Kestrel RT-900 Bike Review

May 28, 2009 on 1:31 pm | In Product Information | No Comments

I was given the chance to take a RT-900 out for a spin to see how this rivals against some of the big guns out there.  After a good couple of rides there is only one way to put it: simply outstanding.

I am the first to admit that there are a ton of great high-end road bikes on the market today. The Kuota Kredo, Kuota Kom, Scott Addict, Felt AR, Felt F1, and Felt Z series are just a few that we carry.  I’ve ridden all of the top end models in our lines at some point or another and the RT-900 takes the carrot.  Now here’s why.

Typically when manufacturers design a bike they have one particular size in mind, say a 52cm.  They take the most common size and design around that frame.  They test that size, they optimize it.  So what happens when you size up or down from this optimization?  What happens is there is loss of strength and integrity of the frame.  A 6’5” person will have a different experience on a Kuota Kredo (another bike that I love) than a 5’5” person.  In general a bike is optimized for smaller sizes and as you get into the bigger sizes many of its best features start to fade. 

This issue isn’t a problem in the RT-900.  I am a taller person and fit onto a 59cm quite well.  When I first jumped on the RT-900 I was blown away at the overall strength of the bike.  It doesn’t just feel strong in the headtube or bottom bracket.  It feels strong and “together” throughout the entire bike.  The bike feels like it is unison with each part of the frame.  A wondeful experience to say the least.  Now you factor in that a 59cm w/ a SRAM Red build kit comes it at 15lbs and you have a fine steed indeed.  No wonder I felt like I was flying!

So all in all this bike rocks.  Plus it is a steal at the price and I have no clue how Kestrel can make something this goodwith this incredible build kit at this price.   Think about it.  It has a full SRAM Red build kit, stiff EMS carbon bars, Ksyrium SL’s wheels (these puppies are 1k alone!), Wipperman chain, and a super nice and light Zoncolon saddle.  There’s no other bike in it’s class.  Comfortable in part to the h-bend seat-stays, stiff, strong, and ridiculously light.

Bravo Kestrel.  Rock Racing is going to literally rock on this bike.

Tires – Clincher vs Tubular

May 26, 2009 on 12:07 pm | In Tech Tips | 1 Comment

Today’s Tech Blog will cover tires, what you should be aware of and when to change them. Road/Triathlon bike tires come in two flavors, clincher and tubular. Tubular tires were the first widely available tires for road bikes. Most tubulars (despite the name) do not have an inner tube to inflate (some do have a latex tube inside the casing). Rather, Tubulars are completely enclosed and are glued/taped on to Tubular wheels. Clincher tires are the much more widely used and available tires today. Clincher tires require tubes in order to properly inflate. Clincher and Tubular tires are not interchangeable with each other.

Heres a cut away of a Clincher Tire

Here's a cut away of a Clincher Tire

This is the cut away of a Tubular Tire

This is the cut away of a Tubular Tire

In order to determine if a tire needs to be replaced, take a damp rag and wipe the tire down. This will enable you to view the rubber clearly. Take the wheel in your hands by the axel and spin it at arm’s length while looking over the tire as it spins. Does it have a flat spot in the middle or is it egg shaped? If there is a flat spot, it needs to be replaced. Flat spots indicate a reduction of rubber on the tire and make it easier for thorns, etc. to get thru. Check the tire rubber for cuts and abrasions. Cuts are normal but if you can see your inner tube thru the tire, it needs to be replaced. Next, take your finger nail and scrape the sidewall of the tires. Does the rubber or material flake off? If so, your tires are suffering from dry rot and should be replaced immediately. Try not to replace your tires any sooner than 2 weeks before a big event. You want to give the bead of your tire time to stretch on the wheel. If you replace your tires the day before an event, you may be in for bad surprise if you flat. It may be very difficult to disengage the tire bead from the wheel as it hasn’t had time to stretch out.

