Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

Frequently Asked Questions



Additional resources can be found on the following pages:
Q and A articles - assorted topics discussed in detail
Lingo - terminology and lingo of endurance sports
Basics - ABC's of endurance sports

Endurance World Questions Sport and Ultra Questions
What is Endurance World?
What is Electronic Ultra Mentor ("EUM")?
Who pays for the EnduranceWorld.com website and Electronic Ultra Mentor services?
Who benefits from this site?
I need to contact you. Will (and how fast) I get a response back?
Do you coach or provide one-on-one mentoring advice? Can you suggest anyone?
Do you provide race support and crewing services? Can you suggest anyone? What is Rent-a-Crew?
We lost one of our teammates for the upcoming race. Can you recommend someone for our team event? What is Rent-a-Teammate?
Do you accept advertising?
I want my website to be listed in the Links section. How can I arrange it?
Does your site use Cookies?
How do I enable/disable cookies?
I am using the Netscape browser. How can I clear my cache?
I'm using Windows 95 but cannot print pages on your site using Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 3.01/3.02/3.03 (either as a standalone browser or through AOL). In addition, pages on your site seem to be hanging. What should I do?
What is an Adobe® .pdf file and how do I view it?
I've installed Adobe Acrobat® but still cannot view ".pdf" files. What should I do?
I am using America Online and cannot view or use some of the buttons on your site. What can I do?
I am using America Online and am experiencing difficulties using some parts of your site?
Your site seems slow. Is there anything you can recommend to speed it up?
What is Ultra? What makes an event or a race ultra?
Why?!
Am I capable of ultra?
Where do I start?
Which event to race? Where can I find more information on ultra events?
Training alone or with others?
I got injured and need advice on treatment. Where can I get help?
Saddle Sores, Bleeding Nipples, and Lubrication.
Foot Care and Fixes.
Race Support, Crewing and Pacing.
How much it will cost me?
Why I feel so slow when it's humid outside?
Equipment and Gear questions
How do I decide on equipment choices?
What are the best running shoes?
What is the difference between tubular and clincher wheels? Which should I get?
Everyone riding 650c-size wheels. Should I?
Picking your bike frame material - steel, aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber?
Low gear, high gear - which is which? What is 53/12?


What is Endurance World?
Endurance World ("EW") is designed to be an Internet-based portal with information resources for endurance sports, with focus on long-distance events ("ultras"). Site is designed for actively participating athletes but is also begginner-friendly. It aims to educate anyone interested in the subject, to promote world of endurance sports, ultra distance events, to help athletes, begginners and their support crews, and "to give something back" to the sport.
 
Who is Electronic Ultra Mentor ("EUM")?
EUM is athletes who are actively train and race, and other qualified sources (coaches, doctors, crew chiefs).
 
Who pays for the EnduranceWorld.com website and Electronic Ultra Mentor services?
No one. Server space and certain other web resources are provided for free by Angelfire.com and other online services. The rest is voluntered by Endurance World staff.
 
Who benefits from the Endurance World?
Visitors to the site: athletes, general public, media, event organizers, equipment manufacturers and retailers. Begginner athletes, as well as veterans, should reap the benefits of the resources and expertise on this site, and motivation to train and to race more effectively.

Eventually, if this site may outgrow capabilities of free resources provided by Angelfire, it may relocate to a fee-based provider. Then, in order to pay for space and service, Endurance World may have to accept subject-related advertising, sponsorships, and the licensing of our web services and content to other websites. Endurance World may also facilitate the purchase of products and services.
 
I need to contact you. How fast you will respond back?
Send an e-mail message to ultramentor@angelfire.com. Do not expect a fast turnaround response time, since EUM's primary obligations are to families, work, and to the most selfish and demanding master of them all - our own training.
 
Do you coach or provide one-on-one mentoring advice? Can you suggest anyone?
Yes. We provide coaching advice, mentoring, and training partners. We specialize in personal and groups training in the New York metropolitan area but also provide global electronic coaching services by highly respected multi-sport coaches and ultra racers. Please click on TriLife link for more information.
 
Do you provide race support/crewing services? Can you suggest anyone? What is "Rent-a-Crew"?
Endurance World's "Rent-a-Crew" service can provide you with experienced and trained race support crew for a variety of events, with your choice of number of crew and their roles, with or without equipment. We also can provide training and advisory services for your own crew, and equipment needed.
 
