Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On the verge of cycling burnout? Remember that it's ultimately about fun

You have been cycling regularly for a long time, maybe even for several years. Once you've cycled long enough to experience the stimulating effects of cycling, it's hard to turn back.

You feel so good, you never want to let this feeling slide. Your body is used to its daily fix of exercise, better circulation, weight control, increased strength and calming endorphins.

Yet cycling, like many other pursuits, can be carried too far from habit to obsession. Perhaps you also notice a leveling-off in your conditioning and times in events, and you don't see progress or improvement as you use to. You also seem to find excuses for training, you terminate training rides early, and you make excuses not to go out, even on beautiful days.

What can you do to treat and prevent this burnout?

When cycling is no longer a joy and a release from the pressures of the world, and a sense of personal accomplishment is missing, it can get dull very quickly. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to add variety and keep cycling lively and challenging.

If you are cycling in a rut or want to prevent burnout, I have put together some techniques to bring back life into your cycling.

Social cycling: Miles and time go by quickly when you are talking and cycling. Get together with some friends for a ride, and make sure you stick to the pace of the slowest rider in the group. Riding once or twice per week with a group that is slower than you is a good break from the routine of hard riding, but if done more than twice per week, you may lose speed. Don't train too often with cyclists who are too fast for you. If you can't talk with the people in the group, you are doing speedwork.

Rest: Schedule easy days, including one or more days off from cycling each week. Many cyclists believe they will lose fitness if they miss a day or two of cycling. But that's simply not true. In fact, studies show that scheduling a few easy days (called tapering) before a race or tour will help you perform better.

Reset your goals: Burnout may mean it is time to set some new goals. Think about what you have already accomplished in cycling and what you want to achieve over the next year or so. You'll keep a more positive mental attitude if you are continually setting and meeting goals.

Cross-train: How about alternating your cycling program with a completely different form of exercise? If you are really tired and burned out, try another physical exercise that is fun or learn a new one.

Listen to your body: At some point, your body will tell you to slow down. Everyone needs some easy time. If you feel tired or sluggish, take it easy. You may be overtraining. Or you may need to skip a morning ride in order to get more rest. You may have to look at your diet to ensure that you are getting enough carbohydrates. While in training, your diet should consist of at least 60% carbohydrates. Listen to your body.

Add variety: An effective way to treat burnout is to add variety to your cycling program. You don't wear the same shirt everyday, do you? So why ride the same course every day? Why do the same program of mileage or intensity over and over?

Reward yourself: Look back to where you started, when you could not ride for one hour. Give yourself credit for what you have accomplished. Negative thoughts can sap positive energy. When you think you're not making progress, look at how much you've achieved!

Train, don't strain: Don't listen to the pros when they say, "No pain, no gain." Cycle as you feel. As you increase your distance, you also will want to get a feeling for speed and sprinting for a short distance, as appropriate. Don't kill yourself; rather accelerate and begin to feel out your entire range of cycling potential. The more you are aware, the better in touch with the variety and fun of the sport, the better the cyclist you'll be.

Have fun: Don't lose sight of the best reason to cycle it is fun! Cycling regularly makes you feel good mentally and physically. It helps you develop a positive self-image. Try to keep things in balance and in harmony, and let cycling enhance, not rule, your life.

Finally, ask yourself: Is the earth going to open up and swallow you if you only ride for 30 minutes today instead of one hour? Who is really going to know or care in five years whether you met your quota or not? In five years, even you won't know or care.

The only thing that will be important then is that you are still cycling, are still healthy, and having fun. Maintaining a flexible routine now is the best assurance that this will happen. Make cycling a healthy habit, a commitment you make to yourself for a healthy lifetime.

Source: active.com/cycling/ by Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tyre sabotage brings race to halt

Police are investigating after carpet tacks were spread across roads bringing a major cycle race to a halt.

More than 3,500 people were taking part in the Etape Caledonia, over 81 miles around Pitlochry in Perthshire.

It is the only cycle event in Britain where all the roads travelled on are closed - which has angered some locals.

Tacks were strewn on a section of the race, bursting hundreds of tyres. Police said it was a reckless act and it was fortunate no-one was hurt.

Cyclists ended up with damaged tyres and the event had to be stopped but organisers cleared the road and the race was completed.

The winner Veli-Matti Raikkonen - who is originally from Finland and is a member of Aberdeen's Granite City racing team - was one of those who suffered a puncture after riding over the tacks.

