Wednesday, January 1, 2014


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It's 2014 and exactly one year since my last post.  No, I'm not dead..but at times I felt like I was dead in 2013.  Just zero energy and zero motivation to exercise or get on my bike and ride.  I didn't race in 2013, and I gave coaching a rest as well.  But, I did continue to officiate and moto-ref.  This year will be my 5th year as an USA Cycling Official.  And, it will be the year that I upgrade from Level C Official to Level B.  I have enough experience to upgrade, I just haven't filled out all the required paperwork.  Last year was the first year I marshaled a Pro Cycling Race on my moto.  What an experience.  You get to see the race from an entirely new perspective when marshaling versus officiating.  Marshaling is much more relaxing because there isn't the responsibilities like there is with officiating.  Although I didn't bike much last year, I did get to bass fish a lot.  I traveled to Lake Erie in the Spring of 2013 and got to fish my home lake (Lake Wallenpaupack) in the Poconos at least 2-3 times per month.  I caught a LOT of nice bass this past year.  And, I got to catch some BIG bass.  I hope to do the same in 2014 as I'm planning trips down to the Potomac River, Wash DC. in the Spring and the 1000 Islands, NY in the Summer.  That's in addition to fishing my home lake.  These (Potomac and 1000 Islands) are two places I used to fish a lot (back in my tournament days) and look forward to going back. It's always more fun to fish with friends than it is to fish tournaments.  In tournaments, you're normally matched with someone you don't know and there is a lot of pressure to do well.  Not to mention all the time and $$ you need to spend in preparation for the tournaments.

I'm not planning on coaching in 2014 but I am planning on getting back on my bike, both my Mountain Bike and my Road Bike.  I think my racing days are over however.  Although, sometimes I wonder if I did start training seriously again if I could compete with/in the Masters 55+ group for a podium spot.  It's not that it's not as competitive at 55+ there are just fewer guys racing in that age bracket.  Besides, I just don't have the time or dedication/motivation to race like I used to.  My new job has me traveling internationally now so it becomes more difficult to train.  And, the fact that I'll be officiating a lot more than I did in the past.  Last year I officiated 12 races.  This year, I plan on doubling that.  There's just not enough time to do everything.

If you're racing this year, this is the time of the year to get everything in order:
a. Order your racing license.
b. Get your bike tuned up and order the parts you'll need for 2014.
c. READ your 2014 USA Cycling rulebook.  Know the rules.
d. Get your kit ordered from your team/club.
e. Start the hi-intensity training..especially if you're racing starts in March.
f. Start watching what you eat/drink.  Say goodbye to the junk food.
g. Lose some weight.
h. Fine tune/adjust your training plan.
i. Make your goals for the 2014 racing season.
j. Mark your 2014 calendar for the races you want to enter.

Good luck with your training.  If you want some (free) advice with your 2014 training, email me. mullerrj@gmail.com

Power ON!  Coach Rob    

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

For me, the New Year is about leaving the past behind and looking forward to a new start.  2012 was NOT a particularly good year for me with respect to fitness.  Not only did I lose fitness but I also gained 20 lbs...not a good combination for a cyclist.  That is why I'm looking forward to 2013.

Most of you should already be a month or two into your cycling training for 2013- especially if you're training for the Tour of the Battenkill or other event in the early Spring.  If your event isn't until May/June then NOW is the time to get started...don't procrastinate any longer.
 
For NEW athletes, i.e. ones that haven't engaged in a hi-intensity cycling training plan before, the key is to start slowly.  If you start too quickly you'll either burn out or injure yourself.  If you're a SEASONED athlete, i.e. you've been racing/training the last 5 years and riding continuously through the Fall, the key is to start with higher intensity workouts.  You can skip a lot of the speed/skill drills and Tempo rides that the newbies normally engage in..and start right into Sweet Spot Interval Training.

