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The only place to stay current on the latest manic ramblings from Eagle, Colorado.

Rudy Project, the exclusive eyewear of A2B

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

VALMONT BIKE PARK, HAD FIVE BROKEN ARMS IN ONE DAY LAST WEEK....

 When I stopped by there today and took some pictures, it was easy to see that Valmont was lucky that was all they had to deal with. Who the hell needs a helmet anyway? This my friends is Darwinism at work, quickly, and it's only a matter of time, and probably sooner than later, before someone cracks their melon open and their family calls Frank Azar. Helmets should be MANDATORY at Valmont Bike Park, and I'm pretty amazed they are not.

2011 COLORADO CYCLOCROSS DATES


SEPT
11 Lookout Cross Golden
17 Boulder Racing CX #1 @ Louisville Rec Center Louisville
18 Groove Subaru Fall Classic Denver
24 Boulder Racing CX #2 @ Interlocken Broomfield
25 Cross Propz Racing Longmont

OCT

1 Frisco Cross Frisco
2 Frisco Cross Frisco
8 USGP New Belgium Cup Fort Collins
9 USGP New Belgium Cup Fort Collins
15 Blue Sky Velo CX Cup Longmont
16 Aspen Lodge CX Estes Park
22 Boulder Racing CX #3 @ Xilinx Longmont
23 On the Cross Denver
29 Colorado Cross Cup Boulder
30 Boulder Cup Broomfield

NOV

5 Schoolyard Cross Lafayette
6 Cross at the River Buena Vista
12 Parker CX Parker
13 CYCLO X Refigerated Longmont
19 Pikes Peak Velo SuperCross Colorado Springs
20 Castle Cross Castle Rock
26 Boulder Racing CX #4 @ Westminster City Park Westminster
27 Lookout Cross Golden

DEC

3 CYCLO X Refigerated Longmont
4 Team Adrenalin CX TBD
10 E2 Cross of the North Fort Collins
11 Boulder Racing CX @ Lyons HS Lyons
17 Alpha Cross - Colorado CX Championships Littleton...being hosted by your favorite blog
18 Alpha Cross - Colorado CX Championships Littleton...being hosted by your favorite blog

ATTENTION CYCLISTS, IT'S HESTRA GLOVE TIME....FOR SURE.

Hestra Gloves, a company which has specialized in making gloves in Sweden for 75 years, primarily in the ski industry, both Alpine and Nordic, has branched out to now give all those years of experience to cyclists. Road, Mountain, Cyclocross, recreational riders all have a choice or two which will fit them perfectly somewhere in the Hestra line-up of functionality and comfort in hand protection. The gloves are designed with you the cyclist specifically in mind. This means materials endlessly researched and quality which is second to none. Their Alpine ski line is endorsed by and of course worn by Seth Morrison, with a model he himself helped research and design. Interestingly enough, Hestra has also come out with Hestra work gloves under the moniker Hestra Job, so put away the Wells Lamonts and check out Hestra next time you need a quality long lasting work glove. I had the opportunity to test some of this new product (incidentally, Hestra is a sponsor of the Vail Town MTB series), and had a couple of pairs, both full fingered which I prefer, because if I take a spill riding, I'd prefer to have my digits at least covered with some fabric if they are going to eat asphalt or dirt, but that is simply a personal preference. There is a fantastic selection of half finger gloves as well if you prefer.

Below is the Bike Long model and my the test ride for this bad boy was a 92 mile jaunt from Longmont, up Lefthand Canyon to the Peak to Peak, over to Estes Park and back to Longmont. Some big climbing, flats, rolling terrain and descending on this ride. The Bike Long (referencing the full fingered glove) has a sweet lycra back which breaths and stretches to fit your hand perfectly, I wore an XL which is a Euro size 10. The palm has a low profile gel pad which is awesome on long rides, and the palm area is made from a tacky Clarino fabric. The index and middle fingers tips have an extra patch of "grippy" material which also will prolong glove use as this is the spot that I always have problems with on my other full fingered cycling gloves, they always wear here, but the Hestra has built in the solution with the Bike Long model. These small reinforced patches also grip the shifters big time to insure smooth shifting, even in the drops. The terry cloth "booger pad" is perfectly placed as well. I also like the addition of reflective piping on the gloves as I ride at night, a lot, and any safety measure is a huge plus for me. I've ridden these gloves 3-4 times now, including the 92 miler, and the gloves feel invisible, but provide the protection I need, perfect. The bonus is that there is no Velcro closer on this glove, they have been designed with out it so you simply pull them on and off. As you know these Velcro closers always wear out and become a pain in the ass and a hindrance while riding, no worries about that with the Hestra Bike Long or any of their other models.



