Off-Season Tips

I get a lot of questions from people about what an off-season should look like. Off-seasoning is something I have seen done well and not so well by a big range of athletes over the years, and here are a few of my top dos and don'ts.



  • Take a couple weeks at minimum away from a structured training plan.
  • Take at least a few days completely off of your legs if not off of any kind of training.
  • Give yourself some mental downtime--we do need some time in the year to not be hyper-focused on our power or paces on the garmin.
  • Use this time for fun training adventures and races of a different sort. Long point-to-point bike rides and trail ultra-marathons are some of my  kids' favorite off-season activities :)


  • Completely disconnect from your coach.
  • Gain a stack of weight that you will spend the first chunk of your season trying to take off.
  • Take your completely-off days immediately following your big end-of-season race. Active recovery before your break is key.



Hillary Biscay

The Off-Season: Be A Spontaneous Exerciser


My husband Derick was talking a good friend in Texas recently. Our friend Lance asked if I was taking some time off from training right now (having finished my season in Arizona on November 20). I’m admittedly rather terrible at doing “no” exercise at all, as it makes me cranky, moody and antsy. I always prefer to be doing something active even when no races are around the corner. I guess you could say I just enjoy it! That said, I don’t always enjoy it feeling like ‘grind’ and ‘having’ to do such specifics most the year. Derick responded to Lance that I was indeed chilling out, not doing a lot but that I was being a “spontaneous exerciser”. And this phrase just stuck with me. It got me thinking, when it comes to advising athletes about “how much should I be doing right now”, I think this is the time of year to make it a goal to be a Spontaneous Exerciser.

Now what does this exactly mean? If indeed you’re one of those who train consistently most of the year and compete with goals in mind, it’s very healthy to loosen the reins a bit and take a different approach for a few weeks of the year. This time often coincides well with the holidays, as many of us are fitting social engagements and travel into our regular schedule. I rarely recommend doing nothing, unless you feel your body and mind really need this; then go for it. But you may find it’s even more refreshing for you to seek out new and different challenges and ways to stay active during the month of December (give or take; late November, early January). Now I’d be contradicting my Spontaneous Exerciser recommendation if I gave you too many guidelines, but I can at least explain a bit more what I mean by this.

Do what sounds fun on the given day. Try not to plan too much and too far ahead. Aim to stay away from ‘scheduling’ your exercise sessions weeks in advance. This can be tough for us Type A personalities who thrive on schedule and planning. I recently got hit with a nasty flu that left me in bed most of one day, and resigned to walking our dog the next few days as my only “activity”. When the weekend rolled around, I had the urge to go and do The Incline. This is an infamous hiking trail in town which is made up of an old railroad cog, starting at 6500 feet, rising less than 1 mile and topping out at 8590 feet. It sustains an average of 45% grade. Suffice to say, even doing The Incline easy is a lot of work. It was probably a bit lofty given what my body had been through the days prior, but the sun was shining, I was craving moving and being back in the mountains, and it just sounded like fun. So, Saturday morning I did The Incline. It was challenging and I was a little tired that evening, but then I got up again Sunday I did The Incline again. My legs paid for it the next week but it just sounded fun to do it two days in a row! So, I did. Then two days later, Derick and I took off to the mountains for 3 days of cross-country skiing. By the time my legs were un-sore from The Incline, I was waking up new muscles (glutes, triceps!) from the skiing. It was awesome! It is amazing what a lack of structure and variety in exercise modalities can do for your motivation; and simply opening your mind to new things.   

Spontaneous exercising can also prove to be therapeutic; and depending upon what you’re doing, meditative. Let yourself get lost in an activity just for the sake of moving; not the sake of tracking and recording. I often find when the weather turns colder, my body craves yoga classes. Another advantage of spontaneously finding new things to do is you realize muscles you may not regularly use! Being sore in different ways from other challenges is a nice change. You may also discover things you enjoy that you never realized. Perhaps you take a hike with friends, or someone invites you out on a mountain bike ride. I guess my advice for your “off-season” is, say yes to more options. Try things you’ve never done. See what sounds appealing on the day. And by no means does it have to be ‘epic’. One of my favorite go to’s is a simple easy 2-3k swim. Swimming is what I grew up doing and it is always the one thing that, no matter what, makes me feel better. Just do what moves you each day; with less planning, less pace-checking, more spontaneity. I’m willing to bet you’ll discover something new; something fun you never knew you enjoyed. I guarantee your head, your heart and your body will thank you for the change of routine. 

- Kelly H Williamson


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




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!


