1. From the Top: Langley’s Tips to Overcome Your Riding Roadblocks
2. News & Reviews: Weight Training and the Master Cyclist
3. Question of the Week: How Many Outdoor Rides a Week Are You Managing This Winter?
4. Ask Coach Fred: Why Should I Do Resistance Training?
5. Sponsors: Cycling Products from our Sponsors
6. Jim's Tech Talk: Readers’ Bicycle Repair Stand Tips
7. No Problem: Intensity or Endurance?
8. Quick Tips: Indoor Vice
9. Cadence: Health Matters: Handling Neck and Back Pain as You Age
10. RBR eBookstore: eArticles & eBooks for a Productive Off-Season
Quick Notes: Don’t miss our new DVD, Kita Yoga Workout DVD: The Secret to Becoming Strong, Supple and Serene, by Joe and Maria Kita, and our new eBook, Watch Your Line: Techniques to Improve Road Cycling Skills (see full details below). We have a number of other new titles lined up for early 2012 release as well.
And don’t miss your chance to Win a Free RBR Jersey! Each new or renewed Premium Membership in January will be entered in a drawing to win an RBR jersey (full-zip, high-quality; $75 value)! Click here for details.
Goals are great motivators to get us excited about a new year, and a new cycling season. I start every year with a nebulous list of cycling goals in mind – including a few must-do events – and then work to finalize the list. I plan some big events months down the road, map out some solo and group events, and others I add as I go along.
But goals themselves aren’t always enough to keep us motivated, are they? There are, inevitably, days and times throughout the year, situations that come up, life’s commitments, that conspire against the rides we want, or need, to keep us on track toward achieving our goals. Face it, we all run up against these riding roadblocks from time to time, and often we need motivators beyond our goals to get us past them.
So, what can we do to overcome these roadblocks and stay on track toward achieving our goals? If there’s one man on the planet who knows how to get his ride in day after day, it’s our own tech guru, Jim Langley, who has logged at least one hour in the saddle (trainer included) for 6,583 consecutive days (you do the math!). We asked Jim about some of the Jedi Mind Tricks he uses on himself to get out the door and on the bike day after day after day.
I’m guessing you might recognize one or two of these as tricks you use on yourself. Others will be new to you and surely worth a try. Share your own tricks with your fellow RBR readers on the Comments page.
Build in a reward about halfway into your ride. It could be a favorite store you’ll stop at, for example, or a great descent you love. If it’s out there and you focus on the reward of getting there, you’ll be eager to commence pedaling. I like the Swanton Berry Farm on our Swanton Loop ride – great scones and coffee! Find your own reward, and make it a part of your ride. Remember that you don’t actually have to stop, though, and eat that doughnut. The idea is to do what it takes to get out the door.
Bike computers can offer outstanding motivation. Whether it’s a basic unit with average speed, distance and time, or one with elevation, GPS and watts readings, computers offer a way for cyclists to stay excited about spinning up the miles, vertical feet or their training stress score. I now spend way too much time looking at my Power Tap wattage readings, but it keeps me inspired to get out there and put in the time and effort to stay strong.
Buy yourself a new bike toy. Almost anything will work – even new handlebar tape. But the thrill of that will wear off in a week or so, while a new set of gossamer carbon hoops can fire you up for an entire season. Creature comforts like helmets, glasses, shoes and gloves are great ones, too, because they make you feel better right away – and make you eager to try them out. Actually, even some new energy food or a new chain could do the trick.
Stay organized and ready to ride. If you store your bike down in the basement hanging up high, it’s a chore just getting it out for a ride. Keep your bike where you can get to it quickly, and keep it prepared to ride. Wipe it down and address any mechanical issues immediately after your last ride. Don’t wait until you’re getting ready for your next one. Also, keep your riding clothes and gear clean, organized and handy. I keep everything in one place and well-organized so I can suit up and hit the blacktop with ease.
Ride and share goals with your friends and cycling buddies. If you have a mutual goal you’re aiming toward, like the club century in July, then all you have to do is schedule your group rides each week, and you’ve got a goal, a training plan, and outside motivators all in one. Riding buddies exert a unique pressure that is especially good at helping overcome hurdles! You can trade emails to update each other on what’s going on with your riding, share equipment tips, recipes for good riding food and so on. With Facebook and Twitter, you can have your own little club, stay excited, always looking forward to your rides, and easily achieve your goals.
