Friday, October 17, 2014

Old guy with crazy powers….

Yeah, gotta love defying conventional wisdom.  Take 11 years of training and keep breaking thru to new peaks.

It’s been post season power testing the past 2 weeks.  Despite all the personal challenges and adversity of this past year.  Cranked out some awesome power tests. 

Any cycling athlete that trains regularly with watt measuring power device, knows of the sometimes dreaded 20minute Threshold test.  Personally I hadn’t worked on one in awhile. 

At almost age 42, most people are gonna say… “eh, you know getting up there.”  I say, bullshit, our abilities are driven by many factors not just age.

Here’s a reference, much loved cyclist Jens Voight, last month set the world 1hr TT record.  He did it targeting a power output of around 370watts.  Does that effort hurt? Um… yes.  Will there be faster guys that ultimately break his record at higher wattage out put. Sure.

Now I wasn’t going for a world 1hr TT record but I was going for a personal best 20min effort.  I’m happy to say I landed just 11 watts shy of what Jens did for an hour.  Could I have kept that up for another 40 minutes, hell no.  But maybe 340watts, less than 10% off the world record holder?  That’s actually not so far fetched.

Power is relative to weight on hills  -- and frontal body surface on flats.   Jens’ at 168lbs has got me by 3-7lbs on any given day.

I’ve got a point in all this.  Don’t believe all the conventional wisdom.  Wisdom that says after 10yrs of training you’re maxed out, you can’t possibly get any faster.  Guess what?  In 11th year and I just put 3% gains on my 20min threshold ability.  Oh, you’re almost 42, you’re past your prime.  Eh?  Well, if that was the case it wouldn’t be a new peak right? 

Maybe this is not true for everyone, but my point is don’t give up, try different strategies and approaches.  If anything the worst that happens you still maintain a very high competitive form of fitness…

Some of my favorite athletes as a kid were the older ones.  They inspired others as to what was possible.  Yes, there’s a lot of things in life and we can’t do everything, but if you have a desire for something don’t give up.  Believe in the unconventional.  World record 1hr TT holder is 43, winner of 2013 ground tour Vuelta a Espana 41, even Olympian’s like Dara Torres can be in their 40’s.   Pursue it as long as it’s of interest to you and you have desire.  You might just end up amazing yourself…

Friday, October 10, 2014

Phat Bike Friday…

Fat bike Plans & Parties…. for this Fall & Winter, read on.. 

New Fatabulous Fat bike getting some love & assembly…


2014-10-10 10.40.30

Monday, September 29, 2014

Deerfly Chase 2014–close but….

What is it with this beautiful weather last weekend in September the past 4 years?  Some say good luck, I’m thinking it’s the Deerfly Chase MTB race…

September comes around in MTB season and there’s sometimes this letdown after the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival.  Fortunately, the DeerFly Chase MTB race at Hickory Ridge 30 miles Northeast of Eau Claire has been a perfect event to wind down the MTB season the last Sat in September.

This year was no different.  Having broken my left hand in mid August it really put the damper on my racing season in what’s normally a higher priority time .  I struggled thru the Chequamegon 40 in a lot of pain but finished as solid as I could, it was nice to have a shot at another MTB race.

Now the good fortune of racing an end-of-the-season-burnt-out Nathan Lillie like last year wasn’t in the cards, if anything the odds were tilting the other way as I came in on a still healing fractured left hand that was about as appreciative of downhills, drops, roots and rocks as a blade of grass is to a trampling herd of buffalo.

Never knowing who might show up also puts some wild cards into play.  Rumors of this particular racer or that swirled in the weeks leading up to the race.  As it stood, a race fit, fresh off an outstanding top 30 Chequamegon 40 finish, Ryan Fitzgerald dropped in join the foray as well.

My best laid plans of getting to the race early evaporated with a late nite project the night before and a swirling household of busyness consumed my morning.  Didn’t help I misjudged the time it’d take to get to the race either.  So I’m peeling into the makeshift hayfield park lot as the line up of racers on the rollout section is 100 deep with 5 minutes to go.  Oops!

