Opinion

Suffer Face
May 8, 2013

Power Drain

I’ve only got two races in the bag so far this year. The first was the Blizzard winter race and the second was a spring series road race. All in, I’d say I felt pretty happy with my performance in both, taking the bottom step of the podium in the Blizzard race, and managing to run with some of the big dogs for ‘most’ of the road race last weekend, before getting shot out the back of the lead group on the 4th lap. What was really interesting about this race to me though, was my power data and being able to see the sequential drops in power, lap by lap…

When I popped, my power literally dropped off a cliff on lap 4/5 – it was pretty astounding… I went from an average power of 229watts on lap 3, to an average of 196w on lap 4. Then it dropped off another cliff on lap 5, practically flat-lining like a patient suffering cardiac arrest at 172w… I was cooked! And it didn’t matter how hard I pushed, or how big of a suffer-face I made because I was done and done.

– Read More –

Earbuds Running
April 30, 2013

Dear Runner – Pay Attention!

Sunlight. Clouds. Wind. Flora. Fauna.

All lost on you.

You don’t notice any of it… You don’t appreciate it a lick.

Instead, your head is down, oblivious to everything, gearing up for your power song – Survivor, by Destiny’s Child.

Now, I get it. I really do. Despite my preference for two wheels, I still run. I understand and appreciate that zone of focus, concentration and oblivion. I too find that slipping in some earbuds and having the beat drop helps turn my feet over and keep me moving. The problem is that this isn’t a race and you’re not alone. So open your goddamned eyes and ears and pay attention.

– Read More –

Tour of Qatar (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
March 26, 2013

Team vs. Indy Racing

In the sad wake of my home bike shop and team closing down, last year I raced as an ‘independent’ for the entire season. Overall it was fine for the time being, as I didn’t want to rush my decision to join with this team or that team right away… I just wanted to take the season and race on my own and ponder what was most important to me about riding, and racing.

For me, racing as an independent was pretty painless, due to the relationships I had built over the years here locally. I could usually find a group ride to join in on, or a deal on parts & service somewhere. I also had no obligations to take all my business to one bike shop (I could spread the love a bit), or feel the need to get involved with organizing club events and activities. It was essentially a situation where I could just ride and race for me. This provided valuable flexibility and freedom that I enjoyed, especially given my busier home and work life last year. But the obvious downside was not ‘really’ belonging to any one group – always feeling a little bit disconnected. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to this, but as the season went on I started to take stock and realize I was missing out on one of the most important aspects of riding and racing – feeling like you’re part of the community and helping to sustain and grow it, essentially the very reason Bikeridr exists in the first place.

– Read More –

Death of MTB
March 6, 2013

Death of XC MTB Racing

With racer registration numbers struggling, and races seemingly dropping off the ABA XC MTB calander, are we seeing the slow death of the traditional 90 min XC MTB race here in Alberta?

When I first started racing, there was only one kind I wanted to do – cross country mountain bike. The problem was, I wasn’t really in good enough shape to do it. I was your typical ‘weekend warrior’, spending a couple hours per week bombing around on the single-track trails with my pals. After a while, we got bold and signed up for a few bike shop-led group rides. In that context I thought I was pretty good, and with some encouragement decided to go out for an actual race, only to have my ego shattered! The 90 mins of max effort riding required in a typical ABA MTB XC race was so far beyond me, I was shocked. I finished the race, but it damn near killed me. Afterwards, I thought long and hard about if I wanted to do another one…

– Read More –

Fatbike
February 27, 2013

Fatbike: Fad or Revolution?

Is the Fatbike revolution here? I’ve been hearing the term for a few seasons now and I remember seeing one for the first time back in 2010. In a word, although I thought they were interesting with their giant clown-like tires, I also thought they were ‘ridiculous’. I wondered why anyone would want to ride a bike so cumbersome and heavy? Through my ‘racing’ lens, the bikes made about as much sense to me as a unicycle or a Penny Farthing – sure they might be unique and fun to mess around on, but really, what’s the point beyond that? I was perfectly happy to leave what I considered the Fatbike fad, to others. – Read More –

car2go
February 20, 2013

car2go

Like many cyclists, I own a car. Truth be told, I own two.

