Why I love to Coach?

I placed this exact post in my "tips" content but I felt it was so wonderful and so true to why I coach, that I wanted to place it here, in the "Blogs" section. This way no one will miss it.

Why do I coach? Some days this question is simple and other days it seems like a hard question to answer. But the biggest reason is, that I believe we progress through life because we set goals. We do what it takes to accomplish our goals. Determination and dedication towards our goals set in motion a path of learning what it takes to accomplish a goal. That's life. Our experiences in life help us reach our fitness goals and our fitness goals help us get through the many challenges of our lives. 

I recently received this heart felt email from a client I was coaching for several years. Over the years we worked together to help him achieve many mountain bike (racing) goals. It's wonderful when I get to work with an athlete for many years to see improvements year after year. Yup, this is why I coach. Thank you Joal.

"I am a tough client. I have no time. I grind myself into the ground. I need to know “why”. With this in mind, Michelle took me under her wing and provided heart-felt guidance that I feel goes beyond coaching. Her knowledge is superb (as tested time and again), her patience is amazing and she knows just how hard to push to maximize results. Successful coaching requires more than just setting up a schedule for intervals and long rides (who knew). Successful coaching, as I learned through the support of Michelle, centres on supporting the whole individual through hard training cycles and personal trials & tribulations. What a great recipe for success! It allows one to excel both mentally (oh so essential in racing) and physically, in life or on the race course. I wouldn’t have hit the podium consistently without her".

The Road to Paris

I never thought I would live that long. So I just crammed things in. I rock climbed and mountain climbed and ice climbed and raced my bike. I still worked, it’s just that I had… It’s not like I lived this life where I thought I would be around forever. You should do what you want to do first, and then you can always work till you die. So I kind of always lived that kind of life.
— Michelle Grainger

A while ago I was asked to do an interview for BLDRPPL. I had no idea they were keeping the full interview, but there you have it. What started as a way out of a series of disasters and death turned into a new way of looking at life and gratitude. 

Get your popcorn (it's long!) and listen/read to the full interview here

New Athletic Excellence website launches for Cycling Coaching

Hi All.

It's finally here. My new website. Yahoo!  Thanks to Becca and Angie at Riverandlark web development company, Go check the new Athletic Excellence website out.

                                    Becca teaching me how to use my new website.

                                    Becca teaching me how to use my new website.

USAC Mountain Bike Certification Distinction and a busy summer, indeed!

                  Pete Webber showing USAC Coaches how to teach mountain bike skills

2014 started a little slowly for Steve (husband) and me. We still had a lot of flood repair proects to do after the 2013 flooding. We started the new year being very grateful that we were alive and that our pets were all doing OK and they, too, made it through the flooding and mudslide. Still, riding a bike seemed miles or months away for us.  I'm happy to say we have still been able to do our jobs, fix the home/property and get back into some mountain biking and road riding, specifically some randonneuring.  We still have plans to make it to the 2015 PBP http://www.paris-brest-paris.org/index2.php?lang=en&cat=accueil&page=edito

                                         Night  riding is just one aspect of Randonneuring

                 My athlete on his way up to race in The Breck Epic 6 day MTB stage race

Yes, it certainly has been a busy summer and most of my athletes are now in full swing of their summer cycling and racing goals. As I write this, one of my athletes from Canada is racing in the Breck Epic 6 day MTB Stage race  http://breckepic.com/about-the-race/ and is on the third stage of the race. Another athlete just finished The Leadville Trail 100. http://www.leadvilleraceseries.com/mtb/leadvilletrail100mtb/. Yes, a great summer for mountain biking!

Not to leave out my road athletes. I've had two athletes do Iron Man races this year. One athlete raced in the http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/lake-placid.aspx#axzz3A8G1U768 and another in the first ever (and biggest ever IM) in Boulder Colorado. http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/boulder.aspx#axzz3A8G1U768.

Next on the summer list of rides is the http://www.hauteroutepyrenees.org/. Brendan from the Channel Islands and will be doing one last big push and then a taper leading into the end of August. Big goals means big fun and challenges.

One of my accomplishments this year was taking a second USAC distinction certification course. It was great fun taking this coaches course from Peter Webber. I now hole two USAC Certification Distinctions. One in CX and the other in mountain biking. It wasn't enough that I raced professionally for over 10 years on the mountain bike. It really helps to take skills clinics to brush up on new information or techniques and skills to pass on to my athletes.

That's all for now. I'm off to look up some race results and give some more tips to my clients and athletes. Thanks for reading.

Leaville Traill 100 Mountain Bike race. August 9th 2014.

                                     The FIRST Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race.

With only about 340 racers the first year, we had room to take any line we wanted or needed.

Once upon a time ... my good friend Lorraine Forcina called me up and told me about this cool 100 mile mountain bike race. The only other race we knew of, like this one was up in Oregon. Of course we would go to Leadville. We never knew then, that this race would become the race of all races to define ultra distance mountain bike racing.


It was the most amazing race I had ever done. It defined my career and moved me on to all sorts of ultra distance mountain bike events and races. Moving my goals higher and higher to set records on the sister 100 mile races, The Vail 100 and The Beaver Creek 100. From there my goals moved on to  The Cape Epic Stage race and 24 hour racing with podium finishes around the world. Yes, the throw back days of The Leadille Trail 100 were the days I remember as the start of a fantastic mountain bike career. Thank you Ken, you changed my life in so many ways and I am so proud to have been a part of the early days. You are my kind of people!

