Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"It is not the critic who counts..."

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

-Theordore Roosevelt

The quote above is one of my top 3 quotes ever.  I first discovered it about 20 years ago when I was having a particularly difficult time in my life.  I often refer to it and lately, with all that has happened in my life over the last 18 months, the quote has been on my mind a lot.

You see, I've always feared failure. I've tasted success in my life, so I know what's that's like.  But I've also failed miserably.  For every goal I've accomplished there's an equal or greater amount that were never realized.  I can honestly say though that I have never given up.  Sure, some plans changed and some goals I've had have fallen off the wayside simply because they weren't important to me.  I truly believe when we focus on meaningful endeavors, whatever they may be, the un-important stuff will simply fall by the wayside.

In order to deal with some of my recent failures, I've had to regroup, re-focus and simplify my life greatly.  That's extended into my training as well.  While I've been more focused I've also been a bit more relaxed in what I'm doing.  I'm not weighing myself every morning like I used to.  Yet lately I've had many people comment that I'm looking slimmer.  

I've cut simple things out of my life like my addiction to energy drinks.  I was drinking 2 sometimes 3 cans of Rockstar or Monster every day.  In the past few weeks I weened myself to just one a day and for the last week or so, I've had maybe 2 total.  

My diet has become simpler.  Making meals more meaningful, whether by who I eat those meals with or where I eat those meals. keeping in mind that every calorie counts.  Its not an obsessive but a thoughtful thing.  I still eat bacon.  I still drink milk (In fact I'm drinking whole milk!).  And I still enjoy a burrito.  But I'm staying away from fast food, preparing more of my meals at home and I still have my Mavrick addiction, but I opt for salads and fruit instead of Bahama Mamas and Tornados.  Who knew you could eat healthy at the gas station?

But all of it has greatly benefited my physical and emotional health.  I'm forming new relationships and re-connecting with old ones.  I sleep better.  I wake up refreshed for the most part and I'm extremely motivated to keep going.

In a few weeks, I will race my first real triathlon.  I've actually wanted to be a triathlete for most of my life, but I really hate running.  My body just isn't built for it.  But I'm overcoming it.  With the help of special friends who care about me and my well being I'm able to accomplish more and more each day.  Sunsets are prettier.  Runs, rides and swims are easier to get up early for.  Even my commute to work has become therapeutic.

So what am I doing to train currently?  I had my first brick workout yesterday.  While it was eye opening how difficult it is to go from a fast bike rider to a fast run, it was just more motivation for what's to come.

I've dropped the spin classes and the gym work.  Its all riding, running and swimming now.  

Tue, Wed, Thurs and Fridays are my most structured days with ride/run/swim/run workouts.  Fri, Sat and Sunday are unstructured but I'm getting in at least one ride in and trying to make time for more.

But this more relaxed but deliberate angle to training has done wonders.  

I still feel battered and bruised sometimes.  Its still tough to take some of the real failures that I've experienced.  But none of it has knocked me out.  I may have been knocked down but life ain't over.  If I don't get at it, life will keep moving on.  I prefer to have life keep moving on with me an active part in it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

This is only a test

Its been a while since I tested my legs in a race, so last weekend I decided it was time.  I know I'm in no shape to be racing, but I missed it and really needed to see where I was at.  Turns out I have a long way to go!

For the past few years, my winter training has been solid.  In 2011/2012 it was probably too solid and I was cooked, overcooked by June.  I had been riding up to 16 hours a week during that winter and my body didn't respond well to the volume.  I was a sprinter when I swam in high school and I think I'm just going to be sticking to sprinting now.  I just think my body is built better for it.  Not to mention I simply dn't have the time to train with that kind of volume.

So, its back to some basics for me.  My best season of racing was in 2011.  I won a good amount of races and that's where I achieved all my upgrade points to become a Cat 3.  But what was it about that season?

Well' to start, it was my winter.  I swam, ran cross trained.  I was on a spin bike 2 days a week and got out on Saturdays for 2-3 hours or even parked my butt on a trainer for that amount of time in cold days.  The other days I was lifting weights, swimming and even running a bit.

So this season, I'm going back to that.  But its already May!  Well, I'm just doing now what I should have been doing in December.  My weeks look like this:

Monday - Slow a.m. spin indoors
Tuesday - 50 min spin class and 50 minute weight circuit
Wed- 30 min run
Thurs - hour swim
Fri - 50 min boot camp style class
Sat - race or 2-3 hour ride
Sun - off or slow evening ride.

