Team Time Trial

After my first race of the season, my good friend Aaron asked my if I wanted to do a TTT (team time trial)on the next weekend.  At first, I thought no way, I haven’t been riding my TT bike.  If you’re going to good at time trials, you have to ride that thing.  The next day was a rest/recovery for me.  I decided to take the bike to a local park and just ride a few easy laps to see how the set up felt.  15 miles later, I had convinced myself that a time trial sounded like a good idea.  I figured that I would do the TT unless we found a third person for a TTT.  I signed up for the 40+3 individual TT.  Aaron is 29.speed concept

A couple of days go by and Aaron informs me that we only need two people for a TTT.  I’m in but I already registered.  If you take care of the particulars, I’m in for the TTT.  Aaron got on the internet and team Hugebauer was born.

Friday night comes around and my TTT partner calls me and asks if I have a 10 speed sram red rear derailleur that he can borrow.  No, I said, I have 2.  I started thinking, hey, Justin is racing as well and he goes like 2 hours before me. I should see if he’d want to use my TT bike instead of his road bike.  Even if it didn’t fit 100%, it would still be faster than  a standard road bike.  He came by that night and got it from me.  I’ll see you in the morning; and he was off.

Saturday morning came around and Aaron showed up with his ailing Cannondale Slice.  He gets his bike in the work stand and gets going.  I left him alone to do the repair.  A few minutes later I went out to check on his progress and he was having some trouble with the indexing of the gears.  It’s probably the hanger.  Why don’t you check with my derailleur hanger adjustment tool?  I went back inside to deal with a few emails.  2 minutes later he came into my office with a snapped off derailleur hand in one hand and a frown on his face.  We looked at each other, took and deep breath, and I knew we were going to overcome this set back.  Aaron also brought his Caad 12 with him, as we were going to do some course recon for Sunday’s road race.

Well, I’ve got some clip on aero bars.  Just take the wheels off the TT bike and we’ll be fine.

I can’t, they’re 10 speed hubs and my road bike is 11 speed.

Cyclist problems.

What do you have on your Caad 12?

Ultegra tubeless.

Take my HiFi’s, they’re 50mil deep and I just put new S-Works tire on them.  I rode them yesterday, they’re fast!

 

It only took a few minutes and we were back in business.  We hit the road feeling good and would be at the race in an hour.  40 minutes later, Justin calls me and informs me that when he went to swap out the training wheel with the race wheel, the rear derailleur and hanger fell of the bike.  Time for another deep breath…

 

I’m like 20 minutes away, I don’t know what I can do from here.  Try to fix it and if you can’t, I’ll be there soon.  A couple more phone calls and Justin got the bike back together, but missed his start time.  I felt really bad for him.  A lot goes into racing your bicycle.  A bunch of it is the build up in your mind. You spend a lot of time visualizing and thinking about what you’re going to do.  Racing a TT can be pretty mental, your mind can easily wander and it’s important to go in feeling good.

As they say, that’s bike racing

I’ve always hated that saying, but I guess it’s true.  The toothpaste is out of the tube and you just have to move on to the next thing in front of you.  That’s what Aaron and I did.  There were only 3 teams competing in our category.  One team had 5 members and the other had 4.  Out numbered and possibly our gunned.  I wouldn’t have it any other way!  Aaron has a 4.7 watts per kilo and I’m around 4.1 watts per kilo.  Basically that means that he is stronger than me and also weighs about 25-30 pounds less than I do.  Good thing the course is mostly uphill.  Time for another deep breath.

We set out from the town of Lyons and pointed ourselves towards Boulder 12 miles away.  The first 2 miles of the course were slightly downhill with a tailwind.  After that, it started to climb.  The plan was to have Aaron pace me up the hills and I would do my share on the flats, downhills, and put myself in the wind as much as possible.  That dude is super strong and I really had to go deep to stay with him as I’m sure he was holding back for me.  We traded pulls along the way and made it to Boulder in 28:30 or so with an average speed of 25.2 mph.  The few inclines and the constant crosswind made for a very tough race for me.

