Saturday, November 29, 2008

VO2 the Max

Last Tuesday I did a VO2 max test.

I was recruited by Jordan Guenette at the Health & Integrative Physiology Laboratory at UBC. This is actually a two-party study, which I will be completing next Tuesday. To help explain what this study is about I asked Jordan for a brief explanation in not-too sciency terms. Here is what he had to say:

Recent evidence suggests that elite female cyclists may be more susceptible to certain respiratory limitations during exercise relative to male cyclists. These limitations cause women to have a different breathing response to exercise which can put the primary respiratory muscle (the diaphragm) under more stress during exercise. The greater stressed experienced by the diaphragm might make it more susceptible to fatigue. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to directly measure the force production of the diaphragm in response to exercise and determine if females experience more diaphragm fatigue than males.

Sounds good to me.

So with the incentive to get some solid test numbers out of it both now and again when I'm in peak race form in July, I happily agreed to help out.

Day one involved acquiring some basic physical information such as height & weight (182 cm & 67kg - and hazel eyes for all you single ladies out there...). We then did some breathing tests to make sure I wasn't lying about not having asthma or Pneumonia or the Black Lung or something like that. The first one measured my lung capacity (among other things) and it turns out I'm right around average with 5.5L max volume. The other tests involved measuring "maximal inspirations and expirations". I won't go into detail (because I'm not smart enough) but to give you an idea of things for the inspirations, imagine wrapping about thirty layers of plastic wrap over your mouth and then poking a pinhole in it so you can breath hard as you can. With your nose plugged. That's sort of it except I had a handy little mouth piece that was easily removable:

I was at this point also introduced to this interesting little fellow:

I'll go into more detail about what this device does in my follow up post as it will be used more during the second half but I'll tell you now that it's quite stimulating...

After these tests were over, Jordan strapped the headgear on for the VO2 test. For ten minutes I had to wear it while at rest. Jordan gave me a book to read to pass the time, which by chance, is the same book I just started reading at home.

Once the ten minutes were up it was time to get on the bike. I was given some time to warm up and then we started the test. The way it worked was by Jordan starting the bike at 200W resistance and then upping it by 30W every three minutes. Easy enough to start.

Every few minutes Jordan would come over with a clip board that effectively had a rating describing how my legs & lungs were feeling as time progressed. I would simply tap on each descriptor for each element. I wasn't feeling amazing on this day so things were getting around a 4/10 to start with.

Three minutes goes by - 230W. No promlem.
Three more minutes go by - 260W. Easy enough.
Three more minutes go by - 290W. This is where things start to suck. Probably at around a 6-7/10:

Three more minutes go by - 320W. This is where things really start to suck...but I survived. Around an 8/10.
Three more minutes go by - 350W. This is where things REALLY start to suck...and I fail. I couldn't even accuratly tap on the clipboard anymore. Jordan was great at encouraging me to push as hard as I could but eventually the cadence dropped below 60rpm and that's when it's all over.

Now, I've become accustom to hurting myself and pushing limits on a bike. I do this several times a week nowadays. I have experienced nausea, stitches, legs that scream to stop and lungs that do the same. I'm pretty used to it. However, after this test I came across a new one. Blurry vision. Maybe it was just the sweat in my eyes but I had a hard time focusing on much for a minute or two after it was all over...and I felt a bit pukey so I feel that I can at least say I gave Jordan a good effort. Here's what these sensations look like:

It gives you an idea. Although, I wasn't about to keep the headgear full of slobber on once I was done for a photo op so this is the best I have to show.

With the worst now over I spent the next few minutes regaining my breath and vision and doing an easy spin to cool down. Shortly thereafter, endorphins kicked in and I felt pretty good.

