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GFW With Brig

By Brig Seidl:

After an extended hiatus in which the quiver of bikes in my garage were becoming more of a nuisance than a boon requiring the laborious re-arrangement of tools & toys every time I needed to use the table saw Vicious Cycle finally re-surfaced again with the season ending GF Winthrop. And while none of Jake’s races could be labeled as “easy” – I would definitely caution against that – the GF Winthrop is a prime candidate for the title of “hardest”. Ninety miles is just never going to be a stroll in the park. Factor in 11,000 feet of climbing/descending and the difficulty goes up exponentially. And then, for the most part, ban the guy who invented asphalt surfaces and you have a pretty epic ride on your hands.

But that is exactly why a certain breed of rider keeps coming back year after year. Finish this race, or any of the Vicious Cycle Gran Fondos, and the cognoscenti of the cycling world will rightfully declare you a stud of the first order. And maybe that foxy yoga instructor will finally notice you.

It was my intention to be fully prepared for this event, we had 3 months after all, but what with all the time I lost moving stuff in my garage the eve of the event rolled around and I hadn’t event secured a place to stay in Winthrop yet, let alone air up my tires. Fortunately Paul at the North Cascades Mountain Hostel was kind enough to evict a Fischer Plumbing guy, who wasn’t going to be a factor anyway, to free up a bunk for me and I stopped in Wenatchee en route Friday evening to have Evan air up my tires. Ready!

Too late I began to think about nutrition and carbo loading so I arrived in Winthrop kind of late with no plan for Saturday’s caloric needs. But by the grace of God I still had some leftover Kentucky Fried Chicken in my truck from the day before that would serve as breakfast on Saturday. Another problem solved. And in doing so I may have inadvertently discovered the secret to KFC’s “extra crispy” recipe.

Saturday morning was 36 degrees when I got up and started getting myself together. There wasn’t really much to do. After eating the truck seasoned KFC for breakfast I checked my tires and they were still good from the extra sealant that Evan had added the previous evening in Wenatchee. So I just stuck 6 Shot Blocks on the top tube, filled 2 bottles with water, put on a short sleeve kit with arm warmers and rolled the few hundred meters from the hostel down to the barn to collect my number.

It was still pretty darn chilly when we rolled out at 8:00 so I opted to stick a Gore rain jacket in my jersey pocket just in case. The memory of that inaugural GF Winthrop is hard to erase. Going through the main intersection of town there was a woman taking photos of the peloton so I dutifully waved and was astonished to hear her call out, “Go Brig!”. Couldn’t think for the life of me what local woman would know me by name. Particularly because when visiting with the local lovelies in race locales I typically employ a generic fake name like “Joe Martin” or “Frank B.” until a certain level of confidence has been attained. (Turned out to be photographer Nadja Rua whom I’d met at the Cream Puff).

The early pace was as brisk as the air was so some attention was required. A couple miles in we encountered – I kid you not – a dead skunk in the middle of the road. Because the peloton was tightly packed with limited sight lines I’m sure some poor sod somewhere in the group must have hit it and smelled to high heaven for the rest of the day. It wasn’t long before someone played the hero and went off the front. Ha! Nothing to worry about at this point. Uh, wait a minute, that’s Evan Plews. OK he’s gone for good, there’s still 2 other perfectly good podium positions up for grabs. I sort of yo-yo’ed on and off the chase group that consisted of ten or a dozen people. Witnessed Doug Krumpelman very expertly remove his arm warmers and stick them in his jersey pocket while riding no handed only to then pull off to the shoulder and stop for some reason. As the asphalt gave way to big pot-holed tar seal and eventually to pure gravel the group splintered and I got spit out the back.

The secret to doing these rather brutal rides is to have a terrible memory. Otherwise it would be hard to justify starting. Even though I’ve done this event every year since its inception 4 years ago I don’t memorize the course or have any instrumentation whatsoever. Not even a sundial. So I only start to get fuzzy recollections of sections as I’m riding them. And as I’m riding I’m sort of visualizing hellacious sections from the past but can’t quite pinpoint where they are or if they are even in this event or GFs Leavenworth or Ellensburg. They are all in Winthrop of course but you mustn’t come to that realization all at once or your head will explode.