Our efforts were good enough for a second place finishing only 30 seconds behind the winning 5 man team.  We couldn’t have been happier with our result and more importantly we had a ton of fun racing together.

Every season I ride and race my bikes I learn something new.  More than anything, I’ve learned you just have to keep moving forward.  They say you lose more than you win and I’m ok with that.  As long as I do my best and give it everything, I can’t ask more of myself than that.

Me and Massage

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I’ve been an athlete my whole life.  Soccer, track, basketball, cycling, dirt bikes, snowboarding, and now back to cycling.  Through all of these sports and activities, I’ve racked up a bunch of injuries.  A few years ago I had my right shoulder operated on and didn’t do a very good job of following the Dr’s orders.  I ended up with a frozen shoulder.  I believe the only way I got through that and to a full recovery was the combination of PT, acupuncture, and massage.

Since taking up cycling again, I’ve found that Yoga(Stretching) and regular massage help to keep my body receptive to what I ask of it.  I prefer to get massage on my rest days when I’m off the bike.  The next day, typically Tuesday, I start out the week with an easier workout.  Sometimes my legs will feel heavy the day after, but by Wednesday I’m usually good to go and feeling revived.

In all the years of trying to put myself back together again, I’ve seen a lot of massage therapists.  I’ve yet to meet someone that is as skilled as Kate at The Boulder Body Worker.  She identified what some of my issues were and went to work.  I understand that fixing issues with my body will take time.  It took a lot of time to mess myself up didn’t it?  After seeing Kate on a semi regular basis and doing some homework on my own, I’m feeling better than I have in a while.

I’m excited to see what the rest of my year will look like and how my body will respond moving forward.

You can find Kate @boulderbodyworker on IG and on her website boulderbodyworker.com

2016 S Works Venge Vias

old and newLike I said in the last review, fast and quick.  These two things are very different.  Where the Tarmac was quick then fast, this bike was fast then quick.  Once you get on this bike and get it up to around 22-23 mph, it just feels easy.  You can feel the deep 64mil rims slicing through the air.  Bikes like this make the coolest sounds at speed.  At times, I felt like I was piloting a TT bike.  The shapes and the stiffness reminded me of my Trek Speed concept.defeet works copy

I’ve heard some chatter about the brakes on this bike.  For me, the brakes worked as well as I needed them to.  I can not speak about a race situation as this was my first time riding this missile.  This was my third day in a row on the bike and I was feeling somewhat fatigued.  I through my leg over the Venge and started pedaling. Boom, 25mph.  This was going to be a fun ride!

I departed from Westminster and headed to the Boulder bubble, the Mecca, Btown.  There’s a reason everyone loves to ride there.  Long stretches of road with every type of terrain you could ask for.  Since I did a bunch of climbing the day before on the Tarmac and this was an aero bike, I stayed away from the hills.  Mile after mile ticked by and it all felt very easy.  At one point I thought, how could you not win races on this thing?low dirt

A TT bike that was somewhat comfortable, could handle corners and actually brake.  That’s what I kept coming up with as I rode the Vias.  I ended up spending 3 1/2 with this beast and didn’t want to give it back.  At 13k, it had better be fast, but I would not buy this bike if it was the only thing I had to ride.  I like to do too many silly things on the bike and I’m not sure this could handle all that i would ask of it.  If you want to go fast with less effort and crush the dreams of the other cyclists you’ll be passing, get down to your LBS and pick one up.  You won’t be disappointed.flower tower

2016 Tarmac Pro Ui2 Disc

Fast and quick.  These two words best describe the characteristics of the bikes that I just test rode.  Turin bicycles, here in Denver, offered me the opportunity to ride a 2016 Tarmac Pro Ui2 disc and I jumped at it.  I’ve been riding a Venge for the past 2 1/2 years and wanted to see what the other flagship bike from Specialized had to offer.

