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Meet Scott Price: Part Three
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 8/30/2003
Meet Scott Price: Part Three
 


Scott Price at the start of the Tour of the Gila.
Courtesy 3 Cats Photo/Beth Seliga.

Read Part One
Read Part Two

Scott Price Interview, Part Three

VT: Scott, you said earlier that "Western coaching tends to get overly technical and scientific..." Do you coach in a more intuitive or "natural" style? Something more like what you experienced in Spain? I get the idea that with HLHAP (Higher Living Health and Performance) that you are looking at a more "holistic approach" to training and coaching. Could you explain to us what your coaching philosophy is and how this influences what you do with HLHAP?

Scott: The philosophy of HLHAP is really hard to describe precisely in words, as it is beyond words. Like describing a tree in an essay really has nothing to do with what a tree really is, how it feels, smells, even the energy it gives off.

The basic idea is beyond improving performance by addressing each individualís health, happiness and even interaction with others and the environment. Finding these inner truths really allow an individual to flourish and get the maximum improvement and enjoyment out of their sport.

VT: I read on a profile of you that you won the 1999 & 2000 Iron Horse Classic with an average of 12 hours training a week. That's pretty amazing, but I understand Drew Miller, your team mate and friend, works a full time job and has little more time to train than that. I'm sure lots of riders who work, have a family and all the obligations, feel they can't get serious results training unless they are training 20 or more hours a week. Are they wrong, or do we need to rethink what is possible?

Scott: It is simply a matter of believing in yourself and what you are doing. I frequently hear athletes state that they can't compete with the local guy who rides twice as much. The battle is lost right there.

Firstly we don't have to beat anyone to succeed but rather strive for excellence. We just have to train 'smarter', take better care of ourselves and be better prepared mentally. The main issue in regards to volume is finding the ideal racing weight and we can control this through diet as well as training volume. The single biggest variable in determining performance is not how much someone rides but how badly they want to improve (will).

VT: You had this great quote on your site from Eddy Merckx, something like: First you train the body, then the mind and then the spirit... have I got that right? What is your take on that quote from Merckx and how does it fit into your coaching?

Scott: This quote is used to more as a signpost to show athletes that there is a spiritual progression in sport. Yes, we all start focused on the training and what our bodies can do, then we shift into paying attention to planning, tactics, visualization, teamwork and other mental aspects, then at some point hopefully the athlete shifts away from racing on ego and towards a more peaceful and inner origin for motivations.

VT: During your career racing in the last seventeen plus years I imagine you may not be the same person you were that day you rode to the start line for your first race. Has all of this led to a different view of life, health and spiritual growth?

Scott: Same person but a different view of things and different motivations. My current views on nutrition and the role of healthcare are diametrically opposed to what they were when I was an indestructible teen, same goes for how I now view cycling as primarily a team sport and I wish success upon my teammates as equally as my own.


Jeff Hartman, Scott Price, Director Jimmy D and Drew Miller at Tour of the Gila.
Courtesy 3 Cats Photo/Beth Seliga.

For me it comes down to the bigger picture as simply training, competing, fighting for wheels and traveling the circuit were not properly satisfying for me when done from a place of achieving something for myself.

So this transformation is not directly involved with cycling but rather the spiritual lessons of life that can be applied to that arena. Cycling is an arena that is externally driven, greedy, cut throat, dishonest and emotionally disturbed in general. I hope to show through example that it is possible to treat promoters and competitors with respect and kindness as human beings as well as allow yourself to be emotionally open and strong enough to break free from the herd that just seems to plod along making the same mistakes.

In terms of shift of motivations, as a younger rider I was blindly motivated to seek the external rewards of sport and fame. Now I am motivated by my health and happiness, balance with the environment and my competitors, and an inner fire to strive for personal excellence in my performance regardless of the competition or result. I can say with a straight face that the joy of success of a teammate or friend rivals that of my own accomplishments.

VT: I understand you have a B.S. in nutrition and you have worked in health and nutrition field for several years. Do you think nutrition can play a significant role in building the health of a rider and influence his performance?

