In today’s athlete profile we sit down with Data Driven Athlete Philip Luedtke to discuss erg mode, mountain bikes, and when to always skip an interval workout.

Q-  You’re a committed family man with a professional life always vying for your time and attention.  Not a lot of free time to go around.  Why is training on the bike worth your time?

  • I’ve found when I don’t exercise (and especially when I don’t ride bikes) regularly the day to day stresses tend to manifest in pretty impactful ways. When I don’t ride I end up with less energy across the board and generally speaking feel less present or in the moment with the family or at the office.

Q-  What’s your absolute best memory on the bike?

  • As a 14 year old kid in Minnesota I decided I wanted to start racing mountain bikes. I went to the first race with my dad spectating and he realized how boring it was to just watch, so the next weekend he signed up and we raced together. He beat me, naturally as I was just a stick of a kid at the time, but that was the beginning of years of riding and racing mountain bikes. Every weekend I got the chance to bond with my dad while creating a wealth of “best” memories I hope to experience again from his perspective with my son one day.

Q-  You ride MTB, gravel, and road.  You’ve got 3 hours of open ride time, which bike do you grab and why?

  • When I have a 3 hour slot to ride it tends to be pretty specifically time boxed on a weekend so I can get home and do family stuff, so with that context in mind I’d hop on the road bike and do an amazing loop through the Berkeley hills so I don’t have to fuss with driving somewhere epic to ride the MTB or Gravel.

Q-  You’ve been immersed in data and numbers throughout your professional career in tech and yet you still love data on the bike.  Why is data such a big part of your enjoyment of the bike?

  • I’m a big fan of quantifying progress. Being able to do this on the bike with power and all the other metrics collected on a given ride makes measuring that progress a lot of fun. That isn’t to say I pour over the data after each workout, I find I do that a lot less since working with DDA which is actually a good thing!

Q-  What life lessons do you hope the bike might one day teach your son?

  • I’m sure there will be plenty of cliché life lessons that will go along with riding bikes for him, but really I hope it becomes an amazing bonding opportunity for us like I had with my dad as a kid.

Q-  Your wife has always been supportive of your bike habit.  Bikes, power meters, weekend trips with the guys.  Any tips on maintaining a strong marriage without having to look over your shoulder each time a new cycling purchase blows up the credit card?

  • If your partner wants to hang out and you have a ride planned, skip it. Connecting with them will always trump intervals. Oh, and spoil them every chance you get then when you ask for another bike (or wheel set) you’ll eventually win the war of attrition. In reality though, it all comes down to always prioritizing family and those relationships over everything else.

Q-  Your training time is generally pretty limited from week to week.  Even with these constraints you recently won your category in the inaugural Mother Lode Epic MTB race this season.  Can you share 2 tips for remaining competitive on limited training time?

  • My few late seasons wins this year were definitely as a result of my DDA training plan. Racing off road, assuming you have adequate technical ability and train like a roadie, being highly competitive in the CAT 2 is a given. In terms of practical tips … don’t slack off on internal training (especially the VO2 ones even if they hurt a lot which they do) and pick races you know you’ll excel at (for me that would be MTB races with a lot of punchy 3-10 minute climbs that build big gaps.)

Q-  You’ve had great success crushing workouts indoors on the trainer.  On a personal note, I hate the trainer only slightly less than I hate onions.  Do you have any tips for guys like me that dread riding indoors?

  • Having a smart trainer with ERG to belt out intervals seems to work for me most of the time. Zwift is ok, but I tend to just put it in the background after the synced TrainingPeaks workout starts and let the resistance ramp up/down automatically while I let my brain turn off with an entertaining TV show.

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Nate Dunn
Founder/Head Coach
Data Driven Athlete

Written by Nate Dunn, M.S.

Nate’s entire career has been spent in education and coaching. As a former teacher and now Founder/Head Coach at Data Driven Athlete, he is most excited about helping clients discover more about themselves as they achieve their goals on the bike.