What is in a heart beat?

Because your resting heart rate indicates how efficiently your heart pumps blood throughout your body, your pulse rate is a useful tool for gauging your fitness level. Athletes tend to have lower resting heart rates because training programs that build speed, fitness, muscle and endurance also train your heart muscles to pump a higher volume of blood with each heartbeat. Ultimately, it takes fewer heartbeats to power a well-conditioned athlete during intense training as well as during rest.

Now heart rate differs with age and gender. While the normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, conditioned athletes and other highly fit individuals might have normal resting heart rates of 40 to 60 beats per minute. This indicates a high level of cardiovascular fitness. Gender is another factor in resting heart rate norms because women at various fitness levels tend to have higher pulse rates on average than men of comparable fitness levels. For example, the average resting heart rate of an elite 30-year-old female athlete ranges from 54 to 59 beats per minute, while the resting heart rate for men of the same age and fitness level ranges from 49 to 54, according to the YMCA’s “Y’s Way to Fitness.”

But then people differ … my friend Jim and I are of comparable fitness – he is slightly younger, taller and thinner but his heart rate is way, way  higher always when we ride together – yet his breathing gives no indication of a high HR like mine would at that bpm…..

EXAMPLE: Here is a stretch of road we both did recently a few days apart  – same time same wattage and we are same weight.

james seg

JIM ave HR 165bpm/174bpm max

RICH ave HR 123bpm/133bpm max

rich seg

As soon as Jim moves his heart rate is 150bpm but mine rarely rises as much although in anaerobic sports like 5 a side football going from still to full sprint it does sometimes hit those high peaks of 180bpm+ (my 100% max)

Screenshot 2016-05-03 11.30.07

Although I get slightly worried about my friend’s high HR it also appears that people with a low resting HR (me) can need pacemakers later in life as the heart doesn’t function as well with age. Will need to question my cardiologist pal next time I see him.

2016-04-25 19.14.24


I do t actually feel that bad ….. Still going to do another park run in the morning.

Garmin info on recovery:

Recovery check

The recovery check provides a real-time indication of your state of recovery within the first several minutes of an activity.

Recovery time

The recovery time appears immediately following an activity. The time counts down until it is optimal for you to attempt another hard workout.

Stepping up the miles

I have been doing more miles on the bike this year than i normally do

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I am nearly 1000km up on where i was at this time last year. I also have been a bit more focused on riding rather than my other loves of kitesurfing, swimming and running.

The end result is that I am doing between 1 and 2  100km rides a week and they are beginning to feel easy.

Screenshot 2016-04-26 15.01.01.png

This morning I headed west into a 15mph wind on a gravel towpath and then around an exposed headland with nary a thought about the wind. Sure I felt it but i just thought ‘more resistance then’ which I think is a positive.

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It wasnt the hilliest route but even after 80km I was tootling along then came home to discover i had knocked off an impressive 56 Strava trophies – most of them PR’s for sections as well as a mysterious top 10 placing and all this with an average Heart Rate of 121bpm (in my fat burn / low cardio zone)

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So then i thought i really should be cycling either quicker or longer or BOTH. So my next challenge …….

There comes a time for most road riders and this includes me, where you focus on the 100-mile (160.93km) target. This can be in the shape of a sportive, club ride or a personal challenge, alone or with a group.

For some, 100 miles is no big deal, just something they do every Sunday. For others it can be the single biggest physical challenge they will ever undertake on a bike. For me it is something I have never done but feel that i am nearly ready to do it. The precursor to this is the eTape Caledonia in a fortnight,  an 82 mile ride sportive done at a much higher pace with no stopping.

From Cycling Weekly – Many cyclists, however, fall somewhere between the two and may already be comfortable with 50-60 mile rides but are eyeing the triple-figured milestone for their next achievement.

Just how big is the jump from 60 to 100 miles? How will you know if it’ll be a cakewalk or a frustrating grovel ending in a miserable train journey back home?

Let’s take a look at the factors that come into play with the extended mileage and see how best to prepare for 100 miles so you can undertake that distance with a realistic chance of it being an enjoyable and achievable target.

We’ve split it up into five sections, which we think need to be nailed in order to smash the 100-mile barrier. So let’s start with the biggie: training.

Pondering the big one? Start training today!

1 – Train!

The physical aspect of training is usually the most common focus for people with a new goal or challenge, and many folks will think that riding as much as possible in the two weeks leading up to the big ride is sufficient. This isn’t the best approach though, and what we need to do is ‘train smarter’.

This doesn’t mean we are striving for marginal gains like the GB squad; it means that we should be looking to maximise our training so that we are doing the right things at the right times.

Cycling Weekly Box Hill sportive 2014


If you are regularly riding 50-60 miles then that is already a great start; you could probably get through a century ride without too much bother, although you could be far better prepared if you have gradually increased your riding time and distance on your training rides.

Remember, to do the 100, you don’t need to be training by doing 100 miles all the time — 75-80 per cent is ample preparation without adding excessive volume.

  • Your physical training should take into account the following points:
    Specificity: Is your 100-mile ride going to be hilly? Then ride hills on your 60-milers! Some riders really struggle on the climbs. If you are one of them then make sure you are addressing them in your training. In many cases, 100 flat miles can seem very easy and very different when compared to a hilly 60 or 70.
  • Saddle time: Try and focus more on the time in the saddle without stopping, rather than miles covered on your training rides. Try riding at a lower intensity and see if you can stick it out for longer. If your average speed over three hours is 15mph, do you think you can hold it for over six hours? If you can comfortably ride your bike for 4-4.5 hours, then you are in a good place to think about the century.
  • Rest: This is so important. Include active recovery in your training weeks and make sure you are resting properly. Keep the legs turning in the week leading up to the big ride, but don’t do anything that will make you excessively tired.

Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/fitness/training/five-invaluable-tips-to-help-you-step-up-from-riding-60-to-100-miles-170890#h3Z75lQPY2WLY6f9.99

2 – Effort levels

Whether you are riding an individual pursuit over 4km or a whole Grand Tour, pacing your effort will be of maximum importance.

For 100 miles, you will want to make sure you don’t use up all your energy too early and struggle badly in the last third of the ride. You can use a simple speedometer to gauge an average speed which you know you are comfortable with, or a heart rate monitor to keep around a particular BPM, or even old-fashioned perceived exertion — simply going by feel.

>>> Build your strength and big gear efforts

However you pace yourself, it’s a good idea to also have a psychological pacing strategy, such as waypoints you think you should be at during particular times. For example: “I should be at the sharp climb at 40 miles in 150 minutes.” You can adjust your effort to ensure that you avoid blowing up too early, but that you also aren’t dawdling unnecessarily and missing out on a faster time.


3 – Getting in the zone

We all know how powerful the mind can be, and how it can affect performance both positively and negatively. If you are riding 100 miles alone, the mind can be a helpful ally, or a destructive pest. We want to enjoy our ride, so learning during training how to disassociate ourselves from feelings of discomfort is a useful skill.

Try to focus on other things, like the scenery, your pedalling technique, or holding an aerodynamic position. The small ‘process goals’ of each waypoint within your pacing strategy will also help to break down the ride in your head into more manageable sections.

Remember, no matter how demoralising the weather, the hills or the headwinds might be, think about how amazing you will feel at the end of the ride, and always look ahead, up the road to where things will be changing.


4 – Fuelling

How you approach your nutrition both before and during the ride can be the difference between a great performance and a trip to A&E.

How you refuel afterwards can also be a factor, which will have a huge influence on your general health and your future riding plans.

Nutrition tips
Before: The day before your 100-miler needs to be seriously considered — this is where the ride actually starts. You may have heard of ‘carb loading’ but the simplest advice here is to make sure you take on a healthy, balanced meal with fresh vegetables and low glycaemic index carbs. It’s also worth considering a bowl of cereal two hours before bed as a booster.

Leave off the alcohol or fizzy pop, and drink plenty of water. In the morning, go for the cereal and fruit, and drink at least 500ml of water before you set out.

During: Avoid taking on a whole bunch of energy gels; these are mostly designed to help riders through the last few demanding kilometres of a road race.

You might want to take along something with caffeine and sugar just in case, but don’t be tempted to break into this unless you are getting really fatigued and have already covered a good distance. All you really need is adequate carbohydrate to fuel from. An average sized cereal bar of about 30 grams for every 45-60 minutes of riding is ideal. Take along some bananas too.

Don’t forget to keep eating! A critical stumbling point for many riders is the inability to fuel while riding, so make sure you are able to take a drink from a bottle whenever you need to.

When drinking, tilt the bottle up and to the side to avoid tilting your head (so you can still look where you’re going) and keep your food to hand in jersey pockets. You will need around 500ml of water per hour (more if it’s very hot and you are losing it through sweat). And to help replenish the lost minerals, your second bottle should contain a small amount of an additive which contains electrolytes. Go for the powders that are aimed at hydration rather than energy. Don’t try anything you haven’t already used and are happy with — the big ride isn’t the one for experimenting with nutrition and hydration.

>>> Six steps for healthier eating

After: Your muscles need glycogen now, so this is the time for fruit juice or a purpose made recovery shake. Get those sugars in within 20 minutes —even ‘bad’ sugars like fizzy drinks and sweets (in moderation) can help at this point. Remember to keep hydrating and sit down to a decent meal containing some good protein within about an hour.

Bike fit

5 – Bike fit

When you are on the bike for several hours, little imperfections in position or fit can evolve into very major issues. If you have any niggles or particular localised discomfort during your normal rides, then it pays to get these seen to before the century ride.

A professional bike-fit can improve comfort and performance, while reducing fatigue and the risk of injury. It’s not just how the bike fits you though — how you fit yourself to the bike also matters.

What we are talking about here is your ability to hold your position, your pedalling efficiency and flexibility.

>>> Cleats explained: how to set them up correctly

Check out the pros with their slightly bent elbows and stable upper body, their flat backs and aerodynamic positions. OK, you might not be able to emulate them immediately, but you will probably be able to improve your current position with a few tweaks and off-bike exercises and stretches.

Get advice from a physio if needed, and make sure that you don’t attempt the big ride without properly testing new positions or bike parts beforehand.
Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/fitness/training/five-invaluable-tips-to-help-you-step-up-from-riding-60-to-100-miles-170890#h3Z75lQPY2WLY6f9.99

My first time …… at Parkrun

Parkrun (styled as parkrun) is the name given to a collection of five-kilometre running events that take place every Saturday morning in several countries. All are free to take part in and require runners to register online in advance for a unique athlete number and to print their own identification barcode for use when taking part.

I had registered years back but have never got around to taking part in one. Yesterday I changed that – I printed out my barcode Friday night chose one of the 3 in glasgow to take part in and off I went. I cycled down and locked the bike up – the run was due to start 9:30am and with 40min to kill I decided to run the course before the event slowly. A bit of stretching and warming up. Listened to the briefing and applauded a man on his 50th run. Then boom off we went. Victoria park in glasgow has the Parkrun go 3x round the lake so on the 2nd lap we started hitting back markers. Still pretty doable and my pace was pretty high (competition you see)

Came in and stopped the Garmin 19min59sec and 4.8something km.

