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Heart Rate low in cold weather ?

I usually have a couple of clients get frustrated in the fall and winter that their Heart Rate does not go up as high as they think it SHOULD.

 

I put the word SHOULD in capitals because that is always a red-flag in training (and life) when we assume things should be a certain way. It is always worth stepping back and asking if there are reasons it SHOULD NOT be that way, or whether you need to be maxing out your heart rate every day, especially in the fall/winter when races are further away. Remember that most workouts have a range for power, heart rate or other metrics and being at the top of the range does not earn bonus points, large trophies or strava kudos.
   *check out the book ‘the myth of stress’ for more on this 

 

A first consideration when Heart Rate is low relative to the expected is that a low heart rate with poor performance is to be taken seriously and countered with some very intensity exercise (ie. under 100 bpm) and/or complete time off with only relaxing yoga and other rejuvenating activities. This expected value is usually based on one or both of how we are feeling (RPE) or power (Watts). If you are feeling pretty good for a cold ride outside (you won’t feel as amped as sunny day) and/or your power is in the expected range then a low heart rate is not an issue. Care should be taken not to drive the heart rate higher in the range and risk riding too hard, even pushing watts out of the endurance range. This can ironically result in heart rate depression due to overtraining.

If you are not over-training or tired than you are set to learn more about training in cold weather and troubleshooting some more. You are likely familiar with Heart Rate going higher during warm/hot weather. You may also have seen a higher Heart Rate while at altitude. So enviroment can make your heart have to work harder, or make the heart rate HIGHER. For hot environments this is due to the shifting of blood to vessels at the skin’s surface to cool core temp. This means more blood to more vessels and so more work for the heart to maintain output to working muscles.

  *these situations that challenge the heart can be great training stimuli and should be sought out to increase your fitness.

 

If we consider this shifting of blood to surface and increase in Heart rate and work for the heart in hot conditions than assuming a decrease in work for the heart and more blood in the vessels in cold weather is a pretty safe assumption. So our Heart Rate will be lower when it is cold.

 

There are a few other considerations for cold weather heart rate beyond the physiological reasons above. We may wear more clothes, pedal at lower RPM  and/or just go slower in these situations so heart rate may just be lower because you aren’t putting out the same workload or changing your cadence and, in both cases, decreasing the work the heart has to do.

 

A good way to test and overcome these last few reasons for lower HR is to do a periodic sprint or high cadence drill (like a spinup) to get some more activation and ‘wake body up’. You may even find this helps you stay warmer, and perhaps increase the cooling needs to the heart and normalize your heart rate to your expected range.

How to Train For Cycling Indoors

You may live in a sunny area with no rain or snow or frigid temperatures. But for the rest of us there is a yearly shift in our training patterns as inclement weather pushes us indoors. There are many reasons you might want to include some indoor training into your routine even if you ‘skip’ winter. This article helps you make the most of your indoor time.

Embrace the chance to ride indoors. There are many advantages to the isolation of the pedaling technique in the absence of (much) balance, traffic or wind. I compare the indoor trainer to a batting-cage or punching-bag. It is not the real sport but it lets you work on an element of the game. For cyclists the element of pedaling against resistance is important, why not isolate it?

Don’t ride like you ride outside
If you ‘just sit there’ you will be bored in approximately 59 seconds, the time it takes to make sure your garmin is setup and the James Bond Movie is at the perfect volume. Rather you *MUST* have a purpose for the ride. While I am not a fan of videos and ‘turn your brain off’ suffer videos (more below), whatever tools you use you should have a purpose for relating to your limiters/goals and should be broken into mini-blocks (intervals). The warm-up, main-workout and cooldown are a basic three-part ride. There can be more divisions but knowing you have 20 minutes of ramping up slowly to a goal Heart Rate over 20 minutes, a 20 minute ‘threshold’ interval and then a 20 minute cool-down with some high-RPM and one-leg work will pass the 1 hour much nicer than staring at a 1 hour timer.

More on Structuring Your Ride
There are some workouts that don’t work as well on the indoor trainer but some that are much better. Why not use the indoor trainer for those things you can’t do outside? You can do a long(ish) endurance ride or cross-train for most of your endurance work but intervals are very nice on a trainer because you have a chance to really dial in the intensity and be steady without concern for cars or other riders. Low RPM, High RPM, One-Leg and short but very hard intervals are great on the trainer.

