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Polar Bear Metric Century : George

0 RRRC Polar Bear Road Ride Snow

The Saturday morning Polar Bear Metric Century started out, like so often is the case in North Carolina in January, crisp, still, and sunny.  Temps around freezing at or around the 10AM start in the first week of the year are the norm in the Piedmont, so we all figured that: 1) it would warm up, at least a little; 2)the cold weather bibs, tights, booties and jackets would be enough for the early part of the 100K ride, but that we’d be able to take at least something off when it warmed up later into the ride; and 3) that–even in early January–the 62 miles would be…in the words of one of my erstwhile 36Street Racing teammates…a few good base miles.

How’d that work out for ya, Peaches???

As you might guess, not so well. The first 20+ miles were easy enough–hangin’ with the boyz from 36SR and the host Rocky River Road Club (and girlz, a couple of whom can blow past me like rice through a goose) at a healthy 17-18 mph pace into the wind, and in echelon, no less, when the breeze really kicked up. It was fun for me, since the last time I’d echelon-ed and really took a healthy pull at the front of a fast group was, oh, maybe the summer after my freshman year in college. (That was in the summer of 1984; jez’ sayin’…)

That’s about when the wheels came off.  Sometime around when we’d hit–or passed–the Rowan County line, someone remarked that there was some “stuff” coming down out of the pine trees that were now blowing pretty close to the road. Turns out, it wasn’t pine pollen…it was the first snow flurries of a black cloud that we had been looking at for a while. About then, heavy snow started falling in earnest, and it got hard to see, hard to pedal in the wind that was blowing the snow sideways; and, well, hard to want to keep going. By that point, I’d gotten dropped by the group on a hill. (That’s not hard to have happen…I’m one of the world’s worst climbers. That is to say, I can do it, but once I get to the top my aerobic ability to continue is nil, so I’d rather spin at a slow speed going up than die once I get to the top.) I caught up to a couple folks–kids, really–after the snow squall stopped, and who were also crawling along, and we made it in to the 2nd rest stop at a little country church where we could warm up,
rest up, fuel up and rehydrate.

The second half of the ride was “interesting;” on the one hand, it wasn’t snowing any more. But on the other, the wind REALLY kicked into high gear, and we–by ‘we’ I’m talking about a couple groups of riders that I hooked up with–really struggled with the wind and the cold. (Oh…and did I mention that there are a LOT of hills in the piedmont??? Well, there are.) But as we got closer to more familiar roads, and passed the last rest stop without more than regrouping, I knew I had at least finished.

Coming into Davidson was nice…it was sunny, maybe a degree or two warmer, and I knew where I was, since we had to pass my neighborhood to get back to the start/finish. So let me just say this: 62 miles isn’t that far. I’ve done more, plenty of times. But the conditions were, in truth, about as brutal as I’ve done on a bike. I’ve been colder. I’ve commuted in snow. I’ve used up all my reserves of energy in a triathlon or five. But those 62 miles were about as difficult as I’ve done in a loooooooong time. I wasn’t in the best of condition; and since it’s been so cold, wet, busy lately, I hadn’t been much on the road bike in a while. (On top of that, I did a saddle adjustment at the check-in…dummy.)

But hey, I finished; as did most of the 325 or so riders who started. Check out DavidsonNews.Net for a brief story on it, and some photos. I’d say that even though it wasn’t as temperature-cold as last year’s PBMC, it was every bit as hard as last year’s, and probably harder given the wind and snow. It was a mental game–as much as the mental game of finishing that last lap of a Cat 4 CX race is when you’re about to get lapped, or as much as the last few miles of a triathlon are when you’ve hit the wall and
there’s no one out there on the course to cheer you on. And, by finishing it, you get to bank the mental strength you’ll need later in the year to successfully compete in or overcome some other challenge.

Grueling, it was. But I, for one, can’t wait till next year.

Photo Credit : @dwuori

Race Report: Lion’s Roar NC Cyclocross #2

1 Arleigh NC Cyclocross Lion's Roar

While I have raced several cross races this year, they all have been prep work (fun) for the grand event of the North Carolina Cyclocross series. This series kicked off this past weekend, I didn’t make the Saturday race so Sunday was the official kick off to the next 3 months of cyclocross racing!

