I recently sat down with Coach Dana Williams at Equator Coffees – Proof Lab Surf Shop in Mill Valley, to discuss with him the re-launch of the Achieve Blog. In the following interview Dana reflects on last season, how he spent the off-season and some of his goals for 2014.
As we spoke, Dana, still attired in his Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees kit following a brief morning ride with a prospective new client, sipped on a latte followed by a kale and carrot salad, while I enjoyed a cappuccino.
ED: Dana, tell me a little bit about the “blog” and what you are looking to accomplish with it.
Dana: Well, I guess the idea was to build a community of like-minded individuals who enjoy riding, with whom I could share some of what I’ve learned over the years.
ED: Is the intended audience just Achieve athletes?
Dana: Not at all – I want to make it interesting, not just to cyclists or even endurance athletes, for that matter- I really want it to appeal to anyone who has a goal and aspires to achieve it. Yes, I am a coach and I am constantly thinking of ways to help my athlete’s achieve their goals, but if I can reach other like-minded individuals, I would consider that success, as well.
ED: What will you be writing about?
Dana: I want to keep it interesting, so each week I will be featuring something different: from training tips for the endurance athlete to nutritional advice. I will also be showcasing and sharing my athlete’s successes and will do a monthly race recap.
ED: Let’s talk about your 2013 season. You had a pretty amazing season last year. Any single event stand out above the others?
Dana: Ha. I guess that I can’t complain. I guess you could say that I was consistent.
ED: Consistent? Let’s see: NCNCA Masters and Elite District Crit Championship, 4th place at Masters Nationals (Criterium), 3rd place at the San Rafael Twilight…Just to name a few.
Dana: Consistency and persistence- that is my motto. And something I try to instill in all of my athletes. So yeah, it was a pretty good year. But more than that, I was really happy to play a key role in my team’s success. I do a lot of things for the team, but my primary responsibility is to be the lead-out man for my Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees team-mate (and Achieve athlete), James LaBerge.
James is extremely talented and still quite young so it is very gratifying to see him succeed. At this stage in my racing career that really is my main motivation. Sure, it’s fun to win but I get greater satisfaction from helping successfully execute a team strategy.
ED: Having such a great year in 2013, how did you approach the off-season?
Dana: I really didn’t change that much, to be honest. It’s really about putting the work in, year after year. I knew the fitness was there and the confidence, too- so I really just wanted to maintain that over the off-season.
ED: And what does a typical off-season look like?
Dana: Typically my off-season begins mid September. There are a few weeks where I don’t worry too much about structure. But come the beginning of October, I start thinking ahead to mid-February, the typical start of the race season here in Northern California. I’ll spend about two months in the gym; my riding is minimal really, no more than-4-6 hrs. a week. This may pop up a bit I’m doing some cycling clinics or camps. During this phase though I try not to maintain a constant weight, but it’s really the one time of year when I look the least “cyclist-like”.
I do 4 micro cycles (focusing on muscular development, strength and power), after which I get back on the bike. Somewhat traditionally, I do six weeks of slow easy miles to train my body to burn fat and improve overall endurance, which I follow up with a lot of vO2 max and threshold work in preparation for the start of the race season.
ED: Speaking of, you’ve had a good start to the season.
Dana: Yes. Again, its all about consistency and persistence. I felt good going into the season and the results have really shown that. I’m happy with how things have turned out so far.
ED: Any goals?
Dana: Win them all (laughs). Honestly, as much as I would like to win races, my primary focus this season is working to build the Achieve brand. I’ve got a great group of committed, hard-working athletes and I would be just as thrilled to help them achieve their goals as I would grabbing a little bit of personal glory.