Why Do You Race?

A few years ago a client came to me with a difficult but common question. She was having some challenges in her life outside of cycling, and it was making it difficult for her to maintain her focus and motivation for another season of racing. At the same time, her racing goals were important to her and she did not want to give them up. The advice she sought had nothing to do with how to train or what intervals to do because her problems were existential, not physiological. So, she asked me, why do I race? What is it that keeps me in the sport year after year? And what could she do to keep that spark? It's not an easy thing to explain. Much like being in love with a person, you know the ...

Addressing Asymmetry: Improving Movement On and Off the Bike

Addressing Asymmetry: Improving Movement On and Off the BikeNick Lemke, Cycle-Smart Associate CoachMany of us have experienced the sensation of being imbalanced, pedaling more with one leg, or feeling delayed onset muscle soreness more on one side than the other. Nearly all of us have experienced niggling knee, back, or neck pains, tight iliotibial (IT) bands or hip flexors. Worse yet, some of us find ourselves lopsided on the bike - a cocked shoulder, feet or knees jutting to one side while pedaling, or hips askew on the saddle. On-the-bike asymmetry, specifically muscular imbalance, limited range of motion, and/or pelvic asymmetry can lead to a cascade of other problems like joint pain, ...

Evaluating your Year

The Roman god Janus was often depicted with two faces because he could look forward and backward at the same time. His role in Roman society was as a household deity who presided over gates, openings, and doorways, was able to see the future and the past, and has lived on in our culture as a symbol of new beginnings. The month of January is thought to be named in his honor.Janus is an important image here because many of us are about to embark or perhaps have just started our training for the upcoming season. I've written articles here before about how to periodize and plan for the new year. What Janus reminds us is that while we're looking ahead and making a new start, we also have to look ...

You Gotta Have a Plan

In the 30 years or so I've spent racing bikes, the month of January has always stood out as the most dynamic, and perhaps most important of the season. In normal winters I would have two weeks off at the holidays to recover from cyclo-cross season and head somewhere warm for road racing in February or March. Some years I went to Europe after 'cross nationals and raced another six weeks without a break. Other years I attempted to be a year-round New Englander and spent two months Nordic skiing before I began structured road training in March. Wherever you live and however you do it, there's something about the winter solstice passing and days getting longer in January that says it's ...

Warming up for Cyclocross

I’ve written about warming up for races before, and certainly the information in my other article applies to cyclocross. However, there are additional considerations when warming up for 'cross that are unique, or at the very least, more important than they are for other disciplines. Course inspection is the primary additional concern that affects all other factors.From a physiological standpoint, the same rules apply. Any warm up should be as short as possible to achieve the desired effect. That duration and the work you do will change depending on the event, from 15 minutes of easy riding and a couple of sprints, to an hour on the trainer with a specific interval routine. So for ‘cross, ...