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A Big Thank You To All Mountain Bikers, Your Passion Fuels My Passion!

Thanks to all the mountain bikers who make my life fun, challenging and rewarding. Some of you like me and email me about your huge improvements after my camp and others seem to hate me. The riders with the “what could you possibly teach me?” attitude and the guys on the $6,000 mountain bikes who tell me I am ripping people off charging $600 for my 3 day camps as they walk up a section of trail I helped a 67 year old man ride! Well, I love all of you because both sides keep me motivated to keep learning, improving and providing the best coaching I and my team of coaches can provide.  Here are two recent emails from each side:

“Please take me off of your list asap. You have some nerve charging what you do for this!” Some really angry dude who I have never met (his name with held to protect the innocent?).

Gene,
I raced in the Palo Duro Marathon (Pain on the Plain) last Saturday – 46 miles – and employed everything you taught me: vision, cornering, descending, ascending.  It was the best I’ve ever raced.  It was a technical, grueling course, and I finished 15th of 32 in my age group (I’ve been finishing dead last or beating only the DNF’s).  And I attribute it to my ability to clean impediments better, lose less time in corners, descend with more confidence, and ascend with more power (while looking where I wanted to go).  You bet I’m practicing.  Your camp was the best $600 I’ve spent in an already expensive passion…worth every cent.  Thanks again!  jj
Fortunately, I get a lot more like the second one (two yesterday!) but both motivate me in their own way.  I love coaching people and I love mountain biking but probably the thing I love the most is a challenge.  BetterRide has been one challenge after another, from my transmission blowing up on the way to my first out of state camp (3 days after quitting a good, high job to do this full time) to trying to keep a positive cash flow as my overhead went up 500% this year (do to adding both administrative staff and coaching staff to keep up with the demand for our mountain bike coaching). I can’t tell you how many times I have asked myself is this worth it, knowing I could make the same money with less stress and far fewer hours at a “normal” job. Normal jobs however were never as rewarding. I never got emails like JJ’s from people I served at those jobs. Those jobs didn’t challenge me as much to keep learning, reading and improving (both at what I was doing and as a person).
Thank you for what continues to be an amazing journey. I feel very fortunate to live the life I live and to meet and work with so many fun, interesting and inspirational people.  Thank you!
Create a very happy Thanksgiving,
Gene

Now is the Time to Start Working Towards Your Best Season Yet in 2011!

Now that the 2010 season is over (for most of us) and you have had a few weeks off from serious training, riding or competition it is time to prepare for next season. If you are serious about becoming the best rider or racer you can be now is the time to act. All the knowledge in the world is worthless without action. Below is an abbreviated version of the questionnaire I use with my full-time athletes to evaluate their season and design their training program for the next racing season.  Use this to evaluate your performance in 2010 and help your plan an even better 2011!

Do you keep a training and racing diary? A diary is a big help in the following exercise and though out the season for finding factors that lead to changes in performance. If you haven’t kept a training diary in the past, start now. A training diary helps you learn what parts of your training are working and what parts are not can explain “peak” performances and poor performances and is a great confidence booster by tracking all the hours of training you have put in.

Step One: Assess your racing season and your riding ability. Honestly and objectively answer the following questions about your 2010 season.

Did your skills improve over the course of the season?

What are your strongest skills? (cornering, jumping, steeps, etc.)

What skills need the most improvement?

How did the season go physically?

Did you start strong and get stronger as the season went on?

Did you fade in late July and August? Why?

Did you have the optimum combination of sprinting speed and endurance?

Did you pick 3 to 5 big races to peak for? Were you able to peak for those races?

How was your mental game?

Were you confident and riding to your potential or did you find yourself racing below the level that you know you are capable of?

Why?

What factors helped your confidence this season?

What factors hurt your confidence this season?

Did you a have comprehensive (mental, physical and skill) training program? What part of your program worked? What parts didn’t work?

Did your racing improve as the season went on?

Did you create and write down concrete goals?

Did you reach your racing goals?

Step Two: Use the answers to these questions as an evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses setting the foundation your 2011 season training program.

Set career, three years from now and this season’s racing goals (top three over all in my state series, etc.), physical training goals (decrease my 50 yard sprint time by 15%, increase my maximum squat by 20%, etc.), skills goals (improve balance, improve cornering, etc.) and mental training goals (improve visualization, learn relaxation techniques, etc.) for your 2011 season.

Racing Goals

1. Career goal

2. Three year goal

3. This season’s goal

Physical training Goals, to allow me to reach my racing goals

1.

2.

3.

Skills Training Goals, to allow me to reach my racing goals

1.

2.

3.

Mental training Goals, to allow me to reach my racing goals

1.

2.

3.

Work with your coach or consult a book such as The Mountain Biker’s Training Bible, by Joe Friel and/or James Wilson’s MTB strength training programs to create a training plan to reach all of the above goals. Why a coach? A coach can provide you with a structured training program designed to reach your goals while working around your schedule, an objective eye on your skills and physical training, motivate you and share his/her wisdom speeding up your improvement.

Step Three: Act on your training program! Ride! Workout! Visualize! Constantly update your goals and training program based on improvement or lack of improvement.

Remember, unwritten goals are just dreams, goals you write down you will commit to and strive to reach. Good luck next season and feel free to call or e-mail with questions, suggestions or to start a personal coaching program.