If you’re considering a “big ride” in 2012 but aren’t quite sure what event best suits you, how to go about planning for it, whether it’s an attainable goal considering your family duties and work schedules, etc., then you should consider the excellent resource that is The Ride of Your Life. This 163-page eBook provides an array of tools to help you build a bridge between desire and accomplishment, and align your cycling goals with your value system and life situation. It provides a series of worksheets to foster goal-setting, personality profile assessment, performance and past-ride evaluation, among other factors, that help you set and attain goals. And it features numerous “Ready to Ride” interviews with cyclists, detailing how and why they settled on their goal event, and how they accomplished it.
Really, it’s a great tool to turn to year after year – whether you’re planning a “ride of a lifetime” or not – to assess cycling’s role in your life, what you want to accomplish on the bike, and, according to author David Rowe, anaccomplished long-distance rider himself, how to plan for cycling success.
Enjoy your ride!
Editor & Publisher
In The RBR eBookstore
Kita Yoga Workout DVD: The Secret to Becoming Strong, Supple and Serene (DVD), by Joe and Maria Kita (authors of our best-selling eBook Yoga: A Quick and Effective Program for Cyclists). Both are registered yoga instructors, and Joe is the former editor of Bicycling magazine. They present separate 30- and 45-minute workouts that are accessible to all levels while ensuring the routines are always accommodating yet challenging. The DVD includes bonus One-Minute Workshops for such foundational poses as down-dog and warrior. Research continues to show the value of fitness-building workouts that include yoga, strength and core training. According to the Kitas, “Yoga has the potential to help you ride faster and farther with less effort – in addition to making you appear more limber and youthful.” Special Yoga eBook/DVD Bundle: If you’ve been thinking about trying yoga for its cycling-related benefits, this deluxe bundle of the eBook and DVD includes everything you need to loosen up while building balance, strength and body awareness.
COMING SOON TO THE RBR eBOOKSTORE:
The world of cycling continues to debate the efficacy of off-bike resistance training as part of the total package needed for optimal performance on two wheels. There are numerous studies that show significant improvement in subjects exposed to sound resistance training, without a significant gain in body weight or muscle mass, or in changes to VO2 (meaning the improvement comes from the resistance training). There are other studies that show no connection between these two quite dissimilar training methodologies.
But the debate simply does not extend beyond the ranks of younger cyclists, according to Coach Harvey Newton. Sarcopenia, the reduction of muscle size and strength as a result of the aging process, is a reality for master cyclists. This is particularly true in those muscle areas not normally stressed by cycling, i.e., the trunk and upper extremities. As noted in the Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (Human Kinetics), “…resistance training may be one of the most beneficial modes of training for older populations who need to enhance musculoskeletal strength, muscle mass, bone mineral density, and strength-related performances.”
Newton, (www.newton-sports.com) former national and Olympic Team coach for USA Weightlifting, raced extensively through the 1980s. As a long-time advisor to USA Cycling on strength training and the creator of RBR’s Strength Training for Cyclists DVD training program, Newton maintains a simple message: “Both male and female cyclists, especially those in the master age groups, stand to benefit greatly from a sensible weight training program.
“But, many cyclists fall prey to three common errors: 1) choosing ineffective exercises, 2) using improper exercise technique, and 3) failing to continue lifting weights throughout the entire season,” Newton says. “Endurance athletes must learn that simply lifting weights is not strength training. To truly gain the strength and power benefits available through a solid, periodized training program, cyclists must adhere to training protocols well beyond those proposed in popular newsstand periodicals.”
He points out several recent studies that support his career-long message that resistance training is effective for cyclists and that everyone, especially masters, should include resistance training as a lifestyle choice -- and a health-maintenance choice.
