40@20 #13 – 5-7-5

It’s been a while since our man Randy has written about the weekly Wednesday night group ride from here at HQ, so this time he broke out his poetry skills to distill the events of the ride down to their essence:

Riders eleven / Humidity heavy like bull / Kicked off like a sheet

Double pace line form / Car back, car back, car back fools / It means single up

McCarter unstrung / Reeled in fighting for the line / Where did he come from?

Manager from rear / Strength took sprint with more to prove / Left wingman, Mav

Lithe UNC Soph / Hirsute trunks spin slower now / Off the back you learn

Gillis regrets pull / Harm done only to one’s pride / Strong, but not that strong

Salesman banter fluff / Rehabilitated con / Crawford, where you at?

Rogers is confused / Bikes move on the vertical / Not counterclockwise

Webster to Jonesy / Conspiracies to punish / Step off this wack mess!

Solo attack wow / Watch Tachycardia chase / Neal just exploded

Here we go again / Punch drunk pugilist lays hurt / Rogers and Eich hold

Overby spit out / Jones and Webster huff / Chasers chase the chase

Damascus regroup / Rogers, Jones lead the descent / Gillis jumps the hill first

McCarter blows by / Jones an octopus arm’s length / Suction cups employed

Gillis yields to Eich / Ahead distance grows shorter / Alas a vain chase

McCarter feels heat / Jones in afterburner wash / Glory to the chops

Soft pedal homeward / Rehydration Manther style / What beer you drinkin?

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Spin Doctor In-Store Clinic – Traveling with your bike and gear

Spin DoctorEvery month, your local Performance Bicycle store has a free in-store clinic about an array of cycling topics, from basic bike maintenance to more advanced subjects like adjusting your derailleur.  Having just returned from a trip to France, this author was interested by the latest clinic topic, “traveling with your bike and gear”.  Our Spin Doctor in-store clinics can vary a bit according to who attends and what specifics they want to learn, but in this post I wanted to cover the topic that caused me much trepidation before I headed overseas with my bike: packing up my bike in a bike case.

Bringing your own bike on a trip is always the best, since you will be comfortable with your bike right away and all you need to worry about is enjoying the ride at your destination.  But I, like many people, was worried about packing up my bike securely for my big trip.  It turns out that it’s really not that difficult a process, and only takes a little planning once you have seen it demonstrated.  With that in mind, I headed over to our Chapel Hill, NC store this past Thursday, the night of the latest Spin Doctor clinic, to enlist the help of one of our friendly store employees, Brian, in shooting a short video on how to pack up a bike in a travel case.

Before we get to the video, though, I wanted to go over a few lessons I learned while traveling with my bike (specifically if you are traveling by plane):

  1. Be vigilant of anything that can rub together in your case–friction is your enemy and your case will undoubtedly be tossed around a bit if you are checking your bike on an airplane.  I ended up with a some scuffed up spokes when I unpacked my bike in France, as I neglected to pack my wheels in wheel bags for protection.
  2. Be aware of weight and size restrictions for checked luggage, as these vary by airline.  It’s best to know what the listed rate is for a particular airline, to avoid being overcharged, but I also found that sometimes airline personnel will simply check in your bike as a second piece of checked luggage (which is much cheaper than the bike-specific fee) as long as you are below the over-weight limit, normally 50 lbs.
  3. Put a bunch of stickers or other identifying markers all over your bike case–odds are if you are traveling to a bike-friendly locale, someone else will be too, so having a distinctive mark on your own case helps alleviate any confusion upon arrival (since big black or gray bike cases tend to look the same!)

In terms of the actual process of packing up a bike in a case, it’s actually less intimidating than you might first think.  All you need to do the job is a little patience and a set of allen/hex wrenches (plus possibly a set of open-end wrenches and/or a pedal wrench).  To disassemble your bike for packing you will need to be able to remove your:

  • seat post (don’t forget to mark your post height)
  • wheels and skewers
  • pedals
  • stem (you can leave your handlebars attached to your stem & just remove the entire stem/handlebar assembly from the fork steerer tube–just remember to screw in the headset top cap after removing the stem)

For some cases you will also need to remove the rear derailleur to avoid any damage (to the derailleur or the derailleur hanger).  Then it’s just a matter of situating the bike in the case so everything fits comfortably (which can vary from case to case).

