Congratulations Athletes

Tis the season of National Championships, A-Races, and big-time Endurance races, and congratulations are in order for some of my coached athletes. Their hard work and mental fortitude through the good days and the bad, through good legs and bad, through the delicate balancing act between training and “life”, and through illness, injury, and mechanicals, all of it has paid off. They achieved some pretty big goals, and some even surpassed them.

So, !Bravo!, racers, on a job well-done! You are all a pleasure to coach and an inspiration to me and the riders around you.  ~Coach Richard

Check out these exceptionable results from a few of my coached 2015 athletes …

Paula EvansonPaula Evenson

1st Place Masters Open
USAC National Championship
1st Place Cat 2 DH
USAC National Championship
3rd Place Overall
SoCal Enduro / Kenda Cup

Kris GrossKris Gross | Pro XC

1st Place Overall Women
6 Hours of Temecula
3rd Place QOM & 6th Place GC
Belgian Waffle Ride
5th Place Overall Women
BC Bike Race
10th Place Overall Pro
Kenda Cup Series

katie_araujo_mountain_bikeKatie Araujo | Cat 1 XC

1st Place Cat 2 XC
USAC National Championship
1st Place Overall Cat 2
Kenda Cup Series

*Upgraded to Cat 1, 2015


hunter_weiss_mountain_bikeHunter Weiss | Cat 1 XC

7th Place Cat 1 XC (19-24)
USAC National Championship
7th Place Overall
SoCal High School Cycling League


courtney_cowan_mountain_bikeCourtney Cowan | Cat 2 XC/Endurance

2nd Place Series Overall
Kenda Cup Series
Current Team Points Leader with Coach Richard
12 Hours of Temecula


eric_knowles_mountain_bikeEric Knowles | Cat 3 XC/Endurance

Completed his longest event ever!
High Cascades 100
100 miles, 9,000′ of climbing on 80% single track.


jim_watson_mountain_bikeJim Watson | Cat 3 XC

First year racing (AG 60-64) USAC

2nd Place Series Overall
Kenda Cup Series
13th Place XC (Masters)
USAC National Championship


todd_young_mountain_bikeTodd Young | Cat 3 (Clydesdale)

2nd Place Overall
Quick n’ Dirty
5th Place Overall Clydesdale 35+
Kenda Cup Series





I can’t do this.

The Importance of Positive Self Talk in Mountain Biking.

I think Henry Ford said it best “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t. You’re right.”.

self-talkSelf talk has a positive or negative effect on your cycling performance and your ability to handle technical aspects of a trail or race course.

If you roll up to every obstacle on the trail and think, “Holy $&@# — I’m gonna crash,” guess what? You’re probably going to crash. Replacing these negative statements with positive self talk can go a long way for helping you take your riding (and training) to the next level.

I’m not proposing that you should go launch off a 20’ drop with a “I’m gonna land this thing perfect.” statement unless, of course, you’ve had the training and progressions required to prepare you for that drop. **Positive self talk is not a replacement for skills training; it allows you to use your skill set effectively. **

It is also a way to allow you to have more success and avoid self sabotage, or self fulfilling prophecies. If you believe in yourself (really, really believe), and trust the training and experience you’ve obtained to prepare you for this moment in your ride, you’ll have much better odds at success.

Here are some other tips to help you get the best results when dealing with technical aspects of a trail.

1. Get in your ready position. Head up, knees out, off the saddle, etc. Feel strong, breath deep, look fierce. This will have a dramatic influence on your ability to handle the task at hand.

2. Use positive self talk. Get passionate about it, say it like you mean it! Saying things like, “I’m ready for this”, “I can handle this” sends messages to your brain and body to get your ready for success.

3. Visualize yourself doing the skills successfully. Before hitting that jump, get off your bike and look at the jump. Visualize your take off, time the air and smooth landing. Once you’ve got it in your head, go for it!