A spokeswoman for the race said organisers were now working with Tayside Police to discover what had happened.

The event has been running for several years and has developed into the Perthshire Cycling Festival, but has brought protests over the disruption caused by the three-hour Etape Caledonia.

Some campaigners are angry because they believe their freedom of movement is being restricted, visitors may be put off coming to the area, affecting tourism and business, and locals could be prevented from getting to church.

Peter Hounam, from the Anti Closed Road Event (Acre) group, said: "Acre is against the closure of roads for cycle events in our area, we do not object to cyclists or people taking part in events.

"We totally deplore anyone taking direct action and we want people to have peaceful protests.

"We don't condone what has happened, but it shows there is real frustration from people who feel the authorities are not listening to them."

He said the event discouraged tourists because of the road closures and that it did not bring the kind of sustainable tourism needed in Perthshire, as many of the participants only stayed overnight.

But Kathy James, who runs a bed and breakfast in Aberfeldy, said the race brings millions of pounds to the area.

She told BBC Scotland: "What they've done is they've spread, from Rannoch down to us, tiny, tiny carpet tacks - I've got one - they've just spread the road with them.

"There's a chap outside who came off his bike, there's been a lot of people coming off their bikes and basically they had to stop the race further up.

"This area relies on tourism, it disgusts me as a local, I just think there's no logic behind it."

Source: BBC News/UK

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kick Ass Saddle

After more than 200km of cycling since i fixed it on my bike, I'm happy to declare that this is 'one-damn-good-super-fantastic' saddle! I'm not sure whether I have broken this leather saddle in or not, maybe this 'break-in thingy' is just over-rated, but as far as I'm concern, so far I haven't got any saddle sore (maybe my saddle position is spot on), it feels really comfy despite the hard leather and lastly is looks so classy...Its a KICK ASS SADDLE!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Proper Bike Fit Can Prevent Pain and Injury

Whether you are riding to the corner store or across the country, you should be comfortable on your bike. If you have neck, back, or knee pain, saddle sores, or hand or foot numbness, your bicycle probably doesn't fit you properly. Good bike fit can also improve your pedaling efficiency and aerodynamics and actually make you faster.

Here are some common complaints and possible solutions.

Knee pain is usually associated with a seat position that is too high or low or far forward or back. Improper bike shoe or cleat position can also cause knee pain.

  • A seat that is too high will cause pain in the back of the knee.
  • A seat too high will also cause your hips to rock side to side, which may cause discomfort.
  • A seat that is too low or too far forward may cause pain in the front of the knee.
  • Improper foot position on the pedal (or improper cleat alignment) can cause pain on the inside or outside of your knees.

Individual anatomy may also result in knee pain. Cyclists with slight differences in leg length may have knee pain because the seat height is only adjusted for one side. Shoe inserts or orthotics can help correct this problem.

Another cause of knee pain is using too high a gear. Try to use a gear that allows you to pedal quickly, from 70 to 100 strokes per minute.

Neck pain is another common cycling complaint, and is usually the result of riding a bike that is too long or having handlebars that are too low. Tight hamstring and hip flexor muscles can also cause neck pain by forcing your spine to round or arch, and your neck to hyperextend.

Foot pain or numbness is often the result of wearing soft-soled shoes. Special shoes designed for cycling have stiff soles that distribute pressure evenly over the pedal. This also helps you pedal more efficiently. Foot pain can also be caused by using too high a gear, which results in more pressure where the foot meets the pedal.

Hand pain or numbness can be prevented by wearing padded cycling gloves that provide cushioning. You should ride with your elbows slightly bent, not straight or locked. Bent elbows will act as shock absorbers and help absorb the bumps in the road. Changing hand positions on the handlebars can also reduce pressure and pain.

Saddle sores: Finding a bike seat that fits you well is imperative.

There are dozens of bike saddles designed for every rider and riding style. Saddles come in a variety of materials from gel to leather. There are women-specific saddles that are shorter and wider to accommodate a woman's wider pelvis. Others have a center cutout to relieve pressure on soft tissues. You should try several to find one that fits you well.

Your cycling clothing can also cause saddle sores. Cyclists typically wear shorts made without seams — and no underwear — to eliminate sources of chafing and pressure points. Cycling shorts also have padded liners that provide more comfort than street clothes.

