American Zofingen 2018

American Zofingen is a classic. I have been racing since 1997. Of the hundreds I have raced this race is one of the top 5 of my favorites of all time! It’s epic. It’s so so so hard. It’s so hard that the “short” course has 10 miles of nothing but steep up and down hill running and the ride has exactly zero flat and two mountain passes. It’s a cult classic with a cult following of people, who like me, praise this race like the vision quest it is. I have won it a few times at a few of its distances so after my lay off from multisports it was exactly where I wanted to re-enter. Close by in New Paltz, NY, the Boulder CO of the east, it’s one of my fav towns. It’s now got a new race direct Mark Wilson and he did a flawless job both embracing the spirit of the event and also delivering perfect execution of the event. 

The first run saw me roll to the front and within a half mile I decided to go “Pre” aka Prefontane: hammer and make everyone hurt and whoever is left standing wins. My first run leg saw me enter T1 with a nice lead and I dropped the hammer the bike straight away to build in the gap through the dirt access road (got mad cross skills yo) and also sold out on completely on the first climb thinking I would recover on the downhill. 

Sadly I picked the wrong front wheel and it was too deep of a rim (88mm) so on the downhills I couldn’t really let loose do to wind induced “death wobble”.  Dumb move by me and second place caught me. As we got done with the bike I launched an attack into t2 hoping to drive the gap on the dirt again. Again it worked. 

But as we left T2 I felt something was reallllly off. My legs were smoked. I successfully blew up the front of the race but it was a bit of a suicide mission it seemed. I got passed about a mile or two in. But me and the new first place ran I he pulled up and screamed “cramps.” I passed him. We were like two boxers in the 15th round on dead legs hobbling around! He recovered and repassed me with two miles to go or so and the world was spinning. 3rd place came by me like I was standing still (because I was totally smashed and barely moving) and I dragged my sorry ass in for the last spot on the podium. 

It felt great to be out there. To go hard for as long as I did. A good first race back, now I just need to build a bit more fitness but I know it’s coming.

Moonlighting as a Roadie

“Know suffering.” – the first noble truth of Buddhism. 

I took 12 months of of cycling to focus on OCR and so when I came back I was excited to ride again. I did some early season training and got myself ready for Strong Like Bull, my cycling focused training camp in Spain. I got stronger daily until I could keep up with Continental pro Adam Carr for 10k while he was working kinda hard (let’s be real he could attack and drop me any time). I also crushed a few local climbs in Spain in the final days and felt ready to race again. 

Race 1:

It’s been two years since I did road cycling and my first race reminded me that road cycling isn’t for the faint of heart. I jumped into the Prospect Park series: a lovely and reasonably long event at about 40 miles with a good climb every 3.3 miles. I worked hard but was neither a factor at the front or in danger of going off the back. Mostly I got in some good riding with nice efforts and knocked the rust off. 

Race 2 and 3 Coxsackie. 

Pronounced Cock-sack-e it’s the butt of a lot of jokes. Like “Coxsackie is long and hard.” “When it’s cold out Coxsackie shrinks.” Etc etc etc. but what it really is is a long hard day with brutal cross winds, cold biting weather and a sick hard field and at 50 miles long a legit road race in first week of April. I did the 3/4 race and the 3s that show up to this tend to me the most dedicated types since it’s not near anything but close enough to draw from everywhere in the north east. The first week the field was surprisingly small and I got off the front a few times but only once had anyone else interested in joining me and we didn’t last long. With the small field you didn’t get much time to recover and attacking and getting caught often meant hanging on for dear life when the counter attacks came and your chasing single file totally blown from your own attack! In the end the race finished in a field sprint while I put my hat in the ring for only to totally botch it in a display that was totally pathetic missing the right wheels, right line and being totally shamed by finishing deep down the results table. 

The second race was totally different. While the first was 40 degrees and winter, the second was warm and pleasant and the field was big. The wind was still strong and you got the sense that it was just a matter of time until wheels touched and body’s hit the floor. Sadly I was behind the crash when it came 1/2 way into the race and ended up showing off my cyclo-cross skills riding in the dirt but paused too long before riding hard again and got dropped by the field. A group of 5 guys were super motivated so we chased and road insanely hard for the second half. This proved to be a sick workout! 50 miles of hard effort and I went home satisfied. 

