Thursday, December 11, 2014

Got socks?



Most of you are familiar with socks made from Merino Wool. Over tens years ago, Patty and Peter started a company called Smartwool. Smartwool brought on board a full line of socks and base layer clothing made from Merino wool. After a period of success, they both took a break and, if I am correct, Smartwool was sold to Timberland.

I will tell you that I still own several Smartwool socks and base layer tops from when the Dukes owned the company.  I have also turned many cyclist on to their products over the years; you start wearing socks made from Merino wool, you will not go back to anything else.   A few years back, the "itch" returned for Patty and Peter - so to speak - and  they started Point6, a Merino wool outlet.

I was pleased when I found out that the Dukes were back in business. I now have several pair of socks for work and cycling that I purchased from Point6. You will not be disappointed! These are the most comfortable socks you could wear. Not only that, you will not get the odor you experience with polyester socks.

I do not usually promote products, but the company offers well made socks that are comfortable and hold up very well. Please take an opportunity to visit their website "point6.com".   Hopefully, there may be some base layer products in the future as well.

Happy Trails,
Rick

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday Evening Rides 2014

Wednesday Evening Rides 2014

Hi All.....

With the time change over the weekend, a new year starts for the
"Wednesday Evening Ride".  This will be my 15th year leading this event; time flies when you're having fun. This week appears to be rather cool; so as our weather improves hopefully we will be able to get out these coming weeks.

Again, I plan on either deviding the group up or keep together, depending on how large a group we have that night.

I have found that we have lost a few people this last year, because of the fast pace.  By dividing the riders up, hopefully this will accomplish  better riding groups. We are also going to promote safe cycling skills during these rides. This means maintaining safe speeds in multi-use areas, pointing out hazards along the way to other cyclist in the group and obeying the rules of the road (which I am guilty. This is still considered a social ride and I would like to think we can strive to maintain this. 

I well continue to change the designated route each week. So, if you miss a week, you may also loose out riding your favorite route.

After each evening ride, people have the option of going to Hanson's Grill and Tavern, on the corner of Louisiana and Pearl St. As RMCC members and our "Wedsnesday Evening Riders, we will continue to receive 15% off non-special ordered items. This restaurant has worked out very well for us.

If you have questions, feel free to call or email me.

Lets make this another great year for cycling.


Happy Trails,
Rick

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014 New Year's Day Century



Submitted by Jim Kraychy.

 I can’t stand riding a dirty bike. Dirt means you don’t care about your bike. At the least, parts wear out faster, and replacements are expensive.

Almost as much as riding a dirty bike, I hate cleaning bikes because of the time it takes away from riding. Quite the conundrum it seems – I much prefer riding than cleaning.

In order to avoid downtime and mental anguish, I will go out of my way to avoid puddles on a sunny day, or if possible, slow way down to avoid splashing ( about 7 miles an hour or less is good ). Even will bunny hop bad looking spots. All in effort to keep the bike clean as possible.

There are several stages of mental anguish in my head when conditions become cruddy enough to start getting the bike dirty. First, rain or snow starts falling ( no big deal, nothing is sticking to the pavement yet ). Then the pavement starts to get noticeably damp ( still no big deal, not enough for anything to be thrown up on the bike ). Then the road is wet ( again, no problem, isn’t enough to get the bike dirty, still hoping to stave off the inevitable entropy ). Next, there is enough water that the tires start throwing up drops ( well, OK, maybe can get away with just wiping things down ). Last come the full blown rooster tails ( that means the whole bike will need to be cleaned now ).

On your person, you first start feeling noticeably wet through your clothes on your backside ( rear end, derriere, etc. ) from spray off the rear tire. If you are drafting in a pack, then you are getting a rooster tail right in the face ( have to clean the sunglasses now also - sometimes riding off center helps a little, but you loose the best draft and waste energy ).

Soon the feet start feeling wet: spray from the front tire is deflected off the down tube right on your feet ( have to clean the shoes now also ). Then the shoes start filling up with water ( love that soggy, squishy feeling [ sarcasm ] - worst case have to clean and dry the shoes inside and out, usually by taking them in the shower, then setting them out to dry for a few hours or overnight – but usually do that about twice a year anyway ).

