Ken Woods Memorial Road Race: Koen’s First Official Race

Ken Woods Memorial Road Race: Koen’s First Official Race

The 2016 Ken Woods Memorial Road Race in Cannon Falls, MN on Saturday was Koen’s first USA Cycling sanctioned road race. At 10 years old, Koen has been riding his bike with me for the last 5 years and he has also competed in a couple of time trials, duathalons, and family fun races. However, this was the first race that felt like the “real deal.” He had a timing chip strapped around his ankle, two numbers pinned to the back of his jersey, and a group of kids his own age who he would be competing against head-to-head. This would also be his first race for the NorthStar Development Team.  Koen and his best friend Cole arrived at the race course shortly after I finished racing in the morning wave of Ken Woods. I could tell immediately that he was inside of his own head as nerves were clearly present. Koen has gotten better over the years, but he still puts an immense amount of pressure on himself in all areas of his life. It’s really hard to know what he is thinking before a big event. As all three of us warmed up, I tried to keep the atmosphere light and give the kids as much advice as I thought would be helpful. We rolled down the finishing hill to give both boys an idea of what they will face during the last two miles of the race. Both of them did great, but I could tell that they were thinking about how this would feel after racing for 12 miles. After the warm-up and course preview, we loaded...
First Crit of the Year (Tuesday Night Worlds at the Fair) 4/12/2016

First Crit of the Year (Tuesday Night Worlds at the Fair) 4/12/2016

It doesn’t matter how old I get or how long I have been racing my bike, the first crit of the year always brings butterflies. Did I put in enough training over the winter? What new riders are going to show up and really make it hurt? Am I going to stay off the ground? Tuesday night worlds at the Fair is a series of races in Minnesota that occurs every Tuesday evening, surprisingly, at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. It’s nothing too exciting, but it is a great way to tune up the race legs for more important weekend races later in the season. Having just been fitted on my new Specialized Allez Sprint X2 with at BG Fit less than a week ago, I wasn’t feeling 100% comfortable on the bike yet. So far I love the way that it rides and handles, but it just takes a little time for it to feel like an extension of your body. Our race was the last of the evening in the Cat 1/2/3 Field. There were roughly 64 riders and we kept it pretty hot for the first few laps. My legs felt good and I was confident moving around the field. It’s amazing how quickly it all comes back. With Sprint Points on the line every four laps, I decided to go at the first opportunity. With a race like this it’s all about dosing your efforts and I was happy to grab a point for fourth over the line without having to kill myself. However, on the lap proceeding the sprint, I hit a pothole and my seat...
Trying to Beat my Best at 40 with the help of TrainerRoad

Trying to Beat my Best at 40 with the help of TrainerRoad

Testing out a New GoPro and Documenting a Week of Winter Training Over the last four years I have spent far more time with TrainerRoad than I have with most of my teammates. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or bad thing, but it’s a reality. As a self-coached competitive cyclist, who is also a suburban dad and husband, I love designing a training plan in December and then doing my best to stick to it all winter long. As I have mentioned many times before, TrainerRoad suits my personality perfectly. I can establish a training baseline through a threshold test, determine a timeline to accomplish my goals, and then select and tweak a training program aimed at meeting those goals. I think I would go crazy if all of my training time was spent on the bike, so I try to also include a fair amount of strength training and yoga. I have always loved lifting weights, so strength training is a joy to incorporate into a workout plan. However, even though I know flexibility is crucial for a 40 year old cyclist, a few yoga sessions per week is the element of my plan that is by far the most difficult to stick to. The week that was documented in this short video (January 25-31, 2016) includes just over 11 hours of exercise. That is a pathetically low number in comparison to an elite cyclist as well as many riders I race against each year. However, it’s what I can afford and it works for me. I spent roughly 8 hours working through the second...
Specialized Fatboy Loop to the Coon Rapids Dam

Specialized Fatboy Loop to the Coon Rapids Dam

If you don’t own a fat bike and you live in Minnesota you’re doing it wrong. Where were these things when I was a kid? Of course there are times when it’s too cold to ride, too icy to ride, or it’s thawing and riding would ruin the trails. However, for those times when the air is crisp and the snow is crunching underneath those fat tires, it can be one of the best feelings in the world. Koen and I both purchased Specialized Fatboys last season and I still count mine as the most fun bike I own. We made full use of them all summer long, but there’s something about using them in the conditions they were built for it really makes it worthwhile. This short video is just our quick adventure to the Coon Rapids Dam in Brooklyn Park, MN on a frosty late afternoon in February. I have a GoPro Hero 4 Black on my handle bars and a GoPro Hero 4 Session underneath my saddle. I threw all of the footage together in Adobe Premier CC with a Ground Control Hangtime 2 filter....
Some Thursday Night Lights Training at the NSC Velodrome

Some Thursday Night Lights Training at the NSC Velodrome

Last night marked the third Thursday Night Lights of the 2015 season at the NSC Velodrome. However, this was only my second night of racing on the track this season due to a couple of conflicts last week. The weather was absolutely perfect and my parents and aunt and uncle had driven up from southern Minnesota to watch me race at the track for the first time. Even at nearly 40 years old, I always appreciate having some family in the stands. I’m sure this added a little additional motivation to my legs on the night?  Thanks for making the trip up from Mapleton! The Cat 1/2 field was pretty light with only 10 riders taking the rail for the evening’s slate of races. On tap for the group was a 12 Lap Tempo, Miss & Out, and 60 Lap Scratch Race. This was a very similar schedule to Week One, so I was really hoping I had learned what not to do to be a little more successful this time around. Warm-Up I am really starting to understand the benefit of a solid warm-up (after how many years of racing?). It seems like the longer and more structured my warm-up, the better I tend to do in races. I pushed the pedals on the trainer for nearly an hour last night with 3 five minute hard efforts, several single-leg drills, and a few high rpm bursts towards the end of the warm-up. I am trying to find a routine that works well before the North Star Amateur Crits in less than two weeks. 12 Lap Tempo The first race...
How Super was the Erik’s Super Demo at Devil’s Head Resort?

How Super was the Erik’s Super Demo at Devil’s Head Resort?

I have been looking forward to the Erik’s Super Demo at Devil’s Head Resort in Baraboo Wisconsin since it was announced a few months ago. During this mid-May weekend in the past, I have raced Almanzo or Wheels on Willy. However, the opportunity to spend some non-race time with teammates and fellow bike enthusiasts while test riding the latest and greatest road, mountain, AND electric bikes on some amazing roads and trails seemed much more appealing this year. Five members of the Erik’s Regional Road Team made the trip out to Devil’s Head Resort for this inaugural event. Matt, Andy, and I left around noon on Friday and Ben and Laszlo were able to leave after work. Since three of us arrived at the resort around 4:00, we immediately “kitted-up” after check-in and headed out to spin-out our legs and explore the local roads. The official bike demo did not open to the public until 10:30 on Saturday. I am no climber, but in non-race situations I love the opportunity to push the pain threshold and get outside of my comfort zone. It wasn’t very far into our ride before the road tilted up and I was dropping down to my “granny gear” in an attempt to hold the wheels of Matt and Andy. Ha! Let’s just say I’m glad they were being kind. Having had bad luck with flat tires already this season, I wasn’t too surprised when I got to the top of the Tower Rd. climb and blew the sidewall of my front tire. I was luckily able to use the “dollar bill in the tire trick” and...

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