I have been coaching racers for a long time to great success, but I have had a couple clients who didn’t respond to my coaching because they were trying to race events that didn’t suit their talents. This story is about one such racer, and Cycle U as a bike shop and how we had been experiencing mediocre results because we didn’t listen to our coaches and focus 100% on what we were born to do, create better bike riders. On October 1st that all changed as we launched Cycle U 2.0 and partnered with Westside Bicycle.
Back in 98 I was coaching a young racer, I’ll call him “Greg”, and as part of a coaching package along with a bike fit we also did our normal performance test. This consists of a hard hilly 10k simulation on the computrainer followed by a 30 second “all out” effort that begins with a full sprint. From this we measure average wattage, peak wattage, heart rate and then prescribe training. He came to me because he loved the idea of long road races like in the Tour de France with epic climbs, long breakaways and all the spectacle of road racing. When I tested him something became immediatly apparent…he was a Sprinter, not a road racer. His max wattage was the highest I had ever tested, and his watts/kilo “climbing predictor” was so low it would take a miracle for him to finish tough hilly road races.
We spent the next few years trying to get good finishes in the road races he loved and dreamed about, but to no avail, it ended in frustration and mediocre results despite hard training and effort. If he would have just focused on track sprinting at the outset as I had suggested, he would have been an amazing racer and who knows how far he would have gone, but he followed his dream and learned it was much harder than he had imagined.
It has been that way with Cycle U and Bicycle Retail. After 5 years running Cycle U and doing really well we started a full service bike shop in West Seattle in the fall of 2009 because I love bike shops and wanted to combine a great shop with our coaching and classes in one location. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I did have a few people tell me “Craig, your strengths are coaching and developing classes, not running a retail bike shop”. But like my client Greg, I pursued running our shop for the last 6 years with all the vigor and ignorance of a Cat. 5 racer with a foolish dream, disregarding bad finishes and admonishments from my coaches to “switch back to your natural strengths”, because I had it in my head that Cycle U could create the “next thing” in bicycle retail. I had a dream and at times it was really working, but the overall trend was flat and mediocre.
What happened was just like my client Greg, the bike shop was a good shop in a good location, but we constantly had problems with staff and inventory and never reached the level of a great shop. Worst of all, our coaching and classes suffered from lack of energy and focus because the retail took all our resources. We were working overtime and still going backwards. Well, that changed October 1st, when Cycle U partnered with one of the best bike shops in the NW to update and take over the West Seattle retail shop, and Cycle U is now back to 100% focus on creating the best bicycle school and coaching programs in the world.
We are almost done remodeling the West Seattle training studio with expanded trainers, showers and one of the best bicycle indoor experiences anywhere on the planet, and “Westside Bicycle” (the name of the new shop upstairs) has updated the space and added a deep selection of cool product with great managment and people (along with retaining the Cycle U staff). The combination of great retail and world class coaching has already been called “Seattles Dream Bike Shop” by the West Seattle Blog and we are just getting started.
Cycle U will be unchanged in most ways except if you were a faithful Cycle U bikeshop customer in West Seattle, you will now buy your Specialized, Felt and other bikes, gear and repairs from Westside Bicycle. Cycle U is still in the same location doing Bike Fitting with Westside and coaching Indoor and Outdoor classes along with Private lessons on any cycling skill. Our Sand Point shop is getting some updates and Ryan our head mechanic is still doing great work fixing and upgrading all kinds of bikes, it is basically unchanged. We are still running our teams for Juniors, Multisport and Men bigger and better than ever. We will be launching an expanded outdoor class schedule beginning in February and our indoor classes, ICE, are running full speed at both locations with updated software, new shorter testing and much more intereractive workouts and coaching feedback.
Thank you to everyone who joined us on this journey the last 11 years and especially in West Seattle the last 6 years. It is because of you and your dreams of becomming better riders or tackling that big goal that we exist, and I look forward hearing your thoughts and impressions of our new partnership with Westside Bicycle and launch of Cycle U 2.0
Look for a party announcement soon.
C U on the road, Cyclocross course or on the trainer!