April 2022 WheelPeople


President's Message: Looking for Volunteers

Edward Cheng



Have you ever wanted to herd cats?  Do you have a yearning for unpaid work?  Then we have the opportunity for you!  We are looking for volunteers to help organize the many activities that CRW offers.  These are high-impact volunteer positions where you can help shape the direction of the club and make the club a better experience for everyone.  You would be surprised at how satisfying it is to have members enjoy the results of your work and even occasionally thank you.  If any of these positions appeal to you, please contact the designated individual.



1.  Assistant to the Treasurer.  We are looking for someone with finance experience, preferably with Quickbooks experience, who would work with our current Treasurer, Amy Wilson.  The goal is to learn the responsibilities of the position this year and transition to Treasurer next year when Amy steps down.  For further information about the position, please contact Amy directly at amybarnumwilson [at] gmail.com


  2.  Century Committee/Coordinator.  We are looking for someone to serve as a co-director of the Century Committee.  This person would be in charge of organizing the club’s two annual centuries.  We can pair you with a co-director who has led this committee, and who has experience organizing CRW centuries.  For further information about this position, please contact Larry Kernan at larry.kernan [at] gmail.com 


3.  Diversity Program Co-Coordinator.  We are looking for a second Diversity Program Coordinator to help organize diversity rides and programs.  There is a budget for activities and support from the Board.  For more information, please contact Edward Cheng  at edward_cheng_89 [at] yahoo.com


4. Graphic Designer. We need to recruit a graphic designer to help with some design tasks now that we have a new logo. Also name tags needs a new design, as well as century T-shirts, and there’s a range of CRW gear particularly jerseys needing design work. For further information about this position, please contact Larry Kernan at larry.kernan [at] gmail.com


5. VP of Volunteers. We are an all-volunteer club, and we need someone to run and organzine the club's substantial volunteer activities. Tasks include building a file of members who are interested in volunteering, including their skills and interests. The VP would match these members to open jobs such as century slots or ride support requirements. He or she would work on key events to make them a reality.  If interested, please contact Mary Kernan at mary.kernan [at] gmail.com


6. Adventure Program Co-Leader. We are looking for a member to co-lead our Adventure Program, which is currently led by Emily Vigeant. The adventure program organizes and supports the club’s multi-day bike tours throughout the year. This position requires experience with overnight bike touring. For further information about this position, please contact Emily Vigeant at talktoemilyv [at] gmail.com


Ed Cheng is President of CRW.



Looking for Ride Leaders - Ride Leader Training

Robyn Betts


RIDES are the heart and soul of CRW, and RIDE LEADERS are its backbone. 


Have you ever thought about leading a ride with CRW? Do you have questions about what is involved? We are offering Ride Leader Training on April 12th from 7:00 - 8:30 PM for anyone who wishes to learn more about what it takes to lead a club ride. Our ride leaders are at the core of what makes CRW an outstanding bike club.


CRW leads a huge variety of rides, from our signature weekend road rides to gravel, women’s, multi-day adventures, centuries, weekly recurring rides, and more. It takes volunteers to develop the routes, secure a ride start location, and consider the details that ensure an enjoyable experience for our riders.


Photo by Robyn taken August 2021
There are a lot of reasons to consider leading rides.  For one, you’re the boss!  Leading rides means you get to do the kind of ride you like, including start location, pace, distance, destination, theme, social activities, etc. You can choose to lead a group at a specific pace or have people ride on their own, pick a great spot for lunch, arrange for ice cream or other treats at the finish, and find other creative ways to make your ride interesting. Leading rides is also a great way to give back to the club.  We’ve all benefited from others who are willing to organize, post to the calendar and lead rides for us, so if you’re looking for a way to give back, this is a great opportunity. Plus, leading rides is a fun way to meet and make friends in the club.


Learn how you can become a ride leader by joining us for this training on April 12. 


Ride Leader training:

Tuesday April 12th at 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM over Zoom (Registration required) 

Join at 6:45 for BYO cocktails and to mix and mingle with other club members, if you like.  The presentation will start at 7:00 PM. 


Note that the term “ride leader” comes from the early days of the club when the leader was actually out front and led the group. We retained the title but it is more accurate to say “ride organizer” who makes all the arrangements and may or may not lead the assembled riders.


Photo taken from CRW Instagram page

Anyone who would like to lead any ride for CRW this season (including weekend road rides, gravel, adventure, recurring, etc.) is required to attend this year’s ride leader training and complete subsequent ride leader training tasks. A recording of the Zoom session will be made available. 


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


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


Robyn Betts is Women’s Program Lead





A Look Behind the Scenes of a CRW Century

Eli Post
Dilbert February, 2022 is reprinted under license AML-30164.


When things go smoothly with any event or endeavor, it all looks so simple. So simple, in fact, that the skill and effort involved become invisible.

That’s the case with CRW centuries. You simply sign up, show up and ride, but behind the scenes is an enormous and complex volunteer effort. It’s not unlike a lot of things we expect to just work: running water, electric power or internet access to favorite websites. They don’t just happen. Tens of thousands of public and private employees make these services possible.

A volunteer effort such as a CRW century has the added challenge of depending on the good will of those who step up so others can enjoy the ride.

