IMBCS Racer Spotlight: Michael Maney

Today is IMBCS Race Day number one with the Illiniwek Abermination in Hampton, Illinois! What a better way to start off your morning than posting up a new Spotlight?

We continue with our feature series of Spotlights here at IMBCS.org highlighting some of our many IMBCS participants throughout the state of Iowa. You can get to know some of the folks involved in racing and see how they do it, why they do it, what got them started, and read some of their thoughts. We will continue this feature throughout the season. You might be next, so check your email box for a Spotlight interview!

IMBCS.org Spotlights will provide a nice representation of ages, categories, and locations to introduce you to people you may or may not already know so you can read their thoughts about racing mountain bikes. Are you considering racing in an IMBCS event this year? You don’t have to be a member of a team. You don’t have to have an expensive bike. You don’t have to have matching socks. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, a seasoned veteran, male, female, young, old – mountain biking in IMBCS events is open to everyone. We will show that in our Spotlight series and encourage you to sign up for a race and give IMBCS a try.

Today’s Spotlight feature is another relatively newcomer to IMBCS, Michael Maney. Michael has blasted out of the gate with his cycling over the past three seasons and is enjoying the success that comes with his training and racing experience as he moves up to CAT I for 2015. Way to go, Michael! Let’s get to the interview so you can meet our third Spotlight and see how he moved his way up.

Name: Michael Maney

Current Home: Waterloo, IA

Age: 29

Employer: Senior Engineer at John Deere Power Systems

Racing Category for 2015: Cat I

Race Bike(s): Specialized S-Works Epic 29 World Cup

Bike Team: C&S Products Race Team

MMWyth

BB: What’s your favorite idea of a great mountain bike ride here in Iowa?

Michael: I really enjoy getting out and spending time riding with my wife Jacqueline and a group of friends; shredding some singletrack, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors, and looking forward to the great food and beers that typically follow! Typically it seems that these rides generally are the most memorable when we do them in the fall…perhaps that is because the weather is getting crisp and the leaves are changing making for one heck of a beautiful backdrop for mountain biking, or perhaps it is because we know that winter is coming and it may be up to 6 months before we get to do it again.

BB: When did you start racing mountain bikes?

Michael: My first race was at Beverly Park Fat Tire Frenzy in Cedar Rapids in 2012.  I raced CAT III and had no idea what I was doing, fully loaded with my 100 oz. CamelBak, tools, spare tube, pump, the whole nine yards. It certainly wasn’t my best performance, but I had a lot of fun and now had the racing bug. I raced two more races that year, and then raced my first full IMBCS series as a CAT II rider in 2013.

BB:  What kind of race results and series results for the IMBCS did you have in prior seasons?

Michael: 2013 was my first year racing the full IMBCS season and I had a good battle going for the duration of the season with Dane Miller. The scene was set for a dramatic finish at The Mullet Fall Classic – the last race of the season – to finally decide who was going to be taking home the CAT II 20-29 age group championship. Unfortunately, the battle that ensued wasn’t as dramatic as hoped as Dane had a bit of confusion on the date of the race and ended up missing the event which left me to claim the championship for our age group. It felt great winning my first championship, but I know both Dane and I didn’t want to end that way hahaha. For 2014, I moved up to compete in CAT II COMP, and similarly increased my training volume and intensity. I was able to find greater consistency in 2014, and had a lot of fun racing the COMP category in the series. I secured the series championship for COMP for the 2014 season at the Summerset Shootout at Banner Lakes in Indianola, and while it didn’t come down to the last race of the season like my CAT II season did, it was every bit as fun!

(Editor’s Note: I hope this new website, the Facebook Page, the Yahoo Group IMBCS and our printed schedule prevents a confused date such as Dane experienced in 2013!)

BB: What are your goals for this year with regard to your mountain bike racing?

Michael: My desire for this season is to compete at a high level in the CAT I Expert category in IMBCS, with the ultimate goal of securing a podium spot for the overall series points championship.

BB: What has been your favorite race venue to date in the IMBCS?

Michael: That is a tough question to answer. One of the things I enjoy most about mountain bike racing is being exposed to so many different courses in different places, and meeting so many great new people along the way. I really enjoy the challenge of learning a new course and adapting my skills to improve on sections that may not be my strongest, so all of the courses provide different challenges on that front. If I had to pick a favorite venue, I would have to pick Sugar Bottom for its great combination of technical features, varied terrain, beautiful scenery, high-quality singletrack, and what is typically a great turnout that always seems to lead to some very high competition racing!

