Posts

Crush your rides on the indoor trainer and stay motivated with this advice

Indoor trainers are a great way to stay fit and on top of your training. You can catch up on your favorite show, keep an eye on the kids, or avoid cycling in inclement weather. Using your indoor trainer is a great way to avoid air pollutants and the dangers of traffic. Hop on your indoor trainer and keep working towards your goals and continue to track your progress. You can set your own pace and follow what’s on your training plan. Select the resistance levels and choose your mileage to mimic an outdoor ride. During unfriendly cycling weather, indoor trainers provide a great way to maintain your training schedule. The tips below will help you stay motivated when riding your indoor trainer.

Pro tip: train with what’s most optimal for you and your budget. Learn about the difference between trainers and rollers. The advice below can apply to both of them!

Set a goal for your ride

Whenever you swim, bike, or run during training you should have a goal set. Whether it’s time, distance, or level of difficulty, accomplishing a small goal will help with your larger goal. You should do this whether you’re cycling outdoors or using the indoor trainer. Target your ride, distance, intensity, and resistance levels to help you accomplish your goal.

Take a break

Breaks work wonders and can make your triathlon training session more engaging. Simply get off for a few minutes. You can stretch, hydrate, grab something to eat, and get back to riding. Your body will feel more refreshed after a quick break. A break from the indoor trainer can be just like stopping at a gas station on your long ride to refuel.

Listen to your favorite upbeat music

Let’s be real. Music helps improve our focus. Pick up the earbuds or headphones and switch on some adrenaline rush inducing tunes right away. Listening to music is much safer on your indoor trainer than the open roads. You should never listen to music when cycling on the roads. You need to listen to your surroundings and be completely aware of what’s going on. But if you’re on the indoor trainer, add these 5 songs to your playlist and crank it up!

Catch up on your favorite TV shows

You can multitask with ease. This is one of the distinctive benefits of using an indoor trainer. Busy schedule keeping you from the latest season of your favorite show? Turn it on during your workout and the miles will fly by. If your training calls for a longer ride, click play on one of these sports movies on Netflix. This way you don’t have to mess with changing the channel or choosing another episode on your long ride.

Virtually ride with others through an app

Ride with your friends on your indoor trainer with a cycling app like Zwift.

Training in the digital world has its perks, especially if you’re riding indoors. If you can’t ride outdoors, there are many apps that allow you to complete a tough workout or ride virtually with your friends. You can even cycle anywhere in the world! This is a great way to stay motivated and switch up your indoor trainer routine. If you plan to use the app Zwift, check out this helpful guideline to get started.

Reward yourself

Just like any training, make sure to reward yourself. This will help keep up your motivation. Rewards for crushing smaller goals should be the same whether you’re outdoors or not. Your big goal is rewarded by crossing the finish line. Make sure you reward those smaller goals to keep chasing the larger goal! You could book a massage or get take out from your favorite restaurant.

In the digital era, indoor training has become far more engaging than we can imagine. You can catch up on your favorite shows, ride anywhere in the world, or challenge your friends. You’re also able to mimic various elements of your training plan, including resistance, difficulty, and duration. This helps you maintain your training and stay on track. Make sure you reward yourself when you hit those smaller goals on your way to your bigger goal!

Improve as a cyclist and ride as safely as possible when you master these bike skills

It is not “just riding a bike.” Everyday bike skills will not make you a better cyclist, but they can provide the foundation for you to improve. For triathletes, you can’t take advantage of speed if you don’t master certain bike skills like shifting gears and handling turns. In triathlon, every second matters. If you can get better at handling your bike, then you can potentially shave minutes off your time. Ride safely and improve as a cyclist when you master these bike skills. Pro tip: for added safety, memorize and follow the cycling rules of the road.

Practice these bike skills

Be energy efficient

Cyclist rides in an aero position, smiling at the camera, during the 2018 Kerrville Triathlon. Credit Ed Sparks.

