April 2021 WheelPeople

Articles
 

Looking for Ride Leaders - Ride Leader Training

Robyn Betts

Have you ever thought about leading a ride with CRW? Do you have questions about what is involved? We are now offering Ride Leader Training for anyone who wishes to learn more about what it takes to lead a club ride. 

CRW is best known for its weekend rides, but they don’t happen in a vacuum. It takes volunteers to develop the routes, secure a ride start location and otherwise arrange the event. These are our ride leaders who are at the core of making CRW an outstanding bike club.

Some routes originate from the ride leader’s own experience as a neighborhood ride that becomes popular with friends. Other times a ride leader takes over an existing ride when the current leader moves on. In any case, leading a ride can become a rewarding experience.

It’s fun, easy, and a great way to get involved with the club. Use the link below to join us on on Zoom: Note that registration is required. You can start at 6:45 for BYO cocktails and to mix and mingle with other club members.  The presentation will start at 7:00. 

 

Ride Leader training Tuesday April 27th at 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM over Zoom (Registration required) 

 

Learn about how you can become part of the wonderful community of over 100 Ride Leaders. Note that the term “ride leader” comes from the early days of the club when the leader was actually out front and led the group. We retained the title but it is more accurate to say “ride organizer” who makes all the arrangements and may or may not lead the assembled riders. 

Existing ride leaders that would like a refresher are welcome to join, as well, but this training is not required for existing ride leaders.

 

Anyone who would like to lead any ride for CRW this season (including weekend rides, Devo, Adventure, Hubs, etc.) is required to attend ride leader training, then co-lead two rides before becoming an official ride leader. A recording of the Zoom session will be made available. 

Ride leaders are the heart and soul of our rides program and CRW would not exist without their contributions!  We hope you can join us to find out more about leading rides.

 

 

Robyn Betts is a member of the CRW Rides Committee.

 

  

 

 

2021 Century Update

Randall Nelson-Peterman

 

Spring is almost here, and while the Covid-19 vaccine is rolling out, we are not quite out of the woods yet. However, we will offer century ride opportunities to the extent possible. Our plans for CRW centuries this year include two virtual spring centuries and then one in-person Fall century This plan assumes that the vaccine rollout continues and that Covid-19 cases continue their downward trend. Everyone keep social distancing, wearing your masks, and help stop the spread. Hopefully we can all ride together in the Fall! 

 

We had a hard time picking between two great CRW routes, so we decided to do both of them: North to New Hampshire, and Climb to the Clouds. The spring virtual centuries will run one after the other - the first will be in May and the second one in June. Since these are virtual, we are working on adding additional ride start locations to accommodate those who use the Commuter Rail. This is in addition to the regular ride start locations.

 

The May century will be the North to NH route, starting in Wakefield, MA, at either the commuter rail station in Wakefield or from the nearby High School. You will have all of May to ride the century and post your results to social media. Photo shows busy rest stop on 2015 Spring century.

The June Century will be the Climb to the Clouds routes, with starting locations at the Fitchburg Commuter Rail station (70 mile route), Nashoba Regional High School (60 mile route) or Lincoln Sudbury HS (100, 80 mile routes). You will have all of June to complete this century and post your experience on social media.. Photo shows riders ready for climb on 2009 CTTC.

Key information

  • There will be no registration; report on your ride using Facebook, Strava, Instagram, or Ride with GPS.
  • We are planning to hold one rest stop per century - dates, times, and locations TBD.
  • The routes are currently being finalized, and we will publish them later this month

 

We will be publishing more details at the end of April, both in the next edition of WheelPeople as well as to the CRW website. You will also get an email message if you are on our emailing list.

 

Randall Nelson-Peterman is CRW Century Co-chair

 

CRW WAKES FROM ITS WINTER SLUMBER!

Edward Cheng

 

The spring riding season is upon us, and CRW is gearing up to resume organized rides.  Our “leaderless” rides have continued through the winter and will remain on our schedule, but over the next few weeks, you will begin to see the calendar populated with CRW’s traditional rides that are organized and led by our Ride Leaders.  While there are signs that the pandemic is ebbing, we will still be riding under the club’s COVID guidelines:

 

 

CRW Covid-19 Riding Rules

You have all signed a waiver agreeing not to participate in any CRW ride if you are ill, symptomatic or had recent exposure to a person with possible contagious illness or if guidelines or rules require or suggest isolation or quarantine. If you cannot agree, do not ride with us as you endanger yourself and all other riders.

 

  1. Be aware of physical distancing protocols: 6+ feet when riding side by side, passing, stopping or on breaks; 20+ feet behind another rider, as suggested by USA Cycling. Pacelines and drafting are prohibited.
  2. Masks: make sure that you have a mask and that you pull it up when stopped, when approaching the minimum physical distance, and at all other appropriate times.
  3. Be aware of coughing, spitting, nose blowing and sneezing problems.  If you are about to do any of those please make absolutely sure that no one is within the minimum distance or slipstream area.
  4. You should wash or disinfect when appropriate and not share your water bottle or food.
  5. The maximum number of riders in a group is 10.  For larger rides, we will send off riders in groups of 10.
  6. In addition, all riders will need to register the night before a ride:

Riders find a ride on the CRW website.

Riders click on the link that takes them to a registration page.

Signing up is mandatory. Only CRW members may sign up. No guests or nonmembers are allowed. Signing up allows us to control the number of riders and enables contact tracing should a rider later be determined to have caught or possibly infected others with covid-19.

