Mile To Ride Before Sleep

Mile To Ride Before Sleep

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So You're Thinking About: Training Off the Bike

"Does anyone have any tips or advice on training off the bike- weight training or other forms cardio, etc? Anything you wish someone had told you/wish you had done prior to your trip/were more prepared for...?"

I think I should have done some lower back workouts before the trip. I got about 1600 miles in before the trip with no back problems, but the hydration pack killed me (I plain just carried too much and didn't have it adjusted quite right. That and my bike was not adjusted for touring). That being said, I was not prepared for the mental challenges of B&B and would not do any more training than you need for the sake of preventing burnout.

Other workouts? Maybe plyometrics, core/abs, squats, leg presses, lunges, calf raises, leg extensions and leg curls. However, I tore my meniscus a couple years ago and my doctor (also a team physician for the Washington Redskins) told me to stop doing leg extensions - apparently really bad for the knees, but I listed it here because it's in this book, and it may improve kneecap tracking.

Additionally, the cyclist's training bible lists step-ups, seated rows, heel raises, and other upper body workouts.

There are only a few pages on weight training in each of those books, but if you want to know more about cycling and weight training.

Lastly, I cannot overemphasize the importance of stretching - after warmup, during and after workout, and before bed. I really neglected this, and it may have eliminated my back issues altogether. Tight hamstrings contribute to a tight lower back and can lead to pain.

It may be worth mentioning that cycling is a low impact sport and over time (how much? I don't know), your bone density will decrease. Apparently, that's why clavicle breaks are common in cycling. Well, and in some cases from improper falling - a FOOSH injury (falling on an outstretched hand). So, running may be helpful in the long term to prevent this. I took an athletic injury course a couple semesters ago, so it's been a while. Anyone please feel to correct anything I've said. Good luck with your training!

So You're Thinking About: Mounting a Camera to Your Bike

"Hey friends! So I'm thinking about taking a GoPro this summer. Probably mostly doing time lapse stuff and I would mess around with it before hand to work on angles and all that stuff. Anyone who has taken one on their trip have any comments, or helpful advise?"

PoV Cameras
  • GoPro
  • Contour
  • Sony
  • Epic
  • VIO
  • RePlay XD
  • more...
Do your research to find out what will fit your needs best. The most popular is probably GoPro and Contour. I own four Contours.

PoV Filming Basics

Someone on the Faceboook group talked about time lapse of their summer. I imagine it to be pretty difficult to pull off a successful and interesting time lapse video that holds the attention of your audience. I think you'll have much more interesting footage if you change up viewing angles and just video of your teammates having an awesome summer. I really enjoyed Nathan Kane's (P2S) video from this year:

Footage with stationery objects to give the audience perspective makes for a much better shot - well, at least in my opinion - especially time lapse.

I liked some of the angles from Alex Caves (NC2SD):

I regrettably didn't bring all my mounts last summer. I think some of the most interesting riding shots are the ones facing the riders behind you, so you can see their faces and not their tail end. This is the result of my footage as well as others' GoPro and iPhone video (bring an external drive to snag everyone's video before the end of the trip)

You can layer your data on top of the footage if you are using sensors:  Pretty interesting.


If you need mounting ideas, there are many here. I used this last summer:

I also recommend RAM mounts. You can pretty much mount anything anywhere. Here is their GoPro page.
You can fool around with the parts and combine them with the ultra clamp. This might help to get wider shots if they ever stock it again.

For my ultra clamp setup, I replace this with this. I add this and then this.

There are different sizes and the price may or may not be cheaper on RAM's web site. The thing about the ultra clamp is that it is pretty versatile. Generally, dedicated handlebar mounts are good for one thing - handlebars, but it could be worth it if it carries no vibration. Just do your research and plenty of testing before you show up to the Atlantic.

