Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A sort of review of The _________ Lie.

I have said it before semi seriously... there are a couple of topics I don't like to touch other than to very easily poke fun at. Unfortunately, most people who would be reading this have long ago formed their opinion on he who shall not be named, and nothing good can come from starting a holy war on my generally lighthearted blog. That said... it's my blog, I watched the documentary and while I am going to do my best to keep it in "review" disconnect from my own opinions... some will undoubtedly spill through. I don't care what you think overall about the situation... and I'm not going to argue over it. If you want to skip the stuff on Lance, now is the time to Ctrl F "banana" and that'll be LA free viewing of this post.

Looking a little rough after the Oprah interview...
Ok, so Friday night The Armstrong Lie opened in the local back alley theatre. I admit I've been interested in seeing it since it was announced. Like a train wreck... I can't get enough of the better look into "how things are were" in the peloton.  It just so happens that the missus is really into any documentary... so win/win.

Honestly, I didn't have very high expectations of this film, and although it did end up being a bit disappointing overall... it wasn't for the reasons I came in expecting. I had figured that the movie would have a rose colored tint to it, painting Lance as more of the "tragic hero" than the "anti-hero" (If you're into typecast sort of things) which I found wasn't really the case. The film does a good job of portraying it's lead as a deeply flawed human being and not a mythic hero, but at the same time does an adequate job of leaving you just a little hope that he has the potential to right a lot of the wrongs. I may be overly optimistic (and probably am) about that last part, but hey... I'm a dreamer.

As far as the film itself went, it was easy to see that they had done most of the work for the proposed original film (set to be about Lances 2009 return) and then hastily re-edited and added new footage recently. Obviously the film admits doing just that, but a little delay and a bit more meat to the "now" instead of just throwing some interviews over top of the previous footage would have went a long way in my opinion... I mean, if you're watching the movie you probably have a fairly solid grip on everything Armstrong in a historical sense... but I digress.

There was one thing really didn't set well with me. If the movie did a better than expected job of painting Lance as a "bad guy," it did a piss poor job of portraying basically anyone else accurately. You want to sell me on the Andreu's being the victims...fine, I'm not 100% on board with that, but for the films sake I'll take it... but please oh please don't sell me guys like George, Levi, Vaughters, Tyler or Landis (REALLY... REALLY... Floyd Landis??? I at least expected an honorable mention of the Floyd Fairness Fund...) as victims and/or good guys. None of them wielded the same kind of power as Lance to step on the "enemy" but none of them were innocent or deserving the positive portrait they got. This was the big stumble of the movie in my estimate.

Lance looks more human (and older) in these interview scenes than I think I've ever seen before.
Nonetheless, much like "The Secret Race" and other media on the subject, the documentary was entertaining if not overly shocking/revealing. The couple of scenes filmed in the hospital were the most revealing (to me) and did a good job reminding us(me) that there are glimmers of good in everyone.

And here is my dirty little confession... despite a general dislike for the abuse of power... the film reminded me of one thing that has been true since I have been a cycling viewer. I really enjoyed watching Lance race. Watching the clips of the old races... even the 2009 "comeback" I can't help but enjoy watching... I am entertained. :/

The safe word is Banana

Ok, so next week I'll probably not be posting since... it's Christmas! I'll be running the New Years Day 5k the following Wednesday, so I'll probably have a short write/report up sometime before that weekend.

Training this week has really beat me up (so far! and it's only Tuesday night) and next week I plan to back off and recover some. Christmas week is the perfect time to do that since there is so much happening that week and swimming is pretty much cut out (as the gym is closed for holiday hours) No need to overly stress between running to Christmas gatherings and trying to fit a ride in. It's also early enough in the season that a few easy days won't hurt down the road.

I bought myself a new lid for Christmas (making my 4th aero lid, the others being a LAS, a Wingspan and a Selector) mainly because it looks really cool (and it was priced right)

Safety first... always
Drinking that SKY coolaid I snatched up this Kask. Although the stubby tail (although it wasn't a Kask) helmet didn't test the best for me when I was in the tunnel, it did test well. Also, there are claims the benefit is more relevant with higher yaw (and I tested 5° sweeps) so it isn't a bad choice. The helmet is VERY nicely made, leather strap and all. I (unfortunately) only have the clear visor though... that has to be remedied. The Chrome look is just too cool.

Anyways, I will take this time to wish you all a happy and safe holidays. May your stockings be filled with bike parts and race entries.

Thanks always for reading

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Disconnected training.

Although you may see me running, and maybe you can even sense that our lifestyles are
probably comparable... I simply am not there.
I know right, sweet movie reference.

So winter has set in, it's getting dark before a lot of us get out of work, the holidays (and the "feasting/boozing" holidays at that) are upon us and to top it off most of our races are seemingly distant and just in the back of our mind as opposed to coming at us full force. It's enough to kill the motivation of many triathletes, and I myself am not excluded.

Don't get me wrong, I love triathlon and especially the training. However, no matter how much you love something, sometimes it just feels like work... it can even derail a perfectly good training block if you let it.

Example: Yesterday

I'm jarred awake at 5a.m. by my alarm. It's time to go run. Unfortunately, my bed is terribly comfortable, I've got a couple of aches from Mondays run/swim, and logically it's just too D*#% early to be civilized. Nonetheless, I gather my composure and turn off the blaring siren. (my alarm is across the room so I have to at least get out of bed to turn it off.)

(*this is something everyone who gets early morning training sessions in should do... it's WAY too easy to just roll over and hit "off" if the alarm is beside the bed.)

