March 2022 WheelPeople

Articles
 

CRW Board Profile

Steve Carlson

 

Our illustrious and well-known, past president, past board member and current Wheel People Editor, Eli Post, has kicked off the series featuring Board Member Profiles, and I guess my number came up.    It’s a great idea to give insight into who we are and why we are here, despite the fact that it might be a bit of an underwhelming read…so I will get to the point.

 

Here we go…short and sweet:

 

  1.  First bike: gold Schwinn String Ray, no sissy bar, banana seat and nice rear slick (mid ‘60s)
  2.  Second bike: orange Schwinn Varsity 10-speed (mid-70’s)
  3.  Third bike: black Schwinn Criss Cross (early 90’s)
  4.  Fourth bike: black Trek Domane (2015, one of the first production disc brake road bikes)
  5.  Fifth bike: dove grey Specialized S-WORKS Roubaix (2020)
  6.  Sixth bike: silver-blue Specialized S-WORKS Diverge (2022, currently in a cargo container off the coast of California)

There, you have it…me defined in bike-speak.  What I have owned and what I currently pedal.

 

I really was not a big rider until 2015, after bike number four. It was at that time I was determined to ride across the state of Iowa in my first RAGBRAI. I had ridden at most 30 miles, about 35 years prior. I joined CRW to figure out how to ride in preparation of the event.  In my first CRW group ride, I will never forget, I was welcomed by the smiles of Francie Sparks and Richard Vignoni.  I have been a member of CRW ever since.

 

By-the-way, I made it across Iowa that summer, and 5 more summers thereafter.   Thanks in part to the enjoyment of that event, but also the continued enjoyment and inspiration I have gotten riding with the club.  Now, just a few years later, I have ridden across the states of Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire.   I have ridden in the Adirondacks, the Rockies (RTR..riding #5 this summer), throughout New England and various other states.

 

My venture onto the Board of CRW began shortly after I started to ride again.  Soon after my CRW rides began, I met Larry Kernan.  His interest was not so much in me, but to tap my knowledge of RAGBRAI (it was on his bucket list).  He heard I was going and that I was the local born & bred Iowa guy.  We became friendly from those discussions and he asked me to consider a run for a Board seat.   I was excited to win my uncontested battle in 2018.  Having a pleasant experience of giving back to the club which inspired me so much, I ran again in 2021.  I am now in my fifth year with the Board.

 

What does a Board member do?   I been on the Century Committee for many years, helping to bring back Climb to the Clouds after the retirement of Ken Hablow (~29 years) and the Cranberry Harvest Century.  I have served as EVP, chaired the Grants and By-Laws Committees, volunteered to head a committee to draft our E-Bike policy, sponsored a few fun club challenges (2021 Winter Challenge) and participated in the COVID Task Team, Election Reform and CRW Foundation Committee.  Basically, I did what I could to keep the club moving forward.  

 

One of my more memorable and fun contributions was last year.  Our then president, Rami Haddad, asked me if I would be interested in taking the lead role in developing the Adventures Program.   Knowing very little about Adventure Riding, I eagerly agreed (?).  With his help, and (now leader) Emily Vigeant’s help, we put together a very cool program with high participation. We offered over eight great overnight adventures led by our volunteers.  It was the kind of stuff you pay Back Roads or Trek Travel for…but it was led for free to our members!

 

Moving on with less interesting things about me from a biker’s perspective is I am an avid boater and fisherman (does any other biker actually fish?, doubtful).  I recently sold my 35’ cabin cruiser and my 1999 dc boat, but now have a wonderful, new Robalo boat that sees a lot of fishing action in Boston Harbor.   I am a hiker/backpacker and as a New England peak-bagger, I have completed my NE67, NH 48’s and NH 48’s in winter.   You can Google what all that means…but the last one was tough!     My favorite hobby is to do whatever my wife asks me to do.  She has hung with me for 41 years, so it is the least I can do.    We are blessed with two beautiful, accomplished and busy children, both girls and one fantastic son-in-law.  We love to travel with them and take the opportunity whenever we can. 

