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Entries from October 17, 2010 - October 23, 2010

Cross Racing Week 5 | Fall. Rise.

You. You are why I come back. You are why I fear many things. Death. Cancer. The Drink. Breaking bones. And yet you are why I decide to do it again every season. Frankly every day. Staying focused and with that focus achieving a balance that lets me do it all over again.

Every time our beautiful leaves change. Every time I see mud. Every time I hear cowbells. We hear them together.

Therefore I can, due to this, exhale. I can breathe calmly as I pin on my number carefully at my car. In the cold beautiful fall air. I am facing away from you and you can not see my smile as I listen to you. I hear your chatter. It is good. It motivates me. It keeps me young.

I hear your voices around me as I make my way through my pre-race rituals. In the pits. As you walk by. Gabbing to yourselves. Laughing. Talking of the corners. Of how you feel. Of tire pressures. Of your great new bike and your new French tires. Your last night. Your last season. Your season to come.

I feel your arm wrap on my back as you say good morning. You don't know it but I’ve logged that moment in my mind to remember when I am old and can not do this any longer. Your arm on me is like water in the desert. It is felt. And absorbed and channeled.

And due to these feelings, you are the reason I write. And the reason I come back to the sport. And the reason I want to do well. The reason I want to be better. The reason I will be arms up some day again.

Above all I thank you.

My Apology

Today was very rough on my spirit. The crash happened and as we say ‘it is what it is’. It was an unnecessary happenstance. And I wish I could say it was due to the racing and the heat of battle that I went down, but I can’t. But the composure I lost after I hit terra firma in my view was beneath me. So first let me please offer a deep apology to those who witnessed my idiotic acts. The words I chose to use in the heat of the moment were unacceptable as a father, a racer and a community member. I will explain my flood of emotion in a moment but I need for those who witnessed me come undone to hear my apology and know that I give you my deepest apology for words I said in public. You are there on your weekend to have fun and not hear anyone sour the air. It’s frankly why I want to come back every weekend! You are my family. And family should never sully itself.

The day – The Race Action – A Crash – Rebuild again.

Blue Sky: You are amazing. I had results in my In-Box (unfortunately without my name) within a few hours of the race’s finish. The course you prepped and had us race on was so fun, It will be legendary. Each week the designers are OUT-DUELING each other for most memorable course…where the memories are nothing but: “Holy crap, these guys NAILED it!” And Blue Sky just raised the bar. We’ve been racing Xilinx for years and this was without question the most fun I’ve had on the grounds. So, you nailed it. One suggestion: Add one SMIDGEN of length to the course. Just a wee bit on the back South side and you will be golden. Just 1 additional minute. That is IT. No more. Don’t overthink. You’re there.

The 35A’s race was magical. Every single solitary piece I have been working on came together for me personally: Don't win the hole shot/Save some/Watch carefully/Ride Your Race Smoothly/Corner well/Attack wheels… It all just seemed to materialize! No chain was happening. Seeing a target and overtaking him was happening. Being patient was happening. I had every line dialed. From my warm up to executing it during the race, my lines were dialed. Tire pressure DIALED. It was like being on remote control. It was actually quite calming in some super weird way during the race.

Rod ever-faithful captured the course for you, who are far away. Yup. Fun. And Yup, I ran a 34 Dugast Flying Doctor on the front and Typhoon on the back, Money.

Blue Sky Velo CX 35+ part 1 from Rod Yoder on Vimeo.

Midway through our race lapped riders were present. “On your left!”, and they would gracefully move well clear of the line. Deeper into the race I would overtake folks warming up and could feel it was getting ‘crowded’…as in problematically crowded. Very noticeable in terms of the number of folks getting their taste of the course in while we were racing and honestly the brazen-ness of some warming up was a bit too much for me. As I am racing, I would shout ‘Racer!’ on more than one occasion, and I am thinking ‘shit, they must have head phones in…’ as there was no movement when I‘d shout.

Note, I am thinking not of the race at these moments, but of the non-racer’s warming up for their events.

