November 2021 WheelPeople


2021 Election Results

John O'Dowd

To: CRW Members

I am reporting the results of the CRW Board election, which was complete as of October 15, 2021. The final vote count is:

Name Votes
Ed Cheng 306
Emily Vigeant 282
Harriet Fell 233
Larry Kernan 226
Eli Post (incumbent) 216
Amy Juodawlkis 193
André Gutiérrez Marty 186
Doug Cornelius 163
Harold Hatch 86
Martin Hayes 73
Erik D'Entremont 47
Richard Levine 32

Congratulations to the top four candidates:Ed, Emily, Harriet, and Larry, the newly elected Board members for the term beginning on January 1, 2022.

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

Respectfully submitted,
John O'Dowd
CRW Board Secretary



Woman's Ride

Eli Post


The club ran a successful woman's ride on Sunday September 26, 2021  as part of its effort to provide ride opportunities for under-represented demographics in CRW.  Women-only rides are a way of encouraging women to get involved in group rides by offering them a comfortable setting. It is noted that 4 of the 7 guests joined the club by the following day. Leaders were Amy Juodawlkis, Lindy King, and Robyn Betts.


                                                   Click here for Larger Image
One of the riders, Megan Scully, summed up the ride with an inspiring statement: "The Apple Social ride was an empowering, inspiring and overall fun experience. Several new members expressed a feeling of ease starting to partake in group rides in a women’s only setting. I am excited to see the women’s program grow, therefore strengthening CRW as a whole.”
Another rider, Argo C. said " It was serendipitous that I found out about this inaugural ride for women with CRW.  I love to bike, but more so with other people. I’ve been looking for ways to connect with other bikers - to meet new people, for the joy of riding together, to get more experience and know-how, etc.  This Sunday morning group ride with ten other women through twenty beautiful backroad miles of Westford was the ultimate find!  The donuts and cider were admittedly cherries on top, but the best part for me was the feeling of being part of a team of sorts again.  Needless to say, I joined CRW that afternoon.  Thank you to the organizers, Amy and Robyn (and others!), for bringing this together.
Now let's hear from the ride leaders:
From Robyn:
What a tremendously fun ride with a great group of women!  We were lucky to have excellent weather, two lovely routes, and a delicious ending where we could fill up our brand new CRW water bottles with local cider and feast on cider donuts.
Amy orchestrated the whole event, and Lindy generously offered to lead the longer 40 mi, without which we'd have not had the attendance we did. We also had much needed help from two other members of the women's program committee:  Lyda Budrys, who helped on the 40-mile ride and scouted the 20-mile route with Amy; and Suzan Czajkowski, who helped with logistics at the orchard while riders were out on the road, which was super helpful. It was a great team effort!
On the 20 miler, almost everyone was on their very first CRW ride and came out for this one (I think 7 people said this was their first ride with the club).  How cool is that? Some had even been members for years, but had never joined a group ride before today. We stayed together the whole time and it was a nice social atmosphere. We had a follow-up zoom call that week to raffle off CRW socks, do a demo of our Slack environment to foster continued connection, and keep the momentum going. We hung out, talked about riding and everything under the sun, and generally had a blast!
We're hoping to have a large women's contingent come out for the 10/10 Lexington (Social) Revolutions ride for some more fun. Join us!"

From Lindy

I put together a longer ride option for women who wanted to ride a little faster and further than the 20 mile route Amy devised.  We had an earlier 8:30 AM chilly start so we could rendezvous with the 20 milers at Drew Farms for cider donuts, cold drinks and festivities. The hills helped to warm us up. We rode along really well and stopped to regroup periodically which allowed us several opportunities to socialize during the ride.  It was so much fun I don’t think anyone minded stopping at all!  Although the biggest hill on the route started at mile 38, there was not one woman who complained or wanted to bypass the climb up Granteville Rd. in Westford.


From Amy:

It was definitely a team effort! I also want to recognize Drew Farm for welcoming us so enthusiastically (it helps that the owner is also a cyclist)! The Women’s Program Committee looks forward to creating more rides and social events to meet and encourage new and seasoned women cyclists.



