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.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Palisade Classic 2010- Race Report

I'm trying to keep my head together here while Rondo explains to us that when we see that one tree by that big rock we should take the middle left and then at the other tree by another rock...aye yie yie...

These pictures are poached from the great race report on the LTR website. Thanks Kristi and Mike for capturing this awesome day for me!

As this event was originally scheduled to go off during my week "on" at the hospital, I had put it out of my mind completely. I didn't get word until 24 hours before race day that it had been rescheduled. I certainly had a good excuse to not ride my first race of the year on a course I'd never seen with wind gusts of 60MPH in the forecast. But, as I am perennially haunted by the great Warren Miller noting that, "if you don't do it this year, you'll be one year older when you do," I rallied.

The afternoon before the race I drove out to Rapid Creek Cycles in Palisade for the first time ever, introduced myself to Rondo (this would be the original owner of Over the Edge in Fruita who lent his vision and hardwork alongside so many to bring us the glorious Fruita single track- you know, the guy most of us don't hear much out of or much about because he is too busy keeping it real and keeping the focus on the other good people around him to stay in the limelight long).

Rondo and his shop dude, Josh, spent a longtime with me going over the maps and describing all the potential places to get lost as I was pre riding( they missed a few). They also each used the term "demoralizing" several times in describing the final 6 miles both the Sport and Expert classes would ride. Then they wrote phone numbers in the margins of the map to call if I became really lost. Nice.

This shows the Expert Course (it does not have the intertwining loops of singletrack the Sport class rode before climbing up the back of horse mountain, because they are not really mapped...thank god for course marshalls and orange spray paint!)

After I met these guys I knew I could not NOT ride and after I got the "whatever" glance from Rondo when I suggested I might downgrade to Novice class to avoid the "demoralizing" grand finale I knew I had to ride the full 24+ mile Sport Class course. My first ever Sport Class race.

Longstory short- This is a super cool, super hard race - a mountain bike riders mountain bike ride- no glam shots and rock and roll sound tracks - just grit and wet and mud and dust and wind and raw trails traversing the awesome landscape of western Colorado. This race forces the racers to actually go somewhere far away from the startline and, then, come back a couple of hours later.

The roll out down Main Street Palisade- so many miles in so much wind wait just around the corner

There were moments out on the "demoralizing" final climb that the wind was so loud and the landscape so endless, I felt myself slipping into a meditative trance between sensory deprivation and total overload. In fact, I suspect that is largely why I was able to keep turning the pedals even after being blown off - and I do mean off- my bike more than once. I turned em and turned em and beat my goal by almost 10 minutes. Scha-wang.

When it was all over but the drinking, I got a t-shirt, a water bottle, a beer, a free lunch, a new pair Shimano MTB shoes and a DT SWISS wheel bag. That was by far the best $35.00 I've spent in a long, long time.
The folks at Rapid Creek Cycles and their co conspirators deserve a crap ton of accolades for making this event happen. Thanks you guys!

One day soon I will be sneaking out on my own to ride the Expert course so I can dream about what I just may do when I'm a year older...

There are a bunch of good images on the Western Flyer site as well -check it out!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

road report and agitprop for sunday 23 may 2010

it seems that once again the local fishwrapper is rolling out a red-carpet welcome for cyclists planning on visiting the Grand Valley and enjoying the scenic ride over one of our great national treasures... as well as a healthy dose of not-so-helpful finger wagging to top it off. and just to frame the discussion in the most neutral, unbiased setting that one could imagine, they run this image on the front page of the sunday edition (right below the screeching, 120-point headline font and an anonymous hater comment lifted straight from their online version).

somehow, and maybe it's just me being paranoid and defensive- this photo does not convey what i would call a "warm and friendly welcome" to the several thousand cyclists, their families and friends who will be in Grand Junction a couple of weeks from now to participate in the 25th anniversary Ride the Rockies tour.

no, it seems a lot more like stirring the pot. indeed.

