Yago Alcalde is the owner and head coach at Ciclismo y Rendimiento, a cycling performance company based in Madrid, Spain. Yago has been around bikes for more than 20 years now, first as a mountain bike racer and then as a coach, bike fitter and aerodynamicist. A father of three kids, he tries to find a good balance between his job, his family and maintaining decent shape on the bike.
TrainingPeaks: Tell us a little about yourself. How do you get into endurance sports?
Yago Alcade: I grew up here in Madrid, and I was a mountain biker. While I was studying for my degree in sports science and going through physiology and training courses, I started training my own friends and relatives. I was a really amateur coach, like I just started with excel sheets, but after I left college I thought that being a coach could be a full-time job, so that’s what I started doing.
When did you start using TrainingPeaks?
I think it was 2014. I was just so tired of spending so much time doing excel sheets and changing dates. I also wasn’t able to see what my athletes were doing, so I had to log into their Garmin accounts, and that was really time consuming, it was horrible!
So you started coaching full time in 2007, did you have another job?
No, I could make a living out of it; I had like 30-40 athletes. That paid the bills.
So when did you add in bike fitting?
2010, and when I started bike fitting I had to lower my number of athletes, because it was more time-consuming. That’s when I started working with other coaches, and that’s when TrainingPeaks really became a great tool for me. We can share workout libraries see what everyone’s doing, it’s a great platform when you’re working alone, but also to work within a group.
How many coaches do you currently have?
I have three coaches working under me. We try to meet once a month, more or less, and we always try to keep improving our libraries and training plans so we can save time. Teamwork in this case is great; my other coaches will often tell me about workouts I never thought about, which is great!
How do you balance the bike fitting business with the coaching?
More or less, I just try to keep my roster capped at 10 athletes, so I can pay enough attention to them. Bike fitting just takes so long. In all I would say coaching I spend about 20% of my time coaching, and the rest is bike fitting.
What is your favorite part of coaching?
When your athletes achieve their goals! I love when they send you post-workout notes saying they did well at their race or gran fondo, yeah, I think that’s the best part.
Are you coaching primarily road cyclists? Do you still coach mountain?
I would say I have 50% mountain and 50% road. Mostly people are doing gran fondo stuff though, not so many racers. I guess in every country it’s different, but here in Spain people are really into mountain bike gran fondo events, like 60-80 miles long. They’re not very technical, mostly dirt roads, but those are really big here right now so I’m helping lots of people train for that.
You’ve got a young family; How do you balance coaching, fitting and spending time with them?
You just don’t go out on your bike as much as you would like! I guess that’s what we all do; we try to get up really early, get some work done, and just try to crunch everything in the morning so you can spend some time with them in the afternoon. It’s a puzzle, life. I know it sounds so commercial but TrainingPeaks just allows you to do good training planning really fast. It’s a game changer.
We’re starting to see more Spanish coaches finding and using TrainingPeaks, what would you say to those coaches?
They’re going to save so much time, and they’re going to be really able to see and analyze what their athletes are doing. That gives you a really good value as a coach because your athletes see that you’re watching what they’re really doing. If you don’t have that it’s like you don’t really care; those post-workout message notifications give you great value as a coach.
You also use WKO, how do you use that in conjunction with TrainingPeaks?
I think WKO is a little too complicated for most of the people who play with it, but once you know how to use it it really gives you some useful metrics. I would say that it works best with really dedicated athletes, though. Like if you have someone training 6, 8 hours a week, the system doesn’t map enough data to be really powerful. You really need to have good data and a lot of it in order to get the most out of WKO.
What are you trying to set yourself apart from your competitors?
Doing a nice blog is key, and having articles about metrics and analyzing races, that’s a great value. Also, doing podcasts and YouTube videos and all that, I guess that’s how it goes these days. You just need to put that stuff into your weekly schedule; take some time for blogging, social media content, and sharing key workouts that attract people, they love that.