Thursday, March 26, 2009

How the wind improves my training ride

So, this morning I got down to the end of the bike path (The Ballona Creek), and turned sharply into a strong head wind. Okay, so most people experience this every so often, but my particular case is different in one crucial way. Most of a triathletes training ride is typically done as an out and back ride. This is to say that the rider picks a start point and rides out from here. They can either choose a loop to ride or just a particular road or direction and turn around at the half way point. Either way, the rider is traveling in one direction for at most half of the ride.

If there is a wind involved, the rider can choose how to work with this. They can either favour a cross wind. or choose to ride out into the wind to start with and have a nice tail wind for the return journey. Or if they are doing a loop, quite often, one part of the loop is more sheltered than another and the rider can take advantage of this. (This can be the case if hills of forests are involved). By choosing to ride a certain way around the loop, the headwind can be worked into the sheltered section and thus reduced to a minimum.

Now back to my case. I am working my training rides into my commute to work. I ride 16 miles in total but it is split into 2 parts. Riding to work in the morning and riding home in the evening. The main problem with this is that I am not getting a solid distance in, only 8 miles at a time. But there is an additional factor. My ride is a fixed route. It takes me from the coast, inland to Culver City. So you may be thinking, what is my point. Well. back to head winds. Especially at this time of year, I am riding to work with a pretty strong and consistent head wind. Some people may find this an issue, but for me, it turns a fairly short ride into a quality work out.

Now, most people would think that this would result in a return journey that has a tail wind, but due to my return journey being at the end of the day, the offshore wind in the morning has changed to a strong onshore wind in the evening. In other words another quality ride home, or rephrased, a tough ride home if you try to keep the speed up, which I do.

Those lucky enough to be doing the commute in reverse will be enjoying a constant tail wind for both journeys, but for me, I am happy to turn my 8 mile ride into a quality and tough training ride.
I should add that I am lucky enough to have showers at work so I can afford to put in the extra effort without stinking the place out when I get there.

If you want to understand sea-breezes more click here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Looking at bikes

I went to a bike shop yesterday while I was out and about to get a feeling for what I may be looking for. I am really liking the Cervelo's and took a look at the P1 which is a triathlon bike and the S1 which is the equivalent Road bike. I love the look of both but there is something about the P1 that I love.

I have a history of being a speed freak. I love fast cars and bikes and when I got my Motorcycle license back in 2002, the first bike I bought was a Suzuki GSXR 600. This was a super sports bike and for a first purchase, suited my profile. It was the only type of bike I was going to feel right on.

Anyway, back to bicycles, I have the same issue with these. I just will not feel right on a beach cruiser. Just not my style. It needs to be racy.

The S1 is a racy bike but the P1 is truly awesome. The aerodynamics on this type of bike is what it is about. How can I make the rider go faster is what the bike is asking.

This however leads back to the main problem. I know I want a Triathlon bike, and this one is a really good price for what you get, but is this all that I need the bike for?

I do other events during the year, including a century ride from Irvine down to San Diego for the MS Society. Last year I did this on my Marin Fairfax and although my preparation was not good, I feel that a better road bike would do me good.

I feel that if I go for a triathlon bike, I will be compromising my Century rides and if I go for a road bike, I will be compromising my Triathlons.

For me it comes down to the triathlons being a race and the centuries being a challenge, thus taking away the importance of improving my ride. I will keep my Marin for training anyway, so I could probably keep doing these rides on that.

I think I am favoring the P1.

Watch this space.

PS. I decided to show you my favorite FAST car that I owned before moving to the US. Love it!