MMSugar

BB: In preparing for the 2015 racing season, how many hours a week do you train? (Minimum, Maximum, Average)

Michael: In preparation for my jump up to the CAT I big leagues for the 2015 season, I increased my training volume throughout the Winter and early Spring months, with some of that time spent on the trainer, some of it spent riding my old hardtail on gravel and some of it spent on the fat bike riding singletrack and green belt trails. Throughout the early part of the season I averaged about 14 hrs per week on the bike, with another 2-3 hours per week performing core strength, balance/proprioception and stretching routines. As the season draws near and finally starts, my training hours will likely reduce, but the intensity of the training I do put in will increase as I make sure the body is in top form for the demands presented during race conditions. It is also a long season, so training adjustments often have to be made accordingly as issues or deficiencies arise throughout the season.

BB: Have you ever had something happen during a race that prevented you from finishing?

Michael: Knock on wood, I have never had an issue during a race that was severe enough that I DNF’d. I hope that good fortune continues into the 2015 season, but I’m also a big believer in the saying that victory loves preparation.

BB: Do you use a coach?

Michael: I do not have a formal coach per se, but I do have a great friend that I met through mountain bike racing that I communicate a great deal with about training, bike setup and maintenance, race preparation, etc.  In many ways that relationship helps hold me accountable in my training and development similar to the way a good relationship with a coach should, and in this case it is mutually beneficial. My wife Jacqueline is also my coach in a lot of ways, as another individual to hold me accountable in my training and nutrition, and who also happens to be one heck of a great cook that makes a lot of great training, recovery, and race fuel creations!

BB: Do you strength train as part of your training?

Michael: All of my strength training is with body weight exercises, plyometrics and targeted-system exercises both on and off the bike. I do not do any weight or resistance band training.

BB: What do you like about the Iowa cycling community in terms of mountain bike racing?

Michael: I really love and appreciate how outgoing, open, and friendly the Iowa mountain biking and racing community is. Some of the best friends I have today I met just riding the local trails, at a social ride or racing at the IMBCS races. People always talk about “Iowa nice” referring to how friendly the people are in Iowa, but I really feel that the mountain bike community takes that to an entirely new level. I really don’t think I’ve ever been around such a large group of people that are so consistently inviting and welcoming to outsiders, and has so many great people that form positive and deep relationships forged on common interests, all while having so much fun in the process.

BB: What would you say as words of encouragement to folks out there who are trying to make the decision to race a mountain bike in Iowa or not?

Michael: Getting out and racing on the Iowa mountain bike scene, whether you are competitive or not, is some of the greatest fun that can be had in any given weekend.  You don’t need to be fast or an excellent bike handler to have an incredible time out racing your bike on some new or familiar trails, and to do it with people that all love it just as much as you do. Everyone was the new guy that didn’t know anyone at some point, and everyone had their first race at some point. I know when I did my first race I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t know if I would ever want to try racing again at that point but I had a great time, met a lot of nice and fun people, and before I knew it – I was hooked. Racing and just riding mountain bikes provides so much balance to my life at this point that I really can’t imagine my life without it. When my wife and I were dating going mountain biking and exploring new places is one of the things we shared and was something that helped bring us together. A lot of my best friends I met through mountain biking and racing. As I said, whether you are competitive or not, you stand to learn a lot about yourself when you are out there on your bike, pushing yourself a bit, and you will certainly come away from it with great memories that will last a life time. And luckily for us, mountain biking is something you can do for the rest of your life, so the great memories just keep coming!

BB: Thank you so much Michael for sharing your story with us.

Michael’s debut as a CAT I racer on Sunday, April 19th…

MM'sCATIDebut

There you have it folks! Another inspirational story from a relatively newcomer who picked up mountain biking in his mid 20’s and is having a blast doing it. All the best to Michael has he pedals himself into the IMBCS big leagues this season for a go at the CAT I races. Next time you see Michael out on the trail or at an event, give him a shout out and introduce yourself. Michael is just one of the many racers enjoying the IMBCS.

Photographs used in this interview are courtesy of Angy Snoop, Eric Roccasecca and Jacqueline Maney

Illinewek — Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!!

I hope everyone is ready to get dirty because the start to the season is just around the corner.

Just as as heads up I’ve been in contact with the race director for Illinewek and he asked me to post this:

“As of right now, the race is on as scheduled. We are closely monitoring the weather forecast for Sunday and will post updates as decisions are made. Looking forward to seeing everyone on the trails! -Michael Vittetoe”

Updates will be posted as soon as the information arrives but please follow the Facebook group as for the most timely information.

See ya on the dirt!