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


What to do When You Don't Want to:

If you’re reading this blog, there is a good chance you’re an athlete. You don’t have to be a professional, nor do you even need to be “fast”. But if you enjoy the challenge of exercise, you set goals and you work to achieve them, you’re an athlete. We all know how good exercise is for us. It keeps us healthy, works as a stress reliever, and often times keeps us on task; it holds us accountable. While I’ve been a lifelong (fairly serious) athlete, I can also acknowledge that the day ‘exercise’ is no longer part of my job, I’ll still be doing regardless. I just enjoy movement, and I get cranky when I don’t do it. All this aside, there are most definitely days when we just don’t FEEL LIKE IT. The thought of dragging yourself to the pool or lacing up your running shoes just sounds awful. You are not alone...this happens to us all at times. Especially those of you who may be training hard for a big goal event late in the season. November is a long time after January... so if you've been at it for many months, or you just find you're struggling to "go", here are a few tips that may help get you over that little 'hump' of finding the motivation to exercise.

1)      Take a day off. Yes, my first suggestion is to simply listen to your inner instinct and chill out. Often times it is just what your body and your mind need. If you find the motivation is lacking and you have other things you need to get done, scrap it…tomorrow will be here before you know it, and I’m willing to bet you’ll be a bit more anxious to exercise the next day. Now I’ve never (EVER) been one for ‘streaks’ (ie: getting caught up in things such as “100 days straight of running!”) or obsessing about overall numbers for the week, month, or year. If you’re one of these people, this one will be tough for you. But I highly encourage you to be able to step away and take rest days; not only for your own sanity (and relationships) but moreso for your longevity of exercise. And the key here? Don't feel guilty about it! Embrace it and enjoy the rest day. 


2)      Adjust what is on the schedule. If you see a workout that makes you feel overwhelmed just looking at it, and you understand why this may be (fatigue, life stress, etc) make it a goal to get out and move but don’t force the specific workout. Clearly if you have goals, you don’t want to do this all the time! However, I’ve coached athletes for 10+ years and one of the best things about a 'seasoned athlete' is that they can often take the initiative to adjust as and when needed. Not everything has to be ‘cleared’ by someone…sometimes it’s best to just be cleared by you, because nobody knows you as well as well… you. I often say ‘something is better than nothing’ (barring #1) and if you can get out, exercise, and feel better for it, you just may need to keep your workout easy and with no goal other than to clear the mind and refresh the body. Some days you just have to do what will make you feel good.

3)      Rally a friend. This is especially important when you know what is coming up for the week, month, etc. Workouts often go by much quicker when you have good company! And while sure it’s great to have solitude when we workout, sometimes it's fun to make exercise social too. I’ve learned over the years that some people click better than others when it comes to training partners. This doesn’t make some people bad people; but I’ve become a little picky when it comes to training with others. You want someone who you can pace well with, or on some days, someone who is stronger (or less strong) than you…depending upon what you’re aiming to do on the day. Be honest with one another. And be sure to check your ego at the start. Nobody enjoys getting half-wheeled or half-stepped for hours on end! It's not a race, just an exercise session. :) Try to find positive training partners, and likewise try to be a positive training partner for others.

4)      Dig in and try. Yes, again contrary to #2… if you’re struggling to motivate on a day you have a challenging workout, ask yourself "why". If you’re truly wiped out that is one thing, but I know personally I’ll have days I can’t wait to get to it and others I’m dreading it. If I'm honest with myself, I may dread it for fear of not hitting the goal. And this is a terrible reason! I have to call myself out.  We can’t succeed without taking risk and when we take risk, we may fail; but we may also pass with flying colors. There have also been *many* times I’ll warmup, think that it may not be there, then bam.. I get into the set and I’m nailing it. So, some days, you just have to kick yourself in the butt a little bit, get moving, and give it a shot. We never know until we try.

5)      Step back and see the larger picture. By this I mean, have you had a trend of lacking motivation? Has this become a more regular than occasional feeling? If so, you may just need a good old extended break. Time away from the ‘discipline’ you’re focusing on. I know Ironman specifically can really wear people down. This is fine…as with anything else in life, be honest with yourself when you assess this. All exercise is essentially ‘good’ for us….so maybe you just need a change of pace for a little while. There are so many forms of exercise we can choose from! I’ve found joy in long walks when that is what I’ve been resigned to given circumstances! Realize that everyone needs to hit ‘reset’ at times. But you just may be the one who needs to make this decision for yourself.  

