How to get odor out of cycling clothes

This has been quite a mystery for me for several years, and I have tried multiple products along the way, but still once I’m sweating then my cycling clothes stink.

Some of the things that I was trying (scented detergent, oxy-clean, fabric softeners, drier sheets) always seemed to be only temporary masks and the ammonium odor used to come back. Usually what I notice the most is my gloves when I wiped sweat from my brow.

Cause: Ammonium odor usually means that you are burning muscle, which is caused by a lack of glycogen (sugar) to use as fuel. This often happens when you are riding at intense heart rate for extended period of time – like a fast group.

What we have found is that if you wash your cycling gear with hot water – Double Rinse them and do NOT use any fragrant products & NO clothes softeners. They are merely a temporary mask & as soon as you start sweating again, the softeners attract the scent molecules and attach to them. This causes the odor to stick around longer.

Any other helpful tips, just throw in a comment below, Thanks!!

Dumbing down trails

There has been an ongoing trend of dumbing down Mountain bike trails.
Some sections of trails need to be maintained in order to keep the water run-off going properly. Side-Note: I understand that this is the USFS main concern for National Forestry property.

Some trail systems seem to be going in the direction of a smooth roller-coaster ride. Yes, they do great and Fun re-working of trails, but they make most trail systems (that I have ridden around Atlanta) so basic that anyone on most any bike shop bike could ride all of it.

Where is the challenge in that? Where is are the latest trails to challenge your skills? Don’t tell, because seemingly they are coming for those trails also – and they are bringing a big Zamboni to plow through any technical sections that maybe left.

Recently on trails that have been previously re-worked I have noticed that work-groups have gone so far as take out parts of a trail that have been a small obstacle for years. This is what we call ‘dumbing down’ trails so that anyone can ride everything. This happens when people take out parts of a trail because it is too challenging. Never-mind that there is no real danger in these obstacles – or that you could make an ‘easy path’ around an obstacle – they just take it out. Flatten and smooth out the trail so that a good Mountain biker could easily tow a child in a trailer through.

At what point are Mountain bikers going to notice how far they have gotten away from their roots.

Is it a goal to stop Bicycling magazine’s articles about how to bunny-hop, do a wheelie & how to do a track stand – due to the fact that no Mountain biker on an SORBA trail will ever need to know this information?

I have found myself going far away from some of these trails, in fact I would often literally pass 1 trail system to go ride trails that haven’t been bulldozed.

While on a camping trip over the 4th of July, I was shocked to hear that a trail system we were riding has had a sectioned that had been re-worked with a motorized shovel.
It suddenly hit me that the places that we are driving hours to get too are slowly being over-taken by the giant well oiled machinery of SORBA.

Most of the trail work they do is Great! But it seems that they are like a dictator who is getting drunk with power, and now wants to take on other countries – snapping roots, popping rocks, and leaving a dirt mound strategically placed in it’s wake.

I’m hoping that in the near future IMBA/SORBA will realize that in order to grow the likes of Pro Mountain Bikers, they will have to leave some technical sections on the trail.

Please focus more efforts on keeping trails open, and maybe opening more trails. But for the sake of the true Mountain bike passion, stop the insane pursuit of “sterilizing all trail systems”.

bicycle maintenance

Here is an important tip:
1 of the least expensive things on your bicycle can be replaced often and save you a bunch of money in the long ride. Why this concept hasn’t taken off more by now I do not know! What that concept is that if something were to wear out first – would you rather it be something very expensive or rather 1 of the most affordable components on your bike?

This is such a Great concept! It is your chain!
Yet most people do not realize this.

If you would Replace your chain annually, the gears that it runs on would last MUCH longer!!

Oddly, your chain is one of the least expensive parts of the drive train, and if you replace it often it can save you money because you will not have to replace your chain-rings and cassette as often! You see it is actually your chain that wears out first – due to all the links/joints in the chain. Then once the chain is worn out it wears out the cassette and chain-rings due to the stretched links in the chain.

A great and super easy way to measure your chain is to put your chain onto the big chainring and use a standard measuring tape to measure out the links. The pins in the links should measure up at the 0″ mark and the 12″ mark. Anything exceeding 1/4 (one quarter) of an inch is excessive chain wear, and should have already been replaced.

If you have excessive chain wear and replace your chain there is a good chance that you will have to replace other parts in the drive-train. What can happen is that the worn out parts may allow slipping when put under pressure.
For example, when standing on a steep climb your chain may suddenly skip a tooth on the cog.

So, depending on how much you ride, check your chain once or twice a year – replace as needed. It will save you money because your chain-rings and cogs last longer!

can I do cardio later

There is a big mis-conception of doing cardio and weight loss.

