We found this great article by Garret Rock that we thought our readers would find useful and insightful. Enjoy…
Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism to maintain a body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperature is very different. Basically, this refers to your ability to stay warm in cool environments, and cool in hot environments. A physiological example of thermoregulation is sweating.
The concept of thermoregulation is important to endurance athletes because it directly correlates to performance. The inability to control temperature swings results in a decrease in performance, and can put an end to your race day altogether. This decrease in performance is hardly negligible, just look at the following statistics from a study on marathon times.
- In elite pro runners, for every 5 degrees over 41 degrees Fahrenheit, times slow by 0.4%. On a 77 degree day, an elite pro will expect to run 5% slower than on a 41 degree day.
- The rate of slowing increases with slower run times. For example, in this study, they found that a 3 hour marathoner will be around 12% slower on a 77 degree day compared to a 41 degree day. This brings their finish time from 3 hours flat to 3 hours 21 minutes.
Fortunately, there are small steps we can take to battle the performance deficits that come with hot temperatures. Here are four of the most effective methods for avoiding over-heating during training and racing.
Hydration is your first line of defense in thermoregulation. Although on the surface hydration seems simple, how you hydrate and what you hydrate with can actually have a big impact on thermoregulation and hydration status.
Laboratory based tests conclude that hyperhydration is an effective strategy for maintaining a slightly lower body temperature during endurance exercise in hot temperatures. Hyperhydration, put simply, is preventatively taking in fluids, or drinking when you are not thirsty. This effect seems to be due to a faster onset of sweating and improved “sweating efficiency”. For shorter races (1-3 hours), hyperhydration does appear to be an appropriate strategy on a hot day. Exactly how effective this strategy is in improving performance is yet to be determined at these distances, but theoretically benefits do exist, as research definitely shows improved thermoregulation through hyperhydration.
One way to enhance hyperhydration without having to chug down as many bottles of water is to nutritionally optimize intracellular fluid uptake. One supplement that aids this is glycerol, yep that evil alcohol sugar. Before undertaking glycerol supplementation for hyperhydration, be sure to do your research, or better, work with a professional that knows what they are doing. Done right, you win. Done wrong, you lose. In addition, during exercise, plain water is fairly poorly absorbed in the intestines. Including carbohydrates in a fluid replacement drink is crucial for optimal fluid absorption in the intestines. In fact, research shows that combining a carbohydrate with water during exercise improves intestinal fluid absorption up to six times!
Action Step: I recommend using a sports drink as your primary hydration source always. On exceptionally hot days, I recommend drinking 25 ml/kg body weight (175 lb person will drink approximately three 21 oz bottles) of fluids prior to the race. Make two of them water and one a sports drink. Be sure to use electrolyte tabs as directed during the race to ensure adequate electrolyte levels.
There is not much science to be found on the effect of water dousing on core temperature during exercise, however anecdotal “evidence” strongly supports frequent water dousing during a race in the heat. Fortunately, many races in hot environments now provide sponges and cups of ice for dousing.
Action: At each aid station be sure to douse yourself with water and/or ice/sponges. This is typically only needed during running, as the wind during biking is typically enough to evaporate sweat quickly.
Your choice of clothing impacts thermoregulation. Sweating is the body’s natural cooling method. However, in order for sweating to be effective, the sweat must evaporate. It is the evaporation of sweat that cools the body. The ideal clothes for training and racing in hot weather allow for air to flow through them. On sunny days, protecting the skin from the sun is beneficial to staying cooler. Sunscreen can interrupt both sweat production and evaporation. Although dark colors do absorb more heat when the sun is out, in a short race this is unlikely to result in hotter core temperatures. However, in a long race, opting for the lighter color is likely the wiser decision. On sunny days, wearing a visor to protect from the sun and save on sunscreen use is the wiser choice.
Action: In a running race, wear light, loose clothing. If the sun is out in force, choose light colors. In a triathlon or cycling race, choose a kit made of breathable material. Choose coverage with the light apparel over sunscreen for most of your body.
