Jump Start Prep Phase Training

Silver Sage sponsored Reno WheelWoman and O2-fitness athlete, Michelle Faurot shares her strategy to jump start her preparation phase of training.

After a busy holiday season I knew it was time to jump-start my training.  I had a huge year on the bike last year training and racing RAAM and masters road nationals, but the holidays with lots of family visiting put a real dent in my time to train.  Peak training months during last year averaged over 50 hours/month on the bike.  By December last year I was down to 6 hours on the  bike.  All indoors, by the way, as we finally have snow here in Reno.  Early January wasn’t much better.  I had five hours on the trainer before I departed last Friday for an epic event called The Coast Ride, a three day point to point from San Francisco to Santa Barbara.  That’s about 125 miles per day.  My group of seven women from the Reno Wheelwomen team brought two vehicles to support us, so I knew we would all have to share the driving.   My hope was to be able to do at least one full day.


After Day 1 with 68 miles and 4,500 feet of climbing I wasn’t so sure I was going to be able to achieve that goal.  The weather was cold and rainy and after initially feeling good on the bike, I got tired and wasn’t recruiting my glute muscles properly so my thighs started to cramp.  A good lunch helped me feel better and remember all I had learned from coach Julie Young.  While I hadn’t been on the bike much, and no time outside, I had been doing regular strength training and outdoor activities.  I also realized that this was going to be a mental battle more than anything else.


Day 2 I rode 68 miles, some on Highway 1 through Big Sur.  Still rainy and grey, the coastline when you could see it remained spectacular.  I rode easy for the most part, focusing on form.


Day 3 was the big day.  128 miles ahead of me. Still rainy and now muddy. I knew I needed to ride with a big group, and I found one almost right away.   It was nice to be with the pack, riding together at a reasonable, fast clip.  Now I needed to focus on staying with the group. The pace in my group picked up on the way to the lunch stop.  The group got split by cross winds, and I was happy to stay with the lead group. We then started to hit some long climbs, and now the first mental battle kicked in.  A couple times  I thought I was sliding off the back for sure.  I hung in, thinking at times of all the squats and leg press I had done over and over,  It became kind of a mantra.  I was really pleased to have stayed with a solid group of guy bike racers up those climbs.


Post lunch was more of the same  mental battles, knowing I had a solid group, and working hard to make sure I stayed with them.   No cramping and our group rolled into the hotel with a 17.7 mph average for the day.  7,000 feet of elevation gain.  A huge thanks to Julie for helping me believe I could do this. It was a fantastic way to start the season!


Final stats for the weekend: 264 miles, 16 hours,  and 16, 620 feet of elevation gain. Post ride pic, all smiles!

The Scientific Method

Silver-Sage/O2fitness athlete,  JT Teerlink shares sincere reflections on the opportunities afforded when we continue to be willing and open to observe and learn. This perspective helps us to continue to improve and avoid the pitfalls of preconceived notions, leading to stagnation. Thanks JT for sharing.

I love teaching the scientific method.  I teach my students that scientists are always collecting new observations that have the potential to disprove not only their own work but also that of their colleagues.  A theory that can withstand decades worth of interdisciplinary observations is one you can truly rely on to interpret the world around you.  But even those, on occasion, must be altered to accommodate for new data.

I always take a moment to stand on my soapbox and urge students to do something not covered in the syllabus.  An underlying agenda I have in my moonlight career as a community college professor is to mold my students into better citizens, or at least my idea of what that looks like.  ‘Scientists are always open to new observations and new data, particularly if it does not support their view.  This is a good policy in life.  Always be open to new data to shape your perception of your friends and family, drive your consumer choices, and inform your political leanings, particularly when the new data challenges your current view.’

I’ll leave consumer choices and politics aside, but how often are we truly open to seeing our friends and family in a new light?  Allowing them to change and grow without holding them to some prior expectation.  Even worse, how often do limit our own growth by a preconceived notion of what we should be?  What our strengths, weaknesses, abilities, passions, and dislikes are.  What limitations do we set by neglecting to collect new data?

As 2015 wound to a close I wanted to take a look at my own preconceived notions about who I thought I was and who I thought I was not.  Attempt to let go of expectations.  Was I too attached to any particular view or habit?  This was a broader exercise, but who I am as an athlete was an easy target.

I’ve collected data over the years about my relationship to athletics.  In recent years my time has predominantly been spent cycling.  Skiing, running, whitewater kayaking, yoga, triathlons, all take rotation, and of course my first true love; swimming.  The data all support a singular conclusion: my brain is clearer after my body has been pushed to the point where I am able to silence the constant, bustling, unending mental chatter.