One-Leg (Isolated Leg) and high cadence drills are common on the trainer because they work really well there (and they break up the time/loading). While the pedal stroke aspect is generally good the bigger reason to do the one leg especially is to learn to interact with your bike in varied situations. If you find yourself falling over on the road/trail, failing to unclip, don’t know what ‘outrigger’ or ‘tripod’ means and/or dread clipping in to start a race then you should do a bunch of one-leg this winter.

Take it Easy, Get some Numbers 
Not every ride needs to be long and/or a suffer-festival. Include a couple of  30 minute spins in your week. Do it as a ramp ‘test’. 5 minute stages progressing from 45% FTP up to 70% at end of the 30 minutes. The time goes by fast and you get a mini test of how your HR:Power is progressing. If you don’t suffer everyday you can better work hard and effectively on your limiters a couple times a week without burning out or getting injured. Those hard days should be progressive and be repeatable soon after, if it is so hard you are getting nausea or tasting blood you will be mentally burnt come race season, if not before. save it for race day (note you still work hard just don’t have to be ‘max’ all the time).

Be Cool
Have a big fan. This is important. Use a fan and consider a cold room or garage for your training areas. You likely need a bigger fan. While heat adaptation is a possible intervention for indoor trainer it will definitely make the time FEEL harder and drop your performance (this happens at altitude or in hot environments). It amazes me how many athletes skip the fan but really want their power to increase indoors.

Take a Break
You can get off periodically. Think of how often you coast, soft-pedal, stop to pee, stop for lights, stop for coffee on outdoor-rides. It is ok to stop and do a few strength/mobility motions, go to washroom, refill a bottle, answer the phone. Don’t do it all the time but divide any long-ish rides you do like this and the time goes much quicker and your butt will thank you.

You Don’t Eat an Elephant Whole (or something like that)
The biggest mistake is thinking about the 3 hour workout you have planned. Put your shorts on and get on the bike, starting is the important part.

Use the lap timer not the ride timer. This is a common mistake, the lap timer is important and will make your interval work better. It also prevents you from thinking about the ride as a 2 hour ride. Rather do 15 minute laps broken up by 10 push-ups or coordination drills.

Don’t be so Hard on Yourself
The Trainer is very hard. If you are saying ‘should’ it will make you stressed out. If you have an interval you want to do, ease into it and do what you can on the day. This applies almost always but especially on the trainer where the unrelenting resistance can really clamp down on you quickly if you are a bit fatigue and pushing more than you have on a given day.


Want more great thoughts to make your training better? Have Questions about Training, Nutrition or more awkward questions like Saddle Sores?

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What Bike Bag or Bike Box to Travel With

Fancy Options – these are used often by those that travel a lot

Cheaper route

is the cardboard box route -> I still use this and breakdown is not huge … handlebars have to come off but that is usual with all bags I believe. Advantage is it is cheap, light (ie. pack other gear in it) and can be broken down to store easily in your rental car etc.
 *if you can get a Trek Madone Box from a local Trek Dealer they are very big and open like a shoe box, which makes packing very easy !

The ‘Canadian’ Solution = Mid-Range with some Advantages

can also get a hockey bag (goalie bag – needs to be very big) and use that. Often Hockey bags travel cheaply or free!
=> Generally requires a bit more bike breakdown as fork has to come out usually.
  -> I use this one I think key measure is 44cm or larger (often custom order)

Once you have it – How do you get your bike in it?

If you need help with getting your bike boxed GCN has a video here to box your bike

Race Leadville Faster… Without Training More

Unfortunately doing well at any endurance race is not as simple as simply training for hours and hours. This is especially true for the grueling, Leadville 100-mile MTB race, which takes place at over 10,000 feet of elevation for almost the whole race and involves a lot of climbing.

Luckily most of us are limited in how much we could ever pedal in a week so the fact that success at these races involves something more than training for hours is a GOOD THING. Our fitness is a big part of the equation but what FITNESS is and how we apply our fitness through preparation, equipment, position and other methods will determine how well our big day goes.

My focus in this article is largely on everything BUT pedaling or fitness (although I do make plans to help you with that), because to me, the regular ‘desk’ athlete with kids, a job, 2 dogs and a mortgage likely has a different event to take on then the pro who can perform a month of high-volume training, on top of a mountain and do quite well.