As far as recommendations for tires go, I prefer Continental tires for quality and durability. If you need a good flat protection tire with lots of durability, I’d recommend the Continental Gatorskins. For everyday use with good flat protection, I’d recommend the Continental 4 Seasons tire. The Continental 4 Seasons offer great durability and cornering with some flat protection. For pure performance, hands down, I recommend the Continental GP4000 , the Vredestein Fortezza TriComp , the Zipp Tangente or the Michelin Pro Race 3. All four of these tires have incredible handling, minimum weight with some flat protection. Keep your tires happy and they’ll keep you rolling.

First Endurance

May 22, 2009 on 5:21 pm | In Product Information, Random Musings | No Comments

Well First Endurance is at it again. Creating superior products and having them actually work–well! They have everything from gels to recovery drinks. Perhaps one of their more popular products is their Optygen HP.

First Endurance Optygen HP

First Endurance Optygen HP

Optygen HP is a product that helps build your endurance. It helps control physical stress and assists your body to help keep you working out at a higher threshold for a longer period of time. There is a new Optygen HP in the works. Optygen HP Prototype. I have been using it since March and let me tell you this stuff really works! I was using Optygen and now my training has been taken to the next level.

Another popular product from First Endurance is the Ultragen recovery drink. Let me say that this is my favorite recovery drink–especially for long distance training. In each serving, there are over 300 calories, 20 grams of protein, and plenty of B vitamins. I am a firm believer in taking B vitamins because these help you deal with stress. MultiV is another product from First Endurance that helps improve Endurance. There are plenty of B Vitamins in this product. One of the benefits of these vitamins is that this formula has been clinically proven to increase endurance. It has also been shown
to increase time to exhaustion. There are tons of antioxidants in here to help keep free radicals at bay.

First Endurance EFS Liquid Shot

First Endurance EFS Liquid Shot

One of the new products from First Endurance is their EFS Gel. One of the unique features of this gel is that they have over 1500mg of Electrolytes. There also are no gelling agents. Which means the EFS gel will not slow down absorption once in your GI system. This is also a more green way to take your gel. It is offered in a flask and you can reuse the flask. First Endurance sells Jugs of the gel to refill your flask. This is the way companies should be selling gel. They should also offer the single packets but for the most part having the reusable flask makes the most sense.

Perhaps one of the greatest aids in Pre-Race nutrition for me is the First Endurance Pre Race. This stuff really helps me focus. There is 200 mg of caffeine. This is most useful when I do not have my coffee before a hard ride/race. I sometimes will purposely not take my cup of coffee just so I can take my Pre Race Drink instead. This contains a blend of Neuro Stimulators that also help you with mental clarity and focus.

The products that First Endurance comes out with are always at the top of my list and are something that I have used for some time. First Endurance is a company that comes out with a product then obtains a price for it. They focus on improving athletic endurance and they do it very well! You can count on them to keep evolving in the endurance sports nutrition. As a long distance triathlete, I continually use these products and let people know how they work for me. The great thing about First Endurance is that all of their products were meant to work together. They complement each other. If you have not tried First Endurance products now is the time. With the addition of the gel last year, they now have everything you need to boost your endurance.

Bike Training

May 20, 2009 on 4:26 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

One of my focuses this year is to get stronger on the bike. I come from a running background and have never really biked to build up my bike fitness. I know this is great cross-training for running and have used it as that but never to get stronger on the bike. I have biked with friends for fun and have commuted in to work. But building strength on the bike takes time.

Scott Addict R4

Scott Addict R4

I am riding a Scott Addict R4. This is one light bike! And for training, this is an excellent bike! I have been spending a lot of time in the mountains. I do various different types of workouts there. One that I like to do is repeats. I go up two miles and down one mile and then go up two miles and down one…etc. I do a few of these repeats trying to get each one faster than the previous. Yes you really feel the burn on the last few. Depending on how long I have to go, I may end up doing some climbing afterwards or going easy to give my legs some recovery time.

