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The 1896 ride of the Buffalo Soldiers through Yellowstone National Park

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‘No better troops.’ The 1896 ride of the Buffalo Soldiers through Yellowstone National Park

By Michael Poland, Idaho Capital Sun

Many would enjoy the adventure of a bicycle expedition to Yellowstone National Park. But imagine doing it in 1896, before pavement, lightweight cycles and modern camping equipment.

Members of the 25th Infantry Regiment Bicycle Corps of the United States Army, Buffalo Soldiers, pictured on Main Street, Livingston, Montana. The Regiment stopped in Livingston for rations during the 1897 bicycle trip from Fort Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri. The trip was led by Lieutenant James A. Moss included Sgt. Mingo Sanders, Lance Cpl. William Haynes, Lance Cpl. Abram Martin, Musician Elias Johnson, Pvt. John Fridley, Pvt. George Scott, Pvt. Hiram L.B. Dingman, Pvt. Travis Bridges, Pvt. John Cook, Pvt. Frank L. Johnson, Pvt. William Proctor, Pvt. Elwood Forman, Pvt. Richard Rout, Pvt. Eugene Jones, Pvt. Sam Johnson, Pvt. William Williamson, Pvt. Sam Williamson, Pvt. John Wilson, Pvt. Samuel Reid, Pvt. Francis Button. The six soldiers visible in the photograph are unidentified. Reverse reads, “Livingston, Mont. Soldiers passing through Livingston and Mr. Thompson of Thompson Mercentile.” Photographer unknown, Sax and Fryer Collection. Courtesy Yellowstone Gateway Museum and Montana State Library Archives and Special Collections.

The Buffalo Soldiers who made up the volunteer Bicycle Corps of the 25th Infantry Regiment were up to the challenge.

An iconic photo (below) from Yellowstone’s early history depicts eight soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment posing with bicycles on Minerva Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs. These men were not stationed in Yellowstone, but rather cycled from Missoula to the park and back.  The regiment had been based at Fort Missoula since 1888, and although the ranks were composed of Black men, the officers were white. The 25th was one of four regiments (also including the 24th Infantry and the 9th and 10th Cavalry) that were made up of Black soldiers — these were the Buffalo Soldiers.

Group of black soldiers from the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps with bicycles posed on the side of Minerva Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. 1896. Photo by
Haynes, F. Jay (Frank Jay), 1853-1921. Courtesy Montana State Library Archives and Special Collections.

Following the Civil War, Congress passed legislation to reorganize the military and included these regiments of African-Americans, many of whom were among the approximately 180,000 African Americans who previously served in the Union Army. From 1867 to the early 1890s, these regiments served at a variety of posts in the southwestern United States and the Great Plains regions.  It was from one of these regiments, the 10th Cavalry, that the nickname “Buffalo Soldier” was born.

In the field – the U.S. Army Bicycle Corps stationed at Fort Missoula, Montana. Corps in formation. The man riding beside the two rows of soldiers is Lieutenant James A. Moss. 1897. Photo by Ingalls, F. M. (Frank M.), 1861-1934. Courtesy Montana State Library Archives and Special Collections.

Indigenous tribes of the American plains who fought against these soldiers allegedly referred to the Black cavalry troops as “buffalo soldiers” because of their dark, curly hair, which resembled a bison’s coat, and because of their fierce nature of fighting. The nickname soon became synonymous with all African-American regiments formed in 1866.

Bicycles as a means of military transport in the U.S. Army was suggested by Lt. James Moss, an officer in the 25th Infantry, following the example of some European armies. Bicycles offered several advantages over horses — they didn’t require food or water, didn’t make as much noise, and could be repaired if they broke down. His proposal to test the concept was approved by Army leadership, so Lt. Moss began training volunteers from the 25th Infantry Regiment.
 
The eight cyclists of the Yellowstone expedition were Sgt. Dalbert P. Green, Cpl. John G. Williams, Pvt. John Findley, Pvt. Frank L. Johnson, Pvt. William Proctor, Pvt. William Haynes, Pvt. Elwood Forman, and Musician William W. Brown.
 
The Bicycle Corps pedaled into action for the first time in early August 1896, starting with a four-day, 126-mile ride in the vicinity of Missoula. This might not sound spectacular, given that Ironman Triathlon bicycle legs cover about the same distance, but remember, this was 1896.  The roads were not paved, and the one-speed bicycles, custom built by A.G. Spalding & Co. of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, each weighted more than 30 pounds. Importantly, unlike the Ironman, the soldiers also had to carry food, utensils, weapons, ammunition, clothes, repair parts and tools, bedrolls and tents — well over 100 pounds all told.
 

After a few days of rest, the Bicycle Corps began their next expedition on Aug. 15 — to Yellowstone National Park and Fort Yellowstone, a journey of more than 300 miles that took just more than eight days.

After two days of rest and reprovisioning at Fort Yellowstone, the Corps set out on a tour of the park on Aug. 25, stopping at Lower Geyser Basin, Upper Geyser Basin (where they observed Old Faithful, Giantess and Castle Geysers all erupting at the same time), West Thumb, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and its waterfalls, returning to Mammoth Hot Springs on Aug. 29.  After two additional days of rest, during which the iconic photo and several others were taken, the soldiers headed back to Fort Missoula, riding in on Sept. 8 — a total journey of nearly 800 miles.

Bicycle Corps walking bicycles along a railroad track. Rolling grassy hills extend in the distance. Photo by Edward H. Boos. Courtesy Montana State Library Archives and Special Collections.

As part of his official report, Lt. Moss recorded that the trip through Yellowstone included 132 miles completed in 19 hours of actual bicycling. The slowest pace was between Upper Geyser Basin and West Thumb, when the soldiers had to cross the Continental Divide — twice. The fastest time was between Fort Yellowstone and Norris Geyser Basin.

Although there are no records of what the soldiers themselves thought, Moss recorded, “The soldiers were delighted with the trip … thought the sights grand …and seemed to be in the best of spirits the whole time.” Moss also remarked on “the moral effect of the seething water, the roaring of the geysers and the sulphuric fumes.”

Even the Yellowstone journey was just a warmup. In 1897, Moss organized 20 soldiers of the 25th Infantry on a 40-day, 1,900-mile ride from Fort Missoula to St. Louis. A planned ride to San Francisco the following year was canceled owing to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, and the 25th Infantry was deployed to the Philippines.

Although never based in Yellowstone National Park, Buffalo Soldiers had a profound and lasting impact on the early national parks. Serving under perhaps the first Black officer, Charles Young, they were rangers and interpreters in places like Yosemite and Sequoia national parks, helping tourists and even blazing trails — for example, to the summit of Mount Whitney.

The next time you drive — or cycle! — around Yellowstone National Park, think of the challenging conditions that faced the intrepid Buffalo Soldier bicyclists of the 25th Infantry Regiment, who completed a tour of the park after riding from Missoula and carrying their own provisions, spare parts and equipment. And the challenges were not purely physical and logistical — of course, they also faced discrimination and were paid less than their white counterparts.

