Monday, July 12, 2010

Speed Shop News!

First Tri!

Congrats to Speed Shoppers Corey Rabideau and Melany Rowley who recently completed their first triathlon, the Assateague Assault Sprint Distance Triathlon. Corey's strong road racing skills and Melany's background in swimming made them great training partners! Also, This past weekend Corey was back on the road and won his category at the South Mountain Hill Climb. He knocked a minute off his previous time winning his category and finishing 3rd Overall. Way to go!

Corey's finish

Melany's finish
Speed Shop Shout Out
Jim Johnson a.k.a. Coast Guard Jim of Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team (ABRT)! WINS the Superior Bike Fest Omnium 35+ open Cat!! (race report below)

Stage 1 Twilight Criterium, Marquette ,MI

My race started at 9pm with temperatures at about 60 degrees F, slight breeze and raining. The course is .7 miles and is square starting on the main thoroughfare thru town, turning left and down hill for 2 blocks, left and down hill again for about 2 long blocks and then 2 more lefts up hill to get back to the start. The race was open to all Cat’s and the official 35+ field was small so we had a number of CAT 1,2 and 3 riders race to help out teammates. The field at the start line was probably 35-40. At the start of the race, Priority Health and Ace Hardware teams grabbed the front. I planted myself in the top 10 and tried to stay out of the wind. A break went off the front with an Ace Hardware guy and a Two Wheel Tango guy but we brought them back pretty quickly. Either Ace, Priority Health or one of the other teams attacked each time we brought a break back for about the first 10 laps or so. With about 15 laps to go, a 2 man break got away and stayed about 8-15 seconds away until about 7 to go. Things really heated up at this point as Priority Health, Two Wheel Tango and Breakaway Bikes tried to get something going and up’ed the pace. The rain had stayed away for about 2 races before this one but was now making up for lost time. At the bottom of the course at turn 3 where the pavement points back uphill to the finish line, it was getting pretty crazy. A number of street service connections and a manhole kept riders shifting lines at the last minute. The upturn in speed and the now wet road made things that much more sketchy. By 2 laps to go we were screaming down Spring street for turn 3 and 4. Exiting turn 3, if you weren’t out of the saddle and cranking hard up the hill and around turn 4, you were off the back with no chance to catch up. On the final lap, I had worked my way up to 5th or 6th. The sprint started out of turn 3 as expected and exploded out of turn 4. We were down to about 18 riders at this time with the top 8 sprinting for the win. A guy from SC racing came flying around me and I tried to catch his wheel but he was pulling away fast. In the drops and cranking hard I managed to place 4th.

Stage 2 Michigan State Championship 55 mile Road Race

Cool temps, fog and light drizzle were the conditions for this race. The road race here is a 55 mile lollipop shaped course with 2 major climbs, 1 long descent and an uphill finish. Priority Health, Ace Hardware and Two Wheel Tango had a significant presence with 2 or 3 other teams having 2 or 3 members present. This being the State Road Championship race, it brought racers from all over Michigan so the competition was pretty stiff. Being a lone rider, my thought was to stay near the front and look for a promising breakaway to latch on to. The start was pretty uneventful, with only a couple of attacks being made by the smaller teams early on. The first climb was early in the race and didn’t have much effect on the peleton. At about the 15 mile mark, a 3 man break went off the front with riders from Priority Health, Two Wheel Tango and Ace Hardware. I noticed that 2 of the riders in the break had placed in the top 10 in the Crit and who I new were pretty strong. Although pretty early in the race, it seemed that this break had all the markings of being able to stick so I bridged up. Now a 4 man break, we got into a paceline rhythm and started flying. Covered by the fog and protected from chases by the 3 larger teams, we pretty much walked away from the pack. At about mile 40, the rider from Ace Hardware dropped a chain. Down to 3 men in the break and 15 miles to go we were really working to keep our lead. The final major climb came at mile marker 47. With 5 miles to the finish, the Two Wheel Tango rider blew up and we dropped him. For the last 5 miles, the Priority Health rider and I continued to work together until the climb to the finish. He had been hanging back on the other climbs and he seemed pretty cooked. 100 meters into the final climb I attacked comeing around him fast and shake him off my wheel. He didn’t even chase me. I came across the finish line 1st putting 30 seconds into him and 1:30 into the rest of the field. Some days is better to be lucky than good. This was one of those days.

For video:
Scroll thru the commercial and forward to minute 2:45 for TV coverage of the Superior Bike Fest RR. ABRT got some major exposure on UP TV.

Stage 3 Presque Isle Circuit Race

Once again, overcast sky’s, cool temps and the, ever present, threat of rain were the conditions for the last stage of the Superior Bike Fest. This circuit race was a fast 2.5 miles course with a ¾ mile, very steep climb and a 1 + mile descent to the start/finish line that includes 2 very narrow and sharp corners to navigate through. Originally slated for 4 laps, we were reduced to 3 due to a wreck in one of the aforementioned corners that delayed our start. It was a sprint from the start. My goal was to defend my current position on the GC and advance it if possible and to that end, I kept an eye on the 2 riders ahead of me and the 2 riders behind me in the classification. First attack came on the climb on the 1st lap. The rider was no threat so I held my place. About ½ way up the climb we caught him and the SC Racing rider in 1st in the GC attacked. I jumped his wheel and kept with him to the start/finish line at which time we were caught. SC Racing dropped back into the pack and I continued to watch the attacks. On the final lap, Two Wheel Tango sent a man off the front and an Ace Hardware rider went with. I jumped and blew around a Priority Health rider I was marking and caught on the Ace Hardware rider’s wheel. By this time we were on the descent to the finish line and we were screaming through the turns. Coming out of the saddle after the last turn, we sprinted for the finish, Ace Hardware in the lead followed by Two Wheel Tango and myself (3rd.). The SC Racing rider finish 8th and the Priority Health rider DNF’d so ABRT took the lead in the GC. Once again, this is a great race series held in beautiful surroundings and well organized and well worth doing.

