September 2021 WheelPeople



Rami Haddad



















We have Board & President positions to fill.


A. Board schedule:

i. 20 September 2021: last day to submit Board nomination & statement of 250 words

ii. 1–15 October 2021: members vote for Board positions


B. President schedule:

i. 30 October 2021: last day to submit President nomination & statement of 250 words

ii. 9 November 2021 19:00: new Board members elect President



A. Send all nominations to nominate [at]

  • Board by 20 September 2021
  • President by 30 October 2021

B. Contact any current Board member to learn about their duties, activities, & responsibilities:

C. Examples of candidate profiles from last year at


These procedures are part of detailed nomination procedures that the Board approved on 30 August 2021.



A. Role

CRW Directors set the strategic agenda for our club. The Board sets policy for club finances, rides, & donations. It appoints volunteers to fill important club officer positions & directs our activities with advocacy groups.


A great Director is someone who has been actively involved with the club & understands not only our history and traditions but has a vision for the future & is willing to help advocate and implement the changes necessary to move us forward.


Each year, CRW members elect 3 directors for a 3 year term. A director is allowed to serve no more than two consecutive 3 year terms.


Board of Directors meetings are held every one or two months, depending on topics to discuss. One of those meetings is anticipated to be an all-day planning meeting.


B. Procedures

The Election of Directors shall be by electronic ballot transmitted to all members. Votes of all members shall be confidential. Voting shall be allowed 1–15 October 2021. The Secretary shall verify & publish the results no later than 30 October 2021. The names of the newly elected Directors will appear in the November WheelPeople.


For vacancies that become available after elections start, we follow the by-laws III.5.a procedures after position becomes vacant.



The new Board members will attend the November CRW Board Meeting. At this meeting, all Directors who will serve during 2022 will elect the CRW President who will start on 1 January 2022.


The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Corporation and shall report to the Board of Directors (Board). The President shall also be the Chairperson of the Board and have the rights and duties of a member of the Board.


The President shall have supervisory authority over the activities of the CRW. The President shall appoint and organize all of the officers for the duration of the President’s term; shall establish any committees and coordinators deemed necessary; and shall delegate to them such authority as the President shall see fit, all with Board approval.


The President shall be an ex officio member and may be active on all CRW committees. The President shall propose the fiscal budget, operational plan, appointments, and committee structure to the Board at the first meeting of the year. The Board shall approve these proposals, with the possibility of negotiation, no later than the second Board meeting of any calendar year.


Following the approval of the annual plan, the President, with Board approval, may alter or abolish any component thereof not protected by these Bylaws that is no longer necessary to the CRW.


A little rain didn’t dampen the VT-NH spirits

Steven Delaney


The third ride of CRW’s Adventure Series put an even dozen Wheelers on the backroads and trails of Vermont and New Hampshire, and a little bit of Maine.  The goal was to see what kind of scenery and surfaces the Cross Vermont Bike Trail and the Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trail had to offer.  Despite a bit of weather, some mud, and a flat tire or two, the consensus was that the ride was exceptional enough to become an annual CRW staple.

The trip started in Bethel, ME, where we caught our prearranged shuttle to Burlington, VT.  After hotel check-in, a short 30-miler along the shores of Lake Champlain allowed the group to get to know each other and to pedal the cobwebs out of the legs after 6 hours in the car.  Dinner in downtown Burlington had us swapping riding tales and expectations for the next three days.

The next morning, we followed the Cross Vermont Bike Trail (CVBT) out of Burlington.  The curators of the CVBT go to great lengths to say that their trail is a work in progress.  But we found it great, keeping us on bike trails and small roads until it put us onto glorious farm roads and packed dirt trails.  Between the gpx files and signage, the trail was easy to follow.  

A relatively easy, though hot, 49 miles and 2,100 ft of climbing got us to Montpelier, VT.  One of the highlights along the way was a cooling dip in the Winooski River outside Waterbury, VT.  A second fun dinner cemented the team.(Collage by Steve Carlson.)

The second full-day of riding was 65 miles and 2,300 feet of climbing from Montpelier to Littleton, NH.  A mix of country roads and bike/ATV trails meant we saw very little car traffic (and only a couple of ATVs.)  The curators of the Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trails (xNHAT) did a great job of letting us know what to expect and telling where the sights were.  The highlight for the day was the Haverhill - Bath Covered Bridge and the nearby Brick country store, the oldest in New England (unfortunately closed due to Covid.)

While we suffered a few sprinkles on the second day, we woke up to a steady drizzle for our 65-mile, 2,474 ft elevation ride from Littleton back to Bethel.  But the rain didn’t dampen team spirits.  The trail for the day was again mostly trail and back roads, taking us through some spectacular scenery like that of the Presidential Rail Trail and the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge.  The rain turned one dirt road into peanut butter, but the stone trails shed the water and held up well in the rain.

