Apr 28, 2020
This week on the podcast we talk with Coach, Frank Overton of FasCat Coaching about gravel training and racing. FasCat supports both elite and recreational athletics in achieving goals both big and small. Remember #FTP.
Sponsored by: Cycle Oregon
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Automated Transcript, please excuse the errors.
Frank, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me, Craig. Pleasure to be here.
Right on. We always start off by learning a little bit more about the cycling background of our guests and how they first came to riding, drop our bikes off road. So how'd you get started?
In 1995, I graduated in college and I got a job within three weeks of graduating. I came home from work the first day, five o'clock, and I sat on the couch and like ate chips and watch TV, woke up the next day, said I'm not doing that again. And I played tennis in high school and college and you know, like NCAA, all that and you need two people to play tennis. So when I got to a new town, a new job came home that second day and I didn't have anyone or know anyone to play tennis with. So I had a mountain bike that I use for commuting and I wrote it around the neighborhood and the neighborhood rods. I started to go a little bit further away, a little bit further away and it was all on pavement. And I actually was riding on the sidewalk until someone yelled at me.
And then I started riding on the road and you know, 30 minutes turned into 45 turned into 60. And then I rode over to a bike shop and said, where are the trails? And cause it was a mountain bike. And lo and behold, one of the guys that I went to college with own the bike shop and he, he took me under his wing a little bit enough to like say, Hey man, you need to get a helmet and here you need to get these, these shoes. But anyway, this is in Winston Salem, North Carolina. And I started riding in the woods after work and loved it and that, that, that's how I got started. I E. The other way I got started, sorry to be long winded right off the bat is when I was 11 and 12, I would come home from school and my parents, you know, I would go out in the neighborhood and play, this is before phones and everything.
I was a free range kid and I had friends from school that lived in different neighborhoods and I had a lot of friends in my neighborhood that we would all play. And I had this like, I don't know, like a Sears 10 speed bike that my parents had bought me and I started riding that to neighborhoods other than my own afterschool to go play like basketball and, and, and like, you know, pick up flag football. And my parents would always let me go wherever I wanted to on, they didn't even know how far I was going. So the bike was a lot, a lot of freedom for me to go rod to different neighborhoods to, you know, do other sports.
So that slippery and love of just peddling around the neighborhood ultimately led you to racing mountain bikes and road bikes, right?
I guess so. Yeah. Yeah. I mean yeah. You know, because you've done it as a kid and then you start doing it for exercise after, you know, in your adult life. I got started in mountain biking later in life. You know, I didn't do it in high school. This is before Nika and that, and I didn't do it in college. So back to the woods and Winston Salem and my friend did that bike shop, you know, it went back like the second time and he's like, Hey, you know, you should come and race with us. And you know, it's like, yeah, let's do it. And he was an expert mountain biker and I was a beginner and he said, okay, you can, you can rod with us, you can get a ride with us. And I wasn't gonna go to the race by myself cause I didn't even know where to go or what to do. But he was leaving at 8:00 AM for the like Cunningham expert race and he's like, well, you got to do this one if you go with us, cause like my race, the beginner race was like later in the day, but I wasn't cold by myself. So I kind of like just dove right in and you know, trial by fire and I was hooked. I loved it. And, you know, I kept doing it and it just kinda yeah, blew up from there.
And then ultimately you raced semi-pro on the mountain bike and cat one on the road.
That's right. Yeah. Fast forward, whatever, six to seven years. Raced for the Schwind homegrown grassroots team. Raced for specialized Nantucket nectars for a year. And and then the Richie grassroots Mount bike team in 2002 and I broke my hand at the Northern national and Alpine Valley. It's the same place where Stevie Ray barn's helicopter crashed. And I like, I was like pre-writing the course. I was like in the best shape of my life. I was going to use that race to get my pro upgrade. And lo and behold, you know, just stupid crash riding in the woods in a, put my hand, right on a baby head rock and just folded over the metacarpals and you know, so I couldn't race, but I mean, like really good shape. And I, I use this expression with my athletes, you know, my legs were not broken and got on the trainer and you know, this is like right around, you know, I'd always done road racing and crits, you know, for training in between the, the mountain bike races, the Northern national circuit and like the courts now bike series in, in Colorado, the cross country series.