I've been doing this for about 5 weeks.  What I found out at the crit I raced at on Saturday was I had no top end, no power coming out of turns and I got dropped pretty quickly.  But for where I'm at in training, and where everyone else is at, I'm ok with it.  More important than anything was getting out there, testing my legs and lungs and seeing all my cycling peeps.  Just being in that atmosphere again motivated me and gave me some strength to keep on track with my comeback.  I'll start moving into some more power building in a few weeks but I'm satisfied with my progress so far.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A look back in order to move forward

As I look to new goals and new training plans, I actually wanted to take a look back.

In 2010 I posted what's written below, my athletic background.  I thought it was important for me to revisit that history again...

I thought today I'd start to share a bit of my athletic background.

As a kid, I took very quickly to swimming. I was doing laps at the local swim and tennis club at age 5. At 8, I started swimming competitively, winning every event I entered until high school. I spent every summer day at the pool. Add winter club swimming in there and I made for one chlorinated kid! I played some of the stick and ball sports as well. A few years of little league, soccer and Boys Club basketball, but I enjoyed the uniqueness and physical challenge of competitive swimming most. It was also what I was best at.

As many swimmers did, I began life guarding and coaching swimming in high school along with a more focused training regimen with the West Mesa High School swim team. I excelled at district level meets even as a freshman. Unfortunately I had a bit too much freedom and not enough responsibility my freshman year and let my grades slip. So much so I was booted from the swim team until I could pick up my grades. It was devastating and eye opening at the same time.

I did get my grades up to finish the season with the team and even qualified for the state swimming championships. One of only a few freshman to do so, I made it to the consolation final in the 50 free.

For the rest of my swimming career, I made a name for myself as a sprinter, focusing on the 50 and 100 free. I was unbeatable in district meets and held my own at the state and regional levels. I ended up 4th and 5th respectively at the high school state championships my senior year.

It had been my goal throughout my youth to swim in college but I think some burnout and immaturity kept me to the club level after high school. I think back on that many times with regret. But the choices I made led me in new paths. Maybe some of my drive currently is to make up for decisions I could have made 15 years ago. Regardless, new doors were opened.

The years of my youth were also peppered with cycling and sailboat racing, additional activities I became very passionate about.

My dad got me into sailing in 1987 when he would stay up late and watch Dennis Conner win back The America's Cup in Australia. Not only was it incredible to see such great yacht racing on TV in the big winds off Fremantle, but it was a great bonding time for my father and me. Sailing, and more specifically, sailboat racing, became "our thing". We had a house in southern New Mexico at Elephant Butte Lake and always had a ski boat or jet skis and access to different sailboats. I started crewing for boat owners when I was 12 or so. If I wasn't swimming, I was at the lake trying to bum a ride for the local races.

When I went to college, I started crewing with owners who were more serious about traveling to bigger regattas. One of the reasons for not swimming at the collegiate level was because I really wanted to sail. So, while serving a mission for the LDS church in Chile, I decided when I returned I was going to make sailboat racing a much bigger part of my life.

I moved to San Diego in 1999 after landing a great job, dream job really, as a sail maker for North Sails, the biggest and most successful sail manufacturer in the world. There I was, in the thick of the sailing world surrounded by sailing legends. It was at North that I started making connections and sailing on some of the fastest and biggest boats on the West Coast. I was making sails for grand prix yachts that I had only been able to read about in the desert of New Mexico. I was able to quickly mark many "to do's" off my list. I raced all over...Key West, San Francisco, Ensenada, Newport and even raced in the Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Hawaii. I also got to participate in the America's Cup as a sailmaker for the American teams in 2000 and in the Volvo Ocean Race making sails for the eventual winner in 2001. I also briefly revived the San Diego State Sailing Team and raced on the West Coast collegiate circuit. So my dreams of competing in college came to be, only sailing on the water rather than swimming through it.

Having checked off many of my to do's in life, it became time to move on. I was sailing 5 days a week sometimes and got married and wanted to be around more. So in 2005 my ex-wife and I moved to Utah to settle down, so to speak. I continued to race boats at Bear Lake and the Great Salt Lake, but the racing wasn't quite what I was used to. I'm a competitive person and need something to get those juices flowing again.

