Why you should use fins

Do you want to improve your kick strength, ankle flexibility, body position, and increase your speed in the water? Of course you do. Use fins during some of your swimming workouts!  With the right amount of training and overall improvement, you’ll improve your Kerrville Tri swim in Nimitz Lake.

Wearing swim fins increases the amount of resistance your muscles experience as you kick, guaranteeing you’ll put your leg muscles to full use. Stronger legs and the additional strength will carry over into normal swimming when you’re not wearing your fins.

Another benefit of using fins is improved ankle flexibility. This stems from the extra force the fins place on your ankles as you kick. Increased ankle flexibility will result in a more efficient flutter kick through better angles of attack in the water. When you are unable to fully flex your ankles into a streamlined position the ankles remain somewhat bent, catching water instead of propelling the body through it.

Do you have some other new swim equipment? This Rookie Tri blog shows you how to incorporate other swim equipment to your triathlon training.

Technique-focused workout

You’ll want to focus on a slow-motion, over-exaggerated flutter kick. During this workout, focus on slowing down the kick cycle and dramatically increase your range of motion. The over-exaggerated technique allows swimmers to more easily tune into ankle flexion and proper body alignment throughout the kick. As a bonus, this drill is also quite taxing on the legs and core – the increased workload of a large kick also makes for a great strength-building exercise.

2 Rounds

2 x 25 over-exaggerated flutter kick (with kickboard)

4 x 25 freestyle, easy

2 x 25 over-exaggerated flutter kick (no kickboard)

4 x 25 freestyle, mid-level effort

2 x 25 over-exaggerated flutter kick (with kickboard)

4 x 25 freestyle, easy

Learn about TPI and make sure your bike has the tires you need

Curious about TPI? So are a lot of other cyclists and triathletes. In short, TPI stands for Threads per Inch. Take the time to learn about TPI, how it can impact your ride, and what bike tires we recommend. This knowledge can be beneficial during your Kerrville Triathlon training!

Tires are made with threads. Lower-end tires have lower counts which tend to make them heavier and provide a harsher ride. Higher-end tires have higher thread counts which allow them to ride smoother and contour to bumps on the road better. On some tires, the threads are mixed in with Kevlar or some other type of durable fabric. This makes them more resilient to flats. It is important to note that a higher TPI tire is not more prone to flats than a lower TPI tire. No matter what the threads per inch is on your tires, there are steps you can take to prevent flat tires.

Threads per inch and the tires you need

Tires with lower threads per inch are less expensive and are more common for training use. Higher TPI tires are more expensive and tend to be used for racing or for riding roads where you are looking for a smoother ride.

For a great low TPI tire, we recommend the Vittoria Zaffiro Tire. For those of you looking for the high TPI tire consider the Vittoria Diamante, the Vittoria Open Corsa, the Vredestein Tricomp, or the Continental Grand Prix 4000.

Check with James Balentine at City Limit Cycles to see if these tires are still good options.

Follow these derailleur adjustment tips to eliminate shifting issues

Experiencing issues shifting as you begin training for Kerrville Triathlon Festival on Sept. 28-29? Try your hand at a derailleur adjustment with these simple steps.

Derailleur designers provide a simple way for you to dial in shifting. You don’t even need tools (although, it’s easiest to make and check adjustments when the bicycle is supported in a repair stand). Keep in mind, these steps are for derailleurs that are not damaged or bent. If you suspect that it is, it needs more than this simple adjustment and you should call James Balentine with City Limit Cycles.

To adjust the derailleur, look at the point where the cable enters the rear derailleur. See that round, knob-like piece? That’s a barrel adjuster. It’s used to tune the derailleur adjustment.

Standing behind the bike, the barrel adjuster is turned either counter-clockwise or clockwise in half-turn increments until the shifting hesitation is cured. Which way do you turn it? It depends on what type of hesitation you’re experiencing. The most common problem is slow-shifting into easier gears (toward the spokes) due to the cable stretching. But, it’s also possible that you’re experiencing the opposite.

This rule will help you remember which way to turn it. If the derailleur is hesitating when shifting toward the spokes (the more common problem), turn the barrel toward the spokes (counter-clockwise). If it hesitates shifting away from the spokes, turn the adjuster away (clockwise) from the spokes. Turn it only a half turn, shift multiple times to check the adjustment, and repeat as needed to eliminate all hesitation.

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
•  resists corrosion, does not rust
•  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

Registration is open for the 2019 Kerrville Triathlon Festival as of Friday, February 1st. The 9th annual Kerrville Triathlon weekend will take place September 27-29, in Kerrville, Texas. Last year, more than 1400 triathletes competed in eight different events. They included a swim course in Nimitz Lake, bike course through the Texas Hill Country, and run course along the Guadalupe River. All participants who register on Opening Day will automatically receive an additional $5 off.

“The Kerrville Triathlon continues to grow, exposing more triathletes to the Most Scenic Triathlon in Texas and the welcoming City of Kerrville,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “We look forward to another banner year while showcasing the beauty of the Texas Hill Country.”

Opening Day Best Pricing

The Opening Day Best Pricing structure for all events follows: Debra Zapata Sprint ($80), sprint aquabike ($80), sprint relay ($140), quarter ($130), quarter aquabike ($130), half ($200), half aquabike ($200), half relay ($260), kids fun run (free), Virtual Kerrville Triathlon, which can be associated with any distance ($45). After Friday, Feb. 1st, all prices will increase by $5.

Participants of the 2019 Kerrville Triathlon Festival will receive a belt buckle finisher’s medal, customized shirts, reusable custom water bottles, personalized race bibs, swim caps, a post-race meal including fajitas and tacos from H-E-B, fruit, snacks, beer 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 will showcase why the Kerrville Triathlon is one of the best triathlons in Texas.

The Debra Zapata Sprint distance, sprint relay, and kids fun run take place on Saturday, Sept. 29th. Quarter distance, quarter aquabike, half distance, half aquabike, and half relay will all happen on Sunday, Sept. 30th. Participants can pick up their packet at the Kerrville Triathlon Expo and Packet Pickup at the host hotel, Inn of the Hills. The expo and packet pickup, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Friday, Sept. 27th, and Saturday, Sept. 28th. Participants can see the pricing structure and register on the website.

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.