Cycling Clothes for Colder Weather

The proper cycling clothes can protect you on your winter bike rides

Not wearing enough cycling clothes can keep the body from warming up properly, leaving you with a greater chance of injury and staying cold. Your cycling clothes can also help protect your skin by helping to prevent chafing and irritation. The material helps to limit the loss of body heat by keeping your skin dry.

When cycling in cold weather, it’s usually best to wear layers. Layers will give you the option of taking clothing off if you become too warm, but otherwise keeping you warm enough to stay safe.

Winter cycling clothes checklist:

  • Toe/shoe covers
  • Full-fingered gloves
  • Coolmax undershirt
  • Arm/leg/knee warmers
  • Ear covers or skull cap

These items in combination with your standard cycling shorts, jersey, and socks will keep you happy all winter long. Don’t forget to conduct this pre-ride safety check and follow these group ride guidelines before your next ride.

Two Reasons for Skipping Chains

Learn what causes skipping chains and what you can do about it

There are two main causes for skipping chains. The most common cause is the misalignment of the rear cogs and the chain itself. The second most common cause of skipping chains is wearing on the chain, cassette, and/or the chainrings. Read below to see what causes each and how you can prevent chain skipping and extend the life of your bike.

There are several things that can cause the misalignment of the rear cogs and the chain.

  • Improper cable tension. When the tension is incorrect the chain does not sit inline with the corresponding cassette cog and it is trying to jump to the next cog.
  • Dirty cable. The dirt prevents the cable from moving like it needs to.
  • Slightly bent hanger for the rear derailleur. Can affect the alignment.

Learn what you can do about skipping chains on your bike.Skipping chains will wear on the chain, cassette, and/or the chainrings. The chain is the most likely to wear out first since it is made entirely of small, moving parts. Those parts tend to wear out faster when they are dirty or ridden dry. Chains on most modern drivetrains usually last anywhere from 1500 to 2000 miles. This can change depending on your riding style and how well you maintain your bike. If you keep your drivetrain clean and you tend to spin at a slightly higher cadence then you will get more mileage out of your chain. Follow these six steps to clean your drivetrain.

When the chain wears, it no longer sits evenly on the cassette cogs and chainrings. As this goes on the chain will eventually start to jump since the chain wears much faster than the cassette and chainrings. If you let your chain go too long it will start to wear down the teeth of the cassette first and then the chainrings. If the chain is replaced before it is too worn the cassette and chainrings will outlast the chain many times over. You’d much rather want to replace your chain than the cassette and chainrings.

Use this bike tool to measure chain wear at home. You can also call James Balentine at City Limit Cycles. He can measure it for you and make any necessary adjustments and/or fixes.

Proper Air Pressure

Proper air pressure can make all the difference

There are a lot of questions out there about how much air pressure a road bike tire should have. Proper air pressure is a hot topic among wheel and tire manufacturers and triathletes alike. Most of the major companies have invested time and money into testing what is really faster. Nearly every test had the same results. Most people were a little surprised about the results.

The tests showed that the pressure that had the least amount of rolling resistance was actually around 90psi. The general rule of thumb (up to this point) was the higher the pressure, the less resistance you had. People aired their tires up to whatever the tire was rated. Tires bounced on the small bumps that pavement has when they were aired up to more than 120psi. This bouncing caused the tire to lose momentum and it took more effort to keep the tire going at the same speed. When aired up to 90psi, the tire deformed over the bumps and kept the momentum going.

This same result also showed up when using 23mm tires versus smaller, “faster” tires. The 23mm tires deformed over the bumps and the 19mm tires bounced on the bumps.

If you’re going with the experts, then roll with 90psi.  If you feel like more air is better, despite the testing, it’s still best to keep it 120psi or under.

Pre-Ride Safety Inspection

Use the 8 tips below when conducting your pre-ride safety inspection

Before each ride, perform a safety check of your bicycle. This pre-ride safety inspection should take a minute or two. Click To Tweet

This pre-ride safety inspection will help prevent avoidable accidents and keep you spinning happily!