And that's it. Here are the results:

mass (kg) = 67
VO2max (ml/kg/min) = 63
Peak power (W) = 331
HR at threshold (bpm)= 171
Power at threshold (W) = 260-290
Maximum heart rate (bpm)= 193
Exercise Protocol: start at 200W and increase by 30W every 3 minutes
Finished 320W and lasted 64 seconds into 350W giving a calculated maximum power of 331W

VE = minute ventilation (amount of air you breathe in and out per minute)
VO2 = Oxygen consumption
VCO2 = Carbon Dioxide production
RER = Respiratory Exchange ratio which is calculated by taking VCO2 and dividing it by VO2

Time VE VO2 VCO2 RER VO2 HR Power
sec BTPS
L/min L/min L/min ml/kg/min watts

0 44.63 1.50 1.30 0.87 22.37 200
30 72.49 3.01 2.44 0.81 44.86 200
60 83.43 3.10 2.77 0.89 46.34 140 200
90 79.14 2.92 2.66 0.91 43.54 200
120 79.82 2.91 2.67 0.92 43.46 143 200
150 83.21 3.00 2.77 0.92 44.77 200
180 84.50 3.01 2.82 0.94 44.96 137 230
210 86.49 3.04 2.91 0.96 45.33 230
240 94.78 3.44 3.29 0.96 51.34 149 230
270 92.23 3.18 3.15 0.99 47.46 230
300 101.06 3.32 3.32 1.00 49.53 156 230
330 97.31 3.21 3.16 0.99 47.91 230
360 110.00 3.41 3.43 1.00 50.92 155 260
390 117.45 3.51 3.54 1.01 52.33 260
420 117.12 3.44 3.52 1.03 51.27 164 260
450 121.41 3.59 3.68 1.03 53.51 260
480 127.86 3.62 3.76 1.04 54.02 166 260
510 125.80 3.60 3.70 1.03 53.72 260
540 129.31 3.63 3.78 1.04 54.23 171 290
570 137.22 3.77 4.00 1.06 56.29 290
600 143.76 3.81 4.10 1.07 56.92 177 290
630 150.26 3.88 4.18 1.08 57.97 290
660 156.29 3.88 4.20 1.08 57.86 181 290
690 163.32 3.98 4.29 1.08 59.39 290
720 164.38 3.99 4.31 1.08 59.52 185 320
750 178.93 4.09 4.49 1.10 61.08 320
780 189.48 4.21 4.67 1.11 62.79 187 320
810 186.04 4.11 4.54 1.11 61.35 320
840 185.82 4.15 4.53 1.09 61.98 191 320
870 182.67 4.11 4.46 1.08 61.36 320
900 184.33 4.23 4.54 1.07 63.13 193 350
930 182.28 4.19 4.50 1.07 62.57 350

Not bad...could use some work (particularly the formatting for viewing).

Stay tuned for my follow up post. I'll describe the experience of having a couple of catheters inserted into my esophagus and stomach via my nose, what that ring thing is for and how I do riding at 90% of maximum exertion for as long as physically possible.

More Deep Section Rims

The recent explosion of deep section rims on the market is definitely a hot topic of conversation. I was lucky enough to come upon a "vintage" Campagnolo Vento 16HPW this week, satisfying my lust for deep rimmage in a shiny and intrinsically valuable format.

From the above link:

"The Vento uses the same rim as the Shamal, but it has 4 more spokes up front. The Vento 16 spoke front wheel weight is 914 grams in clincher. The Vento gets a Chorus grade HPW hub that makes it heavier due to the steel axle and hardware, compared to the Shamal and Bora with Record Ti parts."

[placeholder for photo of Vento]

Here is another smaller manufacturer's deep section rim: Dodici rims out of Italy in both 32 and 36 hole drilling. Dodici means "twelve", and I have yet to determine its significance. You can see that, as compared to the H+Son, these rims feature an extra lateral bar in the cross-section.

H+Son, for reference:

How much strength does the extra material add? Modeling is probably our best bet for stress-testing, but my intuition says this boxed section is a positive element. At the very least, it wouldn't accommodate as many taco fillings as the failed H+Son.

In the meantime, rest assured that I'm giving this bladed spoke Campy front a solid street test - making sure I take full advantage of its tight 1.85mm lateral deflection.

high speed lathing

Check out this ridiculous photo Alan snapped of my high speed steel lathe setup:

What blows me away is that you can actually READ the disk on the 4.5" disk grinder THAT IS SPINNING AT OVER 10000RPM!!!

