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Woolly Bike Race – 2018 Race Report

woolly bike race

The Woolly Bike Race has traditionally been the kick off event of the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series and draws a nice crowd of racers into the St. Croix River Valley. This was my first time racing the elite class for any type of XC series race. It’s also my local trail and as of this year, I’m also a board member of the club. Cyclova XC, the shop that I am part owner of was also the title sponsor of this year’s race. There is a lot of great stuff going on in the St. Croix River Valley. It’s really a unique place with a ton of potential to grow silent sports even more.

My kids had a ball with the kid’s comp race. I rode out to the various trail sections to check on them and I could hear them giggling, laughing and chatting as they rode through the trails. That was their first time doing one of the kid’s comp races vs the free fun race. They are excited to do some more of them, so we’ll likely be at more of the Minnesota Series Races this year.

Course

woolly bike race

Lap 1 of the elite race and actually I think lap 1 of all races except the comp class skipped West Ridge on the first lap and just followed the tree line around the High School. The start of the elite race was crazy fast and I can’t imagine what would happen if we tried dumping into the woods right away. We were bottlenecked and rubbing wheels all the way around the school, over the road and into the first short section of singletrack that connects to the bike path as it was. Something I really wasn’t prepared for.

woolly bike race

Lap 2 hit the full lap, so entering West Ridge was basically the start of lap 2.

We covered all of the trail system except for Riegel Park.

Gear and Nutrition

Gear

I’m riding a Trek ProCaliber 9.8SL this year. It’s pretty much stock except for a different stem and 15mm riser bars. I’m still playing around with some different fits on it and had just swapped out the bars and stem. I’m used to riding full suspension, but I really like the ProCaliber and am liking the simplicity of the hardtail. I’ve mentioned this to a few people, but the Woolly trails in particular might have just enough chatter in them, that I’m not sure if the hardtail is faster than full suspension or maybe it’s a wash. I love how the ProCaliber climbs and the IsoSpeed does help soak up the vibrations to the body if you’re in the saddle over some of the minor trail chatter vs other hardtails I’ve ridden.

I did get a new helmet the day before the race… Bontrager Starvos with MIPS. It’s a road helmet and only a $99 helmet as well. The fit is great, I really like it and will be using this helmet for all my riding for now. It’s the best fitting and most secure fitting helmet I’ve owned and I’ve had some pretty nice Rudy Project Helmets in the past to compare to.

Nutrition

I’m trying out some new things this year and went with 2 bottles of Scratch on the bike. I also taped 2 gels to my top tube for emergency. I should have just carried 1 bottle and took a hand up, but my wife was volunteering during the race and wasn’t guaranteed I’d be able to get a hand up. I did leave a 3rd bottle of Scratch with my wife just in case, which I ended up grabbing at the start of the 4th lap. I also took 1 of the gels, maybe 3rd lap or so. The Scratch seemed to digest well and didn’t load up my gut. I also didn’t feel like I was starved for fuel either, especially with throwing down the gel.

I also just ordered some Infinite Nutrition into Cyclova to try out as well. I was using Carbo Rocket last year, but I’m going to keep trying out some other options. The Carbo Rocket was working well for the most part, but I still had some issues here and there with it; especially in the heat.

Race

Lap 1

I lined up a few rows back, putting me closer to the back than the front. Even at that, the race was a really fast start and I wasn’t prepared for the aggressiveness of it. The elite race skips west ridge on the first lap and I can’t imagine what would happen if we actually tried to dump into west ridge. We had some bottle neck points just getting around the field and tree line behind the school. I ended up drifting back quite a few spots and did not get a real good start.

I knew at this point I had some work to do for a top 20 finish, which is what I told myself I would be fairly happy with, based on what I had seen of this field in the past. I did make up some ground when we got into the trails and reeled a few positions back. Based on sorting the lap splits from the results, I ended up coming through the first lap in 24th position.

I never really warmed up my legs other than about a mile total ride around the side streets before the start, so my legs were in a bit of a shock the entire first lap, but I was getting comfortable by the end of it.

