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Riding Bicycle With Awesome People

What a crazy March!  I've been planning to write a "ski season review" type article, but the ski season won't end. For a while there you'd wake up every morning and there would be another foot of snow blanketing your car to greet you. The March sun tends to melt things fast, but I've still had a couple runs that sent me struggling through knee deep drifts.

Apparently a few people are hitting the shop Saturday (the 30th) morning for a little ride. I'll try to be out there, although I've only been on the bike once this year, and it wasn't all that impressive (not that it ever is impressive). I'd guess people will be showing up at 9:30 or 10, unless it's -700 (we'll still have a couple people even if it's that cold).

By the way, I had a nice compliment from a customer today who asked why I hadn't put up a post since last Saturday...so that's why I had to get my rear and gear and post this!

Help Out With Bicyclist Protection Legislation!

Laurie Landgraf just forwarded me this great information about some bicycle protection legislation. Check it out, and thanks Laurie!

YOU are VITAL to passing legislation that will better protect bicyclists!

At this year's Lobby Day on April 9, we will work with local advocates like you to urge legislators to pass a  Vulnerable Users' Bill that will better protect bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable users of the road. We need you to attend Lobby Day and educate your state senator and representative on why they need to vote in support of a Vulnerable Users bill. YOUR ATTENDANCE at this year's Lobby Day is more IMPORTANT than ever.

Don't worry if you've never attended a Lobby Day; meeting with your legislator is very easy. We provide you with all the support materials you need to feel confident in talking to your representatives. We'll offer a teleconference training for attendees in the last week before the event, plus we'll provide an in-person training the morning of Lobby Day. You'll have plenty of opportunity to get your questions answered through these two trainings.

Best yet, Lobby Day isn't all work and no play. In the evening, we'll host the Bike Fed's 25th Anniversary celebration. There will be an engaging presentation, hors d'ouerves, and lots of great bicycling conversations. If you are unable to attend Lobby Day, please attend the 25th Anniversary celebration beginning at 5 p.m.

For more information on Bicycling Lobby Day or to register, visit here. Please also send out this e-mail to your network or invite your friends to this Facebook event.

I hope I can count on you to attend Lobby Day. We really need you this year!

Daehlie vs. Smirnov

Ok folks, last skiing video!

This one is an oldie but goodie of a photo finish between Vladimir Smirnov and Bjorn Daehlie. In watching this video, it seems to me that you can really tell how much better modern ski boots are than the ones that were being worn even a few decades ago. I don't know if it's just my perception, but it seems like both Smirnov and Daehlie look a little "slippery" in the feet as they approach the finish line.

I've always been a huge fan of Vladimir Smirnov. I believe he's described in Luke Bodensteiner's book as "the best cross-country skier to never win Olympic gold," but then he did eventually win a gold in the 50k at the 1994 winter Olympics. 30 wins and 36 additional podiums on the world cup is nothing to sneer at, and were it not for Bjorn Daehlie, Smirnov would be the most famous skier of his generation.

The other thing I like about Smirnov is that he doesn't fall down at the end of races like Daehlie does all the time. Daehlie likes to do this big dramatic collapse, and Smirnov seems to start eyeing up the crowd for somebody he can punch out. Even in the above video it's sort of like Smirnov says, "if winning the race means that I have to fall down...then forget it."

Also, can you think of a cooler name than Vladimir Smirnov? Vlad for short! Are you kidding me? His name is bookended with a pair of "Vs"!  That's clearly the gold medal best name award. Unless your name is Darth Vader--and even then it's pretty close--you do not have a cooler name than Vladimir Smirnov.

Anyway, these were the kinds of videos we used to sit around watching back in the day. Look for Smirnov on the old tapes if you get a chance, he's the one standing up and panting at the finish line where everyone else is in a collapsed wad.

Oh, by the way, today is the last day to get your CyclovaXC gear re-order in, so please do if you're interested in anything!

