Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Racing Update: CXLA and More


After a strong first half of the season in both Cross and Collegiate Mountain, Team Clif Bar hopes to continue performing and out performing those results for the second half of the season. Since the last race update the bulk of the cross season is now behind us and during that the time team has been busy competing all over the United States



Picking up from the Early Season race update was Pan American Championships in Cincinnati. In the U23 Field Garrett Gerchar came in 14th and Anders Nystrom came in 17th. The course was the same as it has been for the past few years but this year unlike last it was a bit dryer and warmer. Also the race was held on Saturday instead of Sunday giving the racers fresh legs as Kings CX was not the night before.

Just one day after Pan Ams was Kings CX. The race started out in the dry but a rain storm quickly moved in forcing the entire field to do a pit change on the same lap. With these crazy conditions Anders came in 35th and Garrett 46th competing in the Elite Men’s field with 60 starters.

The only rider to compete in Louisville Kentucky was Anders. He raced for Marian in the Collegiate men race and ended up second after having a few mechanicals along the way. Anders also raced the elite men and ended up 32nd.  




CXLA came just a few weeks after Derby City. This was a big one for the U23 men as it was a double weekend with valuable UCI points up for grabs each day. CXLA is important event  for us U23s because both days had UCI U23 specific fields. On day one the conditions were warm and dry in classics southern California fashion. Garrett lead the team with a 5th place finish followed by Anders in 10th. Liam came in 12th after having a few mechanicals on the first lap. Finally, Cormac came in 13th. On day two of CXLA the weather took an unexpended turn and the first half of the race was downpour after the rain stopped the course became slick and wet. Garrett ended up coming in 7th, Anders in 8th, Liam in 10th and Cormac in 12th.



The next and final stop for Clif Devo Cross Team is Hertford Connecticut. Liam and Anders will be racing on Wednesday morning in the D1 Collegiate championships, racing for Colorado Mesa University and Marian University respectively. Also on Wednesday Garrett will be racing in the D2 colligate championships for University of Colorado Boulder. On Sunday Juniors Nic Jenkins and Alex Campbell will be racing in the Junior men’s field. While Liam, Cormac, Anders and Garrett will be racing in the U23 men’s race. Stay tuned for more updates.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Liam Earl: Bike Setup

The Bike:

This year the Clif Bar Squad Is sponsored by Niner and our weapon of choice is the BSB9 RDO. One of the fastest bikes in the peloton the BSB9 offers full carbon thru axles front and rear along with perfect race winning geometry. Many of our riders like their bikes set up in different ways to fit their riding styles. Even though the bike is the same each one is tailored specifically for each ridder. Today I’m going to share how I set up my.

Handlebars:
Starting with the handlebars. My handlebars are similar to a traditional cyclocross set up where the hoods slightly higher than they would be on a road bike. On a road bike the hoods are low so that the rider can be aero. But in cross aerodynamics is not as important as being able to clear obstacles and dampen bumps. That is why I prefer to have raised hoods so that my hands can stay firmly on the bars. Also with Sram Hydro Brakes the hoods are much taller than normal hoods. Making them much better for tackling technical courses. Also I have added a few spacers to my cross bike from a traditional road bike fit to make it easier to go over bumps and pull the front end of the bike up.

Saddle:
The right Saddle height and position is also very important for cross racing. Saddle height on the cross bike is slightly lower than on a road bike so that the ride is more comfortable and better to dismount and remount. Also to get further back on the bike during technical descents. I have a setback Niner RDO seatpost on my BSB9 so that I am able to have the correct reach without having too long of a stem and keeping the right fit over the pedals.


Wheels and Tires:
The wheels that I run while training are a set of aluminum clinchers and while racing I run a set of Kappius Wheels with a Grifo in the front and a Limus in the back. My normal racing tire pressure is between 22 and 26psi depending on course conditions.  



