By Meredith Miller
Cyclocross season is in full swing now. The road season seems like a distant past. I’m eight races into the ‘cross season in just a little over a month, and I’ve already got a trip to Europe stamped in my passport.
Several days after racing right in my backyard in Ft Collins at the USGP New Belgium Cup, I boarded a plane for the Czech Republic where the first two rounds of the World Cup series were held. Round one was in Plzen, home of the Pilsner Urquell brewery. Round two was in Tabor, home of the 2010 Cyclocross World Championships.
My Cal Giant/Specialized team mechanic, Jordi, and I flew into Prague a couple days ahead of the race to get acclimatized to the new time zone, get the bikes unpacked, built and running smooth and to pre-ride the course. Flying through London Heathrow can always be a little ‘iffy’ when it comes to delays and getting all your luggage, but lo and behold everything arrived in Prague on time and without a scratch. The only hitch to the trip was finding a non-smoking restaurant, of which there are very few, for dinner. Otherwise, we were very happy to be in such a beautiful city ready to embark on a week of cycling adventures.
Our first full day in Czech was low key – I slept until 10 (and missed breakfast, of course), went for a spin along the Vltava River, had a delicious dinner in a less smoky restaurant, and fell asleep sometime around 1am. Easy.
We had a rather leisurely Saturday morning in Prague before packing up the van and heading to Plzen for a pre-race ride. At the race venue in Plzen team managers and mechanics were staking out their spots in the team parking area, setting up camp and getting the riders ready to roll. Unlike the Europeans who roll in style in their big camper vans/RV’s that have the rider’s or team’s name, picture and accolades plastered to the side, we travel in a rental van and work out of the back. It’s not “luxurious”, but it gets the job done. Read More
By Cary Smith
This year is the first that I have heard of World Carfree Day. As a bike racer, Light & Motion athlete and devoted bike commuter I think it is a great idea. Plus, it seems only fitting that it is on my birthday.
I have not driven to work more than a handful of times in the 11 years that I have been a dentist. It is such a great feeling to leave my car in the garage and grab my bike. Sure, some days it’s more difficult than others to get suited up for rain, snow or -20 degree inversions but I’m always glad that I did. The morning ride gives me time to look around, get the blood flowing and, oftentimes, greet fellow commuters. The evening ride home allows time to reflect on the day, smile as I pass cars backed up at stop signs and also serves as a short warm-up before I change bikes and head out on a training ride.
My birthday commute will forevermore be energized knowing that I am not only doing what I love but taking part in the World Carfree movement.
Teams from all over the world came to battle at the 1st Annual Expedition Idaho, Thule from the UK and Seagate from New Zealand were the two international professional teams and the remainder of the field was made up of teams from around the US. Team Light & Motion hailed from all over the States. Eric Grimm the team captain is from Rochester, NY, Dave Lamb is from Jackson, NH, Melissa Coombes resides in Spokane, WA and Chad Denning is from Hanover, NH. Team Light and Motion has been racing together for the past six years under various team names but mostly as Team Granite AR and Team Untamed New England. We were extremely excited and honored to race as Team Light and Motion.
In preparation for Expedition Idaho we made a checklist of the things that we thought would be the major factors in an event like this. Obviously we all did quite a bit of training to make sure that our bodies would perform at a peak level.. In the end, everyone performed above all expectations (no injuries!!) whew! Maps and navigation were going to be the biggest hurdle, staying found assures that you are traveling in the right direction. Team Light and Motion is blessed to have several amazing navigators which really allows for team decisions rather than just one individual taking that on their shoulders the entire race. Dave Lamb is our head navigator and has been perfecting his craft for years and it shows. We would all follow him to the ends of the earth! Food preparation would play a HUGE role in that we would be burning over 5000 calories a day.. We would need to pack six days worth of food that allow us to perform at a peak level and not be to overly heavy on our backs. Lastly, our lighting at night is a piece of the puzzle that many teams take for granted. The ability to travel at daylight speeds during the night while biking or trekking gave us the ability to have great confidence while traveling at high speeds. Our team featured the Light and Motion Stella 300, the Solite 150 and one Seca 1400 to use to find the infamous CP’s. All I can say is that the combination of any L & M light and the new adventure sport strap is match made in heaven when it comes to adventure racing!
