Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Direction

It has taken forever, but I am back on the blogosphere. Been quite busy living the life here in Boulder. Helping cyclocross athletes get fast, taking my post-season break, and enjoying some new friends has all taken up the last couple months without a blog post. Being a Hawkeye or Raiders fan hasn't helped, but it's not as though I should be rooting for CU Boulder either because they are down right horrendous. I was lucky enough to go to a game with my buddy Landon, and it wasn't pretty. But that aside, the Indian Summer type weather here in Boulder has been awesome to do everything and anything outside.

Here is a picture of Iowa native Amanda Miller in the FasCat Exercise Physiology lab for a MLSS test!

Moving forward though, I have decided to take a break from triathlon for the next season and re-focus my skills back on the cycling world. Part of my really missed racing with my handlebars 2cm away from others, and so I am going to attempt a full on road-season to race against some of the best competition in the United States here in Colorado. It's amazing how deep the talent goes here. I will be coached by my co-worker and professional mountain biker Jason Hilimire, and mentored by another co-worker and Collegiate National Champion/European Pro in the 1990's Jeff Winkler. It is going to be a blast, and I have already enjoyed getting back on a training program which has been focused on weight training for the past few weeks.

Picture from the new FasCat Coaching I'm A FasCat Campaign. Current US National  Champion Timmy Duggan is on our program, you can to! Be a FasCat for the 2013 Season!

I will be putting on the colors of the Cycleton Team next year, and we have some awesome support coming in the way of Specialized, Clif Bar, Tifossi, CEP, Thule, Camelback and the Cycleton shop in Stapleton. I can't wait for the race season to start and get back in the game, and all the guys on the team really seem as though they are a great bunch, and will be great teammates and friends.

Team Cycleton - Denver, Colorado

I'll try and start being a bit more regular on the blog here with training updates as the season get's closer. Enjoy the holidays and keep training! Consistency is the key, especially to gain that holiday weight!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Harvest Moon 1/2 Ironman

Post Hy-Vee it was a few days to hang out with the family, celebrate my 24th birthday and recover for what was going to come the following weekend. Flew back to Boulder on Thursday evening, and entered my 2nd race in as many weeks on Sunday at the Harvest Moon 1/2 Ironman. The WithoutLimits crew put on an amazing race, one of the few that are non-corporate run, and the scene was so much more laid back and enjoyable! I have always believed that my heart will be more in the long distance races someday, and so I decided with a full race season under my belt, I would attempt to just have fun and complete a 1/2 Ironman. Have fun?? I guess so!

Got up at 4am on Sunday morning, and headed down to the Aurora Reservoir with my friend and training partner Gui Campos and his wife Patricia. Good news was the weather was slightly starting to break and it was only supposed to be in the mid-80's for the whole day, much better than the 90's with humidity back in Iowa, or 100's in Boulder the week before. We arrived at the Aurora Res around 6am, got parked and transition set up for the 7:30am start. Being my first 1/2 Ironman, I was going in with some slight lack of knowledge and definite personal experience in fueling for a 5 hour triathlon. I have done 5 hour road stages before during cycle races, but never the physical punishment of a swim/bike/run. But I was confident in my abilities and what I had laid out. So lets move onto the race!

Pre-Race Food:
    Oatmeal, Almond Butter, Cinnamon, Strawberries, Banana, Coffee
     Breeze Bars Cocoa Espresso Bar

PhotoGui and I!

Swim:  27:38 (1st out of water, 8th overall swim)   STRAVA

    Pretty easy and laid back swim start, went off the front of the group and no-one ended up being within 2min of me out of the water. Swam through the group ahead of me as well, made me feel good about where my swim has progressed from taking 1.5 years completely out of the water. Still improvements to be made, and I am anxious to keep putting in the work in the water for next season!

Bike: 2:28:42 (1st off bike, 12th overall bike)   STRAVA

    After an un-eventful T1, I was on the bike for my first 56mile TT test. Settled into a rythm for what would be a 2.5 hour test. Thanks to Coach Grant and teammate Allen, the Carroll 85m and Disk wheel set up was awesome. Some stiff south winds made for a somewhat difficult East/West and North leg on the course. But the Slice and Carroll set up allowed me to catch all but 10 people on the course. Nutrition on the bike included a Breeze Bar right away and 3 Peanut Butter GU's for food. GU Blueberry Brew fueled the liquid calories. Felt as though I paced it very well, and ate enough......was it enough, probably not...continue reading!

Run: 2:10:22 (2nd Overall, 130th overall run)  STRAVA

    OUCH.... KABOOM...... That is what happened to me on the run. The first two miles went pretty well, and then my body just quit. 11 miles to go, and I had nothing left. Don't know how many times I ended walking on the course to finish, I lost count after 15 or so....Disheartening to say the least, but when I think about it, all I had come to do was finish my first 1/2 Ironman. I ate 2 GU's on the run, had a couple cups of flat coke/gatorate, and so much water, but it didn't help. I had never run longer than 45min after a bike, and only longer than 13.1miles say 5 times in a single training run. Coach stresses that the underlying fatigue of HyVee 7 days before added much more to the equation then you could expect too. So I lost my chance of winning with 3 miles to go, after having a 20min lead out of the water and off the bike. Did I already start my legacy as a Chris Lieto prototype (always getting passed after leading off the bike) I SURE HOPE NOT! But I was able to finish something I never thought I would, and had a great time.

OVERALL TIME: 5:09:23 (2nd Place AG, 44th Overall)

Photo: 2nd Place in first 1/2 Ironman ever.

Post-race, had some good food at the race venue from Wahoo's Fish Tacos and an always welcome Mix1! A pretty sweet plaque now sits in my room reminding me what hard work, dedication, and never giving up leads too. Enjoying my few days off here, and ready to start building towards next season! Thanks to GU Energy, Breeze Bars, Mix1, Coach Grant Holicky, FasCat Coaching personnel, and everyone who made this first season a success!

Monday, September 10, 2012

HyVee 5150 USA Championships

A bit late, but it was an amazing trip back home over the Labor Day holidays to compete in the US 5150 Championships at the HyVee Triathlon in Des Moines. Such a close race to home and my body and I enjoyed racing at some lower elevations where I could actually breath!

Flew into Cedar Rapids on Friday night to my parents waiting for me. Was great to see them again, hadn't seen them since March. We loaded everything up and went to Marion to watch the Decorah Vikings play some high school football. I hadn't watch a high school football game in probably 3 years, and it was awesome to sit outside on a Friday night and watch some gridiron live! Saw some familiar faces from the Decorah area.

Saturday, I got up, put together my TT rig (thank you Frontier Airlines) for transporting my bike for free and keeping it safe! Loaded up and drove to Des Moines for pre-race workouts and packet pickup. The biggest event I have ever taken part in, and HyVee really does a great job with everything. Sounds like they take care of the pros extremely well, and were able to bring in the male silver and bronze Olympic medalists. My training buddies Cam Dye and Travis Johnston were also present which made it fun to watch! Skipping through the day, everything went swimmingly, and I was ready to go! Coach Grant Holicky had done a masterful job with my taper, and I felt more fresh then I did all season. Laid down to sleep knowing it was going to be a good day! Major thanks to Dan and Heather for their hospitality and offering up their condo!