How Skating Is Supposed to Look

I know there are some of you who are just learning how to ski yet and sometimes it can be a little frustrating untying the knot of what to do with your arms, legs, skis and poles. Trust me when I tell you that when a skier pulls it all together and does it perfectly, the result is a thing of beauty.

Actually...don't trust me. Just watch the above video!

When Northug decides to open a gap...he opens a big one. 

Watch this video 10,000 times until you can recreate the above moves EXACTLY at the Birkie! I want to see a hundred little Peter Northug clones resplendent in Cyclova green!

Really March? More Snow?

Ben Powering up the Troll Back in January or So
What a winter this has been! I woke up this morning and the first thing I had to do was scrape another four to six inches of freshly fallen snow off my car! This is madness!

Of course I'm attributing this "wealth of white stuff" to the fact that I foolishly signed up for the Eau Claire Marathon on May 5th. I threw down the gauntlet to get some other Cyclovers to come and run it with me, but I don't think anyone has saddled up. The fact that I'm doing a marathon means I have to go running even when there are perfectly groomed, pristine ski trails out there. It's a shame...but I'm on a timetable.

I don't mean to complain, there is a huge upside to this weather. March is the best time of year to teach somebody else to ski. It's nice and warm out, and the trails are always fast, so get out there and enjoy it.

And those of you who are waiting for bicycle season have nothing to complain about either...we have fat bikes at the shop folks. Just bite the bullet and learn to ride in snow.

CyclovaXC Gear Re-Order!

Hey Folks!

It's that kind of slow time of year between the skiing and the cycling season, so now's a great time to offer a CyclovaXC gear re-order! I've had a lot of people talk to me already about the sweet new CyclovaXC bike or ski jerseys they want to be sporting in the upcoming year.

We've been around quite a while and it's pretty amazing how much stuff we're able to offer with our logo on it. As always, I'll get the order into Mt. Borah, and they'll get it back to us in about one month. I'm planning on submitting this order on Friday, March 22nd. If you're interested in picking anything up, please send the following to bj@cyclovaxc.com:
  • Name
  • Product you want
  • Size
  • Men or women's style (note: not every item is available in a women's fit)
Here's what's available and the pricing (note: you may find different prices on this web page in older articles, those were special offer prices, if there is a discrepancy, prices on this page are the ones that will be used):

Team "Green" Cycling Kit--This item has a full-length zipper and a reflective panel on the pockets on the back to increase visibility: $145 ($152.5 with Bib shorts)
Jersey: $87.5
Shorts: $57.5
Bib Shorts $65
Sleeveless Jersey: $85
Long-sleeved Cycling Jersey: $92.5

Team "Orange" Cycling kit--Full length zipper and reflective panel on the pockets on the back. Pricing is a little different than the green. This kit features a superior chamois:
Full Kit (no upgrades): $140
Jersey: $85
Shorts: $70
Bibs: +$15
Chamois upgrade: +$15
Available in Men or Women specific design.

Sleeveless jersey. Available in Orange or Green. Men's sizing only.

Jersey: $85

Team Vest--Great wind vest to be used for skiing and bicycling, I recommend you order a size larger than your typical jersey size since the front is a windproof panel that doesn't stretch:

Red Long Sleeve Cycling/Wind Jacket--Again, order a size bigger than normal because the front of this item does not stretch:

CyclovaXC Ski Suit:

CyclovaXc Warm-up jacket:

Running Kit:
Singlet: $50
Shorts: $55

That's it for now folks! Looking forward to your orders!

How To Properly CRASH in a Cross-Country Ski Race

That guy at 2:55 does it perfectly--the link was briefly down, you can follow it here.
In some ways it feels like ski season is winding down...except for that huge dump of snow that hit us last night. I was out running in it by the way, I came home and you could barely see the red on my CyclovaXC warm-up jacket. It kind of looked like a snowman had stumbled into the entry way.

Anyway, although the Birkie has already passed, I came across this video and I thought I could use it as a teaching tool for those of you out there who are new to skiing the Birkie or are still waiting to get into your first one.

