skillet

What do Vegan Athletes Eat?

by Maureen Bruno Roy in Cyclocross, Train With Grain

I am frequently asked about what I eat on a daily basis to attain the nutritional values needed to sustain not only a healthy but very active lifestyle. Nutritional considerations for a vegan athlete include getting enough of they key nutrients of omega 3′s, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D and B12. Foods high in these nutritional values include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts and beans. Some nutrients such as B12 must be supplemented or eaten in fortified foods. (try Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast!)

Many people have continued to ask me about getting enough protein which has lead me to do some research on the subject. Each scientific journal article and report I have read suggests that that athletes in general do not require more protein than non active persons whether vegan or not. The recommendation for athletes and the general public is to have 12-15% of your daily calories be from protein-adjusting calories (and therefore protein) based on physical activity.

Based on my personal stats, a 50kg athlete (110lbs) eating 12% of my calories (kcal/d) as protein would look like this, (using calculating methods based on the Food and Nutrition Board) Based on 2500 calories per day (.12 x 2500kcal/4kcal per gram of protein=75g of protein) The RDA recommends 40-50g/d as a general guideline for the average sedentary-normally active person of my size.

Here is a sample of what I might eat in an average work/training day. I have estimated protein content for each meal based on the brands that I use. My diet varies slightly on race days or longer or harder training days when I add extra calories before racing and often have a recovery smoothie with protein right after a race.

You can see how easy it is to actually get plenty and possibly too much protein in your diet if you are not mindful of your calorie intake and expenditure.

BREAKFAST: 18-25g protein

  • 1/4-1/2 cup cooked Bob’s Red Mill Rolled or Steel Cut Oats (7-14g protein)
  • 1/4 cup Dried Fruit and Seeds (6g protein) optional
  • 1/2 cup Soy or Rice Milk (4.5g protein) optional
  • 1 Banana (1g protein)

OR

A smoothie with:

  • 1 cup Rice or Soy Milk (4-9g protein)
  • 1 cup Water or Coconut Water
  • 2 cups (or 3-4) stalks of Kale or Spinach (5g protein)
  • 1 Banana (1g protein)
  • 1 cup of frozen Fruit (2g protein)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal and/or Hemp Protein (3-6g protein)

MID MORNING SNACK:

I have a juicer now and I love that I can make a nutrient packed mid morning snack in a liquid. Here are my 2 favorites:

  • 1 large Cucumber (peeled if not organic-always wash your veggies regardless!)
  • Large fistful of Kale or Spinach
  • 4 stalks Celery
  • 1 to 2 big Broccoli Stems
  • 1 Pear or Green Apple
  • 1 inch of Ginger (or less), peeled

OR

  • 2 Apples
  • 4-6 Carrots
  • 1 inch of Ginger, peeled

LUNCH: (27-45g protein)

  • 2-3 cups mixed Greens or Spinach salad with: (2-4g protein)
  • 1/2 Avocado (1.5g protein)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Carrots (1g protein)
  • 1/4-1/2 block of sauteed Tofu (pan seared with a little olive oil and spices) or 1/2 package of Seitan (13-22g protein)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Quinoa (6-12g protein)
  • 2-3 Tbsp of Seeds or Nuts (3-4g protein) optional

SNACK: 8-12g protein this is usually a post workout snack for me!

  • 1 slice whole grain or sprouted Bread (or toast) (6-8g protein)
  • 2 Tbsp Hummus (2-4g protein)
  • Tomato or Apple slices
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

DINNER: 26-50g protein

  • 1 cup steamed Broccoli, Kale, Chard, Brussels Sprouts or Collard Greens (generally something bright green) (4g protein)
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Short or Long Grain Brown Rice or Buckwheat Groats, Wild Rice or another grain mixed with: (6-12g protein)
  • 1/2 cup crispy Chickpeas (7g protein)
  • 1/2 chopped Onion
  • 1/2 chopped Apple
  • 1/4 cup Seeds or Nuts (4-6g protein) optional
  • 1/2 of a roasted Delicata or Acorn Squash (2g protein)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional yeast (3-4g protein) LOTS of B12!

DESSERT:

  • Apple slices with Cinnamon

OR

  • 2 homemade Raw Oat Balls (recipe makes at least 12):
    • 1/4 cup chopped Dates
    • 1/4 cup dried Coconut
    • 1-2 cups Rolled Oats
    • 1/4 cup Brown Rice Syrup
    • 1/4-1/2 cup Sunbutter or Peanut Butter (or other favorite nut butter)
    • 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
    • 1/4 dried Cranberries

Mix together and roll into small golf ball sized balls.

