Warmer temps and gradually longer days mean the road riding is great this week- feels a little spring like even.
...but the really fun and full-on workout of the week so far has been heading up to Powderhorn to skin up and tele down...repeat. My goal was 3 laps since I heard a guy bragging about it last year- and I would have made 3, but there was that blister on my right heel and my iced up goggles and that one patroller who got snarky with me and, and, and, getting to the car in complete foodfreak, I knew I was lucky to survive 2 laps! Be assured, I will be back- spectacular workout at altitude with amazing views and a chance to make some turns back down as a rest and reward. (And then go home to the valley and recover)
As much as we here at AYC disdain gimmicks and loosely veiled efforts to separate athletes from their cash there are a few accessories we have become enamored of in 2011:
Chamois butter is for real. Dave has been using this since chamois were actually chamois, but it never occurred to me to try it until I had the pleasure of treating the rather gnarly saddle sore of a patient last summer. I only had to use it once to get the message loud and clear-
this is not a gimmick or marketing scam as some forum screamers would have you believe. Well, I guess it is a gimmick and a scam if you get suckered into buying some fancy pants expensive lube when there are plenty of high quality inexpensive options available. For instance, I really liked D’z Nuts, but refuse to pay $20 for a 4oz tube of lube when there are plenty of excellent options at half the price (We are all about the Beljum Budder these days but I think the chamois butt'r may be even less expensive).
Serious riders of bikes, horses, tractors and what have you have been taking care to protect against chafing and saddle sores forever and, I’ll tell you from personal experience, Mountain bike rides more than 15-20 miles are much more comfortable with a little gooch and saddle sores suck.
Compression socks rock. The hardcore runners in our posse have been telling us about them for ages, but it is a well known fact that we are slow to accept changes to our system. When the good guys at Boulder Running Company dialed us in with the CEP footless knee highs, our system instantly changed.I’ll let Dave tell the story of the pain associated with his award winning varicose veins- but I’ll tell you he has barely taken his compression socks off since they first let him try them on in the shop 6 months ago.
Although the scientific research on the use of compression stockings for recovery is less than overwhelming, you have it first hand that the difference in "perceived recovery" has been immense. And the role of graduated compression to improve compromised circulation (ie. 'very-gross' veins') is well understood in medical science (and here is a picture to prove it).
We ended up buying knee high footless stockings because we like to be barefoot to sleep and to wear our own socks to work and workout. None of the other brands we tried seemed to be as spot on with compression in all the right spots- but since CEP doesn't make full length tights, we'll give SKINS a try when we are ready to branch out a little further.
Note: buy 2 pair. If you find they cure all that ails you- as did Dave- and wear them around the clock- as does Dave- you will need a clean pair to rotate in while you wash the others once in awhile.
Energy and electrolyte supplements are not all gack. I have always viewed energy bars and drinks as an absolute last option if I cannot carry real food on an outing. Mostly, they taste lousy, make me feel pukey and are generally a marketing rip off. On the other hand, carrying and consuming real food on training rides and during races can be a little unrealistic and, so, I am stoked to have found the Hammer product line (we use HEED, Endurolytes and Sustained Energy mostly). Since I have become much more conscientious about replacing the glycogen stores I am burning I know I am building more muscle and recovering faster and since the HAMMER products are so well made, I’m not having to feel sick just to stay fueled up. We at AYC appreciate their science based, less is more approach and feel very confident we won’t come to find out our supplements are laced with poisonous UCI banned crap.
**please note we don't get nothin' from nobody to pitch their goods or services- we just tell it like we see it. As always at AYC, just the opinions of a few vociferous cycling enthusiasts.