Taking Care of Saddle Sores

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File under “I’m going to stand the whole ride because it hurts”

While they aren’t generally discussed in polite company, saddle sores are simply an uncomfortable fact of life for many cyclists. No matter what, almost every cyclist is guaranteed to have at least one in their lifetime. They’re painful, they’re uncomfortable, and they can be embarrassing.

But don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Taking car of saddle sores is pretty easy. There are a few simple things you can do to prevent them from happening in the first place, or at least shorten the misery when you get them.

 What Are They

Saddle sores are localized skin infections in your, um…pelvic area. Think of them as a pimple that forms where the sun don’t shine. Most are very minor and will clear up on their own, but sometimes if you don’t take care of them, they can get a little out of hand.

Always remember: saddle sores are infections, and should be treated with respect. While extremely, extremely rare, saddle sores can develop into dangerous systemic infections.

If the sore is very painful, feels warm to the touch, is very red or you see red streaks coming from it, or you’re running a fever, seek immediate medical care.

You may also want to visit a doctor if the saddle sore hasn’t cleared in two weeks, or is getting larger.

 

What Causes Them

This is still debated, not just among cyclists, but also in the medical community. The general consensus seems to be though that saddle sores happen when friction irritates hair follicles, allowing them to become infected by bacteria.

 

Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To prevent saddle sores from happening in the first place, follow these tips:

1. Proper bike fit

Having your saddle too high can cause you to rock from side to side on the saddle, building up friction along the perinea and where the thighs join to the buttocks.

2. Use The Right Saddle (for you)

Not all saddles suite all body types. Find the one that’s right for you—which could mean trying a few different models and brands. Also, if you’ll be riding more than a few miles, stay away from very padded saddles, add on gel cushions, etc… These only increase friction and make things worse. It seems counterintuitive, but trust us.

Finding the right saddle for you can take some trial and error

Finding the right saddle for you can take some trial and error

3. Wear Bike Shorts

Bike shorts come with a pad sewn into them to help keep you comfortable on minimally padded saddles. By moving the padding to the shorts instead of the saddle, the padding moves with your body, reducing friction and helping prevent saddle sores. Also, don’t wear underwear underneath them—that just defeats the purpose.

Using cycling shorts, like the new Ultra SL bibs, can make a world of difference

Using cycling shorts, like the new Ultra SL bibs, can make a world of difference

4. Use chamois cream

Chamois cream is an anti-chafing lotion that can be applied to the chamois pad itself, or directly to the skin. It helps form a protective barrier between you and the fabric to prevent chaffing and irritation.

Have a saddle sore? This is your new best friend

Have a saddle sore? This is your new best friend

5. Wash Your Shorts

Never wear dirty shorts. Not even the ones you “just wore for only 2 miles yesterday”. Last time you rode in them, you created a hot, moist environment loaded up with dead skin cells and sweat. They’re basically a petri dish for bacteria and fungi. Now you want to put those dirty shorts on and ride again? Sure…if you think that’s a good idea…

6. Change and Shower

As soon as you finish your ride, take your shorts off and bathe as quickly as possible. Even if that means wrapping a towel around yourself in the parking lot and changing out of your shorts, go for it. Using some shower wipes to clean up can make a big difference. The longer they stay on after the ride, the greater the chances of a saddle sore. And no matter how short your ride, try to grab a shower and wash up. Staying clean is key to prevention.

If it'll be a little while before you can shower after a ride, try cleaning up with shower wipes

If it’ll be a little while before you can shower after a ride, try cleaning up with shower wipes

 

Treatment

Already have a saddle sore? Don’t worry. It may be sore, it probably hurts to touch, and it makes riding uncomfortable. But there’s plenty you can do to help yourself get better.

1. Cleaning

By far the best thing you can do to help speed along recovery is keep the area clean. Wash 2-3 times a day with regular soap and warm water. Thoroughly dry the area.

2. Rest

Nobody likes taking time off the bike, but sometimes riding can make saddle sores worse. If the sore is so painful you can’t sit on the bike, you’re better off taking a few days to let things heal. Yes, we hear about the pro’s riding through them all the time. They are paid to do that and are looked after accordingly. You are not.

3. Ointment

If you catch a saddle sore early, you can usually treat them easily with over the counter ointments.

