11 February 2010

Win Pua's Palace - The Ultimate Travel Package

If you're like me, you often dream of traveling to indulge in the best riding, having your own personal restroom pre-race, having a warm shower after races, an exceptionally comfortable place to camp that doesn't leave those impossible "cricks" in your back, a kitchen where you can immediately make a meal without even having to leave the venue. Ah, the luxury!

The good news is, you don't have to be PRO for all of this to be yours! PRO mountain biker Pua Sawicki is raffling off her 2006 Carriage C-Force Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler and her 2008 F-250 4X4 Crewcab to pull it anywhere you can dream of taking it. Both of these "toys" have all the bells and whistles - from heated seats and navigation to a full bike garage with storage drawers and work bench! This could be the best raffle ticket you've ever purchased. There is no doubt that you would be the envy of cyclists everywhere - I promise. But, check it out for yourself:

The skinny:

Tickets are only $40, and you can fill out an entry form online at the Team Mata Raffle Page. You will complete this entry, receive a confirmation emailand the address to where you should mail your payment (snail mail or PayPal). Once your payment is received and cleared, you will receive an email with your official ticket number, and your ticket is officially in the bowl! The winning ticket will be drawn on April 3rd in conjunction with Ron and Pua's race - Yucaipa Dirt Classic at Wildwood Canyon State Park. The winner will be notified immediately! The rest of the raffle details as well as the prize specs can be found on the Team Mata Raffle Page.

Why would anyone ever want to give up this dreamy travel rig? Well, to compete in the 2012 Olympic games, racers need to accumulate World Cup points. If you check out the 2010 World Cup Schedule, you'll find that only one of those races is here in the States. So, 1) Though we all wish we could, we can't drive to Houffalize, and 2) Getting there is going to cost some coin. Your participation in this raffle - in addition to affording you a shot at a super sweet travel setup - will be providing direct support for Pua as she goes for her dream of representing the USA in 2012. How cool is that?

16 January 2010

Come on, Fabian!

For whatever reason, the Hour Record holds a very, very special place in my heart. The current women's record is held by the Dutch phenom Leontien van Moorsel, who fought fiercely with Jeannie Longo for essentially the duration of her cycling career. Van Moorsel set the record at 46.065 km/h in October of 2003, just in time for Longo's 45th birthday, to beat Longo's second record of 45.094 km/h, set just three years prior. Van Moorsel led an undeniably impressive campaign as a pro cyclist, but Longo competed in the '08 summer Olympic games for France, and finished in the top-25 in the road race, just 33 seconds behind the lead. At 50-years-old. She makes Lance look like a spring chicken. To me, this is what the Hour Record embodies. It takes the variables out of the equation, and truly puts the rider against the clock; if the equipment was good enough for Eddy, then it's good enough for you. Yes, Lance, it's really not about the bike. It's incredible. To me, it's the truest measure of what you are as a cyclist, and conjures up the deepest of emotions as a result. For me, it reaches the same level of purity as the final run through the tunnel in Rudy. For those who know me, that is a mighty stout declaration.

I have this secret dream of travelling to Bordeaux, after having trained for this ride and this ride only, where I set the Hour Record at 46.565km/h, and Jeannie is there coaching and cheering me on, and Connie Carpenter meets me at the finish line - because after all, she is who taught me to ride in the first place. In my head, it looks something like the victory scene in The Flying Scotsman.

It is a travesty that none of today's "greats" have even attempted the record. Graeme Obree announced last May that he would attempt the record again by the end of '09, but then backed out in November. The Hour Record used to be the standard; it was the title. Fabian Cancellara told Cyclingnews: ""It's lost its importance and some of its honour. Before every big champion did it. Guys like Rominger, Hinault, Indurain, Merckx, they all did it and now the current champion is Ondrej Sosenka and nobody talks about it." He wants the record; he respects it; he gets it. I believe he will set the record, but there is no concrete plan to do so as of yet.

His next statement is probably quite honest: "The hour record is a goal but there's no time set for that. It's a big project. It's not just a ride on the track and then you're done. It's more than that. You have to find the training, the bike, the track and I think that if I'm honest there are not that many riders who can do all of that." Where have we come in cycling that there is "no time" for our great riders to go for the Hour Record, leaving it behind to wither in the dust of decades past?

I say let's go, Fabian!

