Toeing The Line

June 13th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Chelsey Jones

“When you recognize that failing doesn’t make you a failure, you give yourself permission to try all sorts of things.” – Lauren Fleshmen

It was 4 days before my event. Months of training, discipline, adequate rest and recovery, and all that went through my head was “No, thank you, I’d rather not
run hard. Easy sounds good. Do I really have to do this?”.  Despite all the proper training leading up to my race a voice in my head was there filled with what ifs and doubts. It was almost as though someone was going to have to pull me to the start line while I was kicking and screaming.

I have a coach (Michelle Dalton) who is fantastic, awesome, and challenges me to grow in many different ways.  When I contacted her about concerns with racing the event she
pretty much said because you don’t want to race it, I think you should.  You see, I struggle with this thing called pressure. Pressure to perform at my very best,
pressure to beat everyone around me, and pressure to have better results than I have in years past.  Pressure so intense I pretty much want to crawl in a hole and hide, or at least not race.  Give me friends and easy runs any day, but to put it all out there and see what I got, hmmmm, I dunno that’s a little different.

It took me a few days of thought and deliberation to decide that if I did not race it I would walk away wondering what I could of done. We are always going to
have voices in our head. Some of all the great things we can do, reminders of all our strengths, of everything we’ve worked for.  But we’re also going to have voices of doubt, wondering if we really can do it, and what if we fail. 

Each race I have competed in has taught me a lesson. Lessons about pacing and the importance of not going out to hard. Lessons about nutrition, what to do, and what definitely NOT to do. Lessons about mental toughness and how to push even when it feels like you can’t go on, but none of these lessons share the same importance as the lessons I learn leading up to a race. I have learned that when I line up at a race, or even a hard workout, it is not my performance that defines me. Failing, or not doing as well as I hoped for does not make me a failure. Far from it. Putting myself out there and giving it my best is what helps me to become a better athlete. Setting aside the competition and focusing on the joys of challenging myself and pushing myself right to that edge, just to see what I’m made of, that’s where I find growth.

I have been told many times that running is 10% physical and 90% mental. I have always thought about this during a race, but what if it’s not just while we are running that we are in that mental battlefield. Perhaps it’s the lessons we learn while in preparation that help us to grow into better athletes. I made it to the start line that day, focused on having fun and doing the best I can. Reminding myself that it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about going out there and giving it my all, whatever that may be.


Flashback to my 2018 Ironman Louisville Race

June 10th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Brian Reynolds

This past weekend I went out for my 2nd outdoor ride in prep for the Tri race of the season.  When I grabbed my aero helmet for the ride I still had my race sticker from Ironman Louisville. While removing the sticker it brought back so many memories.  Here is a flashback to that race.

The Swim – 13:38 – The weather on race day was far from ideal.  The temps were in the high 40s to low 50s and it was raining all day.  The 67 deg water temp was going to be the warmest part of the race (with wet suits of course).  At the start I even had a coat over my wet suit to stay as warm as possible. A few minutes before the swim start the race announcer said that the currents in the Ohio river were too strong which meant the swim course would have to change.  The modified course just had us swimming down current .9 miles. I was disappointed that they had to shorten the swim since this is one of my strengths, but it was the right call.

The swim was a rolling start so I seeded myself in the top 20.  One by one we jumped off the boating dock to begin our Ironman journey.  We were given little information on the new course which made it a little challenging finding the swim buoys.  I could tell the currents were strong since the buoys were almost floating away. The swim went by quick since it only took me a little over 13 mins to finish.  The leaders were probably no more than 30 seconds ahead of me. When I got out the water I felt very fresh and warm.

T1 – 6:53 – This was probably the longest T1 transition of my career.  It was still raining when I got out of the water. I had to take a lot of time to dry off and put on 4 layers of clothes.  In addition, I also placed hand warmers in my gloves and toe warmers in my shoes. There were other athletes putting on layers of clothing so I didn’t feel the need to rush to make up time.  After changing, I ran to my bike with my bike shoes to help keep my feet dry.