As you can see, my daily totals of protein would vary from about 79-126g protein/d. The most important part of fueling a vegan athletic lifestyle is to make sure you are eating a micro-nutrient rich diet including whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans and avoid processed foods.

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Maureen Bruno Roy Google: Maureen Bruno Roy
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RunningPath

Improving Endurance

by Doug Carr in Cyclocross, Road Cycling, Train With Grain, Triathlons

Merriam Webster defines endurance as the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially : the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.

Joe Friel, author of The Triathlete’s Training Bible, defines endurance as: The Ability to Resist Fatigue.

In most athletic pursuits, endurance can be the determining factor of who is crowned the winner, and who must settle for second place. Endurance can be developed for an event lasting a matter of seconds, or one that lasts for days. Think of the sprinter versus the eco-racer. One common denominator in improving endurance is the fact that it happens in relatively small chunks, over a lengthy period of time. You can typically improve your endurance in three specific areas. Those are the Cardiovascular and Muscular systems, as well as the psychological system, or what would be considered Mental endurance. The cardio system includes both aerobic and anaerobic pathways.

Cardiovascular and muscular endurance are improved with the same type of overload principles used in resistance training. We’ll overload or stress the systems (go longer than previous sessions), then recover the systems in preparation for the next overload. Each subsequent session builds on the previous, and the systems adapt to increase the amount of time necessary to overload or fatigue. In turn, mental endurance is gained as the previous barriers or limitations are exceeded. One can be said to have Mental Toughness. I don’t consider this the same as Mental Endurance. An individual can be mentally tough, but to have the mental endurance to persevere through the training at longer and longer efforts, and be able to take that endurance out on the course with you, takes an amount of endurance that is only found by pushing through the fatigue.

Improving your endurance through consistent training will be stair-stepped effect, in that each session or “step” will take you that much further toward improvement. It’s a good idea to utilize the services of a qualified coach, someone who can look at your progress objectively, and determine when, where and how much additional stress can be applied to the next workout session. They can also test your endurance and determine when it might be time to back off so as not to risk overtraining. Think of it as a natural addition or infusion to your workouts. Just like gaining overall fitness, it’s a process that takes consistency, applied moderation and perseverance.

Train With Grain!!­

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Doug Carr Google: Doug Carr
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skinsuit

This is how you get a white skinsuit white in Belgium

by Maureen Bruno Roy in Cycling, Cyclocross, Train With Grain

Mo gets creative to get her skinsuit clean in Belgium.

“Zeep” from Matt Roy on Vimeo.

About The Author
Maureen Bruno Roy Google: Maureen Bruno Roy
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US Gran Prix of Cyclocross: Rounds 7 & 8: Deschutes Brewery Cup

by Maureen Bruno Roy in Cycling, Cyclocross, Train With Grain

The week following the NEPCX series final in New England had me working two more days in my temporary Arlington office before finally settling into my newly renovated Cambridge office on Wednesday. It was fantastic to be settled into one place. It seems as if I have spent the entire Fall moving in and out of offices and traveling to races every weekend in between. Phew!

Matt and I were both in need of putting in a solid full work week, so we planned to fly to the USGP finals in Bend, OR on Friday, race Saturday and Sunday and take a red-eye flight home Sunday night. Our plans included staying at the Mt Bachelor condos and having our Portland friends, Dan and Addie, join us for the weekend. The USGP finals have been in Portland for the last two years with Nationals in Bend the following week. Although we were a bit sad to miss out on spending an entire week at Dan and Addie’s house, it was great to have them for a quick 48 hours.

We arrived in Bend on Friday in time to hit the course for a pre-ride and check out the conditions. The venue for the course is nestled in between a grassy park, the Deschutes Brewery and a new shopping development. The course is situated on what could be described as an abandoned lot or a yet-to-be developed area of excavated earth. Squeezed in amongst the vendors are the most interesting features of the course (the flyover and stairs). The track then crosses onto the grass in front of the Brewery. The remainder of the course weaves through front-end loaded dirt piles on a loamy/dusty track and through a sparse stand of Ponderosa Pine trees (which smelled really good on one section of the course). Unlike the previous two years, Bend had been experiencing an unprecedented warm and dry spell.  The course would be dry and dusty all weekend long.

