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The Hell of 2012: A Neopro Cautionary Tale

It’s the eve of the Tour of Utah.

The race that I’ve been wanting to do since I shot it in 2010 for PezCyclingNews. One of the many motivators for riding, training, and racing like a man possessed the year after. The local big show, where all of my friends and family would surely turn out to lend support and serious amounts of crushivation. I’m even on a professional cycling team that received an invite this year.

And I’m not racing it.

It’s okay. I’ve accepted it. In fact, I’ve accepted the fact that it would be a pretty unlikely event by the end of June. You know those stages of grief? I’m kind of through it. The hard part is answering the inquiry from everyone who pays attention to cycling in Utah - “Why not?”

To answer “Why not?” is to also answer the thought that bounces around inside my cranial nether regions, and has since a dismal showing at USPRO: “Damn, this year sucks.”

It took until late July to figure out why. 

Piles of blood tests. Piles of doctor visits. Revelations that my body was in complete survival mode. It kind of took me aback - I generally consider myself a pretty resilient bastard. I can usually thrash with broken bones, blood flowing out of every limb, and head injuries. No, my decrepit state couldn’t have just been from a few (fairly harrowing) wrecks and nasty interactions with cars. 

My family practice doctor, unfamiliar with the rigors of bike racing, suggested I had a brain tumor, and then she figured out just how much hell your average Cat 1/Pro cyclist in the US puts themselves through on a daily basis. She suggested training stress. Again, this wasn’t a solid answer - very little had changed from the prior season when it came to what I was doing. If anything, I was in a better situation - working less, resting more, eating better, more focused on training than ever before. In fact, it inspired a bit of guilt. In 2011, I was working full-time, training, racing, and partying like a relative rockstar. In 2012, I was hardly working, training, racing, and living like a monk…and yet, having trouble pinning the break in a local race. 

Then, while we (the doctor and I) were leafing through one of her huge tomes of medical knowledge (entertainingly, figuring out what was wrong became a joint exercise with the medical professional), it struck. She asked what my bodyfat percentage was. I knew from some spring testing that it was hovering around six percent. 

A simple explanation, a simple problem, and a simple solution. When bodyfat dips below certain levels, the body begins to shut down non-essential processes in order to survive. In my case, it began taking down most hormone production - stuff essential for drive, recovery, motivation, and that ever fleeting “HTFU”. In May, still in recovery from a broken wrist and Speedweek thrashing, my hematocrit was well into anemia and I had the testosterone levels of a menopausal woman. A few crashes coupled with a malnourished state was all it took to push my body over the edge, and make me feel like a shell of a human being for a few months. I didn’t want to ride. I didn’t want to write. I couldn’t have an intelligent conversation. I didn’t want to do anything. I wasn’t depressed, I was simply vacant, like I had a permanent “Out to Lunch” sign hanging from my neck.

I presented the answer to Kevin Nicol (my coach), who in turn consulted Dr. Inigo San Millan. The answer? “Duh.” Their collective response was something along the lines of not seeing healthy racers under nine percent bodyfat. It made sense. I’d become hell-bent on getting as skinny as possible over the winter. I’ve always had a really screwed-up body image of myself. Body dysmorphia is pretty common amongst cyclists. I was convinced that if I were to be competitive in anything with a hill, I needed to drop to around 145-150lbs with minuscule bodyfat numbers, even though the year before with good form I was able to hang with the best climbers in the US at 160lbs. So, I ran massive calorie deficits through the winter. Our title sponsor accused me of being “skinnier than a starved cat”. He was right. At my lightest, I was tipping the scales at 147lbs. I’m 6’1. And I was still convinced I needed to lose more weight. 

When the theory of the causality for my anemic performance surfaced, I immediately began eating. A lot. In fact, so much that when I journeyed to Boulder at the end of July to do some testing with Kevin and Dr. San Millan at the CU Anschutz Human Performance Lab, I was shocked I was able to pack on so much weight in about 2.5 weeks (somewhere around the weight of a standard Santa Cruz V-10 downhill frame) - and successfully brought my bodyfat up to the acceptable 10% metric. 

