Listen Up Knuckleheads!

(Did I get your attention?)

I’m a cyclist…

A cyclist who has had several close calls with automobiles (including tonight) and even been sideswiped once this year.  I wear bright and reflective clothing.  I always have a tail light flashing (even in the broad daylight).  I’m careful.  I get it.  I’m a Cyclist!

I’m a driver…

I drive my kids 30 minutes to school every morning.  I own a convertable and love to put the top down and just…. drive!  I enjoy the country roads.  I enjoy the Dan Ryan Expressway.  I’m aware.  I’m safe.  Being a cyclist makes me a better driver.  All that to say…Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 10.55.52 PM

I’m gonna take off my cycling helmet and go on a motorist’s rant.

I had two run-ins this morning with cycling noobs.  They didn’t look like noobs, but they acted like noobs.

Scenario #1 – The aggressive kamikazee

This is the guy who approaches a major intersection with cars lined up, and proceeds to pass everyone and run right through turning traffic without ever looking or slowing.

Scenario #2 – The clueless center of attention

(Evidently) This person wanted to turn left across four lanes of traffic.  How did I know?  Well, she was meandering around and between cars across all lanes through the intersection.  When I came to the corner to turn right she was headed right toward me and into my lane.  I looked her right in the eye and came to a stop in traffic.  She just looked at me and made no indication of what she was doing.  Impressive balance, but that’s about all that was impressive.

These are the people that give cyclists a bad name.  I’M A CYCLIST AND IT TICKED ME OFF!  C’mon you noobs!  Get with it and get smart!  If you don’t care about your own safety, fine.  You wanna be a hood ornament that’s your choice, but I prefer to live without the image of your sorry spandex flying across the hood of my car, and I definitely don’t want my girls learning that cycling is dangerous because you choose to be an idiot!

(deep breaths… deep… cleansing… breaths)

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 11.03.13 PMNow, I’m not one to rant for ranting’s sake.  So… without further ado I offer these tips for improving cyclist/driver relations.

  1. Use your hand signals people!  Do I need to go over this?  You point the direction you intend to go.  You point down with an open palm when you are slowing down.  Not rocket science people.
  2. Be Predictable.  If I’m turning left across traffic I get into the turn lane early and signal the whole way.  Leave no doubt in anyone’s mind as to what you will and are doing.
  3. Talk to Drivers.  When I’m at an intersection with a car next to me I wave to the driver and get their attention.  Then I tell them, through gestures or actual conversation, what I’m intending to do.  “I’m gonna go straight and get all the way over to the right.” Or, “I’m gonna turn left with you but all the way to the outside.”
  4. Read the Eyes.  Make eye contact with every driver who will come into your path.  When a car pulls up to the intersection I’m about to go through I will often slow until I look them in the eye.  That’s the most certain way to know they see you, and I have found that in some way I can discern their intentions by reading their eyes.

In the end, it’s not always up to you.

You’re going to run into (pardon the pun) clueless automobile drivers.  They WILL pull out into your path.  They will come too close.  For some it doesn’t matter how careful they are, accidents happen.  But let’s do the best we can to be as safe as possible.  Better to communicate with them before they communicate with us (if you catch my drift.  Hand gestures go both ways.).

Enjoy the Ride My Friends!

How about you?  What safety tips would you offer?  Let’s get a good list going here people!


What’s In Your Saddle Bag?

Now… Here’s a great discussion for everyone! What’s in your bag (brand names please, I may want to buy it)? Why do you carry it? Why do you feel it is valuable?

And in another direction… what have you heard/witnessed people carry on a ride that you think is utterly crazy, as in, “What the… WHY DO YOU CARRY THAT?!?” Make us laugh people!

Bike Noob

Guest poster Jeff Hemmel opens a discussion of one of biking’s most common items.