Be A Student of the Race

The Leadville 100 MTB Trail race or other Endurance Bike Races tend to have huge followings and so there is a lot of content out there. When I signed up in 2011, I was looking for every resource (Leadville Pictures,  Leadville video, race storiesStudies) to help guide my preparation. Now, this may seem weird, as I am a supposed to be a Pro MTB racer and a coach with a university degree, but the fact that Leadville is a different event remains true and my lack of Leadville, or even 100-miler, experience had me scared. Experience the race before you get there via media and then by simulating terrain.

holly-descending

Get Better at Riding Fast Down Hills

Leadville has 12,000-14,000 feet of climbing … Yes, you should be light and fit to get up those hills, but dragging your brakes down 14,000 feet of downhill is costing you time too. Practice on technical trails and also on event-specific double track, ATV trail and gravel road and your average speed will go up considerably. Being comfortable on technical trails will make the Leadville double track and road much easier to do while fatigued. Check out Bike Skills Project videos on ready position and/or attack position (basically standing up on the bike)are key places to start.

Get Ready for the Altitude, But Don’t Freak Out

If you can go to a few camps to simulate your race pace at even moderate altitude, that will help. If you accept that it will be a bit harder and not exactly the same as home, it is part of the challenge and many people do no altitude adaptation and do fine thanks to good fitness and great pacing.

Altitude tents and devices such as SpiroTiger can be an asset in maximizing your adaptation to altitude and enhancing your respiratory system to help you be more comfortable with the increased breathing requirements at altitude, and while racing/riding/existing.  Both devices can be rented from many companies.

I also like getting clients to practice breathing through their noses during their day and while on rides (start slow and breathe deep with BELLY). You should find you can eventually build your wattage while nose breathing towards ‘tempo’ (about Leadville pace) AND (in my opinion) this first experience with restricted breathing helps you be psychologically ready in Leadville.

Beta-Alanine and Sodium Phosphate-loading are two potentially beneficial supplements to help maximize Oxygen-dependent performance (under ‘threshold’), which is important at altitude.  Ensure you have used both appropriately in training prior to Leadville and make sure you take care of all the (CHEAPER) basics first, such as fueling, sleep, mobility and bike skills.  A special tip is to try to stay lower then Leadville the week off. There are many cool towns at slightly lower elevation and I think it is worth getting better sleep, with a few rides in Leadville vs. Being in Leadville all week.


Want to re-energize- Unplug, put airplane mode on, and immerse in nature's finest.


Eat Enough, But Not Too Much

Minimize the digestive work your stomach has to do. Save that energy for pedaling. Many athletes make the mistake of eating too many solids and overwhelming their stomachs with foods/fuel that they have not game played over distances, at specific intensities and/or while not at altitude. We may not be able to test/Game Play any or all of these, BUT we can take notes from experienced athletes and the averages. Generally, focus on more liquid sources of calories at 2-300kcal/hr.

Maltodextrin-based mixes/gels seem to be most digestible, possibly with some fructose or simple sugar. Solids earlier in the race are used by some to break up the fueling strategy and avoid overloading on a certain sugar or component. Many distance athletes (e.g. RAAM and 24 hour Solo) will use products like Ensure to get a digestible calorie source; at Leadville, having an Ensure at top or bottom of Columbine could work well. I have also always liked Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) and typically will ride/race with them in my bottles with some electrolyte to help with energy and focus.

As always, you should be practicing race day nutrition long before your race. ( Nutrition basics with The Bike Skills Project here ) 

peter evan flat fix by Karlee on Gridley Pratt Ojai 2014

Hone Your Mechanical Skill

Many a race is ruined, if not lost, based on little fixes on the trail. You should be able to take your bike apart on the course and reassemble. Make a list and start practicing. A good and patient local coach or friend should be able to help you through sticking points.  Bike Skills Projects on Mechanics HERE 

musette bag issue at leadville

Do. Not. Stop.

It is very important that, within reason, we never go 0 km/hr. Leadville and many similar races are about average speed. Keep rolling steady. You should not stop in the feed-zone, or to eat or to transition to a hike-a-bike. Situations may arise, such as nature breaks (although some may find ways to do this one bike) but generally, try to plan and train for minimal stops to preserve that goal pace.  The feed bag pickup is a place I messed up in 2011 and actually fell (so pro!)

