Recovery 101 – Five Easy Steps

So you’ve just finished a hard race or workout, you’re covered in road grime, dehydrated, hungry as all get out and probably just want to take a nap. So what do you do next? Most cyclists know that they should stretch a bit or maybe hit a recovery drink (sorry, beer doesn’t actually count). Few, however, have a solid recovery regimen that they follow after every ride.

This is a shame because if you aren’t taking the time to recover properly, you’re not benefiting fully from all the hard work you just put in. Taking the time to go through a proper recovery regime will insure you get stronger and have more energy. You put the work in, make sure you’re reaping all the rewards!

The two most common excuses for skipping a recovery routine are; “Who has the time” and “I just want to relax when I’m done with a ride”. However a thorough recovery routine can be done in as little as 15-20 minutes and will leave you feeling reenergized and rejuvinated.

By following these five steps you’ll recover quicker, be less likely to get injured and feel stronger on the bike.

Easy spin is easy.

Spin-Down – Immediately after finishing a ride, take 5-15minutes to spin easily. This is best done by spinning an increasing easier gear at 80-100RPM. Just keep your legs moving. This allows your heart-rate to come down to a resting rate more gradually and facilitates your muscles in their removal of lactic acid/ammonia. You’ll be much less likely to experience cramps and severe muscle stiffness after taking a few minutes to cool down.

Unwind - Ahhhh the dreaded stretching routine. To make it even worse, I recommend combining your post ride stretching with a short core work-out. Oh. The. Agony. Even as the most time consuming step of your new recovery regime, a stretch/core routine can be done in less than 15 minutes. And you know what else, you’ll feel better on and off the bike if you do it after even half of your rides.

A good stretching routine will be dynamic and target your entire body while focusing on the legs. Yoga inspired stretches will get you the most bang for your buck, targeting multiple muscle groups at once. Make sure at the very least that you stretch your quads, calves, hamstrings and back (you know, all the muscles that you put through the ringer mile after mile).

Piggieback your stretching routine with a quick core workout. One of my favorite 5 minute core routines can be found here. Including a short core routine helps your body to buffer lactic acid after your workout. Not to mention the core strength you gain by dedicating to a regular core workout will increase your power on the bike.

Experiment with which stretches work for you and remember; Don’t push it! If you’re straining yourself, you’re most likely doing more damage than good. Stretching is a process and if you feel inflexible, be patient, you’ll feel better the more often you do it.

Rehydrating.

Rehydrate - Throughout your entire recovery routine make sure to keep taking in fluids. You’ve been poring out more fluids than your body can take in for the whole of your workout so you have some catching up to do. However, this doesn’t mean you should chug water until it’s coming out of your ears.

I typically drink one bottle of sports drink as i’m going through my cool-down and stretching routine. Following this I make sure to keep sipping on fluids for the rest of the day. After a particularly hot or hard ride I take a few electrolyte support supplements(such as Hammer Endurolytes or SportLegs) to help replenish my electrolyte levels. Remember when you sweat your not just losing fluids, your also losing electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium and potassium which are critical in the hydration process.

If you’re feeling particularly cracked make sure to take in some sugar/carbs immediately after getting off the bike. Fresh fruit is my favorite, however a spare gel, Clif Bar, or even chocolate and Coca-Cola will work in a pinch.

Keep it healthy.

Replenish – One of the best parts about being an endurance athlete is being able to eat guilt free following a workout. While sometimes that double bacon cheese burger is fine, try to keep your post ride meals healthy and varied. Remember, you get out what you put in!

Keep in mind the two following steps to help make sure your body gets what it needs to repair itself.
- Within 30 minutes of finishing your workout: Take in 15-25 grams of a high quality protein(I recommend a whey protein isolate) and a moderate amount sugar and carbs(fresh fruit, bread/cheese, etc). Try sipping on a recovery drink throughout your stretching/core routine and then have a carb rich snack immediately afterwards.
- Within 60 minutes:  Eat a nutrient rich meal full of healthy carbs, protein and fat. Green beans, currie rice and salmon, veggie/tofu stir fry, Baked chicken, sweat potatoes and whole grain bread, etc.

Rejuvenate – If you have the time, try napping after a long ride or hard workout. It’ll give your body a double dose of naturally occurring Human Growth Hormone(HGH) which is essential to muscle recovery and growth. This combined with an ample and regular sleep schedule will insure your riding strong day after day.

Next time you finish a ride or race, keep these recovery tips in mind.
- Spin Down
- Stretch/Core
- Rehydrate
- Eat
- Sleep
You’ll have more energy, recover more fully and get stronger faster.

Looking for some more personalized or in-depth tips on becoming a better cyclist? Give us a call or stop by. Helping athletes succeed is literally our job.

2013 End of Year Musings – The Todd

2013 Year End Musings- The Todd

Hayley and Coach Todd kicking off 2014 with a 5k race.


Every year at this time I think, how the heck did another year come and go? It seems impossible to believe how quickly time passes as I get older (I mean not as old as Glenn, but older nonetheless). The other thing I do this time of year is recall the many things that transpired and how much I enjoyed (or didn’t) the events that impacted my life. This was a year that saw not only significant change and growth here at Breakaway Bikes, but also the unparalleled athletic achievements of Breakaway athletes. There were so many great stories that emerged from our store this year and because of these stories I head into 2014 excited about what will follow.

Nearly all of our customers ride bicycles, and a fair amount of them even race their bicycles. This year in addition to the cycling team that we sponsor, Quaker City Wheelmen won the Best All Around Team (Large Division) in the state of Pennsylvania and two of our coached athletes, Kristie Nichols (category 4) and Nick Rogers (Elite), won Best All Around Rider honors. Both Kristie and Nick certainly have big engines, but more significantly, they have a fire in their bellies that makes them willing to suffer in training and racing. Possessing these qualities is critical to success in bike racing and I was thrilled for the successes they both experienced this year.

Breakaway’s very own Cole (Trickle) Oberman had an amazing ride at the Cyclocross Single Speed World Championships (CXSSWC) held in Philadelphia’s very own Belmont Plateau. Beyond the drinking, loud music, costumes, heckling, and drinking, there was a very serious race at the front as renown MTB Pro Adam Craig and Cole (also a MTB Pro as it turns out) went mano a mano all the way to the wire….and then added an extra lap to make their battle even more epic. In the end, it was the wily veteran getting the better of our young upstart, but Trickle made him earn it. Cole’s 2nd place…in the WORLD was certainly nothing to sneeze at.

This year also saw two members of the Breakaway Racing Team qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI. Kiley Austin-Young qualified by virtue of winning his age group at St. Croix 70.3 and Ritanne O’Brien qualified by placing 2nd in her age group at Ironman Lake Placid. I was fortunate enough to make that trip this year and the event is certainly all it is cracked up to be. People were super nice, excited to be there, the pros were very accessible, the weather was gorgeous, the food was wonderful, and the coffee rocked! Kiley had an excellent swim/bike, Ritanne had an amazing run, and both left their debut on the sport’s grandest stage with their heads held high, and for good reason.