But I find that it’s easier to actually see how the process works after reading a description, so we put together this short video that shows how to pack a Pro Bike Case for travel.  You may need to tweak these instructions for different case designs, but the basic concepts should remain the same no matter what case you use (although most cases don’t have a handy inner stabilizer frame).  And don’t worry, if you still have questions about packing up your bike, just head down to your local Performance store or give Spin Doctor Product Services a call; they’ll be happy to help!

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Vuelta a Espana Preview

Summer may be drawing to a close already, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t more road racing to watch before the end of the year.  The final Grand Tour of the year, the 75th Vuelta a Espana, kicks off this Saturday, August 28, in Seville, Spain.  Even though we’ve already seen the chaos of the Giro d’Italia, where Ivan Basso capped his suspension comeback with a hard-fought victory, and the pageantry of the Tour de France, where Alberto Contador defended his crown (somewhat controversially) in a battle with Andy Schleck, this year’s Vuelta promises more cycling excitement. And in great news for racing fans, this year’s edition will again be covered, wire-to-wire, by Universal Sports (which is available over-the-air or on cable in many places, plus Vuelta coverage can be purchased for online access anywhere).

With last year’s winner suspended, this year’s race is wide open and the field is strong.  Many riders will be racing the Vuelta in preparation for the upcoming World Championships in Australia, but there are still plenty of contenders vying for this prestigious Grand Tour crown (but sadly not anyone from the top overall team at the Tour de France, Team Radio Shack, who were left out of the field).  Carlos Sastre will be riding his 3rd Grand Tour of the year, reports say that Andy Schleck will be there in support of his brother Frank (although it would be a nice consolation to see Andy win his first Grand Tour), Denis Menchov will be vying for his third Vuelta title, Nicolas Roche may surprise some folks with a strong performance, and Roman Kreuzinger and Vincenzo Nibali will lead a strong Liquigas contingent.  And that’s not even mentioning the possible sprint battles between American Tyler Farrar (who just moved up to 8th place in the world rankings) and the “Manx Missle” Mark Cavendish.

In terms of the course itself, there will be 21 stages covering 3,352 km.  While the mountains may not be as famous as those of the Tour de France, or as fearsome as the Giro d’Italia, there will still be plenty of hard racing ahead for the Vuelta riders.  If the race is still close near the very end look for fireworks on the next-to-last stage, which features a dramatic mountaintop finish on la Bola del Mundo (where the last 3km are on a rough concrete road with an average grade of 12.5 percent, so steep and narrow that team mechanics will be forced to ride on motorcycles with spare wheels and bikes like the Plan des Corones climb in the Giro!)  And if all of that is not enough, the Vuelta leader’s jersey will also be brand new this year… well, actually the new jersey looks kind of odd, but we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now.

At any rate, we should be in for a good show, so will you be watching?

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Meet the Manager – Tualatin, OR

Since our Tualatin, OR store has just moved to a new location, with our updated layout and design, we thought that it was the perfect time to introduce you to Willy, the Tualatin store manager.  Willy has been working in the bike business for quite a while now, but he can give you a few good tips on motocross too.  Be sure to say hello if you stop by the Grand Opening celebration at the Tualatin store this weekend, Friday 8/20 through Sunday 8/22.

Tualatin, OR

Store Manager:

Willy Thayer

Store Location:

7071 SW Nyberg Street
Nyberg Woods Shopping Center
Tualatin, OR 97062

503-639-2522

When did you start with Performance?

I have worked for Performance for 17 years.

How did you get started in cycling?

I actually used bicycling as a training tool for motocross.

How long have you been cycling?

I’ve been riding for 20 years.

What’s your favorite type of riding?

Definitely mountain biking.

Any racing experience?

I have raced mountain bikes off and on for the last 15 years.

Favorite places to ride?

The trails of Oakridge, Oregon are pretty amazing.

What’s your favorite aspect of working in a bicycle store?

I love helping people discover the joys of cycling.

Dream place to ride?

The Pyrenees.

Any cycling goals? Something you are working toward?

I want to compete in an Xterra Triathon this year.

Any hobbies outside of cycling?

I also enjoy running, swimming and motocross.

Any club affiliation?

None right now.

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Performance Bicycle Racing Team – Winning Leadville

On August 14, Performance Bicycle Racing Team member Cara Applegate, with her husband Andy Applegate and their tandem mountain bike, lined up alongside 1500 other brave competitors – including current ProTour riders, National Champions, and Olympians – to compete in the 17th annual Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race in Leadville, CO.

The couple’s goals were lofty – to complete the 100 mile race, which climbs more than 10,000 feet at high altitude, in under 10 hours, a time which coincidentally would have won the tandem race in 2008 and 2009.

