Continental Race King and X King Tyres
I have decided to step out on try something away from my normal. It was a hard decision but after a little research on tyre weights, rolling resistance and durability I am about to compete in the new XCO season with Continental tyres. On the rear I am now using the Continental Race King protection and the front I have gone for the more aggressive X King.
After purchase I compare the advertising weights of each which were exact at 645g for the Race King and 691g respectively.
I always race tubeless, the install was a little difficult but installing tyres on my particular Roval rims has always been a little bit of a challenge. All I can say is always carry tyre levers. They sealed up extremely well with some Stan's sealant so I was ready to roll. I did notice a little leakage through the sidewall but I have seen this quite often on many tyres.
I was nervous at first as I am ways wary of the bead seat and low pressures so I went for a practice lap at the Kinross Forrest NSW with higher pressures. I was reasonably happy with the grip as the terrain was sandy in places, marble gravel on a climb and sharp rocks in other places. I never had a problem initially as they seemed to hook up and handle everything I threw at them other than a slide on a fast sandy corner. They seemed to spin up easy and roll well, though I do find this hard to compare. They are considered as 'low rolling resistance' when tested by bicyclerollingresistance.com. When race day came a long I had lowered the pressures again and this worked really well. Off the start the tyre dug in and gave me a great start. The bike seemed to be cornering well. I did have one 2 wheel drift into a sandy corner but I put this down to me pushing way too hard. In a local race a week later I did also race these tyres in sandy and loose conditions with quite a few slides but most other racers had the same issues on their tyre brands.
I never had a chance to try in mud but I don’t suspect they will perform that well, as the tread is quite shallow.
I would consider these a high performance all round tyre but still wonder if they are the best for sandy conditions.- Mark Brockwell - Masters MTBer
At this time of year, many people embark on a process of reflection, pondering the year that was and looking forward to the year ahead. Often this is tinged with feelings of discontent at what was, or wasn’t, and feeling like the magic pill of a date change will suddenly make all that be behind them.
But the reality is that whilst one moment of reflection is better than none, it isn’t going to change what lies ahead, or how you feel about what you are leaving behind. It is a behaviour change that is needed to truly make reflection worthwhile.
In thinking about how I use reflection, it comes down to three facets: Why? When? And how?
The first one is actually the easiest for me. I use reflection in two ways: to remind myself of the things that I have been able to achieve and to assess what still needs work. It is easy to get in the habit of using reflection to critique oneself but without the countermeasure of what worked well, only have the story is being told. My reflective practice started about 10 years ago when I felt that everything was going wrong at once. It was hard to see how anything I was doing, no matter how insignificant, was actually working. This was across all areas of my life – career, family, health etc.
I was fortunate to be studying resilience with a guru in the field and had a profound moment of self awareness during a study session. My resilience map showed some glaring issues that needed my urgent attention, yet these were the things I had assumed were going ok. It wasn’t until I learnt the steps of reflective practice that I could see the metaphorical forest for the trees.
As a major factor in emotional intelligence, self awareness has the added benefit of improving awareness of others. It is a skill that can be developed like any other with the right process and practice.
There are some who suggest using a journal to work through the process, however for me the moments of reflection are sometimes when I am unable to write, like when I am riding my bike, or swimming and I have an abundance of quiet time.
As an athlete, I am constantly reflecting upon my performances, both in training and racing situations. It is an important part of the progression process to ensure that the next session, or race, takes into account what I learned and how it can be better.
In my career, it is about assessing both skills and outcomes. I do this in 90 day increments as a formal process but also at milestones during projects.
As a business owner, it forms part of our monthly business reviews and our annual strategic planning process to look at what worked and where we need to be in the coming period.
Whatever method you use, here are some simple steps to get you started:
What were my wins? Where was I strong?
I always start here. No matter how bad the race was, or if the proposal failed to get up, or my day just totally sucked, at least one thing had to have gone well. Even if that win is that it is over! I never move on until I have at least one thing in this bucket and I have given it the time it deserves. Most of the time I can find more than one, and once I start the list keeps growing.
What do I need to concede defeat on? What went wrong?
It is pretty rare for something to go perfectly to plan so this list is not hard to get rolling on. For everything that I can find here, I match it with how I handled it, the good, bad and the ugly. My reaction to the disappointments provides the most vital learning and growth opportunities.
If I wrote the story now, knowing what I know, what would it say?
The way we re-tell the story of the events in our lives holds a powerful connection to the emotions they evoke in our memories. As I listen routinely to athletes dissect their race performances or speakers find every “um” or stammer in their presentation, it is telling how they view the outcome. Over the coming days, the story changes, evolves and some elements drop away, while others amplify. This is their way of reflecting in real time, learning the lessons and creating the story of that journey.
Who was in my support crew that helped me and needs recognition?
I have written often about the value of a support crew. As quickly as possible after my reflection, I take the opportunity to thank those who were part of the activity. I use a similar process to that of my own to find what they did well and save the rest, if applicable, for a time when emotions are not as heightened. Whether it is a quiet thank you face to face, a quick call or text or a public declaration on social media, it is a necessary step in the process. Nothing is ever done alone, even if it is just me crossing the finishing line or standing on the stage.
What’s my “one thing”?
At the end of my reflection, I pick one thing as my take away. Sometimes it is something I am proud of and sometimes it is what I am going to work on. But it is just one thing. One thing that can sum up the activity. One thing that can set the path for the next stage. One thing that I can use as a mantra.
Reflection can be a painfully difficult thing to do when times are tough, but when practiced enough, becomes second nature. Like any skill, if you don’t use it, you lose it. And certainly when under pressure it is the first thing to go. That’s the time when you need it most.
Start your reflection today and make it a part of your routine.- By Michelle Cooper - Pushys sponsored athlete
Look Keo 2 Max Road Pedals
This year was all about tweaking my bike set up to maximise my ride and one of the last things to look at was my pedals. I have been using Look pedals for around 6 years now and have been very happy with them. But it wasn't until I moved to the Look Keo 2 Max around 3 months ago, that I really noticed the difference.
Not only was I now securely in my pedals throughout my ride thanks to the adjustable spring being able to be custom set between 9 and 15 to suit my needs, but I had a 340mm2 surface area to push down on. As a female rider with a high cadence, I am looking to maximise my power output to make my next big leap in gains. My first race with these pedals on was Ironman Western Australia where I took a whopping 27 minutes of my time the year before. No doubt I am a better rider this year but it was the same bike, same wheels, same saddle, same helmet. The only change was the pedals this time around.
The Look Keo 2 pedals were fabulous throughout my training with no hot spots or numb toes from day dot. Despite over 1000km on them before race day they are quiet, smooth and functioning as new – good sign they will last me quite a while. The triple bearing set up certainly goes a long way to assisting with that.
At just 130g each, they make very little difference to the overall weight of my set up despite being a composite pedal, and there was certainly no discernible difference when I changed from the previous Look pedals. They are not as light as the carbon version but I was not too concerned with weight on this occasion.
I'd certainly recommend these for intermediate riders who are looking for performance but without the hefty price tag of full carbon.- By Michelle Cooper - Pushys sponsored athlete
About my new Bike - Mark Brockwell
After a premature frame failure last Easter I was forced to decide on how I was going to fund and build my next race bike. Being a XCO MTB racer, I decided weight was a priority so I chose the 2016 Focus Raven Max 29. It was difficult for me to go all out and buy a brand new fully built bike so I decided to build up a bike of a top level spec with new and existing parts.
The Focus Raven Max Frame is one of the lightest in the class weighing a smidgen under 900g. I matched this up with the brand new Fox Step Cast SC32 fork with remote. From here I added new and not so new parts such as a full XTR 9000 spec one by 11 driveline and XTR 9000 brakes with 160mm Discs. I also went with an Oval 32 tooth Narrow Wide chain ring. One of my favourite new additions was Easton’s EC90SL handle bar. This is ridiculously light at 124g although has a little bit of Flex. The stem was a 100mm EA90 and the seat post was Focus Concept CPX plus with a Fizik Tundra seat. In regards to the wheels I have stuck with my Roval Control SL carbon with Maxxis Tyres. These are really bullet proof wheels thus why I like them.
The build went well with only a few unexpected short comings. I had not allowed for the 46mm Bottom Bracket which caused me to purchase one which was over my budgeted weight limit and the Roval Control Wheels don’t really match the new Fox SC32 fork with the front wheel hub rubbing on the Fork leg. I managed a work around with this little issue. My planned build weight was hoping for 8.2kg but I managed just under 8.5kg with Pedals.
The ride is sweet. I have not been able to venture out to any races yet but with a couple of social runs the bike appears to handle absolutely awesome. It climbs super quick and hooks up well in loose corners. I am really looking forward to the new race season to put this beast to the test.
A big question I ask now though is would I do this again. It was a fun project but any new build requires patients and a sharp eye on costs. This means waiting for parts as well as it may not be as cheap as it seems. I did get a one off custom super light race bike though so for me I think I would. A huge thankyou goes to Nelson and Pushys for their help in getting this bike together.- Mark Brockwell - Masters MTBer
Garmin Edge 520
Garmin continues to produce a fantastic range of cycling computers. The updated Edge 520 is sleek, stylish and functional, offering a great range of features that will enhance both your enjoyment and performance improvements you can gain from your cycling.
The screen size is very appealing, so you can easily display multiple different pieces of information whilst ensuring it is still visible and easy to read on the go. You can set up multiple data screens and personalise them such that you’re seeing all the information you want, and nothing you don’t. If you desire, the screens can scroll through automatically, or manually at the press of a button.
To further enhance the capabilities and information you can gain from riding with the Edge 520, it has the capability to pair with all Ant+ devices, including heart rate monitor and power meter.
All GPS and data from these additional devices is collected and displayed on the 520 in real-time, which is very beneficial for those athletes who are focused on training for performance. Sourcing data from such devices allows you to be much more informed about your levels of effort, consistency and fatigue. You can train and race in a much smarter fashion by observing and monitoring your performance relative to many different parameters, including power, cadence and heart rate.
You can also add more fun and competitiveness to your training with the option of receiving live strava segment updates during your ride. The Garmin Edge 520 is a fantastic cycling computer for recreational and competitive cyclists alike, being both functional and affordable. If you’re in the market for a new cycling computer, check out the Edge 520 and a great range of other devices that are available from Pushys Online with a full warranty.- By Emily Donker - Pushys sponsored athlete
The past few months my riding has been a little out of sorts. This was mainly due to injury but it gave me time to think how I could start to use technology a little better. Firstly I had been noticing quite a few more cyclists with cameras, cycling computers and mobile phones mounted to their handle bars. I could never understand why the mobile phone mounting until recently when I was going to start to use mapping applications such as Trailforks and training applications such as Trainerroad.
