Friday, May 14, 2010

Spring Riding Sometimes Sucks

Spring has sprung and the fenders on the commuter bike I take to work every day are about to come off for the summer. Seems they didn’t get much use during the winter either, since I spent most of it snowboarding instead of riding. Blasphemy, you say? Maybe, but I like to think of it as a sabbatical of sorts. In a time of A.D.D. and rapid-fire television ads, I find that too much of any activity inevitably leads us (ok… me) to boredom and stagnation.

I figured snowboarding would at least keep up my leg strength for the following season of cycling, and it did. My legs are stronger, in fact. The hitch in this strategy, however, was that I lost a great deal of muscular endurance, cardiovascular efficiency, and lung capacity.

This point was driven home to me when, while riding home from work, a guy on a single speed, steel, cruiser bike pulled up next to and then away from me on a short climb that, if I hadn’t already ridden all of 2 miles already, I could’ve followed him up and eventually passed him on. (note: a picture of me from that very ride is shown above)

I took exception to this unintentional slight from said guy on cruiser, but alas, I stood up and changed gears in effort to follow only to have my body say “Nope… I got nothing here.” I could rattle off a litany of excuses as to why this happened and hey, not everything is a race, but none of it would change the fact that I just had it handed to me by a guy on a beach cruiser. What a positively woeful moment of clarity. It’s time to get back into “biking shape”.

For those who don’t ride year ‘round to keep their fitness up, getting back into biking shape in the spring is probably the least fun time of the season, or maybe that’s just me. Yes, the sun is shining. The birds are chirping. It’s warm out and the trails and roads are drying rapidly. But, when I’m flogging myself silly trying to get to the point where I feel I can hang on the inevitable group ride, much of this is lost on me. I’ve lost all focus except for the ground in front of me. I can’t hear the birds over the pounding of my heart in my ears, and lack of road spray has been replaced by copious amounts of dripping sweat.

If I didn’t already know the answer from many years of engaging in such a masochistic ritual, I would ask aloud to no one in particular, “Why the hell am I doing this to myself? I feel like crap.” Yet, with experience comes wisdom. The next chapter in this story has already been written, and many times over at that. It reads as follows:

At some point during the summer season (when and where aren’t really important here) there will be monster climb, or a stretch of road 80 miles into the ride, or an intimidating section of trail before me. Every time prior to this moment, I will have faced these obstacles and wilted. I will have succumbed to the fatigue of body and mind that a poorly conditioned athlete is loathe, but hopefully resolved, to fight again and again.

At this moment, I will stand up, and absolutely crush the obstacle before me with the focus of a laser, the energy of a nuclear reactor, and the resolution of a master swordsman sliding seamlessly into battle. The transformation from frail to fantastic at that point is elegant in its completeness. I will have my answer. I won’t feel like crap for a change. I will feel awesome.

Eventually, the days will shorten and Old Man Winter will come looking to freeze the asses of poor, unsuspecting cyclists lacking in proper winter clothing. Many will decide that riding with frozen snot stuck to their faces sucks and hang up their bikes for the winter. They will move onto other things, and I don’t begrudge them that, for I very well may be among them. Riding bikes is a lot of things to a lot of people, but it isn’t everything.

But despite giving utterance to this even greater heresy, I must say, that there will again come a time when the great inertia of non-cycling will seem like an insurmountable challenge, and yet again will come a day when that challenge is not just met, but forced to tap out and cry “Uncle!” There will come the realization that this can be done with almost any challenge in life, and that we have cycling to thank for this realization. No, my friends, cycling isn’t everything, but it sure can teach you a lot about it.
Yours Truly,

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Review of the Giant Trance X2

The Giant Trance X2 recently received a sweet review on Mountain Bike Action, because it is a completely sweet bike at a sweet sweet price.

Here just a taste of the review called "Giant Trance X2: Virtually Unknown--Unbelieveably Good Trailbike"

"The five-inch travel Trance X2 has that rare ability to flow down technical, fast-paced descents while feeling sharp and energetic under power and while climbing. The reason that I wrote it up here is that the relatively affordable Trance X2 outperforms or equals trailbikes that cost over twice its price."

Monday, May 18, 2009

How We Roll

Boulder has more bikes per capita than any other town in the U.S. (or so I'm told), and this spring I've joined those who have one bike for mountain biking, one bike for road biking, and one for commuting. And while this seems an ideal situtation, it will result in the occasional conundrum when trying to decide which one to ride on your day off.

