By Cary Smith
There’s no hiding from it now. Autumn is here. The days are shorter, the nights are cooler and you have amazing fitness from a full summer of activities. Now is the time to get out and enjoy yourself.
With the late sunrise and early sunset, it is harder to get out of bed and easier to blow off a post-work ride. Well, I’m here to tell you that that is the wrong attitude. There is nothing more invigorating than exercise when you feel like you’re the only one doing it. You don’t need to be ripping sweet singletrack to live in that moment, either. Even a short commute to work will fill your senses when it’s dark and quiet. I must admit, however, that singletrack will fill them more fully. And this experience is one that should be shared.
a list of all your riding partners. Keep urging them to come join in the fun. It’s amazing how many excuses people have when it’s dark. The only one that holds water is that they don’t have a light. And that is easily remedied. Beg or borrow (don’t steal) so that they too will “see the light” about riding at night. Think back to your first night ride. It is such a mind-blowing experience, especially with the Light and Motion lights that are being produced right now. Your ride can be almost the same speed and duration as during daylight. And every trail feels new and exciting. The first time I take some friends out, they are lost the entire ride, even though they ride these trails almost daily. You will notice new lines, broken reflectors and scary shadows around every bend, heightening your awareness and improving your riding skills. What’s the number one tip to riding smoother, safer and faster? That’s right, looking ahead. What better way to practice than to put a light on your head and be forced to look further down the trail or around the corner.
If, by some unfortunate circumstance, you can’t shred singletrack on a daily, or nightly, basis, use these dark hours to alter your commute. Don’t stop it, just change it up. Leave at a slightly different time, take an alternate route, go explore. You’ll be amazed at the different things you see when you light them up with a thousand lumens.
So, choose whatever cliché or advertising slogan works to get you out of the house, call your buddies, make sure your lights are charged and go for it. Just do it. Quit burning day(moon?)light. And remember, it’s not just a ride, it’s an adventure.
Cary Smith, an endurance MTB racer for Team CF, is not afraid of the dark.
Ta-dah! The Light & Motion 5-person coed team captured the win today at the 24hours in the Sage!
The team fell behind in the race early losing almost an hour to equipment failure and spills – see the battle wounds – ouch!! The team rallied and laid down some heroic laps during the night (aided by the New Seca 2000!) and early morning to gain the lead and land the win!
Congrats to Evelyn Dong, Will McDonald, Nate Miller, Zeke Hersh, Nate Bird, and Dax Massey a.k.a. “Thrasher” who ran support for the team! Thanks to KOA Dave and all the volunteers for putting on the 24 Hours in the Sage known among the locals as one of the best parties at a bike race! See you there next year!
Photographs by Devon Balet who was at Sage on assignment for Light & Motion.
Team Light & Motion rides again at the 24 hours of Sage, in Gunnison, CO this weekend. The 24 hours in the Sage is one of the favorite endurance races of the season due to the old-fashioned hospitality accorded the racers by the promoter and event organizer, Dave Taylor a.k.a. “KOA Dave”. The race epitomizes what 24-Hour MTB racing is all about: community, good times, and a spirit of camaraderie among all the competitors. Over 50 teams are expected to kick up the dust in Gunnison for a weekend of good racing and tasty fixings and food provided by KOA Dave!
Light & Motion’s five-person coed team, is a 3 x winner of the 24hrs. in the Old Pueblo and runner up in this year’s 24hr. Nationals. The team’s riders will be Zeke Hersh, Evelyn Dong, Nate Miller, Nate Bird, and Will McDonald. Team Captain Dax Massey will be holding forth at the Light & Motion Demo Van and supporting the Team’s run at the win at 24 Hours in the Sage.
The race begins at noon on Saturday and riders can expect a riding start since KOA Dave doesn’t like to run. An hour before sunset all racers are required to have lights. Night laps won’t be an issue with Team Light & Motion. With blazing Seca 2000s which are brighter than a car’s headlight, the team’s riders will turn the dark Gunnison wilderness into day! McDonald, a newcomer to the team, quipped “I’m Looking forward to racing with some ridiculously bright lights!”
