Cycling revelations

Cycling is a constant learning experience. Fortunately, my lessons now aren’t as tough as in the beginning (like crashing to the pavement while learning to ride clipless). Here are a few observations from this season.

I heart bibs. Sure they look kind of silly, like a spandex Santa Clause, but at mile 50, I’m grateful that a waistband isn’t digging into my abdomen. Bibs hold the chamois firmly in place and make it easy to breathe deeply. At first I was concerned about having to undress for every pit stop, but I’ve quickly learned that when Port-a-Pottys are involved, the best thing to do is to wear a wicking base layer so I can remove my jersey and drape it over the handlebars. Using a full zip jersey expedites things as well.

Fill up my flask. After years of sticky fingers from collecting empty energy gel wrappers, I’ve finally discovered a $2 solution (how often can you say THAT in cycling!?). A Hammer flask holds five servings of the sticky stuff. One of the best parts is that you can buy Hammer Gel in bulk and mix your own flavors. My favorite flavor of the moment is espresso. Continue reading

How slow can you go?

Like most cyclists, I have trouble sitting still. So when recovery days roll around (or force their way in), I tend to panic at the idea of lounging around. There’s nothing worse than waking up to a day filled with sunshine and cooler air and then remembering that I’m supposed to spend it taking it easy so my body can grow stronger.

So I decided to try an active recovery ride. When I’ve attempted them on the trainer in the past, my impatience always got the better of me and before long, my speed crept up until I was happily working away in the aerobic zone, doing the opposite of recovering. Continue reading

Rest. Ride. Repeat.

I love the phrase, “Have you got rocks in your head?” especially when muttered by feisty grandmothers. I’m generally a cautious (and often painfully slow) decision-maker, but when it comes to cycling, my otherwise clear head is often full of boulders.

Take last week for instance. After circuit training and adding new plyometrics into the mix on Tuesday, I decided to hit up a new group ride the next day. My calves were still aching a bit, but hey, I wouldn’t be using them much, right? The answer to this question became painfully clear by mile 30 when I decided to grab the wheel of a blazing fast pace line. A few rotations, and boom, I was on the front, pulling like hell to maintain the train’s blistering speed. Gritting my teeth, I felt proud to be pulling a group of strong men along, until I peeled off the front and the pace ratcheted up again. Suddenly the adrenaline high wore off, and I realized that my calves were on fire. Continue reading

Gear Review: Zoot CompressRX Recovery Tight

Confession: I despise pantyhose and actively avoid situations requiring them. So it’s no surprise that when I picked up a tube of compression tights, all of my pantyhose anxiety came rushing back. The unstoppable runs and ever present fear of poking a finger nail through the nylon is just too much to bear. This is why pants were invented.

But looking snazzy for a job interview has never improved my leg soreness or made me faster on the bike. Zoot claims that just by wearing their recovery tights, you can decrease lactic acid by 29% and perceived effort by 25%. Now I’m pay attention. Pass the plastic egg.

Continue reading