… Again, these are the little things we forget when out doing 4 hours hard, and a couple Game-Plays with the feed bag could have saved me minutes, if not gotten me a podium spot.  Bike Skills Projects on Dismounts / Mounts.

Pacing is Imperative

While on our bikes, we can add benefit to our training by making sure we learn what a sustainable pace is and how to hold it over varying terrain. I believe HR is still relevant to optimal pace even at altitude, but we also need to use our brains and experiences to inform when it is time to go or if HR won’t be used on a given day. My goal during my 2011 prep at sea level was to see my pace on hilly terrain (Miles/HR) come up to 1 mile faster/hour then my goal Leadville pace (14.7mph for ~7hrs over 103mi ).   ( Posts from Smart Athlete / Train With Peter on Pacing )

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Be Able to Function Off Your Bike and Avoid Cramps/Tightness/Back Pain

Be able to walk/hike uphill efficiently and dismount/remount easily, even uphill. Walking can be optimal pacing strategy. Be efficient in mount/dismount and walking/jogging. Avoid getting stopped at zero miles per hour pace. Plan spots you will likely walk (top of Columbine and power-line on the return for many). Have a daily mobility practice including standing often and walking a ton (i.e. on breaks at work and before-after meals). Bike fit and mobility are big causes of time off-bike so make sure these items are very well Game Played before the race. ( Smart Athlete Posts on Mobility ) ( Also check out the MobilityWod on Youtube)

aerotuck for leadville 2010

Maximize Aerodynamics, Position, Efficiency

Leadville is a mountain bike race but a lot of time can be saved by drafting and having a reasonable position on the bike (that you can pedal well in). Looking to optimize clothing (i.e. no garbage bag coats) and spend some time on the road in an aero position of some type (narrow hand position and maybe forearms on the bar). Elite Leadville times are becoming so fast that much effort is put into Aero (see 2016 winner’s bike/gear here) There are many sites out there proving being aero is worth thinking about, such as here. Recently, a bike company tested hair styles and found that braided hair was more efficient than a bun or ponytail and also found some interesting gains from shaved legs and arms (but not face!). So there are some little wins you can get for low cost or a bit of skill practice.

While these concepts may sound basic and optimistic at times, I do believe that there is a ton of time to be gained for almost anyone looking at Leadville and similar races without even touching on fitness. We want to maximize the work we can do (fitness) and minimize the work we have to do with preparation, planning, health, nutrition, and equipment creating our best performance on THE big day.

I would love to hear your feedback on these ideas, any questions they might spark or suggestions on ways to squeeze every last second out of your next big Endurance Race.

-Peter


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How to Race Your Bike in the Mud – An explanation, cautions and take-a-ways from my ability to run beside a bike

I won a race on the weekend. This has happened a handful of times in my career, and only once before on a day with any mud (Crank the Shield 2008!).

How/Why

I’ve been asked how I went so fast this past weekend numerous times over the last 24 hours.  While I tend to avoid talking about my racing too much (well, apart from that 10 years of blogging about it … ) I believe that a few coaching clients and ‘questioners’ are missing the practical ‘how-to race in the mud’ skills/concepts and expecting that I had some sort of mechanical advantage or super secret PAM spray that kept mud from sticking to my ‘Blak Majik’ Trek Fuel.  [Insert Technological doping, top tube and slippery tube jokes here to save time later]

I’m sorry to disappoint, but there isn’t any one magical thing that I used in the mud, cold and snow at the race, but there are a few things you can practice in your training and keep in mind next time the weather turns with the key items (explained below) being run more, move in a variety of ways, learn to dismount/mount and grab your top-tube if you are off your bike.
poo
Photo of one of my most awkward moments in race. AVOID unexpected dismounts / dead-stops
by Hans “solo” Clarke on the Facebook (gallery here, need to be friends with her to view)

But before I get into it, I want to start with a caution: if you are an aspiring XC racer, the sport has changed. These days of mostly running disguised as mountain bike racing —are very niche and increasingly do not result in world championship titles, although they might be a small part of some high level races, the front runners are not running much usually. I am not getting overexcited by my win, I assure you that I am aware of my place in the sporting world and that many people would have beaten me had yesterday been a world cup or more lucrative points/money race. With that said, I have some sort of knack for running beside my bike, and you may find yourself in a race where that skill and the associated concepts help you achieve a result: they did just that for me at Bonelli this past March where I got UCI points in an UCI-HC event that had many very talented and motivated athletes… many of whom I ran past holding my top tube in the final few laps as several climbs turned to peanut butter, bikes got heavy, running became more important, and weather (motivations) worsened.

