We love bicycling as a lifestyle, culture, and sport. We love to ride, build, restore, oggle and sometimes race bicycles. We also love to talk on at great length about our ideas, opinions and exploits involving all of the above. Welcome to our BLOG!

Abandon Your Car is not a slogan or ideology so much as a reminder to all of us to get away from our petro-mobiles as often as we possibly can and embark on life as an adventure by bicycle.

We'll keep you current on the important road and trail beta from our home base in Palisade, Colorado and shower you with our .02 cents about the ongoings of bicycle tribes the world over.

Be sure to tune in for Danny, AKA: the Young Apprenctice, providing the ever important perspectives of a college-bound bike geek and all around brainiac in his NORCAL Updates.

We're glad you're here- look around, drop the Bike Master a line and then get out and ride for awhile- you'll be glad you did!

go to our most recent posting here.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Out With the Old, In With the New

Well, AYC patrons, it may not be 2011 in California yet, but it sure as heck is 2011 elsewhere. So, on behalf of the Abandon Your Car crew, I would like to wish all of our readers a safe, healthy, and fun New Year.

Looking back, 2010 was a world of change for me personally. Especially in the realm of cycling and related activities. I went from being an out of shape neophyte to a pretty committed cyclist in the course of only twelve months. To be honest, I really don't ride nearly as much as I'd like to, but when I do, I make the most of every second and make sure that I'm getting what I need.

And that thought, along with a very helpful suggestion from Aunt Jen, made me start thinking of other things that occurred with my cycling career over the course of 2010. My amazing aunt suggested that I compile a list of goals that I had during the year, ones that I accomplished and ones that I didn't. Along with that, I was also urged to start a training journal months ago and I've kept with it in a composition book. So, I wrote down my end-of-the-year lists and also some tips I've picked up along the way. Here's just a bit of what I came up with:

Goals Met:
-Try to ride at least twice a week. School may get in the way, and there may be times where you're hunkered down studying for a week, but don't let the noodle-y legs discourage you. Keep on trying - keep on riding.
-Give it what you've got. On a ride with some highly competitive friends, do your best, do your part and try as hard as you can to stay with it. Even if you start dying and explode out the back, finish the ride and satisfy yourself with the fact you gave it your all.
-Conquer at least a 50mile ride in a reasonable time frame. Although my 50mile sufferfest may have been a mistake, I was still pleased to have gone the distance.
-Never quit. By the time you've crested the first brutal climb or fixed your third flat of the day, know that the ride is still there and you're still breathing. Don't let a ridiculous situation psych you out - finish what you started.
-Do a race knowing you're going to get smacked. Admittedly, my "race" is my race-paced fitness gauge from a few weeks ago, but I started it knowing fully that I wasn't going to win. What I'm saying here is that you should do it for the learning experience and the fun in competition, not purely for winning. Although, as my debate coach so often reminds us, winning is good too.

Goals Not Met:
-Don't end up in the emergency room. Yeah, well... things happen sometimes. Of course you don't want them to happen, and of course it might be your fault (ask me about it), but take care of yourself and move on.
-Ride all out, every day - no mercy. My hat comes off to people that can accomplish this. I may use school as an excuse not to ride as much as I could, but motivation is also a huge factor. It's amazing what riding with a friend can help you accomplish - do it more.
-Keep a clean, orderly work space. Trust me, if you take on any cycling project in a garage you don't technically own, you better have some room and some uncluttered storage. It helps avoid conflict
-Climb Mt. Diablo from both directions (Northgate, Southgate). This was a goal of mine all year and I'm really bummed I haven't climbed the flippin' thing yet. Honestly, it's like the mountain is beckoning me. It'll happen quite soon, I believe.
-As Dave states, don't count your chickens before they cackle. The way I interpret this is to not lose sight of what you're trying for because you think that you've got the situation nailed down. More specifically, don't not ride because you think you're in adequate shape - that fast group ride will tell you otherwise.

