The Specs

Photo from gallery: Bike Building Project 2011

I weighed in today at 17.18 lbs.

Photo from gallery: Bike Building Project 2011

This was the weight with race wheels but no powermeter. I can get below 17 lbs with the acquisition of a new seat.

Frameset : 61cm Aerocat R509 – 2010 vintage
Fork : Aerocat R509 with tapered carbon steerer

Crank : 53/39 FSA-SLK Light with Quarq Cinquo (175mm) 814g
Crank (alt*) : 53/39 FSA-SLK Light (175mm) 727g
Shifters : SRAM Red 280g
Derailleur (F) : SRAM Rival 88g + 27g
Derailleur (R) : SRAM Rival 188g
Brakes : SRAM Rival 290g
Headset : Cane Creek IS 119g
Bearings : SRAM BB30 60g
Reducer : Wheels Manufacturing BB30 adapter 14g
Chain : SRAM PC 1071 Hollowpin 265g
Cassette : SRAM PG 1070 11-26 229g

Stem : Ibis 3dForged 110mm 120g
Bar : Neuvation HB300 size 46 220g
Cabling : White Jagwire cut to fit
Post : FSA SLK Zero Setback 264g
Saddle : San Marco Ponza** 284g
Pedals : TIME RXS First 249g
Cages : CN111166101*** 25g (each)
Tape : Fi’zi:k BarGel cut to fit

Wheels : 2009 Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR 1595g
Tyres : Panaracer eXtreme Evo PT 23c 210g (each)
Skewers : Mavic BR601 Titanium-shafted quick release 52g & 56g

Wheels : 2010 Neuvation M28X 1750g
Tyres : Bontrager Select-K 25c 360g+
Skewers : Neuvation 57g & 62g

* If the powermeter is on the TT bike
** With steel rails. By far the “relatively heaviest” thing on the bike
*** full carbon, direct order from China
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Black and White

The facts are just black and white…

Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes
Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes
Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes
Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes
Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes
Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes
Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes Photo from gallery: Black and White Bikes

…that black and white bikes are the best looking bikes.

Photo from gallery: Bike Building Project 2011

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Cabled and taped

The bike has been cabled and taped:

Photo from gallery: Bike Building Project 2011

The Quarq is currently in the possession of FedEx and should arrive Wednesday. Carbon wheels are backordered until April. Tubular tyres are currently in the mail from ProBikeKit.

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The Bearings Arrived!

The bearings for my BB30 bottom bracket arrived today. That was the main thing preventing me from getting this bike built. I mounted them up and slapped on a few components. I’ll do the cabling this weekend and post final photos of the preliminary build. This is basically what it will look like, plus some white cabling, white cages and white bar tape. I might decide to get my hands on some white HUDZ for the doubletaps, that might be overkill though, I’ll have to see how it looks in black first. I’m still undecided on what to acquire for race wheels, and I’m currently reconsidering whether or not my perceived need to go for a crank-based meter is necessary. I can get a deep-section set of carbon clinchers that are already laced up to a powertap hub that weigh less than my trispoke-disc combo for the same price as a quarq. There is an aero-disadvantage but I could go the route of a disc-cover for long-course triathlon and this is probably comparable. I also get myself out of tubulars which is costly and frustrating for flats. If I’m running an 808 depth wheelset for my powermeter that means I need to be comfortable doing an awful lot of riding on it. That means I might be “the guy who shows up to the Thursday night ride with deep carbon wheels”. Hmmm…. not sure if I want that. Anyways, here’s the bike so far:

Photo from gallery: Bike Building Project 2011

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Hardcore TT bike

I updated the graphics on my disc and TT helmet for the 2011 season (and beyond) with the logo from the Hardcore bike shop in Edmonton.

Photo from gallery: Triathlon - 2011

Photo from gallery: Triathlon - 2011

Photo from gallery: Triathlon - 2011 Photo from gallery: Triathlon - 2011

< rant >

Before you comment telling me that I need to angle my aerobars down a bit more to get my forearms to be level because you think it is more aerodynamic please look here & here & here & here & here & here & here & here & here and observe that my forearms are level which is actually more important than the angle that the aerobars point when you look at them when the bike is standing still. You don’t usually tell someone that their seat is the wrong height when they’re not on their bike so you’d be wise not to make comments about my handlebars when I’m not riding it.

