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Science of Speed Partners with Raptor Aquatic Club Elite

Science of Speed is excited about our recent partnership with Raptor Aquatic Club Triathlon Swim CoachElite (RACE) and its swimmers. Our expert triathlon and swim coach, Patrick Valentine, spent an extended weekend in December in Panama City working one on one with this select group of athletes. The weekend kicked off with a dry land workout teaching new skills,  which will serve as a cornerstone to turning each individual into well rounded athletes and not just swimmers, and providing instrumental feedback on proper technique.

The following two days were spent working solely on stroke refinement and drills to properly breakdown each element of every athlete’s swim stroke helping to create proper habits for better swimming. Part of the process in educating each athlete included above water and below water video analysis to effectively provide each athlete with visuals of what their Panama City Swim coachingstrengths and weaknesses currently were, and how that compared with elite swimmers in the US.

The weekend came to a close with the RACE swimmers heading North to swim at a natatorium that holds a great deal of national and international fame, the home of the Auburn Tigers. With the recent stroke work and training techniques the meet served as a great starting point to see how the practice habits transferred to a race scenario. We were just as excited as the athletes to see some fantastic swims including multiple personal best times with the majority of athletes swimming as fast as they have all year long. This marked a great foundation in the relationship between RACE and SoS, and just as importantly the runway for many successful seasons to come. Be on the lookout for these swimmers over the years to come!


If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a better swimmer, whether to improve technique or to take you to the center state of the sport, please contact us. We are happy to setup an individual or a group setting to work on stroke development to fit your needs.


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Selecting your next Cycling or Triathlon Short

For the Fashionista or Bike Snob a new pair of cycling or triathlon shorts is an exciting thing.  Accessorizing can be one of the most enjoyable for things for them to do with some spare money and some fun time.  For many though, the thought of spending $100 or more dollars on a pair of cycling shorts is a frightful thing but it is one of the largest parts to improving your comfort on your bike.  Here are a few key things to consider when you are debating whether your shorts are in need of replacement and what route you need to take when selecting your next cycling or triathlon short:

  1. Elasticity – A snug fitting short is imperative for comfort.  If they twist and shift while you ride you increase your susceptibility to chaffing and saddle sores.  If your shorts are baggy in the legs (unless you are a small child – hard to find sizes small enough) they are worn out! IMMEDIATELY walk over to a trash can,  throw them away and go buy a new pair of shorts now.
  2. Thickness of material – Cycling shorts are not supposed to be see through and honestly no one wants to stare at your crack for hours on a group ride.  Result: Go buy new shorts!
  3. Chamois – This is the padding in your cycling short. It is what gives you a great deal of comfort or discomfort if improperly selected. Over time this padding “packs” or compresses and because of this it does not offer the same level of comfort also. Be sure you find one with minimal seams and smooth stitching around the edges. The newer and higher quality chamois is actually made of one piece of foam with varying thicknesses throughout. They are seamless and very comfortable.
  4. LG bib shortsBibs or shorts – Consider bibs. We can almost guarantee that if you go to bib shorts you will never return to a standard short. They might look a bit like a wrestling singlet but the comfort they offer is worth it! For the ladies they can be more difficult for nature breaks but the newer “drop tail” bibs help reduce this challenge.
  5. Quantity/number of weekly rides – If you ride more than twice weekly you need to have more than one pair of shorts. Save yourself the hassle of having to wash your shorts for every ride and take the chance at trying out several different shorts/chamois.
  6. Don’t Skimp! Cycling shorts can be expensive but are worth the money. Higher priced shorts typically result in a longer lasting short and a higher quality chamois.

Ultimately know that a pair of shorts, dependent upon quality, can last anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 miles. Keep in mind they are an investment in your body’s comfort.  Higher priced shorts have greater technology including the chamois, shaping, quality of material and the shorts effectiveness at keeping your bodies temperature at more normal levels.

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Athlete Spotlight: Davis Bell

Athlete Spotlight: Davis Bell

Davis Bell is a great example of what the spirit of an athlete can do to help people acheive.  At one point Davis weighed over 280lbs and had smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for nearly 10 years.  In 2007 he made the decision that he was going to change his life by beginning to walk and run.

Setting a goal was one of the biggest motivators for him in his initial success. “Once I reached 200 pounds I would buy a bike and start riding with a friend.”  So, Davis worked out consistently, watched his diet and began to shed weight until he was able to meet his goal to purchase his bike.