 

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​Experience​:

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2005 Transrockies – This stage was one of the craziest days of my life, with the Mayor of Singhampton

An important background is that this ‘Snow-Cup’ at Highlands Nordic this past weekend aligned a lot of things I do often in training into an event. In my training, I am fairly specialized to mountain biking, but my rides typically involve sketchy sections, stairs, fences, giant logs, bush-wacking, significant hike-a-bike and frequent mounting (how to video) and dismounting (how to video). Clipping in without loosing speed and while on variable terrain is also part of this and worth practicing. Many of the people who know me well will describe certain sketchy rides that include those elements as rides that I would like or a “Pete ride.” Case in point, on the day after the race I was on my Trek Boone cross bike and tippy-toed across a river, was on gravel/grass for a bunch of the ride, scaled a sketchy barbed wire fence and ran through a wet ditch then remounted my bike with a cyclocross mount (onto my thigh) . It is just how I ride. I like to explore and put together crazy routes.

I run most days for 5-20 minutes in the morning, walk 5-20,000 steps a day, and Ride 12-18 hours most weeks. I think biggest week was maybe 25 hours this winter while down south. Strength is 1-3x a week and for last year has been mostly just some variation of my ‘anywhere core’ routine due to inconsistency of equipment with our travel. I also use a HIGH:LOW:OFF three-day cycle, meaning I go really hard on day 1, then long on day 2 and then off day 3 (walk/hike/light run/ light core routine/outdoor work). I Spiro-Tiger (respiratory training device) a couple of times a week and usually as part of race warm-up: it is most of my warm-up on crappy days to avoid getting cold and trashing my bike before the start.

 

My bike warm-up was about 15 minutes with 3 x ~1min efforts up grass hill by the start, getting HR >85% MHR (strava link to race/warmup).  I also wear a lot of clothes to try and get sweating and warm before I get to the start-line, as we would for any race.

This video (LINK) also embedded below, explains “Grab the top tube” (And this one for hike-a-bike in stage racing might help you see where seconds to minutes can be lost)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rq-2cjh-nQ]

In terms of specific training, running is a very large part of ‘riding’ well in the mud. Skills to descend (attack position!) and pump/flow terrain on downhills is very important, if you over-brake you will be off your bike a lot more. If you have a smooth pedal stroke and seated power than you can stay on your bike more (I do not have this).

Should you train like me? It depends what your goals are. I obviously believe that we should all be able to move really well in a variety of ways–Molly and I did start a podcast on that topic–but if you are trying to be world class, you will need to focus on that disciplines key skills and not on finding swamps to run through while holding your bike. If you want to do an MTB stage race, like La Ruta or Transylvania Epic, then I would suggest working on your running, hike-a-bike, remounts and gravel road riding in addition to ‘standard’ mountain bike skills. (If you like ‘hacks’ then check out 10 ways to go faster at Leadville without training more). Being able to run, move well in a variety of ways (gym work helps) and perform in a variety of conditions is generally a good idea (and as shameless plug, the point of the Consummate Athlete Podcast…)

sarah

One of the athletes I coach and my TrekCanada team-mate, Sarah Fabbro, won the Junior Expert Women’s category. As I passed her, it was evident (to my delirious and biased mind…) that she was moving efficiently. Smooth dismount and running with her hand on the top-tube, using the bike to help keep her up on off-camber and not stressing that her tires were rubbing and/or that her chain was falling off. We had a laugh as we ran through a section together mid-race, the fun/smile is key. Run the flats/uphills and Coast/Pump the downhills. Clean the drive-train while you’re moving when long sections of pedaling arrive.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fteamhardwoodtrek%2Fvideos%2F1191406547544411%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Following the example of the young riders who brave colder temps and often worse weather early in the morning

Mindset:

​I have a rule that I don’t quit, and that I start if I register. The rule has been broken perhaps twice, three times at most. This rule of  ‘the only way out is the finish line’ eliminates hesitation about the sanity or rationality of what we are doing and on days I feel like crap, it eliminates the option to quit. While I did cringe as we looked at the course before the start; thinking about what the race would cost in bike repair. We had committed to the day and so motivation to do the best I can, to see how my training experiments are going, is high. Eliminate hesitation, the only way out is the finish line.