 

My closing comments would be to really get out and enjoy the club.  It has so much to offer and the offerings, thanks to your participation, are becoming wider and deeper than ever before.   The dedication by your Board is high.  Do we always get it right?  Nope, not even close.  But do we and will we always strive to bring biking enjoyment to you and support the biking community, absolutely!

 

I hope to see you on the road soon…but until spring, I will see you on one of our many club’s Zwift rides.  Have you tried those yet?…they are great!

 

 

Anti-Aging: Core Strength in 1 Hour a Week

 

 

By Coach John Hughes

 

No matter how long and how hard you train on your bike, as the decades pass your aerobic capacity and muscular power will inevitably decline. You can slow the rate of decline as explained in my 106 page eBook Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process.

 

 

 

Improving your strength – both generally and especially your core is one of the ways to slow – even reverse – your declining performance.

 

Why Core Strength is Important

Core strength is important on the bike for four reasons:

  1. Your legs are levers and your pelvis is the fulcrum on the bike. If you have a strong core, the pelvis is stable and you get maximum power out of your legs. If you don’t have a strong core, with each pedal stroke your pelvis moves a bit and you waste energy.
  2. Your lower back is held in neutral alignment by a strong core. If your back is rounded, you’re pulling on your back muscles and during a ride, especially climbing, your back muscles will get tired and start to hurt.
  3. Your upper body is straight, not bent forward. Looking down the road your neck is minimally flexed preventing neck fatigue.
  4. Your hands rest lightly on the handlebar when your upper body is supported by a strong core. This prevents sore / numb hands.

Off the bike, a strong core holds your torso in neutral, i.e., with your spine in normal alignment. Without a strong core, your lower back will bow slightly, straining your lower back muscles and resulting in low back pain.

 

Testing Your Core Strength

Here are three tests of your core strength:

  1. Are your hands resting lightly on the bars like you’re typing so your upper body is supported by your core, not your arms and hands? Ride with your hands on the brake hoods, if you take your hands off the hoods will your core support your upper body at the same angle?
  2. When you are riding are your torso and pelvis moving around?
  3. Is your core strong enough that you ride with a flat back like this:

Or is your core weak so you ride with a rounded back?

Riding with a flat back is the key to prevent lower back muscle fatigue and pain when climbing. When riding with a flat back you also flex your neck less to look down the road, which prevents fatigue.

 

Core Muscles

The surface muscles you use for crunches run up and down your abdomen; similarly, the surface muscles you use for arching and bending your back run up and down your back. Below these surface muscles are the core muscles, which run around your body. Because the deeper muscles form a girdle around your core, they are more effective at holding your pelvis, back and neck in alignment than crunches.

 

Core exercises are designed to teach you to activate the core muscles: your transverse abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles. You can’t feel the core muscles working — their action is subtle. Here are ways to visualize engaging them:

 

  • Imagine a clock is resting on your belly with the 12 toward your chin. Imagine that you are pulling the three and the nine down toward the floor.
  • Imagine that you are pulling your belly button down to your anus.
  • Imagine that you are tightening the muscles around your bladder and sphincter.
  • Imagine that you are trying to make yourself thinner to slip sideways among people in a crowded room.
  • Imagine that you are pulling on a tight pair of jeans.

My Experiences

Over the last 50 years I’ve had three accidents requiring surgery.  I was hit by a truck on my bike, I slipped riding on an icy road and I fell off a ladder. I also had elective foot surgery.  I wrote a column about Preparing for Time Off the Bike before the elective surgery.

 

All four times I was in bed for weeks and lost a lot of fitness. Each time I had an excellent physical therapist (PT) who worked with me to regain strength, particularly core strength. I’ve also taken multiple clients to PTs at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine.  None of these PTs recommended crunches or back extensions to strength the surface muscles. The PTs prescribed exercises to strengthen deeper core muscles described above.

 

Core Exercise Program

Here are three groups of exercises. In each group just do one exercise. Three repetitions of an exercise will take you about five minutes, which is 15 minutes a session. Four sessions a week are all you need to do to improve your core.

