Blog posts of '2015' 'January'

Are You Using Group Rides to Your Advantage?

Now that Boulder has been getting some good outdoor biking weather, I've had my first few group rides for the year. After a couple rides with others, it led me to think about how group rides can be good or bad for athletes depending on how they use them. As an athlete and a coach I want to make sure my athletes, as well as, I get the most out of each bike ride. Sometimes the dynamics of larger groups hinders athletes from getting what they need from a weekend ride.

Personally, I prefer biking in smaller groups of 2-4 riders. I really don't like when groups get much over 6 people. The major reasons for this are safety and group dynamics. If you have a small group of people you know, it's easier to know how the others ride, as well as, communicate about how you want the ride to progress. Safety is obvious, the more people, the better the chances of someone causing an accident. If you have good riders, you can keep a nice single or double pace line. The larger the group, the more people and moving parts are involved, making the chances of something going wrong go up. Along these same lines, each person you add to a ride increases the number of stops along a ride. I personally like to stop only once every 2-3 hours each ride. Of course there's an occasional need for an extra “nature” stop or flat tire, but again each person you add, adds the chances of extra stops for these reasons.

For me the main reason I like smaller groups are the group dynamics. With a few people, you can communicate before or during the ride easier to make sure everyone has the same or similar goals for the ride. If I have a base or endurance ride, I don't want someone to be hammering on the front because they want to get a tempo effort out of the ride. On the flip side, if I have efforts I need to execute during a ride, I want to make sure everyone else knows what I'm doing. I'm not just being a jerk, trying to ride off the front and drop everyone, rather I have a specific goal wattage I want to hold for a period of time. With a few riders, you can more easily communicate these items. The more people you add, the more agendas you add to the ride. It makes it harder for you to stick to your plan and needs.

Even if you have your plan, the bigger the ride, the easier it is for you to get tempted into strying from your plan to stick with your group. There's always someone who wants to hammer up the hills. Do you have the discipline to let yourself get dropped if your goal is an easier endurance ride, or are you going to let your ego get the better of you and try to keep up? I can pretty much guarantee that you are going to try to keep up rather than stick to your plan. Again, the more people, the better chance of this happening.

I used to ride with a big group when I lived in Austin. There was one strong rider who didn't have as much free time as the rest of us on the weekend. So rather than go really long, like 5 hours, he had only 2 hours each weekend. So he wanted to get the most out of his time. We'd show up to the ride and for the first hour, he would hammer at the front. Often times, 10 minutes into a 100 mile ride, we'd be at or above our race paces because of one rider's agenda on the ride. These are the situations I now try to avoid.

Another phenomenon that occurs with larger groups is what I call pace-creep. This is a gradual increase of pace over time. Why does this happen? If you have one or two people at the front of a group, they're setting the pace. When it's time for them to move to the back, the next person/people move up. Because of macho egos we often see in cycling groups, those next leaders don't want to be the guys who let the pace drop because they don't want to appear weaker. So they try to ride the same pace or maybe a little faster. This continues as the group rotates leaders until its way too hard of a tempo. It takes disciplined riders without egos to slow the pace down. With a smaller group of people it's easier to say “hey guys, why are we riding so fast? Lets ease up a bit.”

This pace creep often causes athletes to ride too hard for the first half of longer rides. On my old riding in Austin, guys would hammer to keep up on the first part of the ride. Then the second half, they'd almost always fade and bonk. I believe that on longer rides, it's almost always better to ride the second half harder and stronger. Again, the idea is to create an overload in your body. Its better to push the end when you're tired to get those gains you need for your next race. This is instead of riding the first 30 mile hard and limp home the last 30 miles at a snails pace. Which way of riding do you think is better to prepare you for your next Ironman? The larger the group, the harder it is to be disciplined in this way or to control the pace to meet these kinds of riding goals.

My style of bike training is riding either base/endurance which is pretty easy or very hard race-pace efforts, not much in between. I've found the bigger the ride, the more the group pulls you towards the middle “junk” zone of kind-of hard riding. Its hard enough to make you tired by the end of the ride, but not hard enough to create an overload in your body to really improve. So the ride really doesn't serve it's purpose in your overall training picture.

I'm not against group rides, but I want to make sure they meet my and my athletes goals. As long as you understand some of these pitfalls of group riding, you can better use them to fit your athletic needs

Ride safe,


Twitter: @patrickevoe

Facebook: /patrickevoeracing 

One on One with Professional Track and Field Sprinter, Curtis Mitchell

I’m Atlantis Curtis Mitchell, 2013 World Championship Bronze Medalist and 2014 USA 200 meter Champion. In 2012 at Texas A&M University, I was the indoor NCAA champion. I live here in Clermont FL., my training base. My coach is Lance Brauman, one of the biggest Adidas camps in the United States. I bought my Recovery boots in 2011.

A – I usually use it after my training sessions for an hour. I will sit in them when I wake up in the morning time, if I have early morning training sessions. So I get in them for about 15 minutes just to get my body going, get my blood pumping. After that it just depends on what type of workout I have so it varies. Sometimes after training I get in them for 45 minutes to an hour. That’s usually my routine that has worked for me these past 3 years and that’s just what my body likes.

A – Just the feeling I get once I use them before and after training. I can definitely tell a difference when I don’t use them. Just the light feeling I get and that my legs aren’t as heavy. I do a lot of running so of course my legs have a lot of lactic acid in there. Even if you do traditional things like ice bath, I just still haven’t found anything that gives me the same feeling that I have with Recovery Boots. So it’s just an awesome machine and I absolutely love it.

A – About 15 minutes prior to whatever I’m doing whether it’s training in a competition. I just get that light feeling. Everything’s running smoothly, everything’s running free. I’ve got the blood pumping in my leg. I’m a lot l lighter and fluent with my range of motion. It just gives me that running mechanics and that freedom that I need to go out there and sprint at a high level.

