It’s been almost 2 weeks since I’ve posted anything! It feels like forever. I’ve been super busy with work, training, and “the other website”(again don’t really want to plug it here haha, this is just for me 🙂 ).
Well, since my last post, with the Mock Triathlon, I have had several Swim Sessions, all at least 1600 Meters long. I’ve done several great training Rides, isolating tempo, cadence, Heart Rate, and over all speed(individually lol) and been able to get out and get my Brooks Cascadia 10’s Dirty fora few miles.
I won’t go super into detail but, here are some of the Discipline breakdowns lately:
I’ve been working on my swimming a lot. I am not a fast nor efficient swimmer. I can swim fora long time, staying afloat that is, but I am going no where fast!
Because of this, I have been working mostly on Form and making my Crawl(freestyle) Stroke more smooth, so I can glide more and fight the water less.
The Olympic Triathlon Distance is 1500 Meters(basically 0.9 miles), so I have been making all of my Swims at least that distance and more(usually do a 400 Meter Warm up- I am not really to the point I differentiate a fast or slow pace haha). This is so, I can build my endurance to do the distance needed for the event and have some gas in the tank, so I can refuel on the bike!
I have also completed 1 pool swim in my Wet Suit- a Xterra Vortex Sleeveless. I really liked the feel and the comfort of it. I was able to complete back to back 1500 Meter swims in well under the cut off time(individually) for the event. This was a huge confidence booster for me. I know it is possible!
I have also signed up for some swimming lessons. This is to begin teaching me “how” to become a better swimmer, via drills or other practice and form correction methods.
Over all, I am excited and know that “someday” I will be a competent “fast” swimmer.
Well, I’ve been able to rack up some more miles on the Bike! I am really and truly enjoying riding, more than I thought I would!
This past little bit, I have put in several 25+ Mile rides. Each ride has concentrated on one of a few things- practicing each one of them to isolate and really get used to doing “that”.
Tempo Rides- These are NOT fun! I have done tempo sets for 2 minutes hard and then rest/recoup/stop throwing up for 4 minutes. I’ll do this for a 30-40 minute ride, then just spin out the rest of the ride at around 90-95 RPM with dead legs. The point of this is to get the gains from the tempo workout and also get my legs and body used to spinning even after being dead tired.
Cadence Rides are just that- Riding as hard as I really can at a high cadence. This is an easy one to cheat on, as all you really have to do is switch to a lighter gear and bam- easier to push! So this one is harder to keep myself honest and to make it just “hard enough” that the muscles get used to it.
My Heart Rate rides really have two parts. The goal is to stay within a certain HR range(changes based on workout) and to keep a 90+ cadence in that HR range. This has required me to go to an easier gear sometimes, to maintain cadence and to keep HR within the desired range. I really think this has also helped me “acclimate” my legs to a good high cadence while keeping my HR low”er”.
I have also gone out and basically tried to go as fast as possible for as long as possible- usually after a 10-15 minute warm-up.
Running has really been good for me lately. I got a 20 Miler in the Sunday before last. The miles seemed very smooth and easy. This was at a Free Trail Race Event put on by TROT(Trail Racing Over Texas). This was super fun and there were a of great runners out there. My overall Race time was just over 5 hours, which was pretty good considering I had stopped and hung out with friends at the Aide Station on each loop(5 miles). My Garmin said I had an avg moving pace of about 12:40. So I was pretty stoked about that, as I hadn’t really pushed at all.
I put in a couple of miles with my dogs during last week. They really enjoyed it. Just did a mile each, but they were having the time of the their lives.
This past Sunday I put in a 4.2 mile run. My goal was to hit an 8:50 avg for this run. As I went along I kept my pace up and ended up with an 8:33 avg! This was great for me as I have really run any distance at this faster pace(yeah this is faster for me haha) in a long time. After this, I immediately went for about an extra 1.5 miles, to really let my legs stretch back out and begin to get the acid out of my legs, I slowed this run down to just under 10 minute pace.