Coming into a particular section with 2 laps to go I could hear the shouts of racers ahead of me. “Racer! At this point I am flying. I’d just overtaken one particular guy to help me spring board to my team mate who I had a mental lock on to work with. Knowing that with one more interval through this ONE section I have been railing the WHOLE race I am on my team mate, Mark, and we together are going to FLY and move up fast. I heard people shouting for a particular guy warming up at this moment to get out of the way and before I know it I am doing the same. I am on him, shouting at him, taking energy and focus from my race to shout at him and say: “Dude! Out of the line! Outta the line!!!!!”. We are both spooked and I jig hard right then HARD left again to get around the apex of the turn we are both converging on. My tire slips as I am in territory I have NOT been racing on and had NOT warmed up on to find the line. I had no feel for where I was pushed out into and was out of the obvious line we’ve been taking all race.

“BAM!”

I’m on the ground…and hear a ‘pop’. Same side as in June when the clavicle snapped. I jump up again like I did that day.

Holy shit it’s broken! Holy shit its broken! Holy shit I broke it again!” I kept shouting this. To myself. At the ground.

I unzip my skin suit to see if it came through the skin. Nothing. In fact I am pushing hard on the clavicle and…NO PAIN! No movement. Just the same old massive calcification of the break from June. But where is the pain coming from? It’s shooting like a bullet through my shoulder blade. I try to get back on my Ridely. I can’t reach the bar with my left hand. I am trying to literally get my left arm to go forward and grab the hood but it won’t. My race was SO GOOD. I am there! I am having fun! Racing Smart! NOT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I stop. I start to sob. I start to come unglued. I completely fall apart on my hands and knees.

The venom that spouted as I apologize for above is flowing. I need you to know that it was like a purge. As if the fear I have been harboring of falling on this broken bone…and all of the work I put into healing, staying positive and getting fast again…was bottled up and was GUSHING out through my insane eyes and mouth as embarrassing as it is to think about post facto. And I let it rip out between my teeth and mouth. I threw my helmet like a baby shouting at the man who jumped in my line.

I was not me.

Diesel and Phenecie were there. They saw this and guys I am sorry. You are my buds and I want you to see me in another light. I know you do, but I apologize nonetheless.

Since I could train and race again properly in August, I’ve been doing so with a personal vengeance. Yet with this odd fear that was looming…that I waiting for…for what it will feel like to re-fall and re-break my clavicle. I would envision it. Since June I replay the snap! in my ears and mind. I want to win. I want to be one of the fast guys. I want to feel success again as I define it in this case of being first across the line.

Fuck it. It’s happened.

I will stop this line of ranting and idiotic thinking. It’s not positive. It’s not forward. It’s not progress. It’s not improvement. It’s not health. It’s not what I want my boys to learn.

Can’t wait to wake up tomorrow. It’s one day of healing under the belt.

My Thoughts on Warm Ups

We are blessed to have the ACA. These folks bleed cycling from their souls like we all do here. But I think with some small modifications, we could make the racing experience even better. Specifically, I am talking about specific warm up procedures to assist with improving the experience of racers as they get their game on in their event…and all of us who need to experience the course before we race vis-à-vis warm ups on course.

When I raced in Europe, you would NEVER be allowed on course to warm up. I am not sure why we can not replicate that here. A typical weekend of racing in Colorado looks like this categorically:

  • JM/W 10-12 8:30
  • JM/W 8-9 8:30:30
  • JM/W 15-18 9:00
  • JM/W 13-14 9:00.30
  • SM 35+ 9:45
  • SM 35,4 10:40
  • SM 45+ 11:35
  • SW Open 11:35.30
  • SM Open 12:40
  • SM 55+ 1:50
  • SW 35+ 1:50:30
  • SW 4 1:51
  • SM 4 2:45
  • SM 3 3:45
  • SInglespeed 3:45:30

I am wondering what people would think about offering dedicated warm up times throughout the day…exactly like they do in Belgium and elsewhere, where you need to show up early, be there for the dedicated warm-up time before your event and learn the course. It could be modeled like the above with merely  45 minute difference for promoters to deal with (as they must keep volunteers around for marshaling and course set up/tear down):