The Bike – 5:09:38 – My goal for the bike was to keep warm and ride steady.  My legs felt great starting out and I passed a few riders within the first 20 mins.  The light rain and 50 deg temps continued during the ride. The 4 layers of clothes I had on kept me warm for the first 30 mins before I became soaking wet.  After that I was getting cold especially on the downhills because of the windchill at the faster speeds. In fact, I actually looked forward to the uphills because I was able to stay a little warmer.

The bike course was a lollipop route.  The first and last 10 miles of the course were flat. The lollipop loops were the toughest part of the course due to the hilly terrain.  When I began the first loop I was already having thoughts of wanting to drop out. There was a little voice in the back of my head that kept whispering “drop out and call it a day”.  I’ve never had these thoughts this early in the race. I’ve never been this cold and uncomfortable in a race which was the reason why I wanted to call it quits and get to a warm place.  However, it made me feel better when the male pro who won the race said afterwards that he thought about dropping out during the bike leg!

I just tried to tough it out and keep moving forward.  When I finished the first loop my split was 2:32 which was on pace for a 5:04 bike time.  When I started the 2nd loop there were a lot more athletes on the course. At one point along the course it got so congested that I had to slow down going up a hill. I lost all my momentum up the hill and I had to walk my bike because the hill was so steep.

It did stop raining halfway through the ride and I did feel slightly warmer.  The hand warmers inside my gloves stopped generating heat after 2 hours so my hands got cold which made it hard to grab bottles.  During the last two hours of the ride I could hardly squeeze any liquids out of my bottles  That said, I was looking forward to getting off the bike.

T2 – 6:45 – When entering transition my hands were too cold to even unlace my shoes when I dismounted off my bike.  It felt good to get off the bike and not have to deal with the cold windchill anymore. My legs felt stiff and heavy as I ran through transition which is typical for me during an Ironman.  In the changing tent I changed to a dry pair of socks but kept the same clothes I had on during the bike. I wanted to err on the side of being too warm for the run because I could always remove layers.

The Run – 3:13:34 – Starting off on the run my biggest concern was my left hamstring cramping up.  I took it easy for the first mile and gradually worked into the pace. I started off at a 7:30 ish pace and by mile two I was just under 7 min pace.  I got stronger as the run progressed. I felt great from miles 3 to 10 as I was running between 6:40 to 6:50 miles. As I approached the halfway point my energy levels were starting to drop off a bit.

At mile 12 I found out that I was in 3rd place in my age group and only 2 mins down from 2nd place.  This news gave me motivation because if I could finish in the top 2 I would get a Kona slot. When I got to mile 14 I was given the news that I was in 2nd place!  I was laser focused at this point to hold my position and not give up any time. However sometimes good things must come to an end. At mile 18 my left hamstring began cramping up every few minutes and my energy levels continued to drop.

For the last 8 miles I was forced to slow down and I was taking in as much nutrition as I could stomach.  My only goal at this point was to keep running and not walk. I knew the longer I kept running the better my chases were of holding my Kona slot.  When I got to the finish line I didn’t have a clue on my placement. Fortunately, I only got passed by one athlete and I managed to finish 3rd. I would have to wait until the next day to find out if I qualified for Kona.

The next day were the award ceremonies and the Kona roll down allocation.  I would find out that the top 3 in my age group got Kona slots which meant that I needed to plan a trip to Hawaii in October next year:)  This made it extra rewarding to have kept running during the final miles of the marathon because 4th place was only 2:20 minutes behind me.  I was thankful to cap off my 2018 triathlon season by not giving up on myself.  Perserverance was taking me to Kona!


Top 5 Things Learned at This Year’s Training Camp

June 6th, 2019 by Marie Dershem

Written by Terry Ritter

This season’s North Carolina Training Camp had great weather and terrific riding. There was a newer rider flare to this edition, with ’19 team additions Ross DiFalco and Jared Dunham joining myself and fellow seasoned Team Athletic Mentor riders Elaine Sheikh, Bobby Munro, and Kellen Caldwell. Dan Caldwell, Kellen’s father, also spent part of the week with us, and Scott Hoffner made his usually trip up from Winston Salem to ride for a few days.  Second year team rider Tim Coffey attends Brevard College and got a chance to log about an hour with a few of us before some bad luck changed his preseason.

