November 2020 WheelPeople

Articles
 

President's Message - November 2020

Larry Kernan

Dear CRW Members,

Congratulations to Rami Haddad, Steve Carlson and Randolph Williams for winning Board seats for the 3 year term beginning January 1, 2021.  In particular, I welcome Randolph to the Board and look forward to working with him.  Check out the Voting Results in this issue of WheelPeople.

So far, we've had a beautiful October.  I had the opportunity to do a 50 mile gravel ride out of Moultonborough, NH a few days ago. The foliage was peak and it was a pleasure to ride quiet country roads and rarely see a motorized vehicle.  Note to self -- more gravel rides! 

 

For those looking for riding inspiration during Covid times, Rami has introduced the concept of "Leaderless Rides".  You'll notice quite a few on the ride calendar!  November may very well offer some good riding weather so don't put your bikes away yet.  In fact, for the hardy among us, there will be rides posted throughout the winter.

Best to all,

Larry

 

 

 

Election Results

John O'Dowd

To: CRW Members

I am reporting the results of the CRW Board election, which was complete as of October 15, 2020. The final vote count is:

Rami Haddad, 477 votes
Steve Carlson, 426 votes
Randolph Williams, 418 votes
Harriet Fell, 408 votes
Daniel Gomez, 243 votes
Phillip Stern,  242 votes

 

Congratulations to the top three candidates: Rami, Steve and Randolph, the newly elected Board members for the term beginning on January 1, 2021 and ending on December 31, 2023.

 

We should review the mechanics of the CRW board election. A form is created on the website that allows each member to vote once for up to three candidates.  In the current 2020 election there were six candidates. Voting can only happen during the voting period, which was October 1 to October 15. If a member tries to vote before or after this they will get an error message. To vote, a member must first log into their member account. Once the member votes, they can't vote again, and will be blocked if they try. When the vote is submitted, it is recorded in a database on the CRW web site, and a tally is kept. The database and related functionality is under the supervision of the club’s webmaster.

761 members voted in the 2020 election, which may have been a record, but is certainly an impressive total. Last year there were under 200 votes by comparison.

Note that the CRW bylaws provide that “The Secretary shall also approve the process and execution of the annual general election of the Board and for any other elections.” and I am posting these election results accordingly. The CRW Board appreciates all those who expressed their views and voted.

Respectfully submitted,
John O'Dowd
CRW Board Secretary

 

 

How to Get Fitter with an E-bike

We are proud to offer an article by the highly regarded Coach John Hughes, who has written extensively about bicycle training including nutrition, conditioning, slowing the aging process and otherwise keeping fit. Among his personal accomplishments in endurance racing, John set the course records for the Furnace Creek 508 in 1989 and Boston-Montreal-Boston in 1992. He has been a USA Cycling certified coach since ’96, and has lectured on endurance at numerous events. John has coached CRW members and has earned high praise for increasing their fitness in preparing for ultra-endurance cycling events and facilitating recovery after major surgery.

How to Get Fitter with an E-bike

By Coach John Hughes

Huh?

In my stable of bikes I have a custom steel Alex Singer touring bike from the 70s. I’d put on the front and rear panniers, load up my camping gear and spend vacations climbing in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.  I loved the freedom of those trips and exploring new roads. Riding the loaded bike over the 8,000 ft. passes built great endurance and power.  I rode the Singer in my first two Paris-Brest-Paris.

I have an aluminum Trek mountain bike and I love playing on single track, which includes going flat out to go up very short climbs — a great VO2 max workout.

I have a titanium Merlin, my ultra racing bike.  I rode it on fast centuries, doubles and brevets to build long-distance speed.  I rode it to set a course record on Boston-Montreal-Boston. I rode it in the Race Across America.

I have another steel touring bike set up for credit card touring, a great way for a 70-year-old to get away for a weekend or a week.

An e-bike in my future

I live in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and the USPS doesn’t deliver to homes here; instead we all get free post office boxes.  It’s about eight miles from home to the post office.  Not a bad ride, except I start with a two-mile fairly steep gravel descent … which I then have to climb to get home. So I drive to the post office.  When I get an e-bike I’ll ride to the post office every few days, which will increase the number of days a week I ride.

