Saturday, February 27, 2010

2010 Spokes'n Spurs Ride on Saturday, March 20th

Join us for the 2010 Spokes'n Spurs Ride and BRICK WORKOUT on Saturday, March 20th at 8:30am.

- Gently rolling hills, beautiful views and wildlife of Texas Hill Country
- Course distances: 62.5, 44, 28 & 14 plus a 6 mile family ride
- All ages & skill levels welcome
- Mechanical & SAG support provided
- Start time 8:30am
- Limited to 1000 riders

The BRICK WORKOUT for all of you triathletes includes a 5k run at the end of your bike. Rack your bike in the Hill Country Running and Jack & Adam's transition area and head out!

Post activities include a catered lunch, live music and more for the little ones.

And it's all for a good cause! Spirit Reins is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the emotional and behavioral health of children with the help of horses. Learn more about them & sign up for the ride at

See ya out there!


Friday, February 26, 2010

Bike Art

Here's a look at our friend Richard Renka's new Ceepo Venom. Richard is a life long cyclist and lover of beautiful bikes. He was in town this week from South Dakota and purchased the Venom. He added the Hed3c Wheelset and ISM Race saddle to round this beauty out.
Send us a photo of your race machine prepped and ready for the 2010 season. I'll draw a winner from entries for a fit with our very own Zane Castro.
Please send your bike photos to


The Test of Time

In the market for a new watch but want something different from your previous Timex or Polar watch? You can look no further! Jack & Adam's now offers the Soleus watch. Founded locally, the Soleus watch line offers easy to use AND easy to read watches starting with the 10k. The 10k comes with features like 30 lap memory,5 interval timesr,convertible display, 2 alarms, and it is sweatproof/waterproof to 50meters.
The next watch in the series is the 131. The 131 comes with all the 10k features but with upgraded 50 lap memory counter, and multiple time zones/alarms.
Finally, the 262, the last in the series comes with an upgraded 100 lap memory counter and all the bells and whistles that the rest of the watch line come with.
The Soleus watch line ranging from $55-$95. Put simply, the Soleus watch line is, 'Simple, everything you need, nothing you don't. Like having all your favorite cable-channels, but no useless ones tacked on, just so the cable company can charge more...' -J&A customer


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Compress This

Just when we thought compression technology has reached it's pinnacle (there are only so many body parts to squeeze into tight clothing), Zoot has released it's Active Compression RX series of apparel. I must admit, when I saw the Zoot Compression shorts make their debut on the floor the other day, I was a little confused. What would these shorts compress? Were they like Spanx for triathletes? Lowering the "Donk Factor" in my "Da-Donk-A-Donk" sounds appealing.

Naturally, I gave them a try. After the herculean effort it took to get into them - which I can only liken to sqeezing into American Apparel skinny jeans - I was pleasantly surprised to find the waistband was soft and not constricting at all. In fact, it seemed that the compression gained intensity down my leg, culminating in a rather intense grip on my mid-thigh. After a little research I found out that this is due to "varying degrees of muscle-specific compression to increase muscle response and performance." I did a few wind-gaits accross the interior of the shop and found that this was definitely true: it was so easy to lift my legs I almost kneed myself in the face.

The graduated compression is also supposed to increase blood flow to the heart. I couldn't test this claim as it was difficult to raise my heart rate while running between customers back and forth between the back trainer and the mechanics window. Dear customers, please independedantly verify this and get back to me.

These shorts are made with "lightwieght PlyPro" and "anti-microbeal SilverTech." (I don't know what this means, but I can only assume that if you melted these shorts down and made bullets out of them, you could kill a werewolf.) For the more practical purposes of training or racing, these shorts keep you dry and germ-free. They also get my Meriwether Cool Stamp of Approval for looks. The Matrix-inspired color platte (grey and black) looks sleak and modern. The chamois is standard for a tri short and so is the length of the short.

Overall rating: two thumbs up for both Donk Factor Reduction and 25% reduction in perceived effort. Follow up with me tomorrow to see if I have a 29% reduction in lactic acid build-up after my shop-interior-wind-gaits.

**Note, though I'm just as ripped, this is not a picture of me wearing these shorts.**


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What Should I Put In My Saddle Bag?

'What should I put in my saddle bag?,' is a question we get all the time. I would recommend the basics to fix/repair a flat which include tire levers, a correct size tube, patch kit, and something to inflate the tube with whether it be a CO2 cartridge or a hand pump. A lot of manufacturers like Genuine Innovations & Crank Brothers make a CO2 inflater that can also be used as a hand pump (stop by the shop to see the options we carry).

