If rider A rides 30kph toward rider B who is riding 22kmp, at what time with they lay down The V?

On Rule #74: Going Unplugged

by / / 156 posts

I think the most exciting Christmas present I ever received as a child was an Avocet 30 in what must have been 1989. Being in Minnesota and it being December, it meant my bike was going nowhere near the road any time soon, so I kept the silver dollar-sized computer in my pocket wherever I went, just so I could look at it, touch it, and imagine how much I was going to look like Greg LeMond now that I had this computer. My heart broke a little bit that next summer when I realized he had abandoned the Avocet in favor of a Ciclomaster CM34 with a built in gradient meter and altimeter. Perhaps this signalled the beginning of the end of my love affair with data on my bike; it faded almost as soon as it had begun.

I have a Garmin 810 which I use primarily on rides with whose routes I’m unfamiliar, or on any gravel ride in the mountains for safety reasons. It makes me feel like I’m riding with my iPhone on my handlebars. It probably has Facebook on it. While riding, it serves as a constant distraction; how much have I climbed, how much longer is the climb, where is the next turn. Even when I know a turn is coming up and precisely where it is, I still find myself distracted by the little changes on the screen as the directions flicker across.

The background noise serves as constant static between me and the sanctity of the ride, always there simmering just below the surface. What bothers me about it is that these questions are raised by the availability of the data, not by a need to have the questions answered. Brad Wiggins reportedly crashed out of the Giro d’Italia because he was staring at his power meter data, wondering if it was accurate. This was not a relevant question to be asking when descending a mountain pass in the rain.

Riding is one of the few opportunities we have where we can escape the internet, data, and the noise of our daily lives. Data has its place in Cycling, but there is an undeniable liberation in untethering and riding just for the sake of riding.

// Defining Moments // Nostalgia // Technology

  1. @SamV

    That said, another guy and I were commenting on all his gadgets. I said something like “I usually just push till I have tunnel vision and then back off just slightly.” He replied “Sounds like a recipe for blowing up.”

    How many times have you actually blown up fully? I find that even when you’re totally redlining you are actually still pacing yourself. I blew up halfway up a short punchy hill today, and that was unusual. I did however, blow up when attacking off the front in a race last year, and it’s by using HR and data more carefully I hope to avoid this next season. Also, by Rules #5 and #10

    Doesn’t happen often, but when it does, a shower and a couple Recovery Ales usually leads to a level of satisfaction when asking “why did I do that myself?”

    Because it’s awesome.

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  2. @SamV

    There’s a guy in my club who loves data. And he seems to have the discipline to use it properly – riding with him from beginning to end of the season, he was hands down the most improved and went from rookie to serious pain-maker very quickly.

    I have a good (long-time) friend (the guy who got me into “serious” cycling) who went to the dark side of data. HRM. Power meter. Structured rides/workouts. As someone who now just rides to ride (and doesn’t do a lot of “fast” riding), I take great joy when we ride together (not often because of location/schedule) and can drop him.

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  3. @chuckp

    @emerson

    If a rider continues to rely on a computer and never developed a feeling for estimating speed and distance, then of course it is not a good idea to ride on feel with any group. Developing a proven feeling for time versus distance allows a rider to intercept and chase on effort alone, without actually seeing any other rider(s) up the road. I hope that you agree with this ChuckP.

    Here’s a good (real life, actually happened) example of me putting a speedo to good use. A group ride with riders of “lesser” ability. Someone (or even a few people) decide they want to have a go and go off the front. The remaining riders want to “panic” and chase full bore straight away.

    More important question, why are people attacking each other on group rides?

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  4. @RobSandy

    More important question, why are people attacking each other on group rides?