A little Ken history as told on Wikipedia:

'Race co-founder Kenneth Chlouber, an avid marathon runner, conceived of the race as a way to make Leadville famous and bring visitors during a period of economic downturn. When he told the local hospital administrator about his idea he was told, "You're crazy! You'll kill someone!" Chlouber responded, "Well, then we


be famous, won't we?" '


Back in those days I was coaching and racing as an Elitie and soon to be professional mountain bike racer.  The Leadville Trail 100 taught me a lot and it helped me coach many great athletes to bigger and badder goals and races. Including myself.

As I would still coach someone today, being on the course as much as possible is key-knowing your course and planning. All summer long I/we went up and trained on the course. First doing sections of 25 and 35 miles at a time. Then about 4-6 weeks out we would do half of the course.  Then, I would stay at altitude a lot for the last 3 weeks. I live and sleep at 7,000 feet but I have asthma and the Leadville course is/was very hard for me. I needed to train like I was going to climb a mountain. I was climbing a mountain! So that's how I trained.

A lot has changed and the promoters and qualifiers are different too. But, the race is still the best in the world and the toughest for many. It takes dedication, determination and a good attitude (at altitude) to get through it.

If you're racing in it this coming Saturday, good luck. You've done your homework and now it's the week to rest, do some intervals (short and sweet). Get yourself mentally prepared. Mental preparedness

is at least 50% of the battle.  Good luck out there and remember Ken's famous words. "You're better then you think you are, you can do more than you think you can".  Ken those words are coming in pretty handy these days. Thank you!

Iron Man comes to Boulder Colorado. Alicia Brillon (my good friend and client) will race in the August 2nd Boulder IM. We never thought an IM would come to Boulder, when we took this photo shortly after Alicia moved to Salt Lake City.

                                                  A great mid to late summer tip:
                                                             Mental Preparation

Competition mental preparation are critical factors related to success in races and in life, in general.

My client/athlete, Clare Zecher finished the Lake Placid IM last weekend and found herself in a predicament. Not only did the officials have to "dump" the second swim lap and T1, Clare had a major wheel mechanical on ther first bike loop.

Most racers would have been out of the running (no pun intended) and given up. A dream lost after so many months of preparation. Not for Clare. She had a mental plan ready and she transferred what she was intending to use for/on the race to the attention needed to stay calm why neutral support helped her with her mechanical. Staying calm allowed her to use up some nervous energy when finally getting back onto the bike and make up some precious time. By the time Clare got into the run, she was calm and back on track and stayed in the moment. Clare did a PR on her run and came in under 12 hours. Way to go Clare!

Alicia also has a plan to stay focused while racing this weekend in Boulder.

Here's how to stay focused.

Use this great tip for your Boulder IM race (this weekend) http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/boulder.aspx#axzz393YxExfJ
or use this tip for getting through another racing event, a tough day, or use this tip/technique for . It's a good lesson to "live in the moment". My best races and training events are where I practiced staying in the present moment. It's also called "The Zone" or some call it "The Flow". Try it.

(1) Use the time leading up to your race day having a well developed competitive routine. These few days are not just for physical recovery. It's about a mental plan, too.

(2) Have before hand and say positive affirmations all the way up to the start of the race.

(3) Practicing and thinking about these mental preparedness techniques will allow you to get into that state of mind quickly, while otherwise you may expend precious energy being nervous.

(4) Bring yourself back into the moment when you find your mind drifting during your race/event. Use a practiced key word that will allow you to pay attention to what you are doing in that very moment. Be in each and every moment. I use the work "go".

Good luck everyone. Be mindful of each and every moment.

And a big good luck to Alicia and good work Clare.

My Sister Lynne needs help and support. She was diagnosed with ALS.

My very courageous and loving and funny and smart twin sister just went courageously public with the information that she was diagnosed with ALS. I commend her and love her with all  of my heart.


This has been a very hard thing for Lynne and for our family. It's been a challenge to say the least. We hope to get enough funding to go out of the country for stem cell therapy, which has the best chance to stop the symptoms and reverse the ALS. I know-some people will say we are chasing dreams. But we have researched a lot and because Lynne also had cancer last year she can no longer be considered for clinical trials.

Lynne is the best part of me. She is funny, smart, imaginative, innovative, creative and more...


She has been working at throwing her whole life's savings at treatments, therapies, alternative and more. She has done all of this on her own and with support of friends and family.  I can't imagine what it's like to lose everything you worked your whole life for. But we are hopeful and she courageous and doing everything all the docs know to help with this.

Now... we are starting a fund raising campaign. See link below for her new blog page.
Thank you-and I know this comes on the heel of so many wonderful friends and people helping Steve and I through the September flooding in Colorado.   When it rains it pours. Did I really just say that? I did. And once again... it's pouring on us and we can use some more help.

Thank you to everyone for reading. I think this site may be about life and trying to ride and family and friends and........ you name it, I guess I'll try to write it.



Hi All....
I know it's been a while. I just have been busy and not paying attention to getting info onto the blog. I refuse to be one of the busy people that hire someone to write on their blog and so...  I plod along making the best of it and hope to  do much better moving forward.

So... exciting new news!!!!! I am now Certified by USAC for a new progrm called the "Discipline Specific Certification" program.

There are three types of certification courses we can take and I choose to start with CX. Why? I raced road and mountain bikes for many many years. And although equipment and training techniques change over time I decided to pick something I knew less about and could learn more about. I plan to take the mountain bike course in the near future.

The course was taught by the very well known Peter Webber and he did an excellent job of teaching the coaches all of the new skills required to teach our clients/athletes. I loved the course and am going to have a great time passing the information along to my current CX racers and new-future clients.