I omitted stopping at the first aid station as I hadn’t drunk any of my water yet and had only chomped a single Shot Block. I gave myself a mental chiding for once again not eating or drinking while riding. I’m not as adroit at these things as Doug Krumpelman is. So I determined to drink a full bottle right away to avoid going into an early deficit – but the terrain immediately following the aid station is steep, rough, and rocky as hell so I put off reaching for a water bottle. I did pull back a couple positions in the rocky upper reaches of this first big climb including slipping past a guy at the very summit. OK, he was walking his bike which made it easier but a pass is a pass.

One thing 3 previous years of experience has taught me is that shortly after the first summit is a very rough section of downhill which is the most proven stretch of water bottle ejecting forest road in the North Cascades. Be smart, take it easy, give up 5 seconds and make it through with your bottles. Great advice in theory but a hot-blooded impulsive guy like me doesn’t “take it easy” or “be smart”. So, yes, I lost my bottle even though I knew better. (I also happened to know that Jake is a swell guy and was likely going to retrieve those bottles when he came through on his motorcycle. And so it proved and I was happily reunited with greeny in Conconully. Thanks Jake!)

This section, from the top of the first big climb to the point in which it truly begins to go downhill for real, always seems to mess with me. I keep thinking we should be going downhill after that huge climb but we aren’t really going downhill. Sometimes we are and then we’re going back up again. I’ve climbed enough dammit, I want to go down! On one pseudo downhill I went past Frank Colich who appeared to be taking things on the cautious side after his big crash at Ellensburg. A few minutes later (while going back uphill!) I passed his team mate Matt Nuffort who had very graciously stopped, probably waiting for Frank, which made my task easier. And finally we did start to go down but the freaking road surface had been recently re-graded, apparently by Josef Stalin’s grandson. Christ! I’m generally a good descender but this surface was absolutely pummeling me and my poor bike was making shrieking noises like the grim reaper pulling corroded nails from a coffin with a rusty crowbar. It was a truly diabolical experience. Rough, the surface was rough is what I’m trying to say. I backed it down to the point that I expected to see the Fell Swoop guys come back by me but apparently they were doing the same thing. One guy wasn’t however. Some unknown warrior on a generic cyclocross bike blew by me in this section and checked out before I could even get his number. I sure hope that was Kiel Reijnen.

Right near the bottom of this section another guy went past me but he was on a full suspension mountain bike so that was to be expected. But right after that it flattened out some and then we got onto the pavement and were joined by Aaron Ambuske for the big high speed descent into Conconully. This section always kind of unnerves me as it is really high speed with dubious pavement and the ever present possibility of oncoming traffic so you must find a balance between extreme care and extreme speed. Aaron was a great ride mate here but the mountain bike guy never took a single pull. Maybe he couldn’t, I don’t know. When we got to the flat street of downtown Conconnully Shane Savage appeared out of nowhere and absolutely blew by all 3 of us like Fabian Cancellara.

Getting to Conconully is hard. The first climb is big, steep, and torturous. The ensuing descents are rough and formidable. Danger and DNFs lurk at every protruding rock and cavernous hole. But the sobering truth is the race doesn’t even really get started until you leave the aid station at Conconully and begin the fearsome climb up Mt Baldy. That is where great chunks of time will be made up or lost because if you are already pre-cooked from the preceding 50 miles and 6000’ of climbing the ensuing 17 mile climb will seem positively interminable. I left the aid station just behind Aaron Ambuske and was still feeling remarkably good, all things considered. As soon as the asphalt pitched upwards Aaron slid slightly back and I found myself alone for a couple miles until Shane Savage again motored by with his other worldly speed. There was no sticking with him so I just settled in and prepared for the body blows to come. But about 20 minutes later while we were still on the asphalt I perceived the presence of another gadfly approaching my rear wheel. And is that the clunky sound of vintage down tube shifters I hear? Has that relentless fiend from a different era, David Hendry, caught me on his 50 year old Raleigh? I dared not look back at this specter whoever it was. When you are mentally and physically vulnerable in the early stages of the last big climb it does not help your state of mind to see a bike that looks like it has been plucked from a case at the Smithsonian cruise past you with some grinning hellcat aboard. So I continued. Tried to pretend I hadn’t actually heard anything after all. I didn’t surge, I just re-focused my efforts and allocated more thought to the top of the hill and less thought to the top of yoga instructors.

