Handling Injury Before Your “A” Race

October 19th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Brian Reynolds

Age Group Nationals was an “A” race for me so I was doing specific swim, bike, and run workouts to prepare.  Three weeks before, I did a morning speed session run which went well but later that day my right calf became very sore and tight.  When I woke up the next morning and took my first few steps I had a throbbing pain in my calf. It was the worst muscle pain I’ve ever experienced, but I continued with my swim and bike workouts that week.  Three days after my injury was the Tri Del Sol race which I was signed up to do the Olympic triathlon. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do the run leg so instead I did the aquabike (Swim-Bike).  I was disappointed that I could not race the triathlon but it was the right call.

In order to get my calf healthy I had to cut my running back to just a really easy mile so I could keep my running streak going.  For the bike I only did easy rides to not aggravate my injury. The only high intensity workouts were my swims. It was frustrating I couldn’t do my normal training because I wanted to get in the best possible shape for nationals.  After I got through that low period I began focusing on the process of getting healthy again. My goal each day was to get my calf feeling a little bit better each day. Slowly but surely after  one week my calf made good progress and by the second week it was significantly better to the point where I could increase a few of my runs to 20 minutes.

Well three week later, I met my #1 goal which was to get the start line healthy! However, I did wonder how much run and bike fitness I lost from having to back off on training. I tried to not worry about my fitness and just focus on executing the best swim-bike-run and have fun while doing it.  I was at least very well rested for the race.

On race day for the Olympic distance they had to shorten the swim to 750 meters instead of the 1500 meters due to the rough waters.  In hindsight the shorter swim helped me since the swim is my weakest of the three disciplines. I ended up having a decent swim which put me 40 seconds behind the leaders.  When I got onto the bike my legs felt really good and I was able to produce a really good bike split. I ended up leading my age group coming into T2 (2nd transition). There was one guy that got ahead of me coming out of T2 but I was able to catch him by the 0.5 mile marker.  Once I made the pass I was leading the race in my age group. I thought to myself that 3 weeks ago I didn’t know if I would be able to do this race and now I’m in the lead contending for a national title. I held onto the lead until the 4.5 mile marker when the eventual winner passed me and beat me by 16 seconds.  I really wanted to win but I was still proud that I was able to put myself in a position to win.

The next day I did the sprint distance race just for fun.  I haven’t done a sprint distance in 3 years so I did not have any high expectations.  I ended up having a really good swim leaving me only down by 12 seconds to the leaders.  I had a solid bike and I was in the lead coming into T2. Through T2 Todd Buckingham flew by me and took the lead.  Todd would eventually win the race by a very wide margin. I ended up finishing in 2nd place. Unfortunately Todd got a 2 minute drafting penalty on the bike which bumped me up to winner of my age group.

These were the best results I ever had at the Age Group Nationals and I was very pleased considering my calf injury.  It was good to get a little redemption from last year when I crashed on the bike.

I had a few lessons to take away from this race:

Lesson #1 – You can still maintain good run fitness with very little running for 3.5 weeks assuming you’ve been consistent throughout the year.  My run split was not too far off from my usual run times when I’m in good form.

Lesson #2 – ATTITUDE!  My expectations had to change coming into this race. Instead of focusing on winning my age group, I just focused on giving my best effort and to be thankful just to be on the start line.  This led to a much better racing experience and reduced anxiety! This is a lesson I’m going to be applying to all of my races going forward.


Ins and Outs of Mountain Bike Time Trialing

October 15th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Jared Dunham

When you think of time trial racing, mountain bikes don’t usually come to mind, but occasionally you can get a race that combines the two. Time trials are the testing of the athlete against the clock, not other competitors. In a time trial race participants are sent off onto the race course one at a time with small gaps between each other. Each racer is timed individually and whoever finishes with the fastest time is the winner. While at there core, Road and Mountain Bike time trails follow the same formula, there are some differences compared to the MTB version.

