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The Sun & Ski Cure for the Winter Time Blues

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How are you supposed to switch gears from sunshine and wakeboarding to ice covered lakes? When summer ends, it can sometimes be hard to make the adjustmentto cooler weather.

Why not try investing your downtime into a new sport this winter?

Believe it or not, snowboarding can actually make you a better wakeboarder.The skills you can develop while snowboarding can translate to help improve your already impressive wakeboarding skills.

Some of the areas that snowboarding can help you improve include:

  • Strength – Snowboarding requires you to move in ways similar to wakeboarding. This means you will not lose all the progress you made over the summer.
  • Turning – Snowboarders shift their weight using their toes or heels, which differs from wakeboarding. However, if you can work to develop a strong snowboard turning technique, it will most likely improve turning when you wakeboard.
  • Focus – Just like wakeboarding, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings when snowboarding. Maintaining this level of awareness all winter will help you stay alert when you start wakeboarding again.

If you do plan on hitting the slopes this winter season, you’re going to need the warmest snowboarding and skiing clothes. Shop for the top brands and you’ll be sure to start off in style. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Men & Women’s snowboards
  • Men & Women’s skis
  • Men & Women’s Ski boots
  • Men & Women’s ski and snowboard jackets
  • Men & Women’s ski and snowboard pants
  • Ski Goggles

Invest in only the essential items and grow your wardrobe when you decide you’re going to stick with the sport. Shop Sun & Ski for a wide selection of name brands including The North Face, Spyder, Canada Goose, and more to get you started.

Running Like Clockwork – Houston West End Running Club

West End Run Club

Fitness. Fun. Philanthropy.

FFP Running Clubs has joined forces with Houston’s newest public house in the Uptown District, The West End to host 2 mile, 3 mile and 4 mile runs.

Meet at The West End – A Public House, 5320 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77056. Every Tuesday at 6:00 PM, rain or shine.

The West End Run Club is FREE to join with free post-run snacks and drink specials for runners.

Sun & Ski Sports will be hosting a raffle with prizes the first night!

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Join the West End Running Club facebook group.

The Best Running Surfaces

Are you wondering what running surfaces are best for you? What is the difference between running on grass and running on cement? Different running surfaces have different effects on your running shoes and body. Below is an overview of a few running surfaces so you can decide what surface you should be on this season.

Hard Surfaces

Cement and asphalt are the most popular hard running surfaces because they make up most roads and sidewalks. While these surfaces are accessible, they are not always the healthiest choice. Running on cement and asphalt creates a hard impact, increasing the likelihood of damage to both your running shoes and body. It’s best to stay away from these surfaces to avoid injury and overuse, but remember to do some limited training on them if you plan to compete in a road race.

Soft Surfaces

Grass is one of the lowest-impact surfaces you can find. It can be good for saving your joints, but be prepared to work your muscles harder. Remember to beware of uneven ground as you take advantage of long stretches of grass.Grass is good for speed work and allowing your joints and bones to rest.

Another soft surface is the dirt trail, one of the healthiest running surface choices. These usually run through forests, making for interesting scenery and a safe surface. While you’ll need to watch out for roots and mud, dirt paths can increase the life of your running shoes and allow your body to stay healthy as you maintain your desired mileage.

Softer is usually better when it comes to running surfaces. You can add life to both your body and running shoes as you become conscious of your surfaces.

When you need new men’s running shoes or women’s running shoes, Sun and Ski Sports is here to help you maintain your healthy running lifestyle.

How to Clean Your Running Shoes

That last run may have been invigorating, but the muddy trails you splashed through probably weren’t that great for your running shoes. But they’re just battle scars, right? Your shoes need to be properly worn in when you’re running, don’t they?

While it’s not bad to have a favorite, worn-in pair of running shoes, it’s important that you take care of them. Occasionally, this might even mean cleaning your shoes to ensure they last longer.

