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Properly Preparing for the Offseason

0 Offseason Fall

As we head into Thanksgiving most folks that have the cyclist mentality start thinking about the next season. Even those that are deep in the trenches of cyclocross racing are thinking about what they need to be doing for the next season. As the next 6 months of my life are going to be rather haphazard I want to lay out broad strokes of goals and targets for 2012.

My Offseason Arsenal

Goals for 2012 – As basic as it sounds. No matter if it is race dates, milage hopes, or milestones you want to meet. It is helpful to layout something.

  • My butt on a bike at least 3 times a week. I know this is my sweet spot for fitness. No matter if it is 30 minutes on the trainer, an hour spin, or a few hour mountain bike ride.
  • Eating responsibly on the road. This may include learning to bring more food with me, where to shop, and trying not to eat out too much while traveling.
  • Trim down more. I feel comfortable about my current weight, but want to lose more body fat and gain leaner muscles! (Hello Jillian Michaels abs.)
  • Three main events – #1 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, #2 – Burn 24 Hour, #3 2012 Cyclocross season
Bikes Ready at All Times – This is something I hope to finish up this weekend, but I want my cross bike and main geared mountain bike to be ready to ride at all times.
Winter Riding Clothes Organized – At least twice a month I run around my house looking for my other knee warmer. Another goal for this weekend is to make sure all my winter clothing is where it belongs, organized and ready to go. When it gets dirty, I wash it and put it quickly back where it belongs.
My Trusty Trainer – An item in for review this fall is the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine trainer. This bright green trainer should see some use this offseason, especially on those days I’m cramped for time and need to get 30 minutes on the bike.
Motivation – This part of the offseason is the hardest and can come in many different forms. Some examples of motivation :
  • My family. I am fortunately to be surrounded by an active significant other, and very active children. Watching them push themselves and try a bit harder, practice a bit longer or be super pumped around an extra point motivates me.
  • Music. The off season is when I perfect my playlist, learn new artist and help the music industry make more money.
  • People. Reading blogs, drugging myself on amazing photos and watching helmet cam footage for trails I dream to ride. Some great folks to follow : Jeff Kerkove, Salsa Cycles, Gnat Likes, Milltown Cycles, SheBicycles, Soozed, DJ Scene (Great podcast music),  Saddle Up Bike…the list keeps going. Maybe this deserves it’s own post!
Riding with Others – Whenever possible I plan to hit up group rides and drag my family kicking and screaming into the cold.

What are You Doing This Offseason?

The Ultimate Century Nutrition Plan

2 Fuel Factor

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

 

Kimberly Mueller

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.

Ride morning….

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

Meals on WheelsAll 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 .

NC Cyclocross Clinic Recap

1 NC Cyclocross

This past Sunday I dragged myself out of bed at o’dark 30 to prep myself and brain for my first cyclocross “clinic”. At around 7 o’clock teammate and all around awesome guy, George Berger, picked me up in his little Prius and we were off into the sunrise. The goal was to get to mountains of Boone North Carolina and the Pirate Race Products Cyclocross Clinics.

NC Cyclocross

Walking into a cyclocross clinic I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have participated in cyclocross practices, and various other road/mtb clinics before but never dedicated for cyclocross.

Here are the things I did know:

The clinic was segregated for women and men. There ended up being roughly 12 women that showed up which seemed to be a decent group for learning and trying new things with two instructors.

It would be a long day. The clinic was scheduled from 10 to 4, and I knew from cyclocross practices that I would be completely worn out doing these quick burst of anaerobic effort.

NC Cyclocross

There would be good food. Burrito’s from Black Cat in Boone, if you haven’t been there – go visit soon.

I had no goals. There were things I want to improve on in cyclocross this year, but a specific skill other than not hurting myself, I didn’t have one dead set in mind. Oh wait, that is a lie.I want to be able to do the “flying squirrel” remount by the end of the season. You know that one were you “hop” off the ground and gracefully slide over your saddle like a cowboy on a bareback horse? Yes that is what I want to be able to do.

Drills and practice makes perfect

For 6 hours I was taken back to high school. All the drills and random technique forming (brain numbing) things you would do, and hate, wanting to just PLAY the game you were practicing for. You didn’t want to practice sprints, side to side, crazy legs, etc.

Quickly these feelings went away and I was left really enjoying myself and fellow company. I hope to have video’s of all the things below later this week. Video editing is just not in the time early this week.

