SE Bikes: BMX Innovations

SE Bikes make it easy to customize your BMX bike “Putting the F-U-N back into B.M.X. One bike at a time,” says SE Bikes head honcho and BMX legend Todd Lyons. And that’s really what it’s all about when it comes to SE Bikes. Pure fun on two wheels (or one wheel for the wheelie kings out there).

With its roots in California BMX, SE Bikes is taking on the world with innovative new bikes and a hyped up social media presence that’s off the hook! Mixing old-school style with modern day geometry, SE’s Retro and Rad Series has introduced a whole new generation of kids to BMX and is making heads turn with new designs, bigger wheels, and plenty of accessories to customize your ride.

Retro Series Bikes

SE Bikes Fat Ripper 26" BMX Bike

With unique and ground-breaking bikes such as the original PK Ripper and Quadrangle, along with sponsorship of legendary riders such as Stu Thomsen and Mike Buff, SE Racing was at the forefront of the first BMX boom four decades ago. Those original old-school SE bikes have now been recreated and transformed. SE’s Retro BMX Bikes of today – such as the SE Fat Ripper 26″ BMX Bike – have the same legendary design aesthetics what make them famous in the ’80s, but now are built with modern day geometry and upgrades. Originally created for the old-school BMX enthusiast, the audience for SE Retro has grown organically and are now in demand by all types of riders.

Rad Series Bikes SE So Cal Flyer 24" BMX BikeStaying true to the wildly unique styling that SE is know for, the Rad series of bikes – including the SE So Cal Flyer 24″ BMX Bike – feature 6061 aluminum, floval tubing frames and crazy fun colors. These bikes are lightweight, comfortable, and are perfect for poppin’ wheelies in the streets or taking out to the local BMX track. Guaranteed to make a screaming statement wherever you ride.

And it’s not just SE bikes at Bike Nashbar. We also provide the latest in SE Bikes accessories to customize your ride:

The Narler Stem The SE Bikes Narler stem embodies the true essence of retro BMXInspired by the classic design from the ’80s and named after a legendary SoCal BMX track, the Narler stem embodies the true essence of retro BMX. It’s available in five different colors: Black, Silver, Blue, Red, and Yellow.

The Blitz Seat The SE Bikes Blitz seat exudes '80s style BMXThe Blitz seat is a classic molded plastic seat that exudes ’80s style BMX. Some things you really don’t need to mess with. Scratch that – with this seat, SE went ahead and added the integrated bottle opener to the seat rails, too. Definitely a practical addition to a classic look.

Tires SE Bikes provides an inspired selection of BMX tires The first thing kids usually want to swap out when they get their new ride are the tires. SE’s got you covered with the Cub Tire, which features a classic BMX tread and skinwall sides. The Cub is available in Red, Blue, and Black and in 20″, 24″, and 26″ size tires.

For all you Fat Bike lovers out there, SE delivers up the Chicane, a cool design modeled after the pattern of classic cars. The smooth tread will keep you flying.

Finally, for your 29er needs, the SE Speedster features a tread pattern designed for high rolling speed and minimal drag. The side knobs feature a large diamond-shaped pattern to provide the grip you need in corners, while the center tread features a densely packed honeycomb pattern for longer tire life.

Bear Trap Pedal The SE Bikes Bear Trap pedal is a rad way to add style and functionality to your BMX bikeGet ready to shred! SE Racing’s classic Bear Trap pedals feature a durable aluminum body with anodized aluminum cages and come in a variety of awesome colors to customize your ride.

Grips SE Bikes Wing Grips are the easiest way to customize your rideGrips have always been the most affordable and easiest way to customize your ride. The SE Wing Grips feature a classic and comfy mushroom pattern with the SE Wing logo embedded for extra grip. These grips are available in Black, White, Blue, and Red.

SE is always working hard to bring something Rad to the table – it’s what they do best! So be sure to check back with us at BikeNashbar.com for the latest SE Bikes gear.

From Fluid to Interactive-A Trainer Evolution

For decades the home trainer has been a staple of maintaining or improving fitness for time-crunched or weather condition-crunched cyclists. Over the years the means of generating resistance, so you can build muscular and cardiovascular strength, has transitioned from fans to magnets to fluid configurations as time and technology have progressed.

