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2020 NICA SPRING-league High School TEAM mountain bike training plan


Lynda Wallenfels

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24 Weeks

Plan Specs

cycling mountain biking beginner intermediate advanced hr based pace based tss based

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Plan Description

This SPRING league TEAM training plan is designed for NICA head coaches to use to coach every athlete on a typical NICA team from Varsity podium level to beginner. Training each day is split up by 6 levels or groups. Group 1 consists of the fastest and most experienced riders and group 6 the beginner student-athletes. Specific training for each group 1-6 is provided for each practice. This is a plug and play season training plan for a NICA head coach.

High school mountain bike training plan

Regular-season training starts for spring leagues in December. This 24-week spring league training plan is designed to start on the first Monday of "regular-season" team training in December and end at State finals in May. Some minor schedule adjustments may be needed to fit the calendar for your State.

Workouts on this LW Coaching training plan can be paced by heart rate zone or power level or perceived exertion. Instructions on setting heart rate training zones, power levels and perceived exertion pacing guidelines are integrated into the plan.

Coach Lynda tips are provided along the way in the plan to help you coach your entire team through the season. Practices include pacing guidelines, nutrition, bike maintenance, tech riding skills and peer coaching opportunities. Practices start in December with a focus on riding skills and progress to more focus on race-speed fitness by February. Race specific drills such as passing, starts, short tracks and sprinting are included along with fitness building practices your student-athletes will love, such as hill intervals and tempo training days to peak their fitness and get them race ready.

This LW Coaching training plan is designed for one team. Please do not duplicate, distribute or share this training plan. Copyright 2019 LW Coaching.


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
7:00 hrs 2:00 hrs
—— ——
1:40 hrs 0:48 hrs
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
7:00 hrs 2:00 hrs
—— ——
1:40 hrs 0:48 hrs
—— ——

Training Load By Week

Lynda Wallenfels

LW Coaching

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Sample Day 1

Season practice #1

Groups 1 - 6 follow the same session today.

Use part of today's practice to divide your team up into 6 groups if you have not done this already (see the attached doc - How to use this training plan for more info on the group selection process). You can use a time trial, you can have a coach sort your students or you can let students self-select a group.

Coaches: Give Safety and logistics talk. Explain student responsibilities and how your practices will be structured. 

Coach Lynda tip: Set your expectations high and communicate this to students. They will appreciate being part of a well organized team and strive to fulfill your expectations. This is a win-win.

Coaches: Do an equipment check-off with each student. All Students must present the following required equipment at every practice:

a. Bike
b. Helmet
c. Gloves
d. Eye Protection
e. (2) Tubes
f. Hand Pump
g. Patch Kit
h. Tire Levers
i. Hydration Pack
j. Water Bottles
k. Nutrition
l. Quick-Link for your chain
m. Flashing Tail Light
n. Medications
o. Rear Derailleur Hanger
p. Multi-Tool w/Chain Breaker

Coaches: Teach the NICA, A, B, C, D bike check (MTB 101 on-the-bike-skills manual page 9)
A: air,
B: brakes
C: crank-set/ chain/cassette
D: derailleur  

Coach Lynda tip: This quick bike check should be done before every practice and can be a money and season saver.

Skills: Spend the remainder of practice time coaching neutral and ready body position drills (NICA MTB 101 on-the-bike-skills manual page 17 and 18)

Sample Day 2

Core workout

Core workout. Follow this routine

Coaches: Share this link with your student-athletes and encourage them to work on core and stretching on non-practice days.

Sample Day 3

MTB 101 skill - Braking. Base.

Groups 1-3: Practice front brake drill, rear brake drill and both brakes drill. No skidding!

Then ride fun trails at aerobic base pace (HR zones 1-3).

Aerobic base pace cues:
- Breathing is slightly elevated. You must open your mouth to breathe
- You can cruise along for 2 hours at this pace without much effort


Groups 4-6: Start practice with MTB 101 skill; Braking. (NICA 101 manual page 19), then ride trails at aerobic base pace.


Coach Lynda tip: Experienced and skilled students can be assistant student-coaches for this session. Varsity riders appreciate the opportunity to coach the new students. You will be amazed at how good some of them are! Teen to teen talk can be a lot more effective at getting across a point sometimes. Let your student-coaches know they are role models for your new team members and they set the tone for the team. Ask them to be respectful and approachable. Thank your student-coaches for their contributions and let them know they are a valuable part of the team.

Sample Day 4

Yoga - Deep-release, hips, hamstrings and lower-back

Do this 48 min class at this link or use this Vimeo link

Coaches: Share this link with your student-athletes and encourage them to do yoga on non-practice days.

Sample Day 5

Training zone performance test. MTB 101 skill bike body separation side-side.

Group 4 - 6: MTB 101 skill bike and body separation side to side (NICA MTB 101 manual pages 20)

Group 1 - 3: Training zone performance test. This is the opportunity for athletes training with a heart rate monitor or power meter to set their training zones with a training zone performance test. Student athletes should follow a 10 minute warm up starting easy or PE <2 then gradually increase intensity finishing with 1 minute at race pace or PE 5-6. Coaches should check everybody has their power meter calibrated and heart rate monitor switched on and recording data before the test. The test is a maximum effort 20 minute hill climb. Data to record to establish heart rate training zones is 20 minute average heart rate and to set power levels is 20 min average power. Students should pace the 20 minutes evenly with a maximal effort. 

Coaches: See attached Training Intensity Guidelines doc (click on above paperclip icon) to coach accurate pacing in the warm up.

Use the TrainingPeaks calculator in the Settings>Zones tab to set students HR training zones. See your - How to use your training plan doc - for detailed instructions. This doc is attached to the welcome note on day 1.

Coach Lynda tip: Prior to conducting this test review the Testing Guidelines doc found at this link for tips on how to prepare for and execute the best test.

Coach Lynda tip: If you do not have a ride leader or coach that can keep pace with your fastest athlete on the hill climb test, send several coaches ahead uphill to different parts of your course to provide safety, encouragement and make sure they stop when their 20 minutes is finished.

Sample Day 6

Base training

Aerobic Base Ride: All groups ride trails at a moderate aerobic base pace in HRZ 1-3 or power L1-3 today. Choose a fun route!

Aerobic base pace cues:
- Breathing is slightly elevated. You must open your mouth to breathe
- You can cruise along for 2+ hours at this pace without much effort
- No suffering!

Group 1-3: Varsity rides 2.5 hours and JV/Soph/Fresh rides 2.0 hours

Group 4-6: Ride trails for 1.5 hours + skills drills for 30 mins

Coach Lynda tip: Today focus on fueling and ask your students to consume 100-200 calories on this ride. This can be via sports nutrition products such as carbohydrate/electrolyte drinks (Carborocket, Tailwind, Gatorade, EFS etc), gels, blocks or bars. This can also be via easily digestible high carbohydrate real food such as bananas, oranges, grapes, granola bars, dried fruit, fruit snacks, boiled salted potatoes, raisins, fig bars, rice cakes etc

Sample Day 6

Core workout

Group 1 and 2 riders only for this core session:

Core workout. Follow this routine

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