Today I discovered that the Wattbike and Garmin 920xt can actually be friends and will talk to each other. I had been a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to track my indoor cycling efforts and was trying to manually remember the details to add in later. As the training plan calls for consistent efforts of 85-95 cadence at the moment I was able to use this as a guide but only had heart rate to reference back to. When setting up the bike today though I noticed a little line on the display that referenced an ANT+ channel, I pedalled a bit and set my Garmin to search, lo and behold it found Power, Speed and Cadence options – rejoice! When I got home I did find a plethora of information on wattbike’s website showing how to do it of course, but it’s easy when you know!
As a result of the above I was able to garner a shed load of information that currently means very little, other than I’ve read a lot about it elsewhere! I was happy to note an average speed of nearly 20mph for my short ride, my cadence was spot on at 85 and an average power of 125w given the above seems a good thing. I think.
Unfortunately the groovy ‘curve’ running machines offer no integration so I was only able to rely on the watch itself for that.
A week in to the training plan and I’m feeling pretty good still, I’m deliberately sticking to it religiously, despite at times feeling I can push harder or longer. I did substitute a long weekend bike/run session for a spin class – my dear wife suggested we did one at the gym at 9.30 on a Saturday morning, mad girl! This weekend I’m also going to do a recce of the bike route for the forthcoming triathlon with a friend, thetrinerd. This did involve raiding the Halford’s sale to purchase some winter riding goodies, but more importantly it means I’m actually going to get to finally ride my bike!!!
Well yesterday was a significant day, I had my first run since ‘completing’ the London Marathon in April and also the final run of 2014. Suffice to say that last run didn’t go well, with pretty major damage to most ligaments in my right knee. Months of physio later, an inguinal hernia and a hernia operation we reach today. The knee is not quite 100% yet and I’m strengthening my quads and lengthening my hamstrings on the physio’s orders but I really wanted to get a run in.
It was an ideal time to try, ice on the ground and freezing cold. Having recently moved house, finding my running clothes was not too easy either! All that said I was relieved to find that I settled into a nice steady pace of around 7:30 per mile, sadly in not too great a distance I also discovered that not running in such a long time has an impact on your fitness and stamina! I had only planned a short run anyway but backed off a little as the heart rate rose a little too high.
Things are a little achy today, as expected, particularly the calf muscles which is common with my Brooks Pure Flow 3 due to the natural running style. Fingers crossed as I am not planning any long runs I should be able to build up strength and speed for triathlon events, I’m planning to sign up for the salubrious Halesowen Tri in April!
Speeds Cycles – a new local bike shop!
In other news I also visited a local cycle shop Speeds Cycles near where we’ve moved to, handily they’re a Trek dealer. I managed a bit of drool too as they had a Project One bike in the window in my colour scheme, from speaking to them it turns out they sponsor Hannah Drewett and it was her bike, see below.
She also works on their blog and they’re working to get her in for talks in the evening too. All stuff to look forward to, as well as the bike fit i’ve arranged for early in the New Year – I’ve decided it’s a sensible thing to do given the knee injury.
Seen as I can’t do anything other than lie down and take it easy following my operation I’ve resorted to watching highlights of past Ironman events on YouTube, speccing dream bikes and cars to carry the stuff around in… Sad isn’t it!? That combined with reading lots about it lead me to realise that there are quite a few Kona 2014 bikes that I rather like.
I’ve created a few galleries of bikes that have stood out to me from the lead up to Kona 2014, photo credits are added where applicable but apologies if I’ve missed you, please let me know and I’ll be sure to credit appropriately. You’ll notice that my main reason for liking the bikes below are that they more or less fit into my colour scheme. Sad again, but hey!
