Wednesday, December 12, 2012

West Seattle store manager Reinout and I were in Morgan Hill California last week at Specialized learning the latest on bicycle fitting and product knowledge.  Here is a 5 minute video I made to try to capture some of the experience.  You tube of Coach Craig at Specialized
Let me know what you think, we drank the cool-aid so we love it.

Coach Craig

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another newsletter from us, good stuff in here!

Your Fitness is our Passion- Coaching - Gear - Classes - Bikes - Private Lessons - Bikefitting
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Highlights & Headlines

Bike Advocacy in Seattle
Cycle U coach Lang Reynolds talks about the importance of "spreading the bike gospel."
Tacx Flow and PowerBeam trainers for sale!
See below for more info about great deals on our used trainers.

Reports from the front: Black Diamond sprint triathlon
Coach Colin Gibson shows up and wins it all.

Chris Ragsdale's quest for RAAM 2013
The Cycle University/Apex Racing team and Cycle University are hosting a fundraising event for Chris Ragsdale's 2013 quest to Race Across America (RAAM).
Vote Cycle U Best of Western Washington!
Cycle U is in the running for best bike shop of Western Washington! Click here to vote now! Voting ends Oct 12. If we win, you get a party!



From the Dean...

As I sit at our new West Seattle training center, staring at the Computrainers and multiple projectors and listening to great music, I am blown away by the progress Cycle U has made in the last year. Like any journey to a new destination, when I started Cycle Univeristy 8.5 years ago I had a vision of where we were going and how I wanted to help people enjoy cycling, but I had no idea how we were going to get there. Looking back on it, asking for help was the one thing that allowed us to survive and thrive. From our first employees Adrian, Kristi and Lang to our latest additions Scott, Reinout and Jessi, I had no idea how key it was to have the right people advising and coaching us. I found out that even the coach needs coaches.

I just met with our Specialized rep, Regan, and despite all the hell and turmoil of moving a store, people coming and going, and dealing with all the unknowns that faced us in the last year, we have come out stronger and healthier than ever. This is not my doing. The more I get out of the way and let Cycle U develop with the guidance and care of the great people here, the better we become as a company. The more I try to do (trying to do it all), the less I accomplish. Focus is everything. Just like riding a bike, it takes focus to keep the wheels out of dangers way. It's like texting and driving: you can only do one well. Now I listen to my financial coach, my human resources coach, my retail coach, my marriage coach, and the compounding of the changes I make based on this coaching is making a dramatic improvement across the board. Some of the changes you might notice:

There will be no more Cycle U road team. We just merged with a great group of guys called Apex who have a dialed-in team that offers much more than we ever could to developing racers. We will keep coaching and teaching and we will share the jersey with Apex, but this is another example of simplifying and focusing on what we do best: gear and coaching. We still have a thriving Triathlon team and Junior team, just not the same road team.

No more Spin Classes. Although we use the term Spin Class to describe what we do, we have changed our format completely and now only offer Indoor Cycling with a Coach. We call it Indoor Cycling Elite, or ICE for short. Your coach is next to you and in front of you at each class. Your coach is not getting their own workout or trying to talk over their own heavy breathing like a spin instructor. We invested heavily in new equipment to help you achieve performance breakthroughs and give you accurate feedback so you can see your progress. Classes are rolling daily at both locations. Stop in and check it out! Our listing of current class times and days arehere.

I have date nights at least once a month (actually had 2 last week) and am riding my bike more, both of which are keys to staying married and happy.

There is great momentum, born from a thousand small steps you take daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, that can overcome setbacks. If you keep going through the highs and lows, past the kicks to the gut and surprises, past the disappointments, past the nay-sayers, and keep looking at your goal and dreaming about your destination, you will get there (or to someplace better). The battle is not won on any one day, but merely recognized like coming out of a fog and seeing that you have gotten to a place you barely recognize, a place beyond the dream that set you on your journey. Cycle U is now becoming more clear to me as I get out of the way and let trusted advisors do their jobs, and I really like what I see. Thanks for being a part of it and for allowing us to help you find your destination. We are here to coach and advise you on the road to better performance and health.

All the best to a great winter season,

Craig Undem
About Craig....Craig's lifelong passion is cycling and endurance sport. Since beginning with a collegiate race in 1983 and eventually racing in the World Championships of Cyclocross, winning a World Cup medal in Mountain Bike Racing, placing 2nd in the US in Elite Criterium Championships, racing Track and Triathlon, he has earned the equivalent of a Doctorate in Cycling on the bike.
Off the bike Craig has been a professional cycling coach since 1996, is currently the Director of Junior racing in the state of Washington, CEO and founder of Cycle University, Washington State Bicycle Racing Association Board member, former board member of the Marymoor Velodrome and Cyclocross Association and sought after speaker, coach and fitness expert.
 
 
Articles & Details

Bike Advocacy in Seattle
By Coach Lang Reynolds


It may come as no surprise that an avid cyclist such as myself believes getting more people on bikes in the US could address many of the most pressing problems facing this country today. It's even less surprising if you know I first started riding more seriously when I began commuting to middle school and kept it up throughout high school, trying to convince my friends to ride with me, organizing a bike- to- school event at local middle schools, and otherwise spreading the bike gospel.