2021 Cranberry Harvest Century

Doug Cornelius


CRW was hoping to get back to normal with the Cranberry Harvest ride. It had been two years since the club had a century ride. The Century Committee put in many hours to make the 2021 edition special and welcome back members to one of the club’s biggest in-person events. Despite working with the town for months, Middleboro declined to grant us the permit because of the “inconvenience this recreational and self-serving event places on the citizens, taxpayers, and voters of Middleboro.


With less than two weeks until the ride date, we scrambled, put together new routes, and figured out new logistics. We crossed our fingers, hoping for good weather and colorful cranberry bogs.


Myles Standish park personnel were welcoming to the ride. They provided the staging and parking for the ride. The Mattapoisett Harbormaster was happy to have us use the town wharf with its spectacular water views.


Photos by Steve Carlson


We got great weather, but we got only a handful of cranberry bogs being harvested. If you looked closely you may have seen some of the trucks hauling the harvested cranberries to the Ocean Spray processing plant.


Photo by Doug Cornelius

Several hundred riders still came for the re-planned ride. We purposefully put one of the starting locations at a train station so riders wouldn’t need a car to get to the ride. From our counts, it looked like half the riders started in Kingston for the century ride and half started in Myles in Standish for the metric century.


Photo by Andre Wolff

There were plenty of cranberry bogs that were ready for harvesting. You may have noticed the ripe berries on the bushes and the flags marking the infrastructure. It looks like most riders noticed the cranberry bog being harvested just a few miles from the return to Myles Standish. We saw lots of this picture replicated by other riders.


Photo by Harold Hatch

Thanks to all the volunteers and riders who came out for the day.


We will have a lot of work to do for the 2022 edition of the ride with Middleboro out of the picture for future events. Please send us any feedback on the routes, rest stops, or anything else about the ride. century [at] ( )


2021 Cranberry Century Committee:Randall, Steve, Rami, André, Harold, Doug, Kara, Kevin



Logo Update

Jeff Dieffenbach


The CRW Logo Design Oversight Committee is pleased to announce that during the period from Friday October 29 through Monday November 8, membership will be able to vote on the logo that the Club will use going forward. Members will see four candidates including the current logo. During the voting period, members will use Rank Choice Voting to select one or more of the designs. Votes will then be tallied and the winning design will be presented to the Board for final approval.


In the next week, please be on the lookout for email and social media providing information on when and where to vote.



CRW Logo Design Oversight Committee

Judi Burten
Margaret Coughlin
Jeff Dieffenbach, Chair
Rami Haddad, Club President
Rob Keohane
Ankit Parikh
Nina Siegel
Jerry Skurla


Ask the Coach: How Can a 83-Year-Old Climb Long Hills?

This article was inspired by the WheelPeople Editor, who is trying to continue riding strong, and who deeply appreciates the wisdom of Coach Hughes.


By Coach John Hughes



Road Bike Rider Reader Eli asks, “I have a local route where I have an option at one point to take 1) a continuous long climb or 2) a series of short steeper hills with flat sections between. The hills in option 2) are steeper than the continuous climb in option 1). I find option 1) wears me out and I have to dismount. I don't know what to make of this. Currently option 1) is under construction.


Coach Hughes, I suspect pacing is the reason the sustained climb wears you out more than the multiple steep hills. There is a very slow pace at which you could do the sustained climb without stopping.  Try riding at an easy conversational pace. Of course you have to ride fast enough so you don’t fall over.


Eli follows up,Yesterday my son (who is an accomplished cyclist) and I rode the detour route around option 1), which unfortunately has a much longer climb than my customary route! Previously I couldn’t do that climb on the detour. After about 1/4 mile I had to get off the bike and I walked until the road flattened out. I attributed this to declining capacity due to age.


“But no! Yesterday I was triumphant and rode the entire stretch of that climb without dismounting.


“Here is my take on why I succeeded yesterday after several prior failures. First, riding with someone else, I was less willing to give up and tried harder despite the feeling of slowing and tipping over. Perhaps more important, I followed my son up the hill, and he went real slow, slower than I thought possible, and not within my ride experience. To be clear I don't try to scoot up the hill, but I pedal as hard as I can to deal with the grade. At Alex's suggestion I went slower then I thought possible without falling over. This conserved energy and did not wear me down to the breaking point.”


