How a Lack of Strength and Fitness Contribute to Injury Risk for Bikers

This week we’re re-sharing one of our favorite podcast episodes, and we’ll be back next week with an all-new show.

Dee Tidwell is a professional coach and the founder of Train to Ride which provides cycling-specific training programs and plans for mountain biking, road, gravel, and moto riding. He’s also a two time Big Mountain Enduro Master’s Champ and has worked with countless professional athletes including members of the Yeti/Fox Factory professional EWS race team.

Find more information about Dee and learn about training programs at TrainToRide.com.

A full, automatically-generated transcript of this podcast conversation is available to Singletracks supporters.

Transcript

Jeff 0:00
Hey, everybody, welcome to the Singletracks podcast. My name is Jeff and today my guest is D Tidwell. D is a professional coach and the founder of trained to ride which provides cycling specific training programs and plans for mountain biking, road gravel and moto riding. He’s also a two time big mountain enduro masters champ, and has worked with countless professional athletes, including members of the Yeti Fox factory, professional AWS race team. Thanks for joining us, Dee.

Dee 0:59
Thank you, Jeff. stoked to be here.

Jeff 1:01
Yeah. Well tell us how you got into coaching.

Dee 1:04
I’ve been in fitness for proximately 30 years now. We may give you a little insight into my age, but I won’t tell you.

Jeff 1:14
You started when you were zero. So you’re 30?

Dee 1:18
Well, you know, I told people last week, I just had my 35th dyslexic birthday. So anyway, I was a mountain biker from day one. Because really, you know, I started writing when writing kind of started right back in the in the late 80s. there so I quickly found out in road cycling that I wasn’t going to be a very good road cyclist because I carried a lot of muscle mass because I trained hard in the gym, but I love to ride. And so my first couple of cross country races, I just got torched on the up hills, but I did the opposite on the downhills. And so I found myself getting stuck behind a lot of slow people going downhill. But then obviously me being a slow person coming up hill. So downhill was kind of up and coming with Tomac. And Missy Jovi and the whole crew back then and so I started downhill racing because Yeah. And so through the years, that’s the fun part. I mean, that’s the only reason to go up, isn’t it? I mean, hello. Yeah, exactly. So whether it’s faster than BMX or road, or mountain bike, or whatever, you know, that was my my gig and still isn’t this day, actually. And so over the years, through working through the fitness industry, for example, I started with Missy Gob back in, like 9899. And that kind of started my coaching career and cycling back then was working with her. Before that I was working with promoter guys. And then excuse me, after that I got working in with promoter guys. And then pro snowboarding and pro skiing and Kinect games and all that good stuff. So it started, what I found myself in, which was very unique, I think for a professional like myself is I found myself luckily, is the front of these trends, and being able to sort of shape and be part of the evolution of training in the sports, right? Missy was ahead of her time because she was always thinking about training, some kind of like Tomek was and a tinker was as well. And when I went into Moto, I was kind of like one of a few guys, just like with mountain biking where there was only a few of us on tour who were actually working with pro riders. And same in the snow. And then same with PGA Tour players. So it was really cool to just kind of evolved in the beginning of things. And then now watch it now. And it’s you know, this, this bigger thing now all across all these platforms, sports platforms, which was pretty cool.

Jeff 3:47
Yeah, so back in those early days where people just, they were just fast, like they didn’t really think about why they were fast, or how they were fast. They were just kind of had figured it out on their own. And they weren’t necessarily working with coaches, or is that is that sort of what you found early on in those sports?

Dee 4:02
Yes. Let’s face it, especially for cycling. There’s definitely a DNA model, right? I mean, if you look at some of the most successful cyclists in the world, and in history, they have a certain DNA pattern that they’ve they’ve been born with, right? Especially with from a cardio respiratory system, etc. So I think they were able to, in all of these sports, in most sports get away with their talent, right? Not necessarily having or using talent magnifiers like training specifically, or inclusively or whatever, right? They were just terrific athletes who, who tapped into exactly what they’re made to do. Interesting. So yeah, I would say that now we get see the best of both worlds, which is why we see a constant evolution, particularly in the mountain bike sport, even in moto two. I mean, some of the things that those guys are doing in moto was just insane. So yes, yes, I would agree with that.

Jeff 4:57
Yeah, cool. So yeah, you’ve been coaching for 30 years. And obviously over that time, you’ve kind of developed various different programs. And the big one that I saw on your website that makes a lot of sense to me, and I don’t know, that I’d seen it before is something that you call the performance pyramid? Can you tell us a little bit about what that is like how it came about and how it basically works?

Dee 5:21
Absolutely. So I would say that I learned it from Paul check who I was studying under, at the time in the early 2000s, where, if you think of, of pyramid, and you break it into four sections, the base of the pyramid is essentially your ability to move well, which is joint mobility, muscle flexibility, overall stability, and I throw kind of breathing mechanics in there a little bit, okay, because that involves the ribcage and the diaphragm and the entire spine to go along with it. So that foundation, right, in order to create a nice, strong pyramid, that foundation needs to be wide, right? If you have a narrow base, you have a tall pyramid, but it can easily topple over. That makes sense, right? So we want a nice wide base. And that nice wide base is your ability to move to the best of your ability as an athlete, okay? And it doesn’t matter what sport, okay, so I apply these techniques to all people that I work with, it doesn’t matter if it’s cycling or not. Because it’s how human movement works. You want to optimize the by everybody’s ability to move, right. And that’s basically what I see myself as, as a coach as it relates to my job is to make somebody move better when they move better. And we’ll talk a little bit later, but they’re more efficient, they save energy, they can express a lot of energy, they can get to their truth, true strength, etc. So when you have that nice wide base, you start with phase one, mobility, flexibility, stability and posture, you can then go to phase two, which is essentially muscle growth or development. Okay, or hypertrophy is another way to put it. And so once you have the base layer of the mobility, flexibility, stability, posture, then we can go to phase two, which is hypertrophy or muscle development or muscle growth. Okay, and we have to think about not only are we creating density in the muscle, let’s say and making that muscle bigger in size. Don’t think bodybuilder big but just bigger, right? It relates to density. Right. Okay. And then we also strengthen the tendons which are the muscles attached to the bones, and then also the connective tissue within the joints which are ligaments. Yeah. Okay. All right, so, and then everything that attaches to that is fascia. Fascia is everywhere in the body, and fascia can be strengthened as well. Okay, so we get strong in that second phase as it relates to not strength per se, but just density.