The reason I include both a new tube and a patch kit is so that if you get more than one flat on a ride you can still repair it and get home. If your wheels have deeper sectioned rims then make sure the valve stem on the tube is long enough to air it up. Most wheels will use either a 32mm to 48mm valve, slightly deeper aluminum rims will use a 60mm valve, and many carbon rims will use an 80mm valve.

Other items that you may want to keep in your bag may include a multi-tool (i.e allen wrenches, chain tools, and spoke wrenches). You may also want to include a dollar is the best patch for a tire that is badly cut...if you do not have any bills, then a gel pack or energy bar wrapper will also work.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hills clinic - Reset

This morning dubious conditions meant that the long ride group did the hills; the intermediate group was cancelled for everyones safety.

For those that would like to have a rain-check or do-over on the hills clinic, Tammy has agreed to run it next week(Feb 28th).

So rides for next Sunday, weather permitting, are 1. No drop ride goes South, 10-miles out and back; Intermediate ride does hills clinic; long ride will do 38-miles south. As always, we "call" the rides at 8:30 a.m. at the shop, if its raining or dopplr radar shows rain, we cancel, otherwise we ride!


Time Trial & Road Racing!!!!

Have you ever thought about doing an individual time trial or a road race? Well, now is your chance. In March there are two great options for doing your first bicycle road race. On March 13th, The Austin Nationals will be hosting "The Crono Metro", an individual time trial in the small ghost town of J. Lorraine in Manor, Tx. Don't have aerobars, don't worry! In addition to the standard road racing categories, there are divisions for bikes with no aerobars, triathletes, tandems, and single speeds. There is no reason for lack of participation! After the event there will be a post race party with burgers, beer, music, and prizes. If you can't race then you can still participate by volunteering. The Volunteers get all the same benefits as racers, so come check it out!

If the stars are not aligned for the Crono Metro, and you still have the urge to test the waters of Road Racing, then you will have two more shots; the Ronde Von Manor on March 27th & the original Ronde Von Monda on March, 28th. Both events are put on by Velossimo Racing, a Austin based cycling and racing club. Both days have multiple categories and age brackets to compete in. If you have never been to a road race and want to see what it is all about, then come volunteer to see if it gives you the motivation to jump in.

Jack & Adam's Bicycles is a proud sponsor of both Velossimo Racing and The Austin Nationals. Both organizations are Austin based cycling clubs dedicated to the growth of the sport.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Tri Clothes!!

If you're having trouble finding the inspiration to begin training for this tri season, come down to J&A and pick up a stylish new tri outfit! We have men's and ladies one-pieces, tops, and tri-shorts in all sorts of great colors from Zoot and Profile Design.

We also have awesome Zoot running shorts, which I field-tested last summer. In my opinion, they are the best running shorts around: cool, comfortable and the perfect length. Your, well, um... tush... will look amazing! If you need any style advice, come in and talk to the ladies of J&A. We are happy to answer any color-scheme or "how does my tush look in this?" related questions!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Giro PROLIGHT Helmet!

To honor the 25th Anniversary of the original Prolight, Giro is reintroducing the model with some serious upgrades. 85grams may not sound like much, but imagine not balancing that on your head for the duration of a race and your perspective might change.
If you want to know how they did it, here is a link to the Giro Prolight.
We just received a small shipment of the latest addition to the Giro family with more on the way. Stop by the shop and check them out.


Upcoming Women-Centric Events

Girls on the Run 5k

Come celebrate girl power at the New Balance Girls on the Run 5K. This race will be held at the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park, Sunday, Apr. 25, 2010 at 8am. It's a family-friendly run/walk where everyone is welcome. Whether you are one of the enthusiastic girls in our after-school program or a community member who wants to get out and exercise, come join us to support a great cause. All proceeds benefit Girls on the Run of Austin.

Skeese Greets Women's Tri
The 4th installation of the Skeese Greets Women's Tri happens on May 16th at the Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels, TX. The 300 m swim, 11 mile bike and 2 mile run is great for beginners or for advanced triathletes looking for an early season triathlon. This year each participant receives a tech tee, food & fun filled after party, plus other great surprises. Registration is currently open, but the event will sell out again this year.

Tough Cookie Women's Duathlon
If you've never participated in a multi-sport event, then why not try it out at a run-bike-run that's for women only? The Tough Cookies Duathlon is a beginner friendly 2k run, 10 mile bike, then 2k run which takes place on March 7th in Copperas Cove. This fun event, which also features a kids race, is a great way to get ready for all the upcoming triathlons.

