Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Charles In Charge Part II

Charles "Charlos" Libolt has been having about as much success in his Subaru on the road race circuit as he has in the mountain bike race scene..which is a LOT...Just this past weekend, he not only set two personal bests..but also brought home a gold medal for being a badass.  This guy has been racing since he was a fetus, beating all the other babies out of the womb that warm day in Riverside.

Great job to Charlos, and look for him to downplay his role as DH racer this year and fire up his XC awesomeness for a few races! GO TEAM!

Ara Movsessian Takes Silver In Santa Ynez!

Hey now!  There was some hot Fuzz flyin' up in the Santa Barbara wine country last weekend, and it was our favorite Fuzzbucket! Just up the road from Mission Santa Ynes and the historic Wells Fargo Stage Coach stop town of Los Olivos, there was some serious racing going down last weekend. The U.S. Cup had a stop there, and our Fuzziest decided to swing by and bring home some bling.

Waking up, The Fuzziest thought "Hmmmm...I think I will go rip some legs off of some folks today." And so he would. Packing his bike up and heading north, The Fuzz descended on the Firestone Vineyard to sign up. It was over in just minute or two, like love-making with Randy Rush (happy birthday you old bastard), and then it was a Fuzzy Box-Top! Ara bombed the hill that day, taking the Silver back home to the Masada like stronghold of Armenians that is Glendale, California.

Great job to the Fuzzmaster General!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Josh Qualls and the Georgia Training Camp.

Ashland Cycling Enthusiasts held a training camp in Helen Georgia for 4 days. 7 riders including myself took on the grueling 4 day training camp.

Day One: We did a "warm up" ride going up Hog Pen Gap, a 7.2 mile climb with grades reaching 14% at times. 35.26 miles with 3947 foot of climbing with an abundance of beautiful views with deep valleys.
Day Two: The 90% chance of thunderstorms had us questioning the ride for the day. Bill and I took a chance and was going to get in a short ride. (20 miles) We ran into some other cyclists from the Ohio area and asked if we could tag along, they had a 55 mile loop planned. I didn't realize what we were in for. These guys are racers and were very tough. We managed to stick with them until Unicoi Gap. Some how we averaged 17 mph over a 56.1 mile ride with 4547 foot of climbing. I'm not going to lie I was beat after that ride. It may have been smart in our part to take it easier than what we did since we had a brutal century (100 mile) ride the next day.
Day Three: The 6 Gap Century..... Hog Pen, Wolf Pen, Woody's, Neels, Jacks and Unicoi. 100 miles with close to 11,000 foot of climbing (by far the most elevation I've climbed in a ride). Coming off the back side of Hog Pen I matched my max speed at 52.2 mph!!! We averaged 15.1 mph. I was shocked we were able to even hold that pace. This was a very painful ride but what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. I signed up for a sufferfest and that is exactly what I got. You have to climb the hills to enjoy the descent and this ride had some amazing downhills. Hairpins and long banked corners. By far some of the best decsents I've ridden!

Day Four: "Recovery ride" Hahaha yeah right! 50.5 miles with 4250 foot of climbing. Although, I have to admit I felt great other than a little tenderness in my legs.
We racked up 243.4 miles in 4 days with 22,909 foot of climing.

AMINO VITAL for keeping me hydrated during this training camp. I really needed the Amino Vital Recovery mix after these brutal rides. Also for the arm warmer that kept me warm bombing these descents.
XPEDO PEDALS for these amazing Thrust 8 carbon pedals. I climbed 22,909 foot during this training camp and I'm sure I put them through a lot of torcher and they were right there for me to power up some of these intense climbs!
KENDA TIRES for the fastest rubber on the road. The tires were amazing in the corners!
RYDERS EYEWEAR for sunglasses that shielded my peepers from wind, bugs, sun and the people of Wal Mart.
KMC CHAINS: For the sweet Gold X10SL chain. I put a lot of miles on it during this training camp. I racked up 243.4 miles on it during this brutal 4 day camp!

