Custom Coaching Packages Available! (Mistake blog, but might be useful!)

August 11th, 2016 by Athletic Mentors


Right now most of us are bundling up, looking out our windows at snow covered streets, watching temperatures drop and wondering when the wind chill will cease. A lot of folks are so busy thinking about the weather right now, they’re not prepared for later. Tri-season will, in fact, be on us before we know it.

We all know there’s nothing better than hitting the bike, the road, or the first open water swim of the season and feeling the work we did all winter paid off. Hitting the tri-season prepared for races gives you the edge. A lot of athletes stick to the same training plan they always use, and each summer they hit the circuit with few gains. Certainly we’re not all equal out on the course, why should we believe that about the gym?

There’s no better way to train than to have a professional help build a personalized training plan designed to maintain and build on your strengths while addressing weak areas and promoting your growth.

Why not let Athletic Mentors, and their coaches, help you have the best tri-season of your life? With over 20 years experience, AM coaches will tailor a daily training plan to help you meet your goals. Not only will you receive the personalized daily training plan with online access and a consultation with a coach, but athletes who opt for the Coaching Subscription will also get baseline and progress testing, an in-pool training session, one-on-one coaching sessions, and nutrition planning!

For more information about the Custom Training plan with a discount for GR Tri participants, click here.

For more information about the Coaching Subscription, click here.

Let this be your best tri season yet. Treat yourself to workouts this winter for a summer of success!


There’s no Y in Tri: Free Clinics to Help You Meet Your 2015 Tri Goals

April 28th, 2016 by Athletic Mentors

For many, the idea of a triathlon is intriguing, but daunting. There seems to be so much to consider and even more to learn. Stop asking why and start asking when. No one ever got to the finish line without ever lining up at the start, right?

In conjunction with the Grand Rapids Triathlon, Athletic Mentors will present you with all the information you need to get you to the starting line of your first…or next…triathlon and see you all the way to the finish. You won’t want to miss any of these amazing (and FREE) opportunities!

Starting this Saturday, January 17th, you have the opportunity to get the inside scoop on training, nutrition, equipment, racing tips, transitions, and rules from athletes who have been there, and back again (9-10:30am). Following that session, athletes looking to improve their efficiency in the water can learn about swim techniques and training (10:30am-noon). It’s an amazing chance to get an inside look and idea of what you can expect as you begin to train.

Later, on February 28, the clinic returns to offer you the opportunity to really hone in on specific skills and strategies on both the bike and run portions (February 28, 9am-11am). Then, on May 30, just two weeks from the race, you can participate in a Race Day Clinic which will answer all the questions you have about actual race day, from wave information to parking and spectator access.

Finally, one week from race day, June 7, mentors and coaches will take you on a pre-race swim and ride to get you acclimated to the course. This is the perfect opportunity for athletes new to the tri to quell any last minute nerves and take advantage of one last training session and on-course tips from the pros!

These clinics offer an amazing opportunity for the new and returning tri-athlete to learn techniques from the pros. Clinic attendees also get special deals on Athletic Mentors Custom Training Plan and 20% off the video stroke analysis!

All clinics (except pre-race swim and ride) are held at the downtown Grand Rapids YMCA and are completely free! You must register to participate.

To get more details, check out the Grand Rapids Tri site here.

To register for the clinics, click here.

Transition: The 4th Discipline of Triathlon

June 11th, 2015 by Athletic Mentors

By Roxane Kippen, Team OAM Now Triathlete

Hold on a minute, isn’t triathlon just three disciplines? Yes swim, bike and run take up the majority of the race, but there are these precious seconds, or for some, minutes where you have to wiggle out of your wetsuit and put on a bike helmet (T1) and change from bike shoes to run shoes (T2). While time spent in the transition area may not be long, how wisely you use that time could be the difference between being on the podium or wishing you were.

