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UPDATE: Sam Schultz | Walking Machine

December 9, 2014

trail to the top

Man, this fall flew by.  Surgery number two went down almost three months ago now.  The moving was very slow for a while, but I’ve been making steady progress and I’m extremely psyched to say things seem to be coming around in a big way.  I still get really nervous about jinxing myself, so I’ll knock on wood while I type, my back doesn’t hurt anymore!  Sure, it’s still a little weird feeling and I fully expect to have plenty of hurdles left to jump once I start actually testing it.  To be pain free, even while babying it, is a HUGE improvement and a great place to start.  I couldn’t be happier!
Since surgery I have pretty much been a walking machine.  From the start that has really been my only doctor approved activity so I have been embracing it in a big way.  I have progressed from baby stoking the firewalks around the orthopedic floor of the hospital with nervous nurses watching my every step, all the way to epic hikes in southern Utah and snowy adventures in Montana.  I have also been cleared to swim so I’ve been doing my best at that, and even though I still feel like a fish out of water, I’ve been learning a lot while I’m at it.  It feels really good to progress to a spot where even though they might not be my number one preferred activities, I can still go out, get a great workout, and have fun while I’m at it.  I feel good about the base I’m building and I’m really excited to keep progressing in a smart and slow manner back onto the bike.
I have my 3 month post-op appointment coming up really soon.  Fingers are crossed that all looks good and the surgeon will turn me loose to starting a structured physical therapy program so I can get strong.  I know I probably sound like a broken record, but I am SO thankful to have a team like the Ride Biker Alliance and a boss like Scott who has been unbelievably supportive through all of this.  Can’t wait to be high-fiving at a finish line soon!  Also, I most definitely have to thank my friends, family and doctors.  OK, I’ll stop with my Grammy acceptance speech…but seriously, thanks!

UPDATE: Max Plaxton | Nicaragua Off-Season

December 4, 2014

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Just got back from an amazing couple weeks surfing and travelling with a couple good buddies down in Central America. I travel a lot throughout the year so I think it’s really important to get out there and see the world and travel like a “normal person.” It’s good for the head and at the same time makes you really appreciate certain qualities of life we have at home. I had never been to Nicaragua, but my pal Matt had been twice and having a little local knowledge down there is a huge plus along with the fact that I speak fluent spanish. The main purpose of the trip was surfing so a few of us booked a really nice apartment one of Nica’s premier breaks, Colorados. One of the guys with us could only stay for 1 week and he wanted to live it up sort of speak, so we had big 3 bedroom right on the beach in a gated secure beach resort with a full kitchen, 2 walk in showers, huge patio etc…this is considered luxury by Nica standards at $150 a night. We had a great week with some really fun waves and even snuck a little golf in there too. Once our buddy Al took off Matt and I drove north to a little surf beach called Popoyo. You’d think after the drive to get there with the condition of the dirt roads there would be nobody there, but sure enough it as packed with gringo surfers from all over the world, mainly Aussies those people seem to be everywhere haha. Popoyo is a really neat scene with a bunch of little surf hostels right on the beach and only $10 each a night. We also had a truck rented so we were able to drive around to a couple different breaks which ended up getting us into a bit of trouble!

Second day in Popoyo we drove up to a little town called El Astrillero, which has a really amazing river mouth surf break and parked on the beach andFullSizeRender[2] made the mistake of having all our luggage inside as we where changing hostels that day. We figured by parking on the beach, which is totally fine, that a break-in would be unlikely. I think the thief must of been watching us and broke in when a 20 something wave set came in. Long story short we got back to the vehicle with the driver window smashed and most of our luggage gone. We were extremely lucky as we both had out passports in glove box although Matt had his iPhone taken and a bunch of dinero and I only had all my clothing, shoes, bialetti espresso maker(ouch) stolen. End of the day I still had enough cash to get us through the trip(barely) and yes it is possible to survive a week with only board shorts and a borrowed t-shirt! I hope whoever stole our stuff needs it more then we do and will be decked out in Team Sho-Air/Cannondale t-shirts and Oakley clothing head to toe:) We filed a police report with the closest policia nacional and that was quite the experience in it self. We are hoping a police report will help with the car rental company dealing with the insurance if its covered or not, but after my experience down there I’m not too optimistic.

We made the most of our trip despite a bit of a hiccup but hey we learned our lesson and at the end of the day leaving a bunch of nice looking goods inside a car in a remote area isn’t a good idea in any country, especially Central America.

Most days would start at sunrise with a 2-3 hr surf followed by coffee and a big huevos rancheros break for only then a big hammock siesta, another surf till sunset, sunset beers, huge dinner, card games then local rum with random surf bums.

It felt great to see a new part of the world, surf for 13 days strait, meet some new people, get a little outside the comfort zone, live in shorts and feel some heat; but excited to be back for some adventures at home. Still another week off the bike to go and already can tell its just what I need to recharge the batteries. I wonder how the trails are doing on the west coast? pretty damn excited to hop back on the Trigger 27.5….

