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2017 REDMOND DERBY DAYS CRITERIUM presented by TÊTE DE LA COURSE CYCLING & CASTELLI

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WHY I AM NO LONGER A GYM JONES CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR

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Last week John Frieh posted on social media that he was moving on from Gym Jones. For those of you who don’t know John he was the very first Fully Certified Gym Jones Instructor. He was THE O.G. I had decided to move on a few weeks prior but didn’t advertise the fact, until now.

http://www.tdlccycling.com/take-chances-venture-outside-comfort-zone-never-know-will-lead/

I posted the piece in the link above in March of 2014 when I became a Fully Certified Gym Jones Instructor. You should read that first.

In that piece I stated “Becoming a Fully Certified Gym Jones Instructor is way bigger than when I got my college diploma.” I meant that then. I still mean that now.

For two years I held the Gym Jones torch high. I encouraged a couple of friends of mine who I knew were cut of the right cloth to attend Gym Jones Seminars. In the Fall of 2014 I traveled to SLC for a weekend of brainstorming with Mark Twight, Shawn Kingrey and Art O’Conner to develop a Strength for Endurance Athlete Seminar to be held at some point in the future. I was all in and very proud of being a part of the Gym Jones Family.

But things change.

The biggest change is that Gym Jones founder Mark Twight left.

Or was pushed out.

Or there was a mutual parting of the ways.

Or…. the main point is that he is gone. And with his departure went the reason why I was drawn to Gym Jones in the first place.

The beginning of the end was when it was “decided” that Mark could no longer post “negative” pieces on the website.

That quickly became he was no longer permitted to post on the website at all.

Why?

Apparently some of the recent seminar attendees (and there had been a lot of them in the past few years) took issue with some of Mark’s posts many of which were listed under a section on the website called Sunday Sermons. It was claimed that he was being too “negative” and that offense was taken by some due to the idea that he was deriding the act of working out in a gym as an end and not the means.

Well, that is kind of the point.

The origin of the Gym Jones project was born from the idea that you trained for an objective. It was born from the idea that in some instances not meeting the objective meant very real consequences. The Gym Jones project was meant as a way to break physical and psychological barriers. It was a place that had an “…expectation that the lessons learned will be applied to something greater than Self, higher than vanity and [ ]expressed outside of the narrow confines of physical appearance and the walls of the gym.”

It was never meant to be a place to get “jacked” or “swole”. It was a place to train – for an objective. If a good physical appearance was a by-product of the training – great – but that was never meant to be the primary goal.

“I’ve said it many times now but I’ll repeat it: the lifting and sprinting and breathing is the easy part. Applying the lessons you learn under that stress or by coming out the other side of it to life outside of the gym or the sport is all that gives the training value. I say fuck training for body composition, for the purely and merely physical. I say, “Hell yeah!” if training opens doors to opportunities you never believed you had access to before you hoisted that weight.” – Mark Twight, Origin January 17, 2016

Gym Jones was a place where athletes, specifically endurance athletes, came to train and came to learn how to use the gym to make themselves better at their primary sport. It was never intended to be the “primary sport”.

The Gym Jones Philosophy was spelled out in every seminar and on the website:

  • The Mind is Primary
  • Outcome based training (train for an objective)
  • Functional training
  • Power to weight ratio (you must carry the engine)
  • Train all energy systems
  • Training is preparation for the real thing, do something with your fitness
  • Nutrition is the foundation
  • Recovery is more than 50% of the process

The Mind is Primary.

That is the very first bullet point listed under The Gym Jones Training Philosophy in my Fundamentals Seminar book from the November 2012 that I attended.

“Accurate self-knowledge precedes behavioral change. Honest, thorough self-assessment isn’t easy so a coach must facilitate self-discovery by exposing physiological and psychological characteristics….

 

… If the mind doesn’t enjoy hard work, or relish suffering and confronting the unknown then no program, no amount of training can be effective. The physical part is easy – it’s just picking stuff up and putting it down – but if you can’t get it right in your head the physical training will not produce psychological changes that transfer to every aspect of one’s life. Without active mental participation sport may not be used as a tool of self-discovery. The muscle we are interested in training is inside the skull -[emphasis mine].

