Friday, February 27, 2009

Empower yourself

I started snowboarding over 10 years ago. Stopped for a while and started again. Taking up this sport as an adult has got to be one of the hardest must humbling things I've ever done. This past season I had the chance to ride for a few days in a row on some nice snow and made a significant improvement.

It is such an empowering experience and I've seen it with mountain biking over the years too. Though those episodse are much fewer and farther between given the higher level at which I mountain bike.

Empowerment doesn't come without a price. Pain, crashing, embarassement and humility are all up there and need to be embraced. It's a hard thing to do no doubt. It's much easier to stay within a comfort zone. But the comfort zone only gives limited payback. If you're not crashing every now and then or not falling then you aren't trying hard enough. The hard part is figuring out how much to push your envelope so you can avoid catastrophic crashes yet still improve.

But regardless of pushing past your limitations the most important thing is to just try. Without care of what others think or how you'll look. Try and keep trying.

The transformation begins

The lifting transformation is beginning. Today was a power day. Weight is dropped significantly and you perform the lift with explosive movements. With Squats I jump off the ground. I love the fact that I am jumping off the ground with more weight than I started within the transition period.

I just do squats and hamstrings in this explosive movement, then still do strength with upper body and some regular stiff legged dead lifts. still loving the beefcake upper body until I start to get on the bike and do some road climbs.

And also did one round of sprints. 4x4 of 15sec on 60 sec 0ff 5min between sets.

I tell ya, these sprints and the leadout sprints are the workouts that when I am doing them seem worthless because I feel like I am not able to accomplish much work and more feel like I am flailing.

Though for a fact I know that the leadout work that comes later has a direct and quantfiable benefit to technical rocky riding and short steeps.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

dowhiller for a day

Last 3 weeks. 2 mountain bike rides. Skills suffering? I don't think so. We hit Brush mountain for an up down up down ride and I was just killing it on the downhills today. I've almost never ridden down Old Farm like I did today. That is a tough trail, up or down. I know lots of people that don't like it but I love it, even more so than typical dream downhills like at Douthat. You just can't let it go on this trail. There is always some feature coming up like a rough corner, or rooted out section. Today I was a downhiller for real, totally railing in corners and then sprinting out. Typically, it's just fine to coast down it as it's fast enough but not today.

Never lose an opportunity to learn from a mistake or overthink why something went right. I'm trying to pin point what it is that made today feel so wicked.

Something was dialed, and it wasn't my brakes that's for sure. I think my seals are shot on them from the bike shop putting in synthetic style dot 5 cause even after constant rebleeds they are not working well. Today instead of the usual going to the bar after a long downhill then were actually experiencing a lot less travel....

Anyways for me there seems to be 4-5 key things that really make a big difference
1) Vision. Looking out and turning the head around corners. Today? It was ok, I wouldn't say great. I haven't been doing my figure 8 drills which really help my vision.

2) Braking. Braking before the corner and rolling through. Today? Decent. I made a good effort of braking more than usual and trying to roll through the turn as opposed to going in too hot and dragging the brakes through the turn

3)hip twist. Gene showed me how to twist the hips when cornering which I've found to be one of the single biggest metrics for cornering for me. It just seems to lock in my rear wheel and solidfy my entire position. I went snowboarding a bit ago and realized that the hip twist also cross over and helped me a lot in turning. So reinforcing that motion on the board helped to cross over to the bike. The figure 8 drill is also good for ingraining this motion. Today? Very good. One time I twisted so much I unclipped from a pedal.

4) elbows out Gene was always says 'get moto' get your elbows out. Way out. Exxagerate it even in your mind because in real life it always can be better. When I exagerate it I get them in a 90degree angle like Shaums March made his own 'trainer' to help force you into the right position. (note the date on the post) Regardless of a joke or not that is the position.
Today? Very good

1) been on it with the lifting. Chest, back. but..also new this year is external rotator muscles.

When I've tried in the past to work on elbow position, I always get tweaks in my upper back/back of the shoulder. In fact I feel it now in the back of my shoulders. This year I've been working for the past few months on external rotator exercises. This is a very very weak muscle for me, and isolating it requires use of super small weights, like 5-8 lb dumbells or 10-20 on the cable machine when I first started. I'm up higher now. But still doing any of the exercises is humbling. I've been doing cuban presses:

These are super hard.

I get knots so bad that when I work them with my fingers I can literally hear it. I thought it was just something made up, but my son actually heard it too.

But external rotator excercises helped me keep elbows out and combined with my other upper body work and stiff legged dead lifts I just felt solid.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

ending first week of strength.

down to sets fo 6 reps.

On tap... sets of

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

strength day 1

took a few days off before hitting the weights again. Today was the first phase of strength. I do one week at 6 reps, and the next week goes to the big dogs of reps of 5,4,3,2.

It went really well today, except my lower back is tired right now. It doesn't hurt just feels worn out.

On one hand it is nice to be done with the sets of 12, but I do get a little scared when running heavy weights. But the thing is the way this plan is structured I'm totally ready. My muscles, and more especially connective tissue and tendons are ready too. it just my head that worries a little bit

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Hypertrophy phase done

Just finished the last workout of 3 weeks of Hypertrophy. It went very well. If I were to continue to another week I'd bump up weights again.

Did a road ride today with the spring weather we are having. First road ride in months. Climbed a few hills ouch, that didn't go so well.

Onwards to 2 weeks of strength. There is going to be some big weight moving, then 2 weeks of the power. I like the power phase. Doing squats and jumping totally off the ground. Also gotta get back on the bike too if time permits.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

long winter

Whew, this winter is draggin on like no one's business. Tough time for mtb because in order to ride the trais you need to go out when the ground is frozen, but when it gets nice they turn muddy (except for gap trail system).

Went out on a nice day this weekend and that was a mistake.

Funny thing though is it isn't bothering me too much, in fact it might be a good thing. It's a pain because it's painfully cold sometimes and it limits potential bike commuting. But at the same time I'm busy and lifting so I don't feel bad if it's a bleak day.

In a few more weeks I'm going to hit a short endurance phase where I need to get one or two long rides in a week and then I'll be bummed if it is still this cold. But after that I'll be heading in to the interval stage and I won't mind at all if it's nasty.

Sometimes when it's nice out it is more depressing because if you can't get out and are busy then the woe is me songs gets sung a little. But I'm hoping to commute more by bike.

Regardless of anything I'm glad that I lifted this year. My body feels more balanced, and I hope I can continue one day a week.