I also want to give high fives and kudos to the teams that were right around us the whole entire race. Team Bones and the Yogaslackers were our compadres for the week and each and every one of them are just amazing people with a huge appetite for adventure. Thanks for FUN and the Humor!! I can’t remember ever laughing harder on a 30 mph descent in the middle of the night!
So lets get down to it: Here is a race snapshot segment by segment. If you look at a race course like this as a whole it will seem a little daunting, so we will break it down. Read More
Light & Motion sponsored team Team DART-Nuun-Sport-Multi is rocking it this week at Raid the North Extreme Race, and they’re looking good to place among the top three teams. The crew is made up of elite athletes who each have an extensive list of participation in long-distance events including triathlons and expedition-style adventure races like Atmosphere Raid the North Extreme. This year’s team will be comprised of Mari Chandler, Matt Hayes, Aaron Rinn, and Cyril Jay-Rayon.
“We have a competitor field with lots of depth and experience this year,” says Race Director Geoff Langford. “In adventure racing there are many game-changing variables that can alter the outcome of the race. Nevertheless, I think we can safely say that WildernessTraverse.com, WEDALI and Dart-Nuun-SportMulti will figure among the strongest teams.”
On the map above Team DART is #10 and currently in 3rd place! Thanks to Facebook we’ve been able to stay up to date with them:
Wednesday July 27:
Team 10 dart-nuun FTM arrived our location(boundry of valhalla provincial park 17k from cp10) at 3:40AM and trek through to cp10. they look great and were in goods psirits. Greatt to see the team in their element. rmember that they have a 1.5hr time credit for late bin and will get a sizable credit for last part of trek. most likely nott enough to over come wilderness traverse’s lead.
The USA Cycling National Cross-Country Championships were held on Baldy Mountain in Sun Valley, Idaho last weekend. These races were the culmination of a week-long celebration of cycling in the bike friendly Wood River Valley. Bikes were everywhere about town all week, but they all converged to one place on Saturday: the starting line.
The 7:30 a.m. start time for the Category 1/singlespeed men seemed mighty early, but with hundreds of eager racers toeing the line the energy level was sky-high. Every racer knew that the start would be very important on this course as the first lap began with a short dirt road climb which immediately dove into a singletrack descent, leaving no room for passing until the course exited the woods onto the only flat section of the loop. Even this flat section had been doctored by the course designer to include a wooden “overpass” over the pedestrian tunnel and a “rock garden” filled with boulders that was only about 100 meters, but seemed like an eternity as we bounced and weaved our way through, trying to stay upright and out of harm’s way.
Shortly after the rock garden, the racers funneled onto the meat of the course: a 1,000-foot singletrack climb with plenty of roots and rocks, forcing multiple mounts and dismounts. Again, there was very little room for passing until the trail opened up a bit and finally onto a very steep doubletrack.
From the top of the doubletrack, it was all grins as we descended the 1,100 feet down the River Run Trail, finishing with the intimidating “rock drop,” a very steep, boulder-strewn 30-foot drop to the lawn in front of River Run Lodge. Passing under the Start/Finish banner we sprinted around the maintenance building to start the second lap, which would bring us to the finish.
The Saturday morning races were kind to two Light and Motion athletes as Cary Smith won the Men’s Singlespeed race and the Women’s Singlespeed victory went to Rebecca Rusch, in her first foray into the world of singlespeed racing! We were both excited to be part of such a wonderful event and Sun Valley did a wonderful job of rolling out the red carpet for all the cyclists.
Cary Smith is a Light & Motion sponsored athlete who rides for Hammer Nutrition.
By Meredith Miller
It’s mid-July and that means only one thing in the cycling world — the Tour de France is in full-swing. Unlike any other sport, the cyclists “play” for 5 to 7 hours each day for three consecutive weeks (with only two rest days).
Each team starts with nine riders and each one of the riders has been chosen for a specific reason depending on his strengths. A rider may be selected to win a stage, take the sprinter’s jersey, contribute to a strong team time trial, help a teammate win a stage, or, even better yet, win all the glory — the maillot jaune (The yellow jersey worn by the leader of the le Tour). Each team will have different goals at the Tour and each team will build its roster accordingly, but one thing that is necessary on every team is the support rider, or domestique. Regardless of the stage profile, domestiques are just as important as the rider slated for victory.