Coach Brady met Davis the summer of 2012 after the purchase of his new bike. After years of Brady helping Davis with on bike nutrition and tips for modifying his training, Davis made the leap to coaching. One year after winning his first ever cycling road race.  The stressors of life had played a roll on Davis’ fitness and he had found a little bit of his previously lost weight.  Quoted saying “Just have fun it’s only cycling,” you might believe that on first impression, once you learn his personality better you will realize he is extremely driven and competitive.

After 6 months of training Davis raced his final goal of the season the Pensacola cycling classic.  With an amazing start to the 3 day stage race, Davis cranked out 400+ watts in his time trial to set a new personal best.  He follow that up with a well executed road race and then smashed the field in the criterium by attacking with over 20 minutes to go holding off the field and subsequently producing his highest 20 minute power output ever “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” Said Davis.  Certainly his day to day changes in his diet and training have lead to some extraordinary outcomes!

Athletes like Davis are the reason we exist at Science of Speed.  He has fought to overcome his routine habits and make a healthier life for himself as well as pushed his body to greater levels of fitness than he thought possible.  The constant philosophy that, “You don’t have to prove anything if you believe in yourself,” has brought Davis to where he is today and will continue to push him through the winter months of training and into an very strong 2016 race season.

Sign up for the same program that has led to Davis’ great success and maybe one day you can be in our Athlete Spotlight!

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Improve Bike Performance:

Threshold Intervals

We talk a great deal about the importance of intervals and how they make the most out of limited amounts of training time but they can also make you a much stronger athlete.  We have seen it come true for so many athletes that we are not only confident in the success rate of intervals, we are sure that they will help to improve bike performance for you as well.

How do you Improve your bike performance?

A great deal of the “how,” comes down to what your specific goal is.  Are you a Triathlete searching for the ability to grind out hours of smooth tempo?  Are you a road racer searching for the ability to hold a high sustained effort?  You might be an “Average Joe,” just like in Dodgeball, like so many trying to hang on to the “B” group in your local ride!  If you fall in to any of the three categories we have a great solution for you to reach your goals.

Threshold Intervals are a great way to improve your bike performance.  These intervals are sustained efforts at intensities just below and right up to your Threshold Power/Heart Rate.  They can vary considerably in length based upon a riders fitness but ultimately they allow you to perform a great deal of intensity without requiring excessive amounts of recovery time.

The ultimate goal of these intervals is to train your body to become more efficient at buffering, or getting rid of, the wastes that accumulate under sustained moderate intensity.


Are you looking to take your performance to a higher level? Get a fully customized training plan from your own personal Science of Speed Coach.  LEARN MORE

Sample workout:


10-20 minutes (dependent upon rider preference)


8 minute Threshold intervals

4 minute rest

8 minute Threshold intervals

4 minute rest

8 minute Threshold intervals

4 minute rest

8 minute Threshold intervals

Cool Down:


Are you new to training or on a little tighter budget?

Consider one of our static training plans to help you improve your performance!

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Athlete Spotlight: Pete Butler

Athlete Spotlight: Pete Butler

In May of 2014, nearly one year from his goal event, Pete came to SoS for help with his training. With a lofty goal of winning a Senior National Championship bike race in 2015 he knew that there was no time to waste.  A plan was laid out with his coach and Pete’s diligence, hard work and motivation to attain his goal kept him on track.  With early results included an 18% improvement in power in the first 3 months of training and continued progress in power output through the next nine months Pete was becoming sure of his ability.

Cycling National ChampionOn June 8th & 9th Pete was in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was excited to compete in his 40k and 20k road races.  He had his strategy for both days, he was excited and confident in his fitness from the training that he had done to get to this point.  Day one Pete attacked in the final meters of the race gapping the field and powering in to the finish line ultimately winning by several bike lengths.  Day two was so incredibly close that it ended up having to be reviewed by the race officials.  With several different types of records being consulted it was determined that Pete pipped his competitor at the line! He not only accomplished his goal of a National Championship but came away from his racing having received TWO National Championships.

Cycling National ChampionWhen asked what his biggest challenge was in accomplishing his goal, Pete’s response was “balancing life and cycling.” To help maintain this balance Pete put a cap on his training of 12 hours per week.  This stipulation made it crucial to turn every minute of Pete’s training into quality training time.  There was no fluff training, no LSD training but there was the fun of racing and group rides and ultimately quality time with his wife, Karen, and daughter and son, Anna Grace & Paul.

