Showing posts from June, 2015

Summer of Sweat: Part One

Mon, June 29th, 2015 (Englewood, FL) - I love training. Not more than competition but there is a real sense of purpose that comes from pushing yourself to a new level with a clear goal in mind. This is my second day of an eight week build up to the fall Cyclocross season. Last year I tried CX for the first time and fell in love. It combines all the things I love about Mountain Biking with all the things I enjoyed about BMX Racing. Last year I could only afford to do 4 races but this year I have sponsors and a schedule. A little help goes a long way.
As for the process, I'm already sweating. Weighed in at 175.6 and will check that number as the summer goes on. I have a series of conditioning exercises plus CX riding blocks all lined up on my white boards (Of which I have 3). I'll be keeping careful track of RPE's, nutrition, hydration, miles and hours on the bike as well as personal records for each exercise in my home gym. I plan to suffer, OCD style! It is crazy hot ever…

SCORR Builds a Bridge

Sat, June 27th (Venice, FL) - Remember that pesky water crossing on the BoldyGo trail in the Carlton Reserve? Well, it's still there but you no longer have to get your feet wet. A trail addition has been added that bypasses the creek and the steep rollers but reaches a newly built wooden bridge that spans the water farther upstream. Hoorah for trail progress!
A dozen members of the Sarasota County off Road Riders (SCORR) carried an 800 pound log, equal to half a telephone pole, through the woods to a selected location. This pole was used as the core of the wooden bridge which was built on site. The bypass has been cleared and will allow riders to choose the hard route over the rollers and through the water or the easy route over the bridge. This bypass will be especially useful in the deeper summer months when the water crossing becomes impassable.
Yours truly was on hand to help out and I also managed to take a full array of pictures that show the construction process. You can s…

Book Review: On Top of Your Game by Carrie Cheadle

After a couple epic fails during XC mountain bike races I thought I might need a little psychological boost so I picked up Carrie Cheadle's book, On Top of Your Game. I heard about the book during an interview she gave to Mountain Bike Radio. In the book, the author addresses common mistakes that athletes of any sport can relate to but I found them to have relevance for bike racing. The premise is that while we all prepare physically for our sports, we tend to forget about the psychological aspect until something goes wrong. Her book contains a series of mental exercises that can alleviate such problems, mostly by fixing our focus in the right direction.
Luckily I'm long past the anxiety shakes that hindered my first few races so there were chunks of this book that didn't apply to me. However, there were some gems that hit my issues right on the money. One was my tendency to create "Secret Goals." The author defined that habit as the hidden agenda that we carry …

Summer Hibernation... sort of?

Where is Alex? This year kicked off with a ton of riding, racing and travel. Having competed in 9 races and took part in more than 20 events plus group rides, it is time to rest. Right now I'm enjoying a week off from everything. I will start an aggressive CX specific training schedule next week. It will consist of short blocks of riding and exercise which I will be writing about.

Florida summers can be brutally hot! With no AC in our car we're not taking any trips in July & Aug. Instead we are saving our pennies for the upcoming Cyclocross season and for a new car.
So stay cool, stay dry and I'll see you all in the fall.
I want to thank my sponsors Bicycles International of Venice, Luksha Reconstruction and Sixsixone.

Spending the Night at Santos Campground

June 10th, 2015 (Ocala, FL) - Hotels are expensive! You'd think that with all the complicated websites created to help you find the best deal, the price might actually go down. So much for technology. We haven't been on a camping trip in about five years. It was time to drag the tent out. Granted summertime in Florida is not ideal for camping but with a little luck you can get away with it. A few days before our trip the air conditioning in our car died. So much for luck.
It was my wife's vacation so we were not going to let anything stop us. I went through Reserve America to pay for a site at Santos campground and then I signed up for the Hump Day Hustle race on the Santos Bicycle Shop website. On the big day we were blessed with many miles of overcast skies with intermittent rain which cooled things down for the long drive. The normal 90+ weather can drop 20 degrees in a good storm.
 Once arriving in Ocala we suddenly realized that we had forgotten our pillows and blank…

Breaking the Curse: My First Race at Santos

June 10th, 2015 (Ocala, FL) - Ever since I moved to Florida I've done very little cross country racing because, well, I've been cursed. I'm fine when it comes to endurance or gravel grinders, BMX or CX racing. For some unknown reason I can't get through an XC race without something going horribly wrong. At my first race: I crashed out. At my second: I had a mechanical on the start line. At my third: I had an asthma attack during the first lap. The Finals of the Hump Day Hustle was to be my fourth race and I was fed up!
This time I was taking precautions and altering expectations. I was studying sports psychology to change my focus. I was training with weekend rides that exceeded 50 miles. Learning from the past I would not sprint off the line blowing out my lungs. I would not exceed my red line. I would not attack until it favored my strengths. This time I was determined to change my fate.

The race started at the Santos Bicycle Shop and kicked off at 6:30pm with a lar…

Photos from the Hump Day Hustle

June 10th, 2015 (Ocala, FL) - The final event of the Hump Day Hustle mountain bike race took place under cloudy skies with a light sprinkle of rain. More than 100 riders gathered at the Santos Bicycle Shop where they took donned a number plate and lined up for a night of fun in the mud. On a fast course with many miles of singletrack, racers had to step on gas and keep it pressed all the way through. Those with the biggest engines found themselves on the podium.
While I entered the fray, my wife Terri took pictures which included pre-race, race, podiums and later series podiums which were awarded at Mojo Grill. Click the link below to see the photos. Feel free to tag yourself and others. Make sure to 'Like' Bog Dogs Secret Stash.
Photos from the Hump Day Hustle Finals