And this is also right around during the Lance wave when road racing was cool. Kind of like the way gravel is now. I mean it was the thing to do. It's like what all the mountain bikers are getting into. Cause it was just, you know, awesome. And there was a lot of opportunities. So I went to super week that year at with a broken hand because I could put my, my phone around the ski lever and I can still race. I mean I was like in really good shape. I couldn't wrap my hand around the bar, but I could, you know, pulled the right STI lever with my thumb. So I go to super weak, you know, race from two weeks in a row. Love it, come back home. And then I just drove myself out to the cascade bicycle race in Oregon. Loved it. And you know, I didn't really do that well, but I, and I can hold my own in the pro one, two field.
So in 2002, the Mount bike sponsorship dried up and prior to that it was like gravy train. I mean, you know, they were giving people like me cash money and two bikes and you know, all the equipment we needed, but after nine 11 and the.com boom. And the combination of the Lance wave there wasn't as many opportunities. I really didn't have a team for 2003, so I decided to race on the road. I mean, it's the same thing that gravel racers are doing now, just different disciplines. So I I turned to race and on the road in 2003, you know, did a, you know, a lot of the NRC counter events, Redlands and Salono, central Valley classic he LA cascade obviously super week. Oh, it was called dairy, dairy land all those races. And it was during that time. What else?
Oh, in 2002 also because of the.com boom. And nine 11, I lost my job is in biotechnology. Biotechnology was incredibly volatile back then and most of the companies that I worked for were startups. I was like employee number 12. It's the longest running company I worked at. But the market tanked and funding dried up and layoffs happened. And one thing I realized in biotech is every time you go to a new company, it takes about six months to learn new technology. And the other thing I learned was there's two types of people in biotechnology, those with their PhD and those without, and I was without, because I had chosen to ride my bike a lot more in life than to spend time in the lab, in the, in the library. And so I realized I needed to do something different. And I decided, I I was, that's when I got into coaching in 2002 I was in between biotechnology jobs. I was training full time to be a road racer, try to be a professional level road racer. And yeah, that's when I got the help of a friend. I built a website, wrote some training tips, came up with the logo and the name and yeah, that's when it all got, yeah, that's when fast cat coaching got started.
And had you gotten some coaching previously in any of the sort of semi-pro and pro racing you were doing?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I was coached by a fellow by the name of Dave Morris. Hi day. Shout out Dave was a exercise physiologist. He worked on project 96 for any of the old timers out there. Project 96 was the title of the project given to basically the team charged with winning gold medals at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic games. And he worked down in Colorado Springs in the human performance lavatory and he, you know, day was one of the first coaches. He's a peer of Chris Carmichael and Dean Golich from, from that air. And he had written a book, I think the name of it was like racers ready anyway, Gaye was coaching some people in, in, in 98. I, I like trained as hard as I could and I didn't really get any better at the end of that season. I was like, I gotta hire a coach and man I had to like call around.
I mean this is like I called Dean Crandall who put me in touch with Dean Golis. She said he was too busy and that was back when in coaching where you had to like, you had to like be good enough to be coached for a coach to take you on. And I was like a no name but Dave was trying to make some money and he had an affordable coaching and I was coached by day for like four years and went from a sport class, Mount biker, you know, all the way up to like count one, you know, borderline professional mountain bike level.
Yeah, it's interesting you hear that story a lot when people just have the raw talent and get it organized by a coach to kind of progress to that next level. So that's an interesting tale of how you came to founding fast cat. I should note, as I mentioned in the intro that you guys have been producing a really great podcast. How long has it been a couple of years on that.
Oh thanks. It has been 84 episodes and may of 2018 so little over. Let's see. Hey, we're coming up on two years here. This may.
