Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fairfax Appetite Seminar

Turkey Day 2008, we headed over to Fairfax in Marin County for the annual "Appetite Seminar" thanksgiving ride. Oliver Bell was playing tour guide, and showed us a fantastic time. This was our first time at this event - what a blast! The weather was perfect although the fog hung out in some places. I never thought I would enjoy fireroad so much, but this ride is a must do. I rode the whole day with only my front brake and managed to keep the rubber side down, but I wish I could have let it all hang out on the "Repack" downhill.

Check out Jennifer with Mt Tam in the background:

Here's the three of us:

The route:

Jen making a splash on her new Orbea Alma carbon hardtail!

The party at the end was fun and free, as in free beer!

Jen got a picture with living legend, Gary Fischer:

Yes, I'm starting to look like Abe Lincoln, and no, it's not for Obama:

All in all, a great ride in a great place with great company!
Thanks Oliver, for showing us around!
We will definitely do this ride next year...

Monday, August 25, 2008

How much do you hate to lose?

Here's a "Tip of the Week" that I needed to remind myself of...

Posted by: "Nate Llerandi" Mon Aug 25 2008

A few weeks back, I wrote about Cadel Evans riding not to lose the Tour and, by doing so, he lost it. In a similar vein, our mindset toward racing is every bit as important to our successes and shortcomings as how we race. If not more so. Racing not to lose is how one racesour mindset might be "I love to win." And this is great. To be clear, "winning" to me is not necessarily defined as crossing the finish line first. Certainly, for some it is. Winning can be the act of setting a PR at a given race or over a given distance. Or it can mean beating a particular individual who normally beats you. Or it could simply be completing a particular distance of race for the first time. The definition of winning can be far-reaching. When someone says to me "I love to win", my immediate follow-on question is this: "OK, but how much do you hate to lose?" To me, hating to lose is more important than loving to win. Those who hate to lose seem to extract more out of themselves and their performances than those who either have not contemplated this aspect of preparation or who instead just focus on the "winning" side of things. If you hate to lose, you tend to bloody your nose as you try to smash through your limitations and barriers. Sometimes, you are an effective battering ram and you do smash those barriers to pieces. In any event, you are constantly trying to be the absolute best you can be. I do not equate the love of winning with the hatred of losing. They are two different things, intertwined but separate. So, I guess this week's Tip boils down to this. Have you asked yourself how much you hate to lose? If not, you should. Whatever your answer, you will learn something about yourself and, hopefully, be able to apply something new to your racing experiences. Happy Training, Nate Llerandi
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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Olmstead, flats, and Cougars

Lately, I've been flatting alot. One would think that 50lbs would keep the pinchies away. dunno...

So today, I'm getting ready for a lap on Olmstead, and there's this guy parked next to me. He starts up with "Are ya 'fraid of cougars?" Nope. "You should be," he says, "why, I wouldn't go out there without at least a .38" This went on and on as I was gearing up to go, trying to convince me that I was in mortal danger. His parting words were something like, "If yer truck's still here tomorrow, I'll notify the authorities." "Thanks," I said, and rode off.

Now... it wasn't too far along that I feel something on my arm, and look down to see a wasp planting his stinger in me. Good thing I'm not allergic. Though I was cruising along too fast for that to be going on, but there he was. Got me good before I could get stopped.

Then came the best part... A double flat on the same rock. Since i'm about 1/2 to 3/4 the way around, there's no easy way back. I decided to backtrack a bit and get out to the road that runs through the place. At this point, I started thinking about that dude back at the truck telling me I would probably die out here. I ended up walking about 5 miles back to the truck, pushing my bike with both tires flat, thinking about all this crazy stuff and how my girlfriend would be pleased.

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

24 hour Galactic Championships!!!

Galactic Championship of 24 Hour Mountain Bike Racing
Set For Moab, Utah, USA, Earth

maybe my alien friends will pit for me this year. I've had an alien for a teammate. They can be either out of this world, or just plain out of their minds.

Granny Gear is really putting on a shin dig this year behind the rocks... TV coverage? It would be cool to watch your buddies out on their laps. I can't wait... but my focus right now, is the 12hrs of Humboldt on 8/16.

read the full press release

Monday, May 26, 2008

Time for another century (or 2?)

Thinking of riding this on Friday or Saturday... it's unsupported and informal. And flat. But hey, I need some long distance and it looks interesting...

Then the Sierra Century a week later! gonna be a good week ;)

Prairie City #8

This weeks course was fun! I was havin' a blast on the banked turns and rollers. I switched to Heed and felt better with no nauseous feelings. Last week Jen and I both finished 6th, and this week we both ended up 4th. We are definitely two of a kind.