Breakaway Racing Team’s Emily Sherrard shocked everyone (including herself) when she executed the race she was capable of and won the 25-29 Age Group at the 70.3 World Championships in Henderson, Nevada. When we had our final pre race strategy meeting the day before the race, I told her that she was in the best triathlon shape of her life and that flawless execution would make her hard to beat. When the run began she was in 3rd in her age group and then in short order, 2nd. I turned to Kiley’s parents and said, “she’s going to win it.” She was charging and the look in her eyes was one that I had never seen from her before. This was her day and she was going to take it. When she finished she wasn’t certain she had won, but I made sure she knew. A memorable experience to say the least as Emily joined store owner Joe Wentzell as Breakaway’s second World Champion.


Under the radar and with far less hoopla, Breakaway Racing Team’s Amelia McCracken earned her Elite Triathlon license which will enable her to compete as a Professional in 2014 and Patrick McKeon had a fantastic season with not only his 8th in the 25-29 AG at 70.3 World Championships, but his AG win at Timberman 70.3 which earned him All American honors (an honor also achieved by Kiley and Emily as well). This year our teams just crushed it, week after week and I couldn’t have been more proud.

I realized this year that in spite of the difficulties that we all face from time to time, I am very grateful and humbled by the support of our many clients and staff and truly embraced the significance of having friendship and perseverance in my life. It is my belief that having these two things will allow a person to overcome anything. This year, I watched our racing team truly become a team. They came together and were more involved in not only racing successfully, but in team social gatherings, training together, and supporting each other.

Simultaneously, I watched our Breakaway staff become even closer and work in a more cooperative manner than I have seen in my nearly 5 years on staff. This gradual progression was one that resembled family, the family we have made. What I learned this year is simply that friendship, perseverance and the support of ‘family’ not only will allow us all to overcome any obstacle we face, but also makes the journey that much more fulfilling. Thanks to all of you for contributing to such a special and wonderful year. I am looking forward to an even greater 2014!

 

 

Looking Back: Review and Reset

Lets take a look back on the past year shall we?

LOOKING BACK.

It’s hard to believe that it is already 2014, we’re through the Holidays and now is a great time to get back to a regular schedule of riding and training. Now is also the time of year in which I try to sit down with the athletes I coach to help them review there past season as well as sharpen their goals for the coming year. Being able to learn from what worked (or didn’t) last year is crucial to being able to achieve your goals this season.

Learning from the mistakes and failures of this past season is an important aspect of planning for the next year. Making the same mistake twice is the worst mistake of all. So if you had trouble with pacing the bike leg of your triathlon last year make sure to focus on that this year. Likewise if you had trouble climbing this past summer, spend some more time in the hills this spring. You can’t get better if you don’t work on your weaknesses and you can’t work on your weaknesses if you don’t identify them to begin with. Take some time to think about, “What held me back last year?”.

This guy knows a thing or two about pushing past failure.

It’s fine to use your short comings to keep you motivated to hit the road or get on the trainer but try not to dwell on them. Remember that no one has ever waltzed onto the podium on their first try and success doesn’t happen overnight. Instead accept your failures, learn from them and move forward accordingly.

As important as it is to work on your weaknesses, it is even more important to celebrate your successes. This can be anything from the obvious such as winning a target race or finishing your first triathlon to the more technical such as pedaling technique or increasing your Vo2 power. It’s important to identify all of your successes and improvements as well as what made them possible.

Success isn’t always so obvious.

Like I tell my athletes, it’s not so much your victories and successes but how you got there. What was the winning training formula? Was it the short high intensity intervals that got you onto your first cyclocross podium? How about those brick workouts you nailed leading up to your half iron PR? Identify the process that brought you success last year and aim to repeat it next year. Repeatability is the key for any enduring athlete. You want to be able to reach the finish line and podium year after year.

SET YOUR GOALS.

Once you’ve identified what worked and what needs improvement its time to set your goals. Having realistic and well defined goals is important for athletes of any ability level. Having an end point to work towards keeps you motivated to train alittle harder or go alittle farther.

Short term goals.

One of the most helpful pieces of advice for setting and achieving goals is to break down your season into several short term goals which help you work towards the larger picture. Training Peak’s Adam Hodges summed up goal setting pretty succinctly in a recent newsletter. “Think of the goal-setting process like climbing a mountain. Your ultimate goal may be the summit (long-term goal); but to reach the summit, you need to break the climb into segments (intermediate goals) and divide those segments into individual steps (short-term goals)”.

Make your goals realistic. Whether its to win a race, finish a charity ride or have a personal best your long term goal should be challenging to achieve while still being realistic. If it’s your first season of road racing, winning a local office park crit might be a better goal than winning Battenkill. Setting goals that are too lofty can leave you feeling crushed if you don’t achieve them after all of the hard work you put in.

Sandbaggin’

On the opposite end, if you set goals that are too easy to attain your more likely slack off knowing that you’ll be able to achieve your goal anyway. If you crushed the cat 2 in the MASS MTB series last year, its time to move up to cat 1. If you don’t challenge yourself, you’ll never meet your potential. Plus nobody likes a dirty sandbagger.

Make your goals well defined. I often hear from athletes that they want to generally get faster/stronger. While I genuinely sympathize with this sentiment, its simply a hard goal to measure success with because of its vagueness. A better way to state this would be, ” I finished Iron Cross in 4.5 hours last year, I want to finish in under 4 hours this year”. This is the same sentiment as “I want to get stronger” but with a measurable outcome and a concrete end goal to train for.

Half-Full!

Above all keep your goals positive. Make sure your goal is about achievement not making sure you don’t do something. The difference between these is ” I want to finish a Half Ironman under six hours” (positive) vs. I don’t want to finish over six hours in a Half Ironman again this year”(negative).

If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor. Take a few minutes to think about your past season and ask yourself these 5 questions. What was my biggest success? What were some smaller things I improved on? What could I work on? How could I improve on my weaknesses? What are my goals this season?

 If you feel like you could use some help figuring out your goals and how to achieve them, drop by or give us a call. Helping athletes succeed is literally our job.

#SSCXWC13PHILLY: How to enjoy the weirdest bike race in town.

Philly is hosting a real, live world championship cycling event this coming weekend. For those of you who havn’t heard, the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships will be held on the Belmont Plateau in western Fairmount park on Sunday, December 8th. With qualifying and auxiliary events on Friday and Saturday, there will be an entire weekend of un-official world championships, free beer, junk-yard racing and so much more. Non-sanctioned status aside, rest assured there will be fierce competition for the win. Not only does the winner get a genuine golden speedo/bikini, the champ gets stuck with the mandatory championship tattoo at the after-party.

The Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships trace their roots to the first Single Speed Mountain Bike World Championships in the mid-1990s. These races emphasized fun and costumes over pure competition with the only rule being that you must ride a bicycle with only one gear. We hope to keep that spirit of light hearted fun alive and well this year in Philly. While many riders show up with aspirations of squeezing there way into that skimpy golden speedo, there is an even greater focus on who has the most elaborate costume, the silliest bike or the most ridiculous hand-up/heckle.

Speaking of hand-ups and heckles. The greatest thing about the SSCXWC is that it’s just as fun for spectators as it is for participants. Whether you’re at the classic Bilenky Junkyard Cross(which yes, is a race in a junkyard) on Saturday or at the main event on Sunday, there will be ample time to heckle, cheer and let the good times roll. Did I mention that there will be free beer, for the whole weekend, from not one but three great breweries. Thanks to Sly Fox, Pabst and Stoudts!

