How to wash the helmet pads

When I first started riding, I was like any other newbie. I just rode my bike. As I rode and trained with Hans & Todd Kaib, one day after a ride it came up that something smelled foul. I think Hans got an Oscar for his round-a-bout performance of finding the culprit, Yes, my helmet.

“Don’t you wash that?” Here I had ridden across America the previous summer and never washed my helmet. “No, how do you do that?”
They really didn’t have a good answer for that one – spray it with cleaner?

But I can’t leave you hanging here. This is one area where it is not good to HTFU. The reason: When you sweat in your helmet soon enough it is going to get nasty in there. The bigger issue is that each time you sweat, it drips down your head. The danger is if that sweat happens to get into your eyes and even worse, if your eye(s) gets infected.

My father had eye-sight problems to the point he could no longer drive – although this was un-related to cycling Doctors had narrowed it down to something in his environment that had gotten the virus into his eye either while tending to chicken houses or scuba diving. Although in some ways it effected me for the better – I was hands-on while he talked me through projects around the house, I learned how to drive early, and later I had more acceptance for others that have various disabilities. I also tend to be more cautious than most people about my eye-sight. Rarely will you ever see me cycling without sunglasses. Friends pick on me about having enough sunglasses in my car for 4 passengers.

What I ended up doing is at the beginning or end of each month, I would carry my helmet with me into the shower, then throughly wash the helmet with Anti-baterial liquid soap. I think this is a great time for anti-baterial soap. You want to kill those germs! Then rinse it until all the soap has been washed away.

Washing your pads are a great way to prevent your sweat from getting too nasty – however, while cycling some things that I do or have seen used are:
1) wearing a headband
2) placing a pad inside the helmet – the answer to that question is ‘yes’. Chris swore by this method.
3) take a typical chapstick and draw an upside down ‘V’ that follows just above your eyebrows – the wax will push most of the sweat along the top of it, away from your eyes.

So, you should wash monthly and change your pads yearly – safety first!

are you too complacent

In some aspect of everyone’s life I think people become complacent. Complacency: It is said that on a scale of 1-10 people usually have to be below 4 to actually make the change needed to gain different results. To do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result is the definition of Insanity!

This should not be the case if your plans include racing better this upcoming season! For stronger cycling, you must push those numbers, strive for more – NOT strive for just what you did last time. That is similar to doing an interval at the same levels week after week – year after year – and then expect to become a Stronger Cyclist.

I know people that their only instinct is to survive the group ride each time they go out. Although that maybe an accomplishment, your goals must change and be more clearly identified than that. After all, how would you ever get ride at the front of a group if your goal is just to ride with the group.

Some folks will do the same intervals by reaching to the same wattage numbers each time – even though their heart rates (HR) will drop for the same effort. They have become complacent in their training! For some reason they are not striving to attain larger goals than what they know they can do. While there maybe comfort in that scenario and to reach a little more will be uncomfortable, their focus is too short sighted on getting through today. The focus needs to be doing as much work as possible throughout the whole interval. “Throughout the whole interval” is the key.

On hard days, put out as much effort into the workout as possible.
On easy days, ride so easy that you feel like you have put out No effort at all.
When racing: save the hardest effort for the keys areas of the race, whether that is getting into the correct break, or the sprint.
Remain focused on your goals for your training – remember you have a big race coming up!

“Suffer in training so you can succeed at racing”

Crampy Pants

Cramping SUCKS! But with a little foresight, you can help prevent this awful, muscle ripping event from happening. How to prevent cramps can be as much of a race strategy as winning & often can be the difference between winning and not even finishing.

I was out doing a pre-ride of an upcoming race with some friends. This time trial oriented Mt. bike race is called the Snake Creek gap in Dalton, GA. and it happens in the 3 coldest months of the year. This is a unique event in that the bike and rider are shuttled to the start of the race. You are allowed to start whenever you want & your start time & finish time are recorded.

They were doing a hilly 34 mile route and I was doing the second half, so the rocky, nasty 17 mile route. When we met up things were good as they re-fueled for the 2nd half of the course. As we went along 1 of them starting cramping.