I can’t find too many details about it this at the moment other than it’s a relatively standard Cervelo P5 with a number of custom graphics pertaining to his family, Belgium and his current status of defending champion with his winning time from last year. The biggest difference from standard that I can see is that rather than being DuraAce DI2 throughout he is using a Rotor QXL Q-Ring with a large chainring of 54 teeth, Rotor Power Meter and from the triathlete link ceramicspeed bearings and a paraffin wax lubricated chain from Friction Facts; with a guaranteed saving of 5 watts. Mavic CXR80 T wheels as before, slowed down with very clean and aero looking Swiss Stop Yellow Kings, hydraulic at the front. Some more official data is out now and I’ve updated the above – thanks to triathlete.com
I’ve been harassing Cervelo about making this colour scheme available, here’s hoping Frederik wins again this year and they can release it as some sort of commemorative model.
A minor thing, I’m glad to see that the top mount nutrition holder doesn’t have to be held on with velcro either.
Whilst not quite my colour scheme I do love this bike. I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing around with Trek’s Project One system and am currently in to the tune of around £9,000 to get the bike I want, which as far as specification goes isn’t a million miles from this. Linsey is using in house brand Bontrager Aeolus 7 and 9 wheels, SRAM Red with a Quark Power Meter and 55/42 chain rings with an 11/26 rear cassette.
I’m clearly showing a lot of brand loyalty here… But as I said it’s all about the colour scheme as at this stage I’m quite certain the biggest weakness is me and not the bike!
The Cannondale Slice does intrigue me though, I love the shape of it, it’s not too fussy but looks right from every angle, it certainly seemed speedy enough under the likes of Chrissie Wellington too!
Specification highlights include 3T Mercurio LTD 80 Clinchers, DuraAce Di2 with an O-Symetric chain ring (56/44 equivalent – eek!) and Ceramic Speed bearings in the dérailleur pulleys. Not sure I’m keen on having to Velcro a nutrition box on though, surely some sort of standard mount like bottle cages should be standard by now?
An obvious reason why I’d love this is that my real name is Scott. It’s a shame that the colour scheme isn’t quite right, the 2014 models were perfect so there is hope!
One of the features I love about the new Scott bikes is the integrated nutrition that aids aero performance. I’m no aerodynamicist so don’t know the exact details but still feel that Specialized have nailed it with the Fuelselage but I’m pretty sure they’ve patented that so we won’t be seeing it anywhere else! This seems pretty decent though and certainly looks great.
Jodie seems to be using a relatively standard setup, apart from, like many others, a Rotor Power Meter but unlike others uses round 165mm crank arms. Otherwise DuraAce Di2 all round, although like Victor Del Corral she too uses Ceramic Speed components in the rear dérailleur. Sponsored by Enve the presence of their wheels is hardly surprising and why not when they look this good!? Those custom designed aero bars are a thing of beauty too, incredibly aero too – look at how close the bars and pads are together!
Some older style Trek Speed Concepts, a Giant Trinity, Cannondale Slice and my other leading contender a Specialized Shiv. Oh and a random picture of the SRAM Red R2C (Return to Centre) bar end shifters which are the best out there for me. I just don’t seem to get on with the Di2 electronic shifters, possibly due to the size of my hands and thumbs!
Yesterday was spent at The Cycle Show 2014, at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. I went with a friend, thetrinerd, who was partially responsible for getting me in to the triathlon scene.
Having never been to a cycle show I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially from a triathlon point of view, but was pleasantly surprised. Notable manufacturer absentees for me were Specialized, (though they had a small Body Geometry stand), Scott, Cervelo, Fuji, Felt and Cannondale. So that should give some idea of what was there.
I asked the inevitable question about the Forerunner 920xt to the ‘Garmin’ stand but they knew nothing; this was probably more due to the fact that the stand was being manned by a local cycle company rather than Garmin themselves.
One thing I was looking into was a turbo trainer; due to my current injuries I hoped it would allow we to get on the bike. Sadly having tried out a few it was clear that I was not in a good enough condition to use one. That said, anyone interested, the updated bkool trainer was on a show special at £275, which is a bit of a bargain. The updated software version looked a lot sharper than the original and the new unit was pretty quiet, although on a show day this isn’t the easiest thing to check.