The weather here in Denver has been hit and miss lately.  26F with snow everywhere to 65F and cloudy with wind.  The day I took out the Tarmac it was the latter.  My training plan called for 4hrs of zone 2.  Perfect, I’ll take this beauty up into the mountains.  From my house, it takes around 35 minutes of riding west until the real climbing starts.  One of my favorite canyons are here averages about a 2% grade for 10 miles.  It’s a climb that is suited to my style. testride

I tried to restrain myself from going too hard because what I had planned for myself was going to require most of the energy I had. The bike felt very planted underneath me.  If I stood up and put some power to the pedals, it responded immediately.  I ride a 58cm frame and currently weigh in at 190lbs.  As I like to say, I’m not a climber.  Duh.tarmac

I guess I picked a good route for this bike.  From my door, I essentially climbed for 34 miles and gained 4,500′ with the steepest bits towards the end.  The bike did everything that everyone says that it does on the climbs.  Where I was surprised was on the descent.witter

I really metered my efforts on the last few miles of the climbing.  The downhill that awaited me was one of my favorites.  6.5 miles of twisty mountain roads with gravel in the corners but almost no traffic.  I tend to cheat a bit when I descend.  I use the maps on my Garmin 1000 so I can see what’s coming at me.

I took the first few moments to get my legs use to a different pedaling style than I had just been doing for the past 3 hours.  Ok, legs are feeling good, let’s ride some tempo.  The disc brakes allowed me to brake a bit later going into the sharp corners and with less effort.  The lever pull initiated in a different spot than it does on my other bikes but that was easy to get use to.  I’ve also gotten in the habit of shifting into an easier gear before the corner and allowing myself to get my feet up to speed sooner.  The Tarmac really accelerated out of the corners quickly, it felt much different than my Venge.  I ended up setting a PR by 14 sec on that section of road and I didn’t really feel like I was going that hard.

The rest of the way home I just rode a moderate pace.  There are some nice long sections of downhill where it’s easier to do a “super tuck” than it is to pedal.  This is a position that I use all the time and am very comfortable when in it.  I’m happy to report that there is more room to fit your body comfortably on this bike than there is on my current Venge.

Bottom line: I liked the bike a lot, however I would not buy the disc version.  I just have too many other wheelsets that are not disc.  If I was just getting into the sport, I would probably feel differently.  Disc brakes are a good thing, and I’m sure they’re here to stay.  I would love to have them in wet conditions where I’ve had some scary rides on carbon rim brakes.  This bike proved to be quick to get up to speed and could hold it’s own when the road turned down.in the snow

Team Georgia

A couple of months ago, Michael contacted me through my website and told me that he and his wife were interested in coming out to Colorado.  They were wanting to follow the USA pro challenge, get in some cycling, and see more of the state.  This was to be the first trip for my new venture.

I have been riding for more than 30 years and have ridden with many types of people all at different levels.  I’m no pro, but I can usually hang with most people.  I had a bit of home field advantage with the altitude, so I made sure to ride at a moderate and steady pace.  The last thing I wanted to do was blow them out of the water on day one.

A few days and more than 100 miles of riding into the trip, we were slated for a ride up Independence Pass.  On this particular ride, you top out at 12,059′ above sea level.  Michael and Brittany were holding up pretty well and seemed to be adjusting to the change in elevation from Atlanta.  We spent the previous night camped out at Turquoise Lake just outside of Leadville, CO.  The elevation here was just under 10,000′.

The race route that day started out of Copper mountain ski area, climbed over Freemont Pass, sped through the town of Leadville, and then did a lap around the lake before turning towards Indy pass to eventually finish in Aspen.  At the base of east side of the pass lies Twin Lakes.  It’s an incredible vista with Colorado’s highest peak, Mt. Elbert(14,433′) standing proud just north of highway 82.

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I made sure to start a few miles out from the base of the climb to ensure time for a proper warm up.  This side of the pass is right around 22 miles long with 3,000′ of vertical.  It’s not the hardest climb, but the time spent climbing and the elevation gain can certainly wear one down. The first 10 miles are pretty gentle.  The road climbs, but then gives you a break as it flattens out.  Slow and steady was the way to conquer the mountain on this day.  With my experience on the bike and riding with many others, I feel I can judge what someone has in them on a particular day.  Michael was riding strong, but Brittany was having a harder time getting her legs underneath her.  We mostly rode at her pace and I used that to my advantage in order to snap some photos.indy
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It took a little bit of encouragement, and maybe a push or two, but we made it to the top.  I was really happy for them.  I love to see people push themselves and make new gains whether physical or mental.

