CYCLING for RUNNERS – Article 2 Recovery, Cadence, Long Sessions and Strength

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In article 1 of CYCLING for RUNNERS we discussed finding the correct sized bike and then how to fit the bike. Niandi and myself ride the same size bike (52cm) however, our experience on a bike are different. I have been riding and racing bikes for years whereas Niandi is new and very much on a learning curve in using cycling to improve her running. Also, our morphology is different. Niandi has a slightly longer leg whereas my torso is longer.

My bike is a SCOTT Addict 10. It’s a stiff bike, made of carbon and it’s all about speed. The geometry is classic race geometry with a 74deg seat angle. It’s fast, sometimes a little twitchy but really grips the road.

Scott Addict 10

Niandi’s bike by comparison is a SCOTT Solace 20. It’s a new breed of bike from SCOTT that provides comfort and performance with relaxed geometry. It’s still a super light bike but for long days in the saddle or for the novice cyclist, this bike will certainly help ease the transition. Also, importantly the ‘reach’ of the Solace is less than the Addict. As we mentioned in bike fit, we can tweak saddle, height, handlebars and stem to ensure that our bikes work for us.

Solace 20

So, how is your bike? Do you have it set up properly and do you feel comfortable? Before progressing with some specific cycling sessions on how to improve, we wanted to provide you with several key bullet points why cycling can benefit you as a runner.

You may well have turned to cycling in the past because YOU HAD TO! Yes, we all get injured and as an injured runner we are usually desperate to get an endorphin kick, maintain fitness and reduce impact. Step in cycling…

Although cycling is great as that ‘alternative’ to running, why not think ahead and plan cycling into your weekly schedule to avoid that injury that is almost certainly waiting to happen. 

RECOVERY

Injured or recovering from hard run training, cycling provides great ‘active’ exercise with no impact. We have often heard the phrase, recovery run! But does a recovery run really exist? 20/30 or 40mins of easy running is still creating impact through all your joints and muscles, even if you do not elevate your heart rate. So, why not replace some of these sessions with cycling? Cycling provides all of us with an opportunity to move our legs, increase blood flow, ease joint stiffness, ease tired muscles and we will flush out lactate acid from tired or stiff legs. This is nothing new. Runners have been using cycling as a means of active recovery or injury rehabilitation for years. The addition of a Turbo Trainer (indoor device that attaches to your bike) will also allow you to spin away indoors while keeping warm, dry and you can even watch some TV or listen to music if that is your thing.

Tips: Keep your gearing very light and ‘spin’ your legs. You do not want to be pushing big and heavy gears. Remember, this is about recovery and injury maintenance.

CADENCE

Cadence is something we will have all heard of. Cadence in cycling refers to how many revolutions our legs make per minute. If has often been stated that 90 rpm (revs per minute) is an optimum cadence. We agree! Spinning your legs for 90 rpm (180 for both legs) provides ‘souplesse.’ This souplesse (flexibility) is key to becoming an efficient cyclist. Look at this objectively and the next time you go out for a run, count your foot strike. Maintaining 90 rpm or 90 foot (180 both legs) strikes per minute will make you not only efficient but will also help with technique. Bike and run cadence are two transferable skills. When coaching cyclists, we often use 90 rpm as a benchmark; this also provides a great indicator as to when to change up and down gears. In time, as you become a stronger cyclist you will find that you are able to push a harder gear for the same cadence. In simple terms, you are getting stronger and this means you will go faster.

Tips: You can use a cycle computer and magnet to provide information ‘live’ while cycling. This can be extremely useful when looking to maintain optimum cadence. When running, you can use a foot pod or similar device to relay cadence back to a wrist unit. Both are great tools for improve bike to run cadence.

LONG SESSIONS

Long run sessions and back-to-back run sessions are an essential part of a good runners training plan. However, these sessions can damage the body and in time, potentially injure the body. A long bike ride in isolation or a ‘brick’ session is a fantastic way to gain added fitness time without impacting on your body. Long bikes allow you maximal aerobic time with minimal impact; the only downside will be that you need to be out longer for a similar gain to running. However, this is not the point… a long bike session is about adding variety, providing a new stimulus and increasing or maintaining fitness without impact. A brick session is when bike and run sessions are combined to make one session. Anyone coming from a duathlon or triathlon background will be well aware of this. Running on bike legs is quite a unique experience, the term ‘jelly legs’ is often used. This is because the legs and muscles are used in two very different ways. However, this transition process provides great stimulus and if done gradually, is a great addition to a training plan.