We lost one of our teammates for the upcoming race. Can you recommend someone for our team? What is "Rent-a-Teammate"?
Yes, we can help you. Our "Rent-a-Teammate" service can provide you with an experienced and fit teammate. Obviously, race and certain other expenses will have to be covered. We can also provide you with contacts for the "interested" athletes.
 
Do you accept advertising?
Talk to us. We will consider sponsorship arrangements on case-by-case basis for any product and service as long as we evaluate and find its use positive and relevant.
 
I want my website to be listed in the Links section. How can I arrange it?
E-mail us your request. We will evaluate relevancy.
 
Does your site use Cookies?
EnduranceWorld does not use cookies.
 
How do I enable/disable Cookies?
To enable (disable) Cookies     To clear your temporary Internet files
For AOL 5.0: For AOL 5.0:
For Internet Explorer 5.0: For Internet Explorer 5.0:
 
To enable Cookies for AOL 5.0:
Choose "My AOL", choose "Preferences", choose "WWW", select the "Security" tab. In the white box at the top, you will have 4 options:
   • 1. Internet
   • 2. Local Intranet
   • 3. Trusted Sites
   • 4. Restricted

Each of these is a category that you may put sites in. If you have never changed your security settings before, choose "Internet". Otherwise, choose the category you have put EW in. Make sure the "Security level for this zone" is at "Medium" or lower. If it is set to "High", you will not be able to accept cookies. If your security level says "Custom", choose the "Custom Level" button and make sure you have selected "Enable" under the heading "Allow per-session cookies". If you have already set the security level at "Medium" or lower and still cannot get cookies, choose the "Custom Level" button and make sure you have selected "Enable" under the heading "Allow per-session cookies". Click "OK".

To clear your temporary Internet files
For AOL 5.0:

Choose "My AOL", choose "Preferences", choose "WWW". Select the "General" tab (should be chosen by default). Under the heading "Temporary Internet files", click "Delete Files..." Click "OK".

For Internet Explorer 5.0:
Choose "Tools", choose "Internet Options", select the "Security" tab. In the white box at the top, you will have 4 options:
   • 1. Internet
   • 2. Local Intranet
   • 3. Trusted Sites
   • 4. Restricted

Each of these is a category that you may put sites in. If you have never changed your security settings before, choose "Internet". Otherwise, choose the category you have put EW in. Make sure the "Security level for this zone" is at "Medium" or lower. If it is set to "High", you will not be able to accept cookies. If your security level says "Custom", choose the "Custom Level" button and make sure you have selected "Enable" under the heading "Allow per-session cookies". If you have already set the security level at "Medium" or lower and still cannot get cookies, choose the "Custom Level" button and make sure you have selected "Enable" under the heading "Allow per-session cookies". Click "OK".

For Internet Explorer 5.0:
Choose "Tools", choose "Internet Options", select the "General" tab (should be chosen by default). Under the heading "Temporary Internet files", click "Delete Files..." Click "OK".
 
I am using the Netscape browser. How can I clear my cache? top
In Netscape Ver. 3.x:
At the top of the browser go to "Options", then "Network Preferences". Select the "Cache" tab. Click on "Clear Memory Cache Now" and on "Clear Disk Cache Now". Close the browser and reopen. Try connecting to the site again.

In Netscape Ver. 4.x:
At the top of the browser go to "Edit", then "Preferences". Select "Advanced" then "Cache". Click on "Clear Memory Cache" and on "Clear Disk Cache". Close the browser and reopen. Try connecting to the site again.
 
I'm using Windows 95 but cannot print pages on your site using Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 3.01/3.02/3.03 (either as a standalone browser or through AOL). In addition, pages on your site seem to be hanging. What should I do? top
Try the following options:
1. You can turn off the graphics on your current version of Internet Explorer. The following are instructions for turning off graphics on your browser (AOL users - click the "Pref's" button on your Internet browser):

Click on the "View" option in the Internet Explorer toolbar menu, then select the bottom item, called "Options...". A tabbed preference box should now appear. The left-most tab is entitled "General", and should be selected. To make sure that this tab is selected, simply click on the word "General". The upper left-hand corner of preference box should now have a box with a check in it to the left of the words "Show Graphics". Click this box once with the left mouse pointer to remove the check. To finish, click on the button marked "OK" at the bottom right hand corner. Your graphics are now turned off, and the next time you visit EW you will be able to download and print pages.