For the last few weeks I have had an uncomfortable right knee. It felt like the tendon behind it was tight. I made sure I was rolling and stretching the quad, hamstring, and calf. This really wasn’t doing anything for me. I have been super careful to try and not get any over use injuries and to take care of myself with proper nutrition(ok nutrition more like it hehe) and rest.
After about 2 weeks of this I finally broke down and called up a Chiropractor. A buddy recommended his and I’ve had a few sessions with him over the last week. My knee already feels great and the rest of my leg is feeling much better(stronger and looser) too. I am going to continue going to see how much better I can get the rest of my body!
I am now about 2 1/2 weeks out from Kemah Triathlon. The following weekend is the MS150(which I am still trying to raise donations for me to qualify to participate- but man it is rough!). The weekend after that is the Brazos Bend 50 Miler. The Wife and I have decided to do the 50K instead of the 50 Miles. I’m a bit sad, but it will still be a hell of a challenge!
Well that’s the “Catch-up” for now. I’ll be hitting a run and getting a Swim coaching session later tonight. I am excited to see how far I can keep going!
That’s all for now! Thank you very much for reading. Remember, if you have any questions or comments, let me know!!
On Tuesday I decided to do a mock Olympic Distance Triathlon- just for me. This wasn’t to go race pace at all(although I did mix in some surges).
This started out at the pool, I swam ~2k Meters total.
This included a 400 Meter Warm up, and somewhat of a 100 Meter cool Down lol. This was pretty comfortable and I was able to keep my swimming “mostly” efficient.
Total time :1:10 including warm up and cool down.
Event time: 48 Minutes
I want to bring this down some more before the “main event” because there is a 1 hour time cut off. And I want to err well on the side of caution for this. The Bike and Run both have 90 Minute cut offs(after the the previous event’s cut off). So I feel more than confident that I’ll be fine on time for them.
Next I drove home and jumped on the trainer for the bike portion.
The first 15 minutes sucked, I could barely keep up speed and keep down my HR. Turned out, I had the tension set too tight on the wheel platform. readjusted this real quick and BAM! I was flying. Since it is a trainer- I feel it is easier to maintain speed, but harder to maintain comfort lol.
Got in the full 25 Miles here!
After getting off the bike I felt tired, but still pretty strong. I had kept up my nutrition throughout the ride, and making sure to get more into me for the run.
I ended up only running a mile. This was fortunately not due to me dying off. I had chosen to just run around the lake next to my apartment. Well this was a bad idea as 85% of the loop around the lake was water logged or just straight under about an inch to 3 inches of water. That one mile took forever, but it was a great stretch!
All in all I was impressed with myself. This was not an all out effort, but it was a good steady push. And I passed my expectations.
Knowing that I can do this a month out, with no real taper or major rest beforehand makes me even more confident of my performance come April 12th!
I am excited and can’t wait to see how I do. My goal is to finish. But I want to make sure I don’t finish with a full tank 🙂
Thanks for reading guys. Let me know what you think!
So I got a lot of good training in this weekend! It was a rough one and I’m still feeling it, but man was it worth every second of the pain and mental toughness I had to pry out of me!
I Started off with a 1 Mile Swim on Friday night. This was a 1 Lap at a time Mile(25 Meters). This is actually the first time I have made myself do an entire Mile, so it was a bit rough.
I am not an efficient swimmer. I’m not a graceful swimmer. I’m a strong swimmer, and as such, I spend most of my time defeating myself by not keeping correct form. I also have a very hard time breathing correctly(with form). Keeping my head low and in the water, under my recovering arm and against my leading arm, is very difficult for me, as I have not yet ingrained the muscle memory. I am getting better though, so one step at a time. I mostly worked on my breathing on this workout. I probably swam too fast to really make it good(around a 33 minute 1600- and the Garmin only picked up 1575 meters, because I didn’t start it on one of the lengths 😦 lol ).
