matters is what you do in that moment and she is excelling.
I had planned one more build week, then a fun micro-taper – SB is going to get faster as we inchworm towards Nationals, that is the nice part. She’s going to be stronger, she’s going to be lighter.
She contacted me post-race and asked me if Pan Am Championships were good idea or not, she could do the drive up to the Canadas. I looked on schedule and this was her final upper-build week, then some recovery, then specific peak and taper training stress. #boomtown #ticket #firstclass #Tacoma
I told the champ champ racing Pan Am was excellent because even though her season has been smash A+ hello success, she has not had huge dress rehearsal for race. No big travel. No foreign soil. The timing of this race was IDEAL, final build week, let’s go – you are timed for nuclear form on weekend.
The champ champ made her plans to head north. She and her wife and their new dog made for fun traveling trio, sharing the driving equally and promising not to steal each other’s food in the hotel. The champ champ was in full stride and had full support from her squad.
They arrived as 2:00pm, the time registration opened and the course opened for inspection. The temps were cold but tolerable. The champ champ went into the course blind, encountered quite a bit of mud and came away telling me, “It’s a good course, really good. Very challenging but not crazy. I heard a few people remark that it pushed the limit of their technical skill and they would be running parts. I was fine with all of it and just wanted to decide how to navigate the fastest.”
On her pre-ride, the champ champ stayed loose and did a lot of laps, laps of the race course = warm; waiting around = cold.
AM race day was dusting of snow on ground and cold. 26d. The champ set up her trainer at the nearby rec center and spun easy. Her ability to visualize tremendous success is amazing – yes Stacey is strong in body and she’s built her body into capable weapon, but her mind is equally as strong if not stronger. She imagines how the race will go, she can see every detail of the course and how she will courageously speed through, every time she is successful, she can drop the woman she is with, etc…
What I have learned is a nice part about Stacey Barbossa is she’s unbreakable. Get her ready, armor her up, point her in direction, and say, “Good Luck, Champ 😊,” and off she goes. Keep her from getting injured, keep her from getting sick, keep her motivated, keep her head in the game.
The woman was on autopilot now. As she warmed up, she already knew what was going to happen. Defeating her would take a special effort. SB liked her chances and rolled to line, legs feeling great. Whistle GO and they roared, she was in then out of her right pedal, recovered quick and calmly, rolled into the grass at 3rd. Stacey is veteran and gave her companions some space, wanted to see if they slid out in the mud. Lisa ahead, Libby right behind. Everyone rode smooth.
In power section, Libby passed Lisa, the champ champ staying on Libby’s wheel. Then Barbossa put in hard dig and pulled away from Libby. Tricky off-camber, slick with roots, SB was swift and ran it. Also had good form to hammer-run the steps, remounting fast and motoring away.
Stacey’s gap grew as she charged through the course. “My legs were feeling good, I was riding the tech well and I was running the stairs totally fine. I just had to keep it together and not screw up.” The mega-cold temps were beginning to wreak havoc on her vision and also her limbs, numbness spreading.
Stacey later told me feedback that was gold to hear. “My legs were good, really good…I was dialed in on the tech. I executed the hard descent with no issues. My bike was sliding out all over the place but I was in control. I POWERED hard on the climbs, road, flat section near the pit and on the flat section on the top of the course. I ran the stairs, throwing the bike up on my shoulder flawlessly and clipping right in at the top.”
She screamed as she crossed the finish line. Pan American Cyclocross Champion.
Dress rehearsal complete, A+ is A+, now we begin to dust off the diamond a bit. Tacoma WA is a demanding cyclocross course with two hard run-ups (walk-ups) and favors a complete cyclocross competitor with superior power-to-weight ratio… Those ascents are going to destroy people. #redrum
Stacey and I do not discuss winning or losing – rather, it’s about getting back to those levels where she was her absolute best. If she was wolverine successfully in past race season, how to keep coming back to take that animal down? I am excited to see what she can bring to Tacoma in short time…
I view success as simple enterprise. Getting to Stacey’s level was not easy, nothing overnight etc. That is why SB succeeds –hard work. But not hard work alone – consistency, over and over and over and you find yourself in dream-like moments.
After years of focused work, the champ champ is back at it, Nats a few short weeks away. Onwards.
#periodization #championbehavior #EliteEnduranceTrainingSystems