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Why use a Heart Rate Monitor – Part 2

Last post we talked about 3 scenarios when riding your bike that a bike computer with speed/ cadence doesn’t do the trick. Crossing over from road to mountain, weather and road conditions and frequency of workouts.

For all the variations mentioned a heart rate monitor  can be used to asses your workout no matter the conditions. Just because you are peddling slower doesn’t mean that you are  getting any less of a work out.

The heart rate monitor is the most efficient tool in order to measure the intensity of your workout. The frequency and duration of your work out is done quite simply by a stop watch. The other factor is learning how to read and react to the information that the heart rate monitor give you.

“How to use a heart rate monitor” article on states that “until you learn what the numbers being displayed mean the heart rate monitor is just a “gee wiz” toy. To give the numbers meaning you need a reference point, a heart rate unique to you at a given level of intensity.”

heart rate


The numbers you need to know:

  • Functional Threshold Heart Rate (FTHR) – Wear your heart rate monitor to warm up and then run 30 minutes at race pace.
  • Resting Heart Rate- this is easily measured when you first wake up. If done consistently, an increased resting heart rate can mean that you are over training.
  • Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) – Runners World Magazine uses the following formula: 205- (.5 x your age)


Why don’t you figure those numbers out and comeback next week for some recommended products as well as commonly made mistakes

Here is a video that Lexus did using a heart rate monitor that we think you will get a kick out of!


Why use a Heart Rate Monitor?

There is anything but a shortage of gadgets created in order to measure your performance. The great news is that a lot of them are becoming integrated but the advantage of using them all remains in question. Why should I care about anything more than my cadence and my speed?

bike computers

 Scenario #1: Let’s say that you have a standard that you ride, and you even have it listed as a KOM (king of the mountain) on Strava. The day that you set your PR it was calm and cool. Now you are trying the ride again on a windy warm day. If you were to do it slower, does that mean that you slacked off? Can you discount or adjust for the wind resistance?

Scenario #2: You just got done with a hard week in your training for the next race. That weekend you decided to celebrate by staying up late on Sunday. Monday comes and you hit the road again but your legs feel like logs. Hills turn into mountains and your legs got stuck on the slow mo option. Does this mean that you lost a day in your training? Do you have to do 2 workouts that day to feel like you are making progress?

Scenario #3: It is so hard to decide between road and mountain so you do both…or you can’t make it to the mountain so you stick to the road for that week. Whatever the case be, how are you going to track your performance from one type of bike to the other? How could you feel good about measuring the speed on a mountain bike when you are barely crawling up the mountain?

Welcome to Science Second:

Health experts have found that there are advanced ways to measure an athletes performance. Given that one of the most crucial factors to your performance is how your body is able to absorb oxygen, one test is called the V O2 max  test. This is the one where you breath into a tube measuring the milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight. While these are very accurate, the equipment is a small fortune and then you need a professional to operate it.



Dr Mark Jenkins, MD who is a Ironman triathlete and Student Health Director for Rice University has done research to point out the correlation between maximum VO2 and maximum heart rate.  On his website he points out that 55% of you VO2 max coencides with 70% of your max heart rate. Thus, Dr. Jenkins concludes that  ”once you have determined your maximum heart rate you have a very convenient method of monitoring your workouts.”

Does this mean that a heart rate monitor will solve all our problems? And what are the most common made mistakes when using one? Come by next week to find the last half of the information. OR you can email to get the second half earlier than that.

4 Bike to School Tips

4 Biking to School Tips
    The summer is coming to an end and back-to-school time is nearing. The school routine means parents need to drop kids off and pick them up unless…they ride their bikes to school. Some parents are too nervous to let their kids ride, while for others it means that they need to get their kids or their own bikes repaired and some may just not have taken the time to ride the route with their kids and identify hazards if there be any. Here are some things to consider as you confidently encourage your kids to ride their bikes to school.
kids riding bikes
1. Helmet- It is an absolute necessity that kids have a proper fitting helmet and that they wear it. This might have to start with a proper example from you.
  •  Needs to sit parallel with the ground without sliding forward or backwards
  •  Two finger between your childs eyes and the helmet
  •  when they open their mouths it makes the helmet snug
2. Proper lock- You don’t want to make it easy on your child to not ride their bike because it got stolen.
  •  make sure you teach your kids the proper placement of the lock. All too often can someone be absent minded and lock only the front wheel.
  •  Find a safe place for your child to place the key or get a combo lock with code that your child can easily                        remember.
  •  Go with your child at least once to see where they are going to lock up the bike and show them how
3. Bike Maintenance- Don’t send your child off on an accident waiting to happen.
  •  Check the bike over thoroughly for cracks in the frame, missing bolts and check to brakes
  •  Inspect the chain as well as spray it with a chain lubricant
  •  If it has a flat tire, take the tire off and check for foreign objects before you go pumping it up assuming that it has just been sitting their for a while and that is why it’s flat. By all means teach your children how to change a tire.
4. Ride the routes- frantic children don’t make for very good GPS computers
  • Accompany your children always if you would like or ride with them at least a week so as to make sure they know that way. Avoid intersections whenever possible.
  • Talk to your neighbors to find other kids that could all ride their bikes together
Please email  if there is anything that we left out or additional questions that you have.