But wherever they went, the men of the 25th distinguished themselves, with one Montana newspaper editor remarking, “The prejudice against the … soldiers seems to be without foundation for if the 25th Infantry is an example of the [Black] regiments there is no exaggeration in the statement that there are no better troops in the service.”

For more information on the exploits of the 25th Infantry Regiment Bicycle Corps, see:

Republished under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. 

Photo: Cyclist Waiting for the Light

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A cyclist waiting for the light. Photo by Dave Iltis
Cyclist Waiting for the Light. Photo by Dave Iltis

Four Ways to Get Kids Racing Bikes in America

By Peter Abraham — In July I drove 45 minutes south to the VELO Sports Center in Carson, CA to spectate at the USA Cycling Track National Championships. I wanted to root for local athlete and friend Chloe Patrick and watch World and Olympic Champion Jen Valente racing that night in the women’s points race. It was a Saturday night, and given that this is the best track cycling facility in the US and the biggest event of the year, I was hoping to see a packed house of fellow cycling fans. Instead, I was greeted by a mostly-empty facility with maybe 150 spectators in attendance.

Moreover, I was surprised by not only the small field sizes, but the lack of local athletes particularly in the junior races. If we can’t attract young people to race at the best facility in the nation, which is right in the middle of Los Angeles, how are we going to build a team for the 2028 Olympics?

One of the youth races at VELO Sports Center during the USA Cycling National Track Championships in Carson, CA. Photo by Peter Abraham

This got me thinking about getting kids on bikes and into the sport of cycling. Are we, as a country, doing the best job we can building the sport? Or, in the cases where this is happening (on mountain bikes), how come we can’t continue the momentum into other cycling disciplines? I spoke to my friend Scott Johnson, owner of the Serious Cycling shops and their extensive cycling team. We decided to start talking to stakeholders around the country who could help us understand best practices and pain points within the American youth cycling journey.

Scott and I started by talking to people who had a handle on youth cycling in the US. We wanted to understand the issues from those on the front lines, including Dale Hughes at the Lexus Velodrome in Detroit, Steve Westover of the booming Team Booger in Seattle, David Huntsman of the LA Velodrome Racing Association, Drew Kogon from the VeloSport Club and Damon Turner at LA Bike Academy. And previous to this, I’d spoken with NICA high school MTB league President Amanda Carey, Scott Nydam from Silver Stallion in New Mexico, Roy Knickman from the now-defunct but wildly successful Lux junior program, and the St Augustine’s University HBCU cycling team

Many of the solutions we suggest below will require funding and staffing that don’t currently exist. We’re clear on that. How to come up with those resources is a subject for another post. So consider our ideas a starting point for discussion.

Here’s what we learned:

The start of a NICA race in the Los Angeles area. Photo by Peter Abraham

Problem 1: Cycling youth development programs are fragmented and disconnected.

Any healthy sport needs a strong foundation to build from. While there are some success stories across the youth cycling landscape, there’s nobody in charge of getting them working as a big system. Mountain bikes are currently the most attractive gateway for youth cyclists. NICA, the high school mountain bike league founded in 2009, has been a runaway success, with over 30,000 kids (counting the breakaway leagues) racing bikes in 33 states. NICA, as the world’s largest youth bike racing program, has essentially taken over the top of the funnel in the US to get kids started in competitive cycling.

NICA gets kids started on their cycling journey, but the organization is not set up to serve young athletes who want to try other disciplines outside of MTB. And there’s no path from high school racing into more competitive racing at the national and global level. This is not a bad thing; NICA is not trying to find the next Tour de France star. They’re just trying to get as many kids as possible onto mountain bikes so they can try out the sport and enjoy the outdoors. Some NICA athletes eventually find their way to road success (Neilson Powless, Megan Jastrab, Kevin Vermaerke, Sepp Kuss) or to the MTB World Cup (Kate Courtney, Gwendolyn Gibson). But those success stories are incidental, often driven by motivated parents or happenstance.

However, given the sheer volume of high school kids racing mountain bikes, there should be a way to connect passionate young athletes to other parts of the bike ecosystem: gravel, road, cyclocross, BMX, and track. Where does USAC, the national governing body for the sport, fit into this effort? Where does their job start and NICA’s stop? How does USAC collaborate with NICA (and other organizations) so that different programs are part of a national strategy? Given the USAC’s limited resources, it’s not possible for them to recreate what NICA has already built. But there are ways to work together. There is currently a huge gap between high school mountain biking and other forms of cycling. So even though we have the world’s biggest grassroots bike racing program, it’s not fully utilized as a tool to develop a lifelong love of cycling.

Solution:

USA Cycling should have regional staff whose only job is to serve as community managers and connectors who work hand in hand with organizations (NICA, college cycling) and events (CX, road, BMX, gravel, MTB, criteriums) with the goal of getting more young people into more cycling events. Someone needs to be “The CEO of Bike Racing” in the US.

Problem 2: Velodromes around the country are underutilized.

One thing I’ve learned in decades of youth sports work is that intentional onramps must be built that reduce the friction of getting new athletes into a program. The two best onboarding platforms for getting kids on bikes are 1) Mountain bikes (see above), and 2) track cycling. They both offer safe, closed course riding separate from cars and often in groups of other kids. Importantly, this is a scenario that parents are ok with; they can drop off their 12 year old without worrying about a distracted driver killing their child on the road. While youth MTB riding is growing, due to the thriving NICA league system, velodromes often sit empty. The 27 tracks in the US (here’s a map) are mostly owned by cities or counties that lack staffing, funding and expertise to build thriving youth programs at the tracks. These are also mostly outdoor facilities, so they’re unusable in bad weather or during the winter. The only indoor, wooden track that meets UCI guidelines is the VELO Sports Center in Los Angeles. It’s owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, the world’s largest owner of sports teams and sports events. But the velodrome is an afterthought for them, just an add-on to the LA Galaxy soccer stadium next door. There’s nobody who has the job of filling the facility with kids and events seven days per week.

Solution:

Velodromes need full time community managers. Any track that wants a thriving community of riders needs someone who can build programs and reach out to schools, NICA leagues, parents and cycling clubs. Additionally, USA Cycling should have a national office sharing best practices in velodrome management to all of the different velodromes. They could coordinate across facilities for sponsorships, events and relationships with governing bodies.

Problem 3: The cycling development pathway for young riders is broken.

This is related to problem #1 above: there are a bunch of bridges missing between the various levels of the sport. In particular, getting from a NICA high school league to a travel team in either MTB or road is not an obvious transition. It’s possible, but oftentimes kids (and their parents) don’t know how to do it or who should guide them in the process. If a young athlete gets really good and wants to try racing internationally or at the U23 level, it’s another gap that’s hard to get across. Young bike racers are often asked by USA Cycling to fund their own trips to Europe, so the system is immediately biased against athletes without resources at their disposal. One very talented young professional cyclist told me that she had to choose between paying rent and taking a national team trip to race in Europe. So she stayed home. Road racing in particular is a sport that mostly happens in Europe. I would compare it to baseball, which is largely based in the United States. A young bike racer has to travel across the Atlantic to learn the sport. That’s expensive, time consuming and takes guidance. There is currently a lack of mentoring and education as it relates to racing in Europe, with just a few teams and programs that focus on that opportunity. USA Cycling has restarted their European development program, but it needs to grow much bigger to get enough kids learning and riding internationally.

