Ed. Note: Happy Boxing Day! Just as we did on Tuesday, we bring you some of our favorite bike-related posts from 2019, opening with one of our highest-performing posts of all time: the evolution of Heather Jackson's bike position over the course of this past year, as she looked for every possible second on the Kona course, resulting in a 3rd best bike split on the big island.

The Evolution of a Bike Position: The Work Behind Heather Jackson's Kona Ride

Heather Jackson likes to go fast, but she's also always been wary about changing things that have worked. She held off on disc brakes until this year, as the bike industry hurtled towards "discs-as-standard." Conscious of the possible race-ending downsides of electronic shifting, she waited until she knew the systems inside-and-out before deploying the technology in a race. This year at Kona, though, she made several changes in the months leading up to the race: discs, di2, a lower head and higher hands, a completely new bike model. What gave?..[read more]

What you Need to Rock the Gravel

First of all, what is a gravel race? Well, it's one part gran fondo (everybody starts together, just as with a mass start triathlon, and there usually aren't prizes or money for winning), one part cyclocross race (you ride odd bikes with drop handlebars but off-road tires), one part self-imposed endurance challenge (they're usually longer than traditional road races), and one part traditional road race (people do want to win these things, draft packs form, and there are attacks and counter-attacks as you would see in any normal bike race). Oh, right. They are often conducted on gravel roads, that's an important distinction.

Next, why do one of these things in the first place? Well, now you're cracking the proverbial can. Here's a short list of reasons to pick a gravel race for your next endurance challenge...[read more]

Have One of These Strength-Related Cycling Weaknesses?

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"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 

As a massage therapist and cycling coach working in a physical therapy clinic, these words have always resonated with me. Whether it is just a little more attention to nutrition/hydration, getting to bed a little earlier, or for our purposes here, adopting a strength training routine to head off those little niggles that, when left unattended, turn into bigger problems that can take weeks and months from which to recover. For some endurance athletes Strength Training it is the Holy Grail; for others, the concept is a couple bad words that should never be uttered. Strength training has been a component of physical fitness that is often overlooked by endurance athletes simply because of the common notion of “bulking up“ and how that might adversely affect performance. I believe the benefits of strength training far outweigh the possibility of added bulk and weight. In a nutshell, strength training can actually help with weight control because as lean mass is gained, the body burns more calories, making it easier to control weight. Strength training increases bone density and reduces the possibility of fractures. From a purely muscular standpoint, strength training increases muscle strength, power, endurance, and potentially, size. This article will propose five cycling/triathlon related weaknesses and how they can be addressed through a rather basic strength training program. Let’s first examine these five potential problems...[read more

Bonus! How do the Wattie Pros do Boxing Day?

Happy Boxing Day! Although not traditionally celebrated in the United States of America, we thought we'd poll our Canadian pros to see what they do with the day after the Christmas Holiday. As usual, we got an interesting answer from our workingman's pro Nathan Killam, who actually spent most of the weekend in his other life as a firefighter. We've always admired Nathan's work ethic, and this is a great chance to see how the high-energy Killam lives...[read more]