Jeff 7:38
Okay, what about bones? Is that? Is that part of it? Because I know that is in a recent conversation, we were talking about how cyclists, some cyclists have like low bone density, because cycling is such a, like low impact type of sport. So is that is that something as well that you can work on? And you can you can make your bones denser?

Dee 7:57
Yes. Because that’s an inherent benefit, right? So for people, for example, who has osteoporosis, one of the best things that can do is start weight training, because now you’re imposing a force on the body that’s more than gravity. And we do it in different planes in different directions, right. And that forces the bone to have to adapt in all those different directions. We’ll call it 3d direction, right are omnidirectional. So now it forces the brain to say, oh, gosh, I need to strengthen my bone integrity. Right? So absolutely, that takes place. And then the opposite happens, like you say, cyclists, you know, struggle with, with bone density issues, because they do the same thing over and over in the same pattern without excessive stress. Yeah, right come in from the outside.

Jeff 8:39
That makes it to like, you’re more likely to break a bone, for example, in a fall, I suppose if you don’t have that bone density?

Dee 8:46
Absolutely. Absolutely. So third phase, then, once you have phase one and two on your belt, then we started to get into developing strength, okay. And strength is the ability to move something over a certain amount of time, right. So obviously, imposing large amounts of stress to your body. And again, in that under omnidirectional fashion, whether we’re using dumbbells or free weights, or Olympic bars, or we’re using boxes or balanced devices, or cable machines, etc, right? We’re imposing and forcing the body to adapt, good levels of external force being put upon it. Okay, and that’s how we get strong, right? Okay. We have to think about the different planes of strength to so you know, sagittal is front to back touch those stand back up, frontal plane to side to side, want to touch you know, the side of my knee, the side of my knee, and then transverse plane is the rotary pattern, right? So we want to impose strength right or create strength in all of those planes because especially as as, like, mountain bikers, and moto Athletes, we have those transfer type of forces that are going through our body while riding more so than gravel road, right? Because they tend to be going in a straight line for the most part. And so we have to train for those. Right. And so that strength comes in play and what I call strength endurance or the ability to, to be strong for a long period of time, particularly on mountain mount biking, Moto. And now gravel, really, I mean, because you have to, you know, your body has to regulate micro bumps of different sources and sizes, which are very similar, compared to say mountain biking, where we’re, we’re going through different sizes all the time, right? Yeah, that involves a certain amount of strength. So it matters. Okay. And even less furrowed, but even still, it matters a lot. Yeah. And then the top of the pyramid is power, right? Where we were recruiting speed, essentially, right, or being able to express the the first three layers with a ton of force, and a ton of speed. Yeah. Okay. And then. So that’s the performance pyramid. And all of my programs are built upon that foundational thought process, including, for example, the monthly coaching, you know, it’s 12 months, for example, but we and I enter weave those through the entire process, and it still works in a, in a seasonal fashion, if you will. Okay, for the monthly. Yeah,

Jeff 11:33
yeah, seems like a lot of mountain bikers or, you know, just cyclists in general, might be tempted to want to jump to like, you know, the, the second to the top or the top level, you know, that strength or power and speed level? Do you find people, you know, wanting to get ahead like that, and trying to skip those first two levels? Because it seems like the first two levels are pretty basic. And most of us, we might think, oh, you know, I’ve got that, like, I’ve got that just kind of functional capability.

Dee 12:03
Well, that is our society today, right?

Jeff 12:07
In a nutshell, yes, it seems,

Dee 12:09
most any athlete or person definitely doesn’t want to go through the kind of the boring part that doesn’t seem like like a whole lot of work, per se. But but it really leaves them missing out on some crucial parts that will later show up in the form of fatigue, lack of performance, or substandard, or they’re not achieving what they what they really desire to achieve, and possibly even injury. That’s why I said, you know, you want your base to be really wide and not narrow. Right? And that performance pyramid. So it is a step by step process. Now, some people have emailed me and say, Hey, I’ve been working on such and such for six months, is it okay, if I just jumped to phase two? Or phase three? And I’m like, Okay, well, tell me what you’re doing. Let’s make sure. And then, you know, I can say yes or no, some people have asked me that question for sure. But you have to no matter if, like, I’ll have people that buy a program two or three years ago, or bought a program two or three years ago, and they’ll do it each year, because it works, and they keep getting better. And they’ve asked me Do I need to do phase one in phase two? Even though I’ve done it two years, prior three years prior? I say yes, you have to, because lots of happen. From the time that you ended that six month program, I was I’d gone through your season, taken a bit of an offseason. And now you’re starting again, there’s a lot of stuff that you’ve got injured, there’s been different stresses that have been applied. COVID forgotten, you know, all kinds of stuff that’s taken place. So yes, you have to because your body changes, it develops it ages for God’s sakes. Right. So, yes, I highly recommend that you always do the lower levels, if you will. Okay, for going for the next.

Jeff 13:54
Yeah, yeah, that’s good advice. And I mean, almost seems like something that a lot of people could benefit from even non athletes. You know, it’s it sounds like really, you know, almost like physical therapy, like where you’re, you’re making sure that your body is moving the way it’s supposed to move. And I don’t know, I just think of like, my 80 year old neighbors, you know, like, this is the kind of thing that even for them, like, that’s really important, you know, being able to still move and walk and, and do all those things without, you know, causing further injury and just making sure your body is is ready to take on that that new level of strength and fitness.

Dee 14:33
Yeah. And that’s perfectly said that you’re totally right. And I really don’t need to add to it. I mean, I could, I mean, no, you’re you’re absolutely right. That’s the way I treat everybody that comes in here. We start with evaluation. I build the program based off of that and some other things and it usually always starts with the corrective. First two phases.

Jeff 14:53
Yeah. Well, I noticed one of the programs you offer is specific to electric mountain bike riding and racing And I’m curious to know how that’s different from more traditional mountain bike training?

Dee 15:05
Well, first, I think we have to acknowledge that mountain bike training is way different than road training. Right. And our industry has built itself on our industry, I’ll say mountain biking industry is built is itself over the last couple of decades on, I’ve got to get my road training in in order to ride myself in the shape, right?

