Cycling in a Toque

Cycling in a Toque: January 2011

Monday, 31 January 2011

Space Camp

Last week I was in Boise, Idaho for team exergy's first camp of 2011. It was unbelievable. The new kits are amazing and every day I suit up I feel like I'm an astronaut ready to giver. Here we go!

On Wednesday Jan 27th, Quinn and I got picked up by Gary Allen in Portland. Gary has been a supporter of the team for the last few years and is none other than the brother of Mark Allen, KONA World Champion! BAM! We had lots to talk about throughout the +7 hr drive. On the way out of town we stopped by the Castelli warehouse and met some of the staff. Quite an operation. CastelliUSA is based in Portland and since I first opened my new kit I can't believe how comfortable + sleek + ridable it is. There is a reason why Castelli is the top brand in the world.

The first evening we had a little meet and greet at team business manager Dave Beck's home in Boise. We did the 'round-the-table' where you from and what you look forward to. This is also the home where a few of us will be living once we move to Boise full-time in March. I can't wait to get back to town and get all situated.

The next morning we met at service course (the team's management and equipment headquarters). We started the day with a great meeting discussing rider expectations, contract and travel details and the year's schedule. I mostly did a lot of listening, not asking too many questions. Of course as a reward for making it through the business-end, we finished the meeting with the unwrapping/opening of all of our new gear! That means that all those boxes, which are now to get opened! BAM! Green eggs and ham! You name it, we got it! Castelli sweater, Smith racing and casual glasses, Hammer products, Castelli winter ware, Smith casual ware, Bont shoes and Speedplay pedals. Below Eric Barlevav and Matt Cooke (2008 Interview) check out the new Smith racing shades as Tad Hamilton (Director Sportif) looks on; Scott Cross (Team Manager) is busy on the phone making plans for the season as usual.
Quinn strikes a pose next to our new F1 Felt bikes. They'll be ready for team camp in California starting February 12th. I can't wait to sprint and descend on them carbon spaceships! No one else in the world has their Felt frames yet (no retailers or anyone) so a big shout out to Felt bikes for helping us get out on the road as soon as possible. Thanks Felt!

Here are all the team's products, well displayed right at the entrance of service course. Look at that crank! Peanut Butter and Jam! (On a Canadian tangent now....Bubs, Lahey)
Service Course in its entirety.
For the next two days, the team managers rushed us around town. The list of errands included bike fittings @WN Precision, a visit with team seigneur Mark Dauenhauer, a schedule meeting with Tad, a photoshoot with McManus Photography @Modern Hotel & Bar plus a stop at Foot Dynamics to meet Jeff the foot doctor. Jeff uses bladder technology to cut down on possible errors associated with foam-crush based molds. Therefore he used the machine pictured directly below as opposed to the vacuum machine to the right. He also heated up the Bont shoes to make sure we got my big toes in da boots. Bont heel cup = money. Sprinting here I come! Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the majic of Foot Dynamics.

After a big photoshot, we took off for dinner. Smash burger was on the menu, then......
It was fast, it was fun and damn I've missed sliding on all four wheels
On Friday I met our team mechanic, Bruiser (his real name is Chris). The Williams wheels also came out of the boxes that morning so there were lots of fast things to check out. The new Williams disc is unlike any disc I've ever seen. I'll get a picture at training camp. Also pictured below is Scott Cross, one of the team's managers. He is based in Ventura, California so we will be going down to his neck of the woods next week.
Some Hammer products and ProHelmet gear brough back from the photoshoot. Team exergy is part of ProHelmet's bike safety advocacy program which takes the community's youth from non-helmet wearing vigilantes to helmet wearing little rippers. Follow along with Boise youth cycling community with the Byrds Cycling Team.
Speaking of Boise's youth cycling community, introducing Byrds founder and team exergy business manager Dave Beck. Emiliano of Heybuckshot shoots the service course in the background.
Team Trailer
Remi McManus (2001 U.S. Elite Road Race Champ) checks out the 2011 gear
Tom Coleman (WN Precision), Scott Cross, Kai Applequist (rider) & Dave Beck
The caravan. The Mini has 4 bucket sets!
The third day of camp featured as the main reason behind this camp. We met all of the sponsors and got a chance to hear more about their respective companies. That is why it was slated as Sponsor Education Camp. This has never really been done before and it allowed us riders to ask questions about the products so that we can better answer your questions when we see you at the races. So if you want to know more about K-edge (designed specifically for World Champion and Boise's own Kristin Armstrong) just ask!

