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Revealing the 2019 Jack’s Generic Tri Participant Bibs

Get the first look at this year’s JGT bibs designed especially with you in mind!

Get ready to get generic this August 25th and get ready to show off your personalized bib! Customizations are available until July 31st, so don’t wait any longer, and sign up today!

Jack's Generic Tri bibs revealed

First-look at the super sleek 2019 JGT participant bibs!

 

We can’t wait to meet you all on race morning at the start line! In the meantime, keep up the hard work during your JGT training!

You Need This Essential Triathlon Equipment Checklist

Pursue your love of triathlons the right way!

It’s never a good idea to wait until a couple of weeks or days leading up to your next tri to get all your necessary gear together. We’ve created a checklist of the essential triathlon equipment you’ll need to be a pro triathlete in no time.

Bike

Choose the best bike for youSimple enough, but one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need. You can’t complete a triathlon without a bike. From tri bikes and road bikes to mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, and cruisers, we’ve seen just about everything on the JGT course. Whatever kind of bike you have will be just fine for your next tri. Whether you’re currently in the market for one or are looking to improve your current ride, here are some suggestions for your perfect ride.

Pro tip: You can always rent bikes to test it out before you buy.

Helmet

Arguably the most important piece of equipment you will need for a triathlon. A safe tri is a fun tri, so it’s important to make sure you have a helmet that protects you. The fit of your helmet is crucial in the case of an accident. It is also a good idea to make sure you test them out in person to ensure a correct fit before purchasing your helmet.

Running Shoes

Running shoes are a must. It takes time to figure out what will make the run portion the most enjoyable and painless for you. Everyone is different and has different needs when it comes to a running shoe, so make sure you’re choosing the perfect pair of shoes. Hopefully, by now you already have a favorite pair or have a pair on the way, and are ready to take on the JGT run course. Pro tip: It’s a good idea to wear your running shoes to the race, to avoid forgetting them along with all your other essential tri gear.

Swim Goggles

Of course, you need goggles for the swim portion. Open water swimming tends to frighten people, so it will make you feel better to be able to see while completing the swim to see the buoys. Also, depending on the weather race day, choose goggles with the appropriate amount of tint to avoid hindering yourself during the swim portion.

 

Swim Cap

Swim caps are great for eliminating drag and increasing your speed in the water. JGT provides our participants with a bright colored swim cap specific to your age group to keep the groups together and help with the time trial swim start. Per USAT rules, swim caps are required for safety purposes to be able to identify swimmers in the water.

Pro tip: Wear two swim caps on race day with your goggles in between the two. It will prevent any sort of slipping your goggles may encounter.

Swimsuit or Tri Suit

A standard swimsuit can come in a one-piece or two-piece. You will need to come prepared with a pair of cycling shorts after you complete the swim if you opt for the swimsuit. Then there is a tri suit. A tri suit can also be in one or two pieces, but the bottoms resemble cycling shorts. The key difference here from a wetsuit is the pad included for cycling is not nearly as thick. Find what you’re most comfortable in to be ready for your next triathlon. Lastly, if you plan on doing your training in a pool, the chlorine can damage your suit. It’s always a good idea to have one you train in, and one designated for race day.

We advise shopping around before you make your purchase regarding these different pieces of essential triathlon equipment. Everyone has their preferences, so take some time to guarantee you get the equipment best for you and your body.

 

Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Clean Bike

Our guide to a clean bike will have your ride look good as new

Everybody knows that when you go for a ride, your bike is bound to get dirty. Whether it’s grease from your indoor trainer or mud and dirt from your ride on the trails, we know how hard it can be to keep your set of wheels clean with all the craziness of training season. Prolong the life of your bike by giving it the TLC it needs with our 7-step guide to a clean bike. Pro tip: download the PDF below to print out our guide to a clean bike!

Follow these steps

  1. Put a little degreaser on the chain. Not too much, a little goes a long way. Let it sit on the chain for about a minute or two.
  2. Give the chain a light scrubbing and rinse it off with the hose/sprayer.
  3. Prepare the Simple Green solution. We recommend a 3:1 ratio of water to Simple Green.
  4. Take your big brush along with the solution and wash all the major components of the bike (i.e. frame, fork, wheels, cranks, and derailleurs). Save your smaller brushes for tighter areas. To avoid missing any spots, start at the back and make your way to the front of the bike.
  5. Spray your bike down with water completely. Wash your tires while you’re at it. It will give you a chance to inspect for any damages your tires may have.
  6. Let it dry. Either air-dry outside or hand-dry it with a towel.
  7. Once completely dry, you can then lube the chain so it’s ready to go on your next ride.