For other riders looking to increase their fire power during the night, the Light & Motion Demo Van will be on site stocked with Seca 1700s, 1400s, and Stella 300s. Battery charging will also be supported throughout the event!
Contact Ryan White to rent lights: email@example.com
Check out the results on Sunday: www.24hoursinthesage.com
America’s premier female endurance mountain biker is launching Rebecca’s Private Idaho, an event of her own invention to take place over Labor Day Weekend on September 1st, 2013 in her hometown of Ketchum-Sun Valley, Idaho. Rusch will play host to a lucky 400-500 riders on a fully-supported long (95 miles) or short (50 miles) gravel road ride into the beautiful Pioneer Mountains and Copper Basin. Rusch hopes to benefit three key cycling organizations with this ride: World Bicycle Relief, PeopleForBikes.org, and Idaho’s own Wood River Bicycle Coalition while also showcasing the Western hospitality and beautiful scenery of her hometown of Ketchum-Sun Valley, Idaho. Two routes will be offered, The Big Potato (95 miles) and The Small Fry (50 miles), and the ride format will borrow from the now-popular European gran fondo tradition. Rebecca’s Private Idaho will be unique however, taking riders on local dirt roads representative of the region, rather than the pavement many other events favor.
“Cycling is proving, time and again, to be a viable tool in driving the local economy, personal health, and social change,” says Rusch. “I’ve wanted to host a ride that not only does these things, but does them in my own backyard. There’s so much I want the world to know about the hometown that I love; putting on a bike ride is the best way to get that word out. Plus I think it’ll just be an awful lot of fun.”
To date, former pro road cyclist Levi Leipheimer, former US National Road Champion (and current Team TIBCO captain) Meredith Miller, current World Road Champion Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, and two-time Olympic cycling gold medalist Kristin Armstrong are confirmed attendees, with more cycling luminaries expected to come as the event nears. Riders have registered from more than 20 US states and Canada so far, most of them from the Rocky Mountain region.
Rebecca’s Private Idaho will also host a post-ride street party in downtown Ketchum, featuring live music, cycling exhibits, food, and beer. The post-ride festivities are planned to go into the night and are the public is encouraged to attend. Other weekend events taking place around Rebecca’s Private Idaho include the famous big-hitch Wagon Days parade, VIP parties, post-ride barbeques, pancake breakfasts, and much, much more.
To learn more about the event: www.rebeccasprivateidaho.com
Rebecca’s Private Idaho is the last stop of Rusch’s 2013 SRAM Gold Rusch Tour; a North-American events tour that encourages women of all ages and abilities to engage in cycling and the cycling community. To learn more about the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour, visit www.goldruschtour.com
In August of 2012, Rusch won her fourth straight record-breaking Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race. In addition to three 24-hour solo mountain bike World Champion rainbow jerseys, Rusch is the 2010 World Champion for Master’s XC mountain biking, the 2011 National XC single-speed champion, and a three-time national champion in 24-hour team mountain biking. She has won Idaho’s Short Track state championship (twice), and a Cyclocross state title. An accomplished Nordic skier, she’s won the Masters Cross Country Skiing World Championship, in addition to taking the top prize at Raid Gauloises Adventure Racing World Championships. Rebecca also organizes a series of female ride initiatives, the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour, which combine cycling and inspiration for women through clinics at major bike events, female media camps and via an all girls MTB cllub in her hometown of Ketchum, Idaho. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information about how to support this event contact: Emilee Farber, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Cary Smith
Today was not a typical day for me. First off, I was at a bike race, but not racing. Secondly, I was in Boise, and it was raining. Hard.