Now I'm up. I really don't feel like running today for some reason. Turn on the computer and check the schedule... 50 minutes with 6x3' @ 5k pacing. Bleh, not an easy run either. Look outside... rain. Check the temperature... 22°. Wow. That's a whole list of things that suck.

- Go back to bed
- Play on the computer
- Run in the cold/rain
- Run on the dreadmill

The first two are the most appealing, but then I'll feel like crap the rest of the day, so those are out. I really am not interested in running in the pouring rain at freezing that leaves the treadmill. How I hate that thing.

Nonetheless, I make the short drive to the gym and plug myself in for my run, surrounded by the other early morning denizens of the 24hr gym, Fox News on all the TV's and the constant droning of Lil' Wayne or whatever other terrible music is on the speakers.

And so... I disconnect.

I'm Out.
When it gets right down to it, I'm not a great runner. Not a prodigy cyclist. Certainly not a fish. There are a lot of people that have a lot of talent on me. However, I've got two skills that I really excel at (and compliment each other nicely)
1.) I can suffer
2.) I can turn off pretty much everything except what I'm focused on at that exact moment.

You're probably the same way. How many times this week have you totally tuned your boss/family/friends out. What song was on the radio on your way to work this morning? What did you have for dinner yesterday? Did Santa at the mall say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

You can tune plenty of stuff out without even thinking about it, and athletes (especially type A triathletes... not that that's you...right?) are especially good at it, yet some of the best riders I know can't ride on the trainer for 30 minutes. Why, because they are more focused on what's on the outside than what's on the inside.

I mean really... you have a 2 hour ride. In 2 hours you're going to be done either way... and you (should) be putting in 2 hours worth of work either way... so why is it you're dying to get off the bike before you're halfway done inside?
You're too focused on the wrong thing.

Soon the time has passed. I've got my run in. It wasn't the most fun thing I've ever done, but in another 30 minutes when I'm home drinking coffee...will I REALLY remember that run? Nope. But it'll be done.

So how do you train yourself to disconnect. I usually just focus on a spot on the wall and let my mind drift if I'm doing steady pace (like the treadmill or an easy ride) and if it's sets then I focus on holding a certain pace / watts / stride for the time needed. One thing you don't want to focus on is the clock. Seconds go by INFINITELY slower when you are watching them pass. Don't focus on that.

So suck it up buttercup. Go get it done.


First crash of the year this morning.

Decided to give the Planet X Fixie a maiden voyage... but being cold as heck I thought I might has well try it on my rollers.

Rollers + Fixie + First ride = well it went about as good as you could expect. My wall has a new spot in it and my elbow has a new bruise. Fortunately if that's the worst wreck of the year I'll count myself lucky :)

Bonus: Trainer workout last night
3' Tempo
2' Climbing (similar watts but low cadence)
1' spin
30" sprint

trying to hit higher watts each circuit. That will keep your mind off being on a trainer :)

As always, thanks for reading through my muddled thoughts. I appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"Not that hot" Hot to Trot (race report)

Thanksgiving weekend (along with Black Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, nobody cares Sunday and Cyber Monday) has come and gone. Hopefully you, like me, survived the family gatherings and huge crowds of people searching for the elusive "deal." (Which didn't exist this year... you could have just stayed home and bought most of it online...cheaper.)  I spent most of the weekend like a hermit...watching movies and playing with my Nexus 7 (which I scored for $99 BEFORE the weekend might I add.) However I did make my way out on Thursday morning for the 5th Annual Fleet Feet Hot to Trot 5k.

Now let me start by saying... it was cold. I mean, maybe not you crazy lumberjack hairy knuckle, big beard menly men (and women) kind of cold, but for temperate climate lovers like myself, 20° is pretty friggin' cold.

Not an accurate representation of me. I wasn't wearing a scarf.

So how did it go? Well that's the rant of this post. How do you answer that question to the 'non racers' in your life? Because I spent most of the weekend trying to find the right answer to that question. Of course, if you're reading this blog it's pretty likely I could just say "It didn't go very well" and you'd accept and understand what I meant. My goal was a 19 even or better. I finished in 19:17. End of story, right. Well, in my experience... non-racers want to know three things after the first question. (how'd it go)

1.) How far was it?
2.) How many people did it?
3.) What did you place?

If I've already said "not that great" to answer "how'd you do" then I start getting that sinking feeling.

1.) Well, it was 3.1 miles (reduces redundancy instead of saying "a 5k")
2.) There were a little over 1700 people.
3.) Well I was 10th overall... 1st in my age group.

Yeah yeah... it sounds like bragging (or just being a douche in general) basically however you read it. So in the end I came up with
"I finished well for who showed up, but didn't meet my goal."

Ok, ok... rant ending I promise :)

On to the real report

Turkey Trot 5k
Pre-race standing around (7:12-7:30a.m.)

Where's Waldo? Dead center with the red Oakleys B)

- We get called into the corral a bit earlier than I had hoped. I was dressed fairly Spartan (shorts / sleeveless shirt / gloves / arm warmers / sunglasses / race flats) so to say I was freezing would be a lacking comparison.

I work my way up to the front of the start line... right beside the family of 4...
Rant #2 Go!
Seriously, how are people so oblivious. I mean, the guy with the big microphone JUST SAID that we'd be lining up by estimated finish time. I know there are child prodigies out there, but you're telling me YOU, your wife and two children under 10 are going to run a pace that puts you somewhere even NEAR the front? Let alone first in line? I know you spent a lot of money at Dicks sporting goods trying to look stylish, and I can even appreciate the matching jackets / tights (although seriously dude... wear shorts over those things next time... nobody wants to see that.)

