Thursday, May 31, 2012

Postcards from the Shiv

Paging doctor Amy to the Fuelselage operating room ...

This blog post is going to explain my most recent modification to the Specialized Shiv Fuelselage. But let me back up a minute and hop onto my soapbox. While I love my new bike this one part of the bike was maybe not entirely tested before release.

The reason I speculate this is that every single person I have found who has purchased this bike is monkeying around with their bladder to get it to work correctly better. It's a little bit annoying in that I didn't really choose to be a beta tester kind of way. But, whatever.

In my opinion Specialized would have been better served to partner with a company who knows more about hydration systems like maybe Camelback or Speedfill and having them come up with something awesome that's fully-functional rather than manufacturing something 100% proprietary that in my opinion doesn't work so well. But that's just my opinion.

So here are my current issues:
  1. The bite valve doesn't work well enough to allow enough fluid through the straw fast enough.Which is to say you have to suck kind of hard to make it work and it's kind of slow.
  2. The magnet is not anywhere near strong enough. If you go over any bump at all it comes undone.
  3. The straw is too floppy. If it's long enough to reach my mouth in aero without me looking down (in other words I can still look forward to see where I'm going) it is also long enough for the straw to fall into the wheel. And that seems dangerous. I'm not sure if it is actually since I didn't crash when it happened but it didn't seem like a good plan. Also if you're riding in a group when this happens your fellow riders will shriek "AAAAAMY FIXXXX your STRAW!!!"
  4. The liquid in the fuelselage gets warm quickly. 
Modification Round One - no pictures
So, first what I did was I swapped out the straw with a camelback straw and bite valve that I already had in my closet. I used that on last weeks long ride and it was a big improvement for issue number one.  I estimate that I took in about twice as much fluid on each swallow. It's just a much better valve than the one that came with the tube - in my opinion.

I also observed that the Camelback straw was actually by default more rigid than the specialized tube. But not rigid enough. The tube would fall down from the magnet and dangle and get caught in the tire. Not good. I actually wrapped it around the back of the aero bar to keep this from happening which worked but was a rather involved process for the mid-ride 20mph refuel without falling over - which is my goal.

Modification Round Two - lots of pictures
So onto step 2. I ordered the camelback tube director. This will hopefully allow me a much more rigid tube and even hands free access to the bite valve which is what I'm after.  I knew from the get go that the tube was too long for me and getting it shorter was a little complicated by the tube director accessory that has a wire in it.

What I needed to do. 1 Shorten the tube. 2. Attach it to the Specialized Fuelselage and put the magnets back on.

Known challenges at the start. The tube director does not fit through the holes at the top of the fuelselage so the tube director wrapping needed to be trimmed.

So - here's what I did:

First I used my kitchen scissors to cut the thick neoprenish cover around the tube and expose the wire.
Next I used wire clippers to shorten the wire and needle-nose pliers to bend back the sharp part because I think a hole in the tube would be not good.

Next I used electrical tape to wrap that sharp part again just hoping against hope not to puncture the tube during a ride.
Next step I reinserted the tube into the fuelselage pocket and this picture is just to show where they connect. Here's a tip warm the camelback tube under hot water for about 30 seconds before you do this.
Shove the blue part onto the white part. This step does take patience because it's a tight fit and I think it should be to make sure it doesn't come apart. And then tighten down the little back screw cover.   

Now we're going to put the magnet on. First warm under hot water and wiggle the bite valve off the tube.
Next shove the magnet sleeve from Specialized over the top of the tube and wiggle the Camelback bite valve onto the end. I didn't have enough exposed tube at the top of the tube director for all this crap so I tried to wiggle the black tube cover down the tube. I don't really know if it worked but everything fit. I could also have trimmed the magnet holder but I was afraid I would need it "as is" in the future so I didn't do that.

Here it is on the bike. It may still be a couple inches too long but I cut my first tube too short and so I'd rather too long than too short. It is actually nice to be able to have the straw in your mouth while you're in the bullhorns and so super short is no good.
Here's another picture.

