1. From the Top: New eArticle: Marginal Gains, by Coach Fred Matheny
2. News & Reviews: Replies from Jan Heine to Comments on Tire Pressure Article
3. Question of the Week: What Type of Pedal-Cleat System Do You Use?
4. Ask Coach Fred: How Fast Should I Ramp Up My Early Season Riding?
5. Sponsors: Cycling Products from our Sponsors
6. Jim's Tech Talk: Clipless Pedal Basics
7. No Problem: Tapering for a Big Event
8. Quick Tips: A Couple of Varied Looking-Back Tips
9. Cadence: Sugar Added to Foods and Drinks Causes High Blood Pressure
10. RBR eBookstore: The Best Cycling Bookstore on the Internet!
In Marginal Gains for Overall Performance Improvement: How to Identify Dozens of Micro-Improvements in Your Cycling, Coach Fred lays out the concept that was the underpinning of Team Sky’s approach to reaching its lofty goal of putting a British rider in the Tour De France’s yellow jersey in 5 years. (Of course, they did it twice – in half that time.)
“How did Team Sky do it?” Coach Fred asks in his new eArticle. “One major contributor to their success was the concept of ‘Marginal Gains.’ Simply put, it’s the idea that if you can identify dozens of very small improvements, each insignificant by itself, the combination of those miniscule gains would translate into a major overall improvement in performance.
“It’s an idea that has potent consequences for recreational riders,” Coach Fred continues. “If we can pinpoint a few small changes in our bike fits, diets, training plans, event-day organization and many other areas of possible improvement, the resulting performance gains can be large. Look at it this way: a dozen changes, each yielding improvements of less than 1%, can result in total gains of 10% or more.”
Let that sink in for a minute: Instead of slavishly working on one big improvement at a time (the normal m.o. of roadies), we could instead – and without a whole lot of effort – tick off a dozen or so smaller improvements that, taken together, can make a sizable overall impact on our cycling.
I don’t know if there’s ever a “magic bullet” to cycling improvement, but the concept of marginal gains might be as close as you can get.
Across categories including bike fit, training, equipment, rest stops, nutrition, recovery, psychology, stretching, organization on tours and at cycling camps, Coach Fred lays out “specific strategies you can use to identify many small changes you can make to your cycling—and your life—that will make you a much better rider than you are now.”
He finishes with a bonus: 10 mini-marginal gains that require only what he calls “micro adjustments” to your daily routine and training.
The best part of this approach to improvement is that Coach Fred’s ideas can serve merely as a springboard to a universe of possible marginal gains that you can uncover for yourself.
“Not all of [my suggestions] will be useful given your specific situation in life, your cycling goals or the amount of time you want to spend searching for small improvements,” he says in the eArticle. “But even if a technique doesn’t work for you, it may suggest several other things you could do to help your performance.”
Marginal Gains for Overall Performance Improvement: How to Identify Dozens of Micro-Improvements in Your Cycling is on sale now in the RBR eBookstore – for only $4.99; Premium Members pay only $4.24 after their standard 15% discount.
– John Marsh
Editor’s Note: Last week, we ran a guest column headlined The Tire Pressure Revolution from Bicycle Quarterly Editor Jan Heine summarizing BQ’s tire pressure research and findings. Some of your comments on the article asked for feedback from Jan about specific aspects of the research or tires. His replies follow. – John Marsh
It depends. On smooth roads, you don't gain speed by going wider, but on rough roads, wider tires definitely are faster. And they are more comfortable. With wider tires, you gain comfort, speed and fun on scenic backroads, without giving up speed on smooth roads. Sounds like a win-win to me!
Rotational weight can be compensated for by going to smaller wheels. A 42 mm-wide 650B tire has about the same rotational inertia as a 30 mm-wide 700C tire.
However, the effect of rotational weight is not as important as many think. Otherwise, racers would use the smallest wheels the rules allow (55 cm, or 10 cm smaller in diameter than a 700C x 23).
Many builders and racers have experimented with smaller wheels, but found no benefits. Even sprinters, who would benefit most from the faster "spin-up" of smaller wheels, ride 700C, probably because it offers better handling than smaller wheels (a topic for another day).
