Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rest Week Exploration

This past week is a rest week for me. That means that I ride very little, spend most of the time riding at a recovery pace and generally just relax. Today was the first workout I’ve done since the recovery week started and I thought it was a great day to check out a new trail not too far from my house, Rabbit Mountain Open Space in Lyons, CO. I’ve ridden by Rabbit Mountain fairly often on trips to Carter Lake or in and out of Lyons and have always been curious about what the trails are like up there.

Late afternoon I headed out from the house in beautiful weather, temperatures in the 70’s and a nice bright sun. Unfortunately there was a bit of wind coming from the southeast. Just as I made the turn off towards Rabbit Mountain from Highway 66 I started my interval set, a nice and easy 2 sets of 4 by 1 minute fast pedals. On my way there I got the first set and half of the second set done and then I was at the trail head. The last two fast pedals were done up the trail, which was quite a challenge as fairly quickly the trail turned rocky and pretty technical, but fun. Unfortunately I only made it up the first half mile of trail the first junction here:

The reason was due to timing. I knew that I had left for my ride later than I should have and that I was going to be significantly late for class, making any exploration around the loop at Rabbit Mountain a bad decision in the interest of finishing off the semester well, so I turned around and headed home. Definitely looking forward to my next trip up to Rabbit Mountain to do some more exploring.

Legs felt great today after a day off, and a recovery day. One more day of recovery and then I get to put some intensity back in as I prepare for La Tierra Torture in Santa Fe, New Mexico this weekend. Going to be a blast!

Hopefully see you out on the roads or trails!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Training in Taos

For those of you who don't know me, here's a bit about me: I'm 21 years old, a Taos, NM local, and a Computer Science major at Middlebury College. I've been racing Pro for 3 or 4 years now (can't remember) and this past March I was selected to represent the US at the 2009 Pan-American mountain bike Continental Championships in Santiago, Chile (here's a picture).
I am back in Taos now after taking last year off (from school) to race and train in South America (Argentina and Chile) and am getting used to speaking English and working to make this my (and Transparent Racing's) most successful season!
Today I took a 4 hour mountain bike ride (some of it was on pavement) with 3 15-minute hill acceleration repeats. These are brutal intervals where you climb for 15 minutes at hill repeat intensity (7-8 perceived exertion) and sprint for 1 minute every 2 minutes during the interval. (Here's a video from just after one of them):
I have been doing quite a few of these recently (I think my coaches want to rub in the fact that they are sitting on the beach in Hawaii, or maybe they're just hoping to tire me out so much that I won't bother them while they're on vacation) and have figured out a good place to do them. I ride from my house in El Salto (North of Taos) to El Nogal (South of Taos), do my intervals on three different trails near there, El Nogal, Devisadero and Ojitos, ride trails for a while to add time, then ride home (see map below).
Today I decided to ride the full Devisadero Loop after my intervals and my ride ended up being 4:05 and 45 miles with 5325 feet of climbing. It was a beautiful day out, between 65 and 75 degrees and partly cloudy. There was a bit of a breeze which kept it good and cool.
Here are a couple of shots from today's ride:
Riding back down Ojitos

Taos, NM from Devisadero

Post-ride data (click for big picture)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Who is Transparent Racing?

Today I want to talk about who we at Transparent Racing are. This is not a post about who each team member is, as we will be doing that later in the year, this is about our ideals, our program, and why we got started in the first place.

Sometime in February of 2009 Macky Franklin and I were talking on Skype chat while he was living in Argentina. After awhile we both were voicing our frustration at the state of sponsorship and money in the professional mountain biking industry. Particularly the fact that it is very hard to get good sponsorship as a professional racer. But our griping was not primarily that there is little money in the sport but that the sport is not accessible to the public in the way that road cycling is as well as many other high profile professional sports. We believe that this is the reason for limited funds for the mountain bike and cyclocross racing industries, though more on the mountain bike side of things at this point in time.

So the solution presented itself to us at roughly the same time, why not start our own team and try and fix what we believe are the problems. Thus, Transparent Racing was born.