As one final note I have learned through trial and error that in my experience the correct length of the straw is probably so that it reaches to the end of the aero bars. This lets it reach your mouth without stretching.
This is just to show you what tools I used. Scissors, Wire cutter, 2 sets of pliers and electrical tape. You can see the section of tube I removed. I actually did this twice so I removed a little more than double that amount in the end.

Okay so why go through all this hassle. Well I'm now 100 percent confident the the straw will not drop down into the bike and that is a big deal to me. Getting the straw to your mouth is not a huge deal even with the floppy straw but it required a little bit of thinking. Okay here I go for hydration - nice long straight stretch of rode. One hand off to get the straw. Okay, got it. pedal pedal oaky Now straw in mouth, good. Pedal Pedal. Okay drink. Finished okay pedal pedal, now take straw and make sure it gets to the magnet okay now back to riding. Repeat 15 minutes later. Now I'm hoping we're at grab straw, stick in mouth, spit out straw, clip to magnet all without getting out of aero.

In fact, in my practice attempt when I spit the bite valve out the wire keeps it kind of by my face which might be good we'll see.

Let me add that I didn't come up with this on my own. I found this idea by searching online for what others had done. I am also most likely going to add some velcro to the top of the tube for securing it over the magnet. We'll see. Others add on a rare earth magnet to the existing magnet for more power - that sounds more exotic but I don't happen to have a rare earth magnet in my garage at the moment and I do have velcro.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Motivation Man Race Preview

This one's a biggie - so pay attention!

Five days from today I'll take on my longest race yet. It's a half-ironman distance. You can also call it a 70.3. But whatever you call it - it's long.

The event - Motivation Man

Okay so I'm breaking many of my personal race rules with taking this on. First rule - no first time races. I find that organizers of first time races tend to do things like not have enough water... but when I was unable to race my intended race in Orlando I decided to make an exception.

Another rule I have is to do a larger race for a first time distance. Smaller races are more of a mental challenge. This is going to be a very small race. The field is capped at 1000 for both the Olympic and 70.3 distance but estimates I heard yesterday say that there will likely only be about 700 people registered. Since almost all of those folks will be doing the Olympic distance it's going to be a very small field racing the long course. I may know/train with all the folks doing the long course :-)

6:30 am Start estimated temp 75 degrees

1.2 mile swim.
The swim is in the intracoastal. Allegedly we will be with the current the entire way. I think that's physically  impossible (because it is not a point to point swim) but here's hoping.
I'll be following the blue arrows :-) At least one of these three legs is gonna have to be against the current probably two out to the turn buoy and back from the last buoy will be against the current ... or the map is wrong.

I'm not crazy ready for the swim but I'll be fine.  I did the Nautica swim in 41 minutes so my goal for this is 53 minutes.

As a note I think this will be my first deep water start. So that's pretty cool.

Nutrition Plan - not drinking much seawater. Remember to pee in the water :-)

T1 - apply more sunscreen. Rinse mouth with water, eat Gu, glasses on, helmet on, arm coolers on, gloves on, socks on, shoes on, go. Not worrying about transition times - at all. I'm more concerned with remembering everything. I will probably make a check list. Dorky yes, I know.

7:30 am estimated temp 77 humidity 87%
56 miles on the bike.
The course for this is almost totally straight and flat.
I start on the right go all the way left - turn around and come back.
I'll be riding the new bike. I'm looking at this course and trying to figure out if there is a bridge in here. The only thing I haven't done any of on the new bike is climbing so I'll make a trip out to the bridge to practice that this week just to calm my nerves. 

My goal is to hold 17 mph for the duration. That's not terribly fast but if I end up with a head wind for 28 miles that will be a challenge for me. To be honest I have no idea how to estimate this. Yesterday I did a group ride averaging 19 for 62 miles but I know I won't be able to be that fast solo. Also we stopped for about 5-10 minutes halfway through and I did things like pee and refill my bottles while not moving on the bike.

Will I be able to hold 17 ... no idea. So 3.5 hours.

Nutrition plan - I will have 40 ounces of lemon-lime Infinit pre mixed. That's 400 calories. I will also have a cookie to eat half-way 100 calories and I'll carry 2 Gu's to eat if needed. I'll also have a bottle of water. I haven't quite figured out what I'll do with the bottle exchange.  I'll stop drinking calories at mile 53 roughly 15 minutes out of transition to let the fluid move through my tummy.

