Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Selle SMP saddles after 7 years

We all know bike saddles are a personal thing, something that's comfortable to one person maybe uncomfortable to another. With that being said I wanted to do a post on Selle SMP's that have provided me with a very happy ass for years. A quick explanation of the science behind the oddly shaped saddle line is based around the bone that supports you when on a bike saddle. This bone the "Ischiopubic ramus" is on each side of the base of your pelvis is approx 6 inches long and angles in toward the front, much like the shape of a bike seat. The bone actually protrudes downward in its center which mimics the general shape of the Selle SMP line of seats. The shape of this bone varies from person to person so Selle SMP has a line of 12 road seats with varying widths and dips to find the perfect cradle for the shape of your ramus bone. If you want a sustainable aero position or spend time in the drops the curved rear helps rotate your hips forward for flatter back and more powerful glute activation. The full length cut out means you can stay lower with no discomfort. They also come in various levels of padding and solid carbon as well. I certainly admit it's a little tricky to find the perfect SMP (mainly due to so many choices) and get it set up right but the end result with most opinions is well worth it. I'll most likely never use any other road saddle again. I also use one my cross bike but I recommend one with more padding and less rise in the rear, same with the mountain bike. In addition they produce 5 TT specific saddles and number of Hybrid and Trekking specific saddles.
The dip in the seat is designed to cradle your ischiopubic
ramus shown here. One of the important keys is finding
the correct model that matches your bone shape.

The rear of the seat is raised which assists in tilting your
pelvis forward instead of bending at your lower back
that may occur with the positioning of many seats.
This helps keep you back flatter instead of rounded
and can assist with glute activation.

The wide cutout puts no pressure on soft tissue. Front tip is
bent down so your shorts never get hung up. Very comfortable
in the aero position for extended amounts of time.

Getting the correct saddle tilt is essential. A slight
tilt up in the nose and it becomes more
comfortable. Flat section of the rails are 95 to 100 mm
long and rail placement is such that it travels far up the
nose allowing for lots of adjustment.

Numerous widths available to fit virtually any

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Compressport TR3 Aero Tank

I personally love training / cycling in the heat just as long as I'm wearing a well vented hi tech top. In addition I much prefer a sleeveless top because short sleeves give me that restricted feeling. I've spent way too much money on top name brands that advertised how well they breathed, wicked moisture, etc. that left me feeling like I just worked out in a rubber suit. Just by chance while at the NYC Triathlon sports and fitness expo I stumbled across a Swiss company Compressport that makes hi tech clothing for cycling, triathlon and running. What really caught my eye was the TR3 aero tank. I'll list a few features that are basic and a few that I felt that really make a difference.
-Moisture wicking - pretty standard.

-6 pockets total 3 in front 3 in the rear, while a little on the small side still very convenient.

-The vented mesh varies and is more vented in area's that you retain more body heat.

-As you breathe heavier the mesh opens up more simply because breathing heavier means you’re     working harder and require more air flow. Basically, it adjusts ventilation according to the intensity of your workout.

-The V neck is very comfortable and prevents any chafing around the neck.

-The top of the zipper has a pocket so it does not dig into your neck.

-Ergo cut, longer in the back than front so it fits properly in the cycling position. The bottom has a silicone gripper.

-On the back of the neck "Compressport" is embroidered with the inside a microfiber like material so no irritation occurs.

-The interior has some silicone bits in places so the top really stays in place even if you have a heavy sweat rate.

-The TR3 comes in black and white and looks great.

The big test was wearing the black in the blazing heat and humidity this year, normally I'm fine in the heat but some black clothing really cooks me. I honestly have to say this is the coolest I've ever felt in the heat wearing black. Trust me I tested this in what had to be the hottest days of the summer, in fact I was equally cool in the white or black which is really saying something. I loved the six pockets even though a little small but very useful. Comfort level was excellent and truthfully the harder I pushed the more ventilation it provided. The sizing is a little on the small size so you might want to size up one size but the top does provide plenty of stretch so even if it's a little tight it's still comfortable. Pricing varies and is hard to find in the US but I found it generally goes for 80 to 125 US dollars. With the excellent experience I've had with this top I'm anxious to try some more of Compressport’s extensive line.
White and black

As you breathe your torso expands and the vents open
wider to provide more ventilation. The black kept me
very comfortable in the high heat. 

