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Coaches Blog

Bike Hacks from Coach Adam

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

It's January, and I'm guessing that no one wants to read another article about Hockey. I guess I might as well talk about some of my personal "bike hacks." I've been doing these so long that I don't even realize others might not have heard or considered doing them.


Here are three of my favorites:


Chalk: This is one of the newer tricks that I have started using over the past four years or so. When I refer to chalk, I mean the kind you use for climbing or lifting. Chalk is great for getting water off your hands to improve grip. I use chalk in 3 different ways.


The first and most common is in my flat kit. There are few things more frustrating than trying to change a flat on a hot day with sweaty hands. A little chalk on the hands makes the ordeal much more manageable.

The second is on my bull horns at a race. I use silicone tape on my bars because I like the feel. However, silicone tape can be near impossible to grip with fresh out of the water hands. I simply chaulk (chalk is a noun, chaulk is a verb) up the grip before the race, and my hands stick to the bar like velcro at the mount line.


The third and most useful application of chalk is for my shoes. I have narrow feet, and I come from a cycling background. This means that I prefer a road shoe to a tri shoe and, more specifically, a dial (BOA) shoe. I learned in my first Full that it is nearly impossible for me to turn a dial after a 4k swim. The mix of wet fingers and loss of dexterity ruins my fingers. But, with a bit of chalk on the fingers, I can turn that dial without issue.


Springs: I race and train with a BTA bottle (i.e., a bottle BeTween my Aerobars). I like the setup since it puts the bottle in a convenient spot and helps the aerodynamics, but I did not like that I could not tell how much fluid I had left just by looking at the bottle. I fixed this problem by adding springs. All I do is put a skewer spring on the bolts between the bottle cage and BTA mount. Then I adjust the bolts so when a bottle is a ¼ - full, the cage sits normally, but when the bottle is less than ¼ full, the springs raise the cage, so it rattles like crazy. Now I know when I am nearly out of fluid.

Cleat bolts: This one only works with three-bolt road pedals. Whenever my pedal stroke isn't feeling great, or I have been off the tri bike for a while, I will remove the rear/inside cleat bolt for my cleats. This allows me to feel whether I am pulling too hard on the pedals.

Removing the bolt allows the cleat to pull off the shoe just enough to feel a click when starting the downstroke while pedaling. If the click is there, the hip flexor is trying to overpower the quad and glute, which is a losing battle. All that does is burn out the hip flexor.


Those are a few of the many little things that I do on my bike. There are others, but I need those for if I get stuck without an idea for an article in the future.

 

Coach Adam Sczech is an IRONMAN University Certified Coach, USAT Level I Certified Coach, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and VFS Master Bike Fitter based out of the Western Slope of Colorado. Adam has years of experience coaching beginners, juniors, elites, and clubs as well as a year focusing specifically on special needs athletes. Adam's expertise with bike fitting is extensive with over 15 years and 8,000 fits for athletes that include two world record holders, a national champion, several IRONMAN Pro/Age Groups winners, and an ITU winner. He has completed several full and half Ironman races, as well as numerous Olympic and Sprint races.

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