• The June 2011 online version of the European Journal of Applied Physiology reported a study by Louis, et al. It compared performances of nine master (mean age = 51.5 yrs.) to eight younger (mean age = 25.6 yrs.) athletes. Even with ineffective exercise selection and a protocol that would leave strength professionals running for the exits, they concluded, “The addition of a strength training program for the knee extensor muscles to endurance-only training induced a significant improvement in strength and cycling efficiency in master athletes. This enhancement in muscle performance alleviated all the age-related differences in strength and efficiency (between the two age groups).”
• The February 2011 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise included a submission entitled, “Influence of Resistance Exercise on Lean Body Mass in Aging Adults: A Meta-Analysis.” Looking at 49 qualified studies, it was concluded that an average of 20.5 weeks of resistance training produced a significant main effect equal to 1.1 kg (2.3 lb) gain in lean body mass. This compares with the anticipated 0.18 kg annual decline of LBM that occurs in a sedentary lifestyle beyond age 50.
This review also concluded that “single-set and/or fixed-volume resistance exercise programs may no longer be considered sufficient for individuals seeking progressive adaptations in lean body mass.” In conclusion, “higher dosages result in greater adaptive response, and that aging individuals should consider starting a regimen of resistance exercise as early as possible to optimize results.”
• Another recent study (Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Vol. 25, Number 3, March 2011) noted that the high percentage of male master cyclists with low bone mineral density, when combined with the likelihood of fractures resulting from crashes, warrants greater attention. They specifically suggested, “Coaches and health professionals interacting with cyclists need to promote alternative exercise such as weight training, plyometrics, and other high-impact activity to complement cycling training to help minimize bone loss in this population.”
“I know the studies on both sides of the argument,” Newton says. “It seems odd to me that cyclists argue so much more strongly against resistance training than do athletes in other, comparable endurance sports. But master cyclists (age 50+) really owe it to themselves to accept the scientific evidence and adopt resistance training to help stave off what is the inevitable loss of muscle mass and bone density that aging brings.
“Scientifically sound strength training makes sense to me, especially for the aging cyclist (Newton is 63), and convincing masters cyclists of this should not be an uphill battle.”
If you buy 2 Cervelos by Jan. 31, you get $2,000 off. Click cervelo offer for details about the program.
One comment on RBR’s Facebook Page indicated that not all Cervelo dealers are participating, so you might have to shop around to find one near you.
The survey was conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine. A number of the responses relate to cycling fitness and are among topics that we regularly discuss in RBR, including (along with their ranking on the list):
The survey was completed by 2,620 health fitness professionals, including trainers, fitness instructors, program directors and other specialists. They were all certified by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The survey asked them to rank 37 possible trends, including popular items from previous years and emerging trends as determined by the editors of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal, where the results were published.
You may have heard of it or seen the video. The sponsored cyclists received bikes, kits, etc., much like sponsored pros do.
It was a great idea that, sadly, was open only to Australians (yes, there’s a tinge of jealousy here!), but part of the program was bringing together cyclists, and recognizing that we everyday cyclists – Real Cyclists – are the bread and butter of bike makers and all manner of cycling product manufacturers.
It’s nice to see any company recognize that, and give something back in a novel way (even if it’s marketing-driven).
No word on whether Giant plans to select 30 more Real Cyclists to sponsor in 2012, or whether the program will be extended outside of Australia. Here’s hoping both things happen!
RBR reader Mike Henderson had a total knee replacement in 2010, recovered and continued cycling strongly. He just had his 2nd TKR and volunteered to document his recovery and rehabilitation to provide RBR readers who may be considering this or some other serious surgery some insight into what it entails. His hope, he said, is to encourage and inspire roadies to get back on the bike and continue on down the road. We’ll be running his follow-up reports on a weekly or bi-weekly basis throughout his recovery and rehab. Mike blogs about his recovery at www.findingwaystohelpothers.blogspot.com.
This week the knee feels absolutely fantastic. After the ride last week – outside -- I had a new energy to take it to the next level. I could see miles of long roads ahead, with green fields and blue oceans. I had a vision that was not to happen this weekend.