If you need gear for the Skeese Greets Women's Tri or for the Tough Cookies Duathlon, check out this great package deal at Jack & Adam's (other package deals are also available):

Click on image for larger version.

Luna Fest
Reward yourself for all the training you've been doing with film fest tickets! From the makers of Luna & Clif Bars comes Luna Fest! The Austin edition of this national film festival takes place at La Zona Rosa on March 7th at 6:30pm. Don't miss out on the silent auction, live music and, of course, awesome short films that are by, for and about women! Your ticket price also gets you a goody bag, so hurry and get your tickets HERE.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sundays shop ride - Head for the hills!

Just a quick reminder that for the Sunday shop ride this week the Intermediate and Long groups will head for the hills!

The Intermediate group will do loops, while the long group will live up to it's name, going longer and hilly. The long ride will only be 26'ish miles, and was plotted out here, by Zac. We will have cue sheets and directions printed for Sunday. Remember that the long group is NOT no drop, but Zac and I always do our best to come back and pull you into the group.

Ms Tempo Multisport Metzger tells me she'll be riding in the opposite direction to the intermediate group, on the same course, that way she can advise on technique and ride with people as needed. Tammy will be assisted by other Tempo Multisport team members. So if you've been doing the no-drop rides for a while and think this would be a good challenge, have at it.

For some of those Intermediates who fancy try something a bit harder, come do the longer ride, after all if you bail on the ride you'll still be within 12-miles of the shop. For those of you with a road bike, this is the week to bring it!

Currently is predicting showers for Sunday, we'll send out last minute updates on the shops account, if we need to cancel due to rain.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Movement U Back Sun, Feb. 27th & 28th!

Jessi Stensland of Movement you will be heading to Austin again for a series of classes on Saturday and Sunday Febuary 27th and 28th. With two great locations and times to choose from, you should be able to attend with no troubles. Saturday the class will be held at the T3 Core Fusion Center and Sunday with our buds up at Pure Austin North "Quarry Lake".
Save $30 off the full day workshop with code: JACKANDADAMS30

MovementU provides interactive educational experiences designed to enhance the understanding of the body and its true performance potential with a focus on movement efficiency, injury resistance and overall power in performance applied to life and sport. It launched in September 2009.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


This past week I had the opportunity to step out of the shop to attend USA Triathlon's Art and Science Symposium. Those of you that know me, I can be a little "geek" like when it comes to bike fitting, but I like to think I try to keep a heavy pulse on the new elements for their relative value to the field of bike fitting and concepts of coaching. That said, the reality of this trip was to acquire my ceus (continuing education units) for my USAT Coaching Certificate. Secondarily there were really good opportunities to attend and meet and hear from three schedule presenters who I have studied from a distance for nearly 10 years. To my disappointment 2 of the 3 did not make it due to the weather. The highlights of the symposium turned out to be much more valuable to my coaching interest and history and the guest key note speakers offered much more value then I ever considered. Here are a couple of notations for your potential interest:

1. Mark Allen asked, "What does it take to stay above "the line" and be capable of a win or performing to your potential?" He then showed these two videos:

The immortal Allen then asked what were the similarities? Do you see them? The similarities is the location or proximity to the finish line, 400 yards to be exact. Now, I know some of you are thinking it was more then 400 yards when the signs occurred, but where all three women began to dramatically limit performance was about 400yards from the finish. Why is this? Well, Mark Allen then added that this process could successfully be corrected, not by following better nutrition, but taking a different perspective in how to push oneself and prepare mentally (I thought this to be a unique insight). That mental advantage is to consider your mental image of crossing that finish line 100yards beyond it's actual location.

Along side this cool bit of Mark Allen's perspective I had the opportunity to meet, learn from and talk to a long time coach and athlete I grew up watching, hearing about, and learning about, Sue Enquist Coach of the UCLA Softball. My aunt is going to be jealous of this one, for those of you who don't know, I come from some what of a line of coaches.

Johan Bruyneel spoke much on his book "We Might As Well Win" and the highlight was his honest perspective of this past years tour, a nice bit of fun information. The most entertaining statement came when Tim Yount of USAT asked how would Radio Shack be able to beat Alberto Contador in the 2010 Tour, Johan's response, "How will Alberto win without me?"

Last and certainly not least was Erik Weihenmayer, who is the only blind climber to ascend Everest in a record time. Follow his link, read his book, and for heaven's sake if you get the chance to here this guy speak, do it, I promise it will be worth the time. I'm going to refer to his friend (whom he spoke of in his talk, a fellow climber) Chris as the father of "positive pessimism". Here is an example: This saddle sure is painful, at least I know I'll go numb. The idea is that you take an obviously negative situation and represent it as a positive, besides its obvious pessimism. Dan, Nick, and I laughed for 2 days off this bit of witty wisdom. Enjoy it!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Things and stuff.