Gears and Drivetrain:

My drivetrain is set up to be cross specific with a 11-36 in the rear and a 40T Sram chaining in the front. This setup is perfect for racing and training offer easy gears for climbs and hard enough gears for sprinting on the flats. Also I have a Quarq Power Meter for data when Training and Racing.

Liam Earl: Bike Setup

The Bike:

This year the Clif Bar Squad Is sponsored by Niner and our weapon of choice is the BSB9 RDO. One of the fastest bikes in the peloton the BSB9 offers full carbon thru axles front and rear along with perfect race winning geometry. Many of our riders like their bikes set up in different ways to fit their riding styles. Even though the bike is the same each one is tailored specifically for each ridder. Today I’m going to share how I set up my.

Handlebars:
Starting with the handlebars. My handlebars are similar to a traditional cyclocross set up where the hoods slightly higher than they would be on a road bike. On a road bike the hoods are low so that the rider can be aero. But in cross aerodynamics is not as important as being able to clear obstacles and dampen bumps. That is why I prefer to have raised hoods so that my hands can stay firmly on the bars. Also with Sram Hydro Brakes the hoods are much taller than normal hoods. Making them much better for tackling technical courses. Also I have added a few spacers to my cross bike from a traditional road bike fit to make it easier to go over bumps and pull the front end of the bike up.

Saddle:
The right Saddle height and position is also very important for cross racing. Saddle height on the cross bike is slightly lower than on a road bike so that the ride is more comfortable and better to dismount and remount. Also to get further back on the bike during technical descents. I have a setback Niner RDO seatpost on my BSB9 so that I am able to have the correct reach without having too long of a stem and keeping the right fit over the pedals.


Wheels and Tires:
The wheels that I run while training are a set of aluminum clinchers and while racing I run a set of Kappius Wheels with a Grifo in the front and a Limus in the back. My normal racing tire pressure is between 22 and 26psi depending on course conditions.  



Gears and Drivetrain:

My drivetrain is set up to be cross specific with a 11-36 in the rear and a 40T Sram chaining in the front. This setup is perfect for racing and training offer easy gears for climbs and hard enough gears for sprinting on the flats. Also I have a Quarq Power Meter for data when Training and Racing.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Anders Shares His Training Playlist



Music can be a very key component to any athlete’s training and competition. Whether you’re just trying to make the time tick by a bit faster on long training days, getting your mind right in the gym to attempt that higher higher rep lift, or blocking out all distractions to bring your mind to focus the morning of the big competition you've been working towards, music can be critical to your mental success as much as your physical training.
I always train with music, always have headphones in warming up at races, and usually am plugged in even just walking around between classes. Listening to anything from Punk Rock to Electronic Drum and Bass, each genre is a key component for whatever I’m doing that day. If it’s any sort of steady workout such as running (be it stadium stairs or just conditioning runs) or long steady rides for base miles, I go with genres such as Trance, Bass, and House. Steady, pumping music that keeps my breathing or pedal stroke steady and ticks the time by much faster than trying to do those days with just ambient noise. For more aggressive riding such as intervals or power tests, I jump to genres like Hardstyle, Drum and Bass, Dubstep, or more aggressive Rock music. The high BPM’s keeps the heartrate up and the intensity levels high in order to finish out each interval better than the last. In the gym I revert to Rap, Trap, and Rock/Punk Rock. Not necessarily needing to be fast paced songs but the aggression is still there for lifting heavy weights. Finally, since I can’t actually race with music, I listen to music for as much time as possible leading up to the race that day. Starting off with Electronic Trap for pump up and focus, and graduating to faster and faster electronic music through the warm-up until one song really sticks out to me. That song gets put on repeat so it’s stuck in my head all through the race. It usually ends up being a fairly catchy, Pop Electronic song that keeps the mood positive and the race pace high.



Check out below for a playlist sample of all the various genres I’ve covered. These are all songs I regularly listen to through any of the training and racing I do.