As expected, the course was dry, very dusty and the ground had several sections of very hard ground with lots of loose gravel. During my pre-ride I managed to test the limits of speed on the course by hitting the deck on a loose gravel corner. Fortunately, I got off with only some bruising and a scrape to the knee. I did however swap to more aggressive tires to have more traction for Saturday’s race.

day1

In addition to my racing obligations for the weekend, my clothing sponsor, Castelli, had contacted me about doing a photo-shoot for their Winter 2012 catalog. It was quite an honor to be asked to be in a catalog! We made arrangements to meet up on Saturday morning to head to beautiful Sun River for the shoot. It was 15 degrees but luckily I was modeling some of their fantastic winter jackets. Greg kept his car “sauna hot” for me to warm up in between takes and John and Joel toughed it out in the cold to perfect the shots. These guys are real perfectionists and were great to work with. I hope my eyes were open in the photos – it’s a trend of mine to be “sleeping” in photos!

 

Back to racing. My start was okay but not great.  It was definitely a course where the first lap was the most important lap and I didn’t quite nail it.  I had to work pretty hard to pass people and move up in the field of racers.


I felt comfortable catching up on the turns and the set of stairs but the rest of the course was super-fast and made for difficult for passing. I worked my way up to just outside the top 10 and finished 11th. Considering our hectic flight schedule, I was fairly satisfied with my result, feeling a lot more open coming into the last few laps.


That night we headed out into Bend for dinner at Joolz Restaurant for Dan’s birthday. We had a great meal and fantastic time relaxing with our pals. Happy Birthday, Dan!

 

day2

After Saturday’s race, I knew it would be important to have a better start because of the difficulty making up time on the fast course. There were a few changes to the track, but overall the feel of the course was the same, FAST! The temperature was also very cold on Sunday with highs around 23 degrees.

 

 A good start had me in the top five for the first few laps of the race, accelerating on every bit of pavement and flat grass section to stick with the riders in front. On the paved start/finish stretch, a split formed and I was alone in fifth for a while but knew that sixth place was soon to catch me.

 

I dug deep but knew I wouldn’t be able to hold my position alone for three more laps. A group of four was very close behind me and chasing hard. I was able to make a pass on one of the riders that caught me but three more were working together and were able to catch me in time for the last lap sprint finish. I was 9th in the end and although I would have preferred to have stayed in 5th or 6th place, I am pretty sure that is the hardest I have ever ridden my bike for 40 minutes.


After my race, I joined Dan and Addie and watched the men’s race while Matt worked for the Cannondale Cyclocrossworld Team. The temperature had dropped quite a bit so we hung out by the fire pits to keep warm and pet all the cute dogs that walked by.
Dan and Addie headed back to the condo to watch football while Matt and I packed up my bikes and wheels to get ready to head to the airport. We were able to make a quick return to the condo to say goodbye to our pals and headed home. We were about to squeeze in three more workdays before a 11-day trip to Belgium for 5 more races! In fact, by the time we send this, we’ll already be in Belgium… more on that soon.

Check out Mo’s Gift List for the CX racer on your list.

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Maureen Bruno Roy Google: Maureen Bruno Roy
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New England Pro CX Series, Rounds 7 & 8: NBX Gran Prix of Cross

by Maureen Bruno Roy in Cycling, Cyclocross, Train With Grain

We’ve got a lot to cover in this week’s newsletter. I had two days of lighting-fast racing in Rhode Island. Also, I finally succumbed to the pressure and did an interview in my “native” tongue. But more importantly Matt and I put together a special edition newsletter, the MMRacing 12 Days of CXMas! Keep on reading to find out more!

This past weekend was the finale of the New England Pro Cylocross Series in Warwick, RI. The weather was once again beautiful, sunny and mild… a trend this season in New England. The racecourse was also another very fast track with a downhill sprint finish both days. I knew that I would be hard pressed to be able to beat the road racers/sprinters in a straight up battle, so I hoped that the running sections in the sand might be my one chance to prevent the race from coming down to a big sprint.

Unfortunately, neither day turned out the results I had hoped for, but I certainly hope the training will prepare me for the transition to the upcoming more technical courses in Bend, OR this weekend and Belgium in 10 days!

day1

The short uphill start may have been a sign of the way the rest of the race would unfold as two riders veered in front of me rather than going straight up the road.  The pace was fast from the start on a very long paved stretch that unfolded onto the grass and then into the woods to the sandy beach run.