4. Think back to time when you had previous success with the same or similar skill. Embrace the feelings of success you felt in the past. Allow the feelings associated with your previous success to prepare you for the task or obstacle your about to tackle.

a1fd6-self-talkReplacing, “I can’t” with “I’ve got this” does a lot for your confidence. When things get stressful, replace “F this, I hate my mountain bike” with “Relax, breathe, ready position, let it roll.”.

Positive self-talk isn’t just effective with technical aspects of the trail, it can also have a great effect on fitness performance. A recent study showed that positive self-talk can reduce time taken to complete a 10km time trial.

This study is nicely summarized here by Yann Le Meur.

Another study showed that positive self-talk can increase time to exhaustion, summarized again by Yann Le Meur here.

Rate of perceived exertion (RPE, how hard you think you’re working) is important in endurance sports. Reducing it through positive self-talk is a great way to improve performance. Swapping in a few phrases such as “I’m killing it today” “I feel powerful” and “My legs feel great” at key moments can be an easy way to add a more miles or and/or more watts.

Here’s a great example form Ian Sharman, winner of the 2013 Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run and holder of the fastest 100-mile trail time in the U.S. (12 hours, 44 minutes):

“If someone is on my heels or just ahead, then I keep repeating in my head, ‘Just keep pushing.’ It stops me from easing off even a little bit so that if I slow or if the terrain gets easier, I kick it up a notch. Having someone close in a race like that is the biggest motivator for me near the end of a race like Western States.”

“When I feel exhausted and there’s still so far to go, I remind myself that this is what all the hard training is for–to be able to close out races and not fade. I repeat to myself that this is where the memories will be made and that I can either look back on it and know I gave up or look back and know I gave it everything.”

I often use the statement, “Bike is ready, I’m ready”. Other famous positive self talk statements you may have heard from accomplished athletes are “Be brave!” and “Shut up legs!”. Before your next ride, sit down and think about 10 or so positive statements you can incorporate in your self-talk. If you have one you really like, perhaps print it out and stick it to your handle bars, or write it on your hand before your event!

Leadville 100 Pre-ride

leadville_trail_100_mtb_logo The Leadville 100 is known as a “fire road” course that even includes some paved sections. Sure, it may be at 10,000 feet, but it doesn’t sound too technical, right? It’s not like the twisty single track of BC or Bend, so pre-rides aren’t really necessary, right? Wrong. Like, SO WRONG.

Whether it’s your first time at Leadville and your goal is just to finish, or it’s your third time and you’re trying to get the big buckle, pre-riding and strategy planning are necessary. On those fire road climbs and descents, there are good lines—and bad— and when your legs are wobbly like Jell-o from riding for 7+ hours and your lungs are burning up from the altitude, you’ll be glad you know where they are. Also, having your fueling, hydration, and pacing strategies all planned out will allow you to focus on your most important task of race day: keeping those pedals moving.

IMG_3308_2So, how do you do this? Well, this is where I come in. I’m like a LT 100 tutor: you can either ask me to help you with a specific thing, or you can ask me to help you with it all. I plan of being out at Leadville by July 29, and will be available for pre-rides, race strategies discussions, fueling and hydration planning, where to put your support tent, what your support crew should be doing, where on-course congestion is and how to deal with it, and more.

I’ve just got a couple spots left on my schedule.  For more information, contact me ASAP.

Results from the July 15 Time Trial – Tri Club San Diego

July 15 | Fiesta Island Time TrialProcessed with VSCOcam with q3 presetPlease Contact Coach Richard if there are any corrections.