  • 7:30-8:30 COURSE WARM UP
  • JM/W 10-12 8:30
  • JM/W 8-9 8:30:30
  • JM/W 15-18 9:00
  • JM/W 13-14 9:00.30
  • 9:30-9:50 COURSE WARM UP
  • SM 35+ 9:55
  • SM 35,4 10:50
  • 10:55-11:30 COURSE WARM UP
  • SM 45+ 11:35
  • SW Open 11:35.30
  • 12:20-12:50 COURSE WARM UP
  • SM Open 1:00
  • 2:05-2:20 COURSE WARM UP
  • SM 55+ 2:25
  • SW 35+ 2:26
  • SW 4 2:26:30
  • 3:15-3:30 COURSE WARM UP
  • SM 4 3:30
  • SM 3 4:20
  • SIngle speed 4:20:30

I am thinking through this out loud…and with you as my friends…but think the filed sizes and the number of people DYING to get out and try the course is exceeding our capacities. All race promoters NEED more volunteers (and in volunteering YOU get to pre ride as much as you like while YOU make the course!) and we need LESS people taking up space while racers are on course.

My Thoughts on Picking Up the Pieces…Again

I think I’ve said enough above. 46TXT’s and 22 phone calls. I am in shock. I was not heli-lifted from the scene…nor do I have a life threatening disease. You care enough to ask me what’s up and I love you infinitely for that. It makes me go fast. Today is Saturday, tomorrow is Sunday and I will see how I feel. I’ve been through this before, and will not deviate from my path of ‘having fun’. This is merely a trivial road block.

When you get up tomorrow morning and that garage door opens flooding in the light on your bikes and equipment, be giddy. Get excited. Feel like it will be your day. Your SMOOTHEST day. Or your ONE day without a mechanical or crash. Or YOUR day to be on the podium. There’s so many races within a race. Make your race your best. Let it star with that first gulp of cold air you feel and the first light as it exposes your equipment when that door opens.

Race your race. Be happy. Smile. Clench your fist and look at the folds in your skin as it get's tighter and you say..

Yes.

One man has captured our weekends

Portland. Boston. Seattle. Boulder. This is it. Burk Webb has done it. He’s captured how we all spend our weekends. It gives me a new appreciation of everything we put into our game as I see the smiles that occur in slo-mo…and a new desire to dust of my Rush collection.

Cross Crusade Race #2 Rainier High School from Burk Webb on Vimeo.

Wednesday Worlds | I love the smell of hup in the morning.

Enjoy some courses which the Wednesday AM cross crew enjoy with the permission of Boulder Parks & Rec.

Elks

 

The Rez (Previewing the Colorado Classic UCI Course October 30th 2010)

Cross Racing Week 5 | Twists and Turns at Aspen Lodge CX

pic #281 (1)Let me start by saying this: Yum. An absolutely delectable Sunday up in the mountains with the family and Colorado cross community up in Estes Park, one of Colorado’s most scenic regions. You realize you are nowhere else but the Rocky Mountains when you simply pan around and take it all in…Long’s Peak providing a backdrop that you simply can’t get anywhere else in the world next to a cross course.  Aspen Lodge CX was the second stop of the Colorado Cup and it was an epic affair leaving an amazingly good taste in my mouth. We raced at 9,100 feet above sea level and on a course that I will assuredly have dreams about for months to come. It was a good old fashioned ‘cross deigned to be straight up hard. Event Organizer Chris Grealish of DBC Events and course designer Joe DePaemelaere (of Primus Mootry) put together what in my opinion was something special and fun.

First things first: The course. Joe D used the land surrounding the Aspen Lodge very interestingly. I heard so much bitching and complaining when I got there, I had to see it for myself so I set off the pre-ride with my 8 year old. Yes, it was hard. Yes, it was bumpy. Get over it. I am not saying ‘be happy with what you’re given’. What I am saying is that it was epically challenging and had you absolutely staying on your toes every meter.  It had everything from steep hard pitches to technical features like loose gravel turns taken at speed to beach sand, railroad tie run ups and rock gardens that you needed to ensure you nailed lines through. Yes a kid on a 29’er won the Men’s Open race. So perhaps feature-izing the course a bit more to prevent ride-ability could have been implemented, but…

Oh wait. That’s what they said about Sven Nijs in 1998 when he started KILLING all the Elites with his bunny hopping antics. And what did they do: Removed barriers and made many of the courses grass crits to ‘equalize’ the racing.

