Improving My Inner Athlete

Geoff Steffens chronicles his successes, failures and experiences in his quest for an improved athletic mindset.
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Geoff Steffens

Happy New Year!  Some of you may know me and others may not so I thought I would first start this new series with a bit of an introduction.  My name is Geoffrey Steffens and I primarily compete as an age group triathlete.  In the past, you might have met me out on the group rides or even during one of the past Tuesday Night Criteriums.   To go back even further, like say 1988, I raced as a competitive triathlete within the Southwest.  I never reached professional status but, in my mind (and only in my mind), I was kind of a big deal.  As I grew older, I started a family and pretty much left competitive triathlon.

I decided to return to racing when my kids had gone off to college and, ironically, I had undergone shoulder surgery in 2012 and was forced to swim again as part of physical therapy.  So, in 2014, with a 20-year break from triathlon racing, I signed up and raced my first 70.3 Ironman event in Boulder, Colorado.  I really had no idea what to expect, nor did I fully understand all the changes that had happened in the sport. I was hoping to just finish.  I bought a wetsuit on eBay (one size too small) as well as a triathlon bike and it was race time.

After surviving a mediocre 1.2-mile swim with exceptional arm cramps from very tight sleeves, grinding through the 56 miles on the bike and shuffling the run, I finished with a respectable time of 4:54.  I was hooked! With the support of my wife and High Desert Bicycles, I then started a journey to compete as an age group triathlete setting a goal to qualify to compete in all three World Championship Races….in a 3-year period.

I have been fortunate to have achieved 2 of the 3 World Championships and am hoping to qualify for the 2018 Ironman World Championship in Kona this year.  For those of you who race triathlon, you understand how hard that process can be.  While the odds may be against me, I believe I thrive in the challenge. Okay, everyone, this is me and where I’m coming from!

I will write articles over the coming months to you all, the HDB community:  writing from my experiences, successes and (many) mistakes.  Hopefully, the information provided will be informational and relevant. I will not limit information to just triathlon and cycling but involve and discuss topics relevant to the “athlete” we all identify with.  Athlete defined not by how fast you are, or fit, or how expensive your toys are, but instead by your mindset to improve.

This month’s topic applies to the recreational/weekend athlete as well as to the serious competitor.

Functional Training

Why is this important?  A successful mindset of overall functional strength is implemented into your overall program allows a platform for the development of technical skill. Technical skills of strength and mobility ultimately maximizing your potential.  One of the biggest benefits of a successful strength building program is the reduction of injury. Also, it develops a resilient base to build your sport.

Functional training or “Strength Training” was something new to me! When I first started racing a triathlete or cyclist would not be caught dead doing a push up.  This mentality has changed and the results are striking!  The goal of functional training is not to have the athlete get “huge” but instead be “strong”.  Incorporating this type of training plan into your daily workout routine improves overall health and well-being.

First, commit to a schedule.  My biggest challenge, as a multi-sport athlete, is finding the time!  For many of us, jobs and family already monopolize our attention affecting our ability to train.

For me, a scheduled set of core exercises is doable with some sporadic add-ins during the week as time allow.  Below is an example of a basic Functional Strength program that primarily uses body weight for the resistance.  These exercises can be performed at home and are courtesy of Purple Patch Fitness.  Additional exercises with free weights, kettle bells and TRX suspension systems are also great ways to increase your functional fitness.

  1. The Single-Leg Hip Bridge: 10 reps each side with 3-second hold per rep

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Inxtikmm_pk

  1. The Plank:1 minute max hold, 30 second rest, repeat x 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2UZq6uq_mY

  1. The Push up: 12 reps x 3 sets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trMeHwnfrT4

  1. Body Weight Split Squat (pulse lunges): 8 reps each side

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvZHaPGOIWU

  1. Push-Up Position Slider Hip Flexion: 12 reps each side x 3 sets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt5yS9PAIRA

  1. Bear Crawl: 10 steps forward, then 10 steps back, 2 rounds

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfDGniMid9k

  1. Kettlebell Deadlift: 12 reps x 3 sets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ka920IG2Qjw

If you have questions, feel free to email me at gdsteffens@comcast.net

Until next time, “Train like you have never won.  Compete like you have never lost.”

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HDB Scores Big in 2017 NMCX Series

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The final results have been tallied for the 2017 New Mexico Cyclocross Series and three High Desert Bicycles riders will be wearing NMCX series champion jerseys.

Laura Fallen won the women’s cat 4/5 series by a single point over Hayden Colfax of Los Luniticos.  Julie McCollough brings home the series champion jersey in the women’s 40+ series and Nathan Masek rode away with the series championship in the men’s 50+ category.

A presentation ceremony for the champions is currently in planning.  We will post a notification once the ceremony is scheduled.

Congratulations to all HDB racers.

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CX Season Nearing End: Late Season Update

P1000121The 2017 cycling season ends December 30th with the Hayes Apple Farm CX race in Bosque Farms.  The race will complete what has been a successful racing season for the High Desert Bicycle Racing Team.

With one race remaining the in New Mexico Cyclo-cross season HDB has the chance to put several riders in the top three of their categories for series standings.

Here are how HDB rider are faring with one race remaining in the NMCX series:

  • Women’s Cat 4/5 category
    • 2nd Place: Laura Fallen
    • 4th Place: Lauren Thompson
  • Women’s 40+
    • 2nd Julie Mccollough
  • Women’s 50+
    • 2nd Judi Mumm
    • 3rd Kara Crotta
  • Men’s 50+
    • 1st Nathan Masek
  • Men’s Single Speed
    • 2nd Doug Torres

Four Corners Regional Championship Results

The following riders hit the podium at the Four Corners Regional Championships in Aztec held on December 16th.