Rank Name TT Final Average MPH
1 Zach Fiocca 0:26:48 27.82
2 Jason Stotleth 0:27:08 27.48
3 Daniel Heineck 0:27:39 26.97
4 Marcus Feldmann 0:27:43 26.90
5 Seth Graham 0:29:20 25.42
6 Craig Brubeck 0:29:23 25.38
7 Brian Sauer 0:29:36 25.19
8 Roger Leszczynski 0:29:40 25.13
9 Marcel Aguiar 0:29:46 25.05
10 Jim Green 0:30:16 24.64
11 Nathen Samora 0:30:23 24.54
12 Al Torre 0:31:02 24.03
13 Chad Lund 0:31:09 23.94
14 Brent Howell 0:31:23 23.76
15 Jason Pianalto 0:32:23 23.03
16 Joey Clingerman 0:32:29 22.95
17 Tim Cobb 0:33:00 22.60
18 David Ousley 0:33:58 21.95
19 Chris Costales 0:34:05 21.88
20 James Allen 0:34:56 21.34
21 Steve Sutherland 0:34:56 21.34
22 Daniel Pelessone 0:35:16 21.14
23 Nick Wenger 0:35:29 21.01
24 Chip Slack 0:37:04 20.12
Rank Name TT Final Average MPH
1 Rachel Hayes 0:30:32 24.42
2 Sally Roberts 0:35:15 21.15
3 Bessy Leszczynski 0:35:41 20.90
4 Katherine Nadler 0:35:49 20.82
5 Melonie Willard 0:38:20 19.45
6 Dawn Prebula 0:39:28 18.89
7 Crystal Cavanaugh 0:39:51 18.71
8 Tasha Swartley 0:41:13 18.09
9 Stephanie Lance 0:42:34 17.52
Tri Club of San Diego Cycling Coach Richard La China
Tri Club of San Diego Cycling Coach Richard La China

What: Free Time Trial at Fiesta Island

When: 5:45pm 2015 TCSD TT Schedule

  • May 20 – Completed
  • June 17 – Completed
  • July 15 – Completed
August 19
  • September 23

Where: Enchanted Cove parking lot at Fiesta Island

Who: Everyone is welcome!

Hosted by Coach Richard La China for Tri Club San Diego

Base Season Training for Cyclist

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”(—Alexander Graham Bell)  For cyclists, “preparation” means quality time on the bike and in the gym, a well thought-out  training / racing schedule, and finding your optimal nutrition plan both on and off the bike.

“Preparation” is a simple concept, yet one that is often forgotten by cyclists—either accidentally or on-purpose—and eschewed for something “easier”: a lighter frame, carbon wheels, a new supplement, time in a CVAC pod. Certainly, those things are helpful, but without a good, trained engine, they are virtually useless. They alone won’t get you that “belt buckle” qualifying time, the series overall win, or a ten percent increase on your FTP. You must prepare.
fail-to-prepare-prepare-to-fail1So, when should all this preparation take place? Well the answer is, “NOW!”  For most of you, the 2015 race season is coming to an end, and the off-season is on the horizon. But off-season doesn’t mean “stop training.” It means it’s time to set your goals for next year, make a plan to achieve them, and begin Base Training. The importance of preparation in this phase cannot be overstated. If you don’t set your goals for next year now, you will miss a critical phase of training for them. If you have goals, but don’t have a plan to achieve them, your training will be aimless and fruitless. If you have goals and a plan, but no aerobic base, your foundation for all future interval workouts will be compromised and you will run the risk of injury and/or burnout. A good base season equals a good race season.

A cycling coach is the best tool—and best investment— to guide you through this important phase of training. A coach will have a critical eye, a ton of experience, and can look at things more objectively than you can yourself. Even if you have the latest Training Bible book and have read every issue of Bicycling Magazine, I encourage you to remember this: good doctors don’t treat or operate on themselves, and good lawyers don’t represent themselves in court. The same goes for cyclists; good cyclists don’t coach themselves.

If you’re ready to make the leap and bring your cycling performance to the next level by dexa-1hiring a coach, you’re in luck! Right now I’m offering a special for new—and established—clients!  In order to make a plan to get where you’re going, you first need to establish where you are. So, in a partnership with one of San Diego’s most highly regarded exercise physiology labs, when you sign up for 6 months of coaching, I’m offering a free DEXA body scan (to determine body composition) as well as free VO2 Max and Lactate Threshold testing. In addition to the “cool-factor” of being able to say that you’ve done the tests that all the elite cyclists talk about, the data gained from these tests will allow me to put together a super specific and targeted training plan for you that will surely help you reach your goals.

