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Archive for April, 2010

Everything is ready. You have your matching kit on, found your shoes, co2, and spare tube; almost done pumping the tires. You’re off on the ride, luckily a few friends were capable of making it too. It’s a Friday afternoon, and nothing was on your mind all day, except making sure that this would go off without a hitch. You even stuck your waterbottles in the refrigerator overnight, so you could enjoy cold water on the climbs.

The group is passing mile seven, and everyone is taking their turn up front like a bat out of hell. It’s your turn. You do your pull, sweep off to the left, and fall back in. The ride continues. The turnoff to the planned road is coming up ahead; everyone slows down, anticipating incoming traffic up ahead.

Everyone seems to disperse from a paceline when facing the first steep hill climb. You can see the dread in some of the older rider’s eyes, luckily you are ready for this. You look back for a second, wondering if the rear tire is flat, or if the brake pads are rubbing the rim… something feels funny.

Several riders pass you.

You open up the indexed quick release on the rear brake, stand up, and start to slog after your peers.

What is wrong? I ate a well balanced lunch and snack, had enough sleep last night, I’m not dehydrated…

Going through your mental flow chart of routines before riding, you see that everything was done correctly, and everything should be going according to plan. The bike is in good shape, nothing is malfunctioning, but it is taking more effort than it should be to get up this hill. The group passes around a bend, and are out of sight; you try to stand and rush up to them, but your legs feel like Al Dente fettucini noodles. You just don’t have it today.

un jour sans

Pic via Cullman Cycling

You wonder what is the IT that you are missing and come up with no answer. You suffer through the climb, and think about going home. None of this is making sense. You never feel like this; the last time you gave up on a ride was when your first bike was two weeks old. Even Old Man Scuzzlebutt made it up the climb before you; this NEVER happens. Something is wrong.

What you are experiencing isn’t listed in an episode of The Twilight Zone, nor is it capable of being diagnosed by any medical book; this is just a case of Un Jour Sans. A day without.

From the pages of le grimpeur:

Défaillance. A sudden weakness. A synonym: un jour sans. A day without. All cyclists experience it sooner or later, from the most hardened professional to the lowliest amateur pretender. It differs from the ‘knock’, when the body runs out of energy, and the remedy for the knock is simple: take on more sustenance. Défaillance is something else, more insidious, its symptoms like a creeping dread. On a climb, one struggles to find one’s rhythm, or settle into the saddle and spin, to find a gear that feels comfortable, to follow wheels as they pull inexorably ahead. The remedy is also not immediately obvious. Overtraining? Undertraining? A myriad of other possibilities, physical or even mental.

We have all had a case similar to this, where nothing is right; up is down, black is white, hot is cold. Its as if everyone else on the group ride found some kind of magical pill bottle with magic puncheur pills, and stormed off without you. We all know that cycling has more implications and second meanings than we all like to admit to, and it is humiliating and demoralizing being the last one up the pass. You would rather be riding a Huffy, or wearing some awful dayglo yellow jersey than be the last one up the hill, and your face shows every moment of your embarassment.

Don’t worry, this deficiency will only be with you temporarily, and will have you looking that much better when you have IT once again. Let them laugh now, because they also know it will be their day too, possibly sooner than they think…

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Now that the season is well under way, we have all seen Radio Shack’s, Team Sky’s, Team Quick Step’s and Garmin Transition’s Service Course; heck you might have even seen The Service Course, but now it is time to journey into WV Cycling’s very own Service Course!

Exclusive images of wvcycling’s home base.

In a totally behind the scenes trip to wvcycling’s Service Course in Buckhannon, West Virginia, we were shown around the site’s Appalachian base.

With wvcycling focusing on group rides in five different counties, the Service Course was described by the site as “standard”, yet we still discovered plenty of equipment and history when we were given a sneak-peek to the local Service Course of wvcycling. The well-established base also displays a modest contrast to the comparatively less PRO Service Course of Team Sky, that Cycling News posted an article about earlier this month.

