Thursday, June 26, 2014

Some Stark improvements to the Cobb Mobb!


You'll pay for the entire Chamois, but you'll only use THE EDGE!

You too can rock the Mobb kit... with a bit less 80's retro feel!

I've had the opportunity to use my kit a couple of times now and I have to say there isn't a better suit on the market for keeping you cool. This thing was designed (and excels) at being the coolest (both fashionably and temperature wise) kit on the market... and at $99... heck most jersey's cost that.  The side pockets in the shorts are an excellent addition for those going longer (or who don't want to mess with the back pocket) and the rear jersey pocket has a zipper closure to keep your keys (or other important article) safe.

Men's Kit found HERE
Women's Kit found HERE

The other big news of course is the newest member to the Cobb family...

All that keeps running through my head is Super Troopers.

That's right, Dark Mark... he is real...right? In case you have been living under a rock, here's a link to his website. Despite the satirical nature of his blog, there is almost always some good information to be taken away from his posts... he does a great job of keeping people honest. (Like some unmentioned mask company...)

So thanks for checking out the blog again! Two days in a row! Check out the Cobb Mobb's FB page, my Facebook or Twitter (add me and I promise I'll only stalk you when I'm bored at work.)

This is post #99... milestone next week! Now I just have to figure out something to talk about!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review! The new Goofy looking lid...the Specialized Evade!

I knew I shouldn't go to the local Specialized store. I was pretty positive they would have the Evade in stock, and I was pretty sure that if I tried it on and liked it... I would inevitably buy it. If you follow the blog (even loosely) then you know I'm in love with new and exciting gear, and what's more exciting than the lid Cavendish sports. Plus... what self-respecting aero nerd doesn't own an aero road helmet... I can't very well just ride around in my Bambino on a road ride now can I...

Good enough for the Missile

Long story short, they not only had the Evade, they had the murdered out (all black for those of you without street cred) version in my size... and it was discounted $249.99 instead of the $250.00 that all the other colors were... DEAL! So without further ado, on to the review!


We're not uncovering any new revelations today... basically the helmet has been around long enough that if you're interested in it, you've read the technical data. Nonetheless, I've got to fill out this post with something, (and other people's data is a great way to look smart) so to quickly summarize.

- 46 seconds / 40k faster than the Prevail
- Around 5w difference between it and the McLaren (if you are to believe Rapp)
- Road Bike Actions "shootout" puts the Evade as a bit faster than the LG Course or the Air Attack
- Jim (Erosports) puts it as the fastest aero road helmet
- Better than the other Specialized TT option in the US (The TT02) which, admittedly is pretty dated

At $250, it's the most expensive of the "big 3" aero road helmets at the moment. It's also arguably the most "dorky" of the three, although the hockey player-esque Attack isn't a handsome helmet by any stretch. The Course is certainly the most "normal" looking helmet of the bunch, and it's definitely got some serious venting, so I can see it's draw to some.  However, this is about what I think of the Evade... so let's move on.

Putting it on for the first time:

The  cat watches with contempt as I mess with helmets instead of feeding him.

Probably my favorite thing about the Evade is the simplest thing... and that is that at it's core, it's a road helmet. No ear flaps, no convoluted system to get it on and secure, just slip it on, adjust the ratchet and clip the straps. No hassle.  The thing also feels a lot better than I had expected. I'm not really sure WHAT I expected, but I certainly didn't anticipate a comfort level rivaling that of my beloved Rudy Sterling. Of course the big S has extra padding you can add yourself, but I was comfortable out of the box.

Heating / Ride Comfort:

I broke the Evade out for a little climbing last Saturday, wondering how it would do in the heat. At 85° and Sunny at the "hard" part of the ride, I think it was a pretty ok testing ground. Here's the ride profile.

There is a climb somewhere...
The verdict - it was hot.

I mean that just in general... the helmet itself seemed to cool sufficiently. (or at least, didn't overheat noticeably) When the sun is beating on your face and you're climbing an INFINITE number of switchbacks... well anything is going to be friggin' hot. I felt like there was plenty of ventilation to keep me from having a stroke.