Initially our goal was to not come out until either the 2010 mountain bike racing season or the 2009 cyclocross racing season. Well upon Macky's return to the United States he discovered that the team he has been part of for the past 2 season, Team DEVO, the very pipeline that Adam Craig, JHK, and many other American notables have come through would not be in operation for the 2009 season. After some discussion we decided to shotgun the program and come out by Sea Otter.

It has been a lot of hard work and time but things are slowly coming together. We have already lined up a number of great sponsors: WTB, Rooly Eyewear, Hammer Nutrition, Action Wipes, Squirt lube and Genuine Innovations. We are currently still searching for more as well.

So now that you know our history what are our ideals and how are we going to accomplish this? Our #1 ideal is to be transparent, open and honest with the public in all possible ways. We will be doing this by the main new media sources: internet (blogging, twitter, website updates, facebook, etc.) Not only this but we are preparing to have an independent drug testing service to monitor our blood levels and show the world that our accomplishments on the race track are clean.

Another large aspect of our program is to be an active member of the mountain bike racing community and not just the professional racing community. You will be able to see our training information, gps data, heart rate numbers, etc. after we have finished the technical aspects of the website. We want people to know what we are thinking before races or while we are out training. This is primarily an impetus of a response that Macky received on a blog post at Two Wheel Tales as to what the every day cyclist is looking for. We want to give that to them!

Please keep following us and supporting us as we move forward in this endeavor and try and raise the bar for professional mountainbike racing teams so that once again mountain bike racing can be where road racing is!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How to use ActionWipes

If you haven't heard of ActionWipes, you're missing out. According to the ActionWipes website, ActionWipes are "Natural, full body wet wipes for rinse free bathing". And they work amazingly. I began using ActionWipes about 2 months ago and now I am not sure how I got along without them. Unless every single ride you take finishes at your house, you'll love ActionWipes. Instead of having to sit and stew in your post-ride filth until you get a shower, you can wipe yourself off and run some errands. They smell nice, they don't leave a sticky residue, they're all natural, and they help prevent saddle sores.
Okay, that's all I'm going to say to try to convince you. Instead, I'm going to show you HOW to use ActionWipes:
  1. Go ride your bike and got good and dirty. This is me after the 2009 Sea Otter Classic XC race.

  2. Wipe off your face. Really well. (Don't forget your lips).

  3. Turn your ActionWipe over.

  4. Wipe off your bum (this helps prevent saddle sores).

  5. Get another ActionWipe.

  6. Wipe off your arms (including your armpits).

  7. Turn your ActionWipe over.

  8. Wipe off your legs.

  9. Throw your ActionWipe in the laundry, wash it, and then REUSE it (stay tuned for ideas of how to reuse your ActionWipes).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Scoping out the Sand Creek Invitational Course

This weekend I've had the pleasure to make the trip down to Colorado Springs and take some time to scope out the trails that the Sand Creek Invitational will be held on as the 4th stop in the US Pro XCT. It is definitely going to be interesting for sure. For the most part the course is pretty fitness based. You spend a fair amount of time climbing but there are a lot of short punchy climbs within the consistent climbing making for short little lung and leg busting efforts to get you plenty tired.

At first when I showed up and started cruising around the trails I was getting a little worried, as I had only found buffed out what looked to me like cross country ski trails, and are probably used for that in the winter. But after finding some of the higher trails, after a fair bit of climbing, the wide and open trails make a lot of sense, especially if we have 100+ people jockeying for position during the start lap, it is going to be nuts!

Upon getting towards the top of the mountain the trails definitely show the climb was worth it. Big rocks to get over. Soil instead of pebbled up granite over hard pack, and well pretty much a ripping good time to be had. I definitely think that these trails are going to be super interesting to rip in a race. A few photos from higher up where the soil was good and the rocks were a plenty:
Here is a map of the trails at Cheyenne mountain state park. The course starts at the Day-Use parking lot heads up Talon and then right on Zook Loop to immediately hop onto medicine wheel, crazy technical, bring your skills. After picking your way through medicine wheel you hop on to Blackmere loop going right first and then left. Follow this around to Cougars Shadow. Cougar's Shadow back to Blackmere onto Boulder Run (a ripping hard but fun trail). From Boulder Run you take a short left onto Coyote Run and then pop onto the road back to the Day Use parking lot. About 5 miles of challenging riding!