HemmelsRide2Recently I came across a discussion of what people carried in their saddle bags. It piqued my interest, because over many years I feel like I’ve really streamlined mine to the true essentials, while still allowing for a few items I’ve come to appreciate from experience…and some people might overlook.

What do I bring along for the ride? I dumped the contents out to jog my memory. Chime in to add anything you think I’ve missed.


A Spare Tube — This one is obvious. A spare tube is there to save the day should you flat on any of the detritus that lines the roads, and as such should be the key item in any saddle bag. Tip? Bicycling magazine recently suggested to wrap a spare in plastic wrap. I guess the idea is to keep it…

View original post 686 more words

What Not To Do In A Pace Line…

Great points on learning how to ride with others. Whether you are in an organized pace line, or at the start of a big event with riders all around, these are valuable pointers!

Fit Recovery

If you know a newbie aspiring pace line rider, please pass this on to them…  For all of our sake.

It’s a rare day that I see a bad cyclist riding with us on the advanced ride.  Most noobs simply can’t keep up with the pace so we usually have a fairly legitimate crowd on Tuesday nights.  This was not the case last night, and nothing rattles a good group more than a shaky rider.  He was so bad that one of the otherwise reserved riders mentioned something to me about it as the kid fell back after a pull that lasted entirely too long at about 23 mph.  Technically it was more like 23 to 25 to 22 to 21 to 23 to 20…  You get the idea  The poor guy behind him was on his brakes constantly while I managed to stay far enough back to absorb a lot of…

View original post 669 more words

Noob Mistake: Helmet on Backwards

Oh this is awesome! TOO good to pass up. After you read it, tell me, have you done anything like this? Or SEEN it? This is great comedy material!

Bike Noob

It’s spring. In most parts of the country anyway. And that means organized rides are springing up all over. Lots of noobs turn out for their first organized rides ever, and they make their share of mistakes. Here’s one that I noticed a few years ago.

I was walking across a parking lot toward the ride start, when I passed a couple also headed in that direction. They were obvious first-timers. As I looked at the woman, something struck me as odd. She had the weirdest looking helmet I’ve ever seen.

Except on closer inspection, it wasn’t the helmet at all — that turned out to be a fairly common variety. It was the way she wore it. The black scalloped rear was facing forward.

“Your helmet is on backward,” I said quietly, as I walked past them.

She stopped, pulled off her helmet, and stared at it.

“It is?…

View original post 130 more words

Going NO-where!

Oi vey am I getting tired of riding without getting anywhere!

No, this is not my view, it is a stock pic from the internet.  But you get the point.  Wouldn't a front tire look good about now?

No, this is not my view, it is a stock pic from the internet. But you get the point. Wouldn’t a front tire look good about now?

It is now just about mid-February and man…am I tired of riding a stationary bike!  They call it a spin-bike for a reason you know; that’s all your doing, spinning and spinning and spinning.  In the gym where I spin (see, I can’t even call it cycling) I am forced to sit in row three of the main cardio area.  Ahead of me are a row of elliptical trainers, preceded by the treadmills.  So I watch people bounce up and down (yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking) waiting to discover how they stop those crazy things, while wondering why, no matter HOW HARD I pedal, I can’t seem to catch up to the old lady in the headband and multi-layered Revlon!  Motivational?  NO!

There are Televisions up there, but at 5:30 pm we get to watch the news shows, sponge Bob, and Pardon The Interruption.  The most entertainment I get is watching Tony Kornheiser mouth the words the closed captioning will give me in 13 seconds while waving his Canadian flag (although there is the entertainment of watching the elliptical rider try to dismount without pulling anything).  All that to say…

I’m getting bored!

