Truing your wheels at home could save you money and get you back on the road

If you have some free time you should practice a new skill – truing a wheel!  
Before diving into the details, understand what ‘truing’ means. Often times, hitting potholes, curbs, and foreign objects can adjust your wheel, making it different than before. Truing a wheel means to shape it or adjust it exactly as it was before.

What you need:

wheel, spoke wrench, and truing stand( or your bicycle frame)

Truing a severely bent or out-of-true wheel can be more of a task or cause more problems than you are willing to deal with. However, for those small wobbles in your wheel, here are some easy tips to get you back on the road without running your brakes unsafely open.

The wheel consists of:

Truing your wheels when needed allows you to spend more time riding.
Truing your wheels when needed allows you to spend more time riding.

– hub: center of the wheel
– rim: outside of the wheel that the tire is put on
– spokes: connects the hub to the rim
– nipples: small metal pieces holding individual spokes in the rim (the nipple is the part that is tightened or loosened to adjust tension between the hub and rim)

Directions:

  1. find the place where the rim is rubbing the brake pad
  2. locate the spoke nipple that is opposite the side that is rubbing
  3. tighten that spoke nipple with a spoke wrench (Remember to only turn the spoke nipple a quarter turn at a time. To tighten a spoke, turn the nipple clockwise. To loosen the spoke, turn the nipple counter-clockwise.)
  4. always start at the worst spot and work your way from to the least out-of-true spot
  5. keep going until the wheel no longer rubs the brakes

When you’re done, clean your bike with these tips to get it ready for your next ride. Remember: truing a wheel requires tension in the spokes to be perfectly balanced. This generally takes a bit of patience and practice. If needed, call James Balentine at City Limit Cycles. He’ll visit you at home or at work and take great care of your bike.

Don’t let rust begin forming on your bike

We all know that nothing creates more of an eyesore on a bicycle than rust. The most common parts that rust are the bolts in the cockpit of the bicycle and the chain. The reason it shows up so readily on chains is that they are entirely steel (for the most part). Their low position on the bicycle exposes them to a lot of water and contaminants from the surface of the road. Cockpit bolts (securing the parts of your bike you touch while riding) can rust because of your sweat and hydration and their position under the body of the rider. While a rusted chain poses virtually no safety concern, it does make for poor shifting performance. It can also have a negative effect on the condition of your cassette. Rusty chains should be replaced at the earliest convenience. Bolts on the bar, stem, and top cap, on the other hand, can actually cause a safety risk. If any of these rusty bolts were to sheer due to weakening, it could result in a crash. Furthermore, rusty bolts up front can make for very difficult maintenance if they get stuck. This can cause you to need new components prematurely.

Measure to prevent rust

The best way to prevent rust is simply to give your bicycle a quick wash and wipe down after every ride. That can be a long training ride through the Texas Hill Country and/or your sprint/quarter/half at Kerrville Triathlon. Make sure to get any sweat, Gatorade, and Gu off your bike. Also, storing your bicycle in a dry place, preferably indoors, can go a long way toward keeping your bike rust-free. Finally, don’t forget to schedule an appointment with your favorite bike mechanic, James Balentine of City Limit Cycles, for regular service. He will inspect for rust and other problems, saving you headaches down the road!

Implement these group riding guidelines on your next ride

Group riding provides cyclists with enjoyment, exercise, training, support from other cyclists, and safety. Whether you’re riding to lunch with co-workers or completing a 50-mile Kerrville Triathlon Festival training ride with your crew, the following group riding guidelines will come in handy. Knowing these basic group riding guidelines will also make the ride more enjoyable and safer for everyone involved.

* Complete a quick, pre-ride safety check.

* Obey all traffic laws.

* Operate bike in such a manner as to not offend or endanger motorists, pedestrians, etc.

* Wear a helmet for safety (and be a good model for children).

* Activate all lights on bikes.

* Wear reflective gear that makes the group more visible, even in the daytime.

* Ride single file except in areas where it is safe to ride side-by-side.