< / rant >

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A new chariot for my horsepower

I’ve been thinking about another road bike since early 2009. That year at the Pigeon Lake Road Race, which I went on to win with Stefan [race report] I could really tell that the bottom bracket of my aluminum Cervelo Dual was swaying back and forth pretty seriously when I was laying down the watts. I didn’t necessarily suffer big losses as a result of this but I did decide at that point that if I was going to really decide that I was going to race seriously I should probably get another frame under me that solved some of the bottom bracket stiffness issues that I was seeing in a 2004 aluminum frame. This definitely isn’t a criticism of that bike, it’s an observation. It’s an older aluminum frame by this point and no-one is going to tell you that they’re supposed to be the stiffest bikes with long lives. Aluminum has a fatigue curve that’s a heck of a lot different than steel, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ve ridden my way down that fatigue curve a LONG ways.

In 2010 I wasn’t about to be upgrading my road bike because the focus was on Ironman Canada and I also had to unfortunately deal with the replacement of my Cervelo P2 carbon fiber frame after an unfortunate incident with an exploding chain. That basically decided for me that the new bike wasn’t coming so soon! I also had an experience riding a Giant TCR that showed me what riding an entry level carbon fiber layup was like. I wasn’t super keen on slapping down any money if I wasn’t going to do better than that, I was going to be picky with my geometry (the back end of the TCR seemed squirrelly) and also not buy a carbon fiber bike that some bike company made out of carbon because they wanted to serve the “I want a carbon bike” demographic. It had better be made out of carbon fiber to serve a purpose, and unfortunately I see a lot of riffraff in the catalogs and shops that aren’t exploiting carbon, they’re just using it. I did upgrade my road bike to 10 speeds though at the end of 2009 and made the leap (sorry, couldn’t help myself) to SRAM with some Red doubletaps. I did so with the intention of taking those components along to my next frame at some point, and still managed to put on a bit more than 3500kms on that bike this past summer including an 800km week training camp in Penticton. The time has come though, that I’m going to retire my “first bike”. Well, at least the first bike that wasn’t purchased with Dad’s money!

The looking started amongst Ti frames. I was pretty sure I wanted to buy a life-long bike. I wanted to get the geometry right, and have something I could put ten thousand kms on every year for the next three decades. Once the looking got serious and I paid a visit to a shop to start discussing details the reality set in, it wasn’t going to happen. The cost of doing that was basically unjustifiable and so, as time wore on I gave up on the dream of buying a Moots and being “that guy” every time I was out on a cool ride. Not that I want to be “that guy”, I certainly don’t, but I did want to be able to ride “that bike”. I don’t know if the difference is understandable to someone who doesn’t know “The Rules”, but learning Rule 4 would be an appropriate place to start (please oh please read this stuff in context!).

It was about this time that pretty much all of my heros descended on a little town by the sea otherwise known as Mecca Kona for the annual pilgrimage showdown (OK, Heather Jackson and Angela Naeth weren’t racing but they were still there!). The number of powermeters used at the top ranks of my sport is mind-boggling considering the fact that they’re still not cheap. I am fully aware of the fact that there is a bit of a chicken and egg question here. Do they help people qualify, or is their purchase the result of being a qualifying level kind of triathlete. I’m well aware that Stefan’s only power measurement was on his trainer (inaccurate, but repeatable for his key sessions) and that both of the Pro winners did not race with power-feedback on the day. That said, after reading Gordo’s thoughts on the matter I have nearly decided that it’s an egg and not a chicken thing. Power-feedback is worthwhile, and if I decide to gun for a qualifying time then I would be wise to be training based on watts in addition to RPE and HR. That being said, there was now a big budget hole arriving right around the bottom bracket! Ti was unquestionably out.