I queried distance with runner next to me – his Garmin had 5.05km so it must be fine – I hadn’t cut corners into the lake that was for sure.

First lap quickest then got my breath back regretting start then upped it on final lap …..

Runners’ results in each event are processed and uploaded online after the run by volunteers. Each registered runner has an individual page cataloguing the details of each event in which they have participated.

So checked my time later 20min 00sec

Pretty happy with that so will try make next week for no2 before I try other courses.

Garmin 920XT and running Dynamics

Got new life insurance and the company i am with offers 50% off on garmin products and as I am such a gadget head i decided to buy the 920XT which is also useful for swimming besides my normal running and cycling.

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The watch itself maps other data that i was not familiar with so popped out this morning on a run just over 10km to explore what the running dynamics mean.

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Running dynamics give a summary

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Cadence i know is stride rate – quicker chi type running has always been my thing – i am not a long heavy impact strider … In general, more experienced runners tend to have higher cadence. An often-cited target for running cadence is 180 steps/min. So i am bang on target for this run.


First off is Vertical Oscillation

I was feeling stiff at first but loosened up after a km of running – this is where the data goes into blue – there are green spikes in sync with the downhill sections after that …

The colors show how your ground contact time compares to other runners. The color zones are based on percentiles.

Color Zone Percentile in Zone Ground Contact Time Range
Purple > 95 < 218 ms
Blue 70 – 95 218-248 ms
Green 30 – 69 249 – 277 ms
Orange 5 – 29 278 – 308 ms
Red < 5 > 308 ms

Garmin has researched many runners of all different levels. In general, more experienced runners tend to have shorter ground contact times. Elite runners often have ground contact times of less than 200 ms. Virtually all experienced runners studied have ground contact times of less than 300 ms. Higher cadence and faster paces are both associated with shorter ground contact times. Many running coaches believe that a short ground contact time is characteristic of a more economical running form. However, at a set cadence, decrease of ground contact time usually increases vertical oscillation.

Froome on Strava and then …..not


Does Tour de France champion Chris Froome have a Strava account? Someone uploading rides under the name of ‘Luke Skywalker’ accompanied Team Sky’s Ian Boswell during training rides in South Africa, and they are seriously quick up mountains.

Boswell said yesterday that only he and Froome and been training together in South Africa – which leads us to the not very clever conclusion that the mysterious Luke Skywalker (Sky-walker, get it?) is indeed Froome.

However, the account was deleted on Wednesday, March 2, shortly after this article was published.

The Skywalker account was created on February 18, kicking off with a ride with Boswell. The two riders covered 172km (107 miles) at a seriously impressive average speed of 31km/h (19.2mph), particularly given they climbed just under 3000 metres in total. Maximum speed was a scary 83kmh (51.7mph).


A series of identical rides were then logged on both Boswell’s and Skywalker’s accounts, the longest being 214km (133 miles) on Monday, February 29. The two riders covered that distance at an average speed of 34.7kmh (21.6mph). No wonder Boswell said in a blog this week that Froome pushed him to the limit.

As you may expect, both Skywalker and Boswell had secured pretty much all of the KOMs on the mountain roads in the region where they were riding, including the 9km (5.6 miles) Steenbrasberg Pass at an average of five per cent gradient. Now that the Skywalker account has been deleted, the KOMs are all Boswell’s.

Boswell has now returned to Europe, and will start Paris-Nice on Sunday. Froome will continue training in South Africa and commences his European campaign at the Volta a Catalunya on March 21.

Froome – if it is him – may need to brush up on his Star Wars knowledge though, as they used a photo of Anakin Skywalker on the account rather than Luke. Schoolboy error.


New Year Weight

This year like last year has seen my weight hit the post xmas not good limit …. early 2015 was a 2 week drinking cocktail with breakfast holiday in Cuba and this year has been Xmas at home with kids – how much beer and food can I enjoy

So 3kg up on what I want …. 73kg in 175cm so BMI still says healthy – but the mind says no … BMI calculator

Screenshot 2016-01-18 16.30.16


Then read this in the Radavist and my mind is opening up to possibilities …. WATCH THIS SPACE


Over the past few years – since moving to Austin in 2010 – I’ve been struggling with weight loss. Look, we’re all cyclists. We probably all ride with skinny, fit dudes and as a bigger guy, it’s frustrating. Even now, at the peak of my fitness, I still get dropped by “climbers”. What I found was to take these experiences and use them as part of my motivation. There was one defining moment however. A majority of it came from a ride I did in Australia a few years back…


Granted, this ride was really tough. Two, 100-120 mile days with over 15,000′ elevation a day in the Australian summer. I didn’t bonk, but it took me forever to climb, then I laid down and rested for 3-5 minutes. No big deal. It did however lend itself as an opportunity for Andy to make some sort of comment along the lines of “you’ve got big lungs and long legs, if you got in shape, you’d be a strong rider.”

From there, something burned inside me and I’m not talking about a hot pizza slice. I wanted to be able to enjoy tough rides and be fit enough to carry camera gear with me, or sprint up ahead to set up a photo. I wanted to up my game.

I began thinking about what I was eating. Instead of getting BBQ after a ride, I ate lean protein and salads. Instead of drinking beer, I switched solely to bourbon and instead of riding at a comfortable pace solo, I began pushing myself.

It took over two years before people began to see a noticeable difference in my fitness.


Here I am in 2012, racing cross. I probably weighed around 215 here, down from 225.


2013, around 210.


2013, opening weekend of cross season, right at 190lbs.


