Tips In Choosing Bike Helmets

Not everyone prefers riding a bike than a car when heading for work, going out with family and friends, or doing a work out that will keep you healthy and fit. For those who understand all the benefits that cycling provides, also understand that to enjoy the most that the discipline can provide, a rider like you should always keep in mind the basic safety guidelines.

One of these safety precautions is wearing an appropriately-fitting helmet. No one would like to ride a car without the seat belt on, why would you ride a bike without a bike helmet? So why hop on a bike without a bike helmet? It just makes sense to wear a helmet in all riding conditions. Some countries even have laws requiring them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that “bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants in motor vehicles.” Meanwhile, a 2017 Road Safety Factsheet reveals that 18,477 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents in 2016 alone. This figure includes 3,499 who were killed or seriously injured. The report also indicates that of these injuries, head injuries that range from fatal skull fractures and brain damage to minor concussion and cuts, are quite common injuries to cyclists. As such, hospital data reveals that more than 40% of cyclists, and 45% of child cyclists, suffer head injuries.

Unfortunately, finding a good-fitting helmet that provides all other features that place it above other designs and makes. If you just make a quick search for bike helmets on a single e-commerce site like Amazon, you will be overwhelmed by the result. A day may not be enough to read through thousands and thousands of results.

How then can you ever decide in such a very short time which helmet you should choose?

The fact that by law, all helmets that are being sold in the U.S. must meet standards set by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) gives you the assurance that picking one won’t be that bad after all. There are also some helmets are being endorsed by other organizations dedicated to research, education, testing and development of helmet safety standards, such as the nonprofit Snell Foundation.

To easily narrow down your options when deciding which bike helmet to go, you may want to consider these tips:

Types of Bike Helmets

First of all, you need to remember that bike helmets fall under three basic categories — those that are used for recreational purposes or those that are also considered as multi-use and casual, road and mountain. These helmets are all designed to protect your head from impact even while they are lightweight and comfortable.

How do you differentiate these helmets?

Recreational helmets are the practical choice for a commuter, road as well as mountain bikers. These helmets are also popular with skateboarders and many inline skaters. They usually come with visors that are intended to protect your eyes from the sun.

Road bike helmets, on the other hand, are types of helmets that most roadie enthusiasts prefer, primarily for they are lightweight, several vents, and aerodynamic design. They normally come without visors.

Finally, mountain bike helmets are designed to ventilate well at low speeds. They can easily be distinguished from other helmet types by their visors, a better rear-head coverage and a firm, secure fit that is necessary when tackling rough terrain. They also include a full-face protection that’s why they’re preferred by downhill mountain bikers and park riders.

Construction

Most helmets are made using the in-mold construction. This is a popular process that fuses an outer shell and inner liner without the need to use glues. The end product is a light-yet-strong design.

Shell. Most cycling helmets are covered with a plastic shell that holds the helmet together during an impact. It provides puncture-resistance and also allows the helmet to slide during a crash, thus protecting your head and neck, and limiting the possibility of possible injury.

Liner. Most liners for helmets are made of expanded polystyrene foam. On impact, the liner disperses the force to protect your head. When choosing the best helmet for mountanin bike to wear, make sure to pick one with a liner that fits your head comfortably.

MIPS equipped helmets

There are many helmet designs that come with a Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) technology. This is a helmet construction intended to provide more protection from rotational forces on impact.

Helmets with such a feature are made with a low-friction layer that allows the helmet’s impact-absorbing foam liner to rotate slightly around the head on impact. Even though the movement is just a few millimeters overall, it can limit the amount of rotational force that may be transferred to the brain during a crash.

Ventilation. Helmet vent designs enhance the wind-flow over your head. The more the vents the better the chance that the helmet will help your body cool down faster. That means you will feel a lot comfortable as you ride. With more vents on the helmet, the lighter the helmet becomes as well.

When choosing the best bike helmet to go with, find one that provides a good fit. You’ll need to measure the largest portion of your head (that’s about an inch or so above your eyebrows). This  will be your reference when finding the best fitting helmet.

Make sure that the helmet fits well and won’t wobble as you move. All flat edges of the helmet should rest snugly on your skin so that you’ll feel comfortable as you go about riding around your route.

Any helmet that had endured an impact is more likely to get damaged. Make sure to replace that after a crash, even if the helmet still looks intact. After 5 years using the helmet, you also will need a replacement for that as it would have worn out over time.

There you go. That’s the basic things that you need to understand before choosing the helmet for cycling to buy. Hope this helps.

