Sunday
May302010

Feeding the Machine - Navigating the Maize 

In an effort to make these sub-topic posts on nutrition more digestible (ahem, sorry for that), I want to break them down sufficiently enough so that your interest does not wane in the middle of reading one. Any post about carbs and sports could get out of control long if I'm not careful. 

From a performance standpoint, I don't think anyone will argue the fact that we need to ingest carbohydrate to continue to train and race in endurance activities. We've covered this before in these pages. Let's recap the salient points as a segue to this post's topic. First of all, training and racing is supported primarily by glycogen which is stored in a limited capacity in the liver and muscle cells. At race intensity, we can last between 90 and 120 minutes before this supply is exhausted. By ingesting carbohydrate (which is converted to glycogen) during exercise we can stave off exhaustion almost indefinitely. We seem to be able to process about 300 kcal/hour. Yes, I know, fat is part of this energy equation, too, but I want to keep things simple here for the sake of discussion. Some athletes use fat for energy better than others but glycogen and, thus, glucose is still the main player for most of us. Bottom line is carbs are are both good and necessary for athletes.

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Tuesday
May252010

Feeding the Machine 

This is an introductory post to what I foresee as a series of more specific articles dealing with aspects of diet and performance nutrition. I will cover topics as diverse as the myth of the dangers of cholesterol, the pitfalls of meatless eating, benefits of fatty acid supplementation (think fish oil here), Paleo and Zone Diets, anti-inflammatory eating along with other related topics. I will try to cover topics that readers do not have the time to research or are simply unaware of. I will try and distill the information down to the salient points and how this knowledge can be used in our own programs.

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Sunday
May162010

Don't be a slave

Slave to what, Brian? Funny you should ask. Well, for starters, how about your heart rate monitor? Or your power meter? Perhaps your cog set or your speedometer. Your training program can certainly enslave you. What do I mean? First of all the devices. They give us feedback that tells us something about our performance at any given instant on any ride. We then internalize this information and decide how we're going right then. Is this the usual gear I ride this hill or am I killing it? Why am I going so slow right here? I'm usually pushing 30 watts more on this stretch. God, I can't seem to get my heart rate up. I'm supposed to be doing threshold hill repeats today but my legs feel like shit! Any of this sound familiar?

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Monday
May102010

Crash and Burn... Hard!

Early in my cycling career in the late 80's I bought a cyclocross bike to use for training on the dirt roads around Boise in the winter. As the mountain bike trail system developed in the foothills above town, I ventured onto the single track on the cross bike. Although mountain bikes became popular during this time, I resisted them, continuing to ride the skinny-tired bike on more and more technical terrain. Hell, I was a telemark skier, too. I thought it was cool doing things the hard way.

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Sunday
May022010

The Future is Here

Just as Mark Twight, Steve House, Rolando Gariboti and others ushered in the era of fast and light, single-push alpine mountaineering with mind-blowing repeats and enchainments of routes all over the world, ski touring and ski mountaineering sit at the threshold of a similar breakthrough. Due to the rising popularity of ski mountaineering racing, the industry has responded by engaging in a surge of technological breakthroughs in equipment and materials. These breakthroughs have then trickled down to the more modest touring sector creating a whole new quiver of superlight boots, skis and bindings. This equipment, combined with the skills developed while racing on ridiculously light gear, has created an environment where exceedingly long tours and traverses can be completed in previously unthinkable times.

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