Elite announced that all of their current range will be retrofittable with a bluetooth unit to send real time power meter data back to their E-Training app for use with VR and video rides. Sadly they couldn’t give an indication of when this until would be available, or what the cost was but it appeared to be a simple bluetooth unit that attaches near the mag unit on the rear. You’ll also be able to upload videos filmed on a phone (or other GPS enabled video machine) that can then be shared with others and used as videos to ride. Prices ranged from £159 for the Novo Force to £1099 for the direct drive Real Turbo Muin.
Energy Bars, Gels & Drinks
One thing of note was just how many companies selling and sampling energy and nutrition products were present. By about 11.30am I think I could have taken on the BMW jump course.
It was clear that all of these are an acquired taste as the two of us had very varied tastes in what we could tolerate, let alone like! From my running days i’d got into liking SIS, but I was a little disappointed to discover that they use aspartame in some of their products i’ve been using so will be looking to replace those in my routine. Clif had a small stand but had plenty on display, their energy bars and blok were delicious as ever. Torq stood out, probably because they had one of my dream bikes on display, the Wilier Twin Blade, but they had a great range of things to try.
Their energy gels will be my next attempt in competition as the all natural ingredients appeal, Raspberry Ripple, Banoffee etc are all great words to be in a gel. Some were a little sickly sweet and might be difficult to keep down in a long run, hence wanting to try them, they may be fine on a bike mind. The drinks they had on display were, for me, disgusting, but were the biggest discrepancy as thetrinerd loved them. The protein recovery drinks were also a mixed bag, possibly due to the fact that I usually make mine with milk rather than water, Chocolate Mint had potential, but for now i’ll be sticking with MaxiNutrition.
High5 and PowerBar were there also, but i’ve tried them before and not been a big fan though they were both offering good value show deals. ZipVit had some more pleasant bars but nothing really stood out too much for me, they don’t appear to be too readily available either. Finally Beet-It were another that stood out, i first discovered them at the London Marathon Expo and loved the taste of the energy bar, the drink is an acquired taste and i’ve no data on how well they work for me, but thankfully the prices seemed much lower – something that had put me off previously.
TheTriNerd was on the look out for a new aero helmet but we ended up leaving empty handed as the main brand of interest, Kask, were’t on display. We looked at and tried on a few others but were generally quite appalled at the quality of some them, especially for the money they were asking.
I guess the main reason for going was to look at the bikes on offer, for some reason normal road bikes held very little appeal so I concentrated on the triathlon and time trial bikes. So, in no particular order:
The bike that Sir Bradley Wiggins rode to the recent 2014 World Time Trial Championships, unsurprisingly this was a popular machine so getting a decent photo was rather difficult.
The updated version of that used by Leanda Cave in The Ironman World Championship 2012. It looked lovely, though the teeth styling were a little strange.
A bike I love, but the price always makes my eyes water. Seeing one in the flesh you can see the engineering that goes into it, but the eyes still water. Priced at £5900 with SRAM Force gears and Bontrager Aura 5 it’s at the lower end of the scale.
The Vitus Chrono TT appealed as it matches the colour scheme I’ve somehow ended up with. This particular one belongs to Robert-Jon McCarthy, riding for the An post Chain Reaction Cycling team, Chain Reaction Cycling being the owners of the Vitus brand and sole distributors in the UK. They’re competitively priced at £1799 for the frame. Chain Reaction Cycling said they’d be moving to frame only sales next year, I suggested they build in a configurator as there is nothing us bike folks like more than tinkering with configurations of bikes!
A quite interesting machine, specced sensibly with Ultegra all round. It looked fairly long on the top tube so maybe good for the taller, or more aero capable folks. The black bike in the background appeared to be an all black track bike, somewhat lacking pedals, gears et though…
Against some of the other brands, this looked particularly good value. The Canadian brand are quite popular at Kona and I can see why from seeing one in the flesh. Ultegra Di2, Fulcrum Racing wheels as standard and from £4999 (this one had upgraded carbon wheels, Racing Quattro’s are standard).