Helpful Tips:
-Don't forget the basics. That is - carry your repair kit, do your bike maintenance, make some checklists, etc. Once you start getting really into your training, you may start forgetting things. Don't. Do. That. Nothing's worse than flatting ten miles into some new trail you're exploring only to notice that the ranger station is out of sight and you have no tools.
-Get your butt behind the saddle, don't bomb it if you haven't ridden it before, and heed your partner's warnings. See my goal about the ER. This pretty much applies.
-Never, by any means, attempt to remove a pedal with your knuckles directly in line for a collision with your beautiful 53t Campagnolo chainring.
-Don't let getting dropped traumatize you or make you not want to ride. View it as a learning experience and keep on trucking.
-Look at some maps. Know where you are and what you're about to ride before you plop yourself onto the saddle. This is information you should know in case of an emergency, and also in case of a pop quiz.
-If you didn't catch the memo about that last tip, don't be afraid to ask for directions. Suck up the pride and pull off to that gas station or fellow cyclist and ask where the heck you went wrong. There's no shame in doing this and it's better than getting further up that metaphorical creek.
-No, those wheels won't make you any faster. AKA: it's not about the gear.
-Lastly, have fun. Ride your bike because you want to and because it's awesome. Don't lose sight of the fact that truly, deep down, we're all in this because it's what we enjoy doing and remind yourself of that if need be at times.

So, there you go. There are some of my favorite things from my riding journal this year. I encourage our readers to make their own journals including some goals you accomplished, some you didn't, and some you have for the future. Also, keep a few pages of tips and tricks you pick up along the way and read over them a couple times during the course of a year to remind yourself of some things you may be forgetting.

Happy New Year once again to all of our readers. I'm going to bed and hopefully riding tomorrow if the party-ers are still recovering from tonight and if the weather isn't that bad.

Stay classy, AYC.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

local rider delivers the goods

image: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net

one of our favorite all-around good-guys here in Routt county recently traveled to the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships held this year in Bend, Oregon to do battle with a stacked field of masters in the 40-44 division.
hailing from BikeTown USA and riding for "the big guys", Jon Cariveau brought home the bronze medal after an hour-long grovelling slog in what could only be described as "epic cyclocross conditions" in the best of European traditions.
he also boasted a fine result in the "open" one-lap TT on thursday, rolling in with a highly respectable 17th place- a good indication as to his excellent form and the pain he was about to inflict on (most of) the rest of the masters in their title race. he followed that up on friday with a blazing 4th place in the master's seeding TT as well.

crushing a field of well over 100 riders, he was bested only by Boulder locals Peter Webber and Brandon Dwight of the Boulder Cyclesport team, with Brandon only pipping Jon at the line for the silver.

here's a short vid from cxmagazine.com that gives a darn good indication of the chaos at the start of the master's race. if you weren't at the front with a good holeshot, it is pretty clear that you were going to be "pack filler" within less than a minute... good thing Jon nailed that 4th place in the TT.

having ridden, trained and raced with all 3 of these guys since "way back in the day" i can attest to the fact that these racers truly represent some of the very best that Colorado has to offer in terms of good, clean racing and sportsmanship. and i couldn't be happier for the bunch of 'em (except, of course, if Jon had been on the top step of the podium, that is). but then again, there's always next year.

it's also well worth mentioning here that Jon is not one of those high-salaried rock star professional racer-guys. indeed, he works a solid 40 per week as lead salesperson at the factory and is a full-time parent on top of it all. he still finds time to train and race every week at the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge series, as well as numerous other local and regional road and mountain bike events such as the Steamboat Stage Race.
he and his wife, Sally epitomize the working folks of Routt county that put in their 8 hours per day and then still find the quality time to spend with the kids, giving them a first-hand introduction to the joys (and suffering) of cycling. look for an in-depth report on the Cariveaus and several other local families in a future post.

for now, i would like to extend a personal, heartfelt chapeau to Jon (and Peter and Brandon as well) for a job well done in bringing home the honors to our little corner of Colorado.
i can hardly wait for next year's event... but you probably won't find me out there in the mud and slop at Nationals. i couldn't run fast if the cops were chasing me, much less through the mud and over tall barriers. i'll just leave it to the guys who really live for it and save my legs for the races in the high mountains on the hot days during the month of July. see ya there.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NorCal Race Report, December 12, 2010

Well, Sunday was my first ever race-paced road ride. In reality, the ride was done as a base fitness gauge for the upcoming Oakland Composite mountain bike race season with the NorCal High School Mountain Bike League. All of the riders met at the parking lot of the Cull Canyon swim Lagoon, and those who didn't ride to the start went on a nice warm up. I went along just to get a few fast-paced sprints in before the start.