Riding in an aero position allows you to be more energy-efficient. Credit – Ed Sparks

When you ride fast, aerodynamics play against performance by way of air and wind resistance. Proper body positioning on the bike can reduce wind resistance and make you more energy efficient. The smaller you can make yourself on the bike, the less wind resistance. If you can continue to maximize your power output in this position, you’ll save more energy for the rest of the ride and the upcoming run. Pro tip: minimize the amount of time you’re sitting up and stay in the aero bar more to reduce wind resistance.

Shifting gears

The difference between a pro and an everyday cyclist is their ability to shift gears at the most appropriate time. This is a skill that most triathletes may take for granted.

Below are the three secrets in exploiting situations using gear shifting skills

  • Climbing: Don’t go to an easy gear directly. Shift gears in their sequence as the climb advances to maintain momentum and efficiency.
  • Change gear after accelerating: You know from experience that it is easier to rev a fast gear than a heavy gear. Increase the tempo of the gear to shift into a heavier gear to overtake or a similar maneuver.
  • Heavy gear: While riding with a group, change to a bigger gear for a steadier pace that saves energy.

Passing other cyclists

Cyclist takes the corner for the final turn before transition at the Kerrville Triathlon. Credit Ed Sparks.

Get out as wide as you safely can when handling a corner. Credit – Ed Sparks

As a USAT-sanctioned event, Kerrville Triathlon abides by all of their rules. The passing rules should be followed on training rides too. 

  • Keep three lengths between the cyclist in front
  • Pass on the left, never the right
  • Complete within 15 seconds

Handling corners

Mastery over this skill can help you maintain as much speed as possible. Follow the below steps to maneuver corners like a pro.

  • Launch into a corner in an open curve
  • Hook the peak point of the bend
  • Get out as wide as you safely can
  • If you need to slow down, do it before entering the corner
  • Never apply brakes while in the bend

Hydrating

Cyclist rides during the rain with her hydration bottles visible during the Kerrville Triathlon. Credit Ed Sparks.

Make sure you have plenty of hydration with you for longer rides. Credit – Ed Sparks

This is often the toughest skill to master for most cyclists. When practicing this, start off at a slower speed and build your way up. If your bottle is in a rack below you, get some speed and stop pedaling. As you coast, focus on your balance. With the hand you’re most comfortable with, reach down and grab your bottle. Maintain balance of the bike with the other hand. Drink and place the bottle back. Repeat as necessary until you become more familiar. Increase speed and add pedaling as this move becomes more natural. Pro tip: this blog further breaks down how to hydrate while you ride and highlights the best items for just that.

Fixing a flat

Don’t get caught stranded because of a flat tire. This information is valuable whether you’re racing or on a long training ride. To fix the flat tire of a bike, follow the below procedure. Make sure you’re prepared for anything and when you have these essential items in your saddlebag.

  • Remove the wheel from the bike and take out the tube
  • Closely inspect to find the puncture, check for embedded objects
  • Replace the tube with a spare or patch it up
  • Put everything back and continue riding

Set aside time every day to practice these bike skills. You will get better over time, especially as you become more familiar and comfortable with each skill. Before you know it, you’ll show others the tricks you come up with to make cycling easier for yourself.

Saddle bag and essential items explained

It’s important to carry a saddle bag with you on all of your bike rides. You know this is true if you’ve ever had a flat tire or minor mechanical problem. A saddle bag is specifically designed to hang underneath your bicycle seat. They come in a variety of sizes and styles. Make sure yours fits comfortably on the back of your bike. Some people even have two different saddles bags, one for training rides and one for races. Check the links below to see some recommended items. Pro tip: follow the dos and don’ts of bike buying and make sure your saddle bag has what it needs.

At a minimum, it should have an inner tube, a patch kit, tire levers, and a bicycle-specific multi-tool in it. If you don’t know the size of your inner tube, check the sidewall of your tire. You could also ask your local bike shop what’s best for your bike. Pro tip: take care of your bike before issues arise with this helpful replacement timeline.

Fix a flat tire

Some cyclists carry a hand pump on their bike. If you don’t, it’s essential to have a CO2 cartridge and inflator. A flat tire can be fixed in less than five minutes. You can get back to riding if you have the tools and spare with you to fix it. Otherwise, you’ll be calling a friend for a ride or maybe calling in late to work if you’re mid-commute when the flat tire happens.

