Thursday, December 21, 2006

Static Cling

Well I am sure everyone has heard of the "Big One", or the "Holiday Storm". Yeah, I was out in it, driving in snow can be treachorous, me, I think I am Peter Solberg in my Cravens Coffee prepared WRC Toyota Matrix. But with coffee machines weighing me down, they keep me from going balistic down powder covered roads. Still, a controlled drift here and there keep me entertained after hours in the drivers seat.

I have picked up the running, a lot, mixing it in w/ my nordic skiing regiment. The other evening, I was out on a snowy run w/ a headlamp to let motorists know where I was. When alon, I ran by the reflected light off the snowflakes, in a deafening winter silence. The flakes stung my eyes in a constant flurry. Then I would turn my light on to announce my presence, and the flakes became a visable static, still stinging my eyes in their constant bombardament. After the cars had passed, the lights went out and I was returned to my winter serienity.

BIG changes coming for 07, too many and too early to talk, but stayed tuned on all fronts. I am pumped.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

O' Tannenbaum

Like many people today, we began our celebration of the Holidays, by getting an evergreen tree to bring inside. Unlike many, we choose the old fashioned means of skiing out into the woods to cut down our own. The roots (no pun intended) of tree use can be traced back before the birth of Jesus Christ to early Egyptians who would bring palms indoor as symbols of eternal life. Ancient Jewish religious feasts used decorations made of tree boughs.

In the Western world, most experts consider our use of trees during the winter holidays as derived from Rome. The Romans exchanged tree boughs with friends for luck. The Roman winter festival was celebrated by decorating the house with tree boughs and greenery. Trees were paraded around with candles and trinkets attached to the branches. And many Christian traditions in the home were borrowed from older pagan celebrations.

Once again, today we found ourselves outside, on a long ski from Crested Butte up to the Friends Hut, just below Star Pass. Along the way during my toil up the steep gradient, I would glance into the woods, or rather the trees. My eyes would select one or two each time I found the energy to take in the scenery.

My eyes were caught by a twisted, once proudly tall standing pine that had long been stripped of its greenery by time and the elements. But even this ghost of a tree, still stood tall and straight, a reflection of its younger days. It stood alone, yet proud.

Then there was a small group of close to the ground trees, hudling together for strength, but torn and worn down from the weather. I felt like they were watching me pass, as I bear witness to their eternally slow struggle, which made my own seem so irrelevant.

Others were shrouded in white, bearing the weight of past snowfalls, a sentence to be carried out until the spring thaw. Moss clung onto the tree admist the dense forest, dangeling like a muted green tinsle. Upon closer examination, colors burst out on the bark, as algeas and other crusty vegation added contrast to the earthy tones oozing up out of the ground on to the face of the proud giants.

Others had fallen victum to the passing seasons, and their branches reached up out of the snow calling out to be remebered, others were mearly a snowheap, an outline of their long robust bodies, now at rest under the winter blanket on the ground.

Once we came home from our adventure, I paused to take inour own tree, and what it represents. The closing of another year, and yet the hope for the new. Green symbolising life, standing tall and proud, and for growth while becoming stronger, to withstand whatever may come our way.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

10k Skate

My first nordic race of the season, CB Nordic Series 10k skate. Nailed the wax, my skis were sooo fast. Didn't nail the start, stumbling and missing my poles off the line, it took me a short bit to get into rythm. It wasn't until the second big climb on the first lap that I began to settle down, my heart rate was coming out my ears. Wearing bib 61 (my Dad's race car number), I was working through the field, pinning back earlier starters (it was a staggered start of :15 between each skier). Gradually a really fast Masters skier came back to me, and latched on once I had passed him. It was great motivation to pull him around and do battle. But once again my poor early season technique would rare its head as I blew our sprint for the finish when i nearly went down. No biggy, 2:30 behind the big guns, and I don't know yet what place. Don't need to, I had a good race, know what I need to focus on, and know how much time I need to improve on to move up.

Keep your tips up!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mountain Flyer

Latest Cover Shot

The latest edition (#5if you are counting) of the Mountain Flyer is now on the news stands, epic photos, rides & stories, best issue yet. Worth the read.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Just walked through the door from a sweet & o' so fun 'training' ride. Picked up the Contour Trail after spinning out HWY50 east on my rigid SS to Tomichi Hieghts, and rode a ribbon of singletrack back to the Western State Campus that was divided in half by snow and dirt, sorta chocolate/ vanilla cookie, with lots of nuts, spices and rich flavor. Yummy. Thinking about how 'cross season was too short for me, next year I will be able to focus more on racing with the Gunni-Cross in a new promoters hands, and while I was basking in the glow of the soft afternoon light, how would it be in a long arm skinsuit right about now? 30F it would be on the cool side, but when your in the red with someone nipping at your heels, that wouldn't even bother me.

Tubes, Tubeless & Totally Tubular Dude.

Well it looks like Dugast is setting me up with some of their new tubulars to try out, and I am not talking 'cross tires. They have a new MTB tread, and they will be glued up on some of the new Reynolds carbon wheels the Topo MTB Wheel. It will be interesting to see how well they ride in comparison to the tubeless variety I have come to love so much. Can't even remember when I rode tires with tubes last? I probably would not be able to even change a tube at this point. It sound like Frischy, a couple of top world cup riders and myself will be the only ones on these until mid-summer. Frischy should come and join Lance Armstrong and Dave Weins for the Leadville 100, that way Dave & Frischy could work LA over a bit. I think in Lance's last mtb race (NORBA National Mount Snow 1999) he was in the 30's somewhere, but I am sure as this race gets closer, the press will play out all of the stats. The circus is coming to town.

Frischy on his proto Dugast-Ritchey tubulars

Sunday, December 03, 2006

4:20 brah!

After a forray into the wild on Friday eve to land our Tannenbaum, Sandi & I were ready to try our new skins and ski up and over Paradise Divide above Crested Butte. Brian (who won the Grand Traverse last year) & Jenny Smith, Eric Sullivan, "Crazy" Dave Oochs and soon to be Mrs. Crazy Oochs all headed out from the Slate River trailhead for a days worth of skiing.

Once we hit the old town site of Pittsburg, we threw on our skins, Sandi & I just set up a new couple of sets of G3's for our Salomon Classic Equipe 10 race skis. By cutting a 90mm skin in half, we managed to create two very nice skinny skins for the both of us.

The skis and skins worked flawlessly today, and we were able to climb some 1500' w/ some ease, that is when you weren't the one breaking trail. At the top, the skins came off for a very fast descent, and if you have not descended on classic racing skis through powder, it is like riding a cyclo-cross rig down a World Cup Downhill - a whole lotta fun! The tour took us 4 hours & 20 minutes - Perfect!

We will be doing several traverses this season like today's, a little Telemarking, AT and snowboarding; I will try a Winter Tri (run, bike and ski- all on snow!), and some nordic racing, should be a lot of fun this winter.

Remember, keep it fresh (especially your tracks)!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Blowin Snow

In full stride last season.
Work had me out in the elements the past few days, including a nailbiter of a drive over Monarch & Tennessee passes. Yup, lots o' white stuff and a top of Monarch were a lucky few who were hiking up for some fresh turns. Me? After my coffee obligations were met, I unloaded my new SLab Salomon gear for the first time, and hit the Grand Mesa for an hours worht of skate skiing, just to get my legs under me. Skaet skiing at the beginning of each season is a lot like first single speeding, it hurts! But once you get going, you can't stop, my little training secret for killing it on the single speed. Speaking of which, sounds like Trave Brown is going to do the Birkenbeiner this year, pretty cool.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Soy Your Oats Cookies & Stroopwaffles

I am addicted to Bread, I don't particularly mean the food, but really I am talking about Bread Bakery in Durango. Rob & Jeffy, along with their loveable team down there crank out some of the best baked goods I have ever had, and that is coming from someone who has resided in Europe. So my breakfast (for that matter lunch, dinner and snacks for the drive home) was pretty much decided once I choose to take part in the FLC Squawker Colorado CX Champs on Fort Lewis.

The FLC race was held directly on campus, twisting and turning through campus, which made my single speed a lot of fun with all of the accelerations. The course was similar to our CX race on Western State, but with less elevation change. The day of the race, was a beautiful cool, almost cold autumn day. Karl Keister made the trip, and I thought we would have ourselves a good fight for the Colorado 35+ title, along with a few other gents whom might be interested, including retired pro Frank Maple. Well my race ended before it began, seems my motto in 2006, while doing one last hot lap prior to the start, I tagged one of the many edges on the numerous sidewalk crossings, blowing my rear out. Being the good scout that I am, there was no spare wheel nor bike in the pit, just eight minutes to the start and a Hutchinson Tubeless Foam inflator.

