Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bumpin' and Grindin'

Today was the Alabama Bump n' Grind Pro XC Tour cross country race. It was hot and humid and close to sea level...Let's just say that I'm not real used to any of those conditions, especially the sea level or humidity!
The race started off fast on a paved road and I was able to get a decent spot as we hit the 1st singletrack. At that point, I pulled back just a bit so that I wouldn't over-do it and crack and just settled in to race. I lost a few places because I was being cautious, but going into the 4th lap (of 5) I started moving up again. Unfortunately, half way through my 4th lap, I noticed that my rear tire was going flat so I stopped to inflate it (thanks Genuine Innovations for the BigAir!). After catching the guy who had passed me when I was re-inflating my tire, I had to stop a second time to add some more air. And then a 3rd time and a 4th time. At which point I was out of air (pretty good for 1 BigAir though, huh?). Then my tire went completely flat and started falling off the rim, so I was forced to stop riding. At that point I was about 4 KM from the finish and had to walk the rest of the way or be counted as DNF ("Did Not Finish"), so I chose to walk. It took me about 30 minutes, but I did finish even though I got passed by every other person who hadn't been pulled from being lapped. I lost more than 20 spots because of the flat (I finished 49th), but that's bike racing...
Overall, it was a successful race and I had a blast, but I wish I hadn't flatted.
Here is a video of me packing my bike back up (23 minutes, even faster than unpacking):

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bump n' Grind pre-ride

I woke up this morning and put my bike together in 25 minutes. Here's the video - don't worry, it's at 900% speed:

Then I went out to pre-ride the Bump n' Grind course. I had a hard time finding it at first, but eventually did find and met up with Greg. We decided to ride together, but after waiting for 30 or 45 minutes while a mechanic looked at his wheel, we realized that his wheel was not in any kind of shape to take a ride, so I went by myself.
I really enjoyed the course. It is a 6.3 mile loop, but my guess is that the fastest guys tomorrow will be doing each lap in about 21 or 22 minutes. There are no extended climbs, everything is rolling, and it's FUN! There are some roots and a few rocks, but for the most part it is a smooth course of smooth, fast dirt. Here is a short clip of part of one of the descents:

Unfortunately, while pre-riding I got pretty confused about the course. I ended up backtracking a bit, turning around, and asking people until I finally figured it out, but it didn't help that the 1st lap (of 5) starts differently than the other 4 and that the Elite lap is partially the same as the non-Elite lap, but backwards, so people kept coming AT me instead of going with me...Oh well, after 2 laps I think I now know what it looks like. Should be fun!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Alabama, here I come!

Fortunately, my trip to Alabama was NOT an adventure. I ran slightly late getting to the airport, but my bags and I made it onto the plane and I was able to take advantage of the NOT ANCIENT battery in my new MacBook Pro and get some work done while flying. I took a brief nap in Dallas and then used my computer again to continue learning PHP until I landed in Alabama.
Unfortunately, when I landed I found out that Seamus Powell, a friend who I was planning to share hotel costs with, had decided not to come because of multiple delays at the Albany airport. Not only was I hoping to get to hang out with him, but now I have to figure out how to pay for a hotel room that was supposed to be split by 3 people (Kat also couldn't come because of finances). Oh well, I guess now I don't have to share my king sized bed and pull out couch.
The huge hotel room that I have all to myself...
In Alabama, I ran into Georgia Gould and Lea Davison in the airport, chatted for a bit, then set about getting to my hotel. Here is where things got less easy. First of all, the taxi driver I spoke to estimated that the trip to my hotel would be about $50. Not only was that expensive, but the hotel website had quoted the trip at about $35...I wasn't real happy, to say the least. I spoke to him for a bit, asked about alternate modes or transportation, and finally, he offered to take me for 20% off what the total came to. I accepted and made it to the Hampton in Pelham for $41.
For dinner I headed to "Krystal", a fast food restaurant 100 yards from the hotel, because I wanted something cheap and didn't want to deal with the crowds at the "Margarita Grill", another restaurant 100 yards away that had live music and tons of people. Here's a shot of my tasty dinner (kinda):

Now I'm off to bed so that I'm rested for pre-riding the course tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Photo Update

So I promised some photos from my second dumb epic of the year and here they are:

A view of the mountains as we finally were making it back to the car, getting dark, uh oh!

