What is the difference between the Wahoo Kickr and Wahoo Core Smart Trainers


April 2, 2020 and REV Endurance Sports is selling more smart trainers than we have ever sold before!  One of the most common questions I get asked is “what is the difference between the Kickr and the Core?”  the immediate follow-up question is usually “Is the Kickr worth $300 more?” So I thought I would put together a blog post to answer those two basic questions. I also would like to share it as ready reference with my customers in the hopes that together we can make an informed decision and the appropriate choice.

 

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WHAT IS A SMART TRAINER?

Let’s begin with simple things first.  Why a smart trainer?  A smart trainer will allow for 3rd party apps (Zwift, TrainerRoad, Sufferfest and FulGaz just to name a few) to control the resistance of your trainer as you ride in a virtual world.  It makes indoor training much more fun and the resistance makes for an incredible workout.  You can ride with your friends in this virtual world or make new friends worldwide.  Below are images of the two trainers we will discuss in this post, the Kickr and the Core

WHAT IS A DIRECT DRIVE TRAINER?

Both trainers feature direct drive technology and don’t need a training wheel. Direct drive means you take the rear wheel off of your personal bike and attach your bike to the trainer.  The trainer will have a cassette attached to it. More on that later… A few benefits of a direct drive trainer include but are not limited to:

  1. No need for a separated dedicated trainer wheel
  2. No need for a dedicated trainer tire
  3. No rear tire slippage on the resistance drum under hard efforts
  4. In my opinion a much more secure and stable platform
  5. Much better real world feeling

Smart trainers are much more expensive than traditional wheel on trainers.

The Kickr is Wahoo’s top end trainer $1,199

The Core is the mid-range trainer $899

FLYWHEEL

Wahoo has increased the flywheel of the Kickr 2018 to 16 lb or 7.25kg. Why would this increase be important?  The bigger the flywheel the more inertia and more realistic the road feel.

In comparison, the Kickr Core has a flywheel weight of 12 lb or 5.4kg.  If you have been following the Wahoo Kickr product for a while you might recall it had a similar size back in 2016 and 2017.

The Kickr 2018 can provide 2,200 watts of resistance. That is a HUGE amount of watts which is more compatible with professional cyclists than us mere mortals.  This 2,200 watts capacity is enabled by the larger flywheel.   Many of us will never need that maximum wattage on our trainers but it’s nice to know it’s there for you when you achieve that level. By the way, track sprinters are known for massive wattage a Kickr might be more appropriate for them.

By comparison, the Kickr Core offers 1,800 watts of resistance.  How does that compare with trainers from other brands? It is more max wattage than the Elite Directo (1,400 watts) and Tacx Flux 1 (1,500 watts).

ACCESSORIES

You’re in luck when it comes to the Wahoo ecosystem.  The Climb, which simulates a climbing grade and the Headwind, Wahoo’s fan are both compatible with either unit.  The only difference to consider is the Core will only allow the rider to climb up to 16% grade while the Kickr will allow you to climb a 20% grade. All of us have watched world tours. There are many iconic climbs that do not reach 16% grades.  There are very few 16% plus grades like during the Giro d’Italia such as Monte Zoncolan and Passo di Mortirolo.  If you aspire to climb those then the Kickr is more suitable.  I do need to tell you that a 10% grade with 100% reality setting on your Zwift app will feel VERY VERY difficult … in my humble opinion it feels much steeper than reality.

As mentioned above, both units are optimised to work with the Wahoo Headwind and Wahoo Climb. Connection via Bluetooth or ANT+ is easy, and the units allow you to do both at the same time. External apps like Zwift and TrainerRoad work seamlessly.

LIVING WITH A KICKR OR CORE

The bigger flywheel will make the Kickr a heavier unit at 47 lbs or  22kg.  The Kickr is well designed, in fact, the handle is well placed and makes the 47 lb unit fairly easy to move around.  Most users will dedicate a room, euphemistically, pain cave, where the trainer will reside.   If you do have to transport it in your vehicle or store it daily the legs fold flush against the body of the unit.

Kickr Core is lighter by about 7 lbs at 40 lbs.  A little assembly is required when you unbox it such as bolting on the legs (one time).  The back legs don’t fold on the Core only the front legs fold in.   Core does not have a handle for transport. I don’t know about you but a 40 lb object without a handle will take some careful handling.

The biggest selling point of the Wahoo updated range is the new drive belt, which is pretty much silent, thanks to a new ribbed belt design. The noise level is important if you are an apartment dweller or maybe your pain cave is next to your child’s room.

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

The Wahoo Kickr 2018 remains one of the best trainers on the market and pretty much created this space. It is the industry leader and is often used as a benchmark by which other trainers are measured. The Kickr Core represents great value, with a decent flywheel but without the practical extras of the Kickr. Are you still asking yourself but what is the $300 difference well let’s see if I can make it more succinct for us.

$300 more for the Kickr buys you —

The Kickr is more stable

Doesn’t need assembly out of the box

Folds up for better storage

Easier to transport because it has a handle

Comes with a cassette included

Comes with Cadence sensor included

Heavier Flywheel

More Max Wattage

More Max Grade

 

You can purchase your Wahoo Kickr and Core through our website!

