Sunday, October 13, 2013
I was watching the IM website and an old friend was racing. He spent the 10 hours suffering on this Saturday... This guy is a hell of a biker...It was incredible to see how many amazing athletes are in KONA.
The LIVE feed was 10 hours long... To be honest the 1 hour special on NBC Sports makes it look a ton more fun and quite a bit easier. I hope if I ever do it.... they can shorten the course to fit in a 1 hour time slot.
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
( SCOUT MOUNTAIN)
October 19th.......... Be there at 8AM... Register on the spot for $20 bucks.... we will figure out how to get to Valve HOUSE TRAIL HEAD and RACE/RUN/WALK back to the NORDIC CENTER on some great trails.
Course will be close to 10K on great trails. Register at Nordic Center on Scout Mountain.
We will shuttle to Valve House Trail HEAD and race uphill to Nordic Center. You can register the day of the race. You can also register online at www.pokyxc.org
If you have RUN the POKI 50 you have run some of this trail. This is a great way to finish off the FALL with an incredible 10K. Please come support the POCATELLO SKI FOUNDATION.
Directions To SCOUT MTN. CLICK HERE!
REGISTER HERE $20 BUCKS
VIDEO OF SCOUT POKI 50 Trail RACE
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Deck of Cards
A deck of cards is built like the purest of hierarchies, with every card a master to those below it, a lackey to those above it.
Training in the winter for bike racing is a brutal activity that very few people can comprehend. Hours spent suffering quietly so you emerge in the spring ready to race and brawl against all of your rivals and your mental demons. Our past racing results and failures are what motivate us daily on our winter-long pilgrimage of torture and torment. Living here in Idaho I have the choice to either go outside and brave the elements or suffer for hours on the trainer. Neither are very pleasant but both are essential. Each and every one of my winter training experiences builds a foundation for the coming road season. The one thing I know for sure is that the harder and longer I train the more indestructible I become. Recently while surfing the internet I came across a cycling blog that had a great quote "train so you can make yourself harder to kill." On my way down into the basement to train the same day I picked up a new deck of playing cards from a shelf. I opened the box and took out the promotional cards from the deck. I easily ripped them in half and tossed them in the trash. There were 54 cards left. It struck me that this particular workout which I was dreading was just one card in a deck of many. That doesn't mean that the particular workout didn't have value. What it meant was this workout was one opportunity for me to "stack my deck" for road season. Today's training might create the 1 second gap I will need later on the top of a climb or to win a TT. Today's workout might also crush me and make we re-think why I do this sport. To be completely honest most of my workouts do a bit of both.
I was now sitting on the trainer and I tried to tear the entire deck in half. It was impossible for me. I have seen a You-Tube video where a guy ripped a phonebook in half so I know it is possible. But, I have also seen Fabian Cancellara time trial at 50k an hour and I can't do that either. The 2 promotional cards I threw away were easy to tear. They took a few watts at most. To destroy the deck was going to take some power that I do not yet possess, and to time trial at close to 50kph is going to take a bit more work. Both the phone book ripper and Cancellara the T.T. ripper could literally destroy my personal deck of cards.
Thinking back to last year's road season I realized that the epic winter of training I had done allowed me to do the same thing on a different level. I certainly didn't become world class or star in my own You-Tube video, but I did have a few magical days on the bike. My deck of cards was definitely more robust than some of the guys I was racing, and in a few cases I was able to simply destroy a few others who in the past have destroyed me. I had moved myself up in the hierarchy and created a few lackey's along the way. If you think of a field of bike racers like a bunch of playing cards this starts to be a valid training theory. As a whole the field is a vicious monster. Just like a full deck of cards…. It is hard to rip it in half. But during the race you have many opportunities to play the game and manipulate it in your favor. If you can't climb and the race finishes on a hill you better get in a break, if you can climb don't panic you can win from the break or the field. Just like in any form of gambling if you want to win, you have to be prepared to lose. The great thing about bike racing is you can win even if you are not the strongest; you just have to know how to play the game to optimize your strengths. Here's the trick: don't handicap yourself by not coming to the race prepared. If you were dropped the year before on the climb you better show up lean and ready to rumble. You have all winter to prepare. Don't waste the opportunity. Every time you train you have a chance to "stack your deck." If you do it right you will eventually be strong enough to survive even the most desperate of moments.
We train hard "day in and out" with the goal of becoming a winner. In the short run you might lose a ton. You will have some terrible workouts and results. These losses will test you more than any good workout or race you have ever had. Bad wattage during a workout or test is the best medicine in the long term. Training hard will make you more consistent. The more consistent you become the more durable you will be. I don't have the highest 5 minute or 20 minute power. But I race well almost every weekend and I can sustain my peak wattages on a regular basis regardless if it is at mile 10 or mile 100. Just like everyone I struggle early in races when everyone is fresh. But after a few hours I start to feel like a beast. I often can make up my own rules late in the race. It is like ¾ of the deck is gone. Now I am playing with just a few racers and that is when the real game begins and I know there will be 4 face cards and a joker left. All 5 have a shot to win, but often it is the rider who pulls the ace from his or her back pocket who wins the race. Last year I remember racing to the KOM against a particular racer who I for sure thought I was going to beat. We had gapped almost 100+ racers and I was definitely riding at a new PEAK 5 minute power. We were 10 meters from the KOM line. He stood up and humiliated me. In just 10 meters he shredded my deck of cards. That experience is definitely one I will not forget, I didn't have a bad day or bad legs….his (better) was just better than mine.