Rob

8 Days to go! Let’s talk carpooling.

Illiniwek is only eight days away, are you ready? Bike good to go, gear ready, picked out the perfect ‘recovery’ drink? Now how are you getting there? transporting bicyclesFor some of us the drive to the course can be quite a distance, let’s carpool! I’ll cross-post this to the IMBCS Facebook group as well, but please let people know here or on Facebook if you can take a rider and bike or if your looking for a ride to share.

Gas may be cheaper than it’s been in a while but there’s no need to drive by yourself.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the races!

IMBCS Racer Spotlight: Lee Buell

We are featuring a series of Spotlights here at IMBCS.org to highlight some of our many IMBCS participants. You can get to know some of the folks who race and see how they do it, why they do it, what got them started, and read some of their thoughts. We will continue this feature throughout the season. You might be next, so check your email box for a Spotlight interview!

IMBCS.org Spotlights will provide a nice representation of ages, categories, and locations to introduce you to people you may or may not already know so you can read their thoughts about racing mountain bikes. Are you considering racing in an IMBCS event this year? You don’t have to be a member of a team. You don’t have to have an expensive bike. You don’t have to have matching socks. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, a seasoned veteran, male, female, young, old – mountain biking in IMBCS events is open to everyone. We will show that in our Spotlight series and encourage you to sign up for a race and give IMBCS a try.

Today’s Spotlight feature is another relatively newcomer to IMBCS, Lee Buell. Lee has been enjoying some growth in her cycling and the success that comes with that in the races the last year or two. She and I are the same age, so I’m anxious to hear what a fellow 53 year old says. Let’s get to the interview so you can meet our second Spotlight.

LeePodium

Name: Lee Buell

Current Home: Des Moines, Iowa

Age: 53 race age

Employer: Selective Insurance

Racing Category for 2015: CAT II, but also doing marathon races to prep for Chequamegon 100

Race Bike(s): Jamis Dakota Pro 29er and a recently built (Ed Veak built it) Soma Singlespeed 650B/27.5

Bike Team: VeloRosa  Pink Gals Rock!

BB: What’s your favorite idea of a great mountain bike ride here in Iowa?

Lee: An early afternoon spin through Center Trails or Sycamore Trails.  There usually is no one out there and I can just let it flow and take in nature. Next would be any ride on dirt with friends!

BB: When did you start racing mountain bikes?

Lee: This is my third year on dirt as I started racing in the 2013 season.

BB: What kind of race results and series results for the IMBCS did you have in prior seasons?

Lee: My first year I came on strong about mid-season and won the Cat III for the year end IMBCS Points Award. Last year I moved up to Cat II and again won the IMBCS Points Award. I also made the podium for my age division at Chequamegon 40 in my second time at that race. The icing on the cake was finishing the Dakota Five-0.

BB: What are your goals for this year with regard to your mountain bike racing?

Lee: I am racing in the Chequamegon 100 with fellow teammate Kari Anderson. My goal is to finish this. Not only from a fitness standpoint, but from being able to solve any bike related problems that may arise. I plan to race the IMBCS and the Nebraska Pyscowpath Series again this year. On the long-distance front, I completed my first CIRREM (yes, on my Jamis), and will do the Almanzo, the Dakota Five-0, the Chequagemon 40, and the Cuyuna 5-0.  If I have anything left, I may take a shot at Jingle Cross.

BB: What has been your favorite race venue to date in the IMBCS?

Lee: Probably Sunderbruch Park (FORC Side Thrill Ride) because it was technically out of my comfort zone, and skill set each of the last two years. The first year I raced there, the awards were given out by age groups and over half way through the awards presentation, the race director asked who won the Cat III race and how old I was. I was the oldest in the race and the winner! So it will always be my favorite race!

BB: Lee, in preparing for the 2015 racing season, how many hours a week do you train? (Minimum, Maximum, Average)

Lee: I average 15-18 hours on the bike; 2 hours on weights and 1.5 on core/stability. I do a build and taper type of routine.

BB: Have you ever had something happen during a race that prevented you from finishing?

Lee: No. I have managed to pick myself up and keep going. Which does not mean that I have not wanted to quit!

LeeSmiles

BB: Do you use a coach?

Lee: Yes. Julie Kirkpatrick with Zoom Performance. I went from being an average road racer while on my own to a confident, well-trained competitor since I started to work with Julie.

BB: Do you strength train as part of your training?

Lee: Yes. I do Body Pump for full body strengthening and then do core and IT exercises.

LeeGeorgeWyth

BB: What do you like about the Iowa cycling community in terms of mountain bike racing?