Scott: I donít have a B.S. in nutrition. Nutrition is a realm of endless possibilities. While a dietician looks at food in terms of vitamins, minerals and calories, there is so much more. What processes have the food been through? What chemicals are on or in it? How does what we eat affect our spirit and reflect self-mastery? How does growing your own food and buying from local markets affect the economy? Back to performance, we see that with nutrition in the short term, proper fueling and food timing is critical to performance and endurance and in the long term nutrition determines our health, development and state of mind.

The living body is an amazing thing and like a homeless person can live on scraps and alcohol; an athlete can live on junk and fast food for a short period of time before balance is restored and the piper is paid.


Scott out of the saddle on the Bayard climb at Gila.

VT: Ok, let's talk basic nutrition. What do you think the basic needs for a guy just doing a medium level of training would be?

Scott: This is a huge arena but Iíll give some basic tips as each individual has highly specific needs as well as sensitivities.

1) Pure water should be 90% of what you drink. Sodas, coffee, alcohol, sugary juices are all bad for the system especially if trying to race lean.

2) Eat organic: Organic foods have much higher nutrient levels and do not stress your system with toxins and chemicals. Be nice to your liver, it is the source of your energy!

3) Increase fruit and vegetable intake. Everything you plant in your yard should be edible. By becoming a master of yourself you can easily see the value of eating an organic banana above fulfilling a habitual desire of eating processed junk that often has emotional ties to it.

4) The most important single practice for nutrition? Eat in moderation. This will get rid of that extra puffy layer between your muscles and skin as well as increase your energy and recovery. I see many people eat over twice what they need in a given day, a huge burden on the system as digestion takes large amounts of energy. Smaller, frequent and fresh/healthy snacks are simply the best for performance.

VT: Now, does that change as the guy starts to train more seriously and race more frequently or race harder races? My theory is that the harder you train and race the higher the demands are that your nutrition is adequate to replace what is lost so you can recover.

Scott: No. I disagree. Nutrition is equally important to all. In terms of energy, yes a higher kJ workload will require more nutrients and calories to recover. In terms of health, poor nutrition, processed foods and toxic foods are the reason we have such an increase in degenerative disease over the last century. Cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes are rare in those who eat a fresh and unprocessed diet primarily of fruits and vegetables.

VT: I've heard that the first sign of overtraining is feeling weak, and then if pushed, illness. Can you give me an idea of when I would know I've reached a point of overtraining? Is overtraining a sign that your rest and nutrition are not keeping up with your output? Can a rider plan recovery and train on the edge and not hit these flat periods we call "overtraining?"

Scott: There are many signs of overtraining. Specifically there are different areas we can show fatigue in, energy, immunity, morale, connective tissue, sleep and so on.

There is also short term overtraining that a few days' rest will cure and then major constitutional fatigue that may require several months of committed rebuilding. A good basic rule I have always followed is that if you do not feel great at least one day per week, you need more rest.

There is no simple definition of overtraining. I prefer to look that each week is in balance; if we do not over-extend in any given week then we will not find ourselves in a huge hole. We have to realize that life stress, relationship stress, financial stress, terrorism stress all compound our training stresses. You will often hear an athlete say "but I shouldn't be tired, I haven't been training hard". Well when you are under stress, sleeping poorly, not focused and your energy levels are low, how are you supposed to train hard or feel good?

Rest and restoration is equally important to the training and coming into races fresh, motivated and energetic this should be the focus of any good training plan. In terms of avoiding overtraining, that is an ongoing process as each week of our lives differs as do our rest and recovery needs. All of these aspects of life and performance are very deep and that is why simple definitions or templates rarely work. You have to look at the whole picture as one aspect flows over into another and in the larger sense, nothing that exists is separate.

VT: Ok, you mention in an article that as a coach you start by addressing the riderís health and constitutional body, then establishing goals, then training and development and then the mental aspects of training and racing. How much of this will address the rider's nutrition?

Scott: The description on the website is intended to show a potential path of an athlete as I do not follow a template but rather find the flow. Nutrition again is an individual issue, as differing constitutions, blood types, sensitivities, will power, and even familial habits make a set-in-stone ideal diet a fantasy. The strange thing about nutrition is that we have all seen athletes perform well on junk food and poorly on a great diet. The core lies deeper than short terms results, as nutrition is the key to an athleteís long term development, long term health, a huge part of endurance and even a reflection of the inner state. The short answer is that nutrition and fueling is addressed with every athlete; to what extent depends on their needs.