When I started racing, though, I became... well... rather lazy, and didn't participate in or contribute much at all to the more utilitarian aspects of cycling. It's a strange contradiction that while having in common the use of a bike, racing is often far removed from or in direct opposition to the meliorative effects of cycling. After four-plus hours of hard training, the last thing I wanted to do was get back on a bike to ride to work or the grocery store, and driving or flying hundreds of miles many weekends throughout the season burned more gas than I would care to calculate. While many racers do a great job of commuting and otherwise being good "bike citizens," if you're like me and would like to get more involved in promoting cycling here in Seattle, I've put together below some good organizations, resources and initiatives which could benefit greatly from more voices of support from the racing and recreational cycling communities.

Why should we care? First off, increasing cycling participation and infrastructure greatly improves the safety of cycling, an obvious benefit to anybody that rides a lot. Just this week another professional cyclist was killed by a car in Spain, and closer to home just about everybody has been or knows someone who has been injured in a car/bike accident. Recent data out of Philadelphia confirm other studies which show increases in the number of cyclists on city streets leads to a decrease in traffic accidents involving cyclists. Additionally, there are of course the long-touted benefits of reduced pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and gasoline use. There are also many less-well-publicized yet very significant economic benefits of cycling which can bolster local economies while reducing energy use and congestion. Data from across the US show that people who bike to shops and restaurants spend more than those who drive, building cycling infrastructure creates more jobs per dollars spent than car-oriented projects, and substituting bike trips for car trips saves consumers a lot of money, some of which finds its way back into the local economy.

There are many local organizations working hard on behalf of cycling throughout Washington - you may already be aware of Cascade Bicycle Club and Bicycle Alliance of Washington's excellent advocacy efforts. Cascade's Major Taylor Program, run by former Cycle U coach Ed Ewing, is one of the coolest local bike efforts. Every year Major Taylor gets hundreds of kids out on bikes who might otherwise not have that opportunity. Major Taylor is a great place to donate that bike you haven't used in a while. Another fantastic program for getting kids on bikes is Bike Works.

In addition to local organizations, there are many projects which need your support. Strong support from cyclists who will use the improvements is necessary to overcome gaps in funding and the unfortunately loud volume of small, localized opposition to many of these projects despite their overwhelming benefits for the community. These include projects such as the recently-postponed Ballard Greenway, the proposed (but under threat) 520 Portage Bay Bike/Ped trail, the 65th Street NE cycle track, and Safe Routes to Schools.

Here at Cycle U we're lucky enough to work with people throughout the cycling experience spectrum, from absolute beginners just starting out to hardened veterans. There is nothing quite like the unadulterated joy when someone first discovers the freedom of riding a bike or a new level of competence in adulthood after a hiatus away from bikes. At the end of the day it is this joy and the transcendental nature of riding a bike which is perhaps the best reason we work to bring cycling to as many people as we can. Over the past few years I let some complacency get in the way of things I could have done to help grow cycling here in Seattle beyond the narrow confines of serious enthusiasts. I'm looking forward to putting in more work on this in the future, and I hope you'll join me.

Tacx Flow and PowerBeam trainers for sale! 
$250 for Tacx Flows
$499 for PowerBeams
These are used trainers in good working order! Call or visit our West Seattle shop (206-432-9982) to learn more about the Tacx, and call or visit our Sand Point shop (206-523-1122) to learn more about the PowerBeams.



Reports from the front: Black Diamond Sprint triathlon
Cycle U Coach Colin Gibson, an elite road cyclist, did the Black Diamond sprint triathlon on a whim and won the whole race. (Full disclosure: he's a former collegiate swimmer. But it still shouldn't be that easy!)

I am a weak-upper-bodied cyclist, so I decided to try out the Black Diamond sprint race to see if my arms still worked after several years of using them only to spread Nutella on toast. When Cycle U employees Mary and Dameon caught wind of this, they started giving me all the essential triathlon tips and accoutrements. My game plan was simple: 1) get a wet suit and some KY jelly for speedy transitions, 2) intimidate other racers by peeing in the water before the race, and 3) don't completely suck at running.

Race day, I met up with Mary and a couple other Cycle U racers, who were in the transition zone (TZ, as the pros call it) for the ceremonial sizing up of the competition. Mary provided me with several spray bottles of a substance to apply to various parts of my body/pieces of equipment to make them slippery. I also covered my bike with this substance because I read on slowtwitch it gives you +5w.

It was clear and cold for the start of the 800m, clockwise, diamond-shaped swim, and I lined up on the far left of the beach, which was like 20 yards closer to the first buoy than where everyone else was lined up. We started, and I kicked and clawed my way to the front, following the leaders. My arms felt like the arms of an inflatable flailing-arm tube man. At one point, some milfoil touched my toe and I screamed. I wound up fourth out of the water, 20 seconds behind the leader, by which time my arms felt like the arms of a deflated flailing-arm tube man. I must not have used enough lube on my wet suit because my transition lost me another 20 seconds to the leader. I took off on the bike wet and angry with the pace car in sight.

I figured that the bike is where I would make or break my race, so I put my head down and gave 'er. I took over the lead at about mile 4. By the start of the run, I had about 2 minutes on 2nd and 3rd. At this point, I almost decided to skip the run and just observe the procession of Olympic-distance racers making incredible pratfalls on the topographically complex and water-saturated grass of the transition area. Remembering the undoubtedly huge cash purse available to me, I thought better of it and took off running for the first of two laps on the dirt trail around the lake.

