Cycling with Earbuds

If you’ve raced a triathlon before, you know that USAT rules state that you cannot wear headsets, headphones, walkmans, iPods, mp3 players, or personal audio devices, etc. are not to be carried or worn at any time during the race.  The penalty for doing so is a variable time penalty.

And yet, if you’ve trained for a triathlon before, chances are that you have worn a headset, headphones, walkmans, iPod or MP3 player.

Many folks run with music.  Generally, it’s not a big deal.  I often run with music.  In fact, I find that my tempo sometimes increases or decreases depending on the song that I’m listening to.  For example, it’s easier to run fast to “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” than “Tequila Sunrise”.  I do enjoy running without music, though.  It’s nice to listen to the ambient sounds, my impersonation of Darth Vader’s breathing, and such.  Plus, it’s easier to have a quick chat with someone if you aren’t wearing earbuds.

So…is it kosher to cycle wearing earbuds?

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It’s an interesting question – with potential legal guidance as well as common sense instruction.

First, the common sense approach:  Wisdom suggests that the wearing of earbuds limits our ability to hear sounds like a car approaching from behind, other cyclists, sirens, etc.  Using common sense as the judge suggests that we probably shouldn’t wear earbuds – at least not in both ears – because it just isn’t safe.  Moreover, it’s not a purists approach to cycling.  Back in the day, cyclists didn’t wear headphones.  They just had the wind and songbirds to listen to.  And that guy behind you who always yells, “car back!”.  Of course…back in the day, headphones didn’t exist.  And, in any case…all those professionals that race in the Tour de France wear them, so it must be OK, right?

So, discounting the common sense argument fully, it might not even be legal for you to wear headphones while cycling.  That being said, even where there’s a statute about wearing headphones while operating a motor vehicle, there might be some wiggle room for interpretation.

Take Florida, for instance.  Here – as in most states in the US – bicycles are considered motor vehicles according to state statutes.  As such, cyclists are held to the same legal requirements as operators of automobiles, trucks or motorcycles.  Specifically, Florida statute 316.304 very clearly states, “No person shall operate a vehicle while wearing a headset, headphone, or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing.”  As with most laws, there are a few exceptions…one of which might come into play for cyclists:  “This section does not apply to:  Any person using a headset in conjunction with a cellular telephone that only provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other ear.”

A strict reading of this statute might make you think that wearing a music player runs afoul of the law.

But wait….almost everyone cycles with their phone these days.  And isn’t it true that most people use their cell phone/device as both a phone and a music player?  How would a police officer know if I was wearing an ear bud for phone call purposes or for music listening purposes?

I guess that technically a police officer wouldn’t know the difference.

So, net/net – is it OK to wear earbuds while cycling?

That’s a really interesting question – and I’m not about to give legal advice!  I suggest that you learn and know the laws applicable to where you live and exercise at least a modicum of common sense.

Truth be told, I wear one ear bud often when cycling.  But only if I’m going alone and on a route that does not typically have much traffic.  I always have the earbud in my right ear (facing away from traffic) so that I can better hear passing cars or other cyclists.  When I do wear an ear bud, I don’t have my music so loud that I can’t hear other things.

As an FYI, I found the infographic below this morning laying out the various state laws.  I have absolutely no idea how accurate the information on here is, but it at least gives a starting perspective as to state statutes relating to wearing headphones or earbuds while operating a vehicle.

Good luck and be safe!

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National DOMS Day

Yesterday in the United States was dubbed as “National Running Day”.  Posts on social media clamored for people to go out and run.  People were compelled to go run “for something or someone”, to run 1 mile to 100 miles, to just get moving.

And so they did.

There was a plethora of folks running.  My twitter feed and Facebook timeline were awash with posts about how folks went out for a run to celebrate the day.  People posted photos of race-like bibs with “I’m running for _____” printed on them.  People shared comments about group runs, runs with dogs and trail runs.

I’m thinking that there was at least an incremental increase in the number of runners yesterday across the country.

So I’m proud to announce (with the full blessing of me, myself and I) that today – and all June 5th henceforth – shall be known as “National DOMS Day”.

DOMS

Inquiring minds may question the definition of DOMS.  But trust me…if you’ve ever had it, you’d know it.  Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.  Ya know – the sometimes intense pain in muscles after an intense bout of working out.  For some, it’s intense pain after any sort of movement at all.

