Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The last ride of 2008

The weather man lied. It wasn't 52 and sunny. It was 28 and gray. I hit the road thinking I might warm up - but I didn't in 3 hours. Oh well. Some rides are better than others. I did a ride called Carter Lake because it was not too hilly and I figured the roads would be dry. My camera was in my back pocket but there was nothing to shoot. Just a bucolic ride with plenty of horses, barns, and a snow patch here and there.

Since this was a ride I've done many times and I was riding alone, I felt the boredom set in. Typically when this happens, I just kick it up a notch and ride faster. Not today - for you see I was on my single speed road bike - which rather limits your efforts. So I rode and thought of new UAR logo ideas, New Year's resolutions, and alternated between keeping my hands on the bars and under my arms to warm them up.

I did come up with some things I'd like to improve for next year - as in tomorrow.
  • Business with integrity and sustainability in mind. We are in the business of gather folks around a common topic. The Urban Assault is all about Bikes and Beer and Big Wheels. And when you gather people, there's the opportunity to speak a certain message. Of course we're advocates of the bike. It's the best creation in the world. There are few problems the bike cannot solve. This I've said before. But there's more - we have a pretty large number of partners that we look at very carefully before signing an agreement. We want to make sure that our partners are doing the right things in this world: using natural products, using sustainable business practices, and treating their employees well in the process. We've turned away many companies that want to jump on to the UARs coat tails. Rather than compromising our principles, we choose to focus on deepening partnerships with the companies we love. And hopefully, after your experience with the UAR, you've learned a thing or two as well. We're not preaching, that's for sure. We want to lead by example and our goal is to create your greatest day on the bike - ever. We want to you to bring your friends, meet some of our friends, and we'll bring the beers. So next year, we will walk it like we talk it even more. Examples of what we're doing will be coming soon. It won't be cheap, but you don't live for ever and we want to do what's right.
  • I want to do something that scares me everyday. I'm not talking about a new career as a B.A.S.E jumper (although after watching this video I was rather moved). I mean that I think it's important to challenge the status quo, push your personal comfort limits, and take some calculated risks. There's a Maverick shirt that says "Everything in moderation - even moderation" and I guess I understand it now. Don't be crazy nutz all the time, but push yourself sometimes - and for me I'd like to do this everyday. I'm going to set some big goals this year and hopefully I'll be a better man for it. Some of the things I did in 2008 that scared me: rode a fixie with no brakes down 9th st in Boulder, rode a big wheel down Flagstaff mountain, did a 5 ft+ drop with platform pedals, put on event in the intimidating city of Chicago, and went a month without eating any sugar.
  • Ride every day in 2009. Yep - you heard it here 1st. I'd like to ride everyday next year. Not always long rides, but rides nonetheless. Hopefully it'll start a trend in my life. This could get complicated since we do a healthy amount of traveling. But this is a lot easier than say - surfing everyday for a year. I can ride inside, outside, tons of different bikes, but I got's to ride!!!!
So that's what I got for you today. Hope you have a great New Year's eve and HAPPY 2009!!!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Golden Gilded Blingy Bling

Awhile back, we posted info about the exploding market for ultra-luxury urban cycle wear - as exemplified by Rapha's $750 Tweed jacket. Well, it turns out others are following Rapha's example. Check out the above photo of $240 workwear pants from Outlier (which are mostly sold out). There are apparently more cyclists needing a pair of luxury, handmade leggings than the market can sustain. Looks like it's time to resurrect the 7th grade sewing machine skills. There could be a new Urban Assault Ride clothing line!
For all of you ladies who have been looking to be blocked from wind, while floating on a golden chamois - LOOK NO FURTHER. For a mere $359, you can acquire a pair of these fancypants from Assos.
Gucci's even getting into the bike biz. I do like the rad-red leather brake lever covers.
This is the world's most expensive production bike: $112,000 (80,000 euros). It's all gold plated - of course.
For those of you who like only the best - but prefer a more clandestine approach, how about these $130 derailleur pulleys? They SAY they have ceramic ball bearings, but only you and your chain will know the luxury of how these balls roll.

I think these creations are all rather impressive considering that the bicycle is a relatively simple transportation tool and all these companies have devloped to cater to the folks that want to take their facination with two wheels to a much higher level - that of golden gilded blingy bling.

