Strength Training for Cyclists – a Story in Community Building

This is a great article about a class that was put together by Tom Mathis for The Bike Lane customers at CrossFit Burke. Tom writes for a blog called Active Life DC. and has his own fantastic blog
CrossFit Burke

About the Author:

Tom Mathis is a local fitness enthusiast who blogs at Cakehole Management.

On Saturday, 08 January 2014, in Northern Virginia 16 cyclists gathered at CrossFit (CF) Burke to participate in a functional fitness seminar to learn how they could help improve their on-bike performance during the Spring cycling season. Most were members of The Bike Lane’s racing team and signed up as a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon with some friends. I was asked to teach the seminar and was really focused on folks walking away with some enduring knowledge versus just being exposed to some different exercise elements and having a good workout.

The seminar was the brain-child of Todd Mader, one of the co-owners of The Bike Lane. I’ve known Todd and his wife and business partner, Anne, since they started a shared dream to open their own bike shop in 2001. The Bike Lane doesn’t just focus on selling bikes, they constantly strive to give back to their community through educating the public on bicycle safety, advocating for bicycle safe communities, sponsoring a race team, co-sponsoring races and cycling related activities, leading rides, and most importantly helping their customers learn everything they need to know in order to have a safe and enjoyable biking experience.

Thus it was no surprise when Todd asked me to host a strength and conditioning seminar for cyclists after helping me with the Active Life DC “Winter Strength Training Tips for Cyclist.” Todd was so excited by the material we covered during the photo shoot that he thought it would make for a good seminar. I was a bit skeptical at first because I tend to focus on the fundamentals, which folks often don’t find that exciting. However, what makes for fun experiences is being willing to try new things and doing cool things with friends. So we made a deal on the spot – if he could get at least 10 x participants, I’d put together a program of instruction and coordinate the rest.

That same week, I discovered CF Burke just opened up in our Community – I make it my business to know every CF Box (aka gym) near me as I’m constantly encouraging folks to try CrossFit. I also want first hand experience of any box I refer to.

I dropped-in for a Workout of the Day (WOD) that week to check out CF Burke. Candidly speaking, I wasn’t expecting much. I’ve been to a few new CF Boxes and many start off as a diamond in the rough where it takes a trained eye to appreciate the important facets.

However, I was blown away by CF Burke. Right away I could tell I was walking into something different – this wasn’t just a CF Box, this was 7,500 square feet of someone’s well thought out and passionate vision. Little details, like both Apple and Android charger stations by the gear storage area, the “Big Ass Fans” to keep things cool in the summer, and the complete assortment of standard CF Gear from Rogue Fitness. They even had a reverse-hyper, which you don’t see everywhere. After a good work out, I had a chance to learn more about CrossFit Burke from the owner and head coach, Jamie Gallagher.
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Chris Carmichael visits TBL Reston for Tour de Cure

Chris Carmichael with the crew at The Bike Lane Reston.  We love Chris's shirt - Eat Sleep Ride shirt!

Chris Carmichael with the crew at The Bike Lane Reston. We love Chris’s shirt – Eat Sleep Ride shirt!

World renowned cycling coach Chris Carmichael visited the TBL crew in Reston on Saturday, Sept. 7 to meet and greet the staff and riders who were preparing for the next day’s 20-mile Tour de Cure Executive Ride.  Chris gave some great tips to the riders and posed for about a hundred photos with his fans.

The Tour de Cure is a series of fundraising cycling events in 44 states nationwide that benefit the American Diabetes Association. Here are three of his training tips for both beginner and experienced cyclists:

1. Aim for 3-5 training rides a week. Include at least one longer ride each week to build endurance and condition your body to sitting in the saddle for longer periods.

2. Recover between training rides. Recovery is essential to improvement.

3. Hydrate throughout the day. Hydrating is a slower process than replenishing energy, and drinking a lot of fluid all at once just stimulates your desire to visit the bathroom. The most effective method is to increase your total intake throughout the day and during exercise.

For more training tips from Chris Carmichael, go to

Trek/Niner Demo Day This Sunday July 21

The Bike Lane Trek/Niner Demo Day

Want to test ride some of the best bikes on the market? Come out to The Bike Lane’s Trek and Niner Demo Day on Sunday, July 21st from 10 am-3 pm! Trek will have a great selection of Domane and Madone road bikes, as well as the new 29 Fuel EX and 29 Remedys! You can also test out the latest Superfly, Stache, Lush, Slash and Session mountain bikes. Niner will have their van stocked with Niners spec’d with SRAM Components, American Classic Wheels wrapped with Schwalbe tires.