In order to give you a full scope of the race let’s begin at 5:15am when I woke up. Why? Because I had to leave by 6:15am for the 2.5-3 hour drive to Raleigh. Thank goodness for in car entertainment of Natalie Moore (friend, cheerleeder and cyclocross virgin)! In the car, rocking towards Lion’s Roar I know my body was feeling sore. There’s no reason a 2.5 hour drive should bother me, but something in my hamstring and lower back just didn’t feel right.

Get to race, teammate/friend/brother from another mother, George Berger, had set up his tent already and we had staked out a place for the team to hang out. Another tent went up near the course for race heckling and photo taking.

Sign up

Arleigh NC Cyclocross Lion's Roar

Get dressed in awesome new Birdsong Brewery team skinsuit. Long sleeve jersey and Foundry parka overtop. 45 degrees and on the road warm up.

Warm up for 45 minutes on the road. Openers. My hamstring wasn’t feeling right. I couldn’t spin through it. It was tight like a fiddle.

Pre-race lap. Course was fast, felt short and super fun.

Race Time

The field of women (and single speed guys) was the biggest I had ever seen at a NC CX event. 26 women in the CX 4 race, and close to the same in the Pro, 1,2,3 race. Due to warming up and not having points from the day before for call ups – I was 2nd row. That wasn’t good. I normally have a good start and like to rail into the first lap to find my footing.

Racers – 15 seconds

Strategically I had figured out how I was going to get around the girl in front of me after the line. That was as long as she didn’t fall over in front of me.

Start was on pavement. Slight up hill with a 80 degree turn to the left. Cut to her inside and hit the corner hard. Success. Went into the first wooded section about 10 back.

Bump through the woods, through pine straw and roots. Hard left turn. Girly in 3rd place takes out about 6 girls. Utilizing my mtb skills I stay high inside and sitting pretty in 3rd after that pile up.

Short section of pavement into some taped off turns. If you rode the tape properly you could really keep your steam going. Downhill, 180 degree turn back uphill to the right, 90 degree turn to the left, gravel, miss the huge hole on the right.

Hit gravel road section. Big gear, hitting it hard. Felt good, felt like I could actually attack the wheels I was sitting on if I wanted.

Gear down, left turn into grass, uphill, gravel thrown in for fun. Around some taped turns. Barriers.

This is when I went from 3rd to 6th.

Dismount… that went pretty. Hop. run.. Hop.

Remount. Crap, hamstring and hip won’t open up enough. Stop. Lean bike over. Mount.

SPRINT. Run up huge hill. Pin it in the taped field. Oh shit moment on the steep downhill. Big ring on the pavement to start the lap all over again.

Arleigh NC Cyclocross Lion's Roar

I sat in 5th for most the race. Last lap 6th caught me at that barrier again. We played cat and mouse the rest of the lap. I sat on her wheel, hitting it hard right before the pavement section. Thought I was going to have a sprint finish but had a bike or two lead at the line.

 Conclusion

Arleigh NC Cyclocross Lion's Roar

Awesomely happy with myself. Having not ridden much over the past 3 weeks (hell month and a half) I am happy to say I was sitting in 3rd and finished 6th out of 26! The season is long and I should be hitting the podium soon enough. Confidence isn’t huge, but passion is fueled.

Also, it helps that my team is sponsored by a brewery – Birdsong. The IPA after was also awesome!

Did you race this weekend? How did it go?

photo credit: Natalie and George

NC Cyclocross Clinic Recap

1 NC Cyclocross

This past Sunday I dragged myself out of bed at o’dark 30 to prep myself and brain for my first cyclocross “clinic”. At around 7 o’clock teammate and all around awesome guy, George Berger, picked me up in his little Prius and we were off into the sunrise. The goal was to get to mountains of Boone North Carolina and the Pirate Race Products Cyclocross Clinics.

NC Cyclocross

Walking into a cyclocross clinic I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have participated in cyclocross practices, and various other road/mtb clinics before but never dedicated for cyclocross.