Compressport says the construction provides postural
 alignment. It does provide some structure without
being uncomfortable.

Six pockets in all. Three in front three in back, The back
outer pockets are angled for easier access.

Silicone gripper keeps it snug.

The Compressort label is lined with a very soft material
on the inside to prevent irritation. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Sprinting and energy

Sprinting, it's a love - hate thing. The pain during a 100% full throttle sprint is deep and your mindset plays a huge part in your ability to tolerate the suffering. What's funny is in some twisted way that raw painful effort is somehow satisfying or even addictive in a bizarre sense.

But what actually propels your body in that effort, what variations does it go through to sustain that power? Pure sprints last from just a couple of seconds to around 30 and a number of compounds or chemical reactions occur in a very short time. The initial 1 or 2 seconds you utilize ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) which is a high energy compound which runs out quickly. After that and until around 10 seconds into the effort your body switches compounds to creatine phosphate to produce more ATP. Beyond this point ATP is produced by the breakdown of carbs using a process known as glycolysis. Then in turn produces pyruvate. During aggressive sprinting the pyruvate is then broken down into lactate and the burn begins. During this whole process energy is created without the need for oxygen or anaerobically. The last thing you’re thinking about during those hell bent all out sprints is these energy systems but it's kind of amazing what's keeps your body going in such a short amount of time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Lifestyle direction

Have you ever actually stopped and thought about how your lifestyle has evolved? I mean really being honest with yourself about whether it's evolved in a positive direction. All of us change but how? In what direction? Over the years I find myself observing people around me whether through business or social interactions. Is there balance in their life? Are they just stagnant at this point and just coasting through life? I can't count the numerous people I've met whom think their successful because they've made a decent amount of money, but looking at all the aspects of their life they've become a physical disaster. Just how successful are they? Is there any balance? I generally don't voice my opinion about this very often because most take offense. They often have to realize it themselves before they are open to any change. People seem to take better care of their car than their bodies. Pretty amazing when you think about it, our bodies are the most valuable asset we have but we ignore it and then fuel it with junk. We all need to sit back take a moment and be totally honest with ourselves, where am I at?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Carbon fiber frames - what's inside

Most all carbon bike frames look great, wild designs, beautiful paint. Most are a true work of art. Being a cyclist my curiosity regarding carbon bikes is high, especially the quality. My dad was a consulting engineer and had a background in the construction and design of high tech materials so naturally some of that interest rubbed off on me. I've followed the industry attempting to learn more about design, construction and R&D. Most of the time it's a well kept secret in regards to who actually designs what and manufactures what though it's no secret that most of the manufacturing is done in China or Taiwan.

I recently came across a new Instagram account by Raoul Luescher from Australia. Raoul is the director of Luescher Teknik a Specialist Sports Technology company based in Melbourne Australia. He has more than 25 years experience in aerospace composites and quality assurance, built his first composite bike in 1992 and is now a design consultant for some major brands. He has been employed by Boeing Aerospace, and the Australian Institute of Sport. He has extensive experience in quality control of composites, manufacturing and design.

What's interesting is Raoul has hundreds of carbon bike frames and what he does is cut them apart to study the quality or lack of quality internally. He also dissects wheels, forks hubs etc. I could go on but it's really worth checking this out by viewing his Instagram account at https://www.instagram.com/luescher_teknik/ there are some random YouTube vids of him which are fantastic but their put out by a few different video bloggers and not him personally. I do have to wonder how some of the bike manufactures feel about this or do they even care.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Serfas E-LUME 1100 headlight

I'm not a fan of lights with separate batteries and all the cable mess that goes with it. I realize on a long ride or night event (race, etc.) you can bring extra batteries to extend lighting time but I love the simplicity of a headlight with internal batteries. Serfas recently came out with a new line of self-contained compact sized LED lights that have gotten excellent reviews. I decided to go with the E-LUME 1100 which obviously puts out 1100 Lumens.