The camp ended with a big night out on the town. Dressed up in the best shirt I had, I mingled with sponsors from exergy development group, explained how the peloton works and discussed the races that I'm most excited about this season.

The biggest and best news from team camp is of course last. Instead of spilling the beans though, you have to check out the details here!

Team camp in 13 days now! Time to rest up a bit and get in some high quality training in before the spring season starts, ie: my next vacation is May 9th-19th.

Ride your bikes! Post comments! Ask questions! Let me know if you like the musical additions or anything else you would like know about bike racing.

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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Walla Walla Training Camp

"I am the Beat" - Wetblog

Last Monday through Wednesday I went out to Walla Walla to visit a few friends and help the local cycling community get all situated for this upcoming season. It was great to spin around with some of my old collegiate teammates on Monday and then get out and crush some tarmac on Tuesday and Wednesday. Of course in my usual Walla Walla fashion, as soon as I arrived I started to try to do many things at once. Unfortunately my camera stopped working recently so I wasn't able to capture any shots of the trip. You'll just have to use your imagination.

The first highlight of the trip was a huge potluck breakfast on Monday morning with friends. Gathered inside the living space of an off-campus house constructed in the 1950's, stocked with arched doorways, wooden flooring and finished with newly painted and very nicely chosen light-lime walls, the large wooden dining table hosted a plethora of day-breaking delicacies. The kitchen, although spacious and well-stocked earlier in the day, turned into a fury of bodies as the 10+ guests shifted in and out between the oven, the toaster, the sink and the fridge. I felt like I was playing hockey in there, except the occasional body check was purely accidental. I was lucky enough to help prepare the Eggs even has my name in the title! I got a chance to work on perfecting my poached egg and as a result they tasted pretty good so I made sure that I enjoyed my fair share! Satisfied but a little groggy (the last few days of training had put me in a tired place), I rushed off to make my recovery ride.

Arriving a little late as always I made it in time. A few Allegro Cyclery riders joined us in their new 2011 kit (very flash!) so it was a mishmash of colors as we took off up Mill Creek. The Mill Creek route is a staple in the community. It's a 1-2% grade up into the mountains. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and on the drive in on Sunday night I saw stars for the first time since my trip home to Whistler a month ago. The wind was up but it was very warm, say above 50'F or 10'C. Other than sending a rider into the mountains with options to tackle Spring Creek (25min climb), Blue Creek (10min climb), Scenic Loop (6min gravel climb) and views like below, Mill Creek will also take a rider to the start of YELLOW SIGN SPRINTS!

Foggy ride with my two housemates up Mill Creek in Nov.2008
Scenic Loop + Mormon Grade (in 2010 they planted this field):
Looking west towards the setting sun, Nov.2008
The fog chased us that day!
We didn't do any yellow sign sprints on Monday but we used to use them to teach the new riders about pacelining and tactics. With 20+ yellow signs over the top 15km of the road, they are well distributed for sprint-recover-repeat workouts. Often Colin or I would sit on the front, teaching the young riders how to sprint out of a leadout train already going 25mph. It was of course important that they remember to get back on the train after going cross-eyed in the sprint! This trip we had a ferocious headwind that later turned into a wicked cross wind so it was challenging enough just to make it was after all, my rest day.

