Out of February and into March we go. The pro racing world is heating up, the Handmade Bicycle Show is weeks away and Troy is soon headed to Spain for some new Campagnolo parts to review. As always, stay tuned. Welcome to the February 27th Mid-Week Report!
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Marking the WorldTour calendar for the first time, the inaugural UAE Tour began this past weekend with a 16 kilometer Team Time Trial win for the Dutch Jumbo-Visma squad. However, the second stage set the bar of what to expect from racing on the Middle Eastern Circuit.
WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: GROUP RIDE PROS AND CONS
By Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach of CTS
Last summer, TrainingPeaks added a 5-icon rating scale athletes can use to track subjective feedback about every workout. It was a big step forward and it offered athletes and coaches a valuable new tool. After several months, at least anecdotally, the feature has been well adopted by athletes and is providing information useful for coaches. Whether you use TrainingPeaks software or not, here are some reasons you should track subjective feedback about each workout and event.
How did it go?
This is the often the first question my coaches ask athletes after a workout or race. It’s also a valuable question you should ask yourself. It’s an open-ended question that makes an athlete think and elaborate on what they felt and experienced during a workout. We can get the numerical data from a file upload. On the phone, I want to gather the context that goes along with the data.
Coaches used to say “a watt is a watt”, meaning it’s an objective data point that is directly measured. But the difficulty associated with producing 200 watts for 20 minutes is important context. When riding in 100-degree heat or on the third day of a training block, you may not be able to hold 200 watts for the full 20 minutes. Or maybe you did, but it was absolute agony and you were destroyed for the rest of the day. Or maybe you were in a great mood because you closed an important deal at work and led to a great ride where 200 watts felt a lot easier than it did two weeks ago. By incorporating a 0-10 scale of perceived exertion to the subjective data feature, athletes can provide that context very easily.
Identifying trends in subjective data
Over time, tracking subjective feedback may help illustrate a common scenario athletes often struggle to understand (especially as it’s happening). When performance is good, athletes are happy. You would expect lots of smiley faces during this period, with the occasional frown. When athletes are in the middle to end of a focused block of hard training, they can get grumpy and down on themselves. The workouts are hard, they’re sometimes pushing to the point of failure, and they may actually be slower than they were before. Frowny faces would be pretty common during this period.
When you reduce the training pressure after the focused block, the athlete recovers and experiences the adaptations that lead to those great days when workouts get smiley faces. In the depths of those lows, athletes struggle to see the forest for the trees. Being able to look back through subjective data from an earlier training cycle can help explain why they feel the way they do and help them gain confidence that the great days are indeed coming.
Coaches have always gathered and used subjective feedback from athletes, and I’m really glad TrainingPeaks made it easier for athletes to record it on a more consistent basis. Perhaps even more influential is that adding this simple metric to TrainingPeaks suite of data acknowledges the importance and relevance of subjective feedback to training and performance. May your future be full of smiley faces!
FIRST LOOK: ALCHEMY RONIN
If there’s one thing that helps keep our enthusiasm in the office high (besides a big ol’ pink box-o-donuts), it’s being the first guys on the block to get a new bike. And that’s just what we got when the newest gravel bike from the Denver, CO frame shop – Alchemy Bicycles – arrived the other day. All titanium and all purpose built…here’s the bike has Zap headed out with it up into local dirt roads…
THIS JUST IN: SPECIALIZED EXOS ROAD SHOES
just as the rain has started to let up and the weather returns to the normal (fingers crossed), we got a special delivery from our friends at Specialized. These are their new lightweight contender. The S-Works Exos road shoes are light, at 302 grams a pair for our size 42, this makes them the lightest pair of shoes to pass through the office. The upper is made of Dyneema that leads into the white synthetic material (around the toe box) that has a fair amount of stretch. The insole is minimal but is branded Body Geometry.
PREVIEW NAHBS 2019
Okay, so you say you’re a bike geek? A bike lover? A cycling aficionado? Well, if so, don’t say you haven’t been given ample warning. During the second week of March the North American Handmade Bicycle Show will be returning to Northern California for three days only. And this my friends is where you will not only find some of the most beautiful people, but better still, some of the most beautiful bikes in the world.
For over a decade frame builder and show founder Don Walker has hustled his ass around the nation trying to promote the ancient craft of handbuilt bikes. And every year, no matter what the destination of the roving show, he’s been able to outdo himself from the previous year. The Sacramento venue has twice already provided the biggest crowds in the show’s history and this year should be no different.
BIKE TEST: CANNONDALE SYNAPSE W/CAMPY 12-SPEED
HOW CAMPY CAN A CANNONDALE GET?