That's awesome. I think you know what's, what's interesting to me is you guys put out such depth of information on your site and the, it's sort of a lot of, it's freely available, lot of great plans out there and obviously you guys offer customized coaching. A couple of the episodes that really kind of grabbed hold of me and I got a ton of questions for you about a variety of subjects, but there, there was the concept of winning in the supermarket and winning in the kitchen. That really resonated with me as someone who feels like he consistently fails in those departments. Can you talk about just a touch on, on that philosophy and where you guys are coming from with that?
Absolutely. Well and when I hired Dave is my coach, you know, we did a one season 98, 99 completely didn't even pay attention to nutrition. In fact, I was losing in the grocery store. I was losing in the, in the kitchen and you know, one day in 1999, you know, Dave introduced the concept of power to weight ratio to me. And then, you know, I talked to some of my teammates and I, and I looked around and you know, it turns out power to weight ratios, one of the greatest determinants of performance in the type of racing that I was doing, which was now biking, which was a lot of climbing. And to you know, go up these Hills faster, you had to weigh less. And you know, so I started paying attention to my nutrition and, and in October of I guess that was like 2000, I started you know, eat more salads, more vegetables.
You know, I still had no clue what I was doing. You know, this is 20 years ago. But I, but back then I was, you know, you're young you know, you're, you produce, you know, your endocrine system is still, you know, you know, firing away and it's really easy to lose weight as like, you know, a 28, 30 year old compared to when you're 48 or, you know, in your fifties when your Intercom system has slowed down tremendously. And so you know, I got really skinny and got really fast and that's how I upgraded up to, you know, be in a semi-pro and a cat one. And I really didn't make that much more power. I mean, I got more powerful, but really the biggest, the, you know, the huge leap that I took was from losing weight. And so that's the impetus behind winning in the kitchen.
It's super important and really just comes down to a lot of guys think they can just ride more and eat less and that's what you can do in your 20s. But that is not the path to longterm sustainable success. You know, when you're a masters athlete, you in your thirties, maybe you can kind of get away from it or again, account and blend the two. But you know, for many years it was the Eddie Murks rod more eat less. But really 80% of weight loss comes from healthy food choices that emanate from the kitchen that's winning in the kitchen. And really 20% of weight loss is you know, just from riding more like, you know, rotting a ton of hours, like when you can do when you're in your 20s. So it really just comes down to eating more vegetables, eating more fruits you know, staying away from added sugar partially hydrogenated fat, saturated fat, you know, it's really simple.
One of my teammates from back in the day, the Richie team, he had a term that I adopted. He said there's two types of foods. There's the go fast Khan and there's the go slow con. And I guarantee you everyone listening right now can put a label on either. And so really it's just paying attention to the go fast foods and you know, going to the grocery store, choosing those foods and you know, trying to wait in the kitchen and it's a healthy lifestyle. And I can go on and on and on about that cause we do in our podcast.
Yeah. No I encourage people to go back and listen to those episodes of your podcast cause I found it interesting. I think it's pretty easy for us as kind of middle-aged athletes, masters athletes to look around and think about what we're eating and realize the percentage of go slow foods to go fast foods is highly skewed in the go slow category. And you know, you know, clearly I think we need to acknowledge that, you know, most of, most of the gravel athletes that are listening to this, I suspect are out there for the adventure. They're taxing their bodies, they're going for these big events like dirty Kanza. But at the same token, you know, they're not trying to be a skeleton, Chris Froome type athlete. It's just not important to them. It's important for them to get to the finish line. So there's, you know, there's clearly some balance there of, of enjoying life, but also, you know, making those choices that all enable you to be more efficient on the bike and have more success at these long distance events.
That's right. And success at the event comes from the second part of the winning and the kitchen philosophy and approach is you got to fuel your workouts and fuel your, your long distance rides. And you know, back then I would, you know, put five you know, gels in my pocket and you know, suck those down every 30 minutes. But nowadays, you know, we'd talk about gels, blocks, bars, every 30 minutes we'd talk about making rice cakes from scratch, lads and Dr. Allen Lim. You know, we talk about you know, just eating well proportion meals before and after and, and, and all that in everyone that does these races, these long races, you know, where they can all, they probably want to lose five or 10 pounds. They may not want to get down to you know, 7% body fat. But you know, as you age, your, your body just instance, natural tendency to put on more, more fat and store fat and, and you know, you'd neglect that for a few years and then you're, you know, that's when you got the spare tire and when you do decide to choose more go fast foods and try to win in the kitchen is that's where this can come in.
