Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tips for riding long distances on a trainer

Many people struggle to hop on a trainer and sit and spin for long periods of time. One thing that I have had to get used to is being able to ride for long periods of time on a trainer. I would say I have gotten pretty good at it. There are a few tricks of being able to sit in one spot for such a long time.

This is how I do it. First of all I have a nice pair of noise canceling head phones, over ear are best, to listen to music, Youtube videos, live race feeds, etc...  This helps me to blank out and forget about the time. Having a Powertap power meter helps to because then you can focus on always keeping in your zones. It also helps because then you know you are riding at the proper pace because thing always seem harder on a trainer.  Next, I always have my computer off to the side of me, on top of my mini fridge and microwave in my dorm room, so I can easily see it and type on it. I try and plan my rides around when a live feed of a race is so I can watch and ride at the same time. Depending on the duration I need to ride, I may still have the computer connected to the charger. Then, I always have 1 towel on the top tube and 1 over my bars to wipe my face. Also a fan pointed right at me with the window cracked.

When it comes to nutrition, I always have 1 bottle in the bottle cage and a 32 oz Nalgene sitting next to the computer so I don't have to stop to fill up my bottle. Right behind the computer is a bag of Skratch Labs, so when I need a new bottle I can add in a scoop. I have some snacks near by, like a Honey Stinger gel or waffle, but if I need to eat more, I get off for a quick second, grab a bite and start again: this helps break up the time a bit.  That is another tip, is to break up the time into small chunks to make it more manageable. Like after hr 1 your going to stop use the bathroom and grab a small bite of food, after hour 2, you'll start 1 load of laundry, like I did today, grab another bite of food and fill up bottles, at hour 3, think I am done or only have X amount of time left, typically a shorter period.

Lastly make sure that no matter what the ride calls for, always make sure to add in some standing efforts, hard or not, to help relieve the pressure on your sit bones. These things help me manage a long ride and will hopefully help you.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jingle Cross

With the penultimate race of the year done, things are slowly starting to wrap up and change focus for next year. This season started off early in January with CX nationals, moved into road racing, then transferred to mountain biking, then collegiate mountain biking and now cyclocross. With only the state championships left I'm still pretty excited to keep riding and training. I think having some great results at the end of the season has helped.
      This past weekend at Jingle cross I raced in the cat 2 race. On day 1 we raced under the lights. This was pretty cool seeing how this is the only race I do at night. The race was fast. I got out front early and held a steady gap of about 10 seconds behind the lead group, for the whole race, until the last lap when they picked it up and put 15-20 seconds on our group of 3. With 1 to go we hit a lot of lapped traffic. We weaved through them, politely asking to get by. Thankfully the lapped riders were nice and happily moved a side. This allowed me to stay with 4th place until the final straight when we both opened it up and he ended up getting me at the line. A solid 5th place on day one. With 2 more days to go I made sure to get my Honey Stinger protein bar in me and a lot of water followed up by some Texas Roadhouse for dinner.
      Then on day 2 the racing kicked off at 12:10. The weather was pretty nice seeing how it was a 80% chance of rain. A little rain hit right before the pro women took off but thats it. Since I took top 8 on friday I got a call up today. When the gun went off I was a little slow getting clipped in and was sitting about 15th into the first couple corners. I moved my way up a few turns later and was sitting with a group of 3 guys, again places 4-6. This time on the new hill ride up, 4th got away and it was just me and 6th place. He seemed tentative in the corners and didn't have the best top end, but could definitely suck wheel forever.  So on the big hill, where 4th got away, I rode hard up the first half and got a little gap. I tried to sustain it to the top and opened up the gap even farther. On the decent it stuck and I slowly pulled away only to catch a guy who fell off the lead pack. Now on the final lap, I pulled him all the way around until the final straight when we both sprinted for the line. He had a big kick, having had a lap of rest, and I ended up 5th again.
     Now on day 3, the course had a slick top layer which made the corners slippery and made Mt. Krumpit unridable. This time when we took off I got clipped in and was sitting 5th wheel. With 2 days in the legs running Mt. Krumpit was really tough. I slowly faded each lap to end up with a 9th place. Still had a great weekend with some great results. This season has been long but wouldn't have been possibly without the help of a lot of people so Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year. With out my parents none of this would be attainable. Thank you to the Ripon Red Hawks for helping fund some of my none collegiate races. Thank you to Saris/ Cycleops/ Powertap, Honey Stinger, ESI Grips, Fox Shock, Crank Brothers and Mad Alchemy for generously sponsoring me this season. I wouldn't be able to do what I do with out all of your help. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Nationals Prep