Now, in 2014 I fluctuate between 175 and 185, depending on what I’m riding, how often and hydration levels. “Race weight” is 175, sitting on my ass driving a pickup truck down the PCH and traveling to see family for a month weight is 185.

That’s over four years of steady, slow weight loss. Any doctor I’ve talked to has told me that is the key. Weight loss should come from a lifestyle change, from diet, to physical exercise and it should happen over time. If you rush it, you’ll do your body more harm than good.

That said, here are the main changes I made with my lifestyle. Granted, you shouldn’t try to go all in here. Just make small changes. Cutting yourself off from your favorite foods sucks. Instead, treat them as a reward. Really love burgers? Reward yourself after a tough ride with a burger. Just don’t keep eating burgers every single day!


Here we go. Healthy helps. These are my normal meals:

Breakfast: a 1/2 – 1 cup of oatmeal with blueberries, toasted almonds, cinnamon and water. Simple. Or quinoa with a fried egg. Yolk and all.

Lunch: I have two lunches, the post-ride lunch and busy day lunch.
-Post-ride: fish tacos (grilled) or a salad with fish on top.
-Busy day, no ride: Fresh soup and tortilla chips. Even canned soup is good, just watch the sodium.

Dinner: I love the shit out of greens. Bok Choy, kale, chard spinach. Sauteed, steamed, whatever. I eat a good portion of greens every day. That’s a given. Fresh fish from the market, cooked on a skillet. Sweet potatoes, squash, brown rice, quinoa. Whatever. If you like Whole Foods, look into the “Health Starts Here” food items. Hell, try to go vegetarian.

Photo by Margus Riga

Ride a lot, often. The shorter, sweeter rides are better than always doing 60+ rides. I’ll go out on the road bike in the morning for 20 miles and then the mountain bike at night sometimes for the same. Mix your riding up. Mountain bikes rule because they wipe out your entire body. Give yourself time to recover. If your legs are sore, do a recovery spin. Don’t go out hammering away.

Don’t overdo it. You can literally ride yourself into trouble.

That said, big rides help in weight loss for sure. I still do one or two big rides a month. Eat on the bike, but avoid mass-produced bars. Instead, go for foods like avocado, almonds, mangos, almond butter, etc. Sweets are ok on the bike, so relish them! Just remember, if you eat foods high in cholesterol, you’re not helping your body.



Fuck beer. Seriously. It’s the worst. If you’re trying to lose weight, stop drinking beer! It’s tough, but that stuff is like drinking dead calories. You might as well be eating pizza every night.

Bourbon has the least amount of calories than any other liquor. It has no additives, no flavoring, it’s a mash in a charred oak barrel and that’s where it gets its flavoring. Vodka is also good. Drink it on the rocks, or neat. Mixing with ginger ale or ginger beer is horrible for you. Look at how much sugar is in ginger ale!

If you’re going to drink beer, drink shitty, “light” beer.


Snacking. Buy almonds, salted is fine. They’re great for you. Just don’t eat an entire bag. I usually snack on a handful if I’m hungry. Or eat a banana. If I am craving something sweet, I literally drink a thing of Skratch.


Finally, recovery! I used to do nothing for recovery, aside from trying to eat in 30 minutes of finishing a ride. Now, when I finish a ride, I take a plant-based protein mix. Doing so has really helped me build lean, healthy muscle.

Normal protein has so much added shit in it, makes you feel bloated, swells your muscles and it always made me gassy. This stuff is amazing. Vanilla is my favorite.

Photo by Kyle Kelley

I know that didn’t read much as a guide book to losing weight, it’s more of an explanation as to how I lost weight. Look, it’s not easy, don’t be fooled. There’s a lot of times that I want to gorge on pizza, or eat nonstop. You will be hungry, a lot. It’s tough, but you’ve really just got to ‘shrink your stomach’ and your appetite.

Like training on the bike, you’ve got to train yourself to eat well, in order to be well. Yes, I still eat breakfast tacos, or pizza, or burgers, but a lot less than I did. Remember, it’s about a happy medium.


Strava: Running in the UK 2015

Strava has become the biggest site for runners and Cyclists in the world and sporty bods in the UK have been quick to crunch the stats …


here is an article from a running site …

Strava, the social network for runners and cyclists, has published its annual End of Year Insights for 2015. Comprising of millions of individual runs and rides, the data offers unique insight into the habits and behaviour of Britain’s runners.

The data reveals that in 2015 a staggering 5.3 activities were uploaded and shared on the social network every second. Such an immense depth of data allows documentation and analysis of the UK’s growth in the world of running and cycling, while also providing direct comparison with the Strava community on a global scale.

Global Running

Runners around the world clocked up 52,006,574 runs on Strava, recording the equivalent of 275,648 marathons along the way, as they reached an impressive running total of 434,262,247 km. Runners looked to the tail end of the year in order to stretch their legs and marked Sunday 13th September as the most active day for a run. Global elevation gain was one of the most astounding statistics for Strava runners, reaching the dizzying heights of 3,810,420,727 meters in total.

UK Running

The UK contributed 10,879,161 runs and 86,760,994 km to the global figures. Men recorded an average pace of 5:17/km for their average running distance of 8.4 km, while women recorded a pace of 6:13 over their 7 km runs.

During the year, men and women spent a similar amount of time pounding the roads, parks and countryside of Britain; finishing only 36 minutes apart as men totalled 14hr 38min to women’s 14hr 02min over the course of the year. London and West Yorkshire once again locked horns for most active location, with the capital’s runners completing 1,350,078 activities to its northern rival’s 416,215.