Tips: If you want to translate long runs to bike time, we often use 15min per mile, so, if you did a 20-mile run we would recommend a 5-hour bike ride as starting point. Of course many variables come in to play so be careful. Brick sessions are challenging, start by adding just 10-15 minutes of running to a bike session. In time you can build this but be gradual.

STRENGTH

Running builds a certain set of muscles, fine tunes them and makes them extremely efficient for the job that you ask them to do; run! However, we have many other muscles that feel a little bit neglected with our run habit. Cycling provides a stimulus to these neglected areas. Running and just running makes us all plateau, adding cycling will not only compliment our run muscles but also so many other areas of our body will become stronger (such as our core, arms, shoulders, hips and so on). Add all this together and what we have is a faster and stronger runner.

Tips: Like anything, if you haven’t cycled before, start easy and progress slowly. No need to rush. After a bike ride, make sure you stretch, particularly hamstrings! Cycling turns your legs over in a smaller circle than running.

We caught up with Salomon International athlete, Philipp Reiter on his thoughts on why CYCLING is good for RUNNERS.

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp Reiter, Salomon ©iancorless.com

Philipp on RECOVERY

Spinning out the legs” on a bike is definitely one of the things I personally look forward too after a hard and/or long run. Spinning makes the blood go through my body faster and takes all the acids and by-products away. Shaking the legs out on a bike makes my muscles ache less and speeds up recovery.

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Philipp on STRENGTH

Even if you just hike or walk around (instead of running on a rest day) your leg muscles always have to push to move the body. Have you ever recognized that you never pull and use the complementary muscles? Using cycling and specific bike shoes/pedals allow you to pull the pedals as well as to push them more intense than you would do without. But what is the advantage to build up the “other” muscles? After many years of running, muscle can become imbalanced and this increases the risk of injuries or other problems with tendons. Cycling will work these unused areas.

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Philipp on IMPACT

Running impacts on bones, hips, tendons… no doubt! Cycling is relatively impact resistant, especially road cycling! However, you must ensure you have correct bike set up and fit. Don’t try to save time or money by cutting corners here. A bike that is too small or too large or one that does not have the correct fit will just impact on your power output and after a while you may get problems in your back or knees!

Philipp on LONG SESSIONS

Philipp Reiter Cycling

Philipp Reiter Cycling

A long bike ride is a great way to have a long endurance session. I usually double my run time, so, if I wanted to do a 2-hour run I would replace with a 4-hour bike. You still get tired, you still get just as hungry and you definitely get the fitness benefits. What you don’t get is the damage and impact. However, you still need to run long… cycling is great is a great alternative to mix things up and provide stimulus but would never replace long runs. You just need to work them into your schedule.

In our next article we will talk about the right kit for cycling and provide you with some guidelines on how to include cycling in your current training plan.

Join us on STRAVA

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Thanks to SCOTT SPORTS for the support and backing

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Check out SCOTT HERE

CYCLING for RUNNERS PAGE HERE

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Garmin Forerunner 920XT

Garmin 920XT

Garmin, the global leader in satellite navigation, is excited to unveil its most advanced multisport GPS watch to date – the Forerunner 920XT. Your expert personal trainer on your wrist, the Forerunner 920XT records detailed metrics for swimming, cycling and running – perfect to take elite and keen athletes’ training to the next level. Whether it’s a triathlon, Ironman or marathon you wish to conquer, the Forerunner 920XT has the know-how and the drive to take you there.

With a super slim profile, the Forerunner 920XT is 15 per cent lighter and 18 per cent thinner than its predecessor, and offers an extremely comfortable fit with its flexible, hinged watch band. ‘Watch-mode’ and daily activity tracking features are ideal for all day wear to monitor steps and calories. Receiving GLONASS signals as well as GPS signals, the watch ensures users are totally connected with smart notifications, including incoming texts, emails, calls, and calendar reminders – all on the high-resolution colour display – when in range of a paired Bluetooth®-smart device.

Dan Bartel, Garmin’s Vice President of Worldwide Sales, says, “As a pioneer and leader in GPS multisport watches, we’re excited to introduce our most advanced, all-in-one solution for triathletes and multisport athletes. Recording in-depth metrics for swimming, cycling and running, tracking daily activity, while keeping users connected, the Forerunner 920XT is ideal for training, racing, and everything in between.”

The new Forerunner has a water rating of 5 ATM4 (water proof for 50 meters/165 feet) and offers advanced swim metrics for training in a pool or open water, including drill logging, recording swim distance, pace, stroke type, stroke count and SWOLF score, as well as distance and time alerts to let users know a set is over, or time alerts The Forerunner 920XT also includes two types of rest timers to keep time pushing off the wall.