The mountain bike time trials I’ve raced at are: Yankee Springs TT, Custer’s Last Stand, Luton Park TT, and M66 TT. These time trial races typically are on shorter distance courses (totaling 6 to 16 miles) and more about an all-out sprint than a long-distance ride. The races I’ve done had laps that are 6 to 8 miles with Beginner/Sport doing one lap and Expert/Elite completing two. Generally, the gap between racers seems to be 30 seconds across the board. These 30 seconds don’t seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, however they can make a real difference if competition is tight or if the trail is particularly technical.

Benefits

A major benefit to racing in this style is having the ability to host a race on trails that wouldn’t be able to handle a racing event otherwise. Some trails simply don’t have the room or positioning to host a mass start, or the path is too tight for racers to be jostling for placement on. Essentially the time trial can eliminate issues with racers trying to pass each other and going over the handlebars because the trail isn’t wide enough to ride side by side on. In my opinion, this makes it a safer race: everybody might still sprint to the finish line but at least there won’t be groups wrecking because of one misplaced pedal stroke!

Pacing

Pacing for these events is a little different from your typical mountain bike race. Not only is the race shorter but you can’t be sure how far ahead or behind you really are from everyone else, so the only thing you can do is leave it all out there! Since these races feature trails that are more technical or tight, naturally there are parts of the course where you won’t be able to put the pedal to the metal and must focus on simply navigating the trail. When I race these events, I’m putting in hard efforts for most of the race and am able to rest to some degree in the more technical sections.

Other Tips

Apart from all this I highly recommend doing a recon of the race course a few days before or a warm-up lap on it the day of. On these types of races you can typically get the edge by knowing it a little better. There will always be someone out there that is as familiar with the trail system as they are with the back of their hand so it’s important to do all you can do to tip the odds slightly in your favor. If you believe that your race will take less than 90 minutes, then you might consider staying hydrated and not taking any fluids with you while racing. I find that at these races I don’t have time to take in hydration or gels because of how short and intense they are. Every time trial I brought a water bottle, I barely used it so that water bottle could only be added weight. Also, I won’t bring tools out with me for these races. It’s more weight and the margin for error is so small that if you get a flat there’s no way you’re going to get a decent finish time when compared to the rest of the field. Lastly, for these races generally those who register the earliest get the best starting positions in the race so in this case the early bird could get the win!

If you’re interested in other endurance based mountain biking disciplines then consider looking up some Short Track, Marathon, or Ultra Endurance events, but these are a discussion for another day. Personally, I still prefer the traditional style of XC races with short, multiple laps and technical courses. But I think that a Time Trial race can add a special kind of flair to an otherwise normal race.

 


The Iceman Weapon Selection

October 15th, 2019 by Kaitlyn Patterson

-By Kaitlyn Patterson, Team Athletic Mentors cyclist

The question of the perfect Iceman bike is a favorite perennial debate. The reality that there is not just one ideal Iceman bike was illustrated in the past several years where the men’s race has been won on bikes ranging from full-suspension to full rigid with drop bars. I’ve split the difference over my five previous Iceman races- two on a full-suspension, three on a hardtail and this year is yet undecided.

I started out the sport on an entry level full suspension, 27.5 Giant Lust which was my Iceman bike in 2014 and 2015. In 2015 it was enough to hang with the leaders but ultimately end up fifth. In 2016 I upgraded to a Giant 27.5 XTC Advanced hardtail which was a factor in vying for the win and ultimately ending up second. I selected the XTC as a race rig for the Michigan fall classics as the simplicity, weight and versatility is hard to beat and it has represented well over the past three years. The responsiveness and quickness of the smaller wheels is definitely a benefit when trying to make the definitive moves necessary to break up a lead pack on the high-speed VASA highway. Although my fitness level was only high enough to do this (almost) successfully in 2016, the bike was definitely a factor in gapping the field on the Boonenberg climb that year.