Road or mountain? Road or mountain? This morning I agonized over that decision for far longer than I should have. In the end, I chose mountain, and upon getting geared up, hopped on the bike path to the RTD station in Boulder to catch the N to Nederland for some spring riding in my former backyard.

It ended up being a fortuitous decision. While waiting at the bus station, a guy came rolling up on one of our demo Maverick ML8's. I introduced myself to him and found out his name is Francois (or something like that, I can't manage anything in French). He was on vacation from France of course, but with only a map and a recommendation of where to ride, I felt he might not get the full picture of Ned riding, so I offered to show him some exclusive trails that weren't on his map.

On the way I pointed out various points of interest like a tour guide, explaining the mining history, popular landmarks, and animals of the area. Occasionally, he just had to stop for a picture. I can't say that I blame him. We made a circuitous route back to town where we dropped in on Randy at his new digs for the Happy Trails coffee shop and bike info place. It's right across the street from where he used to be in the old train cars. It's a neat place and he's settling in nicely. Not only that, but he's also decided to start doing burritos soon- a veritable staple of the Colorado cyclist's diet. Sweet.

Then I took Francois up to Sugar Mag where we connected to the West Magnolia Trail system- his original destination. In the afternoon on a Monday there is almost nobody up there and that's the way we like it. I gave Francois some last bits of advice before splitting off on my own, heading up to Magic School Bus to see how the conditions were. Up by the old mine, the answer to that question was snowy and wet. I turned around there and descended back into the trail network after plowing back through the creek at the bottom at full speed- gave myself quite a bath there, but hey, it's a dry climate and it washed some sweat-stink off to boot.

At the trail head on the way out I ran into Mike Barrow and friends from the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance doing good works as usual from the saddles of their trusty Maverick full suspension bikes. His comrade had a chainsaw in a Bob Trailer (the most useful of trailers ever, I can attest) and they were clearing downed trees left over from the winter so no one makes a mess of the trail trying to ride around them or, conversely, makes a mess out of themselves trying to ride over them.

I tried to pick up the bus back down to Boulder at the Park-n-Ride in Ned but it turned out the schedule got botched by one of the drivers or something, so rather than wait there another hour for the next one I decided to ride down. This, despite the fact I had no food left, no money, and little oomph left in the legs. Peak to Peak, to Magnolia, to the Canyon Road, to the Bike Path, to the Bike House- home sweet home- that is to say, where the refrigerator full of food is. I stumbled in through the door five and a half hours after I left it, feeling like I had just done one hell of a bike ride, clamoring for food, liquid refreshment, and a cold shower. A bit of an epic ride for so early in the mountain bike season, but hey, the Full Cycle guys? That's how we roll. I suspect there'll be a few more of those before the season is done for.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Demo Days in May!

We have a fleet of the best bikes for you to take for a FREE test ride!

Where & When:
Saturday, May 16th
10:00 - 5:00
Full Cycle - 18th & Pearl in Boulder

Saturday, May 23rd
10:00 - 5:00
Full Cycle - 230 S College in Ft. Collins

Bikes available:
- Giant Anthem X2
- Giant Trance X2
- Ibis Mojo SX
- Maverick ML-8
- Spot 29er 1x9
- Spot 29er Carbon Belt Drive
- Giant TCR Advanced SL
- Ultramotor (it's electric!!)

(All bikes checked out for 2 hours on a first come, first served basis!)

What to bring:
A valid driver's license
Credit Card
Pedals if you want to use your own

What to do:
Take a high-end road or mountain or electric bike out for a couple of hours. We'll provide directions to local trails. HAVE FUN!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Weekend Awesomeness

Lotso stuff going on at Full Cycle this weekend:

Kona Demo Day Saturday @ Full Cycle on Pearl - CANCELED
Rain, rain go away. Stay tuned for a rescheduled demo day...