This is a video from the 2012 Vasaloppet in Mora, Sweden (not the one in MN). It shows a deceptively harmless track of trail that inexplicably causes about half the field to crash for no apparent reason. However, it's almost maddening to watch these skiers respond to their crashes.

Look folks, I realize that when you're doing a race you're pretty focused on your own effort and if you fall it's like the world ends, but the sad fact is that THE LAWS OF PHYSICS ARE STILL IN EFFECT and that means that you can't stand around collecting yourself because OTHER SKIERS ARE GOING TO CRASH INTO YOU!!!

Watching this video, it's strange that a couple people crash and then they just sort of stand around for no real reason. You catch some of them looking behind them as if to merge back into traffic, but I think even that is a problematic tactic. What you need to do is start building momentum as soon as possible. That way if somebody still runs up and hits you from behind the impact is less.

There are one or two instances where you see people comically scrambling to the edge of the trail. This is the proper reaction, even though it doesn't appear to work out well for those involved.

Still, my overriding reaction is how self-absorbed people are. You see this in the Birkie all the time too. People crash and then they just stand around, oblivious to the fact that hundreds of other skiers are flying desperately by. It's a matter of self-preservation people! When you crash do your best to clear the course as quickly as possible. There'll be time for dustin' yourself off later, when you've extracted your vulnerable body from the line of fire!

Please...pass this sentiment around!

Sasquatch Dash Trail Race Series 2013

Saturday, September 7th, 2013 9 AM

We've decided to make a big event out of the final leg in our free trail running series: The Sasquatch Dash.  Although this is a series, you are welcome to come and race even if this is the only event in which you are going to participate!

The final event will be a 25k trail run on a beautiful and challenging course at Big Rock Creek Farm.  For those of you doing the Birkie Trail marathon, this is going to be a perfect prep (in fact, keep our whole series in mind for next year as it's guaranteed to whip you into Birkie Trail Marathon Shape)!

As always, the event itself is FREE, but there is a $10 trail pass fee for using Big Rock Creek (not applicable to those of you with a BRC season pass).

These events are super casual.  The trail is marked with water stops, but we don't keep time.  However, a winner will be declared.  There is a sign in sheet at the end which you can put your name and time on (or just your name).

The first three men and women in the overall series will be receiving a free year's subscription to sporttracks.mobi (tremendous data software to help you get the most out of your training).

After the race we are planning on have a bit of a party which, knowing our group, is going to turn awesome pretty fast.  So come on out!  Again, this is a fun first, super casual event that can be as challenging as you want it to be.  There are a couple guys who are planning to come out and throw down...and then there are guys like me (not planning on going that hard).

Hope to see you out there!  For more information on the Sasquatch Dash Series, see below!  For any questions, write me at bj@cyclovaxc.com.  Be sure to sign up on our Facebook Event page!

Check out the course here.

Here's a map to the starting area at Big Rock Creek:

What is the Sasquatch Dash?

The Sasquatch Dash is a free, no-frills trail running race series to show off some of the awesome terrain of the St. Croix Valley as well as provide an economical way to get some high intensity workouts. Everyone is welcome, but these are casual events on non-closed courses—so it's up to you to be on your best behavior. There will be 6 unsupported (this is why it's free) events ranging in length from 6 miles to 13.1 miles. All participants will be required to sign a waiver. Look folks, our race series is named after Sasquatch, don't expect to be coddled out there—if you want something to drink you better carry a water bottle; if you want to know your time you better be wearing a watch; if you want to know where you're going—you better keep up with the guy/gal in the lead (presuming s/he knows).

Series Rules:

Points are earned based on overall placing at each race for men and women. 1st-20, 2nd-15, 3rd-12, 4th-10, 5th-9,...13th and beyond-1. Points will be doubled for the half-marathon which is the series finale.

The finish line will be a clipboard with a pen tied to it. Participants will be required to fill in their name on the sheet in their finishing order. Close races will be decided by whoever gets to the clipboard first. Very close races will be determined by one participant bludgeoning the other into submission with a white tail deer carcass (this is why we make you sign a waiver).

