A structure is only as good as the platform it is built on. The same is true for bike fits. A bike fit is only as good as the foot/ankle platform it's fit on.
Cycling shoes are stiff and do not mold to your feet like most shoes. The last of the shoe, or it's base, does not move and conform to your feet. And your foot structure does not conform to the last of the shoe without potentially pinching nerves, restricting bloodflow, or being overly tight or inefficiently loose in areas.
A poor foot-ankle-knee alignment in cycling can cause misalignment issues sun as knee pain, ankle pain, improper muscle recruitment resulting in muscle soreness and/or weakness, hip pain, and the need to frequent a physical therapist. Or, as a minimum you'll be less efficient and less powerful in your cycling. It also takes away the joy of cycling. That's the biggest part.
Enter: Retul Custom Futbed Insoles. Built on technology and years of experience in the ski industry, Futbed is the latest and best in custom footbed technology, built by a decision-making, breathing person. Not a machine.
Our chief fitter, Brian, is an experienced Futbed builder and can stabilize your feet to reduce hot spots, soreness, pain, and numbness and can restore the comfort and joy in your riding. We have fit many cyclists on Futbeds with great results. Let us take away your foot pain and set you up for injury mitigation and a more comfortable and powerful ride.
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Schedule with Brian by emailing or calling the shop at 520-305-1176.
Did you know we only have 4 more training weekends to get ready for this years El Tour de Tucson. Today I'm going to talk about getting ready for "The BIG Ride". This workout will be one of the more important workouts to your success in El Tour de Tucson.
What is "The BIG Ride"?
"The BIG Ride" is a long ride you do approximately 2-4 weeks out from El Tour de Tucson. You do everything you can to recreate as much of the El Tour experience as possible. It is a day to mentally and logistically prepare for the race, test nutrition strategies, and check out large portions of the course.
How Long Should It Be?
The BIG Ride should be planned to take the same amount of time to complete as your goal time in El Tour. It doesn't have to be a full 112 miles. If you are going to do The BIG Ride by yourself or just 1-2 friends, shoot for about 80 miles. Doing it with a small group, aim for 95 miles. Riding with a huge group, getting a century ride in may be the best way to go. Riding 112 miles by yourself may take well over 8 or 9 hours, but thanks to drafting, you will only be on course for 5-7 hours. There is no reason to spend a whole day on the bike.
Where Should I Ride?
Since this is a dress rehearsal, plan to cover a large portion of the El Tour course. Doing that can be a great way to "recon" whats going to happen on race day, check the conditions of the washes, and reacquaint yourself with the conditions of some of the roads.
When Should I Ride?
Start at the same time as you would for El Tour. That way you can get a feel for your clothing strategy for the day. El Tour is notorious for being quite cold the first 60-120 minutes but often finishing in warm or even hot conditions. Test out your layering technique on your BIG Ride.
What Should I Eat?
Eat the same things you would eat on race day at the same times. The BIG Ride is a good day to heck your nutrition strategy. If you end the ride bonked or dehydrated, you still have a couple weeks to figure out how to fix the problem, rather than get knocked down on El Tour day. Carry only as much water as you plan to carry at El Tour. You can stop at aid stations during the race, so stop at gas stations for water during The BIG Ride. There is no reason to carry 5 bottles of water when the next gas station is never more than 10 miles away.
Tonight, look at your calendar and pick a Saturday or Sunday (or any other day if you have the time) and figure out when you are going to do The BIG Ride. Plan your route ahead of time. Plan how much water you will carry. How many calories do you need? What are you going to eat to get those calories? Now go out and execute that ride.
If you are looking for a good group ride for you BIG Ride, check out Silverbell Century at bikegaba.org coming up on Sunday, November 3rd.
We are barely over two months from this year’s El Tour de Tucson. To help prepare you for this year’s event, GEC Coach Ken Montaney will be posting regular articles on the TEPC blog about preparing for Tucson’s biggest bike day of the year. Follow along with Ken on your way to your best El Tour ever.
This week we are going to talk about progression in your training. We are about 9 weeks out from El Tour. You know where your fitness is and you know where you want it to be. Today we are going to plan how to get from Point A to Point B.
First and foremost, if your goal is to complete, we need to get you distance ready. It is as simple as look at what distance/time you are capable of now and compare it to what distance/time you are going for. If you are preparing for the 60 mile event and can currently ride 20 miles, the progression is simple, add about 5 miles per week between now and El Tour.
If you are doing one of the longer events or are experienced at riding in groups, it may be better to judge your endurance progression off of time. I know I’ll be on course about 4:30 and spend most of my time drafting off other riders. My current long ride distance is about 2:30. Between now and the event day, I’ll want to work on lengthening my saddle time out to the 4:30-5:00 mark. Since I will have the energy savings of being in the group, and am only riding about 4:30 on race day, there is little need for me to spend 6+ hours in the saddle in order to ride 112 miles solo.