On your bike, the watch has a built-in altimeter for precise ascent, descent and gradient data during training. When paired with compatible ANT+™ power meters, including Vector™ S and the dual-sensing Vector system, the Forerunner 920XT displays power data including average watts, left/right balance5, power zone, and when paired with a heart rate monitor, it can derive users’ VO2 max estimates for cycling to help monitor changes in fitness.

Using Garmin’s advanced running dynamics, athletes can measure and track their running form with the Forerunner 920XT. Reporting cadence (total steps per minute), vertical oscillation (amount of “bounce” in a runner’s step), and ground contact time, the Forerunner 920XT even shows a colour gauge to enable comparison between running peers. It also features a metronome, with vibration and audible alerts, to guide cadence training, a race predictor based on VO2 max for running, and a recovery advisor indicating how long a runner should rest before attempting another hard effort1.

For ultra-runners, the Forerunner 920XT offers an UltraTrac mode that turns GPS off at certain intervals, extending its GPS mode battery life from 24 hours to up to 40 hours.

Athletes can track their workouts using the Forerunner 920XT as a remote for their VIRB®or VIRB Elite action camera3, by starting and stopping recording, and taking stills right from their wrist. Synched with Garmin Connect, users can seamlessly upload workouts and start a LiveTrack session from their smartphone2.

Garmin 920XT Red

The Forerunner 920XT is available in black/blue or red/white, RRP £389.99 and £419.99 for the premium heart rate monitor bundle. With a software update available in early 2015, the Forerunner 920XT will become Connect IQ compatible, making even more applications available to users for their active lifestyles.

Press release by adpr.co.uk

Content ©garmin

Lizzy Hawker announces Ultra Tour Monte Rosa #UTMR

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

Lizzy Hawker, 2012 UTMB copyright Ian Corless

I was fortunate to meet up with TNF athlete, Lizzy Hawker earlier this year in Zermatt. I was curious as to the health of Lizzy and also how she had been filling her time whilst away from the sport.

From an injury perspective, it is slowly does it. One step at a time in the hope that Lizzie’s injury woes are behind her. Lizzy said, ‘but I just need to be careful.’

Ironically, our chat in Zermatt was just days before the TNFUTMB, a race Lizzy has dominated in the past. Lizzy would be at the 2014 UTMB but in a role as an ambassador and not racing.

So, what has Lizzy been up to?

Well, to put it quite simply, Lizzy has been working hard to create a race of epic proportions, the ULTRA TOUR MONTE ROSA (UTMR).

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‘I have been working hard to develop a beautiful trail race around Monte Rosa on the Swiss / Italian border. We will hold a zero edition 4 day stage race in August 2015, and the full inaugural 150km ultra marathon in 2016,’ said Lizzy.

The website: www.ultratourmonterosa.com

all images ©alextreadway

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‘I first went to Zermatt at the age of 6, and that is where my love of the mountains started. The opportunity to create a race here and to share this love means a lot to me. Having explored the trails in this region extensively, I am convinced they are some of the most magnificent in the alps.’ As we all know, Lizzy has very much pioneered the way for trail and mountain running, particularly for women, so, to have this passion reflected back as a race director can only be a good thing. ‘My intention in founding this race is simply to give people an opportunity to explore these trails, and to experience the value of challenging themselves within the context of an ultra distance race. Running and racing has, over the years, given me so much, and this is what I would like to share with others now.’

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Crossing six high passes, this race will be a very tough event! Passing through Zermatt, the iconic Matterhorn will provide a backdrop as the race heads away accumulating over 10,000 m of ascent/ descent with an average altitude of 2000m.

‘It is a circumnambulation around the huge and imposing massif of the Monte Rosa. On often technical trails. It is firmly in the “hard” category. It is tough, beautiful and alluring!’

Lizzy is certainly in a reflective period of her career, summed up in her comments, ‘As race director, I would really like to encourage more women to participate and we will work towards achieving this in various ways. It will also be really important to us to support all our runners in their journey to reach the start line, and beyond, so that as many as possible can finish and enjoy their experience.’

Entry criteria for the ultra marathon will be tough, but Lizzy and her team will encourage participation and greater access through our stage race and provision of training camps.

More information will follow in due course and I will be looking to provide a full and in-depth interview with Lizzy in the coming days/ weeks.

