Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Conrad Stoltz & Mixed Training

4x Xterra World Champion Conrad Stoltz has a great blog, and his recent post about Christmas Day Training got me thinking.


Although I'm not a triathlete I have been doing a fair bit of mixed discipline workouts to keep things interesting and also to stay warm. Considering Conrad is home in South Africa he's really not too worried about that.

The plan for me for tomorrow is to do a double Wednesday, or Mittwoch Arbeite as I like to call it. The basic idea is that I go for a run during my lunch break then ride the rollers after I get home from work. It's more to juggle logistically than a single workout but it keeps me from grinding away on the rollers for hours on end. I also have delusions of doing a winter triathlon or two this winter and this is good prep for it.

So why call it out in German? I don't know, but it sounds cool and I got in the habit of referring to winter activities by their German names. I suppose I like the eccentricity of it, but the real reason is that several winters ago I worked with a ski tuner who had spent time with the US Ski Team and on the World Cup circuit. Since Alpine skiing is dominated by the Austrians, many skiing and winter-related words are taken from German, much like peloton, tour, musette and derailleur are taken from French.

I'll post some pics and detail for the Mittwoch Arbeite (literally translated as Wednesday Work) and the weekend workouts as well. The weather forecast is for a high in the 30's, and if the roads aren't super wet and sloppy I'll try to ride outside.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

KMC X10 SL Ti Review

Last month I posted a review for the KMC X9SL Ti chain, and now after getting some time on the 10 speed version I have to say I'm just as excited about the X10SL Ti.

I won't completely restate the X9 review, but in a nutshell I bought that chain because it looked cool, not because I thought it would necessarily perform well. The performance far exceeded my expectations and the durability was far and away better than any other chain I'd ever used.

With that very positive experience I opted for an X10SL Ti on my road bike. So far I've got 500 miles on the road chain and the shifting performance is palpably smoother than its predecessor, a Sram PC1091. The KMC has been quieter, smoother and more predictable in every situation all while showing just slightest signs of wear. The gold titanium nitride finish is still intact if not slightly dirty and the stretch/elongation/wear is barely measurable with my Park chain gauge.

Perhaps the most tangible improvement is the smooth shifting action as the chain moves much more predictably up and down the cassette. It never seems get hung up between gears or bind the way the 1091 did.

All of my road miles were on Sram cassettes- an 11-26 Red Powerdome cassette and an 11-23 OG 1070. The chain performed flawlessly on both. Up front I've been running a 50/34 compact which can be problematic because of the large 16 tooth difference between chainrings. Here again the X10 has proven to be a reliable performer and has handled both up and down shifts with aplomb. With previous chains I had some shifting issues and even some chainsuck (yes, chainsuck on a road bike).

I decided to take it a step further and also put an X10SL Ti on my YBB as part of my 2 x 10 upgrade. I've been very glad I did. After ten rides in frozen, muddy and occasionally wet conditions I haven't had a single mis-shift or other cause for alarm. In addition to adding to the aesthetics of the bike the chain also has sheds dirt and grime much like it's X9 predecessor. I still don't have a ton of time on this setup, but the performance so far has been spot-on and nothing short of amazing. Anyone worried about durability with a 10 speed setup is being unnecessarily cautious and should strongly consider an X10SL Ti when they do decide to get in the game.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Moots RSL 'Cross Prototype

There have been some very cool pics of the new Moots RSL Cyclocross bike over at Bike Rumor (which is where this pic is from).

The Cyclo-X RSL includes several of the same design elements of the other RSL bikes- butted tubing, larger diameter downtube, BB30 bottom bracket, oversized & manipulated chain stays, micro diameter seat stays and 30.9 seat post.

Maybe I'll be adding another Moots to the stable in 2011, bringing my total to 4.

Check it out at http://www.bikerumor.com/2010/12/20/moots-psychlo-x-rsl-prototype/#more-25839

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2011 Team Announcement- MOOTS!

For 2011 I will be part of the Grass Moots Racing Team. I've been a Moots fan since I first saw the YBB in Mountain Bike Action in 1997, and I've always wanted to be on a grassroots factory race squad, so being able to race for Moots is really a dream come true. With opportunity comes responsibility...and I better be in shape when the season starts so I don't embarass myself.

With the new year comes a new bike, and I'll be adding a Mooto X RSL 29er to the stable when they start shipping in March. I'll be holding onto the YBB and will keep riding that too, but it will be great to have different bike options to suit different courses.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Updated- Rudy Project Gozen Sunglasses

This week the new Rudy Project Gozen sunglasses arrived. I've been looking forward to their arrival with giddy anticipation. Fortunately I wasn't disappointed.

These glasses (or polycarbonate plastics to be more precise) are different from other sport models in that they are more understated than a single wrap-around lens but still offer technical features like interchangeable lenses and adjustable temples. After all, it's not every day that we want to look like Andy Hampsten.

My initial impression is very positive. The fit, lens quality and signature Rudy Project adjustable temples make these a good option if you're looking for sport eyewear.

Just how good are they? Check back later for a more detailed report after I spend some more time riding, running and skiing with them.

For more information check out www.e-rudy.com.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rudy Project Sterling Helmet- Update

There's a great special on the Rudy Project Sterling helmet on the Rudy Project e-commerce site, www.e-rudy.com. As I mentioned in my review this is an awesome helmet at any price, and on sale for $109 (down from a list of $225) is hard to beat.


My review of the Sterling is posted here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pine Hill Park- Rutland's Hidden Gem

Over the weekend I made the trek to Rutland to ride in Pine Hill Park. If you're ever in the neighborhood I highly recommend checking it out. There are 16 miles of interconnected and well-marked trails that roll and flow over 300 acres of terrain.

Bridges like the one pictured above are commonplace on the trails, and the man-made centerpiece is the 100 ft long suspension bridge.

I make it a point to make the trip to ride these trails at least a couple times a year. They're fairly close to home and the combination of well-built trails and fast-draining soil means that it's accessible later into the fall and earlier in the spring. It's also town land so there's no hunting allowed.

For more information visit www.pinehillpark.org.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Julien Absalon, Part 2

I ran across this video whilst geeking out.


What strikes me is what his mechanic says about his tires- there are 10 different sets to choose from with varying widths and compounds. That's quite a tire quiver.