26 April, 2009

Transparent Racing

Bringing Mountain Bike and Cyclocross into the 21st Century

One of my recent projects has been starting a professional mountain bike and cyclocross race team, called Transparent Racing (check out our blog at http://transparentracing.blogspot.com). My original plan was to have this team start for the cyclocross season (winter) of 2009, but after finding out that the team I thought I was going to race for, Team DEVO, was not happening this year, I decided to bump it up and race for my newly created team. My friend, Kat Statman, is also joining the team this summer, and we have two female racers who will be joining us for cyclocross season (whose names I am not at liberty to mention because they have current racing commitments).

This past weekend, April 18-19th, was our first race of the season as Transparent Racing and we raced the 2009 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA. Both of us finished both the short track cross country and the cross country, but neither of us had stellar results. The cross country race on Sunday was brutally hot, but we both finished (unlike 25% of the other Pro starters). Here are our thoughts post-race (and some team pictures).

Team Transparent Racing


24 April, 2009


As it moves from Spring to Summer here in the US, I realize that many people are wishing that it was still ski/snowboard season. Well, it can be!
During my time in Argentina, I met (via email) David Owen, the founder of PowderQuest. PowderQuest is THE tour company for skiing and snowboarding trips in Chile, Argentina, and Canada. David started PowderQuest a bit over 10 years ago and is offering ski trips in Argentina and Chile THIS SUMMER (it's winter in South America). David and his guides lead trips of up to 8 people either backcountry or on-resort and you get to ski some of the best snow in the world.

When I spoke to him about blogging about his ski trips, he mentioned that he would provide a special deal for people who register for a trip by the end of April (you only have a week) of $300 OFF! I admit, if I weren't hoping to make the World Championships team this year, I'd be down there for sure. Guess I'll have to go next year...
So, check out PowderQuest.com (or find them on Facebook) and sign up for a ski trip. Just make sure you mention me and/or this blog to get the awesome deal!!!!!

28 February, 2009


Here's what the story says in case anyone is interested (quoting http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=4040):

Twenty named to Pan American MTB Championship squad

Colorado Springs, Colo. (February 23, 2009)—USA Cycling announced today the 20 athletes that will represent the United States at the 2009 Pan American Mountain Bike Championships, March 20-23 in Santiago, Chile.

In the elite men’s cross country category, Adam Craig (Bend, Ore.), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo.) and Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass.) earned automatic nominations to the team as top-ranked Americans in the UCI standings. Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont.) will join them as the fourth member of the team after earning a discretionary selection. Ranked 14th in the world and second amongst Americans, Todd Wells (Durango, Colo.) earned an automatic nomination, but declined his invitation.

Georgia Gould (Boulder, Colo.), Mary McConneloug (Fairfax, Calif.), Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo.) and Willow Koerber (Asheville, N.C.) all earned automatic nominations and will make the trip to Chile to compete in the elite women’s cross country race.

Representing the U.S. in the U23 cross country ranks will be Tad Elliott (Durango, Colo.), Mitchell Peterson (Sandy, Utah) and Macky Franklin (Taos, N.M.) for the men, while Chloe Forsman (Tucson, Ariz.) will be the sole U23 women’s representative. Both Elliott and Forsman were automatic selections as the top-ranked U23 athletes in the nation, while Peterson and Franklin claimed discretionary spots.

An eight-person gravity contingent will also wear the Stars-and-Stripes in Chile while contesting downhill and 4-cross events. All discretionary picks, Curtis Keene (Fremont, Calif.), Heikki Hall (Durango, Colo.), Chris Van Dine (Park City, Utah), Ethan Quehl (Grayson, Ga.), Graeme Pitts (Nevada City, Calif.) and Chris Heath (Durango, Colo.) will compete in the men’s downhill event, while Kathy Pruitt (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and Rachel Bauer (Aspen, Colo.) will race women’s downhill.

Hall, Van Dine, Pruitt and Bauer will also race in their respective 4-cross competitions.

2009 Pan American Mountain Bike Championships
March 20-23
Santiago, Chile

Team USA:

Elite Men’s Cross Country
Adam Craig (Bend, Ore.)
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo.)
Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass.)
Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont.)