Junior year high school

As a high school and collegiate swimmer I was convinced it was all about getting faster.  I poured myself into every workout, focused on technique, obsessed over the numbers all with the intent to be as fast as I could possibly be.  With retirement looming, midway through my senior year I realized that 1/10th of a second really didn’t matter in the grand scheme.  It was a bit of an identity crisis. I had so much of my character wrapped up in those fractions of seconds.  My life would go on whether I shaved those fractions or not, and I would be forced to look towards new horizons.

sad about 1st

Visibly crying on the podium over not achieving time standards for senior nationals despite winning state championships in the 100 yard backstroke (and also 100 fly).

It was challenging to find a new equilibrium with athletics.  It took close to a decade for me to realize that what I had truly loved about swimming wasn’t the competition against the clock or opponent.  It was the daily effort, the practice of exertion.  I like trying hard. I naturally crave heading out and hammering up hills.  It is something that calls me.  The value is in the day to day and any outcome is ancillary.

I ‘retired’ from swimming 15 years ago, and since that time I have completely avoided ‘training’.  Too often I hear people talk about training as a chore, a dirty deed that must be done in order to enjoy some future event that it is ‘all about’. This doesn’t resonate with me, and so I have avoided calling it training or having any sort of organization.  The data I had gathered suggested ‘training’ wasn’t for me.  I just like riding my bike, skiing in the mountains, swimming in lakes.


Co-founder of the Dirt Birds women’s cyclocross team.  (photo credit Jim Elder)

Two years ago I found cyclocross.  I love it.  I love the intensity.  I love the opportunity on each lap to improve on a line or a skill.  I love the community.  I love competitors breathing down my back pushing me harder, and those dangling just out of reach in front me.  I love executing a pass and not being certain if I’ll be able to maintain it.  And most of all, I absolutely love that for an entire 45 minutes I do not think about anything else.

I have grown so attached to the idea that I am not a person that trains and that I am not a person that is an ‘athlete’.  But if I am a careful observer, I know how much I love it when fitness and skills mesh and I am able to dig a little deeper, stick a line, execute a pass, put the hammer down.  I want to chase that feeling of when things ‘click’ but this is a vague goal of improvement.  I know that whether I surpass my competitors or they improve over me none of that makes a difference in my identity or character.  Because of that I have been adamant about not ‘training’.

It is time to collect new data; I make the conscious decision to let go of who I think I am.  My initial conversations with Julie made it clear she would be a great advocate in providing organization in the day to day, while keeping the focus on enjoying the process even more than that outcome. Embrace challenges to my body and mind day in and day out and accept that it is possible to enjoy even when it is organized into ‘training’.   Embrace that with some forethought I could have more of those moments where it all clicks and the constant chatter in my brain falls away.

From an initial email to determine if we would be a good fit as an athlete-coach pair I immediately felt at ease. ‘Truly in my mind it’s not at all about competition or proving, its simply an amazing venue to express our talents. Artists have art, we have athletics. We absolutely want to find the balance so this athletic outlet provides a positive balance to your life. And I think when we love it, training and workouts are not work, but again just an opportunity to keeping improving, honing and polishing our art.’

The Epic Coast Ride

Contributed by Silver Sage Sponsored Reno WheelWoman and O2fitness athlete, Lucie Oren.

A couple of weekends ago, I was on the Calif. coast riding with six of my teammates. We were participating in the Coast Ride and riding our bikes from San Francisco to Santa Barbara in 3 days. This meant an average of 128mi. per day.  Living in Reno with the epic snow we’ve been getting meant most of us have been limited to riding indoor trainers.  Therefore, we all went into this ride with low mileage in the saddle.  But, everyone did so great!  We had two of our own sag vehicles and split the riding days. Three of the girls were rockstars and rode one of the full days!  Despite the near-constant rain and headwinds we had an epic time!


 In addition to minimal mileage, I was still dealing with occasional residual low-back pain. Julie had been carefully leading me through a modified training schedule the weeks prior to the ride due to throwing my back out twice!  I must say, listening to your wise coach is a wise decision!  Julie was concerned about me tackling the mileage; therefore I took full advantage of our sag vehicles by riding half days and sagging the other half.  At the end of the second day, I reluctantly decided to jump in my car with only 18mi. to go, but I could feel the inflammation flaring in my back.  I was so upset at my body and majorly bummed out!  But more importantly, I really didn’t want to mess things up!  Julie had helped me to continue training through the back issues, got me to where I was, and I wanted and needed to come out of this adventure stronger.



Now that I’m back in Reno, I’m happy to be back in the gym and continuing the strength training. I even got to ride outside once this past week!  It sure was a nice change from the trainer!



