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An Eye Opening RedEye Velo Junior Team Spring Camp


This was my second year to have been privileged to be a part of the Redeye Velo Junior Team spring cycling camp in North Georgia. Unlike our summer camp, this one is designed specifically for their more experienced riders. The mountain passes, cold weather, possibility of rain and or snow coupled with the fun 40+mph descents is enough to elicit this. This year was a different year for me and an eye opening one to say the least.

In previous years I have had a moderate amount of fitness this time of year and I have felt good on nearly every ride.  I have slacked off considerably in the past 6 months and this weekend as I was climbing up several of the passes and in the pain cave I realized that is not the case this season.  This would not be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that in less than 10 weeks I have a 200 mile gravel road race (Dirty Kanza 200) that I will be participating in and my competitive side will not let me go in and simply participate.

So…what does that mean?  It means now is time to ramp it up and ramp it up considerably.  So, I have taken the steps that I recommend many athletes do but not be as dense as I am and wait until so close to time.  Call and get a coach.  I called my close friend and co-worker, Patrick Valentine, and he has constructed a bomb proof training plan for me!  You might be thinking, “Brady, you are a coach.  Why would you get another coach?” and that is a great question!  I get a coach for my events because it is an unbiased eye.  I know another person will push me when I might not want to push and tell me to not be an idiot if I am over thinking things.

The training is covered, the goals are laid out and now it is on me.  With Patrick’s help and watchful eye over the next 10 weeks I know that things will come together nicely.

So, in the coming weeks you will see me.  Riding the pavement, logging miles on the red clay roads and fine tuning my body to be prepared for the Flint Hills of Kansas.

written by:

Coach Brady Irwin

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How to Use Your Heart Rate Monitors and Power Meters More Effectively

In my years of running, riding, training, racing and coaching I have had the experience to come across thousands of people who own heart rate monitors and power meters.  As I became more versed in training, physiology and how each device could be best utilized I realized that at best 5% of the people who have these amazing aids are underutilizing the full power of the tools they have at their hands.  The simple question of “What is your power at threshold?” or “What is your heart rate threshold?” has often led to blank stares.  If you have a Garmin or Polar heart rate monitor or one of the many power meters that are out there and you feel that you fall into this stereotype let us help you get started with more accurate training.


Test your Fitness:

Use your HR monitor and Power Meter to their fullest

Without a baseline it is difficult to know where the current fitness level is which helps you know where to begin.  This baseline number is achieved through testing which can be done with a field test or in a lab test, like a lactate threshold test.  At SoS, one of the ways we have our athletes gauge fitness is by performing 2 field test efforts that are 10 minutes in length.  We have found that the numbers these two efforts produce are very accurate.


Create Training Ranges:

Training ranges allow you, as an athlete, to know how to more effectively utilize your training tool.  Based on the numbers that you produce during your testing you can create training ranges.  These numbers are used to help you focus on precise energy systems that the body utilizes during century rides, triathlons or bike races.



The testing has been done, the ranges have been created and now it is the utilization of those ranges.  Dependent upon what your goals and ambitions are will determine what you do with these ranges.  If you are looking at gaining some fitness but don’t really want to do intervals you can use it on your rides to gauge your intensity effort.  If you are looking for improvements, and fast, this will give you the best gauge of where your intensity needs to be.  Whether it is with the knowledge of a coach or your own knowledge, the amount of time that you need to stay at each intensity level is the other key factor in this equation.

How to Use your HR monitor or Power Meter

Think of these new ranges as a tachometer in a car.  If you are working with a Formula 1 engine and are going off of numbers for a Toyota Corolla you are not stressing the body enough, inversely, if you are working with the Formula 1 numbers and have a Corolla engine things will catastrophically fail.

Now, GO, test and train!  If you are not sure of how to do this we can help.  Whether it be our knowledgeable coaching staff or our lab to perform lactate threshold and VO2max testing we can steer you in the direction to improve the usage of your training tools.

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Bike Fit: Cleat Replacement

The most commonly neglected piece of equipment in cycling that we see during our Retul bike fits are cleats.  When riding we frequently clip in and out wearing the engagement points, walk on them, drag them across the ground as stopping (don’t do that!) and quite frankly I believe we forget they even exist.  Whether you are riding 10 miles at a time or hundreds of miles at a time these little pieces of plastic and metal play a much more important role than you might know.