out here in maver-icky Mesa county, that bothersome "3-foot law" gets tossed right out the window just like an old, hot-box cigarette butt. have a look at where the right front wheel of that dually is rolling and then look at where the back one is. any argument from the motorist's perspective that this cyclist is "impeding traffic" by riding left of the fog line (obviously to avoid gravel deposits in this situation) is rendered moot by the squashingly wide stance of that ridiculous compensator vehicle.

here's a side view image for those AYC readers who might be fortunate enough to reside in one of the more civilized parts of the world where these free-range road hogs are not nearly so common as they are here:

credit: "big dually wheels" for this disturbing photo

truth be told, there are bad areas to ride in and bad times to ride. like pitbulls and other dangerous species, i always do my best to avoid 'em. i ride off-peak. i ride in the opposite direction of the motorized commuter stream. i don't ride late on friday or saturday evenings, the drunks and hooligans are out in greater numbers. expect the cage-ragers to do all kinds of really stupid things, especially when "annoyed" by a cyclist. and you can be assured that they will behave in an unpredictable manner that is entirely predictable.

it would appear that Maryland, North Carolina and Canada (Canada? WTF??) are all particularly bad areas to ride in right now.
recent problems in Mesa county have been relatively minor by comparison.

today i met up with one of my old racing bros from back in the golden era of the Denver-Boulder Couriers squad. we did a great ride of just over 4 hours, starting out at 8 a.m. to avoid the "severe wind event" predicted for the afternoon. conditions at start time were ideal: 16 degrees, no wind at all, clear skies.

the first 100km of this parcours again demonstrated the phenomena known as the "10-car ride"... because that's about how many of 'em we encountered over the distance. we were rolling some pretty remote, unpopulated territory, though.

the story here at ABANDON YOUR CAR is a bit more subtle, perhaps, than what one will get from the local "media outlets". the story is that today we saw a few motorists... and most of them out there in the country returned a friendly wave.
as did the guy on the tractor, the guy rolling his Harley out for a morning ride, the farm lady tending the irrigation, the floaters down at the Westwater station, the trucker checking his big rig one more time before heading out through the long, empty stretches of desert on the I-70.
everyone was chill, enjoying a really nice day, and it seemed that there was plenty to go around... 'cause that's how we roll here in Fruita, USA.

it also demonstrated one of my favorite old cliches: don't believe everything you read in the paper.

the last 30k was tough because we got caught out in the "severe wind event". there was about 10k covered in the first 7 minutes of tailwind, but then the road turned and so did the breeze, blasting us from the south.
take a look at the fly-by-video link in the map above... not too many trees to disrupt the gusts will be found.
be sure to carry adequate hydration, food, spares and clothing for a 4 to 5 hours + ride. there is water available at the Westwater ranger station, but that's about it for this half-epic. there is a little store in Mack in case ya have to get some junk food to make it home.

ride friendly and be sure to give 'em a wave.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

AMGEN TOC, Stages 6-7

Well, Stage 6 of the Tour of California is being categorized as the most difficult stage yet. With nearly 218km of solid climbing from Palmdale to Big Bear Lake, it's no wonder that the largest number of riders abandoned the Tour yesterday. 17 names, including big ones like Tim Boonen. Furthermore, some large number like 11 cyclists were eliminated as they came in long after the designated time limit. The most notable elimination was that of Mark Cavendish, who also turned 25 yesterday.

The suffering was mighty, and you can see it in the face of George Hincapie...

Early in the stage, a breakaway took off and lasted nearly the entire length of the race only getting reabsorbed on the final climb. Schleck, Hincapie, and Rabou are three of the names that I remember...

As the peloton neared Big Bear Lake, Marc de Maar took off and opened up a quick 45second gap. He was joined by Matt Wilson and they remained the race leaders until, I believe, the last 2mi of the race.

Ultimately, the young Peter Sagan ended up taking another stage, but Michael Rogers still leads the overall Tour of California.

