KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) May 31st 2016 race on Zwift.
Event details can be found here: Facebook KISS Event
KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) May 31st 2016 race on Zwift.
Event details can be found here: Facebook KISS Event
With many of my clients shifting focus from general fitness gains to race specific gains in strength, a topic that comes up a ton at this time of season is when and how to transition away from lifting into straight racing and cycling specific strength building in the muscles. During the off season, if lifting is done well, a cycling specific regiment will be focused on the major movers, so multiple muscle group exercises like squats, dead lifts, push ups, sit-ups etc. Single muscle workouts will just bulk up single muscles and is a tedious waste of time with minimal or no gains in cycling, or even general fitness, those workouts results are found at the beach…
At the same time these major mover exercises are general fitness focused, they build muscle fibers for generally moving those muscles, and are not as specific to pedaling a bike as high intensity intervals on the bike. Maintenance of the strength built up in the off-season is good, but attempting to continue building up those muscles through resistance training tends to compromise maximum effort into cycling specific intensity sessions, as well as take away resources to build up resistance training muscles rather than building strength and endurance in the cycling specific muscles needed for racing.
Once race season is here, it is time to sharpen and peak out the most important tools for racing. Lifting big weights for 10-20 seconds at a time will not do that for an endurance focused athlete. For the track cyclist or pure sprinter, big weight sessions may still be necessary to maintain peak form as their most crucial exercise system is around 10-60 seconds, but most cyclists do not need this kind of focus any longer.
My wife Lindsay has great power on the bike, but has struggled a bit with reactive and intuitive balance in technical sections, sometimes causing her to lose time to competitors on balance/skill rather than fitness . The exercise below is a great example of transitioning from weights to just body weight exercises and adding a bit of technical balance building into the exercise. Getting the most out of the time used in the gym for each exercise and back on the bike without spreading time too thin in the gym. With all this in mind, we have progressed Lindsay’s maintenance squats into the exercise below.
These squats are used for gaining huge amounts of reactive balance in the legs and body due to micro reactions needed in muscles to the sudden minute changes in weight distribution to stay upright. The squat is added for both resistance training and active muscle contraction similar to the sport of cycling, while the muscle is also learning balance, similar to riding technical trail and pedaling a bike at the same time.
First comfortably completing sets of single legs squat without balance assistance.
Second using a half ball for two legged squats without balance assistance.
Third with spotter and then always with something to grab like in video, moving onto full ball.
Always try to keep good squat form obviously with a straight back and weight focused on middle to heels for resistance mainly being pushed into the hamstrings and glutes.
After training inside for months during the mild winter, the first WORS race in Iola was finally here. During the “off-season” both my dad and I switched over to ride Trek (we both previously rode Niner). I now was riding a Project One Trek Pro Cal 9.8. I wouldn’t be able to do all of the traveling I’ve been able to do and get all the things I have without the support of my sponsors. I spent months preparing with only one race prior to Iola, and I felt both prepared and determined to win. While pre-riding, I rode the course slowly and took in everything and planned out where I knew I could be the strongest, and where I knew I had to save energy for the sections I know I’m not as strong in. The course changed a lot from previous years, they took out some key aspects from the race in previous years. There was more single track than double track, which played to my advantage in my race knowing that I’m the strongest there. I always am nervous for this race because I never enjoyed how the course was laid out and I have never won there.
On the Sunday of the race, I fueled myself correctly having my usual breakfast, and a light lunch about and hour and a half before the race. I warmed up by doing about 25 minutes of warm-up inside our camper on my trainer. I did jumps to get both my legs, and my heart prepared for the rigorous race ahead. I then went outside on my mountain bike and did a short sprint on the road and I then had to line up for my second season racing with Vision Cycling as a Cat 1 Junior. As always, Don gave his well-known pre race speech, and before I knew it, I heard him say go and I had an amazing start. I was first around the corner and up the first start climb when two of the pro/elite riders passed me.
I was the first Cat 1 Junior down into the bowl and half way up the bowl climb when both competitor, and good friend, Katy McDicken passed me. Shortly after that, I passed her again and she was always behind me by just a little bit for almost the whole race. During the beginning of the second lap I crashed in one of the loose, sand sections and went over the bars and face-planted in the sand but quickly got up and kept racing. I was running my heart rate around 180-190 the whole race, and was already pushing myself as hard as possible just to stay ahead of Katy.
About 1.5 miles until the end of my race, the girl who was in third place caught up to me. Hanna Mork is also a friend who usually beats me on this course and I was both surprised but also not that she caught up. She passed me and I had to follow her through the single track. I was already thinking that I didn’t know if I could beat her in a sprint finish in the double track, but I did know I could beat her in the single track right before the finish, and that was the plan. I tried multiple times to pass in the single track but I couldn’t and had to wait until an open double track where I had to kill my legs to stay in front until the long single track where I knew I could win the race. I was running my heart rate around 200 and could just feel my legs giving out. I finally pulled ahead of her in the section of single track where I knew I could win, and I also put a couple riders between just to be safe.
