2018 XCM National Champs Report

2018 XCM National Champs Report

My “early season target” event was indeed early this last weekend in the woods of Arkansas. The 2018 USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike Race was my first race as a 40-year-old Masters athlete. Entering my 40th year of life, I’ve been enjoying putting more and more of my daily efforts into other areas of my life alongside my own training and racing. Running a business, coaching, family, and kids training & racing have been extremely rewarding. Being a competitive person, and one that enjoys the pursuit of health and fitness, I’m not ready to put my own racing down for good, but stepping back to high level age-group racing provides plenty of competition and motivation to keep my standards high.

The long distance course in Arkansas was certainly a challenging one.

One 4 mile “start loop”, followed by two 23 mile laps of tight, twisty, rocky single track required intense focus and nearly nonstop pedaling for the 3+ hours of planned racing. Total elevation gain was moderate, but with all of it coming as short punchy climbs or less obvious shallow twisting grinds, the course kept racing pretty darn challenging. In addition, starting several waves back on the start grid and having to work through traffic on course is something new to add to the challenge of Masters MTB racing.

Race morning was cool and clear. Pre-race routine was set and executed. The race plan was to sit second or third wheel for the first 27+ miles and feel out the competition and pace. Then from there, assessing when and where to try and make a move to get away. With the gun going off, things settled in for the opening three miles on the road before really getting lit up as we entered the single track.

The 40-year-old field may not be as deep the Pro field, but the pointy end is just as sharp!

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Onto Race Prep…

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Onto Race Prep…

We wrapped up our 2018 off-season Base Builder Program with Block 6 at the end of April.

Our “in-house” athletes that stuck it out for the full six month program experienced some solid gains in off-bike strength and on-bike power, both on the aerobic end and the anaerobic end. In fact, every single rider saw improvements to the tune of 12-36% at estimated FTP, with a “class average” of 23%. Boom!

You can read the full the run down of our annual off-season Base Builder program by clicking the series of links above. With Spring here and race season is in full effect, what do we do next? With your solid strength and aerobic base established, it’s time to get more race specific and dial your training in with in-season Race Prep training.

 

RACE PREP TRAINING

Through our Base Builder Program we build fitness up. We start at the low end of the energy system chain focused on low-intensity aerobic training combined with technique work on the bike, and the early (lighter) form-focused resistance training in the gym. From here we build our base through gradual progression of intensity through increasing intensity with each successively higher energy system, and gradual increase in resistance training loads.

  1. Aerobic Endurance/Technique, “all day” power (4+ hours)

  2. Aerobic Threshold (AeT), “2 hour” power

  3. Anaerobic Threshold, 32:00-64:00 power

  4. Vo2 Max, 8:00-16:00 power

  5. Anaerobic Power, 1:00-4:00 power

  6. Peak Power, 0:05-0:30 power

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Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 6 Recap

Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 6 Recap

I made it (along w/ 40 other athletes I’m training in our 2018 S:6 Base Build Program)! 

The sixth and final block of my off-season Base Build has been completed. 24 weeks of progressive building of fitness over the off-season has brought my Base fitness to a solid platform for my 2018 season. Now it’s time to race! Of which, I’ve already done with the Epic Rides Whiskey Off-Road event last weekend (full recap here). 

You can get the full explanation of Block 6 (and others) in previous posts. The gist is that we bring the energy system chain to a peak, with our heaviest weight lifting attempts and peak-power “sprinting” intervals on the bike. The concept with our Base Build Program is to start on the low-end of the energy system spectrum with basic aerobic & skill development. From here, each block takes the athlete through progressively higher energy systems as fitness builds: Aerobic Threshold, Anaerobic Threshold, Vo2 Max, Anaerobic Power, and finally Peak Power. Along the way we build off-bike strength & power in the gym, and endurance with longer outdoor rides within the week. Read about it all here.

GYM SESSIONS

After the first strength peak in Block 3, in Block 4 we reduced the weight lifting volume (number reps) significantly to allow for more stability and plyometric work. A second low-volume strength build was included in the routine and I was pleased to continue to make strength gains despite the slight change of focus.  

I was able to increase both my max Squat & Deadlift by about 10% over January maxes. Reaching 200 lbs. (from 185) and 225 lbs. (from 205), respectively. These both matched my previous all-time PRs in the lifts from 2015. Pretty stoked. Also eager to maintain this strength through the race season, so I can continue to improve my strength in 2019. Overall, I’m feeling strong & healthy going into my racing season. 

