My Weekend With The BMC Pro Cycling Team


As posted to :

Mel McQuaid’s weekend with the BMC Pro Cycling Team

By Melanie McQuaid

Jan. 29, 2008 — I have a very strong passion for the sport of cycling despite my new excitement about triathlon. I guess once you are a cyclist, you are always a cyclist at heart. This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel down to Santa Rosa, Calif., as part of the BMC “World of Sponsoring”. I was there to pose down with the new BMC women’s specific “Shiver” dual suspension mountain bike. During the trip I had the chance to hit the road with the BMC boys on two occasions. They are a great team, both the riders and the staff, and they truly made my weekend special and really kick started my enthusiasm for the 2008 season.

Our first night was in Palo Alto after which we moved to Santa Rosa. When we arrived I had the chance to swim in a pool adjacent to our hotel (dubbed the “Flaming O” by the guys but really it was called the "Flamingo"). I was late to join a masters group but found the locals were very friendly in helping me get oriented on their local pool etiquette. Triathlon is reinvigorating the masters swim clubs across the country! My hair and swim cap were heavy clues for a number of the swimmers that I was a particular pro on the XTERRA circuit and the fact I was recognized just goes to show that triathletes are taking over!


The team was creating some noise in the California area. Santa Rosa is a little hotbed for cycling and is home to none other than America’s favorite cycling son, Levi Leipheimer. In fact, the Tour superstar actually dropped in on a dinner we were having one night just to say hello to the team and say "happy birthday" to Mike Sayers, who was celebrating that night. A few of the guys on the team actually live in the area and train with Levi so it was pretty cool to have him coming by to hang out for a while. We also rode to the “Service Course” where all the BMC team gear is warehoused and met with Team Swift, a junior team that is sponsored by BMC and mentored by the pro team. It was great to see all the young teenagers rubbing elbows with their cycling inspirations.

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The Recovery Process

This past week was planned as a recovery week. The three weeks prior had built to a 28 hour week that included 20 hours of cycling, 5.5h of swimming, 2.5 hours of running, 2 hours of plyometrics and weights, 1.5 hours of yoga and 1 hour of massage. I don’t count the weight training as hours towards my season only because I seem to only count the endurance stuff. I feel weights are imperative to my season… I just only use total hours of aerobic activities to compare year to year and then seperately compare whether I did weights or not. Weird, I know.

Because I decided to learn something from my Christmas meltdown, I really did take it easy this week. I didn’t go to any group swims or rides (to make sure I wasn’t tempted to do anything but recover), I avoided the children’s gymnasium for the plyometrics (it is a very dirty place and I was afraid in my weakened condition on Tuesday that I would find out just HOW dirty) and I spent the week nights very casually on the couch. I still did the intervals that I had planned for that week (I have a 9 week aerobic build that I am sticking to) but I did next to NO volume and lots of easy everything else.

It was good it was a recovery week as by the end of it this is the view from the kitchen patio:

Waking up to a cold morning in Victoria

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I Have A Confession…

I have a confession.
I really love my BMC Team Elite 01. I believe at every race last year that was the fastest bike there, even if I didn’t have the legs to push it on the day. I also think that for most of the races on the XTERRA tour the Team Elite 01 is the bike of choice.

I just love my Fourstroke and Shiver dual suspensions so much more. I haven’t ridden my Team Elite since Hawaii….

Fun in California on the Shiver and yes, that is a Powertap you are looking at!

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That’s right…. I’m IN!!!!

This message is generated as confirmation of your recent registration on You have been successfully registered for the following:


The Crested Butte Bank XTERRA

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Pro Category

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Melanie McQuaid

CLICK HERE for a complete version of this registration.

Registration for the best race on the whole XTERRA tour (despite the altitude factor) is NOW OPEN and I am so there. Better get in before it is too late!

And stay tuned for some more exciting and related news…


New Year With Resolution

What a difference a year makes!

One year ago I was defending World and US Overall XTERRA Champion. This year I am first princess to both titles. It is a pretty motivating place to be. I have never been so excited for another race season and that is saying a lot because there have been a number of them, oh man time is flying by….

I think the most important aspect of my time off was the opportunity to reflect. I compared my thoughts this year to a year ago (the post is here). In comparison to last year, there are some similarities and some big differences. I think the flavor of motivation changes when you are hunting versus being the hunted. All I know is I have four major titles that I would like to attach my name to by the end of 2008…


Resolution #7: Fill our new storage room (saving versus drinking is good for racing )

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Thai Lettuce Wraps – A Recipe To Help Athletes Maintain Iron Status

Thai Lettuce Wraps- a tasty meal that helps athletes maintain iron status

bison meat can help maintain iron status

This recipe for Thai lettuce wraps is one of my favorite for preparing red meat, which is a great source of heme iron.  This recipe is easy to prepare,  tastes great and has very healthy ingredients.
Female athletes often struggle to maintain their iron status.  Iron stores are affected by a complicated balance of diet, iron absorption, training load, sleep and blood loss due to menstruation.  Doctors use ferritin levels to determine iron status; ferritin is a protein that stores iron.  If ferritin levels are low then the reserves are low and must be addressed.

High training loads or high intensity training blocks can deplete iron stores in some females, and what may be considered fatigue could actually be progressing anemia.  Regular blood tests to check for deficiencies prevent this.   If you have been feeling tired, lethargic or depressed it might be anemia so it is prudent to have your blood tested.

Many athletes can manage their iron stores with a good diet- eating lean red meat and leafy green vegetables is a good start.  The following recipe for Thai Bison Lettuce Wraps is easy, quick and delicious and bison is a lean source of iron-rich protein.

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