Monday, March 30, 2009

12 weeks, $3649+ and your first triathlon, the Men's Journal plan

When I wrote my Century buyer's guide it was meant as satire. Over the weekend I downed some beers while reading a similiar, but very serious article in Men's Journal by Megan Michelson with an eery sense of deja vu to it. In the Men's Journal plan, you'll only spend $3649 plus tax and $125 in entry fees to get ready for your first triathlon in 12 weeks time. The program had no stipulation on fitness beforehand, and since it was talking about a first triathlon ever, we'll assume it's aimed at any men reading Men's Journal from the most fit to the most portly.

The recommended San Diego triathlon course is a blistering .62 mile swim, 19 mile bike ride, and 6 mile run on a mostly flat course. Nothing terrible right? Never getting in to water before you could probably dog paddle the swim, do the bike ride, and then walk the run portion if you really felt the need to do a triathlon. It might be embarrassing, but you'd struggle through it, if you really felt the need to embarass yourself that is.

So if it's such a short race, why $3649 in equipment to do it? Men's Journal wants you leading the pack and they recommend:

1. Blueseventy Reaction wetsuit - $299
2. Speedo Airseal XR Mirrored goggles - $25
3. Cervelo P2 Carbon - $2700
4. Giro Ionos Helmet - $230
5. Timex Ironman Race trainer - $220
6. Newton Motion AW shoes - $175
7. San Diego International Triathlon race entry fee - $125

The expert advice:

"When shopping for your first tri, think light (road bike, not mountain bike), aerodynamic (spandex, not cotton), and comfortable (padded bike shorts, not running shorts)."

John, avid Men's Journal reader, aspiring to do his first triathlon in an aerodynamic tanktop

My head started spinning... There are light mountain bikes out there, an expert should know the reasons for getting a certain bike. Is a 17 pound mountain bike ok then? And spandex, not cotton because we want to be aerodynamic? What about if John wears a wife-beater tanktop and some tighty-whiteys, that's aerodynamic? Not to mention hot! And comfortable? Triathlons and comfort just don't go together, especially not on a brand new Cervelo P2.

Shopping for and buying a brand new Cervelo P2 just weeks out from your first triathlon is like taking a Formula One car to an autocross when the fastest thing you've ever put your foot into is a Chevy Cavalier. You are going to put it in to a wall and even if you don't it won't take a rocket scientist to see through your transparency. You can just as well hang a huge sign on yourself that says get within six feet of me and you are going down. While triathletes often take a lot of crap for their handling skills, shopping for a Cervelo P2 in less than 12 weeks before a first triathlon is going to fulfill the prophecy and just make JTT mad. Not to mention if you aren't as ripped or as fast as Chrissie Wellington (pictured above), then you're just going to look like a really slow dork on a really fast bike.

The $230 Giro Ionos Helmet might seem awful excessive for a first triathlon, especially when equally as safe and high-quality helmets from Giro and Bell sell at Performance for less than a hundred bucks. But going with the thought of riding a brand new Cervelo P2 at race time, maybe $230 is justifiable insurance when the helmet is probably going to get used. However, I do question the lack of recommendation for the $179.99 Louis Garneu dimpled Supperleggera aero helmet? The expert advice was to think aero, and 21 vents on a traditionally shaped helmet doesn't say aero to me nearly as much as a dimpled time-trial helmet. Besides it will be needed to match the dimpled Zipp wheels you'll be buying once the triatlon bug is caught.

Perhaps most interesting was the training plan. By week 3, John (pictured above) should be able to swim 1000 yards without stopping, easily run 3 miles, and be able to bike at a brisk pace for an hour, all while weight training twice a week.

By week 9-11, John (pictured below) should be able to bike 25 miles in 90 min, averaging 16.7mph on his brand new Cervelo P2. I for one can't wait to see John's success!

John, avid Men's Journal reader, aspiring to do his first triathlon in an aerodynamic tanktop

Sunday, March 29, 2009

for a good cause

It's no secret that I don't enjoy riding the trainer indoors, but every once in a while something comes along that is for a good cause, worth dropping my cynical ways and giving a shout out for. This good thing is the fundraiser for Livestrong that Cycling Fusion has put together at They're taking everyday cyclists to the Giro to ride the first 5 stages a few hours ahead of the pros, and they're being sponsored mile for mile by people. All the money is going to Livestrong.

In an effort to raise as much as possible, Global Ride is doing two things:
1. They are offering their entire boxed set of Hawaii virtual cycling DVDs, an $80.00 consumer value, for free to anyone who donates $100 or more to the fundraiser via rider sponsorship. Riders are sponsored by everyday folks wishing to support the event and give money to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, from pennies to several dollars per mile.

