Tag Archive for: cycling

Sweat Gets In Your Eyes


Oh, when your heart’s on fire
You must realize
Sweat gets in your eyes

With apologies to the Platters.

On Saturday, I went out for a long ride. I left the house at roughly 6:30 in the morning. It was very cool. Only 14 Celsius. I wore my Spring/Fall base layer to provide a bit of warmth. Great ride. Beautiful morning.

On Sunday, I had to delay my long ride until about 3:00 in the afternoon. It was hot, hazy and humid. The temperature was over 27 Celsius. The humidex made it feel closer to 35 Celsius. Tough ride. Started to boink towards the end.

After only 2 or 3 kilometers, I had to wipe the sweat from my eyes. And I had to keep wiping the sweat every few kilometers. The sweat was literally pouring into my eyes. Sweat in the eyes is very, very annoying.

It is a very delicate maneuver this sweat removal activity.

I have to remove my eyewear with one hand and use that same hand to maintain control of the bike and hold on to the eyewear without dropping it. At higher rates of speed, it is not necessarily a good idea to be hands off the bike for the length of time it takes to wipe sweat.

So, with the right hand, I keep control of the bike. With the left hand, I remove the eyewear. I grasp the handle of the eyewear with my thumb and forefinger and then place my left hand over the hood of the bike’s handlebar. Somehow, I can find a way to hold the hood and the eyewear handle. I can then use my cycling glove on my right hand to wipe the sweat off my forehead and out from my eyes.

Once complete, the left hand replaces the eyewear making sure that Rule #37 is observed:

Rule #37 // The arms of the eyewear shall always be placed over the helmet straps.
No exceptions. This is for various reasons that may or may not matter; it”™s just the way it is.

All of this while moving along somewhere north of 30 kilometers per hour.

I use a style of cycling glove which includes fleece over the top of the glove for nose wiping. It can help to deal with exercise induced rhinitis (EIR) — a common affliction for cyclists. Of course, you can always execute the snot rocket protocol when riding in hot, humid weather to free the fleece for sweat wiping.

The fleece on the cycling glove must never be called into dual service. Sweat removal and snot removal should never,ever be combined. In my opinion.

I use the right hand glove for sweat and, unfortunately, I also use the right hand glove for EIR. That might have something to do with me being right-handed. It can be surprisingly easy to forget that the right hand glove has been called into service to deal with EIR when attempting to also deal with sweat in the eyes.

After several seasons of battling sweat in my eyes, I finally broke down and ordered the Halo Headband. Many cyclists recommend the Halo as a way to deal with the sweat. The band includes a ridge which guides the sweat away from the eyes and back towards the ears.

For whatever reason, sweat pouring down by my ears is not nearly as annoying as sweat pouring into my eyes.

The joys of cycling.

Specialized Roubaix Expert

After having logged thousands of kilometres on the old Trek 2200, it was time to trade the old machine in for a new bike.

The Trek 2200 was a pretty good machine for the money. An entry level road bike with aluminum frame, carbon forks and rear seat stay, decent wheels and, surprisingly enough, an Ultegra groupset.

The new machine is a Specialized Roubaix Expert. I liked the Pro as well but the cost for that bike is too high for me. The Expert offers the same carbon fibre frame and most of the same hardware but features the Ultegra SL groupset and wheels instead of Dura-Ace and Roval Roubaix.

Some good deals out there given the time of year and the state of the economy. I get fitted for the bike on Friday and should have it within a few weeks. I’ll continue to spin indoors until the season opens up in a couple of months. Roubaix bikes are renowned for their comfort and for this 50 plus rider, comfort becomes a more important attribute when riding.


Keep the Pace

I was talking to a friend about adventure vacations. Photography workshops and cycling often fall under the banner of adventure vacations.

Most cycling clubs break out the rides by category according to the fitness level and experience of riders. Class D riders are beginners and the effort is easy with short distances. Class A riders are very experienced with high effort and distance.

Class D riders may do rides up to about 25 kilometers maintaining an average speed over rolling/hilly terrain of about 16 to 18 kilometers an hour.

