pic of ilg by www.DuranGOutdoors.com before a Club Ride last week.  make no mistake; these are called ‘club rides’ yet, in reality?  the A and B+ rides are insanely fast weekly ‘races’ with only braggin’ rights as medals…one reason i don’t need to travel to races much anymore is because the Durango weekly training ‘rides’ are waaay harder than most official ‘races’ that you gotta pay money for and pollute Father Sky to get to…why not keep it local and reap the benefits of racing elbow to elbow with Durango’s private stash of National and World Champions?   next time you visit Durango for a WF Private Intensive or vaca?  bring your road bike and enjoy world-class cycling rides each Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Part I:  Feelin and Flippin’

Just feelin’ the Durango peleton Love after another AMAZINGLY hard and beautiful club ride this morning. Want to flip the Love; what deep honor it is for this ol’ native Durangatang to still hang with these great kids and venerable elders sharing pulls, attacks, hillclimbs, sprints, and scintillating descents. Our local cyclists are so experienced, fit, skilled, kind, and safe (experienced skills give birth to safety).  My own club, the Durango Wheel Club (DWC), are a great group of several, highly different species of cyclists; mountain bikers, crossers, nordic skiers, and multi-sport lovers like ilg.   Under the endless energies and guidance of our el presidenté,  Spencer Compton, we offer practice crits, paceline clinics and workouts, and group rides and gatherings (usually oriented around of Durango’s great microbreweries)!

Before going further, ilg wants to wish Go(o)dspeed to ALL locals and EVERYONE who will be racing in our iconic, historic racing Iron Horse Bicycle Classic next weekend!  Because, apparently it’s impossible for ilg to learn anything,  i’ll be doing all three events for the Omnium competition:  the Road Race, Downtown Crit, and Time Trial.   Please, come out and cheer your feeble coach on,  Lord Buddha knows ilg needs it!    So, THANK YOU Durango peleton, for all the world-class training this spring!   After Iron Horse,  ilg is taking a MUCH NEEDED decompression phase;  i’ve been going hard since the DWC Championships last September!   Gonna take June/July to enjoy some rock climbing, camping, fishing with my family, then get ready for Winter Racing, 2014!

Part II:  Game Plans

Each time tightening my cycling shoes before a Club Ride,  ilg prays for three things:  safety first (ilg is a father, you know, and road cycling is inherently more dangerous than rock climbing and most other ‘extreme’ sports), and chi second.   ilg prays for chi, cuz ilg knows by this station in my Blessed life, that if ilg is feeling the Chi?  ilg will do and be just fine, even when racing alongside sport-specific, sponsored, and some pro cyclists.

Third Prayer is actually a Game Plan, a Visualization of what training effect i want to secure from the upcoming 2-4 hours of suffering.  A road cyclist only has so many ‘matches to burn,’ so to speak.  Wise Nutrition and Training increases your amount and capacity of matchsticks.  It’s important to know where and when you want to burn those matches.  Burn each match just a little if your Game Plan is to just finish in the Lead Group.   Working on your Ventilatory/Lactate Threshold?   You’ll need to risk burning several matches early by attacking, animating or getting into early breaks and then attempting to hold on to the finish. Need to deepen your suffering capacity on hillclimbs?   Save your matches on the flats/rollers by staying tucked into the peleton then start lightin’ it up on the climbs. There are all sorts of physiologic and psychologic capacities to train if you are wise cyclist, willing to work on your weakness. Hiring a coach helps you figure out how to make each hour of effort more valuable.


Safety and Effective Training is why Club Rides exist.  Your town has them.  Check at your local bike shop.   Most of us began Club Riding by just hanging onto the peleton for what amounted to a sheepishly scarce amount of time…like a few minutes before the peleton pedaled so elegantly and easily from our gasping, heaving efforts.   Most new club cyclists will quit after a few efforts at trying to keep up with the Club.   Things Take Time.   Hang in there.  Trust ilg…been there.  Never really gets ‘easier’… you just go faster and can hang longer and longer until, one day…YOU’RE THE ONE up front, animating, attacking, inspiring the new ones who are just you, in reflection.

Part III:   How Game Plan A Did Not Work…

Be prepared to have your Game Plan fall apart. What’s the spiritual saying?  “If you want to make God smile, make a plan.” Well, God got a great chuckle off ilg this morning.  My first Game Plan, one week before i race the Three Days Of High Altitude Pain (aka:  The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic), was to hammer the climbs and go for the “Pinecone Sprint”…the notoriously difficult penultimate sprint on an uphill which comes after 2 hours of hard riding and climbing.  Ilg has Deities for the Pinecone Sprint…sOMething about it fits my physiology and psychology.

