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Entries from April 20, 2008 - April 26, 2008

The 2009 TRP EuroX brakes. Mmmmmm.

Can you say: PRODUCTION BABY?! My main man Lane sent me this little heads up on the new TRP EuroX's for 2009. I received a set of the carbon beauties to test in Belgium and will be outfitting ALL my bikes with them for this coming season. Absolutely sick technology designed to be fully modularized. If you change wheels like me between carbon hoops for race day to 32 hole 3-cross bomber wheels for training, nothing beats a 10 second pad change the TRP's allow for to ensure your carbon pads are preserved for race day and no aluminum shavings are impregnated in the pads to nastily tear away your carbon braking surface.

But kids, TRP takes it up a notch for 2009! For years, PRO mechanics in Europe have been retrofitting their riders' brakes for small customizations on pad distance from the rim. When you swap between a carbon rim with a smaller diameter width to an aluminum one which have a generally wider tire well, the mechanics needed an ability to slightly open up the pad distance without resorting to the releasing the straddle cable. Thus the following inventions were born:

Note the adaption of the Zanconato above. A small barrel adjuster added to the end of the straddle cable to pull the brakes in...or out as desired.

Similarly, note my boy Jon Baker's set up on his Spooky Carbons. Probably from an old brake hanger adjuster.

But TRP for 09 has brought this to PRODUCTION! The detail here is astounding and as a career product manager, I applaud the PM who manages this line of business for TRP. This CLEARLY is a product manager listening to his users....and shows the cult details they want to bring to market to out-do the competition....and they have responded by not only blinging these mo-fos out in white sex, but have added the barrel adjuster AND toe-in adjustment capabilities!

SWEET!

Dear TRP: I will wear the Little Bo Peep Dress to get first dips at these. Please.

Balancing act

I just got through reading local boy Jason Sumner's latest update on VeloNews about his exploits as a worker-bee and bike racer. He's got a multi-part series dedicated to how getting a coach and working on his personal performance while having a job can all work out. Sound familiar? I'll have to pick his brain when we hook up.

His coach, Neal Henderson is an old friend and former RockyMount'r and in the article says some prolific things regarding obsessing. Trust me, I am the uber-candidate for obsessing. To be frank, I am called 'One Speed' by family and close friends. Not because I ride a single speed, but due to the fact I do everything at one speed: fast and frenetic. It's only as of late when the very first grey hairs started popping out of my head that I suddenly realized that chilling a bit actually allows for a better overall 'experience' on all 3 parts of my precarious teeter totter.

Before being coached properly, I would ride virtually every ride full gas. EVERY ride. More more more!! I wasn't thinking slow may = quality because my identification with training was throwing down with friends until we made our ears bleed and we were shelled. Then, of course, when I'd try and race, i'd get demolished and get psychotic and pissed. I'd be the surly monster in the house and 'that grumpy guy' at work. ALL of which is NOT me! I am still the boy who is the human equivalent of a Labrador Retriever who's fat tail is always wagging. Right? (say: Right, Greg)

So a change of focus on MANY areas of my life has significantly helped me. First getting coached...and by a real coach who appreciates my psyche, my real condition...my world. More specifically, one who isn't obsessing in parallel with my obsessions such as solely focusing on my wattage, heart rate, body weight and and caloric data each week. I love the fact that the first things we discuss when we get together to talk about my training week is to understand how I am sleeping and what my external stress is like. When THAT is discussed first...and often occupies the core of the conversation...it proves that the understanding of my situation when trying to be at the top of my game is clear and deeply factored in. I feared that getting a coach would be paramount to being put on some boiler-plate plan, when the plan was likely modeled after a successful (likely pro) athlete who does NOT have the life condition I have or most 37 year old daddy/husband/worker bees. My plan is constantly tweaked and course-corrected week after week while keeping the goals I have in mind and in focus....and on target.

