I really enjoyed meeting the team via Google Meet last week. It’s clear that Covid-19 closures are affecting all of us to some degree. During these unique times, I’ve been regularly riding outside and have noticed that ridership is on the rise with a majority of users wearing masks and exercising safe distancing.
Based on a number of conversations and discussion with Kate, our Executive Director and some of our parents, I would like to open up private one on one rides with team El Grupo riders with said measures in place. If we all adhere to safety guidelines which are riding with a mask, in groups of two side-by-side with six feet in between (or one in front and one behind), we can do this safely. I would like to invite each youth rider to a one-on-one practice as long as parents give permission. Keep in mind, every family has their own concerns based on each family’s situation. Ride times will start at 8am and 10am. I have two ride options;
Again we will adhere to all measures to keep safe distancing. It is completely optional. Please only reserve a spot if you have shown no signs of illness and have not been exposed to potential illness. The ride goal is simple. To get outside, and have coach Gord learn more about each individual in our favourite setting. On the bike!
It’s been great to meet everyone albeit electronically the past few days. I think what’s clear is that everyone is missing their Team El Grupo friends both on and off the bike. We will try and get a meeting with everyone on the same call soon so that we can compare our covid-hair and get some much needed banter and camaraderie.
Most of you tried the VO2 max or zone 5 intervals last week and were unanimous that fitness levels were lower then race season. That’s ok and understandable. With no immediate goal events on the horizon and no group rides to show form and drop your friends there’s not much incentive to sharpen the form. It almost seems like an indefinite foundation period of training similar to the December or January months of an Arizona racer.
One of my favorite foundation period training methods was to use large gears on false flat roads or climbs. I always figured since I avoided the weight room in off season, that I needed something similar but specific to the cycling motion. I called it Big Gear work. At Carmichael Training Systems, we called it Muscle Tension and many coaches incorporate these workouts in early season foundation training. Here’s a great link describing the efforts;
During my racing days I regularly climbed Lemmon using this method but as I’ve gotten older I have to use shallower gradients. I often climb up Helmet Peak during the post shootout ride back to town incorporating this technique. It’s fun to mix up the cadence rhythms from time to time.
At Team El Grupo age, I wouldn’t recommend a very long effort. Try doing 2-3 minutes at 60rpm up your favorite climb or into a headwind. Try to keep your upper body still and focus on good form through the pedal stroke. It’s not the speed that’s the goal but rather putting a little more strain on the muscles without tweaking any joints. Try for 10-15 total minutes at low cadence and see how they feel.
Lastly, I’m seeing and increase in cyclist wearing masks, even solo riders. I’ve tried it and both my homemade and professional masks hardly affect my breathing. I’m going to continue to use the mask while riding to help minimize risks. I strongly recommend all of you to do the same! When you are in your kit you are representing all of us at El Grupo and we are all working toward a healthy community.
I hope the pandemic doesn’t have you too bored and inactive. We are lucky to be in a part of the world that still allows outside activity, albeit with very smart distancing and safety practices.
I sent out an email last week that possibly didn’t reach all of you. No stress if you don’t have an email or didn’t get a chance to respond. Later this week, Ben and I will be coordinating small group meetings via the web to get a sense of what you enjoy most about riding, racing and Team El Grupo.
I have not tried watching Tiger King or any such show during the pandemic, but instead have been watching classic racing videos as I’m still a racing junkie. Check out this amazing footage of the 1987 World Championship Road Race. The telecast is highlighting the green jersey’d Irish pair, world #1 ranked at the time Sean Kelly (the pre race favourite) and Stephen Roche, the winner of both the Tour de France and Giro D’Italia. It’s cool to see their tactics unfold and eventually unravel to ensure a surprise ending.
Part 1 here;
Part 2 here;
It will be interesting to see how your fitness has changed throughout Team El Grupo’s hiatus during this pandemic. Let’s do a workout to evaluate the change. I’m sure you’re all familiar with VO2max or Zone 5 intervals. Typically these are all out efforts with a 1:2 work to rest ratio. It’s best to do these on a climb so that the gradient will help you to reach into the VO2max system faster on each repetition. Pick a location that’s close and familiar to you or where you’ve tried these before. A Mountain, Mount Lemmon, Gates Pass or Trail’s End all will work wonderfully. For ease of math, let’s shoot for a 4 minute rep with a 6 minute rest. If you do these all out, getting 4-5 reps will be very difficult. Shoot for that and let me know it goes. I’d love to hear your impressions on the difference from now to when we had regular practices. You can email me at email@example.com or message me on Instagram at gordfraser1 or better comment below on the blog.
These will not be pleasant but hey, you’re Team El Grupo and one thing I’ve admired from afar all these years is the collective ability to confront a challenge. Good luck and let me know how they go.
Hey y’all! We’ve been slacking on the videos. SO here is the next one. There workout is below. Thanks to Dani for coming up with workouts for everyone! We hope everyone is remaining safe through this quarantine and that we get to see each other soon. 4x through each section of three exercises before moving… Read more »
Hey All, Per the State of Arizona and Governor Doug Ducey, Arizona is going to be shut down through the end of the month. Because el Grupo is not an essential business, this means us. We’ll continue to post online content (workouts, funny videos, etc…) but access to the clubhouse stops at the end of… Read more »
Hey ya’ll! We’ve got a special post here for you all. We’re a couple weeks into quarantining. It’s tough. It’s not getting an easier. But you can improve your immune system and fitness by doing some sweet workouts led by your coaches!! Follow the link below for some entertainment and a good workout!
Hey grupo, there’s no organized practice for at least another 2 weeks (through April 10). So here’s the plan on what we’re going to do to stay fit, stay healthy, and stay sane. If you’ve been riding, that’s great! We strongly encourage you to ride alone… it’s good for building mental strength and for not… Read more »
Hey Grupo, 2 things. 1- Remember theres a virtual resume workshop this afternoon at 4:30PM with Erika. Check the last blog post for details 2- Terrific news, Steve Peat, downhill MTB legend, released the movie about him for free. Won’t Back Down is super well done and highly entertaining. It’s a really good overview of… Read more »
Hey grupo, with no races this spring season I’m re watching some of my favorite finishes from over the years. Here’s a few of em: 2018 Milan San Remo 2016 Paris Roubaix (inside the winning team) 2014 World Road Championships For the dirt jumpers: The legend, Brandon Semenuk. Iconic video. And 5 easy stretches you… Read more »
Hey guys, week 2 of no organized practice. I know it’s a major bummer because we’re all so used to exercising together and doing skills together and chilling on our (honestly disgusting, germ paradise) couches. We’re gonna make it through this though, and get back to the regular program. I/we don’t know yet when that’s… Read more »
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