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Archives for May, 2011

Alameda Runners likes to get involved with volunteering and trying to participate in local politics (however ugly it may be in Alameda). For an article published elsewhere, I had the chance to chat with an organization that has a very unique method to helping charities.

I recently interviewed a group that uses an active coalition of companies that give at least 1% of yearly revenue to support environmental groups. I think it’s especially important to highlight these groups at a time when state and federal park funding is being slashed at an alarming rate.

Here is a link to the full interview that was recently published on TrailsEdge.

I’d like to discuss a few additional thoughts about 1% and the group’s continued efforts to help the environment. The 1% giving idea is unique because it is a small, but extremely important contribution from companies. Many companies are plagued by big bureaucracy that seems to prevent useful monetary or logistical support for groups.

Whether or not it’s 1%, Alameda Runners recommends trying to become involved in whatever manner you can. It’s important to try and appreciate the great outdoors we all love to explore and enjoy, so look out for the companies and promotions that look to help out.

Basics of Road Cycling Safety

Bike safety is an important topic that should be covered year-round, but it’s increasingly important now that more of us are dusting off bikes in the garage.

As someone that both drives and rides a bike around Alameda, I see frightening behavior from both sides — and it’s these chaotic, reckless moments that could be avoided. Here is a helpful video that covers the three most likely incidents facing cyclists:

I’ve learned to naturally assume drivers don’t know I’m there, as many drivers clearly aren’t paying attention when behind the wheel. Sadly, I’ve had drivers intentionally open a car door in front of me, or intentionally pinch me off when trying to turn right.

Be aware — and stay safe — out there this summer, because we don’t want you to end up a human hood ornament!

Nutrition is absolutely important for athletes to consider when they’re exercising, adding the proper fuel can help give you the right push towards a new PR.

I recently wrote a story on TrailsEdge that goes into the basics of nutrition for athletes still trying to make sense of things. I’d like to expand on the topic of sports nutrition a bit while also offering some great reading material.

Rather than ramble about different things, hopefully providing a few links to outside sources will generate inspiration that can be used in your own personal workouts.

Nutrition is more than just what you eat and drink while exercising, and it’s easy to overlook. Most athletes carbo load and taper with great care, but ignore other general nutrition guidelines, so I included a few ideas on food choices as well. has a list of “8 common mistakes” athletes make and “how to fix them” to ensure you’re properly fueled.

I usually prefer to stick with products aimed specifically at sports nutrition, but the “alternative carb sources” story published at Runner’s World is a good read.

A post on the Umass helps stimulate ideas related to basic post-race foods, “ABCs” of baked potatoes, and some basic food eating tips for people on the road. This marathon site lists the benefits of a ‘good’ diet, and what marathon runners should and shouldn’t eat.

RoadID Releases Wrist ID Slim

RoadID is using the Tour of California as a strong marketing platform to help make sure athletes always have their emergency contact information with them.

The biggest North American bike race enters its critical time trial stage tomorrow, several RoadID athletes and ambassadors are currently in California. As such, this also marked the perfect time to launch a new RoadID product, as a high amount of US attention is focused on Versus.

The RoadID Wrist ID Slim is a new model — and is the slimmest RoadID available — which can be worn by kids and adults alike.

From the RoadID website:

With its stylish and comfortable silicone band, you will be tempted to make a lifestyle statement and wear it 24/7. Like all our ID products, The Wrist ID Slim can be laser engraved with your emergency contact information and is available in both Original and Interactive versions. There are seven different colors to choose from. You (and your kids) will love wearing The Wrist ID Slim.

Craig Hummer and Bob Roll talk about RoadID:

I know many of us end up running, riding, and exploring a long distance away from home, so having a RoadID is important if something happens. If you’re unable to purchase a RoadID or similar product, we at least recommend making sure you have contact information available in case something does happen.

We whipped up a short story in the past that highlights the importance of wearing RoadID when you’re out exploring the world.


Editors note:  I wear my road ID for all of my long runs.  I am thinking of getting another one to hang from my bike.  There is the security concern but if you wind up injured on the side of the road, it is nice be identifiable.

Have you seen the Clean Bottle?

You may have seen it running on the roadside in July along the peloton in France, or on the roads in Northern California.

Here is the Clean Bottle making a stop at Sports Basement:

Alameda Runners is recently harassing Clean Bottle during their time at the Tour of California, and they’re going to help answer some questions.

East Bay’s own GU Energy recently added the Chocolate Raspberry flavor to its Roctane brand of energy gels, a newer product aimed at ‘ultra endurance’ activities.

The new flavor utilizes a blend of Amino Acids to help reduce lactic acid build-up, and some other science mumbo-jumbo to help limit muscle damage.

“We are pleased to introduce this flavor in response to the widely voiced demand for a chocolate Roctane option from athletes across the endurance sports world,” said Brent Mann, GU R&D Director, in a press statement. “The unique, yet subtle tartness of our all natural raspberry flavor, brings balance to the bold profile of the real, dark chocolate.”

Originally introduced in 2008, the Roctane line is aimed at fueling you for your especially demanding adventures. There are five flavors in the Roctane family, and the Pineapple flavor is still one of my favorite energy gels to enjoy while training.

The GU Chocolate Raspberry flavor is now available for $2.50 per packet — and Alameda Runners has a box to sample.

