Special Guest: Amber Pierce – Ask a Cycling Coach 193



Fantastic episode! Thank you TrainerRoad for dedicating an entire episode to talking with a rider from the woman’s pro pelaton, and most of all thank you Amber for sharing your honest common sense insights. I am the father of two little girls that I hope to see get into racing in the next several years, and hearing from a highly successful pro was inspiring. When my girls get a little older (they are only 3 and 6 right now) this episode is going to be required listening.

I love all things cycling, but as a father of daughters I am often discouraged by the lack of coverage of the woman’s races and by the bold faced sexism that seems to be woven into the pro cycling culture (at least from the standpoint of a fan watching from the outside). So to hear from a successful pro is an inspiration to a proud and hopeful father. Thank you again!


Thank you TR for this episode!! Much appreciated. I was starting to wonder if women were even the target market anymore. I will echo the sentiments above in that Amber was/is awesome. I actually listened to the episode twice (once in the car, once at home on youtube). Great advise all around.


Your post warms my heart. Your daughters are lucky to have you as their dad. I can tell you, having a strong support network that includes family can help your girls face almost anything. The sexism in sport is real, but I offer two hopeful observations. First, it is getting better, and second, the good people and experiences outweigh the bad. Many women before me paved the way for me, and when I’d get frustrated, I’d remind myself that in a sport with so much room for improvement, there are more opportunities to make a real difference, like those before me did. My hope is that your girls have more opportunities and fewer unnecessary challenges (and more of the good and fulfilling kinds). That said, as they encounter frustrating hurdles, take heart in knowing how much of a difference they might be making for others, too. The good parts of cycling are just awesome, and even the bad parts have silver linings. With parents like you out there, the future is bright!


Can I say how fantastic this episode was?! Not only did you manage to cover some of the more serious or less talked about issues (e. g. eating disorders, living abroad, guys secretly wanting to use women’s saddles or women’s cycling), but you approached others from a more psychological, less tech-y side (e. g. how to overcome fears after crashing or push your limits by removing distractions). And your guest was incredibly witty, funny and charming to boot. Please invite her more often.

As a proud dad of a daughter who secretly hopes to one day go on long, epic rides with her, I learnt a lot!


It was an obvious tongue in cheek/flippant/joke comment. People are so quick to find issue with anything they possibly can on the internet. Seriously don’t worry about it. I thought it was obvious and am really surprised anyone would think otherwise. :man_facepalming:t3:


Completely agree with @Crownan. It was an informal comment made during a podcast and I completely understood and agreed with the sentiment. It didn’t warrant being picked apart



I was listen to this episode (again!) in the kitchen last weekend. My wife (she’s a triathlete) walked in and asked what I was listening to?

She really enjoyed listening to the podcast and I got the impression that you’d managed to discuss a few topics that are of particular interest to female cyclists and athletes.


That was an especially good podcast and what a great guest! I’ll definitely be recommending it to my women clubmates.


I’m almost through the entire podcast backlog (about 10 to go).
I think this was the best episode yet!

I’d love to hear more pro women in front of the mic.


I really enjoyed the discussion on psychology post-crash. I had a big one 5-years ago that I never emotionally recovered from, broke 9-bones and a bike, had a long recovery. Although I’ve raced since, never enjoyed any racing on pavement, really been struggling with even group riding since. I vacillate between avoiding the road and telling myself “it’s worth the risk”.


Just wanted to weigh in on this one - have to agree with general comments and theme here that Amber was a fantastic guest and it was a great episode. I’m pretty certain her fan base has been hugely increased as a result of the episode. She is a really inspiring individual and a role model for athletes in general, but in particular for all the women out there! Massive kudos

But at the same time I also want to say that the AACC podcast is fantastic in general and whilst this was a great episode, there are many other great episodes out there. I really look forward to them coming out each week and it has been a five star rating in my book since the first episode I listened to (and don’t worry Jonathan, I have rated it as such on iTunes).

Whilst it would be great to hear from Amber again in the future, the insights and banter that we get from Jonathan, Nate and Chad week in and week out is brilliant and I for one really appreciate the time and effort that they must put in each week to deliver it. @Nate I think it’s fair to say that Amber has lots of fans but don’t worry we still love you guys as well :wink:


What is the exact key lime pie recipe (including brands and measurements)? YUM!


Just here to +1 all the other comments about this podcast featuring @ambermalika

But like someone else said, this is another excellent episode of an excellent podcast. Keep up the great work.