First there’s the sign-up process. The club is fortunate to have an experienced software developer as webmaster. Jack Donohue has created a nearly flawless sign-up page which handles 99 percent of riders, while the remainder are accommodated with email exchanges.

Then there’s the route. This invariably involves negotiation with affected towns. We might need police details or arrangements with schools for parking, or face requirements to meet other local concerns. Sometimes unexpected issues arise that must be dealt with on an emergency basis: a storm the day before downed a utility pole; a water main break closed a road. In response to those situations, we were able to make last-minute route changes.

For all of these circumstances, you need on the spot volunteers to identify and deal with issues. Even without surprises, the work required prior to a century ride is significant. For example, GPS routing is available for CRW centuries and for the most part these are easily assembled. But rigorous rechecking is required both online and on the road to confirm accuracy.

On the route are rest stops, which require advance planning for food, delivery to a central location and distribution to the respective rest stops. All in all, it is a logistical challenge.

The key to a successful century is the corps of volunteers who staff the rest stops and give up a day of riding. Over the years, we've received many well-deserved compliments on the friendly dedication of these volunteers.

There are many other tasks involved in conducting a century, such as the party for returning riders or compiling the post-century report to members. Overall, it takes more than 50 volunteers to put together a century.

2022 Century Program. As of this writing the Club is planning two centuries in 2022. The Spring Century, North to New Hampshire, will not be fully supported and will run on Sunday May 15 and Saturday May 21 starting at the Metro West Technical High School in Wakefield. In the fall we will run a fully supported Cranberry Harvest Century at a date and place to be determined. We are pleased to offer two centuries in 2022, and hope you appreciate the effort involved.


Tim Wilson edited this article.


CRW Board Profile

Randolph Williams


I joined CRW in 1995, and I credit CRW for helping me be a better cyclist by learning how to ride pace lines, centuries, and long bike tours. In the mid-1990s, I began cycling for fun and a healthy way to get to work.


As this casual hobby became an intense passion, I spent years racing in crits and multi-stage races throughout New England. I also enjoy the thrill of long-distance rides and have solo-ridden three times from Boston to Montreal. During a reprieve from my beloved cycling, I completed 13 marathons, including four Boston Marathons.


Outside of CRW, I won the “A Better City” commuter legend award in 2012 raced on several teams (Dreambikes, NEBC, Boston Road Club). I also have raised almost $50k in the Pan Mass Challenge.


Growing up in a family with a rich history of social activism, I was inspired in the spring of 2020 to write “Biking While Black.” This evidence-based and personal thought piece about the inequalities found in cycling inspired several significant changes in cycling clubs. It also served as an impetus for the Wheels of Change Strava Art project. I am also a founder of NECCD (New England Cycling Coalition for Diversity).


I plan on focusing in 2022 on election reform and communication guidelines. I am interested in improving and enhancing the member connective using technology.


Professionally, I am currently a VP of Enterprise Architecture for Fidelity Investments. I live in Winchester, Massachusetts, with my wife and daughter.






























Anti-Aging: Interval Training Increases Longevity

This article appeared in Road Biker Review Newsletter No. 1007


By Coach John Hughes

Multiple studies describe the benefits of intensity training for older adults. This column describes the research and benefits. A future column will describe how to do intensity training and have sample workouts.


According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) “The recent enthusiasm for interval-based exercise can be traced to research from Canada and Europe in the early 2000s. The research in Canada started with exercise protocols that required participants to pedal at an all-out intensity for 30 seconds before recovering for a few minutes and then doing it again and again several more times. In contrast, the European research utilized relatively long but less intense intervals in cardiac patients. Findings from these studies demonstrated that interval-based exercise is a powerful tool for improving exercise performance and health.”


The Norwegian Study

Research published in 2020 by a group of exercise scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway suggests that including high-intensity training (HIT) gives better protection against premature death than moderate workouts alone. The scientists studied 1,500 healthy active men and women for five years. They divided the volunteers into three groups:

  1. The control group followed the standard activity guidelines to do aerobic activity for half an hour most days.
  2. Another group began exercising moderately for longer sessions of 50 minutes at 70% of max heart rate twice a week.
  3. The third group started a program of twice-weekly HIT, during which they cycled or jogged at 90% of max heart rate for four minutes, followed by four minutes of rest, with that sequence repeated four times.

Almost everyone checked in with the scientists periodically and kept up their assigned exercise routines for five years.

“After five years about 4.6 percent of all of the original volunteers had passed away during the study, a lower number than in the wider Norwegian population of 70-year-olds, indicating these active older people were, on the whole, living longer than others of their age. The men and women in the high-intensity-intervals group were about 2 percent less likely to have died than those in the control group, and 3 percent less likely to die than anyone in the longer, moderate-exercise group. People in the moderate group were, in fact, more likely to have passed away than people in the control group. The men and women in the interval group also were more fit now and reported greater gains in their quality of life than the other volunteers.” (New York Times: The Secret to Longevity? 4-Minute Bursts of Intense Exercise May Help)


Two percent less likely to die prematurely may not seem like a lot; however, increased longevity results from many factors. When each factor reduces risk by a couple of percentage points the cumulative risk reduction can be significant.


