Cross Training for Cyclist- Climbing

When you hear someone mention rock climbing most people think upper body strength. In fact when I have invited friends to try climbing they usually accept or decline based on how many pull-ups they can do. “No man I can only do like 1 or 2 pull-ups”. So what place does this upper body focused activity have in a cyclists cross training regime. Plenty….The main reason…..Good climbing technique utilizes your legs and core as much, if not more than your upper body.  You propel your self up the wall with your legs. Your hands and arms are mainly used to keep you connected to the wall.

Climbing also requires you to focus on your hip alignment and weight distribution. This increased awareness of where your weight is being distributed can translate well to the bike from slight body “english” tweaks that keep you upright to really carving and aggressively controlling the bike.


Bouldering on a slightly overhung wall

Core strength – Climbing incorporates all of your core from your hips to your shoulders not just your abs.
By climbing steep to overhanging routes you will engage your core extensively.

Grip strength – Climbing requires significant grip strength especially with smaller holds for those of you who have had forearm pump issues from braking to much this can help.
When you first start climbing you will most likely experience forearm pump. With some technique and practice and rest between climbs you should be able to climb longer without experiencing this. You will train yourself to hold on just tight enough and engage other muscles to keep you connected to the wall and moving up.

Flexibility – While climbing will not make you more flexible it requires that you are. So it can force you to stretch. I find a gentle stretch of hands, shoulders and legs before a climb followed by some deeper stretching after I am warmed up provide the flexibility I need to climb without pulling anything or cramping.

Anaerobic Training – Climbing can be strenuous and will engage Aerobic as well as Anaerobic system. Strenuous climbs will help you to train buffering lactic acid.

How to start: An indoor climbing facility is a great place to start there you can rent all the gear you need (Shoes, harness, chalk and bag)
Most climbing gyms will have facilities for:
Top rope climbing – Climbing with the aid of a rope running from your harness up to an anchor at the top and then back down to a belayer.
This type of climbing requires a partner who is trained in belaying. Some gyms have auto belay devices which allow you to climb top rope routes without a partner.
Bouldering – Climbing that does not use a rope, but also does not climb more than a 10-15 feet off the ground. climbing is focused on making a handful of hard moves referred to as a problem.

 Climbing Shoes are your most important piece of gear. You won’t be able to climb too well with your  gym shoes.
The design, rubber and fit of climbing shoes help with executing core footwork techniques such as smearing, edging and hooks.
If you like climbing you should invest in a good pair of shoes. Look for a shoe demo day at you local rock gym.
Additional gear includes a harness (required for top rope climbing), a chalk bag and chalk.

Getting Familiar with climbing technique
There are a lot of videos and websites available. The Rock Climbing for beginners video series provides simple and clear instruction on climbing basics.
A good book for bouldering is Better Bouldering (How To Climb Series)

Climbing engages every part of your body not just your arms and back. It is a great for overall conditioning and is a lot of fun. But be forewarned it can be addictive.

Yakima Hold Up 2 Bike Rack


The Yakima Hold-Up 2 trailer hitch bike rack utilizes Yakima’s “Strong-arm” design to secure bike at the wheels preventing any damage to bike frame.
There are two models one that fits a 1.25″ hitch and one that fits a 2″ hitch. The 2 inch model can be expanded with the HoldUp +2 Bike Rack Add-On Extension (sold separately-$329)
to hold a total of four bikes and is rated for 240 lbs. (120+120)

We tested the 1.25″ and even with the smaller receiver size the rack was quite stable even when carrying two mountain bikes this is achieved in part by the use of Yakima’s stability pin which helps prevent the rack from shimmying .


When folded the Hold-up 2 has a small footprint keeping the rack within the bounds of the cars width

The Hold-up 2 has a small footprint

The rack is attractive,  painted in high gloss black with reflective red Yakima logo decals. When not in use it folds into a compact size that does not extend past the width of the car.
The only issue with the rack when folded is that it hides your license plate and limits the use of  a backup camera.