The run was only 2.8 miles, but I had no time checks to my pursuers, so I was running like Jerry Seinfeld after he stole the marble rye from the old lady. Still, after a mile, I heard the pitter-patter of steps behind me, and saw a runner approaching. Figuring my goose was cooked, I slowed up to let him catch me, only to realize that he was on a relay team! We worked together to set pace for the second lap, and then I attacked him with a few hundred yards to go to cross the line clear.

For my efforts, and beneath a banner advertising a gluten-free nutrition product, I was given a loaf of wheat bread and a trophy.

Thanks to Mary and Dameon for the support and advice!

Chris Ragsdale's quest for RAAM 2013
The Cycle University/Apex Racing team and Cycle University are excited to announce our first fundraising event for Chris Ragsdale's 2013 quest to Race Across America (RAAM). Chris, a Seattle native, is considered America's premier ultra distance cyclist and a favorite to win the 2013 RAAM. Over the last few years, Chris has amassed an amazing list of palmar├ęs while overcoming severe physical setbacks and hopes to add 2013 RAAM to this list with the help of an amazing support crew and You. Please join us at the West Seattle Cycle University location to learn more about Chris and Team Ragsdale's preparation for 2013 RAAM. A leisurely ride with Chris and his team will follow the 30-40 minute presentation. This is a great chance to meet and support an amazing local athlete as well as a true ambassador of cycling and we hope to see you there. Please feel free to pass the event information and below RSVP info on to others.

Please RSVP for this event here.

To learn more about Chris before the event go to: http://ragsdaleridesagain.com/default.html

Event Details
----------------------
What: Come meet America's premier ultra distance cyclist Chris Ragsdale and learn about his 2013 quest to Race Across America
Who: You!
When: Sat Oct 20, 2012, 10 am - noon PDT
Where: Cycle University (West Seattle Location)
3418 Harbor Avenue Southwest Seattle, WA 98136


Chris Ragsdale ramping up. Photo courtsey of http://ragsdaleridesagain.com

Wednesday, August 1, 2012



favorite route through seattle North Bound
From our July newsletter....

Went fishing yesterday. Up at 5:30, grabbed my 9 year old and headed for Edmonds, on the water with fresh bait by 6:10 am. Now my son is a natural fisherman, but lacks focus at times. To catch the morning bite and avoid burning Matthew out, our goal was to fish low tide at 8am, then back in the marina by 10 am. We want him to like fishing.

We had three poles working from the gun and changed locations to "the honey hole" off Bainbridge by 7:15am. By 9:30-10 am my son was losing steam, we both had fallen asleep at times, and he was starting to ask when we were going home. I went to the front of the boat with Matthew and distracted him with a school of porpoises in the distance, while Clem worked his magic with the poles. I decided to tell Matthew my fishing secret. This secret has worked for me countless times, but what blows me away is that it works in fishing, a sport you have very little control over.

After our little talk on the bow we head back to the poles and we decide we are going to fish till 10:30. Still no luck, so we pull in 2 of the 3 poles and it is now 10:29. One pole left in the water and we decide we need to head back. Clem pulls the pole out of the holder and pops the line off the weight and guess what. He looks at the tip as it dives down "I think there is something on there."

Now to be honest, when I gave Matthew the talk about how to think about fishing for success, I questioned whether to share my technique with him. Visualization techniques are kinda "weird" and you don't want your kid to think you are a whack job for thinking about how something that isn't true in the moment affects the future like magic. But since it has worked so well for me, and he has a big swim meet coming up, I figured even if we got skunked it was a teachable moment.

But my visualization was that we had a "boatful of fish", not just one. When Clem brought in the first one we celebrated and couldn't believe that we were down to the last 30 seconds of our fishing time, and caught one just when we thought we had lost. Clem and I talked for a moment about how often this pattern plays out, you work hard toward something, you have a clear goal, yet you aren't getting any better/closer/faster. You plateau and sometimes you go backwards. It is never a straight line. It gets you wondering why you started in the first place. Fears of losing, doubt about your ability, negative ideas on your wasted time/money/energy/sanity can creep in.

"When you try sometimes...you just might find...you get what you need." My favorite Rolling Stones lyric. I could go on here about how you need to push it to the limit, beyond the limit, give it everything you've got, fail 1000 times, get back up and do it again. And when you are ready to give up, have had enough, are pulling your final pull before you throw your bike off a cliff, you might be surprised to find yourself among select company, reaching exactly the goal you had set for yourself, or pulling in your third fish when you had reached no reasonable hope. (We didn't see another net pulling fish into boats our entire time on the water).



The visualization technique? Think about what success is for you, ie. "we have a bunch of fish in the boat and are happy" and feel how good it feels. Imagine it like it has already happened and think on that feeling for a moment. Go to the finish line and enjoy the moment, practice how good it will feel. Hey, what is the worst thing that can happen?

...you get what you neeeeeed...ah yeaaaaa!

