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A Done Deal (Mostly)

2010 Scott Plasma 20
Originally uploaded by Iron Mike Schubert

After a year and a half of shopping for a triathlon / time trial bike, I have decided on the Scott Plasma 2 frameset with a full Shimano Dura Ace gruppo. Looking at the specs, you’ll say “Oh, he’s getting the Scott Plasma 10” – but my paint job will actually say “Scott Plasma 20”. Do I care? No. But I have talked about the bike both ways, so now you know.

What went into this decision?

First, I had to meet all of my personal objectives. Frankly, I’m knocking them out of the park and these were pretty tough measures that I set for myself. Second, I had to research what type of bike best fit me as a rider. You see, I have a 34″ inseam and I am 5′ 10″ standing on pedals (6′ 0″ in real life). This means that I need a bunch of seat post, but a shorter top tube. Bikes like the Cervelo P3 (my first choice), Felt B2, etc. are all made for people who are longer in the torso than I am. Those bikes are polar opposites to what I needed. So this pushed me over into the line of Scott Plasmas and Blue Triads. This is discussed further up on Slow Twitch, but essentially (Emphasis mine):

Who might best use a bike geometrically built like this? Two cases immediately come to mind. One involves a relatively fit, trim, experienced triathlete, who’s probably going to ride with his or her seat angle at least moderately steep. If this person is short-waisted—that is, short in the torso, long-legged—that person is going to need a bike like this: short in length, taller in height. The height is required because that short torso means that rider’s height is in his legs. Those taller legs prop the saddle higher, and that means the head tube has to be higher as well, to keep pace with that tall saddle height.

For whatever reason, I simply wasn’t a fan of the Blue Triad. Not sure why. Add to the equation that I have had great success and enjoyment on my Scott road bike and things started coming together. I knew I wanted the Plasma 2 frameset which comes on the Plasma 10 and 20, and I wanted all Dura Ace which was pushing me to the 10. But the production run on the Plasma 10 was done and there were no remaining frames in stock. The sweet thing was that I could get a Plasma 2 frame with the 20 paint scheme, throw a Shimano Dura Ace gruppo on it and the only noticeable difference would be the color scheme. And I just happen to be a fan of the color green. So there you have it. It’s like it was meant to be.

So why do I say it’s “Mostly” a done deal?

I’ve plopped down a huge down payment, the bike is being built, and I am awaiting my fit appointment. I doubt any new information will come up during the fitting but you never know. And yes, having to cut the seat post is scaring the crap out of me. I’m not the one doing it mind you, but it’s just one of those things that you can’t undo. If the seat is too low you lose power. Ok – I’m done stressing for now.

So August 3rd is the day that I’ll pick up my new ride and have the final fitting done. I will have almost 2 full months to train on it prior to the 70.3 in Augusta. I may even take it to ride on the IM Louisville course, but I’m still leaning toward using my road bike for that adventure. I’ll post pics and maybe video from the fitting, as well as the full details of my new ride once it is in my possession.

Get back to work. Happy Monday.

Carrollton Sprint Triathlon Race Report

I raced my last triathlon as a 36 year old this past Sunday out in Carrollton, Ga. It was a low-key event, not even USAT sanctioned, that had somewhere around 250 participants. I’m sometimes weary of non-sanctioned events, but this one turned out to be a lot of fun. It was an interesting contrast to some of the higher profile races I have run. The day started out extremely eventful with my Xterra’s battery dying. I had to procure a car from a friend in order to get out to the race. This stress was quickly relieved once I had my bike racked and headphones on.

Swim 1/4 Mile

My swim was pretty good, turning in an 8:25 time. The start wave I was in was extremely crowded and it reminded me of the Ironman start where it’s like you are in a washing machine. Sighting on the course was easy and before I knew it I was done. 8 minutes go by pretty fast.

Bike 12 Miles (Map Below)

The bike course was rolling, with the first half containing a number of short inclines. I was able to stay aero most of the time and turned in a 36:06 split. I had slightly higher expectations when I hit mile 7 on what I think was Hwy 61 – immediately upon turning I was hit with a strong headwind that stayed in my face the next 4.5 miles. My wattage was steady as was my form, so I’m really happy with my performance on this leg despite the wind.

Run 3.4 Miles (Map Below)

The run started fairly innocuously with a gentle negative grade. Unfortunately, what goes down must come up, and a series of inclines began around mile 1. I was pretty steady just under a 9 minute pace the whole way, with only 1 walking incident at the water stop. The finish was uphill and I was challenged at the end by some guy who decided to sprint by me about 1/10 of a mile from the line. I accelerated a bit too soon, allowing him to respond and barely beat me to the line. Oh well – I’m not a sprinter. My run split was 30:04. Below is a picture of me at the line – you can tell I was after this guy since both of my feet are off the ground.

Overall time was 1 hour 19 minutes. T1 was probably 3:30 including the run up to transition. I can’t imagine T2 being over a minute. I met or beat all of my objectives. Next up – tri bike shopping. I have narrowed it down to 2, so it’s just a matter of taking them both for a ride for the final decision. The funds have been set aside and my personal goals have been met. Time to “put the bow” on it and bring it home!

2010 Carrolton Tri Photo Finish

Update: Here are the course maps for the bike and run course.

2010 Carrolton Triathlon Course Maps




Over time I have come to accept that age is just a number. It can be used as potential gauge of a lot of things, but it’s really just a milepost. I’ve roamed this planet for 37 years and have experienced quite a bit. The pleasures, the pains and every emotion in between. At this point, my age is simply an indicator of the events that I’ve lived through. Hostages in Iran, the fall of the iron curtain, the opening of China to the world, and the onset of the digital age are among the key events that have shaped the world in the time that I’ve breathed it’s air.

How old do I feel? 25. Some days 19, but it’s not awkward to order a drink since I’m legal, so 19 is fleeting. 

What’s my metabolic age? 16. According to my Tanita scale, anyway. Let’s hope the hormones of the 16 year old don’t come with that.

So I can measure myself in many different ways, but at the end of the day it is just a snapshot in time. Looking back is interesting but it obfuscates the present. Looking forward is interesting as well, but worrying about it may prevent enjoying the here and now. 

If what I did yesterday still seems big and audacious, then I must not have tried hard enough today.

Rock on.


Rest In Peace, Johnny Lewis O’Brien

This post is somewhat of a departure for me. I normally don’t post truly personal stuff, nor do I typically name names. This site is usually about racing or technology so if you’re here for one of those reasons, you might want to just skip this post. If you want a glimpse of the softer side of “Iron Mike” then read on.

Normally I would’ve posted my Peachtree Road Race report for 2010 by now, but I have been dealing with the loss of a dear friend. Johnny O’Brien whom I’d been friends with for over 15 years passed away not long after I crossed the finish line on Sunday. He’d been battling cancer, and appropriately and unknowingly I wore yellow on 7/4.

Johnny isn’t suffering any more, and tonight his friends gathered together to say goodbye and share laughter and tears. Johnny and I didn’t see eye to eye on everything and tonight he proved me wrong on one very big account. To Rachel – You have no idea how happy I am that you and your daughter were part of Johnny’s life. I was wrong.

Life is too short and precious to live it with regrets. I have to continue to be the best friend I can be to all whose lives I am in. We are all different people with different definitions of happy and as such we won’t always see things eye to eye. And that’s OK.

I miss you Johnny, and I’ll forever think of you when I pound the pavement or watch fireworks on the 4th of July.