Q&A on Menopause

Q&A on Menopause

Earlier this year, we had a live Q & A with Jennifer Thompson from Herstasis.com, which was highly informative and answered many of the questions women have about menopause.

Some women will pass through this stage without skipping a beat, while others may suffer terribly.

If you are suffering from new and uncomfortable symptoms, first rule out the possibility that they are not a sign of something more serious. Once your symptoms are diagnosed as peri-menopausal, you may need to make some lifestyle changes, at least until you get through it.

In this interview and the Herstasis website, we discuss hormone replacement, natural alternatives, and other coping methods. We are not promoting any particular method nor should you feel judged for making the choices you need to live your best life.

Wherever you are, please remember there is an end to it. Nothing lasts forever.
Let’s try to be kind to ourselves during this time. Becoming informed is a good place to start.

Please click on the following to view the one hour video with Jennifer Thompson.

Chain love

Chain love

The availability of both bike parts and bike mechanics are still feeling the squeeze of covid. Which means that doing some minor bike maintenance is necessary if you want to keep your bike on the road this summer. 

Since your chain is your bike’s most “at-risk” part and an essential component, I feel that it deserves an entire newsletter on how to care for it..

In general, you should lubricate your chain whenever it squeaks or appears “dry.” But taking the extra time to clean and lube after wet rides will help keep your chain from rusting. It is a simple task but often gets forgotten, especially when we are cold and wet and just want to get into the shower.

To clean a chain that doesn’t have too much built-up grime, simply use a rag and degreaser. For really dirty chains, you may need to use a chain cleaning device that is more thorough and a lot less messy. Once you have cleaned the chain, you also need to clean the bike parts it comes in contact with, the front chainrings, rear cassette, and rear derailleur. See photo above if you are unsure of which parts I’m talking about. Scrub the front chainrings and rear derailleur with a brush and degreaser while turning the pedals (moving the chain). For the rear cassette, take off the rear wheel and wipe away any remaining dirt by flossing between the gears/cogs.

After the degreaser has dried, apply drops of lube slowly onto the chain, getting some on each link. Run the chain through all the cogs. Let the lube dry, then wipe off any excess lubricant, so it doesn’t attract more dirt. .

Cleaning and lubricating your chain frequently will help slow down the rate of chain wear. But even the most meticulous rider will need to replace their chain eventually. The more you ride, the sooner you will need to replace it. This bit of maintenance may seem costly, but it is much cheaper than the damage it could cause if you don’t. If you can get your hands on a spare chain now, take it! At some point, you will need it.

What happens if you don’t change your chain when you should?

If you continue to ride with an old chain, even if it is clean, it will start to grind away at the metal on your front chainrings and rear cassette. Over time, the chain and gears will grind out new grooves that a new chain won’t be able to match. This is not a good thing. You are now beyond the point of no return, and you will need to replace all three together. Your cheap $60-$150 replacement chain may cost you $500 or more, depending on what you parts you need to replace. 

If you want to avoid this mistake, ask your bike shop to measure the chain to see how much wear it has left. When you bring your bike in for a tune-up, they should do this for you. They will let you know how much life you have left in your chain. If they don’t say anything – don’t assume that it is OK – ASK! 

Triple Crown for heart 2022

Triple Crown for heart 2022

Every event is tough when you are pushing yourself to achieve a personal best. But when the weather turns sour and never lets up, it adds one more element of pain to the day. These are the days that build resiliency and character as an athlete. These are the days that you will never forget. Saturday July 16th 2022 was one of those days. I am so proud of all the riders, and especially the Kits Energy riders, who remained positive and smiling despite how cold they were. They rode 75km and climbed 2300m up into the wet and cold clouds. We had a large group of Kits Energy riders in the Triple Crown for Heart event and we were also among some of the fastest riders!! No matter what time you finished in, everyone should be proud of themselves for completing such a big event, on a mentally and physically challenging day.

Connie, Jack, Kristina, and Matthew starting our climb up Cypress Mountain

A huge thank you to Dominik Szopa, Marie Campbell, Fiezel Babul, and all of the other board members and volunteers who helped put this event together.  The emergency blankets at the end were a very smart idea! In total, the event raised $30,000 for BC Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Cardiac Care.

Triple Crown Volunteers
Setting up the post ride snack table at the top of Cypress Mountain
Dominik Szopa (helped organize and also rode the event!!) and Facundo Chernikoff

Congratulations to Paul Towgood and Grant Bullington (who is also our KE sponsor from StretchLabs) who both finished first, along with two other riders, in a time of 3:09!!!! That’s crazy fast!