Source: About.com/Sports Medicine/ by Elizabeth Quinn

Friday, May 15, 2009

Folding Bike Bag

Folding Bike Bag by Bergmonch. This Folding Bike Bag is 9.5kg, featuring a folding mechanism which keeps it small and handy that you can carrry comfortably on your back. You just get it down the shoulders and open it to a bike in 2 minutes! Instead of walking down hill the Bergmonch bike makes your descent into a thrilling experience even on rough trails.

Source: Likecool.com/The Design Blog

Avoid The Flu Via A Folding Bike and Mask

According to the Center For Disease & Control (CDC), the Swine Flu epidemic is something we all need to "pay attention and plan ahead" for. But how exactly?

One minute Vice President Biden is telling people not to fly or take mass transit

Then, in the blink of an eye, official White House spin meister (Press Secretary) Robert Gibbs says flying, etc. is safe...

The issue with the new Swine Flu is that no one has antibodies yet to fight it off. As a result, more people that are exposed to it are likely to get the flu.

For most that catch the Swine Flu, it will mean nothing more than being sick a few days and thus missing work or school. But who wants to be sick if they can avoid it?

Frankly, I agree with the Vice President. If you don't need to, avoid confined places where you'll be sharing air with a lot of other people (commercial planes, subways, buses, etc.). If you NEED to be in those places, minimize your time in those confined spaces. For example...
  • Take the bus or subway for a shorter distance, riding a bike the rest of the way so you're not in the bus/subway as long.
  • Instead of taking a crowded elevator up/down a few flights, take the stairs.
If you're concerned about problems taking a standard, full size bike on the bus or subway, get a folding bike. Folding bikes that are suitable for commuting can be as economical as $159. When folded, some folding bikes are so small that they'll fit beneath your desk or the seat on the subway. Some mass transit authorities do require folding bikes to be bagged though.

Staying Healthy - Tips From The CDC:
Here are things you can do to lessen your chances of getting the flu:
  • Wash your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hands cleaners.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Limit your exposure to crowds, especially in confined spaces (bus, plane, train, movie theater, classroom, restaurant, etc.).
  • Pay attention to public health warnings.
Source: RideTHISbike.com/by Larry Lagarde

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ride, Don't Train

As the season gets into full swing, you may find yourself working to achieve this year's cycling goals. This is tremendous mistake.

Just as rules are made to be broken, beer is meant to be drunk and tubulars are meant to be punctured on the very first ride, so are goals made to be missed.

The world is a beautiful place, full of endless possibilities. Every glorious day is an experience yet to be had, a sensation yet to be felt, a cheese yet to be tested. Why then rule out all of these possibilities by focusing your entire existence on getting a top-10 finish in the Cat 4 field....on July 12th?

Obviously some people need goals. These people are called "professional cyclist," and they exist to entertain us. We thrill to their victories, and we laugh uproariously at their defeats. However, while we should enjoy the exploits of professional cyclists, we should not seek to emulate them.

Does Alberto Contador spend his leisure time cleaning people's teeth or folding folding clothes at Banana Republic? No, he does not. We do these things because we're paid to do them. Why should we want to do this job for free?

Even worse, some cyclists actually pay other people to help them experience the needless stress of being a professional. These people are called "coaches," and they set goals for you that are even more masochistic than the ones you might have set for yourself. This is like Alberto Contador paying your manager at Banana Republic to berate him for his poor folding technique.

Cycling is fun. Whether your prefer to race, or tour, or just get on your bike and wander, it's all volunteer work, and the only way you can really lose is to hurt yourself. Setting goals serves only to reduce the limitless vista that is cycling enjoyment to a tiny silver of possibility in which you have maybe fifty-fifty chance of succeeding. And I don't like those odds.

Source: Bicycling Magazine/ The Bike Snob

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Start Your Engines!

