Monday, September 28, 2009

Source Endurance Athletes Go Fast and Get Dirty!

I always feel a sense of pride whenever I have a client perform at his/ her highest level.  Here are some stories from the weekend.  Have some of your own?  Be sure to let me know!

USGP of Cyclocross!
Saturday's course was fast and furious, and with the best CX riders in the US coming directly to Madison from Cross Vegas, it was going to be tough to crack the top placings.  However, Saturday saw Joe Schmalz come from the 7th row to score a top 20 in a UCI C1 event.  Not only that, but he placed 2nd in U23 Classification, gaining him some valuable USGP points.  That is incredible!  Although, I'd like to say, not unexpected.  Joe has been showing some fantastic improvement across the board throughout 2009 and he's not done yet!  Keep an eye out for more of Joe Schmalz in the near future! 

Joe Schmalz. 2nd Place USGP. U23.

As the story goes, it started raining just prior to the event turning all the bare dirt from the day before into slippery, slimy mud......  Great conditions for two SE athletes, Joe Schmalz and Bryan Fawley.  The mud made the race a test of pure power and toughness.  The result (click on the "Sunday" link)?  Joe 18th and Bryan 19th.  Joe also placed 3rd in the U23 Classification further solidifying his position in the USGP.  Great riding to both!

Joe Schamlz.  3rd Place USGP.  U23.

Diamond Blackfan CX.

Shadd Smith rides away from the competition with Steve Tilford to make it a Tradewind Energy 1-2 in the Men's Open race.  This marks the beginning of the true CX season for Shadd as he is now shifting all his training to be completely CX specific in multiple modalities.  Great hustle from Shadd!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stretching for Cycling: Brad Huff Style!

This time of year, I get lots of questions about how to make yourself more flexible.  Well, here's the one and only Brad Huff to show us how it's done!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shadd Smith shows how to peak for the Gateway Cup and Beyond!

Photo from "Outside Magazine"

Peaking should be simple right? "train hard, rest, recover, PEAK!" Simple. Well..... not so much. Everyone peaks a little different and the timing of a peak is different for everyone, yet also crucial to the athlete. Without an objective way to decipher how your performance is progressing, peaking becomes a guessing game.

Some people think that peaking happens immediately following a rest. Some can't rest or they'll be stale. Some need to rest, then build into a peak shortly thereafter. Some just think they're resting when actually they're not. Some just.... well, you get the idea. The bottom line: You need to be objective in order to understand how you peak and how to best use that to help you.  Hopefully, that can help all of us avoid that particularly frustrating scenario of peaking just after your BIG EVENT.  I see that happen more often than not... where the peak is missed by 5-10 days.  D'oh!

I'm going to talk about Shadd because deciphering how his peak truly worked and how best to extend it for multiple days challenged me. It took some time, and some combing through power files before we dialed Shadd in... just in time for Gateway Cup! The result: 4 top placings at the premier event in the Midwest, new season Max Powers for all time indices between 35s and 0:02:18. Also, new 2009 season Max powers between 0:4:47- 1:43:27. That's an across the board significant improvement in his ability!  This can be credited with the superb field and hard racing but Shadd still had to be able to produce these numbers or they wouldn't happen.

Furthermore, the final 5 minutes of an Elite Criterium are typically where you'll see the hardest efforts of the day. During those, Shadd produced some normalized powers of: Friday: 364W, Saturday: 443W, Sunday: 371W, Monday: 441W.  Those are definitely "WOW!" numbers and PRO quality. What does that tell me about his form? It means that he's holding his form throughout the 4 day event without any drop off. Shadd trusted me with the responsibility to get him on form and so far, we're both delivering!

Shadd then continued his upward trend from Gateway by notching a win in this year's Hermann Cross: Under the lights.  Keep an eye on him as he mixes it up with the big boys at Vegas Cross!

Obviously, Shadd can tell the story of his 2009 success better than I can.  If you see him, just ask!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hermann Cross: Under the Lights dominated by Source Endurance Riders.

Congratulations to Source Endurance clients Shadd Smith and Joseph Schmalz take top honors in Hermann, MO! 

Opening Day of Cyclocross in the Midwest is in the books! Depending on where you were, how far you wanted to drive, and how late you wanted to stay up, races in Kansas City or Hermann, MO were fun times for all!

At Hermann, Shadd Smith and Joseph Schmalz demonstrated some fine form and gave a preview of what is to come all year as they tested their form for their respective early season goals.  Shadd can be spotted at Interbike racing in Cross Vegas while Joe will be toeing the line in Madison, WI for the first round of USGP series.  Wish them luck and watch their results all season long!

Hermann: Under the Lights
Jeff Yielding put on another fantastic event this year and, as always, I was given a brutal reminder as to exactly how hard CX really is.  KCCX had the entire squad there as we use this event as the chance to showcase the riders, the bikes and the new clothes so the pressure was on to bring the A game.

Personally, I never put any pressure on myself for the first race of the year.  Most of the time the skills are a bit lacking and the equipment isn't quite dialed in so no pressure, no problem.  However, Joe is using his hard earned road form to take a stab at some early UCI points so he should be flying.

Bam!  We're off and immediately I'm reminded that I need to work on the starting process of CX.  However, the pre-riding definitely paid off as I was able to rip the first lap at full speed and close down some of the spots I had relinquished in the first 200m. 

I bridged up to my team mates and their group who was racing for 7-11 within 3-4 laps and we began picking apart the remainder of the guys.  Jeff Winkler had just flown the coup so I missed the chance to ride for 5th with him.  On a side note, Jeff already a very successful day at Swope Cross in KC. 

