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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2014 Coleman Chevrolet Stage Race Report, Women's Open


The Coleman Chevrolet Stage Race, put on by Edge City Cycling near Texarkana—right on the border of, you guessed it, Texas and Arkansas—is far from home and late in the season, but this stage race is well worth the drive, especially for the women. The women's open payout (when the field size meets the minimum) matches that of the P12 men! Our ATC correspondents reported having unseasonably cool weather and a great time. Read on for a play-by-play of the three-day event from ATC Racing's Allison Atkinson.   

By Allison Atkinson

Katie Kantzes & Allison Atkinson pre-TT
Katie Kantzes and I were not sure if driving five hours up to Texarkana for a stage race would be worth it, especially with only 10 signed up in the women's field, four of which were from Dallas Racing. Well, the drive up actually took us eight hours, and we still aren't sure why. Even with the longer drive, we decided that WE would make the race worthwhile and showcase a little of what makes ATC Racing special. In short, we would bring the party AND the pain to Texarkana! And yes, it was totally worth it!

Road Race 1
Day one (60 mile road race) was cold (in the 60s) and drizzly. I could not believe that I was racing in arm warmers and truly felt like I could catch cold out there. Lap one was an awkward dance. Smaller field sizes resulted in combining the women 3/4's, Women Open, and Men 60+. The men took responsibility early on, setting a great tempo. The men also, however, greatly changed the dynamic of the first 30 miles. One of them would get into a break with the women, which caused a chain reaction of competitive men chasing, pulling the group up to the break. Who knows if the breaks (all of which Katie or myself were in) would've stuck had a man not been in the mix? Our Women's Open group awkwardly let the Women 3/4's and men (who only raced one lap) go ahead and sprint to finish.

We continued at a steady pace starting lap two. We ate and talked, which made me nervous. I don't like making small talk in general, much less mid-race. I became annoyed but kept my guard up while trying to eat and drink. Attacks would certainly come from Dallas Racing and the two Team Primal Racing riders from Denver. Andrea Thomas (Dallas Racing) attacked on the first sizable hill. Katie and I looked at each other. I spit out whatever I was eating and yelled "We gotta go NOW!" We took off, and I used my momentum to pull for a while on the flat. Andrea was in sight. Getting out of the saddle on the next hill, I kept the chase pace strong till Katie came around and up the hill to Andrea.

Solymar Rivera (Dallas Racing) countered, and we chased. This continued till confusion set in on a mismarked turn. I happened to drift to the back of the pack approaching the turn because I thought the sign (pointing straight) was supposed to point right. All the women went straight except for Andrea, who took the right turn hot and then attacked. I scanned the road ahead and saw everyone turning around. I decided to chase Andrea, who was already up the road quite a ways. I bridged and worked with Andrea for about five miles before we were caught. It was the efforts of the Team Primal Racing women that shut it down.

Team Primal Racing kept the pressure on in the final 10 miles with attack after attack, but nothing stood a chance of staying away without a Dallas or ATC lady in the mix. Solymar tried to get away early leading up the finish. Katie and I didn't let that happen. Approaching the base of the uphill sprint Andrea attacked early, launching Solymar, Katie, and me into a first, second, and third place finish.

Time Trial
The TT was just under five miles of rollers. Katie looked a like a fish out of water warming up on her borrowed TT bike. It was the first time she'd ridden a TT bike in her life, but, as our team's supporters suspected, it was better to force her to race it knowing she has the makings of a great time trialist (even though she was a little sketch). Our suspicions were correct! She placed second!

Andrea was first, and I was, again, third. GC was greatly affected by the TT because Solymar finished lower than expected. Now we would really have to watch Andrea, who was first in GC by a slim margin. I still had to watch Solymar because she could try and get into a break to get time on me for third GC.
Katie Kantzes on a TT bike! See more race photos at www.robertspangle.com/

Road Race 2
Day two (50 mile road race) felt just as cold in the morning but quickly warmed up to the 80s when the sun came out. Our goal was to get on the podium and win the Team competition, which we were already leading. We were combined again with the same faces, and this time the men raced the full distance with us.

Team Primal Racing & ATC Racing
With centerline rules in place it was hard to maneuver around, so I had to be at or toward the front to avoid being boxed in should something get up the road. The men took on a lot of the responsibility, setting a good pace early. Katie and I sat in; nothing really happened till we hit a series of stair-step climbs. I believe a 3/4 woman started trying to ride away, which caused a weird chase because the men (whose wheels I followed) didn't care and sat up.

This led to a jumble of men sitting up in the climbs, 3/4 women blowing up in pursuit, and 1/2 women trying to maintain a  good position. I looked over at Katie, who seemed annoyed or bored or both. There was a pretty long climb ahead, and it was still the first lap for us, but Katie found her way out of the tangled mess and just started climbing at her own pace. It wasn't an attack, just a quicker climbing pace that allowed her to ride away. Andrea saw this and had to work for a few moments to get around some tired climbers, but she managed to bridge up to Katie.

GC podium - Andrea Thomas 1st, Katie Kantzes 2nd, Allison Atkinson 3rd
Solymar and I looked at each other. Our GC leaders just formed a break only 15 miles or so into the race. What now? The two Team Primal riders worked their way to the front, where I sat on their wheels as they fiercely chased. The pair worked well together till we found ourselves on another long climb. One of them rode away, and I stayed with her with Solymar in tow. Solymar attacked, I chased, and the three of us stayed together till we were caught. I knew that I had to watch Solymar. I talked with the Team Primal ladies, who were upset that they had to chase completely alone. They really wanted to break away with me at five miles to go. I refused because I knew Solymar would come with us, and I didn't want to stir things up too early. I asked if they'd help me keep the pace fast at 1k to go to string things out. Eager to help, they did just that after rotating with me at a mile or so to go. I finished fourth, Solymar was third, and Andrea pulled off first with Katie second. Overall we were pleased with the day's efforts and happy that we'd reached our goals.

I felt like the small field made for a harder race. I honestly hadn't had the opportunity to race that hard or feel THAT tired in a while. Katie and I got a good feel for how to work together and discovered we make a great team! The courses (especially day two) were hillier than expected. It was a great weekend, and the best part was I GOT TO WEAR MY OFFICIAL SLURPEE HAT ON THE PODIUM! I will definitely race next year and hope to see bigger fields thenATC will bring the party and pain again to the women's field!

