David Ertl

David Ertl

  • cycling coach
  • power coach
  • mountain biking
Waukee, Iowa

PCG Elite Coach
USAC Level 1 Coach
LEOMO Motion Analysis Certified Coach

Coaching Focus: Road, MTB, CX, TT


I have been riding and racing bikes for most of my life. I got my first bike when I was five, started racing when I was fifteen years old, and forty-two years later I'm still racing, now as a master athlete. I have mostly focused on road racing, although I have done some mountain biking and have dabbled in track and cyclocross, as well as speed skating and triathlon. One of the things I noticed was that while I wasn’t always the strongest or fastest cyclist, I could often get decent results based on my experience. At the same time cycling coaching began to emerge as an opportunity, so I became a coach to share my lengthy experience with others so they could make faster progress and not have to make all the mistakes I made and learn the hard way as I had to do. Since beginning coaching in 2001, I have coached individual recreational cyclists, competitive cyclists, and race teams, and I serve as a national coach for the JDRF Ride To Cure Diabetes Program and the coach for RAGBRAI®. In addition I have written four books on cycling training. I help conduct a weight loss/cycling program with my local bike club based on my book, Pedal Off The Pounds. I enjoy continually learning about cycling training and sharing that knowledge with others.

My academic background is in plant genetics. I have a Ph.D. in plant breeding and have worked my whole career in corn breeding and genetics. I live with my wife and twin sons near Des Moines, Iowa (corn country).

Coaching philosophy

I have noticed several things that are common among most cyclists who seek coaching. First, they tend not to work hard enough on their hard workouts, and then they don’t take it easy enough on the easy days, underestimating the need for recovery. They spend too much time in between and stagnate. Most cyclists also have a life to balance with their training; many of us have families and careers and other interests outside of cycling. It can be challenging to undertake a strenuous training program while balancing our other demands, especially the mental and emotional demands. I live that balance myself, and I enjoy working with other busy people who want to fit in a serious training program and progress while keeping everything in balance.

It is also important to make sure that cycling remains fun and rewarding. Most of us don’t compete for a living. We compete for personal satisfaction and enjoyment. It is essential that no matter how tough a training program is, we keep it enjoyable. I like to think of training and cycling as our way to play as adults. The best way to keep it fun is to see steady improvement and success in competition, and I enjoy helping people accomplish this.

David's Website

Notable achievements
  • 42 years of cycling racing and training experience
  • 13 years of cycling coaching experience
  • Author of four cycling training books
  • Served as National Coach for JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes
  • Connecticut State Road Championships, Junior, 2nd
  • Iowa Mountain Bike Championships, 35+, 1st
  • Iowa Time Trial Championships, 40+, 2nd
  • Podiums in master events in road, time trialing, cyclocross, and mountain biking

Athlete testimonials

I am very pleased with the progress I have made in the relatively short time I have been using PCG. In terms of value for money, getting a good coach is probably the best investment I've made, I just regret not doing it sooner. The workouts I'm doing now are much more varied and purposeful compared to when I was self training. All communications with David have been very positive. I get prompt useful feedback on workouts and knowing this encourages me to get them done.  - Martin, UK

David has coached me through the loss of 25% of my body weight. A year later he coached me back from double total knee arthroplasties, and I'm now stronger than before the surgeries. David is an amazing coach who coaches, without "bossing," riders to be the best that they can be! I tell my friends that while coaching isn't cheap, it's not much more than a new set of wheels -- and there's no question that a year of coaching will make a MUCH larger impact on their riding than those new wheels. I had some reservations about the conversion from David's old coaching group to Peaks. I'm now absolutely in love with the Peaks emphasis on communication and testing. GREAT!  - John, Maryland

David is an amazing coach, very understanding with my schedule. My FTP has increased 13.4% since we started, so I am more than happy. - Shaun, Minnesota

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