Photo Courtesy of Kathy Sessler
Several weeks ago, Greg Minnaar shredded his way into mountain bike history winning his third World Championship on his home turf in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Since his victory, Minnaar has undergone surgery and is in the process of rehabilitating his knee in preparation for the 2014 season.
The Link recently caught up with him to talk about his life since the World Championship and what to expect for 2014.
Here is what he had to say.
TL – You just got home, how are you doing? Are you up and about?
GM - So far, so good. I’m not really out and about yet.
TL – It must feel good to finally have that behind you. You didn’t race in the finals at Leogang because of your injury, how do you feel about how your season ended? Would you have won had you raced?
GM - I could never say I could have won if I had raced the finals; anything can happen in Downhill. I would have loved to compete, but unfortunately I couldn’t. I’m pretty happy with my season, World Champion and 3rd in the World Cup, I would have liked to do better in the World Cup, but this year was all about World Championships at home.
TL – What track are you looking forward to the most next season?
GM – I chose them because I gravitate toward brands that lead through innovation and quality. The 510 Minnaar has to be a favorite; I put a lot of effort into my shoe. I really like the Saint brake from Shimano, brakes are extremely important in DH.
TL – We know you are an accomplished world-renowned rider now, but what was your childhood dream?
GM - To race motocross professionally was what I dreamt the most, but to be honest it was any sport I was playing I wanted to be the best at or at least play with the best.
TL – What do you do when you aren’t riding?
GM - In my spare time I head out to the beach to surf. I don’t get to ride that much motocross these days, but I still love it when I have the time.
TL – Do you have a pre-ride ritual?
GM - Rest, visualize, eat, warm up, race. Honestly I don’t really have a ritual before riding; I’m normally rushing because I’m late.
TL – If you weren’t a DH racer what would you be doing?
GM - The only thing that interested me growing up was to become an architect, but that was short lived.
TL – The pool of top riders is constantly changing, who would have thought Steve Smith would pull out an overall win over Gee at the DH World Cup? How are you going to respond next season?
GM - Its tough protecting a lead, Gee was in a hard position against a guy with nothing to loose. I’m looking forward to recovering from this knee injury and then its back to business as normal.
As a part of our commitment to our Social Media Partnership of the SoCal Prestige Cyclocross Series, we posted part 1 of our interview with pro Cyclocross athlete Ben Berden. Here is the second part of our interview where we spoke with Nicole Duke on why she rides, what she’s looking forward to this season and what advice she would give to anyone looking to try Cyclocross.
We asked her 10 questions. This is what she had to say.
TL-What is the biggest change in Cyclocross that you’ve seen since you started participating?
ND-There are three major changes. The first is that there are more women starting to participate as well as Jr. Women. The second is that there has been a huge jump in your technology too; the introduction of the disc brake has been huge in the past year. Last year I was fortunate to ride the Sram disc brakes, and that piece of technology made a big difference in my performance and generally speaking the way everyone can ride. At some point the courses will evolve and change due to this piece of technology. And the third biggest change is the rise in membership across the board. Cyclocross used to be something mountain bikers and roadies did in the off season, but now it has become its own thing.
TL-What are you looking forward to the most this season?
ND-I’m really excited to see friends again and start that part of my life. Its six months out of the year that becomes that culture and that life. And at the end of that six months it kind of just ends and it feels like there is something missing. So now its like we are back to the beginning of the cycle again.
TL-What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a rider?
ND-To perservere and not give up. In this career there can be a lot of adversity and a lot of things that will make you want to give up. But you have to hang in there and be patient and give yourself a chance to be great.
TL-Where is your favorite place to ride?
ND-Hands down Crested Butte, Colorado. Its just so gorgeous and the wild flowers are amazing.
TL-What song plays in your head while you ride?
ND-”We are the Champions of the World,” by Queen.
TL-If you could have any superpower what what it be?
ND-To read other people’s minds
TL-When you were a child, what did you want to wear when you grow up?
ND-I didn’t have an exact job I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to wear a high power suit and live in the city.
TL-What is the one thing you want people to remember you for, what is your legacy?
ND-That I was a positive influence in the industry and that I was an inspiration to some people.
TL-What is your main focus right now with your career?
ND-My goal for the next few years is to inspire others and to give back and to give them the tools and the platform to be able to realize their dreams. I hope by doing so I can share what I went through so they don’t have to go through some of the things that I did. That would be my wish.
