Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Fleck Fire Sale

Time for MissP and I to clear out some stuff. Long list, but please have a close look. Some great deals. Most stuff here has seen light or moderate use with the usual wear and tear, unless otherwise noted, but everything is in great shape and working order. If you have any questions or want pictures of anything, please contact me. Happy shopping!

The Fleck Fire Sale
Ultegra Pedals - $100
Dura Ace Pedals - $150
Fizik Arione Tri Saddle (Used once) - $100
Profile Tri-Stryke Saddle (light use) - $50
Zipp 440 Wheel-Set(650c) + TUFO Tubular Tires $400
FSA SLK- Light Crank-Set, 170mm( with Chain Rings) + BB - $250
Bontrager Giga Pipe Carbon Crank Set 172.5mm(with Chain-rings) - $200 SOLD
Trek WSD Equinox TT Frame (small = 51cm, frame/fork/head-set & aero-carbon seat-post) - $300 SOLD
Sidi Genuis Shoes, size 44( lightly used) - $100
Shimano R215 Shoes size 44 - $75
Vision alu base bar and aero-bar w/ DA shifters & Vison aero brake levers & cable housing - $250
Profile Cobra carbon Base Bar & Aero Extensions + Profile Brake Levers & DA Shifters & Cable Housing - $300 SOLD
- Both sets of Aero bars are “short” and fit person roughly 5’6”
Rudy Project Kontact Helmet (never used) - $100

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sleeved or Sleeve - Less for Wetsuits

Three wetsuit seminars in three weeks and the # one question is? Should I get a full sleeve or sleeveless wetsuit? The quick answer to this question is that you will always be best off, in a well fitted full sleeve wetsuit. The key words in this are well fitted! Swimming in a well fitted full sleeve wetsuit that is the perfect fit for you, should feel like swimming in no wetsuit at all - just warmer and faster!

In a blog I wrote last year I go over the details of great wetsuit fit - It's All About Fit

The sleeveless wetsuit market is driven by following factors:

1. People wanting the absolutely least expensive wetsuit that is being offered. No question that if this is what they want, all of the wetsuit manufacturers offer this in their lines - Nineteen included, with our Pipeline SL.

2. People worrying that they may over-heat in a full sleeve wetsuit. A possible reason, but this would only be for Ironman distance swims( 4 km) in water that is in the high '70'sF. FYI - The temperature cut-off for races is 78F.

3. People who have bought a ill-fitting full sleeve wetsuit as their first wetsuit and have sworn off full sleeve suits forever. This happens frequently. The first time wetsuit shopper does not take the time to find the best fitting wetsuit for themselves. They buy a "deal". They get duped by certain gimmicks or marketing. In the end they have a wetsuit that does not fit them properly and they feel a sleeveless suit will solve all those problems. The better approach is to obviously take the time to find a the best fitting wetsuit the first time and don't be lead astray by deals, gimmicks or marketing( Again, check out the blog I wrote last year on this - link above).

4. Really big men or women - body-builder types who's arms are bigger than most people's legs! I have been doing this for years and I can size this sort of person up right away. I know just looking at them that trying to get them in a full sleeve wetsuit is going to be a struggle. So, I start right in on a sleeveless wetsuit for these folks. These are the only people who, right away should consider a sleeveless suit.

There is no question that a sleeveless wetsuit will make the arms and shoulders more mobile. I would be lying if I said otherwise. However, while the mobility "problem" is solved, this leads to several other issues. The arms and the shoulders may be more mobile, it's now really hard to get a good seal under and around the arms. It might work well for one person, but for another it does not work so well, and you have water channeling into the suit and soon you are dragging around an extra 5 - 10 pounds of water in the suit. Also, I see more neck chaffing issues with sleeveless wetsuits. In a well fitted full-sleeve suit, the collar is anchored down and is stablized because it is attached to the shoulders and the sleeves. In a sleevless suit the collar tends to move independently and more movement means more friction and more chaffing issues. Finally, while it may not seem like a lot, that extra rubber on the sleeves does make you more buoyant and allows you to pull slightly more water per stroke!

When shopping for a wetsuit - take your time. In almost all cases, you will be better off in a well fitting full suit compared to a sleeveless wetsuit. With wetsuits - fit is everything!

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's Coming Back

It's coming back. Not the fitness, but the spin and the stroke. For the first time since getting back on the bike a week and a half ago, I feel like I have got the spin back. The fitness will take much longer.

When I first got on the bike 10 days ago, I felt like I had that classic pedaling-in-squares motion - all hurky-jerky and not really feeling like I was connected to the bike at all - like my legs, my body and the bike were all disconnected and moving in different directions. However, a week of dedicated focus on the spin has resulted in a quick turnaround and now the pedals feel like they are going round!