Like last year I wouldn’t see anyone else again until the very top of this truly onerous climb. And for the record I never did actually “see” David Hendry, I just felt his clammy presence breathing down my neck. But a couple hours later, right where the last ¼ mile or so pitches up to near verticality, I spied 2 souls rounding the final corner. They were too far ahead to seriously think about catching despite being in sight for a couple minutes. A quarter mile on that section was several minutes. But they did animate me a little and I rode up this section with renewed purpose instead of walking it in a dejected manner like last year. Conceive of my surprise then, upon summiting, I spied them again down the hill a ways. I couldn’t have made up that much time so I imagine they must have paused briefly at the top, to put on jackets maybe? Whatever the reason we were descending on gravel now and they were vaguely in my sights. It took a few miles to reel them in because they weren’t exactly lollygagging but I had the advantage that they didn’t know I was coming. I swooped by on the outside of a fast loose corner and kept the pedal to the metal for the remaining 9 or so miles of this wicked gravel downhill. It was far too rough and washboarded to consider looking back to see how big my gap was growing but I knew I had to stretch it as much as possible because the race ends with about an 8 mile run-in to Winthrop on smooth asphalt over undulating terrain. Between the banzai gravel descent and the nice asphalt (which also loses elevation) is that section of gnarly pot holed semi-pavement that we had climbed 6.5 hours earlier. That section begins at a bridge and when I reached that I looked back and discovered to my chagrin that the 2 guys I’d passed 20+ minutes ago at the top of the mountain were right on my rear wheel!

So this is where things got exciting. These guys, who turned out to be Mighty Cycling team mates Ryan Golbeck and Shane Savage were clearly not to be trifled with. They were no idle scraps of nonsense from some Fischer Plumbing pledge drive, they meant business. And they opened affairs by immediately dispatching me with Shane setting, well, an absolutely savage pace. Most of you reading this will be familiar with this section and know that it is kind of gnarly. Once upon a time it was paved but the pavement has since deteriorated badly leaving big holes with abrupt edges which sometimes stretch across the entire road causing rocks and sand from these craters to get spread across the remaining asphalt resulting in treacherous conditions. It is steep, riddled with blind corners, and, as always, opposing vehicle traffic can be encountered at any time. But none of this seemed to bother Shane to the slightest degree whatsoever as he dropped down that mountain like an anvil from a tree with Ryan right on his wheel. Me, I’ve got this dream that Cindy Crawford is going to mistakenly knock on my door someday and we are going to instantly fall in love across the threshold and run off together. And that requires me being alive so I had to let Shane & Ryan go. Call it cowardice but I like to be able to see ahead when I’m bombing down such descents and didn’t feel comfortable sitting on Ryan’s wheel at that speed over that surface. Of course the difficulty and danger also precluded them from casually looking back to see that they’d broken the elastic. But once my sight lines opened up I was able to ratchet things up and get back up to them and slingshot right on by. And so it went for the remainder of the descent. A glorious scrap of epic proportions with all 3 of us leading and trailing at different times. Eventually we got down to where the grade lessens and the pavement improves (and the headwind starts) but still no quarter was given as we raged on in a rotating pace line with each of us taking about 2 minute pulls. This was actually really thrilling stuff and it’s a pity the Vicious Cycle helicopter wasn’t filming us for the folk back home.

