Archives › Race
For the 2013 season I’m really focusing on a handful of endurance mountain bike races and then a slew of cross country mountain bike series (SERC, Southern Classic and the Georgia State MTB.) Then in the fall of course will be cyclocross domination (it will be domination and not just participation!)
Looking at my schedule and thinking of bikes for work/demo and brand representation I had a lot to chose from. My rock steady go to bike for the past year has been the Salsa Spearfish. Made to crush endurance with 29er wheels, 100mm front, 80mm rear and a very stable handling platform. As a rep I have many brands to represent and having ridden a Spearfish non-stop for the past year most of my stores have seen that bike, or at least listened to stories of how killer the bike is.
Enter the Foundry Cycles Broadaxe
Continue reading →
Read my race prep, and now experience my race report.
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. – Helen Keller
After last weeks race I can tell you I didn’t do everything right. I didn’t get back on the horse and I didn’t do recovery rides. My legs and thoughts are paying for it.
Yesterday’s 2 hour endurance mountain bike ride at my local trail was a total mind game. Dabbing on sections I haven’t dabbed on. Legs feeling like lead. Brain occupied on how the bike wasn’t responding right, that my rear end felt loose. I hadn’t ridden this trail with the installed tires for a couple months, but that doesn’t give reason for what was loose in my head.
A Setback of Confidence and Momentary Fitness
All things reasonable I did hit the ground pretty f’n hard last week. Knocking the sense out of me and keeping me off my bike for 5 days. My will was weak and I shoulda, coulda, woulda gotten on the bike sooner.
My soul knows this a momentary setback. In a week or so my coach will have my legs spinning around properly. With the right about of trail riding my confidence will be back as well. For now I’ll go for a 2.5 hour road ride, returning home to take apart my Spearfish, check over everything from the crash (shoulda done this before my ride yesterday) and hope that nothing is broken.
Confidence on a bike can take years to build. Feeling safe crossing bridges, logs, and going down steeps. It takes only one good hit to knock it out of you and make you feel human.
Today I am feeling fortunate to feel human. Allowing myself to put my realities in check and find the next thing to work on. We aren’t perfect and being able to find our flaws is part of having confidence too.
Pam Sayler wrote this guest post earlier this year. Somehow it was categorized incorrectly in my email and I found it during holiday break. I believe this is a great post to start thinking about plans for 2012. Coaches, and if you need one is a common questions as people start pushing themselves in the sport.
While pushing the Kirby this weekend my mind drifted to the subject of coaching. Why would the average rider hire a cycling coach? What advantage would a coach have to one whose cycling ambition is less than the current world champion?
I paused vacuuming long enough to check in on my son who was practicing piano.
Jacob is in his second year of lessons and progressing nicely. But like many 9 year olds he looses focus and spends about ½ of his time just playing. While I try to take a back seat and not micro manage him I do find it necessary to step in and make sure he is completing the work of understating music theory, structure and technique. By ensuring he spends time on developmental drills I am assured that my investment has a positive
return and Jacob has a broad awareness of music, stronger hand to eye coordination and simply plays better. Even if he does not have the desire to become a concert pianist Jacob’s father and I see music as a door to many future opportunities and will give him a well rounded view of life.
It took me vacuuming the remainder of the family room and down the hallway to connect those dots. Just as I stand behind Jacob seeing he stays on task a cycling coach will help me ride more efficiently – prevent injury and cycle longer. Not just that one day, but cycle longer in life.
In turning to a coach you are entrusting someone to look over your shoulder. Not to compete against, but to draw along side of you and guide you. Coaching is that special mix of relationship and expertise. One needs to trust their coach. A technical and certifiable background is necessary but equally important is the human factor; how well you interface. Before signing on with a coach, ask yourself the following:
Why do you want a coach? – specifically, what are you looking for?
What is your budget?
What is that person’s experience and education?
How much interaction do you want? Individual, group, online?
During the interview process look for someone who asks these questions and has good answers for your questions. Determine how long it will take to reach your goals and make sure your to contract for a brief period first – a longer contract can be drawn up after you are confident this coach is the right one for you.