Friday, September 19, 2014

BestBikeSplit.com
Texan Software Optimizing Your Bike Split

by Jack Mott

Back in June 2013, Dallas-based software company Best Bike Split quietly launched a groundbreaking new website, one that replaces the guesswork and superstition so inherent to time trialing with real data and real math. Taking inputs about the individual rider, bike, course, and weather conditions, the tool allows a user to predict finish times, optimize pacing plans, and make intelligent equipment selections. The data nerd can enter every last thing, from CdA to rolling resistance, but for the novice or less detail-oriented athlete, the software can also make intelligent guesses on many unknown minutiae. BBS has been used with great success by various local Austin professionals and top amateurs, including pro triathlete Kelly Williamson787 Racing's Steve Guzman, and ATC Racing's Kat Hunter, and the site continues to improve, offering new features regularly.

How Does It Work?

When you set up an account, you enter various personal statistics, such as your mass. You also set up a profile for each of your bikes, including the bike's mass and your aerodynamic drag on that bike.  If you don't have an estimate for your aero drag, BBS will estimate based on your height and weight and type of position. You can then upload a course you want to model from a GPS device or mapping software in .GPX format. Most popular TT and triathlon courses are likely already uploaded, and you can simply search for them and select them. From here, the magic of mathematics takes into account all your profile data, wind, corners, hills, and so on and allows you to answer pressing questions such as...

Optimal Pacing

A sample power pacing plan
Most people know that you need to go a little harder uphill and a little easier downhill to go as fast as possible for a given effort, but exactly how much to vary your power can be tricky to determine. BBS does the math for you to give you an exact answer. You can use the resulting pacing data in a number of ways: simply review it to get a high-level idea of how to vary your pace on key climbs, download the pacing plan to select GPS devices so that you have a second-by-second power goal as you race, or use BBS to output a simplified "cheat sheet" that you can memorize or tape on your top tube.

Sample Pacing Chart
Sample Cheat Sheet

Predicting Time or Power

If you have a goal time for your bike leg, like a sub hour 40k TT or 5-hour Ironman bike split, you can use the BBS goal time model to tell you what power you will have to generate on a given course to achieve it. Conversely, if you are trying to decide on a goal power for your event, you can use the regular pacing model to see what time will result at each power level.  For example, is it worth the risk to try going 20 watts harder in  your triathlon than last year? Find out exactly how much time it will save before you decide.

Optimize Equipment Selection

Yaw Angle Distribution
Challenging bike courses with lots of hills often leave athletes wondering if they should use a road bike instead of a TT bike, or light wheels instead of aero wheels. With BBS you can set up bike profiles for various options and do the math to fairly definitively decide which option is really best.  A great example of this being put to use is the Flo Cycling weight vs aero study. True aeroweenies can dig even deeper using the yaw distribution feature. This will give you data on the time you will spend at each yaw angle on course. Since the benefit of some equipment choices such as tire and wheel width depends on the yaw angle of the wind, you can use this to shave off seconds nobody else would even think about.

Optimize Your Position

The Wind Tunnel Model is an upcoming feature that will estimate your overall aerodynamic drag by analyzing your past performances. This will allow you to compare test sessions or races with different equipment or positions to see if you have managed to reduce your aero drag or rolling resistance.

How Accurate Is This?

BBS uses well-established cycling physics to make its computations. If provided with accurate input for the rider, course, and atmospheric conditions, it will produce very accurate output. Many amateurs have reported spooky accuracy even when using estimates for some inputs, such as their aero drag.  BBS also features a few case studies on their website.

Cost

BBS has free, premium, and coaching memberships available.  Premium membership unlocks unlimited bike profiles, unlimited course plan downloads, and advanced features. Coaching memberships allow you to keep profiles on all of your clients.  BBS also offers a pro-level analysis service, providing personal attention to ensure the accuracy of course and rider input, as well as increased processing power for more accurate course modeling, if necessary. Pricing plans are detailed here.

About Best Bike Split

Best Bike Split was co-founded by Ryan Cooper and Rich Harpel in June 2013 as an offshoot of their first company together, Optimized Training Labs, which uses advanced mathematics to create training plans for triathletes and runners. Ryan is a Ph.D. mathematician who specializes in optimization mathematics, while Rich’s background is in design and web development. The two met in Dallas while training for the 2006 Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Best Bike Split’s goal is to be the standard for predictive race modeling and analysis for triathletes and time-trialists racing with power meters.




Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Ride for Any Day of the Week
Austin Area Group Rides, updated for 2014

Some Austin group rides have been around for more than 30 years; others peter out after half a season. The ride info below has been verified as of August 31, 2014, but if in doubt, especially after daylight savings time has ended, check in with the ride organizer. This year we've included website links when available.

If you notice a ride we're missing, we'd very much appreciate your help to add it; email Kat at kat@kathrynhunter.net.

Road bikes are recommended for all rides included below unless otherwise noted. "Time" is usually wheels down - it's always a good idea to show up 10 to 15 minutes early. And last but not least, these are unsanctioned rides on open roads; you're responsible for your own safety.

Click the links below to search by difficulty level or click "View By Day of Week" to see a list of rides for a particular day.

Beginner - Moderate - Hard - Insane - Women Only -
View By Day of Week

Beginner Friendly



Rothe Recovery Ride

A social ride led by elite cyclist and coach Stefan Rothe, this Monday evening option is open to anyone on a road bike. The route changes every week, going out east toward McKinney Falls and the Tuesday Nighter course, north along Shoal Creek, or south to 5th street or to Buda if time allows. Ride time is typically 1.5-2 hours max. Start time changes with the season, so email Stefan if in doubt. You can also check ride info at http://www.austintricyclist.com/articles/rides-and-events-pg37.htm.

StartATC downtown, 923 Barton Springs Rd.
TimeMonday, 6 p.m. until end of September
Duration1.5-2 hrs
Routevaries
ContactStefan Rothe, stefan@rothetraining.com


BSS (Research Blvd.) Wednesday Beginner Road Ride

Hosted by the Bicycle Sports Shop Research Blvd location, this is a good ride for new cyclists or those wanting to ease back into the saddle. Learn about group riding on a 15-mile, 60-90 minute ride along bike lanes and neighborhood streets. The route consists of mostly flat roads, with some hills to learn about shifting and cadence. This ride is no drop and makes frequent stops. Check http://bicyclesportshop.com/events/road-pg1768.htm for current info.

