Friday, September 30, 2011

One Last word..............

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

Be Nice, Be Safe, and know some rules for riding in a Group! GO!

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 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 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. 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 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

See The LYTES and Hydrate...GO Tour De BBQ!

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 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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Century, Metric or Otherwise, Are you Ready?

The Picture of the photo of myself and Ashley is one of my Favorite photo's Taken by our friend and professional photographer, Alex Mcknight. The bridge my lovely wife and I are standing on is called the Gandy Bridge in Tampa, FL. It was the old connector bridge from Tampa to St. Petersburg, FL. It is approxiametly 3.5 miles long. We would run, skate, and ride over this bridge A LOT when we lived in beautiful Tampa, FL. Now, they do not allow anyone on it! So, this is not only a piece of history, but also a big part of our training back in our Florida days. We actually use to do hill intervals on that little rise you see in the background, you know the rise on bridges so small vessels can get under the bridge? Yep, that was our one hill near our house! How times have changed? Even living in Kansas, I can easily get in 1500-2000 feet of climbing in a 30 mile ride, if it is planned out correctly. The other picture was taken back in May at the top of Brasstown Bald Climb, near Helen, GA. It is significant to understand what my friend went through this past weekend.

The guy behind the len's of the photo of Ashley and I just completed the Six Gap Century in Georgia. The 6 Gap is a huge task! 100 plus miles over 6 Mountain Gaps in Georgia. The highest Peak is over 4 thousand feet. I was at a training camp in May riding all of those Gaps on a daily basis. They are inspiring and humbling all at the same time. Add in 100 plus miles and you could be on the bike for over 7 hours! It takes a lot of preparation to tackle this event. I completed in 2007, but have ridden my bike over those Gaps a lot back in the Tour De Georgia days. I highly recommend a trip to this area! It is family friendly and just spectacular.

I am happy to report that Alex finished in fine fashion and is recovery from the achievement. But, not without some doubts along his journey. You could tell as he sent messages, he was up and down. Just like any other distance event you may enter, you will have some really high moments and some really low ones. It is how you handle or have prepared for the event that will carry toward the finish line. Sounds a lot like life dosen't it?

So, let's get to the real point of this blog post! I have a very good friend who has been my coach in the past and will have some future implications on a lot of great things moving forward in 2012. I thought I would add a well written article that Jeb Stewart of Endurofit Coaching published in the September Issue of Florida Cycling. The article discuss's training for a Century event. Since we have been putting in the work for this Saturday's Tour De BBQ, I felt like this would be a great read to make sure you are prepared in all aspects before the ride? So, enjoy the information and you can always email me your questions concerning training, preparation for events, and equipment needs to

Here is the link to the article: Training for a Successful Century


Monday, September 26, 2011

Tour De BBQ Week! Nutrition! GO!

Ok, this is the week! The Tour De BBQ! WE ROLL on Saturday a.m. Oct. 1st, to join in the fun and Fight against Cancer! Many of you have been training with us all year at the SPIN! Rides, some of you have even rode enough with us that you are part of the SPIN! Team for the Tour De BBQ! That in itself is a huge accomplishment, it takes many rides and atleast 120 miles of riding to get on that team. Yeah, I bet you never thought of it in those terms did you? If you were a consistant rider doing 3 SPIN! rides a week you were averaging 40 miles a week on the low end and close to 65 miles if you were doing our longer routes. Either way, you were pedaling with us toward a goal and we thank all of you for your efforts. What a fun season!

In order to further prepare you for this Saturday, I am featuring a series of articles and tips to help you improve your performance for your best Tour De BBQ ever! Today we are featuring Former Ride Guide and 24 hr Mountain Bike National Champion, Cameron Chambers. He has extensive training with Carmicheal Training Systems and personally with the food at SPIN! So, take a moment to read some words of wisdom on how to be reading for your best ride this Saturday! GO!