Hoping that the latex already in the tire and this foam might plug up whatever size hole might be inside my tubular, I pumped it up a couple of times only to se foam and latex ooze out the side of the tire. I rolled back to the start to give it a go, but after less than half-a-lap, I pulled out as my rear was once again empty.

Needless to say, Karl dominated the field, taking home 1st. I would rally, jumping in w/ the 3's for atleast a workout, with my floorpump in the pits. I launched off the front early, building a big lead before diving into the pits for a refill on air, the riders came back to w/in 10 sec or so, and with a slowly leaking tire, I would sprint the straights, remount very gently, and nurse the bike otherwise, still opening my lead backout to nearly a minute. There is no way I could have pulled off this race against the Pro's nor Karl, they would have smelt the blood in the water and devoured me. It was fun and all, but not the racing I was looking for.

Sandi & I did an awesome run out at Mill Creek yesterday in 4 - 6" of fresh snow, and with a Winter Storm Warning in effect today & tomorrow, w/ 1' to 2' of possible accumulation, it is time to ski. This season I will be racing in the Master's class in both classic and skate, and maybe even a couple snowboard contests...

The Dutch Grand Prix took place in Holland over the weekend (this is where the stroopwaffles come in), and while Nys continues to show why he is the man, it is great to see a slew of different nations represented not only in the top ten, but on the podium. Wonder how Trebon will do? (read this next part w/ a heavy Govenator accent) German rider Hank Kupfernagel rode back to the top of the womens World Cup by taking the win. The 2 time World CX Champion crushed the field on this muddy track. Ja Wohl Hanke!

Mud, Windmills & Stroopwaffles

Monday, November 06, 2006

Frustration & Revelation

Tim & Ken working together

Landing at the USGP's in the Boulder Valley over the weekend, I sensed a great atmosphere, unique to those special events. And as I searched around for registration, there was a energy abound, as other riders buzzed around on their 'cross rigs. I had myself pretty worked up goping into the weekend, high on expecting solid results having won my first two 'cross events on the season and feeling like I had good form, however I would be tested in other ways. Upon picking up my number (80), I went back and dealt with my pre-race routine, and then at stagging, I learned it would be staged in numerical order...huh? Lets see, there are approx 110 riders, and I am #80... The Xilinx course was fast, really fast, and the start was narrow, so heading inot the woods on the first lap, I was in, oh about 80th position. But I went to work try to move up, and as I went through the last hairpin before the finishing straight, I heard the leaders being clalled through the finish and into turn one, which was several hundred meters down track from where I was.

Pressing on, I kept picking them off, but I had no idea where I was. Nat Ross had his PA cranking out there and lap after lap kept calling my number as I went through the woods, firing people up on the fact I was doing this on my single speed 'cross bike and the crowds cheered me on by name and as the single speeder. With about three laps to go, I cramped really bad in my side and gut, making it virtually impossible to breathe, let alone keep the pace up. A couple of riders I had passed, slipped back by as I sloed up until the pains subsided. With one lap to go, I made a last lap surge to try to catch one more person, knowing that the top 20 get called up the next day, I was 25th. Afterwards I vented to Sandi and friend about how I felt like I was hung out there on the road sections where the geared set were clearly faster but would not pull through, and of course my cramps. I was frustrated. I was very happy for Tim to have won, and knew he would fair well as he had good form coming into this weekend.

After a good nights rest, and a calmer morning, I had a bit more inner-peace, knowing it would be difficult to start from my 78th position on the day, and make into the top 20, but I was going to make a go of it. From the start, I had a better shot up the long, wide pave' hill into the keyhole around the top of the course, where my good friend Dan @ Mavic pinted an outside line out to me earlier requiring a bunny-hop over the curb on the grass, and it worked passing a number of unexpecting racers. Then there was a crash going through the off-camber chicane. I made it around the strewn bodies, and then came another pile up in the next hairpin. Once again I was clear. The lead 30 riders had a gap on our group which I was leading the charge of, and soon I was in-between theg roups, making the leap over. A lap or two later, I saw a familiar green skinsuit,Tim was moving backwards. I gave a quick pat on the hip, and motioned for him to jump on. We picked off a couple other riders getting him moving in the irght direction again, and eventually formed a small chase group. Tim, the other riders & I took pulls, as the announcers gave the play-by-play of Tim & I giving chace. Eventually Tim had a small accelleration and I sat up, letting the other chase if they could. They did, I followed them back to Tim and we were all back together. I felt really comfortable on this course in comparrison to the day prior, smooth and fast, I was in a zone. Knowing I was the strongest in the group on the steep grassy climb, on the next to last lap, I went for it. Attacking the climb, they others were quickly dropped with Tim returning the gesture of not working to bring me back, and I rode away. Hearing the bell, I never let up for the round until the finish, 20th place. While this was not a big improvement on the day prior, I found resolve in this result, because despite the challenges, I rode a strong, intelligent race, not letting any negative energy creep in. While on paper a 25th and 20th were not what I was looking for, I am none the less stoked on my rides, and had a blast taken part in these events. Afterwards, Dave & Richard Vries gave me an honorary "Most Aggressive" ride having came through the pack to get a top 20 over the PA, which was also gratifying.

There were a lot of sweet IF's floating around over the weekend, but I don't think many more bikes garnered more attention than mine. People were constantly commenting on it, asking questions and taking photos of it. I have to say, I am very gratefull I get to ride it, and love how it performs!

Next time, I will take part in more races prior to one of these USGP's, and pre-register for a better starting position, still holding the belief I can and will run up front at one of these races. Until then, there is always next weekend in Durango.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Euros & Massages

If you haven't checked out the coverage on the Koppenberg Cyclo-Cross, typ in or after reading my post for some great reports and photos. Having raced mtb's in that region, my heart bleeds to have been there, it looks like it was an awesome venue and race! That is one thing I miss over here, the slimy, muddy technical course of Europe, sure we get them once and a while, and those have been my favorite races - I am think Mt Saint Anne this year... Yummy. The bonus at this cross race was they rode up the same climb as in the spring classic, how cool is that!?!

Had a massage this week, slowed up my legs though, they are great for recovery, but I always feel so sluggish for a few days following, I hope that I have blown my legs back open for this weekends USGP's in the front range. If my form means anything, I am looking for some solid results, trying to get my single speed up on the podium, but I am sure there are quite a few other riders with the same idea. Damn, wish I had one of those Euro courses right now...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cross @ Liberty Park, Snow & Eye Candy

Getting back into the groove, knowing a I lost a little fitness, I still have the burn in my gut to race, and feel great on the bike. The bean trade took me to SLC for an install and some market research. A quick visit w/ Jonathan Geran @ Reynolds, I saw first hand their world class operations. Jonathan's cubical was easy to spot with his beautiful Ti IF hardtail perched atop the temporary wall structure. He showed me around their plant, and saw first hand how they produce some of most desired bike products in the world - not too mention the life-saving HANS device used in auto racing to keep drivers heads from getting ripped off during frontal impacts. He said the some of the drag racers have full back HANS devices, 0 - 300 mph in a quarter mile? My thin frame would need a full body device!

After installing some coffee equipment, and testing it out, I was juiced up for a good work out. I found a sweet park - Liberty Park right in SLC for a 'cross work out. Keeping with the race car theme, the outer buttery smooth concrete ring was about 3/8 of a mile, and resembled that of the Indy Speedway. Along side was a woodchip running path, that meandered in and out of the large trees abound, along with a single track. In the middle of the park was a pond, some great features like rolling hilles, steep hills, off camber stuff, twisting and turning paths and lots of trees. Put together, I had to 2 min interval sections on either end of the park with recoevery taking place on the concrete path. People in the park must have thought I was nuts running up and down, charging around the trees, and down the woodchip paths and single tracks. It was a blast.

Afterwards some coffee training and more coffee beverage consumption.

Traveling this week was not easy here in the high country, with foul weather in the form of snow. From what I hear, Lily Lakes up on Kebler is in great shape, and the central and frontrange mountain sound like they were hit with even more snow. I had our new Pilot classic bindings mounted up today.

Back to Reynolds and Carbon MTB wheels. Besides Reynolds (who is the only one to offer both clincher and tubular carbon rims), other carbon wheel choices for mtb are Tufo, Quasar for tubulars, while Bontrager and Cane Creek (which is actually a carbon over alu rim) for clinchers. The later two are actually slightly heavier than a conventional alu rim, so I will not address those options. In the world of tubulars, only Tufo to date offers a true tubular tire, the CX-1. But, if you can afford it, and want the best, check out Dugast. While they do not offer a tread yet, they can lay up your favorite pattern on either their MTB Cotton or MTB Cotton SP (special protection - for extra puncture resistance).