Race day! Woke up, had the staple breakfast and coffee and loaded up for Gray's Lake! Got into transition and heard over the loudspeaker that it was going to be a wet-suit legal swim. You're telling me the water temperature changed 2 degrees in 10 hours? I don't think so, they said it was 77.8deg, down from 79.7 the afternoon before. I know there have been some recent tragic deaths during swims, but there is no way it was under 78deg. Anyway, I prepped for the race, and moved down to the water for the group beach start.

Photo Cool picture before the swim.

Swim: 22:04
       Got off the pack early to avoid any collisions and settled in behind Boulder RACE swimmer Mitch Rider who would set the fastest split of the day. Ouch, when we made the turn back East, the sun had started peaking through and made it virtually impossible to see. Eventually I made it back, and out of the water in 2nd place.

Bike: 1:00:40
    Oh come on!!! 40sec is all I needed to break the hour mark! It was a fast course, and a group of 4 of us got together and kept the pace high for the rest of the ride, exchanging time at the front. Ended up with the 4th fastest bike split of the race, and left me in good position going into the run.

Run: 42:32
      Unfortunately, when I came off the bike, I had 2 strong runners with me. I quickly lost contact with the leaders, and throughout the run, would lose 2 more spots to racers behind me. The course was deceptively hard, as it got more and more hilly as you got towards the capital. A massive 10% 1 block hill right before the finish was the real kicker in the pants. I crossed the line, and knew I had given everything I could have give.

After the race, I found I had placed 5th overall and landed a spot on the podium! It was a great experience, and know with a full off-season of running, I will be able to improve my 10km time to keep that top 1-2 spot of the bike.

The rest of my time spent in Iowa included: Seeing family and friends, celebrating my 24th birthday, officially receiving my diploma for my Master of Arts in Exercise Physiology degree from UNI, and just relaxing. Some days I really have a hard time not being next to my family, especially when you see a face like this. I love my niece Brooklyn. So adorable, and is walking, talking and going to be the next Missy Franklin in the pool!
Photo: Brooklyn's new playhouse! When I was little we used boxes and sheets to make houses.My niece Brooklyn
Photo: Finally hold it and see it personally! Official diplomaDiploma

Friday, August 24, 2012

World Bicycle Relief Partnership

Hey peeps,
So much has gone on, but I won't take the time to bore you with my life. Instead, I'd like to focus on a company I have recently partnered with that has one of the greatest visions in the world. World Bicycle Relief is a company based out of Chicago and Golden, CO. The company's mission is to:
World Bicycle Relief is dedicated to providing access to independence and livelihood through The Power of Bicycles.Compared to walking, bicycles represent an enormous leap in productivity and access to healthcare, education and economic development opportunities. The simple, sustainable nature of bicycles empowers individuals, their families and their communities.
We accomplish our mission by:

  • Working with suppliers to improve bicycle design while ensuring all changes are culturally appropriate
  • Enhancing distribution with local sourcing, manufacturing or assembly whenever possible
  • Partnering with existing non-governmental organizations and government and community based organizations
  • Training mechanics in maintenance and repair while strengthening the existing supply of spare parts
  • Measuring and evaluating the impact of bicycles and communicating the results to improve programs and increase awareness
I have had the amazing experience of training with one of their in charge members, Rebecca Much, as well as volunteering and attending their recent Bikes for Bash Fundraiser in Boulder. During this event, I got to meet and mingle with pro cyclist Tom Danielson, and pro triathletes Mirinda Carfrae, Tim O'Donnell, and Craig Alexander. The event went out with great success, raising over $20,000 for the cause.
The reason I am posting about this great cause, is I have my own fundraising page set up to help out!! What is so cool about World Bicycle Relief, is that, the money goes directly into the field, without a middle man promising that things will get done. World Bicycle Relief trains mechanics in Africa to build these bicycles, and provides jobs for mechanics, allows Health Care workers to reach villages in less time, and schoolchildren the ability to get to school.
           1. A bike increases the carrying capacity by 5x
           2. Decreases travel time by 3x
           3. Increases overall coverage area of a person by 4x!
One of the bikes, costs $134 to be produced and put together, but little as $50 can be used to provide these mechanics with all the tools required to build and maintain these bikes over the rough roads of S.E Africa.

So this is the "Buffalo" Bicycle that they use. It has the ability to hold 200lbs of supplies on the rear rack, and is extremely durable. I have had the luxury of seeing this bike up-close!
My fundraising goal for this project to start is $1,340 dollars, or the cost of 10bikes. If anyone reads this blog, and would love to donate any amount of money to help me reach this goal, or tell others around you about it, any money goes on to help someone live a more prosperous and healthier lifestyle at the same time. Below is the link to my fundraising page!

As for my own life, season goals of HyVee triathlon is next week, and I am looking forward to being home and seeing some family and friends, and crushing the course in Des Moines!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2012 Boulder Peak 5150 Report

Last Sunday was my second attempt at a 5150 Olympic Distance triathlon. It was the Boulder Peak Triathlon, one of the hardest Olympic distance triathlons in the nation, and I have heard the hardest Olympic bike course. I was stoked going into the race, as I had a great time in Kansas City back in May for the brother race. My swim, bike, and running have been coming along well, and I was eager to test out my fitness against a much more quality field in the 20-24 age group. I have already qualified for my Elite Amateur status, and HyVee as well, but have decided to probably spend the whole year as an age group in order to gain experience. And as the race played out, there is still much running progression to be made.
The race started bright and early, at 7am, so that meant a 4:40am wake up. Thank you coach Grant Holicky for having 5am swim practices. This made the wake up much more tolerable. I was up, already packed, and fueled up the body with my typical oats, almond butter, banana, cinnamon, and a mixture of berries. Add a couple cups of coffee, and it was off to the Boulder Reservoir. Upon arriving, I got the body marked and transition set up in a decent spot. Close to T1 entrance from the swim, and also T2 exit for the run. A quick run warm-up and it was off to the water for the start. My wave didn't go off until 7:30, so it was cool to watch the Elites take off. Soon enough, however, it was go time!

I lined up in the front, and waited for the air-horn. It came, and off we went. It was much more manageable during the 1 mile swim. There was not near the washing machine effect that happened during the sprint, but it is also twice as long. I settled into a group of about 5 guys and we took off. Soon enough, we caught up to 2 or 3 different waves of swimmers. Running over other people in the water isn't very nice, I wouldn't like it, but there isn't much to do. So I am sorry for the people who were pummeled in the head, body by my hands and feet, it wasn't personal. Heading into the finish, I came out of the water with another guy, and heard we were 3rd and 4th out of the water, in a time of 20:41 (1:23 100/yd), and 24th overall swimmer. Not too shabby!

Made it to T1, but had some trouble getting the wetsuit off, which probably cost a good 20seconds. I was off and onto the bike. This course is about 5miles of uphill right off the bat, with the first 3.5miles or so at a 2% gradient, and then a 1.5 mile section of anywhere from 8-12% with most at around 10%. I posted a YouTube video in the last post of the Old Stage Road climb. It is an awesome climb so close to home, but man, it never gets any easier. I made my way up the climb, and didn't get passed by a single rider, and picked off probably a good 20 or so (None from my age group). Heading down the decent, the roads were a bit slick, and the race organization strictly enforces a 35mph speed limit on the upper portions of the decent. A police offer with a radar gun, and pad and paper sat about half-way down. I was close to probably getting popped and kicked out of the race, but gladly got slowed down enough to where I should have been. It is a good safety measure, as an athlete has crashed and died before, but it should just be mentioned in the race waiver about the high speeds. Don't hold back speed on a decent. After the steep part of the decent, it is a ripping 30mph section of slightly downhill for a good 10-15miles. After this, a small gradual 1% slog back to the reservoir greets riders who may have gone a bit too hard. Still feeling good, by the time I had reached T2, I had ridden myself into first place in the age group, but with 3-4 guys within 1 minute, at an average speed of 23.1mph which ended up being 2nd in my age group, and 49th overall. A much faster T2, had me out on the run course in 2nd place.