So give me some feedback people.  I have four priorities for this coming season of riding and I need your help in how to attack them.  Here they are:

  1. I want to learn to ride more “quietly.”  I bob in the saddle pretty easily and I want to develop that powerful and elegant smoothness to my riding.  I want to ride in that place of synergy; when I am nudging the bike and the bike is sailing along!
  2. I want to raise my Lactic Threshold.  I’ve been reading a lot about lactic acid, that burning in the muscles when they are working hard, and I know that this was a major hurdle for me last year.  It seems I can ride forever over relatively flat land, but when the legs are burning… I burn out!  This leads me to my next priority.
  3. I want to climb more productively.  I’ve said it a few times, the hills around Bloomington, IN kicked my saddle last year and this year…no way.  I want to show up at the Hilly Hundred ready to kick back.
  4. I want to complete a century ride in one sitting.  Last year I completed 100 miles…over two days.  My longest single ride to date has been 57 miles (read about that adventure in A Ride That Changed Everything…).  This year I’m slated for my first true Century ride in August.  I need to know what I’m doing as I prepare for it.  Actually, my first major ride of the year in May will be 60 miles, so here’s to breaking personal records early and often! (see 2013 Riding Schedule for specific dates if you want to join me.  Fundraising will begin very soon!)

There you go my friends!  My four priorities for 2013.  Give me your feedback please.  What can I do in the off-season and in the early season to accomplish these priorities?  If it includes riding with you, all the better!

Help me set some goals and, as always… Enjoy the ride!

Found Something Here…

I would love to say that I am always looking for another good core workout, but…well…

I DISLIKE core workouts.

However, there is great content to this blog posting. For any workout to keep my attention it has to have a bit of variety, I get tired of ruts. I was a bit amazed by the number of possibilities provided in this list. I’ll let you know how it goes for me. I’ll start with this, it’s going to be a bit humbling to walk into the gym with a written list of things to do…especially when I have to ask the gals at the desk what it all means! ha!

Oh well…

It will be worth it if it means I get to enjoy the ride!

The Sport Nutz


This week lets work on those ABs! I have a great workout for you guys. Add this to your strength sessions or after your cardio sessions. Well here it is…

30 sec Plank

30 Crunch

50 Twist

10 Leg Raises

50 Bicycle Crunch

30 Mountain Climbers (count right leg)

45 sec Plank

10 Burpees

50 Flutter Kicks

30 V-ups

30 Oblique Crunch (each side)

50 Twists

10 Leg Raises

30 Bicycle Crunch

30 Mountain Climbers (count right leg)

30 V-ups

1 minute Plank

Hope you guys enjoy this workout! I certainly did. Let me know how it goes!!!!!

– The Nut

View original post

The Trouble with Trestles

“Trestle bridges are beautiful aren’t they,” I asked my riding buddy Michael as we toured the back woods of Southern Indiana.

This picture finished 5th in the 2012 Hilly Hundred photo contest. (no info on the photographer was provided)

This picture finished 5th in the 2012 Hilly Hundred photo contest. (no info on the photographer was provided)

“Yeah,” Michael replied with sarcasm in his voice, “but they always involve two hills, one going down and one going up.  Usually pretty steep hills.”  Shortly after this conversation I learned that when it comes to trestle bridges what goes down will eventually have to come up again!

Water towers were the other landmark I learned to loathe in Southern Indiana.  I was informed that they must always be at the height of elevation so that gravity can give the water pressure.  Therefore, if you see a water tower AHEAD of you, guess what… yeah, you’re climbing!

I’m not a very good climber

It has a lot to do with the fact that I live in the flatlands of Northern Indiana.  If we gain 10 feet of altitude over a 300 yard distance we brag about that monster ascent!  That’s why we drive three hours south to take training rides.  They’ve got viable hills in the Bloomington, IN area.

The Hilly Hundred nearly killed me last year because I wasn’t prepared for the climbing.

I wasn’t mentally, physically or skillfully prepared.  I had no idea what to do on the bike, how to prepare for the climb or cycle through the climb.  This year I’m going prepared.  I’m gonna conquer those hills and know that I have grown as a cyclist and am enjoying the ride.

