Gear Up Florida & Journey of Hope

Training Center

Welcome to your Ability Experience team training page!

Ready for your next workout?


Benefitness Partners

Once again this year, The Ability Experience has partnered with us at Benefitness Partners to get you going on your cycling fitness and safety. Who are we, and why are we here, you may ask? In short, we’re a corporate fitness company – we work with corporate and non-profit groups to help people live active, healthy lives. We also happen to be avid cyclists and triathletes, and we know a thing or two about riding a bike. (You can learn more about us at the bottom of this page)

Our goal is not only to help you get to the start with some strong cycling skills, but also to give you the confidence to know you can finish this massive undertaking. Most importantly, though, we’ll teach you to be safe cyclists, and how to leverage your common sense to make good decisions on the bike. Training and safety go hand in hand, and we want to see all of you arrive in DC or Tallahassee in one piece!

Getting Started
  1. Complete our waiver
  2. Fill out our Health and Activity Questionnaire
  3. Sign up for your TrainingPeaks account (Ignore the 14-day free trial)

Liability Waiver   Questionnaire   TrainingPeaks

I’m Registered, Now What?

Once you are set up in TrainingPeaks, you’ll see us load a series of workouts into your account. We encourage you to get the free TrainingPeaks app (iOSAndroid) to make things easy to stay on top of. TrainingPeaks will even send you reminder emails or notifications.

In order to capture your activity and upload it to TrainingPeaks, you’ll need record rides, runs, and lifts using the Wahoo Fitness app or another fitness app/device. We recommend Wahoo Fitness because it is free, can be used for indoor or outdoor workouts, connects with lots of sensors, and automatically syncs your workouts with TrainingPeaks. Just download (iOS, Android), create an account, then go to Settings > Sharing and enter your TrainingPeaks account login. Now you’re set start training! At then end of workouts, you can upload the activity with just a tap.

There are many other apps and devices compatible with TrainingPeaks. Garmin (iOS, Android) watches and cycling computers are very popular and a good option if you plan to stay committed to cycling or training after the summer. Here’s how to auto-sync Garmin workouts to TrainingPeaks.

Have an Apple Watch? Here’s a guide to using TrainingPeaks with Apple Watch.

Strava (iOS, Android) is the most popular cycling and running app, it won’t automatically sync with TrainingPeaks, but you can easily export files and then upload them to TrainingPeaks as explained here. Keep up with other team members by joining our Official Strava Club!

Want to make your indoor rides more interesting? Check out Zwift, the leading virtual training platform. All you need is an indoor trainer, sensors, and a computer, plus, it syncs with TrainingPeaks!

Verifiable Miles & Workouts

Verifiable miles must be tracked in real time, preferably with GPS and/or heart rate monitor and uploaded to TrainingPeaks. The best training you can do is getting real miles outside on the road. Whenever possible, record workouts outside with GPS on your phone, watch, or cycling computer. This is will give you the most accurate speed and distance data to see how you’re improving and get you used to elements such as temperature, wind, and elevation.

For indoor rides and workouts, if you have sensors for speed, cadence, heart rate, or even power that connect with a device, then go ahead and record this data and upload it to TrainingPeaks. If you don’t have any sensors, still begin an indoor cycling activity in an app and enter the time and distance at the end when you finish recording. If you’re not sure how far you went, estimate 15 miles per hour for each ride.

For strength training workouts, we prefer to see your heart rate data if you have a device such as an Apple Watch, Garmin, or Fitbit that can record this during your workout. If you don’t have one, that’s okay. We don’t require it, so in order to get credit for these workouts, just begin an activity when you start working out and upload the activity with the timestamp to TrainingPeaks. We recommend Wahoo Fitness because it will automatically upload your activity to TrainingPeaks.