 

 

NO NO Rides


Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  You can find me onStrava Instagram Twitter youtube 

You may also want to read about 8.5 hour fasted ride.

On January 4, George Vargas and Lori Hoechlin embarked on a NO NO Ride.  What is a NO NO ride?  It’s shorthand for NO Stops for NO Reasons. I know that’s not proper English, the use of a double negative, but you get the idea.  Fleshing out the NO NO Ride – it includes but is not limited to NO refueling stops, NO potty breaks, NO regrouping, NO resting, NO picture taking, NO selfies, NO means NO.  We are law abiding citizens and fancy ourselves as great ambassadors for the sport of cycling so we did stop at stop signs and traffic signals.  However, I should point out that priority 1 when creating the route was to avoid as many traffic controls as possible, then 10,000 feet of climbing, and lastly that it be at least 100 miles.  We rode the entire loop  in North County, a rural area of San Diego County.

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A NO NO Ride really isn’t that difficult for endurance athletes to achieve.  Especially two experienced and fat adapted endurance cyclists like Lori and I.  The training objective was to keep the wheels rolling as long as possible at endurance/tempo range for the day.

But you may ask what if I’m not fat-adapted? Please don’t confuse a NO NO Ride with a fasted ride.  If you are not fat-adapted then just pack all the goodies and treats you think you will need in your pockets.  My tip would be fuel is far more important than fluids on a ride of this nature.  SIS Isotonic gels is a cheat — liquid and gel 😉 or as I prefer, all my calories in my bottles – liquid fuel concentrate. Since you are not stopping to refill your bottles you need to decide how much fluids you plan to take.  On my ride I was only carrying one bottle on my bike and it was only 3/4 full bottle of coffee.

What did I do for this ride? For this ride there were no calories in my bottle just a few treats in my jersey pockets.  For the entire 7 hour ride I consumed 440 calories.  Three aforementioned SIS gel of 80 calories each, and one fig bar packet of the Costco variety, 200 calories.  Far below my requisite calories of 250-300 calories per hour (1,750 or 2,100 calories) According to the typically unreliable Heart Rate (HR) data I burned 5,837 calories (799 cal/hr) more on the dubious nature of HR data later.  For endurance rides I like to think my calorie burn is more in the 500-550 range.  According to power data I put out 3,575 kjs divided by 7 hours that puts me at 510 kjs per hour or roughly the equivalent 510 calories per hour. I rely, and I’ll admit quite heavily, on power data.

A quick aside on one of the differences between HR data (calories) and Power data (kjs) .  HR computes your calories burned based on your inputs into your software of height, weight, resting HR, Max HR, fitness level and even your age.  While kjs is computed by the pressure you apply to the pedals – more force more kjs. Let’s take for example a hilly ride, you climb your HR is elevated you descend your heart is still beating, albeit at a reduced rate.  Conversely, kjs would be accumulated while pedaling up the hill but once you crest and roll over the top you are no longer pedaling, at least not with any significant force, so you will not accumulate kjs.  By the end of long ride your continues HR data has been factoring into your calorie burn while your kjs were only accumulating during your climbs and not your descents.  There will be a disparity you can not avoid it.

Ok enough about that now back to NO NO Rides.  I suggest you start with something you think you can handle — a 2 hour NO NO Ride.  This is easily accomplished with just a little planning.  It’s possible you can or already have done this in the past.  Next milestone should be 3 hours, and continue on your way to 4 and 5 hour NO NO Rides.  Ideally, I think 4 hours is the sweet spot.  Depending on the topography in your local area that can be as much as 72 miles @18 mph or 52 miles @13 mph with a lot of steep climbing or somewhere in between of 60 miles @15 mph. A 4 hour NO NO ride should encompass most group ride activities.  Challenge your mates or gal pals to ride the entire group ride loop without stopping.

 

MY NO NO RIDE

 

Let’s take a few minutes to breakdown my ride with graphs from Training Peaks. If your eyes begin to glaze over from the data don’t worry you can skip to the end for the conclusion.  Keep in mind my readership spans the gamut from people that like when I spin a good yarn and yet some come to the blog for the hard data. This post is more hard data as it is going to be used as reference material for me for further experimentation of longer and longer NO NO Rides. Many of my posts are really just for me in the end.  My blog is a repository of my epic adventures, trials and tribulations, they span the time as a nascent ultra cyclist to the “old and frail” and in my current iteration as semi-retired hack.

I would like to preface the data that follows with a clear and discernible metric — this was an ENDURANCE ride.  High wattage output on climbs, surges or sprints were NOT priorities and in fact were discouraged.  When we ride double centuries we ride at endurance and tempo pace for hours and hours. This ride was intended to simulate the demands and mimic the same pacing, fueling and stopping strategies we use at our 200 milers or 500 milers.  Never mind the fact that I am not a human wattage cottage anyway!