 
I took the lead on the run and drove the pace until we reemerged onto the pavement and the road racing tactics began to unfold. I had already made the mistake of racing as if I were on a more technical course where I may have been able to take an advantage.


However, with a team of three riders attacking the group while the more road savvy riders sat on wheels out of the wind, I was wasting energy and not paying attention to what the others were up to.

I was on the back of the train of riders when another racer slipped and fell on a short uphill section causing myself and one other rider to get gapped off of the main pack. My friend and I spent the remainder of the race painfully close to catching the leaders but were never able to latch back on.

In the end I was 7th, quite disappointed in the endless errors I had made misreading the race but hopeful that I could learn from them for the next day.

day2

Fortunately, I was able to discuss Saturday’s race with Matt who is a very savvy road racer and has the mind to see and anticipate things before they even happen. It’s a game of tricks, outsmarting and tactics.  I tend to be impulsive, inattentive about what others are up to and frustrated that you can’t just train, be fast and try your best and have those factors dictate your results. I was able to pre-ride Sunday’s course with my good friend Adam who is also a cycling coach. He patiently helped me plan out my tactics for the day.

 

I was pleased to see a second beach run and much less pavement on Sunday but there was still a big downhill finish to contend with. I was also lucky to meet the very stylish seven and nine year old sisters, Marlee and Jillian. They both ride bikes and were big fans, cheering loudly for me both days. Thanks girls!


Immediately after the start, I pushed myself to get on the train of riders that were leading the race. Five of us quickly broke off from the rest of the pack. We all rode wheel-to-wheel through every section of the race.


I was able to recover on the running sections and turns. I knew that my only chance was to sprint the last running section, but I hesitated, fearing that it was still too far from the finish and I would expend energy I didn’t need to.

Unfortunately, I still wasn’t playing the game correctly and, instead of attacking, one of the riders bumped me after the sand causing a bit of a jam. Meanwhile another rider slipped on a corner allowing the eventual winner to have a gap. The rest of us came through the downhill in a sprint where I trailed the group in 5th. I wasn’t very pleased with my overall weekend but planned to use what I had learned for the next time.

 

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Maureen Bruno Roy Google: Maureen Bruno Roy
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Mo1

UCI Carousel Volkswagon Jingle Cross Rock

by Maureen Bruno Roy in Cycling, Cyclocross, Train With Grain

After getting home from Louisville, I took a much-needed day off of work and a nice training / recovery week followed by a weekend at home to clear out my head cold. I was feeling recovered enough by the following Sunday to get in a nice workout and begin my prep for the Jingle Cross Rock races. Immediately after Thanksgiving, Matt and I would be heading to Iowa City for three days of important UCI races including a points-heavy Category-1 UCI race on the third day.

We had decided to travel on the Friday after Thanksgiving so that we could have a nice holiday meal with Matt’s family. Thursday morning, Matt joined me in the woods for my pre-race training ride before heading home to whip up a “whatever’s in the pantry” casserole for Thanksgiving. I settled on a butternut squash, kale and stuffing casserole, which is the Recipe of the Week.

The race on Friday was scheduled for 6:30 PM, so that morning we took a 6:30 AM flight to Chicago followed by a three hour drive to Iowa City. As usual, Matt plugged in the addresses of the local food Co-op as well as several veggie restaurants and cafes into the GPS ahead of time. Arriving in Iowa City a little after noon, we picked up some lunch and breakfast foods and settled into the hotel before heading to the race venue a few hours later.

In addition to taking care of my bikes, Matt was working for the Cannondale Cyclocrossworld team for the weekend as well and they generously allowed me to use their warm tent for my pre-race prep. As always, the crew from the Rapha Focus Team and SRAM Neutral Race Support were generous in offering their assistance – thanks guys!

day1

I’ve only done one other nighttime race and I was happy to hear that the course would be well lit! It sounds a bit scary to be racing your bike down a hillside in the dark! The temperature was around 50 degrees and the course was fast and dry but had a big, long climb up the infamous Mt. Krumpet and some challenging technical sections. I knew that I would be a bit slow to get going since I hadn’t raced in two weeks but I had a good warm up and a front row start.


The pace from the start was very fast and within two laps, there was a large group of nine of us together off the front. I was feeling my limit on the long, flat straight-aways but was able to pull it back together on the run and the technical bits.

With two laps to go, the group was pulling apart and I was holding steady in 4th place, hoping to move ahead to the podium spots. In the end though, I held my position and finished in 4th place. I was now warmed up, the cobwebs cleared and ready for two more days of racing. I hoped weather radar was right and that the impending rain would be in my favor the next day.