And finally, remember that no matter how good a coach you hire, and how lofty your ambition nothing will happen if you don’t set aside time and stick to the plan. The investment in yourself will only pay off if you apply time and effort. Otherwise you are just throwing away money. And if you have money to throw away, please let me know. I’ve got a few years of piano left to fund.
Pam Sayler is the North American Sales Manager for Kinetic
She lives in Minneapolis with her Bike-Shop owning husband and their children. Last year Pam commuted 2,000 miles to work on her bike
Our guest article today is from, Kimberly Mueller, MS, RD, CSSD, the founder and owner of Fuel Factor Nutrition, is a Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and competitive athlete who provides custom meal planning, nutrition coaching, and event-nutrition guidance to athletes worldwide. More information on Fuel Factor services can be found at www.Fuel-Factor.com. Kim can be reached at kim@Fuel-Factor.com .
Whether you are professional cyclist pushing some serious wattage to win a race or a cycle-newbie excited to explore the countryside, implementation of a sound nutrition plan will be a huge determining factor in how your body will respond to the century challenge. Fueling peak cycling performance involves a trio of steps including: 1) tapered training and carbohydrate loading the 2 weeks leading up to the ride, 2) eating a meal the morning of the ride, and 3) consuming foods and fluids during the ride itself. Here’s a nutritional countdown to help your century preparation:
Two weeks and counting….
Many athletes actually dread the taper leading up to a big event, such as a century ride, but from a nutritional standpoint, when you complete your peak training volume about 2 weeks out from race day, muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores are about 30% lower than capacity, not an ideal place to be at for peak performance. Therefore, a two-week taper is appropriate before a century ride as means to allow your muscles to nutritionally reload.
In the first week of your taper, training volume should be reduced by 40% with the cutback being reflected on all your normal weekly rides. On race week, not only will training volume be reduced by another 40% but carbohydrate concentration in your diet should increase approximately 25% representing about 80% of your total caloric intake. However, while increases in carbohydrate are necessary, this is not an invite to blindly pile on the pasta till your pant button explodes. Calorie intake needs to match output so if you find yourself gaining more than 2% of your pre-load weight, you are consuming too much. Most athletes require ~15 calories per pound of body mass to support basic metabolic needs and tapered daily activities.
One day and counting…
While you may be eager to explore the pre-race scene, it is important that you maintain a ‘taper focus’, keeping your activity and time on foot to a minimal the day prior to a century. Make sure to stay hydrated, sipping on fluids until your urine maintains a pale yellow appearance. Continue your carbohydrate-focus but keep your diet low residue, meaning fiber content should be reduced a bit in favor of ‘easier-to-digest’ options (e.g., banana instead of an apple; white pasta over whole wheat pasta). In addition, fat and protein at your evening meal should be kept minimal as these nutrients take longer to clear the gut and can cause nausea on race morning, especially if the meal is eaten after 6pm. Make sure to stick with familiar foods, saving the more exotic local cuisine for post-ride.
While a training taper and coordinated increase in carbohydrate intake is proven to prime your muscles for peak cycling performance, a carbohydrate-focused meal on ride morning will help restock your depleted liver glycogen stores, ultimately giving you that mental boost to perform at peak during the initial stages of the century ride. Our liver has the capacity to store approximately 100 grams (400 calories) of carbohydrate making this the target for consumption in the 2 hours leading up to race start. Much like your carbo-loading regimen, limit dietary fiber intake and instead use up to 25 grams of protein (e.g., egg, yogurt, soy milk) to help stabilize energy levels. Small amounts of fat (up to 20 grams), like that found in a couple tablespoons of peanut butter, can provide additional satiation value. Finally, aim at drinking ½-1 liter of fluid or enough that your urine runs pale yellow in the hours leading up to event start. For those vulnerable to cramping or premature muscle fatigue, consuming up to a gram of salt as part of your pre-ride fuel, whether found naturally in your food or added like that in a sports drink, has been shown to help mute the onset by a good 20% during endurance events such as a century ride.