There are two documents for a rider to view on the webform, a new release which has language regarding infectious illnesses and Covid-19 riding rules. Riders must click boxes to indicate that they have read and agreed to the documents.

After sign-ups are closed, members cannot ride with the group. At this time, there are no provisions for a wait list.

Ed Cheng is VP Rides

           

             

 

How a 77-year-old Woman Does Sweet Spot Training

This article is about Elizabeth Wicks, a CRW member who has been an endurance cyclist for 20 years and likes to challenge herself. In 2003 she completed the 1,200 km (750-mile) Paris-Brest-Paris. 

 

By:Coach John Hughes

 

Elizabeth Wicks is an endurance rider. In 2019 she rode 7500 miles. That’s a good year for any rider … and she turned 75 that year! You can read about her 7500-mile year and the obstacles she had to overcome here.

 

I’ve been friends with Elizabeth for decades and coached her for many years. She has set records at 12- and 24-hour events. This year her events are the Maryland 12-hour on May 22 and the National 24-hour on June 19 and 20. To prepare she needs to do long rides. She lives in Massachusetts and – as long as we pick the right day – rides outdoors all winter. But a steady diet of only progressively longer rides won’t get her in peak form. She needs intensity.

Over the years we’ve learned how to incorporate intensity workouts into her training so they are beneficial. You’re not contemplating rides nearly as long; however, the same lessons about how to incorporate intensity apply to you.

 

Periodization

If you do several different kinds of training at the same time you won’t get optimal results. If you try to build your endurance base and increase your high-end speed and improve your sprinting all at the same time you’ll be less successful than if you focus on just one aspect at a time. This is why coaches use a model called periodization to divide the cycling year into different phases with different purposes. If a client like Elizabeth is training for a specific event(s) I use a simple five-phase model.

  1. Offseason (1 – 3 months) – Recover and build general fitness
  2. Base (3 – 4 months) – Increase cycling-specific endurance
  3. Build (1 – 2 months) – Appropriate intensity training while just maintaining – not improving – endurance.
  4. Peaking (4 – 6 weeks) – Event-specific training
  5. Taper (1 – 3 weeks) – Recover fully before the next big event(s)

If a client is training for great summer riding but not a specific event then we go through just the first three phases.

 

Combining Phases

Elizabeth’s periodization is unusual. She did base endurance rides in October, November and December when she rode 1,603 miles including centuries on October 4 and 22. I analyzed her October through December base miles.  She rode outdoors 53 days averaging 30 miles a ride. Of course some of these rides were longer. January was her preseason with just 252 miles recovering from the prior three months.  We began working together the beginning of February.

To get ready to race for 12 hours on May 22 she needs to ramp up to a seven hour century by the end of March, complete a peaking nine hour 135-mile ride by the beginning of May, and taper for three weeks to the 12-hour race. She has plenty of time to build up her endurance rides. But if she only does moderately paced endurance rides she’ll only race at a moderate pace.  She also needs intensity training. Also, there are only four weeks between the century and the 135-mile ride. She doesn’t have time for a normal progression of base training -> intensity training -> peaking. The solution is to carefully combine endurance and intensity training.

 

Experiment of One

One particularly cold winter we tried one high intensity workout during the week and a high intensity class on Saturday. Her performance didn’t improve – in fact it declined a little. We learned an important lesson.  Despite decades of riding and a great endurance base, twice a week intensity workouts were too much for her.

You should adapt any form of intensity training to what works for you. If you’re getting stronger then your hard rides are working. But what if your performance is falling off? Should you pile on more hard rides … and risk overtraining? No, you should cut back on the intensity.

 

What Level of Intensity

Elizabeth improved with one very hard intensity workout a week. However, we learned that if she did one very hard workout a week sometimes she didn’t recover fully for her long ride that week. She isn’t training for relatively short road races where speed and sprinting are important so high intensity workouts weren’t optimal. She does intensity workouts to improve her cruising speed. We decided to shift her training to sweet spot intervals, the optimum way to improve a rider’s sustained power. I’ve written a column on 6 Kinds of Intensity Training: Which One Is Best for You?

 

What is Sweet Spot Training?

On an endurance ride you should always be able to talk comfortably although while climbing you may not have enough air to whistle. The sweet spot is just a little harder — you can still talk in short phrases. Because sweet spot efforts aren’t as taxing as high intensity efforts, the sweet spot efforts can be significantly longer than the high intensity efforts. Also, sweet spot efforts don’t require as much recovery as high intensity efforts. As a result the total training overload from sweet spot training is greater than with harder, shorter efforts. The podium shot is from Calvin’s Challenge....Elizabeth winning her age group in 2014.

 

The sweet spot is a Rate of Perceived Exertion of 4 to 5 on a ten-point scale, 93 – 97% of lactate threshold and 93 – 97% of Functional Threshold Power. If your legs are talking to you and you can feel lactic acid building up you’re going too hard.

 

Intervals or Not?

Elizabeth enjoys intervals, “I do like doing them. A specific, timed task that is fun and I can push myself to complete. And we know they work because that is why I was so strong/speedy last year.”

Some riders hate intervals.  I’m coaching another client Mark who is preparing for a different endurance event also in May. Last year we tested his functional threshold power and I assigned him progressively harder power-based intervals. He did them but he didn’t like them and his performance wasn’t improving much. However, he loves riding his mountain bike. This spring I tell him to mountain bike hard for 1 – 1:30 hours. He’s having fun and getting faster!

Both structured and unstructured training work. The effective type is the type you’ll do.

 

Perceived Exertion, Heart rate or Power?