Half way through there will be a bottle exchange. I have no idea how this works. I'll be carrying my own bottles so is the idea that I swap one for a bottle of Zephyrhills? Since I carry insulated bottles that seems like a bad idea. Or is it that I take a bottle of water and refill my own bottle. So many questions.One

My final fear about the bike is that it will be really boring. Usually during a group ride there is chatter and stuff to keep me distracted and I'm concentrating on keeping up with others. This is a small race and we could be very spread out so I could be alone and bored out of my mind for 3.5 hours.

Oh wait I'm also concerned about my shorts. I usually wear bike shorts for long rides. But swimming in bike shorts would be ridiculous. So I picked up a pair of Zoot tri shorts for the race. Wore them Saturday for the run and swim they were fine. Washed the outfit and wore them for Sunday's ride/run. Not so great. The seam around the chamois made a ridiculous amount of chaffing on my tush. I could feel it digging in pretty early on the ride. OUCH! So I won't be wearing those shorts. My other shorts that I've loved have all been Garneau so I'm going to pick up a pair of Garneau tri shorts (with a careful inspection of the chamois area) and wear those. 

T2 - I know by now it will be hot. So my plan is to have an extra bottle of water in transition to pour over my body. Then reapply sunscreen. Maybe change my shirt. Put on hat. put on running shoes, fuel belt, race belt and go. I plan to carry my own water, gels for a few reasons. First I like to be prepared second the gels they are having on course are gross. I bought some to try and seriously gross.

11:00 am Estimated temp 84 degrees feeling like 90 humidity 67%
Then 13.1 miles running.
Two loops by the water.

I have no idea how I will feel during this run. So I am being conservative with my time goal. 2.5 hours.

Based on yesterday's transition run I plan to take a gu pretty quickly into the run to keep the gloomies away. We'll see how it goes.

Also I've never done a loop long course. I have a feeling I'll hate it. I can't do loops on solo long runs because I always stop at the end of the first loop. Since that would be a DNF I'm not going to do that here.

Here's another place where the small race might be a bit of a drag. The advantage of huge marathons is that I know that there are walkers who will for sure be behind me :-) All the Olympic distance folks will be long finished and the only people out and about will be annoyed folks who live in WPB and will be in my way. I just hope the volunteers are still all out.

1:30 crossing the finish line - smiling. That's the plan.

Total time 7 hours. This will be close to 2 hours longer than my longest endurance event. That was my first marathon more than 10 years ago which was 5 hours. I quite honestly have no idea how I will feel. But we're going to find out.

At the moment I'm not feeling anxious or nervous. I think  that's because I've settled into the grind it out and just get it done having as much fun as possible mentality. I expect the nerves to come back later in the week. 

Okay that's all. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

New bike rack - New nutrition - stuff

Let's start with I'm continuing to be freaked out by the looming 70.3 distance race in my future. Okay enough - moving on.

New Bike Rack
Almost 9 years ago I bought a new car and with it a new bike rack. The car is still hanging tough - the bike rack had seen better days.

A few weeks ago whilst bike shopping I ordered a new bike rack. Thule 916xtr - t2. It doesn't hang the bikes but holds them by the wheels.

New bike on new bike rack.
It's pretty great. Like all things Thule ... it's big ... it's heavy ... the directions stink and the little plastic pieces come right off. But once you've made peace with that it does a great job holding the bike.

My rack holds 2 bikes and can be extended to 4 bikes. Let me tell you that is adding a good 5-6 feet of bikes to the back of a car. I decided against the extension but I saw one the other day ... it's HUGE. 

It is a good thing that I ordered the bike rack because ... and if you're shopping for a Shiv you should know this in advance ... it doesn't fit on a standard bike rack because of the thicker bottom  tube. Oops!

New Nutrition
After a recent long bike I never wanted another sip of red Gatorade again. Especially not warm. Many people in my group use Infinit So I decided to give it a try. I did not actually speak to them I just completed the online worksheet so I don't think my formula (named Amy'sJuJuJuice if you want to know) is oh so custom. But it's worth a try.

