The summers in Japan come on quick and are very hot and humid. This tends to create a doldrum of activity between July and August where only mad dogs and Englishmen tend to thrive. This year I’ll try to hit shorter rides, earlier and probably look at the return-by-train option more and more. With the logic that I can escape the city early in the morning, ride some sheltered roads, then hit the airconditioned
If you’re like me, you want your fork trimmed clean and neat. Zero stack and minimal spacers mean you’re riding a bike that fits. I decided to trim down my new fork after a week or so of riding and get it spiffed up for spring. Here’s how I did it:
First, a ‘before’ pic. Notice the excess spacer on top. I don’t need this. I just want enough room to mount a single spacer – generally the ones given for finishing important races.
We need a few tools for this job. A hacksaw, some masking tape, allen wrenches and a cutting guide.
First thing is to remove the top cap and the old spacers. Then put on the spacer we do want. Then make a scribed mark around the steering tube.
Put the spacer on the fork and scribe all the way around with a sharp pen or something like that. I use a nail and it works fine. Then take your fork out of the headtube by loosening the stem bolts and sliding it out. Take care not to lose your bearings and / or any shims, spacers or sealing rings.
Put masking tape on the steerer – leaving about a 1-2mm gap from the scribed line. The masking tape will serve as alignmnt and cutting guide. Plus it also prevents splintering of the carbon fibers.
Then mount the fork into the cutting guide. If you don’t have a cutting guide, you can use a metal hose clamp. You just need a parallel cutting surface guide so you cut perfectly square.
Notice I’m only cutting about 6mm of tube. This will be enough to allow for a 4mm spacer at top and bottom. For my top spacer, I’ll use my Mt. Fuji Hill Climb finisher ring. This was one of the first events I did after returning to cycling.
There should be about 2mm distance between the top of the spacer and the steering tube. If it’s too tall, then your top cap won’t push onto the spacer only and make it difficult to preload the bearing set. You can adjust this by simply sanding down the tube a bit.
After you’ve fitted the fork, apply some grease at the base of the fork. This will act as a moisture sealant and also coat the steel bearing to prevent excessive rusting. It doesn’t do any lubrication because most bearings are sealed units – it just adds extra protection against the elements.
Slide the fork into the headtube and seat it firmly. Then add your spaces and stem. Notice the 2mm distance between the top of the steering tube and the top of the <blue> spacer.
Put on the top cap and screw. Tighten it just enough to seat the bearings. This does not hold your fork together! It’s just to preload the bearing stack. Again, you will tighten this only a very little. Just snug is enough until there is no bearing play or jiggle. Once you have done that, then torque the stem bolts to the recommended setting. Please use a torque wrench if you can! If not – then apply the torque evenly by slowly tightening both bolts in alternating fashion. When they become snug, you will be putting about medium pressure with your pinky onto a short allen wrench. That’s all it takes!
Do a sanity check and make sure the steering moves free and smooth. Also make sure your bars are straight and tight.
Mount the front brake and triple check again. Everything should be moving smoothly without any binding or looseness. Take the bike for a short test ride and check to make sure bars are solid. Also use the brake several times to make sure it’s centered and working properly. Re-check your torque on all the bolts. Then go RIDE!
We’re playing around with some ideas for ‘cultural marketing’ and one of the most obvious (at least in Japan) is the whole tissue thang. So, I ordered up some tissue packs and JF knocked out a few designs. I kinda like this one. Now, instead of carrying around tissues with adverts for Pachinko or Dating Clubs, I can toss out our own BG Pack. If you want some of your own, just give me a shout and I’ll be happy to hook you up. Whatever you do, don’t leave home without one stuffed into your back pocket!
Since my early teens I have been involved in competitive sports. This including wrestling, cross country running, skiing, cycling and rowing. For more than 10yrs I devoted nearly full time training to both cycling and off-season cross training. Obviously since the 1970′s (when I started) and now (when I started again) the advice and practices have changed dramatically. Though what has been consistent is that for strength – endurance related activities you need to have good food.
I’m a classic example of ‘coasting’. I trained really hard, was in great shapeall the way through my mid 30′s, then just pulled the plug. Until last year, I really didn’t do anything except casual hiking, occasional swims or ride about 10km on a borrowed bike. I gained weight (alot) and lost fitness (alot). But I still had muscle memory and embedded experience whcih I put to the test.
MY diet is based on personal experience and recommendation from various nutritionists and doctors over the years. ANYONE who is SERIOUS about training and diet should consult to a PROFESSIONAL. Please do not construe ANYTHING I say as advice – its just here to show you what is working for me.
1) Reduce fat. Getting rid of the ‘bad fat’ in my diet has been the #1 improvement I notice and feel. This means no more tonkatsu, fat soup ramens, greasy burgers (which I love), onion rings, fries or pretty much anything that contains ‘bad fat’. This is really hard cause bad fat TASTES GREAT!
2) Complimentary proteins. Hard to do in Japan. Rice is OK by itself- but it works so much better with a complimentary protein like beans. Beans are hard to get here – and I mean the good ol pinto variety. Same with other grains like quinoa, etc. Just really hard to get – or are expensive. Even natural brown rice is super expensive in Japan.
