Inside Evan Bausbacher's National Title

Over the weekend Evan Bausbacher represented the University of Texas at the USA Cycling Collegiate National Road Championships in Augusta, Georgia. It was a hot and challenging day out in the road race, with a very sweet finale when Evan took home the win! He worked hard all winter and spring to be ready to fight for the stars and stripes. Read about the race through his eyes, and then follow up for our analysis of his race data.

Evan Breaks it Down

Shortly after the race started there was a massive pile-up that left over 60 people on the ground or stuck behind. Our race was stopped for over 35 minutes as people were fixing their bikes. During this delay I just stayed calm and tried to stay hydrated since it was hot and we were sitting in the sun.

After we finally started up again, there were a few small attacks by solo riders that didn't last long, until 2 eventually got away. The field began to sit up a bit and the gap grew, but it was early and the other favorites were still in the field so I wasn't worried. The next two laps had some fast surges and some slow soft-pedaling, especially with the really undulating course. I followed a few moves from the CU Boulder riders, but for the most part stayed out of the wind and continued to eat and drink. I ate every 20 minutes and was doing about a bottle of water or mix every 40 minutes.

Heading into the 4th, and final, lap the gap had grown to 2 minutes and the field was getting nervous about it, so it got pretty hard up the feed zone climb and into the 4th lap.  Last year's champ on Boulder attacked on the only big climb which is at the start of the lap, and I jumped to follow him. One other rider came with us and we had a solid gap so we began to hit it. We didn't last all that long though as some of the other strong riders in the field made bridge attempts that brought the whole field with them.

Once all back together, the field sat up again. Shortly after being told the gap was at 1:30 to the two leaders, the moto told us we were now on our last lap because of bad weather expected to come in. It got really chaotic with the race being shortened like that with just over 12k to go. The larger teams sent riders to the front and they started chasing all in. With no teammates, I decided to take my chances and let the other teams work with the hope it would come back. I would spend the next 10k fighting for position in the top 15 wheels.

With 2k to go, we were getting quite close and the teams were running out of riders, but the finish had a 1.5km kicker where we caught the two riders shortly after hitting the climb. It got really chaotic in the run-in because it was donwhill/flat and everyone wanted to be up there. I was able to hold position near the top 15 as we hit the climb. I kept my momentum and slung around the little bubble and slotted into 6th wheel behind the defending champ. We ripped up the climb. Before the top he may have attacked or followed a move but somehow I was 3rd wheel heading over the top. The field was pretty stung out and we may have even had a gap of about 10 riders or so. Over the top of the climb it was flat and then a slight right turn. I've been successful with long sprints and due to the tailwind and slight downhill, I launched out of the bend. It was a REALLY long sprint but never felt any riders coming up my sides and never saw anything in my peripheral vision.

Boom. Hook Em Horns. Super happy to take this win. Felt like I managed the fueling well with around 70 grams of carbs per hour and electrolyte bottles. With no teammates I had to be smart with my efforts and only followed moves that I knew were dangerous threats. Pretty cool to pull that one off. 

The Numbers

Bausbacher Coll Nats RR.png

To start, here’s a snap shot of the file. A few numbers to draw to as a general overview of the race:

  • 2 hours 12 minutes, 225w average, but 301w NP

    o   Race was not super hard in terms of constant average power, Evan has done plenty of races with higher raw average power this year.

    o   301w NP when the average was only 225w average shows the race was quite “spikey” and intense, just not for long durations, total volume of intensity in the race was high though

    • Evan spent 16 min @ VO2 power ranges and another 16 min over VO2 (430+ watts for him) – near 25% of the race over threshold by time in zone

  • Minimal HR drift – in relation to the power he was doing Evan wasn’t seeing an increase in HR as the race went on, essentially he wasn’t having to work harder for the same power in the end of the race compared to the start of the race.

    o   This is a great sign that Evan nailed hydration and fuel intake, especially on a warm day.