* When riding in a pack, look at “shoulder level” of cyclists in front of you. This allows you to see what is happening further up the road and not focus on the cyclists in front of you. Fixing your gaze on the back tire of the person in front of you doesn’t give you enough time to react should the entire group slow down.

* It is the responsibility of the lead rider to notify the cyclist behind them of approaching issues by saying, “jogger up, cyclist up.” This includes any potential danger that may lie ahead. It is the responsibility of each cyclist to pass the caution back to the person behind them.

Important hand signals

* Hand signals, instead of words, are used to warn riders of potential danger on the roadway. In a pack, oftentimes, the only cyclist who has enough visual warning is the front cyclist. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the lead rider to warn the cyclists behind them. If the lead cyclist (or the cyclist in front of you):

  • shakes their hand to the right = there’s a pothole, branch, or some obstacle to the right
  • shakes their hand to the left = there’s an obstacle to the left
  • puts hand behind their posterior = follow right behind them as there might be obstacles on both sides
  • puts right hand down with the flat of the hand facing you = lead cyclist is slowing down or coming to a stop

* Avoid slowing down abruptly or making any other sudden moves.

*Ask experienced riders questions when you’re not sure what is occurring.

Extend the life of your wetsuit with these wetsuit maintenance recommendations

Wetsuits may help you swim like a shark, but they are actually one of the more delicate pieces of triathlon equipment. Even the most careful wetsuit owner may be shocked to find tiny nicks or tears in the neoprene that occurred during a frenzied transition. Never fear! In many cases, wetsuits can be repaired quickly and easily. Utilize the wetsuit maintenance recommendations below.

Wetsuit Glue

Wetsuit glue allows you to make minor repairs to the suit. Spread the glue on small cuts and tears that do not go all the way through the suit. Pick up the flap of the cut and put the glue inside of the hole the cut has created. Allow suit to dry for 24 hours. If cut or tear is not drying properly, place a small piece of scotch tape over the cut. Do this after the glue has been applied to allow it to dry in place.

Iron-on seam tape

Iron-on seam tape is created specifically for suits to flawlessly match the seams. Set your iron on low heat so that the wetsuit does not burn. Turn the wetsuit inside out. Cut the tape to match the size of the tear or seam separation. Place the tape glue side down on the seam or tear. Slowly apply heat with the iron until the iron-on is firmly in place. After repairing the inside of the suit, turn it right side out. Apply the glue now like in the wetsuit glue instructions above.

Wetsuit care

Taking care of small cuts as they happen will prevent them from becoming unrepairable tears that will retire your suit. There are a few wetsuit maintenance recommendations that will lessen the need for frequent repairs. Grip your wetsuit with the pads of your fingers (as though you were grabbing pizza dough). Avoid using your nails, even when they are short. This will prevent small nicks that develop over time. Also, keep your wetsuit away from hot environments like a car in the summertime so the neoprene will not melt or warp.

Know the signs of chain wear and how you can check at home

Most people do not replace their chain often enough. This leads to the gears not shifting correctly and excessive wear on your chainrings and cassette. Chain wear is affected by a few things: riding conditions, riding style (masher vs spinner), and shifting technique.

Know the signs of chain wear and how you can check your bike at home.When the conditions are wet the chain is going to wear out faster due to the dirt that gets in the rollers of the chain. Wet weather also tends to wash the lube off of the chain much faster. Cleaning your drivetrain can extend the life of your chain. If you ride at a low cadence you will wear the chain out faster than someone who rides at a higher cadence. The last major thing that affects wear is shifting technique. If you tend to cross chain a lot (riding in the big ring, big cassette cog or small ring, small cassette cog) then you will put more wear on the chain and chainrings.

The easiest way to check for chain wear at home is to measure 12 links of your chain. A new chain measures 12 inches per 12 links. Anything over 12 1/16 inches is too long. This bike tool measures it quickly and costs less than $10. A ruler also works just fine. You should expect to get anywhere from 1500 to 2500 miles out of a 10-speed chain and about 2500 out of a 9-speed chain. You can help your chain last much longer if you take good care of it, keep it clean, shift correctly, and ride at a higher cadence.