  • Check your tires for proper inflation (marked on the side of the tire)
  • Check the tire treads for excessive wear or other damage, such as embedded glass or other objects
  • Check the brakes; spin the wheels to check for rubbing and apply the brakes to ensure they stop the bike smoothly and evenly
  • Check the brake pads for excessive wear
  • Check the cables and housing to make sure there is no fraying or splitting
  • Check the wheel quick release levers to ensure they are secure
  • Check for any loose parts or other mechanical problems
  • Do a slow-speed ride and inspect bicycle, brakes, and shifting before you leave your driveway

Following this pre-ride safety inspection guideline will go a long way to enjoying your bike rides. It’s easier to remain motivated in the offseason when your bike is in great shape. It will often help you prevent unexpected incidents or a long walk home.

Book Release: Control Your Success

Control Your Success shares the experiences of a veteran triathlete and coach

Order Stephan Schwarze's new book, Control Your Success, today!

Schwarze (far right) on his 60th birthday ride. Photo from Schwarze’s Facebook page.

With his new bookControl Your Success, Stephan Schwarze shares some of his experiences from many years of racing and coaching athletes. He presents a framework of habits and strategies performing as an athlete while being successful at work and having a family. It is a practical guide with many tips and examples for triathletes, runners, and other athletes.

Stephan grew up in Germany. After living in New Zealand and Switzerland, he moved to Austin (TX) in 1996. He is married to Illiana. They have two boys, Pablo and Philip. Stephan graduated with a Doctorate in Technical Sciences in Zurich in 1996. He has worked in leadership roles for innovative software and technology companies since then.

For more than 30 years, Stephan has been passionate about triathlons – especially about Ironman distance races. He has competed in 60 full-distance Ironman races. 12 of those were World Championship races in Kona (Hawaii). He has placed in the top 5 of his age group in more than half of his Ironman races. Stephan has placed twice as an age group athlete on the podium in Kona. He has also won two USAT National Amateur titles (sprint triathlon in 2005 and long-course duathlon in 2006). In addition to his own racing endeavors, he also has coached many multisport athletes over the past 20 years and led them to successful race results.

Stephan is giving away two signed copies of Control Your Success. Visit this post on the Jack’s Generic Tri Facebook page and comment why you want to add Stephan’s book to your library. Contest ends on Friday, October 12, 2018. Winners will be selected at random and contacted about further details.

Control Your Success is also available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon. Please visit Stephan’s coaching website to learn more about him and his coaching.

Ways to Stay Motivated

Our Favorite Ways to stay motivated after a triathlon:

austin triathlon club

Get a coach or training buddy:

Coaches and training friends help you stay accountable. They’ll ask where you were if you don’t show up. You don’t want to let them down or disappoint them with lame excuses. So find some friends to swim, bike or run with! You could also join a club like Austin Duathletes or Austin Tri Club.

Set goals with rewards for achieving them:

One example – get up every day of the week and go on a morning run. Reward yourself with a new pair of sunglasses at the end of the week when you meet the goal. New gear is motivating in itself.

Go watch or volunteer at a tri:

Nothing is more motivating than being on the sidelines. Seeing the physical capabilities and watching an athlete’s muscles work is inspiring. So next time you feel less than motivated, go watch others and cheer or volunteer. Check out volunteer positions at Kerrville Triathlon on September 29 & 30th.

Look at your old race photos:

Reliving the moment can get you back into that place of being high on life. You’ll see how good you looked and remember how good it felt to cross the line. See Your JGT photos

Dig up your old race shirts and medals:

Pull out your favorite race shirts and finisher medals. While you’re at it, go ahead and put the medal around your neck and do the victory arm raise in the mirror. Relive the moment, then lace up and go for a run! (probably leave the medal behind.)

half iron distance triathlon - Kerrville Triathlon Finisher

Enter another race:

Entering a race and putting money into it will help get your foot out the door when you don’t feel like it. You don’t want to waste that money! Plus, if you let everyone know you signed up, then you MUST keep your training going. Jack’s Generic Tri is part of the Texas Tri Series. There is 1 more awesome race in 2018, check it out.