If I ride at the same level of effort (or heart rate or power) on my touring bike, my mountain bike, my ultra bike or an e-bike the workout is the same even though the terrain and my pace are different.

An e-bike is an adaptive tool

And also fun!

With an e-bike you dial in the amount of assist you want at any point in the ride and you don’t have to use the motor at all.

Changing from a double chain ring to a triple is a way of adapting as you age. So is putting on a large cassette and long-arm derailleur. And changing the stem because you aren’t as flexible.

An e-bike is similar. You’re changing one part of your equipment to adapt. It’s like putting on lower gears. When I get an e-bike I’ll ride it to town and back the first six miles with no motor assist and then dial in the assist to climb the last two miles to home. If I’m doing a recovery ride that day I’ll use a lot of assist.  If I’m doing a hard ride I’ll add just enough power so that I can climb without toppling over.

Research on e-bikes

Researchers studied 101 healthy adult men and women in Hamburg, Germany, who agreed to alternate riding either a standard bicycle or an e-bike over two separate two-week periods. The results were published in July in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The New York Times reported:

“The volunteers chose his or her preferred e-bike model, with most picking road bikes having top assisted speeds of about 20 miles per hour. The researchers also provided their volunteers with activity monitors, heart rate monitors and a specialized phone app where the riders could record their trips, distance and how physically draining each ride had felt.

“The scientists did not offer their volunteers any suggestions, however, about where, when or how often to ride, says Hedwig Stenner, a research associate at the Institute of Sports Medicine at Hannover Medical School, who led the new study. The researchers wanted to see how people, on their own initiative, would use the different bikes and whether their riding would change with the e-bikes.

“Electric assistance did change their habits, the researchers found. In general, the men and women rode more often during the two weeks with e-bikes, averaging about five rides a week then, versus three a week with the standard cycles. Interestingly, the distances of most people’s rides did not budge, whichever type of bike they rode; their rides were not lengthier on the e-bikes, but they were more frequent.

“Their heart rates also differed. In general, people’s heart rates were about 8 percent lower when they pedaled e-bikes, but still consistently hovered within the range considered moderate exercise. As a result, during the two weeks when the volunteers rode e-bikes, they accumulated sufficient minutes of moderate physical activity to meet the standard exercise recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate activity. When they rode the standard bikes, they did not. [The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.]

“Most also reported liking the pedal assist, Ms. Stenner says. More than two-thirds of the participants told the researchers they enjoyed the e-bikes and could imagine using them ‘for many years’ according to a final study questionnaire.”

Elements of fitness

You can improve your fitness four different ways:

  1. Longer rides
  2. More frequent rides
  3. More weekly volume
  4. More intensity

The participants in the Hamburg study rode at a heart rate about 8% lower on their e-bikes than on their standard road bikes. However, as long as they rode at an aerobic conversational pace they were getting the same workout on each type of bike even though their heart rates were lower on the e-bikes.

With an e-bike you can do longer rides, get more aerobic exercise and increase your endurance more than on a conventional bike. You can also ride more frequently, e.g., running errands, which will increase your total volume and also help the environment. You could do intensity rides adding the motor assist only when you’re recovering from hard efforts.

E-bikes and aging

One of the most significant findings in the Hamburg study is that the riders “could imagine using them ‘for many years’.” As we age consistency is the most important factor. As we age we may ride less because it’s harder. An e-bike removes that obstacle to maintaining fitness.

Rather than thinking that an e-bike is cheating, think of it as another bike in your stable to help you to enjoy rides on your bike and maintain your fitness.

Here’s another column I wrote on Anti-Aging: E-bikes, Fun and Fitness.

Here’s a column I wrote on How to do Endurance Training Correctly.

In addition to aerobic exercise the American College of Sports Medicine recommends four other types of exercise for lifelong health and fitness.  ACSM recommendations.

 

Coach Hughes has written over 40 eBooks for RoadBikeRider.

 

 

 

Ride With GPS -Heat Maps

Eli Post

There is a fine line between technology advances and science fiction in that we sometimes can’t believe that what is presented is actually real or the product of imagination. However, we live in an age of rapidly developing technological development, which brings us to “heat maps” a concept that at first you might question but Ride With GPS has made it real and available. The heatmap was designed with route planning in mind. It overlays real rider data in the web and mobile route planners.