He was on a single speed and he was either over-geared or under nourished today. As cramps often do, they started off with the twinges & the normal signs of muscles that are about to cramp. He took some more endurolytes, but usually once you are feeling the signs of cramping you are already behind in nutrition to prevent immediate further cramping.

I went out for a ride with some friends last weekend and we did nearly 3 hours before we got back to the car. Some folks had to head home, but a few friends were going back out for loop. Feeling as tired as I did, the idea of stopping and relaxing was appealing – but friends were here & we were at a Fun trail, I downed some more HammerGel, refilled the flask, and drank as much Nuun as I dared at the moment, and we headed back out for another hour. While out riding, the legs were twinge like they wanted to cramp, so I backed off the power and spun as best I could & kept trying to get fluids and nutrition.

Once back at the car & changed we were hanging out when suddenly my toes starting curling and I had to forcefully use my hands to straighten them back out – they were cramping. By far, not the worst I have cramped, but enough that I didn’t want it to get worse. Luckily we were back at the cars.

Once you are cramping all you can try to do is Stretch the muscle that is cramping. I have personally had some relief from pouring water on the muscle also – cooling effect.
Then start to ingest a lot of nutrients & the more readily digestible the better. I like HammerGels & Nuun tablets. Other people prefer a more traditional method of pickle juice and mustard.
Still another friend of mine likes antacid tablets and V-8 juice.

Which ever method you like or have available and that works, is the best option. I won’t get into what and what doesn’t work because most studies are so complicated and some not done properly that all the information can be confusing/mis-leading. “Buyer beware!”

A good rule of thumb is to Prepare as best you can! Two days in advance is when the nutrition will start to matter most. Day of an event is most critical. The more good stuff you can consume the better. And I have to almost remind or force myself to start drinking and eating much sooner than I feel like I need to – I have never been disappointed with this method.

After cramping and getting Hydration and nutritionally recovered I will do Myofascial Release with a foam roller and/or stretching!

Any other methods or tips I may have missed? Post them below Thanks!

Cycling Strength

The main purpose of Cycling strength is the ability to recruit more muscle fibers when necessary.
But normal cycling does not cause this to happen. 1) The body subconsciously attempts to do everything as easily as possible, to conserve energy. 2) Cycling in nature is an endurance sport. 3) to race well, you must A) conserve energy sometimes and at others either maintain or expend tremendous amounts of energy.

The body has an inherent desire to do something as easily as possible, in essence you body naturally wants to cheat. Something to do with caveman instincts. Gotta do something? Your body tries to use as little muscle as possible to do it, thus saving muscle strength for later. The problem for cyclists is that at some points, you will want as much muscle fiber recruitment as possible – whether that is for the decisive attack to be in the break, the final sprint of a race, or just the sprint to avoid stopping before a light turns red. Each of these actions will be better performed if your body is able to recruit more muscle fibers to do the work.

Cycling strength is created in 2 main ways: 1) Gym workouts 2) Training in the Mountains or Hill Repeats.
To do this you must overload the muscle fibers that your body is currently recruiting. 1 of the simplest ways to do this is a basic ‘Wall Sit’.

To do a Wall Sit, put your back up against a wall and slide down into a sitting position (thighs parallel with the ground). Your Knees and Hips should each be at a 90 degree angle. Your hips, knees, and ankles should all be the same width apart.

Use your heels to press your hips, shoulders and head into the wall. Within about 30 seconds you should feel areas of your quads start to quiver as they tire out, keep holding because this is what will cause other muscles to be engaged to do the necessary work. This is the start of greater muscle recruitment.
At first 30 seconds of this exercise may seem like an hour, but as you progress with this exercise you should get up to doing a minute each set.

As my clients have been progressing, then we will do the wall-sit and do a weighted goblet squat almost immediately after.
This is a way of tiring out the legs, then challenging them to push even harder in a functional way to stimulate muscle strength. It sucks, but it makes Pistons out of your legs!

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