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How to Wrap Your Handlebars

Expand your grease monkey skills when you learn how to wrap your handlebars

The more you can learn about your bike the better. You become more knowledgeable about bikes in general while becoming more intimate with your bike and all of its nuances. Riders who ride often might re-wrap their handlebars annually. You can wrap yours as needed, for example, if it becomes worn or scuffed. Keep in mind, the longer your Jack’s Generic Tri training rides, the more sweat, hydration, nutrition, etc. get on or in the tape. Whether you want to change your handlebar tape every year or every five years, the steps below will properly guide you.

Need: handlebar tape, electrical tape, scissors

Remove old tape

Flip back both brake lever hoods and remove the old tape.

Align brake levers

Check the alignment of your brake levers. The bottom of each lever should be in line with the bottom of the handlebars. They should also be in line with the side of your bars. Make sure the cables are securely fastened to the front side of the handlebar using electrical tape.

Begin wrapping

Start with the right side. Your new tape should have come with two extra 3″ strips of tape. Wrap this around the bottom of the brake clamp from the rear end. Unpeel a bit of the adhesive backing and start by placing the end of the tape under the end of the bars. You’ll want to leave about half of the tape hanging over the edge on the first wrap. The most common direction to wrap the tape is clockwise on the right side and counter-clockwise on the left.

While wrapping

Make sure each rotation overlaps itself by about one-third. You’ll want to make sure the middle section of adhesive on the backside of the tape is always contacting the bars. Pull on the tape evenly through the process to keep the wrap tight, but be very careful not to pull too hard or the fragile tape will snap. Pull off the adhesive backing as you go. This will keep it from getting dirty until you’re ready to apply it.

Wrap around the lever

When you get to the brake lever, try to make sure the top edge of the tape overlaps a little bit of the bottom of the brake lever in order to avoid leaving a gap. Then pull the tape around the back end of the brake clamp and over the top. Now pull the tape around and continue wrapping the top section of the handlebar. Stop wrapping when you get about an inch from the stem.

Cut and tape

Holding the tape in place, cut the remaining angled section of tape away. Then secure it with a few wraps of electrical tape. Make sure to pull the tape so that it stretches nice and evenly. Overlap the end of the handlebar tape and completely seal it with the electrical tape.

Bar end plugs

Once the wrapping is done, go back to the bar end and tuck the extra tape into the handlebars using the bar plug. To wrap the left side, repeat the same procedure. Remember to start wrapping the tape counter-clockwise instead. Flip your brake lever hoods back to where they were.

What’s That Noise?! How to Fix a Squeaky Bike

Fix your squeaky bike with these quick steps

You manage to get ready, on your bike, and ready to zen out for some miles when all of a sudden you hear it – squeak… squeak… squeak… AND IT IS SUPER ANNOYING!

Many of us have been annoyed by having a squeaky bike from time to time. The question is, what is it and how do we stop it? There are a few things we can re-tighten and re-grease that make a world of a difference.

sprint triathlon - jacks generic triathlon - austin texas- stop squeaking bike

Jack’s Generic Tri 2016

First, check your pedals. They do come loose and will make a creaking noise. You should re-tighten and re-grease your pedals periodically, especially if you travel or ride in the rain. Using a bike specific pedal wrench will make it easy to get enough leverage to tighten the pedals properly.

Second, check your shoes and cleats. They may need to be lubed and tightened. Loose cleats can not only lead to annoying squeaks but can also be the cause of pain while riding. Speedplays are notorious for having noisy and “sticky” cleats and pedals when they are not lubed properly.

Third, your brakes and wheel alignment. Check both your front and back brake to make sure they are centered. Realign the brakes by pushing them with your hand. If you find your wheel leaning to one side, simply release the quick release lever and let the wheel center itself.

Forth, your chain. Rub your fingers along your bike chain. You should have a light amount of chain lube come off on your fingers. While it may have some color to it, it should not be gritty or thick. If it is, it’s time for a bath or possibly a new chain. If it is dry, be sure to get some chain specific lube on it.

Fifth, your saddle. Check the railing on your seat. If your seat is broken or the railings are loose they will move each time you pedal. If this is the source of your squeaky bike, then don’t keep riding. A loose or broken seat can be dangerous.

Last but not least, check the bolts on your crank arms and cranks. They do come loose and need re-tightening and re-lubing from time to time. If you are uncomfortable with tightening any of these, just stop in your local bike shop. The mechanics are happy to help with a quick safety/squeak check.

Bike transportation is a big culprit when it comes to stuff getting knocked loose. Take your time when loading and unloading your bike. It is also a good idea to do a pre-ride safety check each time you ride. Also, lube is your bike’s friend and it’s not a bad idea to add it to your saddle bag.

Now you can stop the squeaking and enjoy your noise-free 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.

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.

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.

Pros and Cons of Bike Frame Materials

Bike frame materials breakdown

If you’re in the market for a new bike, you might be overwhelmed with the different types of bike frame materials from which you can choose. Be prepared; know the type of bike you want and what you want it to do. When researching online or speaking with a dealer you need to be prepared with as much knowledge as possible. Comfort, weight, corrosion, and repairability are major factors to consider when searching for your next bike. Read our list of pros and cons for different bike frame materials. This will come in handy when purchasing your first bike or upgrading from your current ride!