Spin to win,

Craig Undem

P.S. It helps to fish with guys who know what they are doing and train with the Pros at Cycle U.
P.P.S. I am riding to cure Diabetes Sept. 8th at the MS150. Please click here to donate to help end this disease. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

West Seattle Cycle U Grand Opening June 2012


Indoor Cycling entry 


Accessorize


Mens department


Best Service in West Seattle


Bikes and everything else 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Colin's DIY Tips: Homemade Energy Gel

As a part-time spin instructor and full-time dirtbag bike racer, I'm often asked: how do you cut back on the expensive costs associated with racing? While I still consider myself a relative newcomer to racing, I've amassed a few such tricks, some of which are too shameful to blog about, but some of which I want to share with our readers. By following my un-copyrighted advice, you too can save a few dollars by simply investing an inordinate amount of time pursuing cheaper alternatives. Here goes!

Energy gel is a well-known form of sports nutrition, especially among endurance athletes, and there are several companies that make gel products. Let's look at some stats on a few of them, and see why they're so popular.

(taken from guenergy.com)

Macronutrients: Each of the products above derives 100% of its energy from carbohydrate. Aside from Clif Shots, the above gel products use maltodextrin as their primary ingredient. Maltodextrin has unique characteristics. It has a low glycemic index, meaning that it prompts both relatively low insulin release and blood sugar spike. It is also one of the most efficiently and quickly absorbed complex carbohydrates, meaning that your body doesn't have to divert much energy to digestion.

All the gels use some sugar, constituting between 8% and 27% of total energy. While secondary to maltodextrin, sugars provide an early burst of energy, as well as providing flavor.

Micronutrients: Aside from carbohydrate, the gels above use different mixes of electrolytes (sodium, potassium), antioxidants (Vitamins C and E), caffeine, and amino acids. With doses of all of these in a single 1-oz serving, gel is an efficient way of packing in several nutrients at once. You could drink a cup of coffee, have a sports drink with electrolytes, and take an amino acid supplement, but gel's all-in-one appeal is part of why they are so popular.

Each of these ingredients can have legitimate benefits, but for the purposes of this post (creating a cheap and customizable substitute), they are not the primary motive for using gel nutrition. It is easy enough to make sure that your off-the-bike diet contains enough protein and amino acids so that you can ride or race your bike without becoming protein deficient, and personally, I wouldn't give up coffee even if I took 200mg in caffeine through gels on a race day. The core benefit of gels is the carbohydrate maltodextrin, so let's get to making your own.

I've experimented with adding in various micronutrients, but we'll start with a simple recipe: fruit juice and maltodextrin. For the fruit juice, I'm fond of POM juice. For the maltodextrin, you can find several corn-derived brands at shops like Super Supplements and GNC, or online for even cheaper:

(gel can be made using only fruit juice and maltodextrin powder)

First is setting your ratio of powder to liquid. A good starting point is 3:1. This will make a gel that isn't too viscous, but that still packs a good deal of energy. Using 1c POM juice and 3c NOW maltodextrin yields a little over 16oz of gel totaling 1300 kcal, including 300g maltodextrin and 34g sugar. The cooking process is very simple. Heat the juice in a pot to just below simmering, and add the powder.

(maltodextrin powder before dissolving)

Anyone who has used corn starch before knows that it takes a bit of time to dissolve into water. The same goes for maltodextrin, as it is also corn-derived. After a minute in the juice, the powder will settle into insulated clumps:


With occasional stirring and time, these clumps will open up, releasing the powder into the juice.


If you think that the gel doesn't look as thick as you'd like it to be, remember that, heated, it will be thinner than it is at room temperature. Once the powder clumps have dissolved, turn off the heat, let the gel cool a bit, and place it in a container.


At this point, the gel is best refrigerated, as it doesn't contain the preservatives found in most gels.

Now you have ride-ready nutrition! Just load some up in a Hammer Flask, or mix some into a water bottle and you're ready to go. I like to prep my gel on a Thursday or Friday before a weekend of racing so that I have enough to last. For a stage race with two 3-hour road races, a 20-minute TT and an hour-long crit, I'll make 800kcal for each road race, and 200kcal to take shortly before both the TT and the crit.

As I said at the beginning of this post, making your own gel to save money can be a case of false economy, with the amount of time and energy you spend making it outweighing the money saved. But if you're a tinkering type, or are interested in tweaking your ride nutrition with changes in sugar ratios, additions of vitamins, caffeine, amino acids, and other micronutrients, then homemade gel can be a fun project.

Happy Riding!

Colin

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Outdoor Spring Summer Class Catelog


Stop by either location and check out all the outdoor classes we have to offer through September.















We are the only endurance school in the world offering these innovative and popular programs.






Thursday, March 24, 2011

West Seattle Team






Tom Kirkendall is a great photographer and stopped by the West Seattle shop yesterday and took some great pics for his next book on NW Outdoors folks.

Very flattered, left to right Craig, Brad, David and Catherine.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2011 Power Meter and Head Unit Review

Part I of II: Power Meters

By Lang Reynolds - 3/2011


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A lot has happened in the power meter marketplace since my last review a few years ago. The advent of the ANT+ wireless transmission standard has opened a whole new world of possibilities in head unit selection and some exciting new power meters are on the horizon. Other products have failed and been taken off the market, which is mostly a good thing in those cases.


