Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The New Green Lightning

Four Years and Seven Months ago, our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new bike, conceived in aerodynamics, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal when they are rocking a tri bike”.  So in January of 2011 I walked out of Inside-Out Sports with a brand new Felt B16 Tri Bike.  At that time, I believe, it was the best value in tri bikes that there was. Period.  I grew to love that bike.  I mean I didn't really have much to compare it to, but I loved it.  I mean the profound, uncompromising, long term type of Love.  The kind of Love that exists deep down in places you don't want to talk about at parties . . . but I digress.  Let's just say that "Life is too Short to Ride something you don't Love". I loved that bike for all of the 21,655.74 miles that we spent together.
But time marches on.  The frame had become dated.  Felt doesn't even sell that frame shape anymore.  There had been so many advances in aero tech in the bike world, and all the major players have their "Superbike".  With the IA, P5, Plasma, Shiv, and Speed Concept all being recently released or revamped, there are a lot of choices out there.  I had decided I wanted to get more than an entry level bike again, but I also don't have $10,000 to spend.  So here we are again looking for the best value, but this time in a superbike.  So as you know, Quintana Roo Bikes are a sponsor of Big Sexy Racing.   That's what got me looking at the new Quintana Roo PRsix, QR's brand new entry into the "Superbike" category.

The PRsix is not the fastest frame out there.  But as Slowtwitch has mentioned, it is in the conversation.  It sits nicely amongst the others on the aero chart.  It is however, one of the lightest, and simplest to maintain.  Both of those factors were big selling points for me personally.  Then with one of the 2015 options being black with lime green accents, I just knew it was the bike for me! The new Green Lightning.
My Frame!
So then the question came up, Entire Bike or just Frameset?  Well, I really like my Felt Devox Aerobars.  I obviously want to keep my Power2Max Powermeter and Lightning crank.  I wanted to try the new Cobb JOF 55 saddle.  I also wanted to get FLO30 wheels (same width as my 60/90 set) to make it super simple to swap them out.  I wanted to put my Tri Rig brake up front (although the frameset comes with brakes).  Add in that I wanted to build the bike up just how I wanted to build it, then it made the most sense to just get the frameset.

So being the engineering geek that I am, I studied the geometry of the 2015 PRsix and compared it to the 2011 B16.  I saw that the size 52 PRsix was actually bigger than the size 54 B16 that I had.  I had always thought that maybe the size 54 was a little big for me anyways.  After discussing with James at IOS, and with the proprietary stem that is on PRsix, I decided to order the size 50 frame.  I wanted to make sure that I would be able to get low enough to replicate my current position.
The Build
In March I placed my order.  Unfortunately they said they that the frames wouldn't be available until August.  I was a little bummed, but realized that gave me time to get everything ordered.  Several of the items I wanted to procure myself, and the rest I was going to purchase from IOS.

Cobb JOF 55
I really liked my Adamo Road saddle with the split nose.  But I had ripped the side of it in one of my crashes last year.  I have been riding with it taped up.  I thought: new bike, new saddle.  Since the JOF55 has the similar split nose and it is even narrower, I thought I would try it.  Plus it come in lime green, duh.
Rear Mount Hydration and Flat Kit
I also got the rear mount hydration system.  It is just a bracket that bolts to the bottom of the saddle.  You can then attach 1 or 2 water bottle cages.  It also comes with a bag that I put my CO2 fitting for tire inflation, tire levers, and a spare gel.  I was also able to velcro strap a spare tube under the seat and the bracket as well.  That frees up my Dark Speed Works pack for nutrition.

11 Speed Carbon Fiber Shifters
MicroShift BSC-11 Bar End Shifters
My B16 originally came with MicroShift bar end shifters.  I had them replaced with the Dura-Ace ones a couple of years ago.  I never really liked the Dura-Ace.  They are hard to push, and the cover keeps coming off them, even after I Gorilla glue it back on.  So I ordered the carbon MicroShift ones from Taiwan.  The action is so much lighter and there is no cover to come off.  Plus they are carbon fiber, duh.

11 Speed Hub
FLO 30's
As you know (yes, there are people who know this) I race on a set of FLO 60/90's.  But I was torn between getting the FLO30's or the Reynolds Stratus.  Ultimately I went with the FLO's because they are 26mm wide and the Reynolds were 21mm wide.  Having my training and racing wheels' brake track both be the same width and material (aluminum), it makes it uber quick and easy to swap them out. I also got a hub to convert my FLO90 rear to 11 speed.  I had IOS install that.

