Welcome to Aggieland

August 23, 2013

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It has been quite the week here at SWCS. On Wednesday, the Racer, a long time fixture at the shop, went off to college. His mother and I drove to College Station, helped him move in, met his roommates, fed them all lunch and said our goodbyes. I’ve got to admit, it was a little more difficult than I thought it would be.

It was just a little more than 18 years ago when this long strange trip began (yes – a Grateful Dead reference). 1995 – 2003 in Madison, New Jersey and then off to Austin, Texas. Barton Creek Elementary through Westlake High School, trips to England, the Jersey Shore, Vegas and the outer banks of North Carolina and now off to Aggieland. It’s the beginning of the next chapter for all of us.

What did I say to him as we were leaving? I’d like to say I had some sage advise about life and love to pass on, but no. Sometimes the simple things are the most powerful. “I’m proud of you and I love you. Study hard and have a good time. Gig ’em.”

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Campus Bike

August 9, 2013

Things are about to get very interesting in our house in the next week. I’m sure it’s the same all around central Texas. Summer vacation is coming to an end and the kids are getting ready to head back to school. In our home that means Westlake High School and Texas A&M University.

The Racer will be a freshman at TAMU this fall and will be leaving home in 10 days or so. I’m not sure who is looking forward to it more – he or us. Either way its the start of a great adventure. Most of the supplies have been purchased, the paperwork has been completed, and the tuition is almost due. The final decision was what bike to take to campus.

Lots of things are part of the equation when deciding what bike to take. What is the terrain? How far do you have to ride to class? Is there indoor storage? Am I looking to make a statement or just transportation?

After answering all these questions, the Racer decided on the Jamis Beatnik. No need for gears in College Station – a single speed works perfectly. Swap out the stock flat bars and brakes with a more traditional road set up, add a Kuat Bottle Lock and, presto, the perfect campus bike.

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Just a brief note, the Cousin will be sporting the same bike at UT this fall.


Good Golly it’s Hot

July 31, 2013

I got up early this morning at about 5 am and flipped on the local news. Sitting right there in front of me was the seven day forecast. My only thought was “Well, its about time.” It went something like this.

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When I moved to Austin from New Jersey almost 10 years ago, I made a promise to my self that I would never complain about the heat. As long as I didn’t have to shovel snow I would be fine. So far, I have kept that promise. But the question remains – How do you stay hydrated in this heat? It’s tough. Proper hydration for today starts with proper hydration yesterday. Once you get behind its almost impossible to catch up, especially in the Texas heat.

The first thing to do is to try try to reduce or even eliminate beverages such as soda, energy drinks, coffee, tea or anything else with high levels of sugar, sweetener or caffeine. Second, try to keep a water bottle on your desk, in your car, your workshop or wherever you are. Do your best to sip on it all day long. As for your workout, you will need to supplement with additional electrolytes. There are lots of great choices on the market from Power Bar, Clif, Gu, and Hammer Nutrition, but my favorites are Eload and Skratch. Most good shops such as ours (shameless plug) will stock single serve packs so that you can try different options and find out what works best for you.

As for after the ride my, mantra is drink, eat, drink and eat some more. The body needs to refuel and now is the time to do it. After a long hot ride I’ll try to use a recovery drink such as Emend or Ultragen as soon as I can. I’ll usually try follow this with a healthy meal or, if I’m working at the store, a series of smaller snacks over the immediate few hours.

The key is to get some nutrition as soon as practicable after the ride. Experiment with different foods and products and decide what works best for you.

Thanks for reading.


Beet Juice – A Natural Performance Enhancer?

July 29, 2013

Earlier this year I was introduced to a new company here in Austin, Texas – Neo Genis Sport

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Last February, Tom G., a long time friend and masters cyclist, excitedly came into the store with a box of product from Neo Genis Sport.  He said that he had been using the Beet Elite Neo Shot for a few weeks and was convinced that his riding and recovery had improved substantially. He didn’t suggest that I try a Beet Elite, but rather insisted.

Now what is Beet Elite Neo Shot you ask? Beet Elite is a natural source of dietary nitrate and nitrite that helps the body increase physical endurance. Yea, yea, yea – but what does that really mean? Here’s the drill. Vegetables such as beets and spinach are naturally high in anti oxidants which are converted to nitrate and nitrite in the body. These are then converted to nitric oxide which increases muscle blood flow and improves glucose uptake by the muscle cell. In a few words, better blood flow and more efficient use of glucose improves performance and recovery.

All this science is well and good, but does it really work?  In a word – Yes.  I set up my own simple test – One week on and one week off with the same workouts.  To allow for built up fatigue, I completed the first weeks’ workouts as a baseline and then tried to repeat the same workouts in the same order and location using Beet Elite.  During the second week I found that I was able to warm up faster, breathe easier and recover better.

Just this last week we asked three of our regular riders to try Beet Elite.  All three reported feeling stronger and two of them were able to stay with the group longer than before.  There are a lot of variables at play here and the real question is will work for you.  I have some samples in the store, let’s find out.

Thanks for reading.  By the way – day 7.


Time to Revive the Blog

July 27, 2013

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted and I think that it’s about time to revive the blog.

Lots has been going on since the last post including turning 50, a few minor health issues, purchase of a power meter and a long over due personal decision (Day #4).

The next few weeks are gong to be very busy at the store. We continue to have group rides every weekend and Tuesday morning, have a full day of Retul bike fits scheduled for July 30th and will preview the 2014 Scott line. I’ll post about both early next week.

Thanks for reading.


Joys of Single Speed

January 18, 2012

A few years ago I sold an old steel bike that I was not using very much and bought a new fixed gear/single speed.  My previous FG/SS bikes had always been frame up conversions whenever I could find the right frame, so this was going to be a first.  I decided on the Felt Dispatch because it had road bike geometry, came fully equipped with drop bars and brakes and, first and foremost, it was available.

2009 Felt Dispatch

I’ve been riding this bike a lot lately because I sold my Jamis Xenith Elite last month. (Hey Renea – when is my new bike gonna get here?).  I’ve gotta say, I’ve really enjoyed it.  Until this last month I’ve only used it in fixed  mode but since flipping the hub to the freewheel side I’ve been doing longer rides both alone and with the group.  The only issue I’ve had is on flat sections and down hills.  I just cant seem to spin faster than 115 rpm and find mydelf running out of gear.

The overall impression?  It’s been kinda liberating – No intervals – No hill repeats – Just riding along.


NiteRider MiNewt.600 Review

August 16, 2011

Even though it might still be August and the thought of needing a light is far-fetched to many, there are still times when one is necessary.   If your like me this year, the over whelming heat has taken its toll and has caused me to start my training rides before sun-up to so as not to fry.

I’ve needed a good light for some time and decided to take the plunge when NiteRider introduced the new MiNewt 600 Cordless. This light incorporates a one piece, integrated battery design, has 600 lumens of output and comes complete with handlebar and helmet mount as well a USB and AC charger. See NiteRider for detailed specifications.

MiNewt.600.

I’ve been using the light for the last week and am impressed.  Though it’s a bit heavy to use with the included helmet mount (190g) it is perfectly well suited for the handlebars and is very easy to set up with the included quick release mount.  Below is a picture taken in our storage room to show the level of output.

Output at 600 Lumens

At a price of only $150,  the light more than lives up to its billing as the best in class lumens per dollar ratio.