Heat Maps could transform the way that cyclists discover, plan and navigate routes. The Heatmap aggregates data from the past two years of publicly-recorded trips from the RWGPS global community of millions and highlights them on a map so that users can see the “heat” generated from other cyclists. It is  designed especially with route creation and navigation in mind. From RWGPS "We are thrilled to unveil the Ride with GPS Heatmap, our newest tool to help you discover and plan great, safe routes - no matter where you are. See where local cyclists ride when you're out of town, or turn it on in the route planner and uncover a new loop in your own backyard. Available while recording, planning, or just viewing a route - the heatmap is an endlessly valuable tool."

With the Ride with GPS Heatmap, cyclists can view streets favored by other cyclists, and plan a route that has been “vetted” by other riders. Updates to the heatmap will be made weekly so that the data included is continually growing and accurate. This is a useful development not only for CRW ride leaders but for anyone going out for a ride, and favoring streets used by other riders. The image, taken from the mobile planner, shows Concord Center and the various streets favored by riders.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Heatmap for Boston area, west to Framingham, north to Woburn, and South to Needham.Larger Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chain Link - Membership Happenings

Rami Haddad

Zwift Weekly Rides

Our aim is to provide motivation and structure for improving yourself, whether you are a beginner or seasoned veteran. A survey will gather info to kick off the CRW Devo Zwift workout sessions. Expect workouts to be 60-90 minutes long, once a week. We will start with an FTP (functional threshold power) test and go through a training block and retest your FTP after some time. This is also a place to make friends so if you want to come for the ride and say hi, that is encouraged as well! Suggested workouts will be provided, but you can do whatever workout or even free ride if you want.

Join the group & conversation at https://crwheelers.slack.com/archives/C0108M2DDQV/p1603121740002600

Access to Slack available at https://www.crw.org/content/slack

 

#CRWheelers

IT IS OFFICIAL: #CRWheelers on Instagram got its first picture.  Follow & post your own pictures from club rides with the hashtag #CRWheelers to share with other members.

 

Mystic Lakes Time Trial

Happening every Friday:

https://www.strava.com/clubs/155/group_events/749172

Self-directed individual time trial, all-day on Fridays. Ride one hot-lap of the Mystic Lakes.

All times logged throughout the day will be posted. Feel free to do as many laps as you choose and your best time will be considered. Do review the specific segment that will count toward the leaderboard and remember: SAFETY FIRST.

This is not sanctioned, insured, or sponsored event. Good luck

 

Women-only Rides

Exploring the idea of planning women-only rides. Some possibly during the week in ealry morning, or some longer ones on weekend. Join the conversation with your feedback & ideas on Slack channel #ride-women.

 

 

Mobile Club Calendar

View the club calendar on your mobile calendar app by following these simple steps for iOS & Android

https://www.crw.org/content/club-calendar-available-your-mobile-phone-0

 

Chased by a Dog

Eli Post

The most common causes of bike accidents include being hit by a car, a fall, the roadway in bad shape, rider error, collision with a fixed object and sometimes plain bad luck. That was the case with Barbara Martin, a CRW member and volunteer, who was riding with a small group, and was chased by a dog and crashed. In her own words:

I saw a man on the sidewalk with his leashed dog who was pulling like the devil, my last memory was a prayer that the owner could hold him. Sadly that didn’t happen. Because I was ahead of the 5 other riders in our group I was the dog’s target. He ran off never to be seen again by any of our group. The owner went after him but returned at some point with his truck to offer to help with getting my bike someplace.

If a dog is running loose or breaks free from a leash and causes a bicyclist to crash, the dog’s  owner can be held liable for damages. A dog may pose more of a risk to a bicyclist than other obstacles, because it is moving rather than stationary. Bike accidents involving dogs are not uncommon. A dog may be "man's best friend" but not when they chase your bike.

Barbara suffered broken ribs and other complications, and says “Recovering takes longer than anticipated because the injuries are deeper than initially felt”, but she is now mending and also says ”Jumping back on my bike is my greatest desire.”