Elizabeth trains by heart rate because she likes the well-defined zones. Mark trained by power last year but didn’t like it so this year he switched to rate of perceived exertion (RPE) on his mountain bike. RPE, heart rate and power are all work. The effective method is the one you’ll use.

I include over 60 structured and unstructured workouts in my 41-page eBook Intensity Training: Using RPE, a HRM or a Power Meter to Maximize Training Effectiveness.

 

Combining Intensity and Endurance

In February we introduced sweet spot workouts in Elizabeth’s training. Each week she also did several recovery rides. Here’s her program.Photo shows Elizabeth racing at National 24-Hr Challenge.

 

  • February 1 – 7: A 52-mile ride and a 41-mile ride, longer than her typical rides in December and January.
  • February 8 – 14: A 53-mile ride, a 38-mile ride and 3 – 6 repeats of [6 minutes in the sweet spot and 3 minutes easy]. She just did the same endurance rides as the week before so she’d have good legs when we introduced the intervals. She did all six repeats of the workout. For many riders starting with intervals this long would be too much; however, based on past experience we were confident Elizabeth could handle them. If you’re fairly new to intensity training then a better place to start is 3 – 6 repeats of [4 min. SS and 2 min EZ].
  • February 15 – 21: A 68-mile ride and 3 – 6 reps of [7 min SS and 4 min EZ]. The week before she did two endurance rides totaling 92 miles. We cut back to just one longer ride so she could do well with the intervals. She did all six repeats.
  • February 22 – 28: An 86-mile ride, a 31-mile ride and 3 – 6 reps of [8 min SS and 4 min EZ]. Because the weather was good I assigned two endurance rides. She did all six SS reps and commented, “They felt a bit harder than last week.” It was a harder set so it should feel a bit harder. And I’d given her two endurance rides – the coach’s mistake.
  • March 1 – 7: A 68-mile ride (shorter than the week before) and 5 – 8 reps of [8 min SS and 4 min EZ] — more reps of the same intervals as last week.

Building to the century the plan is:

  • March 8 – 14: An easy recovery week with a 30-mile ride and an easy sweet spot workout of 2 – 4 reps of [6 min SS and 3 min EZ].
  • March 15 – 21: A 60-mile ride (shorter than two weeks ago) and 6 – 10 reps of [8 min SS and 4 min EZ]. I’m asking for more reps than two weeks ago but a shorter endurance ride.
  • March 22 – 28: The century ride – key to her buildup – with no sweet spot workout.

Going forward I’ve planned the long rides but haven’t planned the sweet spot workouts. I’ll write those workouts depending on how she’s riding. The photo shows one of Elizabeth's many awards.

  • March 29 – April 4: An easy week with a 30-mile ride so she recovers fully after the century.
  • April 5 – 11: A 60-mile ride.
  • April 12 – 18: A 90-mile ride.
  • April 19 – 25: An easy week with a 30-mile ride so she recovers fully before her peaking ride the next week.
  • April 26 – May 2: A 135-mile ride. She’ll peak with this nine-hour ride. Her longest ride is three weeks before race day to allow plenty of time to recover.
  • May 3 – 9: She starts the taper with 30-mile ride to recover from the previous week. A rider loses power faster than endurance so I’ll include appropriate sweet spot workouts in both weeks of the taper.
  • May 10 – 16: She continues the taper with a 60-mile ride

Lessons:

  • Discipline. Elizabeth knows that sweet spot workouts pay off so she disciplines herself to train in the sweet spot, not harder.
  • Only change one variable. The week of February 8 – 14 we kept the length of her two endurance rides the same as the week before so she would do well with the sweet spot intervals. The week of February 21 – 28 I increased the sweet spot workout and gave her two endurance workouts – my mistake.
  • When increasing intensity reduce endurance riding. The week of February 15 – 21 in addition to the longer intervals she only did one longer endurance ride instead of two.
  • Progressively test fitness. I started Elizabeth with 3 – 6 reps of [6 min SS and 3 min EZ]. She did all six reps so the next week the SS and EZ times were a minute longer. She did all six reps so the next week I increased the length again. If she had only been able to do 4 or 5 reps of a set I would have repeated the same workout until she could do 6 reps.
  • Don’t increase both endurance and intensity the same week.
  • Include recovery. Each week she does only one endurance ride and one sweet spot workout as well as several active recovery days. Every few weeks I’m planning an easy week.
  • Use feedback. I’ve planned her sweet spot workouts through the week of the century but not beyond. Continuing to ramp up her endurance is the primary goal and the weekly amount of sweet spot depends on how she’s riding.

 

 

More Sweet Spot Information

I’ve written three columns explaining how you can benefit from sweet spot training:

Anti-Aging Elizabeth Wicks is one of a 13 riders ages 54 to 82 who to contributed illustrative stories to my eBook Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging ProcessIt explains the physiological changes that take place as you age, how to assess your current fitness and the training principles that apply to older roadies. It includes how to get the most out of your endurance rides. It has sample training plans to increase your annual riding miles and to build up to rides of 25-, 50-, 100- and 200-mile rides. Anti-Aging explains the importance of intensity training, how to do intensity training and provides different intensity workouts. The chapter on strength training has 28 exercises for lower body, upper body and core strength illustrated with photos. The eight essential stretches are illustrated with photos. The book describes the increasing importance of recovery as you get older, the most important things you can do to improve your recovery and how to avoid overtraining. It concludes with a chapter on motivation. Anti-Aging gives you the tools you need to slow the inevitable decline in your health and fitness. The 106-page Anti-Aging is $14.99

Use my column on the Athletic Maturity Quiz to gauge your athletic maturity on nine factors. My column Improving Your Athletic Maturity describes five ways that you can improve your athletic maturity starting this fall.

