UCI Para-Cycling Worlds Championships

If you happen to be in L.A. this weekend be sure to check this action out!  Go see SoS athlete Lisa Turnbull and her stoker, Karissa Whitsell to a great spot for the London Olympics.  Race hard gals, we know you will do GREAT!

Be Realistic With Your Event Selection

Now is the time of year that so many people are looking at their calendars and ironing out what their plans are for the next 3 months, 6 months or for some the next several years.  Depending up what your goal is and what your level of experience is drastically determines the path that many will take.  You don’t see too many people go out for their first run, ride or swim and say I am going to go for an Olympic gold in the next Olympic Games.  This is one of those things that some spend multiple years if not a decade or more preparing for with the proper training, nutrition, lifestyle and focus to get to that point.  Much like the Olympic Gold medalist we as weekend warriors or age group athletes need to be realistic with our goals. Some organizations have systems in place to help bring many individuals down to reality, however, there are some that are not set up that way and often end up leaving people ill prepared for an event that is way over their head.  Ten to fifteen years ago I would have said that this was marathons with people getting injured with the distance or even the extreme circumstances of death because of their lack of preparation.  Many people are still looking at Marathons as a “bucket list” item but there seems to be a large shift to triathlons due to the sheer number that have become available and the massive population of triathletes and the amount triathlon is publicized this seems to be the newest “bucket list” item.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I think triathlons are an amazing thing for many people whether you are racing or participating it is a great motivation for many to become active.  My bigger concern is the over glamorization of the event in the sense that you see a lot of the very inspirational moments on race day.  From the winners crossing the line in record time, the masters competitors pushing their bodies to even the double below the knee amputee who finishes his first Ironman many are lead to sign up for the event.  The thing that is not shown, much like the gold medalist, is the great deal of preparation done by all of these individuals and that they have worked long and hard to make it to where they are today.  There have been countless hours put in staring at the bottom of a pool at 5:30 in the morning for a masters swim, endless hours dazing as they tap out time on the trainer and an endless number of shoes worn out pounding on the pavement.  The most important thing though is the progression that so many of these individuals have made to get to this point.  Many and hopefully most started modestly with a sprint triathlon, working to an Olympic distance and then maybe into a half IM to finally reach a full IM distance and then better yet, they did well enough to qualify for the most prestigious triathlon event of all, Kona. So, as you sit down to consider your event schedule for the year think about your progression of events and be realistic.  If you have swam your whole life but never ridden a bike without training wheels or run to the end of the street don’t sign up for an Ironman this year or if you have been on walks with your dog a few times don’t sign up to do an Ultramarathon in the fall.  Learn the skills of your sport(s) first and what it takes to get to the point you need to be at and then make that decision of your progression.  Not only will it help to keep you grounded but more importantly it will help to make your event much more enjoyable and keep you wanting to come back for more.  

Bike Fit: That which we do not speak of…

Okay, so to often we as cyclists and triathletes are afraid to talk about one thing in particular when it comes to bike fit.  What is that?  It is what some like to refer to as numbness “down there.” Let’s be honest, whether you call it your soft tissue, genitalia, Johnson, Va jay jay or any other little pet name you have for your nether regions, it doesn’t matter!  Your “down stairs” is an important fact about being on a bike as one of your main contact points with your machine and for most of us an important factor off the bike too! Now, let’s be logical about this before we just go Huffy tossing our valuable bikes.  Start off with a proper bike fit performed by a knowledgeable and capable fitter.  With that done and no relief in sight the next option is your saddle choice.  There are so many choices it can often seem daunting, and RIDICULOUSLY expensive if you don’t find the right saddle on the first go around, but the biggest thing to keep in mind is that there are two things worth the money.  Your helmet to protect your head and your saddle for your “down stairs.”  You can’t repair or replace those two things if they are broken!  Keep in mind there are several fit systems that are out there designed to help you find an 

optimal fitting saddle more quickly and effectively which include, but are not limited to, BontragerFi’zi:k & Specialized. The main factors in saddle fit include the Width, and the curvature of the top of the saddle and some are designed specifically for certain positions.  Many of the great saddle companies are now using a very scientific design to their saddles and use such things are pressure sensors to better measure the displacement of a rider’s weight on the saddle.  You can thank these researchers, doctors and bike geeks for all of their hard work because you no longer have to deal with discomfort, pain or numbness.So, I recently got a new Time Trial bike and had a four hour ride.  Up to hour 2 I thought, “This saddle SUCKS!” and “Oh my god!” Well after 3 hours I thought, “Maybe I’m getting accustomed to this saddle.”  I was very wrong!  I got off the bike and from then on could not feel my nether regions.  For hours this continued and since this is the first time that I have ever had this happen I knew that I had to discuss this here.  Since so many are either embarrassed or afraid to bring it up what better forum than to those of you who read this blog.  For those of you that come across this scenario every weekend, or even every ride, I do not know how or why you even continue to ride a bike!  So… know this:  You do not need to live with this pain nor should you. 