It became apparent that none of us was going to get away and similarly no one was going to get dropped so that pointed towards a sprint finish when the time came. But the run-in down East Chewuch Rd goes on forever so we just continued our rotating pace line without any thought of positioning or stuff like that. But this was the point at which, in the pro peloton at least, discussions would begin to take place. For example pro-Ryan might come alongside me and say, “Pro-Brig, you throw this race, da? I transfer 50,000 Kroner to your Swiss account, da? Make sprint look real, da?” But no such loser talk took place amongst us. In fact no real conversation of any kind happened. So, despite having read about 800 times that you don’t want to be leading a group out of the final corner, I just happened to be taking the lead pull when we hit the final corner. And none of us were rinky dink cat ‘n mouse kind of players anyway so as soon as I made the final corner onto Corral St I leapt out of the saddle and began my sprint as did Shane and Ryan. And so it ended. No positions changed in our 350 meter sprint and we all wooshed across the line within about a second of each other. A glorious end to an epic 24 mile battle.

GFW finish-line-sprint
GFW finish-line-sprint

Such a long and rough race takes a toll on body ‘n bike so I was relieved to survive with only one minor mechanical issue. Back in June I had congratulated myself at GF Ellensburg for exhibiting amazing restraint by not hurling my pump into the woods when its dismal performance sorely vexed me. I really frown on littering and litterers. Enter irony 3 months later when 11,000 feet of bone jarring descending vibrated said pump apart into countless pieces and spewed them all on the forest road between Conconully and Winthrop so that when I arrived at the finish there was merely a hollow handle strapped to my bike. This put me in no position to chastise the civic irresponsibility exhibited by Frank Colich for adding the entire contents of his toolkit to the sum total of vibration induced litter on that section.

Body toll seemed negligible – at first. I hadn’t crashed and in fact the only time I had even unclipped was at the aid station in Conconully so skin was all intact. But as time passed a serious abrasion manifested itself, and if we weren’t all such a big groovy family I’d feel a little embarrassed to say this, but once again my rear end got shredded. I don’t know what the deal is, this never used to happen. Used to ride all day in running shorts or swim trunks without a problem and now that I’ve got a fancy set of padded bib shorts and embrocation my poor ass feels like it has been through a cheese grater. I’m open to suggestions from the field on this one by the way because I’m not digging this feeling. I get to wondering if maybe the Gauls aren’t just playing a big joke on us and “chamois” is really just the French word for “60 grit sandpaper”. Seriously can someone look that up? I’m in pain here.

Looking at the results I see that 3 Martians raced this event and in fact swept the podium. First (Evan Plews) was 12 minutes ahead of second (Ian Tubbs), who was another 12 minutes ahead of third (Normand Richard), who was yet another 12 minutes ahead of the first carbon based life form, Tim Wood, in 4th. Ha! Ha! Those aren’t even their real names, those are just their earth names! I believe their actual monikers are “01010011100”, “1100101011”, and “10100010111” respectively and it’s stamped on the back of their necks if you peel back their Kevlar “skin” and look.

Inasmuch as I have a training regimen it involves bike commuting the 17 miles to work every day rain, shine, or hail year round. I try to incorporate some crunches, planks and runs from time to time and I talk about trying to improve my diet someday. Mechanically speaking I ride a Norco Threshold (which I noticed was a very popular choice) and run tubeless tires at somewhere between 50 and 60 psi depending on how well they are holding air. I couldn’t even tell what width my tires are or what cassette or gear ratios my bike has, 01010011100 set it up so I let him worry about details like that. He’s got like a billion terabytes of RAM after all.

Big thanks to the Maedke family and the whole Vicious Cycle clan for another great season. I’m vaguely aware there is much work going on behind the scenes in order to host these awesome events and speaking on behalf of the entire peloton, we appreciate it.

Cheers,
Brig

GFEburg ride report by Brig

By Brig Seidl

The Ellensburg Gran Fondo is the most recent addition to Vicious Cycle’s quiver of gravel classics with just its 2nd addition taking place this past Sunday. Each arrow in this quiver has its own distinctive personality which contributes to the dynamic of how the race unfolds. I mean ride, how the ride unfolds. It’s not a race remember we’re all out there just lollygagging around after all. GF Ellensburg’s particular feature is the long undulating road section off the start before anything serious happens. The first big obstacle, the climb out of Cle Elum, is over an hour into it whereas in GFs Ephrata, Leavenworth, and Winthrop you get clobbered like a baby seal with something onerous that blows the group apart within minutes after the start. So we got to roll along as an intact peloton on the picturesque Highway 10 alongside the Yakima River for a long time.

