Training

Fartlek Cyclocross
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Go Fartlek

Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. The variable intensity and continuous nature of the exercise places stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed varies, as the athlete wishes. (Source: Wikipedia)

The art of exploring is why I fell in love with biking some 18 years ago. The ability to just go find new places and adventures on my bike without the demands of school, sports practice or home life. It was a great escape and something I think we all forget as we grow up.

This past Monday when Emily and I got back from our weekend in the mountains I hopped on my bike and went for a fartlek, or Fartlick as my iPhone calls it. The goal was to blend in different speeds, try new routes and see how my knee felt on the single speed. The result was great, I enjoyed myself and found new trails near my house. An elevated my heart rate also showed me that my knee isn’t ready for the single speed just yet.

Do you implement fartleks in your training or weekly rides? What do you find?

I find new places to take photos, time to beat up on the pedals and needed bike time without a Garmin or HRM. During big training blocks I often find my best power over time results as I’m just getting in a groove with out focusing on the Garmin.

Now, go fartlek. Take a friend if you can!

Photo Disclaimer: I lost my bar ends on the ride, they will be replaced ASAP!

Whole Life CHALLENGE
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Tackling the Whole Life Challenge

It hasn’t been a secret that I’ve been struggling to find my personal identity when I removed the “bike racer” from 25 hours of my week. Combine that with a new state of residence and a month old job, I have felt pretty disconnected from who I believe I am.

Over the past week I started researching (again) about Paleo eating to address some stomach problems I’ve been having. Naturally when I was training a lot my eating habits were 90% of what is outlined in a strict paleo diet. The 10% was left in greek yogurt for smoothies and thin whole wheat bread with almond butter & jelly.

Without knowing that I was looking at the Paleo diet my girlfriend emailed me Friday morning to see if I would sign up for the “Whole Life Challenge” with her. Initially I was very resistant. You want me to pay $49 to track my eating and body weight? After some reading and taking a “pride check” that my biggest goal for this challenge would be for Emily to meet her goals. I wasn’t too good for this, and by submersion into better eating as a family we will have the best results.

Read More

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Weekly Bike Commuting Update

After last week’s post of finding motivation, I’ve put my legs to the grindstone and found happiness in both days of commuting on Thursday and Friday. With threats of rain (flooding to be exact) each day as I pedaled closer to home I found myself chasing rainbows and finding peace with where I am.

Next week I hope to track my food intake better, at least for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Not down to calories, but just to have a better clue have how much food it’s going to take to hit the 1,000 miles this month. For now I’ll leave you with some Strava stats and Flickr photos.

Stats for the first 10 days of August (4 on the bike)

  • 169.0 miles (831 miles to go!)
  • 11hr 28m of ride time
  • 5,856ft elevation
Ice Cream Ride
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Musings on Active & Recovery Nutrition

There are many schools of thoughts in the athletic world about what you should or shouldn’t eat. Many of my friends have gone with the Paleo eating habits, personally I try to look at the ingredients, make an educated “Yes or No” thought in my head and then try it on training rides. These days it takes a scientist to breakdown and to be able to explain what all the moving parts are doing in many “sports food”. For ease of use I’ve always been a fan of the “systems” that have a during and an after just so I don’t have to think too heavy.

These musings are due to a press release from Osmo Nutrition that Cannondale Pro team picked Osmo for their Pre, Active and Recovery hydration.

After the brutally hot first two stages of ATOC, Cannondale Pro Cycling turned to Osmo’s leading science and proven performance, with Sagan and the team used Osmo PreLoad Hydration before stages, Osmo Active Hydration during the racing, and Osmo Acute Recovery after stages. The results have been immediate, with Sagan winning stage 3 and the final stage of the week-long race, bring his total stage count to ten.