The first anomaly is easy to explain. After a week of hard racing at the Transylvania Epic, I wasn’t ready to duke it out for eight hours in the 9 to 5 race. My wife was racing as part of the two-time defending champion women’s duo team so thiswas the perfect opportunity to return a bit of the support that she has given me at so many races.
Which leads me to the second atypical occurrence. When I agreed to support Amy and Robin, I figured my role would be to shout encouragement, fill bottles, lube chains and maybe ride a few laps with them. Well, the rain changed all that. I spent eight hours under an EZ-UP trying to rid their bikes of the most tenacious mud known to man. I’m talking ten pounds of wheel-stopping, chain-sucking gunk. With no hose on site, I quickly depleted my rag bag and was basically smearing the mud/manure combo around, hoping to keep their drivetrains functional for the entire day. I’d like to think that I played a part in their three-peat victory but I know it was their riding that put them on the top of the podium.
As they showered and got ready for a victory dinner with fellow racers, I was finally able to don my kit and head out for a ride, at 8pm. The trails around Boise dry amazingly fast, so I knew I was in for a treat as soon as I hit the dirt.
I grew up riding motorcycles and mountain bikes in Boise but haven’t lived here for 15 years, so it’s always a trip down memory lane when I ride here. There are many new trails but I always try to ride some of my favorites, especially when I’m alone. For whatever reason, the memories were especially poignant tonight. I would see the same obstacles that gave me fits 20 years ago and ride over them without even a second thought. I know my skills have improved but I kept dwelling on the technological advancements in equipment.
My first bike was a Fuji Sundance that I rode with Chuck Taylor shoes, a sweet wool Fuji jersey and a Kiwi helmet that weighed as much as my bike and breathed as well as an asthmatic in a pollen factory.
Now I’m riding a 29” carbon bike with an ultralight helmet carrying 1400 lumens of Light and Motion brightness. The fun factor remains just as high now as it did “back in the day” only now I go twice as far in the same amount of time.
At least I am still wearing wool knickers.
For this year’s Transylvania Epic the training was in the legs, the bike running great and many other pieces were fitting perfectly. Travel and routine if anything was something that I was unprepared for, and these, although I couldn’t put my finger on what went wrong, could have been the factors that hurt me most.
The early stages went great with the legs and body feeling great and I had been racing smart. Then in the middle of Tuesday night I woke to a sore throat. My heart sunk of course, as I could tell this was no dry throat, but an actual cold approaching. Immediately I knew that the next day was my last day to race, at close to 100%.
The racecourse at Raystown, PA was so damn unreal and fast and I put my game plan to work and hung on a wheel for most of the first lap and a half. Then on a steep climb, I sensed a little weakness and made and attack. This gained me about 2 minutes on second place and got me on the top step of the podium for my last time of the week.
The next couple days I suffered more on my bike than I can remember ever doing. The cold had hit the lungs and head and I just plain did not feel well. I knew the overall was out of the question, but I wanted to hang onto third place in the GC if I could.
Suffering and all I was able to finish the race and hang onto third! Not exactly the result I had wanted, but it was a podium at a 7-day stage race.
In all the suffering, I still found the trails in State College amazing! The Transylvania Epic was epic to say the least and toward the end of the week, my PA rock riding skills had come full circle after being scared shitless on the second day of racing.
Even though there are a few pieces in the puzzle to get right, I had an unbelievable time racing at the Transylvania Epic!
You can follow Zeke Hersh’s “Dirt Riding and Racing” here: http://ezekielhersh.blogspot.com/
At Light & Motion, we want to inspire people to not just ride during the day, but also at night – and to capture the spirit of night riding, we needed an epic photographer that also rides bikes. To this day, I’m not sure if it was his impressive mustache or extensive professional portfolio, but we instantly knew Devon Balet was the perfect guy to help us out this year. Devon’s photos have found their way in just about all your favorite bike mags and have certainly motivated you to saddle up and go for a ride – and that is pretty much the goal.
