Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This blog today is 2 things - it is very hard for me to write but also the best for me to write and share. There are people that change your life - if you are lucky enough to see far ahead, not be selfish, focus on what you are good at and supposed to do, and just do it. Nate Wilson has been one of those people - in my life. I am ridiculous coz when I think of him leaving I cannot stop crying. SORRY Nate. I am not trying to embarrass you. I started coaching in 2003, it was the fall my mom passed away from cancer. My mom was my biggest fan in my cycling. My Dad never seemed to understand cycling = me. He does now. I admit I was fairly neurotic back then with my sport - some of which I am not proud of. My mom came to my races - I thought she would be here forever. But one day she fell - and after going to the hospital she had cancer pretty much all over her body. I was out on my bike when I talked to my Dad about it - my life changed that day. She didn't live much past being diagnosed with cancer. That fall I realized life doesn't last forever. I grew up, fast. I had been racing my bike and waiting tables. Pierre used to tease me about having 2 graduate degress and tossing shrimp for a living. I loved the bike.

So 2003 I sent resumes everywhere and actually got hired on the spot. I worked 3 days as a personal trainer and realized this was NOT me. Then started in with a company coz they had a VO2 analyzer - and having a M.S. in physiology and loving the "science" of training - this was a good start. But after bout 1 month I again needed more - and so in 4 mos I started my own biz. I spent every penny I had on a VO2 machine. Bike racing does not teach you how to "coach", any better than books. I think really athletes and working with athletes teach you the most about being a coach. Their needs harnessed with their dreams coupled with the coaches science of training and performance. I know racing as a cat 1 seems to have given me more than what the books did - but truth is, it is the books and real life experience combined, that enable me to make it as a coach. So I started as a coach - but I still had so much to learn. I may go back to school once more (and it will be in CO or the west damnit!) for sports pysch. There is ALOT to being a coach. The training part is easy - with power and HR and RPE - that part is the easy part. But getting an athlete stimulated for a great ride - is what matters. Despite a bad week of training or coming back from an injury or stress on the homefront. When you line up with a number on, it is Game on.

So - back to Nate. I started coaching Nate many yrs ago. I can think of so many rides we did together - the 100's of repeats I made him do on Hunter Station (and yes he hated them). I had only been coaching a short period of time when I started working with Nate. And what made it so real - was his desire to exceed. Despite ALL odds. Despite he was on the small side. Despite he had been dropped in many races. He was smart and analytical. He was very caring towards his fellow man. He read alot about training - and all along our relationship - he always questioned me and asked me intelligent questions. The friendship and the trust just happened. That now is very special to me. I had dinner with the Wilson's last nite - kinda our goodbye dinner as Nate takes off tomorrow - and I told him the truth - which is that he gave me as much in developing as a coach, as I gave to him in his cycling career. This is rare. I have some other athletes that have this energy as well - that they give to me. It allows me to grow as a coach and person. It is kinda funny to me that I was always kinda shy in school - and now I coach. It is alot of 1:1 and I thrive on this. So the development came from both sides - the room to grow and adapt and advance.

Tonite I am testing Nate - he has been on spectacular form. I wanted him to be peaking in July - kinda from Fitchburg > Nats. He did have a hard day in the Crit Nationals - but other than this one day - he has been "on" for about 2 mos. This is kinda unheard of - a long peak. Him getting the win at Millersburg was perfect. I knew he was going to win and soon. He was hating 2nd place. And you have to hate it enough, to win. Congratulations Nate. I can tell you I have been honored to work with you the past 5 yrs - the memories are something I shall cherish forever. I will make sure I make all the future jrs do as many if not more repeats on that damn hill Hunter Station. I know you are going to make it - and as your parents also feel, noone could be prouder of you than me, them. It is about being a winner OFF the bike as well as on. That makes a great champion. I have so many pics I coulda put up - they are from Jim Wilson and Linc Brookes. I love the one of Nate sprinting. I rode with Nate on Tuesday for an easy spin and riding beside him - to have a memory of him from yrs ago to the Nate of him riding beside me that day - I was in awe of what he has developed into. Not coz I was his coach - but that he never gave up. Not ever. I knew he never would - but to actually see it all come true is ... what to say. I don't know.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mt Hood