For everyone, now is also a good time to visit the doctor and get an annual physical..especially if you're over 40.  Get a full blood workup too. If anything, you can use these blood results to compare from year-to-year.  It's a good baseline- if you will.  This year, I was surprised that my cholesterol wasn't high.  I expected it to be off the charts since I pretty much stopped training and started eating/drinking crap for a year.  I was lucky I suppose..but I'm not going to press my luck.  It's time to knock off the alcohol (ok maybe not knock it off but limit it) and start eating "cleaner".  When I say "cleaner" I mean NO junk food, desserts, sweets, etc.  Nothing but good Carbs from fruits/vegetables.

When starting a cycling training plan, it's imperative that you not only start eating better but resting/sleeping better as well.  For supplements, I don't go overboard.  This is what I take during hi-intensity cycling training and why:
a. Multi-Vitamin and Mineral- normally you get all the Vitamins and Minerals you need with a good diet.  But, sometimes I'm on the road for business and can't eat as well as I need to.
b. Whey Protein- I mix whey protein  with chocolate milk for a good post-workout recovery drink.  I actually drink 1/4 before my workout and 3/4 post workout.
c. Omega 3 Fatty Acids- these are good for your immune system..especially during the Winter when everybody seems to be hacking/sneezing/coughing/etc. and sick with a cold.  Getting sick will set you back in training..so it's imperative you have a strong immune system during training.
d. Nitric Oxide/Creatine- I take this prior to hi-intensity workouts (Threshold and/or Anaerobic Capacity)..not normal (Tempo or Sweetspot) workouts.  Taking this really does allow me to go harder/longer.  Hell, even if I just think it does..it helps.
e. Baby Aspirin- I take one a day.  Just make sure it's baby aspirin not full strength.  There is medical evidence that shows that aspirin is linked to lower cancer risk, heart attacks and strokes.

That's about it for supplements.  No need to go overboard.  The important thing is to eat healthy.  The only other thing I do during the Winter months is to reduce my Carb intake.  As most of you know, Carbs are vital during the racing season...especially if you're an endurance athlete.  However, if you're looking to lose 20 lbs. (like I am) reducing your Carb intake is a quick way of doing it..especially since most of your Winter Training consists of workouts that are less than 1hour in duration.  I never heard or saw anyone bonk in a hour spin session or interval training class over the Winter due to Carbohydrate/Glycogen depletion.  I've come close on an empty stomach..and felt like dogsh$t..but never truly bonked where I was completely glycogen depleted and couldn't finish the workout.

Good luck to all of you this year.  I hope you meet your 2013 goals.  Happy New Year.

Power ON!  Coach Rob

Friday, November 30, 2012

How much do you sit per day?

I never realized how much the average American sits on their a$$ each work day until I read a recent newspaper article.  So, I decided to add up the hours I sit (on a normal "work" day).  On an average work day, I'm upright (standing) for only 3 hrs.  That's pretty sad.  Actually, it's alarming.  Naturally, on the weekends I'm probably upright for twice that.  But still, that's an awful lot of time sitting on my a$$.  And, I don't have to tell you the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle.  Here's a good article to read from Men's Health Mag: http://health.yahoo.net/experts/menshealth/most-dangerous-thing-youll-do-all-day

Well, what can you do about it during the work week?  Here's a list of suggestions:

1. Take a brisk walk in the morning- at least 1/2 hr.  If you have a dog, there ya go..good excuse.  You may have to get up a 1/2 hr. earlier- so what, just go to bed earlier.  Don't have a dog?  Borrow a neighbors dog.  I'll bet you the neighbor would love to have someone walk their dog in the a.m.

2. Take a brisk walk at lunch- at least 45 minutes.  There's always some place you can walk at work.  And, you still have 15 min. to eat lunch at your office desk or cafeteria.  If the weather is bad, and you can't walk, get in your car and drive some place.  At least you'll get exercise walking to/from your car.

3. Get your hour workout in before/after dinner.  In the Summer you may be able to get a 2-3 hr. workout in.  If not, at least get a brisk 1 hr. walk in.  If you can't get your workout in before dinner, get it in after dinner...just GET IT IN.  If you can't, at least grab the neighbors pooch and go for another brisk walk.  Notice I said "brisk" walk?  There's a big difference.

