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Blog posts of '2016' 'November'

I am a Rock Star… 6 days at a time!

- Between 7,000 and 12,000 screaming fans.

- Enough production lighting for an AC/DC concert.

- Top European DJ placed in the middle.

- Enough beer to fill a swimming pool.

- 45 degree banked wooden track.

- 40 of the top track cyclists in the world

- THIS IS SIX DAY CYCLING!!!

 

 

Unfortunately, most Americans have never had the privilege of witnessing a 6 day race live. Although there is little knowledge of this spectacle now, it used to be the largest spectating sport in America prior to World War 2. The top Six Day racers were making more money than Babe Ruth and other top athletes in America.  The Madison Square Garden was at maximum occupancy for all six nights as it filled to the brim with the smoke from spectator’s cigarettes. It truly was an amazing spectacle!

 

Much has changed in six day racing over the years, but the excitement and party remain. For the past 3 years I have been privileged to be the only US sprinter invited to compete in such Six Day races as Berlin, London, and Amsterdam.  Although I am not a World or Olympic champion like many of the riders I race against, I bring a certain “entertainment value” to the show that many say has been missing for a while now.

The thousands of spectators that come to watch a Six Day race come to be entertained. Fast aggressive racing at close to 50mph certainly helps with this, but there is more to it. A Six Day race offers the spectators interaction with the racers. Us sprinter only come onto the track three times a night so we have to make the very most of it. Unlike our typical racing, at a Six Day we are encouraged to come off of our handle bars to get the crowd going! Waving, point, blowing kisses is all a part of the show. Many times as well, whenever we have the opportunity we stop at the rail before or after races to take some selfies or sign some autographs for the fans. There is nothing better than a large section of the rail lined up with kids placing their hands over the edge for a high five as we rip by in our time trial wind up at 30mph!  

Most recently in London I have been dubbed, “The Showman” by the televised Euro Sport announcers. I may not be the fastest of the sprinters, But I find my worth elsewhere. When looking through the visors of my “look alike” fighter pilot helmet, I feel like I am in a Point of View game. I put on the biggest smile I can as I wave my hands and pump my fists to the music. It is an amazing feeling. I give out as much energy as I can and then without fail I get x10 back from the crowed. It is the most exhilarating and powerful connection I have ever felt. Usually there is a month or 2 in between my races and I don’t always look forward to the pain and exhaustion of my training. Then I think of the thousands of fans awaiting my arrival half way across the world and it is like I am given a shot of adrenaline because the last thing I want is to not be able to give them the show they deserve!

Nate “The Showman” Koch

Team Nater

 

(All photos by Drew Kaplan)

Winter Approaches for Training

   

     We're quickly approaching winter and many of you are either about to finish off your triathlon seasons or are already finished. Some of you may not have a problem with staying motivated and on track during the winter because you have other sports or activities. Many other athletes struggle their way through the cold months just waiting for the spring. I want to share with you some ideas from my experience to help you to keep your motivation up this winter.

     The first item to discuss is what I think is the number one issue people have with the winter: mindset. I hate the term "off-season". It brings with it connotations of inactivity. I do take downtime for a couple weeks after my last triathlon of the year. For me, that's my "off-season", I do pretty much nothing, eat and drink what I want, and really let loose. I need that time mentally. But after those couple weeks, in my head, off-season is over and now it's preparation for next season. It's a mindset that everyday I have a purpose which is to work on whatever I can to come back better the next year. 

     I've had the privilege to live in a few great places. I grew up and spent the first 22 years of my life in Michigan so I experienced the long drawn out cold and damp winters. I lived 13 years in Austin, Texas so I trained through very mild winters. Finally the last several years, I've lived in Boulder, Colorado so I've experienced some tougher but trainable winters here with a mix of snow, cold, and sunny trainable days.

    You need to learn to focus on what you can do, not what you can't do because of the winter weather. If the weather is nice enough to get outside and ride your bike, then get out and ride your bike! Simple! If it's too cold or snowing, then just get on the trainer and learn to embrace the bike trainer. Focus on your mindset and attitude. When I've thought about the trainer as a tool to get better, it's been mentally easier than if I sit there dreading it and thinking about not liking the trainer. Any time I hear an athlete talking about how much they hate the trainer, I just don't engage in the conversation. Too bad for them, I'm going to embrace it so that I can come out of the winter fit and strong! 

    I will also work in some different activities to keep training interesting. I did a little mountain biking last winter here in Boulder. I didn't do a ton because I didn't want to risk an injury from a bike wreck. I did enjoy it and used it as a way to work on my bike handling skills. One day we had over a foot of snow, so my friend and I biked in the fresh snow on dirt roads. We were sliding all around and fishtailing everywhere. I really became comfortable controlling the bike in a skid. Experiences like this really helped my road bike handling skills this year. I was much more comfortable holding more speed through turns and trusted my ability to control the bike. 

    I've also become a fan of Nordic skiing here in Boulder. I grew up as an ice hockey player so I've found particularly that skate skiing is a great activity. The motion and cardio load is very complimentary to cycling. My old coach was a huge believer in skate skiing. He was Danish and took all of his European pro triathletes on skate skiing camps in the Italian Alps every year to start their fitness build for the year. The motion can be a challenge to learn, but it's a fun activity and can help you build cardio fitness as well as upper and lower body strength.