Aspen Lodge was a FRIGGING RAD course and I am sorry many racers had tire issues (flats, burps, etc) through the day. That is all part of the challenge and as a new course, we’ve learned and I’ll be back. The last thing I’ll say and end my diatribe: It was Colorado Cross Cup worthy. The course is one dimension in my opinion to getting a Cross Cup label. The course, combined with facilities, registration process, accessibility, were all professional. Parking was an issue but if people realized there was a big lot 200m up the road, that would have been a good improvement (note to DBC: Ensure parking up the road is well marked next year).

And by the way, my 8 year old said his race was ‘super fun!’…and I think these munchkins had it INFINITELY harder than any of us.

Let me get to the action.

My son and I pre-rode Joe’s course together. I tried Dugast Typhoons at low PSI, but switched to Rhinos immediately. It was a course that needed lots of ‘cush’ and tread. I let air out of Aiden’s little tires too! I pointed out all the gotchas to him and when it came to race time, he remembered it ALL. Impressive.

IMG_7195

Aiden and Dad pre-riding. Photo by Neal Rogers

Aiden’s Race was SICK! Probably (no embellishment) the best race of the day. His race started by getting taken out from behind and having to jump on and drill it from DFL through the pack of juniors. He pushed all the way past the group of 8/9’s (and some 10/12’s!) with his teammate Vin Hludzinski from Boulder Cycle Sport to catch a strong Oliver Hart, pass him and  made a push to win the race! Oliver CLAWED his way back to nip Aiden in a sprint! Amazing race and I am so impressed with these kids.

On to the big boys. The 35 A’s had a great field. It was a Cup race so all the fellas came out to play of course. My goal was to not pull a ‘Frisco’ and get blown out  in the first lap (‘show up and blow up as Hogan says…) due to altitude. I lined up 2nd row and this would ensure I just chilled for the first lap or two and watched. From the gun, Ward was off the front driving the pace hard. As you can see in this video below from Rod Yoder’s ‘gun turret’ camera, we all almost got flattened by the Finish line ‘inflatable!’ (OK, Chris, maybe fix that next year, ha!). The inflatable was gone by the second lap. Watch Rod’s account of the first lap…and note when the split happens in the first lap due to a crash on the beach. I picked up the bike and just ran to stay connected to the lead group who I KNEW would be drilling it when they heard the commotion behind. Shit, I would have! Ha!

2010 Aspen Lodge CX 35+ from Rod Yoder on Vimeo.

More vantages of our race by Dale Riley (visit his site Crossin’ Colorado!) of the first lap and Ward pushing the pace hard from the gun. This is seconds after coming underneath the falling inflatable.

Aspen Lodge CX - SM35+ Open - Start from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Dale’s video shows off some of the course features here. The hay bales below should have been replaced by a proper set of boards…but this was a last minute need by the ACA officials so I think they literally grabbed these from the horse stables! Boards next year…

Aspen Lodge CX - SM35+ Open - Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

The race was one of attrition. Just stay focused the whole time on what you are doing within YOUR race. I pushed hard and stayed with my buddy Rob Batey in the 2nd chase group for the WHOLE race. The first 5 guys including Ward, Michael Robson, my team mates Timmy Faia and Mark Wisner and Moot’s Glen Light were gone literally after that gap appeared in Lap 1. There was a lot of commotion going on with crashes but Robson and Ward were aggressive and pushing themselves super hard. No one was going to grab them.

Epic scenery with Long’s Peak in the background.

Batey and I traded turns lap after lap but we couldn’t get anyone back. He and I pushed it in the last lap, drilling it super hard. I could not claw back his 20 meters as he was staying super smooth (nice work Rob!). I was satisfied on the day with 7th, holding smooth myself the whole race. Never ONCE did my Rhinos un-hook and I stayed composed, did not worry too much about the gap in front and kept it together to make it hard for anyone behind to claw back. I simply drove my bike and flowed the course…and I was satisfied.

We have a double header coming this weekend I am REALLY looking forward to. Blue Sky’s Xilinx race and Brian’s ‘Bowl of Death’ at the Louisville Rec Center.

We just need some weather.

5 Questions with Coach Frank Overton–FasCat Coaching

fascat_logoThe one day I feel good and decide to take a flyer on the infamous ‘Crack’ ride this summer and I hit the deck. “Snap!” was what I heard. My first thought was ‘shit, that was a pretty expensive pair of Oakley Radar’s I just snapped’. But getting up I knew fairly quickly that the snapping sound was not the plastic of the sunglasses, but my clavicle. My second thought was ‘well…I guess I can take a ‘cross season off this year.

