pedaling with anger

Looking for a short turbo boost?
Focus all of your emotions into the pedals.

There is a saying around the interwebs about ‘Stomach of Anger’. Although I’m not really sure what they mean by that I can tell you that I have pedaled with Anger before. And it makes you fast! But also out of breathe very quickly.

You see I was on a group ride that was usually very steady paced. Everyone rotated evenly and the pace of the group as a whole was pretty quick at around 22-24 mph. But this day we had 1 rider that was randomly attacking the group.

It was throwing off the rhythm of the group and thus lowering our average speed, and it was getting on my nerves. So with each successive attack I was getting more and more P-O’d at this person and their failed attacks off the front that were distracting other riders, until he attacked one time, and I had enough!

I down shifted & MASHED the pedals, shift, MASH, shift, MASH, until I not only went by him at a much greater pace than he was going, but had gotten a significant distance up the road to a red light. As I sat at the red light attempting to catch my breath, I had a chance to think for a minute about what had gotten me so riled up. Although I felt better getting some anger out, I also felt guilty for doing the same thing that this person was doing to the group.

I guess in hindsight I was trying to tell him that he wasn’t the only strong rider in the group that ‘could’ go faster. I’m still not sure, but one thing I learned from this was that when I got my emotions together and focused my energy, that I could create a large amount of watts for a brief amount of time.

I could pedal in Anger!

The thing about pedaling in Anger is that your mind shuts down – you don’t feel any pain, all you have is raw emotion – and all that energy is poured into stomping on those pedals!

never ride at the front

I have said it, and I see that others are posting articles or info about it. The problem is maybe too many people are taking it too far.

Do not ride on the front should not be confused with NEVER ride at the front.

Too many people seem to just sit-in – on ever ride, year around. Bah!
Too many people never do any work – whether they are afraid they will get dropped, feel they aren’t strong enough.

Sometimes you need to move, do something, stir things up. Sometimes that is for the group & sometimes that is just for yourself & your training.

It’s interesting how the group dynamic of a ride can change – week to week and sometimes during a single ride.
Not long ago, at the ‘Wednesday night World’s’ the group was being shy. There were only a few people rotating & it was often that if you rotated you would have to sit on the front for awhile before someone else would come around.

What happens next is that the stronger riders and/or opportunists attacks the group. Sometimes this is enough to stir things up, sometimes the ride will continue along in the same manner watching that person increase the gap until they are ‘out of sight, out of mind’. As this keeps happening all the stronger riders & some opportunists are ahead on the road and there isn’t enough people strong enough or willing to work to bring them back.

I watched this happen a couple times and tried to shake things up myself by rolling past the group on a downhill and along the uphill on the other side – what this caused was the group finally sped up and started getting more aggressive.

Remember, “Don’t ride on the front” is different from “Never ride on the Front” there are good reasons to rotate and pull-through, and there are good reasons not too. Sometimes the group is hammering along and you should conserve your energy for later. Sometimes you should rotate just to get others to rotate also, sometimes it is to keep the group going.

One of the best ‘team blocks’ I had ever witnessed was by Scotty Weiss – we were racing a 1Km pan flat crit in N.C. His team mate jumped the pack with another racer and they were rolling up the road – well most team mates would go to the front and soft pedal or not even pedal at all – but not these guys, Scotty went to the front and kept the field going at a steady pace. He knew if the group slowed down too much there would be attacks and his team mate would have less chance of winning the race. So, he kept the pace slow enough that his teammate was still going faster than the group, yet just fast enough that no one would attempt to attack the group! At that time I was a fresh Pro1,2 rider and at first I was bewildered that his own team mate was on the front doing the pace-making. It took me about 5 laps before I realized the plan.

Most everyone knows the basic tactics, but when you can mix things up that is when you are racing intelligently!

Does Protein intake improve cycling

An interesting Does protein intake improve cycling“>article + discussion.

