Archive for the 'Cycling' category

Ready to Race – Trek Speed Concept

May 13, 2016 2:52 pm

I signed up for a couple Duathlons this summer.  The first one, a local event, is in a week so I moved my Enve carbon tubular wheels over to my Trek Speed Concept bike.  Moving the wheels was easy enough but changing the brake pads to carbon specific pads was much harder than on a regular road bike.  I guess that is the price you pay to have an aero bike that takes great efforts to make things as aero as possible.


Things were also made more difficult by the difference in clearance between the Bontrager brake shoes and typical Shimano brake pads.  Things were such a tight fit I had to remove the entire brake shoe from the bike to do the swap.  That meant removing the covers for both the front on rear brakes to get easy access to do the swap and to make sure I had the brake shoes aligned up correctly.

So how fast is the Speed Concept?  I think it is fast but even though I have taken it on several rides, totaling over 300 miles, I was not sure I am much faster than on my Trek Domane.  The race in one week is mostly part of my training program and even though it has steep one mile climb I plan to use my Speed Concept to get the full experience.  My real target is the Nationals Duathlon Championship in Bend Oregon, the last Saturday in June.  They finally posted the course description. It looks like about 2.2% average grade for 6.5 miles where you turn around and go down to the start.  You repeat this lap again for about 1500 feet of climbing over 40K.  I started to wonder if using my lighter road bike would be better than the Speed Concept so I did some estimates.  Using my weight and the 19 lb Speed Concept, assuming I stay in the aerobars, putting out 160 watts on the uphill and 130 watts on the downhill, I used a very useful Bicycle Calculator to get these values for the outbound and return.


Using my road bike which is 3.5 lbs lighter, same wattage but on the bar tops for climbing and hoods descending I get this result


If you add the outbound and return together and double for the two laps, you get this comparison for the Speed Concept time trial bike vs. my lighter Trek Domane road bike.


This means for 40K the Speed Concept could be upwards of 12 minutes faster than my lighter road bike, which of course assumes I am in the aero position for the entire time.  Not only is it faster, I use less energy so have more left for the final 5K run.  This also doesn’t consider all the aerodynamic advantages of the Speed Concept over the Domane.  So the money I spent on this new bike should bring some significant speed improvement assume ideal conditions.  I only wish I could spend money to improve my running speed by the same amount of time.

New Wheels – Dura Ace 9000 C35

September 16, 2015 12:11 pm
New Wheels - Dura Ace 9000 C35

Just arrived today are the new DuraAce C35 wheelset.  I ordered these from ProBikeKit in England less than 2 weeks ago and today the US Postal Service delivered them to my front door.

When I lived in California I used their little brother, the DuraAce C24 wheels.  They were a great lightweight wheel that well meet my needs with the extensive climbing there.  In Utah there is more flat riding and more pace line efforts and it should not be surprising that many riders here use deep dish carbon wheels.  I was not ready to go that far so decided on a middle ground and bought the DuraAce C35 wheels.  At a depth of 35 mm, vs 45 to 55 mm on many deeper wheels, they may not have the full aero benefits, but they are shown to be very aero and don’t have the same issue of dealing with cross winds that a lightweight person like me wants to avoid.  At the same time they only weigh 100 grams more than the C24 wheels. They are billed as a all around wheel that you can use for training and racing.  A friend was using these wheels on our Italy cycling trip and really liked them more than the C24 wheels he used previously.

I weighed them right out of the box without skewers.  They measured:

Front: 685 grams
Rear:  845 grams

Features from the spec sheet

• D2 Rim design optimizes aerodynamics and stability
• New hubs for 2013, optimized for 11-speed system, utilizing OptBal Spoke System to provide balanced tension = more rigid & durable rear wheel overall
• Extra wide hub flange maximizes lateral rigidity.
• High strength, lightweight titanium freehub body
• Shimano angular contact bearings and oversize A7075 Alloy Axles
• 16 spokes front, 21 spokes rear
• 10/11-speed compatible
• Weight (without QR & rim tape) F: 662g / R: 826g

As an engineer I like the approach of the OptBal spoke system where it has 14 spokes on the drive side (where the stress is much greater) and 7 on the non-drive side.  Most wheels use the same number of spokes on both sides even though when someone breaks a spoke, it is almost always on the drive side.