This makes me think about the past 7 years of training and racing. Over those 7 years I have had a ton of good and bad moments. I have 2000+ power files and every one of them tells a story, and they all make me a bit harder to kill. I realize now that my current fitness is a sum of those 7 years. They enable me to survive hard training sessions day after day. At times they have allowed me to ride the break into pieces and occasionally they have dealt me the sweetest hand.
A racer doesn't have to look much further than Cadel Evans to find inspiration to fight for an entire season. Evans came up short all season for every one of his goals. He had an awful Tour de France and Vuelta. I am sure his team was about to fire him! But, he his deck was so stacked that he knew he had an ace left in his pocket. Evans won the world championship by holding his cards close and playing the game until the very last deal. He could have easily packed it in for the season and stopped racing. But, like all good addicts, he couldn't stop gambling. He knew that he was ridiculously fit and just needed a few things to go his way. That day at the world championships is proof that you can't win…if you don't play.
Even the bad workouts and races have a place in my deck. If you notice there are a lot more plain cards with numbers than ones with pretty pictures. The pretty pictures are the rare cards. They can win you tons of money in Vegas or in the back room of a smoky bar. They are the cards you wish you were dealt every day. But to be honest what fun would gambling be if you won every time? It is in the losing and stress of losing that makes winning such a cool experience. Training is just like that. If your goal was to always feel good on your bike and to always win you wouldn't have gotten into bike racing. You would have just done "tours" and your local group rides. You would search out events where you were the strongest and just crush people. That would be like going to Vegas and betting a penny.
So as you sit on your trainer or ride in the freezing cold I want you to think of your ride today as just one card. This one ride will not make you a PRO or win you a national championship. This card is just one in a deck of many. The larger you make the deck the harder you will be to destroy. This one ride is part of what will make you the beast in the breakaway that rides everyone's legs off. This one card is the 1 second that will win or lose you a time trial. Don't expect every ride to be perfect. Don't be shocked when the watts are awful. Be excited when things go your way because you know that the cards will be against you at some point and this success will help. Think about riding hard 54 times before you expect to see great fitness gains. That is 52 hard training sessions and 2 jokers before you expect to improve. A few good workouts will not win you races. You need tons of good and bad rides before you truly become an excellent bike racer. You will learn how to play and win with a poor hand. The longer and harder you train will enable you "stack the deck." Eventually you will be playing with 5 Ace's and a few jokers up your sleeve. From the outside your stellar performance will look like a damn magic trick but, like all magic, it's the hard work put in by the magician that makes it look real.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
At our Peaks Coaching power summit last month in Bedford VA, my riding life came full circle. Many years earlier, I visited the same place thinking I knew everything there was to know about training and racing. It has taken many years and countless experiences to confront my hubris and realize how little I really know. I used to think it was all about wattage but, as I’ve grown in this sport, I’ve slowly digested the fact that, while power is key, it doesn’t guarantee success on race day. Bike racing is just too dynamic to be dominated only by big watts and a gigantic set of lungs. At the coaching summit I remember coach Tim Cusick talking about “the thousand intangible things” that we consciously and unconsciously subscribe to in our coaching and in our lives that make us successful. I remember almost screaming bingo; that’s it! “One thousand Intangible things.” That was the answer I was looking for to describe success on race day. The more you race, pay attention, and surround yourself with successful racers, the quicker you can learn these 1000 things. I often call it “AUTOPILOT.” It is when you have the skill so mastered that you don’t have to think… you just execute. It’s like learning how to ride a bike. It takes 100’s of attempts to keep the bike upright and stable. After a few weeks or months, this task becomes mundane and you begin to push your luck and limits and try to ride with no hands, no feet, and eventually with neither. The once relatively complicated skill of just keeping the bike upright gets mastered and we are able move on and become more proficient at riding a bike. Bike racing is just another extension of our original goal of just learning to ride. Racing is a bit more difficult than just riding with no hands, and winning races takes mastering an infinite number of tiny skills. It is these small intangible things I learned that started making the biggest difference in my race results.