That night we headed out for dinner in town and found Masala Vegetarian Indian Restaurant. It was a fantastic meal and the staff was very nice.We were pretty impressed by this small Mid-Western city!

day2

We awoke to a steady drizzle and before heading to the venue, we popped into one of the cafes Matt had found, called the Fair Grounds Coffehouse. It was an all vegan café with great coffee and a full breakfast menu. We had already eaten but I purchased a tasty looking gingerbread cupcake for after the race!


Overnight rain and morning drizzle had made the course incredibly slippery but not actually muddy. During my pre-ride, the bike was sliding all over the course but not gathering up any sticky mud. Unless the conditions changed leading up to my race, the pace would still be fast. It would be a game of quick accelerations, maintaining speed on the long straight-aways and trying to not make any mistakes that could cost valuable time.

Unfortunately, I felt as though I was not reading the course very well and kept making little mistakes and judgment errors in my timing on and off the bike. I was able to move into 3rd place but was not confident in my position as another rider caught me in the last lap.


We fought for that last podium spot but I wasn’t able to close the gap in the finishing sprint and took another 4th place. I was disappointed that I simply did not ride my bike well, considering the slippery conditions. However, I was feeling more energetic and “opened up” after the second day and hoped that would translate into a stronger race for the Category-1 event on Sunday.


That night, we headed to the local laundromat, Spin City, where there were about 15 other cyclists washing their muddy clothes. We joined Jessica (THE wife of the My Wife Inc cyclocross team and pro cupcake baker) and had a blast getting to know her. After the laundry was done, we headed out to The Red Avocado for dinner. Normally we stay in a hotel with a kitchen and I cook all of our meals, but we had only found a regular hotel near the venue, so we decided to check out some of the local restaurants. This place was fantastic and a perfect way to end a long muddy day.

 day3

We were impressed enough by the menu and coffee at Fair Grounds that we went back for breakfast on Sunday. I got a giant waffle with strawberries and Matt got a tofu scramble burrito. Both were delicious and it was nice to have a relaxing morning with the local café dwellers and the weird counter guy in the pseudo-military-safari outfit.

The rain had stopped overnight, the temperatures had dropped to 35º and the winds picked up. However, the damage from the rain was done and the course was truly muddy, sticky and more difficult on day 3. I was feeling ready for the challenge and took off at the start sitting in the top five riders.

Within two laps, one rider was off the front and the rest of us were fighting for position especially up the long run and climbing sections. With one lap to go, I was able to move from 4th to 3rd place. The leader was fading a bit and I was able to catch her and take the lead for half of the penultimate lap before another rider joined me.

 

On the last lap, the three of us remained very close. I was trying to not make any mistakes but slipped out on one corner allowing a small gap to open up. I recovered from the spill and dug deep, dropping the third placed rider and chasing for the leader. In the end I took second place, 7 seconds down on the winner. I was pleased to have my first podium result of the season and to do so at at C1 UCI event made it all the more special.

To make my finish that much sweeter, Matt tracked down a guy who had been walking around with the cutest little puppy. He brought the puppy into the finishing stretch and seconds after I turned around and before I even had a second to wipe the mud off of my face, the puppy was jumping up on me and, well, slobbering all over me. Thanks, Matt (and puppy guy)!

After a press conference for the podium of the men’s and women’s races, Matt and I helped pack up the Cannondale truck. We eventually headed back to Chicago and spent the night in a hotel near the airport to make it easier to be on time for our 7am flight to Boston. We had an uneventful flight back home but by 3 that afternoon, our 4AM wake up call really had me dragging! Luckily for me I took the day off to recover… of course, Matt went into the lab for the rest of the day.

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Maureen Bruno Roy Google: Maureen Bruno Roy
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When and How to Clean Your Cyclocross Bike

by Patricia Dowd in Cycling, Cyclocross, Train With Grain

When: after every ride. Yes, every ride. Do you take a shower after you get sweaty, wet and muddy? Okay. Take care of your bike and your bike will take care of you.