Elite Women’s Cross Country
Georgia Gould (Boulder, Colo.)
Mary McConneloug (Fairfax, Calif.)
Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo.)
Willow Koerber (Asheville, N.C.)

U23 Men’s Cross Country
Tad Elliott (Durango, Colo.)
Mitchell Peterson (Sandy, Utah)
Macky Franklin (Taos, N.M.)

U23 Women’s Cross Country
Chloe Forsman (Tucson, Ariz.)

Men’s Downhill
Curtis Keene (Fremont, Calif.)
Heikki Hall (Durango, Colo.)
Chris Van Dine (Park City, Utah)
Ethan Quehl (Grayson, Ga.)
Graeme Pitts (Nevada City, Calif.)
Chris Heath (Durango, Colo.)

Women’s Downhill
Kathy Pruitt (Santa Cruz, Calif.)
Rachel Bauer (Aspen, Colo.)

Men’s 4-Cross
Heikki Hall
Chris Van Dine

Women’s 4-Cross
Kathy Pruitt
Rachel Bauer
I'm so excited and I'm now ramping up my training intensities so that I'm flying by the time they come!

Revisiting my goals

I figured that almost 3 months into 2009 would be a good time to revisit my goals to see how I've been doing.

1. (Goal) Make the US U23 (Under 23) Team for the 2009 Mountain Bike World Championships to be held in Canberra, Australia.
(Revisited) I would love to say I already know that I'm going to the 2009 World Championships, but I won't know until late August or so...UNKNOWN

2. (Goal) Make the US Team for, and WIN, the 2009 U23 Continental Championships to be held in Santiago, Chile.
(Revisited) Well, I found out a few days ago that I did make the 2009 Continental Championships Team (see story)! So that is awesome news!!!! But, because the race isn't until March 22nd, I won't know about the rest of this goal until then. 1/2 PASS

3. (Goal) Improve my endurance so that I can ride hard for the entire race and finish strong.
(Revisited) Well, I would hope that my recent 4-6 hour rides have been improving my endurance and I sure felt good during the Tour de la Patagonia. So I'm going to assume that I've been somewhat successful on this front. PASS

4. (Goal) When racing, start strong, but not too strong.
(Revisited) I didn't do this very well at the Conquista Volcan Osorno race (which I have yet to blog about), but I did it well at the Tour de la Patagonia, mostly because I didn't want to leave my race partner. SOMEWHAT PASSING

5. (Goal) Get enough sleep.
(Revisited) I have been successful at this every night except the night before the Tour de la Patagonia. PASS

6. (Goal) Stretch every day.
(Revisited) PASS

24 February, 2009

Tour de la Patagonia

The StartI raced my first ever mountain bike stage race this past weekend, the Tour de la Patagonia. It was INCREDIBLE! The total riding distance was a bit over 210km (130 miles) and the total riding time was 8:45. We rode from San Martin de los Andes, Argentina to Chile, and back, over 3 days and spent 2 nights camping in some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
Team Adventure StoreI admit that I was slightly surprised at how short the race was. I had been planning to spend something like 5 hours on my bike each day, but that didn't happen. It was more like racing 3 consecutive cross country races, which was great training. My teammate, Gustavo Munoz, a San Martin de los Andes local, is more of an adventure racer than a cross country mountain bike racer, while he can race for 3 consecutive days without stopping or sleeping, I was able to ride harder for the couple-hour stage each day. 
The race started in San Martin de  los Andes, Argentina, where Victoria and I are currently living, at 8:30AM on Friday, February 20th. It started with a 1 hr nuetral start that wound its way out of San Martin de los Andes and headed onto a dirt road towards Chile. The entire first day was dirt road and most of it was quite rough. I found that I consciously had to hold back to keep from dropping Gustavo, but we worked well together and had a good day. We finished the first day in 7th place after 3:07 (including the nuetral start).