The tangibles in our training and racing are the easy ones to wrap our heads around. Training plans and using power effectively for feedback are the backbones and foundation of being a successful bike racer. I remember Hunter repeating a quote from one of his athletes who said, “If we can’t measure it we can’t improve it.” This is so true. This is why we train and race with a power-meter. I call these the “tangibles” because we are conscious of them at all time and, in fact, bike racers talk about them all the time. What is your 20-minute power or FTP? What is your watt to kilo? However, using only power as the sole metric of success sometimes leads us to forget about all of the other details involved in being a great bike racer. These other details are the intangibles. The intangibles are the skills that help us dominate and eventually win bike races. The intangibles can be learned and mastered, but the only metric we have to define these intangible things are race results and hopefully the 3 steps on the podium. The racers you see winning regularly have more than just incredible watts to kilo; they have mastered hundreds and possibly thousands of skills, which enable them to cross the finish line in front of you.
These intangibles are a little harder to pinpoint. They are not easy to teach and sometimes very painful to learn. They come from our experiences like surviving epic races, getting painfully dropped, being off the front, finishing demanding training sessions, surviving hard group rides, going to local time trials, having conversations with your coach--all of these are great opportunities to learn and experience these elusive things. So pay close attention during every training ride or race; there is always something to being taught you just have to observe and learn it.
Last week, at the Mount Hood Cycling Classic, these thousand little things became very clear to me. I was racing some of the stronger Masters in the country and suffering accordingly. I noticed my brain running at 5000rpms during the race. It was calculating everything. It was keeping me safe, and keeping me aware of everything from the most basic skill of maneuvering my front wheel out of trouble to conducting a cost benefit analysis of the energy I was using so I was only spending my valuable wattage when it was absolutely necessary. Again, this sounds so simple, but we all know that racing is dynamic and it is almost impossible to do everything perfectly. I have lost a ton of stage races in dozens of different ways. My brain was trying to keep me from making those same mistakes, whether basic or complicated, again. There were constant voices in my head screaming advice. I want to share a few of them that I believe helped me find the podium.
The first one is so simple, but almost impossible to master.
“Be patient, wait until everyone is tired before you attack” (Hunter Allen aka Yoda)
On the first stage, I was antsy. I was ready to show everyone my BIG GUNS (because if you’ve ever seen me in my jersey, you know I have them). We started off…horses out of the gate…ready to rumble. But, something kept running through my head…a voice of reason…saying “Sam, be patient, don’t attack until everyone has load in their legs.” My legs felt stellar…. I was hopped to the limit on espresso and I could hardly contain myself. I responded to this mysterious voice, “Yoda…how will I know when everyone is tired” Yoda’s response was clear as a bell, “1500 kilo joules minimum… and then you can attack!” And so I was patient…patient…patient…until I felt the momentum shift (at about 1500 kjs) the pace lulled, the impending doom of the climb hovered, I swear I saw a door open and I just stood up and attacked. I had a huge gap before I had even looked back…. I was calm and backed off for 1 minute to make sure they were not motivated to chase…I looked back and noticed they had slowed down again… I grabbed the throttle and pinned it for 30 minutes at threshold…. I was solo for 50 K…I could almost taste the yellow jersey and with only 3K to the finish I was caught. I didn’t panic; I knew I could stay in and get the same time…perfectly situated for an upcoming jersey with a sunny disposition. While I didn’t win this stage, I used this piece of advice during almost every race. It isn’t as simple as just being patient and waiting for 1500 Kj’s of work before you attack, but this incredible piece of advice mixed with about 100 other calculations about your competitors, the wind direction, terrain, group dynamics, and a few other variables can be the difference between a successful attack and just wasted energy.
2. “Unroll like a large ROLL of carpet…in a Time Trial”
( I don’t remember the actual source of this information, but I am sure it was a rider with a jersey full of national champion stripes)
It almost seems too obvious to say, “Start easy in a time trial.” But the next time you’re at a TT, go to the start line and count the number of people who EXPLODE off the line only to start puttering within 5 minutes. During the TT at Hood, I witnessed many riders in front of me going off the line as if they were being shot out of a cannon. I kept thinking to myself “do they really think they can roll at 500 watts for the next 20+ minutes?” When it was my turn to roll off the start ramp, I eased into my effort. I could feel the slight tailwind and, with a very small amount of force, I began my 20 plus minute journey no different from any other successful 20-minute test that I’ve done over the last 10 years…with respect for the effort. Like pouring a glass of fine wine, I uncorked, sniffed, gently swirled, and then, and only then, began to guzzle with fury. After the first few kilometers, time trialing is very simple. You ask yourself “can I go harder?” and, depending on the answer, respond accordingly. You hope the answer is “YES” and often it will be if you haven’t blown yourself up in the first 2k of the race. If you unroll like a carpet you will build up momentum during the entire time trial and finish on absolute fumes, but you will be flying. Time trialing is an amazingly simple task that requires incredible self-regulation to not mess it up.
3. “First you attack, and then you attack your own fricking attack, and if that doesn‘t work you attack again.”
(Kent Bostick, a man with so many striped jerseys he probably uses them for wallpaper.)