Power meters are still expensive, but they are also still the most effective tool you can add to your arsenal if you’re looking to improve performance. By providing a complete record of your effort on every ride, you can measure your fitness level in the different physiological systems, determine your strengths and weaknesses in races, and track your overall training stress over longer periods of time. Power meters can also be used prescriptively, to ensure a precise workout and harness correct pacing in time trial and solo efforts.


When shopping for a power meter, it’s best to start by determining your budget. Then, consider the equipment you have – how many and what type of bikes do you want to use with your PM, and what kinds of wheels do you have? No matter which PM you choose, you will have to make sacrifices in equipment choice. Getting a PowerTap locks you into using that wheel (although you can move it between bikes) while getting an SRM lets you use any wheels, but locks you into one bike. Unless PM prices fall dramatically there is just no way around these compromises. So after determining how much money you have to spend, take a little time to decide which equipment sacrifices you are willing to make. Just remember, the data from a power meter (when analyzed correctly) are far more valuable in improving performance than a few grams of weight or some carbon wheel.


One thing that cannot be compromised, however, is accuracy. I hear a lot of people say (regarding certain cheaper PMs that are not accurate) “well, even if it’s not accurate, as long as it is consistent it should be fine.” First of all, absolute accuracy is very important because it allows you to make comparisons across individuals, and also within an individual’s data set over time. If you buy one PM today and another one two years down the road, you need to be able to compare your data from your first PM with that of your new one.


Secondly, and more importantly, these PMs that are not accurate are also not consistent. This is very important because changes in fitness over the course of a season can sometimes be very small, on the order of just a few percent or sometimes even less than that. If your power meter is not sufficiently accurate, it is impossible to determine whether the changes you are seeing in the data are due to changes in your fitness, or just the capriciousness of your PM. If you don’t have confidence in your data, then the PM is not an effective tool because you have no concrete connection between the training stress you’ve applied and the changes in fitness you are attempting to measuring. An inaccurate PM, therefore, is a useless PM. PMs are not like race wheels or bike frames, where you can buy a less expensive product that delivers a large percentage of the performance of the higher-end model for a fraction of the cost. In the world of PMs, there is an accuracy threshold below which the products are not worth buying. Unlike a lot of other publications in the cycling industry, I’ve actually performed my own extensive testing on many of the products in the marketplace, and I’m not afraid to point out the ones which have failed these tests.


Without further ado, here is a rundown of the PMs now available:


PowerTap

PowerTap is still the industry leader in PMs as they continue to provide the best combination of accuracy, affordability, reliability, ease of use, and user serviceability. At +/-1.5%, PowerTaps remain the most accurate factory-rated PM on the market. CycleOps hasn’t changed too much about the PowerTap line since I last wrote, but they have updated all of their wireless models to the ANT+ standard for use with the next generation of head units such as Garmin GPS computers. They’ve made their top of the line hub lighter and added ceramic bearings, and they’ve also introduced more affordable low- and mid-range models. At $600, the wired Comp model is the most affordable PM on the market and the go-to choice for the cyclist on the budget.

Featureing great realiability, PowerTaps also have user-serviceable batteries; both hub and head unit batteries can be changed in minutes for a cost of about $5.

PowerTap hubs are available in road, track and MTB configuration. Here’s a quick breakdown of all the PowerTap models and the differences between them (Prices are for hub only):

ANT+ Wireless Hubs:

SLC+ $1849, 15mm Alloy Axle + Freehub Body, Carbon Hub Shell, Ceramic Bearings 402g

SL+ $1349, 15mm Alloy Axle + Freehub Body, Carbon Hub Shell, 412g

Pro+ $949 , 15mm Alloy Axle + Freehub Body, Alloy Hub Shell, 466g <--- Best Wireless Value

Elite+ $849, 15mm Steel Axle + Freehub Body, Alloy Hub Shell, 583g

Wired:

Comp $599, 15mm Steel Axle + Freehub Body, Carbon Hub Shell, 576g <--- Best Overall Value


Equipment tradeoffs: The PowerTap locks you into one wheel, but by getting a PowerTap laced to a rim strong enough for training but light enough for racing, such as a carbon clincher, you can have a wheel that does it all and won’t hold you back on race day. Add a WheelBuilder.com wheel cover and you also have a disc wheel for TTs that tests faster in the wind tunnel than many disc wheels .

Buy a PowerTap if: You want to use a PM on multiple different bikes.


SRM

Since our last edition, SRM has also gone wireless with their crank-based power meter, joining the ranks of ANT+ transmitted PMs. The most expensive PM on the market, SRM is in the same class of accuracy as the PowerTap, rated at +/-2%. With ANT+ data transmission, you can use any ANT+ head unit including SRM’s own PowerControl 7 or third-party units such as a Garmin or even the CycleOps Joule 2.0.

SRMs are accurate and reliable, but they are also the most expensive PMs on the market and have a few small drawbacks. One annoying fact is that most of them come from the factory calibrated with the wrong slope value, and must be user-calibrated after installation to give truly accurate readings. The slope value must also be re-calibrated when changing the chaingrings. They are also not user-serviceable and must be sent back to the SRM Service Center in Colorado when the batteries die, for a hefty servicing fee of $100+.

