Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Team Visit to Specialized HQ

Today we were treated to a personal tour of the always fascinating world of Specialized Bicycle Components. Joined by the Specialized Junior Road Team, we were shown the sights and sounds of the big "S" where much of the magic happens. From creative designs to R & D to computer aided stress testing, it's apparent why Specialized is the innovative leader in the bike world.

Special thanks to Mallory Burda and Nic Simms for hosting our visit!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Whole Athlete and Specialized Bicycle Components Announce 2011 Junior & U23 Development Team

San Anselmo, CA, 20 December 2010) Continuing on their hugely successful partnership in 2010, Whole Athlete and Specialized Bicycle Components today announced the roster for their 2011 Junior and U23 Development Team. With five riders focused on the ProXCT Series, 13 Grassroots MTB racers, and a four-member U23 Road team, Whole Athlete / Specialized will contest a range of events from the Sea Otter Classic to the Cascade Classic Stage Race. Naturally, the squad will also return to US MTB Nationals, where they earned five Championship titles in 2010.

The 2011 squad is a blend of future stars and proven talent including National Champions Kate Courtney and Keegan Swenson (Junior 15-16 MTB XC), Will Curtis and Zach Valdez (2010 California State and SoCal High School MTB Champions) and 2010 World Championship Team members Tony Smith and Sofia Hamilton.

The team is directed by Whole Athlete founder Dario Fredrick (2x MTB 40-44 National Champion), while the junior girls are led by Abbie Durkee (current MTB 35-39 National Champion) and the U23 Road squad by Whole Athlete Associate Coach Peter Nicholson.

Whole Athlete / Specialized receives essential support from presenting sponsor Specialized Bicycle Components, as well as a number of associate sponsors including Mt. Tam Capital, Tam Bikes, Marin Cyclists, GU Sports, Oakley, WTB, Champion System, Formula, Elemental Herbs, RockTape, NoTubes, Rotor USA and Can Do Kid.

“I am pleased and proud to continue our partnership with Specialized,” said Fredrick. “Having access to bikes like the S-Works Epic and S-Works Stumpjumper hardtail 29er is an incredible advantage, and Specialized components allow our kids to benefit from the best technology available.”

Whole Athlete / Specialized will be using Specialized Bikes, S-Works shoes, S-Works helmets, gloves and tires.

“We are honored to provide the Whole Athlete program with the support they deserve,” said Ian Dewar, Specialized USA Partnership Manager. “Specialized recognizes the challenges facing young riders who are progressing from the local to national stage and we are committed to their long-term future in the sport.”

The official 2011 Whole Athlete / Specialized team launch will happen at the team’s first training camp on 22-23 January 2011 in San Anselmo, CA.

2011 Whole Athlete - Specialized Team Roster:

Junior Men

Tony Smith (17/18)

Max Houtzager (17/18)

Keegan Swenson (17/18)

Bobby Zidek (17/18)

Sven Beer (17/18)

Taylor Smith (17/18)

Eliel Anttila (17/18)

Johnny Kaufmann (15/16)

Lucas Newcomb (15/16)

Junior Women

Sofia Hamilton (17/18)

Victoria Yoham (17/18)

Kate Courtney (15/16)

MacKinzie Stanley (15/16)

Josie Nordrum (15/16)

U23 XC

Will Curtis

Zach Valdez

Riley Predum

Will Patterson

U23 Road

Nick Newcomb

Alec Kassin

Nick Kinney

Cody Tapley

About Whole Athlete:

Whole Athlete is a comprehensive, holistic resource for endurance athletes of all levels, providing world-class coaching, professional bike fitting, scientifically-supported performance testing, nutritional counseling, sport psychology and yoga. The holistic nature of the Whole Athlete program integrates the essential aspects of optimal performance to help athletes explore their highest potential. The Whole Athlete Cycling Team is funded by donations to the Velo Development Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit.

About Specialized Bicycle Components:

Specialized Bicycle Components was founded in 1974 by riders for riders. Since then, the Morgan Hill, CA based company has grown into one of the world’s most successful bicycle companies with market leading performance bicycles, accessories and an ever-expanding domestic and international dealer base.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Riding into the Sunset

Red sky at night, mountain biker's delight. Our Tuesday team rides keep us going through the winter...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Add one more National Champion

Zach Valdez earned the team's sixth National Championship title of 2010 by winning the 24 hour junior team Nationals race in Moab, UT. Congratulations, Zach!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Long Ride Up

A Long Ride Up: the story of my surgeries and recovery
By MacKinzie Stanley

Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO) …I’m sure most of you have never heard of it and I can guarantee that you don’t ever want to experience it. The real definition has something to do with ‘ a hip preserving procedure’ and ‘acetabular dysplasia’, but it really boils down to this: a surgeon slices the hip open, carves out the hip socket, repositions it, screws the bone back in and then sews it all back up. The recovery time is six months, but it takes a year until you are fully recovered. Yes, if you are all wondering at this point, I did have PAO, twice, two years in a row, and both times I came back and raced the last two races of the high school mountain bike season…And I have to tell you, it wasn’t easy.

My first surgery was at the end of October 2008, but I had learned about my predicament and my need for PAO a month or so earlier. I didn’t know what to expect going into the surgery and didn’t really believe people about how hard it was going to be so it came as a real slap in the face when the surgery recovery was really hard, in fact it was the hardest and most painful thing I have ever experienced. And it wasn’t fast either. For the first month, I was focused entirely on the pain and on accomplishing little things for myself, such as sitting down and getting up from a chair on my own and forcing myself to drink a shake or a eat a few raspberries. The nights were the hardest; waking up every two hours because of the pain and sleeping on my back with props so I didn’t aggravate my hip. There were times that I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get through it; it was hard to see my progress and even harder to see an end. Somehow I made it to six weeks, though, and started walking again. After Christmas break, I went back to school a few classes at a time and struggled to do the homework assigned and catch up with what I had missed.