Thanks for checking this post out, hopefully you found something new to motivate your training and get that mental game as strong as the physical game!

Monday, November 07, 2016

Here's Another Sweet Cross Ride!




The hardest parts of cyclocross are cornering technique and the running in my opinion.  My favorite place to practice cyclocross skills and to train for cross in Lakewood are Bear Creek Lake Park and the Bear Creek Green Belt.  Both areas have a lot to offer, such as different riding surfaces, sand pits, and steep hills to practice run ups.

I like to practice cornering the most in the Bear Creek Green Belt.  The trails wind along the river banks and get really tight which is perfect cornering practice.  Practicing corners helps keep me fluid on the cross course and fluid is fast.  I typically warm up in the Green Belt as the trails are pretty tight and don’t make the best places for intervals.  I like to do a few loops around the trails as a good warm up and progressively speed up and take the corners at higher speeds.  The trails also have mixed surfaces to practice on like loose gravel, nice hard pack and grass, most of which are always seen on any cross course.  


After a good warm up in the Green Belt I ride up the bike path into Bear Creek Lake Park where I can do intervals or practice refining other skills and do some running.  Lots of the trails in Bear Creek Park are pretty sandy, I like to spend time on skills days to ride in the sand and corner in the sand.  Since there are so many trails along the rivers in the park sometimes I set up a course that includes every surface I can find to practice all aspects of cross.  I try to dismount and run any steep hill that there is in the courses I set up just to practice getting on and off the bike.  I get a lot of practice on very loose and rough riding surface in Bear Creek Park which helps out a lot in races such as Valmont.  I usually like to do my intervals on the dam trail in Bear Creek Park as it is the longest climb in the park and makes a good place for continuous efforts up to 3 or 4 minutes.  On a hard interval day I usually head up to Green Mountain Open Space on the mountain bike for hard climbing efforts up to 15 minutes long.

Just outside the park is the Morrison Incline which I like to run once or twice a week to train for really hard run ups like the 5280 stairs at Valmont.  Going up and down the stairs three times in a run hurts a lot and helps me build up endurance to beat running fatigue late in races.





I’m looking forward to the upcoming races where I’ll start racing in the SM Open category to build on my race experience and make things harder.  I hope to see you all out at the races, happy trails.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

What's Our Favorite 'Cross Ride?



This week we wanted to mix it up and describe our favorite cyclocross ride. What's are favorite Wednesday skill ride? Where the heck do you even train for cyclocross? Team member Nic Jenkins offered up his favorite ride in his hometown of Colorado Springs. Hopefully his insight will give you some inspiration as the where to rally your cross bike in your own hometown. Really it just comes down to having fun and riding as much mixed terrain as possible.

As many options as there are in Colorado Springs for cross riding in the fall and winter, my all-time favorite place to ride is at Monument Valley Park by Colorado College. Honestly, you could even host a cross race there. With a giant sandpit and steep hills, I can ride for hours on end and refine a variety of skills. In fact, a bike path runs through the college area all the way to Monument. That being said, I can put in necessary endurance miles as long as I want, or until it gets dark out after school.




Typically, I like to do a couple mile start loop to my ride around the iconic Fountain Creek. I focus on feeling comfortable on the bike while eating and drinking throughout. From there I do a couple laps on a mock course that my brother and our neighbors made a few years ago. It includes a run up, navigating around some trees, hopping logs, and more race-like features. Afterwards I head to the sand pit and try carving some ruts in various directions; sometimes I hammer straight through and others I’ll turn slightly in the middle.



Frequently I ride through the park without a particular agenda, taking random turns and accelerations to mimic a cross course - some have turns that are really awkward and take time to master. Lastly, I spend some time hopping the metal bars in the parking lot at different speeds, for I am feeling more and more comfortable clearing barriers of a standard height.





