Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Let me know what you think, we drank the cool-aid so we love it.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
favorite route through seattle North Bound
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Friday, April 8, 2011
Energy gel is a well-known form of sports nutrition, especially among endurance athletes, and there are several companies that make gel products. Let's look at some stats on a few of them, and see why they're so popular.
Macronutrients: Each of the products above derives 100% of its energy from carbohydrate. Aside from Clif Shots, the above gel products use maltodextrin as their primary ingredient. Maltodextrin has unique characteristics. It has a low glycemic index, meaning that it prompts both relatively low insulin release and blood sugar spike. It is also one of the most efficiently and quickly absorbed complex carbohydrates, meaning that your body doesn't have to divert much energy to digestion.
All the gels use some sugar, constituting between 8% and 27% of total energy. While secondary to maltodextrin, sugars provide an early burst of energy, as well as providing flavor.
Micronutrients: Aside from carbohydrate, the gels above use different mixes of electrolytes (sodium, potassium), antioxidants (Vitamins C and E), caffeine, and amino acids. With doses of all of these in a single 1-oz serving, gel is an efficient way of packing in several nutrients at once. You could drink a cup of coffee, have a sports drink with electrolytes, and take an amino acid supplement, but gel's all-in-one appeal is part of why they are so popular.
Each of these ingredients can have legitimate benefits, but for the purposes of this post (creating a cheap and customizable substitute), they are not the primary motive for using gel nutrition. It is easy enough to make sure that your off-the-bike diet contains enough protein and amino acids so that you can ride or race your bike without becoming protein deficient, and personally, I wouldn't give up coffee even if I took 200mg in caffeine through gels on a race day. The core benefit of gels is the carbohydrate maltodextrin, so let's get to making your own.
I've experimented with adding in various micronutrients, but we'll start with a simple recipe: fruit juice and maltodextrin. For the fruit juice, I'm fond of POM juice. For the maltodextrin, you can find several corn-derived brands at shops like Super Supplements and GNC, or online for even cheaper:
First is setting your ratio of powder to liquid. A good starting point is 3:1. This will make a gel that isn't too viscous, but that still packs a good deal of energy. Using 1c POM juice and 3c NOW maltodextrin yields a little over 16oz of gel totaling 1300 kcal, including 300g maltodextrin and 34g sugar. The cooking process is very simple. Heat the juice in a pot to just below simmering, and add the powder.
Anyone who has used corn starch before knows that it takes a bit of time to dissolve into water. The same goes for maltodextrin, as it is also corn-derived. After a minute in the juice, the powder will settle into insulated clumps:
With occasional stirring and time, these clumps will open up, releasing the powder into the juice.
If you think that the gel doesn't look as thick as you'd like it to be, remember that, heated, it will be thinner than it is at room temperature. Once the powder clumps have dissolved, turn off the heat, let the gel cool a bit, and place it in a container.
At this point, the gel is best refrigerated, as it doesn't contain the preservatives found in most gels.
Now you have ride-ready nutrition! Just load some up in a Hammer Flask, or mix some into a water bottle and you're ready to go. I like to prep my gel on a Thursday or Friday before a weekend of racing so that I have enough to last. For a stage race with two 3-hour road races, a 20-minute TT and an hour-long crit, I'll make 800kcal for each road race, and 200kcal to take shortly before both the TT and the crit.
As I said at the beginning of this post, making your own gel to save money can be a case of false economy, with the amount of time and energy you spend making it outweighing the money saved. But if you're a tinkering type, or are interested in tweaking your ride nutrition with changes in sugar ratios, additions of vitamins, caffeine, amino acids, and other micronutrients, then homemade gel can be a fun project.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
2011 Power Meter and Head Unit Review
Part I of II: Power Meters
By Lang Reynolds - 3/2011
A lot has happened in the power meter marketplace since my last review a few years ago. The advent of the ANT+ wireless transmission standard has opened a whole new world of possibilities in head unit selection and some exciting new power meters are on the horizon. Other products have failed and been taken off the market, which is mostly a good thing in those cases.
Power meters are still expensive, but they are also still the most effective tool you can add to your arsenal if you’re looking to improve performance. By providing a complete record of your effort on every ride, you can measure your fitness level in the different physiological systems, determine your strengths and weaknesses in races, and track your overall training stress over longer periods of time. Power meters can also be used prescriptively, to ensure a precise workout and harness correct pacing in time trial and solo efforts.