Keep your eyes peeled for Pete on your next group ride, event or race.  He will be the guy with the ear to ear smile, encouraging others, helping the local junior team foster new up and coming athletes and at times putting others in the hurt locker!


Congratulations Pete, we are very proud of you and all you have accomplished!  Very few athletes have the opportunity to put on the stars and bars in cycling and you have achieved an amazing accomplishment!


Are you interested in achieving goals like Pete?  Learn more about our coaching packages

What is the Athlete Spotlight?

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4 Keys to Training in the Heat

Train Safely in the Heat

This time of year in the Southeast theHeat and Endurance sports heat can be nearly unbearable but that doesn’t mean you have to stop training all together.  During my threshold workout yesterday in the 95 deg, 100% humidity weather as the sweat was dripping on the top tube of my bike I thought, “what better time to discuss this than now!”

Training can be done in nearly any climate but there are four key factors that need to be consider as you are training in the heat and they include your timing, intensity, hydration and clothing selection.


Timing is everything!  If you have not been out in the heat of the day doing any type of exercise it is important to prepare your body for the stressors that will come. Gradually build up your time in the early morning rides and let your body acclimate to the longer bouts of training and increasing heat as the day progresses.

If the heat of the day is the only time you have available to ride be sure to keep your initial rides short.  Spending no more than 30 minutes in the heat the first week and drinking more fluids that you typically would on a ride will all help your body in the acclimation process and keep you safe.


You might not be able to ride at any time other than the middle of the day when the sun is blazing down on you and you feel the 130 degree heat radiating off the jet black asphalt.  This is no time to be out trying to accomplish your hardest VO2 workout.  As your workload increases your muscles generate large amounts of heat and make it more difficult for your body to cool itself.  Lowering intensity is helpful in maintaining a proper core temperature and can be instrumental in regulating body temperature.


Whether it is hot or cold outside maintaining proper hydration levels is extremely important.  We typically discuss this regarding peak performance because minimal changes in total body water can result in extensive decreases in performance.  In this instance our goal is safety, not performance, and minimum intakes are usually thrown out the window.  Several key notes to keep in mind is that a cold drink is absorbed into the body more easily but it also helps to cool your core.  Either using insulated bottles and packing them with ice or stopping at filling stations more frequently will help keeping water cool.


Long gone are the days of the extreme dehydration style workouts.  Where athletes would “train” their bodies to work without fluids.  As our knowledge of the human body has increased, so to has the clothing.  now you will find lines purposed for varying weather conditions.  The most basic information for clothing during the summer is that it should be something that “breathes” very well and is a thinner material.

Base layers are worn year round now and there are some for cold weather and some for the heat.  I personally wear a base layer year round and in the summer months I find it more advantageous.  A base layer’s goal in the summer months is to effectively increase the body’s surface area, much like a car’s radiator, and aid in the evaporation process, which cools your body.  You might find that the first few minutes of riding will feel a touch warmer until the base layer is wet with sweat but once that is accomplished you will begin to notice the differences.

Signs of dehydration/heat exhaustion

Preparing for your rides/events is crucial but sometimes the conditions are drastically different than what you have prepared for.  Ironman Couer d’Alene this year was a perfect example.  Athletes normally experience highs in the low to mid 80’s but for 2015 the high hit 108deg.  There is no possible way that any athlete had properly prepared for this event, however, there were athletes that still finished the day.  Many medics and officials were looking for several key signs that athletes were experiencing which included:

  • Sweating cessation
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

If you begin to experience any of these symptoms it is important to have someone who can help monitor you, seek cooler temperatures (air-conditioning is best), lower core temperature with a bath or other means such as fans or iced towels.

The heat is nothing to joke about and if improper response to heat exhaustion is given it could result in severe injury or even death.


Looking to improve your fitness even with the heat?  One of our SoS coaches can assist you with your training, nutrition and hydration to make sure you are making the best decisions possible.  LEARN MORE

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Georgia Gran Prix Day #1 2015

Georgia Grand Prix 2015Day one of Georgia Gran Prix started of with a Crit at the Gwinnett Center in Atlanta Georgia.  The original forecast was calling for rain and cooler temperatures but we ended up with 100+ degrees and surface temperatures from the jet black asphalt that made you feel the sun’s full effect.