Not sure how to construct a proper hand-up? Want to make sure your heckle is adequately funny without being unnecessarily mean? Just follow our step-by-step guide to H&H.

H(eckles) & H(and-ups) according to Breakaway:

Heckles: The airing of grievances. 

Step 1: Choose Material - Remember the goal is to be funny, not hurt anyones feelings. A good heckle will be equal parts insult and encouragement. E.X. (You ride like you drink decaf. Pick it up!)
Step 2: Read the Situation – Being situationally aware is key to a good heckle. E.X. (mother with child crossed the course, then…”You just got passed by a stroller”!)
Step 3: Select Target – Friends, leaders and those in outlandish costumes are usually best. Step 4: Fire Away - It’s just like your mother told you, if you don’t have anything nice to say, yell it at your friends.

Hand-Ups: Passing non-sports related items to racers.

Step 1: Select Item – Beer(watered down or otherwise), hot-dogs, dollar bills. Just remember with food, if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t hand it to someone else.
Step 2: Location, Location, Location – Pick the best spot possible, usually in a particularly challenging part of the course with a large crowd of spectators. Run-ups, barriers, steep hills and tight corners are all good choices
Step 3: Be Vocal – Let the rider know you have something for them. A well timed heckle can aid in the process.
Step 4 – Let It Go – Lean in, stretch the course tape and get your arm out there. Most items are best held by the top giving the receiver ample space to grab.

Now print that out, put it in your pocket and we’ll see you this weekend!

Check out the full schedule of events. / Follow us on Facebook to see where we’ll be this weekend.

2013 Philadelphia Marathon, Triathletes can run -The Todd

Watching the Philadelphia Marathon this year was a stark contrast to my experience last year when I competed in it. A year ago in addition to be excited for our teammates and our athletes, I was excited to race as well. This year my focus was solely on our athletes. I wanted to be out there watching, supporting, and encouraging them to have the races they’d earned through many miles of training.

The majority of this year I traveled to triathlons with many of my athletes, so it was an interesting change to be at a stand alone running event. Triathletes get so ingrained in the process of competing in three sports, which is obviously important, that they frequently don’t just ‘let it rip’ and see just how fast they can go in each of the disciplines. Doing a proper training build, taper, and peak in a stand alone running event leads to an athlete becoming a better runner, and therefore triathlete. As the race began, that was my hope for each of our athletes.

Nice weather greeted the runners and I headed out coffee in hand, to see as many Breakaway Racing Team members as I could the opening mile. All of my athletes had a race plan that focused on patience and execution. A marathon or a half marathon for that matter, is a long way to race, and swift early miles almost always lead to slothful later miles.  I always like to stand in front of Breakaway Bikes, just past the 10k mark of the race and cheer. It is a great spot to see the leaders as well as our team members and gives great path access to see everyone again by the halfway point of the marathon, and just prior to the finish of the half marathon.

One thing I like about the Philadephia Marathon is something I said in an interview last year, “it is a big time race with a small town feel.” I particularly like that Breakaway’s Racing team always has a lot of people supporting the event as competitors and also as volunteers (there was a group of our team members volunteering near the Falls Bridge this year). I also enjoy watching our team race as a team. As per the race strategy, Keith Fitzgerald ran alongside Tony (the human metronome) Salvi, for the majority of the race, and Hayley Germack ran alongside Sandra Sierakowski in order to share the pace and work together. This helped all of them keep their excitement in check and be ready to face the late miles with more in the tank. Even notoriously fast starter Anh Dang, was controlled and on pace the first half of the race. It appeared our gang was racing with poise and confidence.

It’s always fun watching the best runners in the field leading the way and noticing how easy they make it look. I harken it to how easy professional golfers make hitting a ball 200 yds to within 5 feet of the pin. You see it and it is easy to think, ‘it doesn’t look that hard.’ The truly elite runners regularly make it look easy, but I can assure you, similar to the pro golfer, it isn’t. Success in endurance sports, or ‘going long’ as I like to say, comes from perseverance and consistency in training, and a willingness to suffer in training and on race day. It is not an obvious ‘talent,’ but I assure you it is a talent that anyone who succeeds in these events possesses.

A year ago at the age of 44, Tony Salvi cracked the 3:00:00 barrier for the first time in his career. He did it with patience and confidence and ran a near flawless race. This year when his teammate Keith Fitzgerald and I discussed his race plan, as he wanted to run 2:59:59 or better for the first time, I told him simply, ‘line up with Tony and run with him for 20 miles. If you do this, you will break 3:00:00.”

Hayley and Sandra teamed up as Hayley was running the marathon and Sandra the half marathon. I knew this combination would push Sandra to a new personal best and would prevent Hayley in her exuberance from squandering her chance to run a great race. At the 10k mark Tony and Keith ran by together looking great, and a few minutes later Breakaway ladies followed suit. The plan was working.

Breakaway Racing Team’s Anh Dang was marching to his own beat, but it was a controlled beat and he was relaxed and under control. I thought, “after all our track sessions throughout this year, had he ACTUALLY learned? Was he going to run a smart race?” I was hopeful that he would.

It is not an easy task to negative split a marathon. That being said, I knew what each of these athletes had done in training and I was confident, they were capable of doing that very thing. Patience and poise early, following the eating and drinking schedule, and digging in and roaring home the final 10k. That was the race plan and that was the training plan. This was the race plan I had followed a year ago, and I was eager to see each of them succeed as I had.

That being said, no matter how smart you pace it, no matter how spot on your nutrition intake is, there is no escaping the final few miles of a marathon. Simply put, they are hard. They are to be endured. Frequently (but not always), they reveal character. When push comes to shove, when the hurt truly arrives and there is no escaping it until you reach the finish, what do you do? Decision time. Keep pushing? It’s going to hurt no matter what you do, so you may as well, ‘see how long you can keep your hand on the hot stove.’ Pushing through the pain and discomfort that inevitably arrives running a marathon, will directly impact your result, your success.

I waited for our team members at just past the 25mi mark. I was hoping to be able to provide one more moment of encouragement for them before they reached the very end, the very LOUD end. What I saw, made me very proud of our gang. First I saw Keith on his way to a 2:56:37 PB, then I saw Anh finishing off a 3:01:32 PB, then I saw Tony, who after 19mi simply didn’t have it, but he fought gamely to hold on for 3:07:16 (not bad for an ‘off’ day) and played a MAJOR role in Keith’s success, and then I saw Hayley. The girl who had never broken 4:00:00 in a stand alone marathon prior to 2013, but who had shocked us all with her 3:25:07 marathon split at Ironman Lake Placid in her debut. On this day, smiling as always, the number was 3:08:09 an ENORMOUS PB. Sandra after running the first 7mi with Hayley en route to her half marathon, also had a solid day with her 1:35:57 PB, nearly 9:00 faster than she ran this race 1 year prior.

In running there is no easy way out, there’s no coasting, no aero tricks to help you get ‘free speed,’ zero drop shoes or running on your toes, won’t do it either. What will help is running more and running faster, doing those things will make you better at the running. I was proud not only of these Breakaway athletes whose races I described, but of all of the athletes that train with us, understand this philosophy and mentality, and embrace it. This is the mentality of successful distance runners, not as commonly found in triathletes. These triathletes however, ‘get it.’ They understand that your run will define your triathlon. Triathletes can run and can run well, provided they are willing to pay the price to do so.