On hot days, pre-cooling appears to mildly improve performance in endurance races. For long and ultra races (Ironman, 70.3) this may not provide much performance enhancement. However, in shorter duration races (marathons, half marathons, 10K’s, 5K’s, sprint tri’s, and olympic tri’s), pre-cooling appears to benefit performance and thermoregulation on hot days. Pre-cooling may include staying cool in the water prior to a triathlon (if chilly), wearing a cooling vest during your warm up (www.stacoolvest.com), or sitting in a cool environment. Basically, be chilled just prior to the race. But don’t neglect an appropriate muscle warm up.
Action Step: Either perform your pre-race warm up in a cooling vest, or perform your pre-race warm up, then find a cool environment to sit in and get chilled (air conditioned car, water for a triathlon, or building close by). Being you’ll be sweating, the cool air will evaporate the sweat well and result in rapid cooling.
Michael N. Sawka; Lisa R. Leon; Scott J. Montain; Larry A. Sonna
Integrated physiological mechanisms of exercise performance, adaptation, and maladaptation to heat stress
Comprehensive Physiology 2011;1(4):1883-1928.
Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1987;56(5):603-7.
Grucza R, Szczypaczewska M, Kozłowski S.
Department of Applied Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.
Br J Sports Med. 2006 April; 40(4): 320–325.
Is it time to trade the golf clubs in for a road bike with skinny tires and pull on the spandex? Gone are the days of hitting the links to conduct business. Instead, business execs are donning the lycra and hitting the road. This article published by The Economist looks into the business transactions and relationships that are built while pedaling long distances on a bike. Would you believe that 75% of one companies work load is coming from those they meet while out cycling? Give us your thoughts on this article published by The Economist: Full article below:
TRADITIONALLY, business associates would get to know each other over a round of golf. But road cycling is fast catching up as the preferred way of networking for the modern professional. A growing number of corporate-sponsored charity bike rides and city cycle clubs are providing an ideal opportunity to talk shop with like-minded colleagues and clients while discussing different bike frames and tricky headwinds. Many believe cycling is better than golf for building lasting working relationships, or landing a new job, because it is less competitive.
“When you play golf with somebody you have to decide if you’re going to beat them, or let them beat you,” says Peter Murray, a former architect, journalist and chairman of the NLA centre dedicated to London’s built environment. “If they’re a client and you don’t want to beat them you have to sort of cheat in order to lose. That seems to me not a good way of doing things.”
In 2005 Mr Murray, who is a keen long-distance rider, founded the annual Cycle to Cannes bike ride. This six-day charity event brings together architects and developers who want to cycle 1,500km from London to the MIPIM property fair in southern France each March. It now attracts around 90 riders and has raised £1.5m for a range of charities in Britain and abroad. This year Mr Murray has also founded a more ambitious ride called Portland to Portland. A team will depart Portland Oregon on April 27th and they are due to arrive in Portland Place, London, 76 days and 6575km later. Along the way they will visit cities to discuss the benefits of urban cycling and raise money for several architectural charities.
Group cycling, and especially long-distance riding, is a shared experience, Mr Murray says. Riders often collaborate and help each other out, taking turns to be at the front so that the riders in their slipstream can save almost a third of the effort needed to travel at the same speed. Some riders selflessly volunteer to stay in the front earning them the awe and gratitude of the entire group.
How someone rides a bike can give you a real insight into what a person is like, says Jean-Jacques Lorraine, founding director of Morrow+Lorraine, a young architecture practice in London, and a regular participant of Cycle to Cannes. “Some riders are very single-minded, others more collaborative; some are tactical, others an open book. Some don’t mind being soloists whilst others prefer alliance and allegiance.” A day in the saddle, racing uphill and downhill, creates a bonding experience that endures. “If I walk into a meeting and somebody says ‘I’ve done Cycle to Cannes’ it’s a done deal really,” says Mr Murray.
Mr Lorraine estimates that as much as 75% of the practice’s workload (around 45 projects) has come directly or indirectly from contacts made on the road while cycling, in particular on the Cycle to Cannes ride. Why does he think cycle rides lend themselves so well to networking and making professional contacts? “Grabbing a quick lunch or drink after work, whilst great for different reasons doesn’t give you long enough to get to know someone,” he says. Mr Murray believes long rides break down conventional hierarchical barriers. “A younger rider can be cycling along with a chief executive and take their wind or help them in some way and you get a reversal of the relationship. This changes the relationship when they are off the ride too.”