Yes, obviously fenders on the bike would help some, but your clothes are still going to get wet, and the bike will still need maintenance in this type of conditions, even though they help tremendously with controlling rooster tails.

Laundry is no problem, have to do it anyway after every ride. Same with showering. Bike cleaning, however, is added downtime. Mental angst builds as the water and crud start flying, and the bike starts getting really dirty ( going to have to spend major time cleaning it now - pull the chain and cassette, drain the frame and rims, flush the cable housings, empty the seat pack to clean and dry the contents, etc. etc.). Arghh !.

However, after a time, if wet conditions continue, an epiphany of sorts is reached: your clothes can’t get any wetter, you can’t get any dirtier ( well, maybe ). And best of all, the bike can’t get any more trashed, maintenance time stops increasing exponentially, and reaches a plateau. Then the ride becomes really fun again !

Three out of many rides come to mind as memorable examples of wet, dirty experiences: the 2001 Triple Bypass ( Bergen Park, Colorado to Avon, in July ), the 2008 Boulder Roubaix Road Race ( in August ), and the 2014 RMCC New Years Day Century.

On the Triple Bypass, it rained hard the last 30 miles, all the way from the top of Vail Pass down to Avon. “Just” rain ( relatively clean actually ), but lots of it. Got soaked in about a minute, and stayed that way. Had a blast working hard going downhill to keep warm, trading off pulls in a pack of riders ( no way to keep warm just sitting in drafting off the pack ). Really enjoyed the sunshine in the park at the finish.

Boulder Roubaix is run on a mix of paved and mostly ( normally wonderful ) dirt roads in the triangle in between Boulder, Lyons, and Longmont. That Saturday morning it was raining ( by mid day the rain had stopped and skies had cleared – afternoon categories had dry conditions ). Back then, the short course was used, maybe 8 miles per lap ( ? ), and 5 or more laps ( depending on the category ).

On the dirt section, a small puddle at a right hand sweeping corner grew larger on each successive lap until it reached ¾ of the way across the road ( enough that going through the puddle would shorten the distance travelled by feet – significant in a race ). On the paved section, I remember intentionally riding in the rooster tail of the rider in front of me to try and clean off some of the dirt from my face and water bottles so I could get a drink without imbibing more crud than I had to.

After the race, there was a gritty kind of fine sand everywhere: in my eyes, in my ears, in my mouth, up my nose, etc. Even had a pile of it built up on top of my head, kept in place by my helmet. Also had some in my shorts, and felt like some got in where the sun don’t shine. I actually stopped at a car wash on the way home to start cleaning the bike. Used a whole can of WD-40 to flush all the grit out of the shifter mechanisms, brake levers, and cable housings.

At least that crud was relatively homogenous dirt, almost “clean” in comparison to the 2014 New Years Day Century.


January 1st, 2014 was the twelfth anniversary of the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club New Years Day Century. This ride, started by Val Phelps, was first held in 2003. It was cancelled once ( 2007 ) and had to be postponed about a week or so ( becoming the “New Years Century” ) three times ( 2008, 2011, and 2013 ) due to adverse weather and / or unsafe road conditions. ( side note: Val has since moved to Texas and doesn’t have to deal very much with winter anymore ! ).

This year, it was difficult to decide beforehand what to do with the ride, go ahead as planned or postpone in hopes of better conditions. Because of the conflicting weather forecasts on New Years Eve, it was impossible to tell which would be the better day: Wednesday ( New Years Day ), or the following Saturday ( January 5th ). One forecast called for a greater chance of snow Wednesday, the other Saturday. Not fair to people to cancel / postpone the ride on very short notice ( i.e. the night before ) either. Decided to just wing it, see what things looked like Wednesday morning at the ride start.

At least 35 like minded riders showed up by the 8:00 start time, all ready to go. Snow started falling as we got ready to ride. Just before we started off it was beginning to accumulate in the parking lot. Roads looked to be just damp, not wet enough for rooster tails. No one seemed hesitant, so off we went.

Conditions didn’t deteriorate any further until up by the airport West of Wadsworth. Saw a snow plow headed the opposite direction up on top of The Wall above Superior. Snow was coming down harder up there. Road was very wet. Got soaked coming down The Wall, continuing on Marshall and Cherryvale into Boulder. I had fleeting thoughts of turning around ( using hypothermia as an excuse ), but skies looked lighter to the North towards Lyons, so onward.

