Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life on the Run--It happens to us all!

Good Day My Friends,

The last several weeks have been extremely hectic with work and life in general.  I have therefore spent very little time in the saddle putting in some quality miles.  When life happens, and I can't get time on the bike, I still continue to look for ways to keep moving and motivated.  Fortunately, there is a wellness program at work and we have access to a gym, so I have been utilizing the facility during my lunch hour.  I've been spending time on the treadmill while also working on strength and flexibility.    

What I looked like running!!

When I first started my fitness journey several years ago, I turned to running (or my version of running, which was more like a bubba-run or a big-boy run) that wasn't a pretty sight and in reality was a fast uncoordinated walk with several bumbling hops to feel like a run.  I gradually got better, dropped some weight and became more efficient, if only slightly.  Since then, I have improved and being on the bike has aided in developing the endurance and strength to keep pushing myself. 

Here's a quick "run" down of "Old Me" VS. "New Me" based on averages over several years:

"Old Me"--257 lbs (when I started running)
Fastest 1 Mile--14'31"
Fastest 5K------47'52"
Avg Pace-------17'16"/mile

"New Me"--212 lbs
Fastest 1 Mile--8'02"
Fastest 5K------28'24"
Avg Pace-------10'24"/mile

Fastest 1 Mile--55.34% improvement / 6' 29" shaved off
Fastest 5K------59.33% improvement / 19' 28" shaved off
Avg Pace-------60.23% improvement / 6' 52" shaved off

In addition to my time on the treadmill, incorporating strength training and flexibility exercises into the routine keeps me in good form on the bike and reduces muscle tightness and strains.  In the search to keep things fresh and to prevent my mind and body from growing accustomed to the same workout routine, I continually look for ways to make training more engaging.  I was looking for alternative exercises to build upper body strength and read this article on LiveStrong. com.  I have tried a few of these exercises and have found them challenging.  I urge you to try these pushup variations to challenge yourself.

Martin Rooney is the founder of Training for Warriors, trained athletes from the NFL, MLB, NBA and several Division I colleges, and has lectured for the American College of Sports Medicine and many other professional strength and conditioning organizations. He created the Pushup Warrior app, which features 120 pushup variations and 80 workouts. He has also written seven books, including “Warrior Cardio,” which is now available on Amazon.

  After trying these variations of the pushup out, send me your comments below or follow me on twitter @mindbodybike and we can work together to become stronger, healthier athletes.

 Until the next time,
Keep your mind sharp, body fit and Pedal Hard

Monday, May 14, 2012

121-Megapixel Photo of Earth Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Something a little different for you guys. 

Here is some cool technical feats for your viewing pleasure.  Article courtesy of Stan Schroeder at Mashable Tech.


Need something to put things into perspective on a Monday morning? Our suggestion: The largest single-shot photo of Earth ever taken.
Eclipsing NASA’s updated “Blue Marble” shot, which is a composite of many satellite images, this image is a single-shot taken from 22,369 miles away by Russian weather satellite Elektro-L No.1.
The colors on the 121-megapixel photo are quite different from the ones on NASA’s photos of Earth. To capture the image, the satellite combines visible and infrared wavelengths of light. Infrared light is used to see plants, which is why the parts of the Earth that would normally be green are seen as rusty brown.
Check out a time-lapse video of Earth’s northern hemisphere taken by Elektro-L below.
You can explore the zoomable version of the image here.

Until the next time,
Keep your mind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Foundation Training with Dr. Eric Goodman and Peter Park

Foundation Training

I recently received the book, Foundation, by Dr. Eric Goodman and Peter Park, that I have yet to complete reading.  What I have learned thus far is that in order to be a stronger athlete, your foundation, which include your abs, obliques, back, glutes, and hamstrings, must receive equal training time.  I am fortunate to have practiced a few of these exercises before reading this book as I suffered a lower back injury some years ago (nothing that required surgery) and have looked for ways to alleviate and strengthen my back.

***Note: At the time of my injury, I was 15-25 pounds heavier, so weight is a HUGE factor(no pun intended...well maybe) in increasing your risk for back issues***     

Building a stronger mid-section, you are able to generate more power for your specified sport or fitness goals as well as reduce fatigue in those support areas for endurance events.  By understanding a little anatomy and physiology, Goodman and Park teach you how to strengthen and build a solid mid-section that will also alleviate lower back pain that many of us suffer as a result of sedentary lives, poor posture, or as a result of injury.  

The following video clips will provide a few methods to strengthen your foundation, beginning with an exercise called the "Founder".  I hope you enjoy the videos and find them useful as you incorporate these exercises in your fitness training.

Please post your comments below or follow me on twitter @mindbodybike.

Until the next time,
Keep your mind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hardy Serious with Jens Voigt-Taken from Bicycling Magazine

Happy Monday my friends....well, as happy as Mondays can be for those that have to get back in the grind. 

