The 2013 race season has come to a close for me, and overall, it was a very satisfying season. I had some great results, some good results and some so-so results. The highlights of my season was finishing 2nd overall, in category, in the New York State MTB Series. This included three podiums with one win. And the other highlight came in min-June at the Wilmington-Whiteface 50K. Although I didn’t podium at Whiteface, I finished 4th in age category, only 1.5 seconds off the podium. That was actually a big surprise for me. I knew I rode mostly well, but I didn’t think I rode 4th place well. I think that my mindset might have improved after that race. The final highlight for 2013 was a second place finish at the annual Darkness @ 909 Night MTB Race. I love the trails at 909 and add night riding, this is just such a fun race. I also had a handful of mid-pack mountain bike finishes and so-so cyclocross finishes.
With my cyclocross results, I’m mostly ok with it. Although I love cyclcross, I have always said that just because I love it doesn’t mean I’m good at it. I’m proficient in the skills of cyclocross, but it’s so much of a different animal for me. I kind of find it hard to adjust to “cyclocross fitness” compared to “mountain bike fitness”.
The “lowlight” of my season was a ruptured tendon in my middle finger on my left hand. I injured the finger during my 3rd place finish at the SOS Singletrack Challenge (NYS MTB Series). As I look back at that race, I think that was the difference for me between second and third in that race. While the injury kept me out of only one mountain bike race, it certainly did affect my cyclocross racing. I had to wear a splint to heal the tendon and reattach it to the bone. This greatly affected the use of my hand, and I pretty much couldn’t use the left STI lever on my cyclocross bike. I tried, but after a few ‘cross races of struggling with it, and having some very close calls, I decided to build up a fully rigid 29er to race ‘cross. Sure the bike was almost 10 lbs heavier, but using a flat bar with MTB brake lever worked for me while a drop bar and STI lever did not. I wanted to keep racing, so this was the way to do it.
Again, overall I am very pleased with my 2013 race season. I’m continuing to ride and train through the winter and I’ll be ready for 2014. And, the tendon in my finger has reattached to the bone. While I still don’t have full range of motion with my finger, it no longer affects my cycling.
If you are like me, riding the trainer/exercise bike or running on the treadmill is like watching golf without Tiger and Phil. You can do it, but it really isn’t fun.
I do try to ride through the winter, but every year it gets harder. So, while I try to ride outside as much as I can, I often find myself on the trainer/exercise bike or the treadmill. I know the workout isn’t going to last long, so I try to get the most of my indoors workouts. I came across this article from Outside Magazine, and some of it is very similar to what I do now. I did tweaked my current workouts a bit to follow some of these a little more closely.
30-Minute Holiday Workouts.
Traveling and time-crunched? Sneak in these 30-minute workouts to maintain your cardiovascular fitness, strength, and sanity this holiday season.
“A 30-minute workout can be a great way to mentally take the pressure off of feeling like you are working out,” says your coach, Gina Kehr, a former pro triathlete with five top-10 finishes at the Ironman World Championship, and a coach for Endurance Corner and Stanford University’s Triathlon team. “With limited time, it is good to make it count.” Below, Kehr shares seven triathlon-inspired workouts designed to do just that.
Read the full article and get the workouts here–>> 30-Minute Holiday Workouts | Endurance | OutsideOnline.com.
USA Cycling has announced their new domestic license. The new domestic license is one license that covers road/track/cyclocross/mountain bike. All disciplines except BMX. Below is the letter from Steve Johnson that was sent to all USA Cycling members.
Dear USA Cycling Member,
It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us and another year is swiftly coming to a close. With the cyclo-cross season now in full swing, the calendar will soon be turning to 2014 and the Cyclo-cross National Championships in Boulder in early January will signal the start of another exciting year of domestic and international racing. Hopefully your goals are as ambitious as ours for the coming year!
The future is indeed looking bright for USA Cycling as we pursue our vision of making the U.S. the most successful country in the world of competitive cycling and our mission of achieving sustained success in international cycling competition while growing competitive cycling in America.