Though this marked the 19th time in the last 21 years I’ve put together a cycling excursion to jump start the season, I am always entertained by the new things I learn (or relearned) each year. Here’s my top five list from this year.

Tubeless tires require different attention in the off-season…

 Last season I mounted up some tubeless tires and sealant and enjoy the benefits of that set up for training. However, I didn’t give much thought to how I’d store these hoops over the winter, just hanging them like my tubed arrangements of the past. The first road ride of the trip happened to be the Mt. Mitchell ascent, an 87 mile day with over 9000 feet of climbing. The first time the bike rolled over 25 mph I noted an imbalance in the front wheel. After checking the bead and seeing it was seated appropriately, my brain started working on what the issue could be. That’s when I remembered I had to pump the tire up as I noticed it had deflated to the degree the bead had lost the airtight seal over the winter. I quickly speculated the air had dried out the sealant, which had collected in the bottom of the tire as it hung, and was now a solid, non-movable mass throwing things off. This was confirmed once I got the tire off and had an 8 cm strip of solid sealant affixed to one side of the tire. Removing this and remounting the tire with new sealant solved the hop. From here on out I’ll be removing sealant from my tires before I mount them for off season storage (though you could just keep them aired up to stay sealed as well).

Simple Math…

 After hitting the Parkway and descending down 215, we came to a stop and discovered Jared’s crank was coming loose. It had been creaking for 2 hours. Unfortunately, his crank bolt was a 10mm, and none of our multi-tools had anything bigger than an 8mm. That’s when I remember a trick Dan Yankus taught me at the ’16 camp. We took one of the multi-tools apart to get the 6 and 4mm allen wrenches free, then placed them side-by-side in the bolt head (6 + 4 = 10mm). We then used one of the other tools 8mm to fit into the loop of the paired allens and twisted it till the bolt was sufficiently tight to get us home.

Technology is great if you know how to use it…

 At our ’17 camp, Kaitlyn Patterson was able to construct a route within DuPont State Forest from a friend’s map, and then download that to her Garmin. She shared that route with me last year when she wasn’t able to attend and we followed the 3 hour tour without issue. This year was not as successful, as I led us around for about 90 mins before we ended up back near the finish. Seems I didn’t realize the Garmin has a turn-by-turn arrow that will let me know where I’m supposed to be heading when my screen shows route crossing over themselves. Later in the week I figured this out and we tried the route again, with it working flawlessly.

 Would you like that spoke straight or curved…

 As we rode up Mt. Mitchell, my rear Giant wheel broke its first spoke (4 years of riding on it). The DT Swiss rim stayed pretty true and I didn’t have any issues finish the ride. However, I didn’t have any of the straight pull replacements (nor did any of the local shops). A little brainstorming had Ross, Jared and I using the gas stove to warm the spoke (actually, it had to glow) and then used a couple of pairs of needle-nose pliers to straighten a J bend from a conventional spoke I did have. Unfortunately, the spoke was still too short to use, but it gave me a potential emergency option if I have this challenge in the future.

Being prepared means less stress…

 I’ve preached this to all my camp attendees each year. However, this season things got away from me as I was getting ready for camp (Jared, Ross and I took my vehicle) and so decided I’d need to do a little work when I got down to NC. This could well have been fine until some unexpected things happened (spoke, tire sealant), and also unexpected time to help others. I ended up being a bit too busy to really relax as much and recover as much as I should have. My teammates were gracious with their patience, but this was my own fault and something I would have helped entirely if I’d gotten everything done on my equipment at home before I pointed my van south.

These trips are always a lot of fun. We get some great training in, enjoy some relaxation, learn about our new teammates, and pick up some additional wisdom. It makes me wonder what I’ll learn next year.

