Celebrating 20 years of FasCat Coaching

FasCat is officially 20 years old this month, and to celebrate we’re taking a long look back at the pivotal moments that formed the FasCat community in a two-part podcast series, a collection of videos, and the timeline below. 

From pioneering work on training with power to discovering that Subway’s microwaves can screw up your indoor training classes, there are all sorts of good stories in FasCat's history. 

Many things have changed in 20 years, but the one constant has been FasCat's dedication to innovating science-based ways to make you faster.

Thank you for joining us on this ride.

FasCat Coaching Timeline

2002: The Vision 

Frank Overton gets laid off from his biotech job, and uses his four-month severance to begin training and racing full time.

Frank says to himself, “If I can find 10 athletes to coach at $100 a month, I can keep training and racing full time.”

Frank raced the 2002 NORBA National Circuit with the Ritchey Grassroots MTB Team, and broke his hand at the second race. He switches over to road racing because he could hang his thumb around an STI lever. 

2003: The Beginning

Original website goes live with Dreamweaver and GoDaddy.

Frank creates and launches FasCat’s website and…. nothing happens.

“At a training camp in Moab I was worried that I would miss an email from a prospective athlete, so I ended the ride early and went to a coffee shop, paid $8 for wifi on my giant Compaq laptop to log in and check to see that in fact no one had reached out to inquire about coaching…” 

Frank contacts PEZ CyclingNews to offer to write a training tip, and in March PEZ publishes “The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Perform Intervals with your Powermeter” in March.

“I figured if the reader could afford to buy an SRM they could afford to hire me,” Frank said. “Plus I felt like what I knew about power-based training would help differentiate myself because I was relatively unknown.”

And lo and behold, the first athlete hires Frank! 

Turns out, though, that a single athlete was not enough to pay the bills, so Frank takes another biotech job, which begins (in Colorado) the day after the Redlands Bicycle Classic (in California). Frank and friends get in car after the Sunset Road Race and drive straight through  the night, pulling into the parking lot just before he starts his first day at 8 a.m. 

Frank lugs giant laptop computer to bring to work to analyze power files and design training plans in the lab while ‘working’ in the lab.

Frank writes one training tip a month for the next 12 months for PEZ, and gets about one new athlete per article. 

With a 10-hour-a-day job plus 3-5 hours of coaching each night, Frank tells teammates “I’m not going to race that much or be fast this year.”

At home, Frank’s first kid is on the way. 

2004: The Jump - and the Dr Coggan Connection

Frank quits his biotech job with health insurance and benefits, and begins coaching full time.

Frank’s first daughter is born, the coaching business accelerates, and life is good. 

Sets the goal to win 2005 Colorado Time Trial Championships.

Attends the USA Cycling Coaching Summit, meets Dr. Andy Coggan and begins developmental work on TSS, the Performance Manager Chart and what was to become Sweet Spot Training.

2005: Sweet Spot is Born as Performance Manager Chart is Validated

Frank CO 2015 State TT

Frank continues to work with Dr Coggan, Hunter Allen, John Verheul, Dave Harris, Brian Walton, and others on the Performance Manager Chart, which quantifies training load and models future fitness levels based on that load.

One primary idea is to map out how an athlete can achieve a peak performance by building up a training load then tapering down.

Frank validates the model with a 350-watt, sub-50-minute 40K performance at the Colorado State Time Trial Championship.

2006: Coaching Priority Health

Frank comes on board as coach with the Priority Health Professional Cycling Team, and meets future FasCat Coach Jake Rytlewski.  Frank also works with Brent Bookwalter, Ted King, Eddy Hilger, Brian Sheedy and Tom Zirbel. 

2007: Coaching the US National Team

Frank goes on the road with the US National Women’s Team as Assistant Director, racing all the World Cups all over Europe out of the two home bases of Izegem, Belgium and Lucca, Italy. Frank works with world-class athletes like Mara Abott, Kristin Armstrong, Amber Pierce and others. With Amber Neben, the team wins La Route de France, an 8-day stage race that was a precursor to the modern day Tour de France Femmes.

2008: Selling Power Meters Worldwide 

power meters

Back in Boulder, FasCat starts selling power meters from SRM, Quarq and PowerTap to athletes all over the world.

2010: Performance Center Opens

performance center

FasCat opens a Performance Center with the first power-based indoor cycling program, 3D video motion capture bike fits, state of the art physiological testing, power meter sales, and personal coaching. FasCat buys 15 PowerBeam power-measuring trainers for in-person 10-week classes. The dropouts from the Bluetooth sensors on these trainers are horrible and nearly ruin FasCat. The following year, FasCat invests in a fleet of PowerTap rear wheel with the hub-based power meters to use for each class. Each rider in class is given a TrainingPeaks account and FasCat coaches manually upload the files after each class. 

2012: Stages Cycling Opens Power Market

Stages power meter

While SRM had sold power meters for years, they were quite expensive. PowerTap wheels were more affordable, but Stages’ debut of a simple, crank-based system for about $500 makes power-based training attainable for the masses.

2013: Wahoo Kickr Transforms Market

FasCat invests in 15 Wahoo Kickr smart trainers and buys another 25 to sell. The Kickrs transformed the power-based indoor cycling classes and FasCat quickly became the top Colorado dealer for smart trainers. 

2014: Zwift Redefines Indoor Training

Zwift launches in the fall, spelling the end of indoor cycling classes. Meanwhile, power-meter sales are drying up as FasCat cannot sell Stages meters remotely. 