I took about a 30 second to one minute breather each length, to recover. I still have a hard time not kicking too much and my swim technique combined with poor form makes one length of the pool a grinder of trying to breath and keep my heart from not exploding in my chest!
All in all though, it was a great workout! You can see it here.
this workout felt great afterward and I feel it was a bit of an accomplishment. I am not where I need to be for the Swim portion of my upcoming Olympic Distance Triathlon. But I am one step closer 🙂
Saturday was next on my destination of pain weekend. I had already decided Saturday was going to be a long Ride. So I tentatively mapped out a 60 Mile course. I wanted this to be my longest ride to date- but only by a few miles.
So it was basically a 30 Mile out and back Course. Pretty easy. The weather was supposed to be nice so, I got up early, had some coffee and oats, rested a bit, got my gear on and got on the road!
The day was a bit chillier than I really liked. I didn’t wear my thermal leggings, although I did wear some knee warmers and Calf Compression Sleeves. I also left my full finger gloves and shoe covers at home- like an idiot. I was a bit cold, but nothing too uncomfortable and once I got warmed up, I was good to go.
The miles just kind of flew by. I set an alarm to keep me in HR Zone 3- to conserve energy for this long haul. My HR avg was 145, and it only peaked over 150 a few times- usually when climbing a local mountain(bridge) or if I would try to “safely”make a light.
I say safely, because if there is traffic at an intersection I won’t even think about “making a light”, but if it is clear and I have good line of sight of all directions, I’ll push it :). I did try to maintain a nice high cadence, and came away with an 85 RPM Avg. Which I thought was pretty good, as I prioritized HR over Cadence for this ride. I found even when pushing a light gear, my HR would want to climb when I got around the 95-100 Mark. I figure this is still me getting used to moving my legs this fast on the bike.
As I continued, I felt better and better, especially with this low speed and easy to maintain cadence. I took a break at the 20 Mile Mark. I felt great!. I had filled two water bottles, one with water, the other with Heed. I also brought along a zip lock baggie with Perpetuem in it, for later in the ride. After that break, I closed in quickly on the 30 Mile Mark of the ride. Then passed it. I decided I would do a bit more. And then a bit more. And then a bit more. Before I realized it, I was at 51 Miles!!
Now the way I mapped the course out, there were several “shortcuts” built into the ride, so if I needed to, I could be home in fewer miles if I needed to.
I decided it was about time for some lunch, so found my self a Starbucks. Had a good bite to eat and a latte, as well as finished off my water and Heed bottles. I had also been hitting my normal 10 minute rotation of some sort of nutrition every 10 minutes for this first 50 miles. I brought along enough calories to go twice as long(time wise) than I had estimated my ride would be, so I had plenty. I chilled and rested for about 30-40 minutes. Got in some good stretches, got my water bottles filled, mixed in my Perpetuem, re-organized my nutrition in my jersey pockets- for easy reach, and got back on the road!
As I headed back, I had the option to Take a few Short cuts. At first, I thought I would take one of these, as I was going into a pretty stiff headwind. Although my
speed suffered greatly, I spent most of the day comfortably in the drops. I kept my HR low and my cadence high and it went along pretty smoothly. I really wasn’t feeling exhausted at any point. I did feel the beginning’s of leg muscle fatigue at around the 70 mile mark. My Longest Ride Ever!! This was my last “big” cut off. I stopped for a few minutes for a breather and a quick Self Evaluation.
How do I feel?: Well, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m not tight and I’m not feeling a loss of energy.
How is my nutrition?: I have about 600 Calories worth of chewable nutrition left, and about half of a bottle of perpetuem(which was mixed about half a scoop too rich- just in case hehe).
Well, what do you think?: Heck, lets go for it!!.
I plotted out the course going back on the exact same route as I had began that morning, this would give me about 10 miles to my next “cut off”. I’d see how I felt then.
So I rolled on, The next 10 miles were fast, with a super low HR and a cadence I was proud of, I flew right through the 10 miles. At this point, I knew it was in reach. I hadn’t given the notion or a fully formed thought of it all day, it was just a slight tickle or whisper in the back of my mind. But now, almost at mile 80, I felt it.