 

Progression:

Progressively increasing the number of reps or duration of the exercise is the key to improving your core strength. Here’s how to progress through each group:

  • Group #1 Bridging build up to three sets of 20 reps of an exercise with good form before moving on to the next exercise in the group.
  • Group #2 Bird Dog build up to three sets of 20 reps of an exercise with good form before moving on to the next exercise in the group.
  • Group #3 Planks try to increase the duration of all three reps by several seconds a week.
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Group 1. Bridging

For each of the bridging exercises you can stretch your arms out to your sides for balance or keep your arms along your sides with you hands in your lap.

Bridging: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor near your butt. Tighten your core muscles and then tighten your glutes (butt muscles) to raise your butt about 8 to 12 inches off the floor and lower your butt to the floor. Three sets of 10 repetitions building to 20 repetitions.

  • IF you can do three sets of 20 reps of Bridging with good form, then progress to Single Leg Bridging on the floor.

 

Single Leg Bridging: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor near your butt. Tighten your core muscles and lift your right leg off the floor; we’ll work the left glute first. Tighten your left glute (butt muscle) to raise your butt about 8 to 12 inches off the floor and lower. One rep is to lift one foot, use the other leg to raise butt, lower your butt to the floor and lower your other foot to the floor. (You can make this harder by not lowering your foot in between each rep.) Alternate sets of left and right legs. Three sets of 10 repetitions building to 20 repetitions.

  • IF you can do three sets of 20 reps of Single Leg Bridging with good form, then progress to Ball Bridging.

Ball exercises

You’ll need a “Burst-Resistant” exercise ball, also called a balance or stability ball. You can order one from Amazon. Do not get a department store play ball – these aren’t strong enough.

Exercise Ball Sizes

Height Ball Diameter
Less than 5 ft. (1.5 m) 45 cm
5 ft. to 5 ft. 6 in. (1.5 – 1.7 m) 55 cm
5 ft. 6 in to 6 ft. 2 in. (1.7 – 1.9 m) 65 cm
Over 6 ft. 2 in. (1.9 m) 75 cm

 

Ball Bridging: Lie on your back on the floor with your heels resting on the exercise ball. Tighten your core muscles and then tighten your glutes (butt muscles) to raise your butt until your torso is in a straight line and lower your butt to the floor. Three sets of 10 repetitions building to 20 repetitions.

  • IF you can do three sets of 20 reps of Ball Bridging with good form, then progress to Ball Hamstring Curl.

 

Ball Hamstring Curl: Lie on your back on the floor with your heels resting on the exercise ball. Tighten your core muscles and then tighten your glutes (butt muscles) to raise your butt until your torso is in a straight line. Hold and use your hamstrings to draw the ball toward your butt and return. Keep your butt in the air between each repetition. Three sets of 10 repetitions building to 20 repetitions.

  • IF you can do three sets of 20 reps of Ball Hamstring Curl with good form, then progress to Single Leg Ball Bridging

 

 

Ball Single Leg Bridging: Lie on your back on the floor with your heels resting on the exercise ball. Tighten your core muscles and lift your right leg off the floor; we’ll work the left glute first. Tighten your left glute (butt muscle) to raise your butt until your torso is straight and lower your butt back to the floor. Keep one foot in the air for the full set of reps. Alternate sets of left and right legs. Three sets of 10 repetitions building to 20 repetitions.

  • IF you can do three sets of 20 reps of Single Leg Ball Bridging with good form, then progress to Single Leg Hamstring Curl.

 

Ball Single Leg Hamstring Curl: Lie on your back on the floor with your heels resting on the exercise ball. Tighten your core muscles and then tighten your glutes (butt muscles) to raise your butt until your torso is in a straight line. Lift one foot off the ball and use your hamstrings in the other leg to draw the ball toward your butt and return. Keep your butt in the air for all of the reps in a set. Three sets of 10 repetitions building to 20 repetitions.

  • Maintenance: When you can do three sets of 20 reps with good form then continue doing three sets of 20 reps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group #2 Bird dogs

The bird dogs are simple – all you need to do is lift your opposite leg and arm. The objective is to raise your opposite leg and arm and lower without moving your torso. As a friend to place a hand on your back to see if it’s immovable.