When shopping for a power meter, it’s best to start by determining your budget. Then, consider the equipment you have – how many and what type of bikes do you want to use with your PM, and what kinds of wheels do you have? No matter which PM you choose, you will have to make sacrifices in equipment choice. Getting a PowerTap locks you into using that wheel (although you can move it between bikes) while getting an SRM lets you use any wheels, but locks you into one bike. Unless PM prices fall dramatically there is just no way around these compromises. So after determining how much money you have to spend, take a little time to decide which equipment sacrifices you are willing to make. Just remember, the data from a power meter (when analyzed correctly) are far more valuable in improving performance than a few grams of weight or some carbon wheel.
One thing that cannot be compromised, however, is accuracy. I hear a lot of people say (regarding certain cheaper PMs that are not accurate) “well, even if it’s not accurate, as long as it is consistent it should be fine.” First of all, absolute accuracy is very important because it allows you to make comparisons across individuals, and also within an individual’s data set over time. If you buy one PM today and another one two years down the road, you need to be able to compare your data from your first PM with that of your new one.
Secondly, and more importantly, these PMs that are not accurate are also not consistent. This is very important because changes in fitness over the course of a season can sometimes be very small, on the order of just a few percent or sometimes even less than that. If your power meter is not sufficiently accurate, it is impossible to determine whether the changes you are seeing in the data are due to changes in your fitness, or just the capriciousness of your PM. If you don’t have confidence in your data, then the PM is not an effective tool because you have no concrete connection between the training stress you’ve applied and the changes in fitness you are attempting to measuring. An inaccurate PM, therefore, is a useless PM. PMs are not like race wheels or bike frames, where you can buy a less expensive product that delivers a large percentage of the performance of the higher-end model for a fraction of the cost. In the world of PMs, there is an accuracy threshold below which the products are not worth buying. Unlike a lot of other publications in the cycling industry, I’ve actually performed my own extensive testing on many of the products in the marketplace, and I’m not afraid to point out the ones which have failed these tests.
Without further ado, here is a rundown of the PMs now available:
PowerTap is still the industry leader in PMs as they continue to provide the best combination of accuracy, affordability, reliability, ease of use, and user serviceability. At +/-1.5%, PowerTaps remain the most accurate factory-rated PM on the market. CycleOps hasn’t changed too much about the PowerTap line since I last wrote, but they have updated all of their wireless models to the ANT+ standard for use with the next generation of head units such as Garmin GPS computers. They’ve made their top of the line hub lighter and added ceramic bearings, and they’ve also introduced more affordable low- and mid-range models. At $600, the wired Comp model is the most affordable PM on the market and the go-to choice for the cyclist on the budget.
Featureing great realiability, PowerTaps also have user-serviceable batteries; both hub and head unit batteries can be changed in minutes for a cost of about $5.
PowerTap hubs are available in road, track and MTB configuration. Here’s a quick breakdown of all the PowerTap models and the differences between them (Prices are for hub only):
ANT+ Wireless Hubs:
SLC+ $1849, 15mm Alloy Axle + Freehub Body, Carbon Hub Shell, Ceramic Bearings 402g
SL+ $1349, 15mm Alloy Axle + Freehub Body, Carbon Hub Shell, 412g
Pro+ $949 , 15mm Alloy Axle + Freehub Body, Alloy Hub Shell, 466g <--- Best Wireless Value
Elite+ $849, 15mm Steel Axle + Freehub Body, Alloy Hub Shell, 583g
Comp $599, 15mm Steel Axle + Freehub Body, Carbon Hub Shell, 576g <--- Best Overall Value
Equipment tradeoffs: The PowerTap locks you into one wheel, but by getting a PowerTap laced to a rim strong enough for training but light enough for racing, such as a carbon clincher, you can have a wheel that does it all and won’t hold you back on race day. Add a WheelBuilder.com wheel cover and you also have a disc wheel for TTs that tests faster in the wind tunnel than many disc wheels .
Buy a PowerTap if: You want to use a PM on multiple different bikes.
Since our last edition, SRM has also gone wireless with their crank-based power meter, joining the ranks of ANT+ transmitted PMs. The most expensive PM on the market, SRM is in the same class of accuracy as the PowerTap, rated at +/-2%. With ANT+ data transmission, you can use any ANT+ head unit including SRM’s own PowerControl 7 or third-party units such as a Garmin or even the CycleOps Joule 2.0.
SRMs are accurate and reliable, but they are also the most expensive PMs on the market and have a few small drawbacks. One annoying fact is that most of them come from the factory calibrated with the wrong slope value, and must be user-calibrated after installation to give truly accurate readings. The slope value must also be re-calibrated when changing the chaingrings. They are also not user-serviceable and must be sent back to the SRM Service Center in Colorado when the batteries die, for a hefty servicing fee of $100+.