I can do a Century today! I can do it. I can complete this on my own!!
So I continued on my path. At this point I just added one of my normal weekly rides to the course(it was the same road I was on, so it was easy). This course is usually around 25 miles, with about 1.2-2 of it being from my apartment to where I intersected it with my current course. By combining the cunning use of trig- calculus- and geometry that would make many mathematicians and physicists proud- I subtracted 2 miles from 25 miles and got 23 miles. Then added 23 miles to 79.5 miles- and got about 103 miles!! I know I know, you’re impressed with ma maph skeelz.
At this point it was later in the day and the road were busier. I popped an extra gel, to make sure I kept my sugar with some blood in it(yeah, at this point I was seriously not the sharpest tool in the shed). I wanted to stay alert enough of vehicles on the road, as I was also in a busier section of town. I honestly should have called it quits. But I was not sane enough to make that call lol.
This portion of the course was an out and back loop of about 7 miles total and then another 12 mile loop(6 out and back) with a return loop of around 3-4 miles.
I made this first loop and felt a lot more fatigue than I had thought I would. The last half of this little loop was deep on into the wind again and I struggled to maintain good form and breathing. I got to the 12 mile loop, and decided to take it head on!(remember where I said I wasn’t all there? Yep, here is proof lol). So I slowed down a lot, kept a high cadence, just pushing a super easy gear( I later found I was still doing around 15 MPH- which I was ecstatic about- to explain further. I didn’t want to be emotionally affected with a slow speed. So, to make sure that speed was not a factor at all in this Day’s ride, I removed it from my main screen on the 910xt- So I pretty much never knew my speed all day hehe). About 1-2 miles in, I started to feel great again. Still taking nutrition and water when my 10 minute beeper would go off, and really just enjoying the ride!
I took another break at the turn around for this loop- less than 10 Miles to go!! I hit the head, drank some extra water and partially filled it back up(I was at a gas station- I actually passed this gas station 3 times, including rest stops, for this ride haha). Took a 10 minute breather and got back to it!
Going in the opposite direction, the wind was coming at my back from an angle. I would have the wind to my advantage for all but the last 2 miles of the route. So I sat up, put my hands on the horizontal bars( I call them the tops, I don’t know if they have a “real” name lol) and used my back as a wind sail. I maintained the same rhythm and patterns as the rest of the day, and I felt like I was flying!! I was only hitting about 16-18 MPH(via later inspection of the route data) but man I felt great! I felt so good, that when I turned back into the wind, I kept up the pace, and pushed that last little bit out!
I crossed the 100 Mile Mark! Threw up a fist in victory and kept chugging along! I am sure a few people saw some crazy dude on a bike, in a Marine Corps Cycling Jersey, looking like a crazed maniac rolling down the side of the street! But I didn’t care! I just completed a Century!! But now to get home!
I stayed in the drops and finished out the ride strong and feeling great!!
I got home and stretched and ate for about an hour or two haha. Took a good bath and called it a day!!
This was a really big confidence booster to me. As I did not think I could do my first century, and live, quite yet. I also did not think my first century would be a self supported one!
There is a Houston to Galveston Century near the end of this month, and I am thinking of doing it now. This would be my last big ride(and is scheduled to be my last big ride weekend anyway) before I do Kemah on April 12th and then the MS150 on April 18-19th. The first day of the MS150 will be a century as well.
I am feeling more and more confident of my cycling, every day.
Next up was Sunday! Now my legs didn’t feel like jello, but they didn’t feel up to much abuse either. I rolled them and stretched them and babied them most of the morning.
In the early afternoon, I decided I wanted to get a short swim in. So I decided on an 800 Meter swim. It was slow. Most of it was the same as Friday night, just breathe. Learn to breathe. Be comfortable breathing. And try to keep my heart from jumping out of my chest!!