Here are some tips from Nancy Clark, a certified sports dietetics & competitive athletes herself:
  1. Always eat breakfast!
  2. Energy bars are more about convenience than necessity. Go natural.
  3. Food is fuel - not "fattening enemy"..So Eat!
  4. Gatorade & other sport drinks are designed to be used by cyclists during extended exercise, not as a lunch or snack beverage.
  5. Junk food can fit into your sports diet in small amounts. Try 90% quality food and, if desired, 10% foods with marginal nutritional value, e.g. french fries, cookies tec.
  6. Never go out on a ride without carrying some sort of emergency food.
  7. Protein helps recovery from hard workouts, and it should accompany your recovery meal.
  8. Quality nutrition is found in natural food, especially fruits.
  9. Rest is an important part of exercise programme. Your muscle need time to heal.
  10. Cravings for sweets are a sign you've gotten too hungry.
  11. Dont get too hungry. When you're hungry, you'll likely grab the handliest (but not the healtiest) food around.
  12. Being thinner doesn't equate to being a better cyclist if the cost of being thin is skimpy meals and poorly fueled muscles. Focus on being fit and healthy - not just sleek and slim (but starving)
  13. Keep track of calories if you want to lose weight. You'll reduce body fat only if you create a calorie deficit. Biking can help with fat loss if it contributes to calorie deficit (but the more you ride, the more you might eat!)
  14. Urine that is dark coloured and smelly indicates you need to drink more fluid.
  15. Eat well & enjoy your energy!
Source: Adventure Cyclist/ The Cyclists' Kitchen

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reducing muscle soreness

Question: Should I use L-glutamine to reduce muscle soreness after a hard workout?

Answer: Supplementing with L-glutamine is an expensive way to get an amino acid .... you can get it in any protein-rich food. While L-glutamine might enhance recovery of patients in the hospital who have cancer, AIDS, or bowel problems and are not eating, the chances are that you, as a healthy athlete, can consume a multitude of amino acids (not just L-glutamine) through your diet.

Certainly, the best way to enhance recovery is to fuel up before exercise with a carb-protein snack (recovery can actually start pre-exercise, so the "tools" to recover are already in your system) and then to refuel afterwards, again with some carbs + protein. The carbs provide fuel and the protein heals and builds.

Some popular pre- and/or post-exercise options include yogurt, a little cereal/milk, half a sandwich, or lowfat chocolate milk--all in portions that settles well. You really don't need to buy engineered foods. Simply pay more attention to having the right foods readily available; don't let nutrition be your missing link.

What you eat pre-exercise should last you about 60 to 90 minutes, and then you want to target about 200 to 300 calories per hour. Some athletes choose gels because they are convenient, but you need not spend your money on engineered foods. They are more about convenience than necessity. Other athletes enjoy banana, gummy candy, dried fruit, rice crispie treats, twizzlers ... and carb-based food that tastes good and settles well. Experiment to figure out what foods and fluids work best for your body. By staying well fueled, you will be able to recover more easily.

Source: Active.com/ Nancy Clark RD CSSD/ photo from first-fitnesstraining.blog

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mark Webber saddles up

Fresh from securing his highest ever finish in Formula One, motor-racing star Mark Webber is setting his sights on another challenge – The Cycling Plus Sportive supported by Pacific Outdoor Equipment at BikeRadar Live.

British-based Australian Webber, who steered his Red Bull Racing car to second place in the rain-lashed Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai this last Sunday, will return to the UK at the end of May to ride the Cycling Plus Sportive on May 30.

Webber is a keen cyclist and uses both mountain- and road biking to stay in the shape required to race at 200mph.

"I'm really looking forward to the Cycling Plus Sportive. I've been cycling seriously since around 2000 – I love the fitness, fresh air and focus riding a bike gives me," said Webber. "I'm hoping to persuade a couple of mates to join me on the sportive and just have a great day's riding. I've got fond memories of Donington Park, too, because in the late 1990s I won a sports car race there and finished on the podium quite a few times too, so I know the track well and it'll be fun to ride around it!"

Webber isn't the only bike-loving F1 driver. Current F1 World Championship leader Jenson Button is a keen cyclist and triathlete. Last year, the Brit who won the first two GPs of the season for Brawn GP was presented with two rather nice Scott bikes. Another bike nut is four-time F1 World Champion Alain Prost, who has been a regular competitor in the Etape du Tour.

Webber, who began his F1 career in 2002 with the Minardi team and has also raced for Jaguar and Williams, will ride the Cycling Plus Sportive after returning from this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix. He has yet to decide whether he'll ride the 100-mile or 100K option.

Webber is no stranger to endurance riding - he organised (and even broke his leg in a bike crash during) his own adventure race, the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge and is behind June's Ride to the Horns sportive in the Chilterns on June 14.

Source: Bike Radar Live

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cool Ads

Source : YouTube

Friday, May 1, 2009

Park Connector Network in Pictures

East Coast Park

East Coast Park

Changi Beach Park

Changi Beach Park

Sorry for the quality of the pictures. Can't expect much from a phone camera huh?

Established in December 2006