12.12.2013

Mad Dashes Tonight- and some (actually a lot of) thoughts on Vermont's bicycling community

First and foremost, if you aren't already planning to do so, you should get down to ArtsRiot tonight to race bikes on rollers and cheer on other people racing bikes on rollers.

I am, of course, nervous about this event. I've never helped out with running one of these before. It is only by the grace of Old Spokes Home, one of their former employees, the ArtsRiot crew, some serious luck involving scheduling, and spending borrowed time I really don't have to spend that this event is happening tonight at all.

All right, now for the manifesto:

Ever since I started VTIndoor two years ago, I have been amazed by how much time I spend on the edge of just abandoning the whole project and fading off into the roads and backroads of Vermont, content to ride my bike in solitude. I am lured by the idea that I could spend my nights at home wishing that somebody else would do something to get me some better infrastructure instead of imposing on my family to deal with my absences. I sometimes feel like I should just go ride and let somebody else worry about how to get more bikes on the roads, more bikes in peoples faces and on people's minds, and a future for Vermont where my young son might not experience near vehicular assault and homicidal infrastructure on his bike on a daily basis the way I do.

I've been on that edge for so long now, but I don't have any intention of going over it.

It's just too important. The stakes are too high. In even the most conservative projections, and even as Vermont's population may decline over the next 20 years, Chittenden County's is expected to expand by 6400 people. And the size of the county isn't going to expand at all, which means there are going to be more of us, in the same space, trying to get to and from more homes, jobs, schools and everything else than we are trying to get to today. Take a look around. Do you see a lot of physical space where we are going to be able to make our roads and parking lots bigger for more cars? Would we want to be doing that even if we could? What's the price of gas going to be in 20 years? How many of us are going to be sacrificing the quality of our food, our housing, our lives in order to keep driving the way we do?  How many of us are willing, the way things are today, to get around by bike?

Would you feel better about getting around by bike if there were more bikes on the road? If more people you knew and worked with also rode their bikes to get where they needed to go?

Would you bike more if you felt like the roads were safe for cycling?

Would you bike more if you felt like motorists respected your right to be on the road?

Given everything you see going on out there, the advocacy organizations, the planning, the funding, the politics, do you feel like things are going to change significantly in your lifetime in favor of getting significantly more people out of their cars and on to bikes around here?

We are not doing enough:

Frankly, I don't. That's pretty pessimistic. But I think collectively, the bike community here has been too timid (afraid to ask for too much or take action that might offend somebody) and at the same time too insular to really make any progress. It's great to have events and have the same loyal crowd show up every time, but that's the foundation, and without a house on top of it a foundation is just a hole in the ground. If we want to build the house, we are going to need more stuff than we have now, and that stuff is made out of new riders.

We are our own worst enemy:

When I started VTIndoor, I got a lot of sideways looks about how I could possibly expect that event to be part of the larger cycling community, because it was "too weird." Let alone that in a matter of weeks I found myself riding bikes with and connecting with people I had never met before.  Let alone that before the end of last year's season, people were jazzed and talking about doing BYO bike and trainer flash mobs in more public places, just for the visibility! When I started BTV Kidical Mass, I was warned that I might "confuse" people by not partnering with a larger advocacy organization. But on those few rides I did pull off last year, there I was again, riding with and meeting people on bikes I never would have connected with otherwise, and making bigger plans for the year to come. Community, just like that.

And here I am with Mad Dashes. It's not really my event at all. I don't own the racing gear (Old Spokes does). I don't own the venue (ArtsRiot). I'm not the guy who got it going so many years ago. I'm just the guy who noticed it wasn't really happening last year and started agitating for it to happen again.  I don't have a lot of say about how the event is promoted, how it will grow, or what it can become. But, like my other efforts, I believe that through direct action, by the simple act of riding bikes and putting them in front of people in unique and unconventional ways, we can overcome the malaise we are in now. We can inspire new riders to join the fold, and we can pull people back over that edge that I dance with on such a regular basis.

That's the thing. It's easy to stay comfortable. It's easy to ride bikes alone or just with the people you've always ridden bikes with- the people who don't challenge you in new and interesting ways, the people who agree with you about how it ought to be done. It's easy and it's comfortable to drive to work, coffee cup in hand and dulcet tones on the radio. It's easy to not be the weird guy who showers at the office and dons his neon every night to go home. It's easy to be the lone wolf rider with the $5000 bike who never interacts with anybody at all.

Doing enough is not going to be easy:

Making significant social and infrastructural change is going to take something much bigger than what we have now. Those of us who are already riding bikes are going to have to start working with each other. Leg-shaving roadies are going to have to be in the same space as mustachioed fixie-riding hipsters, dirty mountain bikers will need to join with neon-wearing commuters- and together, we are all going to have to reach out to artists and poets, hunters, truck drivers, kids, urbanite yuppies, golfers, lawyers, suburban soccer moms, Democrats, Republicans and Progressives, and we are going to have to show them together this complicated, simple, beautiful, easy hardest thing in the world called bicycling and we are going to have to convince them that it should be part of their lives.

Come join me, outside of the Comfort Zone

Until a lot more of us stop doing the easy thing, though, not much is going to change. Bike lanes are going to begin and end unexpectedly, and often in the worst places. The majority of drivers aren't going to pass you safely. Working environments are not going to change to be more friendly to cycling. Those things are not going to change at a perceptible rate until:

  1. Those of us who already ride bikes break out of our comfort zones, climb back over that edge, and work our collective butts off  to bring non-riders into the fold- we'll probably clash sometimes over the right way to do things and we'll probably make each other uncomfortable, but it's good practice for what comes next because
  2. We have to get more people into this  thing called bicycling by bringing it to  wherever they already are- their location, level of fitness, objections to bicycling, etc- and we are going to have to break out of the political, social, demographic, and economic circles we are used to to make that happen. We are going to have to talk to people we don't like, who don't like us. We are going to have to convince people who think that it is crazy to ride a bike on the road that it isn't crazy at all. 
There's no room for ego in any of this, mine or anybody else's. I realize I probably sound like Don Quixote here, I realize there's a possibility that my activities might sometimes be seen as duplicative or confusing when there are other similar efforts going on. I get it that some people might feel like I'm stepping on their toes. None of that is my intent, but I also don't intend to coddle my fellow cyclists in their complacency. What we have all been doing isn't enough. I'm not doing enough, and neither are you, but it isn't going to stop me from trying. 