Go the extra mile and wash the bar tape, saddle, and tires. These parts tend to get forgotten and they can get pretty gross if they stay dirty.

Consistency is key. Using our guide to a clean bike will ultimately improve the way your bike handles, as well as extending the life of your bike. Remember: happy bike = happy life.

By: James Balentine, owner of City Limit Cycles, an Austin, Texas-based mobile bicycle repair company that comes to you. Balentine began working with bikes in 1990 when he was 12. He began racing mountain bikes in 1991 and BMX in 1992, winning 12 national championships before turning pro in 1999. He has worked with USA Triathlon as a mechanic for Team USA since 2004. Since 2013, Balentine has worked with the US Paratriathlon team and is their sole mechanic.

Transition Details – What You Should Know for a Smooth Race Day

Knowing transition details will make for a smooth race day

The best way to ensure a successful and generic Jack’s Generic Tri is to be prepared. Here are some transition details that will help guarantee a smooth experience the morning of August 25th. Jack’s Generic Tri is located at Walter E Long Park in the beautiful city of Austin, Texas. Transition opens bright and early at 5:30 a.m. and closes at 7:00. Don’t forget to grab your goggles and head to the water before the race begins at 7:30.

Body marking

Volunteers will body mark the participant before they enter transition. Body markings are written in marker on arms and legs to identify the participant with their bib number and age.  Arms and quads get marked with the participant’s race number and the right calve gets the age of the participant.  Relays get an “R” for relay in place of age.

Triathletes should have bib information and age (age on Dec. 31st of race year) ready for the volunteer to make the process go faster for everyone.

Bib Numbers

Have bib numbers and wristband ready. Put the bike sticker on the seat post of your bike before you get to transition on race morning.  Put the helmet sticker number on the front of your helmet. You will also need to wear your wristband in order to get into transition.

Racks

Transition will have racks assigned to each age group. It is open racking within your age group. You must be body marked and wearing your athlete wristband before you enter transition. Only participants are allowed in. Friends and family (including children) must wait outside of transition.

City Limit Cycles will be available outside of transition for any last-minute needs. They’ll have bike pumps for airing up your tires. Once transition closes, you will not be allowed back in. Make sure and arrive early.

Pro tip: Remember where your bike is by keeping track of which rack your bike belongs on. This will be predetermined according to age. (?)

There will be designated racks for the participant to put their bike on. It is very beneficial to become familiar with the flow of transition. This means after the swim,  should know where they will be entering transition and where they will be heading out on the bike.  After the bike, they should know where they will exit for the run.

Relay corral

Relay team members will rack together. Team members will wait in the relay pen near the rack. Their team member will return their items to the rack and then meet the next team member in the pen to exchange the chip.

Bike check out

Bikes will not be allowed out of transition until the final cyclist has completed the bike course. It is expected that this will be around 11:00 a.m. Participants will be allowed back into transition after they finish, but bikes may not be removed from the racks.

Location

Know where transition is located by checking out this map on our website!

Bike Tune-Up Advice

Extend the life of your bike with this bike tune-up advice

When does my bicycle need a tune-up? This is a common question. The answer is not cut and dried. Every bicycle is in a state of getting out of tune due to riding, transporting, and/or storing it. All these things wear on your bike in a way that will make the ride less than perfect. This bike tune-up advice below will keep you and your bike happy!

There are a handful of cyclists with mechanical skills that allow them to work on their bikes before and after every ride. For most cyclists, that is not the case. On average, tune-ups are only scheduled once a year. Other cyclists will wait until the bike needs work beyond the standard tune-up. This can lead to more costly repairs involving component replacement.

To be blunt, anyone who truly cares about having a smooth running bicycle should learn some basic bicycle maintenance. This can include derailleur adjustments, eliminating squeaks, and wheel truing.

Bike tune-up frequency

In general, if someone is okay at derailleur adjustments and wheel truing, they can get one professional tune-up per year. This could include a new chain, tires, and handlebar tape. If you service your bike frequently, you will increase the life expectancy of your components. You will be happier and more comfortable with one bike for a longer amount of time.

There are several factors that may cause your bike to need extra attention each year. The first is numerous race wheel swap outs. The second is transporting the bike on a regular basis. The third is racing your bike. Please know that it is okay to swap wheels, travel, and race. But you should also know that there are some issues associated with each.

If you want a very smooth ride without working on the bike yourself, you should schedule tune-ups more frequently. This could be as many as three times per year if you are a high-mileage cyclist.

If you take care of your bike, it will take care of you. If you don’t take care of your bike, call James Balentine with City Limit Cycles!

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.

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.