A terrible case of writers block, coupled with sudden onset Olympic fever has rendered me practically unable to blog. Below is a list of random thoughts, silly ideas and other barely passable comments on things in or around my life.

1. Congratulations to each and every one of you who even attempted yesterdays marathon or half marathon. I truly admire your fortitude and perseverance.

2. We are officially sold out of compression socks, tights and calf guards.

3. If you happened to find yourself running next to a guy in a full leprechaun suit, know that it was our friend Jay, who set an official Guinness world record (I'm talking about paperwork, costume guidelines, etc). He smashed the old record of 4:22 and ran his way into immortality. Shedding the skin of his old life and emerging as one of the greatest champions this town has
ever seen.

4. Snowboard Cross?

5. All helmets sold in our bike shop meet the same safety requirements. The Giro Ionos has 21 vents and something called X-static padding. It retails for $230. The Giro Transfer has 20 vents and retails for $35. Obviously X+1 = $195.

6. I truly feel that the giant corporations of AT&T, GE, and VISA have conspired to pluck our heartstrings at every possible Olympic commercial break. They slowly steal from us the ability to determine on our own what is great, and cleverly hide their message behind the suffering and triumph of others.

7. Lynskey titanium bikes are some of the most under rated and artisan bikes on the market today. Made in Tennessee, by the family that originally started Litespeed, they offer both custom and stock geometry. Next time you swing by the shop, check out the frame welds on our floor models and then think about which Brooks saddle would best complement your cycling tour of Belgium.

8. Paul Sherwen (As in Phil and Paul, one of the greatest cycling commentators of all time) owns a gold mine in Uganda

9. Last year, Sam, Brian and myself were riding on gravel roads in the middle of nowhere. Not only did we meet a sheriff who looked exactly like Wilford Brimley, but at one point during the ride, Sam wrecked on a particularly rough patch of gravel. I, while laughing at him, lost control and fell over. Then Brian, while reaching for his iPhone to document our lack of control, wrecked as well. I remember things like that much more than any of my race results.

10. I don't know... I truly think that iPods should be banned during all races and get you an instant disqualification. It taints the purity of the race. Discuss.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is This a Game Changer?

According to the Urban Dicitonary a “Game Changer” is defined as this

n. a Jagerbomb, also referred to as a JB smooth,
consists of dropping a shot of jagermeister into a glass of red bull and can improve one's game dramatically.

"Look at the ladies who just walked in. Time for a game changer."

I'm pretty sure Emilio Desoto was not thinking of a JB smooth when he surveyed the wetsuit competition last year and thought about how he could elevate his company's game. But when your industry is packed with competitors like the local pub on a Saturday night, you have to do something to separate yourself.

Emilio's two piece T1 wetsuits are certainly unique, but that is not enough for a man and his company who have been leading designers and manufacturers in triathlon apparel for two decades.

The triathlon community, yours truly included, have incorrectly operated under the common misperception that 5mm of thickness was the limit for wetsuit rubber. Not so. Armed with this knowledge, Emilio went to work and created the T1Water Rover.

I was impressed when I first saw the prototype of the suit at Interbike in September. We just received our first shipment of the suits from Desoto this week and I remain impressed. This super-buoyant suit will not be the top choice of everyone, but for many it will be the fastest suit they can currently buy. Check out what Emilio has designed and why here.

What is more certain in my opinion is that this suit will change the wetsuit game. Every other manufacturer will have to re-think their wetsuit design and convince you it is still the best choice or create their own super-buoyant suit.

In the meantime, I’ll be surveying my age group wave start to see who thinks it is time for Desoto's Game Changer.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Triathlon is for Dummies (The Glory of the Short Race)

While perusing our beloved Book People for my next enlightening read (yes, I finally finished "Atlas Shrugged") I stumbled upon a shocking sight. Squeezed beneath a running section dominated by 800 copies of "Born to Run," was a small - but hopeful - triathlon section. Yet even this paled in comparison to the Staff Selection. Nestled in between "Championship Triathlon Training" and "Slow, Fat Triathlete" was "Triathlon Training FOR DUMMIES."

