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.





Sunday, January 30, 2011

wintersport

we all know that "it's what you do in the dark months of winter that will make all the difference come july" and that sometimes the weather goes bad for 6 months at a time (especially here in the mountains of NW colorado).
that is when "plan b" comes into effect, as deep snow and cold temperatures often conspire to make cycling all but impossible. you have to do something else in order to stave off the effects of "cabin fever" and develop some good base fitness in order to make a smooth transition to the cycling season and the efforts required.

here's a few of the fun things that we do as part of the winter training program:



snowshoes are an essential part of our winter arsenal. my grandfather gave me these (now) vintage L.L. Bean lead-filled "powder stompers" way back when i was about 13 or 14 years old. they have busted many miles of backcountry trail and have never failed to perform, even in the most brutal winter conditions. over the years, they have given me access to great snowboarding in the Flattops wilderness and other mountain ranges acrosss Colorado. the new-style shoes are great, mostly on groomed trail. but if you are going big in the backcountry, leave the trail-hiking pizza cartons at home and get yourself some of the oldy-but-goody ash & gut specials.




hot laps at area 19 make for some great aerobic workouts with some nice freshie-turns as a reward. notice the 'shoes strapped to my backpack.





Jen believes that if your free your heels, your mind will follow. and when you are following Jen on her tele skiis, you better move quickly. she is without a doubt one of the best tele skiiers i have ever seen, very smooth, confident and powerful on any terrain. this is one of my all time favorite images of Jen, taken in the backcountry of area 19.






she rips it on the skate skiis, too.

we have been doing some skate skiing on the Grand Mesa this season. the weather has been superb and there are many kilometers of groomed trails on which to enjoy the abundant fresh, deep snow.






skate skiing is brutal hard work, especially if your form is less than stellar, (like mine) and you're chasing all day at 3500 meters altitude. i had to stop for rest and refreshments more than i would have liked, but it's still january so i'm not too worried... yet.




and then there are the days when we just have to ride, no matter the conditions. Jen in the pow at Rustler's a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Early Bird Criterium #3, NORCAL January 23, 2011

Today was the third Early Bird Training Criterium (second for me) put on by Velo Promo. I missed last week's crit in favor of the second Oakland Composite TT, but was glad that I forwent yesterday's road race and joined in the fun of the junior criterium.

This week, after some sage advice, I decided to tear it up in just the junior crit and save Cat5 for a later date when there aren't so many crashes and wobbles. Dad and I left at 8am and arrived around 8:20 with a few minutes for me to register and get dressed for the clinic below. The guys and gals from VP have been doing a great job to keep the race organized and safe for all who enter.
(Briefing.)

Since I didn't make last week's race and clinic focusing on cornering, I opted to do my clinic with those who missed week two as well. We practiced two-by-two and three-by-three cornering at speed. No crashes, which was good.
(Clinic Briefing.)

Once the adults' clinic was over, the juniors had their own little skill clinic in one of the parking lots off the side of the course. We practiced practical real-life assertiveness, balance, shoulder looking, etc. Easy stuff, but it was fun and we all had some laughs. The junior race started right after the women who were proceeded by the U30 Cat5 men. The Cat5 guys had one crash coming into the sweeper after the start/finish line. The pavement there is incredibly rough, and the sliding sound after cross-wheel impact was really nerve-racking. Both guys made it out all right. So, the junior race began and the groups quickly separated. They start the really little kids with us as well, but we're quickly away from them so they can have their own race without worry.
(Big sweeper after the start/finish. The rough stuff is out of sight to the right.)

The group did a pretty good job of staying together and I stayed near the front of the main group for the whole race. Somehow I drifted back in this turn and that wasn't a good choice. On the next lap some kid was on the outside of me in the same turn, wiggled his bars a bit and leaned hard onto my shoulder. As per the advice of our in-race mentors prior to the start, I flicked him off with my elbow.
(SRV kit, red and black. That's me.)

And finally, the glory shot here. This is the bell lap, and things got strung out for sure up in the front. Right here, I'm probably sitting around seventh and we were going hard all the way to the finish. I don't really think anybody sprinted, but we just ended up finishing in the order of who had the most oomf left. I probably finished in the top 10-ish riders of the first power group.
(Killin' it.)

All-in-all, the race was great fun and I did far better than my first race on this circuit where I opted to ride with Cat5 and got dropped out the back. These are just training races, but there's definitely some competition and I think it's really good that some of the juniors are attending these races - we all learned something. For example, the team that will remain nameless that was leading the pack made some huge mistakes up in the front such as slowing and dangerously mushrooming the rest of the pelican. The mentors certainly had a word with them. Plus, I learned that while the drops do offer a defensive position, I don't need a death grip. Numb, stiff fingers suck after a race.