Lee: The friendship and support. It does not matter what town you are from or what team colors you wear, everyone is supportive. Also the guys and gals all interact and hang out. I did not see much of that in road racing. There is always someone willing to ride with you and more than willing to help you with technique or teach you to wrench your bike. I feel that I am part of a larger group of folks that love to ride dirt!

BB: What would you say as words of encouragement to folks out there who are trying to make the decision to race a mountain bike in Iowa or not?

Lee: Go out and try it. My first times out were less than stellar. Try a race. I have gotten shot out the back on numerous races but kept pedaling. The more you do it, the better you get. It is hard to explain, but practice really does make you better. It is not always just fitness, but technique is equally as important.

BB: Excellent, Lee! Your story is very inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing your story with the IMBCS community, and all the best for your 2015 season.

There you have it, folks. It’s never too late to get started racing mountain bikes, whether you are in your 40’s, 50’s, or more!!! Next time you see Lee out on the trail or at an event, give her a shout out and introduce yourself. Lee is just one of the many racers enjoying the IMBCS.

I recommended in our first Spotlight last week that if you have the chance or opportunity to carpool to an IMBCS race with somebody in your area – be it a full carload of racers or just you and another racer – do it! It’s a great chance to meet somebody, swap stories, build friendships, and save on transportation costs. You get the routine. Split the gas money. Share the driving. Keep the driver awake post race. Visit. Learn. Post up your carpool request on the Facebook IMBCS Group page. If you see another request posted and have room in your car/SUV/truck/mini-van/18 wheeler/RV – follow up with a post or PM to the person and dive in to meet them. You won’t be sorry.

Photographs courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

Illiniwek Abermination kicks off Season 13 of IMBCS!

Just two weekends away until the kickoff of our 13th Annual Season!!

Who is getting excited to race on dirt?

First up on the race schedule for Sunday, April 19th, 2015 is what one must call an excellent venue. IMBCS #1 – Illiniwek Abermination. This event was new to the IMBCS last season and is located just across the Mississippi River in Hampton, IL. This is a beautiful trail system with excellent flow built into the Mississippi River Bluffs on the Illiniwek Forest Preserve. Many who raced there last year came away with a nice “Wow!” factor and smiles on their faces since most had never had the chance to ride on those trails before. Berms, switchbacks, twists and turns, and did I mention incredible flow? I was giddy, and begged Michael to be a part of the series again this year.

Beautiful smiles photographed courtesy of Eric Roccasecca…

Illiniwek4

Race Director Michael Vittetoe is once again at the helm of this FORC supported event. The race is a dual state series race that counts both for the IMBCS here in Iowa as well as the Illinois Homegrown Race Series in Illinois.

Starting line crowd photo courtesy of Eric Roccasecca…

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The race is a USA Cycling Sanctioned event, so Iowa racers will need an annual license for CAT I, and a daily (or annual) for the other CATs. I wanted to post up today to give folks a chance to take care of that via registration for the event here. Pre-registering saves you $5 compared to registering on the day of the race. Pre-registration will close Friday afternoon, April 17th at 4 pm.

All additional information about the race, starting times, directions, maps, camping, etc…can be found directly here. The start/finish line area has a wonderful festival atmosphere with beautiful views of the Mighty Mississippi, the River Bluffs, and a great view of Iowa on the other side of the river. Tents will be set up, food vendors, and a nice party atmosphere will ensue. Camping is available just across the road (as is parking). Make it a family event. Car pool with another racer or two. Bring a friend to race. Dust off those Winter blues and enjoy the Spring. It’s time to race!

CAT I’s duking it out photo courtesy of Eric Roccasecca…

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It’s a great way to start our 13th Annual IMBCS Season!

All photographs courtesy of Eric Roccasecca…

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IMBCS Racer Spotlight: Andy Peterson

We will be featuring a series of Spotlights that highlight IMBCS participants so you can get to know some of the folks who race and see how they do it, why they do it, what got them started, and to read some of their thoughts. Word is out to several racers to get this Spotlight series up and running with the interview format I have typed and sent. You might be next, so check your email box! I hope to hear back from a nice representation of ages, categories, and locations to introduce you to people you may or may not already know so you can read their thoughts about racing mountain bikes. You don’t have to be a member of a team. You don’t have to have an expensive bike. You don’t have to have matching socks. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, a seasoned veteran, male, female, young, old – mountain biking in IMBCS events is open to everyone. We will show that in our Spotlight series.

