Moore Or Less
by Chris Lyman
As a member of the Cal-Giant Cycling Team, Jesse Moore has been a recognized fixture of the Northern California Pro 1-2 peloton. After years of dishing out the hurt, in 2012 he began the transition to masters racing and in a moment of questionable judgment, triathlon.
By day Jesse is the owner of Moore Performance Coaching with a roster of athletes stretching from NCNCA (myself included) to ProTeams. In search of a “Moorism” I asked Jesse about leaving the Pro 1-2 ranks behind, coaching masters racers and 2013 plans.
Jesse, thanks for taking the time to chat.
Happy to do it
Starting off with coaching background, you studied under Dr. Max Testa. Aside from the obvious, what did you learn from him?
I’m not sure if I’ve learned it yet, but the one thing that I’m always striving for is Max’s bedside manner. What I mean is that he has this amazing ability to connect with athletes of any ability and make them feel like they’re the center of the athletic universe. I’ve seen countless athletes walk away from a conversation with him full of self-confidence and empowered, with real knowledge about their bodies that will help break through barriers. Anyone who has talked to Max knows what I’m saying, and I hope to get there someday.
Who are some of the notable athletes you coach?
Andrew Talansky, Andy Jacques-Maynes and Max Jenkins are the ones you might see in the media but I’ve worked with some very accomplished masters riders like Chris Lyman, who I think might be even more notable. I say that because of what they achieve while balancing very busy “real world” lives. Taking a nap is pretty far down on their list of priorities for a given day and I’m inspired by them all the time.
Speaking of masters athletes, where do you see age start to take its toll?
I don’t look at it as an age so much as a life stage. I think life events have more impact on performance than chronological age. For example, I see the first decrease in performance with full time employment and the next significant drop usually coincides with having kids. On the flip side I’ve seen people retiring or becoming “empty nesters” have increases in their performance. Those events can happen at any age, and generally performance has a lot more to do with hours available for training and recovery than your birth date.
Recent age related research is showing us that most of the health and fitness declines we used to associate with aging can really be traced back to declines in body use and training as we get older; life just fills up our days. There are certain inevitable losses with aging, but I don’t think they happen as rapidly as people think. I really try to approach coaching master’s athletes with this philosophy.
Does this change your approach to masters athletes?
What changes is how much rest I need to weave into training. Ultimately, performance comes down to how much training stimulus an athlete can recover from. But a lot of factors determine that, not just age. This is why it’s really important to look at each athlete as an individual, rather than categorize them in a box based on age or any other factor. I really try and look at how much an athlete has going on in their lives and get a picture of how much “total life load” they’re going to be trying to recover from and how much rest they will need to do that. From my perspective you only have so much capacity to absorb stresses whether they are coming from training or the rest of life. You need to take it all into account when putting together a training plan for someone, not just their age. I’ve got guys in their 40s who can recover from a lot higher training workloads than guys in their 20s based almost entirely on how much more they have going on off the bike.
Not to pour salt on an old wound but in 2011 at Elite Nationals you finished 3rd in the TT, 4th in the crit and 2nd in the road race, garnering best overall rider accolades. From the outside: an enviable accomplishment. Internally, it’s gut wrenching. What council would you give an athlete to shake it off and move forward?
My therapist thanks you for bringing that up again!!! In all seriousness I’m a big fan of initially letting emotions run their course. I think it is ok and perfectly healthy to be disappointed or even angry when falling short of a big goal. I don’t think it’s ok to be throwing your bike around or negatively impact other’s experiences by being a poor sport, but I actually get worried if an athlete isn’t upset after missing a goal.
To achieve big things you have to be fully invested emotionally. If you don’t feel anything after missing the mark, you weren’t all in and you can start your post race debrief on what went wrong right there. So I council athletes to let their emotions ride for a time and to really digest what went wrong so they can learn from it. However, at some point it’s unhealthy and unproductive to keep dwelling on a bad result. The time to do something about it has passed and it is time to circle back to doing what it takes to have a positive experience next time. Take the lessons learned, set new goals and re-engage the future.
“The time to do something about it has passed.” One of my favorite Moorisms.
Speaking of racing, you more or less transitioned from Pro 1-2 to masters last year. What struck you about the change?
Honestly, what struck me the most is how much work I have to do in my own head to be ok with the change. It’s a great group of guys and I like that I can still be competitive with a more balanced life off the bike. However, I’m still struggling with things like not having the physical weapons of even a year ago, or watching the pro field roll out and not be in there testing myself. It will come, but it is harder than I thought it would be to step back.
What’s your favorite race on the calendar?
I think Mt. Hood would have to be it. The stages and conditions bring out everything I like about myself as a bike racer and I’ll always have fond memories of sleeping in my car at the start and loving it because it was my first NRC stage race.
Northern Cal 35+ guys want to know: what are your 2013 race plans?
Oceanside, St. George, Coeur d’Alene and hopefully Kona (triathlons). There might be some bike racing cameos, but I’m really focused on learning this new sport.
As a bike racer I’m obligated to give you a hard time about participating in the “sport” referred to as triathlon. What led you in that direction?
My reference to ‘emotional investment’ is what started the transition for me. I remember standing on the top step of a podium, hands up, and feeling nothing. I also remember finishing off the back of a different field later and feeling the same nothing.
That was when I knew it was time to start looking around for something that would get me excited or disappointed again. Challenges that force me to grow as an athlete and person usually do that for me, so I looked around for something I was afraid of and would truly suck at– swimming was an obvious fit. I’m really enjoying being on the steep part of the learning curve again, along with being totally anonymous in the triathlon world. No one, myself included has expectations for me and it doesn’t stoke my ego. It’s perfect!
Does this mean your bike racing days are over?
Bike racing fits me. I’m sure I’ll be back.
You used to lead an infamous, weekly fall/winter base ride into the far reaches of the Auburn foothills. No set route, no ego-driven hill surges, no waiting for flats, no “tour de mini-mart” food stops, and one brief pause for water at a school drinking fountain. Five hours after 40ish enthusiastic riders set off a handful of cracked guys would return. It was pretty much awesome. What’s become of the “Jesse Is A Jerk” ride?
It’s still going on every Saturday morning from Folsom bike at 10 am. That ride has a long history and has been led by several different people over the years. I’m still there most weeks but am transitioning leadership over to Max Jenkins. Hopefully he’ll carry it forward until the next likeminded individual comes along.
By the way, when you head out for a run after bike practice, the rest of us are drinking coffee or adult recovery beverages. Just sayin…
I’m ok with that. For now.