Elmer M. Colyer
USA Cycling Certified & Licensed Level 2 Coach
Elmer Colyer, “El,” as he prefers to be called, has been an avid bicyclist for 25 years. El started racing in 2005. He won the 2007 and 2010 USA Cycling Iowa 40K Masters 50-54 Time Trial Championship and the 2007 American Bicycle Racing 30K Masters National 50-59 Time Trial Championship. He took first place in the 50-54 age division in the 2007 and 2008 Badger State Games Road Race and Time Trial and rode a 28mph 30k Time Trial in May of 2009. At the end of 2008, El was ranked the # 1 Time Trialist in Iowa and the # 2 fifty-three year old Time Trialist in the country by USA Cycling. In 2009, El won the Magenta Jersey (Best racer over 50), the Polka Dot Jersey (Best Climber), and Yellow Jersey (Overall Winner) of the Wisport Menzel Race Series (3 out of 4—he was 2nd in the Green Sprinter’s Jersey Competition). He won the American Bike Racing 55-59 Mid-West Regional 40K TT Championship in July 2011 and the 2011 USA Cycling Iowa 40K Masters 55-59 Time Trial Championship with at 53:40 time, a bit over 28mph.
El understands adversity. He was diagnosed with Splenic Marginal Zone Lymphoma in 2006. He underwent a splenectomy and chemotherapy. The SMZL has come back at the end of 2011 and just finished up another round of chemotherapy. His health is fine and this recurrence will at affect his coaching or racing in 2012.
Colyer is Professor of Historical Theology and Stanley Professor of Wesley Studies at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He holds a Bachelor of Science in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin/Platteville, a Masters of Divinity Degree from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Boston College/Andover Newton. An ordained elder in Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church, Colyer is Professor of Historical Theology/Stanley Professor of Wesley Studies at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary where he has taught for the past 18 years.
El is the author/editor of four books and numerous articles and book reviews. He is past president and co-founder of Christian Theological Research Fellowship, a research organization. He also is the co-founder and serves on the Executive Committee of the Thomas F. Torrance Theological Fellowship, another Christian research organization. In addition to theology, Professor Colyer teaches, lectures and writes in the area of personal leadership and management. He has received many honors and awards, particularly for his work as a theological educator, including the 2009 Alumnus of the Year Award from the University of Wisconsin/Platteville. He lives in Dubuque, Iowa, and has three adult sons, Joshua, Jonathan and David.
Arising out of his passion to see others flourish, Colyer started Colyer Coaching as a way to share what he learned about holistic and individualized training for bicycle racing with others. This is at the core of his coaching philosophy and training principles.
My coaching philosophy summarized by the acronym, HITCH:
H–Holistic: We look at everything to help you improve. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and nowhere is this more true than in bicycle training and racing. One has to train all one's systems and pay attention to much more than the right sequence of periodized training workouts. Equipment, diet, rest, stress management, motivation, technology, etc. are all important and must be part of a comprehensive matrix of factors that alone lead to peak performance. A lot of racers have busy lives and do not have the time or inclination to take all these issues into account in training and racing. This is where holistic coaching has an edge because it attends to all the details that will help you improve.
I–Individualized: We look at everything about YOU and take this into consideration as well. Each athlete has a unique set of abilities, strengths, limiters, etc. So all athletes cannot train in the same way. I learned this the hard way in 2007 when I ended up badly over-trained. I can handle only a relatively small volume of racing and anaerobic training or I easily slide toward over-training, even though I feel fine, have no change in resting heart rate and other indicators of over-training. This is precisely where low-end coaching often falls short because it provides a sequence of workouts without paying sufficient attention to the intricate responses of the individual athlete to those workouts. There is insufficient involvement by the coach at that level of coaching for the kind of individualized and holistic attention that the athlete needs.
T–Technologically/scientifically cutting edge: While watching Greg LeMond win the Tour de France by seconds because of an aero bar back in the 80s, I remember thinking, “so technology is going to transform bicycle racing and training.” And, of course, it has. Cyclo-computers with watt meters and other devices for quantifying training and training load have revolutionized the precision with which we can apply and evaluate training to achieve peak performance. Altitude tents and hypoxic training can make a significant of difference. I have invested significant time and energy over the past five years researching all of this for the sake of my own training and racing and for the benefit of the athletes I coach. I read continuously in areas of technology and scientific study of training in relation to bicycle racing.