I get the obligatory & deserved heckling from follow racers, as Noah Michaelsen, race director extraordinaire is helping me tie on my #1, defending champ racing plate before the starting gun goes off.  I don’t know if he was laughing or incensed by it.

So I pop out with the “special weapon” I’d worked on setting up until midnite the night before.  My up to this point completely unused 2014 race bike, sometimes a rookie mistake to do, but my still mending hand desperately needed the best suspension it could find. 

Without warmup, I’m got to line & 60 seconds later we’re off, trailing Noah, & Brian Kelley on the lead out four wheelers.  Fortunately, it’s a controlled rollout for mile & half that would have to constitute my warmup.

The 4 wheelers let us loose at the gravel turn off and the rpm’s kicked up.  The first to lead the charge up the first hill that splits up the race was ever affable Matt O’Meara with engine as good as ever,  just carrying more on the racing chassis.  Following Matt things stretched out abit and two quasi lines of racers formed.  An ensuing descent and more gravel dwindled things further but still a group of 8-10 including top 4 female finisher at the Chequamegon 40 Rebecca Sauber riding strong. 

I knew within a short distance we’d finish go off road to some ski trails before hitting the first short section of single track.  I was itching  to get things rolling, yet trying to exercise restraint knowing my legs hadn’t had a chance to get warm up yet.  However I let my need for speed override any other decision making capabilities and hit the off road section mix of ski trail & single track at an earnest pace.  Seeing if anyone would struggle abit.  The result as I turned around was I had gaps, Nate Lillie was off several bike length and then at least 4 to 6 racers behind him.

I felt alittle winded coming off that effort and knowing we had more rolling gravel sections, I held up and waited for them to join again.  I could tell it wasn’t gonna be a super day, but if I road smart I should hold my own.  The single track had my left hand twinging at the pain  but the new bike suspension was helping to tame it as good as was possible.

On the open road, Ryan Fitzgerald went to the front and lead our group for a bit after me and he & I exchange that lead for awhile.  As best as I could tell, it contained Ryan, myself, Nate Lillie, I believe Matt Zak and this other guy I couldn’t identify at first. 

The race eventual becomes a domain single track race interspersed with ski trail and gravel road riding.  My guess is 15-20minutes into the race we finally got riding the Hickory Ridge single track, Nate Lillie took to the front and had a controlled pace.  With me trailing, followed by who I later found out was the up & coming Logan Schlough.  I’d know of him racing from seeing result over the years, the kid is getting fast.  I tip my helmet to his efforts.  With Ryan Fitzgerald bringing up the rear of our fearsome foursome.

My inclination was to pick up the pace while the single track was tight, rougher in the beginning and we could get gaps but Nate backed it off ever so slightly to pace his single speeding efforts.  We continued thru the single track ebbing and flowing the lead group as conditions warranted.  The trails had dried up substantial since I pre-road on the Thursday before, so the same level of caution I thought was gonna be needed could be thrown to the wind. 

Hickory Ridge trails a quite the gem of trails that don’t get the press they deserve.  Really a substantial & diverse set of trails for all levels riders.  It presents timely and adequate challenges. 

It’s there that’s where the first break in action at the front of the group happened.  After navigating a bridge or two, we then hit a longer “skinny” serpentine bridge over a wet area.   Nate cleared it fairly easily, I took a funny line onto it but stayed steady enough to cross, from behind I could hear Logan didn’t exactly have the same luck.  I could hear him go off, and correspondingly I was guessing Ryan wasn’t gonna make it either. 

I told Nate we got a break, to put it down.  Not sure if he heard me very well, but he picked up the pace abit for a short distance and the sounds of racers behind us disappeared.  I’m thinking, “Ah, good, now it just down to Nate & I, a rematch of last year.”  Little did I know, but Logan was able to pick himself up and hammer back as he steadily kept creeping back up closing the gap.  I still didn’t know it was Logan at that time, so I thought -- crap we’re really going have to go hard somewhere later in the race.   Ryan in the meantime had a harder fall wasn’t coming back into the picture.

With about 11-12 miles to go, and Logan almost back on, we transitioned thru a short uphill ski section at a hard effort, on top of his chase back, it was just enough to hold him in check from getting back to us, then later I heard him have a bike issue and he was off the lead for the remainder of the race having used up a lot of proverbial matches to chase on.