Elderly Mice

In another study researchers at the University at Buffalo put elderly mice through a three-month program of high-intensity interval running. The mice were the rodent equivalent of about age 65 in people. These mice had all been sedentary. They divided the mice into two groups:

  • The control group continued with their normal, sedentary lives.
  • The experimental group sprinted uphill for one minute followed by a minute of walking, with that interval repeated four times. These interval sessions continued three times a week for four months, which would approximate about eight years in our lives.
  • The sedentary group had less muscle mass, strength and endurance than four months before and moved more infrequently and slowly.

The interval-trained mice were stronger, had greater endurance capacity, more muscle mass in their hind legs than the sedentary animals, and they scampered faster. (New York Times High-Intensity Workouts May Be Good at Any Age)



An article in Medical News Today lists these benefits:

  1. Reducing body fat According to a 2012 study high intensity exercise may decrease body fat more than steadier types of exercise, such as jogging. A more recent study found HIIT workouts may help people burn more calories in less time than steadier forms of exercise. The harder you exercise the more calories you burn per minute. Hard exercise also results in a higher metabolic rate for a while after the workout.
  2. Improving cardiovascular and metabolic health High intensity exercise may help improve cardiovascular health in healthy people, as well as in those with cardiovascular conditions. High intensity exercise may improve blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol.  A 2015 study found that a 10-week program of high intensity workouts produced cardiovascular and metabolic benefits that were similar to those of moderate intensity workouts.
  3. Improving age-related decline in muscle mitochondria Mitochondria are the parts of muscle cells in most cells, in which the biochemical processes of respiration and energy production occur. Maintaining mitochondrial density is one of the keys to maintaining physical performance.
  4. Improving memory A 2019 study suggests “aerobic exercise may enhance memory in older adults, with the potential for higher intensity exercise to yield the greatest benefit.”
  5. Time efficient Consistency is one of the most important factors in slowing and even reversing the effects of aging. Perceived lack of time is one of the most common barriers to consistent exercise. High intensity exercise is an efficient way to work out. According to a 2014 study a commitment of just 30 minutes three times a week could be beneficial.
  6. Improved motivation Because hard workouts take much less time participants are more likely to exercise.
  7. Improving mental health Although all exercise may benefit mental health a 2019 study suggests HIIT training may be especially helpful in addressing issues like depression.
  8. Many of the above studies were of small groups and researchers suggest more research is needed.  The initial findings are promising.


It’s All Good

The studies of Norwegians and mice both focused on different forms of high intensity interval training (HIIT). The ACSM article continues, “The important idea behind all forms of HIIT is providing an intense phase of exercise followed by a period of recovery. Each phase can range from a few seconds to a few minutes and are conducted across a range of intensities. The number of ways that HIIT can be configured is almost too numerous to count and perhaps this multitude of options is one of the reasons that so many people across a wide range of age, fitness and exercise experience seem to prefer this form of exercise over continuous exercise. Though planning and implementing HIIT is somewhat more complex than continuous exercise, its flexibility makes it a very attractive option for both new exercisers and the hardcore fitness junkie.” (ACSM  Interval-based exercise: So many names, so many possibilities)



High intensity exercise doesn’t have to be intervals.  Fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish. A fartlek workout mixes harder and easier exercise in a random, perhaps playful, way. Yesterday I was cross-country skiing mostly at an aerobic pace.  On some of the climbs I upped the tempo until I was breathing hard. Both structured intervals and fartlek work. Listening to music riding the trainer with your pace determined by the different tempos is another example. Watching TV and riding hard during the commercials is another example.




Not Just High Intensity

You need to exercise at least four days of the week. A number of benefits, especially better blood sugar and blood pressure levels only occur on days when we exercise. However, because high intensity workouts are so hard you need multiple days of recovery so don’t do more than two high intensity workouts a week. If you decide to include high intensity workouts do moderate aerobic activities on most other days of the week.


Intervals Meet Exercise Recommendations for Older Adults

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publication Physical Activity for Americans, 2nd ed., is an update of the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) on Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults.  The guidelines recommend:

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours a week of moderate-intensity. Exercising at this intensity produces noticeable increases in breathing rate and heart rate. Additional health benefits result from even more moderate-intensity aerobic activity than five hours a week.


  • 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Exercising at this intensity produces large increases in a person’s breathing and heart rate.


  • An equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Note that in a workout mixing high intensity and moderate recovery only the time riding hard counts as vigorous activity, not the whole workout.

You can read more in my column Anti-Aging: New Exercise Recommendations.


Words of Caution

Before jumping into high intensity exercise talk with your health care provider. Look for programs at YMCAs or local gyms. Some offer high intensity classes specifically for older participants and are led by instructors with training in geriatric exercise.



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 





Election Reform Committee

Randolph Williams



"Every election is determined by the people who show up."

Larry J. Sabato, "Pendulum Swing"


Did you know that all CRW elections were uncontested until 2020 and 2021? These contested elections show that our membership is passionate about our club's future direction.


Based on member feedback, The Board approved the creation of an election reform committee to make future elections even more fair and accessible. We analyzed previous election voting patterns and hosted a focus group meeting with past candidates. After deliberation, we made the following recommendations to the Board on March 6, 2022.


