Sunday, December 29, 2013

Adjusting cleats

Here’s a tip on adjusting your cleats if you’re using cleats with a float: Clip in and go for a ride with a suitable tool for loosening the cleats in your pocket. Put some pressure on the pedals in a big gear for 20 seconds and then stop and coast with your right foot forward. Try and move your heel inwards.

Is there available movement? If no, stop and adjust the front of the cleat to point further inwards (yes, front of cleat needs to point in the direction of more desired movement at the heel). If yes, repeat pedaling and then coast with right foot forwards, but this time, try and twist the heel outwards.

Is there available movement? If yes, is it more or less equal to the amount of inward play you had? If yes, great. If no and the difference is large, re-adjust cleat angle. If there was no inward movement available to the heel, then stop and adjust the nose of the cleat to point further inward.

Repeat the above on the left leg until you have a more or less even amount of movement either side of where your feet naturally want to sit on the pedal under load. That may or may not be 'positioned neutrally (toes not in or out)'. Whether it is or not, it will be at an angle that is correct for you.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sufferfest videos

My relationship with my indoor bike trainer is a complicated one. While it's great to get in some hard winter training it can be painfully boring. I've used every means to pass the time, DVD's, TV you all know the drill. Thankfully a few years ago the Sufferfest folks emerged. If you’re not familiar with Sufferfest vids it's a series of videos that are very different from others I've tried. These bad boys are serious. They download directly to your computer from the site and you can order a backup CD if you choose. There's no coach yelling motivational quotes or anything like that, no one will ever talk to you. All directions are by screen caption, including a perceived effort scale and some various sounds telling you to get ready to hammer it or brake. The soundtracks are pretty good in my opinion, with some techno and hard rock to really crank you up. I found some new music artists I absolutely love. They do splash in some odd humor at times which I find entertaining. Sufferfest uses real world video from various races including the Tour de France and edits it into workouts. Prices are under $15.00 US dollars per video, pretty reasonable.

As to the difficulty, let me say they can leave you a shattered broken man if you ride them as hard as you’re supposed to. They just released their newest “The Wretched". This is directly from the Sufferfest website" Perhaps one of the most difficult Sufferfests ever made, The Wretched is the tale of a Sufferlandrian who has fallen from Local Hero to Zero. Now, faced with the final stage of the Tour de France, you need to remember how to suffer and race with more courage than you’ve ever done before. You’ll be going deep into the pain cave on this one….it’s a true road race: flats, attacks, climbs, descents, and sprints. And no rests. It will push you to the absolute limit – but then again, nobody ever said winning a Tour de France stage was easy." And believe me they mean it, there are some features to push you that you'll love to hate. At this point I'm not quite sure if this is a review or more of a warning.
A little warmup

Saturday, December 14, 2013

L Glutamine

Glutamine is the most abundant amino found in the body, but during times of stress, illness or strenuous exercise overall plasma glutamine levels drop. Because glutamine fuels the immune system, depletion of glutamine stores can have negative effects on one’s health. Science has documented the effects of glutamine supplements on both endurance athletes and critically ill patients. Essentially the white blood cells can’t divide properly and healing slows down. Supplementation of glutamine keeps the immune system fueled during intensive exercise, preventing ill effects associated with overtraining. In a study in which athletes consumed a glutamine supplement after a marathon, only 19% experienced illness during the following week, compared to 51% of athletes who did not take such a supplement. I myself use glutamine after intensive training and haven't been sick in quite a few years (cold, flu type illness) but it's difficult to say if I didn't take the supplement would it have been any different. Those of us who exercise regularly become less susceptible to disease. Unless, that is, we overtax our system by training too hard, not resting enough or getting inadequate nutrition. Most professional coaches nowadays do recommend to their athletes to take glutamine after competition as insurance. It should be only taken after training, if taken prior it can elevate ammonia levels which can lead to fatigue (a common waste product in the body). Clinical studies do not report any side effects at dosages as high as 14 grams, so you probably needn’t worry when taking glutamine in moderate amounts ranging from 5 to 10 grams daily. Dosages higher should only be done under supervision of a health care provider. Glutamine should not be taken by persons with cirrhosis of the liver, kidney problems, or Reye’s syndrome

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Schwalbe Racing Ralph

I've been running the Racing Ralphs for over a year now and here are some thoughts on these sneakers. The Racing Ralph's I currently use are tubeless ready and have a 127tpi EVO casing which makes them extremely supple. I run the 2.10 X 29 which comes in at 495 grams, the 2.25's come in at 535 grams per Schwalbe's web site.  If you typically ride in fast, dry conditions the Racing Ralph is a great choice for XC events. Rolling resistance is excellent and a strong point of the tire. Once in the wet they become rather slick and require low low pressures. Since going tubeless I can now run easily in the low 20's if I need to with no burping of the tire rim. The sidewalls are a little thin but I've never sliced one either, in fact I did puncture a sidewall with a good size hole but the slime sealant did the trick. All in all a very good tire but their racing intended so durability could be a question. To offset the durability factor I highly recommend running these tubeless as they feel like a different tire and I haven't flatted yet in tubeless form. If you are running tubeless don't fill your tire over 35 lbs. (Schwalbe recommends this) as the sealant will seep out around the rims. If you want extra protection Schwalbe makes a Snakeskin version of the Racing Ralphs which adds 40 to 50 grams per tire and has a more durable sidewall. Here in Connecticut we have the luxury of having lots of sharp rocks or sometimes referred to as axe heads, so if they hold up here I imagine they'll be fine elsewhere.