I’m a fan of eating a higher protein diet after hard rides for muscle recovery and repair.
This does not negate the need for simple sugars and carbs immediately after a ride – then my next meal will usually be more focused on protein. BUT keep in mind that I am a protein metabolic type. Meaning that I do well eating meat, steaks, chicken, fish, beans. Some people don’t feel as well on a diet like this, but eating ‘more’ than usual would be helpful.

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.

chainsaw practice

After attaining my US Forestry Chainsaw certification I had to go back to my Mother’s house in SC, which just happened to give me a chance to practice some of the techniques that they had just taught us.

The yard has/had 2 dead trees that I have been needing to cut down (fell).
1 of which was a pine tree which was further away from the house – so I conveniently choose to practice with this tree first. I found an old flag and placed it out in front of the tree based on where I wanted to drop it and about where I figured the top of the tree would be.

final Faceplate cut.  Maybe over 70 degrees?

This also gave me a specific location to aim for. After doing that I lined up the saw and made the initial face cut, as usual I think I dug-in too deep. Then I lined up the first cut to make the 2nd cut to finish the face-plate. I was shooting for over 70 degrees and probably just got that much. More would not have hurt tho.

Next I scored both sides of the tree – again, something specific to aim for when I make the bore cut. Then I went ahead with the bore cut (being very careful to use the ‘attack’ part of the blade and avoid the ‘kickback’ area) and also being very careful not to cut the ‘hinge’ of the trunk. Since this is a softer pine tree, I planned for a 2″ hinge. My angle was a little low, but I was satisfied with it. Standing on 1 side of a big pine tree and attempting to bore a chainsaw straight through is a little more challenging than you may think.

Scored, then bored.  A lil low, but not bad.

Now I started the wedging. I placed a wedge on either side of the bore cut, and drove them slightly into the tree facing in the general direction what I wanted the tree to fall. After ensuring that both of them were snug – I cut the back-strap.

I finished the back-strap cut, but the tree didn’t move. At this point all that is holding the tree upright is the hinge and the wedges. So, I started hitting the wedges and having them dig deeper into the trunk. After several hits on each the tree suddenly started to topple.

Faceplate and hinge, doing it's job.  Guide the tree until she is down.

Now that I have the tree down on the ground, I was surveying my face-plate cut, and the Hinge that is used to guide the tree during the fall.

I was thinking about the steps that I had just taken to fall this tree. It seemed so calculated. I had made a plan, then executed that plan. The only difference was that the tree didn’t fall as soon as I cut the back-strap.

The face-plate is at the bottom of the picture – the fibers are left from the hinge, then the bore-cut.

Good hinge on this, about 2" across the pine.

I had to hit the wedges but this fact proved how effective it was that the tree didn’t topple backwards.
Look almost in the center of the picture, just to the left of the trunk.

Suddenly, as I looked up the tree I remembered that I had put a flag out to use as a guide. I walked up the tree and started to look around, when I found it surprisingly closer to the tree than I had even expected.

That is pretty darn close to the flag - beginners luck!

Beginners Luck is what I figured…. I mean I have experience cutting down trees, but that tree fell really close to the flag.

Well, that was the fun part….. next is clean-up. I ‘bucked’ up the tree and started loading it into the trailer. We won’t use this soft pine for firewood, so I was free to cut it up into what ever was manageable.

Pine tree all loaded up, no firewood here.

With some work I was able to drop this tree and since it was already dead there weren’t any pine needles or smaller twigs – this made the clean-up process much quicker than usual. So, it wasn’t much later that I got that tractor stuck in the woods while attempting to unload. Luckily I was stuck right where I unload brush and just had to unload the trailer to get it all unstuck and cruising back to the house for a cold beverage.

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!

How to compare trainer hours to cycling outside

Many people ask the question of relating trainer hours to hours cycling outside – you can not truly compare the two.