Over the years people who I have ridden with have always told me that I had a smooth pedal stroke - that I looked good on the bike. For this, I have to thank the wheels of the many really good riders I have sat on over the years. All I was trying to do was copy how they rode. One of those wheels, was the wheel of former 7-11 Pro Team rider and the first North American to wear the Tour de France Yellow Jersey, Alex Stieda( pictured above on the left). When I first moved to Vancouver in the early '90's Alex, then semi retired, rode occasionally, with the group of roadies and triathletes I rode with. Sitting on the wheel of a rider like Alex you see the efficiency, not only of the spin and the stroke, but of the whole body. No matter what he's doing, the pedals keep turning over in that ultra-smooth metronome style - up-hill, downhill, on the flats, reaching for a bottle, shifting gears, fetching something from the pocket of his jersey and so on. It never changes. He looked so comfortable and at ease on the bike.

I was thinking of Alex this week. It was 25 years ago this Spring that, Alex and the 7-11 team made their debut in Professional Cycling - the first American based team made up of almost all American( and a Canadian, Alex) riders. This really was the beginning of the long hard road that led to the greatness and success of Greg Lemond, and subsequently and obviously, Lance Armstrong!

I have ridden with many others as well who have great form and style on the bike. My good friend Vince Beretta is one. He's another one with that buttery smooth pedal stroke. I have sat on his wheel on so many long rides, I have lost count. Vince is former top triathlete who was an uber-cyclist in the sport before we even knew what an uber-cyclist was. Whenever I am riding behind a rider like Vince, I am always trying to visualize, that form in my head and transfer it to what I am doing on the bike.

So, in 10 days and 7 rides, I have focused on form. I have concerned myself little with what gear I am in or how fast I am going or what my heart-rate was, I just focused on turning those pedals over as smoothly and efficiently as I could. This morning, I rode the rollers for about an hour and for the first time since getting back into it, I felt that connection between my legs, the bike and my body. I felt good. Now I have to build the fitness back. That's going to be a longer road!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tips For Traveling by Air With Your Bike

1. When using Expedia. Hotwire or any other discount online site to order tickets, BEFORE buying the tickets that you want, make sure to check that airlines baggage allowance policies first, on that airlines web site and maybe even with a call to Customer Service to verbally verify that, those are the fees. It can get pretty complicated - so know what you are dealing with. A trend I have noticed is that the airlines that often pop up at the top of Expedia, or Hotwire or other sites listings, with the least expensive airfares for tickets, are the airlines with the most constrained, ridiculous and expensive extra baggage and bike charges. It may be worthwhile in the long-run to pay more up front for a certain airline that has known and reasonable bike fees. For example, Air Canada has a fixed and set fee of $50 each way for bikes.

2. On-line discounted tickets often have connections, sometimes on different airlines. Sometimes you will get hit TWICE with extra baggage charges. Even when you think you are on one airline, sometimes one airline partners up with another outbound and inbound, or again via connections, and again you may get hit twice with the charges. Again, phone customer service and sort all of this out before committing to any ticket purchase. Whenever possible fly direct.

3. Try using a bike box that does not scream, THERE IS A BIKE IN HERE! You might get away with no, or minimal charges. As some know, I use a soft Aerus Bike Bag and this often, even though it's slightly over-size, passes as regular checked luggage. It's light with the bike in it(about 27 pounds), compact and slings over my shoulder so when walking up to the ticket counter, it looks like a regular piece of my luggage. The only charges I have ever paid for my Aerus bag, is as a second bag charge which is $25 - $50.

4. Dress discretely. If you dress like a lot of triathletes I see traveling by plane( You know the kind!!) then, Check-In agents will know RIGHT AWAY what is in the bag/box. Business casual is good, does not give anything away, and seems to work for me.

5. DO NOT overload the bike bag or box. Some airlines fees are cumulative. Thus, you'll pay for the BIKE, you'll pay for an extra bag, you'll pay for over-size AND you'll pay for over-weight!! There were people who I met at Ironman Hawaii last year who paid more to get their bikes to Hawaii than for their own tickets sitting in the plane. I guess the bonus was in the plane they got 3 pretzels and two mouthfuls of Coke for no extra charge! Read Point #1 over again.

6. Finally. Don't make a scene at Check-In. The only thing that works these days is to play really dumb( but a nice and polite dumb, please), and they might take pity on you(But, you have read this - so you should know all there is to know). Harassing Check-In agents will do nothing for you, and will only make you look like a jerk. I have been queued up behind triathletes before at Check-In and the behavior that I have witnessed has been appalling. Don't be THAT triathlete.

Hope this helps.

This was posted on the TriRudy News List