    This is a Sunday shop ride (the store my wife works for) that I am a “ride leader” on. It’s not a club/racer ride and not your “typical” group ride. It’s a no drop/no one left behind ride and I typically ride lanterne rouge to make sure the last rider(s) make it to the rest stop and then back. It’s actually fun for me to ride lanterne rouge (usually with my riding pal, Jess) and it’s a social ride for us and I’m fine with that. The idea is that it’s intended as a “welcoming” ride for riders of a wide range of ability (but not rank beginners). And it’s an opportunity to teach people how to be better riders. We divide up into an A group (the faster riders) and B group (the slower riders). Most of the people who ride are relatively strong riders (for each of their groups) but not what I would call very experienced. The groups stay mostly together but invariably people get hived off (particularly the A group). There’s a rest stop mid-way (it’s a short ride … maybe 35 miles) where everyone re-groups. Anyway, a lot people (especially in the B group) just ride at their own pace. I think mostly because that’s what they’re used to doing. And because they don’t have a lot of group riding experience. There’s no rule that they have to ride together as a group. So it’s not that anyone is “attacking” per se but just that some riders in the B group are just “naturally” faster. And there are those who just want to ride faster but aren’t fast enough to ride with the A group. Not a big deal. But I’ll often use that kind of situation to teach people that cycling isn’t always about their own individual effort but what they can do as a group to overcome someone who may be faster than them. I could ride with the A group (and sometimes do after the rest stop for one stretch of road where I can be the rabbit and get the hounds to chase me down), but it’s actually more fun for me to ride with the B group. I enjoy helping people learn how to ride better/smarter. But it’s not a requirement for everyone (especially in the B group) to ride together if they don’t want to. I’ve had some riders tell me that they just want to ride at their own pace and aren’t interested in learning the dynamics of group riding. They just appreciate that there’s a ride that allows them to come out to ride.

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  5. @frank

    @RedRanger If you go the other way it makes a V. What you did is technically the right way but do you really want one of your three contact points to be Anti-V? @Oli

    @frank The tape is totally the right way.

    I would love to see a video of how you wrap bars

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  6. @RedRanger

    I would love to see a video of how you wrap bars

    I don’t know if you mean you want to see a video of @frank wrapping bars, but here’s a pretty good one from Lizard Skins (I use their tape). Not sure what the consensus is in the V community about tape overlap at the bar end to stuff the bar end plug. I’ve done it that way. But also without the overlap.

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  7. @chuckp Looks exactly like the way I taped my bars.

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  8. @RobSandy

    @SamV

    That said, another guy and I were commenting on all his gadgets. I said something like “I usually just push till I have tunnel vision and then back off just slightly.” He replied “Sounds like a recipe for blowing up.”

    How many times have you actually blown up fully? I find that even when you’re totally redlining you are actually still pacing yourself. I blew up halfway up a short punchy hill today, and that was unusual. I did however, blow up when attacking off the front in a race last year, and it’s by using HR and data more carefully I hope to avoid this next season. Also, by Rules #5 and #10

    Doesn’t happen often, but when it does, a shower and a couple Recovery Ales usually leads to a level of satisfaction when asking “why did I do that myself?”

    Because it’s awesome.

    There’s definitely some subconscious pacing that happens, even while redlining. Obviously I don’t redline the whole route, and feel out when I can or can’t throw myself into an effort. And in the back of my mind, I know that when my vision starts to darken, I’m working too hard. Some of the roads I ride are very rural and it would be a long time till someone noticed me on the shoulder, should I overcommit and pass out. Over the course of a season, there are no more than a few times that I well and truly blow up and limp my way home. In general, I can judge recovery time from the previous effort. If my legs are still wobbly or my pulse is still thumping in my head after a few more relaxed KMs, I start to get the sense that the remainder of the ride should be taken a bit more conservatively, or at least, I should allow a little longer to recover.

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  9. @RedRanger

    @chuckp Looks exactly like the way I taped my bars.

    @frank blessed my tape job (#85 above) so it must be the right way.

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  10. @chuckp I guess he is. I challenge everyone – leave your cell phone/garmin/cyclometer at home on your next ride. When you return, the world will still be spinning and you will see, hear, and smell things you would have missed looking at that dang piece of technology. Distracts you from the ride.