The first photo shoot had us rallying around San Fran, starting with a pre-dawn photo shoot near the Golden Gate Bridge, until 5 shotgun wielding (fingers on the trigger) police officers decided that we had chosen a poor location. Then we scrambled about the city in search of cool cycling spots and good coffee. We learned that the Bart transit can quite crowded for 5 people and their bikes and that Ramen doesn’t just come in cups of freeze dried noodles with flavor packets – but is actually a culinary sensation if you know the right spot to go. We discovered that iPhones refuse to give accurate directions to the Twin Peaks in SF – but we made it anyways and were able to get some great shots before relaxing with carafes of Sake and beer.
A few days later we pedaled through the maze of trails at UCSC’s upper campus with Dejay Birtch, Dax Massey, Ross Schnell, Meredith Miller, Nate Bird, and some local riders to help navigate. Fueled by canned beer and fun, flowey trails we did our best to balance work and play, always erring on the side of play. Devon managed to carry his arsenal of photography equipment on his back and still shred the trails. Darkness quickly set in under the canopy of redwood trees and we got to finish up the night with a very legitimate night ride down through Wilder State Park, dropping us down to the ocean.
Check out some more of Devon’s photos at his website: http://devonbaletphoto.com/
Follow him as he lives the dream traveling, biking, and taking photos: http://www.facebook.com/people/Devon-Balet/747985621
And if you are a social media junky, you can even check him out on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/devonbalet
by Ezekial Hersh
For the past three years, I have made a mid-February journey to the Arizona desert to race in the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo. Last year the weather seemed not so different from Colorado’s and left most of us wishing for a warmer escape. Thankfully, this year was different!
Earlier in the week, the racecourse had received an inch or so of snowfall. The cooler temperatures kept camp a bit chilly, but this gave the racecourse its best shape I ever witnessed and made for some fast, smooth riding.
As the sun came up over blue skies on race day, the temperatures rose to perfect racing temps in the upper 60’s. The perfect temperatures and course had the first fast racers putting down smoking times. Our first rider, Nate Miller, threw down a fast 58-minute lap. Then Dax Massey followed with another 58. Next, our fast lady, Kelly Boniface, went out and threw down a 1:07 lap and passed me the baton.
The last two seasons I showed up to this race a bit heavy, which is to be expected living in the mountains this time of year. I was so heavy, though, that in the past I received the nickname “The Walrus” – not so funny! This year I was determined to show up lighter and faster and to have a jump on fitness for the season. One of my main goals was to beat an hour on my first lap, then race consistent times and try to stay within 5 minutes of my best time.
The first lap is always good to get out of the way. The nerves and anticipation usually drive me crazy, and I just want to get the first real race burn of the season over with. The first section of this course is a good warm up. Or, at least it seems like it is, until you hit “The Bitches.” Then you feel the real burn. The one nice thing about “The Bitches” is that there are passing opportunities. As soon as you get into the singletrack, those possibilities can be hard to come by without some consequences from Cholla, other cacti and other racers.
This is a race where being very vocal a long way out can help alert fellow racers of your fast moving approach. This works sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t! I still came up on people and almost had to stop after repeatedly telling them of my approach or passing options. I am still baffled as to whether these folks were wearing earphones or just refusing to hear me. Oh well! I did my best not to piss anyone off and keep it safe. I was racing after all, and damn it’s fun mashing as hard as you can!
My first lap turned out to be a little disappointing. Between the heavy traffic and dropping my chain twice (nothing a little early season tech work can’t fix), I missed my sub hour mark. I came in with an hour even. I guess there’s next year, and the reality is that I smoked my previous fast times by four plus minutes. I call that worthy for a Walrus!
Next up was Kyle Stamp. He went out on our fifth lap and showed some great early season form, especially for a fellow mountain town local. Kyle proceeded to throw down another lap just over an hour. We were rolling now. All the jitters were gone and the fun was happening.