 

 

 

 

 


The Science of High Visibility Colors while Cycling

May 31st, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Andrew Fathman

How do you get someone to notice you? You know, that person. The person driving the car that, unless they see you, is at risk of making you a cycling statistic. You might not be surprised to hear that the color of your kit is one of the easiest and most effective ways to make yourself more visible and decrease the risk of an accident (put that all-black kit away, no–it doesn’t make you look like Batman.)

However, while having a closet so bright it rivals the sun is great, knowing what to wear at what times of day can actually further increase your safety. Our eyes have three different photoreceptors called “cones”. These cones are specialized to see the three primary colors that make up the spectrum of visible light. Depending on the ambient light, these cones can actually be better at seeing different wavelengths of light. During the day, our eyes are most adept at recognizing green light, followed by yellow and blue (or cyan for you art nerds out there.) Before you consign all of your green jerseys to daytime riding, you have to consider where you’ll be riding. Humans are sensitive to shapes resembling biological patterns which means that we are very good at seeing the shape of a person against a background. If you’re planning on riding through seas of green foliage, it’s better to give drivers a hand and wear a color that will help them see your outline against the trees.

The last scenario to consider is when the sun starts setting and shadows start forming. We might not think about this much as the days are getting longer and we are able to finish our rides with plenty of light, but before you know it, your local TNR will start finishing with less and less light. As it gets darker, our eyes transition from seeing green the best to being able to pick out yellow the easiest and at the furthest distances.

Reflective gear is becoming standard on most athletic gear and the science behind that is akin to why road signs are so obvious at night, but following these easy rules will you give yourself the best chance at being able to chase those K/QOMs (King or Queen of the Mountain winner in races) without incident.


Start’Em Young

May 20th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Dawn Hintz

“An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.” – Emil Zatopek.

Or as I translate it “Run like a child”. When I watch children run I see joy. I see pure satisfaction racing to the imaginary finish line. I see them run with an unbridled passion whether it’s chasing a friend or to the edge of a lake ready to plunge in.

When my eldest son, Jacob, was 9 years old he wanted to compete in his first triathlon. He completed that day with a smile that didn’t end and a passion for a sport that has the chance to keep him healthy and active for life. When he was 12 I signed him up for Athletic Mentors Youth Triathlon Program. A 6-week program that took him beyond the fundamentals of the 3 disciplines; swim, bike and running.

The same 6-week program prepared kids as young as 9 for their very first triathlon. Some of who had very little experience swimming in a lake. They were guided through a mass swim start, exiting the water and making the transition to the bike. When they returned from the 6 mile bike, they were coached through the transition to the run. And boy did they run! Every one of them ran joyously to that finish line where they triumphantly received their medal.

The Youth Triathlon Program has continued to grow. This year will be the first year of two youth groups. The first group will be for very beginner triathletes and the second group will develop teenagers who are ready to go beyond the basic triathlon introduction. While both groups will be ran side by side; each program will be tailored to that group’s needs.

The beginners will spend more time on the fundamentals of each disciple. Each training session will include a workout but more time will be spent giving a solid introduction to each of the disciplines and answering necessary questions. Swim technique will be reviewed in a pool before venturing to the lake. Then they will be taught safe road biking and transitioning to running. It will all be brought together with a miniature triathlon practice and a race course preview before the big day.

More experienced youth triathletes will follow a similar schedule with more emphasis on vigorous training. They will be guided to new levels of athleticism. These children already know how to swim, bike and run. Now they will fine tune their technique in each discipline and learn how to peak for race day.

Both groups will race the Shermanator Triathlon on August 3rd, 2019.

If your child has an interest in triathlon, this is the program to give them the best start and a joyous finish!

Athletic Mentors Youth Triathlon Program

Click this link to signup for Shermanator Triathlon


Electronic Groupsets Review

May 16th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By: Jacob Dolecki

I’ve had the pleasure to work with all of the available electronic group sets out there available including: Shimano DI2, Sram Etap 11 TT, and Campagnolo EPS V4. All of the groupsets that I have tried have been for TT and triathlons only so my experiences are limited to only the views from that perspective and not from road cyclists.

