Saturday, November 19, 2011
Specialized BG Fit is Completed! Yes, I passed and now I am officially a BG Fit Technician. So what does this mean? It means that I am Cerfitifed by some of the best fitters in the business. My resources to their knowledge is now an open book now! It was an incredible learning experience and I am grateful that Bikesource sent me to Specialized this past week. The bike riding was an extra bonus! Riding the 2012 road bike line up answered many questions that I had about the Venge and the Tarmac SL4. The Dura Ace Di2 electric shifting is just out of this world! The smoothest, quietest, and more important most accurate shifting system I have ever ridden. I have road and raced Campy, SRAM, and Shimano. I can say hands down this is the best! That is hard for me to say, as I fell in love with my SRAM shifting. I still believe that SRAM NON-ELECTRIC Shifting is the best NON-ELECTRIC shifting! But, it is going to slowly become the norm in the cycling world to shift to Electric Shifting. If a company does not have it, I see Shimano ruling the road again! I know this is expensieve equipment, but Shimano has a lower end brand in Ultegra out in 2012. The prices will come down, the weight savings will be greater at every level of bike from Racing to non-racing bikes. It will be an interesting market to look at over the next few years!
The instructors were top notch! They not only know there bikes, but are great in the Anatomy and Biomechanics area. I was impressed with the lectures on both areas. My background is in Athletic Training and I have tought Injury Prevention in my past and must say these guys brought tough concepts down to a level in which a beginner to that subject matter could easily understand. The toughest part concerning Biomechanics is taking Natural Body movement and applying it to a sporting movement. Your body never touches the ground when you are cycling, so it presents a greater analogy of your thought process. It is an Open Chain vs a true Closed Chain athletic endeavor. This being said, taking aches and pains from cycling and correcting them takes blending the knowledge of movement on the bike with a persons natural movements and limitations. If the Natural Biomechanical Limitations are not addressed before fitting THE BIKE TO THE INDIVIDUAL (Note what I just said!)then you will have a tough time finding that position that is right for an individual concerning what they want to accomplish riding their bike. It does not matter if you just like rolling around the trails or trying to be the State Criterium champion. You should be able to find a bike that Fits YOU! I could go on for a very long time about all of these experiences, but you should just come by and see me at Bikesource and I would be more than happy to discuss why we all would benefit from a Bike Fit!
So, what did I find out about myself? I found out during my fitting that I can ride a 52 cm or a 54 cm road bike frame. We fit me to a 54cm frameset, that is what I have in my arsenal at the moment and will most likely be sticking with in the future. However, I did find that my seat was too high and back too much! My Right leg was dipping in and after long rides I do have some mild Right back discomfort and Right Hip discomfort. So, we moved things forward a bit, changed my saddle width, and dropped my bars upfront a bit. This position then allowed me to get full Hip ROM, which in turn will help me power through the pedal stroke in a more efficient manner. Getting in the drops was much better and the transition from up out of the saddle in the drops to sliding back to my seat was much, much smoother! I could continue to pedal through my acceleration while sliding back to the seated position. Thus not causing any hesitation or disruption in my forward motion of the bike. Which will add to the momentum I gained by standing up on the pedals and powering forward. My right leg is now in a better upright pedal stroke! We extended my Right Pedal Spendal by 2 mm and used a Blue Specialized shoe insert along with a 1.5 mm Varus shim to add more structural support to my right side. We also added the inserts and shim to the Left shoe, but kept the spindle length the same. It created a more fluid and balanced pedal stroke. I am now a lot square on the saddle and should notice or not notice the Right Side discomfort post ride? I will be hitting the road a lot over the next few weeks to test out my new position! I cannot wait, it is just as exciting as getting a New Bike!
