Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pre-Race Bike Diet Deux

After the success of my cockpit re-do last week I decided to take another look at my spare tube(s), tools, and X-Lab wing configuration.  I figured I needed to lighten up somewhere because, as I continue to taper before the race on Sunday, I seem to be gaining a little weight elsewhere.  If you know what I mean!  You can read about the small changes I made to my bike cockpit here.

Moving on to the junk in my bike trunk.  Here's my starting configuration with an X-Lab Carbon Wing, two X-Lab Gorilla Carbon Cages, two CO2 cartridges, a Genuine Innovations Air Chuck Elite Mini Inflator, two spare tubes, and two sets of tire tools.  Why I had four tire levers I don't know!
X-Lab Wing with Bag and Spare Tubes
As I removed some of the loose items I weighed them.  Tire tube - 4 1/4 ounces.
Spare Tube
These are the best tire tools I have.  My other set from Park Tools is far less easy to use.  The little slot behind the curve of the lever is the difference.  The slot holds the lever on the rim.  Tire levers - 1 1/4 ounces.
Tire Levers
Both the spare tube and tire levers weigh 5 1/2 ounces.
Spare Tube and Tire Levers
The small saddle bag I've been using weighs an additional 1 1/4 ounces.
Empty Bike Bag
Add these all together and that's 6 3/4 ounces of extra stuff.
Spare Tube, Tire Levers, and Spare Tube
My second spare tube and set of tire levers weighs 5 1/4 ounces.  I'll use these for the Augusta 70.3 on Sunday.
Second Spare Tube with second set of Tire Levers in Plastic Bag
I took that second plastic bag with the spare tube and tire levers and shoved it into my X-Lab Wing.
Spare Tube in X-Lab Wing
Here's the final configuration.  It's 6 3/4 ounces lighter and more aerodynamic.  I'm sure it will get me a podium slot.  I suppose that could be slightly optimistic. 
X-Lab Wing with Bag and second Spare Tube removed
This little recheck of my gear only took about 15 minutes.  These changes combined with my cockpit re-do have lightened my load by over 16 ounces.  The improved aerodynamics will have to be evaluated post race.

My tri-bike is the same 2010 Quintana CD0.1 bike I used when I competed in the 2010 Ironman Augusta 70.3.  That year I completed the 56 mile bike segment in 2:43:26 (20.6-mph).  I'm hoping for something a little closer to 2:38:00 this year (21.3-mph).  Anything faster than that might impact my ability to have a good run.  However, I did average 23.9-mph in August on the 14 mile bike segment of the 2012 Peachtree City Sprint Triathlon.  It would be cool if I could duplicate that!  I competed in the male 45-49 age group in 2010 when the top three finishers in that category completed the bike segment in under 2 hours and 23 minutes.  During the 2010 race the top three male 50-54 age group winners, where I'll be competing this year, completed the bike leg in under 2 hours and 30 minutes.  A sub-2 hour and 30 minute bike segment might be a bit too much to ask as well. 

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Southern Ground Social Club

On July 27th Susan and I ate an early dinner with our friends Jim and Susan at Zack Brown's Southern Ground Social Club restaurant in Senoia, Georgia.  Located on Main Street the restaurant sits along-side the old store fronts in the quaint little city.  Senoia has been the scene for many films including Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), and Freejack (1992).  More recent films were Meet the Browns (2008) and the Footloose remake (2011).  Scenes from the popular television series The Walking Dead are also filmed there.
Downtown Senoia, Georgia
My wife Susan (not my friend Susan) read about the Zack Brown's restaurant in the Atlanta newspaper.  It must have had a pretty good review so we decided to make the trek from our house in Jonesboro to Senoia to check it out.  The place was almost full when we arrived.  The friendly staff sat us near the window.  The menu is a large chalkboard on the wall.  That's it - no paper menus.
I had the Senoia Sea Animal Ahi Tuna.  It was very good but as you can see from the image below the jar the tuna was served in was mostly empty.  I know tuna is expensive but without a roll or something else this entree left me wanting.  I'm not a big eater so that's saying something.  Only two other restaurants have that distinction.  They are the French Market in Locust Grove and The Hill in Serenbe.

