There’s an ancient quote from a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher that (roughly translated) states, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” (Heraclitus of Ephesus). It alludes to ever-present change as being the fundamental essence of the universe. You’re probably wondering, “Why would Feedback Sports start waxing poetic in a blog post?” Well, let us tell you. It seems a fitting quote to an athlete who is dubbed, “The Purple Tiger”. Rachel McBride is one of our supported pro triathletes . She’s one of the strongest cyclists on the world circuit and below she writes about a recent special win…in her hometown. As athletes we often run the same trails, race the same courses and often compare our past life vs. current while doing so. Rachel may not be stepping in the same river twice, but she’s certainly swam there more than a few times. Find out what it was like to take the podium in her hometown for her 3rd IRONMAN 70.3 win in Victoria.
Ironman 70.3 Victoria CHAMPION!
I have to admit, I was really surprised to run myself onto the top step of the podium at IRONMAN 70.3 Victoria, as my main focus right now is on full distance IRONMAN racing this year, and I headed into this local favourite on tired, un-tapered legs. This is a very special race for me: 2 years ago I hit this pretty much “hometown” start line as my return to racing after 13 months off from injury. My family, including young niece and nephew, were on the sidelines cheering then and of course again this year. Getting a high-5 from my 4 year old nephew was definitely the highlight of the day.
This race was a fun experiment in seeing what I can do with some fatigue and some risk taking in a strong women’s field. I have been bested in other races over the years by the top contenders on this start line. My race strategy was to go out strong and consistent to try and best those speedy women.
I started the day off with another game-changing swim, coming out of the water only 8 seconds down from speedy swimmer Spieldenner whose feet I’d lost about halfway through. On the bike I quickly took the lead, but world record holder Annett caught me 50km in, and I just couldn’t keep on her. She’s a beast on that bike! She put three and a half minutes on me heading into T2. So I put my head down and went out at that just-so uncomfortable half marathon pace for 2 gorgeous 10.5 km laps on the Elk Lake trails.
I was stoked to see my pace staying strong and consistent. Coming around after loop 1, I got an incredible boost from the crowd support (and my precious high-5!). In fact, I’d taken 90 seconds out of Annett’s lead and powered on to narrow that gap even more. I built confidence as I saw my km splits getting faster on the 2nd round and finally took the lead with 3 km to go. Once again it was an emotional run down that finish shoot, 2 years later in such different circumstances, to take my 3rd IRONMAN 70.3 win.
What’s Rachel’s favorite Feedback Sports product? The Omnium of course.
“My Feedback Sports Omnium Portable Trainer saved me while travelling to race on the other side of the planet. In my lead-up to Ironman South Africa, Cape Town’s notorious winds started gusting at 100 kmh – too dangerous to ride outside. I am so thankful for the Omnium as it allowed me to get my workout in, despite the inclement weather. No matter the weather, traffic, road conditions, etc. the Omnium Portable Trainer is easy to travel with and ready in seconds so you can get your training in on the road without any worry or disruption. I’m never leaving home without it again!”
Coach Chris Mayhew heeded his own advice and took a brief break from cyclocross season’s efforts, but the author, racer and coach is back. Whether you raced 2017 Nationals, have road or mountain bike goals or just hope to improve on this past cyclocross season, coach Mayhew of JBV Coaching has some helpful tips to make the most of the offseason…
What should I be doing? It’s a question I’ve been getting almost every day from new clients, friends, and clients just coming off cyclocross season. Most of us are pretty driven and like to feel like we’re doing work every day so this time of year can feel discomforting. It’s a long way from next cyclocross season but sitting around isn’t something most of us are good at. I have three suggestions that will get you through the next couple of months till the weather breaks.
If you went to Nationals this year, congratulations. That was one for the books, no matter how your individual race went. If you did go, chill out for a month and don’t feel obligated to do anything but eat and relearn the names of your loved ones. Come back to this column in a month or so. It’ll be here.
If you didn’t go to Nationals then you probably ended your season sometime in mid-December. What’s your next goal? Many people race only cyclocross, so they’re not competing until August or so. Some people race mountain bikes or road during the offseason and will be racing around April in colder climates, or sooner if you live in areas like California, Texas or Florida. If you’re planning on the latter, my first suggestion is to get on some sort of organized plan (created by you or a coach).