With only a week to go till Nationals the thoughts and expectations, of this week, are already pulsing through me. These next couple of days just need to be over so we, the Ripon Red Hawks, can get on the road to North Carolina. Even though I have spent the better part of the year racing and preparing for each race I do, it all comes down to this, the last one, at least for this MTB season. I've thought about this race and what is going to happen now numerous times. I've been doing my homework, on the other teams, to see what they will have to bring to the table. I have been slowly packing and going over my bike since the middle of the week. I guess you might think I'm kind of crazy for doing all this stuff so early, but this is what keeps me up at night. It's comforting to know that I have everything ready to go ahead of time, so last minute all I have to do is put my stuff in the car and go. Not worry about anything just enjoy the ride and have the time of my life. I have also been really focused these past couple of weeks. Really just making sure that I keep on eye on my body and making sure that I don't get sick or hurt. Being in school it is really easy to get sick from someone. I've kind of turned into a germaphobe making sure to keep my hands clean and my body free from illness. I have some expectations for this race but I'm going to be happy knowing it was my best. Make sure to check back because I'll probably have another post a couple days before the race with more thoughts and some pictures. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Just a quick recap of this past weekend. Instead of going to Kentucky, our Ripon team coach let me stay home and race the last WORS race of the season so I could get 8 races in to help with my overall and age group spot. Seeing how it had rained Friday and Saturday, I was expecting way worse then it actually was. When it came time to race, almost the whole track was tacky. At the start line Don told us no equalizer this year because it was to muddy. After the National Anthem, we got the gun and were off. I pushed it hard, like usual, this time I was sitting top 10 when I entered the first section of single track. Without being able to pre ride and not riding that course for over 3 years now, I didn't really know it as well as I should have. So I hit a long root and slide out, but stayed up right. A small group passed and I was sitting about 11th. I kept that pace for almost a full lap when I started to fade. I got passed a few more times until the field started to come back. I picked a few people off and rode in for a solid 13th place and 2nd in age group. This was one of the most fun races of the year. It's great to see the great progression since the beginning of the season. This was probably one of the best feeling races I have had all year and my 2nd best finish, my best was 9th overall. Still great to know I was only 6 minutes out of 4th. This is relatively close seeing how I was much farther back only a couple months ago. Only 2 more mountain bike races and my MTB season is over with. Ill be finishing the year off with cyclocross and cross nationals in January. Can't wait to see what the rest of the season has to offer!!!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Trek CXC Cup

A week ago was the Trek CXC Cup, ya, i'm a bit behind on things, but I haven't really thought to write until now, while sitting in a hotel room, after racing some DH and having the XC race get cancelled because of to much rain. But thats a different story. The Trek CXC Cup was my first real cross race where I could test my legs against everyone else. I was really excited seeing how the race was hosted by Trek at Trek World Headquarters in Waterloo, WI. Day number 1 was a bit overcast but no rain. When I arrived, I went inside Trek to register and to check out the sweet bikes they had displayed. I think the 2 coolest ones were Fabians winning Paris Roubaix bike that was still dirty and Katie Compton's National Champ bike, still dirty. Fabians bike was tricked out with some sweet stuff. Just a couple things were his derailleur cage was beefed up and full carbon, his cranks/chain rings I believe were a bit different and the sick Spartacus paint job. Onto the race. It was a fun course with a steep climb near the start, a set of barriers, a tricky little decent, and a lot of fast corners. I pre rode the course 3 times before racing and felt really comfortable with it all. I rode the steep hill in practice but didn't try it until day 2 during the race. When it got to be race time, they called you up by how you registered, so I was 6th row, number 56 out of 85ish. When the ref blew his whistle, I knew I had to move up as fast as possible. I snuck up the right side of the start straight and about 1/2 way in I was sitting top 10 and moving up. Each lap I tried to catch the leaders, but starting so far back they had about a 30-40 second lead already. I still pushed and caught people each lap and ended up 6th, missing 5th by 6 seconds. Not expecting much, I was really happy with this, a great result to start the weekend. Then on day 2 it was the same stuff just a different day. The course changed slightly but it was for the better. Corners smoothed out and the descent was changed and was a little bit more tricky. Then after riding it a couple times it was race time. Got called up this time 58th out of 100 or so. I knew I had the legs to move up and thats exactly what I did. I was top 10 before the steep hill, which was about 1-2 minutes in. I pushed hard to catch the leaders, but seeing how day 2 was a UC 1, a couple more faster guys came out and drove the pace. I never caught them, but I did manage to hold position and ended up sprinting for 7th with Mike M, a friend of mine. He got me and I took 8th. My race was great, I felt fast and I finished 1min 10 faster then day 1.  Now after getting a taste of cross, I want more!! But with collegiate still going on, its back to MTB racing for me.