Other mechanical problems

A loose bolt could allow your handlebar to move or your seat to slip. Those two issues are an easy fix if your saddle bag has a bicycle-specific multi-tool. A broken chain is a less common occurrence. A chain tool is included in many multi-tools. It’s a necessity if your chain breaks while you’re out on a ride. You might want to consider carrying a “missing link” for any chain issues.

Learn how to change an inner tube or use a CO2 inflator. Talk to your mechanic or ask a friend to teach you how before your next long bike ride. Finally, you should always have a cell phone, some cash, and identification with you in case of an emergency. You don’t need to store those items in your saddle bag. The cash is useful on long bikes rides when you plan to stop at a gas station to refuel.

Follow these bike buying guidelines if you’re in the market

Buying a bike can be a massive undertaking. There are so many options, accessories, fits, shops, and questions. That’s where this bike buying advice can help! Follow these bike buying dos and don’ts to make sure you get the bike that’s just right for you. Our advice can simplify the process, whether this is your first bike or you’re upgrading. Pro tip: become familiar with the cycling rules of the road.

Dos 

Take the bike for a test ride

Many bike shops will allow you to take the bike out on an extended ride. So come prepared with clothes you can ride in.

Research bike types & have a clear goal for the bike 

There are different types of bikes and bike frame materials. Bikes that are specifically made for mountain biking are very different from traditional bikes. Aluminum and carbon fiber are the two most popular bike frame materials. There is no bike that does it all. Prioritize what is most important to you. 

Know what bike brands the store carries before you go 

Bike shops carry different types of brands. The city in which you live and the number of bike shops can determine what brands you have access to. Popular brands include Felt, Giant, Scott, Specialized, Trek, and Cervelo. Pro tip: whatever brand you get, learn how to refuel at a gas station during your long rides.

Talk to the staff and ask questions

TALK TO THE STAFF! Don’t be scared to talk to the folks in the shop, they are there to help. If you find that they go off on a tangent that you don’t follow just ask them to clarify. Many times they are just excited to talk about the bikes and are happy to share all of their knowledge. Getting to know them is also good. Having a relationship with the shop will be great when you come in to shop later or get service on your bike. 

Get the bike fitted to you

Bikes don’t come fit to you just off the rack. There are many things that can be adjusted to make the bike fit more comfortably and even optimize your performance on the bike. Things that can be adjusted include the stem of the bike, the seat post, the seat, crank arms, and more. While some shops include a basic fit with purchase, many times it costs extra since they bring in a professional to help. If the bike is something you are going to be putting a lot of hours on, it is totally worth the extra investment. Pro tip: learn how much of a difference an adjustment of a few millimeters can make with your saddle height.

Ask about any package deals or closeout specials

It’s not bad to ask if they offer any package deals on accessories. Many times they will give you a small discount on anything you buy at the time of the bike. Sometimes bike brands have closeout specials for last year’s bikes, as cars do. Pro tip: this blog breaks down the different hydration methods so you know what’s best for you.

Don’ts

Don’t test a bike at a shop, then buy online

Buying from a local shop is the start of a relationship. They are giving you their time and expertise, not just at the time of purchase but for years to come. 

Don’t ride just one bike

Be the Goldilocks of bike testing. If this is your first “real bike” take the time to test out different bikes. Different bike brands have different geometries that may fit your body better. 

Don’t settle for what’s in store

If all they have is the basic components model and you really wanted something nicer, don’t settle. See what they can do about getting the bike you want. If you don’t like the way a bike looks or it doesn’t fit quite right, don’t buy it just because you’re getting a great deal. There is not too much you can do about the color of bikes. Each year the model might be a different color. You can always see if there is an option to buy a previous or next year’s model. You can also have the bike custom painted if that is something that is important to you. 

Don’t skip on accessories

Get everything you need! Get lights, lock, bento box, water bottles, pedals, shoes, shorts, etc. Set yourself up for success so that you have everything you need to get out and ride. You don’t need the excuse of not having something to keep you from riding and enjoying your new bike. Plus, they may offer a discount on accessories at the time of purchase with your bike. 

