Our Story - The History of PCG

Peaks Coaching Group started in 1996, when Hunter Allen retired from the Navigators pro cycling team.  The original name for Peaks Coaching Group was CyclingPeaks Coaching, named after the Peaks of Otter in Hunter’s hometown of Bedford, VA.  Hunter had already been coaching several local athletes for $30 per month in 1995, and then in 1996 decided to see if he could make an honest shot at creating a coaching business.  The first training camp was held in April 1997 and had 12 riders the first week and just 2 in the second week.  Hunter created his camps as a way for his athletes to come and spend a week of riding with him and gain first-hand knowledge and experience.  That year also proved to be a turning point in the business as well, as he met Brian Toone at a local bike race.  Brian really wanted a cycling coach as he was an up and coming Category 4 racer, but was also a poor college student at Clemson University.  Brian suggested that, as a computer science major, he could build a “website” in exchange for coaching.  “What is a website?” Hunter asked.  “Oh, it’s a business card online, it will be cool, but probably won’t do too much more in the future.” replied Brian.  Three months after turning on this new-fangled website, Hunter called up Brian and said, “Turn it off!  I have too many clients and more inquiries all the time!”  In reality, Hunter recognized this might be the start of a larger business and created three different coaching levels at $50, $75 and $100 per month.  As a result, the coaching demand continued to rise, Hunter brought on two associate coaches, his good friends from racing days, Skip Spangenburg and Erik Saunders.
In 1999, another client began working with Hunter and little did either of them know that this was the beginning of a long-term friendship and partnership. Kevin Williams bought a new toy called a power meter and asked if Hunter could coach with it. Hunter agreed, but very soon thereafter realized that he had no idea if 300 watts was good, bad, or what it meant. Hunter also bought one of the original grey “Tune” hubs called the PowerTap. These first hubs were quite finicky and plagued with issues. It seemed that they were being sent back more often than not for repair, but both Hunter and Kevin continued to build spreadsheets to help interpret the data
In 2000, Sam Callan, the USA Cycling Coaching Coordinator, put on the first ever “Power Training” seminar in Philadelphia, PA. The speakers at the seminar were Dr. Andrew R. Coggan, Dean Golich and Dr. Allen Lim and each of them had some revolutionary things to say about training, but all agreed that the software to analyze this data was poor, and just would not do what they needed it to do. Over lunch, Kevin, being a genius computer programmer, proposed that he and Hunter build the software that the speakers all wanted. 
After the seminar, Hunter struck up a conversation with Dr. Coggan and enlisted his help in working on ideas and concepts. In 2001 and 2002, Kevin wrote code in his spare time, and in late 2002, after an unsuccessful attempt at selling the software to PowerTap, Hunter and Kevin re-doubled their efforts to launch the software. By this time, Hunter had hundreds of athletes sending him power files from around the world and realized that in order to plan a perfect way to “peak” an athlete, a score of some sort would need to be created in order to quantify training load. Since there was power data for each and every second of the ride, the workload was known, but kiloJoules didn’t take into account intensity, so he described what he wanted to Dr. Coggan and two weeks later, Dr. Coggan called up Hunter and exclaimed, “Eureka!” Training Stress Score, Intensity Factor and Normalized Power were born. In 2003, Hunter needed a way to compare riders to the best in the world to see how their power data compared and again enlisted uber genius Dr. Coggan. Over 300 athletes’ data was captured along with actual “World Champion” data and those were analyzed across four time duration's (5 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes and 60 minutes). This was the creation of the Power Profiling table.
After thousands of hours of work, and many late nights, CyclingPeaks Software was born on August 4, 2003 with an announcement to the infamous “wattage list” on topica.net. Hunter and Kevin thought they would have sold maybe 100 copies and make some folks really happy. Well, they sold a lot more! During this time, Hunter changed the name of his coaching business to Peaks Coaching Group and also launched a new coaching website separating the software and coaching businesses. Peaks Coaching Group had six coaches at this time and roughly 90 total athletes. Hunter also presented to USA Cycling coaches in September his first presentation on how to train with a power meter and use CyclingPeaks Software. In the end of 2003, the product manager called Hunter and told him that he had officially become the #1 salesman of PowerTaps in the country! Coaching and power meter sales were clearly two trains on parallel tracks each steaming forward.