The riders were greeted with chilly air but clear skies as they took to the start line in the wee hours of the morning; once the sun broke through the last remnants of night it blazed a comfortable path for the remainder of the day.

The duo battled with another tandem team early in the event, suffering a race-threatening mechanical little more than 35 miles in. They repaired the issue quickly without too much time lost; by the midway point the Applegates were able to amass over an 8 minute lead on Jay and Tracey Petervary of Idaho.

The Applegates steadily increased the distance between themselves and their closest competitors, completing the course well under their goal in a time of 8 hours 42 minutes, earning themselves the coveted silver and gold belt buckle given to competitors who finish under 9 hours, as well as 80th place overall. The Petervarys were the second tandem across the line, 27 minutes back.

So congratulations to the Applegates, for winning the tandem division and for setting a goal and then knocking it out of the park!

Next up for Cara: a brief break from the bicycle, having just completed her goal race of the year. Don’t expect this to be the last you hear of her – she’ll soon be storming the cyclo-cross world alongside her teammate Evie Boswell-Vilt on the team’s Focus Mares cyclo-cross bikes!

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Performance Bicycle Racing Team – Roswell Store Ride

Some members of the Performance Bicycle Racing Team recently took part in a group ride and clinic at our Roswell, GA store, and from their report it sounds like everyone had a great time:

People always say that we’re crazy for riding road bikes. Usually I disagree, but this past Wednesday night I think I may have agreed with them! Icy water bottles in hand, riders from the Atlanta, GA metro area braved the 100 degree heat to join myself, Kate Mahoney, along with Kirsten Davis and Dana Martin from the Performance Bicycle Racing Team for a 22 mile Fun Ride.

As the riders assembled in front of the Roswell, GA Performance Bicycle store, it was great to hear the excited conversations as we all began to get to know each other. Riders traded stories of how long they’ve been riding, how they got into cycling, and why they keep at it.

I talked with a woman for whom this was her 5th group ride EVER, as she’d just bought her bike at Performance a little over a month before! I met a couple who have been riding road bikes together for the past 20+ years; a fellow who LOVED hill climbs (the longer, the steeper the better); a man who hadn’t had time to ride his bike much lately but saw that we were coming out from the Performance Bicycle Racing Team and said “I’m going… I need to make time to ride!”; a woman who, this year, had learned that century rides (100 milers) were her passion; a man who was riding so he could keep up with his son on the bike; and so many more great people and great stories! This is why I love cycling!

Since our group ran the the full range of experience levels there were lots of cycling tips, tricks and tools being shared before we hit the road.

How much water should I drink? “Sip at least every 15 minutes!” “Don’t wait until you feel thirsty!” “Hydration begins the day before.”

How do I get used to using cycling shoes with cleats? “Ride in the grass!” “Practice by sitting on your bike in a doorway!” And my advice? Laugh when you have your first (or second) slow motion fall! It happens to everyone! (if you join me for a ride I’ll tell you my story where I slow-mo fell next to a city transit bus full of people!).

Soon it was time to head out. Ryan, the store manager, gave us the details on the route. Covering 22 miles of beautiful rolling hills outside the city of Roswell, the route is well suited to both newer riders, who can ease up on the hills, and experienced riders, who can punch it up the hills for a good leg burn.

On the road, Kirsten, Dana and I had a great time. As the three of us moved through the pack, it was like a clinic in motion! People had lots of great questions for us as situations popped up: “What’s the best gear for a hill this steep?” “When should I stand up to climb?” “What is a good cadence?” And, despite the heat, people were having a great time! Working together, watching out for each other, and talking, joking, and laughing as we clipped along… It was awesome!

At the end of the ride, we were having too much fun to head straight home. Dana, Kirsten and I hung out at Performance post-ride, talking with a number of folks who had joined us on the ride. We LOVE to talk cycling, so happily answered questions on everything from our team bikes (the beautiful Fuji Supreme SL), to good hydration tools like NUUN, and what it’s like to race a road bike.

I met so many great people and it was such a beautiful ride! Thanks to the Atlantans who came out to join us, and next time we promise to do the ride when it’s cooler!

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Spin Doctor Mechanic Profiles – Jason Randall

Spin Doctor

For today’s Spin Doctor bicycle mechanic profile, allow us to introduce Jason Randall from the Tyson’s Corner, VA store. Jason has been wrenching for 15 years, and he’s ready for any job that comes his way, be it big or small.  So if you are in the Tyson’s Corner store, be sure to head back to the Spin Doctor area and say hello to Jason (sorry, we made a mistake with our original post when we said that Jason worked in the new Columbia, MD store).

