Posts Tagged Spruzza



Being First 

First…what an impactful power word. Full of meaning, significance almost always gets your attention. It raises eyebrows and invites a “tell me more” expression on your face, when some someone says, “I was the first.”

First to fly, to fly across the Atlantic. First man in space, to orbit the earth and to step on the moon. First to break the four minute mile. First African-American to play major league baseball, first man to break the sound barrier.

Being first is so much more and meaningful than crossing a line. It can signal and represent the breaking down of barriers and opening a door into a new and better new world.

The biggest firsts can change the world. Sometimes they are matters of national pride but most often they are private treasured firsts that are deeply personal. Your first day of school, your first bicycle, car, date and kiss.

First Use of Areobars

Firsts are historical “stakes” in the ground. They become unalterable FACTS of history.

On Sunday July 23, 1989 Jose De Cauwer LeMond’s team director sportif  walked up to a UCI judge and showed him the bike Greg Lemond would be riding in the individual time trial from Versailles to Paris on the final stage of the Tour de France. There was no problem with the bike except a funny horseshoe shaped set of aerobars. “LeMond wants to use these bars.” The judge glanced “Okay you can use it no problem”. Jose continued, “LeMond, he has a back issue they help him.” Irritated the judge interrupted, “I said no problem.”

Photo: Graham Watson

Photo: Graham Watson

LeMond was 50 seconds behind Laurent Fignon. He told the crew, no updates in my ears. Greg had been testing aerobars that were growing in popularity with ultra-cyclists like RAAM riders and with Triathletes. The roadies were loath to touch them. Greg and his team had done their homework. It started with some research and then they listened.

When you’re planning for the tour the stakes of every decision are high. Nothing passes through the process without careful deliberation and testing. Anything “new” is viewed first as a risk.

Cyclists at the time [and not much has changed] were not known for being forward thinking but Greg and his team weren’t afraid to experiment and then to take the risk. It was definitely new and the risk while real was calculated.

The risk was rewarded. LeMond gained 58 seconds on Fignon and won the ’89 Tour by the closest margin in history eight seconds. And the barrier to aerobar sales to roadies came tumbling down. Pascal Ducrot then vice president at Scott [the ski company and the company that made LeMond’s aerobars] said, “In 1990 we sold 100,000,’ says Ducrot. ‘Overall they were a huge success, and I believe showed Boone Lennon, Charley French and Greg LeMond to be pioneers.’



In June 2015 I sat down with Evan Huffman for lunch at Sellands, a local deli in El Dorado Hills California. About two weeks before I had contacted Evan through Facebook. It was an absolute “shot in the dark” cold call. I had recently read an article about him in the Sacramento Bee describing his return to the US after a two year stint riding for Astana in Europe.

The purpose and pitch was simple. Would you be willing to “experiment” with a new device that allows you to stay about 20 degrees cooler when riding in the heat? The first look on his face a single squinting eye and a half smile that bordered on a grimace, said it all. “I don’t know” Evan politely replied. We chatted a bit more about the science and physiology behind our idea. Slowly, very slowly he started to listen. I “twisted” his arm a bit more. Finally framing the question in the context of his previously “experimenting” with hydration and nutrition products. Yes he admitted having done that. “Well why not experiment with this?” I said.

Evan is a very nice young man and I honestly think it was only because of that he consented. We finished lunch and walked outside. Evan had his bike in the back of the car and I fitted a Black – Blue Spruzza onto his black and blue Neil Pryde training bike. The squint and grimace came back a bit but he did offer a conciliatory “Actually doesn’t look too bad.” I shook his hand and quickly thanked him for being willing to try something new and left before he could change his mind.

Two weeks went by before I reached out to Evan. It was only because we were heading to Los Angles for a SHARK TANK audition that I decided to check in for a follow up meeting. I figured getting his feedback might help us with the pitch.

We met the second time at Starbucks. I arrived a few minutes before Evan and the minute he spotted me in the back of the store his face lit up. No squint no grimace just a big genuine “trademark” Evan Huffman smile. Even better the first thing Evan said as I stood up to shake his hand was, “You don’t want this back do you?” I couldn’t stop laughing.

Like LeMond, Evan’s risk had been rewarded. He had been using Spruzza the last two weeks during his hot summer training in the Sacramento valley and Sierra foothills. He went on to tell us that “I’ve been training harder, longer with less fatigue and faster recovery by using this to stay cooler.” His 2016 racing season with RALLY CYCLING is already proven to his best ever, capturing the KOM polka dot jersey at the Amgen Tour of California and winning the North Star Grand Prix.