Ahi Tuna
My friend Susan had the BBQ chicken.  That looked like it was a little more my style.

BBQ Chicken on Cornbread
Pork Tenderloin on Cornbread
Jim had the Southern Arepa grilled pork tenderloin.  

Beef Tenderloin on Cornbread
My wife had the Georgia ClayMoo beef tenderloin.

Avocado and Hummus Sandwich on Pita Bread
We shared "The Farmer's Daughter" as an appetizer.

Many of the entrees are cooked on an extra-large Big Green Egg behind the restaurant.

So, that's about it.  A band was setting up as we ate but we left before they started to play.  One of the musicians looked like Zack, but it wasn't.  Overall, the the food was good and the atmosphere was better.  Great beers!  Next time I think I'll order something a little more substantial. 

Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pre-Race Bike Diet

The 2012 Ironman Augusta 70.3 is just over a week away and it's time for me to think about losing some weight.  I did similar pre-race tweaking before the Peachtree City Sprint Triathlon in August and it seemed to work well for me.  I placed!  Building upon Peachtree City's success, I decided to take another look at my tri-bike setup and see where I could shave off a few ounces and still have a comfortable ride that maintained my bike handling.

So, here's what I did with a little history.  When I bought my QR the aerobars were 2" apart.  It wasn't comfortable to ride and I felt like I didn't have control of my bike.
Aerobars as purchased
I moved the aerobars out about 5/8" to 2 5/8" and have been riding like that for the past year.  It was comfortable but seemed to create a void in my chest area which significantly reduced my aerodynamics.
Aerobars after a slight widening
This week I moved my aerobars back in about 3/8" to 2 1/4".  I've only ridden with this configuration once but I already feel the difference in my aerodynamics, yet I still feel comfortable and in control.  A happy medium!
Aerobars in their current configuration
I weighed my options, literally, and I've decided to go with the bottle cage tie-wrapped to the aerobars for a third water bottle.  I did this for two reasons.  One, it's far lighter than the other options I've had and, two, it allows me the option of discarding a water bottle on the course thereby further lightening my load.
Bontrager RL Composite Bottle Cage
The composite Bontrager RL bottle cage is advertised as weighing 38 grams.  The six 8" trimmed tie wraps add an additional 4 grams for a total of 42 grams (1.48 oz.).  I chose the RL cage because it works well, was cheap as compared to the carbon equivalent, and seems to have the right design to allow the tie wraps to fasten it securely to the aerobars.  I'll use a reusable/disposable Gatorade bottle with mouth piece instead of a regular water bottle too.
Bontrager RL Composite Bottle Cage
I have previously used an X-Lab Torpedo Mount with two different bottle cages.  While this was good for long group rides the Zefal right side water bottle cage was a bottle ejector.
X-Lab Torpedo Mount with Zefal right side Bottle Cage 
I replaced the Zefal with the Composite Bontrager cage on the torpedo mount.  It worked well and weighs only 94 grams (3.3 oz.), I knew I could do better.
X-Lab Torpedo Mount with Bontrager RL Bottle Cage
I have also tried various Bontrager Aero Pack configurations.  But these were all too heavy.  The aero pack was one of the reasons why I widened my aerobars in the first place. It wouldn't fit between the bars when they were only 2" apart.
Bontrager Aero Race Pack with Insulated Cover, Bite Valve and Watch Mount
The full aero pack weights 276 grams (9.73 oz.).  That's minus the Camelbak bite valve I installed to eliminate the back spray from the feed tube.
Bontrager Aero Race Pack with Insulated Cover
 Even without the insulated cover the aero pack is still quite heavy at 174 grams (6.1 oz.)
Bontrager Aero Race Pack without Insulated Cover 
I also decided to remove the Flash Point stickers from my aero wheels as a savings of 13 grams (.46 oz.)
Flash Point FP60's with Stickers
Flash Point FP60's without Stickers
13 grams of Wheel Stickers
So, there it is.  I've lost 13 grams in stickers and gained only 42 grams to mount a battle cage to mount aerobars.  I have capacity for three water bottles.  I plan to properly dispose of each one of them as it becomes empty.

