Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Source Endurance Athletes Making Noise in 4 Cities, 3 States, and 2 Timezones.

Derby City CX, UCI C2.  Louisville, KY

Joe Schmalz. U23: 3rd, Men Elite: 20th.

Joe Schmalz. U23: 4th, Men Elite: 24th.
Bryan Fawley Men Elite: 21st.
Tom Price.  Master's 45+: 5th.

Smithville CX.  Smithville, MO
Shadd Smith. Men Open: 3rd, Broken bikes: 1.
Wanda Simchuk. Women Open: 2nd
Scott Fleming. Masters 45+: 3rd.  Single Speed: 4th.
Mark Cole.  Men 3: 1st. 

 Shadd Smith.  KCCX/ Verge

 Wanda Simchuk

Weberville CX.  Weberville, TX

Connor Cartland. Men 3/4: 1st. (pictured left)
Adam Mills. Men Open: 3rd.

Periwinkle Challenge. Houston, TXcharity fundraiser
Brandon Cowart: 1st

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Science of Coaching.

Just start at the 5:35 mark.  It really tells the key to using science in order to drive the coaching process.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Source Endurance Clients Invest in Portable Escalator Construction!

Climbing podium steps is definitely making some tired legs for some SE clients.  So much in fact that we are beginning construction on a mobile escalator unit!

Here they are, and some photos!

Photo by Laura Cossey

BLVD Brewery CX race report here.
Men Open: Joe Schmalz 1st.  Shadd Smith 2nd.
 start of the Men Open Race.

(Thanks to Bruce Edwards).

Women Open: Wanda Simchuk 4th.
Men 50+: Dean Parker 2nd.

Wissahickon CX.  Philly, PA UCI C2.
 Bryan Fawley gathering some solid results!

Granogue CX. Wilmington, DE.  UCI C2 
Bryan Fawley misses a top 10 by a rear derailler.

Capital Cup CX. 
Men Open: race report here. Adam Mills 5th.  (I know there were photographers, but they're all MIA now)
Women Open: Wanda Simchuk 4th.
Men 50+: Dean Parker 2nd.
Women 4: Aubree Dock 1st.

2009 Terra Firma.  24 Hours of Rocky Hill.
3-4 Person Expert/ Pro: Jon Toner of TBD Racing. 2nd Place.  Official results published here.

If you have photos, please send them this way!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dean Parker's Take on the 50+ Chris CX

Dean was kind enough to send a brief write up about his victory in last Sunday's CX race.

Had a good start, Doug Long and I lined up next to each other and were the first off the line. They started the 35's, 45's and 55's fifteen seconds between each group. Doug and I caught the tail end of the 45's by the top of the starting straight climb. 

My goal was to go as hard and aggressive as possible the first lap to open a gap on Doug, it worked.  After banging elbows with him the first few turns I was able to pass some riders and create a small gap. I kept working on that by accelerating out of turns and climbing as hard as possible.
I think I was  much more aggressive in passing than I had been.  Use every little straight sprint then not be worried about crowding them in the turn, make them slow down.
 My favorite moment in the first lap was the double track followed by the sharp left to the mud hole.  I came up on two riders side by side one in each track. I didn't slow down, just took the middle and shouted "COMING THROUGH" and sprinted between them.  Made the hard left and saw five riders lining up single file to take left line around the mud hole.  I had made a point in preriding to ride the right side. Didn't slow down, took the less obvious right line and passed all five at once. FUN!

Over all I felt good, tried to always pedal hard out of the turns and take advantage of any straights and the road where I could turn it up a notch.  I open about a 15 second gap on Doug that I was able to hold most of the race. Although he did gain back some on the last lap.

Over all in the masters I finished 1st in the 55, 4th in the 45 and 11th in the 35.    Fourth and eleventh were less than 10 seconds ahead at the finish.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A wonderful Testimonial!

I know, it's shameless self promotion!  However, part of my job is seeing my clients get stronger, faster and smarter.  It does give me a very large sense of pride to see and hear of these accomplishments first hand.....


I was starting to suspect that I was getting stronger but I did not have the real proof until today. Unfortunately for me a [a couple fast riders were] off racing but we were fortunate to have [other elite riders] show up at our ride. I missed my VO2 max workout because when I returned home yesterday it rained the entire I rode today with 3 days of rest and I decided that I was going to do all my pulls in excess of 4 minutes and at the low VO2 max level (staying over 300 watts).

I was able to achieve the objective but the biggest thing is that I can not believe how much stronger I feel. I put in my best power numbers ever and NEVER felt that I was pushing to the limits!!  I just could not believe how easy the ride was and I had TONS of energy at the end of the ride and drilled some very hard pulls. I easily kept up through the hills and had so much power left over that I sprinted at the very end...I have never done that in my life.