Come test ride the hottest bikes on some of the sweetest single track in Northern Virginia at Fountainhead Regional Park. If it rains, the trails will be closed but we will still be set up for parking lot demos. Bring a helmet and an ID. If you are particular about your pedals, bring those too.

RSVP by July 20th and you will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Shopping Spree at The Bike Lane! We will do the drawing the day after the demo.
Fountainhead Regional Park
10875 Hampton Road, Fairfax Station

RAAM Update #3

TBL Mechanic Daniel Wilcox is wrenching for Race Across America Team Green Beret Foundation.  He is sending us updates throughout his adventure.

Hello- Update Monday, June 17th
Unfortunately, we don’t have wireless- so updates may be pretty short.  Here is today’s journey with some pictures.
Race going well. Team 1st place.|edonna, Flagstaff now big climbs to Durango. Very hectic and we are all exhausted.
Hi to all
TeamGBF Mechanic
~TBL Mechanic

2013-06-17 06.28.33 2013-06-15 19.23.452013-06-16 19.09.48TeamGBF RAAM

Daniels RAAM Adventure Begins!

TBL Mechanic Daniel Wilcox is wrenching for Race Across America Team Green Beret Foundation.  He is sending us updates throughout his adventure.

Dispatch from RAAM #1

Well, it’s finally here – flying out to San Diego this morning to meet up with Race Across America Team Green Beret Foundation – known as TeamGBF. This all started couple months ago – while installing Lowe’s storm door at new customer as part of my FT handyman job at Rick’s Handyman Services of Alexandria, I asked to use restroom and found it full of many cycling mags – so when I asked cust Dave Viens if he was cyclist, he gave me an odd look and just said – let me show you our garage – and hanging out there were about 20 bikes!!! So we got to talking…..Dave told me he was planning to do RAAM with a 4 man team. Last year I had followed Len Forkas on his solo RAAM with great interest – especially since my cycling buddy Steve G. was crewing! Dave asked me along that weekend on a 54 mile training ride, where I met the rest of the racers – Andrew Schaaf, Gino Elsa, and Dave Johnson. On the ride, I sort of jokingly asked if they needed a mechanic for their RAAM race – and after we all talked it over next day they asked me to join them! They are covering my flight but I am taking time off and wrenching pro bono.

Some of you know me from my being mechanic at the The Bike Lane Reston store!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think my passion for wrenching bikes would bring me this amazing experience…

Their team prep started last August when Dave V decided to do RAAM with no ultra experience – but had done couple 100+ mile off-road mountain bike races. He started gathering interest and scouting for others…it slowly morphed into current members.

Some of you may know of RAAM – it’s a true legend in the ultra-endurance bike racing world. It’s been going on for 30+ years. There is no prize money in this one – just the chance to race 3,000 miles and climb 170,000 feet!

Then the real prep and training started! Of course, many, many, MANY long rides! They are coached by Sue Hefler, who also coached Len Forkas last year. She helped lay out their plan.

Then there’s the crew, supplies, vehicles, travel,spare parts – it’s a FT job! We have about 13 in the crew, an RV which I will be working out of and helping to drive, a Mercedes Sprinter van, and Dave V’s Subaru which was wrapped by one of our sponsors. We have crew chief, nurse, nutritionist, masseuse, navigators, drivers – and only one mechanic! There are 8 bikes for primary racing – road and TT – and couple spares, along with several sets of spare wheels. The RV was donated and picked up in Phoenix. We packed the Sprinter van here with all bikes (I made a wood rack to hold them) and 2 crew drove out to Oceanside CA already.

Dave Viens is one of TBL’s big customers – since 2002 – probably one of our biggest…has purchased around 9 complete bikes plus huge amount of accessories, parts, and service! Big Trek fan! Andrew also rides Madones…They are all wearing custom Louis Garneau team clothing, primarily riding Conti Gatorskin Hardshell tires, using Light & Motion Urban 550s

Their plan is to WIN the 50+ team competition!!! Drafting is allowed for the teams if they want – but not for solo racers – but the plan as of now is 4 hour 2 man rotations where each guy will ride either 1/2 or 1 hour then switch – day and night (with headlights!). We won’t be sleeping much I don’t think. As you might imagine, this is a daunting plan…how would you feel having to get up at 4am to ride down a mountain pas in the Rockies at 40 + mph where you will drop the chase vehicle cause the road is so narrow the car can’t keep up? Or in Kansas seeing a flat road ahead that seems to stretch forever – and there’s a 25 mph constant headwind? But these guys are very well prepared, very positive and might really win!