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  11. @coachprops

    @chuckp I guess he is. I challenge everyone – leave your cell phone/garmin/cyclometer at home on your next ride. When you return, the world will still be spinning and you will see, hear, and smell things you would have missed looking at that dang piece of technology. Distracts you from the ride.

    My phone doesn’t distract me from my ride because it’s in my jersey pocket and I don’t take it out unless my wife calls me because I know she wouldn’t call me unless it’s an emergency of some sort. And I want my phone with me in case of a serious mechanical or other mishap so I can call for help if I need it (in the worst/most extreme case … 911). It has nothing to do with being important (well, hopefully I’m important to my family); it’s all about safety. And my GPS (really just a GPS enabled basic cycle computer that displays distance/speed/time of day) doesn’t distract me either because I rarely look at it and really only use it to download the data from my ride to Strava afterwards (mostly to keep track of how many miles I’ve ridden). Per @Haldy you can ride unplugged (and I pretty much do) even with “stuff.”

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  12. @chuckp

    @RedRanger

    @chuckp Looks exactly like the way I taped my bars.

    @frank blessed my tape job (#85 above) so it must be the right way.

    You wrap the tape outwards so it tightens rather than loosens when you grip the bars, right? I’m planning to take on my first retaping after Christmas (on my new Rotundos!) so I want to get this shit right.

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  13. @RobSandy

    @chuckp

    @RedRanger

    @chuckp Looks exactly like the way I taped my bars.

    @frank blessed my tape job (#85 above) so it must be the right way.

    You wrap the tape outwards so it tightens rather than loosens when you grip the bars, right? I’m planning to take on my first retaping after Christmas (on my new Rotundos!) so I want to get this shit right.

    I don’t think outwards makes any difference in terms of how loose/tight the tape is when you grip it. I suppose it could make some difference in how easily/smoothly your hands slide on the bars. Just do it like in the video and you’ll be fine. The important thing is to make sure the tape is wrapped “forward” on the tops of the bars once your past the brake hoods.

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  14. @chuckp

    @Haldy

    I have my computer on my road bike all the time, but often don’t even look at it until I stop it at the end of the ride. I can be plugged in and still ride unplugged. I think that’s the best way to ride. The info is there if I want it, or for targetted training need it for bits of guidance, but there is no need to be a slave to it. That would ruin the ride.

    Exactly how I ride. Love the bike and kit. Real men wear pink.

    Why yes..yes we do.

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  15. @Haldy

    @chuckp

    @Haldy Love the bike and kit. Real men wear pink.

    Why yes..yes we do.

    I’m sure @frank will give me grief for both #27 and #28 violations.

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  16. @Haldy

    @chuckp

    @Haldy

    I have my computer on my road bike all the time, but often don’t even look at it until I stop it at the end of the ride. I can be plugged in and still ride unplugged. I think that’s the best way to ride. The info is there if I want it, or for targetted training need it for bits of guidance, but there is no need to be a slave to it. That would ruin the ride.

    Exactly how I ride. Love the bike and kit. Real men wear pink.

    Why yes..yes we do.

    Had to come back to your pic, your teammate- (although pushing some uber gears also) looks like he has gone with the small frame, tweek the snot out of the seat post, bars and stem method. You look like you sized correctly and have everything in proportion and look much more relaxed on your bike. On my TK2 I sized “correctly” and now am going through the fun task of just messing with the smallest of tweeks to get the most speed out of each small “improvement”. Would a computer help this, sure- some data to go with feed-back on how I feel on the bike would be nice. A power meter would be the cats-ass, but tough on the wallet, that would have to be one of those buy used from someone I know and trust that is going up a model or has to have the 2016 version of what on his bike now.

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  17. @chuckp

    Nalini brand mark on those bibs. How do you rate their (long duration) pad in those on a scale of 5 to 10?

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  18. @emerson

    @chuckp Nalini brand mark on those bibs. How do you rate their (long duration) pad in those on a scale of 5 to 10?