Meals on Wheels
All the nutritional work during your taper and carbo-loading regimen and pre-ride meal is not enough to carry you through a century ride making ‘meals on wheels’ essential for protection against the mental ‘bonk’ and muscle wrenching ‘wall’. Because both pedaling and digestion of food require oxygen nourishment, it is impossible to replace 100% of cycling output, which falls at 500-1000 calories/hour for most endurance cyclists, but, while a 30-40% replacement rate is optimal for most, the goal is to test that limit as means to mute the fatigue seen with depleted glycogen stores.
Note that with increases wattage, effort, and/or heart rate, there will be increases in calorie output yet the ability to absorb nutrients will decrease making the onset of muscle fatigue more probable. Therefore, cyclists who are racing a century should focus primarily on easier-to-absorb liquid carbohydrates (e.g, sport drink, gels with water), utilizing multiple carbohydrate sources (e.g., maltodextrin + 1-2 simple sugars) to help improve rate of uptake and accommodate their higher calorie outputs. All cyclists should avoid piling on the calories at sag stations as this will only divert blood/oxygen/water to the belly increasing the likelihood of cramping and/or nausea post-feeding. Ultimately, experimentation with different products during training is key to help create a plan that will work best for you on event day.
Want help creating an ultimate cycling nutrition plan? Kimberly Mueller, MS, RD, CSSD founder and owner of Fuel Factor Nutrition, is a Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and competitive athlete who provides custom meal planning, nutrition coaching, and event-nutrition guidance to athletes worldwide. More information on Fuel Factor services can be found at www.Fuel-Factor.com. Kim can be reached at kim@Fuel-Factor.com .
What are your race day rituals? I find that rituals are so different between the niches of cycling. You can easily identify someones personality by how they prepare for a race. Is your gear in a box all organized? Are your bottles prepared the night before and put in the fridge with your gels already under the cap? Do you warm up on a trainer, or in your jeans on the road?
Mud and Cowbells put together a great Powerpoint deck of pre-race rituals for cyclocross. Click through but please share your setup and rituals in the comments below!
Pre-race Rituals for Cyclocross
I’m officially getting pumped for the upcoming cyclocross season. Maybe it is delirium over the heat lately, or maybe the simple feeling of setting a goal for myself and really wanting to meet it?
Over the years I have compiled a great list of resources for inspiration, information, tips and basic outlines of creating a training plan for the season. By no means am I recommended that any of these are replacing a dedicated coach, but it will give you some structure and inspiration! Next week I’ll work on the ‘cross blogs worth your following!
Training Peaks – Tons of training plans, great coaches, and their personal workout/food/training online system is killer. With a free option, or for a small fee a year they will track all your workouts, weight, nutrition and goals with ease! (I personally use this system, and have used it for the past 4 years.)
Cycle Smart - You can’t be in the cyclocross industry without hearing Adam’s name, or see the Cycle Smart kits. Adam has been an online friend of mine for years and always an inspiration come June/July through the winter.
CX Magazine – Daily news, tips and resources for the cyclocross racer.
Bike Radar - How to fit cyclocross training into a full time job
NC Cyclocross – My local series, come play with me!
Several months ago I had a plan going into the 2011 season. It included a duo race at the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, a solo at the 6 Hour Grind on the Greenway, a ton of riding and then my first solo at Burn 24 Hour. As any good plan there was a few snags within this. My geared race bike, the Airborne Goblin, showed up a few weeks late which kept me on my fully rigid single speed for the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, and kept me from racing the 6 Hour Grind. I quickly started commuting on the Goblin and riding it everywhere possible to get used to the fit and gearing.
I’ve never done a 24 hour mountain bike ride on my own, I’ve never come close to that. Even with tons of great inspiration and information from sources like Rebecca Rusch and Team Ergon I still didn’t know exactly what my body would think or my mind would do. Doing my best to prepare myself I lined myself up with some of the best support and gear a person could ask for. Amazing lights from Light & Motion (Seca 700 and Stella 300.) A great pit setup and location, and a great prepared pit crew.
Preparing for a 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race
Friday I pulled a half day of work, finished packing up the little Jetta and headed up to Wilkesboro from Mooresville NC. Quickly setting up my tent in fear of the rain storms headed towards the race course, I can say the purchase of the REI tent and garage was one of my smartest moves this year so far.