Not having access to a lathe, I had to get creative. This steel BMX post has to be turned down from 22.2mm to 21.0 to be interference fit into a steerer tube. In order for the grinding to remain concentric, I've mounted the post into a drill chuck by way of a 1" star nut. This setup worked remarkably well, and it was easy to get the tube to the right diameter.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Industry Real Talk, Son

As a follow-up to Lyle's H+Son failblog, let's take it back to the '02 for a minute, courtesy of Bikeguide. Slowtwitch's Dan Empfield drops some knowledge on how the bicycle industry really works:

"The moral of the story is, there is no moral—there are no morals. Or ethics. Or friendships. None that you can count on. Not when you're getting a product manufactured. There's just protection, and you have to make sure you have it."


I've been biting my tongue for the past while on the H+Son rims that are currently conveying along in the big old internet hype machine. I have some theories on these rims, and how they made it to market so fast. ..but for now, I'll let the picture tell the story.

This is the first reported case of failure I've seen. [Full Set here] The rim is 12mm deeper than a Velocity Deep V, and weighs less. The material had to go somewhere. (in this case, it went outwards) I've felt these rims and how thin the aluminum extrusion is. Clearly a redesign is in order.. but just how many of this first revision have made it to market?

NEXT DAY EDIT [in square brackets]:
I'm going to come out and say it.

I think they are made by the Giant Global Group, and intentionally branded as a startup 'boutique' brand to avoid the stigma associated with the Giant brand in North America.


H+Son has two products that came to market VERY fast without any internet mention. The Formation Face and SL42 rims. user Tzusing (is the Son in H+Son) says:

"My company's background is def more in raw material and production techniques...(meaning i come from a background of all those factories that make bicycle parts for brand names)"
"HKfixed is indeed selling my rims. But ordering from me is direct from the Kun Shan factory in China. (1 hour west of shanghai) and not Hong Kong."

Giant Light metal appears to be the main bicycle rim manufacturer in Kunshan... and the Giant Bowery '84 also has what appears to be[a 42mm deep rim with a similar extrusion to] the SL42 rim in a lower spoke count.

Friday, November 21, 2008

IRO Bandit Strikes Again.

My lovely wife noticed a bicycle outside of Tom's that was "Pretty Candy" as she put it, and snapped a pic.

As it turns out, its the IRO Bandit, with a new setup. Really, this isn't something TOO out of the ordinary, but it sticks out like a sore thumb in my neighborhood. There just aren't that many track bikes locked up in the Upper West Side.

Are you ready for this?

The first thing we notice is that he's upgraded the front wheel from a nice Deep V to high flange to a well used Aerospoke complete with brake wear and street cred stickers. Not sure if that's an upgrade to be honest.

He DID get rid of that extensive front end setup, and went with something a bit more practical, keeping the Thomson stem and Kashimax TT protector of course. ..and red Ourys, if you believe it!

The chesterfield of a Specialized Body Geometry (TM) saddle has been swapped for a slim and suggestive Selle An-Atomica. Clearly the IRO Bandit values his perineal comfort.

A pretty new RED chain has been added, and to complement it some translucent strawberry Odyssey Twisted PC 'pledals' as well. These are a bit wider than the Wellgo mountain flats he had before, I wondering if his cornering lean angle has suffered?

On to the final change; His low flange small box section rear wheel has been swapped in favour of something with MUCH shorter spokes. We now see a high flange hub to what appears to be an H+Son Formation Face rim (judging by the amount of valve he's got left), and what could potentially be Vittoria Randonneur with Double Shield Puncture Protection (TM), reflective sidewalls for night time safety, and deep tread for wet weather traction.

I should also mention, he's ditched the punk rock belt of a Kryptonite chain, for the new and flashy Abus Bordo. I have heard really good things about this lock, but it just seems like its in a position to dent the down tube should the bike be molested at the rack.