2013 Breakaway Coached and Sponsored Athlete Results

Philadelphia Marathon

Keith Fitzgerald, Breakaway Racing Team, 2:56:37 PB

Anh Dang, Breakaway Racing Team, 3:01:32 PB

Tony Salvi, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, 3:07:16

Hayley Germack, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, 3:08:09PB

Sandra Sierakowski, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, Philadelphia Half Marathon 1:35:57 PB

 

Updated 11/14/13

Kiley Austin-Young, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, 2013 Kona Ironman World Championships Finisher

Ritanne O’Brien, Breakaway Racing Team, 2013 Kona Ironman World Championships Finisher featuring a 3:18:53 (5th fastest Amateur women’s run split!).Flyers 5k, 1st Woman Overall, 19:39

Brittany Ballard, Breakaway Racing Team, Breakout 5k, 2nd in AG, 20:11

Keith Fitzgerald, Breakaway Racing Team, Breakout 5k, 2nd in AG, 17:10

Hayley Germack, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, Breakout 5k, 1st in AG, 19:33, Run the Bridge 10k, 1st in AG 39:15

Amelia McCracken, Breakaway Racing Team, Cape Henlopen Triathlon, 1st Woman Overall, Breakout 5k, 3rd Woman Overall 19:15

Jason Reckner, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, Breakout 5k 1st in AG 17:05

Mark Featherman, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Swashbuckler Cross 45+, 2nd place

Katherine Ross, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, Cape Henlopen Triathlon, 2nd Overall Athena Division

Tony Salvi, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, Breakout 5k, 2nd in AG 18:37

Emily Sherrard, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, Run the Bridge 10k, 2nd in AG

Sandra Sierakowski, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, Augusta 70.3, 4th in AG 4:52:03. Breakout 5k, 2nd in AG 20:45

Breakaway Racing Team Results

Run the Bridge 10k, Women’s Team Champions: Hayley Germack, Emily Sherrard, Alexis Jones, Amelia McCracken

Breakout 5k, 2nd place in Open Division: Keith Fitzgerald, Tony Salvi, Anh Dang, Shane Watters, and Isabella Salvi

Updated 10/1/13

Kiley Austin-Young, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team
13th @Ironman 70.3 World Championships 25-29AG
Kristen Faughnan, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team
Rev3 Old Orchard Beach 1/2 Iron Distance Triathlon, 1st in AG
Steelman Olympic Distance Triathlon, 1st in AG
Keith Fitzgerald, Breakaway Racing Team
Tim Kerr 7mi Run, 4th overall, 42:09
Hayley Germack, Breakaway Coached Athlete
Ironman Muskoka 70.3, 5:21:59, 1st in AG & 2014 70.3 World Championship Qualifier!
Sue Huelster, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team
AG World Championships Sprint Triathlon, 3rd Place
AG World Championships Olympic Triathlon, 5th Place
Amelia McCracken, Breakaway Racing Team, QCW-Breakaway Bikes
Ironman Timberman 70.3, 4:45:01, 2nd in AG, Ironman Muskoka 70.3, 5:06:47, 1st in AG (BOTH of these performances qualified for 2014 70.3 World Championships)!! Tour of Millersburg Stage Race, 1st overall Cat 4 women
Patrick McKeon, Breakaway Racing Team
Ironman Timberman 70.3, 4:16:47,
1st in AG & 2014 70.3 World Championship Qualifier.
8th in AG @Ironman 70.3 World Championships, 25-29 AG.
Ritanne O’Brien, Breakaway Racing Team
Run for Tony 5k, 18:45 PB, 2nd woman overall. Via Lehigh Valley Marathon, 3:04:11, 3rd woman overall.
Tony Salvi, Breakaway Racing Team
Mayor’s Labor Day 5mi, 30:48, 1st Master
Philadelphia Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon, 1:23:05, 8th in AG
Emily Sherrard, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team
Wilkes Barre Olympic Triathlon, 2:24:36, 1st woman overall
70.3 World Championships, 4:54:33, 1st 25-29. Age Group World Champion!!!
Ryan Tarrant, Breakaway Racing Team
Marshman Sprint Triathlon, 1:03:11, 3rd in AG
Cycling
Will Cooper Breakaway Racing Team, QCW-Breakaway Bikes
Green Mountain Stage Race, 4th Overall Cat 2, Mt. Washington Hill Climb, 59:35, 8th Overall
Mark Featherman, Breakaway Coached Athlete
Charm City Cross Weekend.  10th on Saturday, 9th on Sunday
Matt Furlow, QCW-Breakaway Bikes
Elite Nationals Scratch Race, 4th Place
Kenny Niernberg, Breakaway Coached Athlete, QCW-Breakaway Bikes
Cyclodrome Criterium, 1st Cat 4
Nick Rogers, Breakaway Coached Athlete, QCW-Breakaway Bikes
Elite National Championships Points Race, 4th Place
Updated 8/15/13
Brittany Ballard
Breakaway Racing Team, Philly Sprint Triathlon, 1st in AG
Val Bergman, Breakaway Coach, Breakaway Racing Team
Philly Sprint Triathlon 3rd in AG
Will Cooper
Breakaway Coached Athlete, QCW, Chesco Road Race 1st Cat 3
Alexis Jones
Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team Philly Sprint Triathlon 3rd in AG
Tristan Jones
Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, Musselman 1/2 Iron Distance Triathlon, 2nd in AG
Amelia McCracken
Breakaway Racing Team, Mont Tremblant 70.3 2nd in AG, 4:52:37, 1st place Cat 4 Tour of Millersberg
Ritanne O’Brien
Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway  Racing Team, Mont Tremblant 70.3 1st in AG! 4:54:32. 1:29:55 run split  5th fastest of all women!!
Kristin Gavin
Breakaway Coached Athlete, 2nd in AG at MTB Nationals
Eric Danver
Breakaway Coached Athlete, Winner NJ Cat 3 Cup Series
Nick Rogers
Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakawaybikes.com/Vie13 racing team, 4th place Pro1/2 at Tour of Millersberg
Kristie Nichols
Breakaway Coached Athlete, QCW Women, 2nd place Cat 4 Women Tour of Millersberg.
Colton Valentine
Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Employee, QCW, 3rd Place Evesham Crit Pro 1/2/3.

Kiley Austin-Young, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team,
Ironman 70.3 St. Croix, 4:38:42, 1st in AG, KONA QUALIFIER!

Ritanne O’Brien, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team, QCW,
Tour of the Battenkill, Cat 4 women, 5th.

Tony Salvi, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team,
Dash for Organ & Tissue Donor Awareness 10k, 38:03, 2nd in AG.