I have many commitments, and one of them that is actually key to my recovery is the LLS Team in Training (TNT) Tahoe program. This past Saturday was the Stage Coach Century about 1 1/2 hours east of San Diego. It's a great ride because it's an out and back with no stop signs and light traffic. It was cool and a little overcast all day, with no wind. Our Tahoe program has committed the last few years to help out with the first and last SAG on this ride, which is located 10 miles from the starting point. In return we have a booth at the start line, get the word out about our program and they send us some funding.
Rick Knaggs, my co-coach for this LLS TTN program, and I were there bright and early on Saturday morning at 5:15 a.m. If you do your math and build in the drive time, you will realize I got up at 3:30 a.m. We set up our location, and I didn't leave until 4:30 p.m. Long day! What we roadies won’t do for the cause of cycling!
To tell you the truth, it was the most rewarding thing I've done in a while. If you are a rider you should take one event and be a volunteer every once in a while. Believe me you will know what I'm talking about at the end. You'll be able to provide some thoughts at the SAG for the non-rider volunteers who don't do this regularly. Also, you'll get a whole bag of thanks and feel good about that aspect of the event.
So, because of this I didn't get the weekend miles that I had planned to do on Sunday. And after almost 10 hours on my feet on Saturday, I had to give that knee a break, with plenty of ice. I did get some good trainer miles in during the week, at least. I focused on time in the saddle and increasing the resistance. I'm up to an hour now and pushing 150 watts for the majority of the time.
Last week was also a time to reach out to others. Since I've started writing about my experience I've had some people send me a note or two on the side with questions and thoughts, along with details about their own knee replacement. Sharing is helpful and provides a sanity check both for others and myself.
This week I'm going to start adding in Individual Leg Training work (ILTs), to my time on the trainer. I'll also get the miles I need on the road next weekend and even move toward hills. Nothing drastic, mind you. Just more up and down.
-- Mike Henderson
--- “We did 150km (93.2 miles) today, and why did we have to do a downhill sprint? I mean, okay, it's a part of our job, nobody tells us that we have to sprint, but the organization should calculate the risk a little bit for us. We did 75km/h (46.6 mph) and if there's something that happens you cannot react anymore. Of course it was a headwind so just imagine if it's a tailwind. We’d have come here with 80-85km/h (49.7–52.8 mph)."
-- Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1 winner André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), griping about the day’s heat, it’s affect on riders, and the downhill finish that jacked up the tired peloton’s speed. A massive crash inside the final kilometer took out 20-30 riders, including Greipel’s Lotto mate Jurgen Roelandts, who suffered a fractured vertebra, Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale), who was taken to the hospital for x-rays on his collarbone, and Frederic Guesdon (FDJ-BigMat), who was believed to have suffered a broken hip.
The crash happened after a Vacansoleil rider, believed to be Kenny Van Hummel, clipped a spectator standing on the edge of the road, then veered into the peloton.
--- “This is unbelievable, really. This is the biggest win of my career…. I knew my form was good - but this is unbelievable. [My team manager] probably thought it was not worth keeping going, but the peloton gave me more time and I thought 'you guys have to chase me hard to catch me'. I was dying in the last ten kilometers.”
-- Will Clarke (UniSA), who broke away only 1.1 km into Wednesday’s 148-km Stage 2, and miraculously held on to win by more than a minute. It was the Aussie’s first WorldTour win, and coming on a stage with a 3-lap finishing circuit, it gave the home crowd a huge thrill as well.
The peloton was indecisive and noncommittal about reeling in Clarke, who built a 12-minute gap at one point. But by the time they reached the finishing circuit, which included a difficult climb, the gap remained too much to overcome.
Martin Kohler(BMC) held a 2-second advantage atop the GC over Greipel after Stage 2.
--- “I guess I’ve got a sick desire for pain and suffering. I love it. I love it. When you get your form right, [have] great legs . . . just to be able to go out there and inflict as much pain on everyone as possible, it’s a really good feeling.”
-- Stuart O’Grady (GreenEdge), beginning his 18th year as a pro, explaining the secret of his longevity and perseverance on the tour.
--- “The CAS has requested the parties to clarify whether, at this stage, any of them wanted to challenge the composition of the arbitral panel. As all answers were negative, the Panel will now be able to resume its mission. Unfortunately, this regrettable incident has slightly delayed the work of the Panel."
