First Ride on the New Ride

So yesterday I started work early and hung in there late – I work from home so this is easy for me to accomplish.  I try to be extremely disciplined with my to-do lists and covering all my bases, however having that work-from-home flexibility is key when you have to sneak in a workout to stay on schedule.

I still can't believe that I own this thing.

I still can’t believe that I own this thing.

I took a longer-than-usual lunch and swung down to take delivery of the new bike.  They were in the process of setting up the geometry of the seat and stem to my Guru measurements.  A couple of minor corrections had to be made for aerobar pad height and the Cannondale saddle – I tested on very generic components on the Guru system.  I thought about getting into an Adamo or a Fizik saddle, but it turns out that the stock standard saddle that comes with the Slice is actually pretty darn awesome all by itself, so I figured I’d keep it to get started.

They set the bike up on a trainer and I began to spin.  The setup needed minor tweaks but otherwise it was EXACTLY like we left it after the Guru-Fit session.  I was told that the position I naturally gravitated to was quite a bit more “aero-aggressive” than most riders that come in for a first time fit, so I must be doing something right in terms of flexibility training.

Last night I set up my Garmin mount, my Cadence/Speed sensors, and the Profile Design AeroDrink bottle between the bars.  I decided I’d get up early and give it a go.


Notice the pastel-blue furniture? My “PainCave” rents space from my daughters’ Barbie and American Girl Dolls….

First Impressions:

  1. The bike gives the feeling of being a whole lot lower to the ground.  I know this is the entire point, right?
  2. I feel like my position might need to be made a little more comfortable – the saddle feels good, but it’s feeling pretty extreme.
  3. I’m hoping I can get used to this new truer aero position – it’s all new to me since my old bike was way to big and poorly fit.
  4. My bike layoff has hurt my overall fitness – I need to build back.
  5. I can’t wait to see how it rolls on the street – getting the bike into the house from the driveway it hit me how doggone LIGHT this carbon frame is.  I know there are still some weight trimming that can be done, as it is by no means in its lightest form (carbon bars, better group set, wheels, etc).

New bike on the way – Now I feel like partying!

“No matter how tough the meat may be, it’s going to be tender if you slice it thin enough.”
– Guy Fieri

I think this quote sums up a lot about multi-sport training.  A week ago I was spinning out a little bit – not certain about what I was doing.  I was deep in the throws of the stomach flu, I felt weak and depleted, and not to mention I did not own a bike (not even a hybrid cruiser or anything!).  I look forward at the calendar to early May and there’s the NJ Devilman, and then to June for the TriRock PhillyTri.

So I was in a rough patch.  My training up until last week was a bit informal, however it was pretty consistent and targeted.  My goal was to build base fitness and lose some pounds in the process.  I cranked out a 30 minute time trial and identified my Lactate Threshold as per this article by Joe Friel.  I found that the settings that my Garmin watch had pre-populated as per my age and user profile pretty closely nailed my numbers.

So a lot was going well.  I felt as if my time was being used well, and while I was a little light on the bike time, I was making nice gains in the pool and on the run.

My last post talked about my GuruFit session at Wooden Wheels, Newark, DE.  When I caught up with Tom a couple days later, he had some bad news.  The measurements indicate that while I have the leg length and height of a guy that should ride a 58 cm bike, my torso hip-to-shoulder is kind of short, and I belong in something more like a 54cm frame with a shorter top tube.  He gave me a couple of makes and models that would fit, but sadly the 58 Cervelo Dual I had my eye on was not one of them.  I’m glad I know better, since the impulsive Brian was very close to saying “Screw it” and just buying the bigger frame because it was a deal.  It would have been a miserable experience in the aero position, and I would have fallen out of love with “the deal” quickly.

I asked him if he had anything in the category of “new old stock” and he had one Cannondale Slice 5 left over from 2012 in 56cm.  The Slice (again, referring to the quote at the outset of this post)  is known for having a relatively tall frame without a lot of horizontal length, which is right up my alley.  While I much prefer the grey and blackout look of the new 2013, the 2012 looks pretty cool too:


I ended up getting what amounts to a 50% discount off of last year’s price, and he’s going to throw in a $100 equipment credit (which I’ll probably use on an Fizik or Adamo saddle).  Considering this is a full-carbon frame with Shimano 105 derailleurs, I think it’s a pretty good deal.  I even checked with a childhood friend of mine that’s a big Specialized dealer up in CT – he said to grab it!  The bike was built yesterday and he’s transferring my fit dimensions to it tomorrow.  I’ll be stopping in Tuesday or Wednesday for a final fit and to take her home!

Tying this all together, no task is insurmountable if you “Slice” it thin enough.  I’m going to take it step by step and enjoy the journey, even though there might be some miserable weeks along the way.

Bikeless, cold, and confused…

If you’re familiar with the song library of he great Ben Folds and Ben Folds Five (actually only three dudes and not five), the title of this post is a play on their song “Selfless, Cold, and Composed” – it’s a great song in the form of a jazz trio.  I’ve been known to swing periodically with my musical listening tastes, and my educational background as a high school band director (yes I was Mr. Holland’s Opus for 5 years) has given me a wide variety of music to draw from.  My iPod running playlist is hysterical.