I will be the first to admit: I have many a "FOR DUMMIES" book hidden behind other books on my shelf. However I prefer my guests' eyes fall upon Plato's "Dialogues," rather than "Existentialism FOR DUMMIES." Long ago, while flipping through "Scrapbooking FOR DUMMIES," I realized that the "FOR DUMMIES" books cater to a crowd who are so mildly interested in a particular topic they don't even care to take the time to research the best literature on the subject. But they are interested enough to possibly read about it. They are fast-food for how-to books. Basically, "FOR DUMMIES" should be read as "FOR EVERYONE."

So what does it mean to have "EVERYONE" interested in a sport that was once reserved for the overachieving, extremely athletic, hyper-active, over-stimulated, Ironmen/women of the world? I can tell you what it means for me: more hot pink swim caps in my already overcrowded age group crowding my shoreline at the start of my local triathlon. And the small chance of me ever winning my age group fading before my eyes as some 27-year-old-once-high-school-track-star laps me without breaking a sweat. But then again, EVERYONE must start somewhere. I was once a neophyte. Who am I to complain?

I began triathlons in Los Angeles because my friends and I were bored with overcrowded marathon training programs and running our millionth loop around Griffith Park. We saw it as a way to break up the monotony of training and participate in an activity with participants who did not gasp at skin-tight unitards (outfits formerly limited to West Hollywood). We were completely unprepared for our first triathlon but, after a shivering, terrified dive into the enormous waves of the Pacific off Santa Monica Beach we embarked upon the most incredible, epic race of our lives. It was the Los Angeles Triathlon. It was a sprint distance.

As I watch the masses encroach upon my beloved sport, I've contemplated participating at another level. Perhaps I will finally make that leap and train for the less-populated Half Ironman or even an Ironman. I was serious enough to discuss this ambition with my triathlon guru, mentor and co-worker, Zane Castro. I told him I'd like to do the Lonestar 70.3 in Galveston. He gave me a weary look and said he'd think about it.

The next day, I asked him if he'd come to any conclusions. In his typical way of delivering less-than-savory news in a complimentary manner, Zane said: "In two months you could do it, you just wouldn't be that sharp." If there's anything I like to be, it's sharp - so we started thinking of alternatives. However, due to certain temporal restrictions pertaining to my forthcoming nuptials to the mustchioed man of my dreams, we could find no race that would work with my training schedule. Then Zane said the unexpected, "Why don't you just race the Olympic distance - and race it fast."

The thought had never occurred to me. At even the shortest distances, I viewed triathlon as an endurance event, something to be "gotten through" rather than conscientiously raced with precise training and strategy. The thought of taking my training to the next level by adding an element of thought - which in this case translates into increased speed - never occurred to me. Suddenly, Sprint and Olympic distances didn't seem like "gateway races" anymore, a level athletes must pass through to ascend to the upper echelons of the 140.6 distance.

After the Austin Marathon I will embark upon my new training goal. Until then I'll stay pumped by thinking of reasons why my race is called an "Olympic" distance. Number one: the first time you race it, you need the bravery and the willpower of any olympian, whether you're a high school track star or a lush like me. Number two: giving it all you've got in any race will leave you with feeling godlike, no matter what distance. Number three: at the finish line of your first Sprint or Olympic race you will have completed the "Triathlon FOR DUMMIES" basic course, whether you know it or not, and begin to understand the nuances and the true beauty of our strange, beloved sport.

Bring it on you wave of hot pink swim caps. I'm ready to race the Olympic distance. And race it fast.


Monday, February 8, 2010

wet weather bike tips

As you may have noticed, we have not been having our typical awesome winter here in Austin. It has been cold (anything under 60 is cold here) and it has been raining at least a couple of days a week for the last few weeks. Your bike will need a little extra help from you to keep it in good working shape. Besides the usual cleaning and chain lubing there are a couple of small things to do to make sure everything runs smoothly.

One of the first things to check is the brake pads. Wet rides tend to wear out brake pads pretty fast so you should check the wear on them every couple of weeks to ensure that they do not do any damage to your rims. If you ride on roads that tend to have a lot of mud and water it is not hard to wear through a set of pads in a couple of rides.

You will also need to lube your chain a little more often when it is wet to help the chain last longer as wet and muddy conditions will accelerate the wear that a chain puts on your chainrings and cassette.

One other small tip that your significant other might appreciate, don't bring your wet dirty bike inside the house, wash it or let it dry first so you don't end up with little mud puddles on your floor.

9 Tips to a Safer Ride with Trey Steele

The roads of Central Texas are bustling with the sounds of cars, trucks, SUV’s, and the lovely hum of hubs, cogs, chains, and cranks that signal cycling hibernation is over and it’s time to start thinking about the 2010 season. Whether you’re a total road rookie or seasoned veteran, the simple fact is that as the number of vehicles and bicycles on the roads increase, so do your chances of being involved in an accident. Here are nine tips to help make this season a safe one.