I crossed the finish line in first winning by just three seconds. When I went to cool down, my whole bike was shaking because my muscles were spasming so badly all over my legs. I learned also that I have to fuel myself correctly not only before my race, but also during which is something I still have to work on. The next race is WORS #2, The Battle of Camrock, which is my home course. I hope to kill it at that race but to work on fueling myself even better, until the next race…
It was a nice sunny day at Alpine Valley Ski Resort in Elkhorn, Wisconsin where the third Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series race took place. If you don’t already know what Alpine Valley has to offer as far as the trail system, it offers a good variety of climbing, twisty technical singletrack, technical decents and hidden gnomes. The race that I decided to do was a 6 hour duo with Jerrod Collier making for a fast duo against the other teams in the 6 hour race. I started off in the first two laps of the race where I found myself in a fast pace with some of Wisconsin’s top pro elite riders from WORS, it was somewhat uncomfortable for me going at a pace that I was not used to especially in a endurance race. After the first lap I finally started to settle in finding a fast but comforting pace wall maintaining my technical skills through the twisty singletrack, just after leaving the singletracked woods I made my way onto the trails traversing across the hill when Nathan Guerra (my coach) came up from behind me so I decided to stick with him for a good 2-3 minutes before I let him go on the steep climb and then made my way to the finish area where I swapped out and let Jerrod do two laps. Following up from Jerrod’s two laps we decided to do one lap switch-outs after that so shortly after I got switched out the 3 hour solo race began and I got caught behind a bunch of slow people but luckily I had Leia Schneeberger to work with for a bit in the singletrack to get past some of the slower guys so I could get back to my own pace as I did so. Finally when the last lap within the reach of 6 hours came I was very determined to finish the last lap strong because of the cramping that had began occurring from the end of the third lap I did began to come back to haunt me so I definitely made sure I took in enough water and gels to make sure I could safely make it through the last lap and I did it with the confidence I had given myself knowing that I had already completed three laps with 24 miles making it four laps with 32 miles which made me very happy. Along with being happy with the time and mileage that I put in I had a lot of fun in a chilled race environment which made for a good training ride. At the end of the day Nathan and his wife Lindsay both put in a good effort and got a well deserved 1st Place for Vision Elite, Jerrod and I got a respectable 2nd place which we were both happy with. And a huge thanks goes out to WEMS and everyone who contributed to building and maintaining the trails at Alpine Valley Ski Resort so a good race could be put on.
Met with warm weather and clear skies Saturday, Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series (WEMS) race #3 at Alpine Valley Ski Resort saw a great turnout from the Vision Elite and Wheel & Sprocket teams. Differing from WORS, WEMS promises racers an opportunity to test themselves in an endurance event. With races ranging from 3 hour solo, 6 hour solo or duo and 9 hour races, riders are free to choose their event and then complete as many laps as possible in the given time. If you’ve never had a go at an endurance event, WEMS is the perfect chance to give one a try regardless of racing level. With encouraging spectators and a relaxed atmosphere, WEMS offers a great environment to challenge yourself and see just how far you can push your legs!
Alpine Valley Ski Resort is tucked away just north of the Wisconsin/Illinois border and offers plenty of climbing and tight single track. With the addition of a couple miles of new trail for this year’s event, Alpine Valley delivered on the promise of a great day of racing.
For the unfamiliar, Duo races are comprised of two-contender teams where racers are allowed to swap at the lapping point interchangeably.
To watch Nathan’s run at Alpine Valley, we invite you to watch the Sioeye live stream of the event.
Over the winter, when everyone is on the trainer prepping for the race season, it can get boring. However, with the help of Nathan’s coaching and recommendation to use Zwift during the off season, it made riding a lot more like playing a video game while still training at the same time. Also, during the winter I took on my third year of competitively snowboarding mostly in Slalom and Giant Slalom. I was ranked 2nd in the nation at the end of the season, so I did get the opportunity to go out west for Nationals for a third year in a row. Instead, this year I decided not to go simply because I wanted to focus on school and training. This worked out really well because I was able to get in the best training I’ve ever had during the off season.
With the first WORS race of the season finally arriving, I didn’t know what to expect as far as course conditions on the day of the pre-ride. After seeing the amount of rain that had fallen during the week, I thought it was going to be a muddy race. Luckily, it turned out to be nice and dry, but was still bitter cold with snow flurries falling later in the day. This surprised me because I’ve never seen snow during May!
On race day it was still cold, but slightly warmer with the conditions still dry. later in the afternoon my race came along and I had a chance to meet up with some of last years racers and enjoy a good chat before the race. The start of the race was very fast, as all the start prologues are. I was fortunate to have a good start by not giving it a full 100% so that I wouldn’t become burnt out too early. At the same time, I put out enough energy so I could stay with the lead group. The first three laps were really good as I settled in a group with two other riders who put out a good effort during the whole race. Our lead group was so fast that we caught up to some of the pro/elite riders who started a few minutes in front of us.
When the fourth lap came I knew their was something wrong with my SPD cleat on the bottom of my shoe attaching to my SPD pedals. My shoe was loose on the pedal after the second to third lap, but after the feed zone on lap 4 the cleat completely came off! I was forced to ride the rest of a hilly and technical course without a foot clipped into my pedal. When it happened thought that my race would be over as quickly as it started all because I was losing so much momentum in the climbs, descents, and flats. During the whole fourth lap I was lucky enough to not get caught, which lead me to believe that I could actually podium. Checking the results, seeing that I took second of 6 riders in my age group and still managing to keep a good gap over my competitors makes me confident that my fitness is solid. Even when my equipment was flawed, I was still able to maintain a close race to first place. The race was a lot of fun, from all the climbs, to the descents and technical single track, I’m definitely putting Iola on my race list for next year again.