The third annual Miner’s Revenge Mountain Bike Race took place this past Saturday and was a great success! More than 100 riders competed with Brian Matter snagging first place in the long course. In the spirit of teamwork, good sportsmanship and mountain biking, Brian who has full sponsorship decided to donate his prize to be raffled to another lucky winner. Carl Loomis and Scott Manning were both lucky enough to take home a Light & Motion prize light after winning the raffle. Carl had driven more than 8 hours just for this race and Scott had traveled all the way from Florida to compete, so both prizes were well earned!
This year’s race proved to be yet again a challenging test of skill and endurance. Racers literally ride over, around and through the mountain! Riding through a half mile of completely dark mine tunnels, around abandoned mining company structures, over mine waste rock piles and up and down some very challenging slopes are all part of the race. A good light doesn’t make this race easier, it makes it possible! As one non-competing bystander told me later after going to the emergency room to get stitches, “this race is so tough that I had to go to the emergency room just for watching it!”
The event also included a newly constructed downhill course. Using the site of a former ski hill, a fun and winding downhill course was created. Riders were shuttled to the top of the hill in Swiss Military surplus vehicles called Pinzgauers to compete in the event. Although it didn’t feature an underground section, participants still really enjoyed it. We expect this portion of the event to expand next year. Stay tuned!
Matt Porfleet runs the Adventure Mining Company in Greenland, Michigan.
By Ezekiel Hersh
In the past month or so I haven’t posted a blog about racing or riding; the truth is I was a bit disappointed in my racing and training.
I had high expectations for the Gunnison Growler and found myself really just on a bike ride, with no race in the legs or heart. I ended up finishing with a better time and place than last year, but only by a spot and a minute.
After the disappointment I felt really drained and decided to stick around home to try and recharge the batteries. It’s not like I had been racing or riding too much, I just had not been able to enjoy time at home riding locally and having some chill time off.
The trails in Summit County were finally starting to dry out and the bike path had opened all the way to Vail; this gave some good riding opportunities on my home turf and I was looking forward to it.
DART-Nuun-SportMulti recently finished 7th overall and as the top American team. Congrats to all of them!
Team members Ryan VanGorder, Mari Chandler, Matt Hayes, and Kyle Peter competed in the APEX Expedition race in Switzerland May 25 – 29. The race covered miles of beautiful trails high in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps. Incredible scenery, exposed ridgelines, big climbs, tough competition, and lots of vertical were all highlights of the race
The race started with a 4 stage prologue in Interlaken consisting of two orienteering loops, a trotti-bike (scooter) section, and whitewater rafting. With 30 teams that were well rested and ready to race, the prologue was very competitive. With each section taking about 1 hour, there was a bit of rest time between stages. Each orienteering loop consisted of a couple checkpoints in some flat hay fields around the airport and then a climb and descent on a trail system on the mountains to the south of Interlaken. The trotti-bike section included four loops around the airport roads with teammates alternating loops in pairs. Whitewater rafting included about 10 minutes of whitewater (untimed) and about 20 minutes of paddling on a calmer section of the river. The temperature reached 85 deg F during the day, and with 20-20 hindsight I think many teams, including ours, would have lowered the pace a notch or two.
The race re-start had us on a short run through Interlaken to the first paddle section on Thunersee (Lake Thun). An out and back section on the west end of the lake let everyone see where they stood after a few hours of paddling.
It’s been a week of RAAM racing! We’ve been following both of our sponsored teams as they make their way from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland. Check out all of our coverage for Team Live Forever and River Riders.
L&M athlete Meredith Miller is competing in the National Criterium Championships this weekend. Good luck Meredith!
On the non-bike related side, Jeremy Rodgers, a member of Team DART-Nuun-SportMulti, just won the Teva Games Downriver Race. Rodgers is a team member with L&M sponsored athlete Cyril Jay Rayon. Congrats!
And last, but not least, a little video inspiration for you: Skyler Schneider, a member of TIBCO’s junior girl’s team and mentored by Meredith Miller, who just won the Junior Woman 13/14 race!