Here's what USAC has to say about these new exciting programs:

"USA Cycling's mission is to achieve sustained success in international cycling competition and grow competitive cycling in America. It is with this mission in mind we created our Discipline Specific Certifications. These Discipline Specific Certifications ensure coaches receive advanced training and coaching skills in cyclo-cross, track and mountain bike.

In order to attend a Discipline Specific Certification, you must be a licensed Level 3 coach or higher in good standing with USA Cycling.

Discipline Specific Certification Purpose
The purpose of the Discipline Specific Certifications is to teach coaches how to more effectively teach and coach their athletes in a specific cycling discipline.  Coaches who attend these 1.5-day certifications can expect to gain valuable knowledge of specific drills and methodologies pertinent to helping their athletes achieve a higher level of success in their specific discipline. These certifications are meant to be enhancements to a coaches current USA Cycling coaching license; they do not replace licensing and are additions to your coaching credentials and specialties.

Cyclo-cross Specific Certification
During the Cyclo-cross Specific Certification, participants will learn a wide range of cyclo-cross skills and techniques to improve their coaching expertise. Topics include preparing a cyclo-cross specific training plan, equipment selection and set up, on-the-bike cyclo-cross skills and drills, bike handling in a variety of conditions, race craft, and tips to help your athletes avoid common mistakes. Whether you are coaching beginner or advanced cyclo-cross riders, this clinic will help you and your athletes achieve success.

Track Specific Certification
The purpose of the Track Specific Certification is to teach coaches how to run a safe, fun, and effective track workout, thus leading their athletes to a higher level of success on the track. Safety is the number one priority and is obtained through awareness, communication and predictability. This clinic will cover racing tactics, skill development, common terminology, general riding etiquette, as well as rider and coach responsibility.

Mountain Bike Specific Certification
The purpose of the Mountain Bike Specific Certification is to teach coaches how to teach their athletes the technical skills needed to ride and race a mountain bike.  Topics include balance and movement on the bike, cornering, how to set up for switchbacks, front wheel lift, riding up and down ledges, and how to approach steep climbing and descents. In a group setting, participants will learn the techniques of not only how to ride technical sections, but how to teach others the skills needed to be safe and confident on the trail.  In addition, participants will also learn and review general terminology, common problems, equipment issues, and skills specific to the various disciplines within mountain biking".

In the Fall I'll be taking another power based coaches course. I took the very first power clinic offered by USAC-way back in the early 2000s ( I think then). I use power with about half of my clients/athletes I find I can always learn more. I still believe a lot can be accomplished with heart rate/HR training but there are issues with it as we know there are things like cardiac drift and other things that alter your HR making it not as accurate as training with power/watts.

Also new is that I am now training with StagesPower meters. They are incredible! Very accurate as I have trained side by side with my PowerTap (which I've been using for about 12 years). I actually think the StagesPower is more accurate. A great way to train. More on this later. You can check the StagesPower company out at http://www.stagescycling.com/stagespower.

Ok-so now you have the newest news. More to come-like the awesome 29er Prescott that KHS sent me. It makes riding so much fun!

Have fun out ont he road, the track or the trails. I'll write again!

Strength Training Over 40 from Cycing to Runnng to Swimming.

Strength Training for the Core muscle groups and more....

A week or so ago I wrote about why it's important to do some sort of strength and core conditioning. You learned a little about me and why I feel so strongly about lifting weights and doing resistance training. Of course, you’ll check in with your physician to make sure lifting is medically OK for you to do. I would also recommend you get a good Trainer or Physical Therapist to instruct you with good form and proper technique.

The more we continuously do resistance training or lift weights, the more we
can slow down and  reverse the decline of muscle mass on our bodies. We can also help
develop better bone density or bone mass. You need resistance on all of your muscle
groups. There is also research that shows that lifting weights and doing resistance training can actually improve mood swings (think Manopause, ladies), help arthritis, improve past
injuries, help with current broken bones (think ski accidents, bike falls, and simple every
day silly injuries).

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends people 40 and over do
strength training exercises at least 2-3 times every week. If you do not continuously work
all of your  muscles to failure/fatigue you will not get them to adapt to building muscle.
This means if you go to the gym from December to February, next year when you come
back to the gym in December, you are starting over. Over 40, you simply do not have this
valuable time to waste. The older we get, the easier it is to lose our muscle.

Guess what? It’s never too late to start.  There are studies of elderly men and women who were given a program of lifting weights three times per week for a 10 week period. It was stated that they increased their strength by 113%. This means their other activities could be done faster, they could lift more objects, and sustain a more independent lifestyle.

The best exercises are multi joint exercises in order to maximize your time in the gym
and work on those exercises that train the muscle you use in every day activities.  It is
especially important to strengthen your deep mid-section muscles. We call this your
“core”. You use these muscles for everything,, not just your sports activities. Try
standing up and put on your socks and shoes. Now, bend over and pick up your tennis
bag.  How about bend over your bathtub to clean the sides. You have used your core
muscles for these activities. If you cannot put on your shoes and socks while standing-
well, better get into that gym and do some core exercises, and strength training.

Fitness Ball Pushups.
Do not use a weight that is too light.  You want to feel mild discomfort in your muscles
the day after your workout. I mean mild. It takes about 24-48 hours for the muscle to go
through a process  of repairing and then adaptation.  You only want a small amount of
“micro-tearing” or mild muscle damage to occur.  A mild breakdown of muscle protein
stimulates the rebuilding process in your muscles. This is how the muscle adapts for each
new period of training or each new load of weight. You do not want to feel a lot of pain
for several days because this will be the result of too much muscle damage that  will take
several days or weeks to recover from. Go about 48 hours between workouts of  each
muscle group in order to have full recovery of the muscle fibers.