By announcing the establishment of this new national holiday, I’m honoring all those out-of-shape, non-exercising couch potatoes who were motivated by yesterday’s holiday to get off their keester and go outside and run.  They may have only run 100 feet.  Some surely went out and ran five miles waaaay too fast.  Bottom line, those folks will find descending staircases slightly more difficult and painful today.  They will experience heavy legs, fatigue, and soreness.  All by-products of their celebratory runs yesterday.

So live large today!  Get a massage.  Wear some compression sleeves.  Complain a lot.  Have a GREAT National DOMS Day!

Five Things NOT To Use TRISLIDE For

What TRISLIDE does for endurance sports-related chafing is what a hungry teenage boy does to a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos.  TRISLIDE makes chafing disappear!

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TRISLIDE is a continuous spray  anti-chafe skin lubricant that is all the rage in the multi-sport community.  This stuff seriously is bottled awesomeness.  This non-sticky all-day lubricant is used anywhere you might have chafing…wetsuit neck openings, saddle area, feet.  Basically – you spray and forget!  TRISLIDE isn’t like that gooey stick stuff that other competitors offer; it’s a spray-on silicone that works wonders!  Ever have a hard time getting out of a wetsuit?  Spray TRISLIDE on the outside of the cuffs and ankle openings, and you will literally fly right out of your suit!  You can share this (without fear of contracting some pesky critters or having someone else’s extra “hairs” latch on to your body).  TRISLIDE won’t stain your Tri-Kit, and it won’t melt in your transition bag either.

I’m not going to lie – TRISLIDE is SERIOUSLY slippery!  The product comes with a warning to not spray Tri-Slide on the floor as it will make the floor extremely slick and could lead to falls.

So, with this knowledge, here are the top five things that you COULD use TRISLIDE for – but you really SHOULDN’T use TRISLIDE for…

# 5:  Rusty bolt un-stopper

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Yes, you could use TRISLIDE to loosen up those rusty bolts – and this stuff would probably work as good, if not better, than your trusty can of WD-40 or a massive amount of elbow grease.

# 4:  Personal….ahem….lubricant

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Now, we all love some lovin’, but please…..don’t go there with TRISLIDE.  It’s for external use only.

# 3:  Saucer Sled Accelerant

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We’ve all watched the movie “Christmas Vacation” and seen what Clark Griswold can do to a saucer sled with his cereal varnish.  TRISLIDE would make Griswold’s varnish look like glue.  Beware if you do try TRISLIDE as an accelerator for your sled.  If you use too much at one time, land speed records could be broken.

# 2:  Hair Pomade

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Every triathlete wants to look great when they leave transition, and who doesn’t like the “slick” look in their hair?  But seriously…instead of TRISLIDE, go to the drugstore and purchase some Dippity-Do or some other hair gel.  Heck, even Vaseline would look good.  Just don’t use TRISLIDE….because if you do, instead of your girlfriend slowly running her fingers through your hair, her hands are likely to slip right off and hit you in the eyes.  And no one wants to get poked in the eye.

# 1:  Flamethrower

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Who hasn’t wanted to light some aerosol aflame and use as a firestarter?  Why not try your hand at a little welding?  Meet a pesky dog on your run?  OK.  There MIGHT be some potential good uses if you could use TRISLIDE as a flamethrower.  But, don’t do it.  Use a can of Aqua-Net Hairspray instead.  Besides, I’m not even sure if you can set TRISLIDE on fire.

OK.  It’s settled then.  Don’t use TRISLIDE for any of those five things.  Do use TRISLIDE to prevent chafing and hot spots.  Do use TRISLIDE to help get out of wetsuits in a jiffy.  Do share your TRISLIDE with others and not worry about some space-suit wearing dude from the Centers for Disease Control showing up to escort your lube away to some quarantined location.

 

Just so you know, TRISLIDE is one of the amazing sponsors of the Rev3 Triathlon AG team.  They periodically send me products to use.  I LOVE their products and would use them even if they didn’t send them to me…they are THAT GOOD.  To learn more about TRISLIDE and other products made and sold by SBR (namely Tri-Swim Anti Chlorine shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion) and Foggies (anti-fog towelettes), click on their website:  www.sbrsportsinc.com.

 

Texting Driver Hits Cyclist and Just Doesn’t Care

Imagine this scenario.  A cyclist gets run over by a vehicle and is left with a broken back.  Allegations are made that the driver of the car was texting and/or distracted just prior to the accident.  The cyclist needs surgery and months of rehab.

That scenario plays itself out literally weekly, somewhere in the world.

What perhaps makes this situation slightly different is that not only was the driver clearly texting while driving, but that she was more put out by the fact that the cyclist had the audacity to cause some damage to her car as a result of the collision.

