Happy Halloween from CyclovaXC!

Sofia decided to be Tinkerbell this year, fortunately the CyclovaXC green hat was the same color as her outfit!  Have fun trick or treating!  Don't eat so much chocolate that you can't climb up those hills on the Birkie Trail!

Warm-Up Jacket and Ski Like Landgraf Hat order!

Hey Folks,
I've had a few people ask me about getting a warm-up jacket, so I thought I'd send out an email and see if anyone else was interested in ordering one.  I'll be sending off the numbers to Mt. Borah on Friday, so please get back to me as soon as possible.  You can read a little bit about these jackets here.  But in case you don't want to read, it's essentially a lightweight jacket you can use for training.  Keep in mind that this jacket isn't so insulated that it will keep you toasty warm on a -20 day.  It's a lightweight training jacket that's meant to be skied in.  It's great for stuffing in your gear bag to pick up after the Birkie (Micah got a little cold in his last year, so remember to throw in a couple warm, dry thermal tops as well).

The price is $155.  Sizing is pretty standard.

I'm also about to send off for 10 or so "Ski Like Landgraf!" hats.  Again, proceeds from these will go to Emalea and her Ski Strong foundation.  The price on these is $30.

Best Ski & Snowshoe Assortment Of The Year At Cyclova XC!

Fed Ex, UPS, and other trucks have been frequenting Cyclova XC as of late!

If you've been in downtown St. Croix Falls recently, you may have noticed delivery trucks stopping by frequently, dropping off boxes of all shapes - long skinny ones, square ones, etc.  This can only mean one thing - Cyclova XC is fully ready for winter - with the best selection of xc ski and snowshoe product of the season!

Very few other shops across the country carry the depth of Nordic product that we have - combined with world class expertise.  In short, we outfit skiers literally ranging from Olympians to first timers.  We stock skis from the top 5 brands on the planet (Rossignol, Salomon, Madshus, Atomic, and Fischer), but only pick the top performing models and best price points from each brand.  It's this careful selection that ensures Cyclova XC customers only get the best products at the best value, and most importantly - a product that fits perfectly!

Snowshoes?  Well, you're not a winter outdoor shop in Northern Wisconsin without snowshoes!  At Cyclova XC you'll find a huge selection of snowshoes, poles, and gaiters from Tubbs (the #1 snowshoe brand on the planet).  

Don't forget that it's chilly outside!  If you're clothing just isn't cutting it, you'll find a great assortment of active winter apparel at Cyclova XC from top brands like Smartwool, Sporthill, Toko, Yoko, Bjorn Daehlie, and more!  We're particularly proud of the "hundreds of hats" that we have in stock.

In short, you winter lovers (and haters) owe it to yourselves to come check out the great Winter gear at Cyclova XC.  You'll leave snow dancin' down the sidewalk!


It's Stonegrinding Season!

Freezing temps & snow are in the forecast - this mean's that it's Stonegrinding Season at Cyclova XC!

Freezing temperatures & flurries are in our forecast - and Troll Hollow is planning on firing up the snow guns this week.  This can only mean one thing - ski season is nearly here!  

We at Cyclova XC have been busy prepping for winter - our Custom Wintersteiger Micro 100 has a new and very unique diamond and is all tuned up for the season.  In short - we are all set for a very snowy and epic Winter of xc skiing!  

There is no time better than the present to get your skis stoneground and/or hotboxed.  Get your skis in early and you'll be ready for early season skiing and racing!  A Cyclova XC stonegrind will consistently result in skis that are faster than new - able to absorb enormous amounts of wax and with the perfect structure!

We did our first weekly stonegrind batch of the season last week, and generally will be grinding every Thursday for the rest of the Fall / Winter seasons.  For a quick turn around, get your skis in by Wednesday evening and they will be done by the end of the day Thursday.

While your in, check out one of the best assortments of XC Ski product on the continent - hundreds of pairs of new 2013 skis, boots, poles, and bindings are now in stock - not to mention all of the accessories.  