When did you start with Performance?

2004.

How did you get started in cycling?

I hung around a local shop everyday, all day, taking out their trash and absorbing all of the info I could until they offered me a job. I was already into cycling and thought there was no better place to get more of it than in a local shop.

How long have you been cycling?

Since I was three years old. I really took it up as a hobby when I was 13.

What’s your favorite type of riding?

I started off only mountain biking, but the past few years have been mostly road.

Any racing experience?

I’ve done a few mountain bike races, mostly endurance events. Bike mechanics are normally working when everyone is racing, so one has to know that going in, and be willing to sacrifice his own racing glory and live vicariously through those bikes he prepares for the races.

Favorite places to ride?

Schaffer Farm for mountain biking, but on the road I like going out to the west from my house on some old country roads and portions of the W&OD trail. Downtown on the Mt. Vernon trail and Beech Drive are a lot of fun as well.

What’s your favorite aspect of working in a bicycle store?

Not having to wear a suit everyday! Discounts are nice, but I really like all of the people I’ve had the chance to meet. I’ve met a lot of friends working in bike shops, friends I’ll have for life.

Dream place to ride?

Italy.

Any cycling goals? Something you are working toward?

Working toward getting faster on the road, becoming a better climber, putting a hurting on my riding friends. I might also join a team and do some limited road racing this year.

Any hobbies outside of cycling?

Hanging outside with my Lab, Zoey.  Hiking, camping. I’m also into racing cars (drag and auto x) and building hot rods.

How long have you been a mechanic?

15 years, I started when I was 14 years old.

Have you wrenched for a pro team or pro cyclist?

Dave Fuentes of the Battley Harley Davidson Pro Cycling Team, plus lots of really good local guys.

Any specialties?

Attention to details and custom/pro builds. I like to think that there is no job on a bike I cant tackle. I’ve pretty much done it all, although every year the game changes, so I am always learning and adapting.

Any certifications?

I am certified Spin Doctor and I am also certified by Park Tools .

Any club affiliation?

None currently.

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Performance Bicycle Racing Team – Race Across the Sky on a Tandem

Seemingly few people who participate in any organized cycling event in the continental United States remain unaware of the race made famous from a certain ProTour rider’s experience, chronicled in the 2009 film “Race Across the Sky.” The Leadville Trail 100, a 100 mile mountain bike race held in the high mountains of Colorado, annually tests the grit and mettle of more than a thousand brave souls who take to the start. This year, Performance Bicycle Racing Team elite rider Cara Applegate will tackle the race on August 14, but in a slightly unusual fashion – on a tandem mountain bike with her husband, Andy Applegate.

While the couple has been racing tandem bikes on the road for more than seven years – and share four elite national time trial titles and three masters road race and time trial titles – they have been riding the mountain bike tandem for a relatively short period of time, slightly more than a year and a half.

“We’ve both been racing bikes for a good long while – Andy 25 years and me 14 or so – and every year we seem to tweak our goals to include a new experience that will challenge our collective fortitude. A 100 mile off road endurance race in the high mountains seems to fit that bill,” explained Cara, a subtle smile of determination on her face.

The Applegates are not approaching this race unprepared however; they’ve spent the majority of their 2010 racing days at endurance mountain bike events, either on single bikes or the tandem. You can expect to see the Applegates at the front of the tandem pack come race day. Check back here for more details after the race.

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Meet the Manager – Columbia, MD

Our new Columbia, MD, store has already opened its doors, so drop by to check our new store design, which features an easy-to-shop layout, plus all of the great brands and value that you expect from Performance.  While you’re there, say hello to Kevin, the manager of our newest store.

And be sure to stop in on Friday August 13th for a preview of Columbia’s Grand Opening celebration, which will run through Sunday August 15th.  There will be extra-special deals and events, a prize wheel and more.  We hope to see you there!


Columbia, MD

Store Manager:

Kevin Herrett

Store Location:

6455 Dobbin Road
Dobbin Shopping Center
Columbia, MD 21045

443-283-1410

When did you start with Performance?

I started working for Performance in 2009.

How did you get started in cycling?

I first became interested in cycling through mountain biking at age 14.

How long have you been cycling?

Off and on for 14 years.

What’s your favorite type of riding?