StartBicycle Sports Shop, 10947 Research Blvd.
TimeWednesday, 6:30 p.m.
Distance15 mi, 60-90 mins
ContactBicycle Sports Shop, 512-345-7460


Friday Truancy Ride

This 17-18 mph ride led by Mellow Johnny’s takes you through neighborhoods and official bike routes for the most part, with minimal travel on large roadways and just a few hills and optional sprint points. This group is very social, usually hanging out for coffee and snacks before and after the ride. Check http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/news- and-events/ for current info.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeFriday, 2:30 p.m. 
Distance30 mi, ~ 2 hrs
Routesouthwest toward airport
ContactMellow Johnny’s, 512-473-0222


BSS (Parmer Ln.) All Levels Road Ride

Hosted by the Bicycle Sports Shop Parmer location, this ride offers two options: a faster-paced 35-mile ride for intermediate-level riders, or a more relaxed 24-mile ride for beginner/intermediate riders. The route is a straight out and back on Parmer Lane, so you can turn back whenever you'd like.

StartBicycle Sport Shop, 9900 W. Parmer Ln.
TimeSaturday, 8 a.m. 
Distance35 or 24 mi
RouteParmer Ln.
ContactBicycle Sports Shop, 512-637-6890


Scout-a-Route Ride

Great for cyclists new to riding or commuting, or for those just looking for a casual spin, this ride aids participants in navigating through the city and learning safe bike commuting options. Two groups are offered: 1) riders who can average 12 mph for 15-25 miles with one or two regrouping points, and 2) riders who can average 14-16 mph for 20-30 miles, with an extended mileage option. Routes vary weekly, going through Clarksville, Rollingwood, McKinney Falls, South Austin, East Austin, and more. Scout-a-Route is no-drop and is co-hosted by MJ's and the Austin Cycling Association. Check http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/news-and-events/ for current info.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeSaturday, 9 a.m.
Distance18-25 mi, ~ 3 hrs
Routevaries
Contactrides@mellowjohnnys.com


BSS (Lamar Blvd.) Sunday Beginner Road Ride

Hosted by the Bicycle Sports Shop Lamar location, this ride is a no-drop ride for 18+ adults (16-17 allowed with parental supervision). You must be on a hybrid or road bike; no trikes or recumbents allowed. Bring your helmet and flat repair kit. Average speed is 10-12 mph. An intermediate ride starts at the same time. Check  http://bicyclesportshop.com/events/road-pg1768.htm for current info. 

Start Bicycle Sport Shop, 517 S. Lamar Blvd
Time Sunday, 8 a.m.
Duration 2+ hrs
Route varies
Contact Bicycle Sports Shop, 512-477-3472


Jack and Adam’s Sunday Ride

The J&A Sunday Ride is a popular favorite in Austin. Ride options range from “no drop” to intermediate and advanced. Rides are often led by shop employees or teams that the shop sponsors. Check the J&A blog for the month’s scheduled rides. Note that sometimes rides are canceled for area events, and the ride usually starts from the Steiner Steakhouse once a month. Routes and distances vary. (**The shop's new location is on South Lamar.**) 

StartJack & Adam’s Bicycles, 300 South Lamar, Suite L
TimeSunday, 8:30 a.m.
Durationvaries according to level, but is typically 2-3 hrs; Steiner rides are usually 1.5-2 hrs
Routevaries by week
ContactJack and Adam’s, 888-499-0863, info@jackandadams.com



Moderate



Nelo’s Shop Ride

Always following the same route (see map info below), this ride meets Monday and Wednesday nights between April and late September. Although it can be described as “moderate,” the ride gets progressively harder as the summer wears on. Riders regroup at Parliament. Lights required! Check http://www.neloscycles.com/shop-ride.html for current info.

StartNelo’s Cycles, 8108 Mesa Dr. #105B
TimeMonday & Wednesday, 7 p.m. from March to end of DST
Duration14.40 mi, 50 min
RouteGarmin Map
ContactNelo's Cycles, 512-338-0505


River City Market Racing Tuesday AM Hill Ride 

This ride, led by the women’s racing team River City Market Racing, meets at 7am for coffee at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Lamar. Roll out is at 7:15am. The route varies, but always hits the hills west of town for a 25-30 mile hard workout. Though the ride isn’t “no drop,” they regroup at the top of each big hill and recover between. Men and women riders welcome.

StartThe Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Lamar
TimeTuesday, 7:15am
Duration25-30 mi, 90-105 mins
Routevaries
ContactJames Murff, james@murffbada.com


T&T Violet Crown Ride

Meeting at Mellow Johnny’s every Tuesday and Thursday morning and led by a member of the Violet Crown cycling club, this ride is ideal for the intermediate-level cyclist. Expect a steady tempo ride with an average pace of 16-18 mph. Experience riding in a group is a must. Check http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/news-and-events/ for current info.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeTuesday & Thursday, 7 a.m. 
Duration1.5-2 hrs
Routevaries
ContactAndy Austin, president@violetcrown.org



Lake Travis Tuesday Nighter

Rolling out from the heart of Lakeway during Daylight Savings Time, the Lake Travis Tuesday Nighter offers a little quality suffering for the work-week. The ride, led by the Lake Travis Cycling Club, usually has a group of 10-20 riders and is moderate to hard, with an average speed somewhere around 18-22 mph. The warm-up lasts the first five miles down 620 to the turn onto Bee Cave Road, and then the peloton separates into unofficial "A" and "B" groups until the turnaround at the Knollwood Loop just before Hwy 360, where the ride regroups again. (See below for the route map.) After the ride, everyone pitches in and enjoys some brews.

Start Plains Capital Bank, 1110 S RR 620
Time Tuesday, 6 p.m.
Distance 24 mi, 1-1.5 hrs
Route http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=blbxnhmahxrgavlw
Contact Tim Diven, chichitao@hotmail.com or https://www.facebook.com/ltcycling


BSS (Research Blvd.) Tuesday Intermediate & Advanced Road Ride

This 16-18 mile ride takes Spicewood Springs, averaging 14-16 mph. You  must be on a road or tri bike. A helmet and lights are required, no exceptions. Check http://bicyclesportshop.com/events/road-pg1768.htm for current info.

Start Bicycle Sports Shop, 10947 Research Blvd.
Time Tuesday, 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Distance 16-18 mi
Route Spicewood Springs
Contact Bicycle Sports Shop, 512-345-7460


KLCTVE Fusion Thursday Night Ride

This no-drop ride takes you around town: east toward Mueller, north toward Shoal Creek, and then back downtown via Tarrytown and Pease  Park, with one rest stop at the Mosaic market in Mueller. Expect some flats, short hills, and a few optional sprint points. You'll need to be comfortable with urban riding and obeying traffic laws. Bring a helmet and lights. Check http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/news-and-events/ for current info.

