Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Clif QUENCH: Hydration for Sustained Performance

It looks like our sponsor, Clif Bar, has some new cool stuff to try!

Look out! Coming through straight from the Clif Bar & Company kitchen! Clif QUENCH has arrived! And is here to provide “hydration for sustained performance”.

CLIF Quench is 88% organic and all-natural (good for your body AND the planet!), and contains NO high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. It also contains the right balance of carbs and electrolytes all while being bottled in the coolest, hippest, and first of it’s kind bottle made from 40% post-consumer recycled PET plastic. (It’s hard to tell what we at Clif Bar were most stoked about – this awesome, yummy new drink or its earth friendly, functional packaging!) Where can you find this cooling Clif QUENCH of goodness? Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, and other natural food stores, of course. To learn more cool facts I dare you to check out www.clifbar.com. Heat’s on so cool off with organic CLIF Quench! Have fun out there!

Monday, May 18, 2009

What the...?

If this image makes you wonder what the Blue Sky Cycles employees do on their day off, check it out here.

El Burrito Grande con polle e Nelson

Ahem, so it is obvious that there were 3 people who made it out for el Burrito Grande this weekend, we just didn't coordinate too well. Joe and I were able to meet up at 10:30 in the Heil lot. This story, it turns out is one akin to "little kid gets himself in a bit over his head" (me being the kid). I knew I was in trouble when this dude shows up on a 29er singlespeed for a 40 mile mtb ride. I'm on a bike with all kinds of shocks and buttons and things to make my ride more doable and this guy is ready to roll with his happy face on and one shiney gear.

Riding up Heil was pretty mellow. Joe is looking like this the whole way up:


Meanwhile, I'm remembering this video and trying to figure out if wobbling my knees around like that actually helps me get up hills:


We soon fell into conversation:

"So, this is the first time I have ridden this trail. I moved out here from New Jersey. I've done Picture Rock. How is this one?", says Joe.

"Huff, huff, pant... Um.... pant, huff, this side is pretty rocky, but ... huff pant, , it's not too bad," says I.

"This is pretty different from what I had back in Jersey. There were a lot more rocks and big obstacles in Jersey than this trail" he goes on.

"Hack, cough. Really?" thinking I need to get him to talk more in hopes of slowing him down "So.... pant, huff, huff... What are the trails like there? Why did you move here?" While this wisely got the conversation onto him, it didn't seem to slow him down. I started to fantasize about having a bungy cord to attach to the back of his bike for uphills.

Heil wasn't too bad for me as an uphill. Something about 140mm of travel makes it a lot more rideable. We rode up to the loop, and then ducked down to the Wild Turkey for a quick exit to Picture Rock. PR was in great shape, but the fleet of uphill riders kept us in check. At one point, I came around a corner at about way to fast and a poor uphill climbing woman eyes went as big as pie plates and I thought she was going to do this:

But I guess being startled by me would be better than a deep fear of cotton balls (after watching this video, I may have a new phobia).

Good lesson, midday on a weekend, keep the “turbo boost” off on the downhills and make sure your brake pads are fresh!

Meanwhile, we see this guy in BSV duds parked out at a switchback. I said "hi" but, didn't figure he was on "the trail of the little donkey" - Sorry Perry - also I'm a bit afraid of "the man" and you had your Boulder MTB Trail Guy placard on and I was afraid you would arrest me for wearing spandex with an ass that had no business being in it :)

Down to the bottom of PR and I was starting to feel warmed up. My shoulder injury from last week was a bit of a bother, but not bad and we were ready for the climb up the rock garden at Hall. I think this is where I felt the most able to keep up with Joe. Me, on nearly 6 inches of travel, and him on a hard tail singlespeed. I have to say though, hitting a ginormous rock garden after 12 miles of rough riding was starting to feel a bit grueling. The coach dude I hired told me to ride big this weekend, but keep my HR out of zone 4 as much as possible. Oh, hell. This was like a sprint workout the whole way up. Watching Joe ride this stuff was inspiring. Any SS rider worth his or her salt is fun to watch on technical stuff. After we got to the top of the Garden (providing the veggies for our Burrito), we headed up to the Nelson loop and got in a good loop. I found myself more and more happy to stop and talk to people and give directions as the climb sapped my will to live. At mile 15, we were at the top of the Nelson loop. Downhill was like frantic LA traffic. I was going 20 mph and then zero as I stopped to let someone head up and then 20 and then zero, the whole way down. It's crazy this year how many people are out there biking!