 

This article is 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. 

 

 

The Athlete's Kitchen - Exercising to Attain a Perfect Body: A Futile Effort?

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD March 2021

The Athlete’s Kitchen

 

Exercising to Attain a Perfect Body: A Futile Effort?

 

Body size, looks, and weight are concerns for many athletes. Some athletes have to be light for a specific weight class (rowing, wrestling, mixed martial arts). Others want to be lighter because the culture surrounding their sport demands a svelte physique (ballet, gymnastics, figure skating). Some seek the optimal power-to-weight ratio (running, cycling, cross-country skiing). Each sport comes with its own diet culture and all too often, athletes end up discontent with their weight, body fatness, and physiques. The standard solution: exercise harder to shed pounds and attain the perfect body.

 

The problem is exercise is better known for helping to maintain fat loss than for contributing to fat loss itself. Reducing body fatness depends more on reducing food intake than on increasing exercise. As you likely know, the more you exercise, the hungrier you get, the more you eat. If you are an already-lean athlete who under-eats, your body will protect itself from wasting away by conserving energy the rest of the day. That is, after a hard workout, you might (subconsciously) choose to do deskwork instead of run errands.

 

So now I pose this question to you: If exercise had no impact on your body weight or appearance, would you change how much you currently exercise?

 

Performance vs. Image  

 Dedicated athletes will likely answer “no change.” They follow a training program geared toward achieving a specific performance goal. Collegiate athletes at the D-I level have little choice in how much exercise they do. They have to perform—particularly if they have a scholarship. Athletes in sports that demand lightness would likely cut out cardio done specifically to burn off calories and instead eat a little less. Fitness exercisers might do only workouts they truly enjoy. Compulsive exercisers with a high drive for thinness—which can include any of the athletes mentioned above—may want to take more rest days, stop getting up at 4:30 every morning to do a killer workout, or do fewer double workouts. But anxiety about “getting fat” would undoubtedly force them to relentlessly exercise hard, day after day, to burn off calories and “look good.”.

 

Is lighter better? 

Most athletes believe they will perform better if they drop a few pounds. While this may be true for someone who has excess flab to lose, the lose-weight-at-any-cost struggle is more likely to hurt performance than enhance it. (Just how well do you actually perform when you are hungry and depleted?) A study with elite female swimmers indicates those who restricted calories during a 12-week training session ended up 10% slower in 12 weeks, while their well-fueled teammates improved by 8%. The food restriction did not even result in fat loss, despite eating about 700 calories less per day than their teammates. (They averaged 22% body fat; the non-dieting swimmers averaged 19%.) How can that be??? 

 

Fat loss is not mathematical. The knock off 500 calories a day to lose one pound of fat per week belief has proven to be untrue. The body is complicated. Genetics rules. Bodies are supposed to vary; they naturally come in different sizes and shapes.

 

The problem with restricting food

Unfortunately, restricting food to be “thinner at any cost” to hit a target weight or a desired look will sooner or later come with the high price of poorer performance, injuries and/or poor mental health. Restricting calories to sustain a weight that is too low means restricting the vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbs, and fats that you need to refuel, replenish and restore your body. When you go on a diet, your bones also go on a diet and they lose density. After repeated weeks and months of malnutrition, the body will inevitably break down, with stress fractures and over-use injuries taking a toll.

 

Tips for compulsive exercisers

Compulsive exercisers push themselves day after day to burn off calories. No rest days allowed. Some compulsive exercisers assert they love their (relentless) exercise program. Yes, they may love the endorphins that contribute to the post-exercise “high.” They love when people compliment their leanness. They love the sense of accomplishment that comes from exercising for XXX days in a row and love the sense of control that comes from completing the killer workout. But do they love feeling driven to burn off calories? Do they love feeling hungry, tired, and easily irritated most of the time? Are their relationships suffering?

 

If you are asking your body to exercise, you want to make sure it is adequately fueled. You should not feel dizzy, lightheaded, confused, or excessively fatigued at the start, middle, or end of a workout. That body should NOT be exercising; it is in a bad place.

 

 Enjoyment should be the foundation of any exercise routine, otherwise you’ll have trouble “staying on track.” When exercise is a should—not a want to, it becomes akin to punishment, particularly for those who believe they have to exercise to manage their weight. You could just as easily lose weight by eating less, as opposed to exercising more. Note: You don’t even have to exercise to lose weight. Patients in a hospital tend to lose weight, and they are not exercising at all.

 

If you find yourself exercising compulsively, please start paying attention to the thoughts and emotions that drive your movement. Look not at what you did, but why you did it. Do you depend on killer workouts to manipulate your emotions, reduce anxiety, and run away from loneliness? If yes, a sports psychologist could be helpful.

 

 Concluding thoughts

Weight is more than a matter of will power. People, like dogs, come is assorted sizes and shapes. No one size or shape is “best.” Is it time for a cultural change, so we can focus more on athleticism and performance, and less on body looks and weight?

At the elite level, weight-class/weight-centric athletes get stuck between a rock and a hard place. White-knuckling a restrictive diet comes with a high mental and physical cost. While the lighter athlete might be able to set personal records for a season or two (because they had been training in a heavier body), unhappiness and injuries inevitably will take a toll if the athlete tries to maintain “racing weight” all year long. A registered dietitian (RD) who specializes in sports nutrition (CSSD) can help athletes figure out appropriate weight goals and fueling strategies, so they can reach their performance goals. The lightest athlete may not be the best (nor happiest) athlete, after all.