This is more reminiscent of what the weather was like

On Tuesday I got a chance to ride with local strongman Shawn Ongers. Shawn has riden for the Seattle-based Lenovo squad the last five years. This year the team is called the Audi Cycling Team. They always get lots of cool gadgets and often make everyone else in the NW peloton jealous of their nice computers. Gotta ride hard if you want the gadgets right! Anyways, Tuesday was a great ride. Shawn and I always have lots of talk about. My first meeting with Shawn was a shop 'race' ride back in September 2008 when I attacked the group up Mill Creek way too early. After establishing a small gap of 30-40 seconds and starting to crack after ten minutes, Shawn bridged up in a flash. Literally! I looked back and there was no one, then BAM! He was all..."get on", so I got on. Over the next fifteen minutes of sheer agony, I think I took two pulls totalling about 10 seconds. I rode to my maximum and realized just how strong these Cat 1 guys really are. On our ride this week we chatted about the upcoming year and revisited the finish of stage 1 of the ToWW on our way to a new gravel road. It wasn't quite as clean as my favorite Walla Walla gravel road, Bergevin Springs pictured below, but it was great to be back on the gravel anyway. Gravel riding is slower, so the wind chill is lower and you have to pick your line and think about your handling, all great things for the off-season. You can also practice riding a big gear as if you were riding a bumpy road.

Bergevin Springs (Just off Lower Waitsburg), Feb 2009

On Wednesday I got the chance to venture out to the TOP OF THE WORLD! The tip of the Touchet loop is my favorite place in Walla Walla. It is difficult to describe without a picture but I'll try. Riding out of Walla Walla to the northwest, shallow green hills fill the horizon. Although the occasional field remains in fallow, many of the fields are green with sprouting winter wheat. Only 6'-1" tall, this wavy carpet barely hints the direction of the wind, one's eye must work hard to catch the smallest of flickers of movement when blazing along the semi-smooth chip-sealed roadway. The open spaces on either side of the path ahead dwarfs the two lane road; I don't see any cars, in fact I haven't since I left town, perhaps this is just a bike path? On this day I came across an exceptional hillside which I have never before seen planted. Its green coat pronounced the shape and steepness of its slope. How on Earth does a farmer drive a combine over its slanted surface I do not know. The small, un-planted section near the top was brown in color and created the image of a breaking wave; twisting along Luckenbill road towards this crashing mountain, I remembered my first surfing experience. Which was of course a lot wetter than today's ride. In fact it was chilly and as I finished my last interval for the day, a one hour block of tempo, I could feel the affects of the temperature. So I dove back to Walla Walla, skipped the ice bath for the day and thankfully remembered where the spare key was hidden.

Any trip to Walla Walla isn't complete without a stop at the Taco Truck so I made sure to stop by on the way home!

On Tuesday I also got the chance to help my favourite PT set up the computrainer at Allegro Cyclery's basement training area. We ran a conconi & LT test on the legendary Justin, Whitman's super chaparone. This setup should work well as both the Whitman Cycling team, the Wheatland Wheelers and the new-to-town FireFighter U23 Elite Amateur cycling team readies for the 2011 season.

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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Where to ride in Portland, Oregon

I'm adding in a few tunes to these next couple entries. Let me know what you think. All the tunes have been brought to my attention by my friends at the Wetbandits. Check them out for all your funky/disco/electronic needs.

I have now been living in Portland since graduation last May. I have found a lot of great roads and this post is all about were to go if you are visiting or new to the area. I have summarized my local riding routes in yellow (nice quiet flat roads) and red (climbing) in the image found below. Enjoy!

From June through August, I lived with my Rubicon teammates at the team house in Vancouver, Wa, just a stones throw from Portland and the infamous Albino Coffee Shop. Although I've never liked coffee, we would often cruise down every Monday when we were in town. The Albino, which is on Albina street, is actually not quite downtown. It is in the Mississippi area, a cool hippie area just northeast of downtown. The area is very friendly to cyclists and you should drop by and checkout its assortment of bakeries, tacorias and coffee shops. This area is also the location of the Cirque du Cycle, a well-attended OBRA criterium raced each June to generate cancer awareness. In grand style, Quinn Keogh, my teammate and roommate put on a hell of a show and won the event last year without any teammates. The guy never gives up. This photo ended up going around the internet world.

On a side note, I have been recently reading Quinn's old blog from his pre-cancer cyclocross travels to Belgium (The Simple Life). My favorite entry so far discusses his first stage racing experience (Why?). Who knew losing your virginity could be such an uphill battle!