Today, take a look at your last few weekend long rides. In the past 4 weeks, what is the longest distance (or amount of time) you have ridden? What distance (or time goal) are you aiming for at El Tour? Now plot out how each weekend between now and El Tour will get you there, peaking in volume about 2 weekends before.
If you have time related goals or medal related goals (Platinum, Gold, etc.), it isn’t enough to just ride. You have to ride with intensity. Just like with endurance, we can approach intensity from a progressive point. Incorporate some of the following levels of intensity and progression in your training.
-Do long (10min-40min) tempo and threshold intervals (6-7.5/10 perceived exertion) in order to prepare you for faster sections of the course or false flats where you can’t coast in the group.
-Doing hill repeats, progressing in number and intensity, can prepare you for when the course turns upwards. Steeper hills will get you ready for Rattlesnake Pass and longer, shallower hills get you ready for the foothills and Oro Valley.
-Going out on various portions of the course to pre-ride and taking those at a high effort level can prepare you for some of the race day experience, especially sections such as Silverbell, Rancho Vistoso, and Escalante. (Plus don’t forget the washes)
-In the last article, I said find a group to ride with. Try to push yourself to ride with someone slightly stronger than you out on the group ride. When you are hurting and thinking about giving up, take a deep breath and keep going with them. You’ll be surprised how deep you can dig to hang on. Each week, hang on a little further, a little longer.
Sit down tonight and plan out the map from where you are to where you want to be on race day.
We are less than 90 days away from this year’s El Tour de Tucson. To help prepare you for this year’s event, GEC Coach Ken Montaney will be posting regular articles on the TEPC blog about preparing for Tucson’s biggest bike day of the year. Follow along with Ken on your way to your best El Tour ever.
“Grab a hat and hold the f--- on, cuz its going to be a wild ride.” -Tricat and part time TEPC employee Travis Burkel describing the El Tour experience
El Tour de Tucson is essentially a group ride with 9,000 of your closest friends. If you want this to be your best El Tour, you need to be prepared to ride in a group. Make sure you incorporate group rides in your training for El Tour so you are prepared mentally and technically for all the pack riding and pace lining you will do on race day.
Picking a Group Ride
Pick a group ride that will challenge you and match up with your ability level. If you have never ridden with a group before, Shootout is the last place you should go (they will eat you alive). Conversely, if you are an experienced cyclist with plenty of group ride experience, the 12 mph coffee shop group may not be the best place to end up.
Use the month of September to shop around group rides in town to find one that is both physically and technically challenging but doable. You want to be learning new skills and increasing your comfort level in a pack but always safely. Don’t over do your ability level.
Learn the Group Ride
Part of showing up on a group ride is knowing the etiquette of the ride. I say shop around for rides in September, but also use that time to learn the intricacies of different rides.
Learn what the rides objectives are and understand that you need to stick to the group’s plan. If a ride is all about keeping a steady rotating paceline and you disrupt it, you will be shunned. If they are trying to ride a more social double paceline and you keep attacking, you will be shunned.
Learn who the head honcho(s) is/are. Every ride has a ride leader, a man who is in charge, the patron. What they say is law. If they tell you to do something (whether kind or unkind) you listen. Chances are they are the nice and welcoming to new riders, but their number one priority is the safety of the group. Talk to them, ask them questions, learn from them. And when they yell at you, don’t take it personally, learn from it and talk to them later.
Know the route. No one likes being on a group ride and have to be constantly answering the question of “where are we going”. Know at least the general idea of the route and how to get home if you are separated.
Group Ride Skills
Here is what you should be trying to learn from the group ride while preparing for El Tour
Pacelines- different types, how to rotate smooth, execution
Nutrition- Learn to eat, drink, chew, open wrappers, etc. all in a group
All around smoothness- learn to stand in a group, corner, safely avoid obstacles
Get out, find a group to ride with, make some new friends, learn some new skills, push yourself. Remember, safety first, and whatever you do, stay out of your damn aerobars.
Its 6:30 in the morning. 55 degrees. Raining. Your race starts in 90 minutes.
You eat a bagel, banana, and sip some juice. What you wouldn’t give to have some hot coffee right now.
60 minutes to go. Make sure the bike is set. Lube the chain. You briefly debate tire pressure with yourself. You go 5 psi lower than normal, you know, just in case.
30 minutes to go. Time to start kitting up. Bibs, jersey, thin base layer, fingerless gloves. The guy across from you is putting on warmers and a jacket. Mentally he has already lost. Grab the cap and clear glasses, throw on the helmet. Take a deep breath.
5 minutes to go. Shivering on the start line. Tense. Cold. Raining harder now. 53 miles today.