I have been drinking it since it came during workouts to give my stomach a chance to get used to it. My stomach very luckily tolerates Gu very well. So I am hesitant to change it up. However ... I did want to get away from the colored Gatorade.

It is a giant bag of powder.
You mix 2 scoops with 20 ounces of water basically and then drink your calories. Because you are mixing it yourself you can doctor this to meet your needs so if you want more calories in 20 ounces of water put in more powder. If you want more water - less calories just mix in less powder.

I was initially stumped by this but actually it's easy to apply. The other day I was heading out for a hot run but I was going to eat lunch afterwards so I did one scoop. Not rocket science I'm not sure why I was so flummoxed by it in concept actually.

In theory in an endurance event this can take the place of everything else (read no other Gu's or cookies) but most people I know do mix it up a little bit. The big plus for this over Gatorade is that it has some protein in it. Also if you're a heavy sweater you have extra sodium. I'm not a heavy sweater. I was a little concerned about that because I don't always tolerate protein powder well (muscle milk is like an instant vomit maker in my belly) but it's been fine. The taste is mild and while I smell the protein when I mix it I don't taste it.

Also it froths when you mix it because of the protein -- that's entertaining. But they suggest mixing it the night before which works pretty well.

It was $45 for the bag - approximately. My Gus are about $1.50 each. They say it's 25 servings so that's $1.80 a serving. Since I was using Gus and Gatorade together it's probably about the same since I plan never to buy Gatorade again :-) I still haven't recovered from my red Gatorade overdose, clearly.

So the plan is to use this on the bike and maybe also on the run in Palm Beach.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Triathlon Training Thursday - Feeling underprepared

Lets start with something not about me shall we. I know I know the blog is all about me but lets step back a minute.

This weekend my Sister-in-law (call her Mrs. Couch2whatever if you want) and her sister (she doesn't blog that I know of so think of her as Mrs. Couch's sister because she has no nickname) will be running their first ever Half Marathons!!!!!!! It's very exciting.

As anybody who has ever run an endurance event knows - there is a ton of hard work that goes into getting ready for a race this long. My favorite quote about it all comes from the penguin, John Bingham.

"The miracle is not that I finished but that I had the courage to start."

My little brother is also running and he will probably blow his previous half marathon times out of the water because he's getting very fast. So not to poo poo his hard work but I'm sure he'll approve if I spend most of my praise on his wifey who is running her very first Half-Marathon... did I already mention that? So head on over to her blog and wish her luck if you stumble upon this ...

And now back to our regular programming ... me.

Swimming - did an open water mile last week. That was good. Learned that they thing that my half ironman swim with be with the current the whole way -- that was good news (although I don't actually believe it). Swam Wednesday in the pool and did my longest workout in a while. It's bizarre that the switch to a meters pool and an early morning workout threw me off so much but it really has been a struggle the last few weeks.

Biking - This is actually big news. I should have done a separate post for this but I'm behind the ball. I rode the new bike on the group ride last Saturday. It was Saturday because Sunday was Mother's Day and as a mother I decided to take that day off to snuggle with my kiddos in bed.
I am holding the iphone which i use as the ipod, there is the ipad for movies, email etc, and the watch to time my intervals and let me know the level of suffering, and then there on the polka dot paper - that's the workout.

I was sooo nervous that I didn't sleep well the night before and I texted my friend that I would be taking my new bike. I did this so that I didn't fink out and take the old bike like a ninny. I will confess that I am actually probably a ninny in many things about the bike but I do strive for as much non-ninnyness as I can.
interval one on the trainer today 12 minutes complete - entertaining myself with the ipad.

So I was nervous. But I did it. About 5 miles in I was with the pack and I had worked my way into a cross chaining situation and it was making an annoying noise and I'll admit I was too nervous to change to the big ring. Ahem. So a fellow rider said you need to change gears and I actually said, " I know but I'm nervous" This is when being a girl is good because you can confess your inner wimp and not be made fun of. I intentionally fell back and when I had more space I did shift and I did not fall over.
interval 2 10 minutes complete - looking a little panicked I'll admit.