I love that you were having this conversation! And yes, you can’t always plan your cycle around your race schedule or vice versa. I often had race calendars that included four to five stage races in two months, so it wasn’t just every weekend; as pros, we frequently have to race through a full cycle. So, yeah, we would race on those days when we’re not firing on all cylinders. The thing is, no one lines up to a race at 100%. It is literally never the case that all the stars align that well. I think I can speak for many pro women when I say, we just ignore it. We have to race through a lot: we have to race when we’re sick, when we’re not recovered from the previous race, and even when we’re injured. So, racing when your legs feel less than fresh from your period isn’t really that bad. When I spoke about accommodating a training plan for the effects of my cycle, I was referring specifically to training. In training, I’m seeking specific physiological adaptations (e.g. new 4min power), as well as to cultivate specific psychological resiliency (e.g. belief and confidence from achieving a new 4min power). With training, my coach and I can work together to maximize these outcomes, which includes moving high intensity workouts to meet the objectives. Racing is a totally different matter. Racing is racing. You show up with what you’ve got, and do the best you can with it. I don’t pay attention to power numbers in a race; I’m focused entirely on the tactical landscape and responding to what is happening in the moment. I don’t care whether my legs are good or bad; I get the job done. If your A race is an individual time trial, it’s a little bit different, but not much. You still show up with what you’ve got and execute. Many times I was able to perform better in races when I was sick, or had no sleep or was injured, because I was so mentally prepared to have terrible legs that I could push through the pain better. I won races with broken bones (note: I do NOT recommend this), I won races when I was sick, and I won races on my period. My cycle is a factor to consider when I’m optimizing training for specific outcomes, but it’s not something that really even enters my mind when I line up for a race. Given how many factors can affect performance on race day, it is a really minor one that is easily offset or overshadowed by others (good sleep, good fueling, positive team camaraderie, etc).


I am so sorry that happened. First of all, major props for getting back on the bike. To say it’s not easy is an understatement, and it requires a great deal of patience, vulnerability, and courage. I highly recommend checking out http://injuredathletestoolbox.com. Read through the site, and consider reaching out to Heidi, who runs the site and is an excellent injury recovery coach. She is a wizard at helping athletes process a lot of the mental/emotional aspects of returning to sport after injury. My guess is you’ll get a lot just out of reading through her website. From there, if you do really want to get back to riding on the road (and remember, it is really okay if just don’t), be patient and compassionate with yourself. All of your most primal systems will read being on the bike as a threat to your survival. That’s okay; that’s what those systems are for. You don’t need to fight those feelings, but you can work with them. Understand first of all, that it’s normal (humans are just wired this way) and not a weakness or shortcoming, and that second of all, you can coax those systems back into seeing cycling as something safe and enjoyable. There is inherent risk in riding bikes, that’s true. But there is risk in everything. There is risk in driving your car or even going for a walk. Right now, your limbic system is fixated on that risk, though, because the trauma of the crash has shifted it’s threshold such that it is now on high alert and seeing threat everywhere. Give your system time and space to recalibrate. By that I mean: ride with people you trust who understand what’s going on with you and who will ride with you without pushing you to do anything you’re not ready to do. Stick to routes that feel familiar and safer, or ones you find particularly beautiful or fulfilling. Really try to emphasize those positive associations with being the bike for a while, before you dive into, say, your usual drop ride. Those rides by definition initiate your fight-or-flight response, and right now, you need to just ride in a mental space where you feel good, happy, comfortable, and safe. When you start to feel happy and excited about riding again (and only if you want to), start adding in more of those competitive elements. But again, be patient with yourself. Whether you decide to get back on the road or not, it’s worth processing as much of this as you can - because physical traumas like this can affect you emotionally (and physically) in other realms of life. Best not to ignore it and move on, but to “rehab” it somehow - either working with a coach like Heidi, reconnecting with your love of riding - but on dirt, or slowly getting back to riding on the road. I wish you all the best with your recovery!


@Crownan @Jonnyboy - thank you both for those comments. I’m glad it came across as the light comment It was intended. When it seemed that someone had misunderstood, I thought it was at least worth clarifying. But when it then went further down a rabbit hole of bunk science, I figured it was a good way to illustrate a point about how to critically evaluate the many claims (especially nutritional claims) that purport to be based on science, but that actually just cherry-pick self-confirming studies. I probably didn’t need to go into so much detail, but it was a great opportunity to illustrate this (unfortunately common) practice and how to spot it and debunk it. :wink:


I’ve tried two variations that I really like:

2 scoops Clif Lemon-Lime Hydration mix = 40g CHO
1/2 scoop Tera’s whey (plain) = 11g PRO (protein)


2 scoops Lemon Lime Gatorade (regular old thirst quencher powder) = 44g CHO
1/2 scoop Tera’s whey (plain) = 11g PRO

… and dilute to taste with water. Both taste great and give you the 4:1 ratio of CHO:PRO. Bob’s Red Mill plain whey protein works well, too. I would just put the scoops into a regular water bottle, add water, and shake. You don’t need a special mixer or anything fancy (but it does help to add a little water first, then the scoops, to keep the powder from sticking too tenaciously to the bottle). Be sure to double check my math on the 4:1 ratio, but this should be close.


I owe at least a minute of my half marathon PR to James Brown, and this line: “I feel good, I knew that I would!” Nothing too actionable but it gave me a beat, it reminded me that I was in a good place, and I was well prepared for the race - so keep pushing, it’ll be fine.


I hear ya! :+1:t3:


This was the BEST podcast you guys have ever done. Amber, you’re a star. Great insight and delivered in such an open and honest way. We need you back for more.