60 seconds to go. You are lined up front row. Your leg is trembling but you don’t know if its cold or nerves. Maybe a little of both?
The whistle. Get clipped in, get clipped in, get clipped in. Good, grab a wheel. Instantly road spray is in your face. Glad you grabbed the cap, keep water out from behind your glasses.
2 miles in. Pace starts to pick up. You are already soaked through. Your clothes feel like they weigh 30 pounds. Fingers cold. Legs numb.
4 miles in. Pace starts ramping up more. Stay near the front. Don’t let this guy push you around. Blood flowing, legs starting to warm up.
7 miles in. Downhill. Pouring rain. 40 miles per hour, inches from the guy in front of you. You can barely see through the rain and fog. Don’t flinch.
9 miles in. The first climb of the day. You vowed to be aggressive here is your chance. This baby takes 90 seconds. But you are so cold. Shut up. Everyone else is cold too.
Deep breath. The climb starts. The effort picks up. You see a whole. You jump. You give it everything you have. Lungs are searing. Heart pounding. But you feel strong.
The cold hits you. Your legs freeze. They scream “STOP! STOP! STOP!” you want to give up, let them catch you, but you know you can’t. Your legs scream “QUIT!” your mind screams “ATTACK!” What you do next defines you as a racer.
At Tucson Endurance Performance Center we only sell the stuff our staff uses and swears by. After months of testing by our staff, we began carrying Skratch Labs products. Over the last few months, Skratch Labs products have quickly propelled to some of our top selling items at TEPC. Here is the lowdown on some of the most interesting nutrition products currently on the market.
Skratch Labs is the brainchild of Allen Lim, one of cycling’s leading exercise physiologists. While working with the Garmin professional cycling team, Lim saw that current nutritional products were not liked by riders and would often leave them with “gut rot”. Lim set about creating his own drink mix out of his kitchen that would fuel his riders properly. He used only real, natural ingredients to create a drink mix that was soon the talk of the peloton.
After several years of underground dealings for Lim’s “Secret Drink Mix”, in 2012, Allen Lim launched Skratch Labs to release his product to the public. With his motto of “Drink your hydration, eat your calories,” Lim has been at the forefront of the real food movement in cycling. Today we will cover their hydration products. Next time, the food.
Exercise Hydration Mix
The flagship product of Skratch Labs, their Exercise Hydration Mix is Allen Lim’s original “Secret Drink Mix” released to the public. It is made with less calories and more electrolytes than most other sports drinks. It is made with only naturally derived products, using natural cane and corn sugar (rather than lab products like corn syrup, maltodextrine, or any of several other freak sugars) for calories, electrolyte products that dissolve in water to ease digestion and allow it to settle much easier than straight salt, and actual fruit to flavor their drinks.
Pay attention to the mixing ratios. Many companies encourage mixing their drink at higher concentrations, but this can actually have a dehydrating effect. Skratch is designed to be mixed at a concentration designed to optimize your hydration levels so make sure to follow the package instructions.
Flavors available are Lemon-Lime, Pineapple, Raspberry, and Orange.
Skratch’s Everyday Hydration mix is definitely an intriguing product for those of us living here in the Old Pueblo. With the heat of summer and humidity of monsoon season, we drink a lot of water throughout the day. But as we drink that water, we can actually be diluting our bodies electrolytes. Everyday Hydration is designed to fix that. It features less calories and a different electrolyte solution to optimize hydration during the rest of the day.
Try having a serving in the morning when you get up and are rehydrating after sleep, and during the summer, perhaps another serving in the afternoon, especially if you have an evening workout.
Available in Lemon Lime flavor.
Stay tuned next week when we cover The Feed Zone Cookbooks. In the meantime come by the shop and talk to us about Skratch and all your nutrition needs.
You read that correctly.
We run miles and miles depending on our goals and fitness and desires. Many of us stay on the roads for this and are missing out on one of the best training environments out there. I’m a big fan of running off road for a variety of reasons.
Change of pace. If you always run one pace, you can get very good at that pace. But that can lead to plateaus and limited improvement. Running off road will force you to get slower on climbs and technical terrain and faster on descents. The terrain can also force bounding for rocks and obstacles, slower or faster cadences for desired foot placement, and large jumps (and screams) for that occasional snake.
Change of direction. Running on the road lends to being very good at moving in a straight line. How many of us have tweaked our back or hip or calf turning to look for something or stepping off a curb? Leaving the road behind allows us to build strength and stability through the constant twisting and turning, and lateral movements required with trails and rocks and trees. This can be hard on the body until stamina and stability are built to a minimum level, so go on mild trails for short durations first.
Change of feel. Proprioception is that reaction we get when we step on something and lift the foot without thinking so that something doesn’t penetrate the skin. This is an important survival reaction and can be detrained if we don’t exercise it regularly. The instabilities involved in trail running help to build that sensation all over our body so we are less injury prone and more likely to react before an injury happens.