Ordinarily we try to draw a safety lesson from an accident, but sometimes the only lesson is to be aware of your surroundings and alert to dangers as you are sharing the road with cars, and yes even dogs.

The club sent Barbara flowers. We admire her courage, and wish her well.

 

The following comment was added at the suggestion of Stan Kay, a practicing attorney and a CRW member.

“Many states have laws that cover an owner’s liability for dog attacks, including Massachusetts, which has a no-fault liability statute that is one of the strongest in the country.   https://statelaws.findlaw.com/massachusetts-law/massachusetts-dog-bite-laws.html .  Also, as a consequence of such laws, many homeowners have liability insurance policies that cover dog attacks.https://cover.com/blog/homeowners-insurance-dog-bite/   ” 

 

 

Dealing With Dogs

John Allen

Elsewhere in this issue is an article about a member who was injured by a dog chasing her bike. We shared the article with John Allen, the Club's Safety coordinator, who offers advice dealing with dogs chasing you.

 

I also crashed once when a large dog ran out of a driveway hidden behind a hedge and then turned and headed straight for my front wheel. The expression on the dog's face changed from rage to terror in an instant and it hit my front wheel head-on. The bicycle's fork was bent and I had a bad scrape up my lower left arm. The dog limped away.

I'd offer a few items of advice:

 

  • If you hear or see a dog barking ahead of you and on a collision course, slow down and be prepared to stop. If the dog is behind you, you can usually outrun it on your bicycle but in any case if you can't get away from the dog, place the bicycle between yourself and the dog as a shield.
  • A squirt from a water bottle may disorient and distract a dog. But this could be tricky when you are trying to outrun the dog -- best if you are going slowly or have dismounted.
  • Dogs can sense fear, so try to remain calm if you encounter an angry canine.
  • Don't try to outrun the dog unless you are a very strong rider. If you can't completely outrun it, the dog may catch your wheel and knock you down.
  • While on the bike, don't try anything beyond your bike-handling skills.
    In a loud, firm voice say, "No!" "Bad dog!" "Go Home!" or other common commands.

 

 

 

Riding in the Rain

Jack Donohue

 

There are many different attitudes toward riding in the rain. My attitude is just stay home and drink beer. Despite this healthy outlook, I inevitably find myself riding in the rain quite a lot.

There are those who just gird their loins and ride in whatever weather. They usually have closets full of foul weather gear of every description. Now, I've heard of the great technological marvels of Goretex, Latex, Permatex, etc that are supposed to make riding in the rain a pleasant if not ecstatic experience. They are said to "breathe" thus letting moisture (sweat) through, while keeping bad rain out. I don't think so. Basically, we are dealing with immutable laws of physics. You're exercising hard, you sweat. If you seal yourself up to keep the water out, you keep the sweat in, no matter what the Tex advertisers say. The only useful invention in rain gear for cycling in the last century is pit vents. Of course, these have drawbacks, too. I have an old rain jacket with mesh sides that I carry in my commuting bag for emergencies. It works fine, except when you have windswept rain in which case the vents don't provide very much protection. My favorite article of rain gear is an old yellow rubberized jacket. In a former life, I was on assignment at a chemical plant in Houston, and after wearing it a while, thought it would make a fine souvenir. Some people collect Disney memorabilia, or Elvis relics, I collect rain jackets that say "Gulf Cedar Bayou Chemical Plant." Anyway, it is extremely effective at keeping rain out. As far as the sweat issue, it is about three sizes too large (they didn't have a lot of choices at the plant boutique) so there's plenty of room for sweat to circulate, if not escape.

A lot of people swear by fenders. They are supposed to keep rain from being thrown up at you from the front tire. So, maybe they do, and I actually have a front fender on my rain bike. But if you're out in the rain for more than about five minutes, your feet are going to get wet, fender or not. The only time I really felt the need for a fender was riding the Proflex in the winter with the studded front tire. There was quite a collection of salt, sand, and other debris on the road, and that tire was quite effective at flinging it all into my face at any speed greater than about 5 mph. So I had to say "no más" and rush over to the bike store for a front fender. But fenders for rain protection, nah.

