It's pretty rare that a company can enter an industry with scene-stealing innovation and still have the staying power to be around years later. The fact that Kestrel began in Santa Cruz, California and stepped into an industry dominated by European design and thinking made them stand out even more. Kestrel has been consistently upping the ante, beginning in 1986 when they were the first in the industry to introduce bladder-molded monocoque carbon frames; reducing the aerodynamic drag and weight of lugs and improving ride and handling characteristics. Meanwhile, all of this progress was taking place at a time when triathlon as a sport was still in it's infancy. They continued in 1989, among other innovations, to reveal the world's first all-carbon triathlon bike: the KM40. In 2001, it was the first one-piece, molded carbon road handlebars that was introduced to the world, and the impressive list of cutting edge products goes on. Chris McCormack began his relationship with the brand in 2003 with his first Ironman win on a Kestrel and there are plenty more fans of their crazy fast frames. Ironman Champion Andy Potts, 2009 Giro d'Italia Champion Denis Menchov, 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre as well as a number of other professional cycling, triathlon teams and athletes have ridden their Kestrels to the podium.
Time after time, Kestrel has consistently proven that they are willing to think outside the box and put the effort and research into developing faster, more comfortable bikes for consumers. For over a decade, the Airfoil was the preeminent TT frame for Kestrel; the signature feature, no seat tube, was carried through each new version. In 2010, the Kestrel 4000 was added to the line-up with many of the same features as the Airfoil as well as the return of an aerodynamic version of a seat tube. The return of the seat tube not only added stiffness and power in every direction of the frame, but also made the frame once again UCI-legal.
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The Kestrel 4000 is a product of many hours of testing in the A2 wind tunnel, with special attention being paid to rider comfort. The designers added a bit of suspension to the seat tube and a little bit higher stack. The theory is, that regardless of how aerodynamic the position is for the rider in the cockpit, if the athlete is so uncomfortable that they need to shift around or break aero, stress and fatigue will set in and overall speed will be compromised. The 4000 strikes the perfect balance, allowing for a degree of additional comfort and only compromises the slightest amount on rider-free aerodynamics.
The adjustable seat post allows for a seat tube angle ranging from 72.5°- 80° with two-clamp reverse to maintain ideal aerodynamics. Internal cables and housing, not only add to the properties, but make bike mechanics very happy. Seat stays are tapered to the back as well as both sides of the chain-stay; the non-drive side sporting an additional channel for proper air flow. This bike is fast- crazy fast.
The full build purchase of a Kestrel 4000 Pro SL is available in Shimano 105 components, Shimano Ultegra and SRAM Red (MSRP: $3,179- $7,499). The crown jewel of the line, is the 4000 LTD Dura Ace Di2 (MSRP: $10,599). With high-end TT bikes, it's pretty common to see a mix and match approach to keep cost down. Bicycle manufacturers will often put the higher end components where they're most noticeable and down grade the others. One of the things I loved about Kestrel, is that all the components are standard. If you buy a 4000 with the Ultegra, you know you're getting the same level of quality or better on all components; and that includes the crank and cassette.
Another big bonus of the 4000 is that Kestrel offers the bike in six frame sizes. A smaller rider isn't going to need to get as low as a taller rider. The extremes of the size range (47 cm- 59.5 cm) reflect the designers extra effort to take their specific needs into account, and adjust the dimensions accordingly. What this means for athletes is that with a proper bike-fit, you have access to a better aerodynamic position based on your own physical build, not what someone in a wind tunnel has decided the standard age-grouper should look like.
The result of all this hard work is a fast, stiff-framed TT bike that rides smooth and is more comfortable than it's competitors. I was able to move seamlessly from my last TT bike into the 4000 and have been pleased with my decision to make the change. I was mildly concerned about changing frames purely because of sizing. The Kestrel 4000 fit me within 2 cm of my ideal F.I.S.T. Fit recommendation; surprisingly close to perfect. Amber Foster, a member of the TriEdge-Kestrel Womens Triathlon Team commented, "[The Kestrel 4000] fits really well! I think as a short person it is hard to find bikes that fit well and Kestrel does a great job. I love how my bike rides... it is smooth! The frame is a good set-up, geometrically. I have felt like I have had great legs getting off the bike onto the run this year."
