Turn It Up – When Science Meets Bicycling

Editors Note:  This is the first article from WeBikeEugene’s newest contributor, Jennifer Hughes!

Another participant, David Kuhns, sweats it out for science!

Sweat poured down my face and landed in the puddle forming on the insulating, black floor mat.  I took a gulp from my third, 16-ounce water bottle, then my arms flung it back in its cage.  I turned up the volume of my iPod so loud that Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” drowned out my heavy breathing.  With exhaustion creeping up through my burning lungs, I put my head down and pedaled harder. “You got it Jenn, keep it up!” The enthusiastic lab assistant shouted as I ferociously pedaled on a funky ergometer stationary bike in a heat chamber set to a sweltering 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  “Your data is looking good!”

I was only 28 minutes into a 60-minute go-all-out-and-ride-as-hard-as-you-can time trial, and my legs felt like lead.  My heart pounded through my sweat-soaked, quick drying performance t-shirt that was a shade darker than when I started. The seconds felt like minutes, the minutes like hours.

Seventeen days earlier, I had committed to 20 days as a lab rat for Santiago Lorenzo, who, at the time of the study, was a University of Oregon Ph.D student working on his dissertation.  Lorenzo is currently doing post-doctorate training in the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. For the study, Lorenzo was researching what effects training in the heat have on athletic performance in hot and cold weather.  When I heard about earning 500 dollars as a subject, I signed my name on the dotted line.

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Crit Season Has Arrived

photo courtesy of Erik J Mills

Even though it may not seem like June, summer is upon us–and if you’re involved in racing that means crit season has come! What are these crits I speak of? Criteriums (a.k.a crits) are bike races held on a short courses (typically less than 3 miles) and are often located on closed-off city center streets. This style of racing is much more spectator friendly because of its high lap counts and relatively close to town locations.

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Eugene Twilight Race Series Begins

Dwan Shepard (Co-Motion) Finishing Strong

3…2…1…GO! It has begun- the local race series right here in Eugene. And what could start the year off better than an uphill Time Trial on McBeth? For those who have not had a chance to bike up this hill, it is something to be experienced. The scenery is amazing, but most people navigating this on a bicycle won’t have much time to enjoy the Oregon countryside–their legs will be in more pain than they’ve ever felt before. With no actual “flat sections,” this 5k course has little to no place for recovery- making this an ideal place to test your strength and lactate threshold.

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