Nate continued to ride the single track smoothly on his Pivot Singlespeed 36x17 gearing.  I had a few hand issues happening and was working my own pace staying close when I wanted to and dropping back some if it felt right.  With just under 10 miles to go we got back out on the rolling gravel roads and Nate had a 6-8 second lead and hit the first climb putting more time into me.  I’d started to have some cramping in my hamstrings, the last thing I needed was to go over my limit when I knew I should be able close a lot of the gap on the ensuing downhills.  Sure enough, weight helps and hurts both ways.  Climbing makes for a harder effort, but as I like to say “the fat man wins the race to the bottom of the hill.”  Being that there’s a 30+ lb weight difference between myself & Nate that’s the yo-yoing we did as I caught back up.

With just over 5-6 miles left we hit our final single track section of about 2 miles.   Some new parts are really super well designed and other more challenging, only in respect to the copious amounts leaves that had fallen.  Making the single track line difficult to follow.  It was here I was starting to get gapped not by choice, Nate built up a gap of over 12 seconds and my cramps were getting more profound, I was braking more, my hand was taking a beating and I was on the verge of letting him go when we exited the final single track and began the final romp home thru gravel roads and cross country ski trails.   I kept thinking, gosh, this race has gotta get over soon.   It was longer than years past due to course changes and my body, legs and hand weren’t appreciating it. 

But much like the prior section of gravel, we yo-yo’d the up and downhills, but being that gravel riding is very familiar to me from training I seemed to get a renewed strength and felt like maybe, just maybe I’d be able to get back into this race to make a decent go at the finish….

Once I caught Nate at the next climb and corner back onto ski trail I rolled to the front pretty hard, not sure if I’d be going over my limit but I was willing to take the chance.  I lead out a good share of next few miles and Nate would do his best to stay like glue to me. 

Though I hadn’t pre road the final miles of the course, I figured I’d be able to remember enough of it.  In years past, it seemed endlessly long, this year it was the opposite.  After awhile I let Nate take the lead again & kept looking for familiar signs we might be near the finish but holding back slightly because I kept thinking we had another 1/2 to full mile to go and it would be unwise to cramp up before then.  That would prove to be most unfortunate.

In what seemed like a blink, we rounded a left corner on the ski trail and Nate stood up and started pedaling really hard.  I looked further up, and oh my goodness, there’s the finish line!! I jumped on it then and in what seemed like slow motion I kept coming further & further around Nate as he angled towards the finish line, only to run out of real estate to get around him before crossing the line and going thru the finishing gate. 

It was an awesome finish, giving the spectators some excitement.  Slight body & bike contact and Nate squeezing me out by a foot.  The win couldn’t have gone to a better guy.  He worked hard, road smart and deserved it for sure.

Had a great time afterwards catching up with follow racers.  Organizers have a nice party afterwards with food, beverage, awards and prizes.  Besides the tale I shared I’m sure there’s a bunch other great stories from other racers and their experience at the Deerfly Chase both the race and the event afterwards. 

My many, many thanks to Noah Michaelsen, Brian Kelley and volunteers for all the support and efforts they put in to make the Deerfly Chase happen each year and to make the Hickory Ridge trails one of the best kept secrets out there.  Do yourself a favor and consider checking it out both sometime…

Full results and info here…

Monday, September 22, 2014

the Secret..…come check out -- the Deerfly Chase–Sept 27th 2014

Ok, probably when one of the quiet moments of life occurs, I might just catch up on a great season of stories and adventures in this blog. 

Nasty crashes, Broken left hand, knocking at the door in big races, … and lot’s of good friends and people that make a summer of cycling and mt bike racing so much fun!!!

Quick note out to fellow racer Devin Curran, dude took a monster crash at the Cheq 40 the other weekend.  Details aren’t my speciality on this one, but when you end up taking a helicopter ride because your body & head has bounced off the pavement it ain’t the best.   If you know Devin keep him in mind, we wish him well.