12.04.2013

Better Mad Dashes Logos

Coming soon to a sticker or T-shirt near you? Got a favorite? Let me know in the comments. 

12.03.2013

Print this 8.5X11 and Stick it Wherever

Unofficial, Unsanctioned poster because the real one isn't ready yet. Going rogue here.

12.02.2013

Mad Dashing on Thursday, December 12 at ArtsRiot- and a note on the importance of "stoke."

Hey all-

December 12 approaches rapidly and we are on track to have our first Mad Dashes Roller Race of the season at ArtsRiot that night- registration at 7:00, racing starts at 8:00.

It's going to be great and you really, really should go. Let me explain why I think so:

When I started Vermont Indoor Cycling, it was a way to put a name and a logo on the idea of open-to-the-public indoor group bicycle rides- some friends and I were looking for a place to get together on our trainers during the winter and that was about it. While I expected it to be a great workout, what I didn't expect was the energy level or "stoke" around bikes that riding together could bring to me and the other riders. We all felt it.

Stoke is important. Without descending too far into the world of bro-speak, I would define stoke simply as enthusiasm that feeds the inner excitement and motivation you already have, even if you don't know you have it at all. So it's winter, it's dark, cold, and wet. Maybe you are a mountain biker or commuter and still riding, but the trails and roads are getting lonely. Maybe you're a roadie hanging up the bike for the year and looking to break out the nordic equipment. Maybe you rode a bike when you were in college and it has sat in the garage ever since. Maybe you don't even have a bike or you've never ridden on in your life.

MAD DASHES IS FOR YOU. ALL OF YOU.

Winter, in my mind, is a terrific time to get cyclists and noncyclists of all types together in a fun, party atmosphere to ride bikes and watch other people ride bikes while sharing food, drink, and good cheer. I guarantee that even if you just come and watch, that internal fire you have will be stoked by coming to this event. YOU WILL BE STOKED.
STOKED.

You will want to ride bikes more, which is a GOOD THING. You might want to ride for transportation, WHICH IS A GOOD THING. Or you might just get excited for riding in the spring ALSO GOOD.

We are working on prizes and incentives to ride. I don't have all the details yet, but this much I do know:


  • There will be a beer special for those of you willing to get up on the bikes and race. If you get on a bike and race, you will be able to get 16oz Lionshead beers for $2:
  • There will be some gear from Switchback Brewery for racers! Hats, Ice scrapers, that kind of stuff. Gift certificates for apparel, too!
  • We will do a drawing among all racers for some sweet Lazer Revert winter helmets- these are CPSC helmets, which means bike or snow, you are good to go! (2 of these will be available on 12/12 and 2 more at each subsequent race)
  • Racing will get you in the running for more and bigger prizes that we will draw for at the last event of the season in the springtime. 

So get pumped, get excited, tell your friends, and lets get together on 12/12 to stoke that bicycle fire!

11.07.2013

No Ride Tonight

Don't forget, folks, there will be no ride tonight. I'm working on a number of options for space, with the goal of making this a free group ride. Stay tuned...

Matt

11.01.2013

Hold Everything Until December 12.

You know that sound of a stylus screeching across a record on a turntable?

Look at the ambitious calendar in the previous blog post, and make that sound in your head.

Now please consider that entire calendar erased.


But don't panic.

Note: if the rest of my explanation below is too long to read, just read this:

WE WILL VERY LIKELY BE ROLLER RACING AT ARTSRIOT ON DECEMBER 12.
EVERYTHING ELSE IS IN FLUX RIGHT NOW BUT WE WILL WORK IT OUT.  

I owe everybody (all 25 of you) an explanation:

When I started Vermont Indoor Cycling, it was basically a name I put on the idea of a bunch of people getting together to ride bikes inside in the winter time. It seems simple enough, but finding and using space has always been a challenge. I loved doing rides at Maglianero the last two years, but i hated that people had to pay and I always worried that it was a deterrent to getting more riders.

And that's the thing. I really wanted MORE RIDERS to show up, because once we all started riding together, it got to be the highlight of my week. As the father of a three-year-old with a full-time job that often goes into the night, I don't really have the time to make it to the many outdoor group rides and bike events that take place around here, but I get really jazzed on the atmosphere, the camaraderie, and the fun. Almost every group ride I have been on was been a VTIndoor ride, and almost all of my other riding is  my commute to and from work. So that's it- can't make it to other group rides? Make your own and get other people to show up. That's what I did.

So, anyway, I've always been on the lookout for free space so we could do this without charging people money, and space where we didn't need to move heavy tables, and space where we could be more visible to recruit more riders... ...the list goes on.  And at the same time, I have wanted to get Mad Dashes roller racing more established, because I think winter-time roller racing is a critical component to the ongoing growth of bicycle culture in the Burlington area.

What does that mean? It means that I went from just looking for a place to ride to finding a bit of a social mission: get more people on bikes in Burlington. Get more people in Burlington used to seeing, used to hearing about, and used to the idea of riding bikes in Burlington all year round. Support that, grow it, get more people to integrate active transportation and non-motorized recreation into their lives. Because it's impossible that I'm the only one out there who gets excited by this stuff, right?

I started an Indiegogo funding campaign under the moniker "Vermont Bicycles United" to try to get a little money together to help make these things happen. It didn't "go-go" very well, through. So with no money to make things happen, I started exploring other ideas. Over the summer I started a relationship with ArtsRiot. They have great space, they were willing to host rides for free, and they have sound and video equipment we could plug right into. It's a match made in heaven. We talked about having one Thursday a month be dedicated to roller racing, with our other Thursdays as training nights. We got to the point where I was confident enough that things were a go that I released that calendar I want you all to erase from your head at this point.

But here's the thing. That really great space at the best possible price (free)? That's really attractive to lots and lots of people. Bands. DJ's. Filmmakers. Yogis. Artists. And in the time since the release of that initial schedule, it has become clear to me and to ArtsRiot that they simply cannot commit their space to me the way they hoped to.

So here's the plan:

  • We are pushing hard to get the first Mad Dash off the ground on 12/12. There will be more information here and on the ArtsRiot Calendar before that date gets much closer. 
  • We will likely also have at least one training night a week through the winter at ArtsRiot. it may not Be Thursdays every time. Based on my availability, it may be anywhere for Thursday or Friday night to any time on Saturday or Sunday. 
  • I am also looking for other space for more training. I'm looking for space that is free, central to Chittenden County, and has power and light. Empty classrooms. Empty garage bays. Warehouses. Barns. Church basements. If you are reading this and a space comes to mind, please, please let me know. 
  • I am looking for other people who would like to lead training events. if somebody wants to borrow my laptop with the Sufferfest videos and start a weekly VTIndoor night somewhere else at a time am not available, that would be really terrific. You can even borrow the Wheel of Pain.   
OK, so that's it. Stand by for training, file 12/12 in the back of your mind for roller racing, get excited to ride inside together, send me ideas for space, and I'll take care of the rest.  

Cheers, 

Matt



10.16.2013

Announcing Vermont Indoor Cycling's 2013-2014 Riding Season

Hey Everybody- 

Matt here- If you are reading this please just stop, forget about the dates and times and places, and please go to this post instead. We have run into some technical difficulties and need to regroup a bit. 

Thanks, 

Matt

Greetings present and future VTIndoor riders!

Things have been a little quiet on this blog for some time, but please do not mistake my silence for inaction. Lots of things have been going on in the VTIndoor world, and I'm really excited to finally be able to announce them to you all.

First off, I'm not sure if you know this, but our host for the last two winters, the always-excellent Maglianero Cafe, is moving their space around and will be out of the basement and up on Maple Street shortly. At the same time, I have been attending numerous events over the summer and fall at ArtsRiot and struck up a broad conversation with Felix Wai from there about bikes, bike culture, and ways we can work together.

The upshot of that summer-long conversation is this:

1.  We will be riding bikes inside at the ArtsRiot space at 400 Pine Street every Thursday night, November through March this year. I have updated the calendar to reflect those dates.

This is what an ArtsRiot looks like. 400 Pine street. get down there- something great is probably happening there right now as you read this.  

2. Riders will not be required to pay to ride as they have been in the past. We'll probably do a donation jar for a worthy cause from time to time, and I'll be happy to take funds to buy more Sufferfest videos and things like that, but riding will be FREE this year. Also, the Wheel of Pain will be back. Maybe we can work out a donation system so you can buy your way out of a bad spin on the wheel?





3. Did I mention that ArtsRiot is also a restaurant with excellent food and beer? And that it will be open while we are riding in the gallery space? That you will be able to get off the trainer and go buy a post-ride beer? Well, you will, and you should.


Yeah, you will be hungry when you get off the bike, and there will be food. 

4. Starting on December 5th, every first Thursday of the month will be a Mad Dashes Roller Racing event as well as a VTIndoor training night, all in the same space. We are working to partner with Old Spokes Home and others on this. it is going to be huge, and our number-one goal is to get as many people who have never raced a bike before to jump on those rollers and give it a go.


I made this logo. Tilt yer head for a better view. Also, somebody more qualified than I am will likely do a better logo before we commit it to a T-Shirt, water bottles, posters etc.  

Other items of note:

There is a new Sufferfest video or two to add to the Wheel of Pain. If you haven't seen the trailer for "It seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time" or "Violator" yet, well, here you go:

Violator:

ISLAGIATT:

Stay tuned, get in those last amazing fall Vermont rides, and GET PUMPED for the winter season. It's going to be epic.

6.28.2013

Pop-Up Bike and Parts Swap, 7:00PM June 30th at ArtsRiot, 400 Pine Street in Burlington!

It's a good old-fashioned Bike Jumble! 

Come buy, sell, or trade your bicycles, bike parts, and bike accessories Sunday night at ArtsRiot, then stay for the  bike-in-movie at 9:00!

Bring your hoard of unused bike parts, bike accessories, and whole bikes to ArtsRiot and prepare to haggle, trade, and find some sweet deals with your fellow Burlington-area bicycle enthusiasts! No bike or parts to sell? No problem! Come on down and browse!

  • Sunday, June 30th, starting at 7:00PM at ArtsRiot, 400 Pine Street
  • Bringyour cash, your bikes, bike parts, and accessories, and a blanket or table to spread them out o
  • Stay for the bike-in movie, starting at 9:00

This is a free event. No cost, no reservations required to sell stuff

4.02.2013

Thank You Everybody For a Great Season- Please Check Out Vermont Bicycles United!

Greetings cyclists!

Matt here. It's Tuesday, which is normally the day I send out my email to all of you about the upcoming Thursday night indoor group ride at Maglianero.

It's Tuesday, but it's April. And we only ride from November through March. It felt pretty silly last week, standing in the Maglianero parking lot in full sun and warm air, going inside to ride bikes. It felt silly, but it felt pretty silly slipping and sliding through the results of this morning's little snow squall, too. Such is spring in Vermont.

I just wanted to write to all of you who rode with us this last season and extend my thanks to you. Thank you so much for coming out (in?) to ride together. Thanks for being willing to throw down five bucks a night to keep the space open at Maglianero, and thanks for helping with the setup and teardown every night too. By my count, we rode 18 times between November and March,. That's 18 times I would have otherwise had to gut it out on the trainer alone, or maybe I wouldn't have even been motivated to ride at all! What a great thing. Thank you also to Maglianero for providing the great space to ride in. I couldn't think of anywhere better.

Now, before you all move on, filling in your race calendars, tuning your bikes, and plotting your outdoor adventures, I want to ask for one more thing:

Please, please check out Vermont Bicycles United.

I've found my niche in Vermont's bike culture by leading indoor BYO bike and trainer group rides out of a basement bike-themed coffee shop. Now spring's here and I'm kicking off kid-oriented group rides under the Kidical Mass moniker. I'm going to make it a big thing this summer- you know, costume rides, storytellers, picnics, bike-in movies... Then there's roller racing, which has been going on in Burlington but hasn't happened yet this year and needs a push to become more sustainable. I got in touch with the former organizers and I put  together a deal to buy up their equipment along with the A/V equipment I need.

The goal of these three projects is to get bikes in people's faces in unconventional places and situations. (Goldsprints at an aquarium? why not? What about kids Goldsprints?)  But I need some money to make it happen.

Please Like and Share the VBU Facebook page broadly, and give generously if you can. You'll notice there are some great thank-you gifts available there, including VBU tees and season passes to ride with VT Indoor cycling next year.

Thanks again,

Matt

3.26.2013

Last Ride of the season! Thursday, 3/28, 5:45 PM at Maglianero Cafe- Fabulous Prizes!

Hi all-

You know the drill by now! 5:45 to set up, 6:30 to ride. Bring your bike, trainer, five bucks, and a towel!

Well, this is it. By my count this last ride will be our 18th ride of the season since we started back in November.

I plan on bringing the Suitcase of Courage once again, containing the now-famous Wheel of Pain. Any video under an hour besides Revolver is fair game.



Also inside the Suitcase are our fabulous prizes for the end of the year, so show up and you might take home a hat, some tire levers, a seat cover, or at the very least some Clif bars that don't expire until the end of next month or so!

I'd like to close by thanking Maglianero for hosting us again this season- they have been really great about letting us use their space and are great about supporting cycling in Burlington!

So what do we do now that VTIndoor is done for the season, Matt? 

Glad you asked:

  • Weel, duh, go outside and ride!
  •  If you have and/or ride with kids, please come ride with us at Kidical Mass Burlington, kicking off on Saturday April 6th on the Burlington bike path. Lots more information available at www.btvkidicalmass.blogspot.com
  • If you want to get in on some sweet head-to-head roller racing, look for Mad Dashes to make a return to Burlington soon. Details are just coming together now, but Burlington will not go without roller racing for long! 
Gee, those three things (VT indoor, Kidical Mass, and Mad Dashes) all involve bicycles- wouldn't it be great if they were all bundled together somehow? 

Yes, yes it would. And it just might happen. Please keep your eyes and ears peeled for the launch of Vermont Bicycles United, which will be my effort to bring these rather unconventional riding experiences together to support and enhance Vermont's cycling community:


More (including shameless pleas for funding and sponsorship) to come soon. 





3.19.2013

Indoor Group Ride, Thursday, 3/21 at 5:45PM at Maglianero Cafe- Also, introducing the Wheel of Pain!

Greetings Cyclists!

(If all you need to know is where, when and what, the answer is Maglianero, 47 Maple Street in Burlington, 5:45 PM to set up and the ride starts at 6:30 this week. Bring your bike, your trainer, five bucks, and a towel. )

Indoor riding has its place, like when there's a bunch of crud out on the roads or when your free time doesn't line up with the daylight hours. Indoor riding gets us through when outdoor riding just isn't practical. But let's be honest- it is a bare facsimile of riding outside. Riding outside, for example, adds the element of surprise.  You never know when you step out the door what you might run into, whether it's an unexpected headwind, a riding buddy calling out a town-line sprint, or a complete change of route and plans that you don't make until you've already gotten a few miles from home.

Well, we here at VTIndoor are dedicated to making our indoor rides just as good as the real thing, and that's why I've constructed the official VTIndoor Wheel of Pain. It's a simple device, really:


Mounted deep inside the official VTIndoor Suitcase of Courage (which also contains the fabulous prizes we'll be giving away on 3/28), the wheel of pain is labeled with each and every current Sufferfest video, with plenty of blank spaces for more. Constructed from a 20" stroller wheel (the most evil type of wheel) and dialed in with a neon zip-tie and a chainstay protector off an old Univega 12-speed, the Wheel of Pain stands ready to take us to yet another level in our indoor cycling adventures.    

We'll go ahead and spin the wheel at the start of our next ride on Thursday, and see where it takes us. We'll limit ourselves to the one hour rides, so if we land on Blender, Hell Hath No Fury, or Local Hero, (or a blank space!) that'll be a free spin. See you there!

3.13.2013

Indoor Group Ride! Thursday 3/14, 5:45PM at Maglianero, 47 Maple Street

Greetings Cyclists!

(If all you need to know is where, when and what, the answer is Maglianero, 47 Maple Street in Burlington, 5:45 PM to set up and the ride starts at 6:30 this week. Bring your bike, your trainer, five bucks, and a towel. )

How about we go to A Very Dark Place?


That oughta do it.


5:00 warm-up

2×30 sprints

1:30 rest, because we’re not totally merciless

5 x 4:00 intervals- with 3:00 rest between each interval. Each interval features pro-racing and has it’s own aggressive personality:

1. Solo breakaway in Paris-Nice
2. Small group breakaway in Fleche-Wallone
3. Joining Gilbert and the Schlecks as they attack in Liege-Bastogne-Liege
4. Following Cancellara – and trying to beat him – in Paris-Roubaix
5. Holding onto Wiggins and crew in Criterium du Dauphine

4:00 recovery with some vintage cycling footage


Leave it all on the floor, spin and watch, or do anything in between. Racer, commuter or rank beginner: come one and all!


3.05.2013

Indoor Group Ride, 3/7 at Maglianero Cafe, 5:45 PM. Also, announcing Kidical Mass!

Greetings cyclists!

(If all you need to know is where, when and what, the answer is Maglianero, 47 Maple Street in Burlington, 5:45 PM to set up and the ride starts at 6:30 this week. Bring your bike, your trainer, five bucks, and a towel. )

I wanted to start this week's post by announcing another project I'm working on- it's called Burlington Vermont Kidical Mass and it's all about sharing the love of cycling with its youngest participants by organizing kid-oriented group rides in the Burlington area. If you or someone you know has kids who might be interested, please check it out and share the link to the blog (www.btvkidicalmass.blogspot.com)




This Week's Ride:

On tap for this week, we have one of the newest Sufferfest videos: There is No Try. The last time we did this one was January 3rd...



It should be fun. Here's what the workout looks like, but as always if you just want to come and spin at your own pace, feel free to do that too:

7:00 Warm-up
:15×4 – each 15 seconds gets faster
1:00 recovery
:30×4 – each 30 seconds gets faster
1:00 recovery
:45×4 – each 45 seconds gets faster
1:30 recovery
1:00×4 – each 1:00 gets faster
1:30 recovery
2:00×4 – each 2:00 gets faster
2:00 recovery
1:00×4 – each 1:00 gets faster
1:30 recovery
:45×4 – each :45 gets faster
1:30 recovery
:30×4 – each :30 gets faster
1:00 recovery
:15×4 – each :15 gets faster
4:00 Warm-down

I'd also go so far as to recommend a strategy for riding this workout, which often talks about levels of effort increasing in small increments at the same cadence...

Use your gears to make the necessary speed changes. When each interval is about to start, get down in your 13, 12 or 11 cog and shift up three times. Then start the interval and make one shift each time the video tells you to go harder. 

A little experience will tell you whether running the bottom of your cassette like that gets you in the ballpark on cadence and effort level. 

When I ride a workout like this on my rollers, with little resistance and no adjustability, I'll just compensate with higher cadences if I run out of gears. Yeah, I know that means I might not get as much of the high-power, low cadence part of the workout, but as long as I end the hour crosseyed and exhausted, I'm a happy camper!

Bring your bike, trainer, towel, and 5 bucks to pay the always-awesome Maglianero Cafe for the use of the space.




2.26.2013

Indoor Group Ride, Thursday, 2/28, 5:45PM at Maglianero Cafe in Burlington


Greetings cyclists!

(If all you need to know is where, when and what, the answer is Maglianero, 47 Maple Street in Burlington, 5:45 PM to set up and the ride starts at 6:10 this week. Bring your bike, your trainer, five bucks, water and a towel. )

A short ride last week (but intense, ask anybody who was there to to those 15 1:00 10/10 effort, 1:00 recovery intervals and they'll tell you that) means it's about time we went a little longer this week. Cue up Hell Hath No Fury!

IMPORTANT: This ride is longer (about 75 minutes), so in order to get it all in we are going to try to start riding by 6:10 instead of our usual leisurely 6:30 start. If you can't get set up in time for 6:10, just fill in the back and get going as soon as you can!

Here's what you're in for:





WORKOUT DETAILS:

You are a Sufferlandrian. And you’re racing for the Sufferlandrian National Team in the Tour of Sufferlandria. You’re expected to take the leader’s jersey (and a very special jersey it is) over the race, the stages of which are:

3:30 Warm-up

5:30 Stage 1: Easy, flat terrain with a few accelerations

20:00 Stage 2: Rolling terrain with a series of brutal attacks as the pack tries to take the lead from you

6:00 Recovery

20:00 Stage 3: More rolling, aggressive, attacking racing in which you try to break away to get the lead back

4:00 Recovery

3:30 Stage 4: A desperate Team Time Trial in which you have to crush yourself in order to take the lead, and the Tour of Sufferlandria victory

6:00 Recovery, featuring Mental Training Reflection from Athlete’s Audio


Bring your bike, trainer/rollers, towel, and five bucks.
 Be over 18 or bring a parent/guardian to sign a release. All money goes to Maglianero to use the space.

Please keep an eye on the blog, like us on Facebook, or follow us on twitter for updates.

Thanks,

Matt

2.20.2013

Indoor Group Ride, Thursday 2/21 at Maglianero Cafe, 5:45 PM

Greetings cyclists!

(If all you need to know is where, when and what, the answer is Maglianero, 47 Maple Street in Burlington, 5:45 PM to set up and the ride starts at 6:30 this week. Bring your bike, your trainer, five bucks, water and a towel. )

Looks like winter is still here and although it is getting lighter out, we have the rest of this month and all of March to keep riding inside.

Let's do another request night this week:

Possible Choices:

Angels (Climbing)
The Hunted (Climbing)
There is No Try (Speed)
A Very Dark Place (Speed)
The Wretched (Race)
Downward Spiral (Speed)


I left Fight Club off the list because we just did it last time.

Check the Sufferfest website for details on these rides and let me know what your pleasure (pain) is for this week's ride.

See you there,

Matt

2.14.2013

In Praise of Riding Rollers


Note: cross-posted to re-turn and my Muscles Not Motors page, if they'll let me- Matt

Over at Vermont Indoor Cycling, most of our riders show up with a trainer. The advantages of trainers are numerous: they are compact, many have adjustable resistance, and they don't require much of a learning curve- you just jump on and ride. And therein lies the biggest difference between a bicycle trainer and a set of rollers. The first time you get on rollers, you most certainly don't just "jump on and ride."

You probably set your bike on them. Then you gingerly swing your leg over the bike. Oops. the top tube is higher now because the bike is up on rollers. You need to be standing on a platform of some kind, or if you don't have one, you need to stand (in your bike shoes) on the narrow rails that connect the three rollers. Got it? Good. Now clip in one foot. Got something to hang on to? You'd better have. Now clip in the other foot, start pedaling, and let go of whatever you are hanging on to. Keep pedaling, and keep that front wheel nice and straight! Once you let go, those first few awkward pedal strokes you made while you were still hanging on (to a door frame, adjacent chair, overhead rafter or floor joist, patient partner, etc..) will fade away and be replaced by smooth, confident pedaling. Or not. Maybe the whole thing will freak you out, maybe you aren't as used to riding in a straight line as you thought you were. What's the worst that can happen? Will you go shooting off the front of the rollers and into the nearest wall?

Nope.

Remember, you have no forward momentum. If you come off the rollers (probably to the side), you are just going to stop pedaling. If you're lucky, you'll unclip in time to put a foot down. If not, you'll just reenact the clipped-in fall to the side you probably did at least once when you first graduated to clipless pedals. No biggie, especially if you are practicing in a doorframe or at least over a carpeted surface.

If that sounds like a lot to contend with, it is. At first. Like for the first two weeks you have rollers. Then, everything in that whole big paragraph up there starts to take less time, until it's all muscle memory. And everything about falling just doesn't really happen anymore. You get smooth. So smooth you start to be able to handle the TV remote or computer mouse while you are riding. You can even stand up and coast for a few seconds. You might even ride a little bit no-handed! You may even find that rollers are fun by comparison. Imagine that. There you are, a cyclist, outdoorsperson extraordinaire, but some combination of weather, limited daylight, and family/work obligations have consigned you a night in the basement- and you're looking forward to it. What could be better than that?

I owned a stationary bike trainer for years and dutifully set it up every winter, after which I would ride it about once during each of the winter months. Not so with the rollers. For some reason, they just "work" for me in a way that a trainer doesn't. They're more fun, and in my mind if you can take winter indoor riding from "not fun" to "fun, even just a little bit fun" it's worth the effort. Plus, rollers can be relatively inexpensive, hovering right around a hundred bucks on the used market, and findable for under 150 dollars new. Considering what you might spend on wheels, clothing, or components, adding a set of rollers to your bicycling arsenal is a bargain.

There are some limitations. Cheap rollers do not have any resistance beyond the effort necessary to spin the drums. You can air your tires up or down to change resistance a bit, and you can certainly use your gears to change things.

If you ride with a computer, especially one that shows cadence as well as speed, you'll quickly get a feel for the range of effort levels you can employ. I know, for example, that I can comfortably ride rollers anywhere between 70 and 100 RPM, and 12-30mph, with sprints to 40. I know that a hard hour on the rollers for me is anything over 27 "miles" and an easy one is anything under 24. Your mileage and effort level will vary. I run into some limitations in some of my workouts where a low cadence (say, 75 RPM) and a high level of effort (9/10) is required. Even in my highest gear (53X11 on 700X23c wheels at 110 psi), 75 RPM only feels like a 5/10 effort. Some more expensive models of rollers do allow you to add a wind resistance unit or a flywheel to compensate. Rollers also come in different diameters, with the smaller rollers generally providing more resistance and less of a flywheel effect, while larger rollers are easier to spin and, due to their weight, tend to spin longer and allow you to coast a little longer if you stop pedaling.

If you are interested in learning to ride rollers, I recommend committing to no more than 15 minutes a day, five days a week for the first two weeks. By setting a reasonable goal, you won't burn out and you'll give your body time to learn what it feels like to be successful on them. When I started out, I added five minutes to each session each week after the first two weeks until I could ride a full hour. After that, the sky was the limit. I started riding in February and by June I had ridden an entire century on the rollers in a night.

If you are feeling burned out, if you feel sad every time you walk by your bike in the garage all winter long, if you can't bear the thought of another grind on your trainer- do yourself a favor and pick up a set of rollers. Just like cycling outdoors, it's more fun with friends- start an indoor group ride, or join an existing one (hint, hint) You won't regret it.

2.13.2013

No ride this week! Ride next week!

Just like it it says. No ride this week, 2/14. Ride next week, 2/21, 5:45PM at Maglianero.
Bike Love,

Matt

2.06.2013

Indoor Group Ride, Thursday, 2/7, 5:45 PM at Maglianero Cafe- Request Night!

Greetings cyclists!

(If all you need to know is where, when and what, the answer is Maglianero, 47 Maple Street in Burlington, 5:45 PM to set up and the ride starts at 6:30 this week. Bring your bike, your trainer, five bucks, water and a towel. )

Yes, we ride once again this week! By now you know the drill and if you don't just have a ramble on our blog for details. For this week, since we have now done all of the available Sufferfest videos and because the Wheel of Pain is not yet fully operational, I figured I would take requests this week. Pick from any of the Sufferfest videos that last around and hour, and we'll do one of them. Leave a comment on the blog or just arrive with ideas tomorrow night and we'll pick one.

Those videos would be:

Angels (Climbing)
The Hunted (Climbing)
There is No Try (Speed)
A Very Dark Place (Speed)
The Wretched (Race)

I left Downward Spiral off the list because we just did it last week.

Check the Sufferfest website for details on these rides and let me know what your pleasure (pain) is for this week's ride. As a reminder, we will NOT be riding on Thursday, February 14th, so get your ride in this week when you can!

See you there,

Matt


1.30.2013

Indoor Group Ride: Thursday, 1/31, 5:45PM at Maglianero


Greetings cyclists!

(If all you need to know is where, when and what, the answer is Maglianero, 47 Maple Street in Burlington, 5:45 PM to set up and the ride starts at 6:30 this week. Bring your bike, your trainer, five bucks, water and a towel. )

So, we've ridden all of the Sufferfest videos. It's time to cycle (no pun intended) back through them, or do our favorites again. There's a whole February and March of Thursdays left to go. Last week, we doubled up the Extra Shots, both of which had the impact of longer, middle-to-high intensity efforts. For this week, let's take it back to Downward Spiral and do some shorter intervals with shorter breaks at higher intensities. 
That should be fun.


10:00 warm-up featuring both MTB and criterium racing
First descending-interval set (with Paris-Roubaix footage)

2:00 interval / 2:00 recovery
1:45 interval / 1:45 recovery
1:30 interval / 1:30 recovery
1:15 interval / 1:15 recovery
1:00 interval / 1:00 recovery
:45 interval / :45 recovery
:30 interval / :30 recovery
:15 interval

5:00 recovery

Repeat of descending-interval set:
2:00 interval / 2:00 recovery
1:45 interval / 1:45 recovery
1:30 interval / 1:30 recovery
1:15 interval / 1:15 recovery
1:00 interval / 1:00 recovery
:45 interval / :45 recovery
:30 interval / :30 recovery
:15 interval

4:00 warm-down, featuring the Zurich Bicycle Film Festival entry by Gorilla Bicycles.

After this, I really hope to get the "Wheel of Pain" constructed so we can add the element of surprise to our workouts. More to come on that.

Also Patrick (and I'm sorry if I got your name wrong, but I'm horrible with names- as evidenced by my pathetic attempt at an attendance page on the blog) has offered to lead us through a little core work at the end of the ride if anybody is so inclined. As long as we have the space put back together and we are all  out of there before 8:00PM, that's fine with me!

1.22.2013

Indoor Group Ride, Thursday, 1/24 at Maglianero Cafe. Double Feature!



Greetings cyclists!

(If all you need to know is where, when and what, the answer is Maglianero, 47 Maple Street in Burlington, 5:45 PM to set up and the ride starts at 6:30 this week. Bring your bike, your trainer, five bucks, water and a towel. )

Those of you who have already ridden with us know that we use videos from the Sufferfest. So far this year, in fact, we have done every Sufferfest video they have for sale.

Except for two: The Long Scream and Extra Shot. The latter runs for 20 minutes, and the former is 30 minutes long. It probably wouldn't be worth it to drag your butt, your bike, and your trainer all the way downtown just to ride one or the other of these. But together...
Excellent.

Yeah.

So here's what we'll do. We'll warm up a bit, then, we'll start off with The Long Scream:


Which goes like this:


The Long Scream puts you into a 30 minute time trial. After a brief intro to get you ready, you stop pedalling….focus……and GO! For the next half hour, you’ll be following the best in the world during the UCI World Championship Time Trial in Copenhagen, Denmark. You’ll gradually increase the speed, starting out a high, but slightly reserved effort, until destroying the road in Copenhagen with a blistering pace toward the end.

Then, everybody can spin down a bit while I jump off my bike and queue up Extra Shot.



And we'll do that.

With Extra Shot, you go straight into a 20:00 race, featuring cobblestones, six nasty climbs and a final sprint. Featuring footage from both the women’s and men’s Ronde van Drenthe, and the women’s Tour of Flanders and UCI Road World Championship in Copenhagen, you’ll get the extra suffering you need.

Then we'll cool down as needed.

You'll get your hour on the bike, and,  if you've ridden with us every night since November, you'll be able to say you've done all of the Sufferfest videos.

Stick one somewhere. 

If it's your first ride with us for the new year, I have one of our stickers to give to you. If you already got your free one and you'd like more, you can buy them from me for a buck a piece, with all proceeds going to fund VTIndoor.

What do we do now that we've done all of the videos? What comes next? Stay tuned, but I can promise it will be interesting. 
See you there,

Matt

1.16.2013

Indoor Group Ride, Thursday, 1/17 at Maglianero Cafe


Greetings cyclists!

(If all you need to know is where, when and what, the answer is Maglianero, 47 Maple Street in Burlington, 5:45 PM to set up and the ride starts at 6:30 this week. Bring your bike, your trainer, five bucks, water and a towel. )

We rode long, long, long last week so let's shorten it up this week with The Wretched. I said the ride will be shorter, but if you're looking for a workout, I think you'll find plenty of intensity in this one.




Unlike the other Sufferfest videos, this workout does not have a clear structure. But that’s how road races are – you have a general idea of what the course is like (see below), but you don’t really know how the race will unfold. So, The Wretched will keep you guessing – and anticipating what your rivals are going to do. You’ll never know when an attack is coming – and they usually come when you most wish they wouldn’t.

7:00 warm-up
35:00 Tour de France stage featuring flats, three major climbs, three very short descents, a valley and a rolling run in to the finish.
4:00 Cool down



Anybody who wants to make sure their workout is a full hour (or more) is welcome to set up and warm up ahead of the 6:30 start time. Once I have the projector running, I'll throw on some cycling eye candy of some kind as a prelude.


Stick one somewhere. 


If it's your first ride with us for the new year, I have one of our fabulous stickers to give to you. If you already got your free one and you'd like more, you can buy them from me for a buck a piece, with all proceeds going to fund VTIndoor.

See you there,

Matt

1.08.2013

Indoor Group Ride, Thursday, 1/10, 5:45 at Maglianero Cafe (Please Note Earlier Start)

Greetings cyclists!

(If all you need to know is where, when and what, the answer is Maglianero, 47 Maple Street in Burlington, 5:45 PM to set up and the ride starts at 6:05 this week. Bring your bike, your trainer, five bucks, water and a towel. )

It's been a while since we did a longer video, so this week, lets get some miles in with "Local Hero."

I actually heard somebody say There is No Try was "easy" last week, and I wouldn't want anybody thinking we had gone slack. How does 85 minutes of race simulation sound?


Sounds pretty good. Here's what the workout looks like:

5:00 warm-up

3:00 of criterium racing

3 x 6:00 pyramids- with 2:00 rest between each pyramid

1:00 following Richie Porte at 7/10 effort
1:00 following David Millar at 7.5/10
2:00 following Fabian Cancellara at 8/10
1:00 following David Millar at 7.5/10
1:00 following Richie Porte at 7/10

5 x 3:00 road race laps with 2:00 rest between each lap. Now each lap has its own personality, with some flatland  racing, climbing, jumps or breakaways. You’ll have your chance to chase with Cadel Evans, attack with Philippe Gilbert and Vincenzo Nibali and sprint for the win against Thor Hushovd.

1 x 2:00 SPRINT! Building up over 2:00, you’re going to increase the speed as you come into the final straight in Geelong. After 75 minutes of racing, can you beat Hushovd? How does 10/10 sound to you?
More sprints! You might think you’re tough, but how would you have fared against Lemond, Bugno or Cipollini? Here’s your chance to go back in time and find out!

5:00 warm down


Given the longer run time of this video, I'll ask that anybody who can shows up as close to 5:45 as possible so we can be ready to hit "play" on the video at 6:05 instead of our usual leisurely 6:30 start. We'll try to set up in a way that leaves room for the stragglers, who are welcome to come in and set up whenever, but the train leaves the station at 6:05!


Stick one somewhere. 


And remember, if it's your first ride with us for the new year, I have one of our fabulous stickers to give to you. If you already got your free one and you'd like more, you can buy them from me for a buck a piece, with all proceeds going to fund VTIndoor.

See you there,

Matt





1.02.2013

Indoor Group Ride, Thursday 1/3 at Maglianero, 5:45 PM. Also, Stickers, Prizes, and More!

Happy New Year, everybody!

Well, this is it. 2013 is upon us. The holiday foods and libations have been consumed, and if you're like me, you're probably coming off a few weeks of interrupted training schedules, too. In the mean time, winter actually showed up and the roads have gotten pretty dicey. I heard a rumor today of a January thaw in a week or so, but tonight we'll be going well below zero, and it's dark. Instead of ruing the trainer and the indoor training, why not come celebrate it with VTIndoor this week! If you'd like to hear some musings about what we'll be up to in the new year and a description of this week's ride, keep scrolling.  If all you need to know is where and when, then read no further:

Maglianero Cafe, 47 Maple Street in Burlington. Doors open at 5:45, ride starts by 6:30. Bring your bike, trainer, towel, and 5 bucks. 

As I recapped 2012's cycling memories, my mind wandered to days when the sun and I were up early, the air was calm and the roads clear. Days when the machine was well-tuned and the rider was feeling pretty darn good, too (no small thanks to those indoor base miles and interval sessions I had laid in). Days like this one:



I'm sure you all have some of those happy memories too. So consider the next three months your investment in being able to take the greatest advantage of those days when they come around again.

New Stuff:
I have a couple of new things on tap for the new year. First, we had some stickers made. They came out pretty nicely, If I do say so myself:


So here's the deal: Come and ride, get a sticker. First one's free, then they're a buck each, with all proceeds going to VTIndoor.


"Sponsorship:"
I'll also be sending a letter out to some of our local shops and bike/outdoor industry business types over the next couple of weeks. In that letter, I'll be asking them if they'd be willing to support our indoor group ride, either by helping to subsidize the cost of running the program or by contributing fabulous prizes to be awarded to our intrepid participants. On the back of that letter will be this poster, which, if the recipient has a retail function, they can put up to help attract new riders:


Click for big, download and print to share the love. 

If you are reading this and you know a person or a business who might be interested in partnering with VTIndoor, or who might want to put up our posters somewhere, just click on the image above to download a copy and go for it! All I ask is that posters are put up respectfully and with permission of whoever needs to give it. If you know somebody I should approach with my "ask" letter, just let me know and I'm on it!

Prizes for Attendance:
We already have a small swag pile at VTIndoor world headquarters and I know we'll be adding to it. For 2013, starting this week through the last ride in March, we'll keep attendance. Every ride you come to will be worth one ticket in the raffle we'll hold at the last indoor ride of the year. Ride more, win more!

This Week's Ride:
On tap for this week, we have one of the newest Sufferfest videos: There is No Try.


So that should be fun. Here's what the workout looks like, but as always if you just want to come and spin at your own pace, feel free to do that too:

7:00 Warm-up
:15×4 – each 15 seconds gets faster
1:00 recovery
:30×4 – each 30 seconds gets faster
1:00 recovery
:45×4 – each 45 seconds gets faster
1:30 recovery
1:00×4 – each 1:00 gets faster
1:30 recovery
2:00×4 – each 2:00 gets faster
2:00 recovery
1:00×4 – each 1:00 gets faster
1:30 recovery
:45×4 – each :45 gets faster
1:30 recovery
:30×4 – each :30 gets faster
1:00 recovery
:15×4 – each :15 gets faster
4:00 Warm-down

Doors open at 5:45, ride starts by 6:30. Bring your bike, trainer, towel, and 5 bucks to pay the always-awesome Maglianero Cafe for the use of the space.