Stake Your Claim in 24-Hour Town Rallying the Resolve to Commute The Southwestâ€™s Premiere Stage Race Single-Speeds: A Rocky Mountain Thrash Test Discovering the Soul of the City Different Bumping Up Your Wattage When it Counts $3.95
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Editor’s Note Indulge: in·dulge, v 1. To allow somebody or yourself to have or do something enjoyable, AKA putting your soul on the top shelf Indulge is such a . . . tempting word. It was just reintroduced into my vocabulary during a casual conversation, and it was left stranded like a fragment of salty tortilla chip in the habanero salsa of my consciousness. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d even used the word but I noted to myself that our lives and this magazine are all about indulgence. Many of us who get pleasure from cycling, skiing and outdoor recreation have allowed our games to become an especially important component of our lives. We spend endless amounts of energy, thought and money honing our ability to amuse ourselves. This is energy that could arguably be used for a more noble cause. To understand my train of thought you should know that I was raised by an artist and a physicist. The artist tells me to fling vibrant color all over the world, roll irreverently in the lush alpine meadows and explore dreamily into the mysterious chasms of my own imagination. Basically, live life without regard for labor and despondency. My other consciousness, influenced by the physicist, says wait a minute. Your life and work ought to have a significant and positive effect on the world. Exploring science and discovering solutions to the scourges of the world is our duty to existence. A society based on recreation and indulgence is one that is positioned for collapse. No culture has enjoyed more indulgence in life than us, except maybe the Romans, before they fell. Is it possible to find some sort of harmonic balance? Some way to conscientiously use the skills we have developed through the lavishness of our excessive play? I can’t help but look at the dichotomy of what cycling has become. I’ve mentioned it before. We repeatedly load our bikes into our flashy new 380hp AWD sport wagons (If you don’t have one, you know you want one. Just admit it. You want it all: 17-inch wheels, leather, Paris-Dakar-inspired suspension, the works.) and drive to fantastic locations to ride our bikes purely for our own selfish pleasure. Then we party and celebrate, toasting our freedom with fine California wines and hand-hewed microbrews as the red sun sets (enhanced by smog) over our mountain playground. Remember, though, the bicycle was originally a form of transportation and a very efficient form at that. We have a responsibility to use it that way. Our over-consumption of energy is one the greatest problems we face on this planet. It is the cause of maddening wars, disgraceful pollution and large-scale environmental degradation. Things we all agree to dislike. One of the feature articles in this issue is by a woman who challenged herself to regularly commute to work on her bicycle (see pages XX). It’s not as easy as you might think. It requires vigilant planning and gritty determination. There is nothing
worse than showing up for work with a black streak up your backside (something easily fixed with a good fender) but commuting to work by bicycle has countless positive effects beyond saving energy. Go discover them for yourself. If you can, dredge up the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk; Jack ends up trading his old cow for a handful of magic beans and gains entrance into a whole new dimension. Well, we can trade in our gas-hog for the magic of two-wheeled freedom. May 15-19, 2006, was officially Bike to Work Week. I hope many of you participated but why stop at one week? I say, if you can do it for a week why not take it a step further and make it a customary part of your life? Don’t be unrealistic. You may not be able to commute by bike every day. Try committing to three days a week or even just one. Most of us have developed our fitness to a point that commuting to work is not a physical challenge. It’s a mental challenge. Giving up the luxury of the car with heated seats and a six-speaker stereo system is the tough part. Commuting to work by bicycle is just one idea. Hell, at least try riding to the trailhead. The point is that if we dedicate some of our energy to responsible living then it will be even more gratifying to indulge in some errant recreation. Lust after a new custom built bike (see NHBS on page 64), your old bike doesn’t need to know. Celebrate your liberated life by riding your townie carelessly down the middle of the street, after closing down the bars at 2 a.m., pausing at every intersection to dance under the blinking red lights. Whatever makes you feel free. Let your socially responsible side have the majority vote in your lifestyle because when indulgence comes knocking, denial sneaks up the back stairs, shoes in hand, while selfishness peeks through the window, demanding to come in. By the way, I do commute by bike. Granted it’s only three measly blocks to work and grocery shopping but Gunnison clocked in at minus 39 degrees in mid-December and I rode to work that day too (the car wouldn’t have turned over anyway).
Printed Twice a Year
Who’s who in this issue Cover photo by Anne Keller Editor Brian Riepe Managing Editor Caroline Spaeth Art Director Gloria Sharp Mountain Flyer Logo Design Donald Montoya Photographers Xavier Fané Jeff Irwin Anne Keller Bryce Pratt James Rickman Brian Riepe Caroline Spaeth Mike Tittel Writers Christina Buchanan Bill Conway John Fleck James E. Rickman Brian Riepe
H.E Sappenfield Brad Seaman Dave Sheldon Caroline Spaeth Jennifer Stecketee
Illustrator Joe Coombs Printer Crested Butte Printing and Publishing Publisher Secret Agent Publishing Group, LLC Mailing Address Mountain Flyer P.O. Box 272 Gunnison, CO 81230 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site www.mountainflyer.com Advertising Sales email@example.com Subscriptions firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note By Brian Riepe
Commuting Through the Winter—A Daily Diary from the Deep Freeze
By Caroline Spaeth
Flyover—News and Notes from Around the Region
In the Tracks of the Che Guevara By H.E Sappenfield
Mountain Flyer’s True Thrash Test—Three Bikes with One Speed Bsy Dave Sheldon
Paraphernalia—Gotta Have It Gear
Recipes for a Balanced Diet By Christina Buchanan
Training with Power—What’s with the Watts? By Dave Sheldon
24 Hours in the Old Pueblo Story and photos by Brian Riepe
Tour of the Gila Story by Dave Sheldon with photos by Brian Riepe
Working the Trail Magic—Cimarron Chacon and Her Work on St. George Trails By Dave Sheldon
Photo Gallery—A collection of Inspiring Images
North American Hand Built Bicycle Showcase Story and photos by Brian Riepe
Santa Fe—Cycling Into the Centuries of the City Different Story and photos by James E. Rickman
Mountain Flyer Community Pages—A Directory Guide to Regional Information and Resources
Mythic Landscape Comes to Life—Biking Ireland’s Wild West By Bill Conway
The Smell of Cheerios in the Morning By John Fleck
You like it? I added a new retro accessory kit to my single-speed.
Commuting Through the Winter A Daily Diary from the Deep Freeze By Caroline Spaeth Photos by James E. Rickman I first commuted on my bike in high school. I rode five miles to school on back roads cutting through Minnesota farm fields that stretched forever to the horizon. It was a great feeling of freedom. One day, excited about my new transportation, I told one of my parent’s colleagues, a Ph.D history professor, about riding to school on a bike. “Well,” she said in a statement that has forever tainted my appreciation of this country’s intelligensia, “that’s a lot of times for the wheels to go ’round.”
hese days I only have a 3-mile work commute on city streets. Even as a consistent cyclist over the years, I was a reluctant commuter. So last winter, I thought I’d give it the “old college try” and see how many times I could get those wheels to go ’round through the winter months, the ultimate season of cycling procrastination. Here’s what happened. Nov. 3: Finally my goal of riding to work through the winter begins. After two weeks of an early bout with flu, I got it together, picked out my clothes last night, got up early, made my lunch, got my shower stuff and a towel. It’s a mild 44 degrees. I get to work in plenty of time. I snagged one of the few remaining bike lockers, my office a quick walk to another building. This will be easy. Cheap. Routine. And great fun. I can handle this winter riding stuff. Nov. 18. Things have gone to hell. It had all been going so smoothly too. I’ve been riding three times a week. Today, I choose the shortest way to work, 2.9 miles. It can take under 15 minutes, 10 minutes to shower and dress, and I’m at my desk. If I got in my car, it takes just as long to drive, find a parking spot, and walk to my office building. So first off, winter showed up. Yesterday’s morning temperature dropped to 18. And it’s getting darker. Earlier this week, one of the toilets in my little locker room backed up. The offending clogging material was left to fester. Showering in a stinky fog never quite gives you that Zestfully clean feeling. So I hunt for another shower in another building farther away in the company complex. I forget my shoes in the manic hunt for my bike lock. Think old smelly bike shoes accompanying nice suede work pants. I have to lock my bike in the overgrown weeds around a bike rack that hasn’t been used since the Carter presidency. My soap and shampoo are in the festering shower so I soap up with industrial company-provided soap and an abandoned bottle of Super 8 shampoo in the mildly disturbing, brown-stained shower
Oftentimes, the ride time between the frantic-get-it-all-together morning routine and the long workday became the most relaxing part of my day. Passing cars backed up in traffic on the bridge was always an added bonus.
stall. Later my boyfriend will remark that my hair smells like a 50-year-old man’s and wonders why. When I unlock my bike, a cafeteria worker, smoking an early morning menthol, sidles up next to me and asks if a bike like that goes for $300. I say no it’s a little more. “Oh,” he exhales, “then like $500.” Yeah sure, I say, and spend a few minutes educating him on the finer points of light technology (“This switches the light on and off.”) and what he thinks are “the smallest pedals in the world.” Finally he stubs out his cigarette, and I smash my helmet onto my wet hair, riding away to my office building. I set a new record getting to work the short way: Riding time: 12 minutes. Additional time to my office: 25 minutes. Nov. 20: It’s almost Thanksgiving, and it’s in the high 30s this morning. Evenings still carry the 50-degree daytime temperature and rides home in the dark are warm. This morning I finally meet Safety Man, named by me for his bright orange Safety Vest forever attached to his backpack and flapping in the wind. We share the same commuting
Plan to get yourself a big backpack if you’re commuting and, of course, well-sealed Tupperware for your lunch or you’ll be sporting a nice leftover turkey and mashed potatoes fragrance all day.
route. I pass him on downhills, but when the road turns up, he flips on his bike’s electric motor and sails by, The Vest taunting and waving, as I in vain try to catch him. His real name is George, when I finally meet him today. Or rather he meets me by sneaking up behind me at a stoplight, scaring the bejesus out of Mountain Flyer
Wow! Those were the days when gas was under $3 a gallon. A huge advantage of commuting by bike is not fueling the profits of Big Oil.
me, and saying, “If this is global warming, I’ll take it.” I agree. Today there’s no motoring past me. He has graduated to a geared bike, and today I smugly pedal on past Day-Glo George. Nov. 21: A new record again. Out of bed at 5:15 a.m., a 40-minute ride, and not at my desk until 8:30 a.m. This is not good. Nov. 28: Winter arrives. It’s 12 degrees at 7 a.m. I glance at my bike, which graduated to a living room parking spot since I began commuting. No way. I can’t imagine the choking wind chill downhill. I feel justified on the drive when I don’t see any cyclists. Then I see two crazy bastards, rolling along, faces poking out of mounds of fabric and noses red as Rudolph. Nov. 29: Another cold one. On the drive to work, I see gas prices have dropped to $2.34 a gallon. Dec. 1: Above 20 degrees today. Commuting, I’m finding out, whether two miles or 10, takes resolve. There’s a 10
reason people drive to work. Commuting with resolve means packing your dress and heels in a backpack that’s crammed with a lunch of leftover Thanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes in a tupperware that isn’t as sealed as you thought, and having to wash mashed potato juice off your leather dress boots in the restroom sink. Commuting with resolve means transforming from a 30-minute sweaty bike commute into a professional, nonsmelling, non-biking coworker, all in a 4-ft by 4-ft changing room. If riding wasn’t such a blast, this would be much more difficult to endure. Dec. 9: After a bitter cold week, dropping to -5 degrees F (no, I didn’t muster the resolve for that one), this morning’s temperature of 14 degrees seemed balmy. Today’s predicted 44-degree high sounded tropical. Obviously I wasn’t riding in sunny California as I put on three shirts, a vest, a rain jacket, winter gloves, two pairs of socks, long pants, and a
winter hat. It wasn’t bad until I hit 29 mph downhill. Wind chill at that speed can drop temperatures to minus 20. As a winter bike commuter, I am gaining intimate knowledge of the wind chill chart on the thermometer hanging from my coat zipper. Dec. 21: First day of winter and a nice warming trend hits. My mom called to tell me my 102-year-old grandmother had stayed out at her Sweet Adelines Christmas party until midnight. Yikes, I’ve got a lot of commuting years ahead of me with those genes. By the time I crammed enough clothes and food in my backpack for a 3-day trip, the thermometer hit 30 degrees. Jan. 5: Gas went up from $2.25 a gallon to $2.39 today. Nothing better than riding on by. Jan. 6: Tonight’s ride was pure fun. No hurry. No rush. No dark sky. Okay, so I skipped out of work a little early. I rode like a kid, in that silly, got nowhere to go, weaving down the road,
going no-hands, carefree style. Pink lines of clouds curled like ribbon candy on the cooling blue sky. The scent of barbeque chicken wafted from one backyard. A smiling Schwann’s truck man waved. Life slowed to a crawl, and I happily rode along. Jan. 10: Thirteen degrees this morning. The heat generated when riding doesn’t translate down to your feet when it’s this cold, and in the shower my toes look frostbitten. Jan. 11: A little warmer at 15 degrees. This morning I see a high school kid riding in jeans, T-shirt, and full-face downhill bike helmet. His arms are bright lobster pink. Another commuter wears polyester work pants, practical office shoes, a jacket, and a full-face neck gaiter/hat. The third commuter I see has rolled up his cotton pants on his right leg, exposing his stark white calf and cotton socks sticking above Converse high tops. He is enjoying himself immensely. Jan. 12: I took a chance last night and left my work shoes in my locker room. Shower room rules at work call for leaving absolutely nothing in the locker room because, oh my goodness, disease could spread! What do they think people are going to leave? As one of two people using the shower, I argued against this, winning only on a lonely bar of soap. Hard to argue against that one for spreading disease. (Note to other commuters looking to lighten the backpack: Lightweight kitchen hand towels are not as absorbent as bath towels for post shower drying.) Jan. 24: I think I’m getting used to this. When I stopped at a traffic light today, another commuter pulled up. I turned and said to him with a smile, “It’s kinda’ warm this morning.” He shot me a sad, uncomprehending smile—his face pink with cold—and mumbled something about his gloved hands, which he was clenching and unclenching. It was 17 degrees. Jan. 30: I recently read it takes 21 days to create a habit. I think I’m there and liking it, even on days when I forget
If you’re going to commute, you should try tracking your mileage and ride times. I did just for grins and was surprised to see my average speed increase over three months. But then again, 15 degrees is another name for motivation.
to zip up my backpack completely and a “ladies unmentionable” clothes item flaps around behind me like a poofy sail. The news this morning: ExxonMobil earned the biggest quarterly profit ever made, $11 billion. I pulled up to the stoplight and saw a lady in a car in the left-hand turn lane. She was eating cereal in a Tupperware container. She drove off, dripping milk and punching the accelerator. Multi-tasking only an Exxon executive could love. Feb. 9: I frequently detour off the main, roaring thoroughfare and cut through quiet neighborhoods. This morning it was garbage day. At one corner house, an elderly lady in a wheelchair was struggling to roll her cityissue, five-foot-high garbage cart along side her wheelchair, her flannel robe flapping in the frigid air, the cart minding as well as a new puppy on a leash. After I passed her house, I thought better of it and made a quick U-turn to help. She stared at me with a mix of horror and surprise, such that I quickly pulled down my neck gaitor, lifted up my helmet, hat and sunglasses, assuring her with a smile I didn’t stop to mug her and run off with her trash. “Would you like some help with that?” I asked. All she could utter was, “You came back, you came back!” I felt like loyal Toto in Kansas. Feb. 21: It stays dark for so long then suddenly it’s light after work. Since the
beginning of this month, we’ve gained 20 minutes of daylight. I walk out of work at 6 p.m. squinting in the daylight. It seems like the middle of the day and I no longer crawl through dark streets but zip past homes seeping dinner smells and people in yards dazed like zombies at the spring light. You forget what it’s like to drive after a while, commuting by bike morphing into a regular, enjoyable transportation. Feb. 23: I thought my commute was hard. I saw a man today riding with a triple tandem, his son and daughter pedaling easy on the back, dad wheeling them to elementary school. Lucky kids. March 2: Wow 40 degrees. Bikes everywhere. Kids weaving up hills to school. Commuters in bumblebee outfits of yellow and black. Little tykes on tiny bikes with thick tires. Summer is sneaking out of hiding, a few minutes at a time. Gas prices are sneaking up too, jumping to $2.45 today. March 13: The commuting habit is so ingrained now that I don’t even think twice when getting ready in the morning. Riding home is another thing. I’d probably hop in the car if it was here. I grumble all the way from my office to my bike locker, but as soon as I get on my bike, that all melts away. By the time I’m home, I’m wishing I had farther to ride. Funny, I never think that when I’m driving home. (Gas prices up to $2.65 this week.) Mountain Flyer
Commuting Through the Winter
Now that it’s warm, I can’t believe I actually rode when it was in the teens, but I got used to it.
Whenever you think you have a hard commute to work, think of Larry Ticknor. Riding a triple tandem, Larry takes his two children about two miles to school every day. The bike is just “some heavy frame from Taiwan,” he says, adding he does get a little pedaling help from his kids.
March 28: Spring is officially here,
morning temperatures are above freezing, and I’m trying to think what, if anything, I learned from commuting through the winter. Well, obviously having a good impermeable backpack, all zipped up, is worth its weight in Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, but of course so is a dependable bike, lights and components. The hardest barrier to break was mustering up the resolve to go on the coldest of days. Now that it’s warm, I can’t believe I actually rode when it was 12
in the teens, but I got used to it. I got used to driving past gas stations, watching prices inevitably rise and invariably smiling while riding on by. I have to say I do appreciate how much calmer I am riding than when I’m driving. Road rage doesn’t really exist among bike commuters, unless of course they ride an electric bike and pass you on the hills . . . Perhaps what surprised me the most came this weekend when my boyfriend took one of first rides of the season. Like most normal people, he doesn’t
start riding until temperatures crest 50 degrees. He came back from his short ride, sweaty and tired, but excited, telling me he forgot how much fun riding can be, eager for the upcoming bike season. “Upcoming bike season?” I blurted out without thinking. After riding all winter, I forgot that the fun and the trail rides and the weekend bike trips and the warmth— wow, I forgot about riding when it’s warm— hadn’t even started yet. My backpack and my wallet felt lighter just thinking of it. This is going to be a good summer.