We’ve had extremely good luck with topical acne medications that contain Benzoyl Peroxide (like OTC Persa-Gel 10). BP is a drawing agent that helps the spot dry out and heal—often in just a day or two. It can be tough on the skin though, and everyone reacts to things differently, so we’d recommend testing it on a…ummm… less sensitive area of the body first. Always consult a doctor before trying new medications.

Lately the medical community has advised AGAINST using an antibiotic ointment for minor skin infections like saddle sores. Antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing problem, so if you think it’s bad enough to warrant antibiotics, then you probably need a trip to the doctor to have them check it out.

We've had excellent luck with products like this for the early treatment of sores

We’ve had excellent luck with products like this for the early treatment of sores

4. Chamois Cream

Our old friend is back again. Most chamois creams have mild antiseptic and moisturizing properties. If your saddle interface area is feeling a little irritated or chaffed after your ride, it can help to put a small amount of chamois cream on the affected area after you shower. This helps to soothe the skin, prevent infection, and speed the healing process.

5. Don’t Squeeze Them

Sorry if this provokes a gag reflex, but don’t try to “pop” a saddle sore. While they are similar to pimples, they aren’t exactly the same. Trying to squeeze it may only drive the infection into a deeper layer of tissue—then you’re really in trouble.

The Perfect Recovery Meal

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Recovery is arguably just as important as saddle time. No matter how hard you’re riding, if you aren’t giving your body what it needs to recover, you’re not going to get any faster.
Recovery consists of two key aspects: time and nutrition. Even if you’re taking regular days off, it doesn’t matter if you’re not refueling your body in that crucial 40 minute window after a ride. But sometimes after a few hard hours on the bike, it can be tough to scrape together a big meal that will give you all the key ingredients you need to help your body start repairing itself.

That’s why we’ve found it easier to drink our recovery meal than to eat it.

To make the Perfect Recovery Meal– one that tastes great and helps jumpstart the recovery process, all you need is a blender and some creativity. Here are some of our favorite recipes to spark your imagination.

1. The Recovery Cocoa

This is an excellent recovery drink to help revitalize you after those long, hard, cold winter rides.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 Scoops chocolate Clif Shot Protein Recovery Drink
  2. ½ packet (1 tbsp) hot chocolate mix
  3. Hot water

 

2. The Rejuvenator Smoothie

Use this refreshing smoothie to help recovery from hard rides on hot days. It has plenty of protein, phyto- and micronutrients, fat, and electrolytes. We would say it’s arguably the Perfect Recovery Meal.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup milk or milk substitute (almond, soy, or coconut)
  2. ½ scoop vanilla Osmo Nutrition Acute Recovery
  3. Splash coffee
  4. 1 Banana
  5. Handful fresh or frozen strawberries
  6. 1 big spoonful peanut butter
  7. Blend until smooth

 

3. The Green Monster

This is a great smoothie to have any time (sometimes we use this one as a meal replacement on off-days), but its really an excellent recovery meal after longer distance endurance rides.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup coconut water
  2. ½ scoop Skratch Labs Lemons hydration mix
  3. Handful baby spinach
  4. 1 banana
  5. 1 tsp matcha green tea powder
  6. ½ cup extra soft tofu
  7. Pinch of fresh or powdered ginger (natural anti-inflammatory)
  8. Blend until smooth

 

4. R4 Smoothie

Endurox R4 is an excellent recovery meal option on its own, but we like to enhance the benefits by adding a few extras. We’ve found this one to be best after those really tough, high intensity group rides or after an intervals day.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 serving vanilla Endurox All Natural R4 recovery drink mix
  2. 12 oz. water
  3. 1 banana
  4. 1 handful fresh or frozen blueberries
  5. 1 handful fresh or frozen strawberries
  6. 1/2 cup yogurt or soy yogurt
  7. Pinch of nutmeg (natural anti-inflammatory)
  8. Pinch of salt
  9. Blend until smooth

Getting The Most Out Of Short Rides

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January is upon us, which means it’s time to really start thinking about your riding. Whether you’re on the trainer, or braving the elements, odds are most of us aren’t getting in nearly as much saddle time as we’d like. That means we need to be smarter about how we use it. Just going out and turning the pedals for a bit won’t do you much good.