When we received an invite from Campagnolo to visit Gran Canaria early last year, we were uncertain what warranted such a grand unveiling. Much of the 12-speed Super Record gruppo had been redesigned—not as much in form but in function. A few months later Campy was piecing together the first of the new Super Record gruppos to be sent to North America, and where else did they want to send it but to the RBA offices.
When asked what frame we’d like a new gruppo to be built on, we chose a new Cannondale Synapse frame, which we hadn’t ridden of late. No, Cannondale doesn’t offer a Campy-built bike as a production model, but for the purposes of creating an interesting project bike, the Synapse build served our purposes well. The Synapse is Cannondale’s endurance-oriented frame featuring the brand’s own SAVE technology that puts a focus on ride quality through added compliance.
BIKE TEST: SALSA WARBIRD VS. DONNELLY G//C
It was a matter of true coincidence when two similarly priced carbon gravel bikes showed up at the RBA offices in the same week. But there they were—Salsa Warbird 105 and the Donnelly G//C Rival—two bikes spec’d with their respective component company’s mid-tier drivetrains. We knew it was time for a gravel-grinder shootout.
While Salsa and Donnelly are both known for their off-road products, each brand comes to the gravel segment from entirely different experiences. Donnelly came to the gravel scene from the cyclocross arena. Their gravel tires have helped Team RBA rides out on local fire roads and races like Dirty Kanza. Salsa, on the other hand, has a 30-year history in mountain bikes and hard-core adventure riding. The Minnesota-based brand (originally a pioneer NorCal brand started by Ross Schaefer) is well-regarded for the quality of their fat bikes and touring rigs.
VIDEO: SNOW AT THE ROSE BOWL WITH RBA
VIDEO: CANNONDALE TOPSTONE FIRST RIDE
VIDEO: ROAD RAGE CYCLIST VS. TRUCK
GRAN FONDO HINCAPIE SERIES STARTING MARCH 30, 2019
Gran Fondo Hincapie is a series of events that welcomes riders of every skill level for a weekend of riding and celebration of all things cycling. Join current and past professional cyclists, weekend warriors, and first-time riders on routes planned and tested by George Hincapie himself. The Hincapie family currently hosts events in Greenville, South Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Fort Worth, Texas; and Boise, Idaho; with plans for continual expansion to other areas across the United States and the world.
FRANK SCHLECK TO ATTEND MALIBU GRAN FONDO MARCH 16, 2019
The Malibu GRANFONDO will once again start and finish at the world renowned and luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in the heart of Westlake Village. The course offers up a balanced mix of rolling farmlands, flat and scenic Southern California Coastline and an epic climb with panoramic vistas atop the Santa Monica Mountains.
Three fully stocked, gourmet rest stops at 31 kilometers, 77 kilometers, and 119 kilometers, with the 10 Speed Coffee Truck on course after the final KOM climb at 134 kilometers.
As part of the Gran Fondo National Series, the CLASSICO course will include two to three timing sections for series points calculation and determination of Malibu GRANFONDO overall winners. The final miles of the GRANFONDO offer participants the added challenge of riding for King and Queen of the Mountain (KOM/QOM) times as they push toward the summit finish.
The clock stops at the top of the mountain so riders can enjoy a neutralized descent back to a post-ride luncheon at the Four Seasons.
Winner of two Tour de France stages and the Amstel Gold Race, five-time National Road Race Champion of Luxembourg, and third-place overall finisher of the 2011 Tour de France, Fränk Schleck will be taking part in a number of events during the Malibu GRANFONDO weekend, including the Challenged Athletes Foundation Reception on Friday night, the Malibu GRANFONDO on Saturday, and the Saturday evening wine reception.
Registration for the ONE-DAY Malibu GRANFONDO (March 16) and the TWO-DAY Complete Experience (March 16-17) will increase on Wednesday, February 27. Registration for both events will close on March 10, and there will be no day-of registration.
MAMMOTH GRAN FONDO REGISTRATION OPEN NOW
The Mammoth Gran Fondo takes riders along the east side of Yosemite and the High Sierra with incredible views of the Sierra Nevada, Mono Lake, and White Mountains. 75% of the Gran Fondo route is closed to through traffic matching the incredible scentery with the appropriate calmness. Other highlights include: free event photos, all three distances timed, Signature Event socks, 6 Feed Zones with Full SAG/Tech Support, After-Party with Food/Beer/Live Music in the Village at Mammoth!
Is there an awesome event happening closer to you? Send a link to firstname.lastname@example.org