I am also fortunate to have the support of a great mountain bike Ontario (and beyond) community. Highlands might be considered my ‘home course’ as well, indeed I have won another Ocup there and narrowly missed provincials last year. I have developed a reputation as a hard-man–I am not sure I deserve it given my affinity for the trainer and California–but when the race organizer and several racers are calling you for the win, there is a certain level of ‘social motivation’ where you need to/want to defend your ego/identity. I feel all of these things worked in my favor but are also possible for you to leverage by telling yourself and others that you like riding in the rain, that a race will be good for you and by committing to race/warm-up as you would expect someone who does well would. No complaining or hesitation in your routine.

​GEAR​:

I have the fortune of many years of great support from the Trek Store​ of Toronto/Barrie/Aurora and Trek Canada. We are a small team largely supported by “mom and dad” so while the store makes sure we have great equipment to minimize the chances of things like broken chains, flats, chain suck, etc. it is important to not use that as an excuse. I prepped my own bike, changed to bigger tires the day before a race and did a test-ride to make sure the discs didn’t rub and tires seated. I’m not sure that any of my equipment was that much different or specialized for the conditions. As I go through the results, perhaps there is something in the frame:tire clearance in the Trek vs. other brands, but I am not sure as many riders had good days for them on other brands: Liam on a dually Scott in second for Pro-Men as an example, where he (in his own words) had many new experiences on Sunday and was motivated to have another podium in his first year elite. Liam also has a cross-country running background. Even tires are debatable as many people did well with smaller/dry weather tires (e.g. Bontrager XR1).

The tires I used we​re Bontrager XR2 ​2.2 width, but I suspect a 2.0 or even classic mud tire with 1.8 and big knobs may have been tire of the day if you could find one. In a perfect, free bike world, I​ think a hard-tail would have been faster strictly because of less surface area for mud to grab onto and less overall bike weight.

Single-ring setups and drive-trains generally were an issue for both big component brands. We run SRAM and I had my chain come off a couple times. I wiped the ring with my hand and sprayed the cogs/derailleur and carried on. I believe not pedaling while spinning on low traction mud is a mistake that causes excess accumulation around the BB and rings and that is why so many people had problems. I dismount quickly to move forward faster for same energy if I am sliding. So this means many remounts/dismounts in sketchy areas and a lot of running. Many people rode more than I did, but if running is not efficient for them than that might have been their best option.

 

 
I tend to over-dress always so on inclement days I am usually wearing 1-2 more layers than others, so I am very used to performing (usually moderately) while wearing arm and leg warmers so I have ones that don’t fall down, fit well and that I am used to. During this weekend’s race I wore an undershirt, 2 jerseys with a vest in-between to keep the wind out, a trick I use this more often then I might admit to stay warm and not obviously wear a vest.

 

Technique:
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TextBook!! Grab your top-tube and run, lean on top tube as needed (Hans Clarke Photo)

The biggest thing to focus on is dismounting and grabbing the top tube quickly every time: traction is lost (basically any flat single track or uphill) and running for all you are worth. I rarely picked up bike the whole race, occasionally would lift rear wheel by lifting top tube and pushing on left grip/handlebar to keep rear wheel out of sticky mud areas. Having your right hand on the top-tube gives you something to lean on when running so when you slip you don’t fall. When tires got really gummy, I would jam my hand between the tire and frame at BB and seat stays while pushing forward and then hop on and mash until wheels rolled. Kyle Douglas of 3Rox, rode more than I did and was doing similar mud clearing while riding his bike.
I hit every puddle/wet area of dirt (look for rivers / puddles). All my water bottles went on drive-train, at key portions of race course where pedaling became more possible/efficient.
 