Cause we don't advocate like dieting and like, you know, restricting calories. We just advocate eating more, really just eating more fruits and vegetables and greens and, and, and making those go fast food choices.
Yeah. And I think that's where I am as an athlete. It's really, I just would like to start making better choices. At the beginning of 2019 I became a vegetarian, which has helped. But I found that just being a vegetarian doesn't necessarily mean you, you make good food choices. So 2020s about kind of combining that with a little bit better choices. And you know, one of the things I struggle with, and I wanted to kind of get your opinion as as a coach is you know, as a, as a family man, as someone who works for a living, my time windows are off often outside of my control. So you know, I think about getting on a training program but then I think to myself, okay, in any given week or any given month, my long ride window may open up serendipitously. So it may be on the program that I'm supposed to be resting this week, but all of a sudden I have a five hour block of time because my wife has decided to take my son somewhere. How do you kind of work with athletes who are grappling with the challenges of time, opportunity versus training schedules?
Well, I mean, the first thing that we try to do is teach and not tell. And that I would tell you as a contradict myself, I would teach you to just go for it. When you have that five hour window of opportunity, first of all go for it because that's what you, you know, need and want to do and then just figure out everything you know, downstream as far as the training plan goes. So it's, you're the type of athlete that would benefit from like a coaching relationship to be taught that. And, and, and a lot of, we, a lot of athletes are like, well, I'm not ready for that. And then so we have these training plans and in these training plans we obviously you have the long rod and we have a, a private athlete forum where we have figured out a way to kind of teach athletes if they do want have questions, just like for the, you know, the conundrum that you just presented.
And it's like, how do I follow the plan but still, you know, adopt to these. And it's just really just asking the question. And, and in training peaks, you know, moving your workouts around is this simple left click, drag and drop and the software and you move like your longer OD to like a Friday instead of a Saturday or a Sunday instead of Saturday. And then you just, you know, you just work, work your way through the plant. We teach consistency. You know, we do have the hashtag FTF P which is follows up bleep in plan, which is a derivation of the velum Menotti rule number five and HTF view. We joke about that but we also use that as an opportunity to teach people good training habits and to be flexible with themselves. So like you may be coming from the, the angle, I've got to follow this plan just right. Maybe you're like a perfectionist, but really what you want to do is be flexible with yourself and just go for it and then, you know, kind of adjust your rest days around that opportunity.
Right. The other thing I have is, you know, I often work in San Francisco four days a week and I commute in from mill Valley. So I've got this sort of hour long, not certainly not junk miles because I'm enjoying going through Sausalito and over the golden gate bridge, but it's not pure training. And then I have the opportunity to ride home in the evening. So, you know, there's the potential for me to be riding two hours in any one of those days. But to date it's just sort of been plot along, you know, not put any more effort in or less effort than just required by the terrain in front of me.
Okay. So I have an athlete that lives in mill Valley and he works in San Francisco. So we worked that into his, his training plan. He's in di, I wouldn't say he's a die hard commuter, he just enjoys it. I mean, why don't we, do you want to, you know, sit in traffic across the golden gate bridge when you can rot across it. Super good weather. It's pleasurable. I mean, I've written across the golden gate bridge. It was scary as heck with the tourist oncoming and the cross winds. But other than that, it's a great view and a lovely way to maybe, you know, commute to and from work. What I would say to you, and this is the teaching moment is, and this, this is, I think we were corresponding by email about this. It's like what are you training for? Identified the demands and the requirements for performance in that event and then back that up to what you should be doing in your training and say you are training for like a dirty Kanza or any other gravel event out there.