Jennifer smiling for the camera...

Jen outclassing her competition...

My turn...

Postcard pic of Prairie City...

This is one of my favorite shots of Jennifer...

No race next week, so racing continues on June 4th.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I want a jet powered beach cruiser

I just found my dream bike!
Check out Robert Maddox's pulse-jet motors for bicycles.... Only 13 pounds, and puts out 500 pounds of thrust. Strap it to the bike of your choice (preferably well built), and let 'er rip! Amaze your buddies on the next hillclimb! Merge safely with freeway traffic... (not really kids, don't try this at home... etc)
He sells them on eBay for $810...

I will if you will... but you first ;)

Friday, May 16, 2008

And a good time was had by all...

Wednesday night was the first time at the Prairie City races for Jennifer and I, and we had a blast!

12 and 24 hour races are our usual modus operandi, so we usually don't compete in XC events. Our team, Victory Velo, needed another rider for the team competition, so I was basically volunteered.

The pace was fast and furious as expected, the course was fun (even if flat), and I even won some Cytomax in the raffle! The loose rock on course reminded me of the trails in southern Nevada without the cactus.

Jennifer opted to race without anything to drink. Didn't take long to regret that... it wasn't as blazing hot as it usually is at Prairie City this time of year, but it was hot enough... Her bike was giving her fits again. Time for some new parts, me thinks. Overall she had a good race, placing 6th even after having mechanical troubles, and getting taken out in a corner by some dude. Look out next week girls, Jen's gonna drop the hammer on ya!

I had a good race, too. My bike ran great and I had no problems there. Got nauseous on the 2nd lap and had to hang on to a guy's wheel (thanks Scott!) for a little bit until it went away, then I was able to pick up the pace again... 6th place for me and 15 points for the team.

Thanks to for the photos...

Here's Jen eyeballin' someones water bottle...

Me thinking I should have NOT gone to the front of the group right off the bat...

Jennifer making her XC debut...

Me dealing with traffic from other classes...

Until next week... get out and ride!

Coolest 24

This years 24 hours of Cool didn't go according to plan...

Jen and I both raced as Solo's and soon ran into some issues that have plagued us at nearly every event this season. For me, I am running into severe muscle cramps in my quads and hamstrings after a few hours, and Jennifer has been dealing with nausea and eventually vomiting. Since becoming wheat intolerant, she has been reluctant to take any supplements while racing, and (I believe) ending up severely depleted of certain nutrients after several hours have elapsed. For me, I have tried varying amounts of electrolytes and hydration without success, and am considering a different brand of electrolyte. Lack of training has certainly played a factor, and also the lack of regular stretching and/or massage.

I ended up stopping after only 7 hours, and Jen threw in the towel a short time later. Aerobically, I felt strong, and rode well.

On lap 2, I hit a pedal on the ground where horse traffic has rutted the trail badly, causing me to get a MUCH closer look at the trail than I wanted... I tore my computer off my handlebars with my forearm as I did my superman impression sans cape.


That computer had been on my bike for over 3,000 miles. No more lap times, no avg. speed or cadence to look at. Since I was coming into the pits in between laps to work out the cramps, I had no idea what my pace or lap times really were.

Jen was having major shifting issues and had to stop to get her cables and housings replaced, resulting in marginal improvement. Still, she's a trooper, and was very consistent.

Here's me raking a path to our pits...

Jen admiring the scene...

Here's the race start...

The mob heads out on the first lap...

Me feeling defeated and grubby...

Many Thanks to Jim Northey for another great year and for putting this event on for a great cause. You can check him out on his website, Global BioRhythm Events

Chico Wildflower

This years Wildflower was HOT!!!
So, we prepared for the day with sunscreen and coffee.

I was wishing for a little rain like last year. The organizers had some trouble keeping enough water at the rest stops and anything containing electrolytes was scarce. Consequently, my legs started cramping at around 70 miles.

Jennifer was riding strong, and it was entertaining to see how many people were content to let her pull them along. At times, we were hooked up with a strong group and everyone took turns up front. It's really fun when a group works together well... we were flying along!

There is some great scenery along the way. Here's a shot of an old covered bridge on the climb up Honey Run Rd.

Century rides are more social than other types of riding, and it's fun to see people we know along the way. Here's Monica and Jen's sister Kelly caught red handed in that "other" kit!

This little guy was wondering why his begging wasn't working.

And finally, I'd like to rant for a moment...

