The winter of my discontent

“Oh c’mon. Work can wait an hour. Ride across me! You’ll love it!” — Golden Gate Bridge Siren Song

It has been a tough month. Well, tough couple of months. Many of the readers can understand the impact a lack of bike riding can have on an avid cyclist. When I should have been basking in my new bike glory, I’ve instead struggled against a series of both planned and unplanned events that seem like a sinister conspiracy to keep me off the bike.

It all started when the office of my day job moved.

The old commute was 10 miles one way, across beautiful scenery that encouraged me to add even more miles – just for fun. Without even “training” I was on the bike over 100 miles every week just in my commute. It made doing even more rides not only easier but also more enjoyable. Cycling can be funny that way – the more you do it the more you want to.

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2016 Seattle To Portland Ride Report

While I’ve talked a lot about the Seattle to Portland (STP) ride in the past, I unfortunately wasn’t able to make it this year. Luckily David Bussey did – and completed it in one day. David is a long time friend of JustAnotherCyclist.com, and was also one of the core members of the VeloReviews online cycling community. I’m excited that David agreed to share his experiences from the 2016 STP.

STP where virtual meets reality

By David Bussey

The decision

I ride with a group of guys with an interactive online cycling “game” called Zwift, where you ride your bike in the game, and as you pedal faster thru ant+ speed or power meter and cadence your in game rider rides faster.  This game launched beta in late 2014, I got an invite approval in April 2015, still early in the process. This group of riders races together, does 62 mile weekly endurance rides, and we use an audio app that lets us in essence have “race radio”.  We have gotten to know each other but not IRL (in real life).  Well, late in 2015 we began talking about getting this group to meet up for a ride, maybe STP [Seattle to Portland]. Some had done it in prior years some (myself) had not. We decided to give it a go, and to do the 205 mile ride in one day. What? Keep reading →

Cascade Bicycle Club, Washington Bikes merge

Cascade Bicycle Club merges with Washington BikesWashington State centered Cascade Bicycle Club announced a merger with Washington Bikes in an email to members on Tuesday, Dec 8. A press release on their website shared the same information. The new, merged organization is now being billed as the “…largest statewide advocacy organization in the nation.”

At the decision of both organization’s boards, as of Jan. 1, 2016, Cascade Bicycle Club will be the name of the 501(c)(3) tax-deductible wing, focused on education, diversity and inclusion programs, most of the signature events and advocacy work. The organization’s 501(c)(4) arm, to be called Washington Bikes, will address statewide policy and outreach, selected statewide events and activities, and candidate endorsements.

Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes merge to form nation’s largest statewide bicycle nonprofit

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Seattle to Portland: The world’s best group ride

STPAs someone that has ridden group rides in a grand total of 2 different states, I feel uniquely positioned to have an opinion on the best group rides of the entire planet. It is from this perspective of decades of experience and miles of riding that I can say with absolute authority: The Seattle to Portland ride from Cascade Bicycle Club is the absolute best group ride, anywhere, ever.

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Tapering for the big event

No... Not 'tapir' - taper.
No… Not ‘tapir’ – taper.

It is a frequent mistake of many cyclists – overtraining. No where is this more true then the weeks leading up to a big event. I’m right there, right now. In two weeks from today I will have just finished the Seattle to Portland ride. That means this is prime time for me to think about tapering, and how that impacts my training schedule.

This year my training schedule had a bit of tapering forced upon it by a mechanical failure on a training ride. With my primary road bike in the shop a lot of my recent training rides were skipped, or switched completely different style of bike. But for most, the tapering process should be a lot more deliberate and planned. And no…. riding less is not going to undo all the hard work you have put in in the saddle. Keep reading →

Everyone needs to do a solo century

bridge
Crossing the I-80 / Carquinez bridge.

The Century is often the benchmark for amateur and recreational cyclists. Often taking the form of fund-raising charity rides or hosted club-run rides, they often feature food, music and expo-like activities at the end. These full day events are, as they say, all about the bike. You are surrounded by fellow cyclists (or sympathetic family supporters of fellow cyclists) and the camaraderie is palpable.