I have heard and seen in videos people saying that they can eat something now, and it will not matter, as long as they do cardio later.

While on the one hand there is some truth to this – let’s look more at what this really means.

Many people believe that what calories they burn while on a cardio machine. There are several problems with this.
A: That number is highly inaccurate due to variances of muscle, age, height, bodyfat and metabolism of each individual.
B: The number of calories comes from stored muscle glycogen for the first 45 minutes of exercise.
C: all calories are NOT equal!

Body fat is created when eating foods that raise your blood sugar levels while you are NOT exercising – in other words if you eat sugar while exercising or immediately after, that sugar goes mainly to the muscles as energy.

It takes up to 2 hours for the food that you eat to reach your blood stream.

When someone eats that piece of bread, dessert, the sweetened tea, pasta, etc. then the body ends up storing that extra food/energy as body fat.

The problem with they way that some people think about this is that eating an extra 100 calories of pasta would equal doing an extra 100 calories worth of time on an elliptical machine. But this is not created equal.

In order to actually start to burn off that body fat – using an treadmill/elliptical/rowing machine, you must first get past the 45 minute mark for the fat burning to kick-in.

So, now that you realize this – is that sweet tea/bread before dinner/ dessert worth that extra time required to burn it off? Only you can be the judge of that. But I hope at least now you have a more accurate realization of what it truly means and why this makes it so hard to ‘cheat’ and still get 6 pack abs.

How to ride in Cross Winds

I love riding in cross winds. It is a time when power to weight ratio of the sprinters can really put the hurt onto the climbers.

It is a time when how the break works together can be the difference between survival and getting shelled.
Work too little and you may win, or the break may get caught, Work too hard, and you get shelled.

It is a time when knowing where the draft is can be crucial.
Just watch these professional riders have a tough time staying in contact with the rider in front of them due to the cross wind and the speed of the race.

Notice in this video of the 2012 Tour of Qatar – when Cancellara makes the move, the wind is coming from his right side & so he is on the Left side of the road – this is so that anyone behind him gets as little draft as possible. He is doing this in hopes that they will not be able to hold his pace and he can ride away.

Conversely once Cancellara realizes he isn’t going to be solo and wants some help, he edges to the right, so that the person drafting him has room to find the best draft on Cancellara’s back left.

Also, notice how when there are more people in the break they move to the right – so that the other riders can get a draft and they can all work together to hold the gap.

Quick Tip: Mash a larger gear in a crosswind. This is a great strength builder and when you spin (I generally) feel the need to always change to an easier gear and spin even more. If it is a training ride, try mashing that gear! You may feel tired after the ride, but you will get stronger!

cycling app strava and mytracks review

Strava vs. MyTracks Droid apps for tracking your cycling.
UPDATED:

I liked MyTracks for a long time, but to me it seemed to use too much of my battery (more on this later). MyTracks was very useful as I was learning some new Mt biking trails in North Georgia. I found that I could take it off ‘satellite’ put it on ‘map’ mode it would download my location much faster.

climbing Cherohala skyway

But as the summer cycling season was starting to reach it’s peak and I was doing group road rides, I found Strava and started trying it out. I really started enjoying it’s features.

Strava can be Fun. You input some data about you and your bike (from which it will estimate your wattage). Then record your ride via GPS, once you finish and save the ride, it quickly uploads. Then it will show you how you did on various climbs on a social network – Strava.com, compared to others in your area that have done the same rides or climbs – whether or not you are following them.

This can be Fun, challenging and give you new goals to push yourself for. Get a PR or even best some of the riders in your area. I have to admit, I did a couple rides this summer with no other intention than bettering my time on a couple climbs during a group ride.

But suddenly this weekend a glaring difference was found and now, I am mixed between the two apps and will keep both on my phone – but for totally different reasons!

Strava2

I made my way to an area of Mt biking trails that I had never been before. So while I was getting prepped, I did my usual of turning on Strava, and my dog Apollo and I hit the trails…. only Apollo was tired from a fun dog day on the farm. I though we would knock out 5-6 miles, like we usually do – he barely made it 2.

Suddenly I was in the middle of unknown area of trails, and needed to get back to the car along the shortest route possible. I went back to the Strava app, but all it would show me was our ride time and our pace. I attempted to figure the best possible route and forged onward. Apollo was getting more tired, we stopped again & I re-evaluated. And then suddenly I remembered MyTracks.

my_tracks_android

The reason that I went back to MyTracks is that during the ride, it will give you a map of where you are & a red line indicating where you have been. This makes it much easier which direction you are going on the map, and figure out which way you need to go. Both apps allow you to view where you have been on a map from a computer, but only MyTracks allows you to view that map while you are riding.

