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Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

My First Double Century

200 mile group photo

A blurry shot of the 200 mile group. I am second from the left in a borrowed vest and arm warmers (thanks John!)

On Saturday, August 8th, I completed my first double century (200 miles) bike ride with a small group of Thread City Cyclers. The ride took us from Willington, CT to Portland, ME. The route had been ridden multiple times by Garth Bean, and he was gracious enough to let us tag along this time around.

All in all, I must say it was an incredible experience. It took an indescribable amount of physical and mental endurance, and it is definitely an athletic achievement I am glad to have completed.

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James Stewart Discuses Supercross, The Internet and His Future with Mike Martin

James Stewart took the win in Salt Lake City. Photo by Brendan Lutes.

James Stewart took the win in Salt Lake City. Photo by Brendan Lutes of TWMX.

James Stewart is a superstar of the motocross industry. He rides with incredible flow and style and is constantly raising the sport to a new level. In addition, he is the most well known motocross rider, outside of the industry.

After writing an article on Stewart's new website and Twitter account, I recently got a chance to interview the motocross sensation. Below is the interview in both audio and text format. Enjoy!

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Music Which Gets Me Pumped to Ride

Music is a great motivator for motocross and cycling. Photos by Jonathan Shield and Paul Buckley.

Music is a great motivator for cycling and motocross. Photos by Jonathan Shield and Paul Buckley

Both motocross and cycling are very intense adrenaline pumping sports. As a result, music is a great motivational factor for both activities. While “good” music is obviously a very subjective thing, everyone is always looking for good music, and because of this, my favorite motivational music for riding is listed below. Feel free to check out the artists and leave your comments/recomendations at the end of the article.
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What is Your Favorite Electrolyte Replacement Drink for Cycling?

Sports drinks are crucial to cycling success. Photo by BurningKarma.

Electrolyte Replacement Drinks are crucial to cycling success. Photo by BurningKarma.

Nutrition is a huge part of cycling. Without proper nutrition, you will be unable to maintain a steady pace and your performance will be much poorer than what it should be. One of the most important parts of your nutritional plan is the electrolyte replacement drink you consume during your rides.

The world of electrolyte replacement drinks is very big, and there are a multitude of options on the market. Most riders have favorites which they prefer to drink. However, as a relatively new cyclist, I am still trying to find my favorite brand of electrolyte replacement drink.

As a result, I’ve turned to you guys, the loyal readers of MikeMartinRacing.com. What are your favorite electrolyte replacement drinks? I know some are better than others, and rather than constantly change my program trying to find the best brand, I’m asking you what yours is. Your responses will greatly impact my choice of electrolyte replacement drink heading into the near future, so don’t forget to leave your reply in the comments.
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Running is a Great Way to Cross-Train, Even for Cyclists

Running is a great supplement to your cycling training. Photos by thebrandbuilder andaarmono.

Photos by TheBrandBuilder and aarmono.

I began cycling in order to train for motocross. I knew that I needed to be in better shape in order to perform at my absolute highest at the track on the weekends. I was never a huge running fan, and cycling was more similar to motocross than any of the other cardio activities I had tried. As a result, cycling became my training method of choice by default, not because I enjoyed the sport.

However, after spending an entire spring, summer and fall cycling almost every day, I grew to love the sport. The speed, adrenaline rush and sense of adventure I got from the sport left me dying to ride day in and day out.

After about 10 months of solid cycling, I have ben adding a good amount of running into my training program. Before cycling I really disliked running, but I have begun to love it. I still prefer cycling to running any day, but, running is a great substitution when cycling just does not fit into my program.

If you are currently a cyclist, and looking for a way to add some diversity to your program, running is a great option, and heres why.

Running Uses Less Time

A good workout while running can be accomplished in less time than cycling. Photo by donjd2 on Flickr.

A good workout while running can be accomplished in less time than cycling. Photo by donjd2.

I’m a teenager, and as a result I am a pretty busy person. Between school, homework, this website, and cycling, I have little to no free time. As a result, sometimes I don’t have two or three hours to spend on the bike. However, when I still want to get a good cardio workout in, I have begun turning to running. Spending 30-45 minutes running can give me the same workout in less than half the time.

The stark time difference between running and cycling may lead you to wonder why I don’t just run all the time. Well, the reason is quite simple: I don’t enjoy it. For me, running takes a lot of mental perserverance and it overall just isn’t as fun for me. If I based all of my cardio training off of running, I would have a very tough time running day in and day out, which would make my training less effective.

Running Uses Different Muscles

Running uses different muscles than cycling. Photo by Kiki Tohme.

Running uses different muscles than cycling. Photo by Kiki Tohme.

Unfortunately, when you cycle you use essentially the same muscles day in and day out. While this is great if you are trying to build those muscles, when cross training, it is crucial to build more than the standard set of muscles so that you are totally prepared for motocross.