At all times you must maintain proper form when weight lifting or doing any type of
resistance training. Do not use momentum to lift or lower a weight. Do not bounce and
throw your weights or body around. This is poor form and can cause injury.  You must
maintain good posture, and muscle control. 

Now let’s get started for a better and healthier life.

Endurance Cycling and Strength Training Over 40 years old.

Michelle demonstrates a Hamstring Exercise using a Fit Ball


I've been a cyclist for the better part of 30 years. Road and mountain, long and short. I love it and will always try to ride for as long as I live. But... I  have also been doing strength training in a gym setting for about 35 years. I love it, too and always have, even when it wasn't fashionable or considered something that cyclists should do.

Strength training of some sort has improved my life by giving me more strength,  preventing injury, keeping me mentally focused, and giving me the extra energy to do all of the activities- skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and yes, cycling.  A life long regimen of strength training improved my 20 year racing career and helped make it possible to race at such a high level of competition(pro field) into my 40s.  Lifting weights and using weight machines has, especially, helped me keep lean and fit as I head  into my 50s.  There's not a good reason to skip strength training as part of your weekly activities after you have been cleared by your health care professional.

It’s not enough to do aerobic activities without adding in several weekly sessions of strength training, (science and research proves this). You need to specifically work muscle to build muscle. Although, it is important to have cardiovascular activities in our lives, strength training and resistance exercises are likely more important. 

Through some sort of resistance training or training in a weight room, we (men and women) can increase strength per pound of body mass and lean muscle mass. This is called strength-to-weight ratio. The decline in muscle gets worse as we age because we lose the very hormones that help us develop muscle and for women, it's worse. We have to keep working out muscles in order not to lose our muscles. Get into a gym or figure out a way to do resistance workouts at home. Once a week IS NOT ENOUGH! You need to follow a plan 3-4 x per week. You also need to increase your load/resistance systematically each week. Remember: Stress + recovery = adaptation. Once your body gets used to a certain workout, change it. Change the pattern.

First hand learning experiences teach us a lot. Three years ago I was riding my bike when the driver of a large truck hit me. At first I thought it wasn’t “that bad” of an accident. What I didn’t realize was that I had very severe PTSD and something the doctors call poly trauma injuries; injuries from head to toe.  My multiple injuries were not going to heal without multiple surgeries, nor without having been very fit and strong to start with. You see, I had a good amount of muscle on my body from continuous resistance training and not just riding my bike.  It wasn’t just my leg muscles that were fit from riding and hiking and skiing. I used resistance workouts to make my back, arms, shoulders, and deep abdominal muscles strong. I did twisting exercises, lifting, reaching, and more. Through my resistance training I wanted to make sure if I had a fall doing the things I do in my every day aerobic activities,  I would have balance, fitness, and strength to prevent injury. These resistance and strengthening workouts are likely what saved me from life threatening injuries during the accident. It was the discipline of my life-long lifting and sports that gave me the strength and stamina to persevere the aftermath of the trauma and months of healing and rehab. My muscles had memory. They knew how to rebuild. This is why resistance training is a lifelong endeavor.
Cross Training on the Mountain BIke
Use it or lose it:
 Facing multiple surgeries and recoveries in a short amount of time meant a lot of down time from any activities. I knew I would loose a lot of muscle, tendon, and ligament strength, and I would need to know how to rebuild all of what I was going to lose.  Thankfully, it is a big part of what I do in my regular life and I didn’t have to start learning new exercises- I already new how to build strength.

Three years later, I’m convinced, as are my doctors, that I was able to come back, repeatedly,
from so many surgeries because of the muscular fitness and muscle strength I had prior to the accident. Every time I had a surgery, I lost massive amounts of muscle within two-three weeks.   

Quickly loosing muscle mass is a sad fact of getting older not just from a long term lay off.  We lose muscle at a very rapid rate when we don’t continuously use it. The older we get the more we lose muscle and the harder it is to put back on. Starting out with a certain amount of muscle and having muscle memory with help you keep it that much longer.

If you can't go to a gym,  use therapy bands and dumb bells to work out at home.There are many exercises you can do at home.

You may not go through what I went through but we all take falls. We’re active and we need to stay this way, especially making sure we keep our muscles strong.

I'll get another post out about what types of things we can all do both in and out of the gym. Stay tuned and keep up the good work!

In Boulder, Cycling, Yoga, and Social Media

In Boulder riding with Steve.

 Sitting in class tonight in Boulder at the Social Media class. Good information on how to reach out from my blog site and my Tweets. I WILL try to do these much more often.

What I really wish I was doing is practicing my yoga like I did this morning, or riding with Steve in Boulder, like we did yesterday. We did a great 100KM Permanent Populaire. It's our endurance riding for the week. I was quite tired from it because we rode fairly hard after getting two flats. One each. As a cycling coach I try to practice what I preach.  At least one long cycling ride each week through the Fall and Winter months.

Next ride may be a 200KM endurance ride next weekend. Maybe start in Boulder and head out toward Masonville. Who knows..... the sky.................is.... the...........

Winter Riding Tips and the Denver Post.

Friend and client Catherine Shenk knows how to dress for a cold winter ride

This blog comes at a really good time, for a couple of reasons and because the Front Range of Colorado is about to get a big blast of winter.First reason: I was quoted in an article today from the Colorado Denver Post titled:

"Personal Trainers in Colorado like Michelle Grainger train in cold"

Friends ride together
The second reason: Cold and snow on the way tonight through Saturday.  This comes on the heels of really warm conditions for the last couple of weeks and I have to say, it was great riding last Saturday in temperatures in the 70s.  Oh well, it can't last but we can all still keep riding. You just have to know how to dress and who to talk into coming along with you. Bringing friends along is a great way to catch up, have company, and help keep you motivated

Another good tip is that you really need to dress for all different kinds of weather.

