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Friday
Jan082010

Nutrition?!?!?!?

  So, I’ve been getting a lot of questions and comments about my diet.  In the old days, my diet consisted of pretty much anything and everything I wanted!  A couple Cokes, a couple Snickers, breakfast burritos, donuts, Little Debbie Brownies and Swiss Rolls, sandwiches and chips, and fast food for dinner.  It was FANTASTIC!!!!  And for those of you who are laughing, keep in mind I got over 65 victories on that diet...  While other guys were eating pasta, I was happily chowing down on McDonald’s.  For example, in 2004, while riding for the Webcor team, I took a trip over the pond for the Elite World Championships in Verona, Italy.  The hotel was seriously lacking in my customary cuisine, and couldn’t even make up for it with Italian quality, so I was forced to hijack the director’s team car for a trip to good old McDonald’s!  I had a Big Mac, Hamburger, large fries, and a large Coke – of course I was a little disappointed to see that the large Coke looked like a US medium, so I had to make up for the missing calories with a hot fudge sundae...  Kristen Armstrong is still scarred from the “incident” because she had been planning on taking the car to go get some health food or something, only to hear that I had already taken it for a trip to McDonald’s.  She couldn’t believe it when I ended up 8th in the road race the next day, especially since the staff had been placing bets on which lap I would drop out after they had heard about my pre-race meal.  It was a unique diet, but one that has served me well – until now...

  At this year’s Tour of California, I suffered a major crash in stage 3, and I knew I was going to have to take two weeks off of the bike after the race concluded.  I decided it was a good time to try this new fangled “healthy eating” thing...  Of course, I had one last round of donuts for breakfast before the final stage – I mean, what the hell, it was the last day and it had been a LONG week!  My method was to begin counting calories and keeping a daily food diary to see how much I was eating.  The first to go was the fast food – for the most part...  There’s always an occasional special trip to In-n-Out!  In place of the fast food, I added a lot of fruits and a FEW vegetables...  I mean, seriously, let’s not get carried away here – a guy still has to live!  I focused on cutting calories seriously while I was off the bike, but once the training began again, I added a few more sugars back into my diet in the form of Cokes and Snickers to keep up my energy levels while training, but it was still considerably less than before (probably a third of what I had eaten in the past). 

  While training the diet is very manageable, but is more uncomfortable when there is no training...  With several long periods off the bike last season because of injury, I spent a lot of time being uncomfortable, but it paid off, as I am a few pounds lighter and climbing better than ever! 

  The hardest days are the days with no riding, where my calories allowance is reduced to 1500-2000 calories, where in the past I was used to being able to eat at least 3000 – that took some adjustment!  On short days (2 hr rides), I take in about 2500-3000 calories for the day now, whereas in the past, I would have eaten at least a 1000 calories more in the form of Snickers, Cokes, Little Debbies, etc.  On the long training days, the calorie count is much closer to what I was used to in the past, but with a lot of the bad foods being replaced by healthier alternatives.  And thank God for the race day – where the calories are no holds bar and all my favorite foods are back on the table!  I still splurge occasionally to get back to my roots, but in general I’d say I have cut down my weight by getting rid of the worst parts of my old diet (the fast food and sugars) and added more fruits (and some veggies).  There is also a big mental benefit from going out occasionally and splurging a little with a good burger.  Don’t underestimate the power of In-n-Out!!!! 

  Thanks for all of questions and comments – keep 'em coming!  For anyone who needs help with counting calories - check out the "Daily Plate" section of www.livestrong.com - it is a great resource for a food diary - helps with figuring out how many calories you've eaten as well as how many you have burned.  

  Check back soon for more updates at www.chrishornerracing.com!

Monday
Jan042010

New Year, New Season, New Team, New Website...

  Welcome to my new website!  Things are getting going for me once again as the new year is starting.  I've been getting back on the bike for some early base training, as well as getting settled back into the familiar bike racing routine.  I had to use most of the off-season to try to get healthy again after a rough 2009, but things seem to be getting back on track now (knock on wood)!  And the time off gave me lots of time to catch up with my family and friends, which is always great.  

  I had my first Team RadioShack training camp in early December.  It was a mellow 8 days or so of light training in Tucson, Arizona.  I kept it pretty low key - doing 2-2.5 hrs on the bike most mornings and getting lots of time on the bed, relaxing in the afternoons.  The team atmosphere was great - very easy going and relaxed so it was a great introduction to the new team.  

   The team has some young guys who will get to experience racing at the highest level for the first time. I'm looking forward to riding alongside them as they get to experience the excitement and chaos that comes with racing in Europe.  Also the team signed Gert Steegmans, who is one of the best sprinters in Europe with stage wins in the Tour de France. He will round out the team perfectly, strengthening the team in the classics and the stage sprints, and he is also quite the character off the bike. I rode with him for one year at Lotto and have been hoping we would be teammates again, since he is a great guy to be around both on and off the bike.   

  After training camp ended I flew back to Bend, Oregon, where I took the next two week off the bike to continue resolving the on-going back issues that I had been dealing with in the off-season.  Having spent most of the off-season strengthening the back to fix old issues and hopefully prevent any future ones, I'm hoping the work pays off during the coming season!  

  For now, it is all about the details - getting out on the bike each day to build the base that will carry me through the hardest parts of the season, as well as focusing on the smaller, but still important, things - rest, nutrition, etc. to make sure I have all my bases covered.  Even though I didn't get much training in during the off-season (almost none), I focused on the other aspects of training, specifically nutrition, so that I could start the season at a good weight.  Now, with a week in my legs, everything is feeling good, and the fitness is already starting to come around.  

  I have also been working on several new projects - first, the website.  It is a work in progress, but please feel free to look around!  I will be continuing to add content - videos, articles and the insider details throughout the season so check back for the latest updates in the Horner and Team RadioShack world!  I'll add a link on my Twitter account whenever there is something new to check out.  Secondly, I've also started coaching a friend, which has been an interesting change - it makes me examine my own training and break it down, step by step, to better understand how each day impacts my training, so that I could better understand how to explain it to others and use the knowledge to help them improve their own riding.  

  That's all that is currently going on in my world.  Thanks for reading!  Until next time...

 

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