Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SKIN Suit

Well, thank you Columbia Women's Cycling Team...

The BIG news in the world today isn't a post- Vuelta positive by a biggie, nor the middle eastern crisis, it's that the women in Columbia wore a skin suit that makes them look over exposed.  Mind you, when your wearing a skin suit, or any lycra for that matter, your just wearing over priced  underwear.  How is it that the cycling clothing industry talked us into believing that the thinest clothing possible is somehow better?  Anyway, I sure the hell won't stop wearing it because I at least feel faster wearing it...

News Flash!
Believe it or not, Brian Cookson and the UCI are  getting on the band wagon.  They will be investigating the kit's and inviting the ladies over for a BBQ after the Giro della Toscana.




 This does however give me some sweet kit ideas for SET COACHING/HILTI-NW.... look out 2015! Well, that is until we get some sponsor dollars, otherwise I will keep researching body paint for the team.

joe

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall Means Cyclocross

It’s that time of the year again, cyclocross season! And for a great way to satisfy those competitive juices why not take that gravel grinder (aka cyclocross bike!) to a course near you for some great fun, camaraderie and all around good time. Starting the week following the last of the TCCC rides (TBD), plan to make your way down to Big Cross at 6 pm on Wednesday nights (lights required soon!) where for the next several months where we will have some impromptu cyclocross “practice”; working on barrier skills, run ups, dismounts, etc. with hot laps thrown in to get a great workout. Depending on turn out, we may even be able to have some informal race scenarios. As for the actual events on tap around the NW, wow there are a mind blowing quantity of options this season! Last night was the season kick off Nationally with Sven Nys taking another CrossVegas race. This weekend is “Starcrossed” in Redmond at the Marymoor Velodrome Park, supposed to be the biggest cash payout in US cross this year! A great venue to watch.



http://www.starcrossedcx.com/



Here’s a preliminary “planned” schedule, 8 weekends of racing, 13 events if all accomplished, subject to change of course: Bolded events are my “most likely”





Sandpoint Cyclocross festival – October 4th and 5th (Part of the new Wild West Series this year)



Sky Ranch Cyclocross – Saturday October 18th (part of the Inland Empire Series)

-or-

PIR Heron Lakes CX – Sunday October 19th – (Cross Crusade event)



Walla Walla Cyclocross – October 25th and 26th (Part of the Inland Empire Series CLOSE to home! Don’t miss it!)



Thunder Cross – November 1st and 2nd – Missoula, MT (Part of the Wild West Series)



Walters Fruit Ranch CX – Sunday November 9th (Inland Empire Series)

-or-

PIR Infield course CX – Sunday November 9th – (Cross Crusade event)



Coeur d’Alene CX Finals – Wild West series – Saturday November 15th

Coeur d’Alene CX event – (Inland Empire Series)



Riverside Rumble CX – Saturday November 22nd (Inland Empire Series)

Washington State Cyclocross Championships – Sunday November 23rd



Inland Empire Series Finals – Cd’L Saturday, December 13th







Here are the links to the above series, as well as additional series around the NW:



www.inlandnwcyclocross.com



www.wildwestcxseries.com NEW Series!



www.crosscrusade.com The world’s biggest!



www.cyclocross.gp Because the CC is SO big, a Saturday option added couple years back, almost finished already...



www.cross-revolution.com Seattle area



www.mfgcyclocross.com Seattle area





Sure hope you can make some of these either to try out a race, or simply to bang some cowbell and have a great time checking out what this incredibly fun sport is all about.



JohnnyG

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nason Ridge



So if you get a chance to hit the lake Wenatchee area you need to!  There are some fantastic trails in the area including the nason Ridge ride which is an out and back.  I  rode about six miles of this which gets you about 2700' in vertical, giving you a good work out as well as great views.  Fun times plus some of the boys from Viscious showed up!  We found a huge tree as well, hence the picks of us looking straight up.













Thursday, August 28, 2014

No Solo

Not a big announcement, but something to consider:

Our blog is team supported now, meaning that there will no longer be a single author (Mostly Joe, Rod, then Damon and Charlie) as in the past.  It is an open forum for team cycling updates.

