July 29, 2010 on 1:06 pm | In Tech Tips | No Comments
You already know bicycle tires need to be inflated regularly—generally before every ride. There is conflicting information about exactly what we mean by “inflated.” How do you know the optimal tire pressure for a ride or race?
Optimal tire pressure is an on-going debate. One certainty: Never inflate beyond the maximum tire pressure according to your tire label. Recommended inflation pressures are generally printed on either the tire packaging, the tire sidewall itself or both. On some brand tires the pressure specification is molded into the tire, making it difficult to find. Examine the tire carefully and you will locate it.
In addition to the maximum recommended inflation on your tire some race wheels list maximum air pressures for all tires mounted on them—default to the wheel maximum if it is lower P.S.I. than the tire’s maximum: Never exceed the pressure ratings of the wheel- go with the lower of the two recommendations.
Maximum tire pressure ratings are just that- maximums, they don’t necessarily provide optimal performance. Manufacturers recommend max pressure allowing for a safety margin to prevent the tire from being overinflated to the point of coming off the rim. The perfect tire pressure maximizes comfort and minimizes rolling resistance in the best compromise of the two.
For years riders defaulted to the highest possible pressure believing this resulted in lowest rolling resistance. Recent findings indicate lower pressures may actually result in better overall performance. On a road bike most suspension comes from your tires. At ultra-high pressures (above 120 p.s.i. or 8.2 bar) ride quality becomes so poor it may actually influence top speed and a rider’s ability to maintain optimum pedaling efficiency. This resource provides an interesting insight into the interaction of tire pressure, rolling resistance and ride quality along with factors such as flat resistance:
The optimal tire pressure strikes a functional compromise between comfort and rolling resistance that results in optimum performance. The axiom that harder (higher pressure) is faster isn’t true- it is more complex than that. When we asked Joe Bianculli, Bike Technical Manager for TriSports.com, about optimal tire pressure he said;
“In the real work of rough roads, pot holes and pavement seams a super-hard tire causes the rider to bounce up (and back!), which means that every bump you hit with over-hard tires will slow you down—and produce fatigue! So, compromise on tire pressure: Rather than using 130 psi, try 100, or 105. A good rule of thumb is: the heavier the rider, the higher the air pressure.”
Bianculli emphasizes that our tires must perform in the real world of varied pavement textures and quality, not just on the dynamometer in the testing lab. Ride quality and rider fatigue has a real world effect on tire performance and speed.
July 29, 2010 on 12:03 pm | In Employee Adventures, Sponsorship | No Comments
With Ironman Vineman 70.3 completed I’m sure you all have been checking the blog daily waiting for my update to see who won the 70.3 Challenge. So without further ado (drum roll please), I “beat” Leanda Cave! I use the word beat loosely as she clearly smoked me (even in the transitions!!), but I did win the bet! Here’s how we matched up:
Leanda was a great motivator when I was out there on the course. At about mile 8 on the run my quads were on fire, but the thought of trying to chase Leanda up Mt. Lemmon in the big ring is absolutely horrifying and kept me pushing when I thought my legs were going to burst into flames. Leanda placed second and had a great race as well!
Leanda will be reporting to work in September. She headed off to Australia last week for some Kona training, so look forward to the final post in the 70.3 Challenge series in September after Leanda comes to work for me! Overall I am happy with how the race went and very much enjoyed the half-iron distance! So, who should I challenge for my next race?
For a more pictures from TriSports.com’s adventure to Vineman check out the photo essay at TriSports University!
July 26, 2010 on 3:18 pm | In Tech Tips | No Comments
Your chain has more moving parts than any other component on your bicycle. There are 424 moving pins, plates and bushings on a typical length 10 speed bicycle chain. No other component on your bike, including your shifters, is as complex- or neglected.
When our power is measured to the watt and drag is calculated to the gram one of the least expensive ways to improve performance is with regular chain maintenance.
Chain maintenance falls into two categories: Cleaning and Lubrication.
