3 Generations Cycling the Galloping Goose Trail

3 Generations Cycling the Galloping Goose Trail

June 2018

My son Tim organized this multi-generational bike trip to celebrate my big birthday this year! Ranging in ages from 18 months to 70 years, we all rode the Galloping Goose on Vancouver Island together and had a brilliant time.

In past years, I could never have envisaged biking with my grandchildren, children, daughter-in-law, husband and friends – all surely made possible by joining Kristina’s awesome bike-training group five years ago where I conquered (some of) my fear of riding and gained some useful skills as well.

Thank you, Kristina! This was a very special day for me and my gang!

Phyllis Simon

2018 Ride Don’t Ride

2018 Ride Don’t Ride

Sadly, every one of us knows someone who suffers from mental illness. We don’t think that riding our bikes will be the cure, but in doing so we are hoping to increase awareness and raise money so that those who are in need of help will be able to get it promptly.

Will you join us next year?

We ride the 60km distance as a club but you can ride any distance that you are comfortable with.

From Runner to Cyclist

From Runner to Cyclist

In the spring of 2017, my husband, Dean, and I finalized our travel plans for a fall trip to Europe, which was to include one week at the Belvedere Bike Hotel in Italy.  We had both been involved in long distance running for about 15 years and had a fairly solid cardiovascular fitness base.  Over the years, we had completed several bike touring trips around BC.  However, neither of us had much experience riding in a larger group, we didn’t have road bikes, and I had never used clip ins (the mere idea of clip-ins freaked me out a bit).

So Dean suggested we join the Spring Kits Energy beginner cycling course and were so fortunate to have Kristina as our trainer. The beginner course provided me with the support and encouragement I needed to get into clips and conquer my fear of falling. The course structure, which involved weekly instruction on a specific topic, followed by a group ride, provided just the right combination of education, practical skill development, and fun.

By the time September arrived, I felt confident in my emerging road cycling skills, but the real test was still to come. The highlight of the trip was my sense of accomplishment upon riding to the top of San Marino, which is a tiny little country within Italy set at the top of a “little” mountain.  As I dug deep and used the numerous hill climbing techniques Kristina had drilled into me (yes, she can be a task master), the full extent of what she had taught me, sunk in.

I don’t know whom to attribute the quote to but I agree wholeheartedly that “A coach is someone who always makes you do what you don’t want to do, so you can be who you’ve always wanted to be. There is no glory in practice, but without practice there is no glory”.

Thanks for everything Kristina!

Dean and Dianna Robertson

Maximize your training in AND out of the saddle.

One of the ways you become a better cyclist is through muscular adaptation. In very basic terms, this is what happens: The stress of training causes micro tears in your muscles. Your body then repairs the damage, which results in an inflammatory response (the swelling and tenderness­ you feel after a hard workout or race). The rebuilding process that follows creates stronger muscles—but only if the body has adequate time to heal. If you start your next hard ride when you’re not completely recovered your body is at a disadvantage. If you do this too many times you’ll grow more tired and gain less from each workout.

But recovery isn’t just about sitting on the couch with your legs up. It’s also about not going hard all the time and using rest days wisely. Strategies like low-intensity rides, stretching, yoga and massage will help your muscles recover faster.

Here’s 10 ways on how to maximize every minute you spend in—and out—of the saddle.

1. The harder the workout = the more recovery time you will need. Generally speaking 48hrs should be enough, unless you made a huge jump in your training volume/intensity or you a hard race. Then you may need an extra day or two before you jump back into training.

2. To help your legs recover: elevate them, ice them or wear compression tights right after a hard/long ride.

3. Ride a short (45-60min) recovery ride the day after an intense ride. Keep your recovery rides light and easy, spinning the legs with very little intensity.

4. To replace the lost glycogen, eat immediately after all hard/long rides. Mainly carbs with only a small amount of protein and fat.

5. Stretch hip flexors, quads and hamstrings on a regular/daily basis.

6. Use your time off the bike to cross train with swimming or weight training focusing on core and upper body only. Keep the weights light on the legs. Hard leg training is best done in the off season.

7. Your body is trying to heal from the moment you get off the bike until you get back on again so plan meals ahead of time so you are eating every 3hrs, fuelling the fire.

8. Muscles do most of their repair during sleep. Get at least 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis.

9. If you are suffering from fatigue, frequent colds/flu, frequent injuries or just general fatigue, it may mean that you are overtraining. Take a few days off and ease back into it slowly.