Me hiking my way up the Colorado Trail. We eventually put our leg warmers on for protection. Builds Character!
While the Singletrack was still Colorado Epic, so much fun!

It continues to be beautiful and fun. This section was super sick and fast coming down!
From the top of our first climb.

Now it is time to prepare for the Teva Mountain Games in two weeks where the racing is going to be epic in the high country of Colorado, can't wait.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Another weekend of racing...I LOVE IT!

Yesterday was the 2nd day of the 2009 Angel Fire Chile Challenge. Both Kat and I raced the Pro Men's XC and boy, was it a tough course. As I mentioned yesterday, I have been racing this course for a long time and knew what to expect, but for some reason, I still chose to race on my hardtail (XTC Alliance Advanced). That was not a smart idea. Although the Chile Challenge course is fine to ride on a hardtail when you aren't racing, it really slows you down and beats you up during a race. I should have known this, but I am so used to racing on my hardtail that I wouldn't admit that the Anthem Advanced was the way to go.
Macky racing
Between my bike choice, my dead-last start (because I arrived at the start with 2 minutes to race time), and a bit of fatigue from my STXC win, I admit that I didn't have as good a race as I was hoping. I still ended up 5th, but had been hoping for a top 3 finish.
Kat had a pretty good race. He felt strong until the top of the 3rd, and final, lap when both of his calf muscles cramped. At this point, he lost 4 places and ended up 33rd. When we were swapping stories post-race, he mentioned that he also felt slow on his hardtail and wished that he had been on a bike that was a bit more forgiving...At least we both know for next time!
Macky and Kat post-race
I forgot to mention that I received and installed my Bike Pure headset spacer just before the STXC on Saturday. It looks sweet on my bike because of all the blue!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chile Challenging

Today was the 2009 Chile Challenge Short Track. And it was a blast! Kat chose not to race (to stay fresh for the Cross Country tomorrow), but was there, along with quite a few friends of mine, to cheer me on. Coming from Taos, Angel Fire is the closest thing to a home-town course that I have. It was my first ever mountain bike race (7 or so years ago) and I've raced there almost every year since (sometimes more than once).
Today was a great day for me. After coming back from my hand injury and having a good weekend at Santa Fe, I was ready to test myself against the bigger Mountain States Cup (MSC) fields.
The race started off pretty fast, but I was able to get into a decent position (7th or so) despite my not-so-great start position (2nd row, of 3, right in the middle). From there, I moved up for a couple of laps until I was in 4th, then we dropped one racer and it was myself, Jay Henry, and Colin Cares alone at the front. Colin led for a while, then Jay took the lead, and finally, they both slowed a bit to force me to pull. I pulled for part of a lap then took off on the uphill and put a good gap between myself and them. For the rest of the race, I worked to keep them from bridging back up and worked on making up time on the descents (so that I could make up time without working too hard). I ran 2 WTB Nano Raptors and they were great on Angel Fire's terrain (mixed firm and loose dirt, and some gravel). I was able to finish with a comfortable lead, but unfortunately, no one (that I know) got any pictures of the finish, or even of the race.
So, instead, I am leaving you with a video from the day before when I was pre-riding the Cross Country course.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


This is a frustration and thought I have had lingering for a very long time. Particularly in the world of professional cycling we often see racers out training without their helmets on. This is never the case during competition due to strict rules by the various governing bodies, but very often out of competition this is the case.

In Spain there is a law requiring all cyclists to wear a helmet, punishable by fine, except for professional racers. So if you can show that you are a professional racer once you've been pulled over for not wearing a helmet (e.g. ride around with your racing license in your pocket) then you are fine. Doesn't it seem a little ridiculous that you would take the time to not only explain to the police officer that you are a professional cyclist, but also to carry your racing license around while training rather than putting on a helmet and not even having to think about it??

There are millions of reasons to wear a helmet no matter what kind of riding you are doing, cruising along the boardwalk, out on an epic 100 mile training ride, or just goofing off in the parking lot with some friends.