Roads started to dry out going through Boulder and North towards Lyons, and were completely dry heading up and back down Rabbit Mountain. My clothes actually dried out and I started warming up ( except for my feet – no way shoes full of water will dry completely on such a “short“ ride ), thanks to the climb and small patches of sunshine.

Things became sloppy again, even worse than before, after we turned South on CR19, when a snow squall coming in from the North East overtook us from behind..

Out there in farm country, in the oil patch, there can be much more on the pavement than just water. A mixture of the obvious water, with snow, slush, sand, gravel, Magnesium Chloride, mud, oil ( you can see the rainbow it forms in standing water ), clay, goose crap, fertilizer ( excrement – smelled like spring time out there in Weld County ), etc. makes for a perfect combination that really sticks to everything. Tastes great too ( extreme sarcasm here ! ).

We were finally able to outrun the storm using a rotating pace line ( felt like it took at least ten miles of riding in that slop ). Things dried off for us again on Riverdale, and there was a little more sunshine back at the Park-and-Ride to help warm up ( and bake on all the crud ). By far the worst conditions in the history of the New Years ride.

At the truck, all the bike clothes went directly into a big plastic garbage bag: shoes, helmet, all except the sunglasses ( don’t want to scratch the lenses ). Everything must have weighed at least 5 pounds more than at the start. I’d bet about a pound of dirt stuck to the bike.

Back at home, first a hot shower and then start the laundry. Helped to pre-rinse all the clothes so the washer doesn’t get loaded up with silt. Then the bike went into the shower ( don’t have access to a garden hose at home in the winter ), first the front then rear wheel, finally the frame. Only way to really get all that nasty stuff off is with a scrub brush and lots of running warm water.
Probably spent close to four and a half hours cleaning the bike this time, re-lubing everything and fixing my flat. But, for the chance to ride with a great group of people, screw the weather and crap on the road, it was more than worth the cleaning time. In a group of riders, everyone is in the same boat. So keep the negative thoughts out of mind ( there are lots worse things in life than a little wind / wet / crud / whatever ). No drama; turn off the brain, and just ride harder. Afterwards you will be laughing about all the dirt and wet.

Besides, riding outdoors sure beats indoors on the trainer any day. And any ride with a good group is a joy. A big thank you to all who came out for a grand soirĂ©e. Glad we didn’t wait until Saturday to ride the century, when the real snow storm arrived !


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Summer Super Contrail 2014

Summer Super Contrail 2014

June 14-21, 2014


                                          2014 State Bridge route
Sat June 14th Day 1:  Frisco to Buena Vista.

First pass of the week takes us through Breckenridge and over Hoosier Pass into the grand South Park Valley.  Choosing to stay off of US 285 we will traverse to Hartsel and turn west on US24 to complete the day ending up in Buena Vista for our 1st day.  Easy day to get the legs and bike warmed up.

Sun June 15th Day 2: Buena Vista to Crested Butte.

Cottonwood Pass tops out at 12,126 ft and includes the dirt section down to Taylor Park.  From Taylor Park it is a nice descent to Almont where we turn right and continue on towards Crested Butte.  

Monday June 16th Day 3:  Crested Butte to Gunnison.

Big Day.  Ascending Kebler Pass from Crested Butte is again on Colorado dirt but the reports are favorable.  We connect up with CO 133 just below Paonia Reservoir and continue to Paonia and pick up CO 92 to Crawford.  This is the north side of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and is not often on tour routes.  We then continue past blue Mesa Reservoir to Gunnison.  Looking forward to this day.

Tuesday June 17th Day 4:  Gunnison to Cedaredge.

Descending albeit a few rollers to Montrose, Delta and then to Cedaredge.

Wednesday June 18th Day 5:  Cedaredge to Red Stone

Just a small McClure Pass to ascend and then to Red Stone.  Really nice place to stay.  Anyone need to get married?

Thursday June 19th Day 6:  Riders Choice

Fishing on the Crystal?  Sun tan by the pool?  Glenwood hot springs?  Ride to Maroon Bells?

Friday June 20th Day 7:  Redstone to Leadville.

Brent's bday and a glorious ride over Independence Pass at 12,095 ft.  What fun!

Saturday June 21st Day 8:  Leadville to Frisco.