 

 

Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual exercisers and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook offers food tips that can help you fuel well. Visit NancyClarkRD.com.

 

 

Reference:

Vanheest, J. et al. Ovarian Suppression Impairs Sports Performance in Junior Elite Female Swimmers. Med Sci Sports Exerc 46(1):156-166, 2014

 

 

 

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 eat wisely yet simply and win with good nutrition.

 

For more information, visit www.NancyClarkRD.comFor personalized nutrition help, consult with a registered dietitian (RD) who is a board certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD). Use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org to find your local food coach. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bicycles May Use Full Lane

John Allen

 

 

For this month’s Safety Corner, I’m bringing forward a discussion on the CRW e-mail list, about the installation of  “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signs on roads in Lincoln and Bedford – elsewhere too.

 

Terry Gleason, of the Bedford Bicycle committee, posted to the list:

 

Back in 2018, Bob Wolf asked how successful BMUFL signage was in other towns. I assume there were enough positive responses that the Town of Lincoln and their new Bike Safety Comm. then installed them on every road leading into Lincoln. (Yeah)

I saw a new one in Sudbury near the Concord Rd/Hudson Rd (Route27) intersection. Does anyone know how this came about and if there are other ones in Sudbury?

 

Bob Wolf, co-chair of Lincoln's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, replied:

 

The request was only part of our due diligence, but, yes, the responses were positive. As has been most of response in Lincoln. Most, since everyone likes traffic calming when others are being calmed. 

There is at least one more on Hudson Rd not far from Haskell Field. No idea of the Sudbury process.

In this connection, may I recommend a video that I recorded, by coincidence, in Lincoln? It's embedded in the following article:

https://cyclingsavvy.org/2020/11/control-release-for-safe-passing/
 

Note that the law requiring you to pull aside and allow motorists (and other bicyclists) to pass when that is safe still applies where "bicycles may use full lane" signs have been posted. On the other hand, there is no requirement to allow unsafe passing. In fact, the rules are the same with or without the sign. The sign serves only as a reminder of what the rules are everywhere. No sign was posted where I shot the video,

 

Bicyclists should apply the right to use the whole lane consciously, communicating with motorists and releasing control when passing is safe, as shown in the video. Almost all motorists will cooperate if you use this strategy consciously. It helps to use a rear-view mirror to help you decide what to do and to maintain two-way communication with the driver behind you, without having to divert attention from the road ahead.

 

Also -- meet Your Safety Coordinator! California CyclingSavvy Instructor Gary Cziko and I will host a live question-and-answer Webinar on Wednesday, March 31.  You are fine to attend it if you didn’t watch the other Webinars described in the March Wheelpeople.  There’s still time for those too, till the end of the month, and the first of them will be available indefinitely..

 

The live Zoom meeting at 7:30 PM March 31 is scheduled to run for an hour but it could run longer.  Login information is below. Also check out cyclingsavvy.org for additional safety-related materials.

 

John Allen is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting

 

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 989 3732 1637
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April 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. Enjoy our monthly virtual film fest.


Self Driving Bicycles
Of all the bicycle innovations we've seen, self driving bicycles developed by Google may prove to be the most impressive. The applications have numerous possibilities, including the potential for commuters to do some work while in transit, read the paper, or binge watch some Netflix. 2 Mins.
 
Sharing The Road
 
 
Cycling Lake Tahoe
As one of the more scenic areas in the country, Lake Tahoe offers a fantastic 72 mile loop ride around it's entirety. It comes with spectacular views, and with a vertical of 4,000 feet, some sore quads to match. 4 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.

 

 

A Winter Ride

Joe Repole
This was a posting on the Club's Google Group on March 15, 2021 a day after a winterly snow squall. While it may be tropical weather by the time you read this, it does not diminish Joe's courage and determination in dealing with awful weather conditions, especially when you consider that Joe was (as of the event) two days short of his 85th birthday. The photo is Joe on a more pleasant day.
 
 
 
Yesterday morning I went for a ride.  It was very nice.  I was dressed for 41 degrees or so.  Turned out I was overdressed.  The temp was 47 by noon.
 
I had lunch and then for the afternoon ride I took off my mittens, my balaclava, my gaiter and my vest. It was 41 when I started.  Then there were some snow flurries.  No problem.  Then the sun came out.  Then the temp dropped to 37, then to 32, then to 30.
 
 At 8 miles from home on Huckleberry Rd in Hopkinton came that really strong snow squall with at least 20mph winds and blizzard like conditions.  I was going south.  The wind and snow were coming from the north.  It was neat. The snow and wind were blowing by me.
 
Then I turned north.  The snow and wind were in my face.  I was covered in snow. I could only see several feet ahead of me.
I turned east onto Fruit street.  There were a few cars.  My headlight battery was running low.  The cars had slowed because of the snow.  The sun then came out again.  It didn't help much.  The temp got back up to 32 and the roads were wet.  By that time I was frozen.
 
I got home safely and tried to warm up..My wife made me some hot chocolate.  That did help.
 
