This video will teach you how to properly adjust your disc brake calipers so they do not rub on the rotor. An Improperly aligned calipers is one of most common reason for squeaky brakes. A rubbing disc brake can slow you down, cause annoying noises, and result in premature wear of your brake pads. Our Fezzari Technician will also teach you how to correct a bent rotor.
There is something about triathlons that seems to suck you in. What starts with a goal to just survive the swim of your first race quickly turns into a deep passion for the sport of triathlon in most.
Soon we find ourselves spending gobs of money on triathlon specific gear, subscribing to Lava and Triathlete magazines, and walking around comfortably in clothes more revealing than the road bike kits we once said we’d never wear. It’s about this time that we concern ourselves with our times.
The most wonderful characteristic of triathlons are that they are a race against yourself for 99% of triathletes. Its not about what place you got, its about achieving your goals. Maybe this is why the sport is so addicting. We can all be successful!
Being the bike is longest portion of a triathlon race and the easiest to improve in, if you want to improve your times, this is the place you should focus on first. If you are a serious racer looking to compete and are not riding a triathlon/TT bike…get one.
For regular road bikes, a good fit is very important. For triathlon/TT bikes, a good fit is what will make that bike pay off. I see so many people at triathlons riding expensive triathlon bikes outfitted with all of the gadgets and expensive wheel sets that are riding with their seats back as far as possible and propped up so high in front they could as well have saved their money and ridden the road bike they already had. They are losing the benefits of a triathlon/TT bike. If you are going to spend the money on a triathlon specific bike, spend another $200-300 on the proper fit. Fezzari’s 23-point custom setup will get you 99% there on this fit. They take specific body measurements to determine the proper frame size, stem length and angle, stack height, bar width, crank arm length, etc. This is pretty great because if you do need to change what comes standard on the bike, i.e. a medium bike usually comes with a 90mm stem, 172.5 crank, etc., you would have to pay this out of your pocket. They include this free of charge on every bike purchased which can save you a good amount of cash. Take a couple minutes and watch this video that describes what the 23-point custom setup is all about.
What Type of Bike Fit Is Best?
I am hugely biased toward digital motion analysis fits, either 2D or 3D is fine. The system I seek out is Retul (http://www.retul.com/). Although these fits cost more (usually $200-300 compared to $75-150 for a manual fit), they are definitely worth the extra money. I’ve noticed that many manual bike fitters concern themselves more with the drive train and revolve everything around that. The couple manual triathlon bike fits I’ve had that were done in such a matter resulted in me being in a position that was more of a hybrid between a road bike position and TT position. At the time this position felt great to me, however after getting a digital fit, my eyes have been opened.
My rationale for prefering a digital bike fit is because it eliminates most human error. Research has provided us with information regarding ideal hip angles, knee angles, etc, etc for optimal power output, endurance, aeroness (is that a word?), and comfort. With a digital fit, markers are placed on specific body landmarks and angles are measured while pedaling. The fitter then can adjust the bike to place you within these ideal angles. Compare this to eyeballing a fit and utilizing ancient plumb lines. I love science and exactness, and that is what a digital fit provides.
Below are my before and after pictures of my bike fit. From the naked eye, the changes look small. However, from a performance perspective, the changes are big. Most notably, look at how my entire body looks like it rotates forward, making me more aero and put my legs in a position of greater power and endurance of the pedals. This is achieved without changing my hip to torso angle, which means no greater strain on the low back.
Here are my improvements in average speeds (compared to last years times) with changing to a triathlon bike and getting a digital fit:
Race 1: 25.0 mph compared to 22.1
Race 2: 24.1 mph compared to 20.9
Race 3: 22.5 mph compared to 20.5 (this course has 1500 ft of climbing and is almost better suited for a road bike)
Prior to my digital fit through Retul (and following my first manual fit with my current bike) I averaged about 0.8 mph slower on my standard training rides. Over the course of a 70.3 or Ironman distance, that equals a fairly significant amount of time.
So, the moral of this story is…if you are looking to get faster, get a professional bike fit (preferably digital). If you are going to spend money on a tri/TT bike, get a professional bike fit. Just get a professional bike fit, you’ll be happy you did.
Before each ride it is important to take time to perform a safety check of your bicycle. This can help prevent avoidable accidents and injuries and will only take couple minutes to do.