DATA BREAKDOWN

Here are two basic metrics for you.  The first is my Heart Rate and the second will be Power for the day.  Zone 2 is generally considered Endurance Zone and Zone 3 is Tempo.  I spent roughly 2.5 hours in Zone 2 (120-145 bpm) and roughly 3.5 hours in Zone 3 (146-164 bpm).  The math is interesting because for the entire 7 hours my average HR was 143 bpm which is the top range of Zone 2 but the graph shows 1 hour more at Zone 3. FYI max HR for this 54 year old is still upwards of 185 bpm.

So what can we glean from this data?  Well in my humble opinion – nothing.  I have never had much faith in HR rate numbers.  Generally I all but ignore my HR while I am riding.  I don’t even have it on my data screens on my cycling computer.  I focus on my power.  But I also understand most cyclists don’t have power meters so I include it in my writings.  However, power meters have become so affordable that there is no reason why more riders don’t have power meters installed on their bikes.  Riders spend money on aerodynamic equipment such as high-end carbon wheels when they should prioritize a power meter purchase FIRST. HR data is relatable and transferable to other sports like running, swimming, rowing, cross country skiing  etc and for those reasons you will see it here.

One of my theories regarding my HR is that I was rested. My last ride was a New Year’s Day Century.  I believe my HR was elevated compared to my effort.  Based on the data it looks like I spent more time in Zone 3 Tempo when the goal for this ride was for it to be a strong Zone 2 Endurance ride. Again it isn’t alarming and perceived effort goes a long way in comparing and contrasting HR data with Power Meter data.

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POWER DATA

Let’s now look at power data as a check and balance to HR data.  I have always put more value in power data.  It is less susceptible to the vagaries of HR such as fatigue, weather, dehydration, cardiac drift, bonking and other things.

I should give a quick class on w/kg.  W/kg is an essential metric and universal.  To calculate w/kg First you take your weight in pounds convert it to kg then take the power you sustained and divide it by your weight in kg.  For example, my weight is 148 lbs, or 67.51 kg therefor 170 watts divided by 67.51 kg = 2.5 w/kg.  I say it is universal because a 125 lb female and a 165 lb male can climb a hill and we can distinguish who is the faster stronger rider by looking at their w/kg even if they are in different states or different parts of the world.  You know it this relationship as power to weight ratio.  You have heard it for years. Now we have the equipment, power meters, to evaluate human performance as we have evaluated motorsports vehicles in the past.

Normalized Power (NP) for the ride was 170 watts.     170 watts is also 2.5 w/kg you  can also see that IF .71  that means I was 71% of my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) FTP is the highest average power a rider can sustain for a 1 hour period.

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Zone 2 Endurance – for me is between 136-182 watts. I spent roughly 2 hours at Zone 2.

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To keep things interesting Lori and I pushed the pace a little on some of the climbs to Zone 3, 183-218 watts.  You can see from the chart above that I spent roughly 2 hours in Zone 3.

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Let’s address the elephant in the room or the chart shall we?  Zone 1, 0-134 watts it is a large bin and towers over all other zones, approximately 160 minutes.  At first glance it may appear that, “geez this guy was not doing ANY work out there” If you clean up the chart by excluding Zeros and change the bin size to 50 watts.  You will then see that 0-100 watts is barely 40 minutes of the ride and when climbing 10,000 plus feet on a ride guess what? – there is also 10,000 feet of descending as well which actually was more than 40 minutes total.  Not to mention that there is no need to pedal when descending over 35mph.  Here is a tidier version.

Power of 150-200 watts 38% of the time between 2.2 w/kg and 3.0 w/kg

Power of 200-250 watts 25% of the time between 3.0 w/kg and 3.7 w/kg

38+25 = 63% of the ride in the target power zones.  

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What are the key takeaways from this power data?

  1.  Pacing with a power meter kept me from riding harder than the self-prescribed goal of the day.
  2. I spent roughly 4 hours of a 7 hour training ride in the ideal zones that I need to train at to sustain and perform well at the double centuries coming next month  – Zone 2 and Zone 3

HOUR BY HOUR CUMULATIVE POWER DATA 

Having looked at my power numbers for the entire ride let’s now analyze as the ride progressed how well I stuck to my training objective for the day..  What follows is an hour by hour data dump.  You ready? Let’s go!

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First hour 1 minute stopped time.  NP 175 – 2.59 w/kg 11.8 miles with 1,556 feet of climbing

 

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Two hours – NP 178 watts 2.63 w/kg 28.4 miles and 2,586 feet of climbing with only 1:32 stopped time.

 

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Three hours – NP 176 watts 2.60 w/kg 41.5 miles and 4,000 feet of climbing with only 1:32 stopped time.

 

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Four hours – NP 175 watts 2.59 w/kg 54.2 miles and 5,638 feet of climbing with only 2:11 stopped time.

 

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Five hours – NP 172 watts 2.54 w/kg 72.0 miles and 6,409 feet of climbing with only 2:11 stopped time. This is remarkable considering San Diego is one of the top ten urban cities in the US I was able to ride for 5 hours and have only had Two minutes of stopped time to traffic controls. 