Problem 4: College cycling needs a reboot

As a veteran of college cycling myself (UC Davis), I have seen how fun this sport can be: you’re with your friends, learning a sport together and traveling to races. The social nature of cycling aligns with being in college, where spending time with friends is often the most important thing in your life. And riding for a university team is a great next step for kids (like me) who got started racing in high school and want to keep going with the sport. There are 22 varsity (funded) teams in college cycling. These schools have some resources, maybe scholarships, paid coaches, equipment and are set up like a proper sports program. Mostly these are small colleges that have used their cycling team to build a national profile for the school: Lees-McRae in North Carolina, Milligan College in Tennessee, Marian University in Indianapolis and Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado are examples.

Then there are another 200 or so universities with club programs. These schools have no paid staff, no budget to speak of and no equipment. Many of the famous destination universities you’ve heard of — Stanford, UCLA, University of Colorado — have club cycling (all volunteer) teams. They’re entirely dependent on donations and the labor of their own athletes to keep the program going. I recently spent a couple years working with the new St Augustine’s University HBCU cycling team, and I saw how much work it is to get a program going from scratch. It takes fundraising, recruiting, event management, collaboration with university staff, equipment, transportation, and more. For college students, who are “just passing through,” to build and maintain a sports program is a huge ask. Often it’s too much. So club teams come and go depending how motivated the current group of athletes are. This DIY model in the non-varsity programs has set up college cycling to fail.

Solution:

As the existing governing body for college cycling, USAC should lean into this sport with greater involvement, more mentoring, and some fundraising help. In addition, more universities should build varsity programs. For a tiny fraction of the cost of a traditional college sports program, a school could build a thriving cycling team. They need continuity of staffing and some budget for travel and equipment. In addition, there needs to be a bridge built between NICA and college cycling, so high school kids know that riding is an option at the university level.

If we prioritize these solutions (along with many other things) we can get many more people outdoors and on bikes.

Please feel free to reach out with ideas or comments.

Peter started racing bikes in high school and has continued to ride his entire life. He also runs the Abraham Studio (ABRHM.com), which works with purpose-driven brands in sports, technology and healthcare to find their voices and tell their stories. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Silca Introduces Ultimate Chain Wax System & StripChip

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (February 20, 2024) — Get ready for chain waxing revolutionized into a single step. Silca has created a game changing product in Silca StripChip, the first-ever in-wax chain degreaser, launching in conjunction with the Silca Ultimate Chain Wax System

Developed by Silca, a leader in high quality tools, pumps, and high-performance cycling lubricants, the Silca StripChip disrupts traditional chain cleaning methods with its innovative and user-friendly approach. Gone are the days of harsh hardware store chemistry sets and time-consuming processes. Silca StripChip offers a cleaner, faster, and more environmentally friendly way to keep your drivetrain running smoothly and extend its lifespan. Making chain waxing the ONLY step of the process.

The Silca Ultimate Wax System, with Silca StripChips. Photo courtesy Silca

“The Silca StripChip is a game-changer for cyclists who want a clean and efficient waxed drivetrain but struggled to have the time to do it all, or thought the process was too daunting” says Richard Pool, Marketing Director at Silca. “This product makes chain waxing step one, by removing the barriers we hear about, our hope is now with StripChip more cyclists at every level can take advantage of the benefits of chain waxing”

“When I first tried out a StripChip treated chain, I was pre-riding the Leadville 100 course. The team pulled a fast one on me and sent me what I believed was a traditional race chain and told me later about their new product. The chain was flawless, and they had to convince me there was a difference. Synopsis: simpler waxing process, just as fast on the bike.”

How it Works:

While developing Chain Stripper, Silca CEO Josh Poertner fell down a chemistry revolution occurring in the food industry known as oleogelation. This new concept developed to replace hydrogenation for food oils, for health benefits, also showed promise at converting lubrication oils into solids. This simple chemistry takes base oils which would normally act as solvents inside of waxes and converts them into binders that connect and extend wax molecule chains. Just a few minutes at the right temperature and oils and greases inside the factory lubed chain, convert into highly lubricious, long chain wax/lubricant molecules right inside of your hot wax. Simply drop one square of StripChip into your hot melt wax, let it melt, then drop in your new factory chain and let it work its oleogelation magic.

For StripChip to be most effective, it needs to be carefully controlled at a hotter temperature than typical waxing (125ºC compared to 75ºC). Enter the Silca Ultimate Chain Wax System. The first bicycle chain optimized, temperature adjustable wax system (75-125ºC / 167-257ºF). This all-in-one system has a 600 ml (just over 20 oz) pot, chain hanging coupler, as well as a drip stand. Drop in about 400g of wax, one square of strip chip, set the temperature to 125ºC and your factory chain is ready to wax. The system allows for the full range of chain waxing temperatures from 75ºC (perfect for Secret Chain Blend) to 85ºC (perfect for HotWaxX) to 125ºC which is the exact oleogelation temperature needed for StripChip.

“Since 2019 and starting to do a lot of my own wrenching, there have been quite a few advances in bike tech. Whether it is a waxed chain helping you go faster and be more efficient or the creation of tubeless to keep us moving forward, the first iteration of each product wasn’t perfect. With tubeless it used to take 3 friends, a bottle of soap and an air compressor to seat tires and now I can do it one handed with a normal pump because sealant and tire beads got better. StripChip represents a similar advancement for waxing, such simplification and ease that waxing doesn’t take hours anymore, but minutes and best of all you won’t have sore arms from shaking mason jars. Thanks, Silca.” – Alexey Vermeulen

Please note: StripChip will work with Crockpot and Instant Pot setups but must be carefully managed for temperature. Standard Crockpot Low is 90-110ºC, which is below the oleogelation temperature, and standard Crockpot Hish is 150-160ºC which is right at the over-temperature point of the oloeogelator and risks long term damage to the wax. If using the product with double boiler, Crockpot, or Instant Pot, we recommend using a thermometer and carefully ensuring that the wax never exceeds 130ºC.

Key Benefits:

  • Effortless Cleaning: Forget the hardware store chemistry sets, soaking, and time! The Silca StripChip does the arduous work for you while your chain is in the wax.
  • Faster Process: Clean your chain in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods. Spend less time cleaning and more time riding.
  • Extended Chain Life: Chain waxing extends drive train life and makes you more efficient. StripChip makes the process of chain waxing more efficient
  • Developed for Silca Secret Chain Blend: For best results use with Silca Secret Chain Blend hot melt wax and the Silca Ultimate Chain Wax System.
  • All-in-one system with chain coupler and hanger included.
  • Temperature control produces the best performance possible.
  • Looks more dialed than your ole crockpot set up.
  • 600 ml pot for easy, mess free waxing.