While we rode a bit of pavement along the way, the bulk of the ride was on dirt roads and trails.  The surface varied from packed dirt, to loose stone and even some gnarly rocks.  Gravelesque bikes with 32mm+ tires are the way to go and were definitely up to the challenge.  Because we were riding across New England and not outer Mongolia, we had the advantage of plenty of food stops and comfy hotels.  That meant we were able to pack our bikes light:  a riding kit or two, toothbrush, and of course raingear.

Bottomline, everyone felt the trails are a great way to get off the roads and enjoy what New England has to offer.

                          The Adventure concluded with big smiles and a Patch Awards Ceremony!







Looking for a Graphic Designer

Several different skill sets are required to produce the club's monthly newsletter, and we are currently looking for a Graphic Designer to provide graphic input on submitted articles. He or she should have knowledge about design elements and technical skills to use online design software tools. Creativity is essential. If you are interested in helping us, please contact editor [at]


If we had a graphic designer on our committee, we would not have to resort to Google images to dress up this article.












Effective Cooling for Cyclists



By Coach John Hughes

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called June the hottest on record for the United States. More 100F+ days are making riding more challenging. Hydrating properly is one of the keys to riding in relative comfort.  And it’s not as simple as “drink before you’re thirsty” and “drink early and drink often.” Here’s why.



Why Do You Get Hot?

It’s obvious – it’s hot outside! Actually, you don’t overheat just because the ambient temperature is high. You overheat in several different ways and understanding these will help you perform better in the heat:

  • Energy production. The human body is only 20 to 40% efficient, which means that only 20 to 40% of the energy you get from eating is translated into forward motion. If you are a 160 lb. (73 kg) rider pedaling at 14 mph (22.5 km/h) for an hour, you are burning approximately 500 calories. A calorie is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius. Only about 100 to 200 of the calories you burn are producing forward motion. The remaining 300 to 400 calories are producing heat! You have to dissipate this heat or your core temperature will rise. Energy production and heat dissipation are the primary factors in overheating, whether you are riding on a 100 F (38 C) day or climbing hard when it’s only 60 F (15 C).
  • Radiation.  When the sun is out, you gain heat from direct rays of the sun, as well as from radiation reflected from the pavement. You may also gain heat from radiation through diffuse clouds. Your body also radiates heat even when it’s hot outside. The higher the sun is in the sky the more radiation heats you up.
  • Respiration.  You may dissipate heat when you exhale if your breath is warmer than the environment, and or if it’s really hot out you may actually gain heat through breathing. Hot air feels harder to breathe.
  • Conduction.  You also gain heat through hot parts of your bike. You lose heat when you apply an ice pack.
  • Convection.  Heat moves from your hotter body to the relatively cooler air; however, if the air is hotter than you are, the reverse flow occurs.

The fact that your energy metabolism is the primary source of heat has a very significant implication. Cooling your core is the most important.


Effects of Overheating

You know riding when you are hot is harder — harder to maintain a target pace, harder to put out more power to climb, and harder to ride farther. Interestingly, it doesn’t have to be very hot for performance to decline. In one experiment, trained cyclists rode at 70% of VO2 max in lab temperatures of 4, 10, 20 and 30C, (39, 50, 68, 86F). They were able to maintain that effort for the longest time at 10C (50F), and performance declined progressively after that. Thus, overheating can be an issue even if you ride in temperate conditions that most of us would consider ideal for cycling!


The normal temperature in your core surrounding your vital organs is 37C (98.6F). Your skin temperature is 34C (93.2F) if you aren’t gaining or dissipating a significant amount of heat.


As your core temperature starts to rise, your body circulates more blood through your core and to your skin to provide cooling and to protect your vital organs from overheating. As a result, less blood flows to the muscles to deliver oxygen and nutrients. As your core temperature rises, it’s also more difficult for your brain to recruit your muscles to contract forcefully, i.e., put out high power. These physiological changes partially explain why you can’t ride as hard when you are hot.


You also can’t ride as hard for psychological reasons — in short, it feels harder to ride when you are hotter. In another experiment, a group of trained cyclists were asked to ride at the same perceived effort they would expend if riding a 20 to 40K time trial. They repeated the trial rides at 15, 25 and 35C (59, 77, 95F). Based solely on perceived effort, their power output declined as the temperature rose.


Sweating—Your Body’s Primary Cooling Mechanism

Increasing your sweat rate and radiation from increased blood flow to the skin account for about 85% of your body’s cooling. The rest comes from conduction and convection.

The harder you exercise, the more sweating is the dominant mechanism for cooling. Because the primary source of heat is your working muscles, internal cooling to keep your core organs cool is much more important than external cooling. Think of your body like a car’s engine. Most of the cooling is provided internally by coolant, which flows through the engine and then through the radiator. Only a little cooling comes from heat given off directly to the air around the engine. Your blood is the coolant, your muscles are the engine, and your skin is the radiator. Thus, managing your internal coolant — hydration and electrolyte levels — is critical. Although it may feel good to dump water on your head while riding this only cools your skin. If you drink the water it helps to cool your core, which is much more important. Of course, if you have an ample supply of water, e.g., at a minimart then dumping on your head is fine as long as you also drink.


