Transitioning to Indoor Training

How to train inside and not lose your mind or motivation
by Coach Mike Ricci

Coach Mike working with an athlete on swim video review in Solvang last year

While many athletes will grind out miles on the trainer and treadmill over the course of the winter, I like to take the opposite approach. Unless you really love to sit on your bike seat and ride in place, and have lots of time to do so, I think your time could be spent more wisely, during the winter.

There are 3 different types of energy systems I like to see athletes access during the off-season. The first energy system is Tempo or Zone 3.

Mike with athletes post ride at our camp headquarters

The second system is Threshold or Zone 4, and the last set is VO2 and Zone 5. The mix of workouts below will give you a taste of each energy zone and by the time the winter months are over, you’ll have some new found fitness and you’ll be ready to hit the race season with great power!


Here are a few of my favorite trainer and treadmill workouts for the off-season:

Easy 10-15 minute warm up, then go right to the bike.
Warm up of 15 minutes and then 5×1 minute hard with 1 minute easy in between, followed by 5 minutes easy. That’s 30 minutes total warm up.
After bike warm up, go right into:
5×3 minutes @ 90% of FTP [Functional Threshold Pace] or Zone 4 HR, with 3 minute recovery – after this main set, you’ll jump onto the treadmill for 3×3 minutes with 3 minutes’ recovery, at LT [Lactate Threshold] and 10k pace. After the last set, move right back to the bike again.
2nd round will be:
5 minutes easy on the bike and then 5×2 minutes at 95-100% of FTP with 2 minute recovery, and after this main set, you’ll jump onto the treadmill for 3×2 minutes at LT+ and 5k pace.
Finish up with an easy 5 minutes.

Total workout is 2:10 minutes, including warm up and all the main sets in this workout. Continue reading “Transitioning to Indoor Training”

Gear review – Staff Tim Murakami and his go-to Bibs!

Pactimo Alpine Thermal RT Bib Shorts – Gear review from Solvang staff crew and hill-climber-cyclist-extraordinaire,  Tim Murakami!

Fall is here and odds are this is the time of year when you have to consider staying warm on training rides regardless of the climate you live in, and if you don’t, well you’re living the dream.

The Pactimo Alpine RT (reflective technology) Thermal Bib is just the piece of kit that will accommodate that need.

Tim racing the ‘Barry Roubaix’ in the Bibs!

It is one of the most versatile pieces of cycling gear I own, and has been exceptional in conditions ranging from sub 40 degree, raining and windy gravel races to an atypically cool 60 degree ride to Jalama Beach with Solvang Triathlon Camps (they’re typically in the mid 70 – 80 degrees) but hey, the ride was still phenomenal.

Cold Rides
The Apline RT Thermal Bib is fleece lined throughout, including the braces which add an extra layer of warmth from the lower back up to the shoulders. They are the one of the best fitting pair of bibs I own, running true to size with excellent muscle support and with ample compression around the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. Continue reading “Gear review – Staff Tim Murakami and his go-to Bibs!”

Alaska Bob’s trade secrets!

If you have attended a March Solvang camp since 2010, then you would have no doubt met, or seen the back wheel of, Alaska Bob, AKA Bob Smith. Bob, a strong athlete with a quiet demeanor, lets his biking do the talking at camp and his signature ride is the Jalama Beach ride. Bob seems to be one of only a handful of athletes who has the ability to negative split that ride even with putting the hammer down on the way TO the beach!

2017 has been a good year for Alaska Bob which included a great race at Ironman Wisconsin in September, which enabled him to punch his ticket to Kona for 2018! So on the back of that, we thought we would check in with him to see if he would spill the beans on some of his training behind his amazing biking strength.  Thanks for sharing Bob!

Alaska Bob is his element in Solvang!

Alaska Bob’s Key Ironman Bike Session

Progression by week: This session starts out with a two hour bike on the weekends and increases a half hour every week. These long rides are on Saturday followed by my long runs on Sunday and those increase two or four miles every week. It peaks at a five hour ride three weeks before the Ironman race. I try to hold a zone 2 power range mixing in some surges and intervals and hope my normalized power is in the low zone 2 range for these rides.

Cadence: I like to go at a cadence of 90 (not that it happens enough)! It also works best if it is a open road without stop signs or lights. Continue reading “Alaska Bob’s trade secrets!”

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? The power of persistence!

As many athletes in the northern hemisphere are beginning their off-season, the months ahead can be a great time to work on technique and focus on skills.

Looking for some motivation to show that we can all learn new skills? Looking to change your swim stroke, learn to nordic ski, or change your run form this winter? This video demonstrates the power of persistence in changing the neural pathways in your brain to learn new skills, or re-learn skills!  Enjoy the video…

Wonder if any camp athletes could ride a lap of the Meadowlark Inn on a backwards brain bike next spring!!?!

Key workout – Athlete Julie Gagnon’s long distance brick

Canadian Julie Gagnon, a 7 time Solvang camp athlete, has had a big year which included finishing her MBA, starting a new job, and racing the ITU Long Distance World Championships in Penticton in August. Juggling all this led to her starting her training later than normal in the year, so her 10 week build up was definitely about honing the word ‘key’!

Check out one of Julie’s key workouts that accelerated her to an 11th place finish in her AG at the ITU Long Distance world champs, a race distance that was 3km swim – 120km bike – 30km run !

Julie racing this summer

Julie Gagnon’s Key Workout In Prep for ITU Long Distance Worlds

Session focus: My focus was on building up my bike and run mileage. I did a few of these run/bike/run bricks this year and I really like them. Continue reading “Key workout – Athlete Julie Gagnon’s long distance brick”