The rack comes with integrated cable locks so if you need to run an errand or stop for a bite to eat your bikes will be more secure.



Rack Dropped to enable opening of the Hatchback door

Rack Dropped to enable opening of the Hatchback door

Other nice features are the built in bottle opener and tilt down capability which allows a hatch back lift to open when bikes are loaded.

The Hold-Up 2 allows for side-to-side adjust-ability to set the space between bikes but I was unable to fit 2 mountain bikes without the handlebars bumping the seat on the other.

The Yakima Hold-Up 2 fits most bikes we tested 20″, 26″, 29″ and 700 c  wheels. All the bikes tested were held securely.

Installation of the rack is pretty simple and took about 20-30 minutes all tools required to install the rack are included.

Yakima also has an online video to walk you through the installation process which I recommend watching.

The Hold-Up 2 lists for $449.00 and while the price tag is a bit steep it is in line with other premium racks like the Thule T2.

Bottom Line: Good Looking, Easy to install, Easy to load and unload bikes, Keeps bikes safe and secure but be ready to layout some cash.  

Note: The “stability pin is secured to the rack by a cable leash however the leash is held on by a plastic tab which will fall out so add a zip tie or use
small nut and bolt to ensure that you don’t loose the stability pin .
(Not sure whyrack5 Yakima skimped here.)



The Art in Riding a Bike

The artistic Cyclist

The art in riding a bike. Indeed you say (with snobby up-turned nose). Riding a bike is merely a physical endeavor you turn the pedals with your feet and steer with your hands – There is no art in it.
Well consider this, playing a musical instrument is just a physical endeavor as well. You press the piano key, fret the note on a guitar, strike a drum. It is the same for the painter and the sculptor even the writer expresses himself through a physical act.

That’s it you say. It is the expression of oneself that makes true art where is the expression in riding a bike.

To which I say there is no truer expression of oneself than when riding a bike. The artistic rider is one with their bike, the trail and everything around them. Where others see a fallen tree or other obstacle the artistic rider sees an interesting line to continue the flow of the experience.
The art happens in the moment and like a great concert you need to be there to experience the full effect, recordings just wont do the moment justice.

Well what about suffering? The true artist suffers for his craft working tirelessly to create something worthwhile.
Ha I say when was the last time a musician went to ER playing the wrong note – (There is a joke in there somewhere).
The stakes for making an error are definitely greater for rider who is pushing the boundaries of what they or others have done before.
A cyclist definitely knows their share of suffering as evidenced by their scars and trips to the ER.
However It rarely feels like work even when tirelessly trying to refine an aspect of our riding. We do it for the pure enjoyment. Riding is our passion. The suffering is in not being able to do it.


Ringwood NJ Trail Maintenance – Sunday July 19th

We are half way there, let’s get out and make a big push. Paydirt hours need to be in by the end of the months, so all you racers better get out and get your hours done. We are continuing on the Crossover Trail (White Trail), meet us at the School at 9 or trail side anytime after. Bring gloves, sturdy shoes, water, and snacks. Tools will be provided. Heavy rain cancels.

Thank you
Ringwood Trail Crew

JORBA Festival Returns


Mountain Bikers rejoice after a 3 Year hiatus the JORBA Festival returns with a new name and location.

The “Jungle Jam” will take place on Sunday  September 21st 2014 at 126 Airport Road, West Milford, NJ

(The Former site of Jungle Habitat Safari Park)

The event will have all the fun of past events:

There will be group rides for all skill levels, the coolest show you will ever see by Pat “The Human Vise” Povilaitis, a limited attendee ride and appearance by local pro Jeff Lenosky,

a women’s skills clinic and ride by Rock N Roots Training, kids rides, demo bike fleets, a huge raffle, and much, much more.

 Jungle Habitat is much smaller in size than Allamuchy (Previous site for Jorbafest) and its surrounding parks it is a great place to ride.