1-Reduce Election To 6 Days

Past elections took over two weeks to accommodate an election process using postal mail. Most voting occurred in the first few days; 50% by day 3 and 80% by day 7. We also showed that, in general, the candidate rankings did not change throughout the election period.


2-Amend Election By-Law

We are required to modify our by-laws in order to reduce the length of the Election. The language of the change is specifically to Article V, Section 4.


The current language is as follows:

4. Election of Directors shall be by electronic ballot transmitted to all members. CRW members in good standing as of August 31 are eligible to vote. Votes of the members shall be confidential. Voting shall be allowed October 1 to October 15. The Secretary shall verify and publish the results no later than October 30.

The proposed language change will be:

4. Election of Directors shall be by electronic ballot transmitted to all members. CRW members in good standing as of August 31 are eligible to vote. Votes of the members shall be confidential. Voting shall be allowed from the first Saturday in October and continue through the following Thursday. The Secretary shall verify and publish the results no later than the second Sunday of October.


3-Refine Election Process

The Secretary will host two public member events before the Election to give all potential and declared candidates an equal chance, as depicted below.


4-Clarify Election Role Expectations for All CRW Members

The Secretary will manage and administer the Election and remind members of the guidelines.

5-Adopt and Enforce Election Communication Channel Guidelines

The Secretary will add a Slack election channel for positive advocacy and candidate questions during the Election period.

The Secretary will have access to all channels to promote the Election.


The Candidates (including the club Board and officers up for re-election) will have access to all channels for personal advocacy only.


The Board and Elected Officers will refrain from representations other than 1-1 communications outside of official neutral club communications.


CRW Members will have open access to all channels.


Slander is not allowed on any platform. Moderator(s) will take down slanderous comments.

To ensure fair, accessible elections for years to come, please support these measures during our next member election.


Thank you, Randolph Williams (Committee Chair). Members of the Election Reform Committee: Harriet Fell, John O’Dowd, Steve Carlson




Riding through the Snow

Eli Post

Most of you hang up your bike at the first chill in the fall, and don't get back to it until temperatures warm up in the springtime. There are some, however, who ride through the winter and enjoy the challenge of biking in the cold. And we must credit a few who bike over snow. It brings to mind the old adage that there is a fine line between courage and foolishness. Watch the video and see if this is your cup of tea. It will depend on which side of the fine line you think riding in the snow falls on.


Eric Evans is a fan of winter riding, and is sharing his exploits with this brief video. He has been cycling consistently through the winter mainly on his Salsa Beargrease fat bike.   Eric reports that "Harold Parker State Forest has great trails with or without snow."  The video is from March 1 when the conditions were optimal.  Nice hard pack without ice.  Eric used a Gopro 9 Hero with a chest mount.  He says that "riding in the hard packed snow is not very difficult especially when trails are groomed." Anyone interested in finding out more can reach out to him at  ericevans100 [at] verizon.net




Eric Evans was CRW president in 2005 and 2006. I had the pleasure of serving on the board at that time, and working with Eric. This article was edited by Tim Wilson.




Knee Pain in Bicycle Riders

By Dr. Gabe Mirkin







At some time, one out of three cyclists suffers serious knee pain (Am J Sports Med, 2010 Dec;38(12):2494-501). It often occurs with a new bike, upon returning to cycling after a long hiatus, or when you are trying to increase either your intensity or your mileage. If your knee starts to hurt while you are on your bike, stop riding and try to find out the cause.

The most common cause of knee pain in bicycle riders is having the seat set so high that it forces you to fully straighten the knee as the pedal reaches its lowest level. You are never supposed to fully straighten your knee when you do any kind of exercise, particularly cycling or running. If you set your seat too low, you will bend your knee excessively and be at high risk for developing pain behind your knee cap. Other common causes of knee pain are over-training, setting your seat too far forward or backward, not having the cleats on your bike shoes set correctly, or not having the correct crank length.   


Seat Height
Set your seat so that your knee is bent 20 to 30 degrees when one pedal is at its lowest level, and is not bent more than 70 to 80 degrees when the pedal is at its highest level. The ball of your foot should be directly over the pedal axle.
• When the seat is set too high: you can feel pain inside your knee, on the lateral side of the knee (iliotibial band), the medial back of the knee (pes anserinus tendon), or the lateral back (biceps femoris) of the knee.
• When the seat is set too low: excess bending of the knee causes the kneecap to rub against the femur, the long bone of your upper leg.


Distance of Seat to Handlebars
When you sit on your saddle, you should be able to reach the brake hoods with your elbows slightly bent and relaxed. You can lean slightly forward, but you should not have to slide forward or back on the seat. Move your seat backward or forward so that when you sit on it, your tibial tuberosity (the bump on your lower leg just below the knee cap) is directly above the ball of your foot when the pedal is at its most forward position.
• When the seat is set too far back: you can feel pain on lateral side of the knee (ilio-tibial band) or back of the knee (hamstring tendons).
• When the seat is set too far forward: you can feel pain in the front knee cap (patellofemoral joint), the tendon just above the knee cap (quadriceps) or the tendon just below the knee cap (patella).


Cleat Position
Pain on the inside or outside of your knee is often caused by setting your cleats so that your feet twist inward or outward.
• Cleats rotated too far inward can cause pain on the outside of the leg at the knee.
• Cleats rotated too far outward can cause pain and stress on the inside of the knee.