In any case, the weight difference isn't huge, because much of a tire's weight is in the beads. The difference between the Compass Extralight tires in 32 mm and 28 mm widths is less than 30 grams. If you are concerned, get extralight inner tubes, and your tire/tube combination will be lighter than before.
That one is a hard one. You'll notice it when you ride the tires on the road -- there is much less "road buzz." When you shop, look for high-end tires used by racers, like the Vittoria CX, Challenge, Dugast or FMB tubulars, and, of course, our Compass tires.
Rim width isn't a huge factor for the tire widths we are talking about. A wider rim will make your tire a bit wider and possibly a little more aerodynamic, but for most of us, we can just stick any tire that fits our frame/fork on the rims we have.
The article I wrote for RBR was just a summary of our research. For those wanting the full story, including methods and statistical analyses, it was published in Bicycle Quarterly Vol. 5, No. 1; Vol. 5, No. 3 and Vol. 11, No. 3.
Just in time for riding season, we’ve got our next Premium Member Prize lined up. Any new or renewing Premium Members between February 12 (when we gave away our last great prize) and April 30 are eligible for the drawing. We’ll announce the winner in the May 7 RBR Newsletter.
The contest winner gets their choice of any one (1) in-stock ISM saddle. ISM has offered to help the winner pick the best saddle for their needs, based on body dimensions, riding style, and other factors.
In case you missed it, Jim Langley reviewed the ISM Adamo Breakawy Saddle (pictured) recently and awarded it a full 5-star rating. Click the link to read his review.
As always, we want to thank our Premium Members for their support and urge all readers to consider becoming a Premium Member. In addition to the number of great cost-saving benefits and our regular give-aways of great cycling swag, Premium Members are our main source of financial support in keeping RBR alive and kicking.
So, if you enjoy RBR Newsletter each week, please join as a Premium Member today! We need your support to keep our little operation going -- and we thank you!
For any urban planners among our readership, or for those of you involved in bike advocacy in cities without much cycling infrastructure, here’s an interesting read.
It’s a case study on how Miami, Florida, plans to convert 10 miles of underutilized land beneath its elevated MetroRail train system into “an iconic linear park, world-class urban trail and living art destination” – complete with a dedicated two-way bike path.
Details of the project, called The Underline, can be found at https://www.theunderline.org/.
That’s how PowerTap announced the launch last week of its upcoming foray into both pedal-based and chainring-based power systems to go along with its long-time hub-based offerings.
The new P1 pedals, slated to hit the market in May, will cost $1,200, with each pedal powered by a single AAA battery providing about 60 hours of runtime. The pedals are Look Keo-compatible and weigh in at 398g per pair, more than Garmin Vector power pedals in weight, but less in price.
PowerTap’s new C1 chainrings, priced at $700 and slated for market in early summer, are compatible with 5-bolt cranksets and will come in the following combinations: 50/36, 52/36, and 53/39. No true compact combination (34 low gear) is available because of space limitations; the power sensors and transmitter take up too much space in the spider.
The chainrings – proprietary rings made by FSA – come as one piece and are powered by a CR2032 coin cell battery providing about 200 hours of runtime. As for weight, the rings are said to weigh about 150 grams more than a standard set of FSA rings.
Both the P1 pedal system and C1 chainring system are Bluetooth- and ANT+-compatible.
PowerTap also announced a new disc-based power hub, called the G3 Disc, and a new head unit that offers Bluetooth Smart connectivity to wirelessly upload data and interface with the latest smartphone tech.
ISM Adamo Breakaway Saddle
Cyckit Aeroclam Underseat Bike Storage
Compass Barlow Pass Extralight 700 x 38 Tires
Wahoo Fitness KICKR Indoor Trainer
Magellan Cyclo 505 Computer
Selle Anatomica X Series Saddle
Fly6 Combination Tail Light & HD Camera
LifeBEAM Optical HR Sensor Helmet
HubBub Helmet Mirror
Giro Attack Shield Helmet
Rotor QXL Rings
Truvelo 24 and 33 Wheelsets
This week’s Question is tied to today’s Tech Talk about the basics of clipless pedals.