That's when I got back on my bicycle.

So why include sailing in my athletic background? Well, its certainly part of my competitive background, but most people don't equate sailing with athletics. While sailing can be done with a beer in one hand and a rope in another while the BBQ is going, racing on modern sailboats requires a huge amount of athleticism and personal fitness. Some classes of boats even have a weight limit for crew, so being fit can even effect what kinds of boats you can race on.

To keep fit for sailing, I swam a bit, worked out in the gym and also, you guessed it, rode my bike.

As most kids, I always had a bike. I still remember that first trip down the street without my dad's hand holding the seat. I was free. I could get to more places and do more things now that I was mobile. I rode to the pool, to friends' houses. My brothers and I would ride our bikes donw to the local hobby shop to race our slot cars. I remember entering a few BMX races as a 8 or 9 year old, but nothing serious. I actually really liked road bikes.

My first was a blue Peugeot I bought with my own money. That bike was stolen from my garage. I later bought, again with my own money, a Wal Mart special. I was probably 11 or 12. I even invested in some funny looking spandex shorts with a chamois. I enjoyed getting out and riding, using the bike as a diversion from so much swimming. In high school, I inherited my brother's Mangusta road bike. We both had fantasies of being roadies some day, but again, swimming took up most of my time. But I road to cross train and commuted to my lifeguarding job on the Mangusta. I even entered a race or two. One being a dualathlon I raced with one of my best friends, Seth Talmon. We did a relay, I rode, he ran. I don't remember how we did, but do remember how much I loved it.

My senior year, after the swimming season ended, I bought a mountain bike. This was MTB's heyday, 1994. I remember reading about Missy Giove, Ned Overend, John Tomac and Tinker Juarez. I became fascinated with riding my mountain bike. I quickly hooked up with some great guys while attending college at New Mexico State. We rode everyday, raced almost every weekend. I would race boats one week, bikes the next. What a life! Granted, I didn't study and almost flunked out of school, but I was having the time of my life.

I loved following the Tour de France. I was cheering for Lance during his first win in 1999. I was in awe of Miguel Indurain and his 5 wins. Always a fan of the sport. I remember seeing a crit in a local park. The sound of the bikes flying through the air was mesmerizing.

Fast forward to 2006. I moved from San Diego to Utah to find cheaper housing for my family. I had ballooned to 225 lbs and only on my mountain bike a few times a year. I overheard some guys at church talking about riding in the mornings so I asked if I could tag along. They were on road bikes, me on my MTB. It only took a couple rides with these guys that I realized what I was missing, a road bike.

In June 2006, I begged my ex for a road bike. She caved and I was set free on my Lemond Tourmalet. I noticed the guys I rode with wearing LOTOJA t-shirts one day. They told me of this heinous 206 mile race from Logan Utah to Jackson Hole. Not one to shy away from a challenge, I committed to doing it in 2007. I found a great training partner in my friend Kevan Steed. We kept each other going through miles and miles of training. But during one century ride, we started talking about all this effort we put in with out it meaning much in term of competition. We decided that after LOTOJA we would start racing and making it count. LOTOJA took forever, but I managed to get on the podium in 5th place in my division. LOTOJA was now in my blood.

We needed a club to join in order to get into racing. We surveyed the local club scene though and weren't really inspired by what we saw. $60 dues, $160 team kit? We didn't see the value of spending all that money to put some one's name on our back only to be member number 162. So we said, lets start our own. Team Excelerator was born.

So here we are, our 7th season as a team and I am more addicted to road racing than I have ever been to much of anything else. I love to train, I love to race. As with swim meets, sailing regattas and mountain bike races, there is an energy being around road racers. There's a palpable sensation of competition. Its consuming.

I've always been fueled by doing my best. I have tasted what its like to be on top of a podium. I also know what its like to dead frickin' last. But the lessons I learn in sports, whether its guiding a 40 foot sailboat down 10 foot waves in the Pacific, swimming 10,000 yards a day or trying to catch the break of the day, these thing teach me to be a better person and become the great analogies of my life. Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, said once, "sports is the great educator". Without these things, I would be fat, lazy and a very unproductive member of society.