Many long-distance bike riders say cycling, especially over long distances, simply makes them feel good; it lifts their mood and concentrates things down to the essentials. “The pattern of fuelling, riding, fuelling, arriving, celebrating, sleeping and fuelling again puts all the focus on riding and the company of your fellow riders,” says Simon Mottram, chief executive of Rapha, a premium cycling-clothes brand. The simple repetitiveness eases the stresses and pressures of normal life, making it a powerful counterpoint to our sedentary lives, he adds.
Mr Mottram believes it is easier to get to know people while cycling than in other situations. “There is an easy rhythm about conversations on a bike.” Mr Lorraine makes the point even more strongly: “The adrenaline rushes, the serotonin pulses and the surges of endorphin create a kind of high, a sense of euphoria. I feel open, honest and generous to others. I often find I’m saying things on a bike which I wouldn’t normally say, and equally I’ve been confided in when I wasn’t expecting it.”
Perhaps the most compelling reason why cycling is a good way to network is because, for many professionals, it’s a passion and a way of life. “Getting out on the bike is what we’re all dreaming of doing whilst we’re sitting at our computers,” says Mr Mottram. And a shared passion is a fantastic way to start any relationship.
“Cycle to Cannes” happens each March. “Portland to Portland” leaves Portland, Oregon, on April 27th 2013
We’ve had a lot of people ask, “What will I need to do to assemble my Fezzari Bicycle once it arrives?” In the following videos Ethan, our professional bicycle technician, will explain how to assemble your newly purchased Fezzari Bicycle.
I’ve always been a distractable person. When I was a kid, I used to sit down on a Saturday afternoon to watch college basketball, only to jump off the couch midway through the first half and head outside to shoot baskets in the driveway. The same thing would happen while watching other sports. I’d much rather have been doing something, then watching something.
I’m also a daydreamer. I spend idle time thinking about setting personal records at the Crusher, winning the CTR, or surprise podium finishes at next year’s ‘cross races. I’ve been doing that sort of daydreaming for years. But year after year, event after event, those fantasies remain such. The here-and-now has never commanded my energy the way it should. (Read More via GrizzlyAdam.net).
Now that the warm weather is coming up on the horizon it is time to bring your bikes out of hibernation. Whether you are one that rode the entire year or one that that hung up your bicycle until the bitter winter months pass, these tips will be useful to you. All of these tips can apply to both road and mountain bikes.
We will be covering the following topics:
Cleaning your bike
Inspecting wearable parts
Lubing your chain
Checking Tire pressures
The basics about cleaning your bike
The first thing that you need to do is thoroughly clean your bike and especially the drive train Your parts will last 3 times longer if you keep them clean and properly lubed.
It is common for grease or dirt to build up on your chain and it tends to do so faster in the winter because of the wet conditions. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you see built up grit or anything darker in color than the metal the chain components are made of, it means that it is time to give these parts a good cleaning.
Many people use a mild soap degreaser such as liquid dish soap to clean their bikes. However, a lot of riders prefer using bike specific degreasers such as Park Tool Citrus ChainBrite Chain Cleaner or Pedros Oranj Peelz Degreaser.
Get yourself a good small brush to help clean the smaller, hard to reach places (sometimes a toothbrush is a good alternative). We recommend purchasing a cleaning kit that includes the tools and cleaning supplies you will need to clean your bike and drive train.
Use hose water, not a pressure washer as high pressured water can get into wheel bearings, bottom brackets, and other valuable parts causing rust damage.
9 things to check when inspecting wearable parts
It is important to make sure all essential wearable parts are in proper working order before you hit the trail.
1. Inspect all cables and housing. This includes brake cables or hydraulic break lines, shifter cables, and housing. Inspect for any fraying, splitting, or leaks. If any damage is visible on the cables, housing, or hoses you will want to replace them immediately.