Start Mellow Johnny's, 400 Nueces
Time Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Distance 24 miles, ~ 2 hrs
Route central/north
Contact Mellow Johnny's, 512-473-0222


Gruppo VOP Friday Ride

Gruppo VOP, formed 15 years ago, is an informal association of cyclists that welcomes all riders. The Friday ride is a 28-mile loop going from Westlake out Bee Caves Rd, down River Hills Rd, and up through Seven Oaks back to Bee Caves Road and the Bee Cave City limit sign. Some riders skip the river valley and go to the Barton Creek West entrance for a 19-mile loop. See http://www.bradhoustonlaw.com/gruppo-vop/ for more info.

StartBrad Houston’s house, 1813 Holly Hill
TimeFriday, 6:30 a.m. (time varies according to season)
Duration19 or 28 mi
Routesee website
ContactBrad Houston, brad@bradhoustonlaw.com


The Bagel Ride

Led by the Violet Crown cycling club, this ride usually ends with a celebratory bagel and coffee. The ride starts at the Einstein Bros Bagels on Parmer/North I-35. One group completes 50-60 miles, and another travels 70-80 miles.

StartEinstein Bros Bagels, 12400 N IH35
TimeSaturday, 7:45 a.m. (time varies according to season)
Distance50-60 mi or 70-80 mi
Routevaries
ContactDavid Serrins, dserrins@gmail.com


Cycle Progression Saturday Ride

Starting on South Lamar at bike shop Cycle Progression, the group rides a casual/medium pace to San Marcos and back. The mileage is generally 60-75 miles and is led by the Cycle Progression team. Check in once the time changes, as they may move to a 9 a.m. start.

Start Cycle Progression, 2153 South Lamar
Time Saturday, 8 a.m. (time varies according to season)
Distance 60-75 miles
Route San Marcos & return
Contact Alex Arumi,alex@cycleprogression.com



Bat City Saturday Team Ride - intermediate

Led by the Bat City Cycling team, this ride has an "A" group and "B" group. The B group averages 18-19 mph for 50-60 miles. The ride starts at Caffe Yolly on the northwest corner of Avery Ranch and Parmer. Yolly opens at 7 a.m., so there's plenty of time for a pre-ride espresso. Check Bat City's Facebook page for current info, maps, and other ride opportunities, or http://www.batcitycycling.com/calendar/

StartCaffe Yolly, 14900 Avery Ranch Blvd
TimeSaturday, 8 a.m.
Distance50-60 mi
Routevaries
Contacthttps://www.facebook.com/BatCityCycling


BSS (Parmer Ln.) All Levels Road Ride

Hosted by the Bicycle Sports Shop Parmer location, this ride offers two options: a faster-paced 35-mile ride for intermediate-level riders, or a more relaxed 24-mile ride for beginner/intermediate riders. The route is a straight out and back on Parmer Lane, so you can turn back whenever you'd like.

StartBicycle Sport Shop, 9900 W. Parmer Ln.
TimeSaturday, 8 a.m. 
Distance35 or 24 mi
RouteParmer Ln.
ContactBicycle Sports Shop, 512-637-6890


Middle of the Road Ride (MOTR)

On this intermediate-level, 30-40 mile ride, the front group averages 17-20 mph, and a second group averages 15-16 mph. All participants start together in a large group of 50+ people and naturally split into the intermediate and advanced groups. Routes may vary, but current website info lists the "Happy Buda route." Check  http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/news-and-events/ for the latest details.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeSaturday, 8:30 a.m.
Distance35 miles, ~ 3 hrs
RouteBuda & return
Contactrides@mellowjohnnys.com


Gruppo VOP Sunday Ride

Gruppo VOP, formed 14 years ago, is an informal association of cyclists that welcomes all riders. The Sunday ride, ideal as an introduction to VOP, is a 27-mile recovery ride that heads south from Westlake to South Mopac/45 and FM 1826, coming back Slaughter Lane to Mopac. It’s the most social of the VOP rides and typically ends by 9:45-9:50 a.m. See http://www.bradhoustonlaw.com/gruppo-vop/ for more info.

StartBrad Houston’s house, 1813 Holly Hill
TimeSunday, 8 a.m.
Duration27 miles
Routesee website
ContactBrad Houston, brad@bradhoustonlaw.com


Bat City Sunday Team Ride

Led by the Bat City Cycling team, this intermediate-level ride averages a steady 18-19 mph The ride starts at Caffe Yolly on the northwest corner of Avery Ranch and Parmer. Yolly opens at 7 a.m., so there's plenty of time for a pre-ride espresso. Check Bat City's Facebook page for current info, maps, and other ride opportunities, or http://www.batcitycycling.com/calendar/

StartCaffe Yolly, 14900 Avery Ranch Blvd
TimeSunday, 8 a.m.
Distance50-60 mi
Routevaries
Contacthttps://www.facebook.com/BatCityCycling


BSS (Lamar Blvd.) Sunday Intermediate Road Ride

Hosted by the Bicycle Sports Shop Lamar location, this ride features a different route in south and west Austin each week. Average speed is 14-16 mph (including hills). You must be on a road or tri bike. A beginner ride starts at the same time. Check http://bicyclesportshop.com/events/road-pg1768.htm for current info.

StartBicycle Sport Shop, 517 S. Lamar Blvd
TimeSunday, 8 a.m.
Duration2-3 hrs 
Routevaries
ContactBicycle Sports Shop, 512-477-3472


Sunday Violet Crown Ride

Reputed to be one of the oldest group rides in Austin, this group has been meeting every Sunday morning for more than 30 years. Average pace is 17-18 mph for 50-60 miles, and there are some rest points, but if you get dropped, you’re usually on your own. The ride is well suited for an intermediate rider on a road bike accustomed to riding in groups. Check http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/news-and-events/ for current info.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeSunday, 8:00 a.m.
Duration3-4 hrs
Routevaries
ContactDave Henderson, suplesse@gmail.com


Sunday Circle C Ranch Cycling Club Ride

This ride is a more spirited version of the club’s no-drop Saturday ride (contact the club for more info). Distances and routes vary, but can range from 35-70 miles, depending on the difficulty of the terrain. The average distance is generally 45 miles, with a speed of 13-15 mph. A few riders tend to go off the front at higher speeds. Expect a pack of anywhere from 4 to 30 riders, with a mix of beginners and seasoned veterans. Inclement weather may cancel the ride. Sign on to the Yahoo Group for more info, including weekly maps. Membership encouraged but not required. **Ride time frequently changes and will probably move to 8:15 with cooler temperatures.**