The SRM is also available in Road (Standard or Compact), Track and MTB configurations. For road cranks, it is available built into a variety of popular crank choices (SRAM, FSA, Shimano, Cannondale and Specialized) and ranges from $1895-$2945 for the crank only
Equipment Tradeoffs: As a crank-based PM, the SRM locks you into using just one bike, unless you are sufficiently mechanically competent and confident to switch cranks between bikes frequently. For some crank varieties (such as Cannondale) this is easier than others.
Buy an SRM if: You have plenty of money to spend and only one bike you want to use your PM with, or if you are comfortable enough mechanically to frequently switch cranks between bikes.
One of the newer PMs on the marketplace, Quarq is a crank-based unit like the SRM, but is much less expensive. With ANT+ wireless transmission, the Quarq is also compatible with all ANT+ head units. While factory rated with +/-2% accuracy my own research has shown multiple Quarq units to have accuracy no better than 5%, which is not sufficient for use as a PM. Quarq has insisted it has remedied the accuracy issue but I have not been able to re-test any units since the improvements were announced. Additionally, because the Quarq auto-zeroes its torque reading when the crank is pedaled backward, some of our clients have had issues with their Quarqs auto-zeroing while in the start house for a TT, leading to inaccurate power readings during the TT.
While it is a promising product, until Quarq adequately resolves these accuracy issues I do not recommend purchasing one.
Garmin “Vector” Pedal-based PM
Announced to much fanfare in late 2009, the then-MetriGear Vector was to be the first pedal-based power meter. This product created a lot of buzz because, if sufficiently affordable, a pedal-based PM could potentially avoid many of the equipment compromises demanded by other PMs currently on the market. However, publicized release dates of Q1` and Q2 2010 came and went without so much as a public working prototype and despite being purchased by Garmin in late 2010, the Vector is still vaporware. While its purchase by Garmin suggests a viable product is actually in the works, the length of time the Vector has been in production and the lack of any pre-release prototypes has convinced me that the Vector is at least a year from reaching the marketplace, if not more.
Additionally given the track record of numerous bugs in the first batches of other PMs, even if the Vector is released in the next year I wouldn’t recommend buying one until after the first production run has been in the marketplace for a period of time. Therefore, my advice to those waiting on the Vector is: stop waiting. Buy an SRM or a PowerTap now, start reaping the benefits of using a PM, and in two years when the Vector has been out for a while and all the kinks have been worked out, THEN think about getting one.
Polar Pedal-Based PM
Basically the same thing goes for the Polar pedal-based PM as for the Vector. This thing is a long way from the market and it does not make sense to wait for it when there are solid products already on the market. I hope to be writing about this product in a couple years’ time after it comes out, but until then get a real PM that already exists.
The iBike calculates power by measuring all of the forces acting against the motion of a cyclist: aerodynamic drag, gravity, and rolling resistance. Unfortunately there are so many measurements necessary to make these calculations that the iBike is not accurate enough (except on hills) to be considered a true power meter. Additionally the calibrations necessary before initially using the iBike, and those necessary before each ride are so numerous and cumbersome that they make using one an exercise in frustration. Lastly, the user-interface is extremely non-intuitive and very difficult to use.
However, because the iBike can now function as an ANT+ head unit for a regular PM, it can act as a very useful training tool. When paired with a regular PM, the iBike’s wind-measuring sensors give it the ability to calculate aerodynamic drag, essentially turning your bike into a portable (and very cheap compared to the real thing) wind tunnel. Using the iBike as a wind tunnel, you can test time trial positions and equipment, and also determine your most aerodynamic position on your road bike.
I owe iBike an apology: when I wrote my first PM review I mentioned some customer service issues one of our clients had with the company. After getting some more information, it’s become apparent that iBike provides some of the best customer service in the industry and is extremely responsive in resolving any issues their customers have.
Buy an iBike if: You already have an ANT+ PM and would like to perform aerodynamic testing
Ergomo is now out of business, which is great because their PMs were not accurate, due to the fact that they only measured power from one crankarm. If you come across one of these in the secondary market (i.e. eBay, a friend selling one, etc.) run far away and don’t even think about buying it.
Stay tuned for Part II: Head Units
Questions about Power Meters or Training with Power? Contact Coach Lang at Lang@cycleu.com.