Monday, February 03, 2014

Randy Rush ALIVE?!?

Yo Cap'n,
Well it's been a long time since I've sent any kind of report for the blog, and though this is not a race report I thought I would put something together. So I haven't been racing for almost three years now (man that's a long time). I have still been riding my trusty old Tomacs, but not anymore!
Though those were great bikes I have moved on to the world of 27.5 with a 2014 Giant Anthem. When I decided to sell my Tomacs I didn't have a bike to ride, so with MUCH hesitation I borrowed my nephew's Anthem 29er (I said I would never ride one) and I have to say I had to eat crow because I really liked that bike! That was the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden, but I wasn't going to fall into that trap without riding a 27.5.
So on New Years Day a friend of mine, Steve, that owns the cyclery bike shop in La Mirada was going to be at Fontucky with  fleet of demo bikes including the Giant 27.5's. Off I went to try them out and man oh man was that bike insane! It's just as comfortable as the 29er was but for me climbed better felt a lot lighter and corners like or better than a 26er.The 29er is very good but feels like it wants to take the outside line around most corners where the 27.5 I can dive inside go outside or change my line in the middle of any corner.
Last weekend I was going to go to Fontucky and get to racing, but had a few problems with our trailer so I decided to stay home fix that and just go ride as much as I could and hope I could hit the next one. I ended up riding both days over the weekend with about 50 miles and 6000 feet of climbing. This is what surprised me on our Sunday ride... we did a climb that is about seven miles long at about an average of 6 to 7 percent which is fine but I tell you what this bike descends like a MFer it is amazing on the downhill, rolls over anything and everything and the suspension is unreal!
So as you can tell I love this bike.
I'm hoping to hit the next race at Fontucky and do some of the US Cup races but I won't be doing as much as I used to... but that's ok.
On a side note I wanna say WELCOME to the "Yo Newbie" on the team it's a great group of people and unbelievable sponsors! If your friends with Tookie (thought I have never met him in person) you gotta be alright, but I must tell you, you will be judged on your beer drinking more than your bike racing.
I think that's about enough rambling for now.
Hope things are well Captn. Say hi to the new wifey to be.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January Update; New Rider Josh Qualls, Bob's birthday and SNOWROLLERS?!?


 FIRST...HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO VEGAS BOB! Now go buy that dude some brews. 

Last Saturday, Tookie (Jeff Williams) drove up from Kentucky with his XTC race bike and new team mate Josh Qualls for a couple of hours. Josh is the New Kid On The Block for Backbone, and is very excited to have both a local team mate in his area, and some killer help from sponsors! We fit him up to his new Giant Talon 29 1 and he poured through his sponsor package(s), thankful to Ara and Bob who shipped him a week's worth of team clothing from the past few designs. SIGMA sent him shorts to race in as well.

 Jeff hooked him up with tires and some Amino Vital, and he had more AV piled on from me, with a SIGMA computer and XPEDO pedals and socks that shipped from So Cal. chain order from KMC is in the works, and I am anxiously awaiting the new all black SL 10 speed stuff!

  A little background on "Quallsimoto" for you all...