How much water do you need to stay hydrated?

About 60% of an adult body is made up of water. In addition to that, everything that we do will require our body to use some amount of water in the body. One of the reasons that you can move, blink your eyes, have the food you eat digested, and even think clearly, is the presence of body water that moves all other elements needed to accomplish specific body functions. Because of that, the water that is stored in your body needs to be replaced every few minutes to ensure that you will be at your best throughout the day. If you are heading out for the gym and you forget to bring one of the best water bottles for gym, you will soon feel dehydrated and will have to rush to the nearest water fountain or vending machine if there is one in the gym to quench your thirst with any available beverage.

The need to drink is as automatic as breathing. Every moment we take in air to live. However, even if water is an essential and basic element of life, many still fail to get as much as what the body requires to stay hydrated. As a result, many succumb to hydration. For those who would rather stand on the safer side, at times would overhydrate thinking that if they drink more, there will be more than enough for their body to keep them alert and fully functioning. Both actions are actually hazardous to health.

Read on to know how much water you really need to stay properly hydrated

how much water you really need to stay properly hydrated

Even the most active and professional athletes understand the importance of hydration. The problem, however, is that not everyone really drinks enough. Many would rely on their thirst before topping up. You have also been accustomed to many of those who teach that you need to drink eight 8 ounces of water every day and that you need to drink water before and during an intensive workout.

What you don’t realize is that your hydration need may be different from another person’s actual hydration requirement. Note that there are different factors at play that make you feel like you need water or any refreshing drink. Your age, body mass, sex, even the intensity of your activity, as well as your overall health will influence how much your body may need to replenish any body fluid that you lose.

Consider an expecting mother doing an exercise and a young male student in the same gym. Do you think they would need the same amount of water? Of course not. Other than the obvious factors that may influence each of these character’s need for water, there are also underlying reasons that may affect their need to hydrate. What we are after at the moment is not these factors but to provide a general understanding of the amount of water that anyone needs to stay hydrated.

These signs say you have not been drinking enough

Most would rely on their level of thirst before actually reaching out for a glass of water or a water bottle to top up. Dr. Irvin Sulapas, a primary care sports medicine physician and assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor University says that “The rule of thumb is, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. So keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, even before you begin your outdoor activity.” Note also that by that time about 2-3% of your body water is already used up. Even if you top up it will take some time for the water to be distributed to the cells, blood, and to other parts that need it. In that case, you are even more dehydrated by the time the replacement body water is made available to specific parts of the body.

The best way to determine if you are taking in enough fluids is the color of your urine. Although there are other health conditions that may affect the color of your urine, if you are generally healthy, a dark urine means you are getting less than what your body needs.

As there are confusing thoughts on this matter, many who fear dehydrate themselves just considered drinking as much and as often as possible. This can also be detrimental to your health.

Why is too much water bad for your health?

Overhydrating can increase the liquid part of blood (plasma) at the same time decrease the sodium concentration in the body fluids. This happens as the sodium in the body gets diluted and may also be lost when you sweat. This can lead to a serious condition called hyponatremia, or low blood sodium. When this happens, it can lead to tissue damage, and will also interfere with brain, heart, and muscle functions.

Severe symptoms of this condition include vomiting, muscle twitching, delirium, seizures, and coma. It had even claimed the lives of a few marathon runners as well as military recruits. So, if you think you can get overzealous about drinking, remember that it can also have a deadly consequence just like hydration.

How much water should you drink to stay properly hydrated?

Hydration when you need to engage in an intensive activity as a workout, running, biking, and so on, should start a couple of hours even before you head out of your home. It should also be continuously done and at regular intervals throughout the activity.

Conclusion

For a more specific water intake, consider the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine as presented in an article published in its Health and Fitness Journal. The recommendations specifically indicate that drinking more than 800 mL per hour may increase the risk of developing dilutional hyponatremia. They also expressed the need to drink 16 to 20 fluid oz 4 hours before exercise, especially if you notice that your pre-exercise weight is reduced. Finally, they also impressed that there should be about 8 to 12 hours recovery period from your previous exercise session as this will enhance fluid replacement.

Top Hydration Tips For Cyclists

Water is an essential element in the proper functioning of the body. If there is not sufficient water in the body, you will feel exhausted easily, lack concentration and focus, and the things that you normally do will seem to be too exacting to accomplish without you getting frustrated. Water is even more crucial if you are doing strenuous activities like biking. That is the reason why you need to have one of the best water bottles cycling so you can hydrate even while on the track with ease.

