Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New Round of Blood Work

I had just straight up forgotten about my labs earlier this year... that means it was a good long break between my last test and this one, so I was a bit nervous about how things would look.

The good news is that my nutrients are looking good. Some of the ones I have had issues with in the past (Ferritin, VitD particularly) were looking very good considering the time lapse, so I was very happy with that. Magnesium is holding pretty steady, but considering I supplement it fairly heavily that's not "great." I've picked up some topical magnesium to add after hard workouts, so hopefully that will bring my numbers up slightly. My insulin levels dropped a good bit (putting me back in the normal range) which was great!

The bad news is that my cholesterol, which has always been high, is now starting to look high in pretty bad ways. Dietary changes and adding some high quality fish oil to my regimen will hopefully remedy it and put it back in the right area, and with any luck the fish oil will have the added benefit of helping with inflammation a bit.  I'm not terribly concerned with these numbers, but it's something that is trending in the wrong direction, and as I'm not getting any younger the time is now to try to curtail any further decline, rather than to sit idly and then possibly develop a truly serious problem down the road.

The other, other bad news is my Thyroid results, which also continue to go in the wrong direction.

Depending on what you read from who and what test you take from where, my numbers are on varying scales of "not great," and unfortunately aren't looking like they are getting better. Since I first started paying attention to my blood work in 2014 these numbers have been high, but they've continually went in the wrong direction, which is starting to become a bit more concerning.  We've decided that it's best to get further blood work done for possible autoimmune issues to see if we can get a clearer idea of the big picture. I'll save any speculation, as the rabbit hole of playing google doctor really isn't how I want to spend my days! Hopefully no big deal.

As far as how I feel... well pretty great. I've started to really peak (which was unintentional, but the way my body responded to a shift in training) and with no races left on the schedule I have been on the hunt for something to waste the fitness on. I've nailed down something, but I'll save that for another post.

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Pump it up!

I enjoy racing, and I enjoy training. But, I also really enjoy other parts of cycling, including the gear and the history.  So when I can pick up something that has some historic feel to it that is also pretty cool and as a bonus, quite useful... well I jump at the chance, especially if it's fairly cheap.

So, as you may know if you've read for a while, I like Silca pumps. The new Super Pista is a great bit of kit that I use every single day. In my garage I also have an older Super Pista (mid 2000's I'd guess) hooked up with a Hirame adapter I use on my race wheels. And just a couple weeks ago, I picked up an old (stamped 1989) Pista pump. With Silca re-releasing the Pista just recently, it seemed like a great time to snatch up a little piece of old school kit to play with.

This specific one was listed on ebay in non-working order. It seemed the previous owner had given up on it many years ago and it had sit in neglect since then. For $30 the majority of the pump was in great shape though, with some chipped paint (which adds to the panache of a pump like this in my opinion.) but otherwise pretty nice. Yellow is a flashy, nice color, probably my favorite behind Molteni Orange.

After it arrived I took stock of the problems. Primarily, it was simply that the leather washer had likely never been changed and had a couple of rips in it. The hose was in fairly good condition for it's age, but I added that to the list of replacement parts as well. Finally, the gauge. It seemed like it was still functioning, but without the pump working it wasn't possible to know if it was holding any accuracy... unfortunately it was almost certainly not after so many years, so a replacement gauge was the final piece. Fortunately Silca sells a rebuild kit for all their pumps, so it didn't take much work to get all the pieces necessary.

Garage pumps

Once I rebuilt the pump I tested the accuracy of the gauge. Unfortunately it was, as expected, miles away from accurate, somewhere around 25psi different from my digital gauge. That was unfortunate, the replacement gauge from Silca certainly looks good (and more importantly, it matches the vintage look of the original) but I was a bit remiss that I would lose the sweet 240 max psi from the original. Sad, but function of fashion.

Very sad days... 16 bar is a nice inflated number (Oh I've got puns)

Once it was back together and freshly updated, it was time to put it to the test. How well did it work?

My super unscientific test. Blow up a 22mm Tubular from 0psi to 100psi with the three Silca pumps.

1989 Pista - 21 full strokes
circa 2000 Super Pista (w/Hirame) - 18 full strokes
current Super Pista - 13 full strokes

Generation gap!

No big surprises there, the longer the barrel, the less strokes required. It's also fair to say that the "feel" improves as they get newer. Nonetheless, the old Pista did a fine job pumping up the tire. For what is essentially a much good bit more portable pump it did what you'd want from a pump you threw in the back of the car.

So, a new toy to use. If it's like my other pumps it's in for a lot of use... err, more than it's seen in the past 30 years. I just thought I'd share it, I think it's great that Silca sells most of the parts to keep your pump running for a good long time... of course now I'm hoping I won't have to fall back on that for many, many years to come!

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Lifenerding? Upgrade it all!?

I like to geek out on stuff. From what you guys read week in and week out (right? I hope so anyways) that primarily means bicycle related things.

While that is more than accurate, it also spills over into almost every facet of my life. I obsess on just about everything... what knives go in the kitchen (Tojiro) what hex keys to use (Wera) or even what boxer briefs to wear (Spanx... yes for men) all of this after hours of research. Why? I dunno... it's just something I sort of enjoy doing.

But that said, there are some glaring weaknesses in my obsessiveness when it comes to my own performance. For such a nerd about aerodynamics, tire rolling resistance and drivetrain efficiency, I really lack when it comes to making my own body as finely tuned as I can. I've always been more of a "train hard and then when I'm done I'm DONE" type of person.  So I've been thinking about trying to see if I can apply myself (my teachers always said I didn't do much of that) to this in the same way's I've applied it to technology.

To start with (and hopefully not bite off too much at once) it's going to be an easy one. Proper cooling before a race. I've toyed with it in the past, and by that I mean I've poured water on myself and once I tried to put an ice pack down my back for the State TT (which turned out to be a cold/hot pack... which was a disaster once it melted) but after speaking with some fellow's in the know... I ordered a cold vest (pretty cheap on amazon actually! Same one the pro teams use so far as I can tell) and some menthol cooling spray. The cooling spray shows no benefit to actual performance in the studies I looked at, but perception was reported to be cooler in all cases. While that's not an actual gain, if it makes me feel a little better while I'm suffering on the bike, I'll consider it a win. The ice vests do have a positive effect on performance (well... lowering core temp does technically) so fortunately that money will hopefully end up well spent. There are some other area's of temp control (a slushy for example) that are definitely worth exploring, but these two should give me a chance to test it out.