The most forthcoming reason not to, heat, is actually a false one. Yes, it might feel cooler to be cruising without a helmet on on a hot day, it actually isn't. Helmet technology is well beyond the years of those leather hat like things that would clearly make one sweat and warm up profusely. They are well vented, designed to handle hot days and sweat. Just think as you watch the Tour de France as the climb up the Alps or the Pyrenees, they are all wearing their helmets and it doesn't seemed to have effected the sport that much in the end, now has it!?!

I implore all cyclists out there to wear their helmets! It could save your life! It is worth every second you put it on your head.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Saddle Sore Prevention

Saddle Sore (adj): A state of soreness from riding more than one is used to or from riding after taking significant time off of the bike.
Saddle Sore (n): A skin ailment on the buttocks due to, or exacerbated by, riding on a bicycle saddle.
The former is something that happens to anyone who starts riding more than they are used to and usually goes away once your tender behind gets accustomed to riding. My only advice here is that you should NEVER increase your time one the bike too dramatically in too short a time period. Instead, slowly increase the duration and frequency of your rides and make sure to give yourself lots of recovery time.
Unfortunately, I have significantly more experience with the latter type of saddle sore. Saddle sores are a cyclists nightmare. They are somewhat similar to facial acne (they are basically a pimple), but in a more tender (and less seen) area. And they are VERY painful to sit on. There are thousands of suggestions out there about how to prevent and cure saddle sores, but here is what I do that has helped me immensely:
  • Clean shorts: Never reuse cycling shorts without washing them. One of the biggest factors in whether or not you get saddle sores is how clean you are. And riding in a sweaty, day-old chamois does not count as clean.

  • Lube: Hopefully, you lube your chain to increase your drivetrain life and decrease friction. Some goes for your backside. I apply petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to my chamois before every ride to help cut down on the amount of rub on my bum. There are more expensive products out there, but petroleum jelly does the trick (and is REALLY cheap).

  • Get out of your chamois: As soon as possible after your ride, get out of your chamois and clean up. If you are near a shower, take one. If not, I suggest ActionWipes post ride to clean up your backside. I posted about ActionWipes a while ago and highly recommend them.
While this may not be the answer for everyone, it will certainly decrease your chance of getting saddle sores. Good luck!
Wipe your bum after you ride!

Dumb Epic # 2 of the Season

Yesterday I went out for what was supposed to be an amazing high country epic in the Colorado mountains. On word from the mtbr forums I heard that Kenosha Pass was clear of snow all the way up towards Georgia Pass. So good friend from the ECCC Chuck D'Hemecourt and I loaded up, dropped a car in Breckenridge and drove to the Rock Creek Trail Head of the Colorado Trail. Hopped on the trail and were ripping. The Colorado Trail is one of the best trails in Colorado by far. Epic views, amazing well built singletrack and awesome history.

We made it to Kenosha and kept heading up. Trails were dry and beautiful. After we made it 6 miles past Kenosha Pass (meaning we were 6 miles from Georgia Pass) we found that the trail was a running stream, huh!?! Well a mile later the trail was a mix of snow fields. With the conditions we had seen so far that day and what the mountains looked like as we drove around Breckenridge we kept our hopes up, pulled on our leg warmers for protection, threw our bikes on our backs and started hiking. After a little while the snow seemed to be thinning out and it looked like if we could just get out of the trees we would be good. BAD MOVE!

We definitely hiked for awhile, probably 3 hours worth (total). After we were sufficiently wet and cold we decided that we should just pull the plug. Nothing was forcing us to get to Breckenridge as we still had one car where we started. Hiked back out of the snow and then rocked it back.

Well we made the car finally after 7 hours in the woods, my longest day on a bike ever (even though only 4 hours were actual riding time). I was amazed that during the last two hours I was able to really put the hammer down. Often after long rides those last couple of climbs are just gruelling slogs, but I was killing it.

Pictures to come!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Many Different Applications of Squirt Lube

Since our trip out to Sea Otter I have been hooked on Squirt Lube. For the western dry conditions I live in it is amazing. Handles the dust amazingly well, deals with water from snow melt on the trails well, and man is a quite chain wonderful. I have also absolutely noticed the difference between my chain dry and my chain with a fresh coating of Squirt Lube in shifting performance.