StartStarbucks, 9600 Escarpment Blvd #700
TimeSunday, 7:30 a.m.
Durationvaries
Routevaries
ContactFacebook Group


Jack and Adam’s Sunday Ride

The J&A Sunday Ride is a popular favorite in Austin. Ride options range from “no drop” to intermediate and advanced. Rides are often led by shop employees or teams that the shop sponsors. Check the J&A blog for the month’s scheduled rides. Note that sometimes rides are canceled for area events, and the ride usually starts from the Steiner Steakhouse once a month. Routes and distances vary. (**The shop's new location is on South Lamar.**) 

StartJack & Adam’s Bicycles, 300 South Lamar, Suite L
TimeSunday, 8:30 a.m.
Durationvaries according to level, but is typically 2-3 hrs; Steiner rides are usually 1.5-2 hrs
Routevaries by week
ContactJack and Adam’s, 888-499-0863, info@jackandadams.com


ATC Barton Springs Sunday Recovery/Intermediate Ride

Led by ATC employees, this is a very small and casual group, usually between 4 and 20 cyclists. The average pace is 17 mph, and riders regroup at multiple points along the 30-mile route, which heads southeast to Stassney and Burleson. This ride is often canceled for rain or very cold weather; if in doubt, call the shop to check. Find more info at http://www.austintricyclist.com/articles/rides-and-events-pg37.htm

StartATC downtown, 923 Barton Springs Rd.
TimeSunday, 9 a.m.
Distance~30 mi
RouteEast
ContactATC, 512-494-9252, info@austintricyclist.com


ATC 360 Sunday Ride

This no-drop, out-and-back ride takes Bee Caves Rd to Bee Caves Parkway, with a hilly side-trip on Cuernavaca. The group tends to be small, with an average speed around 16 mph. For more info, see http://www.austintricyclist.com/articles/rides-and-events-pg37.htm

Start ATC 360, Davenport Village
TimeSunday, 9 a.m.
Distance 30 mi
Route west, click here for map http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/218895751
Contact ATC 360, 512-483-1273, info@austintricyclist.com


Division 1 Ride

A recovery ride led by the Boneshaker/Div 1 team and Division 1 staff, the Div 1 ride leaves from the bike shop on East 7th and heads out to Manor. The average pace is 17 mph, and all bikes are welcome. Attendance varies but is usually around 15-20 riders. The bike shop also doubles as coffee house - say yes to the pre-ride espresso!

Start Division 1 Bicycles, 1620 E. 7th
TimeSunday, 9 a.m.
Distance 25-30 mi
Route Manor & return
Contact Div 1 Bicycles, 512-481-1333


Hard



Gruppo VOP Monday Ride

Gruppo VOP, formed 14 years ago, is an informal association of cyclists that welcomes all riders. The Monday ride is a fast-paced, 32-mile loop that heads south from the Westlake area. Very important: Sometimes the start time and place for the Monday ride varies slightly, so for this ride, email Brad a few days in advance so that the riders know you’re joining them. See http://www.bradhoustonlaw.com/gruppo-vop/ for more info.

StartBrad Houston’s house, 1813 Holly Hill
TimeMonday, 6:30 a.m. (time varies according to season)
Distance32 miles
Routesee website
ContactBrad Houston, brad@bradhoustonlaw.com


Gruppo VOP Wednesday Ride

Gruppo VOP, formed 14 years ago, is an informal association of cyclists that welcomes all riders. This very popular, very challenging Wednesday ride is a race-paced, 28-mile loop that goes out and back on Southwest Pkway to Barton Creek Blvd and Bee Cave Road, then through the neighborhoods in Lost Creek. You’re guaranteed to get in some hard efforts and brutal hills. Be prepared for three highly coveted sprint points.

StartBrad Houston’s house, 1813 Holly Hill
TimeWednesday, 6:30 a.m. (time varies according to season)
Distance28 mi
Routesee website
ContactBrad Houston, brad@bradhoustonlaw.com


Squadra Hustle

Super Squadra leads this new ride from Austinbikes every Wednesday afternoon, heading west for a steady, 2-2.5 hour ride on hard roads. They start as late as daylight allows, 4:30 p.m. currently and moving to 2:30 p.m. once the time changes. Check out the ride's Strava profile for more details: http://www.strava.com/activities/179892520

StartAustinbikes, 1010 West Lynn
TimeWednesday, 4:30 p.m. until DST ends
Duration2-2.5 hrs
Routewest, see sample Strava profile above
ContactDave Wenger, david.wenger@gmail.com


Pure Austin Driveway Series The Driveway Series is a criterium race, not a ride, but it happens every Thursday evening from March to October and is a great way to train. Many Austin area bike racers consider it an essential part of their weekly training plan. For event info, go to http://www.drivewayseries.com/


Gruppo VOP Saturday Ride

Gruppo VOP, formed 14 years ago, is an informal association of cyclists that welcomes all riders. The Saturday ride offers ride options of 26, 45, or 52 miles. Like the Gruppo VOP Wednesday Ride, this ride often feels like a race, with multiple sprint points and a consistently high pace. The longer loops follow Wednesday’s route and then continue up Hwy 620 to River Place or Anderson Mill Road. Some riders add on Lime Creek. The short ride usually travels back along Bee Caves Rd from the intersection of Hwy 620 and Bee Caves Rd. See http://www.bradhoustonlaw.com/gruppo- vop/ for more info.

StartBrad Houston’s house, 1813 Holly Hill
TimeSaturday, 7:30 a.m.
Distance26, 45, or 52 mi
Routesee website
ContactBrad Houston, brad@bradhoustonlaw.com


MJ 100K

If there's not a road race going on the same weekend, this cutthroat ride is popular with a fast crowd. There aren't sprint points, per se -- everyone just rides like there's one every quarter mile. The route twists through far southeast Austin's farm country, with a quick refueling stop at mile 35. You'll get left behind if you drag your feet, and the group doesn't always stop for mechanicals. Check http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/news-and-events/ for current info.