Oh well, another adventure.  Such is the life of a biker.
Joe Repole
 

Rollers

Eli Post

 

It’s no secret that technology has influence biking, but some technologies have been pushed aside so that many of you don’t even know they once existed. I believe bicycle rollers, which are nearly as old as the bicycle itself, fall into this category. A word of explanation. Bicycle rollers are a type of trainer for indoors training without moving forward. The rollers do not attach to the bicycle frame, and the rider must maintain balance on the rollers while training. Bicycle rollers normally consist of several cylinders on top of which the bicycle rides. A belt connects the middle roller to the front roller, causing the front wheel of the bicycle to spin when the bicycle is pedaled. Balancing without riding off the rollers is a daunting challenge, which explains why rollers were replaced by other indoor training equipment. Lest you not appreciate the training difficulty, the video will enlighten you and perhaps even cause a chuckle.

 

Social Distance Cycling Club

Tim Wilson

 

 

You would think that a bicycle club with no membership fees, no rides, no events, and members who live thousands of miles apart, wouldn’t be particularly popular or successful.

But that’s not the case with the Social Distance Cycling Club, which just marked the one-year anniversary of its founding. In fact, the SDCC is likely one of the largest, if not the largest club that exists with more than 7,500 members. That compares to about 2,200 CRW members.

Anyone can join the Social Distance Cycling Club simply by joining the SDCC Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/215255319880702 There are no Social Distance Cycling Club club rides. Members ride on their own and then share photos and comments about their ride in a post on the SDCC Facebook group.

The SDCC was formed on March 16, 2020, by Fred Zelt, an avid cyclist from Pittsburgh. Like many cyclists at that time, Fred realized COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing would make the start of the 2020 cycling season very different and very lonely.

“There wasn’t like a grand plan for this,” recalled Fred, an MIT grad and retired geologist. “I was frustrated, and I wanted to kind of commiserate with other cyclists who weren’t going to be able to ride now. I thought we might be stuck inside for a few weeks at the beginning.” Didn’t we all.

Fred was already a member of cycling groups on Facebook and decided it was just the place to form a new kind of bike club. “The whole purpose of this group is to encourage each other to get outside and ride a bike in a safe, appropriate, socially distant way, or to pedal indoors,” the SDCC group description states. “When you get outside and pedal in the fresh air, or cycle indoors, please share a post with a pic, the location and some encouragement!” From there, things took off in a way Fred never expected.

He remarked that it was a little scary as memberships reached a couple of thousand people when he thought it might be 400 or 500. The SDCC developed a life of its own that “turned out to be a lot longer and more of a time commitment than I expected.”

The club’s growth expanded it to 30 states and 69 countries. There have been more than 22,000 posts in the past year with 63,662 photos shared, 138,087 comments and 1,131,625 reactions. Help from five members, including two in the UK, have helped Fred keep up.

Word spread about the SDCC on other Facebook cycling groups that allowed Fred to share his vision. And then there was what might be called The RAGBRAI Effect. “A few people in Iowa and Chicago had hundreds of friends who cycle,” Fred explained. “And they invited them all.”

That’s why Iowans are well represented in the club and why the High Trestle Trail Bridge in central Iowa is by far the most frequently seen image posted from rides.

It didn’t take long to see that the SDCC was filling the need for the social connection cycling can provide. New friendships were formed – from a distance – and plans were made to get together on the other side of the pandemic.

“A lot of people will say, ‘I saw these posts and it made me want to get out’. That’s cool, too,” Fred said. But the friendships are things that can last and make a big positive difference in people’s lives.”

“It makes all the time I’ve spent on this Facebook group feel like it’s worth it.”

So, what do people get from being a part of a “virtual” bike club? Well, for one thing, they seem to have a lot of fun.

There have been more than 50 themes created by members for particular days or weeks that bring people together even though they are apart.

A favorite of Fred’s was one of the earliest, Our Relay Ride Around the World. In April last year, SDCC members posted their ride mileage in the Facebook group and via the club’s Strava group to pedal a collective virtual lap of 24,901 miles around the Earth. They did it in eight days on just over 1,000 individual rides. It was a powerful example of what can be accomplished when people come together, and each do their own small part. It was also a valuable lesson for the year that was ahead.

Other themes included posting favorite cycling books or movies, photos of local murals seen from a bike, favorite charity rides and favorite bike shops. One very popular theme was the Heads and Toes Fashion Show when members posted photos of their snazziest cycling socks and/or face coverings for rides. In the past year, the group has also featured 45 cover images, each depicting a landscape seen by bike and usually a lone bike or rider.

Fred has been careful to keep the SDCC true to its purpose of encouraging safe and responsible cycling during the pandemic. For this reason, the club rejects posts that show large groups of people gathered closely without face coverings. The exception to this has been during Throwback Thursday themes when members share memories and photos from the good old days.

Like any self-respecting bicycle club, the Social Distance Cycling Club has its own t-shirts and cycling jerseys. The t-shirts were created by an Iowan whose work as an outdoor guide in the summer was derailed by the pandemic. He, of course, delivers the shipments of member t-shirts to the local post office by bicycle. Fred was happy that he and the club could be a source of support for one of the many people struggling financially during the pandemic.

More important than a financial boost for a small business has been the emotional support provided by the SDCC when so many people were isolated. The name was later changed, but Therapy Thursday was a theme that served a purpose beyond having fun. The idea was for people to share with each other how cycling has helped them in the pandemic. There have been 54 such posts and many included videos.

“A lot of them are so heartfelt,” Fred said. “People talked about struggling with depression. I remember one talking about struggling with addiction and how cycling helped so much with that. Some of them talked about the group helping with these things, too.”

The supportive nature of the SDCC has caused the group to evolve. It has become more of a community than a single-themed cycling group. That’s one reason the SDCC was changed to a private group where posts can only be shared among members. But all are still welcome to join if they embrace the nature of the club.