Until the next adventure.

UPDATE: Keegan Swenson – Off-Season

November 24, 2014
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photo courtesy of Michele Zebrowitz

 

The past few months of the off-season have been awesome (and very needed!). It’s been great to just recharge the batteries a bit after a long season! After our Sho-Air/Cannondale team launch in California, I started to get back on the bike a little more and have since started racing some cyclocross. I love racing the local cross scene, whether it is here in Durango or back home in Park City/Salt Lake. Its always just a really laid back atmosphere and a ton of fun! And makes for an excellent cross training workout for mountain bike racing, keeping a little fitness as well as working on my handling skills.

I have also been doing quite a bit of running lately…definitely more then in past years. Not sure why, as I have never really liked running. Maybe it is just the simplicity of throwing on a pair of shoes, some shorts and a tee shirt and just going wherever you want for as long as you want….

Anyway, that’s pretty much all I have been up to! Other then casual mountain biking, or Strava hunting rides…. and of course the weekly moto or dirt jump session…. ya know, just to keep the adrenalin flowing properly!

KS

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photo courtesy of Michele Zebrowitz

 

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photo courtesy of Charlotte Lenssen

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW: Keegan Swenson

November 20, 2014

KeeganAge: 20

Years riding: 9 years

Hometown: Park City, Utah!

Currently living: Durango, Colorado

How you got started? Both of my parents are pretty avid cyclists, so they got me riding when I was young. By the time I was around 11 or 12 years old I started doing some local mountain bike racing and was hooked! I just slowly progressed from there, doing some more regional racing, to national level competition, and then to the world cup level when I was 17.

Hobbies? I love to dirt jump year round, although there is not a ton of time for it during the race season. Then in the off-season I like to ride motorcycles a bit and love to hike and run.

How do you like to spend your down time? Well I love coffee so I spend a lot of time making coffee and/or finding the best coffee shop in town! I also enjoy cooking, so I am always trying to makeSAC2-36
the best food I can!

How did you get on the team? I spent the last few years with Cannondale Factory Racing in Germany, so moving to Sho-Air/Cannondale and been a pretty smooth and seamless transition. When Mr. Tedro said he wanted to create a strong American based team I was definitely interested, having full support in the US by two American companies is pretty cool… Also, being able to race in the US, and still be able to get more UCI points then in the past is definitely an opportunity I could not pass up. With 3 HC US Cup races and multiple other C1s there are tons of points opportunities to climb the UCI rankings. Plus we have an awesome team with Max, Stephen and Evelyn!

Favorite race so far and why? The Nove Mesto Na Morave World Cup is definitely one of my favorite races, the course is the perfect balance of physical and technical ability…. not so technical it’s scary, but enough to make for the perfect MTB XCO race course. There are also a ton of spectators… which makes for an exciting racing environment!

Goals for 2015? Defend my U23 national championship title, World Cup podium, World Championships podium and to win a US Cup round.

UPDATE: Sam Schultz | Round Two

September 16, 2014

IMG_20140915_154011_367This year has involved incredible support, tons of excitement, an immense amount of hard work and passion; followed by lots of disappointment, questions, and a hunt for the best plan to turn things around…again.

After what can only be described as a roller coaster of a year, I am putting surgical plan 2.0 into action bright and early tomorrow morning. I am equal parts nervous and excited. Back surgery is a big deal and absolutely not something I take lightly. I never thought I would be getting one back surgery, let alone two. But, in life, you must play the hand you are dealt. And with surgery imminent, I am still extremely psyched with the hand I have.

I enter tomorrow’s surgery with the most incredible support system a guy could ask for. My family is absolutely amazing, my friend’s rock, Scott and Sho-Air/Cannondale have been unbelievable, and I have been lucky enough to have access to the best doctors in the country and arguably the world. I’m feeling as good as I can hope considering my spine will be completely exposed for at least a part of the day tomorrow.

The doctor will be going in to give me an instrumented fusion at L4/L5 along with a foraminotomy at L5/S1 to give my nerves a bit more breathing room. Fusions suck. And I tried to avoid a formal fusion from the start, but in my case, after countless consultations with the best doctors around, I am convinced that this is the right call.

It’s going to be a long recovery and after last year I have realized that chomping at the bit and willing something to be better doesn’t always work, no matter how bad you want it. So I am going to be patient. That isn’t easy, but I’m going to do it. I will have three months of not doing much more than walking, but I’m going to do my best to enjoy it. I’m thinking about taking up casual photography. And I am sure I’ll do more than my fair share of reading; so if you have any recommendations for good books, send ‘em my way. I am also looking forward to coming down to the Sho-Air headquarters to spend some time helping out at the new (and very awesome) Sho-Air Cyclery bike shop during my recovery phase.

Again, I can’t thank Scott, Team Sho-Air/Cannondale, my family, friends, and everyone else who has helped me out.

Here’s to anesthesia-induced dreams of endless single-track (followed by the real thing a few months down the road)!

