Thursday, May 15, 2008

Century Ride Tips

ABOVE: Team in Training member David Blackmon

My husband and I have been involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program for the past three years. This year my husband, Rob, is coaching and I am mentoring, the team training for the Intracoastal Century Ride. This is a 100 mile road bike ride which takes place in Cocoa Beach, Florida on October 26th.

We have a fantastic team this year - 21 members so far, and we are hoping to get a few more cyclists signed up. Our very first ride, for the fall 2008 season, took place on Mother's Day - Sunday, May 11th. One of our team members, David Blackmon, took the initiative to contact road bikers, bike manufacturers, team directors, etc, asking them for advice for a person's first century ride.

The question David placed to them was:

"Other than a new bike, what are your suggestions on the most important
upgrade/accessory for a beginner to intermediate level rider?... How would
you suggest a rider spend perhaps $100-$200 to best improve that rider's
experience and performance in his or her first century ride?"

Here's the responses David received:

Thank you for writing with your interest in Slipstream/Chipotle H3O. Your request is an interesting one and we gathered some tips from various sources for you and your team.

Though, ultimately, there is no need to spend money if you already have and been training with the correct equipment and clothing. But here are some suggestions nonetheless:

The right equipment means comfort. Your bike should fit you well and should be familiar. If you aren’t sure, have your local bike professional provide a fit-assessment. Don’t plan to ride a new or a borrowed bike on your first century. Consider having a tune-up before the ride, and carry a spare tire and patch kit, tools, a pump and knowledge of how to use them. Other essential equipment includes:

• A properly fit helmet
• Comfortable cycling clothing, including shoes, shorts, gloves and rain gear
• Sunglasses

Hope this helps. We wish you all great success in your worthwhile efforts.

Woody, Web Editor, Slipstream Sports, LLC

.... One of the most efficient ways to improve the ride quality of any bicycle, as well as shaving a few pounds of weight off your equipment, is a lighter, higher quality set of wheels. These will be lighter, ride better and are transferable to other bikes as you upgrade. Lighter wheels can shave several pounds off the average bike. They also feel great when you ride them too.

Good wheels can be more expensive than your budget you mention, so this might still be out of reach for you. If you have decent wheels already, you might have to spend $500 on a new set, but if you're riding some really low end, inexpensive wheels, spending just $200-300 can really improve your ride. Look for new or used options to help stretch the budget.

If you want to increase your rider comfort, you can invest in a premium pair of shorts or bib shorts. This might not seem like a big deal, but it can make a huge difference when you're training and competition over long distances. The more comfortable the shorts are, the more miles you will want to ride. Some shorts are cheap and wear out quickly. Some shorts, like the Hincapie HC-12 bib shorts, have a 4-way stretch chamois that moves with the body to eliminate hot spots and chafing. The high tech construction will hold up wash after wash for all your training miles. Cheaper shorts will degrade and fall apart much faster.

I hope these suggestions will help you make gains in your fitness and comfort as you pursue your cycling goals. Ride safely and have fun.

Steve Baker, Marketing Director, Hincapie Sportswear, Inc.

The biggest thing you can do for a Century Ride is the training and preparation that comes with the Team in Training program. Make sure you follow a consistent ride schedule and build your fitness over at least a 10-12 week period. It's been my experience that many riders try to shorten the process and miss many of the base building rides that are so critical for a 100 mile effort.

Also keep in mind that you will be much stronger if your weekly riding involves a balance of time on the bike each day. Many riders with stiff work and domestic schedules often try to "stack" their riding to two long rides on the will be much better if you can fit in an hour per day and keep the weekend rides at moderate levels, but building through the summer.

As for a moderate expense that will pay dividends I suggest you make sure you are using a good energy-electrolyte drink while riding and especially for any ride over two hours in length. Personally, I think EFS from First Endurance is the best product available.

Len Pettyjohn, Team Director, Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team

That is great David! I hope to do a century ride this summer as well.
Good luck! ....

I would say that your best upgrade would be clipless pedals, shoes and good clothing. The shoes and pedals will increase your energy transfer and efficiency. The clothes will make you more comfortable for a long fun day in the saddle.

Also make sure you have enough water and tools with you. If you want to upgrade the bike, you may want to look at a new pair of wheels.
Have fun!