Stage 7 is still under way, and it's a 2-lap time trial for a total of around 34km. The current leader of the stage is Bert Grabsch of HTC Columbia with a time of 42minutes and 47 seconds. However, Jens Voigt is freaking flyin'. I'll update later tonight with pictures and overall results.

Update, 3:41pm -- Tony Martin of HTC Columbia has taken first place with a time of 41minutes and 41seconds
Update, 4:07pm -- Levi Leipheimer of Team Radioshack takes second place with a time of 42minutes and 14seconds.
Update, 4:10pm -- Dave Zabriskie of Garmin Transitions takes second place with a time of 42minutes and 8seconds, Levi to third.
Update, 4:12pm -- Michael Rogers of HTC Columbia takes second place with a time of 42minutes and 3seconds, Dave to third, Levi to fourth.

So, that's all for today. Tony Martin (above) took the time trial today, but the overall leaders are the same three from last year. Michael Rogers is leading the Tour, with Zabriskie in second and Leipheimer in third. Stay tuned for the finale tomorrow!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

AMGEN TOC, Stages 4-5

Alright, let's just get right down to business today. However, I would like to say that the last three images are just bad screenshots that I took watching the live broadcast on the internet. When other pictures present themselves, I'll throw them in.

So, Stage 4 kicked off yesterday ranging from San Jose to Modesto. The stage totaled around 196km. Not having watched it that closely, I can't particularly comment on the stage itself, but according to AMGEN's site, RaboBank was really fighting for the win in Modesto. Boom was aggressive, but got reabsorbed into the peloton, and then two other team members tried desperately to take the win. Ultimately, team LiquiGas blew RaboBank out of the water with a phenomenal sprint and win by Francesco Chicchi.

(I wonder how Contador feels about the use of these hand gestures. Tisk tisk)

I got home from school today to find out that Stage 5 hadn't actually ended yet. So, I hopped on my computer and immediately started watching the live feed from AMGEN's site. They did a pretty good job with it, to say the least. Today's stage went from Visalia to Bakersfield for, again, a total of around 196 kilometers.

Anyway, I also saw an email from my Mom saying that Lance had abandoned the tour. Apparently Lance crashed very early in the stage this morning, while the peloton was still in Visalia. He got stitches on his left elbow and under his left eye.


The stage ended today with a breakaway of four men rejoining the peloton. The last man standing in the breakaway was Ben Day, but he pooped at the base of the last gradient. Eventually, the peloton reached the finish and Sagan beat Rogers in a sprint, followed by Dave Zabriskie who sheltered in his team's slipstream (get it?) until he also sprinted toward the finish.

(Peter Sagan celebrates his Stage 5 win)

Even after his impressive win today, Sagan is not actually leading. Michael Rogers is currently the overall leader of the Tour of California.

On my front, I'm looking forward to stitches out tomorrow and a challenging group ride on Sunday. Keep the rubber side down, AYC patron.

Photo credits go to Ken Conley and the Huffington Post.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fruita, usa trail report May 19, 2010

Finally got new tires for the Eriksen 650B. The last couple of weeks have been a little grueling hitting the single track with treadbare slicks, but 650B tires are not as easy to come by as one might expect (even here in mountain bike central). The 9er phenom has the entire industry in a lather and falling over each other to get a full production line in place- there is little room for yet another wheel size in the line-up (at least this is what one of the DT Swiss guys told me when I asked him if a 650B carbon wheel set was on the horizon).

So, Dave and I made a pilgrimage to the center of the known 650B universe- none other than Eriksen Cycles in da' boat. While we drank a birthday beer in honor of the man himself we took a lengthy straw poll on who is rolling which tire and left with my new Racing Ralphs. What a great collection of bike geeks Kent and Katie have amassed- super smart, super funny and spectacularly talented (just like they are). Have I told you recently how much I LOVE my bike?

The torrential rains last Saturday have buffed up the trails nicely. The sandy stretches in Rabbit Valley are sandy as ever, but infinitely more rideable with a little moisture. There are actually a few standing puddles at 18 Rd. A little cloud cover has helped keep it cool. All in all the riding is tremendous and the crowds are thinning.
These are the flowers I saw today out in the crazy green spring desert. All this moisture has its benefits (try not to get hung up anticipating the abundance of bugs we can look forward to (-: ).