Coming up with a new poll every week is – believe it or not – one of the harder things I have to do. I would love to hear from you with any suggestions you have for a Question of the Week. To contact me, just hit the reply button on any email from us, or use the Contact Us form on the website: http://www.roadbikerider.com/contact. -- John Marsh
I recall reading in a past issue about the amount of mileage one should increase at the beginning of the riding season, like now. I recall the recommendation was to increase miles no more than 10 percent each week, but I'd like the specific reference, because I'm not sure I'm remembering it correctly. In other words, how much more should I ride from one week to the next when I've only been riding about 35 miles a week on an indoor stationary bike? – John Y.
[Coach John Hughes is Pinch Hitting for Coach Fred today.]
Thank you for your excellent question! Too many riders build volume too fast and develop “spring knee,” a form of tendonitis that can take months to heal.
Trainer miles, even on a computerized trainer, don’t translate to road miles. And not all road miles are the same. Hilly or windy road miles take longer than flat or calm road miles. Think in terms of hours of training. Spring knee is the result of increasing total hours too fast.
Also think in terms of hours of total training. Suppose you’ve been on the trainer 3:00 a week. Next week you increase to 3:20 (10% increase) of riding. But you also start resistance training for half an hour 3 times a week to get stronger. You increased training volume from 3:00 to 4:50! Very risky!
On the other hand, suppose you’ve been riding 3:00 per week and doing strength exercises 1:30 per week, a total of 4:30 of exercise a week. You could cut your strength training to 1:00 a week and increase your riding a little more, to 4:00 – 4:30 hours per week. I wouldn’t increase too fast because you’re also changing types of exercise.
How rapidly you can increase also depends on frequency. If you’ve been doing three 1:00 trainer rides, you might be able to increase 15-20% by doing four rides that total 3:30 – 3:40.
The injury-free rate of increase also depends on intensity. If you’ve been riding 3:00 at a conversational pace and increase to 3:30 of riding and start hammering—that’s risky! On the other hand, if your 3:00 on the trainer includes lots of intensity, you might be able to increase your volume to 3:30 – 3:45 by backing off on the intensity. For more on intensity, see my eArticle Intensity Training for Cyclists.
My eArticle on Spring Training: 10 Weeks to Summer Fitness, lays out four different programs which, depending on how much winter exercise you’ve done, helps you ramp up at appropriate rates.
Finally, how fast you can safely ramp up depends on your “Athletic Maturity.” I’ve been doing aerobic exercise for over 40 years. I XC skied 72 days this winter and hit the gym regularly. I’m just starting to ride again regularly.
Because I’m very mature as an athlete, I can ramp up my riding volume faster. Athletic maturity is explained in my eArticle Cycling Past 60, Part I: For Health. Although the concept is used to develop training programs for other riders, it applies to everyone: the more you’ve been riding and the more balanced your training, the more you can handle.
Bottom line: listen to your body. If something starts to hurt, or it takes longer to recover, or performance decreases—back off!
Coach John Hughes is a record-setting ultracyclist and cycling coach specializing in working with older athletes. He is the author of 28 RBR eBooks and eArticles.
Premium Member Price: $17.00 / Non-Premium Price: $20.00
Free U.S. Shipping / $12.50 International
Premium Member Price: $7.00 / Non-Premium Price: $8.50
Free U.S. Shipping / $5.00 International
For the past two Tech Talks we’ve been discussing replacing cycling shoe cleats. The feedback on these columns convinced me to backpedal and offer some tips for roadies just getting into clipless pedals, which is today’s topic. If that’s not you, pass this along to that friend you’re mentoring in the fine art of road riding and tune back in next week.
Most of us start cycling as kids on standard pedals and shoes. It isn’t until we start riding for distance, fitness, fun or competition that we realize (or are taught) that we should have some type of pedal and cycling shoe.
One reason is that the stiff soles of cycling shoes help our feet handle the stresses from the hard and sometimes sharp pedals, and the repetitive force we put into pedaling. Riding long distances in sneakers, for instance, can lead to serious pain in your feet. Another reason to wear cycling shoes is that they provide a way to keep our feet on the pedals.
This is important because without something keeping our feet in place, the high cadence we spin the pedals at becomes dangerous. Our feet can slip off the pedals, causing a foot to hit the ground, which, because of the potential for the bike to run into your leg, can lead to injuries and crashes.
A basic way to prevent this is to install toe clips and straps that keep your feet in the proper place to pedal efficiently and won’t let them fly off no matter how fast you spin.
