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Chuck Coyle's Racing Chronicles
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 4/16/2002
Chuck Coyle's Racing Chronicles

By Chuck Coyle
Team 7-UP


I often get riders and friends asking me questions all about what life as a cyclist is like. I get questions anywhere from diet and daily mileage all the way to, "Chuck, how do you spend all your spare time?" (that is a common one from my mom). It certainly is not the most glamorous lifestyle (and the stories about super hottie groupies are only myths!) but it is a nice life never the less; I mean hey, you get paid to ride your bike.

A couple weeks ago I saw a friend of mine (and ex-pro cyclist) Wayne Roth, he told me that I should continue racing as long as I could and to avoid "real life" for as long as possible. Although he has the best intentions I think that he has a bit of a selective memory and only recalls the good aspects of racing and the associated life. His newfound life of big 8am-7pm days in the office must have blocked out all the bad aspects of racing like the incredibly meager and frugal life that most cyclists are doomed to live. Anyway, these things have prompted me to take a look at what my days consist of and to figure out "how do I indeed fill my spare time?"

Before I get into that I have to comment on this weekend's race. While a small gaggle of the 7-Up boys (or would it be more appropriate to call them a small murder) were down in the Orlando, Fla. area participating in the Festival Of Speed (where they placed both days!), a couple of us hit the Excel Sports criterium. The usual suspects were present with the ever-present Mercury quartet along with 100 other riders who were ready to take home some primes or part of the cash purse.

The race was blistering from the gun with attacks galore and little moves going up the road whenever another one was absorbed. About 20 minutes into the race a move containing my teammate Clark Sheehan had just been brought back and everyone was trying to catch his breath on the top of the small climb. I rode up next to Clark and he gave me a wink and a big shove from behind. This shove was his way of telling me that it was time to make a run for it.

I gunned it over the top of the climb, sat on the nose of my saddle and hammered down to the bottom right hand corner. As soon as I came out of the corner I heard Scott Moninger (Mercury) yell, "Go Chuck, we have a gap!" I accelerated once again to the next corner when I gave Scott the international sign to pull through (a flick of the ol’ elbow) and he then put in a big effort along the start finish straight.

One lap later Mercury strong man Henk Voguls bridged up to us and yelled, "Scott, drill it!!" and Scott did! They took one Herculean pull each and we were gone. Henk’s pull along the start finish straight was a thing of beauty; he was dragging us along the start/finish straight into a slight crosswind at 36mph!

I was then faced with a big dilemma; to pull or not to pull, that was my question. I could either sit on the mini Mercury train and go when one of them decided to attack me or I could roll through and hope for the best. I decided to pull through hoping that if I worked we would have a better chance of staying away and I also thought they might be less likely to want to attack me.

We flew along, lapping big groups of riders as we went and had ½ a lap lead on the first chase group, we were certain to stay away. Then, with four laps to go, Henk decided that he didn’t need my help anymore and attacked going up the hill on the backside of the course. I had just taken a pull and I tried to go with him but he was absolutely hammering. I took another big pull and tried the flicking of the elbow to see if Scott would help me but he said, "Sorry man, I can’t pull through." By this he didn’t mean that he wasn’t able to work with me, it was just that he was not about to help me chase down his own teammate.

My only option was to put my head down and go like hell. I held Henk to about 10 seconds and was closing on him bit by bit. With 2-to-go I looked back and saw that Chris Wherry (another Mercury) was trying a solo bridge up to our little group. Scott was giving me a bunch of encouragement but was not going to help me out especially if Mercury had the chance to go 1, 2 &3 onto the podium.

I kept pressing down on the pedals as hard as I could and everything was looking good, I was not going to reel in Henk but I was not about to get caught by anyone either.

Going into the final 200 meters I was throttling it hoping that since I had pulled for the last 4 laps Scott would let me have 2nd place…… with about 50 meters to go Scott jumped off of my wheel and made a dash for the line. I was spent and could only watch him as he crossed the line just ahead of me.

I am still happy with my first podium spot of the year, hopefully things will only get better from here on in!