So far the food at the Wildflower has been the best of any century we've been to. For the price it should be. Since Jen became intolerant of wheat or gluten, it's been a struggle for her to enjoy the food at these events. This year, the food was sub-par, slow in coming to a mob of hungry riders, and when I asked the chef about the ingredients of some foods I thought Jen might be able to eat - he was very rude, and would barely give me the time of day.

Well... kiss my ass buddy!

There are two people who won't bother next year, and since there are other events on the same weekend we might do something else next year. His attitude was surprising, given the progressive and open culture in Chico.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bootleg Race Report

This is how things started off...
Went to preride the course, and not 30ft down the trail my derailleur fell apart. Never did find all the parts, so Jen and I made it to a local bike shop just before they closed, where I had to buy a new derailleur.

Half an hour later, we were back on the trail and it was getting dark, so we only rode the first 2 or 3 miles of the course.

Saturday morning, the start went pretty smooth, and since we were both racing in the solo category, we were excited to be on course at the same time, hoping we would see each other at times. Halfway up the first climb, I was feeling pressure from riders behind me to pass some girls that were in front of me. I made a pretty questionable pass on one girl, and since most of the course was on ledges about a foot wide traversing steep ravines, I was uncomfortable with passing. As luck would have it, I blew a turn right after passing this chic, and proceeded to crash! The entire peleton passed before I was able to get under way, and it was time to play catch up.

The rest of the first lap I decided to play it safe since I hadn't seen the course, and follow the chic that I had passed earlier since she was setting a fast pace and was the person that had designed the course.

This course was extremely technical, and the most dangerous I have ridden so far, with little margin for error. There were steep drops on the sides of the trail, tons of sections where falling was NOT an option, lots of lava rock that was more like coral, and plenty of "rollers" on the trail to make sure you were paying attention. The need to stay focused mentally was probably the most tiring.

I quickly realized this course suited my strengths, and as long as I could hold up physically, I was expecting to do well. In fact, the results showed that I was holding in 2nd place and staying nearly dead even with the pro rider who had the lead.

Except for my tires getting shredded on the lava, things went well until about lap 3, when my quads and hamstrings started to cramp. I did my best to spin at a high cadence to keep the cramps at bay, but by lap 5, my legs were seizing and stopping to stretch only made it worse.

I was done... in hindsight, after some downtime, I could have done 1 more lap. Maybe even 2. I expected the other solo racers to do many more laps, and had I known that the winner was only going to get 7 laps, I might have been able to win. As it ended up, I placed 4th. Bittersweet, but still disappointing.

Jennifer had some highs and lows of her own. She was able to ride sections of the course that even some of the guys couldn't, but ended up breaking her bike seat in a crash and couldn't continue. She was able to get in 3 laps, but without a seat, her day was over. Still, I am proud of her for hanging in there and for how far her skills have come. She is a trooper, and has endurance like the energizer bunny.

Here she is showing off some of her souvenirs...

Here we are in our snazzy Victory Velo kits...

It seems to have become a ritual of ours to photo some of the local vegetation on these adventures...

These guys thought they were entertaining us, but they sounded like a herd of elephants trampling a car...

Our next event isn't a race per se, but the Wildflower Century in Chico, CA. The ride is great, the food is even better, and it is close to home. It will be good preperation for our next race - the Coolest 24, May 3-4.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Off to Bootleg

No pit crew for this race. Just didn't work out, but we are going to do our best to minimize lost time in the pits mixing bottles and refilling water. Hopefully our tires will hold up on the sharp rock in Southern Nevada.

My hand is still not 100% but is manageable and really only an issue at odd angles...

12 hours of round and round. Bring it on! Parts of the course are pretty technical, so I can usually take some time out of the other guys when it's rough.

Race report and pictures to follow after the race. I wish I was able to bring one of those sweet GoPro cameras to this event, as there will be some great shots to be had, for sure. High speed descents, questionable passing, maybe even some crashes.

That's all for now, gotta hit the road...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I like Divide Loop again

I don't think i've ever done a lap on Divide loop at a race pace until today. With all the extra options, too. Popped a new cassette on and headed out. Didn't see a soul until almost done with the return on Connector. Really help the avg speed.

The plan was Manzanita to Tinkers, up Clementine, out Connector, do the loop counter-clockwise, Connector to Culvert, and back up Stagecoach.
30.98 miles, 10.8 avg, 2:50 door to door. Could have shaved another 10-15 minutes off that by not taking it easy over to the trail and not having to mess with my earpieces frequently. I'm very happy with todays effort, though.

I didn't really realize the North fork canyon side, with all those garland - style turns could be so much fun. I used the terrain to my advantage better today and could use those to accelerate, though I was climbing.

I was also pleasantly surprised how many of the descents on both sides, could be rolled with zero brakes all the way through. I was hitting the same speeds in places, as going down Stagecoach.