We jumped the group a few times and managed to set up an island that Bill rode across to giving KCCX 7th and 8th until a mechanical forced Bill to return to the group.  Meanwhile, I caught 6th place and entered into a duel for the place.  In the end, I gave up my only advantage which is the ability to attack while already pushing the limit, and gave the advantage in a sprint finish back to a rider who was bigger and had a better sprint (from a rested state) on a fast finish.  My mistake and he made me pay for it.

In the end, KCCX finished 2nd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Jon Toner: Winning while Working the Day Job 40hrs per week (or More)!!!

Coaches and consultants like to brag all day long to whomever will listen about their "Star Athlete" and all of his/ her accomplishments. However, not much is ever said about the "mere mortal" who puts together an amazing day and brings home a "W." One questions tests the true talent of your coach/ consultant: How much has the client/ athlete progressed?

Whenever one of my athlete/ clients succeed, I feel a similar sense of pride by knowing I helped put them in a position to do well. That feeling of success is one I wish for everyone to experience.

Here is a story about a regular guy that just won his first EVER Category 2 Cross Country Mountain bike race!

Jon is a
Mechanical Engineer at a Chemical Plant: Works on rotating equipment, compressors and turbines. His typical work week consists of 40 hrs per week, minimum! On top of that he competes in many Cross Country, 12hr, 24hr, and Cyclo Cross events. Basically, if it involves bikes and dirt, he's doing it.

Just the build up to his early season goals was coming to a point, Jon suffered a tear to the Labrum in his right shoulder (SLAP tear). This meant lots of time off and rebuilding from his pre-season form. We decided to target the Leadville 100 where he finished in 10:09 at 10th place for Texas riders! A fantastic result considering the conditions and altitude.

Following Leadville, we decided that some late season results were not out of the question, so Jon worked very hard to hit some peak form for the fall races. Jon has been working on his ability to repeat the short bursts needed in Cross Country races as well as his ability to start races fast to gain position. Jon has also worked on his nutrition/ hydration for the entire season. It has been a work in progress and he mentions them during the pre-season. It was my hope that Jon would be able to put everything together to have that "perfect race." Enter the Camp Eagle Classic...

In Jon's own words:
"I've never felt that good over that kind of terrain as long as I can remember." Indeed, he was having a superb day on the bike and his result showed.

Camp Eagle Classic - Cross Country
Rocksprings , TX

1st place in Cat 2: 30-39 Mtb race!
First Race win as a CAT 2!!!

Here are some of the answers given by Jon around Thanksgiving 2008 with regards to his 2009 goals. As you can see, he has done a superb job of meeting these goals and I'm looking forward to seeing what 2010 has in store!

During the week how much time do you have on most days to train?

I usually have 1-1.5hr per weeknight between 7:30 and 9:00. Little more or little less, but still have to have enough time to eat/shower/get to bed at decent hour along with workout after the kids go down for the night around 7:30. Usually get up 5:45am.

What do you want out of a training program?
Improve race performance, have training program that provides improvements that can be a source of pride, maintain/improve fitness.

I. Long Term (16+ weeks out) prep for Leadville 100 and fall series. I am not sure of exactly what physiological goals to shoot for in prep for mid term and long term goals.

What are your expectations of Source Endurance and your consultant?

Help me maximize my training time by improving training efficiency. Help to outline exactly what physiological qualities are needed for cycling. Help to organize thoughts with regard to training and race strategies.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete? Strengths can be physical, nutritional, sports specific, character traits, etc… e.g. cycling hills and good nutritional routine, etc.

Strengths: decent threshold rider, notice that I seem to be able to push a harder steady pace at the end of races compared to competition/peers. Decent climber—seem to gain on the field during climbing sections of races. I think that I am mentally tougher than most people I race against.

Weaknesses—inadept nutritionally for training/racing/recovery; suffer badly when repeated accelerations are called for and/or repeated efforts that require going into red zone (i.e. to drop competitors) and coming back to threshold, at best a mediocre bike handler for technical terrain, in fact, on unfamiliar terrain would likely be classified as a poor bike handler—feel like I typically give up big time to field in technical/twisty sections. I am not a big instantaneous power type of rider. Based on race experience, I usually give up time to the field off the line and spend the rest of the race reeling back in the people who can go out really hard.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Crossing the Threshold

With the end of road season coming on like a train, let's remember that Cross is in the air. I'm certain everyone of us has forgotten where our CX bikes are, so find them, clean them and come on out to the CX Clinics. Wednesdays at Herman Laird Park in Shawnee, KS. And Thursdays at Overlook Park, Clinton Lake. Flyers below!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Final TNW KC Criterium!

Total KC domination for some athletes I've been working with over the past few months. Here's the scoop....

Fast and furious final showdown on the TNW KC series. Many a rider were vying for the last victory and the chance to unseat Shadd Smith as the TNW KC King but it was not to be. However, it's not without trying!

Myself included, here are how some of the folks I've been working with impacted the final TNW KC:

Adam Mills, Joe Schmalz: Slammed the door on a one team (Epic/ Specialized), 3 man break with 8 sec advantage at 1.5 laps to go catching them with 2 corners to go.

Then, at the finish,

Shadd Smith 1st.
Jason Knight 3rd.
Mark Cole 4th.
Tom Price 6th.

That's very, very impressive. These guys have been hard work all season long and that's not all of them! Dean Parker is aiming to climb some stairs at CX Nationals this year. With all these guys taking focusing on CX this year, I don't think it's the last time you'll see their names above the fold on a result sheet this year. Stay tuned!