Immediately, I started feeling better. I could train and recover. I felt like a cyclist (and a human) again, instead of a corpse on a bike. While it’s too late to save 2012, the lesson I’ve learned this year is invaluable. I won’t hit 2011 fitness levels before the year is out, but I can once again race without feeling like I’m on the verge of collapse every time the shit hits the fan. 

I’m going to miss the Tour of Utah. It’s going to be hard seeing the team line up and crush it without me. It’s going to be tough knowing that I can’t contribute on the roads I’ve ridden hundreds of times - but I’ve learned. 2012 might be a wash from a racing perspective, but the hell it’s been has armed me to the teeth with wisdom that few others can match.  I’ve got a few more races this year, and then I’ll be heading to warmer climes as fall turns to winter. I know exactly what I need to do, and exactly how to do it. 

The future is bright.  

Posted at 1:12pm and tagged with: full width, cycling, training, eating disorders, competitive cyclist racing team,.

The Hell of 2012: A Neopro Cautionary Tale
It’s the eve of the Tour of Utah.
The race that I’ve been wanting to do since I shot it in 2010 for PezCyclingNews. One of the many motivators for riding, training, and racing like a man possessed the year after. The local big show, where all of my friends and family would surely turn out to lend support and serious amounts of crushivation. I’m even on a professional cycling team that received an invite this year.
And I’m not racing it.
It’s okay. I’ve accepted it. In fact, I’ve accepted the fact that it would be a pretty unlikely event by the end of June. You know those stages of grief? I’m kind of through it. The hard part is answering the inquiry from everyone who pays attention to cycling in Utah - “Why not?”
To answer “Why not?” is to also answer the thought that bounces around inside my cranial nether regions, and has since a dismal showing at USPRO: “Damn, this year sucks.”
It took until late July to figure out why. 
Piles of blood tests. Piles of doctor visits. Revelations that my body was in complete survival mode. It kind of took me aback - I generally consider myself a pretty resilient bastard. I can usually thrash with broken bones, blood flowing out of every limb, and head injuries. No, my decrepit state couldn’t have just been from a few (fairly harrowing) wrecks and nasty interactions with cars. 
My family practice doctor, unfamiliar with the rigors of bike racing, suggested I had a brain tumor, and then she figured out just how much hell your average Cat 1/Pro cyclist in the US puts themselves through on a daily basis. She suggested training stress. Again, this wasn’t a solid answer - very little had changed from the prior season when it came to what I was doing. If anything, I was in a better situation - working less, resting more, eating better, more focused on training than ever before. In fact, it inspired a bit of guilt. In 2011, I was working full-time, training, racing, and partying like a relative rockstar. In 2012, I was hardly working, training, racing, and living like a monk…and yet, having trouble pinning the break in a local race. 
Then, while we (the doctor and I) were leafing through one of her huge tomes of medical knowledge (entertainingly, figuring out what was wrong became a joint exercise with the medical professional), it struck. She asked what my bodyfat percentage was. I knew from some spring testing that it was hovering around six percent. 
A simple explanation, a simple problem, and a simple solution. When bodyfat dips below certain levels, the body begins to shut down non-essential processes in order to survive. In my case, it began taking down most hormone production - stuff essential for drive, recovery, motivation, and that ever fleeting “HTFU”. In May, still in recovery from a broken wrist and Speedweek thrashing, my hematocrit was well into anemia and I had the testosterone levels of a menopausal woman. A few crashes coupled with a malnourished state was all it took to push my body over the edge, and make me feel like a shell of a human being for a few months. I didn’t want to ride. I didn’t want to write. I couldn’t have an intelligent conversation. I didn’t want to do anything. I wasn’t depressed, I was simply vacant, like I had a permanent “Out to Lunch” sign hanging from my neck.
I presented the answer to Kevin Nicol (my coach), who in turn consulted Dr. Inigo San Millan. The answer? “Duh.” Their collective response was something along the lines of not seeing healthy racers under nine percent bodyfat. It made sense. I’d become hell-bent on getting as skinny as possible over the winter. I’ve always had a really screwed-up body image of myself. Body dysmorphia is pretty common amongst cyclists. I was convinced that if I were to be competitive in anything with a hill, I needed to drop to around 145-150lbs with minuscule bodyfat numbers, even though the year before with good form I was able to hang with the best climbers in the US at 160lbs. So, I ran massive calorie deficits through the winter. Our title sponsor accused me of being “skinnier than a starved cat”. He was right. At my lightest, I was tipping the scales at 147lbs. I’m 6’1. And I was still convinced I needed to lose more weight. 
When the theory of the causality for my anemic performance surfaced, I immediately began eating. A lot. In fact, so much that when I journeyed to Boulder at the end of July to do some testing with Kevin and Dr. San Millan at the CU Anschutz Human Performance Lab, I was shocked I was able to pack on so much weight in about 2.5 weeks (somewhere around the weight of a standard Santa Cruz V-10 downhill frame) - and successfully brought my bodyfat up to the acceptable 10% metric. 
Immediately, I started feeling better. I could train and recover. I felt like a cyclist (and a human) again, instead of a corpse on a bike. While it’s too late to save 2012, the lesson I’ve learned this year is invaluable. I won’t hit 2011 fitness levels before the year is out, but I can once again race without feeling like I’m on the verge of collapse every time the shit hits the fan. 
I’m going to miss the Tour of Utah. It’s going to be hard seeing the team line up and crush it without me. It’s going to be tough knowing that I can’t contribute on the roads I’ve ridden hundreds of times - but I’ve learned. 2012 might be a wash from a racing perspective, but the hell it’s been has armed me to the teeth with wisdom that few others can match.  I’ve got a few more races this year, and then I’ll be heading to warmer climes as fall turns to winter. I know exactly what I need to do, and exactly how to do it. The future is bright.  