Game Plan A combusted big time when it was determined at the start, that the A’s will ride with the B’s.  In D-town at least, there is a Herculean dichotomy between A’s and B’s…that is why we have a B+ and a B division.  ilg is hangin’ strong with the B+ still,  yet nowhere near the caliber of the A’s which are basically Pro’s and Cat 1’s.  You can see many of Durango “A” riders on TV and the internet cycling sites.   That’s the level of difference between them and 52 year-old,  new daddy ilg who considers just GETTING to the start of a club ride is a magnificent, inner victory.

Alternative to Game Plan A today: realizing quickly that there is not a snowball’s chance in hell that i’m gonna outsprint pros like Rolando, Scott S, and others, my Game Plan B was to pace myself.  Get up the 7 main climbs with or close to the Lead Group, then, attack early before the Pinecone Sprint, get into a select group of 3-5,  and maybe just maybe sneak into the top three for the Pinecone Sprint.  In the back of my spirit?  I also thought, “Maybe our Sprint Group will stay away for the final downhill Sprint!” I’ll be the most aggressive rider like Jens Voight!  My stunning stamina and power will CERTAINLY inspire the peleton to FINALLY get into my yoga classes!   Right?

The Road dictates a far different storyline however. Finished in the Chase Group up Climb #1.  Animated the attack over Climb #2.  Got 4th on Climb #5.  Sucked ass on Climb #6.  Just off the Leaders on Climb #7….then, it was time to blast down the canyon toward the Pinecone Sprint…

There is a .5k hill of 6% gradient before a plateau of another 1k before the 8% headwall upon which the Pinecone Sprint line lies.  Charging with the Lead Group of 16 (?) up the 6% hill,  i saw Scot S (a world-class extreme ski mountaineer racer with lungs the size of Missouri) charge up the outside of the group.  KNEW this move would NOT be coming back.  KNEW that Scot’s wheel is one of the toughest to hold onto, yet, i went with it nonetheless.  My choice to latch onto Scot’s wheel was one of those precious road cycling Zen moments for which roadies live.   i was on Scot’s wheel like snot on a 3 year-old.   He and ilg galloped beside the peleton like friggin’ Secretariat in the Derby, passing them while snorting all sorts of vile snot like Wild Mustangs evading DOW heli’s. It was then, when feeble ilg had has his fill of this fun anaerobic wholly ride,  that Scot switched onto his world class inner gear and friggin’ THREW DOWN another massive acceleration…i had my teeth on his rear tire and hung onto it like a rabid Wolverine…this was a phenomenal uphill attack at 25mph with over 2 hours of effort in our legs and lungs…nearing the top of the climb,  Scot finally sat down in his saddle after his standing lightning bolt of an effort.

Though my heart rate was like 350 and my legs naught but stumps of lactic acid?  i KNEW I had to come around him and pull like a bastard gone bad.  More than my treasured Pinecone Sprint, more than even a podium in the upcoming IHBC Omnium?   i wanted Scot’s respect.  So, invoking the Mantra,  knowing i had BodyHealth® MAP Amino Acids and Asea® Sacred Water and Sunrider® Whole Food Herbs working from within,  i flashed on all my decades of squats, yoga, and meditation and came around my ski mountaineering superhero and felt PROUD to just do that!   Oh!  It would have been sooo much easier to sit on his wheel and be satisfied with just being at the front of this elite group at this point in the ride!

Coming around Scot, i elevated into a surreal performance realm (have you been there?  it’s priceless!)  buried myself into my Time Trial posture…no time to look back to see what type of gap Scot and i produced…not now…i just figured maybe one or two of the pros were with us and the pack was behind us.  To be a old new daddy riding an antiquated bike?  ilg was a high as high can be!   Pinecone Sprint only .5k ahead.   I was pulling toward it off the front!   How amazing of a feeling!   Staying in my aerodynamic posture, pedaling like a madman, eager to pull off yet loving my nose in the wind at the lead of all action!

Pulling off, i finally looked behind to see what type of damage we did.



The entire Lead Group was right on us like moths to light.  That pull?  A historic one in a long lifetime of hard pulls for ilg…would have surely busted 99% of the peletons across America today.  Yet, in our tiny little mountain hamlet?   Our attack produced but a tiny kink the massively dense armor of this elite group!   The looming headwall with the Pinecone Sprint was now 700 uphill meters away and ilg was GASSED.

Reaching deep to attempt to hang onto the final wheel in the Group as it whirred past was futile.  Non-ceremoniously, ilg pedaled solo to our traditional after-ride hang: Bread Bakery where about 8 of us chilled and spoke in joyful words about our great Sacred Sweat.

Though my Game Plan(s) may not have been pulled off?   Doesn’t matter.  What matters?   Is that ilg secured another fantastic training effect among the serpentine, undulating lines of sweet Durango pavé beneath a shimmeringly beautiful spring sky.  What’s not to love ’bout dat?

Get out and do.

head bowed,

Blessed be your Workouts,

coach ilg

2 Responses to “Flippin’ the peleton love…and how Plan A did not work..”

  1. Leferisen John says:

    “stumps of lactic acid”

  2. coach says:

    Warrior Leaf,
    just call me,

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