The fluid trainer, characterized by a flywheel encased in a fluid container to generate resistance, provides a reasonable facsimile of riding outdoors with its progressive resistance – meaning the faster and harder you pedal, the more resistance is created. Fluid trainers are quiet, can create a leg-searing amount of resistance, and also are generally foldable and portable so you can tuck it out of the way when not in use. The portability is also a plus if you need a means to warm-up away from home at a race venue. Walk around the parking lot at a criterium or cyclocross race and the characteristic whirring sound of bikes on trainers is a ubiquitous sensation. And above all, these trainers are also just plain simple to use.

Nashbar Fluid Trainer

The Nashbar Fluid Trainer is a fine example of fluid trainer technology

Classic fluid trainers have their limitations, however, as the trainer itself is an inert device that provides no metrics of your workout – particularly data such as power, cadence, and speed. There is also the matter of engagement and staving off boredom which sometimes no amount of watching videos or listening to music while you ride can alleviate.

Enter the world of interactive trainers.

In our own office as well as the cycling community in general, interactive trainers have been a game changer in not merely making indoor training palatable, but actually making indoor sessions enjoyable and engaging. Through the magic of sensors on the trainer plus ANT+ and/or Bluetooth wireless transmission of data, information about your workout can be monitored via compatible computers/laptops, smart phones, and handlebar-mounted bicycle computers. Not only that, this data transmission also opens you up to software such as Zwift, and the game-changing realm of cycling in a virtual world.

Elite RealAxiom B+ Interactive Trainer

It’s time to try an interactive trainer, such as the Elite RealAxiom B+

As opposed to smart trainers, which only feature a one-way transmission of data away from the trainer, interactive trainers are able to both send and receive data and commands which is the real benefit of their design. Gone are the days of watching a race video while sitting on a fluid trainer and simply imagining what it would feel like to climb the Koppenberg in a peloton of riders. Now with interactive trainers, used in conjunction with software such as Zwift, the resistance of your interactive trainer will be adjusted according to the terrain you negotiate in your virtual world. Now you will experience the burn in your legs as the road heads upwards. Now you can experience the benefit of drafting or the relief of heading downhill for a spell.

Interactive trainers typically use either a fluid or electro-magnetic system to generate resistance and can feature the classic rear wheel-mounted design or a direct drive system in which the rear wheel is removed and your bike’s chain engages with a cassette mounted on the trainer itself. The direct drive system is the ultimate in pedaling action as there’s absolutely no potential for slippage of a tire on the roller which ensures absolute peace of mind and concentration during huge, watt-heavy efforts.

The wealth of power, speed, cadence, and heart rate data that’s now at your fingertips (and filed away for study) combined with the engagement that comes with focusing on the virtual road ahead amongst other riders makes the time pass on interactive trainers like no other indoor system prior.

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A Primer on Bike Lights

Yes, it’s definitely that time of year when it registers that our allotment of daylight is beginning to dwindle. Daily commutes may no longer take place in brilliant sunshine and what was once plenty of time post-work to ride in dayllight is quickly becoming a more precious commodity. Which makes now the perfect time to discuss bike lights and which ones will fulfill the needs of your riding endeavors.

In general, lights fall into two categories: lights that help you see and lights that help you be seen. And of course there’s then the million dollar question – which do you need?

Much will depend on when, where, and how you ride, but one thing is consistent: every cyclist should own at least one set of lights to help ride safely during the darker months. While many bikes come with reflectors, and a lot of cycling clothing is reflective as well these days, you still need to use lights for safe cycling. In fact, most states require that lights be used when riding at night. Our home state of North Carolina requires a front light that can be seen from at least 300 feet in front of the bicycle and offers a choice for the rear of either a red light visible from at least 300 feet behind or clothing/a vest that’s visible from 300 feet behind.

Safety Lights

Quite simply, every cyclist needs to own at least a set of safety lights. These small, inexpensive LED lights have become much brighter and have longer battery life in recent years. They take up a minimal amount of space on the bike, attach easily to the handlebars and seatpost, and are bright enough to help you be seen on even the darkest roads. Even if you don’t plan on riding at night, having a set of these with you during the fall and winter is important in case something unexpected happens and your ride makes an unplanned transition into darkness.