As I begin to train again, I am constantly reminded of this. I am very often transformed into that little kid on a 20" bike soaring down the street under my own power for the first time. That is why we do this, isn't it?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I made my bed today

For the first time in who knows how long, I made my bed today.  I've just never been a bed maker.  I usually roll out of bed in the morning, poop, brush my teeth and head out the door.  I've always been that way.  I figured why make a bed that I will shortly just mess up again.

But recently, a good friend, who also keeps a pretty awesome training blog, told me making my bed would give me pep, so I figured, why not.  Who doesn't need more pep in their lives?  So, today I made my bed.

Its been over a year since I posted on this blog. What started out as a training blog for my attempt at a 10 hour LOTOJA morphed into more of a "blab about my own interests" blog.  But while I was at it, I reviewed some awesome equipment and posted some pretty cool videos.  It was a good exercise and I actually influenced the bike purchases of more than a few people.  I'm grateful that what I posted made a difference to at least some.  I was getting 1000 hits a week at times but about this time last year, life just became too busy and too complicated to spend much time blogging.

I spent most of the year supporting 2 teams, travelling to races all over the west and pouring my heart, soul and wallet into the bike races I promote.  But things started to crumble about September.  My marriage ended, sponsor money dried up, I gained 30 lbs and I pretty much hit an emotional and physical wall.  I had to take a step back, look deep inside and try to figure out what and who I really wanted to be.

In that discovery, I found that there's a lot about myself I like, but also so much I needed to change.  My priorities had gone all out of whack.  I was spreading myself too thin and in the process figured out I was putting too much quantity and not enough quality into my endeavors.  I had experiences I wouldn't trade for the world but I also needed to simplify my life.  And now its time for a comeback!!

So here I am, ready to write again.  I think this blog will morph back into my training journal...my accountability to perform at my best and a way to share what it takes to achieve my goals.  This is therapeutic for me and maybe it will be for those who read it too.  When I was prepping for LOTOJA in 2011, it seemed one or two people found my insights and training helpful for them.  I hope that happens again.

I've turned a corner.  I've changed little things in my life to improve myself as an athlete, a father and as a human.  I even started to make my bed.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Who's down with OPB? More blogs...

Sometimes I post to this blog in haste.  When that happens, I either post nonsense or things that aren't that interesting.  When that starts to happen, I don't post for a few days.  If you don't have something nice (or interesting to say) don't say anything at all, right?

Well, in my post about other people's blogs, I failed to mention 3 of my favorites.  There are a lot of people out there much more interesting than me and better writers to boot.  One of those guys is Adam Lisonbee.  His blog www.grizzlyadam.net, is filled with outdoor adventures and his writing really boarders on prose.  He's an advocate for the otudoors and a great photog.  Check out his blog, as he rarely publishes anything that is not worthwhile.

Another great writer can be found at http://www.skibikejunkie.com/.  My friend Mark Albrecht is isn't afraid to inject his personal opinions and insights on anything from the cycling to religion and he does so very eloquently.  He updates about once a month or so, but its always worth the read.

The last one for today is really just one of the time wasters, but a great one indeed.  Point your browser to http://bringatrailer.com/ for some of the coolest and sometimes rarest car finds around.  The blogger basically searches the interweb for classic cars listed for sale that have some sort of unique quality.  Its updated daily and worth the trip.  You can search by marque or key word and can really find some special stuff.

So there it is, blogs to fill your day.

In closing, OPB, makes me think of another classic from Naughty by Nature.  Careful, if you ain't down with OPP, don't listen to the words of the clip below, but if you'd like ot take a trip back to high school, play away.  There's nothing wrong with a little OPP, I mean OPB! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Backcountry Awareness Week

The lure of the skiing in the backcountry is unmistakable.  The thought of endless fresh lines, earning your turns and getting away from the crowds is enticing to more and more athletes.  I am one of those athletes.  Earn your turns is a mantra that not only makes for fun times in Utah's mountains, but makes for great exercise and instant adventure.  Not to mention the money saved on lift tickets.

But the draw of the backcountry should never overshadow the real dangers that exist out there.  People die in avalanches.  Experienced and novice alike take too much risk and end up at the bottom of a slide.  But even the most careful BC travelers can get caught.  Its just the nature of being out there.  While the risks of BC skiing can be mitigated, its important to understand the risk of avalanche is never 100% gone.

