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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

Nature Valley Grand Prix Announces Changes For Time Trial

April 26, 2010

Minneapolis – This year’s edition of the Nature Valley Grand Prix will go “old school,” with a return to Eddy Merckx-style racing for the individual time trial that opens this year’s USA Cycling National Racing Calendar event.

Executive Director David LaPorte said the Nature Valley Grand Prix has opted to invoke a new USA Cycling rule that allows race organizers to specify that “massed-start legal” bicycles are required for time trials. The rule will be enforced for the six-mile (9.6 km) St. Paul Riverfront time trial on June 16.

“The decision was made partly to simplify logistics for the teams and partly out of fairness,” LaPorte said. “We have a time cut in the time trial to ensure that no one loafs to stay fresh for the criterium that night. But in the past, we have had some strong riders cut primarily because they did not have time trial bikes. We have also had some riders in the past who haven’t competed because of the expense of bringing two bikes, particularly with the outrageous charges the airlines are imposing.”

LaPorte said he doesn’t expect the change to significantly affect the overall results of the five-day, six-stage race.

“The time trial is only six miles and the last mile is an eight-percent climb,” he said. “Also, with the new road race in Menomonie, Wisconsin, the seconds gained or lost in the time trial are likely to be insignificant. Unlike the old Mankato road race, this course will be very hilly, with lots of opportunities for aggressive teams to shatter the pack. If big time gaps don’t form, it will likely be because the teams haven’t taken advantage of the terrain.”

The Nature Valley Grand Prix will work with USA Cycling officials to spell out the specific restrictions regarding aero equipment (wheels, helmets, etc.), which will ultimately appear in the race bible.

The decision to prohibit time trial bikes is certainly not unique, as several international races (Tour of Qatar, Tour of Langkawi, etc.) have banned time trial bikes and aero equipment for years. In the U.S., the team time trial stage of the 2008 Tour de Georgia featured the same restrictions.

Danny Van Haute, director of the Jelly Belly Cycling presented by Kenda professional men’s team, said the decision to prohibit time trial bikes will level the playing field. “Not everyone can buy time trial equipment and if the pro teams have this equipment, it’s not fair to the riders who don’t,” he said. “I’ll bet the results will be the same with time trial bikes as they would be without.”

Team Vera Bradley Foundation Director Lisa Hunt said it is disappointing for her team’s bicycle sponsor not to be able to showcase its time trial bikes. “However, in the interest of being fair and equitable for all parties involved, I support the decision,” she said. “Clearly, our strongest time trial riders will be strong on a road bike or a time trial bike. So it’s not like we are at a disadvantage.”

LaPorte said he will poll all women’s and men’s teams after the race – as he has done in previous years – to get an idea of whether the new rule should be retained for 2011.

About the Nature Valley Grand Prix

The Nature Valley Grand Prix, which takes place in Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, is the premier stage race on the 2010 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 race will include stops in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Menomonie, and Stillwater. The Nature Valley Grand Prix is a part of the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, a volunteer-run event, with all proceeds donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. More information can be found at: www.NatureValleyBicycleFestival.com

About Nature Valley

Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings variety to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome and great-tasting snacks. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Nature Valley is part of General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. For more information, visit www.NatureValley.com.

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Nature Valley Bicycle Festival to Include Fixed Gear Classic June 11-13; Nature Valley Grand Prix Pro Race June 16-20 Expands to Wisconsin

April 22, 2010

Minneapolis-Saint Paul (April 20, 2010) - The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, the premier event on the USA Cycling calendar, will include the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic to be held at the National Sports Center (NCS) Velodrome in Blaine June 11-13 and the prestigious Nature Valley Grand Prix pro stage bike race to be held in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Menomonie, Wisconsin and Stillwater June 16-20.

The Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic brings world-class track cycling to the NSC Velodrome. This thrilling event pits professional and elite amateur track cyclists in fast-paced sprint and grueling endurance events. Men and women compete in a series of fast and furious races using fixed gear bikes, which have only one gear and no brakes. Riders only make left turns and control their speed solely by pedaling faster or slower. Achieving speeds up to 40 mph, riders race on a wooden track with 43 degree angles making the races incredibly exciting for both racers and spectators. The Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic is FREE and open to the public. Races take place from June 11-13 beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday.

Nature Valley Grand Prix Announces New Rice Park and Menomonie Stages

The Nature Valley Grand Prix professional stage race opens June 16 in Saint Paul with a morning time trial and evening criterium held around Rice Park. The new Rice Park location promises to deliver better vantage points for spectators and a more exciting experience for the racers who will loop around the bricked streets in front of the Ordway Center some 40 times. The race will be reminiscent of the famed pave – ancient cobblestone paths – in Europe, creating unique challenges for the racers. Though Saint Paul’s bricked streets may not be as treacherous as the pavé in the famed Paris-Roubaix race, the turrets of the Landmark Center, classic architecture of the 100-year-old Saint Paul Hotel and the elegance of the Ordway Center will create a charming European ambiance for both riders and spectators.

Day 2 of the Nature Valley Grand Prix continues with a road race in Cannon Falls on June 17, while Day 3 takes place in Minneapolis on Friday evening, June 18. For the second consecutive year, the Minneapolis stage will be in the city’s dynamic Uptown neighborhood, where large crowds gathered in 2009, contributing to a 50% increase in overall attendance.

On Saturday, June 19, the racers travel east to Menomonie, Wisc., for the Menomonie Road Race, marking the first time that the Nature Valley Grand Prix includes a stage outside of Minnesota. The hills and valleys of Wisconsin’s dairy land promise to make this stage not only the most beautiful, but also one of the most challenging in the race’s history.

Racers will contest the final stage, the Stillwater Criterium, on Sunday, June 20, with both men and women cyclists completing the short circuit race, which includes a grueling 24 percent grade hill climb up Chilkoot Hill, considered the most difficult in North American cycling.

In addition to professional racing, other activities, including the Wheaties Fan Zone, Fruit by the Foot Stunt Rider shows, musical entertainment and bike and fitness expos will be offered at all stages of the five-day race with the exception of the time trial. The Tour de Kids fun races at each site are free and are open to children age 12 and under.

Now in its 12th year, the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a 10-day celebration of cycling that includes amateur and professional racing and community events. The Nature Valley Grand Prix has become the premier professional bike race in the U.S., attracting top American racing teams and riders from around the world. Proceeds from the Nature Valley Grand Prix are donated to Children’s Hospital and its Pediatric Hospice program.

The Nature Valley Grand Prix is free and open to the public. It is the only professional sporting event in Minnesota for which no admission ticket is required. The festival is a natural fit for Minnesota and Wisconsin as both states are populated with cycling enthusiasts. Several urban bike trails have opened in the past few years and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area has been named the most bike-friendly in the country by Bicycling Magazine. For more information and a detailed schedule of events visit www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com.

About the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival

The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is one of the nation’s top celebrations for the bicycle culture, with tens of thousands of cycling enthusiasts, pro athletes and avid recreational riders converging on Minnesota each June. Its professional racing event, the Nature Valley Grand Prix, began as a one-day criterium in Saint Paul in 1999. Its schedule and prestige have grown steadily until now, in its 12th year, it is ranked at the top of the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix schedule includes a unique mix of three criteriums (short circuit races), two road races and a time trial as the stages of the race move from downtown Saint Paul, to Cannon Falls, to Minneapolis, to Menomonie, Wisconsin and finally culminates in Stillwater. The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a volunteer run event, with all profits donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. For more information visit www.NatureValleyBicycleFestival.com

About Nature Valley

Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings variety to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome and great-tasting snacks. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Nature Valley is part of General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. For more information, visit www.naturevalley.com.