In other luxury bike news, it has been announced that Mr Armstrong will be having his 4th child. It appears that the lady blessing him with the baby is NOT from the celebrity A-list (a departure from his female choices as of late). She's a girl that has yet to appear in the Full House, Almost Famous, or sign songs about a 'morning beer buzz'. Also reported is that the baby was not conceived in-vetro as his other 3 kids have been. No, this baby was made the old fashion way - by accident. It is curious that the news is hidden on websites like VeloNews and CyclingNews. It should also be interesting to see if the birth of this baby (due around Tour de France time) will effect his race performance. Hmmn. Busy dude, indeed.

Seems the Italians are getting creative with the excess bottle openers in their country. This is some fancy - and useful recycling. I love it
Last week, I posted this photo that I took while exploring Longmont's abandoned sugar beet mill. I checked with the local authorities and it turns out that there in fact IS A GHOST trolling around on the ground. Next time I go exploring the mill, I'll keep an eye out for ectoplasm.

OK - 2009 is right around the corner and that means it time to put the on my worky pants. That leaves only a few days for Guitar Hero and bike rides without thoughts of EMTs, Non-profits, and T-shirt quantities on my mind. So....I better get on it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

It takes me back

I've searched far and wide and I've finally found a good online excite bike game.

It's very true that excitebike is a valuable training tool. Just like in riding, if you push the 'B' button for too long - you're over heated and worn out. And you have to make smooth transitions coming out of your jumps. It's a good thing that I've done some dirt jumping. So if it's cold and you don't want to ride.


And if for some ungodly reason you're not an excitebike fan, there are tons of other games you can play too. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rather spooky

Today was a beautiful but very cold day in Colorado. Lawyer Eric met me at the house for a single speed ride around Longmont. We decided to ride east and on the way out of town passed the old sugar beet mill. This mill was once the biggest employer in Longmont, it was built in 1910.The mill closed down in the late 70's and has been abandoned ever since. It has a huge smoke stack and is very visible from all over Boulder County. I've always wanted to check it out. Since we were on bikes, we decided to explore it - rather inconspicuously.
Although, there were fences, it was pretty much wide open. From all the vandalism, you could tell it has been highly visited. But we were very alone today....or so I thought.
There were tons of cool things to check out - dials, furnaces, old office furniture - and many levels.
Eric ascends to a higher level of the mill. There were broken steps and holes in the floor. You had to be quite cautious where you were stepping.
At one point, over 300 people worked here. In this locker, we didn't find any old lunch buckets.
So here's the spooky part:
There was no dust, snow, wind, or smoke inside. WHAT IS THIS GHOSTLY IMAGE BELOW THIS FURNACE?!?! I don't think we were alone today!

We felt like we explored enough and took off. It was 8 degrees so we decided to make it a short ride. However the ride home was filled with many cool things:
Check out this very unique bike rack. It has rocks in the middle of the wheels. Very cool.
I saw the 1st bald eagle of the season...less than a mile from my house. It was awesome - HUGE, stoic, and majestic.
Some Canadian Geese were out for a spin. Nice formation.

So...can you tell me what that ghostly smoke is in that photo? As if an abandoned sugar beet mill isn't spooky enough! Ahhh - the things you see on a bike ride.


It's that crazy time of the year again when liquor stores experience their biggest sales, family and friends get together to drink and strange things like nog and food logs. Holiday movies are o'plenty - in fact we've watched Elf, A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, and others which I'm ashamed to mention. It's a fun time indeed - the last blow out before everybody gets down to business for the new year. I'm very much looking forward to the start of 2009. But until then, I've been doing everything I can to make 2008 memorable.
Our friend Jody decided to take a break before the birth of his 2nd child and came to visit. We decided to see how much ice we could collect on our facial hairs. We hit Winter Park and Eldora and entertained our selves on the lift rides with some whiskey and told many stories of lore.

As we rode down trails called "Lonesone Whistle", "Hornblower", and "Jolly Jug" - we decided we could come up with much better names if they called upon us for our creativity. Our favorite creations were mostly innapropriate for this blog (we try to keep it non-offensive) but let's just say that we were influenced by the glorious name calling from the movie Anchorman (Smelly Pirate Hooker, Nostril-singeing Stench, Great Odin's Raven - for example). We also decided there needs to be a new movie with Will Ferrell staring as a Viking. In fact, just mentioning his name necessitates a short list of my favorite lesser known moments: as W Bush, Will and Lance, Will and Sacha, she likes the mustache. You're welcome.

