Chris Kok

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Jeff McDonald

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Chris Shepperly

January 29th, 2022 by Athletic Mentors Staff
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Chad Gorton

October 2nd, 2020 by Jim Allan
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Better Sleep for Better Results

March 5th, 2020 by JoAnn Cranson

By  Jared Dunham

Recovery between workouts is crucial for improving your ability to perform in endurance sports. Proper recovery helps in many ways, some of which are:

  • Allowing your muscles to rebuild and recover from a hard workout.
  • Preventing over-training or burnout.
  • Managing consistent weight and body composition.

There are many ways to receive the right amount of recovery between workouts, popular methods are: protein intake, stretching, foam rolling, and time spent away from the sport. While all of these are important factors to consider, one thing that can be overlooked or set as a lower priority is the amount and quality of sleep you’re receiving. Those restful night hours are crucial because it can directly affect how hard you perceive a workout is. “That means biomechanically there’s no reason sleep will lessen your physical capabilities, but you will fatigue faster on less sleep, making it feel tougher to work out to your maximum capacity,” (How sleep affects fitness and vice versa: Everyday Health). This being said, here are my recommendations for getting the proper amount of sleep needed to recover best.

Get the right number of hours. The recommended number of hours would be eight per night, however with a busy schedule this can be difficult. Something I find that helps is scheduling my less crucial tasks near bedtime, that way the task I skipped to get asleep on time isn’t a big deal anyway. To really soak up those hours, create a sleep routine where you arrive and depart from the mattress at the same times every day. This will make getting to bed and waking up on time easier as your body acclimates to the schedule.

Improve your digestive system. An unhealthy gut can lead to poor sleep and poor sleep can lead to an unhealthy gut, it’s a vicious cycle. In my experience, three major contributors to a problematic stomach are: lack of variety in diet, lack of fiber in diet, or a calorie deficit. If you’re eating the same things every day then diversifying the food groups your consuming will draw more nutrients from your diet, which can aid gut health. Fiber is also an important factor, though it can sometimes seem difficult to take enough in while dieting. The average recommended amount is 35 Grams per day which I’ve found to work fine with me. Two foods that are low calorie and packed with fiber are Spinach and Berries. On another note, natural fiber is leagues better than supplementing it out of a bottle. Lastly, a diet that has you eating too little calories will slow down your metabolism and hurt not only weight loss but also sleep. Going to bed a tad hungry is okay but trying to sleep while you clearly did not eat enough is going to make easy rest a distant dream.

Remove distractions before bed. Generally one of the rules for getting good sleep is to shut down electronics prior to hitting the hay, however I think we may need to be broader than that. We should stop focusing intently on one thing in that 30 minute window before bed. I say this because concentrating on a task and then attempting to sleep could leave you with ruminating thoughts that keep you awake. Good examples of tasks not to do would be: playing an intense video game, doing stressful paper work, or watching a horror movie.

Stretching or Foam Rolling. Two things that have aided me in the transition from wake to sleep is stretching or using a foam roller immediately before bed. While there aren’t certain stretches or areas of the body to roll that I recommend everyone, if you’re a cyclist then obviously to get the best recovery from a workout stretch and roll your lower body.

Without the proper recovery and sleep, it doesn’t matter how hard you workout you will not yield the results to meet your goals.


Peter Ehmann

January 28th, 2020 by Jim Allan
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Erik Hagstrom

January 28th, 2020 by Jim Allan
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Legacy of a Cycling Family

September 25th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

By Ross Williams 

Cycling/bike racing is a sport that provides a diverse variety of opportunity and experiences. Travel, the unique local attractions, sights and culinary experiences of the bike race scene and comradery with like -minded people are just a few of those offered. I’ve done plenty and experienced much on my way through the circuit. However, cycling is not something I just stumbled on and decided to pursue on my own. You see, I come from a cycling family.

Imagine this, you are a middle-class family from Mid Michigan, planning a weekend get -away. You team up with your neighborhood friends and decide on a trip of camping and biking in Northern Michigan. Would you pedal your 1960, 3-speed Schwinn through the hills of Leelanau County, or out and back Old Mission Peninsula? My grandparents did and they lived and laughed to tell us about it. I have the legacy of biking in my family.

That same 1960 3-Speed Schwinn Traveler that rode through the hills of Leelanau, rode my mom to kindergarten. That bike was well cared for and preserved by my grandpa and my mom rides it to this day. Legacy.