“So I learned a new riding strategy, but don't know if it will serve me if I try that route alone. In any case, it was a very good day.”


Coach Hughes Any day you can ride with your son is a good day! And mastering the climb made it a very good day!

Eli climbing Farm Street in Medway,MA.

You mastered the climb using mental skills and our mental skills don’t decline with age. You used a new riding strategy. You learned a mental skill of pacing. You changed your motivation. You were “less willing to give up and tried harder.” You performed better riding with your son rather than alone— psychologists call this the group effect. You changed your belief about how slowly you could ride — this belief is what defeated you previously.  After riding with your son, you know you can do the climb. This should increase your confidence — don’t be skeptical about whether you can do it again. Use your new mental skill of pacing.


I wrote my eBook Gaining a Mental Edge: Using Sports Psychology to Improve Your Cycling because most cyclists can get greater improvement from investing some time each week in practicing mental skills than they could investing the same amount of time in training! This is especially true after age 40. In the eBook I demonstrate how sports psychology can be another tool in your toolbox to help you improve your cycling, just like effective training, good equipment and healthy nutrition. Gaining a Mental Edge is set up as a workbook with a progressive set of skills to practice and master. Just you can practice specific cycling skills you can also practice and learn specific mental skills. Winter when you are riding less is an opportunity to gain a mental edge. The 17-page Gaining a Mental Edge: Using Sports Psychology to Improve Your Cycling is just $4.99.


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



CRW Winter 2021/2022 Ride Program is here!

André Wolff

While you were out enjoying the beautiful colors of the New England Fall, a group of CRW members came up with an exciting Winter Program to get you on the bike (indoor and outdoor) through the cooler and wintery months of the year.


We placed a call for ideas for the winter ride program, and did we get it! We’ve had such an enthusiastic feedback that the program had to be broken down into three distinct streams:

  • In Real Life (IRL) stream: Including both road and off-road riding activities for those brave enough to face lower temps (think about those bluebird days!). Sample activities? Here you go:
    • January 1st ride
    • First Snow Grave’/Fat Bike ride
    • Recurring winter rides (tireless ride leaders, check)
    • Snowflake century
    • Festive 500 challenge
  • Virtual stream: By now a good number of members are already familiar with Zwift. Martin Hayes came up with so many exciting ideas for virtual rides and workouts that will make you think of the couch only if for the post ride recovery. If Peloton is more appealing to you, we got you covered! Mary Kernan is our ambassador and will be working on group workouts and more. Here’s what you will find:
    • Weekly group rides
    • Weekly workouts
    • Monthly virtual Century (base miles, here we go!)
    • Virtual Everesting (not for the faint at heart)
    • Tour of the Watopia kingdom
  • Webinars: The end of the year is the perfect time to plan for your next riding year. What will your 2022 ride season challenge? How to be fit when the roads clear, days grow longer, and temperatures rise? Andre Wolff will be coordinating this stream. We will have exciting programs like:
    • Annual Training Plan preparation
    • Pedalling Technique workshop with Ed Sassler
    • Paincave Setup 101 (bring your questions about trainers and apps)
    • Bundling up for outdoor riding (the onion approach)


The program will kick-off on November 4th with a formal presentation of the program over a Zoom meeting. Although we have an extensive menu, we are always open to hear new ideas and ways to support CRW members to remain fit and thinking about their bikes through winter.


You want to be in shape when the riding season starts, and this doesn’t happen by chance. Participate in our winter ride program and you will achieve maximum benefit for the spring and summer months.



Bike Bang Up

Nina Siegel

Hello, and welcome to my stories of why it is imperative to sign up for every ride. Is it a pain given that you go on the same ride every week? Indeed. But if I had not clicked that form, I would not be covered by CRW’s third-party insurance and I’d be paying all the out-of-pocket medical costs for a recent spill. 


But I’m smiling for more reasons than that as I stand next to the flowers CRW sent as I begin to recover with a 10mm titanium plate and 9 screws in my left olecranon (elbow/ulna).