2. You can download or order the most recent version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which does not have this printing problem. You can do this from Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 page, located at http://www.microsoft.com/ie/ie40/.

3. You can use the Netscape Navigator Internet browser. You can also download a copy of this browser from Netscape.
 
What is an Adobe ".pdf" file and how do I view it? top
Certain documents on this site (as checklists, distance logs, and other forms) may have special formatting needs and appear on our site as ".pdf" (page document formatted) files. ".pdf" files provide the highest level of document-quality formatting, and can be printed exactly as shown on a variety of printers.

In order to view ".pdf" files, you will need the plug in software program, "Adobe Acrobat Reader". You may download this program for free from Adobe's Internet site, or from links on the pages of our site which contain ".pdf" files.

Once you have downloaded a plug in, you must then install it. This usually involves exiting your Internet browser and double clicking on the file you downloaded. More detailed instructions for installation are located on the download page of Adobe's Internet site.
 
I've installed Adobe® Acrobat® but still cannot view ".pdf" files. What should I do? top
If you have installed Adobe Acrobat correctly and still are experiencing difficulties downloading ".pdf" files, there are three possible solutions. Here are instructions which should solve any problems you are experiencing. Please apply them in the order they are listed:
Your version of Adobe Acrobat should be at least version 3.x. Here are instructions to determine what version you are using: open the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your desktop, and click on the Help Menu and select "About Acrobat Reader".

You may install the current version by linking to Adobe's Internet Site.
If your version of Acrobat is current and your browser is Netscape Navigator, please apply the following steps: click on the Netscape browser's "Options" menu, then click on "Network Preferences", and finally click on the "Cache" tab of the "Network Preferences" window. Make sure the check box labeled "Allow Persistent Caching of Pages Retrieved Through SSL" is checked. In the same window, click on the "Clear Memory Cache Now" button and then on the "OK" button. Next, click on "Clear Disk Cache Now", and then the "OK" button. Click "OK" again in order to close the "Preferences" window. Exit your browser and then restart it. You should now be able to view the ".pdf" file.

If the other two solutions did not correct the problem, here are further instructions: make sure Netscape and Adobe Acrobat are both closed, click on the "Start" button, choose "Find", choose "Files or Folders". When the "Find" box comes up, make sure "Look in" has the directory listed where your Netscape is. (This will default to C, which is where Netscape installs by default. If your Netscape is in another directory, select that directory.) Under "Named", type "nppdf32.dll". Click "Find Now", one or more files called "nppdf32.dll" should appear in the box that comes up below. Select on each file (DO NOT DOUBLE CLICK) individually and hit the "Delete" key.

Once these files have been removed, Adobe Acrobat will launch as a separate application to view .pdf files, rather than within the browser window.
 
I am using America Online and cannot view or use some of the graphic elements on your site. What can I do? top
You may not always be able to view graphics on AOL. This is because the AOL browser will sometimes suppress graphics when your modem speed drops below 2,400 bps. To prevent this from happening, select "Prefs" from the AOL browser and change your Graphics configuration so that the "Don't Show Graphics at 2400 bps" box is blank.
 
I am using America Online and am experiencing difficulties using some parts of your site. top
It may be that some parts of Endurance World web site do not work with the standard America Online (AOL) web browser. AOL admited that many other web sites have issues using their standard browser. As a solution, America Online recommends downloading a new web browser directly from AOL to resolve this issue.

Download Instructions:

1. Click "Keyword" and type "Browser."
2. Click on "Continue" and follow the instructions for downloading the upgraded browser. AOL automatically detects which operating system the client is using and will download the appropriate Windows 3.1, Windows 95/NT, or Macintosh version of the new browser. According to AOL, the download takes about 14 minutes for a 28.8 modem and about 27 minutes for a 14.4 modem.
3. In order to invoke the new browser through AOL, users can click on the AOL "Globe" icon. The updated browser will look similar to the old AOL browser but has many additional enhancements.
4. If you have any questions, please contact AOL directly at:
   (888) 265-8006 - Windows Help Line
   (888) 265-8007 - Macintosh Help Line
 
Your site seems slow. Is there anything you can recommend to speed it up? top
There are several other potential causes for delays that you may wish to check. In addition to your computer's processor and modem speed, factors such as your choice of Internet Service Provider and phone connection may result in slower downloading speeds. In addition, the speed at which the pages load may vary depending on the time of day you access it. Different levels of traffic on the Internet, both at our site and on your Internet Service Provider, may affect loading speed. You may also wish to try a different service provider to see if your service improves.
 