The 1100 is charged with a USB and comes with the charging cable, the outlet for the cable is easily located in the base of the unit and covered with a rubber plug that seals well. The light has two modes (solid beam and flashing) and holding down the power button for 2 seconds will switch between the modes. Turning the unit on simply press the power button for 1/2 a second. The solid beam mode has 4 power settings, low 200 lumens runtime 9.5 hrs, medium 400 for 4.5 hrs, high 700 for 2.5 hrs and overdrive 1100 for 1.5 hrs. With the flash modes let’s just say there's more than enough combinations of flash than you'll ever need.

A really nice little touch is that in the side of the light there are little windows that provide a small amount of light outward toward the shifters or handlebars. If the light overheats it has a protection mode that lowers the lumens automatically until the unit cools down, nice feature as the unit does not just shut off suddenly in attempt to cool down. The power button lights up to indicate the battery charge level with flashing red indicating 20% left, Orange 21 - 60%, Blue 61 - 100% charged. Construction is solid, it just feels solid in your hands. The mount is really intended for handlebars and can be easily adjusted to accommodate any size handlebar and latches easily and securely. If you have a separate rounded helmet mount the unit can be fastened to it rather easily. So far I've found this unit to be simple to use, durable with a great light pattern that lists for $110.00 which is a great value.
Little windows on the sides emit a small amount
of light from the sides - really nice touch. Light pattern
is round and wide, very adequate.

Power button has battery level lights surrounding it.
Compact size and solid feeling unit.

USB charging port is easy to get to and sealed
by a rubber plug that seals tightly. 

Mount is easy to use and accommodates most all bar sizes.
It holds the light steady and doesn't allow rotation.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

2016 Giant Defy Advanced 2

I had been considering a good road / gravel bike for some time. I don't take my TCR on dirt roads and my TCX cross bike is great but CX bikes do lack the climbing punch when the vertical gets really steep. Here in western Connecticut we have an abundance of steep dirt roads that often go up in the mid 20% range so when Giant had a sale on the 2016 Defy's just prior to the 2017 model release it was perfect timing. I picked up the Defy Advanced 2 for approx. $500 below list.

The Advanced 2 is constructed with T 700 carbon which is woven in house by Giant. It has the overdrive headset which is 1 1/8-inch top and 1 1/4-inch bottom bearings. (The Advanced pro and SL have the overdrive 2 with 1 1/4 inch top and 1 1/2-inch bottom bearings) Even on the roughest dirt roads the front end stays stable and tracks accurately. The D - Fuse seat post is amazing along with the frame for providing plenty of flex over the nastiest terrain, it's amazing how they engineered the carbon for the effect, no gimmicks here just state of the art carbon engineering. I've actually had to move my saddle forward half a centimeter to compensate for the compliancy or flex in the seat post. Also, the Defy did win the crazy cobble stoned Paris-Roubaix event in 2015.

 For an endurance type frame the bike climbs well on regular roads and sprints pretty well too. It doesn’t climb or sprint quite as efficiently as my 2016 TCR Advanced SL but I'm comparing it to the TCR which is among the best climbing and sprinting rigs around. Wheelset is the Giant PR-2 Disc which are on the heavy side but after some really rough thrashings have held up well and are still true. Brakes are TRP Spyre-C, mechanical disc, 160mm rotors and work impressively for mechanical discs. Giant tires P-SL 1, 700x25, front and rear specific, surprisingly after hammering these over endless sharp rocks they've held up nicely, not even showing any small cuts as of yet. Drivetrain is full Shimano 105 except for the crank which is the Shimano RS500 and the KMC chain. It's just my personal observation that KMC chains are a bit more durable than Shimano but I feel are noisy in comparison. Front gearing is compact 34/50, rear cassette is 11x32 and with the climbs around this part of the country the 32 is sometimes very welcome. Bottom bracket is the Shimano press fit which I do prefer. Overall for endurance type geometry this bike does everything pretty well but really excels where it was designed to - on the nastiest of roads.

Seat stays work together with the seat post
for compliancy

Giant has really upgraded their graphic designs

Giant P-SL 1 25mm tires have held up
surprisingly well over sharp  rocks.
Giant brand PR-2 30mm wheels have stayed true

D-Fuse seatpost is engineered
for an amazing ride

Shimano 105 drivetrain with 11x32 cassette

TRP Spyre-C, mechanical disc brakes work great.