1. On the trainer, there is no coasting.
2. your bike on the trainer acts differently than it does on the road.
3. On the trainer there are no fluctuations in traffic, pacing, hills, etc. just ‘Pedal dammit’!
4. You can zone out and pay less attention to things around you, and focus on the workout.

For these reasons, I don’t attempt to compare trainer hours to outdoor hours. I have heard people suggest that an hour on the trainer is worth 1.5 on the road. If you had to compare hours, I guess you could do that. However, I would suggest getting your workout done in a faster amount of time is really the goal – not just spending time ‘on the bike’.

What this means to me is that you have a goal (a set workout) planned, you warm-up, do the prepared workout, cool down, and get off the bike. Completing workout that is an overall goal of a training plan is much more important than merely ‘hours on the bike’.

These workouts will make you
1) Leaner!
2) faster!
3) stronger!

Bike WindTrainer

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The Winter Wind Training classes is a series of on the bike workouts that will best prepare you for the Spring rides and upcoming race season. The workouts have been laid out so that you will come into the season in your best possible shape with out being burned out or fatigued. The workouts Build from one week to the next.

– These workouts can be done on the Windtrainer or outside!

What to expect:
-Heart rate based intervals of varying length and time each week.

-Steady state intervals for climbing and Time Trialing

-Individual Leg Training (ILT) for forming perfect pedaling circles

-Spin-Ups to increase leg speed

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Winter Cycling Training

This is the time of year when Mother Nature tries to fool you into thinking that the winter will be easy and you will have beautiful days to ride all Winter.

Winter weather head gear

One Winter several of us at a local bike shop got together and did twice weekly spin classes. We started in the first of the year, and it was good to do it with a group. But suddenly our guy that had to lock up when we were done got a change of schedule and we could no longer spin – a month later, the time had changed and we were once again out on the road. But I feel like I was starting all over again.

Many people do all kinds of training this time of year, only to burn out or stop due to the cold and/or wet weather in the early Spring. Remember not to do too much intensity and do not do too much mileage this time of year, unless your plan and commitment is true, and you follow through to the new year.

Remember the old story of the tortoise and the hare – steady wins the race.

Chess table
Have the proper Winter cycling gear to get you through the cold and dreary days.

Don’t let that happen to you!
1) Get a Trainer
2) Have prepared workouts that ramp up the intensity.
3) Do the workout and get OFF the bike! Riding the trainer can be more challenging for you mentally than physically! Do a workout and get off the trainer.

best cycling upgrade

Many cyclists are curious what the best upgrade for your bike is – but what we seldom want to consider is that the best upgrades is actually for the motor!

I saw a post by a friend that stated they got a new pair of wheels and then stated: “Hey, that’s the most important upgrade you can make!” I had to post that they go the best “bike” upgrade.

Cycling is all about each person’s ‘Power to Weight’ ratio. One of the main ways to increase your power to weight ratio is to either increase your power, or to reduce your weight. Ideally you would do both.

1. A problem with increasing your power is that many people have various methods for doing it. Also, you have to be very consistent and have a good plan both on and off the bike – this is where having coach helps.

2. The problem with reducing weight via the bike and components is that there is a high price vs. reward. BUT the most important part of the bicycle (the Motor) is where the most performance improvements can be made!

For instance, what is the greatest aero-drag, a bicycles motor. Where can ‘most cyclist’ shave the most weight? Probably their gut.
Last Spring I lost 10 pounds from my stomach area – I don’t think there is anywhere that you can loose 10 pounds from a bicycle (and still safely ride it), especially in a span of a couple months.

Gym goers and personal trainers have a saying: “Abs aren’t made in the gym, they are made in the kitchen” What can cyclists take from this is that health and peak performance begins with what you use to fuel your body.

Another great saying is that “you can’t out-train a bad diet”.

Winter Bike League Maysville 2011

You know that Winter is about to cast her steely grip across the US when anybody whose is a cyclist rushes to Athens, GA to join into the Winter Bike League. They go in hopes of Fame and fortune that but a few have been able to attain, the stories of which have never been told – unless several adult beverages have been consumed.