Commuting Through the Winter
Commuting: The Bike Burley Runabout II Whenever I pull out my mountain bike to ride to work, I computer and the Burley-provided Incredibell—an invariably get stalled putting on fenders for bad weather or important asset in trying to pass clueless pedestrians. adding lights for safety. Other components include a Cane Creek headset, Ritchey I’m confronted with the persistent question: do I wear stem, and wheels with Weinmann rims, DT spokes and down my mountain tires on the road or keep a second set Shimano hubs. Tires on the bike were reliable Kenda Kwest, and constantly swap them? Patience isn’t necessarily a and the seat was a stylish yet comfortable Selle Italia with virtue when your boss is waiting. carbon rails, both nice touches. So when I got a chance to try the Burley Runabout II, The bike was heavier than I liked in a commuter but built by Burley Design Burley claimed its rear Cooperative in Eugene, rack figures into the Ore., and set up specifbike’s weight. Burley ically for commuting, I puts it own “dedicated was eager to check it rack system” on the out. bike, a beefy rack that Commuting to work the company boasts day in and day out will hold 75 pounds of requires a sturdy but stuff. Though my work quick bike and the clothes, shoes, lunch Runabout fits the bill. and lock often felt The double-butted heavy to me, I’m sure steel frame is set up at they never crested 15 steeper 73-degrees on pounds. Unfortunately both the head tube my older set of Ortleib and seat tube to set panniers didn’t fit the you up higher and rack. It’s probably best reacts well to quick to check with Burley Designed and spec’d for commuting, Burley’s Runabout comes in 27-speed or 7-speed bursts of power before investing in internal hub versions. The proprietary rack system holds up to 75 pounds. through yellow lights panniers. and past your fellow The one compocommuters. nent I really missed The bike is spec’d getting on a comwith a mix of brand muter bike was fendname components, ers. You can’t really chosen with road comride to your office in muting in mind, includwork clothes without ing Truvativ Firex wet stripe protection. I cranks (26-36-48), a invested in some Shimano 12x25 casPlanet Bike fenders, as sette, Shimano shifters, recommended by Burley’s own chromoly Burley, and they fit fork and Wellgo flat well to the frame. pedals. Overall I had no If you don’t need 27 qualms about leaving gears, Burley also my mountain bike makes the Runabout-7, in the garage and with SRAM’s Spectro hopping on the S7-speed internal hub. Runabout to get to Both frames have an work. It quickly The Arc Bar is Burley’s patented handlebar. eccentric-type bottom became a dependable bracket. alternative and was For brakes, the Runabout II is spec’d with Avid mechanioften my first choice in commuting and doing errands. cal discs, but my test bike had the Shimano’s M475 discs, The Runabout II retails for $1099 and the Runabout-7 for which come on the Runabout-7. I had trouble with the $1049. The frame comes in small, medium and large sizes, brakes right out of the box when the brake pads needed with color choices of gloss black or moody blue. For the adjusting and involved more than I expected. But once set price, I would have liked a lighter bike, although I did up, they needed no more adjusting through the 300 miles I appreciate the reliable component mix and comfy frame. logged over three months going to work. Having a dedicated commuting bike definitely made getFor the handlebar, Burley’s custom Arc Bar gives the ting to work easier. –C. Spaeth bike quick handling. It has plenty of room for headlight,
Commuting Through the Winter
Commuting: Rain Gear Burley Rock Point Jacket and Ultimate Commuter Pants Commuters are a practical bunch so rain gear has to be more than something to wad up in your jersey pocket. I tried out Burley’s Rock Point jacket on my winter and early spring commutes. When I first picked up the jacket, it felt substantial, impermeable but not heavy. The jacket’s high-tech Gelanots fabric—a waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric—releases moisture through a polyurethane membrane while wind and water can’t penetrate. This turned out to be true on all three counts. The jacket’s seams are sealed, the tail a tad longer, the pocket zippers waterproof and the sleeves adjusted with Velcro. For venting, the jacket has pit zips and a mesh “air scoop,” where the jacket’s upper back layer overlaps the lower section, with the mesh layer in between. Even in temperatures in the teens, the jacket is breathable. Working up a sweat riding to work, I didn’t get that cold feeling inside the jacket that’s scary on a cold winter ride. The windproof fabric also kept me nicely warm in cold wind. I wouldn’t recommend it for above 50 degrees on a sunny day, but it does well in rain and snow, in cold winter air and probably on chilly mountain descents. The one problem I found was the direction of the Velcro tabs on the sleeves. The direction made adjusting them with one hand almost impossible while riding, but that’s a minor flaw in an 14
overall good jacket. Other commutinginspired features include reflective piping, a lightweight fleece-lined collar and two deep, front zipped pockets, including a cell phone pocket that proved its worth when I forgot to zip the main pocket. The jacket comes in bright yellow on black or royal on black. The jacket retails for $150. For your legs, the Burley Ultimate Commuter pants are made of the same waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric. They worked like a charm in the rain, but I wasn’t as taken with the pants as I was with the jacket, mostly because I could not find the right size for me. On the medium, the 28-inch length was shorter than a standard medium inseam. The 29.5-inch inseam on the large size worked better but the waist was way too big. The people at Burley assured me they’re always re-fitting the pants to fit the average rider. It’s probably best to try these pants on before buying. The pants have a fulllength zipper for fitting easily over clothing, articulated knees and useful Velcro cinches at the ankle. They come in black and have stylish yet practical reflective piping down the sides. Suggested retail on the pants is $112. If you commute in all kinds of weather, you really need good all-weather gear, and the Rock Point jacket will serve you well. –C. Spaeth
Commuting Through the Winter
Commuting:The Lights CatEye Triple Shot, Taillight, Safety Light Triple Shot LEDs, or light emitting diodes, have distinct advantages in the bike lighting world. They’re lightweight, durable, last longer than normal bulbs (a whopping 1,000 times longer on average), and in CatEye’s Triple Shot, put out the brightness equivalent of a 20-watt halogen bulb. CatEye claims its new Triple Shot is the brightest LED bike light available. CatEye does this by combining three, three-watt LEDs in its own Opticube lens design. After using a halogen light for years, I found the Triple Shot surprisingly bright, with a full, focused beam surrounded by
CatEye added a few innovative features. These include a clever bungy attachment for the on-off switch, a locking cable connector so you aren’t shocked with darkness if your cable comes loose and a swivel light base so you can pivot the light on the fly. The suggested retail price is a substantial $319.95 but the longevity of the LEDs alone will get you through a lot of commuting miles. CatEye’s smaller Double Shot, with two LEDs, a more than 10-watt equivalent beam and a five-hour run time, fits on your handlebar or helmet. The Double Shot retails for $269.95. 10-LED Tailight At the other end of your bike, CatEye’s brightest taillight is the TL-LD1000. Although it lacks a catchy name, it will catch more drivers’ eyes with its side visibility, an important addition to night riding safety. It’s even bright enough to be seen in daylight. This taillight has a whopping 10 LEDS (I remember when four was a big deal in a taillight), four different flashing modes, and is highly water resistant for when you get caught in nasty downpours. Suggested retail price is $39.95.
The Triple Shot has three higher-power LEDs with CatEye’s Opticube technology, throwing out the brightness of a 20-watt halogen lamp
substantial fill light off to the sides. I had no trouble seeing well down the dark trails and roads and didn’t worrying about hitting hidden rocks or potholes. Cars obviously saw me too. The Triple Shot runs for 3.3 hours. After using it for three months of night commutes, I did a test run and it stayed well lit for almost 3.5 hours. Unlike some lights in which once the charge is gone, so is your light, the LED light fades slowly but still gave me enough light to see the road for a few more miles. The Smart charger will get you charged and ready in right at three hours. Set-up is relatively quick, as it comes with two sizes of handlebar mounts. The battery pack, enclosed in waterproof Neoprene, attaches with Velcro to the top tube. In a strange design issue, you have to take the battery out of the neoprene pack to access a second, charging cord, a little frustrating in today’s advanced world of easy-charge bike lights.
For night commuting, you can't have too many lights. CatEye's brightest taillight (top and middle photos) has 10 LEDs, side visibility and eight flashing modes. You can also decorate your backside with CatEye's compact safety lights (bottom photo). A flexible cord attachment allows you to attach the red or white two LED lights almost anywhere.
Compact Safety Lights These have to be the coolest little lights to come out in long time. So practical and easy to use, they need a catchy name too, something like “the Tadpoles.” With the small, attached bungy cord, they mount anywhere: your head tube, helmet, seat tube, shoes, you name it. These lights have a magnetic switch inside and turn on by touching the plastic end of the draw cord (magnet enclosed) to the light. They come in red or white and have three lighting modes. For the retail price of $18.95 (white) and $14.95 (red), I plan on buying a few more and entering the realm of the ultra-safe commuter. You should, too. –C. Spaeth
News and Notes from Around the Region Riding the Rails Denver, Colo.–Riding across Denver is getting easier. The Denver metro public transit agency, RTD, now allows cyclists to bring their bikes onto the city’s light rail trains 24 hours a day. The train rides will help cyclists commuting into downtown and plagued by the crush of downtown traffic. And it’s a good precedent. Right now, two light rail lines run south of Denver into downtown, but a new line is expected to open this year, and more than 100 more miles of light rail tracks are planned for Denver in the next decade. Bike lockers and racks are even in the plans. There will be a test. Seriously. Cyclists have to get a bike permit to bring their wheels on the train, obtained by going to the RTD light rail website, www.rtd-denver.com, taking the quick quiz (cliff notes included on website), and sending it in. Oh and no muddy bikes allowed. But you were about to clean your bike anyway, right?–Caroline Spaeth
What’s Going On in the Pikes Peak Area Colorado Springs, Colo.–There are a lot pf exciting things going on in the Pikes Peak region this summer. Here is a listing of some of the bike-related happenings in and around town: • Colorado’s newest state park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park, will open in the fall of 2006 with miles of new mountain bike trails of varying difficulty. Right now there are about 17 miles of trails, from the easy Sweaco track to pretty difficult freeride, and lots in between. It’s going to be very sweet when all of it finally becomes available: http://www.medwheel.org/ or www.friendscmsp.org. • Colorado Springs passed a 1% sales tax to fund a Rural Transportation Authority, which includes money for bicycle infrastructure. • The City Council donated 27 bikes from the impound lot for Hurricane 16
Katrina evacuees living in Colorado Springs. Local bike shops and cyclists refurbished the bikes, Memorial Hospital is donating helmets and the city is preparing a mentor program to provide assistance with bus/bike transportation and info on safe commuting using the streets and trails. Gold Camp Road access is currently limited by an arson fire in Tunnel #3, which destroyed a timber supported section of the tunnel. Colorado Springs hosted Colorado’s first Ride of Silence, a slow (max 12 mph), silent ride to honor cyclists injured or killed while riding on public roadways: http://www.rideofsilence.org. We have two new bike shops in town, a cruiser/long board “lifestyle shop” called Left Side Spin, email@example.com, and CS West Cycling Hub, http://www.cswestcyclinghub.com/. We have a new bicycle manufacturer: Luciano Bicycles, www.lucianousa.com. The Red Rock Canyon Open Space municipal free ride area has a fence around it and stunts are under construction. More at www.outdoors.coloradosprings.com We have scheduled a Mayor’s Ride on June 14 and confirmed that our mayor, vice mayor, and city manager will ride. Possibly the entire city council will be riding. Now that’s politics in motion. –Al Brody, Colorado Springs Cycling Club, , www.bikesprings.org
Crying Out For More Moab, Utah–If you’re looking for a reason to go back to Moab, check it out: The fat tire mecca has put in more singletrack. The singletrack trail, named Baby Steps, is just what cyclists have been crying for more of in Moab, which is renown for epic riding but mostly on four-wheel drive tracks. Completed in 2005, the four-mile trail snakes off of the Klondike Bluffs
trailhead, just north of town. It’s rated intermediate, just like the Sovereign singletrack, and winds through tight slickrock section, exposing some great views. You can credit IMBA for the new stuff. Nat and Rachael Lopes, the Western Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew, designed and laid out the trail with the help of Kimberly Shappert, IMBA's state representative, in May 2004. Local Moab trail-building volunteers completed the trail this past summer. IMBA says the trail is named for the small steps that local trail groups keep taking to improve Moab’s riding. Not sure how a mountain biking mecca gets even better but this might be the kicker: Baby Steps is the only singletrack in Moab closed to motorized users.–C.S.
Lory State Park Rebuilds, Plans More Trails Fort Collins, Colo.–Eight years after a severe rainstorm damaged the trail and closed it to mountain bikers and equestrians, Timber Trail is again open to Lory State Park users. Lory State Park worked with local volunteer groups over the last two years to complete the Timber Trail Renovation Plan and give park users the ability to access Arthur’s Rock. “It was great to have some outstanding local volunteer groups and youth corps help the park complete this project ahead of schedule,” said Kathy Seiple, park manager. Timber Trail is rated as advanced/difficult and has received two thumbs up from mountain bikers and equestrians who have ridden it. Completing the trail renovation is the first part of the Lory Mountain Loop Project. This summer, Lory State Park plans to reroute Arthur’s Alternate Trail and upgrade it to multi-use standards. This reroute gives intermediate to advanced mountain bikers and equestrians the option to complete a loop through the Lory State Park backcountry. Lory State Park has established dates for its 2006 volunteer trailwork season. This year the park is constructing a new
After rains damaged Timber Trail, volunteer groups worked for two years reconstructing the trail and it's now open.
Timber Trail in Lory State Park, outside of Fort Collins, climbs up for a great view of the cool, blue Horsetooth Reservoir.
trail to complete the Lory Mountain Loop Project and complement the work completed on Timber Trail last year. Lory State Park plans to continue its evening/weekend Trailwork Series. Dates for the projects are May 20-21, VOC Adult Project; June 16-18, VOC Youth Overnight Project; July 15; Aug. 19; and Sept. 16, Friends of Lory Trails. For more information or to sign up for one of these events contact the park at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970.493.1623. Mountain Flyer
In the Tracks of the Che Guevara By H. E. Sappenfield â€œIt is a glimpse of two lives that ran parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams.â€? Che Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries
On June 6 Mike Beerntsen, a minimalist owning no TV or cell phone, who could make a living as a scruffy Brad Pitt impersonator, boarded a plane for Lima, Peru.
n 1951 Ernesto “Che” Guevara and his amigo Granado journeyed from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Caracas, Venezuela. Two medical students with one motorcycle embarked on an experience that would inspire Guevara to become the great rebel leader and revered Latin American legend. In 2005 Mike Beerntsen, a resident of Frisco, Colo., and a high school history teacher at Vail Mountain School, went on a comparable journey. He had taught The Motorcycle Diaries in the months prior, and though the routes differed, but for one section, the intent was identical: to experience and know the peoples of Latin America, and along the way have the adventure of a lifetime in an already adventurous life. Che’s and Granado’s trip was supposed to be a joy ride from Argentina to America, but when La Poderosa II, Granado’s Norton 500, quit in Chile, their journey slowed to the pace of footsteps. “Now we were just two hitchhikers with backpacks, and with all the grime of the road stuck to our overalls, shadows of our former aristocratic selves,” Che recounted. At this pace, they saw the true lives of the people they passed. Beerntsen had been mountaineering in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. “I was way out in some incredibly beautiful places, but you’d just bust through all the towns and never get a sense for the place. You didn’t get a chance to interact with any people except other gringo climbers.” On June 6 Beerntsen, a minimalist owning no TV or cell phone, who could make a living as a scruffy Brad Pitt impersonator, boarded a plane for Lima, Peru. With him was amigo Tom Oberhiede. As they settled in coach, a box was being loaded below. It contained Bucephalus, his blue-gray ’97 Stumpjumper, a BOB trailer, a sleeping bag, a bivy sack, an MSR stove, a cook pot and utensils, water bottles, a first-aid kit, two long-sleeved shirts, a fleece jacket, a down jacket, rainwear, baggy Pearl Izumi cycling shorts, two pairs of long underwear, a pair of khakis for
On day one, a 100-km day, the two riders sliced through fog on the Pan Am Highway.
around town, iodine tablets for water, some tubes, extra spokes, a chain, extra cable, brake pads, a multi-tool and nine books. He was leaving to ride across the Andes of Peru and Bolivia, ending in Chile, across some of the highest mountain passes, most desolate, frigid deserts and most impoverished areas on Earth.
“ . . . all we could see was the dust on the road ahead, and ourselves on the bike.” The Motorcycle Diaries They left Lima at 4 a.m. to avoid traffic then pedaled north, up the coast from Lima to Barranca with the azure of the Pacific on their left and a wasteland on their right. But they rarely saw either. “The whole coast is just sand dunes,” says Beerntsen. “The most barren desert I’ve ever seen, but it’s completely inun-
dated with fog for six months of the year, so you can’t see anything. We were just in mist, for days. But then you’d drop into these riverbeds, and it was incredibly lush sugar cane plantations and small-scale agriculture. So you’d be going along in this fog with nothing alive, and then you’d drop down into brilliant green, these verdant fields.” Then they turned east, climbing 14,000 feet, two days of switchbacks, through the Cordillera Negra to the popular mountaineering town of Huaraz. They stayed six days at a hostel and language school, improving their Spanish before they continued east over more mountains. The roads were cobble, gravel or washboard. They were often chased by rabid-looking dogs. “There was a day we rode 50 kilometers above 15,000 feet, so it was incredibly gorgeous because we were between the Cordillera Blanca and the Huayhuash, two of the highest ranges, and then we dropped down to Huánuco,” says Beerntsen. The main subsistence in the Andes is terraced agriculture and mining. Ninety percent of the people are underemployed. In Huallanca, Beerntsen and Oberhiede stayed in a hostel that had no phone. Over dinner, the owner explained that as soon as the government put them up, the wires were stolen. “This was the area where we had the most hostility. Just a couple of isolated incidents, some kids getting out of school threw some rocks at us, some people on a bus threw some oranges. They didn’t have very good aim.” “Along the coast is where most of the Spanish descendents are, most of the wealth,” Beerntsen explains. “Then in the Andes, the Andinos subsist mostly off farming. Then you drop into Huánuco and you have the Selva, the forest and the Indigenas, the Indigenous. So you have these three distinct cultures, and most of the power and wealth is focused on the coast. The Andinos suffer the most because there’s no healthy sustenance; they can’t compete with the industrial farming, and the mining Mountain Flyer
. . . what would you expect from a guy who lived out of a ’90 Plymouth Acclaim for five years while he led trips for Outward Bound? exploits their country, so it’s not surprising when you ride through on a $1,000 bike on a vacation that they’d react.” Beerntsen shakes his head at this: “Of the thousands of people I met, these were the only two times I encountered animosity.” Notice he said “I.” That’s because Oberhiede began to feel this wasn’t the vacation he was expecting. From Huánuco to Huancayo, they threw their bikes on the roof and bussed to avoid camping in coca (cocaine production) fields and, at La Oroya crossed into the tracks of Che and Granado, Guevara heading north, Beerntsen and Oberhiede heading south. They pedaled to Ayacuchco where Oberhiede got sick and climbed on another bus. Beerntsen biked on alone to Cusco and met him three days later. By the time Beerntsen arrived, his amigo had decided to go home. They had one last hurrah, riding down to Puno on the western shores of Lago Titicaca, South America’s largest lake, located at 12,530 ft. elevation. Five weeks into the trip, Oberhiede flew back to the United States. Beerntsen talks without batting an eye about how he went on alone. But what would you expect from a guy who lived out of a ’90 Plymouth Acclaim for five years while he led trips for Outward Bound? “I rode out on a peninsula and it was incredible. A lot of Peru is like the Chihuahuan desert on a grander scale, with ocotillo, yucca and prickly pear, and then you come up on this lake that’s massive and lush, and there’s fishermen out in small rowboats throwing their nets.” At Llave, Beerntsen crossed out of Guevara’s tracks, continuing south along the shore and into Bolivia. He rode out on the peninsula to Copacabana then ferried to the mystical Isla del Sol. He camped three days within this lake steeped in folklore, the core of Inca creation myths. Then, rested, he rode 20
When you're riding up above 16,000 meters, you have to breathe some very thin air.
Sometimes, wingin' it on the Antiplano, Bolivia, was better than roads, even without signs or maps.
farther into Bolivia to La Paz. Friends flew down, Beerntsen “took a break from the bike,” leaving it in a hostel, and they climbed two peaks in the Cordillera Real. “We took a cab to the trail,”
Beerntsen recalls, “and it was hilarious. We were driving all over and the cabby would get out at different spots and change plates because he had illegal plates. We had all our stuff in our laps, so we went and bought a roof rack but
He also started using his sewing kit. “I’d lost so much weight, my pants wouldn’t stay up. I’d sew up folds in the fabric but then they’d chafe me raw.”
Inca ruins are found on Isla del Sol of Peru, which is steeped in the folklore of Inca creation myths.
During the day, temperatures reached 50-60 degrees F. At night, it dipped to minus 20 degrees. There were no trees, only scruffy tufts of bunch grass and mean tiny grass with spines like cactus. Beerntsen took to sleeping with a water bottle in his sleeping bag so that he’d have unfrozen water in the morning. He also started using his sewing kit. “I’d lost so much weight, my pants wouldn’t stay up. I’d sew up folds in the fabric but then they’d chafe me raw.” Beerntsen cruised farther south on pavement to Lago Poopo where many Indians subsist by hunting lake birds and fishing, though in recent years oil development and spills have threatened their way of life. Just past the lake, the dirt roads and Beerntsen’s challenges began. Heading southwest to Salinas de Mendoza, he discovered that there were no road signs or accurate maps.
“Until that point our actions were ‘heroic,’ as one policeman put it, we’re not sure, but we began to suspect, I think with good reason that the definitive adjective was approximating something more like ‘stupid.’” The Motorcycle Diaries
A fishing boat rests on Lago Titicaca, Peru. Brown clumps of cultivated fields, from the wooden plows pulled by donkeys, line the fertile shore.
couldn’t attach it, so he flagged down another car. The guy sold it to him on the way out of La Paz. It was a really, really strange ride.” When Beerntsen got back on his bike four days later, he faced the toughest yet
most rewarding part of his odyssey. “The Antiplano is a high, dry plain that has essentially nothing but shepherds and sheep, some alpaca. It’s too high and too cold for agriculture,” Beerntsen says.
