My Morning Coffee

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How many of you drag yourself out of bed in the morning and feel like a bear that has just woken from his winter hibernation?

Many believe coffee’s main benefit is just the caffeine that gets you moving in the morning.

Well, not so!  My good friend Helen, at Health Ambition, wrote a great article about 11 Amazing Benefits of Coffee.

Enjoy.

Love, Live, and Ride!

Dean

 

 

My First Triathlon

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Well, it has been a long time since I have written anything about cycling but I do have something to report:  I have officially entered my first triathlon!  Yes, I know that I am overweight, have not run significantly for about 30 years, am not a strong swimmer, and have been off the bike for a few years but I figured I needed something to get me motivated!  So, Thursday I officially signed up for the Naperville Sprint Triathlon.

Providing my training goes well, on August 6th I will hopefully be finishing a 400 meter swim, 22km ride and 5k run.  That only gives me about four months to get in shape so I should probably get off the computer and on the bike!

I will be writing about my training experiences leading up to the triathlon and impressions of the event itself, providing I live, once completed.

Check back often and wish me luck!

P.S.  I am VERY open to any constructive opinions regarding training or the event itself.  If you recently completed your first triathlon I would love to know to hear from you about what worked, what didn’t, and if you are planning a second or will never compete again…

Love, live, and ride (and swim and run)!

God Bless!

Shirts and Mugs!

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For any of you who follow my blog and want to help support it please feel free to get a shirt or coffee mug for your favorite Cyclist Dad!

Get some Cyclist Dad stuff here

Tip of the Day – Wear ID

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This tip sounds pretty basic but you would be surprised at the number of people that I know, and ride with, that do not wear ID when they ride. Not only does this provide your basic identification but more importantly it will include other important information such as allergy or other possible life-saving medical information. It can also prevent delays in treatment if you are hospitalized.

In my book this is one of those better safe than sorry things…

Love, live, and ride.

dean

Tip of the Day – Get Your Mind Right

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Saw a tweet the other day and thought it was awesome:

Your fitness is 100% mental.  Your body won’t go where your mind doesn’t push it.  Get you mind RIGHT!

That is what it is all about!

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

Tip of the Day – Duct Tape is my Friend

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Bicycle tires are made to withstand a lot of torture and rarely do you have a problem, other than a flat tire.  But every once in a while you unavoidably ride over something and cut your tire.  At this point you have four logical choices:

  1. Change or repair the tube, see article here, ride on, and hope for the best.
  2. Call your wife and have her pick you up; this is embarrassing for a seasoned cyclist.
  3.  Finish the walk home after trying #1 above.
  4. Use duct tape on the inside of the tire to temporarily fix the slice, change your tube, and ride on.
For me #4 is the correct answer here; I keep about a four-inch piece of duct tape with me.  I have also heard of people using a $1 bill or the wrapper from an energy bar.  I still like the duct tape option the best , through, and suggest you throw some in your saddle bag right now so you don’t forget.
Love, ride, and live.

Tip of the Day – Drink Chocolate Milk

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Chocolate milk is a great post-workout recovery drink.

There it is.  Sweet and simple, just like chocolate milk!

Here is a good article if you want to read all the details.

Tip of the Day – Hack Life

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Maybe I am dating myself here but does anyone remember the show MacGyver?  He could do just about anything with just about anything. There is a site called www.lifehacker.com that I would classify as a virtual MacGyver.  Check it out; it is one of my favorites.

Love, live, and ride.

 

Group Riding 101

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Bike Race Finish

Just some miscellaneous group riding tips shared by one of my fellow group riders:

Riding through tunnels — Ever wonder how the pros handle riding into a tunnel in the Giro or Tour of Swiss.  The transition from light to dark creates sight problems as you may guess.  Close one eye for some moments prior to entering the tunnel.  The eye will dilate and you will be able to see in the lower light conditions of the tunnel.  Ok this is useless for us,  but I’ll bet you never heard it before.  

Half wheeling — When riding “two up” each rider is responsible to stay even with the other.  The slower rider sets the pace.  If the bike next to you slows, then you slow to stay even.  It’s not cool to ride faster and faster to keep your wheel just ahead of the bike next to you.  If you are pulling away it’s your responsibility to slow.  It’s not the other rider’s responsibility to speed up.  Going faster and faster and faster will break the peloton.