Music:

If you don’t have time to catch up on new music or listen to your old faves, then remember a great time to do so is on a run or ride. Great music is a fun way to get yourself out the door.

Apple watch:

Why is it that closing rings and getting virtual awards is so addicting? It’s silly, but it works! If you have 27 days of your exercise goals, do you want to continue to 28 or let it die? Of course, you want to go for 28! So if you have an Apple Watch, be sure to utilize this feature.

While you’re out there – keep in mind that not everyone is physically able to do what you’re doing. Whether it be from a terminal illness, injury or physical handicap, many of these people would give anything to be in your shoes. So, stay motivated and do it for them!

16th Annual Jack’s Generic Triathlon Memorable

1,000+ people showed up to celebrate 16th annual JGT, including a 2x Olympic gold medalist

On Sunday, August 26th, nearly 700 triathletes participated in the 16th Annual Jack’s Generic Triathlon (JGT) at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in northeast Austin. Spectators came from around Central Texas to cheer on friends and loved ones. The Drunk Athlete Podcast Relay Team featuring Ricky Berens, 2x Olympic gold medalist, Andrew Willis, national champion ultra cyclist, and Cate Barrett, 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials hopeful, lived up to the hype with a scorching time of 56:11.16th annual Jack's Generic Tri featured a unicorn!

“This was fun, even better because I didn’t have to bike or run!” said Berens, who finished the 600m open water swim in a blazing seven minutes and 58 seconds. “Thanks to High Five Events for a great event and to the Drunk Athlete Podcast for assembling an awesome relay team with Andrew and Cate.”

Peter Murray took the overall victory with the time of 57:15. Second and third place overall featured a sprint to the finish. Pablo Gomez (58:27) narrowly edged out Adrian Cameron (58:28). Haley Koop (1:06:14) was the first female to cross the finish line . Second place finisher Brandi Swicegood (1:08:51) and third place finisher Brandi Ruthven (1:10:51) rounded out the women’s field. All participants cooled off from the Texas heat underneath a 6-foot tall inflatable unicorn that sprayed water.

“As always, JGT was a great race and the 16th anniversary was well-organized by High Five Events,” said Gomez. “I look forward to this race every year because of the excitement, energy, and competition. I especially loved the Sweet 16 cake!”

16th annual JGT can now legally drive

Participants received commemorative 16th annual shirts, water bottles, ROKA swim caps, beer, finisher’s medal, post-race food, Sweet 16 cake, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing, a wonderful volunteer crew, hundreds of supportive spectators, and an electric finish line festival made the 16th annual of Jack’s Generic Triathlon one to remember. Jack’s Generic Tri was created with the participant in mind and is well-known as one of the more participant-friendly triathlons.

Jack’s Generic Tri would like to thank all of the volunteers for coming out because they made yesterday’s event memorable. Their willingness to arrive extra early, lend their time and energy, and cheer on every participant truly made the 16th anniversary unforgettable. JGT would also like to thank sponsors City of Austin, Travis County EMS, Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s Department, City Limit Cycles, Medicine in Motion, Clif Bar, nuun hydration, RunLab Austin, Dynamic Sports Medicine, Oskar Blues Austin, and Ben Phillips, Real Estate Advisor for Engel and Volkers Austin. Jack’s Generic Triathlon participants can see their times here.

Jack’s Generic Triathlon Celebrates Sweet 16 this Sunday

Sweet 16 to feature super relay team consisting of an Olympic gold medalist, ultra cycling champion, Olympic Marathon Trials hopeful

The 2018 triathlon season continues with Jack’s Generic Triathlon’s Sweet 16. The event will take place this Sunday, August 26th, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in northwest Austin. More than 800 participants will participate in the 16th edition of this beloved Central Texas race, including Ricky Berens, 2x Olympic gold medalist, former University of Texas swimmer, and world record holder in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

Andrew Willis is the bike leg for JGT's Sweet 16.

Andrew Willis is the bike leg for JGT’s Sweet 16. Image credit – Joni Tooke

“I’m very excited to be competing, honestly pretty nervous!” said Berens, swim member of Drunk Athlete Relay Team. “This will be my first time ‘competing’ in five years and in a much different environment. I have swum in open water before, but never in an actual race. I’m just going to do my best to not let my teammates down and see how fast I can go!”