In 2004, Gear Fisher, one of the founders of TrainingBible.com along with Dirk and Joe Friel, approached Hunter and Kevin to see if there were any ways to create some promotions for each company. These proved to be highly successful and Gear and Hunter became good friends; Gear, along with the CEO of TrainingBible.com, Donovan Guyot, proposed a merging of the two companies. In the fall of 2004, CyclingPeaks and TrainingBible.com became TrainingPeaks.com with Hunter and Kevin as owners in the new company. This proved to be a beneficial and exciting partnership as TrainingPeaks was able to grow the brand awareness of CyclingPeaks software greatly along with sales. Hunter was asked officially by USA Cycling to teach their newly created Power Certification course with Dr. Coggan.  
In 2005, after nearly two years of hounding the publishers at VeloPress, they finally agreed to publishing this crazy book about power meters. Dr. Coggan and Hunter hammered out the outline one evening while teaching the Boston power course and got to work writing “Training and Racing with a Power Meter.” That book was published in January of 2006 and instantly became the guide and reference on training with a power meter. Back at Peaks Coaching Group, Hunter added more coaches to his team, along with a great coach and Marketing Director, Jeb Stewart. With the success of the book, coaching and software sales continued to grow at a rapid rate. Later in 2006, Version 2.0 of CyclingPeaks software was launched to continued success as well. From 2007-2009, Hunter travelled to over 10 different countries and taught all over the United States, to coaches and athletes alike, spreading the knowledge of “power” and the “power” of knowledge. In 2009, CyclingPeaks was renamed to WKO+, having been revised by super programmer Jeffrey Hovorka. WKO stands for “workout” and the file extension on the program has always been .wko. The 2nd edition of “Training and Racing with a Power Meter” was also published that fall and continues to sell thousands of copies to this day. (Time for a 3rd edition!?)
Peaks Coaching Group continued to grow and Hunter traveled extensively in 2010 continuing to share his knowledge and support the launch of WKO+ and the 2nd edition of the book. In 2011, Tim Cusick approached Hunter to help him with the continued growth and branding of the company. Tim, using his hard-won knowledge of branding and creating businesses, was able to bring organization and processes to the company that had not been used before, making the business even stronger and more cohesive as a team. At this point PCG had over 25 coaches and 200 clients. More camps were added, including a great camp in Brazil, and clients continued to win local bike races, national and world championships, a grand Tour stage win, many international stage races along with many triathlon victories. Hunter even got back to racing in 2011 and with his client Debbie Preller, they won the Tandem National Championship road race in Bend, Oregon. Peaks Coaching Group continued to grow throughout 2012 and Tim became a 50% owner of PCG with Hunter. In 2013, Hunter, Tim Cusick, Kevin Williams and Dr. Coggan got the “band” back together and began working on WKO4.  
The goal being to completely re-envision the software and launch it initially on the Mac platform. A tall order, the software had to be written from the ground up and taking over 2 years, WKO4 was launched in July 2015 on the Mac and then, in late January, the PC version was launched. With the launch of Mac version of the software, Tim Cusick decided to focus solely on development of the PC software and continuing to further the software business. So Hunter completely left the software business, having sold his equity of TrainingPeaks in 2014, and then the remaining ownership to Tim Cusick in October 2015. This brings us to 2016 in which Hunter stands once again as the sole owner of Peaks Coaching Group with a great team of coaches and staff to continue to make the future even brighter and more “powerful”.

Our office is located at 414 Jackson St, Bedford, VA 24523. We host a variety of cycling and training camps throughout the year in addition to our coaching and consulting services. For more information on our services, please email info@peakscoachinggroup.com
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