Speaking of the Chequamegon 40, don’t think it’s the last time in the season to get out and use that fitness you gained or to have some fun racing bikes.  There’s one race in now it’s 4th edition I’d say serious consider checking out.   Head over to the Bloomer/New Auburn area (approx. 30miles NE of Eau Claire)  and check out the Hickory Ridge trails. 

Noah Michaelson, race director of the Deerfly Chase does an awesome job of putting on a great race and a race atmosphere that is perfect for end of the season race.  Here’s the details… 

Whether I’m nursing up the broken hand & taking pictures & sipping a beer or strapping on a number and racing hard I’m gonna be there enjoying a wrap up to a great season.  Hope to see many of you there!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Upcoming races…

Life’s been on a roller coaster since my last post.  Probably the reason for not getting in any posts since.  I keep thinking to myself… someday, someday….

In a nutshell, training is coming along, there were some low’s but last race at the Chippewa Valley Firecracks ( confirmed maybe, just maybe this change of routine is working.  More on that later….

On a personal note - Our 3yr old son, little Aaron, he’s made some amazing progress from his near drowning accident in May I last wrote about.  Situations like that should never let you look at any day of your life the same, no matter how back to normal things can get.  Both the accident and the recovery can be considered blessings as strange as that may sound for what they bring to your life.

It’s really profoundly changed some belief’s I’ve held. 

Now on the lighter side I’ve got all kinds of amusing little race stories and other cycling tales to share.  Hopefully all in good time and shortly.

And lastly if I can put in a shameless plug for a local races in the communities here……should any of you find yourself in the northern reaches of Wisconsin July 19th or July 26th.  Consider taking in Ashland’s own Mudrutters MTB race.

and Washburn own Brownstone Days MTB Race

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Biking aside….family news…

Been a pretty rough week  -- and I would do anything to say it’s because of training.  Unfortunately it’s not the case. 

My family experienced a terrible incident last Sat the 3rd.  One of the worst a parent or anyone for that matter ever wants to experience.  Prior to preparing for a family bike ride, our youngest (3 yr old Aaron Cooper)  fell into a pond when playing.  He was down for an undetermined period of time.  I jumped in & pulled him from the pond, he was unresponsive as I rushed him to the hospital 1 1/2 miles away. 

The ER team worked incredibly hard performing life saving measures and brought his heart beat back after about 35minutes and he was life flighted to Duluth, MN St. Mary’s Pediatric ICU. 

Its now a week later.  It’s been both the fastest & slowest 8 days of my life.  There has been so many ranges of emotions, from gripping fear to elation, even writing now the mind floods with trying to get my head around it. 

Besides the initial shock, there have been advances and setbacks that have been equally challenging.  It’s so surreal most days.

I shared something earlier in the week with friends & family to try & comprehend things for our little guy…..

 People may wonder what it is like?..... so I've pondered ways to share.  From the scientific to the spiritual.  But maybe a story is best...

Well, like any little boy might be, little Aaron is undoubtedly scared and he's still very deep in the woods.  But I like to think he's got a backpack on his journey, one that's full of love, hope, determination & prayers. The way home is found with a compass guided from the thoughts, energy of so many.  I'd like you all to know we believe every last one of you & your families help with that.

And the voices of prayer are those whispers he can hear in the wind blowing thru the trees for courage & strength & even a light hearted moment from time to time. (As he picks up a stick along the way to play imaginary games with... & believe me, we've seen him in the real woods, this is what he does :) )  He has some really big hills yet & logs across his path to climb over.

Whatever part of your day you have a moment to think, feel or express your love & support.  Do so.  Do it in how you care for others as well, love is an energy that radiates, that benefits everyone around & makes for a stronger draw for that little boy in the woods to keep moving forward...

In the days that have since passed, he traveled thru standard protocol of keeping the body temperature down for 48hrs, warming him up slowly but keeping him sedated while the major physical challenges relating to his cardiovascular system, lungs, heart & blood pressures where worked on. 

Those struggles have minimized and his breathing tube removed.  While it initially feels like a milestone, it’s only part of that journey.  The most nerve wracking is to see his status coming out of sedation.  What level of consciousness he regains.  It feels every bit as difficult & emotional as bringing him into that ER last Saturday. 