Wales proved a similarly lumpy affair for runners as it did cyclists, charting 177m of elevation on average, while also seeing Powys secure top spot in both longest average distance 9.8 km run and longest average moving time 1hr 07min.

Run Commuting

Tuesday 14th April had the most people digging out their running shoes and commuting into work, encouraging 5,751 to swap their usual mode of transport to work up a sweat instead. Commuters heading in on foot spent a minute less travelling than their cycling counterparts (38 min v 39 min) and uploaded 19,137 runs to Strava each week.

Simon Klima, UK Country Manager for Strava, commented; “This latest release of Strava’s data demonstrates once again the great depth of insight which is available when collating the activities of the world’s cyclists and runners.”

He continued: “The UK’s Strava story offers us an unprecedented opportunity to analyse and interpret a broad spectrum of data, helping to understand behaviour and habits; as well as providing real world feedback on how people utilise their local roads for both exercise and commuting.”

how fit are you?

Do this test


answer truthfully now.

Screenshot 2014-08-02 13.47.13


there is no way my VO2 is 62 – my polar HRM used to say it was around 57-59


eating on the bike – for cheap

from the active strand

Cycling is an expensive hobby. Fork out the ludicrous cover price for a dedicated road cycling magazine and you can see in all its glossy glory the kind of money people are willing to spend on two wheels. I’m not sure how it happened, but “entry level bikes for under £1,000” is considered bargain hunting. And that’s before you’ve taken things like cages, bottles, shoes, bibs, jerseys, gloves, and helmets into account.

The high-carb cherry on top of this debt-denting sundae? Nutrition.

As the Tour de France gets underway, cyclists across the land are likely to be suckered into the glamour of four hour rides through the country. Given that any endurance athlete needs to refuel every 60 minutes or so, that’s going to mean taking on a substantial amount of food during the ride. Over the course of a season, you can spend hundreds on speciality carbohydrate bars, caffeine gels, isotonic drinks, protein recovery and more.

For the budget-conscious, here are five cost-cutting alternatives.

1. Dioralyte

Even the shortest rides require you keep hydrated, and there is no end to sports drinks and powder mixes on offer for the cash rich cyclist. But if you’re trying to save money on a long sportive, use Dioralyte.

The sachets of powder are designed to replace salts and nutrients lost through illness, but they’re packed full of exactly the same goodness (glucose and minerals) that you sweat away while cycling. Six sachets will cost you a little over £3.50 at Boots, but an even better option is the pharmacy’s own brand, which is almost identical and costs £2.99.

By comparrison, a single packet of Torq or High5 energy mix will cost you more than £1. Nuun hydration tablets are coming down in price all the time, but they will still cost you more than the Boots mix in most cycling shops.

A bonus tip: Dioralyte have introduced a new product called Relief, which combines the rehydration qualities of the original with rice starch. That starch adds about about 6 grams of carbohydrate per sachet, and carbs are always welcome (see point three). They’re slightly more expensive at £4 for six, however.

The worst thing about using Dioralyte instead of your usual electrolyte-heavy sports powder? The taste, obviously. Their ‘blackcurrant’ flavour, for example, brings to mind memories of diarrhea rather than blackcurrent. Add a drop of cordial into the mix to expunge.

2. Coca Cola

If you can’t help but buy a premade sports drink like Gatorade or Lucozade, there’s a suprising and cheaper alternative. Coca-Cola, which is high in sugar, salts, carbohydrates and caffeine, basically offers the go-to mix for long rides. A Lucozade Sport costs around £1.20 and a Gotorade is £1.75, but a similar sized bottle of Coke is £1.15. The real saving comes with the bulkier buys, though. You can get nearly 2 litres of Coca-Cola for less than £2.

Fizzy drinks don’t sit well while you’re exercising, so the experts suggest you leave it to go flat – in the fridge with the lid off – before taking it on the road. Alternatively, buy a can during a drinks stop, pour it into a glass, and swirl with a spoon until the fizz leaves.

I’ve had mixed results with this. It works for a quick hit but, even more than the Dioralyte, taste is a significant issue. The sugary mixture can also gum up your water bottle.

3. Marzipan

A stick of marzipan

Carbohydrates are the lifeblood of any cyclist. The main sports nutrition companies offer a myriad of carb bars that vary in quality and price.

My favourite, the SiS GO bar, is £1.20 for each 65g hit (on long rides, I find I can easily put away two or more). Each bar boasts more than 40g of carbohydrates – but there are plenty of supermarket alternatives at a fraction of the price.

Marzipan may be better associated with Christmas cakes, but the almond treat is also surprisingly high in carbohydrate. One 40g bar has 26 grams of carbs, which easily competes with the top-tier alternatives. And you can get a pack of five, chocolate-covered, from Aldi for £1.30.

They have the added bonus of being delicious.

4. Potato farls

Potato farls

If sweetness isn’t your thing, Irish potato farls are another good and cheap source of carbohydrates while out on long rides.

Otherwise known as potato cakes, you can pick up a pack of six from Tesco for 50p and each one contains around 20g of carbs. Toast two before your ride, spread on some butter and sandwich them in foil.

They’re quite dense so can be broken up without too many crumbs and eaten without stopping, and they can be salty, which makes a nice change from the fructose overload associated with most sports nutrition.

5. Honey

Energy gels are the in vogue sports nutrition, and for good reason. They are easy to consume and deliver results quickly, offering many a rider last-minute salvation from the dreaded bonk. But they are also expensive. SiS, Torq and High5 gels can cost up to £2.30 each.

Enter honey. According to a decade old University of Memphis study, which has started to resurface on sports blogs, honey is a natural sports gel. The double-blind test gave groups of cyclists a placebo, a manufactured carbohydrate gel or honey, and the results were staggering.