You gotta have a really good aerobic and endurance. You need to ride your bike a lot. You know, like the Omni podcast that we just recorded with her. She rides her bike a lot. Therefore that's why she is good at riding 200 miles and you don't have to ride your bike a lot on just one day. You just need to ride your bike a lot over time, six months. And so getting back to your commute, riding two hours a day, four to five times a week, totally fits in with trying to ride a lot over the course of six, six months in preparation from any gravel event. I mean during that time, at the very least you spend time in zone two, that's a robotic endurance increase your mitochondrial density. Yeah, that's the foundation of all gravel racing. And then I think there is a client and I don't know the name of it, but as you kind of head South from Sausalito and mill Valley and start to go up to the bridge, you can get in a like good eight to 10 minutes of like you can do tempo, you can do sweet spot, you do threshold, you can do like five minute work, a park Hill, you know, before you cross the bridge.
Yeah, I mean, I mean you might just need to take like a 20 minute detour. But I did that. The athletes that I worked with, his name is Sean. We were, we were always coming up with these like custom workouts. Like, okay, you'll do like threshold work on the way to, on the way to work. But then rod zone two on the way home and then the next day run zone two to work. But on the way back, let's do this tempo. So it's just kind of getting creative. But I would say overall I'm staying consistent and trying to ride your bike a lot in a flexible manner is going to net new greater gains than, than you know, trying to do like a six hour ride. You know, once one day a week, consistency is King and I would just encourage you to commute as much as possible.
Yeah. We've also got the luxury here. We can head into Tennessee Valley and actually ride the gravel pretty much all the way to the golden gate bridge and there's plenty of add on opportunities. So there's a number of people who do what's referred to around here as the dirty commute where we head off road, which is pretty, it's pretty incredible to kind of have that experience and then drop into the golden gate bridge and be downtown in the financial district for work an hour later.
Makes me want to move to the Bay.
I know you've enjoyed it out here, the riding, so it's not lost on me that we're blessed, but as are you in Boulder? I spent a number of years out there and I love it. There's so much fun.
We are, we live in gray places.
The other thing that I grapple with is and this kinda goes on with opportunism around my time windows is I, you know, I often get last minute opportunities to ride events, whether it's locally or you know, even traveling a little bit. So I struggle with kind of choosing an a event. And for me like the concept of a events is a, is almost irrelevant at the end of the day. I want to experience new gravel. I want to enjoy the gravel community wherever I am. So I was trying to think back as to in, in last year I think I did maybe four or five kind of 60 to a hundred mile events around the country and there wasn't much rhyme or reason to them. And, and to your earlier point, I did feel like all my commuting miles enabled me any structure whatsoever to kind of get to the finish line and enjoy those long events. But any, any further advice in that category of like someone who is opportunistically taking these, these event opportunities and isn't really focused on anyone in particular?
Yeah, I have two answers for you that kind of parallel with each other. The first thing is I would encourage you to choose an M and a event and you may want to like, like we did a whole podcast on this a couple of years ago in the fall about choosing your a event and cause we were introducing the term a event B event, the event to our, to our listeners. And, you know, really, I think everyone knows what we were talking about, like in a event is your dirty cans and 200 or your lost and found or your crusher and the Tuscher BWR you know, mid South, you know, Steamboat, gravel, that, that sort of thing. Those are the races that you dream about, that when you are on a long run and you're wondering what you're doing in life, you, you fall back to remembering what you're training for.
They're, they're the races that, that motivate you and they're fun and, and for years the crusher and the Tuscher was my a race and that's what motivated me prior to the crusher and the Tuscher. The big bear Norbert national was that those, the first mountain bike race of the year that kicked off the notice season. And that's what got me through the winter. You know, when I was, you know, lifting heavy in the gym, doing intervals, rod long, you know, that's your reason. I think Rebecca Rush calls that. What's your, why? You know, that that's, that that's the a race. But then for your B race is in kind of your spontaneous you know, nature. Well, yeah. You know, definitely go for him and, you know, participate. They, so I would call those your B race races. And the the other thing I would say, you may be like, well, I don't have any race or, you know, life doesn't really fit in with that.
