A Quiet saddle bag

When you are out riding do the things on your bike rattle so bad, that you are never afraid of sneaking up on ANY wildlife?
Something that I have found useful, Especially on the Mt bike, is to wrap everything that is in my saddlebag. I personally use an old inner tube to wrap the extra CO2 cartridges & my pack tool. I have a friend that uses old socks to wrap up things in his saddlebag. This way when you are out on the rough section of trail, you don’t have things clanking around under your saddle!

Another good trick is to wrap some of these things together with duck-tape.  Then if you will have duct-tape around if you ever have a side-wall cut or similar.

A Pro Workout

Tim came by the studio today for a workout, which consisted of 30 seconds and of: 30 seconds Balance Squats, 15 seconds rest; 30 seconds Hamstring (carpet)slides 15 seconds rest; 30 seconds Hover 15 seconds rest; 30 seconds push-ups 15 seconds rest; 30 seconds Cable Pull-downs 15 seconds rest; REPEAT 2 more times.
2nd circuit Body Rows, Single Leg Lunges – weighted, Dead Lifts, Band Rotations, Hovering on a BOSU.
By doing each exercise followed by an exercise of a different muscle group, you are challenging your cardiovascular system and firing up your metabolism. Also, you get your workout done quicker!

To follow that up, and continue preparing for old man winter, we did a chilly 1 hour spin on the bikes in the rain.

I didn’t get video of this workout, but here is a video of how NOT to work with a Stability ball:

Weekend War-rior

A great weekend of (Finally) Mt biking! On Friday my dog Apollo & I headed up to Blankets Creek to meet Amy & Luna. We got in a lap at Dwelling w/ the dogs & then a lap at South loop before the sun was setting.
On Saturday I got to ride with Artur Sagat (Hungarian U23 National road podium’er), Ryan Murray @¬†Ride America 2010, his brother Eddy Murray & Chris ‘my last name is too long to post’ Constatine. I had forgotten how technical Big Creek is, as we swooped around the course 4 times. Artur chatting on all the climbs….. I’m hoping to finish the video clip of the ride this afternoon – I’ve crashed more the past 2 weekends – guess that what happens when you get amped up Mt biking!

Sunday I got in a true LSD ride! 50 miles at Silk Sheets…. I would have done more, but I left a lot @ Big Creek, plus my iPod died at mile 35 – I should have not left it out in the cold car the night before!

The Snooty Racers

I had the chance of getting out with a group of riders yesterday that stayed away from the main group, of racers! Because of our late start time the fast group doing the longer option was able to catch us on the way back to town.
Now it’s not what you think about each of them. There are some great folks in that group, you see it’s just that they are going to fast to be able to chat much. I saw 3 different groups Sunday morning & I rode with 2 of them. The 2 that were riding at a conversational pace were well… conversational. The 1 that wasn’t, well, they were too focused on the wheel in front of them to be chatty.
In the meantime on our ride, I got to meet some really cool laid back folks that were not interested in racing in November. The great thing about base mileage (conversational pace) is that you can chat with other people while taking turns at the front, making some jokes, getting to know other riders, all while still passing the mileage quickly!!

I’ve got the sickness

Looks like what is starting out to be another rainy weekend in Atlanta…. just as well for me, I’ve got a stuffed-up nose and a scratchy throat. But that doesn’t mean that I am just sitting around.
Yesterday I did an easy workout @ the gym, well, less challenging exercises, but we still got a good sweat going. Then I got the dog out for a long walk, with a couple jogs thrown in randomly.
I kept the Heart Rate at a reasonable level, much lower than I usually would have. When I’m not feeling well, I still try to get out, but my goals for the workout change. I try to keep my HR under 140. That way I can still get moving, but I don’t tax my body, but rather get the blood flowing and re-circulating.
It’s important NOT to tax the body while it is attempting to fight off a Virus or infection. The body can only fight 1 battle at a time & getting well should be your first priority – because it is for the body!

How to have warm fingers

I was running late to meet my team-mates one cold winter morning, so I rushed to get dressed in the cold weather. By the time I got dressed, I had gotten pretty chilled and to make it worse, I could not find my heavy gloves. So I quickly put on a pair of the heaviest gloves I had. Unfortunately, these gloves were not exactly ‘wind proof’, and it wasn’t long into the ride that I realized my fingers were not only cold, but were getting colder as we rode along, and starting to tingle.

My fingers got so cold, that I had to turn around and go back to the car and drive home to warm them back up. While I was at home, I was able to find my warmer gloves and since I was so close to the ride, I went back out for the ride. This time I parked the warm car and hopped on the bike with the heavy gloves on. As I rode several miles I realized that my fingers were now almost too warm.

