I’m currently accepting two personal clients on a first come, first-served basis.
If you are looking for a coach – click here for details regarding what Personalized Coaching with me entails and to arrange a conversation to see if we would be a good match.
Thanks and I look forward to talking.
If you’re in need of some new stylish and functional cycling and/or triathlon apparel, I’ve got you covered.
I’ve been using Squadra Cycling apparel for as long as I can remember. It’s durable, functional, fashionable and comfortable - all of the things I demand from my workout clothing, and it’s why I chose Squadra.
The tabs at the top of the store provide plenty of information about the fit and technology of the clothing, but I’ve included a few general comments of my own below:
The short sleeve jersey is very comfortable whether its 45F or 105F outside. For temperatures between 45F and 60F, I typically pair the short sleeve jersey with a base layer, arm warmers, and a wind vest or wind jacket. If you live in an area prone to cold weather (below 45F), the thermal vest and jacket provide significant added warm versus the wind vest or jacket, along with protection from the wind and rain, and will be invaluable.
The triathlon apparel is comfortable, form fitting, quick drying, yet provides coverage from the elements. The fabric has a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 50+ and shields both UVA and UVB rays.
Click on this link to take you to the store: Riccitello Coaching Cycling and Triathlon Apparel. Apparel will be shipped to the address you provide. Do not select the “Will Call” option unless you want to personally pick up the clothing at Squadra in Carlsbad, CA. If you’re a France Camper, remember that I’m providing a cycling jersey for you.
Should you choose to wear my clothing - I’m honored beyond words and look forward to seeing it on the roads and trails.
I know you’ll enjoy it and thanks!
I was self-coached during my 20 year stint as a professional triathlete. This was more a function of the lack of triathlon coaches and the lack of dollars to pay a coach than it was the desire to captain my own ship. As Plato said, necessity is the mother of invention - so I figured it out on my own.
I sought out the best triathletes, runners, cyclists, swimmers that I could find and tirelessly sorted through their routines and cobbled together a plan that I felt would work for me. Over the years I tweaked and refined the plan depending on what was working for me. As a result I saw steady progress in my fitness each year until I stopped twenty years after I started.
I feel that part of what allowed me to improve a little each year that I raced, was that while I was the Captain of my ship, I never shied away from the advice of others. I sought the knowledge and intuition of those around me who were able to evaluate my plan a bit more objectively than i was able to. I listened to anyone willing to weigh in, and then sorted out what worked best for me. We’re different, after all.
My point is that most of us know what we’re supposed to do, but we need a coach or confidant to tell us what we should do.
Fortunately for today’s triathletes and unlike the primitive triathlon era that I grew up in, there are now plenty of experienced and intelligent triathlon coaches out there to help guide you on your journey to becoming the best triathlete you can be. So when you can’t see the forest for the trees, seek advice from an experienced coach or from those close to you.
Competing – it’s in my blood.
I blame it on swim team. During practice you compete, or are aware of the notion of competing, from the moment you dive into the water for warm up. There is a fast lane and a slow lane. The lanes are not gender specific. Within those lanes, there is the fastest person – the leader of the lane, and there is the slowest person. No matter who you are there is someone right behind you, just ahead of you, or right beside you. Because everyone wants to move up in their lane and then over to the next fastest lane and then towards the front of that lane, it is guaranteed that most of the people in the pool will be “bringing it” for the majority of the practice. It’s like this every day – all year long.
When I started swimming, for two long years I toiled in the slow lane – first as slowest person in the slow lane, and eventually as fastest person in the slow lane. Before moving over to a faster lane, I joined a different swim team (year-round) - which put me back to tail-gunning the slow lane. But as the old Cherokee, Lone Watie, discussed in The Outlaw Josey Wales (the greatest movie ever made), I endeavored to persevere. I don’t know why, really, but the challenge was addicting and intoxicating, and I never felt discouraged or inadequate despite the fact that I was never the fastest (and was often the slowest) in the pool.
Based on my description, swim practice may seem like a cruel world. But to the contrary – even though I was quite terrible at first, I aspired to be the fastest in the lane, then the fastest in the next lane – even the fastest in the pool. Aspiration, fortunately, is a concept that can be learned and nurtured through healthy competition. I know that the dynamics and competition of swim team helped me grasp the concept of bettering oneself. I carry that concept with me to this day and apply it to as many areas of my life as I can - because there are MANY pools in life, after all. Even though I was far from the best in the pool – the competition made me a better swimmer -and a better person - a better parent, a better worker, a better spouse, a better partner, son, friend, sibling – you get the picture
My point is that we should not shy away from competition just because we’re not the fastest, and we should not steer our kids away from competition because we’re afraid that they can’t handle losing. Competition - both winning and losing - can teach us good lessons. After all, as the profound Steven Tyler of Aerosmith told us (since I’m quoting today), “You got to lose to know how to win.”
Anyway, as I watch my children compete in swimming, soccer, basketball, Jenga, Monopoly, walking around the block – one thing is abundantly clear. I want to compete again – with other people. I see my children’s drive and the drive of their peers and I’m reminded that healthy competition with others will encourage me to better myself as an athlete AND as a person.
So there – I said it. I want to go to swim practice, group bike rides, track workouts, and races again. I want to tell my workout partners and race buddies to watch their backs.
I most likely will not be the fastest, and that’s okay. Because I will aspire – and that’s a good thing.
I know many people who work very hard (incur significant metabolic costs/expend a lot of energy) to make gains on uphill portions of a race course, only to squander their gains due to poor descending skills. Let me paint a picture: Frank and Joe start a hill together. Frank digs deep (kills himself) to reach the top thirty seconds before Joe. Joe flies by Frank halfway down the hill and puts an additional thirty seconds on Frank before the bottom of the hill - all while never even pedaling. Sound familiar?
It typically takes very little effort (low metabolic cost) to go downhill (duh). Therefore, improvements in your descending skills will yield free speed (or very inexpensive speed). Here are a couple of tips to help you negotiate switchback descents and a video that shows me and serial Camper, Steve “Crash” Lyons descending from our France Cycling Camp Chalet via the Reculas Road. What a great way to start each day!
Learn to use the front brake (almost exclusively) on steep descents.
Brake before you enter the turn.
Most switchback turns are banked (cambered) in your favor. Use the banking to keep you on the inside of the road. Approach the corner wide, and try to hit the apex of the corner down low, on the inside. For countries where you ride on the right side of the road, this means that right-hand corners are safer, since left-hand corners require you to be in the oncoming lane if you want to hit the apex of the corner down low. When taking a left-hand switch back, I usually aim to hit the apex near the center-line of the road, or (when NO cars are present) just inside of the center-line. The video will show you what I’m talking about with regard to using the banking of the road.
When cornering on a bicycle you must actually turn the wheel slightly left to go right (counter-steering). To help initiate a counter-steer, I think about weighting or pushing forward with my inside hand. As you practice consciously thinking about counter-steering, you can move from simply pushing forward with your inside hand, to pushing forward with your inside hand AND pulling backward with your outside hand.
Enjoy the video and practice your descending so you can gain some “free speed!”