The SRM is also available in Road (Standard or Compact), Track and MTB configurations. For road cranks, it is available built into a variety of popular crank choices (SRAM, FSA, Shimano, Cannondale and Specialized) and ranges from $1895-$2945 for the crank only

Equipment Tradeoffs: As a crank-based PM, the SRM locks you into using just one bike, unless you are sufficiently mechanically competent and confident to switch cranks between bikes frequently. For some crank varieties (such as Cannondale) this is easier than others.

Buy an SRM if: You have plenty of money to spend and only one bike you want to use your PM with, or if you are comfortable enough mechanically to frequently switch cranks between bikes.


Quarq

One of the newer PMs on the marketplace, Quarq is a crank-based unit like the SRM, but is much less expensive. With ANT+ wireless transmission, the Quarq is also compatible with all ANT+ head units. While factory rated with +/-2% accuracy my own research has shown multiple Quarq units to have accuracy no better than 5%, which is not sufficient for use as a PM. Quarq has insisted it has remedied the accuracy issue but I have not been able to re-test any units since the improvements were announced. Additionally, because the Quarq auto-zeroes its torque reading when the crank is pedaled backward, some of our clients have had issues with their Quarqs auto-zeroing while in the start house for a TT, leading to inaccurate power readings during the TT.

While it is a promising product, until Quarq adequately resolves these accuracy issues I do not recommend purchasing one.


Garmin “Vector” Pedal-based PM

Announced to much fanfare in late 2009, the then-MetriGear Vector was to be the first pedal-based power meter. This product created a lot of buzz because, if sufficiently affordable, a pedal-based PM could potentially avoid many of the equipment compromises demanded by other PMs currently on the market. However, publicized release dates of Q1` and Q2 2010 came and went without so much as a public working prototype and despite being purchased by Garmin in late 2010, the Vector is still vaporware. While its purchase by Garmin suggests a viable product is actually in the works, the length of time the Vector has been in production and the lack of any pre-release prototypes has convinced me that the Vector is at least a year from reaching the marketplace, if not more.

Additionally given the track record of numerous bugs in the first batches of other PMs, even if the Vector is released in the next year I wouldn’t recommend buying one until after the first production run has been in the marketplace for a period of time. Therefore, my advice to those waiting on the Vector is: stop waiting. Buy an SRM or a PowerTap now, start reaping the benefits of using a PM, and in two years when the Vector has been out for a while and all the kinks have been worked out, THEN think about getting one.


Polar Pedal-Based PM

Basically the same thing goes for the Polar pedal-based PM as for the Vector. This thing is a long way from the market and it does not make sense to wait for it when there are solid products already on the market. I hope to be writing about this product in a couple years’ time after it comes out, but until then get a real PM that already exists.


iBike

The iBike calculates power by measuring all of the forces acting against the motion of a cyclist: aerodynamic drag, gravity, and rolling resistance. Unfortunately there are so many measurements necessary to make these calculations that the iBike is not accurate enough (except on hills) to be considered a true power meter. Additionally the calibrations necessary before initially using the iBike, and those necessary before each ride are so numerous and cumbersome that they make using one an exercise in frustration. Lastly, the user-interface is extremely non-intuitive and very difficult to use.

However, because the iBike can now function as an ANT+ head unit for a regular PM, it can act as a very useful training tool. When paired with a regular PM, the iBike’s wind-measuring sensors give it the ability to calculate aerodynamic drag, essentially turning your bike into a portable (and very cheap compared to the real thing) wind tunnel. Using the iBike as a wind tunnel, you can test time trial positions and equipment, and also determine your most aerodynamic position on your road bike.

I owe iBike an apology: when I wrote my first PM review I mentioned some customer service issues one of our clients had with the company. After getting some more information, it’s become apparent that iBike provides some of the best customer service in the industry and is extremely responsive in resolving any issues their customers have.

Buy an iBike if: You already have an ANT+ PM and would like to perform aerodynamic testing


Ergomo

Ergomo is now out of business, which is great because their PMs were not accurate, due to the fact that they only measured power from one crankarm. If you come across one of these in the secondary market (i.e. eBay, a friend selling one, etc.) run far away and don’t even think about buying it.



Stay tuned for Part II: Head Units


Questions about Power Meters or Training with Power? Contact Coach Lang at Lang@cycleu.com.

Cycle U has Power Tap wheels for demo or purchase, call or stop on in.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Big Climb for Leukemia! by Coach Kristi Berg

Have you heard of the "Big Climb for Leukemia"? It is this amazing event that I take part in every March to help raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We run up 69 floors (1,311 stairs) in the Columbia Tower, all to raise money to help find a cure for Leukemia.

It is an amazing experience, so painful, but so gratifying to finish. This will be my 8th year competing. I decided 8 years ago after watching my husband run the famous "Firefighter's Big Climb for Leukemia" that I wanted to also give it a try. So not being a firefighter, I found out that they also offer a civilian climb 2 weeks after the Firefighter's climb and I signed up. And being the competitive person that I am, I loved it and continue to look forward to it every year.

This year this climb has become very personal to me, I found out 2 days ago that a good friend and fellow fireman that works with my husband was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He is in his late 40’s and this has really hit home for us and the fire service.


I am the Team Captain for a team that we put together a few years back, named “Rescue Me”. The idea behind our team was that we all had to be significant others to firefighters. This year we are running the climb in honor of our good friend. I like to try to get our team to raise as much money as we can to help find a cure so your donations will help to find a cure for this horrible caner.