Don't delay -  NOW is the best time of year to get your skis tuned up!  Remember for you non-Midwesterners, we have skis shipped to us for stonegrinding & service all of the time.  Check out our Ski Service Brochure for the full scoop on how to get your skis to us (and how we'll get them back to you).


UCI Stands With USADA: Armstrong Stripped of Titles

The Empty Podium
The UCI recently stated that they will not appeal the USADA's decision to strip Lance Armstrong of his 7 Tour de France titles, and basically everything else he achieved over his entire professional cycling career.  However, I really doubt this story has ended yet.  There are sure to be legal repercussions for Lance that extend beyond his sports achievements (recuperating prize money for example), and I think we're about to see a series of lawsuits as this whole tangled mess explodes.

Make no mistake, this whole ordeal has been sad and unfortunate for the sport of professional cycling. At some point, either through an appeal or in a different court case, Armstrong will have to confront these latest allegations in a courtroom--unless he admits guilt, something I doubt he will ever do.

From the beginning, there could be no happy ending to these endless accusations.  Either Armstrong was a fraud, or he was innocent and his achievements were unfairly besmirched.   I guess at this point, the thing that bothers me is that Lance seems to be going down alone.  The one point everyone can agree on is that Cycling is emerging from the darkest period in its history.  A ridiculous number of podium finishers at the Tour have subsequently served bans for doping.  To me, it is bothersome that riders who did indeed fail drug tests are allowed to keep certain results, and Armstrong, who passed all of his, has been stripped of everything.  Wouldn't it be more "fair" to erase all the records for the whole 15 year period?

Additionally, if all this doping was going on right underneath the "watchful" noses of the UCI, can't we now declare them incompetent and shouldn't the whole ruling board of directors step down?  Shouldn't some of them potentially face legal charges for fraud?  Why do they get a free pass?  Why is Armstrong the only one paying the full price?

Also, what about his teammates, the ones who testified against him?  Shouldn't they all also receive lifetime bans and have their professional results stripped?  Isn't that the precedent?  I personally don't see any honor in a person admitting that they were a liar and a cheat throughout their whole career, and I don't see why they should be given any leniency.

A doper destroys a race at its very root, and this is a destruction that can't be "fixed."  You can't just remove a person from the podium and think things are OK.  A doper in a race changes the complexion of the race.  You can't assume that without the doper 2nd would have been 1st.  There are ripples and repercussions that extend in all directions.

Dopers rob the innocent performer of his/her right to stand on the podium.  They rob the rightful athlete of his/her chance to cross the finish line first and know the sweet taste of victory.  None of these things are reassigned when a person is disqualified.

It is the responsibility of the governing body to prevent doped athletes from participating in any events.  If a doped athlete races, then the whole race has already been corrupted.  You might as well throw out the whole thing, and both the tainted racers and the ruling body should share equal blame for the destruction of the event.

I'm not opposed to this idea of a lifetime ban.  Why should cheaters be given the opportunity to redeem themselves?  If a racer is caught doping, throw them out for life.  Maybe that would be a reasonable deterrent to motivate racers to remain clean.

Then again, extreme regulations like that are problematic as well.  What if somebody taints a sample and an innocent rider nobody can beat is banned for life?

In looking at the Lance Armstrong case, does anyone think that things are "better" now than they were when there were only accusations?  To me, professional cycling appears to be in tatters, and there doesn't seem to be an effort to go after everyone who is responsible.  I have little doubt that Armstrong probably took some performance enhancing drugs along the way, but what we're seeing here is evidence of a system that appears to be corrupt to its very core.  We might not know how corrupt unless Armstrong starts changing his tune and naming names himself.

Personally, I would have been content to let sleeping dogs lie.  By that I mean you only punish riders who failed drug tests.  True, in that system some dirty riders would have been allowed to retain ill-gained results, but at least it is a system you can implement consistently.

