The Power To Improve: The Long Road To An Iceman Top Ten

November 13, 2017, 12:00 am

The first few weeks after Iceman is a good time to stop, think, and make some assessments about our training. The long season which, for many riders, began with spring mountain bike races or even earlier at fat bike events, is finally at its end. That length of time provides a better perspective of what went well, and what didn’t, over a full year.

As useful as that lens can be, there is even more to learn when you have the luxury of stepping back even further. Lucky for us, we have many BEE athletes that have been committed to their improvement and growth since we first opened in 2009.  We are going to take a look at two guys who lift weights, rides bikes, run marathons, eat breakfast and drink beers together.  They team up for all the popular local races including Mud, Sweat and Beers, Ore 2 Shore and Iceman.

Dan Madion and Jeff Wentzloff have been dedicated BEEs for years, combining each cycling session with strength classes. Both of them are busy professionals with families, making their time in the Hive the backbone of their fitness nearly all year long.

Looking at their progress is a study in incremental gains, which also boasts a few big leaps as well. Dan’s 2017 Iceman was his best yet. Over the past few years, he’s cemented himself in the right wave and has gained experience in how to manage the dynamic course to near perfection. He’s taken over 30 minutes off his time since his first attempt in 2012. The course length changes every year, but the quality of your age group tends to stay the same. Dan has gone from 33rd to 7th in five years. Even more impressive, his 1:53:36 put him in 182nd out of 4,405 finishers!

Those improvements were made through a consistent plan, and they’re definitely reflected in his power tests. At 135 pounds, Dan’s first test in 2011 saw him post 205 Watts over his 8-minute test. That equates to 3.3 w/kg, which isn’t too shabby.  Each year Dan's September power tests have been on the rise.  His 2017 test of 275 Watts puts him on a whole different level, up to 4.5 w/kg!

Jeff’s progress was equally impressive. He was 27th in his first Iceman, finishing just inside of the top third of his age group. Even with strong improvements, he spent the next four season battling in and around 20th place, with the muddy 2014 edition his best finish in 18th. 2017 saw a huge leap to 11th place in a very competitive 42-year-old age group. Again, a step back for perspective is even more useful; his 1:53:35 time was 181st best out of 4,405 riders!

The power tests certainly show that his output was growing year-by-year. His first 8 minute FTP saw 256 Watts. At 165 pounds, that equates to 3.4 w/kg. By this year, that jumps to 4.2 w/kg! Jeff and Dan’s power-to-weight ratios have gone from beginner to intermediate, and they’ve both improved as riders out on the trails as well. 

Their power-to-weight ratio is getting them closer and closer to the level of output that we see at the top of the Iceman amateur waves. We took a look at our Wave One riders, specifically the three that won their age groups. 4.5 w/kg and 4.2 w/kg are getting so close to what it takes to win at the biggest race of the year. 

Dan and Jeff have combined smart and functional strength training with structured cycling to become better athletes and healthier individuals.  If that's not enough to impress, both Jeff and Dan qualified for the Boston Marathon last spring at the Bayshore with a time of 3:09.  Yes, they finished in the same minute.

Their tips? First, just get started. Be consistent, be committed.  Jeff’s advice is to get your foot through the door, no matter what that means for you. He started with a regimen of strength training that turned into a committed six days of exercise a week! “Start with whatever you can. You don't know where it will take you, but you are going to feel better and have fun while doing it,”, he advises.

Getting into the Hive is a start, but following through is key. For Dan, it’s the willingness to not miss classes and to really nail the workouts that has added to ‘exponential’ improvements in fitness. “Training with Lauri works. As long as you totally commit; show up for every session and work hard! Your fitness will improve quickly and exponentially.  You'll see that Lauri is just as pumped as you are by your success.”

We put together a look at Jeff and Dan's improvements power test-by-power test and Iceman-by-Iceman right here. Check it out! 

Posted by Worker BEE at 12:00 am
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