It is hoped by theorists that this will open more opportunity for quality ride assessments and critical thinking.  It has been stated by the Team SET Coaching/Hilti-NW think tank, rented thru federal funding,  that the " ... ample perfusion of thought and ideas pervasive on the web has equal  footing on the bounding of sociological logistical paradigms and multi-facitudinal perimeters of sub-cultural ethos."

That said, there is no filter on content.

Joe




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ENDURO racing! Cascadia Dirt Cup Rainier recap

On August 16th I traveled to Ranger Creek off Hwy 410 for the 3rd race in the Cascadia Dirt Cup Enduro series. The trail conditions were epic and so was the course. All 240 of us climbed Ranger Creek trail to the start of the first section of the race. It was upper Palisades. The second section was lower Palisades. The trails were filled with rocks and roots in the dark forest. It was a chilly descent at first but things heated up quick. The transition back to the aid station was on the White River Trail, which I'd like to go back and meander along some more. I was seriously tired by this point and stopped along the trail to consume peanut butter and Nutella banana sandwiches. It was beautiful winding through the mess of ferns, moss, and roots. The last stage began with a slog of a climb up the forest service road to Sun Top. The race only sent us down lower Sun Top but it was plenty after the first half of the day. Lower Sun Top is fast and filled with needle sharp switchbacks. Like 12 of them. The switchbacks are not fast like the rest of the trail and I could smell brakes by the bottom. I could also feel the cramps in my legs by the bottom. I turned in my timing chip for a 30 minute race time, while overall I was in the saddle for 7 hours and thirty minutes. I placed 12/25 in the sport class for men 30-39. Not too shabby if you ask me, especially since the overall numbers for the day were 25 miles with 6400ft of climbing. I am looking forward to the next CDC race! They put on a great race on great trails. The people are pretty nice too. *thanks to Cascade Bob for the picture*


-Will

Review and 1st ride report

 2015 Giant Anthem 29er at Harris Park on the South and North Fork Walla Walla trails.


What better way to take the new steed out on its maiden voyage than for an Epic day in the Blue mountains?  After missing the boat on the early season order of a new Giant Anthem 29er and chomping at the bit as they have been sold out nationally for months, thanks to Scott’s cycles and the NW Giant rep for getting to me a 2015 Anthem as soon as it was available!  After debating on whether to go “tweener” (27.5) or “29er” for my new dually, opted to stick with the big wheel platform as I’m a XC rider with a knack for fast XC riding, keeping both wheels firmly on the ground, and LOVE the way the big wheels roll.  I must say, I definitely was NOT disappointed.  Plus the shock and parts spec of the aluminum Anthem 29er is stellar.  That said, I decided to upgrade, likely unnecessarily after really comparing the parts, to a full Shimano XT over the stock SLX, throwing on my nice and light Stans Crest/XTR wheels I outfitted the Anthem with 2.1” Maxxis CrossMark tires, thanks to our generous sponsorship from Maxxis.  Love how these tires roll over the trail, yet still corner and climb excellently.  I also picked up a pair of the 2.2” Maxxis Ikon’s, reviewed as an even better boot, which is hard to imagine!  Once I give those a roll, will offer up a future review.  Rounding out the customizing was the always personal cockpit changes (threw on my 3T LTD flat carbon 640mm bars, 120mm stem, and personal saddle, which happens to be a Fizik Arione Tri2).