Many, even professional athletes, find it difficult to hydrate and continues to voluntarily dehydrate, perhaps thinking that they can just wait to drink when they are really thirsty. But if you would reach out for that water bottle only when you feel thirsty, then you  will have a problem in the long run.

Professor of kinesiology at Chapman University and a two-time master’s time-trial national champion Eric Sternlicht, Ph.D., explains that the body’s thirst indicator is poorly regulated.  He impressed that one only begins to feel thirsty when the body has already lost two percent of its total volume of water. By this time, other literature indicates that your performance level will have dropped by up to 10 percent.

A dip in the performance level is just the beginning of your problems when you voluntarily dehydrate yourself when you are on the track. Your condition may get worse and you may experience severe muscle fatigue as well as cognitive delays.

Your body is two-thirds water

Your body is two-thirds water

Even if most of us are already aware that the human body is composed of about 60% water, still many find it easy to neglect this basic element needed to sustain life. Water is also released from the body when you perspire, urinate, defecate, even when you breathe. Thus, it is not surprising that you need to top up your body with water at regular intervals during any activity to ensure optimal performance.

Whether you are exercising, doing brisk walking, hiking, or cycling, you need to make sure that your body is properly hydrated. If not, you will be sacrificing your performance level. As a result, the effects of your training will be limited and, as your health and your body are also affected, the recovery process will also be prolonged.

Studies conducted, like that published on the Journal of American College of Nutrition and conducted by Bob Murray, PhD., indicate that a decrease in the normal level of fluids in the body “changes in cardiovascular, thermoregulatory, metabolic, and central nervous function that become increasingly greater as dehydration worsens.”

What really happens when you get dehydrated?

If you regularly ride on your bike, you need to know the science of dehydration. While on the go or doing your exercises, your core temperature increases. To cool your body off, you sweat.  Water is pulled from the blood. As a result, the volume of the blood plasma is lessened. That means your blood thickens. As this happens, your heart begins to work harder to pump out that limited blood supply and carry nutrients to the body and oxygen to your brain and the lungs.

If there is not enough water in the body water, will be pulled from the muscle cells (your muscles and kidneys contain about 79% of water) to maintain essential organ functioning. Once this happens, you will begin to feel cramps and experience other symptoms associated with dehydration.

By that time, you may feel thirsty and you may think of downing a whole bottle of water or sports drink. However as it takes time to move the fluids that reach your stomach out to your bloodstream, you will be dehydrated even more. You can just imagine how your performance will be affected by that. You will feel mentally weak, physically exhausted, and, perhaps, ill. In the end, you may decide to end your training earlier than you should. You will also be putting a strain on your next workout as your dehydrated muscles will take some time to recover.

Top Hydration Tips While On The Bike

It is best that  you take your water on the go from one of the best water bottles for cycling so you can continue to hydrate on a regular basis while on the track. But you should remember that hydration starts earlier than when you have begun your training.

Here are some hydration tips that can help you keep hydrated while on the go:

  1. Drink about 300 to 500 ml of water when you wake up. If you prefer a flavorful drink, squeeze out some lemon in your bottle or glass of water. This will perk you up and replace lost fluids from sleep. The added lemon juice will provide your body with vitamin C that can help build your body’s resistance against cold and flu.
  2. Consume at least 300 to 500 ml of water or any beverage in about 1 to 2 hours before head out for your training. This will give enough time for your system to use the fluids to sustain you for some time while you are on the road. Make sure that you drink just enough and not overhydrate as this will not be good for your body as well.
  3. Water is not enough; drink an electrolyte or isotonic drink. When you engage in strenuous activities, your body uses not only water. You also release sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride. Hence, drinking water will not be sufficient to replenish any lost electrolytes in your system. What you can do is to alternatively drink water and an isotonic of an electrolyte drink. You can also combine your water intake with gels and nutrition bars to replenish that carb that you have lost while on your bike.
  4. Hydration should be before, during, and after a training. It is crucial that any lost fluid in the body is continuously replaced, so you will have to drink sufficient fluids before, during, and even after training. You can check how much you have lost during the training by stepping on the scale before and after cycling. You will need to drink 20 to 24 fluid ounces of water for every pound that you lose. The color of your urine will be a good indicator if you are already well hydrated. If you see that it has a clear yellow color, then you are properly hydrated.