This brings me to my latest purchase which was the Quadlock adapter for my bike and phone. I was a little sceptical at first towards the Quadlock as previously my Garmin computer has separated itself with my bike, but after research and now actually using the product It has grown on me. Now I am still in the process of streamlining the app usage but I have had quite a few rides with the Quadlock product to date.
I purchased the Quadlock Bike Stem/Bar Mount and the Universal Adapter. The universal adapter self adheres to any plastic phone case enabling the phone to be attached to any Quadlock mount. The bike Quadlock mount I have mounts to the Handlebar or Stem by 2 industrial rubber bands allowing it to be moved to different bikes if required.
Usability is very simple with the phone (adapter attached) pushed on to the Quadlock mount at 45 degrees and then rotated 45 degrees. This creates a firm mounting with there being no movement in any direction. The phone cannot be moved back to be released until a spring loaded collar (blue portion in photo) is pressed down allowing the phone to be released. If required the phone can be locked at 90 degree increments allowing for vertical and horizontal mounting. Quadlock actually make many mounting options from car mounts, bike mounts, out the front mounts, tripod mounts, sports armband and a belt clip. They also offer the complete mount and phone case for any Apple product but if your a Samsung or other brand user you will need to buy a plastic case such as a Defence Shield and a universal adapter as I have done.
I personally plan to use this in all my non competitive riding as it simplifies the phone viewing of most apps I use and also allows me to see important messages quickly as opposed to finding my phone in my jersey or backpack. You just need to use it sensibly and not allow it to distract you.- By Mark Brockwell - Pushys sponsored athlete
How to do a flying dismount in triathlon
Ever put in all your effort on the bike in a triathlon, only to have someone sail by running when you are still unclipping your feet from your pedals and running into transition like you are wearing stiletto’s? Save yourself a lot of time and look the part when you dismount your bike like a pro in your next triathlon. Below is a guide on how to dismount your bike with two easy to follow methods.
How to dismount your bike on the move1. Approximately 500m before the dismount line or when safe to do so, take your feet out of your shoes when on the bike.
2. Place your feet on top of your shoes and pedal towards the completion of the bike
3. 10-15m before the dismount like you will need to ready yourself to get off the bike
a. Method 1 (Up and over)
- i. Whilst holding your handle bars (not your time trial bars). Place your left leg down at the 6 o’clock position
- ii. Lift your right leg up vertically and swing it over your horizontal top tube
- iii. Your right foot should hover above your left foot whilst your left is still at the 6 o’clock position
- iv. Distribute your weight to your left hand side
- v. Ready your right foot to touch the ground first (ensure you are moving at a pace you can handle running immediately off the bike. Tip: start slower when practising)
- vi. ‘Jump’ off your bike with your right foot landing in front first
b. Method 2 (swing around)
- i. Whilst holding your handle bars (not your time trial bars). Place your left leg down at the 6 o’clock position
- ii. Swing your right leg clockwise and swing it over your back wheel (Tip: ensure you lift your leg high enough to miss your wheel and any rear saddle mounted bottles)
- iii. Your right foot should hover behind your left foot whilst your left is still at the 6 o’clock position
- iv. Distribute your weight to your left hand side
- v. Ready your left foot to touch the ground first (ensure you are moving at a pace you can handle running immediately off the bike. Tip: start slower when practicing)
- vi. ‘Jump’ off your bike with your left foot landing in front first
The goal of transition 2 is to get from the bike to the run as fast as possible. When you have completed your bike, save yourself some extra time on your competition and hit the ground running.- By Ricky Swindale - Pushys sponsored athlete
Louis Garneau Tri X-Lite Triathlon Shoes High Vis Yellow
This is my second pair of Louis Garneau tri shoes and as much as I loved my first pair, these are even better. I’ve switched between men’s and women’s cycling shoes, usually based on fit and colour and have always found the Louis Garneau’s to accommodate the female foot very well. The shape holds true to your foot without sagging even after thousands of kilometers of use. This latest pair is incredibly light, yet the carbon sole gives plenty of power transfer into the pedals. Of particular importance for me in a cycling shoe is the ability for it to provide plenty of airflow which these do. The mesh upper has the ideal amount of coverage yet the keyhole opening provides a welcome release of heat.
I’ve used these now for Olympic distance racing at world championships and have been training in them for Ironman WA later in the year. They’ll be my shoe of choice for that race day as well. For an OD in a very hot country like Mexico, breathability is crucial but for long course I can’t compromise on comfort so the soft inner and well-padded heel area is the right combination when I’m on the bike for long periods. The first ride was 140km with no hot spots or toe numbness at all.
For transition the standard woven pull holder makes for an efficient entry in a horizontal position and when combined with the Velcro tab to keep the closure open, they are one of the simplest shoes to use in transition that I’ve encountered.
Then of course there’s the colour. What’s not to love about the high vis yellow. Not only are you on point with current trends but the additional visibility is yet another crucial element in my choice. I currently have them paired with Look Keo cleats.
I’m sure the lightweight nature, super-fast transition and heat reduction properties of these shoes all combined to assist me in achieving a personal best bike split during the world championships.- By Michelle Cooper - Pushys sponsored athlete
The Continental GP 4000 s or now the GP 4000 s 2
I have been using this product for my whole time as a cyclist.
As a young junior my dad used to put these tyres on my bike and I used them to train and race on. After the years of training and racing on these tyres they have always remained my favourite as they have held me in good stead in all conditions wet or dry.
They are usually looked at as just a general use tyre (not seen as a super fast tyre) but in my opinion they are right up there with the best of the best in the clincher tyre world. These tyres are great in the dry but to me where they are truly great are in the wet, I have been in racing situations in the wet where I am heading towards a corner faster than what I’m comfortable with and the GP’s won’t slip, where I have used other tyres and I have ended up with skin off.
Now when I first started I was using the original GP 4000 s and always loved them, so when they brought out they improved model I was worried that they wouldn’t live up to the quality of the originals. But just after a few rides on the new model I was sold, they are just as good if not better, even though they have a different feel, they are amazingly grippy, although in the attempt to get more grip out of these tyres they have brought what feels like to me a slightly and by slightly I mean basically negligible sluggish feel to them. However once I moved to a wider tyre from the 23 mm to the 25 mm tyre that changed again the rolling resistance wasn’t an issue anymore and on top of that having the wider tyre allows you to run a lower pressure, which gives an enhanced grip level and an un suspecting lower rolling resistance. (Which essentially means you go faster and grip better)
The last point I will make about these tyres which is also the best is their puncture resistance. These things are unlike any other tyre I have ridden you can literally ride for thousands of kilometers without a flat (so long as you look after them)which is a major bonus to these versatile GP’s.In conclusion the Continental GP 4000 S and S 2 are without a doubt the best product in the tyre market and by far my favourite tyre out there. I would recommend them to riders of all levels for crusing on the Sunday mornings or for racing. - By Kell O’Brien - Pushys sponsored athlete
I am in the process of coming back from injury and boy is my body feeling it. After having over a month off the bike due to broken bones now is the time to get back on the Horse. I feel for anyone returning from injury and it is most important not to over do it, so slow rides should be the go leading into longer rides once the cyclist is comfortable. Not having used the muscles such as calves, quads and hamstrings like I am used to, i have found these are getting tight rather quickly which could lead to injury. To alleviate this issue I have decided to stretch and use the foam roller. If you aren’t accustomed to the foam roller this is a cylinder shape piece of dense foam with some having a rough surface on the outside.
The idea of the foam roller is to use your body weight on the roller at the location of the tight muscles such as calves, hamstrings and quads but can be used in a lot of other areas as well. I tend to focus on the cycling specific muscles that i have troubles with. This is essentially a massage allowing for a quicker recovery of the muscles which also hastens repair allowing for more training sooner rather than later. I would generally roll on the living room but be warned rolling can be quite painful as the roller is working into the muscles. This is like a really hard deep tissue sports massage. I do recommend deep tissue massages over the foam roller but due to the expense and time required for massage the foam roller works really well. The roller I use is a Powertube Pro R4 Roller which cost approx $40.- By Mark Brockwell - Pushys sponsored athlete
How to set up a T1 transition in a triathlon
So you have decided to do your first triathlon. Whilst you may think it is all about swim, bike and run. There is another aspect of triathlon that can save you a lot of time and you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on wheels or spend more time training. Essentially free speed. All you need to do is a little bit of planning. If you really want to ace your next transition, make sure you set aside some time each week to practice.
Setting up your bike
- Tape any gels you are going to use on the bike on your stem or purchase a ‘Bento Box’ to keep your fuel safe. Tip: Place directly behind your stem on the top tube to make it as aero as possible
- Change gears to your big chain ring and 2-3 sprockets from the top on your rear wheel cassette
- Switch your bicycle computer on to save time in acquiring satellites and make sure your bike is ready to go
- Have your socks ready (if you use socks and open inside your cycling/triathlon shoes) and place next to your bike on the side you will be running to meet your bike after the swim. Essentially, you will get to your shoes before your bike
- Place your helmet next to your shoes with the straps open and ready for a quick placement on your head. Tip: If you wear sunglasses, these can usually be routed through the vents on your helmet, so that you are able to put your helmet on together with your glasses.
- Clip in your shoes to your pedals and open the straps as wide as they can go. Ensure that you can get your foot in and out of the shoes easily
- Use a rubber band or dental floss to make sure your pedals and shoes are parallel to the floor, ensuring a quick and easy access when mounting your bike
a. Place your right shoe at a horizontal position facing forward. Tie a piece of floss or elastic band to the front derailleur clamp on your frame (note: do not affix the floss to the derailleur itself)
b. Place your left shoe at a horizontal position towards the back. Tie a piece of floss or elastic band to the rear quick release skewer to stabilise the shoe (not: ensure your quick release is securely fastened)
- You are now ready to do a ‘flying mount’ to get on your bike whilst still in motion. A quick and easy way to save 10-15 seconds when getting on your bike.
The goal of a transition is to get from the swim to the bike as quickly as possible. When you finish the swim, you want all of your equipment ready to go in the quickest way possible.- By Ricky Swindale - Pushys sponsored athlete
ITS SPRING - BEWARE THE CRACTICUS TIBICEN (aka Australian Magpie)!
Magpies are notorious for a habit that can cause injury and distress to cyclists - swooping. This nasty little habit, done to protect the bird's territory when it feels its nest is threatened during nesting season, can result in falling off your bike, causing skin injuries, sometimes chunks of flesh being removed through contact with claws or beak and even broken bones.
Unfortunately, as noted by the Flinders University Research Centre for Injury Studies, people have even died from magpie swooping attacks, such as losing control of a bicycle after a swooping attack to the temple. Hopefully, such a terrible outcome is a very rare instance but even the average swoop is not a fun experience and it is important to take precautions against the possibility by managing our own behaviour, rather than that of the birds.