Look Cleats

Cleat on Right shows excessive wear with a broken off tab that holds the clean in the pedal

In bike fitting we focus on decreasing the risk of injury while trying to balance the ability to produce power and optimize a rider’s position for aerodynamics.  These factors might not all be important to you but for everyone who rides we know that injury prevention is a priority.  This injury prevention is directly correlated to position and quality of your points of contact with your bike.  Your first point of contact with the bike is the pedals and with cleats these are not able to be changed while pedaling.  With this being the case it becomes more important to make sure your first point of contact with the bike is at its best.

Even with a proper bike fitting riders with overly worn cleats can begin to notice signs of discomfort including, but not limited to, foot numbness, knee pain and hip pain.  If this becomes severe enough it could ultimately lead to time off the bike and away from training.  A newer set of cleats increases the stability of the foot’s positioning with the pedal which provides a solid foundation for a fitting to be based on.

Look bicycle cleats worn

The nose of the left cleat is worn and can be a hazard for un-clipping under load

There are many factors that play into cleat wear with include how much you walk on them, the quantity of training and if you have any pedaling irregularities which create greater friction. There are several signs though that you can look for to verify the state of urgency.

Shimano Cleats –  With a very simple colored marker on the cleat (typically yellow), you can tell when these cleats are worn by the changes in the cleat.

Look Style Cleats – These are very common cleats and are frequently under maintained.  There is no clear marker on these.  With the “gripper” style cleats once the rubber is gone you need to replace them.  Non-gripper cleats do not have an indicator so you will need to pay closer attention to and replace once they begin to get roughed up.

SpeedPlay Cleats – The metal plate does not make these invincible!  These cleats hold  up a bit better than either of the other styles, however, if you wait too long you increase the risk of not being able to get the screws out.  Once these begin to wear or once you notice visible wear on the inner circle of the cleat it is time to replace the cleat.

If you are unsure of whether you need to purchase new cleats you can bring them in to Science of Speed or take the to your LBS for a knowledgeable opinion.

- On Resin based pedals, without a metal plate where the cleat contacts, it becomes even more important to regularly replace your cleats.  Any wear or roughness of the cleat acts like sandpaper and can create grooves in the surface of your pedal forcing you to buy new pedals sooner than you might have hoped.

- Not replacing your cleats frequently enough can result to unclipping under higher loads whether sprinting or pedaling hard.


Do you need to get your bike fit?  Schedule a fitting with a Science of Speed fit professional today to make sure you are in the optimal position for your goals.

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Dynamic Stretching For Runners

With all of the running events coming up on the calendar I thought it would be a good time to talk about the benefits of dynamic stretching. As our training begins to ramp up so too does our risk for injury. Many of the aches and pains so common to runners have to do with the limited range of motion involved in running. The main difference between dynamic stretching and traditional (static) stretching is that it is active. The purpose of dynamic stretching is to warm up the muscles and connective tissues by increasing blood flow and taking them through a wider range of motion, preparing them for action. Static stretching encourages the muscles to relax, great for recovery but counterproductive before activity. The intent during dynamic stretching is not to gain flexibility but to simply warm up your body and prepare it for activity.

Here’s a sample routine to try before your next run:

-Hip Circles
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips. Rotate your hips in circles, clockwise 10 times and then counterclockwise 10 times.

-Lateral Leg Swings
Hold onto a wall or light post for stability. With your feet shoulder distance apart, swing a leg straight out to the side and then across the front of your body to the opposite side. Repeat the motion 10 times for each leg.

-Calf Stretch
Starting on all fours, raise your hips so the body forms an inverted “V” and you’re supporting yourself on your hands and feet. Slowly pedal the feet, lowering one heel to the ground while raising the other. Keep your leg as straight as possible when lowering the heel and then bending the knee as you raise it. Repeat 10 times each leg.

-Lateral Lunge
Stand with your legs about double shoulder width with your toes pointed slightly outwards. Keeping your back as straight as possible, bend one knee about 90 degrees and lower your self while keeping the other leg straight out to the side, raise up to a standing position and then bend the other knee and repeat. Repeat 10 times each leg.