Shimano

Shimano DI2 – Shimano DI2 is the first thing that you think of when you think “electronic groupset”. It by far has dominated electronic shifting for triathletes. It is cheap, clean, and intuitive. There are multiple settings that you can use: standard, semi-synchro, and full synchronized shifting. They all work as intended and it is fully up to the user for their preference. However, Shimano makes it more difficult to install due to the excess wiring and programming involved. If you decide that Shimano is your best bet, it is highly recommended to take it to your local bike shop. Because Shimano’s DI2 groupset is fully cabled, the weight is far beyond the other two electronic groupsets out there.

Full synchronized shifting – This is by far my favorite type that Shimano has out there. It gives the user the simplicity of a 1x groupset with the gearing of a 2x. To put it basically, it gives the system full control of your front shifts based on the selected rear gearing that you have. When you shift up or down in the rear cassette, the system will decide if you should be in the big or little chain ring to avoid cross-chain and to provide the smoothest cadence.

Standard shifting – Standard shifting is what you think shifting should be: you push your left button and it will move the front derailleur up and down into your different chain rings. The right button will shift the rear derailleur up and down depending on how many times you push the button. It is by far the most simple of the three functions that Shimano supplies.

Semi-syncho shifting – It is similar to fully syncho where the system places you into gearing. However, the key difference is that semi-syncho involves the rear derailleur shifting depending on your front derailleur choice. This setting is mostly around keeping your same cadence to which you supply the system via the E-Tube project App.

Pros: Cons:
Pricing Installation
Availability Weight
Custom-Ability
Battery Life
Ease of Use

Sram

Sram E-tap – Sram revolutionized electronic group sets by making their system fully wireless (for road cyclists that is) with each component having their individual battery. Installation can take as little as 10 minutes because there are no wires to feed through the frame. The only downfalls to Sram Etap is the price and the battery limit.

TT E-tap – Sram’s TT/Triathlon group set incorporates the ease of using E-taps fully wireless front and rear derailleur, and only adding cables for your shifting on your aero bars and brakes. The cables from these components goes to Sram’s BlipBox. The BlipBox is an amazing tool that can be used wirelessly as a temporary shifter when tuning up or installing the groupset. In addition, Sram made it possible to micro-adjust every individual shifting while you ride to make the shifting as crisp as possible. Compared to Shimano DI2 groupset, the shifting is on par, if not a hair better than their flagship Dura Ace. Because it is fully wireless, Sram’s electronic groupset weighs significantly less than its cabled counterparts. With the wireless function, Sram’s battery life is less than Shimano’s or Campagnolo’s. Its charge lasts about 500-600 miles depending on how much you shift. If you are training for a longer race, i.e. ironman or half, you will have to charge the batteries about every other week.

The main shifting is a little different than Shimano’s in that it only uses one button per component. If you want to shift on the front derailleur, you press both buttons at once. It takes some time to get used to, but is super convenient once you are comfortable.

Pros: Cons:
Installation Battery
Weight Price
Ease of Use
Shifting

Campagnolo

Campagnolo EPS V4: Campagnolo is the unicorn of the electronic shifting community. It is rare and hard to come by – even harder for triathletes. Campagnolo is on their third iteration of their electronic groupset. It made vast improvements over its V3 versions. Most notably, its capability to charge via the Bar End interface, 12 gears, and its Bluetooth/Garmin compatibility. Because it has cables similar to Shimano, its weight is a little heavier than Sram Etap. However, Campagnolo uses titanium and carbon fibre for its flagship Super Record components so the weight and stiffness is far superior to Shimano. However, its price range and excludability leaves most users behind.

Installation is similar to Shimano but the tuning is a lot easier because of the Campagnolo Mycampy app and micro-adjustment on the shifting levers. The shifting itself is by far the most crisp and precise shifting. It has never once missed a shift even during hard loads. Campagnolo makes the shifts known with an audible click so you know once you shift.  