We spent that night in a campground on the shore of Laguna Verde. It was beautiful. And it was really cool to be around so many bike people. There were somewhere around 200 teams, so 400 racers, as well as families and friends of the racers who came to hang out at the
Post-race Massage
 campground. Numerous shops from the area showed up with tents to help with mechanical issues, and there was even a (very intelligent) lady with a massage table charging for post-race massages. The lake was crystal clear and refreshingly cool. We hung out, ate, rinsed in the lake, and went to bed early.
The next morning, the race started at 8:15AM and we knew it was going to be the longest stage. We started off fast, and after the first (and only) long climb, we were in 5th place. Then started the toughest descent of the race. Not only was it brutally fast, it was also covered with loose, sharp rocks that took their toll on many. Unfortunately, we were included in those many. First Gustavo flatted. We stopped, changed his tire and only lost a couple of minutes. 5 minutes later, I double-flatted. I only had one tube, but he had an extra, so we threw them in and started to inflate them. But the valve broke on one of the tubes. And we had NO more tubes. So we started asking every racer who came by for a tube. The
The Ferry
problem was, we were stopped on a fast descent, so no one wanted to stop. Eventually, someone did stop, but another pair who had flatted in the same place ran over to him first and got his tube, so I was out of luck. Finally, Gustavo rode down a little further and was able to get a tube. He brought it back up, we put it in and headed off (after loosing about 30 minutes). We crossed into Chile and finished that stage strong, but our 30 minute break had cost us 10 places, and we finished 15th that day at 3:45, which put us in 9th overall. After finishing, we ate, relaxed and then some 300 racers (all of them that had finished at that point) boarded a ferry to cross Lago Pirihueico. Once on the other side, we crossed back into Argentina and had an additional 1 hr ride to get to the next campground. I was pretty tired by the end of all of this, but as the start the next day was not until 10:30, I stayed up a little bit and hung out with some other young racers I met from Buenos Aires (who ended up winning the Tour).
Turning onto singletrack
The last day started of fast, as usual, but quickly turned off onto singletrack for the first time during the race. This was, by far, my favorite part of the Tour. The singletrack climbed for a couple of miles, then descended on cool, fun, twisty beautiful trail. There were logs to jump over, sharp turns with a drop-off on one side, and the soil was perfect! After this, it went back to dirt road for the rest of the race. I pulled for Gustavo (blocked the wind for those non-cycling people) and we cruised along. We finished 7th in 1:40, but had lost too much time the day before to change our 9th place overall position. Out of 200+ teams though, I figure that wasn't too bad.
For anyone who is thinking of trying a mountain bike stage race, I highly recommend it. My only words of advice are: use Chamois Butt'r (or Vaseline) and remember sunscreen, a sun hat, and a bathing suit, which I forgot.
Here are some more pictures from the race:
The first stage campground
The first campground
The first stage finish
The first stage finish
Crystal clear water in Laguna Verde
Crystal clear water in Laguna Verde
Laguna Verde
Laguna Verde
Waiting for the ferry
Waiting for the ferry
2nd stage finish line
2nd stage finish line
Finishing the Tour de la Patagonia
Finishing the Tour de la Patagonia
If you would like to see all of my photos from the race, check out my Flickr album.

13 February, 2009

Lots of projects

I love having projects. That's why I haven't been posting at all recently. Currently, I am working on two big projects that I can't give too many details on (because I don't want anyone stealing one of them, and because neither is going to come to fruition for a while). But I will say that both are bike-related (as are most things in my life) and I am very invested in and excited about both. So I'm happily project-ing away and am feeling better because I have been training a bunch and still been able to work on my projects. My days still start late, because I go to bed late, but during the day I am able to work on my projects, ride my bike, and hang out with Victoria.
On the subject of my projects, I have started using some programs that I hadn't, and using others in different ways than I normally do, to help me with my projects. For example, I recently started a blog for each project (which I then set to "private" so that I'm the only one who can see them), and have been using them to organize my thoughts and keep notes. I initially did this so that after my first project goes live anyone who is interested in the process I followed can read about it, but it has since turned into a great way for me to organize my thoughts and jot down notes.
I have also started using Campfirenow.com as it is a great way to collaborate with other people. Since I am working with Kat on the other projects, it helps for us to have a place to go to chat that we can then refer back to because calls don't always work (and it is hard to keep a fully-searchable record of your telephone conversation).
I have also started using Google Docs. It is an easy way to upload documents and share them with other people and allow everyone to edit them, instead of emailing them as an attachment, and receiving a new version every time someone changes anything.
In other news, I recently got a cold and haven't ridden for the past 3 days. I'm hoping that tomorrow I can get back on my bike because starting this Friday I will be racing the Tour de la Patagonia which will be my first mountain bike stage race. I'm really looking forward to it and hope that I will be feeling good again.
And finally, it sounds like my family (well, Boden, AC, and my parents at least) will be coming to visit us, along with Victoria's sister, in a few weeks. We will be meeting them in southern Argentina and will be spending some time in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine which should be really cool and beautiful. I just have to figure out how to work my training around it...
ps. Still no news on whether or not I'm going to Continental Championships, keep your fingers crossed for me!