Here are the things I did know:

The clinic was segregated for women and men. There ended up being roughly 12 women that showed up which seemed to be a decent group for learning and trying new things with two instructors.

It would be a long day. The clinic was scheduled from 10 to 4, and I knew from cyclocross practices that I would be completely worn out doing these quick burst of anaerobic effort.

NC Cyclocross

There would be good food. Burrito’s from Black Cat in Boone, if you haven’t been there – go visit soon.

I had no goals. There were things I want to improve on in cyclocross this year, but a specific skill other than not hurting myself, I didn’t have one dead set in mind. Oh wait, that is a lie.I want to be able to do the “flying squirrel” remount by the end of the season. You know that one were you “hop” off the ground and gracefully slide over your saddle like a cowboy on a bareback horse? Yes that is what I want to be able to do.

Drills and practice makes perfect

For 6 hours I was taken back to high school. All the drills and random technique forming (brain numbing) things you would do, and hate, wanting to just PLAY the game you were practicing for. You didn’t want to practice sprints, side to side, crazy legs, etc.

Quickly these feelings went away and I was left really enjoying myself and fellow company. I hope to have video’s of all the things below later this week. Video editing is just not in the time early this week.

Crazy 8′s -  You basically take two objects, maybe 20-50 feet apart, with a partner you circle the objects/cones/trees/phone poles in a crazy 8 fashion. Learning how to take the corners properly at speed, while at the same time making sure your partner doesn’t catch or pass you (especially in the corners.)

Hill Climbs – This is the one I avoid, I did it twice and stopped. Find a hill and run up it with your bike. At the top either walk down or hop on your bike to ride back down. We started off slowly, simply picking up our bike and walking up the hill to learn where to place the bike on our shoulders and how to use our free arm to propel ourselves up. After a few times in slow, we then would ride into the hill, dismount and “scurry” up the hill.

Dismounts – A great thing for someone getting used to hopping off the CX bikes, especially with clipless pedals. With some momentum unclip your right foot and swing it over the saddle to be behind your left foot. Simply glide in that position. Once you feel comfortable doing this, repeat but this time swing your right leg back over to and clip back in. Next step is to complete the dismount. There were two schools of thought for this, sliding your right leg between your left leg and bike, or swinging your right leg behind your left and allowing the momentum to unclick you. I don’t feel comfortable the first way, and I’m much faster with the second.

Mounting – At a walking pace work on hip rotation and in motion of your walking stride take your right leg and slide it over the saddle so you “catch” yourself on your inner thigh right below your groin. Work on getting faster and “pushing off” your left leg so you get more speed into the sliding onto the saddle. (This is the one I need to work more on.)

Starts- Try out different gearing for your start, where should you be on your seat, do you do better with your hands on the shifters or in the drops, learn your limits so that you can push them but also land in the top positions in the start of the race. It is always better to allow people to pass you than to pick off people through out the race.

Other things gained at the NC CX clinic

NC Cyclocross

The drills were awesome. Having 12 women to talk about womens CX and learn their ways of doing things, was awesome. Having “hot laps” at the end, was awesome. More than anything I believe the best part was meeting 12 semi-local women that will be on the courses beside me. Having people to talk with, making new friends and hopefully helping grow the sport.

Kuat Rack Review

Testing out George’s new Kuat rack was also very informative, if only they came out for a hitch for my new car!

I feel more motivated and able for the season. All I need to work on is my motor and I have over a month to work on that one. Here’s to NC Cyclocross! You can find all the photos over yonder.

Two Charlotte Based em:pwr Members Hit by Cars This Week

0 Bike Accident

I have a very humbled and sad feeling inside when I type this.  If it doesn’t come across well, if my grammar stinks and spelling is horrid I am sorry.   This type of message is one I never want to relay, it is one that pains me before I even begin.

Bike AccidentLast Thursday morning I woke to an email from Benjamin Wilson.  Ben is not only a club member, but is a main sponsor of em:pwr with his company Delivery Path. The email went something along the lines that he was hit the evening before in downtown (Uptown) Charlotte.  He was fine, just was released from the ER but very shaken up and freaked out.  He then asked me to call him ASAP.