What is Ultra? What makes an event ultra? top
Check Events and Races page for definitions.
 
Why would anyone wants to race that long? top
You may find hints in quotes on the Motivation page. Doing ultra distance is an act of decison making, secret motivation, logic and passion blended together, that cannot be easily explained. Some of ultra athletes provide single sentence replies, as "because it is there", "to prove something", "I go long since I cannot go fast". Some claim emotional and spiritial need. Some lean toward a more pragmatic angles - less competition, friendlier crowds, etc. But I suspect that for most of them it is a blend of reasons that they can not elucidate clearly and concretely. As ultra training and racing experiences accumulate, athlete may continue collecting additional reasons - each long training session or race is an adventure, each new person met is a discovery, each goal achieved is a success. Trying to extrude this wonderful and terrible world into words usually is a fruitless exercise where the meaning is lost.

There are also "jocks" - athletes for whom ultra is another race to conquer and to add to their racing resume. But most participate not strictly for the race, but to achieve a rare "naked" mental state when one can glimpse into their own soul. Most will also admit to enjoyment of observing an accelerated personal change, inevitable during and after such a brutal undertakings, when life becames re-focused, when opinions and priorities re-arrange, as some important things became trivial and some impossible tasks seem simple.
 
Am I capable of ultra? top
Your desire and mental drive will account for a larger share of success than your fitness but without training, logistics and physiological abilities you also may never get there.
 
Where do I start? top
Someone starting a training program should get medical clearance first. The advice usually given is that formulated by the American College of Sports Medicine - that anyone over the age of 35 should have a full medical examination, including an electrocardiogram recorded before, during and after maximal exercise. Persons under 35 who have risk factors for heart disease (a family history of heart disease, a history of smoking, high blood pressure or high blood fat levels) should also be tested.

As recently interested in endurance activity you should consider the following suggestions: maintain your interest and enjoyment of such activity; don't overdo it; join a club/team/informal training group, train for and participate in a local short distance and "fun" races; find training partners and built up your social support group.
 
Which event to race? Where can I find more information on ultra events? top
Check Events and Races page.
 
Training alone or with others? top
Training with a partner can motivate you, can get you out the door when you don't feel like it and can give you someone to talk to. If you do train with a partner it should be someone of a similar standard, otherwise your training will be uncomfortable for both of you. You will be dependent on each other's schedules, which may make fitting in training sessions harder. Most athletes mix solo training with training in the groups. Joining a club that caters for beginners can help with motivation and be a good source of advice and coaching. There are also some training groups aimed at particular races and many ad-hoc groups based on work, schools and neighbourhoods.
 
I got injured and need advice on treatment. Where can I get help? top
Evaluate the level of your injury and react accordingly - preferably see a specialist, or take a look at Links page to get self-evaluation and/or possible treatment solutions.
 
Saddle Sores, Bleeding Nipples, and Lubrication. top
Sounds like set up for a joke... But these are serious matters in real life racing.

Saddle sores refer to a number of skin problems around crotch and butt areas in contact with a bicycle saddle. Skin can be irritated, chaffed from rubbing, and infected, with resulting boils and ulcerations caused by skin bacteria that invade tiny surface abrasions or irritations. During the long hours in the saddle even the tiniest irritation may soon feel like a cause for surrender. Just as painful are abrasions in the crotch caused by an irritating seam or damp fabric rubbing your inner thighs. There are treatments but the best saddle sore solution is prevention. Prevention stategies include the following: check your bike fit (if your saddle is too high, your hips may be rocking and pulling soft crotch tissue across the saddle on each pedal stroke, resulting in irritated skin and a possibility of infection), change your body position often (move your butt around the saddle, and get out of the saddle frequently to take pressure off your crotch - your saddle can not irritate your crotch when they are not touching), choose good cycling shorts with a comfortable chamois (modern synthetic chamois are less apt to cause problems than the real leather inserts of the past; choose chamois without raised seams, women may do better with a specific womenís chamois sewed with a baseball pattern rather than a center seam), get a good comfortable saddle (but not the softest, as wide saddles will rub your inner thighs; certain narrow saddles may not provide enough support for your sit bones, forcing your weight to be centered on the soft tissues of your crotch), lube your skin and chamois with anti-friction and healing lubricants (to prevent friction apply some lube before each ride and periodically during the long events), keep clean (wash your "problem" areas and always use clean shorts), minimize time in the cycling shorts after the event (get out off your riding shorts, shower or clean up, and put on light, well-ventilated clothing), use a topical antibiotic called Emgel, Erythromycin 2 percent Topical Gel, or any Triple Antibiotic creams on the "problem" areas.

