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Wednesday
Mar312010

From College Basketball to Cycling: Todd Manley, TrainingPeaks Member

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Todd Manley started playing basketball mostly as a result of his height, but after his days playing at Stanford were over he turned to a different sport to stay in shape: cycling, which helped him lose over 50 pounds. With three kids and a full-time job, TrainingPeaks helps him schedule his training as efficiently as possible, allowing him to hope for an upgrade to a Master's Cat 2 this season.

Growing up I was always very athletic.  I ended up pursuing basketball since it was the most logical thing for a kid of my height to follow (plus I loved the game).  I ended up being 6’9” and found myself playing Pac-10 basketball for Stanford in college.  Over time I realized I didn’t like running to stay in shape; if I was going to run it would be on the basketball course.  I did like cycling but never dove into it as an athletic endeavor until way after my playing days were through.

My first interest in cycling came from a friend of mine.  We did a lot of golfing together and he started talking about the Marin century ride.  I was soon enthralled by doing a century and the bike bug bit.  I had just changed jobs and found that commuting to work by bike would be a nice alternative to the car and a great way to get some training miles.

As the number of golf rounds decreased and the time spent on the bike increased, I found myself getting into better and better shape.  I ended up losing weight and finding more enjoyment out of cycling.  Though I’m built for TT’s and flatter road races, losing the weight made training in the hills that much more enjoyable.  I ended up losing over fifty pounds!

toddmanleybikesmallIn addition to the health benefits, I stay interested by being involved.  I actively race for San Jose Bicycle Club as a Master’s Cat 3 and am looking to get my last four points toward my Cat 2 upgrade in the next several weeks.  I’m also the club’s president and race team coordinator.

Having three kids and a full-time job keeps me plenty busy, so I have to look for opportunities to maximize the time I have available for training.  I typically ride six days a week and always take Monday off; having a dedicated rest day has been one of my training revelations.  It’s amazing how much better I’ve ridden when I properly rest and recover from hard weekends of training/racing.

I’ve been using Powertap hubs as my primary power meter of choice for the past 4 years.  I initially didn’t use any coaching services but as I became more interested in training and how to effectively use a power meter I started to read some of the Coggan/Allen material.  I used several of Hunter’s online training plans and found the structure to be both informative and effective.  As I started to focus more on TT’s I decided to employ the services of a coach.  I have now worked with Dan Smith of Sportvelo and we’ve been a great team.  During our first year we focused mostly on exploring my capabilities as an athlete.  This year we’re really pushing the envelope and so far the results have been fantastic.

Immediately on the horizon is achieving the Cat 2 upgrade and then getting ready for our district TT championship.  The NCNCA district (Northern California & Nevada) has some pretty stiff TT talent, so my goals are to improve against my times.  Beating past national champions may not happen, but shaving 30+ seconds from your previous best are the small wins I look forward to in the TT discipline.

Next year I plan to keep focused on TT work and continue to target stage and road races where my strengths can be maximized.  I’m pretty excited that USAC Master National events are coming back to the west coast.  I can’t wait to make the trip up to Bend for the next couple of years and see how things go.  I grew up in Oregon and spent a lot of time in that part of the state.

Regardless of whether you win or lose, there’s always something you can learn from each time you pin on your number and race.  And something my coach likes to pound into my head, “In the first half of the race, race not to lose.  In the second half race to win!”  Plus a little bit of HTFU will take you a long way when training and racing!

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