But it has always seemed to me that a chain lube or bicycle lube ought to be multi-functional. In the past I have been a proud supporter of Pro Link due to it's consistent lubrication, great use in deseizing various parts of a bicycle, as well as a good use when trying to get the most mileage out of one's shifting.

My teammate, Macky, has already shown his views on Squirt here: and in so doing presented a second good use for the product.

Just this week I found a 3rd use beyond the typical chain and quick release applications. In your derailleur housing. This is a common trick for many chain lubes when your housing tends to get a little sticky and often makes the shifting performance feel better, but still not as good as say brand new cables and housing. Well after my wet and slightly, but not particularly, muddy ride this past weekend I lost my rear shifting. The derailleur was not seized, it was quite happy to move freely, but the cable was getting stuck in the last section of housing before the derailleur. I proceeded to take the cable out and carefully inject Squirt into the housing, hoping it would at least lubricate the system somewhat. This took a lot of care due to Squirt's thickness, but after some finesse (one drop at a time and then softly blowing air into the housing ends) I was able to get this done. Then I headed out for my ride.

I have often used tricks like this to save the life of my cables and housing and most of the time I would say it feels good but not great afterwards, doesn't have that same feel you really are looking for. Well the wax based formula of Squirt gives it that feel. In fact prior to resetting my cables I felt the resistance difference between the final piece of housing and the first piece of housing and man was the final piece (where I placed Squirt) smoother.

Since then I have put in roughly 15 hours on the bike and my shifting has felt great the whole time. Smooth and seamless.

This weekend is a huge training weekend with 7 hours of saddle time 4+ of which will be on a grand expedition from the Rock Creek Trail head of the Colorado Trail all the way to Breckenridge, so check back for the forthcoming reports.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Record breaking

I'm not sure exactly when, but back in the day, Todd Gogulski set a record from the bottom of the Taos Ski Valley (TSV) road to the top of 26:32. That's 7.53 miles and 1680 feet of climbing in 26:32. Starting at 7650 ft. And apparently, shortly after setting this record, he went Pro and raced for the Coors Light and Subaru-Montgomery Pro teams on the road. Since then, no one has broken this record. I'm planning to.
Starting last summer, Team FITaos began putting on a few (semi) official hill climb time trials each summer, and yesterday was the first of this year...
Last summer, I had hoped to break the record, but hadn't been able to. The closest I came was just under 29 minutes (2.5 minutes off of the record). I admit that I never really trained for the climb and focused on real races instead, but I raced 2 of them and tried during those 2 to come as close as possible.
This was me racing last year (I don't have any from this year yet)
This year, things will be different. I still plan to focus MUCH more on my real races, but I am determined to break the record and believe I can. Yesterday, I finished the climb in 28:01 (1.5 minutes off the record) which was almost a full minute faster than my best last year. It is also early season and I plan to get faster. So, cheer me on and if you have any extra road componentry lying around, send them to me so that my bike will be lighter and I won't have to work as hard!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Getting some Free Time Back

Often in the life of a professional cyclist, particularly on the mountain bike racing side of the sport, we have to juggle family, training, work, and whatever else is thrown our way. Resulting in limited free time to do anything other than sleep and eat. The past couple of days have been like that. With the training hours jumping up in intensity and volume to prepare for my next big string of racing the time has dwindled. Since my last post I have done some great rides covering lots of miles and exploring some new places to ride. Here are some photos from these ventures.

This is from the "top" of Heil Ranch overlooking the canyon that leads in Lyons, CO. Pretty sweet view! and well worth the technical climb to get there.

Here I am attempting to take a photo from the top of the climb of myself. Pretty hard when you are trying to get the background in a bit too with a cell phone camera! Notice the green. CO won't look like this for much longer, sadly!