While we will be gasping for air running all those stairs, the real challenge is to help fight blood cancers. All proceeds benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Please support me by going to my personal Big Climb page:


It's that easy! Thanks for supporting me in the fight against blood cancers!"


Thank you so much for your support, and be thinking of my team and me on Sunday March 22nd as we all conquer another 69 floors.

Coach Kristi Berg
Cycle University

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Product Spotlight: Garmin 500


Product Spotlight: Garmin 500

by Coach Lang Reynolds


One of the biggest cycling innovations of 2010 was the expansion of GPS-based cycling computers by industry giant Garmin. After releasing the game-changing Edge 705 in 2007, Garmin upped the ante in 2010 with the release of the Edge 500 and 800 computers, which built on the strengths of the 705 to offer GPS-enabled computers in more compact packages. With the ability to receive ANT+ standard power meter data transmission, Garmin now clearly leads the pack in cycling computer technology.

After six months of using the Edge 500, I can say with confidence that it is hands-down the best cycling computer I’ve ever used. As a power meter head unit, it stands head and shoulders above the other offerings thanks to its (relative) affordability, compact size, functionality, customizability, and ease of use. At $250 MSRP, it comes in much cheaper than other ANT+ head units such as the PowerTap Joule and SRM PowerControl.

While the tradeoff for the Edge 500’s compact size is that it does not display a map of your location or allow you to follow a pre-programmed route like the 705 and 800 (it simply records the GPS data of your route), it does display pretty much all other data you could imagine. With three fully-customizable data screens and up to eight data fields per screen, the user can configure the Edge 500 to show any and all pertinent data, and nothing the user doesn’t want to see. From power metrics to altitude data to the traditional speed, distance, and cadence, the 500 can display anything you want. With climbing data such as current altitude, total climbing altitude, and vertical ascent speed, the 500 is a must-have for any climbing aficionado.

Most importantly, the Edge 500 is incredibly easy to use. It’s intuitive interface is completely plug and play and I have yet to use the instruction manual. It synchronyzes with your power meter immediately and without a lengthy search or calibration process, and can switch between two different power meters (a PowerTap or an SRM, for example) in a matter of seconds, which makes it especially useful for cyclists with multiple wireless power meters. All of the power meter’s functionality is maintained and the 500 picks up the data with identical accuracy as the stock company’s head unit.

As with any GPS computer, the on-bike functionality barely scratches the surface of the 500’s total functionality. Downloading the files to a computer opens up a whole new universe of possibility in data analysis and training archiving. Garmin offers a free web-based training resource, Garmin Connect, where you can upload and view all your files and keep a full training history. Like everything Garmin does, Garmin Connect is easy to use and incredibly useful. If you want more in-depth analysis you can also view the files in third-party software. Some of these third-party applications, such as web-based Strava, allow riders to upload and compare rides and performances on local climbs, adding a whole new dimension of virtual competition to every training ride.

In short, the Edge 500 is good. Real good. It’s so good, it inspired me to switch back to my PowerTap wheel from the wired SRM I was using earlier this summer, because, being already fully addicted to power data, after getting a taste of the GPS AND power data combined, I just couldn’t go back to plain old power data. Your results may vary.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Get your 2011 started! From the Dean

From the Dean...

Are you on track for a great 2011?

How do you decide what your goals are? How do you decide what to prioritize? How do you get more energy to tackle your goals once you set them? Do you want to get past what has stopped you in the past? Are you tired of getting dropped and not reaching your goals? If you answer yes to any of these, it is time for Advanced Focus and Motivation (AFM).

Turbo charge your focus for 2011 by choosing strong goals here are some fundamental questions everyone must ask:

#1. What worked and what didn't work this past year. What did I learn?
#2. Goals for next season. What is one or two steps higher than last year? Where can I put them where I will see them each day.
#3. What is my plan so I build on my strengths and get to next Spring as strong, focused and charged as possible.

Now as easy as these 3 steps are, how many of you have already answered them for 2011? This is where I can help. I have been developing my mental coaching skills for 20 years and can coach you to do the same and find out for yourself what reserves of focus, courage and discipline you have to make a big improvement in 2011.

I call it Advanced Focus and Motivation, AFM and it is one of my favorite things to coach, in fact I believe it is the most neglected aspect of training and the one that can make the biggest difference for any athlete. I have done it for Teams, Groups and many individuals with great success including Adrian Hegyvary and the Huskies beginning in 2004. I now want to share it with anyone wanting to improve their mental game and ramp up their rate of progress.

I am doing a free session January 8th at 4pm to kick off the new year at our West Seattle training center. Why? Because the more I teach it, the better I ingrain it for myself and I love to see everyone improving as fast as possible, no matter what your pursuit.

If you are willing to commit to making a change, even if only 1%, Email Me and I will hold a spot for you, Date: Saturday January 8th 4pm - 5pm at West Seattle. Open to the first 30 people.

Thanks for listening, now get a great plan together and go after it 2011 now!

Coach Craig

Friday, July 9, 2010

Amara - "the hill climber"

The Cycle U experience has been a blast so far, since starting a little over a month ago I am already involved in just about everything. I am teaching outdoor classes, doing private lessons, working in the shops and perfecting my mechanic skills.