Monday, August 26, 2013

College life and biking racing

After a long summer of being home and working, I am finally back at Ripon College. Its really nice to be back with everyone again and being able to meet some new people. Its been about 10 days since I've moved in and I've been enjoying every moment. Besides riding and racing, our team has been doing a lot of team bonding, which is always cool. We are building trails, playing mini golf and hanging out when we are not racing. Now that Its officially collegiate season, I'm racing for the Ripon College Cycling team. Almost our whole team has gone to the last 2 WORS races. The first race, Colectivo Classic, I lost 3 of my 5 bottles and got dehydrated. I then proceeded to get dropped and lost 4 spots from the first 2.5 laps. I ended up 22nd overall and 2nd in age group. Still good considering my other results in WORS were just a couple spots ahead of this one. I'm still showing consistent results with the beginning of the season. Then after a good week of fun and hard training, along came the Reforestation Ramble. WORS number 9 for the series and probably my last one for the year, so I had to make it count. After a solid warm up I was feeling just like always, nervous and ready to race. I lined up 3rd row and after Don's long GO, I clipped in took 2 pedal strokes and got knocked almost off my bike and faded to the back of the field. I quickly jumped onto the pedals and got going. I easily managed to work my way back up to the top 15 and was sitting comfortably in the front group. The massive field worked its way around into the first single track section when we got split up. I had no idea where I was. I knew it couldn't be to bad seeing how 2-3 people who usually beat me, were in my group. For that first lap, we were really giving it and a few people fell off. Our group was now down to 4 people. I took the lead at the start of lap 2, where I held a fast but comfortable pace through the first sections of single track and open flats.  Nobody got dropped yet, but I could see that one person was hurting. I pulled off and sat in when Rick Mezo attacked. I chased and managed to hang on with Mike M from LAPT. After 1/2 a lap we managed to push it hard enough to pop Mike off the back. Now Rick and I were taking pulls. We hit the 3rd lap, I took the front and pulled for a long time, then let Rick take over. Then when he got to the front he slowed up. He was hurting, so I attacked on a hill and got a gap. I held a hard pace to the finish, which landed me a spot on the overall podium. I finished 9th overall and 1st in age group. This is now the 2nd time I've cracked the top 10. Now that I've tasted it, I want more and hope to have a great collegiate season. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunburst thoughts

For the past couple of years they have been running the same course for the Sunburst race. Not many people actually liked the old course for some reason or not. Me personally, I didn't mind it.  I seemed to do good at it each year. A couple spots were not so much fun, but thats racing. This year, thanks to Attitude sports and WORS, the course was completely different. There was close to a 50/50 ratio single track to open. Probably a little more open because of the lower part which switchbacks so much. These switch backs were the hardest part of the race. After you did about 4 of them, on the lower slopes, the hill really kicked up and made you suffer. You did 4 or 5 switch backs before the top. Then once you were at the top you dropped into single track. It wasn't hard but it was nice to have it in their. A couple log ride overs and some rocks but nothing hard. Then you had a fast single track decent, hard left into a field, then climbed up and around a corn field back into some single track, where another fast decent was. The decent was long and fast enough, where if you were good at it, you could drop people. After the decent you climbed a little, across the hill, turned right, climbed a little more then hit a single track climb. Then a little more open at the top, then into a fast decent, down to the bottom where you lap through. This last decent was key. If you were in the front on the last lap you were most likely going to beat the people behind you. This decent is what we did in the past, but instead of descending it, we climbed it at the start of the loop. This course was, race pace, 16-20 minutes long depending on who you are.  A lot shorter laps then most, but I liked this style. It made it feel more like a world cup race. After 5 laps, I managed to hang on for 20th and 2nd in age group. Still really consistent with the other races.  All in all the course was fast, hard, fun and made you suffer. I think this new course is here to stay.