Nina is enjoying the flowers from her CRW friends, but wearing a cast on her arm.


This is the second time I’ve had an accident while leading a CRW ride. Both times I was covered by CRW insurance.


Both times were beautiful days for a ride. October 20, 2018: I was leading and on a flat section in Wayland—BANG! I have no idea what happened, but woke up in an ambulance at Newton-Wellesley Hospital with Barbara Jacobs, Bike Thursday Ride Coordinator with me. Barbara never left side and told the docs what happened and I am so grateful, because I was had no idea what occurred. It was never determined what caused my accident but the result was this: I fell over, hit my head, was unconscious for five minutes (riders clocked the time) and had a brain bleed in two places. CRW people stayed with me while I was on the ground and took care of my stuff; Barbara made sure my husband, Duane Roth, was contacted and stayed with me until he arrived. CRW insurance covered every penny of my out-of-pocket costs—just under $5,000. (Sadly, no insurance coverage replaced my two favorite bike jerseys, which were cut off.)


September 23, 2021: I’d been tapped to co-lead Bike Thursday with Amy Wilson and Brenda Barry. We were looking forward to a wonderful day as rain wasn’t in the cards until late afternoon; best buds were on the ride; picnic was all set with serious triple chocolate brownies and vegan/GF/DF lemon cookies I’d baked along with perfectly ripe peaches Amy brought.  In training for the Cranberry Harvest Century, I biked to the start with Judy Gertler and Phyllis Evan while Brenda brought all my goodies in her car. Oh yeah, we were ready for serious après-ride birthday party fun!


After the usual welcomes, route info, and safety speech at our typically fully subscribed ride, I led the first group out from North Bridge. We were riding a fabulous 13+ average speed for two thirds of the ride. Then the clouds started to spit, and soon the rain came down in earnest. We stopped under some trees, decided to shorten the ride and continued.  I swapped leader duty with Deb Caban, a Ride Leader, who knew the shortcut. As we remounted I reminded all about careful braking and leaving room between riders due to rain-slicked roads.


The rain was warm, so I didn’t mind it; I was determined to enjoy myself through the hopefully short rainfall but soon it was coming down in sheets and my glasses were full. 


Then it happened. I hit an invisible water-filled pothole because it matched the rain-slicked road! My bike came to a complete stop but I didn’t. I fell to my left, trying not to hit my head and face first on Westford Road or drop too far out into traffic (if there was any, though last I’d looked it was clear); I pulled my torso up and to the right (thank goodness for years of yoga) as I slammed the road with my left side first. Elbow and arm took the brunt, hip next, and then my head did hit and the wind knocked out of me. In 2 or 3 seconds John Caban, our sweep, also a Ride Leader, hit my rear wheel and I watched him fly over me. Could not believe it! John hit the road also but picked himself up with minimal scratches and checked on me in moments. Luckily I was conscious the entire time, knew something was wrong but not what.


A motorist called 911 while John called Deb, who was just ahead of us; she sent Jane Fallon, a new Ride Leader, nurse and also an absolutely perfect person in a crisis. She rode back and arrived in moments. Jane did triage while John contacted my husband. EMTs arrived and the hustle and bustle took over. During the time I was on the ground the second group came by, also taking the shortcut. By that time the rain had stopped. Jane came in the ambulance with me. Deb continued and took our group safely in, John stayed with the bikes and waited to be picked up.


The key points here are (1) while caring for the downed person, communicate with the group and (2) someone should go with your rider to the hospital.  If the injured person cannot ask just go with them. It will be done for you. Jane stayed with me until Duane arrived. An aside: I gave Jane my phone. In my first accident I had my phone and while I was out of it I emailed some blather to my family and upset the whole lot of them…do not do that!


The moral of the story: Accidents happen. You can’t always avoid them. Be extra cautious riding on wet roads and leave more space between riders than you think you need.  And sign up for all CRW rides so you are insured. 


And last, what happened to the third group? They had no rain and rode the whole route.


But equally important is our CRW Ride Leaders who took on more that day and made sure riders and bikes were where they needed to be and eventually most riders had a picnic and treats except for our vegan/GF/DF friends as the cookies were unlabeled. I won’t make that mistake again. I am very happy to ride with such a Club and call these folks friends.