- Check Tire Pressure – Check both tires for proper inflation. This information can be found on the side of the tire. You’ll be surprised how quickly pressure will drop on your bike. Road bikes can lose up to 20-30 psi in just a few days. Check the tire treads for excessive wear or other damage.
- Check Brakes – Spin the wheels to check for rubbing and then apply the brakes to ensure they stop the bike smoothly and evenly. Check the brake pads for excessive wear.
- Check Cables and Housing – Check all cables and housing to make sure there is no fraying or splitting (leaking for hydraulic brakes.) Usually you can do a visual check on mechanical cables. Also, if the lever doesn’t pull smoothly and return to the original position smoothly, you may want to investigate further. For hydraulic brakes, test pressure when compressing to make sure it doesn’t compress into the grip. Also, make sure there is no leaking where the cables attach to the brake and the levers at both ends.
- Check Quick Release Levers on Wheels – Check the wheel quick release levers to ensure they are tight and secure. A good rule of thumb is when you close the quick release lever it should leaves an impression in the palm of your hand.
- Check the tightness of cranks and all other nuts and bolts. (If you own a full-suspension bike ensure bolts are tight on all rear suspension linkage parts.) If you have a torque wrench, usually the setting is 120 IN-LB /15 N-M. If you don’t have a torque wrench, do your best to make sure the bolts are snug. We strongly recommend using a torque wrench to prevent over tightening that may result in damaged bolts or other components. It’s also good to check each bolt on the frame and components (when possible) to make sure that they are tight.
- Check Shifting – Check that your bicycle is properly shifting through all the gears. If you need assistance with adjusting your derailleur we recommend the following instructional video. Adjust Rear Derailleur, Adjust Front Derailleur
- Check Chain Wear and Lubrication – Check for dirt and proper lubrication. A good rule of thumb on lubricating is if you touch the chain and dirt or grime comes off on your hand, you should clean it. For lubrication, if the chain is dry to the touch, it needs to be lubricated. Don’t over lubricate your chain, either. Here are a couple different kits to help you keep your drive train clean. Check the chain for over stretching. Put a ruler on the chain and measure 6 inches. The links should line up at the 0 and 6 inch mark on your tape measure. If the links do not line up on the 0 and 6 inch mark it may be time to replace your chain.
Perform a low-speed ride to ensure that your bicycle is functioning properly. If everything seems to be in order get out and enjoy your ride!
Safety and Emergency Repair Checklist
These are some items that we recommend having with you when you go out on a bicycle ride.
- Have a helmet that fits properly
- Carry a toolkit for basic repairs, including a pump, wrenches, patch kit, or spare tube, etc. Many companies sell accessory kits that include these tools.
- Carry your driver’s license or some other form of ID.
- Carry emergency contact information as well as any medical information that may be needed in-case of an accident
- First aid kit
- Reflectors and flashing rear safety light
- Wear brightly-colored clothing to improve visibility
- Carry a map or cue sheet to ensure you don’t get lost
- Energy foods, snacks or extra cash
- Bring adequate water in a bottle or hydration pack
- Carry a few dollars for emergencies
*We recommend becoming familiar with how to repair a flat tire before you hit the road/trail. It is always a good idea to practice changing or patching a tube at home before you need to do it on the road/trail. If you are unsure how to change a tube please feel free to watch our instructional videos. Mountain Bike Tube, Road Bike Tube
Here is as close to the truth as I could get…
Imagine if a hockey goalie never stretched? The first pass across the crease would lead to a torn groin. So, obviously stretching is good right?
There are a fair amount of studies available on stretching. One shortfall of some of them is that they make a broad conclusion based on a study using a specific activity. For example, in the conclusion of a study performed on sprinters, the authors worded it in a way that leads you to believe that stretching does not reduce the risk of injury in any sport that involves sprinting. The reality is that there is so much more than sprinting in many sports. Basketball involves jumping, football involves explosive movements against resistance, and hockey involves twisting while shooting.
The general answer to whether or not stretching is good is YES. However, for endurance athletes the timing of stretching makes a difference. When you pick apart the studies, what you find is that for endurance activities such as jogging, swimming, and biking, stretching just prior to the workout or event actually inhibits performance and endurance. This even holds true in sprinters. However, stretching after a workout remains to have favorable benefits in studies.