Jason Schumacher, Customer and Technical Service Manager
Trek Bicycle Corporation

...But I'm glad to hear you're getting involved with Team in Training. It's a great organization and you'll certainly get a huge amount of satisfaction from riding your first century. I'd say that the number one place to spend money in order to make that ride enjoyable is on a high quality saddle. Find a bike shop with a liberal return policy and try a few out. I went through probably ten saddle models before I finally settled on the Fizik Aliante, and now I wouldn't let any sponsor commitments make me change. Everyone's different, and it makes such a huge difference in comfort.

After that, a good pair of cycling shorts is also crucial. More money leads to a higher quality chamois (though none are actually made of made of chamois leather anymore), and that really makes a difference.

Also, clipless pedals are completely indispensable. Practice pedaling a full circle with them. Greg Lemond has likened it to pretending to scrape mud off the bottom of your shoe across the bottom of the pedal stroke. You can also practice by pedaling with one leg. If you're using more muscles in your legs, and not just your quads to push down, you'll fatigue a lot more slowly and you won't be as sore afterward.

But certainly do not waste money on fancy racing parts. That stuff only makes a difference when you're worried about the final 10%. If you're comfortable, just about any bike will be suitable for a hundred miles.

I hope that helps. Have fun.

Doug Ollerenshaw, Professional Cyclist, Team Rock Racing

Good luck to you and your teammates in TeamInTraining. It's a great organization doing good things.

In the $100-200 range I would suggest the following upgrades

1) Better saddle
2) Better tires
3) Better handlebar tape (better padding)

You can't do all three of these for $200, but you can do either 1 and 3 or 2 and 3 most likely (though there are saddles that run more than $200.

Better tires will make the bike feel and corner better. A high thread count is the key here, just like sheets. Anything more than 200 TPI is good. A better saddle is more comfortable and better bar tape will make not only the rider's hands more comfortable but their arms and shoulders more comfortable.

Patrick, Felt Bicycles

If you can afford it, and don't already have some, get clipless pedals and shoes. The increase in efficiency from platforms pedals is off the charts!

Jesse Lawler, Director Sportif, Jittery Joe's Professional Cycling Team

Monday, May 12, 2008

TNT Fundraising Cookbook

Ashley Siegel and Kathy Pacheco, are raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. They are part of the marathon team for the society's Team in Training program. They are helping to raise funds for the society while at the same time training to complete a 26.2 mile marathon.

Ashley is the co-mentor for the 2008 Nike Women's Marathon team and a sophmore at FAU. Kathy is the other co-mentor for the 2008 Nike Women's Marathon team. Kathy's son, Kyle, is currently battling a blood cancer.

Ashley and Kathy put together a terrific cookbook as part of their current fundraising efforts. The cookbook is filled with favorite recipes from honored heros that are currently battling a blood cancer and honored heros that have lost their battle to blood cancer along with supportors and employees of the Leukemia Society. The cookbook, filled with lots of yummy recipes, is being sold for $20.

To make donations, or to find out how to purchase the cookbook, contact Ashley by sending an email to or by calling her at 561-502-6973. To learn more about the Leukemia Society or the Team in Training program visit or The printing of the cookbook was graciously donated by Trans America Printing.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ride of Silence

Ride of Silence™ Press Release


Cyclists especially, but also runners, and others who legally share the road

The Ride Of Silence™

May 21, 2008, 7pm

• to mourn those cyclists already killed by motorists
• to raise awareness (among motorists, police, and city officials) of cyclists on the road
• to have motorists know we only want to share the road we ride on
• to show that cyclists are not going away

On the third Wednesday of May, at 7 PM local around the world, cyclists
will take to the roads in a silent protest of the carnage taking place
on the streets.

Chris Phelan organized the first Ride Of Silence in Dallas in 2003 after
endurance cyclists Larry Schwartz was killed by a passing bus mirror on
an empty road.

The Ride Of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no
faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride.

The ride hopes to raise cycling awareness during bike safety month to
motorists, police, and city officials. The ride is also a chance to
mourn, in funeral procession style, those who have already been killed.
The ride also requests black arm bands be worn, red if you have had a
bike/motor vehicle accident.

This event is a free ride, no registration fee, no aid stations; food and beverages will not be served. However, as our organization is a non profit charity, donations will be accepted, the proceeds of which will be used to assist those families of deceased and injured bicyclists who are in need of financial support.

Phelan is looking for as many cyclists as possible to join him in one
of many locations in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, South and Central
America and the rest of the world.