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Six hours – NP 172 watts 2.54 w/kg 87.5 miles and 7,715 feet of climbing with only 7:37 stopped time. At this point in the ride we were heading back in to town and the lights that were green early in the morning when traffic was light were now not in our favor they were more red than green.  Consider the fact that 2pm is busier than 8am and more motorists are out.

SOME INTERESTING DATA OF CLIMBS

Going from hour 5 to hour 6 there are two climbs of note, Sheers Grade (1.5 miles) and Champagne (2 miles) approximately mile 73.5 and mile 81, respectively.

Let’s look at those two hills in more detail. First images will show where they fall in the overall route and then they will be analyzed separately. Sheers grade comes first about mile 73.5 and then on the second image you can see Champagne at mile 81.

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Champagne Climb

 

Sheers grade is a little steeper (~7% grade) and easy to ride it at a higher wattage.  Champagne is not as steep (4.5% grade after a long approach) nor as steady of a grade.

THE LAST CLIMB IS ALL THAT MATTERS

I have always told my clients that the last climb is the only one that matters.  It’s a REVism << things that I think that I came up with and live by on the bike.

Last climb of the day with over 9,000 feet on our legs and 6 plus hours on the bike,  Twin Oaks and Double Peak.  By the way, I have Everested these two climbs in the past.  Everesting is 29,029 feet of climbing on one ride on one hill.  You may want to make note of the minimal stopped time during a 29,000 foot climbing day less than one hour in both of these efforts. You may also want to take note of one more thing my average power for the 14 hours of riding was also in the 171 and 175 watts.  Are you starting to see a pattern yet? I am a master at pacing my endurance rides or is it that using a power meter helps me to pace properly what do you think?  Yeah you’re right it’s the power meter.  GET ONE! I think I know a guy that owns a bike shop and get help you get sorted out hint hint.

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I digress here is the last climb err 2 climbs of the day.

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I climbed Twin Oaks and Double Peak at NP 175 2.6 w/kg (I know I was much lighter 7 hours into the ride but…) Take a look at the first hour of my ride with all these graphs it might have gotten lost in translation but here is the data “First hour 1 minute stopped time.  NP 175 – 2.59 w/kg 11.8 miles with 1,556 feet of climbing” here is the takeaway I rode as strong in the last 30 minutes of the ride as I rode in the first 30 minutes of the ride 7 hours later with 10,000 feet of climbing on my legs without having stopped for refueling, more liquids or anything.  All I had to drink on the entire ride was 16 oz of coffee.

 

SUMMARY OF THE DATA

First hour 1 minute stopped time.  NP 175 – 2.59 w/kg 11.8 miles with 1,556 feet of climbing

Two hours – NP 178 watts 2.63 w/kg 28.4 miles and 2,586 feet of climbing with only 1:32 stopped time.

Three hours – NP 176 watts 2.60 w/kg 41.5 miles and 4,000 feet of climbing with only 1:32 stopped time.

Four hours – NP 175 watts 2.59 w/kg 54.2 miles and 5,638 feet of climbing with only 2:11 stopped time.

Five hours – NP 172 watts 2.54 w/kg 72.0 miles and 6,409 feet of climbing with only 2:11 stopped time.

Six hours – NP 172 watts 2.54 w/kg 87.5 miles and 7,715 feet of climbing with only 7:37 stopped time.

Seven hours – the data for the total ride as indicated earlier in this post.  “Normalized Power (NP) for the ride was 170 watts.     170 watts is also 2.5 w/kg”

WHY DID I DO A NO NO RIDE?

When doing double centuries on a tandem there a few key strategies Lori and I employ and they are as follows:

  1. We minimized stopped time – because time off the bike is time you never get back
  2. We carry all our own nutrition so all we need is water from the aid stations – refer to #1
  3. We do not tarry at aid stations – we are cordial, always thank the volunteers but we grab it and go! Refer to #1
  4. We ride at a sustained effort for 10-14 hours for 10,000-17,000 feet of climbing with very little spikes in our efforts unless absolutely necessary.
  5. Stops for potty breaks or refueling are also held to a minimum.  Refer to strategy #1

WHY DID I CREATE THIS POST

It always amazes me how people who know nothing about my cycling history make a mockery of my cycling exploits and experiments. I’ve been doing hard rides for years. I have been doing epic shit for years. I have been doing NO NO Rides for years. I used to call them depletion rides.  These training rides were intended to drain me and then allow my body to heal itself through a theory of super compensation.

Way before social media existed and way before the “typewriter raider” was created.  The guy or gal that knows it all and knows what is good for you and how your training methods are foolish and/or ill conceived.  I have been testing the limits of my body, my endurance and my mental strength for going on 2 decades.  Here is another REVism -train the brain it is the most important and powerful muscle in your body.  But yes the typewriter raider the omniscient and often anonymous critic is a real thing. They’re out there just waiting to rain on your parade.   It’s ok and in fact I have pity for them because I see them and have known them in real life to be people who when you say, “Wow what a beautiful day” they respond with,  “Yeah but …” Many of the people who poo poo my efforts don’t know or take the time to discover who I am and what I have accomplished in my short but all in, no holds barred, Ultra Cycling career.  It is for that small segment of naysayers that sometimes I need to spend a few minutes to educate them, as well as the public at large, about how amazing our bodies are and how they can achieve superhuman feats of endurance … if you just HTFU!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  You can find me onStrava Instagram Twitter youtube 

You may also want to read about 8.5 hour fasted ride.