Finally, lunch time! Oskar Blues. Oh, double crap! I forgot my wallet. Joe agreed to loan me some of his $20 but that was going to make for a very skimpy lunch. Luckily, a very very nice waitress offered to allow me to get food on credit and call back with my CC number! Wow, that took us from "small sandwich and water" to "another beer please". One Gordon's Imperial IPA (8.7%) later and I was emotionally ready to head back! Of course, pulled-pork sandwich and a beer didn't help my stomach feel able to get over the hills. Joe at all of his fries and I only ate half of mine. Would that be enough to level the odds? I offered to let him eat the rest of my fries. Maybe that would help. No dice though, he was onto my game :)

The most painful part of this ride was going back up antelope trail after lunch. I started fantasizing, like when I was in college, about how good a barf would feel. Why doesn't Oskar Blues have "light half sandwich with side of fruit" as an option?

I met up with Joe again at the top of the hill by the Prairie Dog town. He was sitting on the bench, talking to some folks and I think he had completed a complete ecological study of the dog town before I arrived. We rode together down the rock garden and I started feeling better again.

Picture Rock on the way up was slow for me, but I had hit my "slow groovy" speed and was just enjoying the trip back up to the top. After a quick loop on Wild Turkey out to the overlook, we cruised back down to the trailhead and I found a shallow ditch to go lie in and die.

El Burrito Grande was a dream of mine - to ride the connected trails in the Boulder/Lyons area. Now that I’m done, I’ve got a goal - to cut 30 min off of the ride time next time I go! If you are thinking about doing this ride and have plenty of snacks, I say “Go for it!!” It’s definitely the most epic ride we’ve got around here as far as true singletrack.

Oh, I almost forgot the stats. 37.9 miles, 4:41 active ride time, ave speed 6.1 miles (that includes break for lunch), and 3813 calories. No wonder I'm hungry!

Here is a map:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The half eaten Burrito.....

Well, headed out this morning to meet up with the BSV guys at Heil ranch to ride what one calls the "El Burrito Grande". It goes a little like this.....

Shave anyone?

10:20am Arrive in Heil ranch parking lot after riding from Longmont and enjoying some scenic views and taking some pics--Parking lot is pretty full but no BSV guys in sight.

10:45am Still no BSV guys, one more tour de parking lot and off I go up the trail. Maybe they said Hall? Solo ride it will be.

Okay, enough with the time line! ;) The rest of the day was incredible and it seemed that most of the BSV nation was out on the MTB today. Ran into a huge group coming down PR on my way to Lyons--Liz, Craig, Susan P, Brianne and Peter. A few chatty moments and I was off towards Hall. PR trail was busy and I found myself stopping in the nice shade to enjoy the breeze at the first rock wall switch back overlooking the valley back into Lyons. A hiker came up and commented to me that was her favorite spot in the front range and I have to agree. It was pleasant to hang out, eat food and talk to all the trail users. Here is a pic:

Another biker enjoying the fine Picture Rock single track!

Gathered my gloves and helmet and made my way to Hall via ghetto Lyons Singletrack and Old Saint Vrain road. Lee's van was in the parking lot so I knew I would at least see another familiar face. Funny thing was the parking lot was almost empty there--I am guessing that with PR now, you can drive less to Heil, park and ride all the way to Hall so why drive there now!

Hall was just amazing--no one there and it seemed like a ghost town at some points. Up the rock garden and I had the top loops to myself for both laps. Here is a vie of Meeker and Longs.