Although I do like both apps, I now really feel that they both have a separate purpose that (for now) neither can fulfill.

MyTracks is Great if you are exploring or you realize you are lost & attempting to get back to where you started.

Strava is Great to compare and keep up with how you are doing along a route, against yourself or others.
With Strava you can review the map after the ride.

Bonus Tip: Strava and I think MyTracks can both be turned on for a minute to ensure satellite connection then, you can put your phone into airplane mode to save battery!

See my previous post about MyTracks

While recording using MyTracks, you can:

1. See location / progress on a map
2. Monitor real-time statistics: time, distance, speed, elevation
3. Create waypoints
4. Create statistics waypoints (splits tracks into subtracks)

UPDATE:
Thanks to the comment below, I have successfully uploaded .gpx files from MyTracks onto my computer, then uploaded them onto Strava.com.
Although this is more of a pain due to the extra steps, it is good work-around.

What it would be like to live in a cycling community

Ever wonder how people would react if everyone knew what it is like to commute via a bicycle?
Ever wonder what traffic would be like living somewhere that everyone would get out of the way of a bicycle?!

-Notice that no one questions what is going on – they just get out of the way.

-Notice how quickly everyone creates a pathway for someone to pass.

Here it is…..

We believe this is Japan, but are waiting on an interpreter to be certain.

Mountain biking Tsali

This past weekend I loaded up the Jamis Exile Single Speed and made the drive North to Almond, NC to one of my favorite Mt biking locations in the South east – Tsali. Tsali is a magical trail system located on one of the most amazing backdrop of The Great Smokey Mountains.

I got there late Friday afternoon, just in time to set up camp before dark. And that’s when the fun started. Hanging out by the campfire catching with friends that I haven’t seen for most of the Hot, Muggy summer we have had in the southeast.

Campfire and Niner single speed at Tsali.

One of the great things about Tsali is the ability to ride straight out of camp and onto the trails!! It is awesome to come back from a ride with perma-grin and pop open an adult beverage, heat up some food, and just hangout and chat about the ride. And fortunately it is cool enough to need a campfire in the evenings. And oddly enough, I just happened to see this picture opportunity pop-up one evening of Tad’s Niner hanging on a hook behind the campfire. We took several photos of this with various amounts of lighting on the bike.

Mouse loop overlook

The next morning we get up, eat, and get prepped to ride Mouse, followed by Thompson.
I honestly can’t remember much about riding mouse – but for some reason I seem to remember everything about riding Thompson, especially the finishing stretch down to the camping area. This is a longer downhill section with just enough twists, berms and turns to keep you on your toes.

Of course, since I brought a good friend who had never been here, I made sure that we got to each overlook. And Lady Luck was on our side as it was a peak leaf viewing weekend at altitudes above 4,000 feet.

The next day we headed out to ride Left loop. This such a great section of easy paced trail that followed along the edge of Fontana Lake. It gets challenging in a couple sections due to the narrow trail along the slate rock.

Lake Fontana, Left loop at Tsali.

From the overlook on the left loop, we headed over to the Right loop. This Right loop takes you from the overlook level back down to the lake level & then back to the Tsali parking lot.

All the trails are quite groomed at Tsali, but what makes them so much fun is the speed and maintaining your momentum on the berms in the corners. Running the Jamis Single Speed at Tsali was Great! I ran a 32×20 gear, and although it seemed a bit on the easy side a couple of places, for several of the climbs I was glad I wasn’t running a smaller cog. Any place that was flat or downhill & straight enough that I wanted more gearing didn’t last long enough to really warrant a bigger gear. And I was surprised to find on the couple of climbs that I had to get off the bike (don’t say walk) was where a rider in front of me caused me to loose momentum or the rear wheel spun out on me.

This wasn’t my first weekend at Tsali, but I think I got much better pictures this time!

Jamis Exile 29 single speed review

I got a Jamis Exile29 Single Speed for review earlier this year. The Jamis Exile is a steel (Reynolds 631) hard-tail frame. Although ‘Steel is real’ I think we can add heavy to the end of that saying. However, with that added weight comes a great ride and feel of the bike.
Carbon bars
For this test, the bike has a Rock Shox, Reba fork up front. The reba is coupled with an aerus 110mm stem, and aerus carbon riser handle-bars. I like a wider handlbar on a single-speed bike. I have found that on a single-speed you end up pushing and pulling much more than on a geared bike, and the Aerus hasn’t let me down.