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Nature Valley to Sponsor 2010 Bicycle Festival

February 1, 2010

Granola bar maker increases commitment to all forms of cycling

Minneapolis-Saint Paul (February 1, 2010) Organizers of the Minnesota Bicycle Festival have announced that Nature Valley is increasing its commitment. After sponsoring the Nature Valley Grand Prix pro stage race for ten years, they will expand their involvement to sponsor the overall festival in 2010. The event, which still includes the Nature Valley Grand Prix, has been renamed the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival and will take place June 11-20, 2010.

“Nature Valley’s growing commitment to cycling stands in sharp contrast to many other sponsors in the sport who are reducing or eliminating their cycling programs,” said Festival Executive Director David LaPorte. “Nature Valley is looking towards the future and recognizes that cycling is one of the most popular activities in the country. While we’re thrilled that their commitment to our event is growing, we’re even more pleased that they are supporting the sport as a whole, which is our mission as well.”

The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival will take place June 11-20, 2010 and will include the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic and the renowned Nature Valley Grand Prix pro stage race, considered the prime event on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar.

The Nature Valley Grand Prix professional stage race opens June 16 in Saint Paul with a morning time trial and evening criterium held in Downtown Saint Paul adjacent to Rice Park. The Nature Valley Grand Prix continues with a road race in Cannon Falls on June 17. Stage 4 takes place in Minneapolis on Friday evening June 18 in the city’s dynamic Uptown neighborhood.

On Saturday, June 19, the racers travel east to Menomonie, WI for the Menomonie Road Race, marking the first time that the Nature Valley Grand Prix includes a stage outside of Minnesota. Racers will contest Stage 6, the Stillwater Criterium, on Sunday, June 20, with both men and women cyclists completing the short circuit race, which includes riding up Chilikoot Hill 20 times, a grueling 24-percent-grade hill climb, considered the most difficult in North American cycling.

In addition to professional racing, other activities, including the Fan Zone, stunt riders, musical entertainment and bike and fitness expos will be offered at all stages of the five-day race with the exception of the time trial. The Tour de Kids fun races at each site are free and are open to children age 12 and under.

The Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic will take place at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine the weekend of June 11-13, prior to the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Velodrome track racing is an Olympic sport which features world class cyclists racing at speeds of up to 40 mph. Bikes used in fixed-gear track races have only one gear and do not have brakes, making the races fast and exciting for both spectators and riders.

Now in its 12th year, the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a five-day celebration of cycling that includes amateur and professional racing and community events. The Nature Valley Grand Prix has become the premier professional bike race in the U.S., attracting top American racing teams and riders from around the world. Proceeds from the Nature Valley Grand Prix are donated to Children’s Hospital and its Pediatric Hospice program.

The Nature Valley Grand Prix is free and open to the public. It is the only professional sporting event in Minnesota for which no admission ticket is required. The festival is a natural fit for Minnesota and Wisconsin as both states are populated with cycling enthusiasts. Several urban bike trails have opened in the past few years and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area boasts the most commuter bike trips per capita, an honor it shares with Portland, Oregon. For more information and a detailed schedule of events visit www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com.

About the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival

The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is one of the nation’s top celebrations for the bicycle culture, with tens of thousands of cycling enthusiasts, pro athletes and avid recreational riders converging on Minnesota each June. Its professional racing event, the Nature Valley Grand Prix began as a one-day criterium in Saint Paul in 1999. Its schedule and prestige have grown steadily until now, in its 12th year, it is ranked at the top of the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix schedule includes a unique mix of three criteriums (short circuit races), two road races and a time trial as the stages of the race move from downtown Saint Paul, to Cannon Falls, to Minneapolis, to Menomonie, Wisconsin and finally culminates in Stillwater. The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a volunteer run event, with all proceeds donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. For more information visit www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com


About Nature Valley

Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings variety to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome and great-tasting snacks. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Nature Valley is part of General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. Visit www.NatureValley.com

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Why Criteriums in a Stage Race?

April 24, 2009

It’s heresy to include criteriums (short circuit races) in a pro stage race. It’s just not done. Yet the Nature Valley Grand Prix has the top ranking on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar despite using criteriums for three of the six stages.