The riders who used the honey finished the 40-mile time trial on average three minutes quicker than those who took the placebo, and just seconds behind those on the tailor-made gel, and they did it with a lower heart rate. The reason is that honey contains a mix of easily absorbed sugars and – in every teaspoon – about 17g of carbohydrate.

The main problem? Figuring out how to transport it.

Another day – training slows now for the 130km eTape Caledonia Sportive (not a race hahaha) on Sunday

Last little ride to try crash train into being ready for the eTape on Sunday.

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 15.15.51

One thing I do like about Strava is the ability to analyse segments and see how fit you were compared to times in the past when you had better conditioning. You can see it on a segment here – I went up the Crow Road in 18m 30s the same time August 2 years ago but heart rate now (tired and less fit) was 145bpm compared to a very low 116bpm 18 months back ,,,,, eeeek

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 14.01.42

Maybe i just need those extra 3 months of summer rides to get back to speed …..

What cycling needs next – your personal drone (although unarmed so what is the point)


The product design firm that brought the world the Sony Walkman has unveiled a conceptual design of a drone that it says could help improve the safety of lone bike riders.

Drones have attracted a lot of attention due to their use by the military as well as strong rumours, neither confirmed nor denied by the Metropolitan Police, that they were deployed above London during the Olympic Games in 2012.

They were back in the headlines last month as a result of the news that Amazon.com is considering using them for deliveries.

That’s despite the fact that the unmanned aircraft have not yet having been approved for civilian use in the United States, although Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says it may be five years before they come into use.

But in a post on its Design Mind blog, the consultancy Frog highlights several potential civilian uses, included mock-ups of how they could look in action.

“This is our vision of a future where drones are not spies, weaponry or scary agents of evil; they can be trusted aids that assist humans tasked with doing some of the most dangerous work we know,” says Frog product development director, Cormac Eubanks.

And besides rescuing people trapped by forest fires or preventing avalanches, one example of that “dangerous work” appears to be riding a bicycle alone on the road.

“The Cyclodrone is a flying beacon that can be configured to fly ahead of and behind a bicycle rider on roads to improve visibility and reduce the chances of being struck by a vehicle,” writes Eubanks.

“The drone is paired to the rider’s mobile phone and flies along a predetermined path programmed before the ride.

“Sensors in the drone maintain a safe distance from the rider using a combination of an Infrared sensors and a WiFi connection strength.

“The large beacon on top creates a highly visible warning to cars for safer solo outings on narrow one-lane roads and a camera records dynamic video of each ride.”

One potential drawback, of course, is that the driver may be so mesmerised by the site of the drone, particularly if they haven’t seen one before, that they fail to notice the cyclist it is designed to protect.

And while the device might be suitable in open countryside with very little traffic, how would it cope in more built-up areas with heavy congestion including high-sided vehicles, with the cyclist often moving faster than motorised traffic?

Then there’s the issue of whether civilians can actually use a drone in the first place. As with many fields of technological development, the law is slow to adapt, and as the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) points out, rules surrounding use of unmanned aircraft were drawn up primarily with model aircraft in mind.

Highlighting that “there are no established operating guidelines so operators may not be aware of the potential dangers or indeed the responsibility they have towards not endangering the public,” the CAA says:

Operators of Small Unmanned Aircraft are required…to obtain permission from the CAA before commencing a flight in certain circumstances; these circumstances cover flights for aerial work purposes and flights within a congested area, or in proximity to people or property, by Small Unmanned Aircraft equipped for any form of surveillance or data acquisition.

On the plus side, the built-in camera could be a nifty feature – imagine being able to not just fancy yourself on a solo Tour de France break while you’re out riding on your own, but being able to watch aerial shots of your bid for glory afterwards?

And just imagine some of the near-miss videos that could pop up on YouTube from riders having a drone follow them on their commute.

There’s no word on whether the drones might ever see the light of day, let alone how much they might cost, and the Design Mind piece may be nothing more than a piece of blue sky thinking, for want of a better phrase – although certainly you could imagine them being used in the emergency situations highlighted.

Their use by cyclists is therefore fanciful, perhaps – but so too, 40 years ago before the Sony Walkman came along, was the idea that you’d be able to listen to your own choice of music through headphones while on the move.

new shoes

Have a new pair of these in orange –  here is a review from someone else


Hey and welcome to Trail Trials:  the video review section of iRunFar. I’m Travis Liles. In this video, we’re going to take a look at the Mizuno Wave Ascend 7.

In its seventh iteration, the Mizuno Wave Ascend adds some really nice updates. What we’re going to do now is to get up close and personal. We’ll take a look at the upper, the midsole, and some of the new features and tread patterns here on the bottom. Then, we’ll come back at the end with some overall impressions.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7

The Mizuno Wave Ascend 7.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 – Upper
Let’s start out by talking about the upper on the Mizuno Wave Ascend. Mizuno categorizes it as having a Dynamotion upper – which basically means there are a lot of things here in place to give you a good secure ride on your foot. Some of those things you’re going to see right away are those bands that you’re going to find on each side of the foot. They’re going to help you secure that foot down. They’re going to lock that forefoot in place and keep your foot from sliding around. That was one of the features I really liked about this shoe. I felt like it had a really good, secure fit, so if you’re on nasty terrain or somewhere off camber and you really want that foot locked in, this shoe did a really nice job of it. However, even with that, you have a good, open toe box. A lot of times that’s not the case. A good open toe box, with it being mesh, it lets those toes wiggle around and no weird bands over the top of your foot that might impede or pinch on your toes.

