16-week 2019 NICA PRE-Season High School JUNIOR-VARSITY mountain bike training plan


Lynda Wallenfels

All plans by this Coach


16 Weeks

Typical Week

1 Custom, 4 Bike, 3 Other, 3 Day Off, 2 Strength

Longest Workout

2:30 hrs

Plan Specs

cycling mountain biking

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This 16-WEEK high school mountain bike training plan is for the JUNIOR-VARSITY level racer peaking for the NICA race season. JV is a diverse category. This plan is appropriate for the experienced racer who wants to train hard, maximize performance and reach the podium. This is a challenging training plan for a JV rider. This training plan is not appropriate for beginner riders and first time racers.

This 16-week PRE-season training plan will gradually ramp up your fitness, strength and threshold power in preparation for regular-season training. After this 16 week plan you will enter the regular training season as one of the top riders on your JV team.

Varsity riders shredding trail

Begin this "pre-season" training plan 16 weeks prior to the start date of your NICA league "regular training season". Regular season training starts for most fall leagues on June 1 or July 1 and spring leagues on December 1. Colorado starts on August 1 and Tennessee starts on the Monday of the week after the week of July 4. Check with your league for your regular-season start date. Start this training plan 16 weeks prior to your "regular season" start date.

A heart rate monitor and power meter can be used with this training plan but are not required. A mountain bike is required to follow this training plan. A road bike is an optional extra that is not required.

This plan contains four training rides, two core training sessions and four stretching sessions per week. Every Sunday is a rest day.

Visit our LW Coaching high school athlete resources page for information geared towards the high school athlete, to ask training plan questions on our forum and read mountain bike specific training articles.

When your state NICA regular-season starts, LW Coaching recommends athletes participate fully with their high school team training program and local high school coaches. Independent athletes without a team have the option to follow on with our LW Coaching NICA regular-season mountain bike training plan. We also have NICA TEAM plans available for head coaches to use with an entire team in the regular season. View our LW Coaching high school training plans here

NICA coaches are not eligible to work with student-athletes during the pre-season under the NICA team training limits rule. This training plan is written for student-athletes to follow independently without a NICA coach to comply with NICA rules.

This training plan and the forum support provided are designed for an individual user. Please do not duplicate, distribute or share this training plan. Copyright 2019 LW Coaching.


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 07:28
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 07:28
Average Weekly Breakdown

Lynda Wallenfels

LW Coaching

Mountain Bike Coaching, Consulting and Mountain Bike Training Plans. We are mountain bikers and specialize in mountain biking.

Browse our LWCoaching.com website and give our LW Coaching mountain bike training plan finder App a try https://lwcoaching.com/mtb-training-plans/planfinder/ to see which mountain bike training plan stack fits your goals.

Personal coaching, pre-built mountain bike training plans, telephone consultations. See www.lwcoaching.com or contact lynda@lwcoaching.com

Back to Plan Details

Sample Day 1

DAY #1: 20 min Benchmark Field Test

DAY #1, session #1: Move this benchmark field test to day 2 if it fits your schedule better.

Heart rate, Power and Performance Field Test. This test is to set your power (watts) training levels and heart rate (HR) training zones. It is also used to establish a performance benchmark to compare and track your progress. You will repeat this test again in week 6 of the plan and have an option to repeat it again in week 3. A heart rate monitor is required for this test. A power meter is optional.

Warm up for 20 minutes prior to the test by riding slowly at first then gradually bringing your speed and heart rate up. Get a little sweat going before the test but don't tire yourself out.

The test is a 20 minute non-stop time trial - or in other words, ride as fast as you can without stopping for 20 minutes. The best course is one where you can keep pedaling non-stop. A flat course or a single long gradual climb work.

The Test: Start your heart rate monitor or power meter if you have one (power meter is optional) and ride non-stop as fast as you can for 20 minutes. Pace yourself to ride strongly for the entire 20 minutes. Record average power (a power meter is optional), average heart rate and distance covered in the 20 minutes. After the test, finish the ride time by riding easy to loosen up your legs.