And then that's okay. You know, keep going you know, through your journey in gravel racing and one of these days of life or open up, you know, not be as busy. And you'd be like, Oh, I'm getting, this is my goal. I'm gonna go for it. And it may be like a, like, like last year I had an athlete do the dirty cans and 200, and he, he completed that. And then this year the rift in Iceland is his big, big goal. And that's what he lives in Pennsylvania. And he, you know, it's not the greatest weather, but you know, the, the idea of being his best in, in Iceland, you know, keeps him, keeps him going. And maybe that's for you and it's not something that I can tell you as your goal. It's something that you're going to just come up with one day or think about and, or decide upon. Am I answering your question?
You are, and I mean it has posed some sort of questions for me and I, I'd been a bit hurt with a back problem throughout the winter, so it kind of had put my 2020 plans in question as to what I was excited about and what I really wanted to do. I, I'm, I'm thinking for me, Rebecca's private Idaho might be my, my sort of a race for the year and build the season around that.
So now that you have an a race, someone like me, I mean, I can go to town. I mean, now we have a timeframe ripping, you know, that's labor day. That's where we have March, April, may, June, July, August at six months away, 24 weeks, you know, now, now from someone like me, it's like, okay, we should do this, this and this. To prepare you have the opportunity to build your base. Like we, you know, from commuting here, you don't want to neglect interval training, you know, threshold, you know, there is a 20 minute climb that starts off, Rebecca is private auto course. And after that climb, there's a big selection. It's a bunch of chunky gravel after that. So your power to weight ratios is big and important and you want to work on your threshold power to get over that climb in the best possible group and selection and time. And so, you know, being in mill Valley you have awesome 20 minute climb. So then you can structure your training going up and down Mount Tam and the Alpine dam and yeah, so then, but it also helps you peer dyes, your motivation. And we always say, you know, training for these races is kinda like a crescendo and, and piano and you know, you start off small and gradually get louder and louder and louder as you get you know, towards the Rebecca's date.
Yeah. And I think that's a good schedule for me this year. Just because sort of coming off this back injury, I want to make sure I'm healthy before I'm really firing and working too hard. What I appreciated on your site in addition to all the great video and podcast content was that you did have specific training plans that people can purchase for specific events. I thought that that was really cool when someone's getting into the plan and let's say for example, they, they don't actually have power on their bike. How do, how do you begin that process of setting whatever kind of measurement or milestone you need to set at the beginning of the process?
Yeah, so we get this question a lot. I do I need a power meter to follow your plan? The answer is no. All of our plans are zone based. So zone two, you can do a zone two training a by feel a rate of perceived exertion. You can do it by heart rate using a heart rate monitor and that's relatively affordable. I think you can get like a wahoo ticker for $50 and that's like the top of the line. And so hurray based training is tremendous. It's very, very good. And then of course there's the power meter and you can get a power meter for $350. I think stages has some nice affordable options there. One of their slogans is the power meter for every day. The everyday cyclist, not necessarily, you know, world tour level, but anyway, so you have zones and the training plan teaches you how to use the zones.
On the second day of a lot of our training plans, we'll have you perform a very simple and extremely effective task. We call it a field test. You do it out in the field. You don't need a lab, you don't need, you know, lactate or [inaudible] and, and you can do it with zero technology, which some of our athletes do. I learned this from Alan Lamb when he was working with some of the world tour and guys. But basically you go to a Hill and you go up at as fast as you can for 20 minutes, and when the clock strikes 20 minutes, you'd like put an X down on the pavement or the client put a rock or you notice which mailbox you're next to or treat. And then you go off and you do some training. You went in the kitchen, you weigh less, you, you know, you get more powerful and you increase your numerator and decrease your denominator.
Power to weight ratio is, is better. And then you go back to that same client and you go up it just as hard and then you measure how much further you got past that log or X or mailbox and you got on a previous time. And so that's like the super low tech way. And we teach athletes, you know, how to, how to do zone based training and, and really, you know, suites by very good. With power meter or heart rate zone two, you can do it. Rate of perceived exertion. VO two max threshold zone six. Really, that's just as hard as you can. You don't need a power meter or a heart monitor to do that style of training. It sure is nice to, to measure it and look at it afterwards. The analysis that, that piece,
The main attraction for a power meter from me would be just kind of getting that satisfaction is seeing some numbers move. The other thing I see referenced a lot in your plans and conversations is this concept of sweet spot. What, what exactly you're referring to there.