Start Mellow Johnny's, 400 Nueces
Time Saturday, 8 a.m.
Distance 62 miles
Route southeast
Contact Mellow Johnny's, 512-473-0222

Bat City Saturday Team Ride - hard

Led by the Bat City Cycling team, this ride has "A" and "B" groups. If it's your first time on the ride, it's recommended to stick with the B group, as this is probably the fastest team ride on the north side of town, with lots of surging and a consistently hard pace. The A group averages around 20 mph for a 65-75 mile route. The ride starts at Caffe Yolly on the northwest corner of Avery Ranch and Parmer. Yolly opens at 7 a.m., so there's plenty of time for a pre-ride espresso. Check Bat City's Facebook page for current info, maps, and other ride opportunities, or http://www.batcitycycling.com/calendar/

StartCaffe Yolly, 14900 Avery Ranch Blvd
TimeSaturday, 8 a.m.
Distance65-75 mi
Routevaries
Contacthttps://www.facebook.com/BatCityCycling



Insanely Hard


Heavy Metal Ride

All masochists are welcome, whether dedicated roadie, fixie rider, mountain biker, or whatever-else-on-two-wheels, on this informal Monday-night hammerfest. The group meets at the Pflugerville Pedestrian Bridge. Lights and helmets required. Beer money recommended for after.

StartPflugerville Pedestrian Bridge
TimeMonday, 7:30 p.m.
RouteBikely
ContactFacebook


Tuesday Nighter

Not for the weak of heart, this event has been tearing down farm roads in Southeast Austin at 25-30 mph for what some regulars estimate to be 25 to 30 years. However, the addition of neighborhoods and two stop signs on the course has slowed things down a bit. The ride currently completes three 9-mile laps, with an unofficial “A group” and “B group” determined by who can hang on in the first few miles. The ride is free, and there’s no marked course, no support, no prizes, no judges, and no category system, but by most accounts, it's very much a race.

VideoTuesday Nighter History
StartAlum Rock Dr and Thaxton Rd, Southeast Austin
TimeTuesday, 6 p.m. sharp during daylight savings time
RouteStrava
ContactFacebook


ATC World Championship Saturday Ride

This ride is a classic in Austin, regularly hosting elite-level and professional triathletes and road cyclists. If you're trying to "A pack" it, most weeks the pace is very fast. The pro: no one will ever chide you for attacking or pushing the pace. The con: you will probably get dropped. The directions are simple, though, and numerous splinter groups form off the back. The ride starts with a warm-up down Barton Springs and the Mopac feeder. After the right turn onto Southwest Parkway, the pace picks up, continuing at top speed through the right turn onto Hwy 71 until the sprint point at the Bee Caves city limit sign. The group often pauses at the cleaners at Hwy 71/Bee Caves. Some people head home from there via Bee Caves for the short loop and others continue on the dam loop, with the possible addition of Lime Creek. This is one of the few group rides that welcomes tri bikes and aero bars—just be sure to stay out of them when you’re in the pack.

VideoATC Video Montage
StartATC downtown, 923 Barton Springs Rd.
TimeSaturday, 8:30 a.m.
Distance30 or 55 mi
Route30 miles, 55 miles: continues north along 620 on the dam loop 
ContactATC, 512-494-9252, info@austintricyclist.com



Women Only



Bikin’ Betties

A very casual, ladies-only ride, Bikin’ Betties welcomes beginning cyclists. The distance traveled is from 8 to 20 miles, always ending at a bar, restaurant, or coffee shop for post-ride refreshment. Since rides vary widely in intensity and distance, check the event details on their Facebook site.

Startvaries
TimeMonday 8:00 pm (departs 8:20pm)  
Durationvaries
Routevaries
ContactFacebook


BSS (Lamar Blvd.) Women's Intermediate & Advanced Road Ride

Welcoming intermediate/advanced level women cyclists, this ride averages 14-16 mph, including hills, for 15-20 miles. Meet at the shop at 6:15. You must be on a road or tri bike. A helmet and lights are required, no exceptions. Check http://bicyclesportshop.com/events/road-pg1768.htm for current info.

StartBicycle Sport Shop, 517 South Lamar Blvd.
TimeTuesday, 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. 
Distance15-20 mi
ContactBicycle Sports Shop, 512-477-3472


AFWC Ladies’ Rider

Led by the Austin Flyers Women’s Cycling Club, this intermediate, women-only ride averages 15-16 mph, with varying routes. The pace and the people are friendly. Check http://www.mellowjohnnys.com/news-and-events/ for current info.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeSunday, 8 a.m.
Duration2.5-3 hrs
Routevaries
Contactaustinwomenonbikes@gmail.com







Rides by day of week


Monday

Rothe Recovery Ride, ATC Barton Springs
Nelo’s Shop Ride, NC
Gruppo VOP, Westlake
Heavy Metal Ride, Pflugerville Ped. Bridge
Bikin’ Betties


Tuesday

River City Market Racing Hill Ride, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Lamar
T&T Violet Crown Ride, MJ’s
Tuesday Nighter, SEast Austin
BSS (Lamar Blvd.) Women's Intermediate & Advanced Road Ride
BSS (Research Blvd.) Tuesday Intermediate & Advanced Road Ride
Lake Travis Tuesday Nighter, Lakeway


Wednesday

BSS (Research Blvd.) Wednesday Beginner Ride 
Nelo’s Shop Ride, NC
Gruppo VOP, Westlake
Squadra Hustle, Austinbikes



Thurs

T&T Violet Crown Ride, MJ’s
Pure Austin Driveway Series, Driveway
KLCTVE Fusion Thursday Night Ride, MJ’s


Friday

Friday Truancy Ride, MJ’s
Gruppo VOP, Westlake


Saturday

ATC World Championship Ride, ATC Barton Springs
Scout-a-Route Ride, MJ’s
BSS (Parmer) All Levels Road Ride
MJ 100K
Middle of the Road Ride, MJ’s
Gruppo VOP, Westlake
Cycle Progression Saturday Ride
Bagel Ride, Einstein Bros. Bagels
Bat City Saturday Team Ride (hard), Cafe Yolly
Bat City Saturday Team Ride (intermediate), Cafe Yolly


Sunday

J&A’s Sunday Ride, J&A’s
Gruppo VOP, Westlake
Bat City Sunday Team Ride, Cafe Yolly
BSS Lamar Sunday Beginner Ride
BSS Lamar Sunday Intermediate Ride, BSS
Sunday Violet Crown Ride, MJ’s
Sunday Circle C Ranch Cycling Club Ride, Starbucks Escarpment
ATC Sunday Recovery Ride, ATC Barton Springs
ATC 360 Ride
AFWC Ladies’ Rider, MJ’s
Div 1 Ride, D1


© Copyright 2014, Kathryn Hunter

Thursday, August 28, 2014

GPS Running Watches




In the very recent past, running with a GPS watch was like wearing an iron shackle on your wrist; they were large, heavy, and expensive. The technology has come a long way. Smaller, lighter, cheaper, and much more fashionable, most of the current generation watches aren't any bigger than a basic stop watch and have many added features. A quick size comparison of three popular Garmin models stocked at ATC shows little resemblance to ye olde Medieval torture devices:


Garmin 910xt, Fenix 2, and Forerunner 10

Forerunner 10


The simplest, most affordable, and smallest offering is the Forerunner 10 at $129.99. Available in a variety of colors and two different sizes, the watch is minimal enough to work for everyday wear, so you don't have to take it on and off for runs.

