There are many reasons people join and continue riding with VQ. Ask ten VQ members and you will hear as many reasons. In honor of the now retired David Letterman, here are my Top 10 Reasons to Ride with VQ…
10. You have not lived a full life as a cyclist until you do indoor workouts with Robbie Ventura and Dave Noda. It’s Chicago. It’s February. It’s cold. And snowy. Are you riding outside? I didn’t think so. Connect your bike to a CompuTrainer and “enjoy” 90 minutes of real work with a room filled with like-minded people. The sessions are run by coaches that are knowledgeable and ready to help you set up on the machine and motivate you. The indoor workouts are the best thing any serious rider can do in the winter, at least in this part of the world. To get the full experience you have to do an indoor session with Robbie Ventura or Dave Noda. Their coaching styles are different, but both motivate you to really make the most of your training time. Robbie is very direct and gives a lot of information. Dave uses a booming voice to motivate--no, compel--you to do the best work possible. In any event, you will not be disappointed and you will get a great workout. The classes are plentiful and the gyms/studios are conveniently located in the city and suburbs. If you do nothing else with VQ, the indoor workouts will make you a stronger rider. You will thank VQ and me when you get back on the road.
9. The outdoor group rides and workouts are a lot more fun. Once the weather warms up, you can join VQ group rides and workouts and put your hard-earned power to good use. VQ has many group rides: some are intense interval-type rides, others are longer and slower. One thing that distinguishes VQ rides is that you are typically in a group of people with a weight-to-power ratio similar to your own. In layman’s terms, this means you are riding with people at a comparable speed to your own. Group rides also allow VQ members to focus on different riding skills like rotating through a pace line, communicating with the other riders and building strategies for bridging to groups up the road.
8. Part of the magic that makes the VQ system work is testing and benchmarking. One reason the VQ system works is the empirical data on how strong you are on the bike. You have this information because, every eight weeks, VQ tests for Functional Threshold Power (FTP). VQ uses this data to program the CompuTrainer which controls the indoor workouts and to place you in the appropriate group for outdoor rides. Ultimately, this means that each workout is specifically designed to elicit all that you can deliver for that type of training ride, e.g., intervals, Strength and Endurance (SE), climbing, etc. Also, by having access to several months of testing data you and VQ can benchmark your progress.
7. The perfect “ying” to cycling’s “yang” is functional training. Functional training is a well-kept and underutilized aspect of the training experience at VQ. Believe it or not, cycling requires a strong core. Functional Training is a series of exercises designed to strengthen your core muscles. Don Riley, a VQ coach, is an absolute master of functional training. Don can bring well-honed athletes to absolute tears IF they have not worked on strengthening their abs, gluteus and other core and core-related muscles. Access to the Functional Training classes is part of the basic VQ membership.
6. You will know where you’re headed because you planned the journey and set goals. Being a VQ member causes you to think in January about what major events you would like to complete once the weather warms up. Typically people select these events and then categorize them as either an “A” (important) event or “B” (less important or training) event. Once this schedule is set, you can plan how to be in the best shape possible on A-event days. The point is that, with a schedule, your training has meaning. You are shooting for something and have goals to meet along the way.
5. You can get off the sidelines and into the race. Are you curious about road races or triathlons? Would you like to know firsthand what it is like to ride in a peloton or be in a breakaway? You can learn about and experience all of these things at VQ with people who have competed at very high levels.
4. You get to travel to great places with groups of great people. Have you ever wanted to do nothing but ride for four days straight, be pampered at night with massages and eat food that tasted great and was good for you? In short, have you ever wanted to experience life as top riders do? You can do that by going to a VQ Camp or special event.
3. You get to have all of this fun in a safe environment. At VQ there is always an emphasis on safety. Safety is a way of life. It is discussed, practiced and then discussed some more. You will learn how to be safe and minimize the risks we all take as road-riders.
2. The people at VQ are amazing. While people join VQ for different reasons, they have a number of things in common--like a healthy lifestyle and a love for cycling. As a group, VQ is an incredible and diverse group of people--successful and motivated people--who will work with you to help you achieve your athletic goals.
1. The way the training makes you feel. Here are two specific, non-cycling anecdotes about how training with VQ improves quality of life. First, getting up from my desk on any afternoon and feeling quads and calves that are strong…it imparts a sense of confidence. Second, I am a trial attorney. This means that when I am “on” trial, I do not get to train because the days are 14 to 16 hours long. However, the training still carries over, allowing me to stay sharp and focused. What else imparts such a sense of confidence and well-being?