Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bike Review 2008 Guru Praemio

(Post Sub Title: Jack Be Nimble)

So when I walked into Jack and Adam's the other day and said, "Hey Jack you got a bike I can ride?" I had no idea what I was in store for next. All I did know was Jack was smiling from ear to ear as he led me over to one of the coolest bikes I've ever laid eyes on.

"Wanna ride my new bike," he asked?

Needless to say after words like, "Wow!" and, "Jeez that is one sweet bike!" escaped from my lips, all that was left to say was, "YEAH!"

So the bike Jack pulled off the floor, his own personal ride, was the new Guru Praemio. Needless to say I was impressed. The lines of this bike were simple, yet compelling. White paint and the polished silver of titanium were complemented with white handle bar tape and white sidewall tires. This bike folks, was a thing of utter beauty. I couldn't wait to ride this bike but there was just one condition prior to my test. Because this was Jack's own bike, I would need some special equipment prior to taking his bike for a ride. Mind you this is Austin and on the day I was riding it was 85 degrees outside. But if this one small concession was all it took for a ride on this machine, I was willing to make the sacrifice.

But with all the aesthetic attention to detail, only one question remained. How would this beauty ride? Again I put the bike through my standard tests. There was climbing, turning, acceleration, descent, and plain old tooling around looking very, very cool.

The most noticeable thing I have to report about the Praemio is how quick and responsive this bike felt. It was almost as though my nervous system was hardwired into the frame itself. This bike seemed almost to anticipate my movements and put me where I wanted to go before I could even think about it. Amazing. I could slice through turns, leaning in deeply with confidence and bring the bike back upright without a second thought. On climbs it was as though the pedals danced underneath my feet as opposed to my mashing on them.

I think this bike is for someone who wants and likes to ride aggressively. The Praemio let me do that without question or thought. Because of the responsiveness, I think the Praemio will bring out the more aggressive side of any rider who chooses this bike for their training or racing. The bike is really light without the obvious extra steps that some manufacturers can take to make their bikes invisible to scales. The ride is solid and comfortable, though it wasn't the quietest or the most comfortable titanium I have been on. There was a bike more of the frame noise than I like that can be present when riding either aluminum or titanium, especially on bumpy roads. I can say this bike is a marked improvement over the Guru Tri Ti I tested last year in terms of temperment and agility. It also seems lighter.

The Praemio has four options for pricing(based on components) and two titanium gauges, straight and double butted. Double butted is more expensive. You can find detailed information and the specs here. Like all Guru's after you choose the basic options, you are free to customize the ride with everything from level of stiffness and paint to the extent your wallet will allow.

All I know is now that Jack has one of these and he's motivated to ride, you'd best be nimble, and you'd best be quick, otherwise Jack'll be beating you in next spring's crit.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fueling By The Numbers

This is day 47 of eating according to caloric necessity. I must say, I've marvelled at the changes in my body composition from the simple mathematics involved in eating only as much as necessary to reach a fitness goal. As I mentioned in my other post about the calorie counting, I arrived at the conclusion to start doing this because there was really no other alternative that I could see to get the results I wanted. My food choices were already almost totally organic. I'd adopted and adapted a vegetarian paleo diet with a Warrior diet schedule. I was sleeping more, and more consistently. And my training was good, my intensity varied. I did P90X for Pete's sake! But still my weight wasn't dropping below 156 pounds. And this was about 14 pounds heavier than my prior racing weight.

The idea formed slowly. It came almost as a whisper.

"What if you are eating too much food?"

There was only one way to find out. That was to do the math and look at the numbers. Then I could compare the numbers with what I was actually eating by keeping a food diary. Needless to say the numbers were depressing. But the information was valuable because it was the truth. I think as human beings and as athletes we all can have an enormous potential for self deceit. It isn't something to be ashamed of, but we need to be aware of it and face the consequences squarely if we are to grow both as human beings and as athletes. To me that is what the journey of triathlon is really all about. It is about coming to understand who we truly are in both success and failure.

So what did I find out about myself? I found that I was eating on average around 3500 to 4000 calories per day. This was way too much. For simple weight maintenance on with my normal workout volume 2500 should have been adequate. 3000 if my training became really intense. But not only did I need to reduce my caloric intake, I would also need to lose weight to get back to my ideal size to race well. The math basically says 3500 calories equals 1 pound. So in order to lose a pound a week, I could either work out more to burn an additional 3500 calories. This equates roughly into about an extra 7 hours of workout time per week. Or I could subtract 500 calories per day from my diet, also totalling 3500 calories. Naturally, I took the latter approach.

After 47 days, my results so far speak for themselves. I currently weigh 146.5 pounds. But what I was unprepared for was the incredible increase I've had in both stamina and energy. I'm actually sleeping about an hour less per day. I've also noticed increased flexibility without additional time spent practicing yoga. I noticed a similar increase in flexibility when I changed to a totally organic diet. I don't really have a scientific reason for this but I think our bodies are more flexible and energetic when they aren't burdened with the chore of having to digest the excess food we sometimes tend to consume. I'd also like to point out you don't even really need to drop the additional 500 calories per day if you felt you wanted to lose a pound or two. All that might be necessary would be to find out what the difference is between your current/normal food intake and the suggested caloric intake for your body type, weight and activity level. Just eating the proper amount of calories if you find you are eating to much will have the effect of normalizing your weight. But I will also say, don't do any of this without first consulting a dietitian or your health care provider.