When I started BC skiing about 7 years ago, one of the first things I did was go to an avy awareness class.  These classes are usually free and cover the basics of BC travel.  There are plenty of opportunites to get more advanced training as well. In Utah, the best resource for any and all of this info is the Utah Avalanche Center.  Even though I only make it out skiing 10 times a year or so, I usually check the avy forecast daily.  It gives me a great history and background of the conditions and I'm able to take note of the season's trends.

For anyone going out into avalanche terrain, whether its snowshoeing, snowmobiling or skiing, don't go without 4 crucial and bare minimum pieces of equipment:  shovel, beacon, probe and a partner.  The real key is knowing how to use those things as well.

Julbo Down Snow Goggles - Black/Fire (Google Affiliate Ad)

I've taken some time to test my beacon at beacon parks at the local resorts.  If I have a friend buried,  I really don't want to be fooling around with equipment I'm not familiar with.  The practice ans training in my opinion is part of the joy of being out there.

You also have to be prepared to not ski.  I've been out before where we skied less than exciting terrain, simply because we felt conditions were too dangerous.

Local TV station KSL actually has a good piece this week about BC travel. Check it out below. Not only does it feature my favorite weather lady Jodi Saelan, but its a great starting point for anyone wanting to go out of bounds.

There's so  much to explore out there.  Keep it wild and keep it safe.

Monday, February 11, 2013

OPB - Other People's Blogs

During my stint as a sailor, I often sailed OPB, or other people's boats.  What better than owning a sailboat? Having a friend who owns a sailboat!  As with boats, there are quite a few entertaining blogs out there as well.  Here's a few of my favs...

For my automotively minded friends, check out http://www.frs-tuner.com/.  A friend of mine runs this FRS/BRZ/FT-86 focused blog.  He also runs the website http://body-kitz.com/index.html.  Great guy and great products.

For those who want some good tri blogging, point your browser to http://www.utahtrigirl.com/.  Rachel Butterfield is an avid triathlete and always has something fun to say.  I'm also a fan of http://blonderunner.com/.  As the tri and cycling season get underway, these blogs have great tips for training, race reports and info on upcoming events.

So there you have it.  A few more blogs to keep you entertained and updated.  We all blog for fun, but its worthwhile to point out we all run ads on our blogs as well.  Don't be shy about supporting our advertisers and if you'd like to see your business' name up in lights on my blog, please shoot me a message and we can chat.

Mr2 Team mouse pad (Google Affiliate Ad)

Friday, February 8, 2013

TGIF - Video Edition

Its Friday!  Lets celebrate with some vidified time wasters, shall we?  Up first is a little clip from my big bro Abe Towery.  He's a rock star skate park builder who has some pretty good street cred.  You may know him as well from his "big in Belgium" speed metal band, Word Salad with their lone hit CD, Death March 2000.  Either way, the guy's a badass and he's been working with Vans shoes for sometime.  In the first vid, he can be seen with the blond hair, pushing the box closest to the camera.  He also built the house/pool float in the commercial.

Vans Men's Allred Mid Skate Sneaker (Google Affiliate Ad)

The second vid comes from Oracle Racing and the re-launch of the damaged AC72 and their new wing.

Gotta love Fridays!

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Diadora Jet Racer shoes - Cadel's Kicks!

I used to have a thing for shoes.  I know, very metro, but it was a fetish that landed some very nice shoes in my closet.  I had some Prada, Allen Edmonds, Ferragamo and Cole Haan.  There is nothing like slipping on a high end pair of hand made dress shoes.  Not only did those shoes last, they were luxurious in their comfort, made you feel like you were walking on air and made a statement when walking into a room.  Dress for success was my mantra.  They were worth every penny, or 40,000 pennies as it were.  I don't dress up everyday anymore like I did 10 years ago, but my affinity for nice shoes still lingers.  However, I care much more about my kicks for cycling than what I wear to church on Sunday.

