Last But Not Least…

Man, we’ve had some killer weather this week! We’re only SIX DAYS until Christmas and it’s almost 70 degrees! What?!? That’s TEXAS for ya! It’s so awesome to live in a place where you can ride your bikes all year long. I’ve never lived up in the north where the temperatures are truly freezing and precipitation makes cycling a challenge, and sometimes impossible, in these winter months. So I sure do know I’m a spoiled Texas girl! For the exception of the big Icemaggedon a few weeks ago, it’s pretty funny when we whine and complain about 40 and 50 degree weather being “cold.” I would say the only thing that we can maybe justify crying about, is how long it takes sometimes for our mountain bike trails to dry out before we can ride them. I’m sure this sounds crazy and weird for those who do not live around here to have someone say they have to WAIT for a trail to dry before riding it, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles in these parts. Riding in the mud not only damages the trails and our bikes, but because of the claylike soils in many of the trails, it’s not even doable if we wanted to. As one of our friends described it after he got stuck in the pouring rain mid ride, it was like riding through peanut butter…and I promise he wasn’t talking about the creamy kind!

As the weeks have gone by and the trails closed, my mountain bike was beginning to get cold and lonely sitting in the garage. Then it dawned on me, this is the perfect time of year to get an over haul before the up coming season! With everything closed I know I’m not missing out on the opportunity to ride in the dirt, and my bike will be MUCH happier when it’s all said and done. So last week Carlos and I dropped off our bikes at Plano Cycling and Fitness, and this leads me to a little story…

Three years ago Carlos had his eye on a beautiful carbon full-suspension twenty niner. For months and months he would stare at this bike on the computer screen day after day until I couldn’t take his puppy dog eyes anymore! So the day came when I finally said FINE! If you can sell your bike, then we can get you that one. And you better believe, where there is a will there is a way! Now that he had the okay from the wifey, he sold his bike in no time…now to go bicycle shopping! There weren’t many of these bikes stocked in town and one of the only places that had one was Plano Cycling and Fitness. This shop is not around the corner from us, and at the time, even though we were still VERY new to cycling, we knew that having a relationship with the shop you buy your bike at is VERY important. This was going to be a big purchase for us, and we didn’t know what to expect out of this shop having never been there. Before driving out, Carlos had looked up reviews and read nothing but good things. Some might even think we’re crazy when I tell you this, but we even prayed about it on our drive over there. We had agreed to see what kind of vibe we got when we walked in and after talking to a few people, before we made our decision. Well, since day one of stepping foot through the doors at PC&F, we have been blown away. You’re ALWAYS greeted with a welcoming smile, and their customer service has consistently been above and beyond. So much so, that at one point after purchasing Carlos’ new bike, because OF COURSE we did, he found a crack in the frame. When we took it to the shop on that Monday, they immediately took pictures, sent them off, and believe it or not, he had a brand new frame built and ready to race on THURSDAY! They are so much more than just a store that sells bicycles. This is why we support them as they have supported us so much that I don’t think I could ever even repay them for! It’s nice to walk in on any given day, and chit chat with the owner, Rick Gurney. I say this because it is those who have a passion for what they do that I want to surround myself with. Not many owners of any type of store are to be seen on the sales floor, and THAT’S PASSION! His staff is like family to us and there is always a familiar face when you walk in. We laugh and joke that our weekly visit is mandatory so we can pick up our mail.

So if you’re still looking for that perfect gift for your hard to please cycling family and friends, there’s no way to go wrong with a Plano Gift Card! This gives them the luxury of picking something that you probably have no idea they even want, and a guaranteed great overall experience! One last thing!!! Since Christmas is less than a week away, Plano Cycling and Fitness wants to hook you up! We’ve worked together to extend two very generous specials for you. All you have to do is mention “TeamUranga” to receive $50 OFF of a Body Geometry Bike Fit, which retails for $250! If you’ve never been professionally fit with a flexibility assessment, and video footage including a front and side view, as well as before and after, it can be the make it or break it in your riding. A proper bike fit will help you ride faster, longer, and with greater comfort, all while reducing the chance for injury. All of these benefits most definitely outweighs the $200 investment into doing something you absolutely love!