That being said, we are starting the Spotlight series off today with our first interview being conducted with Andy Peterson. Andy came to mind when I thought of launching this because I remember meeting him at one of the local social ride gatherings (Banner Bacon Ride) a few years ago at Summerset State Park. Andy was there on his SS Karate Monkey and at the time was brand new to the Des Moines area. Those of you from other areas of Iowa, a Banner Bacon Ride is a social gathering that is open to all to just show up, ride a lap or two or more on the trails of Banner Pits at Summerset State Park just south of Des Moines. Following the ride, and depending on who is there and what they bring, the cooking begins with frying up some bacon, pancakes, sausage, eggs, breakfast burritos, boiling up some hot toddy’s, downing some cold brews, eating the fresh home made cinnamon rolls – you name it. That’s where some of us first met Andy.

You see, bacon can be good for you…

I remember that he could really fly on that rigid fork, singlespeed Karate Monkey. To top it off, he was a nice guy. Heck, he fit right in and came back for more social rides. Then he started hitting the IMBCS races. I’ve had the pleasure of car pooling with Andy to a race where one gets to know another chatting in the car for several hours. I highly recommend doing a car pool or two to the races to get to know some fellow racers you might not know. It’s a great way to meet them and swap stories. Andy has had some great success in the races the last year or two, so let’s get to the interview so you can meet our first Spotlight.

Winning at BannerAP

Photo: Taken by Eric Roccasecca at the Summerset Shootout

Name: Andy Peterson

Home: Indianola, IA

Age: 39 years old

Work: Service Manager at World of Wheels in Des Moines, IA

Race Bike(s): For the last two years I have been riding and racing Niner Bikes. This year I’m riding their top of the line hardtail, the ONE 9 RDO. I run it full rigid singlespeed. NO suspension and NO gears!

Bike Team: Rasmussen Bike Shop Cycling Team!

BB: What’s your favorite idea of a great mountain bike ride here in Iowa?

Andy: My idea for an ideal mountain bike ride is to get a group together and just ride. Maybe get some grudge match racing going on in the process. Then hang out after we ride while enjoying a recovery drink or two. The days when we get to together and cook out after a ride seem to really stand out to me.

BB: When did you start racing mountain bikes?

Andy: I started racing about seven or eight years ago while I was living in the Quad Cities. Then I moved away for a job and took a couple years off. Last year was the first time I really decided to put in the training time to succeed.

BB: What kind of race results and series results for the IMBCS did you have in prior seasons?

Andy: As it turns out that training was enough for me to podium every race in the series at the class and win the CAT II Sport Series Championship.

BB: What are your goals for this year with regard to your mountain bike racing?

Andy: My goal for this year is to win the COMP class for IMBCS.

BB: What has been your favorite race venue to date in the IMBCS?

Andy: My favorite place to race in the IMBCS? Wow, that is a tough one. All of our race venues have great things about them and all are a little different. That is one of the things that makes this Series so great. For me, the more technical the better. I like places where line choice and being smooth is key. I like the challenge of having to constantly think and  improvise on the fly. I think of it as a high speed chess match. But since you’re going to make me pick one, I would have to say Sugar Bottom!

BB: Andy, in preparing for the 2015 racing season, how many hours a week do you train? (Minimum, Maximum, Average)

Andy: This season’s preparation has been going great. I have been doing lots of non-biking workouts. These include lots of running both on the road and trail running. I am actually planning on doing several running races this season. The running produces great cardio and I have noticed a substantial decrease in the time required for my heart rate to drop after a hard effort, i.e. powering up a hill. I also do as much yoga as I can fit into my schedule. Yoga really helps with recovery as well as clears my mind. In addition, it really helps my balance and allows me to be able to focus on my breathing even while riding. I hate the trainer, but I also hate the cold – so riding this winter has been a bit lacking this year. I try to hit the gravel when possible. I believe that riding gravel is critical to success in mountain biking. Races like CIRREM and GENTS really help you assess where you are at with your fitness going into the season. And I think I am in a good spot right now in my fitness. I also do strength and core work outs that utilize mainly just your body weight…no gym and barbells for me. I would say I spend around ten hour per week training. Also I have a new training partner that has been teaching me a lot about proper nutrition and has been very helpful in tweaking my training. She is the closest thing I have ever had to a coach. (This also answers two of your other questions Bruce.)

BB: Have you ever had something happen during a race that prevented you from finishing?

Andy: I am meticulous about my bike prep, so to date I have never had a mechanical failure that has prevented me from finishing. In the past I have had a couple of flats that I repaired and kept going. Very little to go wrong on a rigid singlespeed.

BB: Do you use a coach?

Andy: (see above)

BB: Do you strength train as part of your training?