$120 dollars will get you a beautiful set of these handmade A. Dugast tires. But why? Why would you want to run a system like this? For Euro-style World Cup racing, or lighter / smaller riders why not! I mean you get a very supple, low-rolling resistant tire that even if you do in the off chance flat, can ride back around to tech support and swap out. Not too mention the rolling advantages of the light weight carbon wheels, that provide a great ride quality, precise steering and suck up a lot of the features on the trail. Girls, World Cup-wanna bees, listen up, this is your new wheels set and tire system. Hold on to your traditonal wheels for training and forays into the backcountry, but load up your wheel bags with a set of these for the next time you do battle on an XC course.

Or, choose the Reynolds Carbon Clinchers, and set them up ala Stans Tubeless, for an albeit slightly heavier, but more durable set up for those heavy duty courses, or if you can't quite the bullet on tubulars. Disc brakes, carbon and tire technologies and aligned the stars and planets for these to be the ultimate in XC set ups. Are Ferrari's practical? Hell no. But try to keep up with one in you Jetta or Subi - Good luck! On your left!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Two Weeks Too Long

The past two weeks have been way too long, 4 days with no exercise, and only 4 days of riding. Damn! I am hoping I can find the form prior to this unscheduled break in my 'cross season, anyone have a magic bullet? We attended a funeral for my uncle back in Iowa, and then work had me traveling to Spokane, so no bikes. I rode over the weekend here in Gunnison to try and open my legs, knowing I was missing out on one of my favorite races, Interlocken on sunday, but with the way I felt, all the better I was not there getting my ass handed to me. Two weeks until the USGP's and then the rest of the 'cross season for me, looking forward to it. By the way, people are nordic skiing up here...

Monday, October 09, 2006

2006 Gunni-Cross

The past weekend saw nearly a hundred riders converge on the Western State College of Colorado campus in Gunnison over Saturday and Sunday, for the seventh annual Gunni-Cross, part of the ACA Cyclocross points Series. The Western State campus provided the picturesque backdrop, for these two beautiful, but painful bike races. Day one was spent directly on campus, utilizing many of the natural features and landscaping to make up a fast, twisting and turning course. Lap times for most classes were in the 4:30 to 5 min times, but the pro men tossed a few sub 4:20 laps in.

Winning the always competitive Masters 35+ category was Tim Faia of Breckenridge, Colorado on board his IF over former National Champ Karl Kiester. Both rode a steady pace together, sharing the work at the front, then with two laps to go, Faia made a move on Kiester on the tight techinical section on the backside of the course, putting a few seconds between the two leaders. Kiester was not able to close down the gap, leaving Faia alone for the win. The singlespeeds was won by Gunni-Cross Organizer and Promoter, Ken Bloomer, riding for IF, while wife and teammate Sandi Bloomer took a close second in the Pro Womens race to Stef Ward. Both Bloomer and Ward hit the dirt once, with Sandi sliding out around the fast sweeping bend after the start/ finish, and Ward dumping it around the hairpin on the backside of the course. Ward eventually was
able to gap Bloomer, and hold a steady 15 sec lead over the closing laps for the win.

Defending GCX champion, Alan Obye, fomer U23 National Champion, came back up to Gunnison from Colorado Springs to defend his title against Mike Hall, both of whom threw down some seriously fast lap times. Obye opened it up with four to go, for which Hall had no response. Obye not only claimed the win, but to the 'Holeshot Award' for leading the opening lap.
At the end of the races on Saturday, Ken Bloomer presented WSC President Jay Helman and Wells Fargo bank President, Sandy Curtis, each with a golden cowbell for their long standing support of this event.

"We are very fortunate to have the support of both of these two (Western State College and Wells Fargo) organizations, who have been there since the inception of this event," Ken said during the presentation, "Western State has been very generous with letting us use their great facilities to construct the very best cyclo-cross venues in Colorado, and Wells Fargo has stepped up every year with financial backing to ensure that this events continues and grows."

The skies opened up overnight, and Sunday's race would be held on the soggy and slick Western State athletic fields. Durning warm-up, it became clear the riders who could survive the trechorous downhill hill on the sledding hill, would most likely win the races. This was most apparent in the both the Masters 35+ and Women's Pro races were Tim Faia and Sandi
Bloomer, both riding for IF only went down once during their respective races while their competitors had a bit more difficulty. In the Masters 35+ second place finisher Karl Keister went down 3 consecutive laps on the steep up - down features of the course, allowing Faia to open a :15 second gap that would hold to the finish. While Bloomer went down on the first lap to avoid an already fallen and sliding Stef Ward. Ward would go down again in the same spot on lap two, allowing Bloomer to build an unsurmountable gap of around :30 seconds that would build to over a minute by the finish and to cruise home in first. Both ladies laughed about the conditions and said they had a great time on the challenging course.

Sunday would be a repeat of Alan Obye and Mike Hall giving a 'cross clinic, turning the fastest laps of the day, and lapping the rest of the field in the Pro Men's event. Obye once again won by turning on the gas about three-quarters of the way through, with Hall rolling through in second.

Riders were estactic at the quality of the venues that Gunni-Cross offer up, claiming these are not only the best venues in Colorado, but that of National and National Championship level courses. The Crested Butte - Gunnison Junior Nordic Team gave away a pair of Salomon Carbon Skate skis and provided a lot of volunteer hours make Gunni-Cross happen, raising a
couple of hundred dollars for their program in the process. 2007 dates are already set for October 13 & 14, and organizers are looking into possible National & World Cup point options.

Saturday - GCX WSC Campus Tour
1st Brook Watts - Spike
2nd Jim Everett - Simple Green
3rd Brett Wave - Simple Green

SM 55
1st Al Marvin - Poison Spider
2nd Eric Nordenson

SM 35+ Cat 4
1st Torrey Carroll
2nd Reid Ackerman - Cody racing

1st Darren Cheek - Racers Edge
2nd Adam Rachubinski - Bicycle Peddler
3rd Jamie Ryan-White - KHS

1st Ward Baker - Rocky Mounts - Izze
2nd Jared Roy - Vitamin Cottage
3rd Travis Lukens - Red Rocks Velo

Single Speed
1st Ken Bloomer - Independent Fabrications
2nd Colin McKeirnan - Organic Athlete

SW 35+
1st Kayla Thomason - Schwab Cycles
2nd Sheila Senft - Colovita

SW Pro
1st Stephanie Ward
2nd Sandi Bloomer - Independent Fabrication
3rd Emilie Pavolovich

Masters 35+
1st Tim Faia - Independent Fabrication
2nd Karl Kiester - Spike
3rd Bryan Miller

SM Pro
1st Alan Obye
2nd Mike Hall - SRM
3rd Cory Carlson - Rocky Mountain

Sunday - GCX WSC Athletic Fields
SM 35+ Cat 4
1st Reid Ackerman - Cody racing

1st Darren Cheek - Racers Edge
2nd Jamie Ryan-White - KHS
3rd Michael Tobiassen

1st Travis Lukens - Red Rocks Velo
2nd Garrison Schulte
3rd Jake Lueckel - Bianche

Single Speed
1st Charlie Hayes Harshman Wealth/ Primus Mootry
2nd Colin McKeirnan - Organic Athlete

SW 35+
1st Alisabeth Thurston-Hicks
2nd Kayla Thomason - Schwab Cycles

SW Pro
1st Sandi Bloomer - Independent Fabrication
2nd Stephanie Ward
3rd Sandra Korr

Masters 35+
1st Tim Faia - Independent Fabrication
2nd Karl Kiester - Spike
3rd Bryan Miller

SM Pro
1st Alan Obye
2nd Mike Hall - SRM
3rd Hawke Morgan

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"Pure Sweet Hell"

"Pleasure and pain, glory and defeat, mud and…more mud,
PURESWEETHELL tells the story of cyclocross, a sport
that has emerged as bike racing’s punk rock cousin.

Told from an insider’s perspective, the filmmakers traveled to
‘cross competitions throughout north America, dug up
vintage photos and film footage, and followed ‘cross luminaries
Justin Robinson, Gina Hall, Barry Wicks and Rick Hunter.

Shot entirely on Super 8 and supported by experimental
rock music, PURESWEETHELL surfaces both the strong
community behind the solitary sport and the grace that
arises amidst all of its grit."

