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Triathlete & champion chrissie Wellington

Yup – you read that right.  According to IronMan champion Chrissie Wellington’s blog, she has secured herself a guest slot in the time trial stage of the Amgen Tour of California to be held in LA.  Very cool….

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There is no denying a vein of sadomasochism in cycling.  Learning to ignore – or even enjoy – pain cause by muscle fatigue is part of the allure of cycling for many.  Feel the burn! It is a common mantra, and applicable here.

However, it is also important to know when to stop and listen to the pain.  Being able to differentiate between discomfort cause by the natural creation of lactic acid in the muscles and pain indicating a strain or pull can be the difference between one short ride, or several weeks off of the bike.

This has become painfully clear to me (both figuratively and literaly) recently has I’ve been hit with another round of symptoms from Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  In a nut shell, this is the irritation of a particular tendon that runs across the outside of your knee.  During normal cycling, this tendon rubs across the knee every time the knee bends.  In certain circumstances, the tendon will become inflamed and cause pain.  Unfortunately, the inflammation of the tendon can actually increase the rubbing and snapping that happens due to the size increase – a kinda nasty feedback loop of sorts.

This is definitely one of those times when riding through the pain will make things worse for you – both short and long term.  Aside from long term muscle building and flexibility improvements, the only relief comes from allowing the inflammation to subside.  And that isn’t going to happen unless you stay off of the bike for a while.

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I just found out about a blog that has been put together for the Cycle Folsom Peloton Group – the group I ride with on the weekends.  It is cool to see these – as these are they types of post that I wish I was writing.  However, I generally go into ultra-lazy mode after these rides and don’t do much.

I’m hoping to soon contribute some video, either here or to the Peloton group blog.  Very shortly I’m going to get my self a GoPro HD Helmet Pro.  This cool little camera has the hardware to mount to your helmet, handlebars, or top tube, among other places.  I know the guy from Cyclelicious has used this company’s cameras for some of the video he has posted – and they look great.  In fact, I’m off to REI to pick my new camera up now…

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Apparently for some simply stealing a guys bike isn’t enough. Instead of stopping there, let’s beat him unconscious too. At least that’s what a SacBee article is reporting.

That actually raises an interesting point that has always bothered me. Historically we’ve had much higher legal penalties for stealing primary transportation – first horses and now cars. These penalties have been (and are) higher than the simple financial value of the stolen property. Why? A big reason is that stealing someone’s primary transportation can leave a person stranded in a way that can potentially be dangerous for them. Well, what about those of us that use bikes as our primary transportation? What happens when I am 30, 40, 50 miles or more from home and get my bike stolen? Where’s my “Grand Theft Bicycle” statute?

All that aside, I wish this cyclist a speedy recovery. I’m still feeling the mental effects of the theft of my bike, and I didn’t have the added insult of a physical assault to go along with it.

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I was going through some of my old Google Alerts emails, and I stumbled across a link to Eight Tips for Photography while Cycling – Part 2 – a post on a blog by Daniel Carruthers.  The title itself caught my eye, and the post was a good read.  Of course, I had to go back and check out Part 1.  But the more I looked at the stuff Daniel and written, the more interested I was.  Probably the best I found were his two posts on Riding with your Wife (also see Part 2 of the same).  Good stuff.

Of all my recent web finds, this one as stood out for me as one that I’ll keep reading.  In fact, I just added it to my RSS feed reader.  Check it out.

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There is one thing about cyclists – we seem to like to blog about our passion excessively.  I can’t believe how many new (well – new to me at least) cycling related blogs I find on a weekly basis.  A couple of simple Google Alerts, follow a couple of links and 20-30 can be found within an hour.  It is amazing.

Some of you have already seen my Random Bike Blogs, Forums and Web sites page.  This is quickly growing, and I’ve begun to realize that utilizing the standard WordPress “Blogroll” functionality just isn’t going to work for me.

I’ll continue to collect cycling related sites as I find them, and add them to that page.  At some point I’ll come up with a good way to orginize these, but until then hopefully you’ll find something new and interesting in the potpourri of links.  Also, if you keep your own cycling related blog, forum or website , let me know.  I’d love to read what you have and add a link to the collection.

.  This

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As we approach the winter months it can become harder and harder to get outside on the bike.  Not only can the weather be a challenge, but it gets darker earlier so you may be out of daylight by the time you get home from work.  All of these things can really hinder a training schedule.  I’ve got additional challenges I face – as a week out of every three or four I have work duties that demand my laptop always be with me.  Not only is it a hassle to carry it around while riding, getting stuck on the bike trail should I be called upon to actually use that laptop is not a happy proposition.  What is a cyclist to do?

Performance Bicycle RollersWell – my solution was to get a set of indoor rollers.  This solution was partially enacted when I found a used set on Craig’s list.  I think I paid the guy like $45 or something.  Not only was there a full set of rollers, but there was also a fork stand so that I could hard-mount the bike and just have the back wheel spinning.  Good thing too – the belt that is supposed to accompany a set of rollers had broken on the previous owner.  After a couple of sessions bracketed into the fork stand, I began my search for the replacement belt.  6 bucks a about 7 days later, the belt was in place, the fork stand was removed and I was ready to give the rollers a “whirl” for real.

I started out next to an object I could grab onto to – my “safety handle”.  I held on and started to pedal.  10 seconds later, my front wheel was off the rollers and I was clinging to my safety handle for dear life.  Wow…

So rollers are a little tricky to get used to to say the least.  I put about 20 minutes into that first session, and never managed to do much more than one hand on the safety grip, on hand on the handlebars, and a lot of starts and stops trying to keep in a straight line.  I’d read that riding rollers is not only good for basic strength/endurance workouts, but also greatly improves your bike handling skills as well.  Yea – I can see why.

After that first attempt, I moved the rollers into the door frame for my second attempt.  This is definitely the way to go.  What worked best for me was to position it so that my elbows were right where the door jam was.  This way, with both hands on the handle bars, I could gently stick out my elbow and put a little pressure against the door frame if I started to fall one way or the other.  The other thing I found was – just like on the road – for some reason looking down at the front wheel as it is spinning is not a good strategy for maintaining your straight line.  In fact, when I looked across the room at the TV and didn’t target my every thought on keeping my bike straight on the rollers, I actually found I could do it a lot easier.  It really is like riding on the road if you don’t get all hung up about it.  Only thing is, you’ve got to stay within about a 3 foot space (depending on the size of your rollers) or you’ll be in a world of hurt.

I thought a little bit about the nightmare scenario – namely falling off the rollers, hitting the floor at full speed and shooting across the living room.  However, in practice I found that if anything the front tire falling off seemed the most likely scenario.  And, if the front tire were to fall off but the back tire were still on there really is no forward momentum as far as the floor is concerned.  I don’t think the physics will allow the cartoon-inspired “hit the ground and ride straight through the opposite wall” possibility.

So currently I’ve got at most 20 miles on the rollers.  Not a lot of miles for sure, and I’m definitely no pro, but the clumsy feeling is starting to go away.  I imagine sometime within the next 100 miles done indoors it will become less painful that going out in the pouring rain.  Well, ok, the riding in the rain isn’t really all that painful.  But I absolutely hate needing to clean up the damn leaves and road gunk from my down tube … while it is still raining.

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