During my ten year hiatus from competitive cycling I swore I would never ride in shitty weather. Too many soggy rides in the rain and snow when I had to go out to contemplate doing so for fun. Well, with the acceptance of my new racing license those days are officially over. I got smarter in my old age, however, and built a bike with a single speed and full fenders. I used to think fenders were for pussies but one ride in the rain with them and I thought differently. I was actually staying pretty dry. I stepped up for some all weather paneled tights and now I fear nothing. The main reason for all this is that I want to avoid the indoor trainer at all costs. The single speed is nice because there are fewer moving parts to gum up and subsequently clean. Very sweet!
I've been dabbling in ski mountaineering racing for 3 seasons now. Unless you are supremely talented, the sport takes some time to figure out. It's true that the winners of the gene pool lottery, the guys who get out of bed with a VO2 max in the 80's are going to have an easier time. But if you can't get down the descents on tooth picks without stacking heavily or transition smoothly without dropping your skins in the snow, you're going to be playing catch up. And if you aren't one of the aerobically gifted, you can make up some time on those guys by being better in the other aspects of the game.
The 2009 edition of the Wasatch Powderkeg is now in the books. It went down last Saturday under blue bird skies and heinous skiing conditions. The race, which almost didn't happen due to major sponsorship shake ups, was very well attended in its new incarnation. The course was slightly different but held on mostly familiar terrain as previous additions.
In my last post I wrote about muscle fiber types and how their development affects our performance. Basic concepts like, "train long to go long" and "train fast to sprint fast" are simple enough. But are there ways for competitive athletes to development their speed off the bike that will complement their on-the-bike training? Certainly. Power and speed athletes from many sports use the gym to augment their sport specific training. Gym-based training can provide a stimulus that exceeds that which one might get on the bike. The idea is to then take these adaptations and hone them to cycling specific movements and skills.
There are few endurance sports that demand speed and explosiveness quite like bicycle road racing. Not only do many road races end up in sprint finishes, there are numerous occasions during most events where attacks determine the make up of the final winning finishing group. So, not only must a road racer possess the endurance to make it to the finish, he or she must possess the speed and power to make the break and finish fast. Yeah, so?