... and after the National Anthem we're off.

Mile 1 (6:00)

We start with a soft downhill. I make a note not to go blazing out of the gates, since a downhill start means an uphill finish. It's amazing the number of people that are falling off before we even reach the 1mi marker. I get into my groove and start making mental notes of what to be looking for on the way back to gauge my distance from the finish.

Mile 2 (6:15)

About 1/4 of the way into mile 2 is the turnaround and I cut it a bit too wide to be optimal. Now it's a drag all the way back up the slight incline enjoyed up to the turnaround. I start hurting about the time I see the flag for the 2 mile point, but it seems like I'm fairly well on pace still. As it turns out I'm a little behind, so boo.

Mile 3 (6:17)

Mile 3 hurt pretty much the whole way. I caught a couple more people who I could tell were really hurting at this point but I was fairly alone overall. At the mile 3 marker I got my first sight of the finish line... and I also realized that I wasn't going to hit sub 19. I still had a shot to PR my 5k time with a solid sprint though.

Being outclassed in sweet apparel by the dude with American flag shorts.

Mile .15 (:50)

My Garmin says that the course was .05 longer than a 5k... but Garmins aren't notoriously accurate... so take what you will. The sprint was sucky and my face was so cold that it hurt to smile, grimace or whatever other face we make when we're in the tank. I cross the line and managed to PR by a couple of seconds. Certainly far off what I came to do, but still an acceptable finish.

As soon as I finished I hugged mom and then made a straight shot  to the car and turned on the heat. I was freezing, and couldn't imagine anything being better than going home and making some coffee. (Turned out to be Irish coffee... ;) )

So, things weren't as perfect as they could have been... but I suppose that leaves some motivation for the New Years Day race.

Hopefully all of you guys had a good holiday break with the family/friends/whoever.

Until next week, thanks for reading!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


That's right ladies and gentlemen! It's time! Time for that obligatory Thanksgiving post.

The turkey, the corn, the candles... the brick wall? I'm thankful for google image search...

Well, we're quickly closing in on Black Friday I mean Black Thursday oh Yeah Thanksgiving... although lets be honest, after Halloween all that really gets shoved down your throat is Christmas. In all honesty, I saw the displays up before Halloween this year, but whatever... Christmas in July amirite?

So, in unbelievably unoriginal fashion... the things I am thankful for.
(I'm going to skip the Family/Friend/blah blah blah that you don't care about. This is just STUFF.)

- Road ID
Starting at $17.99

Remember when Yellow Bands were the rage?

IMO an essential bit of gear. I run and ride pretty often with no other form of identification. Even if you figure it's likely the MD's won't even look at it for your medical history (or whatever) maybe someone will call somebody who knows you. And, if you're witty enough, you might even get a chuckle out of the people helping you out.

- Izumi Pearl Wind Mitts
Around $30 (and under)

Bright lobster claws!

I stumbled onto these little guys on a runningwarehouse sale. It's getting cold (20°ish) here it TN and I have some real trouble keeping "comfortable" on my morning runs. Even with pretty thick gloves the wind is enough to cut through and freeze my digits. At these temps though it's kind of uncomfortable to do double wraps or really thick mitts. (sweaty hands suck too) so these things are a blessing. Lightweight, fairly warm and with a removable wind shield. My new go-to gloves for the winter.

- Short Screws

Screw you Mizuno. (Seriously, you guys should be ashamed of the Wave Rider 14)

Running on the trails by my house can be sketchy this time of year. Since most of it is in a low area it's not uncommon for water to stand longer than normal... of course when it's cold as sh*t outside that means random frozen spots at 5a.m. While for true "ice" running they make some products / shoes that would work better, for a varied terrain nothing beats an old pair of running shoes with some screws in the bottom. Not enough bulk to mess you up on the dry parts of the trail, but plenty of grip if you run into some ice. And, it's priced right!

- Eggnog

Eggnog in a Snowman mug... that's living the high life.
It's that time of year. The time that I can pick up terribly unhealthy milk and egg based product at my local supermarket/gas station. Now I know what you're thinking... can't I just make the stuff any time I want? Well... I could... but I'm pretty bad at making stuff... especially stuff that goes bad pretty quick. So, it's store brand for me. I've also started expanding my horizons with the 'nog. Most of my (adult...ish) life I've been an E&J Brandy kind of guy. This year I'm branching out, including some Sailor Jerry rum and even some Jack Daniels in the mix to shake things up. And the great thing about eggnog? If it's a terrible combination you'll never know... because eggnog covers the taste of literally anything.


All that aside, I would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. I'll be up early running my 5k (Turkey Trot... here's hoping for a sub 19) and then spending the rest of the day with the family and missus. Hopefully I'll be back next week with some positive results :)

This is why we must eat all the turkey!

