Sunday, May 17, 2009

Training in Santa Fe, NM

I am now hanging out with Todd's family in Santa Fe, NM. Todd is working somewhere in the Northeast, Connecticut then Maryland.


He made some new friends who gave him lessons in downhill/free-ride, his Vassago wasn't cutting it so he has been borrowing a big travel bike. Something about a 4' drop, forgot to pull up and crashed the first time but made it on the second attempt... I need pictures, or better yet a video.
edit: here is one of Javier
I have been watching races, riding new areas and doing clinics. The following includes a ride review of sorts for the Santa Fe area.
The first thing I did when I hit town was hang out with Tina and watch Henry and Little Henry race the La Tierra Torture. After the race I rode the trails and had a blast, no big climbs, just fast trails. If you head out there bring a gps file, the trails are not signed.

Little Henry racing what I believe is his first MTB race, finished 3rd in Cat 2 Jr!


Henry is the one responsible for getting Todd into mountain biking and has been kicking our butts for years. Although he doesn't seem to ride much any more, he still has it. At 65 he finished 3rd of 17 Cat2 50+ (18 seconds out of 2nd, 2 minutes off 1st; both of which are 15 years younger).

Little Henry, me, Henry post race

I also watched an Active Knowledge race in the mountains east of Albuquerque. Active Knowledge has a race program aimed at school-age racers, but membership is open to adults as well. It was great to see the kids out racing in a very relaxed, positive setting. Having the adults involved is something different from the NorCal/SoCal high school program and is especially great for adult beginner riders and families with kids. The racers really looked out for each other. One racer stopped to tell us that another racer wasn't feeling very well, a volunteer rode out to help and found that she was still wearing her jacket (it was warm out); it is all about teaching and encouragement. After the Active Knowledge race I rode the Otero Canyon trails east of Albuquerque. I had skipped these before because I didn't realize how much trail was out there, there are more trails than appear on the maps. I got in a 3 hour ride without much trail overlap and there were still some off-shoots I didn't take. As long as you pay attention to which canyon you are in you can't get lost. It has just enough technical to make things interesting, but wasn't too techy to ride alone on a hardtail. Dale Ball trails in Santa Fe are still my favorite, they are split into three sections (North, Central and South). The signage is the best I have ever seen, a full map at each intersection (see link) with a number on the post to show you where you are on the trail, there is no need to carry a map. I ride from the "house" and typically ride the North and Central sections. The ski hill (paved) road runs between the two sections and trails like Windsor are accessible from further up the ski hill road. Since we are in a great location most of my rides leave from the "house". The Santa Fe 2009 Bikeways & Trail Map is great for getting around town, I rode a 50 mile circle around Santa Fe without any issues by following the map. There are also some good routes heading out of town with only a few lights, the Santa Fe Century covers most of these routes. My usual road ride is out-and-back from Santa Fe to Galisteo via Hwy 285. I also hit Tramway in Albuquerque (parked at the Sandia Casino at 1-25 and Tramway and lost $30, don't tell Todd). I saw more cyclists than I have ever seen on one stretch of road for a typical weekday afternoon. I was doing all the passing and feeling pretty good about myself, then was passed rather quickly by a friendly Geoff Kabush; he flew up the hill passing everyone like they were sitting still. Oh well.

Santa Fe Century

Today Henry and I rode two blocks from the "house" to the start of the Santa Fe Century, we did the 50 mile version that included some dirt road. The start and finish were the same as the full century but a dirt road cut the loop in half. There were also 25, 50 and 75 mile out-and-back routes that started backwards on the course. This was very smart as it split the field in two and sent riders in different directions, there were so many riders that had we all gone in the same direction, even with separate start times, it would have been crazy. It was so cool to be out with cyclists everywhere. I heard there were over 2000 riders expected.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Singlespeeds, a Treatment for Cancer?

The best part of racing and traveling full-time is meeting new people. Sometimes we meet cyclists who have overcome a lot, for them riding and racing is a true accomplishment (Grace for example).
Last September I met Jay at a Santa Fe, NM trailhead, he was friendly and gave me local riding info. As I got to know Jay a little more I learned his inspirational story. I ran into Jay again last week, he is as happy and positive as anyone I know.


