Fall 2015 Mountain Bike Apparel
TAKING TO THE TRAILS
UNLIKE MOST TWO-WHEELING enthusiasts, the first performance bike I owned was a mountain bike. Many training rides were on the pavement, but it wasn’t until I got my first road bike that I realized how complementary road and mountain biking were, both physically and mentally. The road bike is great for building general fitness, power as well as smooth, fast and efficient pedalling. On the other hand, riding a mountain bike can bring the obvious change in scenery, as well as pedal power, and improved bike handling finesse. Here are my tips for getting the most out of some complementary mountain bike training:
2. Leave your heart rate monitor (or other gadgets) at home: While checking your phone in your car is distracted driving, constantly checking your numbers such heart rate, speed and cadence while riding your mountain bike can be akin to distracted riding. Riding trails is often full of short, hard bursts to get up steep hills or up and over obstacles. Of course the more efficient you become at bike handling the less effort you’ll use up and downhill as you relax more into tricky descents. While mountain bike training will bring many benefits like power and bike handling to your road riding, triathletes should think of it as playtime in training, a mental break from the structured training numbers of road riding.
1. Follow your skilled friends: The best way to improve your technical skills and have more fun is to ride with others who can challenge your current ability. My best riding has been when following a friend’s lines, and not thinking about what I was doing. Following gets you in the “just do it” frame of mind and doesn’t allow room for hesitation or anxiety to get in the way.
3. Chin up: Like most other sports, your eyes will lead your body and your bike. Look far ahead, to where you want to go, not at what you want to avoid. If your chin is up, you will look farther ahead rather than directly down at the ground. You’ll also keep your speed up, and have much more time to anticipate and adjust for what’s coming up. Mountain biking is all about momentum, so the more you have the better for clearing and rolling smoothly over those rocks and roots.
4. Elbows out: This is my reminder to myself and others I’ve coached on the mountain bike that you need to be in that attack position, constantly ready to adjust your weight over the bike. Visualize a cat getting ready to pounce. When your elbows are out, you are less rigid and better positioned to move forward and back as well as side to side. The ability to “weight” and “unweight” your wheels is a key skill for keeping the wheels turning and maximizing traction.
5. Ride like jelly, flow like a river: Finally, remember to breathe and stay relaxed. While it may seem counterintuitive if you’re anxious about riding something, the more you tense up, the more likely you will bounce off every root or obstacle like a tin can. The more relaxed you can be, the more you will absorb the bumps, react and make necessary, often subtle, adjustments – just like a leaf flowing down a river full of rocks. If you have trouble with this one, try smiling. Even if it feels forced, a smile sends the message to our bodies that we are in a happy place. It always works for me when I ride something in my “this is kind of scary” zone.
The touch screen features the highest resolution of any Garmin to date and works remarkably well in both rain and with gloves. Our tester loved the ambient light sensor which automatically adjusts the screen brightness depending on environment, particularly for early morning starts when the backlight automatically turns on and then turns off once the sun rises. As an added bonus, this function reduces battery drain.
In earlier versions riders were required to specifically pair and create different profiles for separate bikes, the Edge 1000 does it automatically. Like the 800 and 810, the mapping functions on the Edge 1000 include streetlevel directions, but the unit’s enhanced screen makes these functions even better.
If you’re in the market for a bike computer, the Edge 1000 delivers unrivalled functionality, clarity and esthetics. It’s also an investment certain to save you hours in navigation frustration. If you find that it’s more than you need, however, the 510 is an excellent option.
Quark Elsa R $1,700
WITH AN INCREASINGLY impressive array of power meter options now on the market, triathletes have no shortage of options to suit their needs from hub to pedal and crank-based alternatives. What makes the right choice for triathletes depends on a number of factors including the consistent precision of a unit, cost and relative userfriendliness. Quark’s Elsa R nails all of these requirements making it among the best allaround options on the market.
The crank-based power meter comes in six length options from 162.5 to 177.5 mm for a customizable fit. Installing it is the same as for a regular crank set.
How it works
Torque is measured via five strain gauges positioned in the spider of the Elsa R. By comparing measurements for the downstroke and the upstroke, the Elsa R can also report the estimated balance of power between the right and left legs. For our tester, dealing with a chronic injury, the ability to evaluate balance of power was particularly valued and helped ensure necessary rehab and strength building on the injured leg.
With the latest Firmware update, the Elsa can work with or without magnet. The built in accelerometer in the cranks measures cadence. Throughout testing, we rode the Elsa R with a Powertap G3 wheel simultaneously. The Elsa R consistently reported numbers within three to five per cent of the Powertap, with the Elsa R reporting slightly higher. This variation is expected and accounted for by drivetrain efficiency loss.
The hollow carbon crank is stiff and strong. The Elsa R is powered by a CR2032 battery which is easy to find and boasts a lifespan of 300 hours. While we didn’t test it long enough to prove that, we didn’t have to replace it during our extended testing period. The Elsa R has an IPX7 waterproof rating, which means it can wit hsta nd a one-metre immersion f or 30 minutes. Although we had only a few rainy day rides with the Elsa R, there were no issues in the wet weather at all.
The Elsa R comes with a pre-installed battery, a selection of magnets, a pair of washers for the pedals and a quick-start guide. Although Quark recommends a Garmin head unit (500 and up), any ANT+ enabled device (including an iphone with an ANT+ adaptor) can be used to view and record power data from the cranks. Quark’s Qalvin app updates Firmware and is a great diagnostic tool for troubleshooting.–
Danelle Kabush, PHD loves to ride, run and swim in Victoria. She works with athletes and teams as a certified mental performance consultant. Follow her: mentaltrainingscience.com