It’s apparently “do construction on every road simultaneously” season in Orange County, at least around my neck of the woods.  Which wouldn’t be a problem if the construction projects weren’t scheduled to last until 2014 (I’m looking at you Sand Canyon grade re-alignment).

 So, if we’re determined to get out and ride our bikes, what are the best strategies for staying safe?
Be Predictable
Handle your bid in an assertive and sure manner.  Signal all turns, lane changes and stops (use hand signals).  Also, travel in ways cars are used to seeing other traffic travel.  Stay to the right (unless you’re taking a lane – more on that in a minute), ride with traffic – NEVER against it (“bike salmon-ing is a quick way to die”), don’t weave between cars, stop at signals and signs. All common sense stuff.
Take the Lane
California Vehicle Code Section 21202 states that “When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side”.  If you find yourself in a cone-zone with no shoulder, signal your intent and take the lane.  As soon as it is safe for you o move to the right again, do so, but don’t feel pressure if you’re holding up traffic.  It’s your right to do so.
 
Be Visible
I highly recommend using a flashing bike light on the front and back of your bike day or night.  For the front, use a white light, preferably 100 lumens or more.  On the back use a red light such as the planet bike super flash.
 
 
These tips should help you during your rides.  There’s no substitute for solid bike handling skills and awareness,  stay focused and practice emergency and evasive bike handling skills before you hit the roads, especially if you’re pulling your child(ren) in a trailer.
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Don’t worry! If you missed last Sunday’s CicLAvia (like my family did) you only have to wait 60 days until the next event.  The last CicLAvia allowed participants to ride, walk or skate from Downtown LA all the way to Santa Monica on closed streets…Next up, is the iconic Wilshire Boulevard.  Wilshire will be shut down from One Wilshire Plaza in Downtown LA all the way to Fairfax (the heart of Museum Row).  The iconic Wilshire Boulevard shut down is a partnership with Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. This collaboration, initiated by the Getty, brings together several local arts institutions for a wide-ranging look at the postwar built environment of the city as a whole, from its famous residential architecture to its vast freeway network, revealing the city’s development and ongoing impact in new ways. Major support for CicLAvia – Iconic Wilshire Boulevard has been provided by the Getty Foundation.

From CicLAvia’s website: “CicLAvia makes the streets  safe for people to walk, skate, play and ride a bike. There are activities along the route. Shop owners and restaurants are encouraged to open their doors to people along the CicLAvia. Connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. The health benefits are immense. Ciclovías bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space. In Los Angeles we need CicLAvia more than ever. Our streets are congested with traffic, our air is polluted with toxic fumes, our children suffer from obesity and other health conditions caused by the scarcity of public space and safe, healthy transportation options. CicLAvia creates a temporary park for free, simply by removing cars from city streets. It creates a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun. We can’t wait to see you at CicLAvia!”
Come out and enjoy the event…meander slowly down Wilshire, show up early and get a run in with a perspective you don’t often get, dust off the cruisers and pedal till you have a smile on your face.  While you’re there take time to stop at the Museums and marvel at the architecture we normally just speed past.
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If you have read my previous posts, you most likely already know that I am a mother of a [beautiful] three year-old daughter, Audrey, and my second child is a 100-pound black lab, Turner. If you are just tuning in, welcome, you will be reading about my family and an outdoor lifestyle frequently. I have always been naturally drawn to the outdoors and only hope to instill that same affection in my daughter.

Recently, my husband and I decided that it was time for me to quit the 9-5 and become a stay-at-home mom. This was terrifying to me; don’t get me wrong, I adore my child and am grateful to have the opportunity to spend more time with her, but the “stay- at- home” phrase terrified me. How do you teach, encourage, engage, and entertain a three year-old, all day every day? I have found my answer to be creativity and Mother Nature.

We’re still working on a routine, but our typical day includes a trip to the gym (some social interaction for Audrey at day care, and some mommy time for me!), a long walk with the dog, and playtime at the park.  We check out different flowers, leaves, and bugs on our walks and talk about our surroundings (she actually walks or rides a bike the entire time, she doesn’t even ride in the stroller if it is presented as an option).

I have decided to take a bit further and combine educational activities with movement and exercise. On the weekends, my husband and I love to take Audrey to discover new parks or beaches. We also love to stand up paddleboard (SUP). Currently, our favorite family friendly beach location is Doheny State Park, Baby beach. It’s calm water, easy for the kiddo to play in and we can SUP in the small bay with Audrey on the board (PFD and wet suit always on) OR we trade off staying on the beach with Audrey while the other SUPs the harbor loop. How does this apply to education for Audrey? Well, Audrey loves to sit on the board out in the water and discuss all kinds of life that lives in the water. We talk about how the sand feels between her toes, and count the seashells we find on the beach (or rocks, same objective). How much more fun is it to learn counting by lining up seashells on the beach than sitting inside working on an activity sheet?

I’m not a certified educator, but I am a mom trying to live a healthy lifestyle and raise a healthy, confident child. We love being outside, and if I have said it once, I’ll say it again, SoCal’s temperate climate is perfect for outdoor activities! I plan on taking Audrey out on bike rides, pulling her in the trailer, and stopping to discover new parks; discussing how honeybees are beneficial towards making beautiful flowers and delicious honey or learning her ABC’s and spelling by using street signs as well as the plants, trees, and animals surrounding us.