This is where running comes in. Running works a totally different set of muscles as cycling which is a great way to round out your training and ensure that you are as prepared for motocross as possible.

Furthermore, this will allow you to train more often. Because running uses different muscles which allows you to put in hard days of riding and running back to back without feeling too many of the effects. This will allow you to train harder and more often and allow your muscles to recover at the same time, which is an earth shattering training routine.

Variety Helps Make Your Training More Effective

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, having variety in your training can help make your training more effective, which is, of course what everyone is trying to do with their training. Introducing running into your program in addition to just cycling can help keep you motivated to train throughout the week and prevent dry spells due to burn out.

Running in between hard bike rides helps to break up your week and really gives your training some variety. This prevents burn out and boredom from doing the same training rides every week. Even though I love cycling, after a few weeks I sometimes need a break. Rather than take a day off and waste valuable training time, I can now go for a run, unwind from cycling, still work my legs and get a good cardio workout in.

Breaking up your workouts with running is a win win situation no matter how you look at it. If you don’t mind running, then it is just another form of training. However, if you dread running (like I used to), then spending one or two days a week running will make the cycling days even sweeter and will motivate you to train even when your ti

red, sick, or the weather is subpar.

Running Is Mentally and Physically Tough

Running is mentally and physically tough. Photo by Unlisted Sightings.

Running is mentally and physically tough. Photo by Unlisted Sightings.

There is no doubt about it, running is tough. There is no relief from the pain and even when your going down hills, you can’t fly down them like you can on a bicycle. Running requires constant effort by your legs and as a result is an extremely tough exercise, both mentally and physically.

Mentally, running has always been extremely hard for me. I’m so used to the speed and adrenaline rush of motocross and cycling that it takes a lot to accept the fact that you simply aren’t moving fast, even when you’re putting in a very hard effort. This type of mental integrity, can actually be a benefit come race time. It helps to build your mental strength, which should help you out on the track at the end of a long moto when you really want to give in to the heat, to the fatigue and to the rough track, but know that it is in your best interest to push for 2 more laps until the finish.

Physically, the toughest part of running is that their is absolutely no relief. No matter the terrain, you always must be moving your legs, and even going fast down hills takes energy. While cycling you can recover slightly on downhills and flats, however, while running this simply isn’t possible and you are forced to put in a constant effort. This allows running to greatly improve the effectiveness of your training.

We’re In a Recession, and Running is Cheap

Running is a cheap form of training. Photo by jenn jenn.

Running is a cheap form of training. Photo by Jenn Jenn.

Our economy is in a very tough time right now, and motocross riders will be hit some of the hardest of any consumers. Everyone is looking to cut costs, and your training routine may be one of those areas in which to cut costs. I love cycling, but it can be a very expensive, especially once your equipment begins breaking and clothes need replacing.

Thankfully, running is a relatively cheap way to get in almost the same level of workout. It may not be quite as fun as cycling, but when your choice is between running or no workout at all, running is always the better option.

One of the greatest things about running, is that you can run under almost any conditions and with almost any equipment. While a good pair of running shoes is a plus and proper winter aparell is great for cold winter runs, household items can be made to work, making running much more of a budget activity. Cycling, on the other hand, requires special shoes, special clothes, a helmet and gloves. I’m not saying that all of the cycling gear is a waste, in fact it is one of my favorite parts of the sport. However, when times get tough, sometimes we need to cut costs, and running is one possible way to accomplish this.

Surprisingly, Trail Running Can be Fun

Trail running can be a fun form of exercise. Photo by anselm.

Trail running can be a surprisingly fun form of exercise. Photo by Anselm.

While running on the road is possibly one of the most boring training activities I do, trail running can be surprisingly fun. There are not a lot of mountain biking trails around here, and if there were, I am in no position to invest in an entirely new bike and set of gear just to mountain bike in the woods. However, trail running is a great way to see the sights and sounds of the woods for a low cost.

I first got introduced to train running during middle school where I was a member of the cross country team, and ever since I have had a soft spot for the sport. I don’t do it enough, especially because of the rough winter weather we’ve been having, but I will definitely be introducing it more into my program come spring, and more importantly, summer.

One of the great parts of trail running is that you can use essentially the same gear as road running. While mountain biking requires an entirely new arsenal of equipment compared to road cycling, you can basically use all of the same gear for trail running. This keeps the price low, yet maximizes the fun level of running, which can be quite boring in other cases.

Conclusion

I love cycling, it is my preferred cardio exercise and the main way I train for motocross. However, after months of cycling, I began looking for something new to introduce into my program. I wanted a way to mix up my training a little bit and add some more variety. In addition, I wanted to find a way to get my cardio in when I didn’t have 2+ hours to spend on the bike. For me, running has field this void and I have greatly enjoyed the nice addition it has made to my training. I still cycle for about 75% of my motocross training, however, running has offered a valid alternative when cycling just is not feasible.

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