Second, stepping back and embracing my Type A-ness helped. Again, my WHOLE life from being a 6 year old kid who would go from hockey to soccer to baseball practice in one day (and LOVING it) has seemingly not changed in 30 years. So, realizing I can chill, that my 'racing' side of the teeter totter doesn't mean I need to be at the pointy end of the pro ride here in town (and being n Boulder is ridiculous by the way when the pro ride is essentially Toyota United, Health Next etc...). I needed to get real! Also, realizing that going for a ride...I mean a ride where my heart is not in my throat and am cross eyed is amazing and utterly needed. Seeing the trees on my 29'er or single speed...and by intent not affixing a power meter or wearing a heart rate device on my MTB rides was a saving grace. I preserve my MTB-ing for assurance of grins. I also injected running into the frey. I HATE running. But now I...holy crap...I LIKE running. Yikes. I said it. It changes things up tremendously for me vis-a-vis my workouts and the muscles used to stay fit.

Third, I'd say that communication has played a HUGE part in the over-all chillness. What I specifically mean here is that I never in the past communicated or would think to give advanced notice to my wife about my plans, my goals...even what kinds of rides I would be doing in the upcoming week. Example: the LAST thing a young mother who also wants to work out, have some alone time, etc wants to hear from me on Saturday morning: "Oh, yeah, um honey, I was going to do this 6 hour training ride today. Um, can you like have the kids again all day?" Being a shit head and not being sensitive to anyone outside of ME was a continual recipe for disaster and definitely wrecked what could have been some fun weekends. Bike racing is utterly one dimensional. You have to have total focus and unfortunately it is very selfish. Getting real about who I am is extremely important to my success. So, my wife and I TALK. She knows EXACTLY what I have planned for the week, and I know her desires, and there are NO surprises. We balance out our personal time and create and communicate the need for windows where we do our 'work outs' and ensure we have full on kid/together time. HUGE positive impact for all of us.

Fourth, I'd say that getting some help for my aging body has helped IMMENSELY! Working with Dr. Dave and spending some time on some ailing bones and muscles is helping hugely. I wish I hadn't waited! It has helped immeasurably so replacing a workout session with some chiropractic and massage TLC is so core and key, I can't recommend it enough.

Lastly, life is short. And while I like to play hard, being 'present' for my family and my wife and not a surly obsessive weenie is what is going to ensure the cement at our core is unbreakable and will carry us through until we are crusty blue-hairs in a retirement home together being spoon fed applesauce by a nurse. The winner of the 'race' is who is truly happiest at the end with no regrets.

Right?

Mark your calendars! April 30th - Boulder Premier of "Seasons"

Boulder Mountainbike Alliance & Boulder Adventure Film Festival Present:

S E A S O N S - A new film by The Collective

Wednesday, April 30th, 7:30PM at the Boulder Theater

The film follows seven of the world’s top mountain bikers through the course of the seasons of one year. The film explores what it means to be a full time rider as told through the lives of downhill racers, slopestyle competitors, and big mountain freeriders.

Come kick off your season with your riding friends and the rest of the cycling community at the Boulder Theater.

Tickets available thru the Boulder Theater Box Office

Or contact Botsy Phillips with any questions. botsyphillips@hotmail.com or 720.629.5100

Proceeds to benefit the BMA Better Trails Fund and the Boulder DEVO / Tokyo Joe’s Junior Development Team

This is NOT how you want to see an ex team mate

My GOD, this sucked to see on CyclingNews.com yesterday. Our RockyMounts alumnus Corey Collier was in a clearly ridiculous crash with Ben Day and local boy Tim Duggan. You've all ready that by now but MAN, we all hope you guys get better, especially you, Timmy.

Corey's good bro and our team mate AC2 got a note from him last night. And I quote:

"....I'm doin alright. yeah, hittin the deck unexpectedly at 72k an hour is not good...doc stitched me up last night, took a chunk of bone out of the tibia, other than that pretty luck. here to battle another day!"

Holy crap.

