Why I use Speedplays

I actually ended Monday with a great 4.0 mile run on the dreadmill in the Pain Cave. I took the pace a little slower than what I should have (@ 8:35/mile), but I have to tell you I felt great. There is something to using flax seed as a natural sponge to soak up all the crap that I put into my system during the Super Bowl. I had a great run. My heart rate stayed down, my legs felt good, and I just ran. I don’t want to say it was effortless, but it was as close to feeling like you were just cruising as I have every gotten. In short, I had a great run.

I was planning on riding outside in the afternoon. I was doing year end accounting crap for my company and I told myself if I could get through August 2010 by 3:00 I would go. It snowed a little Sunday night, but by 2:30 Monday afternoon it was sunny and the roads were clear. I almost hit my deadline and thought I should go out anyways (who need K-1’s anyways), but reason got the better of me. The crazy thing is by 3:30 it was raining, which quickly turned to some nasty snow. I am glad I wasn’t out on the bike in that crap. I like to thing I am tough in the cold, but riding in the snow is a no-no for me.

Now onto this morning’s ride:

Distance: 20.2 miles
Time: 1:00:40
Average Watts: 175 watts
Normative Power: 185 watts
Average Heart Rate: 140 bpm
Total Work: 651 kJ
Average Speed: 20.1 mph

There isn’t too much crazy about this ride, but look at the average heart rate. 140 bpm is a little slow for this power output. I am inclined to think my heart rate monitor strap battery died or something. I am not in that good of shape yet. Give me the middle of the summer after a month of speed work and I may be, but I am not there yet. Give me time…

Which Pedals Do You Use?

So my friend Jen Small from the blog milesmusclesmommyhood (click here to check out her writing) dropped me a note on Twitter the other day. She must be in the market for new pedals for her triathlon bike because she asked me what I preferred for my bikes and why. I thought this was a fabulous question and one that I have actually put a ton of thought into.

For you with ADHD — and I assume that is why you are in triathlon — I prefer Speedplays. I absolutely love these pedals. I cannot imagine why anyone, and I mean anyone, would use anything else for their road or triathlon bikes. Now mountain bikes are a different story, and a completely different entry for me (I use egg beaters for pedals on my mountain bike).

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Like any equipment I use on my bikes, I did my research before making a choice in pedals. I am not one of those “just throw them on and I am sure they will be fine” kind of consumer. I like to make educated decisions, and this especially applied to the main mechanism that would lock me onto my bike. For my triathlon bike and road bike. I use the Speedplay Zero Ti.

The main reason I decided to purchase Speedplays with my first bike was the double sided entry. If you are a beginner triathlete then this should especially appeal to you. This means that regardless of the orientation of the pedal, you can use both sides to clip into your pedals. This was and continues to be a big deal to me. I love the convenience of not having to look down or feel which direction my pedals are facing at a stoplight or stop sign.

The second reason I bought these pedals for my first bike was what we call “float”. Float is the degree of motion you have in your heel when you are clipped into your pedal. This is a big deal if you have knee issues. When I started riding I found that my knees liked the 15° of float the Speedplays give them. My heels can move back and forth slightly to accommodate the position that my knee wants to be in. That creates a comfortable ride. Some other pedals have float as well, but most I have researched (Look) only go up to 10°.

There are several reasons why I continue to put Speedplays onto my new bikes. Since I bought my very first triathlon bike — a Felt S22 — I have purchased a Cervelo R3SL road bike and a Cervelo P3 for my triathlon bike. I love these bikes and included Speedplays when I built both up. Speedplay pedals are very light, but when coupled with their cleats, they are not the lightest on the market. But they are very simple to maintain and their clearance when cornering is higher than most other pedals on the market. When you are cruising at 25+ mph and you corner hard, this can be important to you.

In my experience, I have loved the size of the pedal contact surface as well, but this may be a function of not having really ridden any other pedals for long periods of time. I buy really stiff carbon soled cycling shoes, so this may also compensate for the pedal size. You may have a different experience with this because you ride in different shoes. I haven’t ever gotten any hot spots in my feet from riding on Speedplays.

So if you don’t have clipless pedals on your road or triathlon bike yet, get them on there. There are few upgrades you can do to your bike that will make such a huge difference in your performance. Pedaling in a circle makes all the different in how you feel once you get off of your bike. Between clipless pedals and aerobars, you can turn any road bike into a speedster.

Overall, this is a product that works because of the simplicity of its design. I like to try out new things from time to time to make sure I am not missing something. But in this case, I haven’t ever found the need to test a new pedal because the one I use works so well.

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...