It was during a recent return trip from St. Louis, MO, and the Gateway Cup that memories of great times biking as a family came to me. You see, there is a lot of car travel involved in bike racing, a LOT. It affords ample time for reflection and goal setting. Often, driving through certain landscapes or viewing landmarks will jog the memory of similar sights. This trip, it was a long drive through the corn fields of Southern Illinois that reminded me of another trip along roads lined with corn fields.

My brother had been able to travel from Tennessee to St. Louis to watch me race and catch up. It was a good time. This probably caused me to reminisce about other things we have done together, especially as kids. I remembered, with a chuckle, our very first road bike ride together. I was eleven years old, my brother thirteen and my Grandpa was still in his prime. I was able to use Grandpa’s road bike, a 1990’s, ten speed Univega. We had done plenty of riding about town with Grandpa, but this was a much bigger deal.

Our plan was to get up and out early in the morning, head out from Grandpa’s home and ride north 40 miles to the family cabin. Our preparation for this long ride? Well, this was prior to my knowledge of riding nutrition and hydration. We weren’t up on the latest sport drinks or gu packets needed for a 40 mile ride. We did however, set out with plenty of water and planned feed stops along the way. The first stop was 10 miles up the road at a local, rural diner. We carbed up with a large stack of pancakes, enough to fuel us through a long, windy stretch of farm land. Twenty miles to go until our next feed stop. This one happened to be at Grandpa’s buddy Bob’s place. Bob was an avid weekend triathlete. He knew a bit about the best fuel for our bodies, so this stop we filled up on Gatorade and bananas. After we caught our breath and visited with Bob, we saddled up and headed off for the last leg of our ride. Ten more miles to go until our destination. The mood was a bid more subdued those last ten miles. My brother and I were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into and Grandpa was good-heartedly goading us along the way. “Ya doin’ okay back there sweet peas?” Or, his famous reverse psychology routine, “if we stop at that house up ahead, I’ll bet they will let us use their phone and you could call Grandma to come get you.” Seriously! This guy never let up! All in love though, he would have never pushed us harder than he knew we could go. He also knew how those remarks would cause us to be even more determined to push on. And push on we did. We arrived at the cabin with plenty of day light left. Our recovery drink? The same that I use today: an ice cold Coke.

Cycling families tend to stay connected. I got another chance to catching with more of mine at the Detroit Cycling Championships. Which was another, not quite as long as the previous weekend’s, car ride away.


Detroit Cycling Championship Team Recap

September 16th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Terry Ritter

September 9th saw big time bicycle racing return to the Detroit area. The Detroit Athletic Club put on the inaugural Detroit Cycling Championship. This event had a large purse ($45K!), and drew both amateur and pro teams from around the Midwest region and our friends to the east, Canada.

The course was interesting as well, though rather challenging. Three of the main roads used ran the perimeter of Comerica Park, where the Tigers play Major League baseball. Between corners #2 and #3 was a pretty good downhill that generated speeds in excess of 30 mph. From here there was a short section between turns #4 and #5, then #5 and #6, and back onto the long, slight uphill straight. And, being inner streets of a major city, the patched pavement and utility covers were plentiful, with the worst examples of the former on the course’s fast decent. Add a quality prize list and the accomplished riders that show for such a draw, and you’ve got a technical race that was fast and strung out from the gun. Having frequent primes only ramped things up more.  Moving up and maintaining position was a challenge, especially since the opportunity to transit through the field of riders was muted by the speed, and dive-bombing corners was a common occurrence.

The ample purse meant a lot of new riders, and opportunities to have different race classes combined compared to the normal Michigan scene. This meant not only grouped category 3s and 4s races, but category 2s and 3s as well. There was also a full masters class. Ultimately, this left the racers on Team Athletic Mentors the opportunity to not only get a couple of events in, but to race with each other when we normally don’t get that chance.

Toeing the line in the combined Cat. 2/3 race was Terry Ritter, Rich Landgraff, Luke Cavender, Collin Snyder, Ross Williams, and Bobby Munro. Like all the races, this one was fast. Collin won a prime early on, then took a flyer to try to get away with three laps to go. However, there was too much horsepower for anything but a sprint finish.

Ross and Bobby were active in their Cat. 3 only race, with Ross attacking for a prime and then Bobby countering the next lap to try to get away. Great to see some tactical racing from our up-and-coming racers.

The Masters race was all three categories (35+, 45+, 55+), and it made for a large field but interesting dynamic. It wasn’t slow by any means (the 35+ group assured that), and there was a national champion kit in the mix as well. Richard, Peter O’Brien, and Terry doubled up (Peter was in the Cat. 3 Masters race earlier), with Jonathan Morgan joining the crew.