If you will get a saddle sore, take several days off the bike to let it heal (use antibiotic ointments to accelerate healing). But if you must stay in the saddle, try the following remedies: change your saddle and/or shorts (problem is probably isolated to one small area, a boil or abrasion, so changing to a different saddle or shorts can re-distribute the contact and pressure; athletes in ultras had been known to bring an extra saddle, already on a seatpost, in case they decide to switch to alter the pressure points), use a heavier lubricant/healing cream (try a more viscous lube, as Body Lube, Bag Balm, etc.), use moleskin (cut a piece into a small donut so that the sore can be in the center; moleskin is thin enough not to feel lumpy and some brands have a light adhesive to keep it in place), use a topical anaesthetic (careful here, as you will be numbed "down there"; you can also create more damage with such a painkiller since you will be without realistic body feedback).

Nipple rash typically refers to localised skin conditions from minor but unpleasant irritation to severe bleeding. The culprit is a fabric rubbing against nipples (that may be stimulated by the temperature changes, as your body may react to the cooling effects of a breeze on the evaporating sweat from your body and apparel). Common prevention techniques include moleskin, band-aids and anti-friction lubricants.

Lubricants are very personal choices, with some people making their own blends. Common commercial products include A&D Ointment, Bag Balm, BodyLube, BodyGlide, Blister Shield, Hydropel, Noxzema, Runner's Lube, Skin-Lube, Sport Slick, Vaseline, Un-Petroleum Jelly, Lanolin cream, petrolium jellies and others.
 
Foot Care and Fixes. top
Basic rules apply to all the sports: good fit (including larger size footwear to accomodate foot swelling), good trim-fitting socks (synthetic blends without bulky seams are the best as they are cooler and wick moisture from the skin faster then cotton or wool), test footwear at length by training prior to the event, detect and treat "hot spots" immediately (by lubricating, duct taping, or moleskin application), trim your toenails, and keep feet dry and clean.
 
Race Support, Crewing and Pacing. top
Check Race Support and Crewing page.
 
How much it will cost me? top
Not a simple answer. Are you already an active endurance athlete, with your own equipment, training and racing budget? Or are you interested in a "heroic athletic event of your life" without any previous experience?

Event fee can be anywhere from nothing (for informal running ultra "non-races") to several thousand dollars (for multi-day adventure events). Budgets for transportation to event, hotels, vehicle and boat rentals, and race gear also vary according to the participant and an event.
 
Why I feel so slow when it's humid outside? top
The reason you feel slower in humidity is because the sweat doesn't evaporate as well to provide cooling. It is simply not possible to lose as much heat through evaporation as you generate, so your body temperature rises. Result: you feel fatigued, which makes you feel weak and ready to surrender, may be forcing you to slow down, thus generating less heat, so that your body temperature can return back to normal. It doesn't matter how fast you are or how well you have heat trained, as your body uses fatigue to regulate body temperature to prevent heat stroke after convection and evaporation fail.

A bit of science now: while running, for example, everyone burns 2/3 calorie per mile per pound of body weight, regardless of pace. Without cooling, your body temperature would rise 2.6 degree F per mile. The rate of cooling depends on the rate of evaporation. Each liter of water dissipates 580 calories. For a 150 pounds person (100 cal/mile) sweating at 2 liters per hour, that provides enough cooling to run 11.6 mph, about 5:10/mile.

The maximum rate of evaporation depends on the difference between the vapor pressure of the air and the vapor pressure of water at body temperature, which is 47 mm Hg at 98.6 F.

