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Little Challenges

kids at lookout

For the last month or so, I have been honored to work with the youth of Boulder as a coach for Boulder Junior Cycling. It has been nothing short of amazing and gratifying thus far to be able to work with these kids…ranging in ages from 8 to 17. So much going on in their little lives as they show up, kit-up, throw a leg over their bike and listen to our instructions, our shouting, “do it again!”, repetitions…you know what I’m talking about. But think about it from their perspectives…

  • Dealing with exhaustion after a long day at school…
  • Trying to coordinate their bodies which are growing so fast it often ends up so frustrating for them…
  • The general fear of crashing and when they do, getting back up and not falling into the ‘option’ of quitting…
  • Hauling a bike nearly a 1/3 of their body weight onto their shoulders…where simply put: it hurts like hell.

    You and me? We have no problems. We can bitch about call up procedures, work getting in the way of our training, equipment malfunctions that caused us that 10th place. We’ve got no problems. These kids inspire me deeply.

    One 9 year old child showed up at one of the initial practices a month ago. Absolutely, positively had no idea what cyclocross was…but it looked like fun when he saw it ONE TIME at the Boulder Cup at the shopping mall last year. This, then, 8 year old told his parents he wanted to be a racer like ‘that.’ So at this initial practice he shows up with a massively heavy mountain bike…and sincerely, a level of coordination that would not allow him to ride his bike ‘paper boy style’ (pulling a leg off and coasting with one foot on the pedal). It felt at the time that it would be a long fall for this young man. He never gave up. Each week a little better. I watch him struggle like hell to dial in the instruction we give him…now on a cross bike and already advanced to clip-less pedals. I watch him come in last in the drills and asking questions…and simply just being present as he soaks it up like a sponge. He doesn’t show embarrassment. He doesn’t complain or feign tiredness.

    This boy wants it.

    This boy wants to be there.

    This boy sees an image of himself and what he wants and is grabbing it.

    What’s your vision? More importantly, what’s your excuse?

    The Valmont Bike Park Cyclocross Race | A power post-mortem

    My coach, training partner and good friend Frank Overton of FasCat Coaching walks us through an analysis of power output in a 'cross, specifically the Boulder Racing Series #1 at Valmont Bike Park during the 35A race this past Saturday. Frank recorded his power via his Quarq powermeter supplied by SRAM. The data is demonstrated with TrainingPeaks WKO+ software. Frank talks about the spikes in power and the need for various training techniques such as motor pacing and Tabatas as key ingredients to simulate the speed and 'spikiness' of power in a cross. 


    The Ridley 2012 X-Fire | SRAM Red Black in the House

    In 2007, I remember distinctly when Brandon showed up at a Wednesday Worlds on a Time cyclocross bike with brake levers made from carbon fiber. “Dude, you’re riding Campy?” I said as they were the only products we’d seen at the time with carbon levers. “No, check these out! New from SRAM. It’s called Force.” And so the relationship began with the company and before we knew it, we were ALL on the groups. I’d never seen anything like it before in terms of adoption.

    Fast forward and SRAM has played a major role in the Boulder Cycle Sport Ambassador’s team success. Multiple National Championship wins (4), State Championship wins (2) and countless podiums, crashes, mud-fests, gear changes later, and we’re still shifting to success with SRAM.

    This year SRAM has a new twist on their top of the line group, SRAM Red. The twist is to black it all out! The BCS team’s “A” bikes are all dialed in with SRAM Red ‘Black’ with “B” bikes being equipped with the Force group. We finally have the bikes together and a few races under their belts, and before they get sullied with the wear and tear of a season, I wanted to show the Ridley X-Fires in a state with their SRAM bits hanging in their miraculously-clean splendor.

    The 58cm Ridley X-Fire complete with SRAM Red,

    Click to read more ...

    Cross Racing Week 1 | A raison d'être

    I’ve talked before about cross and its meaning for me above and beyond just being a sport. It’s an anchor for me in the calendar…helping me pull my spirit through the dog days of late winter and spring, through the challenges of life and work. It’s a beacon that pulses to help me remember I am an athlete. BCS Lookout Cross-13

    Cross is a reason for existence. Of course not the reason. It’s one of the core pillars of my life

    Click to read more ...

    Thomas Frischknecht and me. A bromance.

    This is just too good to be true. I was able to meet Frischi before at Cross Vegas some years back and shared a beer after our race. But my bud Mike Hogan has continued my bromance (or stalking) with Thomas even further. Thank you Mike for making this happen. I am complete.

    Snap-On Torque wrenches – “These things are sexier than red socks on a rooster!”

    CDI - SnapOn Wrenches

    And yes, that is a real quote (read below in the press release…).

    A year ago almost to the day, I met a great guy at Interbike – Glenn Kalnins – who is a rep…and evangelist!…for SnapOn tools and their new line of Torque wrenches from their sub-brand CDI. I secured a set of these wrenches given all the carbon fiber I am mounting, dismounting, carrying, cleaning and working on these days. I do not want to take any chances with over tightening and thus, these CDI Wrenches have played a major role in my bike maintenance (and longevity of my frames!). There is a 4, 5 and 6 Nm ‘handle’ available. I’ve had them for a few months now and have even put them on the workbenches of the pro mechanics at Boulder Cycle Sport. We all agree that the ergonomics and most importantly versatility of the various Allen and Torx heads (see picture above) are KEY versus the other styles of torque wrench.

    The good folks at Snap-On/CDI sent me this data below about the wrenches that I wanted to share. You can source them through your LBS as they now are distributed through QBP and other distributors.