I’ve never received a skidlid compliment. Ever. Bike, kit, sunglasses, cyclocomputer, frame pump (really), and even my waterbottles have all been subject to adulation by others this season. But never the helmet, at least until today. Let’s start with the events leading up to this momentous occasion, shall we?

Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother. She’s one of the most rad people I know. However, like most rad people I know, my mom has one rather glaring character flaw. It’s related to the delicious nectar secreted by wooden deciduous flora somewhere in the vicinity of Vermont. And Quebec (where, coincidentally, Paco continues to earn my enduring respect with lines like ‘“It’s not over for me for the GC – I’ll attack tomorrow or after tomorrow to go for the yellow or podium,” he said. “For me, seventh on GC is nothing.”’ when he lost yellow in the Tour de Beauce TT). Anyway, now they you’re good and lost, back to my original point: The Flaw. My mom doesn’t buy real maple syrup. Ever. I can’t really fault her, US Grade A Dark Amber is probably more expensive gram-for-gram than a liquid gold/Johnny Walker Blue cocktail. Hell, I didn’t know I was eating fake maple syrup growing up until I moved out at the tender age of seventeen.

All that said, I’m a food whore with twisted cyclist logic. If I’m blowing calories on liquid sugar, it’s gonna be some DAMN GOOD liquid sugar. So, when I had the brilliant idea to cobble together Chicken and Waffles tonight for Father’s Day dinner, I neglected to factor in the complete lack of heavenly amber liquid in my mom’s house until I was halfway through today’s ride. Route detour was enacted, and I found myself wandering the aisles of the local supermarket to liberate a $12 thimble-sized bottle of syrup, clicking through the aisles and attempting to keep my Pinarello from making contact with any lesser surfaces (namely, wayward children).

At this point, you might ask “Where the hell is Nate going with this story?”

Answer: Checkout line. Carton of buttermilk and Burlington-born fructose. Stinky bike racer in kit. Attractive (female) checker.

Checker: “Badass helmet!”

Me: Gazes wistfully at syrup with visions of waffles and crispy poultry dancing in head. “…guhhh, thanks?”

Checker: Sums up purchase. “No, really! Making waffles?”

Me: Smitten, realizes what’s going on. “…hunnnyyeah?”

Checker: Gives odd look. Confused. Takes money.

Exit Me. 

Moral of story: Wear a sick-looking helmet while buying an expensive glorified breakfast condiment, and picking up the opposite sex will become elementary…if you’re cognizant of it. So what are you waiting for? Get the helmet. NOW.

Posted at 5:10pm and tagged with: catlike, competitive cyclist racing team, helmet, nate king, training,.

