Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cyclocross with Tyler Wren

Tyler Wren, rider from Team Jamis/Hagens Berman Presented by Sutter Home, talks about the sport of cyclocross, his career as a cyclocross racer and how he collaborated with Team Jamis' Jason Sager and Jamis' Road Product Manager Todd Corbitt to create Jamis' new 2013 Supernova cyclocross bike.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Nys Wins Zolder World Cup After Duel With Albert

By: Brecht Decaluwé
UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup #6 2012
Stybar rounds out the top three
It's been more than a decade since Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) last won a cyclo-cross race in Zolder, on the famous former Formula 1 car circuit. During the last few years, he's been beaten by fast men like Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) and Lars Boom (Rabobank), but this year Nys was in total control in a rainy edition on Wednesday afternoon. After a long duel with world champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), the 36-year-old Belgian champion punched it halfway through the final lap. A little later, Albert crossed the line in second place.
"Winning here hasn't always been evident for me. I tried it many times but always missed out. Today it worked out," Nys toldSporza.
Thanks to his third World Cup win, Nys tied Albert in the World Cup points standings but takes on the leader's jersey. Third-placed Kevin Pauwels only managed a fifth place in Zolder, so he lost lost valuable overall points on his two rivals on Wednesday afternoon.
Pauwels completely missed his start and by the time he entered the top-10, the favourites were gone. During the second of nine laps, Albert upped the pace up front. Nys needed some time to bridge up the world champion but eventually he closed the gap. The duo exchanged accelerations but neither got away from the other. Together they hit the bell lap, with the first chasers - including Pauwels - trailing by more than half a minute.
Nys aggressively hopped back on the bike after an off-camber section. He threw himself into a technical descent and stormed on to the victory. When asked whether he had risked his life on the final descent, Nys described how he felt about the section. "I knew what I did. With the rain, it was getting harder every lap, but I had a good feeling. I tried to get the gap on the downhill. That technical zone was in the last part of the track. For me, it's better like this; otherwise it's a sprint. Normally, I can win a sprint against Niels but you never know. It's better to have a gap before the sprint."
Albert wasn't able to close on Nys during the final lap. He was humble in his defeat. "I opted to hop off the bike more quickly than Nys did [on the off-camber section]. After the descent, it was over, and I let go of it. I don't want to use it as an excuse but yesterday I was ill. During the first half [of the race], I was feeling great, but then I lost all energy. Anyway, Nys is the deserved win," Albert told Sporza.
Half a minute behind the duo, it was former world champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) who won the battle for third place. In the final lap, he got the better of his compatriot Radomir Simunek (BKCP-Powerplus) and Pauwels. Simunek was fourth, and Pauwels was fifth.
Stybar was pleased with the outcome of the race. "I was hoping for a place in the top-10, so I'm very happy with this. Those two were too fast for me. Already after the second lap, I knew it. The world championships? No, I chose the road and by the time they race in Louisville, I'll be doing my first race on the road. Maybe it'll hurt at that moment, but I have other challenges ahead of me which are special too," Stybar told Sporza.
The next World Cup round will be held in Rome, Italy, on January 6, 2013. The World Cup final happens two weeks later in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. For Albert, it was clear a big duel with Nys lays ahead for the overall title. "We're starting from scratch. Kevin still has a chance, but the gap became bigger again today. Rome will be a lottery between the two of us. In Hoogerheide, I tend to go very well but that's where the battle will be decided," Albert said.
Since Nys took over the World Cup lead from world champion Niels Albert, a debate within the Belgian team will probably come to an end. Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept) won a spectacular race in Essen last weekend, but wasn't featuring in the Belgian selection. Fellow Belgians who weren't performing at the front of the latest races were feeling the pressure and there was the possibility that one rider was going to lose his spot on the team. However, since Albert lost the World Cup jersey to Nys today, the Belgian team has one more spot for the next World Cup in Rome. It highly likely that Denuwelaere will be added to the Belgian team's selection.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from Velo Wrench Bike Shop!
"May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through! "

Friday, December 21, 2012

Team Jamis

Team Jamis racers, Jason Sager, Blake Harlan and Rotem Ishay talk about their team family, the support from Jamis Bicycles and the success of the team.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