When we arrived on Monday, wvcycling was busy swapping a nine-speed chain for Andrew Dasilva before going on a trail ride. Carbon fiber race wheels were nonexistent but clinchers were being prepared with UST tires, ready to be fitted.

service course

With the Service Course being split into three areas over 600 sq. ft, it’s one of the biggest West Virginian Service Course in the sport, while also being home to wvcycling’s transportation and mechanic’s trucks. The huge space is dominated by residential storage space for the multitude of bikes for wvcycling’s site.

service course

“It’s very central within West Virginia” Andrew Dasilva, the service course owner told us. “It’s close to the highway, the airport and is central in very cycling friendly areas.”

“We have about five bikes here now, and four pair of wheels,” said Dasilva. “We hold them here for when the site wants to review bikes. The riders just tell us what they need. What you’re seeing now is probably worth around six thousand Dollars. At full capacity we can probably store up to ten bikes and necessary equipment.”

Each rider has his own station where up to five bikes can be stored. At present Andrew Dasilva’s station is full, with all of his bikes in storage. The pit stops aren’t just for bikes though; the riders also have their own storage area in which all their personal effects are dished out before being taken to events or sent to the riders directly.

service course

Riders are responsible for the transportation and organization of their riding garments and helmets; here Andrew Dasilva has his supply well covered:

service course

service course

Shoes, Gloves, Winter Gear, and Recovery Sandals~

service course

The storage containers in the warehouse are dominated by riding products and food. Along with typical crates of drinks and bars the team also has its own cereal, chocolate spread, recovery drinks, and snack goods to last at least three days on the road.

Service Course

WV Cycling is fortunate enough to have sponsorship from leading companies in the industry such as SRAM and Ritchey Components**. What would a service course be without spare parts?

service course ritchey wcs sram rival

service course

service course

The sponsors keep the site well stocked with spare tubes and other supplies!

service course

service course

service course ritchey wcs sram rival

These 'to go' boxes are filled with spare parts that mechanics may need when away from home base.

Of course, no Service Course would be complete without a workshop area, in which each bike is checked and serviced before it’s either shipped to a ride or stored.

service course

Note, the spots on the concrete are not grease, but water. It was rainy when I set up this photo.

After receiving le Grand Tour of wvcycling’s Service Course, we were optimistic for the proliferation of cycling, and cycling friendly cities in the Appalachian regions of America.

**Note – not actually sponsored by Ritchey or SRAM :(

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I rarely do promotion of products here, but I saw a video of this on BikeCommuters, and was pretty stoked about it. Why you ask? Because I hate wearing something on my back while out on the trails; I have avoided a Camelbak just for that reason. This tote looks kind of burly for me (weightweenie?), yet I could see many people using this as a great trail riding or commuter pack in WV:

http://pcych.com/

Edit: Think how great this would be on a bike camping jaunt??!!!

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Noted on 19 April 2010:

Hero Preserves is proud to endorse one of Switzerland’s own heroes, Fabian Cancellara. For a limited time, Fabian Cancellara will be on every jar of Strawberry Fruit Preserves in recognition of his recent victories at Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Congratulations to Team Saxo Bank, and Mr. Cancellara!

hero jelly fabian cancellara

About Hero Preserves:

Hero Premium Fruit Spreads are made from only the finest select fruits and come to North America direct from Europe. They contain absolutely no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, are a 100% natural product, and are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union.

Established in the quaint Swiss village of Lenzburg in 1886, Hero has become the gold standard of gourmet fruit spreads around the world. The vision of the original founders was to preserve fruits as gently and carefully as possible, and today that vision still provides Hero with the finest quality fruit products in the world.

About Fabian Cancellara:

Fabian Cancellara (born 18 March 1981) is a Swiss professional road bicycle racer for UCI ProTour Team Saxo Bank. A time trial specialist, he has been three time World Time Trial Champion and is the current Olympic gold medalist. He is also a winner of Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix (twice), Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour de Suisse, Monte Paschi Eroica, and three prologues of the Tour de France.

For the weekends, as usual, just a lighthearted and possibly humorous post.

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There’s a point in time in just about every cyclist’s life where they know that a certain threshold has been passed. Transcending from bicycle rider to (WV) cyclist is an elaborate process of maturation, but here are a few examples:

1.) You have come to accept that every ride is going to have at least one punishing climb before the ride is over.

2.) Choices of what stores to stop at are not made by price of the items per se, but whether or not they have a safe place to lock up or stash your bike.

3.) Taking a wrong turn and ending up on a gravel road is just an opportunity to show off your Roubaix-esque skills.