Speaking of New Bikes! If you have a cracked Carbon Frame, you crash your carbon frame and need a solid inspection, or just are ready to have the look of a new bike with a Custom paint job, then check out Smithers Customs. They have been working with Carbon Fiber on Motorcycles for several years. He has put a lot of thought into the design of the Carbon Bicycles. He will also be straight up with you as to whether he can or cannot fix your bike! So, before you spend your money by shipping your bike out of town, atleast give a local cycling guy a shot! Smithers races streat legal Motor cycles, but he is also a speed freak on the road bike! Here is the phone number: 913-768-8667. When I got back into town, Smithers had finished up repairing my Cracked SL3 Chainstay (Disclaimer! This was cracked from a crash and was not a Manufacturers defect!) and added a Custom Paint job to boot! I was pretty tired when I got home, but seeing the pictures of it being transformed via email all week while in Cali peaked my interest enough that I had to pick it up last night. So, yes it is even more impressive than I origional thought! I cannot quit staring at it! I even told my wife that I am a little nervous about racing this bike next year it is so freakin Beautiful! I know that feeling will pass as I want to roll on this thing as soon as possible! The good news about this bike, is I can build it back from the ground up! With all of my new Fit numbers, new saddle, stem, and cleat position. Then the work will begin to change out the size and fit of my other bikes. But, that is the fun in all of this! Ask for Steve and he will get you going! Getting the perfect fit during the Off-season! So, come Spring my body and bike will be ready to GO!
This last Picture was on the Flight out from San Jose, CA. The weather and terrain is perfect out there for any sort of riding! You just take your pick! I would have loved to have hit the single track, but that was not in the cards this time around. Maybe the next time!? If you want the full on details, come by the shop and see me! I will be in Mon-Wed. this week and next Sunday! Start your Christmas Shopping early with a BG Bike Fit! You will not regret it and will be set up to have your best year on the bike for 2012!
Thanks to all for following this week and whenever I do post! I hope you are getting some bike knowledge and information to peak your interest and motivate you in some way? Looks like a full week ahead, but I am going to get a full detail about my frame repair and painting process up on the blog by early this next week. But, for now it is time to start building and re-fitting that work of Art!
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Today started off pretty good. Not bad getting to the office early and taking a stroll through the Specialized Museum. When you first come into the place it is designed to highlight the history of Specialized humble beginnings, when Mike Sinyard spent his last $1500.00 dollars on Italian Bicycle parts and started riding his bike with a cart trailing behind to the shops in California. He was a pioneer then and still is when it comes to the bike industry. The museum is sort of a history of my love for the Specialized bicycle line. I have owned a Specialized bike of some sort since 2000! Some of the bikes hanging in the museum were and still are dream bikes of mine. Some I now own, but none of them have been ridden in such races as the Tour De France, Paris Roubaix, and the world road championships. The bikes not only are some of the fastest and most sought after bikes to race on in the world, but have a pedigry of winning riders who have been drawn to ride them acrossed several finish lines around the world. One of my favorite riders of all time is Mario Chipollini. He was not only one of the fastest sprinters in the world, but did it his own way! Often known for some of his outrageous cycling kits. But, he was one of the most noteable sprinters in the world to elevate Specialized in the European Peleton. So, it was an honor to see and touch the actual bike that helped him Win the World Championships several years ago.
Tom Boonen's Paris Roubaix winning, Specialized Roubaix is also lined up next in line! This is where the famous Specialized Roubaix line up was molded into the bike line it is today. Just incredible how you can see how important it is to stretch the limits and place some of the best riders on your bikes! The next bike was Fabian Cancellera's Custom Yellow S-Works Tarmac. This thing is just too cool! Fabian road this bike for several days while defending the Yellow Jersey during the Tour De France. I am sure it will not be the last time Fabian wears the famous yellow jersey. Too bad he is not on a Specialized anymore! He might have had a better season in 2011!? Pretty nice way to kick off my day!
After my stroll through the museum, we hit the bike area. One thing I did not point out yesterday was your choice of Helmets and Shoes. They are all S works products which makes it nice to test the products and the ability to try out what we sell. The Body Geometry design of these products makes them feel like a custom fit for your feet! The helmets are easily adjusted, light and very Aero dynamic! Today I rode the Venge one more time. Tomorrow, I will ride another bike after a full BG Fit before the afternoon ride. What do you think it will be??