Again, this sounds so easy, but it hurts so much more than you could ever imagine. Attacking your own attack is like eating a Habanero chili instead of a gu in the middle of a race…or hitting your thumb with a hammer on accident and then, immediately, doing it again intentionally. Attacking your own attack is something that is so unpleasant it sounds repulsive (and, actually is repulsive in the moment). It is your ticket to ultimate glory or ultimate failure. It is the only way to honestly force your way off the front of a competent and fit field. So, how did this happen for me? Halfway up the second climb, I was totally on the rivet, and well into the red zone; I was having emotions and thoughts that should not be shared. I felt myself drifting backwards and only a few pedal strokes away from calling it a day. As I was drifting backwards and having these super negative thoughts, a light came on and I remembered this quote from Kent Bostick. I realized that if it was this ugly for me, it was probably this ugly for almost everyone around me; I had nothing to lose. The grade of the road changed to about 10-12%, I felt the momentum shift, I lightly attacked only half conscious of what I was doing, immediately another rider attacked, I jumped on his wheel and, a few hundred meters later I came over the top of him one last time, we only had a 5 second gap but it quickly turned into several minutes. It was literally the last bullet in my gun and it worked perfectly.
So when one of my athletes asks the question of how I won last weekend at Hood?…..the answer is 1000 intangible things. Over the last 8 years I have raced my bike hundreds of times and trained for several thousand hours. I have been patient through tons of failure and learned tiny things every time I race or train. All I can recollect for certain is that every experience, good or bad, I have learned literally thousands of intangible things that keep me safe, impact my ability to stay in when I am getting dropped, attack with reasonable precision, pace my time trial appropriately, conserve energy, and exploit my strengths both mentally and physically. I almost race on autopilot. I don’t think about all of these things consciously; I know many of them instinctually. Riding a bike is relatively simple, but racing a bike successfully takes years of patience, great pacing, a few hard punches, and at least 1000 other fantastic but intangible things. by: sam k
“Perhaps the single most important element in mastering the techniques and tactics of racing is experience. But once you have the fundamentals, acquiring the experience is a matter of time” -Greg LeMond
Thursday, October 07, 2010
There is a 1 in a MILLION chance you are going to have the perfect cross season!
I like those odds.... but if you don't block a few PUNCHES you are going to get your fricking HEAD KNOCKED OFF! If you think you can get in the RING and not get hit... you are crazy. If your not careful you'll be talking about "NEXT YEAR" before this year even has a chance to get started.
The first few minutes of every race is DEFCON 1. You will want to quit. You will doubt everything about your entire existence. I want you to be ready to get hit and hit hard. The first few minutes of every cross race... I find myself screaming at my inner self.... "COVER-UP" dude "COVER UP".. The attacks and hard accelerations are like boxing's equivalent to body shots that are breaking ribs. Early in a race there is always someone that can hit harder and faster.
My advice to all racers is to get your head ready for the MENTAL JUNK SHOW of Cyclocross. It is a roller coaster of a season. You are going to have some killer days and some where you get crushed. It is a beautiful sport, but absolutely vicious. Get to every starting line you can. You just don't know when you will have a killer day. You are going to flat, wreck, and just plain make some stupid mistakes. The season is short and will probably make you a bit bi-polar. You can't wait for it to start... and by December you will barely want to clean your bike. Don't worry about places. Don't pick random NUMBERS for results. Don't say I want a TOP 5. That is insane. If you want to pick numbers go buy a lottery ticket. Top 5.... think about that. What if SVEN, COMPTON, TREBON, PAGE, ALBERT, STYBAR, .... show up.... Are you getting top 5? Don't think silly crap like that. You are a mature adult with a college education. It is BASIC MATH. I know in our own heads we are all ROCK-STARS. Destined to be discovered. SHOOT for the damn MOON.... but don't worry about where you are going to land.... BEFORE YOU GET THERE..... FIRE THE DAMN ROCKETS AND GET OFF THE LAUNCH PAD FIRST! Just put the pedal to the floor. Don't pack a parachute. Just crush it. See how long you can survive.
Just race your brains out. Places don't mean a thing. Try and race an honest race.......where you get a good start.... race patient... then push yourself to the limit. Race for the PLACE right in front of you. That is the only place you have control of. Race to not get caught by the racer behind. Tons of riders including myself have ruined a good season looking for some random number or result. I have won some races and ridden awful. I have lost tons of races where I have ridden stellar and performed to almost personal perfection.
My only other advice is to give your RIVAL's the credit you want them to give you. They trained hard this past season, and it was probably with the sole purpose of kicking your ass. They love to suffer.... and if they beat you... they must have gotten pretty good at it. They probably secretly almost hate you... and you secretly almost hate them. (NOT REALLY BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT) They want to beat you.... YOU want to beat them.... Some of them will sell an organ just to finish in front of you. They bought CARBON THIS... and CARBON THAT... You matched their Carbon and RAISED them..... with a new Coach & 5 a.m. workouts. It isn't just a race ....it is almost a war.
THOSE WHO CULTIVATE POWER,
IDENTIFY WITH POWER.