Since the governing bodies have gone with a "no holds barred" approach, I suggest that they apply it universally to the whole peloton.  First they need to strip ALL the results of ALL the riders who have ever failed a drug test.  Then they need to retroactively investigate prior tour winners.  We know that Bjarne Riis was a doper, but what about the guy who won prior to him?  What about the great Miguel Indurain?  After all, doesn't the Armstrong case show that it's not good enough to not fail drug tests anymore?  Not going after Indurain would make people suspect that this isn't about truth, but just about getting Armstrong.

As for me, I don't want them to go after Indurain.  This whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and we're at the point now where the only thing that has been proven is that justice will never be done.  Perhaps there will come a day when cheating has been eliminated, a competent group of individuals is policing professional cycling, and this whole dark cloud will have been forgotten.  But I don't see it happening.

None of that's gong to keep me off MY bike however, I know CyclovaXC is clean.

Cyclova XC At Anytime Fitness Expo - Saturday, 20 October, 2012

Clinic presentations tend to draw a crowd at Cyclova XC - join the crowd for the presentation at Snap Fitness in Siren!

I'm pleased to announce that Cyclova XC will be part of the celebration this Saturday, 20 October, 2012 at Anytime Fitness in Siren, WI.  We, along with several other fitness oriented regional vendors will be set up from 10AM to 2PM - at Anytime's anniversary party & open house.  

We will have a stationary trainer with a road bike set up in the booth, along with other fun and seasonal products - focusing specifically on Spin Class specific products (cycling shoes & clipless pedals).

There will be numerous presentations throughout the day, including a presentation at 1:30PM on bicycle maintenance & fit by Frank Lundeen of Cyclova XC.  There will be additional presentations by others about personal training, massage, chiropractic care, weight loss, and more.

Stop on by and say hello - be a part of the fun & fitness!


Paul with the Landgraf Hat in Wyoming

I love getting these Landgraf hat photos!  This one is of Paul Pederson at Cloud Peak in the Bighorns of Wyoming.  It's the highest point east of the Rockies at 13,175 ft!  That's excellent!  A quick google search revealed that to be a mere 14 hours away (which isn't all that bad when you think about it).

There's nothing like bashing your head against the altitude wall to get you in shape for the Birkie!  Thanks Paul for sending this photo!  It's inspiring to see how and where various CyclovaXC athletes train!


Last Call for CyclovaXC Ski Suit and Warm-Up Pant Pre-Order

Here is a very rough version of what our CyclovaXC team warm-up pants are going to look like.  I just wanted to give you an idea how the decal on the leg was going to be.  I'm not exactly sure where on the leg it's going to be, but I assume it will be right under the Bjorn Daehlie logo.  Again, this is a special offer for our team warm-ups which is why we're able to offer you the great price of $100.  After this pre-order period, the price will go up dramatically.

For those of you who are new to skiing, you really do need a pair of warm-up pants with a full-length zipper like this.  This is so you can show up to races and just peel off your warm up to do the event, then stuff it into your gear bag, and zip it back on when you're freezing at the end of the event.  This is a great piece of equipment for an athlete at any level to own (they also work great for cold weather bicycling).

Again, there is a size run currently at the shop, but I want to get this order in on Friday, so please let me know if you're interested.  Just send an email to bj@cyclovaxc.com.  Friday is also the deadline for our ski suit re-orders, so please get those in to me as well.  The ski suits are $165, and you can read more about them here.

Cheers!

How Many Pairs of Skis Do you Need?

A couple weeks ago, I built this nifty ski holder over my staircase.  It was amazingly easy.  All I did was put a 1 X 1 inch frame on three sides, and then I drilled a 1 X 12 inch board on top of it.  I stuck a little bit of pipe insulation on top to hold the skis in place and PRESTO!  Instant ski holder!  It only took me like 4 hours...but that's because I'm no good at things like this (I'm not one of those dudes who throws up a barn over the weekend just for fun).  It's already been there for a week, so I figure it's stable.  Most of the time when I build something I'm kind of skeptical of it in case it falls down within a few hours.