Have I peaked your interest? Let’s meet up or schedule a phone call and chat for a bit.   Just send me a quick message here to get things rolling:

-Coach Richard

20 Tips For Mountain Bike Racing In Heat

hot_mountain_bike_raceRacing on hot days can be more challenging than normal, but with a little preparation / planning you can thrive in heat! I’ve put these 20 tips together to help you battle the heat and get a big advantage over your competition:

What to do in the weeks leading up the race::

1. Train in race-day conditions (hot, hot, hot).

2. Heat acclimation protocol, sauna time (see Coach Richard about protocol).

3. Hydrate all week leading into the race. A few pounds will likely show up on the scale. As long as you aren’t eating way more than you need, those extra pounds are likely water proving your hydration plan is working.

What to do race day::


4. Stay in the shade pre-race, relax, breathe.

5. Shorten your typical warm up.

During the race::

2015-03-11 03.33.39 pm6. Drink iced water with electrolytes, I recommend PowerBar Perform.

7. While racing, drink before you’re thirsty.  One bottle every 30-45 mins when hot.  Everyone is different but this is a good starting point (see Coach Richard for help determining your specifics).

8. Soak your jersey in ice water and put it on just before your race.

9. Have a spray bottle and spray your head, legs, back of neck to keep cool.

10. Freeze some wet sponges and put them in your jersey pockets.

11. Fill a big sock or panty hose with ice and keep it around your neck pre-race.

12. Race with sock (or pantyhose) with ice in it around your neck.   Have you support crew give you another sock every lap.

13. Put a frozen bottle of electrolytes in your middle jersey pocket.  Drink from it once it defrosts (double-duty). Be carful not to fill this bottle completely as it may explode in the freezer.

14. Have your teammates douse you with water as you come around each lap.

Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California15. Keep your jersey unzipped to allow airflow.

16. Wear white arm-coolers to reflect the heat.

17.  When racing, stay positive.  Repeating a mantra like “I’ve trained for this, I know how to do this. I’m dumping water on my head, drinking and grabbing ice when I can. I’ve got this.”

coppertone_sunscreen_lotioin_ultra_guard_50_8oz18. Wear sunscreen.  I recommend applying it in the morning after you shower, then again before your race.

19. Your RPE (rate of perceived expression) will be higher than during training/racing at cooler temperatures.    Acknowledge that and bring your pace down a little.  Remember your heart rate will be higher than normal as your body is trying to circulate your blood to your skin for cooling.

What to do after the race::

2015-03-11 03.34.36 pm20. It’s really difficult to replenish all the fluid you lost during a hot event, make sure to drink after the race.  I recommend PowerBar Restore.


Even with proper training and gear, it’s very important to listen to your body and be aware of danger signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and hyponatremia. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, are disoriented, have stopped sweating when you know you should be, have goose bumps in hot weather or your skin feels clammy, stop exercising, get out of the sun and seek medical attention.

Results from the June 17 Time Trial – Tri Club San Diego

June 17 | Fiesta Island Time TrialProcessed with VSCOcam with q3 presetPlease contact Coach Richard if there are any corrections.

Rank Name TT Final Average MPH
1 Jason Schutz 0:27:23 27.23
2 Zach Fiocca 0:27:29 27.13
3 Marcus Feldmann 0:27:33 27.07
4 Jason Strauch 0:27:49 26.81
5 Scott Smith 0:28:03 26.58
6 Tony Truong 0:28:43 25.97
7 Mike Plumb 0:28:56 25.77
8 Peter Wieczorek 0:29:13 25.52
9 Jason Ryan 0:29:16 25.48
10 Marcel Aguiar 0:29:17 25.46
11 Justin Runac 0:29:47 25.04
12 Mike Stange 0:30:22 24.55
13 Kye Gilder 0:30:47 24.22
14 Al Torre 0:31:07 23.96
15 Roger Leszczynski 0:31:19 23.81
16 Tim Kadel 0:31:20 23.80
17 Ajay Sapre 0:31:26 23.72
18 Chris Happ 0:31:26 23.72
19 Steve Mc Brayer 0:32:02 23.28
20 Anthony Macchia 0:32:25 23.00
21 Lubin Piedras 0:32:59 22.61
22 Jeff Seckendorf 0:33:30 22.26
23 Paul Andrews 0:33:55 21.98
24 Steve Fink 0:34:30 21.61
25 Clare Leguyader 0:35:50 20.81
26 Chip Slack 0:37:34 19.85
  Harper Vansteenhouse DNF DNF
  Dan Massey DNF DNF
Rank Name TT Final Average MPH
1 Julie Dunkle 0:32:26 22.99
2 Diana Elow 0:32:37 22.86
3 Leslie Meyers 0:33:32 22.24
4 Bessy Leszczynski 0:34:48 21.43
5 Kat Gunsur 0:34:56 21.34
6 Salley Roberts 0:35:02 21.28
7 Jennifer Plumb 0:35:55 20.76
8 Marianne Zappella 0:44:02 16.93
9 Nancy Vesper 0:47:41 15.64
10 Alexandra Reich DNF DNF
Tri Club of San Diego Cycling Coach Richard La China
Tri Club of San Diego Cycling Coach Richard La China