Frequently Asks Questions

  • Do I have to record workouts? Yes! You will not receive credit for workouts that are entered directly in TrainingPeaks without a file associated with it. This includes indoor rides which are very important during the winter months when the weather prevents outdoor rides. You should be uploading workouts as you record them and not entering data of exercised you claim to have done at the end of the month.
  • Can I complete rides or workouts not in the training program? Yes! Every workout you record in TrainingPeaks counts toward your verifiable miles and total training time. We highly recommend sticking to the program since it is designed specifically for you, but we understand that fitting the sessions in around your own schedule enables you to train more effectively.  Completing he workouts on different days also still counts!
  • Do I need a bike computer? Yes! Even though you are able to record workouts using GPS in your phone or watch, it’s important to have your current speed and distance in front of you while you ride. In fact, we require cyclists to have a dedicated handlebar-mounted bike computer on Gear Up Florida and Journey of Hope. This will help you train, develop as a cyclist riding in a pace line, and ultimately help keep you safe on the road. Cateye makes a simple, inexpensive, and reliable device that works on any bike – check it out.
Training Guidelines

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We will also have certain time and mileage milestones we want to hit together over the months leading up to the summer events. These milestones are intended as checkpoints to make sure you have both the fitness to be ready and the experience to keep yourself and your brothers safe this summer. We will be tracking your workouts and will give you a summary by team each month, so you’ll always know where you stand. Our promise to you is that we’ll put in the effort as your coaches to make you as successful as you choose to be. As a Pi Alpha myself, I promise the journey you’re about to take is worth the effort!

Monthly Training Webinars

Every month we’ll have a live online video webinar to talk to everybody about all things related to training, fitness, nutrition, and safety. The recordings will be posted afterward and you’ll complete a short quiz due at the end of each month to ensure you’re learning and making progress. Check your Participant Center or monthly newsletter for dates/times and the link to join via GoToMeeting.

Resources & Discounts

Training BasicsBenefitness VideosOther Videos
Training RequirementsWebinar RecordingsGlobal Cycling Network
Letter from an Untrained CyclistBuying a BikeLeague of American Bicyclists
TrainingPeaks HelpIntro to the TrainerLane Positioning
Getting a Bike GuideSafety Around Trucks
AbEx Bike MarketMotorist FAQ
Gear GuideCycling & The Law
Gear Recommendations

As a team member, you get exclusive deals on high-quality helmets, sunglasses, and apparel!

50% off 2018 Rudy Project Gear, 35% off 2019 Gear

Go to:

Enter sponsor code: BENEFITNESS on welcome page

60% off all XX2i Products

Go to:

Enter discount code: BENEFITNESS at checkout

25% off all Giordana Apparel (Including sale items)

Go to:

Enter discount code: TheAbilityExperience at checkout

Ask Us a Question

NEW Q. Do you have any tips about training specifically for hills?  Also, now that the weather is finally warming up, I was wondering if you had any tips and practicing riding out of the saddle.  I have tried some out of saddle riding on my trainer but it feels really awkward because I cant really manipulate the bike like i would out on the road.

A. There are a few things to do while you are still riding indoors that can translate specifically to climbing outdoors. We really like using VO2 max intervals on the trainer as hill training… these are intervals that are typically 4-8 minutes long, where you are trying to target an effort that is about 110-115% of your functional threshold. If you ride with power, that’s easy to calculate. If not, think about it as trying to hold about 17 out of 20 on a rate of perceived exertion, where 20 would be impossible to hold for more than a minute or so. For these intervals, you need to be in a gear big enough that your cadence is forced to slow to 60-70 rpm. Once you have enough load, just settle in and keep the power (or effort) steady all the way through. If you’re doing this kind of interval work right, you will be looking for a way out about half way through! We usually do sets of 5 or 6 of these VO2 max intervals in a single session, depending on the length of each interval.