Thanks so much for reading

- Christopher Morelock


Ended up with a 19:17 this morning. Good enough for 1st in M30-34 and 10th OA (out of 1500!) but not what I was going for :/

Still, it was a pretty good race, PR'd my 5k time (by 4 seconds haha)

18° of fun. Wearing my matching sweet Adios shoes and Oakley sunglasses.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's a winter sport

As race season has ended and the short cold days are upon us, I often get asked by friends/family/randoms... what kind of break do you take in the off season?
The answer usually surprises them. Race season IS the off season. I get to have fun on the weekends and generally focus on keeping form / healthy instead of getting faster. Now is when the real work gets put in. Nobody likes 5a.m. runs in 20° weather, but getting those days in in November will pay off in May.
You're doing it wrong
"Triathlon is a winter sport contested in the summer." That's a motto I've followed basically from the beginning, and I still think it's true. That said, it's also holiday time and we all need to try being social every now and then, so I've been trying to do my long workouts during the week and taking a little more time off on the weekends. Saturday I had an easy 45min run (although Wednesday I had an 11 miler) and got to spend the rest of the day messing around. Of course Sunday I had a pretty painful brick
For those who want a fun workout right under 2 hours
20' warmup  (Had some spinups, 4x1' near ftp, 2x2' tempo, the rest z2)
20' Race Pace + (260w - RPE 8)
10' spin
20' Race Pace + (260w - RPE8)
straight off the bike into a 30' Tempo run.
10' jog/walk/cooldown
Next Thursday is Thanksgiving, and my Turkey Trot 5k. I'm a bit nervous... 5k's are tough for me, just a study in misery. It's been almost a year since I've done one and I'm hopeful that I can break 19 minutes (that'd be a 21 second PR) or at the very least break my old PR.
I figure basically everyone has seen this by now... but just in case you haven't, here's the most epic Volvo commercial ever. I grew up watching Van Damme movies (Bloodsport is still one of the movies I watch every Christmas...weird I know... but it's just awesome!) and despite his rough run (remember that train wreck of a movie with Dennis Rodman... yeah me neither) the dude can still pull off some entertaining stuff. (If you have never seen JCVD, I suggest you put it on the list.)
Anyways, besides the epic splits being awesome, driving two semi's backwards like that is also pretty sweet. Also, best use of Enya music EVER. Check it out.
Was that freaking awesome or what?
Black Friday is now Black Thursday... wtf. Also, a high % of the deals this year are just regurgitated from last year (down to being the exact same item)
Any good deals? Meh. Target seems to be closing out the Nook tablets. You can get the 8gb HD for under $100. Once you jailbreak it it turns into a pretty nice tablet for that price. (Of course you have to jump some hoops to get to that point) Gamespot had the 2012 Galaxy Note for $99 earlier this month on closeout... I had a brain fart and waited too long to go to my local store and get one (or more...) sigh. That was a pretty insane deal.
On the tri related front... even more meh. Haven't seen anything too exciting out there. I'm sure most local shops will have some kind of deal, but nothing that will get me out of bed. I'm more of a Cyber Monday kind of guy anyways.
Thank you everyone for reading. As always, I appreciate it! Happy training!
- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Turning 30 and setting goals.

First... look at this monster of a cat eating my balloon... :D

Well, there is no more hiding it... my 20's have officially ended. It's funny, looking back I can pretty much divide my 20's into three phases.

- My early 20's, when I knew everything about anything and had everything worked out for the rest of my life (that is, up to the next day / weekend at least)

- My mid 20's, when I stubbornly held on to the choices I had made in my early 20's, grinding on towards my ideal outcome.

- My late 20's, when I accepted that I didn't know crap about basically anything, and that my life was open to new things every day.

I think the biggest thing I've learned over the last decade is to let things that don't really matter go. I used to be terribly hot headed, running friendships and relationships into the ground. I convinced myself that I was "no nonsense" and that I liked the roller coaster ride, but actually I was just an asshole. Don't get me wrong... I'll always have that good old Tennessee boy side to me, but I think I've grown a lot in that I can now look at things and laugh whereas 10 years ago I would have been ready to fight.

Enough retrospective nonsense though. I'm 30, I had a great birthday (thanks much in part to the wonderful Jenny, who got me a very thoughtful present, below) with my family and friends and I even got an 11 mile run in...and hey, my knees didn't even hurt!

I'm a big Charlie the Unicorn fan. Can't believe she found a T-shirt to proclaim it! Awesome!

Anyways, birthday aside, it's time to start setting up the race schedule for next year, along with a couple of goals.

This is going to be (hopefully) a big year for me. I've had a long stretch of "healthy" training (closing in on a year with no real hiccups) and I've got a couple of big races already locked in (or at least paid for) so I'm hoping for big things. Of course hoping and executing are totally different, but we'll see.

First, the schedule. No cycling races (yet) and probably not all of the sprints I'll end up doing. Not totally sure how much pure cycling I'll be doing this year, probably less than 2013.

Current Race Schedule for 2014

Turkey Trot 5k - November 24

New Years Day 5k - January 1

Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon (1/2) - March 30

Trideltathon - April 14(?)

REV3 Knoxville Olympic - May 18

Westside YMCA Sprint - July 6(?)

USAT Nationals Olympic - August 9

USAT Nationals Sprint - August 10

REV3 Cedar Point 1/2 Aquabike (Aquabike Nationals) - September 7

Goals for 2014

- Swim a 20 minute (or very close) 1500m in the pool by April.

- Sub 19 minute 5k by the first of the year. Should be there.

- Sub 1:30 at the Knox Half. I was right around 1:32 last year so hopefully this one is in the bag. 1:27 or under is what I'll shoot for.

- Have a good race at Rev3 Knoxville. I've so far never had a good day there. If things go well, I will be shooting for a 2:05 or so Olympic.

- PR at the Westside Y Sprint (my "tri birthday" race)

- Finish in the top 19 (Q for team USA) at USAT Nationals Oly/Sprint. Need to be fast...  as in 2 even Oly for a shot. Going to have to have a good day and everything to go well leading up to it.

