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Tuesday Tips

Tuesday Tips

November 29th, 2016

Not All Coffee Is Created Equally (caffeine wise)

Caffeine content in coffee varies for a number of reasons – an important fact if you drink coffee for the “pick-me-up.”  For example, because of the strong flavor of espresso vs. drip coffee, many java junkies mistakenly think that a double espresso contains more caffeine than a Grande Dark Roast (Starbucks Speak). Here’s the skinny: espresso is brewed by forcing steam through fine coffee grinds, while drip coffee is made by pouring hot water through coarser grinds. Espresso contains more caffeine per ounce than drip coffee, but the portion is much smaller: ~1.5 oz for espresso vs. at least 8 oz for a drip coffee. Therefore, a double espresso typically has less caffeine than a small drip coffee. Similarly, an “Americano” is 1-2 shots of espresso plus water - tastes a bit stronger than drip coffee, but has less caffeine than the same size drip coffee. Additionally lighter roasts typically have more caffeine than darker roasts. So despite the “stronger flavor” you get less caffeine that from say, a Starbucks Blonde roast. It pains me to cite thoughts from an expert such as Asker Jeukendrup, but since you’re more likely to believe him than me – here you go.  Happy drinking and dose, accordingly.

October 24th, 2016

Dress for Success (Fall season)

Fall is in the air and winter is right around the corner. It’s the time of year that begs the question - What the hell do I wear to bike practice? If you ride in the morning, like I do - it’s damn cold when you start, but may warm dramatically when the sun rises. In these situations, opt for more clothes than you think you should wear, but strive to be tolerably chilly for the first 10-20’ of your ride. This will help ensure that you’re perfectly cozy once the engine warms up. Start with a quality base layer and then add garments that are easily removable on the fly: arm warmers, knee warmers, skull cap, and wind vest are your must-have fall cycling items. Shed items as it warms - pull the arm warmers down to your wrists (no need to remove), remove the vest and stow in a jersey pocket, lose the skull cap when the noggin heats up, or keep everything on if the sun stays hidden or the temperature fails to climb. Don’t let the weather discourage you from riding!

December 15th, 2015

Happy Holiday Workouts

If the holidays pinch your training time, try not to stress about it or get angry at the who’s and what’s that are the source of your stress. Remember that working out is a stress reliever. Instead, shorten the workouts up, increase the intensity a tad, and try to do a little bit each day. Never underestimate the value of a 15-20’ run or a 30-60’ spin - it all adds up and builds on “big picture” consistency.

On the other hand, if the holidays allow you a bit more workout time than usual - take advantage and add volume to your standard routine. Just remember (generally speaking) to tone the intensity down a little to account for the added workload.

December 7th, 2015

Hot Hands, Warm Heart

HotHands hand warmers work fantastically. If you suffer from cold hands/fingers, stick one of these puppies in your gloves, and your digits will love you. Use loose fitting gloves for best results. Don’t let a little cold air stop you from your morning or nighttime ride/run.  Purchase in bulk to get them for less than $1 per pair. It’s money well spent.

October 28th, 2014

Microfiber cloths clean your sunglasses well.

Microfiber cloths are inexpensive, and are indispensable when it comes to keeping the lenses of your sunglasses clean. The 90,000 fibers per square inch provide for lint free and streak-free cleaning without the need for cleaners or detergents. I’ve taken to carrying half a cloth in my cycling jersey pocket during hot and sweaty rides. The cloths also make for a great finishing rag for bike cleaning, and for keeping your phone and computer screens crystal clear. Purchase a big bag of microfiber cloths and stash a couple anywhere you think you’ll need them.

October 21st, 2014

Lube your chain!

Stash your favorite chain lube and a rag, in a couple places near and around your bike storage or the door that you typically exit when riding. The presence of the lube and rag, will serve as a reminder to frequently lube your (squeaky) chain.  When you see the bottle of lube and rag, open the top and apply a generous amount to the chain, give the chain a quick scrub with the rag, to clean some of the gunk off, then reapply a small amount of lube, give another light rub with the rag to remove excess lube - and off you go ... smoothly and silently!

January 7th, 2014

Use bar tape for your mtb handlebar, instead of rubber grips.

I have small hands and find that many rubber grips for mtb handlebars are too thick - especially when I’m wearing gloves. I also find them to be very slippery in rainy or muggy (sweaty) conditions. Therefore, I use regular bar tape (cork or micro-fiber) instead.  I wrap from the inside of the bar (nearest the stem) to the outside of the bar. The resulting smaller diameter suits my small hands better, and I find the grip much better, with or without gloves, when it’s raining or I’m very sweaty.  To each his own, but give bar-tape a try and judge for yourself.

November 19th, 2013

Doing an IRONMAN? Consider comfort.

If you’re an IRONMAN distance athlete remember that even if you’re very fast, you’re in for a long day. Heavily consider comfort when making decisions about your equipment and bike position. You’re swimming 2.4 miles, riding 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles, after all.  Maybe the extra time it takes to put on socks will be worth it.  Maybe sacrificing aerodynamics in favor of a more comfortable fit is worth consideration. For most of us - within reason - the more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to get around the course in the shortest amount of time.

October 15th, 2013

Look at the feet

If your triathlon features an open water swim, don’t bother lifting your head every 10-20 strokes to see where you’re going unless you plan to be leading the swim, or unless you’re stranded alone. Simply take a dead bead on the feet directly in front of you. Everyone’s going to the same place, after all. Every time you lift your head to sight, you must spend a bit of extra energy to counter your hips sinking as a result of lifting your head. You should also find goggles that allow you to see in front of you with minimal neck craning. So at your next race, spend less time looking for the buoys and more time looking at the feet in front of you.

September 3rd, 2013

Lace Locks

Lace locks are little spring loaded plastic clamps that you thread your shoe laces through and use in place of the “bowknot.”  Lace Locks cinch down to the bottom of your laces and clamp tight, providing a snug fit to your running shoes and sparing you the time and hassle of tying your shoes which makes for a fast and smooth transition into your running shoes after the bike segment of your triathlon.  These colorful little gems were all the rage in my ancient era, but have given way to a wide assortment of elastic, bungee cord-like laces.  Call me old-fashioned, but in my opinion, lace locks and cotton shoe laces (the ones that come laced in your shoes) are a much better option than any type of elastic shoe lace.  In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a comeback for lace locks and cotton laces! Here’s a video that shows lace locks in action.

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