It wasn’t exactly relaxing however because there was a pretty stiff headwind and we were tightly packed together with the group speed fluctuating markedly. Plus I noticed some Audi muscle massing near the front that would bear watching. Didn’t want a repeat of last year when some Audi guy (Ian Tubbs) exploded off the front and rode away by himself straight into the wind and all dropping the entire peloton. And wouldn’t you know it but the exact the same thing happened again this year! Some absolute beast, later identified as Audi man Steven Wilssens, dropped the entire peloton on a flat road into a strong headwind and simply rode away solo. Chapeau Mr Wilssens. It was a brave effort but came to naught as he was swamped on the hill and would eventually finish out of the top 10.

As soon as the asphalt road pitched upwards in South Cle Elum the inevitable separations occurred and by the time we hit the real gravel climbing about 2 miles later I found myself quickly sliding backwards from my previous position in the lead (excepting the aforementioned Steven Wilssens) group. It seemed to take my legs longer to transition from “windy flat mode” to “steep climbing mode” than those of my compatriots so about 18 or so of them disappeared up the hill ahead of me. While undoubtedly egregious this first big hill had a pretty good surface and it wasn’t unbearably hot like last year either. Further up it got rougher and there were a few of uncomfortably steep sections where I passed a couple of guys pushing. One, on a beautiful green Crux looked like he’d already managed to crash as his kit was all scuffed up and his elbow was bleeding. For those of you who felt chagrined for having to walk this section take heart in that some of the top 10 guys walked it as well. Eventual winner Stephen Mull probably flew up it in his big ring.

I started pulling back some positions as the pitch lessened near the top and was solidly back inside the top 15 when the descent began. I quickly demoted a couple of reticent descenders and was ready to set sail but then the road pitched upwards again, it had been a false summit. I started to feel good and collected a couple more positions, the last one, shortly before we began descending for real being Travis Brown. But the rascal went way off script by putting a hook in me and refusing to fall away as my game plan dictated. Just when I felt like I might be starting to stretch the elastic and put a small gap on him PSSSSSssssstt! Flat tire, dang it!

Now I’m rightfully known for many laudable things but quickly fixing flat tires is not one of them. No, not by a long shot. I started things off by taking the extended pee that I’d been contemplating for the previous hour and mentally taking stock of the situation. I had 2 spare tubes, 2 C02 cartridges, an applicator head, 2 tire levers, and a small hand pump. I also had tire plugs but I’d forgotten about these so they didn’t really count. There was a sizeable cut in the tire and the sealant was failing so I resolved to just throw a tube in. But then when I went to air it up the fargin C02 cartridge spewed all its contents as soon as I screwed the applicator on it because the blasted knob thingy was in the open position. It was just by divine Providence that it didn’t uncork its freezing contents directly into my face. Of course it didn’t unleash them into the tube either so I was down to just one cartridge and at this point only about 20% covered in tire sealant. I decided to use the pump. But what the hell!? The thingamajig on the pump that attaches to the valve didn’t have the remotest look of compatibility to it. It didn’t screw on, it didn’t push on, it didn’t pull out and flip around to become Presta compatible, it didn’t attach to the damn valve in any way, shape, or form. It looked like Andy from my LBS had sold me some sort of weird European metric pump or something. I let fly a screed of expletives at him, his shop, and his ancestors. (The next day Andy would show me how to convert the pump the Presta. It was in perfect working order)

But I still had a flat tire. So summoning all possible restraint I proceeded to not hurl my pump into the woods, littering is bad kids no matter how agitated you may be, but instead deliberately set it down and picked up the last C02 cartridge. Because I wouldn’t learn about how the knob works until talking to Andy a day later I had the bright idea of attaching the applicator to the valve first and then screwing the cartridge onto it – in case it decided to spray all its contents without hesitation again. Which of course is exactly what it did but this time most of it went into the tube. Hooray I’m a genius! But all that sudden pressure forces sealant out from every possible crack, crevice, and valve head thereby upping my total body coverage to about 30%. It then took me an agonizingly long time to get the bloody wheel back on because, well because I’m inept lets just leave it at that. All the while the entire pack had been whizzing down the hill past me but, to their credit, almost everyone asked if I needed anything. Top blokes all.

