Winter Training in the New Year – 2015

James Knott's new bike equipment

I picked up a bunch of new gear at roll: Polaris. New winter riding shoes, new mountain biking shoes, a new helmet and some new shorts. I’m going to be ready to go in the spring!

When I finished racing last October I was definitely burnt out.  After the championship race I needed a bit of a break.  I still had a marathon to train for in December so I couldn’t completely tune out, but I did cut back on my cycling and writing a little.

But, the New Year is here and I’m starting to get back into the swing of things.  I’m putting together the 2015 mountain bike race schedule and starting to get psyched up.  I have all 10 of the OMBC (Ohio Mountain Bike Championship Series) races and the Mohican 100 on my schedule and I’m trying to figure out a few events that would be good to fill in the blanks.  Some of the events that I am considering include the 331 Racing Series, Tri State 6 Hours Series, Iceman, 24 Hours of D.I.N.O and Shenandoah 100.  What other races or events should I be looking at?

Current Fitness

Ned Overend's "Mountain Bike Like a Champion"

My brother- and sister-n-law bought me Ned Overend’s “Mountain Bike Like a Champion”. I’m looking forward to reading it and seeing if it changes how I approach training this year. It was written in 1999. Has the sport changed a lot since then?

In the middle of last winter, I bought a spin bike with a power meter and a treadmill and that has made the transition to the off-season seamless this year.  As the weather turned cold, it’s been easy to get in the solid power-based workouts I want to do in my basement and not have to worry about braving the elements.  Even after cutting back a little in November and December, I can easily say that this is the best shape I’ve been in at turn of the New Year.

I’m planning on mountain bike racing in the expert masters division this year and I’m trying to build my training up to that level.  I have pretty low expectations for the season because the jump from sport to expert is pretty big.  My big goal for this season is simple: HAVE FUN!!!

I’ve been experimenting with a new 3-day rotation workout schedule where I bike the first day, run the second and rest on the third.  With this schedule, I will be training on the bike less than I have in recent years – reducing quantity, but hopefully increasing quality.  It will be just over two workouts per week.

Right now, most of my bike workouts are interval-based with levels set by a power meter.  I’ve been working on lactate threshold (Example: several 10- to 15-minute intervals at around 270 watts) and VO2Max (Example: Six 3-min intervals at around 330 watts).  I’m usually sitting for the lactate threshold intervals, but I alternate with sitting and standing for the VO2Max intervals.  As the season gets closer, I will be adding more high-power, sprint intervals to work the Anaerobic Capacity and Neuromuscular power zones.  When spring comes, I hope to start hitting the trails a lot to add specificity to my training.

 Giro Alpineduro winter cycling shoes

My Giro Alpineduro winter cycling shoes should make cold-weather riding more enjoyable. I can already tell that they make a big difference for my chilly, little toes.

Side note: I did buy some winter shoes at roll: Polaris to make the outdoor riding more enjoyable.  Nobody likes frostbitten toes!  I’m hoping to hit the mountain bike trails when the temps are in the mid-20s and I’d like to ride on the roads and bike paths when the temperatures are 35 or higher.  I’ve only done one ride in my new shoes but they seem to make a big difference.

Click here to check out the price of the Giro Alpineduro Winter Cycling Shoes that I bought.


The Running Game

Even though I am not planning on running another marathon, I going to keep running because I want to maintain a well-rounded level of fitness (maybe I’ll even try an Xterra or triathlon event this year).  I’ve cut back on my mileage and that makes it much easier to recover and put more into my cycling workouts.  Last winter, when I first started running, even the short runs took a huge toll on my body – sometimes interfering in the high-quality bike workouts that I wanted to achieve.  Now I can easily run for an hour without becoming too sore or fatigued.  I’m trying to figure out whether I want to include any running events, like 10Ks or half marathons in my 2015 schedule.

Do you have any running events that you recommend?

Other Winter Fun

Nahum Burt at Mad River Mountain

Mountain biker Nahum Burt prepares to shred at Mad River Mountain. He switched from a snowboard to skis for the second half of the day.

I signed up for a once-a-week ski pass for Mad River Mountain.  It’s a great way to get outdoors and stay-in-shape in the off-season.  My first trip out I met up with a mountain bike buddy Nahum Burt and we hit the slopes for a few hours.  I am a skier and he is a snowboarder, which makes us only slightly compatible. 🙂

Video of James Knott skiing at Mad River Mountain

He loaned me his new pair of ski boards (the really short skis) and I got to try those out for the first time.  They were awesome.  You don’t use poles and they are highly maneuverable.   It was fun playing around on them and practicing how to ski backwards.  I was hooked on them by the end of the day.  Can’t wait to ride on them again!

Not sure that skiing will help my mountain biking, but it definitely won’t hurt it.  It’s one of my favorite sports and it’s just fun to get out and shred.

Let me know if you are heading to Mad River on the weekend.  Maybe we can meet up.

More Projects

I’m also focusing on two projects right now.  The first is the Garage Bike Project, where I am attempting to build a bike using only parts that I find in the garages of the bikers around me.  It’s going really well and I have the bike almost complete.  I have one more delivery of bike parts this week and I should have a fully functional bike.   However, this isn’t just some junker, this has turned into a pretty sweet bike that I am genuinely excited to ride.

The only part that I still need are end caps for the handlebars.  Does anyone have any they’d like to donate?  You could send them via snail-mail if you live far away. 🙂

Thanks to everyone who has helped out.  I can’t wait to ride this across the state of Ohio this summer!  There will be a wrap-up article coming soon after I am able to take my first ride on it.

James Knott poses with the Garage Bike Project

The Garage Bike is turning out to be much cooler than I ever imagined. Thanks to everyone who has helped out.

The second project is my bike ride across Ohio on the Garage Bike.  I just ordered the maps for the Ohio to Erie Trail and I’m planning on riding from Cleveland to Cincinnati in May or June.  I am going to write an article about my plans and hopefully I can convince a few people to come along.  I’m hoping to hit a few breweries along the way.  It should be a fun trip and we should be able to knock it out in 4 or 5 days.  We could go faster, but my goal is not to have the most miles or the fastest miles – I want to have the FUNNEST miles!  Let’s explore!

Send me message if you are interested in learning more about this fun opportunity.

The End

James Knott has a beer at Mad River Mountain

One of my favorite parts of winter is the post-ski beer at the lodge. Cheers!

That’s a quick wrap-up of what I’ve been up to.  What have you been doing to stay out of trouble this winter?  Have you been riding?  Indoors?  Outdoors?  I’d love to hear about your winter plans.

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4 thoughts on “Winter Training in the New Year – 2015

  1. Hi James,
    The dirty trace trail series is a short trail/run race, for Northeast Ohio. Put on by Western Reserve racing. Starts this Saturday with a 4 Mile prediction run, in the Cuyahoga Valley National park. And, in February is a 10k run in North Chagrin Cleveland Metro parks. Subsequent runs after that…
    There is also the Akron marathon, in September.

  2. James,

    If you have a dog, there is a 5k and 10k around the Dayton area I do. I think it is for the Dayton Humane Society. Usually pretty fun.

    Good luck on the training and moving to expert category. Started my winter training my self. Although a little difficult with a newborn. See you at the races.

    Pat Migliozzi

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