Cycle U has Power Tap wheels for demo or purchase, call or stop on in.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Have you heard of the "Big Climb for Leukemia"? It is this amazing event that I take part in every March to help raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We run up 69 floors (1,311 stairs) in the Columbia Tower, all to raise money to help find a cure for Leukemia.
It is an amazing experience, so painful, but so gratifying to finish. This will be my 8th year competing. I decided 8 years ago after watching my husband run the famous "Firefighter's Big Climb for Leukemia" that I wanted to also give it a try. So not being a firefighter, I found out that they also offer a civilian climb 2 weeks after the Firefighter's climb and I signed up. And being the competitive person that I am, I loved it and continue to look forward to it every year.
This year this climb has become very personal to me, I found out 2 days ago that a good friend and fellow fireman that works with my husband was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He is in his late 40’s and this has really hit home for us and the fire service.
I am the Team Captain for a team that we put together a few years back, named “Rescue Me”. The idea behind our team was that we all had to be significant others to firefighters. This year we are running the climb in honor of our good friend. I like to try to get our team to raise as much money as we can to help find a cure so your donations will help to find a cure for this horrible caner.
While we will be gasping for air running all those stairs, the real challenge is to help fight blood cancers. All proceeds benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Please support me by going to my personal Big Climb page:
It's that easy! Thanks for supporting me in the fight against blood cancers!"
Thank you so much for your support, and be thinking of my team and me on Sunday March 22nd as we all conquer another 69 floors.
Coach Kristi Berg
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Product Spotlight: Garmin 500
by Coach Lang Reynolds
One of the biggest cycling innovations of 2010 was the expansion of GPS-based cycling computers by industry giant Garmin. After releasing the game-changing Edge 705 in 2007, Garmin upped the ante in 2010 with the release of the Edge 500 and 800 computers, which built on the strengths of the 705 to offer GPS-enabled computers in more compact packages. With the ability to receive ANT+ standard power meter data transmission, Garmin now clearly leads the pack in cycling computer technology.
After six months of using the Edge 500, I can say with confidence that it is hands-down the best cycling computer I’ve ever used. As a power meter head unit, it stands head and shoulders above the other offerings thanks to its (relative) affordability, compact size, functionality, customizability, and ease of use. At $250 MSRP, it comes in much cheaper than other ANT+ head units such as the PowerTap Joule and SRM PowerControl.
While the tradeoff for the Edge 500’s compact size is that it does not display a map of your location or allow you to follow a pre-programmed route like the 705 and 800 (it simply records the GPS data of your route), it does display pretty much all other data you could imagine. With three fully-customizable data screens and up to eight data fields per screen, the user can configure the Edge 500 to show any and all pertinent data, and nothing the user doesn’t want to see. From power metrics to altitude data to the traditional speed, distance, and cadence, the 500 can display anything you want. With climbing data such as current altitude, total climbing altitude, and vertical ascent speed, the 500 is a must-have for any climbing aficionado.
Most importantly, the Edge 500 is incredibly easy to use. It’s intuitive interface is completely plug and play and I have yet to use the instruction manual. It synchronyzes with your power meter immediately and without a lengthy search or calibration process, and can switch between two different power meters (a PowerTap or an SRM, for example) in a matter of seconds, which makes it especially useful for cyclists with multiple wireless power meters. All of the power meter’s functionality is maintained and the 500 picks up the data with identical accuracy as the stock company’s head unit.
As with any GPS computer, the on-bike functionality barely scratches the surface of the 500’s total functionality. Downloading the files to a computer opens up a whole new universe of possibility in data analysis and training archiving. Garmin offers a free web-based training resource, Garmin Connect, where you can upload and view all your files and keep a full training history. Like everything Garmin does, Garmin Connect is easy to use and incredibly useful. If you want more in-depth analysis you can also view the files in third-party software. Some of these third-party applications, such as web-based Strava, allow riders to upload and compare rides and performances on local climbs, adding a whole new dimension of virtual competition to every training ride.
In short, the Edge 500 is good. Real good. It’s so good, it inspired me to switch back to my PowerTap wheel from the wired SRM I was using earlier this summer, because, being already fully addicted to power data, after getting a taste of the GPS AND power data combined, I just couldn’t go back to plain old power data. Your results may vary.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Are you on track for a great 2011?
How do you decide what your goals are? How do you decide what to prioritize? How do you get more energy to tackle your goals once you set them? Do you want to get past what has stopped you in the past? Are you tired of getting dropped and not reaching your goals? If you answer yes to any of these, it is time for Advanced Focus and Motivation (AFM).