Heat training helps you drink faster and sweat faster (always about twice as fast as you can drink). But once you start sweating faster than the sweat can evaporate, you are doing more harm than good by losing water that provides no cooling. So what can you do? Increase the rate of evaporation by increasing surface area (shave your hair, wear as little as you can or wear apparel so tight so that the evaporating moisture is in contact with your skin).

Heat and Humidity relationship: as temperatures goes up and humidity goes up, the actual temperatures climb out of sight. Since humidity slows down evaporative cooling, it actually is hotter than the numerical temperature.

% Humidity   Thermometer Temp.     Actual Temp.*
    40             80                  79
    60             80                  82
    70             80                  85
    80             80                  86
    90             80                  88
    40             90                  93
    60             90                  96
    70             90                 106
    80             90                 113
    90             90                 122
*National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Suggested preparations to adapt to the hot and humid conditions:
1. Acclimatization (may take up to 3-4 weeks) and training in the heat and humidity of the day. If you are doing an event where heat and humidity will be present, and your climate is cooler and dryer, you may want to bundle up recreating conditions within your body core like those in which you will race.
2. During the race, stay cool by slowing the pace, wet-sponging face, head, armpits, and upper body areas. A lightweight handkerchief inside a soaking wet ball cap in cold water reduces core temperatures remarkably. Reapply cold-wet water to the sponge, cap, or handkerchief.
3. Hydrate 16 to 24 fluid ounces per hour in small doses. Use no more than 240-300 carbohydrate calories per hour since carbohydrates from any source (simple or complex) require sodium to cross gastric linings. Too much carbohydrate intake will add to the lost sodium reserve during excess perspiration.
 
How do I decide on equipment choices? top
Advice by sources like EnduranceWorld (and other respectable sites), suggestions by athletes, your personal experience, comfort, price, quality, value and style should play role in the gear selection.
 
What are the best running shoes? top
No one can answer that. Only by trial and error you will be able to select brand(s) and model(s) that would be best for you and your needs.
 
What is the difference between tubular and clincher wheels? Which should I get? top
Tubular and clincher are the types of rims that use different kinds of tires / tubes combination. Tubular rims are lighter and require the tire (a sew-up with the tube inside) to be glued to the rim. Clincher rims have a "lip" onto which the tires are attached (no glue required) to the rim. Tubular tires have the tube already inside, while clincher tires use a tube and tire that can be easily separated. You should seriously consider tubulars only if you will be using such wheelset strictly for racing. If you will also train, commute or tour on them - then clinchers way to go. Technically, tubulars have an edge over clinchers: they inflate to a higher pressures (up to 150-180 psi) which results in lower rolling resistance, their tire/rim combination is lighter than clinchers which results in lowered rotational weight, they are less prone to pinch flats, and if flatted during the race they are faster/easier to change. Anectodically, riders also frequently refer to a supple, more comfortable tubular quot;ride". Practically, though, clinchers pretty much rule the cycling world. Price differential between top racing clincher and tubular can be as much as 30-50 dollars, and even a training quality tires if flatted will cost you at least 25-30 dollars to replace for tubulars vs. 4-10 dollars for a clincher tube. The art, science, and magic of gluing tubulars used to be one of the "rights of passage" for the serious riders, and it remains mysterious and messy for the masses. Long distance racers and tourers also appreciate lower weight of repairs for clinchers (inner tubes weight significantly less then tubulars, take less space, and infinitely repairable with modern glue patches).
 
Everyone riding 650c-size wheels. Should I? top
Wheel size is still primarily a matter of personal preference of your bike choice. Theoretically, 650C wheels accelerate faster, making it more suitable for courses with lots of turns and hills, where acceleration is an issue. Consequently, in flatter, straighter courses, 700C wheels may be more desirable. Aerodynamically, tunnel testing indicates that surface area directly affects aerodynamics. As the larger 700C wheel has more surface area than the smaller 650C, a 700c aero wheel is faster choice. While larger surface area helps the aerodynamics, it also may accent steering difficulties in crosswinds (especially for a lighter riders). Anecdotal evidence also points to the harshness of shorter-spoked 650C wheels. The second factor that play a role in determining the wheel size is a brand and model of your bike. Many bikes are only available in one wheel size, therefore if you have a strong preference for a such bike, the decision may be made for you. If you choice is a triathlon-specific bike (with a steeper seat angle then a road models, which makes the transition from cycling to the run easier) then most of them are only available in 650c wheels - certain Kestrels, Softrides, QR's, and Cervelo's, for example, while there are only few 700C triathlon specific models on the market - Trek, Javelin, Softride, Corima, and Lotus. Majority of bike brands are only available in 700C. So, if you are buying a new bike and you have a strong preference for a particular geometry, brand and model, and it only comes in a given wheel size, go with that bike, since there is probably not a whole lot of performance difference between the different wheel sizes.
 