STRUCTURED RIDES

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2018 Whiskey 50 Off-Road Report

2018 Whiskey 50 Off-Road Report

Sunday I finally got a chance to race stop #1 of the Epic Rides Off Road Series: Whiskey 50, in Prescott, AZ. This is a race I’ve wanted to do for many years now, and this year was finally the year. I’ve heard great things about the Epic Rides Off Road Series of events and it did not disappoint. Awesome venue, great course, well run and well attended. This is the first MTB race I’ve been to in a long time that felt a little like MTB racing did back in the late-nineties (when I was getting started): the vendors, the teams, and the vibe were all really great. It felt like a big-time event… well I guess because it is a big time event!

I highly recommend this event in Prescott to anyone that love long, hard, climbing mountain biking that puts a demand on both fitness & skill.

This was my first big test of fitness for 2018. See where I’m at coming out of my off-season Base Builder training program and where I need to improve. I also picked this event as a “tune-up” race one week prior to my first A-Race of the year: Masters 40+ Marathon National Championships in Arkansas.

With a big (for MTB) prize purse being offered, the Professional field was not only huge, 90+ men/40+ women, it was stacked!

We’re talking nearly all of the best XC/Marathon racers in North America and a few from overseas as well. Olympians, World Champions, National Champions (past & present), and World Cup level racers. Plus many younger up-and-coming racers wanting a chance at hanging with the top dogs if only on the opening climb. This made the race exciting, gave it great vibe, and made you feel part of something for sure. I’d venture a guess saying that this may well be the most competitively attended event of the entire North American season.

With that said, my main goal was to race a good solid effort and not worry so much about actually “racing” (i.e.. placing). This will likely be my last real professional race of this caliber, so to enjoy the experience and give a good early season effort was the plan. I also had to hold back just a few percent for next weekends higher priority goal event. Holding back just 2-3% makes a big difference in recovery time following the race, and only a small handful of minutes lost within the race.

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2018 Teen Sport Conditioning Summer Program

2018 Teen Sport Conditioning Summer Program

  • April 12, 2018
  • Blog

Our 3rd Annual Teen Sport Conditioning Program is returning for 2018!

Once again Sessions:6 Sport Performance is offering a sport conditioning program designed especially for teens. The program is designed to help prepare your teen athlete for their Fall sport in a safe, fun and positive environment. The program will include strength training, plyometrics, core conditioning and mobility.

Our 2-month Teen Program is designed to keep your teenage athlete(s) active throughout the summer months with cross-training and skill development that will enhance their sport specific conditioning prior to their Fall and Winter school sport seasons. Each coach-led class includes a proper warm-up, instruction, evaluation of skill level, and cool-down to maximize effectiveness and safety. Individual training sessions will vary the focus between aerobic conditioning, strength work, skill development, speed & power training, and flexibility to keep things fun, fresh and exciting for the participants.

8 Weeks, 2x a Week, 16 Sessions:

  • When: June 5th-July 26th
  • Days: Tuesdays & Thursdays
  • Times: 10:15am OR 11:15am
  • Cost: $220
  • Includes a custom S:6 T-shirt!

Discounts:

  • $20 off first teenager if signed up before May!
  • Only $170 for second teenager (sibling)
  • Only $120 for third teenager (sibling)
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Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 5 Recap

Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 5 Recap

  • April 5, 2018
  • Blog

The month of March was Block 5 of my 6-block Base Builder training. This consisted of continued strength & stability training along with progressions in plyometric/power development off the bike in the gym, training the Anaerobic Power energy system in the S:6 Wahoo Kickr Trainer Studio, and extending my 1-2x weekly endurance rides outside. Fitness is continuing to build and with just about 4 weeks now remaining until my 2018 race season kicks off in earnest, I’m feeling great and ready for Spring!

Read the full run-down of Block 5 programming HERE

Strength Training

I’m getting stronger for sure. I’ve been maintaining the squat & deadlift focus for the “strength sets”, similar to the first 12 weeks of training, but now with fewer overall reps while achieving more of those reps at the higher loads. What was once heavy is becoming more repeatable as the heavier loads are requiring less effort as more of my muscle fibers get in on the action.

The goal with resistance training for endurance athletes is not to gain moremuscle, but rather train muscles we have to do more work!

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6 Week Nutrition Program

6 Week Nutrition Program

  • April 5, 2018
  • Blog

Sessions:6 Sport Performance has partnered with Steve Acuna, nutrition & endurance coach with Do Athletic Shit, to present a 6 week Nutrition Workshop to help you achieve nutrition success.

Eat to Perform

You may already be training to maximize your performance, but are you eating to maximize your performance?


