Tuesday, November 25, 2008

J&A Gift Guide

Gift Ideas for the Endurance Athlete

It’s that time of year again! Long, slow base miles, indulging in off-season diets, and oh yes, trying to find that perfect present for the special endurance athlete(s) in your life.

Luckily for you, the folks at Jack & Adam’s have compiled a comprehensive list of creative gift ideas for anyone who likes to swim, bike, run. From bike computers to calendars, there is something for every athlete here at the shop!

First on the list is The Cute Commute Calendar featuring local Austin ladies who commute, ride, and race bicycles. Produced by J&A’s very own Marsha, the calendar also features two other lovely ladies of J&A, Michelle Garel and Angie Balentine. Support a local cause and for $15 you can give the gift of girls on bikes!

Another local charity selling calendars at J&A's is the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas. Brad Pitt, Nolan Ryan, Andy Roddick and J&A owner Jack Murray will help you keep your days straight from now until next January.

And if you're in need of stocking stuffers, we have a plethora of nutritional items, so skip the candy canes and include chocolate mint Gu instead! Pack in some Tri Stickers and J&A water bottles for a stocking any triathlete will love.

Of course, there is the never fail, always appreciated Jack & Adam’s gift certificate! Charge it up with any amount from $5 to $10000!

There's more on the list so check it out:

$12 and Under

The Down Syndrome Calendar 2009 featuring Jack (of J&A's), Brad Pitt, Nolan Ryan and others. ($12.00 fundraiser)

Easy Laces ($5.00)

Jack & Adam’s Water Bottle ($2.99)

140.6, 70.3, Tri Stickers ($2.00)

Assortment of Nutrition


The Cute Commute Calendar ($14.99)

Pure Sport Sports Drink Starter Kit

The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel

Park Tool Bike Shop Barbeque Tool Set ($20.99)

J&A Cargo Wedge Saddle Bag ($14.99)


Every Town Needs a Trail by Jen Ohlsen ($39.95)

Cateye Strada Cadence ($45.99)

Planet Bike Superflash Blinkie ($23.99)

Pearl Izumi Beanies ($24.99+)

Rocket Shower Showerless Clean-up Kit ($25.99)

Topeak Joe Blow Floor Pump ($36.99)

Tifosi Sunglasses

Innovations Tire Repair and Inflation Saddle Bag ($25.99)

SLS Compression Sox ($57.95)


Rocket Science Rocket Transition Bag ($149.99)

Helmet: Giro Ionos, Atmos; Bell Sweep

Aero Helmet: Giro Advantage 2, Louis Garneau Rocket

Garmin-Chipotle Slipstream Team Jersey ($100)

Trigger Point Total Package ($139.99)


Cycleops Pro Fluid Trainer + Riser Block ($399.99, $22.99)

Garmin 305 Multisport ($450)

Garmin 705 Edge ($499.99)

SUUNTO Complete Training Monitoring Tool for Triathlon

Race Wheels (Zipp Special 20% Holiday Sale)



Friday, November 21, 2008

Helmets: The Life Saver!

It doesn't happen very often but it happened yesterday: two customers both went down over the course of the same week! One came in with a concussion and road rash, the other a swolen leg and road rash. Both retold their stories and both stories ended on the same note: "I am lucky I had my helmet." Of course their helmets needed to be replaced and fortunately for them we just received a new shipment of this essential piece of bike equipment.

The tales of crashing got me thinking about my own helmet. Most cyclists forget that a helmet should be replaced every year (I am guilty of that too). They aren't just for looks, okay looks are important too but whether you spend $40 or $250 they will both save your noggin! Stop by the shop this weekend or during our holiday sale and check out the new helmet options. If you are a Garmin/Slipstream fanatic, we have one of those helmets waiting for you! We also have a cool Ionos Black and White with checkers on the front...this one goes great with my bike =) !

Happy Riding and Be Safe!



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Product Review: LG Balaclava

Over the past few weeks some of our customers have enquired about winter essentials. As “cold” temperatures approach and the economic status is still in question some of us might find it necessary to prepare correctly. Thankfully we’ve received some shipments form Louis Garneau and Pearl Izumi which might help in these situations.

Our unidentified shop worker is seen here in a new LG Balaclava hood, LG fleece lined arm warmers, and a pair of PI Grip Light Gloves. Unfortunately we do not have a measuring tape next to our doors and therefore can not identify this person.

For some reason our shop worker refused to speak when we asked them questions. Instead they dashed around the store, apparently filling TYR bags for a customer and merely gave a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to our questions.

What do you think of the new gloves? Thumbs up

We noted the ease at which the shop worker gripped onto product and quickly tossed it into a bag. From this we have concluded the grip on the gloves is useful and the fit was snug enough to allow pinpoint grabbing.

What do you think of the fleece arm warmers? Thumb up

Since the arm warmers did not fall down to reveal the presence of birth marks, tattoos, hair, or striated muscle (which could be used to distinguish employees) we believe these arm warmers stay in place very well.

Do you like the LG Balaclava hood? Thumb up / thumb down

We did not know how to interpret this since we were unable to identify the shop worker during the time they were in the shop.