Brittany had had enough, but since we had some time to spare, Michael and I descended the west side for a bit before turning back to climb to the top.

west side

Shortly after hitting the summit for the second time, the party atmosphere started to pick up as the race leaders quickly approached.

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Bear costumes, women in bikinis, and men wearing dresses seemed totally normal.  It was quite cold(upper 40’s?) and windy.  Those conditions made it a bit tough to hang out, but knowing what the riders were dealing made it that much easier.  The first few riders came through in 1’s and 2’s, then slightly larger groups.  None bigger than maybe 20.  This climb really blew the race apart!greg

A few minutes passed by and all the racers had come over the top.  It was nice that the Clifbar tent had a TV up top.  We were able to watch the race unfold and eventually catch the sprint finish as the peloton rolled into Aspen.

After it was all said and done, I asked Michael if he wanted to descend the pass.  He was inclined for the decline, so we headed out for the 25 miles and 4,000′ elevation drop.  This is no easy task though.  You actually have to pedal and do some work to get down to town.  The headwind the entire way down didn’t help much, but we pushed through it. The descent really gave us an appreciation for what the racers had deal with; it was great.

Down valley

Erik and I had just finished up with a long day in the saddle and were enjoying a cold beer when his phone rang.  “Hey Troy, you’ll never guess who’s sitting across from me right now.” Galen.  Yep we just rode 105 miles.  A ride tomorrow? Sure.

Troy is Troy Reynolds, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever have the pleasure to ride with.  He and his special lady friend, Peg, have a place in Snowmass just up the road from Erik’s.  The three of us raced on a team together a few years back.  Troy and Peg now run that team and his roofing company is the title sponsor.  Super happy for those two.

Troy

Erik makes for a great guide.  He gives an excellent description of what we can expect in the few miles and we’re off.  We had just ridden around 25 miles, almost all downhill and now it was time to get in some vert.    The first climb was short and not too steep.  Troy and I rode it together as the rest of the group was just behind.

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We regrouped at the top and took a few pictures, and I somehow managed to crack a few jokes.  Hay fields and horses would be our companions for the next few miles and I was definitely not complaining.

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Another Froome impression later, and we reached the top of the climb.  These are the hidden gems that you tend not to find on your own.  I consider it a gift when a local rider shows me the goods.  “This dirt road goes all the way to Eagle”, Erik told me.  Sometime I’ll have to check that out, but for now it was time to descend back to the valley floor.

fun begins

After a ripping descent, we all stopped into Basalt bike and ski where we found our friend Iain working hard.  I kind of feel like we just stopped in to rub it in a bit.  As cyclists, we always want to be riding and it stings a bit to see your buds out there having a great day.

Erik was feeling the effects of the ride the day before so we just rode easy.  I was happy to do it too.  Lots of time to take pics and enjoy the new roads that we’re laid out before me.  As we pedaled on, quiet roads were bordered by farms and ranch land.  We all really noticed the temperature as we climbed a dirt road back towards Basalt.  I love the felling of not knowing where I am, just pedal the bike and listen for the next turn.

climbs

 

views

This is where we split.  The Reynolds Roofing crew headed back for the bike path, but Erik had something up his sleeve for the two of us.  He spoke of a view of Snowmass that few people got to see and I was more than ready to see it!  Perfect tarmac gave way to chip and seal and the chip and seal gave way to some of the most perfect dirt road I have ever pedaled on.  Beautiful ranches and green fields lined either side of the road.  Erik held a steady pace as I jumped on and off the bike snapping pics along the way.