Lap 2

I made up some ground early on lap 2 and picked off a couple spots in West Ridge and maybe another one out in Reigel Park. My legs were warmed up and I was feeling good now and seemed to get into a rhythm in the trail. I never could get in a train going down the Gandy Dancer and was always ripping it solo.

I would have people start to catch me on the Gandy, but I know the Erratic Rock climb well and could usually pull back away going up Erratic. I think lap 2 is when I set a bunch of PRs for the various Woolly trail segments set up in Strava.

The other thing that was happening in lap 2 is that the trail was just crumbling in some sections because it was so dry and it had been ridden so many times now with all the other races going on. It was crazy dusty and loose. Big Oak is one of those segments that is fairly flat, but with a lot of twisty tight turns. It was loose, slippery and unpredictable… but I still set a PR on my second lap through it.

I ended up coming through the 2nd lap in 21st place.

Lap 3

I got a little nervous in lap 3 when I had the hint of some leg cramps kick in. I hate that feeling… I don’t know exactly what my issues have been, but I’m guessing it has a lot to do with my diet. I also get myself dehydrated as I go through the day and realize I haven’t been drinking any water. I think I’m drinking too much coffee as well.

Anyway, I proceeded with caution through some of lap 3 as I was unsure where these leg cramps were going to go and lap 3 ended up being my slowest lap. According to the lap splits, I got passed somewhere during lap 3, but I really can’t remember where that would have been.

I remember getting caught on the Gandy by a guy right at the entrance of Erratic Rock, where he made the pass. We didn’t even get to the first left hand turn and I was on his wheel. I gave him a chance after the turn and then asked to pass and he didn’t move. We got to the flat and started up the next loose section and I needed to get around him and found a place to pass. I never saw him again by the time I got to the top of the Erratic Rock Climb.

I came through lap 3 in 22nd place and was feeling good to head into the last lap.

Lap 4

I rode a strong 4th lap and was able to reel back a few positions throughout the course. The course itself was getting crazy loose. I’ve never seen it that dry and dusty. Some of the off camber spots were just falling apart they were so dry and loose. You really had to be careful in some of the corners.

Anyway, it felt good to have the legs to stay in it at that pace for another lap and then reel a few people in on the last lap vs being depleted and falling back in positions. I was tired, my legs were going in and out of some cramps, but I was able to regulate my effort enough without dialing back to much and kept the cramps at bay. After the race, they never came back again either.

I ended up coming through the finish in 19th place out of 39 with a time of 2 hrs and 17 mins and a little over 13 minutes behind the winner Jeff Hall and just over 7 minutes from the 3rd place podium spot.

Final Thoughts

I’m still trying to register in my brain how and where I could ever pick up 3+ minutes per lap, which is how much faster Jeff Hall was per lap. That is a ton of time and hats off to Jeff for what he does out there. He actually had a 2 minute lead over 2nd place Brendan Bellew, who had a 3 and half minute lead over 3rd place Samuel Berkland. This put me over 7 minutes away from any podium spot.

I think I might do more of these races this year. I think it will be good for me and since they are on Sundays… it is likely going to be the easiest racing for me to fit in this year as it is a little easier for me to be out of the shop on Sundays. It was nice to do some racing again.

Race Data

woolly bike race

woolly bike race

woolly bike race

Strava File

Reference Links

Race Links

Minnesota Mountain Bike Series

Race Results

Woolly Bike Club

Endurance Path Links

Endurance Path on Facebook

Endurance Path on Instagram

Steve on Twitter

Steve on Strava

Cyclova XC Links

Cyclova XC website

Cyclova XC on Facebook

Cyclova XC on Instagram

Cyclova XC on Twitter

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Loppet Duathlon – Winter’s Last Hurrah!

The Loppet Duathlon was an unplanned event for me, but a fun one at that. My involvement was spurred on by Ben Mullin as a little end of snow season fun showdown where I stand no chance against Ben on skis, but have a little leg up on him with the bike. Mike Halverson was also in on the fun. Again, I have no chance against Mike on the skis, but a little leg up on the bike. Things played out accordingly, where I got my tail handed to me on the skis. I was able to make up some time on the bike… just enough to catch Mike right before the finish, but not nearly enough to catch Ben.