The Forerunner 10's key features include the ability to track distance, pace, and time and to estimate calorie use. It can also notify you of personal records, such as fastest mile or longest run to date, and provides a "virtual pacer" so you can set target pacing goals. Data can be uploaded to Garmin Connect or imported into the analysis tool of your choice via USB.



Forerunner 220 and 620


A little bit more conspicuous in size, the Forerunner 220 and 620 watches bring added benefits with the bulk: the extra screen space provides more room for tracking your run stats, and the size seems to allow for quicker satellite acquisition than smaller watches. These two models also have longer battery life and more storage than the 10.

The 220 provides mobile phone integration to automatically upload your data, as well as training features like heart rate alerts, real-time live tracking, and a built-in accelerometer that lets you know distance and pace data even when running on an indoor track or treadmill. The 620 takes things a step further with a touch screen and the ability to estimate VO2 max, predict race times for certain distances, and suggest recovery time; it's also the first GPS running watch that provides feedback on running form (via accelerometers that measure torso movement). The 220 starts at $249.99 and the 620 at $399.99.



Forerunner 910xt

This is the big daddy watch that does it all. If you don't mind the size, the Forerunner 910xt is the triathlete's dream watch. Water resistant to 50 meters, it can track your swim, run, and your bike, including collecting data from your power meter. No need to manage different devices for all three sports, you can just use your 910xt everywhere; transition is possible with the press of a single button.

Swim metrics include swim distance, stroke identification, stroke count, and pool lengths, and GPS captures your path, which after the fact makes it easy to see how far you veered off course in an open water swim... Leave the 910xt on for your whole race and forgo a separate head unit on your bike if you prefer. If you like to watch your numbers closely on the bike, a quick release mount allows the watch to move easily from wrist to handlebars. Battery life is 20 hours, so even on a bad day it will last for your entire Ironman. The 910xt retails for $399.95 (Without the hrm bundle)



Fenix 2


If you spend any time hiking or trail running, or branch out into other adventure sports like paddling, climbing, and skiing, this will be the watch you want. Possessing all the same features as the Forerunner 620, but with a more rugged design, the Fenix also has an on-board altimeter, barometer, and compass, which are used to add a remarkably advanced set of  navigation and tracking features. Built-in sensors provide data on heading, elevation, and even weather changes, and you can leave a "bread crumb trail," marking waypoints like campsites, start/finish lines, and other points of interest. Battery life is 50 hours in GPS mode and up to five weeks in watch mode.

The future is now...the Fenix 2 integrates via Bluetooth or ANT+ with other compatible Garmin devices or smartphones, and in addition to easy data upload, you can receive text and email alerts and even use the watch as a glove-friendly remote for certain action cameras.

With a price tag of $399.99, the Fenix makes you wonder why people would spend thousands of dollars on designer wristwatches that simply look pretty and make a satisfying ticking noise when they could have a timepiece that ensures survival from snowstorm, zombie apocalypse, and bear attack.

Alright, alright... We're not sure it'll do anything for bear attack, but we wouldn't doubt it. And while snowstorm and zombie apocalypse have roughly equal odds of occurring in Austin, we say it never hurts to be prepared.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Roadie says, “Running? What’s That?”

By Kat Hunter

For the past three years or so, my workouts have been devoted to the bike. Though I have a long history with running and I enjoy it, taking bike racing seriously meant focusing every ounce of energy on specific training.

Now that I’m taking a break and working out for fitness rather than competition, I’m trying to run. What I’ve discovered in my past few weeks of struggling to find my feet again is that more than just my running shoes are dusty.

Oh, the legs. This season I’ve been in the shape of my life, bike-wise, but I’m very quickly learning that doesn’t translate to bipedal locomotion. I started off short and slow, knowing that I have a tendency to overdo it and get hurt, but at the end of each sluggish 20-minute jog I felt like I’d just run an endurance race through the desert being chased by cheetahs. Alternating running and cycling workouts, the general muscle soreness wore off in a week or two, but the joint soreness has persisted. All those things that weren’t taking a beating on the bike—the feet, the ankles, the knees—they’re taking a beating now, and they’re letting me know how they feel about it.

One problem was my shoes. I wasn’t sure when I bought my last pair; their original color was unknown, now a neutral shade somewhere between brown and gray. At ATC, Missy Ruthven walked me through the shop’s new selection of run shoes: Altra, Hoka, Zoot, Asics, On, Pearl  Izumi, and Newton. I went with the On Cloudsurfers. They’re a little unusual—the CloudTec soles are large knobs, rather than one continuous platform, which looks to me a little like the shoe is sitting on pylons. The On website describes the technology as “intelligently combin[ing] what conventional running shoes have failed to unite: a cushioned landing and a barefoot takeoff.” I find them comfortable, and they seem to fit my feet well, which is enough of a selling point for me. They’re also a nice shade of purple.

ATC has a regular Wednesday run at 6 p.m. They welcome anyone, from uber fast runners like Jeff and Liz Shelton to once-a-week runners like my husband (ahem). The group heads across the park to the Town Lake hike and bike trail for a short loop, some people going four miles and some extending it to six. The pace varies, and it usually splits up quickly. Lately it’s been a very small group because of the heat, with the highlight of the evening being rehydrating with beer at the shop afterward. Some people, in fact, skip the run altogether.

This Wednesday it was just Missy, Will Thompson, my husband, and me. Missy and Will were good sports, allowing us to crash the party with our 15-month-old in a baby stroller. My new shoes felt great on their inaugural trip, and it was my longest run in recent history, about 45 minutes.

If I were to give any running product a negative review, it would be the BOB Revolution stroller. With the wheel locked, it’s very difficult to turn and seems to pull to one side or the other. With the wheel unlocked, it bucks like a rodeo horse if it hits the smallest of bumps. Maybe this is just the way of things with running strollers? I don’t have a basis of comparison. On the bridge over Barton Creek, I hit one of the planks just right and the stroller took a violent diagonal trajectory; we almost ran over a runner coming the other direction, who, fortunately, simply laughed in the face of the danger narrowly averted and kept going.

