Friday, July 24, 2009

Do I Need To Spend the Money ? But I Want a New Toy

I am currently saving money for a new bike. I want to pay for the bike, not put it on credit, so I am saving all my pennies and dollars, mainly pennies at the moment. I wanted a new tri bike and I wanted that bike to be the new QR CD0.1 (, but then I came across the data and I might change my mind. If you look at the attached wind tunnel data my current bike, QR Seduza, has only marginally worse wind tunnel results. The average Cd is .004 worse on the Wind Axis and .006 on the Body Axis. There is 3 watts difference and an average of 19 grams of drag on the Wind Axis and 20 grams on the Body Axis. Do I want to spend 330o for a new frame, fork, seat post, or 6000+ for a total bike. Maybe not for that much difference. Maybe I spend 1200 (+tire and cassette) for a Zipp Sub-9 disc wheel and save some more for a new road bike. I recently sold my Lemond Sarthe, so I also would like a new road bike.

The Zipp Sub-9 disc on my current bike would benefit me more than a new Cd0.1 and my current Zipp Z6 wheels, probably.

I think the disc and a new road bike is a better option. Either way it is going to be awhile before I have the money to make the purchase(s), but it is fun to think about.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

RIP - Break Room Live, you will be missed

Air America Radio, now Air America Media, continues to kill off it's best programming. On Wednesday they put an end to Break Room Live. Break Room Live was a webcast show that featured the intelligent comedic stylings of Marc Maron (formally of the fantastic Morning Sedition, which I woke up to everyday when it was on AAR) and Sam Seder (formally of the fantastic The Majority Report). Again, Air America takes two fantastic talents and pushes them aside. Such a shame.
The show was a mix of news, commentary, and some skits. The last part of the show, usually a half hour or less, was both of them, or near the end just Mark, taking listener and viewer comments and questions by way of IM, email, and text. This show was a great example of how mulitple communication and media platforms can be used to do a talk show effectively.
Brillant at Breakfast had this to say -
I agree with the commentary. Along with commentary by many others
Hopefully, Maron and Seder can find a place to display their funny and intelligence
RIP Break Room Live
RIP Air America?

6th Product Review - Zipp Z6 Wheels

This is a review of the Zipp 606 wheelset, with ceramic bearings, the 2009 606 has new toroidal wheel design, new dimpling, and new hubs. The 2006 and 2009 are still a mixed set of a 404 front wheel and an 808 rear wheel. The Zipp website is

A disclaimer, I have never ridden another set of race wheels, either by a different manufacturer or a different Zipp model, and would like to try something else to see if they make a difference. I will also admit that after riding on one set of Zipp wheels it would be hard to imagine racing on something else.

When I bought my first tri bike, it was 7 short months after I bought my first new bike, road bike (LeMond Sarthe), in about 12 years. After spending the summer doing duathlons on the road bike, I decided that the next year I was going to add triathlons, and to do that I should get a new bike. When I went in and bought my bike, a Quintana Roo Seduza, I asked what upgrade(s) would have the most impact. The answer was race wheels. I did one race on the Seduza before the end of the year and it was on stock wheels, I was impressed with my new tri bike. Over the winter I bought the Zipp 606 wheelset, with Continental Competition tubular tires, Zipp Titanium skewers, and an Ultegra cassette. At the time, the wheel set was approximately $2400. I bought them on sale for about $2000, this does not include the cost of the tires, skewers, and cassette. I believe the 2009 set is going to be about $2400. I anxiously awaited the start of the 2007 season and I was not disappointed. I have only ridden on stock wheelsets my whole life and all those were clinchers, going to carbon fiber race wheels with tubulars is a huge difference. Over the last two seasons, plus one race, I have amassed 850+ miles on these wheels, 33 triathlons and duathlons, plus 14 time trials, and some extra mileage for riding on the wheels during warm-up. I have never put any training miles on the Zipps, they are only used for racing. The wheels have been ridden on the city and county roads of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. They have also seen the streets of San Francisco, St. Petersburg, FL, and the county roads around Austin, TX.

The hubs with the ceramic bearings are amazing, they are incredibly smooth. I have demonstrated the smoothness of the hubs by either holding the bike up and spinning the wheel freely or I have a person hold the wheel and spin it. People who aren’t familiar with racing wheels want to know what makes wheels like this so great, at such a high price. By doing this you can feel, and see, the difference between these hubs and other hubs. When you ride the bike the feeling is dramatic, the smoothness is apparent, especially on flat sections of road where you are really cranking away and you can feel the road, the wheels, and the bike. It is difficult for me to describe how these wheels feel. I don’t have technical cycling racing background, so I don’t know how to couch it in the proper language. They definitely feel stiffer, some might say harsher, than non-dished wheels. They feel faster, but they are also faster. You can feel it and see it in the times. Not just my times, but other people who ride these wheels, from amateur to pro. I have no complaints about the way these wheels climb, accelerate, or corner. It would be hard for me to imagine anything better. If you are serious about racing, purchasing a set of race wheels like this is a necessity.
The 404 front wheel and 808 rear wheel give you the aero advantage at the rear with the deeper dish and the handling advantage at the front with the smaller dish. The 404 front weighs approximately 560 grams and the 808 rear 780 grams, for the tubular. The front has 18 bladed spokes and the rear has 24 bladed spokes. Zipp has done a tremendous amount of engineering both in and out of the wind tunnel to come out with a wheel design that is both strong and aero. You can tell the amount of work that went into these wheels when you ride on them.

