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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

Group Riding: Stick With the Plan

March 14, 2009

Does this sound familiar?

Your group ride started out at an easy pace. Pretty soon, one of the stronger riders makes his way to the front and picks the pace up. Your little ego demon says “he’s not faster than me,” so you follow suit. So does everyone else. The dance continues until a stop sign or red light kills the momentum. Pretty soon, everyone’s heart rate is pegged out, white knuckles threatening to bend the handlebars and you’re left coughing up little bits of your lungs.

What does everyone says in the parking lot before the ride starts?

“Easy ride today?”

This group delusion was followed by “I’m toast from yesterday’s century”, “I haven’t been on by bike in a week”, “Today’s a recovery day” or “I’m tapering.” From Jump Street, the complaints are indicative of strong legs. No one ever laments about having fresh legs before a ride.

What would have happened if one person (just one) had said “Hey, dude, back ‘er down. This is an easy day” when that first knucklehead started the speed demonry? Everyone would have given a deep sigh of relief, because they needed an easy day. Rarely do groups have big enough egos to stray from impressing new riders. Asking to have an easy day is seen as a sign of weakness. The group think is usually “ride alone if you want to ride easy.” Hardly.

Easy rides are an essential part of training. You can only ride really hard on hard days if you’re rested. If you ride hard on days that are supposed to be easy, all you’ll manage on the hard days is to ride a little (but not much) harder.

If you want to be fast, keep your easy days really easy so that you can make your hard days really hard.

And what do you do if the dude that amps it up doesn’t slow down when asked? Before the ride starts, agree that anyone who amps it up will be ignored. Then, when Mr. Macho picks up the pace, tell everyone “let him go.”

The fool will ride up the road alone.

David Laporte

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You Must Protect This Head!

March 2, 2009

As cyclists, we’re ever-fearful of numerous “worst-case scenarios.” The possibilities are endless, but if we take precautionary measures in order to combat them, we are making ourselves (and the roads) that much safer. Stephen McCarthy, of Gear & Training, keyed us in to the finer points of purchasing the best investment for a cyclist: the proper helmet.

Getting a New Helmet for 2009

The purchase of a bike helmet has three main parts, each compounding on one another to make this new addition protect your noggin to the nth degree.

Consider the following:

The type of materials used to make the helmet and number of vents:

Remember, the lighter the helmet, the more expensive. A general rule of thumb is the more vents, the more air flowing through the helmet, the cooler it will be.

The manufacturer of the helmet:

While you might ask why that makes a difference, the reason is each manufacturer fits a different type of head. Some are round, some are deep, some are oval, some are for racing, mountain biking, or recreational.

Look for proper certification:

I know…we’re picking out a helmet, not a personal trainer. Still, helmets should adhere to specific certifications, so that when you really need it, it will accomplish the mission: protect your head.

Didn’t find everything you were looking for? More information can be found at the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.

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