Emils Liepins 2nd at Serenissima Gravel race

Emils Liepins 2nd at Serenissima Gravel race

Gravel cycling or gravel grinding is a sport, or recreational activity, where participants cycle bicycles mostly over gravel roads. In the 21st century, road biking on gravel roads, both for pleasure riding and racing, has gained in popularity. Many would point to the United States as the birthplace of gravel riding, with long, remote sections of gravel roads closing the gap between road biking, mountain biking, and cyclocross. Gravel riding generally describes the use of drop-bar bikes on roads and dirt trails, falling somewhere between road biking and mountain biking.

Bikes and courses for gravel riding range greatly, ranging from wide-tyred road bikes used on flat gravel roads, to bikes that are similar to mountain bikes used on courses containing technical trails. As in all aspects of cycling, the bikes specifically designed for gravel have no suspension, a long wheelbase, and frames designed for flexibility. Gravel bikes geometry, gearing, and tire clearance are designed specifically to meet the demands of riding on rugged terrain. Gravel bikes also utilize features from both cyclocross and road bikes, allowing better comfort over longer rides, and tyre clearances that allow for rides done under stormy conditions.

Road bike bars are excellent for aerodynamics, but stability and comfort are the keys for gravel riding. Where gravel bikes differ from road bikes is the bars are typically wider, geometry is adjusted for being more comfortable riding on gravel for longer periods and current gravel bikes will also have a 1x drivetrain, eliminating the front derailleur. Along with the tire clearance, gravel bikes are biased toward longer, stamina-based rides, so best gravel bike tires which are effective at long-distance cycling are going to perform the best.

There is definitely nothing wrong with riding a hardtail mountain bike, or even a stiff MTB, on gravel roads and trails, although you are probably going to feel the benefits of a gravel bike if you plan on taking much of your riding on gravel roads. You can choose to go on a road bike, cyclocross bike, or a certain type of mountain bike, and do some gravel riding.

Gravel biking, being a mix of road biking, cyclo-cross, and mountain biking, is becoming a new bike race discipline. Already, prior to the recent popularity of gravel bikes, some cycling tourists rode what we now call gravel bikes. Gravel biking straddles the divide between road cycling and mountain biking, combining the speed and efficiency of road biking with the ability and freedom of riding in loose, rugged terrain.

Gravel riding is known to add an element of thrill and a dash of danger to the bike-riding experience, thanks to the namesake rock-covered and loose terrain. With thousands of miles of gravel, asphalt roads, singletrack, and some of the prettiest scenery in the country all right in our backyard, gravel riding is about adventure that is accessible with human-powered pedals and two wheels. The best of the best feature dramatic landscapes and diverse terrains and routes to keep your legs kicking and mind exploring.

The breathtaking landscapes on the route make the gravel grinding experience one of the most visually satisfying cycling adventures. There is gravel racing too, and this too is divided up like a road race, but an off-road race, or an adventure race, where the focus is on the long-distance, rough-and-tumble sections. Gravel racing is the final category, and this is starting to feel more like road racing, but on longer distances and dirt roads.

Multi-terrain cycling or adventure riding may better describe this, since it is much more common to find routes linking gravel doubletrack, flowing singletrack, woodland fire roads, canal towpaths, farmside trails, and farm roads with sections of asphalt between, instead of longer sections of unpaved gravel roads — depending on where you are riding, of course. The term covers a broad range of surfaces, including gravel in varying sizes and textures, paved roads, forest roads, fire roads, singletrack (mountain biking trails) and dirt. Gravel courses are classified as categories 1 (smooth, firm, dirt that is friendly to a road bike) through to category 4 (deep potholes, rocks, and possible slides that are best handled by a mountain bike with a large-volume tire).

Gravel riding, especially racing, requires a different level of fitness, power, and stability that what you would have with purely paved roads. Gravel riding, also known as gravel grinding or adventure riding, is a growing and popular style of riding combining elements of road cycling and mountain biking, primarily involving long-distance rides on unpaved roads.  New people are joining gravel cycling daily, new adventures are being held, and new trails are being explored, and many of cyclings biggest names are offering a range which includes top-of-the-line gravel bikes, down to the most accessible gravel-specific budget options.

Whether you are a novice rider looking for a first bike, or you are an experienced racer looking for the next competition, we can help You to make the best experience of gravel cycling, making training gravel specific. Gravel cycling training with TF Coaching already helped 5 athletes successfully to compete in Gravel World Championship and many more to fall into love with this new and exciting discipline.

 

 

 

It is no secret that cross-country skiers have the best performance values among athletes. The maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) in the laboratory studies has always been very high for skiers. Yes, the same VO2max, which determines the athlete’s potential, his level of fitness. It is taken into account by the professional cycling teams when selecting riders to wear their outfit.

Cross-country skiing has been a part of winter preparation for ages in Nordic and Baltic countries, just forgotten in some countries thanks to the bad winters we have had recently.

ski in winter for cyclists

Everybody start skiing someday for the first time. The sooner, the better. Coaches involved in the youth cycling should integrate skiing in their training programs from the first possible moment on. No one is an instant skier. So, you have to be patient and start gradually. If you can ride a bike for three hours, it does not mean that you can ski for the same amount of time straight away.

Look for an experienced skier or skiing coach to give you few tips about the skiing techniqe at first. Simple tips will help you a lot and you will have soon the capacity for doing longer trainings on skis too.