This spring I am enjoying more and more rides that take me somewhere to see something new and away from the habitrail of singletrack loops. I went today to explore the stretch of the Kokopelli trail joining Loma and Rabbit Valley- All single track on the Loma side of the River and mostly jeep road on the Rabbit Valley side with completely otherwordly views all within ear shot of the I-70.

Saw quite a few moto-trailers at the trailhead and was forced to sneer at a couple dirtbikers doing circles in the parking lot- but only saw 3motos on the trail. These folks all had little dogs in baskets mounted on their 4wheelers and I watched them stop and dismount more than once to collect garbage tangled in the sage brush. Thanks for the reminder that no matter how we roll, most of us love this wild landscape!

I am recommitted to bringing at least one piece of trail garbage back from every ride this summer
- don't let me find your stupid GOO packet out there, because I will slap you with it. Peace.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

AMGEN TOC, Stages 1-3

Well, just as an update, yesterday, the weather was a bit undecided, so I passed on my 10mile ride. The stitches come out Friday, but I've been riding anyway with my brace cinched up and I've been taking extra care to remember to clip out at stop signs instead of falling square on my side like the ultimate roadie "poseur" (term stolen from somebody in the cycling club). Now, if only I could get rid of these Cat5 chainring marks. Alright, now I'm done with my tangent.

The Tour de California kicked off on Sunday with Stage 1 leading from Nevada City to Sacramento, a total of around 168km. It was quickly seen that the local boy, Paul Mach (alumni of the UC Davis team, and still a resident in local Davis, CA), would be leading the breakaway through most of the stage.

(OK, Mr. Casual Observer, you got me, this is Mach in the Nevada City Classic of 2009)

However, as most of these things go, the breakaway leading all day got scooped up in the final kilometers before hitting Sacramento. In the end, just as we saw in the last stage of the Tour de France, HTC just pulled it together in the front for ol' Mark.

(Just as he promised, Mark Cavendish took the first stage)

Now, as for these next two stages. I didn't catch the second one on the ol' TeeVee, but I know for a fact that it was misery out there. The sporadic downfalls down here near the bay were also a sign of the weather up North in Stage 2 from Davis to Santa Rosa. I know for a fact that this stage is probably the most challenging, as it's full of climbs (the steepest and longest being Howell Mountain) and if there's any rain at all in Santa Rosa, there's a lot of rain. The stage came in around 176km, with the winner being Brett Lancaster from the Cervelo Test Team.

(Lancaster: Dude, that sucked. Sagan: Yeah, it's a little damp out here)

Now, I did indeed make a point of having Stage 3 recorded (well, my Dad did...), so I still have to watch that this evening. But, a quick summary includes the winner -- Dave Zabriskie of Garmin Slipstream -- holding off his breakaway partners (Levi Leipheimer and Mick Rogers) in a dramatic (and slightly scandalous due to the fact that he never pulled up Boony) finish of the 182km stage from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. According to VeloNews, the group broke off from the less-soggy-today pelican on the Bonny Doon climb right outside of Santa Cruz.

("I'm a winner," exclaimed Zabriskie after his solid win today. OK, not really, but he was happy with his form)

So, that's a wrap for the last three stages. The current leader of the pack is Brett Lancaster, with an overall time of 8hours, 43minutes, and 24seconds. I'll be unable to view any of the stages up close and personal, as all stages occur during school hours or are too far of a trip, but stay tuned for updates and make sure to get out and ride some, too.

