Fire Flies West 2014 10/01/2014
The FireFlies ride is as close as I am going to get to living the life of a Pro. My job for the day was to get up and ride, finish in one piece and prepare myself for the next day. Our rider support was excellent, although all massage was self applied using “Pain” sticks. The camaraderie is the sort you only find when you pass through moments of suffering together, followed by moments of euphoria brought on by the consumption of Chocolate Milk or the “Double Andrea” (A dinner in which Andrea orders two main courses for everybody as starters). The group brings its own set of road rules, someone is always with the slowest rider, and weaker riders make experienced riders realize there is more to this all than just mashing on the front. We trash talk constantly, and anyone who appears to be riding well, showing moments of “Power”, attacking, or apparently having a birthday swiftly get punished the following day by having a shopping basket attached to their stealth black carbon masterpiece. Then there are the groups within the group. The “Lady Train” where men were ushered of wheels, or off the back. “The Sprinters” and I use that description liberally, this group was less about going fast at the end and more about climbing at one speed, not slow but not fast. Their rallying cry “We will descend like gods!” For the route, we may not have 10,000 ft Tour days but pulling the equivalent of 14 intervals that are each between a 2 and 3 mile climb each in sequence gets you close to the feeling of riding an ARDENNES day. We were still putting in 5000+ ft days, we seemed to do that a lot. The route is spectacular with most of it having the Pacific on your right shoulder and vineyards over your left. The wind is pretty much always in your back and the sun was out. A few times we looked across the road in wonder as to why Tourers were riding the other way in to the wind with bike five times heavier than us. As always the FireFlies never disappoints, and always exceeds expectations. The other expectation exceeded this year was raising $312K for the City Of Hope in LA. That is money that can make a difference, so thank you so much to everyone that contributed. There is already talk of whats next and potential recon rides on the east coast – but damn this one is hard to beat.
Large images and a full photo gallery here.
The Nutter Cycling Tool 08/30/2014
A fresh take on the under saddle multi-tool by Kiwi designer Mark Windsor. The design sits across the back of the saddle (works beautifully with Brooks saddles) and can also act as a wrap for a pump and tube. The tool itself contains: a nylon tyre lever, a 15mm box head spanner, a spoke key, 5 hex tool bits, a Philips head screw driver, a flat head screw driver, a T25 torx bit, a magnetic tool bit extender and a bottle opener. The bits all attach to the central tool allowing you to use it as a lever for extra power. Weighing in at a light 110g and wrapped in a beautiful leather pouch this could be a tool for life.
A New Bucket List Ride: Route 24 Colorado 08/27/2014
The stunning Route 24 in Colorado to Leadville captured here.
Route 24 is one of those roads you end up taking when you decide to ignore the GPS for a day. A road that looked interesting on the map, made up of lots of twisting bends and rapid elevation gains. It is labeled one of Americas Scenic Byways, “Top Of The Rockies”, usually a good sign that you are in for a spectacular ride. I found the weather in the Rockies some of the hardest to read anywhere I have traveled. It can go from blistering sun, to thunderstorms and rain, to windy cold descents all within and an hour, weather that makes for great shots but difficult riding. Climbing starts at the town of Minturn, a charming one street town, the home of Weston Snowboards. You enter Main Street after passing through some beautiful rolling meadows before heading towards Cooper Mountain Ski Resort and the road up to Battle Mountain. First climbing gradually, and then steeply, as you pass an old abandoned mining town and the mountain community of Red Cliff as you pass over a bridge and it lies beneath you in the gorge. The road up is quiet and holds a steady grade, but the air is thin making the climbing tough. You top out as you round the bend at the entrance to Cooper Mountain Resort at 10,500ft one of the oldest ski resorts in Colorado, and you pass over the Continental Divide at Tennessee Pass the dividing line between the San Isabel National Forest and the The White River National Forest. The descent down the other side rivals most of the Alpine climbs before you roll out onto a massive flat open plain stacked on both sides with snow capped peaks and Galena Mountain. From there you roll straight on towards Leadville, one of Americas most famous mountain bike communities and the home of America’s Hall Of Fame for mining.
Categories: The Other Stuff
Machines For Freedom 09/07/2014
Some beautiful new pieces from Machines For Freedom up on their site. Love the finish on their new Dot Print jersey and the oversized middle pocket for larger items. Our friend Tracy Chandler put some of their kit to the test this summer on the Alpine Fire Flies ride, you can read about it here.
The Schiller Water Bike 08/30/2014
Here we have a very modern and brilliant interpretation of the Pedalo by Schiller in Mill Valley, California. The Sport X1 Water Bike puts an aluminum and steel frame aboard two inflatables to make a very stable and safe ride. For steering they abandoned a traditional rudder design and instead attached two oscillating propellors to the handlebars, that when turned backwards also let you travel in reverse. I think the best design feature of all is the fact it all breaks down to fit in the trunk of a car and can be assembled in ten minutes. For anyone that lives close to a lake or the sea this is a great think to keep in the trunk of your car.