GURU takes the science of bike fitting to the nth degree
The world runs on data. It can be qualitative or quantitative. It can provide insights, information, and direction. It can change industries or lead to scientific breakthroughs. On a day-to-day basis, the decisions we make in our professional and personal lives are being driven more and more by data.
At MomentFeed, which is a SaaS (software-as-a-service) company, we consume and leverage data in everything we do, from sales and marketing to customer retention, product development, hiring, and fundraising. Why? Because we have to. Because the company that makes the best use of data is the company that wins. The same can be said for individual cycling performance.
In the following series, we’ll explore a range of data-driven methods for maximizing performance and efficiency. These data can be static in form of bike and body geometry, and they can be dynamic in the form of biometrics, power output, and fitness levels. Why? So you can go faster. By collecting, analyzing, and processing how all of these data can impact and improve performance, you’re able to take a highly objective and scientific approach to dropping your buddies on a climb or crushing their personal records on Strava.
The tropical paradise on Mexico’s Pacific coast that’s not Puerto Vallarta or Acapulco
When I think of an authentic Mexican getaway, I immediately start with the food: fresh ceviche, guacamole, and fish tacos. When I think of an ideal beach vacation, I think of a tropical climate with warm water, coconut palm trees, and soft sand. And when I think of great service, I think of raising a flag on my beachside palapa to signal I’m ready for another margarita and having it delivered moments later. But there’s only one place I know that has all three: Zihuatenejo.
In mentioning to friends that I’m headed to Zihuatenejo, Mexico, for a vacation, they either don’t know where it is or have only heard the name from Shawshank Redemption. It’s the place Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman escape to — quite literally — in the denouement of the 1994 film. I’ve been visiting Zihua, as it’s known, with my wife for more than a decade. Our destination wedding took place there in 2003 on Playa la Ropa, the main beach on Zihuatenejo Bay, in front of what was then Hotel Villa del Sol.
This small luxury beach resort with 46 rooms and a picture-perfect infinity pool has changed ownership twice since then. It became The Tides and is now the Viceroy Zihuatenejo. During this same period, my wife would give birth to our two children, now five and eight. I’d write a book and found a VC-backed software company. The United States would fight two different wars in the Middle East, elect its first black president, and go through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And yet through all of this, the Viceroy Zihuatenejo changed only in name. The rooms, the vibe, the menu, the service, and several members of the staff are just as they were in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Which makes sense, because it’s not possible to improve on perfection. [Read more →]
The second annual #ChefsCycle ride to benefit No Kid Hungry sets the stage for a new cause-based cycling franchise
I’m in a paceline with Chefs Jason Roberts and Jeff Mahin on the Pacific Coast Highway, rolling through Malibu, California. We’re spinning along at 30 mph, riding in a narrow sleuth between weekend traffic on our left and a blur of of parked cars and surf boards to the right. This is the final stretch of a 100-mile ride that started in Santa Barbara earlier in the day and is about to end in Santa Monica. And although we have two more days and another 200 miles to go, ultimately ending up in San Diego, you wouldn’t know it from the pace. Roberts and Mahin are dropping the hammer to support a great cause…and to put the hurt on me.
For its second year, #ChefsCycle features East- and West-Coast versions, which go from New York City to Washington D.C. and Santa Barbara to San Diego respectfully for a grand total of about 600 miles. Roberts and Mahin are joined by a couple dozen other chefs who, combined, are raising more than $330,000 for No Kid Hungry. This translates into roughly three million meals. No Kid Hungry (NKH) is a campaign of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength, which has grown exponentially over the past five years. Unlike so many health and environmental causes, the goal of NKH is readily achievable with resources alone.
Which is to say it doesn’t require a moonshot or scientific breakthrough to get food to children in need. It goes without saying that the children of the world’s wealthiest nation should not suffer from malnutrition. Still, according to NKH, one in five kids in the U.S. will face hunger this year. This is why NKH has been partnering with America’s chefs and restaurants for nearly 30 years to support its cause. It’s a natural fit. By the same token, it’s rather perverse that Type 2 diabetes, largely the result of obesity, has reached epidemic proportions among children. So it’s also about providing healthy food and, if Roberts has his way, a dash of fitness.
Reducing stress and discomfort on cycling “touch points” will make you to go farther faster
Road cycling is synonymous with suffering. We relish the pain. It’s one of life’s great dichotomies, where something that hurts so bad can feel so good. But through all the suffering on century rides and beyond-category climbs, we also want to be as comfortable as possible. Which is to say that despite the burning in our legs and lungs, there’s no reason our hands, feet, and butt should be tortured. Saddle sores, foot cramps, and numbness are not what we signed up for. That’s a different type of pain. It’s real pain, the stuff we avoid or else take drugs to mitigate. Pain and suffering are two different things in the world of cycling.
So I set out to find a number of ways to optimize these touch points and maximize comfort.
I made the switch to Selle SMP two years ago, and it was like going from a 1979 Pinto to a 2015 Lexus. I immediately outfitted each of my bikes accordingly — both road and mountain — because there’s no going back. The unique SMP design provides a cradle of comfort and performance, eliminating numbness while offering ideal riding positions for steep climbs, flat-out time trials, and everything else in-between. I prefer the mid-wide Lite 209, which is generously padded, but there’s a model to suit any body type or riding style.
Going from a standard bar to the Metron is like going from straight to parabolic skis. It feels right. It feels like it was designed with the specific demands of road cycling in mind, such that it elevates both performance and comfort. I initially sought a bar with a flat platform on top to spread out the pressure on my hands. This is a key feature of the Metron, for sure, but the top bar also has a slight rise, which relieves lower-back stress on long stretches, and a 10-degree forward bend, which is a more ergonomic hand position. Finally, there is a flat section behind the brake hoods that provides a more cradled hand position.
The North Shore of snowboarding is inspiring, unforgiving, and the best riding on the planet
The helicopter buries its skids into a knife ridge no wider than a snowboard is long. This first attempt marks the landing zone high up in Alaska’s Chilkat Range, north of Haines, Alaska, and not far from the Canadian border. The pilot makes a second attempt to establish the L-Z, but the ridge isn’t cooperating. Instead, he opts for a toe-in landing, which means the bird is essentially hovering as the five of us carefully climb out onto said ridge.
It’s early April. I’m here with two friends, David “Scotty” Scott and Chris “Geeb” Guibert. We’ve been matched up with a solo Swiss rider, Gabe, to make a foursome. We’re lead by Gabe Gioffre, the lead guide for Alaska Heliskiing, one of the very first outfits to establish AK as the global Mecca of skiing and snowboarding. It doesn’t get much bigger or heavier or more devout than this.
To one side of the ridge is a 50-degree face that immediately cliffs out. The run we’re contemplating on the other side starts at about 45 degrees and then exits into a big bowl. Swiss Gabe is first to drop it. He straight-lines the face and hops off a small feature as he enters the bowl. At that moment, an avalanche releases upslope to his left. It’s about 50 yards across and a foot or so deep. With great deft, he navigates laterally across the slide to safety on a higher slope outside the slide path. We all watch in semi-terrified amazement as the avalanche rumbles down the bowl and comes to a rest. Now it’s our turn.