Be vigilant. Pay attention to nesting areas of magpies. If you see magpie nesting activity occurring in an area where you cycle, it is time to plot a new route for the nesting season. Magpies occur in both urban, country and rural settings, so don't be complacent if you live in Concreteville, you are just as likely to have gum trees in your area that attract nesting magpies.
Inform others. Tell fellow cycling groups via social media & the local council of magpie nesting in your area. This will alert everyone in the area to take care.
Never harass magpies. A magpie who has experienced harassment will cease to trust humans. Do not provoke the magpies in any way, such as swinging clothes around in the air near them or similar fast-moving and threatening actions (sometimes hard on a bike right?) Remember that the magpies are fiercely family protective and will react if they feel the chicks are threatened.
Take evasive action. If you find yourself cycling through magpie swooping territory and it is simply too late to back out, take evasive measures to protect yourself:
Do not return after an encounter. Australian magpies have an incredible memory and they are very intelligent and will attack the same people again and again. It is also too bad if you happen to look like someone they attacked before...
Improvise solutions. If you have no choice but to continue using the magpie's area (for example, if that’s the only path to take on your commute), then it is time to use some techniques to protect yourself. Some suggestions include: Wear eyes in the back of your head. No, this is not a joke! For the reason provided above, it is following the reasoning that magpies are less likely to attack if you are looking at them. To this end, add fake eyes to your headgear to make the magpie think you are watching it from either side of your head. Craft store bought eyes are ideal - stick them on and remove them when not needed. Another trick is to wear your sunglasses back to front. A common Spring cycling fashion look, the helmet can be used to mount a number of bright zip-ties. By not cutting the excess length you create a bright distracting display that many people find more effective than fake eyes, or use them in combination with fake eyes. Be unpredictable. Magpies can tell the time if you are regular. Be irregular and don't follow a routine. That way, the magpie is less likely to be ready for you.
Be aware that very aggressive magpies can attack from the ground, aiming for the face and eyes. These are problem birds and you should alert the Parks or Environment Department in your State or Territory immediately. If you encounter a bird in this situation, cover and protect your eyes no matter what else and move yourself out of the situation.
Have a heart. These birds are highly intelligent and family-loving. Their birdsong is uplifting and this is not even mentioning how elegant a bird they are. Sure, swooping can be a bother for 4 to 6 weeks of your life each year but it is a small price to pay for helping to sustain a beautiful part of the Australian wildlife. Co-existing with magpies is easy to do once you understand how and when you are prepared. It is only a small proportion of magpies who see humans as a threat and resort to swooping and even then, only within a limited territorial area. Start an online magpie database for your area. Cyclists of all types benefit from an online magpie database that services your area. You could even leave times, places and incident reports to alert others to be prudent – use social media too. Here’s a great example – www.magpiealert.com . Happy and safe Spring riding!- By Jessica Laws - Pushys sponsored rider
Preparing for race day
Race day is your chance to prove yourself, and take advantage of the hard work you’ve put into your training. Both physical and mental preparation is essential to perform at your best.
Training Taper Depending the race distance, your training volume should ease off during the week/s leading up to your race to ensure you’re feeling fresh and not fatigued. During this training taper, the intensity of your sessions should be maintained, but total volume (time and distance) should be reduced. Longer events require a longer taper – ie. marathon and ironman athletes will typically do their biggest weekend of training 3-4 weeks prior to their event, and then reduce volume progressively as the race looms closer. High intensity activities require a longer taper – ie. running requires a more significant taper than cycling or swimming.
In the few days prior to your race, you should not over-train, or over-excerpt yourself. You should do some exercise, but nothing stressful, just something light to maintain your regular routine and help you relax. If you’ve travelled to your race location, it’s also a great way to familiarize yourself with the conditions and the course, and to freshen your legs.
Nutrition You need to be well hydrated and well fueled in order to race well. You should approach race week with the goal of maximizing your intake of important nutrients, but also keep your current intake and any dietary restrictions in mind. There are many recommendations out there, but everyone will respond differently and will develop their own preferences over time. Again, race distance will significantly affect your pre-race intake and the relevance of ‘loading’ to increase stores of electrolytes and glycogen. Athletes racing longer events are typically recommended to carbohydrate load 2-3 days prior to their race, and also increase their intake of electrolytes. Shorter events should follow a similar approach, with less significant loading generally required. These strategies are designed to fuel you for race day, and ideally mean that any nutrition taken on board during the race will be to supplement rather than to rescue you from excessive fatigue. Race location and weather (particularly heat and humidity) can significantly influence your nutrition strategy both before and during the race.
Being Organised There are many things you need to organise and prepare to be race-ready, particularly for a triathlon event. The list is almost endless – bike, helmet, running and cycling shoes, socks, hat, race belt, nutrition, anti-chafe… etc. Most importantly, you mustn’t forget anything when packing your race bag. Your organisation timeline will be totally dependent on the location of the race and how much travel is required. Write your own checklist, and follow it. Regardless of how many times you have raced, it can be easy to forget the simple essentials. You should go through your checklist at least one week prior to your event (or week prior to when you need to leave), and ensure there is nothing missing. Then check again as you pack. Leaving an essential item behind can significantly increase your stress levels pre-race. Last minute shopping is not always possible, and you also may not be comfortable wearing or using the products that are available at the race venue.
You should have your bike serviced, or at least checked prior to race day, particularly if you’ve been alternating between training and racing wheels or haven’t raced your bike for some time. Ideally you should do this at least two weeks prior to your race, just incase there is anything more complicated that needs addressing. If you’ve traveled to your race venue, it’s a really good idea to give your bike another once over, and you should definitely ride it prior to your race. It’s essential to check gears, brakes and your tyres, amongst other things.
Have Fun Most importantly, relax and have fun on race day. Being comfortable and confident in the preparation and organisation you’ve done pre-race, will assist you to relax and focus on your race and your performance. The more racing you do, the more familiar you will be with your pre-race routine and what you personally need to do to race well.- By Emily Donker - Pushys sponsored athlete
Need a helmet that oozes ‘Euro’: Kask Mojito
If you are looking for a helmet that doesn’t break the bank, but oozes true ‘Euro’ style, the small, compact and light weight Kask Mojito is worth a look. The helmet of choice for many of the pro peloton, the Mojito boasts a compact design that is well ventilated to keep your head cool, even on the warmest of days.
With 26 air vents positioned exactly where you need them, the light weight helmet is ideal for those warm summer days keeping the wind flowing through your hair as if you were riding naked.
When selecting your Kask, measure around your forehead where the helmet will be sitting. If you are towards the upper limit of the size, select the size up. The high level of adjustability allows for quick and easy adjustment on the fly to get the helmet sitting perfectly on your head without any pressure points.
A few little extra benefits you will find in the Mojito, compared to others in the same price bracket, for one includes a manufactured leather chin strap. Not only is this easier to keep clean after all the phlegm you are exuding after a big day of effort, but is also soft and supple which is great for those with sensitive skin.
If you are in the market for a new helmet and want something that is light weight and does not look like a toilet bowl on your head, then the Kask Mojito is certainly worth a look.- By Ricky Swindale - Pushys sponsored athlete
The Importance of Technical Socks
Distance athletes are typically renowned for having ‘ugly’ feet – the long miles and extensive time spent in shoes can have all sorts of strange and pain-evoking consequences. As a podiatrist, I’ve seen them all! Blisters and blood blisters, corns and callousing, tinea, fungal infections, plantar warts and black toenails can all cause considerable pain and discomfort. Luckily there are many remedies. Wearing technical socks can make a huge difference to the comfort and health of your feet.
Did you know… your feet contain over 250,000 sweat glands that excrete about 200mL of sweat per day? For this reason, socks are very important to ensure your feet remain as cool and dry as possible. Technical socks are comprised of high-quality synthetic materials that have superior moisture-wicking properties. Drawing the moisture and heat away significantly reduces the likelihood of developing blisters, hot spots and fungal infections. Thickness varies between different sock styles, but thickness doesn’t mean more cushioning. You should determine the thickness you find most comfortable, and that best complements the fit of your shoes. Black toenails are most commonly the result of ill-fitting shoes and biomechanics, but ensuring your socks fit correctly can be beneficial. Anatomically designed pairs with specified left and right socks can improve fit around the toes and cause less pressure to the apexes of your toes.
To look after your feet and ensure your sock game is on point, check out the great range of technical running and cycling sock available from Pushys Online.- By Emily Donker - Qualified Podiatrist and Pushys sponsored athlete
Santini Undershirt/kit Review
I am choosing to review this product in particular because it is by far my favourite. In the cycling world, undershirts are extremely important in keeping us in a good condition.
A good all round undershirt will keep your chest warm in winter and cool in summer, it should fit snug on your body but not squeeze you. Well the Santini mesh short sleeve undershirt ticks all these boxes. I have found this winter that even though it seems to be a summer undershirt it has kept my chest warm out in the cold weather stopping me from getting sick whilst training. Although I spent some time overseas in Europe in their summer and it treated me as equally well in the warm conditions.
My coach always tells me to make sure I have extra undershirts for after races cooling down etc especially during the winter as that is how you can easily get sick. Once you stop after a long road race and all your body sweat is soaking in your kit, you need to change your undershirt straight away. Keeping your body dry is extremely important in holding good health. I have used the Santini undershirts and they do all the right things in my opinion.
I have had great experiences with most if not all Santini products being easily the most comfortable kit I have ever worn. I highly rate their kit and enjoy using it on a daily basis.- By Kell O’Brien - Pushys sponsored athlete
PRO Bike Stand
Garage space is normally at a premium as our bikes normally play second fiddle to the car or a plethora of garden tools. Our beloved bicycle get pushed to the side wall.
Recently I purchased a Probike stand. This enables the my bicycle to stand alone. Whilst it doesn't solve the garage space issue it does enable to store the bicycle in another room without it leaning on walls or furniture.
The stand itself is powder coated metal. It is of a fork design which supports the bicycle surrounding the rear wheel axle. The forks tines are coated with rubber that eliminates damage to the bike frame. The stand itself also has rubber pads on the underside that sits on the floor. This stops damage to highly polished wood or tile floors should it be used in these types of areas.
To use the stand it is place on any surface and we lift the rear axle over the stand fork tines slotting the rear axle in between the frame and fork. The weight of the bike also keeps the stand stable via the rear wheel. It is that simple.
I think this stand is not unattractive like some and functional. If you were lucky enough to have more than one bicycle it neatens up the garage floor almost turning it into a pro looking area.
The Probike stand is bicycle wheel size specific. A 26 or 27.5 inch wheel does not fit in a 29 inch stand. The Pro Bike Stand comes in both a 26 inch and a 29 inch model with the 29 inch model holding both road and mountain bikes.
This stand is reasonably priced and I recommend it for any area.- By Mark Brockwell - Pushys sponsored rider
Saddle Up And Enjoy Your Ride!
