Why you shouldn’t drink nutrients while cycling

Cyclist should not try to add supplement drinks to all of their cycling bottles.

When I was racing I thought it was top priority to consume calories, so I started added supplement mixes into my cycling bottles… I think I started with Cytomax, or Gatorade. As the miles became longer and intense, so did my research into different products that could keep any cramps at bay. I tried many different products, but little did I realize that while ingesting calories, I was negating my actual thirst for just water. In a way, I was actually getting more dehydrated because my stomach wasn’t telling my brain that it was thirsty.

Yes, you need nutrients and calories while you cycle, however, you do not want to mix the nutrients with your water. This leads to too many calories in the stomach which makes the stomach give off the signals that it is satisfied – yet there may over-ride the signal to the body is thirsty.

So, Drink your Water and Eat your Food!

Get better at Turning

Want to get better at turning? Many people lack confidence which is usually a lack of practice cornering.

Start out on a small 4 corner loop, and gradually build up your confidence of leaning the bike over through the turns. As always you will get better with practice.

-Always try to slow down before getting to the turn, then if possible do NOT brake while you are in the turn. Braking while in the turn maybe sometimes necessary, but should be avoided. If you must brake, try to only feather the rear brake.

-Something to remember is that I rarely ever pedal through a turn. I’ve had close calls, and hopped the rear wheel a time or two. I was lucky, and now, if I think it maybe close I just don’t pedal. Better safe than get run over.

Want MORE practice? Go to the Mountains and climb up a twisty road, then descend down the same road. Start off easy, brake before the turns. Try not to brake in a turn.

Something that helps me is once I brake early for a turn, I will occasionally turn slightly harder than I need to make it through the turn. By doing this, you know you are going to easily make the actual turn, but you get the feel of how tight you can make the turn. This will gradually boost your confidence.

As you keep doing this you will slowly build up more confidence in your bike handling skills.

Another tip is to watch track motorcyclists go through turns, focus on their steering.
Remember, make gradual adjustments and the improvements will come.

Mt Biking etiquette

This month I have come across some bad etiquette from other riders. Knowing some of these riders, I know that it probably wasn’t on purpose, and I bet they didn’t realize how this effects other people’s ride.

Broken carbon 2Niner frame

This past weekend for example, a group of my buddies were on a long Mt bike ride. There were about 70 people at the start of this ride. The course was over varying terrain – single-track, fire road, steep uphills, steep downhills and nearly everything else in between. One of our buddies is stronger in leg strength, but is still developing in off-road technical bike handling. So, we would ride awhile, then 1 of us would pause and wait on the other 3 to catch up and re-group.

This helps to make sure that if there is a problem someone is there to help you out. We wanted to make sure no one got a flat, everyone is following the same route and that no one crashed and needs assistance or actual medical help. But, it is also a chance to catch our breathe, talk about Fun sections, any crashes and/or near misses that just happened.

BERMS!

The problem was once we got onto the last 5 miles and less technical section of this course, our buddy proceeded to drop the riders that had just waited on him for the previous 25 miles. Although nothing was said, it was bad etiquette to not wait on us, when we had waited on him and stayed together as a group.

Another time I was riding with a friend on a trail that I had never ridden before. After a few miles, I realized that my front rotor was rubbing – I said ‘hold up for a sec’. I stopped for a second to readjust the front wheel and proceeded, I guess she didn’t hear me, but I figured I would catch up. I went a short distance and came to an intersection. I had no idea which way my friend had gone – so I just stayed there. A couple minutes later my friend showed back up.

Friendly bike rack

When Mt biking, here are some tips to keep everyone together and safe.

1) Always stop at intersections or at least make sure at each intersection that everyone makes the correct turn.

2) If you come to an intersection and don’t know which way to go – just stay there, that is better than getting lost, and people having to search for you.

3) On long uphills and or downhills, occasionally check that the person behind you is ok. Sometimes I just look over my shoulder, sometimes I will stop and regroup to ensure everyone is good.

4) If you encounter other riders stopped on the trail, check to ensure that they don’t need assistance because at some point it will be you that would like someone to check on you.

5) When passing riders going in the opposite direction, it is courteous and safer to mention how many other people are in your group, that way they will know there are more riders up ahead, thus potentially avoiding a head-on collision.

6) I have a bike Bell. Several reasons – it warns bears and horses that a human is near, alert other Mt bikers while going around blind turns, alert other mt bikers that I want to pass, and let other riders know that I’m Freaking Enjoying the Ride!

Little Moments

I was hanging out with a friend a few weeks ago. He works at a school, and he was talking about something that they were working on teaching the kids about when writing.
You see kids tend to tell sporadic parts of a story, and maybe focus just a little. So, they have been teaching these kids to focus on one single part of a story and describe that part in detail.

I though this was a cool concept. The part that tripped me out though was that my friend had just now started applying that to his own life – but instead of describing things in details, it was more that he was taking the time to notice “the little Moments” that make life so great.

I was floored. You mean you haven’t been doing that already?

For me some of my favorite things were those ‘little moments’ that you couldn’t describe, nor photograph (another of my hobbies). It is the little moments that if you try to explain it to someone, you end up telling them, “I guess you just had to be there”.

Some of my favorite and most memorable are:

Climbing up the 18% grade of Winding Stair in Winter. During Winter, all the leaves are down, so you can see through the trees at the Mountains that you usually can’t see during the summer – it is like a totally different view. A cool aspect of it too me was that a picture will not come out very well b/c you have to look through the trees to actually see the view. You have to be there to appreciate it!

While out on a Winter Bike League ride, it was about 45 degrees out. We stopped at a ‘mid-ride’ store-stop. It started to rain. A guy walks up to the ride leader (we call him Pops and asks “What is the quickest way back to Athens?” Without missing a beat, Pops says “With Us”. You see we were all in it together. There was no rain-check. Pedaled out & you gotta pedal home.

Find those little moments of Life, recognize them when they happen & appreciate them!
Did you make a random stranger smile?
Did you do something just to surprise someone when they didn’t expect it?
Did you make a friends day?

Did you make a quick connection with a random stranger?

I remember once I was driving home along a 4 lane highway. I looked over and saw a little old lady sitting in the back seat looking very melancholy, so I smiled and waved at her. She sat up in her seat and gave me a Big smile as she waved back. It was just a little moment, but I’m not sure who it had a bigger impact on.

Go out and make some memorable “little” moments, you may just find out that they have Great impact on you and even Greater impact on others!

cycling essentials

I’m sure there has there been a list made of cycling essentials, but I figured I would go over some of the things that I have recently been putting together due to some of my recent 6-7 mt bike, hiking, exploring adventures.

This is a list that I think is more first-aid, emergency oriented rather than the usual ‘how to make a repair and get home’ list of repair items.

Some of these things I wouldn’t necessarily carry for a quick trip around the local trails where you may see 5-10 other riders. This is more of what I pack when I go on adventures looking for trails that most other cyclists do not know about.

On some of my rides I only see military Rangers in training. Most of the time I see no one else except for maybe a couple people near where I park. Usually I see more wild-life than anything else.

1. Water tablets/water filter – Hydration is 1 of the most important things.

currently water filters are about $70+ and weigh almost a pound. So, I am carrying some tablets instead. I have had to use them before.

2. Benedryl – For the 3rd time just this weekend I had to pull out some benedryl for someone who just got stung by a bee, on the lip. A sting from the neck up can be a serious problem for someone that has an allergic reaction. Being able to quickly take a benedryl can minimize the risk. Usually the second thing to happen is a restricted air passage. I would rather someone take 1 of my benedryl, then have something serious happen.

3. compression bandage – this is the stuff for a serious cut/gash. Many of us get scrapes and bruises, but this stuff is for a more serious cut that could occur after a fall. These are pretty easy to find at a pharmacy.

