27 January 2012

10 January 2012

Velo News Buyers's Guide New Trends

In this year's edition of the Buyer's Guide, Velo News remarks on 4 new hot trends. Here are some comments.

23mm Wide Rims
I've been riding a set of 23mm rimmed HED Bastogne wheels for over two years and I love them.  The wider rim allows the tire to "open its lungs" so to speak.  A greater volume of air is available with the result of an increase in comfort and for a lower tire pressure.  I have dropped my Conti 4000 pressure from 120psi to 100psi rear/95psi front. 

 The other benefit is a straighter sidewall.  This increases cornering and reduces pinch flat incidents due to a decrease in sidewall deformation. All these benefits are the result of a wider cross sectional contact patch and a shorter/wider inline patch.  Trust me; I felt the difference immediately after the switch.

Currently 3T, Bontrager, COLE, Carroll, Enve, HED, Mavic, Reynolds, Rolf Prima, Salsa, Velocity, and Zipp all make 23mm wheels.

BB Standards
Call me old fashioned.  I saw this coming with the introduction of integrated headsets.  I remember Eddy Merckx speaking out against the new HS standards and his company was one of the last to offer the new headset technology on their bikes. 

It used to be you had two choices for your bottom bracket:  Italian or English threads.  Each type had two widths, 68mm for road, 73mm for mountain. Now there are 16 different "standards," 8 each for road and mountain.  So the chances of a shop being to repair your bike overnight in your BB peters out before a big ride are zilch. Nada.  No fucking way.  Your LBS is simply not going to stock all those different types. 

Increased stiffness is the Holy Grail all these BBs offerings.  Your new bike will come with a crank designed to work with your frame.  If you need to replace your crank, you must pick one that is made for your frame or use an adapter.  If you crash and need a replacement you may have to purchase a new crank as your frame maker has "moved on" to a new BB system.  Or again, back to adapters.  Adapters creak and the official word from the frame makers and components kings?  Locktite.  Yes, spend $1,500-10,000 on a wonderful riding machine and use locktite to overcome that annoying creak. 

Electronic Shifting
I have to admit, this is kind of cool. The ability to shift under stress and avoid all the headaches of cables (adjustments and contamination) make this seems like a perfect upgrade.  Plus I've heard they clean up the lines of the bike and the increased shifting precision is incredible.    Apparently the front shifter auto trims as the computer realizes what cog your chain is on in the cassette.  Neat!

But the price just pushes the best equipment out of the zone for the vast majority of us.  It used to be you could buy a pro-level bike for a reasonably, for cycling, price.  But now pro-level frames go for over $6,000 alone.  Then add carbon wheels, and electronic shifting. And how durable is all this new equipment over 10-15 years is a real question.  The pros ride the bike on year and then everything is replaced or upgraded.  Imagine going to a garage sale and picking up a ten year old VCR, TV, or Radio.  You might question if it will turn on and if so, how well it will work.  Add another five or ten years and the questions become larger. 

How electronic shifting adds or detracts to your bike's ability to weather the years is a real question for me.  There needs to be a balance between durability, performance, weight, style, and longevity. 

Second-Skin Clothing
Wow, these babies are expensive.  You can spend $150 for a jersey to decrease 12 to 25 watts at 25 miles per hour.  This is the same savings as $2,500 set of carbon wheels.  So on surface it would seem more prudent to spend the money on the jersey than the wheels.  But the rich, pudgy dude is not going to be able to hide his belly in a second skin suit.  He would rather spend the money on the wheels.  Because wheels are a conversation starter on a ride and a sagging belly in a skin tight jersey isn’t.


Best Quote I've seen in a while

There are several rites of passage in one's maturation as a cyclist - learning to fix a flat tire, tipping over in clipless pedals, finishing your first 100-mile day, and replacing your bike's original headset with a Chris King headset.

Velo News
2012 Buyers Guide

09 January 2012

Road Sines

I love Bill's articles.  Here is a good one on riding a Sine Wave.  Click here for the article.

07 January 2012

Back in the Saddle (sorry....poor joke)

I took about a month off from cycling.  I tore my quad during thanksgiving week and was using running as a rehab.  Well, that's my story, but in reality I was pussing out from the cold and running is an easier way to stay warm during workouts. 

But it was 60 degrees on Thursday and it was time for the first bike ride of 2012.  I had not done any exercise in over 7 days in an attempt to heal a reinjury to my leg.

According to the book Outliers, Malcom Gladwell makes the argument that 10,000 hours of work in your field is the average amount it takes to be a superstar.  My explanation is an over simplification, but you get the idea.  Ride a bike for 10,000 hours like Lance and you become part of the machine.  Play piano for 10,000 hours and you are a virtuoso.  In sports we talk about muscle memory.  We all know that you get muscle memory through doing your sport over and over so it become automatic.  Need an example?  Ride singletrack behind a novice.  They swerve and over compensate for trail obstructions you don't even notice when you ride.  The same phenomena can be observed when riding behind a newbie on a road bike. 

I went back at the end of the year and looked over my mileage for the past 8 years.  I am at close to 3,000 hours on the bike.  While not 10,000 I am not a pro either.  What this has bought be beside killer calves and effienct cardio, is wicked muscle memory.  I'm not special, you have it also if you ride regularary.  After 10s of thousands of cycling miles over the past 8 years, you tend to have things happen automatically. 

For my first ride back, I was keenly aware of those things we all do and never notice....and they all felt wonderful.