Over the years, I’ve experimented with all kinds of different saddles and I know plenty of fellow cyclists that have done the same. I have learnt that there is no one, perfect saddle because we all have different riding positions, different levels of flexibility and variations in our sit bone widths. For me, riding track made it tricky to find the right saddle and get the right (and UCI legal) positon at the same time. Even riding a race as short as the 500mTT can be impacted upon if your comfort isn’t optimal.In general, there are many different reasons why we get saddle discomfort, and I am sure that it is not necessarily just because you are track cycling. Most of this information is easily found on the internet but let’s have a look at what they are and how we can feel better in the saddle.
Why Do We Get Saddle Discomfort?
Arteries and Nerves of the Pubic Rami
Saddle pain is mostly linked to nerve and artery compression, but can also come in the form of saddle sores. Discomfort is recognised though acute pain, numbness and tingling. If you experience any of these, you’re likely putting excessive pressure on sensitive nerves and arteries running along your pubic rami. Pressure here reduces blood flow, stymieing oxygen delivery to tissues and in turn, may lead to broader medical issues. In general, women are more susceptible to direct perineal pressure given their wider subpubic angle which exposes more of their pubic rami.
Saddle discomfort can be eliminated with a more suitable body position, and/or more appropriate saddle for your needs.
Saddle Sores (see my previous blog!)
These skin irritations are mostly due to the continuous pressure and friction between your skin and bicycle seat, but can also be attributed to hair follicle infections and chafing. You can eliminate saddle sores through a good riding position, a suitable saddle, chamois cream and a good pair of cycling shorts.
Have you had your bike fitted by a professional?
One of the biggest factors in saddle comfort is bike fit and positioning. First, you’ll need to make sure you have the correct saddle height and position in relation to your pedals. If you’re up too high or too far back, the chances are that your optimal saddle won’t be working the way it should.
Next you’ll need to check how your bike fit is dictating your pelvic positioning by going for a ride. Unless you’re riding in a performance position, you’ll find you’ll want to be sitting at the rear of your saddle. That’s the widest, flattest part of the seat, and the best place to support your weight. If you find yourself sitting on the front of your saddle constantly, that’s often a sign that something is wrong with your positioning. This may be based on your bike setup or even your flexibility.
Lower Back Flexibility
People with flexible lower backs tend to be able to rotate their pelvis up, and use their sit bones more effectively. If you’re less flexible, you’ll rotate your pelvis forward and experience pressure on your nerves and arteries. If this is the case, a bike fitter will raise your handlebar height and give you a saddle which can take pressure off your pubic rami. Of course a good flexibility program and stretching routine can always help!
Body Position & Riding Style
Your body position on a bike has a big impact on how you use your saddle. Bicycle saddles are often designed to minimise pressure, resulting in all kinds of different padding types, profiles, curvatures and widths. A good way to determine what position you ride in is to get a friend to take a photo of you while you’re riding along. But in general:
Sit Bone Width
Everybody has a natural variation in sit bone (or ischial tuberosity) width. If your saddle is too wide for your pelvis, you’ll experienced excessive rubbing. If it’s too narrow, you’ll find your sit bones are not cradled well. In general, the more upright your position is, the wider the saddle you can get away with. You’ll find saddle widths ranging from about 125 to 180mm. If you can measure your sit bones by heading into your LBS and using a sit bone sizing tool or try a few different saddles to get the feel.
Whether your training for a race, triathlon, tour or just commuting on your bike, you’ll most likely find yourself sometimes doing longer rides. A general rule is that the further you ride, the firmer you’ll prefer your saddle. Doing just 80km on a soft gel saddle, you’ll find your sit bones moving about, resulting in undesired chafing, but a firmer density will alleviate movement and the chamois in your bike knicks should provide the comfort you need. I know of one famous cyclist in Anna Meares who used to race on a Brooks saddle as it ticked all the right boxes for her!
This is an interesting and evolving one. Bicycle saddles have a ‘nose’ for both balance and bike control; the benefits of the nose are often most noticeable when descending. Some brands forgo a saddle nose in order to reduce pubic rami pressure such as in time trialling, but the reason they aren’t widespread is because of how important bike control is when riding a bike! For me, when I was TT I couldn’t go past the ISM saddle as it was easy to sit on the rivet and not feel pain (except in the legs!)
But what about women’s saddles?
Women’s saddles are often wider than male offerings, but interestingly the difference between the male and female pelvis isn’t actually that significant. If you compared average pelvic widths for males and females, you’d find a huge overlap. The major differences found in anatomy are almost all soft tissue related.
Cutouts to the saddle nose are generally more important for women who employ a performance position on their bike. This is due to the subpubic angles of their pelvis which are wider in women, making soft tissue compression more of a risk. For me I personally cannot go past the SMP Glider Saddle. I have found this saddle to be the most comfortable and best for positioning on my road and track bikes.
If your bike offers an upright/comfort position, you’ll experience less soft tissue pressure and don’t need to limit yourself to just women’s specific saddles.
Cycling Without Padded Cycling Shorts
Padded cycling shorts are not mandatory, and can certainly be left at home if you set up your touring bike accordingly. You’ll need to employ an upright/comfort body position, putting more of your weight on your sit bones and less on your pubic rami. Couple this with a slightly wider saddle with a bit of give, and chamois-free riding may be possible! Of course the more performance-oriented your position, the more likely you’ll need a set of padded shorts to help you out.
You should now be armed with enough knowledge to make an informed decision on which saddle will suit you. Remember that body position, sit bone width and flexibility will hugely dictate optimal saddle shapes. It may also be necessary to try a few saddles until you get your optimal piece of saddle heaven and Pushy’s has a huge range to choose from. So saddle up and enjoy your ‘comfortable’ ride!
Pushy’s Motion Never Stop Riding Kit
Winter has arrived and boy is it hard to get motivated. Like most people new gear can help with the said motivation. Late last month my new Pushy’s Kit arrived and I couldn't be helped but to don it at Brisbane’s Bayview Blast giving me a little boost.
This new Pushy’s kit looks the goods with a new chequered Black and Blue Design. The Bib and Jersey have been produced by an Australian Company “Motion Never Stop”. Now I have only used the kit 3 times with two rides exceeding 3hrs and I can not complain of the comfort level. I didn't even use chamois cream which is normally a must for me. The bib knicks fit quite snug with a super comfy chamois. The snug fit especially around the Quad/Hamstring Muscle area acts like compression gear boosting performance and assisting recovery. The original jersey I ordered felt too small for me but I it was explained to me as a Race Fit. I am a Masters rider so I opted for the larger size which is not loose but not too tight. It enables me to move around quite freely on the bike without feeling too constricted. I had no issues with over heating or as it appeared with no excessive body sweat but I also was not riding in 30 degrees. This is yet to be tested. The material performs well in transferring moisture from the skin which in theory regulates body temp. As a XCO racer sometimes it is hard to measure this as the body is working rather hard thus there is also excessive sweating. I am super happy with this kit and is my new go to gear no matter what length or style of ride. Once the riders sizing is worked out there is no looking back as this kit is sharp looking and very functional.
As a rough guide I found the following in comparative sizing:
Jersey Shirt XL\2XL will fit a Medium to XL Mens Normal shirt size
Jersey Shirt M\XL will fit a Small to Medium Mens Normal Shirt size
Knicks M/XL will fit upto a size Max 34”in or 84cm waist
Knicks XL/2XL will fit from a size 36” on
ENJOY WINTER CYCLING – LAYER BY LAYER
Winter in the land of Oz, contrary to popular belief it can get cold (for example recent snow flurries in eastern Australia!). If you're cycling gently in decent conditions like in the northern states, you might get away with simple coverings, but if you plan to ride for any length of time and in all weather (for example Canberra & Melbourne), you've got to learn to layer. Layers mean you're ready for heat, cold, rain, sun or snow. If you're comfortable on the bike, you'll ride better and for longer. It’s not rocket science (although perhaps some serious science went into the R&D of some products!)
So here’s a simple guide to layering for all conditions:
Types of Layers:
Base layer This sits next to the skin, keeping it dry by wicking away sweat. This is your first line of defence. Base layers can be manufactured from man-made or natural fabric. Man-made materials dry faster and tend to be cheaper. Natural ones tend to smell less and feel nicer against the skin. The best ones have an anti-microbial treatment to tackle odour. A good base layer should be highly breathable with good wicking qualities. It will remove moisture from the skin, keeping you dry, warm and comfortable. Better wicking jerseys tend to be close-fitting. Winter base layers also need to insulate from the cold. My favourite base layer at the moment is
Mid layer This adds insulation to keep you warm. This is an all-purpose garment. This is your most flexible layer. In warm weather it could be the only top you'll wear. Or it can be worn as an outer layer with a base layer underneath. Or, as the name suggest, it can be the mid-layer between a base and a shell. A great mid layer will feel nice against the skin and have good insulating qualities, without being too heavy. It'll be breathable and it’s good to have a reflective strip or two. This will be useful as it will probably serve as your outermost layer for at least some of the time.
Shell This is your armour from the elements and can be windproof, waterproof, or both. It may be convertible to a vest as well. The gold standard of an outer shell is its breathability, windproofing and waterproofing. Shells come in two main varieties, hard shell and soft shell. Only a hard shell jacket is likely to be totally waterproof. The best of these are also very breathable, but they can feel inflexible. Lightweight, windproof models are perfect for folding up small in a pocket or pack, in case of bad weather. Totally waterproof heavy-duty jackets are great for commuting and making shorter journeys where you won't get too hot or sweaty. Weatherproof but highly breathable jackets are more expensive option. These are a brilliant investment if you're more serious about all season cycling. Soft shell jackets usually breathe better, but tend to be water resistant rather than waterproof. Soft shells with a membrane will stand up to everything but a downpour. They are ideal for intense riding in unpredictable conditions such as in Australia’s winter especially the south-eastern states and alpine regions (no matter what season).
So there you have it - layering for cyclists is simple - it's just a matter of remembering these three layers, to give you the right balance of heat, breathability and flexibility. Of course, you won't always need all three layers, but you can easily remove one if needed. Really all you need to do is choose your combination. There's no hard and fast rule as to how many layers you should wear in each season in Australia, but mostly it’s quite obvious, especially if you check the weather forecast, but just in case here’s a basic guide to all season riding:
Winter all three layers. Don’t forget hands & feet need layering too! Spring and autumn two layers (a base layer and a shell, or a base layer and a jersey). Perhaps arm warmers &/or leg/knee warmers and a vest. Summer you generally only need just one layer. But plenty of water and layer up that sunscreen!