Nearly everyone’s chain is too dirty. An accumulation of dust, road film and dirty lubricant becomes sticky and abrasive, accelerating wear on your chain, chainrings and cogs. It slows you down, it ruins your components. The first step to chain maintenance and lubrication is cleaning.
TriSports.com Service Manager and former team mechanic Joe Bianculli summarized chain maintenance well, “The best pro tip I know of is to simply wipe down the chain after every ride—people can even have a glove in the garage, along with a rag. Simply back pedal the chain thoroughly (through the glove or rag). It is not necessary to re-lube every time.”
Bianculli’s recommendation helps remove excess grit that becomes stuck in chain lubricant and accelerates wear. If his protocol is followed regularly it is unlikely additional chain cleaning will be needed. If not, a chain cleaner with bio-degradable chain cleaner will be needed to remove the dirty lubricant residue. If the surface of your chain has a sticky, gritty dark residue it is beyond needing simple lubrication and requires thorough cleaning.
Once a chain is adequately clean and free of contaminated lubricant either from regular wiping or from the use of a chain cleaner, or even removal of a chain to clean it, it is ready to be lubricated.
“The other thing that people need to know is that the chain does not need—and should not have—lube all over the chain because it attracts grit. A chain should only have lube on the rivets themselves.” Says TriSports.com’s Bianculli.
Lubricant should be applied on the inner circumference of the chain to avoid overspray if aerosol lube is used and to help centrifugal force drive the lubricant into the links and pins of the chain. Lubricant applied to the outer circumference of the chain is generally slung off the chain where it becomes a dirty residue on chainstays and the bike frame. Bianculli points out that drip application lubricants are more environmentally friendly, generally less expensive and avoid overspray altogether. Pundits argue aerosol lubes inject lubricant under pressure, driving into chain components and blasting away dirt and foreign matter not removed through cleaning. They can waste lubricant and create overspray. For most home maintenance, drip application lubricants may be the better choice.
The keys to chain lubrication and maintenance according to pro technician Joe Bianculli are:
1. Quickly clean your chain after every ride to prevent build up of wear producing grit.
2. Use drip lubricant sparingly on the inner circumference of the chain to drive lubricant into the moving links of the chain.
3. Do not over-apply lubricants. Wipe excess lube off your chain after application.
4. Consider drip application lubricants over aerosols for better environmental interaction and less overspray and waste.
5. Emphasize regular chain cleaning and lubrication over more drastic degreasing done less frequently. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
July 26, 2010 on 11:12 am | In UHC Pro Cycling Chronicles | No Comments
Strong teamwork brings Cascade overall title
home for Sutherland.
“The guys did a great job of defending the lead for five days,” Sutherland said. “Today was a really fast day. It was raced hard by a lot of other teams. When you see your teammates working so hard, it pushes you that extra bit to finish things off and pay off their hard work. I’m really proud to be a part of this team. We’ve come to expect this kind of work from these guys, but today they really went above and beyond.”
The Team definitely had their work cut out for them today. Holding only a 0:20 lead on V Australia’s Ben Day, and just 0:55 on Day’s teammate, Darren Lill, the race was by no means over with a hot and hilly Aubrey Butte Circuit Race on tap to close out this edition of the Classic. Both Lill and Day were active all day, but it was Bissell’s Rob Britton, sitting 1:40 down, who ended up posing the biggest threat to Sutherland’s title.
“The Team did a great job of keeping things together early until we could get a break going that had the right mix so we could let it go,” said Team Directeur Sportif Gord Fraser. “A break of five guys with the closest guy five minutes down got off the front and we gave them a bit of leash. But we maybe didn’t give them enough because Britton was able to get across to it with two other guys.”
This boosted the break to eight, with two riders each from Bissell and V Australia, and Brad White representing UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis. With White sitting on, the break extended it’s lead out to 2:40, putting Britton in the virtual race lead.
“There were definitely a few sticky moments out there when the gap got out a bit,” Sutherland said. “But we stayed calm and got the job done.”
Behind, Andrew Pinfold, Morgan Schmitt, Matt Crane, Chris Baldwin and Max Jenkins were riding tempo, slowly reeling in the move.