Up front of the toe box, we have some overlays you’re going to see to really round out the toe area. At the very tip or the apex, we’re going to have a hard piece of rubber to keep that real direct impact from taking too much of a hit on your toes.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 - medial upper

The Mizuno Wave Ascend 7′s medial upper.

There is a mud guard all the way around the base of the shoe meaning that that mesh – though it does attach directly to the midsole – there’s an overlay on top of it which is going to add some structure that’s going to keep your foot in a little bit better. It’s also going to give you a little more height stepping in puddles and those sorts of things. You do have a lot of mesh on this shoe. I’ve ran a couple times with this shoe in the rain, and I felt like water could get out; it wasn’t in there sloshing around.

As we move around the shoe, you can really see some more overlays. We have overlays along the upper laces that extend into the back which give a nice tight sort of structure here that’s going to help lock your foot in a lot better. Then around the back, you have a very standard heel. There’s a heel cup in here – it is hard material – but a nice comfortable soft, almost stretchy nylon-feeling interior in here for your foot, hopefully keeping blisters and those kinds of things from popping up.

The laces are a little bit stretchy, which is nice because they kind of bunch up on themselves, but they’re not that sausage shoestring that we’ve seen before. On the inside, we do have that gusseted tongue that doesn’t roll all the way up to the top. It goes roughly to where your tongue loop or lace is here in the middle. So we’re gusseted all the way down keeping the junk from getting inside. As you would expect on standard types of road shoes or even trail shoes anymore, of course you have removable insoles in case you want to put anything in there.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 – Midsole
Let’s move onto the midsole. The midsole, as you can see, is kind of one single color here. It’s single density, but what Mizuno does differently than other shoe companies is that they use this thing called the Wave Plate. You can see that silver plastic here and on the other side. The idea of the Wave Plate is, versus having a different chunk of foam in here that’s harder and is a more hard transition from one type of foam to the other, they use this Wave Plate that is varying densities based off of how much pronation control you want. This is for mild to moderate over-pronators. You can see that by the Wave Plate and the height of it.

Then in the back, if you look at the heel, you can see it’s thicker on the inside of the shoe than it is on the outside – meaning when you land, if you’re someone who over-pronated, you’d be in here. This shoe, because of the stack height being taller, is going to push that over to the side. What’s nice is this is good cushy foam. You’re not looking at Hoka-type foam, but this is soft and really takes a lot of the impact from rocks – I felt it did a nice job of absorbing. Of course, the downside of that is going to be the feel of the trail. Obviously you need to weigh those types of options.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 – Outsole
When we move to the bottom, this is where Mizuno really made some nice changes, I thought. They added in these really thick “Xs” that extend from the toe all the way to the back in varying patterns. Those are going to give you a lot better traction, of course. Then on the outside or the perimeter of the shoe, you have some angled lugs, angling forward in the front and angling backwards in the back. There are two different types of densities. The black rubber is a harder compound, so that’s probably going to last longer. Also, it’s in your hit points that you’re going to have for your foot. Then the interior type of rubber is smoother and not quite as dense. It will have a little more give to it when you’re climbing and those sorts of things, but it’s not super loose or anything like some lugs are. Overall, it’s a really nice tread pattern on the bottom. Overall, is what you’ve got is 11.2 ounces or 11.4 ounces (depending on where you see it) shoe with about an 11mm drop that can definitely take a beating out on the trail.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 - Outsole

The Mizuno Wave Ascend 7′s outsole.

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7 – Overall Impressions
The Mizuno Wave Ascend definitely doesn’t fall in line with the current trends of super lightweight, low-profile, minimal type of shoe. This is a mid to heavy weight shoe:  lots of protection, good grip, good overall features, and what I really like about it is that it’s something that is a good hybrid shoe. If you’re somebody that travels, you can throw this in your suitcase. It transitions well on the road and it transitions well to trail also, so you don’t have to pack two different pairs.

Overall: good shoe, solid, it’s going to have its audience. It’s probably not for the minimalist folks out there, but definitely anybody looking for something with a little bit more stability, a lot of support, and a solid all-around general purpose trail shoe – I definitely encourage you to check out the Mizuno Wave Ascend 7.


What is your fitness age?

good article from WELL in the NYT ….

Trying to quantify your aerobic fitness is a daunting task. It usually requires access to an exercise-physiology lab. But researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim have developed a remarkably low-tech means of precisely assessing aerobic fitness and estimating your “fitness age,” or how well your body functions physically, relative to how well it should work, given your age.

The researchers evaluated almost 5,000 Norwegians between the ages of 20 and 90, using mobile labs. They took about a dozen measurements, including height, body mass index, resting heart rate, HDL and total cholesterol levels. Each person also filled out a lengthy lifestyle questionnaire. Finally, each volunteer ran to the point of exhaustion on a treadmill to pinpoint his or her peak oxygen intake (VO2 max), or how well the body delivers oxygen to its cells. VO2 max has been shown in large-scale studies to closely correlate with significantly augmented life spans, even among the elderly or overweight. In other words, VO2 max can indicate fitness age.

In order to figure out how to estimate VO2 max without a treadmill, the scientists combed through the results to determine which of the data points were most useful. You might expect that the most taxing physical tests would yield the most reliable results. Instead, the researchers found that putting just five measurements — waist circumference; resting heart rate; frequency and intensity of exercise; age; and sex — into an algorithm allowed them to predict a person’s VO2 max with noteworthy accuracy, according to their study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The researchers used the data set to tabulate the typical, desirable VO2 max for a healthy person at every age from 20 to 90, creating specific parameters for fitness age. The concept is simple enough, explains Ulrik Wisloff, the director of the K. G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University and the senior author of the study. “A 70-year-old man or woman who has the peak oxygen uptake of a 20-year-old has a fitness age of 20,” he says. He has seen just this combination during his research.

