Archive for A Cooler Way to Ride

Cold Case

When investigators run out of clues to solve a crime or mystery there is some period of time after which it earns the classification of a “cold case”. It’s in a limbo of sorts, not closed, not discarded, just lanquishing and not solved. For the truly dedicated in any field a cold case is always a lingering temptation and challenge. An intellectual low hanging curve ball, waiting, waiting to get knocked out of the park.

Ever since around 1820 when Baron Karl von Drais patented the Laufmaschine commonly known as the velocipede, the drive to go faster, farther and “funner” has fueled amazing enhancements for bike and biker.

From frames, wheels, brakes, group sets, aero bars, and cockpit the bike has turned from pure utility into the most commercially successful, high tech, health benefiting, environmentally sound, fun form of self propelled human transportation on the planet. Interestingly but often overlooked is that no matter what you cycle ride – high tech or not – you are the engine.

Here’s where the cold case hangs. Engines…hmmm? Lets remember three cardinal rules for engines.

  1. Never run out of fuel
  2. Never run out of water
  3. Never let it overheat.

As cyclists…ummm…engines we have a cacophony of choices for fuel and hydration. Skim thru any bike mag, shuffle around any good independent bike retailer and you’ll find more options, strategies, philosophies, carbs, fats, protein, sodium, anti-oxidants, minerals, potions and the like to solve your performance, endurance mystery. We’ve got the commercial giants like COKE and GATOR-ADE as well as PhD’s huddled in research labs and in rented warehouses cranking out their “special-blend” guaranteed and testified to turn you into the “cannibal” on the bike you just know you were meant to be.

Solving the fueling and hydration problem, not withstanding small incremental improvements is pretty much a “closed case”.

That leaves number three in the triad of challenges for any engine, especially a human one focused on performance, endurance and enjoyment – beating-the-heat. Far from being solved, far from being “closed” the case for how to effectively keep your engine cooling while riding in hot environments isn’t even being seriously addressed. Maybe it’s in a class like the weather, you just complain about it but there’s really nothing do be done to change it.

What are the ways being used to address a cyclists need to dissipate heat – aka staying cooler?

Don’t ride – in other words just don’t start the engine.

Slow down – stay in first gear

Drink, drink, drink – really it just deals with the “never-run-out-of-water” problem

Ice Socks – really in the 21st century?

Carry lots of water [very heavy] use only when you’re about to die and dump it over your head.

Most of the water just hits the ground. Very inefficient and short lived

21st century cyclists deserve a practical solution to the unsolved challenge of sustained and effective cooling. We think it’s here and in the form of Spruzza.

Spruzza is the first “product” specifically designed for solving the mystery of how to “beat-the-heat”. The design incorporates all of the requirements for cyclists of any stripe, from weight, drag, ease of use, effectiveness, durability, safety and duration for rides of any length.

It’s light weight, 126 grams, less than an iPhone, its combined additional drag [sq.inches added] is less than 2. Spruzza mounts to your bike in about a minute and once mounted can be used and reused in about 30 seconds. The water reservoir holds about 5 ounces of water which on a hot ride will last up to 2 hours. Refilling is extremely easy and takes less than half a minute.

Benefits for solving this?

You can cool your head, face, ears, neck and even upper chest as much as 25 degrees – instantly and anytime you want. It’s no more difficult than turning on the A/C in your car. There is no wasting water with a Spruzza. Each spray consists of approximately 1 mL of water [0.029 ounce]. With 3-4 sprays your skin is coated with a mono-layer of refreshing water that combines the cooling effectiveness of evaporation and wind chill. The effect lasts between 5-10 minutes depending on the heat of the ride. This may not sound like much until you consider that every 5-10 minutes you can cool yourself down 25 degrees for the entire ride and using only about 5 ounces of water every 90-120 minutes.

Here is the real sizzle for solving this challenge for cyclists. Being able to stay cooler, ahead of the cumulative effects of the heat allows for several physiological and perceptual improvements while riding. It also allows you to confidently ride just about any time of the day.

An answer to a mystery gains credibility and validation by being tested and retested. Every cyclist has their own personal perceptions and effects while riding in the heat. Chris Froome, the 2013 Tour de France winner said, “I don’t think anyone enjoys riding in the heat. I guess I just suffer less than others.”

We’re confident Spruzza has taken a huge step forward solving this third challenge for bicycling performance and enjoyment. Take the test, tell us if we’ve solved the “COLD CASE” of beating the heat.

