Fall 2015 Moun­tain Bike Ap­parel

TAK­ING TO THE TRAILS

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - DEPARTMENTS - BY DANELLE KABUSH AC

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

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