Change of scenery. Find new views. Find new beauty around your home. Find a new joy in running. I’ve lived in Tucson for much of my life and just discovered a new gorgeous area with beautiful city views on a sunrise trail run just this week. Don’t let life go by on the while line. Go get on the trails!
Go get some trail running shoes, tell someone where you’re going and when you intend to be back, grab some water, and go hit the trails!
Head Coach, Grasky Endurance Coaching
National and World Champion Triathlon Coach
We are now 14 weeks away from this year’s El Tour de Tucson. To help prepare you for this year’s event, GEC Coach Ken Montaney will be posting regular articles on the TEPC blog about preparing for Tucson’s biggest bike day of the year. Follow along with Ken on your way to your best El Tour ever.
Last week we discussed going about and identifying your goals for El Tour de Tucson this year. We wanted to take a look at what the big picture was so that this week we can figure out how to get there. So go back to your bathroom mirror and take a look at your goals (you did write them up there didn’t you? I told you to). Lets take a look at how to get there.
We all have strengths and weaknesses. To do well at this years El Tour, you need to identify your weaknesses in relation to your goals. Here are some example goals and potential limiters that could come with them, though your particular limiters may differ.
Finish first 100 mile event
Make Gold classification in 80 mile event
-Climbing ability when group goes uphill
-Group riding skills
Finish Top 20 in 100 mile event
-Abilities in wash crossings
Another way to identify your weaknesses is to look at your previous experiences in El Tour. If you ride strong all day but fade on Silverbell, you may need to work on endurance. If you are always comfortable in the group but immediately get dropped to the next group on every punchy hill (like the foothills or Rattlesnake Pass) then you should work on leg strength and anaerobic efforts.
Well I Know My Weaknesses, Now What
Now that you have identified your weaknesses for this years event comes the hard part. Train your weaknesses. This is only the hard part because most of us like to ride our strengths all the time and ignore our limiters. But we want to rock at El Tour de Tucson this year so its time to train your limiters. Here are a few weaknesses and how to train them.
Endurance: ride lots. Really. Ride as much as possible. Do some of the prep events like Tumacacori or Silverbell centuries. Ride with other people who push you.
Group Skills: Tucson is never lacking in group rides. Find a good group or shop ride and start practice your group skills now rather than later. Check out the Grasky Endurance Coaching group rides every Saturday and the GABA El Tour prep rides every Sunday starting September 8th.
Vertically Challenged: Start climbing and climbing hard. Repeats on A Mountain. Attacking short and long hills. Cruising up Mt. Lemmon. “Don’t buy upgrades. Ride up grades.”
Now go out and make sure to include rides aimed at fixing your limiters in your preparation for El Tour this year. Embrace making yourself better and they may even becomes strengths.
Check out Tucson Endurance Performance Center's new El Tour de Tucson CompuTrainer block starting September 2nd. Last year 100% of participants set a PR at El Tour.
We are just over 100 days away from this year’s El Tour de Tucson. To help prepare you for this year’s event, GEC Coach Ken Montaney will be posting regular articles on the TEPC blog about preparing for Tucson’s biggest bike day of the year. Follow along with Ken on your way to your best El Tour ever.
It is always interesting to talk to people after El Tour about who met their goals and who didn't. The people who succeeded in their goals almost always began preparing while the weather was still sweltering and the monsoons were still hitting us regularly. The people who didn't meet their goals inevitably signed up for El Tour but didn't prepare for the event with any goals or objectives in mind until it was much too late. This year, you will be one of the riders who is ready.
Pick a Distance
So we are going to set some goals. First things first: what distance are you doing? What distance you pick and what you past riding history/experience is will help determine your goals. If you are going after your first century, your goals will be different than if you are doing the 60 mile event for the 6th year in a row. So think carefully about the distance. Pick an event that will provide a challenge for you.
Set Your Goal(s)
Think long and hard about what you want to get out of El Tour this year. Think about what you have done past years. Think about how much you have been riding lately and how much time you have to prepare for El Tour de Tucson this year. Now, let’s come up with some goals. A couple of guidelines
Own Your Goal(s)
For the next week, think about what you want to accomplish this year at El Tour. Think of what you are going to aim for and focus hard on it. Then own that goal. Post it in big writing on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror where you will see it often. Put a piece of masking tape on your bike’s stem or top tube with your goal on it. Let your goals and objectives become a part of your life.
For the next week, pick a goal and begin to own that goal. Next time we’ll talk about preparing yourself to successfully reach your goal.
I’ve been thinking about what defines a good race. And I don’t mean PRs or podium places. I’m talking about the race itself. What makes a race worth going to and plunking down your hard earned cash. Just a few thoughts of what makes a good race for me and a few examples
Retul Certified Bike Fitter
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