Tip 1 – If you wouldn’t do it in you car, don’t do it on your bike

We can talk forever about rules of the road, riding defensively, and the like. But the bottom line is that if you’re about to do something on your bike you would never think of doing in your car, don’t. I see cyclists blow through red lights and tempt their fate at four way stops. If you’re trying to see how fast you can go, sign up for a race. Otherwise, set an example for everyone and follow the traffic laws. That’s cooler than ending up in ICU.

Tip 2 – Carry Identification

In the event something happens, it’s important for emergency personnel to know who you are and any existing medical conditions they may need to be aware of. That can be as easy as carrying a cell phone and programming an I.C.E. number (in case of emergency). There are also other options available including Road I.D., an identification band that provides first responders a number to call for your pertinent medical history. In fact, J&A will soon be carrying Road I.D. soon, so drop by and pick one up!

Tip 3 – Ride away from the sun

As winter slowly fades, it leaves the sun at some seriously blinding angles this time of the year. There’s no reason to be riding East early in the morning right now. It’s very easy for a driver not to see you (or even another car for that matter). Get in the habit of riding away from the sun. Not only will your eyes thank you for not having to squint through your glasses, you’ll give motorists a better chance of seeing you.

Tip 4 – Find roads where the traffic speed is slower

A good rule of thumb is if the posted speed limit is 35 mph or slower, you have a lower risk of being in an accident with a car. Simply put, slower moving vehicles give drivers more time to react. If you need to do some training on a road with a faster speed limit, look for shoulders that are at least a car width wide. The usual suspects of 360 and Bee Cave road are good options. INSIDE TIP – watch for right turns. Once the speed of the road gets up, your biggest risk is cars turning right. Find roads with a limited number of right turns.

Tip 5 – Lights are cool

If you’re riding in the morning or evening (like most of us), get some lights. And no, high visibility clothing does not replace a light. Go ahead and get one for the front of your bike as well. I would recommend a rear light that uses LED bulbs and flashes at varying intervals and intensity. INSIDE TIP - try before you buy. If you have a saddlebag that sits at an angle, take your bike in and work with someone in the shop to find a light that works. Bottom line – if it’s flashing at the moon, the big black SUV behind you may not see it.

Tip 6 – The Rear Wheel Rules

When riding in a pace line, if you’re not looking at the rear wheel right in front of you, you’re looking at a crash. In fact, over 85% of all bicycle crashes occur with another bicycle, not a motorist. And if you want to end up eating a pavement sandwich, the fastest way to do that is overlap your front wheel with the rear wheel of the rider in front of you. The rear wheel is only part of the “cockpit” you should be checking including left and right of the cyclist in front of you and an occasional glance to the front of the train. If you want to enjoy a respite from the wind by drafting, that begins as far as two feet behind the rider in front of you. The closer you get should be dependent on your handling skills but most importantly, how well you know that rider and what their tendencies are.

Tip 7 – Communicate

If I’m riding behind you, I’m not easily able to see road debris, obstructions, or any obstacle that could cause me to touch pavement. It’s your responsibility in a group ride to communicate these to the riders behind you. If you’re new to cycling, you’ve probably seen riders using hand signals to communicate these obstacles to one another. Just like the opening scene from A Few Good Men, theses gestures should be passed along quickly. And if someone points out something on the road, that’s a good time to move slightly in the opposite direction of the point. Don’t be a rubbernecker! Just pass the gesture along and move aside. Likewise for any verbal command passed forward. “Car back” means just that. Slide over, position yourself single file, and allow the vehicle to pass safely. If in doubt, Point or Yell it out.

Tip 8 – Get off the road

At some point in your cycling career, you will encounter a mechanical issue with your bike. It could be something as simple as a flat or more complex like a broken chain. In any case, it’s important to assess the situation and perform your repair OFF THE ROAD. And this goes for anyone else on the group ride who has stopped to wait for the repair. I’ve seen more than one rider stick their “tail” out in traffic during a mechanical stop completely oblivious to the fact. If you’re on a group ride and everyone stops for a mechanical issue, get yourself completely off the road.