Lets just compare this to the changes that have happened to my own bicycle in the past couple of months:


Bars/stem - IRO Bandit and I are on the same page here. We've both lost our Nitto RB-019s for some risers. The difference is that I recognize that the different bar setups require different length stems. Maybe the Bandit does now as well...

Cranks/Chainring - I replaced my bent and well used Shimano Tricolor 600 172.5s to Takagi 3/32" 42T with a combination of 105 and 600 170s to a rad Specialties TA 1/8" 130mm 42T ring. I also put in a new UN73 bottom bracket and a new KMC 710 chain. These are all pretty much wear related repairs, though the shorter cranks are giving me a marginally higher max RPM.

Rear Wheel - Again The IRO Bandit and I have similar thoughts. Deeper is Stronger. I just recently rebuilt my rear wheel from a janky failing Ambrosio Excellence, to a VERY economically priced Deep V (Which was apparently a prize for Best Checkpoint at Metal Race 1). I swapped tires from an IRC Redstorm to a Michelin Megamium due to wear as well. I'm really happy with the new wheel. It definitely weighs a bit more, but its linear tension and stiffness make the back end of my bike feel really solid.

..and of course, i put some fenders on because I like riding year round.

At first it seems that all of my upgrades have been for function, and the Bandit's for fashion. But maybe I have more in common with the IRO Bandit than I originally thought. I was sort of clowning him the first time I saw his bike (and again after seeing the wife's picture), but now I wonder if there's more to it than that. What if this bike isn't a reality, and its more just an extension of myself that I'm not prepared to embrace? Are digital pictures really evidence that something exists? I hate Aerospokes and BMX pedals on track bikes. Is the IRO Bandit MY Tyler Durden? I don't eat at Tom's.. do I?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Delineating the Extremes

We define the furthest edges in order to learn more about our machines and ourselves. There has been a disc brake on my tall bike for a week, and already I've got the rear wheel in the air. Does anyone want to lend me a penny farthing to practice dismounts?

In reality the Mielgeot has a very rearward-biased weight balance, and is very stable under most conditions - including heavy braking. Lyle is reigning Tour de Bomb champion, on the fastest mini bike in the world, but let's not forget its inaugural bomb and a lesson about rear bias. If you don't push that edge, you don't come home with the trophy.

Nick's learning new traffic flow on the .243, riding what at 68cm have got to be the widest bars ever on a messenger bike - but this bike also took fourth at this year's Little 100. Can't help but thank Mr. Cotterell (check this one out in LARGE) and Travis for photos.

With extreme pursuits comes the increased likelihood of catastrophic failure: bike parts and body parts on the line, in the name of physics and fun. Everything is science. SCIENCE!

Machines come in many shapes, clearly a factor in this extreme discussion. One shape is the Sekine's most recent iteration - extremely fast for a 27 year old frame in a field of brand new cantilevers - which has also indirectly resulted in one of my photos being used by TC over at fyxomatosis.

Cyclocross has been good to me so far. And projects with the ability to reconfigure have a tendency to last longer. Commuting bikes don't usually turn into successful racing bikes, though.

Brandon's Calfee is the ultimate in stiffness and one time use factor, but it's the Puch that's been through more stages.

These extremities are brought to you by the letter "B", and we encourage all of our friends to join us on this quest; being extreme is more fun with the right people around.

People who shoot photos and people who are in those photos; classic Camilo by Trent:

People who organize events; Haley, seen here on the official Proj-B official pit bike.

There are only sixteen days until BRIDGE BATTARU, and that reminds me: I should print some more flyers, because they all seem to have disappeared.

And another photo from Trent, that was also on fyxomatosis: J.Weeks avoids a crashing Tom Briggs at last year's Bridge Battle.

The only thing left to do is listen to "Baby Come Back" while looking at this top tube pad, and hope for snow...

Oh, I guess there's one more thing to do. Look at that top tube pad in two more photos, with a third that links them to the EXTREME.


From: Cheryl
To: Novex Bikers
CC: Brad; Willis
Sent: Wed Nov 19 13:56:29 2008
Subject: I hope it wasn't any of you...

but a couple of my drivers told me that they heard on CKNW (am 980) that a member of their staff was out gathering information for a news story (or something along those lines) in front of HSBC and was harassed by bicycle couriers to the point of tears. If anyone knows anything about this, please let me know right away.


