May 15, 2013 Leave a comment
May 14, 2013 Leave a comment
Our friends at Skratch Labs are obsessed with creating the best nutrition products – ones that taste great, that are made from real all-natural ingredients, and that are designed to optimize performance and health on the bike or off. Their famous Skratch Labs hydration drink mix can be found in our stores and on Performancebike.com, including their classic Exercise Hydration Drink Mix and their new Everyday Hydration Drink Mix (formulated with fewer calories). But Skratch Labs is also known for their real food recipes that you can make at home, collected in the aptly named “The Feed Zone Cookbook”.
The Feed Zone Cookbook provides 150 delicious recipes that even the busiest athletes can prepare in less time than it takes to warm-up for a workout (110 of them are or can easily be made vegetarian). With simple recipes requiring just a handful of ingredients, Biju Thomas & Allen Lim show how easy it is for athletes to prepare their own food, whether at home or on the go. To get a taste of what’s inside, the folks at Skratch Labs let us share 2 of their most well-known recipes below – Allen’s Rice Cakes and Biju’s Oatmeal. Give them a try and you’ll be hooked.
Allen’s Rice Cakes
Allen Lim started making these rice cakes at training camps and races to give riders something savory and fresh to eat while on the bike. They became a huge hit since almost everything the riders ate was pre-packaged and sweet. Not only are these rice cakes delicious, they also provide a consistent energy source that doesn’t upset the stomach.
TIME> 30 minutes
- 2 cups uncooked calrose or other medium-grain “sticky” rice [TIP: We always use calrose rice, a strain of medium-grain rice common in Asian cooking. This variety cooks fast (in 20 minutes or less), retains a nutty flavor, and is just sticky enough to hold our cakes together. If you can’t find it, use another medium-grain rice or any kind marked “sushi rice.”]
- 1½ cups water
- 8 ounces bacon
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons liquid amino acids or low-sodium soy sauce
- brown sugar
- salt and grated parmesan (optional)
- Combine rice and water in a rice cooker.
- While rice is cooking, chop up bacon before frying, then fry in a medium sauté pan. When crispy, drain off fat and soak up excess fat with paper towels.
- Beat the eggs in a small bowl and then scramble on high heat in the sauté pan. Don’t worry about overcooking the eggs as they’ll break up easily when mixed with the rice.
- In a large bowl or in the rice cooker bowl, combine the cooked rice, bacon, and scrambled eggs. Add liquid amino acids or soy sauce and sugar to taste. After mixing, press into an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan to about 1½-inch thickness. Top with more brown sugar, salt to taste, and grated parmesan, if desired.
- Cut and wrap individual cakes. Makes about 10 rice cakes.
NUTRITION DATA PER SERVING (1 cake)> Energy 225 cal • Fat 8 g • Sodium 321 mg • Carbs 30 g • Fiber 1 g • Protein 9 g
Rice or pasta are common pre-race breakfast staples for professional cyclists, but at the 2011 Tour of California Chris Horner and the RadioShack team proved that oatmeal can be the breakfast of champions. Many cyclists have mastered this recipe, and it will become your favorite standby food too.
TIME> 10–15 minutes
- 1 cup water
- dash of salt
- 1 cup “old-fashioned”
- rolled oats
- 1–2 cups milk, depending on desired thickness [TIP: Use any kind of milk—dairy, soy, almond. Start with 1 cup and add more to achieve your desired consistency]
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 banana, chopped
- ¼ cup raisins
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a low boil. Add oats and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
- Add milk and brown sugar, and return the mixture to a low boil. Add molasses, banana, and raisins, continuing to stir until oatmeal reaches desired thickness. Remove pan from heat. Let rest for 10–15 minutes if you have the time.
- Finish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and a splash of milk.
NUTRITION DATA PER SERVING> Energy 490 cal • Fat 6 g • Sodium 181 mg • Carbs 102 g • Fiber 10 g • Protein 19 g
Recipes republished with permission of VeloPress.
May 3, 2013 Leave a comment
Some people can’t imagine riding 180 miles on a bicycle from Charlotte, NC to North Myrtle Beach, SC in three days. Now imagine doing this ride using nothing but your arms to complete the task. That is what a group of cyclists did April 25 – 27, 2013 to raise money for the Adaptive Sports & Adventures Program (ASAP) at Carolinas Rehabilitation Hospital. Cycle to the Sea (CTTS) is a unique ride that raises critical funds and awareness for ASAP to offer a variety of low-cost programs for youth and adults with physical challenges. This bike ride is held every spring and involves athletes with physical disabilities who cycle on hand cycles and/or tandem bikes. Mark, a distributor from our components division here at our home office, participated in this ride with his hand cycle (he is also an accomplished wheelchair rugby player) and he took the time to share what this experience meant to him:
Day 1 started with a dozen hand cycles, 40-45 able bodied cyclists, and countless family members gathered to see their loved ones off on their journey. The weather was chilly but it didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirit and anxiousness to get the ride started. The group rolled out as one big unit but quickly separated into two smaller groups once we got out onto the open road. There was over 3000 feet of climbing the first day but it didn’t seem to curb anyone’s spirit. Everyone got over the climbs the best they could, whether by pedaling or getting pushed by a fellow cyclist, and everyone finished together.