So, if you ride in the rain, you will get wet, period. No amount of technology will prevent this. But the good news is, once you're wet, you won't get any wetter. Saturation is a wonderful thing. And as long as you stay warm, and try not to think too much about the comfy chair you could be in at home, it can be a, well, not awful experience.

Little Jack’s Corner was a column published in the CRW WheelPeople newsletter that Jack Donohue had written for more than 20 years. It is a humorous mixture of personal bicycling experiences and observations. This article is reprinted from WheelPeople November 2000

 

Cranberry Harvest Century: 2020 Covid Edition

Steve Carlson

 

Our Covid Edition of the Cranberry Harvest Century was held from September 15 to October 15 and it was a huge success.   Many took advantage to view the harvest, and the smiles and stories are witness to the fact that seeing these flooded fields with bright red berries never gets old..it's truely a New England "must see" event!  We have had many thanks from our members for running the event and challenging folks to get out and ride during these times of COVID. We had close to 40 registered riders, but many more joined and skipped the registration - which is fine by us...we just wanted to get you out there! 

We actually ran real rest stops on two Sundays, and these were much appreciated. Our thanks to the volunteers! Photos Here.

We had many participate in the segment challenge, and here are a few of the top results with cheers to Hill who will receive a $50 gift!

      Hill Reis - 27:37      
      Tom Malone - 34:48
      Henry Lane - 39:42
      Marc Baskin - 45:10
    
Once again, we have to award the most inspiring ride story to Everett Briggs. Seems his story telling is now reaping real financial benefits!  Hit him up for a coffee and donut if you see him out and about, as he too will receive a $50 check!
 

We are pleased that so many participated in this virtual event, but we hope to run real centuries in 2021.  Stay safe!

 

How Gut Bacteria Affect Weight

Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health e-Zine
 

With the ever-increasing epidemic of obesity in North America, almost 20 percent of children and more than 70 percent of adults are overweight, which increases risk for heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, arthritis and certain cancers.

A new study of 84 children and teens shows that the heavier ones have more of the types of gut bacteria that convert carbohydrates into fats so readily that they absorb more calories from their food than the thinner children do (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Sept. 20, 2016). The participants ranged from ages 7 to 19 and from normal weight to obese, with MRIs used to measure how much fat they had in their bodies. The colons of the heavier children were far more likely than those of the skinny ones to have the eight groups of gut bacteria that have been previously associated with carbohydrate fermentation to short chain fatty acids that markedly increases the number of calories absorbed from food (Nutr Clin Pract, April 2012;27(2):201–214).

Since bacteria in your colon eat the same food that you do, what you eat determines which types of bacteria thrive in your colon. These bacteria are a prime driver of how high your blood sugar rises after meals and how many calories you absorb from the food you eat. Many epidemiological studies show that people who take in lots of sugared drinks and sugar-added foods, foods made with flour (ground whole grains) and other refined carbohydrates are more likely to be overweight and that those who eat lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains that have not been ground into flour tend to be thin.

Gut Bacteria and Carbohydrate Absorption
Carbohydrates are sugars alone, in pairs and in chains of up to millions of sugars bound together. Only single sugars can be absorbed into your bloodstream. You can’t even absorb two sugars bound together, so enzymes in your intestines and bacteria in your colon break them apart. For example, milk contains a double sugar called lactose. To split the double sugar into single sugars that can be absorbed, your intestines are supposed to have an enzyme called lactase. However, many people have intestines that do not make lactase, so they cannot break down the lactose into single sugars. Since the lactose cannot be absorbed in the upper intestines, it passes to the colon where bacteria ferment the double sugar, which can cause gas, cramping and diarrhea.

Fiber is the type of carbohydrate formed from long chains of sugars that human intestines cannot split into single sugars. Since fiber cannot be absorbed in the intestines, it passes to the colon. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber cannot be absorbed at all so it passes unchanged from your body, but soluble fiber is readily broken down by certain bacteria in the colon. These bacteria break the soluble fiber into short-chain fatty acids that are easily absorbed through the colon to provide extra calories. The colons of obese people contain a higher concentration of the types of bacteria that break down soluble fiber so that they absorb more calories from the food that they eat. When these bacteria are present, you can gain extra calories not only from the soluble fiber but also from the other sugars and undigested food particles that are bound up with the soluble fiber and that would have passed through undigested.


