Category Archives: bikes

Monday Mantra – The Secret to Your Happiness

Happy Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Today’s Mantra:

“No one is useless in this world that lightens the burden of another” – Dickens

* This is a self promotional post, but for a great cause.

A few years ago I started a holiday charity called Merry Spinmas with my triathlon team. (STC Multisport) The mission of Merry Spinmas is to provide bikes for Christmas to deserving children in our community. We raise funds from the endurance racing community, and deliver the children a brand new bike, helmet, and lock.

This has been one of the most rewarding activities in my life. Every year I look forward to the program, even though it means a couple of months for really hard work, and lots of begging for money. I know a bike will most likely not dramatically change the life of these children, but it could be a step in a new direction.

When I was a child a loved my bike. It represented freedom to explore under my own power with my friends. Most days we would come home, throw our book bags inside, and head out on our bikes until it got dark. Not much has changed as an adult. I still love to explore on my bike under my own power with my riding buddies. Now it is more of an inner exploration, as I push to new distances and times, but the feeling is the same. I want to help provide that feeling to a child, who may not have that opportunity.

One of my favorite moments from doing this holiday drive involves a seven year boy named Tyreese. Tyreese requested a Disney’s Cars bike from our program. We found the perfect red Car’s bike in his size, but it had training wheels. When we delivered the bikes, Tyreese rode around for a few minutes slowly with his training wheels, then he shyly asked if we could take them off. Once the training wheels were off, he was shot out of a canon. Flying around the parking lot, a huge smile on his face. He fully embraced the feeling of freedom.

Enough about me. This post is about giving. It feels good to give. If you want to feel better in your life, go and do something for someone with no expectation of return. It doesn’t have to be money, it can be time or a favor, or just saying some kind words of encouragement.

If you really want to feel fulfilled, you have to give until is hurts. We do a great job of making it easy to give. Just text this number to donate, or do you have a couple of bucks to throw in the bucket? These are great ways to help quickly, but you aren’t really invested in the cause. You need some skin in the game. Go and set a big fundraising goal, or go and work with a cause you are passionate about. This is when you will feel the most engaged, make the largest impact, and feel great. It’s ok to feel good about yourself for doing great things for others.

Below is a great video with Tony Robbins that shows how one small act of kindness today, can lead to massive change in the future.

If you would like to read more about Merry Spinmas, or donate, for info can be found here.

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Step Out of the Pain Cave – 5 Tips for Better Indoor Cycling Workouts

I wake up at 6am for the normal 7:30 group ride. I go to the window, its still pitch black dark, and 35F outside. This is where the will power wanes, and the excuses kick in. Do I really want to put on all of that cold weather gear, and freeze my tail off for 2 hours? I could go back to that warm bed, and ride later, which turns into never.

When mother nature turns down the thermostat, and shuts the lights off early, its time to switch to indoor cycling workouts. You don’t want to lose all fitness in those finely chiseled legs, earned by riding all summer. With some quality time spent cycling indoors, you can maintain some of that fitness. Indoor cycling can be incredibly boring. Don’t view it as a sentence to a dull sweaty prison. Instead, here’s some tips to get the most out of your indoor sessions:

Leg Speed

1. Keep it short – 

Quality over Quantity is the key for effective indoor work. Interval work is the best bang for your buck. Quality interval workouts will keep up your cycling fitness, without sitting on the trainer for hours at a time. A well planned session should only take 45 minutes.

Example Interval Workout

2. Spin Class – 

If you like to others around to keep you motivated, try a spin class. Most classes are under an hour and offer plenty of intensity. The great thing spin class is you don’t have to plan your workout, just show up and ride. Be careful not to over do it with intensity, if you are in your off season. When I go to class, I will modify the workout to fit my current goals.

3. No Pain Cave – 

I see people post pictures of their pain cave, the dungeon where they ride their trainers. Dark damp basements, smelly garages, and one guy I saw riding  in an old bathroom. If you are really into the suffering thing, I guess that’s ok. Since riding a bike going nowhere is already mentally tough, I like to be as comfortable as possible. Find a place where you are comfortable, that’s not too hot or cold. Be sure to have a fan, and plenty of water. You spouse may not want you riding in dining, but you on’t have to suffer next to the boiler.