The surprise of the day for me was our “safety patrol”. The local Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club volunteers every year to shepherd the herd to Myrtle Beach. The guys were amazing. They created a rotating formation around each group of cyclists stopping traffic from ALL side roads and on ramps allowing the cyclist to pass unimpeded. We did not stop at 1 stoplight the entire 3 day ride. Gentlemen, my hat is off to you and what you do. This ride would truly not be what it is without you. THANK YOU!
Day 2 brought more of the same just with flatter terrain. The weather was a little grey in the morning and quickly burned off shortly after the ride headed out. The longer the ride went on the more the cyclist, both hand cyclist and able bodies cyclist, gelled together. The two groups were operating as fine oiled machines and were very impressive to see. The speeds got faster and those that had been pushed the first day didn’t seem to need as much help as they once had. Folks seemed to have a growing confidence in themselves and their ability to get this ride done. It was truly inspirational.
Day 3 brought on the last 63 mile stretch and you couldn’t tell from anyone’s face they had ridden over 120 miles in the past 2 days. Folks were eager, feeling good, and ready to get the show rolling. Early in the ride, you could feel there was a sense of purpose. I rode in the front group and speeds stayed between 17-25 miles per hour the whole way. For those that do not know, such speeds are reasonably swift on a traditional bicycle but that is “cooking” on a hand cycle.
Upon arrival to Myrtle Beach, you could see emotion on everyone’s face. Not only on the participants faces with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment but also on the family members faces that their loved ones could pull off such an undertaking. I’m honored to have been a part of such a great event and Cycle to the Sea will now be on my yearly calendar of “must do’s”.
I was fortunate enough to be both a participant in the ride and a representative of Performance Bicycle, which was one of Cycle to the Sea’s corporate sponsors. As a long time cyclist both before the wheelchair and after, I understand the amount of time it takes to both organize a ride of this magnitude and the dedication it takes to complete it. I salute all involved for a job well done. The ASAP staff that Jennifer Moore has put together is second to none and I’m proud to be an associated with this organization. I strongly encourage anyone that is looking for a good ride, an incredible experience, and a worthwhile cause to be a part of to consider the 2014 Cycle to the Sea bike ride.
Everybody has different reasons why they ride. Some ride to prove something to themselves, some ride to prove something to others, and some ride to honor someone that has touched their life. For me, the 2013 Cycle to the Sea is dedicated to my friend Jimmy Melton. I met Jimmy this past Thursday as the CTTS ride was leaving town. We were both first time riders and Jimmy was there to support one of my fellow hand cyclists Jacob Conley. We talked and came to know each other pretty well over the next three days. The end of the ride came, Jimmy met my wife and baby daughter, and we made plans to see each other next year at the 2014 Cycle to the Sea. Then I got the bad news that Jimmy had died the next night in his sleep. I was numb. Jimmy definitely touched my life and made me a better person for knowing him. Godspeed my friend. I will see you on the other side.
Ultimately this bike ride is not about a charity event. It is about those with physical challenges that display uncompromising human spirit, determination to accomplish what they aren’t supposed to be able to do, and those that just want to ride their bike.
May 3, 2013 1 Comment
The nutrition experts over at Skratch Labs are on a mission to use real world science and practice to create the best nutrition products – that taste great, that are made from real all-natural ingredients, and that are designed to optimize performance and health for both sport and life. Their story began while Dr. Allen Lim was working as a sport scientist and coach for a professional cycling team – he started making his own training food and sports drink from scratch for the cyclists he worked with because too many of the pre-packaged sports bars and drinks that were marketed or given to them were laden with artificial ingredients and making them sick to their stomach. Eventually, Allen started making a “secret drink mix” in his kitchen using a recipe with less sugar, more sodium, and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors, with a simple and clean taste created by using real fruit – thus Skratch Labs Hydration Drink Mix was born.