So, once you find that dream saddle what do you do?  First of all you enjoy riding your bike and being able to have the wonderful sensation of feeling after a ride.  Then the next step is to buy a couple more of those saddles.  It might seem crazy but saddles have a lifespan to them!  The materials break down and lose their original form and can potentially lose their comfort.  Much like shoes, cars and so many other things they are constantly trying to improve (sell more) items and this newest “improvement” might not be one for your body so save the headache of searching for a new one and stock up!

New Years Resolution? Not for me!

Many people that I know tend to chose a New Years Resolution that they want to stick to.  No matter what it is many people don’t make it past the first week with these resolutions and the feelings tend to make them more demoralized than they were before.  Personally I do not set a New Years resolution.  “Why?” you might ask.  I personally feel that setting one goal that is often an obscure far reaching goal that you fantasize of obtaining is only setting yourself up for failure and let down.  I personally set goals, now maybe this is my sport background or my competitive nature but I feel that this is a better way for me.  I do not set goals that are “low hanging fruit” so to speak but I set some that I know are achievable in the year’s time frame and then some that will be a challenge for me.  I have found this to be very beneficial for me for three main reasons:

  1. There are multiple things that I would like to achieve so if I don’t meet one it is not a complete failure for the entire because I didn’t make it.
  2. Some of them seem to be long shots when I am planning them and I might not make them but it makes me continue to strive to be my absolute best.
  3. I make them defined so I know what success is.  Much like a sport and training you can leave your goals vague and then success is up to your decision where if you have a quantitative aspect to it you will be able to gauge the level of success.

So you might be wondering “What sort of thing should I do as a goal for the year?”  Here is my recommendation.  Make more than one goal, I personally chose 10, this allows for many things to strive for but gives you stepping stones to success.  Make your goals something you desperately want or desire, but more importantly be sure it is your goal and not someone else’s.  The drive must be from within, otherwise you will dread the task of getting to your goal and drastically reduce your rate of success.  So to give you an idea of what I mean here are 5 of my 2012 goals:

  1. Be a better father and husband for my family: Put down the cell phone, put away the laptop and enjoy the time that I have available with them by giving them my undivided attention.
  2. Win RAAM 4 man team: This is very high hanging fruit but if I am going to do something I am going to do my best to win.
  3. Increase power at Threshold by 20 Watts by June: Consistent training and hard work is the only way too get there.
  4. Get more consistent sleep:  Sleep no less than 6hrs and no more than 8hrs/night unless I am sick.  Bed time consistent w/in 30min of 10:30pm
  5. Stay Positive: Stop negative talk and thoughts, Positive self talk and surround yourself with positive people.  Strive for a “get to” attitude versus a “have to” attitude.

So, as you look at a lot of my list you may notice that they are all fairly simple in terms of what to do but a lot of them are related around RAAM.  This is a large event for me and my teammates and I do not want to let them down so 2012 up until June is almost solely centered around the race.  After June I have other goals as well but they are on a different level.  If you have someone who can hold you accountable that you are willing to share your goals with do so.  Be sure it is someone that won’t nag you but someone to support, encourage and keep you honest.  I have set my goals as a recurring meeting in my phone for Monday mornings and I hope that I will start each week with a positive reminder of what I am striving for.  I do not know how this reminder will work but I will let you know!  Do it because you want to, not because you have to, and love every minute of it!

Training During the Holiday Season

With so many things going on during the holiday season the first thing that always tends to go, after diet at least, is exercise.  Between all of the hustle and bustle of buying gifts, traveling, meals with family and food induced comas the exercise routine is put by the way side. Over the years I have found several things that have really helped me out and I hope will help you to keep a more normal exercise routine. 1. Set up a schedule- Yes the training schedule is import but I am talking about the schedule with your family in this instance.  This is how you will stay out of the dog house with your significant other as well as not miss out on any/many of the family activities.  It is important to have your family supporting you in this and setting it up ahead makes that easier. 2. Travel Days- Take the travel days off or easy.  These always tend to be the most stressful.  Whether you are driving with kids screaming in the back seat or dealing with the re-circulated air of an airplane take the rest of the time easy and relax.  The stress of travel always takes a toll and be sure to remember to recover! 3. Intensity over time- Trade off overall intensity for time if things are busy.  This is a good way to get a legitimate workout in and not add any stress in the family. I was able to get my first ride in this morning and it was a nice 32degrees in the dreary Kansas winter.  I can not thank my wife enough for letting me get in the saddle time today and even though it was cold and damp it was nice to get out after a long drive.  The one, and most important thing, to remember is that you aren’t getting paid to be an athlete.  So… if it comes down to it and you miss a workout or two it doesn’t result in you losing your career.  Happy Holidays and safe travels!

RAAM TRAINING WEEKEND WRAPUP

SoS Coach Brady Irwin is preparing for RAAM 2012 and here is an update on a training weekend that him and his 4 man team recently completed:   

Well to say the least the RAAM training weekend was a great success!  All four riders finished the mileage, no one was injured and fitness is at the level we were expecting for each rider or slightly above where it was expected.  Leading into this weekend, to make things a little more interesting, we put a little wager on Friday and Saturday’s ride.  The two man winning team from the weekend has the privilege of receiving a bike cleaning from the 2 losing riders.  So with something on the line we were off for 3 days of riding. Friday night consisted of a 20k TT.  We fell into line randomly and left in one minute intervals.  With a little bit of peer pressure(mostly from Halsey, persuasive bastard! 