Only saw 7 other riders the whole time and enjoyed the descent immensely and took Antelope BMX track back to Lyons. Did run into Jessica on the way down and then Jeremy--one of the original BSV members. Great catching up and everyone just out enjoying their day.

Rolled back up route 7 to more ghetto singletrack and just before I hit it, got cut off by three kids in a white toyota camry--pulled up beside me and turned right, no warning, no signal. Nothing like locking up your brakes on pea gravel from the winter. A nice 6 foot skid and I blurted "LOOK OUT!!!!". I stopped just before slamming into the passenger door. The kid in the passenger seat was texting on his phone and had the seat all way back like some gang banger cruisin the strip. He looked over but his eyes barely could see over the window jam. I heard the girl yell over the music "I'm sorry" but she did not even slow down. Nice, 35 miles into a ride and the last thing I needed was an adrenalin rush to get me home! Just after that I ran into Dan and his family out for a Sunday cruise--Dan had the double trailer action going on--thought that was only legal in the mid west? Love to see him pull a U turn with that rig.

Lots of fun Lyons singletrack and off to Longmont Via 66 and Hygiene. Did a quick loop on Pella Lakes mainly for the facilities but it was a little more trail to tack on to the amazing day. Ran into Cal from the County and spoke with him for a moment.

My route was about 46 miles and right at 3K of climbing--this is a pretty standard ride for many BSV longmont dwellers so not really anything out of the ordinary. I think the Madden's do this forwards and backwards just to get some real mileage in! But, I call this the half eaten Burrito since I did not repeat the Antelope trail and PR back to Heil parking lot. Here is a basic track of my route today: first is from Sport Tracks and the second is from, well you can tell.

Nice little elevation profile to add.

So what happened to the BSV group? I have no idea--better idea came along maybe--thought I would at least see them on trail at some point but no luck. Nederland tomorrow--should be fun and cool up there--I think 74 where as the low land will be over 90 maybe!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

When Push Comes to Shove

Almost 2 dozen Blue Sky Velo members showed up at the Bike Handling Skills clinic last Saturday at Roosevelt Park in Longmont.

Hosted by Blue Sky Velo, and conducted by expert coaches from JDS Coaching of Denver, this clinic was designed by JDS to give both racers and recreational riders the opportunity to gain or brush-up on valuable bike handling skills. “While these skills are "basic" they are ones that most cyclists have never practiced nor have had professional instruction: riding straight lines, riding in close proximity, braking, cornering and cornering at speed and proper body position”.*

All of our sub-focus groups were represented, and I think everyone in attendance will tell you that they got what they expected….and then some! They honed their cornering skills, tested out the most effective braking skills, and they practiced balance while riding verrry slooowllly, weaving in and out of cones and reaching down to touch or pick up those cones!

Many of those in attendance got more than they bargained for when they were asked to bump tires with a partner, rub wheels with the rider in front of them, ride while holding on to the rider next to them, and ultimately PUSHING that rider (really!)! One anonymous BSVer said “When I heard that I thought , I’m leaving right now! “…. But didn't! These particular drills were meant to reinforce balance on the bike, give experience riding in close proximity to others and holding their line when bumped by another rider (which enabled them to keep riding and not fall over! – an important skill to have!)

All in all it was a great clinic on a beautiful day! And now those who came to the skills clinic can honestly say that when push comes to shove, they can really hold their line!
*quoted from the JDScoaching website

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wheels of Thunder Race report- "Inconceivable"

Well, this past Saturday I lined up for my first ever 35+ mens open race and first criterium (or "cotillion" as my mother in law says) of the season. My goals were modest- stay with the pack as long as possible an get some speedwork. After all, there are plenty of guys who have and still race P 1,2 in this field. I hadn't ridden since Wednesday when I rode for 5.5 hours and hit a TSS of 308 for the day (time to update my FTP) so I was surprised to discover good legs during the race.

I did my usual crappy warm-up 15 minutes too easy on the rollers. I then headed over to the start area. I ran into Mike D who told me the bad news about Kevin A getting crashed out in the 3's race. We rode 200 yards from the start, turned back, and already saw 60 guys at the start. We lined up near the back of a field of 92- oh, well.