1,000,000 feet for 2019


It’s done!  George Vargas climbs 1,000,000 feet once again for 2019.  He has climbed 1M feet four out of the last five years.

A more thorough year in review post is coming soon.  It was a huge challenge to accomplish my goal this year.  It rained so often this spring I thought San Diego was going to float away. It was still raining into May.  Any other challenges?  I crashed twice!  In my first crash, in June, I dislocated my left elbow. My second crash in October I broke a bunch of bones.  I spent over 6 weeks off the bike rehabbing from my crashes and subsequent injuries.  Once back on the bike in November I had to bare down until today.  Here are a couple of screenshots.  If you are interested in reading about my 2019 year in review please click to follow the blog.  You can also follow me on Strava

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Fasted Endurance Ride – Rincon to Julian


In my continuing effort to find the limits of my new nutrition strategy, I rode 8.5 hours in the mountains of Southern California in a fasted state.  Here is the headline, I rode in a fasted state (previous meal 13 hours prior) I rode the entire 8.5 hours on water (Crystal light flavoring) no exogenous calories, 13,200 feet of climbing in the first 90 miles with negligible loss of performance to wit, a Personal Record (PR) on the last 12 mile climb of the day.  I should point out I have been riding that 12 mile climb for years! Cold temperatures in the 30’s, rain, sleet, winds and black ice … wait are we still in talking about riding in Southern California? You can follow me on Strava

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Tommasini X-Fire Stainless Steel Custom

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It is January and that can mean a wide range of weather.  Some days it can be in the mid 70’s and short sleeves and some days it can mean winter clothing.  We have had a cold spell for almost a week now.  Before you think “oh you Californians are spoiled you don’t know what cold really is like” Let me tell you that this kid is a New Jersey transplant and he knows cold.  He was also stationed, as a US Marine, in many parts of this country to include the great state of Washington where the winters were not pleasant when working outdoors on airplanes.

Often times after an epic ride I think to myself “Man what a difference a day makes”.  Today, Sunday, it is mild and sunny and 58F.  But yesterday, Saturday, oh yesterday was a different day entirely. As mentioned in the introduction, it was cold and raining and there was black ice lurking around many corners.

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Why am I emphasizing the weather so much?  Because cold temperatures put higher demands on your metabolism to keep your body warm and functioning properly.  So what keeps the body warm?  CALORIES! 8.5 hours of exposure to an average temperature of 44F is taxing on the body.  So where did the increased amount of calories come from if there were no exogenous calories consumed during this ride?  My fat stores!   Being on a Ketogenic diet has afforded me the ability to tap into my fat stores while riding these long endurance training rides.  The Ketogenic diet is high in healthy fats, moderate protein and very low carbohydrates.

My dear friends in the Midwest and other places like to give me grief because I complain about the cold when it’s only 65F lol!  I know it’s all in good fun, but yes I am a delicate flower that doesn’t like to ride in cold temperatures.  But here’s the thing -even when those friends of mine brag about riding in 40F or 30F they never have to deal with 30 minutes of descending at 40+ mph in 30F.  The wind-chill factor makes the temperatures feel like you are riding in the low teens.  It’s horrible to be wet, descending a mountain in the cold with black ice hiding around any corner.  You have to be alert and react quickly but not abruptly.  Your hands are frozen and you have lost dexterity and that touch.   You know that special touch on the brakes … the gentle squeeze, the skill you have honed over the years and that you are very proud of as a free fall descender.   Meanwhile you are wet and shivering and fighting to keep your machine under control the entire way down.  It takes enormous skill level and a high degree of confidence to get it done.  You HAVE to get it done … you’re not going to call for a ride. YOU have to get yourself down the mountain.

Look at the graph below you will notice the lowest temperatures of the day were on my final descent.  After being on the bike 8 hours temps in the low 30’s and now begin a 15 mile descent.  I should have been completely depleted of glucose and had poor muscle function and brain fog.  So how was I sharp as a tack with such elevated mental acuity this late in the day after such a long effort?  My body was creating Ketones and the brain loves to run on Ketones! Where did the Ketones come from? My fat stores!

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Here is what I find most interesting about my entire ride yesterday.  I PR’d the final climb of the day.  Wouldn’t you think that I would be completely depleted not having taken in any calories on such a long ride?  6 hours and 20 minutes into the ride I hit the final 12 mile climb of 3,000 feet of gain with no calories consumed since when … 7pm Friday night!  At this point we are talking 19.5 hours since the last time I consumed any calories!!   Oh did I tell you that I had done a 72 hour fast just 2 days before this effort?  Did I tell you that I am eating only One Meal A Day (OMAD)? Where did the calories come from to make this PR effort possible?  My fat stores!