Since then, I’ve been cautious to make sure I have proper gear for the current temperatures, but also to dress, then if needed, warm back up in the car or building before starting the ride! It will make a big difference in the comfort and duration of your ride.

Another tip is when you stop and go inside – unzip and/or take off your jacket to warm up your body. A heavy jacket that is worn while inside will just keep out the warm air from reaching your body, and you will still be cold when you go back outside. If you warm-up while inside and then put your jacket back on while you go outside, you will be warmer.

The Wind Vest

Riding through the winter is made much more easier if you have the proper clothing! Layers is the key to being comfortable for those cold winter days. With layers it is possible to leave things on or take layers off. We all know we need to layer, but how and with what can be tricky sometimes.

A trick of mine is to wear a vest either outside a winter jacket or inside the winter jacket. Sounds odd until you try it. Some rides you get too warm on cold days, so you unzip the jacket, then the cold air is too cold on your chest, but the rest of you is sweating. The solution is the vest! It allows the air to enter the jacket with out directly hitting the chest. Now you have 3 different layers, each with it’s own zipper to moderate temperature AND air flow!

So try experimenting with the layers that you wear AND how you wear them!

Cycling in the Winter Wonderland

Well it seems that with all the rain that we have been getting in Atl, the weather has pushed through fall and straight into winter. The high today will barely get above 50 with overnight lows below 30.
It is time to get out those knee and arm warmers, booties, wool socks, gloves & knit hats for cycling.
With weather like this you still need to remember your sunscreen! 2 main reasons. 1. If you are out in the sun, its just a good idea – ask anyone who has skin cancer. 2. The sunscreen will actually add a layer of warmth on bare skin! For the face, hands and shins, it can make a difference (even under your gloves).

Hill Repeats

Hill repeats, how we love to loathe them. If you are lucky, you start off at a steady pace and the Mountain teases you into thinking it is going to be a good day….. then as your heart rate begins to catch up to the effort your putting out, the Mt. truly let’s you know what kind of day it is going to be – on the Mt’s terms, not yours. Sometimes the mountain allows you to climb with less effort than previous, but this time of year, the mountain has it’s advantage and may take this opportunity to show it’s authority as Mother Nature and her companion, mean ole Mr. Gravity.

Yet, you must pedal onward, knowing that the steepness of the Mt that you climb is not just taking to the top, but is taking you to a stronger point in your fitness. Your legs feel the next upward pitch that causes you to grind away on the crank arms ever so slowly. This is the pain that the mountain inflicts in the normal cyclist that wish to over come the grade and bask in the view from the pinnacle.

Good day or bad day, the fact that you are on the Mountain battling and so many others are not can confirm your commitment. If you start off to hard racing to get to the top, then sometimes the Mountain can really take the wind out of your sails. Caution can be the better part of valor as you climb up the first 1000 meters. The mountain will cause you to settle into a more humbling pace if you miss-judge or underestimate her. The cyclists on the descent smile and nod at those still battling the upward slope, for they know, not only the anguish the mountain is putting on your body, but that once down to the bottom, they themselves will turn around and battle against their own machines to take them to the top.

Your legs scream from the lactic acid being built up from each pedal stroke, which is not spin, but a MASH. Seated climbing is usually the par, until the grade rises at such an angle that the mind convinces you that maybe standing will be easier…. but only briefly, then HR stands with the body, and you flop back down giving the legs what seems like only a brief moment of relief. The mountain can be deceiving, for some stretches you can feel a brief relief, then you turn the bend, and the suffering is there again. The body screams to stop, but the mind must overcome! You must continue and remember that your goal is not at the top, but in the grind of the uphill battle against gravity.

Upward you ascend, slowly, but steadily, knowing that in the end, the mountain will win again, but you will come away a stronger person both in cycling and in mental fortitude for being there this day!
Burnt Mountain
Climbing hills and mountains develops sport specific leg strength to cycling, which if a base fitness aerobic level has been developed and the workouts at a gym have been followed, the body will respond with greater performance and wattage output. As this strength is developed it will allow the rider to be able to ride along with other riders at the same weight/speed, requiring a lower effort so therefore a lower heart rate.

Hill Repeats:
To do these efforts, I try to use a steady climb and keep a cadence of around 65-70, and keeping as much pressure on the legs as possible for the whole climb. I have 1 main Mt. climb that is just over a mile long, but takes nearly 10 minutes to get to the top. But speed is not what I am using to gauge my fitness yet, I am using the gearing that I am able to climb the Mt with. By keeping a lower cadence I am using more muscle to climb the Mt than Heart Rate.