Second, Global Ride is donating 50% of the revenue from all their everyday DVD sales to the Giretto between now and May 14th, 2009. This includes all sales from their own website,, and any other third party sites where their products are listed, such as

Both of these things are running through May 14th, the day they finish up their event at the Giro.

You can get the full press release text/details here:
and fundraiser info at

But how are the videos you say? I'm still working on getting through them and plan to post a full review of them later, but so far they are nice. Views of Hawaii while riding are definitely a change from watching rider's asses or seeing people sitting on the trainer in a workout room with occasional shots of the chainring on the rear hub. Any indoor training video gets old to me, some faster than others, but these are a nice change to the usual suspects and done very professionally.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New parts, drool with me!

I found this beauty on, which is a damn fine read, head on over there when you are done here. They may have just found the newest bling component for charity rides, unless the triathletes get to them first, all it needs is an endorsement from a major coaching organization.

The marketing hype on these beauties are below:

"Power-curved cranks use the design of golden spiral ratio, which create more pedaling efficiency than traditional cranks can provide, so that no matter bike lovers or normal riders can enjoy more fun of speed and comfortable riding."

Golden spiral ratio, now that sounds very magical, as does more fun of speed. But as I sat there staring at these no upper dead point power curved cranks, I began to formulate my own design in my head, one that would be even more magical than the golden spiral ratio. As you can probably see, the no upper dead point cranks have a slight power curve, presumably to whip the crank through the upper dead point causing no upper dead point hence the name no upper dead point power curved cranks.

The inventor of PowerCranks Frank Day said on Slowtwitch,
"LOL. What they don't mention is they have simply shifted the dead spot 90º such that it is now at the middle of the downstroke."
Armed with this irrefutable science of shifting the dead spot 90deg, I fired up the BikePartInventor 3000 (aka Microsoft Paint) and am proud to present to you, the lemming no dead point at all cranks, with the design of the lemming titanium spiral ratio!

I figured why stop at the dead point on top? The lemming titanium spiral ratio creates an elastomer spring effect throughout the entire pedalling revolution, virtually elminating any dead point on the whole cycle of pedalling. The lemming does not recommend his lemming titanium spiral ratio no dead point at all cranks on fixed-gears as the perpetual energy of the elastomer spring effect will prevent skidding from taking place, thereby lowering the element of coolness.

Of course, someone already beat me to this rad design, but no matter, my design is far superior.

I realized the need for these as I was reading my daily fitness spam, apparently many cyclists are out wasting their efforts on riding for fun, riding to work, and just plain riding. If we could get rid of these wasted efforts, we sure could have more fun of speed! I'm looking for other ways at home to rid myself of wasted efforts, I only flush the toilet once a week now. I've started carrying a pedometer to make sure I take the least number of steps to my destination unless I have a goal in mind, any extra step would be a wasted effort without data. And when I read books I'm now doing it while holding a stopwatch, I want to make sure I can read each page just as fast or faster than the last. As a famous person once said, "you gotta have data and goals".

One commenter on suggested hooking a pair of these no upper dead point power curved cranks up with Sheldon Brown's POWerwheels, now that would be a winning no dead point combo that is sure to have no wasted efforts!

The Inventor of POWerwheels,
Sheldon "Bubba" Brown
George Brown photo

Monday, March 23, 2009

How can I get fit fast? Newsletter, Issue No. 385 - 03/19/09 - Coach Fred

"Q: I confess -- I didn't ride very much during the winter. But I want to get in shape for a metric century on the Memorial Day weekend. Is there any hope? -- Calvin R."

As always Coach Fred was too nice, so Coach Lemming will answer...

You've got a lot of things to be worried about Calvin, but riding 65 miles two months from now isn't one of them. You aren't doing an actual century, but some organizer has duped you in to believing you are by eluding that anything that you do 100 of is a century. I know you want to complete the 100km in style, so you might read my century buyer's guide.

The first thing I would do is hire a coach. He'll help you with making riding less enjoyable and he'll state the obvious to you in so many words. It's obvious you are lazy and don't like riding your bike, a coach will whip your lazy ass and get you out there turning the pedals. Next thing you'll want to do is schedule your bike for a look over by a bike shop, last thing you want is a breakdown on this monumental ride. Now is the time to start stressing about which chain lube you want to use and what tires you will run, as well as deciding at what angle you will mount your aero bars. It's also the time to start looking at all the hype with sports drink and decide which one you'll want to drink in between the rest stops where you'll get crappy Accelerade and brown bananas. Also consider carbo loading, your taper, and your evening before meal, all very important on this super crazy long ride that a lot of people do every weekend for fun.