I also like that they have an aluminum braking surface.  I don’t trust braking on a full carbon clincher rim and I don’t want to switch brake pad every time I switch wheels (such as putting on tubeless wheels).

I have them all ready to roll now and will test them out tomorrow.  I wonder how much they might have helped me on my race last Saturday, Lotoja.  I setup the C24 wheels with a wider range cassette so Anne can use them when she needs lighter wheels than what came with her new bike or we are riding where we want tubed tires instead of the tubeless tires I currently installed for her.


Finished LoToJa Race

September 14, 2015 1:05 pm
Finished LoToJa Race

I finished my first Lotoja 204 mile race (Logan UT to Jackson WY) as a 2 man relay team with my brother. He assigned me the two back to back sections where there was all the climbing. This event is very different than the many double centuries I rode in California or the 500 mile relays I rode for Furnace Creek 508 or Hoodoo 500. Unlike all those, this had the feel of a real race and by far the most professionally put on event I have ever ridden in. You can ride it solo, which I think most do, or as a relay team. My brother and I entered in the USA Cycling sanctioned race category but they do have a citizen class category also. I saw neutral support vehicles often, following the fast packs and several officials on motorcycles monitoring you. They had well marked feed zones and relay transition zones. There were also neutral feed zones where you would take on a new water bottle or some gel on the fly from volunteers so need to stop. Also no need for any route sheet since every turn had volunteers flagging you where to go. The finish line was like being at a pro cycling event with barricades and a big screen leader-board. Riders names were called out as they came across the finish line. Overall it was quite an amazing experience. I understand now why this event is hard to go into. We were lucky to have Anne and Deanna crew for us and they did a great job.

How We Did

We ended up finishing a bit over our goal of 11 hours, 14th out of 28 in our category of 2 person relay team.  Since this category has no age divisions, we did reasonably well but I think much of that was due to my brother’s speed more than mine.


How I Did

I think I did reasonable well, but was a bit disappointed that I was not able to do my two sections faster.  It was quite different for me to be climbing a hill and being passed by so many.  Nevertheless, I had a goal of finishing in 6 hours and I barely met that goal unless you count the time when I stopped at the transition to change water bottles and take on food.  When I look at my performance after the fact, I was near the limit, with an average heart rate of 150.  I was able to average 15.6 mph over the 93 miles, that included nearly 6,000 feet of climbing.

What hurt my time was that I had to ride most all of the miles solo.  They started the race relay teams first, followed by the CAT 1 racers, then advanced to the slower riders in that order. So when I was riding I was either with Race Relay or Cat 1 or 2 riders.  Most of the race relay riders were doing a 4 or 5 man relay so they could go all out on their own segment.  The fast racers would come from behind me in a big back but their speed was way too fast for me to latch on, even for a short time.  Although you are suppose to only draft behind the group you start with, many took advantage of anyone around, but in my case there was few around me to hang with.  On the occasion when I was able to draft for awhile, it made a big difference, but I think I ended up riding 90% of the distance solo.  Not having a big guy to follow down the hills really hurt my time since I don’t have enough weight and skill to descend fast by myself.

I was trying to make sure I ate sufficiently and was often drinking, but I forgot to put electrolytes in my water bottle and ended up cramping about 20 miles from the end, on the steepest climb where I should have done my best.  I fought with the cramping issues until I finished since I didn’t have the luxury of just stopping for awhile to recover.

Although I did a lot of training for this, too much of the training was at a slower pace and there was not enough speed work, in my opinion.  That speed base can take a few months to build up and I was trying to do it in a few weeks.  Traveling to Italy for a bike tour was a contributor, although I did get a few days there where I was pushing the pace.

Then I might just have to accept that I was slower than many others because I am getting too old.  It is just not something I want to accept right now.