Another thing to think about for climbing (both indoors and out) is your position on the bike. I recommend shifting your weight to the back of the saddle, grabbing your bars on the top and almost cocking your wrists like you’d be throttling up on a motorcycle (it will force your weight back), and dropping your heels as you push through each pedal stroke. Think about it as trying to scrape something off the bottom of your shoe at the bottom of each revolution. Doing all of this essentially forces you to use more of your glutes to generate power as opposed to quads. You will end up climbing with more power, and will be able to hold a more sustained effort for longer by using the bigger muscles.
As for getting out of the saddle, my first suggestion is to always add gear before standing. My personal rule of thumb is to shift 2 gears harder on the rear cassette before standing. And I also only use time out of the saddle to give a short break to my legs and stretch my back. Avoid the trap of standing too much… even though it will feel easier for a minute, you end up using more energy to stand up, and you will actually tire faster. When you do stand, try to make sure the bike tracks straight forward. Some side to side movement is natural as your weight shifts, but really try not to let the bike snake under you – this will only bleed off any momentum you have. This is why trying to stand occasionally on the trainer is helpful. It forces you to be stable and will translate to better technique when you’re outdoors.

Q. So this semester I have both a weight training and swimming class for credits at school. I have not been recording these workouts and my weight training class is three times a week for three hours using a push pull legs philosophy, I am curious about how I should continue with recording these workouts and also doing the strength sessions you give me. I am curious about how I should record these workouts, how I should go forward with your strength sessions even though I am lifting three times a week and hitting all of the muscle groups you guys give. I have done A LOT of strength sessions so far this semesters that have not been recorded and hope to get a clear path going forward. Thank you!

A. The simple answer here is to record everything! If you’re working out, definitely put it in TrainingPeaks going forward. And if you are already doing strength work that is similar to what we’re putting into the plans, it’s OK to not do ours. The whole reason we ask you to record is to make sure you are actually putting in the kind of effort that we know will be required to be successful this summer. We’re less concerned with doing everything exactly as we put it in the plan, and much more concerned with you training enough to be ready. So keep training – enjoy your swim and strength classes through school, and record what you do. Sounds like you’ll have some great fitness banked, especially if you are getting the bike sessions in!

Q.  I have been doing all of the required workouts, and I am starting to notice that the inside of my left knee is aching and hurting. It looks as if there is a small bruise in this area. Is this due to overuse? Am I training improperly? How can I go about fixing this?

A. Thanks for reaching out! It’s hard to make a really accurate assessment without having a good look at you, your bike, and how you are getting the workouts done, but your guess – overuse – is most probably correct! I say that simply because you are obviously not talking about any kind of trauma: banging the knee in the gym, twisting it whilst running, or falling off your bike! Everything else typically comes back to something biomechanical. In other words how you move.

First thing I would do is take 3-4 days off completely. We don’t want to be aggravating an issue at this point when we have plenty of time to rest, recover, and rebuild fitness. We might even extend the rest out a few days if it is still irritated. During this time try to avoid being on your feet a lot. And make a note in TrainingPeaks that you an ‘excused absence’! You might also want to take some ibuprofen or use ice…
Next thing to do is look at your position on the bike AND the position of your feet while you are riding. Experiment with a lower saddle height and make sure your cleats are pointing ‘straight’.. Also, next time you are in the gym pay attention to your feet and knees when you do squats and leg press and lunges. Don’t go down too deep for a few weeks until you build some strength in a limited range of motion.
Other than that there isn’t much more I can ‘diagnose’ from afar. But make those simple changes and let me know how it goes!

Q. I just got a Wahoo Kickr core and have done three rides so far. The past three were just base milage at about 135 watts for 2 hours.  I have the Kickr on erg mode so it holds me at 135 watts the whole time. The past two rides were bad though. I bonked on both and had to quit before finishing. Im sure it’s an energy level thing but maybe I’m pushing it too hard? Thoughts?

A. 1) A 2 hour sustained power ride (at almost any power setting worth riding) is really hard. After a little while in the saddle, your body simply craves something different. On my longer trainer rides, I always try to mix things up a little, even if it’s just something like 15 min on, 3 minutes off, where you get to pedal easy or stand during the ‘off’ periods. It’s amazing what that can do to reset both the body and the brain.