Plan out your offseason training and workouts to slowly build back fitness. photo: Justin See
The journey from offseason to race shape takes three to four months and you’d do well to get started on that now. That’s particularly important if you plan to race on the road, which is not a lot of fun if you aren’t in razor sharp form, unlike mountain bike racing and cyclocross. Keep in mind the words “journey” and “fitness,” I want to circle back to those in a bit.
“If you did go, chill out for a month and don’t feel obligated to do anything but eat and relearn the names of your loved ones. Come back to this column in a month or so.”
If your main goals for the summer are simply to ride, have fun or do Jeremy Powers’ Grand FUNdo, you have a bit more time on your hands, which is nice. That means there’s less pressure on you to get into shape now when riding often means riding indoors or outside in less-than-desirable conditions. What should you be doing with that time? I’d encourage you to do two things:
One is to do things you haven’t done at all, or want to get back to. Cycling takes place all in one plane of movement and involves relatively few muscles. Anything you can do to develop strength in muscles long ignored (or never developed) is great. Plus, your training load is low right now and shouldn’t be focused on cycling, so you can do things that would normally leave you too tired for cycling. Start lifting weights, do CrossFit, go running, go swimming.
The offseason is a great time to try something new, like Crossfit, says coach Mayhew. photo: Artic Warrior / Justin Connaher
Get started on a yoga program or increase your practice by a few days a week. All of those things encourage strengthening and involve movements you’d never do in cycling, which are good things. Moreover, they let you check that box of “doing work” every day which is good for any athlete’s head while developing a sense of self outside of cycling. A lot of us can get depressed around this time because we’re not riding and that can be related to not getting your endorphin fix from exercise. So get moving in some form that’s not cycling.
Second, I realize that we do like to ride our bikes, and so if you are going to ride your bike, there’s one workout I’d encourage you to incorporate at least once a week: threshold training. The classic version of this workout is two efforts of twenty minutes each at lactate threshold, functional threshold power, or however you choose to anchor your intensity level schema or want to define fitness. If you don’t have an anchor, think about doing a steady time trial for 20-30 minutes and riding at that pace in that manner. (Pro tip: start the effort easier than you think you should and try to increase the effort a small bit every five minutes) I think 2×20 minutes is something to work up to. Start with smaller blocks, but no shorter than 8 minutes. Do 2×8 and add a few minutes to each block every week. When you get to 2×20 then you can think about adding intensity to the workout rather than minutes.
The hard part about riding your bike right now is that you’re at the beginning of your journey back to regaining fitness you once enjoyed. And for weeks or months of doing threshold workouts, or any ride, you’re not going to be where you were. A lot of people tend to get really down about how fat or out of shape they feel during this time. What they’re doing is comparing where they are or “should be” to where they are right now. I would really encourage you to avoid that mindset. Focus on where you are now and embrace it. Spend your mental energy on figuring out what you can do today, to work towards your goal. No single workout will make or break your season. It’s a large body of work, over weeks and months, that matter.
Think about what you can do today and be happy with yourself when you do that thing. Do you get mad at yourself because you’re not on vacation right now and think poorly of yourself? Or do you figure out a plan of where and when you can go on vacation, look forward to that, and make sure you pack everything you want for that vacation? Look forward to the journey and doing the work. If you’re just looking for results, you won’t last long in this sport because those are far and few between. If you can learn to love the journey and take pleasure in it, you’ll ride your bike for as much of your life as you want to.
“Spend your mental energy on figuring out what you can do today, to work towards your goal. No single workout will make or break your season.”
I think actor/DJ Idris Elba has some good words here in that regard:
Lastly I’d tell you that even if you could get into August form tomorrow, somehow you’d spend all of February thinking you should be fitter or leaner. Learn to be happy where you are and learn to love making small steps to another place, day in and day out.
Though we all know that warm-legs are fast legs… it’s can be hard to know where to begin. You might wonder, “Should I use a bike trainer or rollers?” How hard should I go before a race?”, “For how long?”, “Should I do intervals?”, “Why is my skinsuit so tight?”, “Is my number pinned properly?”. While we can’t really help you with the last two questions, we did find some experts to share what works for them in terms of the first four.
We asked our friends, David Sheek (Carmichael Training Systems Coach) and Amanda Nauman (known to friends and the cycling community as “Amanda Panda”) of Team SDG – Muscle Monster for some general preparation tips and a warm-up plan to help anyone maximize their race-day potential.