It was quite curious that the unknown shop worker appeared to be grabbing a number of items which have not yet been reviewed on the blog. We have no idea what they could be doing with these items since they don’t know anything about them.

We do know the shop worker (or imposter shop worker) was warm while entering the shop on a chilly Monday morning. This deduction is based upon the commuting method (i.e. bike) used to get away from the shop.

Note: we would like to recommend all cyclists wear helmets when riding their bike. Also, if you are striving to be un-identifiable do not choose your custom tri-bike as your mode of transportation.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Event of the Week: The Dirty Du Weekend

Looking for a fun way to end your season? Then check out the Dirty Du Weekend! The Dirty Du is a unique, fun, and laid-back event. The perfect end to the long tri season. Come spend the weekend at beautiful Rocky Hill Ranch. The weekend activities include 12 & 3 mile trail runs, a cyclecross race, camping, campfires, cookouts, flybar contest, bike toss, and of course, The Original Dirty Du. This event is perfect for relays too. So find a friend to bike or run and take part in a central Texas multi-sport legend. November 22-23, 2008.

Here's the schedule:

Friday, November 21st, 2008
10 AM - 7 PM Packet Pickup & Late Registration at Jack and Adam's Bicycles, 1210 Barton Springs Dr., Austin, TX

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM - Late Registration & Out of Town Packet Pickup at Rocky Hill Ranch
9 AM - 12 Mile Trail Run Start
9:30 AM - 5K Trail Run Start
2 PM - 5 PM - Late Registration & Out of Town Packet Pickup at Rocky Hill Ranch
3 PM - Cyclo-cross Start
7 PM - Fly Bar Competition
8:30 PM - Bike Toss Competition

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM Late Registration & Out of Town Packet Pickup at Rocky Hill Ranch
9 AM Dirty Du Start
12 PM Awards Presentation (tentative - awards will be done after the final finisher)


Saturday will also see the Inaugural Austin Duathletes BUDDY DU starting at 10:30AM. This is a separate event from the Dirty Du Weekend, but it takes place at the same venue. The Buddy Du is a run-bike format that is completed with a teammate, but scored in a unique fashion...READ MORE...


Monday, November 17, 2008

Product Review: Blackburn X4

With the loss of light associated with this time of year my evening bike commute home needed some illumination. Drew at Jack & Adam's set me up with the Blackburn X4 for this task. He wanted to know how the inventory at J+A’s performed. Here’s what I think about it...

First, I would never mountain bike with this light. Though it throws a fairly strong forward beam there isn’t a lot of peripheral light being projected. So it wouldn’t be safe for say the greenbelt or other really technical trails. I also don’t think it would be safe to count on it to light the way for speeds of 17+ mph. Just not enough forward illumination for that.

But alas I am a commuter riding a mix of the Hike and Bike trail and residential streets. For these conditions - I like the light. The beam is rather focused, as I mentioned, and does a nice job of giving me thirty / forty yards or so of visibility on a dark Hike and Bike trail. Once I am in neighborhoods I find it to perform equally well. The button which controls beam brightness is on top of the handlebar mounted light (you can also helmet mount the light). The light has the following brightness options / features: 4 hour burn time at 100% intensity, 6 hour burn time at 30% intensity and a flashing feature. I like the flashing feature at dusk to increase my visibility to motorists. Generally I run the high beam in all other scenarios. I have yet to see the low battery indicator light flash at me.

The light and battery pack mount neatly to the bike. (see attached photos). They are snug and do not rattle which I appreciate. I used some velcro closures to mount the cable that runs from the light to the battery pack. These won’t rub paint from the frame or slip. These weren’t included but are something you can pick up from the shop.

As for battery life and charging - I like that you can leave it plugged in and it will shut itself down once fully charged. So you can basically charge it anytime you aren’t riding it. The bummer is, due to the placement of the charging socket, you need to remove the battery from the bike to charge it. Minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things. It’s not like you’re having to walk both ways uphill in the snow for a crust or bread and a sip of water or something.

Overall I like the design and performance. You might be able to get more light at a comparable price but I’m not one to know. You would need to factor in that this product has a lifetime guarantee, which is worth something. I have no fear of sending a product I’ve beat the hell out of back to the manufacturer and saying, “new one please.” So if you are a commuter or a roadie / triathlete (that needs something to start or finish your ride with) this light is a good choice. If you are a mountain biker or someone that wants to hammer first thing in the AM or late into the evening I would go with something brighter and beefier – read more expensive.

Adam Butler – crash test dummy and full time bike commuter.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Swim Anyone?

What? Off season swimming? To me off season is the best time to spend more time in the water. I am a swimmer...born and raised, so I love to go back to my roots and get extra time in the pool.

As I grow as a triathlete, I am learning I need to use my enthusiasm and strength for swimming and channel it into my weaker sports...cycling and running. It has taken me about 6 years of triathlon seasons to start to realize this. So for you non-swimmers, now is the time to channel your enthusiasm and strength into your swim! The off season is a great time to work on swimming technique...got to love those drills!