I’ve never received a skidlid compliment. Ever. Bike, kit, sunglasses, cyclocomputer, frame pump (really), and even my waterbottles have all been subject to adulation by others this season. But never the helmet, at least until today. Let’s start with the events leading up to this momentous occasion, shall we?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother. She’s one of the most rad people I know. However, like most rad people I know, my mom has one rather glaring character flaw. It’s related to the delicious nectar secreted by wooden deciduous flora somewhere in the vicinity of Vermont. And Quebec (where, coincidentally, Paco continues to earn my enduring respect with lines like ‘“It’s not over for me for the GC – I’ll attack tomorrow or after tomorrow to go for the yellow or podium,” he said. “For me, seventh on GC is nothing.”’ when he lost yellow in the Tour de Beauce TT). Anyway, now they you’re good and lost, back to my original point: The Flaw. My mom doesn’t buy real maple syrup. Ever. I can’t really fault her, US Grade A Dark Amber is probably more expensive gram-for-gram than a liquid gold/Johnny Walker Blue cocktail. Hell, I didn’t know I was eating fake maple syrup growing up until I moved out at the tender age of seventeen.
All that said, I’m a food whore with twisted cyclist logic. If I’m blowing calories on liquid sugar, it’s gonna be some DAMN GOOD liquid sugar. So, when I had the brilliant idea to cobble together Chicken and Waffles tonight for Father’s Day dinner, I neglected to factor in the complete lack of heavenly amber liquid in my mom’s house until I was halfway through today’s ride. Route detour was enacted, and I found myself wandering the aisles of the local supermarket to liberate a $12 thimble-sized bottle of syrup, clicking through the aisles and attempting to keep my Pinarello from making contact with any lesser surfaces (namely, wayward children).
At this point, you might ask “Where the hell is Nate going with this story?”
Answer: Checkout line. Carton of buttermilk and Burlington-born fructose. Stinky bike racer in kit. Attractive (female) checker.
Checker: “Badass helmet!”
Me: Gazes wistfully at syrup with visions of waffles and crispy poultry dancing in head. “…guhhh, thanks?”
Checker: Sums up purchase. “No, really! Making waffles?”
Me: Smitten, realizes what’s going on. “…hunnnyyeah?”
Checker: Gives odd look. Confused. Takes money.
Exit Me. 
Moral of story: Wear a sick-looking helmet while buying an expensive glorified breakfast condiment, and picking up the opposite sex will become elementary…if you’re cognizant of it. So what are you waiting for? Get the helmet. NOW.

Upsides to recovery weeks: Riding with people I normally wouldn’t be able to! In this case, my 14 year-old little brother, Alex.

As you can see, Alex is a bit of a Schleckian waif, and goes uphill like it to boot. I attribute this to his carefully-researched diet that mostly consists of cereal, cheese, Wonderbread, and sauceless pasta (and possibly his freakish adolescent metabolism). None of those crazy-exotic things like fruit, vegetables, or protein-heavy foods to upset this budding racer’s delicate GI tract. Dysfunctional dietary ribbing aside, Alex competed in his first race Saturday, taking second in his category on his miniature BMC. Stoked!

We went out the day before the race for a mellow spin, where I taught him some racer essentials. The magic of drafting, spinning fast on the flats (especially useful for the juniors on 14-tooth cassettes), doing as little work as possible until it counts, and finally (and in my humble opinion, the primary reason for a bike ride), the coffee shop stop. But seriously - teaching others about racing/riding, and sharing my experiences as a racer is one of my favorite things as the cyclist-next-door. Or, in Alex’s case, in the basement. It not only gives me the general warm-fuzzies, but it makes me feel like I might be paying forward (in the slightest bit) all of the help and support over the years that I’ve received from everyone around me.

Needless to say, I can’t wait to see if Alex keeps it up, though I’m not quite sure about how my mom feels. I’m sure she’s thrilled at the prospect of more gut-wrenching crit racing with another wayward member of her offspring!

Posted at 1:30pm and tagged with: alex king, nate king, training, racing, competitive cyclist racing team, competitive cyclist, caffe ibis, logan, utah, bmc,.

Contrary to popular belief, I am, in fact, still alive!

