After 15 years of riding my Trek 5200, my wife insisted I get myself a new bike, especially after my cheap-as-dirt bike mechanic told me that he would have to replace every piece of cabling and shifting on the bike. My bike mechanic, who is AWESOME, likes to pride himself of being able to efficiently and cheaply take care of bikes. In my last repair, he admitted that the problems with the bike were legion and something had to be done.
My first reaction was – but I LOVE my bike. And then I remember an old friend who had a 20 year old bike that he loved, and when he got a new one he couldn’t wait to unload his old bike.
And still I resisted. Until I went to Hawaii where I rented a Roubaix … And the first moment I got on this new bike, I realized that the problems I was having with my saddle had nothing to do with the saddle, they had to do with the bike…
Here I am after my first ride:
Does this look like the face of someone who would be happy going back to his 15 year old bike? No, it doesn’t. I felt like some middle aged douche bag who touches a younger woman and then decides it’s time for an upgrade. But then I remembered, my bike is not my wife. Even if my bike is one of the few pieces of equipment that … well … okay you get the point. We are a SFW blog.
Then the debate began over which bike to buy … And unlike 15 years ago where there were only a few choices – racing and commuter – now bike vendors had more sub-genres than AI … (Really geeky CS joke about how all of Computer Science is really a sub-field of Artificial Intelligence)… And then once you get past the genres the equipment choices have exploded, it used to be the decision was shimano or campagnolo components with the only debate being what kind you wanted. Now we have things like electric shifters and disk brakes and life gets really complicated fast.
The first filter was whether I would get a Triathlon bike or we go for a replacement general purpose bike. I have been lusting after a Cervello P3 for almost a year now. The bike represents the future of how bike’s will be made, and has amazing performance characteristics. But it really only can be used for racing Triathlons and training for triathlons.
I agonized over this. If I had just ridden a Tri bike, I would have not agonized over this. Those bikes are so ridiculously stiff that unless you’re doing a Tri, you’re not riding them. To get an idea of how stiff, imagine sitting on a piece of cement that pounds your crotch area every time you go over a bump. Pounds. Yes, Pounds. That’s a Tri bike.
And when you consider that I can improve my speed significantly by losing another 20 pounds, until I lose 20 pounds this feels like wasted money.
Once we got past Tri, then it becomes about components. And I was lusting after the electric shifters until I thought about the following scenario: Bike freezes over night and battery dies so I can’t actually shift gears during triathlon … like last year in IMLT. And that ended that debate. And again, if I had just bothered to try them I would have realized that although there is a legitimate performance boost, losing 20 pounds is cheaper and more efficient. What the electric shifters do is provide more precise and accurate shifting, and when the differences are measured in seconds this provides an undeniable advantage to someone using those shifters. Electric shifters are like power-meters, great gadgets that at peak levels of performance are absolutely worth considering…
Now the only question that remained was whether I go for the racing or endurance bike. And Bianchi resolved that debate. The recent introduction of the Bianchi Infinito CV made the choice easy. At my age, and with the intent to own the bike for 15 years, I was looking for something that would reduce the suffering on a long bike ride. And the Infinito fit the bill nicely. The bike I tried the Cervello R3 and was impressed with the speed and lightness, but again if I just lose 20 f-ing pounds, any advantage will be eliminated and if I get to the point where seconds matter to me, I could always buy another bike …
And there was much rejoicing.
Until I started training.
See the problem is that my Trek 5200 was an ill-fitting bike. As my fitness has improved, the ill-fitting bike became a problem and in part motivated the purchase. However, my muscles were used to that ill-fitting bike. Especially my quads. And so now my frigging quads 6 weeks before my first half-ironman are in exquisite pain and misery. And I am thinking, what the hell was I thinking. Until I saw the speed improvements …
And all I could hear in my head was Phil Liggett talking about suffering …
The things we do for our craft.
Problems with weight loss.
What you’ll notice is these weekly peaks followed by a drop, followed by an increasing peak later on.
This is usual symptomatic of slow weight gain. Much like the reverse graph is symptomatic of slow weight loss.
What the hell?
At first I blamed my vacations and weddings. But after last weekend, I had to face the reality that something was broken.
What I noticed was that over the last month, I had bonked twice while running. The reason I had bonked was because I had refused to eat gu, preferring to eat a little bit more and then burn off the excess during my running or biking. And as a result I was eating more to avoid bonking. And whereas that fine balance of eating more outside of workouts while I was getting to 200 pounds had worked, at 200 pounds I had not found the right equilibrium between eating outside of workouts and exercise.
What was happening was on the weekend I was eating a lot, then I ate less on Monday and got my weight back down, then on Tuesday I ate more to compensate for eating so little on Monday, by Thursday I was eating a lot but that was okay because I was going to bike it off and run it off and so on. And it was not working.
My new plan is to just eat while training and consider the two calorie budgets as distinct. I eat enough to lose weight outside of training and I eat enough to not bonk while training and don’t try and resolve the equilibrium.
We’ll see how this works out this week.