I am not a fast runner, and over the course of the run, I was passed by 6 more guys in my age group. I still passed more people on the run, then I was passed by, but unfortunately, 90% of the guys who passed me were in my age group. It was rough running my first 10k up at altitude, but kept going the best I could and finished with a time of 43:49 (7:05min/mile) average. Pretty bummed about that time, as I ran 6:50's in Kansas City, but that was a good 4500ft lower in altitude. And for every 1000ft of altitude, you lose 2-3% of your threshold ability. So when you do the math, it's not too bad, and would have been faster had I been in KC again (roughly around 6:40's). That bodes well for HyVee!

Strava Files:

It was great seeing a lot of friends and training partners at the end, and one of the actually won the whole event (Cam Dye). I hope to follow in his footsteps someday, as he was a collegiate swimmer and also a great cyclist. But it took him about 6 years of development to run where he is now! Gives me something to shoot for.

So now, it's back to the salt mines of training getting ready for HyVee in September. I am stoked to have my grandparents and aunt/uncle out here this weekend. We are going to catch a Rockies game and hang out and about! Then, I believe the next race will be the HITS Series later this month. I was scheduled to come home in August for the Peregrine Charities race, but due to unfortunate happenings recently, the race was cancelled. Looks like the next time I'll be home is over Labor Day for HyVee and my birthday!

Also, pretty cool lately as I had my first coaching article published by Velonews!!! Check it out.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Boulder Sprint Triathlon Recap

Sunday was my first triathlon while being up at altitude, and I was a bit nervous to say the least. It is only a sprint triathlon, but I didn't know how my body would cope being expose to above threshold activity for the duration of the race. But I was also excited, as it was my 2nd race of the year. Boulder doesn't have a lack of competitiveness if you didn't know that already!

Up at 5am, coffee, standard oatmeal, nut butter, banana and fruit breakie and I was off to the Boulder Reservoir for the race. The nice thing about a race 3 miles from home, was I rode there, and didn't have to worry with traffic. Thanks to coach Grant Holicky, I was set up with a sweet rig for the race, and ready to go fast.
Ready to rock tomorrow!!! Thanks coach @grantholicky
Got to the race site by 6:10 or so, and got body marked, and transition set up. With the bike ride over there, I opted out of a bike warmup and proceeded to get some time in the legs with a quick run before heading back to transition to finalize everything. All locked and loaded and I was ready to rumble, grabbing my wetsuit and heading off to the swim start. Race started at 7:30 and I was in the 4th wave (29U) group. Had a bit of a swim warm-up while the first 3 waves were off.

RACE TIME! I was able to get into the water with the first line of guys, and readied myself for the thrashing that was about to begin. Announcments were made, and the gun went off. I started my 310XT and began to sprint off the line, just missing out on this picture, I am probably just a bit to the left. I believe "Washing machine" is the correct term, as you are being thrashed/kicked/punched/grabbed/violated in every way possible. I need to work on this, because I was soon behind the first few waves of guys.
Athletes in the 12-29 age group begin their 2012 Boulder 5430 Sprint Triathlon on Sunday at the Boulder Reservoir.  For more photos and a video of the triathlon, go to Cliff Grassmick / June 17, 2012
I was soon able to get into my own rhythm and settle in. But it wasn't long before we started mauling the wave ahead of us. Running over bodies left and right, before finally heading out of the 750m swim. BAD NEWS STRIKES!!! I went to touch the lap button on my Garmin 310XT and realized it was no longer on my wrist....OOPS. It now lies in a watery tomb at the bottom of the Boulder Reservoir.  I heard reviews of this happening quite a bit, and will acknowledge the fact that the strap isn't the best. Swim time of 10:53, 8th in my AG and 35th overall...Not too bad, but needs improvement.

Into T1, I grabbed my helmet, race belt, sunglasses, and was off on to the 16.5mile bike. The bike course is second nature, but also very deceptive as the first 4miles are on about a 2% gradient. I tried to settle into a nice constant pedal stroke and started picking off riders 1 by 1. By the time 5miles came around it was time to rip it. For the next 8-9miles, it is pretty much downhill by 2%, and I was able to get it up to speed and tear down the rode, again, just blowing by riders. Now, in doing this, it makes you seem like your going 55mph, but you really aren't. The last 2 miles are that gradual 1.5-2% uphill, but I was happy to pick off all but 3 of the guys in my group ahead of me. Ended up with a time of 41:22 and a 25.0mph avg. Ended up 3rd in my age group and 18th overall for the bike!!!!

Out of T2, it was time for the part false flat/descent 5k run. This area of the res is extremely open and exposed and the sun didn't let up, even at 8:30am in the morning. It was HOT to say the least, and I settled into an unknown rhythm without my Garmin on the wrist. I feel as though I went out a bit hot int he first mile, and lost 1 position to the top runner in the field (again, from my AG). At the turn around, I saw 2 other guys in my age group, and sure enough, both would catch me by the finish line. DOH! But I can't complain to much, I have only been running since January, and I am way ahead of where I ever thought I would be. Finished in a time of 20:53 (6:45min/mile avg). Faster than I have ever run a 5k before.

So overall, I finished 7th in my age group, but 24th overall/700 competitors with a finish time of 1:16:17. A very good position, and just shows the depth of my age group in the race (20-24). 7 of us were in the top 24. The winner of the whole race was Drew Scott (22years old), son of the infamous Dave Scott (7x Ironman World Champ). A couple CU Boulder National Champion members also finished ahead of me. There is no regret to my placing, I did everything I could, and know with more run training, that time will keep coming down! I can't wait for the Olympic Distance in a few weeks, and will hopefully crush some souls with a longer swim, and longer bike heading over the dreaded Old Stage Climb! Coach says I am very consistent over all three right now, which is better for long distance stuff (as what happened in KC). Going to be a fun race for sure! Check out the video of last years racers heading up Old Stage.

Here are a link to the results if you're interested. I'll re-post pictures if there are any once posted on the website.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Race Week Again

Time to get ready for another race this upcoming weekend, #2 of the season, in the form of the Boulder 5430 Sprint Triathlon this weekend at the Boulder Reservoir. Looking forward to this, as I'll be able to wake up in my own bed, fix my own breakfast and head to the Res which is about 10min away on my bike, no car to prevent the need to park a car. The race is a 550yd swim, 17mile bike, and 3.1mile run, all on roads/areas that I know like the back of my hand. Looking for another top 3, and if possible, going for the Big W this weekend. The training is there, now I just have to use it.

Training has picked up again the past couple weeks from the KC 5150, and my legs are really starting to feel it. Haven't had the greatest swim, bike, or run workouts in the past week, but also nothing that would really cause an alarm. The one thing as a triathlete you have to cope with, is that for the most part, you will always have some residual fatigue in the legs.

