Friday, December 19, 2014

Coach's Column with Sarah Kaufmann: Returning To The Bike After Injury? Here's How It's Done

Question: I broke my leg in a bad crash late this summer and am just starting to ride again.  How do I start getting back into race shape?  I'd like to do endurance races again next season but don't know if that's an unrealistic goal.

Answer: First, endurance racing next season is not unrealistic! You actually picked a great time to break your leg (only half kidding). If there is ever a good time for an injury, it is late in the race season. I normally recommend that my athletes take two to four weeks off the bike when the season comes to a close. Your forced rest works this in and once you are cleared to ride again, you can begin base training through the winter. Depending on when your first goal events are next year (and what your winter climate is like), November/December is a great time to begin riding again and ease back into some structured training. (Click Title To Read More)


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Coaching Column with Alison Dunlap: What Age Should Children Start Training?

Question: At what age do you think it's ok to start really structured training and racing?  What would you focus on for a young teenager or pre-teen?

Answer: Cycling is a challenging sport as we all know.  The emphasis with young kids should be on the pure joy of riding and the fun that can be had cruising up and down the alleys around your neighborhood.  Go on an “urban assault” with your kids and show them all of the obstacles that can be ridden on a bike.  During these younger years it is important that kids be exposed to many kinds of activities, not just cycling.  This will help develop coordination, balance, movement and cognitive skills.  The emphasis should not be on structure, but the fun and enjoyment of being active with friends and family.  It is not appropriate to ask a young child (pre-puberty) to “train”.  Kids at this age should be allowed to play for the sake of enjoyment and not have to follow the rules and regimens of adult level sport rules. [1]

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Complete 2015 National Ultra Endurance Series Schedule; New International Event Listed

The Ninth Annual KENDA National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series announced the 2015 schedule this week, including a new International venue.
Born in 2006, the Kenda NUE Series began with just six races before growing to include thirteen races held within thirteen different states by 2014. 2014 saw the addition of two new venues in California and Colorado. In 2015, NUE makes the leap to the International stage by introducing the Rincon de La Vieja Challenge, held in Costa Rica, as its first Latin American venue.
2015 NUE Race Schedule


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Coach's Column with Drew Edsall: 4 Tips To Make You Faster in 2015

Question: About 4-5 hours into an endurance race my back and arms are feeling really fatigued even though I ride a dual suspension bike, what can I do to help feel better in endurance races?

Answer: Endurance racing can be very challenging. You are pushing your body beyond it’s limits and often times it reacts with pain you might not experience often. If you find that you are running into similar issues from race to race, such as lower back and arm pain, then it is a good idea to look into what might be the main cause for this. Unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” recipe for this. Every athlete is unique. There might be one single cause for the pain, but there also might be multiple reasons for it. Looking into the following four areas can help you identify the problem and move onto racing your bike faster come 2015.

The four main areas you should look into are the following:


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Coach's Column with Andy Applegate: Trainer Workouts to Get You Through The Winter

Question: What trainer workouts can I do this winter to really work on increasing my overall power?

Answer: This is a very general question and we could write many words to cover all the possibilities. Ideally you would be able to periodize your trainer workouts over several training blocks. By this I mean, targeting specific types of intensity sessions to focus on one aspect of fitness for several weeks at a time before moving on to the a different focus. If you do have a couple months, I would suggest first doing a full block of steady state efforts (long efforts of approximately 95 to 99% of current lactate threshold, or about a 7.5 to 8 on a 1-10 intensity scale). An example of workout progression here would be building from a session of 5x5 mins up to 3x15 mins at steady state effort. Recovery time for these should be approximately 50% of the duration of the "work" interval. Do this type of session about 3 times a week for 3 weeks and you should see some significant gains. After a bit of an recovery block it would be time to move to the next focus: Vo2max.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Spring Date & Pivot Sponsorship for Grand Junction Off-Road

Chloe Woodruff leads the way at the 2014 Grand Junction Off-Road - photo by: Brian Leddy

Epic Rides Announces May 2015 Grand Junction Off-Road Date & New Sponsors to Reward Participants with $75,000+ in Gear

A new year is right around the corner, and to celebrate, Epic Rides today announced a new event date for the Grand Junction Off-Road presented by U.S. Bank mountain bike event and new high-profile sponsors for 2015 that will reward event registrants and participants with some of the best gear the bike industry has to offer, with a total retail value of over $75,000.

