A preview to a philosophy

The last few days have been very quiet, very slow moving, very relaxing days. Today we traveled to Boise in preparation for tomorrow's NRC criterium on the wide but very hot streets of the Idaho desert. I grabbed this beautiful shot of the sunset from our nice accommodations at the race hotel. They have free internet and so.... we have a blog entry!


I wrote up a long paper today about my riding philosophy for a fellow former alpine ski racer who is starting to pursue bike racing. I kind of went over board but also wanted to take the opportunity to collect my thoughts as I am finalizing my lecture notes from this past semester's cycling class at Whitman College. I am hopeful that either Justin or Glenn can spread some of this philosophy to the new batch of riders whether it be in a classroom setting (if the school promotes another cycling class) or on the road. So I have included a brief section of this many page document for your reading pleasure.

It covers a philosophy of cycling and bike racing that I learned from my long time friend and coach David Youngblood. I learned a lot from David over the past three years and since he gifted me this information when I came to him as a burnt out cyclocross rider in 2008, I share with you some of the secrets that helped incorportate cycling into my life whether it be when I was working 50 hrs/week as a construction labourer, completing my undergraduate degree or now racing full-time with Rubicon-Orbea.

- Exert 1-

First off I am super excited that you are interested in racing your bike. There is no better feeling than riding in a peloton, participating in a team time trial or contesting a sprint finale, especially when you know, you truly know, that you are riding on or beyond what you thought was your limit.

There is no limit. The only limit is how far you want to take this.

However, there are a few tricks that will help you find your potential. I’m going to let you in on the secrets that I have been fortunate to discover over the past three seasons (with the help of coaches that I have paid – so....) here is my challenge to you: Whatever goal you set for yourself in the world of cycling, be it a daily goal, a seasonal goal or a dream goal – you do so in a mental state that guarantees an interest in bike riding far after your athletic prime. For the challenge is not to go fast for 1 year and then stop (because anyone can do that), and it’s not to see who can suffer more or hurt other riders the most either (that’s only how you win races), but it is in learning how to train and approach the cycling lifestyle in a manner that will guarantee long term success regardless of one’s goals. That all sounds incredibly vague but since you have a lot of experience from ski racing – I think with a little bit more detail you’ll get where I am going with this.

The BIGGEST difference between ski racing and cycling is the ability to hurt oneself. Truly hurt our bodies to the point of mental anguish, just like the last few minutes of VO2 max testing at the Alberta Scientific Institute every October. At those moments I used to ask myself “how much longer”, now when I am suffering I ask myself “is this what I truly want to be doing” – the answer is very powerful. Sometimes it is no! And that’s okay – I just go take a nap and usually feel much better. The great thing about ski racing was that the dryland was very separated from our on-snow time. In the gym we all pushed big weight and competed against our teammates but come every October (usually earlier as we all got older), we disliked the weight room. Tell me if I’m wrong here. Skiing well at camp always refreshed my efforts in the gym but it didn’t change the long term effects of the gym. So in the end, I kind of burned out of the gym. With cycling, I train and race on the same apparatus. The squat rack and the downhill track are the same thing so the trick of avoiding burnout is a very real challenge.

At this point, the worst thing I can do is tell you what to do, however, from my experiences as the coach and leader at the Whitman team; that is exactly what new riders want. So instead I am going to establish a few guidelines, very shortly described, and I am going to let you build off those for a little while.


- Check back on Monday for the five challenges -

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Cycling in a Toque: A preview to a philosophy

Friday, 16 July 2010

A preview to a philosophy

The last few days have been very quiet, very slow moving, very relaxing days. Today we traveled to Boise in preparation for tomorrow's NRC criterium on the wide but very hot streets of the Idaho desert. I grabbed this beautiful shot of the sunset from our nice accommodations at the race hotel. They have free internet and so.... we have a blog entry!


I wrote up a long paper today about my riding philosophy for a fellow former alpine ski racer who is starting to pursue bike racing. I kind of went over board but also wanted to take the opportunity to collect my thoughts as I am finalizing my lecture notes from this past semester's cycling class at Whitman College. I am hopeful that either Justin or Glenn can spread some of this philosophy to the new batch of riders whether it be in a classroom setting (if the school promotes another cycling class) or on the road. So I have included a brief section of this many page document for your reading pleasure.

It covers a philosophy of cycling and bike racing that I learned from my long time friend and coach David Youngblood. I learned a lot from David over the past three years and since he gifted me this information when I came to him as a burnt out cyclocross rider in 2008, I share with you some of the secrets that helped incorportate cycling into my life whether it be when I was working 50 hrs/week as a construction labourer, completing my undergraduate degree or now racing full-time with Rubicon-Orbea.

- Exert 1-

First off I am super excited that you are interested in racing your bike. There is no better feeling than riding in a peloton, participating in a team time trial or contesting a sprint finale, especially when you know, you truly know, that you are riding on or beyond what you thought was your limit.

There is no limit. The only limit is how far you want to take this.

However, there are a few tricks that will help you find your potential. I’m going to let you in on the secrets that I have been fortunate to discover over the past three seasons (with the help of coaches that I have paid – so....) here is my challenge to you: Whatever goal you set for yourself in the world of cycling, be it a daily goal, a seasonal goal or a dream goal – you do so in a mental state that guarantees an interest in bike riding far after your athletic prime. For the challenge is not to go fast for 1 year and then stop (because anyone can do that), and it’s not to see who can suffer more or hurt other riders the most either (that’s only how you win races), but it is in learning how to train and approach the cycling lifestyle in a manner that will guarantee long term success regardless of one’s goals. That all sounds incredibly vague but since you have a lot of experience from ski racing – I think with a little bit more detail you’ll get where I am going with this.

The BIGGEST difference between ski racing and cycling is the ability to hurt oneself. Truly hurt our bodies to the point of mental anguish, just like the last few minutes of VO2 max testing at the Alberta Scientific Institute every October. At those moments I used to ask myself “how much longer”, now when I am suffering I ask myself “is this what I truly want to be doing” – the answer is very powerful. Sometimes it is no! And that’s okay – I just go take a nap and usually feel much better. The great thing about ski racing was that the dryland was very separated from our on-snow time. In the gym we all pushed big weight and competed against our teammates but come every October (usually earlier as we all got older), we disliked the weight room. Tell me if I’m wrong here. Skiing well at camp always refreshed my efforts in the gym but it didn’t change the long term effects of the gym. So in the end, I kind of burned out of the gym. With cycling, I train and race on the same apparatus. The squat rack and the downhill track are the same thing so the trick of avoiding burnout is a very real challenge.

At this point, the worst thing I can do is tell you what to do, however, from my experiences as the coach and leader at the Whitman team; that is exactly what new riders want. So instead I am going to establish a few guidelines, very shortly described, and I am going to let you build off those for a little while.


- Check back on Monday for the five challenges -

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