The ideal warm-up for swimming, biking, and running alike does not involve sitting on the ground stretching. Static stretching (holding a particular stretch) actually inhibits muscle firing and is shown to decrease muscle endurance and power. Therefore, this shouldn’t be done prior to your workout or competition (YAY, no more 10 minute boring stretching sessions).
However, a particular type of warm-up is shown to stretch muscle “just enough” and ready muscles for the upcoming activity. This involves dynamic warm-up drills, such as form running (high knees, striders, shuffle, etc).
What About Our Beloved Foam Rollers?
The foam roller can be a very beneficial tool, however it should be used in moderation. The primary theory behind it is that it affects the golgi tendon organ (GTO). Whether it is the stimulus to the GTO that makes foam rolling beneficial or not is a debated topic. What matters most is that people do well using foam rollers.
For endurance athletes, I do not recommend using the foam roller prior to a workout. It also should not be excruciatingly painful. It should be no more painful than a mildly firm massage. Following a workout, I recommend using the foam roller very lightly for no more than one minute per region (example: quads). The rolling should be slow, and again…light! Later that evening, such as before bed, you can use the roller a little more aggressively, but again, no more painful than a mildly firm massage.
Summary and Solutions
In the end, stretching is a good thing for endurance athletes, just not before a workout or competition. Instead, endurance athletes should perform “dynamic movements” to achieve the proper stretch. By easing into your workout over 5-10 minutes, your muscles will have time to adapt and be ready for the heavy workload.
Following your workouts, spend 5 minutes stretching. It is not necessary to hold an intense stretch for a minute, rather hold for 8-10 seconds and move on to the next body part. If you wish to use a foam roller, do so lightly following your workout (not before!).
Have you ever had your disc brakes squeal or vibrate? This is an issue for a lot of bikers with disc brakes, and it’s not specific to Avid brand of disc brakes, it happens with Shimano, Formula, and Magura. It’s often asked what can be done to prevent squeaky disc brakes, and there are a lot of different answers to be found online. Our friends at Avid provided us with a great set of instruction on how to prevent the squeal and vibration sometimes experienced in disc brakes.
Rotor and Brake Pad Bed-in
To achieve full braking power the brake pads and rotors should be fully bedded in before the first ride. Proper bed in can prevent noise and vibration in a system, if done incorrectly these problems cannot be solved without pad and/or rotor replacement.
The purpose of bed in is to apply a thin even layer of pad material to the brake rotor. At a basic level this layer allows the brake pad material to generate friction on the rotor surface in use. Bed in should be done on a new brake and after any pad/rotor replacement.
To achieve proper bed in the rotors and pads must be brought to operating temperature allowing a transfer and then allowed to cool fully. During this process it is very important the rotor does not come to a complete stop with the brakes applied, this can create a thicker layer of material at one point leading to vibrations later in use.
To bed in a rotor:
1) Select a riding area which allows for a moderate speed, for safety remain seated.
2) Accelerate to a moderate speed and apply brakes evenly, slowing to a walking pace. It is important to prevent a complete stop. Do this 20 times, braking power will increase during this process.
3) Accelerate to a slightly higher speed and apply the brakes, slowing to a walking pace. Do this 10 times, do not come to a complete stop.
4) Allow the brakes to fully cool before riding.
After the bed in process the brakes should operate at full power without noise.
With these tips and proper maintenance you are ready for fun trail rides that are free from squeaky brakes and mechanical issues. For questions please comment below or contact us.
If you’re like me, you hate to see the warm weather go. Cold temperatures force us back to the trainers or Indoor Spinning classes from great rides like Moab’s Slick rock, the Alpine Loop, and endurance races like Ranatad, Lotoja, and Salt to Saint. Consequently, this can be a good opportunity to focus on the fundamentals of cycling for both the road bike and the mountain bike. Winter is also the perfect time to rejuvenate your body with a periodization schedule.
At the end of the season I go back to a base building period that involves keeping my heart rate in an aerobic zone. I do this for 2 ½ months then I add strength zone which takes heart rate up about 10%. This is followed by adding in intervals at 92% Heart Rate (HR). This base building has many rewards including fully recovering from the stresses of intense exercise and competition, and gaining a larger cardiovascular base. Many athletes believe that the path to increasing fitness, power, and speed is to keep a high intensity or volume of training without interruption. Although it is easy to feel that any break in this kind of training will result in setback, the truth is that the real gains in fitness and strength come in the rest and regeneration periods between hard workouts or training cycles.
You’ll enjoy these other numerous benefits from aerobic training:
Increased fat metabolism: the body prefers fat for fuel at this rate.
Better performance: improves VO2 max (oxygen use during exercise).
Stronger immune system: increases number of macrophage and T-cells (our fighter cells).
Increased resistance to fatigue: The more effective the heart is as a pump, the better it efficiently provides more oxygen to the body.
Lower risk of heart disease.
Increased general stamina: We build more capillaries thereby creating less work for the heart over time for the same cardiac output.
I suggest finding a good spinning instructor who knows how to train for endurance, strength, and competition. I train my students at the Orem Fitness Center. We have just started our Periodization program so we’ll be more fit; ready to compete and enjoy staying with the pack on group rides and centuries. Come indoors and spend some time training with me until you can get reacquainted with your good friend, the road bike. I have taught Spinning for over 8 years. I do endurance races and triathlons for Fezzari Bicycles. Let’s build a stronger body together. Here is a good aerobic workout that I tried out in my class for you who prefer the trainers.
Objective: increase leg strength in aerobic zone
10 min. warm-up
3 min. small hill climb (elevate HR to 75% or level 5)
2 min. mod. Hill climb ( HR to 80% or level 6)
1 min. heavy hill climb ( maintain HR. focus on relaxation and breathing)
1 min. on flat road. Repeat
Rolling Hills: In the saddle
Add gear every 20 sec. 3 gears ( try and hold same cadence) off 3 gears
Add gear every 15 sec. 4 gears ( know your limits) off 4 gears
Add gear every 10 sec. 5 gears (put your ego aside and slow cadence) off 5 ( I take 30 sec. In between each set to recover)
Add gear every 30 sec. 6 gears ( last gear out of saddle for 15 sec.) off 5
Add gear every 20 sec. 5 gears (last gear out of saddle for 15 sec.) off 4
Add gear every 15 sec. 4 gears (last gear out of saddle for 15 sec.) off 3
Add gear every 10 sec. 3 gears (stay seated) off 3
(take 1-2 min. to recover)
Flat road. Cadence 100 rpm. Add 3 gears without slowing cadence. Hold for 30 sec. Slow down to about 80rpm. Add 3 gears w/o slowing down. Hold for 20 sec.
Slow down to 60 rpm. Add 3 gears w/o slowing down. Hold for 10 sec. Recover 1 min. Repeat.
Finish off with light resistance hold for 2 min. then add tempo bursts until HR leaves zone (maybe 10-20 sec.) slow down and wait for HR drop.
Repeat. See how many you can do in 5 min.
Cool Down 10 min. Easy pedal.
For information about Orem Fitness Center Spinning classes: visit http://rec.orem.org
Written by: Audra Jeske
All of us have heard the name “Pilates” from celebrity fitness gurus and sub-urban moms, but you may be wondering, what is Pilates, and how can it make you better at cycling?
What Is Pilates?
Pilates is a fitness and strengthening system developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. The system focuses on building strength and flexibility mainly in the abdomen, chest, arms, back and buttocks, which typically are the weakest muscles on a road or mountain bikers physique.
Pilates Guide Marguerite Ogle made this observation while watching the Tour de France.
“As with most sports, in bicycling there are common pitfalls like repetitive stress on certain muscle groups and the accompanying uneven development of the musculature.”
In other words, we as cyclists tend to have highly-developed legs, but frequently without the same sort of muscular conditioning of the upper body.
In order to strengthen the commonly underdeveloped muscles try these three Pilates exercises:
Front Support/Plank Exercise: Works Arms, Core, Butt and Legs.
Position your body on all fours with either your hands flat on the floor or your upper body resting on your forearms. Pull your tummy in and straighten your legs one at a time so your body creates a straight line. Be conscious that you do not sag through your shoulder blades or hips. If your arms are straight, keep your elbows soft; not locked. Hold for two sets of five slow breaths. Increase the number of breaths as you gain in strength.
Pilates Push Up: Works Arms, Core, butt and Legs.
Assume regular push-up position with hands shoulder width, arms and feet directly behind you. While keeping your head and spine in-line, lift one leg up off the ground eight inches.
Do 6-10 push-ups or until failure in this tripod position while tightening core to your hold leg steady off the ground, and rest on knees for 30-60 seconds. Again while tightening core and keeping feet the same distance apart, lift leg off ground and complete your set with 6-10 push-ups or until failure.
Pilates Swimming: Works Lower Back, Butt, Core and Shoulders.
Lie flat on stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you, with legs outstretched behind you.
Before you begin squeeze inner thighs and heels together. When ready, tighten core and flex butt, slowly lifting chest off mat with arms extended away from you and about 6 inches off ground in a superman position. Without straining lower back, lift legs off the mat. Begin alternating arms and legs up and down in an even rhythm of swimming. Think of elongating your body and stretching your arms as far away as possible, pointing hands and feet. Make sure not to rock your core back and forth, keep as steady as possible on the ground while keeping tension out of neck.
Swim for 24 beats or six full breaths to complete one set.
If Swimming strains back or muscles to much try the modified swimming movement. Get on all fours and with the same idea, switch arms and legs in an alternating rhythm, stretching one arm and leg at a time. Make sure to not drop hips or arch back, engage abdominal to maintain tightened back angle. Swim for 24 beats to complete one set.
Athletes of all sports recognize the importance of cross training, more importantly weak-point training. Pilates being a program that is tailored to cyclists, should be utilized by all who wish to take their fitness to the next level. Be sure to check out the Top 5 Weight Lifting Exercises for Cyclists for additional cross training tips.
Also, If you are looking to improve your fitness further, Take a look at the Cycling Computers we offer for accurate exercise tracking and statistics.
Winter is on its way in and temperatures are declining. Temperatures and shorter daylight hours can make it difficult to keep your body in the shape you want. Whether you are new to competitive cycling, a seasoned racer, or just looking to better your fitness, there are a few simple steps to improving your abilities in preparation for the coming season.
1. Setting Goals
When entering the off-season, the first step to a successful upcoming year is planning. Take a look at your previous season and assess which aspects went well and which didn’t turn out as expected. Think of what you want to improve on this year, set a few goals, and make necessary plans to reach those goals. Perhaps you had great endurance but not very much power. Maybe you felt fast on the flats but not as quick up the climbs. Adjust your training to improve your weakest areas of riding.
Plan out your approaching race/ride calender and focus on the events most important to you. You’ll want to be hitting your peak fitness at these times. Planning can make a huge difference in your season.
2. Decrease Training Intensity
Fall/Winter is a time to slow down your training intensity. If you were to train year-round at your maximum ability, you are likely to burn out much too early. Instead, you want to start your off season at a much lower intensity, then gradually work your way back up to your peak when the time is right.
To regulate yourself, you should consult a target heart rate diagram easily found online. You can customize your own training plan to your age and limitations. First you need to determine your Maximum Heart Rate (mhr). One method to determine your age adjusted mhr is to use this equation.
Male: 220 – (age) = mhr
Female: 226 – (age) = mhr
Once you have your mhr, you can effectively plan your off-season. Start slow by riding at 50-60% of your mhr. In a month or two bump it up to 60-75% mhr. Next, when early spring hits, you can jump up to 75-85% mhr. Then, when the event season starts, you can increase up to 85-100% mhr. Not only will this allow your body to work its way back up to peak fitness without overtraining, but you will increase your endurance by training your body to work at different heart rate zones. To more effectively monitor your heart rate, check out the cycling computers we offer.
There are many approaches to building your base level of cardio. For a great article on base training be sure to check out Garret Rock’s article – The Importance of Base Building: Heart Rate Training
3. Add Variety
It can be difficult to get out and train often in the Winter, especially if you live in a cold climate, but there are many activities you can do to stay fit.
- Get a trainer or rollers. They are simple to use and you can stay fit while riding your bike without leaving the house. Check out the Cycleops trainers we carry.
- Running, swimming, tennis, basketball, soccer, cross-country skiing, and snow-shoeing are great for cross-training
- Pick-up some leg and arm warmers to keep warm when its cold out
- Start interval training more when you get closer to the race season.
The off-season is a great time to use weights to your advantage. Weight lifting can build and tone your muscles while increasing your muscle endurance. Although your legs will be most important to improve, focusing on other muscle groups will improve your overall athleticism as well. The goal isn’t to bulk up, but to increase endurance. This is best achieved by using smaller weights with higher reps. For an in depth article about specific weight training exercises, make sure to check out – Top 5 Weight Lifting Exercises for Cyclists
Make sure you are having fun throughout this process! Following these steps will improve your riding ability and help you have a more enjoyable year. Good Luck!