Picking your bike frame material - steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon fiber? top
Steel is the most traditional frame material, enjoying the longest design and manufacturing learning curve. Tubing tend to be small in diameter, and is springy (flexing to accomodate road shock, i.e., provides excellent road compliance) but not very resonant (absorbing vibrations). Steel is easy to work on, allowing butted designs to save overall weight while allowing thicker tube ends for safe welding construction. Stiffness usually tuned by frame shape manipulations (small diameter increases, tapering and ovalizing) since thicker tubes means adding weight. Good steel provides benchmarking road feel.

Aluminum tubing tends to be over-sized, creating increased stiffness but limiting flex that would help with road shock. Material is very resonant (transmits a lot of road vibrations). In order to provide good road compliance, extensive design and manufacturing work is required (extreme butting and tube shape manipulation), which increases frame price.

Titanium is springier then steel, providing more road compliance, and a bit resonant (transmits more road vibrations than steel but less than aluminum). Ti is not a very dense material and is easy to manipulate and shape. Stiffness can be changed only by manipulating tube shapes.

Carbon Fiber also provides good road compliance on par with titanium (above aluminum and steel). It also damp vibration more than other materials, sometimes to a negative, "wooden" feel. Stiffness can be changed via frame/tubing shape/fiber orientation. Custom orientation of fibers permits a very customized tuning of frame stiffness and road comfort.

Ride quality will depend on vertical compliance and vibration damping. Vertical "give" will spare you some road shock by flexing to take the edge off. But you want to have some feedback from the road surface. Torsional rigidity (frame's ability to resist twisting) is important for sprinting and other high power output efforts where you apply power simultaneously to the handlebars and the pedals. Lateral and torsional rigidity (the more of it, the more stiff is the frame) holds the wheels aligned for good handling and helps with power transfer/delivery from the crank to the the rear wheel (by not alowing power-robbing flex) but creates a harsh ride. "Soft" frame will be more comfortable but less efficient and will not handle well. Ideally, frame will provide a good balance of the positive characteristics no matter what the frame material is.
 
Low gear, high gear - which is it? 53x12 - what is it? top
Simple, higher is harder (remember, H=H).

Cyclists often want to describe how big (or small) a gear they are riding. Usually they refer to a gear combination as a "53-15" which describes the two gears in the combo (chainwheel and rear cog). Other times you will hear someone refer to a "90 inch gear" which refers to the equivalent diameter of a single wheel (Penney-farthing) bike that would cover the same distance in one crank revolution as our modern bike does with its 700C wheels. But neither of these references really tells you much about the actual distance traveled or anything that is easily useful for calculating speed, rpm, etc. Since most bicycle track events are measured in meters or kilometers, it is useful to know how far one would travel in one crank revolution in meters in any given gear ratio. With that information, it's easy to calculate how many pedal revs are needed to cover a distance, or how many rpms must be maintained to obtain a certain lap time. Or even how fast you're going at a given rpm. Since this number will ratio from gear combo to gear combo, just knowing the distance for one ratio is sufficient to calculate all the rest. For example, a 50-14 gear is a 7.50 meter gear; i.e. one crank revolution in a 50-14 covers 7.5 meters. (In these calculations 27 inches is not used as the wheel diameter but about 2% less to take into account tire "squish" when weighted.)

I want to know how fast I need to spin to hit a 24 second lap time on a 333 meter track: (333/24) * 60 / 7.5 = 111 rpm.
How about in a 51-15 gear? old RPM * old gear / new gear = new rpm 111 * (50/14) * (15/51) = 116.6 rpm.
How fast am I traveling at 125 rpm in a 7.5M gear? (125) * 7.5 * 60 / 1000 = 56.25 kph.
 
? top
.
 



home page | basics | races and events | race records | motivation | terminology and lingo
preparation and training | equipment and gear | nutrition and hydration | race support and crewing | calculators and conversion charts | links