Two triathlon specific bikes from Cube, the Aerium HPC SLT is their flagship model, the SL the ‘cheaper’ sister. No brand loyalty exists for Cube, as you can see Mavic wheels, Rotor Q-rings and Ultegra Di2 on the SL. Reynolds Aero Carbon wheels, FSA Metron crank and Dura Ace Di2 on the SLT. Prices from £3499 for the SL to £6999 for the SLT.
The official bike supplier of British Triathlon. One of the things i love about Beaconfell is the configurator, who doesn’t love speccing their own bike!? (Sadly you can’t see all of the wheel options :() The only triathlon bike on show was this, the BF-55. On display in a relatively entry level spec with Shimano 105 groupset and Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels for £1999.
Entering in to the realm of silly money, the Storck Aero 2 IS starts at £8999. They do a ‘basic’ version from £5299 the sign lovingly stated. You do get Dura Ace Di2 and solid Mavic Cosmic wheels for your £9k. They do get a nod to the configurator, though it is fairly ‘basic’ (free mind, not just over 5 grand!) The bike gets great press reviews but up close and personal it looks like you’d need to be pretty flexible to ride it in the pictured spec!
Not a brand I was familiar with before the show. The matte finished colours looked stunning in the flesh. Not many details available, even on their own website. Not many details were shown, other than Ultegra Di2, no name wheels, but Easton for the bars.
Back into the silly money realm, this one came in it a bargain £8999, but all things considered the complete Dura Ace Di2 setup is hardly cheap.
Another Italian and another looker. Very helpful of Vision to let us know how many spokes that front wheel has too, i’d have been wondering all day if they hadn’t written it on there. One thing that baffled me here is the TT bar shifter, it appears to resemble a brake more than a gear shifter and not a very comfortable one at that. Anyone know anything about it?
Non Triathlon Bikes
Another Ritte bike that stood out, unsurprisingly I figured my good lady would like the look of this….
Another one for the good lady… it’s actually pink, not red. Very odd forks, not sure what the benefit of wavy forks is supposed to be, but i trust Pinarello know more about that than me.
No further words available.
It took a while to be able to get this photo as it was unsurprisingly a popular machine. It still looked radical, even in the presence of all the other machinery, including the Air 9.8 as used by the Brownlee brothers.
As a somewhat newbie to the world of cycling it was interesting to see the various choices a cyclist gets to make. Of note for me was that despite both my current bikes having Shimano gears, I am now erring towards SRAM. The Di2 shifters for both handlebars and bar ends felt a bit clunky and for people with larger hands, such as me, the bar end buttons in particular were difficult to accurately hit. As such SRAM it shall be going forward! Campagnolo might be worth a look but their normal bar shifters were far from ideal as the thumb shifter wasn’t in an ideal place for me.
Overall I enjoyed the show, despite not being in a position to buy anything. I was a bit disappointed that a lot of the other brands weren’t there. Working for a company that exhibits at these large shows though, I appreciate the costs involved with being at the shows can be prohibitive, and a return on the cost can be hard to measure. If you’re not there though, no one gets to see what you’ve got. I was particularly keen on taking a closer look at the Cannonade Slice, Specialized Shiv and Scott Plasma but this will have to wait.
A lovely and early start today, just heading out the door for a training session at the local pool with my club. The early start was so I could try eating before the swim based on my hardly surprising earlier discovery that energy in, helps with energy out!
After that I’m off to The Cycle Show. Not sure if it’s quite the UK equivalent of Interbike but we shall see. Plenty of shiny new things to see and maybe I’ll see what Garmin have to say about the Forerunner 920xt….. Must remember to leave my wallet behind!
If it’s worth it and I get enough pictures and information I’ll stick up a post about the bike show later too…