Jeff 15:25
Yeah, and and that probably worked for XC, me when when cross country riding was sort of the dominant form of racing a bet that made sense. But right in the years since that’s, that’s just one part of mountain biking.

Dee 15:38
Exactly. Right. Yep. I totally agree with that. And so now we have bikes that are 50 pounds. They exhibit their own torque, right? And or speed with relatively little input, if you will, right. It doesn’t take a lot of input if you’re on level three, for example, right? To go fast. Right? So wait, we have a lower center of gravity, which we’ve gotten a little bit used to in mountain bikes, but they, you know, you bikes tend to have a little bit even lower than then most mountain bikes. And they tend to be a smidge longer perhaps even, I think, on average, I’m gonna just kind of throw it out there. Yeah, yeah. Sounds right. So those two things, you know, one of my hashtags is hashtag upselling. Right now we have this whole capability of upselling, which is a different skill set and down hilling. Because now we’re working and trying to choose lines going uphill, because we can, whereas before, we weren’t working as it relates to pedaling, and really using our upper body, for example, as much as we do. And so now we have this bigger combination, this more dynamic ability to go fast uphill, which is really cool. Yeah. And it changes things a lot. Because now, you know, downhill skiing, there’s, there’s a lot of hip engagement, there’s a lot of legwork, we still have a lot of upper body work, but going uphill, there’s more upper body work involved in mountain biking, because we have to get up and over water bars, we have to get up and over features and rocks, and you name it right. And we use that force that comes from our hands, through our body to our legs to create. Right, right. So now we have a 50 pound that like we’re going uphill on that we have to be able to tame with skills, right? And if you don’t think that involves some strength and some stability, you know, and good breathing mechanics. That’s not true. Right? Right. And then the ability to to you actually, if anybody has been on an E bike, first thing, you know, people think about it, oh, gosh, that’s quick, right. And there’s a little bit of a reaction where they get thrown back a little bit, or they’re not used to being on a bicycle, having to deal with with a, I’ll call it a G force, but it’s not really a G force, you know, I’m saying it’s like, yeah, you’re getting thrown back into the seat of your car by from a G force from acceleration. But there’s there is there’s an acceleration factor that your body has to your brain has to work through, right to understand how to modify and use to so there is for me, in my programs there, it’s more about those things than it is actually Oh, I don’t know, maybe an average road riding thought would be, you know, I want to get my vo to max up or I want to be able to exert more water, whatever. Right. So those are, those are finding good. But for the most part, when you’re riding any bike, I think those few thoughts are really what’s kind of makes it different. Yeah. And then you throw the downhill in there, and you’ve got to move around a 50 pound downhill rig now.

Jeff 18:47
Yeah, well, there’s definitely, especially for folks who haven’t tried any bike yet. There’s this, this thought that the bike does a lot of the work for you. And you know, I’ve tested several e bikes recently. And you know, I mean, I’m maxing out my heart rate on a lot of the climbs. And, you know, the thing you were mentioning about, like, sort of how you balance on the bike and how you need to lean forward more in the climbs. Like that’s something Yeah, that I’ve totally noticed. You have to do differently, you know, just the, you’re writing things that are so steep that you wouldn’t normally even attempt on a normal bike. And so, yeah, you it’s a different posture is required. It’s it’s a whole different, you know, just wave approaching the climbs. And then, on the dissents, for sure, yeah, it’s a heavier bike. I mean, for me, it feels a lot more like downhill than enduro, or any of those other sort of disciplines that maybe people are more familiar with.

Dee 19:43
Yeah, I would agree with you on that. I haven’t gotten a race one yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to both writing or having one in racing to. Yeah, yeah, definitely. Because if I can take the sucky part out, which for me, going uphill ah, I just Audit anymore, but you know what I mean? It’s gonna be fun again,

Jeff 20:03
right? Right, until you start challenging yourself, because you’re like, well, the normal trails are kind of boring on any bike, because you know, I can climb those on my regular bike, I need to find some even steeper and, you know, even rockier and even longer. So, right even longer. Exactly.

Dee 20:19
I can do two or three laps on that downhill trail instead of one. Yeah,

Jeff 20:24
exactly. Well, speaking of time and timing party, the pitch is that your programs don’t require hours of cardio, or expensive equipment. So do you have you found that people really hate cardio so much that they just avoid training altogether? Like, they just assume it’s going to be terrible, and I have to, you know, just spend hours out of my day doing it. But

Dee 20:48
I think going back to my prior comment about us, you know, as mountain bikers early on, like you said, with cross country thinking that we had to spin, you know, a ton of road miles and base miles. I think, you know, we’re, we still have that as our normal thought processes, riders, right. But my, my approach is, is that if a mountain biker, or a cyclist in general is looking for a training program, they’re probably trying to take their performance to the next level, somehow, someway, whether it’s an event or to beat the buddies, or a race or whatever, right. So to me, those people already have this really good foundation of fitness. Right? We’re not dealing with I mean, we are now because of COVID. We’re dealing with a whole bunch of beginner cyclists or, you know, cyclists that haven’t written their mountain bikes. I don’t know about you, but I was amazed at how many 1990s mountain bike Yeah, it’s impressive. It was awesome. It’s

Jeff 21:41
like a museum out at the trail, right?