Toe clips and straps can work fine, and before clipless pedals came along, even the world’s top cyclists thought they were perfectly adequate. But, clipless pedals, which work like ski bindings, locking your feet to the pedals, offered the advantage of easier and quicker entry and exit, and also boosted pedaling efficiency. So they soon took over for serious roadies once they hit the scene in the early 1980s.
The key thing to understand if you’re upgrading to clipless pedals from toe clips and straps is that it takes practice before you can get in and out of clipless pedals with ease the way you’ll be able to after lots of use. This is because using toe clips and straps trains the muscle memory in your feet and ankles to pull up and back to get your feet out. This is the exact, wrong motion to use to get out of clipless pedals.
So, don’t just buy your first pair of clipless pedals and shoes, have the shop install the cleats and pedals and head out for your favorite ride. Practice a lot first (keep reading). Failing to do this can lead to catastrophes like broken legs and hips or getting hit by a car; all real stories I’ve heard from cyclists who made this mistake.
To get good at using clipless pedals only takes about a half an hour. Practice on grass. You’re not riding yet, so you won’t fall off your bike; however, you could fall to your side.
Now, straddle your bike and lift one foot and click it into the pedal on that side. Click out. At first you may have to look down. Keep clicking in and out, in and out. Try without looking. Do it at least 50 times with one foot. Then repeat with the other foot.
Exercise physiologists say that it’s takes 1,500 repetitions to train muscle memory. You don’t have to do 1,500 reps, but understand that your feet and ankles won’t forget the toe clip exit motion, and it will take more practice until you can get in and out almost by reflex (without thinking about it).
Now that you’re comfortable getting into the pedals on grass, go for a ride, but keep this important tip in mind: when you are ready to stop, if for any reason you feel like you can’t get a foot out of the pedal, DO NOT STOP. Instead, ride to where you can hold onto a parked car or a parking meter or telephone pole, hang on and then click out of the pedal.
This is an important thing to remember until you get good at using your new pedals. In time it’ll be second nature to click out, but it does take a little time; some riders require more than others. As long as you remember that you can just keep riding until you find something to hang onto, you’ll never fall sideways with your feet locked in and break a hip, or worse.
If you want to upgrade to clipless pedals but are worried about getting used to them, I recommend going to hybrid pedals that are clipless on one side and standard on the other, such as Shimano’s M324s.
With these you can have one shoe clicked in and the other not, so that it’s ready to put down if you’re not confident about getting out. Over time, you’ll learn to be clicked in on both sides. Plus, you’ll always have the option of riding on the standard sides of the pedals where you don’t even need cycling shoes.
These Shimano pedals use what’s known as SPD cleats. They are for a type of cycling shoe referred to as a walkable shoe (mountain bike shoes are also SPD/walkable). On this type of shoes there are recesses in the soles for mounting the cleats. This makes these shoes ideal for walking since the cleats are hidden up inside where they won’t contact the ground the way road shoe cleats do.
Walkable shoes are a great convenience and the only reason racers don’t use them is because they can’t afford to give anything away in pedaling efficiency or weight. Walkable shoes weigh more and flex enough for comfortable walking.
Walkable shoes have the advantage that they’re warmer in winter and wearable all day long, so they’re ideal for touring and commuting. Note that to use walkable/SPD shoes, you need SPD-compatible pedals, too.
To finish, there’s another interesting product that some folks swear by. It’s sort of like toe clips and straps, but works sort of like clipless pedals, too. It is designed for walkable shoes and even boots, but requires no cleats. It’s call Power Grips. You can learn more here: http://www.powergrips.com/
Jim Langley has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He's the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check his "cycling aficionado" website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim's streak of consecutive cycling days has reached 7,752.
"I've been a long-time reader of your free RBR, but finally decided it was time to subscribe. You have a great publication and perform a much-needed service for the road biking community. Keep up the great work! "-- Roger Fobair
Support RBR with an annual Premium Membership for only $24.99.
Any racer or rider training for a big event can tell you the sad truth of hard training: Sometimes it makes you faster, but sometimes it merely makes you tired. The more you want to do well in your race or event, the more you train. That’s fine if your body is adapting, and your performance is improving.