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The second special is what got this whole blog post started in the first place…over-haul!!! Just say, “TeamUranga” and receive a 25% discount off ANY service package! And the best part is these two great offers are valid until the end of FEBRUARY!!! So hopefully you got in a ride today, and if not, you may still have a chance to hit the dirt tomorrow morning before the rain and thunderstorms hit. Drop your bike off at the shop for a little TLC while the trails are sadly closed again and she’ll feel like new on your next ride in hero dirt! Take care of the bike that takes care of you! And by the way, you can give ALL your bicycles some love for Christmas with this awesome discount!

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Well, this is the end of our Countdown to Christmas. I hope if nothing else, we’ve kept you entertained, given you a few shopping ideas, and maybe even a few tips! Enjoy your Elete electrolytes while riding your newly fitted and smooth shifting bike on your SportCrafters rollers, super setting some intervals with power step-ups on your Roman Strength plyo-box, recovering with a little foam rolling, a Podium Cold ice “bath,” and then adjustment and massage with Dr. Amy Lewis…ah, the life of a cyclist! We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

❀️
The Urangas

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The Power of Christmas…Secret Number Five!

Less than two weeks to go!!!!!!! Are you ready?!? When it comes to Christmas there is a lot of hustle and bustle going on right? So let’s talk about that hustle that most of us are doing in this off-season…the movements in cycling are so repetitive that there are many other muscle systems that get neglected throughout most of the year. The off-season serves for the perfect opportunity to develop a stronger core, strengthen weak, neglected muscles, as well as increasing our power on the bike. Cross-training is KEY for all three of these components. It doesn’t have to be rocket science, so learning a few basic exercises with PROPER FORM can and will reap GREAT BENEFITS.

Before cycling even existed in our lives, Carlos and I have always been hungry to learn about the most up to date methods of training, specific to the goal and the type of adaptation you want to occur. In the case of power in cycling, the off-season is a more than ideal period to add a little plyometrics into your training. Box jumps as well as power step ups are two of our favorite exercises, and combining those with strength training is a whole different secret weapon of its own! In simple terms, the explosive movements from these exercises teach your muscular and nervous systems how to react quickly with great force. In other words, power is a measure of how quickly work can be done. The unit of power is the Watt = 1 Joule/ 1 second. So in order to get your bike up that punchy climb, or for that quick acceleration needed to respond to an attack, or to drive over an obstacle, we need to produce lots of watts in a very short period of time. These are all done with quick bursts of POWER.

Secret training weapon number five is a 3-height plyobox machined by Roman Strength. As a three in one box it is perfect to give you the different height options depending on your abilities and as you progress over time. Off the bike, this is one of our favorite pieces of equipment and really, all you need to work on power. The quality craftsmanship and durability make it worth every penny, or I should say, worth every watt you gain! So if you haven’t included plyometrics into your off-season, send this link to someone who loves you…Merry Christmas!

Let’s Get Realigned For Christmas!

I just love the off-season! For us that means building our aerobic base and working on our technical skills. You know, jump out of your comfort zone and work on those challenging sections of trail that you tend to skip because you know you can hammer it a lot harder taking the bypass. With no time limits and a flexible race schedule of a few marathons here and there, we’ve designated most weekends this past month to camping, chilling, and some technical riding. Our trail of choice for two of the weekends has been Reveille Peak Ranch. At the beginning of last month when we went out there for the first time, the trail kind of claimed us a little bit. I wrote about the carnage a few posts back and since then we have been eager to hit it again and redeem ourselves. This last weekend was the perfect opportunity to head out with friends, twiddle our thumbs in the rocks, and take in the amazing views!