This was a lot more rough, as my legs were sore and didn’t want to kick. Although, this ended up being a good thing! Since my legs didn’t want to kick, I wasn’t kicking!! So I wasn’t over or under balancing my body. My strokes were a lot more even. And my breathing almost even felt semi-comfortable…. Almost.
In the future I am going to continue minimizing my kick. This seems to save a lot of energy and allow for a more extended period of swimming! This is just what I need to make sure I can really perform well at Kemah next month!
This swim was a big eye opener and I am really going to keep up using that same technique. It was a bit slower- like 2 minutes for a combined 1600 meters slower, but the amount of energy used felt like a lot less. I don’t know if it was just me not trying to overcome bad technique as much or what, but I seemed to glide a lot more through the water. Making is so much easier to feel more “fluid” in the water as well.
I got some more stretching and rolling in later that night to really help me relax.
Had some good food to keep things clean and wrapped up the weekend. We will see how things go! I am supposed to do a 10 Mile run tonight- Monday night, and if the weather doesn’t hold out, that may have to be on a treadmill. Which will not be fun.
All in all, this was a great weekend. Lots of activity. Lots of physical and mental testing. I came through it all. And was insane enough to enjoy it!
My over all confidence for April has skyrocketed!
I have a big Trail Run coming up on this next Sunday. It is a supported “free” run put on by Trail Running Over Texas(TROT). It is going to be a blast and can’t wait! The course is to be a loop of about 4-5 miles. You just do as many loops as you can between 6 AM and 1 PM(last loop cut-off is at noon). I am really hoping I can complete this at around a 50K(my first at this distance). Since I won’t really have a lot of training time the rest of the month- as I need to taper everything for next month’s madness. This weekend and next weekend, are to be my big tests and self evaluations!
After this, I’ll mostly just be doing maintenance miles, and easy workouts. I’ll do one “moderate to heavy” workout per week, but that would be like a 6-7 opposed to my current 8-9 lol. With lots of rest before and after it.
This next little bit(including this past weekend) is Testing my over all conditioning, gear, nutrition, freak of nature will power, and trying to stay somewhat sane throughout the whole thing!! April is to be my “Devil’s Three-way” and I plan on making it a memorable one!!
Thanks for reading everyone! Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions- and sorry for the book of a post!!
MS Awareness Week is Here and Your Connection Counts! Time is growing short before the MS150 Begins! And I still have a long way to go in raising donations! Please help in any way you can!
MS Awareness Week is a special week to rally together to recognize progress, acknowledge everyone’s connections and contributions, and inspire others to help us move even faster towards our vision of a world free of MS.
What YOU can do during MS Awareness Week:
Keep doing what you are already doing throughout the year. You are already changing the world for people affected by MS!
Share Why You Connect. Create a connection image about your passion for the MS movement. Share it boldly with your networks on social media and in-person to inspire and engage others.
Think about what you already do and make one extra push. Make a few extra calls, send a fundraising email, make an extra donation, thank your donors, or get a friend to join your team or in a volunteer activity.
Please help with this fundraiser. Even a few dollars(sacrifice that Latte) makes a huge difference! Remember to Share and Like! This will help get the word out and make this even easier!
So one of the big parts of training- bigger than any other actually- is Resting. Mostly cause it just takes so damn long to recover after destroying a workout.
And it is so damn hard to do this part of Training!
After this weekend’s suffer fest of fun, my legs felt like jelly most of Monday. Tuesday, I was feeling a lot better. The Legs still felt the weekend, but they were feeling much more rejuvenated. A bit of stretching and rolling and I was feeling pretty limber.
Today, my legs felt great! I had planned on getting out and putting on some miles, but Mrs. NGC and I went out and found ourselves some good trail running shoes 🙂 . This took too long and we didn’t have the time to get in and get some miles on the legs for the night. But now we can attack the trails without too much worry of bruised feet hehe.