OK, the search was dialed back to basically square one and I set out in search of a bike with a few less criteria than I had when I’d started out in dreamland (otherwise known as Steamboat or Chattanooga) earlier. I wasn’t about to give up on trying to cheat the custom bike builders rule of three, but I did decide I had to start learning and looking at carbon fiber with more seriousness.

Custom Bike Builders Rule of Three:

Light, Durable, Cheap – Choose Two.

OK, I’m going to try to get through this stuff quickly. There are a dozen different blog posts in here if I go into all the detail I’m tempted to. This is supposed to be chronological, not logical, so don’t suspect that the order makes much sense! I started by looking at the cheap carbon bikes that you can buy built from the old Kuota layups. They max out at 59cm frame size, No deal. Ibis Silk. Too small again, no deal. Kuota KOM and Cervelo S2, too close to the Ti pricepoint to feel like I was coming out ahead, no deal. KHS, not big enough, no deal. Colnago, doesn’t suit my style. Look, BMC & Pinarello, far too expensive. Trek, Giant and Specialized all seemed to have offerings right in my price-bracket but as soon as I started reading about them I realized the quality I was expecting was actually a step higher on their rather complicated ladder of products than I was looking at. Worth noting is that all of these guys are pushing women’s geometry, something I don’t believe, sure, sell women’s paint and a women’s parts kit, but base the geometry on research. Research says no dice there. This really makes my impression of them go straight to question the marketing, these are marketing companies. There are smart people selling those bikes for sure, but I figured I could do better, No Deal. Cannondale, very tempting actually, they’ve actually got an excellent spread of bikes at the moment. And if I decided on a cannondale I’m sure I would have been happy. I probably would be incredibly happy with a CAAD10 even if I didn’t nose my way all the way in amongst the SuperSixes. Then I was looking at laying my hands on a Scott Addict, but I didn’t actually read too much about it because I got distracted by the Wilier Imperiale. I was actually *really* keen on this bike for about a week. Then it started to make me feel the same way as I had with the Kuota KOM and Cervelo S2. This is a fantastic bike but it’s not the best bike, so why would I pay such a high fraction of the price of a best bike without getting one. Revamping this thinking AGAIN after basically doing a complete survey of almost all the bike bike companies out there made me re-evaluate my plan.

Let’s see how cheap I can get a bike that is still a definite upgrade from what I’ve got. If I do that, I can almost certainly find the bike with a pricepoint that allows me to buy some carbon wheels to trip it out for racing. The performance of that combination is going to be good. It might even be better than the tripped out bike (I’m comparing against the Wilier here) with the mid range Mavic Cosmic Elites that I used as my TT training wheels and road racing wheels this past year. OK, my mind was made up, or more made up. I still now needed to find whichever bike it is that fits this performance metric and scores on the pricepoint.

I went straight to Neuvation. I was frustrated (to say the least) that the FC500 wouldn’t come big enough for me, and I started to despair and was considering the Neuvation FC100. This was NOT going to be an upgrade from the dual, and I knew it. The geometry was excellent but the carbon layup was supposed to make for a bike with satisfactory stiffness according to review, not great stiffness. I couldn’t convince myself that this bike was anything better than a full carbon Trek Madone built up with cheap carbon and Tiagra components to put a bunch of groupies on “the bike that Lance rides” that a few friends and I have spent so much time making fun of in the past couple weeks. OK. Neuvation is sadly out. I’m starting to wonder about the viability of me finding what I wanted. How good of a bike will I be riding if I put carbon wheels, a new crank, and upgrade the bars/stem on my Cervelo? I think I could bring it in under 18 lbs, maybe mid 17s

Then I had a brainwave. I was pretty sure there were other companies out there making similar bikes to the ones that I’d seen on Ebay using the old Kuota molds. I didn’t need something from a Kuota mold, I didn’t care actually but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to get something with funny geometry that some dude built in his garage. Then I decided I wanted something from a Cervelo mold as I am proof of the effectiveness of their superior geometry. I was 100% certain that Cervelo wasn’t going to sell their Soloist molds to anyone but what if there was someone out there who reverse engineered it? I plugged “Cervelo S” geometry into google. On page three my world got a bit turned upside-down. I found EXACTLY what I wanted.