Once everybody got back to the impromptu start line (a telephone pole), Coach Dave Gane -- Cyclocross Masters A, Expert MTB, and Cat 2 Road rider -- gave us the start order and started out to the end of the road. The first of eight riders started at 11:30 with one minute intervals between consecutive starts. I was placed second-to-last and once a parent counted me down from ten, I was off. The race of truth had officially begun.

I started really strong, knowing to go hard on the way out to the end of the road as the way back was optimal for recovery. Within a few minutes, I passed a rider. Then, as I was approaching the next rider, Anthony Fryer passed us both. He'd started last, and I knew it was going to happen, so I was happy with my pace. Essentially, I passed all riders except for two on the way out to the end of the road.

After jamming back down the road to the finish, I saw Anthony and Tim sitting down and accepted my third place finish with huge amounts of pride. This was my first ever race-paced ride, and I'm quite happy with my performance.

Race stats:
-Distance: 12mi, 20k
-Field Size: 8riders
-Place: 3rd
-Time: 0:37:21
-1st Place Time: 0:32:07
-Avg Speed: 19.5mph

And just for yucks, here's a picture of how the SOMA was supposed to look for the race:

(Yes that's tupperware. Yes, that's a DT Swiss sticker.
No, the manhole cover is not riding a TT.)

I had these NOS Specialized Turbos, size 700x18. I got them originally to race on, but completely forgot I even had them. So, since I had no pictures of the actual race, I slapped 'em on there and took a picture. I think she looks classy with skin-wall tires. Black bar tape is on the way because the white is tearing and becoming unwashable.

So, that's that AYC patrons. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fruita, USA Trail report for December 7-8, 2010

That's right folks- DECEMBER 7th and 8th and the riding is mighty in Mucha Fruita!

The singletrack is pristine- frozen up in spots, perfectly tacky and quiet. As Dave pointed out in his last post, the road over the Monument is closed to cars, but open to bicycles until the snow flies. What a bonus for the roadies! Longstory short, we are loving life on 2 wheels in the Grand Valley right now.

Tuesday afternoon at one of my favorite view spots- why I so often peel off Mary's onto Wrangler's. Wouldn't it be awesome if Wrangler's actually went somewhere?

What I love the most about riding the singletrack in late season is the how new it feels. The light is entirely different, the ground feels different, the air feels different. Every trail is new again- as they will be yet again come spring. But, unlike early season when the masses from the mountains migrate west, hopped up on cabin fever, desperate for spring and a chance to bust out their helmet cams, high fives and parking lot beer, late season riders have a quiet exuberance. In late season the trailheads and trails are eerily calm, riders greeting one another with sincere and knowing expressions of joy at getting another day on the bike and at encountering someone else all layered up and nutty enough to get out and do the same.

Get your woolies and shoe covers on and get out there- after all, any day now we could be relegated to rollers in the garage or, worse yet, the gym.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fruita, USA road report for 04 december 2010

 here's an image taken on a ride last february that gives a pretty good indication of what sort of road conditions to expect on Rim Rock Drive in the winter time.

many readers of this blog may already know that the Colorado National Monument will be closing a substantial portion of scenic Rim Rock Drive this winter due to budgetary constraints. that's the bad news.

the good news is that the road will remain open to cyclists for the immediate near future, as indicated by this recent letter from park director Joan Anzelmo:

December 2, 2010

To Grand Valley Cycling Community:
I am writing to personally welcome you to ride the closed section of Rim Rock Drive until we get the next snowfall. Please be aware that there are a few icy sections. Please also be aware that there is no road patrol going on in the closed section for the cost saving reasons you are aware of. Therefore you ride at your own risk. Please ride in daylight hours between 8am – 4pm only. Please be out of the closed section by 4pm and off other sections of Rim Rock Drive before dark.
When the snow comes, the road will be closed to cycling and I will write you again to remind you. Towards the end of the winter season there will be a few weeks where the road remains closed to motorists but will be available to cyclists. I will keep you informed.
For the long distance travelers I cannot change the road status day to day or week to week. Therefore the top portion of Rim Rock Drive remains closed and is signed accordingly. You are welcome to share this information with other cyclists. I am not doing a full public announcement as I don’t want to confuse the community or the long distance travelers.
Thank you.
Joan Anzelmo

so there you have it; get out and enjoy the car-free section while you can (at least on the bikes). then after we get some significant snowfall and the road is full closed, please respect the closure and hike, ski or snowshoe in for a truly exceptional wither time experience of one of our great national treasures.

please exercise caution in the shaded (and possibly icy) areas, we'll see you out on the road!