One of my favorite activities is when the whole family walks to the soccer fields near our house and we run sprints together. I’m sure there is a learning opportunity for counting, spelling, science, or even art, but I absolutely LOVE spending the quality time with my family. We probably look like crazy people; our sprints turn into a game of tag or “AHHH! MONSTERS” and tag turns into passing out on the grass, but I love it.

No, with kiddos tagging along your outdoor time may not always include training for a marathon (mine hates the stroller). Overall, adjust your expectations for excise and focus on the activities outside. Ultimately we’re all trying to live a healthier life, the only way to teach a new generation those values is to lead by example.  Think outside the box and you will find it’s easy to lead a healthy, active lifestyle, while enjoying what matters most: being with those you love.

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That is fantastic, really, it is.  The honest truth is that fitness is just one small aspect of most people’s lives. Unless you are a professional athlete, outdoor clothing test subject or come from a long line of distinguished philanthropists, you probably work…a lot.  You also clean, buy groceries, run errands, go to the dentist, go to family get-togethers, get the oil changed in your car, attend school plays, watch TV, sleep, read and stop to smell the roses (for only one second).

 

Most of the time, there are enough hours in the day to stay fairly fit, have some alone time and get the obligations out of the way.  But, there is one small problem.  You really, really, want to do a triathlon (or a marathon, or hike Mt. Baldy, or race mountain bikes, or climb El Cap., etc.).  In order to accomplish these things, training is important, but so is everything else.

 

Good news, everybody, training for endurance events doesn’t have to be a long slog. There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that high-intensity intervals over short durations can deliver the same improvements in fitness as long aerobic workouts (chronic cardio).  Furthermore, it seems, that the application of shorter workouts to endurance events results in a lower incidence of injury, lower levels of oxidative stress and inflammation as well as increased levels of overall enjoyment (once the workout is over, not necessarily during…).

 

So what does that mean, in practical terms?

 

Assuming you have a “reasonable” level of experience swimming, biking and running:

 

If you want to do a sprint triathlon, 3-6 hours of training is adequate per week.

If you want to do a half-ironman, 6-10 hours of training is adequate per week.

If you want to do an iron-man, 12-15 hours of training is adequate per week.

 

How is this possible?  The key is to focus on quality, high-intensity workouts.

 

Swim

  • Swim long once per week.  This swim should be no longer than 60 minutes and focus on feel and technique with some interval work.
  • 2-3 other swims should be interval focused. Limit swims to 30 minute maximum (i.e.,10x 100m or 20x50m)

 

Bike

 

  • One long bike ride per week (2-4 hours) outside
  • 2 or 3 30-60 minute interval sessions (on a trainer or in spin class is ideal, check out sufferfest videos for inspiration)

 

 

Run

  • NO LONG RUNS…Seriously, no runs over 2-hours
  • Runs should be 30-90 minutes of hard work.
  • Run workouts should consist of:
    • One interval session (12x200m or 4x800m or 6x400m),
    • One hill workout (5-10 .25-.5 mile repeats)
    • Two “long-ish” runs (2-3 mile circuits for up to 90 minutes)

 

Lifting/Mobility

 

In order to reap the benefits of low-volume high-intensity training, it is essential to ensure your body can keep things together over a sprint, medium or long-course race.  Strength/resistance training will allow you to maintain form as fatigue sets in. Mobility work is also essential to maintain flexibility and prevent injuries (foam rolling, lacrosse ball trigger point release, yoga)

 

Mental Preparation

 

Here is the tricky part:  Belief in your training.  Leading up to a long-course triathlon mental preparation is critical, you will not have had the opportunity to test yourself on a 200 mile bike ride, 2 mile swim, 26 mile run (and that is a good thing).  As long as you are prepared mentally for the task you are about to undertake.  I suggest visualization, meditation and yoga.

 

One disclaimer, the swim in an Iron Distance race is daunting.  Failing on the swim can easily lead to death.  Please, know your own abilities, practice in open water, do an open-water swim course that focuses on fear mitigation.  Panic in the water kills.

 

Now get out, crush some intervals, accomplish something BIG and get fit in the process.

 

For more information on high-intensity training try the following (these articles have great links to the studies which support the information above):

 

http://robbwolf.com/2012/09/21/10-ways-ironman-triathletes-avoid-chronic-cardio-self-destruction/

 

http://www.lavamagazine-digital.com/lavamagazine/201112?pg=154#pg154

 

https://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-we-dont-sprint-anymore-plus-a-primal-health-challenge/

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Over the last several years there has been a fledgling racing scene brewing in Irvine.  The Great Park Racing series is back for 2013 and is a great opportunity for experienced and relatively new cyclists to get out and race.  The series is on Thursday nights at the Great Park in Irvine.  Categories are Pro/Cat 1, 2 and 3 and Cat 3, 4 and 5.  If you’ve never raced a bike before, you’ll be in the Cat 3/4/5 race.  If you ride a bike like Kevin Costner in American Flyers or Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Premium Rush, you’re going to want to hit the Pro/Cat 1/2/3 races.  The races are set up as a point series and should be a lot of fun.  Are you a poor bike handler who wears silly helmets (triathlete)? Come on out, there is also a time-trial point series!

The excitement kicks off Thursday, March 7 and continues weekly throughout the summer.  Even if you don’t plan on being the next big name in the Tour de France, sans performance enhancing drugs, it should be a great time for the competitive or amateur athlete.

 

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