Don’t buy and never return

Try and come back to the same bike shop for your future needs. They may even have a system that keeps track of your purchases so they are familiar with your needs. The mechanics at that shop will be most familiar with the brand and type of bike you purchased. You might just make some friends and new riding buddies.

Follow our advice to get better at hydrating while cycling

If you’re new to cycling, one of the challenges to get accustomed to is knowing how to drink water while peddling. Just as there is skill needed to balance, ride curves, and pump uphills, technique is needed to hydrate without losing your balance and falling off your bike. Here are some tips for hydrating while cycling.

Use a squirt-top bottle instead of a cap bottle

A water bottle with a cap requires you to twist it open, which is cumbersome to do with one hand on a bike. When it comes to squirt-top bottles, you can simply use your teeth to open the valve and start drinking with one hand as you control your bike with the other. The convenience a squirt-top bottle offers during cycling allows you to focus on the course more and avoid any accident.

Make use of the bottle cage on your bike

To carry water on the road, you can use a bottle cage on your bike. The bottle cage can be installed between the bars, on the frame, or near the saddle to help you reach your drink with zero fuss. Here are the pros and cons of each bottle cage.

Aero Bottle Cage

This type of cage is designed so that it can be attached to multiple parts of the bike frame. Most other cages can only be mounted to the frame.

Pros
– easiest to access
– option to install it either vertical or horizontal
– using horizontal bottles at the front can decrease aerodynamic drag

Cons
– poor aerodynamics compared to other cages
– using vertical bottles can cause even higher aerodynamic drag.

Bike Frame Cage

These are very common bottle holders that can be placed on the frame, seat post, or handlebars.

Pros
– slim aero bottles on the down tube are less affected by drag and side wind.

Cons
– intermediate aerodynamic drag
– large frame-mounted bottles are expensive and difficult to clean.

Rear Hydration System

This is an aerodynamic bottle that is mounted behind the seat post. These are more so used by competitive triathletes partaking in very long distances.

Pros
– best choice in terms of aerodynamics
– least affected by side wind

Cons
– requires a cage with a strong grip to prevent bottle-launching
– must be made of a favorable material to oppose side sway

Take advantage of the straight-aways

Think about when the ideal time to take a sip is and be ready to do so. Trying to pull the water bottle out on curves is much more challenging, so wait until the trail is flat and straight to get your drink.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Ride up and down your street over and over and practice. Pull your water bottle out of the cage, take a sip, then put it back while moving forward. Start off slow and pick up speed as you get more comfortable.

Pro Tip: Avoid quenching your thirst in one go

Kerrville TriathlonExerting your body through exercise causes dehydration which makes you thirsty. Despite your desire to rapidly quench your thirst it’s important to not drink too much. It can be counterproductive and negatively affect your performance. It is best to avoid drinking mouthfuls and only take a few sips occasionally. You can hydrate yourself effectively without running the risk of drinking too much.

To make sure you do not run yourself dry, you should consume around 600-900 ml of water, per hour, during a triathlon, in addition to other nutritional needs. Although triathlons will have water available in transition and on the run course, not all triathlons provide an aid station on the bike course. Make sure the water bottle(s) on your bike are full so you don’t run out of water.

Hydrating while cycling can be tricky if you’re not used to it. With a secure bottle cage and lots of practice, you’ll be able to master this skill in no time.

Make a pit stop anywhere, anytime during your training rides with this Gas Station Refuel Guide

You pump up the bike tires, check your saddle height, cover yourself with sunscreen, you open the cupboard trying to figure out what to bring for a mid-ride snack, but nothing looks appealing. Instead of agonizing on what to bring, why not just ride “light” and stop at a gas station to refuel. Gas stations are everywhere. It is a good place to stop, take a break, stretch your legs, use the restroom and refuel.  Here are some ideas on what to pick up from the gas station to refuel during training rides as you get ready for Kerrville Tri

Short Ride Refuel

For short rides, 1 to 2 hours, a bottle of water, or your favorite electrolyte drink are great choices to rehydrate. If you notice that you’re hungry, go for a banana, energy bar, or even candy such as Skittles. These are all great ways to get some quick calories in. They are easy to digest and allow the body to absorb the calories quickly.