This year we were defending our 5-person Coed win from the previous year, riding under the sponsorship of Light & Motion as our title sponsor. Our camp was fully decked out by our camp sponsors – KOA Dave, Kep’s Pollen Balls and Honey Stinger. Dave puts together quite the support, including the comforts of an RV, an enclosed and heated tent, and chicken noodle soup. You name it and we probably had access to it. Thanks, Dave!
With the night laps coming up and the team running dual Light and Motion Seca 1400’s, we concentrated on our goal of keeping the lap times as close to your first lap time as possible. The only thing holding that back was fitness, because the course was glowing with these Seca 1400’s blazing the trail. Numerous times on course I heard fellow racers commenting on how bright our lights were. To that I would reply just as I did on course: “Light & Motion, get some!”
The night laps were fast. Camp was cozy and friends were all around. We took the win again this year and were second overall. We also had the top 3 Coed duos in our camp and the winning women’s duo team!
The desert and the riding were what I need this time of year. Now I am back in Colorado to some shred some POW, but looking forward to my next ride on dirt.
Thanks to all my sponsors: Light and Motion, KOA Dave, Kep’s Pollen Balls, Honey Stinger/Bontrager, Schwalbe Tires, Santa Cruz Bikes, Formula Brakes, Stan’s NoTubes, Infinit Nutrition and Fox Racing Shox. Thanks for getting me on the trail!
You can read more of Zeke’s adventures at: http://ezekielhersh.blogspot.com
By Sarah Kaufmann
It felt like I had waited forever to meet my new teammates and get to race with my team. I was SO EXCITED. Not to mention the chance to get out of the (admittedly mild) Utah winter and onto Tucson desert singletrack. Standing in the pick up line at the airport waiting for Shannon, I was positively giddy to play around on the Epic Rides pump-track style course.
Shannon (Gibson) and Jenny (Smith) picked me up, we made the mandatory TJ’s stop and rolled out to the desert where we met Sue Haywood, and Olympic medalist Susan DeMattei (!!) along with the rest of our little crew. As an aside – is it wrong that I’m star-struck by my teammates? We set up camp, set off a gear explosion and headed to the Epic Rides dedication dinner in Susan’s honor.
Susan had been subbed on to our team, after Kaila got sick. I think she was a little wary because she wanted the weekend to be super chill and to race on a team where she could just ride a couple mellow laps. She hasn’t been riding much and she claimed to feel some (unnecessary) pressure on our team. That wasn’t the case, as we were all just incredibly honored to have her. And as it turned out, she went out and ‘toodled’ along her first lap to rip a 1:11. Go figure. The dedication dinner was really special – the highlight was hearing Sue Hayward speak about her idol, Susan DeMattei. Oh, and Barry Wicks‘s comments were a highlight too…let’s just say, you had to be there for those.
It was cold in the tent at night but once I wised up to putting mittens on my feet, I stayed warm. Though getting settled in the dark, I was kicking myself for forgetting my Light & Motion Solite. Stupid! I woke up super early and headed out to ride a little. By my count, between my two and a half solos (two complete and one dnf), one team race and other pre-rides, I had done 49 laps on the course. So I didn’t think a pre-ride was really necessary. But a singletrack fix definitely was. When I got back, people were starting to stir and we finished getting stuff ready, took some photos and Jenny got ready to roll lap 1. Since Jenny can run like the wind, we sent her first. It paid too, she was the first chick on the bike after the chaotic LeMans start.
Jenny ripped a super fast lap and Sue took off. I got ready, spun around a bit and waited for Sue.
When she got in, I headed out for my first. It was really good/terrible to ride that hard again Traffic is a bitch at that race but I tried to keep my head on straight and be patient and nice. I think I only pissed off one person. Okay, maybe two. The rest of the race unfolded without too much drama (except when a certain unnamed teammate lit the table on fire – good times).