Next is sleeping.  Like (I'm guessing) most of you, I don't think much about sleeping. Maybe I've used my Withings Activite to "monitor" it for a while (until the new wore off the feature) but really, that information, even if (and that if is a very big one, as I'll get to) it's accurate, doesn't really tell you what is important. Most of the "sleep trackers" on the market really only guess. Some more accurately than others, but at the end of the day, they are relying on HR and motion to estimate what kind of sleep you're getting. To really dig down you need some EEG readings. If only there was a machine that did that besides actual medical equipment.

Fortunately, years ago ZEO made just such a product. Unfortunately, probably due to timing (around the time of wearable fitness/sleep trackers a la fitbit) and the necessity to wear the goofy band to bed (I'm sure my wife will love it!) the company went under, despite good reviews and data collection of things like deep sleep and even REM. Although there is no longer official support for the Zeo, there is a fairly loyal community behind them, and it's still possible to get it to work. So, after perusing ebay, I ordered a used one. The goal behind this is to first start tracking my actual sleep and how much of it i spend in the different "zones" at night. Once that's established, I'll start making changes to see if I can maximize the amount of time spent in deep sleep. Is that worth anything? I think so, although I'm still trying to learn as much as possible in this area before I make any concrete statements. It should make a great project regardless of anything else.

It's also time to have my blood work done once more. With any luck everything will be a-ok after my "race season" and the bit of weight I've put on. We shall see!

Thanks for reading, a lot of randomness I know.

-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Race Report: ORV Time Trial

After a string of second place finishes, I finally managed to nab myself a top step. On the way, I also set a new PB on the ORV course, smashing last year's time. But it wasn't quite as smooth sailing as I had hoped.

For a short time trial (7.6 miles) I like to get in a pretty good warmup. So we arrived on site a little over an hour early, and I found some of my friends who had scouted out a shady area (it's still amusing to me that we "warm up" in 95° weather) and started setting up. When I took my bike out of the truck I saw that I had pinched the tube in my rear wheel installing the tire and now I had a flat that would have to be changed.

Fast forward another hour... my hands are in ruins, I've bent at least one tire lever, and I've given up on trying to get the super tight Vittoria G+ reinstalled and settled for the Specialized Turbo Cotton... You KNOW a tire is tiiiiighttttt (My friend Tony, who also gave up the skin on his hands to help me seat the tube under the tire, called them 695c tires) when you consider the Spec TC to be the "easier" one to install. Finally, with around 10 minutes to my start time, we have the bike back together. My wife and mother pin my numbers and I throw on my shoes and helmet... the bad news is I didn't get to warm up... the good news is I got a heck of a warmup fighting that tire!

I jump out on the road to check the brakes and shifter, and as soon as I grip the brake I can feel that my headset has worked it's way loose. Jeez... just like a car, a bike can brake down just sitting in the garage. Cue the whole "Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance" saying running through my mind... So the choice is either miss my start time or ride it the way it is.

I make my way down to the start tent and try to get my attention focused on the job at hand. I was in the lucky position of going last, so I only had people in front of me to pick off, which always helps me when it comes to focusing. Finally, after all the hassle getting to the line, we're down to the 3,2,1... Go time.

photo credit to master photographer Tony Falin

Orv's course is short, but it's lumpy in pretty much all the wrong ways, and I've found it's easy to pay for burning the matches too fast. I come out of the start nice and controlled and quickly find my way into the bars. My goal is to push for somewhere a little higher than my 20' power for most of the ride, driving it up a bit on the uphills and letting it dip slightly to recover on the downhills. I didn't wear my heart rate monitor because I didn't want to see the numbers I'd likely be hitting, blowing up was a possibility we had discussed and would rather see than a soft race. So on I went. Making my way onto the on ramp to Hwy 95 the course starts throwing the rollers, something I've almost decidedly gotten worse at since adding 20lbs to my frame.  As the turn onto Bear Creek Road comes into sight I am in the awkward position of needing to make a pass. I decide to burn a match and really put in an effort to get ahead before we go into the turn so that I've got free road to go. It's right on the limit of too much and it takes me a moment to recover, but I find my cadence again and just keep telling myself it's almost over. The back end of Bear Creek road is generally downhill, but still with some quick inclines and some overall mediocre pavement. As I make the final sweeping bend headed for the finish I pour everything I've still got in the tank (not much) into it and really hammer down. I pass my 5th rider in front right before crossing the line and stop the clock in 16:51, about 20 seconds faster than what we had set as a target.

For Reference
2016 - 18:15
2017 - 16:51

It was great to finally take a top step again. It's been nearly 4 years (has it really been that long) since I got to stand on the top step at the end of a race. I suppose it's only fitting that it happened at the Podium Sports Medicine TT, and I'm glad I got to do it with them as my sponsor. We're still building towards something greater, but this was a nice confirmation that the hard work does reap some rewards even while working up to the bigger picture.  Maybe it's also a lesson to spend a little more time getting the bike race ready a little earlier during the week ;)

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Impressive riding

With the tour entering it's third week it's not terribly hard to find some impressive rides... but there have been some very impressive rides put down by a couple of amateur riders in Aguascalientes as well.

Kevin Metcalfe's blog tells the whole story of his attempt to break the men's UCI hour 55-59 record. Spoiler, he does it (49.121km, putting a solid chunk into the former record) and from watching the live feed on Youtube it looked like he did so without too much trouble. Around halfway he did drop off a slight bit, but he never had a true crisis, which in itself is a testament to good pacing (and fitness of course) and being a smart rider.

Oh, and he also set the new record for the 2k Pursuit... so not a bad weekend!

Molly Van Houweling dominated the W40-44 records, crushing the hour in 47.061, and adding the 2k (2.24) and kilo (1.14) to her palmares. Of course she is already a legend in hour record history.

As for me, I'm getting ready to race the Oak Ridge Velo TT this Saturday. It's a short one, but it promises to be hot. This is probably roundabouts the last road TT I'll be doing this year, so I'm hoping that some of the fitness I've carried from earlier this year will help me secure another podium. As I've been denied the top step every race so far this year, I will be aiming to improve from silver this time!

I've also been doing a little bit of work on my own track bike the last few weeks... it looks like Rock Hill is going to begin having weekend racing! Awesome! Might have to break out the track elite!

Thanks for checking in, I really appreciate it! Next week, I suppose a race report is in order!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

More Excitement in the Tour?

So are we getting more action from the Tour? 

I think it's hard to argue it's been "boring" this year... now whether the excitement has been a good thing is highly debatable. On the other hand, despite what seemed to be an effort to break up the Sky dominance, it looks as if they'll nonetheless cover start to finish in yellow this year, failing something catastrophic happening (which seems quite possible this year) or a cohesive decision from multiple other teams to sacrifice all else to try and topple Froome, which is unrealistic.

