Joe to Pro Cycling

In 2009 I'd been inactive for 8 years, had just turned 30, weighed 240 lbs and had enough. This blog is the journey of starting brand new in the sport of cycling, regaining fitness and aiming to compete in the Elite ranks of Amateur racing.

Current Weight: 180 lbs

Road Cat: 2

Cyclocross Cat: 2


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    "There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people."

    (via cyclingandwhiskey)

    Lance Armstrong was born the day after Jens Voigt. However, Jens immediately attacked and by the Texan’s 13th birthday Jens had already turned 16. (via spacedakota)


    (via cyclist-in-the-fog)

    Sleep Doping

    When it comes to habits I’m learning that it’s often the simplest changes that can have the biggest impact. That why for 2014 my only real resolution was upping my average night of sleep from 6 hours to 8. 8 hours of sleep to me, at first seemed lavish. That I would have be lazy, but it was actually laziness that had gotten me into the cycle of only 6 hours of sleep a night.

    With four kids in school, being an owner in a bike shop, having big cycling goals and more at first I didn’t know where the time would come from to get in 8 hours a night. Which by the way takes 9 hours, laying down doesn’t count as starting to sleep in my book. But as I did a time inventory I was wasting a lot of time on the edges.

    For instance, after I get home from a day at work is the worst time to be productive around my home. Cleaning, laundry, reading, and more are too mixed up in the hustle of seeing my children, helping with dinner and having family time to be with each other - not just passing by. I also realized I have a tendency to do “just one more thing” at the end of my day. But without the energy for good focus that usually just ends up being me watching tv shows until too late in the night.

    Instead, if I go to sleep at 9-10pm, then I have plenty of time in the mornings for all the stuff to be productive on. I’m up early enough to get the major scope of my training for cycling done, some of which is always on the trainer when I can watch the shows I like. I can easily read and write with more focus in the mornings and it is a better way to prepare for the day. Now when I get home my only focus is my family, putting my phone in air plane mode to limit distractions. And after three weeks of practice have no problem going to sleep at 9-10pm without feeling like the day is undone.

    The cascade effect of this has been huge in terms of other habits now made doable.

    - Better recovery and rest from my significant uptick in training on the bike with my coach at Source Endurance. I feel fresher and stronger for hard workouts like I haven’t experienced before.
    - I’ve lost 8 lbs (on the way to lose 15 more) from the simple practice of having time to prepare my lunches, and better will power at the right times. I’ve also literally cut out my “binge hours” from 10pm on when I could pack in extra calories watching tv and eating.
    - I’ve read 4 books this month reading a chapter a day of whatever interests me.
    - I’m on the same schedule with my family which keeps my emotional stress and family relationships in a great place (brutally important if you are attempting something big in cycling).

    Franklin Covey often talks about the reality that we need to invest and “feed” our intellect, heart, soul and body first in our day/week before we go after our work and life challenges. That feeding ourselves keeps us healthy enough for the challenges we will face and the endurance it will take to see them done. For me, the biggest habit in making sure all those things are feed is getting good sleep each night - simple but effective!

    What is a new habit you’ve put in place for the year and how has it impacted your life/cycling?

    Brandy counts as a recovery drink right?

    I know what’s going to happen. He (Lebusque) moves to the front, picks up the pace, looks back mopingly, sees that no one’s coming to help, then tucks down over his bars. A few times he drops back a little, but as soon as he’s off point it seems like he remembers something and moves back up. Occasionally he shouts, but no one helps. Don’t look at me. Bicycle racing is a sport of patience. ‘Racing is licking your opponent’s plate clean before starting on your own.’ Hennie Kuiper said that. Lebusque will stay out in front for kilometers. Where would be without Lebusque?

    Lebusque doesn’t know what racing is.

    The Rider (Tim Krabbe)

    Which Helmet will You Chose?

    Road helmets are not all the same anymore, now that groups have started giving us all-around and…

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    See what the crew at the shop is riding this Mountain Bike Season!

    No area of cycling has probably seen as much innovation and forward thinking as the mountain bike…

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    I think the kind of talk you hear from a cyclist can help you predict the kind of results and progress they are going to make. If they have a lot of negative talk, always with a grumble about the weather, their wife, their busy schedule, how tired they are, how sore they are, other racers, then…

    Going into year four

    This year I’m looking at getting back into the consistent personal journey voice on this blog that I started with 3 years ago when I entered into competitive cycling. There has been plenty that has happened in the slow burn that is the journey of getting month over month, year over year, stronger in an endurance sport like cycling to report. But I’m also getting step by step close to the goal of being competitive in the Elite ranks of amateur racing.

