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