Oh, also, of course all the photo credit goes to Ken Conley. Keep the rubber side down, AYC patron!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

the 2010 Amgen Tour of California

there will be plenty of ProTour racing excitement in California beginning tomorrow. unfortunately, Jen and i will not be attending this year's edition- too many things shaping up on the home front and a summer season that is already booked full of events and activities of our own.

and yes, probably some racing, too.

not to steal the limelight from the big guys, here's an image from the last time Jen and i were able to make it out to Cal to enjoy some of the action on and near her home turf:

a soggy pelican climbs Trinity grade near Santa Rosa where Jen's mom lives. that's me in the green rain jacket and the image credit goes to Jen. this is probably one of my favorite images of me not on or near a bike or racing.

this is also one of my favorite areas for riding both road and mountain bike as the terrain and scenery are fantastic. and i can tell you from experience, this is a very difficult climb, indeed. the race will be approaching from the Napa side this year, and the profile is even more severe when riding from that direction.

i'm looking forward to lots of great racing action, and hopefully an on-the-ground report or two and some photos from our NorCal correspondent as well.

stay tuned for more.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Giro d' Italia stage 4 - TTT

unless you have the top-dollar cable sports programming piped into your teevee, chances are you didn't see today's coverage of the G-d Italia here in the 'states... just like me.

check out how Vinokourov shags his team off the back, one by one. the clock doesn't stop until the 5th rider crosses the line, so getting all steamed up about it doesn't help one bit, either.
imagine being #5, just killing it because you know that the boss is about to lose his pink jersey, sunglasses and booties. and the boss is real tight with the ol' boys back in Kazakhstan, by the way.

and i just have to say that Vino is looking awfully huge and showing abundantly good form for a guy who has been "on holiday" for the past two years. amazing what a little bit of beach time can do for ya...

sooo, enjoy the racing. what little we get to see.

Monday, May 10, 2010

trail report for may 10, 2010: Kokopelli's recon

as part of our preparation for the upcoming Kokopelli's trail ride, Jen and i did some recon on a section that is often bypassed by the hurried horde and those who might be skeerd of a little bit of extra climbing and some "sandy" sections.
after riding this portion of the parcours for ourselves, we decided that it would indeed be a mistake to detour around Yellowjacket Canyon when we are on the pilgrimage next month.

the vast, open desert and a road to nowhere.
some music then, if you please:

plenty of the type of scenery that one would reasonably expect to find round these here parts.
and plenty of slickrock climbing, too.

remind me to put a bell on the ol' Moots singlespeed, wouldja?
'scuse me, please...

this image brings to mind of one of the old movie set backdrops that was all painted and lit up for the dramatic visual effects, with the actors and action on the stage in the foreground- not unlike the oldschool Star Trek style:

Capt. Kirk & co. beam down near the LaSalles...

looking towards Fisher valley with the snow-capped LaSalles in the background.

Jen climbs the slickrock towards the summit ...

and blasts through some easy downhill sand on the descent towards the river.

everywhere we looked, the desert was blooming. the air was perfumed with the scent of so many flowers, in addition to the standard background aromas from the junipers and sage.

legend has it that the outlaw Butch Cassidy frequently posted up near this very location.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

NorCal Ride and Mother's Day Report, May 9, 2010

So this weekend was filled with some surprises, some progress, and... some furniture. Let's just summarize it quickly.

The week started off strong, and I was getting in 10-15miles almost every day. In fact, I was even gearing up for a ride with two friends from school, one of them on the local powerhouse junior team Tiene Duro.

What, might you ask, have I been riding on? Well, the owner of my local bike shop was very gracious in offering me a loaner bike for the months coming up to my adventure in Colorado. I was expecting to walk in and to be greeted with a nice, vintage gas pipe (which I would have been fine with, for the record). But, when I walked into the shop last Thursday, they pointed at a cherry-red 52cm Della Santa. Full Campy Centaur triple group, Columbus SLX. Yeah, I almost crapped myself.

(Excuse the bad image. I added the pedals, saddle [SLR XPs are really comfy!] and saddle bag.)

Long story short, yesterday I got in some original LOOK Delta Anatomic pedals and I was ready to replace the original, steel LOOKs that were already there. Anyway, the allen head in the pedal stripped, and my left hand went right into the chain ring.

(Finally got them on. Don't mind those battle scars near the BB bolt...)