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Nathan Masek, picture left, placed first in the Men’s 50+ category.

Kara Crotta placed second in the Women’s 50+ race.

Morgan Fortin placed third in the Women’s Open race.

Other HDB racers include Laura Fallen in the Women’s Cat 4/5 and Joe Fortin in the Men’s 50+.

Congratulations to all HDB riders.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone on the HDB Racing Team.  Get ready to ride as a new racing season is just around the corner starting with the El Paso Puzzler on January 14th followed by 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo starting on February 16th.

There is still time to register for The Puzzler.  24 HIOP registration has closed; usually filling up by the end of October.

GET OUT AND RIDE!

 

 

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Doggie Adoption and Nite Cross Wrap

Bad Santa CX Adoption Notice

Jeff Fleming confirmed his family adopted Marco, no not that Marco, Marco the Italian Greyhound during the Bad Santa CX race.  Congratulations Jeff.

Nite CX Results and Video

By the time race 4 got around to starting at 8:15 pm Saturday night circulation to the toes had ceased and frost-bite had settled in.  Still, HDB was well represented, particularly by the ladies, at Nite CX.  Here’s how our riders fared:

  • Women’s Cat 4: Lauren Thompson 1st; Laura Fallen 4th
  • Women’s 40+: Anita Roe 3rd; Julie McCollouth 4th
  • Women’s 50+: Cara Crotta 3rd; Judi Mumm 4th
  • Women’s Open: Morgan Fortin 5th
  • Men’s Single Speed: Doug Torres
  • Men’s 50+: Nathan Masek 2nd
  • Men’s 60+: Crockett Howard 6th (hey he wasn’t last but was lapped by Doug T.)

Get Out and Ride!

 

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Broom Wagon Notes: 11:15:2017

Its called Broom Wagon Notes because we’ve gotten behind on our posts and are now trying to sweep all the updates accumulated over the last weeks and months into one big summary.

Bad Santa CX Wrap-up

Thanks to the High Desert Bicycles Racing Team club members that worked the Bad Santa CX held on November 5th, 2017 at North Domingo Baca Dam.  Without the team members hard work the race would not have been a success.

javilin_throwerA few changes were made for Version 2.0 of the BSCX; yep we’re leaving a hole a mile wide for your own interpretation of that acronym.  The race date was moved from late December to early November to allow us take advantage of warmer fall temperatures.  The plan paid off.  With a temperature near 70 degrees and turquoise blue skies race-day was more appropriate for the beach than CX.  The course certainly provided enough sand for a beach.  All we were missing was the water.

joe_julieThe 2017 course was modified slightly from 2016.  The BSCX course is the most spectator friendly course in the New Mexico Cyclocross Series; at least 90% of the course is visible to spectators.  By adding a few more twists and turns, a chute into the “beach” section of the course and a third climb out of the dam basin we were able to make the course more technically demanding while keeping it’s spectator friendly appeal.

diane_marcoNew Mexico Animal Friends was at the race promoting their no-kill animal shelter and seeking donations to support their mission. Within a few days after the race adoption papers were filled out for Marco, a the little Italian greyhound NMAF had brought to BSCX in hopes of finding him a home. HDB Racing team has donated $200 of the race proceeds to support NMAF.

Thanks to USA Cycling officials Eric Harstad, Deborah Kearney and Michael Castillio for either donating their time or reducing their fees to officiate the race.  Their generosity was important in allowing us to make a donation to NMAF.

We appreciate the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority for allowing us to race at Domingo Baca Dam.

Joanne Schmidt took nearly 500 photographs during the race.  She has graciously made the photographs available for viewing and free download at:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/54737736@N00/albums/with/72157666124139759 .  Please thank Joanne for allowing us access the photographs.

New Mexico Cyclocross Series Standings

Four of eleven races have been completed in the New Mexico Cyclocross Series.  Here are the standings of HDB racers after race four:

  • Cat 4/5 Women:  1st Laura Fallen; 3rd Lauren Thompson; 5th Morgan Fortin
  • Men’s 50+: 4th Nathan Masek; 7th Joe Fortin
  • Women’s 40+: 2nd Julie Mccollough
  • Women’s 50+: 2nd Judi Mumm; 5th Virginia Williams; 9th Cara Krotta
  • Men’s Single Speed: 3rd Doug Torres

Here are two videos from the NMCX series:

GET OUT AND RIDE!

 

 

 

 

 

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Double Eagle TT Series/Record Challenge TT Results In

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Results are in for the Double Eagle TT Series and Record Challenge.  High Desert Bicycles riders fared well in the events.

Double Eagle TT Series Final Results:

  • Anita Roe 2nd place women’s 45+;
  • Scott Steffen 2nd place men’s 50+;
  • Nathan Masek 3rd place men’s 50+

Also participating from HDB in the Double Eagle TT Series were Linda Garcia women’s 65+, John Wilger men’s 50+, Thomas Mattason men’s 50+.

Record Challenge TT Results:

  • Nathan Masek 4th place men’s 50+

If we have missed any results for these events send them in and we will get them posted.  Send pictures!

Now, get out and ride

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Scott Steffen Earns Two Honors in Six Days

scott_steffen_hc_natsLooks like High Desert Bicycles’ Scott Steffen had a week he won’t forget .  On August 6, 2017 Scott took first place in the masters 45+ at the Santa Fe Hill Climb.  Six days later Scott added another honor to hang on the wall hitting the boxes in fourth place in the men’s 50 – 59 group at the National Hill Climb held at Pikes Peak, CO on August 12th.

Congratulations Scott and thanks for putting the HDB colors on the boxes.

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