My training has been light due to an impromptu vacation we took to the Pocono Mountains for some skiing this weekend – and boy was it cold and windy.  Unfortunately I came home with a souvenir I didn’t want and that was a stomach flu that lasted for about 4 days.  I lost about 4 pounds the wrong way too, and just today (Wednesday) I feel relatively normal.

Some good news – I finally sold my bike on Thursday to a guy that saw my ad on Craigslist.  In the three weeks I had the bike posted, I encountered one other half-serious buyer that was a good distance downstate.  Part of the sale was a pre-paid annual tune-up at a chain of local bike shops through 2017, so someone from a distance away would not find that beneficial.  Luckily the guy that bought the bike lives around the corner, and he’s 6’4″ so the 62 frame is good for him.

So Monday was an off-day, and I was still very much recovering from the stomach bug.  I hadn’t eaten anything in almost 40 hours, so I’m not sure why keeping my GuruFit appointment with my local bike shop seemed like a good idea?  I arrived at the shop wearing my bike shorts under my jeans and with my tri bike shoes and Look pedals.  I was walked to the rear of the store where a small fit studio was set up, and I saw this thing:

Not from the Starship Enterprise, nor a medieval torture device...

Not from the Starship Enterprise, nor a medieval torture device…

There are only about 40 of these units in use around the country.  My shop has had this since November, and the word is starting to get out.  The process sounds unique in that the adjustments are made real-time via servo motors and hydraulics.  Tom, the owner of the shop, had to go through quite a bit to obtain one of these systems, and then to be trained.  The process involved setting up a fairly benign triathlon posture set to my height and general flexibility fitness, so after taking some measurements he set the bike with a Zipp cockpit and a Specialized Toupe seat – these components appear to be very close to the used Cervelo I am considering purchasing from a guy on my tri team.

Front view

Front view

So once the general dimensions were placed and my pedals were attached I jumped on.  I told Tom about my bout with the flu over the weekend and he said that no big exertion was needed.  He set the Computrainer for a conservative 150 watts and I started to pedal (we eventually backed it down to 125 when I began to fall apart towards the end – it wasn’t pretty).

I can compare this process to the eye doctor, “Better here….or here?”  He began moving me into a more aggressive posture and changing angles and orientation, while also watching my cadence and my output.  Since this was my first taste of a real triathlon aero position, it was difficult to me since EVERYTHING felt odd.  The confusing part about it was that some of the adjustments were 5mm or less at a time!  Keep in mind my riding to this point has been on a standard road bike that has been too long for me, and my aerobars were hopelessly too far out to be comfortable.



So we worked into a series of three different “fits”, and not surprisingly they all ended up within millimeters from one another.  At that point, he put some markers on my hip, knee, and ankle and took some video for analysis.  As part of the after-action report, he will do a side-by-side with a cycling pro for a comparison (and a laugh I’m sure).  I thought ahead and found the old geometry numbers for the Cervelo Dual (P1) and gave those to him.  Unfortunately every manufacturer has a slightly different way of determining their geometry measurements, so some assumptions need to be confirmed before Tom can tell me whether or not the 58 Dual will/will not fit me in this GuruFit position we found.  He thinks it’s a good possibility it might, but there are some seatpost angle options that might be the difference.

I was pretty blasted when I was done.  I was under-nourished, slightly dehydrated, and still whoozy from the flu, but I managed to pedal pretty continuously for about 45 minutes during the session.  The price for this was $200, which is more expensive than the typical road fit.  The triathlon position is so technical that the process is much more involved to get a good position.  From what I gather, it’s comparable to the Retul system, and some of the other fit methodologies out there (and believe me I am not an expert here), but it sounds like the $200 is a pretty good value comparing to some of the other options.

So I’m hoping to get that final report in my hands shortly.  I’m looking for a green-light on that Cervelo, and then the fun will start.  Until then it’s getting back into the swing by building baseline fitness for the beginning of my program and learning how to eat/digest again!

Training updates – getting fitter and stronger

I had a couple of encouraging things happen this week…

First, I’ve had zero bites on the sale of my road bike.  I’ve got it posted on Craigslist, but not even a tire-kicker.  I think with three days-worth of snow and flurries it’s just a bad time to be trying to sell a bike.

Second, I’ve had a great time using a new iOS app LoseIt!  I’m just using the free version and it’s fantastic.  The food library is extensive for food tracking, and the barcode scanner is excellent.  I have it on my iPad but the app is really designed for the iPhone.  I’ve eaten extremely clean this week, and I can feel it.  My wife has upgraded to premium and there are some enhanced diet metrics that can be tracked, in addition to WiFi scale capabilities.

I really had a good week training.  I want to get my bike situation straightened out so I can really begin pounding out the miles, and since I am now aware that my current equipment is ill-fitting, it makes me less enthused about jumping on the trainer.  I was able to get two good long runs in keeping my HR down in my desired range, and my swims have been excellent.  I was really hoping to grab big gains on the bike during these cold months, but I’ll take the swim improvement too!

Now, I’m off to the kitchen to make a couple of Super Bowl indulgences.  We have a Mexican 7 Layer Dip that is awesome (I call it “Mexican Lasagna”), and I’m making some New Orleans BBQ Shrimp.  We’re going to enjoy ourselves today, and then bust our asses tomorrow.