Race 4: the return to Brooklyn 

We went around and around. I tried to get off the front and so did others but it was kinda negative racing and ended in a field sprint after 40 miles of effort. For racing in a park in nyc, it’s shockingly safe feeling. At least I felt like I was making progress and attacking even if it was feeble. 

Race 5: Tour of the Battenkill

Everyone there was curious how this would go. It’s not a traditional USA-Cycling style race for the first time this year and had a mass of 700 people. But it was scored like a scratch race, with winners and such all based on who gets to the finish line first. It was a lot like a running race: you had people at the front racing; people in the middle kind of racing themselves and a lot of people testing themselves against the course but taking their time to finish. I loved the old Battenkill and when I found out my buddy/teammate was going, I was in. 

The front of the race was like any other race I do. Early attacks, teammates working together to chase, etc etc. 

If you don’t know Battenkill it’s brutal. A mix of road and dirt road with insane climbs and a lot of steep stuff and some 17% sections that break the field over its knee. This race played out just like the prior ones did, the first brutal climbs came and it was like a bomb went off in the field and groups of riders were scattered all over the road. I ended up in a group of 5 most of the way in about 20th place over all. We crushed each other with effort and the next 2-3 hours was spent near LT until a pack of 10 more caught us on at mile 70 with 5 miles to go and 1 nice dirt climb left. I attacked the final climb and 9 of us came into the finish together and I ended up 26th but most importantly I had spent 4 hours totally on the rivet and really happy for that level of a workout.  

Race: 6 NJ Fair Ground Crit 

This is my favorite crit ever and I have done it before. Fast but interesting with a nice climb but only 1 true crit like corner so it feels a lot like a circuit race not an urban crit thank the gods.  The 1/2/3 race was fast but very dynamic. The biggest difference between 1/2/3 and 4/5 is the style of racing. It’s smart and aggressive not just 70 guys chasing down everything and everything. Well That and no one whines/complains (dude if you have to whine about others riding 1) upgrade or 2) go to the front. Somehow you got enough air to sit at the back and run your mouth so I suspect you could work harder bro). The race was endless attacking. Literally every 30-90 seconds. As soon as we caught a break another or two we launched. The teams were organized and if a break left a team out that team chased while others blocked or at least sat in. I got into a few breaks and tried to go with almost every one of them until I realized I was cooking myself. One break got a big gap and I was sure they would stay away as they were but with 5k to go the team not represented put in a monster effort and me and a few others helped and with 500m to go we caught them. It was wild. A sprinter from the break took the finale and that felt just and proper. 947EC737-67F6-43E9-803B-D3C8E37AF790

MY FAV VEGAN THINGS TO COOK

Bomb A$$ Ital stew (Rasta stew)

Heat some garlic and onions at the bottom of a pot with a touch of oil. Add coconut milk (I go with light bc it’s more low cal and I can’t taste a real difference).

Add in chopped yucca, string beans, carrots, and other veggies. If you don’t come across yucca in your life you are likely racist/classist and finding yucca will be an eye opening experience as to why building boarder walls is stupid. Cook on low until dope. Add kale before it too late.

Season with a ton of pepper and hot sauce and salt to taste. Adding a touch of curry can be fun.

Serve over red beans and rice.


EVERYDAY IS HALLOWEEN POT PIE

Buy two vegan pie crusts bc an’t nobody got time to make that.

In a sauce pan rock some garlic and onions. Add veggie broth. Add string beans, carrots, peas, cubed potatoes and what not and cook that until rad. then using flour sprinkle it like Magic fairy dust until it’s exactly as thick as it should be. Add salt and more pepper than is sane and then pour that gloop into the pie crust and put the other on top. Making it an anarchy or pentagram top is strongly encouraged but not by capitalists. Bake that at like 350f and About 30-45 minutes later your good.

Serve with vaccines for kids.

Spain Travel Guild

Spain travel guild

Over the years people have come to SLB and wanted to travel around. Maybe they have a friend or partner meet up with them, or maybe they just want to extend the trip without spending it on a bike. I have taken a vacation after most years and here is what so here is what I have done and what I suggest.

