Logging!

No, it’s not a new kind of workout, although Kiel Reijen from Trek Segafredo may disagree! I mean logging your miles. Well, to be honest, I don’t even mean your miles. What I am talking about is the mileage you’re accumulating on your bike and specifically the components that wear out!

Runners, well most of them, log their miles on their shoes and as cyclists there no reason why we shouldn’t too! Most certainly the “consumables” should be logged, these include tires, chains, cassettes and chain-rings. If you want to go the extra mile you can log the mileage of anything. your headset, the bottom bracket, batteries; in your power meter or lights, shoes, cleats, seats the list goes on…basically anything that wears out!

There are several benefits:

  • Anticipated maintenance; you can see when you could be ordering new parts. Align this up with your events so you know that you may need a new XYZ as you come in to Race Week!
  • Wear and Tear measure; does you bike shift and sound like a bag of horseshoes falling down the stairs…maybe that chain you “just put on” was from 6,000 miles ago?
  • Avoid a dead battery; halfway through your ride and your Power Meter goes dead or worse your front light in the dark!
  • It’s fun; this of course depends on your definition of fun!

There are several Apps/Websites where you can log this information, I’ll cover some options below:

Garmin Connect: to be honest Garmin Connect is hopeless. It allows you to have “Bike”! There is no granularity. I suppose you could add each component as  a Bike but is so simple it’s not worth bothering with.

Training Peaks: it’s much the same as Garmin Connect. It has the capability to create a Bike profile. You can add wheels and some notes. As a general odometer on your bike it works, but it’s pretty basic.

Strava:  within Strava you can add a number of Bikes and then create a list of components for each. However, it does have some limitations. If you are switching the same bike between the road and a trainer it assigns the mileage to the component regardless of the activity type. The problem with this is that you will accumulate miles on a front tire when you’re riding inside! This feature is available in the free of paid for version of Strava and is a good place to start and will give you some understanding of just how many miles your components have if you have a single use case for them.

SportTracks; you may have never heard of this platform but they’ve been around for over 10 years. Their gear tracking has all the bells and whistles you could think of. You have a fully customizable Gear Screen which allows you drill down as deep as you want and then assign each item to a specific activity. You can also nest items i.e. a Gravel Bike with a Gravel Wheelset with a Cassette and pair of Tires can be linked. Each item will individually accumulate the miles and each item will be updated when you upload a Gravel ride. Uploads come from your Garmin or Wahoo unit through Garmin Connect or Wahoo Fitness Apps on your phone. For anyone who wants to track a myriad of items this site can help.

For the average Joe (or Josephine) my recommendation is Strava. Create a bike profile and add some components that you want to track, if you’re training indoors and outdoors with the same bike you will have to work within the constraints noted above. If you want to go a little deeper check out SportTracks, they have a 45 day free trial and a forever price lock on whatever the price is when you sign up!

As a rule of thumb a chain will last 2000 miles, a cassette 4000 and chain-rings 6,000, but as they say, your mileage may vary…. literally!

Five Minute Fixes!

Some days are complex; Mounting Tubeless Tires, manipulating .gpx files, pairing Ant+ devices and the like can soak up hours! So here are five easy fixes that you apply in five minutes or less

  1. Squeaky Cleats: do you have new or old cleats and do they squeak? A quick squirt of Pam and a wipe down will remove that in a flash! Remember to wipe of any excess before attempting to walk or you could be mistaken for being a rejected try-out for the escapades
  2. Split Tire Wall: a tire boot is the best course of action, but you can usually fix it with an empty gel or bar wrapper or even a dollar bill folded up, it’s not perfect but it will get you home!
  3. Brakes Rubbing or wheel feels out of alignment: did you have your bike on a stand and then mount a wheel? With the bike on the floor undo and redo your Skewer to make sure it’s seated properly in the dropout. You could spend 30 minutes realigning everything and then find out it was all for naught!
  4. Did you tire mysteriously go soft over night; did you have a flat on the last ride and use a Co2 to re-inflate your tire on the side of the road? The issue some is weird scientific thing where the rubber attracts the Co2 molecules more than good ol’ fashioned air “02” molecules! When you get home deflate your tire and use a pump to re-inflate.
  5. Forget to stop your Garmin; did you crush that KOM and then load your bike in the car and drive home only to ruin your file! Pay a visit to fitfiles.com and you can edit your file and reupload to Garmin, Strava and so on with the correct data!