I am a Class B rider which means that I can readily attack a long ride, 40 kilometers or more, at an average pace between 24 and 27 kilometers an hour.

The top riders can maintain a pace of 26 to 32 kilometers per hour when cycling long distances over rolling/hilly terrain, often 70 kilometers or more. It can take years of hard training to build up this level of cycling ability.

I may hesitate before I recommend a cycling adventure to my wife. Particularly if the terrain is hilly like this one.

Ride Like The Wind

First outdoor ride of the season tonight. I did a 20 kilometre training run. Average heart rate was 146bpm and the average speed was 21km/h. Not too bad for the first ride out given the strong wind conditions. Heart rate was a bit higher than I would have liked but we do have a lot of hills in the area.

Coming off the ride felt great. The magical rush of endorphins makes the world a wonderful place. Two hours later and my legs are in a lot of pain.

Old age.

Spinning Wheel

The trouble with winter is that most cyclists have to go indoors to train. Not all of them, mind you. I have seen a few brave souls out there doing their training runs outside. Fanatics.

I have three indoor training devices at my disposal: a computer-controlled recumbent stationary bike, a spinner stationary bike and a mag fluid indoor trainer for my road bike.

The recumbent has its own programs and you set the difficulty level and duration. Gets a bit boring. And although I have a TV in the room, I find the whole experience less than engaging.

Spinning, however, is a very different experience if you happen to have some Spinervals DVDs. Spinervals offers dozens of competitive and fitness DVDs. Challenging and engaging. I come off the bike having worked just as hard as I would have worked on an outdoor ride.

The feeling is also great. Nothing like the rush of endorphins to ease mental stress.

An Hour A Day

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, at the request of various U.S. agencies and Health Canada, released a report in 2002 which recommended doubling the amount of physical activity previously advised – from a minimum of 30 minutes per day to 60 minutes per day – balancing energy intake and expenditure, and minimizing intake of saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fatty acids.

The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association just updated their recommendations. They recommend 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. Vigorous intensity workouts only need three 20-minute workouts a week.

They use a system called Metabolic Equivalents minutes (METs) to calculate energy expenditure. The new guidelines suggest accumulating 450 to 750 METs per week.

Just one ride on my bike generates 750 METs. Another reason to keep riding.

Cycling Statistics

Since I resumed riding this season, I have been maintaining a personal log both online and on a spreadsheet.

Last week I was able to complete 6 training runs. Each training run spanned 25kms and lasted about 1 hour and 2 minutes. I rode 144kms on very hilly terrain with an average speed of 25km/h and a maximum speed of 50km/h. My average heart rate was 138bpm and I stayed “in zone” for 6 hours of the 6 hours and 13 minutes of riding.

I burned 4,377 calories and I maintained an average cadence of 79 rpm.

When I first picked up my new bike in April, it weighed about 18lbs. The bike, fully loaded with the rider, now weighs about 12lbs less than it did in April.

Pro riders maintain a ratio of about 2.2lbs per inch of height. I still have a ways to go before I hit that ratio. Although every pound down is one less pound for me to move around on a bike. I do notice the loss of weight when I am climbing hills.

4,000 plus calories a week is a pretty good burn rate. By comparison, the Tour de France riders can burn about 5,000 calories in one flat stage and upwards of 8,000 calories in one day on the mountains. Amazing.

Learning to Ride

We purchased a new bike for my youngest son. Although 10 years old, he had not yet learned to ride a bike. Our local bike store, already flush with cash from my recent acquisitions, has made it their mission to convert my entire family to cycling.

The store told us that it would only take an hour or so for Matthew to pick up the basics of riding. They suggested we take him out to a field so that if he fell, the physical damage would not be that great.

It took a couple of sessions but he is now riding his bike like an old pro. A very determined young man, he was remarkably focused on getting this riding thing going. Now, he will easily spend hours riding around our court.

We took him out to the Cyclissimo Grand Prix road race yesterday. He was ready to join in.

Perhaps in a few years.