These minor changes probably won't make a huge difference in my overall ride performance but, hopefully, they'll allow me the energy to focus on the run.  As each race progresses my mind always turns to the run segment because that's where I can put the hammer down!!

I can't wait for the race and, of course, good luck to everyone else that is competing.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2012 Wilson 100

I tested my legs at the Wilson 100 on Sunday, August 18th in Senioa, Georgia.   A week before the Savannah Century on September 2nd. This was the 39th running of the Wilson Century and as always it was well attended. It was my 3rd Wilson 100.  I rode it in 2011 with the peleton until the rest stop at mile 500.  I also rode the Wilson back in 1990, or so.  Unfortunately for me, I had to work until 6am on this Sunday morning so I started the ride a bit sleep deprived. 
Me with my friend Jim Banaski in the background
The weather this year was perfect at 8am for the mass start was perfect with the temperature in the low 60's. The heat would build throughout the day to reach the mid-80's by the time most of the riders finished the 100 mile ride.

My wife Susan and friend Kevi rode the 30 mile course. They had the opportunity to visit with the Serrano family (Tony Serrano Century) at the 15 mile rest stop. The whole Serrano family manned the rest stop. Susan said it was very well stocked with 60 or different items including, fresh figs with peanut butter, blueberry lemonade, fresh apples with caramel drizzle, zucchini bread, etc..  All the items were homemade.
Kevi and Susan
The faster 100 mile course riders wouldn't see any of the goodies the rest stops had to offer.  Tightly tucked into the peleton with the "Beck Boys" and other team riders pulling the group through the Coweta county countryside.  Averaging almost 25 mph the group was on schedule for a 4-hour century. It was later reported that they finished in 4 hours and 8 minutes. Unfortunately, the heat, and lack of water from not partaking of fluids at the rest stops took its toll causing some riders to be spit out the back of the peleton before the final sprint to the finish.  I was one of the unfortunate ones.  I stuck with them for 88 miles but that was all I had in me.  I got dropped like a bad habit and limped back to the finish.  My water bottles were empty somewhere around the 75 mile point.
The 8am Mass Start
The course was marked well and only once did the peleton almost miss a turn.  This occured at a left turn from Spring Road onto Old Zebulon Road at mile 65 just as an impatient driver tried to pass us on the left.  It could have been messy!

After the ride the participants were treated to a chicken or ground beef burrito, rice, re-fried beans, salad, cookies, fresh plums, lunch in the school cafeteria.

If I had one criticism of the event it would be that they didn't have any water for riders as they left in the morning or upon their return to the school parking lot.  There was a tent and table setup in the parking lot with those folks that tell you to pour your water out because theirs is better.  No one wants a sales pitch after a century, or even before for that matter, especially one so ridiculous.  There was plenty to eat and drink in the school cafeteria but some of the riders looked like they couldn't wait and needed a drink ASAP.  Susan and I had a stocked cooler so we were okay.  We handed out a few bottles of cold water the most needy.

So, 2012 was an improvement over 2011.  I stayed with the peleton 38 more mile than the previous year.

Bring on the Savannah Century!

Thanks for reading.

2012 Savannah Century

Members of the Southern Crescent Cycling club drove by caravan to the coast for the Savannah Century on Saturday, September 1st. Some members had left earlier in the week and were already there. In total the club had ten members riding the full 100 mile course. They were Ken Barbet, Jorge Collado, Junior Diaz, Mike Dozier, Greg Ferrie, Peto Fallas, Neil Farmer, Angel Reyes, Joel Simmons, Bill Strang, and Carlos Talbott. Joel and his family made for an additional half-dozen or so riders.

On the ride down we stopped at Grady’s Truck Stop & Grill in Metter, GA for a quick break.
Grady's Truck Stop and Grill
After that it was lunch at Toucan Café in Savannah. You’ll be a bit surprised by the signs to lock your car doors and secure your valuables but the restaurant was crowded and the food was good.
Toucan Cafe
After lunch we went to The Bicycle Link for packet pickup. The limited parking at the bike shop was full but they had plenty of volunteers so the process was hassle free. However, I would not leave my bike unattended or unsecured while I grabbed my ride packet.
The Bicycle Link
The caravan left the bike shop driving through a somewhat seedy part of town to reach its downtown Savannah destinations of the Hampton Inn and Suites and Doubletree Hotel. Our other club members were staying at the River Street Inn, and other hotels in the historic district.

