What to Wear for Cool Weather Cycling

Posted on October 08, 2014 by Christopher Vassiliades

Fall apparel rundown.

Fall riding is some of the best riding of the year. The cool crisp weather makes the perfect temperature to enjoy some time on your bicycle. A lot of people avoid riding outside this time of year because they are not quite sure how to dress for a day that might start at 55 and end at 75 (like our group ride did Saturday morning). Luckily for all of you, an apparel degree and lots of time on my bike qualifies me to give some reasonable advice on this subject.

The trick to dressing for this weather is the same as staying warm through the brutal Chicago winter, layer up! Depending on your threshold for cold you may want to toss on a base layer top. There are a few options here from a normal base layer, to a thermal, to a wind stopper. I like the wind stopper a lot, especially around here where the wind can be brutal. Then next step is keeping the extremities warm. For those days when it is going to warm up the minute the sun comes over the lake, leg and arm warmers are your best bet. These items are great because as you warm up and can easily peal them off and stuff them in your back pocket for the rest of your ride. You can also use shoe covers over your cycling shoes if you are someone who get cold feet easily, these are also great if the ground is wet as they will help keep your feet dry. Gloves and wool socks are an obvious addition to a ride, but one of my personal favorite pieces of apparel for the fall is the ‘head thingy’ as Castelli calls it. This is just a bandanna that goes around your neck but if you get caught on a colder ride than you anticipated you can always pull it up over your face. Another great Castelli product is the Gabba Convertible jacket. These jackets are wind proof, highly water resistant, and the sleeves zip off if you get to hot. This jacket is a lot of peoples go to article of clothing for fall riding.

The final, very pro-style, move for keeping warm in the fall is embrocation cream. Embrocation (embro) is a cream riders spread in moderation on their legs. It is thick and it creates heat. The thickness helps protect the skin from the wind a bit and the heat generated helps keep the legs warm. There are a couple really important notes on embro. For starters, don’t confuse it with your chamois cream…you’ll have a big problem. Always use embro in moderation, especially when you are just starting out. Finally, be aware that it is tough to get off. If you put it on bare handed make sure you wash your hands a lot, especially before touching your eyes or other sensitive areas. A lot of guys will use gloves to put it on, which just makes it easier. Be aware as well that it will get on anything it touches, if you apply embro and say drop your bibs to use the bathroom there is a strong possibility it ends up on your chamois pad in your bike shorts, which is the last place you want it to be.
Fall riding is some of the best riding of the year, so don’t let your gear stand in your way, as the old adage goes “there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong gear!”
This blog was written by Chicago employee, overzealous triathlete, and triathlon coach Eric Turner. You can follow along with Eric’s personal blog at eturnertri.com, or stop by the shop to chat on all things triathlon.

Posted in Cold Weather, Cycling, Layering, Training

Garmin Forerunner 920XT - The Best Triathlon Watch Just Got Better

Posted on October 01, 2014 by Christopher Vassiliades



Alright, so I have been reading up on the Garmin 920XT and the thing sounds pretty amazing. For starters a lot of those features on other Garmin products that I lusted after have shown up in the 920. The Bluetooth and WIFI connection, VO2 Max estimation, running vertical oscillation, ground contact time, and foot cadence and finally it has the ability to function as a NORMAL WATCH! The normal watch function is even better now that the 920 is thinner and lighter than 910XT, it doesn't look like a toaster on your wrist.  The watch also has a color display which is great for the zone display. If you were a fitbit or vivofit person before the new 920 has a daily activity mode to count steps and measure daily activity, if you have a VIRB camera the 920 pairs with it to function as a remote, the list goes on and on.


Probably the coolest feature is the ability for companies or individuals to create applications for the watch. Garmin announced Connect IQ, which allows 3rd party developers to create apps for Garmin devices. This could essentially open up a whole new world of data for your Garmin. The platform will support Apps, custom data fields, widgets, and new watch faces. This will allow other sensors previously not supported by the Garmin watch to enter the game and create readings of all kinds of crazy data points. Like putting sensors on your body and analyzing you position over the course of an ironman? The Custom data field allows you to do exactly what it says, create your own data recording. Maybe as a coach you have some crazy formula you like to use to determine how your athlete is doing, now you can custom create it as a data field to display in the watch. I think I am going to set mine to tell me how many beers I can drink based on how many calories I rode, should be pretty easy.

