make weight training your priority (in the off-season)

make weight training your priority (in the off-season)

Let’s first clarify that yes – every sport SHOULD have an off-season. If you aren’t training for anything specific but train for life, you should still have a few months where you slow down and focus on things that you may have neglected due to lack of time, interest, or just because it isn’t a part of your daily routine.

In Vancouver where we can ride almost year round, the off-season can be short – only a few months sometimes. Some cyclists are more fair weather riders and take a full 5 months before getting back on the road. But, either way, relying on spin classes alone should not be your only off-season training. If you hope to continue moving well for the remainder of your life, your training program needs to support this.

The number one thing that everyone should be incorporating in their off-season is weight training.

Starting from the age of 30, we lose 3-8% of muscle mass per decade. This number increases dramatically after the age of 65. Cycling is great to build muscles for the legs, but does nothing for the upper body. In addition, cycling is a non-impact sport, so it won’t help build strong bones. If you don’t want to become frail as you age, you MUST maintain a weight training program year round. The off-season is a good time to start. Everyone should aim for three 45min strength workouts per week, unless you have an active job that requires a lot of lifting. Throughout the cycling season, you can drop back to once a week to maintain the fitness you have gained.

But not everyone is ready to jump into the gym to start picking up weights. Some may need to take a step back and deal with prior injuries or poor mobility before undertaking a weight training program.

Injury Rehab

Before you can start to weight train, you first need to be injury free. Trying to build muscle on a torn tendon or tissue will create a larger problem. Find a physio. Do your exercises, and don’t start to add weights until you are pain free. If you have a chronic problem that won’t get better with physio (torn knees or blown out hips), make sure that you are doing exercises that support your injury and aren’t making it worse.

Mobility Training

Having poor mobility is a precursor to injury. If a joint can’t move like it should, your body will compensate. This works for awhile, but the added and repeated stress will eventually take a toll on your body and you will be back to the physio again. Having adequate mobility in every joint should be the FIRST goal for every lifelong athlete.

If you want to cycle when you are 80, now is the time to prepare your body, slowing down the natural decline that happens with age.

7 tips to riding a smarter fondo

7 tips to riding a smarter fondo

Whether this is your first event, or one of many, it is always helpful to review your ride strategy. Create a plan for how you want to complete the ride. No matter how many times you have ridden the same event, every year will be different, with unique challenges.

Unless you have planned to ride with friends, the riders around you won’t help you – unless you help yourself.

So how do you do that?

Unlike your commute to work, most riders in a fondo are happy to have you pull them. They will remain glued to your back wheel until you get tired and start to lose speed. Once you begin to show signs of blowing up, they will just as happily leave you behind, looking for someone new to follow. 

Your first instinct is to get angry at this mooch who stole your energy. But they aren’t bad people. They are just riding smart. So instead of getting angry – ride smarter. 

7 Tips to Riding a Smarter Fondo

#1. If you are riding in an organized paceline (which does happen when riding with experienced riders), take your turn at the front. But don’t pull any harder than the average pace/power and stay in front for only a few minutes.  Stop pulling before you get tired, not after.

#2. When you pull out of the line, pull FAR away from the other riders, so they don’t follow you. Most riders will pretend they didn’t see your signal or don’t understand, which may be true. Either way, get away from them and quickly move further back into the line where you are protected again. 

#3. If you are afraid that the faster riders will pull away while you are stuck at the back, then signal after about 5, 6, or 20 riders (depending on how big the pack is) and move back into the line, closer to the front. But remember this means you will be pulling again soon. The more often you pull, the more exhausted you will become.

#4. At some moments, you may be riding three or four people abreast, with riders in front and behind you. The group will move more like a school of fish and not an organized line. If you aren’t paying attention, you may quickly find yourself at the front and doing more work than you would like. Try to avoid this by paying attention to the speed and where people are moving. If you stay glued to the wheel in front of you, you should stay protected, i.e., always behind someone else.

#5. As the event progresses, the group will break apart as people drop off and faster riders sprint away. If you are hoping to stay with the faster riders of your group, try to assess who these riders are and keep in close contact with them. Stay close without doing all the work for them. Be ready to make a move when they do. 

#6. Fatigue accumulates over time. Even if you feel strong at the start, eventually, the effort will build up, and fatigue will set in. Even if you are a faster rider than your group, pulling too much, too hard, or too often will ultimately fatigue you faster than the riders you are pulling. If you are doing all the work, they will continue to ride fresh. As you near the finish line, they will have more energy than you. They will thank you for the pull and leave you to finish in their dust without any of the glory you deserve. 

#7. It should feel easier drafting, so don’t get fooled into thinking you can ride faster than the pack. Unless you started in the wrong group or had a flat, it is best to stay with a group than to venture out on your own, at least until the last 10km or so.

Importance of recovery

Importance of recovery

Starting a workout without adequate recovery, could be doing more damage than good.

Do this too many times in a row, and performance will quickly decline. 

For many of us, when we see ourselves getting slower, we think we need to train more. This is the last thing we should do!!!!! In many cases, more training will cause an injury or result in some sort of illness as the immune system can’t keep up. If you find yourself chronically fatigued, the fastest way to get back on track, is to first let your body heal.

One way to avoid over-training is to follow a pre-planned program which includes both recovery days and a full week of recovery once a month. Even if you are feeling strong, DON’T SKIP THE RECOVERY WEEK(S).

But recovery isn’t about doing nothing. It can include easy workouts, stretching, yoga, and “fun days”. These are added to the training program for a reason; they all help your muscles recover faster and mentally reduce stress.

So how do you make the most of your recovery time?


RULE #1

The more intense the workout, the more recovery time you need. 