A couple more photos as of late:
Jackie testing out her new heated gloves. They work by the way. She was warm and toasty in 15 degrees.
A special sweet treat. And I decided from now on, I will only eat desserts that resemble bicycles. It's kinda like training.
I bet Jody that he couldn't push this rock down into the creek. He tried to show me otherwise - much to his dismay. After the hike he was doing some stretching in our living room. We started talking about yoga and he turns to Jackie and says, "Hey Jackie, can you put your leg behind your head?" I gave him the stink eye.
It reminded me of the time we were getting out of a concert in Boulder and there's this girl doing a back bend on the side walk. She's wearing a short skirt and she's busting out all over the place. She comes out of the backbend and says to the guy next to here "See! I told you I could do a backbend!" He kinda smirks and looks around and says, "'re right! You sure got me on that one". Jackie didn't demonstrate her flexibility. She is an avid yoga practitioner - but she can't be fooled.

Regarding bikes...not a lot of riding lately. It's currently 8 degrees - in the middle of the afternoon. It's been rather chilly. So for all of you in warmer climates, go ahead and send my your riding photos and stories. I want to remember what it's like to ride.

I did read the book Dog in a Hat. It was a story of a pro cyclist living the not-so-glamourous life of a pro in the late 80's and 90's. I'm a bike geek so I read it in a couple days and it kept me pretty darn entertained.

Also this is cool:

It's a 3-wheeled car that gets 250-300 mpg and will soon be available for $28K. It has solar panels for heating and cooling, a big cargo area, and is super aero. It's nice to see that innovations are being made in this industry. Now let's see what mounting a bike would do to the fuel efficiency.

And for all you folks that take care of your lawns, here's something to make you feel guilty if you use a gas mower:
Looks like it's time to get a workout and go old school. But here's something even better:
I want that!

Ok...time to get ready to ride. Let's see what 8 degrees feels like at 25 MPH.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Colorado big wheel downhill race #1 Flagstaff Mountain, Boulder

Here it is folks - photos, links, video, results...all that and then some.

Check out the action HERE
Thank you Mr Swift for putting this site together!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Go Jesse...Go Jesse!

The folks over at Maverick did a little updating on their website with Tate and Jesse getting some playtime!
Here's Jesse and Tate of Team doing a killer hike-a-bike in the BC Bike Race
And here's Mr. Swift rocking some single track. That's a good lookin' water bottle you got there Jess!

Congrats on the photos guys!

Jesse's still working on the full video of the big wheel racing from last weekend. Trust me - it's worth the wait. When you see it, you're going to do everything you can to join us for the next go-around.

Not much else happening today. Our dog, Maple, ate some poop then took a nap in front of the fire. I think she had a pretty good day - for a dog. It's pretty darn cold in Colorado this week. It was minus 15 yesterday morning. I think that will be the coldest it gets all year. It's been a good week for trainer rides, sponsorship calls, and bringing out the old Atari 2600.

Tomorrow we're headed to the Mothership to start working on the season. Maybe I'll be able to get my hands on some Giddy Up! Speaking of New Belgium, they recently released their sustainability report. If you want to see how the most sustainability-focused company in the world makes it happen - you can check it out here.

Later this week, we'll be hitting the slopes for the 1st time this season. We'll see what craziness we can find at Winter Park and Eldora. But I'm sure whatever it is, it won't be as insane as our big wheel race last weekend. Stay tuned for the video which will include multiple high speed crashes, one dented truck, and about a dozen fellers riding Trek Mods WAY faster than they were intended!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Today...we big whheeeeeeellled.

Mr. Swift is working on a video montage. But for now let's just say that Matt took home 1st place honors. He was victorious because he avoided slamming into the guard rail (like myself) or using his head to dent the rear quarter panel of a full-size pick up truck (like A-Nut). It's a good thing that Matt took home the win, because if he didn't the dent in his truck might be a little upsetting.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quiz Answers Revealed!!!!!

OK - it's time. We get asked 1000 of times at each race - When do we get to see the quiz answers!? Well - today is your day and you will finally be able to sleep at night knowing what you missed and what you got right.

For those of you in the dark (who are new to the Urban Assault Ride or decided not to take our infamous quiz), the Bonus Quiz is an optional (but highly recommended) online multiple choice quiz that riders take a few days before the event. It's designed to get you all up close and personal with our favorite things, videos, friends, sponsors, non-profits, and other other things that we think you should know about (like why you should live a more sustainable bike-focused life). Many folks spend hours and hours on this quiz, only to get a 71%. But don't fret - the national average was a 62%. And the high score was only 88%. I wrote the quiz and I got a 92% - so remember - it's not about the's about the journey.

The whole reason that we have this quiz is to divide up all you Urban Assaulters so as to not create too much havoc on the downtown streets all at once. The top scores on the quiz start the UAR 1st. The mediocre students start 2nd...and so forth. Believe me - it's well worth the effort and if you don't take it, you'll wait the longest 5-10 minutes of your life.