The Silca StripChip is available for purchase online and at select bike shops nationwide with a US retail price of $24.00.

The Silca Ultimate Wax System is available for purchase online and at select bike shops nationwide with a US retail price of $99.00.

Bikepacking Roots Announces Renewed BIPOC Bike Adventure Grants

BALTIMORE, Maryland (February 20, 2024) — Bikepacking Roots (BPR) announced today their re-envisioning of their BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant. Set to launch this Spring, the grant program is in its 3rd cycle and it emphasizes the organization’s core focus on community building.

The grant aims to reduce barriers to bike adventure for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and has awarded over 20 grants totaling $50,000 since its inception. “We recognize that this program is a small step in the face of massive systemic racism and entrenched inequality, but we believe that bicycles and the outdoors are for all, and that everyone should have access to the freedom, joy and self-actualization they provide,” said Noelle Battle, Executive Director of Bikepacking Roots.

Devin Cowens – 2024 BIPOC Program Consultant. Photo by Dessa Lohrey, courtesy Bikepacking Roots

The program took a pause for 2023 to evaluate the feedback they received from past participants and BIPOC leaders in the bikepacking community. Battle highlights that “Bikepacking Roots maintains a long-term commitment to doing what we can to support diversity and inclusion in the bikepacking community. A key thing we have heard repeatedly is to support the BIPOC community leaders and organizations who are already out there doing great work.”

For 2024, awards will focus on providing grants to BIPOC Community Leaders to host trips, develop gear libraries, and other community building activities. Bikepacking Roots hopes to develop long term relationships with these leaders and to support diversity within their Regional Stewards Program.

Bikepacking Roots is currently looking to fundraise at least $25,000 to launch this 3rd round of grantmaking. The organization is seeking support from individuals and organizations in the community who share in the belief that bikepacking should be accessible to all, and that we all benefit from fostering a supportive and inclusive community.

Visit Bikepacking Roots’ website to find out more about the grant and to donate today: https://bikepackingroots.org/the-bipoc-bike-adventure-grant/

Folks interested in learning more can sign up to be notified when grant applications open. Are you a community leader who is interested in taking a group of individuals on a bike adventure? Or have interest in developing a gear library? Do you identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color? Then this grant may be for you!

HeartCycle Announces 2024 Supported Bike Tours

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DENVER, Colorado (February 20, 2024) — HeartCycle Touring Club announces fifteen road bike tours for 2024 are now open for registration. HeartCycle is in their 45th year of offering multi-day SAG supported road bike tours in USA and Europe. Ten domestic tours and five international trips are scheduled to run in 2024.
Photo courtesy HeartCycle Bicycle Touring Club

HeartCycle offers a number of exciting tours. Spring tours include club favorites:  Spring Training in Texas Hill Country in March and Paso Robles Wine Country in April are fixed base tours. A three-year adventure series will begin in Mobile, AL on April 27th following the historic Underground Railroad route for 2-week to Nashville, TN In 2025 & 2026 the adventure series will continue following the historic route as it heads north to Canada.

May offers a tour to the Balkan Peninsula one of the last undiscovered corners of Europe, biking through the mountains of four countries.

Photo courtesy HeartCycle Bicycle Touring Club

Springtime in the South Bay Area, CA has climbs over the coastal range and up Mount Hamilton.

Summer tour offerings include Explore the Door, WI (sold out). Bike & Barge Beautiful Belgium exploring Bruges to Amsterdam. Basalt and Aspen Road and Gravel Tour in July. Puget Sound Island Hopping a semi fixed base tour to get you into island time and beauty. August brings Over Hill and Dale, NW Vermont from Lake Champlain to the peaks of the Green Mountains.

Photo courtesy HeartCycle Bicycle Touring Club

Fall tours include Tuscany, Italy, Black Hills of South Dakota to bike through Custer State Park and see free range buffalo, a new tour in West Virginia, the green Mountaineer State and Le Monastère in Southern France (sold out).

Knowledgeable and experienced leaders lead each domestic tour. Tours are limited to 30-34 people including support personnel. Two support vehicles accompany each domestic tour to carry luggage, water, snacks, lunch, first aid supplies, repair equipment and to transport riders in emergency situations. All routes are Ride with GPS guided.

Foreign tours may be led by one of the club volunteer tour leaders or sub-contracted with a local cycling tour operator. These tours are smaller sized groups 12-20 and are SAG supported.

HeartCycle road bike tours stay in motels with 2 persons per room. Private rooms are available for additional fee.

Full tour descriptions are available on their website heartcycle.org

Tailwind signs cyclists Sonya Looney, Ellen Campbell, and Keiran Eagen

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Tailwind Nutrition announces 2024 sponsored athlete team

Team captained by boundary-breaking ultrarunner Courtney Dauwalter and highlights brand’s commitment to numerous endurance sports by including professional runners, cyclists, nordic skiers, and triathletes

DURANGO, Colorado (February 15, 2024)Tailwind Nutrition announces its 2024 Tailwind Athlete Team which includes 21 athletes whose specialties range across the spectrum of endurance sports. The team includes Tailwind athlete and ultrarunning icon Courtney Dauwalter, who last year won the Western States 100, Hardrock 100, and Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in the span of three months.

Dauwalter is once again working with Tailwind, having been with the brand the past 6 years and launching her limited edition ‘Dauwaltermelon’ Endurance Fuel flavor last year. Courtney and the brand have exciting plans for 2024 in the works. Dauwalter is joined on the team by other notable ultrarunners such as Annie Hughes, Sarah Ostaszewski, and Harvey Lewis, who all continue their relationships with the brand.

Ellen Campbell at Unbound Gravel. Photo courtesy Tailwind Nutrition

As Tailwind returns to its cycling roots, Sonya Looney is a new addition to the team for 2024. Looney is a 24 Hour Mountain Bike World Champion, a performance coach, and hosts The Sonya Looney Show, a podcast about how to live a high performance life. Looney is joined by fellow cyclist Ellen Campbell. Born and raised in Durango, Campbell competes in the premiere Life Time Grand Prix series,  where she uses Tailwind’s products to fuel efforts in races such as the feared Unbound Gravel 200 and Leadville Trail 100 MTB race.

In addition to these athletes, the team includes a cast of runners, cyclists, skiers, and triathletes who trust Tailwind Nutrition’s suite of products–Endurance Fuel, Recovery Mix, and Rapid Hydration–to support their fueling, recovery, and hydration needs throughout training and competition.

“It brings me great pride to call these athletes part of our Tailwind Team,” said Maggie Guterl, Tailwind Athlete & Events Manager. “They epitomize sportsmanship on and off the course. Each one of them pushes the boundaries to what is humanly possible and Tailwind will continue to be their support crew.”