So You're Thinking About: Making a Documentary

"I'm planning on making a documentary while on the trip. Let me know if you have any concerns/oppositions/comments/etc"

Let me preface this post and let you know I am not a film student nor have I ever taken any classes (just dabbling for several years). I do have a few suggestions from experience.
  1. Find and watch as many cycling and B&B videos/documentaries as you can. Watch a few other documentaries that are highly regarded. This will serve as a "literature review" of sorts and help model your processes, methods, and techniques. See what you like and don't like. What did they do well, and what didn't work for them? See what you can take away from their framing, layering, and music track choice (or lack thereof). How did they keep their audience's attention? What emotions did you feel when watching? How did they tell their story? First person? Chronological order? Here are a few videos to get you started:

  2. Plus some more:

  3. Determine your audience (B&B, the community at large, your peers)
  4. Determine your (a) goals, (b) strategies, and (c) tactics - the why, how, and what. This is how a business is run, this is how you wage cyber warfare, and I suppose it works for making a film. 
    1. Why should your audience watch your documentary? 
    2. How will you deliver those (inform, demonstrate, entertain, or persuade)? The basic structure of a good story is "a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it."
    3. What will you tell in your story to achieve your goals? If your tactics don't feed back into your goals, don't do it or modify your goals.
  5. Remember your original motivation for B&B.
  6. Don't stress about it and have fun.
  7. I try to give a lot of information for you to be successful, but scale back as you see fit.

So You're Thinking About: Using Your Own Bike

"Does anyone have suggestions about taking your own bike vs taking the one provided?"

First, to bring all my readers up to speed: Bike & Build provides a bike from Giant to each its participants. They can opt out for a $450 fundraising credit.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using your own?

Using your own:
  1. don't need to raise $450 more, thus saving effort + time if you're having trouble fundraising
  2. familiarity with your own equipment
  3. you already are comfortable with the geometry and fit
  4. you've already been through the breaking period. Some riders had issues the first couple weeks
  5. you get to take your baby across the country
  6. it's easy to find your bike among all the others

However, there are some benefits to getting the new bike:

  1. upgrade to your previous bike = faster, more comfortable, better components, bling factor
  2. you'll be able to get it at a good price compare to normal pricing
  3. you get to keep it
  4. you can sell your bike when you are finished
  5. most people have similar bikes, so it makes part swapping easy if something breaks
  6. no sentimental attachment if something catastrophic occurs

I used my own, and I'm glad I did. It's possible to come away from B&B with minimal damage/wear/tear. I overhauled my headset, replaced the cabling afterwards, and replaced the handlebar tape, but everyone probably should, so it's a moot point. There are hoses often at the hosts, so if you take some time, you can clean it regularly. I probably would have been just as happy with the (upgraded) Giant if I did 500 miles on it before the trip. I wasn't willing to switch bikes in the middle of racing season.

So You're Thinking About

There is a Facebook group of old riders and future riders for Bike & Build where the new riders can ask questions and get advice from those who have been around the block... er country. There is a lot of good advice in there as well as really poor advice (when there are 900 people in a group, statistically there are a few that are slower than a bike on a trainer). I try to only post when I have something to valuable to contribute. Often they end up being pretty long. Some of the same questions get asked and Facebook makes it hard to search for old discussions, so I'm starting a series on here to preserve my answers.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Update

I hit the $550 mark last week for fundraising for Bike & Build. I have a long ways to go, but I have a few ideas still to come. Right now, I am doing a fundraiser where you guess how many toothpicks fit in my beard.  The winner will receive a Kindle Fire. My friends helped me with this before I shaved it.

The beard after one year.
Porcupine beard

It's a two step process. You can submit a guess for $1 to, but submit the donation here:

In other news, collegiate racing is back! At Lindsey Wilson, I got 32nd (of 52) in the road race, 5th (of 10) in the team time trial, and 15th (of 40) in the crit. I had two goals: don't get dropped on the first hill in the road race and don't get dropped in the crit. Check. Check. I'll take it for the first race weekend.

This weekend was DePauw. Big news. I got 2nd (of 46) in the road race! Near the finish I couldn't believe that not only was I in contention for the top ten, I could possibly win! We sprinted to the finish and another guy beat me by a couple feet, and I am sure I beat third place by inches. It felt really good. That is my best result in my collegiate career thus far.

After the road race with my teammates

Considering I am doing a little better this year and I am biking across the country again, I am thinking about getting a new bike. I am making myself get my thesis proposal done by spring break to get some motivation. Well, if I follow through with the buy... Right now I am able to trick my mind a bit into thinking I will. I got a lot done on Friday. :)