He can be reached at

The web site is

Monday, May 5, 2008

MS150 Bike Ride

ABOVE: Card Sound Bridge - 65 feet high, no shoulders.

My husband and I rode in the MS150 this weekend. The MS150 is a charity bike ride which benefits the Multiple Sclerosis Society. It was two days of riding 75 miles each day. We got up at 4:30 AM Saturday morning to drive 60 miles south to Coral Gables where the ride started. We were part of the 90 member Office Depot Foundation Team.

Boy am I freaking tired after riding 150 miles on my bike this weekend. Wasn’t supposed to have a headwind but we had a headwind both days - DANG. Pretty bad when you can only get up to 26 MPH going down Card Sound Bridge. Pretty steep bridge, should have been doing close to 40 MPH, but dang if that wind wasn’t trying to push us back up the bridge!!!

Approximately 2,700 bikers participated in the MS150. They started the ride in waves, letting around ?50-100 bikers start at a time. Took us an hour after the “official” ride start before we actually crossed the starting line. Day 2 we got closer to the start line - only took us 1/2 hour to get across the starting line.

On the first day, only 1.25 miles into the ride, we came across the first of many ambulances we would see during the 2 days of riding. There were a bunch of round-a-bouts at the beginning of the ride. Someone rode right into the r-a-b, hit the curb with their front tire and crashed their bike. The biker was still lying on the side of the ground when we rode by - not the kind of thing you want to see at the beginning of a 150 mile ride.

On day two, at the halfway point we had a rest stop at the Homestead Race Track. Got to do a lap on the extremely steep, banked race track - could you hear me screaming!?! Thought I was going to slide down the freaking side of the track, so I pointed the front of the bike back down and flew down to the flat part. Then I noticed everyone else was doing the same thing - AAAAIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!! The rest stop portion, with all the food and drinks, was setup in pit row, you know, where the race cars stop to get refueled/new tires. It was pretty cool.

I think I was more scared getting into and back out of the track. Had to go down this steep, unlit tunnel which had metal speed bumps. Coming back out we were in a huge group of bikers, whoever was at the front started screaming so we all started screaming going through the tunnel, which echoed, it was hilarious.

Well organized ride, lots of great food at the beginning of the ride, at all the rest stops and at the end of the ride at John Pennekamp State Park. Left our bikes at the park, picked up our luggage and took the shuttle 3 miles to our hotel. Stayed at the Holiday Inn Key Largo, poolside room. Very nice, 2 pools, jacuzzi, Tiki Bar, right next to Coconuts Seafood Restaurant. We took a nap before eating dinner. I had a HUGE bowl of angel hair pasta with scallops - nice not having to count calories. I burned around 8,300 calories during the 2 days - food is my friend. Think we were back in our room by 7:30 and fell asleep by around 9 PM. Got up at 5:30 AM to do it all in reverse on Sunday morning.

On Saturday we rode with some of our Office Depot team members for most of the day. Saw a lot of our other biking friends that were also doing the ride. Headwinds were a bit stronger on Sunday, or maybe I was just in a lot of pain and really TIRED. But the groups were spread out a lot more on Sunday, kind of hard to get the full benefits of drafting when you’re only riding with 2 other bikers for the last 30 miles or so. My average speed for both days was pretty close, but Saturday we rode at a pretty consistent speed. On Sunday it was a lot of too fast riding along with a lot of too slow riding.

Here’s my statistics from my 2 days of riding from my Garmin Edge 305 cycling computer. My husband says his computer showed we did 150.5 miles, not sure why mine says only 147.07. I think my heart rate monitor was also messed up a bit. It kept going on and off during the day, so I’m not sure how accurate the overall readings are.

MS150 Statistics

Miles Time AVG Speed Max Speed Calories Burned
2 Day Total 147.07 8:24:38 17.5 36.2 8293
Saturday 75:04 4:14:03 17.7 26.5 4205
Sunday 72:03 4:10:03 17.2 36.2 4088

I rode 150 miles this weekend and all I got was a stupid t-shirt and a dorky medal!!! There were a couple of official photography points along the ride. If I can find any photos of Rob and I online I’ll add them to this blog post - unless we look like total dorks, which is a pretty good possibility.

Take care,
AKA the Bike Diva

I uploaded quite a few photos from the ride to my Bike Diva website. Check them out when you get a chance.