So that's that AYC. Sorry if it's incoherent or babbling, but I'm getting ready for a nap and then some serious studying. Stay tuned for next week's report! UPDATE: there might not be a next week. Stanford Parliamentary Debate Invitational here we come...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fruita, usa trail report for January 20, 2011

I took my Martin Luther King Jr Day ride out in Loma. I got on the trails early, expecting things to soften up- but the warm overnight temps (Mid- 30s) meant they softened up much earlier than expected. I made a couple Rustler's laps and then rode Mary's out and back just beyond the cattle gate. The ride was awesome- geese overhead and no one to be seen- but the temps crept up and I got mighty muddy on the way back to base. I'd say that unless (until) things get really cold again, these trails should be avoided. Having said that, be assured folks are out there riding- there are plenty of 3 inch deep tire tracks to prove it.




 
Warmer temps and gradually longer days mean the road riding is great this week- feels a little spring like even.




...but the really fun and full-on workout of the week so far has been heading up to Powderhorn to skin up and tele down...repeat. My goal was 3 laps since I heard a guy bragging about it last year- and I would have made 3, but there was that blister on my right heel and my iced up goggles and that one patroller who got snarky with me and, and, and, getting to the car in complete foodfreak, I knew I was lucky to survive 2 laps! Be assured, I will be back- spectacular workout at altitude with amazing views and a chance to make some turns back down as a rest and reward. (And then go home to the valley and recover)


As much as we here at AYC disdain gimmicks and loosely veiled efforts to separate athletes from their cash there are a few accessories we have become enamored of in 2011:

Chamois butter is for real. Dave has been using this since chamois were actually chamois, but it never occurred to me to try it until I had the pleasure of treating the rather gnarly saddle sore of a patient last summer. I only had to use it once to get the message loud and clear-
this is not a gimmick or marketing scam as some forum screamers would have you believe. Well, I guess it is a gimmick and a scam if you get suckered into buying some fancy pants expensive lube when there are plenty of high quality inexpensive options available. For instance, I really liked D’z Nuts, but refuse to pay $20 for a 4oz tube of lube when there are plenty of excellent options at half the price (We are all about the Beljum Budder these days but I think the chamois butt'r may be even less expensive).


Serious riders of bikes, horses, tractors and what have you have been taking care to protect against chafing and saddle sores forever and, I’ll tell you from personal experience, Mountain bike rides more than 15-20 miles are much more comfortable with a little gooch and saddle sores suck.
Compression socks rock. The hardcore runners in our posse have been telling us about them for ages, but it is a well known fact that we are slow to accept changes to our system. When the good guys at Boulder Running Company dialed us in with the CEP footless knee highs, our system instantly changed.
I’ll let Dave tell the story of the pain associated with his award winning varicose veins- but I’ll tell you he has barely taken his compression socks off since they first let him try them on in the shop 6 months ago.
Although the scientific research on the use of compression stockings for recovery is less than overwhelming, you have it first hand that the difference in "perceived recovery" has been immense. And the role of graduated compression to improve compromised circulation (ie. 'very-gross' veins') is well understood in medical science (and here is a picture to prove it).
We ended up buying knee high footless stockings because we like to be barefoot to sleep and to wear our own socks to work and workout. None of the other brands we tried seemed to be as spot on with compression in all the right spots- but since CEP doesn't make full length tights, we'll give SKINS a try when we are ready to branch out a little further.
Note: buy 2 pair. If you find they cure all that ails you- as did Dave- and wear them around the clock- as does Dave- you will need a clean pair to rotate in while you wash the others once in awhile.

Energy and electrolyte supplements are not all gack. I have always viewed energy bars and drinks as an absolute last option if I cannot carry real food on an outing. Mostly, they taste lousy, make me feel pukey and are generally a marketing rip off. On the other hand, carrying and consuming real food on training rides and during races can be a little unrealistic and, so, I am stoked to have found the Hammer product line (we use HEED, Endurolytes and Sustained Energy mostly). Since I have become much more conscientious about replacing the glycogen stores I am burning I know I am building more muscle and recovering faster and since the HAMMER products are so well made, I’m not having to feel sick just to stay fueled up. We at AYC appreciate their science based, less is more approach and feel very confident we won’t come to find out our supplements are laced with poisonous UCI banned crap.

**please note we don't get nothin' from nobody to pitch their goods or services- we just tell it like we see it. As always at AYC, just the opinions of a few vociferous cycling enthusiasts.