Pros: Cons:
Shifting Hard to Find
Weight Price
Ease of Use

I hope this information is of value when you are considering your options for electronic groupsets.


Yes UCAN Recipes

May 13th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Kathy Braginton

Two years ago, prior to my first half distance triathlon, I began to utilize UCAN as my workout and race day fuel. UCAN is the only energy food powered by SuperStarch®, a patented ingredient that delivers steady energy without sugar or stimulants. UCAN has quickly become my supplement of choice in my drink bottle. I also love to change things up when it comes to my diet, so I went in search of creative ways to utilize UCAN as more than just a drink. After a quick Google search, I found several recipes to try.

My favorite recipe from http://www.generationucan.com is the Chocolate Almond Fudge cookies. After making a few modifications from the original recipe, I have found the taste similar to a Samoa Girl Scout cookie. I have used these cookies for pre, during, or post workout nutrition. They even make a good healthy snack.

Chocolate Almond Fudge Cookies (Kathy’s version)                        

  • 2 scoops Chocolate UCAN with Protein
  • ½ Cup almond butter
  • ½ Cup peanut butter
  • ¼ Cup oats
  • ½ Cup coconut oil
  • ½ Cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Mix it all up. Add more or less of each ingredient, depending on your taste. Roll the mixture into small balls. Put in the freezer and let chill for several hours. Or, put in a baking dish, freeze and cut into small squares. These cookies are best kept in the freezer. Just let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes prior to eating.

In an attempt to utilize these cookies during a workout or a race, I have experimented with different methods of transport. Placing several cookies in a snack size ziploc bag, I put them in the back pocket of my bike jersey. Mid-ride, the cookies turned to mush and I had to squeeze them out of the corner of the ziploc like a goo or gel. While it serviced its purpose, it was a bit messy. However, the next method worked a bit better. I purchased a liquid ice pack that was divided into 1” individual sections and cut the pack down to size to fit in the snack box on my tri bike. I placed the snack size ziploc in the snack box on top of the ice pack. While this did not keep the cookies frozen, it did keep them from turning to mush. This is now my go-to nutrition on the bike during a half distance race.

My second favorite recipe from http://www.generationucan.com is the Mexican Riviera Smoothie. This is a very refreshing smoothie on a hot summer day. The original recipe called for peaches. Not being a very big fan of peaches, I have tried raspberries and cherries. Both of these are tasty substitutes.

Mexican Riviera Smoothie

  • 1 scoop Lemonade UCAN
  • 1 Cup frozen raspberries or cherries
  • ¼ Cup frozen pineapple.
  • 4 oz of orange juice

Blend all together in a blender.

This last recipe, recently found on http://www.jessrunsblessed.com, is 4 Ingredient UCAN Brownies. This has quickly turned into my favorite early morning, pre-swim fuel. I use these in place of the UCAN Snack bars. These brownies offer similar nutrition to the snack bars at a cheaper price and the taste is not bad!

4 Ingredient UCAN Brownies

  • 2 scoops Chocolate UCAN with Protein
  • 2 medium bananas (mashed well)
  • ¼ Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ Cup peanut butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Spray large rectangle pan with baking spray. In a large bowl, combine 4 ingredients with a spatula. Use a mixer to mix until well mixed. It will be very thick. Spread into pan and flatten with spatula. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Optional ingredients: unsweetened shredded coconut, oats, or chopped almonds.

Find additional recipes on Facebook at Generation UCAN. Fuel good. Feel Good. UCAN!


Packing your saddlebag

May 2nd, 2019 by Marie Dershem

Written by Jared Dunham

If you’ve never had the privilege to be in the middle of the rain with a flat tire, and your last CO2 canister just leaked out, then you can’t truly appreciate having the proper tools fix a mechanical issue. Accidents on the trail will happen, and the only way to deal with these is to bring the right tools/supplies with you. The best place to store all the tools needed for your bike to survive hours of singletrack is in a saddlebag. The amount of equipment you bring in the bag is determined by the time/distance your covering. Let’s look over a few things that you should be including in your saddlebag before you go out adventuring.