The "Queen stage" was full of drama, and it showed us that at the very least Astana seem to believe racing for a podium spot is more realistic than racing for yellow. All in all, that's probably the prudent choice of action, as it would be tough for (any team) to hold yellow for so many days coming, save sky. 

The biggest "hit" since the Cav/Sagan debacle is the loss of Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas. (And also nearly Dan Martin) It's unfortunate as pretty much everyone had hailed Porte as the most likely contender to Froome, and of course losing GT, who was at the time holding fairly well onto second place was a certain loss for SKY. (although, just as testament to how stacked that team is, not a catastrophic one) 

The other hailed contenders still in the race have had some rough times of it. Aru looks very good, possibly the strongest man in the race still (although without the ability to TT on Froome's level he would need some very big gaps to steal yellow.) and Martin looks strong (although his misfortune has put a hamper on that) as does Bardet... and maybe surprisingly, Uran. (Has Garmin had a great tour so far or what?)

Quintana just looks tired unfortunately. Maybe we're at the point where the Giro / Tour double is a fools gold dream... it seems it hasn't worked out in our generation. Maybe Tour / Vuelta is still possible. It also looks as if it's time for Contador to accept that he is not a tour winner any longer, he has shown he isn't on the same level as the other's. Nothing wrong with that, I think he's a podium contender in many races, even GC's... but winning may be behind him, certainly in the Tour. 

Having a great tour though? Kittel. What a monster. He's won from so far behind I would have thought he wasn't even going to sprint on the day. Cavendish may have somebody hot on his heels for stage wins in the near future if Kittel holds this kind of winning trend. 

The other person having a great tour? Lance Armstrong. Seems ridiculous to say, but his new podcast has caught on and is a hit. I have listened to it, and it's well done, and so long as you can tune out Lance's often "eye rolling" heated analysis, you can often get short tidbits of insight from a very, very rare perspective of the Tour. Hard to think that so few years since the "bomb" went off I'm thinking this has been Lances best tour since 05. 

Finally, with Sagan's entertainment factor gone, I think this may be Phinney's time to shine. He's got the personality, is amusing and quirky enough to keep your attention, and is doing that little "extra" (his video's) to stand out even on the slow days. Maybe he's the next Sagan or Voigt... we shall see.

Alright, another tour post, back to a normal schedule soon I assure you!

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!
-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Thoughts on the Sagan situation

Wow, I had a post for this week sketched up, but scrapped it because... well... this is such a polarizing topic right now. I know, exactly what everyone wanted/needed, another opinion post by somebody who isn't a professional or a sprinter. Perfect. So let's dig in.

First, I think Sagan was certainly at fault.
Put down the pitchforks, let's talk about it. For what it's worth, I think a DQ was pretty over the top, but again, hard to know all the factors at work.

Unfortunately, I have not seen exactly what rule they used to infringe Sagan, I can only assume it is 2.3.036, but if I'm wrong please correct me and point me to the right source.

“Before the Tour de France, we warned the sprinters that we would look very close to every sprint. And that is what we did today”

– Philippe MariĆ«n

I copied this from the UCI's Road Race rules

Sprints 2.3.036 Riders shall be strictly forbidden to deviate from the lane they selected when launching into the sprint and, in so doing, endangering others. 

I think a lot of folks are caught up on the physical part of the sprint and the elbow. I'm of the opinion that the elbow was a combination of Sagan's arm getting hooked on Cav's hood, and also him trying to hold balance (his left knee also shoots out at the same time) and I'm also of the opinion that despite how it's portrayed on velonews/cyclingnews/etc, the elbow / contact had almost nothing to do with the decision, except that it was able to lend credibility to the "serious case" standard, which I'll agree with the masses was excessive and BS.

That said, while I don't think Sagan should have been ejected, I do still believe he is in violation of 2.3.036, definitively so. When watching the overhead video, right before the tree's block the line of sight, it's pretty clear that Cavendish has a line. From the head on view you can also see there is room for a body if nobody closes the door. So the question is, was closing the door on Cavendish an acceptable tactic or not.

That opens the question, at what point is the sprint initialized? I think it's fair to say that at around 50m to go both Sagan and Cavendish have launched into their sprints, (at a certain point you either are sprinting or you aren't, the road is ending) certainly Demare (who also had a horrendous sprint) is initiated. At that point, Sagan falls foul of the above. He continues moving in towards the barriers, and which point Cavendish leans into him to keep space...following which Sagan leans back to keep himself upright, and then carnage ensues.

Unfortunately, some of these rules are sort of written in pencil, not ink. When is the sprint initialized? What is the lane selected and how far does it extend?

In track cycling sprint events, in the last few hundred meters the lead rider in the spinters lane is required to stay in the lane regardless of anything else that happens around him/her. (3.2.041 and 3.2.042) That's because trying to move up the track once the sprint is initiated (200m is common distance) can easily cause carnage and/or block another rider.

Of course Track cycling and road cycling are apples and oranges. Nonetheless, the rules are similar, with the exception that the track rules are slightly more clearly outlined.

It's my opinion that Sagan did nothing malicious or with intent to stop Cavendish's sprint, but that he merely continued with his momentum and it happened to cross paths with Cav who was accelerating on the outside. Malicious, absolutely not, however, negligence is not a free pass from judgement. Therefore 12.104 should not have been applied, and Sagan should have continued to race. However, with that said, he was deserving of some judgement if you believe he did not follow 2.3.036.

What I think, briefly, is not that what Sagan did was so much wrong in a vacuum, but when you account for WHEN he did it only then does the necessity of a penalty look clearer.

One thing is for certain, we lost two very entertaining players in le Tour de France.

This is what the UCI handbook says about irregular sprints
10.2.Irregular Sprint 10.2.1. One-Day Race Relegation to the last place in his group + 200 Relegation to the last place in his field + 100 UCI CYCLING REGULATIONS E0217 DISCIPLINE AND PROCEDURES 14 10.2.2. Stage Race 1 st offence: relegation to the last place in his group + 200 2 nd offence: relegation to last place in the stage + 200 3 rd offence: elimination + 200 1 st offence: relegation to end of his field + 50 2 nd offence: relegation to end of stage + 100 3 rd offence: elimination + 200 Moreover, the Commissaires Panel may, in particularly serious cases, eliminate and fine a rider with 200 on the first offence 

here is a link to the regulations from the UCI to study yourself.

I know, Sagan is beloved. I am a Sagan fan. I'm also a Cavendish fan. Cavendish has been on the wrong side of the rules before (a good number of times) and has been involved in a good amount of crashes. That isn't a defense for Sagan fans to use in this case however.