The following supplies will make cleaning your bike easy, breezy:

  • 1 bucket
  • 1 garden hose
  • Kitchen gloves
  • Dish soap, Dr. Bronner’s soap
  • 1 sponge, non-abrasive scrubby brushes (I’ve seen people clean dirty cx bikes with toilet bowl brushes, but haven’t tried this method), rags, towels
  • Bio Clean, Simple Green (or similar biodegradable degreaser product)
  • Bike Lust (or some similar product)
  • Chain lube
  • Rubber boots
  • Bike stand


I live in Montana and the outdoor hose spigot gets turned off in early-November to prevent the pipes from freezing. Yes, it gets that cold here. If you don’t have access to an outdoor hose, not to worry, grab a bucket, fill it with warm soapy water and clean your bike!

After your ride, clean yourself up, drink your recovery drink and eat a snack. Then put on your rubber boots and go clean your bike.

If you have a bike stand, toss your bike on the stand, remove front & rear wheels. If you don’t have a bike stand, lean your bike against a building or against something stable so your bike doesn’t fall over or get scratched during the cleaning process.

Put on your kitchen gloves to protect your skin and prevent your hands from freezing.

Clean your bike with warm soapy water. Spray your bike and your bike’s drive train with a biodegradable degreaser. Let the degreaser soak in and work its magic. Scrub the grease, grime, dirt, mud, grass, sand, snow and ice off your bike’s nooks and crannies with sponge, scrubby brush or whatever you have.

If you are using a hose, crank up the volume to create your own “power washer.” If your bike is covered in frozen mud and snow, take your bike to the carwash and hose it off with the power wash soapy sprayer. It works!

After your bike is clean, wipe and dry your bike off with a clean towel. Spray some Bike Lust on your bike (or whatever product you use to make your bike look shiny and new).

Next: clean your bike’s chain. Since the chain is likely damp, the dirt and grit launched into your bike’s chain should come off pretty easily. Grab a rag and clean your chain. Look at all the grime and grease that just came off your chain. Nasty! Repeat cleaning process. Then apply a thin coating of bike chain lube to your sparkling clean chain. Check shifting. Check brakes. Check cables. Clean wheels, tires, rims. Voila, clean bike.

I’m not a bike mechanic, but I do know that a little bike maintenance goes a long way in helping to keep your bike rolling along. Regular bike maintenance helps me learn more about my bike. If during the cleaning process I discover something isn’t working properly, I’ll bring my bike to my favorite mechanic for some bike love.

 A clean bike is a happy bike (until you launch it into sand, mud, dirt and snow).

 

 

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Patricia Dowd Google: Patricia Dowd
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Happy friends at dinning table

Off Season

by Meredith Miller in Road Cycling, Train With Grain

Off-season. What’s an off-season? I hardly remember what a true off-season is anymore because I race nearly year round. I can tell you, though, that I am anxiously looking forward to a few weeks off in February between the end of ‘cross season and the beginning of road racing.

Although in recent years I haven’t had a true “off-seasons”, I can tell you from past experience that the off-season is a time for reflection, a time to look back on the triumphs and disappointments from the past season. What went right/wrong in training? Were you happy with your race results? Could your nutrition have been handled better? Did you make the best out of every outcome – good or bad? What changes need to be made to make the coming season even better? Now is the time to consider all that went right and wrong in every facet of your cycling “life” to help prepare for a more successful 2012.

As you mull over 2011 and plan for 2012, think about how, when, where you’re going to give yourself some down time, too. Put the bike away for a few weeks. Walk. Hike. Run. Ski. Hit the gym. Do yoga or try pilates for the first time. Do all the things that you don’t get a chance to do during the season when all focus is on the bike.

In the days when I did have an off-season, I spent quite a bit of time in the gym working on my core and overall body strength and stability with Cross Fit. Unless a person is working on muscle imbalances or has a very specific focus, I believe that no cyclist needs to use a single static machine to build strength, power or endurance. Cycling is dynamic. Sure we are stationary on the saddle, but we are always in motion. It’s the coordination of muscles between the upper body, back and legs that power our movement on the bike, so why single out just one muscle? In one shot Cross Fit-type exercises incorporate almost every major muscle group into each different exercise, which improves stability, strength, power and endurance across multiple joints, not just a single muscle.

Don’t just toss your training program out the door. Eat the cookies you usually vehemently shake your head at in fear of gaining an extra pound. Have two (or three) beers instead of just one. Enjoy a Thanksgiving feast without guilt. Cut yourself some slack…for a little while anyway. Let your body recover from the strict limitations and stress that it deals with for five, six, seven months out of the year.