Cycling and food have a beautiful relationship. If you ride your bike more, something we are always shooting for, you are going to have to eat more, something most of us are more than happy to indulge. The two always have to find an equilibruim. We all understand the effects of to much food with to little calorie expenditure. Our bodies store the excess calories as fat cells at choice places on our frame, not our bike frame unfortunatley. Instead hips, butts, and stomachs lay claim to the unused calories. On top of a host of medical problems this can lead to it also has the added misfortune of acting like an achor for our forward progrees on a bike ride, especially noteble when the road turns up. What is less understood is the flip side of the coin, when we ride and burn more calories than we take in. This can be just as detrimental to our riding as carrying extra weight up hill. It is important to develop a sound nutritional strategy that does not have you eating to much food but is delivering fuel to the engine to keep you motoring down the road.
First of all it is crucial to understand what we are using for fuel to understand what our aim is in keeping us running. Riding a bike is by and large an aerobic activity. As opposed to our glycolitic or creatine phosphate energy systems, our aerobic energy system uses fat as its primary fuel source. Great news for us as cyclists, as even the leanest riders have ample stores of energy in the form of fat cells to drive near endless miles of riding. But the story does not end there. At all levels of activity, even sleeping, we are also burning some glycogen. Glycogen is the carbohydrate form of fuel stored in working muscles. As excercise intensity increases, the overall number of calories we are buirning increases and the percentage of those calories which come from glycogen increases. We have a finite supply of glycogen stored in our muscles at any time. Even a well trained well fueled cyclist has only minutes of time where they could ride at an extremely high intensity, burning maximum amount of glycogen. As glycogen begins to run low our bodies smartly begin to rely more on glucose, delivered from our liver straight into our blood stream and immeadiatley available to working muscles. As both of these sources run low, which very generaly speaking happens in a time frame around about 90 minutes of excercise, we "hit the wall" or "bonk" or whatever other name you may call it. The phenomena is the same and you probably all have experienced it. No amount of will power or desire could possible drive your body on faster and further. It is simply over.
Luckily it is relatively easy to combat this. By providing our working bodies with nutrition as we are excercising we can continue to supplement the glucose in our blood which in turn allows us to continue to burn fat effeciently to fuel our continued effort. So then we now have to look at what is the most effecient way to go about this supplementation. When we put anything into our stomach it has to go through the digestion process before it can make its way into the blood stream. Our goal here is to eat something that requires the least amount of work to get to where it is needed. We want to minimize the water and blood and overall energy required for our digestion. If we are under three hours of duration in excercise then I reccomend keeping these calories to a liquid form for two main reasons. With liquid calories you are also combating the additional dehydration situation that we have taking place (another topic for another article) and you are providing a slow drip of nutrition to your gut. You want to avoid overwhelming your digestive system with a 100+ calorie dumping at one time. If you rode for 2 hours and you drank two water bottles and half way through chow down a full energy bar, in the end you did not accomplish anything different as if you had two water botttles mixed with sports drink that you sipped, but you did create a greater stress on your system forcing your body to work at something besides driving the pedals. Drinking the calories in sips provided you with 15-25 calories per gulp and gave yourself a steady stream of glucose and kept your body happy by allowing it to process your nutritional requests in smaller increments, therefore requiring less energy at any one given point and not having spikes and valleys in your energy levels. Think of it like an IV dripping into your blood stream. Another consideration here is your core temperature. Especially in hot conditions we need to be mindfull of our own effects on our teperature. The thermic effect of food can drastically descrease our ability to perform if what we are taking in causes an overal spike in core body temperature. We are talking a small spike but nonethless the overall consequences can be significant.
Just as we train ourselves to ride longer and stronger we must train ourselves to be able to take in and process the calories we give it. The goal is not to match our calorie burn rate one for one, but by providing somewhere in the window of 300-500 calories an hour in the form of maltodextrin and in smaller amounts fructose we can continue to maintain the fat burning environment within our aerobic energy system. Start with two bottles on your bike and having each mixed with roughly 150 calories for a 24 ounce bottle. Start sipping on it early into the ride as a preimptive strike against depleted glycogen and glucose. If you have trouble getting yourself in the habit then set a watch to beep at you in reminder to take another drink. In longer rides, ie 2.5 hours +, begin to experiment to see if you can handle a little higher calorie load. Must of us, after finding a product that works well and training with it for a few months, can comfortably ride with around 400-500 calories an hour.
The SPIN! crowd is not one that I have to remind of the importance of a good post ride meal. I am preaching the the choir here. But it is still worth mentioning that it is equally important to re-fuel after a ride to be able to recopver and come back sooner for another ride and workout. Even if you are a rider looking to cut back on calories in order to lose weight, during riding and post riding is not the time to create the calorie defecit. Our muscles are the most receptive to taking in fresh stores of glycogen during the first 30 minutes after excercise. A balanced meal provides us with all we need in terms of recovery and rebuilding. Obviously it should be somewhat higher in carbohydrate calories but we certainly also need protien and fats as well. Just as in all other times of your life, you certainly should not eat until you are stuffed full, but taking in a good meal is essential for setting you on the fast track to coming back stronger for your next ride.
Continue your steady riding throughout the year and put in place these simple nutritional principals and you are well on your way to being able to tackle any cycling challenge that you decide to lower your sights on.
Bon a pettite!

Tune in Tomorrow as we feature SPIN! Co-owner Richard Lozoff and his re-post of an article from 2010 concerning Electrolyte replenishments!

See you on the Road!