Layering your clothes and wearing the "right" cool and cold weather clothing is key to being able to stay active all Fall and Winter.

I like to wear plenty of wool clothing. I wear SmartWool socks and base layer. I find it never gets hot when I sweat or cold when it's wet.  http://www.smartwool.com/.
Dressing for a winter hike

I also wear a wool Buff. http://www.buffwear.com/. You can take the the Buff and keep it on your head, under your helmet or bring it down to your neck for some neck and chin warmth. Either way works great!

A trick I use, and I stated in the Denver Post article, to keep your feet warm, is to wear a wool sock and place a pair of panty hose over them. This works well to keep in the heat and the wool sock keeps your feet from getting cold when they get wet from sweat. Personal trainers in Colorado like Michelle Grainger train in cold - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/outwest/ci_21830510/personal-trainers-colorado-like-michelle-grainger-train-cold#ixzz2AEqIq7S.

 If it's really really cold out you can add a layer of tin foil over your cycling shoe and under your shoe cover to get an extra layer of warmth and wind protection to your feet. I've used this trick while riding a 200km ride in January when the temperature was only 17 degrees (F) for most of the day's ride. I have to admit, though, I was not the happiest of riders on this cold ride. Just too cold.

The take away of the Denver Post article and this blog post is that you should continue to work out all winter long. If you don't want to do the activities inside, go outside but bring friends with you and dress for the conditions you'll be riding, running, hiking in. And..... have fun!

My 2012 1000km Brevet in Nova Scotia

 Last winter Steve and I decided we'd like to try a 1000km Brevet in another country to start the process of achieving our R-5000 award. For more information on this, see http://www.rusa.org/faq1.html
So we begin again....

We originally had planned to head over to Scotland and participate in their new 1000km but found out the event was full within weeks of opening. Since I had a broken hip at that time, we didn't sign up. Oh well. We found a great 1000km Brevet to do in Nova Scotia. That became the goal for the season. It would also allow us part of our Randonneur 5000 .  (rahn doe ner) - One of the most prestigious awards a randonneur can earn. To be one of the recipients, a randonneur must do a full series of 200, 300, 400, 600, and 1000km brevets, a Paris-Brest-Paris randonneur event, a Flèche team ride, and the remaining distances ridden on sanctioned brevets for a total of 5000 kilometers. The qualifying events must all be completed within a four-year period. You can read more about all of the awards available at http://www.rusa.org/.

After doing our SR (Super Randonneur) series in Colorado, we continued to add up miles of training, both long distance for endurance and also short and fast 100km Permanent Populaires http://www.rusa.org/permfaq.html.  This allowed us to maintain fitness, keep the long distance fitness going and also to be a little faster, which would allow us to have more night time control sleep. Always a good thing.
Off we went to Nova Scotia. http://www.randonneurs.ns.ca/
We were planning for temperatures in the 60s. Nop,e we got 100 degree days. Oh well-at least we had planned for the wrst weather conditions and got sun, instead.

We had a great start time of 6 AM and that allowed for plenty of sleep before starting the 1000km Brevet. There were 5 of us at the start and we ended up staying together for the event.

Welcome to Nova Scotia. http://www.novascotia.com/en/home/default.aspx. The ride started right near our hotel in Dartmouth. The controls were in Sherbrooke, Half Island Cove, Port Hastings, Whycocomagh, St. Peters, Aulds Cove, Antigonish, Stellarton, Brookfield, and back to Dartmouth. Wonderful things to look at and keep us occupied. From rolling hills and 4-8 minute climbs, to small lobster villiages along the inlets and coves. Little towns and many little cafes to fill up on food and water.

The controls were about 100km apart. A little farther that what we are used to in the United States. Staying with the local riders proved to be prudent because we are so used to a gas station or small grocery store every 30 miles; about half the distance were were getting with the controls in Nova Scotia. Besides-it was very enjoyable to have the local company of the local riders. Very hospitable!

Steve and I had planned well for the conditions and hills of Nova Scotia. Actually they were not like the hills of Colorado, so we were prepared. Something one needs to consider when going to another country or state for a Brevet event-know your terrain.

Many of the controls (which also meant the stops for food) were at Tim Hortons. Perfect for soup, sandwiches, and other treats, and liquiq consumption.

The biggest challenge for me was the humidity (with the heat). I had decided to double up my shorts for a softer ride on the sit bones but ended up with a heat rash. No worries here-I adjusted to this by wearing only one pair of shorts for  the second half of the 1000kms. No big deal. But something to keep in mind when you travel to different conditions. We often think about the terrain and the weather-but the weather can mean higher humidity and not just rain or sun.

My favorite parts of this ride were the people we rode with. The riders form the  Nova Scotia. http://www.randonneurs.ns.ca/  club were so nice and helpful. The volunteers had our meals in the hotels ready when we arrived and also had our drop bags delivered into our hotel rooms.

We stayed as a group which is such a treat because often Randonneurs ride solo or get very spread out in long Brevet events.

The controls were well placed apart  and came at times when we really needed to refeul and get ice (hot temps).

The scenery was fantastic and just what I would expect along coastal terrain.

We almost never saw a car and when we did they were extremely polite. Really!

