The Travelist is conducting an online poll for the “Best Cycling Routes”, and Taiwan has a couple spots on the list to compete against Arizona and the Paris-Roubaix route.
- Lance Armstrong is a drug cheat… and there is an audio recording to prove it.
- The kids are all right! America’s future in cycling looks bright with Ben King and Taylor Phinney.
- Italy’s rising star Nibali takes Vuelta. This guy looked great during the Giro and now takes the Vuelta.
- Cycling is set for another bid at the Hollywood treatment. Trailer. Other biking movies: here
- Floyd Landis is angry at somebody else… again.
- More on the benefits of cycling.
- Insights on long distance utility cycling.
- Part III of Joe Friel’s valuable study on the effects of aging on cycling performance.
Due to work and other commitments, I often have to save up my serious riding for weekends and that often means as much time on the bike as possible. The result has been dozens of century rides under my belt as I seek new and different places to visit or different ways to test my body. Putting down 100 miles in a day has become a pretty common feat, though the mystique of the “Century Ride” remains. There is something rewarding about seeing the odometer flip to the triple digits, and now I am training (weather permitting) to double that in a day’s ride.
1. Be physically prepared: Ride longer distances leading up to your century and try to emulate the conditions (hills, flats, estimated wind direction…). If you know the route and you now the landmarks then you know where you are in relation to your goal. It helps rein in a defeatist imagination that seems to want to imagine you are further back. You don’t need to long distances to get into shape. Shorter, high intensity rides, can increase your overall fitness so the long miles won’t seem so long. Two weeks before your first century, you should complete a longer ride, maybe 50-75 miles. Cut back on the riding the week prior. When you ride, pace yourself. Do the first 50 miles at an easier pace and see how you feel for the other half. A slow 15mph pace can easily get you to your destination in 8 hours with the occasional pit-stop.
2. Make sure your equipment is in good working order. The last thing you need are mechanical problems on a long ride. This goes with shoes and clothing. Can you imagine finding out your chamois rubs or you get hot spots in your shoes at 50 miles? Once you start to think about any article of discomfort, you will think about it all day. Be sure your bike is fit well and is comfortable with properly inflated tires. Every imperfection is magnified the longer you sit on a bike. Overinflated tired might not be noticed on shorter rides, but an beat you up on the long rides. One century ride I got a flat and filled with CO2. I usually inflate to 100psi, but I bet I was around 130 and it just beat the crap out of me. A helmet that doesn’t fit can give you neck and back aches down the road as well.
3. Food and nutrition management is vital. Start eating and drinking for your century a week before. You want to make sure you have plenty of glycogen stored in your muscles. Start really packing in the fruits, veggies and carbs mid week. If your body is ready it helps ease the mind. Cut the caffeine and the booze. These will only dehydrate you. Start taking in the carbs to fill your glycogen stores for maximum exertion.
4. Eat during your century. Maybe one thing every hour if you are not conditioned for regular centuries. Eat before you are hungry. Granola bars, raisins, a ham sandwich… whatever works for you. Try not to eat candy unless you are 20 miles from the finish.
5. Drink during your century. Drink before you are thirsty. If it is hot, you may want to add one sport drink for every two bottles of water.
6. Start stretching more the week before your century.
7. Read for pleasure. It gives you something to think about on the ride if you go solo.
8. Don’t worry too much. You put down a few miles and take them one at a time. Next thing you know you have put together a string of ’em and they make 100.
Here are a couple articles that may be of interest to those who are training or want to start training.
Like a lot of people I enjoy a good massage after a long ride or when my muscles feel beat all to hell. Unfortunately, a good massage is hard to find as nobody seems to put enough elbow grease into it and it just ends up tickling. Anyways… like most people I assumed the massage was a great way to recover. It unknots muscles and flushes the toxins and lactic acids that accumulate in the muscles during exercise.
“The results, published in the latest issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, are a blow, at least to those of us who justify our massages as medicinal. It turned out that massage did not increase blood flow to the tired muscle; it reduced it. Every stroke, whether long and slow or deep and kneading, cut off blood flow to the forearm muscle. Although the flow returned to normal between strokes, the net effect was to lessen the amount of blood that reached the muscle, particularly compared with the amount that flowed to the forearm muscle during 10 minutes of passive recovery. Meanwhile, active recovery reduced blood flow as well, since muscular contractions, however slight, compress blood vessels in the muscle briefly. But the overall reduction of blood flow was significantly less during active recovery than during the massage session.”
I don’t have too much to worry about for the month of May as work and family commitments have limited my ability to follow my inclination… on some damned fool crusade… to destroy myself on the seat of a bicycle… all in the name of a good time. But the month of June I hope to tear it up something awful.
“Overreaching lasts from a few days to 2 weeks and is associated with fatigue, reduction of maximum performance capacity, and a brief interval of decreased personal performance. Recovery is achieved with a reduction in training or a few extra days of rest.
Overtraining (overtraining syndrome, staleness, systemic overtraining) is the result of many weeks of exceeding the athlete’s physiologic limits and can result in weeks or months of diminished performance – symptoms normally resolve in 6-12 weeks but may continue much longer or recur if athletes return to hard training too soon. It involves mood disturbances, muscle soreness/stiffness, and changes in blood chemistry values, hormone levels, and nocturnal urinary catecholamine excretion.
Stress factors such as the monotony of a training program and an acute increase in training program intensity lasting more than a few days increase the risk of development of overtraining. On the other hand, heavy training loads appear to be tolerated for extensive periods of time if athletes take a rest day every week, and alternate hard and easy days of training.
Pathologic fatigue is deined as fatigue and tiredness that cannot be explained by the volume of training. These are generally medical conditions such as infection, neoplasia, disorders of the blood, cardiovascular, or endocrine systems, and psychologic/psychiatric disorders. Included in this grouping are the side effects of medications and “chronic fatigue syndrome” – an ill defined medical condition. A recent article has muddied the water even further by describing muscle changes from years of high volume exercise training that may be related to this entity. Another controversial possibility is iron deficiency without anemia – although this is much more common in endurance runners than cyclists.”
‘‘ ‘During race, I am going crazy, definitely,’’ he says, smiling in bemused despair. ‘‘I cannot explain why is that, but it is true.”’
The craziness is methodical, however, and Robic and his crew know its pattern by heart. Around Day 2 of a typical weeklong race, his speech goes staccato. By Day 3, he is belligerent and sometimes paranoid. His short-term memory vanishes, and he weeps uncontrollably. The last days are marked by hallucinations: bears, wolves and aliens prowl the roadside; asphalt cracks rearrange themselves into coded messages. Occasionally, Robic leaps from his bike to square off with shadowy figures that turn out to be mailboxes. In a 2004 race, he turned to see himself pursued by a howling band of black-bearded men on horseback.
‘‘Mujahedeen, shooting at me,’’ he explains. ‘‘So I ride faster.’’
His wife, a nurse, interjects: ‘‘The first time I went to a race, I was not prepared to see what happens to his mind. We nearly split up.’’