“You just had to ask people directions from town to town. You had to find shepherds and ask, ‘Where am I? How do I get there?’ There were roads, but they were washboard, huge washboard; there’s mostly bus traffic (no one owns cars), so you were better off getting off the roads and riding across these huge, dry clay flats.” There were times where it got sandy and he had to walk his bike downhill and hours where he was forced onto the Mountain Flyer
He took me in and he had this guest book to sign; he waved his hand, ‘No,’ and got out his special guest book reserved for cyclists. roads and pedaled standing up because the washboard was so intense. “Sometimes the washboards were the same length as my BOB cart, and my bike was going up one while the cart was coming down another; it was nasty.” Avoiding gringo-tour-hub Uyuni, Beerntsen loaded up with three days worth of food and water at Garci Mendoza and rode south to the Salar de Uyuni, a 100-mile dried inland seabed. “There’s a lot of people who take jeep tours from Uyuni to Isla de los Pescadores (an oasis in the middle of the flat). I thought, ‘Everybody goes this way; I’ll start in the north.’” As usual, he garnered directions from locals and definitely got off the beaten path. “It was hovering around freezing, and as I approached, it looked like a silvery mirage in the distance. It turned out to be slushy, salty ice, and within minutes I was covered with it from head to toe. My bike was covered, my trailer. I was wearing neoprene socks and gloves and I couldn’t feel my hands, my toes. Where I had been chafed by my shorts, slushy salt was rubbed into the wounds. I couldn’t wash it off, so I just had to let it dry. “At one point, I was so cold I had to change my socks. There was no place dry to stand, so I got out my Ridgerest and I was standing on it, hunched over, trying to warm my toes, but the funny part was I decided to let my chafed spots dry. So there I was, standing on my Ridgerest, holding one foot, with my pants around my ankles. ‘Well this was smart,’ I thought,” Beerntsen laughs hard. He spent that night on the salt, and when he awoke, the water bottle inside his sleeping bag was solid ice. Eventually he emerged from the slush to the hardened salt where he could really roll. He reached Isla de los Pescadores and met the island caretaker. “He was friendly, he liked cyclists. He’d sell Cokes and candy bars to tourists from his little hut. He took me in and he had this guest book to sign; he 22
Cusco, Peru, is the city of many faces. In the foreground is a statue of Tupac Amaru, known for leading the last significant Inca rebellion against the Spanish; behind the statue are signs of capitalism and poverty.
Children having fun with old bike tires in Anco, Peru.
waved his hand, ‘No,’ and got out his special guest book reserved for cyclists.” Beerntsen wanted to see Laguna Colorado and Laguna Verde, and though jeep tours went there, the roads were so rutted and the distance between water
sources so far that Beerntsen was looking for a different route. The caretaker knew the way, and Beerntsen had a napkin. “There’s no toilet paper down there, and I got in the habit of taking napkins in restaurants,” he points out. “He talked me through, and I drew a map on the napkin. Then I navigated for seven days on it. I would stop busses and jeep tours and trucks because the roads were all unmarked and show them my napkin. People were incredibly friendly because they thought I was nuts.” He laughs, then grows serious. “This was the most grueling part of the trip. It was up and down a lot, sandy roads with terrible washboards, 16,500-foot passes, it was brutally cold, I wasn’t sure where I was, I was by myself. There were a lot of weird head games. Sometimes it was the most magical place in the world, and sometimes it was the most . . . well . . . . ” “It was such a brilliantly beautiful place in a strange, surreal way. Salvador Dali used to go down here to paint some of the backgrounds for his paintings. I camped in the background from one of his works, so those landscapes with the oranges and reds and white streaks, it was all real.” “But it was getting dark at seven, and it would go from 60 degrees in the day to minus 20 degrees, and I’d put on everything I owned to stay warm, even my khakis, then settle into my bivy and wake up at three or four.” He spent a night in San Juan then followed railroad tracks for miles. In three days, he reached Laguna Colorado with its pink waters and migrating pink flamingos. He stopped at Laguna Verde with its green water. He rode past geysers and bubbling sulfur beds. He crossed the border into Chile, two signs, a shack, a snoring guard, and dropped down 9,000 feet in 50 km, long and straight, hitting pavement part way and grinning wide into San Pedro de Atacama. After 63 days and 2,000 miles, his odyssey was over. When asked if he was ever afraid,
He crossed the border into Chile, two signs, a shack, a snoring guard, and dropped down 9,000 feet in 50 km, long and straight. All photos by Mike Beerntsen
Beerntsen responds, “I never felt threatened by any people. The only time I was afraid was because of where I put myself, like when I was riding across the salt flat, and all I had was a compass and didn’t know where I was.” “There was this time that was comically scary. These teenagers standing outside this factory hopped on their bikes and started chasing me. I was cranking along for 30 km, and they eventually caught me. They just wanted to talk. I was all paranoid and all they wanted was to talk to the gringo with the cart. So it was never a threat from the people, it was more just ‘Why am I here?’” For Che, brought up in a wealthy family, what he saw of the people changed his perspective on the meaning of his life. For $3 a night, you pour the flush here in Curahuasi, Peru.
“If I hadn’t done it, it would have been an unfulfilled aspiration, and that doesn’t sit well with me.” Mike Beerntsen
At the border between Bolivia and Chile, Beerntsen, with only a $100 bill in his shoe, woke the guard, who was asleep in the shack, and bartered for his $1.50 crossing with candy bars.
When asked if he achieved his goal, Beerntsen responds, “When I’d meet people, their first question was always how much everything cost. I was on an old bike and still my gear was worth three years’ income to them. Often their next question would be ‘How many servants do you have?’” Beerntsen laughs. “I’m a teacher. No matter how hard you rationalize it though, for them it’s a lot harder. But that aside, I learned that a good person there would be a good person here.” The other brilliant lesson of his trip: “To live in the moment. I could never predict. I wouldn’t know if the road was there, the town was there, where I was. I had to let go of the outcome and let things happen.
Mountain Flyer’s True Thrash Test THREE Bikes with ONE Speed
orking as bike tester for Mountain Flyer is not as glamorous as it may sound. When Mountain Flyer was ready to put three race-ready single-speeds through a session of real miles on the trail, it was too good to be true. Little did I know the drill to come. To cover the bases, we picked bikes to represent the three basic frame materials: steel, titanium and aluminum. When test day finally came, the morning started when my eyes focused on the hovering green digits of the tonedeaf alarm clock blasting me awake at 4:30 a.m. A nervous five-hour drive followed, and I met up with Brian and company in Fruita for a day of singlespeed riding. We were all business but our editor has a bad habit of understating the difficulty of things and taking his friends on epic adventures without warning. “Never pass up the opportunity to sandbag your friends,” he told us with an evil glint in his eye. Even before I could ask, “What’s for breakfast?” I was handed a jumbo coffee, king-sized Snickers and told to get my skinny ass ready to ride. Hmm, I thought, this was not going to be the happy-feel-good let’s get to know the bikes single-speed ride that was promised. So, true to nature, the ride that our editor picked for the initial single-speed 24
Lucious Warner says “One-Speeding Rules” (with a hint of sarcasm).
Hmm, I thought, this was not going to be the happy-feel-good let’s get to know the bikes single-speed ride that was promised.
Here are the bikes we tested. Check out our reviews of each one: • Bianchi W.U.S.S.: Race-ready, off-thefloor aluminum production bike • Rabbit Ti SS: Rare and hard-to-get custom titanium bike • Wily Cycles: Carefully hand-built steel 29er Bianchi W.U.S.S. Single-Speed Race-ready, off-the-showroom-floor production bike Retail Price: $1339.99, complete Size Tested: 19.5” More info at www.bianchiusa.com
Dave Sheldon resourcefully utilizes Lu’s sunglasses to inspect the damage.
Tubeset: Easton ultra-lite aluminum Seat tube: 19.5” Top tube, virtual: 23.5” Head tube angle: 71 degrees Seat tube angle: 73 degrees
Dave Sheldon fixes a flat tire on the Rabbit (but ruins the chain in the process).
ride was the brutal Ribbon/Holy Cross loops near Grand Junction. With around 3,000 feet of climbing and a bunch of technical desert terrain, it’s not exactly the best choice for your first singlespeed ride. But we were there to test bikes and really put them through the grinder, so
to speak. (Sky; Lu says he’s really sorry about that big dent he put in the top tube of the W.U.S.S.) The attrition rate was high but only one incident actually drew blood. The bikes were also ridden on various other Colorado trails, with basically the same drill.–Dave Sheldon
Dave Wiens Out on the trail, I found myself riding the W.U.S.S. like a kid commuting on his BMX bike: sprint and coast, sprint and coast, sprint and coast, repeat, repeat, repeat. Unless I’m missing something, this technique is central to riding one of these things… and it’s fun. Stand up and sprint your guts out, then coast and milk the terrain for all it’s worth until you need to ramp it back up again. You look at the same trails in a much different way when you only have one gear. On more sustained climbs, I was amazed at how well you adapt to what you have to work with. I’m basically a spinner, but I was surprised at how well the bike climbed, just grinding away out of the saddle with a really slow cadence. On fast rolling terrain, steep descents and on slow technical trails, the W.U.S.S. was always right there. The brakes were responsive, the suspension was plush and the tires hooked up great, even in dry, slippery, decomposed granite. Mountain Flyer
You look at the same trails in a much different way when you only have one gear.
Clockwise from top left: Dave Wiens focuses on a descent. Lucious Warner checks the cornering. Dave Wiens grinds out a long climb. The 100% chick designed Bianchi W.U.S.S. is simple but clever details make it classy.
This is a bike I’d feel comfortable riding on a long epic or for my first race on a one-speed. The cockpit was comfortable, and it felt quick and responsive under me. The W.U.S.S. is nothing fancy, no out of the box thinking, no radical departure from good ole’ tried and true materials, geometry and components. Simply a great bike that’s fun as heck to ride. Lucious Warner The Bianchi W.U.S.S. is a great value for $1340. The frameset is an aesthetic 26
While spinning out to where I usually ride I kept thinking of the first hill climb: Kill Hill. Could I make it? I not only made it, I killed it.
blend of recycled beer cans with a sweetlooking downtube and smooth and sexy rear stays that allow for plenty of tire clearance. The bike is light, tight and a bit quick on the handling side. While I did find the stock 2:1 gearing a bit much for my wimpy legs, the bike climbed like a banshee with no flex and handled quick, technical singletrack as nimbly as bikes with a much higher price tag. The components were well chosen and the only upgrades I would suggest would be a 100mm fork instead of the REBA 80, which performed well but needed more travel, a suspension seatpost to take that harsh beer canny feeling away and a lower gear ratio for nonworld champion track stars. Also the stock seatpost we found to be way too short. Otherwise the bike was great. The 180 cranks were a nice touch on the 19.5-inch frame and make sense to me on a one-speed where a little extra leverage may make the difference between riding or walking a hill. The Avid mechanical discs are proven stoppers, and after I took the time to dial them in, they worked quite well, except I might choose a different pad compound to increase modulation. All in all, out of the box, the W.U.S.S. was fast, light, fun to ride and ready to rip any trails that your legs will carry you up. Scott Travis I was pretty nervous on my first ride, having never ridden a single-speed. While spinning out to where I usually ride I kept thinking of the first hill climb: Kill Hill. Could I make it? I not only made it, I killed it. This bike was the most efficient bike I had ever been on. I was skeptical of riding an aluminumframed hardtail but the Easton tubing really seems to lend itself to the single speed. When climbing, I appreciated the lateral rigidity, and for a $1340 off-theshowroom-floor bike, the W.U.S.S. was well-equipped for hard riding. The feeling that every pedal stroke went directly into forward motion made the bike accelerate out of the corners. I
looked at hills and obstacles in a whole new light. Riding this bike was a blast and brought new enthusiasm back into my mountain biking. After 20 minutes of riding I was a converted single-speeder. Do I have to grow a goatee and get some tattoos now?
Rabbit Ti Single-Speed Custom, ultra-bling titanium bike with all the goods; handmade in Alma, Colo., by Rick Hibbard; hard to find and requires persistence to get your hands on it. Purely custom sizing 3/2.5 Titanium tubing Seat tube: 17.5” Top tube: 22.5 Head tube angle: 71 degrees, adjusted for a 120mm shock Seat tube angle: 73 degrees Eccentric bottom bracket (for adjusting chain tension)
Rabbit Cycles Reviews Dave Sheldon This is the bike I got to ride for the majority of day one of our two-day single-speed extravaganza. Luckily for me, titanium is a most durable material, and the Rabbit easily stood up to my crashprone and bloody riding style. The bike’s quick handling kept my attention and I greatly appreciated it when squeezing between tight rocky sections or rolling through curvy singletrack. The 7/8-inch chainstays provided fine stiffness without making the bike uncomfortably harsh, and the zingy feel of the Rabbit’s titanium tubeset put a smile on my face. Brian Riepe This is purely a play bike. The short 15.5-inch chainstays and the head tube angle adjusted to accommodate the 120mm fork make for a fun ride. The bike feels like it wants to kick out from
The 7/8-inch chainstays and burly braces give the Rabbit a solid but forgiving feel on the trail.
Luckily for me, titanium is a most durable material, and the Rabbit easily stood up to my crash-prone and bloody riding style.
Wily Cycles Single-Speed Ultra-custom, hand-crafted, steel 29er, handmade in Boulder, Colo., by Brad Seaman Price: $1230 (frame only) Size tested: Medium (custom sizes and geometry available) Available with or without sliding dropouts More info at www.wilycycles.com
Now that the blood has dried, Dave Sheldon gets back to work testing the Rabbit.
Tubeset: True Temper OX Platinum, heat-treated steel Seat tube: 17” Top tube: 24.2” Head angle: 72 degrees Seat angle: 73.5 degrees Note: The Wily’s geometry is built around an 80-90mm suspension fork, so the Maverick SC-32 at 92mm and the White Brothers Magic 80 both work fine.
Perfect welds and solid construction characterize the Rabbit.
under you—in a good way. It’s quick and agile but feels stable in technical riding. Definitely a comfortable bike but not necessarily a bike for the all-day rides, unless you’re feeling pretty sporty that day. It’s meant to be ridden hard. When it comes down to it, titanium is my favorite material for a single-speed bike. Not just any ti. It has to be highquality tubeset and that, unfortunately, is something you have to pay a lot for. 28
I like titanium because I enjoy the snappy ride and the dampening properties. It’s cush without feeling dead. Most of all, I like it because I’m hard on my equipment. I like to ride my bikes into the ground and I expect them to live through it. Whenever I ride a steel bike, I find myself worrying about dragging a chainstay across a rock but with titanium it’s not a problem.
Brian Riepe I’ll admit that I’ve been reluctant to accept the legitimacy of the 29er craze, but I threw my leg over the Wily with an open mind. I had the luxury of switching onto the bike mid-ride, straight from my personal bike. My initial thought was that it was like going from a roadster to a luxury sedan. I immediately noticed the handling to be a little slower to respond to my movements but the Wily felt incredibly stable and smooth. I didn’t feel like I had my normal acceleration out of the corners but once I got the bike up to speed, man, did it want to roll. I can’t say I’d like a 29er to be my only bike but I’d sure like to have this one in my collection. This is a great bike for the all-day ride. I also took the time to stop and inspect what I was riding. The details of the Wily were everything I’d expect from a hand-built bike and more: flawless paint, perfect welds and nice detailing. The only problem with testing a bike like this is feeling scared that you might crash and mess it up.
I didn’t feel like I had my normal acceleration out of the corners but once I got the bike up to speed, man, did it want to roll.
Grinning like he’s up to something, Mike Skellion enjoys the stability of the Wily 29er. Inset: The Wily design is clean with creative details.
Mike Skellion I liked it. In fact, I have a habit of impulse purchasing and riding the Wily made me want to order one tomorrow. The craftsmanship was right on and the functionality of details like the slider dropouts and bombproof paint job would be worth the extra money. The ride was just plain smooth. The handling of the 29-inch wheels compared to 26-inch wheels was doggish in certain situations. I would use this bike for epic adventure rides, not necessarily for the 15-mile races or hammer sessions with the local crew.
The optional sliding dropouts on our Wily test bike are a nice touch and well worth the extra money.
Dave Sheldon Luckily, when I finally got the chance to ride the Wily, none of the hits taken the previous day had started to stiffen me up so I was psyched to hop on it for day two of testing. It had been a while since I’d ridden a steel-framed bike and the Wily soon had me won over with its solid ride and predictable handling. Once I got the
29-inch wheels up to speed, I let their rolling momentum carry me over small rock steeps and through loose, sandy terrain. In a confidence-inspiring way, the bike piloted itself. I simply hung on and supplied the horsepower. The Wily’s fully adjustable, vertical rear dropouts are also worthy of mention, as is the stock Maverick fork, an oversized axle
rig that impressed with its lateral stiffness and plush compression. Next Issue Preview Real hard-core Rocky Mountain riders (read, “unpaid”) put the 21.1-lb Scott Scale LTD through a season of real racing. Read what they have to say about it in the next issue of MF.
Gotta Have it!
* Yeah, we spelled it right
Domino Cycling Apparel: Crash Series Cycling Shorts There you are, sliding down the pavement on your butt at 35 mph, trying to rock back and forth onto different cheeks to reduce the depth of the road rash while a range of thoughts race through your mind: Wow, this is gonna hurt tomorrow morning. Why do they have use 3/4 inch gravel for the chip-n-seal? I shouldn’t have taken that corner so tight . . . . Perhaps it was just this situation that led the founders of Domino, based in Boulder, Colo., to create the innovative Crash Series cycling shorts. The shorts incorporate a unique fabric made by laminating natural leather to a layer of cotton and Lycra®. This breathable, machinewashable fabric, placed on key parts of the short, gives a rider that extra protection from the pavement and rocks when you’re on the ground without compromising performance when you’re on the bike.The shorts feature noticeably high-quality construction and have a light, comfortable feel. Crash Series shorts are available as standard cycling shorts, bibs or baggy mountain bike style. (The baggies are particularly comfortable and nice enough to wear around town, too.) Domino manufactures a full line of cycling clothing, which is distributed by PacelineProducts.–Brian Riepe Prices: Cycling Shorts: $119 Baggy Mtn. Short: $79 www.pacelineproducts.com or www.ridedomino.com
Ergon Performance Grip MP1 When designing its MP1 anatomic grips, Ergon considered a rider’s hand shape in relation a grip’s role in absorbing and distributing impact forces generated on a rocky trail. Their design conclusion: the MP1s are narrow near the inside edge, allowing your thumb to reach under and wrap around the bars, while the outer two-thirds of the grip become progressively wider to fully support your palm and hand in an extremely comfortable, platform-like fashion. Personally, I found an added benefit of this comfort translated into better descending performance, as I no longer gave any thought to my once aching hands while dropping off ledges or rattling through steep roots. In another advantage of the wide, wing-like contour of the MP1’s outer edge, the grips can be held like bar ends: great for climbing out of the saddle “road” style during long sections of smooth trail or fire road.–Dave Sheldon Price: $30 Weight: 200 grams per pair Women’s-specific models available www.ergon-bike.com
Deuter X Air 1 Hydration systems that flop around like rabid trolls should be burned. Thankfully, the Deuter X Air 1 easily escapes the fire primarily because of its stable Advanced Aircomfort suspension. What makes this design unique is a layer of breathable mesh tensioned across the length of the pack’s back panel via two light spring steel stays. This type of tensioning keeps the X Air 1 comfortably in place no matter how jarring the ride, and it also offers greatly enhanced breathability because a layer of air is free to circulate between the pack and your back. Now consider the X Air 1’s low price of $99, its jacket, lunch and tool-friendly volume of 850 cubic inches, a helmet carrier, and an included 3-liter water reservoir, and you’ve got a complete and affordable system versatile enough for 60 minutes spins or sunup-to-sundown epics.–D. Sheldon Price: $99 Pack weight: 1 lb, 14 oz Bladder weight: 6 oz Volume: 850 cubic inches www.deuterusa.com
Smith Threshold Sunglasses Typically I’m a no-nonsense shepherd who prefers to live a simple, accessory-free life. But I agreed to give these new Threshold sunglasses a chance for a day of frenzied rabbit chasing in the hills. I immediately appreciated the 9-Base lens curvature as it really enhanced my peripheral vision and allowed me to react quickly to the flighty moves commonly used by bunnies trying to juke me in the sagebrush. The Distortion-free TLT® Optics provide 100% UVA/B/C and Blue Light protection so I never felt as my vision was impeded. In fact the new RC30 lens tint with Platinum mirror coating allowed my eyes to stay relaxed all day, increasing my performance dramatically. Usually when I’m bashing recklessly through the underbrush in hot pursuit of a jackrabbit, my eyes take quite a beating but the generous wrap-around style of the Threshold protected my eyes so effectively I was able to increase my speed without risk of injury. Since the Threshold frames have an adjustable wire core temple, I had no problem keeping them on my unusually shaped face—even when I stopped to roll in the old elk carcass rotting in the ditch. I’m not really known for taking good care of my equipment (you should have seen how quickly I chewed through the last “indestructible” toy I had), but the TR90® frame material proved to be quite durable. As with all Smith Slider sunglasses, the Threshold comes with three easily interchangeable lenses for varying conditions, making them a great bargain for an unemployed dog on the pro-fun tour.– Tulip Parker Rating: 4.5 Paws Price as tested: $99 With Polarized Lens: $128 More info: www.smithsport.com
White Brothers Magic 80 Suspension Fork The only way to form an objective opinion about a suspension fork is to get out on the trail and ride it like you wanna’ break it. With the White Brothers facility located conveniently in Grand Junction, Colo., Mountain Flyer was able to put the new Magic 80 through a full day of abuse on the technical climbs and stair-stepped descents of the Ribbon Trial and Holy Cross Trail Loop. The most notable feature of the Magic 80 is the unique Intelligent Magnetic Valve (IMV) stable platform dampening system. Unlike typical sprung valves, the IMV system senses the oil pressure spike that occurs when your fork hits a bump. It holds the compression circuit open throughout the entire bump and then closes simultaneously with the rebound flow of oil at the end of the bump. The fork is fully active during terrain-induced shock forces but stays closed when you’re climbing or sprinting. The IMV system gave the fork a predictably solid feel while climbing on pavement and smooth, steep singletrack. While there was a noticeable but subtle clunk when the fork hit a bump (as the magnets broke free to allow the oil to flow), as soon as the valve released, the open bath damping and oil bath lubrication kicked in, giving it the plushness necessary to ram it through square-edged rocks and 16-inch drops common to trails around Grand Junction. The stout 32-inch stansion tubes (standard equipment) allowed great stability and reliable tracking. Overall the construction of the Magic 80 was solid and everyone enjoyed the ride qualities and adjustability of the IMV valves. But for the trails around Grand Junction, the 100 mm version would have been more appropriate.–B. Riepe Price: $679 www.mrpbike.com
American Classic 420 Wheels American Classic’s 420 road wheels will definitely make any bike look fast. Is it the 34-millimeter deep aero rims, low spoke count or minimalist hubs? I’d say all three, but the real test happens on the road. The 420s impress with their quick acceleration (the pair weighs a scant 1,455 grams), smooth, firm ride and noticeably faster cruising speeds of about 1 mph when compared to standard 32-hole box section wheels. More good news is American Classic pairs its own aluminum nipples to tried and true DT Competition spokes, helping give the wheels remarkable durability. It is this toughness that makes the 420s suitable for everyday riding, while their performance characteristics mean they make a prime race-day setup, whether your passion be hilly road races, triathlons or four corner crits. If you do manage to knock a wheel out of true, and I never did in 1,000 miles of riding, home mechanics should note that American Classic recommends a professional mechanic perform the truing.–D. Sheldon Price: $900 Front: 18 spokes, 642 grams Rear: 24 spokes, 813 grams www.amclassic.com
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By Christina Buchanan Just in case you don’t have your own mass spectrometer to figure out if your meal’s molecular structure has 30 percent of this and 40 percent of that, here are a few nutritionally balanced recipes that have proven time and again to keep others and myself going for the long haul.