I don't envy sprinters, professional or otherwise. What they do requires split second choices and nerves of steel. Hesitation on Sagan or Cavendish's part on stage 4 would certainly have resulted in something other than a win (as it turned out it did anyways) for both... I think things went tit's up, and sometimes when things go that way you make people stop and look closer than they normally do. In this case, under scrutiny, it seemed something needed done. I don't agree with what that was, but I agree SOMETHING should have been done.

Interested to hear what other's think. I believe we'll be talking about this for a long time. Unless of course Froome end's up running up a hill again.

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it! I hope only the best for all involved.

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Shout out and a few pics from US Nats TT

First, let me send a huge shout out to

I was going to build a fixed gear clincher for training on and wound up goofing up my order (totally my mistake, just didn't pay attention to what was in my cart.) They spotted the error and fixed it for me. That's after helping me work out the right spoke length so I didn't have to measure it all myself and THEN order spokes later. (I'm lazy what can I say) Just thought I'd share an above and beyond experience with a great place to deal with.

For my build I went with the TR269 hub, H+Son SL42 and some Sapim Race spokes (32spokes)
Nothing overly exotic or fancy, just a good solid training wheel.

Add caption

I've got it almost done, just a little more radial "perfection" and the final tensioning. Then to get out there and beat it up.

Over the weekend US Pro Nationals came to town, and I got to see some great racing on Saturday! It's my first time seeing the World Champion jersey in person, which is pretty awesome! Here's a couple of photo's I snagged (Sorry, I am a crappy photographer)

Knoxville local Stephen Bassett

The world champion on her way to being the US champion as well

Maria Foley Danker also representing Knoxville!

And of course Jimmy being Jimmy. Now world famous!

It was a great event, happy to see it returning!

Have a great week everyone!

Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How To: Going 1x - Removing a riveted FD

Another how to! It's been a while but now that things are slowing down again (I missed track state championship because of some work I can get back to tinkering with things. And this week we'll dive right in to something I have seen some people mention doing or thinking about doing, but that maybe you are a bit timid about tackling yourself.

First, let's get the disclaimer out of the way. If you screw your frame up, that's on you. No manufacturer recommends doing this, and neither do I. But if it's something you are considering doing, you might has well have a guide to reference. Also note this is done on a Speed Concept, so YMMV from manufacturer to manufacturer. My guess is that all of them riveted on are done basically the same way, but who knows.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let's address the inevitable question of "why."
I'm not going to try to convince you. If you found this post through searching, you have already read more than I can put into words here. If you just stumbled on this and are rolling your eyes thinking "what a waste of time" then nothing I can say will change your mind. That's not my intent anyways. So, let's get on with it.

Alright, so you are planning to remove your front derailleur and go "permanently" 1x. The simplest way to do this (besides buying a 1x bike) is just to de-cable and/or remove your front derailleur. Now (unless you have a clamp on style, in which case you're done) it's a matter of what kind of derailleur hanger your bike is equipped with. A couple of my bikes just had bolt on hangers, which is obviously best for this kind of stuff, since two bolts and you're done. My old P3sl has the hanger welded to the frame, and so even though the P3 is on track duty it's still got it's hanger. Some day I may grind it off, but I hate to as that is VERY permanent. Most (at least TT / Tri) bikes now are something closer to "semi-permanently" mounted to the bike. That is, riveted. That's the case with most of the carbon cervelo's, and, more importantly to me, my Speed Concept.

So, what does "semi-permanently" mean? It means you're going to have to do some "surgery" to get it off, but that you could re-install it at a later date with minimal work if you changed your mind. For that you'd need a rivet gun (yes, like you'd get at Harbor Freight for ~$5) and the corresponding pop rivets, but it's not a job out of the reach of a home mechanic.

So, the thing is riveted (and also glued) to the frame. So what do we need to get it off? I used
- Electric handheld drill w/drill bits (a couple of sizes)
- heat gun (not necessary but makes life easier, a blow dryer might work)
- hammer
- punch (could improvise with hex keys or something similar)
- screwdriver/something to pry hanger off.

Now, before we get into it too deep, it's important to understand the design of the rivet holding it on and how to get it out. What you'll see is what looks like a button head bolt, except there is just a hole in it instead of a place for a tool to remove it.

This is a rivet. Everything below the dome is out of sight when installed. The outer straight piece is broken off when installing the rivet.

this handy diagram I borrowed off the net shows how the rivet is installed. #3 is how it looks in your frame.

Now that we have an idea of how they got the rivet in, let's get to work on getting it out.

We'll break this FD removal into steps.
1.) Drill off the cap heads
2.) Punch out the rivet
3.) Heat the hanger
4.) Pry the hanger off
5.) Get rid of the debris

Step 1: Drill off the cap head
This one is pretty simple, you can expedite this process by starting with a bigger bit from the get-go, but it's best for "first timers" to start slow. Grab your drill bits and find one a little larger than the hole in the rivet. Drill into the head a little bit (as you can see in the diagram, the cap is not deep, you don't need to go any farther than where the cap lines up with the frame.) The reason I suggest starting with only a slightly bigger bit than the hole for now is that if you drill too deep, you just drill into the rivet itself, whereas if you start with a very big bit you may start drilling out the frame if you go too deep. That said, you will have to move to a bigger bit, maybe a couple of times. Just take it slow, repeat until the cap head breaks loose. Now, either repeat this step for each rivet before moving on, or move on to step two and repeat each step for each rivet.

You may want to throw something over the ring/chain as you'll get shavings everywhere.

Step 2: Punch out the rivet
Ok, so the head is off. Now we need to get the inside of the rivet out of the way. With the head off the easiest way is to grab your punch / makeshift punch (I actually used a hex key because it was laying beside me while I was doing it and I'm lazy. Anything hard, straight, that you don't mind whacking with a hammer and that will fit is perfect.) stick it in the hole you have made by removing the head of the rivet, and tapping it with your trusty hammer. It shouldn't take too much force to knock it back into the frame (so you know, be careful hammering really hard or you could literally punch all the way through the frame! That would be bad.)  The easiest way to get the trash out of the frame is removing the seatpost, turning the bike over and shaking a few times. If you are really lucky and have a larger hole at the bottom of the frame they might come out there on their own.

Now, repeat this until you have all the rivets removed.

