Thursday, November 16, 2017

Chasing Chuck

The car window reflection says it all.


Getting more than we bargained for...
Last Sunday's ride from Troutdale marked a milestone in the Lore of Cyclisme Racing Programs.
For over three decades, the Sandy river valley has influenced our bicycle racing program.
Last Sunday the road to Lolo put a man on our Barlow trail, who was a much stronger rider than we bargained for.

Cyclisme Racing programs  attempt to mind the wind in pacelines with benevolence, good form, simplicity and team.
Rolling up stream on the Sandy river we always try to offer a draft to the people we fly up upon the road.
It's not easy pull off though.
Typically the car in the lead approaches the unwary lead cyclist first. That is what happend to Chuck.
 Varoom, errrhg!
Carnage on the first climb.
"Hey man, you want to ride in the draft of my cycling team coming up behind you?" I ask as he turns his head to the sound of the car next to him.
"Boy, do I!" Chuck said matter of factly.
I did a bit of a double take to examine his sincerity and said,"Okay, I will let them you know. You just pop on to the back when they come by."
"You bet!" Chuck reported back, nodding knowing approval.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What's in a bike?


Leadership and academic strategies abound for raising children growing up through the modern American malaise.

11yr old Josh Morris of BIKE LAW schooling a 45 yr. old NIKE exec.
Well balanced,  and resilient high school graduates are the holy grail of parents and teachers alike. But a child's personal choices are the specter of unknown probability in our search for quality citizenry.

Many would say, "all youth are at risk today, and not just those living in the inner city." Drugs, violence, crime, and video game lethargy are but a few of the modern phenomena that invade the idle moments of a young person's life. There are no guarantees that a perfectly balanced, well adjusted person won't make a bad choice.

When we think back over our lives, how many gifted and talented children with kind parents, from privileged backgrounds have gone out into the world and made catastrophic choices?

Some people however, learn to transcend their set-backs in life. You knock em down, they get up. You lock em up, and they get out to become President of their country. Some people become  highfalutin celebrities, but stay grounded, and humble.  What is that? Why do they choose the way they do?

Tristan Young
 I don't know.

But I do know...
Bicycle riding improves the statistics.
Bicycle riding puts the young perspective on the happy side of life. The hopeful side of life. And it adds the well received patina of aerobic athleticism to a young person's attributes. Energy to perform easily, as well as societal good looks for others to shape their impressions, give a teenager confidence.

Bicycles teach best life practices through discipline and freedom.
Kids pedal through their anger, and frustration, but are restricted to good form by their pedals' crank arm length. 
Goals are like bicycle driven destinations, there is just no way to get out of powering up the watts required to travel the distance to the desired destination.

In twenty five years of coaching bicycle racing, I have come to believe laughter is one sign of something good going on. Interspersed with episodes of extreme oxygen debt,  the laughter helps shape a good strong person. Compassion is one outcome that deep breathing and team work, when combined, seem to promote.

A bicycle's pedal stroke is also an excellent coach of  Good Form as a concept. Regular Saturday practices with the Team are an excellent coach of Benevolence and friendship.

One of our students challenged by our weekly team ride is 16 year old Tristan Young, of Beaverton, Oregon. Tristan arrived with a  passion for cycling, but without much of an outlet. Tristan is challenged by traffic filled roads, and by his learning style. Tristan has Autism. Today Tristan rides in a paceline with others in traffic, and competes in Oregon Bicycle Racing Association events. He became the Oregon Cup Individual Time Trial Champ for his age division in 2016.

Tristan says, "It's hard to focus when I really just want to do some thing, but then I remember i have to listen." Tristan adds in regard to cycling practice, "little things bother me when I am out and about during Practice."
He lists: "if my bike is not working like I want it to, or my mom wants me to put on sunscreen, or there is too much going on in the pack on the street, it bothers me."

Tristan takes this weekend challenge on, recovers, and is strengthened for daily life at his high school during the week. Of late, Tristan has been "mainstreamed" and gets his education in regular public school class rooms.

Tristan needs a village. Cycling has given Tristan and the other children on his team a safe social circle to perform in.
For example, Tristan's efforts have been noticed by caring adults in the cycling world. People in the Portland area like Bob Mionskie who rode for the National Team, and Dave  Guettler, Owner of River City Bicycles, have come together to level Tristan's playing field by supplying him with professional equipment to pursue his goals. (see here)


Water fight.. on a hot day? Really?
For kids like Tristan the bicycle is more than just a toy. The bicycle is a passport to a language of laughter describing what happiness feels like. His bicycle offers a vision of how he wants to shape his happiness with the help of others. Simply his bicycle clues him in on how much strength is required to get there. The bicycle is his passport, his teacher, and his friend.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Secret Team

WE GOT READY WHEN WE GOT READY


Joshua off the front!
Arrival at the confidence, speed, and prowess required for a bike racer to train well, is elusive. Racing safely is predicated on the success of training.

How do cyclists get to be race ready?

In part, the requirement is clear goal declaration. By stating out-loud to others that we want to be fast, and maybe win the State Champs at that, is how we get locked in to our goals.

Clearly stated goals help others to get involved in a positive way.

New Talent get a lot of misleading information from other good looking - seemingly accomplished competitors who talk loud and fast with nebulous, if not destructive intentions.
Racers find a clear path from a trusted coach. Using honest and knowledgable feed-back is a sure way to add depth and clarity to the goal-oriented racer's training path.
Dubble D - there for Jake in '11. There for WORD in '17.

However, coaches are challenged by beginners who don't know yet what their options are for goal making.
Coaches suggest the options, but racers must hear the voice of wisdom.
Sometimes a new person who in the moment wants to be in our practice, will then in the next week wax unsure.