Ok, so above is where the real work is being done while I am out here! Yes, riding is part of this life and testing the latest rides out on the open roads. But, in order to better serve our customers, help them reach there goals, and place them in the best possible position to enjoy that new Specialized ride, we have to do a bit of studying! The photo's above show the room in which we work most of the day. This is a pretty killer layout. We do our physical assessment on the riders, then move to on the bike assessment, and then adjustments to the fitting. I provided a quick example of one of the riders above. I will call her Julie. Julie is a phenominal athlete! She has raced in Europe, ridden on the Saturn Pro Women's team, and has been on the US National Cycling team. She is now a distance trail runner! Hardcore for sure and a great subject for our fitting session. I wanted you to see how some minor adjustments made a difference in her upper body position of the bike. We are fitting the bike to her and not her to the bike. Who can tell me what the difference is between the lower photo of her and the top photo? A hint is to look at her elbows and shoulders. This adjustment was minimum! But, made a huge difference in here comfort level, ability to open up her ribs, and most of all keep her driving those legs for the long haul at top speed! It was an honor working with her today and we shall see what her feedback is after the road ride tomorrow?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Today was pretty cool! I have really been looking forward to this trip for many reasons, but what i am finding out about the material, the people, and the rides, is that this is exactly what I should be doing! Once again, probably not the last time, I want to thank Bikesource for this opportunity. The knowledge that I am absorbing from the BG Fit Instructors is Priceless! The stories about minor adjustments to Tour de France, Paris Roubaix, and World Champions bike fit over the last few years alone is amazing. Seeing the video difference after only a few millimeters change of a riders headset was proof that there is an Art and Science to getting the perfect bike fit! It is definetly a work in progress throughout someones riding life and will change slightly depending on their discipline of riding. But, seeing it all come together after an assessment is not only amazing, but something i cannot wait to add to my arsenal at Bikesource!
Now, yeah, this is fun! But, it get's serious at times. We study Anatomy, Biomechanics, and the basics of sizing someone for a bike. Now, there is a big difference between Sizing and Fitting! Sizing is done and should be done before you even remotely look for a new bike. You must make sure you have the right size bike or everything else does not work! I see so many people who do not fit on their bikes, they can ride for short distances, but once they try to ride long, they get numb in areas they should not, they ache in the neck or low back, or maybe it is a knee issue that flared up after a 60 mile ride when they are use to riding 15-20 miles in their current position. I could go on about this, but you will just need to come and see me when I get back to the Shop next week. We can all benefit from a proper bike fit. If you spend money riding or racing a bike, you should take the time this Winter and get a proper fit! You will love your bike more and want to ride it even more when the weather get's nice this Spring.
So, about my day! Well I thought the Pictures would help? The Big "S" needs no explanation, this is the entrance to Specialized Headquarters, pretty dang impressive! The picture of the Peleton pulled over on the side of the road is above the bathroom stalls. I thought it was pretty dang funny! The best part about the photo is the Police car rolling by the entire group. The Next photo is not my Garage! These are the bikes that we get to choose from everyday! Yes, they are just lined up by size. We grab the ride of Choice, set it up and roll! Pretty sweet! The other bike Picture is employee parking. Gotta love it! The parking lot is pretty much empty, everyone commutes! See how simple this would be for your employer to set up at work! Does not take much does it, show it to them and get a commuter Garage set up at your work place. Our work area is highlighted by the I am Specialized Wall, the room is more like a PT clinic, with tables, bike trainers, and tool set's set up at each station. The last few Pictures are of the ride!
I rode the Venge today and will ride it most of the week. I am trying to really get a feel for this bike. I get asked a lot of questions about it. We went up a pretty good climb today, but I need to play with my position a bit more before I am going to comment. Maybe by Thursday Nite, I will have a better idea? We have a longer ride scheduled for Thursday, after we have done a complete bike fit! So, that will be the true test. The Bike has Dura Ace Shifting and I have been riding SRAM for the last year exclusively. I can say that I like how the Dura Ace Shifters conform around my hands, but I do think that SRAM is a much crisper shifting system at a hirer rate of speed. That is all I can say at the moment!
It is late in the Midwest and my body is still on Midwest time. I need to hit the sack, we are riding at 8 a.m. tomorrow! It will be about 44 degrees vs the 70 degrees we rode in today. The weather seems to be very consistant, cool in the a.m. and close to 70 and Sunny every afternoon. Fortunate for this weather this week!