Jonathan Dietz, Breakaway Coached Athlete
M.A.S.S. Greenbrier Challenge XC MTB, Cat 1 15-16, 1st
M.A.S.S. Fair Hill Spring XC MTB, Cat 1 15-18, 1st

Cole Oberman, Breakaway Coach, Breakaway Pro MTB Rider
M.A.S.S. Fair Hill Spring XC MTB, Pro/Open, 2nd
M.A.S.S. Iron Hill Challenge XC, Pro/Open, 2nd

Joseph Schmidt, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team,
Austin 10/20 10 miler, 1:12:18, 2nd in AG

Emily Sherrard, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team,
Devilman 1/2 Lite Triathlon, 3:16:06, 1st Woman Overall
Sandra Sierakowski, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team,
Leadman Tri Lifetime Epic 125k, 5th in AG
Hayley Germack, Breakaway Coached Athlete,
Devilman 1/2 Lite Triathlon, 3:45:30, 2nd in AG, 9th woman overall
Tristan Jones, Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakaway Racing Team,
Devilman 1/2 Lite Triathlon, 3:07:56, 1st in AG, 6th overall
Barbara Kutis, Breakaway Racing Team,
Upper Mainline YMCA Triathlon, 2nd in AG
Amelia McCracken, Breakaway Racing Team,
Bucks County Half Marathon, 1:27:01, 1st Woman Overall, Turkey Hill Country Classis Cat 3/4, 7th
Andrew Haughton, Breakaway Racing Team,
Ironman 70.3 St. Croix, 5:26:54, 4th in AG Qualifed for Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Las Vegas, Nevada!
Nick Rogers: Breakaway Coached Athlete, Breakawaybikes.com p/b Vie 13 Elite Team 1st Place: Tour of Page County road Race (Pro1-2)
3rd Place: GC tour of Page County Stage Race  (Pro 1-2)
4th Place: Piscetello Law Criterium (Pro 1-2)

Ryan Rapolas: Breakawaybikes.com/QCW Cycling Racing Team
4th Place: Turkey Hill Country Classic Road Race (Pro-1-2)

Joe Wentzell: Head Coach, Breakaway Bikes
6th Place: Tour of the Battenkill (40+)
2nd Place: BLP 2209 Criterium (35+)

Kristie Nichols: Breakaway Coached Athlete
2nd Place: Piscitello Law Criterium (Women Cat 4)
7th Place: Tour of the Battenkill (Women Cat 4)

Eric Danver: Breakaway Coached Athlete
3rd Place LBI Time Trial (45+)
3rd Place Ronde Von Mullica Road Race (Cat 3)

Sue Huelster: Breakaway Coached Athlete
3rd Place Broad St Run (Age Group) 1:01:50
4th Place Hatfield 5 miler (overall)  31:30.85

Alec White, Breakawaybikes.com/QCW Cycling racing team
1st Place BLP 2209 Criterium (Cat 3)
1st Place Lower Providence Criterium (Cat 3)

Michael Black, Breakawaybikes.com/QCW Cycling Racing Team
1st Place Ronde Von Mullica Road Race (Cat 3)

Brandon Knettle, Breakawaybikes.com/QCW Cycling Racing Team
1st Place Rock Lititz Criterium (Cat 3)

Pat Kennedy, Breakawaybikes.com/QCW Cycling Racing Team
1st Place Lower Providence Criterium (Cat 5)

Camille Durocher, Breakawaybikes.com / QCW Cycling Racing Team
1st Place Rock Lititz Criterium (Women Cat 4)
4th Place Piscetello Law Criterium (Women Cat 4)

Nace Mullen, Breakaway RPM Participant
4th Place St. Anthony’s Olympic Tri (age group)

Mike Mays, Breakaway Coached Athlete
2nd place Hatfield 10 Miler (Age Group)

Iron Cross Race Report – Cole Oberman

When it comes to riding bikes, the staff here at Breakaway like to stray from the beaten path. Our rides often involve gratuitous amounts of climbing, surfaces other than pavement and the uncanny ability of whomever planned the route to take it from a reasonable ride to unrelenting suffer-fest with a few miles too many.

Luckily for us, were not the only ones that like our rides to be a few miles too far. Stan’s NoTubes Iron Cross put on by High Speed Cycling is dream come true for those who like things a bit over the top. The course consists of about 70 miles of mostly dirt roads with 8,000 feet of vertical gain, a few miles of rocky single-track and a mile long ascent which can only be tackled carrying your bike over your shoulders. Like I said, dream come true.

The trek to the Stan’s NoTubes Iron Cross race held annually in Michaux State Forest has become a bit of a pilgrimage for us. This is one of the few events that is the right combination of fun, weird and soul crushingly hard that it appeals to most everyone at the shop. Iron Cross is comprised of equal parts cyclo-cross, mountain biking and road racing for a unique day of suffering.

Saturday evening about half of Breakaway’s staff packed off to my parents house in central Pennsylvania for some pre-race BBQ. After dinner and a few drinks we all settled in early for bed, knowing full well that we’d need every minute of sleep to make it through the next day. We all had different goals for Iron Cross this year, for the first timers it was to finish, for others is was a personal best. For myself it was to win, I was on great form after long season of racing and besides, Montana had bet me a case of beer I wouldn’t. Never one to turn down a challenge I agreed and proceeded to run my mouth.

Now, winning bike races is a bit of an art form. It takes timing, persistence, the ability to suffer profusely and a bit of luck. As I looked around at the start line Sunday morning I realized this might be an even harder day than I had planned for. In addition to the endurance mountain bike specialists and elite cross racers there were more than a few pro road racers toeing the line.

I said good-luck to the crew and after eating a little start line bacon courtesy of Foundry Cycles, the gun went off. Race director Mike Kuhn had warned us that the first section of Jeep trail was lined with sharp bits of shale and as I watched more than a few fellow competitors get flats I was extremely glad to be riding on my tubeless Stan’s Alpha wheels. As soon as we excited the Jeep trail and onto the first section of gravel road, I took a long, hard pull at the front of our group to catch a few riders who had gotten a slight advantage in the chaos of the start.

We shortly there-after passed back through the start/finish area and out onto the course proper. A lead-group of 20 or so riders had formed and through the first couple climbs we all worked together, trading pulls to ensure we stayed away from the rest of the field. As we rode along the ridge at the top of the second climb, those who had chosen to ride a mountain bike instead of a cross bike came to the front of the group.

There was a brief fight for position and we veered off the road and onto a steep and rocky descent known as Lippencote. While only about 3/4 of a mile long, Lippencote can often be a deciding factor in the race. I knew my Trek Crockett cross bike was the right choice for the long stretches of stone road but as I watched those on mountain bikes roll away down the technical trail I wondered if I was watching my chance to stand on the podium roll away as well.

Luckily for me, when we excited the woods onto a hard road which ran along the valley floor, everyone was within sight. Our lead group was back together only a few minutes later. We rolled on through the valley at a more leisurely pace, chatting and topping off on fluids and food. After a sharp right handed turn we began the head up the mountain again. As the road turned to stone, the mood of our group changed and suddenly several riders came to the front and began to drive the pace. We were approaching the Wigwam run up.

Wigwam is a mile long stretch of trail which is so steep it’s not only unridable, its also hard to walk up. Let alone while carrying a bicycle on your shoulders. The race can be won or lost here and in this case it would decide the elite group which would make up the podium.

We turned off the stone road onto a rough section of double-track trail and as we did so I went to the front of the group and drove the pace. I was determined to be the first person into the run up and to burn off anyone who might be hurting already. We slammed into the bottom of Wigwam, I dismounted my bike, hoisted it onto my shoulders and set off at a jog. I made sure to take quick small steps and watch my footing.