Enjoy your ride – layer by layer!- By Jessica Laws - Pushys sponsored athlete
Troy Lee Designs Sprint Gloves
The Troy Lee Designs Sprint Gloves are an exceptional blend of safety and comfort. As any mountain biker knows, your hands are the first thing to hit the ground in majority of crashes and gloves do an excellent job in protecting your hands in these cases. The Sprint gloves are incredibly functional, comfortable and breathable. I always wear gloves when riding as they help profoundly with grip, especially in wet conditions and as protection. And as your gloves are 2 of the 4 contact points you have with your bike a good pair of gloves can make or break a ride. The Sprint gloves are incredibly durable and very practical with the included conductive finger tips so the gloves work seamlessly with phone touchscreens. I would highly recommend the Sprint gloves for Downhill and Enduro, as they not only have a high level of protection, they have a high level of grip also, including in wet conditions!- By Cody Man - Pushys sponsored athlete
Ever thought of handlebar tape as ‘no different’? Gone were the days of slippery, too thick, too thing simple cork tape in black and white. Refresh your bar tape and give your bike a new look for your next ride with Supa Caz.
Why Supa Caz? Supa Caz is a fantastic tactile grip that will keep you clear of slipping and sliding from a little sweat or wet. Not only is Supa Caz grippy in all conditions, it can be cleaned after your rides with a sponge to keep that pro tour white bar tape looking the part. Available in a variety of colours to suit your current riding mood, including plain colours, printed designs as well as two tone colours that can give your ride that little extra pro appeal. Supa Caz also provides support and cushion with ‘Supa Kush’ for those long rides when comfort is a must. If you needed any more reasons to try Supa Caz, it is the choice of current world champion and trend setter, Peter Sagan.- By Ricky Swindale - Pushys sponsored athlete
Road shoes for triathlon?
The shift in recent times for long course triathletes from a ‘triathlon shoe’ with Velcro straps to a ‘road shoe’ with dials is a sure fire way to blitzing your next bike. Long course triathletes have become more aware that the more comfortable you are during a ride, the longer you can hold your aero position and the more power you can put to the pedals. So what is the main difference between a road shoes and a triathlon shoe?
What is the difference
Road shoes generally have a more secure feeling of keeping your foot in place within the shoe. This is ensured through increased number of straps, ratchets and dials that do not slip. A triathlon shoe will most likely have a single or dual velcro strap which allows for quick entry into the shoe when you are pedalling but at the cost of having a little bit of movement in the heel of the shoe which can cost you power and speed out on the course.
Use road shoes when you are riding for 2hr +
Use road shoes when you are confident of your handling skills and can put your shoe on whilst on the go
Use road shoes if you put your shoes on in transition
Will it benefit you?
It is no secret that cyclists are faster on two wheels compared to their three sport counterparts, so it makes sense to utilise as much of the road technology as possible with helping us triathletes to reach our potential on the bike. Having your foot more securely fastened will ensure more power to the pedal without heel slip or movement.
So if you are looking to get faster on the bike without more training, get yourself a pair of road cycling shoes for your next triathlon.- By Ricky Swindale - Pushys sponsored athlete
Fox Gradient Jacket
The Fox Gradient Jacket is an excellent, high quality and breathable jacket from the new Fox Fall line. I find a good, waterproof jacket can make all the difference when riding on wet or cold days. The jacket is fully waterproof, whilst being largely ventilated and breathable, so over heating isn’t a worry. It comes with a hood and extended back to stop it from bunching up, which has worked a treat for me. The jacket is super lightweight and moveable in, without it restricting any movement. It has also proved durable and tough for me so far. I’ve found it very useful on long trail rides or I’ve kept it on riding downhill all day I would highly recommend this jacket as it is a must have, to own a waterproof jacket for the winter seasons to make riding the miserable conditions as enjoyable as summer and warmer conditions!- By Cody Man - Pushys sponsored rider
GoPro Hero 4 Black review – Kell O’Brien – Pushys sponsored rider -Track Cyclist
The new edition to the Hero range is the Hero 4. I have only used one of the older models (Hero 3 Silver) but I can assure you this one is another level above any other model.
I use the GoPro quite regularly for training purposes such as filming technique in the gym or at the velodrome. So when I am training I need the device to be fast and reliable and the GoPro is just that. It sets up a Wi-Fi that connects to my phone and I can use my phone to set the angle of the camera, start/stop recording and review the footage straight away on my phone. This is very handy as well I can save it to my phone and then send it off to my coaches if they are away which is great feature. On top of this I use the GoPro whenever I travel I find it a great way to get great photo’s and videos and have them easily stored onto my phone.
The quality of the new GoPro is incredible both in the footage it takes and the device itself. You can just see that it is a high quality item. The camera is a little difficult to get used to straight away but after a little playing around it is fairly straightforward.
I have had absolutely no issues with the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity to your phone is absolutely seamless, the footage quality is even better than I expected even with talked up hype about the camera.
Granting all this the battery life for this device is a major let down, but with the ability to swap spare batteries in and out it is no major issue.
The best part of this camera is how strong it is especially when in its full case (also waterproof) I love how it will survive extreme circumstances even though my GoPro is treated extremely well it is very hard to even scratch this camera. Although I don’t do an extreme sport, which is what this camera really exceeds in, I find it incredibly useful and convenient.
Tacx Antares Rollers
Ok so now it’s cold and wet and dark – time to delve into the arsenal of indoor training equipment and one of the best pieces of kit I recommend is rollers. Originally being a track sprinter I have been rolling a long time, as rollers are a key training tool for all trackies. But even if you don’t ride track, rollers are a great training tool to improve pedalling efficiency, balance, leg speed and fitness. I have tried many different brands of rollers but the ones I keep going back to are the Tacx Antares. They are widely recognised to be one of the best value and best made sets of rollers available. They haven't changed a lot since their first came out – in fact up until recently I was using a first gen pair, but I know have a new pair and I still like them.
Roller setup needs to fit your bike well – the front extension needs to be able to have the front wheel balance directly over the top. The Tacx Antares has a good system of a small metal button underneath each runner, this can be set to exactly the same distance on both sides (distances for wheel bases of your bike are provided in the manual), this set up is easy to do and also to adjust if sharing with others. Another great thing is the Tacx Antares use high quality bearings in the rollers, and strong plastic and metal for the runners. The roller drums are conical which helps to direct your bike back to centre if you drift towards the edges. This is great in preventing a wheel slipping off the drum if you are doing high max rev efforts, or are new to the whole roller thing. The Tacx Antares is one of the cheaper models available on the market. You can spend more and get added features such as "rockers" that allow increased stability when sprinting on the rollers, as well as resistance units that can be added to allow higher powered training. In my experience, unless you are an Olympic level male sprinter needed extra resistance for you warm-up prior to the Flying 200m, the best sessions for rollers are with less resistance such as technique, high cadence and recovery.
The Tacx Antares are well made, strong, easily assembled and easily transportable – I bought a Tacx Antares carry-bag which is great to carry extras like track pumps. They provide everything you really need for roller training, rain, hail or shine!- By Jessica Laws - Pushys sponsored rider
Cyclists- the cops are onto us! Whether we like it or not, unfortunately even the road cyclists, track cyclists and triathletes among us are required to have a bell attached to our bike- that is unless you want to be slapped with an excessive fine. Pushys stocks a great range of bells, so you can find one that fits your budget, and of course matches your bike.
The 'hide my bell' Garmin mount cleverly integrates a bell into the mounting piece for Garmin bike computers. The bell is everything you could want - hidden! - and it's built into something many of us already use, so it's a great option. For those eccentrics among us, there are various brightly coloured, patterned and decorated bells. Of course there are also numerous choices of bell types in black. Be wary about the mounting/attachment options for each of the bells. You don't want to be caught out being unable to attach it to your bike. Many of them offer elasticized bands, which are more versatile and will fit to various different handlebars, stems, seat posts or rear stays (or wherever else you may want to mount your bell).- By Emily Donker - Pushys sponsored athlete
Garmin Edge 520 review
I have had the Garmin 520 for a number of months now and since having the older models, there have been a massive amount of improvements and new upgrades.
I am an elite cyclist so the Garmin is a part of my everyday life, it has to be a reliable device, able to deal with constant working hours and data and of course all weather conditions. In my experience all the past Garmin Edge models have lived up to this high standard quite well but none to the level of the Edge 520. I have experienced certain issues such as the buttons failing on the older models and the touch screen being annoying, but with the 520 they have moved on from the touch screen back to only buttons, but they have improved the buttons to tactile very firm buttons for durability. Another issue that has come out of the older models is they can get “waterlogged” in serious rain or mud, again the 520 is superior as it holds its level of water resistance. I hate to sound dorky but this Garmin also has the benefit of being very user friendly, as in straight out of the box basically no need for the manual at all.
In my opinion the upgrades on this model have been next level, my favourites have been the auto sync (upload) I know this has been on previous models but it is so easy and connection to your phone has been unreal. Another amazing feature is just the level of personalisation you can do to the activity screens there are so many options you can choose to see all the data you need very easily.
On top of all this, the Garmin Edge 520 is without a doubt the best-looking Garmin to be released! The display on the screen is unbelievable; the quality of the screen is fantastic which makes looking down to see your data briefly during a race or an effort in training so much better.
The only negative I have found with this model is the battery life has dropped considerably; the old edge 500 still remains to hold the best battery life of any device I have used. But of course the new Garmin has much more features such as the fantastic colour screen, which takes up bulk of the battery Pro Tip: at all times use the device on low brightness 10% or 0% during the day when it is unnecessary to use more to increase the life of the battery.
This Garmin has all the best features of any other Garmin put into the perfect sized package for the front of your bike.; definitely my favourite product from the Garmin world. I have been a big fan of Garmin’s work since I started using their products and the Edge 520 has just continued my faith in them.- Kell O’Brien – Track/Road Endurance Cyclist - Pushys sponsored athlete
l'hygiène du cyclisme (Cycling Hygiene : Preventing Saddle Sores)
You’ve got all your new kit, bike set up right, now time to get out there and ride. Long endurance rides with your mates, racing in local club events, gran fondos, tours and of course the traditional coffee stops. Getting sweaty and dirty is all part of it but with that comes bacteria, odour and friction and if this is kept at bay, potentially painful saddle-sores and doctor’s visits. To keep on the saddle pain and infection free it is important to prevent problems in the nether region. Here are some pointers on how to stop the rot: Always wear clean cycling kit. The chamois is a great harbourer for bacteria so it is important to always wash you kit after cycling. A warm wash is better but even a hand wash with soap in a hotel room will work. Tip: if handwashing whilst travelling use a towel to soak up the excess water and then hang on coat hangers to help dry out. Or try and have two or more sets.
Wear a good quality and well-fitting knicks and chamois. Ill-fitting knicks that sag or are too big in the crotch will only wreak havoc in the comfort department. This can be hard especially when starting out as it can get quite expensive. Try and get better quality or go by the advice of someone you know rides a lot so you don’t learn the hard way.
Always chamois cream. Even if you don’t feel sore on the saddle with your perfect fit, it is still possible to develop sores from friction and bacteria especially if you are backing up your rides. A chamois cream product (I prefer Aussie Butt Cream ) not only helps to reduce the friction but it also has ingredients with antibacterial properties. If you are going on longer rides it is good to take extra cream with you – this can help refresh and reduce odour especially of you have to use a bush toilet!