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REal Estate

Behind Bars

A few more miles of dirt and the road changed a bit.  Erik warned me the there were a couple of ramps ahead and he wasn’t kidding.

steep dirt copy

Just around the bend from here we hit the top of the climb and it would be just a few short moments before we were back on his deck, enjoying another one of those refreshingly cold brews that we had the day before.  I hung out at Erik’s for about an hour and then went to pick up the rest of the group for lunch. We took the Sprinter van into Aspen and enjoyed a nice late lunch.  I said my good-byes and navigated my way through town to get back on Independence Pass.  Once again, I took my time driving up the pass and took advantage of the opportunity to take photos as I pleased.

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As I was driving up, I passed a few cyclists heading out for some late afternoon climbing.  Since I was hanging out anyway, I decided that I snap a shot of them and give some encouragement.

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miles to go

I arrived at the summit about 30 minutes before the sun was to set.  You know what’s coming next, sunset pics.  It’s always worth it to watch it to completion.  Sometimes, when you think it’s over, there’s just a bit more to see.

Back home

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indy sunset

How’s your Aspen?

It’s only a 3 hour drive from Denver to Aspen, but I don’t seem to make it more than once or twice a year.  Over the past few years and through the magic of Instagram, I’ve met a handful of good people that live there.  Having lived in the mountains myself for 4 years, I know how many friends say they will come up to visit, but somehow or way it doesn’t happen.  I’d been talking with my friends Erik and Iain about getting up there and doing some riding, so I pulled the trigger.

My Sprinter van had been in the shop and took a bit longer to get back than I had thought it would.  This pushed me back a couple of hours but it was no big deal.  I was in no rush and figured I’d take advantage of the delay and catch the sunset on my way up.

Leaving Denver, I got caught in a bit of rain as I approached I-70 west.  Five minutes later, sunshine.  I love you Colorado!  An hour later, the sun was beginning to set and I was nearly to the top of Fremont Pass.  The light was just right and I had to pull the van over to capture the moment.

alpine glow

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I must have stayed in this spot for 45 minutes and then this happened…

purple haze

Cycling and photography have both taught me patience.  You can’t take short cuts in training and sometimes you have to stick around for a few extra minutes to get the shot.  I try to roll with the punches the best I can.

The sun and light were gone so I pressed on towards Independence Pass.  It was going on 11pm as I approached the top of the pass.  There is a big parking lot up there and I thought it would be a great place to be greeted by the sun in the morning.  5:30am, like clockwork, I woke up and rolled out of van.  Once again, the light was perfect.  It wasn’t hard to get moving.  The temperature was in the low 40’s and I had been dealing with the upper 80’s for days in a row.  It felt great!  I got some coffee going and starting looking for something to shoot.  Surrounded by 360 degrees of awesomeness, it was a bit tough to focus.  No pun intended.

on the bubble

7am and I’m supposed to be at Erik’s and ready to ride by 8 I’d better get moving!The Sprinter van does a lot of things well, but cornering is not one of them.  I took the safe approach and showed up a few minutes late.  Thank God for mountain time!  Most people that know me, know to give me a few minutes.  I generally make up for it during the ride.

Erik and I rolled out of Snowmass and began the grueling 20 mile descent to Basalt.  Along the way, we picked up Neil, a friend to Erik and Iain.  Neil had just picked cycling and had already competed in a couple of road races.  New riders are always fun to ride with.  I like their enthusiasm and if they’re willing to learn, I’ll teach them everything I know.

We rolled into Basalt and that’s where I met Iain from Aspen cycling tours for the first time.  Super nice guy, but I already knew that.  At the bottom of the canyon, we encountered a brief road closure and 4 became 5 as another rider that was already waiting, joined us.  We got on to riding along the Frying Pan river, climbing steadily up to the Ruedi Reservoir.  I played around a bit with Neil and our new friend, entertaining them with my best Froome impression.  I few super high cadence moments and my legs began to feel it.  Those two pressed on while I sat up and waited for Iain and Erik.