It was a fantastic trip and we are well on our way for our http://www.rusa.org/award_r5000.html award which, of course is tied to the mother of all 1200km Brevet events-PBP (Paris Brest Paris) "PBP" as it is commonly called, is a grueling test of human endurance and cycling ability. Organized every four years by the host Audax Club Parisien, the Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneurs is the oldest bicycling event still run on a regular basis on the open road. Beginning on the southern side of the French capital, it travels west 600 kilometers to the port city of Brest on the Atlantic Ocean and returns along the same route. http://www.rusa.org/pbp.html

Thank you to our new friends in Nova Scotia for making our stay and ride wonderful!

It's June Already!

Wow, has the time just flown by. Here it is June and I have more kelometers than this time last year-you know, just before I crashed on my road bike, commuting to work. That's the day my 2 years of come backs were shattered-AGAIN! That broken hip nearly shattered my determination and mental stability. But.... here we are again, and I'm about to leave (one week) for Nova Scotia to ride a 1000km Brevet. Yes, Steve is coming along, too.

My friend and client, Michelle Williamshttp://blogs.clarionledger.com/cycling/2012/06/20/michelle-who-or-the-beginning/ is doing such a wonderful job of writing that she has inspired me to write again. Thanks Michelle!

I'll write more about Nova Scotia later, but wanted to make a comment about the month of June.

I find for myself and also for many athletes that June is the "hump month". The month where you feel tired more easily. The month where motivation is hard to find. Then month, where the year seems really long. Not to worry. We forget that the years of training, racing, and riding, as well as, the months of the current year are all accumulative.

No worries. Take extra time off the bike and engage in other activities. Not activities that may hurt your riding-so don't take up running or water skiing, as they don't mix well with the muscles groups you've been using all season.

Take extra time with your family. Go to the movies, the park, or hang out with a friend. I bet they've missed you while you were riding every weekend. They'll be happy to reconnect with you. You'll be happy to have a diversion from your long rides and races. You'll recharge.

As you recharge, don't ignore your bike. Ride each day, or ride two days in a row with a good rest day between. Ride with friends you normally don't ride with that may not go your "normal" pace. You don't want your body to go into change of season transition mode. You want to get it refreshed along with your mental outlook towards your training.

Once you've taken several extra days off in this month of June and you feel rested-get back into your training but be mindful that it's a long season of riding and it's all accumulative.

Dehydration...More Salt, less Salt, Drink, Drink, Drink.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. What to eat? What to drink? When to do either or both?

You've picked out and thought about your 2012 "A" race/event.  It's your most important event of the season. Will it be in Europe? Canada?  South Africa? The US? Hot climate? Humid? Cold? Supported or self supported?

It's a good idea to start thinking about working on your food and fluid intake while riding or racing before you get too far into the season. Think about what foods you've already practiced taking on your training rides and shorter races/events.  How can you fine tune it?  How much water and electrolyte drinks do you expend or sweat out?  Lots to think about and practice.

One thing that comes to mind is the question(s) about drinking while exercising... how does it affect thermoregulation?

A couple of years ago I was attending a presentation, at the Olympic Training Center, by Stacy T Sims, Phd,  on Thermoregulation: Manipulation for Performance. Great presentation and an eye opener.

Dr. Sims works with individual endurance athletes to find the optimal formulae of hydration and nutrition to succeed in their sport. Currently she is a consultant for Team RadioShack and Dr. Allen Lim, individuals of TeamTibco and Webcor professional women’s cycling, Matt Dixon of PurplePatchFitness, and Craig Upton of PerformanceLabsHC. She worked with Garmin-Slipstream for the 2009 Tour de France and USACycling West Coast Development camps Exercise Physiologist and Sport Nutritionist at Stanford University) .at the Olympic Training Center.

The big take-a-way from the talk, for me, was we need to be hydrated in order to help our bodies deal with heat.

Dehydration causes: Increased strain on the heart, reduced aerobic endurance, reduced muscular endurance, reduced muscles strength, reduced fine motor sills, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, reduced mental capacity, physical exhaustion, heat stroke and coma. WOW!

A good formula to remember:
Max sweat rates can be 1.5 - 3.0 L/h but gastric emptying max rates are only 0.8 – 1.3L/h

We lose water and electrolytes through breathing, sweat, and bleeding (women). The rate of water loss is higher than the rate of solute loss. It's also good to know that on a daily basis, most of us are not hydrated enough. Only 1% or body weight loss is detrimental to exercise performance. I think I'll go get a glass of water now.

Another thing Stacy told us was that we can "train" our bodies to do better in heat. And I thought all those crazy riders training in green houses were silly. hhhmmm.

Repeated, prolonged exercising in a heated environment can cause adaptations to the heat stress placed upon the body. The thermoregulatory system can be stressed so that it adapts to the heat demand by enabling the body to eliminate excess body heat more effectively. This process is known as heat acclimatization.  With this adaptation, many adjustments are made in both blood flow and sweating.  The rate of sweating during activity in the heat increases with heat acclimatization, and the amount of sweat produced often increases in the most exposed areas that are most effective at dissipating body heat.  We want this all to occur so that we can have a lowered skin temperature. Being hydrated helps this!

When to take on more sodium. Know your sweat rate. Get up in the morning and drink about 4 ounces of water. Wait 15 minutes and then go weigh yourself. After you do a training ride in the heat or or high volume come home and weigh yourself. If you lost weight-you lost sweat and that means you lost sodium and  fluids.

When is drinking drinking too much? Hyponatremia:  This is a good thing for me to know as I do not sweat very much, at all.