Follow these simple rules to keep your favorite men’s or women’s running shoes in proper working condition:

Take them on and off properly
After a long run, the first thing you want to do is rip off your shoes. Resist this temptation! It’s important that you don’t take your running shoes off without untying the shoe laces. Loosening them before you take them off will prevent stretching and damage.

Never put your running shoes in the washing machine
Your shoes will get dirty, but the best way to clean your running shoes is with a scrub brush, soap and cold water. Then simply let them air dry.

Properly store your running shoes
It’s important to keep your shoes in a cool, dry area of your home. They need to properly air out after each use. You don’t want to store your shoes in a locker, gym bag or trunk of your car.

Dry wet shoes
If you do happen to find yourself running through puddles, it’s important to let your running shoes completely dry before putting them on again. Simply loosen the laces, take out the insoles and let them air dry. Placing your shoes in direct heat can dry out the leather and other materials.

What do you do while your favorite running shoes are drying? Well, that’s the perfect time to shop for a new pair of men’s running shoes or women’s running shoes from Sun and Ski Sports. Having alternate pairs of shoes will make your running shoes last longer and give them time in-between runs to properly dry out.

Stage 21: Wrap-Up

In case you were wondering about the champagne and stuffed animals, the final stage into Paris is historically more of a celebratory parade than a bike race. The parade into town, in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, is reminiscent of the home-comings of victorious armies in bygone days.

The finish was also a bit of a formality, with HTC once again proving they have the best lead-out train in the world, and ‘Cav demonstrating that he is the best of the fast men.

This year’s Tour was filled with the dramatic, and the traumatic. I’ve compiled a list of a few key take-aways from le Tour; things to keep in mind to help with your own training and racing.

  • Life happens. In the Tour, it’s crashes and illness. Often it’s the same for us, but sometimes it’s a sick kid, a pressing work project, or even a spat with your spouse that derails your plans. The riders who crashed out of this year’s Tour aren’t bewailing their fate, they are planning their next race and using this as motivation – a good lesson for all of us.
  • Nothing is ever certain. This is why we race, to find out how things actually unfold. Voeckler should never have had the yellow, nor kept it for 10 days, much less finished 4th. His teammate, Pierre Rolland, was never a candidate for the Top 10 or the White Jersey. Contador was supposed to win, and Cavendish wasn’t supposed to make it over the mountains. Don’t be afraid to try, as history is filled with examples of people doing the impossible.
  • Never give up. It’s taken Cadel Evans years to achieve the top step in Paris, years when the critics said it could never happen. As Churchill said, never, never, never give in. There’s a reason these stories inspire you, because we were made to overcome. Keep plugging; good things will happen.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Tour as much as I have. I hope this brief commentary has provided a bit of perspective and insight. Mostly though, I hope you were inspired by the beauty and struggle of the sport. Sport is a microcosm for life, and it’s lessons are more far-reaching than the obvious. Here’s wishing you the best in sport, and in life.

Steen A. Rose is an elite cycling and triathlon coach. He started coaching in 2003, and has been an Elite Coach with Training Bible Coaching since 2009. Steen is also captain of the Sun & Ski/Subaru Cycling and Triathlon teams. He has been racing since 1997, holds a Category 1 license, and has 13 state championships, 3 national medals, and 4 international podiums to his credit. He can be reached at srose@trainingbible.com

TdF Stage 20 / Overall – Goals

- With guest writer Rick Wetherald –

You couldn’t have designed a more exciting end to the 2011 TdF if you tried. Coming into the final time trial, Cadel Evans had a large – though still managable – 57 second deficit to yellow jersey wearer Andy Schleck. The situation dictated that both would start the race with the highest motivation and aspirations, and that the whole cycling world would all be glued to the TV waiting for time checks.

There were many doubters over the last three weeks when it came to both riders’ tactics. The arm chair critics were saying the Andy/Frank duo should have attacked more and harder. Cadel should have spent his energy attacking instead of pulling the favorites around the windy Pyrenees and Alps. As it turned out, though, the Schlecks simply couldn’t attack, because Evans’ calculated and controlled pace always kept the brothers from summoning enough energy to do so. Those same critics predicted that Cadel may have used too much energy chasing in the slopes of the Alps, but he showed Saturday that he knew all along what he was doing and exactly how much energy he was using. The Australian put forth an inspiring effort to not just take the yellow jersey, but leave the doubters eating their words, and besting both Schlecks by a staggering two and a half minutes.