I remember my dad taking me to some obscure bike races when I was young, very young, so all I have are these blurred snapshots in my memories of these events. Some of are sunny warm days in the park for road criteriums, but the ones that stir up strong emotions and desire to ride a bike are those of a muddy cold day in a small park in Burlington, Iowa. It was a 'cross race held on a moist, cold mid-west fall day, and all I rember was some riders dressed in black and white team kits, churning through the mud, and the awe of the people watching, my father included, of the effort and suffering going on.

It would be many years for me to find my way back to cyclo-cross, but since my own personal discovery of the sport, I am forever hooked. "Pure Sweet Hell" not only chronicles the current and past heros of the sport, and the sport itself, but does justice to why those who have choosen to part take in this sport, do so. The pure pain, agnoy and suffering of the sport, is the sport, and what makes us want more. Masochastic as it may be, there is an inner peace that lies within that suffering.

Not too mention the social aspect and the beautiful bikes, Mike Ferrentino says it best, "It's the most beautiful form of bike racing, far and away."

PSH is well put together, and the editing and soundtrack bring out much of what I love of cyclo-cross. It is the soundtrack for the sport. If you have not seen it, do. It is timeless, and will be one of those videos you pull out time and time again, each time as good as the last.

Brian Vernor has kindly hooked us up with a few copies which we are giving away at this weekends Gunni-cross, along with some other great prizes. The forecast is cyclo-cross weather - rainy saturday in the 50's, and sunny sunday in the 60's.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

'Cross Report: Boulder CX #1

Abandoning our cool confines of Gunni, Sandi & I ventured out to Boulder late Friday evening to take part inour first 'cross races on the season. By the time we arrived in Boulder, it was 60F @ 10pm, our daytime high was just around there. After a good nights rest, we awoke to a bluebird Colorado day, and made our way out to the CU Research Center, for round one of the Boulder CX Series, also part of the ACA point series.

The 'cross sceene is so nice in many ways, swett bikes, nice people, and races contained in a small area brimming with excitement. We have a family of sorts w/ those people we meet week in and week out during the cross season, and it was like a family reunion this past weekend. We met a long lost relative for the first time, Daisuke Yano from Japan, who had made the trip over for Interbike and to 'work' in the Boulder office of Cateye for a couple of days. Rocco was kind enough to lend out his cross rig for Daisuke to jump on in the Cat3's.

First up was Tim Faia, another IF brother who nailed the 35+ class by beating out the always up front Karl Kiester. I haven't seen the offical results, but it looked like an epic due to the size of the field - BIG! I was going to do that class, but opted for the Single Speed, figuring they are giving us a class, and I should support that. But as it turns out I was the only one, and the officials let me start with the Cat3's, but at the back.

Guessing there were 50 - 60 riders, I had some work to do. I saw Daisuke on the first lap, along with Brett Batchelder, who is picking his new IF up next week, and just put the gas to floor to work my way through the field. By lap three, there were approx. 20 - 30 riders still out front, and I kept my head down, passing riders each lap. Wtih two to go, I finally figured out that I was sitting in 4th place, and was trying to close down the gap to the leaders. While I came close to pinning thrid back, Iwas amped on my ride. Even while in the red the whole way, I never let up, and felt good with my result, afterall I won the single speed class...

Daisuke did not fair as well, altitude, Interbike and the heat kept him from riding up front, but it seems he still had fun with it. Sandi also did not fai so well in the womens race, stacking it hard while chasing in third, she messed up her bike and her spare was not along for the ride. She would limp home in 7th.

Great start to the CX season, little over a month until the two USGP's in Boulder, but a lot of 'cross racing to be had between now and then including our own Gunni-cross next weekend! New venue for Saturday, we had to move due to scheduling, so both days will be on the campus of Western State. Day one will take place on campus, though all of the department building, ampatheater, student union and dorms, killer course. Day two will be the traditional course around the athletic fields.

Hope to see you there.

IF's Japan contigent, Daisuke in full mud-glory racing in Japan

Friday, September 29, 2006

Tradeshow Mania

You must give it to the industry insiders, as they earn their pay during the marathon know as Tradeshow Season. Shows and Europe and now Interbike have been going on for some time, and it is all stuffy-recycled air halls, noise and lots of talking. From the comfort of my office in beautiful Gunnison, I have somewhat followed the shows via sites like Velonews, Cyclingnews and Here is a sampling of what has caught my eye:

Starting abroad, Reynolds not only has a new look, but some sick new products. How about a set of carbon mtb wheels, clincher or tubular, your choice. Wisely using DT Swiss products throough out, paired up w/ reynolds extensive experience in building carbon rims, these are undoubtly the best on on the market! Having ridden the Reynolds Stratus CX wheels, I can attest to the quality and ride feel of their products. Reynolds also has a lighter road fork, 'cross fork and very nice bars to round out their component selection.

You may or may not have heard of Focus before, they are a long standing smaller bike company out of Germany founded by ex-Weltmeister (cross & mtb) Mike Kluge back in his mtb hey-days. Now they offer some great products to include this sweet carbon cyclo-cross rig, especially made for Kluge's main squeeze and World Champion, Hanka Kupferknagel. Hanka herself was a threat at one time in mtbing, threatening the throne of Juli Furtado back in the day, more recently has found herself ontop of the Querfeldein world - that is 'cross to you & I.

Back here in the states, 'cross is also king, check out this sweet cross bike from my caffien addicted friend Jason Groves over at ElCamino Fab.

Here is a 'cross fau-pa, Willer wnet to all lengths on whats to be a very sweet all carbon cyclo-cross bike, but check out where they put the rearbrake cable stop - right where your shoulder would be -OUCH! I had a Dean thast had the same problemn, and I am here to say, that is a major F@#$% - up. No matter how sweet the bike is, it is ruined by a simple oversight like that.

Phil Wood always has show stoppers, his sweet single speeds, the hand polished ti-lugged/ carbon track bike, and list goes on... Check this out, outboard bearings. Wow. I have two BB and two sets of hubs from PW in play right now, and the lifespan on the bearings and quality of craftmanship is all of that. It will be interesting to find out what cranksets these can be matched up with...Hmmmm.

There are still a couple of days of Interbike, and I am sure more delictables will surface. is posting stuff everyday, and have a ton os sweet single speed items up already. Start writing your wish list, and remember, Christmas isn't that far off....

Monday, September 25, 2006

All 'Crossed Up

It is hard not to get caught up in the hype. I mean the leaves are turning (fast here in the Hight Country), it is getting cooler outside (it snow here in the High Country), and it seems to be on everyone's lips. I am talking about Cyclo-cross. This weekend marked the first weekend of serious 'cross-racing around the world. From the hallowed grounds of Belgium, and other European venues, to the East-coast, mid-west and our own ACA series here in Colorado, racers are going for it. I kind of feel like that nervous kid before a big exam, "did I study hard enough???" To late know for sure, nothing I do know will change my results come next weekend @ the Boulder Series race and on through to the USGP's, I guess just grab a wheel and hang on! We actually set part of our course on Saturday for some training races, and yep, it hurts!

But 'cross has much more of a following here in Colorado. So many people I have spoken to that don't even race are looking or have bought recently a 'cross bike. Why? Access. I mean it goes where you want it to. Sandi & I have have done some great 'cross rides, up and over Ohio Pass, out around Mill Creek and even at Hartman Rocks. This is one of the best times of the year to ride, and what better way than aboard a cyclo-cross rig that can take you a ways down the highway, flying up dirt roads, and even flow down singletrack?

These bikes are quiver killers, virtually emliminating the need for a road bike, a geared mtb (I mean, you do need a single speed...), and if you opt for a single speed cross bike, you instantly have a track bike as well... If I had to choose right now, I would pick my cross bike over all others.

Get out there, enjoy the colors, break out the cowbells and scream your head off at a local cross event.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tofino BC

Sandi's parents have been in town visiting from Germany, so we usually take a trip w/ them, and this year it was off to the Northwest. After a brief couple hour dash through Seattle, we quickly made our way into the wilds of British Columbia, and Vancouver Island. The first night up there we spent in Ucuelet, a sleepy fisher town on the far south end of the Pacific Rim Biosphere. While sandi and her parents were off on a small hike, spotting this bear, I was getting the next few days sufr report, and finding out where to go surf.

The next day we made our way inot the Biosphere and lucked out getting a sweet camping spot in the only campground in the park, directly on the beach. Once again we did some hiking in the dense rainforests there, and went to Tofino where I picked up my 9'2" tri-fin longboard from Longbeach Surf Shop. Tofino has a great feel to it, really laid back, lots of natural food options as well as an abundance of Organic Espresso bars. It can best be described as Crested Butte on the sea, but that really doesn't to this place justice. With glacier filled mountains as a backdrop, I spent the next coupler of days paddling aournd in the surf.

