Follow the Cycling Training Schedules of the Pros…on Twitter

You may have heard of Twitter on CNN or in tech magazines.  Twitter is a microblogging service that allows you to update your friends and followers on what you are doing day to day.  This might seem mundane, but if you are following updates of your favorite cyclists, you may get insight as to how you can take your training to the next level.  You might even be able to predict who wins the Tour de France based on whose Twitter updates show the most dedication.

According to BikeBiz.com, here are a list of professional cyclists currently using Twitter:

Lance Armstrong
Ivan Basso
Taylor Phinney
George Hincapie
Carlos Sastre
Axel Merckx
Jani Brajkovic
Dave Zabriskie

You can also catch Lance Armstrong’s trainer Chris Carmichael of Carmichael Training on Twitter as well.

Gain some insight into the day to day operations of the pros.  Put good luck messages at their attention.  If you still don’t get the point of Twitter, check out this video.

By the way, don’t forget to follow us too ;-).

Help Us Support World Bicycle Relief

We love riding our bikes at Sun & Ski Sports.  Cycling is a great way to get around and also a wonderful way to stay in shape without incurring much strain on your joints.  For some people though, cycling gets people to work, delivers medicine and goods, and allows people to have a better way of life.  World Bicycle Relief is an organization dedicated to giving bicycles to people in developing nations to help them get around.  From December 17th to December 31st, an angel supporter will match DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR up to $750,000 any donation you make to this great cause.  Let’s help World Bicycle Relief meet their goal of 23,000 bikes.  You can make a donation at their website and follow DoubleBikeMatch on Twitter for updates on the cause.

Many thanks to the marketing agency StaleLife for bringing this to our attention.

Choosing the Right Flex for Your Snowboard

Flex refers to the degree of stiffness or flexibility that a snowboard delivers. Since snowboard flex directly affects the rider’s ability to control the board in different snow and terrain conditions, it should be an important consideration when buying a snowboard. There are two types of flex associated with a snowboard:

  • Longitudinal flex: the flexibility of the board from nose to tail
  • Torsional flex: the stiffness of the board from toeside to heelside

In general, the more flexible a board, the easier it will be to maneuver. Snowboards with greater flex tend to make sharp turns easier. It is for this reason that many experts suggest a more flexible board for beginners. The improved control delivers easier turning, especially at slow speeds.

Freestyle riders often prefer flexible boards as well. This is because sharp turns and improved maneuverability are frequently needed to land tricks or hit an obstacle with precision. Superior longitudinal flex also provides the flexibility needed to execute popular tricks such as nose grinds and 5-0 grinds. Tricks such as these require the snowboarder to ride along the surface of an obstacle while balancing only on the nose or tail of the boar

The downside of flexible boards is their reduced ability to hold an edge. Because of this, stiffer snowboards deliver better stability and performance at high speeds. They are also ideal for groomed snow runs. As such, freeriders and speed demons often prefer a stiff snowboard over more flexible options.

Snowboarders who enjoy both open-mountain and freestyle riding typically compromise by choosing a medium-flex snowboard. It is for this reason than many intermediate boarders avoid the extremes and buy a snowboard that provides relatively good control under all snow and terrain conditions.

Beyond riding style, a snowboarder’s weight should also play a part when it comes to choosing the best type of board flexibility. Broadly speaking, the lighter the snowboarder, the more flexible the snowboard needs to be. This is because less hefty riders need to exert additional effort to initiate turns and maneuver their board.

If you have any questions about snowboarding, give our sales associates a call at 866-786-3869.

Gifts for Your Favorite Cyclist

Cycling is a great sport, and the gear associated with it can be somewhat addictive.  Bearing this in mind, any cyclist should appreciate getting the latest and greatest gear for the holidays.  Here are a few choices you might want to consider:

Cycling Jacket
We all think of jerseys when we think of cycling.  When it’s cold, a jersey just won’t cut it.   Some jackets have some insulation while others are just shells intended to keep the wind out.  Two great options are the Sugoi Cycling Jacket and the Sugoi Mens Helium Jacket.

Cycling Tights

Most cyclists riding over ten miles at a time will have cycling shorts.  To stay warm and comfortable in the winter time, longer tights may be necessary.  Companies like Sugoi and Pearl Izumi make cycling tights for those times when shorts just won’t be able to keep muscles warm.  Consider ThermaFleece for extra warmth.

Sunglasses
Visibility is crucial when on the road, but standard sunglasses risk fogging up or falling off your face when on a bike. Companies like Oakley make sunglasses for cycling that often even have interchangeable lenses for different conditions.

Gloves
Standard cycling gloves are not meant to keep your hands warm when cycling.  They simply prevent the bones in your hands from hurting while riding distance on a bike.  Consider this varieties from Descente that are fleece-lined.

A Cycling Computer
It’s easier to attain goals when you can always track your progress. Cycling computers can be attached to a bike to monitor distance, time and speed. Consider the wireless Cateye Strada Computer or the Delphi 4.0 Cycling Computer.
There are a lot of gifts you can give this holiday, but the confidence your loved one can gain by hitting fitness goals is hard to beat, and Sun & Ski Sports has the gear to get them there.  If you have any further questions, feel free to give us a call at 866-786-3869.

