Monday, 28 June 2010

Trek’s Speed Concept – major step forward?

From the press review and the clamour to buy one, it seems this new development by Trek has really hit the mark. It is obviously a nicely designed bike that looks fast and comes in lots of variations and price points. Add to the hoopla of the TDF around the corner and seeing Mr. Armstrong riding it once again on 3 July, and the love fest will only likely grow. The bike is going to be a top sellar this year and likely for years to come, but what I am not sure is will it have the same impact that Cervelo’s P3C had in 2006 when it became fully available.

Does this bike really take a step forward in both aero and functionality? As for functionality, it certainly looks like Trek has done a stellar job on their homework with an amazing front brake, hidden cables, hidden rear brake, aero storage fairing, a better bento box and even aero quick releases. Did I mention the implanted Ant+ receiver? That in itself is a huge step forward as all cyclists around the world have fought the battle of attaching a speed/cadence sensor on their fork or chainstays. This integrated solution looks to be such a simple and obvious design, but one that seems to be so far from any other manufacturers minds. That has now changed. This bike will change the paradigm of tri bikes as now it will become the standard to not only make an aero looking bike (I say aero looking, as the aero claims for most frames are quite exaggerated), but also going forward truly functional in supporting the rider with the storage needs that are necessary for the long course triathlete.

The only problem I see with the bike and its design is the stem/bar limitations. Trek claims that its set up is more adjustable than most standard stem/bar options, but I measured the stack and reach of my set up on my P3C and to get the same set up on a Speed Concept I would require lower pads than can be attained from Trek’s options. I don’t think Trek will suffer many lost sales due this type of issue however, but as cyclists continue to get smarter and more informed about proper bike fit and the limitations of certain frame designs, there may be an impact on the sales of this frame.

So, the questions remains to be answered: will cyclists buy a bike that does not fit them quite right to get the amazing functionality that comes with the Speed Concept? If they don’t, how long will it take Scott, Cervelo, Felt, Giant and the others to react to Trek’s ground breaking new bike?

I for one, hope that Cervelo meets the challenge promptly as my P3C is due to be replaced in the next few months or year, and I would love to stay in the Cervelo Mafia

Friday, 4 June 2010

Training Camps

I have been doing my own training camps for several years, with camps in Colorado, Texas, France, Greece and Mallorca. All of those camps were tough and had some good and bad aspects. What I intend to do in this series is to review the camps I have completed so that I can share my experiences to those who might want to plan there own; or perhaps stimulate some thought on other places to hold training camps. I will do this in reverse chronological order, with Mallorca being the first.

The plan for Mallorca was to escape the cold and wet UK spring weather and get in some high volume training. Mallorca in March is not necessarily warm, so choosing that location required some last minute confirmation and a back up plan (Tenerife in this occasion) if the weather looked to be unsat. The specific goals of the camp were to train with Ironman St. George in mind, and that meant lots of climbing and time on the bike. As St. George is a tri bike course, I chose to bring the P3C even though it is not ideal for climbing and descending (but not bad, really).

What I found in Mallorca was a cyclists paradise, decent running and an average place for swimming. In March, the sea is still very cold and there aren't tons of pools available (I did find one decent one in Palma) and our hotel had a 50m outdoor pool that was not heated (I swam in with my wetsuit...much to the amusement of the other guests).

Depending on where the camp is based, will dictate the quality of running and swimming, but cycling will be good regardless. I rode on nearly empty (of cars anyway) roads all around the South east, and throughout the centre of the island. I easily rode up to Pollenca and along the mountainous north west area, so each day had distinct options and allowed for a nicely structured camp.

Running seemed to be good, and I had a great long run along the sea from Palma along the south coast, but it was flat and in hindsight, was not super for Utah as that course demands hills in training.

My out take from this camp was: Great place for cycling at nearly any time of the year. Running is good, but needs some thought in relation to where the camp is based and the type of running desired. Swimming has to be considered a weakness (unless the camp is later in the year). The food, culture and overall quality of the island was top notch and made for a really nice holiday apart from the training.