- Finish on the OA podium at Aquabike Nationals. I think I have a shot at the win but it'll depend on who shows up.

- Stay healthy all year, build towards longer distance racing in 2015.

- Have fun :)

So that's the rough outline at the moment. The goals are set, so now all I have to do is meet and exceed them... right!

Thanks for reading through my muddled thoughts. I appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

(Birthday Ninja!)

Neon Yellow jacket and giant Garmin, the ultimate urban camo.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

REVIEW! The long term thoughts on the Planet X Stealth

As most of the parish knows, I've just recently moved on from my beloved Planet X Stealth. While she'll still be around (as a fixie) for coffee rides and trips to the beach, the race duty torch has been passed on to the Cervelo. So, as a last homage to the trusty steed that's seen me through everything from sprints to full 112mi splits, I thought I'd post up my long term thoughts. What I like, love and hate about the Stealth.

Built up for the races

The Review:

The Stealth is no spring chicken. Even before Planet X USA arrived and made the frame more readily available to us(a), the frame had already had a fairly full life in Europe. Nonetheless, the frame is still fairly popular years later, mainly due to it's hard to beat price point for a full carbon frame... and so I still consider it a relevant option for those looking for a tri / tt bike on a budget... but is it worth it at any price? Let's have a closer look.

The Good:

What is there to like about the Stealth? Plenty. (although the things I like and dislike may actually clash at certain points.)

First,  I think the bike usually gets mentioned when price is an issue. At $499 for a frame (minus fork for some reason :/ no bueno Planet X ) and $1699 for a complete (rival) bike, the Stealth pretty much stands alone at price point for a NEW full carbon tri rig. At $1700 you are comparing it to bikes like the Shiv (aluminum) and S32, both fine bikes as well... but let's be honest, some people (for whatever reason, misguided or not) love / want carbon... well this is about a cheap as you can go without falling into the land of Dengfu / Ebay Chinarello bikes.

The fit on the Planet X was what originally drew me towards it. You can get LOW on this bike.

Getting down
It's not terribly long like my P3 is, which in the end was possibly a bit more optimal for something like my Mantis position. Of course, finding the right size bike is always step one... but I think the stealth could fit a pretty wide variety of bodies with it's fairly lax seat tube angle (76°) if you sized properly. Having a bike that lets you get into a good aerodynamic position is also very important (more important the frame itself being aerodynamic in the grand scheme) and the Stealth should have no problem doing that.

The other thing I really liked about my Stealth is the ease of working on it. All the routing is external and all of the components are non-integrated. Not ideal for aerodynamics maybe, but when you're sitting in another state with minimal tools on hand and need to make adjustments there is something to be said about simplicity. Try working on a nose cone shiv with nothing but a frame bag multi tool. Also, both derailleur hangers (the braze for the FD) are replaceable, which isn't a big deal until you NEED to replace it. Also, the horizontal rear dropouts / screws are done correctly... the way other big companies should have been doing it all along. 

Weight of course isn't that big of a deal for a TT bike, but if you are a weenie you could certainly do a lot worse than the Stealth. Mine was almost always sub 20lbs even with some pretty hefty wheels. (H3/Powertap) Even though I didn't use it much, the Planet X fork is very light.

Ride is more of an n=1 thing than most people would probably like to admit, but I have to say, in my experience this is a hell of a predictable ride. You point it straight and it delivers you straight ahead.

And hey, the thing was good enough for Cadel at one time, although Ridley didn't have much to offer.

Evans on the re badged Stealth

The Bad:

So, on to the bad stuff.

First, the elephant in the room. For a Time Trial bike, the Stealth is not all that aerodynamic. External cable routing, non-integrated components, 1 1/8th head tube and possibly most damning... aero *looking* shapes instead of true aerodynamic shapes. It looks good sitting alone, but put a "true" aero bike beside it and even the untrained eye can pretty quickly make out that the Stealth isn't terribly slippery in the wind. Of course, like I said above, the big part of the equation when it comes to aerodynamics is getting your body in the right spot, but nonetheless... the frame can make a big difference when seconds count. It's pretty bad that when I took my trip to A2, one of the first things said to me was "you need a better bike." Yikes.

Another small gripe is that Planet X USA doesn't sell a full frameset at $499. While the Planet X fork is perfectly fine, I don't think it's a $150 option. Seems like for a frame like this, you'd get the full deal for $500. I guess that's asking for a lot, but the stealth frame sounds less like a deal at $650.

That's really all I can fault the Stealth for. It doesn't have the go fast goodies that you're going to find on most of the new high end (and even mid tier) bikes of the current age... but you can only expect so much for the age of the frame. (and $ spent)

The Verdict?

So whether the Stealth is right for you (once you take care of the obvious...does it fit) is a matter of what you are looking for.
I think there is better value (in this case speed to $ spent) in used bikes currently. In the $1700 price range you could likely be sitting on a P2c / B16 / Transition / etc, possibly with some change left over for other goodies. That said, a lot of people have issues with buying a pre-owned bike. All of those bikes are also going to be a bit less user friendly, and a lot of triathletes aren't the best at maintaining their bikes. We should also keep in mind that the Stealth is an entry level bike... it's a little unfair to compare it to mid-grade + bikes.
If you're looking for a predictable ride, carbon, plenty stiff, (really... what bike isn't though) well built (mine has taken a beating and keeps asking for more) and, lets be honest, quite handsome looking bike (especially the black ones :D ) then you could do a lot worse than the Stealth.
Here's a look at my Stealth currently... patiently waiting on me to finish rebuilding her.

