Thursday, February 28, 2008

Time Pro Cycling testing camp in May

First, our new uniforms!!!

Now the press release for our sweet camp!

TIME Pro Cycling Offers Huge Opportunity

TIME Pro Cycling has put together a great opportunity for U23 and last year 17-18 men of all ability levels to come together and receive expert-level input into their future cycling careers. Riders will receive valuable physiological testing, the opportunity to establish networks with athletes pursuing similar goals, and the chance to meet informally with the directors of several UCI teams. You will leave this Camp with the knowledge about what it takes to become a career professional and a clear understanding about how to market and present yourself to potential sponsors and teams - and most importantly, the chance to be a stagiaire with TIME Pro Cycling.

The Performance Camp will focus on three areas: Mentorship, Peer Networking, Professional Networking. The TIME Pro Cycling Team will be selecting stagiaires for the 2008 season from this camp - a huge opportunity for any rider looking to get his foot in the door and into the world of professional cycling.

Our three day camp will include: physiological testing at PER4MANCE TRAINING in Charlotte, NC, on the bike physical assessment through two full days of training, and numerous topical discussions from a wide array of knowledge bases: U23 TT Champ and TIME Pro Cycling team member Nick Frey, Nutrition Expert and EP-NO founder John Gamble, Per4Mance Training founder Chad Andrews, as well as Pro Team directors from Toshiba, Jittery Joe's, Rite Aid, HealthNet, Kelly Benefits Strategies/Medifast, and of course TIME Pro Cycling.

The fee for the camp will be $260 per person and include a gift bag, camp activities, testing at PER4MANCE Training, and lodging for Friday and Saturday evenings.

Registration for the camp will open Friday, February 29th 2008 and close on Thursday, April 16th 2008. Attendees will be notified of their acceptance on April 17th 2008.

For much more information and registration check out

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sol Cycles first road model!

Hours and hours of work for a bamboo, titanium, and unidirectional carbon masterpiece that is stiffer and more durable than any carbon bike I have ridden yet weighs a mere 16.2 pounds built up in a 62cm size!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Did y'all think I had quit riding . . .

and was just making bamboo bikes?!  Well, that is definitely a big chunk of my time, but the riding has been going very well.  I sold my SRM because TPC (Time Pro Cycling) is riding SRAM so we are getting some sick SRAM SRMs, but I had been riding "without power" for the whole month of January.  It is nice to get on the bike and know that no one is "constantly watching me" but I also really miss having the hard data on how I am doing and what each ride actually accomplished.

Then we bought a "team Powertap" for the Princeton Cycling Team!  We had a lot of donations this year and realized that we could get a wireless Powertap with an Open Pro rim built up for under $1300 brand new on eBay, so we bought it.  I have been using it for the last couple of weeks and it is great!  I understand that you would want another rim for racing, but still--it is cheap and works perfectly and is SO easy to setup: just pop the wheel onto your bike and ride, that easy.

Well it is mid-February now, and I am starting to do some actual intervals!  I still like going on 4-6 hour tempo rides and really hurting a bit on the hills, but I know that I need some specific timed intervals at 100% effort to get me up to speed for racing.  I attended an excellent seminar by Hunter Allen (he wrote Training and Racing with a Power Meter for all of those cyclists who have been living under a rock for the past couple years!) and he analyzed my 3rd Boulder TT (flyer) my Sunshine Hillclimb (results), and my Espoir National TT rides up on the big projector--VERY COOL!  He is an excellent guy.  He also gave us his two-day testing protocol for determining power levels at various time intervals (think test day 1, rest day, test day 2), and I went onto the trainer Tuesday night to get the first laundry list done . . . OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH!

The first day consists of tons of intervals 5 minutes or less, and they are INCREDIBLY painful after a huge winter of endurance and tempo riding with heart rates never exceeding about 85% of my TT heart rate.  However, I chalked them up as "baselines" and realized that they hurt a lot but they are very short and not nearly as demanding as a 5+ hour ride in freezing weather with massive hills and headwinds!

The second day was today: the 20 minute TT.  This is the be-all-end-all for cycling performance: what is your lactic threshold?  If this number rises even a few watts, it means that a much smaller percentage of time in a race will be spent "above threshold" and you will be able to last much longer and have plenty left in the tank for a "race winning interval" (as Hunter likes to call them).  You will also be able to time trial much faster, and y'all know that is what I am all about!  So I set out in a full jacket, long-sleeve, tights, skull cap, and lobster gloves to do a race-pace, bleeding-from-your-eyes 20 minute time trial--YIPEEEEE!
Results?  I KILLED THAT SHIT!  To put the following in perspective, my national TT ride averaged 351 watts for 30 minutes (and sustainable power for 20 minutes is only 1 or 2 percentage points higher than it is for 30 minutes) . . . I averaged 380 watts in freezing weather in the middle of February on a road bike!  The weather definitely doesn't help, but the TT bike actually produces more power because of your seat position (far forward) and your hip rotation causing more of your muscles to be used (that is why your rear end is so sore after time trials, and why Cancelara's ass is so huge!).

