Sunday, August 25, 2013

Giro Selector Aero Helmet

My Giro Advantage 2 aero helmet never really felt quite right.  It was always tight.  I'd have to pry it over my ears and be uncomfortable until they finally found their place behind the thick flap of plastic that comprises the ear covers.  I used it with some success, I think.  I found, through my own riding that the Advantage 2 reduced my time on a 7.5 mile ride by about 30 seconds.  So, I'm a believer but I wanted more.  More comfort and more speed.

The Advantage 2 comes in three sizes, small, medium and large.  I had bought a size small Advantage 2.  My head measures 21 3/4 inches (55.245cm) at the hat band area.  That's right at the limit for a small.

Giro helmet sizing chart

The Giro Advantage 2 has 3 size options
With all the strain on the ear flaps my Advantage 2 formed a crack on both sides.  It was time to replace it!  I decided on the Giro Selector for several reasons; 1) it has an integrated vision 2) it has 2 "aerodynamic lower" options, and 3) the cost wasn't prohibitively high.  I bought mine through Amazon for less than $200.

The Giro Selector has 2 size options
I ordered the small/medium Selector.  My head was safely within the sizes listed on the Giro website.  When the helmet arrived it came with the items below.

What the helmet comes with
The Selector helmet comes with 2 back plate options, and instruction booklet, a cloth bag, an extra set of pads, a red "G" sticker and an emergency contact information sticker.

Fastener tabs for the padded second aerodynamic lower attachment

Snaps on the back plate and the visor connect to snap baskets on the helmet

A closer view of one of the tabs on the aerodynamic lower

The Roc Loc TT fit system

One of three snaps used to attach the visor to the helmet
The Selector has no large vent holes like the Advantage 2.  It's a possibility that overheating could be a problem.  That's one of the reasons I chose white and silver for my colors.

The center visor nipple with vent holes on either side

The pads in place inside the helmet

A side view of the helmet

A side view of the second optional back plate

A closer view of the vented visor

The helmet on the head
I decided to adjust the Roc Loc TT fit system back one space to the last snap basket.  To do that I removed the Roc Loc bracket. Make sure that you look closely at the two pictures below.  The bracket has 2 snaps and 2 curved legs.  The snaps keep the bracket securely forward and the feet of the legs under the snap basket frame.

The Roc Loc TT fit system snap brackets with the bracket removed

The Roc Loc TT fit system bracket with 2 curved legs and 2 snaps
I used a shish-kabob skewer to ream out a place in the foam one space back for the legs to go into.

A shish-kabob skewer
You can just barely see the modified snap basket frame below.

The Roc Loc TT fit system snap basket with a second set of holes cleared
I re-installed the Roc Loc bracket and that was it.  I tried the newly adjusted helmet again and it fit much better.  The ear flaps still look to be a bit tight but I'm sure that I'll get used to putting in on more quickly over time.

The Roc Loc TT fit system bracket re-installed
I wore it for the first time on Saturday during a 19 mile 23 average MPH ride with 4 other guys and a subsequent 30 mile ride with 2 other guys at 21.8 MPH.  I found that my ears are still an issue.  I think a dab of BodyGlide on the ear tab pads should help them find their proper place in the confinement of the straps and foam.  The field of view is freakin' awesome.  There are no obstructions at all although looking to the side to see who's riding behind is a strain.  The air temperature was 70-degrees.  I didn't find that the limited venting was an issue.  The flow of sweat was allowed to move unobstructed.  I find with sunglasses that the sweat seems to pool around the lenses.  There was no lens fogging.  Bugs smacking into my face at 30-mph should be a thing of the past too.  That's a good thing!  The ability to hear is reduced, as I'd expect.  The ambient noise inside the Selector helmet is probably lower than my Advantage 2.  The only negative is that the interior of the helmet is not well padded.  It's like wearing a can on your head.

Well, that's about it!  Just a lot of pictures of my new helmet.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hard Training Day

Wednesday was a hard training day.  On some Wednesdays, when I'm not working, I meet up with some of my friends in Peachtree City for a long ride which is sometimes followed by a short run.  Two of them, Chad and Jared, will also be doing the 2013 Ironman Florida triathlon in November.  John is a hard charging Beck Cycling team racer and de facto leader of the group.  Tom is training for Ironman Wisconsin.  Martha races for the Beck team as well but says she's not training for anything which begs the question, what the heck are you doing here?

Martha, Chad, Neil, Tom, and Jared (l-r)
The six of us set out at 8am.  The pre-ride chatter was for a 120 mile ride.

John took this picture - it's a selfie!
John, Tom, Martha, Jared, and Chad (l-r)
We made a quick stop at a convenience store for more food, drinks, and use of the facilities.

These two were expressing great affection for each other as we rode by.  They stopped when the camera came out.
I don't know if these are donkeys or mules but I'm pretty sure that they thought I was gonna give them some food.
We ended the ride with almost 100 miles in the books.  That's pretty good for a Wednesday ride.  The best part is that I didn't wreck all day.

Thanks for reading.

OWS in my Helix Wetsuit

With all the clouds and rain in Georgia lately I had the opportunity on Tuesday to wear my wetsuit far sooner in the year that I would have expected.  The water temperature was still 81-degrees which was a few degrees warmer than the air temperature.