Dee 21:45
Oh, my gosh, but I’m so my assumption is, is that there’s there is a, there is an adequate base for cardio for mountain bikers. Right? in particular. And so from that what most people are dealing with as it relates to not achieving maybe what they want to do, or wanting to go to the next level is back to their biomechanical stuff with the performance pyramid. Right. So, you know, their, their whole posterior chain is tight, their core is weak, their glutes are turned off their posture is poor. Because, you know, they sit at a desk all day, let’s say, or, you know, which is now at home or whatever, it doesn’t matter. But so the influence of the home office or the office as it relates to posture, right, and what that does to the equation, that kind of stuff can be fixed and changed in the gym. It can’t be fixed and change bike, because that’s really, the CD of workplace is really nothing, it’s not much different than a cycling position. Right. The last thing you want to do, and this is on average, the average commute, it’s about 30 minutes is to get up, you did it you know, eat sitting down, get in your car for 30 minutes, go sit at work for you know, eight hours, sit in your car, coming home for 30 minutes, eat again for 30 minutes, or whatever it takes, and then watch television for you know, an average two to three hours, which they say is what’s the average American at least watch television? Yeah. And then and then try to throw on performance on a bike that does the same thing. Right? It doesn’t make any sense. Right? So yeah, I come from that kind of mindset, more than the cardio aspect of things. Right. And we can do all of this stuff and the performance period without much equipment, ya know, the basics that you have at home, you can get a lot done with that. And you know, and I build my programs based off of that process, too. Okay, well, particularly since COVID. When I did a bunch of free videos during COVID. It’s like, okay, let’s, let’s make stuff up. Let’s take inner tubes and tie old grips to it. And now we’ve got a band you worked with, let’s turn our bike over and use our foot on the brake and pedal for an armour garment. I mean, yeah, I put that one on pinkbike I think actually, but so we get creative. And there’s a lot you can do at home that can help not only build your cardio, but make your body more efficient, because that’s what it is to is I want to change the way people think it’s especially as it relates to we have our way as mountain bikers, I’ve pushed this mountain bikers need to train differently than road cyclists. I want to take that idea and say, Hey, road cyclists, there’s a different way to train. Let’s have you trained like, like a mountain biker. And it’s going to make you a better road or gravel rider interesting. Instead of the other way round, right? Yeah, I’m just reversing what’s been going on for decades, with more of an athletic concept. That makes sense. Yeah. So that’s what I’m trying to develop is trained like a mountain biker. And yes, I know there’s camps and people are pretty staunch on their camps and blah, blah, blah, but it’s like look, the best in the world, the smartest in the world. All of these people, they always learn from other people right? To make themselves better. Yeah. Right. So, yes, roadies, gravel riders, Moto guys can learn from Mount bikers moto can learn from road road can. Yeah. So that’s kind of where I go with my pitches on my program.

Jeff 25:20
Yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s interesting. Because I mean, I could totally see it sounds like a lot of it is strength based and people are afraid, then they’re like, Well, I just spent all this money on my bike like, now I gotta get like a bunch of weights, or I gotta get, you know, gym membership. And, you know, it makes a lot of sense to find ways that you can do that at home. Seems like a great, a great pitch. And then also, I really like what you’re saying about the training model, it’s kind of going full circle, because you know, mountain biking and gravel, those are kind of the New Kids on the Block in terms of cycling. And, you know, so a lot of the things that we do they were passed down from road cycling, because it’s been around longer. But yeah, it’s it’s cool to think about how this feeds back into Road, which is, you know, it’s kind of our Big Brother or Big Sister out there. Well, one of the things that your programs focus on is soft tissue therapy. Is this something that folks can also work on at home with like foam rollers and massage guns? Or is this one of those areas where working with like, either physical therapist or a massage therapist in person is beneficial?

Dee 26:36
Yes. And yes.

Jeff 26:38
Little both? So,

Dee 26:40
yes, exactly. I try to in all my programs, empower people to be able to self assess, because I all my programs have self physical evaluation, so they self assess them. And then they also have the soft tissue component to it, where, you know, the myofascial stretching, for example. And then the soft tissue therapy using like the use of, for example, foam roller or lacrosse balls, massage sticks, things like that to work through tight. A he’s tissue is really important, right? Because those are, those are energy blocks, they are efficiency blocks, and then they’re also blocks as it relates to the body being able to move well, right. And then we have what we’ve all experienced, you know, trigger points and occasions and things and you just don’t have the same range of motion. You don’t have the same capability of muscle contraction and relaxation, which is important. Right? So, yes, being all my programs include education on how to do stuff on their own. And I always want to empower people to be able to do that stuff on their own. Because, look, I want people to be able to fire me essentially, like, I’m doing great. You’ve taught me enough, I can go off and do this on my own right. Now. The second Yes, is I have a system here when people come and visit me where I have a strong network that I refer out to. And I think everybody should, just like you mentioned, that physical therapist and massage therapist, a chiropractor, even a doctor, general MD, and then an orthopod, as well. So I have my network that I refer out to based off of what people’s needs are. So sometimes somebody will come in and be like, Look, this tissue is such and such and such, you know, your pelvis is off here, I’m going to send you over to this person over here for some dry needle, trigger point therapy, pelvis evaluation, and in correction, right, and then that pte, will send me what their findings are, I can take those findings and then apply them to my findings or to even get more specific with their program. So referring out, if in doubt, is what kind of a motto is that I have that I’ve learned to use other allied professionals is pretty awesome. Not only that, the other thing about that though, too, Jeff, is that people learn more about themselves. And that’s what it’s all about. Right? So I said it earlier, it’s like I need to be able to teach people why we’re doing things. But I have to figure out the why first, in so many in my industry, especially since the advent of CrossFit which drives me bananas. They don’t understand why they should do things based off of the Y. So the y is really important.

Jeff 29:29
Yeah. Yeah, I think a lot of folks probably are surprised maybe the first time that they go to like a physical therapist, because you know, you’re going to this expert and you’re like, okay, they’re gonna fix me. But I think what ends up happening most times is you just get a lot of homework. And so it is that combination of they’re going to give you exercises and things to do but ultimately you need to do those on your own right, like they’re not going to be they’re doing them for you.

Dee 29:57
Yes, and unfortunately there is a big chasm between the end of PT. And the end result of having functional fitness again, there’s a big chasm there that exists. And I see myself as a bridge between physical therapy and performance. And because a lot of people like you say they do their homework, right? that’s specific to the injury. But then how we call that isolation, right? We’re isolating, oh, my knee hurts has been injured, I gotta isolate and try to, you know, treat it and then do things that are going to help the knee get better, right? But how do we integrate it back into the ability to squat and lunge and, and pull and do the things in life that aren’t in isolation? And that’s an important component. And basically, the two parts of that performance pyramid too.

Jeff 30:47
Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s great. Well, have you seen a shift in the mix of your clients over the years between racers and folks who just want to ride to have fun?