Tip 9 – Be Vigilant, Not a Vigilante

If you do end up in a collision with a vehicle, try to remain as calm as possible. It’s easy to find yourself in a state of shock and the next thing you know, you’re trying to take matters into your own hands. This is usually more the case if you’re part of a group ride and someone else in your group is struck. If the vehicle involved in the accident stops, call 911 and provide detailed information about your location. If they don’t stop, do your best to get a vehicle description, license plate number, and provide that to authorities when you make your call to 911. Then turn your attention to keeping everyone calm until help arrives.

Being safe is a responsibility we all share. If you work on it the same way you do any other part
of your training, 2010 should be one of your safest ever.

Trey Steele is a USA Cycling Certified Coach and Co Founder of Austin Cycle Camp, providing fitness camps and skills clinics to cyclists of all ability levels.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Austin Marathon - Watch out for Bikes!

With the Austin Marathon quickly approaching, I wanted to re-post an article from last year about leading the marathon - on bikes!

A lot goes into producing an athletic event. A huge marathon like Austin's takes many people working throughout the year to make it happen. All kinds of crazy, behind-the-scenes activities take place, some so weird, you wouldn't even believe.

We wanted to give you a sneak peak into this little unknown world of race production. Our role in the marathon is very small, but we've been doing it for the past 6 years. We're bike leads. We make sure the lead runners don't go off course. We do this on our bikes with GPS.

This year we had 8 bike leads: 2 for the women's half marathon, 2 for the men's half marathon, 2 for the women's marathon & 2 for the men's marathon.

Here we've asked each of the 8 bike leads what position they were assigned & what their favorite part was:

Drew Wolff
Assigned to: Men's Marathon Lead Bike
Leading the athletes on your bike is a cool way to see some exciting racing up close. Volunteering for a great Austin race and giving back is definitely as good as racing sometimes. For the 2009 edition Thomas and I were assigned the male marathon lead. Fast and fit athletes for sure. Helping them navigate the course, avoid road hazards and enjoy their tour of Austin is the general plan. The weather was good. The crowds, especially downtown near city hall, were amazing.

Favorite Part: My favorite part of the race had to be when I rode up to the marathon lead male at approximately the two mile mark. At that time the half marathon leaders had pulled away along with the press truck and timing vehicle. They would soon return, but I wanted to take the opportunity to identify Thomas and I as volunteers and let the lone leader know we would be his lead as long as he lead the race. Our exchange went something like this:

Me "Hi, my name is Drew. Thomas and I are volunteers. We'll be helping you navigate the course today. If you have any doubts as to where the course goes, always follow Thomas and I."

Jeremy Borling "Okay. But why?"

Me "You're leading the marathon, and as long as you do, we'll stay with you."

Jeremy "REALLY?!"

His suprise and excitement at learning this was evident in his voice. He had clearly thought the race had left him behind and you could see an immediate change in his running. It was fun to be a part of that. Jeremy would go on to lead the race start to finish and win in a time of just over 2hrs 30min.

Thomas Miller
Assigned to:
Men's marathon, GPS Backup
The day was fairly uneventful, in that the eventual winner held the lead the entire race, so there was not much for us to do. We simply made sure the runner stayed on course and informed him of upcoming water stops.

Favorite Part: One of the highlights of the day for me was the dude at around 46th and Ave. F who had moved his entire home stereo onto his lawn so that he could play the theme from "Chariots of Fire," as the lead runner came by. Goosebumps... I can only aspire to having someone play that for me someday.

John Lewis
Assigned to:
Women’s Marathon, Lead Bike

avorite part: My favorite part about leading Elle was when she was turning on to San Jacinto in mile 25; I told her “today was her day to win” and she asked “How close is the next girl” I told her “I have not seen anyone since the half & she could just about walk it in.” I told her to draw energy from the crowd and enjoy this time. It was cool to see her win.

Ashton Prejean
Assigned to: Women's Marathon, GPS Backup

Favorite Part: Besides the buffet, I like being a positive influence (I think it was legal for us to give her encouragement) for the runner. I tried to tell her all the things that work for me when I am running and she said they were helping her also. I did think the"hey you're on a bike....that's not fair" and "cheater" jokes got a little old. Did I mention that I liked the buffet.

Jack Murray
Assigned To:
Men's Half Marathon, Lead Bike

I was in charge of organizing and assigning the team of bike leads for the marathon. I have been doing this for 6 years now. The 1st few years it was hard finding people to ride. Now it is easy and people are lined up to do it.

Favorite Part: I love watching the event unfold from the front. It is the ultimate front row seat.