Going beyond having safety lights for use when it’s dark, it’s just a good idea to use them as daytime running lights to maximize your visibility to motorists, fellow cyclists, and pedestrians. Even in broad daylight, a small set of front and rear safety lights can create bright pulses and flashes to snap other road users, especially motorists, out of the haze and malaise of the day and alert them to your presence. I’ve personally become a fan of the Knog Blinder 1 headlight and tail light as they’re well-designed, the epitome of minimalist, and – like many lights in this category – conveniently re-charge via USB. They’re on every time I’m out on a ride.

Safety lights, such as the Blackburn Click Combo, are an inexpensive, minimalist means to alert others to your presence on the road or trail.

Commuter Lights

Packing more of a punch than safety lights, commuter lights make an ideal choice for commuters and road riders. Commuter lights are much larger and brighter than safety lights, and have a higher light output as well. These lights are typically in the 50-450 lumen range (lumens are a measure of how bright a light is – the more lumens, the brighter), and are capable of putting out enough light to illuminate the path in front of you with some help from a street light or two. They also usually have a flash mode that can make you more visible to drivers from further out.

They’re typically very convenient to mount on the handlebar – most utilize a tool-free system – and they feature an internal, rechargeable battery that helps keep the weight down and re-charges via a USB cable. Commuter lights are also moderately priced and won’t bust your budget. Always use a commuter light with a tail light.

The NiteRider Lumina Micro 450 Headlight/Sabre 50 Tail Light Combo makes an excellent choice in the commuter light realm.

Headlamps

Headlamps are the big hitters of the bike light world. Packing high powered LED lamps in the 500-2200 lumen range, these are the lights that are used to light your way during full-on night rides in pitch black darkness. At the lower end of that brightness range the lights are still relatively compact, self-contained units, while at the upper end of that brightness range they can be fairly big and heavy, and some even require external battery packs. And they can be priced in the several hundred dollar realm. But what you get is a bike light that is so bright if feels like you’re riding with your own, personal sun – such as the brightest light Nashbar currently sells: the NiteRider Pro 2200 Race Headlight, featuring a massive 2200 lumens in its brightest mode.

If you ride on trails at night, like to do some road cycling at night, or commute down unlit country roads, these are the lights that can show you the way home. We also recommend pairing these lights with a flashing commuter or safety light as well, so drivers won’t confuse you with a slow moving car or motorcycle. Always pair a headlamp with a tail light.

The Cateye Volt 1200 uses 1200 lumens of broad beam power to light up the darkest roads or trails.

Tail Lights

Basically, tail lights are flashing red lights that mount to the back of your bike — either at the seatpost or seatstay, or by clipping onto a saddlebag or backpack. Their purpose is to make you visible to traffic approaching from the rear, while some tail lights also offer a wider radius of illumination and can also help you be visible from the side. Most are pretty inexpensive, and they go a long way toward helping you stay visible and safe. The most powerful tail lights can be seen from over a mile away, while smaller “blinky” lights are more suitable for city or suburban streets that aren’t totally dark.

Tail lights are also required of cyclists riding at night in almost every state, city, and municipality in the United States, but independent of the law, we just think they’re a very good idea to enhance your safety.

A tail light, such as the NiteRider Sentinal 40, is an essential element of cycling safety.

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Review: Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike

As previously noted, there’s no denying the new Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike looks like a stealth rocket ship ready to rip over hill, dale, dirt, gravel, and mud, but how does it ride?

The Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike about to be put through the paces.

The Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike about to be put through the paces.

It’s been put through its paces – 151.6 miles to be exact – encompassing spirited lunch rides on our local ‘cross trails, longer weekend rides through local forests, even longer weekend rides in the North Carolina mountains, plus 45+ minutes deep in the pain cave at a 40+ Masters 1/2/3 ‘cross race in the North Carolina Cyclocross series. It’s definitely been ridden hard – even crashed hard on several occasions when bravado exceeded bike handling ability – and it just kept coming back for more.

In short, two descriptors kept coming to the fore over and over again as I put in the miles on  this carbon fiber steed: rock-solid and confident. More on that shortly.