Corey was a 'devo' rider for RM in 05 before MOB took him to the next level and truly showing his class at the Gila last year. Health Net grabbed that talent outright. Road Magazine did a nice spot in all the North American teams this year with a great interview of Tim Johnson and Corey chiming in on his being the newbie and hoping not to be a full on 'nail' versus all the talented 'hammers' in the peloton. He's proving his grit in this TdG.

Corey man, we are SUPER proud of you beyond belief. This is amazing to see one of our 'youngin's' make it! SHOW 'EM WHAT YOU GOT, BOY!

Corey, 4th from left.

Tokyo rules

What will the Land of the Rising Sun improve on next?

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Thanks for passing this on, Longman.

Flicked

Flicked. I did it. The process is started and has returned some results that I never anticipated.

Never hesitate and always trust your gut. It will see you through to what was meant to be. Always.

There are no accidents.

Are you with me?

The teeter totter is coming back into balance.

Fruita!

I didn't even know how to pronounce the town when I moved to CO some years ago. Fruita, Cahlaradee. Say it: Froo-tah. And it was, as legend already has it: epic. Our family and about 5 others packed up Griswald style and pointed our Family Trucksters towards this great town Thursday through Sunday. We set up camp and commenced some serious play.

First, some background: Fruita as you'll see on Google Maps is essentially as far west as you can get in Colorado before running into Utah. It's right near Grand Junction and on a couple of our MTB excursions were right at the border. The town of Fruita has...well not a helluva lot. It's got dinosaurs, shale oil deposits and mountain biking. And, oh, the mountain biking. I've been on epics before and this ranks at the top. The riding is very 'high desert' but is pure single track. What you trade for in deep-woods East Coast rooted single track, you make up for in other was like slick rock features, riding up through snake-like riverbeds (e.g. imagine a star wars like 'tunnel' of twisty/rhythm singletrack with walls on either side of you and you're railing this thing at mach speed). So, the terrain is very Colorado/high desert, but not all open and exposed slick rock riding in barren desert. It is single track amongst tons of greenery, over rock features with vistas like you see above.

Before I left, a team mate of mine, AC"2", sent me a the most beautiful and thoughtful note on Fruita about its riding, the beers...you name it. Written as a local due to the fact he was one. While I am an advocate of trail preservation as an IMBA and BMA member, AC had a very particular and personal way of putting it. And I quote...

So Fruita virgin,

First of all you are gonna love the one track man!!! Can't wait to hear what you think after all the hype and shit over the last decade.

I am envious of your "first time". Remember one thing though, it is bad ass cuz its narrow!!! Keep it narrow!!! All the trails in the valley were 18 inches wide for a long time until the onslaught of front rangers and the like in the last half dozen years. One simple rule... Your tires should NEVER leave the trail. Not to pass oncoming traffic, not to "go look over there", not to pull up beside your homey and chat about how this is better than workin', nor to avoid that cow pie.

The Desert doesn't heal, one tire track in the harmless looking grass or "bare dirt" will be there for years, and if it doesn't attract more tires it will surely act as a water channel and really eff up things after a while. If you do "miss your line", and we all have, take the time to stop, lift your bike back to the trail and kick dirt over the tire track, thank the desert for its mercy and giv'er.

I tell you all this, now, at you most vulnerable time, as a virgin, and out of respect that I believe you have the wholesomeness as a bike rider to appreciate it. Preserve this for your kids!

Perfectly said AC. And it was as pristine as he describes. The singletrack is PERFECTLY carved into the terrain. Each side bordered with this micro-biotic plant life. Think lichen but softer and greener and leafier. The trails were clearly designed by someone who has a vision of literally making someone smile for hours. The trails rhythm perfectly and leverage the terrain to keep you sailing and railing. If I were to explain them very generally (e.g. across many of the rides we did), I'd say that they were like a flat land dual-slalom course with high banked berms that come in succession one after the other after the other after the other so in some sections your momentum and skill at rhythming without pedaling will keep you flying. There are PLENTY of climbing sections if you link up the appropriate trails which we did along with natural stair cases going up and of course down...all formed from layers of rock. Some were so beautiful I actually said "Is this legal stuff we're on????".