-High Kicks (Toy Soldier)
Walking forward, kick your leg as high as you can while keeping it straight. Alternate legs as you walk. Repeat 10 times each leg.

-Butt Kicks
Walking forward, kick the heels back into the glutes with each step. Repeat 10 times each leg.

-Walking Lunges
Step forward bending the front knee 90 degrees (take care to make sure the knee cap is over the ankle) while keeping the rear leg as straight as possible (without straining). Lower rear knee to the ground in a controlled and easy motion. Stand up (using your hands if needed) and step forward with the rear leg. Repeat 10 times each leg.

Adding a simple routine like this one prior to your workouts and events can do wonders for performance and injury prevention. As always, if you have any additional questions feel free to email us at Science of Speed and we will be happy to answer them.

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Grab a Bottle

Hydrate during your next workout

As the temperature continues to rise let’s briefly touch on one of the endurance athletes biggest issues: HYDRATION. A good baseline for water consumption is half of your body weight in ounces (i.e. a 150lb person would need 75oz). When you add training hours on top of that your hydration needs increase dramatically. The number varies depending on environmental conditions, duration, fitness level and genetics. To reduce the risk of dehydration and optimize performance here are a few rules of thumb to follow:

1. Hydrate before exercise. Throughout the day continue drinking water, I find that keeping one of my water bottles on me and drinking whenever I think of it (and continuing to refill the bottle) helps me stay on top my hydration.

2. 30 min or so before your workout make sure you drink an entire bottle.

3. During exercise your hydration needs (and your ability to fulfill them) will vary. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests 3-6 oz of water for every 20 min of exercise.

4. Hydrate after exercise. An easy way to determine water loss is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. Every pound lost is equal to about 16 oz of water.

Noticing a trend? Drink water. All day long. The effects of dehydration are cumulative, just like caloric intake. You don’t have to hit your numbers exactly everyday but rather over the course of the week your consumption/expenditure should even out. Staying on top of your hydration is one of the simplest ways to prevent injury and improve both recovery and performance.

Join us Thursday June 26th at 6pm for our final lecture in our Training Talks series. Trevor Marshall LMT and Dr. John Englebrecht will discuss common issues, their contributing factors and the benefits of Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Work for endurance athletes.

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A common misconception is that all endurance athletes fit into the same mold, that in order to be serious about your sport you need to look like a pro. What you find when you look at the pro peleton is that there is a wide variety of body types present. Just because Chris Froome looks like a praying mantis on his bike doesn’t mean that a rider of similar stature will have the same ideal racing weight. Marcel Kittel is of a similar height but probably has about 40lbs on Froome. If Kittel had tried to drop that much weight he would probably wind up getting shelled out the back of his local club ride instead of being one of the top sprinters in the world.

Forcing yourself into a target weight that is unnatural for your body type and build is not only unhealthy it can also rob you of training gains and cause your performance to suffer. When the body is chronically malnourished it is not getting the necessary nutrients to recover and rebuild from training. Resulting in little or no gain in fitness. Sometimes even a loss. Brad Huff is a professional rider who spent a couple years struggling to drop weight and actually wound up performing worse as his weight went down. Once his coach helped him figure out the problem he actually started the next season at a higher weight than he’d ever had before as a professional and his performance increased dramatically.

That’s not to say small adjustments can’t be made to find an ideal racing weight but you’ve got to be smart about it. In order to lose weight at a healthy rate, knowing your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is extremely helpful. BMR is the number of calories needed for basic body function. The number varies greatly from person to person and in order to get an accurate number you need to take a BMR test. BMR tests take about 45min to complete and are extremely easy. There are plenty of online calculators out there to guess your BMR but they are wildly inaccurate and can vary by hundreds of calories from one calculator to the next. When you’re looking at maintaining a 300-500 calories a day deficit for healthy weight loss, that kind of inaccuracy can really create problems.

Armed with an accurate BMR you can track your energy expenditure from day to day using either  a power meter or any number of algorithms that use, average heart rate, speed and elevation to calculate energy expenditure. Again, the more accurate the better.