Riding on the “tops” of the bars — I often see riders ride with their palms on the tops.  It is comfortable but if you hit a pot hole that you did not see, you might loose control, crash and take us all out.  Keep one thumb (or both) hooked below the top of the bar.

Intersections — The first rider (s) have responsibility for the safety of the bunch.  If you see traffic, make a judgment on whether or not the entire group and make it.  If the group can’t make it (with plenty of clearance) then stop.  Use hand signals.

Flat Tires —  If the group is resolved to stop for flats it can mean several stops when we are a large group.  To me stopping for flats should be reserved to small group rides, say less than 11.  When a flat occurs raise your hand so bikes can ride around you as you slow.  Stay on your line.  Don’t pull off until the group has passed you and it’s clear behind.  Right hand up means rear flat, left hand up means front flat (follows brake controls).  Only the rider with the flat should raise their hand so others know who flatted and can make their way safely around them.  Do not sit up and point at the guy with the flat tire.  Let him or her identify themselves.

Inflate the night before — If you inflate your tires the night before you ride, you will know if you have a slow leak.  Just a quick hardness check by pressing the thumb straight into the tread is enough prior to your ride.  Riding at pressures from 90 ~ 110 psi are negligible in terms of rolling resistance and if your pressure is falling from say 110 to 90 within 24 hours you should be investigating a slow leak.  When you find a slow leak it’s typically a shard that has penetrated the tire casing and wears a small puncture into the tube.  When you take apart the tire, feel the inside of the casing all the way around with your thumb for shards that have penetrated the case.  Be careful because if the shard is glass they can worsen your day.  If you are changing tires at home, use talc between the tube and tire.  This lowers friction between the tire and tube and helps the tire roll better.  It also makes it easier to change the tube because it does not stick to the inside of the tire.

Live, love, and ride.

Dean

The Medicine Man

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I remember when I was in grade school and we used to toss the medicine ball to each other in gym class.  I never thought they were good for anything except knocking your friend down when he wasn’t looking!  Fast forward 35 years…

In my third, and final, installment of “Hard to the Core” I wanted to explore yet another ball that can help you strengthen your core and make you better on the bike.  The medicine ball, as pictured above, comes in different weights and sizes, and is a great tool for training.

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Tip of the Day – It Burns

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After a long uphill climb make sure you don’t go down the other side without pedaling.  As you climb the hill, lactic acid will build up in your muscles and can contribute to muscle soreness. By pedaling lightly while coasting downhill you can help remove the lactic acid.

Love, ride, and live.

Tip of the Day – Drink Pickle Juice

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Yes, you read that right, drink pickle juice.  I have read several articles lately that state pickle juice is key to elimination of cramps during strenuous activity in hot weather.

Pickle juice is a natural source of sodium and other electrolytes which helps replace sodium losses from sweat and even helps retain water in the body therefore eliminating cramping.

There is even a company called Pickle Juice Sport that sells it by the bottle like any other sports drink.

I think it is worth a try this summer since I do have a history of cramping up.  I’ll let you know if it works.

Love, live, and ride.

Fix That Squeak!!

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Your bike, like your car, will give you thousands and thousands of quality miles but it needs some TLC too.

If you have ever had a squeak while riding, like I have, I know it drives you crazy!!

A friend of mine forwarded me a great article he found on Bicycling.com devoted to silencing those little noises.  I give all of the credit to the original writer.

Here you go:  Silence a Noisy Bike

Love, ride, and live.

Tip of the Day – Have a Shake on Me

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Protein shakes are obviously a great source of protein but can also be a great mid-morning snack or even as a meal replacement in a pinch.

Here are a couple of great recipes:

Chocolate Coffee Shake
Mix 2 scoops of Milk Chocolate Protein
1 cup of skim milk
5 ice cubes
1 cup of water
1 spoonful of instant coffee!

Meal Replacement Shake
1 cup dry measure oatmeal, cooked in water and cooled
2 scoops vanilla protein
3 dashes cinnamon
1/8 c sugar free maple syrup
1 tbsp flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter
1.5 cups water or low-fat milk

Enjoy!

Love, live, and ride.

 

Is It Time for a Chain(ge)? Part II

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Yesterday’s mission of evaluating and removing our chain was like climbing up Alp d’Huez in your biggest gear.  Today we will be  going down the back side of the mountain so we should just be able to coast.  Remember, though, as I mentioned here, to make sure you pedal during your descent in order to purge the lactic acid from your muscles so you’re not sore tomorrow.