I asked about some of the history when I met locals and all roads seemed to come back to Troy Rarick. This is the apparent Godfather of MTB-ing in Fruita and founder of Over The Edge Sports. While I am not here to spark a debate, on many occasions of the conversations I had, Troy was described as the guy who essentially 'saved' the town of Fruita. In other words, pivoting the town's economy from nothing to a true destination spot for mountain bikers...and with them, an injection of cash for the economy. It was he and others who worked hard to create the trail networks and work with BLM et al to make the trails what they are. I went into the shop to see if I could talk with him but he was at Sea Otter this weekend. Bummer. There is however an interesting interview Troy gave on Fruita and its 13th Annual Fat Tire festival in the latest 5280 Magazine (cover above) if you can source it.

To the riding specifics....

There was a GREAT crew for the weekend! It ranged from Rocky Mounter team mates Rich Z and John G and their posse of friends like Li'l Dave, 'Precise' Andy, Rally Sport Paul to our mutual family friend, supreme fast man and former GT rider Antonio G. In addition, ALL our wives and kids were there and had this huge, fun communal atmosphere. We did 3 epics....with the last day being the mother-load.

Day 1 we did at dusk which was beautiful. We railed for ~ 2 hours parts of the Kokopeli system...e.g. Horse Thief, Prime Cut among others before it got too dark and we needed to get back to the families.

Day 2 was a semi-epic wherein we did the "18 Road" network including Joe's Ridge which we did parts of in reverse...e.g. I climbed and cleared the 31% climb you see to the right. Ha! The Ahrens 29'er was SICK on the steep climbs! Don't worry, we railed it all in reverse to get in the spine-like descents at speed. Unbelievable. My day ended prematurely (although at the very end which was cool) with my Mavic Cross Max 29'er front wheel essentially coming 'undone'. I couldn't believe it! I have the 26'er version on my 1 x 1 and have NEVER taken a trui9ng wrench to them in 100's of miles. On less than 300 miles the front whee; undid itself. The front effectively came un-tensioned and spokes popped out of their hub housings. I was able to get it dialed in though at Over The Edge in Fruita.

Day 3. Boing! Epic. we went back and railed a fairly monster section of the Kokopeli system at fairly insane speeds. We did Mary's amongst a variety of other trails. This should be on EVERYONES must-do-before-I-die list of trails.

Each day, all the wives would do their own daily epics as well, covering much of the same ground the guys did. A whole crew of the ladies would gear up and take off while the guys watched the kids, then we'd switch off when they came back.

As you can see above, the trails literally circumnavigate the whole rim of the mountainside and give you insane views of the Colorado River. The terrain is mostly single track, extremely technical rock sections and short link-up sections of fire road. We did one section, Troy Built, which was ridiculously fun. It was a complicated set of 'problems' that had you thinking and thinking...if you are drilling it at speed like we were. It traversed through this whole bizarre volcanic rock section then sent you up, climbing single track to you gain altitude to come back down a bomber decent.

Best of all was the 'scene'. 5 or so families all camped out in tents and pop-ups around a communal cul de sac with no less than 15 kids ripping around on their bikes, unicycles, Razors in addition to fishing at this huge lake and eating 'smores until they were all collectively psychotic from the sugar rush. Nothing better on earth than seeing the kids in that much bliss.

So kids, the Fruita trip will become an annual. I do not feel like I 'completed' enough and am craving to get back. So go and have an epic time but heed AC's advice above and keep those fat tires center lined with the singletrack!

Some digital celluloid....

A stoic John G...
John G and crew at a stop on Mary's...
Rally Sport Paul, Antonio, John, Rich, moi
John and moi
Camp site...
Li'l Dave
Antonio
Rich's 3'rd child
Li'l Dave finishing the Joe's Ridge climb
Za crew at the top of Joe's

You have GOT to love Boulder...

Spotted at Amante. And, yes, they actually match. "Chauncey, would you mind passing me the Tri-Flow along with the Gray Poupon?"