Why do we not reveal the answers at each UAR? Simple - we reuse the questions from city to city AND revealing the answers has resulted in some intense debates as to the 'actual' answer to the question. You see, these questions are all off the top of my sick and twisted bicycle-skewed little mind. Most of the answers are correct (I think), but everybody is scored by the same computer - so there's no debate there. A tip for the future if you want to score high on the quiz: read this blog regularly - it could give you a few peeks at my brain cells, which might come in handy someday.

So...enjoy... 2008 Urban Assault Ride Bonus Quiz Answers REVEALED!!!!
(One note: I've only included the questions that we included on ALL quizzes. Local questions are not included. If there's one that is still bugging you, post a comment on the blog and I'll respond with the answer)

Q: What is NOT one of New Belgium’s sustainability efforts? (check all that apply)
- capturing methane gas in their own water treatment plant to heat the facility
- using building materials that were killed by beetles
+ using algae to power delivery trucks
+ donating .1% of revenue to environmental non-profits
- giving employees bikes to ride to work
Explanation: In case you're living in a hole and completely missed all of our messaging, New Belgium Brewing in Ft Collins Colorado is THE poster child for running a sustainable business. Their efforts are truly remarkable and they've helped 'green up' our event as well. We chose to highlight some of those listed on this page. The only two listed that they are NOT doing is using algae to fuel their trucks (but they're working on it - instead they use WVO). Also - they don't donate .1% of revenue to environmental NPs. NO - multiply that number by 10, then include everything they donate through Tour de Fat. New Belgium Brewing walks it like they talk it. It's certainly not the cheapest way to go, but they're doing the right thing. Oh yeah, they make the best beer in the world too!

Q: Earlier this year, we made a visit to bike factory where we saw some bikes awaiting paint. The very bikes we laid our eyes on could end up in between the legs of riders on a famous team which is sponsored by a country known for a unique game. The game involves horses, a handkerchief, and girls whipping boys. What is this game called?
A: Kyz Kuu
Explanation: The factory we visited was of course Trek in Waterloo, WI. Trek sponsors the bikes for the Astana team which is from Khazakhstan - the land of Borat and a rather unique game called Kyz Kuu. I have yet to play this game, but I'm surprised the Seattle/Portland bike polo crews have not started playing this on two wheels.

Q: Approximately how much would you have to spend on Clif Bar ‘Cool tags’ to off-set the CO2 emissions from an average car’s drive from Chicago, IL to Rockford, IL and back?
A: $2
Explanation: We switched up the locations in each citym but the round trip distance came out to approximately 300 miles. Buying 1 Clif Bar Cool tag for $2 offsets 300lbs of CO2 or 300 miles driven in an average car.

Q: Pedros has long been ahead of the industry when it comes to producing sustainable products. One of their products won an award in Outside magazine recently. What is one of the features of the product?
- it's designed to fit bike baskets
+ it has an integrated bottle opener
- it's biodegradable
- it's made of old milk jugs
Explanation: the product we reference here is Pedro's folding work stand that won an Outside Magazine Gear of the Year Award. The one feature that is has which is listed above is the bottle opener, of which there are two (since nobody wants to drink and wrench alone). We have this stand and we love it.

Q: New Belgium puts on another crazy celebration of bike and beer. In each city this event goes to, they give away a beautiful custom bicycle to the person that donates their car (and chooses to live a ‘car-free’ life) to the event’s beneficiary.
This year, the company that makes these custom bikes was recently awarded a prize for building the best bike made of what material? (Fill in the blank – no typos)
A: titanium
Explanation: The bike builder is Black Sheep Bikes, a Fort Collins CO based crew that's pumping out some of the coolest stylin bike frames we've ever seen. At the North American Handmade Bike Show in Portland, Black Sheep was awarded best titanium bike.
Q: What’s the margarita limit at the Rio Grande?
- five ½ size rita - one ‘power bucket’ rita - 2 regular size ritas - 2 large size ritaa + none of the above
Explanation: The answer of course is none of the above b/c the Rio Grande has a 3 drink limit on their wonderful margaritas. The Rio provided food for 3 of the UARs this year and one helluva venue in Fort Collins. Thank you RIO GRANDE!!!

Q: Chipotle sponsors a group of riders that are fond of big European races. On a local training ride, we ran into one of the riders on this team.
> What's this rider's best race result in the last 3 months? (just include the result, not the location)
A: 2nd place, 2, second, or 2nd
Explantion: We were on a ride awhile back and ran into Garmin Chipotle rider Will Frischkorn. The encounter was mentioned on THIS blog post. He races all over the world and his best finish (at the time of this quiz) was 2nd place in the 3rd stage of the one and only Tour de France. (He ALMOST had the win - it came down to the sprint). Nice work though Will!