The Rattlers are out in full force. Nearly ran over 2. Need to get a snake bite kit soon! The life you save may be your own

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Chains don't like me

Today, I went out for a 4 hour training ride on the Divide Loop, and POP! Again? After breaking my chain at the last race, I was pissed. First ride on a brand new chain and I tore one of the links apart. Good thing I was carrying tools.

Now, I wish I could say that I'm just so strong, my chains can't handle me. But even when I spent 6 days a week in the gym, weighed almost 200lbs and was MUCH stronger, this didn't happen. In the last year, between the road and mountain bikes, I think I've broken 5 chains.

I've seen the belt drive systems coming out, but they are only for single speeds at this point... what's a dude to do?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Feels like a vacation... NOT!

I haven't ridden a bike in 2 weeks. Neither has Jennifer. I have been working and Jen has had the nastiest flu bug to come around in a while. I must be healthy because I didn't come down with it. (can you hear me knocking on wood?) So, today we went out on the road bikes for some high cadence spinning. Funny how I always think i'm going to have to start over after a layoff, but it's never as bad as I think. I feel the same way at the beginning of ski season too, as I get to the top of that first chairlift ride. Wondering if I will remember how to ski. You would think after twenty something years skiing and racing, that I would be over that, but after my skis hit the ramp at the top and I start to ski away that instinct just takes over and I realize that it's all there, right where I left it. It's good to be back at it, though.
The next race is only 18 days away, down in Boulder City, NV for the 12hrs of Bootleg Canyon. Jen and I are both racing as solo's, hopefully with a pit crew this time, so things should go a little smoother for us.
See ya out there!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The bar has just been raised...

Well, it's official. I just got an email from TransRockies... we're in!!! I was surprised, since this race fills up fast, and the waiting list is usually long. This has been a dream of mine for some time now... 7 days of singletrack, suffering, and scenery through the Canadian Rockies. This is definitely a brutal race. Average days of 100km and 7,000 ft of climbing. For those that are interested in what this race is about check this out! The only catch is we have to raise the entry $$$.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

GoPro onboard for 2008!!!

I want to thank my newest sponsor GoPro helmet cameras! Small, waterproof, helmet mount, COOL! Can't wait to give the cameras a try. Thanks GoPro!

Cool MTB Race Recap

Click, click, click, POP! 4 miles. That was the extent of my day. I was lucky at first to get through the bottleneck at the start. I found myself in 2nd, trying to hang on to this guy from the Sierra Express team. Then came that familiar noise, and by the time I looked down, my chain snapped. Race over. Pencil me in for a big DNF... that's racing, right? For my consolation prize, I ended up winning a bag 'o goodies at the raffle that had some nice things in it, including a bottle of Hammer gel. At least I didn't go home empty handed, but no more master links in my chain!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Racing Lessons

While scouring the 'net for the perfect CSS image gallery to use in a project i'm working on, I came across a hysterical posting...

Lessons learned during my latest singlespeed race in Winter Park

by fellow cyclist Scott Upton.

great pics on his site, too.
check it out...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

24 hrs Old Pueblo Recap

What a roller coaster this trip was. It was raining when we got there, and Jen and I were thinking it was going to be a mud fest. Unbelievably, it began snowing at the venue upon arrival, and by morning, we had about an inch and a half of snow on the tent.

Doing our best to stay dry...

Jen trying to avoid cabin fever while it rains outside...

This is the last thing you want to do at Old Pueblo. Somebody told me these were called "Teddy Bears."

Once the race started, the clouds parted, sun came out, and the course got nice and tacky. Not very muddy at all. We stayed right around 3rd for a while, but by nightfall, we started having some challenges. First Jennifer had 3 flats in 2 laps, (a flat at OP? imagine that...) then the cold temps began to play a factor for both of us. We have learned a couple of good lessons about how critical it is to maintain our core temperature.

After being sidelined for around 4 hours, we were back at it, and ended up 6th. Or so we thought. To our surprise, we were called to the podium for 5th place. Something about the team ahead of us being DQ'd (never got the details why).

I made it through OP without any mishaps or flats, and then, while taking photos for the shop, I crashed on the "option." At first I thought I was just a little banged up, but later realized that I probably broke at least one bone in my left hand.

All things considered, it was a great time. OP is one of the events I think about all year. Hats off to Todd for another Epic Event, and for having a coed Duo class. Not many promoters offer a coed class, and I know a few couples who might come out to these races if they did.

Most of '08 Jennifer and I will be racing Solo, but hopefully pairing up again for TransRockies (if we get in!).

See You at the races!