~From Amanda and Dave~
Our friends at Feedback Sports have really stepped up the game with a solid range of traveling goodies that are also amazing products to have in any garage. Whether traveling to Europe or chasing events around the United States, Feedback has made it easier to be prepared at home and on the road. A few of our favorites are the Team Edition Tool Kit, Omnium Portable Trainer, and Sprint Work Stand which all fit into the bottom of our cases for travel.
Being Prepared: Pre-Event Warm-up
A pre-event warm-up is designed to increase muscle core temperature, start the body’s cooling processes, and activate energy systems. Here’s a step-by-step guide to activating your body for a great performance using the Feedback Sports Omnium Portable Trainer.
It’s pretty common for a warm-up routine to be 45-60 minutes. You need to spend some time at lactate threshold and throw in a few high-intensity efforts to activate the processes related to producing and processing lactate, but you want to do as little as possible to achieve those goals. A generic warm-up includes 15-25 minutes of spinning, 5-10 minutes at LT, and two 1-2 minute VO2 max efforts. Variations of that will typically get the job done. A long warm-up is likely to generate more heat so weather and other variables are taken into consideration.
The nature of your event also plays a role in your warm-up. If your event is going to start out relatively slow, like a road race, then you can minimize the warm-up activities. If the event is going to start hard, like a cyclocross race, then it’s important to activate your energy systems and lactate processing systems.
Variations on the Weather
There is a fine line between activating your body for a great performance and hurting your performance through overheating in your warm-up. After warming up some higher energy systems, your muscle temperature and core temperature are elevated and primed to race. In warmer temperatures it is recommended to cool down for about 10 minutes before going to the start line to avoid any chances of overheating. In cooler temperatures it is recommended to add clothing layers and maintain that elevated core temperature en route to the start line.
Go to the Start Line
If you’re going to be standing on the start line for a long time before you start, as is often the case with cyclocross races, you’re going to be standing still. In this scenario, try to go to the line wearing enough clothing or layers to stay warm. Plan to hand your clothing off to someone with a few minutes to the whistle.
The focus on staying warm during and after a riders’ warm-up routine pays off because you will be ready for action right from the start. Keeping your core temperature at an optimal level enables you to start faster, get to the front of the race, and stay there.
Taking the proper steps to activate all your energy systems through a proper warm-up, all starts with the right trainer routine. It’s difficult to find an event that allows for sufficient open road to correctly hit the warm-up zones that your preparation requires. Traveling with the Feedback Sports Omnium Over-Drive guarantees the freedom to create and execute a routine around an ideal warm-up that will set you up physically and mentally for success.
Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) 10-Point Scale
Endurance Miles (EM)
Steady State (SS)
Climbing Repeat (CR)
Power Interval (PI)
Off Trainer – Head to Startline
10 min Active Cooling
*Amanda is currently rocking the cyclocross and gravel scene. She and David clearly know a thing or two about race-day preparation. Thanks for the tips, David and Amanda! We’ll see you (and your Feedback Sports Race Day Essentials) at the Cyclocross Nationals in Kentucky! #pandapower
Since 1999 Big Ring Cycles has been one of Golden Colorado’s premier high end bike shops that caters to all cyclists. Whether you’re a hardcore roadie, commuter, or only let your tires touch dirt Big Ring has what you need. Their mission statement reads: “At Big Ring Cycles, we are passionate about one thing: the bicycle. We believe that the world would be a better, more cheerful place if more people rode bicycles more often. We’re about the wind in your face, and the sun on your back. We’re about tan lines, the kind that never disappear. We’re about long climbs, followed by fast descents. We’re about commuting, recreating, and of course, racing. We’re about tradition. We’re about passion. And we’re about community. We are Big Ring Cycles, and we’re here to change the world, one bike at a time.”
After purchasing the business in 2016, owner Seth Wolins decided it was time for some changes. Over the course of the winter they have been working to overhaul their space to make it bigger and better than ever in order to serve more customers more effectively. After months of hard work they are ready to share it with you! So come one. come all bicycle lovers to the Grand Re-Opening of Big Ring Cycles of Golden, Colorado.
When and Where
Big Ring has huge weekend planned, jam packed with events, sales, group rides and more.