Q: In Team Wonderbike’s video about commuting to work, what is NOT one of the ways the bike commuter is greeted when he arrives?
- a discoball christening
- a dance party with a bunch of hat-wearing hooligans
+ a slap on the butt
- a high five from a unicyclist
Explanation: This question requires you to watch this video. If you watch close, you'll see that the rider is greeted by everything above - except a slap on the butt....rather he receives a pat on the back. It's the lower back, but it's not the butt.
Q: What are ways that the Keen Commuter sandal is different than Keen's Newport sandal?
+ Commuter has stiffer sole
- Commuter is available in more colors than Newport
+ Commuter has narrower toe box
+ Commuter has mounting hardware for SPD pedal system
Explanation: The Keen Commuter was a very popular shoe in 2008 - Keen sold out of it. So if you got your hands on a pair, you were lucky! It has all of the features marked with a '+', but it was only available in black.

Q: On Swobo’s blog, there’s a post that includes a tattoo with two bike messengers embracing while doing fixed gear skids on winged bikes. What words are written across this tattoo?
A: hug life
Explanation: It takes a lot of searching, but it's worth it. Stevil's blog is dabombdotcom. Yep - check the tattoo here. It was on 3/18/2007

Q: On Trek’s blog, there’s an article about an amazing new technology for bike commuting. In this article, they reference a TV show where people do some very crazy challenges. What are some of the challenge on this show? (Check all that apply)
+ Tricycle challenge
+ Pole vault challenge
+ Velcro wall challenge
+ Rope swing
- hot coal walk
Explanation: This one is a bit tricky. The story referenced a cool automated bike storage facility like this one. They also referenced a Japanese game show called MXC - one of our sources for obstacle ideas ;) It is no longer on their blog, but it was during the season. On the MXC show, there are tons of challenges, but surprisingly hot coals is not one of them.

Q: The founder of Clif Bar wrote a great book paralleling his life journeys with his business journeys. As he describes in this book, what are some of the things that he brought with him on his bike trips around Europe? (check all that apply)
- a cell phone
- chamois creme
+ dancing shoes
- Clif Shots
Explanation: This is from the book "Raising the Bar" the story of Clif Bar Inc. It's a great story and book by Gary, Clif's founder. as he describes in the book, he takes bikes trips in Europe with surprisingly few provisions. The only one that he takes with him (included in this list) are dance shoes (Capezio dance shoes for walking around after the ride). So now you know and knowing is 1/2 the battle. Now go read the book!

Q: The chicken that Chipotle serves is:
> (check all that apply)
+ veggie fed
- never forced to breed
+ antibiotic free
+ given the opportunity to run the 100m dash
Explanation: Chipotle is the country's largest buyers of natural meats. Why is this a good thing? Because the animals are treated humanely and do not live a tortured existance. To see what and why Chipotle does what they do, click here. We're happy to provide only natural foods at the UAR.

Q: One of New Belgium’s beers is named after a dog owned by Kim, one of the brewery’s founders. The breed of this dog was featured in a film about a pig. In this film, what was the ‘password’?
A: Baa, Ram, Ewe
A: baaramewe
A: baramu
A: baramewe
A: baa ram ewe
Explanation: The beer is none other than Mighty Arrow - named after Kim's Aussie/Border Collie Mix. The movie that had this type of dog is one of my personal favorites, Babe. I'm not talking about any of this 'Pig in the City' crap - only the original Babe for me, baby! So, at the end of the movie, Babe saves his owner's reputation by knowing the universal sheep password, which can be spelled any of the ways above.

Q: Swobo sells an item of clothing made of a material that comes from a distant land. Also from this country is a cyclist who many consider to be one of the greatest ever. One time in the Tour de France, he was in a breakaway with a teammate and a rival rider. He rode off the road and into a ditch. What was the name of the teammate that waited for him?
A: Kevin Livingston
Explanation: For sure the hardest question on the quiz and the one most asked about. First you need to know the item of clothing, which is the only product that Swobo makes from German wool - the Bruno Knicker
Every other wool product is merino wool from New Zealand. So now you can find the German rider that went into the ditch - which was none other than Jan Ullrich. So in the race in the 2001 TDF, Kevin Livingson was supporting Jan and they were trying to best Mr. Lance Armstrong. Kevin Livingston is a lesser known racer from Austin, but was instrumental in making Lance the success he is, as Kevin was Lance's climbing/wingman for Lance's 1st two Tour victories. Then he jumped ship and rode for Jan Ullrich, Lance's biggest rival at the time. This crash happened in the 2001 Tour de France and it was Kevin's last tour. You see, both Lance and Kevin waited for Jan to pull himself out of the ditch. And when they were all back together again, Lance gave Kevin 'the look' - which probably meant "silly wabbit! why you riding for Der Kaiser, when you'd be winning with me?!" Why is this important? Well, back in my pro racing days, Kevin was my coach and the whole time I worked with him I wanted to ask him about this day...but kinda figured it was inappropriate. And it makes for a really hard bonus quiz question - here's the crash.