Use the TrainingPeaks zones calculator as follows to establish HEART RATE training zones:

1. Open your athlete account setting page and select Zones (athlete > settings > zones).

2. Enter your average heart rate from the 20 minute field test into the Threshold Heart Rate box.

3. Choose type Lactate Threshold from the drop down menu in the auto calculation box.

4. Choose method Joe Friel for Cycling in the drop down menu in the auto calculation box.

5. Click Calculate, then Apply, then the Save button at the bottom of the page.

6. Copy heart rate training zones 1 – 5 and start pacing by heart rate!

Use the TrainingPeaks zones calculator as follows to establish POWER training zones:

1. Open the athlete account setting page and select Zones (athlete > settings > zones).

2. Enter into the threshold box your average 20 minute power multiplied by 0.95. E.G. Average 20 min power of 200 w x 0.95 = 190 w

3. Choose type Threshold Power from the drop down menu in the auto calculation box.

4. Choose method Coggan (6) in the drop down menu in the auto calculation box.

5. Click Calculate, then Apply, then the Save button at the bottom of the page.

6. Copy power training levels 1 – 6 and start pacing by power and PE!

Coach Lynda tip: Prior to conducting this test review the Testing Guidelines doc found at this link http://lwcoaching.com/?p=138 for tips on how to prepare for and execute your best test.

You have an option to re-test on week 3 day 6 if you feel you did not put out your best possible effort today.

Sample Day 1

DAY #1 Foam roller and stretch

DAY #1, session #2: After your 20 min benchmark field test today, use a combination of rolling on the foam roller and stretching to work out any hot spots.

Sample Day 3

Improve technical riding skills.

Ride at an easy pace in heart rate zones 1-2 with a focus on technical riding skills. Go to a pump track, bmx track, bike park, technical trail or open area. Have fun with this session today and invite your friends.

Today's goals are to improve technical ride skills, speed and flow on moderately challenging terrain (no big gnar dangerous stuff). Work on all aspects of technical ride skills; balance, braking, descending, cornering, pumping etc.

Ride at an easy pace in HR zones 1-2 when the trail is easy. When you reach a challenging section of trail repeat it several times until you are smooth and clean and can flow the section with less energy and more speed. Brief heart rate spikes over zone 2 in the tech sections are expected and ok. Stop after challenging sections, let your HR come down, observe the lines then re-ride with more flow and speed. Rest time counts today, so you are out on the bike for 1.5 hours and maybe pedaling for only 45 mins. This is a good session to do with a better rider to learn from, friends or with a skills coach.

If you do not have a heart rate monitor use our Training Intensity guidelines chart to see what PE you should be riding at today https://lwcoaching.com/training-intensity-guidelines/

Sample Day 4

Core workout

Core workout. Follow this routine http://lwcoaching.com/30-min-core-stretch-routine-mountain-bike-racers/

Sample Day 5

Foam Roll and Stretch

Use a combination of rolling on the foam roller and stretching to work out your hot spots.

Sample Day 6

Aerobic Base Ride

Aerobic Base Ride. Ride in heart rate zone 1-3 or power levels 1-3 today. Spend most of your ride time in zone/level 2. Choose a fun route with a mix of trails and dirt roads. Power will be in all levels when on single-track but should not stay in levels 3+ for long enough to elevate HR to zone 3+.

Sample Day 8

Moderate effort single track smooth flowy ride

Ride mostly single track at a comfortable fun pace. Keep the effort level moderate and relaxed the entire ride. Focus on riding smooth and flowy along the trail today. Ride as-one with your bike. Pay attention to your tech skills. If your legs are tired back off the effort a little today but stay smooth and flowy.

16-week 2019 NICA PRE-Season High School JUNIOR-VARSITY mountain bike training plan

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