So with that in mind, we thought we’d ask Allen to weigh in with some tips for fueling for your next ride – whether it’s a training loop, a local race or a long-distance charity ride. Read on below for his 5 top tips to improve your performance on the bike by taking a holistic approach to your nutrition planning and preparation, before, during and after your ride.
1. Eat & Drink Early & Consistently—One of the biggest mistakes riders make is forgetting to eat and drink early and consistently throughout the day. While this is plain common sense, it‘s often disregarded on ride day—a mistake that can spell disaster no matter how well trained or prepared you are.
As a general rule, you need to replace at least half the calories you burn each hour, and you need to begin replacing those calories in the first hour if you’re going to be out for more than three hours. On a flat road without drafting, the average cyclist will burn about 200-300 Calories at 10-15 mph, 300-600 Calories at 15 to 20 mph, and 600 to 1,000 Calories at 20 to 25 mph.
Regarding hydration, on a hot day your fluid needs may be as high as 1 to 2 liters an hour. The best way to get an appreciation of how much fluid you might need is to weigh yourself before and after a workout. The weight you lose is primarily water weight, where a 1-pound loss is equal to about 16 ounces of fluid. As a general rule, try not to lose more than 3 percent of your body weight over the course of a long ride.
2. Try Eating Real Food—While there are plenty of pre-packaged sports bars and gels touting their ability to improve one’s performance, it’s important to realize that real food can work just as well if not better than expensive, engineered nutrition. A regular sandwich, a boiled potato with salt, a banana and a ball of sushi rice mixed with chocolate or some scrambled eggs can all give you the calories you need without upsetting your stomach the way a lot of sugary gels or sports bars can. In fact, while coaching teams at the Tour de France, the riders I worked with used real food as their primary solid fuel source, because it just worked better. Most of the recipes for these foods can be found in “The Feed Zone Cookbook” that I wrote with Chef Biju Thomas to promote healthful, real-food eating.
3. Don’t Just Drink Water—When we sweat we lose both water and valuable electrolytes. If you drink only water and are sweating heavily, you’ll dilute the electrolytes in your body, in particular sodium, which plays a critical role in almost every bodily function. Diluting the sodium content in your body is called hyponatremia and can lead to a host of problems ranging from a drop in performance to seizures and even death. The amount of sodium that we lose in sweat is highly variable, ranging anywhere from 200 to 400 mg per half liter (16.9 ounces). Because of this large range, it’s always better to err on the side of more salt than less salt. Unfortunately, most sports drinks contain too much sugar and not enough sodium, which caused many of the riders I worked with to become sick during long days on the bike. For that reason, we developed an all-natural sports drink using less sugar, more sodium and flavored with freeze-dried fruit. Outside of using a sports drink with more sodium, also consider eating salty or savory foods on your ride rather than just sweet foods.
4. Learn What you Need in Training—Ride day is not the day that you want to be experimenting with yourself. So try different hydration and feeding strategies during training well before the big day. As an example, simply weighing yourself on a long training ride before your big event can give you valuable information to optimize your hydration for that event. Likewise, taking the time to prepare your own foods or trying different products beforehand and then writing out a specific game plan for your drinking and feeding needs can go a long way to making sure you don’t make any mistakes on ride day.
5. Come in Well-Fed and Well-Rested—While proper training is obviously important, making sure you are well rested coming into an event is sometimes even more critical. You can’t cram training, so as you approach the big day, make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and aren’t killing yourself in training the week leading into your event. Just sleeping an extra hour each night the week before your event can significantly improve your performance. Finally, adding extra carbohydrate to your diet, and making sure you get plenty of calories the week before your event, will assure that your legs are fueled and ready to go.
You can find Skratch Labs Hydration Drink Mix in our stores and on Performancebike.com, including their classic Exercise Hydration Drink Mix and their new Everyday Hydration Drink Mix (formulated with fewer calories). For real food recipes that you can make at home, check out the “The Feed Zone Cookbook”.
April 29, 2013 1 Comment
In honor of our 30th anniversary in 2012, we partnered with the Alliance for Biking & Walking to identify 10 worthy organizations to receive $30,000 in Better Bicycling Community Grants, which were distributed directly to local communities to make the most impact on the ground. In this post we’re going to catch up with 4 groups that are making a difference though Open Streets initiatives, powered by the Alliance for Biking & Walking’s Open Streets Project. By temporarily closing streets to automobile traffic, these events foster connections in their communities by allowing people to walk, bike, or just socialize in the heart of their town – creating a public space where before there was just traffic.
First up is the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition, part of our Chapel Hill, NC store community, and only a few miles from our home office & warehouse. The Open Streets event they hosted was designed to meet the city’s public health, social, economic, and environmental goals by allowing residents the opportunity to use the street, a public good, in safe, active, and socially engaging ways.
