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Ramblings: Searching for 5th Gear

By May 23, 2012March 22nd, 2017No Comments

t was great to get home after being on the road for so long, get back into more regular schedule, and to cook for myself instead of eating out all the time! It’s funny how when we’re home, going out to eat is a treat but when you’re on the road a ton, how you long for a homecooked meal! Since the Ridgeline Rampage, I haven’t done any racing. I’ve been trying to conserve and do training blocks for stage racing; my bread and butter this year.

I’ve changed some things up in the last 2 months with help of my coach, Jason Hilimire. In the past couple years, I trained, but I didn’t really “train.” That means I’d go ride and when I felt good, I’d ride hard. When I didn’t, I’d ride easy. I rode lots of singletrack because that’s what I love, but I wanted to get faster. I started working with Jason and Fascat Coaching almost exactly one year ago. It’s the longest I’ve ever worked with a coach. It honestly took me awhile to get used to it and to give him my full trust, but now I love leaving it in someone else’s hands and not second guessing it. I’m happy with my results so far!

If you want to get faster, you can’t keep doing the same things over and over and expect results. Our bodies are too smart and adapt quickly. So… I’ve been trying to train what I avoid – my high end. 5th gear. I can ride in 4th gear allll day long. It’s my sweet spot, my 100 mile pace. I notice that I struggle at the starts of races and would blow up at almost every race the last 2 years. The distance would be long enough so I could recover from my mistakes at the start and still get on the podium but I wondered what I could do if I could hang at the start. This year, I want to start faster and not waste time being blown and painfully waiting to come back around. The biggest race that sticks out in my head from last year is Park City Point 2 Point. I ended up 3rd in a stacked field, but spent several hours riding so slow that I wasn’t even sure I could physically finish. Instead, I’ve been training more like an XC racer and doing shorter intervals during the week (and short intervals mixed into hard rides during the weekends). I can do 20 minutes hard efforts all day long, but the short, violent stuff is tough, although it’s getting easier. I’ve really been enjoying my Cycleops MTB powertap because I can really see my gains every few weeks. It’s awesome to see quantifiable results and to also compare to last year. Right now, I’m where I was in September after a race season last year! Good stuff… hope I keep improving! When I first started doing intervals again, I hated it. Now, I like it. It’s a challenge – can I hold that wattage for that amount of time? It gives me more solid goals to shoot for instead of “go faster.” Motorpacing is always good too… although I don’t do it enough!


Repeats! If you want to follow my training, I’m on Strava here. This was a day I did 53 miles and 10,100′ of climbing!

I’ve also had to shift into 5th gear in my daily life. I admittedly have overloaded my plate for the next 2 months. It’s all really great things I’m looking forward to, but great things take a lot of work. My writing gig has been really good lately! I just had a piece come out in Women’s Adventure, will have some pieces on, and have a piece coming out in Switchback Magazine. Jeff and I did a couple REI Nepal presentations too. Those were fun to relive the experience! I also went to DFW (Texas) for work, and spent time there through the weekend to see my cousin and her family. Things with Ergon have also been very busy and productive for us! Our saddle finally came out too!

Now I’m down to the wire. I leave for Germany in less than one week. I’m going to be visiting Ergon Internationalin Koblenz, doing a photoshoot in Frankfurt, and racing the Trans Germany. I’m trying to focus on one thing at a time, but I’ve also been getting my travel plans set for the BC Bike Race which will be a few weeks after theTrans Germany coupled with a work trip to Seattle. It is fun, but time consuming handling all travel details, especially in foreign countries! After that, I’ll get a 6 week block at home to get ready for Leadville.

I also went to an event the other day for an upcoming new stage race in Haiti in January. I got to give a little speech on what it’s like to race in rural areas of foreign countries.

More info on this race to follow… basically it’s 2 days of racing and 2 days of community service. I like this idea. More than just a bike ride!

Sorry for the lack of photos. My camera got very tired after the Yak Attack and broke! I’m going to get a new one this week.

Dreaming big, training hard, and very thankful for the opportunities this year. Hopefully I knock ‘em dead!

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