Surrounded by the hard work of our team staff members, we all made our way into the briefing room for our first meeting! As you can see, "wholy crap thats a lot of swag"! The amount of support we've received from our sponsors for this camp is unmatched by anything I've ever seen.
With SO much to cover over the last few days, I wanted to take a few minutes to "brain dump". Also, the hours and miles are piling up and I'm sure in a few more day I'll be at a 3rd grade reading level and may need a feeding tube with a constant flow of OSMO Acute Recovery. None the less the amount of positive energy here is just tremendous, even those who are over-worked manage to sneak in a smile from time to time (maybe it's the doubletree cookies)...
For starters, I cannot believe I've witnessed hand carts making their way up categorized climbs. Team4Mil is out here, demonstrating what it truly means to be an athlete. Also, each athlete has their own volunteer to aid with anything they might need along the way. I mean come on, climbing for a few hours with 1 leg or with only your arms, I simply cannot emphasize how impressive these guys are. It's truly remarkable to share the road with them.
I'm going to let the pictures do the talking but here is the skinny:
- This is my first time to Tucson, AZ and it's definitely different than what I'm used to. The terrain is dessert, with cactus farms, dust fields and intense sunshine. It's pretty much just like Breaking Bad. As far as the weather is concerned, we couldn't ask for a more ideal situation. It's a little brisk in the AM, definitely sweating around noon but we need warm clothes for the long descents. The roads are probably the only complaint, which is minimal to say the least. HOWEVER, yesterday I felt like we were riding on cobbles for about 30 minutes straight ....at the end of our 100 mile ride. Talk about some grumpy cyclists! Good thing we had some solid leadership out there to keep us in line.
I've been digging in with the A group, where there is a ton of talent! Everyone brings something strong to the table but this camp favors the light bodied climbers. I've always been a better climber when I'm at my own pace, so I let the studs go zip up the hill and I make it a few minutes after. As far as fatigue, the legs remarkable rebound every day. We've been getting lots of veggies in for meals. I've probably eaten about 10 salads thus far. A plant based diet has always helped me stay strong during long weeks. If you understand training lingo, you'll appreciate that after only 3 days, my TSS is about 640. I suspect it will be one of the biggest weeks I've had....EVER. So anyway, enjoy the pictures, there will be more to come. The overall goal is to learn and break through barriers. I know I have a race on Sunday but I'm definitely not holding back this week. For nutrition during the rides we've been seriously killing all the Honey Stinger products and OSMO that they have to offer. Finally, thank you Boeing for the huge amount of support, it's an honor to represent this company!
Well, after an absolutely unforgettable birthday week, reality had to set in. Actually, before I start talking about the Georgia Grand Prix, it's incredibly important I talk about the importance of good people. GOOD PEOPLE surprise you and never let you experience something important on your own. I may not have the biggest group of close friends but I truly appreciate the athletes/friends who constantly support my cause...(which is totally selfish and self-indulgent). Athletes would agree with me, the demands of training take their toll on the social life. With early bed times, lazy movie recovery days, constant eating and habitual soreness.....there isn't too much room for tons of fun. I've always noticed, the harder I work during the week, the more I hate stairs. Literally, if the remote control was upstairs and I was already in "Recovery" mode, parked on the couch. I would be sitting in silence, smelling my own farts
- Surprise Gathering of Important People
- 27 X 400 on the track
- 127 mile bike in San Antonio
- 2.7 Mile Swim
- Paleo Cake....which was immediately destroyed by all.
To start this off right, imagine 6 bike races...in 5 days (obviously nothing compared to what the Pro's do)! A fellow athlete and I (the famous Nicholas Sterghos) embarked on this journey with a little red TDI Jetta, loaded with hopes and dreams (4 bikes, a year supply of race nutrition, smelly shoes and nasty burps/farts...oh and a grill). NOTE: NEW FAVORITE CLEAN BURNING BAR The journey took us about 7 hours since we had to pee every 3 minutes and hunt down delicious Paleo/Vegetarian friendly foods. I'd like to go on the record and say "Atlanta Bread" may sell themselves as a competitor to "Panera Bread" but DO NOT be fooled. If you think you're going to be left with a delicious meal which is designed to your liking, introduce those expectations to the GROUND! Either way once we arrived, we were able to race on some incredible, technical courses that had some great rollers. There was typically a plan on each day...make everyone hurt and try to finish in the top 5%. This was totally going to happen, except I crashed on the last 2 days, pushing me out of the top 5 GC standings. However, I will say that despite drivetrain malfunctioning on the TT, I still blew away the CAT 4/5 field (so I pretty much dominated the lowest category of riders...no big deal). None the less, we recovered VERY well with fresh veggies and visits to Athens GA for swim and run sessions.
For now...I'll be dealing with the ups and downs of taper week as 70.3 Steel Head approaches. Typically, the worst I feel the better I race. Right about now I'm feeling like a dry white turd. In 2 days time, I'll be ready to unleash the Crackin on these Michiganders! I have to go build my bike though, which means the next time you'll hear from me is POST RACE!
