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Libby Ellis staring down bike season. Not quite ready to give up this unbelievable winter we have been having.


The V-Line



Hey! It's winter!! While for many folks that means putting up their bikes, barring a trip to the desert here or there, this actually is the time of year where you can make a MASSIVE difference in your riding without a lot of effort. Leaving lots of energy for skinning, skating, or even letting the lift help you earn your turns.


Yeah, it's cold. Going out for a ride might not sound exciting, and we're not here to talk about fat biking. There's no need to even change after work, or any of your activities! Unless you're in ski boots. Maybe take off your ski boots...


Because winter is the perfect time to work on slow speed balance skills. Trackstands. Brake hops. Rocking. Fakies. All of these are skills that can be done in your driveway in a sleeping bag onesie. Or in a garage stall. Or, in a pinch, in your kitchen. Slow speed balance is cool in the parking lot, and a great way to make a playground out of any random park or parking lot in which you might find yourself. But it also is a game changer and will help you hit the trails come spring significantly less rusty than if you just let the bike collect dust for the next couple few months.


Virginia Solomon in their puffy and winter boots doing the work.

First, let's talk about trackstands. Contrary to what many people think, a trackstand isn't about standing STILL, it's about making constant micro-adjustments to maintain balance in place. Work on your track stands in all possible combinations. Wheel turned to the left, right foot forward and left foot forward. Wheel turned to the right, same with the feet! Everyone has a favored combo, but it pays to work on them all.


Choose which combo you want to start with. Turn your wheel 45-60ish degrees, and think about having your shoulders parallel to your bars (see pic above). From there, think about putting a bit more weight into your hands, so that you make sure you have some weight on your front wheel. Position your front foot, whichever one it is, a bit higher than three oclock, so it is easy for you to keep pressure on it. And you'll want to focus your vision on a spot 2-3ft in front of you. That's your starting position for a trackstand!


Now let's talk about those constant micro-adjustments that are how you keep your balance. Remember how you're standing with your front foot a little bit above 3o'clock, with weight in your feet but also in your hands? This will feel a lot more natural and comfortable if your hips are a bit on front of your saddle - this is different from your normal standing ready position. You actually want your bike to move forwards and backwards a little bit, putting a little bit of pressure into that front foot and then backing off and shifting your hips back a hair to let the bike roll back a little (this is why it's MUCH easier to learn a trackstand on a hill, as the gravity of the hill makes the bike roll back, but we're hoping no one's garage or kitchen has much of a slope. We can approximate this a little bit by using our brakes to push against instead of a slope, but see if you can work towards doing this without using your brakes). Having the bike roll forwards and backwards is the first plane of movement we use to maintain balance. The second? Side to side! Move them shoulders, them elbows, them knees and hips. Many people, maybe even you?, have experienced their front wheel flopping back and forth trying to keep side to side balance. Try and keep that wheel still and move your body to keep balance instead. Notice the difference it makes to move your shoulders vs your elbows, or your hips vs your knees. The more you practice, the quicker you'll feel the need to make an adjustment, and the smaller adjustments you'll need to make!



Give this a shot and see how it goes. You can see a lot of benefit from just 5-10 minutes at a time. Slowly build up how long you hold your trackstand before pedaling out of it, and eventually challenge yourself to not pedal out of it at all, just move your bike and your body to stay in the same place! And when spring comes back around, appreciate cresting a hill, stopping to choose your line, and not having to take your feet off the pedals :D.


Come back for more of the slow speed balance skills in future blog posts, and hit those comments if you have any questions!

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PCBR Team Members: Mike Burton and Andrew McCloskey


Winter, yes please!

For a lot of us winter is coming in hot… or cold?!?...you get what I mean. Here at Park City Bike Racing (PCBR) in Park City, UT winter is something that is more than welcomed. While bike season goes into hibernation team members choose 3 main activities to keep and improve their fitness for the Spring season:


Strength and Mobility Training

Indoor Trainer

Nordic Skiing



PCBR Team Member: Jay Burke


Strength and Mobility Training


If there is only one option to pick as a Winter training option we suggest it’s Strength and Mobility. PCBR team members have been fortunate to work with Off The Mountain (OTM) here in Park City, UT. OTM’s mission is to keep people out on the mountain by strength training and building joints that can handle the activities we all love.

Here’s Ben Vantresse from OTM (Owner and Trainer):


“One of the best things a cyclist can do during the winter is to strength train. Several PCBR team members have had the opportunity to train with Off The Mountain here in Park City, UT. OTM has helped members overcome injuries and have moved the needle with performance training.

Two of the main benefits of strength training are increasing your strength to weight ratio (increased power on the bike) and moving in different ways than cycling provides (injury mitigation). Everyone can use more power and the simplest way to do this is to begin a strength training program. By strengthening the entire body you are creating a healthier, more robust human. A healthier human can have more fun and play harder on the bike.”



PCBR Team Members: Sam Sweetser and Erin Sweetser


Indoor Training


No indoor trainers on a powder day! That's a thing, right? In all seriousness indoor training with a structured training plan can set you up for an amazing riding season. Structured plans are efficient and the most effective way to meet your season goals. Smart trainers and training apps have made this option a lot more convenient in recent years. Having workouts customized and differentiated allows more time to do other things like ski pow!!!


After choosing your coach/training app/plan, setting your space up is key. Here are our top suggestions for having a dialed indoor set up:


Towel or Towels - You are going to sweat…a lot. So, make sure to have your towel or towels on hand. These can be used to wipe your face, arms, legs or anything else. These can also be strategically placed on your bike so that all that sweat is not pouring down onto your drivetrain or other expensive parts. Your handlebars (as seen in pic) are another place people like to place a towel.


