Monday, December 7, 2009

Week 50: Winter Cometh...

It looks like the string of awesome weather we've been having over the last couple of months has come to an end :( I missed my Friday and Saturday rides this week as it was simply too cold out there. I can take it down to about 3C, but it was flirting with -1C on both of those days, and combined with the 30km/h wind generated on the bike that's a bit beyond my threshold. As such, I finally broke down on Friday and brought the bike into the shop to have it switched over to trainer duty for the winter. Was trying to hold off as long as I could, but with 15cm of snow forecast for Wednesday I figured this was pretty much as long as I could hold out.

Part of the issue is that I don't really have much in the way of proper winter clothing for the bike, as it only buys a week or two of extra time per year so it isn't really worth the outlay. The arms and legs are generally okay down to about zero even with my shorts/short sleeve jerseys, but the face and fingers are both pretty exposed any my running stuff doesn't really work on the bike. My gloves are too loose to fit underneath my fingerless cycling gloves, and despite my best efforts I've yet to find a pair of full fingered gloves with the padding necessary for long rides. As for the face, the neck warmer just gets in the way with my head tilted forward so there isn't much I can do on that front either.

Either way, I still havn't gotten around to cleaning off the bike and mounting it on the trainer but I will be doing that for a short ride on Wednesday. I'm not looking forward to spending hours on that machine in the coming months, but it's about the only way to avoid loosing cycling fitness over the winter. The one upside, however, is that it will allow me to get back to the consistency that I was training with in the summer - can't use the weather in the basement as an excuse ;)

Running-wise things went quite well this week as the colder temperatures can actually be helpful on that front. On Tuesday, I headed out with the intention of doing a 7 mile recovery run but I was feeling good and the conditions were near perfect so I stepped it up to a 4:45/km pace and did a 6 mile general aerobic run instead. On Wednesday, the half marathon group was doing a 4K tempo again so I went out with the 10K group to do some hills. The pace was pretty slow (only averaged 5:37/km), but otherwise it was nice to do some hill repeats again. On Friday, I followed that with my scheduled 6 mile run with ten 100m intervals.

Due to scheduling issues, I again moved my long run up to this morning and put in a good 16 miles. It started off with a bit of overcast, but within about 30 minutes it started snowing pretty heavily. Fortunately, it wasn't sticking to the ground and I didn't run into any ice, but in retrospect I should have brought along my sunglasses to keep the flakes out of my eyes ;)

As for swimming, we had our final clinic night last Monday and headed out for drinks afterwards. While we spend many weeks together during the clinic sessions, we didn't really get much in the way of time to just chat so it was good to get to know people better. Still havn't figured out what I'm doing on this front going forward, so for the time being I'll continue my own sessions and just try to work in some more drills to replace the clinic night.

Week 50 Totals:
Running: 61.1km (38.0mi)
Walking: 3.3km (2.1mi)
Cycling: 35.7km (22.2mi)
Swimming: 9.4km (5.8mi)
Total: 109.5km (68.0mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 2,491.0km (1,547.8mi)
Walking: 225.5km (140.1mi)
Cycling: 3,918.5km (2,434.8mi)
Swimming: 149.4km (92.8mi)
Total: 6,784.4km (4,215.6mi)

This week is likely to see the first significant snowfall of the season, with about 15cm of wet snow expected to fall. That's likely to make runs in the later half of the week a bit interesting, but fortunately as the bike is now inside it shouldn't effect my cycling mileage. The cold is likely to persist as well, but that's easy enough to deal with by selecting appropriate clothing for the conditions. I'm more concerned about runoff from the melting snow freezing and making the pathways icy, but that's just a part of the equation of running around these parts.

Tentative Schedule:
Mon 16mi LSD*
Tue 2.5mi Swim, 7mi Recovery
Wed 30K Ride, 6mi Recovery
Thurs 2.5mi Swim, 7mi GA w/10x100m
Fri 50K Ride
Sat 4mi Recovery, 80k Ride
Sun 16mi (25.7K) LSD
* Counted towards this week's mileage, as it was simply postponed from yesterday.

While I was down at the bike shop getting it switched over, I took the opportunity to check out the aerobars that they offer and ask a few questions. As they're likely the ones that will be doing the fitting to get everything set up correctly, it's my preference to buy the equipment from them so it's easy to return if there is a fitting issue with my eventual choice. They had a number of the units that I was looking at (Profile Design T2+, T2+Cobra, T-Mag and Sonic CSX), and gave me a rough idea of the cost of the other parts I'd need (Tri-specific saddle at ~$150, reversable seatpost head $30) and the modification to my fitting is included in my three year service plan. With that said, I'm still a bit partial to the design of the HED Clip Lite that has been recomended on a few fora so I'll have to head back there at some point to see if they carry it.

Thanks to the design of the bike I should be able to configure it in such a way that the fit should be comparable to what one could get with a dedicated Tri bike. Naturally, I won't be able to get the extreme drop that more aggressive Tri bikes like the Cervelo P3 offer, however I'm not entirely sure whether my back is flexible enough for that possition anyway ;) Ultimately I will eventually need to buy a proper TT bike for these races, but I figure that this will be a decent stepping stone to that point and should show dramatic improvements over my current road configuration.

The only concern that I do have with these plans is that between the bars and aerodrink assembly, I'm looking at between 1-1.5 pounds of extra weight on the bike. I'm normally of the it's cheaper to knock weight off myself than off my bike gear school of thought, but that's about a 6-9% increase in overall weight so it's not as insignificant as most upgrades. With that said, the decrease in drag when in the aero possition will likely more than offset that, but when I'm in group rides and have to use the road bars it may be a bit of a liability. Either way, I'm doing what I can to keep that penalty down as much as possible and there isn't a whole lot more I can do about it.

On the cycling computer side of things, I've gotten some additional information about the Edge 500 that has tipped me back to focusing on the older (but higher-end) Edge 705 model. I popped into a retailer that sells the unit on the way back from the bike shop and played around with the similar 605 model (they didn't have a display unit of the 705) and it's a pretty impressive little device one way or the other. Further, a recent firmware update (3.1) has partially dealt with the elevation issue that I was primarily concerned with (buggy GPS-based correction of the barometric altimeter data). It's a bit of a roundabout solution unfortunately (it still doesn't allow you to manually seed it directly, but it will pick up the elevation of the first waypoint in a planned trip), but it allows me to work around the problem well enough that it's not a huge sticking point.

I'm still flirting with the idea of the iBike Aero, however from a rational perspective I think the Garmin model is a better fit. I still love the idea of having both air and ground speed data for a ride, as that would provide an incredible ammount of information. Unfortunately, some of the critical design elements of the device still concern me significantly, such that the Garmin still looks to be a better overall computer.

1 comment:

  1. feels weird not to be going to the tri swim tonight... good luck with your bike/Garmin decisions!