Course

Total lap distance was less than 3.5 miles or close to 5.5k. I usually don’t get too geaked up about lap style races when it comes to mountain biking, but this was a fun course for both skiing and fatbiking and nice to see spectators around the course. With that, it was a nice course for spectators as well. The course itself wraps around a golf course.

We did 2 laps on skis and 2 laps on the fatbike.

The course was hilly and made you work. My elevation gain came out to just over 1200 feet over the 4 laps that totaled 13.2 miles.

Ski Segment

I lined up at the back as I knew I had no business mixing it up at the front on skis and I was right. We took off and I was sketchy. The snow was icy and unpredictable. Plus, I can’t ski worth a darn anyways. We all started stretching out and I found myself in the last handful of people. Someone told me that small ski races are much different from small bike races… Saying that bike races tend to have folks of all abilities, but small ski races are typically made up of people who are good skiers and serious about it.

Anyway, I spent the entire ski segment near the back of the field. Through about half of it, I kept finding myself behind somebody that was overly cautious on the downhills but faster than me on the flats and about equal on the uphills. I couldn’t seem to get around them and found myself having to hit the brakes all the time on the downhills. If I could pull my technique together a bit more, I would have been in a whole lot better shape.

I finished the first lap in 29th place out of 33.

On the second lap of the ski, I actually had a biker pass me that was on their first lap already… I had actually been lapped. There might have been 2 bikers that passed me. By the time I finished my second lap and hit the transition zone to grab my bike; I think there were only a few bikes left in the transition zone.

I was going to start the bike segment in 30th place out of 33.

Bike Segment

I jumped on the bike and got rolling… It was a bit weird going from ski to bike, but I was in my happy place and started my chase. I would pick out a rider in front of me and then chase them down, make the pass and then start chasing the next. I had a lot of ground to make up, but I was never going to chase back toward the front. The guys at the front that were good skiers, were also good bikers.

I made up 5 places on the first lap working my way up to 25th out of 33.

At some point, I think at the start of the second lap… I almost had a washout, which cause me to react with a twisting of my legs or something that fired up the leg cramps. I think I rode the rest of the second lap with my muscles locked up on my right leg from the knee down. I was still able to keep making up ground and kept reeling riders in.

At the end of it I think I ended up making back 10 spots, but almost lost a couple of them back at the finish. I had made a pass and didn’t realize these guys, 1 of them being Mike, had stayed on my wheel. I usually sprint for the finish regardless of whether I’m by myself or not and good thing I did or I would have lost both of those places right at the finish line.

I ended up finishing 21st out of 33 with my last lap on the bike being the 5th fastest lap time on the bikes.

Race Summary

Although part of me didn’t really want to go to this as I was running short on time… I am really glad I did and had a lot of fun with it. I probably should find some more stuff like this to do during the week that is low key and a fun workout. I’ll likely plan on this one for next year again if it happens. I thought it was a nice way to finish off the ski season.

Reference Links

Race Links

Loppet Duathlon

2018 Loppet Duathlon Results

Endurance Path Links

Endurance Path on Facebook

Endurance Path on Instagram

Steve on Twitter

Steve on Strava

Cyclova XC Links

Cyclova XC website

Cyclova XC on Facebook

Cyclova XC on Instagram

Cyclova XC on Twitter

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Old News… February’s Recap

instagram

This is about 2 weeks late. I started it over a week ago and just never got back around to it, but figured I’d finish it up and get it out there.

I have been able to race a couple times in February, but I have been sinking as far as time goes and I’m starting to fall behind on just about everything now. I have a lot going at the Cyclova shop right now that I’m trying to work on, which is pretty much taking up most of my time whether I’m at the shop or not. I have a lot of things I want to do with it and my mind is running 100 mph non stop. Anyways, here is the February update…

Podcasts

Again, I have not recorded any new podcasts this month, but I do intend to keep them going. I am closer to working out a schedule that I can dive back into my Endurance Path work a little more by late spring. I will get some audio out of my races for sure and I am lining up some special guests again. In the meantime… You can catch up on old episodes.

