Death March Revival ITT Ride Report

 I don't know what got into me Last year my wife, Courtney, rode all three of Tennessee Gravel's  individual time trial (ITT) routes. And she really enjoyed it. But I had very little interest in trying to ride these long, hard routes as fast as possible - all by myself. I saw Chad Hungerford set the fastest known time (FKT) on the Death March Revival (DMR) route last May at 7 hours 41 minutes and I thought, "that looks miserable." I had a hard time imagining putting forth a constant effort, suffering for 7+ hours over these rough roads and long climbs. That said, I did ride the DMR route last May - but I rode it with Courtney and a few friends. It was a long day out at a casual pace, completing the loop in about 11 hours. And that was really enjoyable. It wasn't super exciting - I might rather spend my time ripping down some singletrack, but it was a beautiful day through my favorite mountains. I had also ridden most of the route (excluding the Big Frog loop) with

Fools and Fanatics

I'm not a philosopher, but I know as a coach, trainer, or athlete - it helps to have some core beliefs. Without those, how do you justify your approach? How do you formulate workouts, season plans or adapt to changing circumstances? How do you make any decisions? You have to believe a certain approach can lead you to a certain result. And hopefully those beliefs are rooted in something - education, personal experiences, literature, observations, etc. I like to think there is something of a "Spectrum of Belief" or spectrum of coaching styles.   On one end, a coach or athlete believes there is one absolute best way to train for an event. On the other, the individual believes nothing matters - decisions in training or training itself makes no difference. I think good coaches reside in the middle of this theoretical spectrum. They are able to make decisions based on their knowledge and experiences  - believing those decisions will lead them and their athletes in the right d

That's a Wrap!

Georgia Gravel Grinduro Shortly after my last post, Long Course Duathlon Nationals was cancelled. And for a few days, I thought my racing season was over, before it really began - but then a friend mentioned the Georgia Gravel Grinduro in Helen, GA on Halloween. Perfect! - I could use the event as a carrot to train for and as a final race before getting reset for 2021. Training was a balance of short hard intervals, and long rides; then a few fun mountain bike rides and gravel adventures with my wife. I was also running a bit more (25-35 miles per week). I put very little pressure on myself and tried to take a low key approach to the race. It was just supposed to be fun, and a good way to challenge myself. Despite the "low-key and fun" approach to training, I was able to put up some of my best ever numbers for 3-minute intervals and set PR's on some long Strava segments. So, I was happy to have good legs heading into the race. I figured Elliott Baring would show up (he be

Fall Updates

2020 Powerman Zofingen The Powerman Zofingen ITU Long Distance Duathlon World Championship has been postponed until May 2021. At this point, I'm not certain that I will make travel grants available again in 2021. Check back in January for an update. Trans-North Georgia Adventure Since most races were cancelled this year - and I didn't have to dedicate myself to duathlon, running, road cycling, or anything specific - I decided to have fun, try something totally different and sign up for the Trans-North Georgia Adventure (TNGA) race. I grew up riding mountain bikes in the North Georgia mountains and I was excited to attempt a traverse of the state on two wheels. If you've never heard of TNGA, it's a 350-something mile route across North Georgia. Depending on who you ask, it has between 35,000 and 50,000 feet of elevation gain. It's roughly 20% single track trail and 72% unpaved. Every year in August, there is a "Grand Depart," where a bunch of crazy people m

2020 Zofingen ITU Powerman Travel Grants Now Available for Elite Athletes

The application period for travel grants is now open for qualified US elite athletes. Grants, up to $1500 per athlete, will be awarded to 2 male and 2 female athletes to represent the United States in the Elite Categories at the 2020 ITU Long Distance Duathlon World Championship (Powerman Zofingen) in Zofingen, Switzerland. The race date is September 20, 2020. Having traveled overseas to compete, I recognize the financial barriers and lack of incentives for elite athletes. With these travel grants, I aim to make travel more feasible and provide incentive for elite athletes to participate in the elite categories of the Long Distance Duathlon World Championships. Athletes must possess USA Triathlon Elite License (in duathlon) and be eligible to compete in the Elite Category of the World Championship. If you do not currently possess a USAT elite duathlete license, you may apply for one on the  USA Triathlon Website . For more information about Powerman Zofingen check out the

"Overtraining" in the News

An NPR article caught my attention last week. John Hamilton's article, "Too Much Training Can Tax Athletes' Brains" was effectively instant click-bait to me. And it has provided much food for thought over the last few days. Hamilton interviewed the authors of a new study exploring the effects of training induced fatigue on exercise performance, cognitive fatigue, decision making, prefrontal cortex activity, etc... You can read the full text of the cited article in Current Biology here . What's it all about? The study divided 37 "competitive" triathletes into 2 groups - a control group maintained its normal training volume and an overreaching group (OR) that increased its training volume by an average of 40% for a 3 week overload period. Both groups were given a psychometric questionnaire every 2 days to assess subjective fatigue/mood. Brain activity was assessed via MRI pre- and post-training period. Subjects were also asked questions to

Don't believe everything that you read.

Leave it to Twitter to get me riled up. A tweet caught my attention a few days ago. It read: "Greater improvements in cycling performance parameters following HRV-guided vs. block training." I was intrigued, so I read the abstract . I didn't have access to the peer review journal at the time, but I could see in the abstract, "Between-group fitness and performance were similar after the study." So I called out the original "tweeter," saying there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Claiming one is superior, misrepresents the study's findings. By this point I noticed the individual is a  professor and researcher and maintains a blog devoted to heart rate variability (HRV) research - which surprised me. If he's a professor, surely he understands statistics - I couldn't help but think he was misrepresenting the findings to support his bias in favor of  HRV-guided training... After I pointed out