The Specs

Just a quick reminder of exactly what you get out of the box. At its core, the Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike features a carbon fiber frame and full carbon fiber fork with 1-1/8″ – 1-1/2″ tapered steerer, a massive BB86 bottom bracket shell, internally routed shift and brake cables, and two sets of water bottle cage braze-ons (because you’ll get thirsty on your epic dirt/gravel adventures). There’s a no-nonsense selection of components including Shimano 105 5800 2×11-speed STI shifters, Shimano 105 5800 front and rear derailleurs, a Shimano 105 5800 11-speed 11-32T cassette, and a Shimano RS500 46/36T ‘cross crankset. The brakes are Promax Render R mechanical disc with 160mm rotors front and rear. Wheel-wise, the bike features aluminum, disc brake-specific Alex rims and aluminum Novatec hubs with 28 spokes front/rear laced 2x while the tires are Vittoria XG Pro 700×33. Both wheels utilize quick releases and the wheels are set up for running tubes with your tires. Rounding out the build are an assortment of aluminum handlebars, stem, seatpost, plus a saddle which most likely will remain in pristine condition in your home workshop as you’ll very likely opt for a swap-out to your preferred choice.

The Fit

When purchasing a complete bike it’s always somewhat of a mixed bag regarding what components you may need to swap out just to make the bike fit correctly. I’ve been dealt the physique card of having somewhat stubby legs combined with a longer torso and arms, and yet amazingly the stock, out-of-the-box set-up almost worked as is in the tested 54cm option. In order to attain my tried and true position, the only component which I substituted was the stem. The bike arrived with a 110mm length and I changed it to a 120mm option (with a -17 degree rise) to accommodate my extension needs.

The handlebars were 44cm wide – 2cm wider than my preferred width – but the extra width felt just fine and actually grew on me with each and every ride. The crankarms were 170mm in length which is actually the length I’ve ridden on both road and ‘cross bikes forever (did I mention I have stubby legs?). That was a pleasant surprise as I had expected the cranks to be 172.5mm for this frame size.

A wide, 44cm handlebar comes stock on the 54cm size Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike.

A wide, 44cm handlebar comes stock on the 54cm size Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike.

The only other substitution made was with the aforementioned saddle. I did a couple of rides on the included saddle, but to truly put the bike through its paces I opted for my go-to ‘cross bike saddle choice of a Fizik Arione. Pedals are not included so I installed a set of tried-and-true Crank Brothers Candy 3s taken from my personal ‘cross bike and for all riding except ‘cross competition I added a couple of water bottle cages to the frame for my hydration needs.

 Also of note, the head tube on the 54cm size is very much in the endurance bike realm with a length of 15.8cm – much taller than what I’m used to on my race-oriented, personal ‘cross bike – but the slightly more upright position that this bike utilizes was something soon forgotten throughout the testing. In fact, the position grew on me and makes perfect sense for what this bike is all about.

Point of reference

Riding a full carbon fiber frame/fork with disc brakes was a totally new experience for me. Call me a curmudgeon/Luddite, but my personal ‘cross bike for the past 14 years (!!!) has been a Bianchi Cross Concept with a scandium aluminum frame, a carbon fiber fork with a straight 1-1/8″ aluminum steerer, plus cantilever brakes. The components have gone through multiple iterations and currently there’s a 1×10-speed drivetrain with a bespoke mish-mash of Shimano and SRAM I guarantee is not replicated on any other bike on planet Earth. My personal bike weighs in at roughly 3 pounds lighter (18 pounds for the Bianchi vs. 21 pounds for the Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike).

The Ride

From the very first pedal stroke I was impressed with just how solid the Nashbar ‘cross bike feels. That massive BB86 bottom bracket shell helps ensure that your power most definitely goes straight to forward propulsion. And even though I was now on a bike 3 pounds heavier, I honestly didn’t feel the extra weight – even on the steepest dirt climbs in the area. The ride quality was also superb out on the trails and dirt/gravel roads. Maybe my bar had been set very low having ridden a Scandium jack hammer for so many years, but my home trails and roads seemed just that much smoother on this full carbon set-up.

The Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike in action at a North Carolina Cyclocross Series race.

The Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike in action at a North Carolina Cyclocross Series race.

While the ride quality was certainly noticed, most significantly for me was the quality of the braking with the Nashbar bike’s mechanical disc brakes. Yes, my Bianchi’s Paul Components Neo-Retro cantilevers are a bit lighter and have pretty good stopping power for what they are, but it was a pleasure to use noticeably less effort at the levers to attain powerful, lightning-quick deceleration with the mechanical disc brake set-up. And having the 1-1/8″ – 1-1/2″ tapered full carbon steerer tube, too, made a definitive difference with front braking. There was absolutely no front-end chatter on the Nashbar ‘cross bike and my confidence in attacking trails and descents at greater speed grew as I knew that a braking bail-out was a lighter touch away.