Last week was 20.5hours
     Swim = 12.53miles
     Run = 28.15
     Bike = 162

Work has been great as of late, many of my athletes are hitting some great form and have produced some good results and quite a few W's! Always makes you feel good to see that! Actually even have an athlete from the Iowa City area who took the W in his category at the Barry Carter ICCC TT on Sunday. So cool that I can help him with routes/races/ back in the "homeland"

Summer has started early here in Boulder, with all of last week near the 90's and even above 100 on Saturday. With this, I have learned fires can start just like that. You may have heard about the High Park fire that has recently started West of Ft. Collins. It is 0% contained, and is spreading faster than a flash flood. Horrible news for the residents, wildlife and scenery. We really need some rain to help out that brave men and women fighting to save all they can. It's good to see all the Sheriff's out on the weekend making sure that "fire bans" are respected.

Hoping for a good race this weekend! Race report to come after

Friday, June 1, 2012

Back to Work

Not much has been going on since Kansas City a couple weekends ago. Took a few days to recover. Never thought at 2 hour triathlon could hurt so bad, but I guess threshold of each sport will take that out of you! Took a few days to feel alright doing any sort of high intensity work, but with good coaches, they know that, and take it easy. So I was out of track practice the following Tuesday in order to recover.

This weekend the hours start to come back, as I build back up towards the Boulder Sprint in mid-June. Weather has been amazing out here, in the 70-80's everyday with a minimal amount of wind. Good ol sunshine and a perfect tan...Well almost perfect. I have 3 distinct tan lines on my legs if anyone cares. Drag suit, run shorts, and bike shorts. So my legs have a good 4 different shades of skin. Beats the pasty whiteness most of you know me to have outside of normal cycling tan while back home in Iowa.

Anyway....moving on. It was a great last weekend for FasCat coaching on Sunday as one of our athletes (Timmy Duggan) rode his way with pure heart and some amazing power-weight ratio to win the United States Professional Cycling Championships in Greenville, SC!  Timmy has overcome some amazing obstacles in his career including a terrible crash at the Tour of Georgia where he suffered broken bones and a serious head injury. He has massive determination and obviously from his performance, true heart and passion for this sport. He has been in a couple times this week to download power files, chat, and already did some more high intensity intervals on the O2 gas. No rest for the weary! Best of luck as he heads back to Europe in his new national champions jersey and hopefully he get's a spot on a grand tour team this summer!!!

Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale) wins the USA national championship road race

Here are a couple pictures and articles from our analysis of his performance. Pretty amazing to average over 6.0watts/kg. If you are aspiring to be a professional cyclist, you better be able to hit this mark.    <----- Power File Analysis!!!! Check this out!

Until next time, train hard and remember "impossible" is NOT a word.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kansas City 5150 Race Report

Writing this blog from my spot on the couch wearing the NormaTec Space Boots for some serious recovery today. Woke up and felt like my body had been run over by an 18-wheeler! I guess racing for 2 hours and then driving 10hours isn't the best for recovery ehh?  But here comes the lengthy race report of my first Olympic distance triathlon that took place in Kansas City this last weekend.

Loaded up and left after a quick swim Friday with Rebecca Much and Kristen Peterson. We pointed Kristen's boyfriend Nick Legan's white Subaru to I-70 and the 8+ hour drive to Kansas City. We became very good friends with I-70 and Kansas!!! A total of 17 hours of driving and probably 20hours or so in 3 days! I can say everyone's description of Kansas were correct! None-the-less, we arrive in Kansas City on Friday evening and got ready for a fun weekend! We located the Super8 hotel in Lee's Summit, and were impressed to see it was fairly new and in decent shape. The race wasn't til Sunday, and so it was great having a whole day to relax, do some pre-race shakedown workouts and then head to packet pick-up.

Saturday, we slept in a bit, and then got ready for the race with a little shakedown run/ride and then went to Panera for a good breakfast. After that, it was back to the hotel for some rest/napping, followed by a trip to Longview Lake for packet pickup, course recon and Kristen's pro race meeting. The nerves were settling in fast, and I was getting both anxious and scared for the race! After the meeting we found a great Thai place in Lee's Summit, with some amazing Massamun curry! Then it was to the hotel to put on numbers, and get everything locked and loaded for race! We were in bed pretty early, all dreaming of glory on Sunday!

Alarm went off at 5am on Sunday, and we were soon up scrounging around and eating breakfast. Had some oatmeal with a banana, mango and a Breeze Bar. Loaded up and headed for Longview Lake by 5:45, we were in plenty of time to get parked, everything put away and set up in transition, timing chips picked up and off to the beach for the start at 7:30.

Kristen was off in the pro women's field at 7:30, and Rebecca and I  didn't go off til 8:04 and 8:07.

Overall result from the weekend:
23:33 Swim (1:35yd/min)
2:04 T1
1:04:30 Bike (23.1mph)
1:20 T2
42:12 Run (6:49min/mile)


Swim: started and I got in behind Lincoln Eppard (Z3 Triathlon) out of Des Moines, who I have known. We quickly were able to distance ourselves from the pack! I had a bit of trouble sighting in the early morning, with some fog, but the BlueSeventy Element goggles did a great job, more of a personal error. We caught the prior waves fairly fast, and were rolling through them. I was able to come out of the water first. Got into T1 but this is where my lack of experience starts!

T1: Wetsuit off and leaving transition, took me a while to get into my shoes, which actually involved stopping for 30-45sec to put on my right shoe, that I couldn't get on ***More baby powder***. Got clipped in finally and was out

Bike: Settled into a nice rhythm and started picking off people left and right. Made me wonder if I was going that fast, or they were going that slow. A bit of both. I had lost Lincoln and another guy from CU with my shoe debacle. Tried to catch them, but only did catch the CU Boulder guy in my age group towards the end. Overall a solid bike, Cannondale Slice felt amazingly smooth and fast and the Carrol 85mm wheels did great! Thanks Grant for the help.

T2: Another rough transition, got feet out of the shoes and dismounted, but a shoe caught the ground and decided to come out of the pedals. So I had to stop and go back to pick up my shoe, losing another 10sec or so. Got the Pearl Izumi Isotransitions on and headed out for the run, 2/3 done!

Run: Started out on the 2 lap 3.1mile loop. First mile went by in 6:50, right where I thought I wanted to be. Was actually going by more people than I was getting passed by. By mile 2 I had hit 6:39 on a slightly downhill mile. Coming back towards transition for the second loop, I was starting to hit the hurt box a bit, probably a bit fast going out. On the second loop, I was really hurting by mile 5, and with this mile as slightly uphill and into a headwind, I was really hurting. Pulled out a decent last 1.2miles and finished with a sub 7min/mile average. Exactly where I wanted to be. Something crazy happened to me right before the finish though.....50yards out, I was trying to catch a few sprint racers, and as I was rounding the last curve a 70year old guy walks right out in front of me. I had no reaction ability and ran over him.....oops. But really, look where you're going and don't cross the course dude! I hope he is alright.....

The Mix1 Protein Shake I had post-race was probably the most tasty thing ever!! Awesome to have them onboard!

Anyway, so that is my first race!!! I ended up 2nd overall in my age group to the CU Boulder dude, who flew on the run and took 20th/1000 overall!!! Very happy with that, have a lot I can work on to shave some time, but it was an amazing experience, and I am glad to have started this quest. With my 2nd place finish and sub-2:15 time, I am now eligible to compete in the Elite Amateur waves in future races, and my 2nd place finish got me free entry into the 2012 HyVee US. Championship in Des Moines!!! Going to be coming on on Sept 2 to celebrate my birthday and hopefully with the M20-24 Age Group Championship. That is going to be the big goal for the rest of the year!