Conclusion

Remember that hydration should be at regular intervals. Do not wait until you are thirsty before you drink. Setting your watch timer will remind you when it’s time to take a sip. An interval of about 15-20 minutes will just be right. It will be easier to re-hydrate when you have one of the best bottles for cycling, so keep one with you wherever you go.

Essential Hydration Tips For Cyclists

Participating in a sportive like a Grand Fondo requires that you have the stamina and the strategy to battle against the distance and the clock. As such, you discipline yourself to go through hours and hours of rigorous training so that when the day comes, you will be ready and be at your best.

You also need to make sure that all the gears that you need for the ride will be ready to push you even to your limits. To conquer every possible difficulty on the road and while on the go, you need to make sure that you are physically and mentally prepared as well. It is best that you fuel your body with adequate water so you can function optimally throughout the race. Bringing with  you one of the best water bottles to keep your favorite beverage as you like it.

Hours on your bike on a very hot day while going around a very challenging track without a focus hydration plan can ruin your pacing strategy. It can also make you feel exhausted quite easily, especially when you find yourself ascending a very stiff trail.

Consider these essential hydration tips to keep you in top shape if you plan to be part of any upcoming cycling event in your locale or anywhere else.

Preparation for the race starts days before the event not hours

You need to start hydrating even days before the actual day of the event begins. It’s not even a smart idea to chug down several liters of water a few hours before the gun is fired. Many serious athletes have faced death as they have suffered from a very dangerous condition as a result of this. Hyponatremia is a condition that results in the sodium level going to a critical low because of overhydration.

This causes a person to have a headache, be dizzy, vomit, be confused, and show other critical symptoms like muscle cramps, and seizures. A more serious level of this condition hae already claimed several lives.

Start the day right by drinking about 300 to 500 ml. of wake up

You can make your drink even more motivating by squeezing in lemon juice into it. This can perk you up and can replace any fluid that you have lost while you were sleeping. This will also give you extra protection from virus-causing diseases on the road.

Drink at regular intervals to keep hydrated

Don’t just drink to thirst. Your senses might give you a faulty signal and you may think that you are only thirsty when actually you may already be dehydrated.

Thus, you may say that being thirsty may not be the most reliable indicator of your state of dehydration. Experts indicate that thirst is often not activated until one has lost 0.8 – 2% of body weight.

To be at your optimum performance, it is crucial that you start hydration even before you ride your bike and should continue hydrating at regular intervals throughout the ride. Note that if you fail to replace any lost fluids right away, not only your output performance will suffer. Your overall health may also be affected.

While you sweat a lot, the water retained in your system is lessened. This makes the plasma to thicken and force the heart to work harder. In the process, your body temperature increases. The cycle continues until you finally re-fill your tank.

To ensure that you can continually rehydrate, store your favorite beverage in one of the best water bottles for cycling. You can keep them hot or cold, or any way you want your liquid replacement to be.

Keep one or two bottles of sports drink handy

When you do intense sportives, you lose not only water in your body. You also use up a lot of energy. Keeping a bottle or two of a great-tasting water drink will not only quench your thirst, it will also provide you with essential electrolytes to push your energy level up once again.

Drink to rehydrate, eat to fuel up your body

Although your alternative fluid replacement can provide you more than just water, you still need other energy-giving calorie food sources to rely on. Snack on bars, gels, pieces of fruit that you may have in your belt bag or at any of the well-stocked aid-booth on the way.

If at any point of the race or the event that you feel dizzy, feel heavy, or starts to have a headache, pause for a while and look for someone who can provide you with first aid. Never put your health at risk. Dehydration is a serious condition that can lead to death.

Be ready, bring your best beverage, and hydrate even while on the go to stay at your best throughout the event.

Driving like the Skoda advert!!

MAD OR JUST PASSIONATE
Last Sunday I was with my daughter Saskia for the Womens team series race in Yorkshire. Having set off from Derby at 6am we arrived at about 7.45 and promptly drove in the wrong entrance to find no-one about in the start area. After a while we found our away and found signs of life at a sports centre. The setting for the race HQ was the beautiful Ampleforth Abbey College and grounds near Helmsley.
Saskia didn’t fancy a trip round the course and duly signed on and set going on her roller warm up session. After that we were greeted by an Italian gentleman who asked if we wanted him to take our spare wheels in his service car. We welcomed his generosity and he also asked if I wanted a trip with him in the car. I jumped at the chance to follow Saskia and the race more closely. He asked if I was carsick as he was a little crazy which was a clue to what was to follow. Nevertheless I jumped in behind Flavio. I started to have visions of the Skoda team car TV advert and sterotypes of Italian drivers crossed my mind.
The car was equipped with radio supplied to listen to race progress. In the front were supplies of food and drink and in the back were coats and a pillow presumably for sleeping in the car. In contrast in the boot of the estate car were only the wheels of Saskia, another girl Sophie and Victoria Bussi (Zappi’s Ladies Team). He explained how to shut the boot gently and that we didn’t have to wear safety belts so that we could get out quicker!

