Originally Written December 19, 2019
It’s day two of our ride. The boys are all tired and stiff today. I stretched immediately after our ride and they just laughed at me…who’s laughing now? Me, I’m ready to go after a pot of coffee. Today’s goal for the ride is to ride into Nogales for a lunch at a taco truck. Oh yeah, that was a goal worth keeping up with the boys I was willing to take on.
Our leader took us through a canyon, up a mountain fire access road that had been mostly eroded down by some heavy rains the day before to a breathtaking lookout spot. The trip down turned into an epic learning experience for me.
The narrow roads in that area were covered in granite rock slabs and granite dust - no sense using the back brake whatsoever. I am a confident front brake user but quickly found out that using front and back brakes was not a good idea. While I manage to stay on my bike while skidding down a steep slab of granite around a switch back, I had to stop and take a minute to catch my breath. Hoping that was the worst of the steep descents was over I threw my leg over my torn seat and headed into steeper territory. The switchbacks and steep descents went on for over 30 minutes until we were finally down into a valley and about 30 minutes to tacos.
I was excited about tacos and didn't realize, while there were no steep descents into Nogales, we still had a few miles to ride on some super gnarly narrow jeep trails. I lived and made it into town for amazing tacos. We (meaning me) decided to head back home via some breathtaking easier riding roads. I'm glad we did as it was getting cold, we were all tired, our bellies full of Mexican goodness and we were running out of gas and daylight. We rode 6 hours that day. I'm proud to say I had the skills to ride all the terrain, including terrain I was not confident riding. As the day wore on I got used to riding and it made me a better rider.
I wonder what challenges tomorrow's ride will bring!?
Originally written December 19, 2019
We have been riding here in Arizona for almost three weeks. Our adventures have taken us into desert areas that have you looking for Wiley Coyote and the Roadrunner, to awe inspiring views over endless mountain ranges in every direction.
We met up with a couple of Ontario riding peeps early December. One of the guys has a house near Tucson and lives here and rides 6 months of the year. He took us out for 2 days of epic riding.
Day one we met for breakfast in a little desert town and headed over to an area near Tubac to ride some newly built single track. After being lost on Jeep roads for a good 30 minutes one of us finally spotted a trail marker. The single track was a total of 28 miles, built in 2 mile sections. Most of my single track experience I have had has been in Ontario, rutted out, muddy, stumpy and nice flowy trails. Yup, this was a whole new experience and challenge for me personally.
The first two trails we did were challenging but I didn't have any problems. I did invent new swear words but made it through without anyone having to help me.
The third trail, well it started off nice, a few challenging rock steps and some deep water crossings but all within my skill set. Then I came around a blind corner and slamming on my brakes I just stared at the challenge in front of me. How the ‘H’ was I going to conquer a trail that started up a steep gravelly, loose, rocky incline, including several rock step switch backs and then a trail on a steep side incline with nothing but large boulders on the trail, a cliff ascending into the heavens on one side and a cliff descending into the depths of hell on the other? I had no confidence. However, I put my bike into first gear and tractored up as far as I could go before I wiped out. Our fearless leader, a highly accomplished rider, had to rescue me a couple times as the other two in our party were themselves having difficulties.
When the four of us finally found a spot to rest I made note I was the only person in our little posse not dying of heat stroke, lack of hydration or energy. I'm 120 pounds, my bike is approximately 240 pounds and I had 15 pounds of supplies in my backpack. After a brief rest and a snack, we rode the remaining mile out of that specific trail, and spent an hour finding our way back to our vehicles on some pretty gnarly jeep roads. I felt good about my riding and patted myself in the back.
Pumped and ready for Carne Asada with Mexican grilled bulb onions for dinner we headed back to the Canuck’s casa for dinner! And a beer or two…
Should I spend my money on a coach or a group workshop? I ask myself that question a lot. I have taken several coaching sessions, both in a large group and one-on-one. In most cases, I am happier spending the extra money on a one-on-one session, I feel I get more bang for the buck. Groups are great too, but I find groups usually contain a variety of skill levels and it's not always possible to get the attention I need in a large group situation.
I like that in a one-on-one situation I feel free to ask a myriad of questions, whether ridiculous or not. One-on-one allows me to fail without thinking my other ‘classmates’ are watching or judging. I can also practice one thing without having to move on to the next skill before I'm ready.
On the flip side, groups can be fun too, it could give the affordability to train with some pretty cool coaches. You also get feedback from other people and will probably make new friends. In addition to learning strictly from the coach, you can engage with and learn from others’ experiences.