Listen on Google Play Music

Listen to Stitcher

New Race Reports

906 Polar Roll – Fatbike Race

polar roll

January Training Summary

february

Cycling

February Mileage – 184 miles

February Duration – 19 hrs, 35 min

2018 Mileage – 388 miles

2018 Duration – 36 hrs, 13 min

February was a great month of riding! I got out on the Woolly Bike Club Trails a handful of times and also put in a few structured workouts on the trainer. I’m not following any specific trianing plan right now, but I was a little purposeful with some of my rides and trainer workouts to be somewhat prepared for the Polar Roll. I hate that flat legs feeling at a race. It worked out well and I felt like I was in decent shape for Polar Roll.

My peak ride time during the weeks leading up to Polar Roll was about 6 hours for one of the weeks. I’ve said this in the past, but I feel decent about my results for the amount of ride time I am actually putting in. That being said, I would like to up the anty a bit. We’ll see what I can work out schedule wise as I will need to start ramping up my trail running game to prepare for the Wilderman in July.

Take-aways

  1. Just getting out and doing some trail riding on the fatbike was huge for my bike handling.
  2. A couple longer fatbike trail rides helped figure out my on bike nutrition – I’ve ditched the hydration pack and went to bottles (at least for fatbiking).
  3. A single hot lap, just over 30 minutes on Wednesday before the race was really great to make sure my legs were alive and ready to go. Although, it might have been a little too much effort or a day too close to the race.

Running

February Mileage – 0 miles

February Duration – 0 hrs

2018 Mileage – 24.9 miles

2018 Duration – 3 hrs, 51 min

I did ZERO running in February…

Take-aways

  1. None

XC Skiing

February Mileage – 41.1 miles

February Duration – 6 hrs, 23 min

2018 Mileage – 65.8 miles

2018 Duration – 9 hrs, 47 min

I picked up 2 more ski sessions in the month of February to try and figure things out before the Birkie, for a total of 4 ski sessions this year. Less than 2 hours of my ski time was accumulated in those 2 sessions. I might actually get some roller skis to mix things up this summer/fall and be better prepared for ski season.

Take-aways

  1. I loved the Birkie and want to do more skiing.
  2. I really need to figure out how to ski efficiently. I have a good engine, but looking at pictures and watching others… I look like a mess when it comes to form.
  3. When I originally started out on this fitness path, I really just wanted to be in good enough shape to go do stuff like this on a wim and I can certainly do that now… But, I also love being able to push further, so I’d like to figure this skiing thing out and see what I can do with it.
  4. I have no regrets about not training more for the Birkie. I loved it, got to experience it and see what it was all about. It was awesome to go out to an event like that and have almost no expectations for a change. But as I mentioned above… now I’d like to see what I can do with it and move up the waves.

Totals for All Disciplines

Total February Mileage – 250.6

Total February Duration – 23 hrs, 53 min

Total 2018 Mileage – 250.6

Total 2018 Duration – 23 hrs, 53 min

Strength

Push-ups and Pull-ups are my main deal. If I’m short on time, I’ll be swapping reps of those. When there is more time, I’m adding in Romanian deadlifts and rows. That being said, I’m doing about the bare minimum right now.

Nutrition

I’m heavy and need to cut some weight before the summer. I’d say I’m about 8 to 10 lbs heavier than I want to be. I’m actually the heaviest I’ve been in a few years, which is about 160 – 162 lbs.

Upcoming Events

March 10, 2018: Fatbike Birkie

March 15, 2018: Loppet Duathlon

New Race Registrations

I added another race to the schedule. It was actually just a last minute registration for Fatbike Birkie.

March 10, 2018: Fatbike Birkie

Gear

Not a lot of new gear this month, but I did get a pair of Bontrager Velocis Halo S1 Softshell Bibs. They rock! I used them for skiing twice, fatbiking and raced with them at Polar Roll. They say for above freezing, but they are perfect for race intensity down to some really cold temps.

