Vision Quest Endurance Grand Opening Eden Prairie Thursday

Vision Quest Endurance is opening in Eden Prairie on Thursday, Oct 15 and 16.  Vision Quest Endurance is a indoor cycling training center specializing in intensity workouts.  There will be free lead intensity rides and meet-n-greet with VQ founder and former pro cyclist Robbie Ventura.

More info at

Location: 6545 Flying Cloud Dr

Dropping The Hammer

dropping the hammer

A good friend, and former MDRA President, Rick Recker once told me “If you want to run faster, you have to run faster!”. Wise words that have been uttered by many others, but coming from Rick, this was all truth, and in it’s simplest form. The idea seems so easy, the actual act, though, is much more difficult.

When you are already pushing the limits, so to speak, in your training and racing…it is difficult to just be faster. In order to get faster you have to go faster. In short, you have to train faster and train your mind and body to withstand the punishment and pain that you acquire when upping the ante.

Not only is it important to learn to go harder, and learn how to cage that pain…it is also important to know when to hit the nitrous, pour it on, and drop the hammer. Pacing yourself throughout any race is key. You don’t want to ‘bonk’ before the finish line, but you don’t want to finish with too much left int he tank either. Training hard and training fast will help you find that threshold when it comes time to race.

Dropping the hammer is where you find yourself listening to that little whisper in the waaaaay back of your head, the one that is rarely heard over the voices saying ‘ease up, this hurts too much’….it’s where you pull more water in the swim and pick up your stroke speed. It’s the one that tells you that you can indeed mash the pedals harder and push that big ring a little more. It’s the voice that says you can do anything for 15 more minutes so turn over those feet a little faster. The voice that is your proverbial sniper, picking off objects along the way, other participants that are ahead of you, and ultimately the finish line. Learning how to stay in the pain cave for an extended period of time is, well, painful…but important if you’re trying to PR, win the age group, or take the podium.

Strength Training

There was a time when endurance athletes avoided strength training.  Many have a great fear of gaining weight and they think that strength training will cause them to bulk up.  This is unlikely.  Strength training has many benefits to it such as increased speed and endurance as well as protection against injury.  Just as there is a periodization plan for swim bike and run.  There has to be a periodization plan for strength training.


Based on the comments from athletes I train and their results from previous races I tailor the weight-training program to the athlete and make sure they follow specific guidelines:

  1. Prevent imbalances
  2. Use multipoint exercises when possible
  3. Always work the core
  4. As race season approaches more specific and functional
  5. Keep it simple
  6. Always include the core…Abs and Lower Back
  7. Use strength training to prepare for each period in your season (prep, base, build, and peak)


Strength Training Phases:

  1. Prep Period – This happens usually in the late fall and early winter and the purpose is to prepare the muscles and tendons for the exercises in the next phases. This is a great time to use body weight exercises, and circuit training as it becomes more aerobic.  This phase should last about 4 weeks and ideally should be done 2-3 times a week.  The load should be light and reps should be high and speed of lift is slow.  Examples of exercises include squats, step-ups, lat pull down, pushups, seated row, leg curls on stability ball, abs and core work.
  2. Base Phases – In this phase the purpose is to teach your brain to use those bigger muscle fibers. Be sure to select your load conservatively and then increase as you progress.  The load in this phase should be one that lets lift 10-15 reps but with perfect form.  The reps should still be slow and ideally 2-3 sessions a week for about 3-5 weeks.  Examples of exercises include squats, step-ups, seated row, chest press or lat pull down, leg curls or heel raises, and standing row as well as core work.
  3. All other periods (Base 3 Build and Peak) is maintenance – In these phases you need to start to decrease the high intensity lifting but stopping all the resistance training in base 2 may cause a gradual loss of strength.  Women and men over 40 in particular need to make sure they are maintaining their strength workouts as it takes longer for them to build muscle mass and less time for them to loose it.   Continuing to work on core muscle groups and personal weakness areas will maintain strength needs.   In this phase sessions can be 1-2 times a week with a light load with perhaps an increase in load for last set (2-3 sets). Reps are 6-12 depending on the load and speed of lift is moderate.  In this phase I still like to do the same exercises I did in the previous phases but with more functional core work such as single leg deadlifts, dynamic step ups, medicine ball down and rotate and reach, clamshells.

**To properly time your peak for a race make sure to eliminate strength training for seven days leading up to races and then 2 days after.


Kortney Haag

Kortney has been a competitive triathlete since 2008 when she was honored as a member of Team Minnesota and received the Minnesota Rookie of the Year award. She is a mother of two young active boys and understands the time challenges many athletes face and the importance of balance in life as well as in training. Kortney has extensive racing and coaching experience in a variety of multi-sport and endurance events from sprint to iron distance triathlons.