However, this year with my partner in crime, Alex Vanias prioritizing ski training, his full-suspension Anthem Advanced 29er has been generously offered as a potential Iceman rig. Now it is my turn to weigh the pros and cons of full suspension versus hardtail. Although it rides very fast, much of the Iceman course is not particularly smooth, especially by the end of the day when many of the downhills are rutted from thousands of prior tires. Although the number of punchy climbs especially in the second half of the race are deceptively hard, there is not a lot of total climbing, negating some of the benefit of a hardtail setup.  Given that my descending and handling skills remain my weakness and I haven’t clocked as many hours on the bike this year, the handling itself may be worth the costs in weight and stiffness.

Although I think they would be neck and neck when raced side by side, I’m sure there are many theories in both directions. I will decide in the coming week and be looking at Peak2Peak for a test run of the chosen Iceman bike!


Just TRI Being Part of a Relay Team

October 13th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Jacob Florey

Whether you are a runner, cyclist, swimmer or all of these, you can do your part on a triathlon relay team.  What better way to learn more about Triathlons.

In the process of deciding to assemble a relay team or if you are invited to be a part of a team, keep in mind the type of people you are racing with.  You want this to be fun!  You should be with people you enjoy being with.  Is your team super competitive or just doing this for fun?  You need to have the same mindset going in to avoid stress and disappointment.

How do you train for a relay?  Do you keep normal training?  Or if you normally do triathlons as an individual, do you focus your training on that one discipline?   For Michigan Titanium I focused on swim and that’s all. I really do believe it paid off.

Relays are a great way to focus on your best discipline, if you are on a really competitive team. But it’s also a way to focus on your weakest discipline, if your other teammates just want to do the relay for fun.  It is a great way to improve your discipline. You can focus on form and speed because you have more training time.

If you don’t change your training for a relay, that’s fine. There are reasons for not changing. For example you could have other races after or soon before the relay. Or it is just the start of your season and you are just getting back into things. But if it’s the end of the season or no races coming up, why not focus on just one discipline.

Once it comes to the relay it’s so fun. Typically you are much faster in that part of the event. You don’t need to conserve energy. You can just go all out. Then you can just relax and cheer on your team and it’s a great time!

This is a great way to get a closer relationship with teammates or enjoy time with family members or introduce a new person to the sport of Triathlons. Lastly don’t sweat it, relays are a fun and great experience.


Iceman Cometh Yet Again

October 11th, 2019 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Kaitlyn Patterson, Team Athletic Mentors cyclist

The first Saturday in November is a date circled in red for the past five years and stands as my favorite bike race/party. Thinking about riding into Timber Ridge into the celebration zone usually gives me goosebumps all year.

I would love to say that every year I carefully crafted my training to arrive at Iceman as fit and fresh as possible, with my equipment dialed and mentally ready. In reality, most years my build-up has been less than perfect and the race itself has felt like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, with me more surprised than the crowd about the result. Starting medical school in 2016 has been an awesome ride but also a complicating factor in bike racing, mostly in the unpredictability and uncertainty of the process. I didn’t necessarily expect how unpredictable the schedules, clinical demands, testing schedules, and travel would be when I started, but this has been just as challenging as the material itself. However, exercise has always been my way to recharge which is why I prioritized it, even if not in the form of structured training on the bike. Every year certainly brought its own different challenges and it has been simply good timing that the fall was possible to spend more dedicated time on the bike and the season that I would get the itch to race.

Now in my final year of medical school, this season is turning out similar. I have spent the last two months living out of a suitcase rotating at Mayo Clinic and the University of Utah and will begin interviewing for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residencies in the coming weeks. Although I didn’t plan to race given my interview schedule this fall, it looks like I may be able to line up in November. My summer and fall have been filled with plenty of explorations in new places by foot and bike, but certainly not structured training. However, Iceman is calling yet again and I will see what I can put together this year. The last several years have created some pretty high expectations but this year I’m just hoping to be able to stay in the mix.

In reflection of the past five years of Iceman and preparation of this year, I wanted to add to the Iceman banter. Over the following couple weeks, I will share a series of blogs sharing my thoughts and experiences on bikes, training and strategy for the big dance. Happy Iceman season!