Tailwind Nutrition 2023 Athlete Team Roster

Tailwind Nutrition celebrates its 12th birthday in 2024. For more information on Tailwind Nutrition and to keep up with Tailwind Nutrition athletes, please visit: www.tailwindnutrition.com, Tailwind’s blog and follow their adventures on Instagram (@tailwindnutrition) and Facebook.

 

Bell Sports Recalls Bell Soquel Youth Bicycle Helmets Due to Risk of Head Injury; Violation of the Federal Safety Regulation for Bicycle Helmets

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Name of Product: Bell Soquel Youth Helmets

Hazard: The strap anchor can become dislodged from the helmet when sufficient force is applied, and therefore violates the CPSC federal safety regulation for bicycle helmets. The helmets can fail to protect in the event of a crash, posing a risk of head injury.

Remedy: Refund

Recall Date: February 15, 2024

Units: About 2,425 (In addition, about 2,400 were sold in Canada)

Consumer Contact

Bell Helmets at 800-456-2355 (Option 3) between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, by email at [email protected], or online at www.thebellgarage.com/bell-sports-inc-is-voluntarily-recalling-the-bell-youth-soquel-helmet or www.thebellgarage.com and click on the recall banner at the top of the home page for more information.

Bell Soquel helmet recalled by CPSC.

Recall Details

Description: This recall only involves Bell Soquel Youth helmets made prior to September 2021. The helmets were sold in various colors in the U.S. and Canada. The recalled helmet can be identified by the inner helmet sticker which has the model’s name “Soquel” and “B0726Y” written on it. The helmets have a date code on the white inner label with August 2021 (“8/21”) or earlier. 

Label inside recalled helmets.
SKUProduct NameModel NameCountry Sold
7094740Youth Soquel Black / Red MipsBell Soquel Youth MIPSU.S.
7094741Youth Soquel Blue Lagoon / OrangeBell Soquel YouthU.S.
7107133Youth Soquel Blue Lagoon / OrangeBell Soquel YouthU.S.
7107134Youth Soquel Black / Red MipsBell Soquel Youth MIPSU.S.
7097932Youth Soquel Blue Lagoon/Poppy Bell Soquel YouthCanada
7097933Youth Soquel Matte Black Bell Soquel YouthCanada
7097934Youth Soquel Matte Black Mips Bell Soquel Youth MIPSCanada
 

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Bell Soquel Youth Helmets and contact Bell Sports for a refund. To receive a refund, consumers should destroy the helmet by cutting off the straps and upload photos of the helmet with the straps cut to [email protected] to prove destruction, then dispose of the recalled helmet.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Sold At: Fred Meyer, Walmart and other stores nationwide, and online at www.Amazon.com from January 2017 through January 2024 for between $25 and $50.

Importer(s): Bell Sports Inc, of Irvine, California

Manufactured In: China

Recall number: 24-118

Congress’ Best Bike Advocate to Retire

By Charles Pekow — At the end of the current term, Congress will be losing its most ardent advocate for bicycling. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) announced he will not seek reelection. First elected in 1996, Blumenauer was known for commuting to work by bike and he founded the Congressional Bike Caucus, which now includes more than 130 members from 40 states.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer is a strong proponent of bicycling in the House of Representatives. Photo from blumenauer.house.gov

He was largely responsible for the Bicycle Commuter Act, which passed in 2008 giving tax incentives to bike to work. The law was repealed in 2017 and Blumenauer has been fighting ever since to reinstate it in some form. In the current Congress, he introduced legislation to allow cyclists to get part of the pre-tax benefit that drivers can get for parking at work.

Blumenauer’s home city of Portland constructed a bicycle pedestrian bridge over I-84 named after the representative, which opened in 2022.

Blumenauer pushed many other bicycle bills ranging from Safe Routes to School to tax credits for ebikes. Before being elected to Congress, he founded Portland’s Bicycle Program.

[Editor’s Note: See our interview with the congressperson here: https://www.cyclingwest.com/advocacy/interview-with-rep-earl-blumenauer-d-or-chair-of-the-congressional-bicycle-caucus/]

Photo of the Day: A Bicycle Wheel in Madrid, Spain

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A lonely bicycle wheel in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Dave Iltis
A lonely bicycle wheel in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Dave Iltis

TransRockies Moab Fondo Fest 2024: Double the Adventure in the Red Rock Wonderland

MOAB, Utah (January 23, 2024) — Prepare for a cycling spectacle as the TransRockies Moab Fondo Fest returns to Moab, Utah, on May 4th and 5th, 2024, for an exhilarating weekend featuring not one, but two thrilling events – a 60-mile Gran Fondo on Saturday and a 60-mile Gravel Fondo on Sunday. Cyclists have the option to participate in either event or, for the ultimate challenge, tackle both, promising an unforgettable experience against the breathtaking backdrop of Moab’s iconic red rock scenery.

Key Event Details:

  • Dates: May 4th and 5th, 2024
  • Location: Moab, Utah
  • Gran Fondo: Saturday, May 4th (60 miles)
  • Gravel Fondo: Sunday, May 5th (60 miles)
  • Two-Day Combo Option Available
  • Registration: transrockies.com/gran-fondo-moab-2

Double the Riding, Double the Thrill:

The 2024 Moab Fondo Fest offers participants the unique opportunity to choose between two distinct events, each providing a different flavor of cycling excitement. Saturday’s Gran Fondo promises smooth roads and challenging climbs, while Sunday’s Gravel Fondo takes riders off the beaten path for a rugged and adventurous experience.

Photo courtesy Transrockies Race Series

Why Choose Both?

For the ultimate cycling enthusiast, the festival introduces a special combo option, allowing participants to conquer both the Gran Fondo and Gravel Fondo. This back-to-back challenge is designed for those seeking an extraordinary weekend of cycling bliss and the chance to earn a coveted double-event achievement.

Photo courtesy Transrockies Race Series

What to Expect:

  • Gran Fondo (May 4th): A 60-mile road cycling extravaganza, blending challenging climbs and thrilling descents, showcasing Moab’s stunning red rock landscapes.
  • Gravel Fondo (May 5th): A 60-mile adventure over varied gravel paths, providing riders with a unique and immersive experience of Moab’s diverse terrain.
  • Combo Option: Participants can opt for the ultimate challenge by registering for both events, conquering back-to-back days of cycling excellence.
Photo courtesy Transrockies Race Series

Community Celebration:

The Moab Fondo Fest is not just about the ride; it’s a celebration of the vibrant cycling community. Cyclists and spectators can look forward to a festive atmosphere filled with camaraderie, shared passion, and a love for cycling.

Registration Information:

Registration for the 2024 TransRockies Moab Fondo Fest is open now. Participants eager to experience the ultimate cycling weekend are encouraged to secure their spots promptly on the official event website: www.transrockies.com/gran-fondo-moab-2

 

Entering the Spirit World: An Arizona Gravel Event

By Don Scheese — “The Spirit World 100 family has been referring to this breakthrough as “entering the spirit world…”. There are many ways of describing this journey. When it happens you truly do enter an altered state…The Spirit World 100 is a community centric and self-supported gravel venture, meant to share the beauty of the Borderlands region with all those who choose to join us.” From the Spirit World 100 website.