Rebecca, Kristen and I got back to the hotel, showered quickly, went back to Panera for some food and then pointed due west on I-70 back to Boulder, arriving around 11pm. A long day, a long trip, but so much fun! Going to hopefully sit down with Grant here and find out whats going to occur before Boulder 5150, to make me faster!!!

Next race I believe is the Boulder Sprint on June 8th!! Until the next post!!

"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination." Tommy Lasorda

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tis the Week!

Has been a little while since I last posted, but training really picked up in the last couple weeks as I have been getting ready for the Kansas City 5150 this weekend!! Can't believe it has finally come, and I am ready to rock and roll!

As for training itself, a lot of speed work and quality stuff has been the key to the previous couple weeks, but the mileage was still up there as well. My body was really feeling it this past weekend. I had reached my limit for training (coming from Jan 1), and it was time to take a taper block and rest. Overall my body has handled everything extremely well, and other than a homeless guy causing me to crash and getting some serious road rash, no injuries!!!! Thank you coach Grant Holicky for being spot on with workouts/rest/recovery!

Below is a picture of my PMC (Performance Manager Chart) showing my progress during the huge building period before this week.  Never had my CTL this high in my life. A recent TrainingPeaks Webinar suggests you have to be at a CTL of 120 in order to complete an Ironman. Maybe I should just sign up and finish one of those??

But now onto taper week, the CTL will fall, meaning that I actually will lose "fitness? but my TSB(Form) will increase and I'll be ready to rock on Sunday! Tapering is a special training period immediately preceding the major competition during which the training stimulus is reduced in a systematic non-linear fashion to achieve a peak in performance. Volume is reduced, while keeping some intensity in order to maintain an edge. 

Helping me get onto the top step of the podium this weekend include some seriously fast stuff from some great companies:  Thanks BlueSeventy, Pearl Izumi, Breeze Bars, and Cannondale!  Below is a picture of my BlueSeventy Reaction Wetsuit, Pearl Izumi TriFly Carbon and IsoTransition Shoes! Excited to fly in these aboard my Cannondale Slice TT rig!

Heading out to Kansas City with Rebecca Much and Kristen Peterson on Friday morning, and hope to really enjoy my first triathlon. Not really going in with any expectations other than sticking to my zones and putting out the best effort I can. The ultimate goal of the weekend is to produce a sub 2:15 Olympic which seems very do-able in order to qualify for HyVee later in the season. Have to trust my training and go out and make it happen!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First Race of the Season

Had the first race of the season this past weekend. The Koppenberg road race, headed back to my roots of road racing. The course was a 5.5mile loop with half on gravel/dirt, 300ft of climbing per lap, with most on a 17% 45sec climb where the race gets it's name. Here is a video from 2010. I broke my trusty Madone 5.2 frame while reconing earlier in the week, and was able to borrow fellow Luther alum Karl "Moose" Larson's ride for the race. On to the race...... Right away, I was glad I had downgraded to a Cat 3 since moving out to Boulder. The Cat 3 race I did was harder than any race I had done back in Iowa. The fields are deeper and the competition greater. Didn't feel to bad as the race was going on, but can tell since training for triathlon, I have no top end as I would have had if solely focusing on road cycling. This came into affect the last time up the climb when I was cross-eyed on my stem, and fell off the pace about 1.5miles from the finish on a 3-tier climb towards the finish. Overall, a great training day and it was fun to get back on the road bike for a race. Will do a few more here and there, and then some cross in the fall.  Finished the day off with a good brick run and tried to recover the best I could for Sunday.
 Waiting for a few team kits to come in, so still rocking the Midwest kit.

Sunday was the longest training run prescribed yet since I have started. I remember when 60min was hard, but when I saw 2 hours on the schedule, I was ready for the challenge, even though a bit nervous. It ended up being great and can't believe how good it felt! 2 hours and 14.5miles later, I had accomplished something I never thought would occur. Strava file above.

So overall, the training is going awesome. And got a new frame this weekend Cannondale CAAD10, and also just received my Blue Seventy Reaction wetsuit!

Kansas City is a little over 3 weeks away and I am anxious to test out the 4months of training I have put in to triathlon since moving to Boulder.

Training for previous week:

18 hours
Bike: 120miles
Run: 32 miles
Swim:  12.33 (20,345yds)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Full Steam Ahead


Update from the wonderful world of the Boulder bubble. Such an amazing place, with some ADD weather to boot. The last few days it has threatened to rain, but always seems to roll right around and leave it dry. Not too bad in my eyes for training, as it has been full training mode. But I am hearing from everyone that the fire risk is going to be so great this summer, so if it rains every night I won't complain in order to reduce that risk.

5 weeks out from the Kansas City 5150 race. Training is going awesome, and put in the biggest week of the season last week. Finished it off with a good Saturday and Sunday of training, a group ride Saturday and my longest run to date on Sunday.

Highlights include:

1. First Thursday long swim with the RACE team. Short story short, LONG SWIMS and LITTLE REST = extremely tired.
2. First track(Brick) workout: Set up bike on trainer at track, suffer on that, then run fast on the track.
3. First long run where I made it over 13.1miles (half-Ironman). Was awesome, felt great, and had that ADD weather. One minute it was 80 degrees and sun, the next probably 50 and was getting sleeted on, then some rain, then sunny and hot again!

Weekly total include:

20.5 hours, 1115TSS, 14,000kj's

Swim: 9.83 (16,200yds)
Bike: 145miles
Run: 29.5

Work has really been picking up, with coaching, but most of all, with the motopacing. I am now Boulder's finest motopacer :) It has been great, many members of the Optum Pro Cycling Team have been in town for a training camp and have often called upon FasCat for some fast paced thrash fests behind the scooter. Awesome to get to meet and chat with the guys racing in the big races!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

News From the 303

Hey everyone, been quite busy and haven't been able to do much blogging lately.

Busy = awesome news to hear in the coaching/physiology industry! Many clients are placing their cycling abilities and performances in the hands of FasCat this spring, and it seems to be paying off well! Many of the FasCat athletes are having good success with their early races, especially the CU Collegiate Men and Woman's teams! With many athletes having their physiological parameters set for the early part of the season, the exercise physiology lab has been a bit quite as of late. Time is made up for by continuing to work and provide the best customer service to my athletes! Some other cool things may be stirring out of the company, but I won't touch on those yet! Hope to have some cool scientific news in a few weeks!

But enough for work right? Play time update!!!

Still training quite a bit, actually more than I ever could while in school. Last week I touched on 20hours!!! It was awesome, and I can feel the fitness coming as I am about 6 weeks out from my first race of the year in Kansas City May 19th. Been getting similar sensations in the water that I had when swimming at Luther, so that is a good thing. The stroke and power are coming around and starting to see some good splits in the pool. Had the biggest week of the year on the bike last week, and capped it off with my first experience up to Peak to Peak Highway. This highway runs North/South from Estes Park to BlackHawk, and is considered one of the best picture spots on the front range. Sitting around 9000ft, it is very close to the tree-line and you can see snow-capped mountains all around. Go figure, I forgot to take pictures as I was struggling to keep with pros Allen Gardner and Kyle Leto that day. Running is one thing I never thought would feel good, but it is starting to feel easier and easier every day!!! Put in some good speed work at the track this past week and also a great long run this morning.

Actually tried my luck at racing road bikes here in Colorado yesterday at the famous Boulder Rouabix. It is 50/5o dirt and paved roads. But the dirt roads out here are packed pretty much as hard as any highway. I was feeling great, but go figure, I flatted during the first lap and was done. Went home, swapped wheels and did some climbing instead!