TAO TE CHING
Everyone you are racing has probably gotten faster. If they SMOKE you... be glad they figured out how to beat you. NOW you have the chance to figure out how to turn the tables on them. That is how the game works.
You don't deserve to beat people if you can't take a good beating. As racers we have all had those miserable car rides home after a bad or humiliating race. So when it is your turn to be STOKED... be STOKED.... when it is your turn to be humbled... be humbled. Next weekend or Next season you will have a chance to do it all over again.
Nothing makes me happier than to have a killer race. But nothing has made me improve like getting my EGO totally mud-stomped. The beat-down is what I need to get my sh*t together. I find more motivation when everything is going wrong. When someone has me pinned to the floor and is just pummeling me. This is when you wish you could pass out or just quit. But you made the mistake of training hard enough to ENDURE the violent beating, but not enough to win in the exchange. You are taking it... and not giving it. These memories are quite vivid and very UN-forgettable.
YOUR MANTRA NEEDS TO BE THIS!
I WOULD OF...............
So if you can lower your expectations.... you can be happy. Or maybe even water.
Monday, September 27, 2010
I know the Victor crew has put in a ton of hard work to make this event a "don't miss" event. Last year it was one of the funnest weekends I had racing all season!
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
As the CX season unfolds I realize how quickly the cyclocross season comes and goes. Months of hard work and it is almost time to start thinking about racing on the road bike again. With only 4 weeks left in my cyclocross season I must remind myself to race every moment of every race before the season ends. It is so easy to back down… damn every race I want to quit at some point. I always think of what I heard Kent Bostick said to my friend John Hart… "Little buddy...Your pain is not special." I live by these words during the hardest part of the race. Sometimes as I am gasping for air & my legs hurt so bad I want to cut them off… I just remember that “my pain is not special.” As I spit on my top tube unable to see straight…. I remind myself again… “Your pain is not special”I hurt… damn do I hurt. Every day I train… I hurt.
This past year at masters nationals I was standing on the curb yelling at my wife with 1k to go in her time trial. She was 3 seconds back on my time sheet. I noticed she was crying when she rode by…these were not tears of sadness… dude these were tears of insane pain… pain I don’t know if I have ever felt. I go hard… damn sometimes I go so hard I can’t feel my hands or feet…but have I ever gone so hard I cried! Never…not yet… And I guess that is why she as a stars and stripes jersey and I don’t……….. So this year that is my new goal… To race so hard that I either pass out or cry… Pain and failure is 99% of this sport. So why every time I am suffering do I feel pain and usually fail? You would think I could ignore the pain and grab success by the nads….. It is at the moment when it hurts the MOST….I start to think “my pain is special”…. But I know it isn’t.. We all feel it… we all want to quit.
”my better is better than your better”
…. If you haven’t seen it go to YouTube… and check it out. But really… is my BETTER …better than your BETTER…. Damn if that was 100% true I would win a ton of races. I don’t win very often so I think there must be some guys out there whose BETTER is BETTER than my better. So if Kent Bostick is correct that my pain isn’t special… and others are better… why do I bother to suffer and race? 99% of the time I know I can’t win. There are always several riders who are a bit stronger. In some cases a TON stronger. So why do I spend thousands of dollars racing and 100’s of hours suffering each year? That's a great question. With probably 100 different answers. I have my identity so wrapped around cycling what would I do if I stopped? I would probably have a terrible drug problem or gamble my life savings away. So suffering for hours on end might just be a bargain. So now that we have an idea of the consequences if I stop suffering daily and quit riding. The new question becomes: how can I suffer in some sort of bliss? This is a trick I am getting better at each year. I love to watch Chris Horner suffer… the guy is always smiling… Try it… for me it works…. For the first time I have started to invite the pain in… I don’t run from it like I used to… I don’t start to question why I hurt or think “I must be having a bad day.” What I have learned is when you go HARD… it hurts. It always will. I always hear riders talking about “bad legs” most of the time it makes me chuckle. Bad legs usually just mean the race was hard. If you ride with a powermeter I want you to try to ride around 600 watts for 40-45 seconds… that is the start of a cross race. DO it every day… If you ever have a day where that feels easy and your legs don’t burn…Go buy some lottery tickets. So when it hurts…. IT IS HARD!If you are in shape…and have trained a decent amount… and your legs hurt and burn…it is a pretty good sign you are going hard…not that you have bad legs, but that you have fit enough legs to suffer. Somewhere along the way we have come out with the idea that going hard…..should feel good. That is crazy talk.
