Archive for June, 2012

Sprinting Form

I am working with Randy Mclain on getting ready for track nationals this year. (3 time national champ and silver medalist at the worlds on the track, as well as one of my best friends.)  Randy has just recovered from a tough year battling cancer and is trying to get back in form for the national championship this year.  We have decided to do some sprint workouts on the road to supplement his track workouts.  Randy is uber fit right now and is showing quite a bit of strength.  His weight has come down to a reasonable 205. (He is a big man and built for football instead of bike racing!)  He always puts out demoralizing power numbers on his SRM.  1700-1800+ watts are pretty common for him in a sprint.  However, after taking over a year off from competing and training seriously, Randy is lacking sprint FORM.  His power is good 1500-1600+, but not as fast as he will top out at yet.  The interesting thing is that there is a lot of work to do on his sprinting form.   After taking that time off, the rhythm and position on his bike is off.  If you watch the best in the world sprint, there are key elements of body position and sprinting that make the 1% difference between winning and top ten.   Randy always had the great form you get from spending a ton of time on the track and has lost it a bit.  We’ll be working on finding that position again the leverages his mega upper body strength, is aero, and aligns his body so that he is getting full power transfer without losing that smooth 120+ cadence you need to be successful on the track.   One thing I know for sure – Randy is a competitor and it is going to wear me out trying to keep up.

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So here I am, 2 weeks into my weight loss plan.  So far I am 10 lbs. down and at my goal of 175 lbs.  (or close enough)  I am definitely going to continue my focus on keeping the weight down moving forward and try to go a bit lower.   I am certainly not very lean yet and could lose another 10 lbs. before I get cycling lean.  It will all depend on my energy and how my body feels.  So far I am listeing to my body and trying to respond when hungry.  Truthfully, with all the dense foods I have been eating (raw veggies, nuts, frozen fruit), I haven’t felt all that hungry.  I also don’t have much to snack on at the house and that is keeping me pretty light on my extra calories that go in due to boredom.

I got to this last push by eating reasonably and riding a TON.  I did  a 20 hour ride time week this last 7 days and I haven’t done one of those in a decade.  And it was on a mountain bike before I even had a road bike.  The riding was a combination of race like efforts, long hauls, and two epic days in the mountains this weekend.  All requiring a ton of calories.  I ate reasonably around the rides and ate about 200 calories per hour or riding this weekend.  I didn’t try to eat light, but I do have some stomache discomfort when I eat a lot and ride hard. 

I seem to be recovering between rides reasonably well.  I think the focus on protein has been helpful and lots of water.  I am still downing a ton of water, keeping a glass or bottle with me at all times.

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So far so good.  I have hit my 177ish goal a couple of days early.  I have been able to get on the bike every day this week and that has helped a lot.  I am sticking to my diet OK, but not perfect.  Drinking a ton of water is definitely helping me stay “full”.   My go to snack has been oranges and nuts.  The big question is about recovery.  Am I getting enough food to restore my body and the training efforts? I have not backed off on intensity, doing the bus stop ride Tuesday and racing last night.  After the race last night, I was sure to get home and eat a couple of hamburger patties to ensure I got enough protein.  I feel great this morning, so I guess it worked. 

The weight has come off way faster than I expected.  I have lost 8 lbs in 11 days.  Not normal.  This suggests to me that I was pretty FAT.   I still think hitting 175 will still be a challenge.  The last few lbs. are always hard.  But I have a big weekend of riding that will help a lot.  After hitting 175, I am going to evalutate trying to go lower. 

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So as I suspected my weight loss has been on a slower trend.   The good thing is that I still have plenty of fat to lose and am far away from having to really dig deep at a 6% body fat.

I didn’t ride much Friday – Sunday.  I got in a 1.5 hour ride on Saturday and the rest of the time was hanging with the family.   They left for Iowa Monday and it was much more important to prepare for the trip, look for homes, and hang with the kiddos.  I did get two rides in with ALL 5 of my kids on Saturday and Sunday.  I hooked up a double Burly and a Tag-A-Long behind my cross bike and then my 7 and 9 year olds road their bikes.  We cruised around my nieghborhood for a bit and it was pretty fun. Not exactly training, but a good way to get outdoors and hang out with the kids.  I also was pretty relaxed on my diet.  We had a big family dinner of pizza with my wifes cousin and aunt’s family on Sunday night and hit fast food up once due to our packed schedule. 

But I still am down from the last time I weighed myself and making progress on my goal.  This is a good lesson of keeping things simple.  I was careful not to snack too much (which is tough for me when I am home) and to be mindful of portions.   Also, no ice cream snacking at night and no drinking.  No liquid calories.   Chose the veggie pizza over the everything.  Small things like that add up.  Still drinking tons of water too. 

Less than 5 lbs. to go and I bet I make a big jump this week since I will be riding more and on my own for eating.  I suspect I will hit 177 by the end of the weekend. 