4. During the day, take more breaks.  Drink plenty of water because it will force you to take pee breaks.  Get up every hour from your desk and walk around.  Every other hour, get up walk outside for 5 minutes.

5.  If/when you talk on the phone at home..stand up..don't sit. 

6. Take the stairs whenever you can.  Stay away from elevators, escalators, etc.  If you have to use an escalator, walk up the steps.

7. Ok, here's one I'm guilty of: opt for the bar stool or chair when going to a restaurant/bar instead of a booth.  By sitting up on a stool/chair you're using more ab/lower back muscles.

8. Instead of emailing or calling a co-worker, get up out of your desk and pay them a visit.  Stand, don't sit while visiting.

9. Instead of rolling your office chair over to a bookcase, filing cabinet, trash can, printer, etc. get up and walk over.

10. If you really want to make a difference, get a stand-up desk or balance ball chair to sit on at work.  Don't laugh, I've seen them..and the people that are using them are fit...go figure. ha  I might replace my office desk chair with a balance ball chair.

Wanna be fit, don't sit!  Power ON!  Coach Rob


Back to Work

Ok, it may not be Christmas yet but it's time to get back to work/training.  The vacation/party is over..especially if you didn't CX race this Fall.  Also, if you plan on road racing in the Spring..you had better be training NOW...cause you really only have 4-5 mos. to get in-shape for your first race.

Hopefully, the majority of you haven't lost  much FTP over the break.  I was going to say "off-season" but there really isn't an "off-season" per se when you're an amateur/weekend warrior racer.  If you raced CX this Fall, then yes, by all means..you deserve a break.  But a "break" doesn't mean to sit on your a$$, watch TV, drink beer and get fat.

Here's what I recommend for those getting back to work:

Newbies or those just getting back into it- for you, the motto should be "take it easy" at the start.  There is no doubt in my mind that your FTP will be lower than its ever been.  The key for this group is to build strength back into your legs, and develp your Cardiovascular system.  It's going to take months so I wouldn't plan on any early Spring road races.  You can do start by visiting the local gym and engaging in both a weight training program and a spinning class.  No need to be riding outside in the crappy weather.  Besides, your pedaling stroke is probably erratic as hell and a couple sessions of independent leg drills (on the trainer) will do you good.  Keep your workouts brief, no longer than an hour.  I'm talking 1 hr. total- that includes both weight training and spinning. Yes, I realize that most spinning classes are 1 hr. long, but you don't have to stay the entire hour.  Hell, you paid for the class..you can leave whenever you want to.  I'd rather you have a brisk (L3/L4) 1/2 hr. spin class than a 1 hr. L2/L3 class. 

Those who raced in the Summer and took the Fall off-  you are the majority of the cyclists I coach.  Those that mainly just road race in the Summer.  For you, you WILL have lost some FTP.  But, not to worry, it should be minimal- 25-50w.  If you train correctly, you should gain all that back by March and be ready to race in April.  Like the newbie group, I recommend you get back in the gym and engage in some form of weight training program to re-strengthen the legs.  You can also start spin class training, or doing your own workouts at home on the trainer.  And yes, get out on the road.  There is no substitute for riding on the roads..especially the hills.

Those who have raced Road in the Summer and CX in the Fall- of the three groups, you're most likely in the best shape and FTP loss was kept to a minimum. i.e. no more than 25w FTP loss.  Your leg strength is probably still good too.  So, instead of a weight training program (for strength) which I recommend for the other two groups..a 1-2x per week maintenance program is all you'll need to keep the legs strong.  Also, since you race in the Spring/Summer and Fall..you're no doubt a die hard that is riding all the time..and probably would rather have a root canal done than train on a trainer.  That's fine.  For you, keep riding.  And, when you do ride..target the hills.  You just don't need to be going that hard this time of year..nor do the training rides need to be marathon sessions.  Keep em brief and keep em semi-intense.