Monday, November 14, 2011
Today has been a long day of Traveling to San Jose, CA. I am here to attend the BG Fit Course at Specialized Bicycles. This has been one of the premier Bike Fit Training Course's in the world of cycling. Dr. Andy Pruitt is the creator of the program and I am thankful to be out here for many reason's. Most of all the experience of mixing some of my Athletic Training Knowledge in with bicycle fitting. It is funny how what you have done in your past can still help build on your future. Knowing how the body moves during athletic competition, injury prevention, and most of all my experiences with varies disciplines in this sport will all help in my understanding of how to FIT someone properly on a bike for whatever they desire to do on a bike. That in itself sounds pretty easy, but it actual can be more of a mix of science and art to get that proper fit. So, needless to say, I am more than excited about tomorrow and the rest of this week.
I shot a few photo's on the way out. One is from the back of the Hotel. When I got here, I need a workout after sitting on a plane for more than 4 hours and hanging out in airports. So, i laced up the shoes and did a nice run toward those hills. It was only a mile to them and I was on some pretty cool running trails. I was starting to get into it and then I decided I really did not know where I a was going and did not see anyone around, so made the wise choice of turning around and running back to the hotel. Jumped on the indoor bike for awhile and did my 30 minute strength workout. The "S" picture need's no explanation. The other picture was out of the Plane Window at about 30K Feet. I thought it looked pretty wild, almost as if that Mountain was an Island in the middle of Utah somewhere? Pretty Crazy how all of that area appears to be Salt Fields and then you have this mammoth mountain in the middle of all of it.
The Top Picture is of our ride that is scheduled for tomorrow. We get a lunch ride just about everyday we are here. It appears that we will be on road bikes everyday. We were able to pick bikes that we wanted to ride prior to coming out for the school. I of course choice the Tarmac SL4, The Venge, and the Roubaix. Not sure which I will get my hands on first, but it really doesn't matter! They are all incredible bikes! I am curious as to how the Venge Climbs? If you have followed me this year, you know that I have ridden my SL3 in New Mexico up a 10,000 Footer and all over the North Georgia Mountains. That is my only question about the Venge? It is a super fast bike! I road one during the Team Garmin ride and hit 38 mph with not much effort in a sprint. So, maybe I will get my chance? The ride tomorrow is the actual 2006 Tour of California Time Trial Route. That is pretty cool!
I hope you all had a great weekend and have been able to keep riding outside. It has been an incredible Fall for riding! It is suppose to be pretty awesome weather here all week. I see that the weather in KC this weekend is going to be warm again, which will call for some serious saddle time when I get home as well. I wanted to say thanks to Bikesource for sending me out here, it is going to be a spectacular week and most likely will be one of the top highlights of my Bike Life this year!
I will get some pics tomorrow and keep you posted!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
OK....It has been since September 30th! Yeah, that was my last Blog post! The last month was a Blur! It always is in October for us, my wife's birthday, my daughter's and the end of the SPIN! riding season. It is good, but always a bit of a let down for me. We have so much fun on our rides and after the rides at SPIN! that it is like coming home from an awesome Summer Camp. This is just how it feels, but when I finally look back on our year, I just start to smile, feel better and start planning for 2012. So, that is what I have been doing, a lot of planning, thinking, some riding, some running races, Mountain Bike race, and finally started doing some cross racing just for the intensity and because it is so much fun!
My Bike Life is really full! It always is, but it is morphing into my full time job, which is what I planned on it become at some point in my life. But, no better time than the present! My gig at Bikesource just keeps getting better as I will be spending this next week in San Jose, CA at Specialized Headquarters checking out and riding the latest 2012 bicycle line up. Yeah, that is not going to be too bad! The next step in the bike life is to keep my SPIN! riders pedaling together starting in December! That is right Campers, we are taking this thing inside for awhile! We will be posting an open house invitation, end of the outdoor season bash, stock up on winter indoor trainers, outdoor clothing, and just plain old get together at Bikesource in December. I will be posting this information to the masses once the final details are all lined up. But, it is sure to be a great time and more than anything fun to catch up with you all!