Aerocat is a little company out of Indiana. Good sign, that’s where ZIPP is from I thought to myself. (Not that that makes any difference, but at least I stayed on their site!) They have a bike called the R509 that’s built up based very similar geometry to the Cervelo S2/S3. I might even go so far to say that I like the geometry a bit better because the toptube is closer to flat. For someone who rides with a lot of post on the largest bike you can buy the idea of sticking with a level toptube is actually valued by me. I don’t know if this is a silly line of thinking. I haven’t read all that much about it because I don’t think much has been written, but I do think it is logical. If your bike is going to be a bit on the small side (which any bike except for that Lynsky custom Ti is going to be), then you shouldn’t exasperate the problem by selecting a compact geometry or heavily sloping toptube (a big reason Specialized doesn’t look quite right). A quick email to confirm that I could buy the fork/frameset and not a full bike from them and I was sold. So, if it sounds like the flat toptube really sold me on this bike you’d probably be at least partly right. But the rest of it checked out too. I can’t say that I was able to read all that many reviews of this bike in particular as it’s a new addition to the Aerocat line. The number they gave to it suggests that it fits in their “ranks” quite near the top. I was able to surmise that the carbon fiber layups in some of the lesser numbered bikes was actually pretty fantastic and that stiffness wise I’d have nothing to worry about with this bike. I am concerned that a company without a whole ton of proven engineering experience may not have perfected the balance between bottom bracket stiffness and vertical compliance. If it’s the case that I get road shock up through the back of this bike I am going to understand why but I am not buying an R5 so I can’t expect the world. I’m almost certain though that vertical jamming is not going to be worse that that which I experienced on the Giant TCR I rode in San Francisco (which didn’t ruin my ride by any means, but it was noticeable enough to be noticed though). With a proper geometry I would surmise that the effect of perhaps less than ideal vertical compliance isn’t going to be as noticeable. With the R509 I score the proven geometry, a la Cervelo. I wasn’t convinced that the TCR had it right because it felt off balance especially descending, perhaps not enough bb-drop or a chainstay length issue. Now that I’ve thought about this I’ll probably be hypersensitive to how that feels and I’ll let you know. I’ll be sure to run it with my same default Ritchey wheels when making the comparison as good vs. great spoke lacing can make a difference in that regard.

The proof of whether or not this bike is as amazing a coup as I think it is will arrive shortly. This bike is ON THE WAY! I’ll be building it up temporarily with parts I have before I get everything together for the build I plan to use next summer. That final build is going to look like this:

R509 with Williams 58 and a zero setback post

I make no apologies for the hack-job I did stitching together these images. It’s supposed to help you dream about what it looks like from the side, but as you dream don’t start criticizing, I think I can build even better than I can sketch. For starters I promise my bike won’t violate Rule 46 once I build it. Travis just un-sold me on the prospect of white Nokons, I am undecided what the alternative to that will be.

An aside for anyone who read all the way to the bottom, I’m sure you’ll appreciate Coach Gordo’s advice on how to make flat coke. Any wonder that tri geeks love this guy?

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Making a fast bike faster

The accumulated intelligence of the triathlon community has not come to very good conclusions regarding where on your bike is the most aerodynamic place to carry your water bottles. This is no secret and if you read enough articles from enough varied sources and try to determine where the smartest people tell you to carry your water bottles you will wind up rather frustrated. It doesn’t seem that people have even decided upon the optimal number of water bottles to carry during a race of a certain distance. The jury is out and it’s not likely to be getting back to us before this season is up so it’s time to listen to the logic behind the arguments that are made and then deduce what you believe to be a somewhat intelligent decision based on those theories.

