Race 178, Reno-Tahoe Odyssey Training Chalk Talk

While the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey is, for some, an opportunity to partake in a progressive pajama party with BFFs and a little running thrown in along the way, that experience will be enhanced and injuries avoided if consistent preparation is in place. Below is food for thought as you embark on this memorable all-night adventure.

The key to improving your experience is having an overall training plan to reach your RTO goals. One priority needs to be avoiding injury. In our experience, as runners, you insure against injury by investing in consistent purposeful hip and trunk stability exercises, global mobility (joints, muscle length, soft tissues), quality work and quality rest, and a gradually progressive training program.

There should be a clear objective to each and every day’s training session and an understanding of how that relates to your RTO goal. Empowered with this understanding, you will train more purposefully and more effectively.

Here are a few suggestions to improve your RTO preparation and race experience:

  • Training Tips
    • Individualize your training and make it relative to your individual circumstances
      • A training plan needs to be based on your current fitness/past training goals, and then gradually progress as you adapt to the training
    • Toe the start line mentally and physically fit, injury free and hungry for action
      • The key to improving fitness and avoiding injury is a gradually progressed training plan
    • Balance sport-specific training with supplemental cross-training for improved performance and injury prevention
      • Focus on consistent hip and trunk stability, and general mobility
      • Cycling, swimming and hiking are good supplemental cross-endurance training tools that will provide mental and physical variety
    • Vary your training, which provides the opportunity to continue to challenge and improve
      • Once a solid endurance base is in place, systematically and consistently include speed and higher tempo workouts in your training plan
      • Train hard and rest hard – rest should be of equal importance to the running workouts
      • Quality workouts trump quantity
    • Train to meet the specific demands of the RTO
      • Run in the morning, at lunch and in the evening
      • Build up your endurance – include long endurance days and gradually build to the distance you will cover over three legs
      • Train the intensity and terrain of your segment
        • Train at the intensity you hope to hold during the event
        • If you have the opportunity, run the sections you will run in the RTO
        • Simulate this terrain in your training – uphills, downhills and flats all present different challenges
      • Use training to implement your recovery strategies for RTO
        • Use the recovery lessons learned during preparation and incorporate them between your RTO run segments. These might include:
          • Post-run segment recovery drink
            • Believe it not, chocolate milk tops the list
          • Compression socks
          • Stretching and rolling after your segment
          • Movement preparation exercises before your segments
        • Dial in your race-day nutrition strategies during your preparation, not the week or day before
    • Build your bank account of sleep leading into the race

A successful training plan often needs to be custom fit to incorporate all the training components while balancing your life’s work, family schedule and your own physiology. Whether you’re looking to complete the RTO injury-free or you want to set your own personal record, Silver Sage Sports and Fitness Lab helps people at all levels of ability. If you have questions about any of these workouts or are just looking for advice, email us at jyoung@o2fitness.net.

Business Owner Makes Time on Bike Count

Klaus Grimm did not plan on becoming a bike racer.

When he began working with Julie Young and Silver Sage Sports & Fitness Lab, the 40-something business owner just wanted to shed some pounds and add structure to his workouts.

Along the way he discovered that with the right training, good nutrition and personal focus, he could go pretty fast on a bike.

“When I began working with Julie I was sticking to her plan about 60%,” Klaus admits. “When I got serious and followed her plan fully I saw the results. Turns out I’m a pretty good racer.”

Good indeed.

With a little over a year of focused training under his belt, Klaus started 2015 as a Cat 5 road racer (the first level where all male cyclists begin). Upgrading to a higher category requires earning points in approved races by placing well. My mid-March Klaus was poised for a Cat 3 upgrade with an impressive stage race win and additional top-five placements.



What is so impressive about Klaus’ success is how he has fit his cycling into his already busy life. For him, the value of the training is all about time management. He didn’t quit working to train 10 hours a day like we all imagine the pros do. What he needed, and what he got with Julie and Silver Sage, is training customized to his life, his body and his goals.

“As a busy professional I cannot afford time wasted on cookie cutter coaching approaches. Julie has changed my cycling and lifestyle habits with her professional and experienced approach to cycling, fitting, nutrition and off-the-bike training,” Klaus explains. “Without Julie I would still be an eager ‘Ride for a cause’ fondo rider and not a Cat 4 race winner, all within a few months.”