Endurofit is something I encourage you all to check out. This is the type of training plans, indoor training, and when it get's nice out again, outdoor training oportunities. Shores Sports has an agreement with Endurofit for 2012. We have started signing up individuals for coaching and 12 week training programs to start the off-season on the right pedal stroke. I believe you must have a plan to reach your potential, goals, and feel your best for your next challenge. Jeb Stewart has been coaching and working with athletes at all levels for the past 12 years. He has been my coach during my cycling endeavors and I look forward to working closely with Jeb to help cyclist, runners, and multisport athletes reach their potential. My Bio is now up on the Endurofit website. Please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any question or have interest in the off season programs. I will have a facility to work from, but that will be announced in the next week or so once we have the schedule set in place. I am pretty excited to work with the athletes who have expressed interest in the programs thus far and look forward to the response once we launch our indoor cycling season.
Cyclocross season is in full swing and I am definetly late to the party! I raced last Saturday, in between my long ride and let me tell you, I need our indoor training plan pretty bad at the moment! I spent most of October running and riding my Mountain bike long miles with low intensity. This was good for many reasons, but not so good for a 45 minute all out battle for cyclocross! So, I am adding some intervals and will see how this season goes? It is so not my focus, but it is too much fun to pass up. Plus, they add great interval and real racing to your program in the off-season, because I am definetly into my off season and have been taking it easy this month, in preparation for the Ironman Training that is about to hit me like a "Brick"!
So, the random photos are some from this last month, here is a brief order:
Berryman Epic!- (Painful day, 6 hr. on the bike, 3 flats and I was happy to finish the event this year. I will plan much better for it in 2012)
Cross Season - Me at my last race in 2010, it is so much fun!
Tour De BBQ - This was an incredible event and I was happy to share the day with several SPIN! Riders along the route and before we rolled out! Thanks to all who participated!
Chief's Game - Taking a Sunday away from the Bike life and trying to enjoy the Chief's Game, but it is hard when they get beat by the Dolphins! Boo!
GO! - This is a little hint for 2012, stay tuned!
KC Z00 - My kids love the Polar Bear and our Zoo is getting better, nice family time.
Des Moines Half - The Start was pretty cool with about 5000 people. I enjoyed the entire event, finished in 1:44, so my running is up and going for the Ironman.
Smikahl- My Best Friend Jeff Smikahl and his Brother in Laws at the Tour De BBQ!
Jaden - I ran a 5K with my daughters friend Jaden. I was honored he asked me to run with him, his dad is overseas for a year. He did great, we ran it in 55 minutes! Pretty good for a 5 year old.
Stan - Stan is the Man! A loyal SPIN! rider who had an awesome idea to raise money for the fight against Cancer. Ever name on his special designed jersey represents someone who he road in honor of at the Tour de bbq. You could donate a dollar to add a name to his jeresy. Not only is the jersey cool, but he raised a fair amount of money in his efforts! GO! STAN!
Doc Tom - One of the regular riders on our Lee Summit Ride. He has improved a lot over the last 2 years. I am glad that we are friends and enjoyed the entire ride with him at the TDBBQ!
Specialized Bikes - This is the 2012 Line up at Bikesource. I am digging the 29er for 2012. Looking forward to riding them this next week in Cali!
Berit- My daughter is 5! She is awesome and if I could really box her up and keep her at this age, I would try to do it. She is the a joy everyday.
Rod - Rod has been a HUGE help and supporter of mine for a few years now. He will be a big part of our Ride Guide Crew for 2012! Thanks Rod!
Gail and Richard Lozoff - This last photo is special, Gail and Richard are co-owners of SPIN! Pizza and without the support of SPIN!, we have no SPIN! rides and our cycling community would have a big void. I appreciate all they do for cycling and for supporting so many charities in our KC Metro area. Cannot think of a better couple to work with all year to put our ideas into motion. If you ever see them at SPIN! tell them thanks! They are special people.
So, hopefully moving forward I will not be too far behind again on this blog? Stay tuned for my Bike Life adventures in California this next week and the announcement for the indoor training programs before the end of this month!
Friday, September 30, 2011
The Picture above is of my Friend and long time SPIN! Rider Steve Hirschorn. He is one of many people whom we will be riding, cheering, volunteering, or we are riding in memory of tomorrow. The Tour De BBQ is about riding a bike and eating the best BBQ in the USA! But, more importantly we are uniting to beat the CRAP OUT OF CANCER!!!