CH--Christian: You do not have to be one, but I am one and it informs my perspective. I believe that the Triune God longs for human beings to flourish in all aspects of life and wants us to invest ourselves in others and their well-being. So I genuinely care about the athletes I work with and invest myself in them. That is simply part of who I am as a Christian, pastor and theologian. Friendships, caring, working together, laughing and crying together on occasion are part of what make life worth living. If you want a detached coach who is not personally invested in you as a human being and a cyclist, I am not the right coach for you. I will never impose my beliefs or intrude them into the coaching relationship in unprofessional ways. However, being a Christian crystallizes my perspective and core values and informs how I view cycling, training, racing and all of the rest of life. It is simply part of who I am. Of course, I am ready to help interested Christians approach their training and racing from a Christian perspective.
Here are the four key elements of my coaching program using the acronym CHAIN :
C: Continuous evaluation of all aspects of training/racing.
Continuous evaluation involves: 1.) a start-up questionnaire that covers everything from goals for the coming year, to equipment, to preferred patterns of training, to a nutritional survey; 2.) testing to determine the athlete’s level of fitness and power profile; and 3.) assessment of athlete’s strengths and limiters. Evaluation continues on a daily basis, checking the athlete’s readiness to train and looking for any signs of over-training or other potential problems. I use TrainingPeaks to record/monitor all of the athlete’s bio-metrics like resting heart rate, soreness, stress, weight, etc. daily, and all of the athlete’s cyclo-computer downloads from workouts and races. Evaluation stretches over the training season with regular tests to determine the athlete’s progress and disclose any weak links in the chain of preparation for racing season.
H: Holistic planning of all aspects of training,.
. After reviewing all of the start-up information and in light of the athlete’s high priority goals/races for the coming year, I design an holistic periodized training plan beginning with the adaptation or preparation phase, moving through strength training and aerobic conditioning, to anaerobic work and the peaking process. Workouts are detailed and wattage and/or heart rate based. I use TrainingPeaks as the tool for communicating workouts to the athlete every 1-2 weeks. I work with the athlete to plan nutrition, rest and stress management. Training is a form of stress, but so are deadlines and problems at work, family concerns, money issues, etc. All stress has to be taken into account in relation to the athlete’s training and readiness to train. I also work with athletes around cutting-edge training protocols, like altitude tents and hypoxic training, and I evaluate equipment, aerodynamics of bikes and the athlete’s position on the bike.
A: Authentic motivation based on the athlete’s core values and goals.
A coach needs to help bring out the very best in the athlete in preparation for the high priority races, and this includes motivation. But the most profound and effective motivation is always rooted in our deepest core values and comes to expression in terms of long-term dreams in relation to bike racing and one’s overall life. (For example I train and race to stay in top physical condition as I age and even more of an expression of praise to God for the gift of life and new life in Christ.) Those core values and long-term dreams should be reflected in our goals for the season. Motivation needs to tap into those core values and dreams. Proper confidence in one’s abilities and training is crucial. Techniques, like visualization, also have
their place. Discouragement is part of training/racing, especially as the training intensity goes up and the athlete gets worn down physically and emotionally An off day and a bad race can make even the most stalwart personality want to throw in the towel and give up. I will monitor the athlete’s emotional well-being, encourage, motivate, and hold the athlete accountable to his/her hopes, dreams, goals and plans when the athlete is struggling.
IN: Intimate knowledge of the science of training and of the athlete.
None of the above will be effective unless it is based in an intimate knowledge of the science of training for bicycle racing. This intimate knowledge of technology and science has to be combined with an equally intimate knowledge of the athlete. All of that has to be taken into account, if training is to be optimally effective.
Performance Enhancement Team
No one knows it all. So I put together a team of consultants to whom I can turn for help in order to be more effective in my coaching and enhance the performance of the athletes I coach:
1. A seasoned racer/coach, multiple Masters National Champion, years of coaching expertise
2. A physician who also races bicycles, runs and does triathlons
3. A Ph.D. exercise physiologist, racer, level 2 UASC coach who specializes in injury rehab
El has made a tremendous difference in my cycling success. His periodized training plan is tailored to your goal races so that if you do the work you will arrive prepared to do well. He considers all aspects of your life including work and family responsibilities in setting up a realistic training plan. Once it's established he is willing to adjust it if illness, injury, or overtraining develop. El has coached me in bike positioning,
nutrition, and recovery aids to complement the training on the bike. El gets really excited when you reach your goals and has been a great mentor, cheerleader and friend. I recommend him without hesitation to all of my cycling friends.