So what to do on the Mountain Bike? Fear not, Hestra has a glove for every type of rider out there and I like MTB gloves with some beef, as I've been known to do some "light" trail work while out riding. The Hestra Downhill Sr. is the perfect fit for me. It's heavier duty, has a stretchy mesh back, they use high quality and more supple goat leather in construction, a neoprene cuff for a snug fit, the palm and fingers are made with a tacky grip material which is critical for bike control when things get tight and fast on the trail. The knuckles are padded, and my first ride in these gloves was this past weekend at Curt Gowdy State Park. Gowdy is full of technical, rocky sections. One in particular I had a run in with. My bars were too wide for a narrow part of the trail which I attempted anyway and pinched my fingers between a large protruding rock and the handlebar. These small pieces of exterior padding saved some skin for sure if not more, and came out unscathed. Perfect and thank you Hestra.
So, in conclusion, Hestra, which absolutely dominates the Euro glove market in Europe is now here, in the good ol USA, and they are going to be a force in cycling, alpine and Nordic Skiing as well as in the work place. Look for them everywhere soon and tell your local shops to get em on their shelves.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

LOOK, I KNOW MY BLOG HAS BEEN A BIT SOFT LATELY.....

So let's get some good old juice flowing with a fine image of the next idiot out in the field. Yep, that's right, it's Michele Bachmann time on A2B ladies and gents. Here is another LOUD MOUTH politician who is great at bashing what's in place, but has ZERO answers or policy on how to correct ANYTHING. I will give her some credit however, at least she has not quit her position and walked away from the voters who made her GOVERNORSHIP OF A STATE, yet.....so she's got THAT going for her. I'm really looking forward to the Palin-Bachmann debate sometime in the future, there should be some very good substance in that one, oh and by the way, I can see Kansas from my backyard.

Let's just hope that twit pics of her showing off her wiener don't show up sometime soon, that would push her right to the front of the Republican ticket.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

COLE WHEELS C38, MADE ME A CONTENDA AT ROCK THE RIVER..

Burnsy gets ready to clip in for the Rock the River Road Race this past Sunday. The race was the 2011 State of Colorado Road Racing Masters Championships.
And so it was, without any announcing dates on the calender for the past weekend, and coming off calling the Vail Rec District Berry Creek Bash which was won by Jay Henry (over Jake Wells in second) and Gretchen Reeves on the women's pro side, I was able to line it up in one of the very few if ever road races I would even attempt, Rock the River which starts in Dotsero and is an out and back race on the Colorado River Road. This race has 20 miles on the dirt as well, and the critical part of the race is contested on the dirt as you climb to Catamount and then have a nut tightening experience descending that same said climb on the way back, and also on the dirt, and as all of my riding buddies know, I absolutely suck at descending on the road bike as a result of a near death experience several years back with speed wobbles on the way down to State Bridge from Wolcott Pass which I somehow managed to pull out of and save, at near 50mph. With that said, I had a new set of wheels to ride, the C38 Carbons from Cole, and I had been experimenting with body position in combination with these wheels with the dirt road descent off of Catamount at the forefront of my mind. Today it would be different.

The rear Cole C38 Hub, 20 spokes, super high tension, threaded at both ends, anchored by these anodized aluminum "threaded" spheres. This is the DSA Hub, Direct Spoke Alignment, and for a rider like me, 6'1" and 178-185lbs., I need something I can have confidence in, especially descending and cornering in a Peloton where I am not the most comfortable guy after starting road racing so late in my cycling career. But Cole Wheels have made me more comfortable in the Peloton in all those situations.
Sexy Ti skewers come with every set of course.
The front DSA hub accomodates the C38 Cole front carbon rim. Sealed Japanese bearings keep these wheels rolling incredibly fast.

This is the difference, a large surface of tension distribution in the DSA Hub makes for a stiff and responsive race/riding wheel. These babies go where you point them, immediately.