I ride both mountain and road.

Any racing experience?

At times, racing the weather!

Favorite places to ride?

Back home in the mountains of New Hamphire.

What’s your favorite aspect of working in a bicycle store?

Mixing with like-minded people and checking out cool new product.

Dream place to ride?

I’m split between Colorado and Northern California.

Any cycling goals? Something you are working toward?

I want to compete in a few triathlons this year.

Any hobbies outside of cycling?

I enjoy rock and ice climbing, hiking, skiing… basically anything outdoors!

Any club affiliation?

Only Club Med!

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Performance Bicycle Racing Team – Winning at Masters Nationals

If you missed it on our this blog last week, 2 elite riders and 1 development rider from the Performance Bicycle Racing Team were racing for tandem glory at the Masters National Time Trial Cycling Competition in Louisville, KY, last week.  Evie Boswell-Vilt and her mom Georgia (who is the development rider, in case you’re wondering) were riding in the age-graded competition, while Cara Applegate and her husband Andy were competing in the elite mixed tandem division.  So how did they do?  We’ll let Evie tell you in her own words, but let’s just say that they all came back with some new gold hardware when all the racing was done!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My mom, Georgia Boswell, born in 1933, anxiously waited in the Red Roof Inn in Louisville, KY. She was hours away from her first attempt at becoming a National Masters Champion.  The thought of being awarded with a stars and stripes jersey was enough, but the gold medal she might soon have hanging around her neck made her absolutely giddy with anticipation. “Do you think all my training was sufficient?,” she asked me, her daughter and tandem partner. I thought back to all the conversations we’d had over the last few months when she would call, from that ‘high’ most athletes feel post workout. She and her friend, Herb, had borrowed a tandem from friends in Sun City Hilton Head, SC, and had been riding 3-4 times a week. Mom would then call me and report on their endurance workouts and interval training. Just in case you didn’t catch it, my mom was born in 1933! She just turned 77 in March of this year and, in addition to her cycling, has a daily regimen of yoga, weights, tennis (her tennis partner will be 100 years old in January), bridge (to keep her mind sharp) or her favorite pastime: line dancing.

As the time neared for our departure to the course, we put on our Performance Bicycle Racing skin suits (a one piece spandex outfit that helps to increase a cyclist’s aerodynamics). My fiancé, Brian, helped pack the car and checked over our list of things we needed to bring to the race. We then traveled the 30 miles south from Louisville, KY to Taylorsville, KY. Once at the course, we pinned the two numbers on the back of my mom and made last minute adjustments to the bike for comfort, flair and, of course, speed! The weather was hot and sticky, with temperatures reaching over 105 degrees; keeping cool out on the sun-baked course became a priority. Teammate Cara Applegate suggested we fill our back pockets with ice as well as carry an extra bottle of ice water.

Cara and her husband Andy then started out on the course and set the fastest Man/Woman Elite Category time to claim the stars and stripes and their gold medals (and yes, in case you missed it in the video, Cara and Andy are preparing to race the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race, on a tandem, this weekend!)

The races at Masters National are broken up into individual events and tandem events. There are numerous categories by age for each of three disciplines: Time Trial, Road Race and Criterium. For the tandem events, the rider’s ages are added to determine their category. My mom and I, aged 34 and 77, competed in the 110+ category. Though we didn’t have any competitors this year, we were very pleased with our time.

My mom was super fierce and nervous up to the final moment.  We settled into quite a rhythm on the hilly and windy 14 mile course. Coming across the finish line she let out a triumphant shout and pumped her fist into the air.  It was a lot of fun and I hope we are fortunate enough to be in Bend next year to ‘defend our title!’

As members of the Performance Bicycle Racing Team, and The SpokesWomen Syndicate, we feel a sense of duty and excitement to inspire other women in the US to attend and race at the US Master’s National Road Cycling Championships (next year athletes from all over the US will converge at a new host site in Bend, OR).

While driving back from the course, “National Champion” Georgia Boswell sat in her stars and stripes while animatedly reporting her success to all her fans on her cell phone. She is already planning to upgrade to clipless pedals as well as sign up to race her Scattante road bike in the individual events for 2011. We hope to see you in Bend next year!

So please join us in congratulating our new national champs, Cara, Evie and, of course, Georgia.  These women epitomize the credo of the Performance Bicycle Racing Team: to compete, encourage and inspire!

Plus look for more updates soon from Cara and Andy, as they race the epic Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race on a tandem (and they’re racing to win!)

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