So I am crazy. I am planning on doing my first (and maybe last, but I know myself it won’t be) 12 hour time trial in April. “Why?,” asked one friend. Because it exists to be conquered.
My bike is a bit of a Frankenstein as 1) I don’t have a multi-million dollar sponsor and 2) my personal theory that “function is beauty” and always comes before aesthetics.
Not saying the steed looks bad, just going for affordable speed.
And an aero road bike set-up properly can be almost as fast as a truly optimized TT bike. Here is the data.
So What is the Ultra Bike Set-Up and Why Did I Pick It?
Getting geared up and ready. I have a Cannondale SuperSix that I love. I bought it used from a friend. He bought a new bike and then I think regretted the sale. Too late!
It is slowly getting tweaked out for time trialing. Here are the tweaks that have happened over several years.
Stages Power Meter.
Bought used on Ebay for $399.
A power meter uses tension to measure how much force I am putting against the pedals. Unlike a heart rate monitor, its measure is absolute (and unforgiving).
On a day I am riding with a tailwind and pumping out “incredible speeds” (for me) with a low heart rate, it keeps me honest. It tells me, “You are only pushing out 197 watts, Jordan, don’t get cocky.” It does help me pace myself and not blow up.
Redshift Aero Kit.
Bought new for $399. Birthday money.
Your number one enemy in cycling time trials is air. Pesky little, invisible air. But when you are riding into a headwind of 5 mph at 20 mph you now are riding against a 25 mph wind. Getting low and out of the wind is vital.
I could have bought an all new time trial bike, but Dave Ramsey and the fam might have had something to say about that (I have teenagers car insurance premiums to pay). Also, in case I get really crazy and start doing 24 hour TT or 500 miles rides, or yes RAAM, I want to be able to change positions between aero and road occasionally.
The Redshift system provides me the ability to ride in an aero-tuck into headwinds and slides the seat forward in this position to ensure all my leg angles are correct to generate the right amount of power. But when I get tired in a tailwind, need to climb a hill, etc. I can simply grab the seat and quickly lock it back into a traditional road position on the fly (while riding, even though they have to legally warn you not to do this, everyone does.)
Cobb Randee Saddle.
Bought $189. During Craig Fulk fitting.
My number one issue on super long rides is butt pain (there is honesty for you). I have a traditional nice Fizik road racing saddle but it isn’t cutting it for longer and longer rides. I kept getting sharp pain around my right sit bone.
I bought the Adamo Prologue (see below), but after multiple rides, it was slightly too wide for me at the front. I also did a high-end full fit with Craig Fulk at Dynamic Bike Fit. He has the Gebio systems where he pust this skin thin cover on your saddle and it actually measures pressure and center of gravity as you spin and spits it out like a weather radar. Red is bad. Blue is good. It offers a dynamic view.
The Adamo had a consistent red spot on right sitz bone that never unloaded. My center of gravity was also not ideal. Front left. We tried about five other saddles. The Cobb Randee won. No hotspots and much better center of gravity. Still adjusting but loving it so far.
IMS Adamo Prologue Saddle. Bought Used $20. Consignment sale.
My number one issue on long rides is butt pain (there is honesty for you). I have a traditional nice Fizik road racing saddle but it isn’t cutting it for longer and longer rides. I kept getting sharp pain around my right sit bone. I picked up an Adamo Prologue saddle for $20 (normally $189) at a consignment sell-off of an LBS that went bankrupt. Boom! Butt heaven. On a recent 8 hour training ride, I got sore but no shooting pains and no saddle sores. My rear should break into the seat more before the race, as well. This seat is very non-traditional looking but works fabulously.
Wheel Selection for the Ultra
Wheel Weight and the Ultra Course
My first ultra is on a pancake flat course near Katy, TX.
In fact. to determine course difficulty I have invented a system to measure entire courses or 10 mile sections of a course as Jvals (Jordan values, cute eh?). I take the gross feet of vertical climb over the course and divide it by miles of course (I can do this section by section, too). I don’t count vertical descent feet anywhere in the equation. (Example 1700 ft rise divided by 50 miles = 34 Jval.)
This gives me a Jval number. The best (aka “worst”) climb I’ve ever done is a Category 2 up to McDonald Observatory in Alpine, TX. This had a Jval of 215. Most rolling hill rides around Fort Worth are in the Jval 40-50 range.
The Bessie’s Creek Challenge has a Jval of 9. Yes N-I-N-E. Flat and fast! I thought the Hotter Than Hell 100 was flat and it was Jval of 17.