Soon we were in the queue of team cars in car no.4; Flavio had been late to the briefing but was not bothered. Soon we were off in the neutralised part of the race and the weather was brightening after the heavy downpours of the night before. Within seconds one of the Matrix girls was on the floor and Flavio and the other cars all overtook her team car that dropped back. She was soon to get back in the field aided by her team-mates. The Scott Contessa team car driver started waving frantically in front and then shouted to let the Matrix car past. Flavio wasn’t too impressed and ignored the request. That was until we got told by the commissaire on the radio to let Matrix back into position!

The flag was dropped and I got chatting to Flavio who was cooly driving with one hand on the wheel. I explained that we were now in God’s county (I was born in Hull) and he said how friendly and down to earth the people were in this area. I explained how Saskia hated hills so was going to be up against it with 3 climbs on each lap. Victoria had only been riding since last year and Flavio wanted to help her with her bunch riding and technical skills.
We soon hit the base of the first climb up a steep hillside and there were some stragglers appearing. Near the top Saskia popped out the back and we both shouted encouragement out to her as we had to pass to keep in the convoy. A group of 3 was only 50m ahead and we could see Saskia and another girl trying in vain to bridge the gap. We caught another group of girls could not get past. Others caught the cars and Flavio hit the horn hard to get the rest of the convoy to move to move to one side to let them past.
At the bottom of a descent Flavio was impressed with a rider’s skills as she came shooting through a narrow gap between the cars and verge.
A few miles later there was another massive climb which Flavio said his Garmin had told him was 1 in 5 in parts. After these two climbs the news came through on the race radio that a group including Victoria had escaped in front of the bunch in a group of 11. At 58 seconds gap Flavio was getting excited but frustrated by the fact that the commissaires would not let team cars into the gap. Eventually they said they would let cars through but asked the team Zappi car to stop back as neutral service. Flavios passion was starting to emerge and he said “Why me!?” A bit further on he decided to take action and waved car no.5 up beside him. After some discussion whilst driving alongside, car no.5 agreed to stop back leaving Flavio free to go forward. He soon agreed this with the commissaires and the mood improved. But next he questioned why some cars had not moved through and the retort was that they had not been precisely called through yet. But at last we were allowed by and the foot was flat down to get past the bunch before the road started to bend.
At the end of the lap the road wound its way up through the picturesque abbey grounds where spectators had gathered. Flavio saw a member of his club who was explained was his northernmost member and was in his kit. He slowed down (a little) to pass him a new Zappis jersey and on we went. Flavio passed me a breakfast bar and tried to make a phone call to “Steve” to put something on his website/facebook. On the downhill again we sped after the leaders but in front of the gruppetto. A car came in the opposite direction and an annoyed Flavio honked the horn and manoeuvred across in an apparent attempt to get the car to stop or move over or go into the verge or something. Two more cars followed and he repeated the actions with more intention. It was obvious that he thought the road was closed but I said I thought it was a rolling road closure. They must have got on the circuit via an un-marshalled side road. Any way it didn’t stop him pulling over at the next marshall to complain.
Back up the road the group was still away and on the steep hill we slowed to give a girl some jovial encouragement- she responded in kind with some good natured expletives! Back behind the bunch the matrix team were all off the back on the same climb and Flavio correctly identified that they had dropped back to help a rider. Sure enough they were soon behind us and catching the bunch up. In the same place again we met another oncoming car and Flavio showed off his Italian driving style again! We stopped again to complain to the same marshall that someone was going to get killed but he said it was an open road circuit and he could do nothing. Up front again with the leaders and Flavio explained that Victoria was wasting energy by riding in the wind beside the others who were in line.
On the last lap she was one of 3 riders who dropped off from the leaders on a hill and Flavio was up beside giving some encouragement in Italian and beeping his horn. However a quick instruction by the commissaire for him to leave them behind soon put a stop to that. But Victoria pushed and lead the group back to near the leaders with much horn beeping in encouragement and cries of “ Forza Forza Forza” from Flavio. But we were close to the finish now and we could see the leaders ahead as we followed the Victoria group. We were told to pull over with a kilo to go and missed a crash as a rider slipped off on a corner.
We jumped out near the finish to find our girls. Victoria finished a great 10th and Saskia had been pulled out with a lap to go. And so ended an educational and exciting 2hrs with Flavio.
So mad or just passionate? Definitely the passionate.
Someone told me afterwards about Flavios past and said “All sprinters are mad aren’t they?” But Flavio really cares for his cycling and for anyone who cares about cycling. That’s what he is about.
Same time next year Flavio? Thanks again.