“A lot of people have said this is the best thing they’ve seen on Facebook,” Fred commented. It’s not commercially driven or motivated to advance an agenda or viewpoint. In that sense, the club may have also provided an escape over the past year.

“It’s been surprising to me how really positive people have been,” Fred said, adding with a laugh that only about seven “F-bombs” have been dropped out of tens of thousands of comments.

Fred clearly approaches the SDCC with a sense of stewardship for the community that has grown. “There’s so many people who really feel like they are part of a community in the group that it’s going to need to carry on beyond the pandemic, I think,” he said.

Fred shared one story of how the community defies distance and that down the road it holds the potential to extend beyond the virtual world.

A member from Pittsburgh posted photos that her mother and a college friend took while cycling in Scotland in 1938. Those photos were seen by two members in Scotland who decided they would make a hobby of finding the places in the photos and taking new shots from the same viewpoint to create an intriguing set of now and then photos to post.

The woman from Pittsburgh is now planning a post-pandemic trip to Scotland to cycle the same route as her mother and meet her fellow SDCC members.

Long-term plans may be safe, but Fred is among those who believe the coming months still pose a challenge. He is taking the same cautious approach to the SDCC’s next steps that many clubs and organizations are taking to events in 2021.

“Hopefully, by July most people will be immunized,” Fred said. “But between now and then it’s going to be messy and I’m not really sure how to deal with that.”

Despite the short-term uncertainty, Fred is no different than anyone in looking ahead to the other side of the pandemic. He does plan to keep the SDCC alive and has considered the idea of a name change – or maybe not. “Maybe it can be sort of an ironic name in the future,” he said.

When that future arrives, don’t be shocked if we see Fred at a CRW ride. He has family not far from Boston and hopes to visit. And cycling in New England is not new to Fred. He has pedaled the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire and Lincoln Gap in Vermont as part of cross-country rides for MS.

In fact, Boston may be where Fred unknowingly prepared to navigate the dark and scary days of a pandemic. While an MIT student he worked as a doorman at Father’s Fore on Mass. Ave. and later did geological field work deep under Cambridge during excavation for the Red Line extension.

What better training could he have had for handling the danger of the unknown and finding the light at the end of the tunnel?

 

 

Tim Wison is fundraising manager for Tour de Cure, a series of fundraising cycling events held nationwide to benefit the American Diabetes Association. Tim is also a CRW member and lives in Wilmington.

 

 

April Updates

WheelPeople Editors
 

Ride Leader Kick-Off Meeting We will have our annual Ride Leader Kick-Off Meeting via Zoom on April 18, 2021, at 7:00 pm.  It will be a short meeting, during which we will talk about COVID and insurance requirements, and other administrative matters.  Please start thinking about your rides and placing them on the website calendar. We will add the Ride Leader Kick-Off Meeting to the web calendar, and you will need to register, upon which, you will receive an email with the Zoom meeting details.

Winter Ride Challenge - The Challenge results were not available at publication time for this issue, but will be reported as a homepage announcement on Thursday April. 1 Ride details here www.crw.org/content/crw-winter-ride-challenge 
 
Town Ride collections - There will be days in April warm enough to ride and the Town Collections are available for you www.crw.org/route-collection-panel-page
 
Volunteer Positions. A list of open positions can be found here https://www.crw.org/content/open-positions
 
Club Forums There are several forums you can use to stay in touch with your CRW friends or participate in friendly discussions. https://www.crw.org/content/forums
 
Amazon Smile If you have an Amazon Prime account please look into making CRW your charity. Details here https://www.crw.org/content/amazon-smile
 
Adventure Rides Make sure you are updated on an exciting new ride offering https://www.crw.org/content/adventure-rides-launched-crw
 

 

 

 

 
 
 

Cyclists Age Better

By Dr. Gabe Mirkin

 

Two exciting studies show that older men and women who have cycled for many years do not have the markers of aging found in non-exercising people (Aging Cell, March 8, 2018). Their muscle size and strength, amount of body fat, levels of hormones such as testosterone, and blood cholesterol levels were close to those of much younger people. Their maximal ability to take in and use oxygen was more like that of people in their twenties than in non-exercisers of their own age group. Incredibly, the cyclists’ immunity did not show the deterioration that is expected with aging. These studies focused on cyclists, but similar results would probably be found with other types of sustained exercise.

The Studies
Researchers from London and Birmingham, England, studied the same groups of people with one study concentrating on muscles and the other on the immune system. The participants were 125 amateur cyclists (84 men, 41 women) aged 55-79 years. These were not elite athletes; to qualify for the study, the men had to be able to cycle at least 60 miles in 6.5 hours, and the women, 36 miles in 5.5 hours (a moderate pace of less than 10 miles per hour for the men and 6 1/2 miles per hour for the women). All of the participants had been cycling regularly for most of their adult lives, with an average of 26 years. These cyclists were compared to 75 healthy non-exercisers aged 57-80, and 55 younger non-exercisers aged 20-36. The authors excluded all people who were smokers or heavy drinkers or had high blood pressure or medical problems.

Amazing Benefits in Immunity
With aging, the thymus gland in the front of your upper chest shrinks and progressively loses some of its ability to make T-cells that help to protect you from developing cancers and infections. The most surprising news from this study is that the thymus glands of the older cyclists produced as many T-cells as those of the young people.

