Saturday, Sunday, September 6-7 starting at 8am
NoCo Gravelo is a semi-supported bicycle gravel ride and revival west of Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, and it's FREE to participate. Rides start around 8:00 am Saturday morning, and we'll gather around the campfire for food, beverage and stories as folks finish the ride throughout the day. Bring a tent to camp and take in the stars with us Saturday night! There will be some food and beverage there, but it is primarily a BYOB event. Large, primitive campsite (no toilets or running water), so be prepared to dig holes and bring your own water.
There are two loops that both start and end at the campsite. The short loop is approximately 24 miles with 3000 ft of climbing, and the long loop is approximately 56 miles with 6500 ft of climbing. Both loops top out at 10,900 ft elevation. Neither loop is for beginners, as there are long, steep climbs at altitude involved with both. There is a gnarly descent (for a gravel ride) that is also part of both loops.
If anyone doesn't want to ride, but still wants to be part of the fun, we'd love it if you want to come help out! We need some volunteers to run a couple water/first aid stations, too, so please let me know if you're interested in that.
If you have any questions or would like to volunteer for the event, shoot an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to get there:
Organizers of the Cross of the North cyclcross race weekend will be hosting a pre-registration party at ProVelo Bicycles on Sept 6th. The party goes from 10-2pm and will include road, cx and mtb group rides, discounts at ProVelo, FREE lunch and beer. You'll also be able to register without online registration fees. See the flyer below for more information or hit the event Facebook page.
The organizers of the Four Seasons of Horsetooth Mountain Bike Challenge stage race have announced the stage one route. The roughly 20 mile stage will start in Lory State Park, continue on into Horestooth Mountain Park before returning to Lory for the finish. Details can be found on Strava at http://www.strava.com/activities/184781101
Stage one must be completed on Sept 20th or 21st using Strava or Garmin Connect.
More specific route details should be released shortly.
Organizers have also launched a Facebook Group for the most up to date race information. https://www.facebook.com/groups/564966320298490/
Many cyclists have experienced knee issues in one form or another. I can remember having bouts of tendonitis where riding was out of the question for extended periods. The high volume of miles, hours and pedal revs will wildly magnify any imperfections or alignment issues in the pedal stroke causing inflammation and irritation in the hip, knees or ankles. Two years ago I had a local pro with a notable US Pro team approach me with pain in one of his knees. Due to the knee issues, the athlete had missed going to Asia with the team to race. He was frustrated because traditional methods hadn't yielded results. We agreed to work together to resolve the issue.
The athlete, we'll call "A" had worked with a noted fitting agent on his bike and they had made some changes to the balance of the bike and how he sat on it. A's team requires him to use a sponsor saddle and the saddle was not the right width for him causing him to hold himself ever-so-slightly just off the saddle. We were able to communicate with the team to get a sponsor correct saddle that was the right width for him. That allowed him to comfortably sit ON the saddle without constant tension on the legs. This got us going in the right direction. He also made changes to his shoe/cleat interface based on recommendations from his team resources.
A chronic problem with cyclists is weakness in the gluteal complex (butt muscles) that cascades all the way down to the knee and ankle. In A's case, this weakness caused his ankle to collapse at the power phase of his pedal stroke AND created misalignment of the knee. Because A had made the above mentioned changes to his shoe/cleat interface, this partially eliminated the collapsing of the ankle and knee alignment issue.
Next, we began a strengthening program that addressed three elements.
First, we worked to strengthen his gluteal complex. Because of the linear motion of pedalling, the musculature that helps to stabilize the pelvis and femur can become inactive and disproportionately weak compared to the rest of the gluteal muscles.
Second, we worked to create synchronization in the firing or activation of his quadriceps muscles. (medialis and lateralis). A, like most cyclists, has tremendously well-developed quads but his inner quadricep muscle (medialis) fired before his outer quadriceps muscle (lateralis). This created a slight turn of the patella (knee cap). The patella slides in a "groove" at the bottom of the femur and any misalignment is incredibly irritating which leads to inflammation.