TL-What piece of advice would you give to other riders?
ND-Have fun with it. If the fun is gone, what are you doing it for? That is what cycling is all about; enjoyment.
As the Official Social Media Partner of the SoCal Cyclocross Prestige series we are going to keep you dialed in to exclusive content from the series right here on our blog, on Facebook, Instagram and on our website, www.pricepoint.com.
Photo Courtesy of Donovan Jenkins
If you are a newcomer to Cyclocross, you probably have a million and one questions on how to train, what kind of bike to buy, what to expect and is it really as easy as it looks?
We went out to the Kick-Off Rally Cross event at LA Historic State park this weekend and we met Sasha Perry. Sasha became a regular at Cyclocross events after going to one race to film a web-series on Vegan athletes. Here is the story.
TL – What was is about Cyclocross that drew you to it?
SP – The first time I saw Cyclocross was at a UCI race in Griffith Park in LA. I was there to film for a web-series on vegan athletes, I didn’t know much about the sport at the time. I showed up with a camera and couldn’t get over how fun and ridiculous and hard it all looked. The next season I rented a bike from the SoCalCross organizer and did my first race. It was less fun and far more excruciating than it looked and I fell in love immediately. At one point I found myself riding through a sand pit next to a child’s swing set while an 8 year old pointed and laughed at me. What’s not to love? I wasn’t a bike racer or even an athlete when I did that first race, and now it takes up more of my life than I care to admit or think about. There’s something about destroying myself at a race and the feeling it brings when you cross the finish line that I haven’t found in any other bike event and I’ve become addicted to it.
TL – What’s is your training routine?
SP – I’m on my bike anywhere between 15-25 hours a week depending on my race and work schedule. I’ve also recently started weight lifting and throw in some easy runs now and then to keep my legs happy. The riding varies from short rides with hard interval efforts to long tempo rides on the weekend when I can spend 4 or 5 hours on the saddle. I am incredibly fortunate to have an amazing coach and supporter Jeff Lawler (Pioneer Coaching) who has put a lot of time into helping me get speed and skills; two things I never thought I could have.
TL – What is the best piece of training advice you have been given?
SP – I have a very hard time seeing progress, and it sometimes lends itself to thoughts of quitting. I was told by my friend recently that being hard on yourself is good–it’s how you improve–but not too hard. The sweetest victories have nothing to do with overall results. Getting to the top of a hill a little faster than last time, finishing with a pack instead of getting dropped, doing something you thought physically impossible. All these things keep you coming back. I was crashed in my first Pro 1/2/3 race this year, got back up and finished the race in 13th. I was absolutely destroyed, and it absolutely felt like winning. There are no small victories.
TL – What is one piece of advice you would you give someone who is interested in CX?
SP – I think I’d give the same advice to anyone regardless of gender that wants to get into CX, and it’s nothing profound. Just remember that everyone was a beginner at some point. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy bikes that cost more than your car, don’t be afraid of wearing spandex in public, (no one looks good in it and we all just accept that). Just go out and try it. Pushing your body and mind to do something uncomfortable will change your life if you let it, and in the meantime your friends get to throw things at you and hand you dollar bills.
Photo Courtesy of Phil Beckman of PB Creative
What do you get when you combine a bunch of out of season mountain bikers and roadies with colder weather, mud and cowbells? You get the 14-week SoCal Prestige Cyclocross Series …. and of course, there will be beer.
As the Official Social Media Partner of the series we are going to keep you dialed in to exclusive content from the series right here on our blog, on Facebook, Instagram and on our website, www.pricepoint.com.
With the start of the series just days away, we caught up with pro-cyclocrossers Ben Berden and Nicole Duke for a quick chat about why they ride, what they are looking forward to this season and to find out what advice they would give to anyone looking to try Cyclocross. We asked them both 10 questions. Here is part 1 of the interview.
TL-What is it about Cyclocross that drew you to it?
BB-I have been doing since I was 15, so for 22 years now I have been involved with it. In Belgium everyone does it; you grow up with it, you see it on television. So that is why I started doing it.
TL-What is the best thing about being Ben Berden?
BB-I’m very persistent, and I love riding my bike. I think the combination of the two is what made it easy for me to become a professional cyclist.
TL-What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned as an athlete?