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The training objective for the day was to ride at 3 w/kg.  Yesterday morning my weight was 64.2 kg or 141.5 lbs.  3 w/kg for me is the top of Zone 2 Endurance zone from 140-189 watts.  3 x 64.2 kg = 192 watts I was very close to achieving my goal with zero averaging  at 2.71 w/kg with a NP of 174 watts.  Now let’s look at the final climb after 6 plus hours in the saddle I held 183 w NP for 2.85 w/kg right on target for up to 8 hours or riding.  If you track Heart Rate data — I climbed it at 150 bpm max is 188 bpm.  I am really excited about this result!  The burning question is where did this energy come from?  My fat stores!

FYI – this climb has a few drops so keeping a high power output for the entire climb is difficult to begin with and heck I’m an endurance guy so 200 watts over a long day on the bike is a good day 🙂

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So what I am looking to achieve with the Ketogenic diet?  What is the purpose of these no calorie endurance rides?  I am searching for metobolic flexibility.  This is the ability to use not only carbohydrates but my fat stores as well.  If you are a “sugar burner” you will not successfully tap into your fat stores because you have not reset your metabolism to prefer fat burning.  When you are a “fat burner”  you can tap into your fat stores and use Ketones to fuel yourself.  I am working on being able to use my Ketones for long steady state endurance events and when I need that burst of high intensity power use the glucose stored in my muscles.  Being a Ketogenic athlete allows for glucose sparing for when you really need it.

How can this help me as endurance athlete?  Think back to any race, event or training session when you have bonked.  That was a horrible feeling wasn’t it?  What if you can make yourself “Bonk Proof”? Many athletes fail to realize their full potential because of metabolic failures. That’s right they fail not because they weren’t trained properly with regards to their cardiovascular fitness or muscle strength, stamina or endurance.  They fail because metabolically they are not using the most abundant and almost never-ending fuel source they have onboard … their fat stores!  Bonk Proof consider the possibilities…

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  How about a thousands thoughts?  A thousand possibilities?  Have you ever seen a tanker truck driving down the freeway or at your local gas station?  Did you know that massive rig is using a diesel engine up front and towing gasoline in its trailer?  The tractor is carrying 150-300 gallons of diesel to power itself but it is towing approximately 90,000 gallons of gasoline.  What if the diesel is the stored glucose in your muscles and your liver and then gasoline is your fat stores?  Consider the possibilities of tapping into the huge amount of stored energy you are lugging around with you everyday.  If you are a “sugar burning” athlete when your 150 or 300 gallons of diesel fuel runs out you are either going to bonk or you need to keep replenishing during your event, race or training workout.  But that means stopping to refuel and what if you can’t find something or you are running neck and neck with a competitor during a race? Do you take the risk and stopping to refuel or go until you bonk or hope that you don’t.  Those fat stores are just sitting there… USE THEM!

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By the way, I have also dispensed with the customary almost obligatory ingesting of protein/carbohydrate recovery drink within the 30 minute magic window.  I mean who created this magic window?  The nutrition companies?  What did I have instead? I had coffee, mostly black lol I threw in a little Stevia.

 

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One final note.  I am very impressed with the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt.  It indicated a max elevation of 5,654 ft while the posted elevation sign was 5,665!  Amazing under normal weather conditions but as mentioned throughout this post the weather was less than ideal! Well done Wahoo!

 

Some terms used in this post …. #sugarburner #fatburner #ketolifestyle #ketogenicdiet #fasting #intermittentfasting #omad

Oceanside Double Century Survival Guide


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Here are few pointers and REV Tips for success for those wishing to tackle the Oceanside Double Century on October 27, 2018.  The event is put on by my friend and awesome human being, Anny Beck of Mountain High Cycling.  The route covers many of the roads I use to train on a regular basis.  I have intimate knowledge of these roads and know just about every roller and pothole on this course.

A few other things I would like you to keep in mind as you ride the 194 miles and 15,700 ft of climbing.

Your number one priority should be to climb out of Borrego Springs on Montezuma Grade before 1pm. The winds can kick up something horrific and can make the 11 mile climb as much as 2 hours of grinding into the wind which is generally a downdraft from Ranchita (town at the top) but can also have no apparent wind direction except for keeping you from climbing up.  From time to time you might get a tailwind but it is short-lived.  Early starters should get down Banner Grade (descent from Julian) to Yaqui Pass and through Borrego Springs before the winds kick up too bad. The LEFT turn MILE 99 on to Borrego Springs Rd can be a freaking wind tunnel with winds as much as 20, 30, 40 mph. It will be a very stiff block headwind for only a handful of miles but it can be very humbling to be pushing your hardest into that wind and only going 8-10 mph on flat terrain.

Ok so what about before Borrego Springs which is nearly 100 miles into the ride? I suggest quick stops on the outbound portion of your event.  Remember it is key to climb out of Borrego Springs before 1pm (preferably earlier of course).   The first 19.8 miles are flat until the LEFT onto La Bajada then you will have steep rollers through Rancho Santa Fe. Rancho Santa Fe roads are some of the worst roads on this route even though it is the most expensive place to live in San Diego County and even nationally.  The roads are very narrow as well.  Be careful on Del Dios Hwy make sure you are very visible someone was hit during this event a year or two ago.