If you are riding in moderate conditions—that is, you aren’t gaining heat from the environment—each hour you’ll produce 600 to 800 ml (21 to 27 fl. oz.) of sweat! Each hour you sweat out almost as much fluid as contained in one standard (about 24 oz.) water bottle! If you push the pace a little, are climbing, are riding in hot weather or you are a larger rider, you could easily produce 32 fl. oz. (1 quart or liter) or more of sweat per hour. Heavy exercise can produce as much as 20 times the amount of heat produced at rest!


You’ve probably noticed riding with friends that some riders’ jerseys are soaked almost immediately while others’ remain relatively dry. A number of factors influence the variability in how much individuals sweat:

  • Ambient temperature. The hotter it is, the more you sweat.
  • Humidity. Sweat doesn’t evaporate as readily when it’s humid, so even more sweat must be produced to help cool your body.
  • Intensity of exercise. The more energy you expend riding, the more you sweat. As noted above, your body isn’t very efficient at turning fuel into energy for the muscles. Any energy you expend that doesn’t move you forward increases your sweat rate, with no performance benefit—for example, standing to pedal or bobbing your shoulders.
  • Physical size. If you are a big rider with a large surface area, you may produce and evaporate more sweat; however, you may also gain more heat from radiation from the sun.
  • Gender. Women tend to have lower sweat rates and electrolyte losses than men, primarily because of their smaller body size and lower metabolic rate for a given workload.
  • Fluid balance. The better hydrated you are, the more sweat you produce. As you get dehydrated, your sweat rate decreases to preserve fluid, so you don’t cool off as much.
  • Clothing. Clothing that doesn’t breathe reduces evaporation.

As you become more acclimated to riding when you are hot, you start to sweat at a lower core temperature, and you sweat more, which keeps your core temperature lower. Your total blood supply increases so you can sweat more while still maintaining blood flow to the muscles.


When you sweat, initially the water (sweat) comes from your approximately five liters of blood. As you sweat and the amount of blood decreases, your heart has to beat faster to maintain the same blood flow, an effect known as cardiac drift. Even if you just maintain the same power, rather than producing more power, your heart rate will rise as you sweat. As you continue to sweat, your body pulls water from your cells into your blood to maintain blood volume. This impairs how well your muscles function.


You keep pedaling, and your muscles still need blood to supply oxygen and nutrients. Since blood volume is less, the blood supply to other parts of the body is reduced, with these consequences:

  • Heart rate and core temperature increase.
  • Skin blood flow diminishes, so you don’t get as much cooling.
  • Higher core temperature is needed before you start to sweat, because your body is preserving fluid.
  • Greater risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke because your body can’t cool itself as well.
  • Blood flow to the digestive system is reduced, making it harder for you to absorb needed fluid, electrolytes and calories.
  • The brain may not get as much blood, which, combined with heat stress, contributes to diminished mental functioning and fatigue.


How Much Should You Drink?

When I started cycling in the 1970s I rode with one 16 fl. oz. (0.5 l) water bottle on the down tube and my pump on the seat tube. I finished a sub-5 hour century on this bike with only three quick stops at aid stations — riding hard despite dehydration. In that era, racers in the Tour de France were advised not to drink during a race, especially in hot weather.


In 1979, I rode the 1200 km (750-mile) Paris-Brest-Paris on a custom touring bike, which had an unusual design with cages for two 16 oz. bottles on the down tube! The French peloton all rode with only one bottle. Back then runners routinely finished marathons without worrying about hydration! Obviously, one could perform at a high level while getting progressively dehydrated.


Then scientists and coaches began to understand the effects of dehydration, and we were taught to “drink before you’re thirsty” and “drink early and drink often.” At the same time, producing and marketing sports drinks became a multi-million dollar industry. The CamelBak was invented in the early 1990s. Their motto was “Hydrate or Die.”


Thus, not worrying about hydration to the point of becoming dehydrated on a ride, and also drinking to the point of becoming bloated, nauseous and worse — both ends of the hydration spectrum — are both dangerous, and wrong.


We now know that appropriate hydration is more complex than either riding without drinking very much or drinking too much during a ride. Studies show varying effects on performance from dehydration. Dehydration appears to affect maximum power output only slightly. Pro sprinters ride so hard for many hours in the heat that, despite their best efforts, they become dehydrated — but look at them go! On the other hand, during lighter aerobic endurance exercise, dehydration results in increased core temperature which produces fatigue, affects endurance and increases perceived exertion. Chronic dehydration magnifies the effects and negates the effects of acclimatization. 


Hydration status appears not to be a contributing factor to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Researchers differ on whether dehydration may cause muscle cramps.


On the other hand, drinking too much fluid can result in dilutional hyponatremia, drinking so much fluid that you dilute the sodium concentration of your blood to a dangerously low level. Note that the sodium concentration in sports drinks is low relative to the concentration in your blood, so you can drink too much sports drink just as you can drink too much water.  