Finally I was under way again. But in a slow, deliberate, apathetic manner. I was bummed about a good day having gone awry and terrified about flatting again or that my repair would somehow fail. I took the remainder of the downhill at a very ginger pace and it took me a long time to regain confidence that my rear tire was in fact going to hold air. But as riders started coming back in ones and twos and the tire held up I started regaining some mojo so that by the time we departed from the 2nd aid station I was pretty much back on my game. I hadn’t stopped at the first water stop that Dale Wentworth was manning high up on the first big climb and even now beginning the second big gravel climb I felt physically fine. I seem to be physiologically better suited to longer events over sprints and consequently do better at these endurance races than the 2 hour FTR races even though I’m hurting like everyone else. I can’t go super fast but I can just keep going and going for a long time. As you can imagine this makes me a legend in the bedroom but only a mediocre cross country racer. Gran Fondos fall somewhere in between.

The second climb was much rougher than the first one with copious deep gravel and extended sections of washboard surface. This would have been very painful if it had been hot but thankfully it wasn’t. And the descent off the 2nd gravel col was absolutely primo, a definite highlight of the whole day. Hard packed dirt that had just enough ruts and rocks to keep you on your toes but corner after sweeping corner with sufficient sight lines to allow for high rolling speeds with little effort. I was hooting and hollering and loving life on this section, the angry curses of 2 hours previous a forgotten episode. And as good as it was I did breathe a sigh of relief when we reached asphalt near the bottom as this signified the end of the significant risk of flatting again.

The remaining 20 or so miles was mostly high speed road riding with a tailwind. Some hills but mostly big ring stuff. I still felt pretty darn good and was churning my biggest gear when some upstart on a proper road bike blew by me out of nowhere! Wasn’t expecting that. But he was cunning and had stalked me and blown by so fast there was no question of latching on. So I resumed my solitary exploit and even took a peek back to assure there was no other hellhound on my tail. Nope, all was well. Then at the bottom of the big downhill gully that goes straight into the last semi-steep climb up to the Red Sky fruit stand another blighter whooshed by me! Where the hell did he come from!? Enough was enough, it was time to start kicking ass and taking names. For the record his name was Marcos Franco and he would proceed to put distance between us all the way to the finish. Oddly enough he finished one place behind me at this event last year and I finished one place behind him this year. I did manage to assuage my ego a little by eventually passing a guy on a mountain bike on the high speed asphalt section from Cle Elum to Thorpe. Such is the pecking order on smooth surfaces; road bike trumps cross bike trumps mountain bike. But that was the only position I regained on the asphalt. Oh, and the bikini babes on the final stretch of the John Wayne Trail were a nice touch. Thanks for that Jake.

After getting my finisher’s patch from Kate and a cool refreshing Coke from Karen at the finish line all that remained was to ride the 3 miles back to the school where we had started 6 hours earlier. Like last year Jake had arranged for a Mexican food truck so everyone got a scrumptious post-race burrito that went down like ambrosia. Looking at some severely road rashed bodies and hearing tales of multiple flats and mayhem I reflected that maybe my day wasn’t so bad after all. The world looks pretty darn rosy when most of your skin is intact and you have a pork burrito in your hand. Sure in a perfect world one of my domestiques would have been present and immediately sacrificed their wheel when I flatted but in this world that happened at 11:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning when Frank, Roy, and Kurt were all probably still in bed and likely hung-over too. There’s always next year.

