How to ride in Cross Winds

I love riding in cross winds. It is a time when power to weight ratio of the sprinters can really put the hurt onto the climbers.

It is a time when how the break works together can be the difference between survival and getting shelled.
Work too little and you may win, or the break may get caught, Work too hard, and you get shelled.

It is a time when knowing where the draft is can be crucial.
Just watch these professional riders have a tough time staying in contact with the rider in front of them due to the cross wind and the speed of the race.

Notice in this video of the 2012 Tour of Qatar – when Cancellara makes the move, the wind is coming from his right side & so he is on the Left side of the road – this is so that anyone behind him gets as little draft as possible. He is doing this in hopes that they will not be able to hold his pace and he can ride away.

Conversely once Cancellara realizes he isn’t going to be solo and wants some help, he edges to the right, so that the person drafting him has room to find the best draft on Cancellara’s back left.

Also, notice how when there are more people in the break they move to the right – so that the other riders can get a draft and they can all work together to hold the gap.

Quick Tip: Mash a larger gear in a crosswind. This is a great strength builder and when you spin (I generally) feel the need to always change to an easier gear and spin even more. If it is a training ride, try mashing that gear! You may feel tired after the ride, but you will get stronger!

Video Mt biking at FATS

I got out last month and met up with some friends for a ride at FATS Mt bike trail. If you have never been there, let me tell you, it is like going to a pump track! I remember saying to the group, ‘you just can’t jump each one, you have to select which one’s your going to jump, because there are so many”.

I tried to time some of the music to the events in the video, whether each person jumping a jump in line, or a crash.

It still amazes me how much footage I end up cutting out before getting what can be put into a video with out it being over 5 minutes long. And I think this video is a bit too long, but I tried to warrant the length with crashes, passes, jumps, and whoops.

This video is actually the 2nd video from the day (here is the First). It is amazing how different people can change the dynamics of a ride. I was glad I wasn’t wearing a Heart Rate monitor!

Mt biking video from FATS

A group of friends got together once again, this time for a Fun ride near Augusta, GA. A local trail system called FATS.
All I can say is WOW!! This has got to be one of the most Fun trail systems that I have ever ridden!

While I was editing the footage for this video I kept thinking 2 things – 1) I wanted to show how rolling this terrain was, which lead to the 2nd thing: this trail system is like a Mt bike roller coaster, thus the music. Now, this isn’t to say that every part of FATS has a slightly down-hill angle and a whoop to jump every 5 feet. There is definitely some climbing involved on a couple trails. But for this day in January we chose to stay more on the flatter trails of Brown Wave and Skinny.

Unfortunately, as always, footage from an event rarely ever does the course justice. But I hope you enjoy the video & that it will encourage you to get out and ride!

2011 Christmas eve ride

This year was a bitter sweet Christmas eve ride as we enjoyed our time together on the trails.
We got the dogs out for a short ride before most folks showed up, then headed out for the group ride around 11am. There was a bunch of climbing, and we ended up exploring an unknown trail which ended up looping us back around to mid-climb, then we got to bomb back down the trail again – good times!

We had a water crossing that had no bridge – w/ a smart phone in my pocket, I figured it was safer to walk than take a $200+ dunk/phone renewal.

Post ride we hung out with our friends and the dogs, and remembered our friend Jeff.

Good times with Great friends!

Hope you have very Happy Holidays and enjoy time spent with friends and family!!

Ben Stiller goes for a night Mountain bike ride

If you have never been night Mountain biking, I highly recommend it. There is an aspect to night riding that you don’t get during the day – riding with lights forces you to look further up the trail and look less at what is directly in front of your front tire.

You gotta love comedians and how they describe a scenario.

“Look whatever happens, don’t fight the Mountain”
Think about the meaning behind that – I have thought the same thing before, but couldn’t put it into words like this. To me, this means ‘have flow’. You don’t fight the trail, you try to flow over it, similar to how water would go down a trail – A person with good flow takes the shortest, fastest path with the least resistance.

Why cyclists dont stop at stop signs

A situation that has been addressed around the Atlanta area is cyclists ‘blowing through’ stop signs. I think what the motorists don’t realize is that the front cyclists slow down and check traffic and that the group goes through the stop sign as a whole. Although it is not legal, it is to most motorists advantage to get this group of cyclists out of their way faster.

I was out on a metro-Atlanta road and came upon a construction area that was single file. Before moving into the next lane, I looked over my shoulder and saw that over 100 feet back there was a car approaching. So I went from a leisure training ride into putting in a solid effort to rush through this construction zone.

After getting through it the car behind would not pass, and now I noticed that there were 4 cars that had backed up behind this 1 motorists. So, again, I pedaled in earnest up to the stop sign, slowed nearly to a stop, checked both directions and made my right hand turn.

