Kathy’s 2018 Season Review

Kathy’s 2018 Season Review

  • September 12, 2018
  • Blog

What a year! After a solid winter of training, I was eager to begin my 2018 race season. The plan was to mix it up and try longer races, new races in different parts of the country, and attempt a stage race.

I worked hard over the winter: twice a week indoor trainer sessions & twice a week strength sessions as part of the Sessions:6 Base Builder Program. The six months of training were progressive, moving through different types of intervals on the trainer and progressing in weight in the strength class with the focus being on posterior chain strength, push-pull strength and core work all which aid in power and bike handling. I typically rode outside (or on the trainer) two other times each week for an average of 10-12 hours of training per week. One of the biggest training changes I made this year was to keep up with strength work twice a week throughout the race season. I firmly believe it kept my body strong to endure 11 races, the most I have done in one season.

The race season started with a bang with two 50 mile mountain bike races in back to back weekends: the Whiskey 50 in Prescott, AZ and Marathon Nationals in Arkansas. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive though excited, because I had never raced a 50 miler nor had I raced at these venues previously. I also hadn’t been able to log as many endurance rides as I would have preferred to do to prepare for this race distance. Regardless, both races went well and got me in better shape. What’s wrong with racing yourself into shape?!

In June, I had three races: two were shorter distances (Beti Bike Bash and Vail Go Pro Games) while the other was a notorious beast, the Crested Butte Fat Tire 40. I didn’t have stellar placing at these races, but I could tell I was getting in better race shape just in time for my key races in July: Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge, the Silver Rush 50 in Leadville and the Leadville Stage Race. I was thrilled to be on the podium for my key races. I finished up the season with some “fun races” in Winter Park in August and thoroughly enjoyed being back on familiar and incredible trails.

Highlights from the race season:

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2018 Leadville Report & Season Wrap

2018 Leadville Report & Season Wrap

  • August 15, 2018
  • Blog

The 2018 Leadville Trail 100 is in the books. With that, my 2018 training & racing comes to a close (with the exception of one or two final “fun” local races I may jump into over the next two weeks).

The following recap is as much or more for my own reference for the next time I attempt the LT100, as it is for anyones reading pleasure. It will also serve as the final piece of my ‘2018 training & racing recap series’ (each post listed above).

In my last post I left off with a recap of my final few weeks of training for the LT100 and my intended ‘taper’ into the big day. I was able to execute my taper plan more or less to the letter written. All the final pieces fell into place within the final two weeks. After analyzing my final few Race Prep sessions and a 90-minute high-altitude XC race my final “numbers” for my year long build of fitness looked like this…

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Final Bodyweight = 144 lbs.
  • FTP at 6000 feet elevation = 321w
    • equates to ~ 330-340w at elevations under 2500 feet
    • equates to ~ 270-280w at elevations over 9000 feet
  • w/kg = 4.92 at 6000 ft.
  • Complete Power Power Profile results July HERE

I’m really happy with this improvement from back in November coming off of a long break from serious training and racing for most of 2017. I was hoping to get my bodyweight down a bit closer to 140 lbs. but I think with the improved strength training this year I am just running a little heavier than in my early 30s. I’ll take the extra mass as it has kept me healthy and more powerful as a result.

I’ll check this off a as successful training program and diet commitment for the last 9+ months.

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My Taper & Peak Phase For LT100

My Taper & Peak Phase for LT100

  • August 2, 2018
  • Blog

In my last post I wrapped up my 8-week Leadville 100 MTB build and was in the midst of a well earned 10-day recovery block to relax the mind, enjoy the family, and let my body absorb all the hard work from the previous 8 weeks.

Upon returning home from family vacation, I was more than ready to dive back in finish off my 2018 Leadville 100 MTB preparations. With just four weeks left until race day, this broke down into the following:

  • a BIG Volume “Over-Reach” Week
  • 1/2 Recovery + 1/2 Intensity Week (w/ Leadville Stage Race) 
  • Taper Week 
  • Peak Week

Over-Reach Week

Coming off of a nice long recovery block I was fresh (if not a little ‘flat’) and ready get going again. A good solid over-reach week (or two) is essential in creating an exceptional training load from which to recover from as you enter your taper phase. Normally in my training plans, following my 2-week mini-block progressions, the overload week comes as the final two-week block with an emphasis on the final big endurance rides. Intensity is all but eliminated to allow for maximum focus of going long, before entering the final two-week taper block into race day. 

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LT100 Build: Second Half…

LT100 Build: Second Half…

  • July 12, 2018
  • Blog

As described in a previous post, my early summer training program consisted of an 8-week Race Prep build designed around a peak in early August for the Leadville 100 MTB. The first 4-weeks were designed around twice weekly high-intesity interval training combined with progressively building endurance rides. The last 4-weeks were focused around improving sustainable power through weekly Anaerobic Threshold intervals and races.

After a 5 week period without any racing, training was focused, fitness was on the rise, and the hunger for competition was strong.

MY ‘SECOND HALF’ RACE PREP BLOCK

The basic weekly structure consisted of the following:

  • Monday – Strength Maintenance Gym Session
    • 45 Minutes: Movement Prep, Core Sets, Push/Pull Sets, Squat & Deadlift Sets (main: 3×3 @ 70% 1RM), Power Sets, Mobility Sets
  • Tuesday – Anaerobic Threshold Intervals
    • 90 minutes: 4-6x 8:00 hill reps at 32:00 power (330w)
  • Wednesday – Endurance Rides
    • 6-7 hours, 8-10k climb
  • Thursday – Recovery Spin
    • 45 Minutes: very, very slowly
  • Friday – Race Openers
    • 60 Minutes: w/ 4:00 @ 32:00 Power, 2:00 @ 16:00 Power, 1:00 @ 8:00 Power, 0:30 @ 4:00 Power, 0:15 @ 2:00, 0:08 @ 1:00 Power (4:00 easy recoveries)
  • Saturday – Race Day
    • 2-4 Hours, Go Hard!
  • Sunday – Recovery Spin
    • 90 Minutes: very slowly + coffee & pastry

This was the plan for four straight weeks. Racing started a little slowly, as expected being away for 5 weeks, and each week managed to get a little faster as I found my rhythm…

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LT100 Build: First Half…

LT100 Build: First Half…

  • June 12, 2018
  • Blog

After a week off of training & racing in early May, I was refreshed and ready to hit it hard with a late-Spring training block as part of my 2018 Leadville 100 MTB build up. My previous post, LT100 Race Prep Plan, laid out all the details of the complete build-up to the August event following a customized version of our Ultra-Marathon MTB Race Prep Stock Plan.

The last four weeks have been focused purely on training.

Meaning, no racing over the last month until just this last weekend (June 9th) with the GoPro Vail Mountain Games XC race. This nice block of time has allowed me to focus on a re-build of sorts, building up some solid volume on the bike with longer outdoor rides while backing out the intensity in two week mini-blocks of training.

In the off-season, within our 24-Week Base Builder Program, we train in the more commonly found 4-week blocks: with 3 weeks of focused energy system training and 1 week of recovery/easy endurance. In our  Race Prep Phase we condense the training blocks into two-week mini-blocks of focused energy system work combined with increasing endurance volume.

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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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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 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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