Before we begin, the 3 durations we’re going to be considering for packing tools are:

  • Short Rides (Under 2 hour ride)
  • Medium Rides (2 to 5 hour ride)
  • Long Rides (5 to 10 hour ride)

Master link

  • Why should I bring it? They are generally the part of the chain that snaps when it breaks due to pressure.
  • Recommended Amount
    • Short Rides: 1
    • Medium Rides: 2
    • Long Rides: 3+
  • Notes
    • Not all are re-usable, you might be able to take them on and off the bike, but they will not stay strong
    • Can be easily packed

Multi-tool

  • Why should I bring it? The Multi-tool exists to do any basic repairs or calibrations you need done on the trail.
  • Recommended Amount: Any Ride: 1
  • Notes
    • Make sure the multi-tool has a chain breaker, it will be one of the only things you can use to get your chain apart on the trail.

Spare Tube

  • Why should I bring it? In case you get a tire puncture from all sorts of sharp objects.
  • Recommended Amount
    • Short Rides: 1
    • Medium Rides: 1
    • Long Rides: 2
  • Notes
    • You can zip-tie a tube to the back of your seat when racing.
    • If you have “deep” rims make sure that the valve stem of the spare tube is long.
    • zip ties, rubber bands, plastic sandwich wrap, or tinfoil to keep the tube wrapped tight.

CO2 Bike Inflator or Mini Pump

  • Why should I bring it? These devices are used to refill a fresh tube or one that has just been patched.
  • Recommended Amount
    • Short Rides: 1 pump or
    • Medium Rides: 1 pump or 2 CO2 Canisters
    • Long Rides: 1 pump or 3+ CO2 Canisters
  • Notes
    • CO2 Bike inflators have a learning curve.
    • Some mini-pumps come with mounts that allow them to be attached near a water bottle cage.
    • If you mount the mini-pump, cover the nozzle from dirt and mud.
    • Mini-pumps take A LOT longer to fill a tube.

Cash

  • Why should I bring it? If your exhausted at a gas station it might save you from being forced to pawn off your bike for a ham sandwich.
  • Recommended Amount
    • Short Rides: None
    • Medium Rides: $20
    • Long Rides: $20
  • Notes
    • Can be used to temporarily fill a gash in the sidewall of a tire.

Tire Patch Kit

  • Why should I bring it? In case all your tubes are punctured.
  • Recommended Amount
    • Short Rides: None
    • Medium Rides: 1
    • Long Rides: 1
  • Notes
    • Get tire patches that require glue for use.
    • Make sure the patch kit includes tire levers.

Other Ideas for Trail Bag:

  •  Zip Ties
  • Packaged Rain Poncho
  • Meat Tenderizer
  • Fire Starter Kit
  • Miniature Knife

For the pack itself, I’ve recently been using a Topeak “Aero Wedge Pack w/ Fixer”. The bag is capable of fitting everything you’ll need and more. Something great about it is the “Fixer”, which is a piece that mounts to the bottom of the seat instead of relying on straps to hold the bag. However, no matter what you’re using to carry tools it’s always important to pack enough for the time you’re riding and the pathway conditions you’re faced with. Hopefully this helps a little bit when you’re considering what to bring with you on your trail travels.

 

 


Lessons from a Rough Workout

April 30th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Brian Reynolds

Fred Devito once said “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”. This has never felt so true until I was running in Florida during the Holidays last year.

My plan was a 90 minute training run. I felt ok the first 15 minutes but as my body heated up more and more things gradually got tougher. I was starting to feel the effects of the 80 degree weather. However, I did not want to swallow my pride by slowing down so instead I just tried to tough it out and run the same pace just like I would back in Michigan.

When I was 30 mins into the run I realized that the pace I was running was not going to be sustainable unless I wanted to run at a heart rate of 180 bpm which is a 5K effort for me. So I backed off my pace so I could finish the run.