Every Cole Carbon Wheelset comes with carbon brake pads and shoes included.
Steel Crown Jewel Independent Fabrication and Carbon Cole C38 Wheels, a match made in Heaven. There was a ton of Carbon Bike out there racing, and nobody had an advantage on me because of it. The steel/carbon combo is a dream to ride, especially in a race that rides like a one day classic.

The rig as it was raced....I like to ride/race a cush saddle and refuse to grapple over wieght making this choice. I've ridden the TransAm forever, it works for my ass and balls, and I do not want to sacrifice weight to be miserable.
The tire choice was a bit risky for this race, but the dirt was in stellar shape, so I went with the Vittoria Damante Pro Lights. The two corners I really needed these dawgs, they railed it along with the C38 wheels I was riding.

Look, I'm no big timer road racer, if you know me you know that much for sure. It seems everytime I line it up to race road, something has debacled my day. Crashes, ruts in dirt, stupidity, lack of experience and confidence riding in race conditions in a group, whatever, I just aint that good at it. I had one pretty good day at the Boulder Roubaix two years ago, but could not hang on to the lead group close to the end of the race because I had to work too much to stay in touch with the back of the Peloton. I had a VERY good day two years ago at Rock the River and had a podium locked up until I got yanked 2km from the finish for crossing the yellow line, my fault, I just did not know any better at the time. So, take all those fuck ups, add them together, and line it up again in Dotsero.

Which brings me back to the Cole Wheels C38 Carbon clinchers I raced on this past Sunday. I had been riding these wheels for a couple of weeks and immediately found my confidence soaring descending. Which is a BOLD statement. For the past several seasons, my riding friends would basically roll their eyes at the thought of waiting for me at the bottom of a long descent on a group ride, I just did not feel comfortable hitting 45-50 mph downhill on training or fun rides, and did not care if I got dropped due to this "shit in pants" feeling. The Coles were different, they were rock solid, stiff, and VERY fast. My confidence descending skyrocketed back to an earlier time in my road riding days. I was ready for the race, and would not be dropped descending Catamount this year. Plus, I knew my current form climbing ( I had lost some lbs.) would keep me near the front.

Our field was around 30-35 deep at the start and the pace was lethargic to say the least on the way out. Guys attempted to get off the front several times only to be quickly shut down. Burnsy was along for the ride in our field and would hopefully be someone for me to work with later. When we got to the Catamount climb at the halfway point, the pace was civil on the first climb. The group was happy with what appeared to be just tempo. My plan was to try and get rid of some of the team members from Amgen-RealD (six strong) if possible on this climb. About 150 meters from the top of the first pitch I went to the front and encouraged the solo guys up there to keep the tempo high, once at the top I set my own tempo, on the front, and carried it nearly all the way to the top of the climb. My goal was to make "the cone" in the top 5-8 riders which was done, most of the group was still there as we started the dirt descent. 

The rest was up to me and my new found confidence in the Cole C38s. I was able to stay on the front through the upper descent and the ensuing flat spot before hitting the hairball downhill at the bottom of Catamount. A brief effort had me off the front at the start of the downhill, and I was actually able to GAP THE GROUP descending, me, the world's previous worst descender ever. I topped 50 mph near the bottom and the right hander into the wood covered Colorado River Bridge still loomed, the wheels nailed it. 

Of Course it all came back together in very big winds and the group sprint was a bit of a cluster. The finish to this race simply just sucks, it's a skinny two lane road, with no traffic and a yellow line, and there is an official on a moto bike along side to keep you in line, I got pulled here two years ago, they enforce the center line rule forcefully. So somehow it ends up four wide and five deep, 20 riders, rolling to the finish, and I'm fucked in the fourth row waiting for the move, and it never comes. Now we are 200m from the line SOFT PEDALING when I scream "that's the finish line" as I look ahead, and nobody goes, and there is nowhere for anyone in the back to go without a DQ. FINALLY, David Williams from Colorado Bike Law made a move, but it was too late for the rest of us deep in the pack. Robert Fisher jumped his wheel and then took the win. As for me, I've never been in a bunch sprint before, and it was chaos from the back, but it did somehow manage to briefly open enough to start cranking it up, and I was able to jump on third wheel approaching the line, but ran out of space, my bike throw came up about a half wheel too short and I finished 4th on the day about two seconds off the win. But it was a fantastic and exciting day, and the Cole Wheels were a huge part of it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

REST IN PEACE CLARENCE CLEMONS....

