Tag Archives: Cycling

Recovery drinks make you faster!

And who doesn’t want to be faster? Mike McIvor, owner of Peak Centre for Human Performance in Burnaby, gives us the facts on why we all should have a recovery drink ready to go after a workout.

Recovery drinks are one of the easiest things you can do to dramatically improve the speed of adaptation from training. My favourite example of a study that demonstrates the importance was done on a group of athletes that were doing the same training. Group A took a carb/protein drink at the beginning and end of the day and Group B took it before and after every workout. At the end of the 16 week of the study Group A (beginning and end of day) made a 2% improvement and Group B (before and after workout) made a 20% improvement – yep – that’s right 20%. The reason is that when we complete a workout, we are carb depleted. Under normal circumstances, the body uses just fat and carb as energy. When we’re carb depleted, the body needs something else to help burn the fat so it turns towards protein – we store our protein in our muscles. The reason why Group A made such small improvements is because when they finished their workouts they were carb depleted so they were actively breaking down muscle fibre to fuel their daily processes and they didn’t reverse that until they had their next meal. The period of time they were in that catabolic state was enough to almost fully negate the effects of their training. By taking that recovery drink immediately after the session Group B reversed the process and began their recovery and as a result saw dramatically better results through the same period of training. Which group would you rather be in?

You’re looking for about 10-12g of a whey protein (depending on your size), 20 or more grams of carb, and 300-500ml of water and it should be taken within 15 minutes of finishing training. Mike recommends the Cytosport Recovery Drink but Endurox R4, Gu Recovery or even chocolate milk will do in a pinch.

You’re already putting in the training. With one small change to your routine you can dramatically improve the effectiveness of what you’re doing. Train smarter, race faster.

Thanks Mike! If you have any more questions about nutrition or training, contact Peak Centre for Human Performance at 604-299-7959. Now fill your bottles with “Go Juice” and get back out there!

Cytosport products

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Squamish Trail Map smartphone app – update

View of Squamish Valley from Credit Line

Kelly, a fellow mountain biker, and myself headed up to Squamish yesterday to go for a long cross-country mountain bike ride and to enjoy the sunshine. Kelly had downloaded the Squamish Trail Map app (discussed in last blog post) to her iPhone so we could test it out. We road up through Wunderland, White Rabbit, Cheshire Kitten, then crossed over to the Brohm Lake trails. After that, we headed back across the road and up to Cat Lake. We pulled out the iPhone on the climb up to Cat Lake and it showed us exactly where we were on the trail map. We then bombed down Cheshire Cat, a super fun and fast downhill xc trail. After the Cat Lake loop, we headed into the Alice Lake trails on our way to Credit Line. We again pulled out the iPhone at the end of Tracks from Hell where there are a few trails linking together, causing a bit of confusion if you don’t know the trails that well. The app pegged us again exactly where we were on the map, and helped us find our way up to Credit Line. After Credit Line, another fast downhill xc trail, we turned left onto Jacks Trail which took us down to Brakentrail and back to the Bean and Republic Bicycles in Brakendale. It was a great day, and after playing around with the app some more, I’d highly recommend it if you are not that familiar with trails in Squamish and carry a smartphone.

Kelly & KJ - All smiles on Credit Line, Squamish

The Bike Culture – can’t we all just get along?

I was recently on a local mountain biking website to get caught up on Interbike news and sensed a strong disgust for fixie riders in one of the articles I was reading. Freedom of speech, OK, but really … who cares what you ride! I admit, I don’t totally get why you’d want to ride a fixed gear bike with no brakes, I’m sure it’s less maintenance, but it just sounds too scary for me. But, I do have some friends who ride the track, and they’re power and bike handling skills transfer beautifully to the trails, they’re amazing riders!

Like skiers vs snowboarders, there have always been jabs and pokes between roadies, mountain bikers, bmxers and now fixies. In the end, all that should really matter is that people are out riding bikes and feel better for it.

H.G. Wells put it best “when I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race”.

So remember, no matter what bike you ride, from a CCM to a Willier, to outsiders who don’t have bikes or understand the culture, we are all the same … we are all cyclists.

And, on a lighter note and for a smile and laugh on an otherwise dull Friday … MC Spandx is back in full form! Check out both videos as he spoofs off about the different bike cultures in the most fun and entertaining way.
View here for both videos: MC SpandX Hits The Trails!.

Fall outdoor clothing – Part Deux

This post builds on my last post “Fall outdoor clothing – Practical or Parisian?“. Time to hit the lower body layers …

Shorts – There are a couple ways to do the base layer for cycling – 1. Typical bike short with Knee Warmers or Leg Warmers. 2. Knicker bib short (chamois bike short that goes past the knees). No merino wools in these, just your typical bike short material (synthetics).