At the 45 minute mark I had to stop for a water break and recollect myself. I rarely stop for a drink break however, today was an exception. When I started running again I told myself to not worry about pace and just focus on keeping my heart rate at an aerobic threshold. Switching my focus from pace to heart rate gave me something tangible to target.

Unfortunately the run did not get any easier. After taking another water break at the hour mark I was able to finish the run. I still recall my legs and body feeling like dead weight after that run even though I was running a really easy pace. I was use to the 30 degree weather that I left in Michigan, the sun and heat sucked the energy right out of me.  

There were a lot of good lessons that I took away from this tough run. I had to accept the fact that I was not going to run at my usual pace due to the conditions. This run was a workout for my mental game because I had to change my expectations during the run and focus on perceived exertion and heart rate which I normal don’t pay attention to during training. This kind of workout is great preparation for a race with non-ideal weather conditions.

I now look at these tough training days as a opportunity to become a stronger competitor. Imagine never dealing with adversity in training and then you go into your next race having to face terrible weather conditions, a tough course, etc. By not having rough workouts you could be missing out on valuable experiences and lessons that could make you a better athlete.

As they say you will learn more from a bad workout than you will from a good workout. The key is to learn and apply those lessons in your training. My lessons that day were to practice patience and run to effort rather than pace.

 


Trusting the Process

April 19th, 2019 by Kaitlyn Patterson

-By Kaitlyn Patterson, Team Athletic Mentors athlete

As an (almost) fourth year medical student and nearly life-long endurance athlete, I often find myself thinking about parallels between training to be a physician and an athlete. These are obviously very different pursuits but I find thinking about these analogies a helpful way to frame my experiences.

One of my college cross country coach’s mantras was to “trust the process.” I didn’t give it as much thought at the time, but have come to recognize the weight of this task. The “process” is usually not glamorous or social media worthy. It requires consistency and a steadfast commitment to the basics. In sports, this means doing the fundamental things right everyday- sleep, nutrition, stress management, recovery and training stimulus. In medicine, the process is less straightforward but still requires meticulous attention to the foundations everyday- asking the right questions, meticulous exams, thoughtful clinical decision making and effective communication. When you are in the midst of either process, sometimes it can be hard to measure progress or judge success. Feedback is a powerful tool but sometimes the feedback we receive isn’t as straightforward or easy to interpret as we would like.  This grey area, where we are working hard but a bit unsure if we are making progress, is the most challenging for anyone- be it athletes, students, physicians, or any professional.

The process of medical training feels like occupying the grey area constantly. Medicine in itself involves more uncertainty than we like to admit, making the process of learning that much more challenging. It involves constant questioning of your own capabilities as a healthcare provider, decision maker, and communicator without obvious feedback. Although we are required to achieve certain competencies, quantifying meaningful progress in this space can be challenging. Occasionally there will be glimpses of progress – sometimes with patient encounters that go especially well, moments of being spoken to as a physician colleague, or reminders of the transformation undergone over the past several years. However, this type of feedback can be subtle and identifying both strengths and weaknesses requires practice in self-reflection.  Although the learning process is formally measured in years and milestones, it has become increasingly apparent that the process never actually ends as it is persistent curiosity, reflection and attention to the basics are habits of the best physicians.

In endurance sports, it is easier to quantify progress in numbers: training hours, distance, power, and heart rate. Races are concrete and straightforward benchmarks of success: podiums, age group places, times, rankings. However, the grey areas still exist- such as the off-season, long training blocks, performance plateaus, or races that are not satisfying but not epic failures. Sometimes in these spaces, it seems like failures would be more satisfying because they would at least allow for more obvious take-away lessons.  These are the analogous grey spaces that requires a bit more self-reflection to continue the upward trajectory.

I think we all have a baseline aversion to uncertainty and “grey areas.”  I do think it is the commitment to the process despite the noise, uncertainty and self-doubt that makes for the most sustainable and ultimately satisfying progress.  Definitely easier said than done, but something to strive for nevertheless.



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