Yes, I know my garage is a sh*tstorm of bike parts... Imagine when it was filled with car parts...

Thanks for reading, today is my last day in my 20's, so I thought I'd finish with a changing of the guard and farewell to my old war horse. On to being an old man!
- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The triumphant return from Florida.

Well, as sad as I am to say it, I'm back to Tennessee. Unfortunately my phone does not play terribly well with Blogger, so it was either skip a week of updates or post some butchered text of what a good time I was having. Being the apathetic fellow that I am on vacation, I chose the former.

While there I didn't do a whole lot as far as training goes. The idea was to unwind, drink a little too much, eat some amazing seafood (Stinkys - the best seafood I've ever had) and just have a damn good time before starting my build for Nationals in 2014. That said, I got to swim every day, had a group ride with Robin's Bike & Fitness in Destin, and went on a few coffee rides with the missus. I even ran once or twice just to make sure I didn't forget how :) And of course long walks on the beach!

So being that there isn't much more interesting to report, this week I just want to show off some of the beauty that is 30a. (and some other fun stuff)

The view from our deck. Emerald Coast living up to it's name.

Sunset on 30a... if only the love birds would get out of the picture!

Rice cakes... bacon.. fried bananas and nutella! I'm not sure if the is the ultimate Gluten Free breakfast,
but it was certainly one of my new favorites!
Spider Man at the beach. Getting to swim in the ocean every day is amazing.

Mine? Mine? Mine? Mine?

Another sunset picture. I've seen a lot of nice places, but this view right here is one of my favorites.

From Bud & Ally's patio. Another awesome shot of the sunset.
Myself and the ever elusive Jenny waiting for the sunset (and having a couple of drinks)
Back to some serious business once I returned to work. Testing out the new (to me) Giro Selector.

A new toy to play with. -17° drop version too! Go Ebay Sniping!
Didn't want to leave and felt relaxed and energized, so I would call vacation a success. That's the point after all, right? I'm afraid for the next foreseeable future I'm going to be grinding towards what we have dubbed a "holy @#%$ fast" time for Nationals... I guess we're still yet to see whether my body (and sanity) can hold up for it, but it's worth giving it a go, right!?
Anyways, as always, thanks for reading. Now I have to go apply some aloe to my sunscorched body.
- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Florida on my mind

I've got a confession to make.
I'm ready to get the hell out of Tennessee. I'm ready to say *F* structured training. I'm ready to gain a couple of pounds binge eating and drinking mojito's. I'm ready to sleep in past 5a.m. for a while.

I'm ready for vacation.
30a. One of the best sunrises I've ever seen.
No, this isn't some cry for help. I'm not about to re-structure my life or anything like that... from the end of October to next August (Nationals) I plan to train my ass off. After Nationals I plan to move back to long course racing and continue to set PR's at every distance. I plan to get a ticket to the big island. All that is on the horizon.

But right now, I just need a break.

Physically I've ended this season in better shape than I ever have. In 2010, after the Full Rev3 event, I had screwed up my lower body so bad (cough...undertrained...cough) it took me two months of doing nothing to feel "normal" again. In 2011 I raced Augusta with a jacked up Hamstring that kept me from running almost until the beginning of 2012. At the end of 2012, after ramping up mileage to work on my run, I re-injured my hamstring and spent Jan/Feb of this year limping around. This year... I feel good. (knock on wood) Not just good, but really good. I'm hitting my best numbers ever, I'm recovering day to day better than I have before, and I'm motivated to crush 2014 and 2015. 

And yet I wake up to run this morning (10 miler on a Wednesday...yawn) and all I can think about is surf, sand and sun. I think that's a good and healthy thing... despite feeling good, my body likely could use a week off from constant pounding, and when I start to look at my bike workouts and think "uhgg..." I know it's about time I take a mental break. Sometimes we (and myself especially) get caught up in the whole "more is more" thought process, but sometimes less really is more. I mean, everyone deserves a break...right :)

I plan to wake up next week, go for a few runs on the beach, pedal to a couple of coffee shops / sand bars, and swim in the ocean... but mainly I am going to be focused on recovering, doing a little yoga (I know, not my thing usually) in the morning and doing a crapton of Stand Up Paddleboarding. All mixed with a bunch of time being a lazy bum.
So next week I may or may not have a regularly scheduled post. It'll be short if I do (it'll be from my phone) but hopefully I'll be able to throw a picture or two up... if only to make everyone else jealous.

Oh yeah... the Cervelo build is finished. Whether or not the 100k bars will work out is yet to be seen (first "ride" on them outside this afternoon if it doesn't rain) but I'm happy about the position and the buildup. First few rides on the trainer have been promising.

All built up and nowhere to go...

Posted again (added late last week) for position reference. Feels good man :)

And so as always, thanks for reading. I'll be back with more...later.

-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Scattered Mind

LOTS of stuff going on, pulling me in about a thousand different directions. It seems like about every post I've put up lately has been scatterbrained, and this one is no exception.  Bear with me, I think there's some good stuff if you can pick through the ravings :)

First, there's a project that has been looming in the background of my life.  It all started last year when I noticed a crack in the top tube of my Scott CR1. Being that I had not taken the time/care to go have my CR1 stamped/checked once a year (really...) it was out of warranty. Nobody was sure whether or not it was a crack in the carbon or a crack in the paint... so, only one way to find out, sand part of it down and see what's beneath.