Hyponatremia may result in your body retaining fluid and swelling, which can be visible around a ring on your finger, your gloves around your wrists and your socks around your ankles. Your brain can’t swell because of your skull.  The increasing fluid retained in your brain results in increase pressure so another symptom of hyponatremia is a headache. If your brain swells too much it can be fatal! If your body is swelling up in the heat, although it’s counter intuitive the remedy is to stop drinking until the swelling disappears. 


Given the complexity of fluid replacement, scientists and medical experts do not have a consensus recommendation. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) strikes a balance and recommends drinking enough during exercise to prevent both

  1. excessive dehydration (>2% body weight) and
  2. excessive losses in sodium balance.

Dehydration is expressed as a percentage of body weight. If the 160-lb (73 kg) rider above loses more than 3.2 lbs (1.5 kg) during a ride, the cyclist is more than 2% dehydrated.


Personal Hydration Strategy

You should take into account the following factors in developing your personal hydration strategy.

  1. Maintain performance. For your best performance, make sure that you are fully hydrated before throwing your leg over the top tube. You should need to go to the bathroom and produce a good stream of pale yellow urine before strapping on your helmet.
  2. Physiological limit. You can only absorb so much fluid per hour. Different studies report maximal rates of intestinal fluid absorption ranging from 600 ml (20 fl. oz.) to 1.6 liters (54 fl. oz.) per hour. The absorption rate varies by individual and by the composition, temperature and quantity that you drink (explained in detail below). You are drinking too much too quickly if you start to feel fluid sloshing in your stomach, get bloated or, even worse, develop nausea or diarrhea.
  3. What’s comfortable. When allowed to drink as much or little as they want, fully pre-hydrated marathon runners drink from 400 to 800 ml (14 to 27 fl. oz.) per hour. Faster, heavier runners racing in a warm environment drink toward the upper rate, while lighter, slower racers in a cool environment consume toward the lower rate.
  4. Satisfy thirst. Current researchers on hydration and hyponatremia recommend a simple rule of thumb: drink if you are thirsty, and otherwise don’t drink. However, by the time you feel thirsty, you may already have lost 1.5 to 2 liters (quarts) of fluid and be dehydrated. The need to drink is also a function of habit, ritual and the desire for a warming or cooling drink. Further, if you are age 65 or older, your thirst response is blunted, a dynamic that increases with age.

Fluid Replacement

These factors influence gastric emptying; that is, how long it takes for fluid to move from your gut to your blood stream:

  • Ride duration. Water can travel from your gut to your skin in as little as 9 to 18 minutes after drinking. You need to drink the water for cooling, so drink even on short rides.
  • Palatability. If you like it, you’ll drink it. And if you don’t like it, then none of the other factors matter. What tastes good may change during a multi-hour ride, or as the ambient temperature changes, so be prepared to change drinks, if necessary.
  • Carbohydrate concentration. Drinks that are more than 8% carbohydrate aren’t absorbed as quickly. Less concentrated fluids are absorbed at about the same rate as water.
  • Amount consumed. If you drink a lot at once, then your gut will empty faster; however, this may cause your gut to bloat. If your gut bloats, then take small, frequent sips.
  • Temperature. You are more likely to drink a cooler drink. Further, drinks that are cool rather than at body temperature or warmer are absorbed more quickly during exercise; however, the difference is slight.
  • Carbonation. All other things being equal, carbonation doesn’t affect gastric emptying; however, a carbonated beverage will make you feel fuller, so you may not drink as much.
  • Relative hydration. Progressive dehydration and higher core temperature increase the time it takes to absorb fluid, a good reason to stay relatively hydrated.
  • Mental stress. If you are anxious, this will slow how long it takes to absorb fluid.
  • Intensity of riding. High-intensity riding causes slightly slower gastric emptying than moderate riding.
  • Caffeine. Small amounts of caffeine (< 180 mg / day) don’t increase daily urine output or dehydration. Depending on how it’s brewed, an 8 oz. cup of coffee has 100 – 200 mg of caffeine, and an 8 oz. cup tea has 15 – 60 mg. A 12 oz. glass of cola has 30 – 50 mg.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic and will increase urine production and dehydration.

We’re each an experiment of one and fluid preferences vary by individual. Test drinks in hot conditions to find out what works for you.


  • Allen, Hunter and Stephen S. Cheung Ph.D. (2012). Cutting-Edge Cycling: Advanced training for advanced cyclists. Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL.
  • American College of Sports Medicine. (2007). Exercise and fluid replacement position stand. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 39, 377–390.
  • Benardot, Dan, PhD, RD. (2006). Advanced Sports Nutrition, 2nd ed. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL.
  • Clark, Nancy and Hegmann, J. (2012). The Cyclist’s Food Guide, 2nd ed. Sports Nutrition Publishers, West Newton, MA
  • Friel, Joe. (2009). The cyclist’s training bible (4th ed.). VeloPress, Boulder, CO.
  • Hew-Butler, Tamara, et al. (2008). Practical management of exercise-associated hyponatremia encephalopathy, Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine18(4).