Our 2:30 race meant the heat of the day and the 40 rider field meant the efforts would be fast and there was a little bit of sketchiness to add to it.  We were off with a moderate first lap and then the following laps heated up and it meant a lot of people suffered and struggled to stay in on the climb that lead up to the start finish.

Through the first 20 minutes of the race I was feeling fine and moving better through the field than I thought I would, spending the majority of my time in the top 10-15 riders.  At 30 minutes in the heat began to get to me and I began to lose ground as the road went up.  With 7 laps to go I was separated and the official’s motorecycle passed me.

I thought this meant my day was over so I pulled off the course.  Unfortunately I was wrong on that assumption and could have continued riding which would have given me abother 8-10 spots.  Live and learn I guess…

Now on to Road ATL!

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Gettin’ Dirty at the Dirty Kanza

DK200 Dirty Kanza Gravel GrinderThe landscape was a vivid green this year at the Dirty Kanza bike race.  It wasn’t because that is what Kansas normally looks like in the month of May but because of the exorbitant amounts of rain that fell throughout the state.  The Flint hills where the race was help was no different but the one thing the lush green grass did not show was the thick black mud that had the consistency of peanut butter.

In the weeks leading up to the event I developed tendonitis in my ankle due to excessively worn cleats (check your cleats!) and because of this had to downgrade to the 100mile race, which in hindsight was a blessing.  The ride started off just as I had hoped for.  I was towards the middle of the field at the beginning and was able to work my way up into the top 20 riders within the first mile of the rollout.  The pace picked up and we eased through the first 10 miles at a 20mph pace, weaving through DK200 riders trying to find a good line in order to keep the bike up right.  Then reality hit.  We came to a traffic jam.  Frame packing mud as thick as peanut butter.  Some tried riding it but found quickly that it not only brought them to a halt but added another 10lbs of weight to their tires and frame.  We shoulder our bikes and began hiking.  What we thought would just be to the top of the hill ended up revealing a long line of riders snaking over the hillside with their bikes shouldered trudging through the sloppy mud for what ended up being four miles with my Trek Boone slung over my shoulder for the entire hour. Through the mud with a clean bike because it didn’t touch the ground and I was on my way unlike many others forced to stop and clean out their bikes.

My legs felt amazing, my mood was positive (I excel in muddy conditions) and the wind out of the North was a constant reminder that I was back in the place I grew up riding.  When we turned north for a long stretch I was alone for several miles and as I turned back I saw a rider 30 seconds behind.  I waited up and we rode together for some time taking turns pulling into the head wind.  At mile 40-45 I hit a dark place and Eric, from Kansas City, pressed on.  I realized I had fallen behind on my nutrition and at 3 hours in I had only consumed my first 90 minutes of nutrition.  I ate EVERY in my pocket and within 10 minutes I was back in good spirits and feeling the benefits of the calories consumed.

DK200 Cottonwood FallsAt our support stop in Cottonwood Falls, KS, I found my dad, who topped my bottles off got my chain re-lubed while I was stuffing my pockets with the remainder of my planned nutrition and ate and slammed a bottle of osmo nutrition before I hit the road.  I felt amazing, my legs weren’t fatigued and I was having FUN!  Conveniently I caught back up with Eric at that stop, since my rock star pit stop father got me in and out in less than 5 minutes, and we rode together again.  Several miles out we hit a “minimally maintained road” and went up a steep climb.  I stood to apply power to the pedals and BOOM.  My knee popped and stopped me dead in my tracks.  Pretty sure I cursed because Eric turned to see what was wrong.  He waited and since I just met him I told him to go on.  I took a moment to regain my composure and tried to go on.  I had no problem on the flats or descents but any time power went over 150 Watts a searing pain shot through my leg.  After 3 miles of attempting this I was forced to abandon.

Althought I was angry I was unable to finish, I am not discouraged by this because I know that with the training I had put in this year I have a very good chance of doing extremely well next year.  For now though my goal is to get my leg straightened out and ready to get back into a little different type of training than I have ever done!

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Leg Cramp exerciseDue to the repetitive nature of our sports, endurance athletes are particularly vulnerable to cramping. Regardless of an athlete’s experience or level of fitness cramping can be an issue. Today we’ll take a look at some of the more common causes and cures for muscle cramping.