I knew I would have an advantage over heavier riders and when I looked back at the top of the run-up I was surprised to see only three other racers in sight. Great. We quickly remounted our bikes and began trading pulls to make sure sure we maintained our lead.

Our lead group of two pro road racers, an UltraCross specialist and myself continued to work together until the second to last climb. I figured here was as good a place as any to go for it and with that I launched a savage attack. This climb was one of the steepest of the day, playing this to my advantage all but one of my fellow racers were soon out of sight.

I kept my head down as I nearing the top of the ridge. I turned off the road and onto the days last section of single-track. Steep and full of logs, which was perfect for my chaser who was riding a mountain bike. He quickly caught me and was soon out of site. As I chased desperately I realized I may have attacked a bit to soon(remember that bit about timing being important in winning a bike race?).

From here on out it was all about damage control. My legs were feeling increasingly heavy and I knew the last ten miles would be the longest of the day. I lost one more spot as I limped up the final climb and crossed the line in third place. I collapsed onto the ground, staring blankly as I soaked up the feeling of being equal parts exhausted and accomplished. I may not have won but the feeling of knowing that I gave it absolutely everything I had was almost as good. Almost.

Since I was the first one out of our group to finish I got to heckle my friends and co-workers as they finished up for the day. As we collected ourselves at the finish line, we enjoyed some great BBQ and beers and recounted our war stories from the day. Everyone had survived and then some. I’m not sure why we love this event quite as much as we do, it’s far to painful to be considered fun by most people. Yet, we hadn’t even finished loading the car to go home and were already planning and scheming for next year.

Great recap video of the event

- More great images from A.E. Landes

The Kona Journey – The Todd

On October 12th, 2013 at 6:59a, Breakaway Racing Team’s Kiley Austin-Young and Ritanne O’Brien were treading water at the Kona Ironman World Championships awaiting the cannon that would sound to begin the triathlon race they had long dreamed of competing in. This is the race that everyone knows about. It is the race then when you ask the casual observer if they know what a triathlon is, they make reference to, “yeah, triathlon, the one in Hawaii, right?” As I stood next to Kiley’s mother Karen, who was precariously perched in a shop window sill (so I could take a picture for the Breakaway FB page obviously), I reflected on what each of these two focused athletes faced and overcame to earn this wonderful opportunity.

2013 Kona Ironman World Championship Swim Start

Kiley’s first season in triathlon (last year) was atypical to say the least. It culminated with a 4:11:33, 1st in AG, 1st Amateur, and 12th overall @Pocono 70.3. Having emerged from an extensive running background, after a 4 year respite while attending the University of Pennsylvania focusing on academics (i.e. drinking), he had found triathlon. After such an auspicious beginning to the sport, his goal for this year was ‘simple,’ to qualify for Kona. He hit his winter training hard, big hours indoors on the trainer. It was grueling and he kept pushing until he couldn’t stand the sight of his trainer anymore. Kiley came to Breakaway among several reasons because he was burnt out on the bike, and with the St. Croix 70.3 looming, qualifying for Kona seemed to be in jeopardy. Kiley hired me with this challenge and was greeted with a six-week block of nastiness that at one point led to him sitting on the infield of Temple University’s track too tired to get up and run. (ed. note: he completed this session).

Ritanne’s path to Kona was certainly not as immediate. In fact, it was almost exactly a six-year journey for her to go from her debut sprint triathlon (completed using an upright hybrid bicycle with suspension forks) where she rode 14mph for 16mi and ran 8:40 pace for 5K. (ed. note: at Kona she rode 19mph for 112mi and ran 7:35 pace for a marathon). This progression from such humble beginnings is one that is immensely relatable to many people. It is honestly hard to conceptualize the improvement she has made and is a perfect of example of how far hard work can take you in endurance sports.

The athletic transformation of Ritanne O’Brien

Kiley and I traveled together on the Tuesday before the race and we shared a condo with his parents. Hayley (Germack) had suggested we get ‘leid’ immediately upon landing in Kona, but our hopes were dashed—I am assuming due to a late arrival as opposed to any inherent charm we lacked. Needless to say, we were going to be there for eight days; there was no rush. Ritanne traveled with her family entourage that included her parents, brother, sister-in law, and niece.

Ritanne’s niece Lilly, captain of her Kona road crew

The environment in Kona is like no other in the sport. It really is the Super Bowl of triathlon. People are there all week prior and this small town is taken over by athletes clad in compression socks, aero helmets, and neon anything. Wednesday morning I watched the sun rise as Kiley and Ritanne went for a swim at Dig Me beach (the swim start). Afterwards, we all enjoyed our first (of many) cups of Kona coffee. They got in the water just after sunrise with barely anyone else there; 60 minutes later, that exact spot was overrun by the aforementioned neon brigade, only in swim suits.

Kiley and Ritanne, practice swim at dawn

There are a lot of events the week of the race, as sponsors and vendors want to demonstrate good will, grow their businesses, reward customer loyalty (I am suspecting) and we were more than happy to be involved in such things. The CompuTrainer breakfast was the first of these events we attended. We enjoyed a tasty buffet, more Kona coffee, spoke with several CompuTrainer boss types, received a free CompuTrainer course video, and met some really nice people. It was at this event that I became aware of several things. The first was that the people we were meeting (most of whom were competing at Kona) were genuinely excited to be there and were happy and easy to talk to; this would continue throughout the week. The other thing I became aware of was, how driven Kiley was at acquiring as MUCH free swag as possible. In addition to the free CompuTrainer video, I can neither confirm or deny that a coffee mug from the breakfast place may have made its way home with him as well.

Kiley’s family and I stayed in a condo complex on Alii Drive. The athletes run on Alii Drive during the race and they both run and ride on it ALL week leading up to the race. Vendors such as: Clif, Gu, Skratch Labs, have tents set off on the side of the road where they give away bars, gels, chews, and drinks to any runner or cyclist who stops; it was pretty cool.

Kiley and his parents dining at our condo.

 The Clif house actually had a meet and greet with Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack. Kiley, his parents, and I decided to stop by. Macca’s attitude was chill, happy, and welcoming. He gave away tech t-shirts (signed if you preferred), posed for pictures, and even provided Kona race advice to Kiley (I asked, i figured, “the guy has won this race twice, why not ask?”). After chatting with us for a while, having a beer with us, and posing for a picture drinking beer with us, he invited us into his house and to BBQ with his friends and Clif staff on the back deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean; it was pretty excellent.

Kiley and I with ‘Macca’

 Next stop on our Kona event tour was the highly touted Slowtwitch party. Kiley (a frequent poster on their forum), had the opportunity to meet people who he had previously only encountered via the internet. Several pros were there, including Matt Russell whom we chatted with and there was also some woman named Chrissie Wellington; apparently she’s a big deal? Working from that supposition, Kiley and I allowed her to pose for a picture with us. In all seriousness, Chrissie was super nice, and later on posed for a picture with Ritanne and also provided some Kona race advice. It was very cool to observe two athletes who are very serious and very competitive, enjoying the environment that is Kona. Allowing themselves to be relaxed and happy in a setting that they both worked SUPER hard to earn the right to be a part of.