At the end of a spectacular stage that began in San Francisco, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and headed north along the legendary California coast, Cannondale Pro Cycling wound up their Pro-Tour leadout train, delivery Sagan to a sprint finish. “The team got me in position and I went from 300 meters,” said Sagan immediately following his win in Santa Rosa. “I felt very strong. I hit 1,750 watts, more than I’m used to seeing. Osmo helped for sure.”

“Having Peter and Cannondale Pro Cycling win the final stage in Santa Rosa is truly special for Osmo,” said co-founder and chief scientist Stacy Sims. “Just one year ago we launched Osmo at the Amgen Tour
of California and today we gave the rider with the most stage wins in ATOC history the hydration and recovery edge he needed to take his 10th career victory at the race. This just speaks to the rapid
acceptance of Osmo’s products, all developed with peer-reviewed science.

While I realize a decent amount of this is media hype, it reminds me of the times I have used those gels at the perfect time for a last kick or how when I forget my recovery drink I wake up feeling hung over.

Nutrition is a very personal thing, depending on the level of your sports you would probably benefit working with a nutritionist to learn what you burn, what your body responds to and proper timing of it all.

Last night’s ride for ice cream and two quarts of strawberries reminded me that we can all be strict about eating, especially when we have a pair of jeans to fit in or upcoming race. We also need to enjoy the living and experience the joy that a simple (hilly) bike ride for an ice cream cone can give you!

I also have to mention one of my friends that has completed (strongly) many Ironman distance races is known for going to McDonald’s the night before for a large order of chicken nuggets. And good ole chocolate milk has always been my goto recovery drink.

What do you use and what have you learned over the years?

6 hours warrior creek 2013
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Race Report: 2013 6 Hours of Warrior Creek

This was the fourth year of testing my metal against the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek. Each year as half of a women’s duo, my partner Melissa has always been the ringer for us and I wanted to be able to pull my half of the race as strong as she could.

Originally, this race was supposed to be a tuning race for the Burn 24 in late May. As plans have changed, boxes are being packed and I realized this would be my last race in the southeast it became clear that this race mattered more to me than I originally thought.

Prep Work

I pre-rode the course a week before race day. The course was excellent. The rock gardens were much easier and the climbs seemed to pass with less time. All good signs.

Aligning with my coach on all workouts, making sure my legs were rested and “loaded.” Bike was safety checked and then as it rained a few days before race day, I installed my more aggressive Maxxis Ardent tires (which saved my ass first lap.)

Brap, BRAP, BRAAAP

It was my year to run first lap, which is a full lap plus some road section and singletrack in the beginning to break up the field. I did my best not to blow myself up on the road, and keep a steady pace for 3/4 of the lap. Putting in some effort on the last sections of climbing and downhill gnar rock gardens.

My partner, Melissa, was rocking a single speed and turned over a pretty fast first lap. I headed back on the trail hoping to maintain our 2nd  place position. Quickly 3rd place overtook me and I never saw her until my lap was over (damn it, she was only 2 minutes a head!) Melissa held our 3rd position and we ended on the podium. I coulda/shoulda/woulda gone for a 3rd lap (5th for the team) but 2nd,4th and 5th place girls (and I) all agreed not to go out for a 5th lap. Thank god for negotiations.

6 Hours of Warrior Creek

Fun Facts

• Melissa rocked a 1:16 lap on her single speed

• We were in the “money” in 3rd place and somehow I walked away with cash in hand

• My high visibility yellow shoes, and Lazer Magneto pink/yellow glasses were a big hit.

• The Foundry Broadaxe with SRAM XX1 performed flawlessly, compared to last year this was an AMAZING feeling as most of the day I was fearing some mechanical that I couldn’t fix with my multi

• First place women were 16 and 17 years old! Hopefully I’ll be able to rope one of the girls, Sophie, into a race report!

• Warrior Creek is one of my favorite trails on the east coast. The Garmin has a hard time tracking milage but Strava thinks that I rode 26.7 miles with 2,752 ft of elevation.