What can you, average joe bike rider, learn from Cadel Evans’ performance during the hardest part of the toughest race in the world? For those who were paying attention to the details, Evans was putting on a clinic in managing resources. We’ve all done a long group ride or race where we went out too hard. It’s almost a requirement for new endurance racers to suffer the consequences of an over-ambitious start. Some athletes will grow out of this phase, and learn to preserve their efforts, and some will continue to go for the early glory at the expense of the result that matters. Next time you line up for a ride or race, decide what your ultimate goal is. Consider the near future and how today’s ride will help you during the coming weeks and months. Then decide where you want to be at the finish of this day. Work backwards from there and plan ahead on what you are going to do during every phase of the day’s effort. Though Cadel was behind on time in the mountains, he knew just how important the final TT was, and he metered his effort accordingly. Stick to the plan, and you’ll give yourself the best chance to reach your goal.

Here’s hoping we can all see our own personal version of the top podium step in Paris.

Rick Wetherald is a pro mountain biker, elite triathlete and road racer for Sun and Ski / Subaru racing, elite coach for Athletes on Track, coordinator for the TMBRA Kids Kup series of mountain bike races, and doctoral student at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX. Rick has been racing for almost two decades, and has been coaching athletes of all levels for 7 years. Rick can be reached at rickwetherald@gmail.com .

Stage 19: Battle Royale

Where to start?

First French win in this year’s Tour? First French win on Alpe D’Huez since 1986? First French White Jersey (Best Young Rider) win since 1979? Alberto Contador throwing caution to the wind and attacking from the gun, trying to salvage his Tour? Thomas Voeckler initially riding away from F. Schleck and Evans only to come unglued at the end of the day and lose his shot at the podium?

To pick just one thing to write about from today’s stage is overwhelming, so I won’t even try. I’m going to go ride my bike! I encourage you to do the same. Anyone who doesn’t want to immediately climb on a bike after watching today’s stage must not have a pulse. What a beautiful sport! Be inspired, get outside and feel the sun on your shoulders and the wind in your hair. Relish the whoosh as you speed down a hill, and revel in the feeling of your muscles overcoming gravity as you fight your way up a climb.

Cycling really is the most beautiful sport, but the best thing about it is that it’s a participant sport, not a spectator sport. Go. Ride. Be free. Fly. Smile. Be Alive!

Steen A. Rose is an elite cycling and triathlon coach. He started coaching in 2003, and has been an Elite Coach with Training Bible Coaching since 2009. Steen is also captain of the Sun & Ski/Subaru Cycling and Triathlon teams. He has been racing since 1997, holds a Category 1 license, and has 13 state championships, 3 national medals, and 4 international podiums to his credit. He can be reached at srose@trainingbible.com

Stage 18: Willing to Lose

Stage 18

Willing to Lose

You can’t always have your cake and eat it, too. Sometimes you have to take great risks to reap great rewards. When these risks pay off, you will be a hero, a genius. When the risk does not pan out, you will be vilified. Those of you that watch American football will understand this; think about on-side kicks, 2-pt conversions, and going for it on 4th down. The papers the next day hail the coach as a genius when those plays work, and call for him to be fired when they don’t.

If you’ll pardon the rough analogy, today Andy Schleck went for it on 4th and long. He won the stage, and took enough time back from his rivals to put himself in the thick of the hunt going into the final two decisive stages.

In the post-race interview, Andy said that he didn’t care if he lost the race, that he was trying to win it. While that might seem oxymoronic, it’s actually the crux of the situation – you have to risk it all to win it all.

For most of us, “winning it all” has a slightly different appearance than it does for Andy Schleck, but it is no less important. Just because your personal battle will never be on TV doesn’t mean it’s not a battle, and worth fighting for.

