About me

If I were to write a cycling-CV, it would look something like this:

Brian Kappus
Cycling coach

Education

Harvey Mudd College 1998-2002
BS Collegiate cycling
        -- Senior Experience: Why does Bike Racing Hurt so Bad?
        -- Graduated Mid-Pack

UCLA  2002-2009
PhD Collegiate Cycling
        -- Thesis Title: How to use a Power Meter
        -- Committee: Men's As, Fort Collins Co, Western collegiate cycling conference

Cat 1/2 Field 2006-present
MS Pro Racing
        -- Research Specialty:  Stage Racing
        -- Research Wish: More time to train

Research Experience

1998 - present
Dealing with very little free time

2004 - present
HR monitor

2006 - present
Power meter

2010-present
Head Coach UCLA Cycling

Awards/Honors

Best Race Result: Overall win at State TTT 2011
Number of trips to collegiate Nats: 2
Best WCCC A's Omnium placing: 8th 2009

Extracurricular activities 

PhD in Physics 
UCLA 2010

Personal Statement

I did not come to success easily in cycling.  In fact, I probably started at a lower level than just about anyone in the sport.  

Saddled with a birth defect in my left foot, I had major reconstructive surgery when I was only one year of age.  I don't remember it of course, but the cast that I wore for 6 months afterwards stunted the growth of my left leg leaving it almost 2 inches shorter than my right.  My Achilles tendon was left cut-and-stitched as it needed to be lengthened to straighten my food.

Luckily, as a young child I could run and play with the other children.  But as high school approached, I began to develop arthritis in my ankle joint and could no longer run any distance.  Discouraged, I stopped virtually all physical activity.  I was never a bulky guy to say the least, and by my junior year my legs had gotten so skinny that my quad would not adequately hold my hip in its socket.  If I were to walk more than about 3 miles in one day, say at an amusement park, my hip would come out of socket.  This led to more than one frantic trip to emergency rooms.

A chance meeting with a smart doctor suggested I strengthen myself with cycling: non-impact on the ankle and good for the quads.  Later that week when I went to a local bike shop, a clever salesman managed to sell me a road bike--with clipless pedals even!  Why waste those?   So I purchased shoes to go along with.  I was so pathetic--I can remember leg-searing pain just completing a 10 mile, flat ride.  But it was this or live like a cripple (eventually), unable to walk.  So I kept riding.

My hip was staying put and I was feeling better (on and off the bike), and at the time, I was satisfied.  When I went to college, I figured that I would occasionally ride with the cycling club to stay fit--but race? nooooo.  Well, pier pressure works wonders.  I was told a week before the start of the collegiate season started by the team president: "You're racing. period." To say I was grossly under prepared is an understatement.  This is a hilly race that starts with a mile flat, followed by a 10 mile descent.   I was dropped before the descent.  The rest of the races that year bore a striking resemblance to the first.

Fast forward a year and I had figured out that I actually needed to train if I was going to race bikes.   I gained some mild success in the beginner collegiate category with a couple podiums.  But, as would become a theme, my ankle began to hold me back.  Achilles tendinitis was a constant problem and slammed my season shut at about the half way point.  The next year was the same story--as soon as I managed some fitness, ankle problems would shut me down.

It wasn't until graduate school (being now infinitely more wise with a degree...), that I figured out highly-trained bike fitters can make a drastic difference with both bike comfort and injury prevention!  Seems like something obvious now, but I had always hesitated to pay the money before, even with my unique situation.  Nearly 2cm of spacers later and I began a new era in my cycling career--I could get fit without certain ankle problem.

This isn't to say the problem disappeared entirely.  Quite the opposite--I became very sensitive to the fine edge of overdoing-it.  The instant I would push the line of over-training, my ankle would explode.  Time and time again over the next 3-4 years I would experiment with what it could handle and how it would react.  This sharpened my mental knife for training dosage and repose.  I wanted to do juuust enough to provoke a response, but no more.  More training stress would only create risk of injury.

At first my only metrics were hours and distance.  This progressed my ability to collegiate Bs and amateur category 4 and I thought I had stalled there--why should I expect anymore given my situation?  I cannot remember the source of the quote, but it still stands true with me today: "show me someone who doesn't want to improve and I'll show you someone who doesn't have long for the sport".  I still wanted to achieve better performance.

I purchased a power meter with this in mind in 2006 and it changed everything.  With every single pedal stroke I made recorded, now I had an ever-present watchdog to tell me when I did exactly enough training.  The difference this made was remarkable.  I quickly progressed to amateur cat 3 and collegiate A.

With perfect training doses, the rate of improvement was amazing.  To help it even further I immersed myself in all the available training literature (both books and journals).  With the amazing metric data from the popular power meters,  the available knowledge was growing at an immense rate.

Still involved in study and work towards my phD, I used my limited time available to perfect my training regime.  After 10 years of riding and racing I finally reached cat 2 and began racing with the pros.  I credit my ankle with both severely limiting me in many ways but also sharpening my focus beyond what would have been possible any other way.

It is this skill, developed over years of trial-and-error, that I bring to my coaching clients.  The perfect amount of training, and the greatest possible gains.