Yoga for cyclists

This winter, I’ve been spending some quality time on my yoga mat. I’ve been practicing yoga for longer than I can remember and it’s definitely become one of my cycling secret weapons. There’s a reason I can tuck into the tiniest ball while descending and why I can complete a century without back and neck pain. Yoga is a perfect complement to cycling.

Cycling muscles like the quads, glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors tend to tighten and shorten from hours on the bike, which can lead to misaligned hips and muscle imbalances. If the back, neck and core are weak, they can become strained from the position on the bike. Yoga helps correct imbalances, strengthen underused muscles and loosen up tight ones, therefore increasing muscle function, lessening the chance of an overuse injury and aiding in recovery.

Yoga also teaches cyclists how to regulate their breathing. In each yoga pose, you breathe deeply into the muscles you’re stretching. You can also apply this same rhythmic breathing to push through tough efforts on the bike and to tune into your body. Continue reading

Round Valley Recreation Area, Lebanon, NJ

Round Valley Reservoir, Clinton Township, NJ

Round Valley Reservoir, Clinton Township, NJ

My husband and I are pretty easy to please when it comes to finding housing in a new state. Plant us as close to nature and low-traffic backroads as possible (and throw in a garage for all our bikes) and we’re happy as clams.

You can imagine our delight when we gave our real estate agent those guidelines and she came up with a place less than a mile from 5,200 acres of pristine blue water. The property wasn’t bad either. Where do we sign?!

 

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Back pocket review: Secret Drink Mix

When sport scientist Allen Lim discovered the prevalence of gut rot in the pro peloton, he enlisted the help of Stacy Simms, a sports physiologist and nutrition scientist, to help tackle the problem. They created a drink called “X” or Secret Drink Mix and shared it with friends and athletes. Fortunately the response was overwhelmingly positive and the product is now available online and through a storefront in Boulder, CO called Scratch Labs. Continue reading

This is New Jersey?

New Jersey is nothing but sprawling malls, fake tans, tacky velour jumpsuits and drivers who use their middle finger instead of a turn signal, right?

Okay, some of these things are true. Growing up in Upstate NY, I loved to hate our trashy neighbor to the south. That is until the Garden State was the only way out of our stint of unemployment. This past weekend, we packed up the U-Haul and headed south.

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Ring in the new

Yesterday I did something completely new. I rode. Outside. On January 1st. As a New Yorker, I’ve grown accustomed to hunkering down between Thanksgiving and Saint Patricks Day and giving my indoor trainer a good beating.

New Years day was the kind of weather that had people stripping off jackets and donning only light full-finger gloves. We’re talking low to mid 50s and sunny here, people. Something almost unheard of up here in ski and ice skating country.

So we posted a ride…and people came. Twenty-six cyclists to be exact, a number that would be impressive on any Saturday morning in July. Just feeling the warmth and excitement of everyone on their bikes was incredible. During the summer months it’s so easy to get used to spending hours a week together, riding shoulder-to-shoulder, chatting about everything and nothing as the miles tick by. ┬áThen daylight savings time ends and, except for the brave few who slug it out year-round, we suddenly find ourselves cut off from many wonderful connections and conversations.

This year has been especially hard because it was a collection of lasts. Job and school commitments are forcing us to relocate, away from the rolling hills and traffic-less roads that almost feel like an extension of our own bodies. It’s hard to say goodbye to the people who have waited for us at stop signs, passed us extra water on summer’s hottest days and shared advice that we’ll forever carry with us.

As the peloton filed out under the warm winter sun yesterday, it felt as though nothing had changed. We quickly settled into the draft, striking up conversations and challenging our off-season legs to fall into a familiar rhythm. For 30 miles, there was no past or future. Just today.