That's so sweet. Spot is a it's a zone. It's a style of training. It is a percentage of your functional threshold power, which is another fancy pocket protector term for your threshold, which is why I was just describing you find in a, in a 20 minute field test, it's technically it's 84 to 97% of your FTP and it is the place in your physiology where the stress is at a sweet spot in relation to the, the, the strain. And I think I misspoke on that. It's where the benefits of that work physiologically are in proportion with the, the physiological costs, like the, you know, like when you go do a hard hard ride, you get benefits from it, but then you're like, you know, you're tired, your muscles are sore, you know, and you can't really ride that fast for a couple of days afterwards. That's the strain and the benefit is what you happened, you know, during that hard ride.
But sweet-spot training is asking athletes to not go as hard as they can and to be able to do a lot of that training for a less physiological amount of stress. And that enables them to get what we've, you know, kind of like, I guess like the slogan of sweet spot, more bang for your buck. And so it's, you get more physiological benefits than by rotting in zone two. But you, and then you benefit more than doing full-on threshold training. So that, that's what she means by training is I developed sweet-spot training in 2003 to 2005 with a group of coaches and sports scientists. People like dr Andy Coggin Hunter Allen, who I listened to your podcast, that was really good. And it, you know, just like some other coaches like John virtual, Adam Meyerson Olympic silver medalist Brian Walton was in this group and you know, this is before all this that was our empower based technology and was unknown.
There was no technology or sports science behind it. And we figured it out. And one of the things that came out of that was sweet-spot training. We were using sweet-spot training to build big aerobic engines to help us go fast. We were all using our own data and developing our own training methods to validate this performance manager chart that is a big piece of the training peak software now. And yeah, so I wrote about it in 2005 on a website called Pez cycling news, introduced it to the world. And I started prescribing sweet-spot trained to all the athletes that I coached, guys like Tom Zirbel and Alison powers. Ted King did a lot of sweet spot training. I coached him back then. You know, Frank Pitt, you know, a lot, a lot, a lot of athletes and they got really fast from it. And that's kind of how I made a name for myself when I was coming up in the coaching world.
Awesome. Awesome. Well, you know, for the listener, again, I encourage you to check out Frank's podcast and check out his website cause there's a ton of backstory to everything we've been talking about today. I know you've given me a lot to think about for 2020 and I think this would be a really good year for me to kind of buckle down and just try to add some structure to my gravel cycling as I kind of enter maybe my third or fourth year doing the gravel thing. So Frank, thanks so much for all the great content you're putting out and for the time today. I appreciate it.
Oh, you're quite welcome. And I would say if you have any further questions, feel free to ask me. I love helping people. I mean that's kinda like our mission. That's one of the joys of being in the coaching realm as we get to help people with something that they're passionate about, just like us, which is cycling and nowadays a lot of gravel and long distance riding. So yeah. It's a dream dream come true to be able to do this for a living.
Yeah, I bet. And I think it's, again, this great takeaways from this podcast, anybody listening is if you're tackling your first gravel event or maybe your first kind of ultra distance event like DK 200, I think there's a lot of these gains that can maybe be made very simply, if you can kind of step back and think about it because they are super taxing these events in a way that just kind of jumping into a local 45 minute long crit never taxes the body.
That's right. I mean, crits, you can fake, but I'm a gravel race. You cannot. And being prepared for these gravel races is just so fun. And, and having, you know, six months of work culminate and having a great ride, that's, that's a rewarding experience. And, and I also know this from experience, personal experience, you know, doing a a hundred mile or challenging gravel event under-prepared. That's not fun. And we're doing this for fun. And you know, what we always say is as a fast is funner.
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks again, Frank.
You're welcome, Craig. Thank you again for having me on.