Step 3: Heat the Hanger
Now, you can try to remove the hanger before this step. Depending on what kind of adhesive they used besides the rivets, it may come off with only minor amounts of prying. On the Trek they used some epoxy, so it really needed heated to loosen it up a little bit. Like everything else, take your time, a heat gun gets REALLY hot really fast. You just want to warm the hanger and adhesive below it up up, not turn it white hot. When in doubt, go slow, you can always turn the heat gun back on.

heat it up, don't burn it up

Step 4: Pry the hanger off
Alright, so it's time to take remove the hanger. Your method of prying it off may differ. I used my screwdriver, stuck it through the opening in the hanger (where the derailleur mounts) and pried it off. It took minimal force. You could also probably do it with pliers or any other things. Use some caution and common sense... the hanger is probably metal, and you just warmed it... so grabbing it with your hand is a bad idea.

Step 5: Get rid of the debris
If you haven't gotten rid of the back half of the rivet (now in your frame) this is the time to do it. If you remove the seatpost make sure to mark where it was for reinstallation. It's possible that if you took off a little outer layer of paint/material when you pried off the hanger you'll need to sand it down to even to prevent further fraying. In the picture below you can see in my case the glue took a little bit with it when removed.  Not a big deal, but also not for the feint of heart. This is also the time when you should figure out how you're going to dress it up now. I went cheapo mode and just painted the area black... but you could get creative and make it look considerably nicer (something I may do down the road)

Removed! Semi Perma 1x

Is it worth doing? It depends. For me, I like to tinker on stuff, like smooth lines (no hanger sticking out) and obsess over any potential aero gains. Are there any? Most likely some, and some reports suggest that the hanger itself is the biggest portion of that drag. Whats a few watts mean to you? Again, hard to answer, a lot of us spend a lot of money for a watt or two... so doing something (relatively) cheap/free seems like a good bang for your buck. Again, not suggesting it's for everyone, but if you're going to tackle it, here's a way that worked well for me!

 Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Race Report: TN State TT (Cat4)

Back again with another report, this time for the TN State TT race.

How to start this report... I've tried a few times and failed to muster how I feel about it. Bittersweet is the best I can come up with. Again the top step has eluded me, but I had one of my best races, ever, which is all the more important. Of the things I could control, I think I hit a 95 out of 100 on execution, which in itself is probably the most important takeaway from the day. But let's start at the beginning.

The TN State TT was a race that was uncertain for a long time. Whether it actually was going to happen or not was up in the air until a couple weeks from race day. When they finally confirmed it in a new location, I was happy as my build up was targeting it and I do hate to miss timing like that. The new course was also a bit more friendly than the previous location, which thankfully included a good bit less elevation change. 

Coming off of the Georgia State TT I made some modifications to my equipment, not wanting to run out of gears going downhill again (a problem I had in GA) I swapped from my 50t to a 54t chainring (I run 1x) and put on a slightly wider cassette. With 3% being the max grade I was certain I'd have the gears I needed going up and down. I had ripped my skinsuit at the GA TT, but fortunately Kevin Sprouse came through in the clutch and got me into the new Body Paint 3.3 skinsuit before he left for the Tour de Suisse. It was also my first time running the new, extremely quick Vittoria Corsa Speeds, the new king of fast tires.  So, with my ride pimped out, it was time to go make what meager watts my motor can do.

We (my mother, wife and I) drove down to Dover on Friday evening, and I got in my final spin in at the hotel room. We had dinner at an excellent pizza place nearby and then watched the back half of Saving Private Ryan before bed.

Saturday we made our way to the race site about an hour and a half early, giving me time to get my numbers and get everything set up for my warmup.  I spent about 40 minutes total warming up (with a 5' or so break to pee in the middle) including a ~5 or so build and a couple of 30" efforts to open the legs up. Finally it was time to slip into (nothing so elegant actually happened, it was actually a lot of tugging...very gentle tugging) the skinsuit and head to the start tent.

My holder did a fine job, and then it was time for the countdown.
3, 2, 1, Go.

Coming straight out of the gate I spiked my power a bit getting up the bridge, then immediately slipped into my position and found my rhythm. The goal was to hold very steady power on all the flats and uphills (the out of the course had a generally steady "false flat" profile to it) and then at the long drag (~3% grade) to the actual turn point to spike it up just slightly and expect to recover a bit on the following downhill. All in all, I wanted to keep my heart rate in the low 180's for the majority of the ride.

As I came over the bridge from the start gate I smash into the open bit of pavement between bridge and road. It jars me hard, and for a second I wonder if it was hard enough to blow a tire. It wasn't, but it was also not an experience I wished to repeat as I crossed the other side of the bridge.

They say nothing new on race day, and I try to stick to that. I'm decent at bunny hopping on a road bike, but admit I've never done it (in aero) on my tt bike... but the concept is similar, except for that slight bit less control and having your elbows locked in place and the body weight distribution and so forth... Perfect time to try it out, right? I pull hard on the end of the bars and then immediately after pop my feet. I take a great amount of pride in the fact that I landed it... not perfectly, but adequately enough that i didn't wipe out, which I suppose is good enough.

On a long straight out and back time trial you get plenty of time to think about things, which is a blessing and a curse. Some people can turn their mind off and just hammer, me I sit and think about things. It's something that has hurt me in the past, when I let my mind wander to "this sucks" territory... but this year I've worked hard on focusing on other stuff. I also moved my computer higher so that I can see the numbers just by glancing, which gives me some "motivation" to stay on watts and some buffer to calm me down. The other thing I've worked to focus on is staying as still as possible. Most of the guys I'm racing against out power me by a good 70-90 watts over an hour effort, so anything I can do to maximize my slipperiness is an absolute must.

Slowly, I start picking people off. As we near the turnaround I'm passed by a Cat3 rider, and I shadow him the remainder of the first half as we start going by an increasing amount of traffic. With the turnaround in sight and two riders immediately ahead of me I put in a "too big" effort to get by them (and to the turnaround first, so I can pick my line) which in retrospect probably cost me 15" or so overall. Fortunately after making the turnaround I'm able to get my heartrate back under control and start the fast return trip.

Holding my watts steady on downhills is a problem I have, so I really had to focus hard on what should have been the "easy" part of the course. I did a good job (for me) but still left some time out there. It's about this time I start to think to myself that the chamois in the Body Paint 3.3 is not the most robust... my undercarriage was really hurting! Finally I see the cones that lead back over the bridge to the finish line, and I get out of the saddle to try to power over. The stretch takes a lot longer than it did on the way out, and it's all I can do to stay in my right mind as I crest the hill and put in my last effort to the finish line.