Several months ago prior to joining you I had a similar day where I felt unusually strong, on that day my normalized watts (NW) were 256 and Average Watts were 223. BUT today my NW were 264 and my average watts were 246...But the most surprising thing is that I never felt that I was pushing seemed like a really easy ride and I kept wondering why people were not drilling harder....

This is just unbelievable....

I can not wait for [all the usual supects] to get back and really start drilling the pace up...Thank you so much for all your help, and the time you spent with me on the phone."

Mike Moist
Houston, TX

Monday, October 12, 2009

Source Endurance Athletes Turn in Top Results across the Midwest!

What a great weekend of racing across the Midwest!  Two disciplines, two states, lots of fast racing!

Chris CX (Leavenworth, KS)
Women Open:  Wanda Simchuk 2nd.
Men 55+:  Dean Parker 1st
Men 3/4: Jason Knight 1st, Mark Cole 2nd.
Men Open: Joe Schmalz 1st

Texas Skill Based Road Race Championships
Men 3: Andrew Ennis 8th
Men 4: Jorge Martinez 5th.

Texas Age Based Road Races Champs
Men 50-55: Paul Hurdlow 5th.
Great riding by all!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pre- Race Ramblings

As I sit here, sipping on a glass of 2 buck chuck and watching UT absolutely destroy Colorado in what was a good game (until reality set in) some thoughts struck me and I couldn't help putting them on the blog-o-sphere.

First, I really hope there's some sort of starting procedure in tomorrow's CX race.  Last week we started with 13 guys in the same space meant for 8 wide which meant that only those who are able to push and shove as they clip in are going to get those coveted and rare advantageous spots into the first corner.  The flyers on all the local races say something like, "call up order will be in order of registration."  I'd like to see that actually enforced.  I'm not sure whose responsibility that is but it really can't be that tough to execute.  With the races being so top heavy in talent and ability, along with some decent numbers toeing the line in all the categories, it's about time to get some order on the start line.

Second, I'm really impressed with the officials starting all the races on time the last few weeks.  It seems like the status quo in Kansas was to run every race 20-30 minutes late and that it was, "okay" to do.  I hope this continues to happen.

Third, I'm very pleased with the racing in the Midwest so far.  With the ascension of some younger guys, along with some of the veterans stepping up their game, and some out of towners rolling in, there have been 5-6 guys lining up that are capable of scoring a UCI point on a good day.  The result... and Shadd called it early this spring...this is the fastest and hardest CX year in the KC/ Midwest area.  It makes it worthwhile to stay home and race some quality events, vs. spending the $$ to travel far and away.

Finally, with the increased attendance comes elevated competition. We are all seeing the status quo/ pecking order/ totem pole positions being challenged in every category.  This means some epic battles are in store as the 2009 CX season kicks off.

See y'all Sunday!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sport Specificity: The Power of Cyclo- cross

Sport Specificity- "the principle of training that states that sports training should be relevant and appropriate to the sport for which the individual is training in order to produce a training effect."  When this is applied to CX, it's important to remember that simply using the equipment, or just "riding around" on gravel or grass is not synonymous to CX, but more to road riding.

I've looked through numerous references for the metabolic demands of cyclocross on and off for years from numerous sources like  Bing, Google and scholarly articles.  Each time I'm met with disappointment.   It just seems that there has been absolutely no peer reviewed research published on the subject.  This leads me to believe one of two things.  1) The simply is no research done on the demands of CX.  Or 2) There have been no published studies on the matter.  For the sake of knowledge, I am optimistic that the second is the case.  However, I must admit that it is equally likely that option 1 may be the truth due to CX not being an Olympic sport (note the publish date).  So how do you train for CX? 

My quest begins when I worked for a previous employer (as an intern who went on to become a Senior Level Coach) and had the thought that, "CX must be different than other disciplines when considering preparation."  So I did what anyone else in my position would do.  I asked the "higher ups."  The answer was disappointing, at best.    I was told to, "train them like they're doing a time trial and everything else is gravy."  Gravy? Seriously?  Not only was the answer just plain wrong, but it led me to believe that there wasn't really any sort of method to training for CX.  Below are two pictures.  One of a Time Trial, one of a CX race.  Both have heart and power graphed.  Which one is which?  Just guess......  give it a try.......

Okay, so now we can at least agree that the two events are dramatically different. Back to the first paragraph.... I talked about searching for the knowledge and I've read countless declarations from different coaches, some with backgrounds in Exercise Physiology (which they typically brag about on their web 'profile'), most without any formal higher education , all of which I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with.  This discipline is very specialized and therefore requires a very different approach.  I began to implement some ideas about the execution of a more specific training approach with some clients as early as August and the dividends are starting to pay off.  After talking with a couple different clients early this week, the comments were the same: "I've never done anything like that in training before.  But I'm not complaining!"