And in the much larger picture...we're all fortunate to be able to do it. I remind myself of this regularly. When I don't want to "go" on some days, I think of how amazing it is that my body allows me to do this. I think of times I've had setbacks, and I've wanted so badly to go out and run hard! I find myself drawing motivation from those whom I know, if given the opportunity, would love to be training for events; but perhaps they can't for various reasons. This is a gift, and we NEVER 'have' to do it, we get to do it. 

Kelly H. Williamson

Twitter: @khwilliamson

Instagram: kmhwilliamson


Top 5 Defining Characteristics of our Kona Team

2016 has been a record-setting year for the athletes that we coach at TeamHPB. As of my writing this, we have ten age group athletes qualified for the Hawaii Ironman, with a couple more who have a chance to do so next weekend. I was thinking about how I could disseminate some of what I've observed in them in a way that might help others with this or other big triathlon goals in mind.

I came up with the top five defining characteristics of our Kona Team:

They are self-motivated. My job with these athletes is not to convince them of the value of getting out the door to get the work done but instead , on occasion, to hold them back from over-doing.

They hold themselves accountable. These are not people who make excuses. If and when they fail or fall down, these athletes look inward and assess what they will do to succeed the next time--and then they implement these changes rather than just talking about them.

They are time-management experts. Our Kona crew includes CEOs, business owners, parents, grandparents, people who work two jobs, and people whose jobs on occasion have them sleeping under their desks at the office. Yet the level of training that gets one qualified for Kona happens, thanks to a whole lot of planning and prioritizing.

They are comfortable being uncomfortable. While they may experience no less trepidation in the face of what they know will be an extremely uncomfortable training or racing assignment, these athletes recognize and thrive on such instances as the ones that define their athletic success.

They have long-term vision and perspective. My "Kona kids" are almost always the ones who come to me with long-term plans and goals in the range of a few years. These are not the athletes coming to me looking for a magic bullet or for me to work a miracle in a matter of months. They recognize that big accomplishments in our sport are years in the making and they embrace the process.

- Hillary Biscay

The Dreaded ‘I’ Word – Injury

In retrospect, it would have been best to have done something two years ago when my hamstring began to hurt. However, triathletes, on a whole, usually try to fight through the pain in order to compete in the sport they love; I am no exception. Hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes, and treating a pain flare up right away is a prudent course of action. However, if you tried to treat every niggle, you would never compete. There is a grey area or blurred lines between pushing through the pain and stopping training all together to receive treatment. As an athlete, you usually flip the coin as to whether you continue and sometimes these flips do not go in your favor. I had been flipping this imaginary coin for a couple of years before my luck ran out in May of this year.

A lot of what I write about is so others do not necessarily emulate but maybe learn from my trials and tribulations. This is why we are releasing our first manual, Life of a Triathlete: Race, and why I enjoy writing for partners like Recovery Pump. If I can help individuals by relaying my experiences then it makes the process worthwhile. The reason I am prefacing this is because everyone is different, especially in regard to their bodies and injuries. Showing the process that I went down and the rabbit hole that it became should be an eye opener for others in a similar predicament.


My right high hamstring/glute had been bothering me for the better part of two years yet it got to a point where racing became a chore after Ironman New Zealand 2016. My right leg was just a passenger on the bike and run as my left side carried it around. Obviously this is not a good recipe for speed and a tremendous recipe for further injury. Your mind drifts to a point where, at one time you could fight through the pain, all thoughts are on just finishing the workout or race. This isn’t something you can mentally block out; once that niggle gravitates towards injury, training and racing does not become fun or rewarding. After Ironman St. George 70.3, I performed multitudes of therapy; everything but complete rest. You always have a glimmer of hope that something will miraculously heal. However, after Ironman Mt. Tremblant 70.3, I knew for sure it was time to batten down the hatches and take care of the injury.

I was able to get in with a well respected doctor in the Bay Area after Ironman Mt. Tremblant 70.3. He examined my MRI and some of his words seemed alarming yet they made so much sense. He stated there is no such thing as a perfect MRI for an athlete, especially a professional. For example, all Major League Baseball pitchers have micro tears and damage; the question is when that damaged area will become a problem for the athlete where it affects their performance. He said that both of my hamstrings and gluteal muscles had tears. However, my problematic area, for one reason or another, was creating unbearable pain to the point where it is impossible to run at top speed. Easy tasks like bending over to tie your shoe were now tedious and painful. My good leg, for one reason or another, had little pain even though there was the same damage on both of them. My doctor said you can’t explain these types of things, so you try to treat it and rehab accordingly. It could be a case where the damaged area was swelling into some nerves or certain fibers had been severed that created an unusually high pain point. Whatever the reason, it needed to be fixed to be able to compete at the ever increasing level of professional female triathletes in this day and age. 

