Multisport Athletes Rejoice! Here is Your Triple Threat...
With the long awaited release of the Zendurance Cycling program Shane Alton Eversfield has completed a trinity that should be sacred to any serious multisport athlete. Here in New York Broadway performers refer to the triple threat as their ability to act, sing and dance. In the multisport world if there is a triple threat to energy waste and injury it is now fully realized with the adition of Zendurance Cycling. What began with Total Immersion (TI) swimming and ChiRunning (CR) is now made whole with the arrival of Zendurance Cycling.
For many triathletes, especially those relatively new to the sport it is likely that the arrival of Zendurance Cycling is an answer to their prayers. TI swimming, the veteran of the trinity has become the de facto standard for efficient swimming and getting triathletes to T1 with confidence-dare I say fun!? It is no secret that many triathletes are most nervous about swimming and Total Immersion, created by Terry Laughlin, has been the answer to many desperate prayers. With the introduction of ChiRunning, Danny Dreyer created an easy to learn means for triathletes to run efficiently with minimal energy expenditure and maximum injury prevention. As a practitioner of both (and a Senior ChiRunning Instructor) I consider them essential for multisport athletes.
For those faithful practitioners of these happy cousins who have wandered in the cycling wilderness looking for signs from the Velo Gods Zendurance Cycling is no less than Terma-a hidden treasure! I did not come to triathlon through cycling as many do, so for me the arrival of Zendurance Cycling is even more thrilling and I am happy to report, it does not disappoint.
Shane Alton Eversfield’s credentials include many years of Multisport and Ultra endurance athletics including many years training and racing in Kona, Hawai’i. I first heard about Shane through his first book Zendurance: A Spiritual Fitness Guide for Endurance Athletes and consider it my personal Triathlon bible (apologies to Joe Friel). In this book Shane addressed a spiritual approach to all three disciplines grounded in the Spirit of Hawai’i and the culture that triathlon calls home. Shane’s background as a trained dancer and long time Tai Chi practitioner combined with his multisport experience give him a solid foundation to build a mindful approach to cycling. Many multisport athletes will also know that Shane is a Master Instructor of Total Immersion and this shows in his approach to Zendurance Cycling. I remember my first TI workshop when I began to experience epiphany after epiphany as I connected what I learned in Total Immersion to what I had been practicing in ChiRunning. These connections are equally powerful in the Zendurance Cycling approach and allow the mindful triathlete to practice moving meditation across all three disciplines. It is indeed a magical time to be triathlete and these tools provide an opportunity to take multisport athletics to a transcendent level.
Zendurance Cycling is a mindful approach to cycling and offers benefits for any cyclists. It is important to acknowledge that it is equally effective and applicable for road, time trial, even mountain bike or cyclocross. My experience in cycling is in multisport, although Zendurance Cycling has inspired me to consider road cycling-something I never thought I would ever be able to do (riding in draft leagl groups).
Zendurance Cycling comes in the form of an E Book, a series of audio guides and a DVD. I was able to download the E Book (it is a PDF file) and read it on my iPad in iBook. A fully integrated iBook is in the works which will allow you to have all the content in one document (planned price $79) but it still needs to pass through the infamous Apple approval process. I watched the DVD all the way through once before begining the excerises. You do not have to do this but as cycling is my weak area it was helpful to me. There is a handy overview of the Audio guide at the end of the E Book that helps you understand the contents of the audio files. I downloaded the audio guide to my iPod shuffle in order to listen to them on my bike (stationary trainer only!-never listen to headphones of any kind on your bike outdoors please).
This leads me to the first concept of Zendurance Cycling that may shock triathlon newbies (or cycling newbies like me)-get used to your stationary bike trainer. Shane has taken the concept of indoor training using a stationary bike trainer and turned what for many is a chore into a…shrine? Okay, maybe that is taking the spiritual analogy a little too far but Shane makes it clear throughout the text that becoming a more mindful cyclist begins with what he calls our own personal “Velo Studio”. Setting up your own personal Velo studio is essential and investing in a good stationary bike stand is critical (reccomendations of good stationary trainer options are included in the text). I love this perspective shift from something I have to do because it is raining out (hmm, which movie should I watch while put in the miles) to something I am eager to investigate and experiment with in my own personal studio. Why so much emphasis on indoor riding you might ask? Like TI and CR, Zendurance Cycling practice is built on a foundation of form and good technique. Like TI and CR it depends completely on a substantial foundation of good form first. Without this foundation it is simply not possible to reap the benefits of the practice. Like a yoga mat your stationary trainer becomes the tool that allows you to “join with your bike” and mindfully connect what is going on in your core with the machine (a machine you may be spending many hours on in long course events).
Zendurance Cycling is based on simple principles heavily influenced by Tai Chi (sound familiar ChiRunners?) and the way we connect with the earth. In the case of cycling, unlike swimming or running this connection is intimately partnered with our bike. Zendurance Cycling encourages us to approach cycling and our connection to our bikes as a beginner with curiosity and patience. Much time is devoted to learning how to stand (that’s right I said stand) in the optimal position for engaging your core and proper alignment. From there you move to the basic position for all cycling (called First Position). Zendurance Cycling gives you the tools to mindfully consider your connection with the bike at the saddle, the handlebars and the pedals. Many exercises are offered to encourage the habit of strengthening these connections and develop the foundation for Velo Nirvana. Subtle shifts in the connection with the saddle form an important basis of determining the approach to your specific cycling plan (hills, wind, long course, short course, etc.).
While positioning for road bikes and triathlon bikes (Aero position) are both discussed in full detail ,the Zendurance Cycling approach makes it clear that first position skills are best developed on a road bike geometry-to the extent that triathletes are encouraged to spend a good deal of time (not necessarily a lot of money) on a bike that allows lots of first position practice. Shane suggests that even a relatively inexpensive road bike will serve this purpose well. The benefits learned here can then be carried over to the aero bars and steeper seat tube angle.
I was also relieved to read about the importance of hill training in Zendurance Cycling. This may be self-evident to experienced cyclists but I was happy to hear that when I do get outdoors (Shane rides on his trainer even when it is nice outside if that tells you how important working in your Velo Studio is) I am best served by finding some hills. The reason for this is and its many benefits are thoroughly explained in Zendurance Cycling.
There are many exercises, lots of warm-ups and a variety of techniques to improve your cycling throughout the E Book and Audio Guides. Zendurance Cycling is truly a gift from the velo gods that will make your cycling better and improve your multisport experience. The complexities involved in including the bike in a mindful approach to riding must have been numerous. I for one often wondered if anyone would be able to tackle cycling from this perspective in a meaningful way-if it could even be done.
Zendurance Cycling has proven that it is not only possible to do this but it is possible to do this in a manner worthy of its cousins Total Immersion and ChiRunning. No one person is more qualified to do this than Shane Alton Eversfield and I know many multisport athletes, cyclists and velo faithful will be forever grateful that he had the courage to take this on. If you are a multisport athlete, if you have benefited from Total Immersion and/or ChiRunning then you owe it to yourself to purchase a copy of Zendurance Cycling and put it to practice. Then you can truly be a triple threat against energy waste and injury prevention no matter how long or hard your event.
Note: There is a special complete package deal that allows you to purchase the Total Immersion Book, ChiRunning Book and Zendurance Cycling bundle for one special price! This makes a great gift for the multisport athlete in your life. See product link here.