Ultegra 6800 Mechanical 11 Speed

Then I had IOS get my front and rear derauillers, chain, brake levers, 11 speed cassettes, bar tape, cable housings, bottom bearing bracket.
Dura-Ace Brake Levers

Ultegra Brake Mounted Underneath
The first week of June I was surprised to find out that my frame was ready to ship.  So I got everything coordinated with IOS and the last week of June I took Green Lightning in. "To get a little work done" as they say.
Greg Doing Work
The build went pretty smoothly.  I dropped by a couple of times to check out the progress.  I picked up the unused parts of GL.  Basically the frame with the seat and wheels.  They had it done on Thursday afternoon.  Luckily I had Friday off and I was able to go in and take my time to check the fit.  I even toodled around the neighborhood for a bit to check everything out.

My initial reaction was that it looks so incredible.  Melissa had found Jagwire Orangic Green cable housing that perfectly matched the frame.  They also had Fizik Apple Green bar tape that perfectly matched the Cobb Saddle.
On my first ride, it felt so stiff!  It was awesome.  It took a little bit to get used to that. Even now I sometimes notice it.  But more power going to the wheel and not to frame flex is a good thing.  I felt very comfortable on it from day one.  Obviously my fit hadn't changed, my shoes/pedals were the same, and the Cobb saddle was even more comfy than the Adamo.  So of my 3 points of contact, 2 were the same the other was better.
James Doing Work
I'm also glad I got the size 50 frame.  QR sizes their bikes by stack.  So a size 50 is 50mm of stack.  In order to get my position exactly replicated from before, they put in (1) 5mm spacer under the aerobar.
(1) 5mm Spacer on the Stem
So that means that had I gotten the size 52 frame, I would have been 15mm too high.  And stuck up a creek without an aero paddle.  Not sure how to say this without sounding egotistical, but my position is pretty sweet.  When I keep my head down (not like in the pic in my blog header) my position is almost perfect.  I'm glad I was able to keep that.

First Test
Eventually I got my Dark Speed Works pack on the top tube.  I have the 483 with the straps.  I cut the straps off so I could directly mount it to the top tube bosses.  The holes in the plastic that it came with put the pack about 1.5 inches back from the cable entry.  I wanted it closer.  There were not any holes in the pack, just the plastic insert.  I drilled new holes in the plastic and through the pack so it would mount snug up against the cables.  I like the way it looks with out the straps.

Bolted on Nutrition Pack
I had been struggling with leakage on my BTA hydration (and I may do another post just on that).  But I've finally settled on the Speedfil A2 system.  I also have my Garmin mount tie wrapped between my extensions.  This has been working quite well for me.

A2 Fits Great
It feels so smooth and fast and stiff. I love the 11 speed gearing with the new Ultegra Mechanical on there.  The frame and aerobars are compatible with DI2, but I ain't made of cash.  I would have loved to put DI2 on there, and maybe I will someday.  But you have to ask yourself, is that a good aero return on investment?  Definitely not.  DI2 doesn't make you more aero or faster.  So mechanical it is.

Initial Pics when I first brought it home
I put 11-25 cassettes on both my 30 and 90.  I contemplated getting a 11-23, but decided against it.  I might put that on a disc if I get one next year.  It took me a while to kinda get everything mounted on there the way I like it.  It's got a lot more bosses than the B16, with bosses on the seat tube, down tube, and top tube. That's pretty standard, but the B16 did not have bosses on the down tube or the top tube. 

I also like that it has a restraining bolt, that only allows the front stearer tube to turn so far.  It helps when handling and working on the bike.  The front wheel won't go all jack-knifed on you.

Large non-drive side chain stay. Shift+ Technology.
The thing is fast.  I'm not gonna lie.  After I got my position dialed in last year, I basically knew the only thing that as holding me back from an aero standpoint was my frame.  With my aerobars and wheel setup along with my position, I was ready.  This PRsix shoots me up there.  It makes bike envy a thing of the past.
Inside Out Sports Gang
I'm absolutely pumped to race this thing in Kona.  I just gotta keep my head down and I will be cheating the wind like crazy.  My speed per watt ratio is usually higher than most everyone I race against.  Hopefully I can stick to the bike wattage plan and come running down Palani and Ali'i feeling like the freaking man!


Friday, August 7, 2015

Vacation Running

As I alluded to in my last race report, I had some vacay time coming up.  We had been planning this trip for about 3 years now.  We wanted the boys to be at good ages to be able to handle it and remember it.  It was a two week excursion out west.  The plan was to mostly hit National Parks.  My wife and I took a similar trip 15 years ago (pre kids). We drove out to LA and back camping along the way.
Rocky Mountain National Park
On this trip we flew into Denver (after a 2.5 hour delay) directly from Charlotte.  We stayed in Louisville, between Denver and Boulder.  That's pronounced Louis-ville as opposed to Louie-ville in Kentucky.  I didn't know that until we got there.  Anyways Sunday morning I went out for a short 5 mile run.