Crazy 8′s -  You basically take two objects, maybe 20-50 feet apart, with a partner you circle the objects/cones/trees/phone poles in a crazy 8 fashion. Learning how to take the corners properly at speed, while at the same time making sure your partner doesn’t catch or pass you (especially in the corners.)

Hill Climbs – This is the one I avoid, I did it twice and stopped. Find a hill and run up it with your bike. At the top either walk down or hop on your bike to ride back down. We started off slowly, simply picking up our bike and walking up the hill to learn where to place the bike on our shoulders and how to use our free arm to propel ourselves up. After a few times in slow, we then would ride into the hill, dismount and “scurry” up the hill.

Dismounts – A great thing for someone getting used to hopping off the CX bikes, especially with clipless pedals. With some momentum unclip your right foot and swing it over the saddle to be behind your left foot. Simply glide in that position. Once you feel comfortable doing this, repeat but this time swing your right leg back over to and clip back in. Next step is to complete the dismount. There were two schools of thought for this, sliding your right leg between your left leg and bike, or swinging your right leg behind your left and allowing the momentum to unclick you. I don’t feel comfortable the first way, and I’m much faster with the second.

Mounting – At a walking pace work on hip rotation and in motion of your walking stride take your right leg and slide it over the saddle so you “catch” yourself on your inner thigh right below your groin. Work on getting faster and “pushing off” your left leg so you get more speed into the sliding onto the saddle. (This is the one I need to work more on.)

Starts- Try out different gearing for your start, where should you be on your seat, do you do better with your hands on the shifters or in the drops, learn your limits so that you can push them but also land in the top positions in the start of the race. It is always better to allow people to pass you than to pick off people through out the race.

Other things gained at the NC CX clinic

NC Cyclocross

The drills were awesome. Having 12 women to talk about womens CX and learn their ways of doing things, was awesome. Having “hot laps” at the end, was awesome. More than anything I believe the best part was meeting 12 semi-local women that will be on the courses beside me. Having people to talk with, making new friends and hopefully helping grow the sport.

Kuat Rack Review

Testing out George’s new Kuat rack was also very informative, if only they came out for a hitch for my new car!

I feel more motivated and able for the season. All I need to work on is my motor and I have over a month to work on that one. Here’s to NC Cyclocross! You can find all the photos over yonder.

Cyclocross Schedule in NC and SC

0 NC Cyclocross

As a resident of the Charlotte North Carolina region I can tell you that cyclocross has been slow to pick up in the area. It seems this season is going to change all of this. More practices, more area races and more folks wanting to ride their cyclocross bikes more during a year.

Clinics

September 11, 2011- High Country Cyclocross Clinics – Women’s and General Clinics in Boone, NC

Practices

Boone on Tuesday Nights – Alray Tire Boone Cross Series – Tell Stackhouse you found his races here!

Asheville on Wednesday Nights- Asheville Cycloccross

Charlotte on Wednesday/Sunday Nights- Join the Facebook group to learn more.

Lake Norman/Huntersville on Wednesday Nights- Email me for info

Winston Salem on Tuesday Nights- Located at SECCA, I hear they’re giving out beer coupons. Join FB for the details.

East Bend Wednesday Nights – Right in Ken’s backyard.

Endurance CX Races

September 25, 2011 – Three Peaks USA in Beech Mountain, NC

CX Races

September 10- Asheville CX in Bent Creek Park

September 24- Asheville CX at TBD

October 1 & 2, 2011- Va Du Mar Cyclocross in Spartanburg, SC Flyer and Registration

October 9, 2011- Asheville CX at Pisgah Brewing

October 9, 2011- Winston Salem Cross and Waffles

October 16, 2011- 2011- Cyclocross Kick Off in Cary, NC Pre-Reg here

NCCX 2011-2012 Calendar Dates (Many TBD)

Race #1 – Sat. October 22, 2011
Race #2 – Sun. October 23, 2011 – Raleigh, NC
Race #3 – Sun. October 30, 2011 – Boone, NC
Race #4 – Sun. November 6, 2011 – Salisbury, NC
Race #5 – Sun. November 13, 2011
Night Race – Wed. November 16, 2011 (non-series) -Asheville, NC
Race #6 – Sat. November 19, 2011 -UCI-NCGP  - Hendersonville, NC
Race  #7 – Sun. November 20, 2011 – UCI NCGP – Hendersonville, NC
Race #8 – Sun. December 4, 2011
Race #9 – Sun. December 11, 2011 – Wilkesboro, NC
Race #10 – Sun. December 18, 2011 – Tanglewood, NC
Race #11 – Sun. January 8, 2012
Race #12 – Sat. January 21, 2012
Race #13 – Sun. January 22, 2012

Monday..Tuesday..WEDNESDAY

0 Scouting Out CX Course

When I wake up my feeling of getting out of bed is hit or miss. Either I am really excited about the day and inspired, or I want to cuddle up, staying nice and tucked away for the day. As my family members can vouch, I could sleep a day away and believe me I have! I think it is a trait that I learned from my mother many years ago.