Whether you’re into racing or not, here are some workouts to help you get the most out of shorter rides.

 

1. HIIT Sessions

High Intensity Interval Sessions are all the rage right now, and for good reason. You can get a serious work out in just 15 minutes that can give you some big fitness gains.

You can do these either outside or on the trainer. Start with a 5 minute warm up, then alternate 30 seconds intervals at 90% max effort  with 1 minute recovery periods. Finish with a  3-5 minute cool down.

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Shop for trainers and rollers

 

2. Climbing Repeats

These are best done on the trainer, but you can do them outside either by finding a familiar hill, or trying to ride into a headwind if you live in a flatter area.

Start with a 3 minute warm up, then alternate 2 minute intervals with 2 minute recovery periods. With each interval, you should move into a progressively harder gear, pedaling at a lower cadence. Alternate between sitting and standing to develop all those climbing muscles.

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Learn more about Getting The Hang of Indoor Training

 

3. Slow and Steady

You’re remembering to push it hard, but are you remembering to go slowly, too? Recovery miles are just as important for improving fitness as intervals.

You can do this either outside or on the trainer. Start with a 3 minute warm up, then spin at a steady, easy pace for at least 20 minutes. You should be at no more than 60% of your max heart rate at any point. This may not feel like you’re accomplishing anything, but you’re keeping your muscles limber, and helping to flush lactic acid from the larger muscle groups. This aids in recovery, and helps keep you fresh for your next day of intervals. This is also a great time to work on cadence and pedaling form.

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Learn more about choosing the right trainer

 
 

Real Advice: Achieve Your Cycling Goals in 2015

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A few years ago my wife and I decided to stop making New Years Resolutions, and start making New Years Goals. This might sound like an eye-rolling game of word play, but bear with me a minute.

We realized that we seldom (never) stayed with our resolutions for long, because by saying vague things like “I’m going to bike commute to work more”, “I’m going to wake up early to train”, or “this year I’m going to get back into racing”, you’re not laying yourself any pathway for success. You’re just saying things you’d like to do, but they’re not goal oriented, and there’s no real way to chart your progress.

Once we started making Goals, things got off to a different start, because behind each Goal was a plan with clear, actionable steps.

Here is our guide to help you make 2015 your year to finally achieve those cycling goals.

Step 1: Set a Goal

Pick something that’s important to you, and be as specific as you can. Set specific monthly mileage, pick out a target goal event, etc… Make it challenging, but also rewarding.

If it’s an event, then pick out a time you want to be able to complete it in (i.e. ride a century in under 6 hours). If it’s mileage, then pick something that’s far above what you’re already doing (i.e. go from 75 miles a week to 200 miles a week).

Eddie MTB 2

Signing up for a goal event, like Eddie did with Shenandoah, is a great way to ensure you stay on track

Looking for a goal? Try a local charity rides, or a gran fondo or mountain bike race.

 
 

Step 2: Is this a goal you’ve set before?

Did you achieve it? Were you happy with the result? Why didn’t you achieve it, or how can you do better next year? This gives you a chance to do an after-action review on previous goals and examine what you can do differently this year.

An example: my goal for 2015 was the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo. While I finished, I wasn’t super happy with how I rode. Here’s my assessment why:

-Too few long distance build-up events

-Too little time spent in the mountains

-Inadequate fueling/hydrating in the first half of the event

-Carried too much clothing and repair supplies

-Bike was overbuilt for durability, and ended up being heavier than I would have liked

Brian's titanium Scattante frame should be the right tool for the job

Look back on previous goals, and see how you can improve on them

Having trouble getting over hills? Check out our How-To Article to make it easier.

 
 

Step 3: Start Planning

Get out a calendar, a notebook, and a pencil and start planning how you’ll achieve your goal. Look at what you wrote down for Step 2, and think about what might need to do differently this year to be more successful.

Some tips:

-Set mini-goals for every week and every month that can help you chart your progress

-If your goal is an event, mark the date on the calendar and work backwards from there

-Look for secondary goals you can set through the year that can help you build fitness (smaller events, local group rides, etc…)

-You don’t want to get down into the nitty gritty of what you’ll be doing on every day months in advance—part of making a plan successful is making it flexible and allowing for life to happen—but you should have a weekly idea of what needs to happen.