-- The Court of Arbitration for Sport, announcing in a press release Jan. 16 that it has delayed its final decision on whether or not Alberto Contador should be punished for his positive Clenbuterol test. The decision was to have been handed down this week but now is slated for no later than Jan. 31.
The delay came after last week’s insinuation by Radio Shack-Nissan team owner Flavio Becca that because Contador’s Saxo Bank team trained in Israel last month, there was a bias in favor of Contador on the part of Israeli judge Ephraim Barak.
In the RBR Marketplace
RBR-logoed JerseyBins - 8-gauge vinyl storage pouches that keep your mobile phone and other valuables dry and safe on rides year-round
RBR-logoed Jerseys - Made from high-tech fabric for superior comfort and wicking. Three rear pockets. Raglan-style with separate side panels. In club cut (loose American fit), with a full-length zipper.
RBR-logoed Podium Hats (free RBR water bottle with each hat purchase!) - black mesh baseball-type hats with one-size-fits-all velcro fastener are perfect for before and after rides
Answer at http://www.roadbikerider.com/question-of-week , where you can also find an archive of previous poll results.
-- 39% said “Yes. I do most of my own work but occasionally go to the LBS.”
-- 26% said “Sure. I enjoy doing all my own bike repairs, and some for friends.”
-- 22% said “Well, I do have an area in my house that I use for bike maintenance.”
Question: I have a big upper body from genetics and years of serious weight training. I've lost 40 pounds since I began riding, and I've quit the weight room for good -- I want to climb better! But local coaches tell me that I should still do upper-body resistance work to help my cycling. Why? I don't pedal with my arms. -- Andrew V.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: There are four good reasons why you and every roadie should be doing upper-body resistance training.
• As we age, we lose muscle volume. As a result, it takes more effort to produce a given amount of power, and the increased effort requires more recovery time. Resistance training helps older riders (age 50+, typically) maintain muscle strength and volume.
• You lean on the handlebar for long periods while riding. To avoid sore triceps and shoulders, pushups, dips or bench presses are effective.
• When you sprint or climb, you pull on the bar harder than when you're riding on the flats. So your pulling muscles need to be kept strong with exercises such as pull-ups and rows.
• You need to work on the core muscles of the abs and low back. They're crucial to any kind of strength -- on the bike or in the weight room -- because they provide the foundation that arm and leg muscles work from. They're especially important for stabilizing your trunk on the saddle during pedaling.
That said, you should not do upper-body weight exercises like a body builder or strength athlete. Instead, use relatively light weights and high reps.
You're a cyclist now, not a lifter, so you don't need to spend much time in the weight room. Doing the correct resistance exercises, and doing them correctly, are the most important things.
For more details, see my Complete Book of Road Bike Training. It has practical, effective, illustrated weight training programs for cyclists.
(Also, don’t miss the article in today’s News & Reviews section, Weight Training and the Master Cyclist, about the importance of resistance training, especially for masters-age cyclists, featuring an interview with Harvey Newton. He’s the former USA Weightlifting national and Olympic team coach, and author of RBR’s Strength Training for Cyclists resistance training DVD.)
Coach Fred Matheny has decades of experience as a competitive racer and cycling coach. He is the author of 13 RBR eBooks and eArticles.
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In last week’s column I reviewed Park Tool’s 100-3D Professional Micro-Adjust Repair Stand Clamp. It’s sold separately and also included on certain Park Tool repair stands. What’s special about the clamp is that, unlike older clamp designs, it works on bicycles with standard tubing and also on those with wide carbon tubes. It also has narrow jaws that are easier to clamp a bike with extra rubber padding to protect your bike and components.
I wasn’t sure how interested you’d be in this clamp so I was happy to receive some excellent feedback. (Now I see why, as nearly 70% of readers responded to last week’s Question of the Week saying you have your own home bicycle workshop and do most, if not all, your own repairs and maintenance.) Californian Bob Eltgroth wrote and reminded me that there’s an alternative clamp that works nicely for many carbon bicycles.