As Klaus has gotten fitter and faster, his riding group has evolved. He now rides with the Reno Tahoe Audi team, a group he claims he couldn’t have “hung with” a year ago. He plans to keep training with Julie and work to be competitive in the much more challenging Cat 3 racing category.

So what’s the lesson in this for the rest of us? Don’t underestimate what you’re capable of, you don’t need to train full time to see impressive improvements.

“I’m a mid 40s guy. I’m never going to be a pro,” Klaus explains. “Julie’s individual, custom approach to coaching allows me to balance my three favorite things: family, cycling and work.”

Addendum: Since publishing this story, Klaus has won the 2015 NCNCA Masters Road Race Championship held in LA Grange, CA in March, and earned his Cat 3 upgrade!

Fresh Training Approach Reinvigorates Triathlete


Sian Turner started training with Julie Young at Silver Sage Sports & Fitness Lab in November of 2013. She had been an active XTERRA triathlete, but with inconsistent results. In 2014, she knew she wanted to target more cycling events and wanted cycling-specific training to get her performances and results where she wanted them to be.

What Sian found with Julie and Silver Sage was the perfect marriage of individualized guidance and scientific input. What she got was a training program that keeps her on her toes and results that keep her on the podium. Consistently.

“Julie’s ability to devise a creative and varied workout program throughout the year means I am always motivated and excited to see what my next phase of training will bring,” Sian says. “The combination of Julie’s hands-on individual approach, and the scientific data obtained using Silver Sage’s lactate, metabolic efficiency and V02 testing makes for a complete program which has been integral in taking my training and race performances to the next level.”

That “next level” for Sian meant a stellar 2014 season that included winning the XTERRA National Championships in her age group and taking fourth in her age group in the XTERRA World Championship. She also earned a 14th place finish at the Leadville 100 – a grueling 100 mile mountain bike race in the Colorado Rockies.

If you want to look at concrete, quantifiable results, consider that Sian took a whopping 40 minutes off her time at the Tahoe Trail 100 race – a 60-mile dirt qualifier for Leadville. In one year, a 40 minute improvement. She attributes her success and her upward trajectory to hard work and her focused, individualized training program. You can’t argue with that.

Far West Elite XC Team Travels to the Spring Series

Far West Elite XC Ski Team member, and Silver Sage Sports and Fitness Lab sponsored athlete Wyatt Fereday reports in from Sun Valley, Idaho. (Opening photo courtesy of Montana Stars.)


A couple weeks back, Anja and I braved the long drive to West Yellowstone got the 50k skate Rendezvous race. The Subaru made it over the pass into Montana just in time to pick up a hitchhiker sibling of an elite teamer, Riley Eusden. It turned out that Riley wasn’t the only tag along we’d have that trip: Anja had a battle with a pesky master skier before securing the win (and prize money!); I led the chase pack for places two to five for nearly the whole race before being out-sprinted by all three of my tag-alongs. Although not as important as in road biking, drafting still matters in Nordic skiing (especially when the conditions are as fast as they were in the Rendezvous), and this race was a perfect example of that.  Overall it was a fun day and great to be back in the white stuff.

Now, finally, the whole team is together again in Sun Valley for Spring Series. Already some great results by Emily and Anja! Relay and 30/50k races to come.

Silver Sage Sports Lab to Present at 2nd Annual Nevada Sports Medicine Update

Reno, NV (March 23, 2015) – Dr. Andrew Pasternak and Julie Young, director of Silver Sage Sports Lab, will present on Bike Fitting at the Second Annual Sports Medicine Update, taking place Saturday, April 11 at Truckee Meadows Community College.

The presentation, which is geared toward orthopedists, personal care physicians, urgent care providers, physical therapists and athletic trainers, will cover the importance of properly tailoring the frame and componentry of an athlete’s bike to their unique biomechanics.

“We’re looking forward to this opportunity to help health care providers understand the value and importance of a comprehensive and systematic bike fit,” said Young. “Proper bike fit improves performance and comfort certainly, but it also helps riders avoid over-use injuries”

Silver Sage Sports & Fitness Lab provides integrated physiologic testing, biomechanical and coaching services to help athletes of all abilities and interests maximize their training time and achieve results. For more information, visit www.silversagecenter.com.


Pre-Season Racing

Blog post by Reno Tahoe Junior Cycling Team members Matt Nugent and Jackson Miers. Silver Sage is proud to sponsor and support the team’s pursuit of excellence.