Here are the key stats from my ride.  You can see the Strava Suffer Score was rather high, due to a high average heart rate.  I guess I feel I put in my best effort on that day but I also feel that with that amount of effort in terms of heart rate should have yielded a bit higher power and my lack of fast twitch muscles, and therefore hard for me to jump on a passing pack, meant a slower overall pace that many riders who were doing the entire 204 miles.


When I look at a 70 mile Strava segment that include the 3 climbs I did, it is even more apparent.  Here I was the slowest of four people I follow on Strava and among those 65+ I was only 4th out of 5.  For the 65+ group on Strava I am use to being in the top few spots, not near the bottom.

Next Up

Next up is the Huntsmen World Senior Games.  I hope to do a bit better there since two of the three events I entered don’t allow drafting (hill climb and time trial).  I just wish I had a more optimistic view of how I was doing so I could do a better job of getting ready.  I have limited time to train now so it is more an issue of not losing my fitness than improving it.


Tapering for Lotoja

July 2, 2015 9:15 am

Fitness, Fatigue and Form

Well all the training I can do for the Lotoja race is done.  Is now past time for tapering and managing the balance between fitness and fatigue. You can go by how you feel, or if you are like me and like to use data you can use a program like Training Peaks that will calculate your fitness, fatigue and form based on your past workouts.  Strava also has a similar feature for premium members but I don’t find it quite as polished.  Fitness and Fatigue are terms that most people understand.  It is Form, or the balance of the two, that also needs to be considered.  You might have great fitness but are in bad form due to a high level of fatigue and that would result in poorer performance than if you tapered more.  Training Peaks uses the terms Chronic Training Level (CTL) as a measure of fitness, Acute Training Level (ATL) as a measure of fatigue, and Training Stress Balance (TSB) as a measure of the balance between the two, or sometimes refereed to as Form.

I started my training in June and finally got theCTL (blue graph) up to 143, which put my fitness better than it has been since the beginning of 2014.  During the build up, my fatigue as measured by ATL ( purple Line) got as high as 181, resulting in a  Training Stress Balance (TSB) as low as a negative 53.   With leveling off my training, including two weeks biking in Italy the last half of August, I have been able to keep my fitness nearly as high but have reduced my fatigue down to 131, resulting in a Training Stress balance now being positive.


Peaking for a Race

They recommend you peak your fitness two or three weeks before the race and then you get your TSB to slightly positive on race day.  When you taper, you might lose some fitness but you lose fatigue at a faster rate so overall there is a net positive on your performance on race day.  How you taper depends on what you are racing.  It seems that many people either don’t taper long enough or they taper too much and avoid any type of speed work the last week and that negatively impacts their performance.   I rely on my Training Stress Balance as reported by Training Peaks, although Strava also provides a fitness, fatigue and form chart for premium members.

“Researchers at the University of Montreal compiled the results of 27 scientifically acceptable studies. They concluded that the best duration of tapering is two weeks, the optimum training volume reduction is by 40 to 60 percent, and the intensity of workouts should be maintained (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, August 2007).”  Copyright 2007.   The Sportsmedicine Institute, Inc.  Used by permission. 

Power Meter

When you are running, Pace is an easy way to judge your fitness but on a bike there are many other factors that influence speed to use that as a measurement.  That is where a power meter really helps.  Using a power meter, I can see that my peak power for different time intervals has improved considerably.  This is the graph as of today.  The grey graph is my best of the last two years and the purple is the last 90 days.  I am not quite up to the level I was in 2013, but I am getting close.  About 1/3 of the difference is that I was using a different power meter then that reads about 10 watts higher.  The other 10 to 20 watts is due less fitness than in 2013 when I was doing hard riding in California before moving to Utah.


Age Factor

Those power measurements from 2013 were when I was two years younger.  There is interesting study by Dr. Fair  on the effective of aging on athletic performance.  It turns out most people think they decline more than they need to and therefore back off and reduce their training.  Still after age 60.5, the slope does increase but from 65 to 67, the reduction is less than 3% for world class athletes, as measured by race time.  Although this study measured running at the 10K and marathon level, it likely applies to cycling also.


