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Follow our advice to get better at hydrating while cycling

If you’re new to cycling, one of the challenges to get accustomed to is knowing how to drink water while peddling. Just as there is skill needed to balance, ride curves, and pump uphills, technique is needed to hydrate without losing your balance and falling off your bike. Here are some tips for hydrating while cycling.

Use a squirt-top bottle instead of a cap bottle

A water bottle with a cap requires you to twist it open, which is cumbersome to do with one hand on a bike. When it comes to squirt-top bottles, you can simply use your teeth to open the valve and start drinking with one hand as you control your bike with the other. The convenience a squirt-top bottle offers during cycling allows you to focus on the course more and avoid any accident.

Make use of the bottle cage on your bike

To carry water on the road, you can use a bottle cage on your bike. The bottle cage can be installed between the bars, on the frame, or near the saddle to help you reach your drink with zero fuss. Here are the pros and cons of each bottle cage.

Aero Bottle Cage

This type of cage is designed so that it can be attached to multiple parts of the bike frame. Most other cages can only be mounted to the frame.

Pros
– easiest to access
– option to install it either vertical or horizontal
– using horizontal bottles at the front can decrease aerodynamic drag

Cons
– poor aerodynamics compared to other cages
– using vertical bottles can cause even higher aerodynamic drag.

Bike Frame Cage

These are very common bottle holders that can be placed on the frame, seat post, or handlebars.

Pros
– slim aero bottles on the down tube are less affected by drag and side wind.

Cons
– intermediate aerodynamic drag
– large frame-mounted bottles are expensive and difficult to clean.

Rear Hydration System

This is an aerodynamic bottle that is mounted behind the seat post. These are more so used by competitive triathletes partaking in very long distances.

Pros
– best choice in terms of aerodynamics
– least affected by side wind

Cons
– requires a cage with a strong grip to prevent bottle-launching
– must be made of a favorable material to oppose side sway

Take advantage of the straight-aways

Think about when the ideal time to take a sip is and be ready to do so. Trying to pull the water bottle out on curves is much more challenging, so wait until the trail is flat and straight to get your drink.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Ride up and down your street over and over and practice. Pull your water bottle out of the cage, take a sip, then put it back while moving forward. Start off slow and pick up speed as you get more comfortable.

Pro Tip: Avoid quenching your thirst in one go

Kerrville TriathlonExerting your body through exercise causes dehydration which makes you thirsty. Despite your desire to rapidly quench your thirst it’s important to not drink too much. It can be counterproductive and negatively affect your performance. It is best to avoid drinking mouthfuls and only take a few sips occasionally. You can hydrate yourself effectively without running the risk of drinking too much.

To make sure you do not run yourself dry, you should consume around 600-900 ml of water, per hour, during a triathlon, in addition to other nutritional needs. Although triathlons will have water available in transition and on the run course, not all triathlons provide an aid station on the bike course. Make sure the water bottle(s) on your bike are full so you don’t run out of water.

Hydrating while cycling can be tricky if you’re not used to it. With a secure bottle cage and lots of practice, you’ll be able to master this skill in no time.

Look your best in your Kerrville Tri race day photos with these great tips

Swim

1. Think about your form

Looking good, heading into transition at Kerrville Tri

We have professional photographers out along the racecourse to capture your best moments throughout the triathlon. Since you know photographs are being taken, attempt to tighten up your form during the swim. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how awesome a mid-swim photo of yourself can be!

2. Be ready to Smile

As you are making your way out of the water into T1, you can count on one of our amazing photographers to be there to capture the moment. Pro tip: smile BIG! We love seeing our participants having a great time moving on to the next portion of the tri, and these are often some of the coolest photos we get from Kerrville Tri!

Bike

1. Check your positioning

Giving the camera a thumbs up and a smile on the bike

Flash a quick thumbs up to the camera when you see it along the bike portion!

Bike photos are an awesome chance to get a great close-up race picture. However, no photo is worth losing control of your bike. We know everyone has their favorite riding position to be in when in the saddle. Rather than changing the position you’re comfortable with, simply give the photographer a smile or a thumbs up when you cruise past them! You’ll be very impressed at how they turn out. Keep your eyes on the road and flash the photographer a smile when you pass them by!

Run

1.Position your bib in T2

To make sure your personalized bib can be seen in your race photos, place it in the front-center of your race tri suit or shirt.  This is also important for the automated photosystems to use this to tag your photos. This way you don’t have to sift through thousands of photos to try and find yourself, FinisherPix will do it for you!

2. Stand Tall

After the swim and bike portion, we know you’ll feel tired throughout the run course. This is when we tend to let our shoulders fall forward. But, when you see the photographers up ahead, stand up a little taller! No matter how you feel on the inside, this is a sure way to make you look effortless during the run portion.