Almost 4 hours in the saddle and I didn't notice any discomfort with the helmet either... no weird indentions in my head or anything else alien. I give it a thumbs up as a livable helmet.

Value: (That is, the good and the bad)

There's a lot to like about the Evade. It's fast, it's flashy and like I just said, it's a helmet you can live with both in training and in racing. As a matter of fact, if the world stopped turning and I could only own ONE helmet for all my riding going forward (it'd be a cold day in hell... but what ifs for the sake of what ifs) then the Evade would certainly be my choice. Nobody is going to be upset with some free speed, and if you are a fan of the way the helmet looks (I am... I admit it's a big part of why I bought it) then not much is cooler than matte black. And let's be honest, it's sweet. Isn't that reason enough in itself?

On to the "meh" part... the price. Yes, $250 is a good chunk of money... but it's actually a lot less than I had expected it to be. $250 is priced right up there with basically everyone's (Specialized included) top of the line road helmet, and it's priced well under almost any top of the line Aero helmet. If you believed everything you read, and that everything said ~5w of the McLaren (good luck buying one of those for under $400, if you can find one.) then it'd be hard not to call the Evade a good value. Of course, disclaimers should abound (helmets are personal, don't believe everything you read, blah blah blah, Santa isn't real.) The looks also should probably fall in here... it's not for all. I got reactions that swung from awesome to hideous in the looks department.

So that leaves the bad.

Let's get this straight... if you wear this helmet, and you get beat at the County Line sprint on the shop ride... you deserve all the ridicule you get. Just accept it and move on. (Not that that happened to me...)

Seriously though, I would say the bad is the fact that we aren't limited to one helmet for every occasion. I'm positive Specialized will sell a fair number of Evades to people who either want a "do it all" helmet or people who can't get over the "goofy" aero lid look. (This just in... You are wearing SPANDEX and soaking wet. You look like a dork in ANY helmet.) However for a lot of casual racers I suspect there just isn't room in the closet. Most guys and gals are going to have a dedicated road helmet, a dedicated tri/tt helmet and that's it. Adding $250 to that starts looking a little more questionable if you aren't a gear nerd or planning on doing some breaking away in local road races/crits.

So, I'll wrap it up by saying... if you need a swiss army knife helmet, if you need a new kickass helmet, or if you're a road/crit racer that occasionally does an Omnium or TT, then this might be the helmet for you.

If you've already got a tt lid and road helmet and aren't actively looking for a breakaway lid... then you don't NEED the Evade. So pass if you don't have a use for it.

Alright, that's it for this time. Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it.

Check back tomorrow (Thursday 6/26) because there will be a special post coming. Make sure to check it out, especially if you're in the market for some new threads.

-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Let's go Fort Stormin! (Race Report)

Last year this race didn't go so well (what with pulling out and waiting for the police/medical after the guy in front of me was clipped by a truck/trailer.) as this is actually the "Smoke on the Water" course from last year and NOT the Olympic "Storm the Fort."  My primary goal was to just safely finish, with a hope to score as many points as possible in the Sprint Series. (This race counted double.)

That said, like all my sprints this year leading up to the big races, I would be "training through" it. Thursday was a tempo run and tough swim, with Friday being mercifully short and sweet 1' repeats on the bike, so I wasn't going in totally rested and ready, but excited and anxious none the less.

It's a good drive to Kingston from my house, so the lovely Jenny and myself headed out about 5a.m. I check in and bike racks are semi-marked (your row was marked, but first come first serve inside that) so I grab the end. Prime position. Josh and his dad were also getting set up, along with Terry and Lloyd, so I spent some time chatting and then finally decided I should probably warm up.

