August 2019 WheelPeople
You may notice that you’re seeing the August Wheelpeople in a new format. CRW will be sending Wheelpeople as an email newsletter going forward with clickable links rather than the former PDF (which was preceded by a mailed newsletter, which was preceded most likely by a horse-and-buggy or carrier pigeon method).
The email newsletter will allow us to view metrics to understand what content is most of interest to members, such as what is clicked most often. So, click away and we will ‘hear’ you!
The newly formed Communications Committee (myself, Larry Kernan, Jack Donohue, Robyn Betts, and Kristi Carlson) is also working on some other fronts. We are:
- Discussing ways to expand CRW social media options to help members engage with each other in new ways.
- Exploring the possibility of launching a member-initiated impromptu ride mechanism so that people can ride together beyond just the calendar-posted rides.
- Planning to help new and existing members become more aware of already-existing communication methods such as the CRW listserv.
- Considering creating a database in which members could post their locality, ride pace, and preferred ride times so they can locate others in the club with shared interests.
- Planning to work on redesigning the club website.
In general, we are looking to create more interactivity via CRW media rather than it being primarily a one-way communication channel. We will also be addressing policies about what gets posted in the newsletter, such as ads and other events outside CRW.
Now here’s the ask-- we need some help. As you will see, the August newsletter will be functional but not as spiffy as we would like. We are looking to engage members to help with these projects, such as those who have a background in graphic design; social media; proofreading and formatting of the e-newsletter; and editor-level work such as writing and editing articles. Also, if you have ideas beyond what’s listed here that would enhance the club’s communications, send your ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via text (617-299-1620).
It takes well over 100 volunteers to run CRW, and the tasks are not evenly divided. Some contribute more than was ever expected, and do so out of a commitment to the club, and in some cases a high sense of professional pride. One such volunteer is David Cooper who recently retired as the WheelPeople graphic designer. David started in the year 2000, and brought a high degree of professional quality to his work. WheelPeople went beyond what you would expect for a bike club newsletter. I speak from direct experience as I had the privilege of working with David where he created visually stunning articles from the text and photos I supplied. I suppose the highest compliment I can make is that David made me look good. He also never shirked from additional work when he was recruited to take on the design of CRW’s custom apparel. He handled the give and take with the Board with grace, and we were all grateful with the process and for the ultimate product. Larry Kernan, President of CRW, commented, “On behalf of myself, the Board and the entire membership of CRW, it is hard to express sufficient gratitude for all of what David has done over the last 20 years.” We wish David well, and you may also extend thanks when you see him on a club ride.
Car Back, or Got Your Back?
by CRW Safety Coordinator John Allen
As long as I have been a CRW member, the call “car back” has resounded from riders at the rear of strings of cyclists. It has become almost reflexive. I have used it myself. If there’s a car behind, then someone near the rear of the group calls out “car back.”
And what are riders ahead supposed to do then? Well, get over to the right and let the car pass.
But, is this always the right thing to do?
Much of the time, certainly. And, too often there is the one rider who obstreperously or cluelessly hangs out to the left of the group, despite repeated cries of “car back,” The car could have passed safely, and everyone could be happy, if only…
Or an aggressive or oblivious driver may pass anyway when it is risky. It is not always the right time to invite a motorist to blow through our rolling party. Moving over to the right is an invitation for a driver to pass.
Is there a better way? I think so. I tried it on one of Eli Post’s beginner rides recently. I was riding sweep. The group was of about ten people. Everyone except the leader and I were new to CRW rides, mind you. That may actually have made the group dynamics easier to manage. When I called out “car back,” people would move over and the car would pass.
But when it was not safe for a car to pass, I tried something different: got your back. I wouldn’t say anything, but instead I’d ride in the middle of the lane and stick my left arm out straight, all fingers extended, palm of the hand facing the rear, warning the motorist not to pass. When it became safe, I’d call out “car back’ and move over to the right.
It does help that I use a rear-view mirror so I can easily see a car approaching in time to decide what to do about it. But somewhat to my surprise, “got your back” was clearly much more comfortable not only for the group, but also for the car drivers. The compliance rate was very high.
Why less discomfort? I was sending clear and intentional messages. I wasn’t inviting drivers to do something they knew at some level was unsafe. I was being courteous and accommodating to the extent consistent with the safety of the group, but I was not being pathologically polite by inviting motorists to put me and the other members of the group at risk.
CRW has been having more rides recently with a group leader and sweep: Eli’s intro rides; the Jack’s Abby rides; follow-the leader groups on the Centuries. Whenever there is a group of, say, twelve or fewer that stays together, “got your back” is easy to do. It works with slow intro ride or a fast paceline group. If the group gets too big, then it can split, but then it needs another sweep.
The more usual CRW Sunday ride over decades has been the amorphous show-and-go ride where groups form and disperse more or less randomly depending on who is faster up hills, who had to wait at the traffic light, who had a flat tire, etc. etc. This kind of ride is a great way to meet a variety of people (including the one who hangs out to the left of another rider to chat -- or maybe you are the one pulling up on the left). All well and good as long as you keep an eye on what is happening behind you. Unless you are in the middle of a group, and someone behind you calls out “car back” even though it is unsafe to pass, and being In the middle of the group, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t move over.