Bird dog #1:  Start with your hands and knees on the floor.  Tighten your core so that your pelvis is in neutral and doesn’t move. Raise your left leg until almost parallel with the floor. Lift your right hand off the floor, touch your chest, put your hand back on the floor and lower your leg. Repeat with the other leg and arm.  That’s one rep. Your back should not move— just like a table. Three sets of 10 reps building to 20 reps.

  • IF you can do three sets of 20 reps of Bird dog #1 with good form, then progress to Bird dog #2.

Bird dog #2:  Start with your hands and knees on the floor.  Tighten your core so that your pelvis is in neutral and doesn’t move. Raise your right arm and left leg until almost parallel with the floor, hold 3-5 seconds and lower.  Your back should not move— just like a table. Repeat with left arm and right leg.  Three sets of 10 reps building to 20 reps.

  • Maintenance: When you can do three sets of 20 reps with good form then continue doing three sets of 20 reps.

Group #3 Planks

Rotate through these for variety. The first day you practice the plank, do the front plank, the second day do both side planks, the third day the back plank, the fourth day the front plank, etc.

Group #3 Planks

Rotate through these for variety. The first day you practice the plank, do the front plank, the second day do both side planks, the third day the back plank, the fourth day the front plank, etc.

Day #1 Front Plank:  Lie prone on your front on the floor with your toes bent and resting on the floor.  Your elbows are bent resting on the floor under your shoulders with your forearms extended along the floor in front of you.  Tighten your core muscles to raise all of your body off the floor except for your toes, elbows, arms and hands.  Use your core muscles, not your surface abdominal muscles.  Your body should be in a straight line. Three repetitions. Try to increase the duration of all three reps by 5 seconds each week or two. Rest 30 – 60 seconds between reps.

Day #2 Side plank:  Lie on your right side on the floor with your right foot and elbow resting on the floor. Your left leg is on top of your right leg and your left foot is on top of your right foot. Tighten your core muscles to raise all of your body off the floor except for your left foot, ankle and elbows.  Your body should be in a straight line. Hold—use your core muscles, not your surface abdominal muscles.  Do all three repetitions on right side, then three repetitions on left side. Try to increase the duration of all three reps by several seconds each week or two. Rest 30 – 60 seconds between reps.

Day #3 Back Plank:  Lie prone on your back on the floor with your heels resting on the floor.  Your elbows are bent resting on the floor by your shoulders with your forearms extended along your sides on the floor.  Tighten your core muscles to raise all of your body off the floor except for your heels, elbows, forearms and hands.  Your body should be in a straight line. Use your core muscles, not your surface abdominal muscles.  Three repetitions. Try to increase the duration of all three reps by several seconds each week or two. Rest 30 – 60 seconds between reps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 40 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach John Hughes. Click to read John’s full bio.  This article appeared in Road Bike Rider Anti-Aging: Core Strength in 1 Hour a Week - Road Bike Rider Cycling Site

My eBook Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process includes chapters on how to meet the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations on aerobic, high intensity aerobic, strength training, weight-bearing exercises, balance and flexibility. I include sample weeks and months for different types and amounts of exercise. I give you plans to build up to 100 km and 100 mile rides. I include a plan to increase over two years your annual riding from around 4,000 miles (6,500 km) to over 5,000 miles (8,000 km) a year. You can easily modify the plans for different annual amounts of riding. I discuss the importance of recovery and how to gauge if you are getting enough recovery. I combine the different kinds of training into programs that balance training and recovery. The 106-page is available here Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process 

 

 

 

 

The Athlete's Kitchen - Yes, Even Athletes Get Heart Disease

 

The Athlete’s Kitchen

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSS March 2022

As he indulged in a jumbo sugar-covered fried pastry, the athlete unabashedly remarked, “I’m skinny; I can eat this.” Well, the truth is even skinny athletes die suddenly of heart attacks and strokes. Heart disease is the number-one killer, ahead of cancer, and accounts for one in four deaths. No one can out-exercise a bad diet. 