It seems when I go to bed, if I am overly motivated (yes, how can you be overly motivated?) I think too much. My brain starts wondering, thinking about the weights I need to lift, the course I need to ride, the things I need to fix, etc etc. While if I look at riding or “working out” on a daily routine as something that I’m “just doing” my brain doesn’t go in hyper drive at night and I wake up feeling more motivated to get ‘er done.

This week has been one of those weeks that I turn off the alarm and sleep a little bit longer. Monday started off well with core in the morning and running at night, Tuesday well.. Tuesday I fell off the wagon. Shifting my week around I took it as a rest day, leading me up to today for cyclocross practice.

Still, I am feeling motivated. Today’s practice went well. Feeling more confident with the dismount, but still lacking the energy needed to “hurl” myself back on the bike for the remount.

The point of this all? None, I just wanted to do a recap of the week thus far for myself.. not really any other reason.

 

 

Improvement Continues to Fuel the Fire

1 IMG_3182

Last week I posted about the first cyclocross practice of the season. How painful it was to feel so slow, and how I really needed to give myself a head check on where I have been to where I am going.

The past 2 weeks I really have been putting forth effort into a consistent workout regimen. Tracking and plotting on TrainingPeaks.com. Bike riding, jogging and today started back with weight lifting. Goals of cyclocross racing ring in my head, but more than that leading into the 2012 season as injury and worry free. Planned days of active recovery, or general days off that mirror days with family.

Today at lunch I decided to hit up the gym for some basic weights and to weigh in. While I normally weigh in the same time in the mornings, I hadn’t weighed in for over 3 months (I got depressed back in April) and was shocked and surprised today for what I saw.

159 lbs

The last time I looked at the scale I was at 169 (April), earlier in the I was around 180 but I was frustrated and decided to give up on the scale..to live. Boy, am I glad I did so but I am glad I did a mental check today of my progress. There hasn’t been any dieting or active “focused” eating since March and all I’ve been doing is being more aware with what goes in my mouth compared to what type of activity is going on in my life.

I can tell you that seeing the scale today will make it more motivating to wake up early and hit the gym tomorrow morning before work!

The First Cyclocross Practice of the Season

1 Cyclocross Training

Have I mentioned how excited I am about the cyclocross season that is coming up? 50% excited about the racing and 50% excited about the environment, friends and culture.

Last night was the first cyclocross “practice” of the season. It really is a reason for friend, George Berger, and I to get out to Fisher Farms with barriers and ride around in circles. Another one of our friends, Mark, showed up to crush us.

Eye Opening Fitness

It is always easier to feel fast when you ride alone, and then you ride with folks that have been consistently riding…that’s when you realize you are slow as a snail!

All I can do is put my head down and plow ahead with training and efforts. Riding with folks that have had solid seasons, and consistent riding for over a year…it isn’t fair to judge myself next to them. Hell, I need to stop judging myself.

Be proud you are out doing it, be proud to be on the bike and keep moving forward!

Monday is an Easy Ride

0 Women's Cycling Monday Recovery Ride

Women's Cycling Monday Recovery Ride
Today is the day I started “cyclocross training.” It should have been July 1st, but well I didn’t. August 1st is a doable time period as NC Cyclocross runs later than most parts of the country, October 22nd is the first race. What does this mean?

This means I need to stay inspired and motivated for the next 6 months, through the end of January. It also means I hope to pull my friends kicking and screaming into the scene, while meeting new friends within the scene.

This means I need to ride, I am plugging into TrainingPeaks.com and doing my best to track things. I need to finish my food intake for the day, but normally within 3-4 days things click in my head and I easily start eating healthier. Easily finding comfort in a routine.

Ride One of the Season

What a better way to start of the season than with friends? An easy 1 hour spin around the neighborhoods and along the lake shore. Not a ton of miles (not much at all) but spinning around with 3 good friends is perfect. Tomorrow I hear they are dragging me out to run, good thing it is x-train and lifting day! Now to log off and finish watching the Bacherlotte!