Training was able to be focused very differently yet equal in effectiveness for these clients largely because of the use of power meters.  The data these tools yield allow me to pinpoint and improve weaknesses in each athlete's ability. Most clients are not "happy" about the process of improving their weaknesses, but they sure do appreciate the benefits!

I'd love to spend an entire blog post or 2 or 3 dissecting, analyzing, and divulging my findings.  Instead, I'll just let the results of last week's CX race do the "show and tell."

A Recap of results from the Boss CX 1 and 2 Events

Aubree Dock: 3rd Place in Women  4, Saturday.
Wanda Simchuk: 3rd.  Women Open, Sunday.
Dean Parker: 2nd.  Men 55+, Saturday
                     1st.  Men 55+, Sunday
Jason Knight: 1st Place.  Men 3-4, Saturday.
Mark Cole: 1st Place.  Men 3-4, Sunday.
Joseph Schmalz: 1st Place.  Men Elite, Saturday
                          1st Place. Men Elite, Sunday

Friday, October 2, 2009

Old School. They did the best they could with what they had.

With Opening Day of the Cross season having hit nearly everywhere in the US now, I've overheard my fair share of this that and the other about ad hoc training, "proven" training, or excuses to not train and ride/ race. One thing I'll never be able to understand is the rationalization for the comment: "I'll just train Old School, by feel. Because that's what works."

Reality Check!  Old School is just that.  Old and antiquated! 

First, let's take a look at THE cutting edge for the application of modern training knowledge and technology. The Olympic Training Center and their $374.7 million of assets at the end of 2008. Anyways, take a look at the US Olympic Training Center and their Performance Services. Everything is "state of the art, cutting-edge, highest of quality" etc. etc. Not once to they mention, "traditional approach, from the 1980's, or aged technology."  Never.

How about some history of the Old School methodology while we're here.....
Everything is based on a biased and subjective Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale (RPE). This scale was established by Dr. Borg, circa 1970 as a way to measure aerobic training intensity in the field because of an inability to quantify workload or intensity due to unavailability of portable cycle ergometer (pronounced- "power meter"), or heart rate measuring devices (HRM).  Let's also keep in mind that no race or athletic competition has EVER been won simply by doing "tempo."

RPE measures how hard a workout session "feels" vs. the absolute intensity (work output). In one large study, efforts at 60%, 73%, and 86% of VO2 max were all given the same RPE even though the duration was different. Throughout any aerobic training session, RPE numbers trend upwards, despite a constant or decreasing workload which hints that RPE is also linked to fatigue. Therefore it can only moderately coupled with Heart Rate response or lactate production, at best.

Much of the performance training based on RPE research ended in the mid-1980s due to improvement in HR and power meter technologies. As a primary training variable, RPE is no longer used at the Olympic, Professional, or Elite level to dictate training intensities and is only used as a tertiary training variable that mostly measures feedback.

This makes sense as none of us drive our 1986 cars or use that old Comodore 64 computer.  Also, when we think about the evolution of sport, then the application of power meters and more complex physiological measurement/ quantification when compared to the "Old School" method becomes a necessity if one is to outperform the competition.  Sport performance has always used the best that technology can offer to see consistant improvement.  The "by feel" method WAS the best at the time (until the 80's).  Then it was followed by heart rate, which WAS the best way to measure and prescribe training at the time (until the mid 1990's).  Now training with power IS the best method of measuring and prescribing training.  Michael Phelps never jumped in the pool, turned a few thousand "tempo" meters, and then went to win 8 medals. And you can bet Fabian Cancellara doesn't "just ride around" and dominate the field in the World TT Championships.  They both use training methods much more comprehensive and complex.  Why would anyone who is passionate about their sport, or whose job depends on performance, ever settle for mediocrity, especially when the ability to drastically improve is readily available? 

I'm not saying it's a bad method, just like I'm not saying I don't like driving a '69 Impala.  There's simply better ways to go fast.

I'll leave you with this.....

The "gifted athletes" will always be that.  They will always be fast but they may never know how fast they can truly become.

If you spend thousands of your hard earned dollars on a bike, you expect it to go fast. And it should. It's a competent piece of equipment that feels fast and probably is fast. However, a bike doesn't make the rider go faster. Only the rider makes the rider go faster. If one invests countless hours of training with the goal to go that one little bit faster, the best use of that time/ energy investment must also be made.  We all look for a reason why we don't perform at the level we think we should, when sometimes the hard and honest answer could be, "I just am not fast enough."  But, how often does such a hard truth really need to be so?