My ride today was an epic adventure from my house in Longmont, CO to Left Hand Canyon via a few dirt back roads that are much more enjoyable to ride on the knobbies than the paved ones. Up Left Hand with a brutal head wind and then following the Switzerland Trail to Gold Hill. Down Sunshine Canyon to Rowena Rd (which turns into a crazy road!) Into Lefthand and home. 65 miles all in all, what a blast! Here is some of the singletrack I found that definitely is typical Colorado meadow singletrack, (sadly it ends at a private property fence about 2 minutes past this):
Cheers and happy riding as summer is coming quicker than ever!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rest Weekin'

I finally got a rest week after a few weeks of hard riding and racing. It has been great, but I find that I frequently start feeling a bit sick whenever a rest week rolls around. I have yet to figure out why exactly this is, but my guess is that it is because during non-rest weeks I push myself HARD and fight off any potential sicknesses, so when a rest week comes around, I'm pretty shot and my body doesn't have the energy to fight off any more sickness.
I admit that it hasn't helped that I am just getting settled here in Taos (I'm working and just moved into a nice little house and am getting settled). Nor did it help that Victoria came down with pretty severe flu symptoms (no vomiting, but fever and aches) the night before last and we had to take her to the ER because she had been exposed to H1N1 (Swine Flu). Fortunately, she DOES NOT have H1N1, but I am still hoping to keep from catching her sickness.
I also have not been getting enough sleep because it seems like I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them, but I'm working on that, and took today off (instead of doing a 2 hour endurance ride) to fight of a minor sore throat. Fortunately, I'm feeling better and think that I should be good to go when the training time and intensity increases next week.
Just a short update, but overall, things are going well.
Eat well, sleep LOTS, and take care of yourself...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Best Training Ride of the Year!

Since Macky gets all the fun posts I think I will have to one up a little bit with my training ride from yesterday.

Here was the plan: 3.5 hours, 3 by 15 minute Climbing Repeat Intervals with a 15 second attack every 2 minutes, 10 minutes recovery between each interval.

Here's the best part: I started the ride at the Left Hand Valley Trailhead about half way between Boulder and Longmont. Cruised into Boulder on some fast and flowy singletrack and then followed the Foot Hills Trail around till I ran out of trail/bike path. Eventually I wandered over to 9th street until I got to Mapleton Avenue. Mapleton Avenue, if you head west starts the long climb up Sunshine Canyon to Gold Hill. Intervals GO!!!!! As I hammered up the climb, suffering every step of the way I kept hoping for some cold breezes. This was one of the hottest days I have had in 2009 in CO and man did my body show it. I was taking endurolytes and endurance aminos like there was no tomorrow the whole ride. Sunshine Canyon is paved for about half of it but then it becomes a dirt road into Gold Hill. The road had just been graveled over after the winter damage so it was pretty tough to get up, at least for a dirt road on a mountain bike. After I reached Gold Hill, a common stop for Boulder Cyclists, I kept heading west to Switzerland Trail. After a fast and scary descent I hopped on some of the switzerland trail singletrack and then kept cruising along the narrow jeep road. Switzerland Trail eventually has a point where there is a sign saying that it is a dead end, this is a lie, but for anyone on an ATV of any sort this is true. Here is where it gets good. Switzerland Trail used to be the route where they would transport goods between Ward and Gold Hill, two old mining communities, so it is a very narrow rough road cut of the side of the mountain overlooking Left Hand Canyon. Pretty awesome. THEN a MOOSE!!!! The moose was just chilling and then started to trot down the trail the way I was heading. Game On moose, I'm going to get you! Actually I failed the moose got through the rocks faster than I could and was able to get up the only hike a bike section back to the road much faster than I was able to, unfortunately. Initially when I had planned out my ride I was going to then head up and ride the South Sourdough trail from Brainard Lake towards the CU research station. Unfortunately I was running out of time and the amount of snow on the side of Switzerland Trail made me think twice about trying a trail with more shade and at a higher elevation than Switzerland. Maybe in another week I will be able to get up there. So the rest of the ride was just a fast descent down Left Hand Canyon and then a quick jaun along some dirt roads back to the car.

This was definitely an awesome ride, so much fun, and super challenging with hard climbs and fun trails. I look forward to many more high country explorations this summer along these trails as they are so much more fun than the front range stuff I have been riding all winter out of necessity.

Due to me having too much fun I did not pull my camera out during this one, I wish I did though!!!