Before I go, I'd like to highlight an athlete I am currently coaching towards Triathlon domination; Captain Hila Levy. Next time you think you've done some "stuff" in your life...read this story, then quietly head back to college to learn 14 languages, 5 Masters Degrees.... and get on HER level! READ HER STORY HERE
Seriously, think about that question and apply it to your everyday life. #1 We wear clothes to protect us from the elements and/or wear sunscreen to avoid skin cancer. #2 We "climate control" everything because it's just way too uncomfortable for us to live in the natural environment of the world. #3 Our dear friend "gravity" turns our knees, backs and joints to shit. #4 We can't simply live off the land, we have to chemically alter food in order to consume it. THE LIST GOES ON!! Louis C.K got this thought process going and I thought I would expand on it a bit. This is just a quick reminder that we totally complicate everything, diminishing it's initial pure "goodness".....turning it to shit :)
Life is about to get hectic!
So in a few short weeks I'll be racing again. I'll either knock out an epic 4 day cycling event in Georgia OR just chill out and rest before 70.3 Steelhead. I've FINALLY gotten my (moderately) broken butt back on the track, which feels completely alien at this point. None the less, I'm getting my legs underneath me again, getting faster every day. If you've ever been injured for a sustained period, you'll know what I mean when I say...it's scary to go fast again. The main reason being...I don't want to be injured again. My Coach is keeping me focused and motivated, reminding me I can handle more than I think. I'll be back in no time! Until then, I'll be dealing with sore calfs and hips!
Want to come to train in a beautiful location with Hank Campbell and ME?? Check out our group page on Facebook if you're interested in coming out!! The focus will be knowledge, but there will be TONS of great training. All you have to do is work hard, eat and recover...we'll do the rest. There will be some educational seminars, running drills/demonstrations, open water swims, race nutrition "chats" etc. You will walk away with a GREAT understanding of your own limits and I'll definitely provide ALL of the knowledge I've gained from Pro athletes, nutritional experts and personal experience. Come on out, don't be lame!!
Check out this awesome Dinner!!
- 1 pound Grass Fed BEEF
- Salt/pepper/garlic to taste
- Crushed red pepper/Cayenne pepper
- 2 Cups caramelized onions/sautéed mushrooms
- Avocado/tomato/lemon juice
- Red Cabbage
- Sautéed Spinach
- Brussel Sprouts
This past week was built and designed with one thing in mind....TITS (Time In The Saddle). I know for a moment you "non-cyclist" were like, "Whoa, a week dedicated to TITS sounds awesome". Think again! My first experience with the US Military Cycling Team has come to an end, however the epic adventure will NEVER be forgotten. The LARGE amount of planning and logistics involved was seamlessly managed by some top notch guys. Thank you to everyone who enabled us to focus on 100+ mile rides, race tactics, time trials and regimented recovery. With a focus on safety, quality workouts and team building, I'm set up for a successful race season! Some highlights:
- Multiple Century rides with out any saddle complications (458 total miles, 6 days)
- Epic 20 mile TT on the Suncoast Trail (4th Overall)
- Racing tactic advice and group training with Jeb Stewart
- Finally running off the bike for a few miles (without 100% pain)
- Proven results with Protandim, feeling fresh the ENTIRE time (2X a day for camp)!
- FIRST EVER ROAD RACE!! Great experience!
- Meeting/riding with the best cyclists in the US Military!
The whole event wouldn't have been possible without tons of support. This is a non-military funded team and requires a lot of sponsorship dollars to operate at the professional level! PLEASE, help the cause. The team supports many wounded veterans who would otherwise be blind to the benefits this team offers. For Military athletes, it's incredibly hard to compete at the professional level (since we also have a full time job and have to deploy) THANK YOU to the amazing sponsors who give so much! Check out the following brands in the picture below, show them some love!
And then.....There was recovery...and food
Recovery is still an ongoing process, waking daily with a stiff shin/calf. I truly believe attitude is everything though. You MUST find a way to stay positive and push through any negative aspects, otherwise you'll be spinning your wheels. I have to remind myself "Dude, you've got two good legs, swim and bike until your face falls off". I suppose that's the beauty of training in three disciplines. I've shown much improvement with weekly massage and visits to Dr. Rubin. Acupuncture, Cold Helium laser, Active Release Therapy and good old fashioned REST has been my prescription. ANYWAY, enough whining right? It's time to talk about the most important part of recovery...FOOD! It's what keeps me going and my second passion in life.
Hard training requires delicious, wholesome recovery food. A solid balance of carbs, protein and fat is all we are really looking for here. Basically, those who know me well will say it's rare to find me without food in hand. Focus on the foods, not the nutrients. If you consume a lot of green or brightly colored veggies, prepared without all the heavy oils/butters, don't even start to feel bad about eating often. Keep your diet simple and know your body but also shop smart. Convenience is the enemy in this country. Take the time and make yourself something wholesome. Eat better, feel better, look better! E-mail me if you want to know specific nutritional advice since I'm certified in sports nutrition (indeed, I just gave myself a high five).
With the race season right around the corner, I'm super stoked about the fitness gains that are ahead. There are a few local athletes to compete with this year and Damn, they are getting even faster. I'm constantly looking to represent positive, athlete minded organizations and would LOVE suggestions. Also, if I can help you achieve your goals as a coach or a just a good friend, let me know...and support your local shops!
If you're looking for a new, non pharmacudical to improve the state of your life, I'd love to share:)
I'm positive, NrF2, Oxidative Stress and Protandim will be in your daily vocabulary future.