The researchers have used all of this data to create an online calculator that allows people to determine their VO2 max without going to a lab. You’ll need your waist measurement and your resting heart rate. To determine it, sit quietly for 10 minutes and check your pulse; count for 30 seconds, double the number and you have your resting heart rate. Plug these numbers, along with your age, sex and frequency and intensity of exercise, into the calculator, and you’ll learn your fitness age.

The results can be sobering. A 50-year-old man, for instance, who exercises moderately a few times a week, sports a 36-inch waist and a resting heart rate of 75 — not atypical values for healthy middle-aged men — will have a fitness age of 59. Thankfully, unwanted fitness years, unlike the chronological kind, can be erased, Dr. Wisloff says. Exercise more frequently or more intensely. Then replug your numbers and exult as your “age” declines. A youthful fitness age, Dr. Wisloff says, “is the single best predictor of current and future health.”

and my result …?

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 12.27.36boll*cks – in my dreams


Strava and Sufferfest – loves comes together

Strava has partnered with Sufferfest to bring the company’s unique training videos to the social training app, now available to all premium users.

There are currently three videos, Fight Club, Revolver and Rubber Glove, available through their Android app, with the Apple iOS app following shortly. The training videos which combine actual race footage with music and instructions to enliven your turbo trainer sessions. Strava says it will be releasing more videos over time as soon as possible.

I tried the Revolver video and it worked smoothly on my Samsung tablet. Propped up on the top of the bookcase in front of the turbo trainer, it provided a good distraction and the 45 minutes flew by. You could stream the video through a television if you have the necessary HDMI cable or Airplay. At the completion of a video, you can save your activity and share it with your friends via Facebook and Twitter.

There’s nothing to stop you buying individual Sufferfest videos already of course (Dave reviewed Downward Spiral a while back) , but if you’re currently a Strava premium member this is a nice bit of added value to your yearly subscription, especially as we head into the winter.

(You might have to update to the latest version of the Strava app to to see the Training Videos tab in the drop down menu.)

if you are on Strava then make sure to join the road.cc club and share your rides with the community.


Oi Fatty …. yes you

from huffington post

This is the average American male in his 30s.

usa bodyHe doesn’t look too bad, right? Well, here’s how he stacks up against his international peers from Japan, the Netherlands, and France.

country measurements

America’s expanding waistline may not be new news, but throwing the average American male’s body into a line-up spotlights America’s obesity epidemic, which is exactly what Pittsburgh-based artist Nickolay Lamm did when he created these visualizations (which obviously deal only with body size and not ethnicity or skin color).

“I wanted to put a mirror in front of us,” Lamm told The Huffington Post in an email. “Americans like to pride ourselves on being the best country in the world. However, it’s clear that other countries have lifestyles and healthcare better than our own.”

Here’s a look from the front.

country measurements

And a side angle — Oof, not the most flattering comparison for the American. He’s second on the left.

country measurements

Lamm constructed the 3D models based on body measurements collected from thousands of men by universities and government agencies — including the CDC, the Netherlands’ RIVM, and France’s ENNS. The average American male has a body mass index (BMI) of 29 — significantly higher than Japanese men (who have a BMI of 23), men in the Netherlands (who have a 25.2 BMI), and French men (who have a 25.55 BMI.)

Lamm said he used BMI charts and photos for visual reference, and ran the models by Dr. Matthew Reed, an expert on body shape measurement, for accuracy.

“I chose the Netherlands because they are the tallest country and are clearly doing something right there,” Lamm said. He chose Japan because it is well-known for its longevity, and France because, he said, “a lot of Americans like to compare themselves to that country.”

So what are the Dutch and Japanese doing right?

Experts suggest it has to do with a complex combination of genetic, environmental and social factors. A good healthcare system, better nutrition, and more active lifestyles have been cited as reasons for the towering Dutchmen and long-lived Japanese.


Felix jumps from Space – the full picture including biometrics in HD

watch this in full HD ….

It’s been one year since Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner made the highest jump of all time. The Red Bull Stratos project was part science, part adventure, and of course part caffeinated beverage promotion overload. In the end, the successful leap from 127,851 feet set a new height mark, and Baumgartner became the first person ever to exceed the the speed of sound in free fall.

But the flight wasn’t without its drama. As many watched live last year, Baumgartner entered a spin about a minute into the flight. A relatively mild instability beginning about 25 seconds into the jump appeared to stabilize as he accelerated towards his top speed of Mach 1.25 (844 mph). But as Baumgartner continued to fall through the very thin air, the lack of control was apparent and the spin progressed into something that looks much worse from his point of view than it did from the outside.

In the video above, you can see him transition onto his back, and the rate of spin accelerates (along with his heart rate), as he passes about 90,000 feet.

Soon thereafter, he begins to use his arms in an effort to control the spin, much as a figure skater can change their rate of rotation on the ice. Baumgartner tries using just one arm at a time to regain control, and eventually the veteran skydiver manages to stabilize his free fall after more than 20 heart-pumping seconds.

After that it’s a relatively calm — if you think breaking the sound barrier in an astronaut suit is calm — with three more minutes of free fall to the ground as the sky transitions from black to blue. Eventually he deploys his parachute and enjoys a few more minutes before touching down in the New Mexico desert.

In addition to the impressive POV video above, Red Bull has released a feature-length documentary about the Red Bull Stratos project that can be seen here.