diglloyd Wind in My Face
Lloyd’s Biking

The Speed You Need


100% Kona, 100% Family Owned

diglloyd Photography

Thank you for buying your:
Computer gear through OWC.
• Morning wakeup via Kona Coffee.
• Anything else via AMAZON.

It only take a moment to bookmark this page and use these links!

Eight Ascents of Old La Honda

I previously analyzed six ascents of Old La Honda for power/weight/time and power meter consistency precision).

I haven’t yet analyzed this 8-ascent workout in depth, but I am pleased with the effort on a hot and more humid than usual day. I made one mistake though: I should have taken Endurolytes as I was feeling funky by the 8th ascent and it was not simple fatigue.

To put things into perspective, 8 ascents of Old La Honda (about 10,200 vertical feet in total) is a wimp ride in comparison to the Everest Challenge: it’s like doing only the first two climbs of the first day (Bishop Creek / South Lake and Pine Creek), leaving out the monster 3rd leg: lower Rock Creek and upper Rock Creek. That’s why for me, the Rock Creek sections always are an effort of will (though I am rarely if ever passed on the final leg; I usually pass a few dozen people). I am toast by the end, and that is only the first day, hence recovery is critical.

Click for larger graph.

Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-30)
Eight ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-30)

First Look: Stages Cycling Power Meter Crank on Mountain Bike

The Stages Cycling left-side crank solution is a simple and quick swap-out of the left crank arm (so right side crankset can be a double or triple or whatever no change needed). I installed it on my Moots Mooto X YBB mountain bike.

Below is a first look at the power (watts) recorded from the Stages Cycling power meter crank (using the Garmin Edge 500). It’s terrific to finally have power readings for my mountain biking adventures.

I’ve long enjoyed power meter feedback on my road bike. Power measurements are an objective metric independent of heart rate, wind, slope, etc, and thus a valuable training aid over time. See Training with a Power Meter.

The main issue I ran into does not involve the Stages Cycling power meter crank at all. Rather, it is the flaky Garmin Edge 500, which notched the data recording numerous times as I was outputting 300 - 400 watts up steep pitches under tree cover: it loses the GPS signal and thus stops recording even as it is receiving these high power readings. This and similar brain dead behavior has existed for years. How can it make sense to stop recording when power readings are being received? It makes no sense. But this does point out that a power meter solution requires both the measurement device and a good “head unit”.

So I look forward to the SRM Power Control 8, which is due out this fall, and which I’m told (by SRM) will support the Stages Cycling power meter crank. My SRM PC7 has been bulletproof reliable with ultra long battery life and highly consistent elevation and ascent readings (altimeter).

Click for larger graph.

Power (watts) as recorded by Garmin Edge 500 from Stages Cycling XTR MTB power meter crank
Power (watts) as recorded by Garmin Edge 500 from Stages Cycling XTR MTB power meter crank

Stages Replaces Damaged Crank Overnight

See my damage report. Bad luck with a rock high in the White Mountains.

The replacement crank showed up overnight as promised (at no charge), is now on the bike and I’m heading out to make a nice “recording” of my power on an MTB route I used to ride a lot.

I didn’t ask for a replacement and of course user-inflicted rock damage is hardly something a company should have to cover, so Stages Cycling went way beyond what my expectations. See the discussion on the Power Meter Protection plan.

Stages Cycling crank as whacked by a rock
Stages Cycling crank as whacked by a rock

Stages Cycling Power Meter: Mechanical Damage on 2nd Ride from Rock Slam (bummer)

Update: Stages has gone above and beyond my expectations, see customer support experience comments that follow towards the end of this piece.

The one all-day extreme ride for which I really wanted power meter readings (White Mountain Peak) could not be recorded, due to near immediate mechanical damage to the Stages Cycling crankarm.

Shown below is a Stages Cycling power meter crankarm as 'hit': the cap and battery are missing, lying among rocks somewhere high in the White Mountains. This is a Shimano XTR mountain bike crankarm. The cap and battery went missing on the 2nd ride; those rocks near the summit of White Mountain Peak are very unfriendly to bikes.

The tape at bottom is some gaffer’s tape I wrapped over the exposed innards to protect it. Once repaired, I think I’ll wrap tape semi-permanently over the protruding assembly so that the cap and battery cannot be popped off and get lost again. It points to what I feel is a flawed design for mountain biking: it is to be expected that when mountain biking, rocks and what-not can bounce up and hit just about anything, particularly the protruding Stages “wart” no the crankarm. Perhaps the design should anticipate that, such as with an extra strength metal surround, or a plastic sheath around the unit—whatever it takes—the user should not have to invent a protection solution.On the other hand, this might be a little harsh: it looks like the unit took a good hit from a rock and I suppose any piece of gear can suffer from such things: bad luck here.

