Cross Country MTB, A Long Career and Two Olympic Cycles with Geoff Kabush

by | Jul 5, 2017 | Podcast

Geoff Kabush is on the show today talking about how he has been able to find success in multiple cycling disciplines, athlete development, training practices and of course coffee and beer.


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Born and bred Canadian, Geoff Kabush is known for racing his bike fast and having a little fun.

What is your biggest achievement, one you are most proud of?

The good old days – mechanical aspects of sport like changing tires, fixing on the fly was a fun part of racing back in the day


How he got into the sport

8th-grade parents sent him on an exchange program to England and learned how to ride MTB. Came back, bought a bike and started riding in BC

Victoria Island race series and a friend with a van = how Geoff started racing. Did Canada Cups as a junior and qualified for Worlds XC AND DH

Played a lot of sports in high school but Worlds got him hooked on MTB

Multisport until after high school; the University of Victoria started focusing on cycling (also got engineering degree)

2000 went to Olympics (while in college!)

“Looking back, I was motivated.” Work 7-2, go out on the bike with lights and ride as long as possible, home at 8, eat, sleep–and do it again the next day. “I had a dream and I was working hard towards it.”

2) Cycling advocacy- where do you think coaches, parents, organizations can best spend time and money
Balance providing support with giving athletes chance to fight and push for support
Focus is top down but need investment from club level up, getting more kids started
Seeing growth in kids getting skills at young age and pushing each other, that’s where high performance comes from
Good ones will succeed by critical mass is needed

  – At Bonelli I was happy to be able to point out that you were traveling yourself, building your own bike, racing, and then tearing down to fly home to the young athletes ... how can we give these skills to youth who now have access to provincial/state teams?
Always had the mentality that there’s always something to learn
Danger is young athletes who think they know it all
Always still something to learn about being an athlete
Young athletes need to learn to take advice to learn how to be an athlete

 – Where is mountain bike going? (Olympics? marathon? enduro? cyclocross?)
Back in earlier days, XC was 2.5 hours, now they’re 90 minutes. Courses are steeper, sharper efforts in last few years. Needed to change training to match

3) training

– what does your training look like this year, after a tough 2016 did you do anything different? return to old practices? try something new?
Volume based when younger(30 hour weeks!!)
Experimented with all different training styles
Consistency and staying healthy, focus on quality and understanding why doing different things
Now balanced intensity and volume better
Delved deep into gadget and science but all come back to body awareness
The importance of rest!!

– looking back is there a technique or type of training you tried and had no luck with?
A lot! One was pushing high endurance–pushing higher wattage for endurance for 3-4 hrs with major power outputs. Got stronger but didn’t translate to XC performance

– is there a type of training that you feel was instrumental to building ‘your engine’ and helping with your longevity and success in the sport?
There’s individuality so you can’t copy what Geoff has done and guarantee success

– why are you able to perform across cycling disciplines?
Endurance and coordination mean you can do a lot of sports
Not specializing in MTB young helped. Raced road, cx, mtb, played on bmx, etc helped develop
Early specialization is frustrating
Self-analysis and being willing to push yourself
Power crank helped learn smoothness
Always incorporated 1leg drills
Learned by watching great athletes and visualizing yourself doing the same movement (even not cyclists)

– cross-training – I remember stories of you hiking to increase calf strength and setting pretty solid times up grouse … do you do more cross training now? Do you think it has a place in
Enjoys cross training hiking, skiing etc — being in BC makes it easy. Taking time in the winter off the bike, mixing in CX and enduring to keep motivation makes it easier.
Important to get off the bike!
CX in Europe–bucket list he finally made happen. Belgian culture was fun for a visit, exciting seeing the atmosphere
To be at some of the classic venues was a cool experience. Crazy technical compared to US–often frustrated by lack of technical features in American races
Ability to crash and keep going is key

4) Benchmarks
– we have talked about 50 push-ups as a benchmark for good mountain bike fitness. Are there other numbers or feats of strength you think might help indicate someone’s mountain bike fitness?
People think of cycling as just legs, but over career, testing has shown that it’s more upper body as well–lactate levels super high even on downhill and can hold back your whole body
50 push-ups is kind of a joke but also something Geoff actually does. Endurance strength is key
Core strength also important
Never done much gym work, focus on lighter endurance strength work

Beer chug in Beijing with Yao Ming–major moment in career. Bummed out from mechanicals, closing ceremonies are kind of boring so went to look for drinks. Bought as many as they could for athletes, offered one to Yao Ming, a few trips later, he was bored and he finally said OK. Geoff slammed one, then Yao Ming wanted to try again in shotgun contest. Traded Olympic country pins, fun memory to take away from the event (blew up on Chinese websites)

* See Geoff’s original cycling news blog on the event here

5) Coffee- if you can’t use an espresso machine what are your top two methods to make a good cup?
Fresh beans are key
Personal grinder
Pour over/french press
At home, filtered water for machine, regular backflushing

6) What are you up to in next little bit? 
BC Bike Race, downeyville, lots of NA Events

7) Top books to be like GK (books that have influenced you, defined you)

Focusing on food for young athletes


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