Giant’s Repair Stand Seatpost Clamp Adapteris a plastic adapter arm that you attach to your bike’s seatpost or frame and then you can clamp onto the adapter to hold your bike in the repair stand. The adapter comes with a selection of soft rubber jaws to safely clamp various-shaped aero tubes and seatposts. It sells for about $25, so it’s considerably less expensive than purchasing a full-on clamp.
As I replied to Bob, I have the Giant adapter and have used it a lot because my masters racing team is sponsored by Giant and I work on a lot of their carbon bikes. I like that it’s lightweight, easy to use, inexpensive and portable.
What I don’t like about it is that because it’s an additional arm between the repair stand and the bike, it doesn’t hold very stably. You don’t have to worry about the bike falling off, but it will move more when you’re working on things than it will when held by the clamp alone. Also, the adapter won’t fit on all carbon bicycles. But if it works on yours, you’ll probably like it a lot.
Bob also mentioned that he has a clamp on one of his repair stands that he really likes that’s made by Ultimate. He says that this clamp gets the most use in his shop because it’s quick to set up and has narrow jaws that will fit even if the seat is quite low or if there’s little space between accessories on a small frame.
I’m familiar with Ultimate repair stands, too. I’ve been using their lightweight, collapsible stands on trips and while working ride-support at races and centuries for many years, and they’ve been outstanding. Note that the company has changed its name to Feedback Sports. They carry a full line of repair stands along with their Pro-Elite Commercial Clamp. This clamp accepts frame tubes and seatposts up to 2.6 inches wide (66mm).
Last, check out this great home bicycle shop photo from Joe Stafford. Joe’s the Executive Director of the Bicycle Access Council in Dallastown, Pennsylvania. He has limited space in his basement, so he recycled his old solid-oak Zenith TV cabinet, adding caster wheels and attaching a Park Tool repair stand to one end and their truing jig to the other.
Note that this rig held a 31-inch CRT TV, so it’s heavy enough not to tip over. And it’s easy to move out of the way when it’s not in use. A portable all-in-one repair “cart” like this could also be rolled outside if you wanted to enjoy the weather or bring your repair shop to your riding buddies needing a little help. Nice job, Joe!
Thanks for the feedback everyone, and keep the comments coming!
Jim Langley has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for 38 years. At RBR he's the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop and moderator of the technical forums on the Premium Site . 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 6,583.
I give training talks to cyclists riding Colorado’s top cross-state tour, Ride the Rockies, and these enthusiastic cyclists always have great questions. At a recent talk, a fit-looking man stood up and said, “I’m confused. Training experts say to start the year with 8-12 weeks of base training at low intensity. They tell us to ride a trainer if the weather is bad but say to go hard because it's too boring to do long, slow distance. But how much interval training can I do without hurting my aerobic base? I thought the hard stuff was supposed to come later.”
That’s a great question about one of the most contentious issues in training. Many authorities say you need 2-3 months of endurance rides at 70-80% of max, with no hard efforts, to build a base and increase capillarization in the muscles. Other experts (well backed by research) argue that you should build a base with moderate efforts while at the same time including some harder intervals. What’s the best method?
This apparently complicated controversy boils down to a practical point: Most of us don't have the time or weather conditions to do long, moderately paced rides for 3 months in winter so we have to ride indoors. And indoor riding is deadly boring if continued much past an hour. As a result, most recreational riders and many pros mix endurance-type riding with harder efforts. The trick is not to overdo the intervals, and schedule plenty of recovery from any hard effort. It could be hard because it's done at a high heart rate or hard because it takes a long time.
Scheduling too much intensity too early was the mistake that Coach Chris Carmichael made when he set up the U.S. national team training plan in the 1990s. That crop of riders (including Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, Kevin Livingston and Fred Rodriguez) were doing VO2 max intervals in January -- at over 90% of max heart rate.
It burned them out and, according to some reports, it’s the reason Armstrong couldn’t finish his early Tour de France attempts. He had great 1-day strength from the intervals but not enough aerobic base to sustain that strength through a 3-week stage race. When Carmichael changed his program to emphasize more sub-threshold work in the winter, Lance dominated at the Tour.