4.5 TONS of Warmth Offered by Sun & Ski Patrons in Houston

We are happy and proud to report that Houstonites offered 4.5 tons of coats to the Star of Hope Shelter in Houston for our “Share Your Warmth” Coat Drive.  It is inspiring to know that despite these hard economic times, people looked beyond themselves to see not what they could take, but what they could give.  To Houston, the Austin community, and Sun & Ski patrons everywhere, we offer our thanks for your generosity to this program.

A Great Gift? A Replacement for Old Sweats

We all have those old sweats we’ve had for ten years that bring back memories.  Sweats are an okay way to stay warm, but they do not compare to the technology available to us today.  Fabrics like the Polartec available in The North Face products and water resistant fabrics such as Marmot’s M technology allow us to stay much warmer and are much more durable than those old sweats.

How do they do this?

1.) Tighter knit fabrics.  The wool used by companies like Obermeyer is more compact than the fiber you will see in cotton sweats.  This keeps your body warmth where it should be–in your body.

2.) Water resistance to the max.  Cotton ABSORBS water.  Cold is not always dry, so if you wear sweats and it rains or snows, cotton is not the fabric to be in.  Companies like Burton create clothes that are either water resistant or waterproof, keeping you warm in any kind of weather.

Your loved ones might not think to ask for a warm jacket or pants.  But whether they cycle, board, or just like being outside, when cold weather hits, they’ll appreciate the warmth.

Skiing or Snowboarding on a Budget? Look No Further

Anyone who skis or boards a lot can tell you that much of the initial expense comes with the equipment.  You can’t just hit a mountain in any old clothes.  It’s too cold and you are too likely to get wet from snow if you aren’t prepared.  That makes for one miserable trip.

So how can enjoy skiing or snowboarding without breaking the bank?

1.) Don’t buy the latest and greatest gear.  It’s great to buy gear as soon as it comes out, but you are much more likely to find past season gear on sale.  For example, at the time of this posting, we have a pair of 2007 Rossignol skis for $244.93.  If you get a pass for any resort, you could easily save money by buying these skis instead of renting each day.  2009 skis will all cost much more than this.

2.) Subscribe to our newsletter to find out when the sales hit.  If you always know when there are sales, you won’t have to worry about missing out on getting your favorite gear for the price you want.  Just go to our website to the bottom righthand corner.  You will get $10 off a purchase of $75 or more just for signing up.

In an economic pinch, we sometimes have to make sacrifices.  Making smart decisions about the gear you buy can make skiing or boarding a more affordable, fun vacation for you and your family.

Choosing the Right Length for Your Snowboard

Snowboards shouldn’t be picked on cool graphics alone. Choosing the right size snowboard is often the difference between flying down the mountain and falling down the mountain. Among the many factors that should be considered when purchasing a snowboard is your weight.

The length of the snowboard is the most important factor when it comes to shopping for snowboards. In general terms, the heavier the rider, the longer the board needs to be. This is because heavy riders invariably apply more board pressure during turns. The added length provides the additional support that these boarders need. If a heavy rider buys a board that is too short, he or she will run the risk of washing out during turns.

Lighter riders require shorter boards because they are easier to maneuver. A board that is too long will be difficult for light riders to turn. For similar reasons, lightweight boarders should look to purchase a more flexible board as well. In contrast, a stiffer snowboard offers the additional strength required for heavier riders.

So what exactly is too long for a light rider and too short for a heavy rider? If you are of average weight for your height, a general rule of thumb is that the snowboard should reach between your chin and nose when stood on its end. If you are heavyset, you’ll want the board to extend above the nose. Lighter riders will likely feel more comfortable on a board that reaches between the chin and collar bone.

To assist in the buying process, many manufacturers include height and weight recommendations for each snowboard they produce. Adult snowboards range in size from approximately 140 cm to 168 cm. Here is a general recommendation for size based on weight:

Snowboard Sizing Chart

Remember these are just guidelines and other factors such as riding style and skill level will also play a factor when picking the right snowboard. Check out our boards from Burton, Flow, Forum, K2, Nitro, and Ride.  If you are unclear on which board is right for you, feel free to give us a call at 866-786-3869.

Preparing for Cold Weather When You Are Cycling

There’s no reason to stop riding when it gets cold.  Ron at Sun & Ski Austin discusses how to manage when the temperature cools down:

The Pros Showed Up Big at “Rock the Cradle for Johnny Romano”

We were a proud sponsor this weekend at “Rock the Cradle for Johnny Romano”.  Pros such as Rune Glifberg, Dave Duncan, and Lance Childers showed up big at Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark this weekend.  We hope everyone had a good time, and that the event offered the Romano family both financial and moral support.

We snapped some great photos of the event, which you can find in our Flickr account.  We also set up a Flickr Group, which pools together all the photos from the event.  If you took pictures, feel free to upload them here so you can share with your friends who couldn’t make it out.  All of our photos are protected by the Creative Commons license, which allows you to use them in any way as long as you attribute them back to Sun & Ski Sports.

We also created a sweet music video in honor of the event.  You can find that here.

Many thanks to all who showed, volunteered, or skated at Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark this weekend.