48hrs should be enough rest, but you may need to extend this time if you made a big jump in your training volume/intensity or after a hard race or event. If you still don’t feel rested before your next strenuous workout, it is best to skip it and take more time to recover. 

When you first start any sport there is going to a period of adaptation. For cycling, this feeling lasts a bit longer as you are building an endurance base. Once you have established a solid base (of 2-3 hours comfortably), you should no longer be bagged and need a nap after your long rides.


OTHER TIPS (specifically to cycling but can be adapted to other sports)

1.  Add in a short (30-60min) recovery ride the day after an intense workout. Keep your recovery rides light and easy, spinning the legs quickly (over 85 RPM) with very little to no intensity.

2. Stretch hip flexors (top of legs into the abs), glutes (buttocks), quads (front of legs), low back, and hamstrings (back of legs) religiously. Ideally, do a movement stretching program instead of static holds.

3. Enjoy time off the bike to cross-train. Doing something new is a great stress reliever but will also help strengthen muscles you are not using on the bike. The most complimentary sports are swimming, yoga, tai chi, or weight training (Your focus should be on core and upper body during the summer. Hard leg and weight training are best done in the off-season during the fall and winter).

4. Your body is trying to heal from the moment you get off the bike until you get back on again. Plan meals ahead of time to ensure you are well-fuelled (both food and water) before and after each workout.  

5. Muscles repair during sleep, so don’t skimp on your zzz’s.

6. If you are suffering from fatigue, frequent colds/flu, injuries, general fatigue, depression, or more frequent irritation, it may mean that you are overtraining. Take a few days off until you feel better. When you come back to training, ease back into it slowly. Training when you are sick will likely only prolong your illness.

7.  If you follow the Kits Energy Training Program, you will see a recovery week every 4th week.  During a recovery week, your volume/distance is reduced, BUT your intensity is NOT.  By maintaining intensity, you will not lose any fitness. After the week is over, your body should have adapted to the previous month’s stress, and you will be ready to add more stress/training again.

SIDE NOTE: If you are new to cycling or a more “seasoned” rider, you may need a recovery week every 3rd week instead of four. Listen to your body as it always knows best.

2023 Triple Crown for heart

2023 Triple Crown for heart

Thank you to the organizers, volunteers, fundraisers, those who donated, and the participants, for making this year’s Triple Crown for Heart event a huge success! Also, thank you to CBC for covering the event. Rare genetic heart diseases don’t receive the same media exposure or funding for research as other ailments, so the attention is always appreciated.

Check out the CBC coverage, by clicking here, and scrolling forward to 12:44.

Overall, the charity raised $45,127 which will go towards sending children with genetic heart disease to camp . The remaining funds will go towards projects within BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Children’s Heart Network.

Among the 210 riders, 25 of them were from Kits Energy, riding either one, two, or all three mountains.

Congratulations to Lynda McCue, who won the lion, finishing 1st overall female (again) and Grant Bullington and Paul Towgood, who were among the top 5 finishers (again).

If you missed the ride this year, please add it to your calendar for next year, July 20th 2024.

Lynda McCue 1st female and Marie Campbell, found, co-chair
Paul Towgood and Grant Bullington
Kristina interview with CBC
Matt Barrow, Jana Keillor, Sara Frederking, Elaine Reid on top of Seymour mountain
Trevor McBride, Heidi McBride, Richard Press, Kristina Bangma starting the climb up Cypress
Kristina was diagnosed with ARVC in 2016. She will continue riding for as long as her heart will let her.
10 tips for Safe group riding

10 tips for Safe group riding

Riding in a pace line is the best way to save energy, and when mastered can make cycling more fun! But, to keep a group safe, everyone must know what their responsibility is, and commit to working together.

The following are 10 tips that will help you on your next group ride.

  • When leading or pulling, maintain the average speed of the group to keep everyone together. You WILL need to look over your shoulder often, especially on hills, to make sure you haven’t dropped anyone. If you drop a few riders on the climb, wait for them at the top.

  • Point out obstacles that may be harmful such as rocks, gravel, cars, glass, etc. Pass this information down the line.

  • If you are getting too close to the person in front of you and need to slow down, try to do so by moving to the right or left of the tire in front of you and sit up taller on your bike to slow yourself down. If this doesn’t work, try to LIGHTLY squeeze both the brakes so your decrease in speed is not sudden or extreme. Do not jam on the brakes as this will cause a domino effect down the line and be disastrous to those in the back of the pack – ie: they will crash.

  • Remember that the person behind you can only react to what you do so you must ride predictably and avoid any sudden movements or changes in direction. ALL riders must ride in a straight line!

  • If you are within 1/2 a bike length from each other, ride through intersections and roundabouts as one “vehicle”.

  • Everyone MUST pull when it is their time or you will confuse the order. If you are tired, you can take a shorter pull – even if it is only 10seconds. If you are a strong rider and can hold the pace easily, you may take a longer pull such as 1 -10 minutes, depending on how long your ride is, and what the group decides is fair.

  • Do NOT drink, eat, adjust your bike or do anything EXTRA when you are pulling. You have the entire group trusting your judgment and cycling skills so you need to be alert and consistent. If you need to eat, drink or adjust something, pull out and move to the back.

  • Communicate within the group, letting the lead rider know when they have dropped a rider or when the pace is too fast. 

  • No matter which position you are in the group, pay attention to the road and what is happening in front, behind, and beside you. Do not blindly follow the leader.

  • When you have finished your pull, move to the left away from the rider behind you, then slow down to allow the group to ride past you.  You want to quickly get back in the draft and out of traffic which is not only safer but will also help preserve your energy.  NOTE: If you find yourself out in traffic with a car coming behind you, indicate to the rider beside you that you would like to move back in.  This rider can slow down and once an opening is made, you can move back into the middle of the line..  You now have a new order – which is fine. 
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