REI Hobitat 6 Tent
Somehow I set up the tent all by myself, losing about 2 lbs of water weight in the process. Looking over my shoulder the whole time at the large RV that was simply sitting there with generator and air conditioning running. Jealousy ran through my head for a moment.
After helping Jason B. with race sign up for 30 or so minutes, I ran out of things to do. I finally sat there in my chair, sucking down water and contemplating my next move. Would it be to nap, eat more beef jerky or go find friends. I sat, and thought about my life until friend, em:pwr teammate and pit neighbor, Stephanie Cole, showed up. We quickly pitched her ez-up, sleeping tent and staked them all to the ground so we could head off to dinner.
What did I eat for dinner the night before my solo race? Really good ribs of course.
Morning of my Race
Sleeping in the tent the night before my race was fine. The weather was perfect and I was sprawled out across two sleeping bags and my Thermarest! The week leading into my race I did my best to be over hydrated. Counting bottles of water as I drank them at work, and having a water bottle near by at all times. I think this was a smart choice but at 11pm, 2am and 4am my bladder thought other wise. The idea of walking around in the dark to the line of port-a-jons, through a large mud puddle and having to wake up enough to do all these things…well it didn’t fly for me. Fortunately for me, I have been taught by my better half to pee in bottles. If you look at the tent photo above we had added a “garage” to the tent. Both sides zip down to provide shelter for the bikes, dogs or whatnot and additional room at night. It also provided a perfect place to “pee in my bottles” in the middle of the night. Between all my wake up calls, I think I filled two bottles and was thankful when 7am came to use a real toilet.
I did my best to setup all my gear, label my batteries, swap my tires from Small Block Eight to the most “mud tire” I owned which is the Bontrager XDX. Checked over my bike and laid out all my gear for the first couple laps. At around 10:30 my pit crew showed up, set up more stuff and prepared themselves for the next 28 hours of their lives.
Introducing my Pit Crew
Somehow I had recruited a few friends to come take care of me, entertain each other and really “hang out” for over 24 hours of their Memorial Day weekend.
Kimberlee - Chef, nutritionist, first aid and medical provider (all of these things came in handy.)
George - Engineer, official time keeper, and master scientist.
Benjamin – Comedian and pit jester.
The race, broken down into bite size pieces will be up for tomorrow. I’m still trying to process everything that happened in that short time span of 24 hours. What I did wrong, right and what I need to do better in life to get me further in racing.
The guys behind Burn 24 Hour race in Wilkesboro, NC are trying to get more ladies to enter their race. If you haven’t heard about this race it is THE 24 hour race in the southeast. Anyone that is anyone has raced this event during its lifespan. Now it is your chance to do it for 20% off.
The BMCC and the B24 want to see you on the trail. The women’s classes have suffered the last couple of years at the B24. We’ve set attendance records both of those years so there’s no excuse for you not to come race. After a brief hiatus, we’ve added the Women’s Duo category back to the fold. Currently, the solo female class is a no show but The Betty Project is back and so are the Dirt Divas to contest for the Women’s team podium. In efforts to entice you to to join the field, we’re going to reduce the registration fees for all lady’s categories. Enter coupon code BIKE SHOP GIRL to receive 20% off the current fees. After you register, check out bikeshopgirl.com for Motivational Mondays, product reviews, news, race recaps and all things relevant to women’s cycling.
During my stay at Sea Otter something happened to my mentally and emotionally that I can’t explain. It’s a bit more deep than I want to get into on this post but one of the after affects was wanting, no yearning, to take more bike racing photos. Saturday afternoon before we packed up for the day, Neal and I hiked up the dual slalom hill to watch the final heats of the races. While I had no experience of this type of racing, besides what I have seen in the magazines, it was thrilling. It took a BMX track and pulled it downhill. In fact it looked SUPER fun. Everything I love, downhill, speed, berms and a short sprint!
Here are some of my favorite photos I took during the 20 minutes on the course. Feedback and criticism are encouraged!