…and this is why I have been away for so long…

One week with Zappi’s Pro Cycling at their pre season training base.

I have just returned from spending a week living with the Zappi’s Pro Cycling team at their pre season training base in Tavira, near Faro in Portugal.

They have been there since January and will be based there until mid April when they will move to Italy for a few weeks before returning to the UK in June for the National Road Race and Premier Calendar series. I will give some additional information about races at the end of this piece.

I had little idea what to expect however I left with a feeling that something special is happening there.

When Flavio Zappi was starting out on his pro career he joined a team called Lema Mobili run by Domenico Garbelli in 1978. It was very disciplined and the whole team lived together with the boss. Out of 12 riders in the team 10 went on to sign professional contracts within 3 years. Flavio was one of these and he went on to wear the green jersey in the Giro d’Italia.  This is the model Flavio is now using for his team of riders who are aged between 18 to 25.

Whilst a guest I was expected to follow, (where physically possible!) the daily routine of the team. This starts at 7am with reveille, signaled by the tune whistled by Elle Driver in the movie “Kill Bill”  (originally the theme to “Twisted Nerve” written by Bernard Herrmann 1968) which is played on Flavio’s iphone as he walks around the accommodation.

07:15 sees the start of 30 minutes of Core Strength training lead by Jack Adams or maybe some Ashtanga Yoga lead by Jacob Loftus. Whilst this is going on Flavio and his wife Jayne will be preparing breakfast. (please see photo link further down for images)

There was unusually bad weather with rain and high winds during my week so training rides were timed to fit with any improved weather windows however usually after breakfast has been cleared away and washed up the plan for the day is discussed and the team prepare for the training ride. If all are fit this will normally be a 3 to 5 hour session. If anyone is recovering from an injury or illness then the ride will split in two with the latter maybe doing an easy 2- 3 hours.

It is beautiful riding in this part of Portugal. You can head north inland on quiet roads and almost immediately can be on a nice long undulating, twisting climb for 20 kms rising about 650 metres to a beautiful high plain. There is no shortage of good routes and often they accompany the local Pro Continental Team, Tavira-Carmin on their training rides. Flavio does the training rides with them, which he finds invaluable in terms of analyzing their progress.

On return to base the riders will cool their legs by standing in the unheated swimming pool for 20 minutes before showering and having food.  Then the bikes are completely checked over and cleaned ready for the next day. Laundry is also dealt with immediately.

Depending on how hard the ride has been there may be a walk on the beach or a yoga session in the afternoon. The last meal of the day will be eaten at 7pm and most are in bed before 10 pm.

The team consists of 8 riders who share 3 bedrooms. Cooking is done by Flavio and the chores of daily communal living are split up amongst the guys by rota. These consist of washing up, outside areas, inside areas and being Flavio’s assistant in the kitchen for food preparation and making food packs of brioche and figs for each of the riders to take on the training ride.

Food is an integral part of daily life and the training. Breakfast consists of homemade muesli, boiled eggs (yoke removed), bread, Jam, yogurt, fruit, juice and tea and coffee. Each member of the team is expected to eat exactly the same and nothing is allowed to be left. This seems fine for breakfast but more of a challenge for a couple of the team for other meals which consist mainly of local fresh fish, and occasionally chicken livers or roast chicken. One of the guys had never eaten fish before leaving for Portugal so this has been a big change of diet for him and the chicken livers well…. anyway nothing is allowed to be left on the plate! The fact is that they are usually starving anyway. Accompanying the main item there is always salad and often sweet potatoes, broccoli (raw), new potatoes and lots of beetroot. I have to say I found the food delicious although the treat Flavio announced that everyone deserved one night of sweet potato and cream lightly dusted with chocolate powder was more unusual.

