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.

Side of the road spares!

There is a famous quote from Benjamin Disraeli that goes “I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best”. This is a great starting point for every ride. We all hope to have the best ride, one without problems, with the sun on our face and the wind on our back. There is, however, an equally famous quote from Robert Burns which goes along the lines of “the best laid plans of mice and man often go awry”!

I will virtually guarantee that the second quote has applied to you while on a ride at some point! The end result often leaves you standing on the side of the road looking at your bike and wishing you could wind the clock back 2 hours to before you have left or had packed that extra tube, multi tool or pump!

So in this week’s Newsletter we will give you some food for thought on what you should and/or could take with you on your next ride. 

Alas we are not Pro’s, we are not followed by our Director Sportif or personal mechanic or SAG Wagon! So we need to carry our own spares. Contrary to The Velominati’s Rule #29 carrying them on the bike in a saddlebag frees up your jersey pockets for your nutrition, spare clothes and phone. So here is our list of suggestions:

ItemShould?Could?Comments
Inner TubeYesYes, take 2 tubesIdeally take a new one, it should (obviously) hold air and have a functional valve. Don’t think that you need two…just ask Norman Stadler!
Tire LeverYes or NoNo or YesSome tires just don’t need them, if yours don’t your golden, if yours do then bring one at a minimum, you may need two!
Co2 CartridgeNoYesMakes it super easy on the day, re-inflate your tire when you get home as the Co2 will leak out over time 16 – 20 grams for a road tire
Co2 Cartridge HeadNoYesCheck make sure you head type matches your cartridge type, don’t discover you have mixed and matched a push on and screw on!
Multi Tool4, 5, 6mm hex & Torx, flat and cross head screwdriverChain BreakerOn a MTB or Gravel ride a Chain Breaker is very handy to have as well as a spare derailleur hanger! Know how to use them before leaving the house!
Chain Quick LinksYesYesIt’s tiny, weighs nothing and broken chains do happen! Again, understand how to use it before you head out.
Latex GlovesWell kinda…YesTo be honest, these can be a kit saver, you’re guaranteed to have an issue on New White Jersey Day, plus they stop annoying rattles in your bag!
PumpNoYesEssential if your opt out of carrying Co2. Pop it in your jersey pocket. An added bonus it allows you to be a good Samaritan on the road!
CashYesYesMoney talks; at least it will pay for the cab home, let you buy that Coke or even better the second slice of cake on your coffee ride!

All of the above, with the exception of the Pump, should fit into a regular sized saddle bag, you don’t need one large enough for the Kitchen Sink! We’re fans of the Silca Seat Roll for it’s classic European look and the Topeak Wedge Pack XS for it’s clean looks and simple mounting mechanism.

While not an exhaustive list these are the things we take with us every time we ride!