The great riders, the great coaches, have the courage to lay it all on the line in pursuit of victory. Do you?

Steen A. Rose is an elite cycling and triathlon coach. He started coaching in 2003, and has been an Elite Coach with Training Bible Coaching since 2009. Steen is also captain of the Sun & Ski/Subaru Cycling and Triathlon teams. He has been racing since 1997, holds a Category 1 license, and has 13 state championships, 3 national medals, and 4 international podiums to his credit. He can be reached at srose@trainingbible.com

Stage 17: A Little Bit of Everything

A Bit of Everything

Cycling is unique among sports in the range of skills required. Riders face a little bit of everything, and a to be a true contender you must at least hold your own in a variety of circumstances. Recent Tours de France have featured gravel roads, cobbles, climbs, and yes, descents. It remains self-evident that what goes up must come down. That certainly was the case today, with the final descent into Pinerolo.

Just as the best climbers have a chance to shine on big mountains, and the sprinters have their days when the road is flat, the best descenders should be allowed their day as well. Those who are not good descenders complain, when in reality they just need to practice.

If you always stay in your comfort zone, you will never become a better bike rider. Just as you push yourself to see improvements in your climbing and time trialing, you should push yourself to become a better all-around rider. You may not love gravel roads and steep, twisty descents as much as I do, but you should at least be able to navigate them competently. In addition to opening up new routes and new events to yourself, your every day riding, and perhaps more importantly your emergency riding, will be greatly improved when you’re comfortable with these skills.

What is emergency riding? It’s when there’s a sudden patch of gravel or sand in the middle of the road that you can’t avoid, an obstruction that causes you to suddenly shift your line in a turn, or any number of scenarios that can and do present themselves on the road, or even on a hike & bike trail. Yesterday’s stage passed perhaps the most famous example of emergency riding in recent history, when Lance went cross-country to avoid the fallen Joseba Beloki. Be like Lance, be a complete rider who is ready for anything, because I can promise you that the road won’t always be flat, straight, and dry, no matter what the Schlecks may prefer.

Steen A. Rose is an elite cycling and triathlon coach. He started coaching in 2003, and has been an Elite Coach with Training Bible Coaching since 2009. Steen is also captain of the Sun & Ski/Subaru Cycling and Triathlon teams. He has been racing since 1997, holds a Category 1 license, and has 13 state championships, 3 national medals, and 4 international podiums to his credit. He can be reached at srose@trainingbible.com

Stage 15: Kamikaze

Kamikaze

While some would say that you’ve got to admire the spunk of Philippe Gilbert, I think he’s been a bit reckless with his efforts. There’s no doubt that he’s putting on a good show, but it’s really not accomplishing much, and at the end of the day, that’s the only way to judge a bike race.

Early in my career, a coach told me that you should always have a reason for expending energy in a bike race. We even touched on this earlier when we talked about why you should avoid pulling unless absolutely necessary. To that, we can add attacking.

Taking risks and going for the glory is a big part of bike racing. We’ve already seen the benefits; just ask Thor Hushovd or Thomas Voeckler. But when the odds of success are zilch, a kamikaze if you will, I just don’t see the point. There was no way that HTC was going to let anyone go today with 3k to go, but especially, especially not Gilbert, who is a rival for the Points Competition.

With an incredibly hard week of racing yet to come, and with plenty of opportunities for riders with legs left to gain points, Gilbert should have kept his power dry today. In your rides, heed that advice. Go for it if there’s a chance, but have the courage to skip the showy waves of defiance when they do nothing to benefit you and save something for when there is a chance.

Steen A. Rose is an elite cycling and triathlon coach. He started coaching in 2003, and has been an Elite Coach with Training Bible Coaching since 2009. Steen is also captain of the Sun & Ski/Subaru Cycling and Triathlon teams. He has been racing since 1997, holds a Category 1 license, and has 13 state championships, 3 national medals, and 4 international podiums to his credit. He can be reached at srose@trainingbible.com