We just finished our annual pilgramage to the best riding in the state of Washington, Lake Chelan. You could argue that the Mount Rainier area has the most epic climbs up beasts like Chinook and Sunrise, but you can’t swim there. You could suggest that Orcas island or any of the other San Juan islands are the best, but the roads are narrow and the only good climb is Mt. Constitution. Bellingham and Olympia have their magic, as does Seattle and Tacoma, but true cycling paradise is east of the mountains where the air is dry, the roads are smooth and the traffic is light.
Here are my reasons why I love our Chelan camp:
1. Warm dry weather, some days I feel like I am in Mexico.
2. Wide shoulders and light traffic.
3. The road quality is nice, often smooth.
Bike fitting was once a service only racers sought out. These days anyone riding a bike can make massive improvements in comfort and performance with even a basic fitting if done by a good fitter. Saddles are often the most painful part of riding a bike but that is becoming a thing of the past. The Ass-o-meter from Specialized has solved many of these complaints. Now anyone wanting to be more comfortable can be sized for the correct width saddle (Specialized makes 4 widths of their better saddles, as well as offering different levels of padding for each) in less than a minute. The “ass-o-meter” consisting of gel pads that take an imprint of your sitz bones and measures them matching them to your ideal saddle width.
Dr. Andy Pruitt, Godfather of bike fitting and inventor of Ass-o-meter at Specialized
The next consideration after measuring your sitz bone width is how much padding do you need. It is counter-intuitive, but the longer you ride
Do you remember when cycling was exciting and new? When you got that little rush of excitement when you were gearing up and heading out to tackle a ride? Getting stoked on cycling is as easy as trying something new, and these days there is no shortage of new stuff to get excited about. The gear, the clothing, the electronics, the disc brakes, the fat bikes, the gravel. There are hundreds of splinter-cell cool things going on in cycling right now besides the traditional Road, Mountain, Cyclocross and Track, so pick one and get after it! You don’t have to race, you can just try out something new.
You have to be stoked and a little “in love” with the whole thing or it won’t keep you working. That is what keeps me coming back and finding fresh excitement for something I have done non-stop since 1985. I have been through 3 year obsessive phases in road racing, mountain bike racing and cyclocross racing, and that only got me to 1997. If you are starting off this season and not feeling the “Stoke” then you need to mix it up. Show up to a new ride, sign up for a new event, or try a different kind of cycling to keep it fresh and challenging. The cool thing is that when you come back to what you first loved, in my case Road cycling, it is fresh once again years later like returning from a long around the world trip to your home. Get out there and get stoked!!! – Check out Meet Up to find new things, here is our page to get you started that lists all our rides and clinics for the summer: Meet Up-Find cool groups or events to try near you
The thing that most new cyclists don’t know, is that they won’t die. They can push harder than they can imagine, and when I started racing I remember it was my biggest hurtle, learning how to suffer more, because that is where all the big gains are. The more I pushed myself, the more I was able to push myself, the stronger I got, the more I enjoyed riding. It helps if you get a little angry or remember when someone was mean to you, fuel for the effort. Your not going to fall off the bike even if you are near exhaustion, your already sitting down!
The focus and willingness to work hard…
Congrats to Brian Ecker and all the over 130 other riders who did the Ephrate Grand Fondo yesterday, EPIC conditions from the facebook posts for everyone who rode yesterday. Same to all that raced the Soaring Eagle mountain bike race. Great road racing was also on display yesterday in Sequim and Saturday at Mason lake with hundreds or racers testing their winter training vs. the competition.
It is all about staying warm on these Spring rides because you are going to get wet and with the wind chill it feels twice as cold. This is where you can take some lessons from Cyclocross: use Embocation, wool socks, booties and warm caps under your helmet to keep the core temp high and muscles functioning despite the cold. Stop in the West Seattle store to try on some of these heat seeking accessories.