We will be using Delorme satellite based tracking units that will never lose signal – you can follow at
Some family members of the Green Berets who have lost loved ones will meet the team along the route. We also put together a 20+ page color booklet with stories from these families we have made copies of.
I will post here hopefully each day, with photos.
Wish us a safe and fast race….

Daniel Wilcox
The Race Across America Team Green Beret Foundation Team:

Andrew SchaafGino Elsea Dave Viens Dave Johnson

New Program Introduces Youth to Tri

Tri Team XcelTri Team Xcel (TTX) is a USAT youth triathlon team located in Northern Virginia dedicated to introducing youth to the sport of triathlon. Athletes will be given an opportunity to train with peers in a fun, social, and athletic atmosphere. Toward the end of the 10-week session, athletes will have the option to participate in a race. Race participation and prior race experience is not mandatory to join the team.

2013 Summer Session June 3 – Aug 12th.
Recreation team (age 6-12)
Competition team (ages 10-17)

Team workouts:
Mon @ 4:30 pm Run at The Virginia Academy in Ashburn
Wed @ 4:30 pm Bike at The Virginia Academy in Ashburn
Thurs @ 5:30 pm Swim (Competition team only) at Claude Moore Recreation Center in Sterling.

For youth that can’t attend the workouts but are still interested in being part of a their competition youth triathlon team, they offer an affiliate program (ages 10-17) at a discounted rate.

Specific details and locations can be found on their website . Online registration closes June 2.

Last-Minute Tips for National Bike to Work Day

Happy Bike Month

So, you’ve been thinking about participating in National Bike To Work Day.  You may have even registered with the Washington Area Bicycling Association.  Good for you!

But there’s no reason to NOT ride to work even if you haven’t registered.  But you’ll need to do several things before you head out to the bike trails Friday morning.

No. 1:  Make sure your bike is rideable.  Check your tires NOW and see if they will still hold air.  Pump them up to the recommended pressure (on side of tire) and check back a bit later to see if the air pressure has dropped.  Look for thorns or metal wires that may have worked into the tread.   You really don’t want to have a flat on the way to or from work.  Be sure to bring a spare tube, a compact hand-pump and a few CO2 cartridges and inflator nozzle.  If you haven’t changed a flat in a while (or ever) practice before you head out.

No.2:   Click through your gears a few times, make sure everything is hunky-dory.  If shifting is balky, wipe a bit of lube on the cable and try again.  Lube the chain lightly, as well.

No. 3:  Check your personal gear:  Helmet is an absolute must.  Check fit before you head out.  A loose or too-tight helmet can spoil your ride, not to mention failure to protect your brain.  Gloves will help keep your hands clean and, even with a morning forecast in the low-60s, keep those digits warm.

No. 4: Be seen and heard. Is your bike bell dinging?  Is your head-light and tail-light working?  Check batteries and bring spares.  Remember, your return trip could be at dusk or other low-light conditions.

No. 5:  If you were thinking ahead, you already left a change of work clothes and personal toiletries to freshen your body when you get to work.  You may not notice right away, but you might be perspiring for up to an hour after riding.  You co-workers will notice.  Think about taking a container of those baby wipes.  You may be schvitzing for hours.

No. 6:  Hydrate or get really, really thirsty.  Make sure your water bottle isn’t full of fuzzy funk left from that bottle of Mango juice you put in it a month ago.  Take an extra bottle filled with ice for the return trip home. Put it in the office fridge if you have one. Your mouth will appreciate it.

No. 7:  Communicate.  Make sure your cellphone is fully charged.  The life you save may be someone else.  You would want someone to make that 911 call for you.

No. 8:  This is not a race.  It is RIDE to work.  With temperatures in the 80s, you don’t want to have a crash or  arrive drenched in a pool of sweat.  Enjoy the ride, smile at the other folks and arrive alive.

No. 9:  Scout your ride path BEFORE you head out. Check out great local bike commuting tips and routes at FABB.  Remember things look a lot different from behind a steering wheel than behind handlebars.  Bring a lock to secure your bike.  If it has a combination lock, write the code on a piece of paper in your dry wallet.

No. 10:  Don’t forget your office shoes.  I always kept a pair in my office desk just in case.  If anyone notices, just tell them it is National Work in Your Socks Day.

OK, now get out there, have fun, be careful and congratulate yourself for doing a very cool thing.