Hyponatremia is a condition that results in an abnormally low concentration of sodium in the blood. This can be caused by the ingestion of too little sodium or by the ingestion of so much water that the concentration of sodium is decreased. An athlete who experiences a low rate of sweating that continues to ingest large quantities of water over a several hour period of exercise is vulnerable to this injury. A very low concentration of sodium can compromise the central nervous system, thus creating a potentially life-threatening condition. Hyponatremia can be completely avoided with adequate ingestion of sodium. You have to play around with this--meaning practice. I am not a fan of the salt tablets, instead I prefer to make sure my food intake or electrolyte drinks have what I need. For this reason, I am a fan of drinking before I am thirsty (remember, many of us are already 50% dehydrated when our bodies tell us we are thirsty) about a bottle an hour on an average temperature day. More if very hot.

When it's hot it is so important that we continually replaces lost fluids by drinking enough quantities of water and take enough electrolytes to replace what we give off.  (Coyle E: Fluid and carbohydrate replacement during exercise: how much and why? Sports Sci Exchange 7(50):1, 1994).

The average adult performing minimal physical activity requires a minimum of 2.5 liters of water a day. A normal sweat loss rate for a person during an hour of exercise ranges between 0.8 and 3 liters of water. (Murray R: Guidelines for fluid replacement during exercise. Australian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics 53(4 suppl):S17, 1996).

Ok-now that we know we want to make sure we take in an electrolyte drink while exercising longer than a couple of hours. It's not just about sodium, but this is one of the more critical electrolytes. Too, there is enough research to show that when conditions are hot, we likely cannot get enough sodium in a sports drink.

Your body knows the importance of maintaining adequate water saturation levels.  If you ignore the signals of being thirsty your body water will continue to decrease, resulting in dehydration.

It is important to note that we  cannot always rely on our thirst response as a signal to ingest water. If you are waiting to drink (only) when you feel thirsty, you could already have lost 50% of your water lost through sweating and evaporation. By the time you feel thirsty, dehydration is already occurring on a wide-scale level; therefore, athletes must drink water before they feel thirsty. (Newburgh LH: Physiology of heat regulation. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1949.)

Not all sports drinks are the same and you will have to try different electrolyte sports drinks to see which is best for you.  I prefer Clif Bar's Clif Shot Electrolyte drink. My husband needs more salt and so he'll generally use The Clif Shot drink to start and then switch over to Gatoraide 5 hours into a long ride. You have to try different drinks to make sure which one works best for you.

Have fun-tis the season to practice, practice, practice.

Denver REI Nutriton on Your Bike Talk.

Last night I gave a talk with my friend and mentor, John Hughes. http://www.coach-hughes.com/   We spoke at the Denver REI store about what to eat while riding your bike 100-200 miles (me) and about how to set up your training so that you can accomplish such a long event (John).

We were asked to speak by our local cycling club, Rocky Mountain Cycling http://www.rmccrides.com/. This cycling club is a premier road bicycling club for Colorado and the Denver/Boulder Front Range, offering a full range of rides for active, enthusiastic cyclists of intermediate and advanced levels and interests. A great bunch of people and riders. It is also where we do our randonnuering rides, http://www.rmccrides.com/brevets.htm. You know, those silly rides I do that are distances from 100km to 1200km.

Back to the talk. If you go to John's website http://www.coach-hughes.com/ you can see what he went over about training and riding in an event around 100 miles to 200 miles. He's a fantastic coach and has been a friend and mentor of mine for  about 15 or so years.

I'll post my presentation at my "Articles" area on my website. Check it out.

Hope to give more talks soon as we get into the riding season. Too, I'll post photos when I get them loaded onto the computer.

Another Atttempt to blog in.

It has been, well.... forever. I guess I'm not very good at this blog stuff. Especially when my life has been front and center, to try to fix.

It's been just over 2.5 years since I was hit by the truck while riding my bike. So much has happened in the way of health issues since and because of that one horrible second in time. One second in time can change every single thing you know about your life and yourself. Or everything that you built your life to be. All changed in a single second. A split of a second.

"They" say once you go through a life and death trauma you are never the same again. Oh, "they" were so very correct. You are not only changed physically but also emotionally and mentally. Just never really the same. You still try to be who you were but underneath you know, in your soul, in your heart, that you are different. I am the same but I am different. I almost went and got a tattoo saying this. But, even I realize that getting a tattoo right now would be a little unwise.

Don't get me wrong. I still love my life, the people in it, my business, my clients, athletes, etc... All of this is what keeps me going. That and hope.

Someone asked me how I have been continuing on so well with all that has happened. I said "hope". It is hope that keeps me going. Hope that I will be able to do all that I want to do. That I will look at this past 2.5 years and know I got through it and will have become a better person-not better because I had so much trauma but better because I will be able to help others and be a more knowledgeable person.

I wasn't able to go to Paris (Paris-Brest-Paris) in August. I broke my hip in July. About 5 weeks before we were to leave. I was riding to work, down a canyon road, took a turn, hit several patches of gravel, and just flipped my bike. It was one of the hardest things to go through. After going through so many surgeries to fix the truck accident injuries, getting cancer, having almost lost out house in the big Four Mile Fires, and making it through soooooo much, it was almost the hardest thing to go through.

I had come so far to make Paris a reality. My way of beating the truck accident. So close and so far-all at once. Talk about sitting in your own crappy mess and not really knowing how to get out of it.

Paris was my goal, the goal that drove me through all of the surgeries. The goal to keep moving forward. I wasn't even sure if I could ride that far. Riding is quite painful now. Not like it used to be. Riding before was only painful if I wanted it to be. If I wanted to do a Brevet really fast-well then, it could be painful. But, sitting on my bike all day riding was not really painful. After the accident-riding became a challenge. A big challenge. Hard on my back, my wrists, knees, all of the things that got injured. But still I looked forward and moved forward becasue that was my goal.  Even if I didn't know I cold ride 1200km, at least I was going to try. This was my challenge. My challenge because I really truly had no idea if I could do it. But to try was to have hope and to have hope was to win over the accident. .....and then, I broke my hip. It nearly shattered me.