Reduce the chamois time. Don’t linger any longer than you have to in your dirty knicks. If you are driving to meet for a ride or race, go to and from in other clothing and change when you get there. Don’t hang around the coffee shop for hours after your ride either. Even if you look cool in your Pushys Kit those little bugs will like to breed in the warmth and sweat you have built up on your ride!
Wash as soon as you can after the ride. When you get home make sure you wash ASAP. Even if you are travelling then using baby wipes in the toilets or change room can work wonders! And cleaning and putting on nice clean clothes is a great feeling after a ride! Whilst following this general advice will help prevent problems occurring it is not always guaranteed. If you pull up sore/red from chafing then try using a cream such as Bepanthen or Sudocream (nappy rash creams) as these will help. Also you may need to have your position checked and/or change your saddle – I have found the SMP Glider to be fantastic in preventing soreness especially on my track bike. Of course if it gets worse or you are concerned please see your GP. Most likely you won’t get any soreness or infections and you can go on riding happily and enjoy the scenery!- By Jessica Laws - Pushys sponsored athlete
Which rubber should you use?
Riding is something that should be enjoyed… hang on what are we talking about again? Oh right, what tyres you should use. With a seemingly endless selection of road tyres on the market, all touting to be the best, it can be difficult to make a choice. Then add in which width to go for and your mind really can get blown away. Below are some recommendations on tyre width and which tyres to use in different situations..Is wider always better?
When to use a 25/28c tyre: It is important to realise that whilst the wider 25/28c tyres, according to science, are shown to be faster than their skinnier compatriots, it is most important to match the width of your tyre to the width of the wheel you are using. The goal is to create a seamless integration from tyre to rim. The less bulbous transition between rim and tyre, the more aerodynamic the combination will be. For example, if you are using a ‘standard’ aluminium training wheelset and are looking for the most aero tyre, you will be better suited to selecting a narrower tyre such as 22c or 23c. In contrast if you are using some of the newer ‘wide rim’ racing wheels, such as Zipp Firecrest, then you are best to select a 25/28c tyre.
The second and very important factor in selecting which width tyre you should use is the terrain you are riding on and whether comfort is a factor. If you are riding on rough chip roads, such as the bone jarring Dayboro loop, then a wider tyre will provide you with more comfort. The reason for this is because you can reduce your tyre pressure for the same ‘footprint’ on the road – thus giving a softer ride. For example, a 25c tyre can be inflated to 100psi and have the same ‘footprint’ as a 110psi 23c tyre.Which type of tyre to use?
Most brands of tyre offer a few different options depending on usage. There are the lighter weight tyres, more suited to racing, through to the puncture proof training tyre that you will enjoy for thousands of kms. Below are three very different tyres all offering riders a different road feel.Zipp Tangente Speed
Summary: One of the fastest tyres around offering free speed and more controlled cornering. Pair these up with your race wheels for the ultimate in speed and performance come race day.
Continental GP4000S 2
Summary: The GP4000 offers fantastic puncture protection and is equally as fast come race day. A genuine all-rounder if you want the best performance across the board for both training and racing.
Continental Gatorskins Ultra
Summary: A heavy duty training tyre that will provide you with piece of mind that you will rarely be on the side of the road with a puncture.
When you are selecting your next tyre, be sure to think about what you are looking to achieve. Is it speed, comfort, puncture protection or something in between. Until next time, use your rubber wisely.
- By Ricky Swindale - Pushys sponsored rider
A Sleek Shimano XTR Cockpit
We all love sleek smooth lines. I guess they show signs of class. This is definitely the case of Shimano’s top of the range XTR 9000 series gear shifters and brakes. I recently upgraded to the XTR brakes with the addition of the upgraded 1 by RH gear shifter. The gear shifter was the new XTR 9000 I-spec 2 which integrates nicely with the XTR 9000 Brake Lever assembly utilising the same clamp. This set up created an unbelievably clean cockpit. Whilst a classy, sleek and smooth cockpit, these new additions have the usual Shimano functionality. The XTR 9000 series shifter is direct and smooth in gear changing with the double down shift as Shimano standard features. It has been said that there is a 20% less effort to change gears which is hard to quantify but feels easier. The shifter design has a slightly different shape with a textured surface for grip. The shifter integrates well with the XTR9000 clutched derailleur which is externally adjustable by a lever. I am sure the new design of the derailleur assists in the reduced shifting effort. Set up and adjustment is similar to previous Shimano models.
The main reason for my change to the new XTR9000 was my change to 11 speed and I went with the XTR spec as they were on special at a super price with a $30 difference from Shimano XT8000. I also upgraded to the XTR9000 race brakes for the slim design due to my previous brakes requiring a rebuild. Review of the brakes to come soon after some rigorous use. I would recommend the upgrade to the XTR spec if your budget allows and if you get components at a discounted price.- By Mark Brockwell - Pushy’s XC MTB sponsored athlete
Having the right tyre in the right conditions can totally transform how a bike handles, seeing as it is the only contact point to the ground from the bike. For Downhill in most conditions I stick with the Maxxis Minion DHF, its durability, strong casing and grip has made it known as one of the best overall downhill tires. In muddy or loose conditions I find the Maxxis Shorty is the perfect tyre, the spaced out and mid sized spikes reduces the amount of mud sticking to the tyre and grips very well in the muddiest of conditions. On my trail bike I have found the Maxxis High Roller is a great mix of efficiency and grip with a very aggressive tread pattern and spaced out knobs, makes it a great tyre in wet and dry conditions. With all these tyres I have found them to be extremely strong and puncture resistant, and I have never had an issue with any of them!- By Cody Man - Pushys sponsored athlete
Shimano TR900 Triathlon Shoes
I’ve always ridden in triathlon shoes, but my new Shimano TR900 Triathlon Shoes have taken comfort to a whole new level, and despite only riding in them a handful of times so far, I’m very impressed.
Transitions were a breeze during their first race outing at Mooloolaba on Sunday! The assymetrical pull loop on the back of heel made it super easy to slip my feet into the shoes quickly and get pedaling. The sturdy Velcro strap across the midfoot provides a comfortable, secure fit and ensures ease of adjustability. I also love the additional thinner Velcro strap across the forefoot – it allows for greater adjustability and eliminated the tightness and restriction that I’ve suffered from in previous shoes.
As a podiatrist, I was pleased to find that Shimano offer a Women’s specific fit in this shoe. The shaping throughout the shoe, particularly the heel counter, is gender-specific to further enhance fit. The carbon composite sole is lightweight and provides a strong and stiff base to encourage power transfer. As with other cycling shoes, cleat position is completely adjustable, with clear markings on the sole making it easy to self-adjust and keep track of positioning.
The lightweight mesh upper is breathable and comfortable, and I’ve found the shoes to fit really well both with and without socks. I can’t wait to ride many more km’s in these shoes.- By Emily Donker - Pushys sponsored athlete
Pain in the butt getting more aero?
If you are into triathlon or time trialling, your nether regions can take a pounding. Sitting further forward on a saddle with your bars positioned low can result in discomfort, numbness and saddle sores. If you have been searching high and low for a saddle that will let you put down the power when in aero mode and make your ride more comfortable, then it is high-time you got your hands on a ‘snub’ nose saddle.
What is snub nose you ask? Essentially, it is removing the first 2-3 inches of your ‘standard’ saddle so that you are able to rock your hips forward without placing any pressure on sensitive areas. This allows you to sit on your sit bones and get yourself into a lower more aero position on the bike.
What are the best options that I have tried and how do they compare?ISM Adamo:
- The first to market and the original snub nose design
- Available in a variety of different widths and lengths to suit all riding styles and pelvis shapes
- Some models have a transition hook
- Prongs on sit area can deform over time uneven heights and result in saddle sores
- No place to include a rear mounted bottle cage without purchasing extra mounts
- Heavy seat at over 300g for most
- Similar shape and feel to a ‘standard’ saddle with the benefit of being snub nosed
- Available in a 2 of different widths to suit sit bone widths
- Built in bottle cage mount option as well as other Fizik accessories
- Wont deform over time
- Lightweight and more standard saddle look and feel
- Only able to mount a dual bottle cage to the rear
- Smaller range of saddle to sit on due to quick ‘sweep’ back to upright riding position
Both saddles are great and suit different people. Use the Fizik Tritone if you prefer a saddle that feels like a normal road saddle and prefer something that you stay in a single position (ie: better for those who don’t wriggle). Use the Adamo if you move around more on the saddle and don’t mind the extra weight on your bike.
I have used both Adamo Attack, Adamo Road 2 and am currently using the Fizik Tritone.
Good luck in your decision and we will see you up the road.
Benefits of Cross Training
Cross training has many benefits, particularly for people who love to stay active. The advantages can be applied and realised through various different training principles.Incorporating cross training into your normal routine increases variety and can allow you to achieve greater training volume, frequency and intensity, with less chance of overtraining. Focusing on multiple different activities can also decrease injury risk- especially the risk of overuse and repetitive injuries such as muscle and tendon strains and stress fractures. To apply the principle of specificity, cross training should compliment the goals of your normal activities or key sport (if you have a more serious pursuit), but can also be used advantageously to target weaknesses and improve your performance. Swimming, cycling and running are key contenders for targeting cardio-vascular fitness, along with gym exercises such as the cross trainer, stepper and rowing. Water running is another great alternative, offering more specificity to runners, without the impact forces of on-road running.
Pilates and yoga provide a good basis for building strength, controlled movement and flexibility, whilst high intensity cross fit and PT sessions develop speed, power and co-ordination. Regular strength training is beneficial for everyone, if used effectively. Ensure you choose exercises that target muscle strength and movements that are specific to your chosen sport. Functional strength can reduce fatigue and allow you to more easily maintain good form and technique- particularly during running and cycling, where long training or racing efforts create fatigue and in turn, increase injury risk. Focusing on core strength and unilateral exercises such as leg lifts, single leg squats and lunges, provides great functional strength for runners and cyclists, and targeting key muscle groups like glutes, quads, hamstings and calves can be helpful. Cross training also provides lifestyle benefits because fitting in training around your busy schedule or travel becomes much easier. I really enjoy my own training- and that is by far the most important factor keeping me active Whether you're looking for an edge against your competitors or to improve your everyday health, incorporate some cross training into your everyday lifestyle.- By Emily Donker - Pushys sponsored rider
Maxxis IKON Tyres
For the last few seasons of XCO racing my tyre of choice has been the Maxxis Ikon EXO 3C in the 29inch size. I believe this tyre to be a bit of an all-rounder for the South East Queensland conditions where I mostly ride. Rarely do we get the opportunity to ride in full on sand or mud. As I have mentioned in previous reviews my driving force for selecting component is weight and anything can’t be more important than the rotational mass on the bike. The Maxxis Ikon is a true racers tyre that comes in all wheel sizes, 3 widths as well as many variants which do have weight differences. On tyres of the same size the weight difference can be up to 110g. The variants appear to be cost based due to construction. I choose the 3C Triple compound as it has a longer lasting base layer and two softer top layers for traction and stability. For me it is also imperative that I use the EXO protection as I venture out on rocky trails quite often giving me sidewall protection. This comes at a small weight cost at 640g but I have experience quite a few sidewall failures from sharp rocks. All the specs and weights of all variants can be found on the Maxxis website.
