Coach Maddy's Top Tips

Sometimes you learn from books, sometimes you learn from the advice of others, and then sometimes you just have to go and learn the hard way...

UCLA grad and former pro racer Maddy Ward acquired a whole lot of racing and physiology knowledge from all three sources, and here she shares her hard-earned tips that you can employ right now to become a better bike rider and racer. 

1. Listen to your body

If something feels off, it might be your body telling you to slow down and rest. Know the signs of overtraining: decreased motivation, sleep problems, mood changes/irritability, decreased appetite, decreased performance, illness, high resting heart rate, menstrual cycle changes, and extended soreness.

If you feel compelled to press on in spite of any of the above, think about what you might tell a friend in similar situation.

Similarly, if you have the misfortune to crash during a training ride or race, fight the adrenaline-driven urge to jump straight up and get back on the bike. Collect yourself, assess the situation, and think about if it’s smart to get back on the bike. If you hit your head, is it really worth it? No.

2. Plan ahead to remove variables

Know before you go. Come up with hypothetical 'if, then' scenarios so that if that situation occurs, you’ve already gone over in your head what you’re going to do. Have a back up plan so that you’re not completely derailed if something goes wrong, be that weather or mechanicals or things not going according to your ideal plan in a race.

For a race, talk with your coach or others who have done the event to understand as much as you can about the course, the demands, the other athletes and the weather. 

3. Travel is not a rest day

Whether you are traveling to a race or traveling for work, traveling is not easy on your brain or your body. So, treat it accordingly within the context of your training plan.

4. Go with the flow

In tandem with tip #2 is this piece of advice: be flexible. After you have prepared as much as you can, once you are in the moment of the training session or the race it's strategic (and energy-saving!) to be nimble. Whether a light turns red in the middle of your interval or a break goes up the road without you in it, spend energy on the things you can control, not dwelling on the frustrations of things you can't change.

5. Eat on the bike - and eat a lot!

If you’re trying to lose weight, diet off the bike, not while you’re on the bike. Whenever you are training or racing, your body needs fuel to perform and recover, and when you are really going hard you literally cannot eat enough. So eat, eat, eat while you’re on the bike.


Maddy Ward raced professionally for TIBCO and InstaFund, and believes open, transparent communication is the foundation for a successful coach-athlete relationship. She adapts her coaching style to the athlete’s goals and loves being entrusted to help athletes reach and exceed their ambitions.

To get started working with Maddy to achieve your cycling goals, please fill out our New Athlete Questionnaire.