So, ask yourself the question, “should I spend my money on a coach or a group workshop?” Decide for yourself which situation is right for you. My personal preference is one-on-one learning, whether I’m the coach or student.
The nice thing about FitRiders, is there are opportunities for learning from our community members, or you can opt into our one-one-one coaching program. Whether you need that additional accountability of having a one-on-one mentor, or if you just need to bounce some ideas off a supportive community, FitRiders has programs to suit your needs.
To join our group free for 60 days, visit www.fitriders.com. If you would prefer one-one-one coaching, try our FitRider Plus program. You get all of the community support of our FitRider Pro program, with the added bonus of having a coach work with you to reach your specific goals. What are you waiting for!
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As I sit in the Arizona desert staying away from other people (I hate catch phrases like ‘self isolation) and see people on social media posting they hope they have a family member who knows how to cook because all their favourite restaurants are currently closed, I use my inside voice to ask myself: “when did North Americans lose their ability to cook and why did we lose that ability?”. I don't think the majority of us are lazy, we work hard at our jobs, those with kids are busy with them, we have to clean our houses. So why does the thought of cooking make people roll their eyes? We have to eat, there's no choice. So why don't most of us do it for ourselves anymore?
Convenience? I get it, we are all tired at the end of the day, we are rushed in the morning before school and work. In this day and age (ignoring the current pandemic) it is so easy to get on whatever app du jour and have anything you desire delivered to your door. Technology has made it easy, but has technology actually made your life better in this regard? Do you remember a time when eating out was a treat and a special occasion?
Deliciousness? Does fast food, frozen pizza, restaurant food in general taste more amazing than a home cooked meal. Not always.
Cost? Is it more expensive to cook at home? Nope!
Time? Is delivery faster than cooking something at home? Yes and no.
Healthy? Is delivery/take out healthier? As an ex-chef I have to say nope. Restaurant food is all about flavour, yes even the vegan/vegetarian restaurants use processed plant products which aren't necessarily healthier than whole fruits and veggies with minimal processing.
Family time? Most families eat in front of the almighty television. Is this really family time, why not cook with your spouse and/or kids? Teach the next generation a skill or two.
Before you do the eye roll when I ask you if you like to cook, why not try 2 meals a week? Roast a chicken with all the veg and potatoes in one pan, learn to grill veggies when you grill up a steak. Make some quick oats for tomorrow's breakfast. Get a crockpot, those things are amazing.
Or, if you do cook at home but are bored, try something new! Learn how to make bread (it's quite easy, yes, it's time consuming, but can be made in the time span of a 2-hour movie), learn how to make hollandaise sauce from scratch, it's not magic! Make pancakes or waffles from scratch with blueberry sauce. You don't have to spend your entire day cooking, but you can cut the cord and I promise you will save a ton of money and your waistline may even shrink a little.
Most of the time I go overboard when I get it in my head to do something or get into something new. It is a problem because sometimes I can't tell myself enough is enough. Sound familiar? This week, I screwed up. Super hard dirt biking for 4 or 5 days in a row, plus some mountain biking thrown in, a TRX work out and surprise, now I'm off my dirt bike for a few days resting my worn out arms while my partner is off enjoying some single track with a local.
When is it time to take a break? I think that is up to each individual. Some people train hard for 3 weeks then take a week off, some train every other day, some train 4 days on 3 off. Whichever method you choose, it is important to build in a plan for rest days. I must change my thinking. I know I need to strengthen my upper body for the terrain I'm currently riding, however dirt biking for 4 hours then doing an upper body workout afterwards is dumb - that's just screaming for problems or an injury. My new plan: I'm going to dirt bike for 3 days in a row, one day off and spend that day stretching and a light upper body workout and see how that goes. My nutrition is good, and my sleeping habits are excellent, so I know I just have an overuse injury.
I realize not everyone has the freedom I currently treasure, but we can all think about our current workout routine. Sometimes taking a week off may improve your strength when you get back at it. Maybe just lightening the load for a week or riding a few hours less a day will give you enough rest. Certainly, taking stock of one’s eating and sleep routine and making adjustments will help as well. Remember what you do on rest days are just as important on what you do on workout/riding days
If you find yourself in a plateau, or sore from overtraining, maybe it’s time to try a new approach to your workout. Give it some thought and tell yourself it's OK to take a break. Everyone needs to slow down and smell the roses sometimes.
Karl Tettmann, Co-Founder. Avid health and fitness coach who just loves to ride.