“Our plan was to bring the break back by the base of the final climb, which came with about six or seven kilometers to go,” Fraser said. “But the 100-degree heat was taking its toll on the guys, so when Britton got up to the break, we had Brad drop back to the bunch to help out with the chase. All the guys definitely paid the price because of the heat.”
But their efforts weren’t wasted. By the base of the final climb, the break was back in the fold. And though Sutherland was left without teammates at that point, he was still fresh from having been able to sit in for most of the stage. But Lill and Day weren’t going down without a fight. Lill attacked on the final climb and crested with a 0:15 advantage with about 5 km to go to the finish. Sutherland didn’t panic. He kept an eye on Day – a more immediate threat – and let the still sizable pack take care of Lill, with other riders upping the tempo to have a crack at the stage win.
A group of 20 came into the final kilometer to contest the win. With 1 km to go, Alex Dowsett (Trek Livestrong) put in an attack that turned out to be the winner. With the overall title pretty well sealed up, Sutherland opted not to mix it up in a potentially dicey sprint. He came across the line safely in the group and victory was his.
“We couldn’t have asked for any more from the guys today,” Fraser added. “Everyone was 100 percent committed to defending the jersey. It was an exceptional team win, and the first time this team has won the Classic in five years. So we’re going to celebrate a little with our host families, the Beards and the Salls, and enjoy this one.”
Photos: Jonathan Devich, Epic Images
July 21, 2010 on 9:21 am | In UHC Pro Cycling Chronicles | No Comments
TriSports.com sponsored UHC rider Sutherland 3rd in Cascade prologue.
Sutherland finished within a second of the top spot. But, because of the short nature of the course – covering just two miles – the time gaps all around were very narrow.
“I think Rory also finished within a second of being outside the top 10,” said Team Directeur Sportif Gord Fraser. “The gaps are so small among the top guys it’s almost like tomorrow is the first stage.”
Wednesday’s Mackenzie Pass Road Race should serve to spread out the gaps. The 74-mile course includes over 7,000 feet of climbing, including a 10-mile finishing climb up to the Three Creeks Snow Park.
Riders took to the streets of Bend’s Old Mill District this evening under warm and breezy conditions. Large crowds lined the one-mile out-and-back course along the Deschutes River, with the race organizers making the most of the commercial district to create a carnival-like ambiance.
“They did a bang up job on the atmosphere,” Fraser said. “One of the big things to do on the river is take float trips on tubes or rafts. I think there were probably a few spectators on the river tonight, too.”
The atmosphere at the finish tomorrow may be festive again for the fans, but after the long finishing climb, it’s likely only a handful of riders will be in the mood for celebrating.
July 19, 2010 on 11:06 am | In Random Musings | No Comments
Nestled deep in the mountains of north eastern Arizona is the small town of Eagar (it is connected to Springerville and even together they are very small). The town has one stop light (two if you count the one in Springerville) and over my 30 years of visiting this town not much has changed – no matter how good or bad the economy. When I am training for longer races I make Eagar my base camp for several weekends a during the summer. The 7,000 ft elevation and cool temperatures make for great training. Every first weekend of August the town hosts an event called Eagar Daze where they feature an ice cream social, rodeo, lumber jack contest, dog pageant…..you know, fun stuff that us city folks never get to do.
For the last 10-15 years they have had a triathlon up there but since the city pool is in shambles they have had to convert the race to a duathlon.
The race is as low key as they come and is reminiscent of the old-school days of our sport. There are no major sponsors (TriSports.com pitches in for raffle prizes) – no commercial distractions, just 100% old-school.
If you are game to escape the heat and have some old-fashioned small-town fun I recommend heading up to the White Mountains of Arizona and hitting the Eagar Daze Duathlon.