– Mark Twight, page 3 Fundamentals Seminar Handout

Back to the Sermons.

I looked forward to Mark’s Sunday Sermons, because they made me think. They made me self-assess. They made me reflect. Often they made me change behavior. And that was the point. Yes I was a Certified Instructor but I was also still (and remain) a student. If you think you are done learning then you might as well just stop.

One informal definition of “sermon” in the dictionary is: “A…. piece of admonition or reproof; a lecture.”

“Admonition”

“Reproof”

“A lecture”

The point of a sermon is to make you think. No matter how harsh or “negative” the language or theme might be, if it promotes honest self—assessment and behavioral change – isn’t that the point? (It is, see above).

The stick can often yield better results than the carrot.

Maybe if the new seminar attendees couldn’t handle Mark’s Sermons then perhaps they weren’t ready to be sitting in this particular church. And Gym Jones was never about lowering standards.

But things change. And Mark is gone.

Maybe I could have stayed on. Maybe I could have tried to keep the flame that Mark lit alive. But at the end of the day Mark Twight is a close friend of mine. And he is gone from Gym Jones. And because of that so am I.

I sent the following email in January:

I am emailing you to let you know that 2016 will be my last year as a Fully Certified Gym Jones Instructor. I will not be renewing in 2017. I have made this decision after careful consideration over the past year.

I am grateful for my time with Gym Jones and the friends that I have made. I am especially grateful for the personal growth and evolution that I have gone through as a result of Gym Jones. I stand by the statement that one of the proudest moments of my life was when I earned the title of a Fully Certified Gym Jones Instructor.

There comes a point however where journeys take a different path and I feel that the path Gym Jones is heading down now is not the one for me. As I am sure both of you are aware, Mark was the beacon that drew me to Gym Jones in the first place and his departure and the departure of his voice and influence is the major reason why I have made this decision.

I wish both of you and the gym the best of luck. 

With kindest regards, 

Joe Holmes

 I want to finish this post with Mark’s words. Because, as always, his words are more powerful than mine can ever be.

“I evolved. Gym Jones was born of that growth. But it wasn’t meant to be a destination. Instead, a tool. A step. A classroom. I continue to evolve. The nature of the tool has changed. The lessons it teaches are different.

I have to say that for those of you who have been in and around the gym for a year or two, it’s time to leave, and to do something different. I’ll explain it by way of my own experience: climbing taught me the lesson of leaving the nest. I used what I learned from climbing and what I experienced in the mountains, to fly away. I used the confidence I earned by being a competent climber to flap new wings. In flight I gained different knowledge. Later, when I circled back to the climbing community and environment, when I reacquainted myself with those who had remained in the nest, on the wall, I understood the wisdom of that flight. 

This started as a signal fire. Eventually, it became more permanent – a lighthouse, which is still small, and maybe seasonal. You can camp by the fire. But a camp is temporary. Take what you need, learn as much as you can, and move on, evolve. Even if your evolution takes you away from the warmth of the fire. Perhaps especially so. The horizon you seek to join and cross is not inside four walls.” – Mark Twight, Growing Pain, Feb 28, 2016

 

Thanks for reading.

Simple but Effective. Part 1.

A few simple recovery tools: yoga mat, trigger point rollers, trigger point ball, massage stick

A few simple recovery tools: yoga mat, trigger point rollers, trigger point ball, massage stick

Recovery, it’s the easiest performance enhancing thing you can do.

For a lot of athletes it’s the hardest discipline.

“Shouldn’t I be doing more volume?”

“Shouldn’t I be doing more intensity?”

I’ve never had an athlete ask “Shouldn’t I be doing more recovery?”

I’ve told more than a couple of my athletes that they would see an improvement in performance if they simply got an additional one to two hours of sleep.

Everyone has a bed. Use it more. Get to bed earlier. And shut off the electronic devices. Twitter will still be there in the morning.

Also consider a good foam roller or massage stick or trigger point rollers and balls. Hell, get all of those. They’ll cost you all of $100 and 10-15 minutes a day to use. And here’s a bold concept: you can even use them while watching your “must watch tv show”. Look at that, you’re multitasking!

Recovery. It’s not a complicated concept. But it’s important. So do it.