Entry opens January 1st 2015

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2015 Race Route & Details:

RACE DATE20 – 23 August 2015 

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  • TOTAL DISTANCE: 150km
  • TOTAL ASCENT: +10,000m
  • AVERAGE ALTITUDE: +2,000m
  • COUNTRIES: Switzerland and Italy

 

STAGE I:  Grächen to Zermatt 

  • Date: Thursday 20 August
  • Start: Grächen (CH)
  • Finish: Zermatt (CH)
  • Distance: 33 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2200m / -2000m
  • Time Limit: 12 hours

 

STAGE II:  Zermatt to Stafal 

  • Date: Friday 21 August
  • Start: Zermatt (CH)
  • Finish: Stafal (IT)
  • Distance: 38 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2700m / -2500m
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

 

STAGE III: Stafal – Macugnaga

  • Date: Saturday 22 August
  • Start: Stafal (IT)
  • Finish: Macugnaga (IT)
  • Distance: 36.5 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2700m / -3200m
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

 

STAGE IV: Macugnaga – Grächen

  • Date: Sunday 23 August
  • Start: Macugnaga (IT)
  • Finish: Grächen (CH)
  • Distance: 40 km
  • Ascent / Descent: +2600m / -2250
  • Time Limit: 14 hours

*PLEASE NOTE: 2016 will be the first edition and single stage!

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IMAGE GALLERY HERE all images ©alextreadway

LINKS

For more information, follow on Facebook HERE, Twitter HERE and via the website, HERE

You can sign up to the mailing list, HERE

2015 Registration is available HERE

Trail Magazin 6/2014 w/ Kilian Jornet & Emelie Forsberg

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German magazine, TRAIL has a 6-page feature on my interview and images of Kilian Jornet in edition 6/2014.

In addition, it has a photo of Emelie Forsberg and text on Trofeo Kima.

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You can purchase and download the magazine in PDF HERE

Rab Mountain Marathon 2014

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Over 500 runners assembled in the English Lakes for 2-days of Mountain Marathon action in what turned out to be two great days.

Although the sun only penetrated the thick cloud a couple of times, the weather was dry and as per usual, the Lakes provided a perfect backdrop to two tough days.

RACE IMAGES available HERE

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A score event (long and short), participants competed in solo or teams of two and as one would expect, the mix of ability was wide. One of the appeals of the RMM.

A rolling start on both days, 8:30 to 10:30 on Saturday and 07:00 to 09:00 on Sunday avoided snakes of runners and thus ensured everyone had to hone their ‘nav’ skills in finding the appropriate controls.

One thing that was great to see on both days, was huge smiles and a real enjoyment of the event irrespective of ability or speed.

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Day 1 provided a couple of very obvious controls relatively close to camp 1 to start and then there field of 500 spread over a wide area. The faster runners covering quite some ground to gain maximum points and by contrast, the walkers took a more direct line and less controls to camp 2.

Starting just west of the A6, day 1 went as far north as Mardale Head and Blea Water and west of Stony Cove Pike. In the south, the faster runners could venture below the River Kent.

Stewart Bellamy (300 points) was the stand out solo competitor and Andrew Stirk/ Adam Higgins (290 points) were the leading team of two after day 1 in the long course. Jackie Scarf and Phil Scarf had a 20 point lead in the short score (235 points) and Luke Gordon (210 points) was the leading solo.

©iancorless.com_RabMM14_-2915A strong wind blowing from the south potentially was going to make overnight camp interesting. However, with all runners back the wind suddenly dropped making the evening a calm, still and very warm night.

An early start had participants departing in two start windows, 0700-0800 and 0800-0900. With the exception of just a few, nearly all participants headed south before then heading east and making the way back to day 1 start camp.

A corridor of controls made this section of the course busy with runners coming from all directions as they tried to take accumulate as many points as possible.

Tough terrain and warm temperatures made day 2 all about covering ground fast as controls were much closer together and therefore points were really up for grabs. Steve Bellamy once again lead the way with 240 points with Daniel Gooch and Jon Moulding both raised their individual games with 245 and 240 points respectively. Two man team Andrew Stirk/ Andrew Higgins looked to be moving fast all day but finished 4th with 235 points. However, Stirk/Higgins still held on to 2nd overall behind Steve Bellamy and Daniel Gooch placed 3rd.

Short score competitors had a shake around on day 2 with day 1 leaders, Jackie & Phil Scarf placing 2nd behind Steve Wilson and Peter Stobbs. Patrick Butlin finished 3rd ahead of day 1 2nd place, Luke Gordon. However, the overall results remained unchanged with Team Scarf 1st (425 points), Luke Gordon 2nd (390) and Tim Martland (360) 3rd.