Now that the evening is coming to a close(and I am way to full from dinner to think much about running haha) I am realizing how “tired” my legs were. Not that they were sore, or that they were tight, they were just… Tired? Like they didn’t want to move much, if at all lol.
So now that I am thinking a bit more about it. I have “built in” rest days for training. And I have never been one to push past what I know/feel my current limits are, I’m not so full of machismo I can’t admit I need some time off. But I also don’t really “look forward” to them either.
Between fear of overuse and wanting to make sure I can keep increasing my training on schedule, I don’t want to lose sight of the goal(making it through April without injury) in trying to make every single work-out the hardest it can be.
With this being laid out, like that, I make my hard workouts-Hard. Like really really hard. Like Arnold is crying hard. My easy days are laughable. Granny rolls by on her 12v scoot-a-round and makes a rude joke about needing to get my training wheels. My medium days or just the this side of the “uncomfortable”.
I don’t want to reach my goals. That isn’t the plan. Or the point. Or the way I do pretty much, anything.
A fighter throws a punch- not at his/her enemy, but through them. They aim past their goal(the contact of the strike). This is my approach to a goal. I look at it, understand it, and know that once contact is made, I must go past it.
In this way, I am aiming past the small stepping stones to what lies beyond them. Will they be easy- Hell No(and if it were they wouldn’t be worth it). But I know that my aim cannot end at the “event” I am training for. There must be something more, something greater, harder, something that means a great deal to me. Only by looking at the mountain can I reach inside and muster the strength to beat the hill.
There will be many hills in my future. But I can see the Mountain and it can see me. It knows I’ll get there. I’ll have to work hard. I’ll have to work long. It will hurt. I will be exhausted. And I will rest when needed. Push when it is called for.
Now this doesn’t mean that I will always set myself up for something that tests me to within an inch of my life(at least not all the time). However, that does mean that I need to always have something to aim for and that it must be something that “means” something to me. Whether it is emotionally based, physically based, or whatever. The point is to make goals and move along. Rejoice in the moment and cherish it. But we cannot live the moments of yesterday forever. We have to make some new ones.
I always remember to smile after a challenge of any sort, and know that my Will cannot be beaten.
And to look up and let the Mountain know that there is still a challenger. 😉
In conclusion, this line of thought gets me through rest days. Thoughts of how hard the next workout will be. Of how hard the challenges to come will be. My personal and professional goals.
I guess on some level I feel like I use the tough days to “justify” the rest days. And, in turn, use the rest days to justify the tough ones haha.
Saturday morning it started off with the Wife and I taking a run!
We ran a warm up mile. Then ran 3 x 1 Mile Repeats. This was a big day for me, as all three of my “repeats” were under 8 minute miles(7:52, 7:42,7:51-respectively). This had me stoked as I have not been able to do that for a long long time(before my 3 year fitness sabbatical lol). Guess this shows that something is working right haha.
My year long goal is to have a 1:40 Half Marathon Pace. With results like this I can feel that day coming… eventually 🙂
Mrs. NGC also did Great! She had taken a few weeks off, however, you wouldn’t have noticed it as she was flying on her runs!
After this, I went for a 20 Mile Bike Ride.
The second half was a rough ride for me, I started to die down on energy, although I was eating and drinking per my usual 10/10 schedule.
By the time I was done, I was literally done. I did not bonk(which I am proud of), but I did not feel a lot left in the tank for the day.
That night, I splurged and ate an Italian Sub-Sandwich from a local pizza place(toasted). It was great, filled me up and, almost immediately, I started feeling a lot better. This carried on into the evening as I continuously stretched and even “rolled” a few times to help my legs feel less like jello and more like powerhouses! By the end of the night, I was feeling recharged and human again.
Sunday morning was a group run with a Facebook Page called “Running Adventures Around the World”. This was a 12 Mile loop that was going to done twice by some, so they could hit 20 Miles for the day. I had only planned on doing one loop, as I had a Cycling Safety Class scheduled for the Afternoon.
This was to be a group run for fun, without any real race pacing or trying to kill each other trying to keep up.