Without going into any details of my youth and the fan I was of the E Street Band, A2B is saddened to hear of the passing of Clarence Clemons, the greatest rock and roll band saxophone player who ever lived. Rest peacefully Clarence, and I'm glad the music is here until the end of time, think I'll go listen to "Jungleland". Damn you were something special.




Enjoy....

Classic Clemons...

Many years ago, I believe around 1980, I had the opportunity to see Clarence Clemons and the Red Bank Rockers, his own band, at the Agora Ball Room in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Not once, but twice that night as Clarence himself asked the crowd from the first show to please stay and watch the second show that night for free. It was an incredibly small venue, maybe 250 people max, with the stage right on the floor in front of us, and it was packed, and it was great, and I sure am lucky I was there....thanks Clarence Clemons, The Big Man.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I FOUND THIS ETCHING IN A SIDEWALK SOMEHWERE...

This is an ancient Mayan Petroglyph in a sidewalk I was walking on.

And you probably already know this story... 
video

Friday, June 17, 2011

RUSS KAPPIUS ENGINEERS A MASTERPIECE, THE TERRA FORMA EVOLUTION HUB.

This is the Terra Forma Evolution Hub
There's this guy who lives on the front range of Colorado who we ALL know of in the cycling world. He's a rippin mountain biker along with his son Brady, both of whom have earned Stars and Stripes Jerseys in different classifications and disciplines. Well Russ is one of those very talented and good guys who wants to make the world of Mountain Biking better for all of us. He's done that by engineering a new hub, basically at home, which is going to do that in the future. The Terra Forma Evolution Hub is here, and both Russ and Brady have nbeen tearing up the local MTB scene on them this season, currently ranked one and two in the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series on the Evolution. There is a very good review of the Evolution at www.singletrack.com web page. Check it out, learn something new, and look for the Terr Forma Evolution soon to be rippin under your MTB soul soon. Look for a set to retail around a grand for the limited numbers which will be available in the near future.
Russel Kappius' detailed but very UNDERSTANDABLE description of why his hub is better can be found right
HERE, on the Terra Forma Sports Website.

The descriptions and photos below are taken from the Singletrack.com review page.

Improvements

The solution to the problem hit Kappius a few years ago when SRAM introduced its “hollow” cassette designs. Kappius said to himself, “that should be hub under there, not an air pocket!” From this eureka moment, Kappius came up with his design philosophy: “The number one priority of my hub design is to make it more reliable. Second is simpler, followed by lighter.”
Wider: Because Kappius is filling that void with hub, the bearings in the Evolution hub are much more widely spaced. This strengthens the entire structure of the wheel and is less tasking on the bearings themselves. In fact the oversized bearings in the Evolution hub are spaced 50 percent wider than in most current production offerings

Bigger: Everything is oversized on the Terra Forma Evolution hub. Kappius upped the size of not only on his hub’s bearings but also the size of the drive mechanism. Bigger bearings are stronger, easier to seal and last longer.
Kappius improved transmission reliability by making the engagement interface twice the diameter of standard cassette bodies. When you take apart the hub and inspect the pawls, springs and bearings and compare it to a normal hub, you see how bigger really can be better.
Faster: Kappius also saw that he could achieve all his reliability goals while making engagement quicker. A few companies like Industry Nine have started to realize the advantage of a super fast engagement. Currently the Terra Forma Evolution hub has 180-point engagement (Industry Nine has 120 point engagement).
I really noticed the quick engagement over technical terrain where I could pedal several half revolutions to keep my pedals from hitting rocks.
Lighter: Without the funding of a big R&D department Kappius already has his hub weights at 115 grams and 260 grams for front and rear 9 mm quick release hubs. A front 15mm thru-axle is 120 grams and a Lefty front is 110 grams.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

DON LAMSON AND D2 SHOES....

 If you do not know of Don Lamson and you are a cyclist, well you should. Don has a storied past in the Hills of Colorado as not only one of the original inverted aerialists on skis, where he was ranked in the top 10 in the world for many years back in the pioneering days of this discipline, but he is also a world renown custom shoe maker. For many years he did custom ski boot work and now he is the proprietor of D2 Shoes where he has been building custom cycling shoes for every level of athlete for several decades. His shop is impressive, and you are pretty much welcome to come see both Don and the custom shoe making process at anytime at his shop on Chambers Avenue in Eagle, Colorado. Custom shoes have been shipped all over the world to many world class cyclists for so many years from this location. The shop is impressive and seems simple, don't let that fool you, as the latest computer technology will be involved as well as plenty of hands on work, and I had the fortune to have my feet go along for this cycling custom pedicure ride recently after knowing Don for several years and seeing and hearing from so many of my riding friends just how sweet these D2 shoes are. There are some great videos detailing the fitting process on the D2 website, and below is what you can expect for your final product and why D2 makes such a big difference....