6 Hours of Warrior Creek

Thank You to the Pit Crew

The day wouldn’t have been possible without a group of amazing friends. My girlfriend flew literally around the world from Turkey to get to the race. Shelley, Syd and Allen all were great support as Melissa and I came in and out of the pits. The guys from Bicycle Sport were there for mechanic assistance (though I didn’t need it) and the guys/girls from Total Cyclist had amazing encouraging words as they kicked our asses. Finally, thank you to Taryn and Jacob who watched the dogs for us so they didn’t have to be at the races all day!

Photo Credit: Lynn Willis (I purchased a full print version too!)

Boone Roubaix 2013
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Boone Roubaix April 20, 2013

This is going to totally happen this year. Now the question is, who’s going to drag me around??

Boone Roubaix 2013

A 50 mile road race featuring 10 miles of unpaved roads including the Koppenberg of the High Country will test riders, while the breathtaking scenery and unmatched hospitality will combine to make for one of the most memorable races of the year.

Super decent price ($35) and I would guess the ride will sell out.

http://booneroubaix.com/

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Shifting Your Gears Forward

It’s that time of the year that I’m doing slower and longer miles, mostly by myself. Having lots of time to think through intervals and the long road in front of me I seem to reflect the most on the bike from January to March due to the speed and lack of companionship (my choice.)

Yesterday I struggled through my workout for many reasons. #1 As I’m getting towards the end of a couple blocks and haven’t had a threshold test so I’m stronger than where my zones are set. #2 The gearing on a cross bike with slicks is much different than a standard compact. It’s my own doing and I can fix both of these things. Regardless, the workout left me frustrated with finding the right gear and terrain for workouts.

Today I entered my 2.5 hour ride with a bit more optimism. Without any intervals to chase after I stopped looking at the Garmin page that listed watts and went off my Perceived Exertion scale that I have internally built in me from 15 years of cycling. I focused on pedaling strokes, enjoying jumping the potholes and digging deep into the turns.

Then I focused on shifting.

Shifting covers so many pieces of our lives. Often in cycling I find that I allow myself to sit in the gear I’m in. Maybe even falling behind the cadence I need to turn over my gear comfortable. Then there is the fear of the shift to a harder gear as it may be too hard. Maybe I’ll need to shift back? Maybe there will be a miss shift at the wrong moment or maybe it will show that I’m weak?

Shifting gears is as much about the mental feeling as it is the physical. Picking up your cadence and finding that you can push the new, harder, gear just as well as the easier. Your speed increases and often, especially off road, you find that it is easier to ride at this faster pace as momentum and speed is your friend.

Much of life is learning when to shift, when to push yourself, when to be happy with your pace or when to slow down. As I pedal around for the next couple months my thoughts will be focusing on the shift. Shifting the bike, shifting my mind and shifting how I live my life.

blog
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Strava Awesomeness: GPX Download Functionality

If you are a contant reader you will know my love of Strava. It keeps me motivated, up to date with my friends rides across the world and technology makes my world go around.

When I visit new places (which is weekly) I’m always trying to find new rides, routes and cue sheets. Using a split of Google, Garmin Connect and Map my Ride I’ve been doing okay. But now, Strava is allowing me download peoples routes to upload into my Garmin! I can dominate QOM’s all day long now.

Learn more….

 

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Race Prep: Lion’s Roar Cyclocross Race

Bird Song BreweryI’m not prepared. I’m back on my schedule from coach to a crossed t and dotted i, but I’m not ready as I fell off the back. The whirlwind of September and October bit my ass hard. Throwing a lot of hard work from this summer out the window, but life is what it is and I’m busting my ass now to catch back on.

Reasons why I’m stoked for this weekend

Lion’s Roar CX Race

Bird Song Brewery Growlers

Hanging out with friends/ 36th Street teammates

New skin suits

Foundry Auger racing

Racing = Training

So let’s HTFU and get this weekend going already!!

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