"I am 29 from Kentucky. Cycling is a big part of my life. I've mountain biked for 5 years and road biked for a year and a half. Last year I put in 3560 miles on the road bike. With those miles I did 14 century rides with the local cycling club I joined in Ashland Kentucky called Ashland Cycling Enthusiasts (A.C.E.). Since I bought my road bike in July of 2012 I have logged 6000+ miles on the road.
Last year I picked up racing and really enjoyed the atmosphere.
I raced the Gran Fondo New York. It was 102 miles with 5000+ in elevation. Out of 5300 racers I places 265th over all! That had have been the best experience yet! Seeing everyone in the same jersey take off at the starting gun at the George Washington bridge! Amazing!
I raced in the McDonald's Huntington crit Cat 4/5. I placed 8th. More of a learning experience for me since that was my first crit! 
Also done my first ITT for the Homeless veterans TT. It was to raise money for the Homeless veterans. I placed 2nd in my age group and 9th over all out of 42.
I've always been into some type of extreme sport. I've skateboarded for 15 years and had the opportunity to build/own/operate my own skate park/shop. I snowboard (plan on going Sunday). 
I've set a few goals for this year:
Ride 4500 miles
Ride 20 centuries
Race Road and MTB 
Run a half marathon"
  That all sounds awesome..but I didn't read anywhere about drinking beer. Did you? Hopefully Tookie can get Josh up to speed on how we do things here:)
   It has been a bitter cold winter here in the Midwest. Jeff and I both have been getting out as much as possible, and thanks to a massive investment in new winter riding apparel and a fancy new wheel set for the mountain bike, I have ridden a ton in the below freezing temps here this season. I changed to tubeless for the deep snow, and my gear has made a HUGE difference in keeping comfy out in the Polar Vortex. It is funny to see so much snow here, and so much dry, dusty racing action back home at the Southridge Winter Series!

   Another fun thing we all just learned about yesterday here in Ohio is something called a "snowroller." Conditions have to be perfect, and it only happens once in a lifetime or so..but you take a BUNCH of dampish snow, blast it with fifty mile per hour winds, and it begins to lift and curl these amazing little barrels of snow flap-thingys. Really cool in the right light!

    Amino Vital just shipped us some new VOLER TEAM APPAREL arm warmers and new SOCK GUY socks! I look forward to seeing them on everyone for rides and races. Best of luck to everyone in the coming weeks..especially those of us stuck here in the Gulag-esque Midwest. Keep it classy!
Cap'n Chris

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Brown County Beat Down, and Winter Sucks.


Chirpitty-chirp. Bring Spring!

 It has been a while, I know. Life has been busy, what can I say? Vegas Bob and The Fuzz back in CA have been racing 'cross like crazy bastards, Tookie has been working on a new high school team in Kentucky, and Mark has moved to Montana with Matty-Ice.

Mark feels my pain, now in Montana.

Fuzz and Vegas Bob prepping for Spooky Cross L.A. under the SIGMA tent.
Sean and Tookie in Lake Hope last year.

 Sponsor contacts have changed (as they seem to constantly as a sales rep for a bike industry company) and I have been frantically trying to get all the team sponsor stuff set up for next season. Most importantly, I am dealing with a cold and early winter that be honest...making me surly. The sun just came out for the first time in six weeks and I feel like I just won the f*****g lottery, but it is still twenty five degrees outside and all the roads are frozen. Great. What is it, NINETY DEGREES back in CA?


Brian Schultz in action.

   Despite my hatred of early winter, I did manage to sneak out to a highly regarded trail system in the middle of Indiana. Thanks to a manager retreat courtesy of roll: bikes here in Columbus, it was on.  Driving with my navigator and 'cross/mtb racer Brian Schultz, the trip took about three hours. Brown County has been working hard it seems to draw the mountain bike set in to it's park system. Joining forces with IMBA and local cyclists/shops, the folks down there built an extraordinarily well designed thirty or so miles of singletrack near the town of Columbus, inside Brown County State Park, Indiana. Thirty miles doesn't sound like much, but with numerous loops that interconnect, and each one having a different degree of could rearrange each day of a three day trip to provide a unique trail experience every time.

Think Slim Pickens riding the bomb.

Paul Carter's "Head-Neck Special."

   Use of the topography is second to none here. This is where IMBA came in and made the difference. Unlike the trails in and around Columbus (where the topography is very similar), the trail builders masterfully worked fun and flow in to every single mile of these trails, and it is evident within the first ten feet. It helped that our cabin rental ( through the Abe Martin Lodge was nestled in the woods just off the trail system. These cabins were spacious, albeit hard to find..especially at night. I recommend getting down there in daylight hours so you don't waste time getting lost in the park.