Or in the words of someone smarter than me, “Don’t do the work if you don’t have the balls to do the rest.”

2017 Starts Out Well….Congratulations Heidi!

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Heidi Franz rode to 5th place in the USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championship Race for Collegiate Club Women

A few days before she left for Cyclocross Nationals I texted Heidi the following: “No pressure or anything but I’ve had an athlete on the podium at USAC CX Nationals 10 years in a row now and, well, you’re my only athlete there this year so…..”

(In all fairness, all 10 of those were Logan Owen so that MIGHT have skewed things a little bit….)

But Heidi took it in stride and texted back, “Hahaha, damn it!”

Today I received this text from Heidi: “Got the last podium spot! Keeping up your streak!”

Congratulations Heidi on scoring 5th and the making it on that final step of the podium for the Collegiate Club Women’s Race.

Rock On!

Supplemental Gym Work

Images from top left to right: Start with at least a 10-15 minute light cardio warm up, spinning on the rollers or a trainer works great / Straight Leg Dead Lift off a box for depth on more ROM / Dead Lift is probably my favorite lift. It works the entire body and helps develop a solid foundation / Knees to Chest from rings or a bar  and Feet to Hands for a more advanced movement / Single Leg Dead Lifts are great to isolate / Overhead Squats for cyclists can be as easy as a 1" diameter PVC Pipe it's the movement that is important to help bring shoulders back that are constantly rounded forward riding. Start with Should Dislocates to warm up / Windmill - Wood Chopper - Turkish Get Ups - all three are great compound movements Not pictured but good to do are Planks / Front Leaning Rests. Advance by elevating feet onto a box and/ or using rings / Bridges - add and elastic band abduct in the bridge position / Goblet Squat (I like to do a Windmill - Goblet Squat - Single Leg Dead lift complex)

Images from top left to right: Start with at least a 10-15 minute light cardio warm up – spinning on the rollers or a trainer works great / Straight Leg Dead Lift off a box for depth and greater ROM / Dead Lift is probably my favorite lift. It works the entire body and helps develop a solid foundation / Knees to Chest from rings or a bar and Feet to Hands for a more advanced movement / Single Leg Dead Lifts are great to isolate / Overhead Squats for cyclists can be as easy as a 1″ diameter PVC Pipe it’s the movement not the weight that is important to help bring shoulders back that are constantly rounded forward riding. Start with Should Dislocates to warm up / Windmill – Wood Chopper – Turkish Get Ups – all three are great compound movements
Not pictured but good to do are Planks / Front Leaning Rests. Advance by elevating feet onto a box or use rings (or do both!)  / Bridges – add an elastic band abduct in the bridge position / Goblet Squat (I like to do a Windmill – Goblet Squat – Single Leg Dead lift complex)

Structural Integrity. Durability issues. Chronic injuries from imbalances.

Specialization comes at a cost. Often that cost is whole body health. That’s why gym work is important for endurance athletes, especially cyclists who spend most of their training time pedaling a machine designed for efficient, non-weight bearing locomotion.

If you have never done any kind of work in the gym now is the perfect time (especially if this is your “off season”) to begin. Even if you are racing cyclocross this is a good time of year to get into the gym and familiarize yourself with some movements and dial in technique.

If you have the access to a good gym or the resources to create your own home gym (it doesn’t take much) this is also a good time of year to begin a targeted strength program. Because let’s face it, being strong is never a bad thing. Start with a preliminary prep phase (4-6 weeks) of dialing in technique and adapting to the movements. Then you can move into a max strength phase (4-6 weeks) where you increase the weight and reduce the reps to develop maximal strength and muscle recruitment. Following that phase you can move into a power phase where speed of movement is the focus.

Don’t want to make that much of a commitment to the gym? Or maybe you just don’t have access to a good gym or the resources to afford a gym membership or to create a “home gym”. Not a problem. You can develop a simple program of a few compound movements to activate those muscles and pathways that don’t get much attention riding a bike. These can be as simple as planks, bridges and elastic band work. Even getting a couple of 15 to 20 pound kettle bells or dumb bells can open up a realm of beneficial movements.