So yeah, 4 stitches, a dorky brace, and 12-days-off-the-bike-to-come later:


Moving on. In light of my "accident (more like a stupid mistake)," I did happen to receive a very large package in the mail. Essentially everything needed to complete my brother's campus bike. Full RSX group, 7speed barcons, a reputable wheelset, etc.

So yeah, I've got all that goodness to look forward to. Mother's Day has been great so far. Had a big breakfast and then we moved our guest bed up from the downstairs for the brother's upcoming ACL reconstruction. Lucky him.

But the message that I really want to get through in this post is that Spring is finally here, and thus it is time to get out there and tear up some trails or the road (as once said, "Whatever your flavor, neighbor"). Just get out there and ride, and take it all in before the hot Summer.

And with that, I'm off to grab some grub and clean some bike parts. Keep the rubber side down, AYC patron.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fruita, usa trail report for May 7, 2010

OR- "Frankie escapes the dreaded May snowstorm"

Frankie sent 3 texts yesterday morning- certain the weather service was withholding and it must be as crappy down here as it was in Steamboat (temps dropping into the 20s and snow accumulating fast).

But, with a little effort he was able to be convinced that we are riding with abandon on fully accessible trails, the desert is amazing right now and he should get out here!

An hour later I got a picture on my phone of the bike going onto the roofrack in the dumping snow. He made it down in time for a late afternoon Rustler's hotlap and early evening Marys/Horsethief ride.

Truth be told, the wind was whipping pretty visciously and I may not have gone out if I was alone- but we have to do what we have to do when the sanity of our friends is on the line...and the smile says it all.

Quiet evening at the end of the Horsethief Loop- the desert green as ever and the misery of snow in the mountains in May fading...

Today the breezes were calm and the air a perfect temp to take Frankie's new titanium knee for a lap around the Western Rim
Here's to the miracle of modern medicine!

The Snowpack on the La Salles is still spectacular from a distance (as in, I am glad we are not starting the Kokopelli Trail ride today- or even this week - as many are...BRRRRR).
Here's sending warm thoughts to those camped out there tonight, as well, to those hearty souls 2 hours from the start of the 18 HOURS of FRUITA.
I've yet to make it out to catch the spectacle of it all and if I don't rally to make it to the Giant for Women group ride and skills clinic in Gunnison tomorrow, perhaps I'll catch the finish.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

the 2010 edition of the (*deleted*) has ended and the two-wheeled stampede has finally quieted to a dull roar. i actually had a day that i wasn't working 12 hours on everyone else's bike, i finally got to go for a ride myself instead of hearing about the epics that broke all of those bikes.
two whole days off work.
there might be a few moments to blog, make an overdue phone call or two, or generally catch up on some of the things that have been neglected over the past couple of weeks. like the lawn.

trouble is, i'm too busy enjoying all of the hours on my days off to really get much work done. it's just like that sometimes, especially when the weather gets real nice like it was today.

Jen and i joined our friends Chris and John for an "epic ride" of our own- Zion Curtain to Western Rim to Trail 2. That's approximately 50+ km of high desert trails with plenty of climbing and technical moves, just for the record. and the wind was going a steady 50+ km/hr at ride time, just to make it a bit more challenging.

here's an epic jam to go with the images from today's ride. crank it up and enjoy.

Jen shreds the Zion Curtain. obviously, Mike the Hammer wasn't the only one who was going to the gym this winter.

two riders were approaching (Chris and John)

John was enjoying being able to train for his participation in the upcoming Tour Divide epic in some optimal conditions. he hails from Pine Ridge in the Wyoming Territory. they tend to have real crappy weather up there, from what i'm told.

Ms. 650b powers on...

looking down on the Kokopelli trail from on top of Zion Curtain. the mountains in the background are the LaSalles and this is one of the first really clear views of them we have had so far this year.

on to the Western Rim and well past the "half way to cold beverages" point of the ride.

Chris- riding steady and taking in the views.

like these.

the desert is exploding with a riot of colors.
stay tuned for more.