Nothing spectacular, but I was able to find the Coal Creek Trail that was rather enjoyable.  It was a little chilly as I'm used to it being 70 deg in the summer.  The elevation was pretty fun as well.  Nothing like 5K feet to get you breathing hard right from the start.
We headed out to Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking that morning.  On the way out of Boulder on highway 36 there were literally hundreds of cyclist on the road.  It was pretty impressive.  But I guess that's what you get when you drive on the Ironman course 2 weeks before race day.  We did a little hike around Sprague Lake and then up to 9,000 feet.  Breathing hard yet?
Rapid City Skyline Run

Then it was off to Rapid City.  We hit Mt. Rushmore on our way up and then stayed in Rapid City that night.
The Heads

 The next morning I ran from the hotel to Skyline Drive.  The view was pretty impressive.  The hill felt more impressive with 460 feet of elevation gain over 1.6 miles.  Luckily that run only topped out at 3,900 feet.
View from Rapid City Skyline Drive

So the next day we went to Wind Cave NP and Bear Country.  Hit the road early next morning to drive to Cody, WY and then on to Yellowstone NP.
Grant Village in Yellowstone NP near Yellowstone Lake

A brisk 41 degrees greeted me on that run.  We stayed in Grant Village, right next to Yellowstone Lake.  I ran down by the lake and then out onto the main road.  Ran by an elk as he was just finished crossing the road.
Yellowstone Lake
After a visit to Old Faithful the next morning, we headed south through Grand Teton NP and then eventually to Salt Lake City.
Steamboat Geyser
Grand Teton NP
 We visited some friends Friday night, but Saturday we had nothing scheduled.  My wife did some laundry as our first week came to a close.  I took advantage of the time and did a 19 mile run in SLC.
I parked at this park kind of on a skyline drive at the edge of the city near the mountains.  There were a ton of people running and biking on 11th street so I figured I was in the right place.  I headed down that street and then came to Bonneville Road.  It was a two lane road that they had made one way for cars.  The cars used the right hand lane and the other other lane was for bikers and runners.  It was pretty cool.  I took that around until I saw this City Creek Canyon trail.
Salt Lake City
The City Creek trail was basically just up the canyon.  I took that for a couple miles and then headed back to the car.  I wanted to get back to the car around 10 miles to hydrate and get some calories in for the rest of the run.  I then headed in the other direction and took the Bonneville Shoreline trail and then went around the University of Utah campus before heading back to the car to finish the run.
View from where I parked
Next it was off to southern Utah.  We did a rim trail hike in Bryce Canyon NP that evening and a horseback ride into the canyon the next morning.
We went over to Zion NP that afternoon, and the kids were pretty wiped out.  The next morning I did a little tempo run from the hotel before we headed out.  Unfortunately, the first 2 miles of the tempo were downhill with the wind.  That made the last 2 miles a lot of fun as I just ran out and back.
I was able to manage a 6:28 average for 4 miles, which I felt was ok considering the circumstances.
Bryce Canyon NP

Then it was off to the Grand Canyon.  We rented bikes one morning and did almost 22 miles on the roads and the paved greenway trails.  It was the only biking I got in

One morning I decided to run the rim trail.  I took the bus out to the Kaibab trailhead and started from there.  I went that direction because the bus is quicker, and I wanted to get going before there were a bunch of people on the trail.
Grand Canyon Rim Trail Elevation
It's also a net downhill in the direction.  The first 5 miles was on the paved trail and the last 5 were on more of a hiking trail.  So with the biking from the day before, I traversed the entire 13 miles of the South Rim Trail.  So there's that.
A little Bike Ride

 That morning was also hiked the Bright Angel Trail, which my Garmin was not too fond of.
Then it was back to Colorado, and Colorado Springs to be exact.  I had a nice run on some of the  pathways through and around Garden of the Gods.  Quite scenic.
We hiked in GOG that morning and the kids enjoyed climbing on the rocks.
Garden of the Gods

 That afternoon, we took the railway up the the top of Pike's Peak.

The next day we flew home.  I didn't get a lot of training in, obviously.  No swimming and just one leisurely bike.  But the runs were fantastic.  I mean a trail run in Colorado, Skyline run in South Dakota, in Yellowstone with the elk, Skyline and trail run in Salt Lake City, the canyons in Southern Utah, the rim trail at the Grand Canyon, and then trails in the Garden of the Gods.  Every run had amazing views.  Of course the day after we got back I get this email:
3 months?  Try 2 months.  I think it's time for this:
Let's just say we got a lot of work to do.