Taking advantage of the glorious late spring riding weather in Western Colorado, Epic Rides is working closely with the City of Grand Junction and the Bureau of Land Management to move the 2015 Grand Junction Off-Road to May 29-31. The Grand new date will now be a month after the Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott, Ariz., enabling participants to gear up more easily for both events while enjoying a more temperate time of year for mountain biking on Colorado’s Western Slope.
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Coach's Column with Lynda Wallenfels: Taking Time Off vs. Enjoying Late Season Riding

Question: I want to take some time off the bike during this off-season, but I hate missing the nice fall weather since winter is right around the corner.  I also know I need to be back to a structured training program in December, January at the latest.  I don't feel too burned out from the season.  Should I still take a break?  If so, how long of a break should I take and how should I time it? Also, should I be 'lazy' during the break or be active still doing other physical activities?
 Answer:  There is no need to take any more than one week off the bike as an off-season break if you are healthy and don't feel burned out from the season. Do take a longer break from structured training but stay active. In fact doing late fall rides are a great way to take advantage of all that hard earned fitness you built up during the race season. Get out and have fun on your bike!
Do take a minimum of a single very low key recovery week where you relax, get a massage and sleep a lot. After that, enjoy the late fall weather and do all those routes and rides you missed out on during the season when they didn’t fit perfectly into your training plan. Most mountain bike racers enjoy adventures on their bikes, so pack a lunch and go exploring with friends.
Stay active in November and set yourself up for higher performance in 2015 with some of the following:
          Rehab any injuries.
          Improve your technical ride skills with a class, lesson, camp or practice.
          Cross train with other aerobic seasonal sports such as skate skiing.
          Improve body composition and lose weight if you are more than 10 lbs over your optimum race weight for men or 7 lbs for women.
          Strengthen any weaknesses.
          Stretch any tight muscles and balance your body.
          Learn a new skill that will help you once the season starts such as yoga or how to wrench on your bike.
          Get any dental work done if needed.
          Get any other medical issue that needs recovery time taken care of.
          Take care of any physical labor or domestic chores you put off during the season.
          Give extra time and attention to your support crew - you know the people who you depend on in-season.

Lynda Wallenfels is a Category 1 certified USA Cycling coach. She coaches mountain bike, cross country and endurance athletes to personal bests and national championships. Lynda has been coaching off-road athletes and racing for 18 years. Connect with her through her website for information on mountain bike training plans, coaching and consulting at


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Moab Builds New Trails and BLM Bans E-Bikes on Trails

Looking up Castle Valley toward the La Sal Mountains - photo by: Townsend Bessent
Moab Trail News

The volunteer organization, Moab Trail Mix, has been busy constructing new bike trails. Keep in mind the agencies, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Forest Service, National Park Service, the City, and local bike businesses and riders sit at the table and collaborate. The BLM used National Public Lands Day to encourage volunteers to shape a pedestrian path to the Dinosaur Stomping Grounds. It is an area that received tremendous press in August 2014. It is a trail that parallels the Mega Steps mountain bike trail in the Klondike Bike Trail System to an expanse of trace fossils. Close by, find the Copper Ridge Track Site, both areas of tracks are from the Jurassic Period in the fluvial Morrison formation deposit.

MOAB BLM has determined this year that motor assist bicycles (electric or fueled) are motorized vehicles, therefore, motor assisted bicycles are NOT allowed on non-motorized trails. The Moab Travel Council posted a terrific Motorcycle Trail Ride page in September 2014. Go look at it now. 

New Trail Report

In the La Sal Mountains, standing regal to the east of Moab, the Forest Service completed the Geyser to Burro singletrack trail and Jimmy Keen Flat Trail is 9 miles. Get a little respite from the summer heat and pedal these trails in the warmer summer months.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Swank 65 - Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

A cold start to the 2015 Couch Potato

Swank 65 and Couch Potato Reports

Despite lingering snow up high on the course, conditions were looking good for the 16th edition of the Swank 65k race on Sunday. Despite chilly temperatures that lingered in the mid-forties all day, the sky was clear and the sun was out. A modified course had riders tackling more technical singletrack than ever, and with the first technical climb up Daniel Ridge trail coming early in the race, the start was more important than normal for those looking for a good result.

Rolling up the Daniel Ridge climb, David Forkner (Greenlife) went off the front, cleaning many of the more technical sections, and opening a small gap on Matt Williams (Epic Brewing), Jacob McGahey (Industry Nine), and Spencer Lowden (Sycamore Cycles). Forkner was able to stretch his lead on the descent off the back side and he headed into the first aid station at Gloucester Gap with a sizable lead on a chase group that included McGahey, Williams, Lowden,  Nick Bragg, and Matt Champion (Sycamore Cycles).

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Sho-Air/Cannondale Announces New Team & Grassroots Sponsorship Program

All new Sho-Air/Cannondale squad with Max Plaxton, Keegan Swenson, Evelyn Dong, and Stephen Ettinger 

Sho-Air/Cannondale Announce World-Class 2015 Team
New Faces Join Seasoned Veterans to Tackle 2015 Calendar

Sho-Air International today presented the Sho-Air/Cannondale Professional Mountain Bike Team at the team’s headquarters and Cannondale flagship store, Sho-Air Cyclery in Orange, California. The team will face the 2015 campaign with a stacked lineup, welcoming newcomers and bringing a former member back “home.”