Here’s the backstory – Kimberly Davis, of Port Fairy, Australia, pleaded guilty earlier this week to dangerous driving as a result of her collision with cyclist.  Phone records showed that Davis had texted 44 times just prior to the accident (with a text message being received less than a minute prior to calling emergency officials indicating she had hit a cyclist).  The cyclist was critically injured and suffered a severed spine.  He spent three months in the hospital recovering from his injuries.  Davis was fined $4500 and lost her license for 9 months.

What makes this whole situation worse is that Davis had the incredulity to not show any remorse, and moreover to be upset with the cyclist.

Davis told police investigators, “”I just don’t care because I’ve already been through a lot of bullshit and my car is like pretty expensive and now I have to fix it. I’m kind of pissed off that the cyclist has hit the side of my car.”  She further went on to say, “I don’t agree that people texting and driving could hit a cyclist. I wasn’t on my phone when I hit the cyclist.”

There are a couple of issues associated with this that concern me.  The first is obvious:  distracted driving causes accidents.  The second is the clear lack of remorse that Davis had.

There’s likely nothing that can be done about the later concern, but there certainly can be things done relative the former.

First and foremost, distracted driving should be a primary traffic offense.  Police should be able to pull over and cite drivers for nothing other than distracted driving (texting, SnapChatting, Facebooking, even just calling).  In far too many jurisdictions, texting while driving is a secondary offense.  In Florida, for example, I can get a $30 fine for texting while driving (totaling about $100 when court costs and fees added) – but I can only get that ticket if I am pulled over for some primary offense – like speeding, careless driving, DUI, etc.  If state legislatures and governments pass laws or ordinances changing this offense to a primary offense and make the fine prohibitive, then there may be a corresponding decline in the incidence rate of drivers committing this act.

In my opinion, cycling can be tough enough of a workout.  We don’t need to continuously be on our guard for distracted drivers as well.

Painting a Mental Picture During Workouts

It seems that almost every workout I do has what I call a low spot.  Or a hard spot.  A period of difficulty.

Basically, it’s that part of the workout when your legs are screaming, or your heart rate spikes and you feel like you’re going to die.  Sometimes you hit that wall where the constant headwind on a ride becomes so tough that you just want to stop.  It’s those times where you want to slow from a run to a walk.  And maybe even sit down.

Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems like no matter what my level of fitness, I always have a low point somewhere in most of my workouts.

There are lots of tools in my virtual toolbox for overcoming these times.  Sometimes I will make an on-the-fly adjustment to my swim set.  Other times I’ll pick a landmark and focus on cycling cleanly to it – only to pick another once I get there.  I have counted my strides on runs more often that I’d like to think (one time I counted 2000 strides on a run).

I think we all have strategies for taking our mind off the hurt, the pain, or the effort.  Shifting our mind off that stuff tends to allow us to put the pain aside.  Let’s not kid ourselves.  We have the pains or excess effort.  Triathletes often tend to be fairly good about pushing them aside, however.

There is one strategy that I have been using recently – and it might be a little strange in this context – visualization.  Many of us have heard that visualizing a race or a task is often a key to success.  I’ve seen athletes clearly running through the paces of a race before the gun fires.  Recently, while watching the Olympics, I saw skier Bode Miller doing this very thing – imagining the gates he’d have to navigate as part of the downhill or giant slalom or whatever race he was about to attempt.

But that’s not the kind of visualization I’m talking about.

No…my visualization tends to be the mental picture that I create of me in the midst of a race.  Take for example, when I’m out on a run – I’ve been struggling recently getting back into running shape, and to be frank, it’s been a tough battle for me.  Literally, every time I run now, I come across a patch of the run where I want to quit.  I slow way down.  I may walk some.  One way I deal with this is visualize or imagine that I’m in the middle of a race.

Recently, I’ve been picturing myself on the run at Rev3 Florida.  The run course for this race alights the Gulf of Mexico for a while and then tracks alongside a canal.  I can see that course in my mind’s eye just as clearly today as when I actually raced there.  So while I’m running and dealing with the pain associated with the run, I have been picturing myself on particular parts of that course.  I can “see” the spectators.  I “feel” the ocean breeze.  I “smell” the smells of the salt water.

And perhaps it’s a little crazy, but typically my legs feel a little lighter.  My pace pics back up.  My respiration becomes easier.  I feel like I have energy again.  Weird, right?

What do you do to brush the pain aside?  What are your strategies for getting through those tough workouts?