Regardless of what group you're in- it's time to GET BACK TO WORK!  Don't wait for the Holidays or the New Year.  There is no better time than now. 

Power ON!  Coach Rob

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Never too old or out of shape to ride/race

Wow..it's been a while since I've updated my blog.  What's worse, it's been even longer since I've been on my bike.  This past year was anything but ordinary: I built a house in the Pocono Mtns of PA on Lake Wallenpaupack and I worked for three different companies.  Yes, that's right, THREE!  As a result, I had little to no time for riding..let alone training.  When I worked in Philadelphia (at the Navy Shipyard) I was up at 5am and out the door at 5:20am.  I didn't return home until 4:30pm (and trust me), the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was get on a bike and ride.  It was much easier to grab a glass a wine (or a beer) and take a quick cat-nap on the couch before my wife came home from work.  Ride after dinner?  Forget about it..by the time dinner was over it was near 7pm..and I had no energy.  Besides, I was in bed by 9:30pm, ready to do it all over again the next day.

I've been off the bike for about a year now.  To be honest, I've been lucky with my health.  Other than gaining 20 lbs. since I stopped racing..I'm in "excellent" health (at least that's what my latest Physical Exam said- Thank God).  I haven't taken a prescription drug in close to 10 yrs.  I attribute that to riding/racing, eating well..and relatively good genes.  Now that the house at the Lake is finished, and now that I have a stable job (stable is a scary word in this economy) it's time to get back in the saddle.  I know it's going to be tough to get back "in-shape".  After all, I'm no spring chicken.  I'll be 54 yrs. old in less than 6 mos.  When I say "in-shape" I'm talking "racing" shape.  If you race, you know there is a BIG difference between being "in-shape" to ride with your buds in a group ride and being "in-shape" to race.  To get back into "racing shape" I know I'm going to have to lose the 20 lbs. I gained, and I'm going to have to increase my FTP back up to 275w..as a minimum.  Right now, I don't even want to guess what my FTP is.  Rather, I don't even want to know what my FTP is because it will probably de-motivate me.

For me, I need goals to motivate me to accomplish anything in life.  Cycling is no different.  If I don't set a goal, then I'm NOT going to get there.  So, as of tonight, my goal is to compete at the Tour of the Battenkill for the 2014 Season and hang with my group to the finish?  2014?  Yes, I'm skipping 2013 for two reasons: 1) I know it's too soon for me to get back into racing shape and 2) for the 2014 season I'll be riding in the Masters 55+ Category.  Wow, just typing that makes me feel old..ha.  The Tour of the Battenkill is the same race I competed in 2011 and crashed 10 miles into the race.  I completed the race on my own..solo (completely glycogen depleted and dehydrated), because I was never able to catch back on to the 50+ Masters Race Group and draft.  And, I never thought I'd be out on course a 1/2 hour longer than planned.  I trained hard for that race, harder than I ever trained for a race.  Power-to-Weight ratio was up (w/kg=3.7).  For me, that's a good watts per kg- smack in the middle of Cat 3 power.  I was at my all-time low weight too..since high school.

So, I'm off and riding..on the trainer that is.  I started this week.  I'm taking it easy for starters..nothing but Tempo miles on the trainer..with an occasional Threshold effort.  When my heart rate starts nearing LT, I back it down or terminate the ride after 20-30 minutes.  Easy does it.  Hell, my a$$ hurts from riding every night for less than 30 minutes.  I've got to get that hardened again. ha  I'm looking forward to cross-training over the Winter.  I can't wait to get back in the gym and can't wait to go X-Country Skiing up at the Lake House.  Not to mention Mtn Biking.  I love Mtn Biking in the Winter because the speeds are much lower and it's not as cold as riding 20+ mph on the open roads with a road bike (which are usually all salty, cinders/gravel, etc.).  I love Mtn Biking when there is 1-2" of fresh snow on the ground and the sun is out.