Dee 30:59
Yeah, good question. Um, I started enduro mountain bike training, which is the the parent of trained to ride over eight years ago. One because as an hourly prefer professional, I only make money when I work, and that is hard sometimes. Right? So I wanted to make something online that can make me money. You know, mailbox money, essentially, is what they call it sometimes. And I was working with Yeti, and I’m still a yeti Ambassador after it’s been 10 years, I think. So I’m fortunate, and I’m grateful to be still be working with such a great brand. But so I was working with a Yeti. And they were at that time, I just miss working with Richie, because he we were actually talking. And the funny thing is, is he couldn’t afford me at that time, because he was he was just going from downhill. And they shut up. It just shut off their downhill program, and it was going through. So I was already working on that in the background of my enduro mountain bike training, because nobody was servicing the Enduro market, which was, like one or two years into itself as a as an E, Ws, I think. Yeah. And so I wanted to just step up and just kind of fill that void of Gosh, this enduro racing, this repetitive downhill stuff is, gosh, six downhill runs and eight downhill runs in two days. That’s a lot. And instead of practice one, run and race one run and be done, right, yeah. And selfishly, I also wanted to get back to riding in racing again, because it’s been 10 years since I had but so it was built on let’s work and help this type of racing athlete or really a gravity athlete. But over the years then, and why I created MTB strong, which is one of my one of my download bow programs was more for the average mountain biker, okay, because I wanted to get away from just the strict niche, or the niche of of enduro racing, and actually be able to help mountain biking community in general. So that was my first program that way. And then I was a couple years ago, and then I started my membership. And now with train ride, I really just like we talked about a little bit earlier, I really wanted to take the concepts that I had created with the mountain bike training and say, this is going to help my other two wheel athlete friends in gravel, and road, and you know, Moto is kind of a given, but that’s just me wanting to get back into Moto, which is why I include it but and so that’s when train ride was born, is to really be able to help the the weekend warrior, we’ll call him or the average rider of any sport before to somebody who wants to be a pro. Yeah. So yeah,

Jeff 33:40
yeah. Is it different? What those two different groups are looking for? I mean, obviously, I would assume athletes, right? They want to just be as fast as they can be, and they want to win. What is it that the more casual riders are looking to do? Are they are they just trying to be more comfortable? Or they they try to have more fun? Or are they trying to show off for their friends and look it on Instagram? Like what? What kind of what do you think drives the recreational rider to seek out this kind of training?

Dee 34:09
Funny, but you actually mentioned them pretty much, you know, the average response there. So it’s all of that, right. So like, for the average, the average rider, let’s say, the weekend warrior, it’s, you know, it tends to be a little more PR based. I feel like I’m stuck for the last three years. Uh, you know, I’m on Strava and I kind of fiddle with a little bit and I just want to be a little bit faster on that or, or like you said, it’s like, yeah, I’m tired to be in the back of the group. I want to be in the middle of the pack now with my buddies or I don’t want to have them waiting, you know, at the top or to those, you know, now we have cheese gravels blown up with with with all kinds of different events to do. And so a lot of it is a lot of people come and say I want to do a certain event. And so we start prepping for you know, a lot of people buy my programs for events.

Jeff 34:56
Yeah, just to finish. I’m guessing for a lot of them. I mean, they’re not they’re not trying to win. They just want to do it and feel good at the end.

Dee 35:04
100% That’s exactly right. Yep. So it’s, it’s the whole board in and I would imagine to Jeff that I’ll get, I’ll start hearing. I’ve heard some things. But now that I’m expanded into, you know, three other big markets, I’m going to hear a lot more testimonies of success, which is awesome. And I love those. Those are what, you know, get me going.

Jeff 35:25
Well, we’re gonna take a break real quick. But when we come back, we’re going to talk about the risks of overtraining, how to prevent pain and fatigue. From repetitive cycling postures, and more. Stay tuned. We’re randomly selecting single tracks podcast reviews to read on the show, we choose yours, we’ll send you free single tracks and merch in the mail. This week, we’re sharing a review from Heather. Heather writes, I always make sure to listen to single tracks because it is informative and entertaining, great interviews from people in the industry, racers, trail builders and others, I look forward to seeing a new single trucks pop up in my queue. Thanks for the great podcast. Well, thank you, Heather, for the great review. If this is your review, send us an email at info at single trucks.com to claim your prize. And if you haven’t reviewed the singletracks podcast yet, we’d love to hear from you. And we might just read your review on the show. And we’re back. So Dee, I want to talk about some of the risks associated with overtraining. How do you know if you’re overtraining and doing potentially doing damage to yourself?

Dee 36:30
I think the obvious ones are pain that a lot of people don’t know is related to repetitive stress, let’s say or over repetitive stress, if that’s a word sequence, and that’ll show up in the form of of kind of these niggling little aches that we get that we don’t pay attention too much. And then all of a sudden, a month later, it’s like, oh, I got a full grown blown cramp or strain or whatever, right. That started, you know, most likely, particularly for cyclists as something that can be easily tied to overtraining. So, so the physical things that that we noticed the pain stuff, you know, for a cyclist we get, we get based on the next scroll pain, we get trapped pain between the shoulder blade pain, back pain. And then hip and knee is really kind of the common areas not to mention elbow and wrist. It, I mean, it’s good if you’re switching from road to mountain bike, because you’re at least your wrists are switching positions, right? Which is good, right? But Road, cyclists and gravel are so fixed in their positions, that it’s super common to get the same injuries in the same place, no matter the person. And so I would say that’s probably a primary is just being aware of what’s going on in your body. Yeah, because you’re an athlete who is pretty fixed. It’s pretty rare to have such a fixed positioned athlete like it is for road and gravel cyclists, if that makes sense, right? Yeah. So I would say the physical I mean, you have, I like to say to for people, there’s three types of fatigue that that that I teach people about. One is mental or nervous system fatigue. And that’s where you just don’t have your balances off. You just can’t, for example, if you’re on a regular bike, mountain bike, and you’re going uphill, you can’t hit you didn’t hit that line that you always hit, right, you just don’t feel right, right, you’re all your balance or coordination. Your proprioception capability is all just low. It’s lower, right? Yeah, that’s nervous system fatigue. And or you can’t hit that 300 Watt, you know, 400 Watt, you know, sprint level that you might have three weeks ago, let’s say you just no matter how hard you try, you can’t get above 260, right? Sprint work is really strong, nervous system based work, right? So there’s nervous system fatigue, there’s physical fatigue, fatigue, where my muscles are just, I’m just tired. Gosh, you know, there’s a soreness that’s involved, you know, that you feel, you just like right now, my legs are sore, and I just, I can’t move like I normally move. So there’s that there’s that deep soreness, you know, and it’s just like, oh, gosh, there’s that muscle soreness. So that’s muscle soreness, the second one and then the third one is both when your nervous system is torched. And your muscle system is torch. Yeah. Right. And so that’s a bad that’s a bad place to be. And I would say that, you know, cyclists particularly rode because they have so much volume that they deal with as it relates to training. It’s really easy to get into both those patterns and they tend not to rest enough average cyclist does not rest enough. Because they think like many athletes Moore’s better, right? You know, you have things like the common heart rate, right? You do the common heart rate, pulse check in the morning. And if you’re, you know, between oh gosh, it’s been a long time tonight. use it but something like eight to 12 beats per minute off, you know, right, we know that that’s something that is an indication that there’s some overtraining going on chronic dehydration, the, the inability or the difficulty to feel like you’re hydrated is another lightheadedness when standing up is one. So that’s a blood pressure issue, right that when typically when there’s some overtraining going on your blood pressure is can can drop for some people, lack of motivation, trouble sleeping. And then obviously, like I mentioned before the downturn in the effort of your performance.

