Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Need a Bike? What is your Bike Size?

With the Ironman 70.3 Philippines in a few months, excited first time triathletes prepare for their biggest race this year.

Swim training is the most difficult for many. Not many of us swam when we were younger and some just learned how to swim. The first thing we need to start our swim training is to get a swim coach. We will also need basic swim equipment to help us practice better. A good pair of training or pool goggles and open water or race goggles are a necessity. Swim trunks or tri shorts and swim caps are required for most swimming pools and a few swimmers invest in pool buoys, paddles or kick boards to enhance their training.

Runners need only a good pair of running shoes. Although local running stores can easily help you with the right pair, many still resort to trial and error.

Cycling, on the other hand, is the most complicated. Finding the right gear is a challenge as even professional cyclists experiment on their equipment. I learned to bike when I was in high school and never realized it was this complicated.

For those joining the Ironman, road or tri bikes are required. I have searched online for the most comprehensive bike measurements needed prior to buying your first bike and became more confused since most recommendations are just estimates.

Body measurements are needed to arrive at the right estimate.
1. Inseam/ Inside Leg Length. These are taken with your back against the wall and standing barefoot. Measure from the floor up to the part where your measuring tape touches your crotch.
2. Trunk Length. From the top of your inseam, measure to the top of your sternum at the point where both clavicles meet in the middle of your chest.
3. Arm Length. This is measured from the hand (clenched fist) holding a round object to your shoulder joint (bony protrusion above the shoulders).

Bike measurements or geometry estimates from the body measurements taken.
1. Frame Size. Usually provided by manufacturers measured from center of bottom bracket to either center of top tube or top of seat tube. Estimated from Inseam x 0.65.
2. Top Tube Length. Measured using traditional (non-sloping) frames. Sloping frames are provided with effective top tube measurements by manufacturers. Estimated from trunk length + 2-3cm.
3. Saddle Height. Measured from center of bottom bracket to top of central part of saddle. Estimated from Inseam x 0.885.
4. Crank Length. Normally 170mm but may vary depending on rider height and riding style. Recent data suggest using shorter cranks for Time trials or Triathlon events.
5. Handlebar Measurements. Width usually 42cm depending on shoulder width and riding style. Sprinters use wider bars while Climbers use narrow bars. Drop, reach and shape of handlebars depend on rider preference and style.
6. Head Stem Length. Depending on riding style, stem length range from 60mm to 140mm or longer. Estimated from Arm length x 0.203. A rough guide is to look at the front hubs while riding on the drops or hoods (conflicting data regarding exact riding location). The handlebars should occlude the front hubs while assuming this position.

These are just basic measurement estimates that cyclist need to consider prior to purchasing or experimenting  with new equipment. Many factors need to be considered when experimenting with bike settings like comfort and riding style. Aggressive riders prefer to be more aerodynamic while some riders prefer to be more comfortable during their rides. Materials used for each equipment are significant for the weight-conscious cyclist. Carbon and titanium parts are lighter and more expensive than aluminum or steel parts. These do not necessarily relate to better performance.

Recently, I made small changes to my road bike setup which made very significant changes in performance. I changed my stem from 110mm to 120mm with a -6 degree rise and noticed major improvements. I always train with a heart monitor to check performance and noted that my heart rate was lower by at least 5-10 percent immediately after changing stems. These findings are consistent as I regularly check my training log for heart rate changes on the same course and intensity.

These are my exact road bike specifications.
Frame: Scott Speedster S20 aluminum with Scott carbon forks (Size: Medium/ TT: 54.5)
Stem: FSA OS150 120mm +/- 6 degrees
Handlebars: Scott Road Anatomic 42mm
Drivetrain: Shimano Ultegra
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11-25
Crankset: Shimano Ultegra 53/39 170mm cranks
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra
Pedals: Speedplay Zero Chromoly
Saddle: Fi’zi:k Arione Versus
Seatpost: Scott carbon/ alloy
Wheelset: Fulcrum Racing 7
Tires: Vredestein Fortezza TriComp 700x23
Bottle Cage: Lezyne cages
Computer: Cateye Strada Wireless
Cadence sensor: Garmin

Time Trial or Triathlon Bikes are a bit more complicated. No exact recommendations are published. Mountain bikes also have different recommendations.

(click to enlarge)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vellum Cycles release the 2013 Uno Elite for Triathletes

I have been a Vellum cyclist for almost 2 years. Aubrey is a Vellum Uno of older edition but has delivered me 2 Ironman 70.3 race finishes and numerous shorter distance races. I love this bike. Aubrey also survived my major crash last December. She is fast, light and durable. 

This year, Vellum Cycles promotes cycling and Triathlon and just released the latest 2013 Vellum Uno Elite. This bike will be used by Pro Triathlete Dan Brown who is sponsored by Vellum Cycles to the Aviva Ironman 70.3 in Singapore and the Cobra Ironman 70.3 in Cebu. Check out the gorgeous design and aggressive geometry of the 2013 Vellum Uno Elite.

Vellum Frames available at THE BRICK

Monday, February 6, 2012

What was the first thing you did during the 6.9 Earthquake?

A strong earthquake hit Cebu and Negros today. 

I was in SM City Cebu when it happened. I was looking for an item in ACE Hardware when the displays suddenly shook. I stood still and concluded that it was an earthquake. Walking slowly towards the exit, I was shocked to see a few people dashing towards the door. We stood outside the mall for a few minutes and when it was all calm. I walk calmly back inside. 

After a few minutes, SM announced that everybody should vacate the mall in a calm fashion. I went up the 4th floor to get my car and drove out as relaxed as I can. 

On my way home, I got a text message saying colon is flooded. I turned on my PC when I got home and checked Facebook for any updates. I was surprised to see flooding of false information. People were saying tsunami has struck Cebu and people were running for their lives along the busy streets causing traffic jams inside the City.

I, on the other hand, prepared for the worst. I packed some stuff inside a small bag, which included some clothes, flashlights and my wallet, and placed it near the door. Knowing that there was a tsunami warning and that we are living near the shoreline, I went down and transferred Lara and Aubrey from our basement to our living room on a higher floor. My mother laughed when she saw me carry my bikes up the stairs.

As I write this article, the tsunami warning has been lifted and we are still experiencing continuous aftershocks which are slightly of lesser intensity than the first event.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What have you done for your bike lately?

Have you ever given your bike a bath? or checked the screws and bolts? 

Have you ever cleaned your bike chain? or applied chain lube? 

Many do not realize that bikes are like cars. They need constant cleaning and maintenance. They have to be tuned regularly and checked for loose (or even too tight) screws. They should also be checked for fast and proper shifting before every race. 

If you do not have time to do all these maintenance checks then THE BRICK Multisport Store have the perfect solution for you. 

Soon to open in the new J. Centre Mall is the Cebu branch of the triathlete/ multi-sport store called The Brick. The store offers a cyclist friendly shop that caters to all your multi-sport needs. The new branch, opening this month, is also Bike friendly. 

The "soon to open" Brick Multisport Store will offer a unique bike experience. The very first Bike spa. While waiting for your bike to be cleaned or tuned, cyclists can roam around the mall or sit in a comfy sofa and watch multi-sport movies. They will offer several bike spa packages that will suit your bikes' needs. From a thorough bike cleaning to a full bike maintenance check, your bike will truly appreciate the pampering. They will also offer basic bike services like repairs or parts installations. 

I can't wait to bring Aubrey or Lara to The Brick when they open. Watch our for it!!! 



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