Todd Wells needs no introduction. As a professional mountain biker for two decades, he’s amassed an impressive list of palmarès across a multitude of disciples. Currently, he’s specializing in endurance mountain bike racing and cyclocross, but in preparation for a big season ahead, we even saw him line up in the pro field of the Tucson Bicycle Classic stage race earlier this month. Residing in Durango, Colorado and basing himself in Arizona during the winter provides Wells with ample opportunities for elevation and year around training while representing his SRAM/TLD Factory Racing. A three-time USA Cyclocross National Champion, 12-time XC, STXC and Marathon National Champion as well as a three-time Leadville Trail 100 winner, the list of his accomplishments on all types of bikes is long and prestigious. At the age of 41, he isn’t slowing down either. We wanted to know, what are his training methods and how is he still improving?
Many of your fans know you succeed in a multitude of disciples on two-wheels: do you have a specific focus for 2017 (or will you continue to do a bunch of different events) and what do you hope to achieve?
2017 will be almost the same as 2016, a bunch of different events. I like to mix it up to keep things fresh. Racing STXC, XC, Marathon 100 milers, stage races, CX and road races helps me keep all my systems firing. I have some big goals like Sea Otter, Epic Rides, National Champs and Leadville. I would also like to give Marathon World Champs another go. Last year was one of my best seasons ever, as an athlete you always want to improve, but I would take another 2016.
What was your off-season training program like? Did you do anything differently or add any elements to your training plan this year?
The off season was short! I raced CX Nationals in mid January and started training for the MTB season a few weeks later. I did have a big break in the fall after resting to fix a nagging hamstring issue and getting sick for a bit after that.
I normally like to lift weights and do some running, but I wasn't able to do either of those this year in hopes of completely healing my injury. This off season was less off the bike activities then I've had in the past and less downtime. That means I'm feeling good now, but will have to pay more attention to my fitness moving forward so I don't overcook it.
How does your current training reflect your goals for the season?
I just finished a big five week block of base training. I've been doing this since I started racing over twenty years ago and it's something I believe sets me up well for the rest of the season. It gives me a good foundation to build on. If I get hurt or sick, I've got that foundation so I know I'm not going to drop too much. My first big goal is Sea Otter and that is the most explosive of all my target events. I have been doing some road group rides to boost my speed and fitness, soon I'll start with some specific intervals.
Do you have any tips for an athlete trying to be successful in multiple disciplines on the bike?
They all compliment each other in one way or another. XC racing is great high intensity training for Marathon and 100 milers give you a big base and grow your overall engine size. If you can pick certain times to try and be good for certain types of events that's proven to work best for me. It's tough to try and win a STXC one week and Leadville the next, they require different training. I find dedicating about a month to a certain type of event is good time frame for me to zero in on it.
Have you incorporated Topical EDGE into your training?
I have been using Topical EDGE now since the fall and it's become an important training tool. At first, I didn't want to promote it at all because I didn't want people to know about, it was my "edge" or secret weapon. The word got out though and I'm happy to be representing and working with a product I believe in.
What results have you noticed?
I don't really have "bad legs" anymore. Sure, you can still have those days that nothing is working right but in general I don't have to worry about that anymore. I also notice if I do get a lactic burn from a big effort chasing down a group or trying force a selection it is much less than without Topical EDGE. There are a million things that can go wrong in a race, knowing I don't have to worry about having that heavy leg feeling is one less, but very important thing to not have on my mind.
Photo by Johnny Muller