Or, if you don't want to do any of that, you can train with the secret training method of the grand poobah Lance Armstrong. Which is just getting out and getting your ass on your bike as much as you can before now and then. At the end of the day you might just want to ride 100 yards and declare victory on a "yard century".

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Special needs bag, fixies with discs

Reading through my spam email from today, I ran in to this gem:

Special Needs Bag?

"Hello All,
I am doing my first iroman....Florida next month. I have a
very easy question that can be answered multiple ways. WHAT SHOULD I PUT IN

At first I thought, holy crap, yet another person who has gotten in over their head with the Ironman, wanting to test their mettle and crawl across the line just before the cutoff when they'd be better off at a shorter distance triathlon or even just going out for fun. The desperation shows with the capitalized questions begging please help me! The lemming assumed that anyone doing an Ironman would know the sorts of items to put in his/her bag if he/she had done any sort of longer distance triathlon in preparation for the granddaddy Ironman.

My mind raced as to what other questions should not be asked:

1) I just signed up for an Ironman, WHAT KIND OF A BIKE SHOULD I GET??? SUGGESTIONS, ANYONE??

2) It's always been my dream to climb Everest, so I just signed up to do it. HOW SHOULD I START CLIMBING??? SUGGESTIONS, ANYONE??

3) I'd like a cuddly pet tiger, HOW CAN I TRAIN IT??? SUGGESTIONS, ANYONE??

4) I am going to make my own fireworks for this 4th of July, WHAT SORT OF PROPELLANT SHOULD I USE??? SUGGESTIONS, ANYONE??

But as I examined the question more, I realized the person was not inquiring about the Ironman at all, but the "iroman". I hadn't heard of the iroman, but I knew that IRO Cycles are fixed gear and singlespeed bikes and this was clearly a reference to some sort of under the covers alley cat race.

Now I had read that the fixed-gear culture was no longer accepting new members, but I really wanted to know about this race, so I headed on over to IRO's site and think I found the answer in the bike above. When I considered joining the fixed-gear culture and found out that it was closed, I was amazed and horrified at the same time by the lack of brakes. But when I saw this bike above, I knew a revolution was in the making. Not only was this classic fixed-gear outfitted with a brake, but it sports a disc brake nonetheless, an enunciated F-U to the forbidden brake taboo of the fixed-gear culture. The IROMAN has to be some sort of renegade fixed-gear culture/Ironman offshoot.

It was asserted that it was an easy question that can be answered multiple ways. Surely this is some sort of riddle, and I found the clue with this picture buried in the comments of BikeSnobNYC. It is my professional assumption based on nothing that "special needs bag" is internet code for "goodie bag" or "special box". When the original poster asked what should be put in the special needs bag, saying it was an easy question that could be answered multiple ways, I assume that it really was a question of running the contraption below with a dildo-derailleur or in a direct-drive (fixed) configuration as shown. Note the clever arrows in case you can't figure it out.

Whereas the fixed-gear culture was about being different (just like everyone else), and the Ironman culture seems to be about getting in to an uncomfortable position and suffering for hours, the new IROMAN offshoot seems to be about setting up your bike however you like and REALLY enjoying the ride, hence the disc brake on the otherwise fixed-gear bike above and the relaxed mountain bike position of this bike. The dildo-derailleur allows riders to match the contraption speed to the road speed, thereby maximizing pleasure. In a fixed setup, riders must alter their cadence to derive maximum pleasure. The IROMAN offshoot seems to be all about comfort and pleasure.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Life, liberty, and taxes

A wave is sweeping the nation, that wave is more people becoming cyclists because cyclists don't have to pay taxes.

After reading this story about some hillbilly buzzing cyclists in the bike lane because he payes the taxes for it, the lemming realized how much of the benefits his taxes were providing and even more what he was missing by riding his bike to work each day. So this morning I fired up the F-150 and drove it over to the nearest school, my taxes pay for that school, so I took a shower there, totally ignoring the frantic teachers telling me I couldn't be there. I quickly left once done before the police came, the last thing I wanted to do was explain to them how my taxes pay their salaries. Somehow they think that they are not indebted to me even though my money feeds their family, and without me they would be out on the streets. As I got on to the freeway I made a bee-line for the HOV carpool lane, my taxes pay for that lane and I'm going to take it, when I can't drive on the sidewalk I've paid for that is!

I'm going to take my car more, I've found that only liberals ride bikes, at least according to the comments on the Oregonlive blog. All of this time I thought I was riding because I'm apathetic when it comes to politics, I enjoy being outside, I like not making the oil companies rich, and I like not being tied to my car. But if I have to be tied to a political stereotype, well, I'm not ok with that and didn't realize that when I bought my bikes. I guess I need to dump them in order to be politically correct.