Despite the fact that it’s rarely driven and sits mostly idle in my driveway there are times when the convenience of a car is tough to ignore – especially if your car is paid off, cheap on gas, and the insurance costs aren’t crippling (as mine is).

With that said, I still have trouble justifying the cost of gas, parking and the time spent sitting in traffic just to have a car available whenever I’d like, especially when I generally have more attractive means of transportation at my disposal. But there sure are times a car would be nice to have around…

Enter car2go. – Read More –

Rosinante SC15-4
February 13, 2013

Backpack vs. Panniers

I prefer my bike to be as clutter free as possible. Panniers, racks, fenders, bells, baskets, streamers, spokey-dokes… All of these things offend me on some fundamental level.

Despite efforts to keep my bike unadorned, the practical matters of riding to work everyday has made certain accessories worth their affront to my clutter-free preferences.

With all the paraphernalia adorning my rig there is no choice but embrace the “commuterism” of it… During the fall, winter and spring I’m sporting a bell, lights, fenders, rack and panniers. And while my commuting bike has never been exceptionally svelte, it now bristles with clydesdale-ness. – Read More –

Smoking
January 30, 2013

The Beard

At Christmas, Ken showed up at my place with a truly horrendous beard. Naturally, I thought it was awesome, and figured I should grow an even worse one.

4 weeks later, I sent Ken a text message to find out the state of his beard, and discovered that he didn’t enjoy looking like a lunatic who’d wondered off from the nearby hospital, so he’d buckled and trimmed it. This however confirmed to me, that with some willpower, I stood chance at beating him. When I let him know my plan, he scoffed – called me a ‘copy-cat’, among other things and demanded an immediate photo. So, fueled by his displeasure, obviously I forged on. At first I was just going to take the photo right away, but being aware of the photo of him sporting his ridiculous beard and that even more ridiculous fur hat, which he posted on Facebook, I knew I needed to ponder my photo carefully – it needed to be epic.

– Read More –

Jens Voigt
January 8, 2013

Gettin’ Old & Stayin’ Young

Amongst friends, co-workers and family there’s been a lot of talk lately about getting old. Arthritic hips. Aching knees. Tweaked backs. Fading eyesight… The list goes on, and it’s less than inspirational.

Now, I can’t in good conscious say that there are parts of me that haven’t been affected by the years going by, but I think there’s something about riding a bike that keeps you a little younger at heart, body and mind than everybody else.

As people get older I think they have a tendency to move past certain activities. I can’t really say why. With cycling specifically, perhaps it’s because they view it as childish, something only the young do – Without realizing that reason is precisely why they should embrace it.

As I reflected on 2012, I noted how much cycling had given me. It made me think of what cycling offers everybody and the benefits are pretty wide and deep – I pulled together a list. It’s just five things. But, to me, they’re big:
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Bike Shop
November 28, 2012

Bike Shop Community

Edmonton is pretty fortunate to have the bike community we do. After all, we live in the midst of the Canadian prairies, where we’re blasted by winter-like conditions nearly 9 months of the year. Even after living here most of my life, I’m still surprised by the number of independent bike shops we have – and somehow they all find a way to co-exist in the face of competition with each other and with big retail. You might not think Canadian Tire, or Walmart bikes are direct competition to a small local bike shop, but they definitely are, especially in the ‘bikes for kids and families’ category, which is a huge percentage of annual bike sales across the country. So with all that in mind, I have to wonder, how do so many independent Edmonton bike shops manage to co-exist in a small city of just over a million people?

Other than observing the basic business savvy-ness needed to operate a business on thin margins, with a need to carry big inventory, in an industry with extreme seasonal highs and lows, there are a few other key things I think bike shops need to do:

– Read More –

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