Final Time - 57.52 on a slightly long course (25.3mi)

It was good enough for second place on the day, which was not the step I had hoped to land on, but it came from one of the best executed races I've ever had, so I am happy. It's also the first time I've "officially" broken an hour in a 40k, so small victories and all that. There is a saying in car racing "no replacement for displacement" and at a certain point it's true in human motors as well. The difference of motor size matter a lot more when the competition is also trying to check off all the aero boxes. It does give me something to look forward to next year, and motivation is always welcome!

Thanks to the Sponsors: Podium Sports Medicine, Visit Knoxville, The Feed, Harper Auto Square, Stoke Signal Socks, Yee-Haw Brewing Co.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

States, this time in TN

When it rains it pours. No races for months and now it's all here at once. The TN state TT is Saturday in Dover, TN. It's been a long time coming.

After Georgia I'm feeling pretty good physically. Another week of some tough feeling workouts and now I'm feeling a bit beat up, but I'm on the taper again and looking like I'll peak on Saturday morning, which is obviously ideal.  Then the week after the track state championships will be held in Atlanta at DLV... I'm on the fence as to whether I'll go or not. I'd like to but it's a lot of events right together and I don't have just tons of track time racing. I'll play that one by ear.

So what's the plan for TN States? Somewhere in the 57 minute range seems like it should be pretty doable on my current fitness and is also what best bike split thinks. On a good day maybe a little better, on a bad day hopefully I still break an hour, something I've somewhat comically and somewhat sadly not been able to say in an open 40k tt for some various reasons/excuses. I'm done with excuses though... I'm going out and I'll ride my plan until the last section, in which I'll try to turn myself inside out.

So, short post this week. Things to do, tapering to get in, work to catch up on. I'll be back next week with another race report, and then who knows where we'll go from there.

Until next time, thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

GA State ITT (Cat4) and 2-Man TTT

It's been a while since I had a race report to post, and now I've got two in one!

This year I've decided to focus solely on becoming a better time trialist. Unfortunately, in Tennessee time trialling is really not a thing... so starting my "season" has been a long time coming. 

My original focus was the TN State Time Trial Championships, however as the race date drew closer without a confirmation I feared the worst, that it would be re-scheduled or worse, simply cancelled. Georgia's State TT had been on my radar for a while, but we had originally figured it as a tune up / train through race, however, as TN's race became less certain and with my fitness coming towards a peak for the season, I decided to re-schedule and make sure I had at least a single good race to focus on lest I just miss out on everything. Shuffling your training plan to shoe horn in a peak/taper last minute a few weeks before planned certainly isn't the ideal way to do it, but it is what it is and what we had to work with.

The couple of weeks leading into the GA TT had/have been rough, I was pushing longer weeks and higher intensities and missing a fair number of those targets. It erodes the confidence we have built up and we start thinking somehow we've backslid into de-training, even though that is not logical. Nonetheless, I was getting a little nervous about the race. Tapering went like my tapers always have historically, I feel pretty "meh" as volume drops and recovery increases. I'm used to this by now, so I wasn't too freaked out by it. On Thursday we sat down and discussed my strategy for the GA course, keeping in mind that I'd have to go back out within an hour and try to hold it together for the 2 Man Team Time Trial. Although that was an afterthought, I still wanted to at least be able to not be totally embarrassed by my pulls. I would limit myself to low 300's for the punchy climbs and not let my heart rate climb too far above 180 until the last 3k or so, as at that point I'd start digging a hole I couldn't recover from. I've blown up in a longish TT before in epic fashion, it's not an experience I ever look to repeat.

I took a half day off work Friday and met my friend's Jimmy and Sharon at their house. We'd decided to split a hotel room since the upcharge staying in a college town on Memorial Day weekend was ridiculous. We strapped the bikes (three Speed Concepts) to the Subaru and made our way down to Gainesville. 

By the time we drove the course, got unloaded and found a place to get some dinner it was close to 8p.m. I'd planned to do a 30 minute spin with a couple of pickups that evening (sitting in a car for a couple of hours isn't great for keeping the legs fresh) but decided it was late enough it was best to cut it short and not risk getting too worked up right before bed. Sleeping in a hotel is already enough of a challenge without a sky high heartrate. 15' spinning would have to do. We turned in a little after 9 and set the alarm for 6.

Race day rolled around fairly uneventfully. One last check of the bike, we packed the car and met the rest of the crew at a local Panera Bread for coffee and breakfast. Then it was off to the races, as Sharon and the rest of the girls started about an hour before us.

The course itself was a little short of a 40k (measuring about 35k) and an easy enough out and back setup with only the turnaround in a 3 lane road as the "technical" section. Going out was vastly downhill, and the back half, as you might imagine, was mirrored uphill. It would certainly punish someone who didn't hold a little back for the return trip.  

I've been using Team GB/Sky's TT warmup for a couple of years now (ever since I saw and stole it) and I've always felt it was a great warmup that didn't run on too long. I was surprised that my parents had made a side trip on their own mini-vacation to see me off... that's always great for morale! I ran down to the start to see some of my friends off, gave Jimmy some well wishes (and a stick of gum... our tt secret weapon) gave the bike a final check over and fully kitted up... then rode to the start ramp myself. Finally, at 10:07 on the dot, it was go time.

I went off the ramp and took a hard right out of the parking lot into another right onto the main road the rest of the race would play out on. As I've mentioned, the first portion is very fast due to the gradual decline. I've been running a single front chainring for a while now with a 50t ring which has treated me well up to this point. Unfortunately I found a 50x12 big gear simply wasn't allowing me to push my target watts. I was running in the low 200's for some long stretches... a rookie mistake not to match the necessary gear to the course. It wasn't a disaster, but with the length of time spent in 50x12 it was certainly not optimal. Stay aero, stay tucked, stay focused. I say stay focused because here I made a real error. As I was coming onto the time check I saw a volunteer standing up in a truck bed as a side road entered onto the race course. There was a cone in the middle of the lanes. For a moment my adrenaline addled mind thought "am I at the turnaround??" (actually, it was the turnaround for the juniors) I move to my pods/brakes (USE Tula's have some funky brakes) and start to slow... I'm a bit confused. The volunteer notices that I'm a moron and starts yelling "go go go!" Even after driving the course and knowing the distance I'm still not smart enough to trust I know where to go... Ferdinand Magellan I am not. I curse under my breath at the seconds wasted but there is nothing to do but get tucked in and drive on. I was checking my computer fairly regularly to keep me reigned in on the uphill sections and to remind me I wasn't going hard enough on the downhills. I stayed tucked into my aero position and just continued my rhythm. It had been a while now and I hadn't caught my minute man... that was slightly worrisome but I didn't panic. I also hadn't been caught.  Finally, as the (real) turnaround neared I saw riders in the distance. Then it was like a gate had opened, I passed a duo, then another, and finally another before the turnaround. As I made my U-turn I took the opportunity to grab a swig of water. It wasn't a necessity, but I figured I'd be thankful for it soon as the course was only going to get harder on the trip home. 