With triathlon, there are usually a few “I could have been faster if I had only: sighted better in the swim so I wasn’t weaving all over the course, or not pushed so hard on the bike so I had solid legs to run on, or pushed harder on the run so I didn’t get caught in the last 100 meters.” What people might not realize is a good transition time can often make up for small mistakes elsewhere.

I’m not the fastest swimmer in the field, but I hold my own. However, my T1 transition is quick and efficient and usually sets me in great position heading out on the bike. In fact, I can generally make up anywhere from 15 to 30 second deficit from a slower swim with a fast T1 time. My transition times are always among the fastest in the women’s field and I actually posted the fastest T1 and T2 times out of both men and women at a race last summer.

Is transition a special talent I possess? Does a fast transition matter? Transition is a skill, just like swimming, and it can be practiced and improved. Transition does matter, as I have seen many a podium spot slip out from under athletes, because they did not prepare well for their entire race. When races are decided by less than 30 second gaps, you’d better believe 30 extra seconds in transition can cost you a win. So how do you get good at it? Like any other discipline in triathlon, you need to practice. Below are some rules and tips for how to shave seconds and maybe minutes off your next race.

rule 1 TransitionRule #1 – BE ORGANIZED
Organization is critical to a fast transition. You don’t get a lot of room in transition. Typically, one rack will have 8 bikes, so you need to be organized and keep only what you need in the transition area. Do not leave your duffle bag or backpack in the transition area. It will get in your way and it will get in the way of other racers by creating a road block when trying to un-rack and re-rack your bike.


Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Next? How and Where to Channel the Post Race High

May 5th, 2015 by Athletic Mentors

michelle_dalton_180x220By Michelle Dalton, Athletic Mentors Coach and Triathlete

You did it!! Whether it was your first or 50th race, the sense of accomplishment, of having achieved something difficult, is hard to replicate. The training, the sacrifices, the doubts, the injuries, the pain are all forgotten once you cross the finish line.

And then….what? How do you get back to “normal” after you’ve spent so much time preparing for the race? What is “normal”? What do you do with your Saturdays now that you don’t have to get up for run camp or complete long training runs? How do you make sure you never forget that feeling?

The answer’s really quite simple: you plan the next race! Though the medal may still be around your neck and the chafing lingering like an unwanted house guest – get the calendar out and begin planning.

First, figure out exactly what you’re looking for. Some people choose the same distance just to prove it wasn’t a one-time thing, while others opt for a new challenge, either distance or time. Some people choose races based on destination and others like to keep it local.You might even ride the wave of confidence and try an event that you’ve found intimidating (triathlon anyone?), but regardless of which you choose, register. Pick a race that fits your needs and goals and book it. Right now, your motivation is high; the endorphins are still pumping. This is the best time to commit to another race. I have seen many people complete one race and then wait too long between races, only to lose momentum.

Start asking yourself: When is the race? How much time do I have to train? How much time do I need? Who can I train with? Where can I get a plan and some advice on how to go longer, faster, and injury free?

Recruit your Saturday gang to go with you, or find another group of runners to be your new people. There are plenty of groups out there. Get connected with the amazing local running community and make a commitment to yourself and to a race.

We are lucky here in Michigan that we have so many race options over the coming months. And, you’re also in luck because Athletic Mentors can help you get to the finish. Whether you’re looking to get there faster, or fitter, or simply aiming for a finish that’s farther, we’ve got the coach, and the plan, to help you do it.   If you don’t consider yourself a runner (yet), check out our Functional Fitness Program or the Coached Gym.

If you have any question, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we can help.

Now go book that next race!