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Shane Ohly as race director and the Ourea Events Team bring slick organisation to difficult terrain and along with the course planning skills of Charlie Sproson, these events are a must do on the calendar. It’s been a busy year for the team, it all started in January with Marmot Dark Mountains. The Rab Mountain Marathon concludes 2014 but already plans are in motion for 2015 and remember, it’s a Dragons Back year! Arguably one of the toughest challenges in the UK

Results are HERE

Ourea events HERE

RACE IMAGES available HERE

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Like The Wind – Action Photography Workshop w/ Ian Corless

 

Photo ©covadongafernandezcue

Photo ©covadongafernandezcue

We are really delighted to announce a very special event at the Pop-Up: an action photography workshop with the one and only Ian Corless. This is a man who not only takes some of the most beautiful, inspiring and exciting photos of ultra trail running, but he is an ultra trail runner himself, so he really knows what he’s talking about.

LtW_ImageLogos_signatureThis workshop is going to be a perfect opportunity to hone your own photography skills and learn from one of the best. Tickets are limited so that everyone on the course gets as much from it as possible, so if you fancy upping your camera game, this is the one for you!

Event information and booking HERE

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Rab Mountain Marathon 2014 Preview

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The 8th Rab Mountain Marathon™ will be held on the 27th and 28th September 2014. The Rab Mountain Marathon™ is a two-day fell running and navigation challenge for solos and pairs with an overnight camp.

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The Rab Mountain Marathon kicks off this weekend at 0830. Two days of navigation and running will unfold in the English Lakes using the popular score format.

Now in it’s 8th year, the Rab Mountain Marathon has become an iconic race that has visited many stunning locations, the Cheviot Hills, Derwent Fells, Snowdonia, Howgills and this year it once again returns to the English Lakes.

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Taking on challenging mountain terrain, participants need to be competent and confident at moving fast over tough terrain. As usual, the is the UK and runners will need to be prepared for the worst despite a recent spell of really good weather in the UK.

As one would expect, the Rab Mountain Marathon will take place over rough, steep and technical mountain terrain. Many sections of the course will be isolated and if bad weather comes in, everyone needs to be prepared.

©iancorless.com.IMG_5731GL3D_Day1The race format is ‘score’ as this tests navigation skills and avoids snakes of runners going from point-to-point. A rolling start window of 2-hours will spread the runners out and electronic timing is used to track the runners. As normal, different class options are available (including walking) and it’s possible to participate as a solo or team of two.

It’s hard to highlight some standout competitors for 2014. If I were to place a bet on the top Long Score competitors it would be between Adam Stirk and Andrew Higgins (who are a pair) and Stewart Bellamy (solo). Adam and Andrew finished 3rd last year behind Steve Birkinshaw (1st in 2013) and Alex Pilkington (2nd in 2013) both of whom are not taking part this year. They were also 2nd at the Highlander in 2013.

Stewart Bellamy is a strong runner and whilst he may not have featured in the results of recent mountain marathons, he did win the GL3D in 2013.

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The Rab Mountain Marathon’s approach is designed to be relaxed and less formal and structured than that of the OMM, which will take place next month.

Shane Ohly, race director for Ourea Events says, ‘But hey the Rab isn’t really about the elite runners and there is some super generous support from Rab who are providing vouchers to the value of about £10,000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd across a huge range of categories. Check them out here: HERE

At registration on the Friday evening or Saturday morning, competitors can view a Master Map of the competition area which will give a full overview of the event area being used plus provide details of any out of bounds areas, map corrections etcetera. The event Master Map will not be over-printed with any control points.

So there you have it… two days of navigational fun in the English Lakes. It’s possible to follow a live stream HERE and a free APP has been created. Details HERE

Apps can be downloaded here:

iOShttp://bit.ly/1wwcbDKAndroidhttp://bit.ly/1AUZNhj

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Race Website HERE

Rab Apparel HERE

Rab Twitter HERE

CYCLING for RUNNERS – Article 1 Bike Fit and Bike Size

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Cycling is a great addition to your run training plan and if done correctly, you will see your fitness, strength, speed and recovery improve. Before you do anything, you need a bike and importantly a bike that s the right size and one that fits you…

Get this wrong and any benefits from cycling will be eroded away with potential injury and discomfort.

Bike fitting and bike size are two different things. Don’t confuse them. Before you can do one, you must do the other, so, getting the correct size bike is imperative. This is not complicated. For the purposes of all our articles we are referring to road cycling and as such all our reference points will relate to a road bike.

When purchasing a bike, geometry is important, this relates to the angles that are used when constructing the frame. In simple terms you have comfort geometry and race geometry. The picture below shows the difference.

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Comfort geometry will be a little easier on your lower back and as the name suggests, you may well be more comfortable on longer rides. Race geometry is longer and more aggressive. You don’t need to be a racer for race geometry. The choice is yours.