In the past year we have launched two very important and innovative programs: the USA Cycling RaceClean™ and SafeSport programs will help ensure a level playing field across all racing categories, while also fostering a safe training and racing environment for all of our members. I hope you will join me in embracing and supporting these critical programs that will help shape the future of cycling in the United States. To learn more about the USA Cycling RaceClean™ and SafeSport programs visit the USA Cycling website: www.usacycling.org.
In addition to new programs, we have also added several valuable partners to our member benefits portfolio, including Strava and Bonk Breaker, and continue to work with our many longstanding partners to provide you with additional tangible membership benefits. For example, Volkswagen, a top-tier sponsor of USA Cycling, is now offering all USAC members $500 off of the dealer invoice price of a new Volkswagen! To learn more about this and other great member benefit deals, visit the Member Benefits page on our website HERE.
I am also pleased to announce that, beginning in 2014, USA Cycling will consolidate domestic road, track, cyclo-cross and mountain bike racing licenses into a single domestic racing license that will now allow you to compete in any cycling discipline (except BMX). The move to a one-license model replaces the discipline-specific licenses for road, track, cyclo-cross and mountain bike, and will simplify and streamline the licensing process as well as the on-site event registration and check-in process. The new license model also means that you will no longer need to purchase an additional license or a one-day license in order to compete across disciplines (a one-day trial membership is still required for non-members).
The cost of the new annual domestic racing license will be $70 and will represent a savings for our many members who held multiple-discipline licenses in the past. It will also be the first change in license fees implemented by USA Cycling in 10 years.
For non-members, the cost of a one-day trial membership for road, track and cyclo-cross will increase to $15 in 2014. The cost of a one-day trial membership for mountain bike will increase to $10 and will be required for anyone without an annual license who wishes to enter Cat 2 and 3 mountain bike races. The cost of a one-day trial membership can be applied toward the purchase of an annual license. For a complete list of 2014 license fees click HERE.
Feedback from a recent USA Cycling membership survey revealed that many of you currently enjoy riding in several different disciplines, and the majority of you would like to race in multiple disciplines. As a result, this move to one license better reflects the makeup of our current cycling community that is multi-disciplined and not as compartmentalized as in the past. We also believe this change will encourage more of you to try new events and enjoy the thrill of racing even more.
And remember, your USA Cycling membership is more than just a license to race. As a member, you also enjoy all of these benefits as well:
The chance to participate in over 3,100 competitive and non-competitive events that take place year-round at the local, regional, and national levels
A new and improved national results and rankings system that allows you to predict race winners and also track the results of your top rivals and prey
The opportunity to race for a national title at one of 17 USA Cycling National Championship events in 2014!
Access to over 2,800 cycling clubs and 34 Local Associations to guide you and answer questions about cycling in your area
Quality insurance coverage in case you’re injured at a USA Cycling-sanctioned event
Great benefits from our Member Benefits Providers, including discounts on gear, accessories, training tools, travel and much more.
Access to USA Cycling\’s athlete development programs that provide opportunities at training camps and eventually, international racing, World Championships and the Olympic Games!
As a final reminder, all riders must have a 2014 USA Cycling annual license to compete in any championship race at the Cyclo-cross National Championships. 2014 licenses will go on sale on Dec. 1 and you may register for the event prior to Dec. 1 ONLY if you have a 2013 annual racing license. If you don\’t have a 2013 annual racing license, you can register after purchasing your 2014 license on Dec 1.
I look forward to seeing many more of you out on the race courses in 2014, taking full advantage of the new single domestic racing license and giving a new discipline or two a try. It should be an exciting year ahead!
President & CEO
The guys at Darkhorse Cycles have release the information for this year’s Singlespeed-A-Palooza. Singlespeed-A-Palooza, New York’s only singlespeed only race, will be held on Sunday April 13, 2014 at Stewart State Forest. The race is a bit earlier this year, which means more motivation to get on the bike during the winter months.