CamelBak Classic 70 oz Hydration Pack - Racing Red (Google Affiliate Ad)

I've ridden a few pairs of cycling shoes over the years.  I had some nylon soled Specialized shoes in high school and rode Shimanos, then Axo's, during my MTB days in the late 90's.  All very low tech.  When I started road riding again in 2006 I went cheap again with some entry level Shimanos.  I ended up winning a slick pair of Scott shoes in a prime but they didn't fit.  I sold them and went for my first pair of carbon road shoes, again from Shimano.  They worked well enough.  Stiff, stylish, but a bit thick in the sole.  I wore those things out and went for a set of Bontrager RL's.  A super thin carbon sole got me closer to the pedals but they never really fit me quite right.  I never got my cleats in a good position and the screws from the cleats kept poking through to my feet.  The toe box collapsed and I ended up having to warranty the shoes.  They just didn't fit my feet.  I actually think my season suffered a bit last year because of the shoes.

Over the past few months, I've expanded my rep portfolio to include Diadora shoes.  Diadora has an incredibly complete line of road and MTB shoes.  3 different lasts, various color options and sole choices that range from basic nylon to the exquisite Net Breathing System carbon sole found the the highest end Jet Racer.

The Jet Racer is now what I'm on.  Just like my Pradas, the Jet Racers are worth every bit their $459 MSRP.  I finally had the chance to put some good miles on the kicks last weekend in St. George.

Out of the box, these shoes are sexy.  There's 4 color options for the Jet Racer and they come with a very cool lizard skin pattern that blends nicely with the standard Diadora graphic.  I'm wearing a size 43, a half size smaller than the Bontragers, but a half size bigger than my last Shimanos.  It seems to be a sweet spot for the Diadora sizing for my foot.

The Build

Handbuilt in Italy, the fit and finish of the Jet Racers in second to none.  The excellent craftsmanship translates nicely over to the less expensive options in the line.  The Jet Racers have a micro adjust buckle and 2 velcro straps, one with a novel plastic locking mechanism.  There's also a velcro "security strap" under the buckle, so these shoes aren't going anywhere.  The leather upper is supple and the heel is cupped by a nice thick piece of plastic.

The sole is truly a work of art.  The woven carbon lower shell is thin and stiff and heavily vented.  This venting is part of the Net Breathing System, which is much more than just simple holes for air to pass through.  Its actually a multi layer, breathable structure which includes vented insole, a waterproof breathable membrane, a wire mesh and then the carbon sole.  Again, a work of art.  The photos I have hear don't begin to do it justice.  There's also a replaceable heal and toe pad.

The Fit

The Jet Racer comes with Diadora's Regular Race Last, meaning its a purposeful, snug fit.  I think a cycling shoe should fit like a ski boot and make you feel connected to the bike.  However, a little room is nice so your feet can swell a bit as can happen on long rides.  My feet feel right at home in these shoes.  On the first ride they felt like my old Shimanos did after years of riding, meaning they were comfortable, so comfortable in fact I forgot I had shoes on at all.  I assuming they are narrower than other non-italian brands, but I can only say for sure they are more narrow than the Shimanos but not as narrow as the Bontragers.  My heel feels solidly locked into the shoe, the plastic heel cup doing its job.

The Ride

Again, these kicks are so comfortable I forgot I had them on.   I had to keep looking down at my feet to remind myself they were there, which wasn't a bad thing, since these are the nicest looking shoes I've had the pleasure of slipping on my feet since my last pair of Prada loafers.  Stiff when powering up a climb, super light and no less comfortable after 5 hours in the saddle.  I was shocked actually.  I believe good equipment is equipment you don't have to think about and I only think about these shoes when I want to admire how sessy they are.

I also seemed to have nailed my cleat placement.  Amazing since I never felt like I had it quite right on the Bontragers.  Two trips up and down the street is all it took.  Don't know if that had anything to do with the shoes, but it was a nice bonus!

Buy 'em!

The Jet Racers are the real deal.  I'm a firm believer that you get what you pay for.  When I was spending crazy money on my dress shoes, it was well worth it when I was still wearing those shoes 5 years later.  Some of those shoes have passed on, but I keep re-soling a pair of Pradas because the uppers and insoles are holding up so well.  Diadora spreads the Jet Racer's features across the line and you can find the unique Net Breathing System soles on the less expensive Vortex and Mig Racers as well.  There's also a full carbon sole on the Aerospeed Carbon and Aeorspeed Women's shoes.  But dollar for dollar, there's no better shoe that money can buy than the Jet Racer.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Emotional Eating

I like to eat.  Its one of the reasons I have trouble attaining and keeping my racing weight.  For a cyclist, where power-to-ratios are super important, overeating can make or break your diet goals without much effort at all.  I enjoy flavorful foods, which can come in healthy meals, but the fatty, chemical filled treats (like the ones you'd find on the gas station roller) are a real weakness.  While I've managed to control this unhealthy taste in cuisine I falter most often when I'm tired, bored or stressed.  I'm an emotional eater.

