Layin’ the Bricks

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Hey Gang,

I hope everyone’s winter training has been going well… In Elite Endurance world, for most athletes, it’s Foundation Time, which means laying the bricks for the year’s success… It is by far our most important time of year. We’re not necessarily doing things that will make us fast now, more like things that will make us fast later in the year, when it counts… From my experience, many athletes ride too hard on their easy days and too easy on their hard days… It’s my job to ensure that never happens — and, much of this, being able to push appropriately when it’s very important, this ability comes from these foundation months… We all have engines — our rev-limiters are very much set in these critical base months. True story. Imho, I feel Elite Endurance athletes are superior to their peers and have an advantage because of the way we train earlier on and how we approach the later-stage build weeks…

Remember, you can only go as high as you go WIDE — with the athletes I coach, aerobically, it is my goal to give everyone a V12, and that is what I’ve been doing all these years… The proof is in the pudding — last year, 140+ wins, 1 National Champion, 14 State Champions, a 3rd at Nat’ls. The training system we have in place works, and that’s all there is to it…

Which brings me to my Next Project: I have been writing freelance for various magazines over the years, and my next article is simply going to be our 12 Commandments. I know Joe Friel wrote of his golden rules in the prologue of his Bible, and I have equal laws that I feel endurance athletes should live by, no matter the discipline. I hope to get it up here next time I write a diary entry — I have been mapping it out for quite some time, adding notes here and there, just need to polish up that first draft so it can see the light of day…

Over the years as an athlete, I have mellowed from a full-on criterium-adrenaline-junkie bunch sprinter to a rider who really enjoyed doing stage races and hilly road races, to a rider who specialized in TTs… Over the years, with improvements in each road discipline — and more pressure and sometimes less motivation to go through the motions — I have found myself MTBing more and more, to create that balance and keep a high love of the bike…

And, getting into the woods works. I see the more I mountain bike, no matter what I target during the year, I am better. I’m a better road racer, I’m a better time trialist, I’m a better ‘cross racer — and, of COURSE, I’m a better MTBer… I’ve dabbled here and there in the Pro/Open MTB races in previous seasons, but this year, I am feeling a pull more and more with each week to do more MTB racing, see where this rainbow might land if I commit to it… I was not a strong time trialist when I fell in love with the discipline, and over time I became very good at it, feeling as if I mastered the discipline and got the most out of myself… I feel I’ve beaten that horse so dead into the ground, the elixir of New Things is bubbling in my foreground, and more and more I am leaning towards more dirt in 2014…

We shall see… I write training programs in pencil, so it’s always easy to shift gears… But, I’ve learned that riders who switch goals mid-stream often don’t get far. The best riders choose their goals, commit to them, build specifically for them, and then accept all results. Like, when I was doing well in TTs, I think I set 3 or 4 consecutive course records in 2011, I would be bleeding all shades of pain to finish top-10 in these MTB races… Just full-on different preparation and efforts involved… Never once did I waver in my TT training then to get better at MTBing — it probably would’ve lead to mediocre results on both fronts, a terrible strategy.

I am thinking two things: prepare for TTs, and race TTs and MTBs for first half of year, and try to keep my weight really down to raise my power-to-weight in the woods… OR, really prepare more for MTB racing, just do TTs for training or not even at all… Decisions decisions…

So that’s me. As you can see, my own personal goals are not so paramount these days — I’m certainly more coach than racer these days. 10 years ago, I would’ve agonized and labored over these decisions carefully in November, figured out the shape of my season by November. Here it is almost March in 2014, and I’m still not sure. LOL. And that’s perfectly okay — my athletes have to go faster, not necessarily me. Riding bikes for me is just that drug that keeps me sane, driven, and happy… The edge of having to compete at 100% of my best, it’s worn a bit rounder these days…

In Athlete News, I am amped to report some early-season results already… Pete Custer of Bike Doctor scored a thrilling 6th in the pro race at William & Mary’s Tidewater Classic road race, while junior standout Liam Panero scored a top-15 in the Cat-3 field…

Sean Runnette started the season off GREAT with 5th at Monster Cross in Virginia! Already, his 2013 and 2014 power files are like night and day — he is riding on a new level. I told him that already, and this first result confirms that! 800 starters, caught behind early crash, lost 200 spots, he fought his way relentlessly through the field, leapfrogging from group to group, no time to sit in! Flatted, then fought his way back yet again… 5th! True story, am elated hearing the news…

I am sleeping good these days. I have a very, very, very good feeling that 2014, this 2014 is gonna be a good, violent year…

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 | | |