4.) You take pride in not having to drive to your favorite MTB trails.

5.) Going down Main Street fully clad in your spaceman outfit is not embarrassing, but a source of pride and identity.

6.) You know at least three different ways back to your house from any place in a 20-mile radius; including which farm roads your road bike can handle or not.

7.) Seeing another cyclist on the road is such a rare event, that you actually put effort into saying ‘Hi’ to them.

8.) Even if you are a road cyclist, you have a mountain bike for cross training; It’s futile to avoid it.

9.) You know every bike shop in the tri-county area, and what brands they carry.

10.) Entering any public place, you wonder how people can let their self become so fat, all while dreaming what would happen if gas went to $10/gal.

11.) You know exactly when Hunting Season begins and ends.

12.) Have dreamed about flat, scenic roads that go on for miles.

13.) Tend to see more cows/livestock than cars while out on a ride.

14.) Have been tempted to stop at a creek/river and jump in or refill your water bottles on a hot summer ride.

15.) Encountered near-death experiences with deer jumping in front of you while on a ride.

16.) You know what properties with NO TRESSPASSING signs are still fine to ride on.

17.) Have traveled through at least seven Townships on a single ride before.

18.) Become curious in how to reach radio/cell-phone towers you see via Jeep Trails while driving somewhere.

19.) You believe you can predict how a driver will react to you being on the road, depending on vehicle type. Ex: SUV/Lifted Truck/Volvo/Beater/Etc…

20.) If lost, you know how to twang it up with the locals in order to get directions home.

Other funny “You know you’re a cyclist when….” pages:

http://www.wheelman.com/bikertest.html

http://www.cyclingtipsblog.com/2009/04/the-other-side/

http://bicyclehabitat.com/articles/you-know-youre-a-new-york-cyclist…-pg264.htm

http://blog.orbike.com/archives/2008/12/you-know-youre-a-cyclist-if.php

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4348400989

What else? Any other tell-tale signs of a WVcyclist?

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    velo press joe parkin paris-roubaix

    Look what came in the mail! Once again, more of my savings account goes to VeloPress in order to get my literary fix.

    Come & Gone is the sequel to A Dog In A Hat, which I finished about two months ago; quite glad that I picked that one up late in order to have the next one be relased so soon! :) Once again, we have the story of Joe Parkin telling us his life story of cycling in a kind of way that makes you feel like this is the normal thing to do. He tells it from not only memory, but from the heart… and it leaves you with a feeling that how he tells it is how it happened word for word. I wasn’t able to get over how nonchalantly he told some of the tales that were in A Dog In A Hat, and once again, things happen, and he tells it. I know that sounds boring, but it will actually baffle how casually some of these events seem after reading Joe’s words. These two books are great for anyone who is more than just a recreational cyclist.

    Paris-Roubaix: A Journey Through Hell is a coffee table book. The best damned coffee table book you will have at that, too. It goes over the history, culture, past/present/future of the race, and everyone who has been involved with it in nearly any way. It comes in at just a hair under 200 pages, and is full of explicit photos. No….. No no no no….. not bad explicit, think of it as being able to see inside some of the rider’s souls just by turning the pages. Many of the full page photos in the book display cyclists who you will never forget because of the crusted mud, the pain in their face, or how they look dead to the world while sitting in one of the Velodrome shower stalls.

    I have borrowed this book from my college library several times, and each instance, I end up spening more time examining the photos than actually reading the text. This is a deep book, but it doesn’t have to be; hence why it is #2 on my coffee table book list. (#1, right here)

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    Okay guys, here is a boatload of footage (Almost the whole thing) of Thad’s Singletrack (Race to Lil Moe’s); I apologize for not filming in a resolution higher than 480p, but that alone was 3gb!

    The other two riders you see in the video are Amanda-Lynn Warner; a WVWC senior, and Barry Phillips, a local resident and fantastic rider/retro-dude.

    Living 20 miles away obviously makes this ride an occasional stop, just due to the time it takes in transfer, and the gasoline associated with this round trip. Believe me though…. It’s absolutely worth going to two days in a row! Well, enough about the nonsensical stuff, and let me let you get to the footage:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDzJfY6Rta8%5D

    Wow, eleven videos, 60 minutes of footage; did anyone watch them all? What’d ‘ya think? Comment below!

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