Niandi’s note: Male and female specific bikes are available, however, many ladies purchase a male bike. So, what is the difference? Many ladies have longer legs and a shorter torso; so, a female specific bike can be a good consideration. In real terms, this will mean the bike will have a shorter top tube (this affects the reach to the bars) and the seat tube angle will be steeper. This all combines to more comfort. In addition, many brands also make female bikes in smaller sizes (smaller then male sizes) but with classic male geometry. Ladies, I am pretty sure you know your morphology and what you want, so choose what is right for you. 

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Scott Sports say: SCOTT aims high when it comes to the comfort and ergonomics of a product such as the Solace. Therefore a women’s specific geometry for the Solace Contessa lineup has been developed. A 10mm shorter toptube combined with a 10mm longer headtube take into account the different proportions of women and offer a perfect fit for female road cyclists.

As a cyclist, you connect to the bike via five key and integral points:

  • Saddle
  • Left pedal
  • Right Pedal
  • Left side of the handlebar
  • Right side of the handlebar

A good bike retailer is integral to ensuring that you purchase the correct size bike. For example, we have two friends, A & B. Friend A is the same height as friend B… lets say, 5ft 9”. Friend A rides a 52cm bike therefore friend B assumes that he/she will ride a 52cm bike. Is that correct?

NO!

Why you may ask? Bike sizing is determined by your inside leg (and many other aspects) but ultimately; inside leg is a great starting point. At 5ft 9”, friend A has an inside leg of 32” and he/ she rides a 52cm bike whereas friend B has a 31” inside leg and therefore rides a 50cm bike.

If in doubt, it is always better to have a bicycle that is a little too small than too large as later when you come to bike fitting you can make the necessary adjustments.

Your aim is to have a connection with the bike so that you almost don’t feel the bike. I like to call this, being ‘at one’ with the bike. When you have the size and the fit tweaked to your needs, cycling is a wonderful thing.

Remember, a bike shop is interested in selling bikes. They want YOU to purchase a bike, so, although you will rely on the knowledge of professionals in the store, we can’t emphasize enough to find a retailer with a good reputation. SALE bikes are always a great way to get a quality bike at a good price but be careful… don’t let a great deal make you make the wrong decision.

Use this diagram below to gauge some key measurements in regard to what will be the correct size bike for you.

Bike Fit

Completing the above sheet will provide some measurements that you can then apply in regard to narrowing down what will be the correct bike size for you.

Here are two spec sheets provided by SCOTT, firstly male:

Scott Male Geometry

and female:

Scott Female Geometry

Having knowledge and information prior to attending a bike store will not also make your search more focused but it will also ensure that the bike store staff realise they are dealing with someone who knows what he or she wants.

Lets assume you have your bike; it’s the correct size, now it needs to fit you!

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Bike Fitting

Bike fitting is a precise art and can often be tweaked and tweaked before one finds the perfect decision. Companies exist who perform ‘bike fitting’ and this may be something you’d like to consider? It does depend though on your budget.

If you are going to fit yourself to your bike here is a simple guide.

A bike has three key points:

  • Saddle
  • Handlebars
  • Pedals

SADDLE:

Just because your bike came with a saddle, it does not mean it’s the correct saddle. Ladies in particular will agree here. Try and try and find the perfect saddle for you. It’s a time investment but well worth it and your bum will thank you for it too.

Niandi’s note: Please consider that a male saddle may well suit a woman and woman’s saddle may well suit a man.

Once you have the perfect saddle for you, you need to position the saddle with three key factors considered:

  • Saddle height
  • Saddle tilt
  • Saddle fore and aft position

Saddle height is straightforward really but we see so many cyclists with a saddle too high or too low. Get this wrong and you not only loose power but you risk injury.

Sit on your saddle and we recommend you take the weight of one leg by placing your foot on a stool or something similar. You need your pelvis to be level. This is important! Lower your free leg and place your heel on the pedal. Drop the pedal with your heel on it to the 6 ‘o’ clock position. Now slide your foot back with the ball of your foot over the pedal. What are you looking for? Well, you should ideally have a slight bend in your knee. If not adjust the saddle height up or down as appropriate. Make sure you have your cycling shoes on with the cleat attached (more on that later). You don’t want your hips to rock from left to right when cycling, so, fix the saddle in what you consider to be ideal position, go for a spin and then check. Spend time on this to get it right.

Saddle tilt may be adjusted on all saddles. Many consider a ‘level’ saddle to be optimum but why? For sure it will work for some, however, we are all unique. Personally, both Niandi and myself tilt our saddles up just ever so slightly but there is no exact science on this, you must go with what works for you. If your saddle points down too much, you tend to feel like your sliding off and this adds pressure to your arms and hands.