Back to Downton Portland. 23rd avenue, which I cross everyday now on my way home from training rides out west in North Plains and Forest Grove, also has a slew of great coffee shops.So be sure to check out this area in the summer. Hoping to catch some of the local scenery, Roman always went to great lengths to make sure he looked cool when we were down there, which usually meant coordinating the colors of his glasses with those of his cycling socks.

From the team house our most common training route took us out to the West Hills, usually Germantown. Most of the climbs in the West hills range from 10-15 minutes, averaging 5-7.5% gradients. They were definitely steep after coming from a spring in the wheatfields of Walla Walla. All of the climbs are very twisty as well which makes the first ascent a real surprise as it is hard to tell just how close you are to the top!

Marked by #1, Germantown consistently climbs at 7% with multiple +10% sections. It is very smooth but often busy with cars. However it can serve as a great benchmark climb as it is close to downtown and easily accessible via the St. John bridge (so you can avoid Highway 30). The descent is very fun too as long as you don't let any Camaro's pass F1 Felt bike and Kenda tires crush them steel fools any day!

Moving north, McNamee starts off with a bang at 24% under the railroad crossing then continues to stair-step up for 15 minutes at top pace. This is a great option if you are looking for a nice tempo climb to simulate the ebb and flow of a climbing peloton. It is also very quiet and serves as a good descent if you are northbound for the green switchbacks of Logie Trail.

Logie Trail. Only 2 miles northward along Highway 30, its twisty kickups and switchbacks of the east side are quintessential of Portland's biking opportunities. It starts out pretty straight forward at 5% for the first five minutes, but once you past the last farm house, it's all business. The rainforest creeps inward, the road tilts up and the only place to go is straight up. It is not smooth, it is not easy and when you get to the top you don't want to go do it least not on the same day. But after you catch your breath from that last minute of attacking up to the stop sign's white line, there is something deep down that makes you confident that today's effort was strong and that you left it all out on the road. It usually takes 15-16 minutes to scale the mountain side and serves as a perfect testing ground for longer climbing intervals.

Despite Logie Trail taking the cake as the most taxing, my favorite climb is found on the west side. Hidden away, Old Germantown is truly close to achieving the criteria of "car-sized bike path". I have only seen 1 car on the road over the past five months which can make going over the yellow line on the last few corners before setting a PB extra tempting. Good thing there is no yellow line! Although I didn't find the road until September and after the season had finished, I have incorporated its twisty, foggy, smooth and quiet tarmac into my winter training as much as possible. It takes 9-10 minutes to ascent and averages 8%. There is a flatter section 60% of the way up, of course the final 150 metres make up for that rest as it peaks out at +12% in the final haul. Oh, and there is even paint on the road cheering you on at approximately 1.5 minutes from the top!

In the bottom left hand section of the map, Bald Peak is highlighted. These climbs are hard. Period. Anyway you cut it. You are looking at 15-20 minutes of solid work at your lactate threshold. Another good adventure however is to travel around the entire mountain, along the yellow road extending southwards out of the picture. This southern loop can be done in about 2.5 hours from Forest Grove so plan for a 5.5-6.0 hour ride if you are traveling from Portland. It is mostly flat with some tempo climbing near the south edge of the loop. Long rides in October, November and December often included some part of this loop.

Most recently I have been doing a lot of riding through North Plains and in the Banks region. There are some steep little climbs and long smooth farm roads there, great for group rides, tempo sets, lactate intervals and BODI workouts.

If you are new to town, I strongly recommend a visit to the Portland Velo Saturday group ride. Everyone is very friendly and there is usually five different groups depending upon your speed. Yes, that's right! They usually have 10+ riders in each group, it is a +300 rider club. They are based in Hillsboro and meet at Longbottoms coffee shop. Enjoy Portland! I did!


Sunday, 16 January 2011

Lentil Chicken

Good Morning, wow I am up early today. 5am! I'll have to take a nap later in the day. If all goes according to plan, my housemate Zac and I will be traveling to Walla Walla today to catch up with some old friends. I am wicked excited. This upcoming week will also be my final week of four weeks of training so I foresee an easy start as I'm sure Tuesday and Wednesday will whiz by.

Last week, during one of those "wow we have a lot of beans and stuff" moments, I pulled out a package of lentils and figured it was time to add them to my recipe repertoire. I put together a great dinner with the help of some chicken breasts and of course my new favorite ingredient as of late, ginger. As I learned in college, not from Martha Stewart, citations are a good thing.

First, cook the lentils in a boiling pot of water. Remember to use a lot of water (2.5 cups of water for every 1 cup of lentils). Since they recommend 25minutes for salad-ready lentils and 45minutes for soup-ready lentils, cook the lentils for 35 minutes. Drain them afterwards with you favorite straining device, hopefully you have one that has a cool color, like pale green.

If frozen, boil the chicken for 5-10 minutes in a boiling pot of water (as opposed to a frozen pot of water). Cut into bit size pieces. Add seasoning if you are feeling brave, a little lemon pepper is always a safe bet.

Then, when mentally prepared to create the "what is smells good in here, what'cha cookin?" moment pending the arrival of your dinner guests (also works well if you go walk around the block once before you eat in case you are rocking out solo these days), add finely chopped garlic, ginger, onions to a sauce pan. Add the chicken shortly thereafter. Once the chicken is mostly cooked throughout (3-5 minutes), add the lentils and vegetable broth. This is also a good time to add harder vegetables like carrot, broccoli and cauliflower. Cover and reduce to low-medium heat. Watch it periodically. It only take 3-6 minutes at this point.

Before serving, go for a 5-10 minute walk around the block and when you get home....BAM! What'cha cooking? Smells good in here!

Ingredient List:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, diced
scant teaspoon fresh ginger (or WAY MORE!)
2 green onions, sliced
1 chicken breast
1/3 cup dry lentils, washed
2 cups broccoli heads
1 1/2 cups chunked fresh sweet potato (or REGULAR POTATO)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (try to find the lowest sodium content you can. I prefer Organics Vegetable Broth w/ 570mg of sodium per cup or Pacific Northwest Foods Organic w/ 530mg if you can find it).


Saturday, 15 January 2011

Give it the gas w/o the gas: Nitro Bars

It's only a few minutes now before I head out for a big day on the bike. With a couple of lactate intervals planned I'll definitely be digging into the cookie jar today and with my new nitro bars, I'll have enough sugar flowing through my system to finish the workout strong. Tired of paying too much for power food, I started making my own about two weeks ago. Although I may have used a touch too much sugar and syrup, the batch turned out very tasty and very effective.... they get you home! Since they are a bit intense, I make sure I only use them on my hardest days, like an emergency bar. So if you plan on doing a lot of intervals or have a big hill between you and home after 3-4hrs, this recipe might be just what you need to finish it off strong.


Based off the Big Sur Power Bar recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking pan/casserole dish with butter. Add all the hard ingredients and toast them in the oven for 7-10 minutes (oats, rice krispies, shredded coconut, peanuts, craisans, dried apricots). During this time, combine the brown rice syrup, sugar, salt, espresso (ground coffee beans) and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until it comes to a boil.

Combine these two mixtures in a large bowl (or an extra big bowl if you accidently used a whole jar of brown rice syrup....) It gets sticky!

Put it all back into the large baking pan/casserole dish to cool. If you used too much syrup like I did, you can place the pan back in the oven for 30 minutes at 270 degrees, this will dry out the bars. Once cooled, cut into the bar size you want and wrap them up.

I have been keeping mine in the fridge and they have been fine now for over two weeks.

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or regular butter)
2/3 cup (unsweetened) shredded coconut
1.25 cups rolled oats
1.5 cups rice krispies
1.5 cup brown rice syrup (Lundberg Sweet Dreams Organic BRS)
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 tablespoons ground espresso/coffee beans
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
290g Peanuts & Craisans (NW Delights PB& J Mix)
340g Dried Apricot (Safeway Selects Dried Pitted Mediterranean Apricots)

Approximate Nutrition Facts per bar (assuming 25 bars)


Ride HARD!


Friday, 14 January 2011

Not your Regular Spaghetti

Since I have finished up my part-time work at Contech, I had have a little more time to spend focusing on my cycling. I have always wanted to spend more time learning how to make meals that regular people will enjoy as opposed to my regular human garberator customers (me), so I have been experimenting with energy bars and tasty dinners these past three weeks. Living in Portland, there is a big bike commuting culture which ties in with the city's green image. Of course a major part of that type of lifestyle is living local and buying local. Although I can't say that I have been buying only local foods....I'm on a tight budget and I like to eat avocados (last time I checked, Chile doesn't count as buying local), I can say that I have been eating seasonal! So lots of squash, potato and onion. After experimenting periodically with acorn squash last winter, this year I've tried out some of the other types available. My new favourite by far is Spaghetti Squash. I've managed to come up with one tasty dinner and one awesome breakfast burrito recipe. Squash provides a lot of fibre and it also fills you up so I hope you enjoy. Tomorrow will be my new NITRO energy bar recipe; they are so rich that I can only eat them on certain training days but wow, do they ever get you home!

Dinner #1: Spaghetti Squash w/ herb

I got this original recipe off the food network and the legendary Emeril Lagasse but of course who just does the regular, ya gotta make it your own! So first cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise. Leaving all the seeds in, place the two pieces "cut-side" down in a casserole dish, filled with 1/2 inch of water. Place in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes then flip both pieces for an extra fifteen minutes. Let it cool a bit, then remove the seeds. Then remove the squash from the shell and place in a bowl, add herbs of your choice (basil, parsley).

Melt some butter in a skillet at medium heat, add chopped onion, ginger, garlic. Once sauteed, add the squash to the skillet. Shortly there after add your choice of hard vegetables (chopped broccoli, cauliflower). Add 1/2 cup (maybe more) of vegetable broth and place a lid on top. Let it cook for 3-6 minutes (until most of the vegetable broth has been steamed into the vegetables), then serve and enjoy!

If the taste is not quite right, vodka spaghetti sauce is a great addition.

Breakfast #1: Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Burrito

Prepare the spaghetti squash as in the dinner meal except stop before you add the hard vegetables. In the morning, melt some butter in a skillet. Add the squash, two eggs, chopped green onion and a little bit of cheese if you want (personally I hold the cheese). Also add some BBQ seasoning. Scramble the skillet as if you are making scrambled eggs. When the egg is cooked, toss the mix into a pesto burrito wrap, add a little bit of real mayonnaise and you are all set!

Green eggs and Ham!

I just got back from a great ride with a training partner of mine, Austin. It was warm today! 55 degrees and a bit wet but it didn't even matter because of the heat. Yes I said heat! In January. I had a breakthrough ride today also with a bunch of intervals and some tempo at higher than normal wattage. This is great news and I am stoked as I have tough days planned for both Saturday and Sunday.

Tomorrow I will let you in on my Nitro Bar recipe. Enjoy your weekend!

I cleaned up the Machine yesterday. New brake pads, shifting cables/housing, fender and a full clean made the whole thing feel lighter today.

Also, Dunco and Jack have been pressing out some flash beats. They have put together four mixes that I have been grooving to all week (Sexy, Heavy, Set 3, Boner Jams)


Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Halfway to Camp

It's now almost half way through January and since my last block of training started before the New Year, I have reached the halfway point to Team Exergy's first camp on January 27th-30th. During the camp, all the riders will travel to Boise, Idaho to meet our sponsor representatives and receive most of our equipment for the season (hopefully all of it will arrive in time). It is going to be a jam-packed couple of days with bike fittings, schedule meetings and other events. There is even a chance that we won't have enough time to ride, mind you the weather in Boise this time of year could make that a certainty so I have been planning a hard January to allow for 3-4 days totally off the bike during camp.

The entire Escalera Racing staff have been putting in huge hours to prepare for the end of the month. Down at Service Course (fancy word for Boise HQ) the rider's boxes are being filled, bikes are arriving and getting built and the team's schedules are spread out among the many white boards. Here are some of the goodies waiting for us.... 14 days and counting!

For our TT bikes!
Castelli Winter Gear
Boxes and Bags!

After camp, hopefully armed with a new Felt B1 TT bike and Felt F1 road bike, I'll focus on getting comfortable for a few days. I'll also be throwing a brand new pair Bont shoes in the oven, they are heat moldable! They only weight 500 grams a set! That's 1.25 lbs! Can't wait. My last testing session at Portland PACE will also take place in early February. Hopefully we will see some improvements in my VO2 and lactate numbers, especially since I trimmed down over the past few months.

The team also recently announced its wheel sponsor, Williams Cycling. I am excited about the new wheels as I have ordered a new powertap with the cool new Joule computer. This device will tell me everything I need to know, even if the planets are aligning! It sounds like the team will get a healthy mix of the super deep dish 58's, pictured here, and the thinner and lighter 39's for climbing. Deep dish rims are very aerodynamic but also greatly reduce the power needed to roll over the gear since the rotation weight of the wheel maintains a rider's momentum and thus decreases their average power requirements when the pack is surging (in the peloton, small changes in speed necessitate the need to pedal for short periods of time followed by short periods of non-pedaling). I am also a big fan of the decal simplicity. Should look great with our stylish kits and flash bikes. The winter/spring kit will be grey, with a few colorful accents that are new for 2011. The summer kit will be mostly white, seen here during the team kit debut at Interbike in September 2010.

In other team news, Escalera Staff worked hard with the support of the Boise community before the holiday season to support City Light Home. Sporting a hefty beard of his own, Remi, the team's sponsorship manager (not to mention 2001 National Criterium Champion) gathered and delivered a whole swathe of Christmas presents in time for the big day. City Light Home is an important part of the community and in 2008 it served 76,702 meals and provided over 21,279 beds. I think that it is pretty cool that our team can support such a cause.

So really what else is there to talk about? How hard I am training, how difficult the weather is, how excited I am for the season. Blah!

So I leave with you with some pictures from the non-inclement days of the past two weeks. I have started doing some pretty heavy intervals and I pretty stoked with my power to weight ratios these days. Don't forget your thermos!

Neck tubes are so HOT right now!
A big ride on December 30th, cold day, -3'c I think. Went out exploring to Boring (yes there is a town called Boring) then I came across this great shot of Mt. Hood. I used to spend many summer days training on the south facing glacier. Who knew I would be spending so much time in the states!
Afterwards it was time for a healthy dose of squash and potato. Good thing someone invented Tupperware....plastics!
On Jan 6th I found the glasses I wore at the Collegiate Banquet back in May.
Definitely cause for an old school spin day.
Wow, I look stupid
This past Monday looked like this! Ridiculous. I never thought Portland could be this nice during the winter. 8 degrees and sunny! This is from the Sellwood Bridge looking back at the city to the north. It's a nice 60 minute spin down along the river, over the bridge and back up which is great for days off.
The city's boardwalk is also always beautiful on a day like this. It's a popular spot for lunch time runners and walkers and plays host to many events throughout the year, including the weekend farmer's market which goes from April to November. Below is the Maritime Museum. It's a big water wheel boat...cherry aero.

This is a shot from the Sellwood bridge, what time of day is it?
The boardwalk is also home to many of the city's less fortunate.
I think it is very important never to forget just how fortunate many of us are.
On Tuesday, Galen joined me for an epic journey out past Banks. We were shooting for five hours in zone 2 (210-230watts). These days, as I start implementing more and more intervals into my plan, the choice of roads I get to ride decreases as I have to plan to avoid stop lights, stop signs or untimely 500 foot descents. So when I get a day that is less structured, I always like to try to find at least one new section of road. Today we found some wicked packed gravel, which reminded me of my old Walla Walla days, plus a couple new climbs out near Cedar Canyon. It is going to rain for the next week so today's ride was a great way to end 10-14 days of colder but drier weather.

On the way to Banks, OR. Looking south towards Forest Grove and Hillsboro.
At the top of Cedar Canyon, we hit Seavy Road.
We had just come up an extended section of 15%, now it looks like we get to go down! Way down!
I've found a great recipe of spaghetti squash. I'll be sharing the recipe with you next post, as well as what it is like to train in Portland. Until then, cheers.