This first-ever Open Streets event in Carrboro took place on Saturday, April 13, and it was definitely a resounding success. A diverse cross-section of the community came out on bikes and on foot for a variety of healthy activities, from kids rides, to yoga, to rock-climbing and more!
Our Chapel Hill, NC store sent a team to support the event, both to wrench on bikes that needed a quick tune-up or a flat fixed, and also to chat with anyone who stopped by to say hello – a big part of Open Streets events is just getting to know your local community members better.
Seth LaJeunesse of the Carrboro Bike Coalition had this to say: “Through promotional activities, community rides, safety clinics, and bike light installation sessions, the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition has advanced the feasibility, quality, and safety of bicycling in the Carrboro- Chapel Hill region. Performance Bicycle’s Better Bicycling Community grant extends these efforts by placing bicycling at the center of a broader Open Streets initiative that promises to enhance the health, nutrition and well-being of diverse stakeholders.”
We were excited to be able to help out with an event so close to our home office, and we can’t wait for more events like it in the future.
Another $3000 Better Bicycling Community grant was awarded to Charlottesville Community Bikes to help celebrate Charlottesville’s bikeable and walkable Jefferson Park Avenue corridor and encourage and support a neighborhood desire to bike and walk to these businesses. Charlottesville’s first Open Streets Event was on held Aug. 18, 2012 along a 1 mile stretch of road, closed to vehicle traffic, and open to all other forms of active recreation and transportation. In collaboration with this event, the local neighborhood associations also held a JPA Bridge Reopening Ceremony and Farmer’s Market that day. Over 40 organizations supported the event through sponsorship and offering activities or items of interest to the community. Participating organizations and nearby businesses reported positive experiences including strong community engagement and even increased business sales from the 2,000 attendees at the event!
Susan Elliott from Charlottesville Community Bikes said that the Performance grant “made it possible for us to demonstrate that active recreation and transportation can build community, be fun, and offer a valuable amenity to area. Being the first event of this type, many people were unsure of how it would be received. Everyone who experienced the event – families, government officials, represented organizations – came away with positive experiences and enthusiasm for more in the future. This grant gave us the ability to focus our attention on inviting the community to participate and ensuring a high quality experience.”
Our Broadway Tucson, Arizona store has been involved with a slightly different take on the urban riding experience through a partnership with the Living Streets Alliance, who received a Better Bicycling Community grant to help promote family friendly bicycling in the greater Tucson region through four Kidical Mass events in 2013. Kidical Mass is a group ride that provides a safe, fun, and social setting for families to explore urban bicycling riding, for parents to grow more comfortable riding with small children, and for small children to gain confidence and skills in a loosely supervised group ride.
Since last fall, Living Streets Alliance has partnered with El Grupo Youth Cycling, a local cycling club with a mission of empowering youth through cycling, to host a series of Kidical Mass family-friendly bike rides, with 4 events total to date. LSA and El Grupo are planning two more Kidical Mass events - through partnering together these groups doubled the number of events they could host, and our store teams have been excited to be a part of this experience.
Emily Yetman of the Living Streets Alliance had this to say: “The Performance Better Bicycling Grant has helped Living Streets Alliance make Kidical Mass, an incredibly popular, family-friendly, bike riding event, into a household name in a small, but growing number of homes in Tucson. Kids and neighbors now ask when the next ride will be held and word is spreading beyond the areas where we first held these rides. This kind of growth wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Performance grant.”
The last Open Streets initiative from our Better Bicycling Community Grants is schedule to take place in Salt Lake City, Utah. Bike Utah worked with local partners to develop and implement the 2013 Open Streets event in Salt Lake City and use the success of this template to help other Utah communities organize similar events. The primary role of the Open Streets campaign is to build cycling awareness and to get more people out biking, walking, and partaking in community activities.
The first event, Open Streets – Salt Lake City, took place on Saturday, May 4, and a big crowd took advantage of the opportunity to have fun on downtown city streets with no car traffic to deal with. Scott Lyttle, from Bike Utah, had this to say about our grant: “The grant from Performance Bicycle has allowed Bike Utah to partner with Salt Lake City to move forward Utah’s first Open Streets event. SLC has wanted to hold an Open Streets event for years and Performance Bicycle’s support has helped to make it happen.”
April 25, 2013 1 Comment
Since we’re now open for business in Florida, with 4 new stores and 1 coming soon, we couldn’t wait to get on the ground and out in our new local communities. So what better way to celebrate than with one of our favorite activities, helping out with the dedicated riders of Bike MS.