There’s has been an almost overwhelming support from so many people, well wishes, support & prayers.  We are nothing short of blessed for all that people have shown.  How to put it all into words is very difficult.

My wife, Kate has made it thru a birthday & a mother’s day this week and is somehow still standing thru it all.  I’d love to believe her strength will work to forward the steps Aaron makes. 

Those of you who have known of this and sent your prayers & thoughts, I can’t begin to tell you how supportive & connective it feels.   Our most heartfelt sincere thanks  go out to you.

Maybe the last thing I’d like to share is this -- & it’s what Kate & I wish onto all of you.  Take your moments and enjoy them all, hold them precious.  The support we’ve seen shows profound amounts of caring and love people are capable of.  Please, please don’t extend that to just the tragedies and challenges in life, but look for moments to express it in your everyday life with your family & friends.

Updates on Aaron’s condition we post on  If you’d like to read or stay in touch, you can search Aaron Swanson, the PW is aaroncd

Thank you again all so very much,

2014-05-10 11.36.08

Monday, January 20, 2014

Getting around too…recaping ‘13

I used to have a standard to try & blog no less than once a month… I think that got blown to bits in 2013.  Different training, lot’s of different stuff going on in life and most of all lot’s of writers block.

Not to say I didn’t get out some fun musings on a few races.  But still so many other good stories to share that I missed telling. 

2013 started pretty rough actually, a miserable about of illnesses & colds that seemed to be a regular weekly occurrence.  I missed the ‘cross nationals in January, but leading into them there was something missing in my fitness & when I got the full blown influenza a week or two before hand.  It wasn’t gonna happen.

I’m both a veraciously competitive person yet also laid back at times.  I did a lot of thinking in the spring about where I’d been, and come from in terms fitness, skills & racing a bike.  It was a long slow steady climb.  I had the great fortune of working with some great coaches over the years.  Initially I worked with CTS and had a really fun experience with Josh Powers who later started his own coaching at PowersEndurance.  The guy has a wonderful sense of humor and very smart at what he does. 

Eventually for a few reasons I wanted to try to something different, I’d heard great things about local Wisconsin coach Gordy Paulson (Peaks Training), he brought an ever so different philosophy to his way of training and with his coaching of Tristan Schouten .  Gordy is one of the most excellent, not only coaches but human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know & work with.  In working with him 2011 & 2012, I saw my greatest short term power/wattage gains. 

While those numbers made great for bragging rights, they still left something missing when it came to racing the bike.  The biggest struggle I still had was being able to hold my wattage on a bike for the duration of most races.  In training jargon it was the challenge to translate my solid “threshold” power into long efforts. 

I figured after some 8 years of doing similar things --- lower mileage, high intensity just wasn’t creating the adaptation in my body to race the distances I was doing.   Now that’s not true of everyone, some people can substitute intensity for duration and have great results.  Tristan from my understanding is one of those guys.  Hats off to him.   But we are all biologically just that much different in how we metabolize our energy stores and how our “energy systems” work. 

I decided I had to consider a different alternative.  Which is hard to do when you are indoctrinated into a belief or philosophy – harder/faster is better.  So I took a step back, said “hey, it’s not entirely accomplishing what I’m trying to do, I’ve got nothing to lose to try something different”.

So in April I began a different program, unconventional for the typical racer, but one that focused on long rides, and very specific targets and wattage zones to ride in at specific times.  At first glance I’d look at the absolute wattage targets & always think, “Oh, boy, this is gonna be an easy day!”  But what I failed to consider was the duration that was required…. and even a moderate output can be extremely difficult if the training ride is long enough. 

Skeptical that it would work?  Yup.  But soon after I found myself feeling like I had stamina that I didn’t have previously.  The first race of the season, the Strada Fango spring classic, was my first hint it might be working.  A 4+hr race that early in the season would have normally had me unglued 2hrs in.  This year, except for late race misdirection on my half, had Nate Lillie & myself leading it up to the finish.

The second race of the season, the Cable Off Road Classic was the first time I’d gone into that race with only a handful of rides going at or above race pace.  Now due to the prolonged winter weather conditions, the race was revised & was a distinctly shorter race.  Even so, the longer training didn’t hurt as I was able to come thru for a much celebrated win in a race that holds a special place & lot’s of memories.