4. para-cord or similar string – I know that many people are wearing the para-chord bracelets, but if you are really in the outback wilderness, there can be many uses for such an item. Tying a splint to hold a broken bone in place or a twisted ankle, tie a sling in case someone breaks a collarbone, tie down broken shoe straps, tie down things onto your pack.

Originally designed for paratroopers, paracord is a kernmantle rope: a braided sheath over a bundle of seven inner cords. This mantle makes paracord very resistant to abrasion. 550 paracord is rated for 550 pounds: 300 pounds for the sheath and 35 pounds for each strand. The cords can be removed from the sheath and divided into two strands if finer string is needed.

Read more: Uses for 550 Paracord | eHow.com

5. chem-light – this is something I watched the rangers use. They store for a long period, but you just pop the middle and they light up. This is a great tool if you get lost and people are attempting to find you. I wouldn’t say that it doubles as a flashlight by any means, although if tied to a walking stick (as I’ve seen the Rangers do) it may aid you if you are walking.

6. multi-tool – I know most Mt bikers carry a cyclist specific multi, but I also carry a regular leather-man multi-tool. They have pliers, knife, screw drivers, file, etc.

7. compass or compass app. Although I have a good sense of direction and figuring out which way I need to be going – I usually do so based on the sun positioning. I have a back-up plan though – a Free compass App on my phone.

8. Another ‘smart’ phone app is MyTracks When exploring I currently use MyTracks – and I try to remember to keep my phone is ‘airport’ mode to save battery.

Cycling Church vs. Religion

I see that some people post comments about attending cycling “church”.

It got me thinking about different rides that I have ridden before – but I like the use of the church vs. religion to convey that meaning I felt.

I used to Mt bike the local Atlanta trails quite often, with the occasional trip to the Mountains to ride the trails there. Doing the 90 minute drive to the Mountains for the day or for the weekend was tough to do.

THEN, I was able to move closer to the Mountains. I started to discover a big difference between Mt biking some local trails and heading up over a mountain with plans to explore trails that only a handful of people may know about.

I found that I could text only 2 or 3 of my friends about where I was starting, and where I expected to come out at. Many others would have no idea where either of these two points were.

My pack changed from tubes & water – to ‘12 long haul essentials‘.

It was after doing this for a summer, and seeing a few friends posts that I started to realize that there was a big difference in the sensations of going for a ride at the local trails (which are Great!) and going for that long haul in the mountains.

I started to figure that for me, going to the local trails and pounding out some miles was the going to ‘church’.

But going to the mountains and exploring, getting lost, finding new trails, landmarks, waterfalls, and barely making it back to the car before sundown – that my friends is my religion.

Is taking drugs a safer way to do a 3 week bike race?

Think about it. It is a possibility.
These guys are gladiators on the road, cycling up mountain passes. Racing along at faster and faster speeds.

Think about how wasted you would be after doing a century! Now consider doing that for a week, one day off then doing a century through the mountains. A couple flat stages, then a couple more centuries in the mountains, then one day off then a couple more centuries.

If this is what the spectators expect is that what they should be given?

How much abuse can the human body take? How many miles can the human body pedal all out and get up the next day prepared to do it again, but even harder this time.

They say that the big difference between the Giro & the Tour is that the Giro is relaxed until you get to the Mountains. The Tour is a Race, to get to the Mountains, and then a race up the Mountain!

The main reason that cyclists take steroids is not for building muscle!! It is for recovery!! Is that what is necessary of these gladiators to keep us entertained?!

Do we constantly desire more mountains & more excitement each year?

How can the promoters keep doing this while keeping the fans and more importantly the sponsors happy?

Is it all at the expense of the riders themselves?

Once a cyclists is found to be doping should be shame the rider or shame the race?

Out of Cycle

I have had lots of things going on lately….. although some good, some not ideal.
One thing has been that I have had to close down my personal training studio in Atlanta.

The commute and food on my plate was eating up the revenues that it was generating…. I miss my clients, but getting up before daylight, racing traffic, working several hours in the AM hanging out mid-day and working several hours in the evening had taken it’s toll.