How does one go about choosing a gravel event to participate in? For me, the important criteria are: proximity to home (say, within a day’s drive); the physical challenge of the course (at least several thousand feet of elevation gain & anywhere from 50-100 miles in length); the aesthetics of the route (ecologically diverse, visually interesting terrain); the amenities of the town in which the event is held (some good restaurants, interesting shops); and that indefinable element referred to as the “Vibe” of the event. I’ve done a bunch of races since the Gravel Craze began (for me) in 2014, from the Midwest to the Southwest to the Rocky Mountains to the Northeast, and I can honestly say that the Spirit World 100, held the first weekend of November each year out of the town of Patagonia, Arizona, ticks off all my boxes.

The start at the Patagonia Lumber Company. Spirit World Gravel Venture 2023. Photo by Don Scheese

I’ve done the 50-mile version of the Spirit World the past three years (the first one was held in 2019). This event, initiated by Heidi and Zander Alt, a lovely young neo-hippie couple and creative entrepreneurs, seems to get better each year. Occurring over three days, it features meals both before and after the race, shakedown rides, live music, aid stations, and a choice of three overlapping routes (50, 80, or 100 miles). Because Patagonia is a small town (population around 900), the entry list is deliberately kept small (250 riders), and all festivities and meetings are now held out of the funky complex of buildings known as the Patagonia Lumber Company, which serves local coffee, beer, and wine. Riders come from communities as close as Tucson and as far away as California, the Midwest and Northeast, as well as Canada. The cultural diversity of the riders is one of the feature attractions: bros, dudes, hipsters, MAMILs, fashionistas, skinny-legged cyclists & wide bodies, mingle with cowboys, cowgirls, ranchers—a veritable potpourri of people. As word has gotten around about the Good Vibe of this event, it has become increasingly harder to get into, but Heidi and Zander have kept the numbers down to ensure it remains an intimate, fun, as well as challenging experience.

And make no mistake: the routes are challenging. After the first 5 miles on paved roads heading out of town south into the Coronado National Forest (a neutral start led by the local fire department), the gravel roads become, at times, dusty, rutted, rocky & washboardy. The routes traverse three distinct ecological zones, ranging from 4000-5000 feet above sea level: the cottonwood and sycamore lined, ruggedly beautiful Harshaw Canyon; the thickly canopied oak-juniper-pinyon pine forest of the higher elevations; and the Serengeti-like high desert grasslands of the wide-open San Rafael valley. Once in the valley, the view is incredible: far-off vistas south towards the mountains of Mexico, east towards the Huachucas, north to the Santa Ritas, & west to the Patagonia range, all part of what ecologists call the “Sky Islands,” isolated cordillera that harbor unique fauna and flora.

It’s 41 degrees, clear calm and cold in downtown Patagonia, where Zander counts down the seconds to the 7 am start of the race. Clothing choice is always an important consideration, as temperatures will heat up to the mid-80s by mid-afternoon. Some riders are in shorts & short sleeves, while others (like me) layer up in tights, multi-layers, windbreakers, gloves, and cold weather hats. As we head off into the narrowing confines of Harshaw Canyon, like a large school of colorful fish swimming upstream, it only seems to get colder upon entering the dark, shady canyon. It’s a 12-mile and 1000-foot gradual climb to start the race, and inevitably riders are stopping along the way, warming up and shedding layers. I soon find myself at the back of the pack, falling into a familiar grinding rhythm, and like at all races the riders sort themselves into various packs and pelotons. As the road climbs the canyon alternates between rocky defiles and open meadows where the sun pours down like honey, a welcome warm contrast to the mostly shady cold canyon.

Harshaw Canyon, Patagonia, AZ. Spirit World Gravel Venture 2023. Photo by Don Scheese

Finally, after twelve miles of steady climbing, we top out onto the high desert plain with incredible views of the Borderlands mountains. A sharp right takes us up, over, and down into Apache Canyon, where the oak-juniper-pinyon forest predominates. It’s along this stretch that Heidi and Zander’s admonition to ‘not bomb the descents’ comes to mind, for the past dry monsoon season has left arroyos rocky and rutted (later we will hear of numerous flats, snapped-off rear derailleurs, and even a cracked frame resulting from reckless descents). Endless rollers ensue, and I find myself constantly shifting between big and small chain rings (no, I’m not a 1x aficionado). On the bottom of yet another steep pitch I stop to help a fellow cyclist fix a flat who doesn’t know how to use his CO2 cartridge (violating the cyclist credo, Know thy gear before setting out). Numbers of riders find themselves hiking their bikes up the 10-15% punchy climbs. Sand traps occur around Mile 20, and if encountered unawares some riders will fly over their handlebars, not having kept their weight back and center of gravity low. Fortunately, there are few vehicles to be concerned with; by ride’s end I will have counted only around 12-15 civilian SUVs (others, driven by the county sheriffs and Border Patrol, serve as SAG helpers for any stranded riders).

Eventually we come to the border community of Lochiel, marked by a few scattered ranches. An historical monument causes me (ever the history nerd) to pull over, a towering cement cross commemorating the exploits of Franciscan missionary Fray Marcos de Niza, who explored this area in 1539 following legends and rumors of a “City of Gold” said to exist somewhere in the Southwest. Of course, neither de Niza nor Francisco Coronado and his expeditionary force the following years ever located this fabulous metropolis, but the history of the Americas was changed forever by their discoveries, much to the regret of the Indigenous cultures who had inhabited the region for thousands of years in more sustainable fashion.

De Niza Memorial. Spirit World Gravel Venture 2023. Photo by Don Scheese

A couple of miles farther on we cross the cottonwood-lined dry watercourse of the Santa Cruz River, the golden leafed trees lending some brighter color to the otherwise tawny landscape. At Mile 28 comes the first aid station, staffed by Heidi and some other volunteers, where cold water, cookies, chips, and M&Ms serve as welcome snacks (but no more Skratch Labs hydration mix, which has run out). This is also the “Drop-off” spot, where riders can discard heavier layers to be retrieved back at the race start later in the day. Here’s where the expansive views really open up, and for the next 20-some miles we will never tire of the endless vistas.

A rider in the midst of the Arizona Serengeti. Spirit World Gravel Venture 2023. Photo by Don Scheese

Given the proximity of the southern border to the route of the Spirit World, one might legitimately ask: Is it safe to ride in this area? I’m told that there has never been an incident involving migrants and riders during the event, but this sign adjacent to Aid Station #1 gave me pause:

Near the Mexican Border. Spirit World Gravel Venture 2023. Photo by Don Scheese

No wonder that Heidi and Zander at the riders’ meeting Friday night emphasized the strictness of the 5 pm cutoff rule, saying that all riders had to be at the finish line by sunset so as to avoid riding in the dark anywhere near the border.