I’m becoming a big fan of the Clif Blocks. I used 3 of them for Birkie with just 1 bottle of CarboRocket and then water from the aid stations and they just worked out really well. I seemed to digest them well and the packaging makes them super easy to use. I’ll be using them more in the future.

Cyclova XC Bike, Ski & Run Shop

The shop is taking up a ton of my time right now, but working on a lot of good stuff. I just brought in some new bikes. We made a ski order for next season – yes, we are going to continue on as a ski shop. I’ll be bringing in another round of new bikes soon along with more accessories and clothing options.

Here is the shop’s blog/website: www.cyclova.com – A new site is in the works!

Personal Training

I work out of the following gyms, plus offer virtual training/coaching over the web, phone or in person for local folks… Contact me for availability.

North Branch, MN Snap Fitness

Typically available Mondays and Fridays, plus other random times throughout the week by appointment.

Rush City, MN Snap Fitness

Typically available Mondays and Fridays, plus other random times throughout the week by appointment.

St. Croix Falls, WI Snap Fitness

Typically available Wed and Thursday morning

Virtual / Remote – I also provide Personal Training & Fitness Coaching services for non-local or non-gym goers through phone or web video sessions. If you are local, I can meet in person for sessions or a free consult.

Instagram Account

A few pics from the past month…

Link: Endurance Path on Instagram

instagram

On To Next Month…

Thanks for following along. If you have any questions about anything I shared, feel free to hit me up using my Contact Me page.

-Steve

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Lessons, Fun, Pictures And Videos From 4 Days Of Mountain Biking In Cuyuna Country

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I just got back from 4 days of mountain biking at Cuyuna Lakes Recreation Area and had a few lessons that I learned in the process of a lot of fun.  This was my third time riding Cuyuna, but my first multi-day visit.  I did some riding with my wife and kids along with some of my own riding.  I rode both my Fat Bike and my full suspension Cross Country Bike and put in just shy of 90 miles of riding over the 4 days.

Fat Bike

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Up until now, I really hadn’t spent much time on my Fat Bike (Specialized Fatboy Expert) since winter.  I took the Fat Bike out one of the mornings and realized what a great workout and different riding experience it was as a summer cross country trail bike.  The bike is fully rigid, so it is not nearly as cushy of a ride as my full suspension cross country bike (Felt Edict NINE 3), but I run the tire pressure down to around 10 psi and it soaks some of the smaller stuff.

Bottom line is the Fat Bike is definitely more of a work out and putting 20 miles in the Fat Bike is like riding 30 plus miles on my Cross Country Bike.  I can get a better workout in a shorter period.  The Fat Bike also seems to work out the upper body more since it is fully rigid and it takes some additional upper body effort over the rough stuff.  Not to mention, there is a lot more rotational mass to throw around the corners that later made my 29er cross country bike feel like a 26 inch skinny in a corner.

Some other notes about the Fat Bike, is that I feel like I can climb anything with it.  It’s a lot of tire to get rolling but once it’s rolling you can gear down, stand up and just grind up any grade you want.  It feels like the traction is unlimited, even in the loose stuff.  Then there are the corners…  I definitely feel like I can push the corners much harder on it.  All around, it was a joy to ride on the trail in the summer and I will be spending more time on it for both training rides and fun.

Gloves

Up until last year, I had always worn fingerless gloves.  After a minor low speed endo while riding Porcupine Rim out in Moab last spring, where I shaved the skin off 2 of my finger tips, I decided full finger gloves might be a good idea.  Over last year, I got used to them and actually came to prefer them.  They seem to fit a bit nicer and don’t move around as much.  That being said, I rode with my fingerless gloves again and after going back and forth, the heat dissipation is so much nicer on the fingerless gloves that  I will probably switch back to fingerless for racing and hot weather.

