Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Beating burn out - hitting the road, and rippin' gravel!

Some time last week a friend asked me something like this "How do you prevent burnout when you quickly move from one season to the next?"  At first glance I couldn't help but chuckle.  Truth be told -  I've  been on the struggle bus lately....and in all reality there are many times in a year that I feel like I'm a stack of smoldering coals just about ready to burn out.  I'm far from immune to this concept of burn out, however, the trick I've learned over the years is being able to acknowledge that moment, spend some time in it, and eventually determine what is needed to ignite a spark. 

Love riding with Randall's crew on the weekends!
Sometimes it's plain old rest, other times it's simply having options, or it's a change of pace, or it's skipping a ride for a couple beers with a friend. Sometimes the mere sense of freedom that accompanies a choice is all that is needed.  I've also learned that I personally need to plan short breaks into my year of racing and decide which few events are most important to me - putting less emphasis on those other events or seasons that are not as important. This way when I'm in an "off season" it's easier to take that day off or to cut that ride short, or skip those annoying intervals. 

Photo Credit - Matthew Pastick - after saying hello in downtown Wayzata

One thing that I specifically do in the spring to fend off burn out is to join in more group rides! I find group rides to be the easiest way to add on the miles - for some odd reason the suffering is just a little more tolerable with others + who doesn't love a coffee/donut stop in the middle of a 5 hour ride? 

Not only have I been using these road rides to add miles to my training, but I've also been using them to mix up the intensity - replacing some of my interval workouts. One night a week I look for a group ride that's just a tad outside of my comfort zone --  I've learned that the simple fear of being dropped and maybe even worse being that girl that everyone has to wait for is a huge motivating factor for me to push myself beyond my perceived limits.  I'm learning when best to use my matches so that I can manage a consistent effort throughout a ride.  It's it's own little challenge and this is all great timing because...

Photo Credit: Todd Bauer
That's me, and my fitness clone Jeff Shupe

It's gravel season!  Spring has always been my favorite time of year and the local gravel scene is only helping solidify that.   Dickie Scramble and Miesville56 where the two local gravel races I chose this year mostly because I love the festive post race small town bar atmosphere.  I loved sharing both of these ride experiences with some people I had just met.  That's the beauty of gravel.  Eventually you end up riding with a smallish group of people with similar fitness sharing the workload and motivating each other to keep pushing.  This camaraderie is incredible and it's always the highlight of my ride.  Plus, there are usually cows some place near the gravel....and I freaking love cows, especially this little ginger cow. So cute!

In other news I'm pretty excited to be representing Lift Cyclewear this coming year!  I've been a fan of this Minneapolis based brand since they first launched last spring and I could not be more excited about their 2016 clothing line!  The knickers are bad ass and there is a top/bottom for just about any occasion...+ no more tan lines ladies!! I just love all that this brand represents. Don't just dream - dream big!! 

Use my ambassador code APRIL10 for 10% off online
I also saw some of these items fresh on the rack at Tonka Cycle and Ski

What's on tap?? Well, I'm beyond jacked for my Michigan BFF - Danielle to arrive tomorrow night.  She's coming into town for the Fulton Gran Fondo (and a bike fit with the Bicycle Fit Guru)!  The Fondo is the best bike party ever...and with approx 1500 people, this weekend is sure to be a gosh darn riot! Help me welcome Danielle to spring in Minneapolis - she'll be riding the 100 on her Beargrease "Skittles" with Tom (uff da!) Make sure you give them a good shout!!

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