Canadian National Champion Max Plaxton returns to Team Sho-Air/Cannondale after being on loan to Cannondale Factory Racing during the 2014 season. In addition, up and coming women’s athlete Evelyn Dong also joins the team; this is Dong’s second full year as a pro rider. Over the past two years Dong has shown significant growth in the pro ranks to merit considerable attention and a factory ride.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wisconsin Off Road Series Finale - Sheboygan, WI

Cooper Dendel on her way to a WORS title - Photo by Extreme Photography

Cooper Dendel Wins WORS Finale and Overall
Report by Todd Nutter

Another cross country mountain bike series closed its books for 2014 this past weekend. The nationally recognized Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS), sponsored by Trek, held its finale on Sunday in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The Sheboygan Bicycle Company MTB Challenge has been the closer for WORS for many years and remains a favorite for hundreds of participants. With perfect weather and trail conditions, racers prepared for what would prove to be a fast and exhilarating competition. 

Young Pro Female, Cooper Dendel (Quick Stop Bike Shop) has been the overall points leader since she beat out Abigail Strigel (Honey Stinger/Bontrager) at the WORS opener in Iola.

Click title to read full report


Monday, October 13, 2014

Moab Rocks - Stage 3: Travis Brown and Jen Hanks Wrap Up the Open Titles

Photo by: Townsend Bessent
As a fitting end to 3 days of high-paced, bar-to-bar racing, the final stage of Moab Rocks was determined on the final climb of stage 3. After a gusting wind battered racers yesterday Monday’s weather couldn’t have been better.

Warm temperatures and sunny skies greeted riders and no wind could be felt. The great conditions meant the riders would have only each other to battle on today’s 30-mile final stage through the Magnificent 7 trail system.

The highlight of the final day was a showdown looming between former national champions: Travis Brown (Trek) for the Americans and Eric Tourville (Hype) representing the Canadians. Each rider had won a stage and just 30 seconds separated the two at the start, with Brown being the overnight race leader. 

The Canadians had a clear plan that started off with a suicide attack by Patrick Chartrand (Rocky Mountain) as soon as the start gun fired. Chartrand buried his head and powered away getting a 30 second lead before starting the first climb.
Patrick Chartrand and Eric Tourville attack on the downhill - Photo by: Townsend Bessent

The Rocky Mountain rider was a threat to take first on GC if his lead continued to build. That meant Travis Brown had to do all the work of chasing Chartrand and protecting his race lead.

Brown did his job bringing Chartrand back with Tourville close behind. After making contact with the lead duo Tourville attacked again and again. “I attacked Travis about 20 times today. He was really impressive. Each time I went he was able to catch back up,” Tourville said after the race.

The group of three shredded the 9-mile descent wheel to wheel and entered the finishing climb together. So close that Brown and Tourville registered the exact same time for the enduro segment.

After 3 days and almost 100 miles of racing the 2014 Moab Rocks title would be decided on the very last climb of the race. Just miles from the finish line.

The trio began the final climb together but Brown made it immediately clear that he had the legs to finish off his day in first place and maintain first overall in the GC.

Brent Pontius enjoying the singletrack at Moab Rocks - Photo by: Townsend Bessent 

Tourville powered his way in for second followed by Chartrand. Those three took the top spots in the final stage race results.

Peter Watson (Balance Point) finished fourth followed by Jonathon Firth (Planet Foods/Honey Stinger).

The women’s race became a battle between two race leaders and a challenger looking for a stage win. Overnight open women’s GC leader Jen Hanks (Epic Brewing/ took the lead on the first climb out of the Gemini Bridges parking lot and was joined shortly after by 40+ leader Margie Smith (Wilson) and yesterday’s top challenger Pepper Harlton (Devon).

Jen Hanks on her way to the Open Women's title - Photo by: Townsend Bessent

Harlton was determined to make up for a weekend of bad luck by taking a stage win at Magnificent 7.

The three riders stayed together throughout the first half of the race climbing the rock-strewn trails in unison.

Right around the midway point the racecourse plunged down a steep Jeep trail littered with blind drop offs. The two Canadians, Smith and Harlton, fearlessly charged the treacherous trail opening an immediately opening a sizable gap to Hanks. The enduro segment downhill was next and the two leaders pushed the limits demonstrating their mastery of rough trails.

Margie Smith dominated the 40+ women's race at Moab Rocks

That’s when bad luck struck Harlton for the third consecutive day. This time coming in the form of a flat tire for the Canadian cyclocross phenom.

The flat allowed Hanks to rejoin Harlton and the two played cat and mouse on the final road section approaching the base of the final climb. Hanks put in an acceleration on the early slopes of the climb. When she looked back a small gap had opened and the Epic Brewing rider went into full attack mode sensing a stage win in hand.

The final push to the line would prove anti-climactic as Pepper Harlton flatted again on the final descent and Hanks cruised home with stage win and open women’s title in hand.

Riders congregated at the finish reliving their stories of a fantastic three days of racing in one of the most challenging and majestic race venues in the United States.

The final awards ceremony was held, as it was every night, in Swanny City Park with great prizes, a slide show of the day’s race, and free beer provided by Moab Brewery.

Click Here for full results from Stage 3

Click Here for full GC results following stage 3

Riders from Barcelona and Canada added to the international flavor of Moab Rocks - Photo by: Townsend Bessent
Kenny Jones crushed Moab Rocks on a hardtail singlespeed - Photo by: Townsend Bessent