VT: I notice you also have a store with various products. Are these based on basic nutrition needs or more focused on performance?

Scott: HLHAP products are actually focused on wellbeing. It would be great if everyone was willing to spend the time and energy to eat an ideal fresh and nutritious diet but that is not the case. If one is lacking in nutrition (nearly everyone) then supplementation is necessary for good health and optimal performance.

The basics would include Natural Blood Builder (for blood health and optimized O2 uptake), a high quality Multi like Core Level Health Reserve and B-Complex. Beyond that the products we offer address specific health concerns and deficiencies. We do not push products but rather inform our athletes when they may be beneficial. We are currently streamlining our products away from so called ergogenics as well as items that need to be inventoried like energy bars. We also provide SRM Power Meters as the store is basically an evolution of what our athletes have needed over the years. Iíll basically try to get what my athletes need and ask for.

VT: Among your coaches or mentors in coaching: Denis Roux (D.S. Credit Agricole), Martin Barras and Warren McDonald ( Australian National track coaches), Kelly Anne Erdman, Richard Young, Walter Golbieski - who has inspired you most and has influenced your style of coaching?

Scott: Honestly I would have to say that my style of coaching is unique thus far and it is inspired by connectedness and conscious knowledge more than any person or idea. That is, I do not follow any template or formulae but rather I simply look to an individual, their case, their needs and what the answer is for them in regards to their performance, health and fulfillment.

VT: I'm a rider over 50 years old - should I get a coach if I am planning on racing? Do I really need to? Do any of us really need a coach, I mean can't we just get the latest book out there and follow it?

Scott: Ah, a great question. If you are interested in help with learning on a faster curve, empowering yourself to positive change or even a companion on your life path then enlisting help is a fantastic and rewarding action. Even just in the more technical aspects of coaching, a coach absorbs and lives with their sport all day, every day. The amount of experience and knowledge is not something a self-coached rider has.

With aerodynamics, power training, nutrition, goal setting, tactics, training, recovery, equipment, planning, accountability, friendship and all of things a coach has to offer, a single rider would need to pay full time attention to preparing himself. Nearly all coaches work with people because they genuinely want to help, educate and see people improve.

I do not question the great people out there who coach, what I do question is the template or modality of their coaching and coaching in general. Coaching will change as it needs a soul, and athletes need to evolve to the next level where intuition is the guide and knowing is quicker and truer than thought.

VT: One last thing on coaching, Scott, I noticed that you have six month programs on your site; you must have a reason?

Scott: There needs to be a certain commitment from the athlete to give the program time to make positive changes and start to see results. If our initial focus is the health of the individual or developing certain weaknesses or imbalances, they might not see immediate results. Also there is a lot invested from a coaching and emotional aspect for me getting to know a new athlete and taking their life and situation into consideration. I take my relationships with my athletes on a personal level due to my coaching style, so it is simply not worth it for anyone involved to work together for too short a period.

VT: HLHAP - Higher Living Health and Performance - the mission, the name?

Scott: HLHAP is really a simple reflection of my values. I really want to show the importance of health and happiness above performance and results at all costs and the name embraces that. HLHAP is also not materialistically motivated, the products we offer are for the benefits of our athletes and those that find us and the coaching costs are kept reasonable, just enough to create the resources to justify the vocation.

HLHAP will stay the same or grow with the flow as we have no designs on growth. Currently I have one associate, Bradley Saul, working out of the Santa Rosa, California, area and some professional cyclists have expressed interest in this style of coaching / work in the future. You will never see HLHAP banners trying to squash all competitors through banner mayhem or huge membership mergers like USA Cycling and CTS. HLHAP also supports like-minded programs and individuals in need. We have donated health items as well as supported race promotion and programs like www.organicathlete.org and clean air champions.

Join us tomorrow for the final segment, as we cover Scottís views on getting lean for racing, Aerobic Deflection Training, getting in the "Performance Zone," racing etiquette, and advice to young riders.

 
Related Articles
Meet Scott Price: Part One
Meet Scott Price: Part Two
Meet Scott Price: Part Four

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