In other news:

Watts Up Training has partnered with the Nosco Ride to provide signed up riders a discounted FTP test and a discount on a 10 Session Pass.

In preparation of the event have created a 5 week hill climbing specific training block that leads into the weekend of the Nosco ride on November 3rd.

Per our normal format we will break the week into two distinct work loads. Monday and Tuesday will focus on Threshold efforts and Wednesday and Thursday on longer Tempo based intervals.

You may not be a grimpeur yet but you will be by the time November rolls around 

The five-week block starts with a FTP test on September 29th and the classes start on Monday the 30th

While these will have a focus on hill climbing if you’re training for Ironman Arizona they will certainly help with those 112 miles!

Top 10 Tools to have at Home!

Working on your bike usually derives two responses; it fills you with dread or it presents you with an irresistible challenge! Whatever your reaction having the right tool for the job is critical for the successful completion and also helps to make sure that you don’t end up damaging your prized possession. So we offer our take on the Top 10 tools you should have at home…just in case you’re faced with either fear or fun!

  1. Hex Wrenches; you’ll end up using these more than any other tool, invest in a metric set and you’ll be good for anything from brake blocks to pedals! Getting a set that has “ball ends” will help with those awkward jobs too!
  2. Track Pump; most will work with Presta and Schrader valves. A big gauge is a bonus…especially for those of us with failing eyesight! Some newer pumps can also be used as a “compressor” to seat tubeless tires.
  3. Tire Levers; we’ve mentioned these before as something to keep in your saddle bag but having them in your tool box too means you won’t have to ransack your bike when you’re changing tires. Pedro’s are unbreakable! We also used Levers from Silca or Snēk
  4. Torque Wrench; don’t leave tightening up bolts to guess work, critical items like your bars and stem need to be tightened just right to avoid coming loose on a ride or being over-tightened to failure. One point to note, don’t use the Torque Wrench to loosen bolts.
  5. Chain Whip and Cassette Lock Tool; OK this is twofer, but one without the other is pretty useless, you’ll need the pair to remove a cassette and the Cassette Lock tool to actually tighten the cassette down on the free-hub when you are replacing it
  6. Lubricants; we mentioned Chain Lube last week, others to consider are Anti Seize Compound, Grease, Carbon Grip Compound and so on! Overwhelmed? Get some general purpose bike grease, this is good place to start
  7. Pedal Wrench; having leverage is a good thing when it comes to removing pedals, and a nice stiff pedal wrench is well worth having. It’s not something  you will use every day but when you do you will need a good one!
  8. Torx Keys; 10, 15 and 25 are most common sizes and these are becoming more and more prevalent on SRAM, Campagnolo and FSA equipped bikes
  9. Chain Tool, to be honest you’ll only need this if you are using a chain that does not use Master (or “Quick” Links i.e. KMC, SRAM), if you are using a Master Link Chain get a pair of Master Link Pliers
  10. Bike Stand; ok, so it’s not a tool but it makes it so much easier than working on your bike when it’s leaning against the wall, or worse, upside down. Can also be used when washing the bike!

Bonus items that you may already have; rags, latex gloves, flathead and phillips screwdrivers, scissors, cable ties and a tool box.  All of the above should be available through your local bike shop or online.

Do you need to spend a fortune, no, but it is worth investing in these tools to avoid having to replace them when poorer quality tools wear out.

A clean bike is a happy bike!

So, you’ve ridden your bike hard all day, weekend, or week! Now it’s time to hang it up covered in grime, grease and grimaced induced sweat and wait for the weekend to come around and do it all again, right?  Wrong!

We’d like to present the updated version of old adage; “ride it hard and put it away dirty”…“ride it hard and put it away, washed, waxed, inspected, lubed and ready to roll!

