Mid-Week Report: The Latest News, Products and Events
Welcome to the November 20th, Mid-Week Report!
Welcome to the November 20th, Mid-Week Report!
FIRST LOOK: LAUF REAR SUSPENSION CONCEPTS
Our Icelandic friends at Lauf have released three radical rear suspension patents. The suspension designs are minimally invasive, they maintain relatively traditional frame lines and use few moving parts to require minimal maintenance . Essentially flexible chainstays are paired with seat stays that mate in a rear cavity of the seat tube to allow an unspecified amount of adjustable vertical flex. Lauf says they are aiming for no more than 40mm of movement.
If Lauf’s new concepts work anything like their famous flexy fork, we’ll be waiting anxiously to get our hands on one.
More info: www.laufcycling.com
Obituary: Raymond Poulidor
Former Tour de France winners Bernard Thevenet and Bernard Hinault were among hundreds of mourners who gathered in the village of Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat on Tuesday for the funeral of Raymond Poulidor, who died last week at the age of 83.
“We will miss him, that’s for sure, there’s going to be a big hole in our lives,” said Thevenet.
“He was an intergenerational champion. Known by people who never saw him on a bike.”
Poulidor clinched 189 wins during his career from 1960-1977 but he will always be remembered for the races he failed to win.
From 1964 to 1976 he finished second in the Tour de France on three occasions and was third five times in an era dominated by Eddy Merckx.
High points included wins in the Tour of Spain, Dauphine Libere twice, and Paris-Nice twice.
His grandson Mathieu van der Poel, two-time cyclo-cross world champion, accompanied Poulidor’s widow Giselle and their two other grandchildren at the funeral service.
WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: WHY CYCLISTS NEED STRENGTH TRAINING
This is the time of year when a lot of athletes ask about strength training. Should they? Shouldn’t they? Should they lift heavy or light? Free weights or machines? And what about Crossfit? Coaches have been debating the effectiveness and necessity of strength training for endurance athletes for many years, and even my own view has evolved considerably. Ten years ago I would have told you that if you’re a cyclist, strength training is a waste of time and effort. Not anymore.
We’re Not Getting Any Younger
Any conversation about strength training for endurance athletes requires some parameters of who you’re talking about. It is still difficult to make a compelling case for elite and professional road cyclists or even 30-something high-level Masters to spend significant periods of time lifting weights. The vast majority of the athletes working with CTS Coaches and reading this blog are 35-65 years old, have full-time jobs or are retired, and have athletic aspirations that do not include National Championships or a pro contract. For this population – and I am one of you – strength training should be a component of your year-round training.
Strength training preserves muscle mass
Athletes over 40 always complain about their slower metabolism, and while age plays a role, the amount of muscle you’re carrying on your frame plays a bigger one. As we get older we tend to be less active, and as a result we lose muscle mass. You may be more active than others in that you’re a cyclist, but look at your overall lifestyle. Are you more or less active now than you were in your twenties? You most likely sit more, do less manual labor, less lifting and chasing of children, etc.
Resistance Training and Weight Training Enhance Coordination
Whether you are doing bodyweight resistance exercises, lifting free weights, or using rubber tubing, there are balance and coordination components to your movements. This develops and maintains neural pathways for proprioception and balance, and it develops small muscles that help your stability. Why is that important? When your balance and coordination are not well trained during middle age you end up lifting objects or moving your body in ways that place inappropriate stress on weak muscles. This is part of the reason moving furniture or hiking with a heavy pack leads to significant soreness or injury.
For the people who are already past middle age, falling and breaking a hip is a real concern, even for aerobically fit older athletes. Breaking a hip can take years off your life expectancy, mostly because it often hastens the decline in overall activity level. While a broken hip may not be an immediate concern for most of the athletes reading this blog, an established routine of resistance or strength training, even yoga, can keep your balance and proprioception at a higher level for many years to come. The higher your overall fitness and coordination is in middle age, the more of that fitness and coordination you can retain as you get older.
Strength Training makes you smarter
It’s well established that exercise improves cognitive performance, and in recent years research has delved into how different types of exercise affect the brain. In a review in Frontiers in Medicine, Yael Netz explains that physical training (aerobic or strength training) and motor training (complex movements with lower metabolic cost, like Tai Chi and balance challenges) both improve neuroplasticity, which increases our ability to take in and retain new information. Improved physical fitness also improves oxygenation and blood flow to the brain.
It turns out intensity is a key factor when it comes to physical training activities improving cognitive performance, and movement complexity is key when it comes to motor training activities. Dual activities (activities with physical and motor components) are even more effective (and time efficient). Strength training often falls into this category because the movements can be complex and physically strenuous.
In elderly populations, there is a lot of interest in strength training’s potential for reducing cognitive decline. Not only does strength training keep older adults more mobile, stable, and physically capable; aspects of strength training can be executed by people with low mobility or balance issues. The duration and physical footprint necessary for strength training are smaller than with aerobic training, perhaps making it more practical for elderly populations. You and I may not be elderly (yet), but the principles are consistent: improved physical fitness from high (relative) intensity, complex movements has a positive impact on cognitive performance and executive function.