3) Cruciferous Veggies. High in folic acid, Vitamin C, etc – plus proven anti-oxidants, these are power foods from the start. They also have a high amount of soluble fiber to keep the digestive tract flowing smooth – if you know what I mean.
4) Complex carbs. Whole wheat pasta is one of my favs. Along with natto rice, muesili and pretty much ANY multigrain. This is your primary power store and you need to keep it topped up.
How to eat:
1) I’m desperately trying to lose my years of sedentary weight gain. So – I need to basically starve myself in a smart way. This means extended (2hr +) rides at fat burn HRM and keep the carb intake below the burn rate. The counter productive side of this is that I often feel weaker than I might if I really hit the carbs before a ride – but the fat-off is noticeable and what I need to do.
2) Lean muscle. Cycling naturally tears down your muscles so you constantly need protein to build back and heal the fibers. Plus to generally increase muscle. This is common knowledge. I try to get as much lean fiber as I can and mix across meat, dairy and veggie. Its important to get calcium along with your protein since high protein diets can cause calcium deficiency. And cycling also tends to deplete calcium and lead to decreased bone mass cause its not an impact sport. Natural Yogurt is one of my best friends. Combine yogurt with whole grain muesili and nuts – whammo! Super food. If you’re in weight loss mode – then watch the carbs – but don’t skimp too much or you will just feel chronically fatigued.
3) Veggies. I eat alot of veggies. You just can’t eat enough, really. Steamed veggies or sauteed in olive oil. These give you the supplemental minerals, fiber and bulk your body craves without adding in unnecessary fats or carbs. If you are hitting the starchy veggies, then watch out on the carbs.
4) Fruits. Instant power, mineral supplement, fiber and hydrates – fruit is good food. But generally high in cals – so I try to eat it on the road or just before a ride. And maybe a banana after a ride to re-up the carb and potassium recovery levels.
What about supplements? Well, I’ve tried so many I can’t count. Protein powders, vitamins, exotic plants and fruits, deep sea algaes, wheat grasses, hi-tech chemicals, etc . You name it, I’ve tried it. With the exception, of course of steroids and other obvious nasty products and procedures. What I basically learned was that if it wasn’t coming from my diet – then getting it supplementary is just a temporary solution. The supplements tended to make me feel more excessive in one direction or the other. And frankly, nothing worked as good as just having a balanced, peformance driven diet of natural foods.
Now, for the road itself, you’ll find my pockets stuffed with mainly fructose bearing and carb punching whatever I can get. I’m digging the gels as they are easy to use, absorb quickly and contain all the goodies I crave. At rest points, though, nothing beats something a little solid to nosh on. Settles the stomach and the chewing process itself gets the digestive system kickstarted. Here’s where my favs are still the banana , biscuit and rice ball. But I do try not to overload on the cals – I know what I need to last out the ride – and simply dont eat more than I need to. Experience has shown me that its better to eat smaller amounts more often, sooner, than wait to onset of the bonks to try to recover an empty body. I see alot of riders doing this – ride super hard, starve out, then pig out. Not good. You need to learn to feed yourself appropriately. Take the descents as a time to snack a bit and rehydrate. Continuously feed your body with a calculated amount that will basically match the expected output. Your body will be roughly 15min – 40min behind anything you eat – so if you feel starved – its too late.
I’m sure nothing here is rocket science or anything new. And for sure everyone has heard this before. But as a note of encouragement, I can say for myself, in less than 9mo of getting back on the saddle I’ve lost more than 10kg and extended my riding time and power tremendously. Just based on a single TT, I placed in the top 20% of my classification (51yo+) and can feel my strength increasing daily. Once I hit the magic convergence of weight loss and max efficient power, then I’ll be in the goal zone to maintain. I don’t have plans to serious race anymore – just be able to jump on my ride anytime and kick out 150km at a good, honest pace in the hills or on the flats.
When I’m not riding or working, I’m generally cooking. Now that my training has taken a more serious direction I’m fairly conscious of what I’m eating and try to stick more or less to a ‘healthy diet’. Here are some of my favs:
A “peanut butter” roux for making gumbo. This is the most important ingredient. I generally make gumbo at least 1x a month and love seafoods and veggies. Using a good roux means I don’t have to rely on a fatty stock for flavor. So, you end up with a healthy meal that is overall pretty low in fats and high in proteins and carbs (rice).
Well I love chicken. What can I say! And nothing beats a roasted chicken stuffed with veggies.
This is lean chicken breast sauteed in a tomato base with potatoes and onions. The flavor is outstanding. I trim all the fat from the chicken first, then sautee in olive oil w/spices. Then plop it into the convection oven with onions and potatoes. Yumm!
Since I started training last year I’ve dropped more than 10kg and my BMI is down to 23. Still far from my old ‘fighting weight’ , but getting close enough to enjoy a scramble or two and kick out a 150km in the hills. I try to stay low on the carbs unless I’m planning a ride or hard training the next day and stick to lean proteins and lots of veggies.