The “Science” of Shaven Legs
Here is as close to the truth as I could get…
Imagine if a hockey goalie never stretched? The first pass across the crease would lead to a torn groin. So, obviously stretching is good right?
There are a fair amount of studies available on stretching. One shortfall of some of them is that they make a broad conclusion based on a study using a specific activity. For example, in the conclusion of a study performed on sprinters, the authors worded it in a way that leads you to believe that stretching does not reduce the risk of injury in any sport that involves sprinting. The reality is that there is so much more than sprinting in many sports. Basketball involves jumping, football involves explosive movements against resistance, and hockey involves twisting while shooting.
The general answer to whether or not stretching is good is YES. However, for endurance athletes the timing of stretching makes a difference. When you pick apart the studies, what you find is that for endurance activities such as jogging, swimming, and biking, stretching just prior to the workout or event actually inhibits performance and endurance. This even holds true in sprinters. However, stretching after a workout remains to have favorable benefits in studies.
The ideal warm-up for swimming, biking, and running alike does not involve sitting on the ground stretching. Static stretching (holding a particular stretch) actually inhibits muscle firing and is shown to decrease muscle endurance and power. Therefore, this shouldn’t be done prior to your workout or competition (YAY, no more 10 minute boring stretching sessions).
However, a particular type of warm-up is shown to stretch muscle “just enough” and ready muscles for the upcoming activity. This involves dynamic warm-up drills, such as form running (high knees, striders, shuffle, etc).
What About Our Beloved Foam Rollers?
The foam roller can be a very beneficial tool, however it should be used in moderation. The primary theory behind it is that it affects the golgi tendon organ (GTO). Whether it is the stimulus to the GTO that makes foam rolling beneficial or not is a debated topic. What matters most is that people do well using foam rollers.
For endurance athletes, I do not recommend using the foam roller prior to a workout. It also should not be excruciatingly painful. It should be no more painful than a mildly firm massage. Following a workout, I recommend using the foam roller very lightly for no more than one minute per region (example: quads). The rolling should be slow, and again…light! Later that evening, such as before bed, you can use the roller a little more aggressively, but again, no more painful than a mildly firm massage.
Summary and Solutions
In the end, stretching is a good thing for endurance athletes, just not before a workout or competition. Instead, endurance athletes should perform “dynamic movements” to achieve the proper stretch. By easing into your workout over 5-10 minutes, your muscles will have time to adapt and be ready for the heavy workload.
Following your workouts, spend 5 minutes stretching. It is not necessary to hold an intense stretch for a minute, rather hold for 8-10 seconds and move on to the next body part. If you wish to use a foam roller, do so lightly following your workout (not before!).
Have you ever had your disc brakes squeal or vibrate? This is an issue for a lot of bikers with disc brakes, and it’s not specific to Avid brand of disc brakes, it happens with Shimano, Formula, and Magura. It’s often asked what can be done to prevent squeaky disc brakes, and there are a lot of different answers to be found online. Our friends at Avid provided us with a great set of instruction on how to prevent the squeal and vibration sometimes experienced in disc brakes.
Rotor and Brake Pad Bed-in
To achieve full braking power the brake pads and rotors should be fully bedded in before the first ride. Proper bed in can prevent noise and vibration in a system, if done incorrectly these problems cannot be solved without pad and/or rotor replacement.
The purpose of bed in is to apply a thin even layer of pad material to the brake rotor. At a basic level this layer allows the brake pad material to generate friction on the rotor surface in use. Bed in should be done on a new brake and after any pad/rotor replacement.
To achieve proper bed in the rotors and pads must be brought to operating temperature allowing a transfer and then allowed to cool fully. During this process it is very important the rotor does not come to a complete stop with the brakes applied, this can create a thicker layer of material at one point leading to vibrations later in use.
To bed in a rotor:
1) Select a riding area which allows for a moderate speed, for safety remain seated.
2) Accelerate to a moderate speed and apply brakes evenly, slowing to a walking pace. It is important to prevent a complete stop. Do this 20 times, braking power will increase during this process.
3) Accelerate to a slightly higher speed and apply the brakes, slowing to a walking pace. Do this 10 times, do not come to a complete stop.
4) Allow the brakes to fully cool before riding.
After the bed in process the brakes should operate at full power without noise.
With these tips and proper maintenance you are ready for fun trail rides that are free from squeaky brakes and mechanical issues. For questions please comment below or contact us.
This past week I got the opportunity to help out and train with the GPP Endurance Tri Camp in Tucson, AZ. It was 3 days of intense triathlon training ranging from Olympic distance to full Ironman athletes. I did most of the workouts with the group but also helped map out routes for our workouts. For the past few years, I have been coming down to Tucson to get out of the harsh Utah winters. Tucson is a great place for endurance athletes with weekly group rides and nice pools to swim in.
The first day of camp consisted of a 75 min swim workout with a 1000 yard time trial(fun!) mixed in, a 3 hour bike with 6×20 min tempo efforts and a 1 hour progressive run. I was pretty cracked after the first day but knew that my body would eventually adapt.
The second day kicked off with a 90 min swim workout followed by a double duathlon brick.(90 min ride up and over Gates Pass and a 30 min trail run x2) Once again my body felt like it was being hit by a truck and i couldnt even imagine how the other athletes were feeling.
The third day was the most epic day of camp with a 25 mile, 7,000 vertical feet climb up the infamous Mt. Lemmon. It takes anywhere from 2-4 hours to climb to the top from the base. I’ve done it a ton on my road bike, but never on my TT setup so i was unsure of how my body would respond to that much climbing. To my surprise, my Fezzari T-5 got me all the way to the top without any discomfort. A group of us got to the summit around the same time and rested up for the long descent at the Cookie Cabin where they serve Cookies as big as your head!
Everyone at camp had great attitudes and were super motivated durring each workout. Each athlete made it to the summit of Mt.Lemmon with huge smiles on their faces and nothing but positive things to say about the ride up. I love surrounding myself with people like this because it can really push you to a higher level.
GPP Endurance will be hosting a few more camps this year.
March 16-19 in St. George, Utah
April 13-16 in Henderson, Nevada
You can sign up on www.Active.com.
Also be sure to ‘like’ GPP Endurance on facebook where you can get current news and updates for each of these camps.
We love Moab. It’s one of the coolest places to mountain bike on this rock we call earth, but we have to admit, this video with ZERO mountain biking in it is definitely worth sharing. Filmed at Coyote Arch outside of Moab, Utah, we encourage the faint of heart to look away. It looks like these guys weren’t the first to do it either, but there video is definitely the coolest. (See other videos below).