Cheryl P*******

Fleet Co-Ordinator


604.***.**** ext ***

2008 GLOBE Award Winner

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

City (e)scapes

Perhaps its the leaves on the ground or the roadies in Central Park, but I'm longing to get out into the forest. The city has a lot to offer, but I feel like I need the soothing blanket of leaves under my tires on an autumn day. I'm not exactly sure if I've been infected by mountain bike fever, or if I'm just restless.

I've set up the Spicer in a new 'City commuter hybrid' mode for now. Summer is over, so its time for fenders and a brake. I can't really justify the risers though, other than I wanted a change. They're cut to about 46cm wide, which is just wider than my bullhorns, the only difference is that a plastic bar end cap is the first point of contact, instead of my hands. Regarding whether or not they're versatile, I did a 50km ride to Orchard Beach yesterday, and suffered no discomfort.

Speaking of City bikes, the winner of the City Racks Design competition has been announced. I tested these racks out a little over a month ago, and am happy to find that one of my 'finalists' made the cut. Congratulations to Ian Mahaffy and Maarten De Greeve. Hopefully NYC will find a reliable manufacturer of these racks, and have them on every block soon.

I'm sick of hearing stories of signposts bent down to the streets. I want to ride where the signposts aren't.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Burnaby Velodrome Bare Bones Event

Three Day event at the Burnaby Velodrome this weekend. I'll be there Friday and Sunday; expect to see Bionic Prez all weekend. I can't say I'm sad to be missing Saturday's racing, which is chock full of points-per-lap races that I don't really enjoy. Come do some heckling! This is an East Van callout! Who would say no to this awesome poster?

Extreme Lust

Since I know I cannot fit on an F1 BMX, and Nick has infected me with elevated stay madness. I've started taking a liking to these:

Oh... and what do we have here:

I emailed the guy, and he gave me the parts spec:

San Marco Salle Ti Seat (Saddle)
Thompson Seat Post
Cane Creek c-2 Head Set
Kore Elite Stem
Race Face Crank Arms
Rock Shox Judy J-2
Mavic Hook Worm 26x3.0
Med. Haro Frame
Azonic Bull Bars
Azonic X- Pedals
Real Brake Levers

Uhhh... wow. Dare I relive 1990?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hoon of the Year

Flat-four flatland? Is rallycross the new cyclocross? 0-60 Magazine makes a strong case in Ken Block for Jalopnik's "Hoon of the Year" honours:

Monday, November 10, 2008

That's the wrong foot, man.

Project B on Vimeo. Videos time!

It's only for decoration.


Fort Langley CX

I've put up a 19 photo flickr set of my story from today's Fort Langley CX race. East Van repped hard in the mud-filled forests and fields of Aldor Acres Farm.  I kept the 60" gear which was successful at Vanier and only wished I had a longer option when I was chasing down the race leader on the final straight. Elaine's also got a ton of photos, including quite a few hilarious ones of myself and Matt rinsing off in the creek.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Brooklyn Banks Jam / NYC Macaframa Premier

At this point I'm not even going to bother to attempt to report on Bike Kill 666. Based on the number of Flickr streams available, you can pretty much see just what kind of party it was. I am going to comment on events that took place yesterday, November 2nd though.

Spencer at Jam Pony Bikes alerted me to a small and informal jam he was throwing at the Brooklyn Banks, in place of the Animal Jam (which sort of outgrew itself last year, and therefore couldn't really happen again).

I had rolled down on my Spicer, as my ankle is still too swollen from the previous weeks Bike Killing to ride BMX.

A single flyer was made, word of mouth got out, and over 100 kids showed up. It was nearly freezing, so dress code was all over print hoodies with beanies (toques). Jam format was pretty standard for the banks. A spot is picked, and kids kill it in a line till everyone is too fucked up to ride anymore, or everyone has nailed their respective trick.