2) I know we’ve talked about not fueling (eating) specifically to train. The exception to this is anything that goes beyond about 90 minutes. A 2 hour session likely will require you to consume some calories mid-ride. If you don’t, your body burns through all of the available glycogen and when it can’t find any more, you get the dreaded bonk.
Finally, since the Kickr is new for you, it probably makes sense for you to do a full FTP test on it (if there’s not one pre-programmed, we can give you the standard protocol for it). This will tell you what your functional threshold power is currently, and will allow you to dial in your workouts a little more precisely based on your current fitness. One thing about power is that the watts each of us can push is different, so there really is not a cookie-cutter power number that works for everyone.

Q. I finally got a through axle adapter for my new bike that fit on my trainer, and I got to do my first training ride with the new bike on Zwift yesterday.  I have been experiencing a decent amount of uncomfortable saddle pain during my rides.  Its not anything I can’t bite the bullet on, but it sure doesn’t make 100+ minute training rides enjoyable in anyway.  I had the same pain last week when riding on my older bike.

My current saddle is a specialized s-works racing saddle, so I believe it’s built for its light-weight and not necessarily for comfort.  Do you guys recommend a particular saddle or should I just keep riding it until I get used to it?  Is it possible that I need to make a fit adjustment for the bike?

A. Great to hear you’ve got the new bike set up on the trainer! Your question on saddle pain is a good one, since this is one of the most common issues nobody likes to talk about. The reality is that for anybody who hasn’t spent much time recently on a bike (myself included), there is a period of time that you simply have to adjust to being on the saddle. For most of us, the pain sets in a little under an hour at first. You will find that over time, your body will adapt to being on the saddle for longer and longer.

With that said, there are certainly a few things to try that can help:

  • Make sure you’ve got a good quality pair of padded cycling shorts.
  • Riding position: Make sure your legs are tracking straight up and down, fairly close to your top tube. Some guys tend to ride with knees out, which not only puts more strain on your sit bones but will also lead to other problems with hips and knees.
  • Bike fit: Several things to pay attention to. 1) Saddle should be horizontal – avoid any nose up or tail up saddle positions. 2) Saddle height – you want the saddle just high enough so there is a very slight bend in your knee with your foot flat at the bottom of your pedal stroke, and 3) Bar height – for purposes of JOH, we usually suggest guys opt for a slightly more comfortable ride position with bars slightly higher than you might have for a pure racing setup. It will help with back strain and will put slightly less pressure on the nose of the saddle.
  • The last option is the saddle itself: It might seem counter-intuitive, but the larger, more ‘comfortable’ saddles on the market tend to get really uncomfortable after several hours. For longer rides, the smaller racing style saddles are much better options… think about it as wanting to minimize the contact points between you and the bike. More contact = more rubbing and chafing over time. I’m familiar with the s-works saddle, and will say it’s actually a fairly good option. If you put more time in, make some small fit adjustments and find it’s still not the right feel for you, then you can try other saddle designs. I use an ISM saddle with a split design on my race bike, specifically because the aero position puts a bit too much pressure where you don’t want it.

So, try riding a bit more to see if things get better, and if not, start making small adjustments. If all else fails, you can look at swapping out the saddle itself. Hope this helps!

Q: I would love to know a list of items to have to get a good start for this trip. As in the tech needed for recording workouts on and off the bike as well as if a Garmin is a smart purchase for now. Also best ways to get a quality bike that is budget but also can last the miles.

