This and That

I know it’s not a very ‘cross-focused title, but sometimes it is challenging to come up with a catchy title. I should be thinking of the search engines when creating my titles (so say the search engine optimization folks) but sometimes I just need to let my fingers do the talking. Okay, enough about the title, lets get onto the argy-bargey (thanks Phil, Paul and the cool dudes at the Velocast for this fine word)….

First off – big news – I have update my sponsors page. I’m honored to be supported by such a fine group of companies. Without their support, this sweet life I lead racing my cyclo-cross bike all over North American and Europe simply wouldn’t be possible. So click on over to the sponsor page to read about these great companies. Just to make it easy for you, I proudly present my sponsors for the 2010 – 2011 cyclo-cross season:
KingsBridge Disaster Recovery: the leader in business continuity and disaster recovery planning software.
The Cyclery: this Ottawa bike store has all your cycling needs covered and the friendliest mechanics in town.
Stevens Bikes: the fastest cyclo-cross bikes around. Just ask the current Women’s World Champion.
Outdoor Gear Company: dealers of fine Giro helmets and sweet Mavic shoes and wheels.
Clif Bar: tasty Shot Bloks, Clif Bars, and Luna bars. You’ll never go hungry with Clif in you jersey pocket.
Champion Systems: custom sublimated clothing for an affordable price – now there is no excuse for bad kit.
Bell Lap Coaching: coach Steve has the skills, the knowledge and the dedication to take you to the next level.
Oakley: Jawbone, Radar, Full Metal Jacket, Enduring… Plus smooth t’s, luggage, caps. Be fast and look good.

In keeping with the updates theme, I’ve also updated my 2010 – 2011 race calendar. I still need to fill out the racing while I’m in Belgium, but I’ve got the World Cup and elite women’s races listed. Like the past three seasons, I’ll be racing with the junior boys when there isn’t a women’s race on the calendar. Anyway, click on over so you can see where I’ll be out having fun and chasing my cyclo-cross dreams this season.

Have to say it is full-on cyclo-cross mode around here these days. Recovery rides are spent in the woods riding my trusty Stevens bike. The trick is of course on these recovery days to keep the legs from getting to excited… To do this, I focus on small things such as: eyes up at all times, constantly pedaling, riding with my hands on the tops rather than the hoods (to curb the over-braking tendencies), to only use the rear brake, and to focus on a high/smooth cadence. By doing this I’m able to maximize my time on the ‘cross bike – even though I’m not ripping around at top speed, I’m still training my body and mind with some crucial skills that come race day, will be second nature.

Today, though was not a recovery day… Nope it was all about that crucial first “45”. The start is perhaps one of the most important sections of the race. A solid start can help you get into a hard-charging group and often can help you avoid the “first corner” pile-ups that happen as the course narrows from the start/finish straight to the hole shot. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that I have not had a good history with my starts. I’ve had trouble getting amped up for the start and for really putting all my energies into blasting off the line. Well, this is all history for me now. I’ve been working all summer on short intense sprints, my mental attitude to the starts, and really I’ve recognized that if I want to be in the race – I need to start better. So today I drilled myself into the ground with five 45 second start intervals. This may not sound like much but when each of those intervals is done at full gas, five is plenty. I like the numbers I’m seeing. I like the explosion I’m getting in my legs. I’m learning how to use the entire bike to propel me forward. I can tell already that my starts are going to be better this year. Great way to be feeling on this mid-July afternoon.

The rest of the training week is full of tempo intervals and lots of time in the saddle. Nothing like the Sunday long ride to put a smile on my face. I’ll also get out on my ‘cross bike each afternoon for a skill session. Focus will be on barriers, dismounts, mounts (flat and uphill) and uphill/downhill turning.

I’m really looking forward to getting back to Belgium. I wish I could be out riding at Averbode and Kasterlee this weekend! Not to mention hanging out with the ‘cross gang before and after the races. Soon enough though I’ll be back in Blauberg for a winter of racing, training, and soaking up life.

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