I called Ben as soon as I could to talk through his worries and fear.  His bike was totaled.  He had a police and witness report. He was okay.  He was scared.  He was freaked out.   Everything he explained was exactly how I felt 6 months earlier. I did my best, explaining that it is all needed and what I did to get through it..

Over the past week I’ve been trying to keep tabs on Ben.  Keeping his spirits high, or as best as I can.  Hoping that talking to someone that has been there and is back on the road would help!

Fast forward to today… A little after lunch I get a call from George Berger. He has been added to the list of Charlotte based bike accidents.  I haven’t gotten a full story but he’s fine.  He somehow “dismounted” his bike during the accident and now the frame and rear wheel are the only thrashed parts, not him.

Somber. Sad. Feeling for my two friends as I know exactly how they are feeling.   George sounded like he was in better spirits than Ben.  We’ll get through this guys and hopefully em:pwr others to fix this!

Race Report : NCCX #14 Greensboro

0 George Berger Cyclocross

George Berger, the first member of the new em:pwr cycling team,  started riding BMX as a kid in Houston, graduated to local crits and road races, then moved into mountain bikes and triathlons before finally ending up as someone who loves ‘cross more than anything else. The problem, he says, was that each major cycling ‘era’ for him was in different decades. He says that if he’d have stuck with cycling throughout his life, he could have been as good as…well, any shortish, stoutish, strongish mid-40′s Flemish ‘cross racer.  George resides in Davidson, NC with wife and daughter.

The final race of the North Carolina Cyclo-Cross Series was held last Sunday in Bur-Mil Park in Greensboro. Arleigh and I drove over there from the Lake Norman area to race–first me in the (new to me) Masters 45+ category at 10AM, and then Arleigh at 11AM in the CX4 (remember, she’s racing a single-speed against the ‘gearies,’ folks!)

It was cold out there at 9AM or so…so we were all glad that the park had its nature center open for us, with bathrooms, tables and chairs…not to mention cool live and stuffed animal exhibits…and, around the park all sorts of cool parkie stuff. I’d definitely go back there for sure.

The races themselves were a lot of fun; the course was set by Greensboro Velo and Cycles de Oro, and technical obstacles included a couple of sand volleyball pits to ride through (icy is good in sand, by the way, because it packs down), one set of double barriers, a short, sharp two-pedal-revolution climb/90′ turn that you had to hit standing up, and a cool set of stairs that popped us up from a sharp off-camber turnto the main level of the course. Lots of sharp turns that got progressively rutted as the day went on, and some pine needle sections that you had to pay close attention to in order to not spin. Lots of reasonable up- and down-hilliness, but nothing too steep. Fun!

Welcome to Masters 45+

I raced Masters 45+ for the first time. Frankly, so long as I could stay out of the way of the faster guys (and Pro/1/2/3 women, who are almost as fast as the 45+/55+ guys), that was fine with me…and those (other) old guys are damn fast. My goal was not to crash out like last week, and to finish, which I accomplished without much incident. Not much of a goal, but still. I’m a beginner at this. It was my 4th CX race, and I think I’ve learned a lot about bike prep (see my comments from last week, when I crashed over and over due to poor tire choice made before the race), bike handling, and tactics.

One thing I’ve noticed about myself, and it’s a goal to figure out before next year: when I’m actually racing, I feel like I’m working as hard as I can, while still conserving some energy (and air) for later laps of the race. I feel like I’m pushing hard, but not hyperventilating (I did that a bit in the Winston-Salem race, and don’t want to do that again). But then, after the race, I feel almost OK pretty soon after…not like I’ve REALLY worked so hard that I’m spent. Gotta figure out how to get more energy into the race, but not be dead (body or brain-) before the last lap. It’s one thing to push yourself around in the middle of a crit peloton…you can almost always sit in the group to catch some breath. But this is different–you have to negotiate obstacles and the course pretty much by yourself, even if you’re on the wheel of someone. You have to stay sharper, and have to save some energy for the later laps.

I really wish the CX season went on longer though. I’m looking forward to doing 55nine Performance’s Southern Cross down in Georgia on February 26th, so I’ll put the road wheels on the cross bike for a while and build up some fitness…hopefully, it’ll warm up a bit.