Bikes of all shapes and sizes come equipped to carry at least one bottle in a frame mounted cage inside the front triangle. The lone exception to this rule (Cervelo P4) is similarly equipped. Studies have shown that carrying a bottle inside the frame of your bicycle is not detrimental to the aerodynamics of the bike. In low virtual wind angle situations it has been seen to improve aerodynamics by aiding in laminar flow over the front half of the bike. Basically research shows that it doesn’t make sense not to carry a bottle here. Trek has tried to tell us that this situation can be improved by carrying an aerodynamic bottle… and they would prefer if we select the Bontrager speed bottle. The research hasn’t been done independently but it does make intuitive sense based on what the triathlon world has come to learn about the general properties of cylindrical shapes. Specialized came out with their own response to the Bontrager speed bottle, namely the specialize virtue aero bottle which is meant especially for mounting to a specialized transition frame to create the faring effect (legally here because it serves an extra purpose) of the bottle integrated into the Cervelo P4. For ~$50 odd dollars you can upgrade the aerodynamics of your bike to include one of these aero bottles. Unfortunately it will also mean that you have to decide not to jettison that bottle during the race unless you’re happy to throw $15-$20 overboard. For an Olympic distance race this might make sense, when consuming anything more than 750ml is unlikely and there aren’t going to be aid stations along the way… but for a long course triathlon the logic fails. The aero bottle doesn’t make sense because they can’t be replaced en-route at the aid stations.

Then the question must be answered…. how many bottles to carry? The longest distance between aid stations that I’ve ever heard of in a long course race is 30 km (two aid stations en-route), meaning that most athletes will not be riding for much more than an hour between stations. They do come even more frequently on occasion, as close as every 20 minutes in some races, perhaps enabling you to go bottle free if you are brave enough to drink at the command of the race course (an unwise plan if you ask me). As the 45-60 minute durations are more common between aid stations, and because for myself this is the situation for both of my races this year, that is what I was designing my plans around. Drinking the 700ml gatorade bottle every 45-60 minutes is pretty close to as much fluid as is consumed during a long course race in what I would consider normal temperatures and going with one bottle is perhaps an acceptable plan. Most athletes want to consume a sports drink but do not want to be bound by that drink for all of their hydration. Chasing a strawberry and banana flavoured gel with orange Gatorade can be a bit of a shock to the mouth and ultimately the stomach. Water is better for chasing down solid or semi-solid food than sports drink. It doesn’t lead to peaks in the sugar concentration in the stomach which can hamper digestion and absorption of the precious carbohydrates that you have so dutifully put down the throat. In my experience and personal preference having water along with the gatorade is a wise choice to keep from having the sharp variations in stomach sugar concentration. Water should go down with the gels or shot-bloks, it feels better with good reason.

So, two bottles are necessary. But where does the second one go? If you’ve got two frame racks, then that’s potentially your answer. If you don’t there are two other options. The first option is to put a bottle behind your seat. The behind the seat solutions are typically pairs of bottles which is more than is necessary. The debate was between one and two bottles, not between one and three. That extra spot doesn’t need to carry liquid, and it shouldn’t. That’s potentially another 2 lbs that you’re going to carry for the duration of the race. To shave two pounds of weight off of your bike would almost certainly cost in excess of a thousand dollars of upgrades, carrying the third bottle is an expensive mistake. A single bottle cage can be zip tied to the seat rails and centered behind the seat… that’s the cheap option and has been used by many a professional in the sport. The dual bottle cages can be used with one bottle and one of the sides can be used to carry the spare tyre and CO2 cartridges, another plan used my many a professional in the sport. The debate over which kind of behind the seat bottle carrier is most aerodynamic is still a debate. The logic at the moment seems to be that lower is better than higher. Maintaining laminar flow of the air flowing down over your back is very important to the aerodynamics of positioning and keeping the bottles (cylinders = bad) out of this important area is, well, important.