Anyway, when I was done, I took this picture and it occurred to me that I should explain my woefully inadequate collection of skis.  To be fair, I do have two more pairs than are shown here.  One is my pair of Rossignol Axiom skis (my best skis), and the other is an old pair of Fischers that are currently in the hands of Jeff "The Mountain" I believe.

Now, there maybe be some of you out there with only...GASP...ONE pair of skis.  Well, that's a good start, but hopefully at the end of this article you'll be inspired to rush over to CyclovaXC and buy at least two or three more pairs.  Let me explain what each pair in the above quiver is for, and why it's an inadequate collection of skis.  The skis are all numbered above, here are the explanations:

1. Alpina Back Country Ski--This is a great ski.  It's a waxless tank that's designed for those days you just want to slam some boards on your feet and go.  They don't go very fast, and the waxless kick pocket goes "VRRRRRROOOOMMMM" as you ski along, but they give you a workout and you don't have to take care of them.  In fact, you can abuse these skis!  You can slam them in the car door, drive over asphalt, jump over downed trees, you name it (look, we don't recommend that you do all that, and honestly you can break the skis, I'm just exaggerating for comic effect).  You can't really race on these skis though because you have to pretty much ski down hill with them as well as up hill.

2.  Fischer 1st generation skate ski--These babies are RELICS!  I should really hang them up at the shop just so people can look at them.  Back when Fischer first came out with skate skis, they still had a super long classical tip.  Those of us who skied on these skis all cut the tip down with a jigsaw or something (hence the oddly rounded top).  These skis have a blue base and a metal edge.  I use them for rock skis, and I've traditionally skied my first ski of the year on them going back about two decades.

3.  Rossignol Evos--I believe we still have some of these skis up at the shop.  These are pretty much the same thing as the Alpina Back Country ski, but this particular pair belongs to my wife.

4.  Fischer 1st generation RCS Cap Classical ski--I bought these up in Canada for a song.  It's a great classical ski.  However, I bought pretty much all these skis back when I was at the peak of my racing days and only weighed about 165 lbs.  Therefore, this ski is totally wrong for me today, I flatten it like a pancake (actually that's not true since I always bought my skis super stiff, but the fit on these skis still isn't ideal).

5.  Fischer 1st generation RCS Cap Skating skis--These are my all time favorite pair of skis, all of my best races ever came on this pair of skis.  They were super stiff when I bought them back in the day and they worked GREAT on a hard packed track.  I used to ski on them in every single race I could...and in many of those races I should have gone with a softer ski...but when these skis were on they were fast!  I actually haven't even tried them out since I've been back from Peru.  I guess I'm waiting to regain some kind of form. I won't ever sell them though, I don't even like it when people look at them too long.  On to ski 6.

6.  Madshus Cap Classical ski--A good ski but nothing I ever got all that excited about.  I believe every classical race I've ever done was on this ski.

7.  Madshus 195 CM Cap skate ski (soft pack)--I tried for a little longer skate ski here (normally I prefer 190s).  One of two pairs of skis I own with pilot bindings.

8.  Madshus 190 CM Cap skate ski (hard pack)--I switched the bindings out so I can use them with my new Rossignol boots.  These are pretty much my new rock skis now.  They were a hard pack ski when I was 165 lbs, now they're effectively soft pack.

9.  Fischer Skis I bought from Allan because he drilled holes in the tips.  You can't really see the holes in the tips here, but if you catch me out skiing on them someday, I'll show you.  Also pilot bindings.

10.  Alpina Velocity skate ski--Hey, look at that, I bookended with Alpina!  These were a shorter ski that came out with the Fischer Revolutions were all the craze.  Not a bad ski, but nothing special.  I use them for showing people how to ski these days.