T-cells recognize foreign proteins on the surface of invading germs and cancers to tell your immunity to attack and kill these cells. They then stimulate your immune system to make antibodies to attach to and kill invading germs and cancer cells, and produce chemicals called cytokines that activate other T-cells to remove germs and cancer cells from your body. Other regulatory T-cells dampen down your immunity so that your immunity does not attack and destroy your own healthy cells.

Larger and Stronger Muscles and Better Use of Oxygen
The authors took muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis muscle in the front of the cyclists’ upper legs, the muscles strengthened most by cycling. The cyclists’ muscles did not show the expected signs of aging:
• drop in muscle size,
• drop in mitochondrial protein content, and
• decrease in ability to take in and use oxygen.
Their muscles did show a decrease in capillary blood vessel density. The cyclists’ maximal ability to take in and use oxygen, move air in their lungs, and develop muscle power (wattage) were like those of the much younger people.

Loss of Muscle Size and Strength with Aging
All people, even regular exercisers, can expect to lose muscle size and strength as they age. Researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada have offered a new explanation (Cell Reports, March 13, 2018). All muscle fibers contain many mitochondria, small furnaces that turn food into energy. However, this process of providing energy for muscle cells produces end products called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), also known as free radicals, that damage parts of muscle cells and are directly responsible for the loss of muscle fibers with aging. Muscles normally use another chemical called ADP to rid themselves of ROS. This study shows that everyone loses muscle fibers with aging because older muscles lose some of their ability to respond to ADP and as a result, they accumulate higher levels of ROS which cause the permanent destruction of muscle fibers with the resultant loss of muscle size and strength. However, the muscles of older regular exercisers are able to clear excess ROS far more efficiently than the muscles of non-exercisers, so they have less loss of size and strength.

Exercise Helps You to Live Longer, Even If You Already Have Heart Disease
Another new study reviewed 30 years of records of 3,307 adults who had had heart attacks or angina (pain from blocked arteries leading to the heart). Those who exercised at least a little bit were 36 percent less likely to die during the study period (J of the Am Coll of Card, March 2018;71(10)). Weight loss without exercising did not reduce their death rate. This study agrees with another study of more than 15,000 heart disease patients that also showed that exercise helps to prevent death in people who have already had heart attacks (J of the Am Coll of Card, October 2017;70(14:). Moderate activities can include walking, gardening, ballroom dancing, water aerobics or casual cycling. Vigorous exercise includes cycling faster than 10 miles an hour, jogging or lap swimming, according to the American Heart Association.

My Recommendations
These studies show that many of the accepted signs of aging come from lack of exercise, not just from getting older. Regular vigorous exercise as you age helps you to maintain healthful qualities of your younger days so that you will have a healthier and more active later life. Exercise helps to prevent disease and death, even if you have not been a life-long exerciser. Everyone should maintain a daily exercise program. It does not have to be intense to prolong your life. If you have existing health problems or questions, consult with your doctors about any limitations that may apply to you.

 

Photo by Tom Allen from Wednesday Wheeler ride September 2019

 

 

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

Article Cyclists Age Better | Dr. Gabe Mirkin on Health (drmirkin.com)

 
 

Winter Beach Ride

Eugene Ho

 

We've all heard and repeated the oldest joke in biking:  While we are struggling up a steep hill, some show-off whizzes by.  We yell out "Hey I wanna tow". 

 

Of course, you can't actually tow someone on a bike.  Or can you?

 

We found the answer to this critical question on a recent Saturday ride at Revere Beach.  Ride Headquarters organized a mixed terrain ride there under the full moon. Patria Vandemark, owner of Ride Headquarters, led.

 

While it rained lightly on the commute to the start, it stopped on schedule just before we set out and the full moon appeared about half an hour in. Video Night Riding

 

Never having biked on beach sand before, it turned out to be a surprisingly stable surface, especially for fat bikes which we were all riding.  But, most of our route was below the line of trucked in sand and on the natural shore line which is rock.  Lots of rocks.

 

Also, lots of shifting as the rocky terrain undulated and sporadic boulders appeared.  During one of the transitions, Ben's derailleur caught a spoke and snapped its hanger off the frame.  

Patria, the ride leader, removed the derailleur and shortened the chain but no amount of persuasion could keep the chain on the gears. Plan B:  tow the bike and its rider back.

You can see how it turned out: Video Towing

 

The towing scenes were taken on the road where it was stable enough to hold the camera.  Much of the towing happened on the rocks.  We were all amazed at how it worked.

Patria's bike has one helluva engine on it.

 

 

 

The individual photos that comprise the animation can be viewed HERE 

 

Eugene Ho is a CRW member who lives in Newton. Gene, both in his professional life and personal life, spends much of his time spinning his wheels and riding around in circles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRW introduces Zoom rides

Alex Post

 

We’ve heard from many members eager to get back on group rides, but at this time also want to maintain social distance, so we are introducing Zoom rides. Riders may use their existing phone mounts, but we recommend the larger tablet style mounts with longer extensions. This allows you to both view more people on the screen, as well as keep an eye on the road. To insure safety, we ask all riders to help monitor other riders screens and identify ‘car back’ or ‘clear’ etc when needed. Zoom filters are allowed, but for safety purposes we prefer that riders refrain from using the more distracting ones, such as the cat, potato head, and especially the disco penguin. Rides are planned to start the beginning of April immediately after April Fools Day

 

April Picture of the Month

Eli Post
The vaccines are out and it is looking good for the return of group riding, but in the interim you must choose your riding buddies selectively. Photo by Alex Post, taken in Washington DC.