    New tool for the cycling industry, the CDI Preset Torque Limiting T-Handle is a convenient, economical and accurate tool for low-torque applications 

    Kenosha, Wis., September 7, 2011 – Tightening fasteners on lightweight carbon fiber and titanium-framed bicycles and bicycle components correctly can be difficult for any cyclist. Applying too much or too little torque can damage a component, a bicycle frame, and pose a risk to the rider.

    That’s why the new CDI Preset Torque Limiting T-Handle from Snap-on Industrial Brands takes the guesswork out of making adjustments by applying just the right amount of torque to bicycle fasteners. What truly distinguishes the CDI Preset Torque Limiting T-Handle from other competing products is that it comes with a built in cam-over torque limiting clutch, which prevents the user from over-torquing fasteners. Here’s how the CDI Preset Torque Limiting T-Handle works:

    When tightening a fastener, the user hears a click, signifying that the CDI Preset Torque Limiting T-Handle has applied the proper amount of torque. Even if the user inadvertently continues to turn the tool following the click, no additional torque is applied. This design prevents users from over-torquing fasteners, which can damage components. With competitors’ products, users also hear a click, but there is nothing preventing them from turning past that and over-tightening the fastener.

    Potential applications for the CDI Preset Torque Limiting T-Handle include the assembly and adjustments of handle bars, stems, seat posts, front derailleur clamps, rear derailleur adjustments and disk brakes.

    The CDI Preset Torque Limiting T-Handle comes calibrated and ready to use in three torque ranges that are color-coded for easy identification: 4Nm (yellow); 5Nm (orange); and 6Nm (white). Other features of the CDI Preset T-Handle include:

    · Magnetic shank to interchange bits as needed

    · Rounded T-Handle grip for added comfort

    · Certificate of calibration

    Although new to the market, the torque tool is already receiving praise from cycling industry insiders. Jim O’Brien, Bissell Pro Cycling Team mechanic, was asked in the July 2011 issue of Road Magazine what are his favorite tools. He said, “That might change from year to year based on which manufacturer’s components we are using, but right now it’s a set of pre-set torque t-handles from Snap-on. I have a different one for 4Nm, 5Nm and 6Nm, and the bits interchange for all the hex sizes. With all the carbon and titanium out there right now, only a rich fool sets torque by feel. These things are sexier than red socks on a rooster!”

    The CDI Preset Torque Limiting T-Handles retails for $30 each, and are available at your local bike shop through Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), Bicycle Technologies International (BTI), United Bicycle Supply and The Hawley Company. For more information, call Snap-on Industrial at 800.446.7404.

    Fulcrum Coaching/JBV Coaching East Coast CX Camp with J-Pows – A film short by Peter Nicoll

    My main man Peter Nicoll whipped out this fantastic vignette of the Fulcrum Coaching/JBV Coaching CX Camp on the East Coast. It looked sweet. Powers and my main man Fatmarc Vanderbacon in attendance. Lean back and enjoy:

    Improve Your Game: Get 2012 Cyclocross Season Coaching

    My coach, training partner and good friend Frank Overton, a.k.a. the Grand Master of FasCat Coaching here in Boulder has put together a really compelling and cost effective training plan for folks who are interested in a highly specialized seasonal plan for improving their game in cyclocross. The plan runs now through December and is jam packed with a lot of detailed goodies not normally found in a plan like this…not at its cost. The main highlights of the program  include…

    • FREE initial coaching consultation, review of previous cx training & goal setting
    • Initial Cyclocross Skills Assessment to identify your strengths and weaknesses
    • Development of a strategic race program to help you achieve your goals
    • Specific Cyclocross Training Program delivered regularly in a monthly calendar format with customized recovery, interval workouts, skills practices & pre-race preparation
    • Twice Monthly Cyclocross Skills Practices led by a FasCat Coach (local only)
    • Easily communicate with your coach by email, phone, or in person at FasCat for questions, training program adjustments, to review your races and talk about your upcoming races, etc...

    The plan is $450 waiving normal start up fees and will even provide you 3 free weeks from December should you desire to go to Madison WI for the National Cyclocross Championships.

    Have a look here and make this season your fastest! Let Frank and the FasCat crew help balance your schedules to ensure you are getting the most out of your training and your season.

    Pre-race Rituals for Cyclocross Racers

    This is the deck I gave at the 2010 and 11 FasCat Cyclocross Camp. The real data is in the presentation (less the deck) but for what it’s worth to ya….

    Pre-race Rituals for Cyclocross

    2012 Wednesday Worlds Info & Valmont Bike Park Volunteering


    I wanted to get this info out as the season is fast approaching. Pete Webber has been working hard to get things organized this year around Valmont Bike Park’s use in our Wednesday Worlds Training Ride. Please have a read below and if you can., try to come out THIS THURSDAY (September 1st) for some volunteer work and course ‘dry runs’. So if you CX and enjoy Wednesday Worlds, come put some effort into helping out so we all can enjoy the use of our parks for our training needs.

    Valmont Park Cyclocross Work Session- Thursday, Sept. 1st, 4:30-6:30pm

    Join us for a volunteer work session to get the Valmont Bike Park ready for cyclocross training, Wednesday Worlds, and this season's CX races. We will be prepping the cyclocross segments of the park by clearing weeds, raking, picking rocks, and pulling up erosion matting. Please help us get these areas dialed for CX training and racing and build on our partnership with the Parks Dept as we head into the CX season and Wednesday morning rides.

    The work will be dirty, scratchy, and maybe wet, so come prepared. Wear work gloves and heavy duty shoes. Tools will be provided. Kids are welcome, younger ones should bring their parents. We'll work rain or shine!
    We will meet at the restrooms.

    This event is hosted by the the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation, Boulder Mountainbike Alliance, and the Wednesday Worlds riders.

    Questions contact Pete Webber