  • Certified Personal Trainer — National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS)
  • USAT Level 1 Coach
  • USAC Level 3 Coach

Gear West Bike & Triathlon Expo April 18th & 19th

Gear West Triathlon Expo

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Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 4pm

Join us for Gear West Bike & Triathlon’s Inaugural Tri Expo! Saturday and Sunday, April 18th and 19th. Visit with reps from our favorite triathlon specific companies meet local race directors and check out the new 2015 products. Group workouts, demos, deals, and free food for all!

Event Details

Industry Reps

Representatives from more than 20 Triathlon specific companies including: Felt, Trek, Quintana Roo, Zipp, Castelli, Speedplay, Giro, Lazer, Kinetic, SRAM, Shimano, Continental, Reynolds, Blue Seventy, Aquasphere, Swiftwick, Kinetic, Stages, and others.

Local Race Directors

Race Directors from more than 20 Minnesota Multisport Races including the Final Stretch and Front Runner race production teams, Life Time Fitness, YWCA Tri, Brewhouse, Burrito Union, Heart of the Lakes Tri, Apple Duathlon, Capital City Tri, and others.

Food For All

Gear West Triathlon Team athletes will be grilling our famous Gear West Race Day hot dogs from open to close. And as a bonus they will also have the outdoor griddle fired up with Pancakes and little Smokey’s. You can wash the free food down with Minnesota’s favorite coffee, Caribou. The grills will be run by Joe Johnson, Steve Sander, Brooks Grossinger, Kortney Haag, Julia Wiesbecker, Tony Schiller, John Shelp, Matt Payne, Christina Roberts, and Michael Williams. Hopefully they grill as quickly as they race.

Sunday Morning Group Workouts

Bring a friend and join the group. All are welcome. Don’t have a road bike for the group ride? Let us know in the week leading up to the Expo and we will put your name on an available 2015 Felt Z3, no charge.

    • 9am Women’s Led Ride Hosted by Hannah Sullivan, Suzie Fox, and Matt Payne

Suzie is a full time coach who works as an in-home personal fitness instructor, corporate fitness leader, and as a individual triathlon coach. As an athlete she has been a perennial member of Team MN, Duathlete of the year, Most improved, and was rookie of the year. She is as fun to be around as she is fast.

Hannah has been with Gear West Bike & Tri for a Dozen years. She is the primary buyer for the store and works on the floor every day. She has been riding road bikes for more than 20 years and regularly jumps into a few triathlons a season but with number 2 on the way her ability to join on this ride is pending.

Matt has been racing triathlons for a decade but it is the last 5 years that he found his athletic groove in the sport. Even as an involved father of two, he earned 2014 USAT Overall Duathlete of the year and Honorable Mention (top 5) Triathlete of the year. He is also defending Du National Champion and 35-39 Sprint Distance Tri National Champion. He is also the number 1 ranked Team Minnesota Member for 3 consecutive years.

    • 9:30am Trail Run (pending conditions) Hosted by Kevin O’Connor and Christina Roberts

Kevin is the owner of Gear West Bike & Triathlon and thus been with the store for more than 20 years. He has been competing in Triathlons for over 25 years in distances from Sprint to Ironman.

Christina is one of the newer members to team Minnesota but her top 10 rankings isn’t a surprise to those who know her. Her dedicated training was learned from years of swimming. She finished her swimming career at St. Olaf College in Northfield and has just started giving the dedication to triathlon training over the past couple seasons. She will be the most fun group workout leader this Sunday morning.

    • 9:30am Road Speed Workout Hosted by John Shelp and Brooks Grossinger

Shelper has been racing triathlons for ever. He was a perennial Team Minnesota member until his family started growing. With a wonderful wife and 4 beautiful daughters his fitness is a currently lost. Instead John will use his experience as a coach, full time PE teacher, and track coach to make a road (bike trail) based speed workout fun and practical.

All those who race against Brooks will tell you he is very talented but 2014 saw him take his race results to a new level. With such a positive personality and true dedication his improvement was welcomed by all. His running background will be the perfect co-leader on the road

    • 11am Road Run Hosted by Brian Sames and Claire Bootsma (scheduled so morning riders can join)

Brian has been a two sport athlete from Middle School, through high school and college at St. Thomas, and still is today. The unique thing is which two sports: Distance Running and Basketball. His continued success in both running/triathlon and basketball shows the talent he has as an athlete. He showed his athletic talent at IM Wisconsin where he easily qualified for Kona at his first Ironman. He is a great guy to chat with and will make the run enjoyable for all.

Claire is the one you see smiling the entire race. Yes, now you know who that is. Her smiling is just showing her personality. She was a collegiate swimmer and runner and when she was able to dedicate herself to triathlon training she was the best in the state. She will always be ‘fast’ but focusing on her career as a nurse and keeping her husband Dan Hedgecock in line.