Brig at GFEburg
Brig at GFEburg

Riding with Brig at GFL

By Brig Seidl:

Last year’s GF Leavenworth was the debut outing for my new Norco Threshold and my first crack at going tubeless which ended badly when both tires blew out in a shower of sealant before the race even began. Back in went tubes. But this year I was again convinced to try tubeless for Leavenworth and shelled out some pretty serious coin to get professionally set up with some Schwalbe G-One tires. They looked pretty sweet – my main criteria for judging just about any bicycle or accessory – so I eagerly took it out for a short test ride and naturally punctured immediately and the sealant proceeded to work about as much as Frank Benish and Joe Martin combined, ie not at all, despite repeated inflations. Grrrr. As usual what functions flawlessly for everyone else doesn’t seem to apply to me. The night before the race Evan stuck a plug in it and I wheeled to the start line the next morning holding my breath with zero confidence in my tires and 2 tubes in my pocket for insurance. Continue reading “Riding with Brig at GFL”

XC mtb luv

Why do we do it (mtb races), why xc? It would seem the GF’s have the potential to be more profitable, any financial adviser would tell us DUMP THE FTR! Sometimes we ask ourselves the same thing… But it’s an easy answer: it’s who we are, we love it. XC is the purest form of bicycle racing, you gotta be a DHer and a roadie all in one. You gotta have the whole package, skillz and fitness. We know you have a lot of choices, and weekends are a precious commodity. We appreciate every one of you who come out to our events. We work hard to keep them fun, and fresh. Perfect example is the Chainsmoker coming up this Saturday. Great mix of new and old, flow and tech, banzai and grind. Yep we love this xc thing, and the FTR is here to stay. See you at the ‘chuck this Saturday.

XC Racin!
XC Racin!

As Good as it Gets

Wow, Gran Fondo Goldendale is one spectacular ride.  And I’m not just saying that because I want to sell more registrations, I’m saying that as a dude who rides bikes a lot and is blown away by how rad it is.  But lets back up a bit, you may remember the story from last year where I participated in GFG.  It was awesome and I had hoped I could pull it off again this year.  As the event drew near I could see the pieces of the puzzle falling into place.  I have such rad family of volunteers!  Everything came together nicely and by 9:00 am Sunday morning all of the work that goes into these feels soooo worth it.  Especially when your on a bike!  Again, Brooklynn successfully led us out of town (you never know with her) and we were on our way.  The sun was out and GFG was as spectacular as ever.  Snowy mountain peaks (5? I lost count) some road, some gravel, little climbs, big climbs, twisty rippin fast down hills, still buzzin from it all.  I will spare you my long winded story as it would sound very much like last year: ride hard trying to hang with guys that are too fast for me, realize that part way through, and spend the rest of the ride paying dearly for it.  But somehow still getting across the finish line with a reasonable time.  Awesome day!!!  Again, gotta give it up for my crew, so awesome to just go ride my bike and know that GFG is in good hands!

GFG 2016
All smiles rollin out of town.
GFG
Top of Horseshoe Bend, Hood and Adams on the horizon.

Count down…

It’s been a long winter but it’s finally time.  GFE is THIS Sunday and they start coming at you pretty fast after that.  A couple of us got out for a pre-ride a few weeks ago.  It was basically our first time on the course since last year.  Everything looked pretty good.  No snow, not really even any mud to speak of.  It was about as nice a day as you could ask for, blue skies and a nice breeze pushing us home from Palisades.  Looking forward to seeing everyone this Sunday, weather is shaping up to be decent.  Better than last year anyway!

Pre Ride
Cruzin through Palisades with a nice tailwind
Pre Ride
Top of Three Devils -so much better than the bottom.

Inside GFW w/ Brig Seidl

After a 3 month hiatus the Vicious Cycle Gran Fondo series resumed on Sept 26th for the respect-demanding Winthrop finale in the beautiful North Cascades. I was wondering if some of the legitimate series contenders had lost focus in those 12 weeks and perhaps had even gotten a little soft and blowsy in anticipation of the impending Holiday Season so a pretender might be able to sneak himself into the mix. And because my training regimen is 95% comprised of a daily 35 mile commute my conditioning doesn’t really have any peaks or tapers over the course of the entire year. Maybe, just maybe some of us minnows could ambush the big guns on an off day. Continue reading “Inside GFW w/ Brig Seidl”