Niandi’s note: Ladies you may find that tilting your saddle will reduce or increase pressure on sensitive areas.

Fore & aft allows the saddle to move on its rails towards the handlebars or towards the back of the bike. This position is often rarely considered in new or novice cyclists. Height is the main consideration and then tilt and fore/aft are only usually looked at if persistent discomfort continues.

Place your feet on the pedals place your legs/ pedals at 9 and 3 on the clock. If someone photographs you from the side or if you can look in a mirror, you should look for the crank arm (this holds the pedal) being parallel to the ground and your kneecap should be over the pedal.

Again, adjusting fore and aft is a very personal thing; however look out for too much weight being placed on the handlebars. If you are getting sore hands, sore arms and tightness in the neck you are probably too far forward. However, if you are too far back, you may well feel you are reaching too far for the handlebars. Tweak position for comfort.

Niandi’s note: Ladies, if you don’t have a specific ladies bike with a shorter top tube, you may find moving your saddle forward will make things more comfortable for you?

HANDLEBARS:

Handlebars come in all shapes and sizes. If you are new to cycling the complexities of the simple handlebar may well just be completely over your head, however, a few key points should be looked out for. The handlebar is held secure in a stem. A stem comes in various lengths/angles and this controls how near or how far the handlebars are to you and so therefore, the correct stem is crucial in getting the correct position.

When riding, you will move around the handlebars, for example placing your hands in the flat middle section is popular when climbing. When you are cruising in and around other traffic, hands on the brake hoods are popular. If you are going flat out and looking for speed, you will probably be on the drops (the bendy section) and looking to become more aerodynamic.

As with saddles, many purchase a bike and will just ride with the handlebars and stem provided. This may well be okay, but for example, if you are on the drops can you still reach the brake leavers and brake without becoming a contortionist?

Niandi’s note: Ladies our hands are smaller typically than a man, therefore we will need a handlebar with less reach.

Handlebars come in different widths, height and depth. So, ladies will usually need a smaller handlebar and gents, you will need something wider. If in doubt with handlebar width, use the width of your armpits/shoulders as a guide.

Getting the correct handlebar/stem combination can make a difference! As a general rule of thumb, place your hands on the bars and look for a slight bend in the elbows. As you move positions, your body position will also change and aerodynamics come into play.

You are looking for comfort. Not only in your favourite position but also when climbing, when sprinting, when standing out of the saddle or when powering into a headwind.

You will want to rotate the bars up and down to get the best position. Handlebars rotated up are easier on your back whereas handlebars rotated down allow for a more aerodynamic position.

Stems are available in different heights, lengths and angles. It is a minefield and ultimately you may have to see how the stem on your bike works for you and see if it is comfortable. You can tweak this up and down. Road cyclist usually prefer the stem below saddle height, however, if you are inexperienced or suffer with lower back pain, you may prefer the stem above seat height. Length and angle can only be altered either by purchasing different stems (not practical), or purchasing an adjustable stem that will allow all these movements to be made or you seek the advice of a professional.

Niandi’s note: Ladies you can potentially use a shorter stem if you have a small torso or shorter arm reach.

PEDALS:

The pedal holds the foot in place and pretty much everyone these days uses specific cycling shoes that will have a cleat on the bottom that fits into the pedal. This system actually was invented as on off spin from ski binding and improved cycle efficiency and power.

You can purchase pretty much any cycle shoe, of course we recommend Scott. On the bottom of the shoe will be a series of holes that allows you to attach your chosen cleat.

Pedals and cleats work together, so; if you use LOOK pedals you need LOOK cleats and so on.

THIS IS IMPORTANT.

Positioning your cleat on your shoe and getting the ideal position is arguably the most important aspect of fitting in relation to cycling and running.

Get this wrong and your knee will be out of line and a potential injury is waiting to happen. To put this in perspective, look at this from a running perspective… are you neutral, a pronator or supinator?

Cleats, like saddles are positioned on the shoe: fore/aft and side to side.

Other than getting a professional fit, fitting cleats are very much trial and error. In principal, the cleat should generally be behind the ball of the foot or on the ball of the foot. It’s personal and down to biomechanics.

Ultimately you don’t want any strain on your muscles. Achilles and calf tenderness are sure signs that you have the position wrong and you will need to move the cleat towards your heel. Tweak and tweak the position until it feels neutral.

Once you have this position worked out, you will need to ensure that the side-to-side position is correct as this controls alignment of the knee. I don’t need to explain here how important this is.

As a general rule, you want our knee over your toes when pedalling. If your knee is to the left or the right of the foot when pedalling then move the cleat appropriately.