 I’m Matthew Nugent, one of the members of Reno Tahoe Junior Cycling.  All of our team members enjoy practicing, having fun, and racing together.  Since mountain biking is our passion, we ride and race together outside of our season schedule.  Some of our favorite pre-season races are part of the Total Body Fitness (TBF) series.  The TBF races are comprised of short but speedy laps on the trails around Granite Beach, California.  The laps range from six to eight miles each, and depending on what category in which you are racing, races are one to four laps.  The terrain ranges from flowing downhill to technical uphill.  This four race series presents a challenge to even experienced riders.  My peer and fellow teammate, Jackson Miers, has a short description of one of the more rainy races from the series:

On February 8th, I got up at 5 am.  I ate some oatmeal and then packed up my bike and gear for the second TBF race.  Departure was at 5:30.  Arrival was at 8.  We hopped out of the car and went for registration.  I put my number plate on and went to warm up.  Zach and Tate warmed up while Matt and I warmed up.  We lined up on our starting position and 10 seconds before the announcer said, “Go!”  it started raining.  During the first lap it was wild.  People to pass, lots of people.  Mud, lots of it too.  And rain, as you can guess, lots of that too.  As Matt and I came down a switchback, a man fell off the top and to the bottom separating us.  On the second lap, there were less people, but more mud and rain.  Towards the end there was a puddle that my rotor was even in.  As I finished, I went over to take a picture with Matt and then he started to throw up.  This happens when you do not drink a single bit of water during a race.  It was a fun race; really fun.  We all went to eat at Beach Hut Deli and then had a long car ride home.  I slept most of the way.


 Fun, right?  Many riders would skip this race without thinking twice.  It was cold, rainy, and muddy, yet our riders are committed enough to attend even the more unpleasant races.  Why?  We do not see racing as a burden, but a challenge and opportunity to improve our skill and technique by riding in all different environments, elevations, and weather.  Our passion and commitment is part of what makes Reno Tahoe Junior Cycling so unique and exciting.


Birkie Fever!!

Post by Silver Sage sponsored Far West Elite XC Ski Team Member Anja Gruber.

I have to warn you, I had a lot of time on the plane and I was still pretty excited about my first Midwest trip and my first 50k race, so this is a long one.

It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that I decided that I would travel across the country to race the American Birkebeiner 51k skate race. I got lucky and got a spot in a house and van with a group of Wyatt’s friends, booked my ticket and confirmed my entry. After all, it is THE American ski race and any American ski racer needs to do this race at some point;)

Though, when I got settled in again in Truckee last week, after having traveled through Europe and Vermont for the last three months, I started to get nervous about a few things: Length, cold and logistics.
I hadn’t been able to put in a real long distance workout pretty much since the beginning of November – I’ve been busy racing. I had done 25 races before the Birkie already. Racing for a longer time than I had been training in a while seemed a little interesting.
Also, after racing in Vermont I had some idea what the temperature (low teens in the forecast) on race day would feel like, but a bunch of sports bra skis at Auburn Ski Club made me question if I was gonna be able to handle it.
Finally, how was I gonna get to the start, where to put warm up skis, where to get bibs, where to feed, what’s the course like, the start area, the traffic situation etc??? Lots of unknowns!


To make a long story short- I had a fantastic day. I was able to hang on to the lead pack, with three very speedy women who are competing in the FIS marathon cup and who all have lots of experience in marathon racing, for most of the race.

At some point I was skiing in the very front and I realized that I was leading the way for, well about 10,000 racers, and I just had to smile. Pretttttty cool.

This is a screenshot from the video that the snow mobile that was driving with us took

Tatjana and I sprinted for third down Hayward’s Main Street and while she won the sprint and ended up on the podium after we battled it out for the last (brutal) 7k after Holly put down the hammer and dropped us, I was pretty glad to not have face planted in front of the huge (!!) crowd in Hayward. And trust me, I almost did because sprinting at the end of a marathon turned out to be pretty hard and 4th place is still pretty exciting.

Women's Birkie Podium with my chic new Salomon carbon ski :)

Sabra finished top 15, and all three of our boys top 25, so I think it is save to say that the Far West Elite Team had a hell of a great day.

If you have done a marathon or even the Birkie before (in which case you should give yourself a pat on your shoulder right now) you might be entertained by some of my rookie mistakes, and if you haven’t maybe this will be useful one day.

