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Monday SPOOKY Zwift Ride With the Amazing Mari Holden

From Canyon Ranch Zwift ride

Mari Holden...

"I have been working on an auction for USA Cycling that just went live!"

Please check the link in our write-up.

WE have incredible items including a weekend with Phil Liggett. Bikes from Pinarello, Canyon, Specialized and Ventum. Lots of incredible experiences with our Olympians. A private ride with George Hincapie and his son Enzo. VIP experiences at the Olympics, World Championships etc.

Check it out and help support our athletes!


Happy Halloween 🎃

6 ways celebrating Halloween can actually boost your health

When you think of unhealthy holidays, Halloween may be one of the first to come to mind.

With all the high-sugar, empty-calorie treats around, it’s not hard to imagine why.

But, believe it or not, celebrating Halloween can actually offer several health benefits.

Here are six reasons why indulging in a ghoulish holiday may not be as unhealthy as you think.

Some sweets can be healthy

Let’s face it: Most Halloween treats are very unhealthy, and we’ve even explored the health implications of some of your favorite sweets.

But, not all of these goodies are necessarily bad for you.

Dark chocolate, for example, can offer a host of health benefits when eaten in moderation.

Despite being a high-calorie, high-fat food, dark chocolate is on the lower end of the glycemic index.

It’s also a good source of antioxidants due to its high flavanol content.

Flavanols are a type of polyphenol, a class of phytonutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The flavanols found in dark chocolate have been shown to increase blood flow via vasodilation, lower blood pressure levels, and reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes.

In addition to heart health, dark chocolate can offer some benefits with respect to eye health.

In a small trial, participants who ate dark chocolate had significantly improved contrast sensitivity and visual acuity for 2 hours following consumption.

Researchers have also shown that eating peppermint can aid in gastrointestinal pain relief and may offer antimicrobial protection against oral pathogens while chewing gum can reduce stress, and improve attention and mood.

Sneaky physical activity

If you have young children, odds are that you’ll be trick-or-treating with them on Halloween.

And while you may not think it, walking door to door with your kids can be somewhat of a workout.

Consider that at a leisurely walking pace of 2.0-2.5 miles per hour, the average person can burn anywhere from 200-300 calories.

But walking isn’t just good for weight management—it’s good for the whole body.

Researchers have shown that even a single, short session of walking can have immediate health benefits, including increased blood and oxygen circulation throughout the body, reduced fatigue, and enhanced energy.

Scary movies can spur metabolism

In addition to trick-or-treating, another surprising way to burn calories during Halloween is to watch a scary movie.

In a small 2012 study, University of Westminster researchers found that watching a ≥ 90-minute horror flick can burn over 100 calories due to the rush of adrenaline the body experiences when faced with stressful visual stimuli.

The researchers measured the total energy expenditure of 10 individuals as they watched a selection of horror movies.

“As the pulse quickens and blood pumps around the body faster, the body experiences a surge in adrenaline,” said study author Richard Mackenzie, PhD, former senior lecturer and specialist in cell metabolism and physiology at the University of Westminster, London, United Kingdom.

“It is this release of fast acting adrenaline, produced during short bursts of intense stress (or in this case, brought on by fear), which is known to lower the appetite, increase the Basal Metabolic Rate and ultimately burn a higher level of calories."

The top 10 calorie-burning horror movies in the study were:

The Shining: 184 calories

Jaws: 161 calories

The Exorcist: 158 calories

Alien: 152 calories

Saw: 133 calories

A Nightmare on Elm Street: 118 calories

Paranormal Activity: 111 calories

The Blair Witch Project: 105 calories

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 107 calories

[Rec]: 101 calories

In another study, researchers found that watching a scary movie can actually boost circulating levels of white blood cells, thus inducing a short-term increase in immune function.

Socializing boosts brain and immune health

Halloween is a festivity steeped in social activity—from pumpkin carving and haunted hay rides to trick-or-treating and scary costume parties—

which can have positive effects on your immune system as well as your cognitive health.

People who partake in social activities tend to have stronger immune systems than those who do not, at least according to researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

In addition, experts have shown that engaging in social activities may support brain health, including protection against some neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer disease and dementia.

Strong social bonds increase longevity

On a related note, celebrating Halloween with your friends and family can strengthen your relationships, which can lead to a longer life.

Researchers have shown that those who have strong, meaningful social connections tend to be happier, have fewer health problems, and have longer lifespans.

In one study involving nonagenarians and centenarians, for instance, researchers found that exceptional longevity was characterized by a number of factors, including strong bonds with family.

In another study, researchers found that maintaining strong social relationships, starting from adolescence, increases life expectancy by reducing the risk of serious health conditions throughout a person’s life.