A few miles later we arrive at the junction of Forest Roads 58 and 61, where 80- and 100-mile riders will turn right, while us 50-milers hang a left and follow a shorter counter-clockwise loop back to the Harshaw Canyon split. For the rest of the way we’re occasionally passed by speedy 80- and 100-milers, but no matter—you can race, or you can ride this event, and many of us are choosing to do the latter, conversing, laughing, and stopping to take pictures of this incredibly photogenic landscape. I pause to re-lube my cranky chain, as the dust coats my drivetrain, frame, and body. Sprawling ranches, occasional out-buildings, and scattered cattle herds mark this stretch. As temperatures climb into the 70s and 80s, I keep sucking down water from my Camelbak and silently sing the lyrics of that old Western tune:

“Ol’ Dan & I
with throats burned dry,
and so’s our cry for water,
cool, clear water.”

The wind picks up out on the open plains, first a headwind, then a tailwind as we angle back north, and one of Heidi’s favorite expressions, “teeth to the wind,” comes to mind. What else is there to think of while grinding away across this High Lonesome Land?

Boomshakalaka. Spirit World Gravel Venture 2023. Photo by Don Scheese

Rollers and more rollers, Chunky, white-knuckled descents. Short, granny-gear grinding ascents. Finally, after one last ascending pitch, I can see in the short distance ahead Aid Station #2, otherwise known as (Heidi’s term) the “Boom-shak-a-laka Bar,” where, legend has it, tequila shots were once served back in the day. I happily settle for an ice-cold Coke, complements of Pivot Cycles, a small boutique bike manufacturer out of Tempe (check out their gravel-specific Vault). I look around, perusing faces and bodies: some are grim and red-faced, overheated, looking doubtful as finishers; others are smiling and dancing to the decibel-straining tunes of rock ‘n roll.

Inspired and rejuvenated, a number of us plunge back down Harshaw Canyon, twelve miles of bumpy, dusty, twisty descent—what a great course design, to finish with a long downhill! I take the bends and arroyo crossings at a reasonable speed, mindful of the occasional vehicle coming in the opposite direction around a blind corner. The higher afternoon sunlight illuminates the gorgeous yellowing sycamores and cottonwoods. Eventually spilling out on the canyon bottom, back onto pavement (nothing like riding on pavement again after miles of gravel roads). I enter into time-trial mode the last 5 miles into a hot headwind, and rounding the last corner back into town I can hear Zander bellowing, “Here comes a lone rider finishing strong!” That would be me, happily completing my third Spirit World 50 (actually 58, but who’s counting?).

Post-ride pizza, beer, band, babes, and bros…war stories and rehashes of the route…a good way to end a truly satisfying event.

As we grow older and events like these accumulate over the years, rides become rituals, rites of passage, barometers of our bodies and levels of fitness. Whatever the distance, whatever the speed, the important thing is always just to Keep On Riding.

Don Scheese is an avid cyclist and retired professor of American Studies who once taught, among other things, courses on Lance Armstrong and Sport in American Culture.

USA Cycling Launches New $25,000 Grant Program for Race Directors

In its inaugural year, the Event Organizer Advancement Fund will offer a total of $25,000 in grant funding.  

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (February 12, 2024) — USA Cycling announces the launch of the Event Organizer Advancement Fund, a new grant program designed to support cycling events across the United States. This new grant program is designed to foster growth, creativity, and engagement within the cycling community while strengthening the relationship between USA Cycling and event organizers.

Photo courtesy USA Cycling

The Event Organizer Advancement Fund is open to all USA Cycling-sanctioned events. It offers event organizers a platform to share innovative concepts and a vision for the future of bicycle racing in the United States. USA Cycling will provide funding to initiatives that have the potential to make a meaningful impact on the cycling community through innovation and participant growth. In its inaugural year, the program will offer a total of $25,000 in grants.

Key highlights of the fund include:

  • 25 grant awards worth $1,000 each.
  • Support for grassroots and national-level events in all cycling disciplines.
  • Opportunities for event organizers to introduce creative elements to events.
  • A platform to contribute to the growth of bicycle racing in the United States. 

Applications are open from February 12, 2024, to March 31, 2024. Event organizers are invited to apply and outline their strategies for advancing their events and the sport of cycling.

In order to qualify, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • The event organizer is in current and good standing with USA Cycling.
  • The event organizer is compliant with USA Cycling’s Safe Sport program.
  • The event is currently, or will be, sanctioned with USA Cycling with a valid permit number.
  • The event organizer is willing and able to implement new and creative concepts with a focus on driving participation to grow the sport of bicycle racing.
  • The event follows compliance with all USA Cycling rules, regulations, and policies.
  • Any event with an event date prior to April 30, 2025 is eligible.

For more information and to apply, visit https://usacycling.org/event-organizer/event-organizer-advancement-fund

 

The Athlete’s Kitchen: Does One-Size-Fit-All?

Most nutrition advice is targeted to the average American: Don’t drink fruit juice. Eat less sugar. Stay away from pasta. Take the saltshaker off the table. Does this same advice pertain to athletes? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.

Physiologically speaking, the body of a healthy, fit athlete differs significantly from the body of the unfit “average American.” For example, compared to an unfit per-son, an athlete’s muscles readily take up sugar (glucose) from the blood; this means “sugar spikes” are less of a concern.

While some athletes may perform well with a simple bowl of granola with açai in the mornings, others need a little more complexity, adding the healthy fats of avocado as an additional fuel source. Photo by Dave Iltis

This article highlights the confusion stemming from nutrition advice that does not always apply to the needs of athletes. One size does not fit all!

I’ve stopped eating (fattening) potato, pasta & starchy carbs with dinner. I eat a pile of veggies, instead.”

To start, starchy carbs are not inherently fattening. Excess calories of any kind of food are fattening. Eating a “pile of veggies” for “healthier” carbs is expensive, time consuming, likely to result in a very high fiber diet (leading to undesired pit stops), and unlikely to optimally refuel muscles.

Carb-dense (sweet) potato, (brown) rice, (whole wheat) bread, and other starchy carbs/grains optimize fueling the muscles of athletes who train hard. A strong carb intake can prevent “dead legs” and disappointing workouts. The harder you exercise, the greater your needs for starches/grains. At least 1/3 to 1/2 your plate can be starches (at least 200 calories from starch/meal ((2.5-4.0+ gram carb/lb body weight per day).

I enjoy recovering from my workouts with a 40-gram-protein shake.

While a bit of post-workout protein can help build and repair muscles, you actually want three times more carbs than protein to refuel depleted muscles. An effective dose of post-exercise protein is ~0.12-0.15 grams protein per pound body weight (0.25 -0.3g pro/kg). For 120- to 170-pound athletes, that’s about 15 to 20 grams protein, the equivalent of 2 to 3 eggs in a recovery breakfast, or 16-ounces chocolate milk. If you really want to use protein powder, blenderize it with carb-rich chocolate milk +banana or juice + frozen fruits.      