If I could race again today: 
I would have put in the mud cleats into my shoes as it would have boosted my speed and prevented a few painful slips. I think narrower tires, 1.8 or 2.0 might have been really good given the mud accumulation / wheel rotation issues. Throwing down a gel might have added some extra pop for last 20 min of race, but at 1hr20 minutes and equal lap times it is hard to think fueling was huge issue.

 

It was a win. I cherish any I get, as there are few in most careers. Olympian Sue Haywood said something similar at this year’s Whiskey 50 rider meeting, where she was honored. Her point was to be a good person, have fun and enjoy your ability to get out there and work hard. I hadn’t really thought about it, especially for a rider of her caliber, but there has to be more to why you race than just the chance of winning, and for me, pushing my limits and riding stuff I find fun has been my goal for the duration of these 20 years. On the odd days that races line up closely with this skill-set I’ve created, I grab my top-tube and run for all I am worth, while the other races, I am content to pedal, learn something about myself and have some laughs with friends along the way.  Perhaps this article gives you some ideas or motivation to find your favorite version of riding a bike and survival skills for the next mud-fest.

Take Action on Tired Legs

Take Action on Tired Legs

This is a post from the Smart Athlete Newsletter – Get all the articles and updates on clinics – upcoming events and podcast info by signing up here

We are through some of the first big races and anyone who was stranded indoors in the ‘suffer-festival’ has been freed for long enough to accumulate some fatigue.

If you haven’t balanced your hard and/or long training with sufficient nutrition and/or recovery than your body will rebel in a number of ways, often resulting in that feeling of tired legs. It may be you haven’t increased your nutrition to match increased training or that your life has not provided sufficient sleep and down time to absorb your hard training.

Here are 3 things that you can TAKE ACTION ON to ensure your season stays on track:

1) Add Protein and Carbohydrate to each meal – if eating 3 or less meals add 1 more meal with a whole protein and carbohydrate source. MyFitnessPal is an app that can help you quantify your rough numbers but I prefer clients work from their ‘normal’ and try a week eating a bit more at each meal OR adding a meal.

2) Take 2 days per week completely off and walk for at least 30 minutes. Plan your hard training the day after so you are well rested.

3) Sleep – This is becoming almost as cliche in the media as ‘sitting is like smoking’ but if you are having trouble with energy, tired legs, heart rate depression or similar symptoms try going to bed 30 minutes earlier in a dark room with ear-plugs and an eye-shade. Those that listen never go back and see huge difference – TRY IT!

Fuel Your Ride – New Book !

Molly Hurford has finished her third book !

After tackling saddle-sores in her 2nd book “Saddle, Sore: A woman’s guide to you and your bike” she returns with a manual for eating for cycling performance.

Taking a unique approach, Molly has experts weigh in on their understanding and research in the hottest and most current topics. She balances this with practical experiences of many pros, ranging from Vegan to eat-anything strategies.

The end result is simple, actionable take-a-ways that let you (and Molly!) ride your best while enjoying your favorite foods.

Check it out on Amazon, available for pre-order now with release coming for March 22, 2016. http://amzn.to/1VksTEt

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Off-Season – Video Check in & Off-Season Basics

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This is adapted from the Smart Athlete Newsletter – Not all posts get to the Smart Athlete Blog! Make sure you get all the great content, offers and updates by signing up here (~1 message / week )

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erCNqJSz0Ew]
Show Notes

-> Make sure you take at least a recovery week, if not a full week off bike.
-> If you have been charging hard at races or had any injuries/illness will need at least 2-3 weeks.
-> those time crunched but healthy athletes may only need 1 week
->

Fall/Off-Season is a great time to:
-> work on skills with skill sessions (Book a Skill Session)
->Plan & Goal Setting for 2016 – Book a consult – Guidance & feedback for $25!
-> Start Coaching or try a training plan while you have lots of time to recover, learn, build and try new things.

Feel free to reply with Questions or ideas !  Or comment on facebook!

Peter

 


My Latest Writing
-> Latest SmartAthlete Blog Articles -> HERE
-> Latest articles in Canadian Cycling Magazine -> HERE
-> Bunny Hop Like a Boss – Bicycling Magazine LINK
-> Bicycling Magazine – 1min Tips to get faster and ride better LINK

Latest Race Links, Photos, Stories
Hardwood Canada Cup – LINK

Horshoe Ontario/Canada Cup – http://wp.me/p5lose-169
Trans-Sylvania Epic – LINK


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