“It was just something like Mount Everest. It was there, and you felt you had to do it.”
Reading about 80-year old Leroy Varga’s (subscription) preparation for the Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneur in the New York Times, reminded me of the time I stopped to help a cyclist near the top of Snoqualmie pass. I was driving over the pass to Eastern Washington and saw a old cyclist, with touring gear, walking his bike up the pass. I stopped to check if he was ok and he said, “yes, my knees just hurt, I’m 85, and rode from Maine.” Rode from Maine at 80 I thought, man, and I struggle just to train a few days a week.
That certainly changed my perspective and on the hugga to-do list are randonnées. This year, we’ll have a blogger riding and posting about Paris-Brest-Paris this year.
From the, “huh, what?” department comes the news that the Kestrel RT700 is winning awards from Outside magazine, IDSA , and BusinessWeek. The “huh” part is this award-winning feature
“Even the seatstays have been considered; here they’re designed to present an easily-discernible hourglass silhouette to riders behind, which is important during group rides or pack races where cyclists behind you need to be able to see you.”
Followed with a “what?” I’ve read that passage several times and still don’t understand it. How is that better than just seeing their butt, legs, or entire body? This bike must attract the tri-athletes and I’m sure is a really nice bike, but that’s an odd winning observation, especially with the amazing advances in technology coming from Trek, Specialized, Scott, and Issac. Or the custom carbon work from Parlee.
Call it guerilla marketing, street marketing, blog marketing, or guys just digging what they’re doing, it’s fun to watch SRAM make an impact on the road and at the tour. Check the photo of them unfurling the Make the Leap flag on the podium.
While braking with one hand using the Brake Director, you can use the other hand to gesture wildly at motorists, admire your bling bling, sip an espresso, make a call, and push the buttons on your power meter.
Joking aside, the Brake Director was invented to address the needs of riders with upper body limitations, like recovering from a broken collarbone. It works by activating both brakes with one lever.
In Japan they’re called Mama Chari, or mom’s bike, and are used to get groceries, ride to the train station and according to “halloween” in the Bike Forums, they’re considered disposable by the Japanese consumer.
I know everyone watching the Tour is thinking, “man, I need a set of love the hugga socks, while I listen to Phil, Paul, that annoying guy, and the ramblings of Bob Roll.” Well, we’ve got ‘em coming! The Bike Hugger socks are arriving this week, we’ll sell them directly right away, and next week Amazon.com will fulfill them for us.
More post-dated entries from me, Mark V, Bikehugger’s colorful and suave international man of mystery
This is a little bit out of sequence, since this is from the Shibuya area in Tokyo before we left for Kyoto…but check it out, they freakin’ named a place “Mark City”…in my honor obviously. Also, here’s a picture of yet another type of “mini velo” we saw on the way.
Set to roll out for STP bright and early Saturday morning, I thought it wise to start prepping things and run down a checklist. As important as preparing your body to ride, one should invest some time into putting together a ride “strategy” prior to rolling out. The plan of attack needn’t be elaborate, in fact the simpler the better.
Why bother? Because when out on the road, there’s much temptation to stop and chit-chat during every stop. Not necessarily a bad thing, many will argue that the culture and camaraderie of such events is far more exciting than the actual ride. Even if your goal is to take the miles slow and steady, you’ll still need to keep an eye on the clock to ensure that you’re not stuck out on the road after dark with a mechanical issue. Plan your ride. Plan your stops. Have a back-up plan for both. Read on for additional considerations and some of my own “must haves” in surviving STP.
Hopefully the long training schedule has provided enough time to make any necessary “tweaks”. Now is not the time to make fit changes. With any luck you’ve had your bike tuned recently (in the past year or so) and are comfortable with how it’s riding. It may be too late to get it into a shop last-minute, but worth doing what you can at home to clean things up for a smooth ride. Otherwise, here are some basics that you’ll want to be sure and carry with you on the ride to ensure that you’re not stopped for longer than necessary with minor mechanical issues. Bigger mechanical things can be fixed at many of the food and “mini” stops.
What you’ll wear is a personal thing, some people prefer to pack for every possible weather scenario while others prefer to dress minimally. Simply remember that if you bring it, you haul it. The weather looks good for this weekend, so leave the heavy jackets at home.
Arm Warmers Doing the one-day, we’ll be leaving early enough that I anticipate a cold start.
Shoes & Socks
Again, hopefully you’ve had an opportunity to figure out what you like to eat on the road and what your body runs best on. STP is well supported and will have food stops for you to refuel. But if there’s something you MUST have, bring it with you. Bring as many water bottles as your bike will hold (preferably a minimum of two large bottles). Though a camel back is not necessary and adds more weight, if you must have the extra water, bring it.
Sit down with the route map a day or two before the ride. You should have an idea of your targeted pace and be able to plan out how far you’re able to ride before refueling. Plan to stop at a few major food and lunch stops along the route and provide yourself with an estimate of how long you’ll be willing and able to stop.
You’ll want to stop long enough to get more food, stuff your pockets with some reserve food and refill water. I typically give myself a 5-10 minute window, not including the time it takes to wait in the potty line. Stop long enough to get off the bike and stretch, but know that the longer your off the bike the more difficult it is to get back on.
Selecting pre-determined pit stops will help you in planning how much food you’ll need to grab at each stop and ensuring that you don’t end up having to stop when you hadn’t intended to and adding more time to an already long day.
If you’re meeting up with family and friends along the route, set a pre-determined destination and provide them with a map for personal support vehicles so that they’ll be able to get around the route safely. With 9,000 other riders out there we have enough people around us. Let’s keep the cars to official support vehicles and volunteers only.
Rest these last few days. Drink a few glasses of extra water each day leading up to the Saturday start. Enjoy the incredible weather we’re having and take it easy.
While it’s not like a Tour de France crash at 40 mph, that involves the leaders, but how many times do you see one from a racer’s perspective? At our local Tuesday Night World Championships, the Native Planet racer with the helmet cam crashes with the camera taping it all. Crashes happen that fast … on Saturday at Redmond Derby days, I fishtailed right by one.