-Remember you have a whole year to work with, and you don’t have to do it all at once.

Testing the Ultra kit on cobbles

Planning out challenging rides in advance can help keep you motivated and on track

Looking for a new challenge to help you prepare? How about a Group Ride?

 
 

Step 4: Is This Goal Realistic?

This is where you need to be really, brutally honest with yourself. You need to decide if this is a goal that is either too hard or too easy, and if it’s a plan you can realistically stick to. Look for challenges you need to take into account (i.e. kids, family time, work commitments, etc…). Once you’ve done this, think of ways to get around the challenges.

Example:

If you’re someone who struggles to get going in the morning, making waking up a 5:00 AM to ride a part of your plan isn’t something you’re likely to stick to for long.

Instead, you might want to start by trying to wake up just 30 minutes earlier than normal and getting in a ride on the trainer instead.

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Make your plan realistic, and look for ways around challenges. If you can’t make it out the door at 5:00AM, trying waking up just 30 minutes earlier than normal for a trainer session

Need an indoor workout? Try Riding On Rollers.

 
 

Step 5: Track Your Progress

At the end of every week do an assessment of your progress. Are you following your plan and getting closer to achieving your goal?

If not, take a close look at why you aren’t and what’s happening. Talking with friends or family can be really important for helping you identify things that might be going wrong (even if you don’t want to hear them) and figuring out how to get back on track.

Using social media can also be a giant help in keeping you accountable and getting support. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are incredibly useful to keep track of your progress, update your friends and family, and help keep you motivated.

philadelphia_cycling_with_fuji_22

Remember, big achievements happen through a series of small steps. Keep your eye on the prize, Tiger.

 Here are some other helpful articles to help you reach your goals:

Avoid fatigue on long rides.

Weight Loss For Cyclists

Words of Wisdom for Novice Riders

Guide to Cycling Etiquette

5 Reasons to Join a Group Ride

6 Steps to Master The Paceline

6 Tips For Traveling With A Bike

Working Out At Work

Build a Home Gym For Under $250

4 Articles To Get You Through The Holidays

Happy Holidays from Performance Bicycle! We hope you’re enjoying the time with friends and family.

But like you, we’re starting to crave some bike time. Realistically though, that’s not going to happen for a few more days. So we went back through the blog and found some of our favorite articles that got us pumped to start get out and ride…or at least some motivation to avoid the cookie tray next time.

1. 5 Tips for Cold Weather Riding

No matter how cold it is, follow these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy a ride outside.

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2. Cyclists Guide To Surviving the Holidays—2015

Family time, food, and booze. Follow these tips to ensure you start the new year in (close to) good shape.

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3. Build a Home Gym On A Budget

Not feeling the outside riding? You can still get in a good work out, by building a complete home gym for as little as $250.

The foam roller is one of the best recovery tools available to any athlete

The foam roller is one of the best recovery tools available to any athlete

4. Alternative Road Bikes

Didn’t get the bike you wanted? Maybe this is your chance to get the bike you need. Today’s alternative road bikes are tough, faster, and more capable than ever.

The GT Grade is one of the most exciting gravel bikes yet

The GT Grade is one of the most exciting gravel bikes yet

Cyclists Guide To Surviving The Holidays – 2015

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Next week begins the Great American Holiday Extravaganza, the time of year where most Americans travel to see family, pack on extra pounds, and generally have a good time. But in the midst of all this revelry, what’s a cyclist to do? All that travel makes it tough to ride, and all that food can make hard-won weight loss gains evaporate in an instant.

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers here (at least none that won’t end with a high probability of being served divorce papers), but there are a few tricks and tips we can use to stay fit, keep the pounds off, and enjoy the holidays.

1. Try To Ride Early

Even if you have your bike, getting away from family during the holidays can be a pretty tall order. Try riding early, before you’ll be missed. Plus, your in-laws might be impressed when you show up for breakfast, having already gotten a workout in…or not—but you’ll definitely feel better.

2. Alternatives

That ride not going to happen? Try going for a run or doing some core work instead. Running and core work usually takes less time than a run, and all you need to pack is a pair of shoes and some shorts or sweats. Plus, since you won’t be going as far, you don’t have to worry about getting lost on unfamiliar roads. Running will also give you plenty of time to think about how much you miss being back on the bike.