As you can see we had a lot of fun!
We spent a lot of time finding great places to use as photo Ops!
We took our time and enjoyed the run. We all carried nutrition, I brought along my Hydration-Pack, so I was able to offer extra water to those with smaller water bottles.
We took breaks often too!
As we continued our journey we found a couple of Signs we were able to photo Bomb.
We had a Great time! With such an awesome group of runners. At Mile 10 we had a nice stretch!
All in all, this was a good experience.
We ended up enjoying ourselves too much and by the time we got done, I was late for my class 😦 . there are others, so I will be able to make sure I get my class so I’ll be safe haha.
After this, I rested for about an hour and some change. Then went to another Group Run, with Team RWB.
I ran with a buddy who does Triathlons like they are too easy not to do. We used a 7 Minute run, 1 Minute walk rotation that worked out pretty darn good. I was definitely feeling it, but I was able to keep up the pace and stick with him(although I am pretty sure he tried to drop me a few times haha). This was a 4.25 mile run and I was feeling pretty good even at the end, although I was tired, I wasn’t totally baked!!
After this we all went to a local restaurant (our usual post run hand out joint for some refueling food). This is a staple of the weekly diet, where I always have a Giro Platter and it is so delicious!
All in all, this was a tiring weekend. I am glad I was able to make it through. This is definitely a a good sign that everything is going well. I am excited about the next few months and can’t wait till all the “race days” coming up.
All though this was a “training” weekend, it was a lot of fun. Being able to enjoy amazing workouts with some really great people is always a good time(even if I want to cry after the workout!).
As always. Thank you for stopping by and hopefully having a good time. Let me know what you think and give me some of those great tips and tricks if you see something doesn’t quite “look right”.
So I have now been part of, privy to, or read about the famous “buy the lightest gear in existence” conversations.
Now to explain this I’ll tell you what I have heard from both sides. Then I’ll give you my “very well informed” 3 months of cycling experience and the “deep understanding” of the way the Universe works :).
I have read, almost everywhere, that there are many different factors that go into the “increased efficiency” category for riding. The largest or most popular method, that I have read about, to this is to buy lighter gear.
Now, I am a beginning cyclist and won’t even attempt to really “make claims”, but I am a very active person and have been very active for a majority of my life. Completing hikes of over 100 miles, running as a passion, kayaking, and many other hobbies. So with this experience, I would say Yes to “part” of that “Buy Lighter Gear to be a more efficient and faster Cyclist”. The “Lighter” Part, to be specific.
In each of the disciplines above, the ones I have more experience in of course hehe, the lighter the better. The less you have to trudge along with, the easier it is to trudge along.
Now I think a great many people truly and deeply understand this fact- the lighter something is, the easier it is to move- or to make move. What I think(my opinion here) is that people, as usual like to take the shortest route to a goal. With this “easy route” mode stuck in their minds, they lose all control or understanding of anything except the words “Weight” and “Lighter” when thinking of cycling and immediately look at a store shelf, instead of a mirror. This pursuit of “lighter” isn’t a bad thing, in fact in many cases it can be the best solution. However, I do think that there is more than one way to skin a cat.
With this said, it’s time for the big statement that, I am sure, will make many people downright pissed off.
You need to shave weight off of your big ass before you need to worry about the weight on the bike :).
People will spend 1000$ to save 1 pound of weight for a bicycle component, but they have a Double Bacon Wrapped Deep Fried Three Patty Deep Burger for dinner(on a regular basis).
I don’t even understand how that makes sense inside someone’s head- excepting the above “take the easiest route possible” mentality.
Now I get wanting to have high speed low drag gear, who doesn’t. But if you are reducing the weight of your bike, thinking it will get you “real” gains in your cycling efficiency, I truly think you are going to be a bit disappointed, although you will see a small improvement.
I will continue this from my POV- so I don’t anger anyone lol.