However, there is a ton of benefit – both training and mental – in doing longer rides such as this on your own. For me personally riding with other cyclists definitely improves my performance. I find myself pushing myself just a tiny bit more when the guy in front of me starts to gap me, or when fellow riders are on my wheel. I have the opportunity to slip onto someone else’s wheel for a bit of respite while still maintaining pace.

When you’re out on the road on your own, however, those options don’t exist. It is you, your bike, and the thoughts in your head. Keep reading →

Route change for Seattle To Portland

This year’s Seattle to Portland bicycle ride – put on by Cascade Bicycle Club – is just around the corner. I’ve mentioned a couple of times how much I love this ride, and I’m really excited to be going back again. This year, however, will have a slightly different route this year.

They’ve just announced via email to registered riders that this years route will not take you through US Military property at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Keep reading →

Levi’s GranFondo causes crashes … of servers.

Levi’s GranFondo spawned a significant crash before the riders even made it to the start line.  This wasn’t bicycles piling up, however.  Instead, the popularity of the ride apparently resulted in a significant outage on the first day of registration as folks rushed to ensure a place in the hugely successful event.  Despite having reportedly “planned for several times the traffic from 2010’s registration opening day” folks were unable to register, and the registration system was taken offline and postponed.

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UPDATE: Seattle To Portland 2011 Registration

Based on the number of folks that are reading my previous STP 2011 story, a lot of folks are already interested in the 2011 ride.  And with the amount of interest, it looks like we’ll all need to stay on top of this to ensure we can register.

Cascade Bicycle Club has changed the dates slightly from their original announcement:

Online only event registration opens at noon on Monday, Jan. 10 exclusively for Cascade Bicycle Club members. Event registration opens at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 1 to the general public.

It is interesting to note, however, that their website still doesn’t seem to list the STP ride on applicable calendarsLast time was a blast – can’t wait for this year.

Local Cycling Group: Cycle Folsom

For the second in my ongoing series of profiles of Sacramento area cycling groups and clubs, I’ll take a look at Cycle Folsom.  Before we get started, however, I want to point out that I ride with Cycle Folsom regularly myself, and in fact help lead some of the rides.  So clearly I’ve got a little bit of direct personal knowledge regarding this group!

I took the opportunity to do an email interview with Stan Schultz – who describes himself as Cycle Folsom’s “Chief Evangelist” on the groups Meetup site.  Here is what Stan had to say in response to my questions:

JustAnotherCyclist (JAC): What is the focus of Cycle Folsom?

Stan: Short Answer: Cycle Folsom exists to provide an environment where cyclists can improve their cycling skills, strength and endurance through intelligent training and nutrition.

Long Answer: Our slogan “Great Cycling Starts Here” serves as the guiding principal of Cycle Folsom’s efforts in three distinct, but complementary ways:

1. Great Cycling Starts Here—in the City of Folsom: Downtown Folsom provides direct access to the American River Trail and the more than 100 miles of interconnected paved bike trails stretched throughout the town, and all the way to Discovery Park in Sacramento. Newer riders will find both solace and a moderate challenge along the trail that surrounds Lake Natoma and continues to Discovery Park. Seasoned cyclists seeking hills can string together short, but very challenging hill rides within Folsom, or venture through adjoining towns for additional spectacular scenery and rural roads. Folsom has held the distinction of being a “Bike-Friendly City” for years, and continues to invest in bike paths and commuting conveniences.

2. Great Cycling Starts Here—in the Cycle Folsom Group: Cycle Folsom is structured with three distinct riding levels.  As such, there is typically a group for any cyclist to join and to progress to as they improve their ability. Ride Leaders and Members are usually welcoming and full of encouragement, but their also pretty serious about improving their own fitness as they work to inspire themselves and others on rides.

3. Great Cycling Starts Here—within yourself: Just about anyone who makes a commitment to ride on a regular basis with Cycle Folsom—in addition to doing some regular training on their own—can become a better cyclist. As part of the Group, individuals benefit from the encouragement, inspiration, and challenges that others in the group share. Conversely, individuals benefit when they help others by giving encouragement, inspiration, and sharing the tips they’ve learned while on the trail. All of it helps with motivation and camaraderie—which helps to make it feel more like fun than a workout.