Mother Nature didn’t cooperate regarding wet, sloppy conditions – all of my riding was done sans rain – but I did have the chance to ride through somewhat marshy sectors as well as negotiate some short stream crossings. And while this may seem a no-brainer to those with disc brake experience, for me it was a novel and noted pleasure that while my tires and rims were wet and muddy, braking was not affected in the least. I will take that option every time.

Practicing some 'cross skills on the Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike.

Practicing some ‘cross skills on the Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike.

Not much more can be said of the Shimano 2×11-speed drivetrain with its 105 shifters, derailleurs, and cassette other than it all just works flawlessly from the get-go. The 46/36T chainring combination coupled with an 11-32T cassette provided a wide range of gears that are well-suited for all-day gravel road adventures. You’re covered from screaming descents through lung-busting ascents and everything in between. I found the gear ratio a bit wide for the one ‘cross race I did, but if you have one set-up for everything it still certainly will work.

 The stock Vittoria XG Pro 700×33 wire bead tires did an admirable job on the trails, dirt roads, and in competition. Their all-around tread delivered ample grip and cornering traction as well as straight-line speed.

Room for More

With the included 700×33 Vittoria XG Pro ‘cross tires, there’s still an impressive amount of tire clearance both front and rear. 700×33 is the widest tire option allowable in UCI competition (which is why you frequently see ‘cross tires with that width), and while that width option provides a pretty comfortable ride I was curious to push the limits of what the Nashbar carbon ‘cross bike could handle.

The Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike was quite at home in the North Carolina mountains.

The Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike was quite at home in the North Carolina mountains.

The final weekend of testing the bike was certainly a doozy as I enjoyed two days of riding some of the finest dirt roads you’ll find anywhere out in the mountains of North Carolina in the Blowing Rock vicinity. The stock 700×33 Vittorias were swapped out for a set of 700×38 Panaracer Comet tires. Clearance for the front tire was still good, while the rear was tighter. In fact, I don’t think you could go any wider on the rear.

Rear clearance for a 700x38 tire on the Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike.

Rear clearance for a 700×38 tire on the Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike.

Nonetheless, while some bikes these days sport tires 700×40 and wider, the 700×38 tires are still excellent options for tackling mountainous dirt roads. I’ll admit I could feel a bit more heft in the wheels when faced with dirt road climbs measured in miles, but the plushness and confidence when bombing downhill on multi-mile descents was remarkable. The 700x38s, in conjunction with disc brakes, inspired a level of descending I hadn’t thought possible and I’ll gladly take the weight penalty for what this bike can do while negotiating flatter to downhill terrain. These wider tires accentuated the bike’s stability and handling – especially at speed. In fact, I’d opt for the widest tires this bike could handle in all situations other than ‘cross racing.

Conclusion

I’m impressed. It’s really as simple as that. What you get for the money is remarkable and if you had to have one bike to do it all, the Nashbar Carbon Cyclocross Bike would be a superb option.

 

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Riding Tips: Be a Better Climber

Pedaling a bicycle uphill can certainly be a source of consternation for any cyclist. There’s no getting around the pain in the legs, the burn in the lungs, the ache of the lower back, plus the test of the psyche. And while some riders are simply more gifted in conquering hills through factors such as genetics and physique, everyone has a capacity for improvement and the ability to make peace with climbing and embrace it for the challenge that it is. There’s undeniably a satisfaction unlike any other you’ll experience in cycling of going head-to-head with a challenging ascent and reaching the summit. Here are some tips to make the climbing experience that much more efficient and (dare we say) enjoyable.

Follow our climbing tips and you, too, may one day don the polka-dot jersey. Or at least be the King/Queen of the Mountains on your local ride.

Follow our climbing tips and you, too, may one day don the polka-dot jersey. Or at least be the King/Queen of the Mountains on your local ride.

Mix in saddle and out of saddle pedaling
While this is sound advice in general when riding in order to provide some relief and optimize comfort, the effects are perhaps most noticeable in the midst of a climb. Through experience and over time you’ll likely come to a preferred climbing style, but nonetheless on climbs of more than moderate length you’ll do yourself a favor by mixing up in saddle and out of the saddle efforts. As a lean, mean, climbing teenager I spent plenty of time out of the saddle, Marco Pantani style, in order to push the pace and dole out accelerations to keep competitors on edge, but as time and the physical transformation of age has made their mark I find myself these days more of a seated climber on all but the most severe pitches. Still, it feels good to get out of the saddle and mix things up if only for a mental break and something different to concentrate on. And as a tip, assuming the gradient remains the same, you’ll find it’s a good idea to shift up a cog as you transition from seating to standing as you’re able to use more of your body weight in each pedal stroke plus there’s a tendency to slightly slow the RPMs all of which having a slightly higher gear will counteract.