The process starts with custom foam imprints of your feet, this is for the custom insoles which will be the perfect fit in a shoe that fits every single spot of your foot like a glove. This will be your shoe....and only your shoe.

These insoles have been made from my foam imprints in the "crush box", they are firm, and fit the contour of my feet perfectly, and I mean perfectly, which is a critically important part of the process as well as a very important part of the final shoe as this will provide you with a larger platform to transfer energy to your pedals providing you with maximum bang for your buck during your pedaling stroke. There is ZERO wasted energy at the contact point of foot to insole to pedal, you will notice this 2 minutes into your first ride in D2 Shoes.

Don will then take many measurements from both of your feet as they are inevitably shaped different. It's an interesting process and let's you know right away the guy knows his shit, big time. Following this construction will begin. There are what seem like 100's of molded foot "forms" in the production shop which Don will then use for the best fit for your foot, he is then able to fine tune around these molds based on your particular foot measurements and come up with the exact fit you will need. Construction is impeccable, stitching is perfect and the Vibram soles are BOMBER for MTB riding and of course killer for cyclocross and it's demands, just ask Katie Compton, 7 time National Champion, she rides D2, and for a reason.



There are a myriad of colors to choose from for all parts of the shoe, customize it how you like it, or in my case, I simply asked Don to come up with something he thought would be cool, and this was the result, and I agree. The shoes are built so that cleat position is in the middle of the mounting zone for optimal power, you can "mess" with this as needed, however I have taken Don's advice and set them up dead center and they seem to be perf. The first thing you notice when you pedal for the first time in these shoes is that they are "snug", as they will give just a hair and form perfectly to your foot as Don uses incredibly premium leather product in his construction. The top of the shoe literally fits like a leather driving glove, however the performance comes from the stiff carbon insert, the Vibram sole, and the stiff custom insole that transfers all of your energy to the pedal stroke, it's an amazing ride and fit, and worth every penny spent.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

POOR OLD EAGLE.....


And so it is, I've been accused of being bitter about Eagle, I'm not, not really, I like it there and there is no reason for me to be bitter about anything there. I was up there last week for 5 days during the Teva Games working and I'll be back up tomorrow for the Vail Rec Series race and the Mike Janelle Memorial fundraiser, bring a lot of money. Before I left Eagle, I documented the number of empty store fronts in town and out at Eagle Ranch and was chastised by a few A2B readers. No big deal, you are entitled. Then while I was there two weeks ago I went out to look for a lunch spot with my girlfriend, and we drove around, and the Smiling Moose had gone out of business, then we drove over to Mi Pueblo and it looked closed, and it was, for good, then we drove by Dominoes, and FUCKING DOMINOES WAS OUT OF BUSINESS. How does Dominoes go out of business? And then I heard a number that half of Eagle Ranch is in Foreclosure, myself included of course, and then I wondered why people were pissed at me for speaking the truth? But the mountain biking was of course still stellar, and that is a big part of your answer still Eagle, because there ain't much else to do there. And then I visited Valmont Bike Park and thought, this seems like a pretty good idea....maybe you could build one of those, right on the driving range of the golf course. 

By the way, does anyone remember that Sarah Palin QUIT the Governorship of Alaska? That's right, just plain and simply walked out on the people that voted her into office because she was tired of the position. Vote for her.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

KAPPIUS AND BEISEL BATTLE FOR RAMPAGE TITLE...

It was Brady Kappius and Kalan Beisel dropping the bombs in Castle Rock today at Bison State Park with both riders puncturing on the final lap in the 60 mile ride and Kappius having the lesser of an issue riding to the win. Once again, new single track in a new land that you would never expect or bother with until you actually go and ride it, and it's simply an amazing track and some of the most flowy stuff around. Built by the guys from Whistler and rides like a dream.



Our gracious host for the weekend, John Haley, on one of six laps on the SS. This was the only switchback on the course that SS riders would have to walk.
Wheelie Man, and not by choice.