3 life lessons from Jens Voigt

Jens VoigtThis week I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Shut Up Legs himself when Jens Voigt payed a visit to one of our Trek stores in NJ. The German rider who recently retired from the pro peloton was charming, charismatic and eager to share stories well into the evening. Amid the humor (he had the crowd really rolling at times) were some solid life lessons we can all benefit from. A good journalist would have recorded quotes, but I was laughing too hard to whip out my phone. So here, by way of memory, is the wisdom of Jensie. Continue reading

Four ways to become a stronger, faster cyclist

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

Be your own queen of the mountain

Yesterday something truly magical happened. Out of 99 women on the medio Gran Fondo NJ route, I placed second on the timed climbs and got the QOM on a tough climb with double digit grades. Me? A climber? Wait, did someone swap timing chips? Remember, I’m the girl who spent years dropped off the back, scaling the elevation solo.

But the magic wasn’t a fluke or a random lucky day. It’s been in the works for two seasons now, slowly percolating since the day I stopped dreading ascents and decided it was time to shape myself into a climber. A few changes made a huge impact. Continue reading

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

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