The article originally appeared in Road Bike Rider


The photos are from the CRW library and depict riders at rest stops.


Coach John Hughes earned coaching certifications from USA Cycling and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. John’s cycling career includes course records in the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200-km randonnée and the Furnace Creek 508, a Race Across AMerica (RAAM) qualifier. He has ridden solo RAAM twice and is a 5-time finisher of the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris. He has written nearly 30 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach John Hughes. Click to read John’s full bio


Eating Fermented Foods Can Improve Colon Bacteria

By Dr. Gabe Mirkin






This article is courtesy of Dr. Mirkin



A study from Stanford shows that eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, fermented cottage cheese, kimchi, fermented vegetables, vegetable brine drinks, and kombucha increases the diversity of colon bacteria, which decreases inflammation associated with many different diseases (Cell, Jul 6, 2021;S0092-8674(21)00754-6). The more fermented foods you eat, the greater the gain in bacterial diversity. Low microbiome diversity is associated with increased risk for heart attacks, certain cancers, obesity and diabetes. 


Your immune system is supposed to be good for you, helping to attack and kill germs and prevent them from multiplying in your body. However, if your immune system stays active all the time, it can use the same chemicals and cells to attack you to cause disease. To a large degree, your immune system is controlled by the bacteria in your colon. Healthful bacteria stay in your colon and do not try to invade your colon cells, while the harmful types of bacteria try to get into your colon cells, turning on your immune system to cause inflammation and increase your risk for many diseases.


You have more than a thousand different types of bacteria in your colon. The foods that you eat determine whether you grow healthful or harmful bacteria in your colon because colon bacteria eat the same foods that you do. Some foods, such as mammal meat, processed meats, sugar added foods, and fried foods, are known to foster growth of harmful bacteria in your colon. These inflammation-producing foods decrease the diversity of colon bacteria by reducing healthful bacteria and increasing harmful bacteria. Anything that increases bacterial diversity decreases inflammation and promotes health, while anything that increases inflammation is associated with increased risk for disease.


The Study on Fermented Foods
Researchers at Stanford followed 36 healthy adults for a 10-week diet that included either fermented foods or high-fiber foods. The researchers analyzed blood and stool samples collected during a three-week pre-trial period, the 10 weeks of diet, and a four-week period after the diet when the participants ate their usual diets. The results showed that after just three weeks, the fermented foods reduced inflammation by decreasing:
• activation of four types of immune cells, and
• blood levels of 19 inflammatory proteins, including interleukin 6 (IL6) that is linked to rheumatoid arthritis, type II diabetes, and chronic stress.


Other studies also show that fermented foods decease inflammation by changing colon bacteria (Microbiome, Feb 11, 2020;8(1):15). The high-fiber diet did not decrease any of the 19 inflammatory proteins and did not change gut microbial diversity in this short study period, but would be expected to do so over a longer period of time (Science, Aug 11, 2017:357(6351):548-549).


My Recommendations
You already know that I recommend a high-fiber diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds, and I have frequently suggested that you include fermented foods such as yogurt or kefir. Many other studies have found that fermented foods and soluble fiber are associated with reduced risk for weight gain, diabetes, certain cancers, and heart attacks. Increasing your intake of fermented foods can quickly improve your colon bacteria to help reduce inflammation and disease.


WheelPeople Editors Note: The NY Times ran a related article on fermented foods.




September 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.

Brumotti riding Frankfurt
Italian rider Vittorio Brumotti gives us a tour of Frankfurt the way almost no one else could, or would choose to:) But at least he wears his helmet while riding on the edge of a sixty story building. 2 Mins.
Ride The Rockies
Ride the Rockies is an annual ride in Colorado through beautiful mountain terrain.  Each year the route is different. The June 2021 ride was  6 days, 418 miles, and over 28 thousand feet of vertical. It started and ended in Durango, and included  the Million Dollar Highway and gorgeous Red Mountain Pass near Silverton. The video is from  2013. Several CRW  members completed and enjoyed the ride this year. Riders included:  Steve Carlson, Steve Delaney, Robyn Betts, Marc Baskin, Jerry Skurla, Ron Cater, Everett Briggs, Robin Frain, Larry Kernan and Mary Kernan. 3 Mins  If you want to view more beautiful mountain terrain, you can also view the video from the 2021 ride.






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.



Little Jack's Corner Redux

Jack Donohue




I think I’m finally starting to grow up. Not grow old, I’ve been working on that for quite some time, but to follow the advice I got as a kid “act your age.” In my case that would involve not trying to hang with the twenty-somethings.


In the old days, I would always start out with the fast group and often finish with them. In the not so old days I would start out with the fast group, get dropped on the first hill, and end up riding alone. So I’ve taken to letting the fast group go, and maybe the second fast group, until one comes along that I have a prayer of staying with.