Beer always helps legs. Always.

   A short pedal out of the cabin led us to North Tower Loop. What better way to start a ride than with a blistering singletrack downhill? Tight, flowy and featuring pressure-suit-necessary banked turns the trail is a great way to warm up. The thing is..none of the climbs are ball-busters in here, so even if you decide to push it and extra mile or two..or three..ending the ride on the cruise up and out North Tower Loop is a breeze. Once inside the trail network, you can mix and match loops out to Hesitation Point, a popular look-out and rest stop for riders and motorists alike. You can choose to head to the more technical Schooner Trace Trail (bring the A game here, the rock gardens are fun but no joke), or turn around and BLAZE back down one of the longest descents in the park system. You will have just climbed up it, so you hopefully will have paid attention to the few hazards and switchbacks on the way back down. Trail map is here

The overlook from Hesitation Point.

Oh hell to-the-YES! Look at that sexy Sigma ROX!

    Humidity in this part of the country is pretty bad, so if you have a 100 oz. HYDRAPAK and a bottle, fill them and use some Sport Legs and Amino Vital Endurance to keep the cramps at bay. A double handful of chamois butter wouldn't hurt, either.  My good ol' Titus 26er hardtail (and Paul's 26" steel framed rigid bike) destroyed the fun, fast and flicky trails here.
Yes it's old. Yes it has 26" wheels. Yes it's freaking fast.

 We did have access to some amazing test bikes courtesy of, like the Felt black-ops NINE FRD hardtail in a 1 X 1 set up, and a fleet of Giant carbon hardtails in 27.5 and Anthem's in the same wheel size. I LOVED the Anthem far my favorite new bike of the 2014 season ( The biggest issue you will have riding here is deciding which way to go at the various trail intersections!  If you are too exhausted to cook, it is a short trail walk down to the Abe Martin Lodge, where meals are served throughout the day at the resort restaurant..and they even have an indoor "waterpark" complex!

The amazing Giant ANTHEM suspension set up is as good as it gets, even in the base model.

The FELT FRD, Stuart Hunters' weapon for the weekend. Stupid light.

   Of course..that trip was back in October. It has since devolved in to a sub twenty degree sunless wintery shithole here in Columbus, Ohio. All the bike shops have already started their indoor trainer nights, and the rest of humanity just bought their community center passes so they can at least hit the pool for some laps. My decision to take the mountain bike out for a road ride after a huge freezing-rain-storm a couple of weeks ago was smart. Smart in that I took the mtb, since the roads were frozen and full of clumps of hardened leaf-balls mixed with ice. REALLY stupid because the actual temperature was in the single digits, and  by the time I arrived in the small town of Galena my feet were beginning to turn black.

Near Galena along the 3C Highway. It was about 9 degrees that day.

   Wool socks. Shoe covers. Am-Fib thermal tights. Black toes. Thankfully, the diner was open for breakfast and graciously allowed me to clomp in all horsey like and place my toes on the nose of the heater grate in the dining room floor. Metal grate belching forth hundred degree air was a win, and allowed me enough blood flow to mount the Titus FCR and pedal my Otter-Pop ass back home.

 If I were an Otter-Pop, my flavor would be "Cracker-Assed-Cracker." The weather has changed little since November, and although the occasional foray in to single-digit-crapweather is fun, looking at five months of it is getting me down.

Galena mudflats just before everything froze.