Hydration

I seem to struggle with hydration in the past and would cramp up really bad.  I had started taking a Calcium supplement the last few months, along with using Himalayan salt on my eggs in the morning and my body seems to be absorbing fluids much better.  Cramping has just about disappeared completely.  I bring this up, because it was fairly hot the one day that I put in around 35 miles and I didn’t need to drink nearly as much water during that ride as I have in the past and never really felt like I was getting dehydrated at all.

This is really good, because during the Lutsen 99er last year, I went through three of my 100 oz Camelbak water bladders, plus a water bottle.  I think I can get away with much less water during the Lutsen this year.  Also, I am sure that the weather will be hot for the Maah Daah Hey and having a well hydrated body going into the race will be massive benefits over what I am used to.

Recovery

I usually struggle with recovery because I have a hard time holding back sometimes on a ride.  I’ll end up overtraining and just tearing down instead of getting stronger and then have to take a couple days off.  Now that my kids can handle the single track, I can get out on a recovery ride and pace myself behind them.  It’s just enough to keep the muscles moving, but not working hard.  It is only a matter of time though, before they make me work for it to hang with them…  That being said, riding with them on the trails is teaching me how to lay back, have fun and just cruise through the trails.

Fun

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Cuyuna is an extremely fun place to ride for all levels of riders.  There is a paved path, some beginner trails and some good technical stuff for Cross Country riders.  I spend a lot of time on my Road Bike since I can ride from the house and don’t always get the fun of just getting out on the trails.  Spending a few days camped trail side really added some fun back into the sport for me and the family since we didn’t have to pack up and drive 45 minutes to a trail.  We had a great time and will definitely plan future trips back to Cuyuna for a few days of riding.

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Endurance Path – March 2014

March was a pretty decent month.  I started feeling better, we had some nicer weather and I was able to get outside more.  We also took a road trip to Moab, Utah to do some mountain biking and hiking.

Lessons Learned

1)  Time flies whether you are having fun or not.

2)  I should have started cross country skiing years ago.

Training

March was definitely a better training month for me than February.  I was feeling much better and kept up on a short morning workout for most of the month.  We have also started to have a few days of warmer weather, making it a little easier to get outside for some exercise.  Not to mention, I took my family to Moab, Utah for some hiking and mountain biking.  In general, I’m feeling pretty good right now, but have a lot of cardio work to do before the Lutsen 99er in June.  I came up with another short workout to do in the morning before work to focus on leg and core strength.  I will share some of these workouts in the future as I get this site developed.

Cycling

I’ve been wanting to visit Moab, Utah for years and it finally happened.  This was a great opportunity to see how I was feeling on the bike at this point.  I only got a couple of hard rides in, but they were a couple of hours of riding.  I can tell that I have a little better leg strength than I did last year and was able to make some pretty good climbs.  I rode with my wife and kids, but was able to break away to do some riding on my own a few times.

Trails ridden:

Dead Horse State Park – Moab, Utah

Intrepid

Big Chief Loop

Pair

Whiptail

Twisted Tree

Prickly

Sand Flats Recreation Area – Moab, Utah

Slick Rock

Porcupine Rim

Klondike Bluffs Area – Moab, Utah

Jasper

Agate

MOAB Brands Focus Area – Moab, Utah

Lazy

EZ

Rusty Spur

Cross Country Skiing

We also made a weekend trip to the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan where I was able to do some cross country skiing.  It was extremely frigid that weekend, but I am really enjoying the skis.  I was also able to hit another trail here in Minnesota as well.  I only have a set of beginner classic skis right now, but I plan to get a set of skate skis as well for next year.  I may even try to enter some type of event.

Trails skied:

Swedetown – Calumet, Michigan

Maasto Hiihto and Churning Rapids – Hancock, Michigan

Big Rock Creek Farms – St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin

Running

I didn’t get much running in, but the weather has started to warm up and I did manage to get out a few times for a short run.  I felt really good and was running the same pace that I ended up finishing last year with.  I don’t really have anything on the agenda as far as running events go this year so far, but I will continue to mix a little bit of running into my training.