Registration will open at 12 noon on Super Bowl Sunday – February 2, 2014. PRE-REG only…there will be no day of Registration. There will also be a cap of 300 racers for this event. With and entry fee of $75 I think it’s a little over price, but it is a fun race so I’ll fork up the entry fee. All registered racers will receive a full lunch & beverages, a pint glasses & T-Shirt. As usual weve got a great LUNCH and plenty of refreshments planned. Fat Bikes are back too! That’s right….once again for this year there is FAT BIKE singlespeed class!
The complimentary post race lunch for racers will be by Newburgh Brewing with plenty of refreshments and of course, dessert to follow! Racer registration fee covers food/beverage bracelets for the racer only. Additional bracelets can be purchased with a donation a $10.00.
Once again for 2014, the course will be one 25 mile lap with cash prizes for all classes, and a cool prime planned for the first racer in each class to make a certain checkpoint on the course! Chip timing by All Sports Events & Timing, the regions premier timing company, will be used.
For directions click here: http://goo.gl/maps/O6W0o
Registraion is here–>> 2014 Singlespeed-A-Palooza Online Registration.
The NYCROSS.com Cyclocross Series wrapped up on Sunday November 10 with the annual Bethlehem Cup. The race is held at Elm Avenue Park in Delmar, NY. Each year the guys at CBRC and NYCROSS do a great job at putting on this event. Each year the course consists of tight turns, fast straights, a steep downhill and a true run-up that no one is trying to ride. This year, the course was set up a little different than past years, but all the same great features of the park were included.
I again raced in the Cat 4/5 race. This was my first time back on the cyclocross bike after my hand/finger injury required switching to racing on a fully rigid mountain bike for a flat handlebar and mountain bike brake levers. I still had some minor difficulty with my finger, but for the most part it was all good on the cyclocross bike. I didn’t have a great finish. I ended up finishing 34th…although the official results reflect 39th. This was another fun year racing the NYCROSS.com Cyclocross Series and their Thursday Night Lights Series.
Now it’s back on the mountain bike for the remainder of the fall and the winter.
Full results for the 2013 Bethlehem Cup can be found here.
So, do you think that a little competition is good? I do. However, there might be a couple of companies out there that don’t feel the same way. With a revamped top end MTB group set, MicroSHIFT just might be that good competition.
MicroSHIFT has completely renewed their top line MTB shifters and derailleurs. Everything is different: lighter, faster, and stronger! Best of all, it is 10 speed!
Let’s start with the cons of the old MTB shifters:
1. Very stiff shifts. MicroSHIFT has read and received many negative feedbacks about this problem. You just simply cannot ride your bike when you spend extra effort in shiftings. On top of that, you have to concentrate on your mountain biking!
2. Both shift pedals were in the front. Yes, your other fingers have to grab tightly to the handle, but letting your thumbs do all the billions of shifts in one ride is simply abusing them. Not only they hurt your thumb but also inconvenient to shift during rides. After your rides, you don’t want your thumbs to be in pain in addition to your legs.
3. No room for brake lever installation. The old models have the indicators and shift pedals in the way, so people cannot install the brake levers. How can you ride without the brake close to your finger tips!?
So what is different with the new MTB shifters?
1. They added TWO sealed bearings inside each of the shifter. Shifts are now lighter than ever.
2. One shift pedal is in the front, and the other one is in the back. You can now shift with index fingers and thumbs conveniently. By changing pushing into pulling the shift pedal, this makes it easier to shift.
3. Indicators are removed. Brake levers have plenty of room to be installed.
4. Strengthened forged clamp with hollowed design makes this shifter lighter and stronger!
5. It’s 10 Speed!
And now, for the derailleurs:
The front derailleur comes with Double and Triple models. You might be wondering. What’s up with the V? The V outer link design is the core improvement of this front derailleur. It not only looks aggressive but is also stiffer. With all sorts of vibration and external forces from mountain biking, the V outer link’s wider design prevents the derailleur from flexing.