When a substantial percentage of the people on CRW rides know and practice “got your back,” then this doesn’t have to happen, but there is a learning curve and I’m not sure how soon we’ll get there as a club. It did work like a charm on the intro ride and if intro riders can do it…
With “got your back” group dynamics, it also is possible to make good choices about when to ride single- or double-file, but this article is getting long and maybe I’ll write about that next month.
The Athlete's Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD June 2019
Sports Nutrition Myths: Busted!
Keeping up with the latest science-based sports nutrition recommendations is a challenge. We are constantly bombarded with media messages touting the next miracle sports food or supplement that will enhance athletic performance, promote fat loss, build muscle, and help you be a super-athlete. At this year's Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (www.acsm.org), a sports nutrition myth-busters session sponsored by the global network of Professionals In Nutrition for Exercise and Sport (www.PINESNutrition.org) featured experts who resolved confusion with science-based research.
MYTH: Protein supplements build bigger muscles.
Protein needs for a 150-pound (68 kg) athlete average about 110 to 150 grams of protein per day. (More precisely, 0.7 to 1.0 g pro/lb. body weight/day; 1.6 to 2.2 g pro/kg./day) Hungry athletes can easily consume this amount from standard meals. Yet, many athletes believe they need extra protein. They consume protein shakes and bars in addition to protein-laden meals. They are unlikely to see any additional benefits from this higher-than-needed protein intake. Resistance exercise is a far more potent way to increase muscle size and strength than any protein supplement.
MYTH: Eating just before bedtime makes an athlete fat.
While it is true the body responds differently to the same meal eaten at 9:00 a.m., 5:00 pm, or 1:00 a.m., an athlete will not "get fat" by eating at night. The main problem with nighttime eating relates to the ease of over-eating while lounging around and watching TV. When your brain is tired from having made endless decisions all day, you can easily decide to eat more food than required.
That said, bedtime carbohydrates to refuel depleted muscles and bedtime protein to build and repair muscles can optimize recovery after a day of hard training or competing. For body builders and others who want to optimize muscle growth, eating about 40 grams of protein before bed provides an extended flow of amino acids needed to build muscle. (This bedtime snack has not been linked with fat gain). Cottage cheese, anyone?
MYTH: A gluten-free diet cures athletes' gut problems.
If you have celiac disease (as verified by blood tests), your gut will indeed feel better if you avoid wheat and other gluten-containing foods. However, very few gut issues for non-celiac athletes are related to gluten. FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols) are often the culprit. These are types of hard-for-some-people-to-digest carbohydrates found in commonly eaten foods such as wheat, apples, onion, garlic, and milk. For example, the di-saccharide lactose (a kind of sugar found in milk) creates gut turmoil in people who are lactose intolerant. The poorly digested and absorbed lactose creates gas, bloat and diarrhea.
For certain athletes, a low FODMAP diet two or three days before a competition or long training session can help curb intestinal distress. If you live in fear of undesired pit stops, a consultation with your sports dietitian to learn more about a short-term FODMAP reduction diet is worth considering.
MYTH: Athletes should avoid caffeine because of its diuretic effect
With caffeinated beverages, the diuretic effect might be 1.2 ml. excess fluid lost per mg. of caffeine. That means, if you were to drink a small mug (7 oz./200 ml.) of coffee that contains 125 milligrams of caffeine, you might lose about 150 ml. water through excess urine loss. But you'd still have 50 ml. fluid to hydrate your body—and likely more if you drink coffee regularly. Athletes who regularly consume caffeine habituate and experience less of a diuretic effect. In general, most caffeinated beverages contribute to a positive fluid balance; avoiding them on the basis of their caffeine content is not justified.
MYTH: Athletes should be wary of creatine because it is bad for kidneys.
Creatine is sometimes used by athletes who want to bulk up. It allows muscles to recover faster from, let's say, lifting weights, so the athlete can do more reps and gain strength. A review of 21 studies that assessed kidney function with creatine doses ranging from 2 to 30 grams a day for up to five and a half years indicates creatine is safe for young healthy athletes as well as for elderly people. Even the most recent studies using sophisticated methods to assess renal function support creatine supplements as being well tolerated and not related to kidney dysfunction.
MYTH: The vegan diet fails to support optimal performance in athletes.
Without a doubt, vegan athletes can —and do—excel in sport. Just Google vegan athletes; you'll find an impressive list that includes Olympians and professional athletes from many sports (including football, basketball, tennis, rowing, snow boarding, running, soccer, plus more.)
The key to consuming an effective vegan sports diet is to include adequate leucine, the essential amino acid that triggers muscles to grow. The richest sources of leucine are found in animal foods, such as eggs, dairy, fish, and meats. If you swap animal proteins for plant proteins, you reduce your leucine intake by about 50%. For athletes, consuming 2.5 grams of leucine every 3 to 4 hours during the day optimizes muscular development. This means vegan athletes need to eat adequate nuts, soy foods, lentils, beans and other plant proteins regularly at every meal and snack.
Most athletes can consume adequate leucine, but some don't because they skip meals and fail to plan a balanced vegan menu. Vegan athletes who are restricting food intake to lose undesired body fat need to be particularly vigilant to consume an effective sports diet. Plan ahead!
Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes at her office in Newton, MA (617-795-1875). The newest 6th edition of her best selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook is being released in July 2019. For information about readymade handouts and PowerPoint presentations, visit www.NancyClarkRD.com. For her popular online workshop, see www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.