The routine and discipline is the closest I have come to experiencing life when doing some basic training in the army in the early 80’s. It has some of the same sense of routine, purpose, “get on with it” approach whilst getting to know your team mates and but also the feeling that someone is really looking after everybody and everything – there is someone in charge and you are living together, as opposed to turning up at a club to do some training before going home to your family. It felt fundamental to the building of the team’s character. Flavio jokes that he has got 8 “children” to take care of out there but to a degree it is true. One of the guys was ill earlier in the year and it is Flavio who takes him off to get his blood tested and then goes back for the results, he is the one to massage a calf recovering from tendonitis. He is the one who makes sure noone is being “so lazy”, who gives a serious dressing down to all if standards are slipping. It felt good to see and be part of. I suspect there are not many young riders at this level who will have had the opportunity to live with their team mates and DS for pre season warm weather training and then the forthcoming race season. I suspect that this is most important to maintaining focus and discipline whilst at the same time being enjoyable.  One thing I am sure of is that the guys are experiencing something totally new to them.

Please see photographs at http://www.flickr.com/photos/williamcarey/sets/72157632974703883/

At the time of writing (14 March 2013) the racing is about to get more serious. Here is a flavour of it.

17th March Portuguese National called Classica Labmed [ 18 March Nikita came 3rd overall and Dan crashed when going well and broke collarbone]

20th March 5 day stage race is UCI 2.2 international Volta Ao Alentejo

The team are waiting for confirmation for the Giro del Friuli another UCI 2.2 international in Italy in early May but single day internationals (UCI 1.2) Circuito del Porto and Coppa Della Place are confirmed start of May and start of June. In preparation for the teams return to the UK for the National RR and Premier Calendar Series they have also confirmed entry into the French UCI 2.2 International stage race Tour de la Pays de Savoy.

Then it will be the UK scene with a rest the end of July before building into the second half of the season, races yet to be confirmed.

There are many more national level races in Spain, Italy, Swizterland and Belgium planned/confirmed which are good training races and stepping stones for development between the harder internationals. All the team riders have varied levels and therefore different individual goals but we always race to compete as a Team and as such riders will work to do a job when not capable of individual success.

Riders

Jack Adams

Danny Kelley

Jacob Loftus

Dimitri Paganoni

Sam Parker

Dan Pearson

James Ratcliffe

Nikita Zharoven

Flavio Zappi – DS

Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo !!! with Graham Obree….

 MERRY XMAS AND A HAPPY FAST NEW YEAR!!

This year we had to go to a new venue, as Mamma Mia my favourite place is not big enough to accomodate our xmas party,

hopefully next yean Jon (the owner of Mamma Mia) will have a bigger restaurant for us….

We had the most amazing evening, my all family was finally over there (after 2 years), my sponsors, my friends, my teams, a great guest speaker (Graham Obree) and most of all the club members…the Zappistas!!!

Racing team 2013

Is this time of the year when lots of pieces are all over the tabel, like a puzzle but I’m getting there…

Sponsorship deals to finalize, car /van to get decal sorted, kit, Xmas party and bikes…

Car and van is this year  a bit more pro level…

…as finally I can afford to buy them rather than borrow them from my very nice and therefore grateful friends like Steve Avery and Duncan Mellish.. 🙂

This year racing team kit will have a different colour scheme…RED is the theme, for passion, power, love and …

Ferrari speed!!

So black follow red and white on the top for those summer sunny day where I want to keep the fresh to be able to attack on those hills…

Yes is a team of climbers with some of them on mix abilities…I want to get them were it matter…on the climb!

My plan is to get those light weight boys and give them the power they need but keeping the ideal weight …6 guys average weight 62.5kg…lets get the wattage now!

But the bike is what I’m so exiting about…the frame was tested by my self during this season…my “Volante” as said in Italian can fly and is also a power machine!

The main difference from “Freccia” is the rear end and a bit more aerodynamic…but the rear is where is not going to give anything back…only forward!

Stiff like a rock, ideal for ultimate performance…not good for the over 50 unless you have a very good core and back…my personal choice is still la Freccia as I like to have  a little more relax in the rear for my 6/7 hours sportives…never the less managed to win a crit and very good at short races.

But I wanted to be different and I spend time with a company that deals with F1 high quality decals, …yes decals!