    Actually, they are Pactimo. Can’t remember the exact model, but they’re an older model year that I got on closeout (3 bibs and 3 shorts — the latter I use on the spin bike indoors) when I started back riding again last year. I like them. Probably a little shorter leg length than other manufacturers. Mesh upper that’s comfortable and doesn’t cut into you. 8 or 10 panels. “Old fashioned” leg gripper, which I actually like (I like the newer compression gripper too). For me, the pad is comfortable. The longest ride I’ve done it is 70-something miles (~4 hours in the saddle). No complaints. Kinda wish I’d bought a couple more before they sold out of them.

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  19. @RobSandy This theory is bogus because when you’re honking most of the torque from hand goes towards the inside of the ‘bars on the higher side as much as it does towards the outside on the lower ‘bar when chucking the ‘bars from side to side. The only rule is to go from bottom to top to avoid the tape peeling back when on the tops. I know pro and shop mechanics (and pro and shop videos) that are outside-in and inside-out, and some pro mechanics even wind both sides of the ‘bars opposite as they just continue the wind all the way from one ‘bar end to the other. As long as your winding is tight, tidy and even you are doing it right, no matter what Frank would have you believe. Anyway, who would listen to a guy who is set up that badly on his bike?

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  20. @Oli Further, if you wrap inside to outside you actually are going across the winding with your grip, whereas if you wind outside-in you complement the winding, as shown clearly in these pics. 1. Outside-in 2. Inside-out

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  21. There’s a reason electrical tape is called electrical tape. It’s because it is used for electrical jobs, FFS! Start at the middle, tape to the bar ends, seal in place with the plugs. What is WRONG with you people !!!

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  22. @chuckp sock game, en pointe.

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  23. @edster99

    There’s a reason electrical tape is called electrical tape. It’s because it is used for electrical jobs, FFS! Start at the middle, tape to the bar ends, seal in place with the plugs. What is WRONG with you people !!!

    and that’ll indeed save me from attempting, and usually not well, to get the final trim at just the right angle! This is interesting thinking here yes.

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  24. @Dean C

    @Haldy

    @chuckp

    @Haldy

    I have my computer on my road bike all the time, but often don’t even look at it until I stop it at the end of the ride. I can be plugged in and still ride unplugged. I think that’s the best way to ride. The info is there if I want it, or for targetted training need it for bits of guidance, but there is no need to be a slave to it. That would ruin the ride.

    Exactly how I ride. Love the bike and kit. Real men wear pink.

    Why yes..yes we do.

    Had to come back to your pic, your teammate- (although pushing some uber gears also) looks like he has gone with the small frame, tweek the snot out of the seat post, bars and stem method. You look like you sized correctly and have everything in proportion and look much more relaxed on your bike. On my TK2 I sized “correctly” and now am going through the fun task of just messing with the smallest of tweeks to get the most speed out of each small “improvement”. Would a computer help this, sure- some data to go with feed-back on how I feel on the bike would be nice. A power meter would be the cats-ass, but tough on the wallet, that would have to be one of those buy used from someone I know and trust that is going up a model or has to have the 2016 version of what on his bike now.

    Randy( my teammate) is pushing the same 51×15 gear. As for the fit..you nailed. This could turn into a LONG comment on custom handbuilt( my Don Walker frame) vs off the shelf cookie-cutter frames( his Dolan). Short and simple..I know exactly how I want my bike to handle and feel, and pair that with Don’s knowledge and skill and I end up with beautiful bikes( I have 4 of his frames..). The most amazing thing is the seat tube. My track bike has and extended seat tube. I gave Don my saddle height, what saddle and what post I was going to use and when the frame showed up, put the seat on the post, slammed the post and the saddle was millimeter perfect at the correct height. Same for the stem. That baby is slammed and no spacers underneath, and right where it needs to be.

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  25. @edster99 Nope, that’s completely wrong it means the overlap on the drops is arse-backwards and the tape will roll and look shit in short order. No matter what way you wrap your tape don’t ever wrap it top to bottom…at least not if you want any sort of Velominati cred whatsoever.

