Over the years I’ve raced and ridden just about everything that a bike racer could do. From road to cyclocross, all the way to cross country mountain biking and it has been a blast. However, since becoming a father, I miss a lot of workouts and racing opportunities due to the one dimensional training patterns of cycling. I’ve tried several unconventional scheduling patterns, but there are always tradeoffs and I’m no longer will to make those kinds of sacrifices anymore. Due to the complicated nature of schedule training and bike racing with family/work life, I feel it’s time to make a change, so that I can actually reach my athletic potential.

With that in mind, I plan to make the switch for the 2019 season to triathlon, specifically XTERRA triathlons. Why XTERRA? Two reasons:

  1. Some of the most fun I have had training and racing has been on a mountain bike. There’s something so freeing about getting out on the trails and blasting through nature that can’t be replicated anywhere else. Honestly, it becomes an almost spiritual experience.
  2. I don’t actually own a triathlon bike! An old teammate has graciously lent me and old Felt B16, so I will be taking advantage of it as long as I can, but I will have to return it at the end of next season. I also currently don’t have plans to fund the purchase of a tri bike, although I’ll certainly try.

I thought about doing strictly endurance mountain bike racing, but decided against it. At this point, super longer races aren’t something I’m interested in, although, as I get older, it’s becoming more appealing. I much prefer shorter, intense racing, which XTERRA should bring in spades.

On the logistics side, I will do my best to bring back at least monthly updates to my training as well as race reports after each race (schedule TBD). Hopefully they’ll be full of breakthroughs and successes!

Until next time, when I’ll hopefully have a race schedule to report on, maybe some initial swim/run impressions and a new blog title to commemorate my new sporting direction!

I’m pretty short on time today, so I’m going to just dump my notes in here.

Things I Forgot:

  • HR monitor
  • Repair stand

Prerace Thoughts:

  • Tighten removable bottle cage or get rid of it; the mount kept spinning when I was trying to remove the cage.
  • Wake up 15 minutes earlier to eat breakfast earlier:
    • two hard boiled eggs
    • banana

Things I Need to Buy:

  • Rocky Mount thru axle adapter
    • For spare bike
  • Chain guide

Post Race Thoughts:

  • Might want to switch to dry chain lube because everything sticks to the drivetrain when the grass gets wet
    Consider switching to different pedals. The sand started to clog up my pedals and make it hard to clip in, but it wasn’t a deal breaker this time
  • Given how wet the grass was, should have gone down to 25-26 PSI, but I was too nervous to do it since I didn’t have my low pressure gauge
  • Cornering skills were much improved, but I did begin braking a bit too much especially when tired, but overall excellent progress
  • Dismounts into sand pit and running form were excellent. Definitely made up time there, but often lost it during the remount
  • My result definitely doesn’t tell the whole story, because I lost ~9 spots and a lot of time when I slid out on the down hill off camber. Before that, I think I was slowly catching the guy in from of me.
  • I think I lost most of my time in the power sections, but was catching people in the more technical parts, which is a nice change of pace.
  • The 40 tooth chainring might have been a little large for my current fitness; I should consider a 38.
  • My breakfast seemed to settle nicely
  • Drive train made some weird sounds after going through the sand; something might be rubbing, but hopefully the chain guide/new chain/new cassette will take care of that

Action Items for Future Races:

  • Pass slower riders immediately. Do not wait for a “good” pass because you will lose too much time. A bad pass will be faster in the long run
  • Really push through the middle laps to keep times down. It’s easy to lose focus in the intermediary laps, but you have to stay focused.

Result: 23/43 (15-18 without the slip up in the second lap)

It’s time to set new goals for 2017! This year, I’m going to try something old and something new: higher volume and having two peaks in the season.  One of the biggest things I noticed when I was racing in college was that even if I wasn’t getting a ton of intensity in or if I was sick, having the extra volume seemed to buffer my fitness and allow me to have a lot of extra gas in the tank as the year progressed.  For this reason, I’m looking to shed some of the intensity I did this year in favor of volume.  However, this won’t just be mindless riding, I’ll include plenty of tempo intervals with some neuromuscular efforts.

Physical Goals:

  • Increase TTE to 50:00
  • Raise mFTP to 300w (season high: 273)
  • Raise 1min power to 700w (season high: 568)
  • Gain/Maintain a weight of ~150lbs (currently: 144.6 lbs)
    • Gained through strength training
    • Mostly an experiment since most great cross and XCO racers carry a higher weight for raw increased power
    • It’s OK if I’m a little below this as long as I’m not carrying loads of dead weight (low body fat)
  • Body fat less than 10% by “A” mountain events
    • I would like to use a DEXA scan, but the cost might require me to continue to use my scale
  • Raise CTL to between 75-85 by “A” mountain events and rebuild that for the cyclocross season.