What: Free Time Trial at Fiesta Island

When: 5:45pm 2015 TCSD TT Schedule

  • May 20 – Completed
  • June 17 – Completed
  • July 15
August 19
  • September 23

Where: Enchanted Cove parking lot at Fiesta Island

Who: Everyone is welcome!

Hosted by Coach Richard La China for Tri Club San Diego

Results from the May 20 Time Trial – Tri Club San Diego

May 20 | Fiesta Island Time TrialProcessed with VSCOcam with q3 presetPlease contact Coach Richard if there are any corrections. [corrections published 05/22/15, 10:50am PST]

Rank Name TT Final Average MPH
1 Logan Bass 0:27:09 27.46
2 Jason Stofleth 0:27:39 26.97
3 Marcus Feldmann 0:27:45 26.87
4 Mike Plumb 0:28:10 26.47
5 Jason Ryan 0:29:21 25.41
6 Jim England 0:29:48 25.02
7 Harper Vansteenhouse 0:30:06 24.77
8 Kai Nakamura 0:30:09 24.73
9 Al Torre 0:30:14 24.66
10 Chad Heath 0:30:25 24.51
11 Tim Kadel 0:31:41 23.53
12 Dwayne Shirley 0:31:52 23.40
13 Joey Clingerman 0:32:23 23.03
14 Tony Berg 0:32:29 22.95
15 Doug Small 0:32:58 22.62
16 Nick Cohenmeyer 0:33:11 22.47
17 Guillermo Escobedo 0:34:50 21.41
18 Rick Summers 0:35:21 21.09
19 Jimmy Tu 0:36:09 20.63
20 Anthony Macchia 0:36:39 20.35
21 Mike Sofen (gravel rig) 0:37:08 20.08
22 Paul Gamache 0:37:22 19.95
23 Conor Frye 0:38:32 19.35
Rank Name TT Final Average MPH
1 Esther Walker 0:30:43 24.27
2 Rachel Hayes 0:31:20 23.80
3 Holly Stroschine 0:32:07 23.22
4 Jennifer Plumb 0:32:56 22.64
5 Diana Elow 0:33:30 22.26
6 Holly Resh ‘The Hammer’ 0:35:04 21.26
7 Sally Roberts 0:35:37 20.94
8 Arianna Jones 0:36:25 20.48
9 Clare Leguyader DNF DNF
Tri Club of San Diego Cycling Coach Richard La China
Tri Club of San Diego Cycling Coach Richard La China

What: Free Time Trial at Fiesta Island

When: 5:45pm 2015 TCSD TT Schedule

  • May 20 – Completed
  • June 17
  • July 15
August 19
  • September 23

Where: Enchanted Cove parking lot at Fiesta Island

Who: Everyone is welcome!