Mineral Man and StrongerCyclist

I got a call from the Mighty Mineral Man himself, telling me that he was returning to grand form & was making preparations to rip the legs off any non battled hardened cyclists that dare forget his story. It had been a mere seven years since Mineral Man and your’s truly left their own mark in the Archives of the WBL.

As I do every year, I re-read last years WBL report . This year I was determined that my lack of mileage (from recovering from a recent Mt bike crash) wasn’t going to be the source of my suffering.
Greenville WBLer Derek.

Luckily, I talked my friend Derek into coming from Greenville to the original WBL & luckily he gave me 2 NUUN tablets at the start. I also filled up 2 flasks full of Hammer Gel, a clif bar, and a secret weapon, a pack of pop-tarts – yeah, I’m going old skool! I wasn’t going to let a lack of nutrition keep me from holding onto the front group.

WBL start Dec3, 2011

As the ride gently rolled out of town, everyone was all chatter and festive, seeing old friends, meeting new friends. Little did I realize the depth of the days field, but why would that surprise me? this is the WBL! I saw some great riders, a @Team Type1 rider, 2 Team Mountain Kakis riders, a Real Cyclist.com, Jered Gruber, Clay Parks, Hammerin’ HillBilly, FarmerG, the PACK SHOUTER, old motorcycle racers, and a score of cyclists that race! It was a stacked, packed, jacked field of 2 wheeled craziness about to embark on a slugfest. As we rolled outta town, you could tell everyone was giddy with anticipation!

Then, came the rolling hills. At the mid-field riders were being made into diamonds via the intense pressure of the leaders. All you can hear is the weazing wind of those putting in monumental efforts to keep themselves with the herd. As I looked up I realized that we were only half way up this roller and you have to pay attention as riders start to fall off the pace.

Pack is spread out on 2nd lap

I see a couple riders swerve around and then suddenly see why, 1 gal was lost in her personal hurt locker, I checked traffic, played frogger and eased over and became a pusher. I geared down, and asked if she wanted a push, when she looked over her shoulder I realized it was her weazing I heard. She was nearly hyper-ventilating. I got the two of us up to the same speed, but we still had a ways to get over this hill, and now I’m nearly weazing also. PUSH! Finally, I got her onto the flats, let her catch her breathe, and the ride continued along.

Once at the store stop, I filled the bottles, popped in the extra Nuun tablet, ate on a smore pop-tart and checked in with the Mineral Man & Gainesville fella’s. So far, so good! But as the group was knocking out the 2nd half of the ride, the rollers were back. Funny how you can’t remember much about a route, but once you are hurting you can realize this is where the hurt was put to you last time. We were on a skyward ascent, under I-85 when I had deja-vue. I dug down and my quads were talking to me, but I was able to throttle enough to keep my placing in the pack.

By now, I’m going through my second flask of gel. The quads and hamstrings are mumbling, but no mutiny yet. Onward, we march. I take every chance to throttle my pace. After each surge ahead of me, I catch up slowly – no big efforts. And no one is in any hurry to get around me either. Everyone is suffering.

Finally we round a corner and I realize we are just outside Athens, and have 2 climbs left. But the first climb I loathe. It is somewhat short, but man is it steep. Suddenly the pack starts to move all over the road nearly everyone is out of the saddle, rocking their bikes. Again, I make it with the group, and my mood improves, Athens is on a hill, and now that is the only hill left. Post ride Food and Beer awaits!

Interesting to hear the stories when your done and finally relaxing. Man, was I suffering when we were going past that white picket fence. “yeah, I remember that fence, that section SUCKED!”

You are suffering? Remember everyone is hurting, you just have to hurt just a little more to stay with them!
Most races come down to 3-5 minutes of who can suffer the most and that often determines the winner.