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: 3

Cyclocross Cat: 2


Additional pages

Instagram Shots

    More - Instagram

    Find me on...

    I’m two days younger then Sylvain - he is my spirit animal!


    Sylvain Chavanel (cyclist) born 30 June 1979


    Ice biking

    In all likelihood this is what my ride in the morning will look like.

    (via cycloffee)




    This kit design was ahead of its time.

    This is so pro it hurts, like staring into the sun.

    (via vincemarotte)

    A lesson in avoiding the anxious mind of an amateur cyclist


    As cyclists, especially those of us in the amateur ranks still just getting our feet solidly into the sport, it’s very easy to build this anxious mind around improvement. It’s when we spend silly money on gear, supplements and weird diets. It’s when we fret over our fit, our drop, our reach, and areas of irrelevant marginal gains. We get focused on small things simply because we can change them quickly, instead of trusting in the simple principles of improvement that take a long time, but are steady and sure.

    I see this a lot, A LOT, in our bike shop on a daily basis and in the cyclists around the state. Do aero road helmets create a performance advantage? Yup! Are they more important then saving up for a coach, or simply being more consistent in training? Never! And even though I see it all the time, I am as much a practicer of these rituals as anyone else.

    Recently this came in the form of being overly analytical with my bike fit since the transition from cyclocross. There is this weird need in a lot of guys, myself included, to get our fit to be as “pro” as we think it should be - whatever that means. This means we try to make our fit for a long legged, super flexible, super skinny cyclist when we are short legged, mostly flexible and not so skinny. I definitely have a complex from being more short legged then most cyclists my height (a fact I’m reminded of every time I do a Body Geometry fit for cyclists in our shop and see their seat height relative to mine!)

    So, in January I moved my saddle up a centimeter cause “it looked low.” How dumb is that? Now, I know that seat height falls into a knee angle range of 25 (high) to 35 (low) degrees as the ideal setting. Where you fit in the range has to do a lot with flexibility. So, without adding stretching to my routine I moved my saddle to 25 degrees, and figured I’d just get used to it.

    Well, after a couple weeks behind both knees I could feel tension from them being stretched too far. I still kept the saddle height there, wanting to “make it work.” Well, that turned into last friday being on an easy endurance ride and feeling a sharp, deep, pull behind my right knee! Stupid.

    It’s just strain, and it meant just taking two days off the bike this weekend (gorgeous days by the way). But it was a good reminder to focus on the right things to change and focus on instead of the silly ones. (Saddle is back to what it needs to be by the way.)

    You need a proper fit, but you don’t need to try and make it the fit for someone else. You do get a gain from a faster bike, helmet, kit, wheels. But there is a real significant gain from having a coach build best-practices into training that engine of yours. You need to train, but you don’t need to binge train on the weekends because of the rides you see everyone else posted on Strava.

    You are never behind. You are simply where you are, making the progress you can, with the commitment you have for that day.

    Consistent progress is a balance of patience and laser sharp discipline. We don’t need to freak out because we can’t gain 100 watts at threshold before Tulsa Tough. But we do need to freak out if we keep missing workouts. As Joe Friel states in his training books, it takes 7–10 years of focused training to reach your maximum potential. And riders 3 years and under of serious training (yours truly included) are still considered “Novice.”

    Be patient for the progress, and think about how you spend your money if you have high aims for your cycling experience. Calm your mind on the progress because it is a year over year process of improvement. And focus your mind on the daily disciplines, nutrition and workouts, that are going to build that engine. And get whatever gear or bike you want, but do so without a false presumption that it’s a shortcut to results. There are no shortcuts in cycling.


    "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…

    View Post

    Loading posts...