Category Archives: cycling

Fastest bike ever?

Frenchman José Meiffret rode this beast over 200 kph in 1962. The bike had a monstrous 130 tooth chain with a 15 tooth sprocket (225 gear inches)! The frame was reinforced and the rims were made of wood to resist overheating. All-in-all the beauty above weighed 45 lbs.

His record was accomplished riding behind a Mercedes with a fairing on the back (to reduce the wind resistance). Still, Meiffert had to maintain a cadence of 180 rpm to hit the kilo record.

You can read the full story about his record here. You also have to give him big style points – how cool is the jersey he wore (above).

When you don’t have enough space for a bike stand AND a desk

The "PIT IN" bike stand and desk

I’m thinking about getting one of these for my office. If I face it towards the window, then I can at least sit on my bike while I work and “pretend” that I’m really out riding.

Cycling (training and racing) on a Paleo Diet

I’ve already talked a little about my “experiment” with a Primal/Paleo Diet. It was easy to do at the time since I was taking a break from the bike.  However, now I’m riding 200+ miles per week again and preparing for the 2011 season – so is the diet hard? Easy? Did I fall off the wagon?  I’m proud to say I’m still eating Paleo and it has been much easier than I expected.

I won’t go into a lot of detail about the Paleo Diet (or the Primal Blueprint diet, which is closer to what I’m doing), but I will summarize it for you:

  • Fruits and veggies are OK
  • All meat is OK
  • Eggs are OK
  • Nuts are OK
  • Dairy is OK in moderation
  • NO grains (including corn)
  • NO legumes (including peanuts & soy)
  • NO processed food
  • NO processed sugars

This diet may seem impossible for a cyclist (or any endurance athlete). No pasta? No bread? No Clif Bars? For me, it’s actually been pretty easy.  I’ll break it down to two categories – regular eating and pre/during/post ride eating.

Regular Eating

What’s a typical day look like?

Breakfast:

  • 4 egg omelette (including the yolks)
  • half an avocado
  • coffee with cream
  • 1 large apple

Morning Snack

  • Pack of almonds (1.5 handfuls)

Lunch

  • Big ass salad. Example big ass salad above includes:    
    • Mixed Greens
    • Green Peppers
    • Orange slices
    • Red Grapes
    • Avocado
    • Sliced Turkey Burger (leftovers)
    • Pecans
    • Feta Cheese
    • Olive Oil
    • Balsamic Vinegar

Afternoon Snack

  • Apple or Orange

Dinner

  • Grilled meat (chicken, steak, hamburgers, etc.)
  • Grilled Veggies
  • Fruit

Late Night Snack

  • Whey protein shake, frozen to have an ice cream consistency

Eating Out

Eating out on the Paleo Diet has been very easy. Most restaurants have “gluten free” options, which are basically Paleo. You can also do salads or breakfast joints. One of my favorite things about going Paleo is rediscovering my love of bacon.

On the Bike Eating

The biggest change I’ve made here is switching from Clif products to LARABARs.

I used to exclusively eat Clif Bars and Clif Shot Bloks on the bike. Now I eat LARABARS, which are all Paleo as long as you get a flavor without peanuts. I’ve actually found I like the taste and texture of the LARABARs much more then the Clif Bars, so this change has been pretty easy too.

Hydration is a little more complicated. Pre-Paleo I would fill my water bottles up with Accelerade for any ride over an hour. Now I’ll go with just water (or water with nuun hydration tabs) & LARABARs for any ride up to 3 hours. If I know I’m going for more than 3 hours, I’ll go ahead and top off the bottles with Accelerade. I’m not a Paleo-Nazi. I don’t mind “cheating” here and there, so I would rather go with calories in the bottle rather than the dreaded bonk.

I’ll admit that after a 4+ hour ride it sure would be nice to have a big bowl of pasta or my old favorite –  GoLean crunch cereal with bananas and chocolate milk. However, the Paleo Diet has forced me to eat better post-ride. Previously I would get back from a long ride and eat whatever (typically lots of grains and sugary stuff). Now when I get back from a ride I have a recovery smoothie consisting of frozen berries and some whey protein mix. Then I shower up and fix a sensible lunch.

Results

So how has the Paleo Diet impacted my riding/training?

  • I’ve leaned up. I’ve been blessed with good genes. I’ve never struggled with my weight and most people would consider me “skinny”. However, I’ve lost about 5 lbs of body fat (taking me down sub 7%) since I started eating Paleo.
  • Soreness. I have less post-ride soreness and general inflammation since I started the diet. I’ve had chronic shoulder issues over the last 10+ years that have been noticeably reduced.
  • More energy. I have more energy, consistently through the day now. No more 2:30 crash (I sound like a 5 hour energy commercial).

So far the Paleo experiment has been a big success and I’m moving it from “experiment” to “lifestyle”.

Cycling in Quebec – Montreal, Mont Tremblant and the P’tit du Nord

The wife and I just got back from an amazing vacation in Quebec, where I was lucky enough to get in some great riding.

