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