Athletic Mentors’ Youth Development Team Seeks Young Cyclists

August 28th, 2014 by Athletic Mentors

As the cycling season draws to a close, as races begin to dwindle in number, many young cyclists who have now gotten a taste for racing, and maybe a win or two, start looking towards 2015. There’s no better time than the autumn to start thinking about next year’s racing and how to best train and develop one’s talent with an established, successful team and coaches like those offered by Athletic Mentors and Team OAM NOW. The development program offers guidance within the sport: mentorship, race support, training advice, strategy, technical advice, among other things. “We have the breadth and depth of experience, across all parts of athletic development, to make us one of the best in the business. Not only do we have a substantial track record of fostering some of the best cyclists in the country, but we continue to put our athletes on the podium,” says Cheryl Sherwood, Athletic Mentors’ co-founder and Team OAM NOW director.Alex Cropped

Athletic Mentors and Team OAM NOW boast a successful development program with proven results. Previous team members include: Pro Continental riders David Williams and Tom Zirbal, as well as UCI Pro riders Ted King, Larry Warbasse, and Brent Bookwalter. The established and recognized program fosters developing set teams within the pathway to higher categories (Cat. 5 to Cat. 4 to Cat. 3 and potentially the Elite team). The team pathway means a developing rider can stay with the team as they improve, while also interacting with future team mates and mentors. Now in it’s 10th year, the team has been through several name changes, Advantage Benefits/Endeavour, Priority Health, Bissell and OAM NOW, but the consistent managerial leadership, season to season, means the program is consistently funded and staffed. Athletic Mentors has the added advantage of also having high level participants in Road, Cyclocross, and MTB racing to provide needed guidance.

10580851_10105318495174854_4514820058267102349_oIn other words, finding the right program is so much more than training.

It’s about finding the right leadership.
Former Youth Development Participant and current Team OAM NOW member Alex Vanias notes, “Cheryl [Sherwood] and Mark [Olson] have managed a pro cycling team so I knew they were professionals when it comes to managing teams. They also have connections in the pro world. Sometimes it is not just your ability that gets you to the next level, but also about who you know that can help get you there.”

It’s about finding a team that values its members and supports them and their goals.
Youth Development Coach Terry Ritter: “Riders developing within our program learn accountability, self-marketing, and proper conduct consistent with success on any team they may join in the future. The AM program prides itself on providing a full service and professional environment. We do things like sign contracts, have sponsor commitments, hold expectations for rider conduct, and give back to the community by promoting cycling and healthy lifestyles specifically. We have a track record to prove we’ve found talent, developed it, and then had it move on.”

It’s about finding a coach who understands your needs.
Alex Vanias: “My first year as a category 5 racer I won only one race. The next season, on the advice of a coach, I quit running and trained as a cyclist and moved to category 2 in a matter of weeks. The AM coaches are very thorough with their advice. They run tests to find your current level of fitness and form, and will prescribe strength training to work on your weaknesses. As a new triathlete with no previous swimming experience AM has encouraged and coached me to grow as an athlete. AM has done video analysis of my stroke to see where I am going wrong, and worked to find my optimal stroke rate. It’s about me and my goals.”

It’s about finding a team that nurtures a whole-hearted approach to team and training.
The OAM NOW / Athletic Mentors Multisport Team is populated by community-minded people from all walks of life. Although each team member is unique, there are some characteristics members have in common: character, integrity, and a commitment to promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. Cory Stange, former Youth Development Participant and current Team OAM NOW cyclist notes, “For the first time in my cycling career, the team actually wanted to foster my fast finish as well as incorporate it into the plan for overall team success. This mentality of riding whole heartedly as a team and viewing any results team members achieved as a team victory was something completely new to me. It was something I had never experienced: teammates giving up their chances at overall success in order to give the team it’s best shot at winning. This sort of selflessness is rare. It’s not something you see very often on other teams at this level.”

It’s about becoming the best cyclist you can be.
Athletes are always welcome to approach the Team OAM/AM tent at races or apply through the team website here. Team selection process starts in October. We look forward to hearing from you.

