U23 Athlete Interview by Colt
From Field Blevins, President of Durango BMX
“Hello Everyone. Many thanks to the volunteers who worked on the track yesterday. It is ready to ride. It has been packed and is in pretty good shape for this time of the year. There is still a fair amount of loose dirt on the top, especially in the turns, but there was a positive report and a lot of smiles from the riders who practiced today. As soon as the city feels it is warm enough to be safe to turn on the water, we can finish getting it into great shape. We need to be able to wet the track to be able to finish packing the surface.”
“We will begin gate practice this Tuesday. 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, but I anticipate some riders will be there before 5 pm. Please watch the web site, as I anticipate that we will have our first race very soon (dictated by weather and track conditions). The web site will announce practice and race dates.”Read More
Matt Shriver is the Head Coach for the Fort Lewis Cycling team. A former collegiate champion, Matt retired from professional cycling in 2008 to focus on coaching. Its 2010 and Matt is still coaching the powerhouse Skyhawks, and has picked up coaching work overseas this summer in Germany for the U23 and Junior National riders through USA Cycling. It also is becoming apparent that Matt has not really retired. He is still super fast, and quite possibly faster than ever.Q: You coach collegiate cyclists, what are the similarities and differences between the junior and collegiate athletes in terms of training habits?
A: It is surprising how many similarities there are with junior and collegiate athletes. The majority of the riders come straight out of high school and the junior racing scenes in their region. Most of them are very green and have a lot of things to learn as riders and adults. Their training habits really depend on the disciplines that they have raced and how competitive the racing was in their region. The mountain bikers tend to be a little bit more relaxed with their training, less structured and just roost trails whenever without a lot of structured training. The road riders usually do a little more structured training, and put in the miles.
The biggest difference between collegiate racing an juniors is that it’s a major step up in experience. The age and experience of the collegiate riders is across the board. We have 18 year olds traveling and racing alongside veteran pro’s for both road and mountain biking. In collegiate, you learn a lot about training and racing from your teammates as well as the coaches. That is probably the biggest difference from racing junior to collegiate, just the amount of experienced riders and enthusiasm for racing and training is a lot higher.
Q: What is the best thing about collegiate cycling? as a coach, and as a former collegiate cyclist?
A: Collegiate cycling is my favorite cycling atmosphere. There aren’t a lot of egos and the playing field is level. The passion for the sport and desire to succeed is at its highest in the collegiate years. There is so much energy and it really is racing at the purest form.
With collegiate cycling also comes the pride of your team and school. When you put on the Fort Lewis College jersey, you are a part of the best cycling program in the country. In the cycling world, coming from Fort Lewis College means so much because of the rich cycling history we have and the quality riders and people we have produced.
Some of my favorite times racing bikes where as a collegiate rider. The friends you make and the character of your teammates are unmatched. You meet lifetime friends and make connections that will last a lifetime. My favorite racing experiences are from the collegiate days, when nothing mattered but doing the best you could for your school. It wasn’t about sponsors, money, or trying to get a contract. The racing was about chasing your dreams and representing your teammates, your town, and doing the best you could. It was an awesome experience and I would do it all over again if I could!
Q: What is the common thing your collegiate athletes need to work on in terms of racing and or training technique, when they first come to the FLC program? (what did they neglect to train as a junior?)
A: Every rider is different. This is one thing that many coaches neglect with designing training plans. What works for one athlete may not work for the others. Finding each riders weakness takes some time to sort out and isn’t always easy. One of the most common areas the riders neglect is their recovery. A lot of them train enough, but forget that recovery is half of their training. Add the college lifestyle of a little more freedom and it can be disaster. Really getting their recovery dialed is important and for them to recognize that recovery is just as important as the training rides. You have to recover as hard as you train
Another common mistake is that the riders get carried away with base training. They come from racing juniors to stepping it up into the collegiate ranks and the upper catergories. Many riders put in way to many hours, more hours than some pros! Yes, it is important to get in a good base for the season. However when you are in school as a full time student, maybe working part time, having a life it is to much. That’s like having three jobs. Something’s going to give from all that stress and it’s going to be your body. Keeping the rains on the collegiate riders and their base volume and hours is important to me. It’s common for them to make the mistake of to much too quick and frying themselves before the season is even over. It is a fine balance, and balance is the key. Structured training is important and logging some miles, but so is enjoying your college experience and it will help your cycling overall.