Misc. Goals (Nebulous):

Normaly you don’t want goals that are nebulous, but some of the skills I need are nebulous (such as comfort offroad)

Skills that Make a Better Race

  • Learn to bunny hop barriers
  • Need to include a few minutes of skill work during endurance rides
    • Doesn’t need to be super structured
  • Need to include more neuromuscular work to reduce co-activation of muscles during the pedal stroke
    • High cadence intervals (120+)
    • Cadence Pyramids

Do more offroad riding on my cross bike

  • Dirt roads and mountain bike trails count
  • Generally looking for more comfort than anything specific

Racing Goals:

  • In the road/mountain events, finish in the main field
    • Need goals to keep motivation high and to avoid just doing continual base
    • High placing is a bonus, but these events are for fitness, motivation and skills
  • Upgrade to Cat 3
    • Missed this goal by a wide margin last year; I won’t make the same mistakes again
    • I believe if I hit my physical goals, this will fall in line
    • However, I also will try to target smaller races to follow the path of least resistance

With lofty goals set, I want to go over some equipment changes that I want to make. This year was mired with technical issues. Desipite feeling good physically, I DNF’d 60% of my races due to issues with Specialized’s tubeless tire lineup.

Equipment Change List:

  • Acquire Tubular Wheelset
    • Hopefully I can afford two: one for mud and one for all around
    • Likely will go 35mm for increased stability since UCI rules don’t apply to me yet
      • Will have to change that if I qualify for Nationals or race in the open field
    • If I have to stay on tubeless, will need to experiment a lot with tires, so I don’t have the same problems of tires burping during hard cornering
  • Get a bike stand
    • This was supposed to be done earlier this year, but wasn’t due to finances
    • Life would be easier if doing my own repairs was easier

Overall, this season was a bit of a bust.  I only won one race (mountain bike), had one top 10 (cyclocross), several top 20s and a truck load of DNFs, mostly due to mechanical issues. When I was racing and not having mechanical issues, I could feel see the results starting to come in, but, the mechanical issues were so prevalent that it made progress hard to come by.

While results were slowly trickling in, I still had several issues when racing that limited my ability to beat the better guys in my category and they fall in to two categories:

  1. I lacked raw power when riding up extremely steep climbs
  2. I lacked repeatability on efforts above V02 (especially prevalent late in the race)

If I can correct these things, I think the next season will be even better.

On the training side of things, progress was amazing up until the July/August timeframe.  I was predicting that I had an FTP of around 290, took a week off to go to the mountains (did a bit of mountain biking) and, when I came back, I had lost significant power and had a serious lack of energy.  I went to the doctor and had tons of blood work done, but didn’t come up with any results.  I did regain some of that lost ground, but didn’t recover near all of it due to how close to the season I was.  Overall, I think my fitness during the season was OK, but definitely lacking.

Lastly, while my technical skills were above average for my category, I think I need to up my again.  To do that, I am going to add more mountain bike racing to my early season.

Result: DNF (Crash at Start)

Starting Row: 2nd

Call Up: 14th

I was super excited about this race, especially given the amazing call up that I had.  I was called 14th, which landed me in the middle of the second row.  However, I got taken out in the first 10 seconds of the race. I had the tiniest slip of the pedal, I got clipped on the second pedal stroke easily, which allowed another racer to veer into my lane and take me out; his hip checked my handlebars. I might have been able to continue, but the impact exacerbated an issue I already had with my front tire (more below), so I was forced to withdraw.

Overall, the damage is pretty minimal and the onsite mechanic from was amazing. He did a once over on my bike and straightened my rear disc as well as tightened my headset. My sunglasses were also snapped in half.  Beyond the minor damage to my equipment, I’ve got a good size bruise on my hip and some road rash on my right calf, but I think everything is OK. I had my camera, but I messed up the recording, so I don’t have footage of the crash.

The only mitigating factor of this race is that I already had an issue with my front tire that I discovered as I lined up. I was actually losing air due to some debris lodged between the tire bead and rim, so I’m not 100% sure I was going to be able to finish the race anyway. Despite the drawbacks, I think I’m going to try and scrap some cash together for next season and get a set of alloy tubular rims.  I’ve only had a couple of issues running tubeless, but each time it’s a massive headache.  I only get to race so many times a year and even giving up one or two to something silly is more than I want to deal with.