I was done with Atlanta area. Traffic is one of the worst in the SouthEast, and if you live more than about 10 miles from where you work it isn’t hard to spend 30-90 minutes in your vehicle to get back and forth.

And cycling in rush hour traffic was like playing frogger. It seemed only a matter of time, especially after some close-calls – or looking down at as a car is passing only to see a cell phone on the steering wheel because someone is texting.

Now, I’m relocated in a rural area, but basically pretty flat. Only some rollers. Even though that shouldn’t deter me, I do live close to the S.C. state TT age group champion… But I miss exploring the Mountains, thus, as Winter had set-in, I found that I was spending less time on the bike. I’ve been out of Cycle.

This came up on a recent weekend camping trip with friends. We stopped to regroup and a friend asked how long I have been off the bike – I really had to stop and think…
This is the first time that I haven’t shaved my legs in about 15 years.
This is the most I have been of the bike since 1998 when I had started cycling year-around.

Am I done…. for good? NO! I already have future camping/mt biking trip planned for Spring! And I’m hopeful that maybe I will finally be able to make a 2nd trip out West to Colorado.

I think I’m just out of cycle. Taking a longer break than normal. Waiting for old man winter to pass, waiting for the days that you don’t have to spend 20 minutes getting dressed before clipping in.

It was funny to suddenly hop back on the bike with some friends. I miss cycling, but I miss cycling with my friends the most! Cycling is so single oriented – we each pedal our own bicycle, yet when we do it together, there seems to be more enjoyment.

So, get out there with some friends!! Enjoy the Ride – Happy Trails!!

Racing too seriously

Today I was thinking back over my several years of racing and I was thinking about one of the years I raced the US100K just outside Atlanta, GA.

Here we were rolling along on a fairly hilly course, most of us running a 54 up front ‘Just in case’ we got near the frantic downhill sprint – all the while because the real Pro’s were in town we were going around this course that we didn’t need the 39 up front. Rollin’ it!

I was thinking back to a year that the whole Saturn team was there, they were laughing it up. Talking to each other across the whole pack, even though they were fairly spread out in the group.

I remember one year when I was laughing it up with a buddy of mine. Asking him “does this group do this ride very often?”, “want some of my banana?”. I mean here we were, tucked into the draft doing about 30, and I’m making jokes.

I got thinking about how years before then, how focused I would be on rides. I wouldn’t even talk to anyone because “I was training”. I wasn’t worried about getting dropped, I was worried about who was ‘up the road’, I was worried about where I should attack!

Yet, years later, I guess I started to realize that even if I got dropped, or even if I didn’t ‘make that break’, it wasn’t the end of my cycling. Maybe I even started to realize that I was near the top of my fitness level – unless someone was going to suddenly start paying me or I started to dope – neither of which was going to happen!

One of the things that always stuck out in my mind was how you could do 1 group ride a week, and chat with one person each time – and pick up the conversation, right where you left off last time. Bumping into friends (literally) from out of state that you haven’t seen all Winter.

I guess that realization started to lower the stress and the pressure that I had been putting on myself. I started to enjoy my fitness level, and enjoying my friends in the field. Those were some of the best years of racing that I had. It wasn’t the races, it wasn’t the miles and miles of training, it was the people that were around you while you are doing those things that in the end impact your memories the most.

A win is great, but mutual cycling friends is greater.

Winter weather forecast for 2012_2013

Once again the Farmer’s Almanac has come out with the 2013 Winter forecast for the U.S. (and Canada).
Here in the SouthEast it looks like it will be usual Cold and Wet. This seems like back to usual after a accurate forecast of a mild Winter last year.

NorthWest: Drier than normal.
Mid-West: Mild Winter with Average percipitation
SouthEast: Wet and Chilly? (What do they mean by Chilly?) I think they mean Chili.
NorthEast: The Norm – Cold & Snow.

Looks like Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania will have the harshest Winter, with sleet and ice storms.