Visual check of my quick releases..burp before adding air.....water bottle check....brakes closed?.......chocolate foot in first.....then the first push and glide before seating. 

the click as my left foot effortlessly found the SPD-SL.....the first few mashes on the pedals to get up to speed.....the instant drop of 10 degrees or more as the cool January air blows onto my face....the warm up burn as the embro wakes up on my legs...........the auto hold of the reset button on the Garmin......glance over my shoulder as I ease onto the road....my hands know exactly where to go on the bars....the automatic brain load as I visually see todays route and mentally suggest changes depending on wind direction and speed....the increase in breath rate and depth....yeah.

Fuck yes....I love to ride..

05 January 2012

2012 M4 ride

New posting for 2012 M4 ride.  See and comment at M4ride.blogspot.com. 


The Daily Mile

It's time to reset your goals for 2012.  I'll post mine soon, but for now few comments about record keeping.

I suck at keeping a riding journal. I have tried paper and pen, purchased a Velo News log book, made my own using The Training Bible book, used Training Peaks, etc.....

I start of strong and then in about 3 weeks I find I have stopped without even being aware of it.  I keep a mileage log.  In fact, I have all my mileage logs back to 2003. My spread sheet even projects end of the year mileage for both running and riding.

But logs books suck.  I can always go back in my Garmin and get my mileage.  But I forget things like weather, how I felt, etc. These are all essentials for a quality log. 

But about 6 weeks ago I discovered The Daily Mile.  This is a quick and painless way to publish your miles.  Think of it as facebook for athletes.  You can comment on workouts and

It's free and easy.  If you use it, you can follow me (#1) here,  Brent (WC) here, and Aaron North (#3) here

Hope to see you there and have a good 2012.

UCI and Tech Regulations

An excellent article on UCI racinig regulations can be found here.

04 January 2012

A few of my favorite cycling photos

 This is #3 on a foggy ride out west of Wichita

 I just finished the Mt Scott climb as the sun was setting

 WC finds some newspapers as we wait on #3 to fix his cleat on a 
Latham Loop ride on a cold January morning.

#3 takes his Vitamin G

Mobile Site and KSS

Blogger has done some updates to it's inner workings.  We now have a mobile format.  So access the site with an iPhone or some other less cool smart phone and check it out.

Also, KSS has their site up and running:  www.KansasSingletrack.com


03 January 2012

Going Low and Lance

Well hopefully I can write this post in some semblance of coherent thought. I have a few pieces that I'll try to bring to one swift conclusion but I make absolutely no guarantees.

Lancelot was capo of the Tour De France for a few years, we all know that. Everyone has some favorite memory of him before the shine began to fade. Mine was the amazement at watching him climb. He was bigger than everybody but there he was up there with those itty bitty Italians. His ability fascinated me. Then the secret was revealed to us by Johan and Bill, Lance carried a much higher cadence to get up the same mountains the little guys were hammering up. I have never, nor do I ever believe that I, at 6'3" and over 200 lbs, will ever "fly" up the climbs ANYWHERE. So I have taken to heart and tried my best to run higher cadences than someone of my stature. Not in homage to Lance but because I totally understand what Johan and Bill were saying.

As the years of cycling have progressed I met two wonderful dudes who introduced me to my cycling passion, Vitamin G (aka gravel). My first few years were spent dabbling, riding, and paring it all down. Gaining the knowledge to know what to expect and and what gear I need to be bringing. This year I quit listening to some of my other cyclocross racing friends and focused instead on ME. Glorious great me and trying to achieve that first bit of the sentence. So I got a lighter bike, I put on fat tires, I flipped my stem over, raised the handlebar angle, and put on a carbon fibre seatpost. My initial 20 to 25 mile forays have all been great, grand and glorious.

It wasn't until Sunday that something I've been ignoring popped into my head. To set the scene, WC and I went out for a nice leisurely 40 mile graveller on Sunday. The wind was brutal and we had 7 miles straight into that hellish wind. I did what I usually do, just shift into the lowest gear and really act pro. Do you know what the pros do when they aren't on TV? They sit on their saddles eating, drinking, and talking. Fueling up for the racing to come and the TV cameras on. Did you know that too is part of looking pro? So there I sat eating, drinking, watching WC ahead of me and thinking. Thinking that boy, every time I go up one of these damn hills (into the wind) it just really fucking sucks.

Then it dawned on me, one last piece of advice my cyclocross buddies had instilled in me that was totally NOT what I was all about. My cogset. These guys run around on 12-27's trying to rip each other's legs off. I knew of course that I had a 12-27 and wasn't ripping anyone's legs off. My goal is much more realistic and is based upon my average speed. I want to maintain a 14.5 mph average over the course of the entire ride. This arbitrary number was the winning average for the Dirty Kanza this year. This average has proved almost impossible to attain, given the hills that lurk off to the west of Wichita. That is when Lance's cadence thing came back into my head. I am going lower gearing and for this I have two good reasons.

Reason 1: Lower gears mean higher cadence potential meaning #3 gets up hills more efficiently, hopefully faster. This is in turn means he can go even longer. Yes you are all screwed, I've found a way to potential increase my inate ability to ride forever. Reason 2: There isn't really a penalty here. Ridding myself of some higher gear potential merely means I will have access to that almost unused big ring that I have on my chain set. I ordered both a SRAM 1050 12-32 cogset and an Alivio 9 speed derailleur this morning. I will keep everyone posted as this is a VERY long gear test for sure.