It has flowing lines, technical sections, some climbs with remnants of the parks previous structures which give rise to some of the trail names

like: Animal Chute and Otter Slide.

For complete details and Flyer Click here

Mountain Bike Race Schedule – May 2014

USA Cycling Mountain events in CT

Start Date

End Date



Race Type

Web Site

05/03/2014 05/03/2014 Race The Wrock New Haven Cross Country, State
05/18/2014 05/18/2014 Winsted Woods – Root 66 Series Race #5 Winsted Cross Country


USA Cycling Mountain events in NJ

Start Date

End Date



Race Type

Web Site

05/03/2014 05/03/2014 9th Annual NJ State High and Middle School MTB Cha Andover Cross Country, Juniors/High School
05/17/2014 05/18/2014 Mountain Creek Spring Classic Vernon Downhill, Super D, Pro GRT
05/18/2014 05/18/2014 Jamis Bicycles H2H Race #3 Rumble in the Jungle West Milford Cross Country
06/08/2014 06/08/2014 2014 Gravity East Series Race #2, Mountain Creek B Vernon Downhill
06/22/2014 06/22/2014 Lewis Morris Challenge Morristown Cross Country


USA Cycling Mountain events in NY

Start Date

End Date



Race Type

Web Site

06/05/2014 06/19/2014 Adirondack Velo MTB Short Track Series Johnstown Short Track
07/27/2014 07/27/2014 World Cup, Test Your Glory Not Yet Permitted – Contact Promoter for Info Windham Downhill


USA Cycling Mountain events in PA

Start Date

End Date



Race Type

Web Site

05/04/2014 05/04/2014 2014 Maxxis/Gravity East Series/POC Eastern States Cup Duryea Downhill Reading Downhill, State


USA Cycling Mountain National events

Start Date

End Date



Race Type

Web Site

06/20/2014 06/22/2014 2014 USA Cycling Gravity Mountain Bike Nationals Angel Fire Downhill, Dual Slalom, Natl Champ, UCI

Cross Training for Cyclist- Yoga

Yoga for Cyclists

Yoga can be at the center of any sports, cross training program. This is especially true for cyclists. Yogic Practice will not only help improve flexibility and core strength, but can also improve breath control, body alignment, balance, and provide you with better overall awareness of your body and how it moves.

As a Cyclist we tend to have overdeveloped quadriceps, tight hamstrings and Iliotibial bands (IT Bands). This can lead to knee and hip pain. Riding in a hunched over position for hours can lead to back pain. This can keep us off the bike.

Practicing a few basic poses with proper alignment can help to alleviate these pains and make cycling more enjoyable.
yogaPigeon Pose  and some variants can be really helpful to open the hips, relax and gently stretch the back, neck, and shoulders – throw in a thigh stretch to flex your hamstrings and it very well could be one of the best poses for a cyclists.
Be careful not to hurt your knees 


The second biggest complaint I hear from cyclists is back pain. From lower back spasms to shoulder and neck tightness, these back of the body ailments can make longer rides torturous.

Recommended poses:


Downward Dog – This well-known Yoga pose will work your entire body


Bridge Pose – Stretches your chest, neck, spine and hips. Strengthens your back, buttocks, and hamstring muscles.


Cobra Pose – Strengthens your back muscles and arms. Increases the flexibility of your spine.
Stretches your chest, shoulders, and abdomen. Train you to pull your shoulder blades back and down the back to relieve tightness while on the bike

One added benefit from yoga is the awareness it brings to you about how your body moves and how you breath. Yoga brings focus to how muscles engage, body mechanics, and the need to create space for you breath.