Full-length tights – There are many designs of basic full length tight that can be pulled over bike shorts or just worn straight up for running. Thickness ranges from a basic spandex layer, to a mid-thermal layer with fleece lining. There are also thermal layers that have wind-proof front paneling and stretchy rear paneling for movement. These pants are great for light rain or moderate intensity workouts. A snugger fit is better for cycling and running. Look for reflective stripes for outdoor activities at night or early morning. Example: Sugoi Midzero Zaptight or Sugoi Firewall Tight.

Waterproof
If it’s a deluge, or you’re going to be out in the rain for a while, a waterproof pant might be the way to go. I tend to find the waterproof pants too hot when cycling, but they’re worth it when it’s cold and absolutely pouring. GORE makes a baggier, waterproof pant that can be pulled over tights or shorts. They might even go over small body armour for freeriding. Example: GORE Solid2 windpant or Sugoi Majik Shell.

Socks and Shoes
Don’t forget your feet! There are a few options here … waterproof socks, booties (not booty, you can shake it, but we’re talking about shoe covers here …) or Gore-Tex shoes.

Wool socks are great for running and cycling. There are also waterproof socks that are apparently somewhat breathable, but I’ve heard they can still get a bit sweaty. I imagine if you have room in your shoe, a merino wool sock with a waterproof sock overtop would be ideal. Or, go straight to the gore-tex shoe! Both Shimano and Northwave make them.

There are many different brands and designs of shoe covers. It’s worth taking your shoe in to ensure that the booties are a tight fit. There are windproof or thermal booties that aren’t waterproof, and there are full-waterproof shells. Some don’t fit cross-country shoes as well as road shoes, so I suggest again, bring your shoes in to try them on.
Example: GORE Race Power 2 shoe cover, Pearl Izumi soft shell Cyclone shoe cover.

Waterproof shoe covers

Quick summary:
When looking for new fall clothing, think:
Base Layers – merino wool, wicking and comfort, snug lines
Outer layers – water/windproofness, reflective stripes, pockets, breathability

Wish I had warm and dry gear! Cold, wet & muddy race conditions - Test of Metal 2007.

Fall outdoor fashion – Practical or Parisian?

Parisian commuter

Thankfully, practical. Although this guy gets props for adding crochet to his commuter bag, we won’t be seeing any of this from our mainstream brands. Due to our inclement, widely varying climate … practical, functional layers are IN on the west coast.

Layering and wool is the way to go. This is not a new concept, it’s just been made a LOT better through the use of quality materials (e.g. merino wool, Gore-Tex) and FUNCTIONAL CROSSOVER designing in mind. This means that this fall’s cycling clothing will also work for running, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, for example. This not only makes sense, it saves us dollars by being able to wear the same gear for many sports.

I spent some time with Cynthia, Manager of Different Bikes in West Vancouver, last week to get the inside scoop on this year’s fall/winter gear. This blog is set up in two parts … Part 1 – Upper Body Layers, Part 2 – Lower Body Layers.

Part 1 – Upper Body Layers

Cycling apparel companies are going back to the days of wool … it’s not new, it’s what the boys of the Tour de France back in the beginnings wore, wool jerseys. Wool is a natural wicking fabric that doesn’t cling to odours and leaves you feeling drier and more comfortable than any synthetic or cotton can. Merino wool has been increasingly popular the skiing/snowboarding scene, and has finally made it to the cycling world. Example: Sugoi merino wool base layer called the Sugoi Wallaroo 170 Cruiser.

If you go with a short-sleeve jersey, add some arm warmers that can be removed if the weather heats up. I’m a huge fan of the arm warmers!

A great mid-layer is a thermal/fleece pullover layer that is fitted, possibly with at least 1/4 zip for air-flow and comfort. Keeping base and mid layers fitted is key to ensuring you can fit more layers over top comfortably. Example: Sugoi Jersey Midzero Zip

Thermal/windproof
A jacket with wind-proof front paneling and a breathable, stretchy back is ideal for cold nasty days. It will keep you warm from the blowing wind while allowing you to breath through the back paneling. Look also for reflective stripes and pockets. Most jackets also have a bit longer back to cover the lower back more when bent over cycling. I’ve had a jacket like this for commuting and it’s lasted me years and I’ve worn it a lot, I almost prefer to wear it even in light rain because it’s so comfortable!