10. Increase volume and/or intensity by only 10% each week.

Sprint intervals and traffic don’t mix.

Vancouver has embraced the large number of bikes on the roads by providing bike lanes and specific bike routes that are great routes when traveling to and from your workout but definitely not the place to lay the hammer down.

So how do you deal with training when you live in the city?

First off, you must remember that as a cyclist, you are legally obligated to obey all the rules of the road like any other vehicle.  If you break the rules, it is you who is going to suffer the most if you get hit. So choosing an appropriate route for your workout is key.

Due to the nature of an interval workout your goal isn’t to find a route that is pleasant to look at, but a route that is safe and will allow you to complete the workout in repetition and as close as you can to what was prescribed. It may seem boring but training on the same route for the same workout each time will give you consistency and specific numbers to measure your progress.

For long rides it is best to choose routes that have very little traffic and as few stop lights/signs as possible, otherwise you won’t get the training benefit of the workout. This may mean that you have to drive your car out of the city before you can start riding.  Zero Ave, Richmond loop, Iona, Stanley Park and Marine Drive are great routes with very few lights.

But even out of the city it is impossible to find a route without any traffic signals. So if you are riding in a large group you will want to follow some basic rules. These will not only keep you safe but they will also help keep your group together as well.

  1. Indicate to vehicles AND your fellow riders the direction you plan on riding well in advance (right or left turns).
  2. Don’t ride through stop signs or red lights (see #4 for more of an explanation).
  3. As the lead rider, if the light turns yellow, stop to avoid breaking up the group when the light turns red.
  4. When riding in a pack, stay close and consider yourself as one vehicle. When crossing intersections continue to move as one unit. Having each person stop individually will create confusion for other vehicles and confusion in the group. If there is a break in a group (more than one bike length distance) then you become two vehicles and you will need to stop.
  5. Use the most trafficked roads as time to warm up and cool down – take your time.
  6. Start long rides early in the morning when it is still quiet on the roads.

Four ways to train for a Fondo and how to get the most out of your training

If you have signed up for a fondo this year, you will want to follow a training program. The purpose of having a program is to ensure that your training progresses slowly but consistently enough to allow your body time to adapt to the training stress and grow stronger with each rest period. If your training plan is to ride whenever you feel like it for as long and as hard as you can, you aren’t doing yourself any favours and you could injure yourself along the way.

There are many different ways to go about getting a training plan and all of them have various benefits attached to them. All of them will get you to your goal of completing a fondo. But usually one, or a combination of a few approaches may work better for your lifestyle than the others.

Personal Cycling Coach

Hiring a personal coach to structure a detailed program is the perfect choice for someone who has specific goals and would like to optimize every hour of their training. As the athlete, you can leave all of the thinking to the coach and simply ride. It is their job to  analyze your heart rate and power zones, continually changing and adapting your program as you progress.

The downside to this is that you don’t get to learn how to ride in a group and it can be a bit lonely.

Cycling Club

If lack of motivation is a key factor to the success of your training program, joining a cycling club might motivate you more than someone emailing you to get out the door. Riding with a club also has the added advantage of teaching you how to ride in a group and you will find that you naturally push yourself to work harder when surrounded by other riders.

The downside is that you only ride when the group rides and you are limited to the distance and destination of the what the group has decided to do.

Cycling Club training for a common goal

Joining a group like the Kits Energy Cycling Club where you ride with a group of people, knowledgeable coaches and a training program designed to train you towards your goal covers all your bases. The group will motivate you to ride and give you plenty of opportunities to practise your group riding skills. The certified coaches will teach you all the skills you need to get you across the finish line and keep you accountable to training every week. The monthly training programs are made specifically for your level and with your goals in mind so that you progressively increase in distance and intensity each week.

The downside is that our club sells out every year so you have to sign up early to join and we only meet once a week.

Online Training Program

If time is a major roadblock to training, you might want to look for a more flexible option such as an online training program. This is the cheapest option as you only pay for one program or you can even use one of the free programs online. Now you can choose whenever you want to ride and who you want to ride with.

The downside to this is that you are using a generic program that may be too easy or too hard for you. You also don’t have the advantage of learning from others, either in a group or from a professional. You will need to do a lot of your own research as well to make this option successful.

Whatever method you choose; personal coach, club or online, any choice is better than no choice at all.