Questions, answers and promotions for the popular base training program Pump Up the Base

LaPierre Zesty AM 427 with E:i shock

The new LaPierre/Rockshox E:i suspension system adjusts rear damping on the fly based on pedaling and bumps. I’ve been dreaming of such a system — and I tried it yesterday at Valmont Bike Park.

Read more

Start building an awesome 2014 season

This email just went to the leelikesbikes mailing list.

Hi all,

I hope you’re having fun out there. This is a great time of year to start building fitness, skills and radness for next year.

Please check out:

• Pump Up the Base training program

• The most useful pedaling tip ever

• NorCal clinics Dec. 13-15

Read more

Sweet spot for a 50-year-old XC crusher?


I am sitting down and planning my training program to lead up to the USA Cycling Nationals next year in Super D. I use an online strength program and am anxious to supplement that with your Pump up the Base and then Prepare to Pin it! As I started reading Pump up the Base tonight I am immediately perplexed at the Sweet Spot. Here is why:

I am 50 years old
My max recorded heart rate in competition this year was 187 bpm.
I can maintain a heart rate of 168-172 for an hour (89%-92%of maximum heart rate)…my training rides are very often that intensity…I seldom see numbers in the low 160s.

For example, I won seven cross country races this year pinning it from the line on my heavy all mountain bike and making those XC guys (in a age group younger than me) hurt really badly. I’d push the envelope up close to 95% max heart rate and then settle down into 90% and hold that the entire race for up to 1-1.5 hrs. hitting a 100% max heart rate in a sprint with myself because none was within sight.

Below is a heart rate graph of a race where I was in the “Red” zone for 51 minutes of a 51 minute race. Heart rate range in red is 168-182 bpm)

So, of course I question any gains from working in the Sweet Spot, because to me that puts me in with the group of riders you say don’t work hard enough when they work hard.

My mind is open.

Thanks, Kent

Read more

The “perfect” bike for the trainer?


I started your Pump Up the Base program a couple of weeks ago. Initially, I put a slick on an old mountain bike and mounted the bike on a trainer. However, the gearing on the mountain bike is too low to get to the speeds needed to create enough resistance on the trainer for some of your exercises. So, I am looking to buy a road bike for training purposes.

It appears that there are a couple of main categories of road bikes: bikes oriented to racing that have aggressive geometries and stiff frames and bikes oriented to endurance riding that have more relaxed geometries and somewhat less rigid frames. Considering that the bike will primarily be used for your training program, is one of these categories of bikes preferable over the other?


Read more

Doing long intervals on the pump track

Chris in Australia is doing the Pump Up the Base training program, and he’s working in some pump track action, but he wants to know how he can maintain pump for the long intervals.

Read more

PUTB or P2PI for a SoCal ripper?


I was looking at your fitness books: Pump up the Base and Prepare to Pin It. It appears that one should start with Pump Up the Base during the off-season. Then, move to Prepare to Pin It. What about those of us that live in Southern California? We do not have an off-season. Is it still worthwhile to use the Pump up the base program considering that I am not going to stop my regular mountain bike rides, or should I go straight to the Prepare to Pin It program?


Read more

P2PI week 9 power testing

During the winter it was pretty easy to follow the Pump Up the Base and Prepare to Pin It training programs to the letter, and I saw some big power gains.

Now that I’m coaching most days and traveling many weeks — not to mention other work and Life — it’s getting harder to follow P2PI precisely. But I’m following its spirit: fitting in the key workouts, sticking to my weight work and resting when I can.

And the power numbers are still improving:

Read more

I need help pinning the high rpm

Hey Lee

I need help pinning it. I don’t use a watt meter, just cadence. Can’t get above 200. Is it my bike set up, my position or what? My husband can get to 215 on my bike. What to do? I’m in week 10 of Pump up the Base, which I love by the way. It’s still snowing here, so hopefully I will be ready to rock.


Read more

Chasing numbers

Yesterday I hit a personal record for sprint power — stoked! — but the extreme level of stoke got me thinking:

Why are numbers so appealing?

Read more

Your results may vary: P2PI week 5 power testing

I just finished week 5 of the Prepare to Pin It training program, and my power improvements are shocking.

If you’re into numbers, you have to see this.

Read more

Here’s to sucking less

Part of the continuing saga …

A few years ago I realized (well, I was shown) that my sustained power and climbing ability pretty much sucked. Too many years as a downhiller, too much coaching, not enough riding, non-exciting genetics, blah blah.

While I suck at lots of things, I generally try to suck less, so I committed to 1) embracing pedaling as a skill, 2) learning more about training, 3) focusing on my steady-state power and, this year, 4) creating and following my training programs.

Read more