No way.

That was mid June. By July I was still healing but already of the mindset I wanted to be back racing with my friends come the changing of the leaves. It’s what I live for! And to help me try and assemble some fitness and learn how to dig myself out of my predicament, I enlisted the help of a great friend, fellow ‘crosser and one of Boulder’s top coaches, Frank Overton. What I found in working with Frank was a person who simply ‘gets it’. Can see through the person on the other side of the table and their true needs…only a part of which is a core training plan. It’s about balance…and that as you all know…is what is sacred to me. Frank is a daddy, husband competitor and business owner and his clientele range from professional athletes, to folks like you and me who live this sport of ours and want to push to new levels. We all need our personalized level of balance…from rest to blazing intensity…from back to back racing weekends to skipping a race or two and taking the family out for a hike. I wanted to expose you all to Frank, his company FasCat Coaching and the amazing stuff he is doing with his business to bring fitness to people. And so, 5 Questions with, Frank Overton!

M&C: Tell me a bit about FasCat coaching. The services offered, clients catered to and why a coach can be a great thing (we've all heard the nightmare stories before of the militant remote coach....).

Coach Frank: Our new Performance Center gives our coaching business the infrastructure to work closer with our athletes.  We have a retail powermeter shop and an indoor cycling space with room for up to 20 bikes per class.   We have put together a world class physiological lab with the best metabolic cart and lactate analyzer – the very same equipment used in big time exercise physiology lab (Olympic Training Center, Harvard, NASA).   Not only can we tell you your VO2 Max and Lactate Threshold but we will consult with you on what those results means to your power based training.   By linking the two we give our athletes the ability to take the sport science from the lab out onto their handlebar with their powermeter to use while they are training & racing.

 

Frank Overton – FasCat Coaching. This is the smile I see in the rearview mirror of his scooter as he’s slaying me. Evil.

(This amazing portrait by Smashread on Flickr.)

We also have a full service biomechanics lab for bicycle fitting with former Olympian and Physical Therapist, Ann Trombley.   Ann combines 10 years of physical therapy and bicycle fitting experience for an old skool fit that uses the new skool Dartfish video motion capture system.   Our two camera video setup is displayed on a video monitor for the athlete to see how they look on the bike before, during and after the fit.  The Dartfish software allows Ann to slow down and catch subtle movements that would otherwise go undetected.  We also use the software to measure ankle, knee, and hip angles as well as tracking lateral knee movement.   

Using Dartfish software to dial in fit scientifically. It’s not just for the pros!

All the technology plus extensive  bike fitting experience puts our bike fitting up with the very best.    If you have bike riding pain on the bike you are in no better hands than a physical therapist with vast bicycle fitting experience.   If you are about to start riding your bike a lot and would like to take preventative measures against bike fit related injuries and pain, look no further.

Starting November 2nd, we are going to launch our indoor cycling program.  It’s more than a workout – all of our classes are coach led and power based.  There’s a power based interval workout curriculum and its going to be hella fun in a group setting with music & videos.  Did I mention that all of our classes are going to be power based?   We are using state of the art CycleOps Power trainers and Indoor Cycles with wireless ANT+ sport technology that’s displayed on a Joule 3.0.    For more information please have a read through our Indoor Training information.

We also offer camps & clinics.  Next year will be our fifth year running the Boulder Summer Road Training Camp – which started out of my garage.   This past August we ran a very successful Cyclocross Camp that will be back in full force next Summer.   The feedback we got from campers was very positive and all are having great cyclocross seasons.

It’s hard to walk in these compression socks. But swing by FasCat and try ‘em after your workout!

Last but not least we have some amazing coaches that are passionate about cycling and more so helping athletes be better cyclists. Jason Hilimire has been with me since 2003.   I coached him from Sport to a Semi-Pro Mountain biker and he completed a yearlong internship with me before graduating on to be an associate coach.   Matt Rossman is an apprentice coach with FasCat that is expanding his knowledge even further in an exercise physiology graduate program at the University of Utah.