Check out our other blog post to see when other parts need replacing.

Focus on the run now, reap the benefits later

The offseason is upon us. Before you focus on the run, take a few weeks to mentally and physically repair your engine. Kayaking on Town Lake, spending time with the family (who were neglected during a long triathlon season), and reading a book will allow you to recharge for the upcoming year.

Once you have had enough of family time and sitting around, it’s time to be smart and begin base training. The goal is to NOT become a “National Champion” by January. It is hard in Texas, with our beautiful winters, but some self-control will bring you to the end of the 2019 Texas Tri Series injury-free. With no tri burnout. Begin your training by laying out a goal race schedule for 2019 so you know your “plan.” It’s easier to not get lost when you have a map to guide you. Make sure to note the key races (1-2 per season) and add in a few specific training blocks around those events. From here you can begin to lay the running foundation that will help you achieve your goals!

The Running Foundation (using these 3 building blocks will guide you to a faster run split in 2019)

1) Train to your weakness, race to your strength

Recommended: Mark Verstegen’s Core Performance

Offseason is the time to evaluate any nagging pains or issues that came up during the season.  Getting back into the gym to build up your functional strength – not to build up a nice 6-pack.  The goal is to strengthen issues like a weak hamstring or stabilize a weaker core. A great book is Mark Verstegen’s Core Performance, which can help you plan out ways to gain flexibility and develop postural balance/strength. These things can give you an edge on the run. Develop a stretching routine and set a recovery protocol for workouts (smoothie, stretching, ice, massage). Commit to caring for your body so you can race faster!

2) Drill work and strides = ability to get going FAST

Yes, run drills are crucial to the run and developing the leg turnover needed to gain speed. Look at elite runners, their cadence is 90+. Commit to 1-2 days of drill work along with 6-8×100 meter strides to aid in the cadence adaptation. Run drills will also help build up leg tolerance through the jumps, skips, and bounding. This means fewer chances of injuries. (visit www.bobbymcgee.com for a great booklet on running drills)

Examples of run drills include:

         – skipping (various speeds, heights, movements)

         – one leg drill

         – karaoke

         – bounding

         – Russian soldier

         – butt kicks

         – leg swings

         – high knees

3) Sign up for a race

When focusing on the run, set a goal race, lke the

Add a goal race, like the Austin Marathon 5K, when focusing on the run during the offseason.

Instead of going for your typical track session during the week, move things around and sign up for a 5K or a 10K.  Two great options are the Austin Marathon 5K on Feb. 17th and the Cap10K on April 7th. Utilize this opportunity. This will hold you accountable to getting the quality work in and teach you to run fast. It opens your eyes to how to run and challenges you to develop your running quickly. The key is to be smart and not over race. Your friends won’t remember what you did in February! Another great opportunity is to attack the Greenbelt. Move to the softer surfaces at least once or twice a week if possible. Give your legs a break from the pavement, especially on recovery days.

Use these 3 tips to gain an edge during the run and enhance your running this offseason. Enjoy this winter’s journey!

Make post-race bike maintenance an integral part of your training plan

Most triathletes put a great deal of thought into everything leading up to a big race (equipment, training, nutrition, etc.) However, many do not know what bike maintenance should be completed after a race. With Kerrville Tri less than a month ago, you might want to make sure you haven’t neglected your bike’s care. Utilize this post-race bike maintenance advice.

In most cases, there are only a couple of things that need to be done. If they are completed as soon as you return home after the race it will keep your bike running smoothly.

  • wash your bike and make sure you get all of the gel and drink residue off the bike (if these gels and liquids sit on your bike they will cause rust and can affect the finish of your bike – if they are acidic enough)
  • follow these bike washing tips
  • lube your chain after you’ve washed your bike
  • switch back to your training wheels if you have race wheels on your bike

Once this is done, you are ready to start riding again without any mechanical issues. If you discover something abnormal or out-of-place, schedule an appointment with James Balentine of City Limit Cycles!