A recent incident showed I was indeed on my way to becoming a grown up. I was riding with a group of five. Two of the group got ahead and I found myself in the middle ahead of the other three. In the old days, I would immediately chase the two up front, because, well, that’s what you do. Like a dog, I would chase anyone who was ahead of me. But I made the mature decision to rejoin the other three, and we had a fine old time.


I finally realized that, hey, I’m older now, can’t do the things I used to do, but that’s OK. Instead of looking for a five hour century, I’m happy just to get home before dark. I’m still not a “smell the flowers” kind of guy, but I’ve come to realize that you don’t always need to ride as fast as possible. Especially when warp speed isn’t really that fast any more.


In the old days, I would always feel the imperative to be up at the front. Now taking a pull is a rare occurrence. I rationalize this by saying “Hey, I’m an old person, let the kids do the work.” I’ve traded brute force for jungle cunning and have mastered the art of wheel sucking.


I used to go out in all sorts of weather, since I couldn’t imagine a day off the bike. Now, I’m definitely a fair weather biker and actually look forward to a rainy day, when I can take a day off.


I’ve become less anal over the years. I don’t keep track of average speed, and if I get home with 98 miles for the day, I don’t feel the need to ride around the block for another two miles to get that century.


Another sign of maturity was when I bought my Cannondale. Like any racing bike it came with a double crankset, but there was an optional triple. I was taught to believe that real men would never ever consider a triple, but I reasoned that I wasn’t getting any younger, and maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea. It was an excellent idea, since though there aren’t many climbs that are “granny-worthy,” it’s really nice to have when you need it. I even expanded the range on the rear cluster, after barely making it over Hurricane Mountain Road in the triple. Now my goal is to see “how slow can you go.” I actually registered 0 on one of my cyclocomputers, but I think that was round off error.



This timeless article originally ran in October 2007 WheelPeople


Ride Report

WheelPeople Editors

The Wednesday Wheelers, for those not informed, is a group within CRW that rides every Wednesday, weather permitting. They have their own riding rules which include:(a) riders ride as a group with no one dropped, (b) the rider behind the leader will dismount and mark the turn until the sweep (last rider) passes (hence they are called human arrows), and (c) the group usually convenes for lunch at the end of the ride. The Wheelers may be the most social group within CRW as the same folks ride week after week and friendships develop.


The ride leader is required to write a "ride report" which is emailed to the Wheeler mailing list. One of the ride reports caught our attention. It was written by Jack Donohue, our esteemed webmaster, and records humorously his difficulties with navigation.You would think someone with expertise in software development would easily master GPS navigation, but Jack has a makeshift cell phone and it is not surprising that it fails on occasion, and created chaos,



Wednesday, 14 July 2021, Too Cool for School

Ride Leader:  Jack Donohue

31 miles, 10:00 am start from Bedford, MA

My first thought was to describe the ride as an unmitigated disaster.  Upon reflection, I would say it was more of a mitigated disaster.

Some background:  despite the fact I planned the route, I really didn't know exactly where it went.  The route did go on many familiar roads, but not in the usual order.  Those that know me well know that I have absolutely no sense of direction.  I spent a good portion of my life following arrows, but then GPS came along.  This was a godsend.  A phone app that would tell me where to go.  What could be better?  When it works, it is marvelous,  When it doesn't, well . . . . .
I have been having trouble with my phone navigation lately.  It loses the GPS signal mysteriously.  So, I've taken to using two phones for navigation - the main one and a backup.  What could go wrong?
Started the ride with the usual spiel about human arrows for the newcomers.  Asked for a sweep and there was dead silence, until Butch, my main man, once again stepped into the breach.  Beth kindly offered to be the dedicated human arrow, since she was a faster rider and could keep ahead of the group.  Great, this should make my life easier.
The first thing that became clear was that I was old and in the way.  The faster riders were chafing at the bit, and gradually started passing me, the nominal leader.  No worries.  If they were ahead of me, not my responsibility,
All was well until around mile 10 when my lady of the phone stopped talking.  Sure enough, the main phone was stuck forever in the same place.  I had the backup phone in my jersey pocket, and it was croaking out directions but they were very hard to hear.  Ideally I would have swapped the handlebar phone with the jersey phone, but being the leader I couldn't really stop and muck about with my phones mid-ride.  There were a few of the breakaway group still visible ahead, and as long as I could see them and if they knew where they were going, all would be well.
That worked for a while until I got a phone call.  Usually I ignore calls when riding, but it could have been Butch with an actual emergency, so I stopped.  It wasn't Butch, and I lost precious time and the lead group.
At this point I was in survival mode.  I didn't know how many were in front, how many behind, and whether all the turns had arrows.  My plan had been to have a mid-ride break with a group photo, but that didn't work with the fragmented group.
I'm not sure how, but it all worked out.  Despite the absence of leader, arrowers appeared where needed.  Butch was pleased to report that  each arrow stayed at his/her post and waited for him to appear - some of them remained for a very long time.
Thanks to Butch for sweeping, to Beth for being dedicated arrow, and to all the unsung arrows 

Report by Jack Donohue.


Rail Riders

Eli Post


We are a road bike club, and most of our rides are on public streets, and virtually all of our riders use road bikes. But that is not the complete story of the biking experience. There are other kinds of bike rides (like mountain riding) and some prefer other venues (bike paths, dirt roads).

There is however another biking experience, which most of you never heard of. One that works for a family vacation or if circumstances keep you off your road bike.

Rail Riders are recumbent style bikes which run on railroad tracks. You need to pedal but your entire ride is on a railroad track. There are several of these around the country, but we note two close to home.

Scenic Railriders in Concord, NH Scenic RailRiders offers two-seat and four seat options on a 6.4 mile track. They estimate the trip takes 1 hour and 45 minutes. There's a news story with an interesting video.


Rail Explorers is in southern Rhode Island The route offers views of Narragansett Bay.

Both organizations  said they try to time the tour when the trains aren’t coming through, and if so you need to keep a 20 mph pace to stay ahead of them. Which shouldn’t be too bad with two people pedaling. Just kidding!

We thank Alex Post for doing the research for this article. And here he is enjoying a bike rail ride with a friend in upstate NY. Enjoy a brief video.




The Athlete's Kitchen - Sports Supplements & Performance


The Athlete’s Kitchen

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD Sept. 2021

Sports Supplements & Performance

After having watched the Olympics, many athletes are wondering, "What supplements do those Olympians use???"  This article addresses that question and offers resources for more info.

 In their effort to enhance energy and optimize performance, many athletes purchase vitamins, herbs, amino acids, and other sports supplements that are reputed to offer a competitive advantage. While a few supplements (beta-alanine, creatine, caffeine, nitrates) might play a small role when added to a well-thought-out fueling plan, no amount of supplements will compensate for a lousy diet.


Fundamental to every high-performance athlete is an effective sports diet. All athletes should be taught from an early age how to optimize their performance using the food-first approach, so they know how to best fuel-up, fuel during, and refuel after challenging exercise sessions. Once an athlete has finished growing and maturing and has fine-tuned his or her fitness and performance skills, some sports supplements might be appropriately introduced with guidance from a knowledgeable professional.


That said, to the detriment of their wallets, many athletic people look for a glimmer of hope from the multi-billion-dollar supplement industry. Consulting with a registered dietitian (RD) who is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD) could easily be a better use of money.


Supplements are popular

 A survey of Division-1 college students (89 females, 49 males) at Arizona State Univ. indicated 77% consumed at least one “claimed to be” ergogenic aid (1). Another survey of US Army personnel reports 75% used some type of dietary supplement at least once a week. Protein/amino acids were the most popular, taken by 52% of subjects (2).


 Why are so many athletes willing to spend (or is that waste?) a great deal of money to buy sports supplements? The glimmer-of-hope reasons include: to improve physical appearance or physique, increase muscle mass, optimize general health, and help meet physical demands on their bodies. Unfortunately, most supplements don’t work. Before you spend your money, please educate yourself about each supplement you plan to buy.

Where to learn more

For information about (supposedly) performance-enhancing supplements, the US Dept. of Defense website Operation Supplement Safety ( offers abundant information for anyone who is curious to learn more.  The website includes:

• a list of at least 28 unsafe sports supplements to avoid.

• a list of questions to help determine if a supplement is safe. (Does the label have a “certified safe” seal from Informed Sport or NSF? Is the label free of the words blend, matrix, proprietary, or complex? Does it make questionable claims?)

• an A-Z index with info about specific supplements, with all you need to know about Adderall, apple cider vinegar, caffeine, creatine, energy drinks, ephedra, ketone supplements, nitric oxide, omega-3 fats, pre-workouts, pro-hormones, proprietary blends, plus many more.

• information on unusual reactions and adverse effects (nausea, headaches, shakiness, elevated heat rate, mood change, etc.) and how to report an adverse event to the FDA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


 Another helpful source of information is the Australian Institute for Sport’s ABCD Classification System ( The system ranks sports foods & supplements into 4 groups according to scientific evidence and practical considerations that determine whether a product is safe and if it effectively improves sports performance.

• Group A includes specialized products with strong evidence for benefits in specific events, including sports drinks, gels, iron, caffeine, beta-alanine, bicarbonate, beet root/nitrate, and creatine, among others.

• Group B deserves further research. It includes food compounds with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (i.e., tart cherry juice, curcumin), vitamin C, and collagen, to name just a few.

• Group C lacks scientific evidence to support use. These include (and are not limited to) magnesium, alpha lipoic acid, HMB, BCAAs, leucine, vitamin E–plus more.

Group D includes products with a high risk of leading to a positive doping test: ephedrine, DMAA, herbal stimulants, pro-hormones, hormone boosters (such as DHEA, androstenedione, Tribulus terrestris), and others.


What supplements do “work”?

Sports supplements that do “work” actually improve performance by just a small (but potentially valuable) amount (3), despite carefully crafted advertisements that can lead you to believe otherwise. Case in point, the popular branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs), specifically the BCAA leucine, which is known to activate the muscle-building process. Unfortunately, simply activating the process is not enough to promote muscle growth.


