Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sprint Night #2

We had 11 people show up and face the wind for the Bike and Fitness Company Tuesday Night Sprints. The route we took kept us out of the full force of the wind and when we did have a direct headwind it was only for a short time. The sections with tailwinds were fast, and made me feel like Mark Cavendish, on one of the sprints I almost hit 43mph, now if only I could do that going into the wind or uphill.

I felt way better this week compared to last Tuesday, I did put on the full Carbon wheels so that might have had something to do with it. With the ultralight Easton wheels on I felt like I was cheating a bit. I definitely feel like I'm in way better shape this year than I was last year at this time. My weight is down and I'm weighing less than I did at the end of last season. There's still plenty of pounds I'd like to shed before Almanzo and Chequamegon, but so far I'm on track.

Bike and Fitness Company rides are out in full force. Thursdays ride will be leaving the shop at 6pm sharp. Saturday there will be a 6am gravel ride and a road ride later in the day, will post on facebook when there is more info.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Foggy Gravel Ride

Ross and I had some more riders for this edition of our Early Saturday gravel rides, we knew Noah a strong junior from the St.Cloud area was going to join us, but we were pleasantly surprised when Chuck showed up a little before 6am to partake in the gravel grinding. I'm usually not up at 6am, and our previous Saturday rides have taken off around 6:30, but it's really dark out. My little headlight really didn't do much to illuminate the road in front of me so I had to use the Force and hope nothing jumped out in front of me.

Here's Ross Powering up a hill. Not only was it dark out, but we also had to deal with a thick fog .
The gravel was like peanut butter, it was supper smooth but slow. Every little incline was like climbing a much larger hill. We really had to work to keep the speed up.  Skittles handled the mud great and I never felt out of control, even when I hit some unexpected mud holes. I can't say the same about Noah who was the only rider on a road bike, he tried following my line on a couple of downhills and got pretty squirly. Chuck had a near crash experience when a mud hole jumped out in front of him around a corner.

There's the road
I really didn't have a route planned for the ride and the wind was not a factor so we head west on the trail until we got to Centennial. We crossed 82 and had our first taste of gravel on Centennial. From Centennial we crossed 94 and made our way down Moe Hall Road. Moe Hall is a pretty fun little stretch, at one point the road took us between two swamps and it looked like the road was sunken into the swamps. From there we headed to Pioneer park for a little rest stop. After that we headed to the dreaded Browns road and the fearsome Brownsberg. Not really that dreaded or fearful but a fun little road with some steep climbs. Once we got to the end of Browns road we turned around and did it backwards which has even more climbing. From there we made our way to county road 15, and took that for a while, nothing special but just one roller after another. Then it was on to Solem lake road, half of which was virgin roads to me. Rolling hills and turkeys, pretty fun. After that we headed back in. In the end we ended up with around 50 miles, and I'd say 40 or so were on gravel. Pretty fun ride.

Rides at the shop are in full swing, so Tuesday night we have our sprint night that leaves at 6pm. Thursday Night is our social road ride that also leaves at 6pm. Saturday there are a few option, 6am gravel, 8am road, and 12pm road. Hope to see you on one of the rides. 

Sun tried breaking through but didn't come out until we were done riding.

With the fog every climb felt like we were climbing into the clouds.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sprint Night #1

It was the first official Sprint Night of the year and we had a really good turn out around 17 riders.  Sprint zones were Centennial, Tanks, Pipeline, Fireman's Lodge, Tastefully Simple, Voyager, and Shalom. I felt pretty good as long as the pace was constant. I was lacking in the jumps and had nothing when it came to the sprints. Still I was in the top 3 in close to all the sprints, and won the last one. It was great to get out and ride with some new riders. Troy, Nan, and Mike are all going to be great additions to the rides. Some of the older guys where being more aggressive and Eric was extremely fast, between him and Angie I'm really going to have to work on getting some of the sprints this year. Now if we could only get some more big guys out there I'll be able actually feel what drafting is all about.

Great first sprint night of the year. Thursday we'll be leaving the shop at 6pm sharp for a mellow road ride and on Saturday there will be a group ride leaving at some time during the day. Will post on Facebook at what time ride will leave. As for me on Saturday Ross and I will be leaving the shop around 6am to go out and get a 60-70 mile gravel ride in.

