Tour of the Gila Crit with Scott Moninger.
Read Part Two
Read Part Three
Scott Price Interview, Part Four
VT: I want to mention one training article on your site, Aerobic
Deflection Training - "ADT." I really enjoyed the article, is this routine
something I could train using every day? I understand part of your site has
training articles that are only available to members? Are there more
members-only features planned?
Scott: The short answer is yes, you can employ ADT training on a daily
basis by starting endurance rides with an empty stomach and by drinking water to
put the energy focus on isolating intramuscular fat. Obviously training
intensely or racing without fuel would not be a good idea. More member section
items, a book for working athletes, and some video interviews are all in the
works for HLHAP.
VT: Earlier you said, "...cycling is a difficult sport for a cerebral
person, they can constantly struggle with rationalizing the pain and sacrifice
cycling requires." You also told me, "Even with power meters we see that maximal
power output is only available when free of thought or "in the zone." There is a
quote out of the Tao that is a favorite of mine, "The best way to do is to be."
Some call this the "Zone," an intuitive state where thinking is not part of the
Would you say in your experience as a rider and coach that there is a zone
that one can reach that opens doors to better performance? Can a rider be
coached or guided to this "Zone"?
Scott: Absolutely there is a zone one can reach that is not only optimal
performance but optimal enjoyment and presence. This is why I do not like terms
and labels, the words spirituality or even god have certain connotations for
most and affect what follows. No matter if one thinks they are a spiritual being
or not, the sensations of being in the zone or in a present, thoughtless and
time and pain altered state is similar.
Anyone can easily be drawn into this place as there we are not externally
judged, and we are problem and anxiety free. I can guide athletes towards this
zone with signposts and by describing the state and setting a few guiding
principles. In a pure and free maximal output state, one will find himself calm
and relaxed even under huge efforts or workloads.
One wants to feel expansion and unity with his body, his equipment and his
environment rather than contracting or fighting it. One will also find himself
witnessing thought as if it was not him thinking it, so it is easy to not grasp
the thoughts or feed them and then let them slip by. One also hits an eternal
time frame not bound by man-made seconds and hours, which can give a sense of
things happening in slow motion.
I always know when I am present or in the zone during an effort, when the
pain or contraction ceases and it feels like I am breaking through a sound
barrier. There is no formula and the "Zone" can come and go but awareness of it
is a great tool to freeing one's power rather than being limited by tension,
negative thoughts or lack of belief in himself.
I have actually begun a program called "Free your Power", where athletes who
want to be freer physically as well as mentally, spiritually and emotionally
come to the Phoenix area and see a team of specialists who have unique methods
of identifying and releasing blockages.
The future of sport is beyond traditional training methods, goal setting or
tactics and the best will come from a place of freedom of movement and reaction
that far surpasses thought. Details will be posted on www.hlhap.com when they
VT: Would you say a rider has to go through some spiritual transformation
to achieve his highest performance levels? Do you feel along the course of your
career you have had a spiritual reawakening?
Scott: Sadly, I would say that the best athletes in the world are often
very blocked to their true emotions, issues and surrounding environment as they
become completely consumed with their passion. I will say that during anyoneís
athletic career they will change as a person over the course of time. Whether
those are reactions to experience or a deeper spiritual event is for the
individual to realize.
That said, there is a wonderful value to a peak experience of being in the
flow and being entirely consumed in movement or action when performing. Anyone
can access those sensations and experiences beyond the senses and that transcend
both time and description through words. An elite athlete may very well become
trained to access this peak experience and may do so more often and those who
cannot let their energy flow in such a manner will be restricted from their peak
If I were to try and describe some traits of a peak experience or an effort
of totally free power I would start with: If you experience a time distortion
during the effort, which is a sure sign that you have left your thinking mind
for awhile. There is also a breaking through of a pain or perceived exertion
threshold to where the effort becomes painless, timeless and feels maximal and
complete. Personal problems, limitations, doubts and anxiety too fall away, as
they are also mind created illusions when compared to a peak experience state.
One will also get the sense that the location of their awareness will shift from
the mind or eye and forehead region to possibly that of the heart region, the
top of the head or even an out of body experience where oneís perception is
removed from the locality of the body, and when this occurs one can experience a
totally free and blissful effort as all mindstuff, emotions, pain are left
behind and all that is left is peace, silence and movement. I have experienced
these shifts at various intensities of training or racing, but the maximal
efforts are somehow different than simply zoning out on an endurance ride (which
For me, I have very strong sensations that are difficult to translate into
words, an energetic awareness of my surroundings and even peopleís inner being
or ease with themselves. My purpose is to acknowledge and explore these
sensations as well as free any issue, blockage, negative thought or pain within
my self. These sensations feel like they have been "awakened" as I was
previously "asleep" or numb to their possibilities.
