Testing the Competition

No, I am not gonna switch. Had to test out the Adidas’ new boost technology. Yes, they feel different but not enough to change. Love my Skechers GoRuns.

Felt like I was running on memory foam. They were not responsive, did not have direct feed back with the ground. It is different. The elevated heel in this  particular shoe model is “old” technology.

At Movin’ Shoes – Pacific Beach Monday night group run.

Image

Fan of Skechers

I have had these GoRuns for a couple weeks now, been able to get a handful of training runs in,  a sprint distance triathlon. and a dreadfully slow 8 mile run (all up hill) on the back of a 70 mile bike.

The GoRuns retail for $80.00, but I was able to find these at Famous Footware. They were on sale and an additional 10% store coupon was used. Had to pay CA tax and pick up at the local store but well worth the $65.00 for these hi-performance shoe. Depending on manufacturer and style my shoe size is usefully size 10.  For the GoRuns, I needed a size 9.5 to get a proper fit without socks or thin socks. I am not using insoles or my orthotics with these since I want to take full advantage of their light weight and non insole design. My orthotics weigh about as much as one of these shoes.

The GoRuns have been around for about a year now, but I have recently got the chance to get my hands on them.  I have been a fan of Skecher athletic shoes after using their ProSpeed. Those helped my over the last hurdle in recovering from plantar fasciitis that had plagued me for over 20 months. I have to check if I wrote up my product report on those shoe, if not, I have to back fill that post.

To clear the air, I have been in touch with the Skecher/the sports marketing manager and he send me a free pair of the GoRuns… in size 11 (the blue ones) . I only noticed after trying on and my feet were swimming. I was able to exchange for a size 10, yellow and black. I have used the 10’s for a  half marathon – MexiCali. But since they are on the “large” size, I use them for running events/training only were I use with socks and my orthotics. This makes the shoes fit just about perfectly.  I liked them so much I went ahead and purchased my perfect size.

The size 11, as you can see , the GoRuns are quite flexible.

Size 10, have to use socks and insoles to get them to fit properly.

Around mile 4, I ended up catching and passing this group around mile 10 after I go my second wind.

Full report of the shoes to follow which will include benefits of the GoRuns and in comparison to comparable shoes I have used in my training and racing. Stay tuned.

Good as New

Thought these were trash, but come to find out Sable Water Optics have replacement parts and now they are good as new!

Note the broken 2 cent piece of plastic, the strap holder. It broke moments before my last race of 2011.

Thought I disposed of these since I thought they were worthless, but found them last week and talked to the Sable representative and he sent me out some replacement “strap holdrers” and now they are good as new!

Sable Water Optics have the best optics and worth every cent.

Swear by your goggles, not at them!

www.sablewateroptics.com/

EFS: Energizing Sports Drink

What is EFS:  Electrolyte Fuel System.

 

 

 

It comes in two formats powder/drink and liquid shot format. This write up will be about the drink/powdered format.

I have only once previously tried with 1st Endurance  and have finally purchase a full 25 serving bucket to use long term. For me, I think the 25 serving will last about 2 months or about 800 miles of  riding. I’m gonna try to track how long it really last. I am three weeks in on the Fruit Punch flavor. I have heard the Grape flavor is great (that will be my next purchase)

just lost my write up… have to do it again..sucks!

I decided to forego my usual hydration/electrolyte mixture and go all the way for this weekend’s race, Showdown at Sundown, with Fruit Punch flavor of 1st Endurance EFS.

Benefits/ Features of EFS

  • highest electrolyte content – over 1000mg compared to 162 to 430mg per 12 ounces.
  • prevents cramping and dehydration
  • mix at varying strengths (just about all powders are)

Other info (per 12oz)

  • 96 calories
  • 200% DV of vitamin C
  • 16g of sodium
  • 24g of carbohydrates

What are electrolytes (salts)? Calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium) and anions (of chloride, carbonates, aminoacetates, phosphates, and iodide). These are nutritionally called macrominerals. These are lost through perspiration or other forms of dehydration, particularly in heat stress situations.

