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