REGISTER NOW:



Workshop Overview:

Meetings are on Sundays from 4:00-5:30pm at Sessions:6 Sport Performance. Each week we will go over a new nutrition topic that will build on the past week. Each session we will go over individual successes and failures and address how to overcome the problems we have encountered. We will cover a new educational topic tailored to meet the needs of the group. Homework will be assigned each week, and coaches will be holding you accountable for action. Our goal with the workshop is to give you the tools to make smart nutrition choices and change individual behaviours that impact how our bodies look, feel and perform.

Week 1: Introduction to the program overview, awareness of what we are eating, counting calories versus not counting calories

Week 2: Adequate Protein, Carbohydrates, Fat and Hydration and Why this matters

Week 3: Food timing and Blood Sugar Regulation’s role in body composition

Week 4: What to eat; How to structure your plate

Week 5: Gut Health: How the 2nd brain impacts our bodies

Week 6: Fueling better for workouts and recovery + Supplements: pros and cons

Join us for this six week program to kick start your efforts towards improved health & fitness for the season ahead!!

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 6

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 6

  • March 29, 2018
  • Blog

Five down and one to go!

Our off-season is nearing its end and the competitive season is right around the corner. It’s time to put the finishing touches on our off-season Base Builder Program with our 6th and final block of training. To recap, our in-house group training program began back in November working from the low-intensity end of the energy system spectrum with pedaling skill work and aerobic intervals; then progressing through progressively higher intensity energy systems in monthly blocks: Aerobic Threshold (2-4 hour power), Anaerobic Threshold (32-64:00 power), Vo2 Max (8-16:00 power), and Anaerobic Power (1-4:00 power). The 6th and final block of our Base Build Program is the highest intensity (on-bike) energy system: Peak Power.

Peak Power is your top-end sprint power… Everything you’ve got of 4-8 seconds!

With the racing season approaching we plan to reach top-end intensity to finish off our off-season Base Build Program. This very same 24-week program is available as a downloadable training plan on Training Peaks ( 24-week Base Build Training Plan ). We also have a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan available to those that prefer a shorter, faster build of early season base fitness. Both versions allow you to follow my programming on your own where ever you live!

Upon completion of our Base Build we’re ready for our competitive season of specialized training and racing. At this point we can then begin to back out the intensity while adding in more endurance training to meet our target race fitness goals.

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2018 Cactus Cup Fat Tire 40 Report

2018 Cactus Cup Fat Tire 40 Report

  • March 13, 2018
  • Blog

It’s officially the “Pre-Season” and time to start thinking about racing!

I decided to start my 2018 race season off a little earlier than the last several with the Cactus Cup Fat Tire 40 XC race outside of Scottsdale this last weekend. I picked this race primarily for its early spot on the calendar, while in need of a couple of races before my first “A-Race” in early May (full race schedule HERE). With the additional appeal of warm weather, and expectedly fierce competition from local Arizona and nearby California racers that are already near top race form, I figured it would be a good challenging race to kick things off with for the new year.

The following is a quick “Race Report” for those interested, and hopefully more informative “Takeaways” or lessons learned (or remembered) from my racing experience that perhaps you can apply to your own upcoming racing endeavors…

THE RACE

The longish, 42 mile race was held on most of the trails within the McDowell Mountain Regional Park outside of Scottsdale. This trail system is made up of super fast, flowy, mostly smooth trails; sprinkled with some surprisingly rocky sections to keep it honest. Not much elevation gain or loss, but rather long “false flats” and roller coaster terrain, with the occasional 1-2 minute long power-climb.

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Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 4 Recap

Cody’s 2018 Base Build: Block 4 Recap

  • March 8, 2018
  • Blog

I wrapped up Block 4 of my off-season Base Builder Program last week. I am super pleased with how my fitness is improving. Block 4 consisted of Vo2 Max intervals, which in my opinion pack the biggest punch of fitness improvement. They are hard, and you have to stay on top of your recovery and fueling through this key block of training. Read about Block 4 details HERE.

If you can keep up and make it through these workouts in Block 4, fitness will take a big leap. Guaranteed!

Strength Training

This brought a return to lighter weights after peaking in the third block. The goal is to take a step back with new training loads in-hand from the peak in block, and perform a second, slightly less intense rebuild of strength. Along with the re-progression of strength, more stability movements were introduced with single-leg, dynamic movements. Also progressing was plyometric movements. Over block 4 we progressively challenged ourselves with higher and higher box jumps, along with challenging varieties of floor jumps for max explosive power production. Pretty fun stuff. Feels more like play time, but it leaves a mark in soreness in the beginning.

Aerobic Training

As mentioned previously, Vo2 Max intervals were the focal point of Block 4. Powers targeted were the 8:00-16:00 max power levels, broken into 2:00 & 4:00 intervals.

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