I wanted to take a moment and share a blog post authored by a true icon and fan favorite in professional cycling as he reflects on the loss of a dear friend in a horrific crash last year.  Reading this made me reflect on how many lives we all encounter and how many of those have made an impact on us and vice versa.  I'd like to thank everyone that I have met in my life, the friendships I've made and the memories we've shared.  In our busy lives, we often neglect to express our appreciation to those that support us as well as those we support.  I thank you all and hope that I have had even the slightest sliver of positive influence in your lives.

Until the next time,
Keep your mind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard

Jens Voight

Now in his 16th year as a professional, Jens Voigt has earned a reputation as one of the sport's hard men, both among fans and his fellow riders. And the only thing Jens likes as much as riding his bike is talking about it. And that’s good for us.

May 5th, 2012

Remembering Wouter
Wouter Weylandt, 1984-2011. (Photo by Kristof Ramon)
By Jens Voigt
With the spring Classics over, everybody’s looking forward to the Tour of Italy and the Tour of California. But I’ve been thinking about my friend and teammate Wouter Weylandt, because as most of you know, he died in a horrible crash in the Giro about a year ago.
Wouter’s death is something we’ve been talking about on the team and with other riders. My teammates Fränk and Andy Schleck just went to visit Wouter’s family the other day, and let me tell you it was not easy.
Losing a teammate in a race is something that stays with you, and something that can keep coming back to you.
At first, it was unreal. You understand it, but you’re so focused on getting through the immediate. Of course, for my teammates who were at the Giro last year, they could not even think of continuing.
It’s one of those things that calls into question everything in life. You question everything you do. You wonder if you’ve made the right decisions. And you ask yourself questions like, Did I tell my parents how much I love them? Did I tell them they did a good job raising me? Did you tell your kids how much you love them? Did you tell your friends how much you care about them, that they are your friends forever?
Wouter’s death also reminds me of how lucky I am.
Crashing is part of the sport, but you never know when a crash can turn out very badly. As many of you know, I had a bad crash in the Tour de France three years ago. And so sometimes I pinch myself and say how lucky I am to be on a bike again, doing something I love, with good friends.
I can tell you that I remind myself of this every time I start to complain about the length of a race or the weather.
I’m one of the lucky ones. We are all the lucky ones.
So, my friends, don’t forget to tighten up the loose ends, to tell the ones you love how important they are to you, that they can count on you to be there for them.
But mostly right now, with the start of this year’s Giro, I just want to take a moment to think back about Wouter, a good teammate and a good friend.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

You are an Athlete 1st, no matter what!

Howdy My Friends,

I received this weekly email from Chris Carmichael, former pro cyclist, personal coach of Lance Armstrong, author, and Founder of Carmichael Training Systems (CTS).  I found the email insightful and encouraging.  As I have been working at being a stronger and healthier person, I never thought of myself as an athlete, until my wife called me one after a long ride where I was giving her a run down of the ride and how I overcame challenges and pushed hard on the difficult sections.  Shannon Sharpe's ideology and outlook should be the foundation of every person's mental outlook as we all work to be stronger, better versions of ourselves.  

Enjoy the email/newsletter and add your comments below or contact me at or follow on twitter @mindbodybike.

This week I had the opportunity to spend some time with 3x Superbowl Champion and NFL Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, and he’s a very impressive guy. He visited our Colorado Springs facility for a battery of physiological testing: lactate threshold, VO2 max, body composition, and a 3D Bike Fit. He’s a big man, especially compared to the skinny runners, cyclists, and triathletes we typically see in our lab. And he’s also in great shape, quite lean, and looks like he could suit up for the Broncos and play right alongside Payton Manning when the season starts up.Jim Rutberg, our Media Director, asked him about his motivation for staying in such great condition now that he’s no longer playing in the National Football League. The entire video interview can be seen here. I found Shannon’s response very interesting. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, that he doesn’t want to walk past a father and his son and have the father tell his son that Shannon once played football, only to have the son ask his father whether Shannon was a defensive or offensive lineman. Now, maybe there’s some vanity in that rationale for staying fit, but there are also some very important statements about identity and legacy.

Shannon said he still wants to look like he could play, even though he knows he can’t. But he also said that he can’t see himself letting himself go to the point where fitness isn’t a major part of his life. (As you can tell from this photo gallery, he hasn’t let himself go.) And his actions and routines are indicative of someone of who values performance as much as, if not more than, appearance. He’s lean and very muscular because he’s continued to train consistently, and with a lot of intensity.

What's interesting is that Shannon is one of a relatively small number of elite athletes I’ve seen who have successfully separated the “professional” from the “athlete” after retiring from being a professional athlete. For many elite athletes, their identities are so closely tied to being professional athletes that they struggle to remain athletes once it’s no longer their profession. Shannon is passionate about being an athlete. Being an athlete runs deeper within him than being a football player, and that’s a great characteristic to instill in kids and young adults when they see him riding, training, and staying in great shape nearly 9 years after playing his last NFL game.What does any of this have to do with you? How does any of this impact your training? Well, I think identity is a crucial part of being a successful endurance athlete, especially when it comes to working parents and career professionals. When time-crunched athletes reduce their training time too far, and start skipping events and group rides/runs they used to enjoy, it becomes harder to maintain your identity as an endurance athlete.