  That is where beer comes in. Thankfully, I have a steady supply of Mission Brewing Company (   beers in the fridge, and even some Sam Adams Latitude 48 to keep me warm. Yay! With 'cross racing in the bag for the year, some of you will be rolling right in to the Southridge Winter Series....for Sean, Jeff and I...we are just rolling in to winter.
Snow on frozen wooden bridges are an ideal thing to ride on. Or not.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Vegas Bob's CA Cross Series Update

Hey Ev'rbody!
Well cyclo-cross season is well underway. It started out here in Downtown L.A. After pulling the Motobecane out of deep hibernation I aired up the ol' Kenda tires, spun the front wheel and my sleeping SigmaSport 1606 winked to life, and I clicked into my aluminum/ti XPEDO pedals and was ready to rock! Unfortunately, the "roll" part didn't follow so much. A covering of wood chips in the park made for a sea of flat tires. Tubeless, tubulars, tubes, Stan's, Slime, no one was immune. I unfortunately ended up with a total of 3 flats for 2 races, never getting more than a lap and a half around the track, even while just trying to warm-up between events. Amino Vital was on hand, but didn't even get a chance to work since 12 minutes was the most I was on a bike. For the last race I even tried to hide a good tube in the middle of a bad tube, but unlike Luke getting warm in the Taun-taun's innards or Hannibal escaping in his guard's face skin, my slice job didn't work out. Ah well, that's racing. 

Next was Prado Lake in Chino Hills. It's still a bit toasty out here in the Golden State, but the shade under lots of oak trees and the Sigma EZ-UP made it a nice day. The racing was tough, though. The course had lots of gopher-hole bumpy grass, and obstacles included a few off-camber lines, a couple switchbacks over baseball diamond DG dirt, a dirt stair, and the hurdles were around a corner at the top of a hill. The only resting spot was the pavement straightaway at the start/finish line. Even lowering my tire pressure to get a bit more squish outta them, I took a beating. In the "A" race I think the only two people I beat were a Junior racer who looked to be about 15, and the guy that took 5 beer hand-ups. Yay, Me! It's always a bit of a change from XC to CX, but always fun. Good thing cool beverages were waiting at the finish!

The third race was down at Vail Lake in Temecula. There has never been a CX race down there before, but having done cross-country races there for a few years, I knew we'd be in for a treat. They graciously stepped in on short notice as a venue when Costa Mesa dropped the ball. When we arrived at the entrance, we were told to go around to the "other" entrance. I thought there was only one. Well after continuing down the highway, finding the back way in, and meandering down a winding road, we came on the racecourse, a ridiculously grassy patch of hills, right next to the beach by the lake.

But besides beautiful, it was actually a difficult course. A lack of flat sections kept us on our toes every lap, with the steepest hill I've ever done in a CX race ever. My cassette barely had a low enough gear to clean it. Lots of guys lost their strength or traction about 3/4 of the way up, with many choosing to just run up from the bottom instead. Just past the start/finish was a sand section, starting with a left 180 in very deep sand and then a right 180 into an uphill. Mayhem was the standard here, as those of us who could pedal through it clambered for space between those who couldn't, running or falling over all around us. The small dirt section was in a super windy spot, so not only was it slow, but we got showered with dust. The sickest part were the dinosaurs chasing us. That's motivation! haha. But really, local artist Ricardo A. Breceda is a metalworking master, and his workshop is on the Vail Lake property. Many of his sculptures are scattered over the property, and some even grace the hills of the canyon on the way out of town from Temecula. What a treat.


I also decided to try SingeSpeed for the first time. Luckily Joe from Bike Religion in Dana Point had some demo Felts ready to ride and waiting eagerly to be ridden. He swapped over my XPEDOs, I zipped tied the shifter paddles to the brake levers (after some gear-selection coaching from some experienced SSers) and I was off! I really interesting experience, since I've never ever even ridden a SS on trails at all, much less in a race. Plus it was my first time racing a drop-bar CX bike, too. Super fun! But I definitely had an adjustment period. For a lap and a half I still kept trying to use the shifters! And I kept pedaling in vain on the flats, ridiculously whirling to 130rpm before figuring out how worthless it was to do so. After the second lap, though, I had gotten the hang of it, and the gear was just easy enough to get me up the steepest hill. I had a blast! And I ended up 11th out of 20 guys. Hmmm, I may have to try that again!