  • Key moments of the race

    o   Evan’s move to cover the attack by the defending champion at the start of the final lap was 80 seconds @ 497w – way over threshold.

    • This paints the picture of how there was a lot of high intensity / time over threshold, but all broken up into short chunks and the overall average was not super high in relation to the NP

    o   Positioning for the final sprint

    • 2 minutes 45 seconds leading into the final climb, where Evan had 7 spikes over 500w – all these efforts were not super hard individually but in the context of leading into the sprint they can really load up the legs before the key effort even starts.

    o   The final

    • The final push to the finish was just under 2 minutes (1:48) at an average of 543w with a max of 931w. It was a very long “sprint”, more of a hill top finish with a final push for anyone who had legs for one more acceleration.

Here’s a closer look at the final:

Bausbacher Coll Nats RR Sprint.png

As you can see, the “sprint” itself was not very powerful – only an 889w max. For reference Evan’s best ever 5 second power is 1210 watts, he didn’t even get close to that. But the reason because of what happens before Evan even starts his “sprint”. By the time Evan launched his sprint he’d done 1 minute 32 seconds @ 541w average. This is a really important point as preparing for this kind of race really necessitates training the ability to sprint off of that load. Some people can make it up the hill and have no room left to kick, those people finish 10th. Some people can kick hard at 1500 watts, but they can not make it up the hill at 550w for a minute prior. This sort of finish is a really interesting combination of both VO2 type power and ability to accelerate hard. Evan nailed it!

Thanks for reading!

Jim's Pesto

I’ve got a confession to make.  I’m not a huge fan of salad.  Actually, the problem is more that I don’t like making salads.  This could mean that I don’t get enough leafy green vegetables.  However, I’ve discovered homemade pesto is a great way to make sure you still get your fill of leafy greens. 

Remember a while back when we posted about a holiday gift guide?  One of the items on there was a blender or food processor.  A blender or food processor makes it really easy to pack a bunch of nutrients into a meal.  Everyone is familiar of that idea when it comes to smoothies – blend up a variety of fruits and you’ve got a nutrient packed drink.  Pesto is just another example.  

When you think of pesto, you probably think of a traditional pesto you buy at the store.  That pesto is usually a combination of basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.  There are a number of other different combinations though, and you can use these different combinations to pack your diet full of leafy greens. 

For example, try blending a couple handfuls of raw arugula, ~1/4 cup of toasted almonds, ~2 tablespoons parmesan, 2 garlic cloves, juice from half a lemon, and ~1/4 cup olive oil.  Or a couple handfuls of raw spinach, ~1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds, a roasted poblano pepper (with the skin peeled), ~1/2 cup cilantro, ~1/4 cup of feta or cotija cheese, juice from a lime, and ~1/4 cup olive oil.  You can also use a heartier green (like kale) but will probably want to cook it a bit first to soften the flavor.  A vegan version is also easy enough to make by substituting nutritional yeast for the cheese. 

These homemade pesto recipes can then be used on all sorts of foods from pizza, pasta, risotto, toast, etc.  The combinations are endless which helps to keep things interesting.  Below is one of my favorite recipes for peach season.  It’ll keep your taste buds happy while getting you the nutrients you need.  Enjoy!  And thanks for reading!

Peaches and Pesto

·      1 lb penne pasta

·      1lb chicken cut into bite sized pieces

·      3-4 slices prosciutto or bacon cut into bite sized pieces

·      2-3 sliced peaches

·      ~4oz Goat cheese

For the Pesto…

·      Couple handfuls arugula

·      ~1/4 cup toasted almonds

·      ~2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

·      2 garlic cloves

·      Juice from half a lemon

·      ~1/4 cup olive oil

Get a big pot of water boiling and cook the pasta.  While the pasta cooks, heat some olive oil in a pan.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook (and bacon, if using).  Transfer the cooked chicken to a bowl.  Add more oil to the pan if needed.  Sauté the peaches until soft and remove from heat. 