TBF MTB Kickstart – 1st MTB race of 2016

By Silver-Sage/O2fitness athlete Travis Boucher…

When I woke up, I didn’t really feel like racing although, once I got to the race, I knew I wanted to be there. It was a nice day and I felt great. I had 27 days of “green” on Training Peaks (greens=completed workouts) so I felt good.I accidentally lined up behind the girls, so I almost got left behind for my race. Luckily, I got into my class but unlucky that I got a third row start. I got a terrible start but pedaled hard and was able to get to the top five before the start of the levy. I rode very smoothly up to 1st and 2nd. I caught up to them at the start of the long hill to the bench, just off the road. They were stuck behind a big group so I was able to catch them easier. I passed them together before the bench. They both seemed much stronger so I tried to put as many people as possible between us.

Photo credit: Craig Dvta

The Julie Young training worked so well that I felt that I had unlimited energy during the race. The course was crazy smooth and awesome because of the recent rains. I saw a few people pushing or carrying their bikes because of mechanical issues but thanks to Roseville Cyclery, my bike worked great. I felt super good during the race and finished first in the Novice HS class. I was very surprised but happy

I thank Julie Young, O2 Fitness, for the incredible training and Roseville Cyclery for keeping my bike in good shape. Thanks also to Castelli for the comfortable kit. Congratulations to Team Roseville Cyclery racers and the new Placer Foothills HS racers on their first race.

Winter, Bring it On

Winter, the perfect opportunity to change it up. Below, reflections on winter training by Silver Sage sponsored Reno WheelWoman, Heidi…


WINTER!  We’re so fortunate to have so much snow here in the West (FINALLY!).  It’s been a joy to spend Sunday endurance days with friends and with my dogs doing snow sports.  With two Huskies, I’m guaranteed to have great companionship and they turn any snowshoe or hike into an all-body workout!


As much as I love riding my bike, change is good for the soul and I believe it’s helped my fitness, as well.  There’s something exciting about being a novice at a sport… in my case, Nordic skiing.  I love the idea of breaking out of what I normally do and adding to the skill set.  It keeps my mind challenged and my body adapting to what’s new. Plus, it’s just such a fun sport!  Never mind that it’s probably the hardest workout I’ve ever done!  You don’t really notice that when you’re outside looking at the beautiful scenery.  Sure beats the heck out of sitting on the trainer for hours and, I have to say, I’ve NEVER been so tired after a workout.  You can consider me to be a new Nordic skiing addict (I’ll be buying equipment as soon as I can afford it).


Thanks to Mother Nature for providing the opportunity to get outside and really change it up this year.  Keep that white, fluffy snow coming!

Embracing Winter

Winter training inspiration by Silver Sage-O2fitness-athlete, Sian Turner-Crespo

For those of us living in regions that experience a real winter, November can signify the start of hours of slogging away indoors on a treadmill or trainer, or alternatively a period of exploring new outdoor sports and activities.  While there has to be a certain amount of sport-specific training through the dark and cold winter months, at the same time not everything has to be done indoors.  On this subject Julie of O2Fitness is very much in agreement.  Now we’re into January, with race season already feeling closer each day, my training schedule includes a few key specific trainer workouts each week, but there is a healthy variety of outdoor options sprinkled into my week still.  We at last have a cold and white winter here in the Sierra’s so I’ve been able to work on my cross country skiing abilities, both striding and skating, as part of winter training.  In addition, instead of hours on spinning on the trainer, warm ups have included an outdoor run before hitting the quality specific time on the trainer – something which a selection of my 4 huskies have been more than happy to join me on – the colder the better for them!

Outdoor running does not have to stop for snow, ice, dark, or cold, and this winter I’ve been fully embracing all conditions.  With spiked running shoes, or one of many possible traction devices that can hook to any shoe (Kahtoola microspikes, YakTrax, or full snowshoes – yes you can run in the right kind!), even the slickest of ice roads and trails are more than manageable.  Wear enough layers, cover your mouth and nose, and even single digit Fahrenheit temperatures are no problem when running.  I’ve even braved the dark this winter; with snow on the ground and even a sliver of moonlight, visibility isn’t a problem.  When there is no moon at all or cloud cover just grab a head-torch and/or blinky light for you or your dog, plus a dog or two makes you feel more than safe from mountain creatures for a pre-dawn or after-dusk run.  For added strength work, throw in some snow shoveling and firewood hauling/stacking to compliment indoor weights and gym-work soon becomes far less repetitive and practical at the same time!

If you miss your bike and the open roads and trails, even winter biking is now a possibility with many trail options now available for fat tire bikes.  I haven’t fully explored this option yet with my recent obsession with improving my skiing, but it’s there for if and when I need even more options!


The sun setting on an evening run.


Ski’s – my current favourite form of locomotion!


Rehydration the husky way.


Shoveling strength session


A head-torch lit night run with the whole pack.