My days of vacation are closing out. Back very soon. Though cannot wait to see my dog. I miss him. Yesterday we did a fabulous ride. It was a stage I had done in the Mt Hood stage race 3 yrs ago. Up to Lost Lake. Amazing roads. Super narrow - less than one normal lane, pines everywhere, orchards and wineries in all the distant views. These roads out here are similar to what I did in Europe many yrs ago. So narrow and winding and they kinda beat up - I LOVE them! It is just so spectacular - where bikes were meant to be ridden. This is the dilemna I face in NVA daily. I love to ride a bike - but there is few roads to ride - unless you drive out. It doesn't fuel my soul. My work does - thank goodness for this. Just getting into my athletes trials and training. But I do struggle daily with that part of my soul that needs to be fed, by narrow roads and wildlife and no cell signal and seeing ALL the stars. Not just 2 or 3. One day, after my work is done in NVA I will be in a place where I can see all the stars and feel the quietness of living where cell phones don't work. I am not anti technology - I love it as much as anyomne - but it is being able to shut it off. This is hard to do in NVA. Naturally I should say.
So the revisit to riding the roads to Lost lake, at a MUCH slower pace - was so nice. I actually felt good, which is kinda rare anymore (esp on climbs). I woulda used a 27 in spots but just "muscled it" as I tell riders to do. There is always a time and place for muscling it - one of these times is when you need a 27 but only have a 25. What is insane is that in all my yrs of racing, when I was fast, I never had more than a 23. I have NO idea how I did this. But all those yrs at Killington and Manyunck - well I remember Dede Demet/Barry having only a 21 so I felt like a wuss. With my 23. Like I said I like technology.
The day before we climbed Beacon Rock. Pierre is pictured with his neice Erica. Pierre was able to get together with all his family - all his siblings and parents. Wonderful, coz it has been a while since he has seen all of them. Me - I am just loving every sec of being in the wild west. And getting in some terrific bike rides. It is the most I have ridden my bike in any one week. Yeah!!
Today I am feeling kinda lazy - may be from the big breakfast I just ate. Last nite in Mt Hood was great! Another great brewery - Double Mountain - really laid back and live music. Oh yeah - forgot to mention this part - there was like 5 bands playing - where you walk to downtown and sensational music. We had a beer and delicious pizza, then went to check out more music. Ended up at The Pines which had 20 musicians who were tight - I did some dancing and man do I suck. I used to play music and have to find my guitar again. My body too used to riding a bike and I need some work - in dancing. Big time. But I decided I do have to either play the violin and/or guitar again. I love music too much to not. In Reston I don't know where to go to listen to live music. It is incredible to just walk one mile, see all the stars, have a beer and super pizza in a place that basically has no rules (Pierre said it was a place like your own home, which it was, where you have your friends over for a beer and pizza), dogs allowed everywhere, get up and have 4-5 bands playing and you can pic. Then walk home - I have to take a pic of these stairs (it is like 10 flights of stairs into one). Small town. WITH so much culture and creativity and people say hi and are kind. I always ask is this coz I am on vacation so my stress load much less?? I don't know. I know the athletes I work with are super cool and this is what I thrive on. This is 100% what keeps me in NVA. But after Nate, S Black, S Kendall sign a contract with Garmin, I may call it a chapter and open the next one. I need turn out some National Champions first and cyclocross pros - this the chapter I on now and I love it. Just seeing all the stars is magic, this cannot be denied.
Ciao. I am off to find some local apple pie - this is the purpose of my ride today. Mt Hood is fruit-ville. I cannot believe I am hungry already. All this vacationing makes me starving.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Now this is the life - living at the spa

Howdy - my dog is not going to want to come home.
He is with the Wilson's and now he even weighing in!! Man I have trained those Wilson boys well. They even have my dog on the routine. Thanks Avery! Nate! He does look pretty damn trim - awesome. You have more willpower than me - he cracks me and I give him too many pupperonis.
Life in Mt Hood is awesome. Pierre's family is super cool - they live life. We had a BBQ las nite and the moon was coming up right over the house. We did a hike up Beacon Rock and the view was super. Pierre's neices and nephews are bad asses - could ski like 20 mtns before I got down one bunny slope. Today we are rding to Lost Lake. We did this in the Mt Hood stage race - but I didn't see anything coz the race was tough. I was sick at the time and how I got through this race I don't know. There is a OR book of cycling in the Gorge Valley and Heidi Goldberg is in there!! racing the crit. She took 4th that day - it was a really hard crit and she had chased on after crashing. It was impressive.
That all for now - I have to get dressed. Not sunny here which is very rare. Ciao.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Crater Lake paradise

Last day in Bend, for now. Next year we have alot of unfinished business.....yesterday we traveled to Crater Lake (thanks Reed for driving us there - I really wanted to go!) - it was about 1.5 hr there (bit longer on the way back coz they were working on the roads). Steven, Pierre, and m rode our bikes round the loop - it was about 32 miles an 3800' of climbing. I LOVE to climb even though I now slow - it just works. For so many disciplines. It was not too steep - so real good strength work. So hard to duplicate this in NVA.