The understated styling is clean and classy, and Kestrel is continuing the sleek styling into 2013 version of the 4000, (see below). While the look is drool-worthy, it's the comfort that sold me on the 4000 frame. My previous TT was super stiff, and while it touted supreme speed, I couldn't take the hours banging around in the aero-bars. I found myself often riding on my pursuits on rough road; completely defeating the purpose of the aerodynamic properties. Though the technical difference to accommodate comfort with the 4000 is subtle, it translates to a softer ride and smoother pedal stroke. And for me, a much faster ride.
Kestrel 4000 Series 2013
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For more information about Kestrel products go to: www.kestrelbicycles.com
To see the full 2013 Kestrel line-up, go to: www.2013kestrelbicycles.com
To find Kestrel bikes near you, go to: www.kestrelbicycles.com/explore/find.a.dealer
The TriEdge-Kestrel Womens Triathlon Team is made up of age-groupers ranging in age and experience in the sport of triathlon. Our athletes are heavily involved in their local athletic communities and have a deep passion for all things triathlon related. This passion and dedication to the sport is the reason they were selected to be part of the team. TriEdge started the team with a desire to create an atmosphere where women could rely on each other for advice and friendly rivalry. We are excited for the possibilities with this great group of women in the coming 2013 season and beyond! Follow their adventures: triedgeteam.blogspot.com
Jen Hamilton, Team Manager
Age Group: 35-39
Brittany Rodrigues, Team Captain
Age Group: 30-34
"There is never a dull moment and that's bound to happen when you contain so many active, passionate people in one convention center."
Raise your hand if you use a heart rate monitor on a regular basis in your training. Now, raise your other hand if you are using your heart rate monitor in the most effective and useful way.
For the running newbie, it can be quite overwhelming seeing fellow training buddies carrying what appears to be a utility belt equipped with a diverse line-up of nutritional tools. Well, fret no more. This article provides a platform for the ingredients recommended for optimal energy levels and peak performance during long runs.
101: Put simply, carbohydrates are sugars and starches that fuel our bodies much like gasoline fuels a racecar. Each gram of carbohydrate contains ~4 calories worth of fuel. Just like a racecar stores its fuel in a tank, the human body stores carbohydrates as glycogen in both our muscles and liver. These glycogen reserves are relied upon to stabilize blood sugars and allow for optimal muscle function. Runners who balance out their meal plates with 45-65% carbohydrate while meeting daily energy demands can expect to store about 2 grams (8 calories) of glycogen per pound of muscle tissue and an additional ~100-125 grams (400-500 calories) within the liver. This amount of glycogen supplies the energy needed to run for ~2 hours at a moderate intensity, making addition of carbohydrates necessary during long run efforts to avoid depletion and consequent dizziness (aka “bonking”) and profound muscle fatigue (aka “the wall”).
How much? Aim for approximately 1/4 your body weight (lbs) in grams each hour of running. For example, an 180-lb runner should aim for ~45 grams of carbohydrate each hour of running.
Providing ~15 grams of carbohydrate per 8 ounces, sports drinks like Gatorade are the most common source of carbohydrate energy provided on race courses so if you are planning to use the aid stations on race day, be sure to practice with the race sports drink during training. Also popular amongst runners are energy gels (Power Gel, Clif Shot, Gu), providing ~25 grams carbohydrate per packet. Newer to the running circuit are energy chews (Gu Chomps , Luna Moons and Clif Shot Blocks , Powerbar Energy gel blasts, providing 15-25 grams per 3 chews. If you prefer solid nutrition, energy bars like the original Powerbar provide 40 grams of carbohydrate. If you prefer an alternate to sports food, try bananas (25 grams per item), oranges (15 grams per item), packets of honey (~10 grams per packet), and pretzels (~25 grams per ounce).