Jeff 40:39
Yeah, yeah, I’m finding myself identifying with a lot of those, right, I’ve experienced all of that. And part of it, you know, and you’re talking about, like, your nervous system and your, your proprioception, you’re not hitting lines, you normally can hit, you know, I have that, I don’t know, at least every few rides. And I’ve always just thought like, well, you know, you have good days and bad days. But now it’s sounding like, you know, maybe some of that is a sign of overtraining. And I recently noticed that I use like a Garmin, watch to track heart rate and my rides and things. And in the app, it has a thing that that kind of tracks your training. And I noticed mine recently, it was saying, like, unproductive, your training is unproductive. And, and then I was thinking like, like you were saying, with the road riders where it’s like, you know, I, if I’m unproductive, I need to just work harder, I need to do more, more is more. But then I look closely, and it said, I was being unproductive because I was overtraining, I was saying you’re doing too much. And to actually get back into that, like productive, productive zone, you need to dial your training back. And so, yeah, it sounds like there are a number of different things we can look to to let us know that we’re, we’re overtraining and and that’s actually not helping us it’s actually could be hurting us.

Dee 42:01
Yeah. And like you said, there’s there’s a lot of tools out there that can help people, you know, really kind of zone in on where they’re losing performance. There’s a lot of, you know, the apps and the rings and the the wristbands and all the things that you you know, the Garmin watch, like you said, one thing I tell people is, is usually an under trained athlete will beat a more skilled overtrained athlete.

Jeff 42:27
Interesting, right. So

Dee 42:29
if you’re fresh, and you have just a little less skill than your buddy, and he’s a little better than you, but he’s tired, you’re probably going to beat him. So if you have a mindset when it relates to training, have you so like most of my programs are blocked out in three or four work weeks, followed by a week of active recovery. And they’re always that way. So that’s undulating periodization. Right? Where there’s periodized and focused rest weeks, or in this case, a week that I mentioned, a rest week to take advantage, let the body absorb those three weeks of work. Because you, you get better. Not when you work, you get better when you rest. That’s when your body improves. And I don’t think very many people know that actually.

Jeff 43:21
Yeah, yeah, I was just reading a science book with with my son, and it was talking about the brain. And it said, like it the brain actually is, does way more work when you’re sleeping than when you’re awake. And that’s when it’s like repairing and you’re building memories, and, you know, all of these things. And yeah, sounds like the physical body is much the same. So fascinating. So one of the things, obviously you’re big on is strength training. And I’m curious to know why full body strength is so important for mountain biking, I think, you know, maybe people who who started out in road or maybe they have more of like a cross country background tend to focus on like leg strength and just saying, Well, we’re cyclists and that’s how we move. But But talk to us a little bit about full body strength and why that’s important for mountain biking.

Dee 44:12
Well, one thing that drives me crazy, especially for drop bar riders, is the lack of time spent in the gym as it relates to training, you know, you get your, you get your, your four weeks of strength training, you know, the leg extensions, and the leg curls and the chest press and the lat pull downs and then you’re good to go. Cool. You know? It’s like, wait a minute like that. What is wrong with that picture? Which it’s like, I don’t know anybody that rides a bike or normal bike and never put their hands on the handlebars. We put our hands on handlebars, right. So we have four points of contact on a bike. Right and we’re only concerned about Two of them. Well, that doesn’t make any sense. Because I know for a fact that road and gravel riders, obviously, because mountain and moto are a given, you need a lot of upper body torque to transfer, you know, into my feet. But it starts with my hands. Right? Right. So one thing is if your legs are the engine, then your core and your upper body are the transmission, you can think of it that way, right? They’re transmitting forces, right? my core, my glutes, etc, the middle of my body is transferring forces that are being created from my hands, and go into my legs. Right, so to not take care of your transmission, yet expect a bigger engine to be put on a stock transmission. That doesn’t make any sense, right? If you’re going to modify your motor, you’ve got to modify your transmission. Right. And so this is why I wanted the whole concept of let’s take the mountain bike training idea and provide it to road and gravel cyclists so that they can be stronger, better, their endurance, again, their efficiency, I said these things before, all is going to improve. Right there sprint ability, which is a big thing, right? That we need to have when they’re standing climbing abilities. For the drop our riders, those are all things that man, if your upper body is stronger, then you have the ability to increase all of those like your wattage can go up by having stronger arms and shoulders. You know. And the other thing too, that that I just thought about is our head is attached to our shoulders right via our spine, our spine goes down to our sacrum and our hips, which are ilium. And that’s what we sit on our spine really needs upper body stability and strength. Because off our spine. People don’t typically know this, but our ribcage attaches to each vertebrae, intimately with fascia and connective tissue like tendons and ligaments. Right. So our ribcage actually attaches to every vertebrae of our spine, except for the lumbar spine. So that’s a big deal. There’s a lot of range of motion that happens in the from the vertebrae to the ribcage. And that’s breathing mechanics. All right, okay. And then the muscles of the head typically attach in that upper kind of shoulder blade area, and go up and attach to the head. The front comes down to the clavicles you have to have strong post your courage muscles, which is part of posture in order to hold your head up in an extended position for long periods of time. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And if you don’t think head extension affects your body’s ability to breathe. You’re wrong. Totally does. Right. Right, right. And so if you have weaknesses in any of these systems as it relates to anything above your legs, it’s going to show up in weakness in some way.