If you feel good = You are not going very hard (at least not hard enough to get benefits from training or to be successful in a race)If you feel bad = you are probably pegged and on the rivet-this is actually a good thingBad legs = people in your race are “Better than your better”Good legs = you need to upgrade99.9% of the time I think the above is correct. We all have bad days every once in a while. But if ½ of your races are bad… then you are not being realistic. Your training either doesn’t match your goals…. Or your goals don’t match your pedigree.Now that we have solved a pretty serious math problem let’s get back to the fact that most of us are not very good. What do I mean? Most of us suck. Yes we suck. Hard to stomach but the sooner we all figure it out the more credit we can give to the riders who don’t suck…….. Now this isn’t very nice, but what I mean is that the guy who beat me last weekend sucks a little less than I suck. The guy who finished behind me isn’t better than my Better. Every week the goal is to suck a bit less and try to bring the best effort I can manage to the race. Each week I have new excuses as to why I am going to suck. I try to hide them under the bed in a shoe box, but I always let a few slip. Usually I talk about how hard I trained or didn’t train. That is my favorite. But the bottom line is when we walk up to the starting line we are very vulnerable. It is how you learn to deal with the insecurity of sucking that makes you a great warrior.
Dude…. win or lose if you bring a great fight you should be able to pat yourself on the back and be amped about how you raced. Most of the time we just beat ourselves into a pulp during the race, and then continue to do so for the following week. The key is to ask yourself several times during the race “can I go harder?” If the answer is yes… then get on the gas. If the answer is “no” then stay the course. So next time you are out racing at Defcon 1...try to smile… you should be amped that you are killing it. If you are crying then you know you are pegged. Pegged is pegged. The guy in 10th is just as pegged as the guy who won. Neither effort has more value. Like Kent said “your pain isn’t special.” So don’t run from it… invite it in…and next time you are racing and the race is finished... I challenge you to race one more lap… why not… it is what we do and who we are. Cross season will be over in a blink of an eye. Enjoy every painful minute of each lap…. Soon there will be no more laps to ride and no more cross races till next year. My guess is that all of us will spend the next 9 months getting ready to do it all over again!
Friday, May 07, 2010
I attribute my success to this - I never gave or took any excuse.
Florence Nightingale and JENS VOIGHT
This is a short rant… by Sam Krieg
This past weekend was my 4th weekend of racing so far this season. Race after race I constantly overhear the same bull shit excuses from riders. No one wants to take any accountability for sucking. They lay their groundwork before they even turn their pedals 360 degrees. In the past I was annoyed … now it just pisses me off. All winter we knew bike racing season was coming. Most of these racers are riding $5000 bikes and worry more about bike weight and how cool they look than how hard they should train. If they spent just 10% of that energy and money on moving forward as an athlete they might just find some personal success instead of catastrophic failure. Most of us are completely lost and don't search out the people that have the answers. We will spend thousands on bikes that make us only seconds faster when a good training plan, coach, or just some good old fashion hard work is the answer. Most racers can rationalize why they suck and don't mind swimming in the vomit pool around them. They have become so use to their own excuses and others excuses around them that you never hear anyone speak positively before a race.
Before the time trial this past weekend one of my old team-mates dads asked me how I felt. I said "I am ready to bleed to win this thing" I meant it. I respected the crap out of the other 60 cat 1-2's that were there and my ego wasn't about to give an inch. I knew I had a fight on my hands and I wasn't certain about the outcome at all. I was scared as crap, but I was 100% all in. I was prepared to suffer mentally and physically the entire effort.… I was going to earn a good or a bad result…. The entire time trial I pictured myself as a rat in a rat trap trying to eat the damn cheese that was just out of reach of my broken neck. I kept trying to nibble and lick the piece of cheese. I was going to win or lose this damn TT with the best possible effort I could manage. I even shoved my time trial bike at the finish line to get an extra .01 seconds. I had gone as fast as I could. That is all you can ever do.
After the Time Trial ………I had a rider ask me what my power was. I told him I averaged 305 watts… he was shocked… he said he had ridden close to 400 watts for sure!.............. I had finished over 1 minute in front of him. After a few sentences he implied that he was stronger than I am and just happened to weigh 40 more pounds. According to him I guess I didn't win the TT or have the fastest fucking time of the entire day. So I guess finishing ½ a mile behind me makes him the next Fabian Cancellara? I should have told him to go look at the damn results again. They post them in black and white and from first to last. This is the way it is, and always will be. I almost suggested that he should calibrate his damn power meter or go on a diet. He was insulting me and didn't even know it. 3 days later and I am still a bit tweaked when I think about it. He has the same disorder that almost every racer has. Why can't athletes realize that every race is an opportunity to gain knowledge and increase your skill. Instead of pointing out he was obviously much stronger than I was…………. He should have been critical of his effort, his training, equipment choice, anything instead of telling me how fast he was for a big guy with an over eating disorder. Don't hate on me for being skinny… Hate yourself for being what you are not. Bad results are an opportunity to trim the fat and get lean and mean.
Last season at the GILA… I was with a good friend and I woke up in the morning dreading the coming stage. He quickly pointed out that I should be stoked…. "You get to race your bike today." We train so we can race. Then on race day we forget that racing is why we ride. Racing is the gift. Racing is what you should be stoked about..……. not a new set of carbon wheels… or a cool new cycling kit…. We ride so we can race. We train so we can crush people…… then in the race when we get crushed… we should figure out how to train better, harder, smarter. etc……. instead we make up all sorts of crap…..ignore the gift of racing and never improve upon our past performances because we are blind to what is holding us back.