July 16, 2010 on 1:00 pm | In Employee Adventures, Sponsorship | No Comments
With just a day and a half before the start of Vineman Ironman 70.3 I am beyond excited about the adventure that lies ahead of me. My Sarah and I have been on the road for the past few days and we are now settled into our hotel in Santa Rosa, California. We had a quick trip over to Los Angeles to visit the LA Tri Club. If you live in LA and looking for a group to train with these guys are great! Their club meeting was a buffet dinner (for about 100 members which was a “small” group) at the quirky Proud Bird Restaurant it featured a great moderated question and answer session with Australian super star distance swimmers Ky Hurst and Brendan Capell. A handful of their sponsors were present, everyone was very friendly, and they had a great raffle! I am very excited that TriSports.com is a new sponsor of LA Tri Club!
The next morning we hopped a flight to Oakland and then made the short drive over to Santa Rosa. We checked into our hotel and headed straight for Annadel State Park for an easy swim workout in Lake Ilsanjo. A coworker suggested this lake to us, gave us a map, and a vague idea of where to park (to avoid park fees). A few wrong turns and an easy 1.5-mile hike later we arrive at the small lake.
I zip up my wetsuit and dove into the dark water. It was kind of an eerie little lake, with each stroke your hand disappeared into darkness and it took us a bit to get comfortable. If you are in Santa Rosa and looking for some good trail running or mountain biking this is a great place to go! On the hike down we saw some deer, turkeys, and geese!
Today I got in a short run through some neighborhood in Santa Rosa. It was chilly and foggy this morning and it was wonderful compared to the blazing heat of Tucson that I am used to. Sarah and I are off to check out part of the bike course (see what all the hoopla is about this “Chalk Hill”) and start setting up the TriSports.com store. Tomorrow I will be at the expo manning the register, so stop by say hi and wish me luck! Here goes nothing!
July 13, 2010 on 2:07 pm | In Product Information | 1 Comment
Every week at TriSports.com we have product training. Sometimes we have reps, but we are fortunate enough that most of the time we get the head hanchos from the companies we represent online and on our retail floor. Last week we had Michael Folan, the co-founder of Infinit Nutrition. Infinit is an interesting company as they make custom drinks for endurance athletes. We got with them about a year ago and had them brew up some mix that we felt would best help the majority of our customers – you can find it here.
During his talk he made one of the boldest claims I have ever heard a manufacturer make – “Take our Ride formula on a long ride – doesn’t matter how long, 2, 3, 6 hours, doesn’t matter and you won’t get hungry – all you will need is our drink and some water”. Okay, I have been in this sport for over two decades and I have ridden tens of thousands of miles and have had my share of epic rides. This guy was nuts and I was more than happy to put his ridiculous claim to the test. Here are the parameters of the test:
1) Get out of shape (been working at this for 12-months) – this will definitely prove him wrong because when I am out of shape I get even more hungry when I ride.
2) Do the test in the town that is known for testing really good bad ideas – Las Vegas.
3) Don’t ride too hard so you just get super hungry – this will definitely prove him wrong.
4) Make sure it is blazing hot – yeah, like pushing 110 degrees.
5) Ride about 80 miles and be out there for a total time of almost 6 hours (this includes stops, flats, etc).
6) Eat a smaller breakfast than normal for a long ride.
Certainly with all 6 of these testing parameters the Infinit Nutrition Ride Formula was bound to fail and prove Mr. Folan wrong. So, there were three of us that did the ride – and two of us only used water and Infinit Ride formula for the entire ride. The verdict….drum roll……neither of us got hungry. I was absolutely blown away – not only did I not get hungry, I didn’t cramp either (typically on a ride like this I would need to supplement with salt pills). This product is the real deal and I recommend it to anyone not in my age-group.
July 12, 2010 on 11:59 am | In Sponsorship, TriSports.com/Eclipse Racing | No Comments
July 9, 2010 on 12:32 pm | In Employee Adventures, Sponsorship | No Comments
With nine days until Vineman Ironman 70.3 my taper is in full swing (YES!), I’m getting lots of sleep, and I am mentally preparing myself to take down Leanda Cave. With the extra time I have now that my training has lightened up I have been thinking of all the fun ways I am going to torture Leanda when she come to TriSports.com to be my assistant… Muahahaha!
Doesn’t this look like such a fun day Leanda and I will have together?! She thinks I am going to be chasing her wheel up Mt. Lemmon, but I have other plans!