What gives? How can a race get the top ranking when it breaks the rules?

The Nature Valley Grand Prix is the NASCAR of bicycle racing. Most pro stage races follow the European model, which emphasizes road races that start in one city, finish in another and a spectator’s race experience can last for less than a minute. Here they come and there they go.

Well, this ain’t Europe and people in the US of A want a show.

Since criteriums are held on a short course (usually less than a mile), spectators can see the start of the race, they see the pack of racers whiz by every minute or so, they can walk the course to see different aspects of the race and they can be there for the finish. And because the course is short, it can be surrounded by a party with a bike race in the middle.

Even people who aren’t into bike racing have a blast.

And our road races are nontraditional as well. They’re the long distance endurance events that road races are supposed to be, but they finish with multiple laps of a short circuit to provide the spectator experience that’s the hallmark of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. So they’re really road races that finish with a criterium. The best of both worlds.

When you rewrite the rules, the real test of success is whether the insiders buy in. The professional teams attend in force because they need the crowds and media coverage to give value to their sponsors. And USA Cycling, the sport’s governing body, must buy it because they’ve given the Nature Valley Grand Prix the top ranking and invite the promoter to their symposia every year to share our radical ideas with others.

And, most importantly, the public loves the format and vote with their feet. The crowds are huge and enthusiastic and non-fans who come to one race come back for others, except that they come back as true believers.

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Get Strong, Ride Stronger

April 18, 2009

Strength Training
Dr. Josh Sandell
Spine and Sports Institute

The risk of injury is an ever-present aspect of cycling, but almost every great performance follows a long period of relatively uninterrupted training. Though many athletes believe either that an injury is just a normal part of training or an unfortunate random event, the frequency of injuries may be dramatically reduced by an injury prevention program that develops strength, flexibility, and elasticity in tissues that are at high risk for injuries. Use this program to prepare your body fully for the high-volume/high-intensity training that will come later in the season.

Strength Training

Strength training is a critical aspect of injury prevention, affecting the connective tissues and the muscles. Since cycling actions occur primarily in a single plane, the tissues that act in that plane become disproportionately strong while those that act side-to-side atrophy.

Programs developed only for performance enhancement usually neglect tissues that act laterally, therefore increasing the risk of injury. Several muscles that are neglected in strength training programs are the hip abductors, hip adductors, and the ankle dorsiflexors. When performing the weight training exercises, use relatively heavy weights and slow movements. Keep the duration of each set between 40 and 60 seconds.

Strength training can be accomplished by simply using your own body weight with the use of physio balls and balance trainers. These exercises should be performed slow and controlled with the use of rotational movement and frontal plane movements.

We’ll have some more information down the road about ability-appropriate workouts geared toward both the recreational and the racing cyclist, so stay tuned!

GET ON YOUR BIKES AND RIDE!

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Cycling Clubs (and other addictions)

March 20, 2009

At its best, cycling is a social activity. Sure, you can go out there and grind along by yourself. More often than not (e.g. commuting, training), that’s what makes the most sense. Seasoned riders know from experience that cycling is the most satisfying when you’re riding with a group of like-minded roadies.

The easiest way to find these rides is to join a club. Most clubs host group rides and many are open to non-members. But finding the right club and the right ride can be hit or miss. Some of these rides are really mock races, blowing stop signs and dropping newbies (and even regulars) like a bad habit. Other rides use bicycles as a means for getting from one Dairy Queen to the next.

So, how do you find the club (and ride) that’s right for you?

Ask around at bike shops. Unlike McDonald’s (where the workers are in it for the glory), people who work at bike shops are almost always passionate cyclists. No one bike shop will know every club and every ride, so ask around at a few. Tell them what kind of rides you’re looking for and you’ll likely get some great suggestions. And maybe buy some Sports Beans or something, so you aren’t just begging for free advice.