Ironically, confidence comes most easily from the crowd. The team dynamic.

This year our team had many of the same building blocks as so many successful Cyclisme teams in years before.
They enjoyed a "Rocky Rabbit" traditional winter road ride promoted weekly, so a larger group could train together working on the general tactics of road racing. But this year, finding a quorum of participants who had the confidence and clarity to show up week after week, without break for 6-10 weeks, was impossible.

Cobbled together with intermittent appearances, the group improved anyway. Maybe not at the rate the most competitive OBRA Teams do, but small improvement for some was more encouraging and useful than for others.
Finally, near the end of 2017, some of the interested found a place to showcase their improvement in racing's "low lying fruit" individual TT competitions out at the velodrome called "PVC TT's" on Tuesday Nights. Low and behold, they even found some old Cyclisme Leadership out there, waiting ready to serve.
Dan Dubble D Dhonau had been honing his individual TT program for more than a few years. When our 2017 graduates of the Winter Program arrived as a gaggle at Alpenrose Velodrome, Dubble D looked up, smiled, and decided to really train. He made a voiced goal.
His clarity led our success. And though we got ready to race about the time the racing season was over, at least we got ready.

The preparation will only prepare us for next year.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Man on a Mission


Double D gets ready to develop his legspeed and power.


Some bicycle racers identify their goals early, and some resolve to pursue them late. However, whenever the goal becomes clear, it's time to get to work.

Dan moves high to attack after a very fast "neutral" lap.

In life, work, and reality, it's overwhelming to try and improve your ability (A LOT) on a bike. Even the bottom tier of amateur track cycling is hugely competitive. One has to be skilled and fit to even participate. It's terrifying to maneuver on a 43 degree bank in a pack of sixteen guys going 30mph, much less beat them to the finish line.
Digging deep in 5th place to hold on while many get dropped.


Track Racers not only need to be fast enough to hold on, but if they want to win, they have to be able to peddle off the front away from the rest. And how much oxygen do you want to keep in your head to think with while you are doing all this?

Dan's Scratch Race strategy was to shell five people in the first lap, while establishing himself in the drafts of the most aggressive leaders.
Double D sat on the wheel of all aggressors.
In a fluid, ego-maniacal environment that begs to be pure chaos, Dan organized it by example in one fell swoop.

Attacking into the whistle in the first lap, Dan pulled up track in corner 3, and fell into about 5th easily. (or, as  easily as possible while going fast as you can - see above - click on picture)

Beginners at the Championships!

Powell. Thielle. and Waldman.
The Durango Kid comes of age!


When one starts racing track late in the season,
the State Championship are just another race.
Racing at the State Championship you get to see the best of everyone in a all the age graded divisions.
In 2017, the  OBRA Masters' Champs was no exception.


Rob Waldman
In the most elder age categories, the main season calendar can offer slim pickins. Folks either end up racing people half their age or they end up racing small fields with dismal competition. But at the Master State Championships, the fields are high class and exciting.


Rob Waldman raced his first match sprint of his career against two national medalists. It wasn't pretty, but Rob "The Durango Kid" Waldman endured for a bronze medal. Now he is the one of the top Match Sprinters in the 65+ age division of Oregon.

Two debut at the Master's Champs.
Rob's debut was supported by his team with rollers and a tent, food, water, and coffee. The coach and his wife as well as a variety of coaches who gathered t the side of his coach as a veritable coaching staff.
Two of note were John and Cyclisme's  original assistant Coach, back in the nineties, Jerry Powell, and National Team retiree, Brad Gephard.
Also helpful, Rob's somewhat more experienced team-mate Dan "Double D" Dhonau went forth with him representing the "newer guys" in the face of an all star cast of Oregon's oldest.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sharpening the Edge

Going out hot, finishing with a fight.

Before  we have enough skill and strength, our visualized goals feel out of reach.

Developing skill in a good team environment leads to a feeling of prestige and confidence. When the team believes they can do it. They start to do it.
Waldman, Theisen, Stockwell, Connelly

Tuesday Night at the Portland Velodrome Committee Time Trials and Pursuits, Cyclisme racing  presented a new feature to our new style... late race fight!
Big, late race moves seemed to be the product of a deep reservoir of determination, as well as the second week using easier gears .

Going out hot with an easier gear invited us to try and catch the opponent off guard, Cyclisme racers spun out, or even blew up tired, but then still tried with legspeed again to recovered the lost ground - or even reclaim victory, was WORD RCB style of the night!. Light gears invited deep athletic efforts, and big crowd excitement!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Learning to Pedal FAST

Kid gets good start with b.i.k.e.
Tuesday Night at Alpenrose
PVC TT and Pursuits

We chose easier gears tonight meaning a new race style for Cyclisme.

Faster starts and smoother pedaling led to big leg speed.
Generally finish times were slower, but everyone felt better in their skin after using an easier gear.

Pursuit specialists.



Joshua and Sarah raced in 60 inch gears! It was slow going, but everyone was happy and looked fluid.


Pursuit racing means finding a tempo that can be raced every lap. Matching split times is the goal in training and most of the time in racing.

DD doing it.
Events were longer 2K and 3K distances, and with easier gears the acceleration could only come from improved legspeed.

In the beginning it is a bit of a shock to the system. However, it allows folks to go deep into the effort, and find something new.

For example: One person who really went deep into the back back tunnels of his subterranean hurt locker (pain cave) or area of high perceived exertion, was big Double D. Putting on an easier gear of 47x16 DD covered 2K in 3.12. That's over 23.3 miles per hour.

Steer down to the black line!
You can calculate speed with an online speed calculator like this one (here) by using times found in The Results (here)

In the next few weeks, Word RCB by Cyclisme will see legspeed RPMs, and finish times improving!