If you're in a similar boat as me..been off the bike for a while and need some motivation to get back on..email me at mullerrj@gmail.com  We can share each others pain.  You're never too old to get back in-shape either.  It will just take a little bit more time.  Forever young!

Power ON!  Coach Rob

Monday, September 24, 2012

Why do you race?

I recently read an article in Bicycling mag entitled: "Why so serious?" re: amateur bike racing in the US.  According to the article, amateur cyclists are taking "racing" much too serious.  I agree wholeheartedly.  Racing should be fun..it shouldn't be about the money/prize..since it's non-existent anyway.  For those of you that are lucky enough to reach the podium and cash a check, you'll see for yourself..that it hardly pays the gas bill getting to/from the race.  It always amazes me at how some racers take risks during races that not only jeopardize their health but the health of the peloton.  For who, for what?  It just never makes sense.  I think why some racers are "too serious" is because of their investment and I'm not talking about "monetary" investment, I'm talking about their time and effort preparing for races.  At least that's the reason why I used to take racing too seriously.  I spent a lot of time, sweat/heartache preparing for the racing season, and when I didn't perform- I WAS PISSED.  Everybody wants a return on investment (ROI).  So for me, it wasn't about the money..it was about achieving/reaching goals that I had set up for myself and getting a ROI.

But, in the long run, it comes down to being fun.  If it's not fun anymore then- why race?  There's nothing that says you have to race if  you're a good/strong rider or aspire to be one.   However, having said that, for me racing is/was my reason for training hard.  It gave me a purpose for training hard over the Winter.  If I didn't race, I probably wouldn't train as hard over the Winter and I probably wouldn't be a very strong cyclist.   So, for me, it's kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't kind of thing.  If I don't take it serious enough, then I won't train as hard.  If I don't train as hard, I won't perform as well.

I don't golf anymore because of two herniated discs in my back.  Back in the day, I played a LOT of golf.  I would venture to guess my wife would say I played too much golf.  If I wasn't playing, I was practicing EVERY day.  Yes, I had a golf club in my hand EVERY day of the week.  My handicap dropped into the single digits.  I was routinely shooting in the mid to high 70s.  I actually played my first par round of golf too..a solid 72 at a relatively difficult course (Upper Perkiomen Valley Golf Course).  I was also VERY competitive.  I was playing in tournaments at least once per week.  It was fun playing and winning.  If I didn't win, I'd at least be in the money.  It didn't matter whether it was an individual or team event.  The problem was, if I didn't shoot in the 70s (which happened occasionally) I was PISSED.  I'll never forget at the Olds Scramble National Championship in Orlando, FL in 1994.  We had an awesome team and I'd say I was the A-player of our team.  On tournament day, I just could NOT hit the ball well.  I didn't choke, I just didn't hit the ball well.  (If you're a golfer, you'll understand that some days you're just off- for whatever reason).  It was NOT fun.  I was miserable.  I was miserable then, and I was miserable when I returned home.  In fact, I was miserable for months afterwards.  I'll never forget my wife telling me, after putting up with my miserable ways..if it's NOT fun..why are you playing?  She was right..so I quit golf for a year.  I just took a year off to relax, settle down, and convince myself..it's only a game and if it wasn't fun playing..then don't play.  I got back into golf, after a year off, but did not practice nearly half of what I did in the past.  I just didn't take the game as serious as I once did.  Although I wasn't shooting in the mid to high 70s anymore (I was playing in the low 80s), it was fun.  In fact, I was having more fun than what I ever did.  No, I wasn't cashing in any tournament winning checks anymore but I didn't care- I was having fun.  (Just like cycling, amateur golf tournament checks are not that much)

I'm not saying that all amateur cycling racers should quit the sport for a year and stop competing.  Only to say, if it's NOT fun anymore..then maybe you should take a year off from racing.  I'll bet when you get back into it, whether you decide to race again or not, it will be more fun.  Life is too short to be miserable.  Life is also too short to be taking cycling too seriously- especially as an amateur.   I tell ALL my athletes I coach before a race, BE SAFE and HAVE FUN!  Cause..that's what it's all about- being safe to ride another day and have fun.  If it's not fun, then maybe you're taking it too seriously.