Another great thing about this wheelset is how they look on a bike. I have gotten a lot of compliments from strangers on how good they look on my bike. As we all know, there is a lot to be said for curb appeal.

5th Product Review - Easton Attack TT Aerobars

In the past I had ridden a couple different sets of Profile clip-on aerobars, which I had mixed feelings about. The fit of those bars were never quiet right. They served their purpose on road bikes. The first full aerobars I rode were FSA, which I road for a season. The FSA bars are aluminum and seemed very bulky, but did the job. The bars were the standard aerobars when I purchased my QR Seduza. I wanted to go to carbon bars that were less bulky, I looked at the Zipp Vuka, but the price was prohibitive for me. 1200 bucks is a lot for a set of bars. I went with the Easton Attack TT aerobars because they are the lightest, at 388 grams compared to the Zipp Vuka at 860 grams, and the price (retail ~$600) is less than half the price of the Zipp, and I purchased mine on sale. One of the drawbacks of the bars is there is almost no adjustment, but they do come in 3 different lengths (225mm, 250mm, and 275mm). There is adjustment in the elbow pads, but it is very limited. The bars are narrow and very flat, so the position is very aggressive. I consider myself a person of limited flexibility so the aggressive position had me a little worried. The narrowness of the bars also worried me; I was warned when I bought them that it could restrict my breathing on the bike. I am not the strongest with bike handling skills, so the narrow bars are also make handling a little tighter. After the bars were installed I had a Retul fit ( performed to make sure I was in the proper riding position. As an aside, a Retul fit is well worth the money. If you are going to spend the money on a bike and components, you might as well spend the extra to make sure you are setup correctly. Otherwise you are throwing money away by not setting up yourself with the components you spent all that money on.
I have done about 18 triathlons/duathlons and 7 time trials and I have to say I like these aerobars a lot. There are no issues with restricted breathing or control. I am very comfortable on them and they provide an excellent riding position. Up to this point they are the best aerobars I have ever ridden on.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

4th Product Review - TYR 180 Race Mask

All I have ever worn are traditional two lens goggles for swimming. The TYR 180 Race Mask is the first mask I have ever worn.  I have to say that I like it.  The mask is comfortable and the vision is excellent.  I have never worn goggles that have 180 degrees of vision and it is a totally different experience.  The only issue that I have with this mask is that after about 200 yards there is too much water in it to swim anymore.  I tried to adjust the goggles in multiple different ways but they still leaked.  The leaking is occurring around my cheeks.  Apparently my head is the wrong shape for these goggles, which is a shame because I really like them.  There is a clasping mechanism on each side of the goggles to hold the strap in place.  If you lift the clasps up you can move the strap and when you close the straps it keeps them in place.  The only issue is the strap has ribs in it that help hold it in place when the clasps are closed, but these same ribs make it difficult to adjust the straps when the clasps are open.  I think that I would like to try and find a mask that fits my face better.  I would like to try a mask with this kind of vision in a competitive environment to see what benefits it has over traditional goggles.      

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

6 Month Update, and Still a Fracture

I went to the doctor on Monday (7/6) and I still have a fracture. It appears to be smaller, but still it is there. I went in hoping for the best, and so did the people around me, but it is still there. 
So I go back in a month and have it checked again. I will continue to take Vit D supplements, Ca supplements, and use my friend the the Exogen 4000+ Ultrasound Bone Healing System. 
I will continue to swim, pull only, lift weights, and bike a little. Bike very little and very easy when I do. Hopefully, next time I go in there is no fracture and I can start running and biking. 
I just need to be patient, which is getting harder.
I have posted my stats for the last 6 months, including my weight.  Weight has gone up a little, to be expected.  I am getting a decent amount of weight lifting in, almost entirely upper body. The swim is continuing as it should.  The last 8 weeks has been entirely pulling, very, very little kicking.  My shoulders do not hurt as much as I would expect.  Maybe all this pulling is not as detrimental as I thought it would be.  
Of course, I have had to redo my goals.  Hopefully, I can pull some of them off by the end of the year.  I am going to pretty much take my goals from 2009 and use them for 2010.