So there you have it!  The reason this quiver is ineffective is that everything is flexed for a guy 50 lbs lighter than I am.  Still, I between these ten pairs, I can usually find something that works.  Actually, this is a pretty modest collection compared to some I've seen.  When you've been skiing for decades there's bound to be a turnover in equipment.  It's just hard to part company with a pair of skis after you've done a Birkie on them!  Also, in the back of your mind you keep thinking, maybe...just maybe...I'll race at 165 lbs again someday!

Oh...I also have a grenade up there in the picture.  Don't worry, it's a dud!

Only 1000 Spots Left in the Birkie

Hey Folks!

For those of you who are Mt. Bikers thinking of becoming cross-country skiers this year, it's IMPERATIVE that you sign up for the Birkie NOW!!!

Like the Fat Tire, the Birkie is semi-complicated to get into.  There are always more skiers than spots in the race.  Fortunately, unlike the Fat Tire, you're GUARANTEED a spot if you sign up early enough.

But that time is NOW because the Birkie is filling up fast.  According to their last newsletter, there are only 1,000 spots left.  So dust off your credit card, click here and register for the greatest cross-country ski race in the world!

Also, make sure you stop by the shop and pick up a copy of "Beyond Birkie Fever" which tells you everything you need to know about Cross-Country skiing.  Also, write a review of the book on amazon and get a free beer!

See you all at the Tour de Taste tomorrow!

Pre-Order your CyclovaXC Team Warm-Up Pants!

Hello Folks!

The other day I mentioned that now's the time to place your order for the CyclovaXC ski suit!  Check here for details.  Well, we have another special team offer for you, a pair of CyclovaXC team warm-up pants!

These are a great pair of pants with a full-length zip.  An item like this is pretty much a vital piece of equipment for doing any kind of ski race since it allows you to stay warm right up until the start of the race before stripping down to your ski suit.  Anyone who has ever tried to get a pair of warm-up pants over a pair of ski boots will recognize the advantage of a full-length zipper.

These pants are also great for going on casual skis or for cold days.  I end up using mine quite a bit in the summer on things like camping trips because they're comfortable and convenient.

The pants will look exactly like those above, but we're also going to have a CyclovaXC decal on the leg (yet to be designed).  For Pre-Order only I can get these at the fantastic price of $100!  Do not miss this special offer, these pants are tremendous!

There is currently a size kit of these pants at the shop, so stop by and get your size, then send me a pre-order email at bj@cyclovaxc.com.  Again, the deadline is October 12th since I need to get this order in.  You can pay upon receipt of the item.

See you at the shop!

Women's Fitness Group is BACK for Thur, October 4th!

That's right ladies! Emalea has an activity planned for the women's fitness group this Thursday, Oct. 4th!  Make sure to arrive at the CyclovaXC retail store at 6:30, and be prepared to go on a nice hike with Emalea.  As always, all ability levels are welcome.  See you there!

Place Your Orders for the CyclovaXC Ski Suit!

Hey Folks!

Well, it seems crazy to be talking about this already, but that chill in the air isn't going to go away anytime soon!  That's right, ski season is right around the corner, and I know there are a lot of you who want to upgrade to the BEST ski suit in the whole Birkie!  Well, your wait is over because I'm setting things up for the CyclovaXC ski suit re-order!

I have to get it going though because I want to make sure you have your suit in time for the Sisu race in Ironwood!

These suits are a specialty item and we pretty much only order as many as we're going to sell, so the only way to get them is by placing your pre-order.  Simply send me an email (bj@cyclovaxc.com) with the size you want and I'll put you on the spreadsheet and make sure a suit arrives for you.  The price is $165.  Yes, there are less expensive suits out there.  The reason this suit is more expensive is because it's got the superior  "Eyelet Mesh Fabric" (it looks like it has a bunch of dimples).  I've skied a lot of ski races and this is the BEST material I've ever used.  It keeps you warmer in the cold, and breathes better when you start warming up.  Honestly, after pulling this suit on, I will never pull on an inferior one ever again.  What's not to like about being warm and comfortable?