Race Report : Southern Cross 2011

1 George Berger at Southern Cross

George Berger, the first member of the new em:pwr cycling team.  He’s on his way to be a good cyclist…well, a good shortish, stoutish, strongish mid-40′s Flemish ‘cross racer.  George resides in Davidson, NC with wife and daughter.

George Berger at Southern Cross

Southern Cross 2011, at Dahlonega Georgia’s Montaluce Winery; the first race of the American Ultra CX Championship Series

I’ve never raced an endurance cyclocross event before; and, frankly, even though I’ve raced both cyclocross and mountain bike, this was going to be something decidedly different…tough, hilly, non-American type (grass crit) cyclocross course at the start and again at the end with some HUGE run-ups; a few miles of paved county road after that; gravel/chert/pumice fire road; STEEP and LONG rocky dirt fire road (if you could call it that); and screamin’ fast descents on those same fire roads. At the call-ups, co-organizer Eddie O’Dea said it best: “this is not a CX race; it’s not short and painful, it’s gonna be long and painful. So try to finish—it’s an enduuuuurance race, not a sprint race.”

Goals for the Southern Cross

My goals were right in line with that: 1) to finish the race; 2) to have some fun doing it; and 3) to use it to judge my early season fitness in this, my first year back to cycling after a layoff of over 10 years (I’m now 9 months into it, have lost over 15 lbs., and although I have a long way further to go, I’m getting there).

I signed up for the 40+ Citizen Race—the shorter version, which was only 30-something miles—20 miles shorter than the full Pro/1/2/3/4 race, with one or two fewer steep climbs. First time in this type of racing, and me still a ‘stout’ and older guy, it wasn’t my purpose to kill myself. There were a few people I knew—I finally met Namrita and Eddie O’Dea, the race promoters from Atlanta’s 55nine Performance (two really nice folks, and whom I knew only from Facebook at that point); and Stephanie Cole from Charlotte, who I met at last January’s Greensboro Cyclocross race, who came down. She was also racing the Citizen race, and I saw later finished with a really good time! I met a few guys (from upstate New York, for God’s sake!) when I was pre-riding the course on Friday afternoon, and more at Dahlonega Wheelworks—a really FANTASTIC bike shop where Jon and Zack fixed me up after a little mechanical snafu, and hooked me up with a free High Life while we talked. Oh, and BTW—they’re wheelbuilders to the stars, so I’m thinking about having them do some 29er wheels for me later this year.

As I said, the start was a hilly, off-camber cyclocross course in tough, high grass that hadn’t been ridden much; not much of a problem, but at the end of it was a very steep, 300-foot “run-up” that even Namrita described before the race as a ‘trudge-up.’ Overcoming hyperventilation at the top was the critical element there, so I’m glad I did it on Friday and knew about it beforehand. Then we left the winery development and headed out for a few miles of paved county roads before heading into the gravel and dirt fire road. Catching someone’s wheel to draft was pretty critical in this early section, getting as much speed on the CX bike as you could while conserving as much energy as possible.

The climbs started with a few miles of decent rollers, trending uphill, but a lot of fun since even with a CX cassette I was able to climb with some of the faster male 29er riders. But then the real climb started…the slog up Winding Stair, a 9-mile steep climb up some of the worst fire track I’ve been on…soft, powdery pumice on top of unpacked mountain sandstone gravel and loose stones. You could call it double-track, but when we witnessed a full-on endure motorcycle spin out at only 10 mph and crash on an uphill section, you knew it wasn’t easy to get traction. I’ll admit it—I walked the steeper pitches since I just didn’t have the gears to spin, nor the tires to get any traction. My Maxxis Raze clinchers were great for most of the race, but not enough read knob or width for this climb. Strangely, I found that I was hiking it faster than some of the other racers were riding it. Reaching the top of Winding Stair Gap and stopping at the aid station for more water for the CamelBack was a relief…looking around off the top of the ridge, it was an absolutely beautiful day…but after a couple minutes, a picture, the water and a ClifBlock for some energy, I was off again.