 

While we’ve all heard let food be thy medicine, the latest dietary advice from the American Heart Association (AHA) focussed less on individual foods (such as eggs, meat) and nutrients (fat, sodium) and more on lifestyle and dietary patterns. Given cardiovascular disease (CVD) starts in the womb, adopting heart-healthy eating patterns early and maintaining them throughout one’s life is important. Thankfully, the same food plan that invests in heart health invests in sports performance—as well as reduced risk of type II diabetes, mental decline, and environmental issues.

 

 Below are the 2021 AHA dietary guidelines. Because these guidelines are targeted to the “general public,” athletes can appropriately make a few tweaks to support optimal sports performance.

 

1. Adjust energy intake and expenditure to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight

Most athletes do a good job with weight control. Just remember, large portions of even “heart healthy” foods can contribute to weight gain.

 

2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; choose a wide variety

Fruits and veggies (F&V)—in particular, those with deep colors (such as peaches, berries, spinach, carrots)— offer natural vitamins as well as phytochemicals that improve heart-health. Many F&V are rich in potassium, which has been associated with lower blood pressure. Some F&V (such as arugula, Romaine lettuce, beets, rhubarb) are nitrate-rich and improve blood flow and aerobic performance.

 

If you have trouble including plenty of fresh F&V in your daily meals, make food prep easier by using frozen F&V. They offer more nutrients than the wilted produce that has been sitting in your refrigerator for several days. Frozen produce is ready to use, reduces food waste, and costs less than fresh. Stock up! 

 

3. Choose foods made mostly with whole grains rather than refined grains

The fiber in whole grains helps feed gut microbes that enhance the immune system and over-all health. While most of your breads, cereals, and pastas should be whole grain, eating refined grains at one meal a day will not undermine your health. That is, if you eat oatmeal for breakfast, whole wheat bread at lunch, and popcorn for a snack, eating white pasta for dinner fits within the guidelines that more than half your grains should be whole grains.

 

4. Choose healthy sources of protein: mostly protein from plants (legumes and nuts); fish and seafood; low-fat or fat-free dairy products instead of full-fat. If meat or poultry are desired, choose lean cuts, avoid processed forms

Plant protein is excellent for heart health: lentils, hummus, edamame, tofu, all beans and nuts. The more nuts and nut butters, the lower the risk of CVD and stroke!

 

     The benefits of low-fat and fat-free vs full-fat dairy is controversial and continues to be debated. To date, the AHA reports full-fat yogurt and kefir are positive additions to your diet. Note: nut milk is actually nut juice—low in protein, lacking in nutrients. The better plant-based alternatives to dairy are soy milk or pea milk.

 

     Processed meats (ham, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, salami) have a stronger link to CVD than lean red meats. The potential adverse effects of red meat on heart health have been attributed to a combination of factors, including saturated fat, heme iron, the gut microbiota, and metabolism of l-carnitine and phosphatidylcholine.

 

     The AHA has historically limited eggs because of their high cholesterol content; currently there is no specific limit on dietary cholesterol. The question arises: Are eggs a contributor to CVD? Or is the bacon or sausage that accompanies the eggs the culprit? The intake of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat tend to increase in parallel (i.e., eating eggs with bacon and sausage). Dietary cholesterol itself is currently less of a nutrient of concern.

 

5. Use liquid plant oils rather than tropical oils (coconut, palm, and palm kernel), animal fats (butter and lard), and partially hydrogenated fats 

Replacing hard-at-room-temperature saturated fats (butter, coconut oil) with soft-or-liquid polyunsaturated fat (corn oil, walnuts) and monounsaturated fat (olive, canola oil, peanut butter) has robust scientific evidence of protecting against heart disease by lowering bad LDL cholesterol. This reduces the risk of developing heart disease. In comparison, coconut oil has a high saturated fat content; it raises LDL cholesterol, with little evidence of positive health benefits.

 

6. Choose minimally processed foods instead of ultra-processed foods

Ultra-processed foods (ramen noodles, cheese curls, commercially baked cookies) are easy to over-consume! Choose more minimally processed, if not unprocessed foods, such as homemade granola bars and trail mix made with nuts & dried fruit.