Last weekend at Cyclo X Interlocken, there was one section that had a barrier run up, followed by a sand pit, and then a U-turn directly into another sand pit. Without a doubt, practicing sand riding skills during the week helped me out, especially when I got more fatigued as the race progressed. I actually had my best finish yet in the SM Open group (10th) and clocked the third fastest last lap of all the riders. It’s an awesome feeling to throw some elbows with local pros and test your fitness for a full 60 minutes, as opposed to 40 minutes.

Moving forward, I’m going to participate in a few more pro races in Colorado before starting my off-season. I have been training hard since the end of May and am excited for some time off from the bike. I always look forward to skiing and running in the winter. Not that I don’t enjoy cyclocross in December, but the timing isn’t the best. Next year my goal is to achieve top results at the UCI Junior events domestically and internationally in hopes to make the Worlds’ team in September.

The days of riding in the snow and cold where you pull out your winter gear (shoe covers, gloves, hats, leg warmers, etc) are right around the corner! I will give another post sometime this winter and give info on the latest outdoor adventures.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Racing Update: Early Season


With cross season getting underway and collegiate mountain bike racing coming to a close, we’ve just finished up two weekends of hard racing. We wanted to let you guys know what we’ve been up to and how our racing has been going.

Our boys have been racing hard for the past couple of weeks. From California to Indianapolis our guys have been racking up the results in both cyclocross and collegiate mountain bike. With mountain bike nationals coming to a close this past weekend, they are looking forward to turning their focus towards the rest of the heavy cyclocross season we have coming up.



For our results roundup, we’ll start on the west coast where Cormac Dunn has been racking up consistent top tens in the bay area Superprestige and sacramento cx circuit. Cormac has been fitting in consistent results while staying on top of his school work at Berkeley, whom he represented while taking the win at a collegiate mountain bike race in the WCCC. Keep a look out for Cormac at the upcoming California cx races.

In Colorado many of riders have been racing in the RMCCC, as well as the US Open of Cyclocross. Liam and Garrett both had a great showing at the US open of cyclocross, with Garrett getting a top 20 on Day 1 in the elite/open race. Then on day two Garrett and Liam got 6th and 9th respectively in the U23 UCI race. That means valuable UCI points for both of those riders. Liam and Garrett have also been tearing up the RMCCC with consistent results in XC and STXC, Liam winning the second  XC race of the series and Garrett getting 4th in the short track race at Crested Butte.


Also in Colorado, Nic Jenkins and Alex Campbell both raced the UCI junior race at day 1 of the US Open of Cyclocross finishing 6th and 7th respectively. This got them some UCI points for the upcoming Pan American Games in Cincinnati. A week later Nic Jenkins won the high school varsity state championships for the NICA league in colorado, showing his good form for the upcoming races.

Anders has been racing for Marian university's collegiate cycling conference in every single discipline from XC to dual slalom where he racked up a total of 4 podium positions in different disciplines earning him yet another podium spot where he grabbed second in the conference omnium.



Three of our riders were selected by their schools to participate in the Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals in West Virginia. Liam, Garrett, and Anders participated in XC and STXC, and Anders took it a step further to participate in both downhill and dual slalom. Anders and Liam both were representing their schools in the Varsity division while Garrett helped his team in the Club division. Garrett grabbed fifth place in the Club STXC Race. Liam Also finished fifth, except in the Varsity XC race. The guys had some excellent individual results helping their teams out with omnium. Anders helped Marian University secure 3rd in the Varsity omnium and Garrett helped the University of Colorado at Boulder secure the Club omnium title.


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Fuel


CLIF Bar has been the title sponsor of the team since day 1. While some of the products have been staples for years like the Chocolate Chip CLIF Bar, they have recently added some new products that have changed the game.

Everyone on the team is beyond excited to receive support from the biggest nutrition bar company in the game. Not only do they make great products, but they also lead the charge in terms of sustainable on environmentally friendly business practices. In thanks for the support we receive from CLIF Bar, we try to do our part at the races to reduce our impact on the earth. After the races when everyone else is going home, the team will stay behind to make sure all trash/recyclables were properly sorted at the race venue. This helps instill valuable life lessons on the value of sustainability, and the impact just a few simple efforts can have on the environment.