Beginning with Tennessee Pass to Minturn and then the short rise over Vail Pass to Copper Mountain and Frisco.


Interested?
Ride with GPS has made the route available on Google.  "ride with gps rocky mountain cycling club"  Subscibers can just go to RockyMountainCyclingClub.

Contrails have been run for 20 years as a training ride and service to our members.  We provide sag support and run this with double occupancy and meals are on your own.  During the ride food in the sag is available to share.  We like to call this "A ride with friends".  Adequate training such as brevets or centuries are recommended to help enjoy your week on the bike.  Please refer to past issues of RUSA and search saddle sores.  This ride includes some Colorado dirt roads which, are not the first choice, do allow a rider to reach new rides and therefore have been included.  28C tires could be used for such.  Sag is also the other option.

Refer to rmccrides.com to sign up.  Must be RMCC member.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Out of Sight..


How many times, do you find yourself riding along and either look up and can not read the street sign or the route cue sheet that RMCC provides during the "Weekend Training Rides". You're not alone. I cannot remember the number of times someone has asked  "What does this say?" Most people do not realize that there are options out there for those sunglasses we wear. And that is prescription lenses can be added to most brands. This includes glasses for other sport activities as well.

One firm that has advertised and offered pricing discounts to RMCC members is "Sports Optical".

Brett Hunter founded this company in 1993. "We do this differently then any other LensCrafter". For the optics, we use unique, proprietary formulas to adjust for the strength of you prescription, the curvature of the lenses and dimensions of the frame used. All lenses are made by hand. Nothing like that added personal touch.

I personally have had glasses from Sports Optical. I can remember bringing them in to Brett after I accidentally sat on them. Brett actually saved them. I really thought that my glasses were not repairable; boy was I surprised!

So if you are tired of squinting, trying to read something with out your corrected glasses, it may pay to look it to adding prescription lenses to your sports glasses. You never know what you could be missing!

Happy Trails,
Rick


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Will You Join Me on the F5?


One of the most intriguing rides for me on the RMCC calendar is the “Boulder Fearsome Five”, part of the RMCC Challenge Series. Those who know me will say, “No kidding—it's a crazy climbing ride. Of course you'd be interested, Mark!”

We claim that this is one of the hardest, if the not the hardest, century rides in the country—it climbs 15,000 feet in 100 miles by taking in the five hardest climbs in Boulder Country—Flagstaff, Magnolia, Sugarloaf, Fourmile, and Super Jamestown. Just to add further interest, a couple sections of dirt are even thrown in for good measure.

Okay, so this article is supposed to talk you into doing the ride, not out of it! Here is why I want to do it and why I hope you'll join me as well:

First, it's an epic challenge that doesn't involve huge amounts of mileage. Most of the big special-event type rides that the RMCC runs involve distances of at least 200 miles. Quite simply, that's not the direction I'm headed as a cyclist at this point. Doing a hard century—I'm in! For me, being able to complete an event like this one would be truly satisfying.

Second, as I live on the south side of town, these are simply not climbs I do on a routine basis. We do a lot of club rides that go up Lefthand Canyon, but the climbs on this course simply don't otherwise show up much on our calendar. I'm always on the lookout for a ride that is different, and this fits the bill.

Third—it's run at a sensible time of the year. Doing lower-elevation climbs like this day all day in July or August could get miserably hot. Riding in the cooler temperatures of early May sounds much more appetizing.

Fourth, the ride has “bailout” options. Honestly, I'm skeptical as to whether I can complete the whole course. Like many, the spring weather this year has meant that I've got fewer miles in than I had hoped. It's been a couple of years since I've done anything remotely in this ballpark. That's not an obstacle with this ride however. If I get to where I can't go anymore, simply point the bike downhill, coast back to the finish and I'm done. Nice!

Moreover, the event is structured such that everyone gets “credit” for the number of climbs they complete within the eleven-hour time limit. If my legs are finished after 3 climbs—I'll get credit for that; if I complete all 5, I'll be credited for that too. The point being that you won't be listed as “DNF” because you couldn't complete it all. The only losers are those who choose to “DNS” (did not start).

In short, for such a hard ride it's very non-intimidating!