4. DJ Handbar –

Be your own DJ, and have a great playlist. Great music will motivate you, and help you turn your brain off. Its also fun to play music games during the workout. You can sprint the choruses, and spin during the verses. Also, you can increase tension every time the singer repeats a phrase. Mix it up and jam out.

5. Drills

On a trainer you don’t have to worry about cars, loose dogs, or falling over. This is a great time to work on pedaling drills. Pedaling drills help you develop a stronger, smoother stroke. They emphasize one aspect of the stroke, so you can concentrate of firing those muscle groups.

Here’s some drills to make you pedal smooth like butter.

Workout Wednesday – Work Horse of Bike Fitness – Tempo

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (HAHA)

This week’s workout – Bike Tempo

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In the past few weeks, we have covered cycling leg strengthpedaling mechanics, and cycling intervals. Now it’s time to pull together that strength and efficiency with tempo efforts. Tempo efforts are just long intervals. The key is to perform them at the correct intensity. Tempo intervals should be done at 80% effort, your breath and heart rate will be slightly elevated. At this work rate you are working just below your lactate threshold. Be careful not to exceed that 80% effort, as you will be entering the red zone, and working a different energy system.

Tempo workouts are in that sweet spot of training where you are working endurance and speed at the same time. These sessions simulate race effort, but at shorter intervals, so you don’t wreck your legs. Remember, effective training sessions should be done hard enough to get benefits, but leave you able to do the next session. (Check your self, before you wreck yourself.)

Tempo work can be done indoors or outdoors. If riding outside, be sure to have enough road to complete your interval without stopping. Once you get your self in the correct zone, it is much easier to maintain than restart.

On to the workout. This workout is programmed for an athlete how has been riding for at least six months. Feel free to add or remove intervals to meet your goals.

Bike Tempo Work I

  • Warm up I – 10 min Easy
  • Warm up II – 3 X 1 min on/30 secs off
  • Tempo Effort I – 2 X 5 min @ 80% / 90 sec res
  • Easy Spin – 2 min
  • Tempo Effort II – 2 X 10 min @ 80% / 2 min rest
  • Easy Spin 2 min
  • Tempo Effort III – 5 min @ 80%
  • Cool down

Give it a go! If you use this interval in your training, please leave a comment, and let us know how it went.

Happy Training!

 
photo credit: Tom Gill. via photopin cc

Workout Wednesday – Pedaling Smooth Like Butter

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (HAHA)

This week’s workout: One Leg Isolation Drills (Pedaling Efficiency)

Leg Speed

Have you plateaued in your cycling speed gains? If you are pounding the pedals like you are stomping grapes, we need to work on your pedaling efficiency. Working on your pedaling efficiency will eliminate dead spots in your pedal stroke, and increase your cycling power.

When you are cycling with a group, you can tell the riders that have an efficient stroke. Their legs look smooth like butter through the whole stroke. It’s not just about looking good, you can save some serious energy. Most cyclists will pedal 5000 – 6000 strokes an hour, and efficient pedaling can produce energy savings up to 15 – 20%. That is some serious free speed.

Here’s the best part, working on some simple drills a couple times a week will get you quick gains. The focus of these drills is to turn on the correct muscle groups with the right timing. The coordination of these muscle groups will increase your pedaling efficiency. After the first workout you will feel a difference, and within a few weeks make some serious progress. Here’s the bonus; these drills only take around ten minutes, and can be done in conjunction with another cycling workout. (I’m starting to sound like an infomercial).

Here’s a quick video on pedaling efficiency:

 

 

On to the workout:

One Leg Isolation Drills

  • Warm up – 10 minutes
  • 5 X 1 min on with heavy gear/ 1 min easy gear (spin)
  • 3 X Right leg 30 secs/ Spin 1 min / Left leg 30 secs / Spin 1 min
  • 5 min Spin
  • 3 X Right leg 30 secs/ Spin 1 Min / Left leg 30 secs/ Spin 1 min
  • 5 min Spin
  • Cool down

*Focus Points: Smooth circles, Medium tension, Muscle group timing and activation

This workout is best done on a spin bike or trainer. Pedaling with one leg can cause some balance issues, and we don’t want you in the ditch.  During the one leg intervals, keep medium tension on the bike. Don’t use heavy tension, as you will rely too much on the down stroke, and can jack up your knees. Focus on making the smoothest circular pedal strokes you can. There should be constant pressure on the pedal throughout the entire stroke. During the spin intervals, keep a cadence of 90 rpm or higher under light tension, and feel the muscle groups working together. The one leg intervals will force the upstroke muscle groups to activate. When you go back to pedaling with both legs you will feel smoother immediately.