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Well, perhaps over the weekend we did one too many wheelies and a TON of laps trying to master the pump track, and here Carlos and I were Tuesday morning with sore bodies, and now he’s got a major tweaked back. Too much demand on the body and not enough body maintenance…I think we both need to go back and read my own post on foam rolling and stretching! :-/

This all leads me to super secret training weapon number four of the countdown to Christmas, our very favorite total body fixer upper, Amy Lewis, D.C., and her awesome massage therapist, Danielle! Amy is a sports medicine chiropractor specializing in the treatment and prevention of athletic injures, which by the way, does wonders for performance! Through her own background of competitive sports, along with her experience working with athletes of all levels, Amy is the whole package! She is certified as a Graston provider as well as in Kenisio taping method. Amy and Danielle are really our go to team that keep us rolling, especially when we mistreat our bodies on the trail like this past weekend. I have personally had problems with my lower back ever since I was a little girl. It has been a problem for as long as I can remember. It is crucial for me to stay flexible and keep my core strong. Therefore, foam rolling and stretching is a huge part of my life, but there are still hard to reach places like your mid and upper back, and neck, along with massage therapy techniques that are more effective than simply foam rolling. Working with a knowledgable massage therapist does wonders for sore and overused muscles.

My wish for you is to inspire others to live healthier lives so that those around you can enjoy all that they are able…pain free! So why not give the gift of health to those who we care about the most, and hey, why not give a little gift to ourselves as well?!? In the spirit of Christmas and in hopes to dodge the hustle and bustle of the holidays around us, we would like to make gift giving a little bit easier. I have worked out a killer deal with Amy for a limited time only, to purchase an hour massage gift card for $50 OR to make this deal even sweeter, you can score an hour massage for ONLY $35 with the purchase of three or more!!! I’ve already got my gift cards purchased and I know my friends won’t be anything less than joyful this Christmas Season!

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Secret Weapon Number Two on the Countdown to Christmas!

For nearly seven years Carlos and I have been Master Trainers at 24 Hour Fitness. We both have such a passion for health and fitness that really I can’t see any other way to live our lives. I have learned so much in these years, having trained over seven thousand sessions, from nutrition, to proper goal setting, exercise techniques, periodization in cardiovascular and strength training, and most especially flexibility. All of these things are the keys to life, longevity, AND successful cycling. When I say “successful” cycling I’m not talking JUST competitive cycling. I mean riding your bike for what it is intended for, to have fun! I would say THAT in itself, constitutes success in cycling! Unfortunately, it can quickly turn into no fun when we start getting aches and pains on OR off the bike. Even worse is when our aches and pains get so bad that it keeps us from riding our bikes at all.

So for week five of my Countdown to Christmas, I would like to introduce to you Podium Cold and Podium Cold Foam Rollers. Podium Cold is an extremely practical method to reduce inflammation after a hard ride by icing your legs with these awesome leg sleeves. No more messing with ice bags and wasting a ton of water for an ice bath. Podium Cold was introduced to me earlier this year by a fellow racer, and I must say, I was pretty excited when I got my own pair. When you first put these guys on, it really takes your breath away! REALLY. It’s helpful to have distractions, like watching The Big Bang Theory, or maybe a rerun of one of the XC MTB World Cups on Red Bull TV, then you’ll forget what’s even going on with your lower extremities. πŸ™‚

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Aside from icing your legs to reduce inflammation, I would really say that the Podium Cold foam rollers are the KEY to successful cycling. I am a HUGE believer of self myofascial release, which is just a fancy word for massage. So here’s a little bit of simple science…if one muscle is tight and “shortened,” then the muscles directly across, or opposite, is going to be weak. An easy visual example is your bicep and tricep. You cannot contract both at the same time. Therefore, these muscles are opposites. So if you were to have a shortened bicep muscle due to overuse, or keeping a constant bend in your arms, like on a computer typing, or riding a bicycle for long durations, then over time your tricep will get weaker and your range of motion will become limited because of the lack of flexibility that you have developed. This leaves us prone to injury especially in other areas like the connecting joint, our shoulder. Very commonly people who tear their rotator cuff also have a tear in their bicep muscle where it attaches in the shoulder, and usually it all happens with some sort of everyday movement like reaching to pick something up in the back seat of your car.