The old adage goes it takes courage and discipline to recover. Treating an injury is a battle of patience. To stop what you have been doing all your life, working out and training, is no easy task as athletes can attest to. However, if you do not do it right, you are destined to repeat the same mistakes and it becomes an endless hole that is tough to crawl out of. The day is still filled with many activities; there are always things to do with your business, sponsors, giving back to the triathlon community, rehab, yoga, the exercises that you CAN do, physical therapy, maintenance, family, friends, life etc…However, the enormous chunk of the day that training takes up has been altered. The best advice is to keep your mind occupied, improve other areas of your life that may have been neglected (the spring cleaning that has been on hold for four years has finally happened!), and rest.


As my rehab enters its third week, I have been concentrating on heat, ice, compression and repeat. My Recovery Boots have been working overtime as I work diligently to heal and massage the tender hamstring. I am thankful to be able to swim, bumped up strength sessions and have incorporated stretching, Bikram Yoga and continued physical therapy into my routine to keep from scar tissue building up and to make the affected area stronger. Hopefully, as the saying goes, we will take one step backwards to take two steps forward and the body will eventually thank me for it!


My last thought is to always forge ahead. It can be easy to sit back, rely on others, or think "why did this happen to me." Triathlon racing is a roller coaster ride and all you can do is weather the storm and keep your eyes on the prize for that elusive perfect race. As with anything in life, there is no knight in shining armor or magic formula that is going to swoop in and miraculously save the day. If you are smart, prudent, and calculated with your actions following an injury, you can be back better than ever before you know it. Patience is a virtue!


- Meredith Kessler



My phone started ringing and it was an “unknown number.” Usually I don’t pick those up, but it was a good thing I did! The owner of Leader bikes was calling to invite me to race for their team in Seoul, South Korea. I had never been over to Asia to race so it was an experience I didn’t want to pass up. It was time to start packing.

The event I would be racing in is called The King of Track. It is a two-day race with the first day of racing at the velodrome and the second day is a fixed gear criterium. Track racing is my profession so I was excited and ready for that, but I had only done one other fixed gear crit before so I knew that would be an adventure!


Sometimes the world and who we know in it comes full circle. I would be traveling to Seoul to race with Ronnie Toth. Ronnie and I have been friends since about 10 years old and ran cross country and track and field together growing up. After high school we split ways. I went off to be a division 1 decathlete and he explored the world of Ironman racing. 11 years later our paths would cross again as we had both gotten into cycling and then fixed gear racing. CRAZY! Plus, in high school Ronnie was voted most unforgettable because of some of his crazy antics and for some reason I was voted class clown… It was going to be a fun trip!

When we arrived in Seoul. Our sponsor Park of Leader Bikes Korea picked us up and took us to his bike shop. We started unpacking and building up our bikes. As things were being pulled out of my bike box one of the employees pulled out a pair of GIANT size pants and said, “What the heck are these?” My reply, “Oh, those are God’s gift to recovery!” Within a few minutes I had my RP system hooked up and Park inside the pants. His face was priceless. He liked what he was feeling, but wasn’t sure if he should… Kind of like being in the lead car on a roller coaster. After about 10 minutes he enjoyed his experience, but had enough.


Day 1 of racing was at the track and we had the keirin and the elimination race. I was excited for the keirin because that was one of my better races and knew that Ronnie and I could get a good result in the elimination if we worked together. Things were going well and I won my first heat of the keirin to move onto the semi. The program was a bit off with some long breaks so it was a few hours delay till the semi. The semi final started and I was being patient as the race unfolded and went to make a big move with a little more than half a lap to go, but my legs didn’t have the pop I needed. Top 3 moved on and I got caught behind the 3rd rider and couldn’t get over the top… I made a pretty amateur mistake and just like that I was out of the final. Not the way I envisioned things, but still had the elimination race to go for a result. The elimination race had 20 riders and they pulled the last place rider every other lap. For the first while Ronnie and I stayed in a safe place as to not get eliminated, but as the field thins down the only good place to be is in the front. Ronnie has great endurance and tempo so he took the lead setting a good pace. I sat just on the outside of his right hip looking over my right shoulder making sure nobody came over the top. Riders are pulled out every 2 laps until there are 4 riders left then it is 2 laps till the finish. With 2 laps to go I pushed the other 2 riders up track showing them they were going to have to fight to pass me. I stayed right to the side of Ronnie and with half a lap to go made big move as another rider was trying to come over the top. I kept him right on my hip making him ride further and got to the finish line about half a wheel before him. VICTORY WAS OURS!!!