Bottom line? Again, specialization (in this case hours and hours of riding an extremely efficient machine) comes at a cost. And a targeted supplemental / strength program is going to:

  • Improve overall health and wellbeing
  • Increase bone and muscle density
  • Improve tendon and ligament strength
  • Improve joint function
  • Reduce potential for injury by correcting imbalances
  • Increase metabolism
  • Increase neuromuscular function
  • Enhance economy of movement
  • Increase peak velocity
  • Enhance time to exhaustion

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to check all of those boxes?

 

 

 

 

 

Time.

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My dad and I.

A close friend of mine and I have been having a discussion on “Time”.

Wasting Time.

Making Time.

Having the patience to give something or someone Time.

The gift of Time.

The finite resource of Time.

I capitalize it because Time is important. And, how you spend your Time is important.

My Time these past few months have been difficult. My father, who turned 90 in June, had a rapid decline in his health starting last November. Last year I was fortunate through my travels to be able to see my parents on three separate occasions including my father’s 89th birthday. I was also able to attend his 90th birthday a few months ago. When I visited this past June I saw first hand how much his health had deteriorated and I had the feeling that his Time on this planet was drawing to a close. That realization was difficult, especially since I knew that I was supposed to spend two months in Europe and something might happen while I was there.

Two weeks ago while in Belgium I received a text from my sister that dad was in ICU. My responsibilities with the LUX Junior Team were winding down and I was going to have a week before the one month coaching course at the UCI that I was enrolled in (and had paid for) was going to begin. My sisters kept me informed on his condition and I was able to speak with his ICU nurse. More importantly I was able to speak briefly with him. At first I was thinking that I would change my flight home after the course to stop in Ohio so that I could spend Time with him and my mom. I told him that I was going to change my flight and that I would see him in a few weeks.

“That’s good. I want to see you” was his response.

My father is a man of very few words. Those words stuck in my head.

I woke up the next day and I knew that Time was short and that I needed to get back so I booked a ticket to Ohio with the idea that I would come home for a few days, fly back to EU and then do the coaching course. I arrived in Ohio late the next day and went into the hospital to see him on Saturday morning. The look of surprise and joy on his face when he realized that I was in the room is something that I will treasure forever, For 4 1/2 hours I sat in my dad’s hospital room, just he and I, and we spoke.

He was weak but his mind was still very sharp.

He told me some things that I never knew. We spoke about my adoption, something that my mother used to speak about quite a bit but that I never heard from his perspective.

He wasn’t eating much. Hospital food and all. I asked him if he could have anything in the world what would it be.

“If I ever get out of here I keep thinking that I would like a nice big Porterhouse steak.”

So that night I went to a steakhouse and bought my dad a giant Porterhouse steak and baked potato and took it into his room. He only ate a few bites but my dad and I had some steak together.

One thing he kept talking about was how he was glad to see me but he kept stressing how he knew that for me to come back on a special trip was costly. My parents grew up in the Great Depression. Both of my father’s parents died when he was a kid and he was raised by his aunt. He was a carpenter and work in the winter was often scarce and he and my mother would save through the summer to make it through the winter.

“I just don’t want you spending all of your money. You will need it some day.”

For me, it was just money. I have enough and I can always make more. Time though is finite.

I woke up on Sunday morning and went into see him for a few hours before heading to the airport and back to Europe. He was very weak and having some difficulty speaking. He did thank me again for the steak. I told him he should rest and that he should not worry and that I would see him soon. I left his room and headed to the airport and I knew that I needed to be in Ohio with my family and that the coaching course could wait. I had already inquired about deferring the course so that wasn’t an issue. I did have to fly back to Belgium to grab my bike and bags since I had just flown back with a few things. I got on the phone and made the arrangements.

I arrived in Belgium yesterday morning. I put my bike together and went for a ride to clear my head. Then took it apart again and packed everything up. I woke up this morning to catch my flight back to Ohio and saw the text from my sister that dad had passed away sometime in the last few hours.

I am at ease with that because I was able to spend some quality Time with my father and I also knew that it was his Time to go and that he was ready.

From a close friend of mine:

“Gifts. The world gives them to us. Sometimes we are able to give them to others. Those hours you could spend with your dad mean the world. I am sure that it doesn’t feel like enough to you, that there could have been more. But that is always the case. Time, a glorious gift to receive, and to give.”

