Friday, September 21, 2012

Interbike - So Much to See

I returned last night from two tiring but fun days at Interbike Expo. This was my first time going but my initial impression was "Wow, this is huge." To give you an idea, there are over 1200 exhibitors at Interbike, representation from over 4000 retail stores and over 20,000 attendees. Absolutely massive.

Friday, September 14, 2012

3 Ways to Improve Your Cycling While Away From the Bike

Obviously, the best way to get better on the bike is to ride your bike under a training plan. However, the reality is that many of us spend more time in an airplane seat than on the bike seat. So, when you are on the road, what sort of exercise can you do that will also benefit you when you actually get on the road?

Here are three ways, even on a limited time schedule, to improve your cycling while traveling. A good workout session of 30 to 40 minutes, either in the weight room or your hotel room is a good start.
  • Strength training - It is important during the season that you pay attention to overall muscle maintenance. Two sets of 10 to 15 reps will make a difference for you.
    • Lower body lunges (and if you want to ratchet it up a little make these what I knew in high school were called mountain climbers).
    • Push ups
    • Chairs - I cannot think of what this exercise is called. What you do is place your back flat against a wall and then begin bending your knees until your knees are bent 90 degrees (like a chair). Keep you back flat against the wall and do this until fatigue. Take a three to five minute break and repeat. I would recommend doing no more than three or four of these since your quads will feel it in the morning!
  • One or two core exercises - Your core muscles provide the key link between your upper and lower body. Your core muscles also provide a solid base of support to ensure an efficient delivery of power to the pedals. Two exercises that I recommend are planks and crunches. Focus on control and form.
  • Flexibility - The muscles that cyclists typically need to stretch out are hamstrings, the lower back, calves, achilles, quadriceps, glutes, hip flexors, shoulders and neck.
In doing these exercises, you will find yourself riding stronger and reduce training-related injuries. Let me know if you have questions. Comments, thoughts, feedback is always welcome!

Also, I will be at Interbike next week. It is the largest cycling-industry event in North America. If you are going to be there, let me know. I'd love to meet up with you!

- Mark

Friday, September 7, 2012

Overcoming Defeat

Alberto Contador scored a gutsy stage win and rode into the red jersey on Wednesday. Photo: Graham Watson

This week's posting comes courtesy of Alberto Contador's never give up performance and Ash Cash. If you are one of the fortunate viewers to be able to watch the Vuelta on NBC Universal or via an online streaming site, then you cannot help but admire Alberto's efforts. On the toughest mountain days, he has constantly attacked Rodriguez, hoping to gain valuable seconds and move closer to the red leader's jersey.

For three epic mountain days, they battled with the opposite result - Rodriguez gained a few seconds on Contador. As a viewer, I was convinced that Rodriguez was the stronger rider and barring an accident, he was going to be wearing the red jersey on Sunday in Madrid. Alberto, however, refused to accept defeat and after every stage would tell Rodriguez he was coming after him tomorrow.

Tomorrow came on Wednesday, a day few, if any, expected to be very exciting. Contador snuck into a large break with over 50 km remaining. He used his teammates to perfection, won the stage and took a solid lead in the overall general classification. Rodriguez had no answer, riding across the line appearing shattered from the day's events.

So, you ask, what does this have to do with this guy Ash Cash? Ash publishes a daily email titled "Daily Word." On Tuesday, the day before Contador's epic ride, his daily word was titled Overcome Defeat. Ash was kind enough to allow me to share it with you.

"Happy Tuesday my soldiers and survivors! Welcome to the day that you finally say enough is enough! Today's Daily Word is dedicated to overcoming defeat! Defeat is defined as having been beaten in a battle or demoralized and overcome by adversity. Life is a challenge but in no way should you ever let it beat you or demoralize you! Every single thing you go or are going through is designed to simply make you stronger! No circumstance is ever permanent unless you give up! I know there may be a lot going on in your life by by all means ITS ALWAYS TOO EARLY TO QUIT!! In life, you will never be given more then you can handle! If your obstacles are seeming too much for you to bear then you have not fully recognized your power! OVERCOME DEFEAT!! Recognize your power and use it to make you situation better! When all else fails take a step back from the situation, relax, breathe and start over! Sometimes taking a step back can help you take a step forward! You are more powerful than you even realize! Don't let your power go to waste! Stay strong and Tell life you are not Having it! Nothing can stop you but you!!"

We are never going to go through life without adversity. It is how we deal with that adversity that either makes us stronger or defeats us. When the chips are down and it looks like you've been dealt a bad hand, do you quit? Or do you decide that, as Ash said in his Daily Word, that it is too early to quit and that you refuse to lose?

"A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits."
-Richard M. Nixon

Ash'Cash is a Business Consultant, Motivational Speaker, Financial Expert and the author of Mind Right, Money Right: 10 Laws of Financial Freedom. For more information, please visit his website,