dam

The three of us kept climbing until we reached the top where we found Neil waiting for us.  Our fifth had been pushing on and Neil felt obliged to keep pace.  Anytime you’re doing a 6+ hour ride in the mountains, pacing is everything.  It can be really tempting to attack climbs early in the ride, but you’ll almost always pay for that later.  We all had chatted about that on the way to catch back on to him.  So on we went, paralleling the frying pan as it snaked it’s way towards Hagerman Pass.  This was the greenest I’d ever seen Colorado!  We’ve had a ton of moisture this spring and the hills were really showing off.

dark aspen copy

 

fern

This is roughly were we topped out. 9,454′ and 52.4 miles from where we left early that morning.  All we had to do now was turn around ride back to Erik’s house.  The temps had been rising but I hadn’t really noticed that too much.  Trying to keep up with Iain took up most of my thoughts.

Iain copy

two aspen copy

Even though the profile showed that we would be heading downhill, the boys assured me we’d almost certainly be facing a headwind.  I was up to the task.  We all started off together, but almost immediately Neil got separated and had fallen off the pace.  Whew!  That’s going to be tough by yourself.  I guess you’ve got to learn sometime that you’ve got to hold a wheel, even on a downhill.  Luckily for him, I was about out of water and when I saw the fire station had a hose bib, I pulled over to re up on H20.  A few minutes later, Neil rolled up.  “Never lose the group on a descent”, he said.  Lesson learned.

No more pics at this point as we all rolled in a paceline back towards Basalt.  4 became 3 as we dropped of Iain and began the 20 mile, hot climb back to Snowmass.  It was so hot, but Erik had the promise of cold beer and snacks once we arrived back at his place.  This was the only motivation I needed.  I’m a snack guy.

6:20:43, 105miles, and 8,303′ climbed.  What a great ride!  Always fun to ride with friends you don’t see very often and make new friends along the way.  I couldn’t wait to see what day two had in store for us, well, maybe after a shower, a couple beers, and some serious snacking.  Big thanks to Amy, Erik’s wife, for taking care of us with what may have been the coldest beers and tastiest veggie tray ever!

A slice of Silt

The racing here in the front range wasn’t going as planned for me, so when there was an opportunity to get out of town and race in Grand Junction, my friend Lars and I jumped on it. A few weeks before I decided to do this race, I had spent some time looking for new roads to ride on the western slope of Colorado.  Most of places west of Beaver Creek had only served as road signs and places to pull off and refuel as I headed towards destinations such as Grand Junction, Moab, and other points west.

I have used Strava to plot out routes around Denver in order to string together potential new roads.  I turned there again in hopes that I could find some hidden gems. In doing this, my starting point was the town of Silt, Colorado.  I had never even pulled off I 70 here before, so new roads where guaranteed.Fork

Where are we

I was grateful to have a co-pilot that could help me navigate these unknown stretches of tarmac.  As we drove around, I was ashamed that I had never stopped here before.  Quiet roads and unbelievable views greeted us around every bend.

clouds

Saab story

I was fairly certain that some of these roads that were going to be dirt or gravel and wanted to first have a chance to drive them to see if they were going to rideable by road bike.  stuck in a rut

With the threat of rain looming on the horizon, when we hit this section, I thought it wise to try this road another day.  We turned back and headed in the direction that we had come from.  This turned out to be a great decision.  The sun was descending and soon we’d be treated to what many call magic or golden hour.

road worthyThese ranch lands had almost no traffic and the road surfaces were nothing less than fantastic.  I was really wishing that had time to suit up and get some miles in, but I really just wanted to hang out and see what the sunset had in store for us.

horse play

grass land

cat tail

As you can see, once again, Colorado did not disappoint. The chirping of the birds, the moos of the cattle, and the light of the day had me relishing in my decision to get off the highway and see what this spot had to offer.

rock bottom

on the fence

golden road

oh hay

As we stood there and witnessed the quiet solitude of Silt, I knew that this was a place I would revisit and couldn’t wait to do so.  The fire of adventure had been stoked on this day!

in the chute

Free speed: Alchemy Arion

It all started with a trip to say hi to a friend.  My buddy Cody has been working for Alchemy bicycle company for a few years now, and I’ve always thought their bikes were so nice.  We’ve talked about the possibility of me being able to throw a leg over one someday, but I never knew when that might happen.  While I was there, Cody took the time to give me the full tour.  All the machining tools, the frame jigs, the carbon lay up process, the paint booth, and murder.  I was throughly impressed.  I started to see why custom bikes cost so much. There is a lot of work and love that goes into the process.  Cody told me it takes around 40 hours from start to finish to create these works of art, with about 40% of that time in paint.

