Monday, July 28, 2014

Swimming again

Went for another lunchtime swim in the Sound (right, how nice is THAT to be able to do?) and the work from a pool session translated over immediately. A much more even stroke rate, better head position, and I settled in to my rhythm immediately. I was pushing from the chest, kicking a nice 6 beater, and pulling from my back. I still felt like I was doing a few things wrong - my left arm pull wasn't on the rails, and I wasn't finishing well on either side - but these are things I feel in the pool as well, and that means I'm finally getting past the badness. I'll keep up with the pool sessions. As much as I know the open water swimming practice helps, it's not enough 'work', and I lose some of the awareness of my form and muscle sensitivity when I don't swim in the clinical confines of the pool.

Had a very powerful ride on the trainer yesterday as well, that side of things has been wonderful to me this year. Good, consistent power, and my HR doesn't get out of the mid 150s when I ride at 110% FTP\Z5, which is right where it should be. I'm scratching at 300 for the first time, and while it isn't any easier, I can stand it a lot longer.

Off to vacation this weekend, looking ahead to some long, flat runs in the wee hours on the beach. Can't imagine I'll swim there, and most likely I won't be riding either, but we might bring the bikes. Tough, because Thing 1 doesn't have a bike right now, his was passed to Thing 3. Thing 2 is alright still, but she'll need a new one next year.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lousy race swim

I had a sub par swim in a sprint this past Sunday - in the initial scrum, I got my hands kicked down several times by a hyper pair of feet I couldn't seem to get around, and I lost my cool...started a high turnover stroke, which for me is utter crap. I need a long and steady stroke to settle in, around 55 strokes per minute. I KNOW this, but for some reason I have a tendency lately to forget it completely in a race. I trigger the tempo by getting Bon Iver's "Perth" in my head, which is both calming (it's a very nice song) and impossible to sing too fast.

I went out for a lunch swim today and swam the first quarter mile...heart rate soared, anxiety set in. I was swimming like crap. Fortunately, this was exactly what happened on Sunday. I stopped and settled down.
I started swimming again, slower stroke rate. Bang, there it was. It was a completely different stroke. Like having two swimmers in my body, one that sucks and one that doesn't. Frustrating. This is the effect of not enough time in the pool.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


I've worn an LG Chrono helmet for a couple of seasons now, and I've reached a point with it. I *believe* it saves time because I've read that an aero helmet saves you time. It's a belief though, because the same things I've read say how much time it saves is highly dependent on position and how much it changes. In other words, if I have a great aero position on a great aero bike, a good aero helmet will save me some drag over a regular road helmet. However, if I look down and the tail of said helmet goes up, the drag increases. Likewise, if I'm on the pursuit bars and not the aero bars, everything changes again.

A colleague of mine said of aerodynamics, "they rarely do what common sense tells you they will". I've seen that hold up - toroidal farings are apparently more aerodynamic that conical farings, shaving leg hair saves up to 15W, and on and on. I have NOT seen specific aero data for helmets, because who is wearing it and what position they are in changes things.

Anecdotally, I know my tri bike is faster - with all else held constant - than my road bike, and quite a bit so. In a recent 4 mile time trial, the difference between bikes was 30 seconds. I attribute most of that to position, meaning I can *get* in a better aero position aboard the tri bike than I can in the drops on the road bike. I've done similar trials swapping helmets and while there is a difference, it's nowhere near as big.

My issue with the helmet - I don't disbelieve the evidence, but it looks ridiculous:
The only person I've ever seen make it look good is Mirinda Carfrae, but she could make anything look good:

It looks stupid. Really stupid. Not the stupidest:
And not the funniest:
but I'm done with this juju. This weekend will be the last that I sport the Chrono, I'm moving to something less stupid looking:
I'm definitely opting for the visor-less version, because then we're back in stupid land again. I'm sure the 5 seconds I'll lose over 56 mile courses due to not having a flare behind my head will bother me not at all.