Thursday, December 11, 2008

GamJams Review: Trainers and Rollers - Trek branded Cyclops Fluid 2

A few years back, my wife gave me a trainer for Christmas. It was the Trek branded Cyclops Fluid2 trainer. She definitely did her research on this model before she bought it. She wanted one that was quiet (so I won't wake up the house at 6am or 10pm during the cold winter), smooth, low maintenance (just like me) and reliable. Needless to say, on initial use, those features were right on.
I banished my truck from the garage and parked it permanently in the driveway. I setup the garage as my indoor training room with a DVD player, TV, stereo, fan and trainer. As a newbie cyclist I put endless hours on it over the course of the winter and on wet spring days.
Besides using it for warmup on race days during the warm months, the trainer collected dust in the garage waiting for sub 32 degree winter days.
The following winter, the trainer developed the loudest screech and a metal-on-metal sound. The sound became so annoying that the sounds of Metallica or Coach Troy couldn't drown out the noise.
I took it back to the LBS and they got it back to Cyclops for a replacement under warranty. It was about a 10 day process - props to Cyclops.
They installed a new "head" on the trainer. The older version had a screw type tension and the new model has a lift-type mechanism that releases the tension with one movement. It's a better design and is quieter than the original unit before it started to act up.
It's been 2 years since it's been replaced and have no issues with it (besides lack of use - thank you mild 757 climate).

A few accessories are worth mentioning. My wife also got me the 'bike bra' so my salt won't corrode the bike. It works for what it's intended for but I usually just keep a towel draped on the bars and wipe down both bike and body. Spend your money on a new DVD like "Bending Crank Arms" and use some home towels.
The bike block/riser is worth the $20. I've used phone books and 2x4 blocks but the bike block gives me the secure feeling when I hammering out the last of the intervals.
The cycling pad - the expensive piece of rubber that you lay down the floor and put your trainer on it. It's handy if you have hardwood floors and reduces vibrations but there are cheaper alternatives. Yoga mats are 1/2 the cost and serve the same purpose. Make sure get your own and not your wife's yoga mat since she might discover salt stains and lube residue during her "hot yoga" class. If you have a garage setup, go to Sam's or Priceclub and buy a set up rubber floor mats. It'll cover an area where you can setup both your trainer and home shop. It only took me one time to drop a Thomson stem on the hard driveway to go out and invest $30 on those rubber mats in my wrenching area. Savings tip: Look for the ones that they use in "Children" rooms. They're cheaper than the industrial use mats and they come in colorful colors (but black on the other side).

If you're in the market for a trainer, I recommend the Cyclops Fluid2. It's quiet and smooth. Besides the issue I had on the first unit, I've had no problems with it since.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gatewood Ridin'

Got a chance to ride with the All About Bikes Chesapeake shop crew on their weekly Sunday morning moutain bike ride. The destination this week was Gatewood in Newport News. I met the crew of Jeff, Larry, Alex, Dennis (Alex's dad), Todd and Keisha about 9am at the trailhead and headed out soon after.
Gatewood doesn't offer the technical sections or climbs of YRSP, New Quarter, Freedom or other Williamsburg trail but it's closer to home and it offers some nice flowing tight switchbacks, logs and some small climbs to improve my sucky off-road bike handling skills. The presence of roots will make sure you pick a good line. This trail begs to be ridden on a single speed, which Alex had.
After a bit of riding, the gang headed to the 'gravity cavity'. A 6' drop with a jump on the other end. After 'hitting it' once, I watched as the rest of the crew catch some air. After some tips from Jeff, I was able to get both 29'er wheels off the ground - a feat for this roadie. We then took a quick pace on the trails back to the cars.
If you get the chance and don't feel like driving the extra 20 minutes to the James City trails, give Gatewood a shot. It's next to the Mariner's Museum and by Christopher Newport University. I know that when I race Casey Crit this coming Spring, I'll have the Niner with me to hit Gatewood after the races.
Thanks to the AAB shop for showing me another off-road trail to ride.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Trashmore State CX Championships

Six inches of mud on downhills, long grinds on a soggy uphill climb, mud in you eyes and agonizing slick run-ups. Gotta love this year's Trashmore's State Cross race. Epic.

What's not to smile about?

A few shots courtesy of BJ. See the rest of her photos here.

Last two pics courtesy of Jeni.

The unofficial post-ride bike wash area. Photo courtesy of McSilly.

Thanks to Tripower for putting up an excellent race this year and to Carol and Lynn for the bottle hand-ups. Thanks to my Crank Bros pedals for always clearing mud for my cleats to engage.
A very special thanks to my wife for getting the "Gumby suit" spotless after a few washes.