Garbanzo Garlic Pasta (adapted from Cooking Light) This pasta is awesome. The garbanzo beans and garlic are puréed to create a dairy-free cream sauce. If you’re hankering for meat, or if this is a recovery meal, I recommend topping it off with thinly sliced grilled steak—and of course parm.
Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon cheater bottled garlic (or 2 cloves crushed) 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1 (15-ounce) can of garbanzo beans, drained 14 ounces low sodium chicken broth 1 pound dried sea shell pasta 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved 1 teaspoon cheater bottled garlic (or 2 cloves chopped) 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley 1 tablespoon lemon juice Shredded Parmesan cheese
Directions 1.Heat oil in a medium to large sauce pan over medium heat. Add crushed garlic; sauté one minute. Add salt, crushed pepper, garbanzo beans, and chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. 2.Cook pasta according to package directions. 3.Put garbanzo bean mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Add mixture to cooked (drained) pasta. Add tomatoes, chopped garlic, parsley and lemon juice. Stir until well blended. Yields approximately six servings.
Oatmeal, Chocolate, Sunflower Seed Cookies
Adobo Sauce (adapted from Williams Sonoma)
(adapted from Joy of Cooking) These cookies are great for the trail or road and a nice reprieve from your basic energy bar. The oatmeal provides fiber, the chocolate chips give sugar (quick energy) and the sunflower seeds have protein and good fat. Ingredients 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 teaspoon sea salt 1/4 cup canola oil 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (if using salted butter omit the salt above) 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 large egg 1 large egg white 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla 2 cups rolled oats (not quick oats) 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup plain sunflower seeds Note: add an additional 1/4 cup of flour if baking above 5,000 feet Directions Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets with butter or vegetable shortening. In a large bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients (up to salt). In another bowl beat together the next six ingredients (up to vanilla) on medium speed. Mix the oats, chocolate chips and sunflower seeds into the wet mixture and let stand for 10 minutes to allow the oats to absorb some moisture. Add the flour mixture. Drop cookies onto baking sheets, leaving room between each cookie. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 7-10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool. Enjoy!
This may seem like a strange addition to a recipe column for a biking magazine but, believe me, add it to tacos, fajitas or pork chops and youâ€™ll get the point. Ingredients 2 tablespoons canola oil 4-5 large ancho chilies, washed, deseeded and torn into large pieces (available in most supermarkets) 4 cloves of minced garlic (or two teaspoons of cheater garlic) 2-1/2 teaspoons sea salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 cup cider vinegar Directions Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chile pieces. Press down on them until they begin to blister, a few seconds. Transfer the chiles to a shallow bowl and cover with hot water, weight them down with a plate and let soak for 15 minutes. Transfer the chiles to a blender, reserving the chile water. Add all the ingredients above including 1/2 cup of chile water to the blender. Blend until quite smooth.
Making and eating good food is essential to feeling good while youâ€™re out there. These recipes have been a staple in my repertoire for quite a while now. I hope you try them and like them. Next time look forward to sausage fennel ragu and more dessert favorites. Christina Buchanan, Lecturer Department of Sport Science Western State College, Gunnison, Colo.
Training with Power What’s with the Watts? By Dave Sheldon
ver the last few years, a new training philosophy has been steadily gaining momentum within the obsession called competitive cycling. No, it has nothing to do with licking slime off the Mediterranean sea slug to increase one’s Vo2max by 0.89 percent. What we’re talking about is training with power. And if you’re not familiar with the terms watts or functional lactate threshold, read on, because your competition surely is and at this very moment may be pouring over data collected during their most recent training blocks.
The P-word defined Power, expressed in watts, is a way to conceptualize the work or energy a rider must expend to propel a bicycle forward. In other words, power is the combination of how hard and how fast you are pushing on the pedals and for what time interval. To achieve an increase in power, all one has to do is apply more force to the pedals, pedal at a higher cadence or do both. Simply put, power is the amount of work a cyclist can produce for a certain length of time. For some perspective on numbers, an attacking climber may produce 450 or more watts for a minute or two to drop his rivals and then reduce his power output so as not to exhaust himself. Rambling to the bar on a townie may require a mere 100 watts, something most fit athletes can output all day long. 36
The easiest way to have power and watts make real world sense is to borrow a power-meter-equipped bike and ride it around the block a few times. Slow down, speed up, sprint, climb a hill if possible, all the while keeping one eye focused on the computer’s read-out screen. The variation in watts when compared with effort and terrain is quite amazing.
Metering your power There are three power-metering devices currently on the market that all use strain gauges, torque sensors and other high-tech wizardry to measure rider output, and, thankfully, all have proven track records. They are the Cyclops PowerTap wheel, the Ergomo bottom bracket and SRM’s integrated crank. These devices also measure cadence, heart rate, speed, distance, plus a host of other functions. The only real drawback to a powermeter is its cost, as these technological gems take a bite out of your savings account. Then again, so do all fine things cycling-related. (A detailed comparison of power-meter brands and models is beyond the scope of this article but makes for excellent rainy day Internet research.)
Crunching the numbers The other piece of equipment necessary for fully using a power-meter is access to a home computer, since you’ve got to have somewhere to download the data collected from your power-meter’s
handlebar-mounted CPU. Currently, the most advanced program for analyzing your ride data, logging your training and racing notes, tracking your performance day to day or year to year and much more is offered from CyclingPeaks.com. The program’s vast, easy-to-use features and user-friendly layout make CyclingPeaks far superior to what is included with most power-meters. The exception is the Ergomo bottom bracket, which wisely uses CyclingPeaks as its stock program. Once the day’s results are on the computer, a detailed examination of your performance is possible. Basically, the data will let you see exactly how much power you produced, how long, at what intensity and at what point during your ride or race. This information can then be interpreted to ferret out your weaknesses, allow you to focus on those in training and make you a stronger cyclist.
Case study 101 Kip always gets spit out the back of his weekly group ride when the pace increases a few miles before the town line sprint finish. Always a bummer. A review of a power-meter file for that ride would tell him how many watts he is producing at the point he gets dropped. This data would be extremely valuable for devising a plan to increase Kip’s power and thus enable him to ride into town with the front group and eventually contest the sprint.
A solution to Kip’s power struggle may lie in incorporating intervals, a change in cadence or a host of other strategies. But before Kip starts a specific block of training, he needs a scientific baseline, a “before” to compare to the “after”. This will inform him if all his hard work is paying off. With a powermeter, determining a baseline is both simple and accurate.
Baseline: functional threshold power Functional threshold power (FTP) is generally thought of as the work expressed in watts that a body can produce for a sustained length of time, usually around one hour, when near but never over the breaking point. Time trial pace is another way to look at it. To go over this lactate threshold means the body cannot supply enough energy to fuel the work being done, resulting in a build-up of lactate in the muscles and a drop-off in performance. To determine FTP, Brad Seaman, a USA Cycling certified expert coach from Boulder Performance Network says, “You could determine your power at lactate threshold by performing an all-out, race-pace, 40k time trial, and your average wattage for that effort would be considered your FTP. However, an easier way—unless you love to ride 40k time trials—to determine your power at lactate threshold is to perform one 20-minute near-max interval at a pace that can be sustained the whole time. Take the average watts for the 20-minute effort, subtract 5 percent, and that corresponding number will be your FTP. “This crucial piece of data will allow you to define your various power training zones, accurately plan training sessions and ultimately enable you to systematically set up your season.” (See sidebar for more information.)
Back to Kip’s plan So with this magic number in hand, a training plan can be devised and put in motion. In Kip’s case, it turns out that he
Follow the Watts
Power-based training and racing lets you • • • • • • • • •
Truthfully monitor fitness over the course of a season or year Implement training in a consistent, analytical way Determine the most efficient cadence while climbing or on the flats Understand how ride stress (length, altitude, temperature) affects performance Track role of nutrition before, during and after ride Accurately calculate how many calories are used on a ride Test and dial in bike position and/or aerodynamic position Interact with a coach using hard data Analyze race results
is producing 300 watts just before he explodes out the back of the group ride, and his FTP is 275 watts. He now knows that if he can increase his FTP 25 watts, he will be able to hang on until the sprint. Unless of course, the pace goes up again, but let’s not think about that right now. After a three-week training block and some rest, Kip performs another 20minute interval at time trial pace and compares the results to his first test. Yup, his training is working, he is getting stronger, bring on the group ride! If, on the other hand, Kip had no increase in average watts or showed a decline, it may be time to step back and rethink his strategy, ideally with the help from an experienced coach, if he’s not already working with one.
But what about time, speed and heart rate? An obvious question is, “Why don’t you just time yourself on the course?” Wind direction and speed, aerodynamics—riding more in the drops than the hoods—and a host of other variables have a major effect on time and average speed. However, power output remains unaffected, as wind direction or hand position will have little effect
on how hard and how fast you can push on the pedals. Heart rate would be another way to measure performance, but again it is vulnerable to factors that can cause considerable fluctuations. Going into a time trial a bit stressed from work, or excited about the evening’s hot date, could easily lower or raise the numbers. As might almost running into a dog during your warm-up or eating a caffeinated gel right before you hop on your bike. Again, these factors will not affect how hard and how fast you can push on the pedals. In short, power never lies; you can either produce the watts or you can’t. (Take note, however, that major stress of any kind may very well affect performance.) That being said, heart rate is an excellent piece of information to have along with power data, and all of today’s power-meters measure and store both, allowing you to better understand how your body responds to the demands of riding and racing. Again, a power-meter also tracks cadence, speed, time, etc. So if you’ve always wanted to squeeze a little more horsepower out of your legs or if hearing the competition squeal for mercy starts your blood a-boiling, hop on the power wagon. You may be surprised at just how fast you can go. Mountain Flyer
Power Training Zones By Brad Seaman The ultimate goal of training with a power-meter is improved performance. However, simply riding with the world’s coolest cycle computer won’t make you faster. Training with a power-meter necessitates having a clear understanding of how to analyze and incorporate its data into your training plan or having a coach that can do this for you. And one of the most powerful ways a power-meter can be used is for power zone-based training. As stated in the main article, you must first establish your functional threshold power (FTP). With this information and help from the following chart, it’s easy to determine your training zones. Once the zones are established, you can develop workouts based on training in these zones to stress the correct physiological energy systems and gain the greatest performance improvements. You can also track your fitness increases by periodic FTP testing throughout the year. Power Training Zones (defined by Andy Coggan, PhD) Zone 1 2 3 4 5a 5b 5c
Name Active Recovery Endurance Tempo Lactate Threshold VO2 Max Anaerobic Capacity Neuromuscular Power - ATP
Average Power as % of FTP power < 55% 56–75% 76–90% 91–105% 106–120% > 121% N/A
Here’s an example: Suppose you have no problem riding all day at a steady, fast pace with people in your category; that is, you excel at time trials. However, at the end of a blazing 45-minute criterium race, you always struggle against guys you are normally competitive with in long road races and TTs. After one especially hard crit, you look at your downloaded power file and see that while the average power for the criterium is actually lower than your FTP (so in theory you shouldn’t be struggling), the power profile for the criterium is highly variable like shark’s teeth, with lots of time soft pedaling (0-40 watts) and lots of spikes in power way above your FTP for 10 to 20 seconds at a time. It’s these short, high-intensity power spikes that caused you to crack because you weren’t able to adequately recovery between efforts. They represent a weakness of yours that needs training, and thanks to the power-meter’s race data, you can actually see what type of effort you must produce to finish strongly in your next crit. With this knowledge, you can use your power training zones to work on specific intervals that address this weakness and will make you stronger. For this instance, a workout might include short duration, short rest and high-power intervals in your 5b zone (> 121 percent of your FTP) to work anaerobic capacity power: exactly the area you have trouble with. Here is a sample workout to boost anaerobic capacity for riders with a FTP of 260 watts: Two sets of 4 x 30-sec intervals at 315–330 watts, with 1-minute rest between each interval, and a 5-minute rest between the two sets. And that’s just a teaser, as there are many ways to increase your anaerobic capacity power or your hill climbing or time trials or sprinting. Brad Seaman is a USA Cycling certified expert coach and head cycling coach for Boulder Performance Network. He can be reached at email@example.com or www.boulderperformance.net.
Pacing—A Critical Skill By Danny Suter Most athletes will not believe the following statement: Very few amateur athletes, and I mean very few, have the natural ability to pace their work, effort or power production consistently over the course of any given time period based solely on perceived effort (that is, how the work being done feels to their bodies on a scale from very easy to extremely hard). This misinterpretation is true for short, intense 60-second intervals, for long endurance rides lasting hours and for everything in between. And sadly, the inability to pace consistently is especially prevalent among cyclists. One huge benefit of a power-meter is its real-time display of the actual work being done. Learning to develop a feel for comparing perceived effort and heart rate to actual power production will allow you to better pace yourself over a given distance or time period. Pacing is typically an undervalued skill that is critical to performance. Try the following workouts to learn more about proper pacing. For these workouts, it’s critical to keep your power in
the prescribed zone at all times. Remember, these are designed to help you to learn to pace yourself and are not necessarily how you would train every day. • Warm up at 60–70% of functional threshold power, do 2 x 40-min tempo efforts at 75-90% of threshold power with 10 min at 60–70% recovery between; cool down. • Warm up at 60–70% of functional threshold power, do 2 x 20-min threshold efforts at 91–105% of threshold power with 10 min at 60–70% recovery between; cool down. • Warm up at 60–70% of functional threshold power, do 3-5 x 5 min VO2Max efforts at 106–120% of threshold power with 5 min at 60–70% recovery between; cool down. Again, don’t go out of your zones, since you will learn the most about pacing from completing the workouts as prescribed. Danny Suter is a USA Cycling expert level coach, USA Triathlon Level I coach and a Certified Personal Trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He can be reached at www.boulderperformance.net.
CycleOps PowerTap SL Riding with power is now within reach of the common man, thanks to the CycleOps PowerTap SL hub. And although at first glance the PowerTap SL may not seem inexpensive, when you compare it to the other power-measuring devices on the market, it is the most affordable and well worth the money. For your hard-earned cash, you’ll get the hub, computer, mounting hardware, heart-rate monitor chest strap and software to be loaded into your personal machine. The equipment and software enables you to download and analyze a wide range of information about your training and racing. The PowerTap SL is accurate to +/- 1.5 percent and has proved to be quite durable. Plus, the SL weighs in at a respectable 416 grams, not including computer and receiver, and tracks an endless array of data, including but not limited to current and average power, heart rate, speed and cadence. The SL can store up to 180 hours of riding and you can customize the readout of the handlebar-mounted computer with your riding preferences. Price: $1,200 Hub weight: 416 grams System weight: 480 grams www.cycleops.com
24 Hours In The Old Pueblo
Welcome to 24-Hour Town, AZâ€”The Town that Never Rests. Elevation 4,500 feet. Population 3000+. Story and photos by Brian Riepe
Residents of 24-Hour Town live there for one reason only and it’s not because they like to landscape with cactus.
his is no gated community, if you can even call it a community. Squatting just north of Tucson, Arizona, 24-Hour Town is more like a lawless, smoky mix between Daytona, Tijuana and a reincarnated medieval war camp. There are no trophy homes and real estate is cheaper than a Vegas buffet. To buy a sandy little ranchette in 24-Hour Town, all you need is $5 and a can of spam (a donation to the local food bank). For all that, you get a place to beach your RV or set up a tent (not that you’ll be doing any sleeping), access to electricity, showers, honey potts, a bakery, a taqueria, a brewpub and a state of the art computer system to keep track of just how many endless miles you ride your bike during your stay. Not a bad deal in today’s bubbly market. Your little piece of paradise in 24-Hour Town is only officially accessible five days a year. The gates open on the Thursday before Presidents Day weekend and close the following Monday. Residents of 24-Hour Town live there for one reason only and it’s not because they like to landscape with cactus. The people come for the competition, the mayhem, the parties, the spectacle and the solidarity found at the town’s only official holiday: the running of the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo (The OP). Although property in 24-Hour Town is cheap, taxes are high. Participation in the annual holiday will cost you about $100. With 1,400 entrants, the event should gross around $140,000 in two days. That’s phenomenal but don’t scream “down with big government” just yet. Epic Rides, the official organizer of The OP, is a generous organization, donating annual funds to worthy organizations like the Mammoth Food Bank and the Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition. Todd Sadow, the respected Mayor of 24-Hour Town, founded the holiday back in 2000 and it keeps getting bigger and better. Turning a remote desert ranch into a temporary town fit to house more than
Over 500 racers enjoy the pleasantries of doing the first lap Le Mans start; a quarter mile run-to-yourbike in 4 inches of deep sand strewn with softball sized rocks.
As race fans and races go, The Tour de France has Devil Man and the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo has “Killer” the Jumping Cholla cactus.