I got a long bit of riding in on the bike so I'd have a chance to scope out a little of the course, particularly the train tracks a few miles in. They are the very wide variety and at a very odd angle, so hitting them just right is of paramount importance... and even then I thought it best to slow down just a tad. Complicating things was the washed out gravel on the return trip side... I mentally make a note and carry on. They were enough of a concern I ran my Jet9 (22mm tire) instead of my HED3. (19mm)

Anyways, I get back, battle for my spot at the rack (yes...that's my stuff... no you didn't show up 20' before start and get the best spot on the rack...sorry.) and get into my swimskin. The family arrives, I get a few kisses (lucky!) and go hop in the water to warm up with the call for 8 minutes to start.


Swim - 11:36 (600y - probably long by a bit) 10th OA out of the water.

Land Ho!

Well... I thought I had 8 minutes. No sooner do I hit water than I hear the announcement for 1 minute to start... yikes! I get my face wet and get toward the front toward the middle of the river.  The gun sounds and we're off.

Moderately physical for the first minute or so, but then the waters cleared out. I'm pretty much on my own up until the second turn buoy at which point I find some feet. I hold on for a minute or two, but realize my trailblazer is going wildly off course. I correct and sail in on my own. I most certainly shouldn't have taken for granted he was sighting well. Oh well. Live and Learn. I'm out fairly early (by my estimation) but I know a few guys have gotten a fair lead on me.

T1 - 1:21 (long run from swim to transition)

Lonely Transition

I make the long run from the swim exit and quickly get my glasses and helmet on and head out on the bike. As I hit the mount line my Powertap Joule decided to fall off! A volunteer somehow catches me and I fumble trying to put it on before finally saying "F" it and throwing it to my mom who is standing at the side of transition. I hop on the bike and curse a few times. Guess I'm riding without power today.

Bike - 33:46 (13mi) 3rd OA

After getting in my shoes and up the first little incline, I drop in aero and start doing work. I pass a few places in the first few miles and think I'm probably somewhere in the top 3. I hit the train tracks just a bit harder than I had thought to and launch the aero straw cover thing off of my Torhans (2nd one in 2 races... be warned if you live in rough areas... my next one is getting a pin through it.) but otherwise come through unscathed. The rest of the ride is pretty uneventful, I push as hard as I think I can handle and still be able to run. Wish I'd had power but such is life sometimes. At the final turn back to the road leading to transition I finally see someone in front of me. (eventual 3rd place, Nicholas) I make the catch with about 1/2 a mile to go and think I'm in first. Little did I know I was actually just WAAAY behind in second place.

T2 - 00:35

I jump off the bike and am quickly running out of t2, with the guy I passed on the bike right behind me. He looks like a runner... which isn't good for me. Nonetheless, I'm not going to slow down.

Run - 26:41 (4 miles) 16th OA

Lumbering towards the finish line

And by not slow down, I mean I immediately slow down and start pacing with him. I know (from many...many experiences) that I'm bad about going out too fast off the bike, so I figure a little pacing might go a long way. He is open to working together and tells me we are way behind Bill (1st place... I hadn't even seen him in transition that morning) and that he's not feeling up to catching him. I know I'm not catching him so we have our gentleman's truce until at least mile 3 and work together.

The run course is pretty miserable (they all are if you're me) with a charge up to the fort at a little past the first mile marker (who builds a fort on a hill anyways... jeez... the nerve.) and it quickly starts to eat into how I'm feeling. Soon I'm all alone, with my pacer long since leaving me in the dust, but unfortunately I can hear somebody (David) else closing the distance between us. At mile 3 he passes me and I'm repulsed to see a "34" on the back of his leg. Sigh. Guess there will be no cruising to the finish line. I'm hurting but I've heard him breathing hard for over a mile so I muster up something and catch his heels. I sit on his back for a good ways until we come up on transition... at this point there is a long (100m'ish) path down the river, then it widens up into a boat loading parking lot where the finish line is. I come beside him and we run down the path shoulder to shoulder.