:)

 ) I ended up on a TT bike that I had never ridden and only had about 10 minutes to setup.  In the end it was not that big of a deal and I still ended up with the second fastest time of the four of us.  Jamey put down a blistering second half of his TT and made it evident that he was the strong man for the weekend.  Austin and Halsey both had very strong rides and were not to far off the pace.  With the TT over we calculated up that Jamey and Austin would have a minute head start on Saturday and then we went to hang out talk logistics and eat some great dinner with our crew and families.  Calling it a short night we headed home and began to prepare for the next day. 

Saturday morning came earlier than I had hoped for.  The sky was still pitch black as I loaded up the truck and headed to our starting point for the morning.  This day was set up to mimic what RAAM will be like.  Each two man team had a follow vehicle and each rider did 30 minute rotations.  I chose to stay on the road bike all day long, since I had not put in miles on it before, and Halsey decided to take his aerobars off of his bike.  I think in the end that was the downfall to our day.  As we approached the gulf towards the end of the day there was a constant wind funneling through the trees and battering us and I believe that being in a more aerodynamic position.  Either way… at the end of the day Halsey and I lost a great deal of ground and ended up the losers on the day.  So, that means that the guys will be receiving bike cleanings very shortly.  With Fatigued legs we all headed to Jamey’s house, where Heidi (his wife) made us an amazing meal!  After an hour of story telling and trying to stay awake we departed too get some rest and spend some time with family.  Driving home I was struggling to keep my 

eyes open after a long day of riding but I came home to a quiet house, since Janelle and Katelyn were out, and had my second dinner of the evening and rested and relaxed until it was time to go too sleep. Sunday morning was tough getting out of bed at 5am but I was amazed at how fresh the legs still felt.  Our ride Sunday consisted of a group effort over 100 miles under gray cloudy skies and damp chilly conditions.  Steve B. joined us on the bike that day after graciously sitting in the follow vehicle all day on Saturday and none of us were 

complaining to have an extra rider to do some work.  It took me 15-20 minutes to get the legs loosened up but once they were warmed up I felt like I was firing on all cylinders.  The group hung tough through the 80 mile mark and then riders began to come apart at the seams.  Jamey went to the front with a monster pull and the groans in the group were audible to say the least.  Steve’s fresh legs continued the high tempo effort on the climbs and we finished off a great day and an awesome weekend of riding! This weekend would not have been possible without our wonderful crew of drivers and I thank you all: Jeff Johnson, Lance Hart & Steve Barraco.  You guys were Rock Stars and we appreciate you not running us over more than anything!   Blog from Scalybirdlegs

“How can testing help me?”

After chatting with many of you the number one question that was posed turned out to be, “How can this(lactate threshold testing) help me with my training and race performance?”  For many of you out there who might be asking the same question let me answer that for you as well: The lactate threshold testing is designed for two different reasons.  The first reason is to provide you with customized training ranges for your workouts.  The training ranges that are created based off of your test allow you to train more consistently and more accurately.  This increased accuracy in your training allows you to get more benefit from your structured workouts and more importantly make the most out of the limited time you have available.  Secondly testing adds consistency to your results.  Field tests can be performed to help out with training ranges, however, lab testing does one thing that field testing can not do and that is take out many of the variables.  The controlled environment of the lab allows for much more consistency between testing and gives you a more realistic measure of where your fitness actually is.  The testing also helps to reduce the overall affect that fatigue or mental fortitude (depending on the day) can have on your results by utilizing the blood samples that are taken.

GRAND OPENING

On Thursday, December 8th Science of Speed opened it’s doors for our Grand Opening party!  The support and turnout of the community was outstanding and we hope to have the opportunity to work with each and every cyclist, triathlete, runner and motocross racer in some form or fashion to help you all reach your peak performance capabilities.     

Our Tallahassee Facility offers many great options for all athletes.  Our world  class equipment gives every athlete the opportunity to test just like the professionals do.  The Retül system offers unparalleled levels of accuracy to your bike fit and the same system utilized by the Olympic Training Centers, N.A.S.A. and a great number of well respected research Universities is brought into our arsenal of equipment to provide you precise and accurate VO² Max testing, for the run and on the bike, that many other public facilities simply can not provide.

RAAM Training Weekend

This weekend is bound to be a tough weekend for me.  Wednesday night I hopped on the bike for the first time in 2 weeks and this weekend is full of miles in a competition that our RAAM 4 man team will do.  We are looking at near 250 miles in 3 days for each rider and the break down is something like this: Friday: 20km tt after work Saturday: 202 total miles (RAAM Style rotation for two man teams) Sunday 100-125mile training ride This is going to be a GREAT opportunity for all of us to push our limits and hopefully motivate us as well.  I can not deny the fact that I am having a hard time getting/staying motivated and maybe this will be the kick start that I need!  More to come later! Blog from Scalybirdlegs