Time.

Don’t waste it.

And make Time for those things and those people that are important to you.

Because Time is finite.

And soon, you will run out of it.

 

76th Annual Redmond Derby Days Criterium

76th Annual Redmond Derby Days Criterium

76th Annual Redmond Derby Days Criterium

 

The Giant Checks for the Winner of the Pro 1-2 Men's race and Pro 1-3 Women's race.

The Giant Checks for the Winner of the Pro 1-2 Men’s race and Pro 1-3 Women’s race.

 

This Saturday marks the 76th Annual Redmond Derby Days Criterium. This year we will be handing out over $10,000 in cash plus some cool merchandise from Castelli Cycling. As always we will have podium presentations with champion jerseys and champagne to spray for the winner’s of every category.

Pre-registration can be found here: http://redmondderbydays.com/criterium

So be sure to come out and race the longest continuously running bike race in the America that boasts the largest single day cash prize list in Washington State.

Local Bike Racing – It Matters

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Chloe Dygert and I post race. Photo courtesy Hisami Zauner.

I did a bike race yesterday with Chloe Dygert. She beat me. And I’m good with that because she’s The World Champion. And I’m not.

Hats off to the officiating crew for giving the green light to Chloe wearing her full World Champion kit in the race yesterday. It was very cool seeing the World Championship bands in our little bike race yesterday and Chloe showcased them well. The Pro 1-2 men’s race was Chloe’s longest ever at 84 miles and she finished 10th in an uphill sprint.

Yesterday’s race was an important building block for her season ahead as she makes her road racing debut at Redlands and Tour of California this spring and then on to the Olympics on the track in Rio. It was also good being in the same race as Chloe because even though she is the World Champion she is still pretty new to bike racing and still has a lot to learn about racing efficiently and using that big engine of hers to its maximum potential (and trust me – there is A LOT of potential there). And racing efficiently is something that I do very well (because my engine…not so big).

It’s good for the sport to see that local racing matters and good road races like yesterday’s in Sequim are important for the development and training for athletes of all levels from newbie category 5s all the way up to World Champions.
#tdlccycling #RoadtoRio #LocalRacingMatters

What Is the Point? What Do You Have to Prove?

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So this happened today.

6.5 months after breaking my pelvis, 4 ribs and puncturing a lung in the last race I did I pinned a number on and rolled off the line with 60 other racers for 120 km P1-2 road race on the Olympic Peninsula.

I didn’t win. I didn’t place. And I didn’t even show. But after months of rehab I got back out there and raced. I even followed a few moves and at the end of it all I finished right in the middle of the bunch in 27th. And I’m ok with that.

I’ll be honest, I almost didn’t go. After racing for 34 years and after the major injuries and surgeries I’ve had in the past 18 months the motivation to get out there and keep doing it is harder and harder to muster. Especially with a forecast like today: 50s and a high probability of rain – which it did. Plus, what do I have to prove? But I got my ass in gear, I loaded the car, I drove the 1.25 hours out, I registered, I kitted up and I raced. And I’m glad I did. Because after all, what’s the point of all the training and hard work if you don’t go out and test yourself once in a while? And sometimes you just need to prove something to yourself.

Reward

 

 

Not just one but two Tête de la Course coached athletes on the podium. Emily Alexander with the win and Karen Doherty in second as the Starbucks Cat 4 women sweep the podium at The Ridge Circuit Race over the weekend. Awesome job ladies!

Not just one but two Tête de la Course coached athletes on the podium. Emily Alexander with the win and Karen Doherty in second as the Starbucks Cat 4 women sweep the podium at The Ridge Circuit Race over the weekend. Awesome job ladies!

Over the weekend one of the athletes that I coach won a bike race. Now I am pretty psyched when any of my athletes does well but in this case I was (and still am) super psyched. Emily Alexander won the Category 4 Women’s Race at The Ridge Circuit Race. Emily has come a long way since I started working with her sometime back in the Fall of 2014 and it was awesome to see all of her hard work rewarded. It isn’t just about working hard though because she has also done a great job wrapping her head around working smarter, racing smarter and pushing through when things get tough. More important than what Emily has learned about training and racing though is what she has learned about herself through the process. Congratulations Emily! Job well done.