Turbo charge your focus for 2011 by choosing strong goals here are some fundamental questions everyone must ask:
#1. What worked and what didn't work this past year. What did I learn?
#2. Goals for next season. What is one or two steps higher than last year? Where can I put them where I will see them each day.
#3. What is my plan so I build on my strengths and get to next Spring as strong, focused and charged as possible.
Now as easy as these 3 steps are, how many of you have already answered them for 2011? This is where I can help. I have been developing my mental coaching skills for 20 years and can coach you to do the same and find out for yourself what reserves of focus, courage and discipline you have to make a big improvement in 2011.
I call it Advanced Focus and Motivation, AFM and it is one of my favorite things to coach, in fact I believe it is the most neglected aspect of training and the one that can make the biggest difference for any athlete. I have done it for Teams, Groups and many individuals with great success including Adrian Hegyvary and the Huskies beginning in 2004. I now want to share it with anyone wanting to improve their mental game and ramp up their rate of progress.
I am doing a free session January 8th at 4pm to kick off the new year at our West Seattle training center. Why? Because the more I teach it, the better I ingrain it for myself and I love to see everyone improving as fast as possible, no matter what your pursuit.
If you are willing to commit to making a change, even if only 1%, Email Me and I will hold a spot for you, Date: Saturday January 8th 4pm - 5pm at West Seattle. Open to the first 30 people.
Thanks for listening, now get a great plan together and go after it 2011 now!
Friday, July 9, 2010
The Cycle U experience has been a blast so far, since starting a little over a month ago I am already involved in just about everything. I am teaching outdoor classes, doing private lessons, working in the shops and perfecting my mechanic skills.
However, I should have figured that Craig wanted to make me into a climber. Since working here the only classes I have taught have been hill climbing classes or bootcamps. If you know me or my riding style you know that I am a sprinter, I love the track and flat races. Ever since I started racing and riding 10 years ago hills have been a challenge for me. Whether it was weight, power, or mental issues I have never performed well in a race with a hill in it.
Teaching the hill climbing classes have made me realize how much climbing is all in your head. Sometimes in races I will find myself already at the back when a hill is approaching and I have mentally given up before it starts. When I am helping the bootcamp cadets or the other students I am assuming a climbing role and I am actually climbing well and enjoying it. I know that I can climb, I have the muscles and the form I just need to make the connection in my brain that I LOVE HILLS! Too often there is this stigma that you either love hills or you hate them, for too long I have been in the later category. Everything you do has a large mental component and climbing is one for lots of people that is hard. A few things that I am working on is forcing myself to stay in the zone mentally, tricking my brain by making smaller goals up hill, and having positive self talk when climbing.
I don't know if I will be winning any uphill TT's or hilly road races but I can tell you that I will be more mentally prepared for the hills.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Check out the full results here to see where you ended up and also check out nightly results from every race of the series. Podium finishers can look forward to some great prizes from Cycle U.
Watch out for these racers out on the roads as they put in so many solid efforts this winter they will be flying!
Friday, March 12, 2010
Full nightly results and current series standings can be found here
Click here to sign up for next week's race
Monday, February 22, 2010
Students may choose between one or two day courses. Class begins for everyone with a seminar on Friday, February 26th from 6-9pm at the Sandpoint location. This first session is indoors and will focus on the “conceptual” aspects of time trialing, with bike time limited only to fit optimization. Cost for just the seminar is $60.
Sunday’s class takes place at the Frostbite Time Trial on February 28th and offers students a chance to apply their skills in a practical environment. We will spend significant time on the bikes and get a chance to prepare, race, and evaluate performances together. Class begins on site at 7:30am and ends approximately one hour following the last rider’s finish; allow the whole morning. Cost for the whole bootcamp is $140, not including race entry; enrollment is limited to 15, please register early to guarantee a spot: http://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ws.asp?studioid=3476&stype=-8&sLoc=0
Adrian Hegyvary is a time trial specialist with the top-ranked UnitedHealthcare pro cycling team presented by Maxxis. He was a silver medalist at the 2009 Elite National TT Championships and holds numerous course records on time trials throughout the Northwest.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Name Place Total Points
Jess Cutler 1 24
Martha Walsh 2 22
Annie Richardson-Lander 3 15
Tina Zeigler 4 11
Kristen Walker 5 9
Name Place Total Points
Martin Criminale 1 120
Dustin Van Wyck 2 77
Alex Telitsine 3 57
Justin Angle 4 44
Mick Walsh 5 30
Click here for the full series standings and results from every day of racing.