 

7. Minimize intake of beverages and foods with added sugars

Sugar comes in many forms: glucose, dextrose, sucrose, corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, honey, and maple syrup. The same athletes who scrutinize food labels for added sugar often consume lots of sport drinks, gels, and chomps. Simple-to-digest sugar is actually what your body needs during extended exercise, when the theme is survival and not good nutrition. Sugar becomes a problem when athletes skip wholesome meals, get too hungry, start to crave sugary foods, and then eat the whole plate of cookies. Preventing hunger is the key to preventing cravings for sugary foods. Eating a hearty protein-rich breakfast can set the stage for reduced sugar cravings towards the end of the day.

 

8. Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt

In general, reduced salt intake is linked with reduced blood pressure. That said, most athletes have low blood pressure. They also lose salt (more correctly, sodium) in sweat. Athletes who sweat heavily can appropriately replace sodium losses by eating salty foods. The leading sources of dietary sodium are processed, restaurant, and packaged foods. If your sports diet is mostly unprocessed foods, it can be low in sodium. If you find yourself craving salt, eat salt!

 

9. If you do not drink alcohol, do not start; if you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake  The link between alcohol intake and heart disease is complex, depending on how and how much you drink. Athletes are known to drink more alcohol than non-athletes. Alcohol has negative effects not only on heart-health, but also athletic performance and is linked to injuries, violence, digestive diseases, poor pregnancy outcomes, and cancer.

 

10. Adhere to this guidance regardless of where food is prepared or consumed

Because so many athletes buy takeout foods, healthy eating patterns need to apply to both meals prepared in and outside of home. Occasional treats are fine; just be sure they are not the norm.

 

By following the above guidelines, you will be taking steps towards a lifetime of better health, which means better quality of life and happiness. Be wise, choose your foods wisely, and enjoy your active lifestyle.

 

Reference: Dietary guidance to improve cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Assoc. Circulation, 2021; 144 

 

 

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 NancyClarkRD.com.

  

 

 

 

 

March 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.

 

Cycling Through Traffic
No one likes being stuck in traffic, and Italian rider Brumotti shows us how to beat the gridlock in style. 2 Mins.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Descending Tips
We often focus on the climb, but there are several tips to keep in mind while descending our well earned hills. 5 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 the club

 

 

How We Learned That Lactic Acid Is Good For You

 
By Dr. Gabe Mirkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 1920s, experiments suggested that the accumulation of lactic acid in the bloodstream interfered with a person’s ability to exercise by causing muscles to stop contracting. However, Carl and Gerty Cori won the 1947 Nobel Prize for discovering the “Cori Cycle,” in which lactic acid produced by reduced oxygen levels from intense exercise may be good for exercisers when it travels from muscles to the liver, where lactic acid is converted to the sugar, glucose, to be used by muscles to supply extra energy.  In the 1980s George Brooks, a professor at Cal Berkeley, showed that intense exercise training causes mitochondria in muscles to grow larger and take up increased amounts of lactic acid to provide exercisers with increased sources of energy so they can exercise longer and harder.

 

Why World Records Keep Improving
On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile. In the 66 years since that world record was set, more than 1600 men have run sub-four-minute miles. The current world record is 3:43.13. The incredible improvement in world records in endurance events in all sports is mostly due to changes in training techniques, with workouts that are now so intense that they cause a lot of muscle fiber damage and the athletes have to spend more days doing slower recovery workouts. For example, 50 years ago, endurance runners would run fast interval workouts twice a week and also race or run long distances fast. That meant that they usually ran intervals on Tuesday and Thursday and a long run or race on weekends. They would allow only one day to recover from an interval workout. Today the interval workouts are so brutal that the athletes usually allow at least two days for slow recovery workouts after each intense day, so they are doing more intense workouts less often.

 

In intervals, you run a short distance very fast, slow down until you recover your breath, and then repeat alternating the very fast runs followed by much slower recovery runs until your muscles feel stiff and sore. For example, a top runner may run a quarter mile in 60 seconds, followed by a slow jog for an eighth of a mile and repeat it 12 or more times. That means that they are training at 4-minute-mile race pace.