Missy and Will were running at what felt like a decent clip to me, but I knew it was a recovery pace. This is perhaps the most frustrating thing about starting over again with running. When you first take up jogging, you tend to do it gradually...a mile here, a mile there. For a while you probably think two or three miles is a long way. Slowly, you build up, and your perceptions on pace and distance change, and before you know it, two or three miles is a warmup. I still have the mentality of a seasoned runner—anything less than an hour and anything over 8:30 pace doesn’t seem to qualify as a decent workout—but I have the running fitness of a beginner.

The funny thing is, my mind hasn’t adjusted to running vs. cycling any better than my body has. When I was pushing the stroller up the hill, I kept thinking, “I need to shift, I need to shift.” Later, as I was really starting to tire, I was running behind Missy and Will, assuring myself that I was “in the draft” and could make it if I just held on to the back. Some things are the same, however, at least when you’re running with our disappointment of a stroller—by the end of the run, one of the rear tires had a flat.  Roadie-style, I decided to blame my lackluster performance on the equipment malfunction.

Come join us for the ATC run next Wednesday. There’s suffering, good company, and beer, and I hear runners like these things as much as cyclists do.

Note: After the time change on Sunday, Nov. 2, the run starts at 5:30.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tayler Wiles and La Course

by Kat Hunter

On July 27, hours before the men’s peloton traveled down the Champs-Élysées and Marcel Kittel battled Alexander Kristoff to win the final stage of the 2014 Tour de France, the women were the first to cross the finish line. Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) would take the win, but in the inaugural La Course, victory belonged to more than the race’s champion. Though not the hardest, the longest, or even the most interesting event on the pro women’s calendar, the 90-kilometer circuit race represented two things the women’s peloton has been desperately short on for much of its history: recognition, and hope for the future.

Tayler Wiles, a 25-year-old native of Salt Lake City, Utah, riding for Specialized-Lululemon, says it’s no secret that the women want their own multi-stage Tour de France. But she, like most of the women who competed in La Course, felt honored to be part of the one-day race. A small contingent of female pro cyclists and advocates for the sport had nearly waged war to regain a place for the women in the Tour, and that fight had been successful. La Course would be broadcast in 157 countries. The winner would earn the same $31,000 payout as the men’s stage winner. Wiles voiced the thoughts of many when she called La Course “a big step in the right direction.”

Click this link to keep reading the story at TexasBikeRacing.com. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Race report: 2014 Jack's Generic Tri

by Liz Shelton

There’s a debate among cyclists about the bike. There are many debates, but in particular whether a high-end, fancy bike with all the newest technology makes you a better (faster) rider, and to what extent, and how much the rider makes a difference. This is the chicken and the egg debate. We’ve all been out on group rides and see riders on bikes that belong in a Grand Tour. Is it worth it? I mean, to upgrade your bike or even switch from a road bike with clip-on bars to a tri bike. Well, I learned for myself at JGT at Lake Pflugerville on August 3.

I’ve been itching to race a Sprint for a few weeks now, for several reasons. My last race was an Olympic at the end of May, so it’s been two months too long. Second, I knew I could really use some speed work, given most of my workouts lately have been progressive or tempo runs. But the real reason is that my better half and I recently returned from a vacation in Colorado. Translation: altitude. I came back feeling awesome! I feel stronger, lighter, and more relaxed than I have all year. So I wanted to test myself and see how much faster I’d gotten as a result. I didn’t have specific time goals in mind but wanted to race competitively and really push the run pace.

The swim was a TT start, the first for JGT. I prefer it over a mass start, as I don’t like crowds, so right away I was able to find a rhythm and chase down swimmers. I started to catch the wave ahead of us about halfway through the 500m swim, so that helped my confidence. I veered off course at one point (only happens when I breathe to the left - still working on that!), but overall a good swim.

Transition was a short run on the beach, to the Astroturf-covered sidewalk, and down the stairs already wet and muddy from those ahead of me. Grabbed my bike and headed out as quick as I could. I haven’t mentioned it yet but this is my first race with a new customized tri bike from Austin Tri-Cyclist (thank you guys!). Now this is the part where my husband, and most of you readers, shakes his head in disappointment because I’m still not into the tech lingo. All I know is that it’s a P2, it’s blue, and it's fast! Oh, and we added electronic shifting. This proved to be a wise choice. I’ll give credit where credit is due…Thank you, honey, for encouraging me to go that direction. It made for a smooth ride, knowing I didn’t have to move around to shift gears. Since Pville was a rolling course, the electronic shifters are a must because you’re constantly moving from small chain ring to the large one and back. Also, you get two shift points on a tri bike, one at the brake levers and the other at the bar-end. But like I said earlier, I was mostly concerned about speed. Did having ES mean I would ride faster? Well, in the end, I did. I got my best bike pace to date, and while not nearly as good as the pros, I’ll take it!!

Transition to the run was a little slower than usual, but that was because I was being careful with my pretty bike and didn’t want to scratch it. I carefully hung it on the rack and then got to business. Grabbed my hat, Gu and belt…running out to the gravel looped path that encircles the lake. Crap! Dropped my Gu. Go back to pick it up (a crutch, yes, but it helps). That probably wasted six or seven seconds, so now I had to run faster to make it up. Started catching runners early on. Kept my eyes down on calves, searching for ages, and just plowing through the crowd. I wondered if or where I would start to slow down, but focused on quick turnover and keeping a constant, steady pace. Like I said earlier, I felt very relaxed ever since Colorado, so I never felt out of control. Caught a large group of guys with about 600m to go, so that made me very happy. And I passed someone a few inches from the finish line.

I had to find out my run time because Logan had announced they were giving out primes for fastest splits and transitions. Sure enough, I had the fastest run of the day for Sprint with a 5:52 pace. Sweet! That time on top of a bike PR just made my day. Head to head competition is fun, just like winning first place is. But real satisfaction comes from beating and bettering yourself. No trophy or medal can compare. So while I am a little slow to open up to those fancy gadgets, iCloud, or social media (I do NOT Facebook, nor do I own a mobile phone), I can say that electronic shifting is the way to go. Now I just need to go train. See you on the road!

Liz was the fastest overall woman at the 2014 Jack's Generic Triathlon. Click here to see results. Read her October 2013 post "The Life of a Runner Turned Cyclist Turned Triathlete" on the ATC blog.