The waves were on the small side, 3 -4 feet the first day, a solid 5' the next, which was fine since I have not been in over ten years. I was so addictive, and it felt great just to be out there. On the final morning as I sat ontop of my board outside the break, a Sealion popped up just feet from me and we enjoyed a few moments of just checking each other out.

Tofino will definitely be on my list of places I need to go back to, it was a =n awesome, refreshing trip, but next time the bike will definitely make the trip.

Friday, August 18, 2006

gcx, october 7 & 8, 2006, gunnison, colorado

It wasn't easy to get this together, and while we are still firming up sponsorships, here is the full skinny on this year's Gunni-Cross. Hope to see you there!

2006 marks the sixth year that ACA Cyclo-cross pays a visit to the Gunnison. Day one will take place in Jorgenson Park, on the east side of Gunnison, utilizing the local BMX track, tight turns around the pond, and the vast green grass around the park, and is part of the ACA BCR/BCT points series. The second day of Gunni-Cross will take place on the Western State College campus, utilizing natural features and some amazing terrain, making for laps straight out of European cylo-cross. The infamous Western State College campus course will serve up quick acelerations, tricky off-camber corners, prestine grass sections and a mammoth run-up. Both days are sanctioned by the ACA, and all of their rules apply. Great prizes and a cash purse are to be won by top finishers on both days. Part of the proceeds from this event will benefit Gunnison Velo and Junior Nordic programs. We invite you to be part of this great event, and to support our cause. Prize giving will follow final results postings after each race. Call Ken @ (970) 275-8191 or email for more info, Check for updates and all of the great cyclo-cross events around the region.

Registration for Saturday is in the softball parking lot of Jorgenson Park, on HWY 50 on the east side of Gunnison, with the start/finish adjecent to registration. Registration Sunday will be in the Western State College Athletic Parking lot, in Gunnison, Colorado. The start/ finish will be just adjecent to registration, on Escalante Drive along the practice fields. Registration both days opens at 8:00am. ACA licences are required, $5 one-day licenses may be purchased at registration. Riders may enter up to 15min prior to their race. Riders may register for additional categories for an additional $10 per class. No pre-reg, checks payable to Ken Bloomer. Prizes for each category will go three deep.

Saturday & Sunday’s Race Schedule:
Start Times Category Length Entry Prizes
Sat/ Sun
10:00/ 9:00 Juniors *  30 min FREE merch
10:40/ 9:40 SM 45*/55* 45 min $22 merch
11:35/ 10:35 Single Speed 45 min $22 merch
11:36/ 10:36 SM 35+, Cat 4 45 min $22 merch
12:30/ 11:30 SM 35+* 45 min $22 merch
1:25/ 12:25 SM 4 45 min $22 merch
2:15/ 1:15 SM 3* 45 min $22 merch
3:20/ 2:20 SW Open * 45 min $22 CASH
3:21/ 2:21 SW 35+* 45 min $22 merch
4:15/ 3:15 SM Open* 60 min $22 CASH
*BCR/BCT designation on Oct 7

Sponsors: New Belgium Brewery, Clif Bar, Wells Fargo,, Salomon Nordic, Squadra Team Apparel, DT Swiss, crankbrothers, Reynolds Composites & Wheels, Hutchinson, Giro, Trot Lee Designs, Sepcialized, Tufo, TuneUp Ski & Bike, Independent Fabrication, Crested Buttee Mountain Resort, City of Gunnison, Thomson, Paul Components

Monday, August 14, 2006

Little Mill Creek

My head still hurts. Thursday, I was a spectator to Sandi taking the PowerAde Pinnacle Series in Crested Butte, as she rode her way to her third win in the series during the Super Circuit. While standing around, waiting to feed her each lap, I was enguaged in many conversations with various local riders, one of whom was the infamous 'Crazy' Dave Ochs, founder of the Crested Butte Classic. We got on the topic of crashes, and he was telling me of the two brutal falls he has taken this season, and it dawned on me, that I had yet to have a good crash this season. I have went down, but they were gentle, harmless affairs. In past seasons, especially early on when I first began riding, I dreaded the hard slam, thinking they were inevitable, and hoped that I would not be too seriously hurt.

Fast forward to Sunday. Hell bent on doing a loop out of Gunnison, I wnet out to ride Lille Mill Creek, a downhill that is known for being one of the toughest. The ride out was well worth the journey, with some great double track and forest service roads that were as rugged as they come. Gunnison lies at 7500' and you top out along the West Elk Wilderness at 11,239', at which point you come to a junction pointing you down the singletrack that is only 3 miles long. Umm, 3 miles for over 3500' of descending...

The descent started off loose, and tight, lots of tight bends and switchbacks, and quickly became very steep and riddled w/ huge rocks. But I was feeling it, pushing hard, and moving right along. The trail quickly detoriated into a full blown European World Cup downhill course, and I was dancing along on my Ti single speed hard tail, whiteknuckling my way down. Then it happened, that weightless feeling you get right before being ejected from your ride.

I went careening into the rockgarden, actually taking the fall fairly well, and then came my bike. I knew it was coming so I kept my feet up to proteck me as it bounced off me and into the woods. Not wanting to stiffen up from my fall, nor loose my nerve, I was quick to get up and going. With the mreminder of a sore hip, leg and shoulder, I tried to get right back in it. But self-preservation kicked in, and I dabbed a couple of times until a regained my rythm. As the rocks thinned out a little, my speed picked up, and I was fully back on top of my game. Rolling out onto the old railroad grade below, I truely began to feel my pains. I rolled home, opting for the road out vs a rolling double track and BLM road, which was a wise move after looking at the huge bruise on my hip, and shoulder.

Today I wokeup w/ a killer headache from my excitement the day before, another reminder of my big fall this season.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Cyclo-cross Bike Build Tip: Brakes

'Cross bikes, especially steel and Ti ones, are some of the most beautiful bikes in the world. And it seems that the 'cross bike scene is keeping the renaissance alive, and bountiful landscape full of fresh, vibrant artisian frames. Also alive and well in this biking utopia, are cottage parts builders, small margins and one of the smallest segments in cycling, keep a lot of the big component companies away. No other part on the bike is a better example of this than brakes. Sure Avid, and Shimano make 'cantilevers', but try to find a set of the mud-shedding, euro-syle Mafac's from those guys. No luck.

There are some solid designs from small builders out there, but Paul has seemed to corner the market here with two offerings, the traditional Cantilevers, and the Neo-Retros. These are the Cantilevers, which I ran last season, but will be running the Neo-Retros in 2006. Besides a beautiful black ano finish, the brakes come stock with Eagleclaw pads, and straddle cable and hanger. Mine are paired up with Campy Record carbon brake only levers (sans gears), but can be run with any brake/ shifter lever combo on the market.

Easy to set up, with some cable cutters, a 13mm open-end wrench, 9mm hex wrench, mine were going in about a half-an-hour. Choose the red Eagle pads if you are running carbon rims, they brake better wet and dry, and save wear on the rims. Riding discs on my mountain, it doesn't take long to get used to the slightly reduced braking performance, but I mean this in a good way. Down in the drops, my bike will come down from orbit in a hurry. Not too mention out on epic all day rides, I have the confidence of a quick trail side reapir of cable brakes vs. that of limping home w/ one disc brake.

The Paul's are sweet, light weight brakes, with a great finish quality to match. They are much better than most on the market, and are not as expensive as some of the carbon or European models. Around $35 will get you the very nice upgrade to the MoonUnit cable hangers, and a little more coin you can add Paul's top-mount interrupter levers - if you can find them. It seems they are no longer in production.

Stop by for more info on his brakes, and other great products available. Be sure to check out Paul's Bikes section for some very cool rides.

Is it 'Cross Season yet?

Hard to believe another season is almost at a close. Thursday, Sandi wrapped up her bid for the PowerAde Pinnacle Series title w/ her 3rd win in the series. She has been loving her new Ti and steel IF's, finding it hard to choose which one will become her single speed.

We have been taking advantage of the cooler mountain weather on the weekends w/ some epic rides. My eye has been towards cross, bith as an organizer, and wanted to get out and mix it up a little. Woth two USGP's in Colorado, it should be a fun season.

Our ACA races are on October 7 & 8, hopefully the 7th will be in Crested Butte after getting bumped out of the Mountain village in Telluride for Oktoberfest. CBMR laid some very nice, emerald- green lucious grass perfect for a cowbell cross day. Keep you posted.

For a full review of the ACA season, has the calendar, and check out for all other info.