On the up side, a very minor upside, since this course had minimal preview time, I was forced to warm up on the trainer and I tried something new. I had read a while back about team Sky’s warm up protocol they use for basically any kind of race (prologue all the way to road races) and it seemed to be pretty effective. While I obviously didn’t get to test my legs much, I rolled up to the start feeling really good. I’m going to try the same thing tomorrow and see how I feel. As an added bonus, it’s only 20 minutes long!

Oh well, time to go by some new shades and prep my gear for tomorrow’s race. Hopefully I don’t suffer the same fate!


  • Tried the Sky warmup and it had me feeling good


  • Didn’t actually race
  • Minor pedal slip made the other guy’s sketchy move possible

Result: 7/20

Starting Row: 2nd

Call Up: 12th

Yet again, I pull off the best finish of my cyclocross career! While the field was only 20 riders, I did finish within the top 10 for the first time (7th place). To make matters even better, I had a relatively poor start where I wasn’t able to move up at all and even lost a few spots going in to the first turn. Overall, I’m super happy with this result, but I need to keep two things in mind before I celebrate too much:

  1. The USAC quality score meant this result means as much as my 19th at Valmont
  2. I didn’t push through the race to get to sixth.

Now, there’s nothing I can do about point number 1, but I need to keep point number 2 in mind. I could easily have gotten up to sixth position and, given the gaps, possibly made my way up further. I fell short in two ways, the first is that I wanted to maintain what I knew was going to be my best result. The second, was not racing the course correctly. For months, I’ve been pushing myself to race courses in an even and paced manner, but that’s a problem at a venue like Rhyolite because the course is so punchy. When you race here, you are either going full out for ~30 seconds or recovering through a technical or downhill section. I road like I would at Valmont, sustained, but you can’t sustain power here and, next time, I’ll race accordingly.  In fact, I will keep this in mind when I race at Cross of the North this weekend as it rides very similar to Rhyolite.


  • Rode smart after poor start
  • Technically I rode a sound race


  • Needed to push harder for 6th
  • Need to race the course as it is intended (punchy vs. sustained)

Result: 19/61

Starting Row: 5rd

Call Up: ~35-40

This was, far and away, the best race that I have ever had.  Not only did I have my best placing to date (19th), I also did well in both my technical skills as well as having a solid start. To make it even a little sweeter, I had 15th in sight, but couldn’t close the gaps.  However, with the confidence that I gained from this race, and ranking, I believe that this is only the start of some very good work in the future.  There’s more work to do, but I can take a lot away from this race!

The only thing I can really nitpick about this race is my willpower to close down gaps.  I was so concerned with racing within myself that I didn’t close down certain gaps that would have almost guaranteed a higher placing.  For example, at the beginning of the second lap, I was overtaken by a couple of riders that ended up in 15th and 16th.  There’s really no reason that I didn’t hop on their wheel other than I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to hold the pace, but I shouldn’t have worried about this especially on this course.  Valmont is known as a roadie course.  Having a big guy (which the Lucky Pie rider was) block the wind for me would have both saved my legs and pushed me up a couple more places.  I won’t make that mistake again!

Other than that, my only other issue is my tire selection.  I’ve now given the Specialized Tracer’s three races to show themselves at varying tire pressures and I am not impressed.  Tracking along the front wheel seems to be really good, but the rear is leaving a lot to be desired.  It’s becoming common for me to slide out a couple of times a race and it needs to stop.  Last weekend, it cost me 10+ places.  This time I managed to not go down and keep my placing, but it definitely put me on edge for the rest of the race.  I’m probably going to suffer through these tires for the next month and switch to mud tires for the rest of the season.  In the spring and summer, I’ll look into trying a few others, like the Clemente MXP.


  • Great start – moved up a lot of positions
  • Kept pushing through and didn’t give up


  • Slid out on rear tire again even at 24 psi
  • Needed to make more aggressive passes mid-late to make up more positions

Result: 31/48

Starting Row: 3rd (People left openings instead of filling in)

Call Up: ~30

First race of the CycloX Series

Was sitting in top 20, but three big mistakes cost me 10-12 positions, but power was there.

I’ll update this with more details when I’m not so tired!