I am a big guy at 6’4″ so this course fits my style of Jan Ulrich riding (slightly lower cadence at 87rpm when self-selected, slightly bigger gears). Since there is minimal climbing on most TT/ultra courses, aero is more important than weight.
I need fast wheels so here is what I have settled on after experimentation.
Rear Wheel Setup
$275 Total. $180 Used Ksyrium Wheel on Ebay/$90 New Aerojacket Disk Cover.
I bought a used Mavic Kyrsium Elite rear wheel for dirt cheap on Ebay $175. I am putting aerodisk jackets made by wheelbuilder.com on the wheel to give me a complete disk rear setup for $275 instead of the $1000+ for a full disk set-up. Their data is solid.
Running a Continental 4000s tire (tyre for you Brits). Going with a 25 width on rear to soften the ride a bit (and this width has less rolling resistance than a 21 or 23.)
This rear wheel set will give the low drag of wheel costing 5x as much at a less than my current training wheel weight as the Ksyrium’s are lightweight. (Not that is training wheel, not the things sticking out the side of little kids’ bikes, though I may need them late in the race.)
Font Wheel Setup
$424 Total. FloCyling.com Flo60.
For the front, I spent Christmas money and purchased a FLO60 deep dish. These wheels get great reviews and are affordable. The Flo guys are just cool with some of the best customer support in the biking biz.
Note: Rule of thumb is never run a deeper wheel on the front than the back or your front wheel can turn into a sail in crosswinds and you’ll “exit stage…ditch.” The 60 should allow me to take some heavier crosswinds and not give up much speed.
Catlike AeroShell Helmet
$40. Australian Ebay
I have a Catlike Mixino helmet which I bought several years ago. I live in Texas and summer rides are frequently at 100ºF+. Turns out Catlike makes an aeroshell to turn this ventilated monster into a more aero-helmet for CHEAP. Since my head position will change during an ultra there is no need for the “tail of death” type aero helmet. This will work fine.
I am still debating this one.
“Loose kits sink ships.”
Perhaps the cheapest way to get free speed is a super tight fitting kit. My bibs of choice are the Pearl Izumi Elite or Pro level because the pad (aka chamois) works for me for extended times in the saddle. I have tried other brands and the cut isn’t right.
So the dilemma is to:
- buy a $150+ Pearl Izumi skinsuit (last resort and I have to ride in BMC team labels, weird for me).
- try this Garneau Skinsuit I found used for $37 I found on Ebay
- to wear bibs I know work the tightest jersey i have.
Going to try #2 on long training ride then #3. If I keep at it, someday I’ll reward myself with #1.
So total Road Steed to Time Trial Steed Costs
(and I can shift it back to full road bike in <5 minutes).
- $399 Stages Powermeter
- $319 Redshift Aero System
- $675 Wheel Combinations
- $40 Aero Helmet
- $20 Adamo Prologue Saddle
- $40 Skinsuit
- =$1,493 TOTAL UPGRADE COSTS
- +$1200 Used Cannondale Supersix I already have.
- =$2,693 TOTAL JORDAN AERO RIDE
New Time Trial Bike with these additional features?
- $3,499 Cannondale Slice RS
- $800 Stages Power Meter
- $1,000 Full Carbon Disk Rear Wheel
- $575 Zipp Front Wheel Carbon 60
- $150 Pearl Izumi Skinsuit
- $189 Adamo Prologue Saddle
- $209 Catlike Cronos Aero Helmet
- = $6,422 TOTAL NEW AERO RIDE
So I am getting very close to the same aerodynamic drag coefficients for a built out Time Trial bike for 40% of the cost. If you consider I already owned the SuperSix, that goes up to a dramatic spend of only 23% of the cost of a new ride.
And I can go back to a traditional road bike setting for group rides in <5 minutes. All I have to do is:
- Switch out wheels.
- Pop off quick release aerobars
- Make sure the Redshift seat stem is in back position
- Heck, if I really want to revert, I can drop the standard carbon saddle post with Fizik saddle back in whose height is marked with a paint pen.
You can get a fast yet affordable bike setup for ultras if you are willing to do the savings work, shop Ebay, looks for deals and be patient.
Stay tuned to find out how this all turns out. I’m sure they’ll be some semi-humorous accounts coming soon.
Son Lux is one of my favorite artists. Today he has released a new tune on Soundcloud. You should stop and take a listen to You Don’t Know Me.
P.S. He’s coming to Dallas in July!