Monday, July 17, 2006

FOR SALE: Blacksheep Fastas Ti Softtail

2005 (built in April 2005) Balck Sheep Titanium Fastas Soft Tail
Seat Tube - 17.5" center to center (center to top 20")
Top Tube - 23.5" effective (center to center 23")
Chainstay - 16.5" center to center
Cockpit length (center seatpost to center handlebar 27.5"
Headtube - 4.25"

2005 XTR front and rear der, crankset (new rings this season), and cassette,
XTR trigger shifters; Mavic Crossmax wheels; Magura Marta SL brakes (new
pads and bled); Thomson Masterpiece post & X4 stem (new), Titec Pluto
carbon bar (new), FOX Shox F100RLT; KING headset; Fizik Aliante saddle;
Hutchinson Pythons; new Titec grips; Cane Creek AD5 rear shock; 3 extra
derailer hangers (we have never needed to replace one yet)

This bike has just one season on it, and was my wifes bike. It is a super light,
fast bike, w/ a sweet beadblasted logo and art, with minimalistic red pannels.
Fresh off a tuneup, it has new chainrings, brakepads, brake bleed, bar and
stem. The XTR cranks are scuffed up from pedalling, but no major dings nor
scratches. The frame is very clean, no dents nor scratches. The rear der is
scratched, but still very true.

Overall this is a very clean ride/ race ready bike. Check out http:// for more details on these beautiful bikes.

Keep the Rubber Side Down

Sandi & I hit the trails in CB over the weekend. As we were getting readys at the Snodgrass trailhead, Eric, a rider out of San Antonio rolled up and was asking for directions, rather than send this poor lad off alone, we offered him to hitch onto our ride (Snodgrass, 403, & 401). Glad to have a guide, Eric took us up, and off we went. He had a very nice IF Deluxe, blue & yellow, nicely speced out with FOX and Shimano, and we chatted it up on the first climbs until things started to get fast and narrow. Seeing behind that we had dropped him, I stopped, and waited w/ Sandi. Jokingly I asked, "Did he go down?"

But he did. Now sporting a bloody elbow and knee, Eric made it back to us. He had slid out and Sandi wisely asked him about his tire pressure, "40 psi, why is that too much?" Eric replied.

We thought so with a tubeless setup and Hutchinson Pythons, so after letting some air out, we were off again with about 2 mile of sweet Snodgrass single track left. Just before the end of this trail, there is a fence crossing, there we waited again. A bit later, Eric showed up, this time wearing matching scrapes, scuffs and even torn shorts on the otherside. Eric informed us that indeed he met the trail again, and how he was suprised how scetched out he was. He was a fit rider, or at least looked so and races road and cross, no big deal. With just a few hundred meters left, Eric managed to find the wrong line once more. At first I thought it was Sandi as I heard a loud thud behind me, because she was always on my wheel, but it turned out to be Eric as he was lifting his face off a small wooden bridge. Ouch.

By now, we were geniuinely concerned for this guy, offered to guide him to the top, or offer to give him directions home. He opted to climb w/ us to the top of Washington Gulch. We talked a lot of about riding, racing and what we do in our daily lives, it was nice. But about three-quarters of the way up, Eric who had just arrived from Texas the day before, was in his own words "bonking." We offered to slow up and wait, but he insisted that we go on. So we instructed him on how to get back, and said we will see each other on thursday at the Pinnacle Race in CB.

The rest of our ride was pretty nice, typical CB singletrack, it was a little dry, especially considering the moisture we had the previous week, but still a lot of fun.

Sandi has been tearing up the local race scene, winning the hillclimb, and taking a close second in the first XC to Jenny Smith (who took fourth at the Deer Valley NORBA!) I have been testing some sweet new Piranha's, that hook up in a lot of variable conditions.

Troy from Over the Edge Sports in Fruita sent me this:

We are going to do the Chet Peach BBQ and Race again...

But I have the dates wrong on the tag of my email so... Here's the truth...

Chet Peach BBQ

*BBQ October 21st 2006, evening*
Back after a five year laps; a party to celebrate fall, singletrack and
12 years of Fruita!
location TBA, fun already expected

50-50 Bike Race

*October 21st, Saturday*
Half on Road Bike, Half on MTB... Teams, solo or do either one, details
and course to follow

Over the Edge Grand Junction - 1 Year party

*Friday night October 20th, 2006*
At the GJ store from 7:00pm till...

We hope you can join us for this weekend of epic good times and a few
pedal strokes

Sorry for the confusion and thanks for your support and for /staying on
the winning team...


Check out www.otesports for more info, last time was nearly an illegal experience, so don't miss it. I am thinking doing the whole thing on my SS 'cross bike???

Monday, July 03, 2006

Race Report: Colorado Single Speed Championships

Still in a haze from our trip to Quebec and the following three days on the road for my work, Sandi & I loaded up the van once more and headed out to the Colorado Single Speed Championships in Eldora, part of the Eldora Escape, Mountain States Cup Series. On the line, Womens & Mens Single Speed titles, gold medals and plenty o'schwag. This time it was funny, we had only one bike, my single speed.

After camping in the van over night, we awoke early as Sandi would start early at 8:30am. It was definitely quality over quantity for the womens race, with defending champ Kara Durland, World & National Champ Christina Begy and Catherine Gruener-Goss lining up w/ Sandi to vie for the title. Kara took off fast and set the early pace, but would soon drop back to third as Sandi and Begy set off up the hill. Sandi grabbed the lead, and would not be challenged. Looking strong and smooth, Sandi went from a 2 min plus first lap lead, to a 5 min second lap lead and eventually winning over Begy by nearly 8 minutes, and Kara in third one minute back of Begy.

It was Sandi's real first ride on a single speed, and she really enjoyed it, maybe we will see more of her in the 1x1 class???

After raising the seat, and a couple of other small modifications, my ride known as the "magic bike" by fellow single speeder Dan Durland, was ready for round two. While warming up, I mingled a bit w/ my fellow single speeders, it was awesome to see so many out for this race. 24 of us would line up to contend for this years title, some very strong legs and lungs. Fellow IF brothers Jon "Rocco" Caligno and Dusty Labarr were on hand, along with usual suspects and some new contenders.

Props have to go out to Thane Wright and Warriors Cycling for putting this event on, and giving us the #1 plate instead of the pros. I was especially proud to have this plate and equally as nervous to defend it. I knew other riders really wanted it, but I was only concerned with one rider, myself.

Off the start, I grabbed the holeshot, leading the pack out onto the first climb, Colin McKernan ( afterwards called my strategy, make everyone else race me. Not setting a super hard pace up the climb, I pushed just hard enough to stretch out the field to see who the contenders and pretenders were. A group of about 5 of us broke off the front, as we hit the woods. Through the endulating double track, I kept everyone honest with my pace, until we hit the steep climb to the top of the course for the first time. I was out of the saddle pushing hard, and then it was only Colin and Tim Graczyk in tow. Gapping those two a little, I had a small breathing space going over the top. I was a little scetched out the first time down the descent having not preridden, and not remembering the line, but still maintained my lead. Tim would work his way back to me as we went through the start/ finish. I think Colin was still in it not too far back, but would eventually pull out. Too bad, 'cause he looked strong early on and could have been a contender.

Going back out on the second lap, I forced Tim into the lead to have a look at him and see what kind of hand he was holding. His climbing was not as fast as I wanted to go, so I lept past him with an easy surge, and never saw him again. Tim would fade to 8th place. I felt pressure the whole race, never opening a huge gap, but kept the hammer down. I turned pretty consistant laps, around :30 min for each revolution. Diging in on the climbs, no brakes on the descents, and keeping the pace up on the flats. On our fourth and final loop, the skies opened up with a bit of rain and hail. This in effect iced my legs, opening them up for my final push to the line, although it did make for some tricky navigation through the slick muddy sections and roots.

Charging into the finish, I was warmly greeted by everyone as I claimed my second consecutive Colorado Single Speed title. Kris Lathrop nabbed second from Dusty on the last lap, who rounded out the podium. The three of us were schwagged out by 180, Dale's Ale, Left Hand Brewery and SpotBrand. Huge thanks to IF, Reynolds, FOX, DT Swiss, Magura, Titec, Thomson, Hutchinson, Troy Lee Desings, Giro, Smith, CliBar, Fizik, Squadra, Chris King, White Industries, Phil Wood, and Crested Butte Mountain resort for your great support, could not do it w/ out you.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Sandi & I tried to squeeze a few days of vacation in on this trip, by enjoying what Quebec (the city) and surrounding area had to offer. Coffee suprisingly was not as 'advanced' as what most of us are use to, like there were no Starbucks, nor other coffee shops as we know it. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. The first place we found in Quebec was a great bakery, Pliards, offering traditional French baked goods along w/ some hearty multi-grain breads and other treats. They had a sweet 3-group La Marzocco from which to crank out coffees, although in this case, as with many others they imported a cheap 'Italian' coffee. Although Paliards espresso was fairly good and by the third morning we had the staff trained on how to make Americanos. They had these beautiful long, heavy wood tables that provided a sense of community with others who were starting the day off as well.