Q: There’s a famous music artist is a big fan of Sweet Leaf Tea. This artist’s Dad is an even more famous music artist. What is NOT a lyric from one of the senior’s songs?
- ‘I feel like bombing a church…”
- ‘Whosoever diggeth the pit….’
+ ‘…a fleeting illusion to be attained’
+ ‘an angry mob is a hungry mob’
Explanation: Sweet Leaf Tea's 'Fridge Photos' shows a shot of Ziggy Marley holding a bottle of their tea. Ziggy's dad was Bob Marley (RIP), of course. The lyrics above with the '-' have been altered. The ones with '+' have not.

Q: According to our fuel partner’s website, what are the benefits of using biodiesel? (check all that apply)
+ better lubricity
+ better fuel economy
+ reduces foreign oil consumption
+ improves the U.S. trade deficit
+ reduces emissions
- 250% higher energy yield than petroleum diesel
Explanation: Blue Sun Biodiesel helped us out in 2008 with B100 biodeisel fuel to help get us around the country. On their site, they explain the benefits one of which is a 220% higher energy yield. This means the Biodiesel fuel provides more than twice as much energy when uses vs the energy required to produce it. 220% - not 250%.

Q: Rudy Project makes a product that was likely named for a particular beach. This beach was the location for a TV show that included a well-known blond actress. This actress was the object of fascination in a recent mocumentary movie. What was the actor's name that starred in this movie?
A: Sacha Baron Cohen
Explanation: The product referenced is Rudy Project's Zuma Helmet. Zuma Beach in CA was a filming location of BayWatch with Pam Anderson. The mockumentary that she was in was Borat. Borat is of course the alter-ego of Sacha Baron Cohen.

Q: Our shoe sponsor named a shoe after a very progressive city that was the 1st to introduce a 'bike sharing' program. What color were the bikes used in this program?
A: white
Explanation: Another tough one. Keen makes a women's shoe named the Amsterdam. Amsterdam was the 1st city ever to use a community bike share program - and the bikes were all white.

Q: Many famous cyclists have competed in Rudy Project glasses over the years. Which is NOT one of them?
+ Juan Pelota
- Big Mig
- El Diabolo
- Der Kaiser
Explanation: In this question, we referenced the riders by their nick names: Der Kaiser (Jan Ullrich), El Diabolo (Claudi Chiapucchi), Bib Mig (Miguel Indurain), and Juan Pelota (Lance Armstrong - Juan Pelota means 'one ball). Lance sports Oakleys, not Rudys.

Q: We invested in some support staff at the Austin UAR that helped us the night before the event. One of the members of this crew was putting his hard-earned money towards what?
- a new hat
- a cheese burger
+ a Harley Davidson
- a Trek bike
Explanation: Putting on the world's biggest bike scavenger hunt is no easy task. We had to bring in some outside help. If you read the sign, the fellow is requesting funds for a new Harley. Although, I think they bought a 12 pack instead of a Harley. It was hot that night - I don't blame them.

So.....there you have it. Answers to some of the season's most highly debated bonus quiz questions. Rest assured that we're already working on ways to test your Googling skills for 2009.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wow...I had no idea

Where have I been while the sport of freestyle unicycling has evolved?

My favorite trick is the 'manual' at about :47 seconds.

You have to wonder though...what made this kid pick the unicycle. I mean there's BMX, skateboards, rollerblades, parkur, fixed gears, snowboarding. But no. This dude's like, "Oh yeah. Unicycling, yep that's for me." Damn impressive unicycling, though.

Today, we're working on new cities for next year. And it seems that Nashville, TN may have just made the cut. It's not official though, so don't hold me to it. We're also working on a big newsletter this week: 2009 dates, 2008 Bonus Quiz Answers revealed, the cheapest UAR entry fees of the year, and the 2008 survey. Like I said, it's a big newsletter. It's got me all excited.