3 Ways to Increase your MPH

 Here are a 3 tips that will allow to you boost your abilities to maintain a faster speed for a greater amount of time:
1. ILTs (isolated leg training)
    Its sounds just like what it is. You can take one foot off the pedal and hold it 6 – 12 inches from the bike. This will then force one leg to do the work that both would normally. Doing this will eliminate dead spots. (points in your pedal stroke where there is no force being exerted) You will want to start with 30 second intervals and eventually move to 60 second intervals. Then you can take the drill to the hills when you are used to the flats. If this is that case for you make sure that you have your pedal technique down because you could ruin yourself doing inproper technique up hills.
*this is a norm for riders to do indoor during winter months
2. Eliminate Coasting
   There are more times then we recognize that we are coasting. As a test you can choose a route that is flat and has as few stop signs as possible. Try and do the ride with 30 minutes of non-stop peddling. If or when this becomes easy double the time and maintain the constant power to the peddle.
3. Love what you fear: hills
   For the cyclists that are not looking to improve, hills can become their worst enemy. For those, like yourself, that are looking to improve they are your greatest tool. Hill repeats are a great technique. Heart rate monitors are the way to measure this exercise. Check out this site if you done have one. Pick a hill that takes 3-5 minutes to climb. Do it the fastest you can while staying in Zone 2 and play with the gears to see what helps. If you dont have a heart rate monitor, focus on 80% effort. Spin for a cool down at the bottom of the hill and then repeat. 3-5 times should do it for you.
Here is a video that can give you some more ideas:

Here is the link at the Active article that inspired this post. Please let us know if there is anything that was left out or could answer the questions that you have.

Is buying second hand bikes actually cheaper?


Many people believe that buying used bikes is cheaper than buying brand new ones. Many times this is the case, but many times it is also not the case at all!

There are several things that you need to be careful of when buying used mountain bikes. You will need to be far more educated about mountain bikes to be able to ensure that you make a sound purchase. In addition to the information that I outline in the bike buying book (click here to check it out), you also need to consider the following factors.

Determining market value of Used Mountain Bikes.

It is a lot trickier to tell whether you are getting a good deal on used mountain bikes. There are two ways you can make an educated guess. The first way is to compare the used bikes, to new bikes.

Firstly you might want to compare the price of the used bikes to when they were new. So you might need to go and ask someone at your local bike shop to inform you on what the retail price of the used mountain bikes when they were being sold in the store. You should also look at the price of equivalent new bikes at the point in time.

You might want to look at what you get in a new bike for the same price as you are prepared to pay for the used bikes you are looking at.You then need to look at the used mountain bikes and take into account their age, condition and history to assess the depreciation of the bike.Then you need to compare it to other second hand bikes of similar quality to the one you are looking at. By doing this, you can see if the market value

Look at the wear and tear of used mountain bikes!


One important thing you need to look at when you are assessing a second hand mountain bike is to try and ascertain it’s wear and tear. Firstly, it is a good idea to ask the previous owner if possible a few questions. You should ask them questions like:

  • How often they rode it
  • Where they rode it
  • Whether they are the only owner
  • Whether it has had any frame repairs
  • Why they are selling it
  • How often they had it serviced and maintained.

You should also give all the bikes you are looking at a thorough check over! Look at all the key wear and tear areas to check how they look. Take it for a test ride. Some of the things you should look for are:

  • Are the chain rings and sprocket teeth sharp or still rounded? Sharp teeth on cassette and chainrings are a sign that they are worn out.
  • Are the wheels still straight?
  • Do the gears change quickly or are they sluggish?
  • Do the gears slip when you put a lot of pressure on the pedals? Test the most commonly used gears (usually the middle sprockets of the cassette) to assess this.
  • Look for cracks in the frame around the bottom bracket and head tube area. They are the parts of the bike with the highest stress levels. Cracks can be very small so check carefully. If the bike even has the smallest crack, steer well clear of it!

Used mountain bikes and their resale value!