Whatever happens with Spruzza and our vision to improve every facet of the cycling experience in hot weather, Evan has his place in history as the FIRST professional cyclist to use and train with Spruzza, “A Cooler Way to Ride.” It is a FACT of history now.

Since then Evan and I have shared several of our personal stories. The latest Evan shared with me was his goal to become more of a leader for RALLY CYCLING or any other pro team he rides for. I think he’ll do just that because one fundamental characteristic of a LEADER is the willingness to try something new, to push the envelope and take the personal risk to be FIRST.

Check out these article below


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What’s So Cool About being Hot?



Part  3

This article is ESPECIALLY for all of you hard core, tough and resilient cyclists who proudly proclaim “THE HEAT DOESN’T BOTHER ME.”  We just want to make the case that it’s a different statement than “THE HEAT DOESN’T EFFECT ME.”

Interesting – fascinating FACT. Did you know that depending on your size you have between 60,000-80,000 MILES of blood vessels in your body? And your body has an incredible ability to open and close all those vessels depending on a number of “things” it senses locally and systemically.

The term CARDIOVASCULAR refers generally to the heart as the pump and this astounding number of large and microscopic system of blood vessels that delivers everything every cell needs to survive.

For the sake of brevity we’ll consider some basic aspects of CARDIOVASCULAR changes that occur and place significant demands on the heart as well as other systems when cycling in the heat.

At rest and in a cool comfortable temperature your body circulates about 250-500 milliliters of blood to the peripheral circulation and only 20-25 % of your capillary blood vessels are “open”. What happens when you’re pushing the pedals hard in hot weather is astounding. First of all nearly 100% of those 80,000 miles of blood vessels are wide open and the heart is pumping 15-20 times as much blood per minute as it was at rest.

You don’t have to be exercising at all to experience a change in cardiac output in the heat. Even at rest your heart rate goes up a few to several beats a minute to accommodate stable blood pressure as more capillaries dilate in order to shed heat and keep you cooler.

The problem your heart has while riding in the heat is directing all this additional blood flow to two very important parts of your body – your working muscles and to the peripheral circulation so core temp doesn’t rise too fast. Not enough blood to your skin and you’ll over heat very quickly. Not enough to your working muscles and fatigue, cramping, lactate build up and bonking happens pretty fast. In some cases of extreme exercise in the heat 60 % of the cardiac output is directed to the peripheral circulation to facilitate evaporative cooling. That is a huge loss of blood flow to the demands of your working muscles.

The importance of skin temperature cannot be overemphasized. While it’s true that CORE temperature sets a ceiling on the duration of exercise [most mammals simply stop working when core temps hit 104 F.] pacing, endurance, power output and even neural-muscular impulses are driven more by skin temperature. The reason begins first because our skin is our “first responder” in regards to “sensing” the environmental conditions we will be exercising in. Ever walk out from a cool room into the heat to ride and immediately start “recalculating” the distance and pace you had in mind when it was cool inside? That’s because as soon as your skin feels the heat it’s sending messages to the brain – “NOT SO FAST and NOT SO FAR” today. I’d like to live to see tomorrow.

One of the most significant benefits of heat acclimation is a great capacity to sweat and to begin sweating earlier when exercising in high temperatures. The key advantage is the ability to maintain a lower skin temperature sooner thus lowering the amount of blood flow to the skin. Net benefit more blood to the working muscles and other organ systems which we’ll discuss in a later post.

Remembering the foundational principle of thermoregulation from a previous post, “The harder your body works to cool itself, the faster you fatigue” it becomes clearer why acclimation helps your body stay cool more efficiently.

It’s exactly this principle behind Spruzza as “A Cooler Way to Ride.” Not only does the application of 3-5 mL of water facilitate skin cooling but it’s using an external source of water [not your own sweat] to accomplish this. This is a key reason why in our field study we documented a lower level of dehydration when using Spruzza to stay cooler.

Another key observation and effect of spraying 3-5 mL of water over your face is that normally your sweat rate is only sufficient enough to drop your skin temp by about 5-8 degrees below core temperature but adding additional, external water increases the evaporative cooling capacity such that your skin temp will drop 10-20 degrees below core temperature. The result in not only amazingly refreshing it increases the rate of heat exchange by a factor of two to four fold.

The important conclusion in all this is that even if “the heat doesn’t bother you” it does have a physiological effect on performance, endurance, dehydration and recovery. Several major organ systems are effected as we will look into in later posts.

So no matter how tough you are, think about riding SMART, lowering the work your body does to cool itself. You’ll feel better, ride stronger and recovery faster. Who doesn’t want that?

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