Let’s just say this spring has been…well, it’s been a little rough. Not rough like “I hate tomatoes, asked for no tomatoes on my burger, and they STILL put tomatoes on my burger” pick-that-shit-off rough, but rough like “I’ve got a fatal-convulsion-inducing peanut allergy and decided it’d be smart to eat at a restaurant at the George Washington Carver National Monument" rough…if that made any sense at all.  Compared to last year’s nearly straight-up trajectory, this one has been decidedly…not. All that mopey-sadness aside, I’ve learned SO MUCH more this year than last - and that makes me stoked. Not only that, but if I were to carry the same "Cat 5 to 1" basket of badassedness into this year, I’d probably not be getting any wiser as a racer. Making the stupid rookie mistakes at this stage in my career is so much more valuable than if it were to happen two, three, or four years down the road. Plus, I’ve now got the sponsor support that really helps to cushion the blows of things like wrecks and bad races. Everyone from our staff, teammates, management company, Gita (Pinarello/Giordana/DMT US distro), Reynolds, Competitive Cyclist (title sponsor AND employer), my family, friends, and our team supporters (here’s looking at you, Barbara and John Dowd!) have been incredibly supportive, patient, understanding, and accommodating for the rookie ascending the steep learning curve of pro racing. 

So, in that vein, I’ve made a pretty serious long-term career choice in moving to working with a full-time coach after some heavy-duty searching and vetting. After gathering a list of coaches I’d had interest in from various sources and speaking with all of them (as well as their clients), I finally decided working with Kevin Nicol from Dr. Inigo San Milan’s Human Performance Lab at the Univeristy of Colorado was my best option for squeezing the absolute most pedal-crushing out of my pasty body. Kevin is incredibly knowledgeable and scientific with his training methods (not to mention a total beast on the road), I’m super-pumped to be working with him and employing the methodology used by a number of top ProTour guys! 

With new instruction comes new direction, and in the interest of coming back swinging for the remainder of the season, most of June has been converted from riding my guts out into being professionally lazy - AKA, recovery. This meant scratching a couple races I was really looking forward to (Mt. Hood and Nature Valley), but I’ll be back on the road crushing in a couple weeks or so. For now, short coffee cruises and wallowing in the fact that the veins in my legs aren’t totally bulging.

Bike racer problems. Seriously. 

Posted at 12:04pm and tagged with: full width, competitive cyclist, competitive cyclist racing team, training, racing, kevin nicol, inigo san milan, coaching, recovery,.

Contrary to popular belief, I am, in fact, still alive!Let’s just say this spring has been…well, it’s been a little rough. Not rough like “I hate tomatoes, asked for no tomatoes on my burger, and they STILL put tomatoes on my burger” pick-that-shit-off rough, but rough like “I’ve got a fatal-convulsion-inducing peanut allergy and decided it’d be smart to eat at a restaurant at the George Washington Carver National Monument" rough…if that made any sense at all.  Compared to last year’s nearly straight-up trajectory, this one has been decidedly…not. All that mopey-sadness aside, I’ve learned SO MUCH more this year than last - and that makes me stoked. Not only that, but if I were to carry the same "Cat 5 to 1" basket of badassedness into this year, I’d probably not be getting any wiser as a racer. Making the stupid rookie mistakes at this stage in my career is so much more valuable than if it were to happen two, three, or four years down the road. Plus, I’ve now got the sponsor support that really helps to cushion the blows of things like wrecks and bad races. Everyone from our staff, teammates, management company, Gita (Pinarello/Giordana/DMT US distro), Reynolds, Competitive Cyclist (title sponsor AND employer), my family, friends, and our team supporters (here’s looking at you, Barbara and John Dowd!) have been incredibly supportive, patient, understanding, and accommodating for the rookie ascending the steep learning curve of pro racing. So, in that vein, I’ve made a pretty serious long-term career choice in moving to working with a full-time coach after some heavy-duty searching and vetting. After gathering a list of coaches I’d had interest in from various sources and speaking with all of them (as well as their clients), I finally decided working with Kevin Nicol from Dr. Inigo San Milan’s Human Performance Lab at the Univeristy of Colorado was my best option for squeezing the absolute most pedal-crushing out of my pasty body. Kevin is incredibly knowledgeable and scientific with his training methods (not to mention a total beast on the road), I’m super-pumped to be working with him and employing the methodology used by a number of top ProTour guys! 
With new instruction comes new direction, and in the interest of coming back swinging for the remainder of the season, most of June has been converted from riding my guts out into being professionally lazy - AKA, recovery. This meant scratching a couple races I was really looking forward to (Mt. Hood and Nature Valley), but I’ll be back on the road crushing in a couple weeks or so. For now, short coffee cruises and wallowing in the fact that the veins in my legs aren’t totally bulging. Bike racer problems. Seriously. 