Waterproof
Gore-Tex and similar synthetics are the name of the game when it comes to waterproofness. GORE brand clothing contains Gore-Tex, a waterproof, breathable material that is also light-weight and easy to pack away in a back pocket. An example is the GORE Power 2 jacket – it’s very light, available in bright colours, has taped seems and zippers, reflective stripes, back-pocket and is a fairly stretchable material. Another similar waterproof jacket is the Sugoi Majik Shell jacket. It is not made of GoreTex and I’m told is not as breathable a material, but has side zips and a back panel flap for extra airflow. It also has taped seams, front chest pocket, four-way stretch in the back and is slightly lighter than the GORE jacket.

Gloves
You can even layer gloves if you wish. There are waterproof shell type gloves that can be worn over your normal bike gloves that are great for rainy days. Or, you can go with a slightly bulkier glove that has a thermal, wind-resistant and waterproof layering. I’ve been wearying a Sugoi pair for the past few years that have been awesome! They’re just the right thickness to keep my hands warm, but aren’t too think to inhibit braking and shifting.

Check out some of the gear at Different Bikes used as examples:

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Different Bikes opens a New Cycling Studio!

Different Bikes in West Vancouver has opened a new cycling and training studio in West Vancouver above their bike shop. There are new state-of-the-art spin bikes and trainers, a skookum sound system, and lots of natural light. Some of BC’s best cyclists and coaches are leading weekly workouts and the schedules are filling fast! Check out Different Bikes website for more details.

Fall is here …

And it has brought some dark and chilly wet weather! This time of year I start to think about what I’m going to do during the dark fall and winter days so I can maintain fitness and sanity.

Also, when commuting home after work in darkness, it is definitely hard to get motivated to go to the gym, hop on the trainer or run in the rain. Here are a few ideas to help keep you motivated and moving:

  1. Join the Peak Winter Race Series. Peak Centre for Human Performance in Burnaby has a weekly cycling race series during the fall and winter. Racing in winter you wonder? YES! Bring your road bike or a mountain bike with a slick, hook it up to their computrainers and line up against other riders in their gym and give’r! Each week is a different course, around an hour in length. It’s an awesome way to get a hard workout in during the winter and a lot of fun! It’s definitely not hard to get your heartrate going during these races! Visit www.peakcentrevancouver.ca for more info.
  2. Get some lights and hit the trails with some friends. Most bike shops sell high end lights for night riding, and a decent headlamp that you can get at Mountain Equipment Co-op or you might already have for camping, will do great for trail running. It’s a good idea to start on a trail that isn’t too rooty or rocky at the beginning, and go with friends for safety and enjoyment. You definitely need to go a lot slower than during daylight, but it’s a lot of fun and sure beats the treadmill.
  3. Buy a trainer or join a spin class. Depending on your work/life schedule, joining a spin class might be a great option, or even buying a trainer so you can hop on your bike whenever you have time. Throw in a movie or some good tunes and ride!
  4. Get a personal trainer/coach. Having a program set up for you might help you keep motivated to stick to your training schedule, run or get on the bike and ride after work even when you’re too tired. Or, if you can afford to, hit the gym with a personal trainer once a week who can help you work on your strength, fitness, and help prevent injuries. Most gyms also offer discounts if you go for a friend or two.
  5. Join a training group – running or cycling. There are local groups and stores that lead weekly runs after work and on the weekends, even during the fall/winter. For run training contact North Shore Athletics.
  6. Last but not least, make sure you’re doing something that is fun! If it’s not fun, why are you doing it?!? Also, make sure you take rest days and rest weeks so you don’t burn out before next summer. The last thing you want to do is be sick of your sport before you get to the best time of year to do it. Been there, done that … not so fun.

If you have some more ideas, let us know!

RBC GranFondo finish!

This past Saturday (September 11, 2010) I took part in the inaugural RBC GranFondo, a 120km road ride from Vancouver to Whistler, BC. 4000 riders and myself hit the starting line early Saturday morning, and by 7 am our wheels were rolling through downtown on our way. I had never experienced riding with so many people at once before, it was an amazing but stressful experience! You really had to pay attention to your line and the other riders around you, not to mention the random dropped waterbottles, clothing and pylons on the road.

I road with some Active Life Team members, including my friends Jen, Heather and Leslie.

Proudly displaying our GranFondo Finisher medals!

There were a few crashes along the way, one of which included a teammate of ours. Luckily she managed to get back on her bike and finish the ride … tough chica! The ride included some significant climbing, however having lots of riders around and beautiful scenery was a welcome distraction .

Overall it was an amazing event. There were riders of all ages and abilities, it was trully inspiring! Our team finished 2nd in the women’s category, quite impressive for a team that didn’t actually ride together and road with various groups of friends instead!

Some of the gals have already signed up for it next year … very tempting! If you are interested, registration starts next week on September 20th. Check out: www.rbcgranfondowhistler.com for more details.