Parking was valet only at the Hampton Inn, so unpacking (and later re-packing) was an exercise in the efficient use of the coveted luggage cart. The Doziers, Talbotts, and Farmers were on the same floor at the Hampton Inn. It should be noted that a hotel room at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and W Montgomery Avenue/GA-25 has a nice view of the street but is not the place to get a good night's sleep. The drag racing starts at around midnight and doesn’t end until after 3am. Poolside would be a better room location.
The view from the Hampton Inn and Suites
Carlos made reservations for Saturday evening for twenty at Bella’s Italian Café for a pre-ride pasta dinner. We ended up with a few more than that.  As most of us were carbo-loading at Bella's, the Simmons family was preparing for the Midnight Garden Ride.
The Simmons Family
Joel with "Poppa's Petelon"
Joel’s twelve year old grandson Dawson, and his youngest daughter and son-in-law completed the entire 100 mile course.

Sunday morning arrived with better than expected weather. The sky was completely clear and the temperature was in the low 70’s. After a quick breakfast the group suited and headed to the starting line at around 7:30am for the 8am start. Riders were already starting to gather at The Distillery.
Carlos, Peto, Neil and Mike in the hotel lobby on Sunday morning 
The Southern Crescent Cycling Crew
We took a few group pictures as we waited. The peleton rolled out right at 8am under police escort for the mile or so, than we were on our own. The petelon climbed the bridge over the Savannah River and raced down the other side reaching speeds close to 50mph, then it was on to the pothole filled section of the course. The drone of the constant refrain “Hole” wore out the group but within a few miles we were past that unwelcome section of the course. Traveling at a 25 mph pace the peleton stretched out on the back roads around Savannah. The wind, while present was not the factor it was the previous year.  However, as the sun rose in the sky, so did the heat and humidity also rise.  It took its toll.

The first member off the back of the peleton was Neil. He just wasn’t feeling it! Everyone else stayed with the peleton until either the 50 mile point, where Bill succumbed to cramps or the 80 to 90 mile point where all but Peto, Carlos and Jorge were casted out. All except for Angel who almost missed the mass start and never was able to recover after a flat tubular tire only 17 miles into the course. We were all much better prepared for this century than the Wilson 100 the week before. All of us were loaded down with four or more water bottles, gel packs, electrolyte supplement tablets, bananas, and more. This was going to be a nonstop sub-4 hour century but that wasn’t to be. Peto finished second in 4 hours and 10 minutes. He was right behind a rider who somehow was able to rejoin the peleton several times with the aid of a SAG vehicle. No, the rider wasn’t drafting behind the vehicle. He and his bike were all loaded up comfy and cozy in the back of a van, hatch open, speeding through the back roads of Georgia to somewhere just beyond the peleton. That’s taking SAG support to its limits. Carlos finished in 4 hours and 11 minutes. Jorge finished up front in the mix somewhere with Carlos and Peto.  Everyone else finished somewhere after them.
The first riders to finish the century
Overall, it was a great century. We had awesome club participation and were probably the largest single group in club kit. The rest stops were plentiful and well stocked. The riders were fun and friendly, except for the grumpy elderly gentleman that had words with Junior.  Junior's reply as described by Mike was that “Junior killed him with kindness”. Way to go Junior!

We ate dinner at Tubby’s at the River Street Inn on Sunday night. The whole of River Street was abuzz with people enjoying the Labor Day weekend. So much so that it took us almost an hour to decide where we’d eat and another 45 minutes to get a table for thirteen.

Susan and I offer our condolences to Junior and Johanna Diaz on the passing of Johanna’s grandmother. They received the sad news as we all waited at The Distillery for more riders to finish the century.

See the entire Savannah Century photo Album below.

2012 Savannah Century