Third, we worked on core strength and stabilization. The muscles of the hips, legs, spine and of course, abdominals are attached to the pelvis. When a cyclist pedals the musculature of the legs, spine and abdominals pull on the pelvis. His legs and glutes were already quite strong but we needed to shore up the low spine and abdominals. If you'll recall one of the t-mobile or HTC/Highroad physios a number of years ago said that ..."if you're core is weak, it's like shooting cannon while in a canoe." (I'm paraphrasing here) We also added in some stabilization exercises to "wake up" his little stabilizer muscles starting in the foot all the way up to the hip. Many of his exercises were done bare- footed and/or on an unstable platform. Many moves also involved holding weights over the head to elevate his center of gravity there-by destabilizing "the platform."
This combination of elements allowed us to get A back on his bike in a limited capacity in 30 days and back at full capacity in approximately 75 days. I also gave him "homework" to do while he was on the road to help maintain the work we did.
At the time of writing he had been able to put in a considerable amount of mileage at team camp as well as on his own.
A holistic approach to issues with the hip, knee or ankle often yields favorable results. In my experience there is usually no ONE factor but a constellation of factors that lead to irritation/inflammation issues which in turn become tendon or joint issues.
Ainslie MacEachran is a AAAI/ISMA certified personal trainer and a USA Cycling licensed coach.
If you want to work on your core strength, you can reach ainslie at
If you have any physiology, performance, or nutrition related questions, email Ben at email@example.com.
For this column I will briefly highlight a couple of articles that I have bookmarked because I thought they would be of interest to those that read YGR. I will provide a brief summary of the article, and a link where it can be accessed if you are interested. All of these are well written for the public and applicable to your performance.
Why Vitamins Might be Bad for Your Workout: This is the New York Times summary of recent research that shows that taking exogenous antioxidants – meaning antioxidants that you take in from outside the body – can be detrimental to exercise training adaptations. I have covered some of this topic in the past. Please be mindful that there is a big difference between exogenous antioxidants (such as Vitamin C and E) and the antioxidants that your body makes itself, which are called endogenous antioxidants (such as superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase). There is a growing body of evidence that taking exogenous antioxidants blunt the very effect we are trying to induce with exercise, so be wary of those that advocate vitamins and other compounds with “loaded with antioxidants”.
Brain Doping (Thank you to YGR groupie Tom Bondurant): Although this article is not perfect, it does highlight the role of the brain in fatigue. These experiments relate to the Central Governor Theory of Fatigue originally proposed by Timothy Noakes that this column has discussed previously. The theory states that the brain integrates peripheral cues to regulate a safe level of exertion to complete the task at hand. In other words, a single factor (for example lactic acid, despite what Bob Roll states) does not limit exertion and cause fatigue, but rather, a cadre of cues, both conscious and unconscious, control sustainable exertion. I am a fan of this theory even though it has been very difficult to experimentally test. This article discusses how brain stimulation can change the perceived parameters to delay fatigue.
Personalized Carbohydrate Intake: This journal article is by Asker Jeukendrup who has worked with teams such as Rabobank in the past and has now transferred from academics to the global head of the Gatorade Sport Science Institute. This article does not have a ton new in it, but it does break things down quiet nicely on how you should fuel different durations of events. I also like the discussion about the studies that have used a mouth rinse with a sugary beverage (rather than actually consuming it) and found a performance benefit similar to actually drinking the beverage. These studies indicate that there is some yet unknown censor in the mouth that relays information to the brain about carbohydrate intake. In turn these findings indirectly support the Central Governor Theory discussed above.
A Step Towards Personalized Sports Nutrition: Carbohydrate Intake During Exercise http://yourgroupride.com/images/PDFs/Jeukendrup.pdf.