Entries in cyclocross training (100)
I hear myself tell my legs on any given weekend "I hope you perform". But as we know, hope is not a strategy. It's a layer somewhere beneath luck, fitness, passion and ultimately skill that can help contribute to a great performance. But on its own, it's useless.
These day's I am finding my place in the crew. Finding my legs...and my head...as I continue 'the balance'. Everyone...and I mean virtually everyone!...is at this new level. Cross is a passion for all those who line up and their strategies are less 'hope', more 'drill it'. It's inspiring.
The place I see myself now and the place I need and want to be are not very far from one another. It's like looking across a small stream....one that you know you can leap across if you nail the jump just right. But you need to trust your legs and your spring to get across. This is precisely the situation I am in. That extra .0001% of effort to take a risk, bridge to where I need to be in the race and settle in.
Everyone is suffering. That needs to be remembered. It's about your ability to block out all doubt for the nanosecond it takes to put in an effort...one that with hanging doubt will never allow you to cross the chasm for fear of too many matches burned.
I can do it.
Training these days is less training and mostly tuning. Each race is its own stepping stone. The big blocks of the summer...early morning pre-work sufferfests to condition the body from long single speed rides to hour-long wattage-fests...was prescribed well. But now, the intensity of work and the need for my family to have a daddy and a husband far outweigh the selfish requirements that many are still putting themselves through to be at the razor sharp edge of the race.
Racing-->rest-->a Wednesday eye-bleed session-->rest-->racing. Eat well. Don't be afraid to have a beer. Sleep even harder. Secret sauces that help me carry on in the fall while my mind still carries me to victories, instigating my passion for the sport and the place I'd like to find myself. Never hoping I am there, always planning to be there.
We had a great turnout of folks today at the Boulder Edition of the Cycle-Smart Cyclocross Clinic. We met up and had folks sign in at 7:30 and proceeded to cruise to a nearby park to ensure we were tucked out of the way with plenty of grass to get our huppity hup on. Ben Turner and Brandon Dwight divided the crew into an advanced and beginner group while Brady Kappius and I got into the details with specific individuals to make 'em smooth! We tapped into various skills revolving around barrier work, transitions into run ups and did some mock racing to put all the learned skills to work under a little bit of elevated heart rate.
All-in-all a great way to spend a Sunday. Click on the photo below to see some pics I snapped on the day.
It's time. The depth of pain we put ourselves through in the wee hours of the morning is...well it's just funny. My old friend Jared once tweeted "what are Type A's running from?". I guess we're always running from something but I like to think I'm running towards something. Even if it's jus a crappy box of Gu's for getting on a podium made out of a bucket in Podunck CO. It's why we do it.
The early AM training is spectacular. Fall is already here at 6:00AM folks. Crisp and cool. The body is just at the door of being able to hum as the blocks are put in and assembled into something stronger. Foundations supporting a season. No gloves on while training. Freezing fingers to get them used to it. The way I look at it, you have to dedicate yourself to feeling like this...
To be like this:
Almost there. Stay on target. Can you hear it comin'?
Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!
Come join World's Team member and Cycle-Smart coach Ben Turner, 2x National Champion Brandon Dwight and a gaggle of passionate cyclocross experts including the CLIF Bar Cyclocross Team and member’s of Boulder Cyclesport’s cyclocross squad on Sunday August 30th, 8-11AM. Learn all of what you need to get fast and smooth and ensure that each weekend you pin a number on your back you are smiling wider as you see yourself improve. Get started off right this season!
Meet at Boulder Cyclesport in North Boulder at 7:30AM for check in. All the info you need is right below you! register today at BikeReg by clicking on the BikeReg icon!
A right of passage every August for a decade. The cyclocross practice drills begin in these doggishly hot days of summer. The tender wussiness of my collarbone blossoms into a sort of violet hue as I repeat the motion...
Bike on, bike off. Bike on, bike off. Bike on, bike off.