Andy: (see above)

BB: What do you like about the Iowa cycling community in terms of mountain bike racing?

Andy: I love all my biking brothers and sisters. We are like a large dysfunctional family, but we all take care of each other. In my life I have never had better friends or known better people than my Des Moines cycling family!

BB: What would you say as words of encouragement to folks out there who are trying to make the decision to race a mountain bike in Iowa or not?

Andy: When I first got started in this sport I had no idea it would grow into such an important and large part of my life. Biking is as good for your mind and soul as it is for you body. I can’t imagine not being able to ride. It wasn’t really until I moved to the Des Moines area that I realized this is it for me. The trails, the people, and of course Rasmussen Bike Shop/social club. The things this shop does for the cycling family in Des Moines is amazing. They are great people. Like anyone new to a city, I didn’t know anyone here. I had to sell my bike to make the move here. I would go to all the local shops and dream of getting another bike soon. I saved my pennies and was able to get a Surly Karate Monkey that was too big for me, but it was all I could afford. I rode that and began to make some friends. I am a shy individual so this took some time.

The lesson I learned and would like to pass on to anyone new. Don’t be afraid of us, we were all just like you once. Start hanging around before and after rides and you will be good. If you want to make a big splash, get involved! Join a group like CITA (Central Iowa Trail Association) and IMBA ( International Mountain Biking Association). These groups and their members are the ones responsible for building, maintain, protecting and expanding our trail systems. If you are not living in the Des Moines area, look for a biking association in your area, i.e. FORC of the Quad Cities. I decided this year that I wanted to be more a part of the bike scene. So I was elected to the CITA board of directors. In addition, I will be looking to get on the IMBCS board and will be working with a couple of the local race directors in this area to learn what it takes to put on a race. I do not know where this biking journey will take me, but so far it has changed my life. I look forward to seeing all my non-local racing buddies at the events this year. It looks like this is going to be a good one.

BB: Andy, thank you very much! All the best for your 2015 season.

There you have it, folks. Next time you see Andy out on the trail or at an event, give him a shout out and introduce yourself. He’s just one of the many racers enjoying the IMBCS.

AndyAtSugarBottom

Photo: Taken by Angy Snoop at the Sugar Bottom Scramble

Interview with Lynda Wallenfels of LWCoaching.com

ALWs announced back in November, IMBCS is proud of one of our first official partnerships for the 2015 season with Lynda Wallenfels of LW Coaching. Lynda agreed to partner with IMBCS by participating in an interview for our website to discuss the merits of mountain bike racing for all levels from fist timer, to beginner, to seasoned veteran racers!

Lynda Wallenfels is one of the most respected mountain bike coaches in the world who had a very successful international racing career before and after becoming a naturalized US citizen in 2000. She is a regular contributor to Velo News, Active.com, mtbracenews.com, XXC magazine, Mountain Flyer, TrainingPeaks.com, and Bikepackers Magazine. She has excellent training plans available for our IMBCS participants ranging from 1st time racers all the way to seasoned endurance junkies. I urge everyone interested to take advantage of Lynda’s excellent training plans, and coaching abilities. She is a kindred soul, a joy to speak with, and a welcome addition to the IMBCS family. Join me in personally thanking and welcoming Lynda and LW Coaching!

http://lwcoaching.com/

Now on to the interview with Lynda…

Bruce: Lynda, first of all, I would like to thank you for partnering with IMBCS for 2015. I know we have a wide variety of racers and abilities who are all eager to hear what you have to say about your training plans, as well as being pointed in the right direction to a plan, or a stack of plans, at your website that would be the best fit for their individual needs. So why don’t we start with a background question. When did you first start racing mountain bikes, and perhaps you could tells us about some of the most important highlights of your professional racing career?

Lynda: It sounds like you have lot of excitement and momentum with your State MTB series. Your racers are lucky to have such a well-run series to take advantage of this season.

I did my first mountain bike race when I was 19 years old. I am now 45 so that tallies up to 26 years of racing – wow! Over that time period I won six national championships and a silver medal at a world championship event. I have raced everything from short track to cross-country, downhill, 100 milers, 24 hour solos and bikepacking 300+ mile events. These titles are a drop in the bucket of great cycling moments I have collected. Some of the most memorable events in my book have been smaller local events promoted and raced with heart among friends.

Bruce: That’s an impressive, wonderful career to say the least, Lynda. Here in Iowa we have many mountain bike riders in the state who are potential participants in racing. That includes youth, young families, women and men who are on the fence about jumping in to try a race. This question targets that potential group because for whatever reason, they may be afraid to dip their toe in the racing water so to speak. In your experience over the years of racing your mountain bike and coaching others to ride their best, why should one consider racing a mountain bike? What suggestions would you have to those who may find themselves holding back, and not participating for whatever reason to give it a try?