The Tour of California begins from South Lake Tahoe on Sunday, and will feature a field of legitimate ProTour and elite continental riders wanting to leave their mark on the race.

Event organizers hoped a mid-May event would give riders the chance to hit higher elevations with better weather, though it looks like riders will have to wear their cold weather gear.

The race starts tomorrow with a planned 118-mile trip around Tahoe that could include a few inches of fresh snow.

Warmer weather during the week has given way to colder weather and the growing likelihood of a snow-covered stage to kick off the biggest cycling race in the United States. TOC stage 2 — which travels through Donner Pass — may also need to be changed due to snowy weather.

Event organizers do have backup plans in case stages need to be altered due to snow, and will keep monitoring the situation late into the night.

The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and North Lake Tahoe Resort Association have been responsible for sponsorship efforts that will have major local impact:

“The Amgen Tour of California is expected to provide one of greatest financial impacts to the Tahoe basin in years. Based on previous races, the annual economic impact to the state of California is estimated to be $100 million with Lake Tahoe organizers anticipating a local impact of $5 – 10 million resulting from 10 days of events leading up to the race start on May 15. For Lake Tahoe, hosting the tour is about telling the world that the area is a remarkable cycling destination.”

Since defending champion Mick Rogers is sidelined with illness, this race will be wide open for a few select potential GC contenders. HTC-Columbia plans to keep fighting for GC glory, even though Rogers won’t be at the race as he recovers.

Even with the Giro heating up in Italy, it’s time to shift focus to the TOC as riders fly across the Golden State.

A couple of months ago, I was talking nutrition with my buddies from Clif.  They told me I could get my calories from my drinks and sent me a couple of containers of Clif Shot Electrolyte drink to prove their point.  My first taste left with the impression of “Just another sports drink”.

Upon drinking the whole bottle, I realized there was no fake sweetener taste.   As most of you know, I like to consume natural products as much as possible so a drinkable product with no sweeteners is great for me.

I took the Lemonade flavor Clif Shot to work where it worked well after my lunch time runs.  I rarely crashed in the afternoon and I always recovered enough for my next workout.  It does not taste like Kool-Aide but it is drinkable enough to sip after a workout.

I take the Cranberry Razz flavor out on bike rides and drink it 50% stronger than the label recommends.  It helps to give me enough calories to keep me fueled for a longer bike ride.  I suffer from no ill effects from drinking it concentrated and I stay fueled.

I took 3 weeks off from endurance training because of injury.  I went out for a 60-mile bike ride with my brother my first day back from injury.

I did not realize that I ran out of Clif Shot so I tried Hammer Nutrition Heed.  After our ride, I crashed hard and could not eat for about four hours after the ride.  He had no problems with the Hammer fluid and ate Mexican food as soon as we finished.

(Mike’s Note:  This is one of the reasons you should be careful experimenting with new products during longer training sessions.  It’s disappointing to miss tasty post-exercise dinner because your stomach feels iffy from the workout.)

Physiology has a lot to do with what products work for which individuals.  He has trouble keeping his weight down while I have trouble keeping my weight up. 

Clif has knocked the mighty Cytomax sports drink off the top of my list of preferred drinks.  That is saying a lot since I have been buying Cytomax for more than 10 years.  I like the drinkable taste of Clif.  Kool-Aide is good but not for a recovery drink.  I also like using the different flavors for different routines.  I am not a scientist or nutritionist.  I just know what I can drink and how painful life can be when I crash.

State and federal parks in California are under attack from misguided politicians, with Governor Jerry Brown recently deciding to close 70 state parks.

The Brown administration announced they will shutter 70 of 278 state parks — the effort will officially begin on July 1, 2012, as a public outcry forced the state government to push back closures. The state is trying to desperately close a $15.4 billion budget deficit that never seems to shrink.

The parks receiving the axe were selected by a few different compiling factors, including the following: revenue generated at the park, visitor figures, importance to local and state history, and geographic/social issues (i.e. development plans).

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went loony and tried to close 220 of 278 state parks, but quickly realized how much voters love their parks. After receiving more than 135,000 letters, e-mails and phone calls from angry Californians that wanted to keep their parks open.

I find it difficult to believe the budget couldn’t be wrangled under control by eliminating the many wasteful, mismanaged programs coming from Sacramento.

I plan on writing to the governor to voice my disappointment, and expect he’ll receive letters, e-mails and calls from other angry Californians. It’s a smaller number of parks that will be closed than previous efforts, so we’ll see what the public response to this will be in the coming weeks.


*Ted’s note: Those of us who live in the SF bay area are fortunate to have our parks spared because they are part of the East Bay Regional Parks district. We love our parks!

In a rather bizarre, creepy news post, I just wanted to make sure Bay Area readers are aware of an ongoing issue in Livermore.

Apparently there is some weirdo running around the Livermore area pulling down pants of women joggers — with six reported cases since 2007 — but details remain confusing.

It’s odd,” said Sgt. Paul Mayer, Livermore police Sgt., in a statement to the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s hard to wrap your mind around what he is trying to do. We’re not positive it is the same person, but we are treating it like it is.”

If you’re going to run alone, make sure you’re vigilant of the surroundings around you. Many of us run while listening to an MP3 player, but that can be extremely dangerous if you’re alone in isolated areas. Running safety experts recommend people listen to only one earbud, or at least turn down the volume to a reasonable level.