2. Inspect chain for any rust or missing chain links. Check gears for any missing or broken teeth. If any teeth are missing or the chain shows excessive wear it is a good idea to replace these parts.
3. Inspect both tires for excessive wear or other damage such as embedded objects such as glass, thorns, etc. It is also important to check your tires for proper inflation. (This topic will be covered in more detail later in the article.)
4. Inspect wheels for any lateral play. This is usually caused by a loose hub which can result in damages to your hub or wheel. To check for lateral play simply place your hand on the wheel and try to move your wheel from one side of the fork leg to the other. This will allow you to feel if there is any movement in the hub. If there is any movement in the hub we recommend taking your wheel down to a local bike shop so they can properly tighten the cones on your hub.
5. Check the tightness of cranks and all other nuts and bolts. (If you own a full suspension mountain bike be sure to inspect and test bolts are tight on all rear suspension linkage parts)
6. Check that your bicycle is properly shifting through all gears. If you need assistance with adjusting your derailleurs we recommend the following instructional videos.
7. Inspect headset for proper tightness. An improperly adjusted headset can damage the headset itself or even your frame. If your headset is too loose you’ll feel a constant knocking sensation through your bars and quickly begin to damage parts. If the headset is too tight your bars will not turn freely and there will be excessive pressure and wear on the headset bearings. The easiest way to check for a lose headset is to place one hand over where your fork crown and lower headset cup meet and use your other hand to hold your front brake. Begin to gently rock the bike front to back. If your headset is loose you will feel a knocking through the hand which you are holding over the lower headset cup.
8. Inspect your grips or bar tape for excessive wear. If there is excessive wear you may want to look into replacing the grips or bar tape.
9. Inspect your brakes to ensure that they have plenty of pad available
Lubing the chain
Lube your chain properly. You want to lube your chain in such a way that it is effective and not a wet dirt collector.
First, clean you chain really well, getting as much of the dirt grime and grease off as is possible. There are many great tools made for cleaning your chain. I personally use the (hyperlink parks tools chain cleaner). Let the chain dry out or blow it out with an air compressor to remove the moisture from the chain. When it is dry, hold your lube on top of the chain as it rolls over the top of the cassette. Next, aim to penetrate the lube inside the little bearings (inside the links) while pedaling the crank backwards. Let the chain to sit for a couple of minutes so as to allow the lubricant to effectively penetrate into the chain. Next take a wash cloth or towel and while pedaling backwards again, grab the chain with the cloth or towel and remove excess lube. Letting the lube soak in over-night is best.
Keep this up at least once a week if you are riding weekly, or two times a week if you are riding daily. Also pay attention to your chain and components: if you went on a really wet grimy ride you will be able to hear the grit grinding in the gears. Make sure you clean it after one of these exceptionally dirty rides.
You should be checking your tire pressure before each ride but now would be a great time to give those tires some air. Watch the tire pressure closely for the next time you fill them up. They will naturally lose some small amounts of pressure, but if they are flat or low within a week you need to locate the leak in your tube or tire bead.
Running your tires at the incorrect pressure can not only rob you of power but also wear your tires faster and make your job of pedaling harder. Everyone runs their tires at a different pressure according to their preferences. If you like the solid speed feel run a higher pressure, if you like a little more cushion lower the pressure a few notches.
The recommended tire pressures will be indicated in the sidewall of the tire on your bike. Each brand and type of tire is different, so inspect your tires’ sidewall to make sure. Just as a general rule, here is what most tires run for pressure:
These are all measured P.S.I. which stands for pounds per square inch.
Mountain: Max = 40
Normal = 35-40
Road: Max = 120
Normal = 110-120
Now that your bike is all clean, inspected, and tuned up, it’s time to get out and enjoy this wonderful warm weather.
This video will teach you how to properly adjust your disc brake calipers so they do not rub on the rotor. An Improperly aligned calipers is one of most common reason for squeaky brakes. A rubbing disc brake can slow you down, cause annoying noises, and result in premature wear of your brake pads. Our Fezzari Technician will also teach you how to correct a bent rotor.