On your bike in some form, again, whether it’s endurance, strength, power, longevity, aches and pains fighting off the ability for mountain bikers in particular, but crashing, you know, I’ve had many people send me emails, I’m so thankful I’ve been on your program because I crash and I think I should have broke something but I did. Actually, as an example of that, there’s a picture of me that my mom happened to take during ew s race masters race up in Snowmass about four or five years ago. And it’s off a road drop. And it’s a road drop. That goes right into our right hand, 90 degree turn. And they were waving me to slow down as I crossed the road to hit the road drop. And I was going so slow I tried to just kind of bunny hop over it in my in my chain ring hit the top of the ledge. Yeah, and the pictures of me sideways, falling into this basically this hole where the trail went. And so the guy that they were slowing me down for ended up breaking his rib, his collarbone no two ribs, his collarbone and he punctured alone. Also, ironically, my dad was at the bottom and hot and saw that because I was so when I crashed. I broke nothing. And I broke my seat. My titanium seat. I finished the race, which was good, but I didn’t break anything. And I went off of that dang thing sideways. Yeah, that’s the kind of stuff I’m talking about. If I wasn’t strong in my, my attachment tissues, my ligaments, my tendons, etc. weren’t strong. It could have been way uglier. Like, unfortunately was my friend. Yeah, by the way, I know. Didn’t train in the gym. Very

Jeff 49:55
interesting. Yeah. Yeah. It seems like to what you’re saying is that, you know, if our legs are plenty strong, then something else is going to be the limiter for us, you know, like, our legs are gonna feel great, but then we’re gonna have neck pain or you know, we’re not breathing, we’re not in like a good posture for getting the most out of our breath. It sounds like that’s, is that sort of what you’re saying that we need to make sure that that no part of our body is limiting our performance.

Dee 50:24
Yeah, and most of us, you know, listening to this podcast right now aren’t professional road riders or gravel or mountain bike, right? But if you look, for example, just look at a professional road racer look at their body, right? It’s caved in its Ford flexed, it’s very specific, right to what they do as as as a job. Right? And they need to be that way. And that’s okay. Because they have to be that way, right.

Jeff 51:20
Answer is yes. Well, I want to switch gears real quick and mention that you’re also a respected golf coach. So how are golf and cycling related in terms of fitness and mobility?

Dee 51:34
You know, Jeff, actually, if you take this whole podcast from what we’ve talked about so far, and you take out cycling and you put in golf, or you put in snowboarder, or you put in ski or or tennis player, really the concepts that I’ve been trying to convey apply to golf in any sport, right?

Jeff 51:53
I believe you on all of those except golf. So I’m gonna kneel. Okay.

Dee 51:56
All right, perfect. All right. Well, okay, so like cycling, okay, like cycling. Golf has a similar posture that you have to stand in, with repetition with time, right. And that’s the golf setup posture. And from that golf set, set up posture is you then go into your backswing and then do your follow through same movements all the time, highly repetitive. And so, golfers also get their own specific biomechanical issues or structure issues that are across the board the same on every human being, because human beings are designed the same, right? differently, but the same. But like, you’ll see, you know, low back, hypertrophy on one side of the body, upper body has different hypertrophy on the other side of the body because of how the spine moves, right. So you’ll have, you know, adductor tightness on one side and glute tightness on the other because it’s, you’re standing in one place, and yet you’re hitting it sideways, without moving your lower body for the most part, right as, like, if you were to compare it yourself to a baseball player do does move their lower body. When it comes down to it. There’s, there’s a concept. It’s the mobility stability model, Greg Cook and Mike Boyle created this in a bar on a napkin one time, I don’t know a decade ago, these are two great, great thinkers in our, in our field. And that is if you look at a skeleton, visualize a skeleton. And we’ll start at the foot. For the most part, the foot is a we call it kind of a stable joint we we need it to be stable so that it has good balance and whatnot, right? The ankle is a mobile joint, the ankle, the foot can move around in all kinds of different degrees and this mostly because of the ankle, right? So this, this mobile, stable mobile model moves up the body in an alternating pattern of the stability, mobility, right? So again, we start with the foot, it’s stable, ankle mobile. So the knee then is stable, because we’re alternating. So for the most part, the knee is a stable joint. Yes, it flexes extends, it rotates a little bit. For the most part, it’s stable air quotes. The hip then is like the ankle, you’re you can move that leg around through that hip and so many different directions, right? That’s a mobile joint, the core, the pelvis area, connected to the bottom of the ribcage needs to be stable. That’s what we call a core stability right? And above that, the torso or the ribcage needs to be mobile, it needs to move it needs to rotate. Like I was talking about how those ribs move the shoulder girdle, okay, or the scapula is designed to be stable so that the shoulder joint can have mobility. We move the arm through the glenohumeral joint, right? The elbows like the knee, the eye can move somewhat, but it’s still mostly stable. And then lastly, the wrist is mobile. So anytime you have tightness in a mobile joint, right, like if I’m restricted in my hip, or my toes, torso Like most people are, and I’m weak in my core, just like I explained it two hours ago to a woman, you’re going to have back pains. It’s not the way the system is designed, right. So from that perspective, cycling and golf are very similar because we’re still dealing with the human body and how the human body optimally is supposed to work. Right? For for both golf and for writing, our ribs need to be able to move more dynamically in the golf swing, more statically in cycling, because we have forces that that ribcage is dealing with, that are still rotational in nature, right? If you lean into a corner in a mountain bike, you can’t tell me that your down left hand is in a way different position as it relates to incurring force and stress through the body into that opposite side, right? foot that’s on the pedal, right? way different, right? That’s rotary force is going through the body, but you’re not really quote unquote, rotating, right? So that’s more of a passive rotation that we resist. Right? So that’s resist resisted. Rotational training is one thing that I talked about. So lots of similarity, just differently used, right? Yeah. And I can go on with that. It’s pretty easy to do. But

Jeff 56:17
yeah, you know, that makes sense. It there. You know, really, what you’re doing is you’re talking about our biomechanics, and figuring out how to build that strength in that fitness no matter what it is we’re trying to do. And I mean, I think golf is fascinating, because it seems to me, someone who’s never really played golf, seems like that requires this sort of, like level of precision and repeatability. Maybe that we don’t see in mountain biking, you know, it’s like a different goal. But you’re using kind of the same concepts to get there. And to make sure that you can, you can do that over and over again.