Then about 200 yards up this road, a pickup truck pulls up next to me and starts yelling ‘if you want to be taken seriously as traffic, then obey the stop signs’, and of course sped off before I could reply.

Here I was trying to stay out of the way, not get hit and help the flow of traffic, and I got yelled at anyway.

What I don’t think most motorists realize is that cyclists do not want a car following behind them just as much as most motorists don’t want to have to drive behind a cyclist.

Another thing that motorists don’t realize is that historically those stop signs are there to regulate speed, not right of way;
Now, since only elite cyclists average over 22 mph – whose speed are they trying to regulate?

Here is a great video that explains the reasons why most cyclists do not stop at stop signs.

I agree with what the video says, cyclists are ‘usually’ more cautious around other motorists because we realize how distracted motorists are these days. Also, in an accident between an automobile & a bicycle, a cyclist realizes he has the most to loose.

What I would add that cyclists yielding to stop signs allows for better flow of traffic for everyone on the roads.

Something that I try to keep in mind is that motorists hate anyone else using the roadways, especially if it slows them down.

Safe Travels!

How to keep momentum

This week I out on some local Mt bike trails, and I got thinking how I felt really at ease on the trail. This is something that I have always called ‘flow’, or going with the flow of the trail. It is a way of going with and using the trail to keep as much momentum as possible, thus making the ride feel like less effort.

There is something about going a little slower and enjoying the pace, attempting new lines (path that you go over), and general playing around on the bike that sometimes gains valuable experience in how to corner, and how to avoid some obstacles and sometimes to gain confidence conquering others.

On the road bike, you can use similar techniques. Try to avoid things that will slow you down – like in hairpin turns the outer radius slows you down less than the shortest radius through the turn. Even though the outside may be a longer distance, the inside is usually steeper.

Brake as little as needed before the turn, maintain momentum in the corner and pedal as soon as possible out of the turn.

I went up to my cousins wedding a year ago in Vermont. Come to find out, he had built a small pump-track in his backyard the year before. A pump-track is a track built to specific dimensions that allows you to use momentum to keep going around the loop WITHOUT pedaling! The basic way that you do this (and I’m not the best at it) is by pulling up slightly on the uphills and pushing down aggressively with your legs as the bike goes down the back-side of the humps that are on the track. What happens is that you go over the uphill section and attempt to gain momentum on the downhill side of the hump.

I had done this times before, but when I visited my cousin’s pump track that he built in Vermont, I was amazed at how much more effective he is at it than I am – of course it is in his backyard. I would have to take a couple pedal strokes each time going into the higher side – my cousin had no problems and didn’t need to pedal the whole time he was riding the track.

Notice in this video he doesn’t pedal at all (no this isn’t my cousin :), he is using the track to maintain and at some points gain momentum – watch how he pushes and pulls on the bike:

To do this I often pull up slightly going into a obstacle to avoid the front wheel from taking the brunt of the obstacle. This allows me to set-up for the exit choice… On whoops, you have some choices, you can either just roll up and over the top, you can bunny-hop using the front of the whoop as a ramp, or you can gain speed by doing a slight bunny-hop just past the top of the whoop, then pushing down on the back of the bike, once the rear wheel comes into contact with the landing side of the whoop. This way you will gain more momentum/speed going out of the obstacle.

This particular day I was pushing the 2Niner out in front of me with nearly full arm extension as I leaned through the turns. This made each turn feel easier, and allowed me to keep more momentum. When going into some turns it is best to use the brakes as little as possible, and then pedal as soon as possible after exiting the turn.

Use the terrain to your advantage, and you won’t burn as many Matches.

Creating cycling video tips

When creating cycling videos, we can learn alot from the creators of videos that end up going viral. Check out a couple recent videos.
Here is a clip of Specialized doing commercials/advertising correctly.

Specialized Beats from WhiteNoise | Lab on Vimeo.

I wonder if Specialized had much to do with the creation of that video? Was this the artists way of showing off their abilities/creativity or was there some ‘grant money’ involved?

This isn’t Specialized’s first time to realize how this kind of advertising can make a big impression, here is another 1 that Specialized did for the holidays:

But cycling has gotten into the foray after a car maker used a similar concept to have a video go viral:

Now, when thinking about creating a video remember some important tips – for you and me:

~Try to keep the scenery changing
~Have something worth watching, something exciting – everyone has very short attention spans
~Also, keep it short and sweet – again attention…. squirrel!
~Having music that is either timely or that your target audience appreciates
~With cycling videos I have found that they are much more exciting when you are following someone

“It isn’t perfect when nothing more can be added, it is perfect when nothing more can be removed”.