 

Sam

 

Product Spotlight: Pro Gold Helmet Cleaner and Deodorizer

July 25, 2014

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After logging miles over the course of a year it may seem like its time for a new helmet but thanks a Pro Gold you’re only a cleaning away. The helmet cleaner and deodorizer is the perfect solution for the smelly old crusty helmets out there.

To use the aerosol cleaner start by applying an even coat of foam on the surface.

IMG_8715With as dirty as ours was we coated both sides with the cleaner to safely and easily loosen and remove dirt, grime, and bugs from helmet exterior. Then just let it sit to allow the cleaner to do its job!

IMG_8718Once the magic happens we rinsed it off

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and left it to drip dry

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The best part  was it only took about 5 minutes and our helmet came out looking like new!

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Thanks to Pro Gold we removed the root cause of foul odors within the helmet padding and will no longer have old funk dripping down into our eyes!

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UPDATE: Alex Grant | Nationals

July 16, 2014

IMG_5228The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of racing, and kind of a roller coaster ride for me. This is a pretty big part of the season and I did a lot of good training leading up to it since we have the Missoula Pro XCT, the US Cup Finals, Marathon Nationals, and XC Nationals all within a month. I capped off a good training block the week before Missoula, then spent some time in Park City with Max Plaxton who was down getting some altitude prep, and even had dinner with Scott and Kimber Tedro who were there on vacation. The weather got a little confused and thought it was winter, and we had a mid-June snowstorm. Luckily it cleared up by the end of their visit.

I drove up to Missoula the day before the race, and still had plenty of time to check out the course and take a swim in the river with Max. Then we had dinner with Sam and Emily at Sam’s house, and crashed there. Thanks for the hospitality guys! Missoula is an awesome town and they put on an equally awesome event. The XC course is super tough with lots of climbing and real mountain bike descending, fast, some technical spots, and a whole lot of vertical drop. I had a good race and just slipped in the top 10 with 10th place after a good late race battle with Max and Ben Sonntag. I was feeling confident heading in to Colorado Springs the next weekend, and looking forward to defending my top 10 spot in the US Cup series.

That wasn’t to be, though, and for some reason after feeling pretty good all week and even on Friday I was just off during the race on Saturday. I didn’t get a great start and never really improved from there, I just couldn’t get a rhythm and felt like I was just riding around rather than racing and attacking the course. It’s always hard to keep it together mentally when you are having an off day at a big race. It’s so easy to just want to pack it in and quit if you aren’t performing like you know you can, but I hung in there and finished 22nd. It wasn’t at all what I was hoping for, but it’s all I had for the day. Oh well I thought, I’ll come out swinging at Marathon Nationals next weekend!

Not so much! Generally after a disappointing race I can channel my energy and use it as great motivation for the next. After finishing 3rd at Marathon Nationals in Sun
Valley last year I was fired up to go back and get some redemption. Things seemed normal all week and I headed up on Thursday with Sammi, it’s a short 4.5 hour drive and we made it in time for me to do a short pre-ride on course and make a nice dinner. Paul and Jeremiah flew in that night and we had a small but strong group ready to rock for the weekend.

On Friday Jeremiah and I took the gondola up to see a new added section of the course that went over the top of the mountain, as well as see the whole descent. The gondola was key because we could save our legs for the main event. I was feeling good and ready.

Unfortunately more disappointment was waiting for me. Shortly after the start, which was pretty civilized, we started climbing the main climb. We settled in to a hard IMG_5233tempo and I hung on the lead group for about 15 minutes, until I just started feeling crummy. It was really hot and I was thinking OK, just slow up a bit, drink, recover, and then turn it on. I did slow up and was dropped from the group, but before I could ever turn it on I started to notice my stomach was in shambles. I was feeling a little sick but just attributed it to the heat and the racing, but quickly realized that it was a little more serious. To make a long store short I fought through stomach cramps, nausea, gas, the works, and made it down to start the next lap. I kept thinking I should stop in the woods to use the bathroom, but held it in hopes it would pass. Well, it didn’t and as I soldiered on to the second lap I finally had to jump off my bike and hit the bushes. I’ve never had diarrhea during a race and wouldn’t complain if it never happened again! Something I ate must not have agreed with me, because after finishing the race I felt terrible and had another bout, complete with chills, nausea, etc.

I ended up finishing 5th but didn’t feel like I was racing, more like surviving! Racing for hours in the heat of the afternoon, combined with the added dehydration from the stomach problems left me super dehydrated. I was dizzy and couldn’t stomach any fluids, so Rebecca Rusch and another EMT saved the day and got me hooked up to a saline IV. After that I started to feel a little more normal, big thanks to them for the help!

That is a first for me, and it is a huge bummer that it happened to be in a big goal race of mine. When racing isn’t going well it is easy to get frustrated and want to pack it in, but it’s how we deal with these disappointments that shape us. I’m going to turn it in to motivation for XC nationals in PA, maybe it’s a great day, maybe it’s another tough one but either way I’ll be there giving it everything I have!

Thanks for reading

AG

 

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