The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Mar 2012

Your Pillars of Performance

What’s the secret of success in endurance sports? I get asked this a lot. The answer can be boiled down to one phrase: consistency of effective training.  Performance does not arrive overnight. It comes out of a consistently applied training plan that is appropriate and specific to your level and needs. It takes hard work and a willingness to integrate training as a way of life, instead of a burden on top of life.

Runners via Shutterstock Photographer: Maridav

Once we understand that consistency is the real cornerstone of performance improvement, it is easy to understand that any single session or week or training is not going to make you improve. In order to remain consistent you must stay healthy, motivated, and injury-free. This means your path to performance must include components that support consistency, maintain health, and optimize recovery throughout your journey toward your triathlon. 

Enter your purplepatch pillars of performance!

No matter what level of athlete I am working with, we always refer back to the pillars of performance. They are the foundation of your training success and are given equal philosophical and emotional important in the training approach.  They are:

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On the Horizon: Off-Road Vehicles that Guzzle Electricity, Not Gas

SRI-baja-blog480The beginnings of Jeffrey Smith's EV for the Baja 1000 Photo: Strategic Recovery Institute

In its 44-year history, the Baja 1000 off-road race has been about speed, sand and full throttle. This coming November, the legendary race will also be about instant torque and low or zero emissions -- at least, for some of the drivers. A new vehicle class, Ultra Green, will allow electric and hybrid rigs into the fold this year for the first time. And Jeffrey Smith, an experienced Baja racer, is hoping to win the new class with a fully electric vehicle, reports New York Times' Wheels blog.

Smith has assembled a team of EV experts to design a vehicle with 400 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. The chassis was made by Strategic Racing Designs. The drivetrain is the handiwork of EV West, which built an EV racer for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a 12-mile course with 4,700 feet of elevation gain. EVs perform well on this course, compared to gas-powered vehicles, which begin to struggle in the thin air of the 14,110-foot peak. 

So what does all this mean to you? It means that some day, the rumble and the smell of dirt bikes on your favorite mountain bike trail will be replaced by the whirl of electric motors.

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True Cycling Excitement: 2012 Valparaiso Urban Downhill

I keep hearing talk about how exciting the beginning of the 2012 road race season has been. On Sunday, the season's biggest prize thus far, Paris-Nice, came down to the 9.6-kilometer uphill time trial on the Col d'Èze, with Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins taking the final stage and the overall by a scant eight seconds. And today, Liquigas-Cannondale's 2010 Vuelta a España winner Vincenzo Nibali beat American Chris Horner in the final time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico by 20 seconds to win the the GC by an even slimmer six seconds.

I'll admit it's nice to have some ProTour drama other than all of the doping turmoil earlier in the year. But judging by this video from the 2012 Valparaiso Urban Downhill, road racers and their fans are much more easily entertained than mountain bikers. Thrilling? I'd be surprised if the guy on the stairs at 2:34 wasn't so "excited" from that near miss that he had to clean his undershorts post run.


With thanks to Mavic for sharing this video.

--Aaron Gulley


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Discovery Terminates Bear Grylls

This morning the Hollywood Reporter broke the news that the Discovery Channel has ended its relationship with its beetle-eating megastar Bear Grylls. According to the story, the dispute concerns two unnamed projects that Discovery wanted Grylls to participate in. Discovery issued a terse statement: “Due to a continuing contractual dispute with Bear Grylls, Discovery has terminated all current productions with him."

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The Three Best New Approach Shoes

Sticky approach shoes will get you to and from your projects, but they're not just for cragging. Approach shoes can have urban appeal—like when you want to impress your friends after a few beers by bouldering up the nearest sculpture/rock/tree. We don't necesarrily recommend this, we're just saying, we know far too many people that attempt such stunts with improper shoes and pay the consequences.

Here are a few of our faves to get you off the ground:

Evolv Cruzer: The barefoot runner of approach shoes, Evolv's Cruzer has maximum sensitivity for a sticky-soled shoe. Whether you're buildering, smearing up the nearest granite slab, or heading to Miguels for pizza, it gets the job done. In fact, even non-climbers might like it's breathable cotton upper and microfiber memory foam-lined insole. Together they're a padded pillowcase for your dogs, which either have just been or are about to be crammed into a toe crushing wrap of leather and rubber. Flip the heel forward and wear them like slippers, or hang 'em from your harness with the handy heel loops so you can walk off the descent without slicing your feet. They make great camp shoes too, even if you have to pack them in. Available now, $75,

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