After a few weeks or so of unregimented “training”, slowly work yourself back into a casual training schedule. Don’t jump into intensity right away. Ride slow, long miles. Continue to mix in other activities as well. Reconsider drinking that third beer or eating that fourth cookie.  As the weeks and months tick by, tighten the focus on your training and nutrition so when you line up for the first race of the year you are as best prepared as possible. That doesn’t mean you should be at your fittest, because few people need to be flying in March, but you should be on target to reach your 2012 goals.

If you want to bring out your wild and crazy side, try cyclocross. My only warning is that it is addictive. I know from experience. It’s why I haven’t had an off-season in several years. But, it’s also why in December when it’s cold and dreary outside I am happy to be on my bike. I can race instead of train and have a lot of fun doing it. Plus, I like getting muddy. Maybe you will, too.

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Meredith Miller Google: Meredith Miller
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shaveleg

From the Ladies: A Man’s Guide to Leg Shaving (and Why it’s Important)

by Joan Hanscom in Cyclocross, Road Cycling, Train With Grain

I’m not gonna lie here.  As a girl with a deathly aversion to leg hair I shave my legs every day whether they need it or not.  And generally speaking if you shave that often they don’t need it. It becomes routine.  And while I don’t understand why you boys have such a hard time with it I do know that there are loads-o-reasons why you SHOULD do it and some handy dandy tips to make it easier.

But first, why?  Why oh why hairy man, should you shave your legs?

Well, because it looks awesome.  Smooth sleek muscular powerful.  Whereas hairy legs in spandex just look wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Hairy legs in spandex with embro?  That’s just scary looking.  Nothing says “I’m a gonna crash you” like hairy legs.

Okay, so I digress.  Looking good is an excellent side effect but not really the reason to do it.

So if not for the pure aesthetics, why go to all the effort?  Well there are a bunch of reasons:

  1. Crashing in bike racing is a when, not if type of deal.  And when you crash and after the nice people in the Emergency Room have given you your tetanus shot they’re gonna have to scrub that mess out.  It goes WAY better when it’s not hairy.  You can get it cleaner and have less debris.  And when they slap that Tegaterm patch on you, pulling it off is way better when you’re not ripping hair out too.
  2. Massage.  It’s a long season.  The occasional rub down can help the legs stay happy happy.  You’ll recover faster too.   So go hairless, get a massage and your legs will thank you.
  3. Embro!  Ah that happy magic elixer.  Rub in on your smooth, bare legs and feel the warming!  Application goes easier when you’re not trying to smear that Mad Alchemy goodness into leg hair.   And it will wash off more easily too.  But take heed… embro on freshly shaved legs NO BUENO!!!

Convinced?  Good!  So let’s hit the nuts and bolts.

  1. Shave regularly.  The more pelt you let grow in, the longer and harder your task becomes.   Twice a week is a good schedule.  Make a habit of it.
  2. Don’t use soap.  Use shaving cream.  Me?  I like DZ-Nuts Bald. It makes for super smooth legs and it’s good for your skin.  Nice!
  3. Good razors are key.  Cut yourself once with a dull one and you know why.  Change razors frequently. And dedicate your leg razor to your legs.  Your face will thank you.
  4. Be slow and thorough.  Please, so you don’t look like some weird Hobbit – don’t just shave the parts we can see.  Start with your feet and move on up.  Go slow, it’s not a race. And commit.  Do your whole upper leg too.  Don’t stop at the leg band of your bibs.  You don’t want to look like you’re wearing hair shorts.
  5. Moisturize.  Shaving is tough on the skin.  Slather some nice smoothing shea butter, cocoa butter, or vitamin e on those babies and keep ‘em nice and smooth.

And that is that.  EZPZ no stress guide to shaving.

 

DRAFT_Hanscom From the ladies: A man’s guide to leg shaving, and why it’s important.

 

I’m not gonna lie here.  As a girl with a deathly aversion to leg hair I shave my legs every day whether they need it or not.  And generally speaking if you shave that often they don’t need it. It becomes routine.  And while I don’t understand why you boys have such a hard time with it I do know that there are loads-o-reasons why you SHOULD do it and some handy dandy tips to make it easier. 

But first, why?  Why oh why hairy man, should you shave your legs?

Well, because it looks awesome.  Smooth sleek muscular powerful.  Whereas hairy legs in spandex just look wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Hairy legs in spandex with embro?  That’s just scary looking.  Nothing says “I’m a gonna crash you “ like hairy legs.

Okay, so I digress.  Looking good is an excellent side effect but not really the reason to do it.