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  26. @Oli

    Nope, that’s completely wrong it means the overlap on the drops is arse-backwards and the tape will roll and look shit in short order. No matter what way you wrap your tape don’t ever wrap it top to bottom…at least not if you want any sort of Velominati cred whatsoever.

    Agree with with you Oli. Shouldn’t be any question on taping bars. Back in 1986 Steve Snowling’s book shows the correct way how to tape bars. Always from the bottom up.

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  27. @Oli I hear your toilets flush the wrong direction too. We used to change direction at the levers, overhand on the drops then underhand on the tops. Modern wrap doesn’t creep so much, but I still put a layer of hockey tape down first: shit ain’t going nowhere.

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  28. @edster99

    There’s a reason electrical tape is called electrical tape. It’s because it is used for electrical jobs, FFS! Start at the middle, tape to the bar ends, seal in place with the plugs. What is WRONG with you people !!!

    Whoa, whoa whoa…everything else I’ve seen/read says start from the bar ends. Start from the middle of the bars and finish at the ends? Wow. Seductive, the dark side is.

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  29. @Chipomarc But what would Steve Snowling know? He does it the same way as Frank!

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  30. Anyway, time to get back on topic – which was the benefits of training with a power meter and uploading data to WKO

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  31. @Chipomarc

    Anyway, time to get back on topic – which was the benefits of training with a power meter and uploading data to WKO

    Jeez..think he can get Pandora on one of those?

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  32. @Haldy

    @Chipomarc

    Anyway, time to get back on topic – which was the benefits of training with a power meter and uploading data to WKO

    Jeez..think he can get Pandora on one of those?

    I bet the numbers never match! A rider with one number is always sure. A rider with two numbers is never sure.

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  33. @Oli

    @edster99 Nope, that’s completely wrong it means the overlap on the drops is arse-backwards and the tape will roll and look shit in short order. No matter what way you wrap your tape don’t ever wrap it top to bottom…at least not if you want any sort of Velominati cred whatsoever.

    Finally we can agree on something! Just as a matter of course, I slapped some Benotto tape on the bars of my Bianchi for a while in the summer. I wrapped those your way because they don’t have adhesive. New tape has adhesive so the unwinding this is irrelevant. I’ve never had a tape job unwind, and I’ve done my fair share of trying to rip the bars off going uphill.

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  34. @frank

    @Haldy

    @Chipomarc

    Anyway, time to get back on topic – which was the benefits of training with a power meter and uploading data to WKO

    Jeez..think he can get Pandora on one of those?

    I bet the numbers never match! A rider with one number is always sure. A rider with two numbers is never sure.

    That’s why you should always ride with three computers and do a running average as you go.

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  35. Here’s a recent article about LeMond’s famous time trial victory in 1989. He didn’t even want his team manager shouting out time splits, no excess information to distract him from dishing out pure V. http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/lemond-s-mental-toughness @RobSandy, @SamV There’s also a section in the middle that discusses of pacing and tempering your effort, even when you think you’re going at 100%.

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  36. @frank Well, I’ve never had a problem with tape rolling. You can make the tape go in whatever direction you like as you come over the shifters, if you are paranoid about the tape rolling and looking shit – which is a perfectly legitimate concern, but unwarranted.

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  37. @frank It’s in the drops where it really counts.

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  38. @MangoDave

    Here’s a recent article about LeMond’s famous time trial victory in 1989. He didn’t even want his team manager shouting out time splits, no excess information to distract him from dishing out pure V. http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/lemond-s-mental-toughness @RobSandy, @SamV There’s also a section in the middle that discusses of pacing and tempering your effort, even when you think you’re going at 100%.

    Inspiring, thanks.

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  39. @RobSandy

    @MangoDave

    Here’s a recent article about LeMond’s famous time trial victory in 1989. He didn’t even want his team manager shouting out time splits, no excess information to distract him from dishing out pure V. http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/lemond-s-mental-toughness @RobSandy, @SamV There’s also a section in the middle that discusses of pacing and tempering your effort, even when you think you’re going at 100%.