When you go up, you gotta come down. And the back side of Winding Stair was the best part of the whole race for me. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to be a bigger guy who can still pick a fast line while gravity does most of the work. Eddie had warned the racers beforehand that the roads were open to vehicle traffic, and that there were a lot of blind curves…but still, it’s fun to bomb downhill! So, knowing my health and disability insurance were pretty good, I took off from the top and tried to catch some of the folks who I’d had to let go on the climb. In the drops, I clocked over 42mph on the rutted clay or relatively hard-packed long gravel downhill, passed one guy on a 29er like he was standing still, and…just as soon as I hit the bottom, pinch-flatted going over a rutted section. Big bummer. Fixing it (only losing a few places) I started back up again; this time, the climb up Sassafras Mountain didn’t seem as bad (after Winding Gap, not much could), and there was another long flying downhill section that I had a white-knuckle blast on, making up another place and seeing lost water bottles all over the road from where they’d been shaken loose from their cages.

At the bottom, I was all by myself from then until almost the end, and found myself back on pavement at the ranger station…a long stretch of pretty, rolling county road, then some steep little paved hills with about five or six miles left brought us back up into the Montaluce property and the course went back into the cyclocross course again. There was nobody in sight behind me, and I was almost catching a younger guy that I’d been trading places with throughout the race; but another super-steep and long “run-up” caught me instead. I’d just been passed by the leader of the ‘full’ race, and we started up the hill together…except he didn’t dismount. Holy S*it, I thought—he’s gonna try to ride it!?! I was so shocked (this guy had some serious legs and stamina to do this) that when I got up to the top a good bit later after hooting for him spinning up the whole damn thing, I almost crashed…chain suck city. I lost all my momentum, had to get off and fix that, and just couldn’t get back into the rhythm.

The last mile or so inside the winery property was a mix of CX course and paved road hill climb; not that hard, but by that point I’d pretty much left it all out there already, and just couldn’t catch up to that one guy at the end. The finish was through a chute right at the food tent, with a picture for everyone. I was pretty spent, but nothing that a couple cans of (real) Coke and a couple of bottles of water couldn’t help. I finished in 17th place overall in the Citizen race, and 10th in the 40+ category, at 3:06:49.

Who knew!?! I coulda been a little faster if I’d been in better shape and could have pedaled more of the hills (especially that second big climb), and hadn’t had the two mechanicals. But the race could not have been more fun.  Next year, I’m gonna do it again, and will probably change a couple things on the bike… It was easy to see that the 29ers had the advantage going uphill, but the CX bikes had a huge overall advantage (at least with the course conditions as they were—fast and mostly dry). So a cassette change (maybe to a 12-32), and some wider tires to get more uphill traction and downhill flat protection, and I think we’d have a winner setup. I’ll be doing the Three Peaks USA in September (a Pirate Race Productions event by Andrew Stackhouse), so we’ll see how that works out.

Rear View Mirror

The wrap-up? I could have finished the longer race, but it woulda been far less pretty at the end. So my fitness was ok, but not great—I’m still fat and mostly old; comparatively, anyway. But I finished what I’d started, and had a lot of fun doing it. The first time doing anything is always tough because of the unexpected, and I can’t wait to do it again next year. I couldn’t stay for the after-party and awards (and raffle…bummer), but had to head back to NC so I could put my daughter to bed. Four hours later, a beer down the hatch, and I was ready to sleep like a baby, too. And here it is, Monday, and I’m ready to get back on the bike for a little lunchtime spin.

The First Cyclocross Practice of the Season

1 Cyclocross Training

Have I mentioned how excited I am about the cyclocross season that is coming up? 50% excited about the racing and 50% excited about the environment, friends and culture.

Last night was the first cyclocross “practice” of the season. It really is a reason for friend, George Berger, and I to get out to Fisher Farms with barriers and ride around in circles. Another one of our friends, Mark, showed up to crush us.

Eye Opening Fitness

It is always easier to feel fast when you ride alone, and then you ride with folks that have been consistently riding…that’s when you realize you are slow as a snail!

