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Before I tell you about High Anxiety and Psychopath, I want to preface the story by telling you this off-season’s work has improved my cycling. More about that later.

 

Breckenridge 4-19-13_edited.jpg

(Click on the photo to elarge the view.)

 

Those of you familiar with Breckenridge ski resort know some of the classic trail names such as High Anxiety and Psychopath. It’s been years since I’ve skied at Breckenridge, but I couldn’t pass up the new snow and a $25 lift ticket. Three of us headed for the hills and took advantage of the opportunity yesterday.


I took the newly rebuilt Garmin 800 on the trip and I could actually see trail names on the map (above), which I wasn’t able to do with theold Garmin firmware. You can see the complete Garmin Connect file for the day here


The snow was great, but (and?) some of the most challenging conditions I’ve skied in a long time. The top t-bar and upper lift runs were windblown thick snow on top of new snow that’s been preserved for a week. (The resort’s official closing was last weekend. They decided to reopen for Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend.) Snow on the upper mountain was really deep with a roughly four-inch layer of wind-packed snow on the top. The top runs off of the t-bar had moonscape snow waves that were wind-hardened. Moonscape was actually a bit easier to ski than the deep powder with the packed top layer. I took a digger in the powder with packed top and when I tried to retrieve a ski I would sink to my crotch. That’s a report on the tough stuff.


We did find some lighter new snow lower on the mountain, some good wind-blown light powder and some great snow on the groomers. None of the snow was classic Colorado champagne powder, but the five feet (yes, that is FEET) of snow we've received in April is much appreciated for the water situation.

 

I’m certainly not the first one to find that winters sports such as skiing, skating, working on strength and doing balance skill building in the off-season helps cycling. Olympian Eric Heiden was among the first notable athletes to use this kind of crosstraining. Dave Wiens is legendary for winning the prestigious Leadville 100 Mountain Bike race and using skiing and hockey as winter training. My interview with Dave can be found here.


Though I haven’t done much mountain biking this spring, what I have found so far is that my balance is better, I have good power output on some of the short climbs and my weaker right turn ability has seen significant improvement.


Not only has more skiing been great fun this winter, I believe it will contribute to a strong cycling season.


Have any of you changed your winter training and seen some positive indicators?

 

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Detailed off-season plans for triathlon and cycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and triathlon plans are found here.

Comments and questions can be added on Facebook or Gale’swebsite.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

653 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, leadville_trail_100_mountain_bike_race, skiing, skating, dave_wiens, breckenridge, olympian, high_anxiety, psychopath, eric_heiden, skier

In the past month I’ve had two athletes decide to be more accountable for nutrition. By simply keeping a food log, they have both dropped weight. One of them is logging food prior to consumption, the other after. Both have said it has helped them make better choices and control portion size. The mindless eating ended. They are not “dieting” because no food choice is off the table. All choices are available because it is a conscious decision to eat or drink calories/energy/nutrition.


Both athletes feel great and energy has increased.


If you’re beginning to think about shedding some winter fluff, consider holding yourself accountable for your energy bank account. Consider the quality and quantity of your calorie investment. Is that investment going to pay you big dividends in the next one to six months?


If not, change your investment portfolio now.

 

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Detailed off-season plans fortriathlon and cycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and triathlon plans are found here.

Comments and questions can be added on Facebook or Gale’s website.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

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Question:

Hi Gale,

I've read a few articles by both you, Joel Friel and a few others about training and racing at altitude.  This year I'm racing Leadville and have access to a place in Frisco for training.  My plan is to do all of my higher intensity workouts here in Fort Collins and do longer, steady training rides on the weekends in Breckenridge and up around Leadville.  I've found discussions of benefits for >4 weeks and your suggestions for racing at >8500 ft:

Utilizing Altitude Training for Racing at Altitudes Above 8,500 Feet

  • Live at an     altitude between 5,000 and 8,500 feet for three to four weeks.
  • Drive to higher     altitudes for some training days and consider occasional overnight stays     prior to training days. Keep recovery periods at lower altitudes.
  • Keep power     output high by doing high-intensity work intervals at 5,000 to 8,500 feet     or lower. Or, consider using supplemental oxygen during workouts.

 

But do you get the benefits of living at high altitude by spending weekends at ~9000 ft or is it just not a large enough percentage of time to matter?  I've even dug around on a few Everest web sites that seem to indicate that a couple of extra days at higher camps is enough to help while spending the majority of time at base camp (although that might be too extreme of an example to make sense).

 

Anyway - thanks and I hope to see you at somerides/races this summer,

A.J.

 

Answer:

Hi A.J. ~


First, congrats on your Leadville entry. I am entered in Leadville this year as well, so maybe I’ll see you there – or training on the great trails in Northern Colorado.


For your question, “But do you get the benefits of living at high altitude by spending weekends at ~9000 ft or is it just not a large enough percentage of time to matter? “


In my opinion, yes, you do get benefits from spending weekends or perhaps every three weekends at altitude. I live on the Front Range close to you, as you know from the group ride listing. Here is a blog that I wrote about intermittent altitude exposure. 


I too have access to training around Frisco and I continue to collect one-person data on oxygen saturation. I do a mix of alpine and Nordic skiing through the winter and I’ve found the oxygen saturation data stays consistent. If I can get to Summit County roughly every three weeks, I can maintain higher oxygen saturation levels. Like you, I do most of my training at ~5,000 feet which I believe keeps power output high. I may know more about that (real data) this season.


Hope this helps. See you on the trails (or the road) ~


Gale

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Detailed off-season plans for triathlon and cycling, along with event-specific running, cycling and triathlon plans are found here.

Comments and questions can be added on Facebook or Gale’s website.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans available on ActiveTrainer.

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I recently read a column written by Christopher Solomon about Kilian Jornet. Jornet has a long list of winning accomplishments including setting a dozen speed records, claiming some 16 titles and winning more than 80 races.


His physiology is amazing, with a VO2max measuring 89.5 ml/kg/min – one of the highest on record.


He is light, 5-foot, 6-inches and 125 pounds.


The column noted that “In moderate temperatures, Jornet says, he can run easily for eight hours without drinking water.”


He also completes long runs eating only berries.


He is very in tune with his body.


Certainly he is an anomaly.


What I wonder...is that if he trained his body to do very well performing on such low levels of fluid and fuel, is it possible for people with fewer natural gifts to do the same? Or is it just in his genetics?


The original column is titled Becoming the All-Terrain Human

 

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Detailed off-season plans for triathlon and cycling, along with  event-specific running, cycling and triathlon plans are  found here.

Comments and questions can be added onFacebook or Gale’s  website.

Ironman and half-Ironman plans availableon ActiveTrainer.

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