The easiest thing to do is leave your bike at the camp and rent a car and drive around. Antequera where we are based out of is the cortison De Andalucia (the heart of Andalusia. It’s dead center between Sevilla, cordoba, Granada and Malaga. Each of those cities is worth seeing.)

Seville is the capital of Andalusia and super romantic. The canal at sunset is sublime. The gardens are Dorn from Game of Thrones and worth visiting even if you aren’t a fan. There is an iconic tower attached to the Cathedral and is also amazing and the views wonderful. Sevilla also haves the best food I have found. I strongly suggest Casa Paco, El Palagar and Bar Eslava for some of the best authentic tapas style food.

Córdoba is smaller but historically no less important. Home to the first university it’s why western society didn’t lose all knowledge during the dark ages. It’s home to the Moscita one of the cooler bits of architecture from the Moorish empire that ruled here. It’s old thick ancient walls are pretty dope too.

Granada is my favorite place on earth and pure magic. The Alhambra is a world heritage site and full of history. The Albazin, a famous old neighborhood is one of the best places to rent a hotel room and walking the old narrow streets and will make you fall in love. It’s happened to me thrice. The Moorish baths called the Hammon is also blissful and relaxing and totally zen. The food is amazing as is the punk-metal scene at the club El Tran.

Sevilla and Granada are also home to flamenco and for sure check out a show if your in the area.

Malaga is the most diverse city and perhaps the least Spanish. But with beaches and such it’s popular and fun. Famous for legit night life you can get your party on. But it’s also home to Pablo Picasso’s house and museum and other cool historical stuff. It also is home to a top tier soccer program for those looking to take in a match which is great fun.

Gilbrator is also close by and you can go get poop thrown at you by monkeys and also bump shoulders with Brits. You can also pass into Africa there via ferry but I suggest you plan more than a day trip as the better cities in Morocco are deeper inside the country.

Rhoda is a smaller town but amazingly pretty; as it’s a two mountain top city with a famous bridge that spans the two peaks. It’s a very cool stop over for sure.

For those looking to go a bit father away I love Barcelona and Madrid. Madrid can be done as a layover as many airlines fly through there. As the capital it is a Spain it’s a major city and the Prado is one of the worlds best museums. The Goya collection will slay you. Barcelona is one of the worlds foremost centers for art, music and culture in the world and worth a trip. This vibrant City will have you up all night. I strongly suggest the classic guitar show held in the old nunnery.

Those looking to hit other countries can fly through Dublin, London, Paris and Portugal. You can find info on London and Paris anywhere but Dublin and Ireland are less traveled and dope. That time of year is 50s and mild so the improvement in weather is nice. Ireland had the friendliest people anywhere and they speak English, kinda. I would plan 2-3 days in Dublin and check out Battle Of the Axe comedy show, the Rose metal bar down the street and Viking museum and of course every pub you can with local music and grub. Also if you have time hit the road and check out the west or north or both. I went surfing in Dunagal and it was rustic and wild. The North has all the Game of Thrones spots you could ever hope to see but also it’s just great to be in the middle of nowhere staring out at the sea. Read the Book of Kells before you go.

SLB athletes loved flying into Lisbon and driving to SLB. A progressive city it’s full of art, culture, and it’s own amazing history and located a days drive away.

so come to SLB and reg here: https://www.bikereg.com/slb2019 but feel free to bring others for a great recovery week or vacation before.

SLB 2018: the day I went faster

“Spanish Songs of Andalusia…I am flying in tonight.” – The Clash

First and foremost, reg for next years SLB is open! Www.bikereg.com/Slb2019 ! Join us! 8 days per camp and only 1085 if you sign up now! Check out our Facebook and Instra #slb2018 to see all the great photos from this year! It’s a great community, great people and a great experience all for super cheap (1/3 the price of other camps like it). We have a certified health food chef, pro photographer, two pros-coaches a good wrench and all the sun, mountains and pain, errrr training, you could ask for!