While I know that anything can get 'knocked' while mountain biking, it shows that the design can suffer from from impacts. I like my gear to be bulletproof (like SRM power meters), but of course I’ve never hit my SRM crankset with rocks (on the road), and maybe its calibration would then be affected too. I’m just frustrated that the one ride for which I wanted power readings had none; it’s an all-day effort that I have time to do only once or twice a year.

Stages Cycling crank as whacked by a rock Stages Cycling crank as whacked by a rock

Stages Cycling customer support

I value customer support and lightning-fast turnaround which is why I rely on SRM for my road bike power meter data . In this case, I submitted a support request on the Stages Cycling web site at 10:30 AM California time, as well as leaving a voice message; no one answered the phone at support or sales (recorded message). I suppose Monday can be extra busy.

Late in the day (5:33 PM PST) I did get a phone call from the Stages Cycling Colorado facility (7:33 PM for them), which I appreciate since that’s after closing hours. Stages promised to send me two replacement caps/covers.

The next morning, Stages Cycling called me again, this time to explain that the damage probably would not be fixed by replacement covers, and offered to replace the crankarm, which is way above and beyond, since it is clearly damage, not a product defect.

Stages had this to say (highlighting added by WIND):

Very sorry to see that it took a rock hit and failed on you. We're sending a replacement. We did notice that this experience shook your faith in our design, so we wanted to offer a bit of insight/opinion.

The Stages Power meter has been in use in the world cup, both XC and DH, as well as the EWS circuit for the last two seasons, and yes, we've seen a limited number of failures due to rock hits or other unforeseen trail encounters, but the fallout has been very small.

We should point out that if you simply tap a chainring of the favored SRM on a rock or log, there is a good chance you will throw the calibration off. Far from bullet proof. The real issue here, is that a rider will then continue along thinking they've got good data, but it's really bad data due to the hit, and they'll really never know it. Far from the accuracy claims made. Of course checking chainring bolt torques and changing rings all requires a recalibration too, and this user recalibration introduces another chance for inaccuracy. And finally we've seen off adjusted magnets wear through SRM cases on their sponsored pros bikes.

The point isn't to single out SRM, but to illustrate that these are all delicate and precise measuring devices and all susceptible to possible issues, especially on a mountain bike. Realizing this, we have a plan in place to give peace-of-mind to those investing in and using power off-road.

What we absolutely recommend is our Power Meter Protection plan for off-road, downhill and cyclo-cross enthusiasts using our meter in the most extreme cases. This gives a rider 2 years of no questions asked replacement in the case of damage, for a nominal cost. Furthermore, even with the added protection package, you'll find the Stages Power meter costs about 1/3 of the cost of an SRM.

I know your help request was answered by our Tech Support team, but I'm not sure they were aware it was due to a rock hit. I'm pretty sure, by looking at the housing, that the doors alone won't fix your problem. So that's why we want to replace it and have you continue your review.

WIND will definitely be reporting on the power meter with more experience. It’s nice to have power readings on MTB finally.

More on the Stages PMP (Power Meter Protection) plan

Stages Cycling mechanical failure on 2nd mountain bike ride

I also learned that Stages offers a power meter protection plan.

In my view the PMP plan is a no-brainer, greatly increasing the value of the total product offering over time. Kudos to Stages Cycling for offering this plan, which I now enjoy.

Summary details

Purchase the PMP plan and enjoy the additional peace of mind when using your Stages Power meter in any/all cycling disciplines, even those with the most severe conditions, from muddy 'cross to rock strewn DH. Stages Cycling will protect your valuable investment from the unforeseen and often unavoidable risks.

Program Benefits:

Comprehensive warranty coverage including accidental damage for a period of 2-years from the date of purchase.

Accidental damage is product failure due to items such as: water damage, impact damage due to rocks or crashes, essentially any failure of the product brought on by reasonable use.

Program Limitations:

Stages Power meter must have been purchased from an authorized dealer or from Stages Cycling direct

PMP must be purchased within 14-days of original product purchase

A Stages Cycling Representative will contact you by email to collect: proof of purchase, the power meter model/serial # information and activate program coverage

- Does not cover loss or theft of the covered product
- Does not cover deliberate damage, or damage associated with improper installation

About 13,500' elevation near summit of White Mountain Peak — relatively smooth section!
About 13,500' elevation near summit of White Mountain Peak — relatively smooth section!