All this was to give you an example of what can happen when we start to form muscle imbalances and do not address them. When we sit down, whether it’s in a chair at work, in the car, on the couch, or on the saddle, sitting puts our hip flexors into just that, FLEXION. If we stop to think about how much time in a day these muscles are in a state of flexion, why in the world would they be capable of going into full extension? Unless we were to make a constant effort to inhibit (foam roll or massage) and lengthen (stretch) the tight muscles. Then, to correct the imbalance, we must activate and strengthen the opposing muscles, which in this case would be our glutes, otherwise known as your behind. So long story short, our daily lives, along with being an active cyclist causes tight hip flexors. Tight hip flexors causes our hips to shift anteriorly, so if you think you are standing up straight and your butt is sticking out (this is an anterior tilt), and you have a huge arch in your back, you actually just have REALLY tight hip flexors, and most likely lower back pain to accompany it. This leads to weak glutes, among other things such as your abs and lower pelvic muscles, which we need all of these things to be strong and stable on the bike.

So here’s what you do…order a foam roller NOW for any and all of your cycling buddies and family who doesn’t already have one. Make them read this blog so they understand why they need to use it, and hopefully it will help them to ride pain free and better yet, faster and stronger! Taking care of our bodies is so important so that it will take care of you. We all need to designate time, whether it’s right before/after riding, or on your rest days to pamper our muscles that we tend to abuse day in and day out. If you are a racer, just remember, if you are capable of activating and utilizing more muscles than your opponent, then this will give you an edge and allow you to pedal longer and harder.

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Whether you are a racer, non-racer, or just all around passionate cyclist, be pro-active and take care of your body. Don’t wait till something hurts, or a muscle finally gives out and pops. We’re not all Professionals who get pampered day in and day out with a sports massage. For a discount on any of these products, send me a message on Facebook or to our email at Teamuranga@gmail.com and I’ll give you a coupon code to use at checkout. So this Christmas give the gift of flexibility and longevity with Podium Cold!

Christmas Countdown…What’s Your Secret Training Weapon????

Here we are only six short weeks away from the big “C”…..CHRISTMAS!!! I know I probably say this all too often, but time sure does fly! I think most especially when you’re having fun, doing what you love, and loving what you do.

I don’t know about you guys, but if you’re any sort of athlete at all, I’m sure you’re a pretty driven person as I like to believe I am. So why is it that year after year I get caught on the week of Christmas thinking, “Oh shoot! I need to buy presents!” as if I didn’t know for the entire 364 previous days of the year, since the last Christmas, what date it was going to be on. Doh! It’s like a mean joke I play on myself every year, when I get to run around like a chicken with it’s head chopped off. Maybe it’s just the adrenaline junkie inside of me that likes to race against the clock to see if I can get it all done while the rest of the world runs around with their heads chopped off too! Ha!

Well the reality of it all, is that it REALLY just stresses me the heck out! So I’ve decided that this year I’m not going to continue this vicious cycle, and I’m going to enjoy the holiday that I truly do love. I’ll save the race against the clock for my bike. In an attempt to do this, I’ve decided to have a countdown to Christmas! Each week I will have a new blogpost to share a few of our “most secret” off-season training tools that could very possibly take place as fabulous gifts for your friends and family who also enjoy this wonderful sport of cycling! So follow us week by week to make sure you don’t miss anything!