We had the cooler packed with only the best of foods - Mimi I am bringing you back a bottle of the XXI. WOW! We didn't open it til we got back - we all having too much good outdoor fun. Crater Lake - breathtaking! You come up the entrance road and I couldn't believe it was REAL. That it wasn't a poster. Just incredible. While we rode bikes Reed did a great stroll to the lake, went for a dip, and took a nice hike. Excellent. I have seen everything I wanted to see while here in Bend - next year we all have to go to the top of Mt Bachelor. I was wishing all of us had gotten to Crater Lake - another label for 2010. It was amazing. Today we pack up and head to Mt Hood. To stay and visit with Pierre's family. We there for 5 days and then back to VA. Has been one hell of a trip. I have been pretty bad about working - I have to start doing more today and this week. Getting lotta training plans out. Sometimes you just have to tune it all out - the noise. Makes me so much more creative when I tune it out and actually think/ see. I am focused on where to do the training camp Dec-Jan 2010 - wanna try find something in San Diego area. Find some new mts for the riders besides Mt Lemmon. Plus I have a house in Toulouse for 10 days - this may be a spring camp for us. Oky ciao for now - Nationals 2009 was the best yet and much more to come. Yeah!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wrapping up 2009 JR Nats

Well Jr Nats has come to an end. It was a week I share cherish always. These guys (and gals) out here racing put on a show. It is just so cool to be a part of. Below is Steven Black on the podium - he took 3rd in the crit - it was such a exciting crit. He had been off the front much of the race, thought he had won the race about 23 laps in (outta 50), recovered the grim laps hanging far too far on the back (I swear this is the hardest to watch sometimes), recovered, narrowly escaped going down in a crash, took a free lap, got back in, and then was off again going acros to the break which looked like it was THE move. It was the move, the 2 person break went down to 1 guy (Max who won the RR on Thursday). Steven and another guy bridged up, made contact with about 6 laps to go. They only had an 8 sec lead the whole rest of the race. Every time I saw the break Steven was on the front (NOT what I wanted to see). I knew this guy Max was smart - and knew how to use his breakaway mates (as he did with Nate in the RR). He told Steven something to the effect if he lead the lasp lap - he wouldn't sprint. Well HE did sprint and Steven was cooked -

but Steven stayed off for 3rd. It was SO exciting a race. These guys RACE. I mean really race - there were moves going ALL the time. This is what I love. I don't see enough of this back home. Actually real racing. Nate was tired. I knew when I saw him lined up at the back - perhaps mentally he was abit tired. He has been firing for over 1 month now - and after having done the Cascade Classic PRO race, I knew sooner or later it was going to hit. No athlete likes this - but all athletes can only stay on top for so long. I keep telling him what he has done in one year is beyond my expectations - but sometimes hard to see "out" when you inside being the athlete. This is what the coach is for. Nate - I don't have words to say how proud I am - of what you have done. It is all right in front of you now. You just have to LIVE IT. Keep doing what you do with the attention to detail, focus, determination, and sheer heart that you have. It is coming you way. That contract. Enjoy the ride. I know hard to understand this when you 18 and hungry.
Zack Allison was racing the U 23 - he is pictured above. I coached him in the early years - miss working with him, as I do with anyone I coach and who moves on. Kevin Gottlieb is pictured below with Steven Bk. Kevin was very sick about 4 weeks ago. He managed to race for me down in KY and raced brilliantly in the tour of Red River Gorge. He had been very sick. He did well out here - maybe not quite the legs he normally has. So hard when an athlete's rhythm gets knocked off. To get it back - when peak in race season. I feel for him, for Blair right now - who broke his jaw and right when he was peaking, for Jen Rasmusson - who broke her collarbone when she was flying. So hard. There is nothing I can do. Cept tell them to stay ++ and their day will come. This sport is so damn hard. So hard - there is no money in it, there is only our joy on days when we have great legs. The days that the legs suck - and this is ALOT - just in the day to day training - well we keep plugging away. Wanting it to go our way on race day. Why I hope Nate can see just what an extraordinary year he has had.