The front tire is a Kenda Nevegal 2.2.
The rear tire is the Specialized Fast Track – 2.0.
Truvative bottom bracket and cranks, with a 32 front chain ring & a 20 tooth rear cog.

adjustable position, 20t gear

Jamis set-up their single-speed horizontal drop-outs by placing wheel position bolts in the rear dropouts. Anytime you change a cog, you would have to change the position of these bolts. I ride with several people that have SS’s, and I have had to wait several times for them to re-adjust their bottom bracket (BB) positioners (which is some bike manufactors way of keeping the single speed chain ). Once you adjust your positioners with the Jamis, the rear skewer will keep them in place. With the other BB there is a lot of torque and movement going on there, and riders seem to have to re-tighten often, or make double sure they are tight enough to begin with.

Chain keeper

It has a chain keeper in the rear. Which seems over-kill until you go about changing out the gear, then it is a nice added feature. When are about to take your rear wheel out, you simply take the chain off the rear cog, and ‘hang’ on the chain hanger on the rear of the frame. This keeps the chain from dropping down. It’s a small detail, but one that I appreciate.

Braking is done with the Avid Juicy Threes. This Jamis is set-up with 180mm rotors up front and 160mm rotor in the rear. This is done so that you have enough stopping power up front where your weight will shift slightly, but not so much stopping power in the rear that you back tire locks up every time you feather the rear brake.
Although with the Fast Track on the rear, locking it up while braking is my only complaint.

CONS:
Even being a single speed, this bike is a heavy weight – 27lbs. This is part due to the heavy wheels, but lets face it, the 631 steel frame is heavy material, however, it is a great riding frame.

Single Speeding at Chicopee with Apollo

This is not a bike that I would want to start out the season riding. Single speeding can be brutal on the wrong course if you are not in shape. I did a long ride w/ a friend and his kids, and at a slower pace, you mash the gear & my legs got worked!

I think every Single Speed needs a handle-bar mounted Front fork lockout! Loosing momentum from a bobbing fork on the trail sucks! And with a Single Speed, when you hit the uphill section where you notice your fork isn’t locked out, it is even tough to sit & adjust with out loosing momentum.

The Ride
This bike is FUN!!!
This is the first single-speed bike I have ridden, and although it seems like it will be too tough to ride much on a single-speed, I have found that most terrain is actually very rideable. Granted, I didn’t dare take it too the foothills of the Appalachian Mts when I went, but I have surprised myself with the climbs that I have gotten over with the single speed. As most Single-Speeders will tell you, usually, if they have to dismount and push, most geared Mt bikers have to dismount and push also.

Exile SS

This bike handles very well, and with the single-speed, I have noticed that I can whip the rear end around much more than with a geared bike.
The single speed causes me to look ahead to what is upcoming, so that I have a better chance to prepare for the terrain. If it is uphill, I will look for a place to gain some extra momentum before the climb.

The wider Aerus handle-bars allow me to push, pull hard on the climbs, or anytime I’m accelerating, and they also allow me to lean it hard into corners – which I think is necessary for a 2Niner.

Overall, I have been impressed with how smooth of a ride this bike has (smoother than my other aluminum 2niner frame) and what I thought would be a bigger challenge of only a single-speed has actually been a gift of simplicity.

compact cranks can make you weak

We have several conversations with clients about compact cranks that tend to come on new bikes.

Recently we had a strong client at the studio that was loosing a block of time in the bike portion of this Triathlon. After looking at his VO2 max and wattage numbers in spin class, we asked him to bring in his bike, sure enough he was on compact cranks – he was actually spun out during his race! Granted this won’t happen to everyone, but this is a case where to race to his potential compact cranks were holding him back!

There are good reasons for compact cranks, and there is debate for why people should or should not ride them.

The PROBLEM with compact cranks is that too many people use them for too long and then end up relying on the ‘bail-out’ gears more and more on the same hills until they slowly loose strength since they no longer challenge the leg muscles, but rather transfer the workout to the lungs via spinning.

Train your weakness and Race your Strengths! However, the problem with compact cranks is that you ‘CAN’ end up training yourself into muscle weakness. As a racing buddy Kent Bostick used to say, if you don’t race the small chainring, why train in it? This from a guy that at 45, was an alternate for the US cycling Olympic team in 1996.

If you were doing a workout to get stronger, would you add more resistance or would you just do the reps faster – and then expect to be stronger?

During the Spring, I would do my climbing on a grade that did not allow me to spin easily. I would have to mash the cranks to get to the top of this climb, I did this because I know it would make me stronger! It was training. Mashing is something that I avoid during a race or big ride, but when I would start the season, I would make myself mash some hills! Mash now, so You can spin a bigger gear when it counts!

If your training is periodized as it should be, there is time to gain strength & a time to gain speed.

This blog post is not a new one for this site, I wrote about this previously here