As a final note, if anyone knows of an internet program like that can do both roads and trails in order to map out mountain bike routes leave a comment with that info. This is something I would love to see as many others would to as not everyone can afford a Garmin 705!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bike Pure

I ran across an interesting website yesterday called Bike Pure. After looking around a little, I realized that Bike Pure is working to promote the same ideals that Transparent Racing is, and wanted to share a bit about the organization.

According to Bike Pure's website,
Bike Pure aims to protect the integrity of cycling and promote clean cyclesport. Cycling fans worldwide deserve heroes they can believe in. Supporters want a clean sport and the professional riders need their credibility back.
This is something that we at Transparent Racing STRONGLY agree with. We believe that cycling is a wonderful sport that should not be marred by illegal performance enhancers and that cyclists of all disciplines are losing credibility because of the bad choices of some racers.

One of Transparent Racing's goals is to have great results WITHOUT using performance enhancers. We believe that if a racer or rider cannot enjoy cycling without cheating, then they should not be cycling. We also seek to build trust with cycling fans around the world by being open, honest and accessible. When our team website goes live, we will be posting our training and racing data online, as well as the results from our anti-doping tests to prove to the world that we are a clean race team.

Another interesting aspect of Bike Pure is how they plan to bring about this positive change in cycling. Here is what they have to say:
Through media pressure and rider and fan support Bike Pure shall encourage the athletes and teams to sign an 'Honour Code’, declaring that they race clean, without performance enhancing drugs and with a pledge that will encourage our sport to flourish. If any rider should be deemed positive, Bike Pure encourages the introduction of a life ban from cycle sport and move forward, forgetting the doper and focusing the media attention on passion and results.

We believe it is only through the adoption of stiffer penalties that riders will think twice about doping. Riders are held responsible for their own behaviour, their sponsors can have faith that their investment is safe, and the public can have confidence in the results.

We are not naive to think this is a complete solution, but it is an important first element getting the clean riders to joining forces with the supporters and laying a foundation for the future.
So far, many well-known cyclists (mountain, cyclocross and road) have taken Bike Pure's pledge, including racers from Garmin-Slipstream, Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team, Specialized MTB, Subaru-Gary Fisher, Spike, and Velo Bella, just to name a few.

Transparent Racing is proud to have taken the Bike Pure pledge, and will be racing and training with Bike Pure's wristband and headset spacer. Look for the blue and join us. Working together, we can return cycling to it's true form...PURE sport. (If you are interested in seeing the pledge that each Bike Pure pledger must sign, click here)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Preparing for the Next Race

This is the view from the top of the Rabbit Mountain Open Space during my ride today. Today the plan was a nice and relatively easy 2 hour ride with one set of 6 by 2 minute fast pedal intervals. Well, I figured with the extra 30 minutes of ride time to my ride up to Rabbit Mountain Open Space last week that I would take the opportunity to actually check out the loop on top of the park. Well it turns out with timing I had to do my fast pedals on the trail, which can be pretty easy around here, but not at Rabbit Mountain. Like much of the front riding we have (e.g. Heil Ranch and Devil's Backbone) Rabbit Mountain is covered in rocks that are both loose and set in the ground solidly. Trying to do fast pedals on trails of this type, well to say the least, it definitely helps with technical skills. If you can pedal at 110-120 rpm on technical trails consistently and smoothly then you are set. So I was able to spend a solid 20 minutes really working on the technical skills at super fast RPM's.

For now there is not much racing happening for Transparent Racing. After La Tierra Torture this past weekend we have a lull in racing until our next event at the Mountain States Cup Chile Challenge in Angel Fire, NM. The Angel Fire cross country course is one of my favorite courses in the country. There is a brutally long and hard climb with a really super fun but technical descent. Definitely looking forward to it.