Three Performance team members headed down to Miami to help out with the South Florida Bike MS in April. We were there to work, doing everything from handing out nutrition to performing quick bike tune-ups – before, during and after the 50, 80 or 100 mile rides.
As you would expect in Florida, the weather was sunny and beautiful on ride weekend! More than 1400 riders turned out for the 2-day event and everyone had a very good time. We worked on everything from dry and noisy chains to punctured tires and tubes (and even one punctured rim).
On the second day we had the first aid station. While there’s not usually too much mechanic work that needs to happen only 7 miles into the ride, we did have a few boxes of GU Energy Gels to hand out so we stood next to the course on a straight open section of road and handed out over 100 peanut butter GU gels on the fly. No need to stop for this aid station, we’ll hook you up as you ride by!
Here Steve shows us the fastest way to empty a box of PowerBar Performance bars - open them up near hungry Bike MS riders first thing in the morning! All in all, the ride was a big success with no serious injuries and loads of smiles. We had a great time helping out and ended up manning 5 aid stations over the course of the two day event. We can’t wait to help out again next year!
April 17, 2013 Leave a comment
It’s been a little while since we’ve checked in with our local store associates, but cooler weather didn’t stop teams from our over 100 stores all across the country from staying busy in their local cycling communities. We put on clinics, supported rides helped out with local advocacy groups and more. For more info about your local Performance Bicycle, check your local store page for regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides. Read on below for some of what our stores were involved with in the last few months.
In November associates from our Arizona stores helped out at the 2012 El Tour De Tucson. We covered their day in detail in an earlier post, but our teams were busy at 3 aid stations out on the course, supporting the almost 9,000 cyclists on the 111 mile route. Our expert mechanical help meant that no one had to quit the ride because of their bike!
Our Bloomfield Hills, Michigan store came out to support a slightly chillier race, at the Iceman Cometh Challenge Bicycle Race. This annual 29 mile point-to-point mountain bike race is so popular that registration fills up in minutes! Our team had a great time at the packed pre-race expo, and we even saw some familiar faces among the 3700 racers on a slushy race day.
Also in November, our Sorrento Valley, California store participated in the 3rd annual Bike the Coast event, which offered 7,15,25,50 or 100 mile courses from the Oceanside Pier. We provided the turn-around rest stop and sag support for the 50 and 100 mile course, which was conveniently located right in front of our store. We had a great turn out for the event, as the organizers said they had approximately 1700 participants. Our two big tents were busy all day with volunteers handing out food, and our mechanics helping with flats and other mechanicals to keep folks on the road.
This next event may have been small in size, but we our Virginia Beach, Virginia store was still proud to receive this certificate of appreciation from the local Rotary Club. Store associates Erin Simms and Bob Orr were instrumental in the planning and execution of this safety rodeo that we participated in for several hours – they were excited to be able to give back to their community in this small way, but who doesn’t like to get a little recognition for their efforts!
Also at our Virginia Beach, Virginia store, six riders participated in an Indoor Century in February. Following the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association’s rules for an indoor century, riders hooked up their trainers and set out for six hours. Riders were given advice on nutrition strategy and were given great advice regarding their riding style to help them optimize performance. Our store manager, Terry, was nice enough to whip up some PB&J’s for the day and provided fresh fruit. In the end, two riders lasted the full six hours. It was a fantastic time for staff and customers alike!
This next shot is from an ongoing indoor cycling class in our Greenwood, Indiana store. A regular crew of about 15 people showed up on a weekly basis over the winter, staying fit and pedaling away the winter blues with our store team. There isn’t a much better way to stay motivated than to pedal away with some new friends!
Of course our stores also continued with their regular Spin Doctor how-to clinics, covering topics from roadside/trailside repair, to tuning derailleurs, to basic bike maintenance tips that every cyclist should learn. Above is a shot from a group in our Virginia Beach, Virginia store getting tips from our resident Spin Doctor.
Here’s an interested group of cyclists in our Southlake, Texas store, learning more about derailleurs.
Our Dayton, Ohio store also fielded large crowds for their Spin Doctor clinics, like this one above.
And finally, we can’t neglect to mention the Grand Opening of our very first stores in Florida! Here Bonnie, the store manager of our Tampa store, got to do the honors at the celebratorial ribbon-cutting ceremony at our very first store in the Sunshine State.
And here’s the excited crowd of cyclists stretched around the corner our new Fort Lauderdale store, eager to get inside and celebrate our grand opening with us.
So after a busy winter, we can’t wait to see what the warmer weather brings our way. Our store teams are excited to get back on the road and out in their communities even more to share their passion for cycling!