Recent Time Trial Tests

So even if my power levels are not up as high as I was hoping, I am encouraged that I was able to set a new PR on a couple of Strava segments this past week, including the climb up Snow Canyon and the 15.4 mile segment from the Utah Hill intersection to Veyo.   For the long segment I finally did it under one hour and reached to 4th overall for  65+ on Strava.  Since this is part of the Huntsmen Senior Games road race, I recognize many of the names on that 65+ leader-board.


Doing well on this long segment gave me a bit more confidence for racing Lotoja where I will be racing continuously for 90 miles with most all of the climbing of the 200 miles course.

I realize I am not in the same condition I was 3 years ago when I raced the Hoodoo 500 on a relay team but I feel good, especially since I was finally able to get my weight down below 140 lbs, even with 2 weeks of heavy Italian eating.  With 4 days to race day, there is little I can do for training other than managing the tapering phase to get the best balance between fitness and fatigue.


New Richey Break Away Bike for Anne

May 12, 2015 10:05 am

With our upcoming bicycle trip to Italy in August, I decided to get a Richey Break Away bike for Anne.  I ended up ordering the frame/fork from  They were very helpful getting me to pick the right size since you can’t really test ride them.  I ended up ordering a size 48 cm frame, which was just right.  I moved the DuraAce 7800 components and my wheels over to it from my Richey Break Away bike since I had DuraAce 7900 components left over from my Trek Madone, which the factory kept the frame and gave me credit on my new Domane.  Here is a photo form Anne’s first test ride, but she complained about that hard saddle I had put on there to test.



Gear Ratios

March 14, 2015 5:11 pm

Gearing on a bike might be a bit confusing to some since there are several things that affect how low the gearing is.  There are effectively four circles or gears involved:

  • The Crank Arm.  This is measured in mm, with a valued like 170 or 172.5
  • The Front Cassette, which is usually either a Triple which as 3 rings that have 53/39/30 teeth each, a Double which two rings with 53/39 teeth each or a Compact with 50/34 teeth each.
  • The Rear Cassette.  This also defines the number of speeds, usually either 10 or 11 speed and the smallest cassette is typically 11 or 12 teeth and the largest anywhere from 23 to 36 teeth.
  • The Tire Size.  For mountain bikes theses are either 26 in, 27.5 in or 29 in.  For road bikes these are typically 700c.  It is the outside circumference of the tire that is the factor so a fatter tire will have a larger circumference.

To get the lowest gear you would go with the largest crank, smallest front chaining, largest rear cassette cog and smallest tire.  A gear ratio is defined by the the ratio of the number of teeth (or circumference) between two gears but we effectively have 4 gears at work so to get a lower gear ration you go from a large gear driving a small gear, driving a large gear, driving a small gear.

On a bicycle it is a bit more complicated than if all these were simple gears, in which case the middle gears would be idler gears and not affect anything.  But the connection between the crank arm and the chain ring is direct coupled.  The crank arm acts as a lever and like any lever, the longer the lever the easier it is because the longer the crank arm, the more distance your foot moves on each rotation and more distance for the same rotation means less force, or effectively a lower gear.  Likewise the cassette is directly coupled to the rear tire.  As the tire size decreases, each rotation of the tire means moving less of a distance, which means less force is needed for each rotation of the tire.

When you move to a larger tire size (such as the 29ner mountain bike) the same crankset and rear cassette will have higher gear ratios (harder to pedal) than on a 26 in bike.

The crank arm length is picked based on the rider and the bike tires are what works on the bike.  So all that most riders can change is the chain rings size and the rear cassette range.

There are some online calculators you can use where you put in the crank size, tire size, front chain rings and rear cassettes and it will give you gear ratios.  A lower number means a lower gear (easier to pedal).  These will help you decide if you can switch to a Compact Crank instead of using a Triple Crank.