  • Pushed through much better than last race
  • Excellent start, but I should have played it more aggressively


  • Too much tire pressure in the rear tire (27 PSI)
  • Didn’t defend my position well enough at the start

Result: DNF (likely 5th-8th)

Starting Row: 2nd

Call Up: 13th

It was the season opener, hopefully a validation of all of the work that I have been doing since January and it almost paid off.  To keep a long story short, I was staged in the second row and, after the initial sprint off the line, I moved up to fourth before being caught by several riders behind me, placing me in 8th.  However, I clearly had better technical skills than the 3 guys in front of me, although less power, so I was making up time in the back two thirds of each lap.  With a minute or two left in the third lap, I went up a steep section that immediately went into a hard left hand turn and pushed my tubeless tire off of the rim, unsealing it causing me to flat.  Thankfully, being so close to the start, it was a pretty short walk back to the car.  I would like to have a spare set of wheels, but that’s not in the financial cards at the moment.

Overall, I feel really good about this race and the course might become one of my favorites.  It had a fair amount of technical stuff, but also a good mix of power.  This was almost perfect as I prefer courses that are more technical in nature since I’m a light rider without as much sustained power as someone 20 lbs heavier.  That said, I felt that I held back too much on the power sections.  I was so concerned with not blowing up that I road too far within my comfort zone when I should have been mashing the pedals.  In the future, if I am on a power section like this, and Colorado courses are full of them, I need to be at no less than 95% of FTP.  I was around 85%-90% and could feel that I was too recovered when it came time to navigate some of the more technical sections which are, inherently, easier aerobically.

Another place I need improvement is on technical skills when I am fatigued.  Everything was clicking the first two laps, but, as time went on, I started feathering the brakes more and struggled in some of the technical sections that helped me get into fourth place to begin with.  I’m not sure how I should go about training this, but it’s something I’m going to have to figure out if I this season is going to be successful.

On a side note, I chose to wear a long sleeve skinsuit when the temperature was going to be ~60 at the start.  In hindsight, I short have gone with the short sleeve version as I was a bit overheated although I don’t think it was too much of a detriment.

Tire Notes:

I ran the Specialized 2Bliss tires at 25 PSI and I think, given the tame nature of the terrain, I should have run them at 27-29 PSI.  Additionally, this would be an excellent course to run a file tread on.


  • Excellent start (best I’ve ever had)!
  • Technical skills coming around


  • Need to commit to sustained power sections
  • Fatigue in later laps lead to some major mistakes
  • Should have worn short sleeve skin suit

My first season of cyclocross is in the books and I can safely say that my first foray into the mud has been a resounding success.  Not only did I accomplish all of my goals for the season, but I had a truck load of fun and am definitely hooked on cross.  In fact, despite being incredibly sick the final two weeks of the season and only getting a few rides in, I managed my best result at the State Championships.

I did struggle early season with the mental side of racing.  In the first five races I did, I had three DNFs.  In the interest of fairness, one of those was from a gnarly crash on an off camber turn, but the other two were from a lack of mental toughness.  In search of tools, I read Matt Fitzgerald’s new book “How Bad Do You Want It”, which gave me some things to think about.  The biggest of which was going into the race knowing that it will be incredibly difficult and breaking up the courses into manageable section where I could plan my efforts.  This is something I will have to continue working on, but I’m on the right track.  My only relapse was during the State Championship, but I persevered and had my best result of the season.

The adaptation that I am most proud of during the season was the change of pedals.  After two quasi-muddy races it was apparent that my Shimano XTs were not hacking it.  I was struggling to clip in after a couple of dismounts and was becoming increasingly frusterated, so I moved to Crank Brother’s Candies.  This was a great decision and I wish I had done it sooner.  The platform is as stable as the XTs, but the mud clearance is far superior.  My only complaint is that the pedals disengage a little too quickly, but I managed to work around it as the season progressed.  Also, if the cleats are flipped, you get an extra five degrees of float, which might be worth investigating.

Race Review (time differential):

Race Date Top 20 Top 10
BRAC CX State Championships 12/20  n/a  3:13
Rocky Mountain Regional Championships 12/5  0:59  3:30
Cyclo X – Sienna Lake 11/14  0:41  1:53
Cyclo X – Interlocken 11/7 1:33 2:14
Feedback Cup 11/1 1:16 2:58
Cyclo X – Flatirons 10/25 1:12 2:34
US Open (Day 2) 10/18 4:50 6:17
Cross of the North 10/11 3:36 5:10
SOCO – Rhyolite 9/13 2:38 4:54

Progress throughout the season was steady and consistent leading into the final races of the season where I actually cracked the top 20.  As one would expect, when we got to the championship events at the end of the season we see some sandbagging, which shows itself in the increasing differential between myself and the top 20.  Overall, I’m super happy with how the season played out and I can’t wait to start drilling it in the off season.  I plan to hit the ground running at the season openers next September!