Freiker Fundraiser
Freiker is seriously cool. They put little microchips in kid's bike helmets that register when kids park their bikes in the bike racks at school. They track the number of days the kids bike to school, and then the kids get prizes if they ride a certain number of days. How awesome is that. I wish they had it for adults. Anyway, come by Full Cycle on the Hill or on Pearl this weekend, donate at least $5 to the Freiker program at participating schools, and you're entered to win kid's bike gear, grand prize being a kid's bike! The first 200 people to donate $10 or more get a prize RIGHT AWAY. No kidding.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Art of Road Biking

I've been an avid mountain biker since I bought my first bike that wasn't a BMX back in early high school (a fully rigid, cro-mo Giant Yukon) but never got into the road bike thing. The only road bike I had ridden was a borrowed Bianchi Vigorelli, and it was more reminiscent of a medeival torture device than a bicycle. I knew, at least in theory, that road biking could be fun, but wasn't in any financial condition to get one on a par with the mountain bike I was riding.

I've since become a career bike fitter at the premier bike shop in Boulder, and I've fit road bikes to hundreds of people until I was blue in the face. It got me thinking, I should give this road biking business a more concerted effort now that I can finally afford it.

Next thing I know, I've spent the entire winter building up a Giant Defy Advanced frame from the ground up with SRAM Red and Ksyrium wheels- a sweet bike by all accounts, and I'm donning lycra and shaven legs.

I feel like I've turned to the Dark Side, but now that I've ridden it a couple times, I realize this thing can go fast- like, scary fast, and I like that about it. I also realize how road riding could turn my legs into mountain bike power houses. I like that too.

To diversify your cycling options seems to be the Boulder Way. In that sense I find that the different disciplines in cycling are analogous to the disciplines in martial arts. Road biking is like Tai Chi. It's a meditative, zen-like thing. You get out on an open stretch of road and have deep thoughts. Mountain biking, then, is like Aikido. If you don't flow with the trail and work it's contours to your advantage, you'll likely get thrown to the mat. I did Aikido in college, so of course I'm still a mountain biker at heart.

BMX and mountain bike freeriding are like Kung Fu- all high flying, in your face, acrobatics. People who see you flipping through the air like Bruce Lee respect and fear you. Riding a cruiser bike or a comfort hybrid? That's like watching Kung Fu Panda on DVD. Just sharing my opinion, that's all.

So, do I like road riding enough to keep doing it? Only as much as I like cycling enough to keep doing it. So, yes! And next year? Maybe I'll try my hand at a little Kung Fu action.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Paddy's Party to Benefit Valmont Bike Park

Hey all,

Full Cycle and Kona Bikes are throwing down to raise money for the new Valmont Bike Park, with a St Paddy's day event at the Boulder Theater. For those not familiar Valmont Bike Park is going to be the premier bike park in the country with over $1 million spent developing dozens of acres in Boulder with jumps, pump tracks, singletrack and cyclocross courses. It will be amazing, but it’s going to be even better if we can raise some more money for it.

So to help raise money, Kona has given Full Cycle the rights to show New World Disorder 9 on Tuesday, March 17th, St Paddy’s Day. This movie is the by far the best to come out recently, it's simply an outstanding video. Cost is a low $10, and all the proceeds go to benefit Valmont Bike Park.To sweeten the pot and help us sell out we are adding the following:Over $3000 in free stuff to be given away!!

  • A new Kona Coilair (see below). The sweetest trail/freeride/downhill bike ever made by Kona

  • 2 Free Passes to Winter Park for this Mountain biking season. (That's a SEASON pass, not a day pass) wow!!!

  • 2 Full Face Carbon Giro Remedy helmets (over $200 each)

  • Tons of other free stuff from Pearl, Giant, Fox, Look, Oakley, Jett MTB and more

Also there will be:

  • A trials demo by Ripstoke—these guys got skills

  • A showing of the Best of Earthed 1 thru 5 movies to kick things off in style

  • Beer specials by PBR (that about kicks it)--repeat beer specials from PBR

  • Help from our friends at Mafia Racing, BMA and Valmont Bike Park and others to make this a fun time.

Come down and join what is to be the best kick off to the season, for a great cause. I know we’ll all be jazzed to hit the trails and get going on another great riding season. Wear green to get a discount on extra tickets to win more stuff.

A clip from the video!!

Here are the details:

Date: Tuesday 3/17/09 (St Patty's Day)

Time: Doors at 7pm, start at 8pm

What: New World Disorder 9 and fun

Where: Boulder Theater

Tickets: $10 at Full Cycle, $12 at Boulder Theater (service charge is $2)

Buy your tickets ahead of time at

Please come out and support the cause, and of course have a great time too!