It wasn't cracked (woohoo) but then I was at a crossroads. I could do some touch up and go back to riding... OR... I could take the rest of the paint off of it. Of course the tinkerer in me was up for the challenge (although as you could guess, the apathetic part of me was not) and so after quite a few snags (including having a little of the weave come undone and finding some deep snags in the carbon) I'm finally ALMOST ready to put it back together. The one thing I did want to do (besides throw a layer of carbon back over the area's that came loose) was add a little strength to the BB area. Scott seemed to have done a mediocre job there, as I've read a couple of (probably exaggerated) horror stories about the older CR-1's shell just coming out under load. And so I guess I'll tell the story with pictures...

Step 1: Cutting the shape that will be applied.

Step 3: After a healthy bit of epoxy (Which is step 2: sorry, no picture as I was on a fairly fast timeline before it dried) and then since I am too poor to afford a vacuum bag system, the ghetto route of taping.

Then, we wait for 24 hours

Voila! A tougher Bottom Bracket. Here's where the vacuum bag would have made things more even,
but some light sanding and a little filler should work too.
So, with any luck I haven't totally %$#!*'d up my Scott, I guess we're still some paint work (and re-assembly) away from knowing for sure though.

So as that project is going on I've also been working on building up the Cervelo. The Scott 100k bars have turned out to be a bit of work to get set up (needing to find independent pad mounts and brakes that would work on the bar was a bit of a headache.) but now we're finally back to being ready to start working on the fit and finish the setup. Here's a picture from yesterday. (just installed the pads... which are part of an old Deda Elementi I found on Ebay for $5!)

What color Handlebar Tape... That's the important question here... Maybe American Flag to really set it off :)
Speaking of bike fit... here's the thread I started on Beginner Triathlete that goes on about fit. We've gotten de-railed a bit on and off, but I think there is some good info in there. The main takeaway shouldn't be listening to me or anyone else specifically, but just to open yourself up to the possibility that you could go lower, you could go higher, more fore/aft, or whatever... don't be afraid to experiment (just write down your current measurements before you change something... and for Zeus' sake, lower your friggin saddle.)

Finally, on the long term scale, I signed up for Age Group Nationals in 2014. I (along with my coach) have decided that next year (and the rest of this year) will end up being a bit of a transition phase back toward long distance racing. Less sprints (although likely still quite a few) and less bike racing, more Oly's and 1/2's with a heavy emphasis on going to Milwaukee in the best shape of my life.  Rolling off that I'll probably move directly into Full Ironman (Lou or Chatt one) training, hopefully with a lot more speed to work with. The original goal was to do that in 2014, but with the goal of sub 10hrs, I think another year of working on getting as fast as possible is worth the time.

Next week... who knows what I'll have to talk about. The week after I'll be gone on vacation so updates may be sporadic then...  but hopefully I won't be totally silent.

Until next time, thanks so much for reading

-Christopher Morelock

Picture of the fit
Free plug for Cycology Bicycles

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Finding the right bar for me.

No no... not that kind of bar. (Bonus Points if you know the name of the bar above)
Aerodynamics. Terribly important to some, somewhat important to most. At a certain point (in triathlon especially) you reach a place where safety and handling are compromised at an unacceptable level. There's also the line of thought that at "extremes" you sacrifice more speed in power output than you gain by being more slippery (although Boardman and Obree both seemed to do fine in extreme positions) in the wind.

The key, and my quest in my P3 build is to find the absolute line and straddle it. So, let's look at what we "know." (or at least what we think we know)

- Lower in the front is usually faster.
- Narrower shoulders is usually faster.
- Less surface area (the bars) is usually faster
- bigger than 3:1 shapes are usually faster
- FOR ME (from the tunnel) 25° of tilt is faster than flat (mantis'ish)

This is (not an exact quote) something I remember Dr. Coggan saying on getting a "fast" position a long time ago.

Drop the elbow pads to where the shoulders were close to level with the hips, move the pads in to where the arms were as narrow / narrower than the thighs, tilt the aerobars up slightly, and ride hard to find where the saddle needs to be.

So. Back to the bars. The first thing to do is come up with a list of what bars are "fast," and start the process of elimination.

- 3T Ventus
- USE Tula
- Vision Trimax
- The older HED 1 piece bars
- Zipp Vuka Aero
- Felt Devox (4:2:1)
- 3T Aduro

There is, unfortunately, a common theme amongst these bars. While all of them are slippery, they sacrifice a LOT of adjustability. The 3T offerings are pretty much totally static (what you buy had D@mn well better work) And although the other bars have a bit more room to work, none of them are going to let me get here...
Possibly still not low enough.
... without a ton of work. Even Tollakson (the "mad scientist" of triathlon) is using a 3-pc setup much like the one above.  Both Specialized and Bontrager have started incorporating tilt adjustments to their bars, but the Speed Concept bars (at least the 9 series... the ones I'd want) are proprietary and the Specialized look like they have excessive stack to get all the parts in there to let you adjust them.

Man... I remember when bike stuff was easy.

So, that leaves some options...
1.) Stick with my current setup. Not sexy, but it works.
2.) Buy one of the fast bars and buy aluminum / pipe bender to make extensions with a deep enough bend to "emulate" 25° tilt.
3.) Make my own bars

Or... Throw caution to the wind and go full on Aero or Die...