A: Thanks for the question! You’ll definitely be getting a lot of this information from the team at AbEx, but we can give you a quick start guide here. Other than the obvious need for a bike, there are a few must-have items to get you going:

  1. A good pair of bike shorts. You will be spending lots of time on a bike or an indoor trainer, and you’ll realize very quickly that having a good pair of bike-specific shorts is important. Chafing doesn’t feel very good!
  2. Bike shoes, pedals, and cleats. There are several options… for road pedals, Shimano, Look and Speedplay are the most widely used, and some guys opt for mountain bike style SPD pedals. Any of these are OK, but you want to make sure to get the right cleats for the type of pedals you go with, since they are not interchangeable. Road shoes are typically stiffer and hold up better for long days in the saddle, but walking in them is a bit awkward. Mountain bike shoes let you walk normally, but are not as stiff in the sole and can sometimes cause fatigue in the foot on longer days. I opt for a traditional Shimano road pedal/shoe/cleat setup personally.
  3. Helmet. Always protect the noggin.
  4. A way to record your activity. We’re huge fans of the Garmin GPS products, but unless money is no object you don’t have to go there out of the gate. A great way to go is to buy a cheap bike computer that you can mount to your bike to see speed, mileage, etc, and then use the Wahoo Fitness app (free) on your phone to actually record your rides, runs, and other activity. The Wahoo app will link directly to TrainingPeaks and give us a GPS and/or time file. We like this combination because 1) You’ll need some kind of bike computer (and mounting a phone to your bike is not allowed by AbEx), and 2) It lets you record everything with your phone kept in a pocket.

As for getting a bike, we’ll talk about that on an upcoming call, but know that there are some great bikes out there that won’t break the bank. If you’re willing to go with an aluminum frame, you can spend less than $1000 and still get a really good component setup. Unless you’ve got good experience working on a bike, we typically recommend buying from a local bike shop for a couple reasons. First, you can often negotiate a good deal by talking about why you need a bike. Even if they don’t knock the price down, you can get them to throw in things like a bike fit (highly recommended), pedals, shoes, helmet or other stuff. Second, you can ask them to teach you some basics on how to maintain your bike – having a shop show you things like cleaning a chain, changing a tire, etc. can be a huge help when the time comes for you to do it yourself. Finally, you can find out when a local shop does organized group rides. We’ll talk about this more in the coming months, but getting into a group for regular rides will put you in great shape for riding on the team next summer.

Get To Know Your Coaches

Corey Dillon

Chief Engagement Officer |

Corey is the Chief Engagement Officer and co-founder of Benefitness Partners. As a 25 year veteran of the investment management industry, he followed a passion for endurance sports and a healthy lifestyle by starting Benefitness in 2015.

A Pi Kapp himself, Corey was a founding father of the Zeta Phi (Colorado State) chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, became the first Pi Alpha from the state of Colorado as a cyclist on the 1991 Journey of Hope North team, and now serves on the Board of Directors for The Ability Experience. Today, Corey competes annually in Ironman triathlons (8 finishes since 2011), has been profiled by Ironman for his motivation to race, and he coaches other athletes in their quest for personal achievement in endurance sports. He and his wife live just outside of Denver, Colorado.


Alan Greening

Chief Fitness Officer |

Alan was born and raised near Glasgow, Scotland, and spent most of his 20s in London, his 30s in Central America, and has resided in Colorado for more than a decade. After graduating with an honors degree in Human Movement Studies from Carnegie College in Leeds, England and embarking on post-graduate work in exercise physiology, he worked as a marketing specialist in various industries – including ten years in the food business – whilst competing in and coaching endurance sports part-time. In 2010 he made the jump to coaching full-time, specializing in triathlon. Prior to co-founding Benefitness Partners, Alan was a Triathlon and Cycling Coach at Life Time Fitness, and served as Director of Business Development at TrainingPeaks, the world’s leading software for athletes and coaches to track, analyze and plan endurance training.

Alan has 30 years of experience competing and coaching in triathlon in addition to a wealth of business knowledge gained from executive and senior management roles in the finance, food, and fitness industries. As the co-founder and Chief Fitness Officer of Benefitness Partners, Alan is responsible for designing and delivering all fitness and nutrition programming for our clients. A multiple Ironman finisher and top age-group triathlete, Alan is also a Certified Corporate Fitness Professional with the Corporate Health and Wellness Association.