Where can you take a BMR test? Right here at Science of Speed!

Do you have any questions regarding Diet and Nutrition? Send us an email and we will try to get it answered in our upcoming lecture (June 12th).

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You’ve Got to Have a Plan

Sometimes finding the time to train can be a struggle. Balancing work, family and a social life with serious training can often leave you feeling like you just aren’t doing enough to make any real gains. Having a structured training plan is a way to achieve those gains you’re looking for by maximizing the time you have available to train. Whether it’s 6-8 hours a week or 10-15 there is a plan that can help you achieve your fitness goals.

With limited time available to train it’s important that the body is sufficiently stressed by the effort in order to make improvements in fitness. The most efficient way to do that is through structured interval training. Simply going out and doing hill repeats week in and week out will help you improve but only up to a certain point. Once your body adapts to the demands of the work, the gains start to become minimal and eventually plateau. Periodized training enables the body to go through periods of intense effort but also periods of recovery in order to make the adaptations necessary for improvement and then build on those gains.

We offer a variety of coaching options from personalized static plans to fully customized 1 on 1 coaching packages.

Do you have Training Questions? Send us an email and we’ll try to get it answered at our upcoming lecture on Structured Training (May 29th).

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Interval Training

Since the beginning of this year, Science of Speed coach Trevor has been on a new interval training plan. We tested his LT/Vo2 max before the start of the training and again 4 months later. In that time, he showed at 3% increase in power at threshold. We sat down and discussed how the training’s been going for him:

Q: How long have you been riding?

A: Years and years, as a commuter. I owned a car for about 6 months when I was 18 and I hated it. I’ve been riding every day ever since. Nothing serious until I did my first bike race on a steel commuter with front/rear fenders and a rack 4 years ago and I’ve been obsessed ever since.

Q: How long have you been training?

A: Since that first race 4 years ago. No real structure to it though. Just lots and lots of riding.

Q: How long have you been doing intervals? Had you done any before?

A: I started in January. Before that, the closest I came to interval training was when I would go for all the sprints on a group ride.

Q: How has it affected your training?

Right off the bat I learned I was capable of more than I thought I was, intensity-wise. Before doing Vo2 intervals, I did everything I could to avoid sprinting. I hated it. After a couple of months of focusing on Vo2, I realized I just never really tried to go that hard before. There’s been a definite improvement there.

Time-wise there’s been a big change as well. Before this year, I just tried to ride as much as possible and hit the group rides hard. I would try to ride every day as much as possible. Doing interval workouts on weekdays and taking rest days has actually shortened the amount of time I ride by quite a bit, freeing me up to do other things.

Q: How has this changed your fitness?

A: Again, I think a big part was just never really going as hard as I could on a regular basis. Before doing intervals, I just assumed if I went out on the group ride and rode hard then I was getting a good workout. I definitely made improvements that way but only up to a certain point. Last year I felt like I’d hit a plateau. In the last 4 months I’ve made more improvements across the board than I did over the entire season last year.

Science of Speed offers a wide variety of training plans, from fully customized individual plans to static training plans. Contact us today and let us help you take your performance to the next level!

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Knowing When It’s Time to REST

The idea behind any training is to stress the body to the point that it has to make an adaptation in order to handle the training load. It’s only by resting that the body can effectively repair itself and improve. Finding the balance between training and rest can be challenging though. For some athletes, the problem is not finding the motivation to train it’s knowing when to stop and rest. Highly motivated athletes often run the risk of over training, resulting in not only a lack of gains but actually losing fitness. As they continue to push themselves past exhaustion the quality of their workouts begin to suffer and they are no longer capable of pushing themselves hard enough to actually accomplish anything and it simply becomes a death march.

Another common issue is training through an injury. Aches and pains come with the territory and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between soreness and an actual injury. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to pain, especially early in the season when a serious issue can ruin the entire year if it isn’t handled properly. Due to the repetitive motions and long hours of training in endurance sports, seemingly insignificant issues can become big problems if they are ignored.

When treating an injury, always remember: ICE. The answer 99.9% of the time is ice, not heat. Heat encourages blood flow and as a result, inflammation. Which is the last thing you want. Icing a sore spot for 15-20 minutes, getting it elevated and taking a few days off the bike is the best way to get you back on the road as soon as possible.