 

Lack of Oxygen Limits How Fast You Can Go
The limiting factor to how fast you can move over distance is the time it takes for oxygen to go from your red blood cells into your muscles. When you run fast, your muscles use large amounts of oxygen to burn carbohydrates, fat and protein for energy. You get most of the power to move your muscles from each of several successive chemical reactions, called the Krebs cycle. If you can get enough oxygen to meet your needs, food you have eaten is converted all the way to carbon dioxide and water that you blow off from your lungs when you breathe out. However, if you run so fast that your lungs cannot supply all the oxygen that you need, the series of chemical reactions slows down, you start to accumulate large amounts of lactic acid in your muscles, and the lactic acid spills over into your bloodstream. The lactic acid and carbon dioxide make your blood acidic and the acid burns your muscles to make them feel hot and painful. (Your non-exercising muscles do not burn because they are not accumulating large amounts of lactic acid inside their cells). You then try desperately to breathe hard enough to get rid of the acidity in your blood by taking in enough oxygen to get rid of the excess lactic acid and blow off the excess carbon dioxide that is accumulating in your blood.

 

Competitive Athletes Must Run Up Severe Oxygen Debts in Training
Running fast enough to cause severe oxygen debts in training helps you to:
• tolerate higher blood levels of lactic acid,
• strengthen your heart and lungs so you can bring in more oxygen to your muscles, and
• help your muscles to convert lactic acid to be used as energy to fuel your muscles.
The marked accumulation of lactic acid in your muscles during training causes muscles to use more lactic acid as their primary source of energy in races. Lactic acid requires less oxygen than almost anything else to power your muscles, so by doing this, your muscles require less oxygen and you catch up on your oxygen debt. This neutralizes the acidity in your blood, so your muscles stop burning and hurting and you can pick up the pace.

 

Getting Your Second Wind
The muscle burning and shortness of breath caused by the accumulation of lactic acid forces you to slow down. We used to think that “second wind” meant that you slowed down to allow yourself time to recover from your oxygen debt, but research from Cal Berkeley gave another explanation.  Soon after you slow down briefly, you feel better and can pick up the pace because the same lactic acid that caused the burning in your muscles and shortness of breath can be used as an efficient source of energy for your muscles. Since lactic acid requires less oxygen to power your muscles than most other sources of energy, you catch up on your oxygen debt, the concentration of lactic acid in your muscles drops and the muscle burning and gasping for breath lessens, so you feel better and can pick up the pace. Of course, when you keep on pushing the pace, you can again accumulate large amounts of lactic acid in your muscles, which will make them burn and hurt again.

 

My Recommendations
This knowledge about intense interval training increasing your ability to tolerate and use lactic acid for improved performance applies to all sports requiring speed over distance — swimming, cycling, cross-country skiing and so forth. Since you can move faster in races by increasing the rate of forming and removing lactic acid, you should train intensely enough to accumulate large amounts of lactic acid in your body. Exercising with high blood levels of lactic acid stimulates your body to enlarge your mitochondria, to make more enzymes that turn lactic acid into a source of energy and strengthens your heart to be able to pump more oxygen to your exercising muscles. That is why virtually all athletes in sports that require speed over distance use some form of high intensity interval training. See Lactic Acid is Good for You: Why Everyone with a Healthy Heart Should Do Interval Exercise

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
This article is courtesy of Dr. Mirkin https://www.drmirkin.com/
 
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 How We Learned That Lactic Acid Is Good For You | Dr. Gabe Mirkin on Health (drmirkin.com)

 

 

Forget to Ride?

Eli Post

It’s been long cold winter with an historic blizzard to top it off, and many of you are wondering if you might forget how to ride a bike. You are reminded we have more than a month to go until spring. Will we ever get back on our bikes and when we do, will we remember how to ride?

As we know riding a bike isn’t a simple task . You must maintain your balance while simultaneously managing various motor skills. Our memories let us down in so many ways like forgetting the name of a place or person, it’s reasonable to wonder if riding a bike is subject to the same fate.

Fear not! There’s a reason we say “it’s like riding a bike” when encouraging someone to return to a long-neglected activity.