I don’t drink orange juice anymore. Too much sugar.

For busy athletes who train hard, have limited time to eat, and consume too little fruit, 100% juice is exactly what their sports diet needs! While most calories in juice (and fruit) are from sugar; abundant nutrients come along with that sugar. Eight ounces OJ provides 100% of the daily need for vitamin C, replaces potassium lost in sweat, and offers folic acid (critical for women who might become pregnant). By choosing a variety of colorful juices (purple grape, red cranberry, yellow pineapple, blue blueberry) athletes can consume a variety of health-promoting compounds that fight inflammation. If you’ve stopped drinking OJ, at least eat an orange, berries, or other fruit…

I’ve stopped salting my food. 

When athletes sweat, they lose sodium, a part of salt. The standard American diet contains far more sodium than most people need, so most sweaty athletes can easily consume abundant sodium. That said, if you have a post-workout layer of salt on your skin and you are craving salt, sprinkle some on your food! Salt cravings indicate your body needs salt.

I use electrolyte tablets after long workouts.

Electrolytes (more commonly called minerals: calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium) are abundant in food. Chances are you will consume more electrolytes in your recovery meal than you will get from electrolyte tablets.

Sodium is the key electrolyte of concern. Before taking electrolyte supplements, read the Nutrition Facts on food labels to educate yourself about the sodium in the foods you commonly eat. You might be shocked to learn the 270 mg sodium in a 20-oz bottle Gatorade is less than the 450 mg in a Thomas’ plain bagel, the 470 mg in a 1/2 cup Prego pasta sauce, 600 mg in a sprinkling (1/4 tsp) of salt on your pre- or post-exercise meal, or the 850 mg in a cup of chicken broth.

I crave sugar. I’m trying to not eat it…

Sugar cravings commonly happen when athletes get too hungry, when they fail to eat enough calories at breakfast and lunch. By afternoon, their gas tank is empty, and their body is shouting for quick energy: sugar! To curb sugar-cravings (and easily reduce your sugar intake), simply eat more breakfast and lunch. If you stop eating breakfast just because the food is gone or becuase you think you should, think again. Stop eating because you feel content and satisfied.
Your body can tell you how much food it requires IF you listen to it! If you don’t trust your body to feel fullness, please meet with a sports dietitian (RD CSSD). This nutrition professional can estimate energy needs and design a food plan that distributes adequate food throughout the day, thereby curbing hunger and urges for sugar.

I try to not snack in the afternoon…

Athletes need snacks! They get hungry and should eat at least every four hours. If you have breakfast at 7:00, you’ll want lunch by 11:00, and then a second lunch by 3:00. (Note: change snack to second lunch, so you end up choosing quality food in this mini-meal, such as banana+peanut butter+crackers, or apple+cheese+nuts.

Afraid you’ll gain weight by eating a snack/second lunch? Fret not. You’ll be less hungry for dinner. Instead of holding off to devour a huge evening meal, enjoy eating in the afternoon, when you feel hungry. Hunger is simply a request for fuel!

I avoid peanut butter. Too fattening.

Yes, peanut butter is calorie dense but it is not inherently fattening. A tablespoon offers about 100 satiating calories A PB&J sandwich will help you feel fed far longer than eating similar calories from a low fat turkey sandwich. Plus, the fat in PB is anti-inflammatory; it reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

I love XXX but I’ve stopped eating it because I end up eating too much of it.

Foods that you love and have power over you (PB? pizza?) should be eaten more often, not less often. Deprivation and denial of your favorite foods leads to cheating and last chance eating. (You know, “I cheated; I ate a spoonful of peanut butter…I might as well finish the jar now and never buy more…”) The solution is to enjoy peanut butter at every meal for the next week. It will lose its power. Trust me!

 

 

36th Annual Tucson Bicycle Classic Returns with New Course

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3 day stage race in sunny Tucson, AZ celebrates its 36th year

TUCSCON, Arizona (February 6, 2024) — The Tucson Bicycle Classic, the Town of Marana and the Town of Oro Valley, is thrilled to unveil exciting changes to the race stages for the upcoming 2024 edition. The race, scheduled to take place from February 23 to 25, promises to be an extraordinary showcase of northern Pima County’s outstanding cycling terrain.

Photo by Damion Alexander courtesy Tucson Bicycle Classic
Photo by Damion Alexander courtesy Tucson Bicycle Classic

New Stage Locations:

  1. Stage 1 – February 23rd: Marana Time Trial. The Tucson Bicycle Classic will kick off its first stage in the scenic Town of Marana with an individual time trial event. Cyclists and spectators alike can expect a thrilling start to the race against the backdrop of Marana’s picturesque landscapes as competitors race against the clock.
  2. Stage 2 – February 24th – Sahuarita Road Race. Building on the success of previous years, the second stage will once again be venued in the Town of Sahuarita and Green Valley. This road race stage will test the cyclists’ skills and determination while highlighting the superb cycling opportunities available in the region.
  3. Stage 3 – February 25th – Oro Valley Circuit Race p/b Rutledge Dental. The grand finale of the Tucson Bike Classic will return to the Town of Oro Valley, offering participants and fans a spectacular conclusion to the event with a fast and technical circuit race around Naranja Park. Oro Valley’s scenic beauty and challenging racecourse will undoubtedly provide a fitting end to this classic stage race.
2023 Tucson Bicycle Classic Stage 3. Photo by Nathan and Morleigh Schneeberger/Tucson Bicycle Classic

Collaborative Efforts:

The strategic decision to shift stages to Marana and Oro Valley is a result of collaborative efforts between the two towns and the Tucson Bicycle Classic organizers. Countless hours have been dedicated behind the scenes to ensure a seamless transition and enhance the overall experience for racers and spectators alike.

This move aims to underscore the exceptional cycling opportunities that northern Pima County has to offer, reinforcing the region’s status as a premier destination for cyclists – whether they race or ride bikes for fun or fitness

2023 Tucson Bicycle Classic Stage 3. Photo by Nathan and Morleigh Schneeberger/Tucson Bicycle Classic

Save the Dates:

Mark your calendars for February 23-25, 2024, as the Tucson Bicycle Classic brings together top-notch cyclists, breathtaking scenery, and an unparalleled racing experience. Join us in celebrating the spirit of competition and community as we weave through the captivating landscapes of Marana, Sahuarita, and Oro Valley.

Stay tuned for further updates and detailed route information as the Tucson Bicycle Classic gears up for an unforgettable cycling extravaganza in northern Pima County.

For more information:

Tucson Bicycle Classic, Tucson, AZ, 3-day USA Cycling stage race featuring a challenging 3.2 mile prologue, a 20.5 mile loop road race and 5.6 mile circuit circuit race. Time Trial Prologue – Friday, Road Race – Saturday morning, Circuit Race – Sunday morning, Marco Colbert, [email protected], tucsonbicycleclassic.com, azcycling.org/event/tbc/