I hear it every time I travel. “I’m not really an athlete.” Yes, you are.  an athlete in every body. Every single one. Sometimes you’re in training and sometimes you’re not. But everyone is an athlete.  People believe they are not athletes because they think there’s some unwritten minimum threshold for weekly mileage or training hours, or maybe it’s some arbitrary performance marker, but below that level they no longer qualify as an athlete. That’s just self-deprecating horse- umm, let’s say ‘manure’. Speed, distance, and power output don’t make you an athlete. If you’re getting out there, getting it done, and having fun, you’re an athlete.

Of course, you could be a better one; which is why we train, recover, fuel up properly, and work with coaches. Improving your performance level strengthens your identity as an athlete – to yourself, regardless of whether it changes how others identify you – and that has a positive impact across other areas of your life. When you identify yourself as an athlete, you act like an athlete. You eat like an athlete, sleep like an athlete, carry yourself like an athlete.

When you allow your athlete identity to whither, it’s more difficult to continue eating a healthy, high-performance diet. It’s easier to migrate over to junk food. When you no longer see yourself as an athlete, it’s more difficult to find the motivation to exercise. It’s easier to stay on the couch. When you don’t think of yourself as an athlete, what is going to fill that void? Unfortunately, some people discover that unpleasant parts of their personalities rise to the surface when they turn away from being an athlete.

I found Shannon Sharpe’s visit to CTS very refreshing because of the perspective and positive attitude that he brought with him. Here’s a man who reached the top of his sport and spent a long time at the top. But rather than rest in comfortable retirement, he’s still pushing himself; not for money or glory or endorsement deals, but because he’s genuinely passionate about being an athlete. In case you’re wondering, that underlying passion is the difference between good athletes and great ones, and if you can tap into that passion in your own athletic pursuits, you will be a better athlete for it as well.

Have a great weekend,

Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach
Carmichael Training Systems

Stay the Athlete!!

Until the next time, 
Keep your mind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bath Time...for the bike, not me!--Update

Updated with a pic of the cleaning tools used in the bike bath.

Hello my friends and Happy May 1st! 

After a few hundred miles on the road collecting dirt and grime, it was high time for a thorough wash that went well beyond the simple wipe down after each ride and the scheduled chain cleaning. After removing the wheels, the frame was mounted on the repair stand. I used car wash soap in a bucket, a soft bristle & rough bristle brush as well as a wash mitt along with a chain brush and a sprocket brush/comb.  The repair stand allows me to maneuver around the bike and clean all the parts without crouching down and frees up both hands rather than balance the bike with one while washing with the other.

The Spray Down
Using a gentle spray from the water hose, proceed to hose off the bike from the top down to loosen the dirt and wash off any large chunks of mud and grime.  Do not use a forceful stream if using a water nozzle as it may get water and dirt into delicate parts of the bike which will lad to some serious issues. 

Spray degreaser on the chainrings, chain, cassette, and front and rear derailleurs and let it soak in while using the wash mitt to wash down the frame.  Start at the handle bars, toptube and seat, then move on to the fork and seat tube, then finally wash the downtube, seatstays, and chainstays.  This top down method, similar to washing a car, keeps the mitt from picking up the heaviest grime and moving it around to the other parts of the bike.  Rinse in the same manner, remembering to use a gentle stream.

Wheel Washing
Using the rough bristle brush, scrub the tires and use the soft bristle brush to scrub the hubs, spokes and rims.  Use the sprocket brush/comb to clean the cassette, rewetting with sopay water if needed.  Rinse.

Scrubbing the Drivetrain
Now that the frame is clean, I scrubbed the drivetrain using the different brushes listed earlier.  The soft bristle and rough bristle brushes were used to clean the front and rear derailleur, chainrings, cranks and pedals.  The chain brush, was obviously used to clean the chain.  To scrub the chain while preventing damage to the paint finish, I placed the brush underneath the chain with my hand resting on the chainstay while turning the pedals (illustration below is during the drying process, but the technique is the same). Rinse.     

Drip dry and hand dry with a terry towel, car chamois or in my case, an absorber towel that you can pick up at your local auto parts store.  Refrain from using compressed air to keep water from entering areas of the bike that are to remain dry, such as wheel hubs and the bottom bracket.

Truing and lubing
I hit a few potholes while dodging tire debris and the like on the last ride, so before mounting the tires back on, I checked each tire for trueness and luckily, it only required minimal adjustment.  With both tires mounted back on the frame, it's time to grease the pedals, oil the drivetrain including all the small swivel points as well as adding a few drops of oil into the brake and shifter cable sheaths using a teflon lube. 

Ta Da...All Cleaned and Ready to Roll!

Let me know what you folks think of these types of How To's/DIY's and share any techniques you use.  I'm always looking for ways to improve as well as looking for different ways to keep y'all engaged in my journey to be a stronger cyclist.

Send comments to, or follow on twitter @mindbodybike

Until the next time, 
 Keep your mind sharp, body fit, and pedal hard