3,000 ambitious cyclists and their crews is something like remodeling a turn of the century home—there is a can o’ worms under every pile of paperwork. We can only imagine the organizational challenges it creates especially when you see the lavishness of the design. Town-building details like placing street signs (named after event sponsors) on the roads throughout the camp. Energy details like a massive power
structure pumping out enough wattage to run a small factory, charge everyone’s batteries, run the computer system and light up the entire base venue with industrial spotlights. Food details like organizing vendors to not only supply food but really good food like chipotle chicken burritos, fresh baked baguettes, chocolate coconut bars, Red Hook microbrews and, of course, espressos, cappuccinos and mochas. Finally the Mountain Flyer
24 Hour Town is known for its dining. A worker at Beyond Bread bakery supplies hungry racers with handmade baked goods.
Tinker Juarez rode to yet another solo victory in Old Pueblo. For this one, he rode 270 miles in 24 hours and one minute.
technological details like a very accurate state of the art timing system, giving racers real-time results on a remote computer screen at the touch of a button. So you see, The OP has gained popularity from the purest form of capitalist selection: it’s simply a good product. Sadow has hosted the event with an emphasis on treating the racers like valued customers and giving them an experience to remember. It’s a great venue, not to mention a nice, warm place to be in mid-February. Of course, let’s not forget the racing. The course is a beautiful, winding loop with 15 miles of dirt road and narrow, twisting singletrack. Stuff we would all enjoy riding anytime. Oh, there is one catch to the singletrack—it is literally lined with some of the most vicious, towering, venomous cacti this side of the Sonora. The most famous of the cacti is the jumping cholla. These tree-like specimens unleash their spiny little bulbous limbs at any intruder, leaving them stuck to the unfortunate victim like little barbed potatoes. The spines have hooks (to better adhere to skin) and if you try to remove the potato with your hand, you end up doing an embarrassing Three Stooges-type routine, dancing and flailing your hands around as the potato sticks to different appendages. Note to future competitors: Carry one of those out-of-fashion pocket combs with you for removing jumping cholla. All 24-hour races have a certain sideshow contingent, but there are sure to be serious competitors present. To honor the event’s competitive spirit, this year the OP was dedicated to one of its most consistent and humbling competitors, 4-time US 24-Hour Solo Champion Tinker Juarez. Sort of like being handed the key to 24-Hour Town. The dedication was formalized with a huge dinner gathering and party under the finish-line big top. Dedicating the race to Tinker was a fantastic gesture and a fitting honor to Juarez who has won the race three times since 2002, always in his classy style. continued on page 44
Behind the Scenes at the OP Porta Potties, Kegs and Cacti Every wonder what it’s like behind the scenes, running an epic event like the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo? After the race, Mountain Flyer pinned down Todd Sadow, founder and director of the event, for a few questions about the experience. Sadow also owns Epic Rides, the promotion company responsible for the event and three other great events. Here is what he had to say:
MF: Give us some stats on the Old Pueblo race. Total ridermiles ridden since the event’s inception? TS: Epic proportions. I’d estimate nearly a half million.
Mountain Flyer: Has the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo always donated money to worthy organizations? Who have been some of the past beneficiaries? Todd Sadow: Yes. Make a Wish Foundation, several different food banks, Casa de los Niños . . . mostly local stuff. It’s a community event.
MF: So how many pounds of pooh is that? (No need for a real numbers here, I’m looking for a smart ass remark like, “Dude, if I knew that number, I’d have pooh-phobia for the rest of my life; I leave that stuff to the professionals . . . . ) TS: 325 pots of pooh, roughly 250 gallons per pot, one gallon of water weighs 8 pounds, a gallon o’ pooh must weigh at least 2.5 times that of water, two pooh suckers per event (clean out and start anew) thus roughly a quarter million pounds of pooh in seven years.
MF: Was 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo the first event you organized? Did you have any idea it would grow to be as big as it is? TS: Yup, first event. Had no idea what I was getting into. The potential was realized when in our second year we had 456 riders. The third year it grew to 852.
Todd Sadow, at right, talks at the awards ceremony with U.S. Congressman Rick Renzi.
MF: Epic Rides organizes three other events. Any plans to add to that list? TS: Yup, got one in the queue. More on that at a later date . . . stay tuned to our newsletter. Trust me, it’s a good one! (Readers: Sign up for the newsletter at www.epicrides.com.) MF: What is biggest challenge you have overcome to organize an event of this magnitude? TS: Permits! Arizona is a great state with extremely poor in-house land management. The Arizona State Land Department is a tough nut to crack. They gouge me on permit fees. It’s a tough line to walk when my ultimate goal is to not gouge racers or sponsors. MF: What is the wackiest thing you’ve seen at the event? TS: Hmmm……a very hairy man in a tutu on a fixie. I’d say g-strings but those were a dime a dozen this past year.
MF: Record number of Porta Potties used at the race? TS: Total rented since day one for the 24-hour race has got to be roughly 325 honey pots.
MF: What’s the record number of jumping cholla bulbs removed from one person? TS: I used to request our medical people (who are top notch, by the way) to call me over on the radio so I could see the REALLY bad cacti incidents (for personal sick pleasure, I suppose). Anyway this past New Year’s Day I finally ran dead-on into a cholla. I no longer make fun or get laughs from the other poor souls who run amuck during the 2-4. But for shits and giggles . . . two years ago, we had a person covered shoulder to toe on one side of their body. It was horrible. Must have had 20+ balls stuck to them. MF: Any other fun stats you have? TS: Just a guess but I bet at least 80% of our camping area (24-Hour Town) owns at least one keg per campsite. If I drank a beer for every one offered I’d be shnockered up till next Tuesday. MF: You got U.S. Congressman Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) to do a guest appearance at this year’s award ceremony. Do you think he was ready to see the velociraptor? TS: Actually, it was part of the deal for him to even consider attending the event . . . no velociraptor, no Renzi (kidding).
The notorious Velociraptor impersonator shows off to the delighted crowd.
Clockwise from top left: Dax Massey of the dominating Front Rangers 4-man team rips out a fast one, winning the coveted first lap and eventually the whole race. During the night, the racersâ€™ world becomes nothing but stars, cactus and singletrack.A massive power supply feeds the energy needs of 24-Hour Town. A guard dog, 24-Hour Town Style, keeps an eye on the place. An endless stream of riders illuminates the trail back to 24-Hour Town.
Like all 24-hour races, The OP has categories to fit all types: solo, singlespeed, duo, 4-person, 5-person of various age totals and corporate (as many teammates as you want). All the categories are competitive and rivalries begin as soon as the gun goes off. Racing for 24 hours is tough even 44
as a team, but there is a certain awestruck respect given to the solo riders. The popularity of racing solo has been growing faster than most people would ever have guessed. The 2006 OP had a total of 131 solo racers. It is an incredible feat just to complete such a ride and to make it a race is
just that much more painful. All the racers deserve credit for their finishes. For complete results, go to www.epicrides.com. Tinker Juarez (Siemens/Cannondale) and Lynda Wallenfels (HealthFX/LWCoaching) came away with wins in the solo category this year.
Interview with Lynda Wallenfels First-Place Solo Female, Fifth-Place Overall Solo, 16 Laps, 240 Miles 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo By Brian Riepe Mountain Flyer: Lynda, you run your own coaching service and have mountain bike training plans available for purchase. After winning this event by riding 240 miles in 24 hours, do you have any new ideas for coaching or any amendments you’d like to add to your training plans? Lynda Wallenfels: I learn a lot about racing and coaching by competing in different types of events and this 24 was no different. I picked up a few new ideas from other athletes and learned a few lessons myself, but by and large it was a validation that my training plan for the race worked like a charm. I thought I pretty much nailed the race down and was super happy with that. MF: How was the start? Did you ever have any difficult moments during the race? You looked pretty fresh at the end of the race. LW: I felt fresh at the end. Maybe someone slipped some crack in my juice! The start was the most difficult. It was dusty, crowded and hectic. I got caught in the middle of an eight-rider pile-up on the first lap, which threw off my rhythm. By the end of the second lap the crowds had thinned out and it was smooth sailing from there. The last few laps were the most fun as I stopped conserving energy and just started hammering. That course is fun to ride at speed. I was all giggly at the end. MF: What was your diet during the event? LW: Perpetuem paste, gels, bananas, fig newtons, soup, spaghetti and oatmeal were the main things. MF: What have you been doing for recovery since you finished? LW: Very, very little. Playing with my kids and giving them the attention they didn’t get from me before the race.
My neck and shoulders are still sore. I’ve ridden my singlespeed a few times. That bike is set up for messing around, not racing, and is easier on my neck and shoulders. MF: Do you have more plans this year for ultra-endurance racing? LW: Oh yes, lots. I’m having way too much fun to stop now. Next up is Kokopelli Trail Race. They haven’t had a female finisher yet, and I like the sound of that challenge. The E-100 events in Park City are superb and I’ll do them again this year. My biggest goal of the year is Trans Rockies. I’m racing in the mixed category with HealthFX teammate Dave Harris. I’ll finish off the year racing solo at 24 Hours of Moab.
LW Coaching Training Plans Lynda’s training plans are 12-week training plans designed specifically for mountain bike racing. Define your race category, distance and goals then choose your plan at https://www.trainingpeaks.com/trainingplans/ lyndawallenfels/. The available plans range from sport cross-country to 24-hour solo racing.
Lynda Wallenfels, a USA Cycling Elite certified coach, can be reached for coaching at Lynda@LWcoaching.com. She answers training and racing questions on her forum at www.lwcoaching.com. Her team HealthFX race blog can be found at http:// teamhealthfx.com/blogs/lynda/default.aspx.
Tour of the Gila The Southwest’s Premier Stage Race
By Dave Sheldon Photos by Brian Riepe
very spring for the past 20 years riders have been pavement. And don’t forget the endurance component of the descending on sleepy Silver City, N.M., to take part long hot stages and true five-day, five-event format. in the country’s premiere amateur stage race, the The Gila kicks off with a 16-mile time trial followed by Tour of the Gila. burley road stages on This five-stage event rolls days two and three. The over some of the Southwest’s downtown criterium on most scenic and challenging day four allows most a terrain. And thanks to the chance to rest before the race layout and course progrand final on day five, files, the Gila may be the another long road stage only multi-day amateur capped with a memorable event that gives racers the climbing finish. chance to experience true Day One: Dan Potts stage racing. (This means Memorial Time Trial, 16 waking up hungry, sore and miles with 1,070 feet of sunburned, ready or not to climbing. What better way sit in the saddle and redeto start off a week of sufferfine personal limits.) ing than with a 16-mile Meticulously organized tunnel of pain. Bring out by Jack Brennan and your funny bikes, aero Michelle Geels, the Gila trawheels and goofy helmets ditionally takes place in for this rolling and windy early May. Most categories introduction. And because race all five days, while a the last four miles are tilted few compete only for three down at four percent and days. The hearty road the wind tends to blow courses include wide and toward the finish, plan to fast open tarmac, narrow spin out at least a 55x11. It backcountry twisting affairs is rumored the top pros use and everything in between. a gear of 60x11. And when one considers all the stages contain a stiff Day Two: The Mogollon, shot of climbing, it’s easy to 72 to 94 miles with 4,530 to see why the Gila carries 5,650 feet of climbing. The such a heavy reputation. course of the Mogollon So is it for climbers only? starts off like the calm No way! If you’re not a thin before a storm, flat and nonman or woman, don’t descript. But pretty soon the despair. Despite the Gila’s swells pick up, the wind reputation as a climber’s starts a howling and by the race, it is actually more Tailings from the Tyrone open pit copper mine dwarf a pro racer during the Stage 1 Tyrone Time Trial. end you’re climbing five suited to the all-rounder. miles with pitches of 19 After all, you’ve got to be able to turn over a 56x11 during the TT and have the power to percent grade and wishing you’d put on a 27-tooth rear cog and praying for the finish or that lightning strike you dead to hammer along rolling and sometimes winding backcountry end the suffering. roads, many of which feature leg-zapping, chip-seal style 46
Chad Moore (Wild Oats/Al’s Bar) puts his speed weaponry to good use during the Tyrone Time Trial.
Day Three: Fort Bayard Inner Loop Road Race, 64 to 80 miles with 5,150 feet of climbing. Believe it or not, one of the most wicked descents to be done on two wheels is this day’s Sapillo descent. Think one lane dropping through a heavily wooded forest with steeps up to 17 percent. Some of the switchbacks claim riders every year, and the race organization posts medical staff at these most dangerous spots. Other than this white-knuckled stretch, rolling and often winding terrain typifies the day, and yes, there is one big climb. Day Four: Downtown Criterium: 1-mile loop. For most folks, this day is about doing as little work a possible, but thanks to the course’s modest uphill section (80 feet per lap) and slight rise to the finish, it’s hard to truly hide in the pack. After your event, check out one of the locally owned restaurants and watch the pro race. The whole town will be there. Day Five: The Gila Monster Road Race, 72 to 105 miles with 5,420 to 9,360 feet of climbing. At this point in the race, there are two types of riders, those looking to move up on general classification and those just thinking about finishing. If you are a contender, make sure to stay near the front all day and be ready to switch on the afterburners at the base of the Gila Monster climb. The steep and rolling nature of the race’s last 10 miles means minutes can be gained but just as easily lost. Total Distance for the Pros: 321 miles and 23,600 feet of climbing. Kristin Armstrong (Team Lipton), the eventual overall winner, streams to a second-place finish (only 20 seconds behind stage winner Anne Samplonius) in the opening time trial.
Chris Wherry (Toyota-United Pro) hammers out the time trial in 36 min and 39 sec, 1 min. and 48 sec. back from teammate Chris Baldwin but enough for 7th place.
Alison Powers (Rio Grande/Sports Garage) on the attack halfway through the 25-lap criterium on day 4. Alison rode away with it, holding off the pack for the rest of the race.
Derek Strong (Bang Salon/HART) shows good cornering skills through the last corner of the dangerous descent off Wildhorse Mesa.
The pro womenâ€™s peleton rolls through the Mimbres River Valley during the 78-mile Inner Loop Road Race on Stage 3.
Reflections of racers grace the shop window of the Twin Sisters bike shop in downtown Silver City during the Stage 4 Criterium.
Alison Powers (Rio Grande/Sports Garage) launches her successful Stage 4 attack.
The Toyota-United Pro powertrain pulls their man Chris Baldwin (in pink) through the final miles of the 100-mile Stage 5 Gila Monster Road Race. Baldwin won the overall by 17 seconds over Scott Moninger.
The pro men’s peleton flashes through the streets of Silver City.
For more info and complete results, visit www.tourofthegila.com. Overall Pro Results Pro Men: 1. Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United) 2. Scott Moninger (Health Net-Maxxis) 3. Burke Swindlehurst (Navigators) 4. Anthony Colby (Traget Training) 5. Phil Zajicke (Navigators) 6. Justin England (Toyota-United) 7. Chris Wherry (Toyota-United) 8. Jonathan Garcia (Einsteins Cycling) 9. John Hunt (California Giant) 10. Jason Donald (Einstein’s Cycling) Pro Women: 1. Kristin Armstrong (Team Lipton) 2. Anne Samplonius (Biovail) 3. Erinne Willock (Webcore Platinum) 4. Rachel Heal (Victory Brewing) 5. Dotsie Bausch (Colavita Cooking Light) 6. Kori Seehafer (Team Lipton) 7. Jessica Phillips (Argon 18/Champion Systems) 8. Betina Hold (Webcor Platinum) 9. Kristen LaSasso (Team Lipton) 10. Alison Powers (Rio Grande/Sports Garage)
Jason Donald (Team Einstein’s Cycling), with Scott Moninger in the distance, celebrates a well-deserved win of the 100-mile Gila Monster Road Race, Final Stage.
Tour of the Gila
Interview with Scott Moninger By Brian Riepe you need a strong team to win. Even when you’re watching an event like the Tour of the Gila live, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on within MF: The final stage usually ends with the peleton comthe race. To get some inside details, after the race finish pletely shattered. This year the front group contained 17 Mountain Flyer tracked down Scott Moninger, Health racers, including most of the Baldwin’s Toyota-United Team. Net-Maxxis, one the favorites to win the overall title. How did that happen? Mountain Flyer: The Tour of the Gila has a reputation for SM: The United-Toyota team rode a smart race and they being extra difficult. What’s the toughest stage? only burned as many matches as they had early in the race. Moninger: Well, any race that starts with a 16-mile Then on the steep climb out of the Cliff Dwellings, we had Scott a strong headwind and they time trial doesn’t really have rode a tough but sensible any easy stages! The first road tempo up the climb and kept stage, the Mogollon stage, as many of their guys in the seems to have a bigger effect group as possible. The hardon the GC (general classificaest climb on that stage ends tion) each year even though on about 20-25 miles from the paper, the “Gila Monster” stage finish, so they had safety in has more overall climbing. numbers and the stage MF: You ran most of this race ended up not being as deciwithin about 20 seconds of the sive as it normally is. leader’s jersey but were never quite able to get away from MF: Were you surprised to Chris Baldwin on the major see Jason Donald win the climbs. What was the biggest final stage? factor in the final outcome of SM: Not really! I’ve been racthis year’s Tour of the Gila? ing local races in Colorado with Jason all spring and he’s SM: Well, after the stage 1 TT, a really strong rider. I was I was 40 seconds behind Chris. By the end of the five days, I telling some guys in the race had cut it down to 17 seconds, that he would leave his mark so I was at least working in either in Bisbee or at the the right direction. Without a Gila...he didn’t let me down. MF: The Tour of the Gila and doubt the main difference was Silver City, N.M. are sort of not having a team to support unique on the U.S. roadme in the mountains. Toyotaracing scene. How does it United was able to control the differ from other major tempo of the race and pull back Scott Moninger (Health Net-Maxxis) wins the stage at the top of stage races? any breaks at will. I did not Mogollon with a tenacious Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United Pro Cycling) SM: Unfortunately, we don’t have that option as the right on his heels. Moninger chipped away at Baldwin’s lead everyday after the opening time trial but could only get within 17 seconds by have too many NRC stage HealthNet/Maxxis team has the end of Stage 5. races at altitude. I wish there been hit hard with injuries were more because it makes lately and I only had Gord for tough racing. Silver City is a little off the beaten path Fraser and Roman Kilum there to help me. Having said but the city and the community really seem to be behind that, I thought the three of us did a pretty good job as we managed to win two stages and put someone on the podium the event, and I suppose that’s why it’s been around for 20 years. everyday, as well as finish second overall. MF: Chris Baldwin looked like he put in a huge effort to MF: What else is on your schedule in the Rocky Mountain stay with you on the final climb of stage 2. Did you feel region this summer? Will you go after another win at the like you were climbing your best? Mt. Evans Hill Climb? SM: It’s always hard to gauge from one year to the next SM: I’ll probably ride the State TT champs in June and, because there are so many variables. I don’t know if I yes, Mt. Evans is always on the “to do” list. I’d also like was having the ride of my life or anything like that but to do the Iron Horse race in Durango toward the end I think I was the best on that climb that day. I think of this month. Chris was quoted as saying that I was the strongest guy MF: Will you be back for the Tour of the Gila next year? there but he had the strongest team. In a five-day race, SM: Yes, and with a full team! 52
Multiple Records Set at the 2006 Kokopelli Trail Race At midnight on May 15, a record 56 racers showed up at Moab’s Slickrock trailhead for the atrocious 140-mile, self-supported Kokopelli Trail Race (KTR). The KTR, organized annually by ultra-endurance legend Mike Curiak, is pure. No entry fee. No prizes. No support. The course, with terrain varying from alpine to desert, takes riders from Moab, Utah, over the La Sal mountains to Loma, Colo. Of the 56 racers, 24 finished. Most of the DNFs came because of Lynda Wallenfels rides east towards the rising sun, out of the La Sal Mountains and into the pastel dehydration. desert canyons When the racing was over, several new overall course records had been set. John Brown, returning from last year’s KTR with more experience, broke the overall course record by finishing in 13 hours and 26 minutes— again on his single-speed. “I rode a good smooth race,” said Brown. “I was yo-yo-ing back and forth with Jason Stubbe for awhile and I think that helped me pace myself and keep me motivated.” Jason Stubbe in a typical Kokopelli Trail Race moment - riding alone for miles and miles in the middle Lynda Wallenfels finished in of nowhere. 15 hours and 3 minutes, becoming On a down note, KTR organizer Mike Curiak expressed the first-ever female KTR finisher and, of course, set the some disappointment after the race because some of the female course record. competitors had not respected the self-support require“I had another crack race. I’m on a mission this year,” ment. No means no, kids. As of press time, Curiak said it is Lynda said later of her record finish. “I've never done anyunlikely that he will run the event again. Let’s hope he thing like that before and I loved it. I loved the sleuthing does because it is truly a wonderful event in the spirit of and pre-race prep we did to figure everything out, and I adventure riding. –B. Riepe loved going out on race day and putting it down.”
Overall results 1. Jon Brown, 13:26 (overall course record, single-speed course record) 2. Dave Harris, 13:55 3. Jason Stubbe, 14:11 4. Jay Petervary, 14:41 5. Fred Wilkinson, 14:48 6. Ethan Passant, 14:53 7. Lynda Wallenfels, 15:03 (female course record) 8. Jari Kirkland, 16:28 9. Fred Marmsater, 16:29 10. Adam Lisonbee, 17:25
11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.
Marko Ross-Bryant, 17:31 Rob Writz, 17:37 Ed Ellinger, 17:42 Stefan Griebel, 18:40 Jenna Woodbury, 18:59 Keith Richards-Dinger, 19:11 Andrew Mesesan, 19:12 Greg Bachman, 19:29 Cat Morrison, 20:25 Brad Kee, 20:35 Bill Shand, 22:11 Pierre Ostor, 23:57 Essam Welch, 24:30 Erika Van Meter, 26:30
Working the Trail Magic
Cimarron Chacon and Her Unprecedented Work on St. George Trails
By Dave Sheldon
imarron Chacon During one of her first mountain bike outings to Moab, Utah, Cimarron Chacon joked to a friend that, “It would be cool to design trails for a living.” Little did she know that four years later she would posses her dream job, working as a landscape architect for the Bureau of Land Management in St. George, located in the southwest corner of Utah. Chacon’s nine-year run with the BLM began in 1997 when she was hired to create a Regional Trails Master Plan for Utah’s St. George region, an area covering approximate 30,000 acres. The plan would include pedestrian, horse and cycling trails, both on and off-road. It was no light task and would end up incorporating 11 communities and multiple cities. In an even bigger plan challenge, Chacon would need to seamlessly blend the backcountry network within urban settings, allowing users to leave a trailhead, zip down Main Street on a paved bike path and then easily
find more backcountry access on the other side of town.
