Yoga for Cyclists

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Tis the season for charity rides, metric centuries, and long, sunny days in the saddle. Lengthy bike tours leaving you sore? Relieve lactic acid build-up and tired muscles, and feel better the next time you get on the bike with these yoga-inspired stretches.

Hip Stretch

Also called 'pigeon,' this hip stretch can be a little intense at first. To modify, just tuck your foot in against your thigh.

Also called ‘pigeon,’ this hip stretch can be a little intense at first. To modify, just tuck your foot in against your thigh.

Beginning on your hands and knees, bring your right knee forward to your right wrist and your right ankle to your left wrist. Flex your ankle and keeping your shin as parallel with the front of your mat as possible. Straighten your left leg towards the back of the room with the top of your foot resting on the floor. You should feel some serious sensation in your right hip- if not, stick a rolled-up towel beneath your right hip to get some leverage. Repeat on the left side.

Shoulder opener

Pro Tip: tuck your toes under and sit on your feet in this position for an awesome foot stretch

Pro Tip: tuck your toes under and sit on your feet in this position for an awesome foot stretch

Shoulders are a part of the body often neglected by cyclists, as most of our focus and attention is given to where most of our power comes from: our legs. But many long hours in the saddle can lead to shoulder, neck and back pain. Sitting however you are comfortable, interlace your hands behind your back and bend your elbows to pull your hands up against your right hip. Your right elbow will pop out, so hug it back in towards the other one and feel the stretch in your chest and deltoid. Tip your head gently to the right (towards your hands) to get a better stretch in your neck and trapezius (upper shoulder muscles).

Super quad stretch

To make this stretch a little more comfortable, fold a mat or towel a few times and place it under your knee

To make this stretch a little more comfortable, fold a mat or towel a few times and place it under your knee

Back yourself up against a wall or a couch, and scoot your right knee as close to the wall as possible, with the top of your right foot against the wall. Place your left foot as far from your body as comfortable in a lunging position and use your left leg as leverage to push your hips back towards the wall for a deep quad/hip flexor stretch. Repeat on other side.

Hamstring/IT band stretch

Play with this one, moving your foot and making circles with your hip to find the tight spots on your leg

Play with this one, moving your foot and making circles with your hip to find the tight spots on your leg

Nothing feels better than releasing a day’s worth of riding from your hamstrings, and my favorite way to do it is by using a yoga strap (a belt or scarf do the trick as well). Start by laying on your back with one of your legs perpendicular to the floor. Flex both your feet. Using the strap on the ball (not the arch!) of your foot, use your arms to really pull down on the strap so your heel is higher than your toes. Do a few small bend-and-straightens with your knee to loosen the hamstring. To get into your IT band, straighten your leg and bring it just past your midline, using the strap to work your foot towards your shoulder (watch your hip here-it likes to creep up, so tuck it back in and keep both hips level). This will be a little uncomfortable, but is stretching your IT band is essential and can be great for preventing/alleviating knee pain.

It’s best to do these shortly after the ride, while your muscles are still warm. With a little practice and a lot of patience, these stretches will greatly benefit the way you feel during that century ride- and how you feel at the barbeque after!

There are so many other stretches and poses that can benefit your riding! Its necessary to figure out what your body needs most after a ride by experiementing and assessing what feels best for you. There are free podcasts available on iTunes called from YogaDownload.com, including a few called Yoga for Cyclists.

Sprinting for Furniture

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Saturday, June 27, the Herman Miller Criterium overtook the block around Van Andel Area. Surrounded by spectators and Gran Fondo Finishers, the City Hub Cyclery team put on a good show in the Category 4, 5, and Women’s races.

 

In the Women’s Race, Heather Goss and Riley Missel worked hard in the field, attacking and sprinting for chair primes, finishing 3rd and 4th in the Womens 1/2/3 field. Julia was rad for being out there.

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podiumIn the Mens Category 4 race, Daniel Shamburger raced well in a competitive field, doing lots of work to chase down attacks, keeping it together until the final sprint and earning himself 10th place. 
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The Trooper of the Day Award, however, goes to Marshal Evans after his post-finish crash in the Category 5 race. He crossed the line for third in the final sprint and unfortunately had another rider swerve into him and send them both flying. His wheel, forearms, and bibs were toast, but he kept a smile on afterwards, cheering on his teammmates in a tattered chamois. You rock, dude.

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It was an awesome day! Thanks to Mike Troccko for coming out and taking these awesome pictures, and to everyone else who came out to watch and cheer on the City Hub Cyclery Race Team!

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Off-the-Bike Details with On-the-Bike Benefits

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Learn the secrets of cycling studs like these guys.