Back to training:

The typical training week is a seemingly endless circle of riding and maximizing my recovery time. Since I am prepping for the bigger races that are coming up in a few weeks I have needed to ‘train through’ most of the recent races that I have been doing. Last weekend I raced both Sat & Sun (with Sunday being a 120 mile hard day). Here is my week of training that followed starting last Mon April 8:

Mon- 2 hours, medium-tempo

Tues- 3.5 hours medium-tempo with a bunch of 90" all out intervals; these hurt a lot because I still hadn’t fully recovered from Sun’s race.

Wed- 2 hours on the TT bike in the morning with multiple 10’ intervals followed by 1.5 hours of easy recovery spin late in the afternoon. I felt better today but it took the afternoon spin to feel OK, I was wrecked at the beginning of the spin.

Thurs- 5.5 hours up in the mountains surrounding Boulder with my heart rate in zones 3 & 4 (out of 5). I finally felt good again and was able to push the climbs and not suffer too terribly.

Fir- 2.5 hours zones 1-2 (to try and recover for the crit on Sat)

Sat- 3.5 hours. Race aforementioned crit but rode to and from the race, on the way home I went pretty hard just to try and extend the race intensity by a little bit (race was about 1 hour away)

Sun- 5 hours. There was no race so I did an aggressive group ride up in the mountains on some of the Saturn Cycling Classic Course.

The total for the week is about 26 hours on the bike. This week I am going to try and put in more hours and incorporate more climbing (around 30 hours) to help get my body better adapted to long and hard multiple days. I then will bring the hours down next week because we are doing the Tour of the Gila stage race in Silver City, NM soon and I want to be well rested for it.

That is how I spend my time on the bike; here is what I did off it:

Mon: Slept late and finally got on the bike by 11. Then stretch, shower, eat and then go to an early BBQ hosted by Kerry Sorricci-Schmats (Team Diet Rite). Home by 8 and get to bed early.

Tues: Ride until 2, stretch and eat. Work on both TT & road bikes, they were in need of some love, especially my rode bike, which I had not cleaned since Sun’s dirt road Roubaix style race. That evening I went to my team manager Jeff’s house to try and convince him that I was shorted a skinsuit at the beginning of the season.

Wed: Ride in the am, eat, and relax. I take a run into Boulder, stop by my teammate Clark’s house and pop into one of the local bike shops to say hey to the boys. Spin easy late in the afternoon, veg-out on the couch and get in some good quality TV time.

Thurs: Ride until 4, shower, stretch and eat. I run a couple errands but am tired from today’s ride. Hang out for the rest of the evening at my teammate Dan’s house and watch some OLN cycling coverage. We decided that it would be cool to go and do the Tour de Fasso after watching it. We thought that it would be a fun race and a great way to experience Africa even though it would be like racing inside of a hair-dryer.

Fri: Get up, pick up my bike from my friend Fernando’s house (he is an ex-Saturn mechanic and an all-around bike wizard), he found and eliminated my mystery squeak that I could not get to stop no matter what I did. Ride until 2, shower, stretch, and eat. Surf the internet, get in a quick nap, hit Starbucks and go get a much-needed massage at 5. That night I had to go back to Jeff’s house because I found the skinsuit that I was certain he hadn’t given me at the beginning of the year, I then went to see a movie but took it easy ‘cuz I had to race the next day.

Sat: Eat a late breakfast and head off to the crit. I finally got home around 4pm, eat, stretch, shower and go to a BBQ at my friend Billy’s house. I stayed out waaay to late but I had to celebrate the day’s podium finish.

Sun: I got up super early to watch the Paris-Roubaix on ONL, I actually went to a Breakfast-Roubaix party and then we went for a ride directly from there. I finally got home around 4pm, shower and eat. I somehow managed to combine a late lunch with dinner and spent most of the night eating and snacking on anything that wasn’t nailed down.

Today I got up just to start the vicious cycle all over again…………

The Tour of the Gila that we are doing in a couple weeks is a gnarly 5-day race starting with a tough TT and followed stages 4 stages of long days in the saddle and long climbs each day. Even the crit on day 4 has a nice little hill in it!

Last year Scott Moninger (Mercury) won 3 stages and the overall but I do not think he will be able two-peat in the same fashion. This year most of the teams are taking the "Gila" a lot more seriously and everyone wants a piece of those coveted NRC points.

Thanks For Reading!


More of Chuck's chronicles can be found here.

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