Check back for more training updates over the next few weeks as Macky and I prepare for the Chile Challenge and then US Pro XCT in Birmingham the next weekend.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to install tube tires on tubeless rims with sealant and a FLOOR PUMP

I love riding tubeless with sealant. Not only does it get rid of the annoying "stupid" flats like goat heads, glass, and small rocks, but it allows you to run lower tire pressures without risking pinch flats. And for those who worry about the weight of the sealant, you can cut down on weight by using TUBE tires!
My one issue with tubeless was always how difficult it is to install the tires. No more floor-pumping, I had to find a gas station or bike shop with a high-pressure air compressor, and sometimes, even that wasn't good enough!
But at the Sea Otter Classic this year, I learned a trick from Joe, the Giant team mechanic, that allows you to install tube tires on tubeless rims with sealant and a FLOOR PUMP! I was psyched and wanted to share the trick with all of you guys.
Things you need:

Here is a video of how to install the tire. If you are running on slow internet, or prefer step-by-step, scroll down.

  1. Clean your wheel. This trick necessitates that your rim is sealant/water/chain lube free.
  2. Put the tire half-way on (on just one side).
  3. Shake the tire sealant upside-down! (It helps if you dance too).
  4. Pour in the sealant.
  5. Finish installing your tire (make sure that you get as little sealant on the rim as possible).
  6. Using a tire lever, begin to seat the tire.
  7. Using your tire lever, seat the tire 2/3 - 3/4 of the way around, or until it becomes VERY difficult to move the lever. The tire should be sitting as close to the rim wall as possible.
  8. Remove the tire lever by pushing on the opposite site of the tire to keep the tire from un-seating.
  9. Seat the other side of the tire 2/3 - 3/4 of the way around.
  10. Remove the tire lever from seating the 2nd side. DO NOT push from the other side or you will unseat you tire, instead, push from the center CAREFULLY.
  11. Check both sides of the tire to make sure that it is seated 2/3 - 3/4 of the way around. The tire should be VERY close to the rim wall on both sides and should NOT have fallen into the rim well.
  12. Connect a (preferably high-quality) floor pump.
  13. Pump up your tire (listen for the pinging sounds that tell you that your tire is seating, you SHOULD hear some). Once you hear some pings and hit 40-60 PSI, you can stop.
  14. Check both sides of your tire to confirm that the bead shows evenly. This tells you that you tire has seated properly. If it has not, continue pumping and wait for more pings.

Monday, May 4, 2009

10 Things NOT to do before a Race

Today I am going to make a list (in descending order) of the 10 things one ought not do before a race. Here they are:

10. Don't try to do any unnecessary maintenance late the night before or the morning of the race. You never know what could go wrong causing more problems than the one you already had.

9. Don't try anything out of the ordinary or new. For example, if you have never eaten sushi the night before a race, don't be adventurous. Gastro-intestinal stress morning of the race or the whole night before is never fun and will definitely take the fun out of racing.

8. Don't go pre-ride the course late in the afternoon the day before a race after racing short track, your legs will not appreciate this one bit the next day.

7. Don't eat dinner at 9 o'clock at night when you have to wake-up at 5 am to get to the race in time.

6. Don't eat a monster breakfast with an early AM start time, a good breakfast is good, a monster breakfast is not. With large quantities of food sitting in your stomach on the start line things are bound to take a turn for the worst.

5. Don't arrive with only one hour till start time. It leads to a rushed morning and far more stress than needed.

4. Don't not know where the start of the race is. This could be detrimental to making it there on time.

3. Don't forget your shoes. I did this once, luckily a good friend had a spare pair in the right size with the right cleats, but after driving for 1.5 hours it was quite frustrating to notice they were missing (this would go for helmet, gloves, sunglasses, and other necessities as well).

2. Don't drink a gallon of milk. An old collegiate teammate of mine once did this. Violent puking in the middle of a crit was the result.

1. DON'T stress out. Racing is fun, no matter what level you are racing, so don't worry about anything, just go out there and rip it up!