Why are electrolytes important? They allow cells to generate energy, maintain the stability of their walls, and to function in general. They generate electricity, contract muscles, move water and fluids within the body, and participate in myriad other activities.

I started the bike leg with 32oz of Fruit Punch EFS. Premixed just short of 3 scoops with 32oz of water. Only one water/aid station on the bike and entered T2 with half consumed. I was sipping pretty much all day and was surprised with how much I had left. I even forced myself to take in extra liquid when I realized I how much I had left.  I use the Oasis One-Twelve hydration system (single behind the saddle set up).

What I noticed/like about EFS Sports drink from this weekends event and training

  • was not dehydrated
  • muscles still functined for the run
  • very granular/not powdery –  so no clumping and dissolves “quickly”
  • clear, no artificial  colors
  • lots of electrolytes – I am not a heavy sweater, so it actually may be overkill for me, but I do not think anyone had been harmed by overdosing on electrolytes
  • light flavor, no artificial flavoring. No candy like taste.

What I dislike about EFS drink (just my opinion, everyone has personal taste)

  • “Over” sodium taste. Yes,  I can continue to dilute but that will water down the flavor and electrolyte content per serving.
  • That “over” sodium taste gives it a “heavy” taste, similar to the older Gatorade Endurance formula.

If I was a heavy sweater or the event was on a very hot day (ei Hawaii World Championship) I would not be complaining about this..  The race would a lot have to have lost of aid stations. Showdown at Sundown had only one water station on the bike.

In conclusion I give 1st Endurance EFS Sports Drink rate an 8 out of 10.

I will be going back to my “special” hydration mixture. But my pre-race hydration will be EFS Energizing Sports Drink! I will continue to use for my training rides and find that perfect ratio to eliminate the “over” sodium flavor.

First Endurance Optygen… It works!

Thought I posted my expereince with Optygen by First Endurance, but I guess not.

There are many products out there that claim great benefits. I have tried some that work and some that did not live up to their claims.

My experience with Optygen started last year, I was gearing up for the Rev 3 race in Cedar Point, Ohio (the best place to have an event with the Amusement park right there)… the iron distance event.

Optygen comes in the form of red tablets. There are 90 per package.

Per instruction the first week, one needs to” load up”. That means taking  about six tablets a day for the first 5 or so days. Then one can cut down to three tablets a day. I worked my intake schedule to match race day, the day before the big race would be my last tablet.

A reminder of the product claims:

  • Helps the body adapt to high levels of physical stress,
  • Increase VO2Max,
  • Improves Oxygen Utilization, and
  • Increases Aerobic Threshold & Reduce Lactic Acid.

I did not have any blood work done or and LT test taken before, during or after using so I do not have any “clinical” data to back up it’s effect upon me.

I can say that after a couple of weeks I noticed my sleep patterns had changed. I was sleeping soundly – solid rest! One sign of over training is not being able to get good nights sleep. Even with my iron distance training levels I was sleeping great. That means my body was getting it’s rest so the next day I was able to participate in another hard or long work out session. So claim number 1 – True in my book.

Having solid rest is a great advantage to have.

It is hard to quantify but I believe the other claims held true also. My body did not feel beat up after hard work outs as compared to previous  lead ups to big races.  My training levels never go over the top and I take days off when necessary and eat “properly”. I am not stupid.

It is hard to justify taking Optygen the whole season, but I will continue to use the product (about 6/7 weeks out) leading up to every iron distance event. Those big races are the ones that count.

Results: Rev 3- Cedar Point. 10:34:43. 2nd in age group
My 5th fastest bike split, and 5th run split of  23 iron distance races.
The run is where the pay off can be found from using Optygen. I may have fallen apart for a few miles but was able to regroup and make up more than I lost during those miles. Lactic Acid be gone!