I was considering to buy a new bike for my wife but her current bike has a Triple Crankset with a11/34 cassette on the rear, which I am able to have her use by installing a mountain bike rear derailleur.  I was hoping to get a bike for her with electronic shifting but the lowest option would be a Compact crank set and a Ultegra long cage derailleur that will work with a 11/32 cassette.  With her current bike she rarely goes into the very lowest gear, but on some of the hills she goes in one gear down (30 tooth cog), so she is using a 30 tooth chain ring in the front and a 30 tooth cog  in the rear.  Plugging in the crank arm length (170 mm), tire size (700×25) that is a gear ratio of 2.1.  Now switching to a Compact crank and a 11/32 cassette, the lowest gear ratio is also 2.1.  So she is only giving up the last gear only although that last gear is relatively big jump.




Trek Domane Six Series

November 7, 2014 7:42 am

IMG_1284My Fourth Trek Road Bike

I have had a long experience with Trek bicycles. My first Trek, which was my second road bike, was a Trek 5200, which is still being using by one of my sons. In 2006 I decided to get a new bike, buying a Trek Madone 5.9 for around $4,600 new. That bike came with Dura Ace 7800 components and I thought it was a great bike. The frame later was replaced with the Madone 2009 6.9 series and then later I replaced the components with Dura Ace 7900, moving to a compact crank for the first time.

Which Trek Road Bike to Buy

Using a credit that Trek kindly gave me due to an issue with my other frame, I decided to buy a new bile.  Trek now offers three different road bikes, the Domane, the Madone and the Emonda.  Initially I was intrigued by the lightweight Emonda but I don’t do hill climb racing anymore and had some concern that the lightweight would come at the cost of reliability, considering I don’t get a new bike every year or two.  I had been riding a Madone for 8 years so that would be the safe bet but I don’t like how they moved the rear brake down by the chain stay, requiring using non standard brakes.  I have been intrigued by the Trek Domane with the ISO Speed link that decouples the top tube from the seat tube, with the intent of damping vibration.

Bike Geometry

I took a look at the sizing for my prior Madone and the Domane.


The Trek dealer helped me with a Trek Project One order where you can customize many options. I was only able to test a Domane a size too big for me before ordering and thought my traditional stem length of 70 mm might be too short.  The effective top tube of the H1 Madone is 53.9 cm and for the Domane it is 53.0 cm, so I went with a stem that was 10 cm longer.

Which Components

shimano-ultegra-di2-6870-11-speed-sti-lever-57 Once I decided on the Domane, the next decision was the drive train. I have been riding Dura Ace mechanical for many years and thought about that, but my younger brother suggested I try the electronic Di2. When I checked the Trek Project One pricing I was surprised that the Dura Ace Di2 was an additional $1,732 over the mechanical version so I looked at the Ultegra Di2 and found it to be actually $262 less expensive. That makes the price difference between Ultegra Di2 and Dura Ace Di2 to come close to $2,000. Considering I only spent $4,600 on my last new bike purchase, that seemed like a lot.

Since Di2 shifts so well, even with the Ultegra model, it came down to only an issue of weight for me. With a weight difference of only about one pound, I could not justify spending $2,000 so I decided to go with Ultegra Di2.  One other advantage is that Ultegra offers a medium rear cage so it can handle a 11/32 cassette.  It is not a range you usually need but I wanted that option.

Black on Black

Besides the drive train, Project One allows you to pick paint schemes, stems, saddles, wheels and even things like color of the cables.  I went with one of the four paint scheme options that does not add additional price and selected a matte black with ghost imaging lettering, which is quite similar to the Giant Anthem Advanced mountain bike I bought last year.  I never understood why cyclists who are not sponsored want to have big letters like “S-Works” on their bike.  They don’t drive around a car with big “Toyota” plastered on the side door.




Since I didn’t want everything black, I went with a white saddle and white handlebar tape.

Bike Fit

The Trek deal did a bike fit for me.  I had them lower the handle bar 10 mm by moving a space up above the steam.  It was just too relaxed of a fit for me.  I used that fit for the first couple of rides, then made some minor adjustments, moving the saddle back about 1/3 in and rotating the handlebars forward slightly (back to how it was delivered from Trek).  I was glad I got a longer stem.