As for this blog post: today was dia de rapido. My training goals at the start was simple. Train enough to train. Since moving to Spartan racing I had ridden a bike only a handful of times in the last 14 months. So I simply needed “tits” aka time-in-the-saddle as they call it (I don’t call it thay bc it’s vulgar). So my goal for the camp was to just ride and ride and ride. Which is exactly what we do here. But after doing a 100 mile ride with 7000 feet of climbing I felt good about my tits; that sounded wrong but you get it. It’s nice to have good tits?

So now it’s time for some intensity and for that I mixed in some super hard work and tried to drill a few parts of rides, basically intervals within longer rides and one ride where I “only” road for 2 hours but Did two brutal efforts. One flat to mimic the course I hope to focus on and the other a steady climb because I love it: Cuesta Del Romeral which is a lovely 5% and 4k long (1000 feet). Both were done at above LT effort and hurt like a mofo Hahahah. Crushed a honey Burst Energy Gel half way up which helped. Also had A Pure Fit bar as recovery so I could hike El Torcal and hang with some wild mountain goats.

my near future: hard work to get my cycling back on par. I will likely be jumping into some longer road races at Coxsackie too. Feels good to be able to do hard work! Feels great to be a cyclist again.FB5CD2FC-867E-4A5B-91FA-B3F67387CDB8

SLB ?, 20??

SLB ?, 20??

What day is it? What year? I am so tired. But there is a satisfaction to not being able to get on a bike. To not being able to move. To being so sore and over trained that I can’t sleep. I hammer Boston Common Coffee just to sit here and beg for death.

So off to the contrast baths: hot and cold, and relaxing in the Moorish baths here that where made 1000 years ago. Then some long cafe con letches and some walking around Granada.

I don’t relax willingly. I have to be beaten into submission. I have to be so tired I can’t go another stride. My mom tells stories of me passing out on the floor still in a running position. But isn’t that the best feeling? To rest hard after working harder?

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Want to come to SLB free? Join Team Continuum and raise money for kids with cancer and I will bring you to Spain free! Deets: www.teamcontinuum.net

SLB 7.0 2018. High Adventures in the Great Outdoors

Photo by Larry Rosa

Photo by Larry Rosa

“Ooh child, things are gonna get easier. Things will get brighter. some day day, yeah, we will put it together and get it done, when you head is much lighter. Some day we will walk in the rays of a beautiful sun, some day when the world is much brighter than right now.”

Yesterday we did the first ride in this area I ever did: the Puerta Del Sol, or the door to the sun. It didn’t disappoint as the sun was out the clouds vanished and the views from the high local passes showed the snow capped mountains and warm sea in different directions. I only road my bike a handful of times in the last 13 months and I feel myself getting stronger here daily.

We train here in two different ways. We have intervals, carefully calculated power outputs and constructed plans designed by coaches crunching numbers with algorithms and biofeedback.

We also just have “high adventures in the great outdoors.” (A book by Henry Rollins has that title) With brutal and awesome landscapes we simply design rides and try to survive them, pushing to keep up with the rider ahead. And like that we find our heart and mind find new numbers we didn’t know we could reach. We do more (way more) than we ever thought we could and the training becomes the test, event, and reward. People come here to train for races later on, and people come here because this is the event. Personally I love training this way because it makes it so much more fun. Way more fun than indoor rides in cold winters darkness.

I think it’s good to ask:do you want a finisher metal or really do you want and epic memory? I think the metal just codifies the memories. SLB is an epic memory factory that you carry with you in your legs for the rest of the season and in your mind (and social media) for the rest of your life.

The ride we did was 87 miles and 6700 feet of climbing (I added 13 miles and another 1000 feet to get in the century) and at the end of that you smile because you know you did something amazing. You love the experience and if you want you can go on to race your best later in the year.

 

Coaching By Me

I am accepting athletes for 2018. I only have 1 type of coaching: with limitless access to me, 100% custom, 100% individual training plan, interactive training log, and discounts on product sponsors.

I don’t have 1 size fits no-one plans. My coaching philosophy is that athletes are individuals who need individual plans, to help them get the most out of themselves. I believe that the best coaches need to listen more than talk. I believe that we need to build a partnership and relationship as athlete-coach to craft the best plan, workouts and strategies for making you the best you can be, while addressing all the issues that we all face (limited amount of time and energy.) You are a person, you have a full life, your training plan needs to reflect that.