We started our vacation in Montreal, which is an amazingly-bike-friendly city. We were shocked at how many people commuted by bike in the city center. Montreal is actually an island and has an amazing network of bike paths that are suitable for commuting/transportation and recreational riding.

Using the new Elastic Card from Think Finance to get a bike for the day

The “cyclebility” of the city is enhanced by its Blix bike share program. There are literally thousands of bikes around the city for rent through the kiosk system above. We were able to rent a bike for the day (which you can return to any location and take a new one out during a 24 hour period) for just $5.  We took a couple of bikes and spent 3 hours cruising all over Montreal.

My cycling buddy in Quebec

I’m used to spending 3+ hours in the saddle, but my wife is not. However, she managed to hang in there and, as you can see above, looked good doing it.

After Monreal we headed north to Mont Tremblant in the Laurentian Mountains for a week. This area is home to one of the most impressive bike paths in the world, Le P’tit du Nord. 

This is a 200 km (120 mile) trail that runs from Saint Jerome to Mont Laurier. Most of the trail is paved, but some sections are finely-packed crushed stone (still easily rideable on a road bike).

The Rouge River along Le P'tit du Nord

I took my Ritchey Break-Away bike on the trip and got in a couple 90 mile rides. From our hotel in Mont Tremblant there was a bike path all the way to a trailhead for the trail. The area of the trail around Mont Tremblant isn’t paved, but it was smooth and perfectly rideable on my Break-Away with 23c tires. The trail is an old rail line, so there is very little elevation change, but every 8 miles or so you roll through a quaint village where you could easily jump off the trail for a cafe’, ice cream, etc.

Stop along Le P'tit du Nord in Labelle

About 10 miles north of Mont Tremblant the trail passes through the village of Labelle. From this point on the trail is paved all the way to Mont Laurier.  The Labelle stop is a great place to refuel and soak in some Laurentian-hospitality.

This was my first, but won’t be my last, time cycling in Quebec.

Mark Cavendish sprint crash at the Tour de Suisse (Tour of Switzerland)

If you saw video of the sprint crash on stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse, it was ugly. It appeared as if Mark Cavendish changed his line and ran into Henrich Haussler – taking out Gerald Ciolek, Tom Boonen and others. However, after seeing the picture above it looks like the erratic move could have been caused by a bad front wheel. I’ve experienced a crash involving a taco’d front wheel . . .  and it is no fun. Get well to everyone involved and hopefully everyone is 100% in time for the Tour.

Mechanical doping in cycling?

The accusation in the video above is just crazy enough to potentially be true. The technology exist to hide a small motor in a racing bike; in fact, it’s been around since 2007.  Check out the video above at about the 3:30 mark. It shows a Cancellara breakaway in both spring classics. Each time he “motors” (cheap-pun-opportunity) off the front  after moving his hand to the front of a brake lever, which is where the supposed location of a button that controls the hidden motor would be.

The video was  filmed after Italian newspapers reported that some riders in the Giro d’Italia were using bikes fitted with electric motors and then switching to unpowered bikes before stage finishes to avoid detection.

However, if you remember the ride above (who can forget), Fabian has always had a HUGE motor (no pun intended this time) and he did this in 2007 (theoretically before the in bike motor could have been hidden as well). Also, this blog has an amazing analysis of Fabian’s attack at Roubaix that proves it is plausible.

Kevin D. is always joking on our hard rides that someone needs to invent a motor good for a 200 watt boost. Someone has . . . and maybe someone has used it at the highest level?

Easton EC90 Aero Carbon Tubular Wheelset Review

Grant approves of the new wheels

After 4 years of cycling, I finally took the plunge and purchased a set of carbon tubular wheels. I’m definitley a “gear junkie” so I’m actually suprised that I was able to wait this long to join the carbon tubular ranks. However, the new wheels will be put to the test as I race the Gary Glickman Memorial Crit in Richardson, TX on Saturday and the ThinkCash Texas State Criterium Championship on Monday in Fort Worth.

Here’s the skinny on the wheels:

Material – Carbon

Type – Tubular (that means the tire and tube are one piece and are actually glued to the wheel)

Rim Depth – 56mm

Weight – 1,335 grams!

That’s right, besides being aero, these wheels weigh less than 3 pounds. The first thing I noticed when I put these wheels on my bike was the smoothness of the hubs. They have ceramic bearings and when I spin a wheel in the stand, it literally spins for minutes before friction finally brings it to a stop.

The wheels ride smooth and spin up fast. I haven’t used them on any significant climbs yet (is there such a thing in North Texas?), but I can say that I notice a difference when I get out of the saddle and accelerate.

I hope to never crash these wheels, but if I do, apparently they are pretty solid. The picture above is George Hincapie’s front wheel (with a special US Champ paint job) after a crash in the Tour of California. Even with this hole in the rim, Hincapie was able to finish the race on the wheel and when the mechanic put the wheel in the stand, it was still true!

I’ll give an update on the wheels once I put a few more miles on them.