A lot of people are weighing in on Robin Williams. Here are my thoughts:
The challenge regarding depression is that the Christian mind is also conditioned by the human brain. When I break my arm, I can easily make the choice to say, “This will get better. There is hope. I can press through this. It will heal.” In mental illness, the equipment itself with which you process rational thought becomes damaged, and decisions–though yes, decisions–become much more murky.
It takes both a renewing of the mind and working on the organ chemically at times to restore hope. Many Christians poo-poo psychiatry and say, “if you merely had faith and trusted God, this wouldn’t be happening.” Yet some with depression are desperately exhibiting MORE faith because they are flying only by the instruments through the dark skies as they see no horizon and are trying not to descend into the metaphorical hell that comes with severe anxiety-depression. Others would say, “Find the right pill and all things will be back to normal.” That doesn’t work either.
Is it a choice to not end it all? Yes! But that choice, when your choosing mechanism is damaged, requires the Body of Christ around you to help you think straight when everything within you is skewed to exit stage left. We need one another to speak hope, life, truth, comfort, God’s love and our new identity in Christ to help the depressed to avoid making the ultimate bad decision. Let us be about bringing HOPE!
Night two of Lance Armstrong with Oprah brought something we hadn’t seen in night one, emotion.
1. Contrition and sorrow. We saw a wee bit of it? This was most evident when Lance attempted to not break down as he spoke of telling his 13-year-old son the truth and asking him not to defend his dad anymore. This was also evident Oprah read the letter from the mom of the leukemia patient. Lance does have feelings, they have been suppressed in order to maintain control and win=at-all-costs.
2. Process. Maybe Lance has been hanging out with Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, but the word came up many times in the interview. This shows there is some wisdom present in his mind and/or counselors. He has spent a lifetime creating a mental pattern of win at all costs.
3. Freedom through Truth. Oprah encouraged and challenged Lance at then end of the interview to worry less about Lance the competitor and allow these events to become Lance the better man.
It appears his ex-wife Kristen still has a massive amount of influence upon Lance and is encouraging him to heal. As a follower of Christ, she has exhibited grace and forgiveness to Lance throughout their divorce and this ordeal.
She is even supportive now, which is self-less, because Lance’s incredible loss of sponsorship money surely affects the 30% child support (if standard Texas law applies) she receives. He is blessed by God to have her in his life in this way.
Personal thoughts: Oprah ended the interview quoting what Lance has said earlier….The truth will set you free. While the little t truth is very necessary to his recovery process, the big T truth is more important. Christ said, in addition to the verse alluded to above, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.”
If anyone needed a perfect Father in their life, it is Lance. It appears that much of his drive to succeed at any cost finds it root in the lack of relationship with his biological father. He stated that he and his mother never go back and talk about the past. But the past is present with us all whether we talk about it on not. The road we walk (or ride) on today comes from the past. My prayer is that Lance would embrace the pain, find the root of all of this, and bring it to God, the Perfect Father.
So Lance comes clean. While it was interesting that Oprah started the interview with simple Yes and No questions–was this to help Lance or clear the air of the biggest question first–I was waiting for the deeper questions to see what was going on under the hood in Lance’s heart. Perhaps we’ll get more of these type questions in night two.
As the interview proceeded, here are 5 things to note regarding Lance’s answers and how he communicated.
1. Omerta stands. In Italian, omerta means secret. Cyclist have historically practiced omerta. It is similar to the code of blue in the police force where everything within the force stays in the force. Armstrong refused to name names or even hint at implicating anyone else–even Dr. Ferrari, who is fairly well known to have been a PED supplier. Armstrong always despised those who broke omerta in regards to him, and it appears he will not break it for others.
Some thought he might go with a scorched earth policy, throwing everyone under the bus to make himself look better, or at least to emphasize the “everyone was doing it” mentality.
If he has to testify before USADA under oath, it will be interesting to see if he starts naming others in exchange for a reduced ban which would allow him to resume triathlons again. Or, perhaps his hatred for USADA will override this and he will keep silent.
2. Liar vs. A Lie. Several times in the interview when Lance disagreed with something–such as the claim that he doped in ’09 and ’10 Tour de France–it seemed he wanted to go into the old mode of disparaging the source. You could read the internal battle on his face.
Instead, he would pause, gather himself and call the statement a lie, but not resort to attacking the person’s character. This will hopefully be a developing change in his responses.
3. Lack of emotion. Lance likes control. He stated so in the interview repeatedly. A lot of people who grow up loving control learn to suppress their emotions because feelings are seen as a weakness. Even in his apologies to those he hurt, there appeared to me to be a lack of emotional understanding of what damage he had truly done.