BB-Not to dope. Cyclocross in Belgium is such a big thing. There is so much pressure and so many things that are involved. There it is about more than cycling, it’s a business and for the best people it is a career. I wasn’t happy with always being second or third. I wanted to win and I wanted to be faster. I met the wrong people at the wrong time and they convinced me to dope. I gave in and I ended up getting busted and suspended for three years. But now I know and trust my abilities. If I am the top athlete then that is good, but if not, that is fine too. Now it is more about pleasure and just getting a good result.
TL-What is the best piece of advice you’d give to someone training for Cyclocross?
BB-You have to really enjoy riding your bike. If you think training is a task then you have the wrong mindset and you will not make it.
TL-What is something that you never thought you’d be able to do that you have now accomplished?
BB-When I was younger everyone said it would be impossible making money by riding a bike. But it’s 20 years later and I’m still doing it so I’m blessed.
TL-When you aren’t riding what do you do?
BB-I travel with my girlfriend, or go out with the kids. Usually you are so tired from training it’s hard to do much else.
TL-What is your most memorable moment in your career?
BB-Winning my first World cup.
TL-What is your favorite Place to ride?
BB-The forest. I love riding in green environments.
TL-If someone were to play you in a movie who would it be?
TL-What do you have to accomplish before you retire?
BB-To give all of the knowledge I have about cycling to younger riders. Young riders don’t know how to live a cyclists’ lifestyle. It’s about how to train and how to eat too, its not just about how hard you train.
No matter what anyone tells you, beer and pizza are not going to prepare you for a race, and no, drinking light beer isn’t a better option.
Believe it or not, there is more to a proper training diet than carb loading and protein. In fact, most coaches will agree that proper nutrition is more about when you eat certain foods as opposed to what you eat.
So I’ve broken it down into a fool-proof method that explains what you should eat and when, so that you can perform at your best.
Before you race your nutrition objective is only to:
1. Prevent Thirst
2. Maximize carbohydrate stores in your muscles and liver.
The Guidelines are:
*Stay away from the heavy carbs and proteins.
*Don’t eat a lot of fiber rich foods
Fiber rich foods and meals that are high in proteins and carbs take longer to leave your stomach and will usually leave you feeling heavy. Carb Loading should always be done 1- 2 days before a competition. But if you must eat a full breakfast, I suggest doing it do it at least 3 – 4 hours before your race. However, once you are within 2-3 hours of your race, limit your carb intake to snacks that have a smaller or limited amount of carbs.
So what else should you eat?
Two to Three hours before competition make sure you eat a light breakfast that includes fruit and a small amount of carbs or proteins, such as hard-boiled eggs or Cliff Bars and water.
10-15 minutes before competition limit your food intake to a light snack that will give you a blast of energy, but not slow you down. I recommend Clif Shot Bloks, Jelly Belly Sports Beans or GU Roctane Gels.
Once you start racing your objective changes. Your goals should be to:
- Replenish energy stores that you are losing
- Stay hydrated
The Guidelines are:
*Drink in moderation, drinking every so often will prevent thirst, and since thirst is a sign that your body is dehydrated, it is best to drink to prevent dehydration. Be proactive as opposed to reactive with your intake of fluids.
*Don’t pile on too many snacks or drinks all at one time.
While you exercise your body is going to lose salt through your sweat. Ideally you should aim to replenish 400-700 mg sodium per hour of training.
Sports drinks like GU Roctane Energy Drink, PowerBar Performance Energy Blend or energy gels by Clif have small amounts of salt in them and will prevent you from major cramping while you are on a long ride. Its important to continue drinking fluids while you are working out, the major benefit is that you will be able to exercise longer and finish those long runs without a problem.
After an intense workout your body needs to replenish the protein and carbohydrates that were burned during your workout.
Your Post work out Objective is
- Deliver carbs and protein through a high quality source to start the replenishment process.
The Guidelines are simple
*Eat the right carbs, this is not the time for beer. The right carbs will replenish what you have lost.
*Eat as soon as you can after a workout. A delay in a food source or nutrition source will not help your body repair itself efficiently.
Most of that protein should be supplied by high-quality, whole food sources such as beef, chicken or beans. But, until you can get home to prepare a meal, recovery snacks like PowerBar Recovery Bars, Honey Stinger Protein Bars and Cliff Builder’s Protein Bars are quality products that are quick options that will start to get your carb stores replenished in no time.