Having Trouble with Cramping? check out this article on pickle juice!

Can Pickle Juice Stop Muscle Cramps?
Recently, 10 healthy male college students filed into an exercise laboratory at Brigham Young University in Utah to drink pickle juice. Many people involved in sports are convinced that the briny fluid combats muscle cramping. In a 2008 survey, a quarter of the athletic trainers interviewed said that they regularly dispense pickle juice to cramp-stricken athletes. Many also report that, in their experiences, the stuff quickly brakes the cramping. The athletic trainers have told researchers that they believe the pickle juice must be replenishing the salt and fluids the athletes had lost to sweat. But no laboratory science had verified that theory.

The Utah volunteers began with a series of 30-minute bicycling sessions, using a semi-recumbent bicycle, configured so that only the leg pedaled. The laboratory was warm, increasing the amount the exercising men sweated. Each cycled in 30-minute bouts (with five minutes of rest between) until each had lost 3 percent of his body weight through perspiration, a widely accepted definition of mild dehydration.
The young men were then fitted with a contraption on the big toe of their unexercised leg, and the tibial nerve in the men’s ankles was electrically stimulated, causing a muscle in the big toe to cramp. (The procedure causes some discomfort, making it too painful to use on larger muscles, like the hamstrings or the quadriceps.) The volunteers were told to relax and let the cramps run their course. The average duration of the cramps was about two and a half minutes.
The volunteers rested and did not drink any fluids. Then their tibial nerve was zapped again. This time, though, as soon as the toe cramps began, each man downed about 2.5 ounces of either deionized water or pickle juice, strained from a jar of ordinary Vlasic dills. The reaction, for some, was rapid. Within about 85 seconds, the men drinking pickle juice stopped cramping. But the cramps continued unabated in the men drinking water. Pickle juice had “relieved a cramp 45 percent faster” than drinking no fluids and about 37 percent faster than water, concluded the authors of the study, which was published last month on the Web site of the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Exercise-induced muscle cramps are one of the continuing mysteries of physiology. Extremely pervasive, they afflict most active people at some point. But scientists remain deeply divided about what causes the cramping. For years, most people, inside and outside academia, believed that cramping was caused by sweating-induced dehydration and the accompanying loss of sodium and potassium. Sufferers were advised to load up on potassium-rich bananas or chug large amounts of salty sports drinks.
But a number of laboratory and field studies in recent years have undermined the dehydration theory. The most recent, completed by the same group of scientists who studied pickle juice, employed a similar study design. A group of college students had cramps induced in their toes. They then pedaled with one leg until dehydration set in. Their toes were made to cramp again, Presumably if dehydration were the underlying cause of the cramping, the scientists should have been able to induce a cramp with less electrical stimulation when the men were dehydrated; their muscles should have been primed to cramp. But the experiment didn’t work out that way. As detailed last month in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, the scientists had to use the same amount of stimulation to induce a cramp after dehydration as they had before. Their conclusion? “Exercise-induced cramps occurring to athletes” who are mildly dehydrated “were likely not caused by dehydration,” says Kevin C. Miller, Ph.D., ATC, the lead author of both studies and now an assistant professor in the Athletic Training Education Program at North Dakota State University in Fargo.
What, then, does probably cause athletes to cramp? The pickle-juice experiment provides some intriguing clues. “The pickle juice did not have time” to leave the men’s stomachs during the experiment, Dr. Miller points out. So the liquid itself could not have been replenishing lost fluids and salt in the affected muscles. Instead some other mechanism must have initiated the cramps and been stymied by the pickle juice.
Dr. Miller suspects that that mechanism is exhaustion, either directly or through biochemical processes that accompany fatigue. Certain mechanisms within muscles have been found, in animal and limited human studies, he says, to start misfiring when a muscle is extremely tired. Small nerves that should keep the muscle from overcontracting malfunction, and the muscle bunches when it should relax. Pickle juice may work, Dr. Miller says, by countermanding the malfunction. Something in the acidic juice, perhaps even a specific molecule of some kind, may be lighting up specialized nervous-system receptors in the throat or stomach, he says, which, in turn, send out nerve signals that somehow disrupt the reflex melee in the muscles. Dr. Miller suspects that ultimately, it’s the vinegar in the pickle juice that activates the receptors. In a recent case report by other researchers, a single athlete’s cramping was relieved more quickly when he drank pure vinegar (without much pleasure, I’m sure) than when he drank pickle juice.
At the moment, speculation about the powers of pickle juice remains just that, speculative. “It’s extremely challenging” to induce realistic sports cramps in the lab, Dr. Miller says. His technique, of causing the big toe to spasm, while useful, can’t fully replicate what happens in larger, stronger leg muscles during a cramp. Still, the work is suggestive and, perhaps most important, implies methods for finding relief. “If muscle fatigue is the cause,” he says, then training properly, building up your mileage slowly and perhaps adding strength training that focuses specifically on muscles that have cramped in the past, may help. In the meantime, if your calf or other muscle suddenly, painfully catches, “try stretching it,” Dr. Miller says. Doing so has been found in laboratory studies to significantly shorten the duration of a muscle cramp, most likely by shaking up and resetting the misfiring muscle and nerve reflexes. And perhaps, if you can stomach the idea, pack a few ounces of pickle juice on your next training session. It’s not as palatable as bananas, but unlike them, Dr. Miller says, “it seems to work.”


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