See you on the roads in the spring but likely not in the rain.



Custom Cues for Safety

John Allen

OK, so CRW no longer requires arrowing of its weekend rides. Most ride participants have a RidewithGPS subscription – a free benefit of CRW membership – relieving ride leaders of a major burden. BUT – RidewithGPS makes its own demands on ride leaders. Especially because of riders like me.


I don’t carry my cell phone on a handlebar mount. Hey, I am your Safety Coordinator, after all, and I try to live up to that title. I prefer not to look at my phone when I could be looking at the road. I hide the phone in a bento box on the top tube, or place it in a rear jersey pocket, wrapped in a plastic bag to keep sweat out, upside down so the speakers face upward. RidewithGPS provides cues, and a “confirming-arrow” sound after each waypoint –  a different sound if I make a wrong turn, and a suggested way to return to the route. I can follow the route well enough from the phones’ audible cues, if they are precise and accurate.

The automated cues in RidewithGPS, however, are often not precise and accurate. Ride leaders need to review the cues and revise some of them.

As an example, here is a segment of the How ‘bout Them Apples ride as it passes through Monument Square in Concord. The ride passes from right to left on the map below.

Monument Square on the Apples ride

The cues read:

  • Turn slight left onto Lexington Road (Cue is off the map at the right, beyond point A.)
  • Turn left onto Monument Square, MA 62 (Point B on the map.)
  • Turn right onto Main Street, MA 62 (Point C on the map.)

The cue at point B is doubly confusing. RidewithGPS sets cures for turns, not landmarks. And so, the cue says “turn left onto Monument Square,” after most of Monument Square. Also, “turn left” usually indicates a turn of 90 degrees. The route makes a U turn around the end of the Square.  Only after a cyclist has successfully followed the cue at point B does the third cue give the ultimate direction that the route is to take. I took a wrong turn here.

A cyclist who wants to get to Main Street could instead turn left before Monument Square – and perhaps stop at the water fountain on the Square.

How would I have handled this? Either routing option is valid, but both work better with custom cues.

My cues to turn left before Monument Square would go like this:

  • At point A: “Merge to the center of the lane. Turn left just before the obelisk.”
  • Approaching the Square: “Turn left. Water fountain on the right.”

My cue to go around the Square would go like this:

  • At point A: “Continue straight. Water fountain ahead to your left.”
  • Approaching the Square: “Stay well away from the angle-parked cars.”
  • Approaching point B: “Go around the Square to the left, U turn. Enter the right-hand lane.”
  • Approaching point C: “Turn right onto Main Street. Ride in the middle of the right-hand lane to avoid dooring.”

These cues give accurate directions, and more: they suggest lane choice and lane position. Riders need to know these one turn ahead when turns occur quickly one after another. Riders may also benefit from safety advice.

Here’s another example, also in Concord, at mile 15.4 on the shorter East European Ride, which I have led for many years.

Turn on East European Ride

My cue, coming from Old Marlboro Road at the left, is:

  • “Turn left into thru lane on Old Road to Nine Acre Corner, second lane from the right.”

As in Monument Square, correct lane choice and lane position are a safety issue.  Unless you already know this intersection, you need the audible cue to make the right choice. No matter how far you zoom in on the map, the red line does not indicate lane choice.

Taking the right-hand lane is usual after turning: but here, the right-hand lane is a right-turn-only lane. As the satellite view below makes clear, the lane position which the red line shows is incorrect, grazing the left turn lane, and then after crossing Route 2, hewing to the centerline.

Custom cues are also needed in connection with points of interest in RidewithGPS, because points of interest do not generate audible cues. On a recent follow-the-leader ride, I helped another cyclist with a minor mechanical problem. The group ahead of us turned aside to view a historical spot along the route.RidewithGPS indicated it as a point of interest, but with no cue. Also, the group didn’t leave a “human arrow” out at the road to flag stragglers down. My companion and got several miles ahead while the others thought we were behind. Everyone spent more than 20 minutes waiting. A custom cue would avoid this problem.

