Friday, December 31, 2010

Ski Day

Ergon sticker on Adam's helmet.
It has been almost 2 years since I have been on my tele skis and today I was more than a little rusty.  I hit the Park City Mountain Resort with a few longtime friends and some new ones.  It was my first time back since the Park City Point 2 Point so much of the lift time involved reflecting on the race fun and pain as we hovered over the snow covered course.  It was also pretty freaking cold.

Check out my face plant mid way through the video.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Objects In The Mirror: A look back on 2010

This year is going to be one I'll remember for a long time not so much for the events that took place but rather the people I have met in the past 12 months.  I have many to thank for the memories of 2010 -  people that have inspired, motivated, and mentored me as I took on my first real season of mountain bike racing at the young age of 35.  At the forefront of these individuals is Mark Zuckerberg.  Not far behind Mark is Jack Dorsey.  Not really... but sort of.  These are the Facebook and Twitter guys and really have nothing to do with cycling or mountain bike racing.  They are billionaire geeks not hard-core athletes. But they did create the vehicle(s) that have made the most difference to me as I stepped my way through the months of training and racing in 2010. In the process of making their billions, they also made it possible for me to meet so many inspiring, motivating, and down right cool people.  I'm not talking about an online relationship but rather real people with whom I have ridden trails, raced, laughed, and enjoyed a common love for the outdoors and cycling with.  If I were to list names of people I first met on Twitbook then in person this year, it would total close to 50.  Some of you have offered a couch or a room to me before a big race.  Others have answered 1000 nubie questions on topics ranging from race nutrition to tire pressure.  Others have given me opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise had. Many have captured my attention for hours on end reading about adventure and everyday life.  Some of you are veteran superstars on the race course that still took the time to talk to an agegrouper like me after pulling off a podium finish. Some of you I still need to meet in person and will make that a goal of 2011.  So without listing names I want to offer a big Thank You for taking me in and letting me share in this awesome sport with you this year.  I look forward to riding with all of you and the challenge of trying to kick your collective arses on the race course in 2011!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

CarboRocket Half Evil Endurance Fuel

Each CR333 Serving Contains:

  • 84g Complex and Simple Carbohydrates
  • 1,600mg Electrolytes
  • 5 mg Caffeine (oh yea)
  • 2,500mg Amino Acids
  • 333 Calories
I'm looking forward to trying this as my primary endurance fuel for 2011!

Available at the CarboRocket website.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mental Toughness: Dealing with "It"

A torture device designed to develop mental toughness. Yes, those are MTB pedals.
A thought (yes just one) occurred to me today as I was riding nowhere on my fluid trainer in the garage with headphones on, watching a puddle of my own sweat pooling slowly on the concrete floor below.  It is not uncommon for me to be in this position as of late especially with the 2011 season looming, limited warm weather riding time, and in this case, a wife who is out of town accompanied by only one of our four kids.

 To me, everything on a trainer seems magnified: time moves slowly, I feel like I am working harder than my gadgets say I am, I sweat like mad, there is never any downhill, and the scenery just plain stinks.  In my book, the worst of it all is that I am ALWAYS at the finish line with the option to bail at every pedal stroke.  Few people I know enjoy riding like this (myself included) but in the absence of an option for non-simulated riding, simulated riding is better than not riding at all.

To add some context, I should say that I have been spending some quality time lately reflecting on the 2010 race season and getting some training-specific book learning under my belt in hopes of making 2011 easer on me and especially my family.  With only one season in the books, there is little personal experience to draw from.  To bridge the gap, I have been absorbing what I can from other more experienced riders (of which Colorado has no shortage. A big thank you to all who share your secrets so freely with a nubie). When I say riders, I should really say racers. I am not new to riding a mountain bike.  I've been riding one since the late 1980s when *everything* had a rigid fork and weighed 30 lbs.  I am new to racing a mountain bike which is a lot different than riding one for fun.  In terms of reading, it is no secret that there is a book commonly referred to by cyclists as "The Bible" and this has been my primary book of study for the past month.  I race mountain bikes exclusively but most if not all principles in this cycling book apply to mountain biking.  I recommend this book to anyone just starting out especially if you are interested in the science of training (and if you want to do well, you will need to be interested). Within a few hours of reading, I identified some common rookie mistakes I made during the course of the year. While I think it is important to understand things for myself, if you don't want to do it all yourself, you don't have to.  There are a number of very qualified coaches that can create personalized training plans to fit your needs or general event-specific training plans for you to use.

Back to the trainer and my deep thoughts.

I was riding, still watching sweat drip on the floor, music cranking, trying to push away the voice telling me that 40 min is just as good as the 90 min I was planning on riding.  I was thinking of what aspects of my riding game need the most work: endurance, force, speed skills, muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance, power?  All of these are listed on the racing abilities triangle on page 90 of that "Bible" I have been reading (page 94 talks about some specific types of training one could consider doing to improve each).  While deep in thought on this I realized the one "ability" I wasn't taking into consideration was staring me in the face at that very moment.

 Mental Toughness.

What is mental toughness? I'm sure there is some academic / technical definition out there but the simplest one I have heard is the ability to just "turn it off". What is "It"?  That answer might be different for each of us. For me "It" is that voice trying to convince me that 40 min is as good as 90 min on the trainer.  "It" also comes in the form of pain in all parts of my body as the miles pile up during a race or long training ride.  "It" clearly defined itself for me multiple times in 2010 perhaps most prominently at the Park City Point 2 Point.  I'm sure if someone would have prepared a shallow grave somewhere along the trail between mile 60 and 80, I might have succumbed to "It" and laid down using what little energy I had left to cover myself with loose dirt.  But there was nothing of the sort and I pushed forward to the end.  Over the course of the season, I had unintentionally added some "mental toughness" training into the long rides, hill repeats, 20-40s, and yes hours on the trainer.  I had been learning to deal with "It" and when "It" showed up on race day, I was able to defend.

So ride your trainer.  Stare at your bike computer the whole time as it slowly clicks away second by second.  Sweat on the floor and love the hours of torture.  They are productive. You are training your mind to deal with "It".  And "It" will be there with each pedal stroke next season.

* More on Mental Toughness from Joe Friel (PDF).  I came across this while doing a little Googling after drafting this post.

Monday, December 13, 2010


It started off bad but ended good.

The Bad.

The 2nd oldest boy came running up the stairs with a stitch-worthy gash in his head.  The same thing happened almost 2 years ago to the day.  This time they were able to glue the cut back together.

Quick trip to the urgent care.

The Good.

I took the injured boy along with his older brother to Wheat Ridge Cyclery for the Ergon MTB KLINIK.  Why was this good?  Aside from getting out to support some team sponsors and gawk around the bike shop, I also won a training plan from LW Coaching in the raffle.  This will come in very handy for 2011.  Thanks again to Lynda Wallenfels for throwing this into the hat.

Claiming my prize! We'll keep secret the fact that I had 3 tickets (me + 2 boys) to increase the odds.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Epic Endurance Cycling Team

I am looking forward to 2011 for many reasons.  Among them is the chance to rub shoulders with my new teammates & friends on the Epic Endurance Cycling Team.  Check out our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date with what we are up to.  Lastly, please be sure to visit our sponsors. Without them the team wouldn't be possible.

2011 Team Members