We aren't eligible for a sizing kit since this is a reorder, but this suit will fit pretty much like your bike jersey.  Remember that you will probably want a little bit of extra space under your jersey for a thermal top, so if your bike jersey is a tight fit, you might want to go a size bigger for the ski suit.  We can also do tall sizes, but that will incur an additional cost (I'll have a quote from you from Mt. Borah if you order, it will probably be around $10 more).

I'll be putting in the order with Mt. Borah on Friday, October 12th, so please get your sizes and quantities in to me!

Come ski with us!!!


Keith Sums up the 2012 Woolly Race

Start/Finish area of the Woolly Mt. Bike race, photo courtesy of Ben Mullin
I can't believe it's over.

The Woolly went off yesterday with hardly a hitch. The weather was absolutely spectacular! Who could believe we were getting sunburned on September 30th?! Mother Nature cooperated by timing the peak of Fall colors with our event, providing a beautiful, glowing backdrop for our 6th running of The Croix Valley Woolly Mammoth. AKA "The Woolly".

The day started for me just after 6 a.m.. I shuffled down the stairs towards the kitchen to find my 10 year old son, Luke pouring me a cup of coffee. He was so excited for Race Day that he awoke just after 5 and had been waiting for me to get up so we could get going! We grabbed some breakfast and loaded the bikes on the car to head over to the high school. I was just abut there when I got a call from our food vendor who was having vehicle problems and wasn't sure when he was going to show up. We weren't even to the venue, and we were already encountering challenges! Thankfully, he was able to get his truck going and was able to set up before our first wave of racers were toeing the line at 9:00.

After that first wave of riders took off, the day entered this strange dimension where the day seemed to be both lasting forever, yet speeding by. We were BLESSED with an abundance of eager, hard working volunteers that worked very hard to accomodate the needs of our racers and their families. A start/finish routing challenge was handled quickly and courteously by a small army of Woolly T shirt wearing volunteers who spent the better part of their day keeping our racers safe from vehicle traffic and sending them to the appropriate finish chute. 

The rest of the day just kept getting better as the St Croix Falls High School parking lot filled with not just vehicles, but campers and motorhomes as the venue began to resemble mountain biker carnival. It was glorious to both see and feel the fun energy that the mountain bike "family" brings to this kind of an event. Every time that Paul, our announcer requested "more cowbell!" the hills would come alive with literally HUNDREDS of little orange Woolly cowbells would start clanking; spurring the racers along towards the finish line.

By about 3:30 or so, the last rider had crossed the finsh line, most of the awards had been given out, every last T shirt was sold, all the Woolly cowbells had a new home, and it was time for the clean up crew to get to work. After 6 years of putting this race on, I am still amazed that it takes us 3 days to put the course together, but only about 90 minutes to take it all down and load it onto the trucks and trailers. Weird.

The 6th annual Woolly was an enormous success! Approximately 275 racers and their friends and families attended this year. We have heard nothing (so far) but positive feedback. Woolly Bike Club has already been invited to be a part of the MNMBS series again next year. Amazing.

What really hits home with me is the fact that "The Woolly" has come a long way from an idea born in a basement office, to the MN series race, city supported mountain bike trail network, and IMBA Chapter Bike Club, that it is today. Amazing.

It's just one more example of a small group of people making a change in the world.

See you on the trails. -Keith

For more information on the Woolly Mt. Bike Club, click here.
Also, "like" them on Facebook here.

Stuart on the Podium at Woolly

Here's Stuart proudly displaying his CyclovaXC gear on the podium at Woolly!  That's the way to do it Stuart!  You zip up your jersey as you cross the finish line, and you display your jersey on the podium.  Textbook!

Congratulations on another great race (Stuart's been lighting it up lately).  I put in a link to the complete results when they become available!