I want to look at the whole picture. From this I mean that (from a weight) point of view, the Bike is not the only thing that has weight! My big Ass just so happens to be on top of this 20 lb steed(least that is what the Felt Website says it weighs lol).
So after about 2-300 miles I began to wonder what would make me a more efficient Cyclist(and that is how this post was conceived lol).
So I sat down and wondered- Being Lighter(that “whole picture” thing above again) would make it easier to move. Being lighter would mean that there is less mass to move, less drag from wind, less downward force to overcome the friction of sitting on it. So if I make the bike lighter that would make it go easier- But how much weight can I really shave off of a 20 lb bike? A few of you may be thinking “A Lot!”. So what is “A Lot” of 20 lbs? 5lbs= 25% decrease! Percentage wise that is huge! I would soar like and eagle and strike like lightening, I’d be so fast!! Umm, I’m not seeing that happen in the real world.
But what if I lost that same 5 lbs? I mean, what if I made ME 5 lbs lighter? Wouldn’t that be just as good? And no lying to yourselves here, who among us couldn’t lose a few extra pounds here and there? What if I decided to lose 20 Lbs? Now, I can currently lose about 25-30 Lbs without going below 12% body(yeah I’m a fatty at the moment and this is one of my goals hehe). And that is just me and everyone is different, but most people could lose a few and not miss them too much.
I’m not going to go into nutrition, or eating habits, or any of that crap right now. But I will say, those who want to lose weight do. Those who don’t, don’t. There is no secret to losing weight. There is hidden myth behind weight loss. If you expend energy and eat in a healthy and balanced style, you will lose weight. If you are never active, eat anything at all at anytime, and never make an attempt to change that- Do you really think you’ll lose weight? Ok, that is all on that- I’m not gonna try and tell you “how” to lose weight. But I am trying to “shed” light (see what I did there?)on the fact that, to weigh less, you actually have to decide you want to change and then figure out how that change works or will work for you. (insert promotional “I’m an Awesome Inspirational Speaker” plug here)
With this in mind- although I can’t lose 20% of my weight nearly as quickly as I can go to my LBS and get some high speed low drag gear that weighs almost nothing, if I did lose that weight, wouldn’t I be stronger for ME instead of doing it “only” to the bike and not worrying about my own weight on top of it? Wouldn’t I be able to cycle even more efficiently if I didn’t have the extra weight dragging not just the bike, but my body down? So instead of worrying about the bike’s efficiency, I just increased mine! Not to mention the increase in my own bodies efficiency for all of the other activities I like and a decrease in the physical stress associated with those activities.
Before you hate, I am not proposing that getting components that are “higher” end is not a good idea. I’m just saying that I think it is purposeless to have the most expensive gear you can mortgage your home for, and still have an extra stone on your gut! I think I should explain. By “higher end” I mean not only lighter gear, but gear that is designed to do it’s function more efficiently. This is sometimes forgotten, because at the same time the manufacturer makes it a better mechanical component, they also make it a “lighter” component. So people see this gear and think only one thing- lighter is the only thing that equals better.
On this line of thought- I also believe that there are diminishing returns. Both in the weight of the bike and person. A slightly heavier person, with a bit more leg strength(dense leg muscles) may be able to outperform a person that does not have that extra muscle in their legs. But, get too much muscle and you’ve now made your “too much heavier” for that muscle to really give you an upper hand.
So I am saying that there is a point where a specific person’s weight should stabilize for their personal optimum performance. At this point, they could race themselves with two different bikes, set up with entirely opposite end of the spectrum components, and that would be a real test!
I, myself, plan on eventually upgrading things on my bike- drive train and wheels are on that list. And who knows where I will want to try and take myself in the future with cycling. But I will do my best to never attempt to “upgrade” something on the bike without making sure I can use the bike to it’s fullest as it sits(and I have a long way to to with my stock Z7 lol).
I know this is tired subject and there are many schools of thought on it. This is just my take, opinion, 1.4 cents worth, whatever lol.
I hope we all reach our goals and make new ones that are even harder 🙂