Over and over again. I love it. The kids think I am crazy as I do this stuff after work in the driveway as they play nearby.
Bike on, bike off. Bike on, bike off. Bike on, bike off.
But it's here. The season's falling fast upon us. The chatter is loud over the interwebs about people's cross dreams...
Better season. Improvement. Smoother. More fun. Go to Nationals. Trying tubulars. Lighter bike. Losing weight. Buying cowbells. Wife's first season. Kids first season.
All these are plucked from threads I've read. The wave is here. The frequency is fever pitched and the leaves haven't even begun to think about their transition yet. I love so much how my body feels when I ask it to remount and my foot finds pedal. I will never, ever be old with that feeling.
This time of year, for me anyways, is about paying close attention to where I am at physically. I love to drink me the beers, eat well or graze all day at the home office (although my lady is a nutritionist by education so we eat so clean and lean it's nuts). And this time of year it's super easy to stay hunkered down indoors, immobile, jamming work from before sunrise to sundown. But paying attention to 'the balance' even when there are no race targets is immense for me and has to be done. So what am I up to?
- Trail running. Lots. 3-4 days per week. I typically go between 30-45 minutes on trails with a lot of elevation gain. I tend to go hard....at least for me as a non-runner. It's good to get those punches in on the hills, jack the heart, and focus on feeling light. If you can do this, it WILL be remembered come 'cross season when you can take advantage of your running skills on long or technical run ups.
- Biking: Believe it or not, I try to avoid it...mainly due to my obsessive compulsive disorder for bikes. But, you can't keep me away all week, so I focus on my buds and being with them as OFTEN as possible for the shits and giggles factor. Fall will have enough 'alone time' training. Long MTB's with my boys are exactly what the doctor orders this time of year....e.g. one 4-6 hour ride on a weekend day each weekend (balancing the other day with the family) is immensely helpful for the body and spirit. Keeps the fat at bay given the time you're out there and develops this sick strength and focus thing you need...especially in the 50th minute in a cross race! During the week I'll alternate days when I'm not at the gym or running...mainly recovery rides for 1/2 to 1 hour. One day a week I'll alternate a run for a hill climb on the road bike up one of the notorious climbs around here like Flagstaff, Sunshine or Lee Hill to Deer Trail.
- Gym. 2 days a week. Lots of leg strength and core strength. I'm usually there for ~hour and you can do TONS in that amount of time. I'll alternate sides of the leg with each visit...e.g. hamstrings and calves on one day then leg presses (quad stuff) the next. I'll do core all gym days though to try and be...at least feel...svelte.
- Beer. Arrgh...my nemesis. I have to play games with myself and try to put multiple days in-between my sips. Else, I'll down one of those $12 4-packs pf Duvel before you can say bedankt....every time. So, moderation I guess as it's SO EASY to say hello to your friend nightly.
- Food. As mentioned, it's always clean, but I'm trying to take on more protein and less starches and 'fillers'. In other words, stuff that's going to help me rebuild muscle. And as a guiding rule from my main man Pete Webber: "Take on as many vegetables as you can tolerate." Belee-dat.
Anyways, I was asked about the above from a bud and figured I'd parlay it into ablog post. It's not like I'm winning UCI races but the model I tend to use works with the balance of things I try to maintain in my life. Hope it helps you!
Photo: via Google.
It's the dog days. That period between your season's end and keeping your mind in tact that another season will come and lots other than cycling needs to be focused on. I can guarantee so many of you know that mental thrashing that I am talking about. So what am I doing?
- Eating "healthy". OK, that's an embellishment because my wife is a nutritionist and we eat unbelievably. My change is in focusing in on WAY more greens and fruit (although the latter comes at the cost of more sugars) and what I am essentially basing my diet around these days to keep my system 'moving'. Protein-heavy stuff will come when the super deep training comes. My body over the last few months feels like I can not cycle-out stuff inside me...so I am focusing on the greens, tons of hydration (I know you all 'forget' to drink those 8 glasses of water a day!) all to make the stuff floooooooooooow.