Some alignment shifts I have made and the benefits I have seen on the bike are: A slight tilt of the pelvis to create a curve in the lower back enabled me deliver more force to the pedals, engage the abdominal muscles, and prevent lower back pain and lower my Perceived Effort.
Changing my cleat angle and fore aft position corrected my foot alignment.
This helped the knee to track correctly throughout my pedal stroke and alleviated some knee pain I was experiencing while also helping me to deliver more power to the pedals. I had already done a bike fit in the past but this added awareness helped me to fine tune previous adjustments.

In order to achieve all of the benefits of practicing Yoga and avoid injury, it is recommended that you find a certified instructor
(This person will have undergone a 200-500 hour teacher program and should have at least a 1,000 hours of teaching experience.)
They should be able to guide you in proper alignment and breathing while taking you through poses appropriate for your level and ability.
If you are unable to perform a pose they will offer a modification or prep for the pose rather than trying to force you into the pose.

Look for recommendations from friends and online and checkout a few different classes. When you click with the right style and instructor go with that.
My recommendation

Good Luck adding yoga to your training regime for better flexibility, power, aerobic capacity, and injury prevention.

Cross Training for Cyclists – Intro

Cross Training for Cyclists

Cross Country Skiing,
Weight Training,
Martial Arts

Fitness experts have long touted the benefits of Cross training. For cyclists the winter (off season) is a great time to incorporate
non-cycling specific activities into their training regime.

While the physiological benefits of cross training such as reduced risk of Injury and Improved total fitness are well known.
The psychological benefits should not be overlooked. If you have every spent mind numbing hours on a trainer or rollers you know what I mean.
Also with new activities come new challenges and a better awareness of your body as you access it to perform new movements and engage muscles previously neglected.
Targeted training, especially intervals designed to improve pedal mechanics and form (such as fast pedals and one-legged pedaling) can produce significant benefits. Spending hours on the trainer will have diminishing returns and most likely wear you out mentally.
A change of scenery and “routine” can do wonders for your psyche.
After a while of mixing it up rather than grinding away indoors on the trainer.
You will find yourself ready for the new season more motivated and excited to be back on the bike than if you did not cross train.

In this series we will look at some common and not so common cross training activities that will have you rejuvenated in both mind and body.
Who knows you may even find a new favorite activity.

Pictures from yesterday’s ride at Ringwood

Temps finally above freezing today the ground was soft on top but frozen below made for a bit of a muddy ride but a day out on the bike is still a good day 🙂

Some Pictures from the Ride


Picture of the Lake Partially Frozen from the lookout on the Governors Trail


Carlos and Pete


Dan Bower

Ride GPS with Map my Ride

Ramapo Mountains County Park Management Plan – We need your Voice to be Heard

Have a look at the links below and see if you can comment or attend the meeting.
Pay particular attention to “Alternative C.” There is a place on the site to leave comments (only takes a few minutes), and the meeting is this Thursday evening
Public Open House October 17, 2013 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Township of Mahwah Administration Building – Senior Activity Center
475 Corporate Drive
Mahwah, NJ 07430

I would encourage you all to post this on social media, and get it in the hands of your customers. It’s a great opportunity to expand MTB access, and make very import trail connections to neighborhoods in NJ that would open new doors for recreation and for your businesses. It has the potential to add to one of the best, most comprehensive future MTB networks in the country. Not to mention the proximity of these trails to the largest Metropolitan Cities in the wold.

Your voice as local business owners needs to be heard! We know this is working in other parts of the US – it’s time to make it work for us here, for the sport we love – and yes, for our mountain bike business. If they can get it done in remote places like Kingdom Trails, Grand Junction, State College, etc….the only thing we are lacking here is participation and some creative marketing. Please consider helping out so we can further the cause, preserve future access, and help create one of the coolest, historically significant, sustainable mountain bike trail systems in the US. Here are the links.

Meeting Information:


Ramapo Mountains County Park Management Plan Newsletter with plan and Draft Alternatives:

Between all of us – I am confident that we can probably reach 90% of the North Jersey MTB community. I hope all is well with everyone and best of luck with the fall season.

Thank you
Ringwood Trail Crew