Become a shifting savant
As one becomes more experienced in riding uphill, you’ll pick up the ability to read the severity of a slope and be able to anticipate the correct gear to be in before getting bogged down on the slope. While the current generation of drivetrains are certainly better at shifting under load, you’ll still do your drivetrain a favor by not shifting under tremendous load. And when you do shift while climbing, it helps to back of the pressure on the pedals slightly during the actual act of changing gears to help achieve a smoother shift.

Don’t bog down
While you can certainly use raw power to muscle up a short ascent of a few hundred meters, once you begin to tackle a climb of any notable length your legs will thank you if you try to keep the gears lower and the RPMs higher. Turning your legs into lactic acid factories with plenty of climbing to go will definitely put a damper on your enthusiasm for going uphill.

It’s all in the mind
No doubt there’s a physical component to going uphill, but keeping a positive mental attitude is a remarkable asset for climbing bliss. To keep from sinking into a downer funk, break the climb into tiny morsels (think “just keep up the pace through that next turn up ahead”) and give yourself a figurative pat on the back when you’ve checked off mini-achievement after mini-achievement all the way up. Just as you don’t want to think “wow, I have 99 more miles to go” at the outset of a century ride, don’t psyche yourself out when you have multiple miles of climbing to face by focusing on the end total.

When climbing in a group, make sure to keep your front wheel protected.

When climbing in a group, make sure to keep your front wheel protected.

Mind your front wheel
Whenever you find yourself climbing with other riders, it’s imperative to monitor the distance between your front wheel and the rear wheel of the rider in front of you. When the rider ahead of you makes the transition from seating to standing, there’s a chance the bike may be thrust backwards some and possibly right into your front wheel if you’re not paying attention. Ideally, when a rider makes the transition to standing he/she will be attentive and not pitch the bike backwards much or at all, but it’s not something you can count on. Similarly, when you know there’s a rider on your rear wheel, try to minimize the degree that your bike moves backwards when moving from sitting to standing.

More distance/less effort
When negotiating switchbacks, be mindful of how steep the inner section of the road/trail can be. Yes, the quickest line through the uphill turn is along the apex, but on some climbs that section is ridiculously steep. If you’re making a left turn on a road switchback it’s easy to stay along the outer edge of the road for an easier gradient. Just be careful when the switchback is on a right turn as the easier pitch puts you out into the lane in the path of motorists approaching from behind.

Know thyself
Through experience you’ll figure out what kind of pace you can handle on climbs and how much you can push into the red without going too far. The worst thing that can happen on a climb, both physically and mentally, is to set a blistering pace early only to have yourself blow up and limp the rest of the way to the top. I fondly remember tackling a 10-mile long ascent in the Blue Ridge Mountains many years ago with a few very eager teammates and almost from the get-go my three companions danced off into the distance as the mano-a-mano slugfest got the better of them. I knew how many miles – steep miles – were ahead and just kept to my own tempo. Soon enough, teammate number 1 was dispatched about 2 miles in, I caught and passed teammate number 2 after about 7 miles of climbing, and I latched onto the wheel of my third teammate inside the final 400 meters to the top. All along my pace kept pretty steady. You just have to have faith in your ability and know when too much is too much. And even if you were in a similar scenario and didn’t catch back on with speedier companions, it’s always a good plan to start more moderately and finish strong.

A rider climbs alone in the mountains.

Solo rider vs. the mountains.

Digital motivation
In my younger days as a burgeoning competitive cyclist, I spent nearly all of my training time alone as I lived in a rural area with a dearth of fellow cyclists. Having a cycling computer made a world of difference, however, as I could use it as a motivator and task master to keep me climbing at a solid rate. “Just don’t let the speed drop below xx MPH” was a consistent mantra.

Reward
And remember, once you crest the summit, at some point – hopefully very soon – you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor by taking in a healthy descent. And how to manage yourself on that will be the topic for another day. Stay tuned.

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