Weekly totals for the past 2 weeks!!!

3/27 - 4/2 4/3-4/9
Hours: 20.5 18.75
Swim: 12.54 (20,700yds) 11.62(19,177yards)
Bike: 150 172.97
Run: 22.07 22.62

Until next time!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's Finished!

Officially finished all of my work required to graduate from UNI this spring with a Master of Exercise Physiology! Can say that I am extremely grateful to be done! It was so hard not being on campus, and having to do "homework" at night to finish up my thesis.

Traveled back to Iowa last week to defend my thesis and see family and friends. A very successful trip in both aspects. Went to Cedar Falls on Wednesday and presented my paper to the three professors on my committee. Not as bad as I thought it would be, but there were still some "grilling" questions presented to make you feel nervous, on edge, and just to make sure you know your stuff! Turned in my papers, fees for binding and everything else, and I was finished!

Spent the rest of the time in Decorah and Cedar Rapids hanging out with my family. As soon as I got back to Decorah, I relapsed into some great memories I have shared there over the years. It almost made me want to pack up and move right back there. That is how close it is to my heart, and someday when I am ready to settle down, Decorah will be smack dab at the top of my list so far! Had a couple great workouts back at "sea-level" (800ft). It was amazing how much faster I could swim/bike/run compared to up in Boulder (5400ft). It gives me some great confidence for my first race in Kansas City in May. I was also re-accustomed to the humidity that plagues the Midwest. I bet I sweated more in my first 45min run, then I had in 3months out here in Colorado!

Had all my favorite foods and ate at all my favorite restaurants while home, which is always awesome! But unfortunately I had to bid my family adieu and head back to Colorado. I miss you all so much already! My niece Brooklynn, is getting SOO BIG! I can't believe it, unfortunately, I don't have any picutres up yet, in another post. But she is now walking, talking (repeats every word, so be careful Jenny!!) and is just a little cutie! Can't wait to see you again in a few months! But back to work and training to continue that quest of triathlon!


Monday, March 12, 2012

I'm Coming Home!

As that title states, I will be returning to Iowa next week March 20-27th, to officially defend my thesis with the graduate college of Northern Iowa in order to fulfill my educational requirements of my Master of Exercise Physiology degree!!! Very nervous, as I know some pretty rough questions will be headed my way from my committee, but they don't want anyone to fail, and I am confident in my education.

Booking my flight tickets only 1.5weeks out was pretty hectic, both on my travel time and pocketbook!!! I have to fly from Denver-Colorado Springs- Dallas - Cedar Rapids on my way home, and then CR - Chicago -Oklahoma City - Denver on my way back...using two different airlines! But it is needed and will feel good to be home, to see my family.

Going to spend a few days in Cedar Rapids and Decorah. Without any physical work for the week, I hope to put in some big hours of training while at home, and it will be my first experience coming from altitude down to sea level (800ft). Have to be careful not to over extend myself! But will be swimming with the Milky Way Masters in CR and borrowing a bike from local bike dude Rob M! Better than paying $150 each way to ship mine!

Speaking of training, another big week done!!! Most hours, highest TSS, and greatest KJ burn of the year so far.

Training Hours= 18.75
Training Distance = 182.81miles
Running = 25.42
Swimming = 145.47
Biking = 11.84 (19,500yards)

Highlights of the week include my first bout of mile repeats on the track! Check the file here! Ran each mile repeat faster then the previous, and ended with some great 400m sprints! Can't believe how the run is coming along! Not burning any records or anyting, but it's coming!

Had the longest threshold session of the year on the bike, and crushed it!!! 3x15min LT efforts, and although they were hard, had no falling off of power! Have also put a couple days of riding on my new Cannondale Slice TT bike. Haven't ridden it much at all since I got it, but have no problem with back soreness or anything, really excited to race and see how fast I can be!

Can't wait to get home, have some Mabes Pizza, Cho Sun, Broghans Taco Pizza, Pancheros! AHHH I hope I get to put in some massive hours of training otherwise I'll come back 10lbs heavier!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Friends from back home!

This last week was one of the best yet out here in Colorado!!! It was a sort-of recovery week from training and I was graced with the presence of my best buds/roommates from back home. Landon Jacobsen, Tyler Powell and his girlfriend Kori!!! I had been looking forward to this for quite some time and it didn't disappoint.

The three of them came up Wednesday PM, and we grabbed some food/drinks down on Pearl St. Thursday, we were up early, and off to Copper Mountain for some skiing action! I have not been skiing in 5 years, and never in Colorado, so I was nervous to say the least. Blues/Blacks back home are Greens/Blues out here, plus the runs are 45min long compared to 1.5min back in Iowa/Minnesota. We were greeted with a blizzard after the Eisenhower tunnel that almost made us turn around. Luckily we got there just fine, lift tickets purchased and skis on! At the end of the day, I had not gone down once, and felt very fluent on the skis. I was hooked and will hopefully get back at least 1 more time this season! Only one casualty as Kori took a ski to the shin and gashed it pretty badly! We left, and stopped at the original Beau Jo's pizza in Idaho Springs on the way back for some great grub! Thursday/Friday we hung out and went to Pearl St. for some more good food and drinks before Tyler and Kori had to go back to Minnesota on Saturday. Overall, a great time and some pictures are attached below!

As stated above, a sort of rest week for training as I spent more time with friends.
Swimming = 8.4miles (14,000yds)
Bike= 162 miles
Run= 21.8 miles

Headlines of training were:
First 100mile ride yesterday with coach Jason. It was a great ride, exploring Boulder County.
5km TT on the track on Tuesday, run in 20:45 (6:40min/miles) Way better than I thought.

Back to the grind this week! Cheers!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Week to Make Improvements!

Hey everyone!!

Another week came and went in the Boulder Bubble!! Another great week of work and workouts provided by Coach Grant Holicky. A bit less in terms of volume for some of the workouts, but also started to add in some speed work/intensity!

Total Training Time: 18.5hours
Swim Distance: 7.81 miles (13,000)
Bike Distance: 105 miles
Run Distance: 16.7 miles

Swimming continue to feel better, and we had our first test of fitness on Friday with a 500 for time. Going into this, I knew I would be no where near what I was at Luther, and actually expected worse! I ended up with a 5:50, at altitude, in February (2 months of training). Was excited to see the number under 6:00min, and splits went 1:06, 1:14, 1:14, 1:12, 1:12. What that tells me, is I have some great endurance now, and just need to work harder in the middle of that swim. Which will come with more power/speed work!

Cycling progressed nicely as well, with some good LT/VO2 intervals on Wednesday and a good long ride with my buddy Jake Cohen on Sunday! Feels good to be putting out some good numbers again as well!!

Running decreased in overall mileage, but increased in speed this week. Tuesday was the first track workout of the season, and we did a bunch of skills and a speed ladder. Legs were toast even after that first bout of speed work, but overall, I was happy!! This morning, we did a 5kmTT on the track as well. I haven't done this since last June at the Pigman where I averaged 7:01min/miles. I was going to shoot for this today, but actually went out faster and held on. I ended up averaging 6:40min/miles for a 20:43 time!! ABSOLUTELY STOKED with that number. Only 2 months of training, no speed work and already running faster than I ever did back at altitude!!!