It isn't flat tires and heavy bikes that slow us down…. It is our FLAT SQUARE MIND….. Leaking air and spewing crap all over the place. When you show up for a race and people ask you how you are doing… Tell them you are ready to rumble… ready to hurt… and hopefully you can end up on top today. Don't tell them about how hard your work week was, that you have been sick, that this isn't an "A" race… that you haven't started your V02 block of training yet…. Blah…. Blah….. Blah…. If you are going to spew excuses then I suggest you take up a different sport. My good friend Jason has more legitimate excuses not to train than anyone I know. But he rarely ever uses any of them. At 4 a.m. almost every day that dude is on the trainer or out on the roads 350 days a year crushing it. It doesn't matter if he is sick, didn't sleep, or if the damn sky is falling. He has missed very few days of training in 7 years. His hard work is what motivates me. I can't quite live up to his standards but I try. He was the first rider I knew that had a CTL of 100, 110, 120. It didn't kill him and made him stronger… I gave it a try and I can't put into words what it did for my riding.
For the most part bike racing sucks, hurts a ton, and training sucks even worse. If you are lucky you will have a handful of great races over several years. So for every 1000 times you ride your bike you might just have 2 or 3 incredible days. Most riders never actually win a race. So you have to endure the bad… I went 100 races without a win…..but during that time I learned a ton. I learned how to lose…I learned how to train… I learned how to want to win…. I thought I wanted to win… but winning is almost impossible. Go look through anyone's race results and see how rarely even the best local riders win. It takes time and tons of attempts to make a race go your way. I had to learn how to "shut up" and pay attention to the details. I had to learn to stop throwing out excuses and start looking for answers. I have found that if you can't compliment yourself… compliment someone else. Seek out the racers who win….. pay attention to them…. Do what they do…. and give credit where it is due… when you fail go back to the drawing board and come up with a plan on how to improve, and try not to make the same mistakes again. It takes an honest rider to realize that every time you race you probably gave it your best shot and your best just wasn't good enough. Don't use this as an excuse but as an opportunity to learn and make changes. You can't improve if you are not critical. If you think you are doing everything right you need to probably look in the mirror a bit closer. Bike racing is definitely a journey with a very abstract destination.
"I find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success."
– Thomas Edison
I respect my limitations, but I don't use them as an excuse.
Stephen R. Donaldson
Friday, September 11, 2009
DAMN I WANT TO DELETE THIS POST>>>>
BUT I WON'T.
CROSS VEGAS didn't go as expected. I was silly fit and things just didn't roll for me. The entire cross season just went all wrong. UCI cross in North Carolina went great for actually going very bad. I ended up top 10 both days for having bad wrecks early and having to move from 3oth all the way back up. I am proud of those rides. I think CROSS is dead to me. I love it... but am not that great at it. Next year I think I will cross country ski instead. It is still CROSS... and you wear tights.... so it is close. I listed all my junk on EBAY and no one bought it. So maybe I will return... maybe not.....I admire the racers that get results in cross. It is hard to be consistent and get results. The riders that kill it every week are SPECIAL. They have a gift and are to be admired. Every year I try and every year I struggle for most of the season. I want it... but can't get it....I want to be able to turn in the mud....I just can't.... I want to ride up steep hills in the dirt... I just always fall off.... I am not as good as I want to be and that is hard to deal with. Cross is a test... and I am a "c" student. I keep trying for a B or an A...and I just can't get it done. I still love it...I still have mad respect for the people who crush in it...but I might just watch next year.... it is a killer sport... i am just not a killer in it.... I am the prey....
Monday, August 24, 2009
I am almost done riding 23c tires for 2009, and have started gluing up some DUGAST, fango, and a set of file tread Grifos. Cross season 2010 is here! Damn I am stoked. I have been killing it on the bike. Yep.. I just said it. I have been training like mad. So if I suck... i guess I suck. No excuses this cross season. I am going to have the highest damn CTL I can handle. I have 1 goal. Masters Nationals CX. I have gotten Top 10... 4 times. This year I want to win it. I have no idea if that is going to happen, but I know I will have the fitness and if everything goes right... I will have a shot. I have never had the fitness to close the deal. The year Pieterzak almost WON... I was 6th but I wasn't even close in my mind. Last year 4th.... but heck it might as well have been 40th... I couldn't get across to ALI and BEN Macaroni was a ringer. That course was perfect for me and I still couldn't make it happen. So do I even really have a chance in BEND this year? I guess we will see. It won't be for lack of effort. I will bring a big stick. Normally I always find someone shows up with one that is bigger. I can hardly wait to see.