Riding season is here, we'll see you on the trail.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Foggy Glenwood Hills

The plan was for Ross and I to meet at the shop at 6am and go do a 50-60 mile gravel ride. A couple of things happened that changed those plans one the wind wasn't coming out of the right direction for the route we had planned and two somebody slept in. So instead of riding gravel we jumped on the road bikes and headed towards Glenwood.

Things were a bit sketchy when we left the shop. It was still dark out and when the sun started to rise we found ourselves riding through some dense fog. Not the safest conditions to be riding on a busy highway, but we needed quality miles. To add to the fog there was a stiff headwind on the way out, if we were to paceline we would have made some better time, but when Ross and I ride together we see it as a sign of weakness if the other needs to be sucking wheel.

If your not familiar with West Central Minnesota, we don't have many hills, it's not flat but the hills our power rollers. Glenwood is the exception, the climbs are not world class and would probably be considered rollers in areas with actual hills, but for us we find our versions of Alpe d Huez, Gavia, and the Tourmalet. Once we got to Glenwood the real fun began, first up was the East Climb. This short little beast has an average grade of 9% with a max of 19%, great climb to rip your legs off on. After that we went over to Snake hill (Pamida) this ones a real leg burner, average grade is about 5% with a max of 17% all over a mile. Ross couldn't handle my Contador-esque accelerations and I danced up to the summit alone. Next we head over to the Golf Course Climb and Don Dero Climb. These are short but steep, and again my light 250lbs body danced on the pedals and left Ross in the dust. Next up THE Glenwood hill...

The Glenwood hill isn't the steepest but it's a grinder. The top of the hill is always staring right at you and unlike the other hills in Glenwood that have some real steep sections to break up the climb, the Glenwood hill keeps a constant grade of around 7-9%. I felt pretty good climbing, but I had a pretty easy week. Ross on the other hand was struggling, but according to him it was a high intensity training week.

Once we crested the Glenwood hill it was a tailwind all the way back to the shop. We had two more unexpected stops, one for some Gatorade, and the other to fix a flat. Having the wind at our backs we were able to set a pretty good pace without having to work to hard. Next week were aiming for a longer gravel ride 60+. Good news the Bike and Fitness Company Weekly rides have started so if you're in the area Tuesday Night Sprints and Thursday night social road leaves the shop at 6pm sharp. So get out and ride you bike.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Peruvian Mountain Bike Adventure 2012

Peruvian mtb adventure 2012 from Bike and Fitness Company on Vimeo.

Here's the video from my recent ride in Peru. I used the chest mount for my GoPro but when I put my Camelback on it shifted the angle of the camera. I'm going to have to invest in the view finder. Still turned out alright.



I left the shop at 12:30 when according to my IPhone app it was suppose to be the warmest part of the day, a scorching 17 degrees with a 19mph NW wind. I headed out on 22 and cut across Centennial to get to the gravel. The first gravel section was around 10 miles long, this was the coldest part of the ride, there was a cross headwind the entire time. At the end of the gravel my Low battery indicator on my Garmin came on, so I took that as a sign and started making my way back to the shop.

I had two goals for the ride: ride Browns Rd, and check out Moe Hall Rd. With my Garmin acting up and my foot frozen solid I wasn't able to ride Browns. There are some nice short and steep climbs on Browns, so I was kind of bummed that I didn't ride it, but the survival of my feet is more important. I did check out Moe Hall which is going to be a great addition to some of my gravel loops. It has some nice rolling hills, a couple of turns and trees, fun little road.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, the tailwind section was fun. All in all it was a fun ride and it was great to get out and ride. The only things that got cold were my feet. I haven't been able to find a solution to keeping my feet warm on the colder days. I had ordered a pair of the new Defrosters from Specialized but they sold out immediately and I wasn't able to get mine. Hopefully I'll have them for next season. Hopefully this was the last cold weather ride of the year. This week is suppose to be nice out, so expect so more rides. If any one is interested in riding this week, Ross is planning a ride for Tuesday afternoon, and on Saturday morning we'll be doing a 50-70 mile ride. Check our facebook page for any impromptu rides.