Note: One does not need to be an iron distance athlete to take advandage of Optygen. If you train hard for any distance, Optygen will give you an edge.

Product Review: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Group

Reprint from Triathlon Club of San Diego TriNews April 2010 newsletter

Trickle down technology… Formula One paddle shifting meets todays cyclist. Shimano’s electronic shifting is one of the most exciting advancements in cycling technology in quite a while. Mavic gave it a try in the mid 90’s but was plagued with many faults. Even Campagnolo has been testing with an electric group for a couple of years. Shimano did not want to repeat Shimano did not want to repeat Mavic’s failures and proved it with the Di2. This group set was released to the public early last year but was used by many teams during the 2008 Tour de France. It is race proven and many thousand of hours were spent to verify/test if the system will work in extreme condition without failure.

Di2 shifters; road and two TT styles available, bar end shifter and dual control shift/brake.

Being under the Dura-Ace component group set, it is being marketed to the high-end cyclist. At the moment, its price is keeping it a high-end product. In my opinion is should be an every man’s (and woman’s) product. I first saw the Di2 demo at last years TriFest in Tucson. Shimano had a small booth with not much fan fare. I fell in lust at first touch! Yes, I said touch. Shifting gears is now as effortless as pressing a door bell.

The Di2 system features a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery (lasting 1,000 miles and more) powering an integrated CPU that monitors and adjusts the front and rear derailleurs to keep them perfectly trimmed automatically. The system is claimed to shift 30% faster (as fast as you can move your finger) than with mechanical derailleurs – even under load while cycling out of the saddle.

I am using the complete group set which included the crankset with bottom bracket, front and rear brakes, all wiring harnesses, front and rear derailleurs, Di2 STI levers, battery, battery hanger, battery charger, choice of cassette, chain and special tape to conceal wires. I’m also using the dual TT shift components for my TT set up. One can obtain as an upgrade kit, which is sans cranks, cassette, chain and brakes. Using Shimano’s crank set will guarantee 100% precise shifting every time. Shimano’s brakes offer the best stopping power out there. I have used lighter and more expensive brakes but they do not have the same confidence and stopping power. Powerful brakes allow one to travel faster with confidence.

I had Nytro Multisport do the basic installation of the components and they did a flawless job. Since I have a unique bike (Ritchey BreakAway), I wanted to do the final wiring myself. Bikes without internal wiring already built into the frame need to make sure there are no loose or extra wires flapping around. (update: last week I saw a gal taking in her tri bike back to the bike shop with rubbed out wiring… she was at IM COZ and apparently DNF due to bad installation.) This is essential for a clean and professional installation.

Hiding as much wire as possible.

Wire harness nicely concealed behind supplied down tube tape.

update: and TT set up image.

My old shift set up (Modolo Morphos) had just expired after a little more than two years of solid use and time to replace with another set I had ready to go or make the big investment. I’ve used Shimano Ultegra and Dura-Ace STI shifters in the past and they only lasted a few seasons and quite expensive to replace that often. Today’s Shimano products are much better. Better construction, quality to meet the demands and tourchers of today’s athletes and last much longer.

For me, the extra dollars spent on the Di2 version over that standard STI is actually not much when comparing the benefits. Here’s why:

One Touch Shifting: Simple as that, one no longer has to “force” the shift to happen. It is crisp and exact. Ever struggle to shift when your fingers are frozen. It’s just about impossible, now, it’s just firm press of a button and presto, gear changed. The two piece shift “levers” are placed just like the traditional paddles, very instinctive and intuitive.

Components Lifespan: Since there are less mechanical parts, all the components will last longer. The front derailleur will last longer because one is not forcing a shift up or down. Less wear on the chain guide, crisp and exact shifting every time. The rear cassette and chain will last longer because the chain is precisely in the center of each gear. Shifters no longer have any mechanical gears to break or wear out.

Full Gear Selection: Since Di2 is auto trimming, one will have access to all gears. No more chain rubbing that may have limited certain gear combinations.