Perhaps, he does possess this contrition and regret and manages to quash it in public. Or possibly because of extended suppression he is emotionally calloused. Just maybe, as he walks out from under the shadows of denial and into sunshine of the truth, he will thaw over time.
4. Parsing. There was a consistent parsing in order to define truth, as when he seemed to justify the things he about Betsy Andreau by saying I called her crazy and a b&$%#, but never fat. Somehow, the fact the she added this claim to his comments, if indeed she did, relegated the two other insults having minimal effect in Lance’s mind. Perhaps from years of being an athlete he thinks calling someone fat is one of the worst things that you can do, and the other two terms aren’t as offensive.
5. Source of pain. Armstrong spoke of a relentless will to win at all costs “wherever that came from.” If you read his life story, it is pretty easy to see where that insatiable desire arose. His father was an alcoholic that created havoc and his step-dad appears to be a militaristic disciplinarian absent of an emotional connection with Lance. His life seems to be centered around showing those two men and himself that he doesn’t really need anyone to be a success and that he is a winner. In his recovery, Armstrong will have to wrestle with these two relationships to gain freedom.
Stay tune for night two this evening……
Selling my 1997 Taylor LKSM-6 Leo Kottke. This guitar is in great condition and has been cherished and cared for. Aesthetically, it possesses clean, minimalist appointments, letting the Jumbo’s voluptuous Spruce top and Mahogany back curves articulate the guitar’s full-bodied beauty.
It has never been left in the heat or the cold, and always cased when not in use. This guitar was re-fretted two years ago by the master luthier at the semi-legendary Craig’s Music in Weatherford, Texas. It was never used in a smoking environment.
It is uniquely equipped two pickups, a Fishman Natural Matrix undersaddle piezo (I am placing this placed back in and removing the EMG piezo). It also has an K&K Mini-Western Pure. Each pickup is routed to a separate output for incredible diversity of sound–each outputs sends independently and blended through a pre-amp or at the mixing board for a huge, natural sound. (For a quick and simple gig, you can simply choose one output straight to the board and it still sounds terrific).
I am including the K&K pre-amp (retail $348), which can blend both pick-ups with EQ or be used on one output if desired. The case is very structurally sound and I had new latches placed on 2 years ago.
This is a stellar touring guitar and was used in the studio on several CD projects.
For the entire package, I am asking $1,795. The guitar alone sells for $2,399 currently. Leave a comment with questions or call to purchase 817-889-1487. I will contact you as quickly as possible.
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Background: Oprah Winfrey is interviewing now defrocked 7 time Tour de France Winner, Lance Armstrong. Unless you have been off the planet for the last 3 months, you probably know Lance was found guilty of violating United States Anti-Doping Agency rules by using performance enhancing drugs throughout his career–including EPO, cortisone, and blood doping. He is also accused by some former teammates (Tyler Hamilton, Jonathan Vaughters, and Floyd Landis) of strongly encouraging –read pressuring– them to use PED’s, as well. Lance has vehemently denied this throughout his career, bringing napalm-like lawsuits against any accuser, whether former friend or foe.
Here are the Top Five Questions Oprah should ask Lance:
1. You once said, ”All endurance athletes are running away from something inside themselves.” What were you running from?
2. What deep within drove you to a “win at any cost” attitude?
3. Is their a core element of your identity you thought you’d lose if you weren’t Lance the Champion and just Lance the Very Incredible Rider? For the record, you were talented before the EPO, I “raced” you in triathlons–you were burning good. TDF 7x, I don’t know, but burning good.
4. Do you think you pressured other teammates to dope and, if so, how does it feel now that they got caught up in the wake of your desire to win?
5. If you could go back and repair any relationship, which is the first one you’d want to repair?
More than the how did you hide it, why did you payoff UCI and why did you deny it so long, these questions should be asked.
Like her or not, Oprah is great at getting into someone’s soul.
Mike Tyson broke down crying on her show and told of his emptiness and longing to be loved. Before, Mike Tyson was biting off peoples’ ears (okay person’s).
Now is your chance, Oprah. Now is your chance, Lance. Forgiveness is available upon confession. Trust me, I know.
When: The special 90-minute episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter will air Thursday, January 17, from 9 to 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. In addition, the interview will be simultaneously streamed LIVE worldwide on Oprah.com.
There is a difference between accurate and precise marketing. The sweet spot is when the two converge. See how your marketing fares by applying this post I wrote for Miller Public Relations.