Blog, Cycle U News, Dean's Letter, Training, Uncategorized

How to not get sick when training and racing your bike

I have a few tricks that keep me healthy when the season’s turn and I am pushing my body to the max in training and/or racing.  Over the years of having young kids around the house, training hard, racing and traveling, the one thing I have realized that might help me the most to keep improving is the ability to make adjustments to my eating and nutrition to stay healthy when I start to reach “the edge”, which is where most people get sick and lose weeks or months of time.  Here are 2 of my favorite secret weapons:

Wellness formula either in tablet or capsule (I prefer the tablet but found a deal on these capsules with my new favorite shopping service THRIVE delivery) and Emergen-C or this similar product to take with water a few times a day when I am feeling run-down and  on the verge of getting sick.

For myself, feeling a slight sore or swollen throat, frequent sneezing, mucous, change in taste of foods and less hunger all are signs to me to increase or start supplementing with these 2 items.  I also take these more when I am flat out pushing the envelope of sleep, training or stress.  

Hydration is also paramount and as the weather starts to cool off, and these vitamin C packs are a perfect addition to your daily diet to boost liquid consumption.  I start to have herbal tea in the evenings to be sure I stay hydrated, and of course I start each day with warm water with a 1/3rd lemon squeezed into it as I have talked about in previous posts.

I also recommend a good quality multivitamin on a daily basis for insurance.  I also supplement with Udo’s oil about 1tbsp per 50 pounds of body weight in a smoothie.  When we push our bodies on the bicycle, we can go beyond normal requirements for nutrition  because we demand so much more from each cell in our body.  

My goal is to stay 100%  sickness free.  On days/weeks when I have any of the above warning signs I try to do less physically as well, drive more vs. commuting by bike, sit when I can and focus on drinking hot liquids that don’t contain caffeine.

I remember times earlier in my racing career when I would not listen to the warning signs, keep pushing, get sick and not be ready to train hard again for 1-2 weeks.  Then I am building back slowly vs. being able to train hard again after a 3-4 day rest block.  

Rest blocks are also key to let your connective tissue and muscles get fully recovered to avoid overuse or injury.   I generally recommend taking 3-5 days off every 3rd week of hard training.  It is ideal to build these rest blocks into travel days or times when you would naturally not be able to ride as much.

Along with smart training, resting is the #1 booster of performance.  Rest as hard as you train, and follow the tips above to stay healthy and keep the upward spiral of improvement and progress rolling without losing time to sickness.

Spin to win!

Coach Craig

 

Blog, Coach Articles, Dean's Letter, Product Reviews, Tips and Tricks, Training, Uncategorized

Who knows what tomorrow shall bring…

I taught a private lesson this week to a new rider, someone who is very tentative on the bike.  We started with the basics on the stationary trainer.  How to stand up on the pedals while coasting and going straight, this might seem very basic, but I always tell clients that I can find people who cannot do what they can do, there are many who cannot even balance on 2 wheels! We all have our “next challenge” and whether you have been riding 2 months or 30 years, there is always something new to work on and master.

Coasting was a new skill and it took some time to get comfortable with it, check.  Done after 20 minutes of practice and some changes to make the bike fit better.  #2, Braking, how to shift weight back and really stop quickly, and then get a foot down.  Not that easy, key is to start without being clipped in so you can put either foot down quickly.  

We went on from there eventually adding clip-less pedals and tackling hills, but the thing that struck me, and that usually suprises me is how many small things you must master to really enjoy cycling.  It is a technical sport, but once we master it we forget it was ever a problem and often end up on a plateau where we stop learning.  

Where are you at and what do you need to work on to get to the next level?  What are you focused on improving this season?  Going faster downhill?  Cornering more confidently, tackling steeper hills, riding no-hands, bunny hopping, jumps, some kind of new genre of cycling, standing up and jamming up VERY steep roads or trails, drafting off of a good rider at speed?  Pick an area and focus on it, spend time working on it and soon you will step up to the next level and love cycling even more.  There are always challenges to keep you sharp and progressing.

Spin to win,

Coach Craig

Uncategorized

Racing your bike Part #2 Middle of the Pack – now what?

Part 2:  OK, you now can survive a race, hopefully you learned to draft and conserve so you can see the finish line with the rest of the herd.  If you came into racing with a strong cycling background, it is possible that you won races, went right to the front of the pack, towed everyone around and still won.  This is good and bad, good cause it is fun, bad cause you probably didn’t learn much so you might still be the same skill level as when you started.  This can come back to bite you now that you are riding up at the next level.

For normal people, you spend time getting strong enough to survive, now you want to try to go for a mid race prime (prize) or see if you can finish in the top 1/3 of the results.  You have enough strength and skill to survive, now you just need to use it smartly to best the others in your group.  This is where reading the pack really comes to the fore.  Here are some basics to live by:

1.  Only move up when it is slow and try to find a wheel to get you up the pack instead of doing it yourself.

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Uncategorized

The Art of the Pack

School of fish.  Pack of wolves.  Flock of birds.  Surfer on a wave.  When you decide to race your bike, you are assigning yourself to this kind of obedience and lack of control.  Group think, primitive reflexive response to the flow and changes of the herd and conditions.  You know what I am talking about?  Then maybe you haven’t raced, cause when you decide to ride with a group of riders without the formality of pacelines or ride leaders, chaos ensues and the rules of how you thought you should ride your bike are out the window, and you need to become “subject to the herd”.  

The good news is that once you learn the subtle art of riding with the pack, you will enjoy it and find much satisfaction from being able to fly along at twice your normal speed for hours on end, rocketing over the hills and dales of the country until the next climb starts.  You will be able to take advantage of the turbo speeds, and launch yourself to the stratosphere of bike speed and performance, there is no other way to fly.  The bad news is that not everyone makes the jump to good pack riding, and some of you will give up long before you ever accumulate enough skills and experience to truly enjoy the experience.  There is always racing Time Trials,  Triathlon, Mountain bike and Cyclocross, so don’t worry.

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Uncategorized

Why Lake Chelan is the best place to ride in Washington State

We just finished our annual pilgramage to the best riding in the state of Washington, Lake Chelan.  You could argue that the Mount Rainier area has the most epic climbs up beasts like Chinook and Sunrise, but you can’t swim there.  You could suggest that Orcas island or any of the other San Juan islands are the best, but the roads are narrow and the only good climb is Mt. Constitution.  Bellingham and Olympia have their magic, as does Seattle and Tacoma, but true cycling paradise is east of the mountains where the air is dry, the roads are smooth and the traffic is light.

Here are my reasons why I love our Chelan camp:

1.  Warm dry weather, some days I feel like I am in Mexico.

2.  Wide shoulders and light traffic.  

3.  The road quality is nice, often smooth.

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