Be Faster: Faster and exact shifts, not having to look down at the chain every shift or front derailleur, not having to be cautious while shifting between chainrings for fear of a chain drop. Those slight hesitations add up over the length of a ride or race. They are now a thing of the past. I anticipate to have faster bike splits once I get my fitness level back to previous levels.

Less Maintenance: No shift cables means there is nothing to stretch and constantly need adjusting. Just keep your battery charges. Each charge should last over 600 miles.

Blood Pressure Reduction: Yes, one’s health may even improve. Since one will no longer be fighting with their equipment; chain dropping, gears not shifting cleanly, chain rubbing, etc…. All gone. One will be smiling and enjoying cycling more.Are there any drawbacks? Yes, but not enough to keep me away.

Installation: I suggest having a qualified technician do the initial installation. It will save you time in the long run and be less frustrating. Managing the wiring harness may be something more personal. For me, I wanted to make sure I had just enough wire exposed for shifting and it was routed to my liking. Shimano has a great visual installation tutorial on their website to accompany the supplied installation manual.

Mechanic Friendly: Not every bike shop is Di2 savvy yet, and if traveling to a race Di2 support is most likely a not. The good news is that you really should not have any problems once set up properly, maybe a simple high/low stroke adjustment.

Price Point: Yep, the group or upgrade kit does cost a pretty penny. I hope the price will drop so everyone can enjoy the benefits it adds to the cycling experience.

With all the rain over the last several week ends, I have not been able to put the amount of test miles in as planned. However, miles on the CompuTrainer and limited outdoor mile continue to amaze me. My learning curve was very short, I still goof up (pressing the wrong levers once in a while) since I am not used to Shimano’s dual control system. California 70.3 will be my first race using the TT set up. I was anticipating a personal best bike split here but training has fallen off a cliff. I’ll just have to be satisfied with the most hassle free and worry free bike splits in my career.  (update: I did have my fastest bike split this year, faster by 3 minutes. It may have been the wind conditions but I believe it was due to the precise shifting of Di2.)

If an upgrade in drivetrain components is in the near future or looking to make your cycling experience more enjoyable look no further than Shimano’s Di2 components. It should be at the top of everyone’s list. Money spent here will be more noticable than a set of race wheels or disc or even a new frame. You will use it every ride and will notice the investment every mile. And retrofitting any older frame is pretty straight forward.

Some of the local bike shops have demo bikes with the Di2 system, go for a test ride and see for yourself or stop by the Shimano booth at your next race expo. Complete information on the Dura-Ace Di2 group can be found on Shimano’s website.

Dean Sprague, owner PedPowerPerform Lab, Retül and F.I.S.T Certified Bike fitter. The only Retül (3D Active Motion Capture) fitter in the San Diego area.

When goggles looses their anti-fog…

….it’s Foggle to the rescue!

My Sable Water Optics (goggles that is) seem to have lost their mojo…fortunately I have some Foggle anti-fog towelettes.

I did some testing today during my pool swim at the Wavehouse in Mission Beach, CA.

Swam for about 10 minutes with my Sable MTR (this model is not on the Sable web site) goggles as normal. They were a little foggy but not too bad, so I did a simple rinse of pool water on the inside of the goggles – rinse and continue.

About 5 minutes later a little fog spot developed, this time I used my Foggle wipe. Took the goggles of of my head and delicately wiped the inside of the goggles and then without rinsing put back on. That clear up the fog spot, pretty much made the Sable goggles like new…. best optics available in any swim goggle.

After a few more laps I did a quick rinse of pool water to see how that would effect things. Clarity was even better and was able to finish up my swim without any more fog spots.

The Foggle towlettes are multi use, just fold back up and put in its original packet and fold over the open edge. Plan ahead and carefully open the wrapper with intention of reusing it.

The type on the individual packets is quite small. I have to spend more time reading what the directions say, but I did notice that results may vary depending on lenses.