MILE 40 Hwy 78 you start a long gradual climb for the next 10 miles.  Some sections are really narrow – stay single file. Stay alert with your head on a swivel.  Personally, I never ride this road on my training rides.

Old Julian Hwy is one of my favorite roads in San Diego County MILE 51 ish to MILE 59 ish. Wynola at MILE 68.5 is another one of my favorite roads. Some of the best country riding on the route.

Don’t miss the RIGHT turn at MILE 71.8 onto Farmers Rd. (slight downhill) There has been sand and gravel on that hard right turn for months so be careful. Farmers Rd has about four kickers of double digit grades so be ready for them.

LONG descent from Julian to Yaqui Pass MILE 74 ish TO MILE 94 ish and the winds do all kinds of swirling on your descent. Yaqui Pass often has a tailwind climbing it. You also may also have a tailwind once you summit Yaqui Pass until the LEFT onto Borrego Springs Road (MILE 94 ish – 99 ish)

Montezuma Grade is tough at any time in a ride but especially so with 100 plus miles ad about 8,000 feet of climbing on your legs.  The forecast for Borrego Springs is a high of 95F.  But the heat coming off the pavement can raise the ambient temperature where you are riding by an additional 10F degrees.  Of course as our luck would have it we are riding on the hottest day of the week through Borrego Springs and Puama Valley with a cooling trend starting on Sunday.

Fear not though after slogging up Montezuma grade you are rewarded with A LOT of downhill from Ranchita MILE 117 – MILE 154.9 to Cole Grade. Cole Grade is a tough steep climb with sustained sections of double digits.  It is my preferred road to exit Puama Valley because the traffic is significantly less than Valley Center Road.  Cole Grade has a few rollers but it is generally downhill until Miller Rd.  Miller is generally downhill until Valley Center Rd.  Miller is a RIGHT turn after the big downhill and uphill through the traffic light (you’ll know it when you see it and you will laugh at my description) don’t miss the turn RIGHT MILE 161 Miller Road is safer than staying on Cole Grade to Valley Center.

MILE 167.3 RIGHT to stay on Lilac is easy to miss. Lots of rolling terrain with a lot of generally downhill sections following poppers.  The hard part of the double is all behind you now.  You are literally going downhill for the next 20 ish miles and onto the bike path.  If it is mid to late afternoon you will have a block headwind again.  But if you are on the bike path after sunset it is easy cruising into the finish.  It is advisable that you have paired up with at least one other rider for the last 8 miles on the bike path to Oceanside so you can share the workload.

I wish everyone good luck and tailwinds!

If you haven’t already download the Epic Weather Ride App here.  It based on your start time and averages speed it will give you a forecast for the entire route.  As you know you can’t rely on the weather forecast for the start/finish town since you are doing a Big Ass Loop of 200 miles 🙂 Download it and use it — it is REV RECOMMENDED!

Solvang Autumn Double Century


On October 20, 2018 George Vargas and Lori Hoechlin completed the Solvang Autumn Double Century, put on by Planet Ultra  , on the tandem with 11,900 feet in a total time of 11:41 and for those keeping track of ride time only it was 11:13.  It was George Vargas’s 53rd Double Century and Lori Hoechlin’s 38th Double Century.  It was our 6th Double Century of the 2018 season, all 6 on the tandem.  We were fortunate and had a mechanical and flat-free day — sort of.  The biggest obstacles of our epic adventure were the pothole-ridden roads and early morning cold and afternoon heat. We had ONE goal a sub 12 hour finish – mission accomplished!

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I would like to thank Deb Bowling and Planet Ultra for putting on an excellent event.  The looped course coming back to the hotel at 50 ish, 100 ish miles and eventually at the finish was very helpful for riders using their vehicle as an additional SAG.  On the course, the SAG stops were well placed and well stocked, the course was well marked and Roving SAG was seen multiple times during the day.  The volunteers were plentiful and awesome!  Please always thank the volunteers at your events.  For those I didn’t thank on the course, because we didn’t stop at your aid station, I appreciate you being out there as well.  Honestly, I don’t think it could have been any better run!  If you wish to do an intermediate-level double century this one should definitely be at the top of your list.  Thank you Deb!

Next, I would like to thank my stoker, Lori, who was a steady and powerful force on the back of the tandem during the entire day.  She had a few cramps on Drum Canyon coming from Hwy 246 but she toughed it out.

I would like to thank our two riding mates for nearly the entire Double, Brook Henderson and TJ Knight.  They are two very strong riders and veterans of the double century community.  Lori and I are usually in no man’s land either off the front or just off the shirt tails of the lead pack. Riders come and go wanting to draft the tandem.  Some of them shoot up the hills or mountains and then there are others that can’t sustain the pace.  Either way, Lori and I end up riding alone for 10-12 hours on these doubles.  It was very nice to ride with the lead pack for the first 70 ish miles, of which Brook and TJ were an important component of and contributed equally to ensure a good steady pace. But it was even nicer to ride the rest of the course with Brook and TJ!  Thank you gentlemen!