Tom Zirbel is a FasCat coach.   How cool is it that a guy who got 4th in the 2009 World’s Time Trial can be your coach?  Like Jason, Tom learned coaching from the athlete side first.  I started working with Tom in 2004 and you know the rest.  Pro Contract > many time trial victories > overall NRC title > 2 consecutive second places at the USPRO Time Trial > and then tragedy.    While it is terrific having Tom a part of FasCat and seeing what an amazing coach he is becoming, it completely SUCKS that he is a coach for FasCat  and not out there doing what he does best.

Alison Powers is another FasCat Coach.  Like Tom and Jason she is also a former FasCat athlete (notice a theme here?).  I worked with Alison in 2007 when I was the assistant director for the US National Women’s Team.   She won the Pan American Time Trial and went on to be a US National Time Trial Champ and overall NRC title winner.   Stay tuned for a FasCat Time Trial clinic taught by two of the best!

Finally Jon Tarkington is now a FasCat Coach.  I’ve been wooing him for close to a year now.  In fact way way back in 2006 we talked about opening a performance center.    ‘Teton’ as many know him is a great guy, enthusiastic coach, exceptional leader and lover of cycling.   He comes to FasCat after a tenure as the Director of the American Cycling Association and will be spearheading several coaching projects that I am very excited about.

All in all our coaches are some of the best in the business, and athletes can come to our new performance center to meet with them, talk training & racing and benefit from their coaching expertise.

M&C: Walk us through the genesis of FasCat, Frank.

Coach Frank: I started FasCat Coaching in 2002. The goal was to coach athletes and help make them faster for the races that matter the most to them.   Since I (Frank) was big into training with power, I began using our athletes power data & performances to learn how to be a better coach.   To promote the business, I hung my hat on the internet and  wrote monthly training tips for PEZCycling News from 2003 – 2005.   I did my homework for each training tip, backed up by my own research, power data and other athletes success using those training techniques.  I developed my coaching philosophy while writing those training tips and I continue to write tips as a way to explore innovative training methodologies. 

Fast forward to May of 2004 – I was coaching enough athletes to quit my job as a molecular biologist at a little start up bio company called Bolder Biotechnology.  As a side note Bolder Biotech was developing 2nd generation protein pharmaceuticals like EPO & Growth Hormone.  I was the guy that took the DNA, manipulated to code in a way we thought would be favorable for manufacturing and put the DNA into E. Coli for fermentation productions.   But I digress….

So from Memorial Day of 2004, I have not looked back and it has been full steam working with athletes since then.  I continued to race and analyze power data and focused 100% on the athletes I coached.  In 2006 my 2nd daughter was born and I wanted to step up my coaching by taking on more projects that would develop my skills as a coach.  Enter the Priority Health Professional Cycling team – I coached 50% of the team on a one on one basis in 2006 including Tom Zirbel (who is now a FasCat Coach).   It went well enough that I worked for the US National Women’s Team in 2007 as the assistant director in Europe.  We did all the women’s world cups all over Europe and I worked with some very talented ladies (one of whom, Alison Powers, is also a FasCat Coach).  Both were amazing learning experiences but neither was sustainable as a career – especially one as a family man.

CIMG1573

Frank and his training programs have taken his athletes to amazing levels.

In 2008, I turned my attention away from working with teams and focused on developing the business.   We did a 3rd generation website with Goozmo, LLC and opened powermeter shop selling SRM, PowerTap and Quarq CinQo powermeters.   I carried little inventory and mainly placed custom orders for new FasCat Athletes that wanted to train with power and knew they needed the coaching to go along with the powermeter.   To this day we give a free month of power based coaching (with no start up fee) to every athlete that buys a powermeter from us.   Our prices do not compete with other discount retailers but the added value of coaching is a deal that can’t be beat.

Also in 2008, I took on my very first associate coach, Jason Hilimire. For years I had wanted to hire other coaches but I had never found the right one.   The coach that knew his stuff, that knew the FasCat methodology was in fact one of my very first athletes.   Way way back in 2003 I took out an ad on mtbr.com and Jason hired me.  We worked together for 4 years or so where he went from a sport class mountain bike to a semi-pro racer.   For Jason to come on board as a FasCat coach made all the sense in the world.  Jason completed a yearlong apprenticeship with me and now is one of the best mountain bike coaches I the business if you ask me.