101: Scientifically speaking, proteins are large, complex molecules that make up 20% of our body weight in the form of muscle, bone, cartilage, skin, as well as other tissues and body fluids. During digestion, protein is broken down into at least 100 individual chemical building blocks known as amino acids that form a little pool within our liver and are used to build muscle, skin, hair, nails, eyes, hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and nerve chemicals. Some research has found that inclusion of small amounts of protein during prolonged activity can help enhance performance by sparing muscle glycogen as well as aiding fluid uptake. Protein also can help mute hunger that arises during long run efforts. Be careful about overdoing protein, however, as large amounts slow gastric emptying and can precipitate a ‘backlog’ of nutrients of gut and consequent stomach distress and muscle fatigue/cramping.
How much? If running longer than 4 hours, aim for up to 6 grams of protein hourly.
Runners consuming protein often do so in the form of sports drinks (Accelerade, Infinit Ironman Formula , Hammer Sustained Energy ) and energy bars (Pure Fit ). Beef and turkey jerky are also commonly used by ultra-runners as an alternate and easy-to-carry source of protein during long efforts.
101: Replacement of electrolytes becomes instrumental in endurance bouts lasting longer than 1 hour, especially when running in hot and humid conditions. The principle electrolytes include sodium (generally bound to chloride), potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These electrolytes are involved in metabolic activities and are essential to the normal function of all cells, including muscle function. An electrolyte imbalance has reported symptoms similar to dehydration: nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, muscle cramping, muscle twitching, overall fatigue, labored breathing, “pins and needles”, and confusion.
How much? Aim for 200-500 mg of sodium hourly as well as smaller amounts of potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Sports drinks generally provide 100-200 mg of sodium per 8 ounces, energy gels 25-200 mg sodium per packet, and energy chews 20-210 mg sodium per 3 pieces. Salt packets are often distributed on course and contain ~200 mg per packet. Electrolyte capsules, generally providing 100-200 mg of sodium per capsule, are also available; samples include Salt Stick, Thermolytes and Endurolytes.
101: Because water serves as the medium for all metabolic activity, helps to lubricate our muscles and joints, and also keeps our core body temperature in check, failure to take in enough fluids during a long run can have a dramatic negative impact on both health and performance. Therefore, determination of sweat rate and consequent fluid demands is extremely important for runners. Practice weighing in pre- and post-workout and drink fluids so that no more than 2% of your body weight is lost during runs.
How much? Aim for ½-1 liter per hour or so that urine runs pale yellow.
A standard bottle holds 20 ounces of fluid. A standard flask generally holds 6-10 ounces. Camelbak offers solutions for carrying fluids during long runs when fountains and aid stations are not available to refill bottles or flasks.
Extra Credit Ingredient: Caffeine
A central nervous system stimulant, caffeine may help maintain blood glucose concentration and reduce power loss through its effects on the active musculature and nervous system that reduce fatigue and perceptions of effort, discomfort, and pain. Specific flavors of energy gels and chews are caffeinated at a dose of 25-50 mg pack. It is important to experiment with personal tolerance to caffeine as some athletes do not respond favorably to caffeine with symptoms such as a racing heart beat, muscle twitching, stomach distress and anxiety serving as reason for avoidance.
The dull disappointment of oncoming winter is nothing new to the triathlete. For some reason, my friends seem to train in some sort of fog of denial as they acknowledge in disbelief that cold slap in the face; the moment you first realize that your knickers and windbreaker will no longer hack it on canyon descents. Whining and moaning they retreat to their caves, be it basement trainers or gym treadmills to work out their salvation among the herd of New Years resolutions and college students. While I wholeheartedly admit it is impossible to avoid the indoor training altogether if you intend on staying fit through the winter, I cannot help but feel a slight sense of glee with the first drop of freezing rain. It means I will have virtually all my favorite training grounds to myself for up to five long months. With the proper gear, winter training can be absolute bliss. There’s a completely different vibe among the outdoor athletes you occasionally run into in the ‘off season’. Cyclists that barely glanced in your direction during the summer, though you've passed them daily for months, now offer a friendly “Hello”. Any runners you see on the muddy trails deep in the mountains give a familiar smirk as they pass. The smirk that says you’re running with one foot in crazy. The smirk that acknowledges you’re one of them, and believe me, there’s more of them gallivanting about the trails and ice covered roads than you think. They’re an amazing group of people hell-bent on living life in all it’s seasons, and it’s time you crawled out from your cave and joined them.