Strength training increases your options
This is crucially important for lifelong cyclists. I have long described something I refer to as “the cyclist’s paradox”. Cyclists have extremely well developed aerobic engines, yet very underdeveloped musculoskeletal systems for any sport other than cycling. You have the aerobic engine to run pretty fast for a prolonged period of time, but because cycling is weight-supported many cyclists can “outrun” their skeletal system’s ability to handle the stress of either the speed or duration their aerobic engines can support. Similarly, lifelong cyclist frequently have severely underdeveloped upper body strength. This limits the exercise and activity options cyclists feel prepared to participate in. When you are a time-crunched athlete, having the option to go for a run or hit the hotel gym during a business trip can mean the difference between doing something and doing nothing.
Strength training keeps you in the game
Even if you see yourself as primarily a cyclist I encourage you to expand your vision and aspire to be a well-rounded athlete who happens to focus on cycling. This distinction touches on all the points raised in the sections above, but perhaps the greatest advantage of being a well-rounded athlete who cycles is that your activities off the bike help you to be more effective on the bike. Note, I didn’t say that your off-bike activities made you faster on the bike, but rather, more effective. In my experience, well-rounded athletes are able to be more consistent in their sport-specific cycling training because they spend less time sidelined by soreness and injury caused by being unprepared for activities of daily living. Yes, silly things like moving furniture and heaving luggage knock cyclist out of sport-specific training frequently enough to disrupt training programs.
But, does Strength Training Make you Faster?
So, does strength training make you faster on the bike? Probably not in a direct sense. Even though squats, for instance, use the same muscles you use to push on the pedals, the rate of force production is far slower during a squat than it is during a pedal stroke. You don’t squat at the leg speed of a 90rpm cadence. However, in an indirect sense, the fact that strength training makes you a more well-rounded athlete, increases the range of activities you can participate in, and increases your chances of exercising on a more consistent basis, means you can apply a greater training stimulus more frequently than you could otherwise. And that can definitely make you a faster cyclist.
There are a lot more topics to cover on the subject of resistance and weight training, including what equipment and movements to use, how frequently to incorporate strength training, and how to balance strength training with endurance training. We have some additional articles on the subject, here:
BELGIAN WAFFLE RIDE MAY 3, 2020
Press release: Registration opens Friday, November 15 at high noon (PST)! The most unique cycling event in the country, the Canyon Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR), returns dirtier than ever for its ninth consecutive edition of pedaling perversity with an unexpected boost by way of the absence of the Amgen Tour of California. Created as an extremely challenging race in the spirit of the great European one-day Spring Classics, the BWR returns to North County San Diego on May 3, 2019 with a Belgique theme unlike anything the cycling world has ever tasted is sure to test World Tour and Continental Pros in untold ways. This year the event will offer a larger prize purse than ever before for the deepest PRO field ever assembled for an event of its kind. As expected with the explosive growth of the BWR, there will be an expanded Canyon Pure Cycling Expo at the Lost Abbey Brewery in San Marcos, California, where the race is held each year.
The Canyon BWR will be offering a prize purse to the top ten riders, both female and male, in support of what will be the most exciting and competitive professional field ever assembled for the ‘Hell of the North (County).’ Once again, the women will receive a larger prize purse than the men. Racers and event patrons will again be treated to Belgian waffles, moules-frites, cheese, bread, Lost Abbey Belgian ale, more waffles and more Lost Abbey ale on race day. The Waffle race itself promises masochistic punishment of entrants along a 221-kilometer course, which features more than 12,000 feet of undulating climbs and over 50-miles of off-road terrain that harken to the teeth-rattling cobblestones of Europe’s most grueling race routes.
GRAN FONDO HINCAPIE 2020: MARCH 28 AND MAY 2
After two successful fondos earlier this year in Greenville South Carolina and Boise, Idaho Gran Fondo Hicapie has two more events lined up for 2020. Join a host of current and former pro riders on the roads of Fort Worth, Texas and Chattanooga, Tennessee on March 28 and May 2 2020.
2020 DIRTY KANZA REGISTRATION DETAILS
2020, here we come! Mark you calendars for the 15th annual Garmin Dirty Kanza on May 30, 2020. Thank you for making this year’s race one of the best ever.
The random selection process for the 2020 race will open on January 6 through January 19. Selections will then be made on or before January 27.
THE RIFT ICELAND JULY 25, 2020
The Rift is a gravel race through the dark lava fields in the highlands of Iceland – taking place on the tectonic split between North America and Eurasia. An ever-growing battlefield that grows an inch every year.
The battlefield sculpted by volcanic eruptions is vast, rugged and unpredictable – making the Rift a challenge of endurance, mental fortitude and most likely the bare elements. And in the end – a gravel battle between the continents!
The course starts out of a small town along the southern coast called Hvolsvöllur. This incredible shoreline stretches from the greater Reykjavík area in the west to the magnificent Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in the east. It is lined with countless natural wonders such as cascading waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers and volcanos – circumnavigating one of the most active volcanos on the island, Hekla.