A huge plus to this ride, and I know I've already given them a plug, but they are a great company and a great sponsor to work with was my new set of WTB nanoraptor 2.1's I have. For Sea Otter I was running the Vulpine on the rear, but as I don't have any major races coming up and semi-slicks have a short life spand I pulled the Vulpine off and threw on another nanoraptor. These tires are the best fast rolling dry condition tire I have ever used. It doesn't slip on slick rock, or gravel over hard pack, you pedal and it keeps letting you forward. They are definitely a great choice for all around dry and fast riding. Hopefully I get a chance to play with them in the wet soon, that is always the best test for a tire.

After getting back to my hotel and looking at the exact course description and the map I grabbed when I arrived at Cheyenne Mountain State Park I have been able to competely recon the whole course and all I can say is the start is going to be KEY. After not even a mile of open riding you hit the first singletrack which is crazy technical and will cause mad log jams. If you are in a large fiedl, all but guaranteed with the new USAC category changes, you might be hiking through Medicine wheel while the top 5 guys are booking it up the Blackmere loop climb.

this race is definitely going to be interesting and not for the weak technical rider or rider with weak fitness. You have to be a great all arounder on this one.

Should be a good time and hope to see you out there!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Post race

Here are Kat and my thoughts post-race. We were on our way to dinner at Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey, CA and were both pretty exhausted from the race.
Kat's thoughts:

Macky's thoughts:

Monday, April 20, 2009

1st Race 1st Post

Transparent Racing made it's debut this weekend at the Sea Otter Classic. It was a great weekend where we got to catch up with our new and awesome sponsors: WTB, Rooly Eyewear, Action Wipes, and Squirt. It was definitely not without it's hassles though. The biggest issue all weekend was the weak compressors at the gas station making it quite difficult to blow tires onto rims. After a few gas stations and a lot of quarters we gave up until the next morning. Luckily the boys at the Giant tent came through for us and not only let us use their compressor but showed us a great trick on how to blow tires on real easy. So easy you can do it with a hand pump. If you see us at the races come up and ask us and we will gladly show you!

Saturday was the short track. Brutal course. after a fast road start (well sort of, there was a bit of road) we headed up a steep climb filled with breaking bumps and then across an off camber single track resembling thing that with both Macky and I being hard tail riders was not treating us too well. Macky was able to do pretty well and hold out for a solid 15 minutes and well I was able to get two good laps in. Better than nothing but that back row call up of 100 guys is rough, mad hard to move up when you are standing still waiting for the field to get through the first tight section while the leaders are ripping around the course. On a more positive note our new tires from WTB worked amazingly well. The Vulpine (xc semi-slick) as a rear tire is amazing! It rolls fast and still hooks up really well in the loose dusty stuff. The Nanoraptor as a front tire is pretty sweet too! Once again super fast rolling and corners quite consistently as well. WTB is definitely making some of the best tires I have ever ridden.

After cleaning up with our action wipes and heading back to the hotel the goal was to rest up for the big day, XC, on sunday. Sunday morning rolled around and man it was hot. The weather report was only calling for temperatures in the 80's but by 10 am it was already in the 80's and was on it's way higher. With high temps and a need to stay hydrated Macky and I went for the shorter warm up approach which did not turn out too badly I think. Macky was able to finish 37th overall and 6th for the U23's and I managed a 100th place finish out of 150 or so. Even with reasonable results it was a really hard day in the saddle. At 1 hour and 15 minutes in I ran out of fluids and had to back off my blistering pace that was moving me up through the pack consistently quickly to soft pedal in order to save the body from succumbing to the horrendous heat. Grabbed 2 new bottles from Macky's mom at the feed zone and headed out for lap 2. Still hard but was able to pick up about 5 guys over that lap and even grab an old racing buddy from NY who just moved up to the pros too, Seamus Powell.

Macky's race went fairly similar, the heat got to him during the 1st lap and he was pushing a pretty hard pace as well. After backing off and getting through the feed zone he was able to recover well and rally back grabbing a number of places on his way in.

All in all it was a great weekend for Transparent Racing and we would like to thank all of our sponsors: Hammer Nutrition, Rooly Eyewear, WTB, Action Wipes, and Squirt lube for helping us get going and make our dreams come true!