This years edition of the Redlands classic was filled with quite a lot. A lot of emotional ups and downs as the peloton mourned two of its own, a lot of scenic views of snow capped mountains overlooking super blooms, a lot of hungry new faces and teams, and finally, a lot of racing. We caught up with one of our racers Sam Anderson-Moxley and asked him some questions about the race and his 10th place finish on the overall GC.
When I first tried 2013 S-Works Road Shoe (size 42.5, the same size as my previous 2012 s-works shoes), I noticed that these shoes fit slightly on the smaller side. For me, this wasn’t a problem since I was between a 42 and a 42.5 with the old pair anyway. Right away, something just felt right... like these shoes were custom-tailored for my feet.
The heel cup feels deeper, and better shaped, so there is virtually no heel-slip. On the inside of the heel, the lining has little rubberized grippers for even more anti-slip protection - a very nice detail.
One of the biggest advances that Specialized made with these shoes was the way they positioned the BOA dials. Instead of going straight across the tongue of the shoe, they’re slightly askew - so as to pull the two sides of the more supple upper together to wrap around the foot, rather than just to secure the foot down to the sole of the shoe. This was the biggest difference that I noticed while riding in them. I didn’t find myself needing to re-tighten them after a few hours on the bike like I did with the previous generation S-works shoes. This also made the shoes much more comfortable to wear on the longer 4+ hour training rides. It may sound a little cliché, but I often forgot I was wearing them.
I’ll be honest, I have a pair of white “hand-made” Italian cycling shoes that I wear on occasion for the short coffee shop rides on recovery days or local group ride. But with the panache styling of the new 2013 S-works Road shoe - super clean patent finish upper, and bold, sleek lines – you’ll more than likely see me enjoying my next mid-ride cappuccino and muffin wearing these shoes instead.
I accompany my S-works Road shoes with a set of Specialized Green Performance Insoles and Look Keo cleats in Grey, also available at your local Mike’s Bikes.
This past Saturday night after Mike's Bikes in San Rafael closed up, riders for TMB gathered with product reps from Capo, SRAM/Zipp, and Bike Smart to learn a bit about the equipment they will be riding and get their gear for the 2012 season. Check out a few pictures below from the evening:
Ernesto from SRAM/Zipp explaining the development and innovation of the Firecrest design in the 303,404, and 808 wheelsets the team will be riding.
Ernesto from SRAM/Zipp answering questions from the riders on the aerodynamic benefits and drawback of each wheel depth.
Terry from Capo detailing the materials used in the teams custom Wind Vest.
TMB Race Machines all ready to be picked up. Each bike has a piece of paper attached to the top tube with the riders chosen specifications.
Blue Mike's bottles to match the blue decals on the Venge.
Don't fix it if it ain't broke. I have applied this adage to saddle choice for as long as I've been riding a bike. I have been sitting on the old-school Sella Italia Flite for years, I had no reason to change it. It was for this reason that when I received a Specialized Toupe Pro to race on as part of Team Mike's Bikes I wasn't exactly ecstatic.
To boot, last year I borrowed a Toupe from a friend to race at the track and after a couple laps I swore to never again sit on that saddle. It felt like I was sitting on a knife! Needless to say, I figured my new Toupe would be left in the closet. That is until I got a hip bone width measurement as part of the Mike's Bikes BG fit. And no, my fit specialist, Jake Lopacinski, did not run a tape measure across my butt. Rather, he uses an incremented seat pad that records the width. Turns out ergonomically I am best on a 143mm width saddle. Very well, I thought, I have just the 143mm width spot in my closet for this thing! Days later, despite my stubborness I attached the saddle and went for a ride. I completely forgot I was riding a new saddle! In fact, not once during the ride did I think about the fact that I was riding a new saddle until I got home and set my bike against a wall. I found my new favorite road saddle! Amazed and confused, I called my friend whom I borrowed the Toupe from a year earlier and inquired of the width of the saddle he lent me. Go figure, it was a 130mm saddle. Go get your butt measured!
With the arrival of the new bikes, new kicks, new kits, new season, new teammates, etc. comes the arrival of the single most important piece of equipment in any cyclist’s arsenal of cool stuff (no Floyd, it’s not testosterone patches); a new helmet. This year Team Mike’s Bikes will be rolling around with the Specialized S-Works Prevail atop our pretty little heads and we had our first chance to take them out this weekend at camp.
Short version: What a helmet!!! Go get one!!!
Slightly more detailed version:
There are a number of factors that go into making a successful helmet, and the Prevail has really nailed them all. First and foremost, of course, is the safety. This helmet meets and exceeds all the standards that the red-tape folks love to throw at helmet manufacturers, and has even incorporated a dual density foam system which is designed to dissipate impact around the shell of the helmet, rather than just transferring it into your noggin (kinda like the foam you used when you dropped an egg off a roof in high school…yes, that’s why you used the foam). While you hopefully never exploit this feature, it’s good to know it’s there.
The comfort and weight of this thing are absolutely unbelievable! My first impression when I picked it up was that I was holding only an outer portion of the helmet and that there were bits still in the box that I had to assemble. Not so. My helmet (size medium) weighs 212 grams with all the padding and straps installed. This is within a whisper of claimed weight of the lightest helmet on the market right now and you don’t have to give up comfort and security to achieve it. The Prevail comes with a fully adjustable webbing system that can be customized to achieve a perfect fit. While a bit tough to describe (ahem….go look at one at your local Mike’s), to achieve perfect fit, the inner helmet cradle can be moved fore and aft in addition to the ratchet at that back that you’ve come to expect from top helmets. The ventilation is top notch as well. The large front vents channel a TON of air through to keep things cool. All told, this thing goes on to your head and disappears, which is probably the best thing that can be said about a helmet. The team rode ours straight out the box for about 6 hours on Saturday and everyone was really impressed with the comfort.