For over a decade I have worked with hundreds of athletes and because of my two way communication I not only provided the best type of coaching but have learned and amassed a huge amount of feedback about what works and what doesn’t. I have read the science, read the training books, gone to the lectures, read the online information, but beyond that I have tested all of the science against the real world training: my coaching is based on where the lab meets the street (or pool), where the rubber meets the road. I also work closely with with heath counselor on diet, nutrition and other aspects of the plan along with strength and conditioning coaches and bring them on to help build and contribute to your plan so you plan is often the reflection of several people working together.

Lastly, I am a serious pro, with 10+ years on the pro rack. I am filled with passion, excitement, and love of the sport. Being the squad means not only getting a custom training plan, objective feed back, but also as much emotional, and motivational support as well; its a holistic, mind and body to approach to kicking ass. (You think you do race with just your legs and arms?)

I have taken athletes to world champioships (kona, ITU, USAT Nationals, 70.3 World Championships) and have gotten people that never thought they would finish ironman to the finish. I coach other pro triathlete elite runners, pro cyclists and ultra marathon champions but am just as excited to work with first timers looking to reach a goal. I want to work with anyone that wants to work, talent isn’t what I look for first. You bring a good attitude, I will bring knowledge, passion, and experience. You want to do this email me: evilracingcult [at] gmail [ dot] com ( don’t use the comment section here)

Oh and I am also the cheapest around, at only 115 dollars a month with no start up fees or other fees. I also have team deals saving over 50% off shoes, wetsuits, sunglasses and helmets. Moreover I use free software so you need not pay for any soft wear such as trainingpeaks.com or other sites.

RUNNERS:

I am also an ultra runner world champion and have coached others to ultra marathon wins and finishes. I have also worked with elite runners and marathon champions and countless runners to marathon finishes. So runners, PLEASE know I am here to coach you.

Email: evilracingcult@gmail.com to get started! 1EBD676A-7A9D-4211-BF04-10621669EBC4

SLB 6.0 2018 Mission Statement

“Let’s fly away into the light of a brand new sun.” – Bad Brains

We are, for better and worse, social creatures. We romanticize the lone wolf archetype but the reality is, we need each other to be our best, or to even be at all (in my other life as a part time public defender I have seen clients become intensely mentally ill when our in solitary confinement).

SLB seems to really support this idea: together we push ourselves more. We stop limiting ourselves and start reaching our potential and redefine what we thought was even possible. We go faster, rather and higher daily. Encouraged and even dared to reset our own expectations.

We do that here on purpose. We want you to leave here a different athlete. For the rest of your year and season and even career as an athlete you will forever know that you can do more than you thought you could. SLB is the landscape, the sun, the coaches and chef, but it’s first and foremost the squad, the people that come here and give to each other as much as they get. That was always our goal and I feel gratitude to everyone that helped us reach it.

Paz y amor.9C06E5CC-F01C-4D1E-A4AC-1CBABEA5BB47

SLB featured here:

Being a professional photographer has its perks. Meet interesting subjects, traveling to far out places and it’s always a new adventure.

Last week I found myself in southern Spain at the Strong Like Bull Training Camp, Andalusia, Spain

Since 2006, Strong Like Bull Training Camps (www.stronglikebulltraining.com) has brought together athletes from all over the world to share in the experience of training on challenging mountains while being encouraged by the awesomeness of this place. With a community spirit, a health food chef, pro athletes and other supportive athletes, you have a one-of-a-kind community of people who are mixing getting fit with a grand adventure. Add sunshine and warmth, while most of the Northern Hemisphere is frozen and cold, and you have the best trip with a bike you can find.

Andalusia, Spain is steeped in myth and magic. 5000-year-old Iberian temples, 1200-year-old Roman arches, the 600-year-old Moorish Alhambra Palace, 300-year-old Catholic cathedrals; Spain’s rich history and culture make pushing pedals here part-training and part-ride through living history. Equal to all of that is the natural wonder and breathtaking landscape of the area, from dramatic mountains to endless green fields. This is one of the most sublime places on earth.

Amazing photos by Larry Rosa here:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/UltimateSportsGuide/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1745020262226359