Afflicted by permanent wanderlust, I’ve opted to spend the three weeks between the end of Speedweek and the US Professional Cycling Championships in Greenville, SC at the welcoming abode of one of our team’s gracious supporters just outside of Athens, GA (home of the University of Georgia, the infamous Athens Twilight Criterium, and launchpad for numerous American cyclists). 

Having never been to this part of the country before (read: The Deep & Dirty South), I’m still taking it all in and gulping it all down, like a UGA freshman frat pledge doing a manhood-validating kegstand.

First on my list of dispensable observations to expound to the outside world: The riding itself. I’ve never trained anywhere with population so spread out, and so my road choice has always been pretty limited. Here, though, there are roads FOREVER. I could easily create a 300 mile loop on twisty backroads that all look the same from the front door of my temporary domicile. Of course, this necessitates a cue sheet a mile long (yeah, that one was front AND back for a 4.5 hour jaunt) to keep from ending up bassackwards 200 miles away on the coast. While there’s no sustained climbing near Athens, the rollers of the Piedmont offer up spots for good, punchy accelerations on endless repetition of 500 meter-long Murs. Roads are fairly narrow and without the wide shoulders I’m used to, but they’re in really good condition (thanks to the lack of freezing temps in the winter, I’d guess) and typically devoid of traffic. The dirt roads are a blast! Well-packed, and not moondusty or gravel-strewn like the ones near my home in Utah.

The “store stops” here are nearly always entertaining - it seems the locals aren’t as used to seeing cyclists on long rides as they are in the West. I can always count on getting into an amiable conversation with store proprietors about expensive bikes, bike racing, the insanity of spending five hours perched on two wheels, and suspicious questions when informed of my Utah residence. 

Speaking of, the church marquees in front of Baptist houses of worship on the backroads are nothing short of comedic gold. I think I might start photographing all of them and making a nice leather-bound photo essay when I get back to the Wasatch. 

Posted at 9:36am and tagged with: athens, nate king, competitive cyclist, cycling, racing, training, the south, pinarello, georgia,.

The Audible Mellow

Music is a huge part of my life. Following the natural course of things, it’s only innate that it ties in with my riding pretty intimately.

Last week, after what was nothing short of a fantastic 75F spring ride in seasonally emerging Northern Utah, I built a nice spring playlist on Spotify. Don’t have Spotify? You’re missing out. No, really, you are. Most everyone I’ve forced it on has had a moment about an hour in - middling somewhere between divine revelation and epiphany. The best way I can sum it up is like the bastard child of the iTunes Store and Netflix, with playlists distributable to nearly all devices (with offline availability), and an EPIC social component built in. It has completely replaced my gigantic MP3 library - iTunes is nothing more than another unused app on my computer now. It’s backed by the major record labels, and while not everything is available for listening, I’d estimate that 90% of what I want comes up when I look.

Anyway, enough about how awesome Spotify is. Like I said, spring riding playlist. It won’t make you feel like you want to tear some legs off (there’s other lists for that), but it might put you into an over-the-top happy mood while cruising in some perfect temps with some perfect people on some perfect roads - AND you’ll get a solid dose of my own bizarre (euphemistically referred to by many as “eclectic”) tastes. Go, download Spotify onto your computer/AndroiPhone, listen, and ride - preferably with a pair of Skullcandy Fix earbuds. Best. Riding. Phones. Ever.

Check out the playlist here: Spring Cycling Extravaganza.

Posted at 10:52am and tagged with: full width, competitive cyclist racing team, music, training, spotify, spring, riding, cycling, playlist,.