So the training seems to really be working well, and I have no complaints. The big thing about working with coaches is trusting the process that everything works out in the end. So far it has. Coach Grant had some great words today that I would like to pass along! "The good days aren’t a fluke. You can’t fake good. If it’s not there, it’s not there. You just can’t fake the improvements you’ve made. Even if you have bad days in between, your true fitness is shown on those good days" Great words to remember on the bad days!

Excited for the upcoming weekend as well!! My college roommate Tyler Powell and his girl friend Kori are headed to Colorado to hang with Landon and I! The plan is to spend Thursday skiing at Breckenridge and then hit some good food and possibly a couple brewery tours!! Going to be awesome seeing Tyler and Kori again, and now just need Doug, Mark, and Josh to get out here!! COME ON DUDES!

Until next time!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Week of Firsts

Hey everyone!

Time for the weekly rant to let anyone who is interested in on what is going on out here in the Boulder bubble. It was another good week of work and training in the land of mountains, perfect sunrises/sunsets and food as I have found.

Training for the last week was the highest week yet at just over 18.5 hours. The volume in swimming and running has been growing and the bike volume depends on the weather and intensity.

Total Hours: 18.5
Total Distance: Swim(11.32miles/19,000yards), Bike(100miles), Run (30.25miles)
Total TSS: 1020

Swimming continues to get better and better with each workout as it seems, the power is starting to come back. I won't be swimming a 5min, 500 free anytime soon, but hopefully that will come in the future :)

Running had the first week over 30miles since I started, and the body continues to respond well without any injuries occurring (HUGE KNOCK ON WOOD). It has been solely focused on endurance/slow running so far. Today was the first actual track practice for our group. I haven't run on the track on other then fun fun yogging since what middle school Mile tests? Let's just say it HURT! But in a good way, was very informative with drills and a speed ladder. Anxious to see how fast I can get this season. Next week will be a telling sign of where I am at, with a 5km TT!!! OUCH!

Cycling was pretty decent this week. Some good intervals and a Power Profiling test of 5min, 20min and 1min on Sunday up a couple new climbs in Boulder. It was my first time up NCAR and Sunshine Canyon. 5min up NCAR made the lungs burn more than then have since last summer, but it always feels good to blow the cobwebs out!! The numbers I put out were better than I did in Iowa (700ft) in December. After seeing those numbers at 5300ft here in Colorado, I want to head back to Iowa and do the same tests to see how high I am. Coming down from Colorado, general data suggests you can add 20-25watts to your threshold at altitude. That would make those numbers very nice :) Everything seems to be coming together nicely with my training, and I am anxious to race!
Picture is towards the top of Sunshine Canyon looking West!

At work, I have had some awesome chances so far. This last week I was able to test Timmy Duggan, a professional cyclist for Liquigas Cannondale. It is amazing to see the numbers that he can put out on the PARVO metabolic cart and blood lactate values. You would never see these values doing tests in school. The cool thing is these pro athletes you test are some of the nicest persons you will meet also. Can't wait to test some more. Maybe a Greg Henderson or Rory Sutherland will come in soon!On the school front, I just sent my preview into the Graduate College at UNI for format editing, and then will be ready to defend. It sounds as though I'll come back to Iowa in the middle of March to defend and then be done. It will be sweet to officially have a document saying I am a Master of Physiology!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Another Week Up, Another Week Down

Sunday ended another week of work and training here in the Boulder bubble. Had some good workouts this week and have continued to build my base fitness for the double season I will have coming up with road cycling and triathlon. Almost finished with 19hours of training for the week, and this week will see a push over 20hours!!!! Haven't seen that number unless I was on spring break at school!

Swimming continues to improve after my 2 year hiatus out of the water, and slowly but surely the stroke is coming back and some speed is there, just not much right now, but it will come!! Still amazing, that I will be able to swim outside all year around regardless of weather here in Boulder. Makes up for all the years at CR Wash and Luther swimming in pools with no outside connection at all!
Cycling is also progressing nicely, and have been doing my first efforts of the season this past week, and while there is room for improvement, I feel the fitness starting to arise. Sunday was a long ride day and I was able to head out with FasCat coach Jason and a teammate for a good 3 hour stroke. This ride reminded me of Iowa only without the humidity causing wetness. It never got above 24 degrees, and couldn't even be considered a slushy ride as both my bottles even with some GU Brew froze solid. Without any wind it was a fairly enjoyable ride, and it is always better to ride with some others! (Photos Courtesy of Jason Hilimire)
Running is really impressing me right now. I finished my longest run ever on Saturday, accumulating 12miles in just over 1.5hrs, and it felt great. Another cold cold day, but running when it is cold can be extremely bearable, with the slower temperatures. Logged the greatest amount of miles so far (30mi) for the season. That continues to amaze me as well! My family doesn't come from a running background at all, and normally we always joke of having "Christen speed", which isn't much. There is some speed to be found however right now, and will be excited to get out onto the track with the group here in the next few weeks to get that race pace down to around 6-6.5min/mile for the season!!! That would be epic in my eyes!

Was even lucky enough to find a nice church which I will hope to be a frequent visitor at. It is called FlatIrons Community Church. Although I come from an ELCA Lutheran background, while at Luther, I was kind of drawn to a "contemporary" type mindset, and this place is very similar. Some good music, and last weekend was a great message. I may still find a place a little closer as there are some ELCA congregations in the Boulder area. Felt really good to be back in a religious setting, and could just feel some of my stress lifted as I entered the worship area. Plus, I know my family (Grandma, especially) will be very happy that I found a place :)

Really need to get a private jet, or teleporter so I can head back to Decorah! Miss the "Iowa Alps" and I could really go for a Mabes Pizza, TBocks Peanut Butter Burger, or Rubaiyat Omelet right about now.

Until next time!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My First Blog as a FasCat Physiologist

My first post recapping the metabolic testing we did on the CU Cycling team a couple weeks ago. This team is ready for some collegiate action this spring, and will be looking to dominate at nationals!

Colorado University Cycling Team Training Camp & VO2 Max Testing

February 6th, 2012

by Carson Christen, FasCat Exercise Physiologist & Coach

Recently, FasCat Coaching in conjunction with the University of Colorado Boulder Men and Women’s cycling team held a training camp for US Collegiate Cycling National Championship hopefuls in Boulder, Colorado. The three day camp involved physiological testing, organizational meetings & a group ride at the FasCat Performance Center.

Measuring Performance Potential

Athletes completed VO2 max tests to determine their physiological potential. An athlete with high VO2 max values is said to be “gifted” and could be very successful. VO2 max is written in terms of relative (ml/kg/min) or absolute (L/min). Relative is related to a subjects body weight, while absolute is the total volume of oxygen that can be inspired regardless of body weight. Athletes with high VO2 max values that have gone on to greatness are Greg Lemond (92.5ml/kg/min) and Miguel Indurain (88.0ml/kg/min). For reference, the CU male athletes tested between 54 – 84ml/kg/min and CU female athletes tested between 48-65ml/kg/min. The CU athletes have tremendous potential but that does not guarantee success. Beyond one’s physiology elite level results takes several years of hard training and racing seasons (aka experience).

According to Science: VO2 values for Elite Cyclists

Professional male and female cyclists possess greater VO2 max values than recreational and amateur level athletes. Data from Wilber, Zawadzki, Kearney, Shannon, and Disalvo (1997) found that elite male American cyclists possess VO2 max’s of 70 – 75 ml/kg/min (5 – 5.25 L/min) with many professionals exceeding 80.0 ml/kg/min (5.45L/min). Martin, McLean, Trewin, Lee, Victor, and Hahn (2001) found that elite female cyclists produced VO2 max values of 60 – 70 ml/kg/min (3.66 – 4.10 L/min). Research conducted by Jeukendrup, Craig, and Hawley (2000) analyzed professional cyclists and determined that most current professional cyclists have absolute VO2 max values greater then 5.5L/min for males and 4.0L/min for females.