Whether you are buying new mountain bikes or used mountain bikes, it is unlikely that you are going to keep it forever. More than likely you will be upgrading in the near future, and you will want to get the best price for your bike. There are a few keys to getting the best price for your second hand bike when it comes time for the upgrade. Here are a few key points:

  • Buy a bike with a well-known brand name. People are more sceptical when buying second hand bikes, so it helps to rely on the reputation of well known companies to do the selling for you.
  • Get it serviced regularly, and keep the service receipts.
  • Try not to ride in the rain. In terms of wear and tear, for every hour riding in the rain (or mud) is like riding 10 in the dry.

Warranties on second hand bikes?


Bikes these days unfortunately are not made to last forever, unlike in past times. You must remember, unless you are buying a used mountain bike from a bike shop (which offers their own warranties) you generally will have no warranty cover on a second hand bike. This means you are running a bit of a risk when buying used bikes. Buyer beware!

Many bike companies will only give their warranties for the owner with the original receipt. So try and obtain the original receipt from the person you are purchasing the second hand bike from to help your case if a warranty claim arises.

Why use energy gel?

Why in the world would you want to gulp down a liquid the consistency of snot when you are in the middle of a workout or race? With the exhaustion that you muscles feel and the burning of your lungs it would seem like the best thing to do would be to hydrate. We all know that at this point energy bars are like unto small stones that you have to swallow and then you have to bid your time while your body breaks them down.

Lets delve into a little painless biology to understand what we are talking about in the energy supplement realm:

Carbohydrates: These are one of three main sources of energy that the body consumes. (Protein and fat are the others) Carbs should be anywhere from 45 to 65% of our diet. Within the carbohydrates there are simple carbs and complex carbs. The complex are thought to be the best because they take time to break down or burn and release more nutrients. The carbs are absorbed into the blood stream and become glucose. The glucose that is not used when it enters the blood stream is stored in the form of glycogen.


Ever heard of carb loads before a race or workout? So what is happening is we consume foods with complex carbs like pasta and potatoes (starches) Then our body breaks them down into glucose and then stores them in the form of glycogen. During the race the next day our body begins to draw from the reservoir of glycogen to fuel our strenuous activity. (As a nerd point, how fast a food transforms form glycogen to energy is called the glycemic index) This is when carb depletion takes place. When the stored glycogen has been used and we begin to slow down, this is sometimes called “bonking” or “hitting the wall”.In order for our body to have a continuous reserve is when it is necessary to replete ourselves with carbs. If this is done well we can recover much more quickly.



The original questions is “why use gels?”

Dr. Edmund Burke from explains that “neither a liquid nor a bar, carbohydrate gels combine the benefits of both liquid sports drinks and solid energy bars to take sports nutrition a step further. Carbohydrate gels are more concentrated than a liquid and digest more easily than a bar, translating into more efficient energy and better performance. Carbohydrate gels are great for training, competition or any time an individual needs a quick energy boost. ” This form of carbs has the highest glycemic index or is absorbed most quickly.

In addition without the protein and fats that bars have, gels have complex carbs and simple sugars that are able to be broken down very quickly. The gels are also able to be added to water as to make them less viscous. Gels are also the only supplement to contain Amino Acids which are protein in their simplest form and help to construct muscles.

At Noble Sports we have a number of gels including the popular Hammer Gels. Come down to the shop and grab a couple for the next workout or race that you have.


GPS bike computers

The GPS bike computers could definitely be considered extravagant when they first came out. Most people didn’t even have them for their cars and GPS on smart phones were booming. With time the features on the GPS bike computers have evolved and simultaneously the ways to share those features also evolved. In the past 5 years a now popular platform was created that essential is a Facebook for bikers/runners. Strava has tens of thousands of users now that allow a competitive experience without have to be physically at the same place.

Garmin has dominated the GPS bike computer market and has made it very easy to upload your ride. The information that you can retrieve with the use of a GPS bike computer include heart rate, distance, WATTs(the power that is being expended while peddling), elevation changes, weather. Each one of these categories can be extremely helpful in how one can improve their performance.

The Garmin products allow you to upload this information to Strava giving you the ability to compare rides and measure progress. Your rides can be shared and invitations can be made for people to join your ride. Groups can train regardless of the location for an event. You can follow the profile of pros and even ride the same courses and see how you match up.

If a GPS bike computer doesn’t  sound helpful to you then you can try using your smartphone with a Strava app for android or apple. The accuracy of a smartphone will suffer but it will allow you to start your Strava account and see how helpful it is to you and your training efforts.

At Noble Sports we have various Garmin GPS bike computers including the 500. During the month of July Garmin is offering a 50 dollar rebate on the 500 as well. That will put the 500 under $300. Please come into the shop and check one out.