All Things In Moderation

By: Alex Grant
Keeping busy in the off-season
Quite a contrast from La Ruta, Alex Grant raced the Utah Cross Championships the following weekend.
Quite a contrast from La Ruta, Alex Grant raced the Utah Cross Championships the following weekend.
I have always thought that balance and moderation are key to a happy and healthy life, and the same applies to racing. One of my favorite quotes is "all things in moderation, even moderation." I take it to mean that while for the most part moderation is a great motto, sometimes you have to indulge.
This time of year is a great time to mix in some other activities and balance out all of the cycling that I do before and during the season. As much as I love and need to ride, I also need a break, and this is the perfect time. It seems like as the years go by, I can extend my riding season longer and longer, and take a shorter break. I guess it's just my body adapting to all of the miles and races over the years. I also try to mix in short breaks throughout the season to avoid burnout and stay fresh.
This year, I pretty much shut it down after La Ruta, but did finish out the local Utah Cyclo-cross season. One week after riding on to the beach in Puerto Limon, I raced the state 'cross championships in some of the worst conditions I have ever ridden. It was snowing and cold, but under the snow there was a ton of water and puddles. We got drenched, then the temperature dropped more and it started to get windy. By the end of the race, I was so cold that I could barely function. Although I had just won the state title, I was too cold to care and just went straight to the bathroom to try to warm my core temperature back up, and get some feeling back in to my hands and feet. Maybe I was just soft from the mild Costa Rican weather, but I think that may come close to the coldest race I have done. I still think the True Grit 50 in 2011 was the coldest. That's a whole other story...
The next day I flew down to the Sho-Air Cannondale team launch in California and continued to confuse my body with some 70-degree weather. It was a great week of riding, meeting the Sho-Air crew, photos/video, and chatting with the media. And that is not to mention the K-1 Speed Go-Carting that we did on a couple evenings. That is a blast, and Jeremiah [Bishop] and I took home the prize for biggest crash after he spun out and was driving the other direction on the track. I hit him almost head on and it was quite a wreck. Luckily there were no injuries to speak of and we got going again.
For a few weeks after that I tried to mix in time off the bike during the week with a few more 'cross races on the weekends, and did just enough to squeak by with the UTCX series win, by only a few points. My good friend Bart Gillespie won the title for at least 10 years in a row, and I have managed to take the last two. Maybe next year if he gets back out for some 'cross, I will be passing the torch back.
Now winter is in full swing and mother nature is reminding me why I moved to Utah in the first place: for the snowboarding. It hasn't been the best start to a ski season, but I got in a great day of backcountry powder skiing over the weekend, as well as a snowshoe with Sammi.
I am hitting the gym a couple days a week for some strength and agility training, but I thrive on being outside and love snow sports. I am hoping to get out for a cross country ski this week, and then some more ski touring and snowboarding around Christmas. Then it's time to get back on the bike around New Year's with a few days in St. George. Ten days later, I will be in Santa Cruz, California for some training with the team and it's going to be full on from there to get ready for the early season races!
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Attention All Interested Club Members!

We will have our VWBC team meeting tonight at 7:15. It will last about an hour and we can answer all your questions about the club and the 2013 Race season. See you there!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Chasing Down... Nelson Vails

For many of the world’s top cyclists, they first get into biking as a hobby, something to do after school or with friends and family on the weekend. But for 1984 Olympic silver medalist Nelson Vails, cycling was much more than a hobby. It was his livelihood.

Vails grew up as one of 10 children in his New York City home, and as a young adult took a job as a bike messenger, pedaling through the city’s congested concrete streets to deliver packages to customers. While his bike and the job itself would eventually garner Vails international fame, at the time it was simply a means of survival.

“I worked as a bike messenger to earn a living,” Vails recently said in an interview from his new home in the San Diego area. “It had nothing to do with training. But it was excellent exercise.”

But regardless of whether cycling was a job or hobby at the time, Vails had a much bigger vision for himself. That vision would eventually take him beyond the streets of New York, and eventually to every corner of the globe.

In 1984, Nelson became the first African American cyclist to win an OIympic medal.
In 1984, Nelson became the first African American cyclist to win an OIympic medal.
The Olympic Dream 

Vails’ plan came courtesy of his bike and it came by putting in extra training in the hours he wasn’t working as a messenger. In addition to the eight hours a day Vails was “on the clock,” after work he would head over to Central Park and put more miles when he was off the clock as well. Then he’d go to bed, get up and do it all over again.  

Eventually Vails' cycling took him to velodromes in both his hometown of Queens and in Trexlertown, PA, as well, where over time he caught the attention of the United States National Team coaching staff. In the early 1980s Vails moved to Colorado to train with the team full-time, and it was there where he got the first true coaching, training and nutritional advice of his career.

Under the watchful eye of US Cycling coach Eddie Borysewicz (affectionately known as “Eddie B.” to his young disciples) and his assistant Carl Leusenkamp, Vails continued to blossom in Colorado, training with the best cyclists in the United States. Leusenkamp eventually took his riders overseas where they competed against the world’s best, and to this day Vails still looks back on that time as one of the best of his life.

“Eastern bloc, Western bloc, we traveled the world racing,” Vails said. “We raced day-in and day-out against the best in the world. That was preparation that could not be duplicated.”