After some wrangling I finally got my wetsuit on.  Fortunately I just found the two sticks of Bodyglide and one can of TriSlide that I misplaced during the Try Charleston 70.3 back in April.  That was a bad weekend. It's a shame that I replaced them both already.  I'm sure it will all get used between now and November.

This was only my second time wearing the Helix wetsuit and I found that it sure was hard to get into and out of.  I'll need the services of a stripper until it gets stretched out.  

I didn't notice any drastic increase in my pace but that should come.  I need to get in the water with my kick board and learn to use my legs more effectively.

After the swim I ran 6.1 miles on my usual course on Emerald Drive.  I've got to pat myself on the back because I had only a few hours of sleep that morning before biting the bullet and sticking to my plan.  It would have been real easy to stay on the couch and watch TV.  It's so easy to get behind the curve when I miss a day.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

German Food at the Macie's

Susan and I spent Saturday afternoon and evening with our friends Mary Ann and Jim Macie.  They had some relatives, friends and neighbors over for a German themed dinner at their home on Lake Spivey.  We had brats from Wisconsin, German potato salad, and various German beers.

Then the clouds rolled in.

Then it rained.

We moved the food (and beer) back up to the house.

Then the rain stopped and we went for a late evening cruise.

Thanks for reading.

Training with a Hernia

I have an inguinal hernia.  I have no idea how I got it, but that doesn't matter.  It's there and I have to deal with it.  If you don't know, an inguinal hernia is one that doctors check for during a physical examination - "turn your head and cough".  Sorry, no pictures of my hernia!  But here's a picture of the snake Susan and I saw before a swim a few weeks ago.

...and a picture of me and a friend swimming with Susan following in the kayak.

So, how does a hernia fit into my training for the Augusta Ironman 70.3 and Ironman Florida?  Pretend that it doesn't exist, of course!  I have elected to forgo any surgery until after November 2nd, the date for Ironman Florida.  What I have done is reduced my running.  When I do run, my first thought is to empty my bladder to reduce any weight on my hernia.  However, the gross hematuria that I had before the 2011 Ironman Florida race is back.  To prevent those symptoms, which are blood in the urine, my doctor told me not to empty my bladder before I run.  It's a catch 22!  Fortunately, it's only a big issue during the hot summer months.  September and October should be better.  I just need to stay hydrated and keep training.

Another thing that anyone with a hernia will know is that a sneeze hurts.  I don't have any really allergy issues but I have noticed that I sneeze about a dozen times after I swim.  I'm sure that it has something to do with lake water getting into my sinuses.  I don't swim with a nose clip but I have started using a nasal spray to flush out the dirty lake water.  It seems to work pretty well.  I've used it twice so far and its reduced my sneezes to only about three times during the course of the day.  That's about a 75% reduction.  When I do sneeze I have to drop everything to prepare.  I push in on my hernia so as not to tear it any more.  Ah, the pleasures of getting old.

The can shoots out a fine mist.

All that being said, watching a re-run of the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kona on TV really brings things into perspective.  Several of the athletes competing in Kona last year were cancer survivors.  Some of whom were even having chemotherapy treatments while they trained.  I'm such a wuss!

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

PTC to ATL and Back

Wednesday morning brought with it a highly anticipated training ride with my Peachtree City friends, Jared, John, and Chad.  For clarity, I was looking forward to the ride, I'm not sure if anyone else was because I didn't get a hug when I got there.  Maybe they forgot!  I was 15 minutes late.  This was our second or third long ride together (see Naked Lady Ride and Peachtree City Training Day).  They already know each other and have ridden together quite a lot, I'm the newcomer.  Chad, Jared, and I are competing in the 2013 Ironman Florida triathlon in November.  John is a pro rider with the Beck Janitorial cycling team.  On our way to Atlanta we picked up the winner of the 2013 Tour de Quebec, Emile Abraham.  He was trying to get this baby snake out of the road when we rolled up.  Emile was unsuccessful which is okay because, I'm no expert but, it looks poisonous to me.

S-N-A-K-E !
Just after we picked up Emile it started to rain lightly.  Our route took us from the peaceful tree lined streets in Fayette County to the pot-holed, traffic laden, construction detoured, graffiti lined streets of Atlanta.  Wet brakes, fogged up glasses, slippery roads, I was a nervous wreck as we coursed through the busy Atlanta city streets.  The sprinkling turned to into a deluge on the return trip back to Peachtree City.

We stopped in Piedmont Park for a few pictures.

Jared, John, and Chad at Piedmont Park

Jared, Neil (me), and Chad at Piedmont Park
I don't know how many rail road  tracks we crossed over but there were a lot.  One of them got the best of me.  I, in turn, took Jared and Chad to the asphalt with me.

My boo-boo
I was rarely at the front during the ride.  But I was in front for a brief moment when I tried to bunny hop over the tracks in the picture below.  I was unsuccessful.

Bike check after mishap
Chad frowns as he displays his new road rash.

Chad has a boo-boo!
The course probably was something like the famous winter Airport Ride.

So, that's my experience of riding with some pretty tough guys and in an area where I felt completely out of my element.  Maybe we should wait until a clear day to try that again.
Thanks for reading.