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I don’t have access to my same scale, so it is difficult to post any stats until Monday.  Based on my home scale, I lost another 1 lb. by Friday morning and then gained back another 2 lbs.  So that puts me at a net loss of another 1 lb. and 5 lbs. from my goal.  I think part of the weight coming back on was a rather inactive Thursday and Friday, coupled with a descent amount of snacking Friday.  I was home all day due to my wife being ill and bedridden for the most part.  I did a good job of eating OK foods, but I didn’t listen to my body when I was full.  And of course, I had to level off at some point.

Now comes the real hard work.  I don’t really plan on losing more than 1-2 lbs a week.  I am travelling in a week to China.  This will be a huge challenge due to cultural norms that require eating and drinking.

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Well I was pretty surprised to see my weight significantly down again. I suspect all the fiber from the raw fruits and veggies is flushing out my system somewhat. I also was pretty light on the calories yesterday, coupled with a race and another hour of riding.  I am suspecting the weight will become MUCH more difficult from here on out.  Only 6 lbs to go or so!


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I am going to try and post my weight nearly daily so that folks can see the success and struggles to get down to 175. I will be weighing myself in the nude every morning first thing after clearing my bladder to try and get an even keel weight. This morning I was 183.4. I know this looks like I dropped 2 lbs. in one day and I sort of did. But this was likely a fluxuation in water for much of it. I am trying to keep these swings realistic and wouldn’t be surprised to see my weight go back up tomorrow a bit.


A couple of items I need to add to my list of items that I will be doing:


  • Drinking water. Lots of it. Every time I eat I will drink a 12 oz glass, no matter how small of a snack.
  • Shopping.  Stocking my office with good foods will make all the difference.  You can’t eat what you don’t have and in a pinch food usually is bad food.

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Weight Loss

Every serious bike racer pays attention to their weight.  It is a bigger issue for some than others.  I have teammates and clients that can’t gain weight and I have some that struggle in a major way.  I offer diet and nutrition support in my coaching and have had very good results, but at the end of the day it is the athlete’s dedication, determination and will power that make the difference.

I have been pretty busy with my life lately.  Bike racing has been a great distraction, but not the sole focus.  Coaching, design, and family have been fairly demanding.   Additionally, we sold our house and haven’t found a place to live yet.  Pressure is on.  So I haven’t been focused on racing and nutrition like I should, but this is a great time to put into practice what I preach. 

I need to drop 10 lbs. or so.  My race weight used to be sub 175, but I haven’t really been there in a year or two.  So that is my goal.  I raced last year 182-180 and had a fairly good year.  This morning (post breakfast) I was 185.6.

How do I plan to get there?  I like simple plans because I have a simple mind, so here is what I am going to do:

  • No liquid calories
  • No drinking alcohol (after a weekend with my old rugby buddies this is an easy one)
  • No ice cream (this is like asking me not to breathe, but I’ll try to hold my breathe for a while)
  • Minimize gluten (this is just an easy way to keep from eating a bunch of bread and pasta that is usually high in calories and high glycemic index)
  • Don’t eat process foods
  • Eat raw fruits and veggies a lot
  • Eat meat, lean preferred but not required
  • Snack with fruit/yogurt/nuts
  • Add supplemental workouts in, although I do ride/train, I often go days without working out, I will try to do something every day.  No matter how small.

I’ll update regularly on how it goes.  I am feeling lighter already after riding to work and having nuts/yogurt for breakfast.

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As a kid I remember watching football with my dad.  He was a football fan, but also coached me from 5th grade through high school.  So when we watched football, it wasn’t just as a fan.  We STUDIED the sport.  As I grew older we would watch film on other teams and our team in preparation for the next game.  We did this as a team, but also at home in preparation for the team discussion at school.  After growing up in that experience, I have watched every athletic event from that kind of view.  When I watch a play in the NFL, I am watching the lineman first to see if it is a pass or a run.  Just like when I played linebacker.  When I started playing rugby I would watch as many games as I could.  And now that I am a cyclist, I try to watch bike racing and study the sport. 

Since we don’t grow up in a culture of bike racing in the US, it is imperative to learn as much as you can through other means.  It isn’t an intuitive sport to understand.  Team tactics, TT pacing, and a million other items take so much to get right and most racers don’t have a clue.  Much of this is learned through a team or club atmosphere.  Although I have been quite surprised by how many Category 2s or even higher that didn’t really understand team tactics or race strategy.  I certainly don’t claim to know it all.  But I do feel confident that studying the sport has helped me a great deal in my racing.  When I first started racing I would kind of laugh at the discussions by the commentators about how important experience was in winning.  I would think: Sure it helps, but not as much as being the fittest rider helps.  But now that I have more experience I realize how much it has helped me in races when I haven’t been the fittest rider. (all of them) 

If you are serious about racing bikes, get yourself in front of that computer and catch those races.  Pay attention to how a sprinter positions himself with a lead out or without.  Watch how the break forms.  How does a team ride with a teammate in the break?  How without?  How do riders position themselves for turns, descents, climbs?

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