We tried a few restaurants while we were there, most seemed to cater to tourists, and were overpriced. The food was mediocre, but had some great outside seating. One reastuarnt stuck out, Piazza, a trendy newage cusine mixing Italian, Indian, Mexican and other ethnic dishes into orginal meals, it was very good. I had a Greek Vegitarian Pizza that was so good and Sandi had Thai Cannoli, also awesome. After most of our dinners we cruised the streets, and it was worth it since it was Quebecs National Holiday, and there was lots to see. We happened upon a rave in the town square, where a DJ was laying some great pulsing tracks, onlu if we weren't there to race... We found a great little contemporary hotel that had a sweet coffee bar lounge, where we chilled over what they called the "Monster, a massive brownie stuffed w/ coconuts, pestacios, and other great nuts and flavors, along with some espressos.

Quebec itself is doen up as it was back in the late 1700's, with a lot of original stone buildings, historical locations and museums. It was interesting to learn about the history of this area and the struggle bewtween the English and French to rule it. Also the Americans tried their hand at trying to gain control, but failed. It really felt like Europe in sections, and Sandi & I even broke out what little French we knew. Sandi had a lot more to offer, but I took my stab at ordering and small conversations.

We spent a day checking out the countryside, to include a marine conservation area, some vineyards and the 'highlands' surrounding Mount Sainte Anne. Road biking was a big hit up there, and could see that nordic skiing was also popular with the abundence of nordic trail signs and a few roller skier sightings.

I went to the managers meeting to get my feedzone pass for Sandi's race, and to get any vital information concerning her race. I ran into an old friend, Mike Kluge, from German who used to own Focus bikes. He was traveling with his girlfriend and cyclocross World Champion, Hanka Kupferknagle. I met Mike back when I was doing marketing for Fox Apparel, and I sponsored him and Ralf Berner. It was great to catch up with Mike, he is really a funny guy, and has some great stories. We also caught up with Sabine Spitz and her husband Ralf. And visited with a lot of other peole up there as well. It really is a great community, the mountain bike scene, and we had a great time up in Quebec as well. Recharged, we are glad to be back home, but look forward to seeing everyone again, someday.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Race Report: Velirium Quebec Cup

Sandi & I made the trip up north of the boarder for the Velirium Bike Festival and UCI World Cup at Mount Saint Anne over the past weekend. Having heard that this is a technical course, my expectations were high. When we arrived, it was just finishing up w/ a good rain, and we were about to find out how wet things were w/ a pre-ride around the course on Thursday. It was greasy right from the start, as we made our way around, but I found my groove right away and was cleaning all of the super technical descents and climbs. The track had no substantial climbs in it, they all were short and steep. A top the 'Marmot Switchbacks' we hit was best equated to soupy-peanutbutter mud, I mean thick and heavy. With the bikes on the shoulders, we ran that section to the next down hill, which started off with some gravel, but quickly detoriated back in to the thick heavy mud through some steep twisting, switchback that dropped out onto a bridge and back to the base area. The next climb was fortunately on a gravel/ rock double-track up, that occasionally had a stream on it. Then it was back into the woods for some more twisting, slick singletrack. All in all, the course was nearly 5km, had lots of roots and rocks, and was right up my alley being very technical.

The next morning as we showed up for my race, we learned it had rained hard the night before, which was music to my ears. I wasn't just looking forward to racing, I was looking forward to riding this sick course. Dusty Labarr was there, but otped out of running his single speed. While this race is listed on the Master World Cup, it is actually part of the Quebec Cup, so the top 10 got call ups, and then the rest of us filed in to the start. I lined up behind the points leader Elvis riding for Xpreso. From the start, the pace was fast, and to thin things out we bypassed the first technical section and went straight up the Marmot climb. I was in the lead briefly before Elvis took over. I saw Dusty a little ways back, but looking good inside the top 10. It near the top we grabbed some frametubes, dashing through the ankle to shin deep mud to the next downhill before remounting. Then we hit the fun stuff. With mud flying everywhere, nearly thirty or so of us Masters went plowing down the descent. It was all you could do to stay up right. Then it was out over the bridge and down around onto the 'longest' climb of the day. By now I was thrid, still in contact with the leader. Back around through the rest of the course, we came through the start finish, and out for our 2nd of 5 laps. This time we hit the other super rocky-technical section, enjoying the course in all of its flavors. Then on the second time up the Marmot climb, Elvis went off the front. Running a 34x18, it was all I could do on the climbs to keep the cranks turning, and eventually opted to run this climb the rest of the race. Now in 5th, I watched Elvis disappear.

The top 5 changed positions all the time, and then on the third lap, I though we had caught and passed Elvis, with three of us going off the front. Two of us lifted the pace through km4 in the tight woods, dropping the other rider, and it was down to 2 Stephan and I. Stephan then pulled away through the start area, and I could not go with, and he stayed out until about midway into the final lap, where I rolled back up to him on the longest climb, and jumped past him. I hammered out the climb, putting some big distance between us. Pushing hard, I came rolling around the final bend into the finish chute, and started to celebrate what I thought was a win. It was awesome, such a great feeling to have endured a great battle with some great riders, on a great course. But as I cooled down and spoke with other riders, I learned we do not catch Elvis, he finished just a minute up from me, it was a teammate of his the we had passed. Still I was estactic with my performance and still enjoyed very much my result.

My IF single speed drew a lot of attention as people hovered around it in the finish area, being that I was the only one on one. Riders asked lots of questions and were checking it out very intensely. It worked awesome in the race, the brakes were always there even in the thick heavy mud, the ride was smooth thanks to my ti frame and FOX 80x fork, and my new Prototype Piranhas were hooking up awesomely.

Big thanks to Sandi for the feed and all of my sponsors for the support!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

NMBS#3, Mt. Snow

Checked out the single speed class out @ the VT NORBA National, here is how it shook down:

5 SIMOES, PAUL, 2:14:54.64

Dejay Birtch was a DNF, wonder what happened to him. It looked like it was an awesome course. Good to see 2nd & 3rd were on IF's, props to Thom for representing the factory team. Dusty (now lives in Boulder w/ Georgia Gould) and Kris Lathrop both made the journey out there from Colorado, nice. Dusty should be making it to Canada, hope to see him on his single for the Masters race.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tour de France avec Lance

The Tour is quickly approaching, and while the odds makers are picking their favorites, here is my $.02 on how the Tour will shake down. Basso will dominate, not because of his performance in the Giro, but rather he has been groomed for years for this moment in time, which was also why he walked away last month w/ his first grand tour. Bjarne Rijs is a mastermind leader, which is how he won his tour ten years ago, and how Jan Ullrich won his. CSC is so strong, the others will be left in awe.

Jan will be either second or third, but I don't like to sit on the fence, so he will finish 2nd. His demons continue to haunt him, he does not have the deep down burning in the gut desire to win, nor does he have the resources at hand. He is still one of the best riders in the world, but will go down in history with the likes of Fignon as a man who 'lost' the tour.

Cadel Evans will eclipse Michael Rassmussem as the highest ranked former mountain biker in the field. Strong climbing and TT skills will see this Aussie land on the podium.

George Hincapie back from injury will be the spoiler for many in this year's tour, look for him to grab a stage win, be the best American, and be the new leader of Discovery. 4th for Georgie.

5th will go to Leipheimer, as Levi continues to be a threat, but not quite there for a grand tour win. Levi is a great week long stage race, but usually has a bad day in a 3 week event.

Valverde will land himself a 6th place if he can stay in the race.

Mayo will climb his way back into the top 10 w/ a 7th.

Rassmussen will be 8th, poor TT's will hurt his chances for a better finish.

Popovich will begin to realize his potential with a 9th.

Rounding out the top ten will be Zabriske.

Landis will not finish the Tour, his over-preparation and trying to dismantle the unstopable Basso will eliminate him from the running, making an embarrassing departure remminisant of Hamilton's departure in his last tour.

There you have my Tour predictions, enjoy and Viva la Tour!