The reality of 11 events worth of logistics, checkpoints, obstacles, non-profits, and promotion is starting to set in. In case you didn't know, choosing your fate by selecting event dates is no simple task. Don't get be wrong, this is a great job....but this is the time of year when the proverbial "mud hits the spokes". To turn this frown upside down, all I have to do is think of all the new people we'll meet, bars we'll hang out at, new trails we'll discover, and big wheel skids we'll hear. It's going to be a big, fun, crazy, year.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pennock Pedaling Pow-Wow

There was a lot of build up for this ride and I think it's actually a good thing b/c it really pays to be prepared on such long, cold, remote bicycle adventures.

The ride gathered at the Bean Cycle, a cool coffee coop for the cycle-set. The rag tag bunch almost bought the shop out of 7am espresso shots.
Our 1st and only disaster of the day: Eric's brand new flask had a leak at the bottom. And because of this, I've decided to do some gear reviews on this post. On a ride like this, you don't want anything to fail, let alone leak whiskey all over your britches. So...

Gear review #1: Coleman stainless steel flask, 1 star (out of 5) $7.99, 8oz of juice. Review: This flask is designed for one thing and one thing only: safely transporting go-juice relatively discretely, with a gentlemanly flair. Well...due to the leak, the flask required a high-tech zip lock bag carrying case. We tried to tape it with packing tape - to no avail. One potential bonus to this leaky design: it made us focus on consuming the flask's contents at much quicker rate...which on this cold ride turned out to be a bonus. Also, when clean, it's quite blingy which is fancy. I like fancy. It gets a star for this feature and this feature alone.
At 7:30 in the AM (on a Sunday), we roll. I was a bit intimidated with the gear choices of our fellow riders. Almost everybody had backpacks AND racks on their bikes. Many o pair of water proof hiking boots and rain jackets covered the shoes and backs of the crew. Eric and I decided to run a lightweight set up. The essential bike provisions in a seat back, two water bottles (filled only with water), clif bars and sharkies in one pocket, dried apples in one pocket, and a wind breaker in the last pocket, on the hip - a flask full of Death's Door Whiskey. So, no packs, no racks, just the normal set up for a long ride. We we're not short on style, however. Eric, like many other riders was sporting woolen slacks, nipped off at the mid calf. I have yet to try this retro, yet GQ approach to bike wear. I did bring a pair of my own manpris. Which takes me to...

Gear Review #2: Chrome Shins knickers. 4.9 stars (out of 5) $160. I've worn these on many a mountain bike adventure, but this was the 1st time on the road. I have to say, I was very happy with this choice. The material is warm, stretchy, and breathable. I do have to hold them up with a belt (I prefer the leather variety) which makes them look pretty appropriate off the bike too. The side pockets are deep and the cargo pockets have zippers. Nothing ever falls out of these pockets, which is a big plus. There's a thin fleece-like square patch where your bottom contact the saddle. It's not a chamois and is not bulky, but it does add some comfort for sure. I wore them over a pair of regular padded cycling shorts and my bottom was comfy for the whole ride. The soft-shell material blocked the wind really well, kept me warm even when we got wet and muddy, and never bunched or felt uncomfortable. It's cool that they have a fly too, something you don't often find on cycling gear. It came in handy 5 times on the ride. How would I improve them? Hmmm....I think some discrete reflective tags on the back would be nice and that's about it! I highly recommend them. (oh...and they're handmade in San Fran!)
We headed out with about 40 cold-weather-loving adventurous souls. After the icy ride through Ft Collin's bike paths, we hit the hills around Horsetooth Res. We were pyched to be warming up. It was in the high 20's for the start.
The 1st Pow-Wow of the day - overlooking the resevoir. This was not the type of stop that Eric and I were used to, but we figured when in as the Pow-wow does. Or in this case, rest for about the same amount of time that you pedal.
There were come really cool rigs on this ride. Here's a Blacksheep SS rigid MTB, with a custom front rack that perfectly held a weather-proof tupperwear container. It was GOOD LOOKIN.
NBB's Sarah joined the ride. She was 1 of a handful of ladies on the ride. We know Sarah b/c she did the Rio Grande Urban Assault Ride last summer. She had a stylin IF with a sweet wood box on the back. She had a fully-stocked backpack as well, so one had to wonder what was in that wood crate. Perhaps she had a small deceased pet in the box that she was taking up to the mountains for a proper burial. Nope - just coffee and clothes. You know...the mind can wander on rides such as this.
We got rolling again and admired some impressive cycling stylings. Check this fixie w/o brakes. Man, I hope you were REALLY comfy on this bike. It was a LOOOONG day in the saddle...and we had gears AND brakes AND tire clearance. This fellow is an example of the mysterious endurance fixie niche.