30 January, 2009

The problem with having time

I've had a lot of time recently, and it's been really hard. Now, I know that that sounds silly, so let me explain. First of all, I'm not used to having time. I'm used to being so busy that I'm continually running and have to plan my days down to the minute to get everything done that I need to. And even then, I'm frequently late and I don't get enough sleep. So having time has been really weird to me. The last couple of months, I have had time to blog, program, get into graphic design, ride my bike (a ton), play on the internet, cook, and get enough sleep. The issue is that because I have so much time, I haven't been good about planning or using it well. I stay up too late, get up too late, and then feel lazy for waking up so late. Then I make and eat food, ride my bike, go on the computer, and then it seems like it's time to go to bed again. I know this sounds great, but there are so many other things that I want (and need) to do. For example, I need to make some money, so I've been building a website and creating a logo for someone I met via Twitter. Both of these have been cool projects, but have taken quite a bit of time. I also want to blog more, but haven't made the time to do that. I also want to meet some people from San Martin who are my age, because I think that hanging out with them would really, really help my Spanish. Plus it would be fun. And then there are even more things on the computer that I want to learn and do. I have been trying to learn Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign, but haven't really had time, and I really want to create (program) an online bike social network (that's another story). And finally, I want to spend more time with Victoria. I get to see her all the time, but we don't really spend quality time together. Instead, we are simply near one another, location-wise, and this just means that all of our time is half-time and we never get individual-time or together-time.
Here is where my time is going:
Riding: I've been riding way more than I ever have at this time of the year. On one hand, it has been really fun and I think that it will pay off this race season, but it has also been really hard not having anyone to join me on my really long rides. I tend to get lonely and it makes the rides somewhat less fun. It is also hard because I know the majority of the trails in the area, so my only option on 5-6 hour rides is to ride trails I already know and try to switch the order up...And right now, my fork has decided to act up, so I can't do anything until it is fixed.

Playing around on my bike

Cooking: I've never really had to cook for myself before this year, and I didn't realize how time consuming it is. Making a tasty, healthy, home-cooked meal is a process. For example, I would say that on average, it takes Victoria and I 1-2 hours daily to make dinner. I prefer cooking for myself over eating out because it is cheaper, tastier, and healthier, but it eats up your time.

Yummy, homemade food

Computer: This is a big one, but I feel justified because my computer time is not spent on only one thing. I keep in touch with people, work, learn, and have free time all on the computer, so it isn't surprising that it takes up a lot of time. But here is my problem. I need to be on the computer to work and stay in touch, but it is such an incredible source of knowledge that all I want to do is learn. I just want to spend all of my time on the computer learning things and applying those things to my personal projects without having to worry about money. But that is not the way things are meant to be right now...
Here is my solution: SCHEDULE. I know it sounds silly to make a schedule for vacation, but it seems to be the best way for me to get the things I want to get done done. I have tried this a couple of times already, but my schedule keeps getting screwed up by not going to bed when I say I'm going to. This in turn screws up the next day's schedule because I wake up too late. I would just force myself to wake up, but one of my cycling goals this year is to get enough sleep and I am intent on sticking to that.
So that's my rant. Kinda silly I realize, but it has been causing me considerable stress (which is partially because I'm not good at not stressing). I hope everyone is doing well and using their time more wisely than I am.