Grease your cleat bolts and install the cleats in the bike shoes. Make sure the front middle of the cleat is centered in the middle of the cleat box. Set the forward-back position of the cleat so that when you are clipped into the pedal, the pedal spindle will be just behind the ball of the big toe and just in front of the ball of your little toe. Tighten the cleats. Clip in and ride around and make sure that your feet feel comfortable in the pedals. If you do not feel comfortable, ask for help from your bike shop or other experienced cyclists.


Crank Length
Having cranks that are too long for you causes the knee to bend excessively at the top of the stroke, and to straighten excessively at the bottom of the stroke. You may feel pain in the knee joint itself.









Searching for the Cause of Your Knee Pain
It is possible to do this by yourself, but it will be a lot easier if you have a friend to help you. It may take several days because with each change you make, you will need to ride for a while to see if your knee has stopped hurting. First, set your seat height: Sit on the seat in your cycling shoes with your heels on the pedals. Pedal slowly backwards. Seat height is right when your knees straighten at the bottom of the pedal circles without the need to rock on the seat to keep your heels in contact. When you are clipped in at this height you will have a 20 to 30 degree knee bend at the bottom of each stroke. Move the seat up or down until you achieve this. A quarter of an inch can make a difference to your knees.


If changing the seat height does not relieve the pain, try the other changes listed above. You may be able to “break in” an uncomfortable saddle, but trying to “break in” painful knees will only lead to a serious knee injury. If one or both knees hurt when you cycle, keep asking questions until you get a solution. Get help from more experienced riders, your local bike shop, or a bike fitter with a special bike-fit machine. A bike fitting can cost you several hundred dollars, but is recommended for serious cyclists, particularly if you are getting a new bike.


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 Knee Pain in Bicycle Riders | Dr. Gabe Mirkin on Health (drmirkin.com)



The Athlete's Kitchen - RED-S: What's that?


The Athlete’s Kitchen

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSS April 2022


RED-S: What’s That?


 RED-S stands for Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport. It happens when athletes eat insufficient food relative to the number of calories they burn. Athletes who enjoy the See Food Diet (they see food and they eat it) are less likely to experience RED-S compared to those who eat restrictively because they are fearful of weight gain. Athletes who eat only “healthy” foods can also slide into RED-S when they unknowingly consume too few calories to support optimal physiological functions.


Athletes most at risk for RED-S tend to be in sports that 1) emphasize appearance (figure skating, dancing), 2) have weight categories (wrestling, rowing). and 3) require endurance (running, cycling). But any athlete can suffer from RED-S—even those who have not lost weight. Take note: under-eating is not always accompanied by weight loss! When the body perceives a “famine” (too little fuel), it does an amazing job of preserving itself from wasting away.


I get concerned about RED-S when I hear athletes say things like:

“My friends tell me I eat like a bird…”

“I’m not losing weight, despite all my exercise. Am I eating too much—or too little?”

“I stopped getting my period last year. My doctor said that’s normal for female athletes.”

 As mentioned above, RED-S is common in weight-class sports. Case in point: A survey of male and female competitive lightweight rowers (≥18 years old) indicates that many of the rowers had RED-S. They ate an inadequate amount of food relative to what their bodies deserved to be fed. They prioritized weight over health to qualify to row. As a result, the under-eaters experienced excessive fatigue, muscle loss, poor recovery between training sessions, stress fractures, and reoccurring injuries.


 Interviews with the rowers indicates they knew very little about RED-S. Most of the rowers—as well as their health care providersthought RED-S affected only women who had stopped having regular menstrual periods. Wrong. RED-S applies to both male and female athletes!!!


 Because lack of RED-S education can easily contribute to long-term health issues, this article educates all athletes, males and females alike, about the adverse effects of being under-fueled. Please share this with your partners, teammates and others whom you may notice “eating like a bird.”


• A tell-tale sign of RED-S in males is loss of libido/sex drive, and in females, irregular or no monthly menstrual period. Other health issues related to RED-S include weight loss (but not always), reduced bone health that shows up as stress fractures today and osteoporosis in the future, chronic fatigue due to poorly fueled muscles, nagging injuries, moodiness, and depression. Performance issues include inability to gain or build muscle or strength, reduced agility and coordination, poor recovery from hard workouts, impaired judgement, loss of mental sharpness, and reduced ability to focus. An athlete’s plan to lose weight to enhance performance commonly backfires in the long run, if not the short term. 


• As mentioned above, RED-S appears in not only athletes who consciously restrict their food intake, but also in those who unknowingly consume inadequate fuel to support their bodies’ energy needs. This can happen with athletes who juggle school, work, family, friends, and training demands—and have “no time” to eat. RED-S can also happen with others whose “healthy diet” includes a lot of high fiber foods such as beans, nuts, and whole grains that can curb one’s appetite. Or maybe the athletes think they are eating enough because they eat large portions—but the foods are what I call “fluff” (rice cakes, popcorn, lettuce). Regardless of the cause, having low energy availability affects all systems of the body. 