OK, enough of the fluff.  Let’s get to the good stuff.

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Is it Time for a Chain(ge)? Part I

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You have trained your heart out every third day, if you’re lucky, for months to get to this point.  The crowd is screaming your name, or maybe that’s just the voices in your head.  You are sprinting down the final straightaway, like a rabbit being chased by a fox, about to claim your first yellow jersey; within a millisecond your dreams evaporate.  The rest of your group pass you by as you slow to a crawl and make the agonizing 50 foot walk to the finish line.

A million questions come to mind as you realize your chain has broken:

  • Did Bryan sabotage my bike?  No, I don’t think so.
  • Am I really strong enough to break my chain?  Definitely not.
  • Should I fire my mechanic?  Oh wait, that’s me!
  • What if only……?

Tip of the Day – Food Journal

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I have read and been told by several people that one of the best ways to eat better is to log everything you eat for a week.  This practice gives you a better idea of what you are eating when and will help you to better understand exactly how much you are eating.  Once you see the list I can almost guarantee you will start eating somewhat better in a hurry.

More details here.

Dean

Tip of the Day – Drink Water, Lose Weight

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Study shows that drinking 2-8 oz. glasses of water before meals can help in weight loss.  See the full story here.

Also, if you need a snack during the day try celery or carrots.  The only down side here is that they are not as quiet as eating a donut but will sure help you get up that hill faster.

Tip of the Day – Lower Your Gear

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cadence, tip of the dayAs an add-on to my post from January 11th,  here is another reason to get in the habit of pedaling at a faster cadence (80-85 rpm):

Low cadence can increase the pressure on your knees and lead to injuries such as biker’s knee. Shift to lower gears and faster revolutions to get more exercise with less stress on your knees.

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

Tip of the Day – Pedal Faster

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Recently studies have found that cyclists are usually more efficient on both hills and flat terrain when they pedal quickly (at about 80-85 rpm) rather than at slower cadence. It turns out that one also tends to burn more fat at a higher cadence.  Something to work on before the season starts for us northerners!!

See why here.

Love, ride, and live.

Survey: Eating on the Move..

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Tip of the Day – Work Out Before Breakfast

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Working Out Before Breakfast Is Better for Weight Loss

Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day but studies find that working out before breakfast, rather than after, is more beneficial for weight loss.

Find the full story here.

Love, live, and ride.

Rolling into the New Year (Part 2)

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I have hired a 250 lb. Swedish masseuse.  Not really, but I do have something that I believe is just as effective, and much cheaper, a foam roller.

Unless you are a yogi or are stretching on a very regular basis aging brings about the reality of restricted muscle movement as well as loss of flexibility or range of motion.  The regular use of a foam roller has been shown to relieve various muscle pain and tightness.  I am actually currently using it for my IT Band tightness and can tell you first hand that I do notice a difference.  I will also tell you that the first few times that you use the foam roller it WILL be painful.

Here are some general guidelines taken from a great article on all of the technical and physiological details of why and how to use a foam roller:

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Rolling into the New Year (Part 1)

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This is the first post in a two-part series on “Rolling into the New Year”.

Here we are at the beginning of January and it is cold, at least where I am in Wisconsin, so riding outside is out for now.  I could join a health club and go to spinning classes but am short on time as it is.  I do have a Kurt Kinetic Fluid Trainer which I love but even that, as you know, gets monotonous.

Enter the Rollers

A couple years ago I got a set of rollers from a friend of mine and finally worked up the courage to try them out.  One of my biking friends, a very seasoned rider named John W., gave me three tips:

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New Year’s Resolution? NOT ME!

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I’m going to join a health club, go on a diet, take yoga, stretch daily, go on a diet and ride inside every day for the next three to four months until the snow melts and I can get out on the road. Did I mention go on a diet? Really? I think not!

How many people actually do ANYTHING they set out to do in the New Year? Very few if you ask me. I am taking a different approach this new year. I was talking to one of my cycling friends and he told me about a book he had just picked up called “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss. I was familiar with this author but had never read this particular book but once I began reading I was hooked. In all fairness I actually listened to the book, a huge time saver, that I purchased from www.audible.com. I think it is a must read, or listen, if you really want to get your life back to open some time for cycling.

Happy New Year! Have fun and be safe.

Love, live, and ride.