Learn the secrets of cycling studs like these guys.

1. Take in recovery fuel: Within 30 minutes of finishing your workout, your muscles begin repairing themselves and making gains from the training you just put them through. You need to fuel this process ASAP by replenishing your carbohydrate stores and feeding your muscles protein to grow stronger. This will facilitate larger gains from the workout, as well as making sure your body is prepared for your next ride. There are lots of mixes and drinks out there that offer the perfect carb-sugar-protein ratio in order to help you recover more efficiently- but good old fashioned chocolate milk does the trick too.

2. Dust off your foam roller: Drag that painful cylinder out of the closet and loosen up those tight quads. Foam rolling helps flush your muscles of lactic acid after a workout, as well as offering an intense massage that loosens the muscles in order to help them fire more efficiently (and comfortably) on the bike. Check out this video on how to do it properly here.

3. Get to bed already: Most of your muscle repairing and recovery goes on while you sleep! Give your body the rest and rejuvenation it needs and get at least 8 hours of shut-eye.

4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: this is a factor too often overlooked by cyclists. We remember to down a bottle an hour while we’re riding, but what about before we roll out of the driveway? It’s necessary to drink half your weight in ounces of water (if you weigh 120 lbs, drink 60oz of water) daily, in addition to what you drink on the bike to stay hydrated. In the 72 hours leading up to a big event, hydration is crucial! If you wait til the morning of the even to start sipping, it’s too late. Preload your rides and races (especially hot ones!) with plenty of water all day, erryday. If it’s going to be especially hot, throw some electrolytes in there too.

5. Get down, dog: treat your body to some yoga! You don’t need to be bendy or enlightened to reap the benefits of this ancient practice. Just bring a mat and an open mind to a beginner class like one of these. Yoga aids in injury prevention, core strength, body awareness, and self-confidence, all of which are beneficial to cyclists.

6. Eat good, clean-burning fuel: Yeah, put down that Big Mac. You know better than that! Lean protein, healthy fat (like nuts, avocado, and flax seed), unprocessed carbohydrates, and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit give you what you need. Splurge every so often for sure, but don’t load up on greasy, processed food before a ride if you can help it.

7. Watch your beer intake: Corona consumption preoccupies your liver with metabolizing the alcohol and slows the recovery process. And although it has a solid amount of carbs to replenish your glycogen stores post-ride, the alcohol is a diuretic, which will leave you more dehydrated than you were before.

8. Take a day off: mentally and physically! Give yourself a break at least once a week and do something else active you enjoy like hiking or playing frisbee. It pays to keep your mind and body fresh off the bike- and when you get back on, you’ll be ready to go!

Leave it be...and come back to it faster!

Leave it be…and come back to it faster!

Das Tour de Frankenmuth

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This past Saturday, the City Hub Cyclists crossed the state to Zehnder’s das Tour de Frankenmuth in a little town known for it’s German heritage and chicken dinners. After some long, battles on the windy course, we managed to sprint into a few top 10 finishes! Heather Goss rode hard and smart in the field for a 4th place finish in the Women’s Category 3.

Daniel Shamburger, a freshly upgraded Category 4 racer, wasted no time and attacked the field early, earning the 3rd step on the podium. Marshal Evans snagged 6th in the Men’s Category 5 race and Terry Collins rode well for a respectable finish in the Men’s Category 4 race as well.

Shamburger, focused and determined in the final sprint in a large Cat 4 field

Shamburger, focused and determined in the final sprint in a large Cat 4 field

An amazing ride followed by spending our payout on fried chicken- just couldn’t be beat!

Lean and mean: don't mess with these CHC riders in a sprint!

Lean, Mean, Speed Machines

Taking a Breath at Bloomer Park

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There’s nothing like having a track all to yourself. Yesterday, my friend CJ and I went to ride the velodrome at Bloomer Park, and we rolled up to an empty parking lot. Too perfect! We were stoked.

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We stood between the doors of her green Fiesta, slipped into our chams, and pushed our bikes to the apron. It’s a small track with tight turns, so we zipped and dove up and down the wall. It’d been awhile since either of us had ridden the wooden boards, and it was better than a roller coaster.
We rode in circles together, catching up on the gossip and life. No intervals, no scoreboard, no Garmin. Just pedaling with a friend on a sunny day, for the pure joy of cruisin’ the boards. And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?

When was the last time you left the HR monitor and workout plan at home? When did you just ride your bike to feel the wind in your hair and the earth beneath you? Cycling isn’t just good for you body- it’s good for your soul! Don’t forget to allow yourself the freedom and fun that draws us all to cycling in the first place. Ride on.

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