So how much rest is enough? One day of complete rest a week is usually plenty. Changing how you approach rest after your workouts can help a lot as well.Taking the time to replenish fluids and nutrients, stretching and putting your legs up in the 30 minutes following your workout will help you more in the long run than extending your ride by another 30 minutes and then rushing home to do the yard work. Some days it’s all you can do to fit the workout in and that’s fine, just make the effort when you can.




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RedEye Velo Junior Camp

Coach Brady’s Camp Recap

This week I joined some of the RedEye Velo junior cyclists for their third annual North Georgia Training Camp.  This three day camp has become a tradition for them in many ways. It is a great early season jump start to their mileage, a great learning experience and a bonding and team building experience for the entire team.  The mountains of North Georgia provide not only some amazing climbing and great views but some challenge that may of these juniors don’t get the opportunity to frequently visit.

Dahlonega, GA 6 Gap Training CampWe awoke Monday morning to light rain, and temperatures in the low 40′s.  After breakfast and delaying for several hours the rain ceased and we bundled up and hopped on our bikes to conquer 3 passes in the cold (Jack’s, Unicoi & Hogpen).  With fresh legs everyone was feeling a bit froggy and the goofing off quickly turned into a pace that brought out everyone’s game face and as the road picked up so did the intensity.  We summited Jack’s and the speed quickly picked up to 40+mph as we descended the sweeping turns that are on the backside of this climb.  As the road kicked up again we knew that Unicoi was our next task.  The road went up and the temperature continue to drop, the rain set in and what was once clouds quickly became fog that engulfed the roads ahead of us and made rider’s disappear into the fog as slight gaps formed between the riders.  As we summited everyone quickly put on the garmets they had shed for the climb.  As everyone slowly snaked their way down the wet, winding mountain roads we regrouped and pressed on with our largest task of the day at hand.  Hogpen. The climb that nearly every 6 gap rider dreads.  Grades of 8% and up leave you wishing you had an extra gear to shift into and cause you to be out of the saddle more than anyone even desires.  The large part of the group stayed together until the start of the KOM segment which marks 10km to go and then I fell off the pace, the sign of minimal riding and a lacking level of fitness. The rest was left up to the pace setting of the remaining 3 riders and from the sounds of it ended in an attack with 1km to go.

Tuesday we rode out with sunshine and weather in the mid 40′s.  The much appreciated sun meant a warmer feel even without warmer temps.  We rolled out planning on doing 60+miles on the day and when we arrived at the base of Wolfpen gap to find a “Road Closed” barricade with a rather serious looking construction worker we were forced to reassess our day’s plan.  We decided to climb Neel’s gap instead and as we ascended the sun disappeared.  What would come next was more like we had experienced the day before.  Cloud cover, fog and rain met us on the way up and as we summited and began our descent we were graced with a bit of sleet as well.  By far the coldest descent of the day left us all ready to be done but there was a great deal of work that still had to be done.  After a bit of discussion we made the decision to climb back up Neel’s and search for a bit warmer weather.  Once we began our descent down we found slightly warmer weather and wrapped up our day with tired legs.

Neels' Gap Summit Georgia cycling CampWednesday consisted of sunny weather and a short climb up Jack’s.  Everyone was quick to express how fatigued their legs felt and it was apparent that motivation was low since a rotating pace line turned into only two riders with everyone else hanging off the back.  After some clean up and packing we hopped back in the cars for the long 6.5 hour drive back to Tallahassee.

As we reflected on the past three days we discussed the importance of hydration and nutrition, particularly as the weather gets cold and our senses and desire to drink something cold decreases.  We also talked about the riders’ need for a greater focus on nutrition.  As good as Skittles, cookies and Cheez-its are off the bike (wish I would have taken a photo of what they inhaled) they were not our focus of this weeks’ nutrition discussions.  Some of the athletes are training with power meters and we discussed the utilization of power meters to accurately track calorie expenditure and how each athlete can better use this data during their training and racing to stay sharp and keep energy levels high.

Thank you Redeye Velo for the opportunity to be a part of such a great camp and we thank you even more for allowing us to be a proud sponsor for another year!

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