Thursday, November 29, 2007

Do Spin Classes Help or Hurt?

Daylight hours are dwindling away, which makes riding your bicycle outdoors more of a challenge. Add bad weather to the equation and all but the toughest souls are forced indoors.

One indoor option for winter riding is a structured spinning class, where you and your stationary-peloton pals gather at the gym to be motivated into sweat rivulets by an encouraging instructor. With music pounding in the background, athletes spin the cranks as fast as possible. The instructor encourages, "More tension! Stand up! Down! Up! Hold it, hold IT!"

With red faces, burning legs and ponds of sweat below each bike, tired and tortured athletes might wonder if spinning classes are helping or hurting their athletic goals.

You must first establish goals for your training before you can decide if your spin class is helping or not. Then decide how substituting indoor cycling—and more specifically spinning—for outdoor cycling fits into those goals.

Multisport athletes have to be particularly cautious that very difficult spinning sessions do not take away from possible gains made during running and swimming workouts.

Realize You are Part of a Group
Once you decide what you want to achieve from spinning, recognize that your goals may not match the session goals of the instructor or others in the class. One of the tough things about leading a group is structuring each class so the participants have a good experience and keep coming back.

Participants often end up forming the class structure by rewarding the instructor with comment ("What a great class! You just killed me tonight. I work harder here than for anyone else. Those standing intervals toasted my legs, what a workout!") If you enjoyed a particular interval set or it fits nicely into your training plan, let the instructor know.

You can also ask what the focus of upcoming classes will be. Remember, however, that rarely will a class be structured around an individual's training plan or goals.

Additionally, some people want to feel totally thrashed after class, and that is what determines if it was a "good" spin class for them or not. It doesn't matter if the workout doesn't remotely resemble an outdoor cycling session--all they are looking for is that nice flogged feeling. If this isn't what you're looking for on that particular day, don't fall into the trap of keeping pace with someone who is.

Pre-plan Your Workout
Before you go to the class, decide what kind of workout you want to achieve. Most good instructors encourage participants to modify the workout to meet personal needs.

If you want to do a form workout that focuses on high revolutions-per-minute while staying mostly aerobic, for example, this may mean staying seated while the rest of the class is repeatedly bouncing up and down. Or you may need to keep the tension low when the instructor tells everyone to crank it up. Don't be afraid of standing out from the crowd in order to conform the session to that day's training.

Bike Fit
Some stationary spin bikes have limited seat adjustment. On these bikes, seat height can only be adjusted in half-inch increments via holes in the seat post. This limited adjustment can cause some athletes knee, hip, foot or back pain.

The fit problem is compounded when you increase the tension, or load. A high load and an incorrect fit are bound to cause you problems. The last thing you want is an injury.

Before you head to class, measure the distance on your bike from the top of the pedal to the top of the saddle when the pedal is in the position putting it furthest away from your seat. This position is not at the bottom of the pedal stroke, but rather slightly forward from that position.

Try to get the seat height of your spin bike as close as possible to that of your own bicycle. If you don't wear the same shoes for spin class as you do for outdoor cycling, consider the difference your shoes may have on seat height adjustment.

Just For You
In the end, how you participate in a class determines whether or not spinning helps or hurts your fitness goals. It is impossible for an instructor to meet the goals of every individual in the class, so it is up to you to get what you need from each class and each instructor.

Monday, November 19, 2007

2007 Carbon Rush!

Haywood take La Ruta overall

Costa Rica's Federico "Lico" Ramirez (BCR-Pizza Hut) and American Susan Haywood (Trek-Volkswagen) took overall wins at the 15th annual La Ruta de los Conquistadores mountain-bike stage race in Costa Rica.

It was Haywood's first visit to La Ruta, while Ramirez, also an accomplished road racer, became the only person to claim four La Ruta titles. Both riders took three stage wins en route to overall victory.

After the race Ramirez said he would be back to try for number five.

Central America's largest bike race concluded on Saturday with the 125km fourth stage from the mountain hamlet of Aquiares to the Playa Bonita beachfront in the coastal town of Limon. Riders opened the day with a punishing steep 5km climb through coffee fields and tackled a series of rolling rocky terrain through the rainy slopes of Costa Rica's eastern volcanic mountains. Nearly half of the parcours was on flatland - but the abundance of railroad sections and hike-a-bike trestle crossings made the journey a frustrating and bumpy affair.

Ramirez, who dominated the field on the climbs through the first three stages, appeared content to follow wheels and preserve his lead. The Costa Rican strongman was joined by French marathon champion Thomas Dietsch (Gewiss-Bianchi), Swiss Thomas Zahnd (Stoeckli-Craft) and Costa Ricans Paolo Montoya and Deiber Esquivel. The ageless Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) also made the selection.

Dietsch, Zahnd and Ramirez eventually separated themselves during the tricky railroad sections, and coming into the beach finish, Ramirez let the two Europeans know he would not contest the sprint. Dietsch proved the man with the strongest kick - both men celebrated their first La Ruta finishes with a dunk in the Caribbean.

Juarez, in his third La Ruta attempt, crossed the line in sixth place, which put him in fifth overall and the top American.

Haywood also appeared happy to ride with her closest competitor, three-time La Ruta champ Louise Kobin (Sho-Air). The two spent much of the day together, with Haywood trailing Kobin on the railroad sections and trestle walks. The Trek rider did not contest the sprint at the end, adding that Kobin deserved the stage for setting the pace for much of the day.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ruta de los Conquistadores Stage 1 goes to Davis's own Haywood.

La Ruta is not a race for whiners, posers or delicate persons," reads a note of caution on the event's website. "It is not a ride in the park. The grades are steep, the climate can be extreme. You must be a true adventure lover and a great athlete to enjoy it.