More in store for St. George Lucky for cyclists, Chacon’s passion to ride is strong and her determination steely. Already her work has brought us the Hurricane Cliff and Bear Paw Poppy trail networks, Gooseberry Mesa and the extreme free-ride park known as the Red Bull Rampage area, just to name a few. She also had a major role in establishing St. George’s now annual Cactus Hugger Cycling Festival and the Zion Freeride Festival. And there’s more in store for the St. George area, particularly the Santa Clara River Reserve and Little Creek Mesa. The Santa Clara River Reserve will soon offer 62 miles of freshly minted trails and has been nominated for a national landscape planning award for its experienced zoning and preferred use concepts. The Little Creek Mesa project is nearly done and represents an unprecedented partnership with the
Cimarron rides across part of the Hidden Canyon Trail on Gooseberry Mesa outside of St. George, Utah. The trails here and others around St. George are the fruits of her labor on the regional trails master plan.
Photos by Bryce Pratt www.crawlingspidergallery.com
For its role, IMBA designed the trails with environmental clearances, complying with National Environmental Protection Agency regulations and essentially reducing the typical, lengthy lag time between planning and construction.
A rare BLM planner At 30,000 acres, the St. George region in western Utah extends across a monumental amount of terrain, and Chacon’s work spearheading trail development in the area has been just as monumental, not to mention unprecedented. What also makes her work successful is her understanding of the people who will use the trails. She always works with the idea that feedback from these users is critical to ensure the trails meet or even exceed their expectations. To get to know cyclists better, Chacon is a regular visitor to Interbike, the national cycling trade show, and can be seen at most of the West’s mountain bike festivals chatting with fellow riders. And she takes it all in, whether it is someone’s passion for narrow, technical single-track, wide friendly paths or wicked drops with shattering consequences. How many other planners for the BLM ever did this?
Something for everyone Another of Chacon’s precedent-setting philosophies is her development and design of preferred use trails, a new alternative to current multiple use trails. With this philosophy, a trail is designed and built for a particular user group,
based on the area’s soils, terrain and planned experience. Sometimes an analysis shows that more than one group can share a trail, but most often the trail is designed for a single user group: pedestrians get walking and hiking trails; equestrians get horse trails; and cyclists can have their own riding trails. As an obvious benefit, these types of trails limit conflict between users, since everyone has their own place to play. This built-in regulation has been proven to work. After all, why would anyone ride on a horse path when they have a multitude of bike trails to choose from? Another crucial reason to support preferred use trails and get away from the widely implemented multiple use trail method is to ensure that resources are preserved. Simply put, trails built and designed sustainably for bikes and used by cyclists show very little erosion, and the same is true of horse paths. But put both users on the same stretch of dirt, and things literally blow apart. Local business owners also benefit from the world class St. George network, and this turned into local support for the trail network. The visitors attracted by the trails bring in good old cash-money. When policy makers and community leaders saw the local economy growing as a direct result of the new and hassle-free trail system and the urban open space that went with it, they happily supported future projects and festivals. Building preferred use trails is catching on. Chacon has taught courses on
Left to right: On the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve Prospector Trail, Cimarron, an avid rider, crosses a "dry creek" after severe Utah flooding. As a creative landscape architect and historic preservationist, Cimarron has spent the last five years restoring a historic St. George home, including its design and construction. Gooseberry Mesa trails, which Cimarron had a hand in developing, are becoming second to Moab for slickrock riding. Here, she takes the time to enjoy the Hidden Canyon Trail. Cimarron checks out the Barrel Ride, an advanced trail on the urban interface of St. George and designed by Bryce Pratt. An advanced cyclist, Cimarron also road bikes and commutes. At one time, she owned five different bikes. In her latest road riding feat, she finished the Tour de Tucson in seven hours.
the subject and is now working on a book, which federal agencies and land advocacy groups will be able to reference when working up their own management systems and trails.
Look for her In Tucson Chacon and her husband recently relocated to Tucson, Ariz., where she accepted a senior position in a private landscape architecture and environmental planning firm. Thankfully, her work as a trail systems designer is not over, as she will soon be working with the BLM on a spur of the Arizona trail and hopes to be involved with pieces of Tucson’s Pima County trails master plan soon. So if you ride in Tucson keep a lookout for Chacon aboard her trusty Specialized Enduro. I’m sure she’ll be interested in what you have to say. Mountain Flyer
Mountain Flyer Photo Gallery
ere and on the following pages we introduce four of our contributing photographers with a gallery of their work. The selections are all available for purchase as fine quality prints. Order directly from the photographer. Pricing information and other details for placing orders may be found with the photographs.
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“I keep hearing people say that there is a resurgence of demand for hand-built bike frames. For some of us it never went away.” Tory Rarick of Over The Edge Sports and Edge Cycles in Fruita, Colo.
North American Hand-Built Bicycle Showcase The artistic, the classic, the ultra-cool in handmade frames Story and photos by Brian Riepe
he guy in front of me is speaking in an animated tongue reserved for those with genuine, unabashed passion. Robert Redford couldn’t produce the same enthusiasm on the big screen for all the Oscars in Hollywood. It’s the sort of dialogue that requires an all-body performance. His hands are moving in conjunction with his thoughts, eyes bright and open wide to match the smile on his face. His voice bubbles like effervescent spring water, each word escaping from his mouth like another carbonated bubble. Similar conversations fill the hall with chatter as we all take in the scene at the second annual North American Hand-Built Bicycle Showcase (NAHBS). The NAHBS is the creation of Don Walker from Hewitt, Texas, himself a talented frame builder. With the NAHBS, Walker has managed to create a dynamic and affordable format for all the custom builders to get together, discuss ideas and show off their talent. In only its second year, the NAHBS grew to more than 80 exhibitors, up from about 20 in its first year. The show is open to the public and it packed ’em in all weekend.
We are standing on a hard cement floor in the humble South Hall of the San Jose, Calif., Convention Center. In front of us is a one-of-kind, handbuilt, full-suspension mountain bike. The frame was conceived, designed and built by Channing Hammond of Old Man Mountain, who has made a name crafting the finest custom panniers and racks you can get. I listen as Channing describes the ideas behind this frame and shows me
the detail of all the custom pieces he made: the linkage, the cable guides, the smooth taper of the down tube and the polished bullet-shaped cap at the end of the top tube–just to add one more artistic touch. Truly, it’s a gorgeous bike and I’m in awe of the detail. I’m wondering how I can talk him into letting me ride the thing sometime. It’s the last day of the show and for three days now I’ve been looking at these pieces of ridable sculpture and talking to the artisans who build them. I’m trying to leave the building so I can get up to San Francisco in time to catch some live music, but I just can’t seam to drag myself away. The word showcase is the best way to describe the NAHBS. The exhibitor list was a who’s who of the custom builders from all over North America. Attending builders included industry icons like Chris Dekerf (British Columbia) with his ultra-clean titanium, steel and aluminum full-suspension frames; Craig Calfee (California) displaying his famous carbon and bamboo (yes, bamboo) frames; Mark Nobilette (Colorado), who has been Mountain Flyer
It’s more than just a bike. It represents a lifestyle. A hand-built bike is worth the extra dough. building beautiful steel bikes for 33 years; Mike Desalvo (Oregon) with his fine steel and titanium frames; and Brian Baylis (California), who reportedly has a three-year waiting list for a frame. The list goes on and on. Companies like Wolfhound Cycles (Oregon), Soulcraft (California), Peacock Groove (Minnesota), and Rue Sports (Arizona) were there displaying the coolest bikes in the world: single-speeds, fixies with mustache bars, full-suspension, 29ers, lugged bikes, carbon TT bikes, classic styles to ultra-modern carbon. You name it. The NAHBS is the bike lovers’ bike show. Since I can’t list all of them, I have to simply compliment all the exhibitors on their creativity and skills. Every builder I spoke to had the same type of passion in his or her voice. I left the show wanting one of everything (a guilty part of my nature). If I had space I’d do a feature story on every builder who exhibited at the show. Maybe Mountain Flyer will start featuring them, one at a time. One thing I can say is that I would be honored to own a bike by any one of these builders. To own a hand-built bike is to own something that represents the pride of the one who built it. Not to sound too cheesy, but small manufacturing businesses built this country’s economy and cottage industries like these mean jobs here, on this continent. It’s more than just a bike. It represents a lifestyle. A hand-built bike is worth the extra dough. If you’re a builder or a cycling fan, be sure to make the trip next year; you will not regret it. The 2007 NAHBS show is scheduled for March 2-4 at the San Jose Convention Center. Take the time to check out the website, www.handmadebicycleshow.com, which has profiles on all the builders in attendance. So Channing, how about that test ride?
Hand Builders Directory
To own a hand-built bike is to own something that represents the pride of the one who built it.
Hand Builders Directory
Hand Builders Directory
Cycling into the Centuries of the City Different
Story and photos by James E. Rickman
A Santa Fe cyclist rides near the St. Francis Cathedral as twilight brings out the vibrant colors that give the City Different its distinctive style.
hat’s different in the City Different these days is that Santa Fe is turning into a much more bike-friendly city. Ever since the days when Don Juan de Oñate led Spanish settlers to the area on horseback in 1598, people have been flocking to Santa Fe, the oldest U.S. capitol city. Nowadays, Santa Fe visitors can explore this enchanting high-desert tourist destination as comfortably by bike as the city’s earliest inhabitants did by horseback. Road bikers can trace the Old Santa Fe Trail backwards from the city’s his70
toric central Plaza or climb up surrounding mountain roads. Mountain bikers can ride desert and mountain trails as diverse as the City Different’s inhabitants. The city is embracing cycling more and more, adding bike lanes across town and miles of singletrack on the edge of town, said Steve Lewis of Santa Fe’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. While Santa Fe drivers are often indifferent to pedestrians and cyclists, the city is seeing more people pedaling around town these days.
A Conscious City “Santa Fe, being the kind of ‘conscious’ place that it is, is taking up biking as an alternate form of transportation,” says Lewis. A “conscious” city? Realize that in addition to its foundation as the City of Holy Faith by Spain and the Catholic Church four centuries ago, modern Santa Fe is world renowned for its arts and entertainment opportunities, freewheeling lifestyle and liberal new-age leanings. The world-class Santa Fe Opera, a unique open-air venue where the smell
Santa Fe visitors can explore this enchanting high-desert tourist destination as comfortably by bike as the city’s earliest inhabitants did by horseback.
of desert chamisa mingles with the music of Mozart, is just 10 minutes outside the capitol city. Tomasita’s restaurant—home to some of New Mexico’s tastier signature fiery red and green chile—named a dining room after former First Lady and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a frequent Santa Fe visitor. And recently the City Different made national headlines for building a retirement community catering exclusively to gay retirees; tennis sensation Billie Jean King reportedly was first in line to buy. Alongside its progressive, artistic leanings, however, Santa Fe has its share of poverty, a worrisome high-school drop-out rate, hospitality and construction industries propped up by undocumented Mexican laborers, and families who have lived here for generations being priced out of ancestral homes by newcomers redeveloping property and driving up property taxes. The disparity between the “haves” and the “have-nots” can be a basis for friction, but, by and large, Santa Fe is a friendly and safe city. It is also a city of unmatched scenic beauty. With earth-tone buildings and pueblo-style architecture, Santa Fe gives its more than one million annual overnight visitors a sense of intimate connection to the land. When not indulging in abundant cultural opportunities, visitors choose the City Different because of its natural setting. “People have recognized Santa Fe as a perfect stepping-off place for a lot of outdoor recreation, and that includes biking,” Lewis says. Riding the Santa Fe Trails With a cycling renaissance in progress, miles of trails and relatively uncrowded rural roads stretching for miles in all directions, it would be foolish for any bike tourist not to plan for at least one or two rides in the City Different. For those who prefer not to pack a bike, rentals are available at many local shops, some as close as a block away from the Plaza, the city’s tourist vortex.
The Santa Fe Rail Trail provides an easy dirt ride for cyclists of all abilities.
For mountain biking enthusiasts, opportunities are plentiful in and around Santa Fe. Local bike shops such as New Mexico Bike ‘N’ Sport can give the lowdown on some great rides, so don’t be afraid to ask. When you do park at trailheads, be aware that vehicles are subject to theft, so don’t leave any valuables behind. Santa Fe’s Dale Ball trail system contains loops of spectacularly fun singletrack that can accommodate everything from a five-mile quickie to a 20-mile epic. Climbs and downhills abound here, sometimes in rapid-fire succession, on terrain ranging from smooth to moderately technical. The northern and central sections of Dale Ball provide easier to moderate rides, while the southern section has the most challenging hills and switchbacks. Riders need to be in decent shape to enjoy the Dale Ball system.
The Dale Ball trails accommodate hikers and dog walkers too, so trails can be busy, particularly on weekends. Access to the trails is easy, with trailhead parking areas near St. John’s College, on Upper Canyon Roa, or on Hyde Park Road on the way to Santa Fe Ski Basin. Those looking for a good climb or a fun downhill on sweet singletrack should check out the Winsor Trail, which climbs up 3,000 feet from Bishops Lodge Road to the Santa Fe Ski Basin. Cyclists can shuttle up for a screaming 10-mile descent or challenge themselves with a 20-mile up and back. With several creek crossings, prepare to get wet. Because of its popularity, Winsor trail can be crowded on weekends. Those in the mood for a mellow cruise through desert countryside should consider the Santa Fe Rail Trail. This dirt track parallels the Santa Fe Southern railroad from Santa Fe all the way to the Mountain Flyer
train station at Lamy, for a potential round trip of 30 miles. Because of its lack of shade and desert locale, this ride is a broiler during summer days, and an inner tube damning, goat-head obstacle course during the fall. But its wide-open spaces and easy terrain make it a great place for skilled and novice riders alike to catch an unmatched Santa Fe sunset. Road bikers, too, can enjoy the wide open spaces or mountainous climbs of the City Different. The Santa Fe Century Classic loop begins at Capshaw Junior High School off of Zia Road and proceeds along the scenic Turquoise Trail outside of the Santa Fe city limits in a grand 100-mile loop. On this ride, cyclists will pass through the funky historic communities of Madrid, Golden and Galisteo before returning by way of Lamy and Eldorado. An annual event for more than 20 years now, the Santa Fe Century race has been credited for making Santa Fe and the surrounding region more bike-aware. Those who aren’t interested in participating in the spring race can ride the course at their own pace any time of year. For the more sane, cyclists can begin at the Plaza and tour Old Santa Fe Trail for 9.5 miles to Canada de los alamos and back. This leisurely ride meanders out of town and provides spectacular views of the Jemez Mountains west of Santa Fe, gaining about 1,000 feet on the way. Santa Fe Style An unguided cruise through the neighborhoods in and around the Plaza area is an excellent way for visitors to immerse themselves in the narrow streets and adobe architecture that give Santa Fe its distinctive style—a fusion of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo traditions, manifested in everything from clothing to buildings. Cruising around gives visitors a chance to mingle with locals, discover restaurants not listed in the tourist brochures and get in touch with the true soul of the community. Given Santa Fe’s four centuries of 72
An anachronism to be sure, Evangelo’s Cocktail Lounge, one of the City Different’s most notorious downtown watering holes, has doggedly preserved its retro tiki atmosphere through the years despite its adobe surroundings.
history, a lot of soul lies waiting for discovery. Cycling in Style Cyclists should choose their fashion, however, with an eye on the desert and mountainous weather rather than local fashion memes. Santa Fe averages 300 days of sunshine each year, but afternoon monsoons from late June to early August can arrive
quickly and unexpectedly, unleashing short but intense deluges and lightning upon hapless visitors. Santa Fe is located at 7,000 feet, with surrounding mountains rising up to 12,000 feet, so sunscreen is essential, lest you be mistaken after your ride for one of those pink painted howling coyotes. As with other Rocky Mountain cities, Santa Fe’s weather can fluctuate wildly in the spring and fall.
Photographs here and on facing page are courtesy of the New Mexico Bureau of Tourism. Photographers: C. Corrie, D. Merriam D. Monagham, M. Nohl, M. Stauffer. and J. Stein
Santa Fe’s high-desert climate can dry a rider into carne seca (beef jerky) in no time. Drinking lots of fluids is essential—particularly for those whose post-ride routines include a fine, cold margarita served on the rocks in a saltrimmed glass. (Something not to be missed in Santa Fe, by the way.) Before and After Santa Fe features fine inns and hotels as well as more-affordably priced national chain lodging and ample camping in the nearby National Forest. Of note, the Inn on the Alameda provides spectacular yet relatively incognito accommodations in a cozy setting located within walking distance of the Plaza and biking trailheads. Priced more reasonably than expected, the Inn on the Alameda’s rooms include fireplaces and balconies. The establishment hosts a wonderful wine-and-cheese party each evening for its guests. The breakfasts at this bed and breakfast are healthy and lavish, great before a ride. In general, staff members at many of Santa Fe’s lodging establishments, particularly the smaller ones, are extremely friendly and happy to assist their guests in any way they can. Food is abundant in Santa Fe. Restaurants range from out of the way “dives” with great food like Dave’s Not Here to pricey establishments with epic meals like those at the Old House in the Eldorado Hotel. For those looking for a chunk of dessert and a good cup of coffee that’s not made by a multinational corporation, the Plaza Café is the place to go. Most restaurants and hotels in Santa Fe make a decent mixed drink or have ample selection of beers. Visitors intent on having a bar experience in the City Different should check out Evangelo’s Cocktail Lounge—a notorious dive that offers live Dixieland music, pool tables in the basement, strong drinks and an atmosphere so smoky that your hair will reek for days. On the opposite end of the spectrum, GiG is a smoke-free, alcohol-free down-
Guests at the Inn on the Alameda settle in to wine and appetizers in a cozy atmosphere that is distinctively Santa Fe.
home, alternative musical performance space that’s relatively new to town. WilLee’s Blues Club is a sure bet for live music as well. Santa Fe may not have the slickrock of Moab or the free-ride cachet of Whistler, but those places don’t have sculpture gardens like Shidoni Foundry
or world-class performing artists appearing regularly at places like the downtown Lensic Theater. For those seeking a distinctive, relaxing getaway in a funky place that includes some interesting cycling opportunities, Santa Fe is a great place to go. Four hundred years of visitors can’t be wrong.