• While restricting food and prioritizing weight over health has become normalized among athletes, you need to know that under-eating is not harmless. Living with an energy deficit affects every system in the body, including the gastro-intestinal system (reduced GI motility, constipation), cardiovascular system (dangerously low heart rate, unusual fatigue), slowed metabolism (energy conservation, cold hands, cold feet). An athlete should never try to maintain a “competitive weight” all year round. 


• Poor knowledge of RED-S can lead to under-diagnosis, poor management, and poor health outcomes. For example, some health care providers still tell female athletes that amenorrhea is normal in women who train hard. The recommendation to “Just take a birth control pill to get your period”is outdated and does not resolve the underlying problem: an inadequate amount of fuel to support normal functioning of the whole body. 


Do you have RED-S?

Here are a few questions that could help identify if you are under-eating. Do you:

• Constantly think about your food, weight, or body image?

• Severely limit your food intake?       

• Experience guilt or shame around eating “unhealthy foods”?

• Count calories or fat grams whenever you eat or drink?

• Feel fat even though others tell you that you are thin?     


What’s the solution?

If you are training hard and eating very little, you could easily be experiencing RED-S. While the obvious answer is Just eat more and exercise less, doing so can be difficult. Fear of weight gain is a huge barrier. As I repeatedly hear from my doubting clients, “What makes you think I could eat more, exercise less, and not get fat? That just doesn’t make sense.”


 Well, it does make sense because the body does an amazing job of conserving energy (cold hands and feet, low heart rate, loss of menses/libido). When you eat more, your metabolism perks up and you burn off the added calories (as opposed to store them as excess flab).. You’ll then be able to train better, recover better, and perform better. If you are under-eating, start by adding 100 to 300 calories to breakfast, then lunch, and then afternoon snack. Notice the benefits: feeling perkier and well-fueled!


 The time is right to revolutionize the culture of sport, so that athletes can focus more on performance and health, and less on weight. To initiate this change, you might want to participate in your sport at a weight that fits your genetic physique and allows you to prioritize health over weight. Excelling as a strong and powerful athlete could easily lead to a more satisfying sports career than starving yourself to be an injury-prone athlete who spends too much time sitting on the sidelines. The thinnest athlete is unlikely the best athlete. The best fueled athlete who is genetically gifted will win the prize!   


The bottom line: If you think you have RED-S, talk with a trusted sport dietitian (RD). Poorly managed RED-S can too easily end up as malnutrition, disordered eating, osteoporosis—and a disappointing future for your athletic aspirations.


References: Insufficient knowledge and inappropriate physiotherapy management of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) in lightweight rowers https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1466853X21001978?via%3Dihub

Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S): Shared Pathways, Symptoms and Complexities   https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-021-01491-0





All the photos are from the CRW library, and from century rest stops.


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.






Navigate With a Biochip

Eli Post


GPS use is now ubiquitous on our rides. The advent of a Ride with GPS ( RWGPS) cell phone app has made GPS use less expensive than with dedicated GPS instruments, and increased its popularity. The latest announcement by RWGPS of a GPS Bio-chip Implant is a fantastic breakthrough that will make GPS navigation even more utilitarian for an ever wider and eager audience.


This ingenious bio-chip implant system is a fairly simple device,in the form of a (micro) computer chip, inserted under the skin. It is a tiny capsule, measuring 11 mm in length and 2 mm in diameter, about the size of an uncooked grain of rice. The capsule is manufactured with bio-compatible material so no bodily fluids can touch the electronics inside. The bio-chip is inserted with a hypodermic syringe. Injection is safe and simple, comparable to common vaccines, and anesthesia is not required.


Ride with GPS has not released the full details on the insertion procedure, but from early reports we understand that the bio-chip is placed behind the left ear, and except for the scar is barely visible. No other device is required to operate this GPS system.


Touching your nose with your index finger for 2 seconds boots up the chip and wiggling your toes brings up the menu options. No need to monitor a map display on your handlebar. Instead of turn-by-turn directions the chip transmits signals that move your hands to guide every turn. 


An optional feature is voice commands, available in a dozen different languages providing an opportunity to brush up on French or Spanish or whatever. You will of course have your choice of a variety of male or female voices, but the real shocker is that the bio-chip can search your neural network for voices of authority figures in your life and substitute one of those. You could vicariously reconnect with your kindergarten teacher, high school coach or someone in your more recent life.


A word of caution is in order however. Some medical authorities warn of a downside to the bio-chip, with potentially disturbing consequences. Your thoughts could conceivably broadcast to the outside world and power mad users might also be able to implant commands into your head via the bio-chip. This minor blip aside, the GPS bio-chip is a breathtaking technological breakthrough. You would be foolish not to consider purchasing. As of this writing the bio-chip is expected to hit the market on April 1st.



Tim Wilson edited this article.







Upgrade Your RWGPS Account

Eli Post


As a CRW member you are entitled to membership in the Club's Ride With GPS (RWGPS) account. All of the Club's rides come with RWGPS routes, and membership provides voice supported turn-by-turn directions for club routes on the company's cell phone app. We encourage all members to join


Ride With GPS offers free and premium accounts for individuals. The premium account provides many additional features for both the desktop web and phone app users.  CRW's Ride With GPS club account gives you premium features on CRW rides even if you only have a free Ride With GPS individual account.