Again, we are all individual and tweaking this position for you and your own comfort is crucial to successful cycling.

The rotation of the cleat is important. Do you stand with your feet pointing forward (north to south) or do you stand with your left toes at 10 (north west) and your right toes at 2 (north east)? Positioning your cleats with this rotation compensated for is another key aspect. Many modern day cleat/pedal combinations allow for ‘float’, which for many has been a lifesaver. This ‘float’ allows the foot; knee and leg to move in a natural way when pedalling and this can avoid injury. We recommend if you are new to cycling purchasing a pedal and cleat combination that allows for float.

Finally, the crank, which holds the pedal, will typically be 170mm long. For very specific adjustments you can get shorter or longer cranks (165, 170, 172.5 and 175), If a crank is too long it will feel hard to push a gear, if it is too short it will feel odd and you will lack power. Generally 170 cranks are ideal unless you are short or tall. Keep in mind that if you purchase a complete bike, the crank should be appropriate for the frame size.

Niandi’s note: Ladies, if you don’t have a specific ladies bike and you have a short inseam, shorter cranks may be beneficial.

SUMMARY:

Solace Ladies BikeGetting the correct bike in the correct size and then spending time on how it fits you is just as important as purchasing the correct run shoes. The plus side of a bike is that you can tweak, adjust and customize the position for you and your needs. So, the most important first decision is purchasing the correct sized bike.

Once you have the correct bike, you can spend time on fitting.

Fitting is crucial to long-term cycling pleasure. Remember, we are looking at cycling as an addition to your running and therefore, we don’t want cycling to injure your running…

The above points may sound complicated and problematic, however, a little time and patience is all you need. If in doubt, seek professional advice.

First and foremost, ask around; find a really good bike shop with a great reputation. Get this first step right and many other aspects will fall into place.

Enjoy the journey.

Still Question if CYCLING is good for RUNNERS? Look at this tweet by 2014 UTMF and UTMB champion, Francois D’Haene:

Francois Tweet

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Thanks to SCOTT SPORTS for the support and backing

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Check out SCOTT HERE

CYCLING for RUNNERS PAGE HERE

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Join STEVIE KREMER in London for a run and talk

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Meet Stevie Kremer

Freestak on behalf of Ian Corless and Talk Ultra

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 from 18:30 to 22:30 (BST)

London, United Kingdom

Stevie Kremer has had an exceptional 2014, the highlight of which has to be winning the Matterhorn Ultraks 46K in a new course record, her third win in the Skyrunner® World Series SKY distance. This victory along with wins at Zegama-Aizkorri and Sierre-Zinal has secured another Skyrunner World Series title for 2014 which will conclude at Limone Extreme on October 11th.

Stevie will join us for a run, talk and Q&A opportunity just days after Limone Extreme on route to the final Skyrunning UK event in 2014, the Mourne Skyline MTR which will take place in Ireland on October 18th.

Stevie has had a whirlwind couple of years, in 2013 she was crowned Skyrunner® World Series champion after securing victory ahead of Emelie Forsberg at the final race of the year in Italy. This year, in addition to three victories at Zegama-Aizkorri, Sierre-Zinal and Matterhorn Ultraks, Stevie won the combined title at the Skyrunning World Championships in Chamonix.

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Ian Corless, photographer/ writer at iancorless.com and creative director/host of Talk Ultra, has set up the opportunity for a group of runners to join Stevie for a run on Hampstead Heath followed by a Q&A session over a few drinks. This event has been set up in collaboration with freestak Ltd and Like the Wind magazine.

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The run will last between 45 and 60 minutes and will just be a social event at an easy pace. Afterwards there will be a chance to order dinner at the pub where we will be retiring to catch up with Stevie and ask all the burning questions we have for her.

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FAQs

What are my transport/parking options?

The nearest tube to the pub is Kentish Town or Gospel Oak on the Overground. For more informationclick here.

Can I leave bags at the venue?

You can leave bags at the venue and someone will stay with them while everyone goes running. We can’t take responsibility for any loss or damage to items left however.

Will there be food available?

The pub cooks fresh dishes which can be ordered in advance. Everyone who books a ticket will be contacted before the event to see if they want to order some food.

What do I get for my money?

Everyone who pays for a place on the run will get a drink after the run. Food will be extra and can be paid for at the bar.

PLEASE NOTE – This is a ticket ONLY event and numbers are very limited (just 30-places). You can purchase a ticket HERE for £5.00.

Location:

The Dartmouth Arms
35 Dartmouth Park Rd
London
NW5 1SP 

United Kingdom

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 from 18:30 to 22:30 (BST)