I'll do on average 12-15 races a year.  It seems to be the right amount for the time, effort & energy required living where I do & my life situation.  So as the early part of summer arrived I was doing workouts that would have previously shocked me.  I wasn’t racing as well as I would have liked or getting the progress I wanted, but at the same time I wasn’t having any endurance issues.

Had a s0-so Mt Borah Epic, the 30 miles of single track race.  Efficiency on a bike matters quite a bit.  And without any time on singletrack to get in a groove, I’d waste a huge amount of energy where more natural & fluid racers could conserve.

To some degree the same could have been said of the Keweenaw ChainDrive, but in that case.  I learned that expending a great deal of energy going for a prime, will cost you later.  There’s no getting around it.  Just like in a car or truck if you constantly punch the accelerator at it’s max, it’s gonna have less in the tank than if you keep it steady.

The late June/early July Chippewa Valley Firecracker has always been both fun but a huge nemesis to me.  I love riding the trails they have there, but at the same time.  That race & the results I get there never show me much love.  My endurance work paid dividends as I’d survived the race better than in years past, & though short of my top 20 goal I’d gotten pretty close.

That lead into the July races….

The Duluth Great Hawk Chase, if there was 2 other races I wish I would have blogged about it, that would have been one of them.  I’d started to reduce some of the volume of my training but came there without any expectations & having drilled a hard workout the day before.   Starting in the back row & getting clogged behind riders in the long climb up the hills that start the race.  I slowly worked my way thru more & more people. Within a lap or two I’d moved from 40th to 5th.  Riding nearby was Todd McFadden & Mason Basco  along with some other bozo.  Now, I don’t normally say that, but seriously?  This dude was.  Mtb racers tend to be in my experience some of the best people to race with, even if it’s intense they are polite and cordial.   He broke that mold.  Riding a single speed, he felt it was everyone else’s job to make his life better.  He bitched at lap traffic and other riders.  When I slide out on a corner on a bad water handoff on the start of the third lap (of 4)  his profanity laced tirade sent me over the edge.  I’d gone down, had to run/walk the bike into a position to get back on.  In the meantime, I’d lost Todd, Mason & this guy.  They were up the trail & out of sight.  Ugh!! I was so mad.  I managed to get thru the single track that then lead up a long climb & I just found energy where I never had it before.  I brought back 100+ yards.  I road past Todd, (with Mason & the bozo) further up front, cursing under my own breath some along the lines of killing that S.. …well, let’s keep this blog polite.  And say my fierce competitor switch had kicked in.   Todd later said, he’d never seen me so mad. Oops, oh well, just human.

I soon was on “the bozo’s” tail as he was getting gassed and I flew by him with a direct mention to him of working on being more polite to his fellow racers.  (Maybe I didn’t say that kindly, but that was my intent).    I worked to try to catch up with Mason, but to no avail and then in the final lap that hard effort was costing me just alittle & Todd caught back on & used his familiarity with the single track there to pull away.  But a 7th place finish was by far the best race result I’d had in either a MN or WI MTB series race and was pretty happy.

Later that month I had a really interesting experience – something that told me duration/endurance focused training maybe didn’t necessarily take away top end fitness.  There’s this small local MTB race in Washburn, WI – called the Brownstone days race.  It’s only 10 or 11 miles but still cool & challenging.  I raced it in ‘12 with a PowerTap power meter & in ‘13 with the same Powertap meter.  Since it’s a short race with a long climb, it’s gonna have a higher power output profile and theoretically the advantage should go to someone who has specifically been training for those high wattage efforts with intervals.   And in ‘12 that was the case with me, I had all kinds of intensity.  For numbers sake, here’s how they stacked up….

Peak power 2012 2013
20min avg watts 338 336
30min avg watts 309 321
40min avg watts 298 306


To me one validation that I’d not lost my top end even though endurance had been my focus.