Small retail splurges reduce stress

Shopping for a Halloween costume can actually be a great stress reliever (well, shopping for your own costume, not your child’s).

Researchers have shown that retail therapy, when restricted to small splurges, can improve your mood by reducing levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

In one study, researchers evaluated survey responses as well as intended vs actual purchases from 158 adult shoppers during their visit to a mall.

Overall, they found that 82% of shoppers who purchased unintended “self-treats” had improved negative moods post-purchase and did not demonstrate buyer’s remorse.

So go ahead and indulge in that chocolate bar or buy that Halloween costume.

Doing so may just raise some spirits—including your own!


Here are some facts about the origins of Halloween…

Most scholars agree that Halloween as we know it originated some 2,000 years ago, when Celtic people in Europe celebrated the end of the harvest and the start of a new year in a festival called Samhain (pronounced "sow-win").

People also believed they could commune with the dead more easily during that time, lighting big bonfires to ward off spirits, according to The American Folklife Center.

Halloween Has a Dark Spiritual History

The Celts also believed that the spiritual communication on Samhain made it easier for Celtic priests or druids, to predict the future, according to History.

To appease the deities, they built bonfires and sacrificed crops and animals.

Villagers also attended the bonfire ceremonies wearing animal heads and skins as costumes.

Bats are a Halloween Symbol

Nowadays, many of us associate bats with Halloween — and that has its historical roots, too.

The Druids' Samhain bonfires attracted bugs which, in turn, tempted bats to come enjoy a tasty meal.

In later years, various folklore emerged citing bats as harbingers of death or doom.

In Nova Scotian mythology, a bat settling in a house means a man in the family will die.

If it flies around and tries to escape, a woman in the family will perish instead.

Romans Had Their Own Fall Festivals

The Romans conquered most Celtic territory by 43 A.D. and brought their own fall festivals with them at that time, according to History.

Their October celebration called Feralia also commemorated the passing of the dead.

Another holiday, Pomona, honored the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.

That's one reason people often bob for apples during Halloween festivities.

Christians Tried to Replace Halloween


Fast forward a few centuries, and the festivals that would become Halloween evolved.

Several Christian popes attempted to replace "pagan" holidays like Samhain with their own religious observances.

By 1000 A.D., All Souls' Day on November 2 served as a time for the living to pray for the souls of the dead.

All Saints' Day, or All Hallows, honored the saints on November 1. That made October 31 All Hallows Eve, which later became Halloween.

The British Set Out Ghostly Gifts

Despite the new religious focus, people in Old England and Ireland continued to associate the end of October with the wandering dead.

They set out gifts of food to mollify hungry spirits, and as time wore on, people began dressing in creepy costumes to go begging for the treats themselves.

The practice was called "mumming," and looked pretty similar to today's trick-or-treating.

The Southern Colonies Brought it Stateside

The first Halloween-like festivities in America started in the southern colonies.

People began to celebrate the harvest, swap ghost stories and even tell each other's fortunes, likely a holdover from their countries of origin.

However, those early fall festivals were known as "play parties" at the time.

Women Bobbed for Apples — And Husbands

In the 1700s and 1800s, women performed rituals on Halloween in hopes of finding a husband.

Single ladies used to throw apple peels over their shoulders, hoping to see their future husband’s initials in the shapes where they fell.

They also competitively bobbed for apples at parties, believing the winner would marry first.

And in a ritual that just sounds downright creepy, some thought standing in a dark room with a candle in front of a mirror would make their future husband's face appear in the glass. Blood Mary, anyone?

The Irish Introduced Jack-o-Lanterns

The holiday we celebrate today really started taking off in the middle of the 19th century, when a wave of Irish immigrants left their country during the potato famine.

The newcomers brought their own superstitions and customs to their new homes, including the jack-o'-lantern.

But back then, they carved them out of turnips, potatoes and beets instead of pumpkins.

Halloween Focuses on Treats Today

By the end of the 1800s, more communities were partaking in a more secular (and safer) set of rituals.

People started holding Halloween parties that included more harmless games, fall seasonal treats and fun costumes over witchcraft and mischievous troublemaking.

Americans Spend a Lot on Candy

Trick-or-treating skyrocketed in popularity by the 1950s, when Halloween became a true national event.

Today, over 179 million Americans celebrate the holiday — and spend about $9.1 billion annually in the process, according to the National Retail Federation. That's a lot of miniature candy bars!

Halloween is Not an Official Holiday

Many Americans love Halloween wholeheartedly, but the day isn't a federal holiday.

Despite all of the festivities that happen in the evening, Halloween is still a work day and most businesses and banks follow their regular hours.

So if you're rushing home to answer your doorbell, you're certainly not the only one.

We hope you have a SPOOKtacular week!

As always,

Be Kind, Do Fearless

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