Mental Opportunities of Training and Racing

The month of April started with the goal of having a successful day on the bike with my Rio Strada teammates at the Rapha Prestige event in San Francisco.  This longer, much climbier ride/race was definitely outside my comfort zone and I did as much as I could to train for the distance and elevation gain involved.  Unfortunately, the best laid plans didn’t help me on the day and my back decided it was not in the cards for me to finish the ride.  I really felt like I let my teammates down, especially when I saw the team’s “DNF” on the final result a couple days later.

That day was like a hard punch to the stomach.  In the days that followed, I hoped to find something positive in what happened, but it was extremely difficult to do that.  Julie took the time to give me much support and guidance.  The advice she gave me made that day an anomaly when it could have been the start of a bigger downward spiral.  She helped me turn my focus forward.  I resolved to work harder on my core strength, climbing and distance riding.

I also decided to do some races for flat out speed… FUN stuff… mood enhancers for bike racers!  For me, that’s a good, fast criterium.  Only a week after that down day at the Rapha, I won my first race of the season.  Then, somehow, some way, that win turned into four straight podiums over a four-race span.  It’s a huge turnaround for me that has resulted in wanting to do more to improve and get stronger — mentally and physically.  The momentum is going the right way, much faster than I ever could have imagined.

Through this last month, I realized more than ever the value of having a great coach.  It’s not just physical, it’s very mental, also.  Having that voice of reason and experience to help you see the forest for the trees and not focus on the wrong things… it’s priceless.

Heidi Littenberg, o2fitness athlete


Mayberg – You Look Marvelous!

Experiential Training and Racing Report from Stephanie Mayberg – o2fitness athlete and Rio Stada Cycling team member…

This is my first season racing, and I started out with an injury that had me off the bike for two months.  Once I was able to get back on the bike, I have made slow and steady progress regaining what I had lost and getting stronger and faster.

I decided to try my hand at time trialing by going out to a time trial training ride, and loved it.

I trained a few more weeks, then set my sights on my first official NCNCA event – a 10 mile individual time trial.  All week I visualized what I thought the course would be like; it was described as a 10 mile out and back with a “slight elevation gain” on the way out.  I felt fit and ready to race.  I talked over my fears and thoughts with Julie and had a plan.  I checked out my bike the night before, packed my car, reviewed my plan and went to bed.

I woke up the next morning excited and focused. I drive down to the race, got checked in and warmed up. I was feeling great. I didn’t want to go out too fast, because I had made that mistake in the training rides.  First mile I was feeling great…then we started to climb.  This wasn’t a slight elevation gain – it was a hill!  I kept pushing, and then came panic and doubt.  “Why did I think I could do this?”  Someone on the sidelines said “take a deep breath.”  I did just that, I regained my composure and told myself that I wasn’t quitting and I wasn’t letting up.  I kept climbing knowing ( or thinking I knew) that the turnaround was just ahead and the rest would be downhill.  I hit the 5 mile mark, where I expected to see the turnaround, and it wasn’t there. My legs were screaming!  This went on for another mile and a half when the turn around appeared.  I turned around for the downhill portion, but needed to recover from all of the unexpected climbing. I finished the race totally exhausted.

After discussing with Julie, I realized that while the fitness and mental piece were there, I needed to fine tune distributing my efforts.

I stuck with my training plan and headed out for a Tuesday night twilight crit – my first crit ever.  I was determined to have fun and ride smart.  I also told myself I didn’t want to lose the pack.  We warmed up with a few laps, then took our place on the line.  The speed slowly increased, and I found myself at the back of the pack. We slowed and surged at every turn.  It took me one lap to know this was not where I wanted to be…we rode a few more laps, and I saw my opportunity.  The pack was starting to splinter. I moved up to the front one rider at a time. The speed was moving now.  For the next 30 minutes rode my heart out, learning where I could push and when I should conserve.  I thought about my discussions with Julie on cadence and pedal stroke, and somewhere in the race it all came together. I worked hard, I hurt, but I had a blast! Added bonus- I finished third and took a prime.


O2fitness athlete Todd Heinzen Tunes Up His Tri

Really pleased with today’s race.  Course was a little slow on the swim and bike.  Rougher water and a little breezy.  Cold too.  But I was out of the water in about 9:50 with good aggressive effort.  Bike was really fast.  The run up the beach was about 1 minute longer than last year and my bike split was about the same.  Leaves me about 1 minute faster for just ride time.  I was flying.  Got into the pain early in the race and lived there.  Run was hard.  I had a good effort, but felt a bit fatigued.  This is a tough course to find a good pace with all the hills, single track, etc.  Even then, I think I ran about 5 seconds faster than I have ever run.  1st AG by 3:15 and 4th OA.  I would have won the 3 age groups younger than me, so THAT gives me bragging rights!  Fast group ahead of me with one young pro triathlete winning.  Very nice result by effort and speed., especially on the swim and the bike. Todd

Never Too Old to Improve!

I have always loved the outdoors, all forms of exercising including running and cycling.  Since moving to Auburn in 2010, my husband Dennis and I have been really enjoyed cycling.  When I decided it was time to step it up a little, I turned to Julie Young.  Some of my “cycling cistas” had taken her 10 week training program and loved it.  So when Carrie said she was setting up a semi private class, I jumped on board!  WOW!!  Only 5 weeks into the class, I see a definite improvement in the way I climb and handle the bike.  I also did a bike fit with Julie to insure I was positioned on the bike properly to get the most power from each pedal stroke and to insure proper alignment for comfort.  We made some adjustments to the bike and again WOW, I could immediately tell a difference in power when climbing.  Why do I keep talking about climbing…..well a small group are doing a tour thru the Colorado Rockies, “Ride the Rockies”, 7 days, 513 miles with about 20,000 feet of climbing.  I now feel better prepared than ever to tackle such a challenge at 55!!  The next 5 weeks of class will get me even stronger, physically and mentally.   Whether you are a beginner or seasoned cyclist, we can always improve and learn to enjoy the bike even more.  I now look forward to the challenge with no doubt iI will embrace the ride and enjoy every beautiful mountain pass!!

Betty Bennett