There are several causes for muscle cramps, but the most common are exertion cramps. These are due to a combination of dehydration, heat stress and low levels of electrolytes. They begin as spasms and then spread throughout the muscle. As you become increasingly dehydrated over the course of an event or workout the connective tissues can adhere and inhibit muscle contraction or release. Once the cramping begins it spreads from one muscle to another. Less common are muscle fatigue cramps. As your muscles work, they contract and release over and over. Eventually, the muscles can fatigue to the point that they simply lock in a contraction and are unable to release. These cramps are more common amongst novice athletes but they can hit seasoned competitors as well. Usually they occur early in the season when you’re just getting back into training and aren’t yet up to the workload. If this is the case, simply back off the intensity and build a base fitness that you can expand on over the course of the year.


It’s hard to point to one factor as being responsible for muscle cramps so the best approach is to stay on top of all of the contributing factors. So let’s take a look at what you can do to prevent cramping.


Electrolytes and water are essential for muscle contraction as you burn through them during work it becomes increasingly difficult for muscles to fire over and over again unless you continue to replenish both. Heat contributes by increasing fluid loss through perspiration and exhalation. Maintaining a steady intake of fluids/electrolytes while consuming calories goes a long way to prevent cramping. On particularly hot days dumping water on yourself helps lower your core temperature and slows fluid loss. However, if water is limited, it’s always better to drink it.

Post Event/Exercise:

The importance of fluid intake doesn’t end once your done. After exercise is when you can actually bring your fluid, electrolyte and carbohydrate levels back to where they were before you started.  Stretching helps fatigued muscles to relax and restores them to their natural length. Ignoring tight muscles will not only lead to cramping later on but injury. Incorporating a 15min stretch to your post workout routine can do wonders to help you recover. Don’t know where to begin? Take a look at this great routine we created just for you!

Massage helps flush the waste that accumulates in muscles and releases tight muscles that can be difficult to address with stretching alone. Both pre and post event massage can have tremendous benefits to athletes of all levels (Trevor Marshall is an AMAZING therapist over at Englebrecht Chiropractic). If all else fails and cramping continues to be a problem a Nutritional Blood Analysis can help determine if you are abnormally low in an essential nutrient. Even if you eat a well balanced diet, take all the right supplements and stay well hydrated, it’s still possible to miss something. After trying everything you can imagine one of our own athletes still had problems with cramping, it wasn’t until he had a blood test that it was revealed he was exceptionally low in a particular nutrient. If you suspect you might be deficient, it is much better to get tested before trying to treat yourself as that can create problems as well if you take too much of a particular vitamin or mineral.


What about you? What kind of methods do you use to for cramping? Pickle Juice? Apple Cider Vinegar? Mustard Packs? Tell us about it!

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The Myth of the Life Long Fit

The level at which an individual can meld physiology, biomechanics, ergonomics and art is what makes a bike fit specialist either good or amazing. As you may know from personal experience this can make your riding experience pleasurable or painful.  No matter your level of cycling ability, you are an athlete.  You push your body, you train yourself to do more and more mileage or you push yourself to ride faster and faster.  With this in mind, an athlete is constantly changing and because of that your bike fit changes as well.

This might be hard for some to imagine but that position that was set up for you two years ago, that you have been comfortable to ride, train and race with might not be optimal for you any longer.  There are a multitude of things that can change this position the three most common changes that we see are:

Variability in adiposity:  Let’s be honest, many of us get on a bike to either lose weight or maintain weight and this is a large factor in fitting.  Changes as little as five pounds in adipose tissue can result in a change in position.  This little change can make a saddle more or less comfortable, change hand pressure, allow for positional changes of handlebars and smooth the pedal stroke.

Changes in core strength:  Core strength does not only refer to that shredded six pack abs.  The core strength that this is referring to is the entire region between your chest and pelvis.  This is your stabilizing platform on a bike and helps you to generate power, support yourself on the bike and can have a big impact on your comfort as the ride gets longer and muscles begin to fatigue.  Changes in core strength can mean saddle position changes to a more powerful position that we were not able to support previously and handlebar changes for improved aerodynamics.

An athlete’s fitness: As we become more fit cardiovascularly and gain bike specific strength we are able to modify our position.  This added strength can result in changes in flexibility which can alter position.

The important part is assessing your changes since you last had a bike fit.  Have you increased your saddle time by 10-20% a week or more?  Has your event specificity changed (i.e. 20 mile rides to century rides)?  Has your weight fluctuated by 10lbs or more?  Have you done our core workout or another one for several months?  Are you having discomfort on the bike?

If you answered yes to 2 or more of the above questions you should seriously consider updating your fitting to optimize your position.


Schedule your Fitting Online or via Phone

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