 


41 Reasons to Trail Run

October 4th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By: Erin Young

Runners, just like everyone else, are often set in their ways.  We like the shoe brand that we have been wearing for years and will never switch.  We have our favorite routes, which we run religiously at least 3 times a week. And we are hesitant to leave the comfort of the road to try out something new, like trail running.

We have excuses like, It’s too hard on your body, I’ll get lost, It’s dangerous, the monsters in the woods will eat me… Well, I’m writing this to let you know that is is actually less stressful on your body, you can run out and back to avoid getting lost or download one of the nifty apps (Alltrails) for your phone, and I promise you that people are more dangerous than wildlife… and monsters.

I left the road years ago. Occasionally I have to run a little road to get to the dirt, but the road is much less adventurous to me after the years spent on trail. I love helping others find the adventure and beauty of the trails. It has made me a stronger runner, physically and mentally. But here are 41 other reasons to run trail as soon as tomorrow…

1)  You won’t find traffic lights on the trail.  There is nothing worse than stopping every block to wait for the light to change.  Avoid those pesky lights all together by hitting the trails.

2)  Wildlife on the road usually comes in the form of roadkill, but on the trail, you are one with nature and all the wildlife that comes with it. But remember they are more afraid of you than you are them!

3)  Trail running is easier on the knees than pounding the pavement.  The more giving trail will help prevent injury to knees and joints.

4)  Trail running strengthens ankles, also helping to strengthen the muscles that support your feet and legs.

5)  You aren’t going to get hit by a car on the trail, so while other dangers might be of concern, traffic most certainly is not.

6)  Balance is a big issue for many of us.  When trail running we are forced to adjust our balance with every stride.  Over time that practice will improve our balance which helps us not only in the present, but as we age.

7)  It is hard to get bored on a run, when you are constantly paying attention to your footing and your surroundings are so beautiful.

8) Trail running lets you experience the seasons in the rugged way nature intended.

9)  Roads are designed so that hills are not too steep or sudden.  Trails are not. You can run killer hill workouts on the trail that could never be done on the road.

10)  Some of the best running races in the world are run on trails.  By getting into trail running, you open yourself up to a whole new world of races both locally and elsewhere.

11)  By running the singletrack, you gain immediate membership into a new running subculture.  The trail running community is very friendly, I promise.

12)  If you want to run ultramarathons, you better start thinking about trail running.  Most ultras are run on trail.

13)  Trail running works a variety of  muscles in the legs and back, giving you a more well-rounded workout than running on smooth pavement.  This is important for strength and helps prevent injuries. 

14)  Trails can be found just about anywhere. Check out the AllTrails app for wherever you live and travel.

15)  Every new location provides a distinct trail experience.  The type, elevation, and views from one trail can be completely different than another.

16)  When running you can cover much more ground than hiking.  Turn that 5 mile day hike through the woods into a 10 mile trail run in the same amount of time!

17)  Nothing screams adventure like a trip deep into the wild wilderness.

18)  Slow trail running builds crazy amounts of muscle that road running just can’t do.  When you hit the roads after a few trail outings, you’ll notice that new strength speed.

19)  People, bikes, and strollers all crowd the sidewalks you are trying to run down.  Get away from the crowds by hitting the trail.

20)  Getting dirty is a lot of fun, and really easy to do when trail running. Think of it as being a kid again. 

21)  You can take a lot cooler pictures from a mountain peak or river bank than you can from a city sidewalk.

22)  Trail running can be turned into an entire vacation by camping out on the trail and running during the day. 

23)  Need a boost to your self-esteem?  Start telling people you are trail runner.  They will think you are a badass, trust me.

24)  Everyone likes to have an excuse to run slow.  You will naturally run slower on trails than the road, so now you don’t have to hide it!

25)  Training at a higher elevation makes running at low elevations easier.  Trails will often lead you up a mountain or along a ridge, providing great opportunities for running at elevation.