Refuel Guide for Medium Rides

For medium rides, 2 to 3 hours, in addition to water and electrolytes drinks, also consider having a coke. Studies that found that caffeine can enhance exercise performance. And for your snack, consider having something high in calories and with some fat. Food with a bit of fat will keep you feeling full. Muffins, Snickers, and trail mix are some great options. Keep a good balance of carbs, protein, and fat for sustained energy.

The Long Haul Refuel

For rides longer than 3 hours, consider getting food and drink that is appetizing and you’ll actually enjoy. If you have been on the bike for hours, the last thing you probably want is another gel or chew. On those hot days, an ice-cold soda or Red Bull is a great way to refresh yourself. Maybe even consider getting an ice cream sandwich. If the gas station is serving fresh-made food, that is a great option. A fresh-made hot breakfast taco is a great mood booster when you are in the middle of a long ride and feeling tired. The goal is to get food that you want to eat and get the needed calories to finish the ride strong. 

You’re Ready to Ride!

How to Refuel at the Gas Station During Training Rides

Pro tip: Don’t forget to grab your debit card and look over these must-know rules of the road before you head out for your next ride!  Now you know exactly what to eat to keep your energy levels where they should be during your workout. Next time you’re out for a training ride and don’t shy away from stopping at the closest gas station! With this Gas Station Refuel Guide, you’ll know exactly what you need to replenish your body so you can get back on the road!

If you have a favorite, go-to snack at the gas station you grab when you’re in need of a quick refuel, share it with us! We’re always looking for new snacks and treats to try during our training rides. We’re on Facebook and Twitter and would love to hear your suggestions.

Knowing the rules of the road is crucial to keep you and the rest of your squad safe

Follow these rules of the road every time you ride and to stay safe during your training for your upcoming triathlon!

9 must-know safety tips for your next ride

Stay safe during your training rides by knowing the rules of the road. Whether you’re riding to lunch with co-workers around the block or completing a long training ride for Kerrville Triathlon Festival, the following group riding guidelines will come in handy. Knowing these rules of the road will also make the ride more enjoyable and safer for everyone involved. Memorize these 9 Rules of the Road to cover your butt and keep you safe. 

Cycling Rules of the Road for your upcoming ride

  1. Complete a quick, pre-ride safety check.
  2. Obey all traffic laws. Here are a few examples: Yield to pedestrians, use the bike lane, use hand signals, and watch out for traffic lights! Just like in a car, the same rules apply when riding a bike.  Do not run red lights!
  3. Operate bike in such a manner as to not offend or endanger motorists, pedestrians, etc.
  4. Wear a helmet for safety (and be a good model for children).
  5. Activate all lights on bikes.
  6. Wear reflective gear that makes the group more visible, even in the daytime.
  7. Ride single file when you’re with others except in areas where it is safe to ride side-by-side.
  8. Avoid slowing down abruptly or making any other sudden moves.
  9. Ask experienced riders questions when you’re not sure what is occurring.

Important hand signals

On your left! You’ve probably experienced fellow cyclists shouting at you in efforts to get your attention on the road. But, hand signals, instead of words, are used to warn riders of potential danger on the roadway. Especially when riding in a pack, the only cyclist who has enough visual warning is the front cyclist. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the lead rider to warn the cyclists behind them. If the lead cyclist (or the cyclist in front of you):

  • shakes their hand to the right = there’s a pothole, branch, or some obstacle to the right
  • shakes their hand to the left = there’s an obstacle to the left
  • puts hand behind their posterior = follow right behind them as there might be obstacles on both sides
  • puts right hand down with the flat of the hand facing you = lead cyclist is slowing down or coming to a stop

It’s crucial to know these hand signals to keep yourself safe when riding alone to avoid a collision with another cyclist. Last but not least, being aware of your surroundings is essential to keep yourself safe during a ride. Be on the lookout and apply these rules of the road to keep yourself safe next time you go for a ride.

Let your troubles drift away with these quotes about life that are bound to boost your mood

As much as we may hate to admit it, we’ve all been in a funk where it’s difficult to feel inspired to keep going. With many daily obstacles to face, from stress at work to family, love, and overall success, it can be hard to find a balance. There comes a time when we all need a little extra boost of positivity to get back in the right mindset. That’s exactly what you’re gonna find with these mood-boosting quotes about life.