This workout is not meant to be super intense. Keep the intensity down, and focus on great form. The workout above is laid out as a stand alone workout. If you are throwing this in at the end of another workout, just do one set.

Now, go and make some pretty little circles!

 

 

Workout Wednesday 7/30/14 – BRICK

Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)

Brick

Today’s Workout – BRICK

A quick intro: A BRICK is a bike to run workout. The purpose of these workouts is to work on your transitions from the bike to run. It’s a good idea to fit in a few of these sessions to your triathlon training cycle. Don’t get carried away, and think you have to do these workouts all of the time. It is better to work on biking and running individually, and sprinkle in some bricks.

BRICK workouts are also a great chance to practice your transitions. Set up a mini transition area in your driveway, and treat the workout like a race simulation.

BRICK WORKOUT 1

  • Bike – 25 mins
  • Transition
  • Run 3k

Bike-  Ride at race pace for the first 20 mins, and try to pick up the pace for the final 5 mins. Work on keeping your legs moving quickly for the last 5 mins. You want this to feel like the end of the bike at a race.

Run – When you start running concentrate on keeping your legs moving quickly. Try to match your cadence from the bike. Focus on breathing deeply and find your rhythm. The transition from the bike will feel funny. You will feel like you are moving slowly, as you are accustomed to the speed from the bike. Also, you will experience less wind to cool you down, be mindful that you are not overheating.

I hope you enjoy this one. The distances in the workout are for a person training for a sprint distance tri. If you are training for a longer distance event, you can adjust the distances. Just don’t get carried away. BRICKS are meant to work on that bike to run transition, not run you into the ground.

photo credit: viZZZual.com via photopin cc

Energy Gel Sommelier and Other Side Benefits of Triathlon Part II

In the first post on the added benefits of triathlon, I talked about looking sexy in lycra, and sweet tan lines. There are so many additional benefits I didn’t list, that I decided to make a Part II. There may be some people on the fence about triathlon, and the a collection of distance stickers wasn’t enough to get them to dive in. So here are some more “tidbits of awesome” about triathlon.

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1. Get up super early – You feel guilty when you don’t get up before the sun. Everyone knows that pool swims only count when they are finished before 6:30am. You have a four hour ride planned for Saturday, and your significant other is complaining about you training too much.. What do you do? Leave at 5 am and hope to make it back before they get up.

burrito

2. The world is your buffet – At the Mexican restaurant you order the Mucho Loco Burrito with an extra side of guacamole. The others at the table look in horror as you demolish the entree meant for three people. You look up and say, “It’s cool, I’m in the peak of my training cycle”, and then wipe the cheese from your chin.

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Gel Buffet

 

3. Energy Gel Sommelier – The average palette can’t discern the slight nuisances of the Powergel orange from the Gu mandarin, but you can. Your heightened awareness of these differences comes from years of consumption of these slimy delicacies. You would rather bonk than slam down that wrong brand being offered on the course.

 

4. Ability to time illness one week out from your “A” race – You never get sick. You are healthy as a horse. People in the office are going home weak with the flu, but you superior immune system is kryptonite to viruses. That is until the taper period of your most important race of the season. A week out from the race you are in bed sore and aching, wondering how you are supposed to race in 5 days.

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5. Calf Sleeves – I may offend some here, but calf sleeves are nerdy. They are essentially tall socks with no feet. From the amount of people wearing them, you would think there was an epidemic of calf muscles exploding before their invention. Triathlon is no fashion show. If you really need the super calf support, buy the brightest neon ones you can find, and rock that kit.

Bike Fall over

6. Get clipped – There are two types of cyclists; those who have fallen over in the parking lot while still clipped in to the pedals, and those who will. It happens to everyone. You get those brand new clipless pedals and shoes, pull in to the parking lot at the end of the ride, slow down, and proceed to fall over like a tipped cow. Don’t be embarrassed. Laugh it off, as everyone else on that ride has done the same thing at least once. Welcome to the club!