Nutrition

I have started to get my nutrition back on track during the month of March.  It really is nothing more than a decision to eat better.  My wife also found some good dried fruit and granola packages that was very helpful for the between meal snacking.  I have moved back to the smaller meals and eating more often.  I’ve also cut down on the starches and fats and upped the protein foods.

Events

I did not sign up for any new events this month, but have start looking at a few others that I could use as training events or that would just be good events to compete in.

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Endurance Path February Review

Well, February came and went faster than I could blink an eye.  My activity level was pretty low.  My whole family came down with the flu and I was working a lot of hours.  I did take on a new sport, cross country skiing and loved it.

Lessons Learned

1)  Time flies whether you are having fun or not.

2)  I should have started cross country skiing years ago.

Training

I did get my morning strength training in for about half of the month.  I traveled for 2 of the weeks of February and did manage to get some exercise in on the first trip.  The second trip, was an 18 to 20 hour work day and admittedly, I did not get any exercise in.  My whole family ended up with the flu about halfway thru the month as well, which knocked us off our feet for a little over a week.  I did get a set of cross country skis and did 5.5 miles on my first time out.  This will definitely play a major role in my winter exercise going forward.  I really enjoyed the skiing and it was a phenomenal workout.

Nutrition

My nutrition also fell off the map this past month and there really is no excuse for it other than weakness.

Events

Cystic Fibrosis Climb for a Cure in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Outside of that, I have not registered for any new events.  I have a lot of work to do in the next few months to prepare for the Lutsen 99er.

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Endurance Path January Review

This is my first Endurance Path monthly review, so it might be a little rough.  As I make progress on this site, I will get a better idea of what I want to share in each monthly review.  I think it is important that I write up an update from the month to review any new things I learned, stuff I am working on, training activities or events.

Lessons Learned

1)     I could actually develop my own workout program, and will.

2)     I can still get faster running.

3)     Working out in the morning before work is just a decision.

4)     Don’t try to push too hard through an old injury.

5)     Never fails that eating crappy food will make you feel crappy.

Training

I did the Les Mills Pump program in the past, and I started the month off by doing the 3rd month of the program in the evenings.  The Les Mills Pump workouts were 3 to 4 days a week.  Mid January, I switched it up and started putting together one of my own strength training workouts in the morning and rotated through various cardio workouts off and on in the evening.  My evening cardio workouts were either the treadmill or the Insanity Fast and Furious 20 minute workout.  I intend to keep up the strength training for another month before tapering it off and honing in on the cardio.  I will probably have to invest in an indoor trainer sooner than later.  I have a cheap trainer from Dick’s Sporting Goods, but it is really hard to dial in and feel natural on it.  It’s been a really cold winter here in Minnesota,  and it might be a while before I can do some serious trail riding, especially since I do not own a Fat Bike.

Regarding the injury; it wasn’t really a big deal.  Last year, I hurt my shoulder and had to take a few weeks off of strength training.  I felt it coming back again and probably should have slightly backed off immediately, but I kept the same reps and weights going.  I ended up having to take 3 or 4 days off, when I could have just backed off slightly and probably been fine.

Nutrition

My nutrition is doing ok right now.  I have to admit that I let my nutrition go downhill during the fall and through Christmas.  It wasn’t necessarily the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays that did it for me, but not having an event out in front to keep my focus got me a little lazy.  I don’t know why I let that happen, because I can tell  that I just don’t have the energy that I should when I over eat or eat crappy foods.  Now that I have some events out in front of me and have started this website, I have some things to focus on to help keep my nutrition honest.  I am learning that those fun foods just don’t taste nearly as good I feel by eating right.

Events

Registered for the Chequamegon 40 Fat Tire Festival Race Lottery.

Registered for the Lutsen 99er.

Both of these events are huge for me.  I did the Chequamegon last year and I am looking to drastically improve my time this year.  As far as the Lutsen goes, I don’t know exactly what to expect, other than a long day of pushing through the pain and getting up the climbs.  This will be my Epic event of the year.