    "Close" maybe a generous term. But the further down a road you get the better idea you get of how far away the top of that mountain really is, and what it is going to take to ascend it.

    In the last three years I’ve settled into focusing on the disciplines of road racing and cyclocross - enjoying both and appreciating how their seasons compliment each other. While I didn’t meet some goals through this cyclocross season, I didn’t learn to win a couple of different ways on different courses, and earn enough upgrade points for the automatic jump to Cat 2 on the last race of the season.

    As I have mentioned on here before Cat 2 is a no man’s land where your races are now with the best of the best for those competing at that event. The 1/2 event is always the show-down of the big dogs who are there to throw down on who is the strongest - not just in their category or age group - but strongest over all. Being able to compete (not just line up and get dropped) is in essence the major goal that this blog was started to document.

    With the new upgrade to this rank in cyclocross and the potential of it in road racing I have realized a couple of very important things about myself and situation.

    1. For the first three years of racing I’ve ridden my bike A LOT. But I’ve “trained” very little. Even though I’ve read many of the books on training seeing the information - and knowingly executing it takes perspective outside yourself to really accomplish. Don’t get me wrong, many of the people who talk about training honestly just need to stop having excuses and ride their bike way more. But as I stand peering into the Cat 1/2 ranks, like looking over a cubicle at the bosses office, I realize what had gotten me to where I am wasn’t enough to get me where I want to go.

    2. I’m a binge rider. I can get motivated and ride like hell for a few weeks, but then I burn myself out, need to recover and then get back at it. It’s part of my personality - and recovery days and weeks isn’t something that I really comprehend enough to do well and consistently. But knowing the level of riding and efforts I need to get to the next level - recovery needs to be an intentional effort.

    3. Now, as a co-owner in a bike shop there are a lot of riding demands I need to manage. Group rides that are fantastic for business (slower endurance rides that aren’t as intimidating for timid beginners) only occasionally line up with the kind of riding I need to accomplish to keep my fitness moving forward. Riding is better then not - but again I need some outside perspective to help me understand how to juggle the “business riding” and “tony training” as I’ve come to call it.

    4. The desire to compete at an elite level is as strong as it has ever been. With our OKC Velo Bike Lab team entering it’s second year, full of strong and ambitious racers, we are heavily invested in building both fitness but also legit skills and tactical practices to raise the level of racing in the area. We just love it.

    In some cities many of the needs for better riders around me, those with years of experience in riding, former pros or elites coming back into town - would all help to provide relationships and direction as I look to make this next jump. But in OKC we simply don’t have that kind of environment. For all the enthusiasm and growth cycling is seeing here, we are a far cry from the legacy communities found on the coasts, and in places like Bolder.

    All this hit me in the fall, in the middle of the cyclocross season which motivated two goals.

    1. Save for a crank based power meter.
    2. Get a legit coach & coaching group involved with our team/myself.

    Being a shop owner made the first goal easier for me then most and I’m thrilled to be riding with Specialized’s S-Works crank and Ant+ Spider now on my Venge.

    The second goal I took more seriously. I didn’t want the “guy” someone’s friend was using. I wanted a legit group that was full of guys who not only raced, but also had degrees in the world of sports science and who you could tell had prepared for coaching - not raced a bunch and had opinions. After checking out groups in Dallas and Colorado I decided to roll with Source Endurance.

    They will be leading our road camp for our Team in March - but more importantly towards my goals I jumped into 1-1 coaching with one of their guys - Zack Allison. Even after a month I’ve noticed a big difference from “just riding a lot” to training. During some of the worst months of the year I’ve put in more riding per week, felt fresher at the end of them, and taken better recovery then before.

    The focus of having a coach is really a positive experience for me so far, and I’m excited at seeing how that will help to create results this year - and for our team.

    That’s a long update - but it’s the start of getting back to the roots of this blog’s purpose. Talking about a guy who turned 30, weighed 240 lbs, hadn’t exercised in 8+ years, hadn’t done an endurance sport, and hadn’t ever done cycling - and wanted to aim high.

    Getting ready to have my first intentional recovery week ever. Will probably wig out by Wednesday. Ha!

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