26)  When you read blogs like irunfar.com and atrailrunnersblog.com, you will relate.

27)  Being a trail runner doesn’t mean you can’t still be a road runner.

28)  You burn 10% more calories trail running than you do on regular road running.

29)  Many runners rank solitude as one of their favorite parts about running.  On the right trail, you will feel like you are the only person in the world. But there are often great opportunities to make life long trail friends!

30)  Trail hills can be tough, but no one in the trail running community cares if you throw your hands on your knees and power-hike your way up the hill.  In fact, it is expected!

31)  Trying out a new sport means trying out cool new gear!

32)  It is really easy to get lost when trail running (in your thoughts, hopefully not on the trail). And in my opinion, so what if you get lost on the trail. It might be the best adventure you’ve had in years. These days, it seems far more difficult to get lost than it is to find your way home.

33)  Adrenaline keeps a lot of runners going when they are tired.  By moving your run to a more extreme location (a trail), that adrenaline keeps pumping.

34)  When you need a rest, it’s a lot more pleasant to rest by a creek, under a tree, or on a mountain peak than on a street corner.

35)  You’ll begin to feel like a Tarahumara Indian. See Born to Run, required reading for all trail runners.

36)  It is easy to turn a short run into an all-day trek through the woods.  Switch between hiking and running if you want to spend more time on the trail.

37)  After following a few simple steps, even the indoorsman can feel prepared. There is nothing you’ll need that a handheld water bottle or hydration pack won’t carry.

38)  The softer surface will help keep your feet healthy as you break in those new minimalist kicks.

39)  Hikers think you are crazy, sexy, cool, when you speed by them.

40)  Right now you probably get weird looks when you break out the headlamp for early morning or late evening road runs.  No one out on the trail at that time of day/night would think twice about the glowing lantern coming from your forehead.

41)  Trail scars are impressive.

That might seem like a lot of reasons, and there are so many more.  If you ever need a guide, I’m your girl. Coaching endurance and trail runners is my favorite thing to do, besides running trails! erin@athleticmentors.com


Nerd Bomb: Rotational weight and the lies we have been fed for years

September 30th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Robert Munro

This short article will teach you what matters and what doesn’t when it comes to “Rotational Weight”.  Since the dawn of lightweight bike stuff, we have been fed the adage that lightweight bike parts will make you go faster and if that thing is spinning it matters a whole lot more than if it isn’t. Unfortunately, this is a gross oversimplification. If you can make it through this quick physics lesson you will know what is worth spending your hard-earned money on and what isn’t.

Let’s review why weight matters on flat land. When you are moving along the road you have kinetic energy (measured in joules if we are keeping it metric). In order to get up to that speed you had to apply more power (Watts) than the road and the wind were exerting against you. That power went into your kinetic energy. If kinetic energy did not exist then you would immediately accelerate up to your desired speed. Once you are up to speed and your kinetic energy is constant, weight doesn’t matter anymore.

There are 2 types of kinetic energy that we care about on the bike, translational and rotational (formula below).

Definition of Translational Kinetic energy in words: Intrinsic energy you and your gear have by moving across the earth. Notice that speed is squared. This is partly why you can accelerate 0-15 mph a lot faster than 15-30 mph. All the mass counts for this part.

Definition of Rotational Kinetic Energy in words: Intrinsic energy the spinning stuff has. You must put energy in just to spin it. Only the spinning mass counts.

When you travel down the road (or trail) your kinetic energy is a summation of both. Therefore:

This also means that spinning stuff counts twice!

Important side note: Translational kinetic energy is a lot larger than rotational.

Now let’s define Moment of Inertia: A quantity expressing a body’s tendency to resist angular (spinning) acceleration. The 2 parts of Moment of inertia are the weight of this object and how far it is from the center of rotation. In fact this distance is squared. See formula below. Therefore the radius becomes significantly more important as it grows as does the mass of the object.