I'm sure most of the “super-riders” in the club will be out for the ride as they were last year. I'm just a “regular rider” however. Hopefully more of you “regular” folks will join me for the fun!

If you do come out, please keep a few things in mind:

These climbs are steep. If you have a choice, use the bike with the low gears. Compact or triple cranksets and pancake-sized rear cogs were invented for rides like this.

We do have to ride Boulder Canyon for a few miles, which carries a lot of traffic. There is also a short tunnel. As such, use of a rear taillight is required.

The Fourmile Canyon/Sunshine loop does have several miles of dirt. This section is very rideable on standard road tires, but do be aware that it is there.

The club offers limited support on this ride. We'll go by our cars a couple of times which provides a good opportunity to refuel. There are plenty of stores in and around Boulder. And there'll be a support vehicle that will most likely be located at the base of the Fourmile Canyon climb. In short, you'll be able to get the services you need on the ride, but this is not a fully SAG supported event (which also means there's no ridiculous entry fee either—if you're a member, you can ride).

Hopefully I've sparked your interest and I'll see you at the start line. Looking forward to riding with you!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

2013 Schedule

The 2013 schedule for the RMCC is now available on the website! First a few notes about the process of putting it together in general.

As a club we like to have a structured schedule setup for the whole year as opposed to making it up as we go along. Reasons for doing this are many. First, it keeps the schedule varied—not running the same basic ride three weekends in a row. Second, we want to have a reasonable progression of rides in the springtime, as opposed to doing 60 miles one week and 20 the next. Third, it ensures that rides actually happen on a regular basis—you'll always know that there will be an RMCC ride this weekend without depending upon somebody to come up with something at the last second!

Hopefully this makes riding with the club more beneficial in multiple ways: You don't get bored with doing the same ride week after week, you know if you come out you'll see some of your friends there or be able to make new friends without having to exchange fifty e-mails to get a ride worked out, and you'll be challenged as a rider in ways that you aren't when just ride on your own, which helps you get better!

Over the course of each season we collect notes on each ride (how many people showed up, problems with the route etc), and collect feedback on the schedule as a whole. Then in the fall a group of us get together and combine all of this information and work out the schedule for the following year. Because it's a big schedule, a lot stays the same from year to year, so I'll just highlight some of the key changes for 2013:

1) We are going to experiment with “flex start times” during March and April. As we all know, the weather tends to be variable in the spring—start the rides early and it's sometimes too cold; start the ride late and you waste half the day waiting for the ride to start when you could just get out early. So, for 2013, March rides will start at either 9:45 or 10:45; April rides will start at either 8:45 or 9:45. The actual start time will be posted on the website by Thursday morning for Saturday rides and Friday morning for Sunday rides. As such, you'll need to check the website each week to confirm the start time before heading out! Depending upon how this works, we'll either continue, expand, or retract this experiment in the future. Please let us know your feedback on it!

2) We've moved some of rides from more distant start locations closer to town. This means fewer rides out of Monument and Exits 255 and 243. To try and arrange things such that everyone has at least some rides starting close to their home, we've added new start locations out of Cherry Creek (one Sunday ride), central Denver (two Sunday rides), and US 36 and Wadsworth (a couple of rides). Despite this change, we really haven't eliminated any popular rides; some rides that used to be run twice during the year now just go once.

3) During the hot mid-summer months, we're doing fewer flat rides on Sundays and replacing them with rides with relatively easier climbing. This seems to line up better with people's actual riding interests.

4) Sometimes we've had too many rides happening on the same day between the regular ride schedule, the Challenge Series, and the Brevet schedule. As an experiment, we are setting aside 3 Saturdays where the special event ride is the only ride for that day. These will be for the Foothills Climbfest, and two mid-summer 200Ks. If you haven't tried any of these events before, we hope you will! If you prefer something shorter than these rides, we are pairing these Saturdays up with shorter climbing days on Sunday.

5) With cyclocross riding become more popular, we've added two mixed pavement/dirt rides in the late summer early fall. One of them will take in roads west of Boulder; we're still working out the course for the other ride.

One final note: For any number of reasons, the schedule is always subject to change. We're getting more such information e-mailed out through Constant Contact, but the best course of action to check the website each week to make sure you're up to speed on what's going on!

We hope you'll make the RMCC club rides a key part of your 2013 riding, and look forward to seeing you out on the road!