Blog Posts

Moving Forward In 2014

Do Something Epic This Year

2014 Training Ideas

Training While Traveling

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Moving Forward In 2014

Who is looking forward to 2014?  I’m working on planning out the events that I want to participate in throughout 2014.  I have found that the best way to ensure that you will keep on your training or fitness path is to go ahead and sign up for some events that you can look forward to and know that you need to be ready for.  I have some lofty goals and ambitions, but I am trying to figure out what is realistic.  I’m really torn.  I would like to get in to some long distance running events, but I also want to keep progressing in my cycling.  I’ve been jumping on the treadmill these past few weeks to see how I am feeling on my feet, but I am not sure if I will add some long distance running to the mix or not.  These are the events that I have in mind right now:

MS 150 Bicycle Tour – Duluth to Minneapolis, MN

Lutsen 99er Mountain Bike Race – Lutsen, MN

Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival 40 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Cable, WI

Copper Country Color Tour Road Bike Tour – Hougton, MI

Wild Duluth Races 1/2 Marathon, 50K or 100K – Duluth, MN

 I will need a lot of training to complete some of these events, but I feel having a big event out there is what will keep me focused.  I’ll be 35 years old this year and I have this thirst for endurance and pushing myself.  I want to see how far I can go.  There are many many people that are faster and can go further distances than I.  I think this is the year for me to find out what I can really do.  At the end of 2014 I want to be able to say that I accomplished some things for the first time.  I want to knock some things off that bucket list.  I want to do something “Epic” every year.  Life is too short and I want to cram as much in to this life as I can.  After getting back in shape the last couple of years, I don’t want to stop.  I am just at the beginning of my Endurance Path.

What are some of your potential events for 2014?

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New Trail Rides In 2013

I had a great year of discovering new trail systems. I can’t wait to ride these trails again in 2014 and add another set of new trails to the list.  I’m not going to turn this post into a trail review, but just want to share the new trails that I was able to ride this year.  Please contact me if you have any questions about these trails and leave a comment if you have ridden these trails in the past.  I will start with my favorites.

Copper Harbor Trails – Copper Harbor, MI

I was able to ride Copper Harbor twice in 2013.  This is an awesome trail system to ride with many different types of riding.  Copper Harbor is now an IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) Silver Ride Center.  I will definitely return to ride Copper Harbor again, especially since they are working on a new Keweenaw Point trail.

Cuyuna Lakes – Crosby, MN

This is another set of great trails that offer all types of riding.  I spent an entire day here, trying to ride all of the different trails and still was not able to hit all of them. Cuyuna Lakes is now an IMBA Bronze Ride Center.  I will make it a point to go back and ride Cuyuna Lakes again in 2014.

Lebanon Hills – Eagan, MN

I will return back here as this was a great trail for the family.  The short loop was perfect for my 5 year old and my wife and kids were able to hang out at the trail head on the skills course while I went for a longer ride.

Maasto Hiito and Churning Rapids – Hancock, MI

I rode out here a couple times in college, but the trail system has grown and not much of it was recognizable to me, so I had to consider it a new trail system for me this year.  I will be back in 2014, especially since it is so close to family.

Woolly – St. Croix Falls, WI

Great local trail that improved each time I rode it.  I’ll be back riding Woolly again in 2014.

Hanson Hills – Grayling, MI

I finally had the opportunity to ride here.  I am from Michigan originally and had always wanted to ride this trail, but had never gotten around to it.  I’m glad I did, it was a nice set of trails that you could carry some good speed on.  I was also able to get my son out on the trail for a couple of miles.

Elm Creek – Champlin, MN

This trail ride was the most memorable for me as it was the first trail ride for my 5 year old son.  We did the small green loop which was about 2.5 miles.

Michigan Tech Trails – Houghton, MI

I rode these trails all thru college, but they are completely different now. There was only a couple short sections that were recognizable, so I had to consider them a new trail system for me this year.

Human Powered Trails – La Crosse, WI

My kids enjoyed the little pump track near the parking area.  This trail system has a ton of potential.  There is some great terrain and there is not much other mountain biking in the area.

Rock Lake – Cable, WI

I went specifically to ride the IMBA Epic Loop.

What new trails did you ride this year?