KNOW’S NOTES – THE CYCLING CLEANSE, TIRE AND KIT REVIEWS

The rhythm of spring and summer riding for most of us road cycling enthusiasts is steady and invigorating.

We do training rides during the week and then a group ride, race or another event on the weekend. Throw in a recovery ride and a rest day, and then crank it up again for the next week. I find it rewarding, at times exhausting and usually quite manageable.

By comparison, fall riding can be a mixed bag. Cool mornings, comfortable days, and a full calendar of cyclocross races or a few remaining road or gravel events to tempt you. The season is getting long and good ride harder to find. You look for that one last event or a few more group rides with your buds before you call it a season, relishing the good form you’ve developed during the year.

Mentally, you may be ready for a break. It’s dark during the same morning or evening hours that you used to ride just a month ago. And you are starting to think about the events you want to do next year and what you’re gonna do to be better than you were this year.

THE CYCLING CLEANSE

Some enthusiasts do a full 6 or 8 weeks of cyclo-cross races before taking a break. Others keep riding outside until we can’t keep up a regular schedule. Some take a break once the fall weather sets in for a couple of weeks (or months) and then get back at it through the fall and winter with a combination of outdoor and indoor training either on a bike and trainer, lift weights, do yoga, or any number of cross-training activities like hiking, running, swimming, and skiing.

As I discovered and wrote about several years ago, training with a purpose and training with a power meter are more important to riding faster than any gear or kit you can buy.

I’ve been more dedicated to following a training plan this year than ever before. It’s hard to pull off but the benefits have been clear. I’m faster overall and better able to stay with a group and take my share of pulls. I’ve been able to maintain my pace over longer rides when others tail off. By targeting my training around certain rides, I have been able to go into most of them in what passes for “peak condition” for me.

I came into this past spring with not enough base fitness and only a modest strength improvement over the prior year. While I used the spring to build up that fitness, I realized I didn’t have a good set of goals and a plan to achieve them in the offseason. If I had that, I would have been even better this season.

Just a few weeks ago, I put together my goals and ride schedule for next season. Keying on the dates of events where I want to be on my best form, I then worked back through my calendar to lay out my training plan. That showed me that I should start my offseason training in September.

Looking at the research I’ve done, the range training approaches I’ve reviewed, and the advice of a lot of coaches, most tell you to start your offseason after a period of rest.

So that’s what I did. As I write this, I’ve just finished that prescribed rest.

I’ve not heard anyone make this analogy, but rather than a relaxing rest, it felt like what I would call a cycling cleanse.

Similar to a dietary cleanse where you fast for a bit and then drink a regimen of water, fruit and vegetable juices to clear your system of harmful toxins, the cycling cleanse I did had me off my bike for two weeks to clear my system of the mental and physical fatigue built up from a long season of riding.

While I thought being off the bike for a bit would be easy to do and a nice break, it wasn’t. I often tell my friends that cycling is “my drug of choice”. Going two weeks without a ride had me going through a weird form of withdrawal. I was disagreeable (or more so than normal) and my back and leg muscles seemed to stiffen up.

But that’s finally over. Now, I’m transitioning into my offseason training program filled with 10 hours/week of riding, yoga, and weight lifting. Can’t wait to get back to normal!

I’ll let you know if the cleanse was worth it.

WHAT’S COMING UP

I’m testing out some new gear and kit this fall for reviews I hope will help you decide what cycling gear to get next and where to get it.

Tubeless tires seem to be getting better. Soon after I reviewed and recommended the new Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL as the Best Performer in June, Schwalbe announced their new Pro One tires. I’m riding it now and will have a review for you this fall.

Now that the leaves are starting to turn color where we ride, my fellow In The Know Cycling gear and kit testers and I will be checking out some fall and spring season kit from Gore, Santini, Assos, Bontrager and others intended for cooler temps and unpredictable weather.

To help you with your training and save you money on a smart trainer, I’ll also be updating and adding to my reviews of power meters that you can ride 12 months a year, inside or out.

There’s a bunch of other things I have in the works – shoes, helmets, wheels, tires – and a few new categories that I and other roadies are finding themselves gearing up for. More on that later.

SO YOU KNOW

It was a busy cycling season for me and I hope for you. While I always try to focus on the next review as soon as I get the last one out, I also understand that some of my reviews may have passed you by while you were out riding and enjoying yourselves.

So here are links to some of the more popular reviews of late.

Riding a Superbike with the SRAM ETAP AXS Groupset – What it’s like to ride the Madone SLR 9 with SRAM’s latest groupset, a combination that leaves people gobsmacked at a group ride and propels you to new KOMs and PRs.

The Best Cycling Sunglasses – If you are a serious cyclist, you should wear cycling sunglasses. It’s not easy to pick the best ones for each of us. Here’s how we did it and which we chose.

The Best Carbon Disc Wheelset – Reviews of Industry Nine i9.45 and HED Vanquish 4 wheelsets added to this comparative review of 10 of the best all-around, carbon disc wheelsets that perform well across a wide range of terrain.

The Best Carbon Wheelset for the Money – Part 2 – My review of the performance of 9 value carbon wheels in my search for the best carbon wheelset for the money.

Know’s Shop – Your introduction and an invitation to check out In The Know Cycling’s comparison shopping section for gear from many of the stores we recommend because they have the best prices, selection, and customer service.

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That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and supporting the site.

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