Power ON!  Coach Rob

(Sorry for not posting in a while, but I've been going through a job change..and think I'm going to be changing jobs once again very soon)

Photo credit: Leo Espinosa

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fitting workouts into your BUSY schedule

I've gained 25 lbs. in one year.  That's right, 25 lbs.  That's what happens when you STOP training hard and continue eating the same.  At least that's what happened to me.  So, here I am a year later wondering how the hell I'm going to get back into training- like before.  Especially since my BUSY schedule doesn't allow me to workout like it did before.  I have a new job..that's part of the problem.
For me, my day begins at 0500.  I'm out the door and on the road by 0520.  I have an hour drive into the City (Philly)..a drive that is nerve-racking to say the least.  If anyone has ever driven on the Blue Route (I-476) or I-95 in Philly, during rush-hour, you know what I'm talking about.  The road is littered with morons who either don't know how to drive, nor care how to drive, or they have sh$t falling out of their truck while driving 75 mph down an interstate.
Lunch is normally at 1130 and lasts an hour.  I usually walk (fast) a mile to grab something to eat at lunch, bring it back to my car and listen to Sports Radio for 1/2 hour- perhaps catching a 15 min. catnap.  I leave work at 330pm and I'm home by 445pm.  When I get home I'm usually so tired I laydown for an hour before my wife gets home from work.  We normally eat around 6pm.  After dinner, the last thing on my mind is working out...especially if I have a glass of wine or beer with dinner (which I normally do).  I'm usually beat/tired with little motivation to do anything but laydown and read a book after dinner. 

The weekends have been just as busy up at 0600 either enroute to a bike race that I'm officiating at, or out the door bass fishing (at our new house on Lake Wallenpaupack).  Again, by the time I get back to the house it's late and I'm dead tired from being out in the sun all day.  The last thing I'm thinking about is getting on a bike and working out.

If your schedule sounds like mine..there ARE things you can do to fit a workout into your schedule.  I'm going to start doing some of them.  Here's what you can do:

Use your lunch hour.  Lunchtime is a great opportunity to get away from your desk, stretch your legs, and refresh your body and mind.    But yet 90% of the people in my office eat their lunch at their desk during lunch hour (while also claiming they're working which they use as an excuse to leave an hour early each day- but I won't get into that).  If you're in the habit of working through lunch, look for a gym nearby where you can get a quick workout in.  Or, perhaps, you can go on a long walk with a colleague or quick run..provided there is a shower nearby like there is for me in my office building.  I think I'm going to start jogging at lunch.

Commute to work.  I know this isn't possible for everyone, but most of us can manage to get some exercise in during our commute to and from work. If you don't have far to go, can you walk or cycle and leave the car at home? (You'll save on gas and parking too.)  For me, this is NOT possible because I'd be taking my life in my hands with the traffic- not to mention some of the shady neighborhoods I'd have to ride through. 

Exercise first thing in the a.m.  With my last job, this was possible.  With my new job, NO WAY!  I'm not getting up at 0400.  But, if you don't have to be in work until 0900 there is NO EXCUSE why you can't get up at 0600 and get an hour workout in BEFORE work. 
If you get your workout done first thing, you won't end up putting it off or deciding that you've just had "too busy" a day to go to the gym.  Plus, working out in the a.m. gets your body to start burning calories straight away.
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Exercise right after work.   How often do you head home from work, fully intending to go out to the gym after dinner, only to find yourself still slumped on the sofa at 7PM? It's often hard to get up the motivation to move once you're home and comfy, so try going straight to the gym or the pool after work.  It's even better if you can rope in a friend or two to meet you at the gym.  Because there ARE going to be days when you don't feel like going to the gym after work, where your friends will motivate you to go..and after your workout you'll be glad you did.  You'll also sleep more soundly at night after an evening workout.
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Exercise with your dog.  If you don't have a dog, get one.  My dog (Rhodesian Ridgeback) Kali (God rest her soul) used to be my favorite workout partner.  We would swim, take long walks, go on jogs and even rollerbladed together on the weekends.  Working out with your dog is a great stress-reliever too.  Hell, just seeing my dog after a long day in the office was a stress-reliever.  Plus, it's healthy for your dog.  God knows today's dogs are as fat and out of shape as their owners/handlers are.  Working out with your dog will benefit both of you.  If you're still not crazy about getting a dog, ask a neighbor (who never gets their dog out of the house) if you can borrow their dog for a quick run or walk.  They'll both love you for it.  You can go on nightly walks/jogs with the dog when the Summer temps have cooled down.
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The important thing here is to fit exercise/workouts into your schedule in a time slot where you know you won't blow it/them off.  If you try to schedule your workouts AFTER dinner, chances are you're not going to do them.  So, plan workouts into a schedule that you know you'll meet. 