As usual, the Garmin Edge 500 had large errors. It is off by 1860 feet (finish elevation should match start elevation, and summit elevation is wrong).

Click for larger image.

Elevation profile round trip from camp to Owens River to White Mtn Peak summit and back
Elevation profile round trip from camp to Owens River to White Mtn Peak summit and back

Glycogen Releases Water, Delaying Dehydration

An interesting physiological point of reckoning for those analyzing their training, including fluid needs: How Much Water is Released by Glycogen 'Burning'.

Analysis of Six Ascents of Old La Honda

I analyze six ascents of Old La Honda for power/weight/time and power meter consistency precision).

Six ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-03)
Six ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-03)
Six ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-03)
Six ascents of Old La Honda Road (2014-08-03)

Truck Runs Me Off the Road on Old La Honda, Autobahn VR Damage

Coming down Old La Honda, I rounded a very blind corner to be confronted with an easy decision: leave the road, or engage in “truck sampling”. I left the road, which had a steep side dropoff, and plopped down on my leg and hip and ankle. The ankle got the worst of it (sock ripped right through), but it’s OK.

The driver stopped up the road a bit (did not get out of truck), but as soon as he saw me dust off, he continued on up. Never did check on me.

It was the Town of Woodside tree-trimming crew, and I probably should have made an issue of it, but I did not. This particular idiot thought it was a good idea to round a very blind corner way too wide, thus completely blocking the road to a few inches of the opposite side (my side). About 1/4 mile further down, his buddy did something even more stupid by deciding to pass two other cyclists who were ascending. This time, time I had just enough road to clear. You can’t make this stuff up—two morons in one day. But I praised my luck for not being seriously hurt.

It’s simple: if you can’t see around the corner, don’t pass. Drivers like that should have their driving license revoked.

Anyway my Lightweight Autobahn VR was damaged. I’m investigating repair and/or maybe Lightweight will honor the replacement guarantee. It seems to be non-structural (fairing) but with carbon fiber better safe than sorry, so in it goes to Palo Alto Bicycles to assess.

UPDATE: Palo Alto Bicycles contacted Lightweight for me: the damage is cosmetic not structural as I had guessed. The only issue is sealing the gash against ingress of water or various, which I have done with gaffer’s tape. I’m going to ride it through September, then have it repaired (about a month turnaround).

Damage to Lightweight Autobahn VR rim
Damage to Lightweight Autobahn VR rim

Strong Again

My strength has returned (though my gut is still not entirely happy).

Actually, I’ve been riding at very high sustained levels hardly seen even in 2012, though my peak power is still well below the best 2012 levels—different energy systems.

Many thanks to the persistence of Kevin over at 3DBikeFit.com with this fit. It clearly is letting me generate 10-15% higher sustained long term power than my peak year of 2012.

The workout below follows a demanding prior week. For me 243 watts on this standard workout is quite a high power level. Clearly my gluteus muscles are engaged because this did not even feel hard—and note the heart rate of 131 bpm at 243 watts, solidly aerobic.

My standard length workout showing strong sustained power levels (243 watts)
My standard length workout showing strong sustained power levels (243 watts)

This ride below was much harder and shows a clear need to train the high end (peak power). The disappointing 296 watts up Tunitas Creek felt very hard—I should be doing 340 watts for that perceived effort. It took a few days to recover properly.

Long workout (3100 calories) over 4 hours with hard climb towards end
Long workout (3100 calories) over 4 hours with hard climb towards end

Back Training Again, Recovered From Illness — well, not so fast: Contaminated Turkish Apricots?

Update: how crazy. Less than 24 hours after I wrote the text that follows below the logs, terrible abdominal bloating, extremely uncomfortable left side chest ache/pain, right side localized pain, feeling hot as if feverish. Same deal as what I fought for 6 weeks so I'm quite concerned.

Terrible flatulence night of 7/12, so something 7/12 kicked off a strong reaction all over again, the one I fought for weeks. Food reaction or infectious? Is it the food or is it something else like a certain type of wheat?

Scared that the problem is gonna persist as before.

UPDATE: the apricots that I suspect as the root cause are from Turkey, which is signficant, see quote and link to scientific paper below.

UPDATE 2 July 20: stomach isn’t right yet and the localized right side pain persists on and off (I call it RSG = “right side gurgle” because of highly localized air bubbles; I can massage the area and make gurling noises there, something ain't right in that spot). But my training has not been interrupted in spite of my abdomen remainins unsettled and carrying water weight. To be clear, this is something very different from conventional food poisoning (no diarrhea).

daily food log

See comments that follow.

daily food log

Organic turkish-style dried apricots suspicious: have caused severe gas before. I am an idiot or eating them. Could they be contaminated (who could test them?) or some kind of food reaction? Or could it be a certain type of whole grain wheat as per 7/13 diet? Or the pecans or nut bar? Had not eaten pecans in July until 7/11 (35g).