But many hard-charging competitors train hard right up to the event that they’ve pointed to all season. Then they’re shocked and depressed when they find themselves with legs so tired they can barely ride at training speeds. It's not unusual to have dead legs and declining performances after a period of hard training. Racing or a packed schedule of organized rides can add to the fatigue if you've continued to train hard between events.
But there's good news: If you plan ahead, you can reverse the fatigue from too much training and convert it to superior performance on any given day. It takes time and self-control. Here’s a 3-week tapering protocol that will have you surprising yourself with your big-event strength.
Do a week of extremely light workouts. Ride 3 or 4 times but limit each outing to an hour and go very slowly -- no pressure on the pedals. If you don't feel like riding, don't. This easy week will help you recover from the hard training (or overtraining!) you’ve been doing. It’s a necessary foundation for increased fitness.
Increase the tempo on 2 training days but don't do hard intervals or get into fast group rides that put you into race mode and intensity. You want to keep your fitness but not try to develop it further. It won't happen at this point. If you overdo it, you'll only dig yourself into a deeper hole.
I recommend the tapering procedure found in my RBR eBook Basic Training for Roadies. The idea is to ride about an hour each day at an easy pace but include a series of short intervals to sharpen your fitness. As you get closer to the event, reduce the number of intervals by 1 each day. A typical third week would look like this:
6 days before the event: 5x2 minutes at a "hard" pace
5 days before: 4x2 minutes
4 days before: 3x2 minutes
3 days before: 2x2 minutes
2 days before: rest day
1 day before: easy spin with 2 short sprints
Try this protocol. For most riders, it leads to much improved performance because it's a combination of rest and race-like intensity.Comment
Today’s QT is a “family affair,” in that it was a question posed by our regular product reviewer Rick Schultz and answered by Coach Fred Matheny, with an additional reply from me. – J.M.
I would like to see this Quick “Safety” Tip posted.
I ride between 210-235 miles a week, so I'm out on the road a lot. Issue: For any given number of reasons, changing lanes, checking to see if the lane is clear, etc., you glance over your left shoulder. What I witness among the riders I see is the following (and there was no scientific study involved here!). They either:
Veer to the left -- 75% of cyclists I see do this
Veer to the right (overcompensation) -- 23% of cyclists I see do this
Ride straight -- 2% of the cyclists I see do this
So, what should the first 2 groups of cyclists do different, work on, be aware of, etc., so they ride like the 2%'ers?
Great question! The best way to avoid the problem is to use a cycling mirror. With one, you can check behind without wavering at all. It's great not only for changing lanes but also for keeping track of overtaking vehicles without looking behind.
I didn't use one for over 30 years (racers don't use mirrors...) but for the last several years I've used a small sunglass-mounted mirror. It's unobtrusive and works great. I've decided that safety on the road trumps vanity.
If you don't use a mirror, practice looking over your shoulder while riding a straight line. It's easier if you look over your left shoulder while relaxing your right arm. That will keep your movement from pulling the handlebars out of line.
Put your left hand on your left thigh and rotate your hips slightly on the saddle to aid you in getting a full view behind. Some practice in a safe place like an empty parking lot will make this instinctual.
Like Rick, I also do not use a mirror. However, unlike the younger Coach Fred, it’s not a question of vanity. I just can’t find one that works well with my Rx sunglasses – and a very, very strong prescription.
I have always worn prescription sunglasses for cycling, and the specs do not give me a totally clear field of vision across the entire lens. Thus, I have to find the “focal zone” near the center of the lens through which to look into the mirror, while angling the mirror just right to see behind me. I just can’t make it work for me. It takes me far too long to get it all lined up, when I can glance over my shoulder in less than a second.
But I don’t do it quite the way Coach Fred recommends. (Again, I would have to crane my neck and twist my head and body way beyond what the normal rider -- with decent eyesight -- would just to get a clear visual from the central part of the lenses in my glasses. I’m no contortionist, so that’s simply not possible on the bike.)
Really, all I need to see is whether there’s a car back there – fuzzy or not. So I have learned to just turn my head far enough, and tuck it down so that my chin touches my left shoulder – and I look as far left as I can, and down, below the lens in my glasses. At the same time, I very slightly pull the bar to the right to compensate for the natural tendency to veer left.
