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Transplant Athlete
Friday, May 14, 2004
  Powercranks

I've owned a set of Powercranks for about two years now. I rode them extensively in early 2002, but I switched over to regular cranks for the racing season and didn't put them back on that year. I started using them again in early 2003 and I was doing rides of 30 - 40 miles on them. Again, an early collegiate race season found me back on regular cranks. I did notice a difference in my hip flexors in 2003. I had gotten a parking pass for the lot on the North end of Maryland's campus and the R.H.Smith School was housed in Van Munching Hall on the South end of Campus.


Due to traffic and other concerns, I often found my self running across campus to get to class. I don't usually run, I don't jog, I cycle. BUT I felt amazingly well running across campus. My hip flexors seemed to be doing all the work. I think if triathletes trained with these, they would definitely see faster run times.


How have the Powercranks affected my cycling? That's much harder to quantify. I know that they've helped. Early on, when I was using the Powercranks, I'd try to get in an aero position and I would have extreme difficulty getting the pedal back up over the top. Nowadays, I can stay in an aero position longer using Powercranks. I think that technically that makes me more efficient, but not faster. I'm probably putting out a few more watts this way(because my ascending foot isn't being pushed up by my descending foot) , but my pedaling economy is the real benefit. Powercranks claims on their website that the average cyclist can gain 40% in power by training with Powercranks. I had a VO2 Max test done in 2001 before my trip across the country and then again in 2003. The improvement was about a 50% gain in power(see my posts from January for the actual numbers). Was this all due to the Powercranks? No. Was some of it due to the Powercranks? Yes.


In the 2001-2002 offseason, I was in the weight room at the Campus Rec Center at MD and again in 2002 - 2003 I was back in the weight room. Also, for the 2003 race season, I was coached by Joe Althoff. So as you can see, it's difficult to tell how much of the improvement in power was due to Powercranks and how much was other factors(coaching, weight training, etc).


I only bring this up today, because I've had the PC on my beater bike, I have a baby trailer attached to the beater to pull Q around. Today, I took the trailer sans Q into Evolution Health and Fitness to pick up a box(driving would have taken the same amount of time, but cost me 50 cents in tolls and nearly 4 dollars in gas). Its a good 30 minute ride without the PC or the trailer, on the way back as I was passing through Reston, I noticed my left cleat felt wiggly. I checked the cleat and it looked worn, so I just figured I'd limp the last 4 miles home with the bad cleat. As I was passing the Reston Town Center, I realized that the crank was loose. I pulled over and went looking for my multi-tool, but I seem to have misplaced it. I ended up one legged pedaling into Herndon, where I found a group of cyclists at the Great Harvest Bread Company and tried to borrow a multi-tool, but none of them had an Allen wrench large enough for my crank. I then pedaled home with my right leg and about a mile from home, my crank fell off. I hope that this one legged pedaling balances out the one legged pedaling I did at the 300K Brevet a couple of weeks back.


Despite what this post may sound like, I do recommend the Powercranks.

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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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