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Review: Bont Vaypor Shoes

Bont Vaypor shoesThere’s an old saying that “shoes make the man” and the Bont Vaypor shoes are no exception.  The speed skating shoe turned cycling shoe company based in Australia may not have the history that some other companies do, but they’ve found their way onto the feed of numerous professionals, including Bradley Wiggins, Johan Van Summern and the recently retired Thor Hushovd.  But just because the pros use them does that mean they are good for everyone else out there?

I’ve put a season and a half on these shoes, using them for everything from training to racing to gravel grinding, and my impressions are after the jump:

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By |July 21st, 2015|equipment, reviews, Road bike|0 Comments

Wrenching: Sizing a New Chain

Sizing a chainWe can all appreciate a slick shifting drivetrain, and we all hate it when our drivetrain turns on us.  One of the easiest ways to prevent this from happening is to ensure your chain is sized correctly.  When too long, it can cause premature derailleur wear, shift poorly and bounce around with the potential of derailing.  When too short, it can jam the drivetrain or cause the derailleur to actually snap. But you don’t have to worry about this unless you have to put on a new chain, right?

Not necessarily.  Quite often, this issue starts at the LBS: many chains are not properly sized from the factory and some shops don’t necessarily check this on every bike.  If you should try to “match the length” of the current chain when putting on a new one, this can often result in a chain that is too long or too short, depending on the condition (and length) of the previous one.  But how do you become a pro at sizing your chain to the correct length?  It’s as simple as doing the one thing you never should:  crosschaining.

You can read more about it after the jump:

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By |February 7th, 2015|Road bike, wrenching|6 Comments

Review: Zipp Tangente Tubular Tires

Zipp Tangente Tubular TiresTubular tires seem to be going out of style these days, but there is still a very loyal following of people who love the supple feel and unmatched ride quality of a tubular tire.  As I noted back in my Vittoria Rubino Pro III review, there’s a huge spectrum of tires, from the “lightweight and supple for racing on smooth roads, durable, high volume and puncture resistent for riding gravel grinders, or somewhere in between for everyday training tires.”  In the case of Zipp’s Tangente Tubulars, we’re talking not about a high durability training tire, but a lighter weight racing tubular.  And after a season of riding (and racing) Tangentes, here are my thoughts on these “aerodynamic wonders.”

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By |December 18th, 2014|components, reviews, Road bike, wrenching|0 Comments

2015 Battenkill Training Plan Now Available!

Battenkill - Meeting House RoadIt’s no secret to anyone who is familiar with this blog and with my podcast that I have an eternally romantic view of the Spring Classics.  The Belgian Holy Week of de Ronde and Paris Roubaix is one of the most captivating weeks on the calendar for me, and here in the northeast US, the Tour of the Battenkill is no exception.  It’s also no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with America’s Queen of the Classics, as evidenced by the ridiculous cramps I suffered in 2011 and the awful back spasms that knocked me from the race in 2013.  That doesn’t mean I don’t still love it, though.

As of today, 11/15/14, registration is finally open for the Tour of the Battenkill 2015 Pro/Am Race and the Tour of the Battenkill 2015 Open Race/Gran Fondo.  As I do every year, I’ve analyzed the route, pored over the details of the climbing and descending, and I’ve put together my 2015 Battenkill Training Plan.  For those of you who want a little extra edge, remember that you can always add Training Plan Support for a “semi-custom” training experience.  Keep in mind that this 20 week monster plan is power meter compatible, heart rate monitor compatible and even suitable for those training just on perceived exertion. You can add it to your cart below, or you can visit the Tailwind Coaching Battenkill Training Store for a few other suggestions to help you on your quest for the famed chocolate milk.

America's Queen of the Classics returns for it's 10th year!  Featuring a new start/finish at the Washington County Fairgrounds and a new course clocking in at 68 miles in length, featuring 8 dirt road sections totaling 15 mile of unpaved punishment and throwing 4029 vertical feet of climbing with a maximum gradient of 17% at you, the 2015 edition of Battenkill is sure to be a monster.

Be prepared to lead the pack with this 20 week training plan.  Used to increase threshold power a massive 21% (on average) and power racers to several top 10 finishes and podiums in last year's race, this year I've revised the plan to further suit the changes in this year's race course, especially the dirt road uphill kick to the line!

I've also added a bonus strength training workout to help you get on top of the muscular fitness necessary to succeed in a race of this magnitude (requires a kettlebell, purchased separately, or access to a gym.)

By |November 15th, 2014|Battenkill, Classics, Coaching, power, racing, Road bike, Training|0 Comments

Century and Gran Fondo Training – Podcast #41

Gran Fondo NJLast time on the Tailwind Coaching Podcast I talked about how to get started with road racing.  So far, I’ve received a lot of positive commentary on it, but a number of people felt that I was leaving some things out.  Comments were made to the effect of “What about gran fondos?” and “What about centuries?”

I realize that the majority of cyclists out there aren’t racers, but still find joy in searching out tests of their endurance, climbing or overall fitness.  Many of those ways involve planning for a century or gran fondo.  Do you want to complete that event, or do you want to CRUSH that event?

In today’s podcast, I’ll discuss what you need to know to not only be successful in pursuit of that goal, but to shatter your expectations.  I’ll cover:

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By |August 4th, 2014|Coaching, group riding, podcast, racing, Road bike, Road riding|0 Comments