One thing I like to do for a test like this (besides look at how my cadence changed or where my power was too high and spiked my heart rate) is to break it up into four 5-minute TTs and analyze how I did at four "checkpoints" in the effort.  Here are the four parts:

What you'll notice is that Part I is quite high, which you would expect since I am freshly warmed up and haven't done anything too taxing.  Then Part II is the lowest (lower than Part I by almost 20 watts!) because I overextended myself in Part I and am starting to pay for it a little bit.  Also notice that my cadence in Part II is MUCH higher than in Part I because my legs are starting to feel the burn and I am trying to flush them a bit.  Then Part III is in-between Part I and Part II as I am getting into a rhythm and finding my gear and getting my breathing right (the power and the cadence are EXACTLY between that of P1 and P2!).  Finally, Part IV is where I see the light at the end of the tunnel and start to kick it up a notch, basically staying in the same gears but spinning an extra few rpm for more power.  Here is the last minute of the effort:

Not too shabby, eh??  Notice my speed: I was on a nice consistent climb and that made it easy to really give it everything in a steady manor and squeeze the last juices from my legs.  Funny thing is, after a few minutes of soft pedaling and catching my breath, I was fine and continued to do another couple hours at 250 watt tempo with some 350 watt efforts.

I also did a quadrant analysis.  This attempts to determine how much time was spent pedaling at high- or low-torque and high- or low-cadence.  You can read all about it here.  I made my iso-power lines correspond to 100% of the average power for my effort (just a little higher than my FTP) in red, then 95% and 90% in orange and yellow, respectively.  Then the y-axis is a cadence of 98 rpms, my average for the effort.  The plot looks similar to any other TT, where the points are highly concentrated at the center because cadence and torque are optimized to produce maximum power.  However, it is interesting to note the outliers in Quadrant II, where my torque was quite high and my cadence was low, probably corresponding to being in the big ring on a climb just before dropping to the small ring.  However, the power is always significantly higher than my 380 watt average . . . looking at the data reminds me of something I realized last season: slightly lower cadences help me focus more on the pedal stroke and prevent power spikes, and I recorded consistently higher averages with a lower cadence (i.e. 94 instead of 98).  The only issue with this line of reasoning is average power is not the be-all-end-all: there are times when power spikes are necessary (i.e. maintaining momentum on a hill less than 1 minute long).  The winner is the one who most effectively uses his/her power (and of course has a lot of it!) which means adapting to different courses and different conditions, something a higher-cadence style encourages because the legs never get "bogged-down" or full of lactic acid without constantly being flushed.  I think I will go with my gut and just pedal my bike!

I am really feeling good and know that when I start doing some serious TT work the form will come quickly.  I have improved a lot this winter, and have been doing much more specific, consistent training (think 24 hours per week average instead of 16 like the last two winters!) and sleeping at 9000 feet of altitude and eating right and . . . ENJOYING MYSELF!

The last thing I have to say: my bamboo road bike is going to be wrapped in some nice unidirectional carbon this weekend and then all the finishing touches (understated paint scheme, cable stops, water bottle bosses) will be put on early next week and we should have a sick road bike in 7 days, just in time for the Rutgers Season Opener!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bamboo Two . . .

Handmade from imported Brazilian bamboo, our second fixie.  Third model: full lightweight race bike with gears that I am going to use in the collegiate conference in just over two weeks!

Also, check out these excellent posts about bamboo, our bikes, and our company (written by Ron): Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

I will make sure to post updates about my racing bike in the next few days . . . we are taking a lot of time with it to make it PERFECT!  Currently the tubes are all mitered and we are CNC machining the dropouts while we wait for a nice new role of intermediate-modulus 12k unidirectional carbon fiber to arrive with a bunch of black-anodized aluminum cable stops and other small parts needed to make a road bike.  Just to make you salivate, the bike's theme will be GOLD . . .

Zen Cycles rio is the second frame we have made, and we are experimenting with different finishes (and the company name, as well!)

Subtle downtube and toptube graphics really look nice with the blonde bamboo.  Our wrapping techniques are improving with each joint, and some new carbon fiber is coming in that should really optimize weight and strength.  We are also looking in to vacuum-bagging to increase the carbon-to-epoxy ratio and make the joints look super-smooth . . .

Did I mention we are also experimenting with photography?  ;-)