At this point I was able to get some bearings of where the rest of the field stood. Everyone that started behind me was still a fairly even to farther distance away from me on the road. I saw Jimmy blazing through and considering how far he started behind me I figured he was having a good ride. I was still feeling pretty good, but my heartrate had been staying pretty steadily in the high 170's low 180's for a good chunk of time. It was sustainable, but I was feeling it. I decided that I'd cut back the power I was averaging on any section of uphill I thought would last over a minute to high 200's instead of low 300's, then I'd use anything I had left at the last climb before the finish. I made another pass at the 10k sign, and got a glimpse, finally, of my minute man. Now I had a target... something that makes the pain just a little more bearable. At this point the course really makes you pay for all that downhill you enjoyed on the way out. Nonetheless, I stuck to my plan and eventually caught my minute man just after the 5k sign. On the next climb he passed me again on the uphill section, and put in a good enough effort that I was unwilling to respond but kept him well within sight as a pacer. Finally after what seemed like forever, we crested the final hill and made a mad dash for the finish tent. (and more importantly, the finish line) I stopped the clock in 51:21, a bit slower than we had predicted (with the help of Bestbikesplit) but still in the "good day" category. Back to the caravan I fueled up as best I could, knowing I'd have to go back out there within the hour to do it all over again. Jimmy finished not long after (51:07) and we went to see how we had placed.

I managed to secure second place in the 4's... missing the top step by under 10 seconds. I knew I had left that 10 seconds out there, maybe by just not slowing down at that one point, definitely by having a better gear ratio. Live and learn... It was fitting a native Georgian stood on the top step in my mind anyways. Jimmy had an even tighter squeeze... He finished in third, under a half second behind second place. Still, a good showing for the Tennessee boys. The ladies of course absolutely dominated... sweeping the top step all around.

After my best attempt at re-fueling/hydrating it was time to return to the start line for the team time trial. Showing up fortunately had already nailed us the top spot on the podium, and at least I was more than a little happy that I wasn't going to have to chase or be chased again. We knew going in that Jimmy would be the stronger of us, so it would have to be up to him to do the larger share of the work. On the one hand you feel a little embarrassed that you can't do more while your buddy is suffering pulling and you're just tagging along, but since time is taken on the second man over the line it's not doing either of us any favors if I kill myself and have to totally limp home while he rides away.  I do the work I can for the first half of the race, we are on a 2 minute rotation and with a little help from the extra rest and the gracious downhill I'm able to help out at least a bit. As we close in on the halfway point I tell Jimmy I'm not going to be able to go much higher than 300 on the climbs, as I'm starting to feel the earlier efforts. At the turnaround Jimmy tells me he's feeling good...  As he takes his pull on the first gradual incline I almost lose contact... "DOWN" I feebly yell, our call signal for distress.  Jimmy takes the lead the majority of the return trip, and although it's certainly helpful to have a wheel in front of you to keep you motivated, it doesn't help nearly as much when you are climbing, as the drafting benefit isn't really there. I take some short pulls on the quick downhills and a couple of flats, but for the most part I'm just trying to keep my legs moving and not cramp up. A little past 5k Jimmy tells me to pull to the 3k sign and he'll get us home. It's hard to believe just how far 2k is on a bike until you're counting off mailboxes, trees, ruts in the road, whatever just to try to pass that time. The road finally straightens out into a false flat and at the end of it is a bright neon "3k" sign. Agonizingly slowly we creep past it and Jimmy takes over. Here the road pitches again pretty much all the way up to the finishing straight, and again I'm close to losing contact although it's clear by my computer that I'm not pushing all that hard. A little under 1k, the final uphill section and I stand up out of aero... a big mistake. My right leg immediately starts cramping. I sit back down and will myself to make a circle with both legs... it works well enough that I don't literally just stop and topple over. Finally we crest and can see the finish tent. It's a fairly long drag and again a slight false flat running up onto it... I give it everything I've got left and we stop the clock at 54:36. 

As we (well I at least) limp back to the car Jimmy suggests we return to the finish line to see the girls 4-person team finish. I agree and make it to the turn in the road downhill before rational thought strikes me "I'm not going up this hill again." I turn around and head back to the car... sorry girls. (They crushed everyone else without me seeing it anyways!) 

So our two man TT was slower than either of our individual efforts. Not unexpected given our fatigue, at least my own. Still, I felt like considering the increase in temperature and wind we put down a pretty solid time for our first venture into team time trialling. A special thanks to my teammate for pulling me along the course, especially while I was hurting.

Overall, It was a good day, very important for ironing out the details for TN States, where hopefully I can improve my podium positioning by a step.

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

-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

First TT of the year

Whew... finally it's upon us. Taper week. The Georgia State TT is Saturday, where I'll be doubling up doing the ITT as well as the 2 man TTT (or more like being pulled by Jimmy) which is a long time coming, I'm ready to put some of this training to good use, and full disclosure, I am really ready for an easier week of training! It'll be the first time I've ever attempted a TTT so we'll see how that pacing works out, especially after we've both already done the individual event.

It's also a bit of a last minute taper/prep. The plan originally (well originally it wasn't on my calendar) was to train through it with a mini taper while still focusing on the TN State TT... but since that event is only a few weeks out now and still floating in limbo with no announcement as to whether it is even happening, I thought it was probably best to move my TT build focus forward a few weeks to this event, that way I get a race in that I'm fairly well prepared for regardless of how TN turns out. Ideal, no... but we roll with the punches.

With fancy gold Jagwire link cables

I found a little unicorn a week or so ago as well... the old anodized Cervelo's don't go up for sale all that often for a reasonable price, but I snagged this Soloist in my size and in the best color. I had my eye out for one of these fella's for a while since I have a lot of interchangeable parts from my aluminum P3. I built it up with a lot of stuff from my parts box... 1st gen Omega brakes, a DA7800 crank and FD, some Apex shifters/RD I had planned to use on a cross build. I'm happy with the build, can't wait to hit up some crits on it.

On the Slowtwitch front, Premier bikes was having a little crowd sourcing of a paint job for the Tactical. I submitted two different designs but sadly neither were anything they were looking for. That said, I thought they looked pretty neat so I thought I'd share them.

Camo in general gives me bad memories of the old Quintana Roo's, but I thought the dark blues worked well

I really liked this one. Steel and rivets, calling back to old WWII bombers, or even the Trek TTX with a similar design.