In my own search for shoes to run in through the winter, I stumbled upon many solutions, some helpful and some... well, not so much. More than a few people mentioned the practice of putting small screws into the soles of an old pair of shoes. I see two problems with this; one, it’s an OLD pair of running shoes (the one’s you were supposed to throw out because they’re ruining your feet) and two, they always followed up this piece of advice with a funny story about how the screw made it’s way through the shoe and embedded itself neatly into the foot of one of their training buddies. Enough said. Yaktrax were another suggestion. A great alternative for icy roads, but people seem to have problems keeping them properly placed and functional in mud and on trails. There were also a few complaints that the coils upset foot placement and made their contact with the road a bit “off”. Still, it’s better than being stuck indoors. Another suggestion was to only run on plowed roads. This wasn't a bad suggestion except that snow seems to trap the car exhaust even worse than in the summer and can make running in suburbs and the city a bit miserable. Not to mention dodging sliding cars driven by texting 16 year olds. Seemed I was going to have to eek it out in the city and make do like everyone else. Somehow, a random search engine result landed me on the page of a Swedish shoe brand called ICEBUG. After glancing at the shoes, I frantically searched for an English translation. If anyone knows ice, it’s Scandinavia and their shoes didn't disappoint.
The men's ATTLA and the women's Pytho2 are made with “BUGrip”, the name of Icebug’s grip technology. The sole is made of a special rubber compound and has 15-16 integrated steel studs. The design of the studs together with the properties of the rubber compound give these studs a dynamic function. They work independently from each other and are not completely fixed. When weight is applied the studs push in toward the surface of the sole. How far they are pushed in, depends on the pressure exerted by the user and the resistance from the ground. What does this mean for the winter runner? This means excellent traction on ice, snow and mud without compromising on fit and weight.
The first time I took the Women’s Pytho2 out for a run, I paired it with some gaiters and put them up against a good muddy trail complete with patches of snow and ice. My husband came along with his Men’s ATTLA, gaiter free. Thankfully, since it was 12° F, the generous toe-box allowed me to run with wool socks and molded PU cage still kept the fit secure. Where it’s normally recommended to buy running shoes a full size larger, I would recommend going only a half size up in both the ICEBUG models we tested. I slogged in the mud, jumped around in snow and even spent a few minutes in a small stream to test out the water resistant nature of the shoe. While the Pytho’s don’t claim to be water PROOF, I did find that I could give them all the mud and snow I could find without any problems. In addition, I lasted in the small stream for a good 5 minutes before I began to feel any water seeping through. Another nice feature that I discovered was the fantastic grip it gives on slick tree trunks. My husband commented that he felt like a ‘gecko’ with his ‘grippy feet’. His Men’s ATTLA’s performed much the same way, but with a bit heavier sole intended for light trail running and hiking, whereas the Pytho2 is intended for more advanced high speed trail running. While I don’t recommend them specifically for rocky terrain they do perform about the same as my other running shoes on slick rock. At the risk of losing a stud however, I would recommend against it if possible.
Since my search engine stumbled on the ICEBUG’s I have been blissfully enjoying all the winter terrain has to offer. My advice is this; don’t fear the winter, just get the right gear and stop breathing that stale gym air. Get out and get muddy, then soak up the look from the check out lady when you stop to get milk on the way home. You’ll be smiling from ear to frozen ear. I highly recommend taking the advice of our frozen Swedish brothers and investing in a pair of ICEBUG’s for yourself. Whether it’s the ICEBUG’s or playing Russian roulette with the implanted screws, I’ll see you on the trail my friends and remember to give me a smirk as you splatter mud in my direction; I’ll know what you mean.
For more information and locations to buy ICEBUG's, go to www.icebug.se and click to see a list of retailers.
These shoes look really cool, let's just get that out of the way. I really liked how the classic look stood out in the store next to all the neon nightmares, that look like my kids were left alone in the design department.
TriEdge is the Western Regions premier resource for all your triathlon needs. Founded in February 2010. We are 4 avid endurance athletes that are passionate about swimming, biking, and running. We have a passion for every aspect of the multi-sport lifestyle and know you do as well. We're here to give you the information you crave to make you faster, stronger and better informed.
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Have a great season!