So you want to turn PRO?

What does this mean for us as average Joe cyclists? In order to make a domestic pro team in the United States, it is safe to say that a male should have a VO2 max of roughly 68.0-75.0ml/kg/min. Anything greater than 75.0ml/kg/min, with proper training, you may be receiving calls from European Directeur Sportifs! To quote Allen Lim (Ph.D), “VO2 directly correlates to your cycling paycheck”. Female cyclists should produce values greater then 56ml/kg/min in order to increase chances of competing at the pro level. Most athletes not above this elite level will fall into one of the amateur categories of cycling. For amateur male athletes in the 20-30 age range, anything above 48-62ml/kg/min is considered “good” and they can be quite competitive in amateur racing categories. Female cyclists are generally in the 42-51ml/kg/min range.

Table 1. Criteria for VO2 Max Classification

Category Male Female
Pro Tour & World Class 75-90 ml/kg/min >60 ml/kg/min
Domestic Pro 68-80 ml/kg/min 50-60 ml/kg/min
Cat 2 58-73 ml/kg/min 45-50 ml/kg/min
Cat 3/4 50-63 ml/kg/min 40-45 ml/kg/min
Cat 5 <50 ml/kg/min <40 ml/kg/min

** It should be noted that these are estimates based on research, and are not definitive criteria for racing categories**

Having a genetically high VO2 max is not the end all. There is no substitute for hard work and proper training. Elite level athletes need to have high VO2‘s but they also need to train incredibly hard.

On the contrary there are many successful amateur & professional athletes that have ordinary VO2′s. In these cases they make up for their ‘average’ VO2‘s by their ability to exercise at 88-90% of their VO2 max for extended periods of time. These are the athletes who can ‘suffer’ and scrap their way to good performances. It never comes easy but these athletes possess additional ways to get the most of out their bodies.

Respiratory Exchange Ratios (RER): Additional Insight

The Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) is a value which determines how much oxygen is being consumed by the body compared to the amount of carbon dioxide expired. A value of 1.00 represents an even shift of gases exchanged by the body. A value greater than 1.00 suggests that an athlete is not receiving enough oxygen to fuel their muscles, usually around Lactic Threshold. A value of 1.05 has generally been used as one confirmation point that the athlete has reached VO2 max. Now, every athlete is different, but it is beneficial as a coach to understand these values. If an athlete barely or cannot even reach 1.0RER before exhaustion, this suggests that they have a very good aerobic engine, being very efficient at burning fat as their primary fuel. An athlete however, that reaches 1.0RER very quickly and continues to rise above 1.05 before exhaustion suggests that the athlete burns primarily carbohydrate as fuel, and could improve their performance by burning more fat in preference to muscle glycogen (carbohydrate). This is often referred to as being more efficient and can be addressed in training.


With the proper data from the VO2 tests we conducted during CU’s training camp, we, as coaches, are able to understand the athletes’ strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore we are able to see areas for opportunity and recommend certain types of training to address weaknesses or deficiencies. All in all the training camp was a great way to learn about the CU riders’s personality & physiology. Now the hard work begins in preparation of the 2012 collegiate season and national championships!


Jeukendrup, A. E., Craig, N. P., & Hawley, J. A. (2000). The bioenergetics of world class cycling. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 3(4), 414-433.

Martin, D. T., Mclean, B., Trewin, C., Hamilton, L., Victor, J., & Han, A. G. (2001). Physiological characteristics of nationally competitive female road cyclists and demands of competition. Sports Medicine, 31(7), 469-477.

Wilber, R., Zawadzki, L., Katherine, M., Kearney, J. T., Shannon, M. P., & Disalvo, D. (1997). Physiological profiles of elite off-road and road cyclists. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 29(8), 1090-1094.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Rest Week! Whoop!

After 4 weeks of some serious hurt put on by Grant, it was time for a bit of R & R, well the "little" that is prescribed when your a triathlete! With 3 sports disciplines to keep track of and progressing, you decrease the hours a little bit, but not too much!

Was able to sneak out of any workouts on Monday, which mean not having to go in for 5am swim practice, which was nice, but leaves you feeling like a complete slacker when you get up! Tuesday was a fun day as I was able to do my first group strength session with the group! It was just like circuit back at Luther for swimming, and I also was able to meet a few more pro athletes from the Boulder area (Scott Tietzel, Evie Stevens). The rest of the week was fairly straight forward with some easy workouts, some tempo, a sub-threshold cycling workout, a 10mile long run on Saturday, and ended it up with a good 4 hour pedal session with 4 members of the CU cycling team yesterday up to Carter Lake. It was chilly, never above freezing, but the sun makes it warmer, and there was no wind as one would experience on a similar day in Iowa, so I was extremely happy to ride outside, and didn't have to have a sweat fest inside!

Totals = 28.5 miles running
9.07 miles swimming
121 miles biking for a grand total of: 14 hours (871 TSS). STRAVA IT!

Friday/Saturday, a new experience for me occured as Boulder received about 22inch of snow!!! SO MUCH SNOW! And I had no skate, xc, or downhill skis to use. I should really get into that discipline. Amazing thing, is the XC king Peter Marshall works here at FasCat. I'll have to pester him for some advice!

Last night was the Super Bowl, and although I was not impressed by the commercials, I was very glad to see Tom Brady and the Patriots lose! Ever since, the Raiders were screwed over in 2002, the Pats/Refs Suck! My buddy Karl Larson from Luther/Decorah is in graduate school out here and nicely invited me over to hang out with him and his group of school friends for the game. Good food and some good beer from Lefthand Brewery were had!

Looks like the hours are picking up this week again with some big workouts!!! Looking forward to the challenge!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Week in Review!

Going to try do a bit more like Jeff Kerkove, Jeff Paul do and update the blog with reviews of each training week!

This past week was great, the largest training week of the year so far, and it pushed my body to its 4 week limit! Had some great workouts in the pool, on the bike, and on the trails! Total weekly training hours was 16hours. Add 40 hours of work on to that, and it was a great week!

Weekly totals for mileage included: 5.6miles of swimming
112miles of riding
24.5miles of running
Total TSS for the week for the first time since using WKO+ was over 1000TSS!!!! (1013.7)

That last value amazes me, I would have never expected myself to run that much! It has been great, with so many great dirt trails around, elevation changes, etc to keep the mind moving! This new challenge of triathlon is great and I have some amazing training partners Cam Dye, Allen Gardner, Will Kelsay, Kristin Peterson, Mara Abbott, Flora Duffy. I am learning quite a bit and even experience Beau Jo's pizza last night with Will. Extremely good "Mountain Pie" pizza with a hilarious dude!

Finished off the week yesterday with a big ride with former Iowan Jeff Kerkove. He took me up and up yesterday, with almost 6000ft of climbing, all the way up Lefthand Canyon to Ward. Such a beautiful climb and area, look forward to that ride again! Here are some pictures from the day! Check out details here

Descending Left-hand Canyon from Ward
Fresh water spring in Ward!! Tasty Water!A little hidden secret in Boulder (Bow Mountain Road) Hard packed dirt road climb!