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new year resolutions for a cyclist

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1. I will embrace every adventure that life presents.

2. I will not ride a dirty bike. Dirty bikes are like dirty shoes – they tell strangers all they need to know. Don’t give that wannabe down the street an excuse to judge you.

 

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3. I will never eat bad carbs. If I’m going to eat carbs they are going to awesome. Long live fresh egg pasta and the Pain au chocolat.

4. I will celebrate with fine wine and not two buck chuck.

 

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5. I will ride in full kit. Looking sloppy on the bike is for people who dunk Twinkies into box wine, and we already said we weren’t going to do that anymore.

6. I will have my bike tuned by a real mechanic. Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali probably know a thing or two about bikes, but they leave their machines in the hands of professional wrenches. There is a good reason for this.

 

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7. I will not half-wheel my friends or make excuses when it’s my turn to ride at the front because I’m a nice guy.

8. I will avoid the temptation to ride beyond my capabilities or take too many risks when descending because hospitals are no fun.

9. I will not spend the whole Tour de France trolling Twitter, talking about power and blood values, because I’m not a WADA specialist.

10. I will be #fitbyspring. Seriously.

 

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#Fitbyspring: Joao’s comeback begins

 

From the desk of João Correia: 

It starts coming back pretty quickly. A lot of it’s got that Déjà vu quality. That first call with your coach, where you start talking about things like goals, timelines, hours for riding, diet. A few “oh yeah” moments that jog your memory and then take you from thinking about it to actually doing it.

On the one hand, I can’t help thinking, “I’m here again, really?” but at the same time, it makes it easier knowing I’ve done all this before. It won’t be easy, but there’s a comfort in knowing what I’ve signed up for – and having experienced just what’s possible with the right attitude.

Last week, I did my first call with Jim Lehman of Carmichael Training Systems, and it took me back. You forget a lot about training, not necessarily the mechanics of it, but the processes you go through both physically and mentally. When Jim started asking me questions about how much riding could I do, what my days were like, what shape and weight I wanted to get to Donkey Week in. It starts to come back. You can taste it.

Then came the reality check. You realize quickly that you are at the bottom of the mountain and it’s a long way up. That progress is made slowly, day by day, by the choices you make. It doesn’t immediately lead to a noticeable effect, but if you commit to less “Mangia” and “Beve”, more “Bici,” you’ll see results.

A few weeks ago in preparation for #fitbyspring I started to prepare myself. I’m not one of those people who can change overnight. It’s more like a progression.

I first cut out the sugar from my coffee, then the milk. It’s actually better black. Your taste buds change and you can taste the real flavor. I slowly take myself off the bread in the morning, and cut out the snacks. Lunches and dinners become more considered decisions.

The riding starts slowly as well. At first I don’t worry about the hours or doing the workout perfectly. I just need to put my shorts on and get on the bike. Only 45 minutes, when I was supposed to do 90? No problem. Tomorrow I’ll be better. You have to keep going. Everyday making it tighter and cutting things out. That’s my process. Slowly but surely.

It’s been raining a lot here and I don’t ride in the wet anymore. But I know that as I keep going down this road, in a few weeks, that’ll be the next change. Time to put those nice Giordana jackets to the test.

 

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#Fitbyspring: A guide to making your comeback

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“Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

I always loved that line from Animal House. And when it comes to being an athlete, fat and slow is no way to go through life, either. But the truth is, fat happens.

I know very few people who have stayed consistently lean and in shape from their teens all the way into the 40s and 50s. At some point priorities shift and life gets in the way and you pile on some serious pounds. Hopefully those pounds are a tradeoff for something positive, like taking a big step forward in your career or spending more time raising wonderful children or taking care of your parents. I refuse to chastise or shame people for being out of shape or gaining weight, because you never know the decision making behind their current scenario. Instead, my goal is to help people get back into shape once they decide to recommit to training. So, when inGamba founder Joao Correia explained his situation to me and his plan to make turn his comeback into the #fitbyspring campaign anyone can participate in, I was all in.