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Jot down a few of your favorite uplifting quotes or sayings for the next time you’re feeling down and need a quick pick-me-up! It’ll give you the perfect boost to get you back on track to achieving your goals. Pro Tip: These are also great quotes if you’ve hit a lull in your tri journey and need some motivation to get ready for some Kerrville Tri training. 

Performance Sunglasses for the trendiest triathletes

When it comes to being a triathlete, there is a lot of gear needed to race your best the morning of a tri. However, there’s an important piece of tri gear that often gets overlooked: performance sunglasses. After all, you wear them for 2/3 of the tri during the run leg and bike leg. We know looking for the right pair of shades that look great and meets both your running and cycling needs can be difficult. Find a pair that meets your personal style and performance needs with these recommendations of reliable, stylish performance sunglasses for your upcoming tri.

 

STYLISH PERFORMANCE SUNGLASSES FOR THE TRENDY TRIATHLETE

Lookin’ cool out on the Kerrville Tri course!

Bottom Line:

Performance sunglasses are a must. They protect your eyes from dirt, harmful rays from the sun, and other possible debris that may come your way during a race. The last thing you want to do is fidget with a pair in the middle of your race. Having the right pair of sunglasses can make or break your performance on race day. With these stylish performance sunglasses, you’ll be ready to crush it this year’s Kerrville Tri, and look cool in the process! Keep this in mind next time you’re in the market for some tri shades: the lighter the better, protection from UV rays is crucial, and comfort is key.

If you’re a podcast lover like us, you are in for a treat! Check out our top favorite health and fitness podcasts.

Whether you’re looking for a boost of motivation or just want to practice a healthier lifestyle, turning to podcasts for guidance is a great source. Not to mention a great way to learn something new while on the go. Keep reading and check out some of our top health and fitness podcasts for every type of athlete!

Chasing Excellence

Chasing ExcellenceThis podcast explores and dissects what it takes to live your life to the fullest, both inside the gym and out. Instead of focusing strictly on the physical aspect of incorporating healthy habits into your life, his topic range spans from tips for overcoming anxiety to challenging CrossFit workouts. Ben Bergeron shares his insight and knowledge about maximizing your benefits when it comes to your health, fitness, mindset, and relationships with others.

The Ultimate Health

The Ultimate HealthThe dynamic duo, Marni and Jesse, interview the best of the best health and wellness experts from around the world to educate and inspire listeners by giving us the tips and tricks to live your personal version of Ultimate Health. This podcast goes for a laid back approach of simple techniques you can use to alter your lifestyle. They also offer an Ultimate Weekday Workbook to help keep track of your health and wellness goals!

The Fat-Burning Man Show

Fat Burning Man ShowBurning fat and having fun in the process with this hilarious podcast. Learn more about what goes on the health industry with this feel-good podcast that’s perfect for training runs and rides. It’s great for all ages while taking a humorous approach to giving great information on how to live a healthier lifestyle.

Work Play Love

Work Play LoveMarried couple, and professional athletes, Lauren Fleshman & Jesse Thomas, use this podcast as a chance to dive into the complications and chaos that can come with the integration of sports, love, and business. Led by listener based questions, this podcast aims to help you find a balance amongst all three by giving you no-nonsense tips and tools to use that will help you make the most of your life by capitalizing on what you have the power to control.

The Rich Roll

The Rich RollThis weekly podcast was created with the goal of taking listeners on a journey to lead a healthier lifestyle with an eager and open mindset. Author and Ultra-Athlete, Rich Roll, takes a progressive, free-thinking approach when exploring all things relating to your personal and professional development with the help of some of the worlds brightest minds to educate, inspire and empower you to unleash your potential and a better you.

 

The best thing about podcasts is you can listen anywhere, anytime. With these health and fitness podcasts, you’ll learn tips and tricks to improve or change your lifestyle for the better. Whether you’re going out for some exercise or cleaning the house, give these podcasts a chance to see which one is best for you!