Ahh well, different strokes for different folks and all that.

As for the Giro... well I'll just say that Tuesday was a sh*tty day for Tom Dumoulin. I wonder just how long we can milk that joke? Nothing but respect for him choosing dignity (if you can call stripping and defaming the countryside dignified) over the...other option... Maybe Depends should become a sponsor for the Giro in the future.

Next week... we're gonna have ourselves a race report! Woohoo!

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Failure into Forward

It's been a tough few days. That's about all there is to it.
At a certain point in the building process you hit that "wall" where the workouts continue getting harder and despite all signs pointing towards you being able to hit those numbers... your body just decides it doesn't give a shit about reason or science and it just goes stubborn mode on you. At that point your mind starts to enter into that "oh no, we suck again!" thought process and everything just snowballs into a trap of self loathing.  Or is that just me?

Regardless, I've missed a couple of workouts last week (as in, missed goals, not missed doing them) and I'm hoping it's just my body getting used to upped intensity/volume. It's a scary thing for me specifically because missing targets reminds me of overtraining, although this is certainly nothing so dramatic.  Hopefully a day off on Monday kickstarted me back on track and ready to get some work done on target again!

For those of you not following the Giro... spoilers ahead.

Things certainly aren't as we had planned. Yet another incident with a motorbike has really shaken up the GC, and now after the time trial we see that there is some serious damage done. It's definitely too early still to make any bold claims, but I find myself thinking maybe Tom Dumoulin isn't the outside shot winner after all. He has certainly put himself in a good position after Monday's TT... if he can just hold it together the next couple of big climbs it's hard to see much way for even some of the truly gifted climbers to eat away the advantages he can stack up in the time trials. Certainly the way he rode his own pace under Quintana's attacks on Sunday and limited his losses looked promising. Thomas also had a great time trial, almost good enough to slip back into the top 10 overall... it would still take a lot to get him back towards the podium, but if any team has the raw power to do it it's certainly SKY.
 / spoilers

Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Slow and Steady

Well, for better or for worse, not much has been happening the last week. The Giro rolls on without fireworks (yet) and personally I am just getting my hours in on the bike counting off the weeks until the State Championship. (Literally 1 month exactly away and we still don't know how long, where at, etc... ridiculous right?)  That's not ideal, but what can you do? It looks like the Georgia state TT is at the end of the month (24mi TT) I may travel down and do that as a warmup.

I tweaked my back on Monday night by leaning over the oven... which hasn't helped my training at all. I'm finally feeling a bit better today, but jeez... getting old sucks. Alas.

Otherwise, I'm afraid it's all steady sailing on the training/racing front. I did pick up an UGEE 1910b tablet to paint with, but that's a little far outside the scope of this blog I think. So, I'll spare you all a long post of me just writing crap and just say, Enjoy watching the Giro.

Until next time, Thanks so much for checking in!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sugru + Bike shoes = something

Last week I did some (slight) bemoaning of what I felt were some downgrades Bont made with the Zero+ over the older Zero, mainly the inclusion of the toe bumper/bash guard. On a practical level I understand how it made it's way onto the shoe (nobody wants to jack up their $400+ Bont's.) but from an aero eyeball standpoint it looks like a clear step backwards.

Comparing it to my DMT P1's (which, I planned to test last weekend but unfortunately it was far too windy to tease out something like this) you can just see how much more "junk" is plastered onto the Bont's. After sulking a bit at the bad fortune of weather I convinced myself that the Bont's were just not on the same playing field regardless, but I figured I could do some slight modifications to try to even up the playing field.

The first thing to go was the toe pad on the bottom of the shoe. Since these are going to be track and/or TT shoes exclusively, there isn't going to be much walking around in them going on. The bulky toe pad just adds some frontal area and realistically with most cleat setups the very front of your shoe is going to be floating in air regardless. I decided to leave the heel pad on as I figured it was much more likely to be a "necessity" than the front. It looked like a simple removal, just one phillips head screw holding it on... in practice though it is also loctite'd on, which along with the previous owners sweat/dirt/road spray/pee(?)/etc they were quite the bear to remove. With enough prying (and disregard for the pads themselves shape after removal) I got them both off in about half an hour, could have been a little faster if I had less concern for the carbon sole.

Unfortunately the front bumper was a little more troubling. It's just loctite'd on, and at least from my inspection looks to be a moderately integral part of the shoe's upper. Being unable to find any pictures of it removed (I guess most people are unwilling to experiment/destroy their high end shoes) I concluded that it's not coming off. So, on to plan B... smooth it out. There were a couple of ways (each with scaling levels of permanency/damage to the shoes) to do it, but honestly I was kind of excited to find a good use for something Heath Dotson turned me onto... Sugru.


Sure, it looks like a late night infomercial product, but I figured I'd give it a go regardless, so after a quick trip to the local Target (and nearly scratching the idea after balking at the price tag on 3 little packs! $11... it had better work!) I was ready to see what kind of mess I could make.

Using Sugru is about as natural as it gets. You rip the little pack open and are greeted with what seems to be a very small amount of Play-doh. Feel is the same as well. There is certainly no indication that you are actually using a moldable glue, that's for sure. It took me roughly a pack for each shoe to cover and smooth out the bumpers. I had enough left over in the second pack that I went back and also smoothed over the little holes in the carbon sole left where the toe pad used to be. I was a bit dubious, as even after 20 minutes or so of messing with it, nothing seemed to be getting any harder. (That's what she said...badabump)

before (back) and after

The next morning they had "cured" and it certainly was no longer Play-doh. Even my (half hearted, I didn't really want to break it off) attempts at chiseling it didn't phase the hardened Sugru.  It certainly seems strong enough to continue it's life as a toe bumper on the shoe, and now it's nice and smooth.

Don't laugh at my molding skills

The question is really did any of this help? If it did help, was it enough for it to actually show up/matter, and even then, is it better than the already very smooth DMT's (or even Specialized Sub6's) My gut still tells me no way, but I'm willing to be wrong, maybe even slightly hopeful since the Bont's actually FEEL a lot nicer than the Specialized or the DMT's. Hopefully I'll get a little nicer weather in the coming week or two and I can get out and test them and finally have the answers.

So, back to Sugru. I used the final pack to fix a couple of things around the house (mostly little bits of my 3D printer that I wanted to semi-permanently - Sugru IS removable - bond.) and it has actually converted me to being a fan. It's slightly expensive for what is primarily "cool" with the side benefit of occasionally being handy, but there are some real uses for it out there in the cycling world. (Heath had mentioned filling in the gap of non-aero speedplay cleats with Sugru... seemed like a good use to me)