The two toughest parts of the day for us were Drum Canyon and Foxen Canyon.  After finishing the first 100 mile loop we came upon Drum Canyon from Hwy 246.  The steep ramps over 12% were very difficult on the tandem.  Lori started to cramp which made it very difficult to keep the tandem balanced and propel the bike forward and up the canyon with one hampered rider and massive loss of power that Lori provides.  When she would stand out of pure necessity to keep her legs from locking up it made the bike unstable and hard to control at below 4 mph.  Normally, getting up on the tandem is a coordinated and timed effort.  Fortunately, I would respond quickly enough to keep us from toppling over.  Just at our worse possible moment Ronald Iseri, Roving SAG, came by us.  He had stopped to take pictures of us but we definitely needed to pull over right then and there.  After a cold Pepsi and a Mountain Dew and some water top offs we were back on the road and finished the climb in much better spirits.

Foxen Canyon was a LONG steady and gradual climb of single digits.  It was just enough of a grade where we could not ride it in the big ring (55T) so we were in our middle ring (39T) for the majority of the 10 or 15 miles from mile 160 ish to 170 ish.  Drum Canyon was tough on us physically.  Foxen Canyon was tough on us mentally because it was never-ending and it never seemed like you were climbing.

Special thanks to Robert and Dee Mann.  They have installed themselves recently as fixtures at these double centuries. They are selfless and seemingly always volunteering. Dee thank you so much for the homemade cookies at the lunch stop and mile 180 ish.  The hug after Drum Canyon at lunch recharged me emotionally THANK YOU!

Now a quick explanation on the “sort of” comment in the introduction regarding being flat-free.  Coming out of the lunch stop (mile 118) we got a puncture on the front tire.  We were running tubeless and I felt the sealant spraying out of the left sidewall onto my left leg.  I was concerned for two reasons.  One being a sidewall puncture sometimes they don’t seal in time before all the sealant sprays out and two the front tire was inflated to 100 psi and higher pressures also prevents punctures from sealing.  Typically one of the benefits of riding tubeless is riding lower tire pressures.  On a tandem we are nearly 300 lbs (wet weight).  Tires feel squishy unless they are at least 95% of max pressure indicated on the sidewall.  On my solo bike I am between 80-85 psi on a 25mm tire on a 26mm external width rim.  Fortunately, the tire sealed.  When we got to the finish we checked the pressure of the front tire and it only had 40 psi in it.  Maybe that is why Foxen Canyon (160 ish to 170 ish) felt like such a long slog lol!! But seriously, another benefit of riding tubeless is one of safety.  The tire bead is less likely to unseat when you ride lower tire pressure … say for example you have a puncture on a descent or at a high rate of speed you should be able to slow the bike down to a safe and manageable speed before the tire completely deflates and the bead unseats from the rim.

Lastly because the event was chip-timed we had results within 24 hours!  I think Double Century riders are willing to pay a little extra for chip timing in their entry fee.  I don’t know how the math works out but I appreciate prompt posting of results.  Once again thank you Planet Ultra for chip timing and timely posting of the results!

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At the finish with L-R, Lori, Brook, George, TJ

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At the start I noticed this rider’s number “the 508” came to mind 🙂 (10x finisher)

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Daytime running lights front and rear for safety

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The early morning train – started as 11 bikes, then 9 bikes, then 7 bikes, then 6 bikes, eventually it was 3 bikes Brook, TJ and us.

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The early day shadow selfie

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The late day shadow selfie we finished just before complete darkness

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Alexis, Brook, George and Lori came across the line all together the delta in our time is based on the when we crossed the chip timing machine at the start in single file so as to ensure everyone would register on the machine.

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And now a rant – it really bugs me when people post their Strava rides, events and/races on social media using their ride time as opposed to their total time. Why is this a pet peeve of mine? Well let me give you an example. Let’s say you are doing a Double Century and you roll out at 5am and finish at 10pm. Let’s also say that you stopped at each aid station refilled your bottles took potty breaks and socialized with the volunteers. Additionally, you stopped at the lunch stop and had a great little meal. Then you download your ride and your ride time was 14 hours. Why would you post your Strava ride on social media as 14 hours when it actually took you 17 hours?! When the results are posted your time will be 17 hours. The only time that counts is TOTAL TIME from when you cross the start line until you cross the finish line. Where and when did this Mickey Mouse shit start where people post their ride time? You’re fooling yourself that it takes you 14 hours to complete a Double Century. Then you sit back and accept all the accolades from your friends on how wonderfully you did at your DC finishing it in 14 hours. No!! It took you 17 hours and that is what you should post. Rant over

What’s next for the George “Red Eyed Vireo” Vargas and Lori Hoechlin — aka Hutton’s Vireo (when on the tandem)?  I will be doing the Oceanside Double Century on October 27, 2018  on my solo bike.  Lori will be racing a hill climb up Gibraltar Rd in Santa Barbara.  You can follow me on Strava here  Please SUBSCRIBE to the blog and please post comments.  I read them all and make every effort to respond to you.  Until the next epic adventure … I’ll see you on the road!