The Audible Mellow
Music is a huge part of my life. Following the natural course of things, it’s only innate that it ties in with my riding pretty intimately.
Last week, after what was nothing short of a fantastic 75F spring ride in seasonally emerging Northern Utah, I built a nice spring playlist on Spotify. Don’t have Spotify? You’re missing out. No, really, you are. Most everyone I’ve forced it on has had a moment about an hour in - middling somewhere between divine revelation and epiphany. The best way I can sum it up is like the bastard child of the iTunes Store and Netflix, with playlists distributable to nearly all devices (with offline availability), and an EPIC social component built in. It has completely replaced my gigantic MP3 library - iTunes is nothing more than another unused app on my computer now. It’s backed by the major record labels, and while not everything is available for listening, I’d estimate that 90% of what I want comes up when I look.
Anyway, enough about how awesome Spotify is. Like I said, spring riding playlist. It won’t make you feel like you want to tear some legs off (there’s other lists for that), but it might put you into an over-the-top happy mood while cruising in some perfect temps with some perfect people on some perfect roads - AND you’ll get a solid dose of my own bizarre (euphemistically referred to by many as “eclectic”) tastes. Go, download Spotify onto your computer/AndroiPhone, listen, and ride - preferably with a pair of Skullcandy Fix earbuds. Best. Riding. Phones. Ever.
Check out the playlist here: Spring Cycling Extravaganza.

photo: http://cottonsoxphotography.com/ alt title: “How not to win a circuit race.”

Testing waters on a new Friday gig: Ask me anything, and I’ll write a blog post about it?

Posted at 12:10pm and tagged with: nate king, competitive cyclist racing team, training, racing,.

photo: http://cottonsoxphotography.com/ alt title: “How not to win a circuit race.”
Testing waters on a new Friday gig: Ask me anything, and I’ll write a blog post about it?

Nomming with Nate, edition 214159:

Tonight I had an unexpected host family in Salt Lake. By “family”, I mean my former roommate/best photographer on the planet, the one and only Mr. Kuhns. In light of the situation, I offered up my only half-hearted gift to the general public - cooking. Sadly, the kitchen in my temporary abode is slightly…ill-equipped (Hey dude, do you own a colander?), so it was a little seat-of-my-pants.

As is typical of my culinary creations, I took a recipe I located online and bastardized it until it was my own. In this case, the offering of Deb at Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb twisty pasta
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and chopped
  • 3.5ozish of herbed goat cheese (soft)
  • 2T butter
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1 lb veal stew meat, cubed into cm-sized chunks (optional, and any meat with a lighter flavor/fat content would do, chicken breast, lean pork, etc)
  • 1 lemon worth of juice and zest
  • 1/2c gin
  • 2T fresh minced dill
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Boil really salted water in a saucepan suitable for pasta and asparagus. As it comes to a boil, add olive oil to a large hot skillet on high, get it to smoke point. Toss chunked veal in and brown it. Reduce heat to medium, add gin and braise veal for a couple minutes, or until it looks damned good. Let it simmer as you boil the pasta. When the pasta has a couple minutes to go to al dente, add the asparagus. Drain off when the pasta has cooked and the asparagus is still snappy. Throw asparagus/pasta into the veal braise, add goat cheese/butter/lemon zest/juice/dill/s&p. Melt butter and goat cheese, mix, and kill the heat.  Serve immediately. 

Had it with a bacon “IPA vinaigrette” spinach salad I made - not terrible. I was a little heavy on the lemon, but with a little less the gin/dill would come out and juniper would make itself known. Give it a shot - it’s easy.

Posted at 10:56pm and tagged with: food, pasta, nutrition, training, cycling, nate king, competitive cyclist racing team,.

Rest week top-offs, and bourbon lemon French toast for Easter brek. Life is good. 

The new residence has PILES of big dirt roads to shred - something felt right about thrashing my Dogma 2 with (admirably performing) 23c tires on some pretty sketch loose-over-hard doubletrack the day before PR.

Remember: CO2 is for rich people, and frame pumps make excellent billyclubs in a pinch.

Posted at 11:26am and tagged with: competitive cyclist racing team, cycling, dirt, dogma 2, dogma k, french toast, logan, nate king, pinarello, training, utah, vittoria, weekend ride,.

My ghetto caprese-turkey grilled cheese brings all the boys to the yard, especially after bike rides. No-thinking post-ride lunch FTW.