Nutribullet Superfood Nutrition Extractor And Blender (Google Affiliate Ad)

I take comfort in food, especially the unhealthy kind.  But life will always be filled with trials, sadness, stress and fatigue.  What's a person to do to kick the bad habits of turning to unhealthy calories when faced with stress?

I found this little article from the Mayo Clinic to that's helped me get pointed in the right direction.


However, its my dietitian, Breanne Nalder, who has really got me on the food straight and narrow.  Send me a message and I'll hook you up with her contact info.

Emotional eating for me has been a lifelong struggle but with simple stress and food management techniques, the habbits can be kicked for good!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Harristone/Sun Valley Mortgage Cycling Team - Mini Camp

The sun gods finally blessed the red rocks of Utah's Dixie with sunshine and 60 degree temps this past weekend.  My team took advantage of the nice weather and had an awesome 2 day mini training camp in St. George.

The camp began early Friday morning with a pleasant drive to the south.  The sunshine and warm temperatures greeted us mid afternoon and we headed out for a 2 hour loop.  My camp started on a major downer as I dropped my new to me GoPro camera while riding and I watched it shatter into 10 pieces.  It was one of those stupid moments you wish you could have back, like dropping your keys in the lake.  I was pulling the camera out of my back pocket and it literally just slipped out of my fingers.  The waterproof case held on the initial impact, but it was hit by multiple bikes and the case split open.  The battery flew out and the inside case cracked.  The lens has a nice ding on it as well.  I was sure it was done for.  But I managed to put it back together and it kept recording!  At least that's what the LED screen said.  I kept recording for the weekend and sure enough, these cameras rock!  Aside from the scratched lens, the unit functions and records like normal.  As soon as I figure out how to edit the vids, I'll post them here.  They're nothing spectacular, but its cool footage nonetheless.

Pro-Form 490 Spx Indoor Cycling Bike (Google Affiliate Ad) 

With the GoPro crisis over, the rest of the ride went very.  Mellow, sunny and the Toquerville loop is gorgeous.  The ride ends near Quail Hollow Reservoir and the setting sun made for beautiful scenery.

Friday's traditional feast at Brick Oven Pizza was delicious as always.  Brick Oven even has gluten free pizza for the special diet needs of some our cyclists!  With stomachs full we headed back to the house and stayed up way too late to watch Tyler Hamilton on Jay Leno.  Teammate and sponsor, Tim Speicher of PRTI, busted out his massage table and worked on some of us for the evening.

Saturday's ride turned into a rather large group ride as we met up with some other cyclists on our way out to Utah Hill.  We decided to ride the Ironman/Gunlock loop and take in the 7 mile Utah Hill climb as well.  My motivation was of course the savory banana cream pie waiting for us at Veyo Pies.  The pie is really why I ride in St. George!

The groups split up and I limped home very tired from the 84 miles, 84 tough, rolling and sometimes very steep miles.  The pie got me home for sure.

Tim performed some more of his magic for the team post ride and we packed up for the long trip home.

These annual pilgrimages to St. George accomplish so many things.  First, its a great chance to get in some major mid winter miles.  Second, its a nice break from the trainers and cold weather of the Wasatch front.  And finally, its a great chance for teammate to get to know each other or reconnect from the long winter break from racing.  (Its also a chance for PIE!!)  We hit all of those goals and set the tone for a great season to come.

I also had the chance to ride my first pair of Diadora cycling shoes.  I'm on the top of the line Jet Racer and I was very impressed.  I'll do a full review on Thursday.

A HUGE thanks goes to all of our sponsors: Harristone, Sun Valley Mortgage, Excelerator Sports, PRTI, The Bike Shoppe, Chick-fil-la, Intermountain Health Care and the Cache Valley Women's Center.  Without these awesome sponsors, our team and these trips wouldn't be possible.