It was also preparation that prepared Vails for the important races that were to come in the following few years. Vails went on to win a gold medal in the 1983 Pan-Am Games in Venezuela, before eventually making the 1984 United States Olympic team alongside friend and competitor Mark Gorski.

For Vails it was time to head to Los Angeles for the crowning achievement of his cycling career: The 1984 Summer Olympics.

Earning a Spot in the History Books

While there is pomp and circumstance surrounding every Olympic Games, understand that in Los Angeles in 1984 the vibe was decidedly different than any before or since. The 1984 Games fell in the middle of the Cold War, and because of it, a handful of countries elected not to send athletes or participate in the Games.

But for whatever effect the political climate had at the time, none of it showed up at the velodrome on the day of the 1,000-meter match sprint. For Vails and those who rode alongside him that August day, it was business as usual.

“I feel like the results wouldn’t have been much different if the Eastern bloc countries had been there,” Vails said.

On the track the political unrest was put aside on race day, when Vails put together one of the best performances of his career. With his wife and sister in the stands cheering him on, and hundreds more watching on television back in New York, Vails took home the silver medal, with only Gorski finishing ahead of him. In the process, Vails became the first African-American to ever win an Olympic cycling medal. 

It was undoubtedly a special moment in Vails’ life, but even to this day he is quick to deflect the credit to his teammates and coaches. In Nelson Vails’ mind, training alongside Mark Gorski, Scott Berryman and Les Barczewski had as much to do with his successes in Los Angeles as anything else.

 “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Vails said. “My medal is owed to those guys. They pushed me to be my very best. It was so hard just to make the team, that it was easy to win a medal.”

You can even get a pair of Nelson Vails socks by DeFeet!
You can even get a pair of Nelson Vails socks by DeFeet!
Fast Forward to 2012

Nelson is still very much involved in the cycling community.
Nelson is still very much involved
in the cycling community
Even before the Olympic Games were done in Los Angeles, Vails had already begun to write the next chapter of his life. It came on his bike, but it also came on the big screen when Columbia Pictures approached him about helping advise on a movie they were getting set to produce.  

“They came to me during the Olympics, and I looked them in the eye...and told them I was busy,” Vails said with a laugh.  

Eventually though Vails relented, and following the Olympic Games served as a technical advisor on the movie “Quicksilver.” The film starred Kevin Bacon, Paul Rodriguez and Laurence Fishburne as – you guessed it – bike messengers in San Francisco, and Vails was tasked with teaching the actors the complexities of cycling and everything from proper pedaling to the most efficient way to get on and off their bikes. It was a first for Vails, who also made a cameo in the movie.

“It was fun for everyone,” Vails said of the experience. “It was a first for them and it was a first for me. But that is a memory that we all keep with us.”

After the movie was released, Vails continued cycling competitively, most notably winning three straight titles as a national tandem sprint champion. He turned professional in 1988, where he won eight national track titles and also competed in grueling six-day events in Europe, events in which a new race would start every eighth day, after six days of cycling and one day of rest. Eventually Vails retired from competitive cycling for good in the early 1990s.

With his cycling career behind him, Vails elected to pursue one of his other passions – world travel – and did so by taking on a new career as a flight attendant. For Vails, the new job was just another way to see the world, after having the opportunity to do the same for so many years as a cyclist.

“I had been traveling my whole life, so it just came natural to me,” Vails said. “Working as a flight attendant is not a job, it’s a lifestyle.”

Still, even world travel couldn’t keep Vails off his bike forever, and in the spring of 2011 the former Olympian was itching to get back involved with the sport somehow. Vails eventually found his path while attending a race in Manhattan Beach, Calif., when he noticed a handful of riders milling around a board waiting for the results of the race to be posted. At the time Vails thought to himself that there had to be an easier way for everyone to get the information they desired.  

There was, and as we speak, Vails is in the process of launching, a one-stop shop for race organizers and cyclists. When the site is complete Vails envisions a place where race organizers can share information about their events, including dates, times and hotel information. Meanwhile racers can also access information not just on their own times, but also keep up on the races their friends are participating in across the country.

“The goal to be a go-to website for race results nationwide,” Vails said. “You can go on your smart phone and not have to go to the race websites individually... We have so many conveniences, but that’s one convenience we don’t have.”

Since Vails’ original vision in 2011 the site has taken on many reincarnations, and he hopes to have the finished product and available for the holiday season in 2012. In addition to race results, Vails also recently decided that he’d like to include health and nutritional content for beginning cyclists, a video newsletter with race tips from the former Olympian himself and information on his “Go Ride with Nelly” fundraising events.  

Mainly though, Vails just wants to bring the cycling community closer together.

“I want the cycling community to come together with one easy access point,” Vails said.

From the busy streets of New York to the information superhighway, it certain has been a long winding road for Nelson Vails.
And if the past few decades are any indication, there are still a lot of chapters left to be written.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012