JAC: How many people are involved with Cycle Folsom?

Stan: Cycling Folsom currently has 11 active Ride Leaders, as well as 4 or 5 highly experienced and trained emeritus leaders who join rides on occasion and provide guidance and training to active ride leaders.

This year alone, Cycle Folsom’s E-Mail List has grown from about 60 members to over 230, with about 8 to 15 being added each week (and the growth seems to be accelerating). We’ve recently started using http://www.Meetup.com/cyclefolsom to manage our ride/event calendar, messaging, ratings, and social aspects of the group. In just over a week of going live publicly, our Meetup site Membership has grown to more than 50 Members. Based on the membership numbers of other groups in the area, I anticipate that our Meetup Membership will grow to more than 500 by this time next year.

JAC: Does Cycle Folsom have a place for riders of all levels?

Stan: First, I should clarify that Cycle Folsom is dedicated to Road Bikes for now, and for the foreseeable future. We have detailed descriptions of our various groups on our Web site [link mine], but I think it’s important to note that Cycle Folsom’s “official” minimum requirement would be cyclists who are reasonably fit and comfortable on their road bikes, but who may not have ever ridden with a Group.

Our Grupetto Group (for intro or re-entry riders) is dedicated to cyclists who are new to Group rides. These cyclists are typically interested in increasing their mileage and, ultimately, buidling a base that will help them tackle hills with greater ease. The Grupetto Group has a 12-week cycle of weekly rides that starts at around 25 miles and progresses to a distance of 60 miles. This is followed by an initiation to hill training. The Grupetto Group officially rides until Fall, but many Grupetto riders would then be prepared to join the slower-paced Fall and Winter training rides of the Peloton Group.

Our Peloton Group (advanced-beginner or intermediate) is geared toward cyclists who already have a reasonable level of experience riding in groups, and who are confident in their ability to ride on rural roads—sometimes with tight shoulders and traffic. The Peloton Group starts their season with base training in the Fall and Winter months, which typically includes long, steady distance rides, followed by hill training during the Spring months, followed by more training and various goal events and rides throughout the summer.

Our Performance Group (advanced-intermediate or advanced) is filled with cyclist who are usually very fit and committed to cycling as their primary form of exercise. Performance Group cyclists relish just about any flat or hill challenge they can find. Some Group members are part of racing teams and use Cycle Folsom to augment their training efforts. The Performance Group also trains year-round.

JAC: Does Cycle Folsom have regularly scheduled rides?

Stan: Ride Leaders from all three groups collectively post 3 to 4 weekend rides, and 3 regular weekday rides. The rides, complete with details, descriptions and links to route maps, are posted at Meetup.com.

JAC: What major events have Cycle Folsom riders ridden in this past year?

Stan: Cycle Folsom Members proudly participated in a variety of events this year, and many individuals achieved major cycling milestones such as the distinguished California Triple Crown. Members joined together as teams to ride in several charity events, including the Tour de Cure, the Livestrong Challenge, Ride for a Reason, and more. Other events included the Death Ride, Davis Double Century, and the Auburn Century. Many members in the group plan to cap off the season with Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo in Santa Rosa.

JAC: So Cycle Folsom continues its riding activities during the winter months / off season?

Stan: Yes. Members of the Peloton Group continue training in Fall and Winter, doing mostly long, steady distance rides of 50 to 75 miles. The Groups often ride in rain and or reasonably high wind, but weather does sometime cancel or postpone rides. As a result of winter training, many of our members come into the Spring stronger than ever, having built a cumulative base on top of their previous year’s training and experience.

JAC: Does Cycle Folsom charge a Membership fee?

Stan: To this point, Cycle Folsom has been free and is completely volunteer-driven. Because we are expanding our outreach and services to members, I expect that we will soon create a mechanism that will allow CF to accept donations and sponsorships. While my goal for Cycle Folsom is to keep it free, we may ultimately begin charging a small Membership fee, or perhaps charge a Membership fee for access to certain premium information or services.