I am getting ready to start a new build. Since I kinda tore apart my road bike making mods and playing with different ways to reinforce the frame, it is time to get back on a CDS road frame again. I’ll post more on that later. I took some fun shots of my cross frame all dirtied up from some single track riding in the snow.
The fitness is coming along OK. I’ve not gotten on the bike as much as I should, but since I don’t have the early season plans that I’ve had in the past (Valley of the Sun in February) I don’t feel too much pressure. I am fairly fit, but not bike fit. I have been doing a medley of activities to keep active and spice up the workouts instead of sitting on the trainer:
- Indoor Soccer: A great way to get the VO2 up since it is nothing but sprinting, especially if you have not skill (like me). Also a great way to get injured, especially knees and ankles.
- Trail Running: I’ve really started to enjoy running. Hitting a trail is SO much better than running around the neighborhood. It gets tough in the winter when it snows a lot, but thankfully it hasn’t been too snowy until lately in the Boulder area.
- Swimming: I try to swim 2-3 days a week to work the upper body and core a bit. I’m not too good at this either, but flailing around still gets a good workout if it isn’t that fast or pretty.
- Skiing: A few times with the family, either downhill or cross country. I recommend both, although cross country is a much more applicable training. It seems like downhill should be a good way to stay a bit fit in the legs, but I have seen time and time that skiers that come out of the winter only doing downhill are not in bike shape.
- Yoga: I am trying to do this once a week at a minimum. My flexibility has really gotten worse over the fall and winter. I have had a few injuries (hamstring, ankle, knee) that have limited my ability to do much yoga and it is starting to show up more in my other sporting endeavors. The older I get the more important stretching has become. I can feel the difference when I am limber or when I am not, especially running and riding.
- Trainer Time: I need to start getting more focused on the bike. I’ve been getting some trainer time in on the bike in the last week or two and will begin to ramp that up as the season approaches.
- Bike Time: I have been hitting up the bike on the weekends and will begin commuting to work more again once the weather lightens up and I don’t have to coach soccer. (Starting in March) I have felt OK on the Gateway rides, which is always a good indicator. However I don’t have the on bike endurance I will need come this season. There is only one way to get it and that’s by riding a lot more. Finding time might be easy or tricky. It really all depends on the weather at this point.
I was looking through some old photos and realized that I really like falling on my left elbow. After breaking it twice in 3 years, now I found this photo from when I got my front wheel swiped in a finish sprint by a college kid. I imagine I have met my quota for scar tissue in the elbow joint.
Great winter session with Rabid Frameworks and CDS (Brent and myself) out at Hall Ranch going up the front side.
If you live in the US, just about everywhere has been hit by some nasty weather that inspires indoor training. I for one am not a huge fan. Although I have many a friend who can go hours on the trainer or even choose to when its 70 degrees out, I much prefer toughening it outside in extreme conditions or finding other things to do. However, I always take riding the trainer pretty serious in the January – March months. Not only to get in time on the bike, but I have found it to be excellent prep for the season. It’s a less stressful way to build up the miles and work in some real work in very short time frames. Let’s just say, trainer time has its place in just about any cyclists racing/riding schedule.
I was recently interviewed and had an article published in Bicycling magazine recently that was all about winter training. They asked me for ideas on how to make the trainer tolerable. So here is what I sent them:
It’s that time of the year again: Holiday Health Tips
My update for 2013 is that we have extended our holiday festivities for over a week. I’ll be doing a bunch of running in single digit weather to keep the lbs. off and to stay fit. It is also a great way take a break from the rush of things and regroup, especially for those needed that alone time to recharge. Starting Saturday, I’ve ran over 4 hrs. and hope to keep up the focus with some indoor cycling and gym work tomorrow.
With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all coming along in the fall, it is a great time to add 5-10 pounds that we all have been working so hard to hold off. Rather than counting calories and ruining your holidays by worrying about calories instead of enjoying the season, I have a simple list to keep the weight off. (Or at least manageable)
- Don’t make a 1 day holiday into a 4 day holiday. It is pretty easy to end up having Thanksgiving 4 times in November. There can be two family gatherings, your company party, friends parties, your spouses parties, etc. I suggest choosing one event to let loose on and then treat the other events like you would a typical day. Overeating can become a snowball gaining momentum after the 3rd party and you eventually just give up the fight.