I locked up, and Spencer immediately handed me a beer just as they were starting the stair flyout. Here's a shot of a kid supermaning it, landed too!

There was also a few near completed 720s, and a whole lot of slamming into the pillar. Next up for killing was the grind box. One of the Animal crew did this absolutely retarded fakie feeble to barspin 180 out.

When he got it everyone was roaring!

After that there was a high hop comp, with police tape stretched across the stairs. It ended up around eye level (6') and the dude who got it cleared it easy. It was too dark by then for my phone cam to catch any of it though.

I fixed a couple chains while I was there (Spencer brought the parts, I brought the tools) ... and the kids really appreciated it. Though, a 410H doesn't really fit in the compact Park CT-5, plus cold hands make for really tough work. I seriously had to stop a kid from trying to assemble his chain with a dislodged brick from the banks.

After the jam ended I rolled over to the Lower East Side for the Macaframa NYC premier. It was being held at some lounge on 1st named Arlo and Esme. Initially, I wasn't super stoked on it, but the lovely Haley had hyped it up enough after seeing it at the SF premier that I felt I should attend.

When I arrived (20 mins before the doors supposedly opened) gratuitous track bike parking was already in effect. You may recognize this disk hanging out in a tree:

The doorman was Mr Grumpy-Barks-A-Lot for the next hour or so, until he finally let us in (only 50 minutes late.. glad I dressed warm) and I was close enough to the front of the line to get a bar stool with a backrest. This was kind of a jackass move on the bar's part. Admission to the film was free, so they were only profiting off the bar. Seems pretty stupid to keep the bikers out in the cold for an hour, when they could be buying beer.

As much as I hate the H word... What a freakin' hipster party. Being anywhere where 10% of the people there are trying to document it with digital SLRs annoys the shit out of me. Thankfully the flashes (mostly) stopped when the film started. I realize that I too am guilty over documentation... but come on, do future historians need to wade through a thousand shots of the people in attendance at a track bike movie screening?

Yeah.. onto the film. Plenty of close ups, great editing, some spinning, some tricky tricks, and a whole lot of pretty scenery. There was a shot near the end of someone bombing Haight; one of the steepest, gnarliest serrated pavement streets that Rhiannon and I bombed on a rainy day in February. The shot didn't really do much to convey the terror I felt when I hit those slick STOP paintings near the bottom.. but it brought the feeling rushing back. I REALLY enjoyed the music in the film, especially Keo's part. Overall it was pretty much what I expected, a quality bicycle riding video. It didn't exactly make me want to hoon on my ride home like some BMX vids do, which is a good thing in midtown Manhattan.

Even at zero hoon, one can get into trouble on these streets. I should mention that between the jam and the film, I got doored. I was cautiously filtering up Center st. when the passenger of a middle lane Grand Cherokee popped open the door, mid block, and sent my bars into the wheel well of the truck in the next lane. She apologized profusely, to the point of annoyance... and I had the tools to straighten my bar. I suppose it would have been a softer impact for me if I had just aimed for her, but then I would have to do the apologizing =/

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Good vs. Evil

James Weeks and I made an alliance for tonight's race, and chose the Good side. We were having a very well-executed race until part way through the second manifest. James went down on grass and concrete at the Cambie Bridge checkpoint and separated his shoulder. After assessing the situation, I checked with James that it would be alright to continue by myself.

Missing my hired conscience, I still came in for 7th overall, and 1st non-messenger - my best performance in a respectable courier race by far. Thanks to all the labour that went into a great night; no thanks to the burning sensation in my throat and stomach from 1755 Barclay to the finish at Glen and Evans.

Nick claims to have had superior route planning and a great race. As far as I can tell, putting a rear brake back on the .243 was a good move. The police presence at the finish line sprints and skid comp prevented us from seeing whether the bald rear tire really does slide like teflon.

James still finished the race, earning the night's "hard man" title and a box of goodies courtesy of the organizers. We parked our bikes high on a pole outside the Cobalt, a sign of victory and camaraderie. James, thanks for riding with me. Camilo, congrats on finishing first. I'll see about finding some photos on my camera when it isn't 5:19am.