Ritanne with Chrissie Wellington

 The race itself was the most well oiled, precise, top notch, triathlon in terms of organization that I have ever seen. Each athlete is treated like a star, they even have a volunteer that escorts them to their spot in transition. This kind of treatment is a nice benefit that is a part of competing in this event. In a sense, everyone gets the ‘pro’ treatment in Kona. Out on the course during the race, it was easy to get around to see everyone racing. The ‘hot corner’ is a popular area where you can see racers several times on the bike and the run, so we spent the majority of our time in that vicinity. It was cool seeing Kiley and Ritanne flying on the bike and looking strong early in the run. As the race proceeded and Ritanne continued to roll, the live tracker began to give us troubling feedback about Kiley’s run.

Ritanne rolling.

Kiley rolling.

 Both athletes prepared for this race as well as they could have. While Ritanne had a disappointing swim, her race kept building to a crescendo through each discipline. Kiley on the other hand, had a magnificent swim and an excellent bike, but couldn’t manage to keep any calories or fluids in on the run…unless he walked. Ritanne had to decide after the swim that she still had plenty of time to turn her race around, but Kiley had to decide during the run IF finishing was a satisfactory goal, because it would require walking; a lot of walking.

Their journeys to get here and all that they experienced to be a part of the event  that nearly anyone who has ever competed in a triathlon dreams to be a part of, were very different. Both had to deal with disappointment, injuries, and the daily toil required to compete at this level. As the race progressed they each had to keep digging deep into their mental and physical reserves and get themselves to the finish. Their journeys to this point were similar in that they were calloused enough by their physical preparation as well as their mental willingness to endure suffering, to see this race to its end.

Kiley becoming an Ironman

 There was a lot of fun to be had on this trip. I may have gotten on the nerves of Kiley and his family multiple times showing them that day’s picture of the sunset (i may have taken too many…if this is possible). We enjoyed meeting the sports luminaries as well as cycling star, Reyder Hesjedal (2012 Giro d’ Italia Champion) whom no triathletes seemed to recognize. Kiley and I enjoyed geeking out at the Training Peaks gathering while A.J. from Training Peaks analyzed Luke MacKenzie’s power file from the race, we enjoyed watching Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander departing and returning from training rides and runs, as he was staying in the same condo complex as us, and we PARTICULARLY enjoyed attending ‘Macca’s post race party on Sunday night where he greeted us and thanked us for coming and we proceeded to do significant damage to his bar tab. Pete Jacobs and Sebastian Kienle, among others, were esteemed guests, although none seemed to crowd the bar like we did. All of these things were super fun and really contributed to a fantastic 8 day stay in Kona.

The things that I will take away from this event, was in the midst of these two talented and focused athletes competing on the sport’s grandest stage was their poise and their openness to the experience. I don’t say this to steer our attention away from their performances: Kiley- 10:17:52 (57:27 swim, 4:50:02 bike) a solid debut at the distance to say the least, and Ritanne- 10:41:21 (3:18:53 run, 5th fastest amateur women’s run split in the race!), but to say this trip, this event, is about far more than the race itself. It is about allowing yourself to soak as much of this environment in as you can, because after all the hours of training it takes to earn this opportunity, you deserve to enjoy every moment. I was very proud to be there representing Breakaway Bikes in support of our two stars and very proud of the efforts they gave on the day. I am certain that both will return to take on this race again, and they will do so stronger, wiser, faster. Congratulations to Kiley and Ritanne, I couldn’t have been more proud.

Lilly congratulating Aunt Re

The Todd with Breakaway’s Kona stars

CX 101: Five Tips for Success this Fall – By Cole Oberman

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The temperatures are cooler, the humidity is finally subsiding and I get to change gears to racing Cyclocross after a long season traveling on the domestic XC Mountain Bike circuit. Cross is an incredibly intense and fun way to take advantage of late season fitness.

Lucky for us here in the mid-atlantic, the region is host to one of the largest cyclocross series in the United States as well as multiple smaller series. Whether your a first time racer or a seasoned athlete, here are a few tips to get your season started right!

Cole – ripping through a sloppy Hillbilly Hustle Course

Practice makes perfect: While featuring aspects of both road and mountain cycling(as well as a little running), cyclocross is it’s own unique sport. Cornering on grass at speed,  the dismount/mount to run the barriers and riding in ankle deep mud are just a few of the unique skills required to race cross. The best way to learn or brush up on these skills is to drop by a weeknight cross clinic.

Philadelphia’s main cross clinic/practice meets Wednesday nights at 6:30pm at the Soccer fields on Chamounix Road in the Belmont Plateau. Local cross veterans will take the time to work on basic skills with new racers and then run practice races for riders of all ages and abilities.

More info on cross clinics available here.

The Warm-Up: Having a great start is crucial in a cross race. One of the best ways to make this happen is to arrive at the line properly primed by a good warm-up. As a general rule in cycling, the shorter and more intense your event, the longer your warm-up should be. Most cross races last somewhere between 40 minutes and 1 hour, depending on the category. For cross a typical warm-up should be about as long as the event itself.

For example, I start my standard warm-up about an hour and ten minutes before my event. I’ll spin in an easy gear for 15-20 minutes to start, then shift into a steady endurance pace for the next 10 minutes. Next I’ll ride for 3-5 minutes just below my race pace and then throw in 2-3, 30 second all-out efforts. After this I spin easy for another 10-15 minutes. This gets me to the start about 15 minutes early with plenty of time to ensure that I don’t miss my call to the line.

Under Pressure: Which tires you run and what pressure you run them at is paramount for cross. Most beginner racers have luck with the tried and true chevron style tread found on tires such as the Vittoria Cross XG or Challenge Grifo. These tread patterns roll fast, corner well and work in both dry and wet conditions alike.

Most experienced cross racers will tell you that tubular tires are the only way to go for cross. This is due mostly to the fact that tubulars can be run at extremely low pressures without being susceptible to pinch-flats. However for the beginner or recreational cross racer, tubulars are usually out of the question. With a typical inner tube set up, 35psi is a good place to start. Many riders will run less than this, particularly if it is wet. Experiment with tire pressure prior to race day. The key is to find that magic pressure that gives great cornering traction without pinching the inner-tube on tree roots or other bumps.

KABOOM!:  There are few other cycling events which require the explosive effort of cross. The pace is flat out as hard as you can go for nearly the entire race. However, if you go out too hard you run the risk of blowing up completely in the final laps, losing valuable positions along the way.

I try to move up as much as possible in the first lap and a half and then settle in with another rider or group for the next half lap. This allows me to catch my breath alittle bit before I begin to move forward again. If I’m lucky enough to find myself at the front of the race, I try to make sure I don’t end up in the wind doing all of the work. I try to patiently sit in and let the other riders set the pace until I feel like I can make a move.

Stay Focused: It’s pretty hard to think when you’ve been sucking air for so long that you feel hypoxic. Late race mistakes due to an oxygen deprived brain have cost me important results and not to mention a bit of skin. As I get later into a race I try to make a conscious effort to stay focused on proper technique through corners and over the barriers. Making sure you keep your weight on the outside pedal in a corner or that you’ve slowed down enough before the barriers can make the difference between a trip the the podium or a trip to the drug-store for bandages.