This should be the part of the article where I calculate (and graph) the rotational kinetic energy of all spinning bike components at different speeds. I will spare you that level of boredom. Unless of course I get enough comments on facebook asking for it ;). What I will do is boil it down to make it simple.

Tires, tubes (or sealant), and rims matter;

shoes matter a little;

everything else is negligible.

Finally, let’s talk about going uphill. When going uphill your mass will pull you downward. The relationship is linear. The kicker is that gravitational force does not care if something is spinning. Furthermore, lets remember that kinetic energy only “holds you back” when you accelerate with respect to the ground. If you are slowing down (and hence using your kinetic energy to overcome air resistance and mechanical drag for a time) like you would if you are hitting the bottom of the climb going fast, then having more kinetic energy is actually helpful! Therefore, rotational weight is not more important while climbing.

Whew, you made it! That was a proper Nerd Bomb. But now you are smarter for it. Congratulations! Let me know in the comments if you agree or think I am letting the gel go to my head. Nerd out.


Kickr “Climb” – Adjusting Difficulty Setting

September 24th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Todd Anthes

The subject of a prior blog discussed the benefits of the Wahoo Kickr Climb (the “Climb”) as aiding in the recovery of my back injury.  In short, the Climb adjusts to the gradient of a virtual hill by replacing your front wheel in a trainer setting. The default trainer difficulty setting of the Climb is 50% of the actual grade of the virtual hill.  I think the intent is to not have the device working more than necessary and to smooth out the virtual experience/ride. 

I primarily ride the Climb on Zwift.  All of the Zwift worlds have climbs of varying gradients.  The theory of the trainer difficulty setting is that a lower slope setting will reduce shifting and allow a rider to put more power out on the descents.  And while this makes sense to me, I fail to see why a rider wouldn’t want the actual slope setting. I didn’t give this much thought and was happy to have the forced position change which I think helps my back. 

When I start with new technology, I usually run everything “standard” until I am comfortable with it.  I am now comfortable with the Climb and have started to experiment with the trainer difficulty setting. I fail to see why a rider wouldn’t want the Climb to not simulate the actual slope regardless of trainer difficulty. And as previously mentioned, the two biggest selling points of the Climb for me are the reminder of the ergonomic simulation of body and bike position on gradients and increased rider feel for the indoor effort. 

am still playing with the trainer difficulty setting on my virtual rides, but this article (https://zwiftinsider.com/kickr-climb-trainer-difficulty/) has been essential in my experience with such settings. For example, I have a recurring workout that requires repeats of six minutes climbs at a specific power.  Given that I don’t have a six-minute climb near where I live, I often do this workout on my trainer.  I have been playing with the trainer difficulty setting on the Climb and it has positive impact on the workout. 

The jury is still out for me on what is the “best” trainer difficultly setting, but the referenced article is a great way to increase the viability of your trainer session. 


Six Mechanical Things to Check When Buying a Used Bike

September 20th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By: Robert Munro

There are a lot of things to consider when buying a used bike. Fit and specs are undoubtedly important. However, this is a quick guide on what Mechanical Things to check for when buying a used bike. It is not a deal breaker if you find that one or more of these things is not up to your standard. What is important to realize is that these wear items cost money to rectify. You don’t want to spend $400 on a sweet new ride, only to have to take it to the shop for an equally expensive bill for maintenance and parts. Therefore, I have also included a rough estimate of what it cost to replace the part yourself and what it might cost at a shop (Don’t come crying to me when you have to pay $30 for a chain instead of $25, this is just an estimate).Chain ($25 DIY/$45 shop)

1. Making sure the chain is in good condition is important because it is indicative of other problems. Look for signs of rust. Mild rust can usually be cleared up with a healthy dose of lubricant but any more than that and I would replace it. See if the chain is especially grimy. Again, this one is usually not a bad deal but an exceptionally dirty chain can wear through a cassette quickly. Finally, use a chain checker to see if it is stretched (~$11 on the internet or ask a friend if you can borrow theirs). If any of these problems are severe, pay close attention to the next one.                                                                         

2. Cassette and Chain Rings (Cassette ($50 DIY/$80 shop), Chain rings ($150 DIY/$200 shop)!!!)

These get expensive fast! Don’t ask me why (look at your chain rings). Look for gouging on the “load” side of the teeth. This is the side that the chain makes hard contact with. Worn down teeth will impair shifting and even cause you to skip gears. (Not fun when sprinting out of the saddle).