The many additional features to a premium account will be appealing to some of you. Perhaps the single most significant feature is that you get turn-by-turn directions on non-club rides. If you ride on your own or ride with friends or travel to distant places, you will have state of the art navigation with you. A single vacation out of state or a neighborhood ride with friends or family makes a premium account worth having.


RWGPS has created a 20% off annual Basic or Premium subscription discount code to encourage members to upgrade. Basic accounts are $50.00 annually and Premium accounts are $80.00 annually, before the discount. The discount is effective April 1, 2022 and is valid for three years, expiring March 31, 2025.


Here are the instructions you can use to redeem this discount:

  1. From your ridewithgps.com homepage, click your profile icon in the upper right corner
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Access Token on the left column
  4. Enter crw_rocks
  5. Click Activate
  6. Your discount is applied. New subscribers will get 20% off of new annual subscriptions. Existing subscribers will get 20% off of their next annual renewal.

The discount aside, all members should join the free RWGPS club account. You will be able to download the club's route and get turn by turn voice navigation, all for free. You will never be without navigation again on club rides.


MEMBERSHIP  DRIVE Another reason to join our free RWGPS Club is that the organization is running a membership drive in April. They are giving away free club subscriptions to clubs who add the most new members. The top gaining club in our group will receive a Free Club Account ... for Life.This is a win-win for all. You get free navigation, and help the club financially.




April Pictures of the Month

WheelPeople Editors


As of this writing, it is still bitter cold, but it will warm up in April and we will have riding days. However, these CRW members got an early start by riding in Florida. The ride was on March 4, 2022 in Sarasota County. The high in Boston that day was 32°. We should all be so lucky.


Photo supplied by Judith McMichael. From (Right to Left) Barry and Linda Nelson, Ray Komow, Pat Schindeler, and Judith.
Barry Nelson added some other photos which show that the group enjoyed riding and even found an Iguana.


While our Florida friends frolicked, the rest of us had to endure winter. Gene Ho supplied the following photo which speaks for itself:













Descending a Hill

Eli Post

This article originally appeared in July 2009 WheelPeople. The images were added, and the ride suggestions still apply. Bob Zogg and John Allen helped edit the original article.


Some sports thrive because they offer an opportunity to experience the exhilaration that comes from meeting danger face-to-face. In this regard, skydiving comes to mind. Cycling, on the other hand, is more serene, except when descending a mountain road at high speed. If you are a professional racer, you realize that you must master the descents to be a contender. You learn how to position yourself, how to lean in a turn, how to brake and when not to brake, and even how to crash to avoid broken bones. Carving turns at 60 mph in a pack takes practice, and requires guts.


For ordinary mortals like us, however, the challenge is to deal with descents we typically encounter on hilly rides in New England. For some, a descent full of twists and turns is nothing short of bliss, while for others it’s pure terror. Wherever you fit in this spectrum, you may find helpful some instruction on how to handle unforeseen problems.


Steep descents can be tricky. Steering will be exaggerated, small turns become more difficult, and your weight is transferred forward. This is a very different experience from riding the flats, and you must know how to counteract these forces. In addition, the road surface conditions play a greater role. At slow speeds, potholes, gravel, spilled oil, and fallen tree limbs are a challenge, but at high speeds such conditions can become a greater threat.


If unfamiliar with steep downhill riding, travel cautiously and avoid attempts at speed records. As descents are a learning experience, only gradually let your speed increase as you become more competent.


Bike Maintenance. If the brakes work poorly, if the spokes are loose, if the tires are badly worn, or if the frame or fork is out of alignment, the bike should not be used at high speeds. In fact, the bike shouldn't be ridden at all until repaired.


Body Position. When descending, move your hips back on the saddle, lightly squeezing the nose of the saddle between your thighs. Distribute your weight between the saddle and the pedals, and keep the crank arms horizontal (i.e., one foot forward, one foot back). If you have drop handlebars, use the lower position and a relaxed grip, prepared to brake. Relax your whole body so that you can absorb road shocks with your legs and arms.


Braking. Speed control on descents is essential, which is best accomplished by feathering, or light taps, of the brakes. Stopping distances increase greatly with speed (especially when the rims are wet!). The brakes on a bike cannot stop you as quickly as those on a car, so it’s important not to follow too closely other riders or cars when descending. The steeper the descent, the less hard you can brake without pitching over the handlebars, so choose a speed that will allow you to stop comfortably if there is an obstacle or hazard just out of sight. Another problem in descending steeply is that the wheel rims and brake pads may get hot if you apply them too frequently or for too long a time, potentially causing tires and tubes to fail. Use both brakes and short intervals of braking with time in between for the rims to cool. Look for relatively level spots where heavy braking can be used to reduce speed. Brake before cornering. On a tandem, you’ll want a drag brake - a large drum brake or disc brake - to avoid overheating from rim brakes on long descents.


Road Position. Watch farther ahead than usual and anticipate dangers. Pass other riders carefully, leaving additional clearance. Use your brakes to keep a safe distance behind riders you can’t pass. When riding at high speeds, move to the center of the travel lane to give yourself more leeway to avoid road hazards, and to discourage motorists from passing you within the travel lane.