 

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7. A bike more expensive than your car – After years of hard training, you will decide that training is too time consuming and difficult. Forget training on the bike, go and buy some speed. You walk into the bike shop, and there it is. A beautiful carbon fibre rocket ship of a bike. Once you astride this piece is speed sculpture, PR’s will fall, and the road will submit to your will. On the way home from the shop you look at your ’03 Subaru, and realize the blue book value of your car, is less than that new bike purchase.

The car will seek revenge. On the way home from a race, you pull into the driveway headed for the garage, and forget your bike is on the roof rack. The car will let you drive into the garage, while your bike is smashed against the top of the garage.

 

 

 

 

photo credit: ezra1311 via photopin cc

photo credit :http://www.swimt3.co.nz/media/catalog/product/cache/5/image/600x/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/l/a/ladies/zensah-compression-calf-sleeve-32.jpg

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Photo Credit: http://salsacycles.com/files/blog/DD10-3.jpg

Ahhh, That New Bike Smell – Tips on buying a Tri bike

Bike wall

You raced a few triathlons, and you are hooked. Its time to trade in that beater bike for a fast new time machine. Before you pay out the GDP of an island nation on a new tri bike, here are some things to consider.

*legal notice – Always inform your significant other of these large purchases. Don’t try to sneak a new bike in the garage hoping they won’t notice. Believe me it won’t work.

Commitment

Have you caught the triathlon bug? Do you see your yourself progressing in the sport, and riding consistently. A Tri bike is a big expense, so let your commitment drive your investment. Garages and Craigslist ads are filled with lonely Tri bikes bought with the best of intentions. The owners raced a couple of Tris, and in the euphoria of finishing, plopped down a wad of cash on a shiny new bike. Then life/kids/job/injury/beer got in the way, and the shiny new steed went unridden.

If you are getting consistent workouts in, and a new bike will take your racing and training to a new level, now is the time to purchase that new bike. A new bike is a great motivator to get you out there riding with great excitement. Its like getting a new car, but you don’t have to ride everyone around the block when you bring it home.

Cost

Let’s get this out of the way, Tri bikes are expensive, and in some cases ridiculously expensive. Consider your budget and weigh your options when choosing a new bike. My advice is to get the best quality bike you can afford. A well made bike that is properly maintained can last 10 years.

Here’s the main items that drive the cost of a bike:

  • Frame Material/Design – Carbon fiber bikes are the most expensive, Aluminum and steel bikes cost less.
  • Components – (Shifters, Brakes, Derailleurs, etc.) Each component manufacturer produces different groups on different price ranges. Components on entry level Tri bikes are more than adequate. The difference with the higher priced groups is normally weight.
  • Wheels – Here’s where you can save some money. Entry level tri bikes will come with decent wheels. Eventually these wheels will wear out, or you will want lighter race wheels. Save money on the front end and get standard wheels, as it is easy to upgrade later.

Many bike manufacturers offer the same frame with different components. If you are on a budget choose the cheaper components. This way you are still getting the great frame, and you can upgrade the parts as you want.

Base Model Triathlon Bikes:

 

Fit

This is the most overlooked, but most important factor of choosing a new bike. You can max out your credit card with a $10k carbon dream machine, but if it doesn’t fit, you won’t go any faster.

My advice is to go and test ride some bikes. Have a person from the shop spend time with you seeing how the bike fits your body. A good shop will put you on a trainer and make adjustments to see if the bike will fit you. This is time well spent. If the shop to go to is not willing to take this time, then run away. It is not the shop for you.

Feel

We are all a little vain. If I am throwing out a wad of cash on a new bike, I want to feel like a bad ass on my new rig. Some bikes are just plain sexy. They have great lines, a killer paint job and scream to be ridden. The more sexiness the higher the price. Be sure the bike you choose works for your eye, and makes you feel fast.

Bonus – Purchasing

When purchasing a new tri bike, I always recommend going to your local bike shop. If it is a good shop, they will get you fitted, and provide you maintenance and service. You may save a some money going online, but the value provided by a good shop will far outweigh those savings.

Used – If you are on a really tight budget a used bike might be great option. this is a buyer beware situation. I would recommend purchasing a bike that you can actually see in person. Take someone with you that knows bikes, and can help you out.

Used resources: