Race Ready 2016

I’ve been wanting to make several changes/improvements to my bike for the 2016 race season.  There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute to do it (the week of my first race).  Here are a few things I’ve done to make this year’s races even better.

Bike Fit

I’ve been having several comfort issues with my bike.  To the point, that I didn’t want to ride it more than about 30 minutes because the pain/discomfort was so awful.  I ordered a new saddle last month, and about two weeks after receiving it, I scheduled a bike fit.

I didn’t realize how much pressure and pain I was having due to not being fitted properly.  I met with Jon at Endurance House Delafield and he fixed me up in about an hour.  He made several adjustments, alleviating the stress in my shoulders and the pain and pressure I was having in the saddle.  He also moved my seat to ensure the right muscles were firing while I was riding.  I felt the burn immediately.  Underworked muscles sure do have a way of letting you know when they are activated.

Tires (and Tubes)

Because so much of our bike time has been on the trainer, my bike tires had worn considerably this winter.  This week, I put new tires on my bike.  This was the first time I ever changed a bike tire.  And it wouldn’t have been complete unless I pinched a tube.  I one-upped and successfully pinched both the front and rear inner tubes in the process.  So not only did I put on new tires, I have new tubes as well.

Cassette

Most of my races this year will be on hilly courses.  My bike setup included an 12-25 cassette.  I typically struggle with uphills, so I wanted to gain any advantage possible.  I ordered and installed a 11-28T cassette for my bike and am now looking forward to climbing hills (well, that’s a bit of a stretch, but here’s to hoping hills won’t be so dreadful).

New Tires Emily's QR

Power Meter

Over the last few months, I have been researching power meters, mainly based on the reviews from DC Rainmaker.  Because I use Speedplay pedals, my choices are a bit limited.  Earlier this year, Nick installed the Pioneer single-sided power system on his bike, but I wanted something a little different.  I finally narrowed my choice and made a decision on which power meter I would buy.  With Elkhart Lake Sprint (and the 2016 race season) fast approaching, I realized I better click the buy button, and stop analyzing my decision.  Tuesday night I purchased the PowerTap C1 chainring.  The company is located in Madison, Wisconsin, so I knew there was a possibility of receiving the power meter by Friday.  I came home for lunch Wednesday afternoon, and the power meter was at my doorstep!

Wednesday night, I installed my new power meter.  This required a little elbow grease, and some assistance from Nick.  After everything was put back together, I took my bike for a spin around the block.  Everything seems to be in great working condition.  I’m pumped for the 2016 race season!  And my bike is looking good!!

QR CD0.1 new wheels and power meter

Pioneer Single Sided Power Meter

When I got the Wahoo Kickr Snap, I thought it would be great to get power readings while I trained indoors.  I didn’t really think about not having this for race day, or even for just training outdoors.  But this number became more important to me over time and therefore I decided to invest in a power meter.  The hard part of this decision was figuring out which one to get.  Garmin Vector seemed like a logical choice, but it meant I would have to change my pedals (I use Speedplay).  While they were the number one choice for a while, I continued to read reviews and look around.  I looked at Stages, but alas, then I would be bound to a single sided meter forever.  4iiii seemed like a good choice, but then my bike would be out of commission for a few weeks while it was installed.

Then I came across Limits.  Single sided, but allowed me to keep my pedals and for relatively cheap.  The problem is that it is an Indigogo campaign and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for them.  You can read their updates on Indigogo, but I also recommend that you read DC Rainmaker (Post 1, Post 2) if you plan to go that route.  I have even seen another of these pop up on Kickstarter with a short time frame for delivery.

Ultimately, I ended up on Pioneer.  I am starting with a single side, but it is upgradable if I choose to do so later.  And, with an added Pioneer head unit, a lot of useful data is given to the user.

I have done one ride with it so far, so I want to get a few more rides in before I give a final review, but:

  1. Install was easy (really easy)
  2. First ride shows slightly higher numbers than the Kickr (is it possible I was losing something between crank and wheel?)

I’ll put up a more in depth review in a few weeks once I have had some more time with it.