The final remaining option is to put the other water in front. This has one distinct advantage over the other bottle placement plans. If you put a bottle up on your handlebars you wind up looking at it quite a bit, this inevitably means that you are reminded to drink more often than if you tuck it behind your bum. While a well disciplined athlete ideally doesn’t need the reminder, every less than perfect athlete does benefit from simple things like reminders. “Bottle In Front” can mean different things. The most common is to make use of the product that screams “triathlon bike” like no other, the profile design aerodrink system. Basically this is an open topped bottle with a straw up to head height that sits between the aerobars. There is a net or a sponge placed in the neck to prevent sloshing and splashing of the water but easy refilling on the go as a full bottle can quite easily be tipped into the container. The system seems to work although there are many people who like to complain about the bracket mechanism that is meant to hold it in place. Most people I know end up using zip-ties to hold the thing in there… which means it gets washed infrequently… but doesn’t come loose when you’re screaming down a hill at 75 kph. The up-front hydration system can also mean mounting a speed bottle vertically in between the aerobars and fitting it with a straw to drink from like a profile design aerodrink. This was seen on a pro bike at the world championships last year and causes a bit of a stir, it’s a smart idea to improve the aerodynamics of the aerodrink system which despite the name doesn’t seem to be overly aerodynamic. The speed bottle up front plan is a good idea except that it still requires filling like the aerodrink system. What if there was a way to carry bottles, real bottles, up front with decent aerodynamics?

Steve Larsen figured this one out and while I’m not sure if it’s been wind-tunnel tested, it does past my logical wind-tunnel tests. The issue with sticking a bottle somewhere on your bike is that it is cylindrical and inherently un-aerodynamic. Laying the bottle on it’s side makes the bottle look the least cylindrical possible. Placing the bottle onto the bike like this is potentially acceptable, and when it’s places between my forearms in my theoretical wind-tunnel it remains largely out of the wind. I have a habit of folding my fingers into one another while riding in the aero position. Photos here & here of the TT position, and there’s a bottle hiding in there in both images. This may not be as aerodynamic as is possible with my hands separated and gripping the aerobars but I find it keeps my shoulders relaxed which is important. If I hold on to the aerobars with any grip I am shifting my balance to be governed by the hands, whereas if I govern my balance through the armrests at my elbows my fore-aft balance is improved on the bike, my shoulders are relaxed and the end result of the relaxation is that my legs are free to operate independently of my torso which means big watts. I mention this to describe the reason that I am making a windshield for my aerobars with my hands. My forearms are spaced only slightly wider than a Gatorade bottle and as a result filling this space with a bottle is actually likely an aerodynamic improvement as the bottle likely behaves like a faring, filling in this gap. Keeping a bottle there can be done by a variety of means including just laying it on it’s side and hoping it balances between the aerobars. This doesn’t work very well for bumps but with the inclusion of a modified bottle cage, the bottle can actually be held in place securely.

I opted to design this modified bottle holder based on the Specialized Rib-Cage Pro Road. I didn’t go for the carbon version because I wanted to be able to cut it to fit. I cut the portion of the cage that is meant to grip the neck of the bottle off. This prevents sliding the bottle in and out to a large degree but not holding it in place. If I keep the angle of the cage with respect to the aerobars correct I can still add two more points of friction between the bottle and the aerobars. The neck-piece was un-necessary so it was removed. I also found that this cage design gripped the bottle equally firmly when the bottle was fully placed in to the point where it was approximately 1.5 inches from the bottom of the bottle cage. Because I wanted to keep the center of gravity of the bottle as far to the rear of the aerobars as possible and didn’t need that extra 1.5 inches of sliding room I decided to shorten the length of the cage as well. This meant that I was going to use the stem of my handlebar as the point at which the bottle “stopped” when fully inserted. The bottom corner of the cage was removed leaving the upper ribs to reach over the handlebar and brush up nicely against the armrests of my aerobars (Vision TT bar) allowing me to zip-tie these to the armrests to hold the cage in place vertically. I ran a zip tie through the upper mounting hole of the cage and around the bolt in my stem to keep it held back butted up against the stem horizontally. It took a few iterations of cutting the cage shorter to get it to fit like I wanted. I didn’t want to cut off too much too soon because there’s no way to put it back once it’s cut.

The result is what I consider to be the most functionally flexible and likely close to the most aerodynamic way to carry the second bottle on a TT bike. I am also partial to it because it is extremely simple to remove and drink from without stopping from pedaling and there is no need to break from the aero-position to remove or replace a bottle from behind the seat.