Joao’s history in cycling reads like a fairy tale. He was a high-level amateur in the 1990s in Portugal but largely gave up cycling to come to the US and go to college. He ended up in the publishing industry and rose through the ranks to be the associate publisher of Bicycling Magazine. He decided to return to racing, 25 kilograms heavier than before college, and progressed all the way to the European professional ranks with Cervelo Test Team in 2010.

Not unlike CTS, inGamba started by leveraging Joao’s knowledge and network within the cycling community, and not unlike me Joao spent a lot less time on the bike as the business started to grow. Fast forward 4 years and Joao has gained about 20 kilograms. Now it’s time to get him back into fighting shape! We’re not aiming for his pro race weight, but a more sustainable and reasonable full-time weight of about 75 kilograms. Taking off about 10 kilograms and regaining some fitness will go a long way to reconnecting Joao with his identity as a cyclist.

Here are the biggest changes we’re going to make in Joao’s life, and if you have gained some weight, lost some fitness, and spent some time focused on other priorities these are the same changes you can make to get back in the game.

From Chris Carmichael a Trainright.com. For more on setting up a personal training schedule, diet and using the right tools, head over to the CTS blog for the full post. 

 

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#GivingTuesday: you can make a difference

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If you’ve travelled with us before, you’ll know how important World Bicycle Relief is to everyone at inGamba. We’ve been blessed in so many ways and we believe that it’s our duty to spread the love and make sure that we do what we can to help the less fortunate. That’s why we donate the cost of a bike to the WBR program for every single guest that comes on a trip with us.

We’ve written about why Mobility Matters in the past, but because we’re coming up to the holiday season and full of the spirit of giving, we’re reaching out to you all again and asking to help us make a difference to the lives of some of the developing world’s most vulnerable people.

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WBR gets people moving. To date, they’ve put more than 200,000 bicycles on the ground and trained more than 1,000 bicycle mechanics in countries like Angola, Botswana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Those people live in remote parts of poor countries, where having transportation can literally be a life-changing gift. A bike turns dreams into reality; it can promise an education or make a small business possible, it can help feed families and build communities. A bike can turn a struggle into a success story.

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The holiday season is all about being thankful for what you have, and we’re all lucky enough to have a lot. It’s the time of year when we reflect on the things that make our lives worth living – friends, family, successful careers … the ridiculously sweet bikes we ride – but also on what we could do to make a difference.

In the spirit of the season, #GivingTuesday brings together charities, families, businesses, and students around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

Taking part in World Bicycle Relief’s #GivingTuesday campaign can have a huge impact, and it won’t break the bank. Just $147 is enough to change the life of a young student or a local entrepreneur by providing them with an essential tool to pursue their dream and fulfil their ambition.

The goal is to raise enough money to give 800 bicycles for students in rural Africa. These bikes reduce travel time to school, increase safety, improve educational outcomes and help students thrive.

If you contribute this December 1st, your generous donation will be matched dollar for dollar, meaning your generosity will go twice as far. And as an added incentive, anyone who donates 10 bikes – $1470 – will be gifted a limited edition WBR/inGamba kit, produced by our friends at Giordana and designed by San Francisco-based artist, Zio Ziegler.

We know that  this time of year also brings with it inevitable financial burdens – and we know that a lot of you will already have your own preferred charities. But we really believe in what WBR do and we think that you’d have a hard time finding a more way to spend $147 that has more impact. So we’re asking: help us change some lives. 

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On behalf of our guests, inGamba has so far donated $100,000 to World Bicycle Relief – and that number grows with every trip we do. Donations are tax deductible, and help WBR continue their incredible work, which has distributed over 60,000 bikes in 2015 alone. Your money also supports education programs, infrastructure, product development, monitoring and evaluation and training mechanics. We hope you’ll join us in supporting this worthy cause. Click here to help now.