Actually, many benefits come with this simple improvement:
1. Quicker and stiffer upshifts
2. Eliminating any slight chances of chain drops (we will skip the horror stories that come after that)
3. Securing your setup to avoid repeated frustrating bike tuning.
In short, it simply crosses your front derailleur off your “list of worried components”.
Here is another big thing. Like the front derailleur, the rear derailleur now has a cleaner and more aggressive design. Of course, they don’t come empty handed. Great improvements come along with this awesome looking design.
Strong vibrations can make the chain flapping around and destroying everything: chain stay, rear derailleur cage, and also the chain itself. Our new rear derailleur mechanism AMS, “Active Motion System,” allows you to to push your motion range to the extreme. Feel free to hop around, climb, go fast on rough surfaces, go as hard as you want, or make a Harlem Shake video with your bike. No more worries about chain impacts.
With the new AMS design, our rear derailleur is now single tensioned by removing one tension spring inside the bolt that is attached to the hanger. This dramatically reduced the motion of the rear derailleur, and as a result, the chain stays as tight as it should be giving no sufficient length to flap around. In addition, the bolt looks slimmer and cleaner. Of course, there is no free lunch. With this change, the derailleur has to be stiffer to withstand all the motion energy or else it might flex or fracture. Our strong “V” outer link once again prevents the derailleur from flexing and makes sure the shift responds quickly.
With the continued development of shifters and derailleurs and the development of their first cogs, you will likely see more and more bikes spec’d with MicroSHIFT components.
The Eighth Annual KENDA National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series http://www.nuemtb.com announced the 2014 schedule, including stops at two new venues in California and Colorado. This follows the addition of the True Grit 100 in Utah and the Tatanka 100 in South Dakota this past season.
To claim the series title in any of the four divisions next season will require a minimum of just four races. ALL racers who complete four races will receive a national ranking and series awards. All ties will be broken at the Fool’s Gold 100 in Georgia on a new later date, September 20, the final race of the season. An attractive feature of the NUE Series is that there is NO LICENSE REQUIRED in order to participate.
Read the full article here–>> 2014 KENDA National Ultra Endurance Schedule Announced.
Do You Have Sitting Disease?
Have a desk job? Don’t do much more for fitness than ride your bike a few times a week? You’re at high risk of developing back pain, obesity, diabetes and cancer. The average American spends 56 hours a week sitting, and even if you ride, that may not be enough.
The good news: Bicycling has the cure. Adding core, flexibility and high-impact exercises to your routine will help prevent the biomechanical imbalances common among cyclists, and will help keep you fit for life….
Read the full Bicycling Magazine article here–>> 12 Exercises to Improve Your Body and Fitness
Darkness at 909 is a nighttime mountain bike race hosted in Pleasant Valley, NY. Costumes are strongly encouraged, and there is an award given out to the best one out on the trail. The race is done time trial-style, where riders are sent off at one minute intervals to ride a 7.5-mile course.
This was the second time that I have done this race. And honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t raced this more often. It’s a fun race. I also like the fact that there are categories and age groups. And I love the trails at the Taconic-Hereford Multiple Use Area (aka 909). There is a lot of singletrack…fast singletrack that I love. I have always said that riding singletrack is my strong suit.
The first time I raced Darkness @ 909 I had a so-so lighting system. It was a good light but didn’t last long at the power setting that I needed. So, since then I purchased a new system. I bought two Cyclolite Expilion 350 lights on closeout. 350 lumens may not sound like much, but with two, I can direct one ahead on the trail and one a short distance in front of my front wheel. I can see almost everything. I do wish that I had a light on my helmet, so I’ll more than likely try to pick up another Expilion…the price is right.
I finished 2nd place in category and age. I rode strong and mostly clean, and I had a great time. I’m pretty sure I’ll be returning to Darkness @ 909. I should make this race a staple on my schedule.