How Processing Foods Contributes to Obesity
The plants we eat contain lots of fiber, much of which cannot be absorbed and passes from your body contributing no calories whatever. When food manufacturers strip fiber away from plant parts, the resulting foods are more easily broken down in the intestines and are quickly absorbed. For example, whole grains are seeds that have carbohydrates bound in a tight fiber capsule that slows the breakdown of the carbohydrates into absorbable sugars. After you eat cooked but unground whole grains, blood sugar levels barely rise. On the other hand, when you eat foods made from whole grains that have been ground into flour (bread, pasta, many dry cereals and so forth), you have no capsule to keep you from breaking down the carbohydrates and your blood sugar can rise very quickly.

Can Changing Colon Bacteria Help to Control Weight?
A review of several studies showed that eating a diet based on plant foods and restricting refined carbohydrates and most other foods appears to be a safe and effective way of changing colon bacteria to help control weight and high blood sugar (Gut Microbes, Jan-Feb, 2012;3(1):29-34).

Currently, the best way to change your colon bacteria to favor the types that do not increase absorption of calories is to eat a diet that includes lots of foods that are not quickly absorbed. However, many people are unwilling or unable to lose weight or control weight just by restricting refined carbohydrates and eating a diet based on lots of plants that have not been processed.

The Future Potential of Stool Transplants
Two studies are currently being conducted to see if taking pills containing freeze-dried feces from skinny people will cause obese people to have fewer high-calorie-absorbing bacteria in their colons. Dr. Elaine Yu of the Massachusetts General Hospital will test adults and Dr. Nikhil Pay of McMaster Children’s Hospital in Ontario, Canada will test children.

Animal studies have shown that germ-free mice fed stool from obese mice gain more weight than those fed bacteria from the guts of lean mice.
* Transferring the feces of skinny mice to fat mice changed their colon bacteria to ones that are less likely to convert soluble fiber to acetate and other short-chain fatty acids, and decreased calorie absorption and lowered blood levels of acetate and insulin (Nature, October 9, 2016; 534 (7606):213-217). Blood levels of acetate are increased by absorbing more calories from food and eating a lot of fat. Insulin levels are increased by high rises in blood sugar and high insulin levels are associated with increased risk for obesity and early diabetes.

* Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St. Louis showed that feeding mice a diet high in fat and low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber changed their colon bacteria to a more fattening type and made them fat. Then he showed that placing skinny mice in the same cages as the fat mice fed this terrible diet made them fat, presumably because mice eat each other’s stool.

* Giving baby mice antibiotics makes them 15 percent fatter than mice not given antibiotics, presumably from changing their colonic bacteria.

* Rob Knight of the University of Colorado Boulder and Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello of N.Y.U. have shown that human babies delivered by C-section are fatter and more likely to suffer diabetes than those delivered vaginally, probably because vaginally-delivered babies acquire bacteria from their mother’s vaginas, while C-section delivered babies do not have that opportunity.

My Recommendations
North Americans are in the midst of an epidemic of obesity and diabetes that is still increasing. Emerging evidence suggests that obesity and diabetes are driven to a significant degree by the types of bacteria in the colon. To a large extent, a person’s diet determines the type of bacteria that live in his or her colon.
* A diet that encourages the growth of bacteria that help to prevent and treat obesity and diabetes has plenty of vegetables, fruits and seeds (beans, nuts and whole grains that have not been ground into flour).
* Foods that encourage growth of the types of colon bacteria associated with obesity and diabetes include sugared drinks, sugar-added foods, foods made from flour (ground whole grains) and all other refined carbohydrates.

 

 

This article is courtesy of Dr. Mirkin https://www.drmirkin.com/

 

 
 

The Athlete's Kitchen - Midlife Weight Gain

The Athlete’s Kitchen - Midlife Weight Gain

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD October 2020

“I used to be skinny when I was a runner in college. Look at me now. My BMI says I am “obese.”
“Despite exercising regularly, I’ve gained weight with menopause … frustrating!!!"
“I’ve always been able to manage my weight by eating a little less and exercising a little more. Since I turned 50, that’s not working for me anymore.”  
 