I say all this because I came across a simple article on by Gale Burnhardt entitled, 7 Hill Cycling Tips for Flatlanders (  I’ll let you read the article for yourself, but here are the bullet points that I take away:

7 Hill Climbing Tips, by Gale Burnhardt

  • Develop greater power through weight training of the legs
  • Avoid back spasms by raising Core Strength
  • Raise your Lactate threshold for more power over longer climbs
  • Ride in a bigger gear to train for more power
  • Ride into a headwind (no need for explanation there)
  • Use gears to your advantage

Have you got any additional training tips for me?  I’ll be back in those same hills in October and this year I’m gonna finish the hills AND…

…enjoy the ride!

A Time for Drinking

I am notorious for poor hydration.  Notorious!

Home of the World Cowchip Throwing Championships!

Beaver, Oklahoma! Home of the World Cowchip Throwing Championships!

Ask anyone who played soccer with me in the Fall of 1991.  I don’t remember much of the trips home from Grand Rapids, MI, or Kentucky.  There was the great out-of-body experience of 1990 in Beaver, Oklahoma.  Quite a few friends will remember that one.  I talked to God a lot that day and even thought I saw angels!  (Nope, just a couple friends whom I believe saved my life in that moment) The ER doctor got called in from the golf course and still had his golf spikes on.  I was told that day that I could drink all the Gatorade I wanted for the rest of the summer.  A few of us guys took that as a challenge!

My most recent experience was October, 2012, on day one of the Hilly Hundred.  I’m smart  enough to know that on really hot, sweaty days I’m a candidate for trouble.  I take a lot of water with me on those days.  But this was one of those deceptive days.  It was cold (about 40 degrees F if I remember correctly), and cloudy, and the first 2/3 of the ride were spent in a fine mist or steady rain.  It was miserable.

I never thought about drinking much until I felt that first twinge in my left calf.  I mentioned something to my riding partner, Michael Navarro, but by then it was too late.  I started to stiffen up, and about mile 35 my quads when into full lock down.  It wasn’t pretty.  I completed the ride (57 miles), but man was that night miserable.

Why am I telling you this?

Katie Jeffrey-Lunn ( has written a great article on hydration entitled, How to Hydrate Before, During, and After a Workout.  What I really enjoy about the article is the simple math!  Ever wonder how much you should hydrate?  Katie gives great guidelines!  Here are those guidelines in a nutshell:

First pit stop of the Hilly Hundred 2012.  A few twinges in the calves at this point.

First pit stop of the Hilly Hundred 2012. A few twinges in the calves at this point.

Before you workout – Morning of the event drink 8 oz. two hours before, and another 5-10 ounces about 30 minutes before.  (She’s assuming you are hydrated to begin of course)

During your workout – drink 16 ounces for every pound lost during the workout.  This means you’re going to have to estimate how many pounds you’re going to lose, but if you weigh in before and after your training rides you should be able to do this with a fair amount of accuracy.

After your workout – drink 24 ounces for every pound lost during the workout.  (I did find it a bit comical that she says if you gain weight during workouts you may be over hydrating!)

Jeffery-Lunn doesn’t say anything about the value of in-ride bananas, but most know they are indispensable!  She does offer her opinion on drinking milk after a workout (a hot topic in the gym for some reason):

Milk is an excellent recovery drink because it not only provides carbohydrates, but contains the electrolytes sodium and potassium which are lost in sweat. The quantities contained in milk are much greater than that contained in sports drinks. Additionally, milk also contains calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for strong bones, as well as protein, which is important for muscle recovery.

There you go my friends!  Happy Hydrating!  And if we ever ride together I beg you to ask me if I’ve had a drink lately.  Trust me… it makes the ride a LOT more enjoyable!

Katie Jeffrey-Lunn ( Jeffrey, MS, RD, CSSD, is a registered dietitian, Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a columnist, and the owner of FitNutrition, LLC, in Stonington, CT.