Nate is on the flight home. As are the Kendalls. The Kendalls had a rough go. Steven who I know is a champion had some bad luck. He suffered in the heat on day 1 - his RR. Day 2 the TT - great WU and I know he was ready - he borrowed a disc which didn't work well. It kept skipping - and time trial is getting in the zone getting the rhythm, listening to legs and lungs, and I cannot imagine how frustrating it musta been to have a disc that was skipping. We did a prelim ride on it - but under alot of strain the chain/cassette did not mesh. He still finished a very respectable 10th. Nate took 9th in the TT - which on the day was very good. Steven's last race the crit - which is his race - saw more bad luck. He went down in the first lap, bent his RD - which I didn't know. He got back in the race, then with one lap to go he chased down a solo guy who was off - it was a terrific move - one which I thought coulda won him the race - if he had done it on the next lap. But he only had a 15 and the finish was super fast - so he was trying to get away. The course was 85% down hill with a short up - so too many fresh legs in the pack and he didn't have a chance. Add to this that Brad Kendalls bike was stolen - the Kendalls got screwed by Fed Ex shipping bikes >>> rough go. Everything WILL be okay - but sometimes life is not fun.
Our last nite we had a Bedrock Bungalow block party - between the Cha Cha, the Rumba, and the Jitterbug. The Kendalls, Blacks, Wilsons, Gottliebs, and the coaches P and me. We cooked pasta and had different sauces - Reed can COOK!!! no wonder Steven wants him at all the races...Steven likes to eat..... it was awesome. It was we could all get together and toast what a week it had been. Was fantastic.
Yesterday most of the group took off, the Blacks are here for 2 more days then go to CA for Disneyworld; P and I also decided to stay on for 2 more days then we head to Mt Hood - to spend a few days with Pierre's family. Yesterday post crit and all the goodbyes, P and I rode to Redmond. Very nice ride - but we couldn't find the right road to come in on - so had to take highway 97 for 20 miles in. There was a vicious storm blowing in - the lightning is the most sensational and scary I have ever seen. My legs were pretty blown from having ridden the 95 mile ride the day before (up to and around Mt Bachelor - where we also ran outta water and there is NO shade and NO 7-11 every 2 miles). Coming back in the highway I thought sure I would die. But I didn't. I just don't have the legs of past - and being caught out in the real wild west with big trucks going by, lightning that looked like it would take out the city of Bend, legs that were sucking bigtime, man - I got home and had a glass of wine while I was still alive... okay it wasn't that bad but I did crack on he way home. Like a real wuss. Maybe this will give me some form so my juniors don't KILL me on the rides every Tuesday. They sure do now. Keep it up juniors.
Reed and Pierre went to Trader Joes to get supplies for our trip to Crater Lake. I am excited!! We are going to take our bikes and ride the rim. I wanted to stay on, here in Bend, just to have a few extra days but I feel we don't take enough time to HANG anymore. Just BE with friends. Esp back there in crazy cell phone, net, land of NVA. The pace is way too high - in places it doesn't help any of us. I don't want life to pass me by coz I been online for 10 hrs every day and don't get to see a big smile from Steven Bk as he discovers some real stuff. Life is too damn short. My mom passed away - far too early. I never thought she would go that soon - it woke me up. I am thankful I fell in love with someone from the west - Pierre - coz time slows down in the west. It is where I will be one day. The pace is too crazy fast back east. So we headed to Crater Lake and I hear it is beautiful.
Juniors that I work with - I love coaching you all. I am determined to produce some National Champions and I know I can. I know Nate is going to make it, and several others that work with - if THEY want, are going to make it. I thank my parents for the sheer will they gave me - to never give up. Maybe improvise at times - but never quit. Modify here and there - but go for it, 100%. This is what I love doing and creating. Learn from each other. I have some screaming fast 13-16 yrs olds coming up the ranks now. I will be back here for sure - to JR Nats.
That it for now. I have some training plans to write. Our road season is coming to an end, and I am thinking of off season and cross and reaching goals for 2010. It has been an incredible year for me as a coach, but I feel I am only getting started. It is weird. I have learned so much of what I need to work on, as a coach, in the last 4 weeks. Being at BIG races. Seeing exactly what I need to focus on FOR the athletes. I felt this at Gila this past April - being there with Blair and Nate. What I have to train, how, when - just getting more and more dialed. How to guide all of them/the athletes for perfection. Power meters and HR- there is SO much more to it than this. So much heart and soul involved. This year as given ME so much. Thanks to all the people that support what I do.