Where riders have an option either to continue or to visit a point of interest, a custom cue may indicate both options, as in “continue straight, ot turn left to visit Happy Valley Farms.” RidewithGPS will indicate that the rider is off the route for a short distance, but then will recover. I also like to place cues at ride splits in case someone decides to go for the longer or shorter ride -- and at town lines so riders can call the right emergency responders, if needed.

You may insert a custom cue by editing an existing cue, or anywhere along a route, after dragging the ride position pointer to where you want the cue. Often, I find it useful to delete the automated cue and place the custom cue farther ahead of the turn. This is especially so when a lane change is needed.

I suggest that a ride leader lay out the route, then ride it, keeping notes about where custom cues are needed, and inserting them.or at least, survey the complicated intersections using Google Street View. It is work, – but on the other hand, unlike painted arrows, a RidewithGPS route can be used year after year, needing to be refreshed only where road conditions change. A ride leader may ask ride participants for feedback, so the cues improve from year to year. .

In connection with this article, also see Eli Post’s article in the January 2021 Wheelpeople, in which he shows how to create custom cues, and describes additional uses for them.



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



Should You Cool Down after Exercise?

By Dr. Gabe Mirkin








Should You Cool Down after Exercise?

Cooling down means that after vigorous exercise, you move far more slowly for several minutes before you stop exercising for that session. The only known benefit of "cooling down" is to keep you from feeling dizzy or passing out after very vigorous exercise. However, cooling down has not been shown to:
• reduce next-day muscle soreness (J Hum Kinet, Dec 2012;35:59-68),
• help you to recover faster so you can compete sooner or improve flexibility (J Hum Kinet, March 2012;31:121-9),
• improve fitness level,
• make you stronger (J Strength Cond Res, Nov 2012;26(11):3081-8), or
• prevent injuries.


Exercise-Associated Collapse
Most cases of exercise associated collapse are caused by stopping suddenly. After a long race, you should slow down gradually. Cooling down prevents feeling faint and passing out. Exercise-associated collapse is the most common reason that athletes are treated in the medical tent following an endurance event. It is caused by the loss of muscle pumping action caused by suddenly stopping exercising. On the other hand, when a person passes out during a race, it can be caused by a more serious condition that can kill a person, such as a heart attack, irregular heartbeats or heat stroke (Physician and Sportsmedicine, 2003;31(3):23-29).




Postural Hypotension
At the end of a marathon, a runner sprints over the finish line, falls down and lies unconscious for a short time. What’s the most likely cause? The possibilities include dehydration, hyponatremia (excessive fluid intake with too little salt in the blood), heat stroke (a sudden uncontrolled rise in body temperature), drunkenness, a heart attack or stroke. Usually it is none of these. Almost all athletes who collapse after finishing a marathon suffer from postural hypotension: lack of blood flow to the brain because blood drops from the brain to the legs. Treatment is to lie the person on his back, raise his feet high over his head and wait for him to revive. If he or she is not alert within seconds, you should consider the more serious causes of unconsciousness and get medical help immediately.


Professors at the University of Capetown in South Africa analyzed data on runners who collapsed during an ultra-marathon (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Sept 1994;26(9):1095-1101). Most cases occurred after the runner crossed the finish line. The few cases of collapse away from the finish line were caused by diseases such as asthma and heart damage. Most cases of collapse occur in runners near the cutoff time for an award. All of the runners who collapsed had an excessive drop in blood pressure when they went from lying to standing.


Mechanism of Passing Out
During vigorous exercise, your legs drive your heart, your heart does not drive your legs. First, your leg muscles contract and squeeze the blood vessels near them to pump blood toward your heart. Then the increased amount of blood returning to your heart stretches the heart and causes it to beat faster and with more force. Then your leg muscles relax and the veins near them fill with blood to start the next cycle. When you run fast, your leg muscles do a considerable amount of the work pumping blood through your body. If you stop suddenly, the blood pools in your legs and your heart has to pick up the slack. At the end of a long race, your heart may not be able to pump more blood, so not enough reaches your brain and you end up unconscious. Cooling down will prevent this.