However, I should have figured that Craig wanted to make me into a climber. Since working here the only classes I have taught have been hill climbing classes or bootcamps. If you know me or my riding style you know that I am a sprinter, I love the track and flat races. Ever since I started racing and riding 10 years ago hills have been a challenge for me. Whether it was weight, power, or mental issues I have never performed well in a race with a hill in it.


Teaching the hill climbing classes have made me realize how much climbing is all in your head. Sometimes in races I will find myself already at the back when a hill is approaching and I have mentally given up before it starts. When I am helping the bootcamp cadets or the other students I am assuming a climbing role and I am actually climbing well and enjoying it. I know that I can climb, I have the muscles and the form I just need to make the connection in my brain that I LOVE HILLS! Too often there is this stigma that you either love hills or you hate them, for too long I have been in the later category. Everything you do has a large mental component and climbing is one for lots of people that is hard. A few things that I am working on is forcing myself to stay in the zone mentally, tricking my brain by making smaller goals up hill, and having positive self talk when climbing.


I don't know if I will be winning any uphill TT's or hilly road races but I can tell you that I will be more mentally prepared for the hills.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shiv n Dale. Getting ready for Nats.

Dale and his SHIV!

Good luck at Nationals Dale.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Chelan Camp rocked!

Great time, great friends, great riding! (click the title above to see a sample video) Basically a climbing and descending camp with good mileage for the beginner to intermediate rider, with options for advanced. Skills we focused on were: climbing technique, standing climbing, cornering, paceline riding, fast descents, pacing on long rides, nutrition and having a damn good time.

Mark your calendars for May 12, 2011 and join us for some killer riding. It will be inexpensive and some of the best riding you can do in Washington.

Hope your riding lots and having a great early summer!

Coach Craig & the staff at Cycle U

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Indoor TT Series Final Results

The 2010 Cycle U Indoor TT Series came to a thrilling conclusion this week, with Martin Criminale (IJM.org) and Jess Cutler (Cucina Fresca) wrapping up overall victories in the Men's and Women's categories, respectively. Martha Walsh (Echelon Gran Fondo/Zteam) and Annie Richardson-Lander (Cycle U) rounded out the Women's podiumn the Men's race it was a clean sweep for IJM.org with Alex Telitsine and Dustin Van Wyck placing second and third.

Check out the full results here to see where you ended up and also check out nightly results from every race of the series. Podium finishers can look forward to some great prizes from Cycle U.

Watch out for these racers out on the roads as they put in so many solid efforts this winter they will be flying!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Indoor Time Trial Series Season - Last Race Next Wed!

As the road racing season heats up our Indoor Time Trial series comes to a close with the last night of racing next Wednesday March 17th. After several months of racing, Martin Criminale and Jess Cutler have a firm grip on the top step of the Men's and Women's podiums (respectively). Many of the other placings are up for grabs as we head into this last race so come on down next Wednesday and get in a last night of fury to secure your spot in history!






Full nightly results and current series standings can be found here

Click here to sign up for next week's race

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Time Trial Bootcamp!

Cycle University presents a valuable addition to our curriculum with the inaugural Time Trial Bootcamp February 26th and 28th. Taught by professional cyclist Adrian Hegyvary, this program will cover all aspects of time trialing and short-course triathlon cycling including: training, warm-up technique, course reconnaissance, race tactics, equipment selection, bike fit, as well as a few secrets of the pros.

Students may choose between one or two day courses. Class begins for everyone with a seminar on Friday, February 26th from 6-9pm at the Sandpoint location. This first session is indoors and will focus on the “conceptual” aspects of time trialing, with bike time limited only to fit optimization. Cost for just the seminar is $60.

Sunday’s class takes place at the Frostbite Time Trial on February 28th and offers students a chance to apply their skills in a practical environment. We will spend significant time on the bikes and get a chance to prepare, race, and evaluate performances together. Class begins on site at 7:30am and ends approximately one hour following the last rider’s finish; allow the whole morning. Cost for the whole bootcamp is $140, not including race entry; enrollment is limited to 15, please register early to guarantee a spot: http://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ws.asp?studioid=3476&stype=-8&sLoc=0



Adrian Hegyvary is a time trial specialist with the top-ranked UnitedHealthcare pro cycling team presented by Maxxis. He was a silver medalist at the 2009 Elite National TT Championships and holds numerous course records on time trials throughout the Northwest.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Indoor TT Series Update

The Indoor TT Series is now in full swing with and the competition is heating up! In the Women's series, Jess Cutler (Cucina Fresca) has overtaken perennial favorite Martha Walsh (Echelon) by just two points, while in the Men's series Martin Criminale (Thumbprint Racing) still holds a commanding lead over teammates Dustin Van Wyck and Alex Telitsine.

Standings:

Women
Name Place Total Points
Jess Cutler 1 24
Martha Walsh 2 22
Annie Richardson-Lander 3 15
Tina Zeigler 4 11
Kristen Walker 5 9

Men
Name Place Total Points
Martin Criminale 1 120
Dustin Van Wyck 2 77
Alex Telitsine 3 57
Justin Angle 4 44
Mick Walsh 5 30


Click here for the full series standings and results from every day of racing.