If any of the above comments sound familiar to you—or your parents or friends, keep reading. I counsel too many mid-life athletes who express frustration about undesired weight gain. Women blame increased belly fat on menopause. Men blame only themselves for letting the pounds creep on. So, what’s the story with midlife weight gain? And how can younger athletes avoid it? 

Women, Weight and Menopause

     Menopause, defined as 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, happens around age 51. Peri-menopause, defined as the run-up to menopause, is vague. No single event signals the start of peri-menopause other than, in their late 40’s, women start experiencing irregular periods, mood swings, hot flashes, and poor sleep. Fat often appears around the mid-section, and previously-lean female athletes start complaining about their muffin tops.

    Despite popular belief, women are not doomed to gain weight due to hormonal shifts related to menopause. In their book The Menopause Diet Plan registered dietitians Hilary Wright and Elizabeth Ward explain weight changes are related more to midlife than to menopause. That is, during the years spanning ages 45 to 55, many women experience major life changes: an empty nest, concern about aging parents, and illnesses that may reduce physical activity and encourage weight gain. Add the COVID lifestyle with a home office and closed gyms— and inactivity can take a bigger toll. Genetics also plays a role.

     Weight gain commonly is associated with sleep deprivation. An estimated 90% of peri-menopausal women report having hot flashes and night sweats that disrupt sleep and contribute to chronic fatigue. In a study with sleep deprived subjects who slept an extra 1.5 hours a night, their cravings for sweet and salty snacks dropped by 66% and appetite by 14%. Maybe the sleep more, lose weight diet is key to weight management success?

    If you are sleep deprived due to night sweats, seek professional advice from your MD or gynecologist on how to control them based on your personal medical history. In The Menopause Diet Plan, authors Wright and Ward report that researchers have yet to identify any dietary supplements proven to alleviate hot flashes. Black cohosh and dong quai might help some women, but well controlled studies deem them and other touted hot flash cures to be a waste of money for most women.

Men and mid-life weight gain

  While men do not experience the hormonal changes that confront women, they do deal with similar midlife changes and career demands that can lead to eating more and exercising less. Hence, men also gain weight with aging. I’ve seen many male athletes grab their love handles and say “This is what I want to get rid of.” Belly fat can get the better of males and females alike!

    Despite their fat gains, men tend to escape the social pressure that drives women to obsess about expanded waistlines and perceived loss of beauty. Society seems more forgiving of men. Regardless, the translation of “I feel fat” is “I feel imperfect.” Given many athletes tend to be perfectionists, midlife might be a good time to practice being just “human”—and grateful for our excellent bodies and all the wonderful things they allow us to do.

Managing midlife weight gain

    The best way to manage midlife weight gain is (obviously) to prevent it from happening in the first place. Young athletes take note: The “average person” gains one to two pounds a year during early-to-middle adulthood. This leads to creeping obesity over time, accompanied by increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and several types of cancer. Athletic people who exercise regularly gain less weight, so keep active!

     The following five core principles from The Menopause Diet Plan offer a framework for both men and women to invest in your future well-being:

1. Eat according to your body clock. Pay attention to not just the number of calories you eat, but when you eat them. Every cell in your body, including the microbes in your gut, work differently according to the time of the day. For example, cells respond better to insulin earlier in the day. By front-loading your calories into breakfast and lunch, you’ll not only refuel better from morning workouts or have better afternoon workouts, you’ll be nourishing your body when it is expecting to be fed.

2. Choose a plant-based diet. You need not become a vegan or vegetarian, but you do want to lean in that direction. Two-thirds of your plate should be covered with grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. These quality carbs fuel your muscles and brain. Fill the remaining third with some protein (tofu, yogurt, nuts, fish, chicken, eggs, etc.) to repair and build your muscles. Lean red meat can be included, if desired, but follow the American Cancer Society recommendations for less than 12 ounces (two servings) per week.

3. Eat fewer processed and refined grains. As bodies get older and become less fit, they can have trouble metabolizing sweets and refined carbohydrates (crackers, cookies). You want your carbohydrate-based sports diet to focus on nutrient-dense carbs: whole grains (brown rice, quinoa), beans, lentils, veggies and fruits.