The inner helmet fit system allows for near-custom sizing
So what’s left to say? Well, I hate to say it, but a helmet that looks dumb won’t get worn. Now, before we go any further, anyone with anything worth protecting wears a helmet, but there’s no reason to wear one that looks like something Lemond would have pitched off on the final climb in the early 90’s. No worries here. The Prevail has got the looks nailed. Specialized put together a helmet here that looks like it belongs at the top of the sport, with all the right curves, lines and fins to really complete the look of a serious racer.
The team in full flight with our fancy new helmets
In summary, the Team is really excited about the new helmet and for all the right reasons. It’s safe, it’s light, it’s comfortable, it looks great, and it’s fast (go check out the wind tunnel numbers). If you’re in the market, this is your next helmet.
After preaching to various Mike's Bikes customers about the certain value of a BG Fit, I was pretty excited to get one for myself. I have a pretty funky body, and I was rather curious to see what Jake could do for me. I've had a few fits in the past, but nothing that had ever put aches and pains and twinges to rest. The BG Fit process is all about working with each individual's bodily asymmetries, which I think is a pretty cool concept. My body is certainly asymmetrical, and no amount of stretching or yoga has ever been able to change that. The first half of the 3 hours I spent in the studio was spent measuring my body. To me, this was the coolest part. Having just taken an anatomy class and being generally obsessed with the human body, I had a good time nerding out and trying to remember everything that was going on (I didn't). Most notable: my weird knees are so weird, I've got pretty high arches that are good at collapsing, and my hip flexors are very flexible.
Next up was the actual tweaking and video shooting. The best part of this was being able to watch myself and see what I looked like on the bike. Jake made quite a few changes: saddle back, seat up, stem down, cleats outward, green insoles, two varus wedges per foot. After dropping the stem and adding the second varus wedge, everything really came together. He said my position was "amazing," and it felt like it. Never before have I felt so comfortable on a bicycle!
I was pretty excited to get his input and adjustments after changing my entire bike and setup including saddle, cleats and pedals, shoes, bars and stem, and even levers. In order to get rolling I pulled the specs from a previous fit I had done several years ago and adjusted for what felt right.
I scheduled the appointment through Mike's Bikes website for the San Rafael Location but also had the option of having the fit done in
Palo Alto. Mike's uses Time Center which allows you to see when Jake is available and book the time. It also confirms and reminds you of your appointment but also allows you to inform Jake of anything he should know prior to your fit.
I expected to walk into the fit studio, kit up, and hop on the trainer but was greeted with the complete opposite. Prior to getting on my bike, taking any measurements, or even changing into my kit, Jake sat me down and asked me a series of questions regarding previous and current injuries, current fitness, and cycling aspirations. The questions were specifically phrased to jog my memory and give Jake important information when fitting me to my bike. For example, in the past year I had a tear in my quadriceps tendon, a tear in my upper quad, and a tear in my rotator cuff but have been focusing on post ride recovery and stretching.
Next Jake had me finally change into my kit in order to test my flexibility and take some measurements of my body. He did a series of tests which had my walking, standing, sitting, and on my back raising and dropping my legs. In addition Jake took measurements of my legs and inspected my feet. He informed me that I had excellent flexibility in my lower back which would allow me to achieve a very comfortable yet aerodynamic position on the bike. Jake also discovered that my left leg was 1cm shorter than my right from my hip.
Side and Front View Adjustments
Finally it was time for be to get on the bike, but not before Jake took complete measurements of it so that we had record of what we started with. Prior to changing anything I made it clear to Jake that I had achieved saddle bliss with the angle of my Specialized Toupe and didn't want to change the angle on it.
After measurements were taken, it was time to warm up. Jake had me spin for a while to get comfortable and into a similar position if I was on the road. During this time he took a short clip of video footage to preserve my previous position and fit.
After watching me spin for a while, Jake reviewed the footage and began his adjustments. He first made adjustments to my grey Look cleats in order to compensate for the 1cm difference in leg length. By moving one cleat on my S-Works shoes I would be able to fully extend both legs in my pedals stroke. Next he moved my Toupe saddle slightly back on the on rails. Finally Jake added toe wedges which came with my Moderate (Blue) Specialized BG Footbeds. It's important to note though that after each adjustment was made, Jake had me pedal and give feedback on the changes.
Jake (and a few other people) also made comment on how far out my reach was when on the hoods. I am currently running a 120mm stem but he made suggestion to switch to a 110mm stem and a bar with further reach in order to bring my shoulders back a bit when on the hoods but achieve the same position when in the drops. He said that it wasn't required as I currently have no neck or back strain but I am going to give it a try once we place our Zipp Bar and Stem order.
Finally came the super cool part of the fitting. Jake took more footage now with the adjustments he made. He then spliced the footage together using the specialized software and drew digital lines on my knees to show the difference in my pedal stroke from the adjustments.
It's pretty cool to see the changes and the difference they are making.
After tweaking and adjusting my bike to the proper fit and reviewing the footage. Jake informed me that I should go out and put some mileage on the new fit and let him know if I have any problems. After changing out my bars and stem I will definitely be stopping by to have them checked.
Jake will be performing BG Pro Fits on all Team Mike's Bike riders. I encourage you to ask for feedback or any questions on our fits. More information on the BG Pro Fit process, pricing, and scheduling can be found at the following link on Mike's Bikes website.