2015: Performance Center Closes, Remote Coaching Explodes

Cloud-based technology improves to the point that coaching athletes remotely works very well. (TrainingPeaks’ mobile phone data upload solution is a far cry from the Microsoft Word Calendar files we have been using for athletes.)

Instead of athletes coming into the Performance Center once a week for us to download a week’s worth of their training files, now they have an automatic upload option. Communication improves and FasCat Coaching’s remote business grows and grows. 

FasCat closes Performance Center.

2016: FasCat Coaches Also Go Remote

During the Performance Center days, Frank insists that Coaches come into the office Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. But transformations in training technology and software now mean Coaches can work wherever there is wifi.

2017: Training Plans Are Born

During Wednesday Worlds cyclocross practices at a local Boulder park, athletes ask Frank if he could design and sell a ’cross training plan, so Frank writes a six-week plan. He sells a handful of these plans, and, to his surprise, the athletes return in a few weeks and ask, “what plan do I next?”

This repeats a few times, until Frank sees the future: stock training plans. 

Frank and Coach Isaiah discuss how to create training plans based on years of athletes’ questions and challenges and successes, and how to differentiate the plans from 1x1 coaching business. 

All plans use the basic formula of Mondays and Fridays off, structured workouts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday, and longer endurance rides on the weekends. Everything is periodized with regular rest weeks and a progressive overload. 

Athletes start getting faster and leaving raving 5-star reviews. And athletes start buying plan after plan, using them as a year-round training solution.

2018: The Podcast Goes Live

Jackson and Frank

Jackson Long and Frank expand the sharing of knowledge from FasCat’s 250 training tips into audio form, and the FasCat podcast is born. 

Turns out, way more people listen to podcasts than read training tips, and soon athletes from 72 countries are tuning in.

2019: FtFP

The healthy eCommerce training plan business is complemented by a thriving community in a private Facebook Group. Athletes ask about various training scenarios, and Coaches offer solutions. One overriding theme is noticed: athletes just need to follow the plan. Thus ‘Follow the f*&%ing plan’ acronym was born. At first it was a joke, but it really caught on and we leaned into it. 

While just ‘follow the f*&%’ing plan was the easy answer, what really matters is good training habits. And it works! Athletes begin reviews of our training plans, how they committed to FtFP’ing and improved.

2020: The Gravel Team That Never Was, and The End of FasCat?

FasCat Van

FasCat starts a gravel team, rounding up sponsors, buying a sprinter van and getting it wrapped, and laying out plans to hit all the major gravel races.

Covid has other plans.

In March Frank and Coach Isaiah have the van packed for The Mid South, but make the decision to not go. Race cancellations spiral downward the rest of the year. 

Ten days later, Frank tells the Coaches to batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst. With nearly every major event being canceled, it appears that coaching might be canceled too.

Instead, the opposite happens. FasCat Coaches get the same question over and over, “Coach, what do I do?”

FasCat Coaches come up with all sorts of challenges to keep athletes engaged and motivated.  Local Strava races are created for athletes to race solo. Director of Content Ben Delaney wins our first Unbound Strava race and we keep the theme alive for various other gravel races throughout the calendar.   

The gravel team and the sprinter do not fare as well… FasCat is too busy coaching!

2021: Franks Turns 50, Dreams Up Optimize

In a year FasCat doubles down on hiring Coaches, plus a Community Manager, Frank does his annual birthday ride (this time the big 5-0) and has the idea to combine power and wearable data for the ultimate training solution.

Frank draws a few mock-ups for such a solution, dubbed Optimize, and with the encouragement of software engineers and investors, hires a development team and starts building a prototype.

2022: Dr Phil Collaborates on OTS

Part of the draw for Optimize was years of athletes texting Frank and other Coaches with questions about how their HRV and sleep data should affect their training plans. 

Frank knew the solution was to balance that raw recovery data against their training data. And his early prototypes features a needle to show that balance. He tries to create the algorithm in a spreadsheet, but things get messy fast. So he brings in Dr Phil Skiba, the algorithmic engineer who helped Eliud Kipchoge in the Nike Breaking 2 Project by modeling out the drafting, pacing, air temperature, and other factors.

Dr Phil and Frank update the old Training Stress Score to Optimized Training Score, which accounts for the duration of training and coasting and other factors that TSS ignores. 

In the fall, Optimize is launched with integrations for Garmin, Wahoo, Whoop and Oura. For the first time, cyclists can get quantitative training analysis that balances power data with sleep and HRV data. 

2023: Optimize Legitimized by Media

As FasCat's software development team continues to grow, new features and new integrations are added, including Apple Watch and Hammerhead compatibility.  

Cycling media from around the globe begins to cover Optimize. 

Cyclingnews says Optimize "has the potential to revolutionize the way athletes train."

"Frank Overton’s aim is simple: create a user-friendly system whereby everyone from ‘Tour de France pros to your average Joes’ – to steal his phrase – can get personalized data to help optimize their training," writes Cyclist magazine in the UK.

Bicycling magazine in the US lists Optimize among 'The Best App-Based Training Plans to Help You Reach Your Cycling Goals,' calling it "incredibly comprehensive" and "a great entry point into tailored training without the price tag of an actual coach."

VeloNews asks "is Optimize the next big breakthrough?"

2024-2043: The Future

What will the next 20 years bring for FasCat and FasCat athletes? If the past is any indication, more innovation and creative solutions to the ever-changing times lay ahead!

Thank you for being a part of the journey!


Download and join Optimize where Coaching is included, the training plans are unlimited and there's a 14 day trial to see for yourself!  Message us what you are training for and we'll reply with the recommended plan(s)!  FTP, race data, power-based training, or anything related to going fast on the bike is all fair game!