From there on out it was pretty great. By the end of the ride I was much more confident in the bike and shifting. Not to mention I think the bike is faster (which is the whole idea). I hit 25.7mph and there are no hills so while that was most likely with the pack I've never gone that fast except downhill on the other bike.
interval 3 8 minutes complete - just the cooldown and run to go. let it never be said that I don't sweat.

Also my bike pump was stolen out of my car. No I'm not kidding. I left the car unlocked which is a dumb thing to do but really who steals a bike pump? Big dorks that's who. 

Running -- I'm running. No big news there. I had a terrible run yesterday but it was in the middle of a very weird day so I'm not worrying much about it.

Call me Mrs. Underprepared
In just a few weeks I'm racing Motivation Man. My first 70.3 distance.

That's 1.2 miles swimming, 56 miles biking and 13.1 miles running. (Imagine my panic here).

I never feel ready for a new longer race. Getting ready for my first olympic distance I was in a panic but that was over the swim. So intellectually I'm trying to keep that in perspective but it's not really working.

I'm not really nervous about this swim because it's close in distance to what I've done. I'm worried about the whole duration on the course.  

My longest event ever was my first marathon in January 2000 which was 5 hours and 4 minutes. This 70.3 is going to take me a while longer than that and that's what currently worries me because I have no idea what to expect.  I'll admit I'm not really even sure what to expect for time but it could be 7 hours or even more. That is a huge long time. The idea of a full half marathon after the 56 mile bike is really scary still.

I know what my body does with a straight running event as it wears out. I know how that feels and how to push through it. But this is new. So my current plan is to try to keep calm and carry on. The goal for this race is to just make it through. Tune in next week when I may be in more of a freak out mode.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Triathlon Training Thursday - Feeling the Shiv Love (after the fit)

Get a fit. Get a fit. Get a fit.

When you start looking at tri bikes or if you have any issues at all ever while riding a bike this is what you will hear. Get a fit. Get a fit. Get a fit.

In getting ready to buy the tri bike. I went with my trusty road bike for another fitting part of which was measuring me for what tri bikes would work. They made some changes to the road bike and I'll be honest I don't really notice a huge difference in performance except my aero bottle straw became much too long and I keep smashing my face into it. OUCH! Read: they lowered my handlebars. So, if you asked me then whether the fit was important I would have said, "eh, maybe ... I dunno."

But now I've got this new fancy schmancy tri bike and I know I need to be fitted. So, I go in to EBP with said new bike and get hooked up to all the doodads. It's a Retul fitting so you wear sensors and they measure stuff. What stuff ... I dunno, stuff. Actually I do know some because I asked. And over 90 minutes I pedaled and pedaled some more, pedaled fast, put pressure on pedaled more. I also got a lesson in shifting from Gunther. They did really 3 things. Adjusted my cleats on my new shoes, moved my seat forward and moved my aerobars back. Not so much really in terms of adjustment you might think.

BUT ...

Oh what a difference! It is sooooo much better.

I went out Tuesday for my interval workout. I picked a lonely car free road inside a park where there would be no cars (the Deering Estate). I was anxious at the start ... I know this because when I put on my heart rate monitor my heart was already hammering away at 98. I was standing still at this point. So I did some deep breathing, said quietly to myself, "you can do this" hopped on the bike and got started. I crossed into the park and on this isolated road I went back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.

If you remember from other posts I felt unstable when starting from a stopped position on the new bike. That's now not an issue I was able to start without feeling like I couldn't complete the pedal stroke and was therefore going to fall over. I think this is due to the seat coming forward but that's a guess. This is a major improvement.

I was also able to shift to my hearts content up down up down up down because I can reach the shifters and keep my elbows on the aero bars. Some of this is from the adjustment and some due to the lesson. I had been lifting my arm off of the aero pad to shift and when I did that I would steer to the left (usually shifting on the right side) and then I would be freaking out trying to balance and shift). I learned to just slide my arm forward and shift keeping my elbow on the pad. This is a huge difference in stability.

Now, I have a guess that this reach to shift issue is more an issue for the shorter armed gender on tri bikes. Now that I'm staring at all people riding tri bikes ( Yes that's me out there totally oggling your set up) I've noticed that some guys actually reach past the shifters almost all the time so if that's you - then you probably don't have an issue.