Grant and Paul at the starting line

Lynda McCue finished in the second fastest group, in a total time of 3:53 and won the prize of a stuffed lion for first female finisher. Another crazy fast time.

Lynda McCue all smiles at the starting line
Fondo “What if” scenarios

Fondo “What if” scenarios

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Here are some common “what if” scenarios that you should be prepared for in a fondo.

You get a flat tire or a mechanical issue 
Getting a flat tire is unfortunate but should not completely ruin your event. Carry all the necessary tools, including a tube that fits your tire (even if you ride tubeless). If you know how to change the tube on your own, get to work.
If you don’t know how to change a tire, you will need to wait for a good samaritan to stop (which is less likely in an event) or wait for the event/first aid car. Keep your head up and watch for the event vehicle, as they may not see you. Expect to wait for at least 20 minutes. If you are close to an aid station, walking there might be faster than waiting. 

You lose the friends you were supposed to be riding the event with
It is challenging to keep tabs on friends, especially in a mass start event. If your goal is to ride the entire event with your friends, make a plan ahead of time to regroup if you lose each other

You get dropped from your group and are now riding solo 
You have four choices:
Choice #1: Change your strategy and your pace, expecting that you may be riding alone for most or all of the event.
Choice #2: Take this opportunity to stop at the next aid station, use the bathroom and refuel. Then get ready to jump into the next group when it rolls through.
Choice #3: Ride slow, take some time to recover, and wait for the next group to catch you.
Choice #4:
Continue to ride at your race pace.
When you catch up to a rider (who is not suffering), tell them to draft behind you.
Continue to pick up riders this way until you have at least 4-5 riders in your group.
Help them get into an organized pace-line and then take a break at the back. If you work together, you may even catch up to the group that dropped you.

You are in a great group but have to stop at an aid station
Ideally, you only stop when others in your group stop. Talk to the people around you. Chose a few riders who ride well, similar to your fitness level, and ask them if they want to stop with you. Then wait for them at the aid station so you can ride together again.

You have to stop at several aid stations
If you are a rider who needs to stop regularly to stretch, eat, pee, etc., then plan on riding most of the event on your own or with a group of friends who also stop frequently. Take your time and enjoy the day. 

You run out of water 
If you are riding for under 4 hours, you should be able to carry enough water to last for the duration. Place a water bottle or two in your jersey pockets, so you have one bottle every hour. If you plan on riding longer than 4 hours, you will need to stop to refuel. See above for strategies.

You bonk or get heatstroke
Ideally, if you prepare for the weather and pace yourself, this won’t happen. But if it does, stop at an end station, seek shade, and refuel. Call the medical staff to get a ride back to the start if you feel faint, nauseous, or dizzy. Don’t forget to text your friends waiting at the finish line for you, so they don’t worry about you.

Pacing for a fondo or Endurance event

Pacing for a fondo or Endurance event

Riding in a fondo or an organized event is much different than a weekend long ride.

If your goal is to make the most of the perks, like closed roads, fantastic food stops, and beautiful scenery, then your ride time will likely be slower and you will be out in the elements longer as you soak it all in.

If your goal is to use the event as an opportunity to push yourself to achieve a Personal Best (PB), then you will need to prepare for that type of intensity.

Pacing yourself is essential to having a successful day, whichever way you decide to ride..

#1. Learn the route 

You need to know the route before planning your overall pacing strategy. Can you use up all your matches, knowing that the last 40km is a downhill coast, or do you need to save some? Are you drafting or riding alone? Where are the rest stops? How many will you use and when?

#2. Draft – or not

Watch your speed when riding in the middle of the back of the pack. If it feels comfortable and you are riding way faster than you ever have – enjoy the ride! Don’t get fooled into thinking you can ride faster and waste energy pulling at the front. Take the opportunity to cruise and recover. If you are faster (than the group you are in), wait for a smaller group to break away at the front and go with them, or wait for a faster group to catch up.

#3. Know yourself 

Knowing and listening to your body is more complicated than it sounds. The body can fool even the most experienced riders; therefore, you need to plan the following ahead of time:

1. What, how much, and how often will you eat and drink?

2. How often can you push into Zone 4/5 without blowing up?

3. How many breaks do you need and for how long? 

4. If you “feel” like the pace is relaxed or see that your power output is low – is it really too slow? Refer back to #1 and 2.

#4. Patience, Practice, and Perseverance

Learning how to pace is not easy, and the more gadgets you have, the more complicated it gets. Executing the perfect pacing strategy takes time, practice, and patience. 

If you want to learn more about pacing, how to use a power meter (or heart rate monitor) and other training tips, I suggest the following books: 

The Power Meter Handbook by Joe Friel

Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan

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