We are off. I feel ok and below threshold during the first several laps. I glance at the time board-39 minutes left. OK, it's not the 30 minutes I was hoping for but I'm comfortable and realize that I can hang with these guys no problem as long as I ride smart and stay out of the wind. These guys are fast but I'm rapidly gaining confidence. I spend most of the race surfing the back half of the pack, which is not ideal but I felt that I could still move up when I needed to as long as I rode my race and avoided unnecessary big accelerations until needed. I saw Mike D also surfing the pack a few times. Occasionally, I would ride up to the front but didn't try too hard to stay there. I was feeling good enough to join or initiate one of the many break attempts, but wisely decided to save my energy because several break attempts were getting swallowed quickly by this large fast field on an open course.

I actually found it easier to grab desired wheels in this field compared to a cat 4 race because the speeds were significantly higher and the race was more fluid. I felt completely comfortable riding with this crew. It was great to see actual team tactics at play. While there was still too much slowing in turns 1 and 2, everything was much smoother within the pack. I've never had so much fun racing without worrying about the next spaz move. The high speeds and stringing out snake of the 35+ race was fun to experience. As long as you avoided too much wind, it was fine. The only time I had any concern about possibly getting dropped is when some cones were knocked over into the road causing the back end of the field to slow considerably- this required burning a small match to get back on.

The laps counted down 5,4,4,3,2 (that's right it felt like I did lap 4 twice in my head as the speeds were picking up). I was about 45th to 50th with 2 laps to go. I asked an Excel guy if it was indeed two laps to go he said "yeah". I said out loud "well, then what am I doing back here?"- laughing to myself since this is exactly where I thought I would be before the race.

I began to put in some bigger efforts now to work my way up to about 30 th with 1 lap to go. Then I picked it up and accelerated hard out of turns 1 and 2. I slotted in about 8th single file up front. Surprisingly, this held with the higher speed thru the final turn. Nobody else came up until after the final turn which the first 10 took single file. I took up the inside behind an Excel guy (probably, Bob Dahl). I got boxed in a little. I yelled "Excel let's hit it " hoping that he would give me a leadout but he was searching for his own leadout. I made my way out. I rubbed elbows with some guy briefly, no biggie, and accelerated in a mass sprint to the line which appeared sooner than expected. I realized that top 10, maybe top 5 was mine. I moved from about 10 th to finish 6th in the last 50-100 meters. What a blast! I was right there with the front guys in the sprint finish and didn't even feel spent after the race. A crash further back took out some of the field. I'm glad I stayed away from that one.

If you would have told me that I would have finished 6th out of 92 guys in the 35+ open mass sprint, let alone finish with the front pack, my reaction would have been "inconceivable"


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mavic Wheel Demo

Hey kids:

Check out the attached flyer; Blue Sky Cycles is hosting a Wheel Demo Ride with Mavic this saturday at 10am. The ride is open to everyone and anyone and will be a great chance to demo some new R-Sys or Cosmic Carbone SLR. So, feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested. Also, there will be a mid-ride stop for coffee at the Stone Cup and a post-ride BBQ put on by Two Dog Diner.

So give me an e-mail at bizalich@gmail.com to reserve a pair of wheels. See everyone by 9:30 to get it all set up Saturday. Also, I have sent out the flyer to the yahoo group--that has all the additional info.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

this one stings

hey kids:

a free pair of sox goes out to the first person to correctly post to the comments section of this blog entry whose bike this is.

i'll give you a couple of hints:

1. they are on the blue sky squad. that narrows it down to about what, 200 people?

2. they may be seen after a ride with an ice-pack on the genital region to calm the swelling.

game on.


Hall Ranch: Perfect Dirt

Hey there dirt lovers,

Hall Ranch has got it going on right now. While the rock garden is a bit sloppy, with standing water and some blobs of peanut butter, Antelope (top) and the Nelson loop (bottom) are in great shape.

Rob and I might go get some more dirt in our teeth early tomorrow. Come get some.