It is an inner journey but not a lonely one as there is a strong
connectedness to everyone and all things. You do not have to be a hermit in a
cave to live a strong spiritual existence; rather just strive for openness and
unconditional love for all things. The simplest way I can describe how to access
deeper levels of source energy or consciousness is to bring your awareness into
any form of contraction and dissolve it.
Examples of contraction include when we say something negative about someone
or when we do what we know is not right, or even when we add too much fuel to
our thoughts and turn our lives into a complicated form of insanity. As
contractions in your life lessen you are able to be clearer and more aware of
what is, not what one thinks what is. This is not something I speak about
often and Iím sure people who have known me my whole life would say, "What are
you talking about?" Iíll conclude that there is so much more than the five
senses can perceive, or without these senses that would be all that there is...?
VT: During the Tour of Gila you wrote a journal on your site each day; in
several you mentioned riders doing foolish or dangerous things. There are
established "etiquette" and traditions for road racing that would be worth
mentioning - what do you think are some of the most important "road manners" or
"attitudes" we should be aware of and pass down to the new crop of riders each
Scott: At the pro level there is "etiquette" as far as who belongs at the
front and not disturbing a team chasing or setting tempo. In the pro peloton you
have to really earn a seat at the front as a sprinter or a climber and it does
not come easy.
These days a strong team looks after you and gets you into position so
etiquette has less to do with it. The problem again is some riders take racing
way too seriously without respect for other human beings they compete against,
or the fact that serious injury or even death is a mistake away.
I mean, you can be very assertive without being an asshole. Seeing riders
slam their brakes on in corners or take riders into a curb makes me cringe (yes,
I have done these things too as a reaction to the overall environment). It takes
more than an individual to change the peloton. An excellent place to start in
terms of pondering your role and being aware of some new possibilities is the
book "Thinking Body, Dancing Mind" by Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry
Lynch. The overall cure in my opinion is simply a better respect for your
competition and to call people on their actions if they are unfair or put people
VT: Any advice you would like to extend to young riders to guide their
Scott: Well, this is a lifelong process. I advise younger riders to
consider the advice of elders to become wise before their time and avoid
setbacks. In the future I would love to see athletes become more internally
motivated and rewarded so that each day can be equally rewarding.
Gianni Bugno once said after winning the Tour of Italy and the World
Championships that his season was a failure because he did not win the Tour de
France. It is sad that he did not enjoy his successes and amazing level of human
performance to the fullest. Every day, every season is a success as we enjoy our
successes and learn from our mistakes and hardships.
A hard lesson learned can be much more valuable than a victory to a young
rider. I would also advise younger riders to consider their whole life by
considering their education and interests, family, environment and long term
health rather than an obsession to be a pro. How many riders in North America
have ridden the Tour de France in the last decade, maybe 10? Instead of being
personally disappointed that I never competed in the Tour de France, I am
fulfilled competing regionally at a level that suits my life and morality. So
just be confident in what you are doing and enjoy every breath and pedal stroke
to the fullest, while striving for excellence in what you do.
VT: Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge for their support
during your career as a rider and a coach?
Scott: My brother Bo and my mom supported me when I was starting out, and
my experiences and accomplishments would not have been possible without them.
Now my wife helps me create space to train and race in our otherwise very full
lives. I also have to say that my teammate and Landis Trek VW manager Brian
Lemke has always been honest to and supportive of me, a first in my cycling
career. Lastly, Drew Miller has been such an important part of my cycling the
last 5 years between sharing training data, traveling, racing together and
keeping each other motivated. There have been many times where we believe in the
other person more than ourselves and that kind of support and friendship is a
gift to me.
VT: Thanks, Scott, for being so patient during this interview. I expect
to see you out there racing. Where is your next race?
Scott: Funnilly enough, my next race is a mountain run hill climb not a
bike race, the Grouse Grind in Vancouver in September; it is basically a 27%
grade scramble up the side of a mountain that takes 30 minutes for the fast
athletes. What can I say; I love anything vertical that demands a pure effort!
Post Gila this year I have put 100% of my energy into being a loving father to
my family rather than pushing training and racing. This will create some space
for some enjoyable racing in 2004.
Thanks very much to Scott Price for his time. To find out more about Scott
Price and HLHAP, please visit his website at:† http://www.hlhap.com/catalyst.htm.
Note: I heartily recommend his training articles on the HLHAP site,
especially these two: improving climbing technique and Aerobic Deflection
Please join Scott Price in the Daily Peloton Chatroom Monday, 1 September
Where: Daily Peloton
When: Monday, 1 September 2003
--12 noon Pacific Time
--1 pm Mountain Time
--3 pm Eastern Time
--20.00 British Time
--21.00 European Time