3. Watch Where You Sit

The Thanksgiving and Holiday feasts are unavoidable, but studies show you can help avoid those extra holiday pounds by trying to sit as far from the snacks as possible to prevent mindless eating. Although if your house is anything like ours, that could be easier said than done.

4. Pick Your Favorites

Instead of going all in at dessert time, try setting yourself the goal of only eating what you’ll truly enjoy. Not that we have anything against pecan pie, but we’d rather enjoy an extra slice of pumpkin instead.

5. Drinks

If you’re trying to lose weight this coming year, or have vain hopes of staying at race weight all year long, then watch what you drink. Whenever possible, choose something no- or low-calorie like water or a sugarless electrolyte drink. Instead of beer, try drinking wine or spirits (just not in the same quantities) for that holiday cheer without the pounds. Avoid eggnog like the plague, and lay off the soda.

6. Go Easy On Yourself

Even if you bring your bike with you, don’t worry about it if you don’t make it out for a ride or fail utterly in your attempts to curb your appetite. There are more important things in life than riding bikes, and worse sins than forgoing the diet for a few days. Think of this as a time to reconnect with loved ones, especially family you might not get to see very often, and enjoy yourself. There will be plenty of time for dieting and riding in the coming year.

Good luck you guys, and happy holidays

Good luck, you guys

5 Ways To Stay Warm On Cold Rides

Here we go again…looks like the Polar Vortex has descended upon us once again. We don’t know about you, but so long as we don’t get one of our famous, downhome Carolina Ice Storms, we’ll keep riding outside as much as we can.

Now, you wouldn’t think a bunch of Southerners would know much about riding in the cold, but most of us actually grew up riding, training and racing in places like Vermont, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Portland (Oregon, not Maine– which is a whole other animal), so we’ve learned a few things over the years about riding in the wet, the cold, and the snow.

So here it is: 5 Ways To Stay Warm on Cold Rides.

1. Layer Up

Using layered cycling clothing can help you adjust your temperature to suit the ride and the conditions. You can pretty much layer every part of your clothing system as the conditions warrant, from your feet all the way to your head. Click here for our guide to layering.

PRO TIP #1: No matter how well you think you’ve layer up on top, always bring a wind jacket or vest with you in case conditions take a turn for the worse. #1B is to bring some knee warmers on super cold days– if your knees get cold you can put them on over (but preferably under) your tights for extra coverage.

PRO TIP #2: Spare arm warmers, spare gloves or liners, a spare hat, and base layer can pack up small in a plastic bag that fits easily into a jersey pocket. On long rides, it gives you the option of changing out sweaty, damp garments for warm, dry ones.

PRO TIP #3: Don’t use super thick cycling socks with your cycling shoes. Instead, layer your overshoes as needed, putting insulated ones closer to the foot, covered by wind/waterproof ones.

Layering up is a great way to make sure you can a stay warm, and adjust your core temperature as you go

Layering up is a great way to make sure you can a stay warm, and adjust your core temperature as you go

2. Hot Water Bottle

Using an insulated water bottle filled with some warm tea or Skratch Labs Apples and Cinnamon hydration mix (which is absolutely delicious, by the way) can take the edge off a very cold ride. This is a tip that the pro’s use during early season races like Milan-San Remo to stay warm (check out a video here)

Make like the pro's, and use some warm tea to hydrate on your winter rides

Make like the pro’s, and use some warm tea to hydrate on your winter rides (Orica-GreenEdge)

3. Eat Enough

In the winter, you burn more calories on the bike than during the summer. Not only are you using fuel to exercise, but also to stay warm. That means that during the winter you should fuel up with a healthy breakfast like oatmeal, and then bring plenty of bars, chews or gels to eat while riding. This will give you plenty of carbs to keep your body warm and prevent the dreaded bonk—which could mean serious trouble if you’re far from home on a cold winter’s day.

Eating a solid, healthy breakfast, and having plenty of food for the ride will help prevent you bonking

Eating a solid, healthy breakfast, and having plenty of food for the ride will help prevent you bonking

4. Mix In Intervals

If you’re really feeling the cold, trying mixing in some intervals to bring up your body temperature. You can either 1) pick a target a good distance away and ride as hard as you can until you reach it, or 2) go by time, and ride as hard as you can for about a minute. Just make sure you don’t go so hard that you start sweating a lot, which can just make the problem worse.