Q: Has the transition from junior cat 1 racing to pro racing changed since you were a developing junior?
A:The transition from Junior to Pro has changed immensely since I was a junior (1998). There were only a few juniors that could compete with the Pro riders, so making that transition was huge and difficult. Some of the Juniors were even too fast too soon, and they made the transition no problem but were so burned out that they didn’t last long. Making the leap was really tough and discouraging without some guidance and leadership. We didn’t have programs like Durango Devo to help guide us on a good path for a successful and FUN career in cycling. Having programs in place like Durango Devo make that transition to the higher ranks much easier. There is a lot more opportunity for juniors now than before in both road and mountain biking.
Q: What is your favorite mountain bike workout in town?
A: There are to many to count! Right out my front door would have to be just shredding Horse Gulch. I love to ride hard up the Talker Trail into the Gulch, hit the meadow to Telegraph and down Yellow Brick road to Sidewinder. Hook up with the sweet flow of Cowboy trail over to South Rim and back up the Crites connection trail. Finish it up down Anasazi descent and an up Stacey’s down and out! It’s a killer sample of some of the finest trails the Gulch has plus some good climbing. I stay on it the whole way non-stop usually. Getting all that in about 2 hours always leaves a grin on my face. I can’t wait for the trails to dry up.
Q: What do you think about the Tellegraph Hill climb as a training tool? WOuld you be interested in coming out with us this summer and trying to break the record? You currently have the second best time ever at 15 min 3 seconds(?)
A: The Telegraph Climb is a great gauge of fitness. It is important to have indicators during the season to keep an eye on your form. Doing this climb once a month or a test similar is recommended. Actually, this past fall I smashed the record on the 5” Bike. 14:28 from the bottom to the top. 2009 was a good year and adding a new personal best Telegraph time trial was another milestone. I look forward to coming out in July and doing some of the time trials and Devo rides for Leadville 100 training. A lot of my summer will be spent in Germany working with the US Juniors and U-23 Mountain bikers with USA Cycling.
Q: Any sweet junior training tips?
A: Dabble in as many disciplines as you can and be open to learn. I hear a lot of mountain bikers say how they don’t like road racing. Or the roadies talking about mountain biking the same way. The truth is that they compliment each other and you really can’t be a great mountaan biker without some road racing. Road racing teaches you how to read a race tactically. Roadies need the mountain biking skills. Mountain biking also builds incredible strength for climbing. Get some education in training and racing from your coaches! Most of all keep it fun. This is so important at all levels, even the highest. If you think about why you love riding, love racing and why you do it, it’s for fun! Once you lose this perspective then it becomes difficult. It goes back to the balance of it all. Keep it fun!
Happy April. DEVO has begun and that means tons of things are about to begin. Monday the U19 men and women will start their Computrainer fitness tracking at The Hub. 8 athletes will take a threshold test to help chart their progress throughout the season. Speaking of season, the first DEVO Team Race will take place in Fruita, Colorado the 23rd to the 25th. We’re guessing around 25 U14,19 athletes and another 25 parents and coaches will camp out and race together at the Rabbit Valley recreation area, right next to the Utah border. But even before all that, Top Secret Training Camp will be offered to all U14,19 athletes in the New Mexico desert. This will be the 3rd running of the training camp and we’re pumped as ever. The camp brings all the DEVO athletes and coaches together to train and get some skills under their belt. And the friday after TSTC is the first DEVO Telegraph Time Trial. The athletes do this once a month to gauge fitness and just because its so dang fun! Who knows when that track will be dry. Speaking of the weather, the JrDEVO kids must be bummin, because their 8 week program has been moved back a week due to soggy trails. Look for their fun bright yellow jerseys out on Durango’s sweet trails beginning the week of April 12th. Oh and there is the Bike Fit night for all DEVO athletes at the Rec Center. If you are doing DEVO, bring yer bike on wednesday night from 6-8pm and have your bike professionally fit to you by Ryan Siggins of Durango Bike Fit. And lastly, money is hard to come buy at the moment so save all your unused cycling stuff to sell at our big spring fundraiser during the Iron Horse Weekend, The DEVO Bike Swap. Thousands of people will be in town to race the train and we’ll sell your stuff to them. Sounds like a plan. Have a nice springish day.Read More