So, yeah, pick a fight with 2000 plus strong cyclist and you will get what you deserve Cancer! We don't like you! We want you to get out of our lives, our friend's lives and our families! Steve is an example of someone fighting the good fight everyday. He is a SURVIVOR, so let's mount up tomorrow a.m. and Kick some Cancer ASS!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Unless you are Winning the World Championships like Cavandish just did this past Sundady, you should not take your hands off of the handlebars in a large group! I thought this pic was appropriate since he was on the fastest bike ever made to race, the Specialized Venge and the fact that we all are about to impart on a Journey this Saturday with more than 2000 riders. Yep, that is right, if you are riding the Tour de BBQ, it will be staged and staggered at the start! That is amazing! Three short years and this event is the talk of the town by cyclist and non-cyclist. Too much fun!
With many new riders and actually many non regular riders participating in the event, i felt that it was appropriate to find a solid article about riding in a Group. Do's and Don'ts! I found this helpful information on the on bamacyclist.com. I read through several other articles and was about to re-invent the wheel on my own, but found this well written piece of information. I hope it helps you this Saturady and moving forward with any of your future group rides!
Keep the Rubber side down! GO!
Although cycling has its benefits and is relaxing and fun, it’s always more pleasurable to ride with someone than to ride alone. However, riding with someone or riding in a group requires adherence to certain rules. It also requires skills that may take a little practice before mixing it up with the local club. No one likes a squirrel in the pack so I thought I’d outline several common sense "rules" of etiquette to follow when we are out there enjoying the scenery with a group of friends. These "rules" will increase your enjoyment and safety whether you are just putzing along or if you are hammering in a fast paced training ride. You surely don’t want to peel yourself off the pavement or cause someone else to be seriously injured by displaying poor riding habits. With this in mind, lets discuss some important issues!
Be Predictable—This may be the most important rule (even for solo riding) and it involves every aspect of riding from changing positions in the group to following the traffic rules. You might say that all the other rules support this one. Smooth predictable riding isn’t just a matter of style...here the word survival comes to mind! If unpredictability is the only predictable part of your riding style, you are a hazard to yourself and everyone else who has the misfortune to ride with you. Have you ever been on a ride where the group stops at an intersection and people scatter all over the lane? Some going through on the wrong side of the road and others turning left from the right side? Some running the stop sign and others doing it right? It’s confusing and irritating to drivers of vehicles as they approach a situation where cyclists are going in all different directions or just blowing through stops! Part of being predictable is riding within the rules of the road as a vehicle. Groups should maintain integrity when approaching intersections. That means staying in the correct lane, stopping together, and starting together as traffic allows. It goes without saying that if we demand the right to ride on the road, then we must be willing to ride responsibly...especially as a group.
Don’t Overlap Wheels—This habit will get you in real trouble. This is a good way to test your ability to do cartwheels if you don't adhere to this rule. Some people do it from lack of concentration, others may just not know any better, but sooner or later they'll crash. There is no recovery from a front wheel deflection. All it takes is for the person in front to move sideways a few inches...if someone is overlapping his wheel, that someone will go down along with practically everyone who is behind him. Many times the person in front can recover, but not the people behind.
Be Steady—This includes speed and line. If the person behind you fails to adhere to #2, you will contribute to a crash if you wallow around all over the road. When everyone is working for the group, maintain a steady speed as you go to the front. Ever notice how easy it is to ride behind some folks? If you take note of their riding style you’ll probably notice they don’t yo-yo around in the pack. They are rock steady. When they take the lead, they don't accelerate. If they are strong enough to accelerate the group, they do it after the previous pull has rejoined the rear of the group and then only gradually so as to not string out the pack. When they are leading, they ride a straight line and their speed will be constant with the conditions. What a joy to ride with someone like this. Sometimes steady doesn’t just mean speed. It means steady pressure on the pedals…uphill or downhill, headwind or tailwind. When you are following someone like this, life is good! When they are following, they don’t make sudden moves or they know how to control their spacing by using their body position instead of using the brakes. Sudden braking will set off general alarms from everyone in the rear and make you very unpopular. If you do use the brakes, feather the front brake only and keep pedaling against the resistance. This allows you to moderate your speed without disturbing trailing riders
Announce Hazards—When you are in the lead, you are responsible for the safety of everyone behind you. You will become very unpopular very quickly if people behind you keep bouncing off of potholes, running over rocks, or reacting to unsafe traffic situations that you fail to point out. You need to be very vocal when approaching intersections, slowing, stopping, or turning and all actions should be smooth and deliberate. Sudden, unannounced actions will throw terror into any peloton. Riders in the pack should relay these warnings to the rear. When you are following, announce oncoming traffic from the rear…in this case others should relay this info toward the front.