B. W., M. D., Masters winner of the 2009 Duluth Classic Stage Race
Starting June 30th, I am offering a new service to time trialists and triathletes: "Colyer Aerodynamics Consulting.” This service can help most time trialists and triathletes gain from 30-90 seconds or more in a 40K time trial via changes in equipment and position on the bike.
I have been a student of aerodynamics ever since I started racing in 2006. This past April I took a trip to a wind tunnel to improve my own aerodynamics. To say that I learned A LOT, is an understatement. It changed my mind about a number of points when it comes to time trial aerodynamics. I have gained around 90 to 100 seconds in a 40K TT via equipment and position changes. This has had a huge impact on my racing this year. I rode a 53:02 40K TT at the USA Cycling MN State TT championship on June 2, a 53:50 on the ABR IL State TT Championship on that hilly course in Paw Paw, IL, on June 24, and a 51:35.8 on the Bong course at the USA Cycling WI State TT championship on July 15.
Since I am already a USA Cycling Licensed Level 2 coach, the move into doing consulting on aerodynamics is a natural development of my passion to help others achieve their personal best at racing as well. I find great satisfaction in helping others excel at a sport I love.
Here is how a Colyer Aerodynamics Consulting works: I will meet with an interested time trialist and triathlete. We will put his/her TT bike on a trainer and get him/her into the current race position. I will then do an initial evaluation of equipment and position to see if I think there is any speed to be gained. If there isn’t any speed to be gained, the session is over at no cost to the athlete. If there is time to be gained, I will offer a VERY rough estimate of it. The athlete can then decide if he/she wants to proceed with the consultation. The cost is $199.00
Here is what the athlete receives for the $199.00: I will evaluate EVERYTHING: every piece of equipment from frames and bars to wheels and tires to helmets, shoe covers and skinsuits; every aspect of the rider’s position from TT bar height and width, to hand position and the “turtling” on a racer’s head. I take pictures of everything. At the end of the session, I will discuss proposed changes regarding equipment and position, so the athlete will have a good idea what my recommendations will be.
After that, I will help the athlete make as many of the changes as are possible at that point. Within one week I will write up the complete evaluation/report, including all the suggested changes and send it to the athlete. The athlete then makes the changes the athlete wants to try and can afford (yes, equipment is expensive). I will also provide the option of one follow up meeting with the athlete to observe the changes he/she had implemented and ensure that everything (equipment and position) is as aero as possible.
A couple of additional points:
1.) The Colyer Aerodynamics Consulting is free to all athletes who coach with me for at least six months.
2.) If I discover issues in knee alignment, pedaling mechanics, etc., I am NOT qualified to “fix” these issues. I highly suggest that all cyclists with these kinds of issues go to Colin O’Brian at CronoMetro in Madison, WI. I believe he is the best ergonomic bike fitter in the mid-west.
3.) Going to a wind tunnel and actually testing equipment and position is the GOLD STANDARD for getting aerodynamics dialed in. BUT, it is very expensive ($1200-2000 for travel cost and tunnel time) and one has to be REALLY prepared when one goes. Most athletes can maintain a perfectly consistent position during wind tunnel testing (3-5 minutes at a time) for around 90 minutes. After that the athlete’s form on the bike degenerates so that it is nearly impossible to test anything. I was NOT thoroughly prepared when I went and I would have done things differently, had I known then what I know now. I will likely go back to the tunnel another time because of that. In the future, I plan to take groups of athletes to a wind tunnel to fine tune equipment and position.
I cannot get an athlete as aero as we could get the athlete in a tunnel, but I can get most athletes A LOT MORE aero than they are now. For most riders, spending $1200-2000 to go to a tunnel is a bit much. I hope to provide the next best thing, based what I have learned over the years regarding aerodynamics, and especially the addition points I discovered from going to the tunnel this past April.
Finally, this is a “money back” offer. If an athlete makes the changes I suggest and does not gain substantial speed/time or is unhappy with the consultation in any way, I will refund the cost. I am confident I can help most athletes most significant gains.
Please call or e-mail me if you would like to talk in more detail about a Colyer Aerodynamics Consulting or if you would like to set a time to do one.