Monday, March 23, 2009


Continuing the story. I picked up my new tt bike on Friday afternoon. I'm not saying Jack dropped everything to get me ready, because it didn't look like any other customers suffered from lack of attention, but I took up a lot of his time. Got the bike home and rode it around the loop a couple of times. Saturday morning I drove to San Antonio and warmed up for the first endeavor: 10km time trial. I warmed up on the Roark, then unveiled the Felt and took it for a short spin. Everyone else was shaking their head about the maiden ride being in competition, but I was quite confident of the fit plus the wind was in my face for the tough corner, so I had no worries about over-cooking it.
The bike worked flawlessly and was so easy to ride. The motor (me) had to come up for air toward the end, but I was able to stay on the bars 95% of the time without any neck problems. Oh yeah, my time, in spite of the stiff wind, was a minute faster than last year and about a minute faster than the second place finisher.
I had time to switch the front wheel to the Roark as I got ready for the 20k race. My friend Bill had come in 3rd in the tt, but I told him we would start quick, get a gap, and work hard for a lap, then relax the rest of the way and battle on the last (5th) lap. It worked to perfection. I gapped him on the last lap, but couldn't hold the lead going downhill into the really stiff wind. However, he took the lead heading into the finish and I had a better gear and the Zipp front wheel to get me enough acceleration to take him at the end. Two golds.
I drove home, had dinner, a soak in the tub, and went to bed. Up at 4:30 with a 5:45 departure back to San Antonio for the first race of the morning: 5km tt. This was an out-and-back, with two hills, one of which was pretty long. My muscles were tight and I began wondering how long lactic acid could stay in them. Anyhow, once again I cut a large chunk of time from my previous best and came in first.
I had no business entering the 40km race, especially when the fresh legs of Stanton and Tom showed up. They are faster even without 3 races behind me, so I knew only the bronze would be contested. At the start, they jumped and I jumped with them and within 200 yards we knew the others couldn't catch us. This would be a ten loop ride and I stayed with them for one loop before they left me. However, the lead we had built up on the first loop was sufficient to allow me to not have to push for the next nine.
I have no statistics for these rides. There wasn't time to get a computer on the tt bike, and when I switched wheels, there wasn't a magnet to activate the one on the Roark. I had taken my gps to at least give me some speed readout on the first day, but forgot to turn it off, so ran the battery down for the second day. I had my heart-rate monitor, but somehow forgot the strap, so that, too, was useless.
My head is dancing with the potential of the tt bike. Now I have to 1) Learn how to ride it and 2) Get in better shape, and perhaps get a coach. Oh, and find some races.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Ok, Ben, here it is. For those who can't read the logo, it is a Felt B2 Pro, with Zipp 808 rear and 404 front wheels. I picked it up today, rode it around the block twice, and will race it tomorrow. Naturally, it will take all summer to settle into it. I picked the Felt based almost entirely on the "exceeds expectations" help and attention given to me by the employees (and owner) of Jack and Adams bike shop in Austin. Two other bike shops were gracious in allowing me to test a Specialized Transition and Cervelo P3. I asked for a 54cm, they had one, and off I rode. Not Jack. I first stopped by 10 minutes before closing on Sunday, just to see if they would let me road-test a bike. Thomas said yes, come back tomorrow. He was busy when I returned, so Jack helped me. Before letting me take the bike, he had me do a quick fitting to be sure. Possibly because he is a tad taller than me and rides a 54cm gave him a clue that I was clueless. Two hours later, on a 52cm with lots of tinkering, I left the shop. I immediately went to my tt course but due to weather, could only give it a couple of quick runs, but knew right off that this bike fit like a glove and allowed me to utilize all of my power.

The next day I returned the bike, being greeted by name by Michelle, Thomas, and Jack. We discussed the B2 Pro because I wanted Zipp 808s. Ordered, delivered, and ready to pick up in a week. Again the meticulous fitting - it was perfect. Then Jack took it to the back and an hour later it was more perfect. I have no idea if the Transition or the Cervelo (if they had similar Zipps) or the Roark with 808 front and rear would be faster. Truthfully, don't care. I do know that the proper fit given to me by Jack already has made me feel stronger and faster. I'll find out tomorrow.

If you know you aren't cycling your best, you can either experiment with incremental changes here and there, or find someone who knows what they are doing and get it right the first time. And if you are in Austin and like personal attention, stop by Jack and Adams.


I just read the latest post by Grace. If you don't follow her yet, you should sign up and catch some of the interesting things happening in New York. The latest is about the 87 year old man who apparently was smoking while cycling, his nylon jacket (or jersey) caught fire and he died of his burns.
My next post title will mirror the one by Ben several months ago. However, I hope my racing experiences do not. I don't believe I'll be asking Ben for advice on tires anytime soon.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Really good choices. That's what I have. I am in the market for a new time trial bike and due to certain circumstances, not fettered by cost considerations. So I am flitting from bike shop to bike shop trying out bikes. I contacted Griffen (my last tt bike) but they are in the process of being sold and are not taking new orders. I contacted Roark (my road bike is a Roark custom titanium that I dearly love) and they have worked up a quote. But, while waiting for that, I tried out a Specialized Transition (Ben highly touts his). Sorry Ben, it just didn't feel right. Then I took a Cervelo P3 out to my tt course and cut 12 seconds off my 5k time. Ooh, that was more like it. Then the weather turned cold and wet. However, I had a window of opportunity and took a Felt B2 out to the course. The road was dry, but I was miserably cold headed into a brisk north wind. Rain was minutes away. Even going into the wind, the bike felt good. When I turned around for a half mile sprint, with the wind at my back I comfortably tucked over the bars and chased down a police car. So fast that I scared myself going into a slight curve. The police car pulled over (I suspect to see if he could catch me speeding in the park) and I slowed down to the 30mph speed limit. I had room for a longer run, so bullied myself against the wind for a mile and a half, then enjoyed the return at super speed. So, this weekend I will weigh the carbon fiber against the titanium.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Enough of this weight stuff! I remember seeing Lance on one Tour de France mountain climb taking the outside lane around a switchback. Since pros cut corners all the time to save inches, this seemed out-of-character. However, switchbacks up mountains are canted toward the inside, some more than others. While you can save a few feet, you also have several degrees additional steepness to overcome, thus expending more energy. Also, if you cut the corner from the outside, you drop down (sometimes several feet) and have to re-climb that altitude. So, when given the opportunity, stay to the outside around the switchback, then slowly move to the center, then to the outside of the next switchback. Of course, in real-life non-racing cycling when the road is open to traffic, you should consider a compromise by just going to the center instead of all the way outside.