Through years of practice, I’d like to think I’m one of riders who holds my line while looking back. The key for me, really, is that it’s so quick there’s barely time to get off line anyway. So if you’re one of the unfortunate few as nearsighted as me, and you can’t work with a mirror, see if you make the quick glance work for you, too.
We’d like to hear from our readers with any Quick Tips you might have. To contact me, just hit the reply button on any email from us, or use the Contact Us form on the website: http://www.roadbikerider.com/contact.
By Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
Twelve scientifically-dependable studies involving 409,707 participants showed that sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with increased risk for high blood pressure, a major risk factor for diabetes and heart attacks (The American Journal of Cardiology, February, 2014).
A review of many studies on how sugar-added foods affect blood pressure and heart attack risk show (British Medical Journal: Open Heart, Dec. 11, 2014):
* Compared with people who consume less than 10% of their calories from added sugars, those who take in 10% to 25% of calories from sugar suffer a 30% higher risk for heart attacks.
* Taking more than one 12-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage per day is associated with at least a 6% increase in the risk for high blood pressure.
* A meta-analysis of clinical trials found that higher sugar intake was associated with increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 6.9 and 5.6 mm Hg.
* The more sugared foods you eat, the higher your bad (LDL) cholesterol.
* Sugars occurring naturally in foods, such as fruit, do not appear to present a significant risk for high blood pressure or heart attacks
* Sugar-added food, but not fruit, is associated with increased risk for high blood pressure and heart attacks.
* Replacing sugar-added foods with fruit helps to reduce blood pressure.
More than 80% of people who have high blood pressure also have insulin resistance, inability to respond normally to insulin. Therefore, eating and drinking sugar-added foods cause their blood sugar levels to rise, causing their insulin levels to rise, which constricts arteries to cause high blood pressure (British Medical Journal: Open Heart, Dec. 11, 2014).
The highest rises in blood sugar come from:
*drinks with sugar (including fruit juice), and sugar added to foods cause
*high blood sugar levels, that cause
*insulin resistance, that cause
*high insulin levels, that cause
*high blood pressure and
*heart attacks and strokes, and
You have high blood pressure if your systolic blood pressure is greater than 120 before you go to bed at night and just after you wake in the morning. That is when your blood pressure is at its lowest level. You may also have high blood pressure if your systolic pressure is greater than 140 after resting for 5 to 10 minutes during the day.
More than 90% of Americans will develop high blood pressure. Of these, more than 90% will have essential hypertension, which means that the doctor doesn’t have the foggiest idea what causes it. Doctors know that kidney damage and an overactive adrenal gland both cause high blood pressure, but these known causes occur so rarely that most doctors do not even order a renin level to look for kidney causes, or an aldosterone level to look for adrenal causes.
Most doctors feel that a high-salt diet is a major cause of high blood pressure. However, low-salt diets reduce systolic blood pressure by less than 5 mm Hg in most adults with hypertension, and the average reduction in diastolic blood pressure associated with a low-salt diet among adults with high blood pressure is 2.5 mm Hg (JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):516-524). In fact, low-salt diets are associated with increased risk for death for people who also have diabetes.
The people who are most likely to get high blood pressure from taking in too much salt are those whose cells are insulin-resistant. Their cells do not respond well to insulin (Hypertension, Jan 2013). They have a high rise in insulin when they take in too much salt (Am J Hypertens, 1998 (Apr);11(4 Pt 1):397-402). The extra salt causes high insulin levels which constrict arteries to raise blood pressure. For them, a high salt intake increases blood pressure, insulin, and blood sugar.
People who are insulin-insensitive usually have what is called metabolic syndrome. You have metabolic syndrome if you have any three of the following:
• storing fat primarily in your belly
• having small hips
• being overweight
• having blood triglycerides (>150)
• having blood HDL cholesterol (<40)
• having a fatty liver
• having a fasting blood sugar >100 (HbA1c> 5.7)
• having high insulin levels
• having high blood pressure
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Gabe Mirkin’s Fitness and Health e-Zine. Gabe Mirkin, M.D., is a sports medicine doctor and fitness guru. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin has run more than 40 marathons and is now a serious tandem bike rider with his wife, Diana, often doing 30-60 miles in an outing. His website is http://drmirkin.com/.