At 3 months, I began to bike to school and in April I started mountain biking and training with the Drake MTB team. I still remember that first encounter with the team. It was probably sometime in January because it was raining and I was still using crutches at school. I went to the weight room to hand in my ‘application forms’ and encountered about 15-20 kids and an older guy on spinners, after I had navigated through a network of sweaty teenagers working out on the machines. I felt completely out of place on my crutches with a bulky backpack on, but bravely approached the older guy who I assumed was the coach and proceeded to explain what I was there for with the accompaniment of many ‘ums’. I soon came to know him as coach Paul. The season progressed and I ended up racing the last two races of the year and placing 6th and 3rd respectively. It was a whole new experience, mountain biking, and although I wasn’t too sure of it when I first started, I grew to love it. It was so rewarding for me to be able to find a new sport that I enjoyed and could participate in even as I was recovering from surgery.

I enjoyed biking mountain biking for the rest of the school year and through summer, even joining the newly formed girls Whole Athlete team. However there was a lot of work involved as well. I wanted to run cross-country in the fall and to do that I needed to be able to run and to be able to run I had to relearn it from the ground up. It took months for me to finally catch up to my normal ability level, but by November the running finally clicked and I knew all the training was worth it to be able to compete so competitively. And so it happened that I was in peak fitness level by the time my next surgery came around at the end of November 2009, a month later than the one a year previously. It was hard to keep the upcoming surgery from my mind in the weeks beforehand, but keeping up a busy schedule of schoolwork, cross-country and biking helped. I have never wanted something so badly before as I wanted this surgery not to take place. I had worked my way up for a year from the very bottom to get to this point and in no way whatsoever did I have any inclination to put myself through the whole thing again.

I did go through with it and the surgery went much the same as before, except more smoothly and not quite so harshly since I knew what to expect. And always throughout the recovery I had my goal in mind: racing on my mountain bike at state. Somewhere along the way however, I got it into my head that I wanted to participate in the race before state as well, even though it was merely five months after my surgery. Having a goal that I was really passionate about reaching helped me get through the rough decisions I had to make every day. Because when it came down to it, it wasn’t my decision to race the last two races of the year that mattered, it was the small decisions to train and work hard each day that made the difference in the end.

At six weeks after the surgery I started walking, at three months I started biking to school and soon after I started to ride my road bike, gradually building up my endurance and speed. Since my doctor was adamant about no mountain biking until six months post surgery, I got to spend a lot of time on my sweet new road bike. I paid my doctor a visit the Friday before the second to last race of the season and he gave me that OK to race even though it was only five months post surgery, not six.

So that Sunday I raced in the JV girls category and placed 6th, even though, besides the pre-ride and an hour ride the weekend before, I hadn’t ridden my mountain bike for the past five months. Pumped by my success, I went into State feeling good, but worried about the massive hills, of which I still had trouble with. Nevertheless, I raced, thoroughly enjoyed the course and snagged another 6th place. To top off the day, Drake ended up winning a 2nd state champs in a row, something never done before and I was elated having been a part of such a historic event.

Relaxing after the race, I looked back on how much effort it took to get me to where I was and realized it was so, so worth it just to be here and experience the comradeship of my teammates and the feeling of success because all my efforts had been worthwhile.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Juniors successful on both road and dirt

Whole Athlete Juniors wrapped up the 2010 racing season in style with success across multiple disciplines.

Riley Predum won the 49th Mt. Tamalpais Hillclimb Junior race, while teammates Nick Newcomb, Will Curtis, Tony Smith and Colby Pastore were 3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th respectively.

The team's success on the road followed only one week after Zach Valdez took the final round of the US Cup Series at Bonelli Park and the Junior Cat 1 Overall Title, winning every event he entered.

And if that doesn't show the incredible range of ability in the team, Max Houtzager takes an impressive 2nd place in the Pro/open Northstar Super-D.

Road, dirt, gravity - these kids are multi-talented on two wheels!

Friday, September 3, 2010

MTB XC World Championships - Junior Men

Congratulations to the Whole Athlete Junior Men at the 2010 MTB World Championships.

Tony Smith (49th, started 58th)
Will Curtis (58th, started 72nd)
Zach Valdez (DNF - crashed out)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Junior MTB XC World Championships - Day 1 Junior Women

In only her second year racing mountain bikes and her first season as a Cat 1 junior, Sofia Hamilton made it all the way to the World Championships in Mont Sainte-Anne, Canada. Facing the best riders in the world on an extremely technical course, she rode her heart out. Although it wasn't her best day on the bike - finishing 26th, the experience was very positive and a great opportunity to learn about world-class competition. Most of all, Sofia maintained a great attitude about the whole experience. Way to go, Sofia.

Junior Women's start

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Windham Day 4 - Patterson on the Cat 1 Podium

Will Patterson takes 3rd place in the Cat 1 19-24 XC at the Race the World on the Windham world cup course.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Windham World Cup - Race Day!

World Cup Team Results:
Sofia Hamilton 4th
Tony Smith 7th
Zach Valdez 11th
Will Curtis 13th
Nick Newcomb 15th
Max Houtzager 19th