The tread pattern of the Ikon is one of the fastest rolling out there. It glides along hard parked trails with ease and handles corners extremely well with lower tyre pressures. The grip on gravel is reasonable but generally the bike is a little bit squirmy with good feedback. There are definitely better tyres out there for loose gravel with the same going for mud. This tyre does not clear mud very well due to the small tread pattern. I do stress though I use it as an all-rounder and rarely ride in muddy conditions. In summary as a XCO race tyre this has worked well for me. I do notice tyre brand is a personal choice with riders choosing patterns for the areas they mostly ride as conditions don’t change that much. I don’t discount that one day I will trial another pattern but currently the IKON is my go to tyre and has worked for me. I purchase my Maxxis Ikons from Pushys online as they are reasonable priced and have a super quick delivery.- By Mark Brockwell - Pushys sponsored athlete
Royal Turbulence Shorts
The Royal Turbulence shorts, are incredibly lightweight, versatile and comfortable. They are perfect for long trail rides, in all conditions, as they can repel water, but are very breathable at the same time. These shorts are super versatile, working very well as Downhill shorts also. The large pockets, 2 with zips, 1 zipped media pocket, and 2 open deep pockets, are very practical for carrying trail maps, car keys, etc. The waterproof media pocket fits a Phone, and the open pockets are quite deep, so there is a minimal chance of contents falling out. They are a well ventilated pair of shorts and are very lightweight and easy to move about in. I have had no problems in my time of owning the shorts, and have had no fade, rips, wear or discolouration. Using these shorts in rainy conditions, showed how well the water was repelled off the shorts, and kept me dry. I would recommend the Royal Turbulence Shorts, as they work very well in all conditions, are durable and very well priced for the value of the shorts!- By Cody Man - sponsored athlete
Evoc Bike Bag
I’ve been using the Evoc Bike Bag for my inter-state and overseas triathlon trips for a number of years now, and have been really pleased with how it travels. On my first ever plan flight with my bike I used a cumbersome hard case, and found the entire trip a real drag. Since then, using the Evoc case has been a breeze. My first trip was to Sydney with my road bike. I arrived at Town Hall station and the lifts were packed. I carried bike bag, along with my luggage up 4 decent flights of stairs, and then wheeled it all the way to my hotel. I was very impressed by the ease with which I could wheel, lift and carry the bike bag.
I have travelled with both my road and time-trial bike, and found both to fit easily within the bike bag. The Evoc Road Bike Adaptor is worth the extra couple of dollars if you’re traveling with your road bike. It straps over the forks of your road bike, and helps to secure it within the bike bag, and aligns the frame more safely within the bag to reduce pressure on the forks and front brakes.
Although it’s a soft case, the Evoc bag provides a lot of protection for your bike. The design ensures that only a couple of simple adjustments need to be made in order to fit your bike into the case. Usually I only need to remove the handlebars, pedals and wheels, and lower my seat post height. Some taller riders with larger frames may find they would have to remove the seat post altogether. Nevertheless, these simple adjustments mean your bike can be packed in the bag within about 10 minutes.
The addition of adjustable padding and multiple straps ensures that it’s easy to fit and secure frames of varying shape and size into the case. Once removed, the handlebars are twisted and strapped against the frame to provide protection and security. There are two straps securing the frame to the base of the bag, and another to the side wall of the bag. The result is a stable and secure fit.
The wheel compartments at the rear of the case have plenty of space, and are well padded and reinforced to protect both your wheels and cassette. It was a tight squeeze, but on one occasion I have fitted two sets of wheels (1x training and 1x race) into the bike bag.
The padded exterior provides great protection for your bike, without adding too much weight. The wheels roll really well, and there are also plenty of handles, which make the case very easy to wheel, manouvre, lift and carry if necessary.
My experiences traveling with the Evoc bike bag have been fantastic, and I would highly recommend it for it’s ease of use and versatility.- By Emily Donker - sponsored athlete
It is pretty tough to come up with an informal review for cycling products that generally are plastered with both propaganda biased and realistic reviews. This is just not done by one manufacturer but marketing teams as a whole. I have decided to give an honest opinion albeit not a technical review of the Italian made Kask Mojito Helmet. The reason I chose the Kask is mostly for the same reasons anyone chooses a helmet. Lets be serious we consider looks, price, comfort, weight ,brand and generally in that order.
The Kask Mojito looks the business on most heads with its attractive design. I chose the blue and black colour as it matches my sponsor. Price was next as it was on special followed by the weight of the skid lid. My Kask Mojito weighs in at a respectable 258g. Whilst not class leading it is very light. After taking this helmet out of the box I was impressed with the build quality and the padding on the straps as there is no rubbing on skin. The Kask Mojito comes in two sizes, Medium (48-58cm) and Large (59-62cm) and is adjusted by a ratcheting mechanism as well as adjustable straps. Now after riding in the Queensland summer with this helmet for the past few months I have found that I hardly even know it is there. Even with the amount that I sweat I have found the venting/cooling holes to be sufficient. The Kask Mojito is one of the most comfortable helmets I have ever owned and the only thing I would ever consider changing is the colour. The Kask Mojito is a winner.
From the safety aspect we buy the helmet to protect our noggin. I cannot say that one helmet is better than another in this respect except you should ensure your helmet has the Australian Standard sticker on. This means it complies to what it is mainly designed, which is to protect the head. Finally I rate this helmet 5 stars and hopefully I never need to crash test it. Can I please emphasise the importance of wearing helmets. We have seen quite a few head knocks to the ground in society with brain injury a real threat. I cannot say a helmet will eliminate injury but surely it can help minimise the injury.- By Mark Brockwell - Pushys Mountain Biker
Seasucker Mini Bomber
Travelling to training or a local race with your bike can frustrating. Grease throughout your car, stacking bikes on top of one another or kicking your shin on a towbar can be a thing of the past. At first I was sceptical of simple vacuum cups and quick release skewers securing my pride and joy on top of my car roof at over 100km/hr. This fear was soon quashed after first use after travelling over 300km through varying terrain, with two bikes mounted, without issue.
It secures to your front or rear window and roof in seconds. In less than 2 minutes you can have your bike mounted and ready to travel. The only item requiring removal is your front wheel, which you can pop in the boot – although you can purchase a special mount separately which will save even more room inside the car. As an added benefit, you can access the boot whilst your bike is still attached.
From a person who has used rear mounted bike racks, roof racks, and stored my bike inside the car, this is by far the best tool for any rider who travels with their bike. The Seasucker stands as one of the best things that I have ever purchased for my cycling habit.- By Ricky Swindale - Pushys sponsored athlete
Suunto Ambit 3 Sport
My ever-reliable training companion, the Ambit 3 Sport keeps tabs on all my training - in the pool, on the bike and on the road. Like all GPS training watches, it gives information about speed/pace, time, distance, and so much more. Swimming-specific measures include stroke recognition, stroke count and efficiency. For cycling you can sync to various other sensors for more specific data (eg. cadence). You can personalize your watch, customize the training screens, upload various Suunto apps and design your own training program and sessions online or using the Suunto Movescount App – and then sync all this to your watch.
The entire Ambit 3 range offers Bluetooth capabilities, the applications of which are endless! You can seamlessly connect to your phone, then sync to the Movescount App and strava to log all your training. You can personalize your training log by creating videos and adding photos, and easily share your training/racing experiences to various social media platforms.
The Smart Belt heart rate strap available with the Ambit 3 Range offers more fantastic capabilities. With it’s own memory storage, it’s the only chest strap to provide accurate heart rate readings in the water (swimming etc.). You can also use the heart rate strap remotely (in sync with the Movescount App) to track your heart rate during gym sessions, field sports and other situations when you’re not wearing your watch.
Based on your fitness, exertion during training, and daily activity, the watch provides guidance about recovery time. It has a great battery life of at least 8 hours in GPS mode, plus the ability to alter satellite recognition to less-frequent intervals (1min) and extend this to at least 50 hours. The large, round watch face and is functional and fashionable, with the external satellite and silicone strap offering exceptional comfort. The Ambit 3 watches are hand-made in Europe and come with a two-year warranty, so you can be confident in their exceptional quality and durability.- By Emily Donker - Pushys sponsored athlete
A training partner out on the trails: GoPro Hero 4 Black
The GoPro Hero 4 Black is the most refined and polished GoPro have released yet. It packs an amazing amount of performance, adjustability, and yet simplicity into it. With over 12 different filming resolutions, Narrow, Medium and Ultra-Wide FOV’s, and many different frame rates. The large selection of different modes can be quite confusing at first, but after a while of experimenting with them I started to find my favourites, including:
- 2.7k Superview – 30fps Super wide angle with the amazing quality of 2.7k
- 1080 Superview – 80fps Good all-round mode for body mounted or close up shots
- 1080 – 120fps Silky smooth slow motion in full HD
What should I know before starting triathlons?
So you are thinking of doing a triathlon, but dont know where to start? Anyone can do a triathlon, all you need is a pair of goggles, a bicycle + helmet and some running shoes to get started. Once you have these essential items, look to set an achievable event approximately 12 weeks away. This will provide you with adequate time to prepare yourself for the challenge of completing your first triathlon event. The next step you will need to make is finding the time to fit in a minimum of 2 sessions per week for swimming, cycling and running. Start small and make sure you do not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10-15%, to avoid potential injury or burnout. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent with your training, there is nothing worse than missing sessions and trying to play catchup – your body will find a way of punishing you, usually in the form of injury.
Try to get a buddy involved at the same time. It is always more fun and motivating to have a friend who shares a common goal to help you both enjoy the experience. You can then set up a few open water swims with your friend to get used to swimming without the confinement of a swimming pool. Group rides are also a great way to increase motivation and increase your fitness. Join a running group locally if you can, you will learn invaluable tips on pacing, training and information on the best places to run in your area.
Above all, make sure you enjoy your triathlon experience. You do not need all the gadgets in the world to start. Triathlon is a simple sport and an easy one to get started. Once you find out how great the sport is, there will be plenty of time to delve into the fancy bikes, accessories, racing shoes that make triathlon even more fun.
There are so many types of bikes/bike frames, which one would be best for me?