I'm not a good sprinter. My kick is more of a hop. I'm pretty sure if we get close enough for a "real" sprint then I'm going to get trounced. So as we step to the parking lot I make my move. I give it everything I've got left and fortunately my opposition is already on the rivet and lets me cross with a couple of seconds buffer. Been a while since I worked that hard at the line.

I collapse in exhaustion and lay they for a minute to collect myself.

Finish: 1:13:56 (1st AG / 4th OA)

Jenny trying to get a picture of me ;)

Sadly, since the men 40+ started after us, I am eventually kicked from the podium to 4th, within a few seconds... now I really wish I hadn't stopped for my Joule ;)

Still, I was happy. Double points for 1st in my AG gives me a safe buffer for the series in my age group, and puts me very close to the top for the overall.

We hang out and watch some other finishers, then wait for awards and finally it's time to head home. Nobody got hurt, so the race was a huge success in my book!

Now it's back to training... hard training. It's kind of "cram" time for August which is fastly approaching. Time to get in the best shape I can possibly be in!

A less dorky than normal picture of the Cobb Mobb kit.

As always, thanks so much for reading! I really appreciate it!

-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Loose Ends

This week is going to be even more scatter brained than usual... you have been warned.

First, in case you hadn't had enough comical pictures of me in my Cobb Mobb kit... here's another.

Candyland Dreams
Check out the Cobb Mobb Facebook Page, like it and like (or comment... I graciously accept all snide remarks... so long as they are funny.) my goofy picture and all the other guys and gals pictures/posts that actually put up results in races!

I mentioned the Dirty Kanza 200 last week and my buddy Jimmy's tough day... well here is his blog report on the day, which is worth a read, especially if you are a sadist. He's a bit like me (long winded) but his recounting is a close enough look into the event to solidify my stance on never doing something like that!

All the gravel. Every bit of it.

Ok, It's not a review but I just have to say how freaking awesome the book "Feed Zone Portables" is. I enjoy cooking and have always wanted something other than the usual hum-drum of nutrition on my long bike rides and man this book delivers. Besides the rice cakes I've really enjoyed the mini-pies and the egg recipes. On my recent long rides I've actually looked forward to my snacks as opposed to choking them down. To each their own, but if you want to get some fresh ideas for your next long day I highly recommend this book.

Saturday is the Storm the Fort Sprint, the next race in the Fleet Feet Sprint series. Actually it's really just a re-named "Smokin' the Water" race from the last few years. If you're a real follower of the blog you might remember that race as the one where I DNF'd due to the rider in front of me being hit by a car/trailer.  I certainly hope that we do not repeat that kind of race this year.  My goal is just to get as many points in the Sprint series as I can at this race, as it counts double. Well... my main goal is to be safe, but my secondary goal is to get the points :)

Training has been going pretty well. I've started incorporating some more speed work into my run and (knock on wood) so far the legs are holding up pretty well. My bike is also starting to look solid again... despite this past weekends 60 miles with Jimmy, who crushed me at every available opportunity... He was in pretty darn good fighting shape considering a week before he was suffering through that gravel mess. Or maybe I'm just weak :) Or maybe both! My swim is on the steady improvement, long sets are getting faster (closer to short set avg. times) and I'm trying to push my stroke to "good" as I possibly can.

So next week I suppose (hopefully) we'll have a race report. Then it'll be time to hunker down and get some real work done between then and Nationals.  Race season is here and summer is "officially" only a few days away! Time to do work!

Thanks for reading!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Backup Plan "S"

"Everybody has a plan until they get hit." - Mike Tyson

I know right... this game was awesome!

This is one of those quotes that has always stuck with me... and not just because I used to enjoy seeing Tyson pummel people.

A good number of my friends competed in the Dirty Kanza 200 over the weekend. It's a gravel grinder (read: not for me) that's about as grueling as a bike ride can be. 3 out of 4 of my buddies made it the whole way, and Jimmy made it 183/200 before being hauled back by a friendly farmer (after he collapsed. Again... he's a tough B@stard in my book.)  due to an unfortunate and untimely loss of a bottle of nutrition and an aggravated stomach.