Cooling Down Does Not Prevent Next-Day Muscle Soreness
Some people believe that cooling down gets rid of lactic acid so that you will recover faster for your next competition or training session, but this is not true. Lactic acid build-up lasts only for a few minutes even if you do not cool down. Muscle soreness after exercise is not caused by lactic acid; it is caused by small tears in the muscle fibers.


This article is courtesy of Dr. Mirkin
Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More

Article Dr. Gabe Mirkin on Health, Fitness and Nutrition. | Should You Cool Down after Exercise? (



The Athlete's Kitchen - Peanut Butter: A Love Story


The Athlete’s Kitchen

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD November 2021

 Peanut Butter: A Love Story 

“I love peanut butter but I don’t buy it. Otherwise I over-eat it.”
“Peanut butter is so fattening—but so yummy.”
“Is almond butter better healthier than peanut butter?”


Peanut butter is, without a doubt, one of the most popular sports foods around. Ask runners what they eat before a marathon, and the majority will say, “Bagel with peanut butter.” Ask cyclists what they eat during a century ride, and the answer is inevitably “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” Assuming you are not allergic to peanut butter (PB), you might love it, but you also might have a love-hate relationship with this popular food. You love it so much you can easily end up eating a lot of it. You hate it because you fear it will contribute to fat gain and health problems. Hence, the goal of this article to erase the hate so you can love eating PB guilt-free, without negative consequences.


Note: Peanuts grow underground and are technically a member of the legume family, along with beans and peas. They share a nutrition profile similar with tree nuts, so we can get lump them into the same conversation. Hence, the information in this article relates to not just peanut butter but to all nut butters.


Is peanut butter fattening?
PB is not inherently fattening. If anything, people who eat peanuts, nuts, and nut butters are slimmer than nut avoiders. This fact is based on data compiled from ~576,000 people followed for, on average, about 18 years (1). Higher nut and PB intake was associated with lower body weight, a smaller waist, and weight loss. PB eaters did not have a higher BMI or percent body fat. If anything, eating PB, nuts, and nut butters seemed to have a protective effect against weight gain.


How can such a high fat food be slimming?

PB is not inherently fattening. If anything, people who eat peanuts, nuts, and nut butters are slimmer than nut avoiders. This fact is based on data compiled from ~576,000 people followed for, on average, about 18 years (1). Higher nut and PB intake was associated with lower body weight, a smaller waist, and weight loss. PB eaters did not have a higher BMI or percent body fat. If anything, eating PB, nuts, and nut butters seemed to have a protective effect against weight gain.


Should I pour off the fat that rises to the top of the all-natural PB jar?

Pouring off the oil leaves you with a lower calorie product, but it is less-yummy and less health-protective. Of the 14 grams of fat in a tablespoon of peanut oil, 10.5 are from “good” health-enhancing fats. Peanut oil is a source of vitamin E, an anti-oxidant that knocks down inflammation. People who eat PB, nuts, and other health-promoting oils five or more times a week have a reduced risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Why suffer through dry, less tasty, less health-protective PB when PB is not “fattening”?  Storing the jar upside down can erase the oil-on-the-top issue



Is PB better for pre-exercise fuel or post-exercise recovery?

PB, being primarily protein and fat, is a slow-to-digest fuel as compared to grains, fruits and vegetables (carbohydrates). Protein and fat take far longer to digest, so they are a poor choice for quick energy before you exercise. That said, if you will be doing a long workout that lasts for more than 1 to 1.5 hours, having PB before you exercise will offer sustained energy. It also can help buffer an influx of sugary gels and sport drinks.

 After exercise, the fat and protein in the peanut butter will poorly refuel your muscles. The preferred recovery food offers three times more carbs than protein. Hence, a better choice is a PB & banana sandwich or pasta with a spicy Thai peanut butter sauce. That spoonful of PB straight from the jar will fill your tummy, but it will not rapidly refuel your muscles


What’s the preferred type of peanut butter: organic? unsalted?

• Most long-term health studies have followed typical Americans who eat PB that is processed (hydrogenated) to keep the oil from separating out. Hydrogenation can create a bad trans-fat, though the amount of trans-fat is small, less than 0.5 gram per serving. (Negligible amounts show up as 0 grams trans-fat on the Nutrition Facts label). The health benefits of any type of PB seem to outweigh any potential negatives, but in general, less processed foods (of any type) are preferable to highly processed versions.