So if not for the pure aesthetics, why go to all the effort?  Well there are a bunch of reasons:

  1. Crashing in bike racing is a when not if type of deal.  And when you crash and after the nice people in the Emergency Room have given you your tetanus shot they’re gonna have to scrub that mess out.  It goes WAY better when it’s not hairy.  You can get it cleaner and have less debris.  And when they slap that Tegaterm patch on you, pulling it off is way better when you’re not ripping hair out too.
  1. Massage.  It’s a long season.  The occasional rub down can help the legs stay happy happy.  You’ll recover faster too.   So go hairless, get a massage and your legs will thank you.
  1. Embro!  Ah that happy magic elixer.  Rub in on your smooth, bare legs and feel the warming!  Application goes easier when you’re not trying to smear that Mad Alchemy goodness into leg hair.   And it will wash off more easily too.  But take heed… embro on freshly shaved legs NO BUENO!!! 

Convinced?  Good!  So let’s hit the nuts and bolts.

  1. Shave regularly.  The more pelt you let grow in, the longer and harder your task becomes.   Twice a week is a good schedule.  Make a habit of it. 
  2. Don’t use soap.  Use shaving cream.  Me?  I like DZ-Nuts Bald. (http://www.dz-nuts.com/products/bald)  it makes for super smooth legs and it’s good for your skin.  Nice!
  3. Good razors are key.  Cut yourself once with a dull one and you know why.  Change razors frequently. And dedicate your leg razor to your legs.  Your face will thank you.
  4. Be slow and thorough.  Please, so you don’t look like some weird Hobit – don’t just shave the parts we can see.  Start with your feet and move on up.  Go slow, it’s not a race. And commit.  Do your whole upper leg too.  Don’t stop at the leg band of your bibs.  You don’t want to look like you’re wearing hair shorts.
  5. Moisturize.  Shaving is tough on the skin.  Slather some nice smoothing shea butter or cocoa butter or vitamin e on those babies and keep ‘em nice and smooth. 

And that is that.  EZBZ no stress guide to shaving. 

About The Author
Joan Hanscom Google: Joan Hanscom
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BikeRacing

How to Avoid Being “That Guy” at the Races

by Ryan Knapp in Cyclocross, Train With Grain

As I was thinking about this entry, I realized that it could very easily have been titled: “How to Avoid being “That Guy” in Everyday Life.” Although this will have a cycling related spin to it, in my opinion, many of the same principles apply. Maintaining a good standing with your peers at the races can be traced back to observing a few simple ideas: Be Quite, Be Considerate, and Be Gracious.

Now, when I say Be Quite, I don’t literally mean that you have to use your Inside Voice, when you’re outside, but just use a little discretion when you do decide to open your yapper in the middle of a bike race. While racing, you can only control what you do. That means that if you don’t like the situation in which you find yourself, it’s up to you to do something about it. Don’t scream at your competitors to get out of the way, or harass someone for crashing in front of you. If you don’t want to be around such riders, it’s up to you to keep your mouth shut and ride faster. However, there is nothing wrong with a nice “inside” or “comin’ in hot” as you’re about to put a pass on someone. But, generally speaking, very few people have even been labeled “That Guy” for keeping their mouth shut during a race.

Be Considerate. Now, I know this is starting to sound a bit like Kindergarten all over again, but you’d be surprised how many people could use a refresher course on basic people skills. While at the races, you’ll encounter quite a few people who would really appreciate you being considerate. Many of the people you’ll find “working” at a venue are actually either volunteers or others that are making, what equates to, an amazingly low hourly wage for their efforts to promote and grow the sport you love. So, keep that in mind when you’re deciding whether or not to make a big deal about the fact that the box of free GU products at registration is empty.

The final component of our Trifecta of Skills for Smooth Sailing at Your Next Race is to Be Gracious. Whether or not you are the best or worst racer in your scene, you’ve got to make sure that whatever result it is that you achieve, you do it with grace. If you’ve just won by 5 minutes, don’t stop short of the line, hoist your bike above your head and scream in triumph. The standard two arms above your head will do quite nicely, or you could even blow everyone away with your humility and just give a subdued smile and wave. Remember this though: the more extravagant victory celebration you display, you more you increase the odds that people will question your decency. The same goes for losing. No one looks good throwing a tantrum in the pit or at their car because they lost that sprint for 19th.  Less is more. And as always, don’t forget to say “Thank You”. The cycling community is a very small family and as long as you concentrate on building relationships instead of burning bridges, it will pay you back.

About The Author
Ryan Knapp Google: Ryan Knapp
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