Don’t allow this year’s training to disappear during the offseason

Offseason to a lot of triathletes means taking time off from October to March to help re-energize for the following season. Others focus on different sports to get out of the winter elements. The rest just simply take time off.  How can you train during the offseason and keep triathlon fun on a year-round basis?

The goal should be purposeful training — focus on a few key elements with your training.  A great place to start is working on your physiology and the changes you can make over the winter months.

During #triathlon offseason, two key components to altering your physiology include increasing power-to-weight ratio and improving your cardiovascular network. Click To Tweet

Some athletes start the tri season in February in good cardio shape, but have added some extra holiday weight. Some have gone to a few too many holiday parties. They’ve ignored the fact that they are going to rev things up next season and start from square one. It is best when your body weight doesn’t fluctuate up and down. Keeping it constant is best for your cardiovascular system.

Running

Continuing to run can help maintain body weight during the offseason.

Add a half marathon to your winter calendar and continue training in the offseason.

The best way to keep the weight off is to run, but not like Forest Gump! Have a plan to continue running by entering a half marathon in the early part of next year. There are two great events coming up: 3M Half Marathon and the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon. The key to improving your physiology and keeping the weight off is to work on your stride rate. This means faster, possibly shorter strides during your long runs to improve the cardiovascular development in your legs. Try to pick up the stride rate without increasing your pace per mile or effort. A faster stride rate will help you develop capillaries deeper in the muscle. This will help fuel the legs better and flush lactic acid quicker. A good 3-6 weeks of this technique will help you keep the weight off until its time to work on the strength building phase of your training plan. Maximizing your power-to-weight ratio will allow you to find greater efficiencies across all three sports in triathlon.

Swimming

In addition to working on a faster stride rate in running, there are other ways to increase the cardiovascular network using the other sports.  In swimming, you can incorporate longer, aerobic sets with shorter rest intervals. A good example would be 4-6 x 800s as a workout. Of course, you may say “how boring can that be?” So working on your technique during these sets is a must. Try taking a technique clinic to make sure you learn the proper forms of efficiency swimming.  Long sets with bad technique can set you back rather than move you forward.

Cycling

Cycling in the offseason can improve your cardiovascular system.

Cycling in the offseason can improve your cardiovascular system.

With regards to your cycling, keeping a heavy emphasis on high cadence work will also aid in increasing your cardiovascular network. This may keep you in smaller gears than you are used to and maintaining your cadence at 90+ rpms for 70% of the ride time. If you don’t have a cadence meter, a good substitute is to count one leg for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to get your rpms. During the winter months, we find ourselves riding indoors and on a trainer more often. Focusing on high cadence in these indoor sessions will give more purpose to your training. Spin classes are a good place to work on this. However, using your own bike with a trainer is best as you keep your body position constant to how you will be riding on the road.

Setting goals and having a purpose for your offseason training will help you stay motivated and focused during the winter training.  Best of all, these few tips will help you have a much more successful racing season in 2019.

In case you need it, Terra Balentine brings extra energy and enthusiasm when she volunteers

Terra Balentine is an amazing volunteer!

Terra takes volunteering to the next level!

The latest winner of the High Five Events‘ Volunteer “Nomination Contest” is Terra Balentine. Her contagious energy positively affects everyone! Terra was nominated by her fellow volunteer Nancy Edmonds. Edmonds describes Terra as a “very giving person.” Nancy, along with many others, recognizes Terra’s dedication. At the young age of 12, Terra has no problem getting up before the sun rises and traveling to races with her dad (James Balentine with City Limit Cycles). From volunteers check-in to transition and break down, Terra is always willing to help. She volunteered at every Texas Tri Series event during 2018 and has never missed a Rookie Tri in her life!

