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What a 1000km Mtb Race Teaches You About Life

I've been doing quite a few things differently this race season. One of the biggest changes came with the addition of the hardest race I've ever done to the front-end of my calendar. That's right! This spring I had the privilege of competing in Transportugal, a 1000km, 8-day mountain bike race from the northern border of Portugal and Spain to the southern most point of Europe in a small beach town called Sagres. The 625 mile course contains over 60,000ft of vertical elevation gain (two trips up Mt. Everest and then some). After nearly 40 hours of racing through heat, cold, rain, wind, dust, mud, and endless rocks, I headed home with more than a few lessons learned and a new outlook on bike racing and challenges in general. Here are the top 3 things this great journey taught me:

Ignorance is Bliss

I've learned over the years that the best way to grow as an athlete is to put yourself in situations that force you outside of your comfort zone. In endurance sports, these situations often come with a lot of pain and misery. Even more, in the case of Transportugal, this suffering would last for over a week. While on paper the race looked hard and I knew if I completed it successfully I'd carry a huge boost in fitness with me throughout the rest of the year, I never fully wrapped my head around just how hard it'd be. I blocked out what back-to-back 7-hour days of racing would feel like. I didn't think about what a 3,000ft climb on wet/slippery cobble stones in 35 degree, rainy weather would feel like. I didn't think about the fact that I had never raced my bike for 8 days straight before, or how I had no idea how my body would respond to a 40 hour week of racing.

I feel like this cluelessness allowed me to go into each stage ignorantly excited for the adventure to come. It allowed this massive challenge to be viewed as just that, a challenge, rather than simply 8 days of misery.

Mental Barriers Are Not Physical Limits

I'd like to think everyone competing in this incredible race had a few moments where they contemplated dropping out. Given that only 40% of starters even finish, I feel this is a very safe assumption. Around stages 3 and 4, thoughts of dropping out crept into my mind. There was a point during the 4th day of racing during a long, cold, muddy descent in the rain that I was positive my race was over. I felt there was no way I could take another kilometer of this torture, let alone another 500km. However, being in the middle of nowhere in the mountains of Portugal, quitting quite literally wasn't an option. The only way to get to warmth and comfort again was to keep going. While my mind said I couldn't go on, I learned that my body was more than capable of continuing.

Moments like this were plentiful over the last 3 stages. However, it only took one time for me to now realize that mental barriers were different than physical ones. As long as my legs kept moving, I could pedal my way through the mental exhaustion and eventually to the finish line.

Memory is Selective

When all was said and done, the memory of my burning lungs and sore muscles surprisingly wasn't very strong. Instead, the most vivid memories I left with have to do with the feelings I had after each stage was finished. The absolute best of these feelings came from the hardest days; the days that broke me down to the point of wanting to drop out. As the race went on and days began to blend together, the memories of the feelings from crossing the finish line of each stage were and still remain crystal clear. This realization began to help in the latter stages as I knew the struggle of the race I was feeling in the moment would only fuel the memory of accomplishment and joy when I made it to the finish.

You can read a full acount of my Transportugal experience HERE. Next stop for me is the famous 200 mile Gravel Grinder in Emporia, KS known as the Dirty Kanza 200. Hope to see you there!


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In the Fall of 2016, I left Colorado with not much of a plan other than exploring Spain. I didn't know who to climb with, where to go or how long I would be gone for.  My mantra was "One crux at a time."

I had to take a short stopover in Kalymnos to partake in a photo shoot with prAna, before I could start my Spain adventure. A friend of mine had organized so that I could stay with a girl called Linda during the photo shoot, who lived and worked on Kalymnos at the time. Linda and...


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It’s the fourth training session of the week my arms are tiring and I can feel the build up of lactic weighing me down. After 14 year of climbing I feel like a total beginner again.

In March of last year I was training 5 to 7 days a week, twice a day, looking forward to a strong summer season. My energy levels were high which made me restless on my days off. So my rest days soon became my chilled out activity days.


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One of the biggest challenges of living at sea level is preparing for races at altitude. For the majority of endurance athletes in the US, this challenge will be faced fairly often if any events in the Rockies or Sierra's find there way onto your schedule. And a very common question is 'how do I prepare'? Is it hopeless unless you spend multiple weeks at altitude beforehand? I'd say definitely not. And here are the top tricks I've found to help prepare for events at altitude while living/training at/near sea...


Jurassic Lake, Argentina

Getting there is half the battle!

The southern end of the Patagonia region close to El Calafate is one of the most unforgiving and inhospitable areas I’ve ever visited in my fishing career. Dry, windy, barren and all around tough conditions make it a much uninhabited area with the exception of sheep ranches and GIANT rainbow trout!

Estancia Laguna Verde is the home base of operations for Lago Strobel or as most have come to call it “Jurassic Lake.” The lodge has many fishing lagoons and depending on the time of year,...


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Hands down, the best part of racing bicycles are the friendships and memories you make along the way. With both Nature's Bakery and KTM joining forces with the elite road racing program of H24 Cycling, I had the pleasure of attending their first training camp of 2017 just outside of San Francisco, California in late March. While I always prefer to be on singletrack, I love all types of bicycle riding, including road. My time spent with the talented H24 crew reminded me of just how fun road riding can...


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