And so, in conclusion I'm now feeling the love.

Further in conclusion I have realized that I trimmed the straw too short on the bladder ... oops. Next weeks assignment - ordering a replacement straw. :-)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Did you know you can ride past Roberts?

Remember when you learn in school that a long time ago smart people thought that the world was flat? And then they were proved wrong. Well, I had a similar experience today.

My previous longest bike ride was 66 miles. That's out and back to a juice bar in Florida City / Homestead called Roberts or Robert is Here. Sunday the schedule said 4 hours. And low and behold as we approached Roberts we had kept such a good pace that we needed more mileage. And then it happened - we went past Roberts. Just took a right turn and kept on going. Just like that my biking universe expanded.

74.42 miles.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Triathlon Training Thursday - The new ride - Specialized Shiv first impressions

After seemingly endless, endless, endless deliberation I went with the Specialized Shiv as my tri bike purchase.
the new ride

I made the decision based on three things:
  1. It was one of 3 brands a fitter told me would work (Specialized, Felt, Qunitanroo)
  2. I have issues with the front aero bottle (just remembering all the pieces so it doesn't fly off the bike) so the integrated hydration option is hopefully a plus for me.
  3. I like the bike store that sells the Specialized much better than the store that sells the Felt. 
I have taken her on two (1/2) rides both about 2 hours long. This is also my first tri bike so some of the first rides are definitely just getting use to the difference between a road bike and a tri bike.
On my first ride I felt the need to take a bunch of pictures of myself on the bike. Here's another one just for fun.
I got the Shiv Comp Rival which is the entry level Shiv. I decided to save the money on the upgrade to the Expert and put that instead into wheels. I also really didn't want a white bike. I don't know why but I prefer the black.

Initial observations
Tri bikes feel really fast. I think this is sort of like driving a little car - you feel fast even when you aren't going fast. You are tilted down so whether I'm going faster or not I feel faster and that's fun. 

This is not actually the exact same picture as above it was taken 2 seconds later. This is the bridge outside the Deering Estate if you happen to be curious.

I wasn't expecting how much more comfortable the aero position would be on the tri bike versus the clip ons on the road bike but for me it's much more comfortable. Conversely holding onto the bull horns is pretty uncomfortable compared to the grips on a road bike. I think I know now why folks in tri bikes are always pulling off from the group to be in aero - it's much more comfy.
My daughter took this of me going up and down the street the day I brought her home. There is nothing (for a woman) like seeing a picture of yourself in aero to affirm your commitment to do more situps. :-)
Lets talk balance. I never felt off balance on the road bike except maybe going downhill super fast (which really isn't that super fast but that's another discussion). But I find that I feel my balance or lack of balance more on the tri bike.

It feels solid when in aero but small movements steer the bike. Movements like a shift in the shoulders or a but wiggle. And when not in aero I do feel my balance shift up I guess which makes bike adjustments more jerky or twitchy. I also notice this when starting from a stop - where the road bike I would press down and sort of glide and lean back into the seat I find that this feels much different. I can't quite put it into words but I do a sort of pedal stutter at the moment down stroke, lift, down stroke then sit and pedal. It's not so graceful yet. In fact my one almost wipe out was performing this exact maneuver at an intersection and luckily I wasn't run over by the truck behind me.
This is my little flat supplies bag which totally doesn't fit correctly on the new seat post. New solution needed.

Shifting on the road bike had become second nature. Shifting on the tri bike is soooo not natural. I'm sure it will become more so. But at the moment it requires a lot of thought and advance planning. Plus I'm not sure what I'm doing. And it makes a big clunk sound which because I'm so jittery on the bike makes me jump. I know I'm ridiculous. Also, I definitely steer a little bit when I lift one arm to go to the gears. I will have to get quicker and more solid with this. My plan is to ride it a little bit every day and shift a lot until it feels right. As well as leaving this bike at home for group rides for a while longer to avoid causing the 37 bike pile up because I was shifting.
The space in the middle of the frame of my miniature bike is very small. So we put on a side opening cage for a bottle. However, on my initial rides I have noticed that every so often I rub the edge of the bottle with my leg ... not so great an option really.
A big feature on the bike is the built in bladder. Specialized actually calls it the Fuelselage which I think is a pretty great name. Also they have a graphic on the side which indicates the following (no hot liquids, no alcohol and one other thing that I forget) it made me chuckle because seriously who would do that? 
This is the bladder out of its little living space. It's pretty ingenious how the contraption works there are 2 covers one that seals it into the frame and then one that covers the fill location. I think I'm supposed to have another cover for if I decide to ride without the bladder but I didn't get that yet.