Monday, January 17, 2011

wishing a full and speedy recovery

i will forego my usual commentary and observations for this post and just wish a full and speedy recovery to congresswoman Giffords from the folks here at ABANDON YOUR CAR. our deepest condolences go out to the friends and families of the other victims of the Arizona shooting as well.



congresswoman Giffords is obviously a "real cyclist", not just an election-seeking politician riding around the neighborhood in search of a photo-op and a few more votes. in fact, she's a member of the Congressional Bike Caucus. here's a couple of links to articles from TusconVelo; one is an interview with Rep. Giffords, the other is a short article describing a ride she took with a friend on the night before the shooting.

check out her custom whip, put together by Dave Bohm over at Bohemian Cycles: urban tires, SPD's, disc brakes, internally-geared hub, comfortable and sensible geometry, custom paint job, and, equipped with LIGHTS front and rear.
that's what i'm talking about: a real bike for a real cyclist.

happy Martin Luther King jr. day, everyone. get out and go for a nice ride today... to honor all of those who are unable to do the same, but would certainly be out there if they could.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fruita, usa trail report for January 5, 2011 (and reflections on the year gone by)


Winter is upon us here in Fruita- and, believe me, there is plenty of beautiful riding to be had. This is out on Rustler's where the gentle flow of bikes and peds keep the trail nicely packed (let a little air out of the tires- studs and chains are straight up overkill). It was just starting to get a little mushy today as the temp crept above freezing- before noon is the way to go. The roads are super rideable too, now that last weeks ice has melted. So far, we have been spared the hateful Grand Valley inversion layer that nearly broke us last winter. The gettin is good this week!



Of course, the unpredictability of winter means there will certainly be weeks we spend more time, thinking about riding, than actually riding our bikes. For those who cannot cope with not pedalling for endorphins there are indoor options (Ugh)-

Spin class is NOT riding a bike in my opinion, but it sure makes you think about riding a bike! Getting on the rollers in the garage is ever so slightly less obnoxious, but still not a bike ride by any stretch. And, of course, there is the group indoor trainer series hosted by the folks at LTR Sports which sounds like it may actually be fun (I would go if I had not already been to Pilates and out for a 2 hour hike under bluebird skies today).

Unlike many of the cycling enthusiasts with whom I rub elbows, I rather enjoy this time of year (perhaps because I have been a ski bum far longer than I have been a bicycle bum) and take a lot of pleasure in leaving the bike to the side for a long back country ski or snowshoe trek, a snowy trail run, a skate ski suffer fest or a quiet hike surrounded by snow covered juniper and animal prints crisscrossing among the grasses and sage.

As I hike, ski, run and skate I, of course, find my thoughts drifting to the bike and taking stock of the victories achieved and lost, goals attained and epiphanies realized over the past year. It seems a bit zen to get off the bike in order to best reflect upon it…

2010 was a good year on the bike for me after all was said and done.

I have been writing my lists of achievements, epiphanies, struggles and hopes for the coming year and am finding the exercise really cool. I loved going over Danny's list and will share some of my own over the next couple of months.

A Few random THINGS I FIGURED OUT IN 2010:

Training:
By piling on the hours and miles in early spring I was able to make a huge leap in my base fitness(duh) and then prove that reaching this higher base fitness level would allow me to conquer a crap-ton of my technical climbing demons. And, as a result, – my #1 goal in 2011 is to be stronger (as in muscle power) and, thus, better able to pull off the aggressive anaerobic bursts that separate the winners and losers in mountain bike racing. If I had not pushed past my base fitness plateau in 2010 I would not even be able to imagine making this happen in 2011.

Skills:
Picturing and feeling my weight shifts as if I’m telemarking (that’s skiing, not selling crap over the phone) has me making far faster, tighter turns both climbing and descending. This analogy was hard for me to accept when Dave first pointed it out in the tight, steep, swoopy singletrack on Valley View- but as I pushed harder and harder to keep up with his descent, it came to me. I ski far faster than he does and when I make a hard ass highspeed tele turn, I roll out onto the little toe of the foot inside the turn for all I’m worth – that is the driving motion that allows for a tight edgy turn- (and the knee then goes a bit bowlegged). The other (outside) foot is pushing down and around, preventing the skid out. I’m not talking about the foot forward/ foot backward shuffle we use in the pow, but the driving of the uphill edge we use to rip hardpack. Transferring this concept to the bike has been a major breakthrough for me. I’m just sayin’…if the shoe fits.

Racing:
Longer x-country courses that go somewhere beautiful and surprising suit me far more than out of the gate full-on sprint up the ski mountain and down the ski mountain courses. I race for the joy in it- I work because I have to. Therefore, any race I enter better leave me smiling for days afterward regardless of how I finish. I loved the races I was able to make in 2010 and I will choose all of my races for 2011 with this in mind- (this includes the races I ride in and the ones I get to play soigneur). Rabbit Valley Rally, Palisade Classic, come on lottery spot in Laramie, and the Breckenridge Fall Classic are the anchors in my race schedule so far.

Enough for now- but be assured there is plenty more where this came from. For now my goal is to get out in the sunshine tomorrow and strive toward a little less spasticity on the skate skis! We are technically still in the unstructured phase, right?