Good Luck.  Power ON! Coach Rob

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

If you can't stand the heat...buy a cooling vest!

Regardless of where you live in the USA I'm sure you've been experiencing the Heat of the Summer recently.  Unless you live in Anchorage, Alaska...it's HOT!  Stinking Hot! 

I'm also sure you've all heard the time-worn expression, "if you can't stand the heat..get out of the kitchen".  For me, that's pretty much my motto when it comes to training in the heat of the Summer.  And, I normally "get out of the kitchen".  If/when I train in the Summer it's normally done in the early morning hours or at night (with a light)...to beat the heat.  If I can't train in the cooler hours of the day, I'll retreat to my cool basement and workout on the trainer for an hour..or so.  But, one thing I will NOT do and that is train during the mid-day heat.  For me, it's more physiological than psychological.  When I'm hot and working out, I sweat like a pig..and no matter how much I hydrate myself..the sun just has a way of baking my brain..and putting me down for the count.  I just can't seem to re-hydrate quickly enough. 

There are articles upon articles written about the physiological effects of heat and its effects on power output.  There is no doubt that heat will quickly zap power.  So, what are you to do as an athlete when you're faced with a choice of a) training outside in 100F temps where you know your max power output will be way down or b) training inside in 70F basement temps where you know your max power output will be reached?  This was a recent question asked of one of the athletes I coach.  I know what I would do, and that is opt for choice b) above.  That's because "mentally" I hate the heat..and physiologically (as forementioned) my body doesn't deal with it very well.  Additionally, if I train indoors in the cooler temps I'll be able to apply higher loads/force to my muscles.  And, isn't that how we get stronger?  Don't we increase the load and let our body adapt to it?  At least that's how I see it.  But, rather than give the athlete my opinion, without any data to support it, I figured I'd ask my mentor, Hunter Allen to see what he thought.  This is what Hunter said, " It’s a tough balance and part of that balance is the mental aspect. If you stick him on the trainer, then it will be mentally challenging more so than the heat in my opinion, unless he’s just one of those nuts that loves the trainer!  Tell him to ride when it’s coolest and do the best he can.  When it’s super hot, give him the option for riding indoors."
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I agree with Hunter..ride when it's coolest.  But, what if you can't..and what if you just don't like the trainer?  Well, there is another option and that is to buy and train/ride with a cooling vest.  There are a bunch of cooling vests designed specifically for cyclists: Kul Lite, Sta Coolvest, Hyperkewl, Cooline, Fros-Tcooling, etc.  They range in price from $50 to $300.  I haven't had time to research which is the best bang for the buck..but I'm sure it's only a matter of time when I do.  You can use the vest for warming up for a race and take it off BEFORE you race.  Or, you can leave it on for the race.  You can also use the vest for other sports such as: fishing, motorcycling, running, etc. 
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I'll post a future blog on which vest I think is the best bang for the buck- for cyclists.  If anyone out there trains with one (or races with one) let me know which brand you have and how you like it.  I'm interested in knowing.
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Until then, stay Cool.  Power ON!  Coach Rob