Here is part of Jay's story (5/03/09): "Almost exactly one year ago to the day my wife, Sarah, admitted me into the local hospital in Santa Fe. I was 80 pounds lighter and cancer had taken all but my determination. The docs had pretty much given up on me - but I had other ideas. Frankly, I don't remember much about the three week hospital stay but I prevailed and have stymied my doctors even though I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer - mets in the liver, lungs, and lymphs. I had three major surgeries last year including a colon resection and a small intestinal bypass (tumors had totally blocked both my small and large intestines). Today I have regained over 50 pounds and though my chemo treatments will likely continue for a long time, I am extremely active... and in need of a cure. . I rode 17 miles of high-country singletrack including 18 cold, hub-deep stream crossings along with 2,800 feet of gain (the Winsor Trail) [see picture above]. I now ride a singlespeed which my wife bought me this year for Valentine's Day. Every other week I ride with a chemo pump in my rear jersey pocket, ignoring the pleas of the nurses who treat me. I ride 4 - 5 times a week. BTW, I am now 50 years young... Lance might be impressed. . I tell you this because miracles really do happen. The last year of my life was, in an ironic way, the best year of my life. I was granted a reprieve and I grabbed it and held on. Cancer changed me in a very positive way and riding has been an integral part of my recovery." Jay also has an online site GeoManGear which sells GPS Units, Lights, Helmet Cams, First Aid Kits, etc.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Reviews: Bike Rack, Brakes, Grips.

Raxter Bike Rack: Old non-Raxter hitchmount 4-bike rack problems: 1) It held bikes by frame - with three carbon bikes, I didn't use the rack any more and loaded all bikes inside the van or coach. 2) Once all bikes were loaded on the rack, it was a pain to unload all the bikes if I wanted to ride the first one I put on. 3) It was a puzzle to actually get 4 bikes on the rack without having to loosen and turn the bars. Towels were needed to keep the bikes from scratching each other. New Rack Solution: 1) Holds bikes by the wheels 2) Easy on/off of individual bikes. 3) Allows for bkes to be shifted around so bars don't interfear with each other. 29rs, downhill, road, and MTBs all fit easily (witout any towels). 4) It is quick to assemble, I think it took us longer to figure out where to put the sticker than to assemble the rack (had we read the directions this too would have been a quick task). 5) The swing up version is great for stowing it (see picture) and takes just one second. 6) Mix and Match to get a personal rack. We have an extra hitch piece so the swing up 4-bike rack can be turned into two 2-bike racks. This is what you call versatile! Usually Todd and I are together and share the van and bike rack, we then need the 4-bike rack. However, this month we are each in different places. Todd took the van with a 2-bike swing-up rack and I have a 2-bike non-swing up rack. It takes only a few minutes to swap back and forth. 7) Support from Raxter is by far better than any other brand I have found. . . Magura Mag SL and SL Brakes: I love the way these brakes work, everything is quickly adjustable which makes it easy to swap wheels. The lever is easily adjustable and when the reach is adjusted in, it doesn't then pull in so far as to hit the grip. The brakes are powerful, solid, and have a great feel to them. I haven't had to bleed the brakes (any of the three sets), just cut the cable, don't let the fluid flow out, put it back together and it works perfectly, so easy, good directions. I have never had brakes whose cables I can cut (as often as I want) and turn around and race it, no bleeding required and without worrying about the cables pulling out. It is awesome to have that much confidence in a set of brakes. Again, the absolute best support of any brake/fork manufacturer I have ever used. (I'll review the forks in the next review post I do). . Ergon Grips and Carbon Bar Ends: These are my favorite grips and bar ends for both looks and comfort. I did run non-Ergon light foam grips and the lightest bar ends trying to save every last gram. Bottom line: for total of 88 grams more I can run some bling and be more comfortable . At this time I won't go back on the bar ends, I think I am faster with these. I thought I would get used to the non-Ergon super light ones, instead I found I wasn't using them simply because I didn't care for the shape/feel (so what was the point of having them?).