I was surfing the net and found a link to a post I wrote a few years ago... read this! http://samkrieginpocatello.blogspot.com/2008/11/one-more-lap.html
I finished reading it and did a few sit-ups and ran around the block a few times. Damn... 10pm... I want to ride now... but i need to sleep... so I am off to bed. I will be up at 5... on the bike at 6-9.. so if you want to come crush it in my basement on the trainer feel free to stop by.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
should be a rad race. 200+ racers last year. Weather looks stellar. Come out and race on a great course, good roads, stellar climb!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Started 42nd....... moved to 26th...
I don't really remember the first 2 LAPS. All I remember was being in traffic. So many people and so many wrecks. It was a blur of bikes and jerseys. I just tried to stay up-right. I had a to run a few sections early to avoid a few wrecks. I must have been in the 50's or s0. By the end of the 2nd lap I was flying. Trying to get across to riders that had huge gaps. I felt great. I was leaping by groups of riders on the climb. After another lap I started to look around and notice I was catching some pretty good riders. 1 lap later I saw a ton of good riders coming backwards on the climb. I started to get pretty motivated. I was going hard but felt great. Near the top of the climb I was close to the top 20... and took a nice over the bars wreck. By the time I got up and shook it off I had lost a few spots and a ton of momentum. I re-grouped on the downhill and was ready to start killing it again. I jumped on my bike around 35 minutes into the race and felt my seat crack. Bummer. I wanted to pit, but I love my race bike more than my pit bike. The seat felt OK... and didn't feel to bad and was just sagging a bit. I sucked it up and climbed out of the saddle when I could and jumped on the bike softly. I was riding in the TOP 30 and wanted to stay there. By the final lap I was with Carl D. and Bart G...... Both riders I was happy to be hanging with. I nailed it the final time up the climb to get a bit of a gap before the downhill. It worked. Bart caught me on the final run-up and passed with class. I was happy to follow him to the line. This was one of my better results and I felt great the entire hour. I would have loved another lap 0r 2. It would have made up for the awful first 2 laps.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
First... I must say if you had to a design a course that screamed my name.... well Kansas did. Tons of climbing. TONS... Not very technical.... the way cross should be.... and DRY....( just my opinion) I love the mud...but race better when it’s tacky. It was super tacky.... you’d could have ridden road tires and been OK. The day before it was so muddy you had to walk most of the course. Today the WIND picked up to 30+ MPH and dried it out fast. IT was perfect. ALMOST like riding SLICK Rock in Moab.
So standing at the start..... I wanted to make some excuses ……but had none. Front row... Perfect course and weather.... Ok I was super sick this week.... but felt great... I took a Z-Pack... and felt like a crisp $100 bill.
The start went well... not great.... I was off the LINE fast, but didn't get on the gas hard enough and went into the first corner in 10th... I needed to PANIC and didn't. I knew there was a ton of climbing coming up and thought I would be OK.... Big mistake. It was the only thing I did wrong. I normally think it is best NOT to PANIC.... BUT when Andy Macaroni & CHEESE.....
is there and the wind is blowing 20+ MPH.... I needed to be in the front group... I was 5 meters back. I felt great... I was in 10th or something.... I jumped on the gas on the climb and moved up a few spots but was on the tail end of 3 0r 4 guys. We were riding hard, but they were riding harder and faster. I topped out solo in our group but just couldn't get across. They hammered the downhill..... and opened it up a bit.... I soloed down and got caught by a group of 3. The next time up the climb I hammered it hard. 100%.... I was able to ride away from the riders that came across….. and catch and drop one of the guys from the front but was in 4th.... over the climb and was 15 seconds back.
Yankee Doodle dandy… was way!!!!!!!!! off the front…….2 guys were in front of me…. And 4 chasing. I did everything I could to get across the gap…. I just couldn’t. I was in limbo for 30 minutes…. I felt great … the problem was that the guys in front of me…..were just as fit as me. Ali Goulet made the split early and wasn’t about to give me an inch….. I literally threw the kitchen sink at it and I couldn’t close it down. The last time up the climb I BROKE myself. Everything.... I brought it down to 12 or so..... Not good enough.... They were gone. I wasn't going to catch them on the down hill... I had a huge gap.... I enjoyed the last 1/2 of lap and gave myself a huge pat on the back.... I had a great ride.... I gave it all I had. Congrats to ALI... he road a great race. Congrats to Weston... He killed it also... See you guys next year.
How do you close a gap to riders that are just as good or better? I sat at 12-18 seconds for the entire race. I was able to open up a nice gap on 5th…. but I really wanted to get across to the Weston and Ali… I sold my SOLE several times ..But I just couldn’t get across.
Overall I felt great and raced great. .........I was certainly in the hunt today and it felt great. If you get rid of the Noodle I was right there. It felt great. Tons of hard work and I could tell it paid off. To be only 15 seconds back most of the race from 2nd…. For me is incredible. A small part of me wishes I would have gotten across on the first lap. But to be honest... if I could have.. I would have..... and I didn't....