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jig

frames

Alchemy show room

 

We chatted for about an hour and when it was time to leave, he showed me this bike

Alchemy with white and aqua copy

 

I’ve been riding a Specialized Venge for the past 2 years and logged over 15,000 miles on it in that time.  I’ve got a pretty good idea of what that bike is and what it can do.  Cody was telling me what an incredible ride quality this bike possessed, but he also sells these bikes for a living.  I listened to what he had to say, but ultimately, I would form my own opinion.  He told me to take it for the weekend and enjoy it.  That’s precisely what I did.

The first ride, my friend Larsen and I headed up to Red Rocks.  It’s got great climbs and fun twistys to carve down.

 

into the dark

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We were running low on daylight, so we just played around there for a few minute and then we did the 30min ride back to my house.

The next day provided a chance to take the Arion out on a local group ride.  There was to be a race on Saturday, but it got cancelled due to weather.  I knew there would be a good turn out because there’s just no stopping us Colorado cyclists.  I got lots of looks and compliments as I rolled up on the 15 or so riders that were already there.  “Beautiful bike, when did you get it”?  It’s not mine, I’m just riding it.  I said that a lot that weekend.

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The bike was amazing!  It had all the stiffness and handling of my Venge, but much more forgiving.  Much less road buzz, and it just felt right.  Anytime I needed to put the power down, the bike was willing and able.  Moving up and down the line of riders seemed effortless.  There were quite a few strong riders out there that day, I might add.  We got rained, hailed, and eventually snowed on, but I couldn’t have cared less.  I was having the time of my life!  As we headed back east, there is a road that is mostly chip and seal and always provides a numbing effect.  I thought this would be the true test of how compliant the frame really was. As we turned left, I could immediately tell a difference from my other bikes.  The bike just seemed to float over the rough surface.  I had to look down to make sure the tires were actually in contact with the road.

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I was so excited and full of energy, I decided to attack the group a few times.  So much fun!  After the ride I still needed more, so I went into to downtown Denver to take some glamour shots.  I wanted to really remember this experience.

Achemy on white wall

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It didn’t seem to matter where or how I placed this bike, it just looked good.

The day I was to give it back, I took it out for a 4 hour mountain ride that was full of long climbs and ripping descents.  I was tired from racing two crits the day before, but you only get a chance like this every once in a while.

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It was hard to give the Arion back, but I hoped it wasn’t a good-bye,  just a see you later.

www.alchemybicycles.com

 

Steamboat Springboard to Spring

Riding a bike in Steamboat Springs is something that everyone should take the time to do.  My wife and I were invited to join some of her friends there on a ski weekend.  Since I don’t get on the snow very often anymore and coupled with fact that it hadn’t snowed in a while, we decided to also bring our bicycles.  The temps were forecasted to be in the 50’s and 60’s with no chance of any inclement weather.  I also invited my good friend Larsen as he is always a good person to ride and hang out with.

The first day, the three of us set out to ride the TT course from last years Steamboat Stage Race.  It’s a mostly flat course with a few small rolling hills that takes in the valley floor just west of the ski mountain.

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Along the way, you are treated to open roads, old barns, and amazing mountain views.

After the three of us completed the 12 mile loop, Ann wanted to get in some interval work by herself.  Larsen and I waved goodbye and went off in search of some new roads.  Our search took us north of town out near the regional airport.  What we found were some fantastic gravel roads with almost zero vehicle traffic.

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Running low on food and water, we decided it would be smart to head back to the condo.  What started out as a innocent warm up ride with my wife, soon turned into a 3+ hour tour of Steamboat.  When you’re having a great time on the bike with friends, the miles and the time seem to go by so quickly.

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