Community Events: 2013 Cycle to the Sea

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.

hand_cycle_to_sea

Assisting a hand cyclist up a climb.

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!

rolling_thunder

Rolling Thunder escort

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.

cycle_to_sea_on_road

Rolling down the road with the whole pack.

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”.

cycle_to_sea_group

Group shot of the Cycle to the Sea riders & staff

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.

mark_handcycle

Our author, Mark, with his hand cycle.

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.

cycle_to_the_sea_jacob

Jacob and Jimmy.

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.

5 Tips for Better Fueling from Skratch Labs

skratch_logo_black

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.

skratch_handoff

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.

skratch_real_food3. 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”.

Wordless Wednesday

Independence_Pass_zoom

Wordless Wednesday

DCIM100GOPRO

Wordless Wednesday

double_mtb

Cycling First Aid Essentials – What to Pack

We were recently asked the following on Facebook, by Michael P., and we thought it was an excellent question that is not often discussed in cycling:

always carry a well equipped first aid kit in my vehicle. I also keep first aid kits in my target shooting bag. What should be in a first aid kit for road biking? Recreational biking with the family? Mountain biking?

Luckily we have a certified EMT who also works here in our home office, Chris, who could offer some advice, and he was happy to write up this reply to Michael’s inquiry:

First off, let me say that you sound like a great person to ride with (though I’m sure you hear that all the time). Your question really highlights the varying needs that different cyclists have. To respond very generally, let me start with your basic family trip. Most of your injuries are going to be scrapes and bruises. You’re probably not going to see anything that a basic “stock” first aid kit wouldn’t cover. I would carry: band-aids, small gauze pads (2”x 2”), waterproof tape, anti-biotic ointment, anti-itch cream, and some sunblock. Stock first aid kits will have more variety and will range from $15-$60 depending on the size and quality. A good “all-around” kit would be the this one.

20-4497-NCL-FRONTFor road riding, you might consider our Brave Soldier Crash Pack: It’s got a very well thought-out mixture of gauze, non-adhering wound dressings (essential for comfortably treating road rash), butterfly closures, and betadine. This pack will keep you ready to handle basic road crashes and get you and your friends home or to a doctor’s office where you can get more treatment. It’s also very light weight and comes in a waterproof pouch – perfect for that un-used jersey pocket.

chris_peru_creekMountain biking is an entirely different animal. I’ve been deep in the woods and had a nasty crash that would have had me calling a friend for a ride if I was on the road. No such options exist when you’re in the back country however, so I would recommend a couple of extra measures.

Starting with a basic first aid kit like the one mentioned above, you might think about adding Tegaderm. Tegaderm is a transparent dressing that will seal a wound off from the outside. If you have a cut and have contained the bleeding and cleaned (and dried) the area, Tegaderm will keep it that way until you make it out of the woods.

SAM Splints would also be a good, light weight add-on to a back country first aid kit.

Of course the MOST important thing is your knowledge. Having training can make a panic-inducing situation into just another pit-stop. See if there is a Wilderness First Aid class in your area or take a basic First Aid/CPR class. Most community colleges will offer these things for a very reasonable fee. It’s fun, interesting, and could save a life. Also, I would be remiss to not include a big reminder to call 911 if there’s a real emergency. If someone loses consciousness for even one second, or slurs their speech after a crash, it’s hospital time. If you can’t stop their bleeding or if they have a broken bone, it’s best to call it in. EMS workers will be happy to come get you and will have many more tools than you could ever carry in your hydration pack. That being said, the most important life saving measure we all carry today is probably our cell phones. Keep yours intact and safe in your bag by adding a waterproof case like the Blackburn VIP SL Ride Wallet.

Any other suggestions from our readers out there?

Wordless Wednesday

Josh_Perry_Ditch_Flair

Josh Perry – part of the Eastern Bikes team.

Store Events: October Recap

After a brief summer vacation, it’s time to get back to our monthly recap of what some of our over 100 stores all across the country have been up to in their local communities – from running clinics, to supporting rides, to helping out with local advocacy. If you want more info about your local Performance Bicycle, check your local store page for regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides. Read on below for a sampling of the events our stores were involved with last month.

Our Bailey’s Crossroads, VA store helped out at the Best Buddies Challenge – an event dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. There were over 2500 riders in the event with around 800 passing through our aid station. Corey and Julio helped riders with everything from essential repairs to crash inspections.