Riding a few hard intervals is a great way to get your body temperature back up

Riding a few hard intervals is a great way to get your body temperature back up

5. Take a Rest

We usually like to plan our long, meandering winter rides with a destination in mind—usually a restaurant or café with warm drinks and food. But it’s OK to take a break at any time if you’re feeling cold, chilled, or just tired. Stop at a gas station, coffee shop, café, whatever, warm up and take a breather.

Go in and get warm, grab some hot tea or coffee, and eat a cookie.

PRO TIP #1: If you’re feeling the chill from a damp clothing, you can use your rest stop to change into your spare base layer, spare gloves or liners, and hat. That way you can go back out into the cold feeling dry and warm.

PRO TIP #2: If your toes are feeling very cold on your ride, see if you can get some aluminum foil or a foil food wrapper, and wrap up your toes. It’s not the most comfortable thing, but it does provide some additional insulation.

PRO TIP #3: Ask if the coffee shop or restaurant can refill your water bottles with hot water.

When you start feeling cold or chilled, go ahead and head indoors to warm up

When you start feeling cold or chilled, go ahead and head indoors to warm up

Real Advice: Setting Up Your Trainer Room

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1. Pick the Room

Even trainers that claim to be “ultra-quiet” are still going to generate enough noise to annoy someone in an adjacent room. Pick a room that’s separated from others in the house, such as a basement, garage, or spare bedroom. Make sure you have room to set up the trainer and angle it toward your entertainment of choice. And remember folks—make sure that floor is level-ish. An uneven floor can make the trainer rock, putting a ton of stress on your hips (no good) and the bike frame (really no good).

 

2. Sweat Catching

Since you’re not going to be riding anywhere, there will be no air moving on you. That means you’re going to sweat more. To avoid ruining the carpet or hardwood, set up a trainer mat or towel underneath your bike. To avoid ruining your bike (specifically the headset and BB bearings), use a sweat catcher or hang a towel over your bike.

Using a sweat net or towel can help preserve the life of your compoents

Using a sweat net or towel can help preserve the life of your compoents

3. Cooling

Since riding the trainer gets super-hot, it’s a good idea to set up a fan to keep from overheating. Even a cheap mini tabletop fan can make a world of difference. Using a fan doesn’t preclude following Step 2—you’re still going to sweat like a demon.

 

Not sure what kind of trainer to get? Check out our guide.

 

4. Entertainment

Riding the trainer with nothing to do can get really, really boring really, really fast. Make sure you have a TV, tablet, or computer to watch a movie or do a structured work out.

PRO TIP: Since there trainer is loud and you’ll have a fan running, if you’re in a domestic living situation or have housemates, it is generally considered polite to invest a couple of bucks in a headphone extension cord or some wireless headphones so you’re not tempted to crank the TV volume.

Using headphones can help maintain domestic harmony

Using headphones can help maintain domestic harmony

5. At Hand

Set up a stool or some medium height shelves next to your bike. It should be at about a height where you can reach it comfortable while seated in the saddle. This will ensure that your remotes, computer mouse, gels, spare water bottle, spare towel, etc… are all easily at hand.

 

6. Be Prepared

The trainer is usually more demanding than an outdoor workout. Not only do you have the increased resistance of the unit itself, but heat buildup and a tough structured workout can really take it out of you. For an hour long trainer session, you should have 3 water bottles (2 of them filled a hydration drink) and some gels to keep your energy levels up and avoid dehydration.

 

Build A Home Gym On A Budget

Here’s a fun fact: you can build a pretty comprehensive home gym for under $250. As the days get shorter, darker, and colder a lot of workouts that used to be done outside have to get moved inside. We’re pretty hardy winter warriors, but there’s weather even we won’t go out into.

So when one of those famous Carolina ice storms descends upon Chapel Hill, we break out the following equipment to get in a full, comprehensive workout to stay in shape, stay limber, and cross train through the winter months.