Elaine was our sole female Team Athletic Mentor rider and competed in the Cat. 3/4 race, as well as the Cat. P/1/2/3 race. Like the other races, the group was rarely grouped together, and the later race was especially fast. There were a few teams that were recognizable from the National Criterium Championship race earlier in the summer.  With this being Elaine’s first year of serious road racing (not to mention criteriums), she did very well and represented the team impressively.

The final event of the day was the Pro/1/2, slated for 80 mins. A lot of big regional teams were there and it was super fast. Dan Yankus, Collin, Peter Ehmann and Jonathan started. Many riders didn’t finish due to the pace. Eventually, a group of 5 got away, including two Bissell Pro riders, that lapped the field. Then, with about 10 laps to go, there was a crash that left a few riders in need of medical attention and the race was halted, only to restart after the break with a fast conclusion. With a $200 prime on the second to last lap, the pace was high…until the group passed the first corner as the last lap bell was ringing. Bissell slowed a bit around corner #2, with Daniel taking advantage and shooting up near the front on the outside. Unfortunately, a number of riders dive bombed the inside corner, pushing Daniel and the Bissell train towards the outside and into the barriers, causing a crash. Fortunately, no one was hurt too badly and the race finished on that lap. Collin came home with 30th on the evening.

Not getting enough racing for the weekend, Bobby, Daniel, Collin, Terry and Ross headed to Uncle John’s 56 mile gravel race north of Lansing on Sunday. Glen Dik joined the mix. The team was active early, with Daniel finishing fourth out of the small break that got away from the rest of the field. Collin got 6th overall and Terry came in 13th, and 3rd in the 47-51 age group. Elaine and JoAnn Cranson competed in the women’s 24 mile race as well.

There are rumors that next season the Detroit Criterium Championship will be earlier in the season and hopefully on the national cycling calendar. With the positive support and great organization of this year’s inaugural event, there’s little doubt this can grow bigger and better, showcasing the renewal of our great city.


Four Tips to Safer Road Racing

August 11th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Bobby Munro

Road bike racing is a dangerous activity. It is arguably the most dangerous type of bike racing—except for maybe our distant cousin, downhill mountain bike. Below is four things to do at your local race to make sure the pack stays safe. Admittedly, this list primarily helps to keep others safe. But, if everyone can abide by a code of conduct then we will all benefit.

  1. Practice contact

Coming in contact with other racers will happen. When it does, DO NOT PANIC! Hold your line, avoid the brakes, and counter the force if need be. Leaning into the other person is a skill and it must be practiced. Don’t wait until you are going 25mph to practice it. Find a friend and practice while going slow (I’m talking 5mph, granny gear slow). Just a little practice every few weeks or so can turn you into a pro.

2. Hold your line in corners

We have heard it a million times to “hold your line.” I trust that if you are reading this you know what that means. That being said, I think we could all use a reminder on what your line actually is in a corner. Your “straight line” in a race will seldom have you riding parallel to the curve. Try to follow the line that the rider in front of you took. When you deviate from that line then you cause others behind you to change course as well. This causes a snowball effect that can lead to someone being pinched on the outside or the inside. Also keep in mind the riders to your side. Try to keep them at the same distance they were going into the corner. The natural tendency is to fan out.

Dive bombing corners is not ok. Don’t be that guy. This tactic can be effective but it can be a dangerous one. If you are passing on the inside of a corner then it your responsibility to observe the pack first. In particular, try to predict the line that the person you are looking to pass will take. If there will be a gap, go for it! But if it is going to be tight then it is best to play it safe. The best way to predict what line someone will take is to look at the person who they are drafting (you may need to look a few riders up). If they are following the line of the person ahead of them, then it should be a good predictor of where they will go.

  1. You should (almost) never cross wheels

Another basic of group riding etiquette. The problem is, this is not a group ride, and this is a race. There are literally tens of dollars on the line! When the bunch slows down it can be easier to avoid the brakes a little and cross wheels. This is completely understandable. Just do so at your own peril (and the peril of those behind). If the rider ahead looks unstable or if he looks like he may dart outside to go for an attack, be weary. However, if you are crossing wheels of someone who has a rider on either shoulder, you are probably safe. At the end of the day, it’s your front wheel, so protect it.

  1. Sprint responsibly

The final sprint will be hectic. It your responsibility to be safe during the final meters of the race. The biggest thing to remember is to not make wild movements to the side. Be predictable! Once you have a clear sight at the line, hold your direction. This is not a professional race and we should not be blocking. End of story. If you can’t fend off an approaching rider then you need to improve your sprint, not put another person’s life in danger.

 



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