Here are 11 lessons I learned from the Birkie:

1. Do NOT just slip your gel or whatever you are planning to eat in your race suit tights.
It will slide down. It will slide down all the way to your calf. For some reason I thought that that one GU on my calf was gonna be all I needed, so about 30k through the race I figured I better take it. Especially since some of the other girls had been eating a whole lot more already. Don’t ask how I managed to fish it out of my tights while skiing- I won’t ever do it again.

2. In fact, if you are a girl here is what you should do instead.
(Caitlin Paterson showed me this trick, pretty smart). Put the GUs (plural!) in your sports bra, tape a string that comes out of the top of your race suit to them and tape that string to your bib. I’m sure staples and safety pins help a whole lot too.

3. Fuel up prior to the race.
I want to claim that I did a great job at eating (who would have guessed)
and that it helped me out lots! I really ate a lot all last week, made sure I was well hydrated (DripDrop does the trick!) at all times while traveling, and fueled up on lots and lots of carbs on Friday.

4. It is incredible nice to have support out there.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Salomon. It is so nice to not have to deal with waxing skis (or testing), even though we do have all that good Toko stuff for our team to put on ourselves. The new carbon boards I was put on were incredible (pretty sleek and sexy looking too;)). In fact, think I had the fastest skis out there- every skiers dream!! The Salomon crew also supported me all the way through the races with feeds which, see #5, saved the day.

5. DO bring your own water bottle.
I didn’t. I’m not even sure anymore how I rationalized that but I realized on the start line that about everybody else did have a little belt. While there are plenty of factory feeds out there, it is easy to miss or drop one, or two, and that makes for quite a while without a feed. Any time I’ve taken feeds in races before I really barley took a sip, so actually drinking was quite a challenge for me. Seeing how much those other girls drank helped me force myself to get every feed I could. Even though it meant wet hands every time because those
little cups spill when you grab them!

6. Travel with people who know their way around.
This race isn’t your classic show up at the venue-warm up-put your bib on-go race type thing I’m used to. Thus, it was so great to have someone who was driving, who knew where to get the bibs, what the different trail heads where etc. I also made a new friend, Ari, (see #7) who writes a blog called birkieguide.com. Check it out for some great insights!

7. Birkie is great for making new friends!
I have never in my life seen so many skiing loving people in one place. It’s awesome! When I was traveling with my Toko bag, Salomon water bottle and shoes and Swix sweater I was recognized as a skier a whole bunch of times. (“Hey Swix, how was your race?” Or “my friend has the same sneakers, he’s a skier”) On the way to Minneapolis my answer to the question which start wave I was in (elite wave, first row, bib 6) got me some new friends and on the way home my 4th place finish got me a couple high fives and even a picture. Pretty fun!

8. DO dress appropriately.
I did, yay! I wasn’t cold, I wasn’t hot, I’m so happy. Wyatt has suffered from hypothermia at this race a couple times before so I was paranoid that I would get too cold- it was about 12F yesterday. Still, after my warmup I made a last minute call to take off my second layer on the top and go without face tape. I realized throughout the race that that was pretty smart because if you do get too hot and sweaty, you’ll get really cold on the downhills! One layer of wind proof Swix long undies top and bottom, toe warmers, buff, thick hat, Toko’s Arctic gloves and of course a little Far West face tattoo did the trick for me.

9. DO bring friends.
I got out of the doping control (try to pee after such a long race) where I made friends because I didn’t need a translator like the other European girls (thanks UVM) and I felt like a lost puppy. Soo many people in Hayward. Everywhere. Needless to say I was really really happy when Pat texted me to check in and I found Spence and the other Far West kids just a little after that. Big hugs from teammates help a lot when you are tired. I was very very tired.

10. Friends are the best (always!)
They talk me through the race course, through potential racing scenarios, assure me that I have done plenty of long workouts, give me hugs and text me that I AM tough enough and that it WILL be fun. They give fantastic advice like to relax (duh), not to overthink, to suck tit (to hang on, definitely my favorite one), and not to lead on the lake (no comment). They also give out great love via phone before you can get your real life hugs – you guys all are the best!

11. Birkie fever is a real thing.
Luckily I had made sure that I got plenty of sleep and rest the week prior to the race because I barely slept at all the night before. I thought I had done enough races this year that getting nervous wasn’t really a thing anymore but I guess this one is very special :)

Big shoutout to all the sponsors – lots of awesome businesses, but also Far West’s amazing community – of the Far West Elite Team. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to travel all over the place and experience cool events like the Birkie. Wouldn’t be possible without all of you!

Time to get like 3 days of sleep!