Hosted by Coach Richard La China for Tri Club San Diego

Loaded Precision Presents the Return of the Ninja Night Mountain Bike Race Series

Balboa Park Set To Host Final Two After-Dark MTB Races Nov 6 and Dec 112014-10-02 02.47.05 pm

SAN DIEGO, CA (October 1, 2014) — Ninja Night Race is proud to announce the final two events of 2014 will be presented by new title sponsor, Loaded Precision Components, and will take place on Thursday November 6 and Thursday December 11 at Balboa Park, starting at 7pm sharp.

“We’re headed back to Balboa Park for its central location, race-worthy trail system and best of all, the awesome feeling and spectacle of starting on the Velodrome,” said Race Director Richard La China. “We’re excited to be back, and thrilled to have Loaded Precision on board, as we welcome the earlier evenings with a little late-season racing.”

Ninja Night Race is the first USAC-sanctioned series of its kind, however Cat 2/3 athletes do not need a USAC license to participate. Pro/Cat 1 podium placers a can look forward to up to $100 in prize money for both men and women. The event also includes an expo featuring event sponsors and local businesses, a free tamale for all racers and live music to add to the festive vibe.

2014-10-02 02.52.51 pm“It’s been a busy summer of racing for everyone, but now we get to enjoy some cooler temperatures, and a more laid-back atmosphere, all while still collecting those last-minute upgrade points,” said La China. “We hope that the Loaded Precision Ninja Night Race attracts riders who want to give racing a try, racers who want to give night-riding a try, and of course, the usual suspects in our tremendous community of mountain bikers.”

Look for details leading up to the event, including the course, who will be in the expo, and the famous Ninja Night Race door prizes at

About Ninja Night Race

Ninja Night Race began in late 2013 with a pilot event held at Lake Hodges. Thanks to its success, the series relocated to Balboa Park in downtown San Diego to allow more racers to join in the fun. Participants in the second event became the first mountain bikers in history to set tire on the famous San Diego Velodrome. Ninja Night Race is the first USAC-sanctioned series of its kind and takes place during the week in the fall/winter, adding an off-season option for racers who like to go fast in the dark, or riders interested in trying it for the first time. Ninja Night Race is proud to offer equal prize purses in the Cat 1/pro categories for men and women. More than a race, the event also brings a party atmosphere by including live music, delicious tamales, and an expo featuring sponsors and local businesses. For more information, please visit

Results from the September 24 Time Trial – Tri Club San Diego


Place Name TT Time 3 Laps Average MPH
1 Jason Stofleth 0:27:11 27.43
2 Marcus Feldman 0:27:30 27.11
3 Jason Strauch 0:27:40 26.95
4 Jason Ryan 0:28:35 26.09
5 Kai Nakamura 0:30:28 24.47
6 Tim Kadel 0:30:49 24.20
7 Kent Kubo 0:31:29 23.68
8 Nicco Salvador 0:32:30 22.94
9 Chad Heath 0:32:30 22.94
10 Darrell Styner 0:32:34 22.90
11 Justin Morey 0:33:21 22.36
12 Kevin Fayed 0:33:47 22.07
13 Steve Fink 0:34:01 21.92
14 Michael Henry 0:34:23 21.69
15 Trevor Spletts 0:34:48 21.43
16 Rick Denney 0:36:04 20.67
17 Ron Lane 0:37:25 19.93
1 Holly Stroschine 0:33:58 21.95
2 Kat Ellis 0:35:09 21.21
3 Janis Intoy 0:35:28 21.02
4 Clare Leguyader 0:39:11 19.03
5 Jean Law 0:49:39 15.02

That was our last TT for 2014 — Thank you to everyone that came out and raced and to everyone that helped me with timing.   See you all next year!    We’ll send an email out to everyone when we’ve got the TT’s scheduled for 2015.

Tri Club of San Diego Cycling Coach Richard La China
Tri Club of San Diego Cycling Coach Richard La China

What: Free Time Trial at Fiesta Island

When: 5:45pm 2014 TCSD TT Schedule

  • May 8 – Completed
  • June 18 – Completed
  • July 9 – Completed
August 27 – Completed
  • September 24 – Completed

Where: Enchanted Cove parking lot at Fiesta Island

Who: Everyone is welcome!

Hosted by Coach Richard La China for Tri Club San Diego