Athletic Mentors’ Youth Development Program Builds Athletes and Team

August 27th, 2014 by Athletic Mentors

By Cory Stange, Team OAM Now Cyclist- Road Cat 2

Of all the road disciplines, criterium racing is the most dynamic. Emphasizing speed over endurance, crits are often won by the quick and daring. Despite believing I possessed all the skills necessary to succeed in the high speed world of crit racing, I struggled in past years to obtain the results I always felt capable of, at least until I began working with Athletic Mentors and Team OAM NOW.

Coming into 2014, and my first year with Team OAM NOW/ Athletic Mentors, everything seemed to change. For the first time in my cycling career, the team actually wanted to foster my fast finish as well as incorporate it into the plan for overall team success. This mentality of riding whole heartedly as a team and viewing any results team members achieved as a team victory was something completely new to me. Having the team dedicate themselves, near the end of a race, in order for me to sprint was a bit unnerving at the beginning of the season. It was something I had never experienced: teammates giving up their chances at overall success in order to give the team it’s best shot at winning. This sort of selflessness is rare. It’s not something you see very often on other teams at this level.

rsz_1rsz_zbc_0251Even more surprising than the selfless nature of the team, I found myself riding for the results, and wins, I was accumulating for both me and the team. I’ve always believed in myself and the potential I had, but it wasn’t until joining Team OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors this year that I saw that potential come to fruition. It’s truly amazing how surrounding yourself with the right people can make all the difference. Last year, I finished third at one race and in the top ten at a few others. This year, I’ve won four races, garnered many top five finishes, several top tens, including the Pro Cat1/2 Michigan Road Series and the overall at the Wednesday night Waterford series.

So, what changed from last year to this year? Quite a few things, but clearly, the biggest change was joining Team OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors. Cycling can be as much of a team sport as you make it. Here at OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors I’ve discovered just how much a cyclist can benefit from riding with a true team. I can honestly say my results would not look the same this year if I hadn’t been so lucky as to get chosen to be a member of this great team.

No doubt teamwork in crit racing leads to success, but being part of a team leads to successes for everyone. Being a part of this team, in particular, has changed my riding, has changed my concept of team work, and what it means to be whole-hearted in sport.

If you’d like to apply to ride for Team OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors in 2015, click here for the application.

Race Smarter. Race Better. Learn From the Pros.

July 7th, 2014 by Athletic Mentors

If you’ve ever thought about bike racing, but were hesitant to line up among all those high-end bikes and cyclists in matching kits, this clinic is for you.

If you’ve ever wondered how sprinters find the perfect position from which to make their sprint, this clinic is for you.

If you’re prepping for the Miller Energy Criterium and want some last minute advice (as well as a sneak peek at the course), this clinic is for you.
This Friday, Athletic Mentors is offering free racing clinics, for both men and women, at the WMU BTR course featuring experienced cyclists from Team OAM Now including World Record Holder Chris Gottwald and State Champion Amy Kimber (Stauffer). Whether you’re a new rider looking for basics, or more experienced and looking to hone your skills, you’ll be grouped with similar riders and paired with an experienced cyclist to teach you new techniques and strategies.
Some of the clinic highlights include:

  • A safe environment, for all riders, without intimidation
  • A bike skills course to practice handling, cornering and more
  • Elite racers will discuss road criterium rules and what to expect
  • For new riders, both discussion and hands-on experience in group riding etiquette and safety
  • For more experienced riders, racing strategies and techniques including, but not limited to: perfecting the sprint, finding and maintaining good position, cornering, and attacking/chasing the pack

The clinic aims to introduce new racers to the criterium, offer tips and tricks to seasoned racers, and, overall, improve the performance of the pack. Even if you don’t currently consider yourself a racer, even if you’re not currently signed up for a race, this type of clinic is the perfect introduction to what road racing is all about and enough to give you a taste of this exciting event. The clinic is free for those who pre-register, but $10 if you wait.

Get registered now!

Men can register for the men’s clinic, from 7-9pm, Friday, July 11, here.

Women can register for the women’s clinic, from 5:45-8pm, Friday, July 11, here.