Your series score is the sum of your best 5 scores from the race series.

You can also earn 10 bonus points by pre-ordering our series T-shirt or 5 points by buying it after the pre-order period. To pre-order, simply send your name and size to bj@cyclovaxc.com by 3/15/13. Pre-order price is $15, after that it's $20.


Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 men and women in the overall series. Prizes are going to be awesome...once we decide what they are.

Race Details:

Start time is 9:00 AM

Course marking will be cue sheets and GPX files you can upload to your GPS device. Keep your eyes peeled for future blog posts about the specific races, or follow us on Facebook.

Individual Race Details:

Race 1
Date: Sat., April 13th
Meet at: CyclovaXC at 8:30 AM
Location: WI Interstate Park
Distance: ~ 6- 7mi
Description: Start from the North Campground and finish at CyclovaXC.

Race 2
Date: Sat., May 25th
Meet at: CyclovaXC at 8:30 AM
Location: Wert Preserve
Distance: 6-7 mi
Description: Warm up to start at Lion Park, Finish at CyclovaXC
Course Features: long steady climbs

Race 3
Date: Sat., June 29th
Meet at: CyclovaXC at 8:30 AM
Location: Indian Head Trail (Lions Park)
Distance: 5.5 mi.
Description: Start and finish from the St. Croix Falls Overlook

Race 4
Date: Sat., July 13
Meet at: CyclovaXC at 8:30 AM
Location: MN Interstate Park
Distance: 5.1 mi.
Description: Start and finish at the Overlook
Course Features: tons of steep climbs (stairs)
Course GPX File and Interactive map, click here

Race 5
Date: Sat., August 10
Meet at: CyclovaXC at 8:30 AM
Location: Ice Age/Lower Woolly
Distance: 6.8 mi
Description: Start and Finish at the Overlook
Course Features: premium single track
Course GPX File and Interactive map, click here

Race 6
Date: Sat., September 7
Meet at: Big Rock Creek Farms at 8:30 AM
Race Start: 9:00 AM
Location: Big Rock Creek Farms
Distance: 25 km
Description: The mother of pain race! 1 mile long 500 ft. climb! 
Course Features: endless climbs, 1st ever race at BRCF, historic
$10 trail fee for this event only 

Making Sasquatch noises or dressing up like Sasquatch is encouraged. Keep your eyes peeled for more information (and for Sasquatch...he's out there)!

We'll Be Skiing at Big Rock Creek Farm Until April!

Somehow I got to be the Coverboy on the Big Rock Creek Poster--Must be the Awesome Cyclova Gear!
This latest dump of snow made for a good day yesterday. Zulma had the day off so we were able to take a leisurely stroll down to the Thai restaurant and have a nice afternoon lunch. In the evening, I searched the house for goodies and came up with a "ready-make" package of chocolate chip cookie dough. So, after consuming all those glorious, needless calories, I'm thinking of a place to burn them off; and, Big Rock Creek Farm might just be it!

It's hard to believe it's been more than a week since the Birkie! I see I never even posted any of our pictures from when Leif Zimmermann came out and skied with us at Rock Creek. Honestly, I was totally shot from about Tuesday to Friday of post-Birkie week. The events from the expo, all the way up to the ski with Leif on Monday had my head spinning (not to mention there was at least one night in there I was too excited to sleep).  Add the fact that we all skied 50 KM, and it's been a bit like zombie time recently.

Still, this latest dump of snow is reinvigorating, and if you haven't yet had a chance to ski out at Big Rock Creek, I urge you to do so. We've been having a ball out there. It's sort of like somebody dropped a new version of the Birkie trail four miles away from our shop in St. Croix Falls. The other thing that's great about the place is that it holds snow really well. If we get that trail good and skied in, who knows how long we'll be out there?

Anyway, come check it out. March skiing is the best time of the year to teach people how to ski. It's nice and warm and the snow is always fast!  See you on the trails!