STEEL

Pros:
•  comfortable
•  absorbs shock
•  durable
•  repairable
•  “skinny tubes” = classic looking
•  can be almost as light as titanium

Cons:
•  heavier than aluminum
•  rusts if not maintained
•  “skinny tubes” = old school

ALUMINUM

Pros:
•  can be very lightweight
•  new aluminum is more comfortable
•  does not rust, resists corrosion
•  stiff for good energy transfer

Cons:
•  the low end has a harsher ride than steel
•  not as repairable as steel

CARBON FIBER

Pros:
•  very comfortable
•  stiff for good energy transfer
•  does not rust
•  “cool factor” and aero
Cons:
•  can be expensive
•  hard to repair

TITANIUM

Pros:
•  comfortable, similar to steel
•  does not rust or corrode
•  lightweight
•  durable
Cons:
•  usually more expensive
•  difficult to repair due to the strength of the material

5 Reasons to Build Your Relay Team

Remember: there’s no “I” in relay team

Triathlon is that much more fun when you divide and conquer! Recruit friends, family, or co-workers and create your relay team for Jack’s Generic Triathlon. The 16th annual JGT will take place on Sunday, August 26th, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. Relay teams can consist of two or three individuals. If your team has two members, one person will take two legs and the second person will take the third leg. This can be accomplished in any combination. Check out the top five reasons to build a relay team at this year’s Jack’s Generic Triathlon.

Build your Jack's Generic Tri relay team.

Finish the swim and cheer on the other two legs of your relay team!

Try something new

Maybe you know about triathlon, maybe you’re unfamiliar. Perhaps you’ve cheered and supported friends at their triathlons, but you’ve never participated in one. Creating a relay team is the best way to get introduced to the sport! Attempting something new can be a little overwhelming at times. Building a team of two or three will help take some of the pressure off. Train with your team, experience the highs and the lows, and get a taste of your new sport.

Have three times the fun

Of course you can always double your pleasure. But why do that when you can triple the fun?! That’s right, get two friends or co-workers and create your relay team. Next, come up with a sweet team name. While you’re training, you can have team tops made and begin planning what you’ll wear on race day. Will it be matching outfits or a hilarious swim-bike-run-friendly costume? So many choices!

Build your Jack's Generic Tri relay team.

Hop on your bike with fresh legs!

You’re injured

Injuries happen. We all know that. But what may prevent you from running might not stop you from cycling or swimming. As long as you feel comfortable and aren’t in pain when training, creating a relay team for JGT is a fantastic way to stay active while continuing to strengthen your muscles. You never know, cross-training might just help speed up your recovery!

Experience something memorable

Get the old high school/college crew together. Build a family relay team that spans three generations. Create an all-sibling team. Represent your employer and become the talk of the office. Raise some serious dough for your favorite nonprofit. Whatever direction you go, make this something you won’t soon forget. Participate with loved ones and/or fundraise for an organization that’s close to your heart and your JGT experience will be stored in your long-term memory bank.

You have a need for speed

Build your Jack's Generic Tri relay team.

Run your heart out while your relay team members cheer you on!

You’re like Ricky Bobby: you just want to go fast. Triathlon is a trying sport, pushing your body’s limits. Training coupled with proper hydration and nutrition help keep your body going. But by the time the run starts your energy levels are decreasing, slowing you down. Try pushing the limits in another way, create a super team. Find someone who swims like a fish in the water. Add a member who gets speeding tickets on their bike for going too fast. Pick a runner whose feet seem to never touch the ground because of their speed. Assemble this super team and show up on race day ready to set land records (just watch out for the speed traps)!

Whatever your reasoning, there are two things left to do: build your team and register!

Integrating a Brick into Your Triathlon Training

Make sure a brick is in your triathlon training plans

Integrating a brick workout into your training prepares you for racing by combining two aspects of triathlon into a single, continuous workout. The two most common examples are a swim to bike and a bike to run.

The term brick has a few meanings.

1) It is foundational to triathlon training just like a brick is foundational to a structure.

2) Another is that after a bike/run workout your legs feel as heavy as bricks.

jacks generic triathlon brick workout Setting Up for a Brick Workout

There are several ways to integrate a brick workout into your plan, however, set up is always key. The reason for this is to minimize transition time between disciplines in the same manner as a race. At T3Multisports, we utilize a transition bike rack that allows athletes to set their transition area up in the same fashion as they would on race day.

We build a transition rack similar to what you see at races. We place this near our open water swim practice area or in a side parking lot near a pool. The athletes swim the prescribed distance in their race suit. They then run to the transition area (complete with bike mount line) and transition onto the bike.

The duration and intensity of both the swim and bike will depend on where you are in your training or what you are targeting as an area of improvement. If you don’t have the luxury of a rack, setting your bike up poolside (check with the lifeguards first) or securing it a public bike rack might be an option. Brick training along with the transition practice will help you transition to the next level!

By: Andrew Sidwell


Andrew Sidwell is the Adult and High-Performance Coach at T3Multisports. T3Multisport is Round Rock’s premier year-round, group triathlon training program for adults. It doesn’t matter if you are new to the sport or an experienced veteran; we will help you achieve your goals and Transition You to the Next Level.


If you would like to be a guest blogger please contact us at info@jacksgenerictri.com.