• Organic PB is nutritionally similar to conventional PB, but has a higher price tag, jumping from about 20 cents to about 37 cents per serving (2 Tbsp). Pesticides in PB are negligible. “They are sprayed on the ground before planting and disintegrate quickly; they have a very short half-life,” reports a Teddie PB spokesperson.

• The amount of sodium (the part of salt attributed to high blood pressure) in Jif is 135 mg/serving, similar to the amount in a slice of bread. This is not very much sodium, given the recommended intake is 2,400 mg. sodium a day. (The “average American” consumes 3,400 mg/day). As a fit, healthy, lean athlete who likely has low blood pressure, do you need to limit your salt intake, given you lose salt in sweat? High blood pressure tends to be rooted heavily in family genetics, lack of fitness, and being overweight.


Is almond butter better than peanut butter? 

Almond butter is far less sustainable that PB and is far more expensive, but it is equally nourishing. The subtle nutritional differences are insignificant, in context of your entire day’s food intake. In terms of planetary health, almonds have a much higher water footprint compared to peanuts (80.4 gallons water per ounce of almonds vs 4.7 gallons for peanuts).


What about PB with flax?

Some peanut butters contain flax. Flax is among the richest sources of ALA, a plant-based omega-3 fat that is deemed anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy. A tablespoon of flax seeds offers about 2,350 mg ALA; a serving of peanut butter with flax might offer only 300 mg ALA. Given the recommended intake of ALA is about 2,000 mg/day, it seems like the addition of flax to peanut butter would have insignificant health benefits—though that depends on how much PB with flax you eat in a day!


How can I keep myself from eating too much peanut butter?

1) Prevent yourself from getting too hungry. Curbing your appetite can keep you from overeating too much of any yummy food.

2) Eat PB as often as you want. Trying to limit it contributes to binges on peanut butter-by-the-spoonful. Overeating PB typically happens before you put yourself in diet-jail, or when you flunk out of diet-jail. If you give yourself permission to enjoy PB every day, if not every meal, it will soon lose its power. Give it a try?


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 to win. For more information about her books and online workshop, visit



1. Nishi S., E Viguiliouk, S Blanco Mejia, et al.  Are fatty nuts a weighty concern? A systematic review and meta-analysis and dose-response meta-regression of prospective chohorts and randomized controlled trials. Obesity Reviews. Sept 8, 2021 Open access




November Film Festival

Alex Post


There's nothing better than getting out for a ride, but on a rest day a video can almost take us there. Enjoy our monthly virtual film fest.

Five Boro Bike Tour
First held in 1977, the five boro bike ride is an annual one day event cycling 40 miles through all five New York City boroughs. The streets along the route are closed to vehicle traffic, and it typically attracts around 30,000 riders. Held on the first Sunday in May, the next one is May 1, 2022.  3 Mins.
Bike Campers
Bike packing has increased in popularity in recent years, involving multi day rides carrying all camping and related gear on your bike. A less common option is a bike camper, towing a very tiny "house" behind your bike. Campers can range in weight from 70 to 150 lbs, and are often custom built so the cost can vary. At least one is around $4,000. Despite the inherent appeal of a bike home, it may we'll be questionable whether these offer sufficient advantages over a standard bike packing setup.  10 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.



November Updates

WheelPeople Editors
Exercise Bikes We are approaching the time of year when many hang up their bikes, and wait it out for warmer weather. But all is not lost, and indoor biking is available. We reference an article on the Peloton, which, according to Google, is one of our most read articles. Article here The Road Cyclist's Guide to the Peloton | Charles River Wheelers (

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






November Picture of the Month

WheelPeople Editors

We don't know where or when or under what circumstances this photo was taken, but it's clearly from another time. These riders are dressed for a wedding or other special event. Spandex and helmets were not in use then, although the top hats and bonnets lend a certain charm. Unfortunately we will not know what occasion brought these folks together, but we believe it's a bike club meeting. Finally we note that group riding has a long history.


The original photo resides at the Chemung Valley History Museum in Elmira NY