Garmin 500

Hydration part 2- Hot Weather


To begin, what is the goal of hydration?

To replace all the fluids that are lost through perspiration.

With that being said it is important to remember that we function very similar to a radiator that you would find in your car. Our body runs at an efficient temperature. When exertion of muscles increases the need for oxygen in the blood we breath harder and our heart beats faster. To ease the strain on the body, we sweat. Unlike a radiator we don’t have a fan attached to us. That is where your bike ride brings another benefit… a cooling stream of air. But with every ounce of sweat that you produce is another ounce that you need to drink.

Just like radiator fluid (which originally was water), one of blood’s functions is:”It regulates our body temperature. When the weather is very warm or during strenuous exercise there will be increased blood flow to the surface, resulting in warmer skin and faster heat loss.” ( Seeing the blood is almost entirely water, we need to hydrate.

For maximum efficiency on your ride:

4 hours before: 12-16 ounces of water

2 hours before: 12 ounces of water

During the ride: 12 ounces per hour in cool weather and up to 80 ounces of water an hour in hot weather

(If you are used to intense work outs in the heat, then you can measure your weight before an after a work out and drink that much in water the next time)

It all begins to make sense why most would say that you hydrate the week before seeing that with hydration as a habit you can error on the safe side. Sports nutrition expert Monique Ryan, RD, author of Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes said  

your first priority should be staying on top of your daily hydration,” says Ryan. Research on gym-goers found that nearly half began their workouts in a dehydrated state. “Many people don’t consume enough fluids during the day,” Ryan says. “If you hydrate properly on a regular basis, you won’t need to worry as much about getting dehydrated during a typical moderate ride.” The old eight-glasses-a-day dictum is a good guidepost

Thanks for reading and please let us know your questions


Proper hydration can be an issue for most athletes. With dehydration comes the break down of body mass and the rise of our core temperature. With every percent of body mass we lose our heart beats 5 times faster per minute. If our heart rate continues to rise then our performance will be compromised and we can even put ourselves in danger. The advantages of hydration can be dramatic in your ability to perform. Here is a video that talks about the performance advantages of hydration.

Hydration Supplements are products that can be added to your water to enhance the amount of electrolytes. Electrolytes aid in your body’s heart and nerve functions, muscle control and coordination and your bodies ability to absorb fluids. Strenuous exercise will deplete your bodies number of electrolytes.

One dilemma of electrolyte rich drinks is that they also contain plenty of sugar as well. This gives you unneeded calories as well as a bigger mess to clean up in your water bottle or even worse in your water bladder.

Camelback has launched the sugar-free effervescent tablet. The Lemon-lime and Berry flavors are caffeine free while the orange flavor is caffeinated. On tablet can be used for every 24 ounces of water. They come in a container of 10 tablets.

Noble Sports carries the tablets and below you’ll find a couple reviews you can read before you come.


Mountain Bike Review said “All in all, I really liked Elixir, it was great tasting, was refreshing, easy to use, left no residue, had no overwhelming sugariness, and extended my athletic performance and recovery. The major benefit, outside of the electrolyte replacement, was that is made me drink the required amount of water on a ride

Gear Junkie felt “Overall, I am a devotee to the category of effervescent electrolyte tablets. The small tabs make getting sodium, potassium, magnesium and other performance enhancers into your system as easy as plunking a tablet in water. A final bonus: The sugar-free tablets do not gunk up a water bottle or hydration reservoir like sugary supplements can.


Is that really necessary?- triathlon edition

When competing in triathlons there is a majority of equipment that you have collected as you have ran, biked or swam that will be useful. However, specific equipment has been developed specifically for the conditions that exist during a triathlon. Some may be considered luxuries and others necessities. Triathlon suits, triathlon bikes, triathlon bike shoes, triathlon running shoes, triathlon wetsuits and the list goes on. While at the beginning stages the need for all these speciality items my not be apparent; as you experience grows so will your desire for specialized equipment.

Road bike shoes vs. Triathlon bike shoes

While the advantages my not be obvious they definitely exist.

   - There is a strap or pull tab on the back of the shoe as to make pulling the shoe on and off easier

- Instead of multiple straps, the triathlon shoe only has one as to make it much easier to entry and exit

- Strap direction is different as well. Instead of opening the strap towards the bike and risk getting it stuck in the chain the strap opens outward preventing this.

- Much more ventilation in the shoe to allow for wet and bare feet.



You can check out or watch this video for more of an explanation.


Noble Sports carries the Shimano triathlon shoes in store. Shimano also offers a 60 day trial on their shoes and if you don’t like them then you can get a full refund. Come to the shop and try on a pair to see the difference.