The question you need to ask yourself is firstly which discipline you are going to be riding? MTB, Downhill, Road, TT, BMX then start drilling down into the depths of that type of riding. I have just recently returned from Eurobike and I could not believe the number of manufactures in the industry, and they are all producing very similar products so how do you ever choose. Here are a couple of ideas to help you choose which one:
- Figure out your budget and stick to it because it will be very easy to go over
- Work out what frame material you want (remember this is going to be the heart of your bike, so if things break or you want to upgrade then the frame will stay the same, so a good frame is important)
- Figure our what level of components you want eg: 105, Ultegra or Dura-ace
- Once you have number 1, 2 and 3 then its all about finding the best value for money, find the ones with the best groupset/frame on for that price
- You will end up with a few, but then I would highly recommend a test ride to see if you like the feel, geometry and overall set up of the bike
- Once you know your set up then it will be super easy to purchase your next few bikes!!!
Should I use clip less pedals?
There are always different opinions around the industry about how effective clipless shoes but I think the main question is which kind of discipline are you riding? It is a proven fact that clipless pedals are way more effective and efficient than flats when riding a road bike. The pure fact that you can push down, pull up, drag across the top and bottom stroke of the pedal gives you immediate benefits. The hardest thing is training your mind to do this motion as second nature. Once you have this achieved then you can focus on your leg strength.
Another discipline which I ride is MTB, now because of my background of being a roadie I thought to myself clipless pedals will give me more power so it must be quicker. Much to my surprise after riding on the tracks for a few months and tackling those tight corners, someone suggested to me which don't you try some good flat pedals, why? well when you are entering a corner and testing the limits of yourself and your bike having a foot out of the pedal will give you that control to drift the bike slightly around a corner. This made sense so I moved onto flats and my riding has progressed well.
How does a tubeless tyre work?
Tubeless tyres are still new in the great scheme of things but they have had an awesome effect on the industry. In a normal set up the rider will run a standard rim tape (covering the spokes) a tube and a tyre and they will be running about 60PSI. The issue with running tubes is that if you are progressing to jumping in your riding or you ride over a hard rock and your tyre compresses dramatically then this will cause a pinch flat. (the sides the the tube being pinched) This means you will need to run a higher PSI to try and eradicate this, however the more pressure you have the less grip you have. This is where tubeless comes into play. A tubeless set up will run a thicker/harder rim tape, a tubeless valve, sealant and a tubeless tyre. The benefits of this set up is you cannot get pinch flats on a tube because you do not have one and it means you can run a much lower pressure, approx 25-30PSI.This results in much higher grip, which equals more speed!!!
When should I upgrade my helmet/shoes?
Firstly your helmet is your point of safety so it is one of the most important purchases you make, and you should also be upgrading/ renewing your helmet regularly. I would recommend once a year to 18 months, but if you have a crash of drop your helmet aggressively then renew it straight away. Studies have shown that a helmet which has bee in a crash has a much lower impact protection rating then a new helmet .REMEMBER - you only get one head and brain so protect it the best you can.
With regards to shoes I would also recommend upgrading or renewing once a year to 18months. These are the drivers of your bike and if you have uncomfortable shoes then this is a nightmare. Do your research on shoes, which sole to get - carbon, carbon composite, plastic? Which clips to buy,- Speedplay, SPD-SL, Look etc.
Overheating can be a big issue and can result in poor performance, or worse a DNF. To ensure your body temperature is kept as low as possible, try to do the following:
- Hydrate sufficiently prior to racing or training. This will also promote your body’s ability to recover after those hard sessions.
- Set your watch or timer when racing to drink something every 15mins. A simple beep will remind you to take on fluid. Keeping hydrated throughout the event is key to keeping on top of your body’s requirement to stay hydrated. If you are ‘thirsty’, you have left it too late and the ability to rehydrate and assist your performance is lost. You need to drink before becoming thirsty to avoid depletion of vital minerals.
- Use electrolytes and not just water when training and racing
Race week preparation
Race week is all about staying rested and allowing your body to get ready for race day. Your training volume should decrease dramatically with a focus on high heart rate and shorter sessions. Basically, it is time to increase the intensity of your training to get your muscles firing early on in the leadup week.
It is important to continue training leading into an event so that your muscles do not ‘forget’ what they need to do. The final three days prior to an event, all training should be short and easy. The time for training hard and your fitness increasing has passed. It is time to make the most of what training you have done.
Last of all, eat well, hydrate and get off your feet as much as you can in race week.
It’s cold! How can I get my head and body into gear for a training session?
The dreaded cold weather can bring about a lull in your motivational levels. Excuses creep in, where it is too cold, too dark or you are too tired. Fear not, we have all been there. To get yourself out of this dreaded downward spiral of fitness here are some things which may help:
- Set your alarm at a preset time each day and get up
- Set up your riding gear the night prior, it is harder to avoid the session when everything is ready to go
- Set a time to meet up with a friend
- Know what your training session will be before the morning
- Buy quality warm clothing and dress in layers
- Swap your road ride for a ride on the indoor trainer. Quality over quantity will always win
What do I need to do to build up to long distance riding?
There is nothing more empowering than transporting yourself on two wheels powered by nothing but your body. The key to building up to riding your first century or 100 miler is consistency. Slowly increase your longest ride each week by 10-15%. Every 4th week, 'drop back' two weeks and continue building up. Whilst you may feel fitter week to week, it is important to ensure that you do not exceed your buildup too quickly. Your body needs time to adapt to the increased mileage, not only in relation to fitness, but also back, neck, core muscles - not to mention the conditioning of your butt on a saddle for endless hours.
Just starting out - What are the things I need?
Cycling is a fantastic way to enjoy the outdoors... when you have the right equipment. Often, those starting out will allocate the majority of hard earned cash to the bicycle itself. If you are on a budget, make sure you allocate enough funds to those often forgotten items, which will make your ride all the more enjoyable. Remember, your will ride your bike faster if you are comfortable. Below are some examples:
- Quality pair of cycling knicks (bib and brace designs are more comfortable and less likely to put your great divide on display to those behind you)
- Quality cycling jersey with pockets at the back for food, money and phone
- Cycling shoes
- Spares kit (tubes, patches, saddle bag etc..)
- Mini Bicycle Pump
- Bicycle fit (comfort is key, a properly fitting bicycle will ensure enjoyment)
Consistency in a long ride… how do I achieve this?
The aim of a long ride should be enjoyment and time in the saddle. There should be no focus on keeping a particular speed or wattage. Focus on spinning at a higher cadence than you would race at as well as concentrating on pedaling in full circles. This will help increase your fitness level and ability to maintain a higher cadence when you fatigue. Using a bicycle computer that you can customise screens to focus on one particular element throughout your ride is a great way to ensure you are on track for the goal of the session. For example, you can set to view cadence only on many of the Garmin Edge models available.
Windtrainers - are they a good idea?
When it comes to quality training, there is nothing better than a solid windtrainer session. You would be surprised how much time you spend not pedalling when out on the road, when it comes to the windtrainer, you are riding non stop without break. If you have been missing sessions because it is cold outside or raining, get yourself a Tour de France re-run and pull up your windtrainer for a session that will make inroads on the competition.
Are hills often needed in my training schedule?Hill workouts should be a staple in every training program. It is all well and good to keep up with your local group when sitting in a draft or on the flats, but when the road goes up the weaker cyclists are singled out and dropped. Some easy methods to improve your hill climbing ability are low gear efforts where the focus is on building strength or alternatively pedalling efficiency with high cadence. It can often be more beneficial to go for a 40km ride with hill repetitions compared to an 80km ride on the flats in a group. If you truly want to improve your cycling ability, try to include at least one hill training session in your schedule each week. To keep you focused on specific goals, use a computer to track your progress.
TIP FOR A GREAT RACE: Stay focused and positiveMental strength is what sets you apart as an endurance athlete, therefore the ability to remain focused and positive is absolutely critical to a successful race. If you struggle to avoid negative thoughts during a race, consider the following four pointers:
- ‘Where the mind goes the body follows’1 – The trick to managing negative thoughts is recognising you have the power to silence them.2 Interrupt negative thoughts with motivating symbols, mantras (e.g. ‘yes I can’) or songs. Decide on what works to help you nullify negative thoughts and unleash your mantra if your inner voice turns nasty.
- Set a goal range – The top of the goal range represents your perfect race (e.g. complete the marathon within 3.5 hours). The bottom represents the minimum achievement that you would be satisfied with in suboptimal conditions (e.g. complete the marathon). Setting a goal range relieves unnecessary pressure whilst still helping you strive for excellence.
- Be your own cheer-leader – Positive self-talk is a powerful tool to help you remain optimistic and keep yourself on track. Encourage yourself, urge yourself on, remind yourself of your achievements so far.
- Distract yourself – Take your mind off the pain by admiring the scenery, looking at spectator’s smiles, singing an inspiring song, focusing on your technique/breathing, setting small goals and focusing on achieving them.
How should I prepare myself for my first event?Practice makes perfect. The best way to get ready for your first event is to ‘test’ what you plan to do on race day. This does not mean doing the full distance at race pace, you should prepare for your event by doing shorter efforts at your goal race effort. If it is too hard to do in training for shorter efforts, then it is best to re-evaluate your goals to something manageable. Try all your nutrition prior to the race, try drinking from your bottle and eating (depending on distance) whilst in your race position. Do not try anything new on race day. Try to ignore the well meaning people around you who say you should try this new whizz bang product that will make you faster. Save that for your next training program before your next event.
What are the 5 best things for a good training session?Specific: Have a goal in mind that you wish to achieve for your training session. That may be riding without freewheeling for 30mins or perhaps to average 200w for your power efforts. Measurable: Having a goal is great, but you need to be able to measure this against something. It is always good to keep a training log, so you can compare your training sessions over a period of time. You should be able to measure your improvements over time by comparing similar sessions. Achievable: Setting your goals too high can be demoralising when they are not achieved. Make sure you set an achievable goal to aim towards. You will feel a lot better about the session if you can achieve what you have set out to do. Make sure the goal is challenging enough to make the session worthwhile. Realistic: Improvement is all about setting realistic goals that are challenging but not out of reach. For example, don’t set a goal of averaging 40km in 1 hour if your previous best is 35km in 1 hour. Time specific: All too often people set goals that require more training and time to prepare for. Set short, medium and long term goals to work towards. It provides a great sense of satisfaction achieving each goal on your ‘goal ladder’.
Gadgets - are they necessary?
Gadgets can help take the boredom away from often repetitive training. Using a gadget such as a bike computer in training can help you with achieving your goals. Bicycle computers can help you focus on different things other than the road ahead. For example, you could have a ride solely focused on keeping your cadence between 95 and 100 rpm or you can focus on keeping your power or heart rate between particular zones. Gadgets can also serve as fantastic tools for future analysis and comparison. Logging all your training sessions in a computer are a fantastic way to monitor your progress over time. Whatever your choice, make sure you still enjoy your ride and do not get caught up in the numbers too much.