Speed Wobble (AKA, Shimmy). Some bicycles can develop a dangerous front-end shimmy at high speeds. This is more common on a bicycle with a less-rigid frame or a suspension front fork. A good technique to bring the bike under control if it starts to shimmy is to press one or both knees against the top tube. Brake gently, as rapid braking can worsen the shimmy. Push both hands forward against the handlebars, without attempting to fight the shimmy.


Road Hazards. When traveling downhill at high speed, a hole, loose sand or gravel, or a slick section of road, can be dangerous. Even the slightest jog can make the bike difficult to control or trigger a shimmy (if your bike is prone to shimmy). If you are unable to maneuver around a pothole or other obstacle, unweight your tires, or even jump your bike, just before you ride over it. Practice this move on a grassy field. Level your pedals, crouch off the saddle, then spring up and lift with your feet and hands. Start by jumping over a line on the ground, then graduate to higher but forgiving objects such as a rolled-up towel. This technique works best if you use clipless pedals, or toe clips and straps.


Cornering. When cornering, lean your bike while keeping your body more upright. Weighting your outer pedal and/or pointing your inside knee into the turn can help you maintain proper cornering position. An abrupt steering correction can break the front tire loose, as can the front brake if applied with too much force. Ride within your limits, and adjust your speed based on your line of sight.


Gaining Confidence. On hills that you ride regularly, try each time to apply the brakes a little less to gain confidence. By using the techniques discussed above, you'll probably find that, with time, you can maintain comfort and safety at higher speeds.


In what must be ironic coincidence, we had valuable feedback before this article was published. A reviewer of an early draft was on a ride shortly after he read the draft, read it in sufficient depth so that he provided very useful comments. His ride took him on a descent on Lost Lake Road in Groton, and as he was equipped with a GPS we know that he was traveling at 34 mph just before it happened. A truck with a jet ski in tow was backing out into the street. The vehicle was on the rider’s right, and to increase his margin of safety, he turned left and braked. The bike started to shimmy, the “vibration turned to uncontrollable oscillation of the handlebars”, the tube blew, and the front tire came off the rim, although not necessarily in that order.



He went down, and while he was bruised, we are thankful that he was not seriously injured, and was able to ride the next day with the author of this article. My friend reported that in the moments before the impact he made very quick judgments about emergency maneuvers. The “judgments were close to instinctive reaction”, and he “remembered none of the suggestions in the draft article.” He does not recall precisely his grip or how quickly he turned or how hard he braked. This does not surprise us, as we do not expect to convey expertise in one reading. You need to do more than read an article to prepare yourself for emergencies such as this. However we do hope that you continue to think about these hints and riding practices and build them in to your riding routine. Eventually they will become second nature.




Photo by Mary Kernan taken in Saguaro National Park











Spring Swap Meet & Rides

Jerry Skurla


NEW EVENT - Spring Swap Meet & Rides

May 1, 2022 at Lincoln-Sudbury High School, Sudbury, MA


Now that it's officially spring, warming temperatures and longer days means the outside bike riding season is finally here.  This also means checking over your bike(s) to ensure they are ready for action and running both smoothly and safely. But with supply chain issues continuing, and the cycling industry still reacting to two years of tremendous demand, it can be difficult to prep for the 2022 riding season. 


How often in the last several months have you said any of the following?


- "I just need 2 parts to get this bike up and rolling, but I can't find them anywhere."


- "Craigslist and eBay are ok, but I can't inspect items before buying like I want to."


- "This year spring cleaning means clearing out my unused bikes, parts, and gear."


If you have, please hold May 1, 2022 on your calendar, because

the new CRW Spring Swap Meet & Rides takes place that day. 



The SSMR will take place at the Lincoln-Sudbury High School parking lot in Sudbury, MA and includes:


- a 50 mile ride starting at 9am (registration link available soon)

- a 25 mile ride starting at 11am (registration link available soon)

- the Spring Swap Meet running from 1pm to 5pm (registration link available soon)


For both CRW members and their guests, the Spring Swap meet is designed to have options for all.  There is no charge to participate.  Attendees can:


1. Tag, price and put your items on CRW-monitored "theme tables"

     - Drive train & brakes

     - Bars, stems, seats & posts

     - Wheels, tires & tubes

     - Tools, racks & packs

     - Clothing & shoes

     - Bike travel cases & vehicle racks


2. Bring and set-up your own "tailgate" table to display all your stuff as you want


3. Tag, price and put complete bikes in the CRW-monitored Bike Corral


4. Use the "Free Stuff" table for items anyone can have for free


Keeping it simple - no crypto please...


1. All transactions are direct between seller and buyer via barter, cash, Venmo, etc.      CRW is not acting as an agent or broker or middleman, and does not charge a

    fee or take a percentage of any transactions.


2. Sellers need not be physically present during Spring Swap hours, but must be

    reachable via text or telephone during swap hours to answer buyer questions.


So on May 1 enjoy a great ride AND finally find those needed chainring bolts, a right-hand Campy shifter, "bail-out" cassette bargain and so much more.


Please see https://www.crw.org/content/crw-spring-swap-meet-and-ride?rid=13968&date=2022-05-01 for the Spring Swap Meet and Rides registration pages on the CRW Rides Calendar.  Any/all questions should be directed to Jerry Skurla at jskurla [at] comcast.net