Lynda: Riding mountain bikes is a fun recreational outlet for many. We all enjoy being rewarded with fitness and skill improvements in our riding no matter what our starting level is. Racing encourages improvement and provides motivation to take it to the next level. A great way for new riders to get into racing is to volunteer for a race first to watch and learn how everything works. Then they can more confidently strap on their helmet and race the next one. A first timers program of “volunteer one race, get one free” is a program that has had positive results in other leagues I have worked with.

Bruce: That’s a really good idea that I don’t think any of us at IMBCS have thought of up to this point. If a potential rider who has not yet participated in a race is out there reading this, what do they need to do to prepare themselves to try a race?

Lynda: For your very first race, sign up, wear a helmet and gloves, learn the rules then give it a go. Don’t worry about being first or last, just go out there and have fun and see what it is all about. Enjoy being a first timer! Volunteering at a prior race is a great way to be involved and observe how everything works.

Bruce: You may be setting off a trend at raising our pool of volunteers this year. What got you interested in coaching mountain biking athletes?

Lynda: When I was racing pro cross-country on the World Cup and National cross-country circuit in the early 90’s I was lucky enough to be coached by Joe Friel. His methodology fascinated me and I drove him crazy with the amount of questions and ideas I had. He is a great coach and inspired me to be a coach also. I love coaching mountain bike racers. It is my dream job and I am lucky enough to be living it.

Bruce: Thumbs up on the dream job! Are you still racing?

Lynda: Yes! The bottom line is I love riding and racing mountain bikes and will never retire!

Bruce: I know that after singing professional opera for 25 years, I love teaching and passing it on to others. I have already experienced and been through it all, and tried about everything in the process. Do you find yourself bringing everything you have tried and experienced in your professional racing to your coaching?

Lynda: Absolutely! Being a racer brings a lot of know-how to the table when you have personally experienced many of the situations an athlete may encounter.

Bruce: We’ve all heard the oft used axiom, “If you want to get better at riding your mountain bike, just ride a bunch” as a means of training for racing. What in specific does a training plan from LW Coaching provide for a rider compared to the old axiom of “just ride a lot”?

Lynda: Just riding a lot will get you from being unfit to fit but will not make you fast. Following a well-designed training plan will take you from fit to fast. Fast is what you need for cross-country mountain bike racing. LW Coaching training plans are periodized to take you through a base training cycle then a race specific cycle. Along the way you build aerobic fitness, then tempo and threshold and polish it off with race specific preparation.

Bruce: Fast is good. We’ll take that. Lynda, we target winning finishing times for our traditional XC races as follows: Category III to be 35–45 minutes; Category II to be 60–70 minutes; COMP to be 90 minutes; and Category I to be 120 minutes. In addition, we have added a 4 hour solo marathon category in 2015 at 4 of our venues. What kinds of plans would be most appropriate for those different levels and durations?

Lynda: Here is the link to my training plans page http://lwcoaching.com/mountain-bike-training-plans/

For the Cat I racer in your cross-country series I recommend this training plan stack:

Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Build, Peak and Race Training Plan

For the Cat II and Cat III racer:

Category 2 Sport Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
Category 2 Sport Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Training Plan

For the single-speed cross country racer:

SINGLE SPEED Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan

SINGLE SPEED Cross Country Mountain Bike Build, Peak and Race Training Plan

For the Masters 40+ cross country racer:

Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan
Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race Training Plan

For the marathon racer choose the most appropriate base plan above then follow it with one of the these plans:

50 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Personal Record Plan
50 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Finishers Plan

Masters 40+ MTB 50 Mile Personal Record Training Plan

Bruce: Some of our riders in Iowa like to focus and race only traditional XC length races as listed above. Some like to focus on endurance events like our 4 hour marathons (a rider could be able to do 40-50 miles depending on the course), a 50 mile race, a 100 mile race and even longer events that allow them to travel outside of our state (Dakota Five-0; Leadville; Chequamegon 40/100 as some examples). Some like to try and mix a couple of endurance events into their regular XC racing season. What plans would you stack for each type of racer – traditional XC; endurance events only; a mix of traditional XC and an endurance event or two?

Lynda: I love that in our sport we have the opportunity to race different kinds of events. Our LW Coaching training plans have been designed to stack in a modular fashion to enable an athlete to focus on different types of events throughout the season. I recommend connecting with me on my LW Coaching training and racing forum for further answers on specific training plan stack recommendations.