09 January 2010

2010 Is Shaping Up Nicely

This morning I slept in much later than usual, and it was awesome. I looked out the window to find my car under a blanket of fresh snow, which to my northern-minded eyes was bliss. I only wished that AMH and I had buckled down last year and bought XC Skis. I then made the rookie mistake of asking Aaron what he wanted for breakfast, which implied that I would be making it. But, even that turned out to be an okay thing because I'd been wanting to try to the egg "recipe"(with turkey bacon...) that I had almost perfected on Cook or Be Cooked. Placing the eggs, directly from the pan, over a small bed of spinach made for a nice steamed effect. I also got to break out the French press for a bit of espresso, which I hadn't enjoyed in awhile. All-in-all, I was pretty pleased with how it all turned out:I could get down to all 2010 Saturdays beginning this way; though that might be a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, I'd say I'm in a much better place this January than I was for the last. I'm riding my bike - mostly inside - but I am getting out in the snow a bit. I love, love, love my new Salsa Mamasita, and I am pretty excited that my new winter gear is allowing for 2+ hour sessions in sub 25 climates. We visited Springs Valley Trail in Paoli, IN last Sunday, which is an 8 mi. loop around Springs Valley Lake that is reminiscent of old, narrowed FS roads and features about 1100ft of climbing. Total ride from the parking lot is about 10 mi. My Gaerne Eskimo boots kept my feet totally dry, even through the five ice cold creek crossings. I was quite impressed. I was less than impressed with my Camelbak bladder though, which leaked all over my leg all day long. Fortunately my Craft Storm tights kept the barrier, but I definitely had a collection of icicles on my quad at the ride's end. I will soon be upgrading to the Hydrapak Reversible Reservoir System, which features a non-leaky bite valve and the ability to turn the bladder inside out for cleaning and drying.

The only down side to the whole ride was that, in a section under very heavy leaf cover, I caught a small branch in my spokes, and its many tentacles wreaked destruction anywhere they could reach. My hanger snapped in half, and my derailleur exploded. I always ride with a spare hanger (thanks to advice from Zed), so that part was no problem, but getting the warped derailleur together enough to not hit the spokes and still semi-function as at least a tensioner was a little tricky. I guess it's time for that Redwing SRAM X.0... I'll probably be riding my 'cross bike for a little while.

At any rate, I'm loving my bike; I'm riding my bike; I'm hitting the gym (Thanks, Mom!); I'm eating better; my HR is under better control. And there's snow. Things are looking up.

04 December 2009

Cyclo Claus 2009!!!

Hello All,
Bob's Red Mill/Rocky Mountain and Mountain Bike Depot & Cross Supply have once again teamed up to bring a new event to Louisville. Bend is a long way from Louisville, and not everyone can make it out there (Good Luck Redzoners!), but, if you still have that cross bug, you have one last chance before packing it up.

We bring you Cyclo-Claus 2009. It will be held Sunday, December 20th at Briar Hill Park. It is a new venue to the cyclocross scene, but has all the ingredients to make for great racing and spectating. This is a fun, family oriented event and all are invited to come enjoy the day.

This is also a time of year to think of others, and we will be offering reduced entrance fees to those that bring either a toy for Toys for Tots, or a backpack for Blessings in a Backpack. These are both great organisations, and we hope that we can provide some help.

We also ask if anyone has any holiday lawn ornaments, inflatable (insert holiday item), Christmas trees, Menorahs, reindeer, anything, bring it on out Saturday.

We will have Pre-registration available at Mountain Bike Depot in the Westport Village, and there will be a $5 day-of fee.

Course set-up will take place Saturday night, and all help is welcome. We will post more details here and on our website,


Thanks everyone, and we look forward to it!

09 November 2009

Switching Focus

It seems like every other post this year has been about getting hurt, or coming back from it. I could do that once again, but frankly, I'm sick of it. So, enough for that, as anyone that has followed us knows that we have had a rough year.

Instead of getting frustrated after USGP Day 2 crash, I took a few days off, relaxed a bit, and got back on the bike again. It started with just commuting to work, and with the current weather and scenery, it was easy to enjoy every minute. My commute isn't spectacular but it does take me through some nice small streets with gorgeous old trees that wrap themselves around the street itself. They form this comforting tunnel around you and the road as you pass through, and make me forget about being in a huge city. So, the commuting was helping loosen up my hip again, and I began to stretch the commutes out longer and to ramble a bit more. These were some of the first rides in months that I didn't have a set goal for, or think about my Garmin/PT, and they just became therapy rides.

Once I was feeling a little better, the mountain bike came out too. I got my start in cycling on mountain bike and it still serves its original purpose well. Rolling through singletrack or exploring new territory clears my head like no other stimulus that I can think of. Its also great to get back on the trails with Mary; some of my first memories of her are on the trail, and all of them come rushing back when we've been away for a while.

Overall, the past couple of weeks have been filled with some soul riding. The Garmin has only been on the bike once, and it was mainly for guidance purposes. My mtb has had more miles on it in the past week than it did the whole summer. My commuter bike has been broken in well the past two weeks as well. Sometimes the joy of riding is obscured by goals, aspirations, and gadgetry; but I can say for the recent weeks, I have seen it clearly.