Ride, eat, shower, rest, rinse and repeat. This photo was at the Light & Motion booth was on my way to the showers after a night lap. I stopped by to gush about how much I love my Seca 1400 and Stella 300. (And, yes, it is a HUGE luxury to have showers at a race in the middle of the desert. Epic Rides goes ALL_OUT. Full stop. Their events are top-notch).
I had some stomach issues, which I suppose shouldn’t be much of a shock with the amount of candy I consumed. Bad, Sarah.
Having Jimmy was awesome. And a huge adjustment for me – it was pretty rad that the only thing I needed to concentrate on was riding fast. Everything else was already done.
Lots of catching up with people, lots of impressive and super fast riding and lots of having a blast. Got to race with my idols, got to pedal hard for the first time in a while and got a *little bit* of sunshine and a singletrack fix that should hold me over until Austin. Oh, and we won!
Now for the cheesy part… I am super stoked for the year. I am on a team of incredible people and athletes. Huge thanks to Shannon and our sponsors:
By Meredith Miller
Today I am watching the surf break along the beach in Santa Barbara, CA. It’s calm and serene. The white sand is smooth and glistening as the water does its little dance on top of it. Two weeks ago the sand I experienced was quite different. Two weeks ago I was trying to pedal my bike through sand that was ankle deep and sometimes deeper. Two weeks ago I was racing as part of the US National Team at the Cyclocross World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium.
There is no other course in the world quite like the one in Koksijde. Week in and week out I race in mud, dust, snow, ice, and sand but only once have I ever raced in sand that wants to consume me.
I had watched enough video coverage and talked to enough people who’d been on the course before to know that this course was ‘special’. It takes a certain kind of skill to be able to pedal your bike through the sand – you have to float across it. You have to let your bike go where it wants to go and trust that it will take you where you want to go. And at the exact moment when you start to lose speed, you have to dismount, run while pushing or shouldering your bike, remount and get back up to speed all in one fluid motion. If you try to take one pedal stroke too many, your bike abruptly stops and you lose precious time as you clumsily dismount and start running. Your timing has to be precise. Once you’re out of the sand, you ride to the next dune and do it all over again and again and again.
When you think you’ve finally got the right line dialed, the person in front of you puts a foot down and you lose your momentum, dismount and start running…and so on for each person behind you. The game isn’t always orchestrated by you but by the people around you. Keeping your head up is key to knowing what lies ahead.
Sometimes the course goes up, sometimes it goes down. Riding down a steep, deep section of sand requires no less confidence and skill than it does on the flat sections. If your wheel digs just a little too deep or turns the slightest bit, you end up eating a face full of sand after you embarrassingly flip right over your handlebars. The crowd loves it (all 60,000 of them!), of course, but all the bits and pieces of your bike that are now packed with sand are less functional and your confidence wanes. Next time you get to that section, you might opt to run right away instead of repeating said humiliating acrobatics.
The Belgians make riding in the sand look effortless. They ride with precision and confidence. They are ‘sand specialists’. It’s no surprise they went 1-7 in the men’s elite race. I, on the other hand, did less riding and more running because I don’t have the precision and confidence yet to ride my bike in deep sand.
Some of the courses here in the US incorporate sand pits, but they are typically no longer than a sand volleyball court. Riders hit the sand once a lap. The sand pit is one small section of the course, not the majority. Needless to say, I have little experience riding in sand like Koksijde. On race day I checked my expectations at the door and told myself that no matter what, as long as I raced with everything I had, I wouldn’t be too hard on myself if my result was less than stellar. On the other hand, I’d be ecstatic if my result was unexpectedly stellar.
I finished 20th, not stellar but not disappointingly awful. When I crossed the line, all I could say was that was the hardest race I have ever done and I gave it my all.
Here’s a link to some race footage for a real sideline view of the Worlds: http://www.cyclingdirt.org/coverage/240302-European-Cyclocross-2011-2012/video/590132-Elite-Women-Cyclocross-World-Championships-Koksijde-2012