Want some FREE samples? click here.
Mention TriDeano’s Blog in the how did you find us box.

That New Bike Feeling

Does your bike feel “old” ? What to give it a new feeling?

Lizard Skin Bar Tape is just the answer. There is no bar tape on the market quit like their DSP – DuraSoft Polymer.

I first came across this a few months ago when a rider came in for a bike fit (PedPowerPerfrom Lab). When I first touched the tape, I said wow! This is cool. I forgot all about it until I was at interbike and scoped out the product in person.

This stuff is great! The best tactile feeling for optimized control and comfort. Awesome grip. The best shock absorption I have ever felt with something so basic as bar tape. Check you local bike store to feel for yourself. The package has a sample swatch to feel/test.

White is the DSP bar tape. Installed the night before Magic Mountain Man Triahtlon.

Available in 1.8 (3 colors) and 2.5 (8 colors) thickness. I am using the 2.5 thickness for added cushioning. Check out their website. The Lizard Skin web site has an installation video. It retails for about $35.00 (can be bought for 25 to 30 buck and well worth it!)

Top 5 Interbike 2010: Part 2

there is not particular order of these 5 items

4. Volagi Venga SL

image from Volagi’s website

Sure there were some real fast and cool looking bikes, but they all were basically the same, not much advancement over last year.  More tri bikes with seamless integration of top tube to stem transition. The Trek Speed Concept 9.0 is the best one going at the moment. Kestler 4000 LTD has great aero shape but no top tube to stem integration which actually makes the bike quite a bit easier to break down when traveling.

The bike that stood out was were the Volgi Venga SL. It may look pretty typical at first glance then you will note it has disc brakes. Yep, real stopping power, no more worrying about heat build up on those carbon rims. The fame and rims are specifically designed to handle the added forces disc brakes can generate on the frame and fork. The bike was designed out of a desire for a true performance bike with out having teeth chattering ride for endurance riding, by cyclist for cyclist.

It’s LongBow Flex stays is a unique design feature that has functionality. It flexs to absorb road vibration rather than allowing the shock to  transmit thru the rider’s bones. This increases rider comfort and reduces fatigue. Volagi is the fist bike company to create a HIGH performance carbon bike with disc brakes. They integrate into the design perfectly, actually the bike may have been designed around the brakes. They are cable pull, which could be a bit finicky to adjust from my experince. I did not ask why hydraulic was not chosen. Could be the ease of maintenance if necessary, although I have not had any issues with my hydraulic brakes on my current mtb set up. 140mm disc up front and 160mm in the rear. Yeh, I am sure one will have to adjust to the breaking power. The carbon clincher wheels had to be specially designed to handle the braking power and unique torque characteristics. The bike is very aero and clean.

(On my ride home from a bike workout, it dawned on my, Why not hydraulic? Well there are NO road brake levers with a fluid reservoir (yet)! Pretty obvious why the disc brakes are cable pull!!)

 

Front disc brake, 140mm, with internal cable routing.

Volagi’s LongBow Flex stay suspension, the “floating” seatpost.

Clean front end.

Rear disc tucks in very nicely and aero enough.

Seat tube angles range from 75.5 to 72.75 depending on size. The bike is very well balanced and has a negative offset seatpost. I only wish they had a fast forward seat post option or a Ritchey style sliding clamp design to increase the seat tube angle for converting the bike into a triathlon riding position. One would have to swop out for a neg stem to get real aero up front also.

Since the bike is designed for the endurance rider it comes with compact cranks for all day climbing. It speces out at sub 16-lbs (not sure what size that is.)  I really wish they had some bikes at the Demo Days to ride.  I think the SL version sells for $4500 or so?? which is very well priced. The mods I would have to make before I took delivery would be to swop out the Ultegra and FSA components to Shimano’s Di2 and Rotor cranks for my dream road bike. It would end up weighing a bit more, but the riding experience would be even more enjoyable. Check out their website for complete info, Volagi bikes.