August ‘13:

That lead to an up & down month of racing.  Ore to Shore wasn’t the race I was hoping it to be, after getting in the front group(s), I lost my mojo towards the end & with it the chance of a top 20 finish.  It was my 1st or 2nd highest priority race of the year & a long time goal.  With little more than 2 miles to go I was gassed and couldn’t hold onto my position.  Did however come away with a sweet bike in the raffle…

2013-08-11 17.53.51

and a great time riding Marquette’s single track with Hope, Grace & Marshall..

Grace cornering the rails..

2013-08-11 13.49.27

August & September both wind up  & wind down MTB season.  Ore to Shore’s race should have been a clue.  Once July rolled around I’d cut back on my endurance riding, in lieu of more intensity and for the next 3 races I’d “pop” at just about the same time, just under 90minutes into the race.    The Duluth Dirt Spanker, still a good race, finishing 6th overall, but dropping two spots on 4th & final lap of 2hr race.  Next the Seeley Pre-Fat, another race like the Cable Off Road Classic I like to gear up for.  I’d done everything as perfect as I maybe could.  Pre-road the course a ton of times, confidence was very high.  Only in my pre-ride I severely crashed my wheel & need to perform trail side Flintstone mechanics.. “Bam, Bam”, whacking the wheel against the ground in an attempt to bring some trueness to the wheel or at least so it could go thru my fork without hitting the sides.  Even so I road the best race I could, but clearly my endurance “Bug” had come back. 

Lot’s of rest and some great 3x20min intervals & I thought I’d be set for Chequamegon 40.  The other race I really wanted to share the story about.  It may have been my best & easiest 28 mile race ever… the only problem?  Oh yeah, it’s 40miles.  I road both strong & smart early on,  felt confident.  Was riding in the top 15!!  And not feeling taxed.  It’s pretty huge in race like the Chequamegon 40.  Only it wasn’t too last with 12 miles to go, the proverbial wheels came off, another endurance failure. 

With only one MTB race to go, the Deerfly Chase, it was decided with me & my new coach, that endurance had in fact been lacking & my body went back to it’s old ways of doing business (more on that later).  So I hit up a very long ride between the two races, managed to ride a smart race &  hold my endurance to the finish, narrowly edging out Nate Lillie at the end for the win.


With MTB season over & no compelling motivation to pursue cyclo-cross, I entertained running the Whistlestop 1/2 marathon.  Wisely, I opted not to.  Just not enough time to swap over my biking legs for running legs even if my cardio system could handle it.

I did pursue a few ‘cross race.  The local BayCross race, even had my dad there cheering me on.  That was really cool because it’s been years since he’s been to an event.  Was able to win again there.

My next race wouldn’t be til Nov 23rd. A last minute decision to race the UPCross championship – most horrible race of my season.  And exactly zero explanation for it.  I nearly passed out mid way thru the race.  I’d just done a hill run up, I started seeing stars & my vision was starting to tunnel & get black on the sides.  I wasn’t otherwise feeling overly taxed in the race.  Maybe is was the stupid cold 15 degree temps??!  Anyways, it was unfortunate, but Colby Lash who won it was having a great day & he earned it.  In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to have a ‘cross race effort in my legs leading up to it.  Sometimes the best training for ‘cross racing?  Is ‘cross racing. 

Because the following weekend, I showed up in Eau Claire for the Princeton Valley Cross race and had a great race to finish the season.  Holding my own but still coming in 3rd overall behind two pro level racers in Issac Neff & Corey Stelljes.

Since then?  Winter?  Can anyone say a lot of it!?!?  Holy cats!  My plan was to get off the bike, and rest, rest and rest some more.  Maybe not get fat.  It was nice to put cycling on the back burner, pull out the weights, do some running and go back to being very amateur in my fitness. 

It was hard to do mentally, as I never like to “let go” of top end fitness, but my coach was pretty adament that I shouldn’t worry about it.  He asks that I get in some running, snowshoeing(good Lord there is enough here!!), fat biking, srength training. 

For 2014, instead of battling winter & not enjoying training, we’re gonna target marginal fitness and start seriously later.  Maybe not even til March or April when I’m fully rejuvenated & motivated.  It’ll be a year of some big miles that hopefully finally crack the code to my racing endurance.  Hope to share more next time on some specifics and get around to that conversation about “Watts it Take”…

Till then keep those big ole’ fattie snow tires rolling……