In order to help our readers get acquainted with the CLIF Bar Product line, we outlined our favorites below!

CLIF Nut Butter Filled Bar - Coconut Almond Butter

This product is new in the last few months and has been in our jersey pockets on every ride since we started testing them back in March. The almond butter adds sustainable energy to the classic CLIF Bar. One bar per hour of activity is a good rule of thumb





CLIF Organic Energy Food - Banana Beet With Ginger

This is another new product from CLIF Bar this year. It is an excellent way to get an instant energy boost during any type of activity. Additionally, the nitric oxide in the beets helps increase blood flow to your muscles. Pro Tip - These are an excellent substitute for maple syrup on pancakes.

CLIF Shot Energy Gel - Double Espresso

In the last 5 years we haven’t started a race without eating one of these beforehand. Many riders pre-race ritual is to eat one of these 10min before the start of any race to help them go full gas for the first 30 min. These are also perfect for the end of a long road race.





CLIF Bloks Energy Chews - Cran - Razz

These are a go to for a mid race snack. Open a pack and shove them in your skinsuit during every race over 30 minutes. Once the race hits the 30 minute mark try to eat a few blocks every 10-15 min, this helps insure that you won’t bonk.

CLIF Hydration Electrolyte Drink - Lemon Lime Aid

Perfect for every training ride or a hot race. Our riders usually do 1 bottle of water and 1 bottle of mix. Helps you stay hydrated!








CLIF Recovery Protein Drink - Chocolate

Last but not least, never forget your recovery drink. This is a staple for your post ride routine.  Pro Tip- add to a banana/strawberry smoothies for a tasty recovery drink.









Thanks for reading this week's post, be sure to check in next Monday!

-CLIF Bar Team



Monday, October 10, 2016

Want to see us? Here's the Schedule

CLIF BAR Development Cyclocross Team 2016/2017 Season Schedule:

We consider this to be the beginning of the our cyclocross season. We have all gotten the chance to test our equipment and legs at some practice races. Now it's time for the big show! Curious what races we will be targeting this season? Check out the breakdown below. In the area for one of these races? Stop by the CLIF tent and mention our blog for a free CLIF BAR sample!


US Open of Cyclocross - 10/15/16:
Our race schedule kicks off this upcoming weekend with the US Open in Boulder, Colorado. This is one of our favorite races out of the CX schedule because it is a wicked fast course around valmont bike park. For most of our riders this the home course. A location that many of our riders frequently use as training grounds, all of our riders are familiar with this venue.
Recommended Challenge Tires: Chicane rear, Baby Limus front


Collegiate MTB nationals - 10/22/16
After the US Open, two of our riders will be headed to Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia to compete in the Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships. Liam Earl will be helping his Colorado Mesa University fight to win the division 1 omnium title. Garrett will be helping CU Boulder find a top spot in the division 2 omnium competition.


Pan American Championships - 10/29/16
Next on the CX schedule is a trip to the Cincinnati for the Pan American Championships. Perhaps the fastest races in North America, highly valuable UCI points will be be up for grabs for both juniors and U23 riders. Challenging courses and talented riders makes for some of the best cx racing in America. The guys love this course and are ready to throw elbows with the best.
Recommended Challenge Tires: Baby Limus front and rear

Louisville Derby City Cup - 11/5/16
After Cincy some of our racers will be heading to Louisville, KY to compete in this classic American Cyclocross race. With a fast, flat, and technical course, racing will be extra exciting for spectators. This former world championship course is sure to produce some spectacular crashes!
Recommended Challenge Tires: Fango front and rear