Most importantly make sure you’re having fun! Part of the beauty of cyclocross is that it takes place on a compact course, often in a semi-urban setting. Even if your race didn’t go as planned, stick around! You can hang out under the changing leaves, enjoying a drink with your friends and fellow racers while you work on the most important part of your cross skill set; Heckling.

A well timed verbal jab keeps the race moving and the smiles rolling. The best cross races feel like as much an athletic event as an outdoor autumn BBQ with a few hundred of your best friends.

M.A.C. Series – The Mid-Atlantic’s Premier Cross Series

PACX  - The Pennsylvania Cyclocross series

MABRA Cross – Southern Mid-Atlantic Cross Series

Vegas Baby Vegas (70.3 World Championships) – By Coach Todd

This is the second season for the Breakaway Racing Team. When I received the blessing of Breakaway owners Joe Wentzell & Glenn Krotick to launch this team, my goal was simple: to create, support, & grow the athletic successes of people who are nice, regardless of how fast people are. And what has been truly rewarding, is how much success a group of truly nice people have achieved, including at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.

Sunday September 8th, 2013, marked the second consecutive year that Henderson, Nevada (adjacent to Las Vegas), played host to this event. I was fortunate to experience this year’s race with 6 members of the Breakaway Racing Team: Kiley Austin Young, Andrew Haughton, Alexis Jones, Tristan Jones, Patrick McKeon, & Emily Sherrard. All of them were competing in the 25-29 Age Group.

Being in Vegas with a group of our athletes – people who I as well as many members of our Breakaway staff were involved with either in training, bike fits, mechanical adjustments, or just discussing their preparation & sharing in their excitement – was incredible. Driving the bike course with Kiley & Emily the day before the race, meeting up with Patrick at the expo, having a wonderful team dinner the night before the race, demonstrated to me the sense of team, community, frankly, of family, that was at the root of launching our team.

Breakaway 70.3 World Championships Team

The morning of the race there was hard rain at the start, which although certainly not ideal for riding, helped to keep the temperature much more mild than last year’s race where the temperature soared into the 100s.The Breakaway ladies, Emily & Alexis, led our team out of the water as they started in the wave immediately prior to the 25-29 men. Emily had a terrific swim starting the bike leg in 19th. Alexis was happy to be getting on her bike. Being an adult onset swimmer & in only her 2nd season of racing triathlons, simply qualifying to compete at this level was a tremendous accomplishment.

The first male member of our team that emerged from the water was Tristan Jones (3rd fastest swim in AG), not a surprise as this Aussie was recruited to swim for the University of Connecticut & was not only All Big East Conference, but also Academic All American; the boy can swim & he had a very good one here. Kiley was about 3:30 back so I knew he had a very solid swim, & Andrew & Patrick were 2:00 & 3:00 further back. I knew that was a very good swim for Andrew & that Patrick was ready for a killer bike/run combo.

Because of the rain, the roads were very slippery, so I posted myself at the mount line so I could tell them all to be careful. Due to race logistics and there being separate transition areas, I, along with Kiley’s parents, decided to forego being on the bike course in order to see the 3 loop run. We were using our phones (yes, all 3 of us) to track everyone & good things were happening. Patrick was having a monster ride, as was Kiley, Andrew was holding his own, & Tristan was losing some ground but as an adult onset runner, this was the plan because I assured him he was finally ready to truly run off the bike. Alexis had a very solid bike & moved up 10 places in her AG, & Emily….well, she was flying. When she got off her bike to begin the run she had moved from 19th to 3rd in her AG. I turned to Kiley’s parents & said, “She could win her AG.”

The run is where nearly every long course triathlon is won or lost. Basically every member of this group was prepared with this principle in mind. There was a specific sequence of negative split Brick runs off relatively long rides, in addition to the weekly track sessions that had our gang ready to take advantage of the run & roll people down. Patrick & Kiley were rolling and ended up running a fair amount together on the 3 loop course. Both enjoyed the comradery of having a teammate to race along side of when the race was getting tough. Emily was the next team member to run by & she was stone faced & moving. The Ironman live tracker was not giving me ANY info, but I realized after she passed she was still 8:00 out of the lead but closing rapidly on 2nd in her AG. Tristan got off the bike just behind Andrew & passed him early on the run & looked totally relaxed. Alexis looked tired but was moving well as she began her strongest discipline.

I saw everyone one more time (several 2 more) & once again, Kiley & Patrick were rolling, Tristan looked completely chill, Andrew was wanting to get this race over with, Alexis was feeling it, & Emily looked like…the Terminator. Her face was expressionless & focused; a look I had never seen from her before. I told her (after the website started working again), “you are in 2nd, & the leader is coming unglued.” She was flying. Starting the run 9:00 behind the leader in her AG off the bike, I knew she would gain a lot of ground, but that is a LOT of time.

To the finish line. Patrick & Kiley were both flirting with top 10 finishes in their AG, Tristan was having the run of his triathlon life, Andrew was holding on for dear life, Alexis was digging DEEP while feeling awful, & Emily, was closing in on what promised to be, the performance of her career. Patrick hit the line first for our team, 4:26:22, 8th in AG, Kiley was next, 4:28:41, 13th in AG, Tristan, 4:55:11 (1:41:03 run, a HUGE off the bike PB) 69th in AG, Andrew 5:06:35, 89th in AG Alexis, 6:00:44, 58th in AG. I was exceedingly happy with the effort that each of these athletes gave. At some point, each one of these people felt awful & each one of them rose to the challenge representing not only themselves, but our team & our store with honor. Thank you guys, you were warriors on this day.

Emily the 2013 70.3 AG World Champion and Coach Todd

The Champ.  I was watching my phone frantically (ok, at this point ‘my’ phone was Kiley’s dad’s phone as mine was dead). I knew Emily was closing like crazy & 2nd in her AG was a lock, but…could she ACTUALLY win? I told her in our coach/athlete meeting the day before the race, ‘the most important thing is that you eat & drink on the bike. if you do these things, not many people are going to beat you.’ Trying to balance medical school with training for a World Championship had become quite a challenge for her, a challenge she underestimated & wasn’t used to. It is a challenge that I suspect many people who will read this will identify with. When you work 12+ hr days but still want to push yourself hard athletically, that takes a toll. She missed workouts, she felt tired…a lot. She questioned her fitness & preparation & then…it was time to taper. I assured her she ‘would feel good when she needed to.’ I looked at ‘my’ phone & w 3 mi to go, barring disaster, she would win this race.

I knew it before she did because on a 3 loop run course it became crowded & confusing. She hit the line, she knew it had gone well, but did not know that she had won her AG. I found her at the end of the chute holding up the #1 finger & said, “you realize you won right.” She said, “did i really win?,” & i responded, “yes, you really won,” Emily said, “did i really, REALLY win?” When I once again responded that she had, her emotions overflowed & she hugged me & cried. It was an incredible moment to share with someone I’ve worked with the past year & a half & whose progression has been exceptional to say the least. Mostly, I just felt exceedingly proud of this gifted athlete who was willing to dig deep, suffer, executed flawlessly on race day & got it done. This was an amazing experience for our young team as a whole, & Emily winning was the icing on the cake.

Icing on The Cake