Enjoy might not be the best word. Endure is probably more like it. That was certainly the case for women's stage 1 winner Sue Haywood whose bike was lost by Taca airlines during her trip south from Washington D.C. Luckily Haywood's primary sponsor, Trek, has a dealership in Costa Rica, and a shop employee showed up at her hotel in Jacó late Tuesday night with a replacement bike. Haywood said it was a size too small, but that didn't seem to matter Wednesday, as she cruised to a 16-minute win over second-placed Louise Kobin. Haywood was the only rider among the race's 43 female starters to come in under the seven-hour mark, posting a 6:54:26.

"The bike worked great," said a relieved Haywood. "I had to stop and raise the saddle after a couple hours and I got chain suck a couple times, but it was never bad. It was a really nice bike. I was really lucky."

Haywood might change that tune Thursday. Next up at La Ruta is stage 2's 46-mile grind from El Rodeo to Terramall. Riding from a horse farm to a shopping mall might sound like fun, but mix in 11,887 feet of climbing as the race wraps around the south side of the sprawling capital city of San Jose, and it's unlikely anyone will be in the mood to get a jump on the Christmas gift buying season.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

End of season sale!

Blackwater Bikes has tons bicycles in the shop - so we always have cycles we are looking to clear to make way for new stock. These include last years models, scratch and dent and shop soiled bikes and other cycling products. Call us anytime if you want to but one of our end of season clearance bicycles and we'll check out what sizes and models we have left. Sometimes there are a few surprises even to us so call 304-259-5286 now.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Why settle for second best in yourself or your bicycle? We proudly offer the finest in present day technology – hand crafted American made Cannondale! We are here to help you select the perfect ride for your exact needs and dollar investment. With years of experience, we are experts at cutom fitting a bicycle specifically to you. Come test ride today! (Layaway and Financing available)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

'Cross Examination: Bishop, Haywood win Tacchino 'cross

Trek-VW teammates Jeremiah Bishop and Sue Haywood won the Tacchino Cyclocross on Sunday at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg, Virginia.

Lining up beside Haywood were some of the East Coast's fastest women, including three-time Verge MAC champion Betsy Shogren (Fort Factory Team), defending MABRAcross champion Lisa Vible, Team Kenda Tire's Jennifer Maxwell, Vanderkitten's Mandy Lozano and Libbey Sheldon of Tokyo Joe's.

Roaring out of the prologue loop, Shogren and Maxwell had the advantage as they powered up the finishing-hill straight to begin the first of their laps. By the time they entered the backside of the course, which is out of sight from the main spectator area, Shogren had a decisive lead and Haywood, in her first cyclocross race in two years, was charging. And then things got weird.

"We were climbing the short, hard hill in the back, and I asked Sue what she thought the sound was that was coming from my bike," said Shogren. Moments later, her left crankarm came off, with her foot still attached. Shortly afterward, the rest of her crankset fell off.

"It was pretty funny," said Shogren.

As Shogren began running to the pit, a quarter lap away, Haywood powered away to a commanding lead with Maxwell, Lozano and Jessica Hill (Trail's End Cycling) chasing.

Haywood extended her lead for a dominating win, while Maxwell attacked the chase group to finish second. But behind, Shogren - a half lap down - was working her way through traffic on her pit bike, an overgeared single-speed. She methodically passed rider after rider to take third, just seconds behind Maxwell.

With Bishop and Jonny Sundt (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast) on the starting line for the elite men's race, no one had any doubts about how difficult the race was going to be.

But MABRAcross regular Greg Wittwer (FORT Factory Team) wasn't intimidated. He attacked from the start, forcing Bishop to respond, while a sizable portion of the field - including Sundt - was lying in a pile after a chain-reaction crash.

Up front, Wittwer matched every one of Bishop's many accelerations as Sundt ripped through the field, trying to make up for lost time. Bishop finally seized the lead and began extending his margin, and while Wittwer appeared to be closing in the final laps, the Trek-VW rider held on to take his first ‘cross win of the year.

Sundt, who eventually caught Steve Cummings (Indiana Regional Medical Center) for third place in his first ‘cross race of the year, said that he was surviving on his road fitness. "I don't have that top-end yet," he said. "It's hard to get that, because it hurts." - Ken Getchell

Tacchino Cyclocross
Leesburg, VA. Nov. 4
1. Jeremiah Bishop, Trek-VW
2. Greg Wittwer, Fort Factory Team
3. Jonny Sundt, KBS-Medifast
4. Stephen Cummings, Indiana Regional Medical Center
5. Jeffrey Buckles, Alan

1. Sue Haywood, Trek-VW
2. Jennifer Maxwell, Team Kenda Tire
3. Betsy Shogren, Fort Factory Team
4. Mandy Lozano, Vanderkitten
5. Libbey Sheldon, Tokyo Joe's

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ray's Indoor MTB Park

Ray's Indoor MTB Park in Cleveland, Ohio officially opens its door for the winter riding season this weekend. is flying to Cleveland Friday for a few days of riding indoors. We'll check out all the new features Ray spent building into the park during the warmer months.

Here's the new map of Ray's Indoor MTB Park

The new course map shown here including four jump lines with a beginner 3-pack, a beginner/sport 6-pack, a redesigned sport/expert line and a new expert roll-in. Additionally, we'll check out the expanded beginner room, rally the pump track and most importantly see what the new sport section is like. The old Moen speed trials course, which we loved so much, has been completely replaced with an expanded sport riding area. Also, as the building grows so does the XC course which snakes around its perimeter. We can't wait, it's going to be a blast!

For more information go to