As of April 1st, the Durango DEVO 2010 season will be cancelled and ended at once. We have been in contact with numerous weather-men and they have all advised an all out cancellation due to never ending winter-like conditions. “The snow will never stop, so we must.” said coach Chad Cheeney. April FoolsRead More
Rumor has it that there is a top secret training camp rapidly approaching. Would you want to show up to train on your bike adjusted to last season’s body? Aren’t you taller now? Stronger? Come to Top Secret DEVO Bike Fit Night at the Durango Rec Center on Wednesday, April 7th from 6-8pm to get your bike fitted so you can ride faster and harder. Dr. Ryan Siggins, a certified Retul bike fitter, helps fit the pros including riders on the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Team and the Fort Lewis Cycling team . Ryan will take your bike and fit it to this year’s taller, stronger, meaner body. Get ready for the best season ever with a bike fit by Ryan Siggins.Read More
Local Horse Gulch lover, Adam Howell has created a blog to keep us all informed on the progress of the Horse Gulch development plan. It is scarry to us all and his blog can lend a helping hand. Check it out and get involved. http://horsegulch.wordpress.com/Read More
Russell Finsterwald has made the big show. After a strong final junior season at the Mountain States Cups and a win at Nationals in Sol Vista, he is now traveling with one of the best teams in the nation, The Subaru/Gary Fisher team. Nice work Russell!
Hello Devo Jr. families. Just a reminder: all schedules have been sent out and posted on our website. U14/U19 starts this week, Just Ride/1st grade/kinder starts next week, and all other Devo Jr. groups start the week of April 12th……ahhhhhh why can’t this snow melt already! All the Devo coaches want to ride!
Devo Jr. jerseys are at Hasslefree! Hasslefree is our Devo Jr. shop and has special Devo deals on bikes and biking equipment. Please, please understand that all our Durango bike shops are such a great support to Devo. They are always willing to go out of their way to help Devo and its families. Please know that the special pricing is for Devo athletes and not their parents and/or non-Devo siblings.
If you are looking for a bike. 1st check out Hasslefree, as the have some great Trek bikes for kids! But, also check out our other bike shop partners: 2nd Ave, DurangoCyclery, and MBS. 2nd Ave has some great kids’ Scott’s! OR, the website is being updated and will include a “bike swap/gear sale” link for kids wanting to swap out for bigger sizes. OR, check out DurangoDevo/ Iron Horse’s Bike Swap. OR Devo does have some loaner bikes…mostly 24″.
I hope this is helpful to everyone! Think warm, windy weather to dry out the trails!!
Durango DEVO Director
2010 Spring ride schedulesRead More
Hip Hip Hooray, the DEVO 2010 season begins today with the U14 boys and girls practice. Starting at 4pm, the middle school athletes will embark on yet another mountain bike season to remember. With all this snow still around, we are set for an amazing spring of loamy trail conditions. And the flowers are bound to be amazing.
Sunday the DEVO U14 and U19 coaches met early at the Rec Center and went ona fun group ride. The first mission was to see if Animas was good and boy was it ever. The wildlife closure is still in effect, but even that small loop had the group pumped. After that it was off to a quick jump sesh at a nearby curb ramp and then a nice spin over to bread to eat some coffee and drink some bread. We have a super solid coaching squad this season and it was evident after the ride that we all are on the same track. Now lets have some fun!!,Read More
DEVO alumni Tad Elliott has morphed from ski racer to bike racer in the blink of an eye. Check him out in California for the first round of the USCup Triple Crown. This will be Tad’s first pro race on a factory team. The cross country is saturday and the stxc and super d are on sunday.Read More
Durango is just days away from getting its first potato chip manufacturer. Its true, The Chip Peddler has opened up a space in Bodo Park where the potato pal will be cranking out some tasty chips using the sun from above, spices from friends near and far and potatoes from the region. Why is this on the DEVO blog? Because the man behind the crunchy chips is in love with the DEVO program, and is a lifestyle cyclist who sees the impact that cycling education has on the Durango community. He also has ideas in the future for a special DEVO chip. Yes its true. Start thinking flavors to represent our program and keep your potato eyes peeled!Read More
Click on this underlined sentence and receive numerous links to DEVO 2010 Forms. You could also click on the forms page above, but either way, you can enter the wonderful world of paperwork right now. Have a nice day and cross your fingers for gorgeous spring.Read More