     I've found it fun to sometimes do a training block focused on a single sport. I tend not to do a huge running block. I like to keep my running steady. I've seen friends try a huge running block in the winter only to get injured from the increased volume and intensity from running. I have done a huge swimming block before and found it helpful. One winter, I took my downtime in November and then did a 4 week swim block before Christmas. Week 1 I swam 30,000 yards, week 2 was 38,000 yards, week 3 was 45,000 yards, and in the final week I made it to 50,000 yards. It was very hard, but I found my swimming on a whole different level that next year. I was doing double swims many days. But it was a way I could try something new and improved myself for the next year.

     As you move into this winter, try first focusing on your mindset. Then try to incorporate some new activities or emphasis in your training to compliment your normal exercise. Remember that this isn't the off season, it's the time for you to prepare yourself for next season!

Train hard!

Patrick

Multitasking 101…with Recovery Boots

Time is our most precious commodity. In this day and age of technology that was supposed to free up more time to enjoy the things in life that matter, it has somehow reduced this commodity. In the ‘old’ days, you weren’t connected at all times to the internet so you were able to decompress without the overstimulation of the internet, TV, social media, etc…You weren’t at your job at all hours of the day, connected every minute in the lives of your friends/acquaintances and more, and getting pounded in every aspect of your life by electronic stimulation. Today, in order to accomplish everything during the course of the day, you need to multitask intelligently. 

Age group and professional athletes need to work even harder at figuring out ways to make their lives more efficient to effectively navigate through all of the different everyday events that are pulling you in multiple directions. As I have stated before, recovery takes discipline and this, unfortunately, becomes one of the most important activities that is squeezed out of an athlete’s day in order to accomplish these other tasks that continually pop up. Life balance, I feel, is very important to happiness and getting through the day. If you can multitask while recovering, you can kill two birds with one stone, hopefully squeezing in more crucial endeavors in a shorter period of time.

Sometimes, what I discuss may seem like common sense, but reiterating it may awaken readers to take a bird’s eye view of their life and make sure they are actually following through on maximizing their time. What I am discussing here is not rocket science; to organize your life, plan efficiently, and reduce pain points is something everyone should be striving for. However, how often do you find yourself lacking the time to do everything that you want to do and having some aspects of your life fall by the wayside? As I stated before, recovery is often the first thing that goes when in fact, it should be one of the most important facets of your day if you want to reach your athletic goals. 

With that being said, be smart about your time and plan your recovery accordingly. Using the Recovery Pump system is one of my main recuperation tools. The rest of this article will focus on how I plan a lot of activities around my time in my Recovery Boots; once again, this exercise is to challenge everyone to look at their lives and figure out where they become more resourceful in their routine to strive for more balance so there is more of that precious time available for what is truly important to you.

We have two areas in our house where I can take my laptop computer and Recovery Boots to accommodate some compression activities at the same time as getting work done for our business. Like most professional triathletes, I am on email and social media applications a lot in the day returning triathlon and training questions, keeping up with friends and family, accomplishing sponsor and business functions, and keeping up on current events. If you can work while you compress and compress while you work, it is a win win situation! I bought a padded stand that I rest on my lap/stomach to balance the computer. Using your mind to reduce business work while recovering your body after a long training session is one of the great advantages of using the Recovery Boots. This follows the trend of employees in work spaces using standup work stations or sitting balls – it’s all about multitasking to improve the body and mind!

Travel is a necessary evil. It is rarely enjoyable, it is always time consuming, and it can hurt your body in ways that can’t be initially felt or seen. If I am traveling with my husband, I use my Recovery Boots at every chance I get in order to help negate the effects of long distance movement and to multitask. Whether we are driving from Auckland to Taupo after a 13 hour flight from San Francisco or driving an hour up to Healdsburg for a bike ride and wine tasting in wine country, I always take my boots for compression. I am able to take them on flights if we have a little more room than your standard Southwest flight. Once landed, if there is a car ride like Las Vegas to St. George, it is the first thing I put on once we have rented a car. Traveling to races or functions is pure dead time so you try to be as productive as you can to help the body or at least cut down on the wear and tear of sitting in one place for multiple hours. 

Another way to keep your life balance is to communicate with your friends and family via phone. Maintaining these relationships takes necessary time so I do plan my weekly phone calls around this recovering luxury and this includes spending time in my Recovery Boots. The time required for healing your body is the perfect occasion to keep solidifying these relationships and catching up on your close ones life events. You can also use these instances of recovery to make those phone calls that you know will take time; where you are put on hold for multiple minutes. These include bill requests, insurance, taxes, etc…Once again, being able to work on your body while lessening these annoying phone calls frees up time! Who is to say you can’t also sit down with popcorn and a movie with your partner or friends in your Recovery Boots; it always is a nice conversation piece!

I know what you are thinking – this is a big infomercial for Recovery Boots. I will tell you, yes, I believe in them that much. It doesn’t have to be a chore to recover; it is a necessity in order for you to be able to train or race again so why not do it diligently and make it a positive situation with multitasking rather than a time drag. You see it on social media on the time that is very cool for people to discuss how much they are training. However, you rarely hear about when people are recovering. The bottom line, in order to keep your chi and happiness in training, you HAVE to recover properly or those posts about training will not be as frequent. Remember, train smarter, not harder and recover harder and then repeat!

- Meredith Kessler, Ironman Champion

www.meredithkessler.com 

www.lifeoftriathlete.com

@mbkessler