Signal—Signaling lets everyone (vehicles and riders) know your intentions…remember #1? This makes you predictable. Also, it’s a good idea to make eye contact with oncoming traffic at intersections. One note here, use your right arm straight out to signal a right turn. It’s uncool to stick out your left bent arm to signal a right turn; more importantly, it’s impracticable and ineffective. In a big group combine this with a loud vocal warning of your intentions.
Don’t Fixate—If you are staring at something (i.e., the wheel in front of you), eventually you’ll hit it! When you walk in a crowd, you don’t stare at the back of the person in front of you…so you shouldn’t ride like that either. Learn to be comfortable looking around or through the riders ahead of you. This will allow you to see things that are developing in front of the group. With a little practice you will be able to "sense" how far you are off the wheel in front of you.
Stay Off Aero Bars—This shouldn’t require much discussion. They are much too unstable to be used in a group ride. Plus, you don't need to be on aero bars if you are in a pack as you will receive more aerodynamic effect from the other riders anyway. Maybe...one exception…when you are at the front pulling you can get away with it, but never, never, never when you are within the group or following a wheel. I know there are some people, usually triathletes, who are more comfortable on the bars. But, sooner or later, steering with your elbows in a group will add new meaning to the term "lunch on the road." Plus, it really tics off those behind you when you go down in a pack! Use aero bars for what they are meant for...solo fast riding.
Don’t Leave Stragglers— If you get separated at intersections, as a matter of courtesy, the lead group should soft pedal until the rest have rejoined. Another note here is that if you are the one who will be caught by the light, don't run the red light to maintain contact. If they don't wait for you to catch up, you may not want to be riding with them anyway. Also as a courtesy to those who may not be able to stay with the group, the pack should wait at certain points along the route to regroup. Especially, at turn points and if the stragglers don’t know the route. Now obviously this is not applicable during a race but we're not talking about a race...No one should be left alone on a group ride. If you don't adhere to this rule, your "group" will get smaller each week until you're riding solo.
Know Your Limitations—If you’re not strong enough or too tired to take a turn at the front, stay near the back and let the stronger cyclists pull in front of you instead of making them go to the back of the line. Unless they are a complete...well you know...they will appreciate that more than having to get past you to get back to the front. Plus, it strokes the animal's ego as you admit that he/she is the stronger rider. Another point here, don’t pull at the front faster and longer than you have energy to get back in at the rear (Remember, your "pull" isn't over until you do). I've seen this scenario many times, it comes "biker wannabe's" time to take his/her pull and the pace is getting up there. The thoughts running through his/her mind is, "I need to show these guys that I can pull 2 mph faster than everyone else has been pulling." They go to the front and hammer. Legs begin to burn after a monumental pull...now it's time to pull over and let some "lesser" rider take a turn. Well, the "lesser" biker is all refreshed after tagging on a wheel and is ready to punch it up another notch. It's bye-bye to the first rider as he/she gets blown off the back...toast! Testosterone and ego is a volatile mix (even for you females) and it can get you dropped in a heartbeat.
Change Positions Correctly—A common beginner faux pas is to stop pedaling just before pulling off the front. This creates an accordion effect toward the rear. Keep a steady pressure on the pedals until you have cleared the front. After pulling off, soft pedal and let the group pull through. As the last couple riders are passing through, begin to apply more pressure to smoothly take your position at the rear. If you don’t time it correctly, you’ll create a gap and have to sprint to get back on. A technique used to reenter the line is to move your bike sideways first then your body. Try it. It will feel awkward at first, but it is the safest way to move within a group. It's just a small subtle move not an exaggerated one. If you lean your body first and misjudge the speed or the person in front of you slows down, you’ll touch wheels and be leaning the wrong way…bad situation! If you move the bike first, you will have a chance to pull it back.