Post racing we went and got some Korean BBQ… naturally! Then back to our room to hop in the RP pants for some solid recovery.

Day 2 was the fixed gear crit. I had only done one other fixie crit prior to this so wasn’t too sure how it would end up. There were 3 strong Italian riders with lots of experience and some big results, so again Ronnie and I would have to work together to try and get a good result for our sponsor Leader Bikes Korea. The course was about 1.5 miles and the shape of your left hand if you were holding up your index finger and the race was 40 minutes long. Things got rolling and there were lots of small attacks. I am a sprinter so my job was to do as little as possible so I am fresh for the sprint. Ronnie is the Ironman so his job is to bring back any attacks and try to keep it together. The race started with 50 riders and within the first 20 minutes the group was blown up and down to about 20 riders. The Italians were working well together and keeping the tempo high with lots of attacks. Ronnie and I were working together as best we could and there were a few times I was hanging on by a string… With 3 laps to got one of the Italians got off the front and there was no brining him back. We could have worked to bring him back, but as soon as we did another Italian would have attacked. With just before 1 lap to go another Italian attacked hard just before the U-turn. It was impressive to see him take a turn like that on a fixed gear bike at over 20mph! So 2 Italians were off the front and there was no brining them back. With only 1 spot left on the podium we couldn’t let anyone else get away. The pace sped up and slowed down as we were trying to test each other’s legs. We took the final U-turn and it was a straight 1000 meter shot to the finish. A Korean went hard, the Italian followed, and then I hopped on the Italians wheel. With 30 meters to go we passed the Korean and it was just the Italian and I. I let him pull a bit longer then with 200 meters to go made my move around the outside! With a small gap I was able to sit up across the finish line in 3rd place and give the crowd a wave. It was one of the hardest 40 minutes I had every done and could not have done it without Ronnie’s crazy strength and endurance. We worked together and got a great result for the team!

We had an amazing time in Korea and got some great results. Leaders Bikes treated us like kings and the people couldn’t get enough pictures and autographs of us. And as always, it was great to be able to travel with my RP system by my side!


- Nate Koch


Life as a Road Map

I’ve coached athletes for about 10 years. Many of whom I coach are busy individuals balancing full time jobs with family life, and often times training for their own events; running, triathlon, or even Ironman races. It is a lot for them to balance, yet I respect (and can relate to) the desire to have personal goals outside of their daily lives. I’m often amazed at the parallels that I see between my own life, which entails being able to devote most hours of my day to training, recovery, and competing; with those of the athletes that I coach. Meaning...I am not juggling a full time job outside of racing, nor am I balancing spending time with kids and their activities. The similarities I see is that both those I coach (often professional businessmen but amateur athletes), and myself, along with other professional athletes; we all deal with various life setbacks that require some re-routing along the way.

One of the first steps I take as a coach when speaking with an athlete is their ‘long term plan’. We discuss where their fitness currently is, what they have been doing recently, and what their goals are. In short, “Where are we right now, and where do we want to be?” We will sketch out a route that will take into account daily commitments, work travels, and family vacations; aiming to plan out the best approach and set them up to accomplish their goals. 

Yet as we all know, life rarely goes according to plan. And the ability to stay focused on goals often lies in one’s ability to evaluate, adapt, and adjust.

As I too navigate some unplanned road blocks this season, I relate this to a giant road map. I know the best way to get from January to December for my season. The perfect plan for me will entail some winter running races, a few early season half ironman races, which build often to an early season Ironman as well as a race later season to peak for as well. We toss in a mid-season break or rest, and bam. The prefect equation for success! Alas, the 2016 season has looked more like ‘remove, adjust, replace.’ I coach a few people who have had similar scenarios. What I find ironic is, when I speak to them, I’m calm, relaxed and confident in the plan we have in place. I can hear the worry and fear in their voices that they won’t be ready come November, or the stress that things haven’t gone according to plan so far; but I truly feel confident that we have the time to still have them adequately prepared. Yet when I think of my own scenario, I find myself going back and forth between feeling relaxed and confident yet also concerned I’m losing time, fitness and opportunity. It’s funny how sometimes we need to listen to our own advice; step away a bit, and see things from the outside looking in.

So when you find a niggle becomes a dreaded ‘injury’, or that family vacation falls at an awful time for your ‘A’ race, take a step back and remember, there is still a way to get to the end goal. Who doesn’t like a good road trip? Just readjust your plan, stay positive, and re-route your approach. 

-Kelly J. Williamson

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