I do intervals too. These are always fun to do especially when you are going up a long straight-a-way and on a long ride. It breaks up the monotony of the ride and allows you to recover.

Skins Sport Long Compression Tight

Skins Sport Long Compression Tight

My favorite recovery drink for these hard rides is Cytomax Muscle Milk. I also like to use the Skins Sport Long Compression Tights. These provide great support for my tired legs after a hard workout.

I am focusing on getting more rides in all together. I have cut back on my running and swimming. When I get closer to my races, I will pick those up again. For now, I will just keep on riding 🙂

Countdown to Deuces Wild

May 20, 2009 on 3:35 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

Just when you thought you could settle into a nice work week routine – and along comes the Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival! is the title sponsor of this festival which is actually produced by TriSports Racing, which happens to be staffed by….. you guessed it – employees!  This will be the 6th year putting on the event which includes 5 races over 2 days in Show Low, Arizona.  Why Show Low and not Tucson?  Well let’s see, generally by race day it is 100°F here and it is 80°F in Show Low.  Makes sense to me.  Plus the community of Show Low and the surrounding areas are absolutely fantastic and know how to make us feel at home.  Helping at this event used to be mandatory for our employees (back when there were 7 of us).  Nowadays for most it is an optional work weekend and a fun one at that.


If you have ever wondered what it takes to put on an event like ours, here is the run down.  (Keep in mind – our races are second to none of any independent race organization out there.  There are very few other race promoters who are able to pull off the kind of event that we do.)  Tuesday we stage all of our “stuff” to tote up to the race.  This includes everything from race fencing to swim buoys to kayaks to raffle prizes – we get an extra truck just for the raffle prizes.  Wednesday we pack the trailer, truck, RV and other vehicles and head out after working our normal morning.   4 hours later we (18 lucky employees) arrive in Show Low, have a mandatory run course preview (you may run or bike) and a group dinner.  Thursday morning there is an optional bike course pre-ride (56 miles of fun at 6am and 6,347 FT) followed by breakfast at the race site. 


This is when the manual labor begins – 2 full days of stake pounding, finish line assembling, racecourse marking, aid station prepping, orange cone dropping, non-stop on your feet thrilling action.  You get tired, you watch the dirt slide down the drain in the shower at the end of the day and thank-goodness you remembered your recovery socks.  Oh did I mention we set up a full expo store as well? 


By the first race day we’re pretty much whipped, but the excitement of the athletes racing provides that extra boost of energy needed to pull you through the day.  As the sun rises you grab your radio, head out to your assigned area and wait for the excitement to begin.  All of the hard work pays off when the athletes come racing past, working hard to set a PR on a course you just made for them.  This is only the first race day though and by mid-day we are back out to set up the next day’s race! 


Let’s not kid ourselves – it isn’t all work and no play.  Last year we were able to suit up on Sunday night and go trolling for fish in our wetsuit.  Yes, we hooked fishing line and baited hooks to our wetsuit leashes and hoped for the best.  Alas, we caught no fish, but had a grand 20 minutes trying!



Sunday’s Xterra race is always a blast – those off-road racers can be crazy!  The shorter distance race allows us to get a jump start on dismantling everything and leaving the woods and lake as pristine as we found them.   Unfortunately, racing generates a lot of waste.  That is why this year we are recycling and composting everything possible and have Tater Ware as our sustainability sponsor. 


By Sunday night, after we have packed everything up and are headed back to Tucson, we’re all exhausted mentally and physically, dirty, hungry and sometimes a bit cranky.   Reflections are made on the drive home – things that went well, things to improve upon, comments we have heard through the weekend.  Tired and weary we head to our respective homes, say goodnight and are up bright and early the next day to report to the office.  Looking back on the weekend, the event seems to have occurred in a blink of an eye and it is back to business as usual.  Over the next 12 months, amnesia sets in of how much work you just went through and you just can’t wait to go do it again! 

