Attitude is Everything: a Talk with Coach David Lipscomb

Attitude is Everything: a Talk with Coach David Lipscomb

ON July 25, 2016 by Kate Veronneau

All cycling communities need a David Lipscomb. His infectious smile and positive energy radiate through every group ride he leads. In Zwift and on the road, he coaches his athletes to be purposeful in their training and never give up. He is a fighter. Literally. The accomplished Martial Arts expert turned his energies toward cycling years ago with incredible results in his own racing and his coaching business. David’s philosophy rests on his comprehensive understanding of how the mind and body must work together to get results.

We spoke to David to discover how he brings out the best in his athletes.

David, thanks for sharing with us. You have quite a unique sports background, with 25 years of Martial Arts training. How did you get into cycling?

Fitness has always played a major role in my life. At a young age, I began practicing martial arts and developed a passion for the art. I am a certified expert in combat practice and earned 1 Black Belt and 2 Brown Belts in three martial arts disciplines.

My passion for cycling ignited later in life as cross training during my Black Belt journey, however, the dedication and devotion to the sport of cycling and development was just as strong, if not amassed. In 1993, I began training and racing with purpose. Hard work and commitment to excellence has led me to become a successful category 2 cyclist.


When did you get introduced to Zwift and how does it factor into your training?

I was introduced to Zwift by Charlie Issendorf back in the summer of 2014 while racing at the Floyd Bennet Field race in Brooklyn, NY. We set up an opportunity for me to demo Zwift’s Jarvis Island during the early adopters phase at a local New York fit studio, and the rest is history.

The impact of Zwift and how it factors into my training is nothing like I could ever imagine.

The amount of purposeful structured training time that I do on Zwift is about 85% of my training time, and for many of my CISCYCLING members as well. The gains received from Zwift and the ability to transfer that effort into real life is next level.


You founded CIS Training Systems. Tell us a little more about the company and your approach to getting the most out of your athletes.

After many successful years in banking and financial services as an HR Leadership and Professional Development Executive, I wanted to channel my entrepreneurial spirit and love for the sport of cycling into a second and more fulfilling career. In the spring of 2006, I decided to leverage my breadth of knowledge spanning over 25+ years of professional and entrepreneurial consulting with my extensive competitive cycling background. I turned my passions for cycling, mentoring and coaching into a full-time career.

CIS Training Systems LLC* is New York City’s Premier Cycling Program whose primary focus is to create effective cycling, training, development and coaching in all forms at both the individual and group level.

At CIS Training Systems, we combine the Science of Cycling with the Art of Coaching. The Science of Cycling consists of the Physical, Technical and Tactical aspects of the sport, while the Art of Coaching aligns with the athlete’s physiological attributes. In this way, we can assist our clients by bridging the gap Physically, Emotionally and Mentally to ensure they receive a full training balance ON and OFF the Bike.

My coaching philosophy is about finding innovative ways to get the best out of each athlete. The real art of coaching to me is getting athletes to buy into a process, breaking down barriers that impede prime level performance and help them reach their goals be it ON or OFF the bike, personally or professionally.

The Zwift community raves about your group rides. What’s the secret to your success?

Wow – first, I would like to thank the Zwift Community for participating and second, for trusting me to guide their training somewhat as we ride together in this cool digital destination.

The secret to my success took sometime to develop and wasn’t without trial and error. On my BTW – Back to Work Ride on Monday Night at 8:00 pm EST, it was my goal in the early stages to build a nucleus of Zwift Riders that understood my modus operandi. It’s those veteran riders, and you know who you are, that help me keep things in order and focused. Also, when I lead any vGroup Ride, be it a CIS Training Ride on Wednesday Night at 7:00 pm EST, Zwift Academy, or any other vGroup Ride, I make it very clear what the expectations are and how we will function as a unit (search for David’s upcoming group rides here).

I keep my comments short and to the point to ensure clarity. I often apply some anecdotal coaching feedback to the group and / or individual riders to keep them motivated throughout the session.

Lastly, I am all about attention to detail and control. The vGroup Rides that I lead are 1.5 to 3.0 w/kg and it is my belief that it takes more control to ride at this pace. These rides take patience and focus, isn’t that what training with purpose is all about?


What challenges have you faced as an athlete and what is your advice to those who are struggling against their own barriers?

Setbacks are inevitable; failures are not. The right attitude can help you overcome and achieve anything.  This is my motto.

I have been faced with many trials and tribulations throughout my career as an athlete and business professional. It was those experiences that shaped who I am today. However, it all comes down to this: We can not do this on our own. We all need mentors and coaches to help us see what we can’t see so that we can find our way when times get tough and find that silver lining. That said, my advice for those that are struggling against their own barriers, be it personally or professionally, take a step back and look at the bigger picture, align yourself with people that matter and can share insight and lastly, as Donny Smith, CISCYCLING member would say, “get after it” and never give up.

I truly love what I do and why I do it, and I take great pride in it. It’s not a phase, it is my life. It is not a hobby, it is my passion. It is not for everyone, it is for me.

Describe Zwift in 5 words…..

I would describe Zwift as Purposeful, Effective, Efficient, Motivating and Energizing. Need I say more!

*David is founder of CIS Training Systems, LLC.