I set off for Harris Park for a South Fork/Cabin Creek/North Fork trail option.  If you’ve ridden these trails, the 1st several miles are rocky and ROUGH.  I feel for newbies who head here for a 1st time mtb experience on an entry level bike and get beat up.  It takes several miles to get into the “good stuff”, which never disappoints, nice flowing single track with the spectacular the South fork of the Walla Walla river flowing alongside... makes for some great riding.  And the Anthem?  I’ve ridden this trail numerous times over the years of the evolution of the MTB, from back in the day of rigid 26” fork, to my previously best dually (2010 26” Anthem X), to last time on my hard tail Giant XTC Composite 29er.  This trip was, by far, my most enjoyable.  The bike performed flawlessly, with the Maestro suspension soaking up the rough terrain like someone came through and smoothed out the trail.  The new Fox Evolution series shock and fork are spectacular, LOVE the new “CTD” (Climb, Trail, Descend) settings.  I had dialed in the compression right in the middle on both, with the air according to Giant’s factory recommendations for my weight.  Perfect.  Was slightly concerned that would find the aluminum chassis “flexi” compared to the solid XTC composite hard tail sporting a down tube seemingly honed from a solid 4x4 post, but did not find it to be.  Not having that “solid” connection was DEFINITELY better in almost every situation!  Once beginning the ½ hour + steady climb up to the old plane crash site, I set the rear to “Climb” mode with a flick of the lever and was amazed at the climbing efficiency.  Over the years my least desirable feature of some dual suspension bikes has been the dreaded “bob”.  I did not experience this on the Anthem.  Tipping the scales in the mid 25 lb range allowed the big wheeler to feel exceptionally nimble under me, navigating the tight switchback climbs with ease.  Giant has their Anthem geometry dialed in.  Going down the other side into the North Fork trail, I flipped the shock levers to “Descend” and set off on a smile inducing, smooth, chatter free, fast and flowing downhill. Shimano’s latest disc brakes are truly amazing, 1 finger feathering is usually all that’s needed, and no rotor rub or fading after a long decent?  Wonderful.  Once at the bottom, flicked the shocks back into “trail” mode where I would spend much of the time.  Sections of the trail are accessible by ATV, and in places there are numerous “softball size” loose rocks scattered across the single/double track, always presenting a challenge, but the big wheels handle them better than anything else I’ve ridden up here.
This ride report would not be complete without mention of the encounter Dennis and I had with a young black BEAR as we were coming back in the North Fork Trail.  This encounter started with an odd sounding “cry” that had both Dennis and I thinking, “What was that?” Sounding like a cry or yelp, or possibly like a sasquatch call...next thing I see is a young, 1 or 2 year old black bear shimming up a 2’+ dia tamarack tree 15’ off the trail next to us!  We’d observed some very healthy “piles of fresh berries” on the trail on our way up, with Dennis even convinced, after 3 ½ hours of riding, that there was a bear whistle in one of the piles he passed.  He also swore he saw a purple unicorn, so we’ll discount the source...
After the smooth flowing 15 minute decent back down from the plane crash site, enjoyed the 1st several miles of flowing singletrack back towards the park. Had been anxious to see how the last few miles into Harris Park would feel, as it’s a rough go, a b-b-b-brutally rocky/rough ride on a hard tail, so left the Anthem set to “descend” mode and was grateful for it.

Powering this 4 hour ride were several vanilla Gu gel’s and packs of “Chomps”, yet another generous sponsorship opportunity, thanks to the Hilti NW/Set Coaching/Scott’s Cycles team for putting together these great sponsors.

Summary:  The Giant Anthem 29er is an amazing ride.  Fast, very comfortable, agile, efficient and, well, a perfect choice for hours of mountain biking the great NW trails, be it the Blue mountains, Phil’s Trails of Bend, McKenzie River trail, etc.  I personally can’t wait to try it out at Beezley Burn race next year, which I have to say, courses like that are why I have come “back” to the dually after a brief foray back into the hard tail world.  Even though my mind tells me I’m 25 year old cat 1, the back and body are that of a 44 year old trying to squeeze cat 1 distances out of a cat 2 training volume, and the Anthem is just the ticket for that journey.

Thanks for reading,

JohnnyG

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Little Bald Trail


Mark Holtzinger and I did the Little Bald Trail yesterday and were treated to the best conditions I've ever seen up there!  Some fresh rain has the trail dust free in August so go check it out if you haven't been there!!  There's something for everyone.

http://trails.evergreenmtb.org/trails/little-bald-mountain