We had the chance to ask some questions to Terra so we did. Terra told us that she enjoys volunteering because she likes being at the races where she can interact with athletes and watch them succeed. The Kerrville Triathlon Festival is one of her favorite events to volunteer for because it lasts several days and takes place in the Texas Hill Country. Additionally, Terra made her debut as Buck, the Kerrville Tri mascot this year, which is one of her favorite memories while volunteering.
Terra also shared some tips for other volunteers. Her tips: drink plenty of water, reapplying sunscreen, and wear comfortable shoes. However, the most important thing for her is to HAVE FUN!

The High Five Events’ “Nomination Contest” features volunteers who go above and beyond at one of our events. These phenomenal volunteers help us produce successful, safe, and fun events for athletes, volunteers, and staff. Know an outstanding volunteer? Fill out this short form and nominate them today!

Participants crossed the Kerrville Triathlon Festival’s finish line, then celebrated at the finish line festival

More than 1000 participants flocked to Kerrville, Texas, to participate in the 8th Annual Kerrville Triathlon Festival. The most scenic triathlon in Texas featured two days of action, plus a two-day expo. Participants gave their all on a course highlighted by swimming in Nimitz Lake, cycling through the Texas Hill Country, and running along the Guadalupe River. After their accomplishments, participants were treated to fajitas, cold beer, snacks, and an opportunity to recover in the refreshing waters of the Guadalupe River.

“I really enjoyed coming back to Kerrville for this race weekend,” said Tony Aventa, who completed the Debra Zapata Sprint on Saturday. “This year was particularly fun with the run through the park. Great job to High Five Events for coordinating such a smooth race!”

From spectating to the Kids Fun Run, Kerrville Tri is perfect for the whole family

The family-friendly Kerrville Triathlon Festival took place from Friday, September 28, to Sunday, September 30. It featured eight different events, including sprint, quarter, half, aquabike, relays, and a kids fun run. The Debra Zapata Sprint distance, sprint relay, and kids fun run took place on Saturday. All other events, including the quarter and the half, took place on Sunday. Before the action began, participants, volunteers, and friends and family went to the ROKA Happy Hour. The happy hour and the expo and packet pick up were held at Inn of the Hills, the host hotel.

“Kerrville Triathlon Festival is one of my favorite races of the season,” said Karen Moser, who completed the Debra Zapata Sprint on Saturday. “The courses are amazing, the support is top-notch, and I love the family atmosphere, especially when my daughters cross the finish line with me!”

Peter Murray (1:03:16), of McGregor, Texas, won Saturday’s sprint event. Andrea Fisher (1:10:14), of Austin, Texas, won the female division. Sunday’s winners and their times follow: quarter – female winner, Haley Koop (2:23:17), male winner, Mark Saroni (2:02:52); half – female winner, Rebecca Marrou (4:54:31), male winner, Todd Gerlach (4:45:09). Results for Saturday and Sunday are available.

Kerrville Tri – the most scenic triathlon in Texas

“The Kerrville Triathlon was such a great and memorable experience for my first successful 70.3,” said Ron Ledesma. “The High Five Events’ staff and volunteers were a huge part of making it so memorable for both triathletes and spectators. The race was very well organized from the expo to the festival area, including availability of support, aid, and facilities.’

Athletes received custom-designed shirts and water bottles, ROKA swim caps, beer, belt buckle finisher’s medal, a post-race meal including fajitas tacos from H-E-B, fruit, snacks, and an opportunity to float in the Guadalupe River. Professional timing and photography, a great volunteer crew, hundreds of supportive spectators, and an electric finish line festival demonstrated why the Kerrville Triathlon is one of the best triathlons in Texas. Photos can be found on the Kerrville Triathlon Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds in addition to the website.

The Kerrville Triathlon would like to thank sponsors H-E-B, ROKA, Clif Bar, City Limit Cycles, the City of Kerrville, Kerrville Fire Department, Kerrville Police Department, Kerr County Sheriff’s Department, Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Peterson Health, Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg, Ben Phillips, Real Estate Advisor for Engel and Volkers Austin, SPIbelt, Peak Fitness, MO-RANCH, Hill Country Bicycle Works, Grape Juice, RunLab Austin, and Gatorade.