To make the pesto, add arugula, toasted almonds, parmesan, garlic, and lemon juice to food processor.  Blend the ingredients and while the food processor is running, add olive oil until it reaches desired consistency (if using a blender instead of food processor, you’ll need to add the oil with the other ingredients to get them to blend. Can also chop the ingredients by hand for a more textured pesto). 

Combine cooked pasta with chicken, prosciutto (or bacon), and pesto.  Mix.  Add the goat cheese and peaches, and enjoy!

The "Other" Altitude Training

When athletes think about traveling to a different altitude to race, they often think about the difficulties associated with racing at a higher altitude.  However, athletes who live at altitude and travel down to sea level to compete also face difficulties.  While altitude can be great for improving endurance performance, it doesn’t allow an athlete to train at very high intensities (hence the idea of “live high, train low”).  This lack of high intensity training is problematic since races are often won as a result of these high intensity efforts (sprint finishes, breaking away, etc.). 

To prepare for sea level races, there are a number of different things an altitude-residing athlete can do.  One thing is to do efforts while breathing supplemental oxygen.  By breathing in a gas concentration with greater amounts of oxygen, an athlete can simulate riding at sea level and can do high intensity efforts.  This type of training does have drawbacks, though.  The most obvious is that you need a way to get supplemental oxygen, which isn’t the easiest or the cheapest.  Also, you’ll need extra time to recover from a workout with supplemental oxygen. 

Another option is to train at sea level power while at altitude.  For example, if you normally do 5min VO2max intervals at 300W at altitude, you could be expected to do ~320W at sea level.  So, doing efforts at 320W while at altitude can help you prepare the body (and the mind) for sea level.  Of course, you won’t be able to do 5min at 320W so you’ll have to shorten the efforts.

Races at sea level will also involve a greater volume of efforts at a high intensity.  This can also be trained for while at altitude.  One of our favorite interval sessions is “controlled” 40/20’s.  With traditional 40/20’s, 40sec is spent going all out and 20sec is spent riding easy.  In the “controlled” version, the max effort is replaced by riding at a high VO2max pace.  An effort which is difficult, but repeatable.  These efforts help you accumulate more time at a VO­2max power and therefore help you better prepare for sea level racing. 

The intervals discussed here are just a few of the different ways an athlete at altitude can prepare for racing at sea level.  It’s not usually something that folks tend to be concerned about but can make a big difference on race day.  And just so no one feels left out, for those of you living at sea level, these efforts can still be incorporated into your training and help you get faster.  Thanks for reading!

Muffin Going on Here

While brainstorming what to cover in this week’s blog post, I thought back on some of the blogs I’ve read over the years. One of the posts still influencing me today was a blog on muffins. So, this week I thought I’d mix it up and discuss something you’ll (maybe? hopefully?) remember for years to come… 

With a busy schedule, it can be hard to make sure you’re eating right and properly fueled for a big race or workout.  When you’re in a rush, the easiest foods aren’t always the healthiest.  What I learned long ago was that muffins can solve this problem. 

Muffins are easy enough to make and even easier to eat at any point throughout the day.  Traveling to a race early in the morning? Bring a muffin or two for breakfast.  Need a snack before squeezing in a ride after work? Eat a muffin. 

Of course, not all muffins are created equal.  Those muffins at the grocery store are just glorified cakes.  Not the best fuel.  A good healthy muffin recipe though?  That’s something you’ll remember for a lifetime. 

Now, back to that impactful blog post. That post on muffins was from a pro cyclist’s blog.  He wrote how the muffins had a good mix of nutritional ingredients like flax meal, bananas, whole wheat flour, and chocolate chips.  So, I downloaded the recipe and got my mom to make them.  They’ve been a family favorite ever since. 