CXLA - 11/19/16
Our fourth major cyclocross even will be CXLA in California. The U23 riders especially like this race as it is one of the few UCI races that provides a U23 specific category. Gives the guys an ample opportunity to rack up some UCI points and a better ranking for nationals, as well as the european races. This race is crucial to being selected for World Cup races in Europe, as well a front row start at nationals. Having good fitness a CXLA gives you a good idea of how you’re going to stack up in the races to come.
Recommended Challenge Tires: Baby Limus front and rear

Nationals - 1/7/17
Last but certainly not least we will be traveling Hartford, CT for the US Cyclocross National Championships. From single speed to elite men, everyone of our riders will be fighting for the stars and stripes jersey in their respective disciplines. We will be fielding riders in every age group; 17-18, U23, and pro. Some of our riders will also be competing in the Collegiate National Championships as well in both division 1 and division 2. Recommended Challenge Tires: Undecided



See you at the races! - CLIF BAR Team

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

2016 / 2017 Season - What We are Riding


First of all, welcome back to the CLIF BAR Development Team blog. This season we will be posting new blogs every Monday, so be sure to check in frequently. In this blog post we will be going over the equipment that we use and abuse. This is the equipment that keeps us running, so thanks for the support from our sponsors. We couldn’t do it without them!


Frame -
This is our 4th season on the Niner BSB RDO. 4 years ago we partnered with Niner when they first released the BSB. With slight updates each year, Niner has really hit the nail on the head with this bike. Stiff, lightweight, race geometry, and mud clearance. All we could ever want in a bike. (@ninerbikes #pedaldamnit)


Drivetrain -
We have been working with Sram since the team was founded in 2003. We will be using Sram’s most advanced cyclocross groupset, Force CX1. 1x drivetrains combined with hydraulic braking is perfect for cross. (@sramroad)


Wheelsets -

The Development team will be on Kappius Components wheelsets this season. We will be racing on the tubular version of the KW-2 wheelset. These Wheels are completely designed in house by our very own Brady Kappius. 240 points of engagement makes for wicked fast accelerations out of corners. (@kappiuscomponents #rollonkappius)


Tires -
Once again we will be racing on Challenge Handmade Tires. During races we will be on Team Edition Tubulars, while we will train on Grifo Open Tubulars. The team travels with extra wheelsets with treads ranging from Chicane to Limus. This gives us the flexibility to pick the right tire for the conditions. My favorite tire for muddy races is the Limus T.E. at 20psi front and 21psi rear. (@challengetires #tireswinraces #yourchallenge)


Pedals-
Crankbrothers has been one of our partners from the beginning, known for being the best mud shedding pedals on the market. While we have the option to pick between Eggbeaters or Candy models, most of us run the candy for the increased platform.  (@crankbrothers #weridecb)


Lube/Tools/Cleaners -
Pedro’s has stocked the team with lube for every condition. We have 5+ different lubes to pick from depending on the conditions and then have plenty of Cleaner to keep the bikes working well and looking good. The mechanics also use Pedro’s tools for all of the bike maintenance.  (@pedrosbikecare)

Helmets/Shoes -
Giro is once again protecting our heads this year. The team will be running the Synthe MIPS helmet. The Synthe is stylish, aero, and safe. We will also be using the Giro Empire VR90 shoes. These shoes are incredibly stiff, light, and have the ability to add spikes for icy conditions! (@girocycling)





Clothing-
Capo is another sponsor whom we have worked with for many years. They will be keeping us warm when riding on the trainer isn’t an option. We will be decked out from head to toe in some of the nicest clothing out there, including thermal skinsuits. ( @capocycling #capocycling)




Embro/Skincare -
Doc’s Skin Care will be providing us with everything from embro to sunscreen. With a wide variety of products, our legs will never get cold, even if it’s snowing. (@docskincare)


Massage -
The original Rad Roller may be one of the most important things in our suitcases. The Rad Roller is small enough that it can fit anywhere and provides some of the best post race recovery. We never travel without them. (@radroller #radroller)


Thanks for reading! - CLIF BAR Development Team





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