Ingredients: 

  • Junky “multigrain bread”, because it’s what’s in your house
  • Leftover fresh mozzarella 
  • Smoked turkey, sliced thick, because my mom buys lunchmeat in whole roasts and slices it herself. Win.
  • Random sad grocery store Roma tomato (screw you, it’s April in northern Utah)
  • Cilantro, conveniently masquerading as basil before it turns into black mush in seven hours in the bottom of the crisper
  • Leftover pear balsamic reduction (nutty pear gorgonzola pizza experiment)
  • Random raw broccoli and leftover dijon peppercorn yogurt vinaigrette, courtesy of the Feed Zone cookbook

Apply all ingredients to bread. Squish in waffle iron pretending to be a panini press. Take bad photo. Gorge. And actually, it was REALLY GOOD.

Posted at 9:21pm and tagged with: caprese, cycling, feed zone cookbook, food, nate king, nutrition, sandwich, training, full width,.

My ghetto caprese-turkey grilled cheese brings all the boys to the yard, especially after bike rides. No-thinking post-ride lunch FTW.
Ingredients: 
Junky “multigrain bread”, because it’s what’s in your house
Leftover fresh mozzarella 
Smoked turkey, sliced thick, because my mom buys lunchmeat in whole roasts and slices it herself. Win.
Random sad grocery store Roma tomato (screw you, it’s April in northern Utah)
Cilantro, conveniently masquerading as basil before it turns into black mush in seven hours in the bottom of the crisper
Leftover pear balsamic reduction (nutty pear gorgonzola pizza experiment)
Random raw broccoli and leftover dijon peppercorn yogurt vinaigrette, courtesy of the Feed Zone cookbook
Apply all ingredients to bread. Squish in waffle iron pretending to be a panini press. Take bad photo. Gorge. And actually, it was REALLY GOOD.

Rest weeks are hard. I’m not exhausted enough to be ambivalent about the rest of my life not being up to the same par as the portion that rolls on two wheels. 

Posted at 12:19pm and tagged with: coffee, competitive cyclist racing team, cycling, nate king, rest week, training, full width,.

Rest weeks are hard. I’m not exhausted enough to be ambivalent about the rest of my life not being up to the same par as the portion that rolls on two wheels. 

Siphon brewing from Caffe d’Bolla

All day erry’day, if I could afford it. 

Posted at 11:42am and tagged with: coffee, siphon brewing, cycling, caffeine, training, cafe d'bolla, d'bolla, competitive cyclist, nate king, microroasting,.

Seasonal vivification is breathing down my neck like an undercaffeinated art director.

The weekend was one of consistent 60F highs in Small Lake City - possibly the first of 2012. Another training criterium on Saturday followed up with some lovely crushing with the fine gents from Plan7 Coaching, Canyon Bicycles, SimplyMac Racing, and my Professional Vacuum Salesman roomie. A nice tempo-pace team time trial finish up Emigration Canyon with Chase and a couple of the SM boys left us with a respectable 24:something mark. 

Sunday’s levy brought forth the throttle-fluttering in preparation for SoCal’s interminable announcement to North America that bike racing season is ON: The San Dimas Stage Race. A brief dawdle around town saw my small contingent of coworkers and compatriots once again at the mouth of Emigration.

With a lid on the KJ burn and an eye towards next week’s baptism by fire, I ended up running into a former neighbor on the road. Heath knew me when I was first wrestling with life’s direction as a nomadic and aimless 22 year-old. We parted ways when I was supposedly running away (back) to California to launch my journey into the French Foreign Legion (riding a ‘99 Klein Quantum Pro), and him still dating his future wife. Oh, how things change in a couple years. Now, Heath’s wife is expecting, and I’m pedaling my bike for a living. Perspective.  

A finish in SLC’s resplendent 15th & 15th neighborhood with an apres-ride sandwich and Galleti gorge on the patio at Caputo’sand a visit to the newest addition to the valley’s bourgeoning acceptance of cycling as a lifestyle left me basking in sun-baked bliss. 

Life is good.

Posted at 1:11pm and tagged with: competitive cyclist, cycling, emigration canyon, nate king, plan7, salt lake city, simplymac racing, strava, training, utah, beehive bicycles, caputo's,.