It is nearly impossible to forget how to ride a bike because it is a type of knowledge that's easy for your brain to store. According to neuroscientists there is a key nerve cell in the brain's cerebellum that controls the creation of motor skill memories, such as riding a bike or using food utensils.

I got my first road bike when I was 14. My father who immigrated from Russia as a young man had not been on a bike in almost four decades. He hopped right on my bike and rode down the street with confidence as if his last ride had been the day before.

So, take heart. It will be warming up later in March, the club calendar will fill with ride opportunities, and you’ll be ready as ever to get out and ride. Norman the Wonder Dog should inspire you.

 

Edited by Tim Wilson.

 

March Looking Back

WheelPeople Editors

 

 

 

There was a time when "helmets required" was controversial. Ten years back to be precise. In March of 2012 after much study, and a member survey, the CRW board approved a policy that mandated helmet use on all CRW rides. Folks are sometimes uncomfortable with restrictions on their lives, but time works wonders and acceptance often follows. We now take helmet use for granted. The full story is in March 2012 WheelPeople. wpp.crw.org/wpp/WPP201203.pdf

 

 

80.2% of the 798 members who responded favored a new policy requiring helmet usage on CRW rides. 18.5% favored a policy strongly encouraging helmet use (but not mandating it), and the remaining 1.3% favored alternative policies. This was an overwhelming vote for a helmet requirement. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March Picture of the Month

WheelPeople Editors

 

If you do a Web search for escaping a bear, you will find many helpful hints like "never run away" or "move away slowly and sideways", a move which is non-threatening to bears. No place is there a suggestion that you hug the bear. These riders did just that, and we are told none were eaten alive, and they even continued their ride.

 

Photo supplied by Rudge McKenney. From Left to Right:  Rudge McKenney, Marc Cohen, Smokey The Bear, Harry Manasewich, and a fellow rider who jumped into the picture! Photo taken August 10, 2019 on the Killer Hill Ride.

 

 

 

March Updates

WheelPeople Editors
 
HANSON WINTER SUNDAY RIDE - Runs every Sunday throughout the winter months and is another opportunity to ride off-season.
 
Town Ride collections - There should be days in March warm enough to ride and the Town collections are available for you www.crw.org/route-collection-panel-page
 
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
 
Exercise Bikes Why wait it out for warmer weather. 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 (crw.org)
 
Winter Riding Challenge The Challenge is on until March 15. Details are here CRW Winter Challenge 2022 | Charles River Wheelers
 
Curing Heart Disease  Peter Megdal is a long-time CRW member, a competitive cyclist, and has advanced degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology. Given a family history of heart disease, and after some initial symptoms, Peter set out to reverse the disease, and get to his previous level of performance. His story about curing heart disease is documented in this lecture recorded on YouTube. More information on Peter is here.
 

 

 

 

Winter Street Bridge Westbound

John Allen

The centerpiece of the February Safety Corner was a photo of cyclists riding on a multi-lane rural highway, and I asked whether that was safe and legal, but possibly rude. I promised answers this month, and so here they are:

Yes, it is legal except on limited-access and express state highways where signs have been posted – though sometimes they are posted incorrectly.

Is it safe? With good road skills and equipment, it is safe entirely within reason. I did get one comment from a CRW member who said that he wouldn’t ride on such a highway at night, and would prefer to do it in a group, for greater visual presence. Well and good, I’m aware of those factors too. Also, I use a rear-view mirror, which greatly improves my ability to keep track of motorists behind me.

Is it rude? All other public roads are open to bicyclists. You have to use challenging roads for some part of your travels, and delay motorists briefly at times. But your right to use the road places the burden fairly on them. Some drivers may think otherwise , but you know better. And in the video embedded in this article, we’ll see traffic lights delaying motorists while bicyclists cause no delay. Many things delay motorists. Motorists often also delay bicyclists.

Our video example is the Winter Street bridge in Waltham. CRW’s Ride Leader Ride earlier this winter crossed this bridge, and so I thought that it would make a useful example. I show how making use of traffic signals to time entry can get you a lane all to yourself. Also, how lane choice and lane control give you safe clearance from passing motorists.

I’d say “get out the popcorn” except that this video runs less than three minutes.

 

 

 

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