IMG_1610I also found the handle bars much higher than on my Madone.  The Frame Stack on the Madone is 54.7 (H2) or 51.9 (H1).  For the Domane it is much higher at 56.1 cm.  I ended up moving 25 mm of spacers above the stem, which would give me a new stack height of 53.6.  That is still more relaxed that my old Madone, indicating I did indeed have more like a H1 fit before.   I now have a fit that I feel is even better for me than my prior Trek Madone, with a bit more relaxed fit and and room to adjust even more relaxed as I get older since I anticipate using this bike into my 70s .

Ride Quality

The bike came with 700×25 tires so I am not quite sure how much of the smoother ride is form the ISO Speed and how much from the wider tires but in any case I definitely notice a significant difference.  Some of this might also be due to the 3 cm longer wheelbase.  Once I get a new cassette for the Dura Ace 9000 wheels I bought last year, I do better comparison.  The geometry is also much better than my Madone, which was probably setup too aggressively for me.  Even though I have a longer stem, I can ride on the hoods for a long period of time, whereas before I found myself almost always riding on the tops, except if I were in a pace line, climbing or descending.

Electronic Shifting

I really like the electronic shifting.  On the other hand I heard that the Dura Ace 9000 mechanical shifts very well.  Frankly I think Shimano blew it when then went from the Dura Ace 7800 to the 7900 shifters because I found the front derailluer to be much harder to shift into the big change ring.  This was one reason why I wanted to go with Di2.  Also I am getting older and many older people prefer the Di2 as they might develop some mobility issue with their fingers.

Additional Changes

I Project One ordered the bike with the 11/32 cassette since I wanted to make sure I got the medium cage derailleur.  I don’t think I need that low of s gear since we have moved away from California and it’s steep hills. but but I wanted the option.  I put a Drua Ace 9000 11/28 11 sp cassette (Cost of $159 at Pro Bike Kit) on my existing Dura Ace 9000 wheels and am using currently.  At a 190 grams this new cassette is a big weight savings compared with the Ultegra 11/32 weighing 290 grams.

I had Michelen Pro Race 4 700×23 tires on those Dura Ace wheels and it felt quite different than the Bontrager R4 tires that came with the bike and handling felt more like my Madone.  The R4 tires are also worthless since they are too thin for the area around here and I grew weary of flats.  I wanted some new 700×25 tires, but the Pro Race 4 Service course doesn’t come in that width so I ordered some Pro Race Endurance Course to replace the Bontrager tires on the Race X Lite wheels that came with the bike.

Other Weight Saving Options

I needed a cassette for my other wheels so that was an easy choice to save some weight.  I was wondering if I could replace any of the other components to get some weight savings.  My Dura Ace 9000 wheels are already very light so new wheels is not in the cards.   I did some research on Dura Ace Di2 vs. Ultegra Di2 component weights and there is no clear area where spending additional money will be worth it.  I did get a new DuraAce crank only because there did not look like sufficient clearance for a Stages Power meter.  That cost me $358 and when I weighed the Ultegra I took off and the new DuraAce I put on the difference was only 90 grams.  The wheels I got with the bike are Bontrager RXL, tubeless read.  However the skewers are RL, and weighed a total of 138 grams.  I bought some Enve titanium skewers that I weight at 55 grams, so that resulted in a weight savings of 83 grams, at a cost of only $44 and saved the same weight as switching to a DuraAce crankset.  Di2-Weight-Compare.xlsx

I weighed my new bike after installing the pedals and water bottle cages and my Dura Ace 9000 wheels and it came to 15.8 lbs.  My Madone was 15.3 lbs.  After changing the crankset and the skewers, the weight dropped to 15.6 lbs, almost the same as my Trek Madone with Dura Ace 7900 components.

I also have a Cycle Ops Powertap Pro wheelset I used for training on my Madone.  It was not 11 speed, but I found you can get a $99 freehub to convert to 11 sp so that is on order.  It was very easy to install but I still intend to order a Stages Power meter replacement left crank arm.

The other think I have ordered is tubeless tires and will give a report on those after I get them delivered and installed.

