Ride longer, stronger, and faster!
Brute Squad (BMA Riders United in Training for Endurance) is a 16-week MTB training program designed to improve the strength and endurance of its athletes in preparation for an end-of-season target race. The Brute Squad program addresses all aspects of performance necessary to help its athletes achieve peak fitness, and execute to their full potential on race day.
Shorter, higher intensity workouts focus on increasing power, allowing you to cover ground at a higher rate of speed.
Practicing intelligent pacing, hydration, and nutrition strategies, as well as developing technical, tactical, and psychological skills allows you to perform to the maximum of your hard-earned capabilities on race day.
Longer, lower intensity rides focus on increasing endurance and improving aerobic metabolism, allowing you to maintain a higher effort level for longer periods of time.
Each athlete will receive a detailed 16-week training schedule with two, shorter (one-hour), higher-intensity bike workouts per week, along with one longer distance weekend ride (starting at about 20 miles, and ramping up to about 50 miles at the peak of the training season). Training intensity is individualized based on results of power or heart-rate threshold testing.
To keep our athletes and coach safe until such a time as we can all gather together again, athletes will work out in small groups once a week, wearing masks, and observing social distancing recommendations.
The training plan includes three practice races, which will help you dial in your pacing, nutrition, and hydration strategies, as well as practice the bike handling skills and the mental skills necessary for executing to your full potential.
The target race is a long-distance event, typically with two distance options in the range of 30 or 60 miles. This race is the culmination of our training season, where we put all of our hard work and training to the test on some of the most challenging and beautiful courses in the country.
Once a week, on-line meetings will be held to review the workouts for the coming week, and talk about relevant topics such as training strategies, metabolic processes, data analysis, and mental skills for competition. Featured talks from local experts include topics such as bike maintenance and nutritional strategies.
The men and women of Brute Squad cover a wide spectrum of age, speed, and biking experience. Some are seasoned racers who are looking to take on longer distances, or get faster at their favorite annual event. Others are completely new to endurance riding, and are looking for help preparing for their first big race, ride, or multi-day tour.
2021 Important Dates
April 1: Kickoff meeting (remote)
April 8: TrainingPeaks Review (remote)
May 11: Start of group workouts
August 21: Fraser 50 Ride (tentative)
(dates are subject to change)
With the guidance of a coach, the support of a group, and a bit of courage and determination, I have seen ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things, and in doing so, transform their lives.
~ Coach Scott
Can I still ride for fun?
Of course! Though the workouts are more structured during the week, the weekend “workouts” typically just specify a recommended distance or duration. We encourage you to do those rides on your favorite trails.
Do I have to do the target race?
The training program is a 16-week program designed to have you perform to your full potential for the target race. Though we encourage everyone in the program to participate in this race, it is not required.
Can I do a different race?
If you have a favorite race that occurs in the middle of the program, or after the program has ended, your coaches can help you adjust your training schedule to have you at your peak for a target race of your choosing
Do I have to do the practice races?
Practice races not only provide great workouts, but are a great way to dial in nutrition and hydration strategies, as well as your pacing plan for race day. Practice races also help with improving bike handling, learning how to pass and get passed, and learning how to cope with the mental challenges of racing (including pre-race jitters, breaking through the wall, and more) Plus, they are typically a lot of fun. Though they are not required, they are highly recommended.
How much experience do I need?
We assume you know how to ride moderately technical singletrack (such as Hall, Heil, Walker, Betasso, Marshall Mesa, Centennial Cone, and Buffalo Creek) and are comfortable with the idea of riding long distances and being in the saddle for the good part of the day. We are not expecting you to be able to drop 4-footers, huck cliffs, or blast downhill at breakneck speed.
What equipment do I need?
A well-functioning mountain bike is a great start. You can ride whatever type of mountain bike you like. You can ride clipped in, or on flat pedals. A helmet is a must. Though not required, some kind of data collection device would be beneficial along with a heart rate strap or power meter. A lighting system will be required if you plan to join us for night rides. We will be happy to give you guidance with any of your equipment needs.
What if I am too slow for the group?
“Slow” is a pejorative label which doesn’t really apply in our training group. We assume that we will have riders of varying speeds, and that’s fine. Workouts are based on time in the saddle, not distance traveled, so it really doesn’t matter if you happen to travel at a lower rate of speed. All that matters is that you are doing the workout as prescribed for you. Nobody will be left out, and nobody will be left behind.
We organize ourselves into informal pace groups during workouts so you can ride with people who ride about your same speed.
Am I expected to show up to every group workout?
We are not professional athletes, and as such, must balance our training with responsibilities of work, family, and other responsibilities. At times, we all get unexpectedly busy, sick, or injured. Your coaches will try to help you keep up with the training in those instances where life gets in the way and prevents you from attending a workout. That said, success in this program is a result of showing up. The more workouts you can attend, the better.
Where will we ride?
The group workouts on Thursdays will be held at various locations in and around Boulder. They will start at 6 PM, and last about 60-75 minutes.
What about the other workouts?
On Tuesdays and Saturdays, you are free to do the workout/ride on your own in the place of your choosing. If you want company, know that you’ll have plenty of training partners who will be looking for company as well.
Are there any additional costs?
The program fee does not include the entry fee for the target race, or the practice races. If you wish to purchase additional team jerseys, shorts, gloves, and arm/leg warmers beyond the kit items that are included with your registration, they can be purchased at a discounted rate.
Coach Scott Gurst
As founder and head coach of Brute Squad for the last 7 seasons, Scott has helped mountain bikers attain higher levels of athletic performance, execute to their full potential, and achieve their goals in events from short sprint races to long endurance rides. As a passionate mountain biker, Scott has participated in numerous events from durations of 20 minutes to 18 hours, including Breck 68, Laramie Enduro, Laramie Range Epic, Dakota Five-O, Leadville Silver Rush, Ridgeline Rampage, Voodoo Fire, the full Winter Park Series, CU short track races, Vail 100, 24 Hours of Moab (team), and 18 Hours of Fruita (team and solo).
Combining his love for mountain biking with his personal experience as a competitor and his professional experience as a coach, Scott has enjoyed continued improvements in performance in mountain bike competitions, resulting in several podium finishes, and more importantly, the satisfaction from comes from performing to one’s full potential on race day.
Scott is excited for the opportunity to share his experiences, and help the members of the Brute Squad train for optimum performance, prepare for the test of competition, and experience the fulfillment that comes from completing a challenging journey and attaining a goal that might not have been dreamed possible.
“I fundamentally believe that we are all more capable than we realize. If we can create a safe, supportive, and positive environment where athletes are not afraid to challenge themselves, test their limits, and venture out of their comfort zones, greatness can be drawn out of us all, regardless of where we start from. With the guidance of a coach, the support of a group, and a bit of courage and determination, I have seen ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things, and in doing so, transform their lives.”
– Scott Gurst
Brute Squad News
The Brute Squad still trained hard to ride stronger, smarter, longer and funner even with all their races canceled this year.
29 BMA Brute Squad athletes raced the Laramie Range Epic on Saturday, July 27, 2019 showing incredible toughness under challenging conditions on a demanding course.
On May 3, 2019 28 Brutes, friends and family headed out for the 18 Hours of Fruita race.