3. Tires ($100 DIY/$120 shop)

Look for a little indicator hole to show wear (for road). Look for squaring of the top of the profile. Finally, look for tiny cuts in the tread and sidewall. Good tires drastically improve your ride. In my opinion it is some of the best dollars spent on a bike. Don’t overlook it.

4. Cables/Housing ($25 DIY/$85 shop)

Pull both brakes and shift the bike when it is off the ground. Really pay attention to how easily the gears shift and the brakes feel. Also look at the exterior of the housing and where is enters and exits the frame. Cuts and fraying can be indicative of a poor running system.

5. Bar tape ($20 DIY/$40 shop)

One of the three contact points on the bike. There is no reason to neglect it. Don’t ride with old tape!!

6. Rotating stuff (bottom brackets and wheel hubs) ($Depends$)

Spin the cranks and wheels slowly to check for any grinding. You can also feel for this during your test ride. The other way to look for damage is to forcefully try to move the wheel or crank “Outward”. For the wheels, grab the top of the rim with one hand and the frame with the other. Then pull the wheel towards the frame. If you can wobble the wheel significantly on the bike, then the hubs may need an adjustment or replacement. All wheels will pull a little bit but if it pulls more than 1 cm (3/8”) then you may want to be concerned. The cranks can be tested in much the same way. Any movement sideways here is bad.

Some final thoughts:

First: TAKE YOUR TIME!! Don’t be in a rush. Check these things over slowly. Signs of damage often don’t pop out quickly. Look at every tooth, every inch of tire, and every link of chain. The seller won’t mind (assuming there is nothing to hide).

Second: Be respectful. Don’t berate the bike (or for goodness sake the seller). You may likely see this person again. The cycling community is small. The things you found are discussion points not evidence in a crime. These things will help with negotiations, but the seller does not have to adjust the price.

Happy Hunting!


The Kickr “Climb” Helped My Recovery

September 17th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Todd Anthes

I’m still recovering from a back injury and have had to examine a number of factors to help me get back on track and not exacerbate the injury while riding.  Oddly enough, one of items that has assisted is the Wahoo Kickr Climb (the “Climb”). 

The Climb pairs with a Wahoo smart trainer (in place of your front wheel) and changes the gradient in conjunction with the hills on your virtual ride.  The default setting of the Climb is 50% of the actual gradient of the virtual hill. You can set the ratio to 1:1 (or another ratio), but this will be the subject of an entire blog itself. 

After my injury I spent a lot of time on the trainer as I could control my environment. Put another way, I couldn’t fall and risk injury. However, one of the negative factors of spending a lot of time on the trainer is that I didn’t change my position much. As I would get bored on the trainer I would tend to slouch. This puts my back in a compromised position and certainly does not help in my recovery.  

In addition to a new fit, changing my saddle, and working on not slouching, the Climb was something I was very interested in trying as I thought it would force position changes on my saddle. The theory being that forcing a change in my position would not drivmyself into dysfunction.   

I used the Climb for my entire 2018-2019 winter season, including many rides of 3 hours or more.  I’m pleased to report that the device has met its intended purpose. As the Climb adjusts to the gradient of the virtual hills, my position on the saddle also is forced to adjust. When the Climb adjusts to the gradient, it is also a great reminder to check my form. 

I wholeheartedly endorse the Climb as a tool to enhance your training experience, as well as making longer trainer rides more tolerable. The forced change of your position on the saddle replicates the outdoor experience to a certain degree and can also serve as a reminder to pay attention to your form.  



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