Bruce:
Our racing season opens on April 19th and has a total of 11 events spread out until October 4th for the season ending event. Here is our schedule…

The 2015 IMBCS Season Schedule

IMBCS #1 – April 19th – Illiniwek Abermination
IMBCS #2 – May 3rd* – Beverly Fat Tire Frenzy
IMBCS #3 – May 31st* – Seven Oaks MTB Race
IMBCS #4 – June 21st – Ewing Park MTB Race
IMBCS #5 – June 28th – Peterson Pits Recreation Area
IMBCS #6 – July 12th – FORC Side Thrill Ride
IMBCS #7 – August 8th – Hin und Zurück TT
IMBCS #8 – August 16th – George Wyth MTB Race
IMBCS #9 – August 23rd – Sugar Bottom Scramble
IMBCS #10 – September 12th – Summerset Shootout
IMBCS #11 – October 4th* – The Mullet Fall Classic

*Race includes a 4 Hour Marathon Category

Bruce: It is now just about the beginning of 2015, so based on the schedule you see above, what would you suggest to our racers on when should one start training using your plans to prepare for the series?

Lynda: The best place for all athletes to start is to build aerobic fitness with a Base training plan. After completing a Base training plan, progress on to a race specific plan. Choose one base plan then one race specific plan.

Base training plan options:

Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
Category 2 Sport Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan
SINGLE SPEED Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan

Cross-country racers, choose from one of these race specific plans to follow after completing your base training plan

Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Build, Peak and Race Training Plan
TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Plan
Category 2 Sport Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Training Plan
TIME CRUNCHED Category 2 Sport Cross Country Mountain Bike Training Plan
Category 3 Beginner Cross Country Mountain Bike Training Plan
First Timer Cross Country Mountain Bike Training Plan
SINGLE SPEED Cross Country Mountain Bike Build, Peak and Race Training Plan
Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Build Peak and Race Training Plan

Marathon racers choose from one of these race specific plans to follow after completing your base training plan:

50 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Personal Record Plan
50 Mile Mountain Bike Race – Finishers Plan
Masters 40+ MTB 50 Mile Personal Record Training Plan

Bruce: Being that we are all amateur racers trying to balance out the combination of a relationship, family, work, training, racing, and the stresses of life into one basket, what suggestions do you have for striking a happy balance and finding training plans that allow us to participate at the best level we can? Are there plans available that cater to a racer who might be constrained on the amount of time they can devote to the sport?

Lynda: Absolutely. I have a TIME-CRUNCHED series of training plans. These are low volume training plans that maximize the time a busy person *does* have. You know, kinda like – train smarter, not longer. Here is the menu of my TIME-CRUNCHED mountain bike training plans.

TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan
TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Plan
TIME CRUNCHED Category 2 Sport Cross Country Mountain Bike Training Plan

Bruce: One of the exciting things we saw in our Iowa series last year, was the participation of a lot of youth in the under 18 category, as well as a lot of older racers (such as myself) in the 50 – 65 year range. I hope we continue to attract these types of racers as I really want our series to cater to all ages, and abilities. Do these younger and older racers need to train in a different manner than say a racer in their prime athletic years of 19 – 35? What plans would you suggest for the young and old crowd?

Lynda: Younger athletes respond more quickly to training and recover faster than the 40+ racer. I have a high school mountain biker resources page on my site and will be adding more information here for the junior athlete in the coming months. For the over 40+ athlete I have a series of Masters 40+ mountain bike training plans . An 18-year-old athlete has different natural abilities and training requirements than a 40-year-old athlete and will thrive on a different training plan. The most obvious change with age is a slowdown in recovery. The 40+ athlete has less time and room to absorb training mistakes. A master’s athlete excels on a targeted and specific plan with more recovery, more intensity and more strength training than a younger athlete.

Bruce: I know I have enjoyed the forums you provide at LWCoaching with follow up questions to the plans I have purchased. Are the forum options open to anyone who purchases one of your plans?

Lynda: Yes, as you work with any of my training plans I am available for support with telephone consults or on my training and racing forum . Here are the forum question guidelines and tips to help you get started.

Bruce: Thank you very much for your words of wisdom, experience, advice, and sharing with us Lynda! I really appreciate it, and I know the racers that participate in IMBCS appreciate it as well. I highly recommend checking out one or more of Lynda’s plans. I am in my third season of using the Masters 40+ plans for XC racing and can attest not only to the plans themselves, but Lynda’s excellent follow up customer service on the LWCoaching.com forums, and in her monthly online coaching forum.

Get Training!