There are several drivers for this;

  • Cleaning it now, while you have the time, removes the panic of pulling it down  before your group ride and realizing it’s filthy from the prior weekend!
  • It’s a good opportunity to give an inspection! Early identification of possible issues can save you a lot of time and money down the road; this includes, balding tires, loose bolts, worn bar tape or even worse a cracked frame!
  • A clean bike is a pleasure to ride. If your motivation is a bit low, jumping on a sparkling steed is a lot easier to do!
  • Longevity of your parts. That black chain is covered in a high friction abrasive paste is quickly grinding down you cassette and chainrings. Chances are it’s also going to ruin any item of clothing it touches!
  • A well “oiled” machine performs better, ok so we’re not oiling anything but a well maintained machine will perform better than one that’s not!
  • If you do find an issue, how happy will your mechanic be when you show up with a clean bike!

With that said now onto the cleaning. The list of parts is quite short;

The Essentials:

  • Bucket; full of hot water!
  • Sponge; car wash sponge, nice, big and spongy, color is your choice!
  • Stiff Brush; used on your cassette and chain; grout brushes are great!
  • Degreaser; we prefer Simple Green and we buy it by the gallon from Amazon
  • Spray bottle; fill 5:1 ratio of water to Simple Green
  • Dish Soap; add a good squirt to the bucket
  • Towel; for drying!
  • Chain Lube; for after you have cleaned you drivetrain. We’re big fans of Wend Wax, it’s low friction and doesn’t attract the road grime that eventually turns into that abrasive paste. One application lasts 100 miles or so.

The Optionals;

  • Car Wash shampoo; ArmorAll works great
  • Bike stand; avoids having to lay your bike down or turn it over
  • Dummy Hub; just makes life easier when messing with the chain, we like the Park Tool DH-1
  • Chain Cleaner; these are mostly all the same, we buy whatever is the cheapest at the time and we are currently using one from Finish Line
  • Frame Wax; Pedro’s Lust, we’ve been using it for over 10 years now!
  • IPA; consumed post recovery shake. A 12 ounce can should last as long as it takes to clean the bike! We opted for the refreshing Gold Cliff IPA from the Kona Brewing Company, not too hoppy with a nice sweet aftertaste!

These are the steps that we follow;

  1. Open beer…
  2. Remove accessories; Garmin, bottles, lights, seat bag!
  3. Remove wheels and mount bike on stand
  4. Move wheels to one side; spray cassette with degreaser, leave to soak in
  5. If no stand flip upside down on grass or towel and remove wheels. Don’t do this on the concrete unless you want to scratch your shifters and saddle and be an instant sad panda!
  6. Mount Dummy Hub if you have one. Spray chain and derailleurs with degreaser, leave to soak in
  7. Use stiff brush to clean chain and jockey wheels. If you’re not using a Dummy Hub be careful pulling the chain across the chain stay, watch the paintwork!
  8. Use chain cleaner to cleaner the chain. Using Simple Green works great and the earlier spray will have helped! Change the fluid once or twice until the chain is clean
  9. Wash bike with soapy sponge and water! Don’t scrimp. The hot water and soap will cut through the dirt and carry it off. Pay attention to the face of the brake blocks, the underside of downtube and between the chain-stays, wash all the sweat off…it’s corrosive!
  10. Rinse bike; a gentle shower from a hose is all you need, not a jet wash, you’re just rinsing it off!
  11. Wipe dry with towel
  12. Use the soapy water to wash the wheels spokes, hubs and tires. Use this time to inspect the tires too!
  13. Clean the cassette; using the stiff brush and the degreaser it’s a liberal application of elbow grease that’s going to get it clean! If it’s almost clean, spend another 5 minutes doing it!
  14. Rinse the wheels; again a gentle shower, no need to blast them, just wash the suds off
  15. Wipe dry with towel
  16. Remount wheels
  17. Hold onto and gently bounce the bike on the tires to knock all the excess water off
  18. Give a final wipe dry
  19. Wax frame; makes it shiny and new!
  20. Lube chain
  21. Finally place your accessories on charge and throw the empty beer can in recycling trashcan!

So that’s it! Think of it as more of a guideline than a prescriptive set of steps.

Do you need to do this every ride, every week or every month…we can’t say for sure.

What we can suggest is to take a look at your bike and ask yourself the question…is it dirty and listen to the answer!

We’ll see you out there!