Berens’ Drunk Athlete teammates for JGT’s sweet 16 include: Andrew Willis, owner of Holland Racing, national champion ultra cyclist, 2018 24 hours in the Canyon champion (pedaled 448 miles at the World Ultra Cycling Association’s National Championship), and Cate Barrett, former Baylor University runner, current coach and runner for Rogue Running, 2017 Orange Leaf Half Marathon female champion (1:25:18), training for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. All athletes have been featured on the Austin-based Drunk Athlete podcast.

Sweet 16

Jack’s Generic Triathlon’s sweet 16 will begin at 7:30 a.m. The new distance for Jack’s Generic Tri, which was first held in 2003, will feature a 600m swim, 11.2-mile bike ride, and a 5K. The aquabike will consist of a 600m swim and 11.2-mile bike ride. Relay teams of two or three can complete all three disciplines. The venue move from Lake Pflugerville, just north of Austin, will mark the first venue change for Jack’s Generic Tri in five years.

Cate Barrett is the run leg for JGT's Sweet 16.

Cate Barrett is the run leg for JGT’s Sweet 16.

Participants will receive commemorative 16th Anniversary shirts, water bottles, and ROKA swim caps. They’ll also receive post-race food, beer, finisher’s medal, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing, a wonderful volunteer crew, hundreds of supportive spectators, and an electric finish line festival will ensure the 16th Anniversary of Jack’s Generic Triathlon is one to remember.

Jack’s Generic Tri was created 16 years ago with the participant in mind and is well-known as one of the more participant-friendly triathlons. Registration is still open for Jack’s Generic Triathlon. Volunteer positions are available as well. Packet pickup will take place at Mellow Johnny’s.

How to Plan for a Smooth Transition

We’re here to help you plan out a smooth transition for this triathlon with five easy steps for race morning.

1) Once you have arrived to race site (preferably early) and before entering transition, be sure to get body marked (your age and race number written on your arms and legs by volunteers). You should already have your bike number on your bike, helmet number on your helmet and wristband on your wrist. Only participants and certain volunteers can enter transition, so make sure you can carry all your gear on your own.

2) After locating your assigned bike rack and after racking your bike, be sure that your cycling shoes and running shoes are open with loose laces for easy on/off. If you want some water on the bike course make sure and have a water bottle filled on your bike.

Put your sunglasses in your helmet so that you grab them before putting on the helmet and don’t accidentally try and leave transition without either. Click To Tweet

3) As you leave transition count how many bike racks away from the entrance you are. When it is all filled with bikes it can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack. Take your goggles and your swim cap with you if you are going to walk around.

4) Familiarize yourself with the flow of the race site. Visit swim start and finish and make sure understand how to get from swim exit to transition.

5) After the swim you will enter transition at one end and leave at the other. This process is reversed for the second transition when you return from the bike. That is, the bike starts and finishes at the same side and the run goes out where the swim came in.

When in doubt, watch what others are doing or simply ask another triathlete. Most are more than willing to help answer your questions.

Must-Have Post-Race Treats

What are your go-to post-race treats when you’re done racing?

The 16th annual Jack’s Generic Tri takes place later this month (Aug. 26th). We asked the High Five Events crew about their favorite post-race treats.

Everyone has something they do/eat/drink/etc. after racing as a reward or tradition. That something could begin your recovery, ease the pain, or celebrate. If you’re strategic, your post-race treat incorporates all three! If you know the High Five Events staff, then you won’t be surprised to see a recurring theme below.

The Bob at Matt's El Rancho is one of several favorite post-race treats.

An Austin classic: The Bob. Image credit: Matt’s El Rancho.

William – a winning combination of The Bob and a couple frozen margaritas with salt

Tina – something salty, like chips and something sweet like a diet coke.

John – sleep.

Joey – a margarita – rocks with salt.

Emily – tacos, chips and salsa, guacamole, queso, margarita, mmmmmmmm.

Laura – pizza and ice cream.

Dan – queso!