 

CARDIO

Indoor Cycling Trainer (~$149.99-$1,899)

The indoor trainer is an amazing piece of equipment. Even a budget-priced model can deliver a hard, lung busting workout. Simply clamp your road or mountain bike into it, get on, and start pedaling. Sure, it can be fairly monotonous, but a quick Youtube search for ‘cycling trainer workout’  can yield plenty of tough, structured workouts to help you get the most out of your time.

Check out our guide to cycling trainers here.

 

At only $149.99, the Travel Trac Comp trainer is a great value on an excellent workout

At only $149.99, the Travel Trac Comp trainer is a great value on an excellent workout

STRENGTH/FLEXIBILITY

Trainer Mat ($49.99)

This is one of the most versatile fitness items we’ve ever owned. It’s designed to go under your bike while in the trainer to help dampen noise and catch dripping sweat. But we also use it for yoga, core workouts, pushups/sit ups, and more.

The trainer mat is a versatile piece of equipment, ideal for using with the trainer, for yoga, or strength training

The trainer mat is a versatile piece of equipment, ideal for using with the trainer, for yoga, or strength training

 Resistance Bands, Kettle Bells, or Fit Balls (~$29.99-$79.99 for a set)

We used to have a pretty comprehensive set of free weights (in fact, they might still be in the basement somewhere), but these days we mostly just use a resistance bands and kettle bells for our workouts. Resistance bands can be used to build strength, enhance flexibility, and improve your overall fitness, while kettle bells are excellent for strengthening muscles we don’t use much during cycling.

*We recommend speaking with a personal trainer or coach before beginning any weight or resistance training to ensure proper exercise form and avoid injury

 

RECOVERY

Foam Roller ($17.99-$39.99)

The foam roller has become an essential tool for us. Using the foam roller can help loosen up tight muscles and adhesions, keeping you loose and flexible which makes you more resistant to injury.

The foam roller is one of the best recovery tools available to any athlete

The foam roller is one of the best recovery tools available to any athlete

 

TOTAL FOR A WHOLE GYM: $249.96

So lets hear it, did we miss anything? What’s your favorite piece of home workout equipment? Tell us in the comments section.

Last Chance 2014 Gran Fondos

Gran Fondos are a great way to test your fitness as a cyclist

Gran Fondos are a great way to test your fitness as a cyclist

If you’ve gotten out to some of our Great Ride Series rides at our stores, you’ve probably realized how awesome a group ride is. If you’re ready to take it to the next step though, you might just be ready for a Gran Fondo.

Gran Fondo’s are a great way to test your fitness as a cyclist, have fun at a well organized event, and give you a goal to work towards. Gran Fondos are usually challenging rides of 100 miles or more (though often organizers offer medio and piccolo routes for shorter distances), and most organizers pride themselves on finding the hardest routes possible.

If you’re looking for an event to end your year on a high note, these rides might be your last chances until next year.

No matter where in the country you live, there are a few rides left that can give you a chance to see how you stack up, or just give you some bragging rights with your buddies.

Did we miss your favorite ride? Tell us about it in the comments section.

WEST COAST / SOUTHWEST

Tri State Gran Fondo

October 11, 2014

Mosquite, NV

Challenge Gran Fondo

October 12, 2014

Durham, CA

Tour de Scottsdale

October 12, 2014

Scottsdale, AZ

El Grande Fondo de Los Angeles Crest

October 18, 2014

Los Angeles, CA

 

 

ROCKIE MOUNTAINS

Tour de St. George Fall Gran Fondo

October 25, 2014

St. George, UT

The Coal Miner Gran Fondo

October 31, 2014

Steamboat Springs, CO

 

 

EAST COAST

Gran Fondo Virginia

October 11, 2014

Albemarle County, VA

New Holland Bicycle Race Gran Fondo

October 11, 2014

New Holland, PA

Tour of the Battenkill Fall Preview Ride

October 11, 2014

Greenwich, NY

Oktoberfest Ride

October 12, 2014

Collegeville, PA

Bicycling Magazine Fall Classic

October 12, 2014

Lehigh Valley, PA

Hincapie Gran Fondo

October 25, 2014

Greenville, SC

Florida Cycling Challenge

October 31, 2014

Daytona, FL

Bookwater Binge Charity Gran Fondo

November 1, 2014

Asheville, NC

 

To learn how to prepare for your next big ride, check out these articles:

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