Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Question Answered: Whey Protein vs. Soy Protein

You may think checking the headlines and articles at several times a day is a bit extreme, but it's how I stay updated on pro cycling news and amped up for cycling during the off-season.

Anyway, I've been contemplating what else I can do to up my endurance and strength on the bike, besides adding miles. I'm not a nutritionist or exercise physiologist, but I noticed that my performance, recovery, and muscle tone got better when I was using whey protein after rides in July and August. I figure that since my muscles had more protein to draw from, they were better able to rebuild themselves after me tearing them up (literally) while exercising.

It turns out that what I remember from my high school weightlifting class and my brushes with sports nutrition in college tae kwon do and cycling are correct. Check out this article regarding whey protein versus soy protein. I'm not lactose-intolerant, but this is excellent stuff to know. I can make a more educated decision when I head to GNC for protein powder.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bike Films on the Web

I'd like to thank Bike Snob NYC for calling several cycling related films to my attention, either directly or through exploring links on his blog. Seriously dude, you rock.

Beyond the Peloton - A look at Cervelo TestTeam's journey through the 2009 season. From an explaination of Cervelo's roots, through the spring classics, and all the way through the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France. This film is particularly cool because it was filmed by a couple guys who work at Cervelo's warehouse. Cool gig!

Pedaling: NYC - A series of shorts involving people, food, wine, beer, and riding in New York City. Of the two episodes that are up, the first involves a couple bicycle-commuting chefs looking to create the perfect local ingrediant pizza and the second has two professional women racers looking for a sweet Belgian waffle, New York sidewalk-cart style.

Empire Begins - A work-in-progress about messangers riding fixies in often dangerous ways in New York City. Apparently it's been in production for a few years and who knows when it will be finished. You can learn more at

If you know of other films I should be checking out, shoot me a comment. I mean, besdes Quicksilver, Breaking Away, and American Flyers.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Product Review: Chrome Chuey Cycling Cap

I own precisely two cycling caps.

One is a black and yellow affair with "Minnesota Bicycle Festival" embroidered on the front. It was, along with my red "Volunteers only" t-shirt, my souvenir from my week of volunteering with the Nature Valley Grand Prix this past June. I should say that since this cap is rare (I snapped up one of the last ones) I don't wear it very often, especially under a helmet.

The second is my new Chrome Chuey Cycling Cap, made especially for Chrome by Chuey Brand.
This cap is made out of a tough-weave, black cotton; like they make military ACUs out of. There's a checkered, rip-stop pattern to it that I love. I think I could drag it through WWIII (or my next bike crash) and it would still look good and function well.

The fit is excellent, it comes down just enough to grip the base of my skull and around my head. They've put just the right amount of elastic in the back to ensure a snug fit that doesn't cut off all the circulation to my brain. The bill is flexible, rather than stiff like most cycling caps. You won't be able to flip it up or down, as you traditionally would. I like it, actually. The bill is a little shorter than other cycling caps, and fits under the brim of my helmet perfectly.Peek-a-boo!

Does it keep my head warm while riding? I haven't taken the opportunity to ride outside, since we're in the depths of a Minnesota Winter. But I have no doubt that once the mercury rises above 50 degrees that I'll be out there testing it out.

Chuey hand makes every cap they sell. According to their website, Chuey is a three-person operation based in San Francisco, CA. Pretty impressive since these caps are becoming insanely popular, just check out the Flickr Photostream for the evidence.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Specialized Films - Outlaw in Lycra

I found this a few years ago when someone in my college cycling club shot everyone else an e-mail link. It was a huge source of amusement and prompted us to swap many 'bike vs. car' stories over pasta and beer at Noodles & Co. late at night when we were supposed to be conducting club business.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 and Looking Ahead to 2010

I'm not fond of New Year's resolutions. They're either way too lofty or simply ridiculous. At least, that's what happens when I attempt to make them.

The year 2009 was a breakthrough for me on the bike. As I was under-employed for the entire spring/summer/autumn riding season, I made it a point to be on the bike as much as I could reasonably be; meaning I was cranking out roughly 150 miles or more per week. For the first time, I logged over 1,000 miles in one season. That's a really cool milestone to pass.

I made the decision to not race at all this past season. I didn't want the pressure of getting up and performing on command. Instead, I focused on putting on the miles and enjoying myself while I was out there. It was, I think, a good way to approach the summer.

Along with consciously increasing my mileage, I began to notice how my body reacted to this increased amount of riding. I definitely lost some weight, I gained the coveted "calf-notch" and some nice leg-muscle definition, the laser-etched tan lines that cyclists are known for...

Oh, I was (still am) really psyched about this: My balance has improved so much that I can now ride with no hands on the handlebar. My friend Sheryl thought it was quite amusing when I triumphantly showed off this new trick on our Wednesday night ride. "You've never been able to do that? My kids can do that." Thanks very much, you sure know how to boost someone's confidence. ^_^

Other riders also noticed and commented on my love/hate relationship with hills. I like to climb, sometimes. Most of the time I climb the way I do because I want to get to the top as quickly as possible. I love standing out of the seat, the cadence of my feet as I tick over the cranks, and the triumph when I finally come over the crest of a hill. The thing is, I tend to get twitchy and attack too early, regardless of the situation. The joke goes something like, "Look C, it's a hill; Attack!" And off I go. Yep, I'm going to have to work on that.

So, what do I want to shoot for this year? Beating 1,500 miles would be pretty awesome. Here are a couple more ideas for myself:
-Figure out how to time a sprint and execute correctly
-Work on not attacking hills too early & blowing up halfway through
-Write a new weight-lifting program and figure out a cheap way to follow it
-Run on the treadmill when I can't ride outside (I'm so sick of the cold weather)

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.