Race Report: Leanda Cave- Florida Ironman 70.3

May 19, 2009 on 5:30 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

After a difficult and somewhat disappointing result at Wildflower a few weeks back, there was no lack of motivation for me to put it all together at Florida 70.3 and try to take charge of the race from the gun.  The day started out with my usual cup of coffee but to my surprise I had purchased decaf!  Not good when you are still functioning on west coast time.  When the 4 a.m. alarm went off my body was telling me it was still 1 a.m.!  But the lack of sleep and the lack of caffeine didn’t stop my blood from pumping and I was eager to get out on the course and defend my title from last year.


As we began the swim I didn’t feel like my usual self in the water.  I was a bit sluggish and decided to sit in and let Brooke Davison do the work off the front.  Brooke led us out of the water in just over 26 minutes and the two of us, along with Nina Kraft entered T1 together.  Before the race I had decided that I wanted to take charge of the race from the start.  I didn’t want others dictating how my race would unfold so as soon as I mounted my Pinarello I made a break for the front and simply put my head down and powered away.  In the weeks leading up to Florida my coach/boyfriend Torsten Abel had me doing big ring strength training up Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, which clearly paid benefits as I felt incredibly strong and fresh on the bike.  I also recently received a new bike fit from the folks at and I can now say that I am 100% dialed in on my new Pinarello.  I averaged just over 24 mph!


As I entered T2 I knew it was going to be a good day.  My legs felt fresh and I was anxious to back up my solid ride with a fast half-marathon time.  I had no idea how far back the other women were so I wasted no time in transition and worked as hard as I could the first few miles of the run.  By the midway point, I realized I had a sizeable lead on Joanna Lawn and Magali Tissyre but I stayed focused on trying to not give back any time.  While my legs were cooperating, my stomach decided to revolt!  I made a quick pit stop at the port-a-loo and felt heaps better the last half of the run.  It was just a perfect day all the way around.


As I entered the finishing chute I dropped down to the ground and honored my fellow triathlete John Blais by rolling myself across the finish line in support of the Blazeman Foundation.  I didn’t realize at that time that I had set a new course record – I knew I had improved on my own time from last year by a sizeable margin but it was tremendously satisfying to know that I now hold the new course record.  I will be back in 2010 to attempt the three-peat!  Now its time for a few days rest and then back to work with a big focus on continuing my winning streak at the new Rev3 Triathlon and defending my title at Escape From Alcatraz.


I can honestly say that I am surrounded by the absolute best people and sponsors in the industry – thank you to all of my sponsors and supporters for continuing to provide me with the fastest tools of the trade.  Thanks to K-Swiss for your tireless efforts in developing light and fast running shoes.  Thanks to Pinarello and Reynolds for the perfect machine!  Thanks to Accelerade/Endurox R4 for providing me with the nutrition and recovery products to keep me doing what I love.  Thanks to Blue Seventy, Nuun, Giro and Oakley for being there since day one.  And a special thanks to my coach and boyfriend Torsten Abel – who finished 6th overall!

Too Much Fun @

May 18, 2009 on 10:16 pm | In Life at | No Comments

The season is upon us, phones are busy, the store is hopping, the buyers are frantically adding product to the website and the warehouse is putting orders out the door as fast as possible.  Even working in a sport which we love, stress levels can get high this time of year, so we decided it was time for some good old-fashioned fun!  Wednesday mornings find most of our staff in weekly product training, so Seton reserved one Wednesday where we would leave product training behind and instead work on our sanity.  He created a team building obstacle course like no other and let the troops loose.  Up first was a blind marble chase in the 2-lane Endless Pool, then it was out to the warehouse for a Plasma Car Race.  From there he tested our skills changing a flat, then someone had to cram a doughnut into their mouth and get it all down before embarking on an out and back ride…only thing was they had to consume a 2nd doughbut at the turnaround.  From there it was shooting hoops blind-folded, and then the grand finale…a Mentos and Diet Coke contest.  First team to hit the target wins!  Everyone had a blast (no pun intended), and it sure served to renew our camaraderie and relieve a little stress.