BCAA research indicates they do not provide any benefits above and beyond the amino acids athletes normally consume when eating protein-rich food at meals and snacks. To see any meaningful muscle-building effect, you actually need to have many other amino acids present (as happens when you eat real food, as opposed to an isolated amino acid), as well as enough calories—and of course, a good strength training program plus adequate sleep.


Varied responses

Even among supplements that “work,” the response varies greatly from person to person. Case in point, beta-alanine, a supplement used by athletes such as sprinters, rowers, and wrestlers to reduce muscular fatigue and improve endurance during high intensity exercise that lasts for 1 to 4 minutes. The varied responses can be related to not only genetics and biological factors, but also to the power of the mind, the placebo effect, adequate fuel, and enough sleep. Hence, when a supplement does “work” for some athletes, the response may be due not to the supplement—but rather to the athletes getting serious about taking better care of their bodies, eating wisely and getting enough sleep (4).

Enhancing sports performance may not need rocket science, after all?


 Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her best-selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook and her online workshop can help you eat a winning sports diet. Visit for more information.





1. Vento KA and FC Wardenaar. Third-party testing nutritional supplement knowledge, attitudes, and use among an NCAA I collegiate student-athlete population. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living. Sept 2020. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2020.00115

2. Bukhari A, A DiChiara, E Merrill, et al. Dietary supplement use in US Army personnel: A mixed-methods, survey and focus-group study examining decision making and factors associated with use.  J Acad Nutr Diet 2021; 121(6):1049-1063 

3. Maughan, R, L Burke, J Dvorak et al. IOC Consensus Statement: Dietary Supplements and the High-Performance Athlete. Int’l J Sports Nutr Exerc Metab 2018, 28:104-125

4. Esteves G, P Swinton, C Dale, et al. Individual participant date meta-analysis provides no evidence of intervention response variation in individuals supplementing with beat-alanine. In’tl J Sp Nutr Exerc Metab 2021; 31(4):305-313



Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (617-795-1875). Her best-selling Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook can help you learn to eat wisely and well. Not a book-reader? Enjoy her online workshop at









September Updates

WheelPeople Editors

Adventure Rides. Several Adventure Rides have been arranged. Adventure Rides Launched at CRW | Charles River Wheelers

  • October: Bike Maine Kittery Point to Ogunquit and beyond. Read and register for this beautiful trip with great appeal to all riders at
  • September: Our latest Adventure just opened registration!  Would you like to Bike the Back Roads and Bike Trails to Bristol?  Read more about this scenic and historic ride Here

Amazon Smile If you have an Amazon Prime account please look into making CRW your charity. Details here






September Picture of the Month

WheelPeople Editors


We share the road with automobiles, and must always be watchful, but danger is present elsewhere. Also the sign suggests another reason to wear a helmet.


Photo by Alex Post was taken on August 9, 2021 in upstate New York.




Safety Corner, Getting Up to Speed

John Allen


Most often, we think of quick braking and swerving as ways to evade trouble on a bicycle. But what about acceleration? I mean, after all, you don’t match the acceleration of motorized vehicles on a bicycle. But that is exactly why learning to accelerate briskly is all the more important – to get across a wide intersection before the light changes; to cross a street at a stop sign when the gap in cross traffic is short; to evade a chasing canine. Brisk acceleration is not just for racers.

Being able to speed up smartly depends on how you slow down. Always to be prepared to speed up while slowing down. Shift down, step by step, pedaling light, keeping your cadence steady. Then if the traffic light turns green before you reach it, you are ready. Today’s shift levers allow you to keep a hand on a brake lever, even both hands, while shifting.

As you speed up, shift up step by step to keep a steady cadence.  I frequently out-accelerate younger, stronger cyclists on lighter bicycles. I have numerous opportunities to demonstrate this in city riding.

It does help to have a bicycle with a wide enough gear range for most conditions using only the rear derailleur. That simplifies matters. The cassette can easily be changed if this is not so with your bicycle. Two-tooth jumps at the top of the range, expanding out to three and four at the bottom, are good for acceleration. “Corn-cob” cassettes may work for racers in time trials on level ground, but not for acceleration.

My son Jacob and I set out recently to demonstrate shifting technique with video. I chose my Bike Friday Haul-a-Day cargo bike for the video shoot. It offers a convenient place to mount a video camera behind the rear hub. At 36 pounds, the Haul-a Day is the lightest cargo bike in production, but it is my heaviest bicycle, except for the tandem. I call the Haul-a-Day “The Beast”. It wouldn’t do me any favors in a sprinting contest. Neither would my 75-year-old legs. Still, by savvy use of the gears, I manage a respectable sprint on this bicycle.

With a half hour of shooting and many hours of editing, Jacob and I came up with the 2 ½ minute video here. Enjoy.  


John S. Allen is CRW Safety Coordinator, a certified CyclingSavvy Instructor and League Cycling Instructor and author of Bicycling Street Smarts.