Some of these may seem a little obvious, but one may still not abide be these simple things not to do before a race due to forgetfullness or any other reason. I know I have in the past and hope to not make the same mistake again in the future.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tierra Torture day 2

Today was the 2nd day of the Tierra Torture mountain bike race and both Kat and I raced the Pro men's cross country (XC). I ended up having a great race, despite only sleeping for 6 hours last night, and won the race with a 2 minute gap to 2nd place and a 6 minuter gap to 3rd. This was my second win in as many days and I was very happy with the weekend as a whole.
My start did not go as well as I would have liked, and I had to fight for position more than I was planning to, but I was able to get into the top 3 within a couple of minutes and moved into first by half way through the first lap. Towards the end of lap 1 (of 3) I attacked and dropped 2nd place, Cameron Brenneman, and never saw him again. My legs felt surprisingly good after a hard week of training and yesterday's race, but I am looking forward to my upcoming rest week! I also got to wear my new Hammer Nutrition bibs and jersey and they were KILLER comfortable. Thanks, Hammer, for the support!
Here is a picture and short video of me racing:

Unfortunately, Kat did not have as good a race. He felt pretty good for about 25 minutes of his 2:15 race, but then his legs started hurting and he was forced to slow down. He drank a lot of Hammer HEED, took Endurolytes and Hammer Gel and eventually felt better and was able to come back and pull off a 7th place finish. Definitely a respectable result for his second-ever Pro XC.
Here are his post-race thoughts:

And just for fun, here are the post-race thoughts of Boden Franklin, an up-and-coming junior racer (and my little brother). He raced the Cat 3 Junior race (ages 18 and under) and finished 4th even though he is only 10!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tierra Torture Pro short track

Today was the 2009 Tierra Torture short track mountain bike race near Santa Fe, NM. Both Kat and I raced and had a blast. It rained just before the race (and afterwards) so the course was in significantly better condition than it would have been, but there were still some really loose corners...
I was fortunate to end up getting a front row start (not a very good front row start, but front row none the less) and jumped to the front ride from the gun. For the first 2 laps (of 7, it was a long short track course) I was closely followed by a friend of mine, Cameron Brenneman, but he went down on the 3rd lap and I chose that moment to attack. I never saw him again and got a solid win (see the picture).
Kat did not get as lucky at the start and had a Cat 1 racer fall into him and take him out because the Cat 1 racer couldn't clip into his pedals. He then went from dead last of the Cat 1/Pro field to a 6th place finish in the Pros.
Overall, a successful day. Let's just hope tomorrow goes just as well (or better)!
Some videos from the race:

Kat racing

Macky racing

Kat post-race

Macky post-race

Friday, May 1, 2009

Transparent Racing Hits the Road

Last night, sometime around 6:30, Macky Franklin arrived at my door in Longmont, CO with a very large box of some amazing stuff from Hammer. It's Christmas in April!! Though the real reason was not to deliver some great sponsor product but to head out for the next Transparent Racing road trip to La Tierra Torture in Santa Fe, NM this weekend. We have opted as a team to skip out on the Mountain States Cup race happening in Nathrop primarily due to the gauging prices that the Mountain States Cup organizers believe they are entitled to. Instead we are going to get a short track and cross country in for $50 total, great deal huh!

This morning after much fussing around Macky and I loaded up and started heading south from my house. First stop was Cope Family Dental, my fiance's work place and one of our new sponsors for 2009, thanks guys! After making a quick stop there we then headed on to Denver where we would drop off Lucas, my 11 month old great Pyrenees puppy, before we finally headed out. Well the drive was not too bad, except for the 40 degrees and cold mist coming out of the sky. When I left New York to move out west I thought I was leaving the damp misty weather, apparently not! After making it through Denver we made a quick stop at Sram's testing facility and talked with one of the testers and saw some pretty cool stuff, in fact, a lot of way cool stuff!!!! Then it was lunch time, and we saw a Chipotle on the way over to Sram, SCORE! So after gorging ourselves on some delicious food we finally got on our way for good and started making the trek down to Taos, Macky's home. All was great, the first part of the drive was cold and wet and pretty gross outside until we crossed La Veta Pass and then the sun came out and the temperatures jumped 20 degrees, it was amazing. I took off my jacket, my flannel shirt and actually turned the fan in my car onto cold, way cool!

Made it to Taos and then it was time for a ride to get the legs opened up and happy. Followed Macky around for awhile and found that even after playing tennis for an hour with Shannon yesterday and running around with the dog for 30 minutes when going hard the legs really don't feel that bad, score one for Short Track tomorrow.

That's right another full weekend of racing coming up, short track tomorrow and cross country on Sunday. Look for updates as the weekend progresses as well as some photos and video.

Cheers All!