With six weeks to go, I want to introduce our favorite piece of indoor training equipment…Sport Crafters Rollers. A little over a year ago my brothers best friend gave us his set of Sport Crafters Cadence Rollers because he just didn’t have the time to use them anymore. He knew that Carlos and I would put them to good use and knowing how much they helped him improve his cycling, he knew that we would provide the perfect home for these puppies.

If you’ve never used rollers before, they sure can be tricky! I totally thought to myself, “I’m a mountain biker! How hard could this really be?!?” Well, boy did I have to put my ego to the side and get a good hold of the wall next to me! Carlos held my bars to make sure I wouldn’t fall, and for the first time I was not eager to get rid of those “training wheels!” After a few minutes I finally had the courage to ask him to let go. At first it felt like the bike was going to slide right out under me and my heart rate was going up like I was working on my threshold! I knew this had to be so much more mind over matter so I focused on relaxing my upper body and letting the bike move underneath me…just keep turning the pedals over. A few more minutes into it and I found myself in a rhythm. I loved it! I found that riding our new rollers improved my balance on the bike significantly and was NOT boring at all! Through the winter my indoor workouts flew by so much faster than my plain old trainer workouts.

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During the remainder of the year when we do most of our general riding outside, Carlos and I used our cadence rollers inside mainly to spin our legs out on recovery days and continue balance work. The deal with the cadence rollers is that there isn’t any added resistance. So if your goal is to get your watts up pretty high it’s rather hard to do. Unfortunately, sometime last month the band that connects the front and rear drum broke. But, because they have a lifetime warranty, we sent their customer service an email. Their quick response was impressive and what was even more impressive was that they shipped out a new band the very same day…for FREE! In this process their marketing manager, Sarah Houser, informed us of their new OverDrive drum that offers a “real road resistance” feel. With the winter about to begin we knew this OverDrive drum was just what we needed, so we bit the bullet and ordered one.

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This is a game changer folks! There is zero vibration and plenty of room for hitting your top end power. Carlos and I have both done some really great workouts with our new OverDrive drum and it is awesome! It’s fun to not only challenge your body by pushing hard, but also to have to use core strength and balance to stay on these things.

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As for Christmas, I don’t know of any cyclist who wouldn’t be ecstatic to have one of these under the tree with their name on it!!! They’re a little pricey, retailing at $399, but they’re sure to please! So check out your local bike shop to get one ordered, or hit them up online at http://www.sportscrafters.com.

Stay posted next week for more “secret” off-season training tools and start your gift list now!

Ride Better, Feel Better Women’s Clinic

Do you have lower back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain? Would you like to ride your bike, run or jog longer or faster? Have you been struggling to lose those last few pounds? I am a Certified Personal Trainer of over six years, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, and aspiring Pro Mountain Biker. Join me for a casual Women’s ONLY NO DROP road ride at Plano Cycling and Fitness on Saturday July 27 at 8:30am. Immediately after we will have a hands on clinic that could very possibly make you ride better and feel better! Don’t have a road bike? Not a problem! Fat tires or skinny tires, they’re all welcome! This is a free event and strictly for the ladies so bring your friends and riding partners whether they are beginner or advanced.

This ride will start at 8:30am SHARP in the parking lot of Plano Cycling and Fitness. For details on this ride please click here.
Immediately following our ride will be a clinic where I will go over nutrition (on the bike and off the bike), flexibility, core and strength training, and bike fit. Some items to bring that will allow you to get the most out of this clinic are a foam roller and a yoga mat (a large towel will also work.) No worries if you don’t have a foam roller as I will have a few extras handy.
IMPORTANT! This ride is NOT rain or shine. Therefore in the event that it does rain the clinic will be held at 1pm. If all goes well and the skies are blue the clinic will start at 11:30 am (after the ride.)
I want to thank Plano Cycling and Fitness for providing us with snacks and drinks and for generously opening up the space for us to make this possible!
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to email me at TeamUranga@gmail.com.