Here's to an awesome 2013 racing season!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

DNA/Plan 7 Women's Cycling Team - Winter camp

This past weekend I had the privilege to spend a few days in St. George, UT with some of the best cyclists in the West.  The DNA/Plan 7 elite women's cycling team the weekend bonding and training in what has become a rite of passage for Utah cyclists.  While the weather could have been a bit better, it was leaps and bounds better than the blizzard experienced in the Salt Lake Valley while we were gone.  I had a few goals for the weekend, which included hosting an awesome trip for the team, buying a lotto ticket and eating some banana cream pie at Veyo Pies.  I got two out of three!

The weekend began with a short ride out to Sand Hollow Resevoir and then on to the Zions National Park gate.  A bit of cold and some wind didn't deter the group and the riders broke in the weekend with a solid 3 hours.  I took in half the ride with the team then headed back to town to meet with some shops and sell some shoes, tires and wheels.

My favorite shop in St. George has to be Bicycles Unlimited.  The owner is one of the nicest guys I've met and his staff are awesome. I mean, they stock Mountain Dew in the shop!  How cool is that?

I also had to check the brakes on the van.  Turns out I just needed and adjustment and a fluid flush, so I was back on the road safe!

The riding continued on Saturday with a soaking wet tour of St. George.  The plan was to ride Utah Hill all the way to Mesquite and back, what would have been a 104 mile epic.  But the weather was the limiting factor with cold rain much of the day.  So we scrubbed the Mesquite ride (and my lotto ticket) and rode out to Sand Hollow again, but this time went up to Toquerville and came back along the east frontage road long I 15.

Polar CS100 Cycling Computer (with Transmitter Belt) (Google Affiliate Ad)

The ride was only 50 miles, but it took 5 hours.  The rain made for slow riding as did the 14 flats incurred by the group.  I was actually having a blast in the rain.  I felt like a kid getting all muddy and dirty and with the flats we ended up having an epic ride even without going to Mesquite.  It was awesome to have a sag vehicle the entire ride.  Thanks to the guys from Competitive Cyclist for driving the slow, wet and cold route!

Sunday came with much better weather and we took in the Gunlock/Veyo/Ironman/Tour del Sol loop.  We had a smaller group than the previous day and I was worried Veyo Pies may not have been open on Sunday.  I'm not the best climber, so "the wall" along this loop is tough, and it was even tougher not knowing if I was going to get pie at the top or not.  Huffing and puffing I made the climb and continued on to Veyo.  I actually shouted for joy when I saw the "open" sign at the pie shop.  Miracle!!  It was open and my St. George trip tradition of downing some banana cream along that ride continued.  Some in the group had never partaken of the creamy goodness that is Veyo Pies and others were doubtful it was a wise mid ride food choice.  But the doubters are now believers and the bike racks in from the the pie shop will continue to be filled throughout the year.

So, I managed to provide and awesome trip and eat some pie.  While I was sure it was my time to win the lottery, we'll have to put that one off a bit.  We got in some great mellow miles and the team had a chance to relax and gel and get ready for their new season.  Tomorrow, I take my team, Harristone/Sun Valley Mortgage, for our annual expedition to St. George.  The weather looks to be much better than last weekend with sunny skies and temps in the 60's!!  We'll get in some more miles and it will be my first time on the new Diadora Jet Racer shoes I'm now repping.

Get out and ride!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Late Training Tuesday

About this time of year, things get pretty routine here in northern Utah...cold, smog, indoor riding, but lots of good skiing.  Its also the time of year where many Utah cyclists make annual pilgrimages to St. George for some fair weather riding.  I'll be making 2 trips this year, one of which starts tomorrow.  I'll be hosting the DNA/Plan 7 Women's Cycling Team for their first official training camp and then my team, Harristone/Sun Valley Mortgage will be down there next weekend.

Showers Pass Elite 2.1 Waterproof Cycling Jacket - Men's - Gold In (Google Affiliate Ad)

These trips make for much needed outdoor miles.  The highlight really is the annual stop at Veyo Pies for a mid ride pitstop.  While 400 calories of banana cream deliciousness may not be the best fuel for the job, it does more good for the attitude than anything.

There will be some great riding taking in Utah Hill and the Ironman Loop.  We usually get out to the Zions National Park gate as well.  We always end up coming home feeling fresh and rejuvenated and ready for the first UCA race of the season back down in SG.

I'll be back on Monday with a trip report so enjoy your week and weekend!