- Drink water. I have talked about this a lot, so it is no surprise to end up here. Drink a bunch of water before any event and then drink a bunch during the event. It will keep you hydrated (obviously), counteract alcohol consumption, and prevent major overeating.
- Minimize sugar. I have talked a lot about this in the past as well. Focus on eating the greens, meats, and fruit dishes and try to keep away from the candy based items.
- Minimize liquid calories. It is easy to double your calorie intake at an event by drinking just as many calories as you eat. The body doesn’t register liquid calories the same way as solids and they simply won’t make you feel full. Alcohol can fall into this category. A beer can have 100-200 calories per 12 oz and hard liquor shot is about the same. Also keep in mind that these both have a lot of sugar in them.
- Burn the calories. I have a tradition of running a ½ marathon the morning of Thanksgiving every year. I don’t train for it and it is pretty painful, but it does create a pretty guilt free day after burning 1800 calories in the morning. Even getting in family football game can be a good way to burn a few of those servings of bean casserole.
I consider cross training for cycling a venture into total body fitness, not necessarily a big leap in cycling. Riding your bike is the best way to become a better cyclist. Cross training is the best way to become a better athlete and to prevent issues that can arise from only riding a bike. As I mentioned before, I won’t cover core work and stretching, both of which should be part of your weekly cycling training and therefore not considered cross training for the purposes of this article.
Lifting Weights: Lifting weights is a major consideration for cyclists. For one thing, chances are you are a weakling. Secondarily, it also has the best chance of transferring over to cycling improvement. If you have a coach who knows what they are doing, weight training can result in some off season gains directly related to cycling performance. There are some major considerations if you decide to delve into hitting the weights.
- Do you have experience with the equipment and lifts? It is very easy to hurt yourself if you don’t know what you are doing. If you don’t, start off slow and consider working with a trainer.
- Is your weight under control? No matter how many articles I have read to the contrary, every person I have ever worked with that had a bigger body type seemed to really struggle to cut weight and hit the gym at the same time. I recommend concentrating on cutting weight first and then bringing in weight training once the diet is in the right direction.
- Do you have access to a gym? Sometimes a gym membership just isn’t feasible. If you can’t get to a gym, you can do quite a bit of work with some simple 20 lb. dumbbells and resistance bands.
Running: Many cyclists have a running history and a running seems like a very compatible endurance sport with cycling. I tend to agree that running is a great way to maintain fitness; however it is a serious foray into injury-ville if not done properly. Runners get hurt or are hurt more than any other athletes I deal know. Most of the injuries are nagging, small items. My best advice is to start off very slow, very short, and even walk the down-hills. After you get used to running, it is good to run a short distance once a week all year round to keep your body used to running when the winter comes along.
Cross Country Skiing/Skating: This is another area that is can directly relate to cycling. Many of the same muscles are used and the endurance energy system is highly challenged during cross country skiing/skating. The highest VO2 max tests have occurred with cross country skiing athletes, so I encourage anyone looking for a way to really challenge their endurance engine to consider this off season activity. The only downside is accessibility. This is the most expensive sport on the list due to equipment considerations and cost to access trails. It is also more time consuming to have to drive to a resort or trail system. However, if those aren’t barriers, it can be one of the more challenging and interesting pursuits in the winter. It doesn’t get much better than swooshing through the woods on a blue bird winter day.
Other Sports: Swimming, basketball, soccer, etc. can all be way to stay fit or even gain fitness and have fun as well. I love playing other sports to keep it new and interesting. You can also learn a lot about how your body works, all while working a whole new set of muscles and energy systems. Obviously some sports are a bit risky. Hockey, soccer and rugby are all goods ways to tear an ACL, as well as get fit. Swimming, rowing, and yoga are easier on the joints in your body.