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Cadence and Cassette

The weekend rolled by and I did swing through the bike shop to finally finish the conversion project that began back in November. My bike was set up for triathlon racing and wasn’t particularly conducive to the kind of riding I’m anticipating this summer. It started with a handlebars and brakes swap and is now almost complete with my aquisition of a larger cassette for the rear gears. I was looking for a set of gears that was more conducive to climbing hills and initially couldn’t find what I wanted but now have got some. My current racing cassette will be moving over to my new racing wheels which came sans-cassette. This cassette will likely stay on this bike indefinitely once it gets on there (I still need to get my hands on a cassette wrench to finish this project, and at this rate it should happen by mid may)

While at the bike shop I decided to finally get the bike computer I had decided upon but hadn’t yet bought. It’s got wireless capability for both speed and cadence which were the two basic things I wanted. It’s also got the potential to record heart-rate data but my cat-eye transmitter didn’t work the first time I tried it. I may have to try my ciclo-sport transmitter later and read the owners manual again, I’m pretty sure that both of them will theoretically work if I fiddle with them a bit. What is an engineering physics degree worth if I can’t do something like that right?

So I recorded an entire workout of cadence for the first time in my life which was fun, I averaged between 93 and 96 if I randomly looked down to see what I was at. The average for the whole ride was 88 which includes some horsing around we did on the rollers standing and such which drops you cadence way down. I maxed out at 115 without wiping out off the machine which is no small achievement in my mind. I’d like to see if I can actually do 140 on the road, I’ve heard people say it’s possible. I don’t know though. I know for a fact I can do 126 as I’ve measured that with timing myself on the fixie while on the velodrome

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Race Wheels

A friend from triathlon club was doing a purge of his pantry from bike gear he decided he no longer needed to hold on to. I would agree that his house was overflowing with bike stuff and because I can still turn around in my room and don’t yet have enough biking clothes to do the entire 64 days next summer without doing laundry, I aquired a bunch of new-used stuff. A stack of jerseys, cyclocross tyres, race tyres, some cold-weather tights, and some new wheels!


They’re Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels, aluminum alloy, medium profile with blade spokes. I intend on equipping the rear with a carbon fibre disk shell ( and using them for racing and the occasional simulation training ride. I guess this summer isn’t going to give them a ton of use but I’ll be sure to break them out for “Tuffest Three” in October as I need to help our team defend the title.

It’s exciting when I’ve got the opportunity to talk about why I’m riding next summer with people who are far more serious cyclists than myself. There’s something about biking across an entire continent that captures the imagination of everyone. It’s atypical when the “imagination” turns to how cool it would be to put in 9 weeks of high volume bike training back to back, but in some sense it’s the same thing. It’s doing something big enough to cause some apprehension, doing it with a purpose, and being super excited about the opportunity. That’s what makes this whole bike ride into such a good place to begin a conversation. Where God allows that conversation to go is the exciting part.

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The Cervélo went into the bike shop this afternoon for an overhaul in advance of the big ride next summer. The parts I ordered came in from out of town and I got the call to drop it off for the changeover, it should be back in a couple days a rather different bicycle.

  • Bullhorns and Aerobars swapped off for a pair of drops
  • I’m keeping the indexed shifters from the aerobars and moving them around to the drops, some touring style shifters
  • Swapping TT brakes for some real ones
  • Rear cassette changed from 11-23 to a 12-27
  • New chain and cables
  • I’ll be putting on some superfat tyres, well like 25mm, but that will have to come at a later date when stores start carrying summer stock again.
  • Some white bar tape to tie things together and trick people into thinking I’ve been a roadie all along

The parts that actually needed to be changed were the cassette and handlebars. The bigger cogs will be appreciated so I’m able to manage climbing some passes next summer and not slaughtering myself in the process. The handlebar swap though is a matter of safety. I intend to ride almost everyday in a paceline (of sorts) and bullhorns are not the safest nor the most comfortable way to do so. So sadly I’ve given up the aero-position for the next year or so, I’ll probably miss it but I have to remember the tradeoff, my thighs will grow faster this way!

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