Another couple of notables. Holmes on the left also had a brakeless fixie but he was pimping an old school plastic BMX style saddle. Very classy, yet you have to wonder about the comfort.Top O the Pass (photo courtesy of Rick Price)

On the 3rd or 4th Pow-Wow of the day, there was a local woman taking a walk who was rather surprised to see this rowdy group of bicyclers passing by. She was talking to one of the ladies on the ride and said "Are you the only girl? Oh nevermind, you're a girl (pointing to another rider)... oh nevermind you're not a girl". Woops. The dude (in blue shorts) kinda looked down at the ground and kicked some pebbles around. A rather akward moment. Another advantage of wearing a mustache, you can't be mistaken for a lady rider.
Then the fun began. We hit the dirt road section, which is a non-maintained road (as the sign reveals). This means: there will be snow.
It was certainly a learning experience riding this road in 2-4"s of snow. The ride in White Rim was good practice as this snow was similar to riding in deep sand. If you rode on the car tire tracks, you'd slide this way and that. It was SKETCHY. So, the best plan was to make fresh tracks on the edges of the road. And you didn't want to use much front brake as your front wheel would dig in and send you flying. It definetly took some concentration. I was using the Force to my fullest abilities.
Eric was riding his Quiring 29er with wider tires than mine, so he forged ahead. I came across him as he was taking a little spill - which happened b/c he was looking at another crash site where a rider ahead apparently hit the deck. Gots to keep the eyes on the prize. You can see how his ass did a good job of plowing the snow here.
At this point, we ceased stopping for the bunch and rode ahead. It could get really cold if we stood around too long (we had no other clothes) and there would not be much sun left. We were very happy with our bike choice. I don't know how these fixie riders possibly made it through the slush w/o brakes or gear. I tip my hat to them indeed.

Gear review #3: Stan's Cyclocross Rim strips. 4 stars (out of 5). $22 each. I took out the Yeti ArcX for this jaunt which was a great choice for the roads on this ride. It's a damn capable machine. I had some Mavic Kysrium Elites kicking it in the garage for a couple years, so I thought I'd experiment a bit. The rims on these wheels do not have spoke holes on the outside, so there's a flat rim surface. I figured they'd be perfect for a tubeless application. First, I tried mounting a pair of tubeless-ready Hutchinson cross tires on these rims with some Stan's sealant. They didn't hold air. So I called and found that they make a rim strip for this purpose. It's rim strip with a valve built in. I put it on these wheels, added some fresh sealant to the Hutchinsons, and they aired right up! The rim strip puts the tire bead in the right place, so it won't move around. When I first looked at the strips, they looked just like a tube that was precisely cut to fit the rim (which I figured I could do for 1/4 of the price). Upon further inspection, I found the strips actually have raised ridges and this makes a big difference. Why go through the trouble of a tubeless conversion? The benefits are huge: #1 you almost never get flats (puncture are pretty much a problem of the past), #2 you can run much lower pressure (which gives you better traction, braking, and tire contact patch) without the risk of pinch-flatting, and it can be a lighter set up since you don't have tubes in your tires. The strips are a bit pricy, but they work. Booyakasha!
When you mix melting snow and dirt roads, you get lots of mud. Here's the reason why fenders are a good ideas. I even had mud in my bag of apples.

So at this point, we stopped taking photos and just rode. When we got the end of the dirt road we were 5 hours into the ride, covered in mud, my brake pads were worn down, and the sign said 36 miles to Ft Collins. But my bike was shifting great.

Gear Review #4: Rock and Roll Lube (Blue) 5 stars (out of 5). $5.99 4 oz bottle. It's the bomb. Period. It keeps your chain clean and dry. One bottle will last you a whole season. It's super quiet and keeps the chain moving even after 8 miles of snow, sand, and mud. Good stuff.

We rode down Poudre Canyon- which is nice and long and very scenic and finally hit a convenience store where I picked up some Hostess treats for the final push home. We got back around 3 pm - which makes this an 8 hour ride. It was 92 miles for our calculations and one helluva day on the bike. Keep in mind that we had no mechanical problems, health problems (besides losing my voice from an almost-healed cold), and we had geared bikes with brakes. I can only imagine how long it took the single speed riders to complete this loop. It was sure impressive to see so many types of riders out this crazy adventure! I hope you all made it home safely and had a good night's sleep in a warm bed.

The next RallEye is a 2-day event including camping, a low key 22 mile ride each day, and mountain bike trail at the destination. It's coming up on January 17th and 18th. What a great excuse to break out the MTB on a cold winter weekend. See you there!