Beer#=Calories burned/number of calories per beer

The Garmin Forerunner 920XT is expected in the store in 3-5 weeks. To Pre-Order yours check out our site here.



The review of the 920 was written by Element Multisport employee, swim coach, and triathlon coach Eric Turner. You can follow all of Eric’s ramblings on his website at eturnertri.com or on his facebook group “Eric Turner Triathlete”

TYR Tuesday Workout #3

Posted on September 30, 2014 by Christopher Vassiliades

Today’s Tuesday swim is a mid/distance workout with a quick technique refocus. I like to use this format to get in some distance, but also take a few minutes to remember our good technique. The workout has a bit longer warmup as well which can help sneak some total yards in. Check it out and let me know if you have any questions.

Warm up

200 swim, 200 kick, 200 pull, 200 swim

8*75 R:20 kick, drill, swim by 25

10*50 R:15 build 1-4, 5-8 and hold 9,10 fast

Main Set

2*400 R:1min at about 80% of race pace

6*50 R:30 drill/swim by 25 (use this to refocus good technique)

3*400 R:1min descend 1-3 from 85% to race pace (so 1 is 85%, 2 is 95%, and 3 is 100%)

Warm down

4*75 R:30 kick, drill, swim by 25

200 easy easy flop


*Please consult with your physician before starting any type of exercise or training program. 


Posted in Swim Workouts, Training, Triathlon, TYR Sport

Stages Power Meter

Posted on September 25, 2014 by Christopher Vassiliades

The Stages power meter came on the market just a few short years ago and has transformed the idea of training with power. In the past, any sort of power meter was going to cost you upward of $2,000. Enter Stages, and now you have power available for as little as about $700. As we head into the winter months training with power can really increase your training results. Being able to train with power, especially power based in the crank arm, gives a cyclist an absolute answer to the ‘how hard am I training conundrum. Being able to compare power data with other metrics such as heart rate give an athlete a real idea of how much work they are doing while they are training, what kind of shape their body is in, and .

I refer to the power meter as the great equalizer among athletes. If I was to go for a ride with a couple friends and we all do the same course in the same time we will all have the same average speed. Even though our speed may be the same, we have all actually done very different levels of work. The power meter is able to show me exactly how much work I did and paired with other information, can tell me how hard that work was on my body. For example, if my friend and I go for a 2 hour ride and we average the same speed. I will actually do a lot more work than him because I am 190 pounds vs his160 pounds. That information would be reflected in the average wattage I had to maintain in order to complete the ride.

What are watts? Watts refer to how much force a rider is putting onto the bike to make it go. Wattage is a unit of horsepower, where 746 watts = 1 horsepower (technically 745.699872 but we rounded up).

The great thing about Stages is it opens the power meter market up to any athlete, no longer just the elite in ability or the elite in wealth. People’s misconception that they are only for professional athletes is beginning to be destroyed, as athletes everywhere realize that anyone who has a goal on a bicycle can benefit from using a power meter in their training. The power meter can provide great data for you, or your coach to analyze and track your progress over time. If you have a goal on a bicycle, and plan on training this winter to achieve it, it’s time to stop in the shop and check out the Stages power meters.


Posted in Cycling, Power Meters, Training, Triathlon


Posted on September 23, 2014 by Christopher Vassiliades

This week’s Tuesday TYR workout is a race pace workout designed to help us find our race rhythm. The majority of triathlons start with the same feverish mass chaos, which eventually turns into a steady rhythm. This set is designed to help get our bodies used to the physical toll of the start of a triathlon. The set as it’s written is designed for our Olympic of Half distance triathletes, but is easily edited for our sprinters or Full distance racers. To edit the set for sprinters change the number of 100’s to 6 and for full distance athletes change the number of 100’s to 20. As the set is written it is 3500 yards.

Warm up

100 swim, 100 kick, 100 drill, 100 swim

4*75 kick, drill, swim by 25 Rest: 30s

10*50 build 1-4, 5- 8, 9 & 10 are fast Rest(R:)30s

Main Set

8*25 as fast as you can go R:10s

14*100 holding race pace goal R:20s

4*50 at 90% to imitate that feel you get when you see the swim finish R:10s

Warm down

4*75 kick, drill, swim by 25 R:45s

200 easy


*Please consult with your physician before starting any type of exercise or training program. 


Posted in Swim Workouts, Training, TYR Sport

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