If the clubs publicize their rides as open to non-members, you can just show up. If they don’t, you can contact the club and ask. Introduce yourself when the group gathers and ask if it’s an open ride. Even if you already know that it is, asking is an ice breaker.

And then see how it goes. If it’s a great fit, join the club. If it isn’t, try a different one. Once you join a club, be active. Do their rides and participate in their functions. The club is your gateway into the cycling subculture.

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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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Get On Your Bikes And Ride!

March 10, 2009

Confusing wintry mix aside, it seems that it’s that time of year. We’ve acclimated to Daylight Savings Time, we’ve seen that (at least here in Minnesota) 40-degree temperatures are a reality, and there’s even a chance we’ll toss our windproof bib tights aside for good this weekend, leaving us only with leg warmers and the like. Thank goodness Punxsutawney Phil graced us with this pleasant “spring.”

Forthcoming seasons aside, we’re going to need more than proper clothing to hoist our bikes off the trainer and bring them into the wild. Sean Peotter, of On Support, has tipped us off to the true art of the pre-ride safety check. He might know a thing or two about it…he sits on the planning commission for neutral support for the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Let’s take a look at what Sean thinks we all should do to ensure smiles during the miles:

Pre-Ride Safety Check

By Sean Peotter – OnSupport Neutral Service

One of the most overlooked things that should be a part of every ride is a pre-ride safety check. This check shouldn’t take long, but it will help ensure that your ride is a safe and enjoyable one.

First things first, you should first check to see if your tires are properly inflated. All tire manufacturers will print the recommended inflation range on the sidewall any tire. If you stay within this range, your tires should be in good shape. While checking the recommended tire pressure, you should also check the condition of your tires for cracks, tears, as well as any loose glass or debris embedded anywhere. Be sure the skewer that holds the wheel to the frame is secure as well.

Another very important item to look at is the braking system. Look at the cables to make certain they are intact with no kinks or frays. Give the brake lever a good firm squeeze to verify the cable fixing bolt is tight. Next, take a look at the gap between the brake pad and rim. Not only do you want to make sure the brakes are not rubbing on the rim, but you should also check the alignment of the pad. You don’t want the pad to come in contact with the tire or the dreaded friction flat tire will appear shortly thereafter.

Washing your bike after every ride is not always possible, though you should give it a thorough wash at least once a month. Not only does this make your bike look great, it also gives you the opportunity to look more closely at the frame. Cracks in frames can be extremely hard to see, especially if your frame is a dirty one. While you clean your bike, look at all the nooks and crannies for any signs of failure. If you notice anything, take your bicycle to a local shop for further analysis.

These checks should take no longer than a few minutes but this is in no way a substitute for a tune-up. It is always recommended to have your bike tuned-up once a year by a professional mechanic that will look at your bike more closely.

Happy trails!

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Welcome!

February 28, 2009

Welcome to TRIA’s Your Cycling

Thanks for stopping by our blog! Enjoy what we have here, and let us know what you think!

We’re best known for our Nature Valley Grand Prix pro stage race, which will begin June 10th in St. Paul, Minnesota. We’re also hosting the Minnesota Bicycle Festival, which is a celebration of all forms of cycling. No matter what your focus, we’ll have you covered! Cycling is one of the most popular forms of recreation in the country. With the push to be as “green” as possible looming, the cycling boom will continue to exist for years to come.

The Your Cycling blog, sponsored by the TRIA Orthopaedic Center, is being created to help you get more out of your cycling. We’ve assembled a panel of nationally known experts, some every day Cycling Freds, and even some professional cyclists competing in the Nature Valley Grand Prix in 2009, who will blog on subjects ranging from training programs to nutrition to sports psychology to cycling techniques. Whether you’re a novice rider or a seasoned domestique, you’ll learn a lot from these folks and will be a better cyclist for it.

Keep watching the blog for updates or, better yet, subscribe to our RSS feed for instant updates when we make a new post! Regardless of the weather outside, we’re always here to serve up a nice steady tempo blog, rain or shine!

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