5.  Keo power

This one is not on the market yet, it could be available early spring of 2011 and will be highly anticipated. Keo Power is a partnership between Look and Polar. It’s a power meter that uses a pedal spindle strain guage. It is the alternative to Powertap, SRM and Quark. And in my opinion the best option. It offers direct measurement of left and right specific power output. It’s power measuring ability is very accurage, within 2 percent and may improve as product becomes available. It is not ANT+ compatible, Polar has their own protocol and training software data base. It is not Mac compatible at the moment. One big bummer.

Like current Polar WIND devices, it will have left and right power balance, and pedaling efficiency. These features are why I choose Polar WIND over PowerTap. There are no wires or specific permanent hardware so it can be easily transferred to any bike. The system works with Polar’s existing CS 500 and CX600x cyclometers. The “kit” will come with the pedals and the power transmitters that attach to the cranks. Not cheap, around $2,500, not including the cyclometer. Polar’s current WIND sells for about $1,200 complete and it’s power is based on chain tension. Keo Power is not on either web site yet.

My Top 5 of Interbike 2010: Part 1

Five items catch my eyes and interest of three days walking the aisles of the Sand Hotel Convention Center, Las Vegas.

1. Lezyne Travel Floor Drive Pump


It is about time! I travel to many races and it has always been my predicament with my packing. Saving room in my bike bag for the tire pump. My current pumps are “small” compared to shop pumps. I have an older Silca that had worn out (yes I have replaced the innards put it no longer pumps air properly. It is very slim without any frills. I also have a Blackburn Air Tower 1. It is short and has s compact base compared to typical pumps. It is barley able to get more than 110 psi. The new Lezyne travel pump is an execution in precision. It’s smaller gauge is specific to this pump, the handle is CNC machined, comes with its own travel sac and weighs only 900 grams. No exact dimensions, but it is 3/4  in height compared to a regular pump.  It will easlily pumb tires up to 115 psi, with a bit more effort it will pump to its max of 160. The travel pump will be available mid November. It is expected to retail 100 bucks. www.lezyne.com/travel-floor-drive

2. Biknd Bike Case

Case closed up with its own case,

Case fully opened, wheel set on both fold down “wings”

As mentioned above, I travel to many races and needing a bike case that protects my equipment is very important. I have seen the biknd case in one of the mags a while back and finally here in person. It is a great idea borrowed form other technology. It is based upon “air bag” technology. The Biknd case protects the bikes and wheels with inflatable air pouches. A great idea. (The air bags are pre- inflated, they do not explode upon impact) This keeps the case pretty light a little less than 24 lbs., leaving plenty of weight for equipment. The side wings fold down fully giving the case a full 360 degree opening. It can carry 2 sets of wheels, one set in each wing.

Limited disassembly of bike is requred as with most bikc cases. It is not designed for bikes with ISP (integrated seat post). Once the bike is removed form the case, the case fold down very small dimension. This leaves plenty of room in the rental car or van.

It retail for about $600. Giles, the rep, said that when he travels with this case he has not been hit with bike fees. Technically the case is oversize so, one may still pay oversize luggage fees when air traveling. www.biknd.com

1. Knog Party Frank Lock

All of the Knog products are based on “fun”. Knog has a unique design philosophy, each item is unique in its design. Taking the basic and turning it into a truly unique and fun item.

Take for example the bike lock, most are basic and boring and utilitarian in looks. Now Knog has turned it into an item you want to show off; great colors, great tactile feeling…friendly. The Party Frank (shown here) is the answer to the heavy/ugly looking U lock. It is heavy duty braided loose bound steel cable with fibre core (making cable more secure in the event of bolt cutter attack) with a non mark/scratch surface outer silicone covering that comes in 8 fun colors. It’s straight length is 620mm (24 in), so that should be able to wrap around a good size pole along with your bike/wheel. www.knog.com

2 more review to come……