Back in the 70s was normal and I want to take them back for 3 reasons:

1 The frame is paint less therefore lighter

2 If you scratch it you can replace and your frame will look great again

3 You can customize it

The frame comes as an aggressive black matt finish, but the you can choose the scheme you like…

You can start with black and red …our racing team colour and change during the season for some sunflower yellow and ride the in the summer  like the tour the france leader…

Anyway the team one is compatible with Zappi’s club colors …

And now time to build it…so as you can see if you match it with bar take, bottle cages, tyres and saddle the job is done…

Contador and Doping

Is incredible how interesting are some comments you find at the bottom of an article…

Cyclist Alberto Contador of Spain, is seen during the inauguration ceremony of the Criterium cycling race in Oviedo, Spain Saturday Oct. 30, 2010. Contador who is attending the race as a spectator, is provisionally suspended by the UCI after testing positive for the banned drug clenbuterol and could lose his Tour de France title. (AP Photo/Paco Paredes).

I was reading recently the Contador saga on an Italian sport paper online and I was astonished to see how many people have incredible knowledge in doping matter, here a few samples…

“proprio una molecola che aumenta l’apporto di sangue ai muscoli, che aumenta la frequnza cardiaca e respiratori, che aumenta la produzione di glucosio e aumenta la demolizione di grassi per la produzione di energia doveva finire nel suo piatto il giorno prima della tappa decisiva del tour, davvero una coincidenza incredibile!”

said..” don’t you think is incredible that a small molecule responsible of improving blood supply to the muscle, responsible to raise heart frequency, to improve glucose production and breaking down fats and release energy would finish on Contador’s steak the day before on the most important stage of the Tour the France?”

and few more….(you use google translate, just to have an idea)

” Questa è la seconda volta che Contador viene coinvolto in inchieste riguardanti la medicina sportiva. La presto dimenticata “Operacion Porto”, un indagine (dalle ombre mai dissolte) in cui erano coinvolti atleti di “troppe” discipline quali: tennisti, calciatori, automobilisti ecc., alla voce ciclismo annotava ben 58 corridori sospetti di illecito tra cui il campione spagnolo”

“Su internet si dice che questo clenbuterolo ha un’emivita di 25-39 ore, ciò significa che occorre quel tempo affinché il corpo metabolizzi ed elimini metà della dose assunta; che effetti dopanti nelle urine si rintracciano dopo 2 – 4 giorni dalla somministrazione; che da uno studio su cavalli che ingerivano il clenbuterolo e si allenavano anche, è stato rilevato che la massa muscolare non aumentava fino alla sesta settimana…. Guarda che sfortuna, Contador, che ti hanno beccato proprio con questo farmaco… Forse è per questo che i test antidoping hanno fatto rizzare i capelli a chi di dovere per una così modica quantità ritrovata? Sempre più scettico sono… ”

“E’ risaputo che dopo dosi dopanti ci sono i cosidetti lavaggi, ricordiamoci Di Luca dopo la tappa dello Zoncolan al controllo antidoping risultò più pulito di un neonato. Peccato, ma io ho sempre avuto un dubbio, in 50 anni che seguo il ciclismo, di ogni categoria, non ho mai visto un corridore così leggero andare così forte a cronometro…”

And now on Riis team…what a timing?!?!?

Flavio Zappi vs Eddy Merckx???

This is the story of a very imbarrasing period of my cycling carrier.

During the first few stages at the Giro d’Italia 1981 (my first giro), the italian major sport newspaper called “La Gazzetta Dello Sport” dedicated a all page in the cycling section on …Flavio Zappi the new Eddy Merckx.

I was new pro that year and fresh winner of one stage at the Giro del Trentino were I also wear the leader jersey until last stage lost on time trial.

Also won at the same giro the team time trial stage…
Anyway one morning got up from bed in the hotel were we staying and get in the restaurant for breakfast before the stage were somebody showed me with my mix of pleasure and horror a all page of interviews from me and my director sportif at the time Dino Zangegu’ .

Former winner of the Tour of Flandres and great caracter Dino, was very famous on tv and with the italian pubblic for his great sprints and later after his carrier finished for his funny comments on tv.

Anyway, it looks like he was interviewed from a journalist at la gazzetta and during the interview he compared me with the great Eddy by saying phrases like ” when I see him riding he just remind me soo much of Eddy” and stuff like that.
Of course the result was the next few days at the giro a constant taking the xxxx by calling me Eddyyyy, hey Eddyyy, come here Eddy…
In particolar one person was really annoying…he was a prestigious domestique of team Bianchi and his name was Serge Parsani…

But I have forgive him after I saw him recently on a bday party riunion last year, and had a chance to know him better, he is a realy nice guy and at the time maybe just a little bit big headed…bless him!

This is now and is new position as a director sportiv with team Katiusha…