Lance Armstrong

Time Trial Bikes/Triathlon Bikes

Lisa’s Note: Even if you don’t have interest in doing a Triathlon, I encourage you to read this post for the valuable information on WHEN and HOW to buy a bike–no matter what kind you buy!

Bike Trainer Info

How to Buy A Bike – Part 1

How to Buy a Bike – Part 2

Time Trial Bikes

Guest Post by Michael

The last type of bike that we’ve not discussed is time trial bikes. These are also commonly used in triathlon events. The purpose of these bikes is to go as fast as possible over a set course where you are timed.

You know who's time trial bike

The most glaringly different feature on these bikes is the handlebars. These are called aero bars. Aero bars are intended to stretch your body out into a longer and lower profile position to reduce wind resistance. Your forearms sit on rests and your hands grab the aero bars at the end where the shifters are. The brakes are located at the end of the wider part of the handlebars which are primarily used for climbing up hills. it presents the obvious question — If I’m tucked into the most aerodynamic position, how do I brake? Well, you don’t. Remember, you’re racing against the clock. You are not going to slow your bike down.

Time Trial Bars

Another subtle difference is the frame. These frames are designed to reduce wind resistance and therefore are as skinny as possible. These bikes usually have a cutout that allows the rear tire to be as close as possible to the frame to reduce drag.

The riding position is also a little different. Beyond the tucked position, these riders typically ride the bike as far forward on the saddle as possible. This position allows for more pressure to be places directly over the pedals as you ride which results in a more efficient pedaling motion.

If you’re on a budget and already have a road bike, you can just attach aero bars and get a longer saddle for it. Whatever you decide, it’s a good idea to make sure you can actually get into and sustain that position while pedaling. Your hamstrings really get stretched out on these bikes and it’s a good idea to make sure that you can actually get into this position before you commit any money to the gear. Again, you don’t want to buy things that you’re never going to use, especially when they’re just going to make your bike heavier.

If you do decide to buy a bike this year, I cannot stress the importance of  purchasing it from a true bike store. You cannot simply call up a bike store, say that your height is 5’6″ and have someone tell you what size bike you need. Buying a bike is nothing like buying t-shirts. There are more than 4 sizes and  you cannot do it over the internet. You need to be fit to a bike by a proper bike technician.  This is why you shouldn’t buy a bike from any store that’s not first and foremost, a bike store.

Now that you know how to buy a bike, you need to know that the months of January and February are the best time of the year to buy a bike. In addition to people being discouraged to ride by the weather, the 2010 models are likely on clearance and your bike store is discounting them to make room for the 2011 models. You may even be able to negotiate the price you pay for a bike, especially if you’re shopping for a higher-end model. You want to take advantage of these deals so get out there and buy a bike ASAP! Don’t wait for the weather to improve because you’ll only end up spending more.

QUESTION: Have you bought a bike yet? Are you thinking about it?

Chasing Legends

After our gut-bomb dinner at Dot’s Cafe, we crossed the street to the Clinton Street Theatre to see the movie “Chasing Legends.

There was quite a line out the door but luckily we had tickets already.

What is “Chasing Legends”?

It just happens to be a totally amazing documentary about the Tour de France and Team HTC Columbia. If you don’t follow the Tour, or aren’t familiar with the names then this is a good movie to watch. It’s a great introduction to some key players, some past dramas, and some exciting footage.

The focus seems to be on Mark Cavendish–a 24 year old rockstar sprinter. He is the HTC shining star. The one complaint I had about the movie was that the focus wasn’t real clear. It was a good movie about the Tour de France, and when they focused on Cavendish it was really interesting, but there didn’t seem to be a main thought throughout the whole movie. That didn’t take away from the excitement of the film, though.

The film was beautifully made. It mixed hilarious commentary from other riders, past Tour winners, and even the oldest living Tour de France winner (from 1936 and 1947 I think). He is 97 years old and showed photos from his days in the Tour. That was a very cool part of the film!

The other cool part of the film was when the camera cut away from the cycling action to the inside of the car where the two team captains were making jokes. They were so funny! Definitely a highlight of the movie. Their jobs were to study each Stage before it starts, analyze the wind and weather conditions, and plan the strategy for the day. They spoke into the mic directly to all the team members and gave them instructions. Things like “90 degree turn to your left” and “there’s a hole in the middle of the road in 100 yards” etc etc.

The film is truly epic. It shows crash after crash, slips and slides, and also the gorgeous scenery of France! There was so much anticipation watching these amazing athletes perform at their best (and sometimes worst). The filmmaker did a great job creating drama. I remarked to Michael that it was often more exciting than the big Blockbuster-movies! For example, footage of the cyclists going faster than cars down the other side of the mountains, taking the death-defying “S” turns and curves that mean certain death if not navigated correctly! I was on the edge of my seat. And check out George Hincapie:

I believe George is one of very few Americans in Tour de France. This guy was truly one of the heroes of the film and he even completed the Tour with a broken Collarbone!! OUCH!

The behind the scenes footage of HTC was fun to see. They have their own Team Chef that takes over the kitchen at whatever hotel they are staying at. They have a Team Masseuse (oh heavenly). There was footage of the guys getting massages and of course, we as viewers got to see their bumps and HUGE bruises! Man, are these guys hardcore.

The theatre was packed–in fact, they over sold the movie and people had to stand. It was a fun experience to watch the movie with a theatre packed with cycling fans. In fact, I think most of them road their bikes to the movie! There were unanimous gasps and moans and sighs as well as scattered “boos” when Contador appeared on screen! Everyone groaned in unison at ghastly crashes!

I was blown away by this movie. It was inspiring. I felt motivated to get out there and ride 100 miles tomorrow! This is the kind of movie to watch in preparation for a marathon or bike competition. It will light a fire in your and awaken your inner athlete!

QUESTION: Have you seen this movie? If so, what did you think?