Re-Opening weekend starts Thursday Night, May 17th, with the Kick off Ride which is part of their weekly shop rides including the added benefit of a post ride beer celebration to really start the weekend right. Riders are invited to have a beer or 2 next door at Barrels and Bottles post ride. First round is on us (Big Ring)!
If group rides aren’t your thing swing by Friday night, May 18th, for the BIG PARTY! It is time to unwind, celebrate making it through a few crazy months and thank the Big Ring Family for the support! Smokey J’s BBQ will be on hand serving up delicious food and drinks will be provided. There will be a blind taste testing of the Big Ring Cocktail finalists and the winner will be announced that night!
Moving into Saturday, May 19th, vendors will be on site to answer your questions demonstrate products and keep the good vibes going. So swing by our tent and check out our repair stands, trainers, tools, or any of our race day essentials. Hours are 9am-6pm and the grill will be going from 12 noon to 2pm.
The big weekend caps off Sunday morning with group mountain bike AND road rides leaving from the shop at 8am followed by coffee and breakfast to prepare for the final day of great deals. Hours are 10am-4pm featuring a Trek E-Bike Demo from 10am-2pm.
If you love Colorado cycling, you don’t want to miss this, so come on out and support your local bike shop and enjoy some great events. For updates check out Big Ring Cycles website, as well as connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Sea Otters…….just kidding, us, Feedback Sports, along with thousands of spectators, athletes, exhibitors, and bicycle enthusiasts of all kinds!
“You guys should put on a mountain bike race.”
That simple statement from a Monterey bike shop owner in 1990 was the genesis for the Sea Otter Classic.
Co-founders Frank Yohannan and Lou Rudolph hosted the inaugural Laguna Seca Challenge on April 6 & 7, 1991. There was a total of 350 athletes and 150 spectators. Today the event hosts over 9,600 athletes and 72,500 fans. In 1993 the event was renamed the Sea Otter Classic and is now universally regarded as the world’s premier cycling festival.
Known as a sprawling and energetic “celebration of cycling,” Sea Otter is cycling’s North American season opener. Professional and amateur athletes alike make the annual pilgrimage to Sea Otter to participate in some of the sport’s most competitive and enduring events. Hundreds of pro cyclists, including national, world, and Olympic champions, attend Sea Otter to race and meet with fans.
Most of cycling’s racing disciplines are represented including mountain bike cross country, downhill, dual slalom, and short track racing. Road cyclists compete in circuit, criterium, and road racing. Also offered are cyclocross and a number of non-competitive recreational events for riders of all ages.
The Sea Otter Classic also hosts the world’s largest consumer bike exposition in North America. The Expo holds hundreds of vendors who display new products, distribute free samples, and offer great bargains. The four-day, action-packed festival includes an international food court, entertainment, bike demos, stunt shows, and activities for children.
The Sea Otter Classic is located in Monterey County, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Hopefully you’ve taken some time off since your last race, be that Nationals or the last race of your local series. If you’ve been really good, you’ve actually found another activity to occupy your time. At some point you’ll be drawn back to riding bikes, hopefully because they’re fun for you and because you enjoy riding and the process of training. I have been counseling clients about some common mistakes to avoid, and I am working on not repeating some myself. Let’s see if we can shorten your learning curve a bit with this article.
Moderate Your Indoor Training
First, whatever you are doing, do it in moderation. You’ve probably been off the bike for a while and you may be doing other activities like strength and mobility training. Don’t go from two weeks of relative inactivity to ten plus hours of on and off-bike work. You’ll be fresh and motivated enough that you won’t feel the effects of such a steep ramp up immediately. But eventually it will catch up with you, often in terms of an overuse injury like IT band issues or a strained back.
Ease into whatever you are doing and start with very modest goals. For the first few weeks back, I just like client to “check the box” X number of days per week. Be that cycling, yoga, weights, whatever, just be active for an hour a day for X days a week, say three to five. From there figure out a modest, sustainable increase in that activity level and stick to the program.
Whatever offseason work you are doing, Coach Mayhew recommends an hour a day, three to five times a week.
Next, there are the particulars of indoor and outdoor riding. If you are riding indoors, I have three recommendations for you. One is, again, to limit what you’re doing. If you’re on rollers (which are great!) or a non-Zwift connected trainer, you’re burning mental matches every time you get on. Keep that to a minimum; you’ve got many months to get in shape.