4. Pay attention to calories from alcohol. Alcohol calories can quickly add up—as can the calories from nibbles that accompany the beverages. If over-imbibing interferes with exercise, the skipped workouts can also take a toll…

5. Maintain regular physical activity. Cardio, plus lifting weights to maintain muscles, helps curb weight gain so it doesn’t happen in the first place. And more important than vanity, exercise helps keep you out of the nursing home, adds years to your life, and life to your years.

 

Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook can help you optimize your eating. Visit www.NancyClarkRD.com for information about consults, books, and teaching materials.

 

References:

Ward, E. and H. Wright. The Menopause Diet Plan. Rodale, 2020

Tasali, E at al. The effects of extended bedtimes on sleep duration and food desire in overweight young adults: A home-based intervention. Appetite 80:220-224, 2014

Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels sports-active people in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her best-selling Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook offers additional fueling tips. Visit www.NancyClarkRD.com for more information.

 

 

 

 

November Picture of the Month

Alex Post
We try to be precise when we specify the ride start location, and we hope "meet under the rainbow" will be followed and not cause any confusion. This rider found the rainbow, which is a good sign.

Photo by Alex Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Ride in New Hampshire

Eli Post

There is more to biking than exercise. We could list the other benefits, but here we wish to point out the sport's opportunity to experience the world around us and specifically to enjoy splendid views. On Thursday October 15th, a few of our members,  went on a 50 mile gravel ride in New Hampshire. This was when the foliage there was nearing peak.

The ride was organized by Bernie Flynn, a past CRW president, and included Russ Keene, Gene Ho, Rick Carlson, Everett Briggs, Jerry Skurla, and Larry Kernan (the current CRW president). If the mood strikes you, here's the route for you to enjoy,     https://ridewithgps.com/routes/34469569

Photos by Russ Keene
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

November Updates

WheelPeople Editors
 
                                         
Squirrel News
This is an report from the front lines by Jack Donohue, It's that time of year again, all the squirrels in the area seem to have a death wish.  On a recent ride, I had no less than four squirrels run out into the street in front of me.  I guess this is when they collect acorns for the winter, but I doubt they will find too many under my wheels.  Avoiding them is tricky, since they are wont to do an about face and they can turn on a dime. Best strategy is stay the course and hope they manage to get out of the way.
 
Town Collections
Hopefully there will be some good weather in November, and you can take advantage of the Town Collections. 
 
 

Ebikes
We have an article is this issue about the training aspects of Ebikes. In past issues we had a first person account of riding ebikes, and also announced the club's policy on Ebikes. And Ebikes are now featured in international biking events.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

November Film Festival

Alex Post

 

There's nothing better than getting out for a ride, but on a rest day a video can almost take us there, so enjoy our monthly virtual film fest. We welcome any suggestions for future selections.  


Home Of Trails
The Swiss Alps offer some spectacular scenery for riding, and these guys know how to take full advantage. 5 Mins.
 
 
 
Bike Messenger Austin Horse
 
 
 
 
 
Barcelona Bike Parkour
They say the best way to see Barcelona is while doing a handstand on a bike moving backwards. At least I think that’s what they say. Either way, this rider seems to be fully enjoying it. 3 Mins.
 
 

 

 

Alex Post is a CRW member who lives in Virginia, but regularly visits MA to bike with his dad. He has also led rides for CRW.

 

 

Looking Back

WheelPeople Editors

The November 2010 issue of Wheelpeople reported on the CRW Fall Century, including a volunteer contribution above and beyond.

Then there is Dave Jordan, who was out to enjoy the full century ride like a few hundred others. Special recognition goes to Dave, who was the first to discover an emergency road closure around mile 22, (there was a downed wire). He back tracked the route, got off his bike, and became a “human arrow” to direct cyclists around the road closure and back onto the route. Dave stayed in place for over a half hour until one of our volunteers could relieve him. They re-opened the road by the time the last few cyclists went through, but Dave saved the day for those who got to the road closure earlier.

 

Dave is still a CRW member, but is now living in Tucson, Arizona. We reached Dave who told us " I'm still riding and have been crewing for PAC Tour, off and on, for the past 10 or 15 years...and occasionally redirecting riders when there's a problem with the route." We are happy to hear that the spirit of helping others is still with Dave.