But really, as cyclists we do pay the gas taxes when we drive, and we pay sales tax, and we pay to register the cars we also drive, and we pay property taxes, and we pay income taxes, and pieces of all these taxes go to build roads, but does this allow us to use the road when not in our cars, the same roads which are built with all those taxes and which are repaired with the gas tax? Well, besides the painfully obvious argument that we helped to pay for the roads in one way or another and a government is for the whole and not for selfish individuals who want to itemize everything, there is also the argument that we don't have registration for shoes and skateboards and big wheels which go on public roads and on public tax-payer sidewalks as their impact is much less than heavier vehicles. Cycling obviously is good for people, for the environment, reducing traffic and all that stuff that anyone should find pleasant even if there are back-country hicks who think that giving cyclists a safe amount of space on the roads means taking your tape measure along.

But I know that there are people who still want to charge cyclists a registration regardless. I don't understand politics well, but I often hear that liberal socialists want more taxes and government. Sooo, if cyclists are liberals, and people that want to charge cyclists money and create government infrastructure to track all of that are not liberals, I'm confused. Maybe cyclists are not liberals after all and people ride because they love to do it. Maybe everyone in the country can't be divided in to two ridiculous categories of which one is right and one is wrong, maybe these ludicrous views are propagated by a fear-mongering formerly obese loudmouth who now makes fun of fat people and the lemmings who take everything he says as a law passed down from God.

But still, to appease both sides of this argument I've come up with some guidelines for bike registration that should make most cyclists and non-cyclists happy at the same time, read on.

1) Recumbents - Maybe paying a recumbent registration will get some people on to a normal bike where they don't look so silly, not that there is anything wrong with that.

2) Pro team kits - Obviously we'd have to make an exception for the grand poobah Lance Armstrong and other actual pro riders, but any other rider in a pro team kit that's not part of the team would pay a registration fee.

3) Aero bars when not doing a triathlon or time-trial - Sure I like to make the easy poke at triathletes every now and then, but aero bars are useful for triathlons and time-trials. Anyone using them not in that regard would be subject to a registration. Special 90-day handicap permits can be given when training for a race where aero bars are needed. Aero bars pointed above 35deg on the bar or in weird configurations such as way out on the bar would need an additional registration.

4) Y-Foil registration - Honestly, we'll introduce this one as a "collector's item" registration, I've already proved how Y-Foils were born from jets. Who wouldn't be proud to pay registration on something on the premise that it's a collector's item?

5) Squeaky chain fines - Anyone caught riding around with a squeaky chain gets an automatic fine, as well as a sample bottle of White Lightning that is handed out at all charity rides.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The apocalypse is nigh

Anyone who has been to church anytime in the last 2000 years knows that the signs of the apocalypse are upon us. Earthquakes, famine, disease, war, all signs of the upcoming apocalypse. We are closer now than we were 100 years ago, closer than 10 minutes ago, even closer than when you started reading this! For those needing more proof, watch this disturbing video!

As I read BikeSnobNYC's post yesterday I became deeply afraid that the apocalypse was upon us. Not just the fixed gear apocalypse that he speaks of, but the full blown apocalypse. Fearing the end of times, I turned to the first Google reference of the Bible that I could find and was alarmed to find this:

"I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest"
This can be no other than Bart Kaufman's world's greatest Madone that the BikeSnob has uncovered! It's white, the crown is an obvious reference to Bart's helmet, the race number reminds me of a bow upon the head of a cute poodle, and this bike is bent on conquest...

Frantically, I searched BikeSnob's post for any hope for civilization, but my eyes darted back to this entry as a moth drawn to the flame:

I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. {6} Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"
I nervously looked to BikeSnob's post and saw the Lone Wolf as BikeSnob described it. Clearly the reference towards a scale in each hand was for the scaly handlebar grips, anyone can see that. A quart of wheat, three quarts of barley, is that six bottles I see? Six bottle equals nearly 4 quarts! There is no mistaking it! And clearly that wheel cover, while serving no aerodynamic effect, is to keep the bearing oil from becoming damaged! The prophesies are being fulfilled.

Thankfully even if it is upon us, I see no signs of the fourth seal being opened:

I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill...
But wait, what is this?

I can only guess that this pale, plastic wrap covered death uses it's incredible aerodynamic advantage to overcome other riders with brute speed before suffocating them in a horrific plastic bag wrapped death. The only thing to warn the sad victims of ensuing death is an eerie plastic bag flapping sound as they are run down, initiating their early apocalypse.