Our San Rafael, CA store helped out at the Marin Biketoberfest. This event was hosted by the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC), the local advocacy group in the area, and Access4bikes, a group dedicated creating more single track access for bikes in Marin County.  With participation from local vendors, bike manufacturers, west coast brewers, and local live bands, Biketoberfest provides fun for the entire cycling community.

Our Kearney Mesa, CA store pitched in to support their local Safe Routes To School program – which promotes cycling and walking to school for elementary and middle school kids. We provided tips on securely locking your bike, proper helmet fit, safe riding practices, basic maintenance, and more.

Our Bonita, CA store sent two associates to provide mechanical support at the last rest stop for the Bike MS Bay to Bay Tour, in beautiful Crown Point San Diego. Mechanic/Bike Builder Daniel Estevez and Store Manager Greg Heath set up a tent and work stand and helped out other volunteers getting nutrition/hydration/repairs out to the riders. 

Ryan and Jeff from our Scottsdale, AZ store helped out with the monthly trail maintenance on the Black Canyon Trail in Arizona. Our team worked along with Black Canyon Trail Coalition members and other volunteers to cut back cat claw vegetation and build crib walls for areas that were eroded by the summer monsoon storms.

Ryan and Jeff logged a total of 16 hours of trail maintenance during the trail event. For every volunteer hour worked, the trail system gets credited funds to put back into the trail system for building more single-track!

Our San Francisco, CA store helped out Playworks and SalesForce.com at a monthly event benefiting deserving children from various elementary schools in San Francisco. Playworks and SalesForce work together to buy the bikes and supply a total of 120 volunteers to build 80 bikes in only 2 hours! Our team to helped to build and check bikes for safety after the volunteers built their assigned bikes.

Our Oceanside, CA store provided a bicycle safety instruction and light maintenance clinic for local Cub Scout Troop 748 at the Scout House in Holiday Park, Carlsbad, California. Pre-ride safety, vehicle code, and hands on demonstration of tube/tire service as well as safe bike handling techniques were shared with a interested group of young cyclists.

Our Seattle, WA store helped out at the Kitsap Color Classic, another great event by the Cascade Bicycle Club. We did a few safety checks for  people who crashed on the ride, but most of the labor we did involved basic derailleur adjustments. Our crew was able to help out riders of all levels throughout the day.

Our Richmond, VA store helped out at the the first annual Martin’s Tour of Richmond. Starting and ending at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the ride was a logistical feat to offer three different distance rides passing through a total of four counties; impressively, police officers from each county stopped traffic for cyclists at every single intersection on the route!  We offered mechanical support and gave out water bottles at the last aid station of the tour.  Our own Matt Grilli even tackled the ride on a fixed-gear bike – out of the 591 riders that committed to the 102-mile route, he finished 92nd in just under six hours!

Our Newark, DE store helped out at the Bike MS: Bike to the Bay ride. There were over 1600 riders participating in this event, and we were busy all day fixing tires/tubes along with spending most of the morning setting and checking tire pressures for the participants. 

Our Woodland Hills, CA store participated in the amazing CicLAvia 2012 Los Angeles! It created a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun. It was a fantasic and fun event that should happen in all major cities! Check out our blog post for more info. 

A team from our Columbia, MD store pitched in to help the Bike MS: Bike to Bordeaux event. It was a little cold out, but everyone that came through our checkpoint was having a great time and seemed thrilled to see us.

A team from our Roseville, CA Store participated in the 19th annual Roseville Bikefest. We provided safety inspections and repairs on bicycles so that kids could participate in riding an obstacle course and so that parents could be made aware of safety issues and proper bicycle maintenance.  The City of Roseville hosted the event which included safety seminars, helmet fittings, free helmets, prizes, riding demonstrations, demonstrations from fire and police departments, and entertainment.  

Finally, our Buford, GA Store helped out with the Gainesville SORBA Tumbling Creek 6 Hour RaceThis race, the “Sprocktoberfest” is hosted by the Gainesville SORBA branch and is an annual, popular event. It is attended by between 250 and 300 riders and as many spectators. Our chief Spin Doctor, Jose Paz served as the main neutral support for the race and was very heartily welcomed. Two of our store representatives, Greg Vaughn and Will Bennett also participated in the race. Besides supplying neutral support, Jose had Cytomax drink available in coolers and GU gels to offer to tired racers!

It was another busy month for our store teams – remember to check your local store page to find out what’s going on at your local Performance Bicycle and to check for our regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics.

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 200 other followers

%d bloggers like this: