Hey there Team Marty's. Share your cycling experiences here! Tell us stories about rides, races, tours, etc. Go ahead... it'll be fun!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Joy of Being Dropped

A mountain bike ride seemed like a good way to start of Thanksgiving Day. And so like so many others, I loaded up the bike and headed for the "Earn the Turkey" Mountain Bike Ride. I knew it was an intermediate ride, and I was concerned about being able to keep up. Life had conspired to keep me off the bike for a couple of months, and I was worried about keeping up. And Biker Bill said, "So what. It's Lewis Morris Park, and you know your way around." As usual, Bill was right. I would have ditched a ride for fear of getting dropped, and that is not the way to getting better and stronger.

So out I went to the ride, and I got dropped. I just was not strong enough today. But it was okay. Once I accepted it, I had a nice pleasant ride through the woods. And I was able to take a shortcut back and position myself to get some good rider photos as they exited the woods. Any fear I had of ridicule that I had for getting dropped was soon dispelled. As it turns out, everyone respects you for coming out and making a good try of it. And had I stayed home I would have missed a good ride and good post ride camaraderie.

I do not think I will fear getting dropped again, as long as I am familiar with the area. I know that I can expect if I get in on a ride that is over my head, but that is the start of getting better.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

2008 Hiller Than Thou: Tyranny of the Rocks & Trails?

This year's edition of Hillier Than Thou brought out the best in Team Marty's. Props to Greg Spadavecchia for his winning performance at this year's Hillier... Well done, Greg!!! We all have you to chase and aspire to!

This year's edition of Hillier Than Thou also taught at least one member (me) a big lesson! While Hillier did kill me, the previous week's excursion into the mountains, on foot, set the stage.

It goes like this... Last year, Jesse and I rode HTT, and did great. I was thrilled with my first century and happy to have finished were we did given the amount of preparation I had done for the event: none. The longest ride I had done that year was 80 miles and other than the normal hills in the area, I'd done Fiddler's Elbow once. Still, we did great... However, I vowed to be better prepared this year and really race the thing. So I trained for months, and did three centuries, good hills, and handfuls of 70+ mile rides. I was much more prepared this time.

Everything was set... I had begun to taper and rest up for HTT, when I decided it would be OK take part in my niece's fiancé's bachelor day, hiking at New Paltz. One week before HTT, several of us met to go hiking/rock scrambling for the day at Mohonk Reservation. Big mistake! I had never hiked before, but hey, I'm in good shape... I can do this. How bad could it be? We walked, and ran, and scurried up wet and slippery rocks, then ran and walked back some more. The last few miles my legs were torn to shreds. I couldn't put my weight on my right leg without my knee screaming. That was the good leg.

The next day, Sunday, I couldn't move. Everything hurt. Everything. I'd slept poorly, and my knees were super sore. My legs hurt in a way they have never hurt. Different and more so than from even the hardest day on the bike. That day, I knew I had potentially ruined the upcoming Hillier. I was really concerned at this point, but it was too late.

On Monday, I rode the rollers, nice and easy, and could only do it for 30 minutes before I had to stop. Knees hurt, tendons hurt, and I felt unstable walking. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I rode for less than an hour, really easy... and a friend commented that I was limping. On Thursday I had dinner with the family, and my niece's wedding was on Friday!!! Saturday I rested as much as I could, legs still a bit sore.

Sunday, I woke up with a positive attitude. Put aside the past, and concentrate on a great day on the bike. However, it turned out to be one of the worst days on the bike.

At Camp Bernie, I met up with a few Marty's riders and stuck most of the way with Kyle, from the shop in Hackettstown. He was great company, and I really can't wait to ride with Jesse again. Anyway, I kept my HR in check and didn't blow-up on anything. Made sure not to push the pace anymore than I was prepared for. Around mile 25, I knew something wasn't right. I had no real power, and just didn't feel 'right' at all. Still, we forged on and I tried to put it out of my mind. Eventually, my knees began to feel a little strange too... Soon enough, all those little muscles and tendons that I'd nursed all week began to quietly complain. Right before Fiddler's Elbow, I told Kyle he should go on his own, that I wasn't feeling well. I suffered up Fiddler's, when last year, Jesse and I had whistled up it. By the third rest stop, I had been caught by guys who thought it so strange to see me, they said something... "Are you ok? You should be miles ahead of me?" I knew I was done.

I started to suffer up another relatively easy hill, and saw an old lady sitting on her porch, watching. The pain grew so severe I had to get off the bike, and lay down. I was really glad the old lady didn't tell me to get off her grass! I walked the rest of the hill, cramping on every step.

Shortly after the grass incident, on mile 67, I decided that continuing for the sake of finishing was foolish, and wasn't worth injury. It was not easy to go off-course and abandon. I stopped several times before ripping off the number from the bike, unsure if abandoning was right. I crawled another 20 miles back to the car.

Lesson learned? Keep your priorities straight. Just like they say, don't use a new pair of shoes, or try a new shammy cream for race day, then too, don't try a new, potentially difficult activity, without allowing plenty of recovery time. I will hike again, just not one week before 2009 Hillier!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

First Triathlon Question

I will start with a quote taken from Bicycling Magazine in an article helping cyclist overcome their fear of swimming to do a triathlon. "For years I had avoided triathlons. If you can't ride, you wobble; if you can't run, you walk--but if you can't swim, you drown." Read the whole article about the authors experience in her first triathlon. http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6610,s-4-20-17596-1,00.html

I get many e-mails from people inquiring about doing their first triathlon. As Team Marty's members, they cycle regularly but are not sure how to train for three different sports in the same week. Since this is typical of the e-mails that I receive, I am reprinting it since I am sure that many of you have the same questions. If not maybe this will motivate you to do your first tri next summer. The name has been changed to protect the innocent.

I presently have a hybrid and I haven't been riding however, I would like to do the Triathlon in July, 2009. I haven't joined up with Team Marty's yet.

1. Which is the kind of bike most recommended for the Randolph Sprint Triathlon?
2. Which activities I should start with considering that I have a hybrid and I haven't been riding?


Hi Marty - The Randolph Sprint is a great first race. I have seen people do the race in everything from a mountain bike to a top of the line triathlon bike. The bike leg is 16.4 miles so what ever gets you from the start to finish will do.

If you were going to use your hybrid, I would recommend road tires. If you have off-road tires now, you could easily switch them for road use. This will be more comfortable on the roads but also help you go a little faster. If you wanted to get a new bike, I would recommend a road bike as opposed to a triathlon specific bike. A tri bike is very specialized for triathlons and you would get more use out of a road bike. Road bikes come in different geometries from aggressive/racing to comfort/touring and everything in between. Check out Trek and Specialized for an affordable quality bike.

As far as training, I would try to build your running and cycling mileage up gradually. Try to increase your running by 10% each week. For instance, if you ran a total of 10 miles this week next week you would add 10% or 1 mile for a total of 11 miles. I would break the 11 miles up into 2 to 3 workouts per week rather than one big run each week. If you try to do too much too soon you could possibly injure yourself. With cycling you could increase a little more that 10% since you are not putting as much impact on your legs when you are on the bike.

As for swimming, focus on technique first and then building distance and fitness. Do one lap with a perfect stroke rest and then do another. Trying to build fitness immediately will only have you swimming tired and reinforce a bad stroke. Once you can swim a lap (one length) in under 20 strokes, then start working on swimming for distance.

Once you have built up your cycling miles to 15 or 30 there are a bunch of fall group rides out of the Marty's stores that are great for beginners. Some are 15 miles (one hour) and some are 30 miles (2 hours). Check the site for a schedule. http://martysreliable.com/page.cfm?pageID=177 You do not have to be a Team Marty's member to ride, just show up and have fun.

Hope this was helpful - John

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Invisible Rider

Sunday was the 2008 Edition of the Bulldog Rump at Kittatinny Valley State Park. Having missed out on it last year, I was excited to be able to ride it. I broke out the old style Marty's kit (because you can't go wrong with a classic), and convinced Biker Bill to take the drive up with me. I had a good feeling about this one.
People who have seen me ride are usually surprised to find out that I do the occasional race. I am not known for my speed. But I am not really there to race against the whole pack really (although I would not object if I lead the race). I am really there to race against just one guy. The Invisible Rider. The Me from the last time I raced.
It has been a good strategy for me. It pushes me to improve, more than anything else. The Invisible Rider is always there lurking behind me. I suppose I don't need to race to beat him, but it seems like a good, official way to test myself. And they are fun. If you have never done a mountain bike race, you should.
There will come a time when age catches me, and I won't beat that rider. But it wasn't this year.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Michaux is Pain

Everything that I have either bruised or bloodied. My legs, my arms, my fingers, and especially my ego. This race kicked my ass.

My friend Claude and I left for Gettysburg on Saturday night around 7pm. We slept decently for the night before a race. The Michaux Maxi mus is a 50 mile race through some of the most evil terrain you could ever imagine. The only trails that I have ridden that are more technical were in Whistler B.C. The difference was that Maximus had a lot more mud. Maximus is a good name for the race because it made you feel like you were a Greek warrior suffering through the pain of being stabbed by one million spears.

The forecast was for rain, but it was beautiful and sunny. The weather really didn't matter too much because the course was going to hurt you no matter what. I thought I was ready, but I was not. First of all I forgot my endurolites (electrolite pills from hammer nutrition). I also wore a base layer and I was really really hot the entire race.

The course started out really fast on double track and quickly ducked into some really rocky, wet, and twisty single track. After about ten miles of this along with a really long climb we rode on a fire road which allowed me to take a sip of water and eat a little food. I was riding with a girl named Cheryl who is a Trek pro and is incredibly strong. She pulled me round the rock strewn forest for about 2hours until we came to a very very long climb which was covered in a mixture of grass and gravel. We rode up the climb together but at the top there was an aid station and Cheryl left before me. I knew I wouldn't catch her again, but I didn't care as I learned that I had forgotten my endurolites and later learned that I had forgotten one of my water bottles at the aid station.

After the stop, there was a really long fire road down hill. This is where I flatted. From here my race took a really bad turn. The flat took me a while to fix because my head was really hot and throbbing. Then I realized that the whole time that I was riding with Cheryl, she had been drinking from her camelbak and I did not take a single sip because I couldn't reach my bottle without crashing! This was a problem. I was a mile 25 and I knew that I was in trouble. I rode slow for a long time and ate some stuff. The main problem was that I only had one bottle of water and it was half gone. Eventually after a lot of souled searching, being passed by a lot of people, and being really really thirsty I reached mile 33 and was told that we only had 11 more miles to go. That would make the course only 44 miles right? Yes, it had been shortened to my delight. I rode with another guy for a while and he gave me a swig of his camelbak and then I reached the last aid station. From there it was only 3 more miles, but 2 of them were up hill. By now I was feeling much much better and I finished strong. 5 hours 35 min. Not a bad time, but not what I had wanted. The winner rode 3:59. He is Chris Eatough and he is one of the fastest riders on earth.

Anyway, I finished the race and was humbled but happy that I didn't die.
Claude rode 6:00, a very strong finish seeing as this was his first race of the season and he hasn't raced anything over 3 hours in a year. Specialized Dan and his wife Julie came out for the event too. Julie did the 10 mile race and had a great ride, but Dan smashed his face on a rock, broke his nose, and went directly to the hospital. Poor Dan. We wish him well.
Thanks for reading. I will be doing the Mohican 100 May 31st and driving straight back from Ohio after the race to help Geoff run the Lewis Morris race. For now, I need some rest. bing bing bing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cohutta 100

Hi Everyone,

This past weekend, I drove down to Tennessee with Nick White (tattoo guy) to the Cohutta 100. Also in attendance from Team Marty's were Marcin the Machine, the other Marcin (who they call Martin sometimes), and their trusty side-kick Derrick. It was a fine showing for a 12 plus hour's drive.

The Cohutta is a 100 mile mountain bike race located in the smokey mountains of Tennessee with 10,000 feet of climbing for the day. It started out with a 3 mile road climb that took us into about 15 miles of really fun, tight, and twisty single track. From there, the pain began.

I would like to mention that for the first 4 to 5 hours of the race it rained. This resulted in a constant spray of mud into our eyeballs and face which was not pleasent so please keep that in mind as you read.

Anyway, after the single track we had about 70-80 miles of fire road with some really steep and long climbs, and some short and steep climbs. At the end of the course they threw in about 12 more miles of really fun single track which was hard to enjoy after being on the bike for many hours and just wanting to finish at all costs.

This race was the first of the National Ultra Endurance mtb series and as such there were some pretty big names in attendance: Floydd Landis, Chris Eoutough?, Jeff Schlock?, and some other really really fast fellows and ladies. Needless to say, those guys finished in half the time of some of the other racers out on the course. The winning time of 6:45 which beat last year's time by over an hour was by Jeff Schlock (I really have no idea how to spell his last name and I don't feel like looking it up so sorry if you are offended by this blasphemy).

For everyone in attendance from team marty's this was their first 100 mile race (except me). 100 miles on a mountain bike is not something to be taken lightly. All of us had to train quite hard just to be able to finish the race let alone do it with any timing goal. The goal for the first race is always just to finish alive.

Nick did 11:15, and here is his personal disclaimer which is completely accurate as far as I know: He was sick. Not just a little sick, but he was coughing up green stuff the entire way down to the race and I was in the car with him just hoping he wasn't going to pass on his maladies to me. It was a gross trip to be honest. He also had a big problem with his tire. He blew out the side wall of his front tire, had to walk back two miles to the aid station, then he had to duct tape a piece of a tube to the side wall of the tire so that he could put a new tube in the tire. It was a mess, but he persevered, fixed the tire, and rode in like a champ crying and whining the entire way I'm sure. He claims that the tire incident took him about an hour and 15 min. to fix. In theory you could say that he rode the race in 10 hours, but that is not what actually happened. You be the judge.

The three euros (they are Polish and have accents which is funny to me) had their share of problems I'm sure, but I have not heard the entire story so far. Maybe I can get them to write a blog about it. I do know that Marcin the Machine was on oxy cotton the whole time from a back injury from the prior week, and that his knee blew up during the race. I also have heard that their car broke down on the way home in Virginia, but that is another story.

Here are their times: Martin did a 10:46, Derrick did 10:55, and the Machine did 11:56. All very awesome times for their first 100 miler, especially this early in the season.

I know you all are dying to hear my story now after having read all this so here it goes:

Nick and I started in last place because we were a little late, which is typical when you hang out with me. I hammered up the first climb, and latched onto a fast group of guys through the single track which was an important part of my strategy. I rode a bit too fast for the first 30 miles or so and backed off for a while. This was my first race of the season, so I didn't really know how fit I was or what I was capable of doing. My goal was to do the race in 10 hours which is a very respectable time.

After I recovered from going out a bit too hard, I settled into a nice pace and climbed a lot of really long hard climbs trying not to lose too much ground or get passed by too many people which always makes me mad. I latched onto a group of about 4 guys, two of which were on single speeds and were really strong on the climbs. They would drop me on the steep climbs, and I would catch them on the down hills. We went like this for a while until I felt that my tire was getting soft. I stopped on the only flat section of the race (a place where it is nice to ride with someone) and put some air back into my tire hoping that the sealant inside would hold the air in and I wouldn't have to put a new tube in. This worked for about 5 miles and then I had to change the flat. The worst part of the flat repair was that I left my arm warmers on the side of the road.

After riding alone for a really long time, I started to catch up to the people who had passed me while I was fixing my flat which gave me some motivation to keep on keepin' on. When I got to the last aid station, they told me it was only 12 miles to go so I didn't stop and hammered out the last section of single track passing a bunch of guys, including two guys that I had ridden with very early on in the race. I finished strong across the line with a time of 8:53 my fastest ever in a 100 miler. I was very pleased with my performance and also very hungry and tired. I sat around with some of the other very dirty, smelly guys and had a meal. We shared stories and watched others finish, all very happy to be done with a long long day. After Nick finished we got him cleaned up, went to a weird Italian place which was good for Tennessee (maybe it was because we were really really hungry I had liver and onions), got in the car at about 8:30pm and proceeded to drive straight home for 12 hours. We took two hour shifts which worked nicely and my legs still hurt from that drive.

The whole trip was an awesome adventure sans the drive home which of course was Nick's idea because he is a bit crazy, hence the ridiculous tattoos. Thanks for reading, hope it wasn't too boring.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

My trip to SBCU

"Do you know the way to San Jose" and "Seems it never rains in Southern California" were the two songs I thought of when I was told I'd be going to SBCU. What's SBCU you ask? It stands for Specialized Bicycle Components University. Based out of the Specialized corporate office in Morgan Hill California, SBCU is a short drive south of San Jose. Hence the "Do you know the way to San Jose" reference.
Turns out I do know the way to San Jose; meet Marty and Rich at our Randolph store at 5 a.m., have Marty drive us to Newark airport for our 8:30 flight to LA. Decline the $5 sandwich, the $5 alcoholic drink and the $3 bag of chips or 3 musketeers bar that American Airlines offered. I'll take the free orange juice thank you very much. After an hour layover at LAX we hop on a flight to San Jose where we arrive at 3 p.m. PST. We meet our shuttle driver, a few other SBCU students and a half hour later we arrive at the Marriott Courtyard of Morgan Hill which will be our home for the next 4 nights.
We arrived famished. After all, we've been traveling for 15 hours. Lucky for us there was the quintessential California dining experience across the parking lot from our hotel. I'm talking about In' N Out Burger. Rich and I sprinted across the lot to place our order. I loved the menu: hamburger, cheeseburger, double hamburger, double cheeseburger, fries and your choice of beverage. That's it. Simple, effective and not much thought needed. It took me 2 seconds to decide I wanted 2 double cheeseburgers, fries and an iced tea. And then the oddest thing happened. The cashier and person who served me my meal were actually nice! Not fake nice either, nice. How dare they! I'm from Jersey, we're not used to that. It was kind of, well, nice. We chowed down like there was no tomorrow and went back to the hotel to watch a little TV. An hour later, Brandon and Rick, our fellow students from Texas, whom we met on the shuttle from the airport, called to tell us they were in the lobby relaxing drinking some beers. We couldn't disappoint our new friends, so an hour later we joined them. I made it to 11. O'clock, not beers. I was awake for 22 hours and tomorrow was a big day, so I called it a night.
The alarm went off at 6 a.m. I showered and along with Rich headed down to our complimentary breakfast. After filling our plates and sitting down, we encountered the "breakfast Nazi" for the first time. "Where's your coupon" she demanded. Chill bro, it's right here. Breakfast complete, we took the last shuttle to SBCU. Ten minutes later we were greeted by Gina. Gina arranged the accommodations and all the transportation for the students. I slapped on my "Hello, My Name Is" Lou tag, grabbed an SBCU water bottle and headed to the classroom. On the way I looked down a hallway and saw about 50 bikes lined up. These were the bikes of employees that ride to work.Pretty damn cool. I could get used to this place.
When we got to the classroom our instructors Elon and Josh were waiting. They gave us an overview of the course and a bio of themselves. They asked us to do the same. In addition to Brandon and Rick from Texas, there was Chris, Erin and Glenn from North Carolina, Brian and Henry from Georgia, Taylor from Michigan, Victor from California, Ben from Montana, Roger from Maryland, Dave and Eric from Ohio and rounding out the class, Paul and Dave from Missouri. We had North, South, East and West covered. This should be a lot of fun. Little did I know how much.
Introductions complete, it was time for Elon to give us a tour of the facilities. He explained Specialized does all of their R&D and testing here. Indeed they do. We got to watch a helmet being tested and were informed that all Specialized products exceed the industry standard for safety. As we continued the tour I noticed what looked like bikes covered with sheets. "Hey Elon, what's that"? "Keep moving along, nothing to see here, ignore the bike behind the curtain". New for 2009 the Specialized......I have no idea. We'll both have to wait until the unveiling in 2009? Or maybe 2010.
Back in the classroom we learned about Specialized womens specific designs, helmets and shoes. Book learning is great, but as you know, I want to test ride bikes. Get a feel for what they can and can't do. I got my first opportunity when Elon told us it was time for lunch. We could eat first then ride, or ride then eat. I walked as fast as I could to the locker room, got changed into my cycling clothes, walked to the cage where all the test bikes are, claimed a 56cm S-Works Tarmac SL2, put my pedals on, pumped up the tires to 110psi and set the seat height to 75.5cm. I grabbed an S-Works helmet and finished off my look with arc sunglasses. I was ready. The weather wasn't. It rained all morning and was a little chilly. Fortunately it stopped raining and warmed up to a toasty 50 degrees by the time everyone was ready. Off we went.
Elon told us we would be doing a 20 mile loop with a climb and, of course a descent. Exactly the terrain I seek out when I test a bike. I noticed right away how light and responsive the SL2 is. Normally I try to avoid potholes and manhole covers, but not when I'm putting a bike through it's paces. Since the roads where unlike Jersey, no potholes, I had to settle for manhole covers. The SL2 glided over them effortlessly, soaking up the vibrations with ease. This is one comfortable ride. We made our way to the climb where I intended to put phase 2 into effect: How does this bad boy climb? At the base Brandon attacked, followed by Victor, and then Elon. Wait for it, wait for it, okay go! Time to test the Jersey January fitness. I stomped on the pedals, clicked down a few gears and immediately learned how stiff the bottom bracket is. The SL2 propelled me forward. Awesome acceleration. As the gradient steepened I shifted to a harder gear? I ride Campy, the SL2 has SRAM. So in the heat of the moment I forgot what I was doing and almost came to a standstill. Luckily I snapped out of it before I had to unclip.THAT would have been embarrassing. I continued my ascent to the top, convinced this was one great climbing bike in spite of my brain lock.
After we regrouped at the top it was time to see how the SL2 descends. Going around corners was great. I pushed hard, trying to get the SL2 to shimmy or go off line. No chance. As well as being a great climbing bike, this was a great descending bike There is one last test I like to give bikes. How does it go up short "power climbs". I feared this test would go unheeded. Wrong. After a few flat miles Elon took off for the "town line" sprint. No way I was going to catch him with my Jersey January fitness. But I saw exactly what I was searching for, a short power climb. Based upon how the SL2 accelerated at the base of the climb, I had an idea of what to expect. I shifted into the big ring and took off. I was right. Acceleration is great, with no loss of power or speed.
As we rode back I remembered the SL2 had a Specialized Toupe seat. I ride a Specialized Alias, so I was interested to see how the Toupe felt on my butt. I was very skeptical, but after finishing the ride with no "issues" I determined the Toupe was indeed a more comfortable seat.I took off my arc glasses and immediately noticed the lenses were darker than when I started. This adaptalite technology really works, and you don't even realize it's happening. Test ride over, I took a shower, ate a hearty lunch and found my way back to the classroom where we learned about Roval wheels, optics and Specialized clothing until we called it a day at 6. After eating dinner we took the shuttle back to the hotel.
This being Morgan Hill with nothing to do, there was a steady procession to The Market across the parking lot. Everyone sufficiently loaded up with their favorite alcohol, it was time to congregate to the most happening place in town. The lobby of the Marriott Courtyard. How much fun was it? I'll give you a brief synopsis. We learned one of our fellow students likes to impress women by bench pressing them at bars. Watch out for the ones with cankles he warns. There was a marriage proposal. I'm still not sure if this was serious, and no, it wasn't me doing the asking. Lots of laughs. A couple of complaints from hotel guests. The smoothing over of the complaints with the hotel staff by offering them some beer. They declined but let us continue to have a good time. I think they were enjoying the show. A late night run to In' N Out burger. More Laughs. A dip in the hot tub and hotel pool at 2 a.m. and finally bedtime for bonzo at around 3. And that's just what I can remember.
Sufficiently rested with 3 solid hours of sleep, I began my familiar morning routine. Shower, breakfast, breakfast Nazi and the last shuttle to SBCU. Elon took one look at us and asked, "What the hell did you guys do last night"? Nothing, why do you ask? We eventually, slowly filled him in. He got a big laugh out of our shenanigans. We spent the morning learning about bikes until it was time to go for a ride. It rained in the morning but it cleared up by time we were ready to ride. I quickly got changed and headed to the cage. This time I snagged an S-Works Roubaix. The Roubaix series has a longer wheelbase and head tube which allows you to sit more upright. I wanted to feel the difference between the Roubaix and SL2. Wow, I had no idea the difference would be so great. We rode the same loop as yesterday, except in reverse. I'll get right to it, I hated my position on the Roubaix. Way too upright. I felt like I was riding a chopper. If I had taken the time to flip the stem, my position would have been lower, but I quickly realized this was not the bike for me. The bike rode great, it was the position I hated. You have to understand, I'm a freak. I am very flexible so getting into a lower position is not a problem. If you have lower back pain or want to be more upright, then the Roubaix is for you.
When we got back I swapped my S-Works Roubaix for an S-Works Tri-cross. While the rain was holding off, the roads were still wet, which means the trails will be muddy and wet. After a 7 mile road ride we made a left onto the trail. I have never ridden a cyclo cross bike. The first section wasn't too technical which suited this roadie just fine. We regrouped after a quarter mile. Andy explained the next section was more technical but there was a road that went left if we wanted to choose that option. I chose the road. This section was very very muddy and technical. As I waited at the meeting point with a few other road takers I could see others walking up the trail. Since I made the mistake of using my Look Keo pedals and Sidi Genius shoes, this confirmed my decision.
When we regrouped Andy pointed to where we were going. Turns out we were only half way up the climb. We took the fire road, lots of mud, and some not too technical but very wet and muddy single track to the top. My shoes were wet but I didn't care, this was a lot of fun. The ride down was much faster and I'm glad I had a cyclocross bike. This is the perfect commuter bike. Major props to Chris. He did this ride on a Roubaix with road tires. On the way down he had to stop a few times to clear the mud from his brakes. Upon my return I took a shower and grabbed something to eat. We had a few more hours of classroom work before we ate dinner and headed back to the hotel.
Now I know what your thinking. A trip to The Market? Yes. Hanging out in the lobby? Yes. Lots of craziness? No. It was a long day and an even longer previous night. I hung out for a few hours and was in bed by 10. Like everyone else, I sacrificed tonight to make sure our last night would be a lot of fun. But would it?
Thursday morning was my own private ground hog day. Rain and breakfast Nazi included. Except when we got to SBCU we found out our class would be taught by Josh. He went over the rest of the bike line and showed us some cool pictures of yesterdays snow on the trails of the Santa Monica mountains. He also taught us how to set up suspension for a customer going on a test ride. Since it was raining all day we missed out on our scheduled mountain bike ride. With the extra time he showed us how to do a basic floor fitting. At long last it was time to put our knowledge to the test in the form of a 35 question final exam. I got 4 wrong. Not bad. Exam over, it was time to graduate. Gina brought in our diplomas and a snazzy Specialized Riders Club jersey. Josh handed them out to rousing applause.
Graduation over, it was time to go to dinner. It was off to Mama Mia's for our final meal. Graciously Elon and Josh told us the first round of drinks was on them. They mentioned this earlier in the day. That was a mistake. We decided, without their knowledge, everyone would order the most expensive drink available. When we arrived the waitress told us the first round of beers was on Elon and Josh. That is why they are the teachers and we the students. After dinner we headed back to the hotel. Elon said he would join us for a little while but Josh had to get home to his wife and child.
Back at the hotel, the pilgramage to The Market continued. With everyone back in the lobby toting the beverage of their choice, it was time to enjoy our last night together. There were a lot of laughs. I may be wrong, but I don't think Elon laughed so hard in his life. He doesn't drink, so he had a front row seat to all of our antics. While tamer than the second night, there was still plenty to remember. Someone tried to set up guitar hero on the TV. Unfortunately this was unsuccessful. A bottle of rum? was passed around. I declined. My beer was more than enough. We got a demonstration on how to bench press someone.This too was unsuccessful. Cankles were the problem. More laughs. More complaints from the guests. A final run to In' N Out burger. More laughs and finally it was time to say goodbye to my fellow students. It was 2 a.m. and I had a 5 o'clock wake up call. I got on the elevator and headed for the second floor. As I walked out the door I said "I hope your marriage works out". This of course in reference to the proposal on the second night. Everyone laughed. Leave them in stitches is what I say.
My town car picked me up at six. I flew from San Jose to LA. My friends Catherine and Evan picked me up. I stayed with them for a few days. Kind of a vacation after business. This, however was the best "business trip" I've ever been on, even though it rained every day I was in California. So much for it "Seems it never rains in Southern California".
There are many people I need to thank. First, Marty for sending me to SBCU. Catherine and Evan for starting the process of returning my life to a normal state. Gina, Elon and Josh. You guys were great and made learning a lot of fun. To my fellow SBCU students, I can't remember the last time I had so much fun. Chris, may you have tail winds to and fro on your daily ride to work. Erin, the next time I see you I promise to do a shot. Brian, Georgia in the house!, may you continue to train hard and qualify for Kona. Ben, may the wife see it your way and allow you to keep your race car. Brandon, may you still be employed. Taylor, I hope your boyfriends hand has healed up nicely. Victor, I hope you get a chance to go on the lunch ride and drop everyone. Paul, I hope the church you helped build has a thriving congregation. To the happy couple, may you have many years of happiness.

Until we meet again

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

If the Super Bowl Wasn't Exciting Enough...Mud Bowl 2008

Last week, someone asked me if I was going to ride over the weekend, and hadn't given it much thought. I just sort of assumed that it would be cold and crappy. But after some consideration, I gave weather.com a look see, and lo and behold, it was predicted to be a lot nicer than some rides I have been on. So I ride was born.

After many phone calls, it boiled down to Biker Bill, Jen, and me. We met up at Lewis Morris Park and set out from the parking lot above Sunrise Lake on a beautiful 50 degree day. I was pretty excited because I had been doing a lot of work on the trainer. Not nearly enough it seems. I guess there is no thing like the real thing, and I am sure I would have been hurting even more had I not been doing the training.

It started pretty good, with the usual uphill grinds. As it got muddier, it got harder to keep pedaling up. I couldn't quite get the traction. I think it may be yet another downside of my massive girth. Where Bill and Jen were cranking right up, my rear tire was spinning while I proceeded to go no where.

After that we had some good downhill with some switchbacks, a little hair raising, but good just the same (is there really any bad downhill?). I was having problem tracking because I did not have my front wheel. I had a front wheel, just not mine. Last fall, I went on a bike date with a girl with whom I am no longer in contact, and apparently I gave her back the wrong wheel. Good for her, bad for me. I'd like to blame it on her, but it is really all my fault. Anyhow, I did the needful, and made do with what I had (note to self, get new rubber soon).

Then it was back up hill, and this time I wasn't the only sorry soul pushing. The mud was quite deep, and not really ideal for pedaling uphill. I was having problems even pushing, as mud was clogging my brakes and fork. Bill and Jen were blessed with disc brakes, and were not suffering the same misfortunes. We had a nice little break at the top, where we practiced a few log rolls, and then I finished my ride with another screaming down hill. Seriously, I screamed a lot. It was that lousy front wheel again. I only swallowed a modest amount of mud in the process.

I closed it out by heading back to the parking lot, spent after two hours. Bill and Jen were still sufficiently motivated to ride up Heart Attack Hill. I did not wait around. I had a Super Bowl Party to take a nap for.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This All Seems Familiar Somehow

Back when I first started road biking, a good friend told me to get a bike computer with a cadence meter. If you don't know what cadence is, don't feel bad, I had to have it explained to me as well. In a nutshell, it is how fast you pedal. And if you already knew that, my apologies for back tracking. I got the cadence meter and was told, "Don't let your cadence drop below 80 RPM"

Now, my frame is what I like to describe as being of heroic proportions, and it was easier for me to pedal slower in a harder gear than to spin the pedals faster, so for later computers, I opted to save money by eliminating the cadence feature.

This fall, I got a trainer for the bike in order to try and get a jump on the spring season. Biker Bill was kind enough to let me keep the trainer set up at his house, and we committed to doing training rides twice a week. Bill shelled out for the entire Carmichael Training Series (Chris Carmichael was one of Lance's trainers. I know this because he casually mentions it several times each DVD). And low an behold, they are back to talking about cadence. I couldn't escape it.

So just before last nights trainer ride, Bill (graciously and without complaint) installed an inexpensive Cat Eye Cadence computer. It took about a half an hour, and I am quite sure it was the last thing he wanted to be doing. It made a difference in the ride. I can only say to all the big boys out there, learn to ride cadence. I can also say, "Thanks Bill!"

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Triathlon News

Hi Everyone,

Now that 2008 is upon us it is time to start thinking about the upcoming triathlon season. If you are like me and think the best warm-up for a 30 mile road race is swimming one mile next to hundreds of others competitors read on.

The masters swimming at Drew University started on 1/14. It runs for 15 weeks and costs $225. These workouts are coached by Dorsi, the head swimming coach at Drew. The sessions are:
Mon: 6:00-7:15 AM, 9:15-10:30AM
Tues: 7:45-9:00 PM
Weds: 6:00-7:15 AM, 9:15-10:30AM
Thurs: 7:45-9:00 PM
Fri: 6:00-7:15 AM, 9:15-10:30AM
Sat: 7:00-9:00AM

Although most races are months away it is time to start registering as many of the better races close out early. Here is a list of race dates that myself or other members of the Marty's Triathlon team will be competing in:

4/27 Bassman Tri and Du athlon - Bass River State Forest
6/1 Black Bear Half and Sprint - Beltzville State Park, PA
6/14 Wyckoff Sprint
6/21 Philadelphia Sprint and Olympic
7/13 Randolph Sprint
7/20 Ironman Lake Placid
7/27 New Jersey Sprint and Olympic
8/3 Cayuga Lake Triathlon (Sprint National Championships)
8/17 Timberman Half and Sprint - Lake Winnipesaukee, NH
9/7 Patanella's Buckman Sprint and Olympic, Round Valley Reservoir
10/4 Bassman Half and Sprint - Bass River State Forest

If you have never attempted a triathlon but want this to be the year you tri, (sorry for the bad pun) there are many local short races to consider. The Randolph Triathlon is held right behind Marty's in Randolph and is a sprint distance race. If you want information about training for this race, send me an e-mail jtiman@comcast.net and I can help get you started. The Friday night rides on the Randolph course will start up again this spring.
If you want to do one part of the triathlon as part of a team let me know and I can help find others who are looking for teammates.

There is also a going to be a triathlon seminar at Starting Line Sports in Madison for novice to intermediate triathletes. The seminar is on Sunday 2/24 at 9:00. You can register through

As it gets warmer I would like to organize weekly open water swim sessions along with some track running work-outs. I am also planning to go up to Lake Placid for a weekend to train on the Ironman course with anyone who is interested.

That's it for now but I will keep you posted on any other multisport happenings in our area.

For now stay warm, be one with your indoor trainer, (remember it is our friend) and before you know it the season will be under way.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Our trip to Guru

Montreal, home of the Canadiens, Expos, Mt. Royal, Notre Dame Basilica, Old Montreal, Guru, Rue St. Catherine, Martin Brodeur......wait a second, didn't the Expos move to Washington D.C.? Oh, yeah. And this Guru you mentioned, what's his name? No, not a spiritual leader, Guru bikes. Never heard of them? You will.
When Marty's was looking for another bike line to carry, many names popped up. One of the areas we wanted to address was the custom market. Guru was a name mentioned. So, we gave them a call. As luck would have it, they were having a dealer open house in 2 weeks and invited us up. No need to ask twice. I dusted off my passport and along with Jesse, Ben and Marc we headed out in Marc's Eurovan to the Great White North. Sorry Rush, no residuals here. You either Bob and Doug Mckenzie. One grumpy customs officer and seven hours later we arrived in Montreal.
Marc and I caught a Canadiens game that first night. The next morning it was down to business. We took a shuttle bus from our hotel in Old Montreal to the Guru factory. Guru makes custom, hand built bikes in four weeks. They've been doing this since 1997. We were met by the founders of Guru Tony and Robert. Nice blokes, sorry, bonne mecs. Tony gave us a tour of the factory. As you can see from the pictures, their carbon bikes are indeed hand made. He explained that they only use the best carbon, which incidentally comes from California, not Taiwan. Tony also explained that it is how you lay the carbon up that determines stiffness. He then gave us a tour of the rest of the factory. The welding station for aluminum and titanium frames, the paint booth, decal station, finishing station.....okay, if you're like me this is all well and good, but the bottom line is, how do the bikes ride?
Guru makes four road models. The top of the line Geneo and the Evolo are carbon frames. The Praemio which is titanium and the aluminum Venio. They also have four triathlon/time trial models. Crono, which is the top of the line, and Magis are made out of carbon. Merus is made out of titanium and the aluminum Ventus rounds out the line. Guess which ones I wanted to ride? If you know me, you already know the answer.
First up, Geneo. After taking ten minutes to dress for the cold, lightly snowing Montreal weather, it was time to put the Geneo through it's paces. This bike is light, but it's not stupid light. Just because you have a 900 gram frame doesn't mean it will ride nice. At 1,150 grams, the Geneo is plenty light. The ride quality is excellent. The bottom bracket is nice and stiff. The carbon frame did what carbon frames are supposed to, it soaked up the road vibrations extremely well. When you are going around corners at race speed, which I did, the Geneo goes with you. It doesn't want to go in a different direction. That is a good thing. Sorry Martha.
Next up? You guessed it, Crono. I was lucky enough to find a straight, flat road section. I tucked down on the aero bars and let the Crono do the rest. Like Geneo, the Crono is stiff at the bottom bracket. When you step on it the Crono responds immediately. Instantaneously I felt a surge in my speed. Going around corners at speed was also a treat. I felt very stable and at no time did I feel the Crono would come out from under me. Test rides over, it was time to tell Tony and Robert what a great ride the Geneo and Crono are. One last night in Montreal and one rooster sculpture for my mom later, it was time to pile into Marc's van and head South.
Something Tony said during our visit stuck with me. "I believe we make the best damn bikes in the world, but nobody knows who we are." That's passion, and it shows in everything Guru does. Now you know. But don't take Tony's or my word. Marty's has demo Guru bikes for you to ride. I'm not talking about a parking lot or a down the street ride. Take them out for a couple of days. When you return the bike, we'll be here to take your custom Guru order. It'll be ready in four weeks.


Photos courtesy of Marc

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Guru wows me!

Hi Everyone,

I just rode my new Guru Geneo for the first time a few days ago. I was extremely pleased with the ride, and am happy to report that it is the most beautiful and best riding bike that I have ever owned. I find myself thinking about it a lot while I'm at work, and sometimes I go to the service shop of Marty's just to peak at it. Don't tell Marty.

It's really nice to have a bike that makes your blood run hot and helps to motive you to get out there and ride when its 10 below zero. OK, I'll never ride in weather that cold, but you get the idea.

What I like about the Geneo, is that it is not only really light, like every other bike in that category, but it is extremely stiff in the bottom bracket area, and rides like I was sitting on a cloud. I really feel a big difference in the power transfer from my 2007 s-works Roubaix, to the Guru. Don't get me wrong, I really loved that Specialized, and I thought that it was an incredible riding bike. I especially liked the smooth ride and upright position of the Roubaix, but the Guru is everything that the Roubaix was and more.

The paint is custom Team Marty's blue and white, which makes it even more amazing looking, not to mention the really cool way that Guru shapes the tubes of the bike to give it a unique look. The ride of the bike was really second to none, which amazes me because, I was so happy with everything that the Specialized has to offer.

The fact that every bike that Guru makes is a custom machine designed for the individual rider makes all the difference in the world. You cannot appreciate a custom bike until you have ridden one that has been designed for you and only you. This has been a huge transformation for me. There is a noticeable difference between this bike and every other stock bike that I have ever ridden, and to be honest, I didn't always believe that there would be. I'll be posting more about my Guru soon, so tune in.

Happy New Year,


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Racing Schedule 2008

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to post the endurance race schedule that I am planning on doing this season. I would like to encourage anyone and everyone who is interested to come out and play in some of the longest and most exciting mountain bike races in the World.

You see, racing for 4 or more hours is not only about being on your bike for a really really long time, but it is also about exploration, in every sense of the word.

Exploring the outdoors is something that most people will never get to do in their entire lives. We now have the option to sit at home on a couch, or at a computer and watch our lives pass us by. The point is, we don't need go out into the wilderness at all if we choose not to.

To me there is no greater feeling than to be on my bike, 7 hours into a race, be feeling strong, fit, happy, euphoric, and completely as ease with the world around me. To some people being on a mountain bike for such a long time might sound miserable, but I have learned a lot from being on my bike for hours on end. Besides spending time with my wife and my family, there is no where else I would rather be than riding my bike all day long.

That is precisely the reason that I have decided to race as many long races as my schedule will allow this year. The schedule is as Follows:

1. 4/19 Cohutta 100 Tennessee
2. 6/7 Mohican 100 Ohio
3. 6/14 Lumerjack 100 Michigan
4. 7/26 Wilderness 101 P.A.
5. 8/16 Fools Gold 100 Georgia
6. 8/31 Shenandoah 100 Virginia

These races are part of a 100 mile race series called the NUE series. It is a point series of 8 races and it takes your 4 best finishes toward the final number of points. Last year I did 2 races and actually placed in the top 50, so hopefully by completing six races I can do a lot better.

I am also planning on doing a few stage races. A stage race for those who are unfamiliar, is a race that is more than one day and can also incorporate different types of bicycle racing in some circumstances. The first one will be sometime in June. It is called the Tour De Burg and is located in Harrisonburg Virginia. It is a very low key event that is also low cost and not totally organized from what I understand. However, it is supposed to be a lot of fun and extremely difficult. All of the best riders from that general area and many from the rest of the east coast come out to play and it is supposed to be very difficult to hang with the pack. It is an on road/off road event that takes place over 6 days in June. The climbing is supposed to be brutal and the stages vary from a very short up hill, then down hill prologue to 100 mile road or mountain bike days. It should be very interesting, challenging and fun.

The next race that I am planning on in in October and is called "El Reto De Quetzal" or The Challenge of the Quetzal. It takes place in Guatemala, a country that I have visited before and is known for it's huge mountains and very rough terraine. It is a two person partner race and T.C. Crawford, the manager of our Hackettstown store will be my race partner.

The third stage race that I would like to do this year is "La Ruta de Los Conquistadores" or The Route of the Conquistadores. This race takes place in Costa Rica and it will be my third attempt at this event. I completed it in 2005 with T.C. and in 2006 I had some logistical problems and was not able to finish. However, this year I am going back with a vengeance and hope to have a lot of fun and no crashing of any support vehicles.

So, there you have it, my very extensive and expensive race schedule for 2008. I may not be able to commit to all of these races, as I do have a job and a wife, but these are the ones that I would like to shoot for. I will also throw in a few of the h2h series races as well as some other semi-local races. I will keep you all posted, and if anyone would like to accompany me on any of these adventures please e-mail me at jesse@martysreliable.com See you at the shop or on one of our rides or maybe in Guatemala!


Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanks and our Sunday morning ride from Randolph

Thanks to everyone who came out for our Thanksgiving Day ride yesterday. The weather was great and everyone had a good time. Don't forget, we do Sunday rides leaving at 10 a.m. from our Randolph store. Hopefully the weather will be just as nice. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and I hope to see you Sunday morning.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Day ride from Randolph & the weather

This past Sunday the Randolph ride was canceled due to rain, snow, sleet you name it, it fell from the sky. Which brings us to our Thanksgiving Day ride. If we have the same type of weather, there will be no ride. If the ride is canceled, I will post it at 9 a.m. Remember, the ride leaves at 10 a.m., so this should give you plenty of warning if the ride is canceled. If I don't see you on Thanksgiving Day, have a great Thanksgiving and come out Sunday to burn off all those calories from your Thanksgiving feast.


Blackburn Trakstand Ultra

I have finally succumbed to winter. My leaves have not even all fallen and there is snow on the ground. It is a very strange season. When you have to ride and you have no alternative-use a trainer. I decided to use the Blackburn Trakstand Ultra this year. Another strange thing happens seasonally. I could not find my trainer from last year. I guess this is what happens when your son works in the same business as you do.
The Blackburn trainer needs no assembly. That was nice. Good thing because the instruction manual included is terrible. No instruction cd included either. No video is included like Cycleops includes either.
So I unfolded the trainer and proceeded to try to put my bike on the trainer. It was not as intuitive as I had expected. The adjustment for the resistance unit was a little difficult to figure out-it probably was just me. Anyway, I figured it out and put the bike on the trainer.
That was pretty straight forward. Remember to air your tires!!
The coolest design of the trainer is the height adjustment. You just turn two knobs, one on each leg and your trainer is at the right height for your rear wheel to clear the floor. The best part is that you do not need a trainer block.
Once the resistance unit was adjusted for tension, I was ready to sweat.
The trainer is the quietest trainer I have ever used. I could watch TV without blasting the sound way up. The resistance was smooth and I encountered no problems. I rode for an hour and all was good. Not as good as outside but that is the way the season goes.
I was totally satisfied and highly recommend this trainer to everyone. The trainer costs $329.99 and if you are a Team Martys member-15% discount!! Remember to wear your jersey-you never know who is looking in your window.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanksgiving Day road ride

We will be doing a Thanksgiving Day road ride at 10 a.m. from our Randolph store. It will be very similar to our Sunday rides as far as distance and pace. For those not familiar with the Sunday morning rides that means a distance of 30-40 miles and a nice casual, talk as you ride pace. Again, no one gets left behind. As with the Sunday rides, women are more than welcome. So far we have the following participants; Tim and maybe his sons, Ken and his son, Hector, Cathy, Ola and myself. That makes a solid 7 with the possibility of 9 if Tim's sons come. Let's see if we can bump it into double digits. Hope to see you there. I promise it will be a lot of fun.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sunday morning road rides from the Randolph store

As you may or may not know, we do Sunday morning rides from the Randolph store at 10 a.m. The pace is easy, no one really wants to hammer this time of year. 30-40 miles is the norm depending on the route we take. Women are welcome, and we don't leave anybody behind to fend for themselves. We will be going out as long as the weather holds up. Meaning if it's cold like this past Sunday, we are still going. If there is snow on the ground or it is raining, we're not that crazy and there will be no ride. This past Sunday the only ones to "man up" were Hector and myself. So get thee to Marty's for some fine winter clothing and join us on Sunday. You'll be glad you did.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside..But Don't Let That Stop You

Ah yes, we are deep into fall, and winter is right around the corner. A good many people use falling temperatures to put up the bikes for the season, but that seems like a waste of good riding opportunities, especially for mountain biking. While winter wind may make road riding less than pleasant, the trees on the woods break up a lot of that wind. As you can see from the picture Biker Bill is having a splendid time on his late fall ride. See how he is gritting his teeth in pleasure? As long as the trails are not covered in ice, get out and ride! Here are some recommendations:

For the rider
  • Dress in layers - This is key to controlling your heat levels. Get too warm, pull off a layer. Too cold, put a layer back on. Also, make you bottom layer a shirt that pulls moisture away from the body. I used to think I was clever by wearing a thermal long john shirt for a ride until Biker Bill explained to me the concept of hypothermia, and how I could get it.
  • Keep thy head warm - It seems a lot of heat will escape through your head if you don't keep it covered. Go figure.
  • Also the hands and feet - While were on the subject, your extremities seem to be vulnerable to cold as well. Good socks are a must, and shoe covers or winter shoes are recommended by many. Also, good weather proof gloves increase the riding pleasure for me, because before my fingers go mercifully numb, there is a long period of excruciating pain that is preferable to avoid. Weather proof gloves help break the induced wind, keeping your hands, if not toasty, at least tolerable.
  • Start the ride a little chilly - This may be a personal thing with me, but I find that if I am comfortable temperature wise when I set out, I get too hot PDQ.
  • Bring a change of clothes to the ride - Nothing can suck the fun out of a ride faster than an hour and a half car ride in cold, wet biking gear (been there, done that). Bring a change for that comfortable commute.
For the bike

  • Use a dry graphite lube - When you hit the low 30's or 20's, some lubes can freeze up on you. Dry graphite seems to be the lube of choice for the winter.
  • Check tire pressure - When the bike moves from a 60 degree environment to a 40 degree environment, loss of tire pressure is likely. So don't forget your pump.
  • Clean the bike - After a cold,muddy ride, cleaning and drying the bike will prevent problems on your next ride. After all, you're going to clean up (I hope), so do the same for the bike. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, storing it in a dry and reasonably warm place does a lot in the way of prevention.
This are some of my tips for better winter riding. If you have some of your own (other than stay inside by the fire and ride your trainer), please comment so that we will all know them too.

My next ride!

So as many of you already know, I've begun a long conquest in search of my next off-road demon...So far, I've previewed the new stumpjumper with rear brain up at split rock and it blew my mind...similar to my first experience in a high pursuit chase when I was 19 and some jokers with bright flashing lights kept trying to slow me down...I just put my head down, closed my eyes and let the bike do the work. Needless to say, I was seriously impressed with the stumpjumper. However, for trails such as split-rock, I have an '05 Enduro which, though fairly heavy, is a monster on highly technical trails. That being said, I really don't see the need for another bike with gobs of suspension. This brings me to my next option, the bike of all bikes, an "Epic". It seems silly to even consider anything else, but I would like to see if any of you feel that I should look into any other rides before I make my final decision...Thoughts??

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Better than HID?!?

The new NiteRider TriNewt lighting systems have finally arrived! We have been messing around with this new system over here at Marty's of Morristown and we are pretty impressed! Niterider had been advertising this system as the brightest system they have ever made and all we kept saying was "brighter than HID???"

We did a little hands-on comparison here at the store, and found that the TriNewt is brighter! How could an LED system be brigher than the famed HID system? We don't know. All we know is that this thing is bright.

Not only is it bright, but it also has a more adjustable mounting system that works well on your handlebar or your helmet, it is less expensive than most HID systems out there($399), the battery is relatively small and light weight, it burns for 3.5 hours on the brightest setting, it charges quickly, the casing on the headlamp and the battery seem really sturdy, and its super cool looking! Wow, that's a lot of good stuff.

The only downside we have discovered thus far is that the headlamp weighs slightly more than an HID headlamp. It's not a large difference, but it is noticeable. This shouldn't be too much of a problem since the new helmet mount positions the lamp closer to the center of the helmet instead of it sticking out the front, so the helmet is not pulled forward.

Check out this link for purchasing info: http://martysreliable.com/itemdetails.cfm?catalogId=39&id=6630 or, come in and check it out!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Trek Demo Day

Today, Jesse, Nick, Artie, John and I hopped on the bus and headed to Lewis Morris with the goal of testing out some new Trek bikes. The two bikes we were most intersted in were the new Fuel Ex and the new Madone. The new Fuel EX is quite different from past models, and all of us were hoping it would be a drastic improvement.

The Fuel didn't let us down! All of us who rode it felt that it was "friggin fast!" The bike was actually not particularly light weight for a bike that has lot of XTR and a carbon frame,(26.3 lbs) but it FELT very light while riding it. Trek's new Full Floater linkage design seems to do everything Trek wants it to do. It feels plush. You don't feel the shock topping out like you did on older Fuel EX models and on some other full suspension bikes. It feels like you are always floating somewhere in the middle of the travel. Now, normally, a bike that feels that plush would feel innefficient, but not this one! The Fuel felt just as light and nimble on the climbs as on the downhills. The rear shock was certainly working on the ascents, but you didn't feel it bobbing around at all. This made for smooth fast climbing (much faster climbing than we expected).

Descending was at least as much fun as climbing. Traction became a non-issue on the new Fuel EX. The bike gripped the ground so tightly, I kept pedaling to get more speed even on relatively steep dowhills. This bike begs to go fast!

The new Madone also seemed to achieve all Trek's goals for overhauling their high end road line. I tested a Madone 5.2 which is made of OCLV Black carbon. Black is the intermediate quality level of OCLV. White is entry level and Red is the high end.

I immediately noticed the bike's rigidity in the bottom bracket area. The bike just felt really solid. I stood up and pushed up a steep hill, and I still couldn't feel the bike flexing. The front of the bike also felt really stable. The new large lower headset cup seems to make a big difference.

I was very happy with the bike overall. It felt smooth, but extremely stable. I suspect that riding a higher end model with OCLV Red carbon would have giving the bike a silkier ride. I also would have preferred a wider handlebar, but that could obviously be switched. (the 54 cm test bike had a 42 cm bar on it)

Trek took some huge steps for 2008. I think they are going to be a much bigger player in the mountain bike scene this year.