Two steps back

So my lower back is pretty f’ed up.

I should have done more core work this summer, but I didn’t and now I am paying the price for it.

I have been feeling some lower back fatigue lately but I chalked that up to spending more time in the drops. It would get sore but feel better really quickly after I was done racing. What’s going on now after Trek CXC weekend is a totally different story.

Saturday in Waterloo I felt fine. Not real smooth but that is kind of typical for the first big race of the year for me. I was off the bike running the steep climb every lap and finished the race with no issues. Sunday morning during warm up I decided to try and ride the climb as I had seen others do the previous day. I found the line and was able to muscle my way up the hill so I decided to do that in the race. The first lap was hectic with traffic and I ran it but rode up the next four laps. With about a lap and a half to go I was feeling the familiar fatigue in my back creeping in but this time it kept getting worse and worse and by the end of the race it no longer felt like fatigue soreness but full on cramping. Primarily on the right side lower portion of my back next to the spine. It took me a few minutes of stretching to get things to try and relax but something odd was going on. I spent 20 minutes on the trainer cooling down and then got in the car and drove the 5 hours straight home. For the rest of the evening my back felt tight but I figured it would be better by morning.

No such luck. I was awake and in pain a fair amount of the night and spend the next day in agony and this has been repeating itself each day since Monday. I got a massage on Tuesday afternoon and felt better for the evening but Wednesday morning I was right back in misery. I was hoping that things would start to clear up and that I would be able to race Metal CX this weekend but today I am still not able to walk or bend over without pain and the idea of riding hard, running and jumping seems pretty much impossible.

The focus for me at this point is to take it easy, stretch, relax and wait for the pain to go away. Once this happens I can start to train easy again and see how things go while still working on stretching and keeping things loose. So long as the pain stays away I can start to add some intensity and add in some work on core strength and stability, things I should have been doing all along but haven’t been. Looking at the race calendar it might be Green Acres October 18-19 before I can start racing again but I’m going to have to be sure that I am on the right track before I take on the climbing that course includes.

It’s been a frustrating start to the season and my typical pessimistic and fatalistic attitude continues to let thoughts of a lost season creep into my head. It’s a struggle but I try and remind myself that the season runs until January and if things improve there will be plenty of racing left. One step at a time I guess.



TPU certified!

TPU certified!

Gut it out

It’s important to test yourself. Sometimes, for no other reason than just getting more familiar with testing yourself.

We run 30 minute FTP tests here at the studio so our athletes can determine if their training is helping them make improvements in their power output. I did one of these tests last week. It did not go well.

I did everything right. Got a good night sleep the evening before. Was totally hydrated leading up to the test. Foam rolled. Spent some time making with the motivational self talk. Stretched. Set up a power schedule for each five minute block of the 30 minute test. Ready to go.


Not so good. I hit my numbers the first 5 minutes. I barely hit my numbers the second 5 minutes. By the 3rd five minutes I was behind. At this point I was frustrated and in a lot of pain. Presented with the choice, bail on the test, or just keep riding, I kept riding.

Usually the test determines your Functional Threshold Power on that particular day. But for me the test was simply going to determine how much pain I was going to be able to put up with for 30 minutes. It was very unpleasant.

Putting up with pain is easier (not easy) when you are hitting your goals, having a good race, dropping the competition. It’s motivating and you want to continue doing it even if it hurts.

Putting up with pain when things are not going your way is very difficult. You want to stop, you have no motivation to continue. It’s demoralizing.

But this is another kind of test. A test of the metal ability to put up with the pain, for no other reason than to just spend time putting up with the pain.

Things don’t always go your way in a bike race. In fact, they rarely go your way. The pain is the same however. But the more time you spend with the pain the less it can affect you when the results are important. Not winning? Tactics not working? Mechanical has left you behind the group? Are you going to drop out?

Or are you going to dig deep and keep suffering like you have practiced during a test? You’re not going to die, keep at it. Who knows what might happen? Maybe things will turn around. You never know if you quit.

Keep at it. Keep digging.

Gut it out.

You’ll be tougher for it in the end.

We stopped by @SkratchLabs while in Boulder this week and got some information on the new Matcha with Caffeine and Rescue Hydration Drink Mixes. Rescue Hydration in stock at the Studio now, Matcha in stock next week!