A – I feel heavy. I feel like I’m fighting myself more then I would be if I do use them. Like I said, using Recovery boots it flushes out my legs and there are certain things and certain feelings that I get that I know my body responds too. So if I don’t use it, it’s then kind of like setting my body back to zero and I have that heavy lethargic feeling. My drill and running mechanics aren’t running as smooth. If I had a long hard training day and I forgot to use my Recovery pump, or even if I forgot to do it the night before and I try to do it 15 minutes before training the next day, it’s just not the same thing. Both go hand in hand. You can’t do one without the other. I can’t just do it after training and then in the morning time forget to do it for the 15 minutes. Everything has to work together for me to get the feeling and results that I need.

A - It’s such a great tool to have, especially when I’m traveling. I’m an international athlete. I’m always in and out of airports. Just being able to have my own personal massage therapist (that’s what I call it), you know on the go. It’s so easy and so light. It’s not a hassle at all to travel with. I can use it in the hotels. If I’m getting off a 8 hour flight, 10 hour flight, I just go into the hotel and sit in my Recovery boots. It speeds up the jetlag process. It gets my body adapted to whatever situation I’m under. It’s just a great thing to have, like I said, I absolutely need it for my career.

A – I absolutely love it! The fact that it targets specific muscle groups that my body is used to, like gluts, hamstrings, lower back, groin and hip flexors. Those are the key things for a track and field sprinter, such as myself and just to be able to have that and now I know I’ve got such good results just using the general boots and now just to add this into my regiment. I’m just so excited to see what my body is going to do now and the type of results I’m going to get.

Q- WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHER ATHLETES ABOUT RECOVERY PUMP?                                                                                 A – If you’re really serious about your sport, your gravity, you train hard like me. As you know in sports training is important but recovery is more important than training itself. If you can really come packing, get down a recovery regiment and be able to come back the next day fresher and able to attack your workouts. It will just boost your performance and take you to the next level in your game and in your career. I absolutely recommend it. It’s light, easy to use and very affective. If you’re serious about your training and your sport, I recommend it.

- Curtis Mitchell, Professional Track and Field Sprinter

Billy Lister: Living Life

Giving back is a core foundational principal of RecoveryPump, and at the close of 2014, we donated five RecoveryPump Systems to athletes affiliated with the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Over the course of the next year, we'd like to introduce you to the remarkable individuals who were chosen to receive these RecoveryPump donations.

First up is Billy Lister from Huntington Beach, California. Here's his story in his own words:

"My name is Billy, and my life as a Challenged Athlete has been transformative. When I was 15 years old I was diagnosed with a rare and acute brain abnormality known as an AVM. To correct the malformation, I underwent invasive brain surgery at the age of 16. The surgery was a success in treating the AVM; however as a complication I started experiencing some swelling in my brain several months post op. The swelling led to some loss of function on my left side. I immediately underwent intensive physical rehab and was making strong gains, but then in June of 1999 at the age of 17 I suffered a stroke. My stroke was a very atypical event, where it actually was a slow and regressive process. Each day I woke up and couldn’t do something I could the day before; type on a keyboard, tie my shoes, brush my teeth, and eventually the ability to run. After about 4 weeks the episode had finally ceased leaving me in the full left side hemi paresis state I’m in today.

I’d been an athlete my whole life, playing everything I could find the time for. So when sports were slowly taken away from me, it was a tremendous burden to cope with. For many years I was coasting through life, going through the motions as a kid learning how to survive with a disability. And in that is a monumental point; I was only surviving life, I wasn’t living it.

There are certain junctures in life that shape the individual and person you become, and the path that you journey on. My stroke was obviously the first such moment, altering my future and the challenges I would face for the rest of my life. Other moments point you in a direction to where you belong in this world, and can be an awakening to what is possible. That second such instance was in August of 2011 when I attended a Paratriathlon camp for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and got on a bike for the first time since I was 17 years old. In the past 3 years since learning to ride a bicycle, I have competed in over 20 triathlons; reaching the podium in several of the National Paratriathlon races, and ultimately winning the points championship in the 2012 USA Paratriathlon series.

The next altering point was my relocation to Southern California. It didn’t take long to realize that my true athletic passion lied in the form of 2 wheels and a saddle. Only a few months after my relocation, in November 2013 I fully dedicated my training to the realm of Paracycling; and in less than 10 months managed to accumulate an abundance of highlights and growth trajectory potential.
In my very first cycling event, I entered into the US Indoor Track Paracycling National Championships at the LA Velodrome at the end of November 2013. Having only ridden a track bike twice in my life the week prior leading up, I came away with the victory in both of the events I entered. By the end of the weekend I had become a two time National Champion in the Men’s C2 Division, 3 Kilometer Individual Pursuit as well the 1 Kilometer Time Trial.

Once my target became racing on the Road, huge results quickly came into line. Based on my 1st place performance at the selection race in conjunction with US Pro Championships, I was named to the TeamUSA roster for the UCI Paracycling World Cup in Segovia, Spain.

Additionally given my times and ranking held throughout the US Paracycling National Championships weekend, am proud to announce I was also chosen to the World Championships team to represent TeamUSA on our home soil, a once in a lifetime opportunity. My ascension onto TeamUSA Paralympic Cycling has been explosive, but my growth potential is seen as an even greater advantage. With the ultimate goal to compete for the United States of America at the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio de Janeiro."

Billy, your story inspires us - and RecoveryPump is proud to support your journey. We're cheering you on all the way, and look forward to hearing about how your RecoveryPump system is helping you to achieve your dreams!

To find out more about the Challenged Athletes Foundation, visit