All I can do is put my head down and plow ahead with training and efforts. Riding with folks that have had solid seasons, and consistent riding for over a year…it isn’t fair to judge myself next to them. Hell, I need to stop judging myself.

Be proud you are out doing it, be proud to be on the bike and keep moving forward!

DFL #2 for the 2011 Cycling Season

0 NC Cyclocross

The second race of my 2011 season was the NCCX #12 at the Wilkesboro Speedway right here in North Carolina.  This race could be one of the coolest venue’s I’ve been to.  Most of the course was found within the infield of the speedway and the rest was right out the back gate in a grassy field.

The Word of the Race : Mud

In North Carolina our weather is fairly mild and easy going, a few years ago in January I was racing cyclocross in short sleeves and 65º weather.  The race earlier this month was the first time we had any type of weather. This race, we didn’t have any weather but instead we had thawing.  Frozen ground gave way and by the time my CX4 race came around the “tractor pull” area became a slopfest.  The pro’s made it look easier, but I walked slowly through the mud pit every time (maybe I should work on running in mud??)

Progress and Motivation

Dead last is better than not finishing or not starting, and ending last was atleast the motivation I needed for getting to the gym and active.

How’s your season going so far?

Photo credit : George Berger

Essentials For the Cyclist on Your Holiday List

0

We can almost count the time to Christmas in hours and unfortunately I missed Hanukkah for all my Jewish friends and followers.  I’ve been asked by many what to get their cycling loved ones or friends for those last minute gifts or stocking stuffers.

Top Last Minute Gift Ideas

Gift Cards - that’s an easy one.  If you aren’t local to your cycling loved one buy one from REI or Competitive Cyclist.  Also, many shops sell gift cards now – make it around service because during the upcoming year we’ll all need a good tune up, or wheel true.

Planet Bike Rear Blinky Light

Rear Blinky Light - Even mountain bikers can use these if they ride at night, and for safety reasons you can never have enough rear red blinky lights!

Old Chub Cycling Socks

Socks - Wicking, wool, tall or short.  They have decorative, fancy or plain fun.  Go crazy, even the cyclist in denial of their funny bone will wear these in hiding away from their snobby friends.

Cliff Bar

Nutrition - Those funny bars, and snacks that we like to eat on our rides or for a late breakfast.   Chances are you can find these at your local grocery store, the cheapest I find them is at REI.  Take a sampling of different types.  Maybe you’ll find your cyclist a new favorite.

Twin Six Water Bottle

Water Bottles -  There isn’t a cyclist alive that will turn down a good water bottle.  Unless,  they are ugly and cheap.  My favorite are the insulated Camelbak bottles.  Combined with the nutrition gels/bars inside, it makes a great looking stocking stuffer!

Last Minute Shopping

Most everyone has a local bike shop in town.  Even if you aren’t a cyclist I recommend you support the locals.   Most of the above ideas are available at your local bike shop.  Variation may change but the use will not!  I also know Real Cyclist and some others are guaranteeing shipping if you order by 5pm MST on December 22nd!

What Do You Want?

After asking on Twitter what was on the cyclist holiday wish list I received many different responses. Some were thoughtful, useful or even a few that money couldnt buy.

@KatyChancey is looking for a new Sweat Pea A-Line, Swrve Knickers and Women’s winter bike shoes

@LorenCaff has a high vis waterproof jacket on her list

@ElRach @thequestess @Tomas_quinones @nicknull All are looking for warmer clothes

It seems like knickers are a very popular want from @doyouwabisabi

@wjcstp @parenthood21 @g_berger @BRAINtechPLEASE @BradGrass Some form of bikes are on their list

My favorite of all the comments :

@BikeShopGirlcom what I really need is a bike maintenance elf. Rei is out of stock & bike shop boys don’t believe they exist. :(
From : @debiquity

What is on your list?

Race Morning: SpartanCross

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Headed down to Spartanburg, SC for a training race this morning. Many thoughts running in my head, and yet nothing substantial to type out here. Unprepared, rain, mud, coffee, prep, switched my brakes, hope I don’t endo. Meeting new teammates and bonding with my brother like, George.

Here’s to the 2nd race of my season, more unprepared than the first!