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:

Gawk Factor: There was a star-studded field at the Whiskey 50 in Prescott, AZ as many pros were using this race as a jump start to their race season. I have a memorable selfie with young Kate Courtney, this year’s UCI World Champ.

Most Fun Course: The two-lap course at Marathon Nationals in Arkadelphia, AR was 50 miles of twists and turns through the trees and full of fun, punchy climbs. I fell 5 minutes short of nabbing the age-group title, but I loved this race and can’t wait to ride more trails in Arkansas.

Best Memory: Racing with my daughter, Sofia, in the Firecracker 50 as she partnered with her buddy, Alex was a blast. I pulled her up the long climbs, and I followed her smooth lines on the descents. It still makes me smile to remember finishing the race together. Thanks to the blazing fast lap by Cody, he and I won the Co-ed Duo Division for the 2nd year in a row. Sofia and Alex placed 4th which was quite the accomplishment in a field of 62 teams.

Hardest Course: Riding 50 miles and 7300 feet of climbing at the high-altitude Leadville Silver Rush 50 was definitely the hardest race of the year, but I loved it! It was such an adrenaline rush and a confidence-booster to take a 2nd place overall female to Julie Dibens on such a challenging course.

Best Overall Experience: The Leadville Stage Race was the first stage race I have ever done. I suffered from altitude sickness on Day 1 but hung in there for a 5th place overall female stage finish. I felt stronger and better each day and fought my way to 3rd place overall female. I met incredible people at this race and have special memories of working and pace-lining with other racers such as Randal “Bike” Bennett, Amy Dunleavy and Ryan Krol throughout the three days of racing.

Highest Heart RateThe Epic Singletrack Super Loop in Winter Park is one of my favorite races. I was eager to use my high fitness before the summer ended and ended up battling it out with Emily Schaldach for the last place on the podium. My heart rate had been averaging 162 for the race until the last 10 minutes along the Serenity trail where it hovered at 174. My legs were burning and my heart felt like it was going to bust out of my chest, yet I was able to pull away from her just enough to snag 3rd place overall in the female pro/open category.

Thinking About Next Year!

September has been all about fun rides with friends, coaching the high school mountain bike team and getting caught up on TV shows. It is also the time of year when Cody and I begin planning for next year’s race season. Stay tuned for those plans! I am looking forward to beginning focused training again on October 1st with our Base Builder Program: strength sessions on Monday and Wednesday and bike trainer sessions on Tuesday and Thursday. While I enjoy having a break from structured training, I actually prefer to have the routine in place for my busy life. Plus, I get to be with my training buddies at the gym!

 

 

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.

RACE DAY

I was able to get up to Leadville a few days prior to the race to rest, acclimate, eat, and spin around. Also to remove from myself from the the “noise” of life at home being a parent and business owner. This proved to be a great choice, and one that I was lucky to be able to pull off. Come race morning, I was ready to give it my best effort!

Leadville 100, with the exception of perhaps the very front of the race, is or becomes a time-trial effort at some point in the race for just about every rider. My goal was to ride as comfortably as possible (ie. don’t use any more energy than required) to make the front group over the opening two climbs and tricky Powerline descent, so to be within a group to hide in across the rolling middle section to the base of the Columbine Climb. It would be here that I’d begin my TT-mode (ideally with another rider or two for company) the remainder of the race. I knew I had the “power” to get over the climbs with the lead group, although it would come a greater cost than the eventual podium finishers. I figured the ‘free ride’ across miles 20-40 would be worth the cost and I would gain valuable time over my chasers.

This all played out just as that. I kept my HR and power output as low as I could while maintaining contact with the lead group. This ended up being a 20-minute, 302w NP St. Kevins climb; a 12-minute, 311w NP Sugarloaf climb; and a ‘balls out’, power-sliding, descent of Powerline! Whew! I made the split and was in the top-ten to make it to mile 20 at the bottom of Powerline. What didn’t go as I had hoped was a solid group pace to Columbine. It was more leisurely than I had hoped across the 20 rolling miles. This allowed our group to swell to about 15 as some stragglers were able to latch back on before we reached Twin Lakes.

Starting the climb up Columbine I was one for the first detach from the lead group as I knew what kind of effort (power) I could manage on this hour-plus long climb, and it was not going to be the same as the lead group. I knew several in the lead group would ride away and stay away, while others would likely overextend themselves and I might seem them in the final miles of the race later on. My goal was to ride as close to 275 watts with a heart rate around 160 bpm as I could for the length of the climb. I knew this was sustainable for me and that I’d still have some legs left later on when I need them for the two tough climbs at the end of the race.

Up the climb I slipped back to 15th position (ended up with 1 hour, 6 minutes or so up and NP of 246w, as I faded a bit in the thinning air). At the front, after Columbine, there was a lead group of five, then singles following after that all about a minute apart. At this point I was alone with 14th about a minute ahead and 16th a similar amount behind. With Columbine behind me, it was now time-trial time! I kept up on fueling, although consuming a bit less than I anticipated, at roughly around 200 calories an hour (all carbohydrate as First Endurance EFS and Coke).

The solo-TT was the rest of the story. I managed to claw back two riders over Powerline that were paying the price for going too hard too early, moving into 13th place. Kept after it from there all alone. Due to all of the solo-riding (and the Columbine ‘re-route’ that I was told added 5-10 minutes) my goal of reaching the finish in under 7 hours was looking less and less likely. Power was declining rapidly with fatigue setting in (Powerline climb was about 35 minutes, 238 NP; Turquiose Lake climb was 18 minutes and 226 NP). However, I didn’t want to give up so I pushed hard over the final climbs, down the final decent, only to feel the onset of Adductor cramping hit me as I got onto the ‘Boulevard’ for the final 3 mile drag up to the finish. I had to back off to avoid a full-on cramp, and at this time it was clear sub-seven was not in the cards today. I strolled up and into the finish at 7 hours, 7 minutes and in 13th place overall.

Despite missing my time goal, I’m extremely pleased (and exhausted) with my effort on raceday!

 

TAKEAWAYS

I feel my 9 month long build up was an ideal combination of strength, power, speed and endurance to leave me in great form for the race. On the nutrition side, I think getting in a few more calories per hour would be ideal, assuming I can stomach them, something around 250 might leave me with more power in the final two hours. Along similar lines, my racing strategy maybe could have been more conservative in the first two hours, but to be honest, if I were in same situation again I would do the same things again….hang on as long as I can before backing off into my own pace.

Now with my “A” race behind me, I have one or two more smaller events left on the calendar in the closing weeks of August. After that I’ll be looking towards September for some recovery, both mental and physical. This month of ‘transition’ between my 2018 and 2019 season will be pretty mellow. I’ll continue to ride, although it will be much more low-key and fun as I coach our local High School MTB team through their fall racing season. I will also get back to the gym more frequently. Through the last month of prep for LT100, gym time was limited to once a week for basic maintenance. Come September, I’ll bump it back up to 3 or even 4 days per week while riding volume is very low and relaxed.

As for 2019, I’m not sure exactly what the plan will be other than for sure I will get back to Base Building (following our Base Builder Program) through the Fall & Winter months. Come October it will be time to rebuild the strength, power, and speed for the next year.

Crazy to think, but I’m already looking forward to reaching new PRs and higher achievements next year, then in 41st year of life!

#fasterat40

 

Cody Waite, Professional Off-Road Endurance Athlete & Coach
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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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