- Strength. I'm getting some gray hairs...so I need to ensure this frame can continue doing what I love....forever. So now I am an early AM gym person, ~3-4 times a week, strengthening my legs, back and core. It's hard. Last year I did NOTHING, and suffered for it. Again, I came into last season with no opportunity for real training given the shit that went down so I had to just get fit by racing (which....was fun but left me dangling...reaching for that .0001% of something!) Frankly, to 'get by' last year I ended up drinking more than riding. It is what it is but it's what my mind needed to deal. Yes, a crutch. So come September, of course I never felt as if my core was strong enough to support the type of breathing I needed...and like my old coaches used to say: All power comes from the center. So, I've got me some fat to burn and some muscles to re-build.
- Stay out of the red: I'm riding these days, because I can;t live without it. It's my soul. Some cross, some MTB, some road....long rides, short rides, medium rides. But nothing too deep. I did not use a my PowerTap or my Polar last year. Not at all. Not once in fact for the WHOLE year. I used my Polar simply for the watch! But now, I am using it again to ensure I don't get too crazy. Nothing deep. I know now after all these years that I need to reserve my matches as it takes me WAY longer to recover. Sincerely, massive efforts early at nearly 40 years old takes a lot out of you (or me anyways). I'm fit, and need to remember that and require polish versus whole-sale rebuilding. 2007 was a physical restructuring under Za Plan. That changed me positively forever thanks to Taro. Now I am building upon that subtly and with smaller bricks versus those massive ones re-laid in the summer of 2007.
- Stretching. I'm not even going to say much here because I am a FOOL for not stretching more.
- Relaxing: I'm not Sven Nys. I don't play him on TV. I am a daddy and husband and worker. Oh, and bike racer. I'm a nearing-40 year old with a UCI Elite license (huh?...yup, just got it in the mail)....but I n-e-e-d t-o r-e-l-a-x o-n t-h-e w-h-o-l-e s-c-e-n-e! Ha! At least the scene I envision my head. Seeing the forest for the trees is the watch-phrase I need to focus on. Remember racing is a part of the collective joy. Not the joy.
It's growing. Can you feel it? 1500 racers in PDX on any given weekend. 80+ people on a training ride in Boulder on a Wednesday AM. It's a wave that is growing. If you love it like I know you do, give back! Bring a kid to a 'cross race! Let 'em get muddy! Walk the course with them while drinking a hot cocoa!
It's happening here in San Francisco...
And here in Boulder...
The Boulder kids clinic above I reported upon earlier and took place yesterday on their Veteran's Day off from school. Ghris Grealish's DBC guys were there as were all of Ben turner's CLIF Bar team. Amazing.
What are you doing to help the sport?? Give a clinic. Or keep taking them to learn more to teach others down the road. Take your neighbor to a local race. Help set up or take down the course as a volunteer.
I'm still lusting this past Saturday's course. All twisty it was. You lean over and let the tires bite. Bend them into the trail side as the cotton sidewalls do their job and flex keeping your rubber contacting the dirt. Let the treads chew into the earth. No washing. Constant pedal pressure as you apex through up over and around trees. Railing. Flow.
There's no better feeling in biking.
This upcoming weekend is Boulder Racing's final race in Louisville. We're past the mid way point and as I said so long ago, I'm am smiling. No goals, just flow. Faster hopefully each race. Every one cleaner than the last. That is an incredibly tough thing to do....so OK, I do have goals. Cleaner. Improve. Flow better. Stay on top of the pedal stroke. Be supple. Spin faster. Hands stay on hoods. Head never drops. Every barrier cleaned. Every port perfect and smooth.
OK: now I am starting to sound like Private Pyle describing how cleans and reassembles his M-14.
The training went well to day at the lunchtime ride. Pete Webber and I pile drove each other into the ground on 'Dubba's Course'. More tomorrow. Then rest.
When is a 37 year old supposed to get tired of all this and go dormant.