When I talked to my mom about this post, she informed me that the recipe I downloaded all those years ago wasn’t much of a recipe after all.  Turns out, that pro cyclist never listed amounts for the ingredients (“add flour”) and my mom had to interpret the recipe on her own.  I’m sure anyone who knows a pro cyclist isn’t all that surprised…

Anyway, what follows is my mom’s recipe for cyclist muffins.  I’d give credit to that pro cyclist but it’s time mom finally gets the accolades.  They’re easy enough to make and while delicious right out of the oven (I may have eaten 1-2 while writing this post...) can be frozen for later.  Enjoy!  Thanks for reading!

Mom’s Ghostwritten Cyclist Muffins

 ·      3 bananas (the riper the better)

·      3 eggs

·      1½ cups milk (cow, soy, or almond)

·      2/3 cups honey

·      ¼ cup canola oil

·      ½ cup oats

·      ½ cup flax meal

·      1½ cups whole wheat flour

·      1½ cups white flour

·      ½ teaspoon baking soda

·      1½ teaspoon baking powder

·      ½ teaspoon salt

·      Chocolate chips (8-12oz)

Mash the bananas. Mix in the eggs with a wooden spoon.  Add milk, honey, and oil. Add the remainder of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, and mix.  Stir in the chocolate chips. Put in greased muffin tin or put in paper muffin cups.  Bake for 25 minutes at 375°.  Makes 24 muffins.  Enjoy!

Catching up With Stephen Bassett

Bassett, you're a young fella but have simultaneously been at this for awhile. Give us a little bit of a run down of how you got into the sport, and what has kept you in it?

Yeah, I think I’m coming up on ten years of full time bike racing. I always rode with my dad growing up- I convinced him to let me ride 100 miles when I was 11. One of my dad’s students at the University of Tennessee invited me to a cyclocross race and he was the coolest guy I’d ever met so I had to try that out. Pretty soon I was racing road as well and was lucky enough to find some really good teams and get to some sweet races with trade teams and the national development program. I’m definitely a competitor, probably to a fault. I always have an idea of what I can achieve in the back of my mind, so it’s a gratifying process to figure out the steps I need to take to get there. I’m pretty into the technical aspect of the sport as well- I spend a lot of time getting the equipment where at needs to be and enjoy that as well. I also love all the friends I’ve made in the sport. We all love an excuse to jump in a van and run around with our buddies.

The last 18 months have had some interesting highs and lows for you - with a long period of time off the bike, and coming back into racing at a time when the domestic racing market was really contracting. Can you take us through the timeline of that and what that has been like?

In 2017 I was finishing a huge block of racing with the Tour de l’Avenir and was having some pretty huge saddle sore problems. I ended up having a cyst about the size of an avocado pit right in the “sit zone.” I had surgery and thought I was home free—but several frustrating months later I was back under the knife for a much more aggressive revision surgery as the first attempt was unsuccessful. In other words, I had to make the decision to have a precision revision incision for excision. This one put me on my back for a month and I really couldn’t ride at all for months. After trying to wait it out, I finally linked up with my longtime PT Wes Franks and we got to work breaking up and softening the scar tissue. Within a few weeks I was back logging some miles, but after a break of almost 8 months off the bike. I gave a lot of effort in training to be ready for the second half of the 2018 season but never really hit top form. I was probably still too light after the injury- I lost 15-20 lbs during the time off that were slow to gain back.

I wasn’t invited back to the new Floyd’s team and was super lucky to link up with First Internet Bank Cycling. It’s a super strong amateur team out of Indiana. Some of my really good friends are on the team. While there’s no paycheck, going with this team meant that I could continue going to school in the spring semester (which I wasn’t able to do on a pro “February in Tucson” schedule). They’ve done an amazing job setting us up for opportunities, from making sure we have the equipment we need, to getting us to the races. I’m in a great place on this squad and more motivated than ever to put in the work.

Last week you took a big win out in Redlands. What does that mean to you? What were you focused on through the day to check off so that you had legs at the end?

I came into the race knowing I had strung together that consistent 6 months of work that’s eluded me with injuries in other years, so I was feeling pretty confident I’d be there or thereabouts what I’m capable of at my best.