The Lowdown Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau: 800.984.9984 or www.santafe.org Santa Fe Opera: 505.986.5900 or www.santafeopera.org Tomasita’s Restaurant: 500 S. Guadalupe, 505.983.5721 New Mexico Bike ‘N’ Sport: 524 Cordova Road West, 505.820.0809 or www.nmbikensport.com Santa Fe Century race: www.santafecentury.com Inn on the Alameda: 303 E. Alameda, 505.984.2121 or www.inn-alameda.com Dave’s Not Here: 1115 Hickox Street, 505.983.7060
Old House Restaurant & Tavern: 309 W. San Francisco, 505.988.4455 Plaza Café: 54 Lincoln Avenue, 505.982.1664 Evangelo’s Cocktail Lounge: 200 W. San Francisco St. , 505.982.9014 GiG: 1808 Second Street, Suite H, 505.989.8442 or www.gigsantafe.com WilLee’s Blues Club: 401 S.Guadalupe, 505.982.0117 or www.willees.com Shidoni Foundry and Gallery: 1508 Bishops Lodge Road, 505.988.8001 or www.shidoni.com Lensic Performing Arts Center: 225 W. San Francisco, 505.988.1234 or www.lensic.com
Dale Ball Trails: Something for Everyone by Caroline Spaeth Santa Fe should be throwing a big birthday party for resolutions unanimously for me to build trails on their Dale Ball, and cyclists everywhere should celebrate. property and let me hire the people to do it and design it.” This spring, just as the former banker and land trust Ball turned to Mike Wirtz, a retired Forest Service executive turned 82 years old, Santa Fe took formal possesranger, to design and build the meandering trails. Ball sion of the urban singletrack trail network that Ball first credits Wirtz and his crew for their skill in building trails envisioned and eventually brought that hold up to rain and snow, the to life. “great enemies of trails,” as Ball The increasing popular trail netputs it. work covers nearly 30 miles right on “He has skill with the mounthe town’s edge. Its serpentine sintainside that is unique,” Ball said. gletrack runs through the foothill “He anticipates the way water will forests, provides top-quality riding act on the rocky soil and designs with expansive views and ultimately the trail so it doesn’t have water preserves the area from future damage and makes maintenance development. possible.” But to Ball, he just wanted to In a bonus for trail users, Ball get more people out riding and hikand Wirtz designed a mapping sysing closer to town. Before the trails tem that numbers each intersection were built, the nicest trails were and then posts maps of the trail miles up the local mountains by car. network at every intersection, mak“I just had this vision—maybe ing paper maps unnecessary. that’s too pretentious—but a conHowever, for those who plan cept to create foothill trails,” Ball ahead, a map and brochure of the said. “They’d have great utility and entire network will be available this Trail founder Dale Ball brought together public and would appeal to a lot of people.” summer at local bike stores. private entities to fund the expansive trail system that To anyone who has tried to Although Ball is “retiring” bears his name. photo by Caroline Spaeth. blaze new trails, the concept was from his work on the trails, simple but the work to make it a the network promises to grow. reality was much more intensive. The local Trust for Public Land is The trails, as first envisioned, working to buy a 100-acre piece of run across a combination of public, private land for Santa Fe County. private, and land trust property. The land borders the southern Ball’s efforts would require political part of the trail system and would insight, years of personal persistlink the trail network to adjacent ence, the good fortune of public Forest Service trails that run up and political interests in preserving the 9,000-foot Atalaya Mountain. open space—and money. The expected $1.75 million purLuckily in 1998, while the trails chase price has enviable support were still in the idea stage, Santa Fe from the county, which plans to residents passed a $12 million open put up $750,000, a state legislator, space bond issue. Two years later, who submitted a capital outlay Santa Fe County bought 176 acres of request for $1 million, and nearby land, a key to linking the trail nethomeowners, who are helping work across parcels of county and raise money. city-owned land. Ball could now “Our neighborhood is not focus on acquiring easements on pridoing this because it helps our vate land to connect three main sechomes or subdivision, but because tions of the trail system. we think it is the right thing to To pay for building the trails, an do,” Ponderosa Ridge homeowners anonymous donor offered up half of association president John Seybold the expected $180,000 needed to told the local newspaper. The trails preserve a great expanse of open space on the build the trails (and insisted Ball Those sentiments are just what edge of town. photo courtesy of Pedal Queens. name the trails after himself), and Ball envisioned with this trail system. the Santa Fe-based McCune “It’s important to me that the Foundation matched the offer. trails be free and the parking convenient so that all ecoNaturally, money talks in politics. nomic levels of Santa feel that the trails are theirs,” he “If someone was willing to put up the money and said. I was willing to do the work, the city and the county For that reason, we should all wish Dale Ball a happy thought it was appropriate,” Ball said. “Both passed birthday and thanks for the singletrack. 74
Indulge your inner mutant in the Atomic City by James E. Rickman across savage terrain that tests the mettle of even the most If you want a real blast, why not bike in the birthplace committed riders. of the Atomic Bomb? In addition, the nearby Valles Caldera National Preserve—a Thirty-five miles north of Santa Fe, Los Alamos is no longer magnificent 89,000 acres of high-altitude grasslands and a secret to outdoor enthusiasts. The formerly secret city sprawling elk herds—hosts rides one weekend each in June opened its gates in 1957 and has hosted visitors ever since. and August on dirt roads that New Mexico’s “Atomic City” has give riders unparalleled access to an excellent system of trails and this national treasure. The pavement that will challenge even August ride usually coincides the most experienced cyclists. with the Los Alamos Fat Tire Many of Los Alamos’ Festival. 150 miles of trail are accessible Los Alamos is also a good from just about anywhere in the launching pad for road and trail community, but many locals are rides in the nearby Jemez as secretive about their trails Mountains. as J. Robert Oppenheimer and his Despite its funky, dilapidated Manhattan Project colleagues pre-Cold War industrial governwere about the designs of the ment appearance, downtown Fat Man and Little Boy bombs. Los Alamos offers opportunities Fortunately, Los Alamos has for good food and drinks after a an enthusiastic mountain biking ride. The Central Avenue Grill, club known as the Tuff Riders, Trinity Beverage Company, Ruby and club members are usually K’s bagels and Bob’s Bodacious eager to show off trails to newBarbecue are good places to comers and visitors with a little nuke your hunger pangs. CB Fox advanced notice. Perched high on the Pajarito Plateau, mysterious and beautiful Los department store, which offers The club’s name is inspired by Alamos overlooks much of Northern New Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley. Photo by James E. Rickman. the original Atomic City T-Shirt the chalky volcanic rock that featuring a distinctive mushmakes up the Pajarito Plateau room cloud design, or Otowi Station, with its selection of where the community is situated. Because of the community’s geologic setting, rides on most segments of Los Alamos’ books and science souvenirs, are great places to end your visit. On Friday nights, plan to stick around from 7–10 p.m. for trail system are technically challenging and aerobically diffifree,outdoor concerts. Despite the small-town locale, these cult. Terrain ranges from soft sand and powdery dust to summer concerts feature big-name performers from rock and gravelly singletrack and swooping narrow ruts carved into roll to zydeco. volcanic rock. But be forewarned, with the exception of Friday night There’s an old saying in the community that if you can ride concerts, Los Alamos nearly completely shuts down by the trails in Los Alamos, you can probably ride the trails any9 p.m. in the summer and by 8 p.m. in the fall, winter and where. Although the town is generally always spring seasons, and the community still hasn’t figured out visible from the trail system, the community’s small, sleepy whether it’s fully open or closed on weekends. Call ahead for feel means that rides are usually quiet and enjoyable. local business hours before your trip. This small-town atmosphere also makes it a boon for road There are many places to visit, but there’s only one place bikers. With little traffic on the roads, cyclists can comfortably in the world that developed the Atomic Bomb. Los Alamos’ circumnavigate the entire county—as long as they have the riding opportunities are as distinctive as its history. Why necessary lung and leg power. At 7,200 feet, the air in Los miss out? Alamos is thinner than in many other parts of the state, and with the county spread out across a series of finger mesas, rides literally have a lot of ups and downs. Road bikers can The Lowdown enjoy a hilly loop along NM 501 and NM 4 that passes through ponderosa pine as well as high-desert piñon/juniper Tuff Riders Mountain Bike Club forests as it makes its way past Bandelier National Monument www.tuffriders.losalamos.com and portions of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Bike Shop: Caballo Bike and Ski, Just 15 minutes from downtown Los Alamos, Pajarito www.caballobikeand ski.com, 1910 Deacon Street Mountain Ski Area has installed an ever-increasing network 505.661.6544 of downhill and cross-country trails. At 10,400 feet in elevaValles Caldera National Preserve tion, ski area trails give riders a great workout and stun1.877.851.8946 ning views of the Rio Grande Valley and most of Northern New Mexico. www.vallescaldera.gov Each August the community hosts its annual Fat Tire Friday Night Concerts Festival. The festival features the notorious Pajarito www.gordonconcerts.com/schedule.htm Punishment mountain bike race, a horrendous 20-mile trek
ed s Allow No Boy
New Santa Fe Women’s Bike Club is a Big Hit by Jennifer Steketee It started innocently enough. Over burgers and beer at an afternoon barbeque, three women started chatting about bikes and boys and the frustration that sometimes occurs when those two get together. They decided that an all women’s ride might be a lot of fun. The following week, these three women met for an easy spin on the local rail trail. At the end of the ride, they all agreed that it was the first time that they each had spent an hour on their bikes without any moments of utter frustration, swearing or apologizing for holding anyone up. The women promptly decided to make the ride a weekly event. Fast forward a year and a half and you have Pedal Queens, Santa Fe’s all new, all women’s bicycle club. As the casual once-aweek summer rides started drawing more and more women cyclists, four of them decided it was time to make it an official club. Monica Niess, Rachel Friedman, Dominique Revelle and Jennifer Steketee sketched out a rough plan for the club, came up with the name— after much deliberation—and posted flyers about town inviting women to come to the first informational meeting. “We really didn’t know how much interest there was in the area for an all women’s cycling club,” said Niess, club president. “We thought it would just be a few of our friends who joined and we were shocked when 42 enthusiastic women showed up for our first meeting and almost half of them joined that night.” Through the winter, the Pedal Queens met for at least one road ride and one mountain bike ride each month. As the weather warmed up, they increased the frequency to weekly rides. Bike-related clinics are also part of the club’s mission. The first clinic covered the basics of changing a bike tube, and later this summer the club plans to hold a four-day road riding clinic, taught by a professional racer and Pedal Queens member. “Women really like teaching other women and helping other cyclists improve their riding. I think it’s just part of our nature to want to help others,” said Niess. Weekend bike trips, training for a century and trail maintenance days are also part of this year’s agenda. The 76
Pedal Queens will be providing volunteers and support for a local Santa Fe mountain bike race as well. The idea behind this all women’s cycling club is a simple one: make bicycle riding non-threatening and fun. Unfortunately, many women learn to ride bikes from men who have been riding for years. Too often the result is lots of frustration and very few smiles. Some women, especially those who lack confidence in their athletic ability, simply quit, thinking biking is a sport they’ll never master. “I constantly hear from our members how excited they are to have their own time for fun, away from the husbands and kids,” said Niess. “Our rides offer women a chance to not only ride with other women in a fun, relaxing environment but also to really learn from the expert riders in the group.” The main goal of the Pedal Queens is to provide a safe, supportive environment for women to challenge themselves on their bicycles, learning from each other without the fear of embarrassment. Members represent all ability levels, from those just starting to ride to professional racers. The Pedal Queens website, www.pedalqueens.com, provides a venue for local women cyclists to find riding partners and learn about upcoming rides. An online forum gives riders a place to chat and plan rides. The site also posts educational tips, such as how to pick the correct inner tube and how to pedal efficiently. Local businesses have come out to support the club, offering member discounts or sponsorships, all listed on the website. From a few women at a barbeque, the Pedal Queens has now grown to 68 official members with more joining each week. The ever-increasing membership has confirmed what the club founders suspected: there are a whole lot of women who ride bikes in Santa Fe. Without a way of networking, though, they just didn’t have a way of finding each other. Now that they have, the Pedal Queens invite all women, whether living in New Mexico or just passing through, to join them for a ride. They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos are courtesy of the New Mexico Bureau of Tourism. Photographers: C. Corrie, and J. Parsons
Roaring Fork Valley Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt and Carbondale Mountain Flyer
A Directory Guide to Regional Information and Resources
If the size of a town’s local race series accurately measures the local cycling scene’s vitality, then the Roaring Fork Valley is one of the most prolific cycling communities in the Rocky Mountains. The Aspen Cycling Club puts on more than 25 races and other events each summer, alternating between road races and mountain bike races every Wednesday night from June until September. The local athletes here are ruthless. If you’re not into racing and you’d rather hang out at the coffee shop with your legs propped up on your $6,000 road bike and swing your Gucci with the beautiful people, well you can find that too. In Aspen, you never know if you’re going to get run off the road by Jack Nicholson, drink martinis next to a Saudi prince or get schooled by a 52-year-old doctor at the Independence Pass Hill Climb.
Local Information and Lodging Aspen Chamber: www.aspenchamber.org or 800.670.0792 Inside Scoop: or www.aspenalive.com or www.sopris.net
Camping Good luck. When I’m in Aspen I prefer to camp out at the spa sipping wheat grass-botox smoothies and snacking on truffles while my bike gets polished with organic citrus cleanser. You could try parking your Westfalia in the driveway of somebody’s unoccupied third home or just give it up and get a condo.
Calendar of Events Aspen Cycling Club Weekly Race Series (road and MTB), May through September, www.aspencyclingclub.org or 970.920.2000 National Championship Series Finals, Aug. 12–13, www.snowmassnational.com
Local Clubs Aspen Cycling Club: www.aspencyclingclub.org or 970.920.2000
Local Guidebooks and Maps Mountain Biking the Roaring Fork Valley, by Richard Compton, Warren H. Ohlrich and Curt Carpenter Latitude 40 Map, Aspen, Crested Butte, Gunnison
Moab, Utah Just say the name Moab in the presence of a cyclist and you’ll draw a look of nostalgia and longing for a trip to the desert. There is a spiritual attribute to Moab; maybe it’s the history of Native American occupation, preserved in petrogliffs and mysterious cave dwellings, or maybe it’s just the novel intricacies of the stark canyon country. Whatever it is, riding in Moab is always memorable. If you go, get a new map because in recent years local advocates have been adding new singletrack to the existing endless network of trails. Moab’s must-do epic ride: The 100-mile White Rim Trail (do it in one day if you can).
Local Information and Lodging Moab Chamber of Commerce: www.moabchamber.com 435.259.7814 or email@example.com Moab Utah Travel Council: www.discovermoab.com 800.635.6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org Inside Scoop: www.moabworld.com
Local Cycling Events Calendar Moab Century Tour: Oct. 6–8, www.skinnytirefestival.com, 435.259.2698 24 Hours of Moab: Oct. 14–15, www.grannygear.com Halloween Mountain Bike Festival: Oct. 26–29, www.moabbikefest.com
Guidebooks and Maps Mountain Biking Moab, 2nd Edition: A Guide to Moab, Utah’s Greatest Off-Road Bicycle Rides by Lee Bridges, available at online retailers and Dreamride Bikes in Moab Mountain Biking Moab, Moab Pocket Guide, A Falcon Guide, by David Crowell Mountain Biking Utah, A Falcon Guide, by Gregg Bromka Latitude 40 Maps, 4 Maps www.latitude40maps.com (Moab Classic Trails, Moab East, Moab West, Slickrock Trail)
Summit County Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, etc. The name says it all. Centered in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and less than three hours from Denver, the Summit County region is positioned for the perfect weekend getaway. Combine that with quaint communities, great restaurants, plenty of affordable lodging and superb riding and you’ve got a cycling vacation hub. For all you competition junkies, Summit County is host to a seemingly endless stream of bike races through the season. Summit County is also the birthplace of MTB Little League, a great venue for kids to learn about cycling and sportsmanship and home of the Summit Mountain Challenge Series, a hugely popular town race series.
Local Information and Lodging Breckenridge Resort Chamber: www.gobreck.com or 888.251.2417 Summit County Information: www.summitnet.com or www.summitcolorado.com Camping Lake Dillon Camping: www.reserveusa.com or 877.444.777 Regional Cycling Calendar ` Too many to list all the events. The website www.mavsports is a good place to start looking.
Mountain Bike Little League, June through August, www.mavsports.com Firecracker 50, July 4, www.mavsports.com Breckenridge 100, July 15, www.worriorscycling.com Montezuma’s Revenge, Aug. 11, www.montezumasrevenge.com The Fall Classic, Sept. 23–24, www.mavsports.com
Guidebooks and Maps Biking Colorado’s Front Range, An Altitude Superguide, by Deb Acord Latitude 40 Map: Vail and Eagle Valley Trails, extends one mile east of Frisco, Colo.
Summit Mountain Challenge Series, June through August, www.mavesports.com Mountain Flyer
Nestled into the rugged womb of the Rocky Mountains, Gunnison County is one of the largest counties in Colorado, occupying 3,260 square miles of terra firma, roughly 80% of which are public lands. Despite its voluptuous size, Gunnison County provides more habitat for elk than people – only 14,000 people call Gunnison County home. This is attractive to the adventure-seeking cyclist for reasons that define the obvious. The land around Gunnison is bejeweled with old mining roads and singletrack ranging from the well-known classic singletracks of Crested Butte to enchantingly obscure trails in remote parts of the county. Gunnison County also has plenty to offer the road cyclist with scenic byways jutting out in every direction. Local Information Center Lodging, Camping, Events, Festivals, etc. go to www.gunnisoncrestedbutte.com 1.800.814.7988 Camping info call 877.444.6777 or www.reserveusa.com KOA campground 970.641.1358 Regional Cycling Calendar May 25-June 29, Hartman Rocks Spring MTB Series, Contact Gunnison Chamber, 970.641.1501 June 20-25, 2006, Fat Tire Bike Week www.ftbw.com July 15, 2006, 3rd Annual Crested Butte Classic email@example.com Aug 19–20, 2006, 4th Annual 24 Hours in the Sage www.24hoursinthesage.com Guidebooks and Trail Maps Mountain Bike Crested Butte Singletrack by Holly Annala Available at local bike shops or online booksellers Hartmans Rocks Trail Map (Pocket Sized and Laminated) designed by David Kozlowski Available at local bike shops and some coffee shops Local Cycling Clubs and Club Rides CBMBA–Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association Weekly Rides Crested Butte Club Road Ride–Tuesday evenings (Summer) meeting Tuesdays 5:30 pm
Gunnison Club Road Ride–Wednesday evenings (Summer) meeting 5:30 pm at the Tune Up Bike Shop, 222 N. Main Street Weekly Women’s MTB ride–Tuesdays 5:30 pm leaving from Hartmans Rocks main Parking lot Attractions Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum 331 Elk Ave. Crested Butte 970.349.1880
Quote from the Trail “Hey, that’s bear shit in the trail….” 20 feet later “Whoa, there’s another bear shit. It’s pretty fresh!” 20 feet later “Holy shit, there’s the bear!” —Rock N Roll Sports owner Dave Meyer, yelling to his friend while riding down the Black Gulch Trail near Gunnison, Colo.
Steamboat is Colorado’s version of Northern Exposure. It is a wonderful, bike friendly community sitting in a huge pocket of national forest land, which means endless mountain bike trails in all directions. The interesting thing about Steamboat Springs is its tendency to nurture outdoor-related cottage industries. Most famously Steamboat is home to Moots Cycles but in recent years a host of new businesses have popped up; Honey Stinger (making all natural energy gels and bars), Big Agnes (top quality down sleeping bags and tents) and Kent Eriksen Cycles (custom bike frames) all call Steamboat Springs home. Maybe it is possible to live in a beautiful mountain town and make a living. Recommended trail: Base Camp to Mountain View Trail from the top of Rabbit Ears Pass to town. One piece of advice: Moose don’t like people very much.
Local Information and Lodging Steamboat Chamber of Commerce: www.steamboatchamber.com, 970.638.4239 General Information: www.steamboatsprings.net Great list of campgrounds: www.steamboatmagazine.com
Calendar of Events Town Challenge MTB Series, May 10 through Aug. 25, www.steamboatsprings.net Moots Criterium Series, May through August, www.routtcountyriders.org The Rio 24 Hours of Steamboat, June 10–11, www.rockypeakproductions.com Kent Eriksen Cycles Tour de Steamboat, Aug. 12, www.rockypeakproductions.com
Local Clubs and Club Rides Routt County Riders Bicycle Club: www.routtcountyriders.org Tuesday night rides meet weekly at 5:30 p.m. at Orange Peel Bike Shop (downtown at the corner of 12th Street and Yampa Ave). Contact Barkley Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Guidebook Mountain Biking In the High Country of Steamboat Springs, Colorado By Tom Litteral Mountain Flyer
Vail, Minturn, Edwards and Eagle, Colo. Photos by Jack Affleck
Vail stakes its claim as one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations. It is certainly one of the originals. Vail’s infrastructure, resort facilities and faculty make it an event promotion machine. Vail has hosted World Cup and World Championship mountain bike races with more success than any other resort in North America. The Vail Recreation District runs the local town series with the organizational professionalism of a World Cup event. There is always something going on in the Vail Valley and the land from Vail to Eagle is laced with great singletrack. Check in the local shops for beta on all the “secret” trails. Minturn, Edwards and Eagle are your best bet for great food and honest bike shops. Recommended ride: Top out on Vail Mountain and follow the trail to Minturn, finish off at The Saloon for a Mexican feast then roll your belly back up the bike path to Vail.
Local Information and Lodging Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau: www.visitvailvalley.com or 800.653.4523 Vail Vacations for the Economically Challenged: www.econovail.com
Calendar of Events 2006 Vail Mountain Challenge Bike Race Series, May through August, www.vailrec.com Vail Ultra 100, July, check for exact date on www.gohighline.com/ultra100/
Clubs and Club Rides Vail Velo: www.vailvelo.com Moontime Bike Shop: Group rides, Tuesday and Thursday road rides at 5:30 p.m. For more info, call Frank at 926.4516 or visit www.moontimecyclery.com. Mountain Pedaler of Eagle: Every Wednesday night fast rides starting at 6 p.m, typically lasting a couple hours; Tuesday night women's mountain bike rides at 5:30 p.m. Call Charlie Brown for more info: 328.3478 or visit www.mountainpedaler.com. Colorado Bike Services: Every Thursday night advance road training rides typically from shop in Eagle-Vail to top of Wolcott Pass, 50 miles. Call Jeff at 949.4641 for start times. Kind Cyclist Bike Shop: Group rides Thursday from 5:30. For more info call 926.1260.