Add variety to relieve trainer boredom. You don’t need to go all-out. The trick isn’t to do flat-out intervals to distract your mind. Instead, simply do different things on the trainer every couple of minutes. Pedal with 1 leg and then the other, stand for a minute, do 10-second sprints at 80% effort rather than 100%, do 5-minute time trials at 80% of max heart rate rather than 90%. Trainer time will go faster but you won’t burn out.
If you’re looking for other possible off-season workouts, check out our 16 off-season eBooks, eArticles and DVDs in our Seasonal Training section of the RBR eBookstore.
Adapted from Coach Fred's Solutions to 150 Road Cycling Challenges, a helpful eBook especially for cycling newcomers. Coach Fred Matheny has decades of experience as a competitive racer and cycling coach. He is the author of 13 RBR eBooks and eArticles.
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I just ordered a new indoor trainer. It’s a fancy fluid one, with a humongous flywheel that enables you to more closely replicate outdoor pedaling. It costs more than a big-screen TV, which I could be watching while riding my old trainer if I didn’t buy the new trainer instead.
My old trainer works pretty well except for the handle that clamps the rear hub. The handle got bent when I whacked it with an adjustable wrench because my bike was stuck in the trainer and my race was about to start. I imagine that voided the warranty.
Also, I never could figure out how to easily adjust the tension of the roller against my bike’s rear tire. So every time I used the trainer I had to deflate the tire, jam the rear wheel against the roller, then re-inflate the tire. Not a big deal, but kind of embarrassing if I ever told anyone, which I didn’t until now.
I’ll keep my old trainer because: a) I don’t know how to use Craig’s List, and b) unlike the new unit, it’s portable so I can take it to races for warming up. (After the handle-whacking episode, all I have to do is brandish my adjustable wrench and the trainer coughs up my bike. It’s a well-trained trainer!)
It’d be nice to have a snazzy new TV to go with my snazzy new trainer, but I’ve gotten used to riding without Ellen or Dr. Phil. They never take a pull anyway.
I don’t even listen to an iPod, which I actually do know how to operate. I prefer the radio, because the commercials are so aggravating that my power increases by 5 watts (10 watts during ads for mattress warehouses).
Only 59 days till Daylight Savings Time begins.
If you enjoy reading Scott Martin, the eBook Spin Again contains 181 of his witty, sometimes wacky, and occasionally heart-felt observations on road cycling.
Question: I am a 55-year-old, 5’ 4” (1.63-m) cyclist who has bouts of neck pain on the left side and lower back pain on the right side. I ride about 200 miles per week and when hill climbing I can’t always straighten out my body to get the full push up the climb. Would shorter cranks or a stem riser buy me anything? I try to ride at a cadence of 90 to 105. I would appreciate any thoughts. -- Edward H.
Alan Bragman, D.C., Replies: Cycling places the body in a very unnatural position biomechanically. This awkward position commonly causes neck and lower back pain, especially as we age, Edward. At 55 years old, riding around 200 miles a week translates to a lot of hours spent in the saddle.
Aging causes numerous changes in the musculoskeletal system, including a loss of muscle mass, loss of muscle and joint flexibility, loss of elasticity with stiffening of joint capsules, ligaments, fascia, tendons and surrounding soft tissue. While these changes cannot be eliminated, they can be minimized with proper strength and resistance training, flexibility and stretching workouts, combined with core training.
Activities such as Yoga and Pilates can also be very beneficial. Devoting adequate time to these other activities should help make your time spent on the bike more comfortable and enjoyable.
You should also consider having your position on the bike checked by an expert at your local bike shop. The position on the bike should be modified by being less extreme as we age. This generally involves raising the bar and stem, and possibly changing the saddle position and stem length.
To assist you in your goal for greater comfort on your bike, consider the array of articles available through the RBR eBookstore that are targeted to your issues. The Medical Series eArticles are a great starting point.
Alan Bragman is a chiropractor living in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a former Cat 3 cyclist and nationally ranked inline speed skater. He was on the medical advisory board at Bicycling magazine for 10 years and has written for other sports publications. He is the author of a number of best-selling RBR eArticles and eBooks.
Health Matters runs regularly in RBR Newsletter. Send us your Health Matters questions by visiting the Newsletters page on our website, and clicking on Health Matters in the right-hand column.
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