Not motivated you say? Even as a swimmer I'm sometimes unmotivated to get in the water. To stay motivated I think of fun ways to keep it interesting - like a new suit, for instance!

Check out the cool suit I tried on at the shop today! It was super comfortable with a nice, fun, funky color. We have a large selection of suits at J&A's...some even on the sale rack!

Happy Swimming!



How do you stay motivated? We want to know!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rock the Vote

Help Rock the Vote for fellow cyclist Stacy Keese. She is the owner/designer of the bike chain greeting card line - Skeese Greets and also a J&A staff member. One of her holiday cards has been nominated as Holiday Card of the Year on Etsy.com. It was one of 60 selected out of over 150,000 greeting cards on Etsy.

She can really use your support and it will only take a minute to vote. If you're not already an Etsy shopper check it out, because there are some really great items on there.

Vote HERE. Voting ends FRIDAY at 11:30AM.

Sneak Peak at the 2009 Women’s De Soto Carrera Tri Short

De Soto changes the waist on their 2009 Carrera Tri Shorts!

De Soto definitely knows what they are doing when it comes to women's tri shorts. The women’s Carrera & Carrera Low Rise are two of the best sellers in the shop because of their feminine look, virtually invisible pad, drawstring-elastic waist and the elastic free band around the thigh.

With its new 2-inch contrast waist & drawcord, the 2009 is sure to live up to De Soto's reputation!

Here is a sneak peak at what’s coming:

2009 Carrera with new 2-inch contrast waist (with drawcord)

2009 Carrera Low Rise (1.5 inch lower waist line)



Friday, November 7, 2008

New Gear for The Off Season!

I was thinking about the off season and I realized it is the perfect time of year to take care of that bicycle of yours! Sure, there may be less time "in the saddle," but that's even more reason to wash your chain or even replace it! We just received an order of chains ranging from 105 to DA. Keeping your chain in good shape, whether it be off season or race season, is important for maintaining your bicycle. Stop by the shop and ask the super mechanics for help if you are not sure which chain is right for you.

On another note, the other day I thought I lost all three pairs of my sunglasses...YUP! All three. I pretty much gave up looking and decided maybe it was time to just get some new ones to go with the upcoming running race season. I feel fitter and better than I have in a long time so why not get a new pair of sunglasses as a reward for my new found fitness. Okay, I was also thinking that way because we got our fall pre-season order in from Tifosi Optics. Pretty cool! Our Tifosi display is fully stocked! Check these out:

Cool shades! Tifosi Vogel

New items coming this weekend to the shop:

More Louis Garneau winter clothes

For the ladies
: Craft Long sleeve women's base layer in earth color (pretty purple to me)

Safety First: Neon Yellow Jackets for the dark mornings!

Still have one last race of the season? Check out the recent arrival of Continental 700c Tubies to spark up those race wheels!

Happy Training!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Race Report: IM FL

This past weekend 30+ Austin athletes and their trustie sherpas made the trip to Panama City Beach for the 10th Annual Ironman Florida.

The days leading up to the race were full of the usual excitement and concerns. How cold will it be when I get on the bike? Will it be windy? How many times will I have to go to the bathroom? Will I see Jellyfish? Will I be eaten by a shark? --> Good news, the 700lb Mako shark was caught a few miles off shore the day before the race so we were all safe (no joke)

T1 was interesting. As usual the change tent was very crowded by the time I exited the swim so I decided not to even bother. Lucky for me, a volunteer came running over to help me, "You're Michelle from Austin, right?" Holy cow, this was the coolest thing, someone recognized me. As we stood outside the tent there were others cheering for me as we tried to force my arm warmers on, "Go Austin." Even with a slow swim, I felt like a rock star.

The bike at IM FL is very flat and fast. I saw a lot of my Austin friends along the route and made some friends with other people. That seems to happen during IM. It's a long ride and you tend to see people over and over again. An old co-worker of mine talked with me about my new Felt bike and told me another girl had questioned him using a disk. I met a guy from Corpus who remarked there were a lot of Austin people here. I scolded one guy for tossing his gel wrapper and gilt him into holding onto the others in his hand.

T2 was just as exciting as T1, another Austinite ran over to help me. This time I was inside the tent with plenty of room to change into my favorite running shorts and put on some sunblock.

Somehow my legs seemed to collect themselves under me and I felt pretty darn good as I hopped onto the course. I saw Jason McMillian finishing his first loop with a huge smile on his face. I think that smile was contagious b/c I was instantly in a great mood. Jason lapped me a couple miles later, still smiling, on his way to a 8:34 IM finish and 13th overall. It is really quite amazing to feel all the positive energy of your friends when they are having a good IM race.

I saw former Austinite and Pro Triathlete Michael Lavato as I crossed the line and cheerfully told him that I'd gone under 11.

Among my Austin friends there were a lot of PR's on Saturday. There were also a number of Austin athletes racing their first IM who had amazing times. Keeping a positive attitude no matter what the day brings is important, even if things aren't going your way.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged their friends out there on Saturday, much appreciated!