Fast forward to 2009 where years of brainstorming a training center finally clicked.   A business plan and a detailed pro forma later & FasCat got its piece of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (aka the Stimulus Package).    By June of 2010 FasCat had its brick in mortar after a custom build out in one of the best locations in town.   I specifically choose our location to be near Boulder Cycle Sport & Amante Coffee.   So far that is our brief history and here’s to another 10 – 20 years.

Enjoy this little ditty of a typical motopacing session with Frank.

M&C: Cyclocross is a unique beast. Intensity for an hour, handling your bike under stress lap after lap, in extreme conditions. What are the key differences in a training plan that should be considered by an athlete who wants to improve their game in what may be their 2nd or 3rd season?

Coach Frank: Cyclocross is an anaerobic sport in which successful athletes have a well developed anaerobic system capable of handling over one hundred 5 – 20 second explosive power outputs in a 1 hour race.   Thus anaerobic capacity workouts are the name of the game.  “1 minuters” are great to get the party started.  I like to progress to shorter intervals at higher power outputs as the season approached.  45 seconds > 30 seconds and then Tabatas!  (20 seconds on 10 second OFF).

Timing is everything and periodization is paramount.   Anaerobic capacity work will be even better if athletes can have a hemi-powered aerobic engine.  Thus the timing – aerobic in the summer, anaerobic pre-season and specificity during the season. You can scope out some previous articles I have done here on our site, as well as on VeloNews.

M&C: Masters racers are particularly difficult students. We demand a lot as we think we're 24 years old. have a lot of dependencies infinitely more important than cycling (families, jobs, etc) and invariably are Type A(+++) personalities that simply have to see results. How do you manage to this customer type?

Coach Frank: With great care.  Actually it’s not that difficult for me because I am a Masters Athlete, I am somewhat Type A and I know what I would want from a coach and I try to deliver that to my athletes.  It’s my coaching golden rule “do unto my athletes as I would expect to be done for me”

Being a good listener and communicating helps a lot.  Advanced planning and goal setting go long way too.   Plus monitoring the master athletes’ (as with all athletes) performance and being on the same page brings out their best.

M&C: Mmmm. MotoPacing. We've all seen it before…visions of Merckx following his derny around the streets of his hometown at ungodly speeds. But specifically what are the benefits? If you can do it, why? And when?!

Coach Frank: Yes, I love motorpacing as an athlete and a coach.   There is nothing more intimate than taking an athlete out for a motorpacing session and being right there as they suffer, the grit, they struggle and as they haul ass.   As they essentially pour their heart and soul out to stay with you, their coach, sitting on the moto.   I can see if they are motivated and going to uncork a can in their races or if they are tentative and fearful of the intensity.  That’s important for understanding athletes and figuring out how to motivate them and get them to perform their best.

 

Frank practicing what he preaches and gets his 'cross on - here at Aspen Lodge CX October 2010

I often find that the quality of the workout goes up infinitely when I take my athletes out motorpacing. And since I like quality workouts, I am prone to take athletes out behind the moto a lot.

Physiologically athletes improve their neuromuscular power from motopacing. Think of the short bursty efforts that are required to stay 6 inches behind the moto.   Many times this is described as leg speed. By pedaling at a high cadence behind to motor, athletes are teaching their brain to fire their muscles in rapid succession at great power outputs.   Many athletes can make a lot of power, but motopacing helps them make big power FAST.  Thus motopacing is appropriately called a speed workout.

Mentally, motopacing is beneficial because it teaches athletes to “stay on the wheel” To suffer.  It’s a great carrot and with the way the draft works behind the motor – its Darwinism at its finest out there.   Just like bike racing.  It’s one of the most specific workouts that I know of and has been the secret weapon for many.    If there was a way, a place to motopace on a cross course while dismounting and remounting then I’d do it.

UPDATE! Through the keen eyes and memory of my bud in Belgium, Michel Bajorek, I received an email from the 2009 Worlds article on VeloNews with pictures shot by Jeremy Powers. Yup, Stybar behind a derny on course!

M&C OK, the most important question: Nijs or Wellens?

Coach Frank: Neither, Gully!  He was the guy that was kicking ass when I first got into cross.   When I first started racing Cat 1-2 CX races, one of my goals was to not get doubled by Gully and then if I did to stay with him.