My XS bladder allegedly holds 20 oz. Actually I'm sure it does if I can get the bag fully in there. But I'm currently getting about 10-15 oz of fluid in. Here are my basic observations on the bladder.
Filling the bladder. On the go you would probably do this squeezing through the sport top. However, I find that you have to wait a few seconds for the air to displace while you fill it so I'm not sure how long this actually takes. So far I haven't filled it on the go only in the garage.

Here is the straw attached to the magnet - figuring out where the straw is most workable is still in progress but that's combined with the fear of taking my hands off the bike so I just need to practice practice practice.
  • It is easier to get the bladder in and out than I expected. 
  • Putting the bladder in is not a rush job because you don't want it folded or bunched. 
  • I have a bite thingie at the end of the straw and you have to suck to pull fluid. It's not hard but I wasn't expecting it. 
  • Water in the frame gets warm quickly. Actually just about immediately.
  • The magnet to hold the straw is not at all strong enough. Apparently they are releasing new magnets this summer as this is a known issue but seriously it's a bummer.
  • The bladder seems to dry pretty well when stored upside down. I'm paranoid about this because years ago I ruined a Camelback by letting it mold so we'll see how I do with this.
  • It comes with a very long straw. We cut mine in the bike store. I actually may have cut it too short which will definitely make the discovery of replacement parts happen a little faster. But too much straw and it's flapping all over the place - too little and your nose is touching the aero bars while you drink. 
In other news
As you might have heard I can't race the Florida 70.3 on May 20th due to a kiddo conflict. Oh well. Ironman has generously not given me a refund or a deferral but I expected that. It's one of the things they are known for.  Oh well, Lance will just have to carry on without me. Ha!

In a moment of unclear thinking I have signed up for another 70.3 distance race a little closer to home 10 days later. It's called Motivation Man

Since registering I have already had 3 moments of panic. First immediately following the sign-up process. Second later that night I woke up three times completely doubting my ability to complete this race and then most recently yesterday when my husband pointed out, "hey it's exactly one month until your big race."

The last race that made me this nervous was the Olympic distance so I know it's just about the unknown. But anyway more about this later.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Totals

So my brother posts his monthly training totals. You can call him Mr. Couch . It's a good thing to do to keep track of how things are going so here are mine for April:

Swim 8565 yards for 5 hours 10 minutes (really 10 minutes ... hmmm that's probably off a bit)
Bike 130.75 miles for 11 hours 24 minutes
Run 119.45 miles for 14 hours 43 minutes.

This accurately reflects a few things. One this month had a lot of running in it - probably due to the Key Biscayne Half Marathon.

Also, my swimming volume is really low. Not only compared to my brothers (but his is crazy high) but also to March and February which were higher. This is a bad pattern ... so I'm committed to bringing that back up both by swimming more and by remembering to write it down when I swim.

Lastly, the bike mileage is wonky and here's why - it doesn't account for any indoor cycling whether that's spinning or trainer rides. Not sure what to do about that actually. Other than stand here on my invisible soap box and say ... I rode more I rode more! okay all done off the soapbox.

And not to be outdone by my brother's diligent tracking of his training I have tallied up my yearly totals as well. Well I can't find January so it's incomplete and to be honest I know he probably tracks his yearly totals also and with much more digital finesse than I can manage but you know what - that's okay because this week is his birthday and it's not nice to give your brother a hard time on the week of his birthday. :-)

And now I have to feed my kids and go to bed because I can't skip my swim workout tomorrow or else my mileage will be even lower than it would be otherwise.