So, to Team Cycology I say congratulations and huzzah! Well done guys.

Sometimes, we do need to pull out of a race, because we do (whatever endurance event it is) this for FUN, not to hurt ourselves or others. Death before DNF and all the other witty one liners make good bumper stickers and sig lines, but they don't make sense for those of us who have to clock in come Monday morning. I know it stinks, but sometimes prudence is a virtue.

That's pulling the plug on backup plans... but that's not what I'm here to talk about today. Today I wanted to blog a bit on the fall back of all fall backs. The plan you go to when plan b, c, d, e, and all the other plans have gone to hell in a hand basket... Plan "S."


Plan Survival (get it...S) is what you have mapped out for when your big race (or training day... I've pulled out Plan S when I got too hot on a long run before.) goes totally south.

Like Tyson says, everybody has a plan for when things are going good. "I'm going to swim x and bike y and run z and rainbows and ponies and flowers are going to accompany me down the sunshine road!" But it's really for "when we get hit" that we need the plan. How are you going to make it to the finish line of that Ironman you paid hundreds of dollars to do when you've had a meltdown with 40 more miles of activity to go? It's important to know how to handle those situations so that you can salvage a day and don't have to pull the plug.

The biggest problem most of us have is actually accepting we're in "S" mode. We blow up, maybe sit down, barf, work out the cramps or chug some coke and all of a sudden we feel better. So we take off again at the same effort level we were at before the breakdown and then a few miles later they're scooping us off the side of the road totally thrashed... we're out of our "A" race because we didn't have a plan to "complete" when things got rocky.

I can't tell you how to create your own plan S, but I can give a little insight into how I go about it. Let's say we have a bad day on race day at whatever hypothetical 140.6 we're at.

Step 1.) Identify the problem in relation to the situation.
  - I just started puking up everything I've taken in for the last few hours... 14 miles to go in the marathon,         10 hours into the race. Things are bad enough that completing > competing is the primary concern. That         means   there are 7 hours left to cover 14 miles. That's 30 minute miles before missing the cutoff... or             crawling (actually...don't crawl, you could get DQ'd.) pace.

Step 2.) New way of thinking
  - Now it's an arms race. I want to take very easy until the stomach settles, then I want to start getting some   calories back in my body, only then will I consider any "stressful" moving.

Step 3.) Don't freak out
  - Worst thing to do is lose your head. Keep thinking about the positives and keep your mind busy getting       your body back in the game. You can analyze and feel bad for yourself back on the couch... now you've       got a race to finish.

Step 4.) Execute
  - Make forward progress. That's the key to a bad day in endurance sports... keep making forward               progress, even if it's at a snails pace. One more mile, one more aid station, one more step. It doesn't have     to be fast and it doesn't have to be pretty, but if you're going to gut it out it does have to happen.

In our little made up scenario you had a crappy run, mainly a walk/jog the last half of it... but you finished with plenty of daylight to spare. Not the A race you wanted, but not a DNF either. You also didn't try to bury yourself after it was obvious you weren't going to be able to meet your "good day" goals. And hey, everyone loves a fellow out there suffering.

So have your own almost worst case scenario plan thought out beforehand. Just like any insurance, hopefully you'll never have to use it, but if you need it you'll be glad you've got it.


Cobb Mobb kits are in!

Mine just came in earlier this week and I have to say this is one comfortable kit. There is no denying it's a little radical in it's design (I at first thought I had too small a top) - almost a mankini... that's the way they are supposed to be. Supposedly cooler, and most certainly more eye catching. It's also done a great job of letting me know I've still got a few pounds to go before I'm in top race shape! I started fooling around taking silly pictures in it and thought I'd share one of my favorites... the retro style!

These tan lines are going to be EPIC.
If that isn't retro I don't know what is. You can see some of the other pictures on Facebook (you have stalked me on Facebook right? Go ahead... link is over on the side. My non-blog/tri life is even weirder than this sometimes.)

Thank you all very much for reading. I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock