#LevisTrainingCamp2k17 Travelogue

#LevisTrainingCamp2k17 Travelogue

The ultimate Spring Training adventure - bikes bikes bikes bikes bikes! I'll try to update this page periodically along the way with notes and pictures from travels, tribulations, and trainings. Chapeau! 

Day 0: A flat road race, and a lot of packing...

Nothing like starting off a long training block with a race! For the first real race and hard effort of the year, I can't complain about my legs. But I also can't lie - I got dropped HARD on the last lap. 

 I can't complain about running the Bontrager race tubulars on my road bike though... I always forget how fast they are until I'm riding them!

I can't complain about running the Bontrager race tubulars on my road bike though... I always forget how fast they are until I'm riding them!

Afterward, it was time to head home and pack for the coming adventure. 

Day 1: An early start, and some sandy trails...

We tried to get a jump on the day, woke up early and jumped in the car headed for Fruita. 

We encountered some unusually dry conditions out at the Rabbit Valley trails, and our original ride plan was thwarted by deep sand that made most of the climbs un-ridable. 

Nothing like filling your brand new Bontrager shoes with sand!

Day 2: Awesome trails, and finally some good trainings...

Day 2 yielded some much better riding. The Lunch Loops trails in Grand Junction definitely earned their place as some of my all-time favorites. There's just so much good technical terrain - you can easily ride all day and continually find fun challenging trails to constantly push your limits.  

Scenic to say the least! I also had a chance to pre-ride some of the more technical sections of the Grand Junction Off-Road course - unfortunately, videos always have a way of making technical lines look tame. 

One of the trickier sections of the Grand Junction Off-Road course - videos never do the lines justice. It's much steeper than it looks!

Day 3: Escaping the rain and headed to Durango...

We woke up Tuesday morning in a slow, steady drizzle, and after a fun time taking down the tent in the rain loaded our soggy selves into the car and headed to Moab where the weather was predicted to be slightly drier. Luckily it was, and I ended up with an excellent single-track loop with hero dirt all around. Afterward, we drove the rest of the way to Durango. 

Day 4: Road riding, and some suffering with FLC...

Boy does it feel good to be home! The clouds cleared in Durango and the roads dried out perfectly for a long road ride followed by the Dead Elk Wednesday night TT put on by FLC Cycling... It was pretty windy by that point so the times were generally slow, but it felt good to put in a nice long hard effort nonetheless! These were days in Durango were also a great opportunity to shower, restock on food, and dry out the camping gear from last night's rain storm. 

Day 5: Durango MTB Extravaganza with Mike...

While not all the trails are dry yet in Durango, there's still a whole lot of shredding to be done! Mike and I took a long day on the MTBs to explore all the dry trails we could find. 

Day 6: Back to Moab for Outerbike...

Thankfully after six days of pretty hard riding, a recovery day was finally on the schedule. The short day on the bike also coincided nicely with another one of Colorado's infamous springtime blizzards: 

Emily and I arrived at Outerbike just as there was a brief pause in the storm where we managed to squeak in about 45 minutes of riding on the Bar M trails before rain chased us back to the car again. 

We also said a quick hello to one of our favorite sponsors for 2017 #Oakleyisso2008 

 Say hello to Dave, from Julbo USA! 

Say hello to Dave, from Julbo USA! 

One upside of rain in Moab is that it scares away most of the people, so we were able to find an awesome camp spot up Kane Creek road while others were fleeing for the hotels. 

Day 7: Desert Solitaire... 

The rain stopped overnight and in classic desert fashion the dirt was dry enough by mid-morning to head out on the bike again. Feeling the fatigue in my legs, I opted out of another long day of technical trails and headed south on Kane Creek road in search of my inner Edward Abbey - that is, some crazy exploration far out in the desert. 

I found exactly what I was looking for out a trail called "Chicken Bends." Legend has it that the trail earned its name as miners and ranchers rode the trail on their horses back in the late 1800's. There are a few extremely exposed and narrow corners with a solid 200ft drop straight down to the Colorado River, which were apparently enough to turn even the most bad-ass into chickens. I can see why! 

Exploring the Chicken Bends above the Colorado River

On the way back to camp, even despite my tired legs, I couldn't resist the allure of Captain Ahab, and finished off the day with a loop on the Amasa Back trails. 

Day 8: Last Hurrah on Amasa! 

The last day of #LevisTrainingCamp2k17! No better way to finish it off than with some proper techy trails out in Moab. I had never ridden Rockstacker or Jackson's trail before and wow! Those trails are Rowdy with a capital R. Serious drops, and serious exposure, but also a blast! 

Emily also pushed her limits, but may have sent it just a bit too far towards the end. I managed to whip out my phone and hit record just in time for this: 

Emily sends hard.

Here's where it seriously pays off to invest in legit equipment. Her Julbo glasses and Bontrager helmet were pretty ravaged from sliding on sandstone, but we all rode home in one piece! 


That's all there is too it! 9 days, 30hrs on the bike, 355 miles (mostly of trails), 34,000ft of climbing. Zero flat tires with Kenda and Orange Seal, 4 rim hits on gnarly rocks with RideFast carbon rims but didn't even need to break out the spoke wrench. Pretty legit stats, and successes all around! 

Until next time! 

Hunted by an eBiker

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Hunted by an eBiker

About 10 minutes later, I turn around to check for cars: BOOM! There he is. Silently tucked in my draft, somehow keeping up a steady 21mph on his commuter/gravel bike hybrid. Now I'm even more impressed. I mean, this guy is carrying saddle bags for crying out loud (Literal ones on his bike - I'm really not making a fat joke). I'm also a little scared that I'd just been unwittingly stalked for the last 4 miles by a man who didn't even respond to my "Hello!"

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Training Phase #1: BC Skiing

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Training Phase #1: BC Skiing

Weather in Durango these days is bad. Like 35 and raining all day, bad. And you can only spend so many days in a row on the trainer, so you've gotta get creative to keep from packing on too many pounds during winter. 

Emily and I were invited for a night in a yurt up on Wolf Creek pass surrounded by some of the best backcountry skiing in the Southwest. The access point was a bit past the Wolf Creek ski area, and we skinned in just before the next massive storm really settled in. 

 Inside the yurt - cozy. 

Inside the yurt - cozy. 

 Full-on whiteout conditions. Not good for driving, but killer skiing! 

Full-on whiteout conditions. Not good for driving, but killer skiing! 

Our Yurt-Mates were a couple of smart guys from Boston (one studying at Harvard, the other working at IBM), but we had plenty in common with the fresh powder pouring in. It snowed 4 inches overnight, with 1-2 feet expected throughout the next hours. Free refills, baby! 

We weathered the storm throughout the night playing a card game known throughout my childhood as "Rich man, poor man," but which has since come to be called "Presidents and Ass-holes" (No, this isn't a political commentary, literally just a card game, okay?). It's a would-recommend game for all ages, and easily adapted to a drinking game to stave off the cold if necessary. I suggest allowing the winner of the previous round to decree arbitrary rules and appropriate penalties for the following round. For example, "In the next round, all players must answer any question directed at them as if they were playing jeopardy." As in, Q: "Hey Levi, where did you put the rest of the peppermint schnapps?"  A: "What is: in your hot-coco." 

 It was a bummer to leave after only one night, but better to get out of there before the storm buried the trail back home completely. 

It was a bummer to leave after only one night, but better to get out of there before the storm buried the trail back home completely. 

Back home now and starting to work on building up some new MTBs for the season. Just waiting on forks and wheels from Magura and RideFast, then we'll be in business as soon as the snow melts! 

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Let's go 2K17!

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Let's go 2K17!

I've been slacking on my posts for, well, about 9 months now. But, we all know that lifestyle blogs are trendy as now a'days, so New-Years-Resolution #1 is to post fast and frequent. Short, sweet stuff will be the name of the game, and shameless sponsor promotions will be kept to a minimum, so as to avoid being trolled like Payson (sorry). 

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Schools Out! - Ocean Beaver, Road Racing, + Más

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Schools Out! - Ocean Beaver, Road Racing, + Más

Pheeeww - schools out! Here's an update now that free time is a less precious commodity. 

 Unfortunately I worked pretty hard on all my final papers, so I resisted the urge (though it was a strong one) to throw them recklessly into the air. 

Unfortunately I worked pretty hard on all my final papers, so I resisted the urge (though it was a strong one) to throw them recklessly into the air. 

I started out the racing season this year with some time on the road - the collegiate USAFA race was a great way to bring my racing legs out of hibernation. Sagan's win in Flander's that morning gave me some inspiration, but unfortunately my own form had yet to come around. I covered attacks all day, and pedaled in on my own after the last half a lap off the back. But that's just how it goes. 

Next came a big block of training to top off the tank for some more pedal bike racing: Sea Otter, the FLC home Road Race, the Whiskey Off-Road, and the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde. On some of my longer rides, I've started buying snickers bars at gas stations that reflect how I'm feeling at the point in the ride. I'm hoping to start a new trend. 

 About 4 hours in to a 5 hours mountain bike ride. 

About 4 hours in to a 5 hours mountain bike ride. 

All too soon it was time to fly out and meet the RideBiker team at the Infamous Ocean Beaver Classic! This is always a fantastic event, if not for the racing, but for everything else that comes along with it. It was a great opportunity to talk to all of our new sponsors, so meet and greet was the name of the game!

Since I'm already partnered with RaceFace, and RideBiker, another compound word starting with "R" only made sense for a wheel sponsor: RideFast Racing. This'll spark some controversy, but their wheels ride better than Enve's IMHO. Imma just leave that there. 

Also had a chance to check out the first ever electronic dropper post from Magura - with this and an "America" themed fanny-pack, I'll be super fast on the downhills, right Cody?

 Ayo Technology.

Ayo Technology.

Next came the FLC home road race in Durango. This is always a fun one with a fast and furious crit around downtown D-town, and a killer of a road race with a steep, sub 3-minute climb that shatters the field on every lap. My legs finally started to feel like their old selves, so I was able to put in some digs in the crit, and managed to finish out front of the chase group in the road race after missing my chance to make it into the break. That's just how it goes. 

 It's always fun to get out for some tactical road racing every now and again. My mountain biker mentality always ends up putting me out in the wind, though. Photo creds:  Connor Hodge

It's always fun to get out for some tactical road racing every now and again. My mountain biker mentality always ends up putting me out in the wind, though. Photo creds: Connor Hodge

Finals the next week did their best to break my spirits, but after a few long nights of studying they were finally behind me, and with relative success. It's crazy to think about how my collegiate career has flown by. Just one more mountain bike season with FLC Cycling and I'll be graduating this December. Uh-oh. 

Before I knew it, I was loaded up in the RideBiker-mobile on my way to the Epic Rides Whiskey Off-Road. As it always is, the Friday night Phat Tyre Crit was the hardest 20 min effort I'll do all year. After a decent start, I managed to sprint for some minor places out of the chase group. A pretty fair crit for me, all things considered. 

 Fans: amazing. Racing: FULL GAZ. Photo credz:  the No-Tubes Master

Fans: amazing. Racing: FULL GAZ. Photo credz: the No-Tubes Master

On Saturday before the main event, some pretty ugly weather kept the festivities subdued. Cole, Payson, Jeremiah and I went out to preride some of the new single track on course, and ended up caught in the rain. But all's well that end's well. Or something like that. 

 The weather didn't hold back. This is the desert, right? Photo: Mr. Oberman

The weather didn't hold back. This is the desert, right? Photo: Mr. Oberman

On Sunday the weather gave us a break, but the 50 mile course sure didn't! As per usual, the 3000 foot climb out of Skull Valley tried to tear my legs off, but I rode a consistent race, and can't be overly disappointed with the results. Riding slower than last year certainly wasn't the plan, but sometimes you just don't have the legs and have to give it your all regardless. That's something I've been experiencing a bit too often of late. But alas, my fitness is there, so results are sure to follow. 

 If mountain bike racing was easy, everyone would do it! Photo:  Les Stukenberg

If mountain bike racing was easy, everyone would do it! Photo: Les Stukenberg

Now it's back to D-town for some R and R (rest and recovery) before the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde! Team RideBiker will be represented with Payson, Emily, Kalan and myself throwing down down some serious #WATTS!  Stay tuned for some live race updates on Twitter

P.S. If you're feeling philanthropic, give some spare Benjamins to a worthy cause: World Bicycle Relief. It will make you feel good. Donate here.

P.P.S. If you're feeling philanthropic, but you also think my RideBiker Sugoi kit is really cool, you can buy one for yourself here. All the proceeds go to the World Bicycle Relief. It's a win-win.  

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