Archive for May, 2012

A humbling TT–PB but did a lot wrong

Thursday night was again the OBC 15k TT and unlike the two I did before this one was under sunny skies, was warm and the wind wasn’t too bad. I was certain I would improve on my time of 23:21 from the past.

It had also been a great week, did mountain biking on Monday, hard group ride on Monday night, 5k run, swim on Wednesday and some TT training with the Cervelo Wednesday morning. And I felt that between my swim and Thursday night I had given myself enough time to recover.

Before the race I felt great, really felt like this was going to be a good night. I signed up, got my seed number and started the warm up.

Things went downhill from here on in. First of all my cadence/speed sensor went wacky. Was showing me that I was doing 50-60 Kph when I was just spinning along. I just need the cadence so tried to turn off the speed thru the Edge 500’s menus but that just made it not work. Flustered I just turned it off. Since I felt I wanted to push over 80rpm any training around that was out the window. Did a bit of a warmup but was bothered by the glitch.

Soon I was lined up and even faster my time was up and away I went. I was feeling good so I nailed it, 53×12 right out of the gate and kept it there pushing hard. Soon enough the first 5k went by. 6:55 at around 43 kph, wow. I was going to crush this TT.  At about 7k things started to happen, first off I struggled up a little hill then after the turnaround I could tell I had used up too much of my specific energy on the way out. It wasn’t windy or a particularly hilly on the way back, but I could not get my rhythm.

This graph tells the story, steady slow down to the end.


I watched in anguish as my average time when from 41, to 40 to 39.5. Sped up a bit towards the end but came across with an average of 39.2 and a time of 23:01 (because of when you get to turn your computer off and on usually it’s a few seconds off)!

Splits below


Nobody passed me so that was good and in the end my results were still well above the event average, but down in 38th spot Sad smile

Still, my best time in my modern attempts, so have to be happy with that, but now I know a few things.

1- Just because you feel great, don’t sprint out

2- Maybe go one gear lower!

3- Give yourself a bit more recovery time before the TT if you have had a busy week

4- A few seconds count, would have liked to be below 23 minutes!

Off to Cork, Ireland for two weeks so won’t do a TT for a while but next time, I’ll know better!

Categories: bicycling, Time Trial

Marzocchi Marathon LR Upgrade and Review

May 16, 2012 2 comments

Finding that my reviews are the most popular items here on the blog so trying to find ways to improve them and make them more informative. Have a number of these queued up. All these products are new to me so don’t expect informed results, but simply did it work for me.

Product: Marzocchi Marathon LR Front Forks

Cost: ~$350 CDN

Quick Hit: Nice medium weight replacement fork. As a first upgrade may end up being the last fork upgrade you do. Extremely competitive on price. Lots of adjustability.

Base Stats:

– Available colors: gloss black
» 150mm (130 w/spacer)
» (AER)
» (LR)
» 9mm DROP OUT
» 6″ PM D-BRAKE (MAX 203mm)

Weight 1.83 kg (4.03 pounds)

Great more info now at this link

When all this bike madness started my first purchase was a Devinci Cameleon 2 Mountain bike. I had not bought a bike in over 15 years so had no clue about the technology. I don’t think front forks really existed when I last looked at these things.

So the Cameleon 2 looked like a good buy at around $800. Certainly that was a major step up the ladder compared to the usual Canadian Tire offerings. The fork was a RockShox Dart 1 and it looked beefy and had some nice graphics. Doesn’t look like it is in RockShox’s catalog anymore but you could buy it new for under $100 if you looked around. So not the best fork around.

Two years later it was pretty shot, never really was all that good to start, and as far as I could tell didn’t do anything in the woods. Felt like a solid fork. Eventually it looked like this.


Paint peeled off, innards probably shot too!

I really wanted it to handle better in the woods so out with the old but what to replace it with.

There are beyond options for forks. This is certainly one area where you need to inform yourself. There are forks for racing, downhill, jumping, different Quick release sizes, different height and options. I needed something that was good for the basics, so trail seemed like the right choice. Also didn’t want to spend more than say $500.

I have been using my iPad to do a lot more magazine reading and one of the British mags (which always seem to me to be more informative and beefy) I read is “What Mountain Bike” which is great because it is all about educating the buyer. Some of the issues have over 150 pages! They always had a “Best 5” lists of things, including forks and the Marzocchi Marathon fork was always in the list. In the April 2012 edition they had a larger faceoff between a number of forks. The Marathon R was voted best value (and the LR, which adds a lockout was noted as basically the same for a wee bit more). Here is their overview “Simple but workable suspension with bombproof reliability at a bargain price”. I like simple and reliable for my bikes!

I double checked a lot of other reviews and they all said the same, great value and feels like forks 2-3x the cost. Since I like value I decided this was the fork for me. My LBS was mostly able to match he online prices I could find so I ordered it and it arrived within a couple of days.

My LBS installed it and a day later I was in the woods. Unlike my previous fork it works and it also doesn’t change over time, even after an hour or more of bashing over the exposed rocks that are common on the trails I do. Since then I have done a few more hour plus rides on some pretty gnarly trails and so far so good.

There are three “adjusters” on the fork.

My LBS set the Air Preload adjust and I haven’t had to change that. I assume it needs to be adjusted as it probably leaks over time so looking at getting a specific fork pump (yep, surprise, surprise somebody figured out we would be willing to shell out money just for that).

The Lock out is something that I was a bit dubious of at first but boy does it work. If I know the ground will be hard or if on pavement I just flick and it’s rock solid. Starts to get bumpy and flick, it’s back to being suspension.

The rebound is on the bottom of the right hand fork and I haven’t played with yet, but it regulates how quickly it “bounces” back from a rock or bump. May look at this in the future but for now it seems to be set correctly, it’s basically in the middle


Certainly Beefier than the Dart 1


The fork in the wild, the lockout is off so it’s bouncy at this point!

So there you have it, Marzocchi Marathon forks works for me, and probably for you too if you prize value and something that simply works. It’s not a fork a lot of folks have so have that unique factor and you save a pile of dough too!

Categories: bicycling, Review

San Diego Running

So I got a chance to revisit the location of one of my favourite Tris last year, the Mission Bay Triathlon in San Diego as I was attending a conference. The weather was a bit grey there but it was always pretty warm so did a couple of 10kish runs along the waterfront.

Really feeling a lot better about my running this year and I hope it shows up in results as the Tri season kicks in. 2 years ago I struggled to do 2-3 kms, even walking sometimes. This year I have already done almost 200 kms and will certainly do better in the run this year.

So it was great to do two long runs under sunny skies. The run is right along the waterfront and there is lots to see. Aircraft Carriers, old sailing ships, helicopters, there is a lot to defocus you from the run. I was able to keep my focus and had two good runs.

Both runs I was able to keep to under a 6:00 per kilometer pace, which I was happy with. Below are the stats from one of the runs.



Also was the first time with some new Zoot shoes that I picked up. All in all a good set of runs! Hope to find my way back to San Diego soon!

Categories: Running, Travel