The best is to start without sticks from a flat downhill transferring all the weight from one leg to the other, get the feeling of sliding. However, if there is no progress in speed and smoothness after a few trainings, be sure to look for a ski instructor again. It will take a very long time to learn the technique by yourself, the winter is too short for it.

 

Like with the bicycle equipment, it is very difficult to navigate between the different skis, shoes, clothing and so on. I would definitely recommend to use the recommendations of a specialist, don’t try to find the most suitable option yourself, if you are a beginner.

 

The classic skiing style is closer to the foot pedal action, but it is rarely used by the cyclist. It is a lot easier to prepare your skis for a session in the free style and it is easier to moove fast using only the legs the moment your arms need a bit of rest during the training.

 

Skiing is an ideal activity to improve your physical fitness! If I had the opportunity to ski every day, I would create a schedule with one day off between each skiing session. Give your body a chance to regenerate. During the years I was a dedicated cyclist myself, I created a system in which I successfully replaced aerobic work on a bicycle with skiing and performed bicycle-specific work on rollers between the skiing sessions. There is no point to spend hours on the bike with the cold winter temperatures. The winter I skied the most, I had the best winter preparation. Laboratory tests confirmed it!

 

So, everyone can go cross-country skiing, because it’s never too late to start and you will benefit out of it, guaranteed! Just make sure to not get cold and don’t go too hard! Wear enough clothes, check your heart rate while skiing and change your undershirt straight after the session.

riding-cold

As we rode ourselves and trained a lot of athletes that needed to keep riding even when there is snow outside, we gathered 10 tips for cycling in cold weather on hot to enjoy riding in winter, staying warm and comfortable, which we think is a wonderful season to enjoy on bike and stay fit for your summer goals too!

riding-cold

So here is selections of tips we crafted for you, if you suffer with riding comfortably in cold:

 

  • Mudguards. Even small tail under your seat will help a lot. Less cold water you get onto body, longer it will stay warm.
  • Running. When your feet gets really really cold, get of bike and run for 30sec, it will get blood flow to your feet and will warm up.
  • Thermo bidon. They are not expensive, but sip of warm drink mid ride will fell amazing. Go for some tea with honey for extra energy. Since you burn more calories to stay warm… You can find some for good price at Evelo Store here
  • Clothing. Its obvious you need proper gear to ride in winter, but quality gear realy makes the difference. Don’t overdress as well. What seems impossible, but you can do it even when there is snow outside. Best to choose winter outer layer that breathes but is water resistant like Gore-Tex. If you overdress, you will get sweaty fast and when you will slow down, you will get cold real fast as you will be all wet out in winter…
  • High cadence. Do 20sec high cadence effort once in a while if you start getting cold, it will rise your heart rate and make you warmer by bringing more blood to legs.
  • Forrest. Choose places to ride where your average speed will be slower, but watts the same, at slower speed you will have less wind coming at you and will be warmer. Forrest is great place to stay warm.
  • Fatty cream. If your knees and face gets cold at rides, beforehand apply some fatty cream to area, Nivea will work just fine.
  • Food. It’s easy to bonk in cold, because your body burns more calories to keep body warm. So fuel up properly and bring more food on rides that you would do in summer.
  • Weather app. Always check weather in areas around, not where you are at. Check 2-3 locations around you, and you might find that changing general direction of your ride might save you from bad day.
  • Full gas. Hey, if nothing helps, you can always ride harder and that will do it all!

 

Hopefully some of our 10 tips for cycling in cold weather stuck with you and will make your next ride more enjoyable!

Stay fit this winter my friends!

If you have any questions or want to take your fitness to next level, you can click here and contact us!

 

10-tips-for-cycling-in-cold

Me and Maris decided to team up and drive to Tartu to try to win again in the biggest MTB festival in Baltics. Race started well for us as I took first and Maris took second intermediate sprint. But early in the race we realized we came with wrong bikes, I had a full suspension mountainbike, we had no idea the track would be so dry! Even muddy forests that always are tricky with CX bikes and everyone choose MTB bikes were dry enough to do them just fine with gravel bikes and all gravel sectors were hard as termac! I have never seen such conditions here. We were 8 man break early in the race and only 3 of us had MTB not gravel bike… So me and Maris just fastened our seatbelts on gravel sectors where estonians went crazy fast! We had one sector in strava for 3km where we averaged 53km/h! Crazytown. Everyone in break was going full gas all day because Gert Jõeäär and Peeter Pruus (who had mechanical), two strongest contenders missed break.
So break stayed together all day, we could ride away from cx bikes in forests, but it wasn’t worth it since they would cach us on gravel parts. Only 2 guys got dropped, but pace was high and steady until the last 10km, when Estonians started to attack. We both on MTB were pretty tired, so our only option to win was Maris outsprinting 6 man break. I decided in the last 4 kilometers to ride at a steady pace in front so nobody attacks. It was all going good when 700m to go Martin Loo made an attack and rest of the break didn’t react, I was already cramping at time and couldn’t react too, I made a mistake and pulled too hard before. Since nobody was reacting and we wanted to win, Maris had no other option to chase him, so he dragged rest of break to Loo wheel, he catches him with 350m to go, when final sprint was about to start, so he made second sprint right away and came in second, only Jakin could pass him from his wheel. Ahh, so close but so far. It was a fun battle between gravel bikes and MTB bikes and Latvians and estonians! What a beautiful race! We will be back next year to try again!