We think you’ll agree, Spruzza is “A Cooler Way to Ride.”

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How OR Why?

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 6.20.34 PMIf you’re talking to someone who has accomplished something significant in any field which question do you ask or maybe ask first? How did you do that? Or, Why did you do that?

I think most of ask how. Although I must admit my parents usually asked me why…on earth…did you do that, but I think you realize this is another story.

I’m talking about significant and positive accomplishments.

I think asking why is more insightful because all or nearly all meaningful accomplishments cost something and involve much personal sacrifice. If you can learn to understand a persons why and compile a catalog of those why’s, when you find yours you will figure out the how.

Why have we spent many hours and dollars to design, engineer and manufacture a Spruzza?

The shortest answer I can give is because nobody gets tired of cooling down. It feels good every single time. The fact is everybody’s body likes to stay cool and although “cool” can spread across several degrees and degrees of comfort at somepoint the build up of heat effects our comfort, performance or even the ability to move.

I like to move by bicycling, in fact I love it. If you’re reading this you probably do to. Maybe you, like me have spent considerable money on the bike and a cacophony of stuff to make the ride more enjoyable whether enjoyable means performance, endurance or just being comfortable.

Spruzza’s why is to allow and encourage more people to get moving on bikes during the best times of the year to ride…late spring through summer and early fall. Long days and generally good weather. It just gets a bit hot.

A Cooler Way to Ride™ might just be the HOW you need for WHY you ride.

– All the best from Spruzza

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Team Spruzza – Season Opener “Ride Around the Buttes”

There is an “I” in Team

clip_image002Turns out there is an “I” in team. It happens when you’re the only one that shows up, but that’s another story. I recommend the Bike Around the Buttes leaving from the sleepy little north valley town of Sutter, CA. The ride occurs every year in mid-late April and circumnavigates the Sutter Buttes known as the smallest mountain range in the world. That being said it explains why it’s the ideal first century of the season – it’s amazingly – delightfully flat.

Winds of Change

The “I” in team Spruzza arrived at the ride HQ around 7:30 AM. The first sign of concern was the large, beautiful American flag flying proudly over the Sutter Youth Organization building pointing southeast and rippling fully unfurled. Like Peyton Manning lining up behind center one yard to goal and seeing a nickel defense, I called an audible, when I first set foot outside my car. The full century I planned to ride, but honestly hadn’t trained for, changed to the 40 mile loop I was more prepared for.

The Gravitational Effects of Wind

I did mention the course was flat, only 392 feet over 40 miles. What I found was that 20+ mph head winds feel and ride exactly like the effort and pace up my favorite Folsom Crossing Strava segment about an 8% grade. Typically my flat and beloved five mile stretches in Folsom slip under my wheels at the pace of about 17-18 minutes. The first five mile “beep” from my Garmin 500 shocked me at 26:14. Just like the lovely voice from my car’s GPS when I make a wrong turn, I heard an inaudible “recalculating” in terms of how long this wind hindered 40 mile loop would take.

Physics and Geometry

clip_image004Just a few miles north on Acacia road the ride turned west on Pass Road. My first anticipation was relief turning from the brutal head wind into a crosswind. I was wrong. If I had the time and the right measuring tools I could have determined each riders mass by the degree of their right handed lean into the wind. I weigh in at about 175 and was leaning about 3 degrees. Go figure.

Tipping Point

At mile 17 and the end of a 6 mile cobbled stretch heading due north in the middle of the original “nowhere” a portable canopy was stationed with a beautiful spread of drink and refreshment. I stopped briefly for some rice cakes and a banana. The aid station was the northwest corner of the course loop. Remember the wind was blowing northwest. As soon as I downed the rice cake and banana, I chased it with a couple of swigs of water and was anxious to get moving. I swung my right leg over the saddle clipped in and pushed off. I’m almost 60 so I’m conscious about keeping my mind quick and sharp, but I was still dialed into that 3 degree right lean only now the wind was blowing to my right. Tipping point…almost but I recovered.

Smooth Sailing

With the Buttes on my right and the wind at my back the ride home underscored every reason I ride. The cobbled pavement turned into near glass and the wind I’d been fighting now pulled me like light into a black hole. I flew. While the first 17 miles sucked up nearly 2 hours of my life the last 23 only ate one.

All in All – Just Do It.

Next year if you need to spin and stretch for the 2014 riding season keep “Bike Around the Buttes in mind.

David Carrozza
The “I” in Team Spruzza

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