Scott 100k bars
 The Good stuff
+ Let me have any angle I want
+ Very little frontal area
+ Low stack
+ Look awesome
+ Aero

The Bad
- Require some "interesting" brake options (I think I prefer CX brakes over Vision Crab Claws)
- No basebar probably takes some getting used to
- The Die part in "aero or die"

Of course, being the kind of guy that has a soft spot for "sweet" things, (And these are sweeeet) I immediately bought a set on ebay.  As soon as they come in I'll be installing them and trying to dial in the fit... after that... we'll put their name to the test before it gets too cold out. Plus, being from Knoxville, I kind of have a little hero-envy of Mr. Bostick

Riding a Hooker... a man after my own heart. Also... 650 front 700 rear and a sloping top tube... awesome way to get drop.

Wish me luck!

Speaking of aero... What about Castroviejo's position from the TT Championships?
Would really like to see his Cda vs. being up just a little bit.
He actually looks (from this angle anyways) like he is bending back down past a flat chest.  While he wasn't close to the top of the group presented... he was still plenty fast.

And while we're talking about fast

Imitating Cadel Evans "Scoop"???
Holy #%^*!& Tony Martin was INSANE. He would have been competitive in the TEAM time himself. What a beast. Not that Wiggo and Fabio weren't also very impressive (and I thought Phinney did pretty well despite the fact that he seemed to not be happy with 5th. He's a good TT'er but I'm not sure he's on the same level as the big 3 yet.)  So of course that settles all the debates... the Shiv is the fastest bike, and Clincher Zipps are the fastest wheels :) Right?

Anyways, hopefully next week I can have some pictures of the Aero or Die setup, and maybe a little thought on bike fits.

Thanks so much for reading! I appreciate it immensely!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Interlude (from important things)

First and most importantly - CHECK OUT THESE SWEET SHADES

80's Oakley Factory Pilots... I have to be faster channeling my inner Lemond...right?

The last week has been rough. Due to my smartphone being far smarter than I am I ended up flipping some workouts last Tue/Wed. Normally not a big deal, but it ended up sandwiching a long run between two hard bike workouts. The result? Me having to cut the second bike workout and then cutting my long ride in half on Sunday. Some rest is necessary even for the most ambitious of us it seems.

Fortunately these things (some people call it life) happen, and when they do you just adjust. No need to panic.

My swimming on the other hand is coming along nicely. I've been getting tips from some of the local "fish" and I can tell it is really helping. Most annoyingly, my left foot darts out on my right stroke, breaking the "tube." It's something that I've got to work on... even if it's only costing me a couple of seconds per race, it's time I desperately need. Still, after my result in the Storm the Fort swim, I can't be too unhappy with how things are progressing.

Running is pretty static at the moment, I'm still increasing volume, although it won't "really" be going up until after I come back from the beach. Saturday I had a 90' run in what I can only describe as the aftershock of the Great Deluge. Going out it was just pouring down rain, but at the turnaround point (you know... 5 1/2 miles from home) I noticed that the trails weren't draining fast enough. By the time I got on my way back, I had to do my best Oregon Trail impression and ford a couple of floods!

In non-training news... it's time to build the Cervelo!

While not a TOTAL swap from the Planet X (Which is on it's way to Single Speed land) it is certainly going to be accepting a lot of donations. Here's the build sheet as it looks so far

Trying to get the measurements set in the "Bicycle Graveyard"

- Cervelo P3(aluminum) frame
- Cervelo aluminum (possibly end up with carbon) aero seatpost
- Ceramic Speed Bottom Bracket
- Dura Ace 7800 Crankset (170mm)
- Osymetric 56/42 Chainrings
- Dura Ace 7800 Front Derailleur
- Dura Ace 7900 Rear Derailleur
- Tririg Omega Front / Rear brake Calipers
- Alligator I-links and I-link mini's for cables
- Arundel Chrono Aero Bottle

I've also imported my cockpit from the Planet X, however I am itching to try out a 3T Ventus (or maybe a USE Tula) on this build. The upside is that the Ventus is a nutty slick aerobar. The downside is that it's a very "fixed" cockpit. To emulate my position will require a good amount of tinkering and adjusting/sawing/dremeling/whatevering to make it work. I'm down for the challenge, just not at the price Ventus bar's generally bring. If I lucked into a good deal I'd certainly give it a try though.

The stem (which wouldn't be an issue with the Ventus) I'm using is a Ritchey adjustable. This is a rock-solid stem I use on pretty much all of my bikes, but that said, I'd like to track down the "big daddy" LOOK Ergo-stem. Unfortunately these things are pretty rare (especially a non-threaded one) but I have my eye out.

Lastly is the fork. The stock "Cervelo" one (before the Wolf) is a fine fork, but I'm much more interested in hunting down a Blackwell Research Time Bandit or an Argos (MDT?) Flat blade fork. Again, rare parts, especially when they have to be 1" size. Still, the hunt goes on.

Wheels will of course be my old standby Hed3 front (with Aerowing) and Powertap rear (with GP4000s probably) and latex.

I'm also considering trying to build my own cockpit. It's probably a pipe dream (and of course i'm terribly poor at FINISHING projects.) but it would be really sweet.

I have been working on my carbon fiber work and I did a repair on a carbon steerer that was cracked. Everything looks like it's good to go (other than needing sanded smooth) no way this thing isn't as good as it was from the factory. (If not stronger) I guess I may end up being the crash test dummy though...

Overwrapped it most likely... but I wanted to err on the side of "more" instead of "less."

Well, that's it for this week. Thanks for reading :)

- Christopher Morelock