Through the day, I focused on making sure I was properly carbed up and on top of electrolytes. I am a super salty sweater so I always have to keep an eye on that, especially during the first hot races of the year. Going into Oak Glen, Nate and I decided that the climb would be a good test of form. We made the decision a few weeks out to just try to get up it as fast as possible, whether that was racing for 5th place or 25th. On the day, I was setting myself up to last as long as I could in the group, especially with the pretty draftable first half of the climb. I positioned myself far forward in the peloton, so I wouldn’t have to close gaps when guys started to blow up. There’s a little dip in the middle of the climb, so I actually was surging on that 20 second section to get into that spot up front and I think that short burst made a huge difference in saving energy later on when the attacks started going. Once it was game on, I was able to lean on the power of Frayre and Vermaerke to close down each other’s attacks. I didn’t hit out until about 300 meters and was able to hold it to the line.

It's been a big winter balancing school and training. We've got a lot of people that have similar daily duties whether it be school or work - what are some of the things that you do to get it all done in a day?

I’m a big advocate of using a paper planner to map out the rides and schoolwork for the week in advance. When I’m juggling a lot of disparate tasks every day, it’s easy for a stray assignment to slip through the cracks. The paper planner has about a 98% success rate of preventing these mishaps for me.

The other big thing I focused on was maintaining clear communication with my professors. I made a schedule for school that’s exclusively Tuesday/Thursday so that helps minimize absences with travel, but I asked for permission to miss specific days classes before the semester started. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my early years of college was assuming things would go smoothly with missing classes. Most of the time it’s not a big deal, but making sure everyone is on the same page is crucial. I don’t have a day job, but I’m sure communication is just as important there.

How has training been this winter? What are some of the rides or workouts that you look back on as helping you get to where you are now with form to capitalize on?

I made the decision to hunker down and stay home all winter. I’m lucky that Knoxville is a great spot for training with easy access to backroads and a lot of sweet climbs. I ride the same roads a lot but they’re some of the best roads in the world so I don’t get bored with it. This winter was harsher than usual, so getting out to California for the last week was a much-needed break from the cold, the rain, and my favorite: the cold rain.

We did a lot of pace change work, often on top of 10-15 minutes at tempo that I think helped me get some of the explosive power back that I lost during my time off. I was surprised that my endurance strength seemed pretty good right off the bat after the injury, but it was really a battle to get that top end back.

I also did 20 minutes on the rowing machine twice a week all winter and I think that helps keep all the stabilizing muscles fired up. It also just gives nice body sensations to do some exercises that use your whole body.

What's next? Dreams for the season, dreams for life, tell it all.

For the season- at the moment I’m not looking past Joe Martin. My team was really rolling this week at Redlands, so we’ll try to hold that momentum. For life - I’m really excited to finish up my degree in English at the University of Tennessee. I’ve been chipping away at graduation for 6 years now, so it’ll feel good to check that box and start looking toward new opportunities.

Favorite things Knoxville? If someone is visiting Knoxville, where must they eat?

Fort Dickerson Quarry is a pretty cool spot in the summer months. Tons of activity, cool water, and people watching. Szechuan Garden is my favorite Chinese place. They have a drive through. Everything is $8. They know my voice on the phone. What more could you ask for?

Favorite place you've ever ridden and/or ride you've done?

I’ve been really into the riding in Haywood County, North Carolina. It’s a ton of long, scenic gravel climbs but still only about an hour from Knoxville. Some of my most memorable rides are racing the daylight back to the car, especially when my teammate Ryan is involved…

Top 3 favorite songs at the moment?

Aged in Harmony “You’re a Melody” –for when you want to feel like you’re at a disco

Handmade Moments “Familiar Stranger” –a great duo and I’m a sucker for a good saxophone

Steve Lacy “Some” –what you might call “vibey”

Open forum shout out - stage is yours, take it...

I just read the book “Saving Grace” by Lee Smith for one of my classes. I started reading it on the trip to Redlands and powered through the whole thing in four hours. It’s about snake handling and Southern evangelism. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read in the last few years.