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How Cross-Training is Helping me Prepare for the 2017 Cape Epic


Why I Can't Shut Up About River Valley Health!

The Base by RVH is quickly turning into a second home for me. The more time I spend there, the better I keep feeling on the bike, with better overall energy levels, and a distinct lack of those little nagging aches and pains that usually plague my volume building months in other years.

And it's not just their massage therapists and chiropractors keeping me feeling great (although they definitely help!)

But where I'm noticing the most progress is from my time spent with their top-notch personal trainers. Their 4322 Training Program follows a logical progression through various stages of a pyramid of fitness skills, building on each ability as you progress. A lot of the work I've done up to this point has just been getting proper activations from certain muscles that cycling can neglect. But the fact that cycling neglects to work those muscles doesn't mean they can't contribute to being faster on the bike.


4322 Pyramid in a gigantic graphic inside the Base. In case you forget what you're working on.

Everything stems from proper activation of your lats, core and glutes. Something whoever I'm training with on any given day doesn't let me forget, constantly reminding me to fire whichever muscle that's not firing out of those big 3 if my form starts to falter. As I get better at firing those, I can genuinely notice a difference on the bike. And not just a loosely defined 'I feel better' change, but something trackable.


Maybe I was just lazy, but I never used to think upper-body and core work could benefit me much on the bike. How wrong I was!

On any given ride, if I ever catch myself falling back into my habitual pedal-stroke, I just have to focus for a few seconds on proper activation of those lats/core/glutes listed above, and I can watch my power output rise 10-15 watts, with absolutely no spike in heart rate or perceived effort. Makes it all the more rewarding with such concrete results like that.


It's one thing to run through a circuit of exercise, but another thing entirely to nail the technique and do it properly. Happy to have some guidance or else I'd still be spinning my wheels. Just like here, getting some help getting the right things to fire on a single leg dead lift.

The other thing I've noticed after spending about 6 months hitting the gym for some proper training is the improvement of the usual nagging aches, pains, tightness and small injuries that usually come with increased hours on the bike. I have been lucky to have RVH's massage therapists and chiropractors keep things in check the last couple years, but they can only do so much when you always come in with a certain problem. Core strength in particular has helped improve the usual back aches I get after a hard set of intervals or long day on the bike, which means when I do visit for treatment, they can perform more proactive maintenance, instead of having to react to whatever nagging issue I had in the past.

I can already see the positive outcomes from all the time spent in the gym there as far as it pertains to another attempt at the Cape Epic. Last time we raced it, there were days where even a 5% drop off in our performance would have meant missing the time cut. And if I know I have some extra strength to lean on to eliminate, or at least delay, some of those nagging aches, pains and sore-spots that pop up all over the body in an 8 day stage race, I know I'll have done everything I can to give myself an advantage going in. And it's only 119 days as of this writing. The countdown is on!

There you go, it may sound a little preachy, but I've genuinely seen some impressive results working with the crew at River Valley Health and the Base by RVH, and it's why I can't stop talking about them. Everytime I visit, I'm blown away at the level of care and attention every single one of their staff members shows. When they say they want to help you achieve your goals, no matter how big or small, they mean it!

If you're interested in being the best you can once the snow melts next Spring, definitely consider doing some training at the Base. They offer a range of training sessions to fit any budget and time-frame, from group classes to bootcamps to one-on-one training. Check out their website for more details.

Copied from the Base Website:

The Base is an unparalleled facility. Featuring RVH’s groundbreaking 43°22 system, The Base expands on the integrated services provided at RVH College Plaza with 16,000 square feet of training, fitness and performance. Training here is the difference between good and great – between accomplishing your goal and just coming close.

  • indoor 40 yard sprint track

  • expansive turf

  • state of the art Keiser, Synergy and Hammer Strength equipment

  • custom 26 foot long Rage monkey bars

  • showers and full amenities

  • fueling/smoothie bar with custom pre and post workout options

  • group training

  • fully integrated health care facility

  • nutritionist, sport psychologist and injury treatment staff on site

  • conference room for seminars and workshops

  • a training team with years of experience working with everyone from beginners and fitness enthusiasts, to high performance athletes and teams

#RiverValleyHealth #CrossTraining #CapeEpicDiaries