Cynthia Henges
Assigned to:
Men's Half Marathon, GPS Backup

If Jack's bike broke down, I was supposed to swap out the GPS device by removing his seat post and swapping seats with him. Luckily this didn't happen. I was also there to lead the chase pack since Bernard (half champion) had such a large lead on the 2nd place finisher. I was there to check out the hot runner dudes and make sure they stayed on course :) I've always had a soft spot for runners. The 4th place finisher gets my vote for hottest runner ;) Oh, the post race VIP food setup is always a crowd pleaser.

Favorite Part: My favorite part about leading the runners is simply that you get to be in the mix and see the drama of the race unfold. Simply priceless...I'll be volunteering for this duty for years and decades to come. Thanks J&A!

Brad Miller
Assigned to:
Women's Half Marathon, Bike Lead
Favorite Part: Brad could not be reached for comment & he's a man of few words. He just thinks it's cool.

Michelle LaPuente
Assigned to:
Women's Half Marathon, GPS Backup

Favorite Part: At the Austin Marathon I had the opportunity to ride alongside some truly remarkable athletes. Since there is no way I can run with them, I make the most of what I can get.

For those of you who are like me and somewhere in the middle, we often time don't realize that the leaders get bike escorts. Or if we do, we just never see them! Anyhow, I was fortunate enough to get to participate as the backup escort for the women's half marathon.

There are so many details of the day that I could go on and on and on...etc. But I will keep focused here on the observations I want to share:

1. Having fun - when I saw Gilbert in the early miles of the race, he seemed to be having fun; even making a little small talk with me as I rode alongside

2. Focused - the level of focus that these runners have is incredible

3. Relentless - despite the physical pain and what surely must also be mental pain, they do not back down, give up or give in...even if there's no chance to win.

4. Technique - one of the main reasons I love this job is that I get to watch their running styles and forms. Since I have such a problem with my foot strike, this is a great way to watch and learn.

As I stated earlier, I could go on...but I wanted to point out the things that struck a chord with me. I just love to watch them run!!


We're looking forward to the Austin Marathon 2010 - The Real Rock N Roll of Texas!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sunday shop rides

Well, we’ve been riding through the winter, even last Sunday when the temps were around freezing and it was actually SNOWING, about fifteen of us left the shop at 8:30 a.m. prompt. The only time we don't formally ride is when it is raining at the start of the ride.

We are extending the shop rides this year to include a new intermediate group, led by Tammy Metzger and Tempo Multisport, as well as offering a number of specific pre-ride clinics and a more formalized schedule.

The “we” in this is us and you. The “us” is myself (Mark), Jeff, Zac, James, Hugo , Ron, Tammy, and Kim who will be the ride leaders.

No Drop: The “you” is almost anyone who can ride a bike. If you are new to cycling, or just have not been out on your bike for a while, then there’s the 20-mile no-drop ride. Jeff and Hugo will normally take this ride, the ride will head down Dawson and South 5th, out of town to Akins High School. You won’t get left to ride alone, everyone waits at the High School and then heads back to the shop. The no-drop ride is 10-miles out, and 10 back.

Intermediate: The intermediate group is for those who’ve done the no-drop for a number of weeks and are ready to step-up in distance and speed. The rides will vary from week to week. You need to be able to follow ride sheets and fix your own punctures. We’ll do our best to look out for folks and drop back when we can, but it’s not a no-drop ride. Speeds will vary but the target is an average of 15MPH, with distance of 25-30 miles.

Long: Typically lead by Zac and I, the long group will also follow the group ride plan, but will typically ride longer, 35+ miles. Speed for the longer group will depend on the route, and the riders. While we encourage the group to ride together, the group will often split, with a fast group going off the front and race back into town and to the shop. You need to be able to handle your own breakdowns, punctures etc.

We all meet up back at the shop to swap stories, talk tactics and race plans and enjoy a free breakfast taco from Taco Deli, provided by Jack. We roll every week on time at 8:30 am prompt, for most people that means arriving at the shop no later than 8:15.

Here is the ride schedule for the first 7-weeks, we will be updating the blog as plans develop, last minute changes, cancellations will be sent out via the Jack and Adams twitter account - you can keep up to date with this via the web, or get a twitter account and get the updates sent direct to your cellphone.

Feb 7 - South
Feb 14 - South - possible mechanics clinic pre-ride (to be determined)

Feb 21 - Hill training - Intermediate loop does hill circuit / Long group does longer hilly ride

Feb 28 - South
Mar 7 - Group riding/paceline clinic for intermediate and long group.

Mar 21 - 50+mile ride for intermediate and long group.
Mar 28 - South

Don't forget, we leave at 8:30a.m. sharp and free breakfast Taco's afterwards! Let’s keep the ride safe for ourselves and for other road users… See you Sunday!!