Fan - You are going to sweat…a lot. Having a fan with a remote is a pro move.


Yoga Mat - You are going to sweat…a lot. I feel like that may have been mentioned already? The pro move is to set the mat up under your bike so you don’t have to mop your floor every workout!


TV, Monitor, Audiobook or Podcast - Staring at your wall is not that fun. Especially for those longer workouts. This is a great time to use a streaming service, catch up on your favorite podcast or listen to a new Audiobook.


Water and Fuel - Don’t let not moving, your fan and towels fool you! It’s important to remember you are still working hard! So, stay hydrated and don’t forget to consume those carbohydrates. Another pro tip, now is a perfect time to try different products and see what works for you. For example, pick up a Starter Pack from PROBAR and you get all their products to see which options you love!


Significant Other Sitting Next to You, Working - You don’t really need this. But, I love this pic from team members Erin Sweetster (on bike) and Sam Sweetser (on computer) that gives you a glimpse of what it's like when the twins are finally asleep.



PCBR Team Member: Libby Ellis and her Mom


Nordic Skiing

First, if you have never tried Nordic Skiing know that it is super fun. Second, know that it is very very hard! But, you are reading this because you can do hard things and seek out hard things to do!


Nordic Skiing, specifically skate skiing, is so fun! There are a number of team members that choose this as their number one choice for cardiovascular fitness during the winter months. PCBR team members Libby Ellis (shown in pic w/mom) and Rose Kjesbo both skied collegiately and crush. That said, it does not matter if you have been Nordic skiing your whole life or for a few years the pain is the same…but some may move a bit faster than others.


Here are our top five reasons you should Nordic Ski this winter:

  1. Some say it is “the best cardiovascular activity known”. Mic drop.

  2. Gliding on snow could be the best thing ever.

  3. Super efficient workout as you are activating so many things/muscles!

  4. It is considered a “low impact activity”. Once again, sliding on snow is the best thing ever.

  5. You get to be outside in the winter.


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by: Erin Sweetser



After Breck 100 was cancelled (I was planning to race the 64 mile race), I had a hole to fill in my race schedule this July. My husband/travel partner and I floated some ideas but weren’t too thrilled on getting too far from Park City, (especially with another big race the following weekend) and we also wanted to find a race where we had a free place to crash.

I searched race schedules and remembered the Galena Grinder in Ketchum, ID, which both of us had done back in 2013. I DNFed due to a broken chain, but I had heard there were some new trails there and so we signed up. I was a little bit tentative about this because the race happened to also fall on my 5 year wedding anniversary, in which I had envisioned myself basking in luxury at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, or the like. Ultimately, we decided the timing was right despite this, so I signed up.


Ketchum is about a 4.5 hour drive from Park City, and one of my favorite places to Nordic ski in the winter. I go up there every year to do the Boulder Mountain Tour, a 32k Nordic race that starts at Galena. However, I hadn’t made it up there to mountain bike since 2013.

Thanks to the hospitality of good friends, we were situated about 25 minutes from the start. I pulled into the parking lot that morning to a pretty quiet crowd, but packet pickup (read: number plate pickup) was a breeze. I really appreciate a race promoter who gives you what you need and doesn’t fill a bag full of swag (crap) that just goes to the landfill.

There was a substantial rain storm the night before the race, and it was about 40 degrees that morning. After a hot July in Utah, this was a shock to the system. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to start the day with my @Hyperthreads arm warmers, but once I searched my bag, I realized I only remembered one arm warmer, so the decision was made for me.

The start was small, only about 25 people entered into the 40 mile race, but pretty special because I was able to line up with my husband, who is a pro racer, and that’s just not usually the case.

The format of the race was unique. There was a 10 mile “prologue” loop which was only done once, and then we did two laps of loop two, which were 15 miles each. There was very minimal information on the race, so check out my Strava map and elevation profile to see what the 2019 iteration of the race looked like.



I was dropped by the lead group pretty quickly, which was fine, because I had my own race to ride. After a short road climb, the fun began, and didn’t end for the next 4 hours. The rumors were true and the flowy single-track up at Galena was some of the most fun riding I have EVER done. It was reminiscent of sweet PNW hero dirt and was truly a brown pow kind of day.

Because of the small field, I found myself alone for the first two laps, and started to pass racers on my third lap that had done the XC 24-mile race. The trails were incredible, although it’s worth knowing there is a nasty hike-a-bike (for me) climb at miles 18 and 32. I suffered on this part, but seemed to suffer better than others, because I was able to gain or pass people in this section.

The climbs were relatively easy, power-type climbs that suit my riding style, and the descents literally put a smile on my face. I found myself saying (out loud) multiple times, “I’m having so much fun!” This is a race that will make anyone fall in love with bike racing again and again. It made me so fired up for the rest of the season. I also felt strong and was able to push hard the entire time, which was my goal. It was a bit hard to push completely to the outer limits, however, as I was pretty much alone.



I ended up 2nd for women on the day, and received some cash as well as a beautiful necklace made by a local jeweler. The best part of the race is that afterwards, you get to hang out at Galena and have a delicious, catered lunch and beer. It was fun to chat with old friends and fellow racers after. I capped off the day with an ice bath in the river, and my friends grilled up venison burgers from a deer our host shot with a bow last fall. How Idaho is that?



I can’t recommend this event highly enough. Incredible trails, tasty after-party, and that grassroots feel that is hard to find with mountain bike racing being so popular these days. This will now be a permanent fixture on the Sweetser race schedule.


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