3. Lengthen your stride

Running through the Kerrville Tri run course

Look at that stride!

Elongate the appearance of your legs by lengthening your stride for a couple of steps when you see a camera! You don’t want to do this for the entire run portion of Smokin’ Good Tri, but it won’t hurt for a couple of photos when you catch a glimpse of the camera (not to mention, you’ll love how long your legs will look in these photos)

4. Relax your face and think positive

We know, easier said than done, but start practicing now when you go out for your training runs. Make your cheeks soft and say the word “Money.” Give it a try in the mirror and see for yourself. Hopefully, you’ll already be smiling from all the fun your having during the triathlon, but when you see a photographer ahead of you relax your face and enjoy yourself! We can assure you, the pictures are bound to turn out fantastic! Giving the photographer a thumbs up, about to cross the finish line!

5. Have fun!

This is by far the most important thing to remember if you want some incredible race photos. If you’re having a good time, it’ll show in the pictures. The photographers are there to capture your accomplishments, so the most important thing to remember is to have fun! You’ll be able to look back at these photos forever, so it’s important to make the most out of your experience.

Follow these steps, and get ready to look your best in all your Kerrville Tri race day photos! Pre-order your photos now with FinisherPix to get a great discounted price!

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.

Introducing the Official Bike Mechanic for Kerrville Tri – James Balentine, owner of City Limit Cycles

Tune-up your bike and know how to change your own flat tire before race day. If you arrive in Kerrville and something occurred to your bike during transit, James and his City Limit Cycles van will be at your service during bike check-in on Friday and Saturday. James is also turning wrenches race morning (both days) should last-minute issues arise. He’ll set up shop at the southeast corner of T1 (off Guadalupe St.) Saturday and Sunday morning.

For more than two decades, James worked as a bike mechanic at bike shops, including a decade as Head Mechanic for Jack & Adam’s Bicycles in Austin. For the past 14 years, James has traveled the world volunteering as the mechanic at Triathlon World Championships for Team USA. He has also helped Olympians for Team USA Paratriathlon in Brazil and continues to volunteer for Team USA Paratriathletes.

James likes bikes. He likes to see and hear them running perfectly because he likes to see you riding them with a smile. His service experience is built around a lifetime passion for all things cycling. He’s been a pro racer, a pro mechanic, and pro-level bike geek.

Through it all, James brings a high level of professionalism and attention to detail. He has cared for all kinds of riders from recreational to pro and literally every kind of bike on the planet! Click To Tweet
City Limit Cycles is James’ mobile bicycle repair company. Now a world-class bike mechanic comes to your door so you can focus on what you love most – more saddle time. We’re lucky to have someone of his caliber at Kerrville Tri for the entire weekend. Follow City Limit Cycles on Facebook. and follow his bike cleaning advice!

You should strive for a clean drivetrain

While you’re hanging around this summer, why not try your hand at making sure you have a clean drivetrain? With these simple steps, you’ll be the grease monkey you always dreamed of being! Not only that, but keeping your drivetrain clean and lubed extends the life of your bicycle and helps maintain proper shifting performance and pedaling efficiency.

Steps:

1. When riding primarily on roads, you should clean and re-lube your chain at least once every three or four rides, depending on the conditions (rain, excessive road grit, etc.).

2. Run the chain backward through a clean cotton rag until the chain is fairly clean and dry. Lube the chain with your favorite lube, making sure that some lube gets on each link. Run chain back through the rag once more to remove excess lube. Don’t have a favorite chain lube? Check out 2 of our favorites White Lightning Clean Ride or Bike Medicine Purple Extreme.

3. Clean the cassette or freewheel. You can “floss” the cassette or freewheel with a clean rag to remove built-up gunk. If it is really dirty, you may want to scrub the cassette or freewheel cogs with an old toothbrush and some de-greaser.

4.  Wipe off your front and rear derailleur. Afterward, spray the derailleur pivots with a light, penetrating lube.

5. Wipe off your chainrings from time to time with a clean rag. If they are really dirty, you may want to scrub them with an old toothbrush and some de-greaser.

6. Clean the rear derailleur jockey wheels from time to time with a clean rag to prevent the build-up of gunk.

Tips:

If your chain is really dirty, you may need to remove it to clean it properly. However, if you regularly follow the steps above, you will not need to do this. You can buy chain cleaning kits which run the chain through a solvent bath. You can also use a wide mouth soda bottle, Gatorade bottle, or old water bottle as a chain bath. Again, following the recommendations above should keep your drivetrain clean.

You should generally replace your chain every 2000 miles. If you wait longer than that, your old chain may begin to put undue wear on your cassette or freewheel. Don’t forget to wash your bike!

Happy cleaning!

James Balentine, owner of City Limit Cycles