Dee 56:58
Totally. That’s exactly right. And I explained that exact same thing that you just did to somebody yesterday, who I was working with.

Jeff 57:04
Yeah, interesting. Well, then, is it true that mountain biking is the new golf? Do you see any, like, crossover people that are maybe moving from one sport to the other? Or are there any golfers who also mountain bike?

Dee 57:18
There are actually I’ve had a numerous numerous number of my golfers who have said, Oh, gosh, I didn’t know that you did mountain biking, but I looked at the bottom of your email, and there was a mountain biking. So I clicked on it. And same thing, right. So the opposite going the opposite direction. So I actually have I probably have a handful of golfers who mountain bike and I have a bigger handful of mountain bikers who golf. So yes, it’s interesting. Yeah. And by the way, they both say that both improve, even though they think they’re training for one versus the other. Wow. But that’s my secret. Yeah. Which is based off of what their body? Yeah.

Jeff 57:56
And are there any I mean, I feel like there should be courses where like, instead of golf carts, you’re on bikes, and you have your like, little golf bag on a bike.

Dee 58:06
I totally agree with you. Again, I do think there’s actually some there are now course bikes out there that a couple of courses have actually bought that are kind of townie ish looking, you know, that have, you know, the ones that have the storage capacity on the back that stores used to? They’re similar, but they’re there. They’re starting. They’re thinking about it.

Jeff 58:30
Yeah. seems natural way.

Dee 58:33
But golf is much more of a closed community.

Jeff 58:36
Yeah. Well, yeah, just seems natural. You know, I don’t know if I’d want to walk around the course. But also wouldn’t want to drive seems like seems like a bike would be perfect. Yeah. Well help us get motivated for 2022. What can we do to have more fun on the mountain bike next season, or maybe to progress and improve?

Dee 58:55
Well, shoot, hopefully, you’ve kind of learned something here that makes you want to go to the gym and like spend, spend a good amount of your training time in the gym, working on yourself as an athlete and improving your athletic skills. Right. So that’s the first thing I would say is, we all have a potential athletically, right. A lot of it depends on it’s a long conversation on what you did as a kid, as an athlete, if you did many things, which my generation we played all kinds of sports compared to this generation, which is very unidirectional. As a relates to or selected sports. And they started, you know, I have 10 year old parents with 10 year old Oh my, my, my kids call on everybody, he’s 10 and he wants to be a golfer and I won’t work with those parents in that kid, because he’s not going to be a great athlete. So what I tell people is, be the best athlete you can be first then go be a golfer then go be you know, such and such. Because you have to create that athleticism first no matter what. Right? Yeah, that’s the foundation of whatever sport you want to play. So make yourself a better athlete in this offseason. That’s the first thing that will make everything no Frank As in the summertime, we like to hike. And we like to do, you know, water, ski and backpack and mountain bike and do all the things that we love to do. But if you train in the gym, and you do, you know, a particular training program that’s gonna make you a better athlete, then all of those are going to improve, right? Yeah. And I don’t know about you, but I like being really good at all sports, you know, as much as I can be. Yeah. Yeah, so I would say that, that’s the biggest thing. Choose something that one puts you out of your comfort zone. Okay, maybe it’s that downhill section on your mountain bike that you’ve always walked, or ridden, you’ve always walked because you can’t write up it. You know, maybe it’s a small goal like that. Maybe it’s a PR, maybe it’s a an uncomfortable event that you’ve never tried. But you’ve always wanted to put an event on the calendar, it’s motivating, right? If it’s June 1, well, guess what, you got seven months to train. And you get to look forward to how all of that fruit that you get to eat on that day, June 1, from all that labor, and how much fun it’s going to be. And all the enjoyment afterwards for the rest of the summer is going to help so and then think about to how training, I’m just going to keep an eye on training, because that’s when we think about how the training is going to help you feel better overall, too, right? We’re all I mean, gosh, we’re pretty stressed out right now, you know, from all the crap that’s going on, in life, across the board. So when you train, whether it’s, you know, on your bike, or in the gym, it’s your body’s way of expressing or limiting or eliminating stress, right, that builds up, that’s mental stress from all the things that we’re having to deal with, that we haven’t had to deal with before in most of our lives, actually. So think of it that way to living a less stressful life. Being more relaxed. I’m a Christian, I would always say, work on your spiritual life, right? That’s always going to help you be happier, right? And to go into 2022 with a better attitude, because you know, you have you have a better view or understanding of what’s going on in the world. And you don’t have to be so focused on all the gobbly gook that everybody’s talking about, that is so pessimistic. And so dark, right? Like, we have pretty good lives, even though there’s a whole bunch of darkness around us, right? So focusing on the positivity of, of life, helps as well. So eating clean, makes you feel better doing things that make you feel better. Make 2022 the year because a lot of us have gotten stuck in ruts, with COVID right being inside and having to wear stupid masks which Sheesh. So doing things that you were doing before that you haven’t been doing, I would also encourage you to do in 2022. Getting back to your normal lifestyle habits and patterns without fear. let fear be, you know, the thing that that lead you and guide you in because you’re taking risks, having fun, not living a normal life because of what people are telling you to do. And what you should be afraid of. Yeah.

Jeff 1:03:16
Yeah. That’s great. That’s all excellent advice. And yeah, I love how it’s, you know, it’s holistic. I mean, it’s not just about, you know, the physical and it’s not just about the spiritual and the mental. I mean, it’s all of those things. And we can take control of that. And yeah, have an awesome 2022. Well, gee, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. I know I learned a ton and I’m sure listeners as have as well. So thank you.

Dee 1:03:45
Thank you, Jeff. It’s been awesome. I hope everybody does have a great 2022 and Merry Christmas.

Jeff 1:03:52
Yeah, thank you. Well, you can find more information about Dee and learn about the training programs that we talked about here at train to guide.com. So we’ve got this week. We’ll talk to you next week.

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