In the end I will have a bike that weights not much more than what I had before, fits me much better, has a smoother ride, and also sports electronic shifting, so I am happy with the changes.

Shimano Di2 – DuraAce 9070 vs Ultegra 6870 Weights

November 6, 2014 9:18 pm

During the process of buying a new bike, I decided to try electronic shifting this time. In the past I have always used Shimano Dura Ace mechanical components so I thought maybe I would order with Dura Ace Di2. However for the Trek Project One website, that change would cost nearly $2,000. With Di2, how much different could the shifting be? So it seemed that the only real gain you were getting was a weight saving. I decided I was not interesting in spending $2,000 to save one pound of weight. Someone then mentioned to me that half of that was the difference in the crankset. That got me curious so I did some research to find out where the weight differences were and how much each of those cost. Turns out upgrading the crankset would be poor investment. The prices are roughly what I could find buying the components online at discount and not the list price. You might find some prices even lower and can use that to make your own comparison. The weights were the best I could find, either on a vendor’s website or better if I could find some cyclist who actually weighed the component after they received it.  For another view, this website lists many of the weights but came up with some numbers that a bit difference but the delta weights are in the same ball park.  I didn’t try to figure out the difference in the wiring harness.  The battery is the same between the two.

The dollars per lb weight saved are assuming you have not already invested in the Ultegra component.  If you already have a new Ultegra 6800 crankset and are thinking to replace it with the Dura Ace 9000 to save some weight, it will cost you around $500 and you will only be saving about 60 grams.


New 27.5 Giant Anthem Advanced Mountain Bike

November 8, 2013 2:29 pm



I just took delivery of my new mountain bike.  I have been waiting for the 27.5 size to become more prevalent.  Being a short guy, I always felt the 29er’s  would be to much to handle for me while the 27.5 looked like it has much of the advantages of the 29er and less of the disadvantages.  I went with a Giant Anthem Advanced 1.  It has Shimano XT 2×10 components, which work great.



Course on Garmin 810 Without a Computer

October 31, 2013 8:29 am

We brought our bikes to Solvang, California, for a short vacation. I have done the double century ride here several times so I was thinking of just doing about 70 miles of that route today. However when we checked into the hotel they handed us a flyer from the local bicycle shop about the “Solvang Prelude”. Doing a search I saw that this cycling event was this weekend and included a metric century ride. Intrigued I found the route that someone had put on

The problem was I had only brought my iPad and left the computer back home. The Garmin Edge 810 does support Bluetooth so if I could get the course onto Garmin Connect, I could access it with the Garmin Connect iPhone app and send it to my 810. Initially I thought that would be easy but that was not the case.

On the iPad I went to the course on RideWithGPS and tried to do an export but it only opened the GPX text file in the browser. There was no way on the iPad, which lacks a file system, to make this work. So using two iPads I looked at the course on one and manually started to create the course inside Garmin Connect on the other one. Half done the Safari browser crashed, losing all my work. I tried again from the start and again after a lot of work a crash. Frustrated I tried Chrome on the iPad and it crashed.

Then I remembered I had Parallel Connect so I could access my computer at home remotely using my iPad. Doing that I opened up Firefox and then repeated the export and saved the route as a GPX file on the desktop of my Mac at home. Then I opened in the browser Garmin Connect, selected courses and the to create a new course. Then I realized it does not support any GPX import. I knew I could create a course from an activity so again accessing my home computer I tried to upload the GPX file to Garmin Connect but that failed. I tried using a TCX export and that also failed.

Frustrate, I then opened the website GPSGypsies, where I was able to convert the GPX file into a Garmin file. They had several options for the output file format.

I tried the two Garmin file options and each failed. I then tried the GPX course file and it failed. Finally I tried the Garmin GPX Track file. That file uploaded to Garmin Connect where I was able to use the activity to create a course.

Then it was back to my iPhone using the Garmin Connect app, and clicked to send to the 810. A frustrating experience but I finally found it to work. The lesson I have learned is the the iPad is high limited and I would be Bette off with a MacBook Air to have a real computer with a USB port.