Climbing—Ever been behind someone when they stood up going up hill and all of a sudden you were all over them? If you need to stand, shift up a gear to compensate for the slower cadence and stand up smoothly keeping a steady pressure on the pedals. This will keep you from moving backward relative to the rider behind you. Apply the opposite technique when changing to a sitting position. Downshift and keep a steady pressure on the pedals to avoid abrupt changes in speed. It takes a little practice, but your riding buddies will be glad you spent the time learning how to do it right.
Descending—The leader must overcome a much greater wind resistance as the speed increases. If you are leading, keep pedaling. If you don’t, everyone behind you will eat your lunch. Riders to the rear will accelerate faster downhill as drafting becomes more effective at the higher speeds. If you are following, back off a couple of bike lengths to compensate for the greater affects of drafting. If you are closing on the rider in front, sit up and let the wind slow you or use light braking to maintain spacing, but in both cases you should keep pedaling against the resistance. Keeping your legs moving not only makes it easier to keep the spacing, but also helps the legs get rid of the acid build up from the previous climb.
Relax—This one is really important. It will allow you to be smooth and responsive. You can bet that if you see someone who is riding a straight line and is very steady, he/she is relaxed on the bike. It not only saves energy, but it makes bike handling much more effective. Anytime you are riding in close proximity of other riders there's always the chance that you may come into contact. If you have tense arms and get bumped from the side, the shock will go directly to the front wheel and you will swerve, possibly lose control, and possibly cause a massive pile up. If you are relaxed, it's much easier to absorb the bump without losing control. A good exercise is to go to a grassy field (which is softer than pavement if you fall) with a friend and ride slowly side by side. Relax your arms and lightly bump each other using your relaxed elbows to absorb the (light) impact. You will become familiar with how to safely recover from that type of contact. It may save you some road rash someday.
Visit us tomorrow as we provide the final wrap up, tips, and pearls for your best Tour De BBQ!
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Day 3 of Helpful Tips! This is a great article written by co-owner of SPIN! Dr. Richard Lozoff! You can get these products at Bikesource, stock up before Saturday! Be Prepared! GO!
It’s hot and we’re sweating out there. Drinking plenty of fluids, mostly water is what we all do. And that’s so very important, because if you dehydrate, not only does performance suffer, but you can also get really sick as well. We need to drink as we ride, and not wait until we’re thirsty. However, consider this. You can drink too much water, and if you don’t replace your electrolytes and complex carbohydrates (whole grains, nuts, fruits veggies, seeds), bad things can happen.
As far as drinking water/fluids, you should be consuming about 24 oz. per hour while riding, which is about one large water bottle. But you should fortify your water bottle with an electrolyte powder to keep you balanced. If you only drink water and you’re sweating profusely, what happens is that you dilute your body, and can easily become hyponatremic (low sodium) which can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, light-headedness, and nausea and even coma. Additionally we’re losing potassium, and trace elements like manganese and tyrosine, while our bodies are burning up a lot of calcium and magnesium.
If you replace what you’re depleting with only water and simple sugars (anything with an –ose like glucose, sucrose, fructose) and not the rest of what necessary, it’s unhealthy. If you do an extended rides or workout, then protein replacement is also necessary.
The bottom line is that I recommend using an electrolyte powder in your water bottle, as well as taking an electrolyte caps when really sweating. For energy the supplements that you can carry in your pocket are great.
My personal favorite powder supplement is Ultima Replenisher. It has almost no sugar or calories, but lots of good electrolytes supplements. There is also a product called HEED, which you can get from www.hammernutrition.com and they also sell Endurolytes, which are electrolytes caps. My favorite gel is Accel Gel because it has a good amount of sodium/potassium, but also some protein in it. Cliff Shot Blocks are gummy cubes that are tasty, easy to carry and give you instant energy.
After your ride or workout, it’s important to consume protein and complex carbohydrates, which is why we eat at SPIN!
-Richard Lozoff, MD