Race Report: Winter Park Series #1 & #2

Winter Park has had one of my favorite course for years, Mountain Circuit One, that for the past four or five years has been held on the Idlewald ski hill in WP. It was a true euro-style course full of mud, roots & rocks, very technical. But evidently too much so as according to the website, "due to feeddback from riders surveys...moving to a less difficult circuit."

Sandi & I still gladly made the three-and-some hour drive to Winter Park, knowing ther riding there never disappoints. Having raced on Thursday in our town series, I opted to keep my wallet a little plumper and not do the hillclimb while Sandi would go for the weekend double doing the hillclimb on staurday and the Mountain Circuit One (new and improved) on sunday. After getting Sandi sent off on her way with a good sized womens pro field, my task was to recon the new course.

It turned out to be an old course from way back when, featuring to fast singletrack downhills on Lower Cherokee and Little Vasquez trails, both with fast bermed turns, lots of rock and water bars. Little Vasquez even had a stream crossing at the bottom. There were two fire road climbs, and lots of short steep climbs, and undualting track double track strewn with rocks and roots around the rest of the 6 mile circuit. We would be doing 3 1/2 laps for a total of 22 miles and 1400' of climbing per lap. During my recon, I started to have stomach pains, at first I thought my gut was disagreeing with my energy drink, but that would not be the case.

Sandi & I met back at the car, she of course was rightfully stoked on her 2nd place ride right behind Anne Trombly. Back at the hotel room my condition worseoned. By now it felt like someone had stabbed me in the gut, and was twisting the knife around inside. After a quick trip to Safeway, I ended up skipping dinner, and drank half a bottle of pepto. was in the midst of a relapse from my spring bought with Hepatitis A.

The next morning, alothough the pain was gone, I had flu like symptoms, that included some wicked muscle pains and chilled feeling. I was not going to race. After checking in at reg w/ Sandi, and seeing some friends who were racing, my anger and disappointment ook over, and found myself suiting up to race. During my warmup, I felt like crap, pondering if this was a good descision w/ the Canada World Cup coming up in less than a week. Colin pumped me up at the starting line, and with in a minute or two, found myself chasing the first attack up the first climb.

The two of us were just off the front as we hit the first downhill, then I felt a splash of water on my leg, on a very dry descent, my waterbottle had taken flight. I heard "your going to need that." as I ran back up the hill to retrieve my bottle, coughing up at least :45 to the field. Back on the bike, I reintregrated the field about mid-pack, and was hungup behind to slow descending expert riders, who I quickly disposed of on the next climb. It took me to the half-way point in the first lap before I had the lead again, and just put my head down to ride through my rusty body pains.

I knew where I was all of the time in the race, but at the same did not. Just riding, my focus was getting through my aches, and trying to enjoy the race course, a mix that proved to work as I crossed the line over 5 mins ahead of 2nd. Sandi would also have a stellar day, having a good race as the 2nd place girl pushed her the whole time, but never quite got close enough to Sandi to stop her her from taking her second win on the season. Sandi was beeming over her new steel IF, FOX 80x, how well her XTR was working and her new Hutchinson tires. She loves the bike.

Absent from this race were John "Rocco" Caligno and Tim Faia. I have not seen Rocco all season which is unusual since he is a regular on the MTB scene, and Tim was to have built up a new single speed, I have been looking forward to seeing him out at one of these races.

We leave on wednesday for Mount Sainte Anne, and I will be racing in the Masters World Cup on Friday, with Sandi starting the Womens World Cup on Sunday. Maybe will will get in the Euro-style racing yet...

Enjoy the Ride!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Race Report: Catching up

Here is a summary of my past few weeks of racing. 2 weeks ago went to the Teva Games, and things did not go so well for me there. Dry, dusty conditions coupled w/ heat, caused my asthma to flair up, and I dropped out on the first of four laps. It is frustrating since I was climbing strong, and had already pinned back many of the pro riders that over a minute headstart on our field, and was leading most of the way. But I have learned it best to stop in the scenarios, allowing myself a chance to recover for the next race, than push and do some damage to the lungs and be out for a long time.

For the same reasons at Nathrop, extreme heat and dryness, I did not take to the start, instead I fed Sandi and Colin ( during their races. It was a good fight for both, Sandi riding most of the time near the lead, looked strong, but the heat took its tool on her too, causing her to fade bad on the last half of a lap. Colin looked strong as well, riding in the lead for a bit, and eventually keeping Charlie Hayes in his sights for a great second place.

I have did a group roadride on my single ‘cross bike (44x16) which was freakin great! I was able to hang quite well in the group, coming back down HWY114, I was rapping it out around 140rpm’s occasionally, sticking close on the wheel of whomever was is front of me. As the pace lifted w/ 6 miles to go from home, I knew I would be out geared in a sprint for the town line, so I animated an attack on the first of two small rises, hoping someone would go w/. Trek rep Lester, jumped on my wheel, and we opened a nice gap that looked like it might work, but I pulled through too quick on the flats, pushing me into the red, and was unable to grab his wheel again. The group caught us, and spat us out. With Lester dangling just 50m up the road in front of me, that was all the motivation I needed to reel him back in. half-a-mile from town, I nailed him back, caught my breath and launched away from him to pick up and scraps of pride at the town line the front three might have left for us, there were still plenty of riders straggling in behind us.

Last night, I was able to jump out of my Cravens Coffee car, into some spandex, and ride out to Hartmans for the spring series. A TT was in order on some great Gunnison trails. Starting :30 sec behind Dave Weins, I had my work cut out. Off the line I felt pretty good considering the number of hours I had driven that day, and how many coffees I had during my barista training I had given after installing a sweet new Franke Evolution. Clarks in Aspen is steeping up with an espresso bar in their deli, and are using Dagoba Chocolate, Horizon milk and Silk soy, very nice program! Back at the race, I was holding Dave to a steady :30, not gaining or losing, but we both were gaining on the first two riders out of the chute, Jeff Irwin and Ben Preston. We hit a fast twisting singletrack, were it all came unraveled for me. Dumping my bike after washing out through a sandy corner, I was all sketched out after that, dabbing a few times along the way back to the finish. 33 min later I crossed the line, good enough for a 5th place. It was an OK showing for me, I had more, but kept it respectable considering my troubles.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Riding for Independence

Just a quick word on my training today. After talking coffee with a number of my clients (and potential clients) in the Roaring Fork Valley, I pulled my custom ti IF single speed cyclo-cross bike from the roof of my Cravens car, and mounted up for a ride out of Aspen to the top of Independence Pass. Starting off at 7908', I set out for my ride w/ the intent of climbing to the summit of the pass @ 12093' on my stout 44x17t gearing. Mile marker 42 lies on the edge of town heading east towards the pass, the air was fresh and clear, full of fresh summer scents as the afternoon light emitted a golden hue. Not alone, I passed several others both making the ascent and whizzing by in the the other lane enjoying the rewards of their climb.

The steep gradient forced me out of the saddle occassionaly, but for the most part I was able to keep the pedals turning in the saddle. Mindful of my heartrate, I kept it around my 75% range, and felt great. Slowly the snow started building around the edges of the road as my rise to the top continued. Early season tourists would glance at me while passing, and then would be taking pictures of the early summer panoramas. The tempurature was defintely dropping, and I had no jacket or extra clothing with me, and that was a little concering considering most of the riders coming down were wearing extra clothes. 1 hour 20 after leaving my car, I reached the town site of Independence, and kept going. I reached the final hairpin at 1:30 and decided to turn around there, as it was cold enough that not to press on. With the summit just a mile or so up the road, I dropped what took my an hour and half to climb in less than 30 minutes. It was worth every white knuckle, heart pounding corner and apex on the way down. Blasting back into Aspen, I spun around for awhile, and was beeming with the feeling not only of a great workout, but an awesome descent.

This weekend, Teva Games.

Hot Rodding your espresso machine

My good friend Jason over at ElCaminoFab has been at it again, but atleast he has the right tools to do the job. Customizing his double-shot portafilter, to a triple, bottomless one. Using only the finest machining tools that turns out some of his sweet ti and steel frames, Jason cleanly cut out the bottom, and then dropped in a triple shot basket, pretty trick. But where's the carbon fiber handle? According to Jason, and the catalogue, one can "taste the difference, and watch the coffee brew right from the bottom." provided me w/ one of the customized barista tools, but I am not convinced. It was more of a novelty than anything, I did not taste a difference, but it was pretty cool to watch. You can send yours to Jason for customizing, maybe some custom pinstripping around the outside to make it really standout, or throw down $59 @ for a pre-fab job.

Personally I would save your time and $$, and opt for a sweet tamper, maybe a barista instructional DVD, and buy the best espresso you can find, that will really make a difference in your shots.