Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New to Bicycling?

Got this facebook message thread from a friend...


Between You and Someone Else

Someone Else
Today at 12:42pm


I understand you are quite the cyclist/athlete so I ask you this:How can I get faster and or lose 40 pounds by riding my bike and how do I change spokes and how can I GO FAST ON MY PIECE OF SHIT HYBRID SCHWINN????? Websites? Secret-Crank-sets that give you super speed?? And how bout shorts for my jock? May jock gives up before my legs.....HELP a dillatante(me) become the real deal (you)...

Thanks for any advice and/or insults that you can throw back this way,

Someone Else

Today at 12:59pm

I am glad to help...here's my $.02:
Obligatory insult from a racing snob. You have to look PRO to be PRO. Get rid of the shitty WalMart-Chinabike and get your fat ass to a real shop and spend a modest $1500 on a Specialized, LeMond or a Trek. It's worth it. Get a bike fit before you leave the store. It's also worth it. More so even.

A. Ride faster even when it hurts. Greg Lemond said, "It never gets any easier, you just get faster." this morning I rode 9 three minute intervals as hard as I could until I nearly puked. I do it once a week...then tomorrow I go on a suicidally fast "training" ride with a bunch of spandex clad psychos out of an Evanston Bike Shop, Turin...30 miles in about an hour and half. Great race training.

B) While you're riding fast, eat a bit less. Don't diet, but eat out a lot less, cut out the fried foods, and cut out the alcohol during the week and when you're alone. A LOT of excess calories in there. DON'T DIET. this is a lifestyle change, not a get-skinny-quick change. If you diet you won't have enough energy to ride faster. aim for 2 pounds a week. If you plateau, take a look at your routine and change a few things.

C) oh yeah...get more sleep. Like at least 6 solid hours. Alcohol (and caffeine) fuck up your sleep patterns...

As the weight goes down and the power goes up, you get faster. Self-esteem goes way up. Full-disclosure: your current social life will probably suffer...but if you are really enjoying riding and want results to enjoy it even more, you gotta do what you want.

D) shorts. Go to Performance Bike, Get a Grip, Pony Shop or Turin (last two are in Evstn) and get a GOOD pair of shorts, bib shorts. Don't go completely cheap, but you don't need the $200 pair. $50-75 oughta do it. And get chamois creme. Prevents chafing. Don't be afraid to ask how to use it, and don't let any snobbery from the employees get in the way. It comes with the territory of delving into serious cycling. They treat every newbie like shit. It's nothing personal. Just don't let them sell you the farm.

In a nutshell? Ride more, ride with people you like, eat healthier, drink less, a get a pair of bike short...one pair of GOOD bike shorts.

Good luck.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Training with Power

I'm very satisfied with the Ardennes' performance so far, enough that I decided to have the my new Powertap PRO+ laced into a Hed Ardennes rear wheel so I have a matching set. Neither wheel is out of true, even after ~700 road miles. My 32 hole ultegra-hub open pros didn't even last this long.

My new wheel arrived today and I'm taking it out for an AR ride... I'll have to do some quick jumps just to see the wattage numbers spike... I wonder how high I can make it go?


1436 Watts :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

xXx 2009 Winter Camp Report

2009's winter camp was a success - I feel much stronger and faster every year, though it seems that everyone on the team is stronger and faster. I'm not immediately off the back when we're climbing Men's Colony Hill, which tells me that I'm making progress.

Weighing in at 260 on the Friday before we left was encouraging, but weighing in at 258 yesterday morning was MORE encouraging. Most people GAIN weight at camp because we're riding so much that you just have to eat like a fiend. 38 pounds to go and I'm in Carbon Wheel territory. Lighter Me + Heds + Track = Fast.

Several of my teammates have written day-by-day accounts that I can't hold a candle to - I suggest you see their blogs for all the juicy details:

The Car Whisperer
Race Your Bike

What I can offer you, though... is data. Below are links to my GPS tracks from each day, embarrassingly slow climbing speeds and all.

Day 1: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/episode/view.mb?episodePk.pkValue=7750814
Day 2: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/episode/view.mb?episodePk.pkValue=7760829
Day 3: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/episode/view.mb?episodePk.pkValue=7767260
Day 4: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/episode/view.mb?episodePk.pkValue=7776365
Day 5: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/episode/view.mb?episodePk.pkValue=7776372
Day 6: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/episode/view.mb?episodePk.pkValue=7781518
Day 7: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/episode/view.mb?episodePk.pkValue=7784904
Day 8: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/episode/view.mb?episodePk.pkValue=7800994
(my Forerunner started giving out on me on Day 7, mileage on Days 7 & 8 is shorter than actual)

I'm very excited to say that I successfully rode Peachy Canyon AND summited Black Mountain this year. Black Mountain is one hell of a climb (Day 5) and I'd attempted it once before but wasn't able to summit. It cost me a quicklink (FSA Quick Links SUCK!! Buy SRAM) but I did make it to the top:

How sweet it was.

The rest of camp was great, but after Peachy and Black Mountain I was satisfied with the week's successes and just didn't want' to crash or break anything. Saturday's (Day 8) climb up Prefumo Canyon did give me a scare - I crossed a cattle guard and hit a big hole on the other side... and heard a rather loud "pop" from the bike. I stopped to check for cracks/problems and everything seemed solid so I continued. When I reassembled the bike at home in Chicago, I inspected both the fork and seatpost and didn't see any problems... I'm hoping it was just one of the "funky carbon noises" that people tell me happen from time to time.

The Stallion Build Hed. Ardennes performed wonderfully, so much that I've decided to build my powertap into them. If a lightweight wheelset can take the beating that I've put it through (especially through Prefumo Canyon's cattle guarded kermesse-style summit) and still stay true, they're more than alright by me. Trips to SLO in years past have knocked my Ksyriums out of true, so I'm quite happy that the Ardennes are as good as the reviews all say.

Hopefully I didn't break the new bike before I've even had a chance to race it.

Hillsboro-Roubaix, two weeks. Hoo yah.

Friday, March 6, 2009


xXx Racing is off to San Luis Obispo today. It'll be an awesome 8 days of riding... here's hoping that the new bike, new wheels, and newly trained engine are up to the task.

Can I get a hell yeah for that forecast?

The Wall :) (keep in mind, I hate climbing and I think this is fun because of the sheer ridiculousness of it)

Here are motionbased links to the 2007 trip:
Day 1: 27.5mi http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2169636
Day 2: 69.1mi http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2177780
Day 3: 46.8mi http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2183072
Day 4: 12.2mi http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2192979 (Rest Day)
Day 5: 71.5mi http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2192980 (Black Mountain, I didn’t go all the way up though)
Day 6: 39.7mi http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2252515
Day 7: 81.7mi http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2252679 (The Wall)
Day 8: 27.4mi http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2252676