    Inspiring, thanks.

    I concur. Thanks for the link, @MangoDave. Great read.

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  40. @MangoDave Thanks for the link. Awesome stuff but it is not mentioned that Fignon had bad saddle sore that affected his performance. LeMond’s ride was still astounding though.

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  41. @edster99

    @frank Well, I’ve never had a problem with tape rolling. You can make the tape go in whatever direction you like as you come over the shifters, if you are paranoid about the tape rolling and looking shit – which is a perfectly legitimate concern, but unwarranted.

    I always tape in a clockwise direction and finish on the tops with the tape coming towards me – that way your hands naturally tighten the tape. Learned the hard way back in the day with Benotto tape that didn’t have an adhesive backing.

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  42. @wiscot

    @edster99

    @frank Well, I’ve never had a problem with tape rolling. You can make the tape go in whatever direction you like as you come over the shifters, if you are paranoid about the tape rolling and looking shit – which is a perfectly legitimate concern, but unwarranted.

    I always tape in a clockwise direction and finish on the tops with the tape coming towards me – that way your hands naturally tighten the tape. Learned the hard way back in the day with Benotto tape that didn’t have an adhesive backing.

    Does not compute coz the sides need to go on opposite directions – happen your are only talking about the right hand side?

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  43. @MangoDave Nice read – cheers. One thing that baffled me a bit was why the author (on page 3 of the article, approximately mid-page) insists on taking such a dump on the ADR-team as a whole? Quote: “The first big test for the ADR team as a collective came two days later with a 48-km team time trial. Greg and the eight nobodies who wore the same uniform surpassed low expectations with a fifth-place finish…etc…” Unquote. Really? Those 8 professional cyclists who were arguably among the 120 best in the world at the time – and who came in fifth(!) in a TTT in the TdF, of all races, FFS – were nobodies?? I cannot help wondering if the author wanted to make Greg Lemond appear as even more of a demigod by trivializing the efforts of his teammates? Unkind and disrespectful, to say the least. (And I have this odd feeling that Greg Lemond might agree…)

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  44. Johan Lammerts, Frank Hoste, Eddy Planckaert (!), Johan Museeuw (!!!), to name but a few.

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  45. To be sure at the unspectacular ends or starts of their careers, but hardly “nobodies”!

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  46. This thread seems to have died down, but it’s a fun topic, so here goes. Only a simple Cateye on the bars — during the week I ride on my lunch breaks, so I usually keep it on speed and clock to make sure I’m back on schedule. If I’m not on a schedule, I’ll display elapsed time. Pockets are keys on the left, wallet on the right, phone and casquette in the middle. Food and arm warmers get evenly distributed as appropriate. I enjoy Strava (if only to check in with @chuckp), so I have that going but out of sight.

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  47. And now I see that this thread had picked back up! That’s what I get for leaving a comment 1/3 written over night and posting it in the morning. While we’re on the subject, Luca’s troubles are quite sad. I hope he gets things (and himself) sorted out. He was one of the first riders that I noticed when I started following the sport again last year. I know I’ll never be the lead a team — even in the lower categories — but if I start racing again, I like the idea of getting to the a place where I could be a savvy road captain or reliable domestique. Then, of course, Gent-Wevelgem. Wow.

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  48. @ErikdR

    Johan Lammerts, Frank Hoste, Eddy Planckaert (!), Johan Museeuw (!!!), to name but a few.

    Exactly. Lammerts and Hoste were ex-TI Raleigh and those boys wrote the book on how to ride team time trials.

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  49. @Oli

    @Oli Further, if you wrap inside to outside you actually are going across the winding with your grip, whereas if you wind outside-in you complement the winding, as shown clearly in these pics. 1. Outside-in 2. Inside-out

    Oli totally validates this Park video.

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  50. Sorry, but IMNSHO that’s a terrible technique! For a start he does it the opposite way to me at the bottom, then that silly half lap of the lever to (eventually) get it right on the tops. It’s not the first time Calvin has been wrong though.

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