Update: the apricots I strongly suspect as the cause are from Turkey, which dovetails neatly with the mite contamination theory that follows.

The apricots are not too far-fetched, as this article makes clear (mite contamination including mycotoxin- producing fungi). I will have to find their source. As an organic product, this seems even more possible than treated apricots (presumably no multispectral fumigant methyl-bromide). So it’s a long shot, but as this article states, the question of intestinal acariasis or other issue has a real scientific basis for considering it:

The introduction of live insects into human food is rare in developed countries. However we report, for the first time, an emerging risk that exists from dried fruit in Central Europe.

Recently, massive and frequent infestation of dried fruit imported from the Mediterranean region by the mite Carpoglpyhus lactis L. (Acarina: Carpoglyphidae) has been found. In 180 samples taken from supermarkets, 13% were contaminated; the contamination levels ranged from 0 to 660 mites per g of dried fruit. The contamination was found in dried apricots, figs, plums and raisins.


Because mites are well-known allergen producers (Colloff 2009), house dust mites are a primary concern because of their proximity to humans. However, recently, there has been an increasing number of reports describing the sensitization of humans not only to Dermatophagoides mites but also to stored-product mites (Fernandez-Caldas 1997).

The consumption of pest mites may cause allergic reaction and also direct infestation in the form of intestinal acariasis (Li et al. 2003). Allergy risk is heightened by the limited options available for effective mite chemical control using traditional pesticides (Hubert et al. 2007).

The second risk is associated with the vectoring of mycotoxin-producing fungi. The association of mites and mycotoxin-producing fungi such as Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp. has been reported (Aucamp 1969; Franzolin et al. 1999; Hubert et al. 2004). The contamination of dried fruit by aflatoxins and ochratoxin is a common event (Trucksess and Scott 2008). During their migration, mites can disseminate the fungal spores. The risks associated with C. lactis are possible allergen production and vectoring of mycotoxin-producing fungi. Although there is no evidence of this for C. lactis, evidence does exist for related species of mites. The contamination of dried fruit is directly correlated with the risk of direct consumption of hazardous mites.

Or they could be radioactive (see nih.gov Chernobyl's radioactive contamination of food and people or this piece realizing that reality and fear-mongering are often two different things). I do not have a geiger counter to test for radioactive contamination or even know if it could test for Cesium-137:

In many European countries levels of I-131, Cs-134/137, Sr-90, and other radionuclides in milk, dairy products, vegetables, grains, meat, and fish increased drastically (sometimes as much as 1,000-fold) immediately after the catastrophe. Up until 1991 the United States imported food products with measurable amounts of Chernobyl radioactive contamination, mostly from Turkey, Italy, Austria, West Germany, Greece, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Sweden, and Denmark. These products included juices, cheeses, pasta, mushrooms, hazelnuts, sage, figs, tea, thyme, juniper, caraway seeds, and apricots.

Generally felt OK in morning through about 13:00, but then mild symptoms start to build steadily to considerable discomfort at 17:00.

The following was written about 24 hours prior to the above

Two months shot from an unknown 'bug', which I suspect was an internal infection, hard to kill, perhaps something E. Coli like. I was able to ride over that period with varying success, generally (in June) rides at 1/3 and 1/2 distance at low power, and skipping some days.

After nearly two weeks of a course of Clarithromycin antibiotic and continuing internal left-chest and right-abdominal pain, and a show-nothing ultrasound and X-ray, I inadvertantly took 3 antibiotic pills on the 29th of June day instead of two.

The very next day the fatigue vaporized, the pain retreated, and I had a good hard ride. I repeated that dosage the next day. Over the next ~5 days the pains steadily diminished and then disappeared. I think I had a pernicious hard-to-kill bug internally. All it took was a higher dose. It could have been a wild coincidence, but that’s sure the way it looks to me.

I've had good strong workouts now since June 30, so I think the bug is finally killed off. While it made me miss all my planned late April through late June events, I am elated to be back to normal again.

Up to 8TB of Thunderbolt Storage!

diglloyd.com | Terms of Use | PRIVACY POLICY
Contact | About Lloyd Chambers | Consulting | Photo Tours
Mailing Lists | RSS Feeds | Twitter
Copyright © 2008-2014 diglloyd Inc, all rights reserved.