Rear Hydration Systems

May 15, 2009 on 2:34 pm | In Product Information, Tech Tips | No Comments

While training these past few months, I noticed that there are quite a few riders with rear hydration systems. I like rear hydration systems over front ones. I like the fact that they clean up the air in the back but one of main complaints of rear hydration is keeping the bottles from bouncing out of their cages.

Whenever I see someone riding with rear hydration system I always make a mental note to see what water bottle cages they are using and I keep an eye on them. Mostly to see if the bottles are going to stay in place or bounce out. I never ride too close because I know what can happen. I have seen it at so many races/rides. One of the points I always try to get across regarding rear hydration and water bottle cages is the more surface area on the cage the more likely they will be able to hold the bottles in place. Lighter is not always better. People are always worried about weight. Their focus is on the wrong attribute of the product. The more contact the cages can have with the water bottles, the more friction they can cause, the more likely the bottle is to stay in place. Now let me tell you that if you are going to just go riding on bumpy roads all the time, there may not be a cage for you regarding your rear hydration system. There are certain products that were specifically designed to work with the rear hydration, like the XLAB Gorilla cages. This cage has quite a bit of surface area to create a great grip. It is a favorite.

XLAB Gorilla Water Bottle Cage

XLAB Gorilla Water Bottle Cage

In addition to keeping your hydration needs in place, you can also keep a spare tire, CO2, Inflator, Vittoria Pit Stop on your hydration system. Some of the systems allow you to put a cycling bag(s) on it.

Whichever hydration system you use, be it front, rear or even down tube, make sure it works for you. Do the research to see if it will be something you can live with. If you want to talk to someone about it, Customer service, 1-888-293-3934, are great knowledgeable people to speak with. They can set you up with some great kits with everything you need for a race.

Never a runner.

May 14, 2009 on 12:34 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

I have never been a runner.  I hated running.  Most days, it is still not one of my favorite things to do but I do it anyway.  Why?  I don’t know.  The more I run, the less I hate it.

Even though I hate to admit it, running is easy and there is no excuse not to run if you are training for triathlons.  All you have to do is throw on your running shoes and start running.  Simple enough; so that is what I try to do everyday.

All the running I have done recently always makes me remember one of my favorite Nike commercials of all time and I can’t seem to get it out of my head so I am posting it for all of you:

Attack of the Killer Bees

May 12, 2009 on 5:38 pm | In Random Musings | No Comments

We have all heard stories about people having encounters with nature on their runs, you know, attacked by a mountain lion, kicked by a moose, mauled by a bear, etc.  Well, I just had an encounter with Africanized Killer Bees – a scenario I have rehearsed in the past (“what would I do if a swarm was chasing me?”).  This past weekend I was on my “long” run and diverted from my set route in search of a non-existent restroom.  On my way back to the path I was trotting on I ran through an open field – not much there other than dirt and patches of small (1″-2″) dead weeds.  Next thing I know I hear bees buzzing, lots of them, hundreds of them.  They were all over the ground and I just happened to run right through them.  Below I will outline in detail how to escape Africanized Killer Bees while on a run (disclaimer, this method might not work for you, please consult a physician before attempting said maneuvers):

  1. Quickly look for a place to run (in my case this was easy – an open field).
  2. Start running fast, really, really fast.  I would say 5 min/mile pace is good (that’s what my Garmin Forerunner 305 told me).
  3. While running try to run into the wind, a yaw angle of at 0-10 degrees is preferred.  The effort of the bees will go up dramatically if you run into the wind.
  4. If you get lucky you will see an unsuspecting person in your general run direction that you can hopefully out run.  Yell to them “run, killer bees, run”.  Hopefully they can run the pace outlined in step #2, if not then maybe the bees will like them a bit more.
  5. Keep running until you don’t hear the Bzzzzzz in your ears any more.

Although not real bees, here is a group of people practicing the method I just described: Killer Bees

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