I've healed the hip but the accident injuries still remain more of a challenge than I would like. They are a constant reminder of who I was and they remind me of what was, what my goals were and what I had made my life to be. Perhaps it is a reminder that I had, without knowing it, built my life up around the future. Not really living in the present. I'm not sure. I cannot go back in time, to know what I thought, because I had no idea I would be where I am now.

I believe the challenge of life it to have goals, big goals, but to live each day in the present.

I still want to go to Paris. To do Paris Brest Paris and do well. What ever "well" is. It used to be to ride it fast and with ease. Now it will be a challenge to get to it and to complete it. Kind of like getting to, through, and past the accident.

Goals are good. Goals are future. But goals can also be the perfect place in time, that is now.

Fire Ban for Boulder County as 1 Year Anniversary Approaches.

A big thank you goes out to all officials that had a hand in the fire ban for the Boulder County areas west of highway 36.

It will the one year anniversary of what became the worst and most expensive distaster in Colorado history.

This fire affected so many of us and continues to do so with flash floods, economic hardships, mental anguish, and much much more.

A big thank you also goes out to the United Way, Boulder County, and many more angencies that continue to support us and help us.

And... thank you to the citizens of Colorado for also reaching out to so many of us and helping us.

Sheriff enacts fire ban for western Boulder County starting at noon today, Sept. 1st, 2011.

Camera staff
Posted: 09/01/2011 10:32:41 AM MDT

(Boulder County)
Sheriff Joe Pelle has instituted a fire ban beginning at noon today for western Boulder County.

Open burning, all fireworks and model rockets will be prohibited west of Broadway in Boulder, west of Colo. 93 south of Boulder and west of U.S. 36 north of Boulder.

The fire ban allows for the use of liquid- or gas-fueled stoves, campfires in improved U.S. Forest Service campgrounds and charcoal grill fires on private property.

A dry and hot August has driven local fire danger into the high category as measured by the National Fire Danger Rating System, according to the sheriff's office.

Supposed to be leaving for PBP tomorrow but...

Feeling sad and left out today. Tomorrow was the day Steve and I were going to France to ride in Paris Brest Paris/PBP. Instead, I'm not packing, not riding, and not going. Sucks to be injured gain. So many of our friends are going and we will have to cheer them on in our thoughts.

We've waited so many years to go and then after the car accident and all of the surgeries it is so bittersweet to know I would have made it. To know what I/we went through to get me back riding and to get through all of the qualifiers. To get so close-yet to be soooo far away from being there. Four more years. This can be a life time. Especially knowing how short life can be.

Now my days are spent meditating (to get through the agony of another surgery), rehabbing, getting work back on track, and morning the loss of not going to something that meant so much to us and took so long to get to.

The worst feeling is that I cannot show that I was pulling off a great come back. To show myself that I was able to coach myself back onto the bike and back into the qualifiers and then through PBP. That I would not let Steve down.  Even I wasn't sure if I was going to pull it all off. So close. Weeks away.

So this week will be had to get through and will be even harder at the time of the start. But, as one lovely dear neighbor wrote to me. "You've been here before, and you can  do it again. And you will". She sees in me something that I hope I never lose. Determination. Something great coming from a spunky lady who is 86 years old. Lived in Alaska, built a house in the Boulder mountains (when there was only a dirt road to her house). I bet she's overcome a lot in her life time. She's a terrific friend to have.

On a good note. Saw the hip surgeon today. I can now place weight on my leg and occasionally walk solo across the kitchen and soon across the gym floor. Yahoo. Life is looking up. Only a few weeks left and then rebuild all of the muscle. Oh can also get on the trainer. That will happen tonight after work!

Looking at the positive is very important. Keep looking forward. One foot in front of the other.

Four more years.

Change. Time for change and more contemplative thought.

No clue why this photo. It's kind of meditative in it's own beauty.

Been spending loads of time just thinking . Thinking a lot. Thinking about who I am, who I want to be and where I want to go.

My right wrist hurts enough, all of the time, that I wonder what I will be able to do with it in the future. Not complaining because I know I will make what ever I want to do, work. I have a good brain. I can use it. Use it to find new ways to do things. But is a big change in the futire?

I love working with people. My clients. I have moved my life froward to work with people and teach them how to be more healthy. To be fit. I strongly believe fitness is how we can overcome adversity. Challenges. They are going to happen. Sometimes all in a clump-like what has happened to me the last 25 months. If I wasn't fit and had not used sports/fitness to challenge me throughout my life-well, I do not think I'd be able to be so positive with so much that has happened. Both mentally and physically. Challenges. Gets us to motivate.

Don't get me wrong. It hasn't been all positive and easy. I have days where I think I just don't want to move forward. Too much has happened. So many injuries so many hard times. These thoughts don't last long because I feel that if they do last long they get you stuck in a bad place. A place where I don't want to stay. It's not a productive place and can lead to really negative feelings. I do feel these sad and depressed feeling thoughts need to be felt-if not they'll get you some time down the road. So I learn from them. Use them to do a lot of thinking. A lot of meditating. A lot of searching.

I heard about a yoga instructor at a local gym. He's in a wheelchair. I have to look this guy up. Talk about positive energy. Very cool.

Positive thought. Listen to the negative, think about it and let it go. I think letting go of negative thought is like letting go of negative energy. Also, letting go of the people that may be holding us back. 

Yup, that's change and change is progress. Even if it's scary.