My general recommendation is no more than three times per week, no more than an hour at a time. If you’re on a Zwift-compatible trainer, training is less of a drag and I’d say three to four times per week. But there I would caution you against always racing. There’s a lot to be said for diminished intensity right now and not always going to the well with fight or flight.
Trainer workouts are good, but don’t overdo it and tax yourself mentally.
Whatever you’re doing indoors, GET A FAN. Clients of mine are probably chuckling at this point as I am constantly banging the drum on this. For every one watt of power you are generating, you are dumping three as waste heat. So even at 100 watts, which is a very easy pace for almost anyone, you’re generating 300 as heat. That blotchy skin you get is blood pooling below the skin in an attempt to cool you. That blood should be going to working muscles, but it’s not.
In addition, you’re sweating buckets to cool but there’s no air moving over you to carry the heat away. What happens without a fan is that the same effort feels harder and harder when it’s actually not and your ability to produce power diminishes. Get the biggest fan you can blowing directly on your core. This is another reason to limit indoor workouts. Those fans can only do so much, and it’s a losing battle. Hours and hours on a trainer mean more compromised cooling.
Attention 2017 Masters Cyclo-Cross World Championship riders:
Feedback Sports will provide a warm-up tent at Masters CX Worlds. Omnium portable trainers will be available to use before your race. Feedback Sports staff will be at the event racing AND available to assist at the tent. For more information, contact [email protected]
Year 2, here we come!!
Explanation of the Masters Cyclocross:
Masters (MM: Men Masters) This category shall comprise riders of 30 years and above who elect this status. The choice of masters status shall not be open to a rider belonging to a team registered with the UCI.
Masters (WM: Women Masters) This category shall comprise riders of 30 years and above who elect this status. The choice of the masters status shall not be open to a rider belonging to a team registered with the UCI.
Will you be at Cross Vegas? We will! We’ll be racing the Wheeler’s and Dealers races as well as providing a warm-up tent full of Omnium portable trainers–open and free to the public.
Competitors in CrossVegas’s UCI, USAC, Wheelers and Dealers categories, and a new E-Bike fun race, will have their last chance to experience the lush grass and challenging course at the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex in Las Vegas on Wednesday September 20, 2017.
As die-hard cycling fans, it should come as no surprise to read that we have long-pined over attending the Red Hook Crit. The lights, the city, the fans, the spectacular crash footage, etc. But rather than make the l-o-o-o-n-g drive from Colorado to Brooklyn, (CA to NY if you count that we just got back from Sea Otter) we’ve opted to partner with Team Specialized/Rocket Espresso to represent our products instead.
This is great for the following list of reasons:
As previously mentioned, NY is far, far, far away from CO. Our van is a go-getter, but that’s asking a lot.
The team will have coffee and beer for you to drink in their palatial tent while they intentionally pummel their bodies at the Red Hook Crit.
Having this fast team warm-up and cool-down on our Omnium portable trainers/rollers will be a touch more impressive than say…us warming-up under our tent and likely crashing during the first lap.
This isn’t insinuating that we’re slow with poor bike-handling skills or that our tent isn’t pretty, but you get the idea.
Most of us are Cyclo-cross and MTB racers. Crits are scary to us. We don’t know what to do with our hands.
Okay, now I feel badly for our tent. I didn’t mean it. Our tent looks very nice and we offer plenty of fine Colorado craft beer options.
Seriously, our beer is the best.
But, I digress.
If you happen to be going to the race, find the Specialized-Rocket Espresso tent and fuel up on espresso and/or beer. And take in the beauty of the bikes, the racers, the venue and the crowd that’s made the Red Hook Crit what it is today. And if you can’t make it, Specialized will be hosting a livestream of the finals on Specialized.com.?
Tiny House Nation on FYITV follows renovation experts and hosts John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin as they travel across America to show off ingenious small spaces and the inventive people who live in them.
Feedback Sports is proud to have participated in the March 25th – 370 Sq. Ft. Triathlete’s Tiny Abode episode! If you tune in Saturday night at 9/8 Central on FYI, you might just catch the home-owners using a Feedback Sports Omnium portable trainer a wash and work stand, or one of our space-saving bike storage products!
Zack Giffin is making a tiny house of Olympic proportions! #TinyHouseNation