After 18 weeks of preparation, it all came down to 3 hours and 46 minutes. That’s the time it took me to find the finish line after 65 grueling miles at the Tour of the Battenkill. I was elated and exhausted by the end. Sure I was ecstatic over my performance, but I was also extremely proud of (and a bit surprised by) the athlete I had become over those four months. I knew when I signed up that I wasn’t going to half-ass it until April. I tend to do things in a big way and this was no different. I planned to carefully follow my training plan and to use my diet and recovery tactics to see just how great I could become. It turns out these strategies paid off big time. Continue reading →
Mention the words “foam roller” to a group of cyclists and the response will likely be as polarizing as a discussion on Lance. Some swear by their rollers, using them daily to dig into every ache and pain, while others place the torturous device in the same category as “hill repeats” and “saddle sores.” But does a roller really live up to the hype? Can a piece of foam replace a trip to the massage table? Continue reading →
I’ve come to expect it every year. Though usually it creeps in when the leaves are falling and a chill begins to penetrate the morning air. During this time I reflect on a season of road riding and cyclocross, reminiscing about all the adventures packed into one summer. And then I promptly stay the hell away from my bike for at least a few weeks.
This month I haven’t even cracked a hundred miles and even on my 30th birthday I had to push myself to get on the bike because “that’s what I enjoy.” Cyclists cheered at winter’s departure way back in March and the odometer has been ticking off big numbers ever since. But that warm fuzzy feeling wears off over six months. Little niggling aches become full-blown pains and suddenly the legs are always heavy despite eating every superfood and foam rolling to the moon and back. People are still on summer vacation and I’m feeling blue. Bike riding is my emotional stability, my social connection and the way I shake all the thoughts and worries from my head so I can sleep at night. Despite still having cycling events I’m registered for and cyclocross, I just want to stop. What happens now? Continue reading →
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 →
December has been all about temptation. Of course there’s been the temptation to eat holiday cookies and drink more beer in the dark evening hours, but I’ve also been strongly tempted to abandon my year-long training plan and put two wheels to pavement. Continue reading →