Local Guidebooks and Maps Latitude 40 Map: Vail and Eagle Valley 88
Grand Valley Fruita, Colo., and Grand Junction, Colo. Think Tour of the Moon, the Ribbon Trail, Zippity Do Da, Kokopelli Trail, Grand Mesa and Colorado Wine Country. The diversity and history of Colorado’s Canyon Country, otherwise known as the Grand Valley, makes it a regular destination for cyclists in a quest for warmth and singletrack. The Fruita Fat Tire Festival is the pinnacle of Grand Valley cycling, but of course there is more to discover here than springtime, knobby-tired therapy. The Grand Mesa offers high alpine summer rides. The Gateway Canyons Road race is one of the best on the calendar. The Colorado National Monument loop is a must-do road ride. And the fall Wine Festival will make you feel even less like you care where California is. The Grand Valley is a true cycling paradise. Local Information Centers Fruita Cycling Information: www.fruitamountainbike.com, www.fruita.org or www.gofruita.com Fruita Chamber of Commerce: www.fruitachamber.org or 800. 858.3894 Grand Junction: www.visitgrand junction.com or 800.962.2547 Camping Colorado River State Park 970.858.9188 Highline State Park 970.858.7208 Colorado National Monument 970.858.3617 Regional Cycling Calendar Fruita Fat Tire Festival: April 27–30, www.emgcolorado.com Gateway Canyons Grand Valley Road Race and Criterium: Sept 2–3, Luke@gtwycanyons.com 13th Annual Tour of the Vineyards Sept. 16, www.emgcolorado.com 18th Annual Tour of the Valley 30, 50, 75 or 100-mile rides; Proceeds go to support other biking activities in the Grand Valley area, www.ghjosp.org, 800.621.0926 Guidebooks and Maps Fruita Fat Tire Guide by Troy Rarick Grand Junction Trails and Camping Guide, by Nattana Johnson and Christopher Schnittker, www.outdoorguru.com Local Clubs and Club Rides COPMOBA, Very Proactive Advocacy Group: www.copmoba.com Red Rock Riders: Weekly road rides starting April 11; Meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. at Canyon View Park (G and 24 Roads), www.redrockriders.com 90
Taos, New Mexico With 300 days of sunshine in Taos, you can be guaranteed great riding weather in this northern New Mexico mountain town. Whether you choose trails or roads to ride, you’ll find yourself immersed in a compelling combination of scenic beauty and history. Situated below Wheeler Peak, the highest peak in New Mexico, Taos is a known for its Spanish and Native American influences and its distinctive Southwest art and adobe architecture. Road cyclists can pedal the scenic and hilly Enchanted Circle loop, visiting Anasazi ruins along the way. Mountain bikers can experience a sweet local favorite, the epic South Boundary trail, or choose from miles of singletrack in nearby Taos, Angel Fire or Red River ski resorts. Your trip to Taos wouldn’t be complete without strolling through historic Taos Plaza or visiting Taos Pueblo, an ancient but living Indian village and one of New Mexico’s eight northern Pueblos. Riding never was so fun or educational!
Local Information Center Lodging, Camping, Events, Festivals, etc. go to Taos Vacation Guide, www.taosvacationguide.com, www.taosguide.com Camping info: Carson National Forest, 505.758.6200 Campsites and RV parks: www.taoslink.com/html/activities/camping Regional Cycling Calendar Taos Alpine Classic, Taos Ski Valley, Aug. 12-13 (tentative dates), www.alpineclassic.org Enchanted Circle Century, Red River, NM, Sept. 10, 800.348.6444 Frazer Mountain Madness, Taos N.M., Sept. 23-24 www.frazermountanmadness.com Cerro Vista Mtn Bike Challenge, 50K and 100K races, Angel Fire Resort, Fall 2006 (date TBD), www.angelfireresort.com, 505.377.4316 Tour of Toas Country, Off Road Advernture – 80 Miles Off Road www.toascyclery.com Guidebooks and Trail Maps Available at local bike shops or online booksellers Falcon Guide: Mountain Biking Northern New Mexico The Pathfinder: A Complete Guide to Mountain Biking, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and Northern New Mexico Local Cycling Clubs and Club Rides Taos Cycle Club, weekly group road and mountain rides, www.taoscycleclub.com Other state bike clubs and scheduled group rides: www.nmcycling.org Attractions Taos Plaza Art Galleries Taos Pueblo, ancient, living Native American village, www.taospueblo.com Enchanted Circle Scenic Drive Rio Grande Gorge Bridge Taos Ski Resort Mountain Flyer
Ever since the early days of Rocky Mountain cycling as we know it, Durango has been some sort of supernatural portal for lactic-acid-dropping, two-wheeled believers in the power of pedaling. Even back in 1881, when the Durango Wheel Club was founded, Durango cyclists were pushing the limits of the bicycle. Now home to more world champions, national champions and Tuesday night champions than any other community in the world, Durango is a major hub of the regional cycling scene. You just gotta go. Besides, Durango’s mild transitional climate, proximity to the San Juan Mountains, rich history in hosting world-class events and its own local brewery make it a cyclist’s paradise worth visiting.
General Information www.durango.org Lodging (central reservations): 800.409.7295 Camping: www.reserveusa.com Calendar of Events Iron Horse Bicycle Classic: www.ironhorsebicycleclassic.com, May 26-28, 2006 Durango 100 Century Ride: www.durango100.com, July 23, 2006 Durango MTB 100: www.gravityplay.com, Aug. 26, 2006 Road Apple Ralley: Farmington, NM www.roadapplerally.com, Oct. 7, 2006 Guidebooks and Maps Mountain Biking Colorado’s La Platas, by Derek Ryter Mountain Biking Durango, by John Peel Mountain Biking Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, by Robert Hurst Local Club Durango Wheel Club, www.durangowheelclub.com
Club Rides, April 5 through Oct. 25 A-Ride, B-Plus-Ride or B-Minus-Ride, 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Meet at Schneider Park on 9th St. & Roosa or Durango Sports Club, 1600 Florida Rd. (North lot) or Sweeney's Parking Lot (corner of Hwy 550 and CR 203) C-Ride, 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Meet at Durango Rec Center, Hwy 500 Women’s Ride, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday’s, Meet at Wild Sage Salon/Bread **Some scheduled club rides start at 5:15 p.m., Check Durango Wheel Club website for details
In the 1940s, Los Alamos’ best-kept secret was the town itself and its clandestine atomic work. Today, locals and visitors to the Atomic City agree that the riding opportunities are secrets worth discovering. Perched at 7,000 feet on mesa tops of the Pajarito Plateau, Los Alamos serves as the perfect home base for Rocky Mountain riding, boasting an urban network with 85 miles of singletrack trails. Not enough? Surrounding the county trails is a wealth of public lands with desert, mountainous and canyon trails and roads. In exploring the high Southwest desert and mountain peaks, you will definitely find Los Alamos a rewarding riding destination.
Local Information Center Lodging, Events, Festivals, etc: Los Alamos Meetings and Visitor Bureau, visit.losalamos.com, 800.444.0707 or 505.662.8105 Camping Info: Call 505.672.3861 or visit for camping in Bandelier National Monument. Chamber of Commerce Local Cycling Calendar June 24–25, 2006, Valles Caldera Bike Tours, www.vallescaldera.gov July 2006, 34th Annual Tour de Los Alamos, http://tourdela.home.mindspring.com Aug. 12–13, 2006, Los Alamos Fat Tire Festival, www.losalamos.com/fattirefestival/ Guidebooks and Trail Maps Los Alamos Trails by Craig Martin, Available at local bookstores Local trail maps available at Otowi Station Bookstore and online at www.losalamos.com Local Cycling Clubs and Club Rides Los Alamos Tuff Riders Bike Club, www.tuffriders.losalamos.com Weekly Rides: Tuesdays and Thursdays (during daylight savings), 5:15 p.m., Sullivan Field parking lot Attractions Bradbury Science Museum, 15th St. and Central Ave., Los Alamos Bandelier National Monument: ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings Pajarito Ski Area, www.skipajarito.com Valles Caldera National Preserve, www.vallescaldera.gov
Arkansas Valley Arkansas River Valley: Salida and Buena Vista, Colo. Portals to the Banana Belt With a long history of cycling, an intriguing list of local legends and access to world-class trails, skiing and river sports, the artistic, old-fashioned communities of the Arkansas River Valley are home bases to one big playground. If you’re in possession of an intensely motivated soul, it would be possible to stay in Salida for a weekend in late March and mountain bike, ski, run some rapids, climb a 14’er and still have some time to enjoy a hot springs soak, gallery tour and a few good meals at the local one-of-kind eateries. Salida is a refreshingly low-hype community. On the local scene, the Colorado’s Headwaters website says it all: “Bumping into a celebrity is not likely, however, finding yourself is.” Local Information Centers Colorado’s Headwaters of Adventure, Lodging, Camping and Recreation Info: www.coloradoheadwaters.com Salida Chamber of Commerce: www.salidachamber.org, 877.772.5432 Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce: www.buenavistacolorado.org, 719.395.6612 Absolute Bikes: www.absolutebikes.com Guidebooks Salida Singletrack, by Nathan Ward, Available online or at local bike shops, www.nathanward.com Colorado Headwaters Mountain Bike Guide: Free guide available at local shops, www.ColoradoHeadwaters.com Regional Cycling Calendar Chalk Creek Stampede MSC #2 (4X and XC), June 10–11, www.racemsc.com Salida Omnium Road Race, July 28–30, Masters State Championships, www.southcentralracing.com Leadville Trail 100, Aug. 12, The classic 100-miler, www.leadvilletrail100.com Second Annual Vapor Trail 125 Mile Ultra Marathon Mountain Bike Race, Aug. 19, www.vaportrail125.com Fall Century Ride, Aug. 27, A recreational ride to Cottonwood pass with music and food, www.southcentralracing.com Banana Belt Race, Sept 16–17, www.oterocyclery.com or 719.539.704
Local Cycling Clubs and Club Rides SRC/Amicas Cycling Club: www.southcentralracing.com Group rides leave almost every day from Amicas Pizza and Brewery in downtown Salida. Other Attractions Hot Springs in Salida and Buena Vista, Arkansas River (kayaking, rafting, fishing) and Monarch Ski Area, Salida’s Amicas Brewery and Pizzeria
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Cycling Events Calendar 2006 New Series! Rocky Ultra NORBA Marathon MTB Race Series www.usacycling.org/norbawest This inaugural Rocky Ultra series, sponsored by NORBA, is a first for an endurance series set solely in the Rocky Mountain states. It brings together some classic endurance races and should be a huge hit. Be sure to ramp up your riding time and sign up for a few. • 12 Hours of E100, June 24, Park City, Utah, www.theendurance100.com or Boris Lyubner, 435.649.2129 • Firecracker 50, July 4, Breckenridge, Colo., www.mavsports.com or Jeff Westcott, 970.453.5640 • Breckenridge 100, July 15, Breckenridge, Colo., www.warriorscycling.com or Thane Wright, 970.262.9120 • Laramie Enduro, July 29, Laramie, Wyo., www.laramieenduro.org or Richard Vincent, 307.745.8682 • Montezuma's Revenge, Aug 11-12, Montezuma, Colo., www.montezumasrevenge.com or Byron Sweezy, 970.668.8900 • Endurance 100, Aug 26, Park City, Utah, www.theendurance100.com or Boris Lyubner, 435.649.2129
Mountain Flyer Favorites Mountain Bike Events Crested Butte Classic, July 15, Crested Butte, Colo., Crorussell@yahoo.com Los Alamos Fat Tire Festival, Aug. 12-13, Los Alamos, N.M., www.losalamos.com/fattirefestival Vapor Trail, Aug. 19-20, Salida, Colo. *Minor course changes this year, even more singletrack! www.vaportrail125.com or 888.539.9295
24 Hours in the Sage, Aug. 19-20, Gunnison, Colo., www.24hoursinthesage.com Rocky Mountain Single-Speed Championships, September 2006, Fruita, Colo., www.otesports.com
Banana Belt, Sept. 16-17, Salida, Colo., www.oterocyclery.com or 719.539.704 Frazer Mountain Madness, Sept. 23-24, Taos, N.M., www.frazermountainmadness.com or 505.776.8785 continued on next page
2006 Calendar Continued Mt. Princeton Hell Climb Time Trial, Oct. 1 Nathrop, Colo. www.rpmcycling.org or 719.221.1251 Chuska Challenge, Oct. 7-9, Tsaile, Ariz., on the Navajo Reservation *This is a weekend fundraising ride with all proceeds benefiting the YES (youth empowerment services), a Navajo youth program. A two-day, fully supported ride in the Chuska mountains. Complete with live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, demos and traditional foods. The event kicks off on Friday with the riding on Saturday and Sunday. For more info, contact event director Tom Riggenbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.altrue.net/site/nnyes. The Soul Ride, Oct. 21, Oracle, Ariz., www.epicrides.com The Bogus to Boise Banzai, Oct. 8, Boise, Idaho, www.wildrockies.com "The World's Longest Downhill Cross-Country Race" returns after a 12-year absence. This legendary event also features the official NORBA Idaho State & Northwest Region Single-speed Championships.
Road Bike Events Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb, July 22, Idaho Springs, Colo., 303.322.2420 or email@example.com *New this year: Full road closure on race day. Very cool. Salida Omnium, July 28-30, Salida, Colo., www.southcentralracing.com Gateway Canyons Road Race, Sept. 2-3, Grand Junction, Colo., 970.275.1711 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Links to Complete Cycling Events Schedules Arizona Events: www.azcycling.com or www.mountainbikeaz.com Colorado Events: www.americancycling.org, www.bouldercycling.com or www.racemsc.com Idaho Events: www.wildrockies.com or swww.lacticacidheads.com New Mexico Events: www.nmcycling.org Utah Events: www.cycleutah.com Wyoming Events: www.cyclewyoming.com
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We spun past tiny fishing villages, rushing rivers and sheep-filled pastures bordered by field stone walls and brightened by splashes of purple heather and sunny yellow gorse.
Mythic Landscape Comes to Life Biking Ireland’s Wild West By Bill Conway
As part of a family trip, Bill Conway, his wife and his parents rolled through Roundstone, one of the oldest fishing villages on the west coast.
“So, you ready to ride?” queries Nick, a young American, whose twinkling eyes and slightly protruding ears made him look suspiciously like an oversized leprechaun. I peer out the windows of Zetland House, an old hunting lodge in Connemara, on the wild western coast of Ireland. Sheets of wind-driven rain whip the surrounding trees into a soggy frenzy, not what I would normally consider ideal biking weather. But riding is what we have come to Ireland to do, a five-night, six-day tour organized by Backroads, an active travel company based in Berkeley, Calif. So I zip up my rain gear and pedal off into the stormy Irish countryside after my 75-year-old parents. They were the ones who had started me down this wet road 106
months before when they invited my wife, Amy, and I to join them for a twowheeled exploration of our family’s Irish roots. And it would be here that we would compose a new chapter in our family mythology. While the weather was often a challenge, the biking was spectacular. Our route took us along lightly traveled roads that hugged the North Atlantic coast. We spun past tiny fishing villages, rushing rivers and sheep-filled pastures bordered by field stone walls and brightened by splashes of purple heather and sunny yellow gorse. Heading inland, we crossed deserted stretches of bog land where, it’s said, locals refuse to travel at night for fear of the evil spirit who lives there: the bogey man. The 18 riders in our group were
encouraged to travel at their own pace. Whenever anyone had reached their limit, a smiling Canadian named Lindsey would appear in a brightly colored Backroads van to whisk them back to the hotel. While our daily rides were relatively flat, we eventually circumnavigated the Twelve Pins, a small mountain range whose moss-colored peaks would often disappear into dark clouds only to remerge in a new perspective as the skies cleared further up the road. Stock images of Ireland that might have previously seemed like fairy-tales came to life. Leprechauns chasing pots of gold across the Emerald Isle suddenly felt real, a natural part of the mystical landscape. My personal pot of gold was the leisurely time I got to spend with my
On the daily rides we would often start out together, then gradually separate, only to come back together at a scenic overlook, in front of a peat fire at a pub or around the table at the end of a leisurely dinner. parents, something Amy and I increasbiking, but with a weekly exercise one person had opted to ride, my father, ingly appreciate as our own children who had started off 20 minutes earlier. A routine that includes trail running, grow up and move away from home. swimming, weight training, spinning “soft” Irish rain continued to fall, and Relieved of the responsibilities of work, and the occasional yoga class, I pride when Lindsey returned with the van, kids and even planning what to do every Amy elected to get in with her. myself on being in pretty good shape. day, we were free to enjoy each But genetics also play a factor, other’s company in new and and my father, as my own relaxed ways. athletic son would say, is a On the daily rides we would beast. Climbing over another often start out together, then pass, speeding through quiet gradually separate, only to come villages, it took me 45 minutes, back together at a scenic overpedaling as hard as I could, look, in front of a peat fire at a before I finally caught sight of pub or around the table at the him chugging up yet another end of a leisurely dinner. hill. Inspired by our Irish hosts, who “There you are,” I said as I almost universally love to talk, puffed up beside him. “I joke and tell tales, we shared thought I was going to run out funny stories about our family, of real estate.” both past and present, including From right to left, Bill Conway, the author, his wife Amy, and his father, “I knew you’d get here evenalso Bill Conway were bundled up and ready to ride. those who had emigrated to tually,” he smiled. America from County Mayo, less Settling into a comfortable than a hundred miles north of cadence, we rode together where we were riding. along the banks of Lough The new chapter in our famiCorrib, where the ruins of an ly mythology was created on the ancient island fortress floated longest day of our trip, a total of in and out of the mist. We were 41 miles if one chose to ride the almost to Ashford Castle when entire route. The morning ride the familiar Backroads van was an Irish classic, the wind at swung around a corner and our backs and the sun on our Lindsey pulled over to check faces as we pedaled around a on our status. quiet peninsula, across a spirit“You dropped Nick,” she filled stretch of bog land and grinned. “Awesome.” The author and his wife pose in front of a thatched cottage, an imporfinally along the banks of A quick check on the twotant part of Irish heritage. Ireland’s only fjord to the town of way radio located Nick a few Nick was on my rear wheel as we Leenane. miles back. He had stopped to put on a Rain started to fall, yet again, when we started the long, steady climb out of the jacket, gotten hung up at a road convillage. I pumped him for some climbing struction site, then thought someone settled in for a pub lunch of mussels in a tips and, putting them to use, stood up white wine sauce, soaked up with thick was playing a trick on him when he out of the saddle, powered up the last soda bread. By the time lunch was over, never caught up to us. most of the group climbed into the warm, section of the climb then shifted into the The aging athlete in both of us was biggest gear I had as I took off down the dry van bound for that night’s accommofeeling pretty awesome indeed as my other side. When I finally stopped and dations, Ashford Castle, a Relais and father and I rolled through the stone looked around, Nick was nowhere in Chateaux fantasy that was once the prigates of Ashford Castle. Stopping at the sight. I briefly considered waiting for him crest of a final hill, we gazed down at the vate estate of the Guinness family. but couldn’t get past the fact that my Amy and I decided to check out the turrets reaching up toward us from the almost 76-year-old father was somelocal wool museum where we learned shore of the white-capped lake: another where up ahead. Surrounded by the rain- fairy-tale come to life. probably more than we needed to about soaked hills of Ireland, the land of our Irish sheep and how their hardy fleeces I moved aside to let my father lead forefathers, I felt an archetypal need to are carded, spun and turned into yarn. the way across the drawbridge into the catch up with him. Nick was on his own. When we finally emerged, we found castle. The ladies and a cold pint of Until this trip I hadn’t done much Nick waiting alone by the bikes. Only Guinness were waiting. Mountain Flyer
by John Fleck
yclists notice the wind, perhaps like pilots or kite fliers, probably more than most other folks. On my favorite rides, I know where all the flagpoles are— especially early, near my house, which I need to use to get my bearings. There’s the humongous US flag at the big freeway interchange in the center of town, and another on the motel where the bike path crosses Menaul Blvd. They took down the flags at the Kwik-E-Mart up on Montgomery (sigh), but the big gravel operation north of Rennaissance Center faithfully flies its patriotism and gives me a good north side reading. But my favorite wind vane is a bit more subtle. Up at the north end of my morning ride is a factory that makes breakfast cereal. If there’s a headwind, you can smell the baking sugar treats before you get there. The stronger the headwind, the earlier you catch the aroma. I love the smell of baking Cheerios in the morning. It smells like . . . cycling. Stopping to smell the Cheerios from the factory across the road, John chews on a Clif Bar—proof that there is more to his snack diet. photo by riding buddy, Jaime Dispenza
Number 4, 2006