Friday, November 03, 2006

The Big Weekend - Team Coach

For those of you who don't follow cyclo-cross so closely, or who don't live in the Boulder area, this weekend (Nov 4,5) is a big one for the team. We've got the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross rounds 3 & 4 going on locally in Longmont and Boulder. Even though this is a "home" race for all the kids, we've got so much else going on that it's really going to be a busy weekend for the whole team.

Friday we're going out to help event staff and sponsors set up the expo area for Saturday's race in Longmont. Then on both days, riders will be helping some of our sponsors (Clif Bar, Crank Bros, and Door To Door Organics) staff their expo booths. For our athletes, it's a great chance to spend some time interacting with the sponsors who help make the team possible, as well as with the cyclo-cross fans who come out for the races and come through the expo area. We expect a lot out of the riders besides just riding their bikes fast (that's the fun part!), and as you can tell by reading the blog entries and when you talk to them at the events, they never let us down.

On a sporting level this weekend, we get to see the USGP debut of Taylor Phinney, who has taken to 'cross very quickly. Jim Lennon will be proudly sporting the USGP leaders' jersey thanks to his win round 2, and since our new clothes are in Danny gets to rock the stars & stripes in front of his home crowd.

The U23 crew is looking strong, Brady is getting healthy again and we've got Tejay back in action after missing Gloucester. No airport security at the races in CO, so Alex and Peter should be there as well.

Andrew will mix it up with the local cat 3's instead of the 15/16 juniors, so don't be surprised to see him there.

Troy/T-Dub/T-Biz/Rudy is coming into form, and a big race at altitude should suit him well. Besides helping set up these events as zero waste, Stu will be in action in the elite race as well.

Speaking of sponsors, I've got the Start Global Cooling logo up on the 1% section of my own website. Ironically, my inspiration for that part of my business was this book, while I came to find out this morning that Yvon Choinard's work with the environment and values-driven business was also an inspiration to Clif Bar founder Gary Erickson.

That's it! See you all this weekend in CO!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

More burgers, more gasoline

I distinctly remember a conversation with Ben about cycling and its ties to sustainability and healthy lifestyles, we were somewhat dumb-founded about how our industry was missing the boat on both fronts.

You can make loose connections to the impact that professional bike racers have to the community of cyclists, we do encourage and give the 9 to 5 'ers something to dream about when banging out 2 hours of "office frustration".

It seems to me that the cycling industry, and US "professional" teams, are missing the boat entirely. Energy dependance and healthier lifestyles are (or will be) two of the major issues in coming decades--how much does GM spend on employee health insurance per car? Last I saw it was in the range of $1800...per car.

Our obesity epidemic will present cycling a new angle in coming years. It is an angle that has less to do with winning races, and more to do with big corporate money (read: hello living wages for bike riders!) and advocacy. Cycling would be foolish to avoid these relationships, not only with healthy lifestyles but also sustainability.

Check out this article, some great facts about weight and gasoline consumption...and what got me thinking...

'til next time, Bryan.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Volunteer Report: Tejay

For a while now I have been involved in a program called “The Exotic Species Elimination Project.” This was a project through my Biology class at Front range Community College, put on by my teacher, James Choun. He introduced this project to the class, and I saw it as a perfect opportunity to help the environment.

About 50 years ago, Russian Olive Trees were brought over to Colorado. The reason they were brought over was to shield crops from the wind, due to the thick, bushy nature of the tree. However, when these trees were brought over none of the trees' predators or things that helped keep the population of the tree in check (natural enemies) were brought with it, giving the tree a competitive advantage over the native Colorado species. Russian olive trees have an extremely deep root system, which makes it hard for any nearby trees to get the water that they need. The trees also consume lots of water, which has caused the water levels of the nearby rivers to lower dramatically. This costs the state millions of dollars, as well as incurring severe damage to the environment and local wildlife.

In this project we strive to get rid of as many of these trees as we can. Cutting down trees isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when taking on an environmental project, but I’ve learned that these issues can be more complex then they first appear. So far most of the work being done is in the Loveland area. What we do is cut down the tree, and with the remaining branches we make brush piles, which provides shelter and a habitat for the local wildlife. Once the tree is cut down, we then apply chemical treatment to the stump which kills it completely.

Next on the agenda for me is a school visit to Preston Middle School with Peter Stetina to talk to the youngsters about the importance of environmental sustainability.

Thanks for reading,
Tejay van Garderen

Volunteer Report: Ben

As part of the team's environmental sustainability mission, we have a pretty cool educational aspect to the program. Each team member is taking an active role in their own sustainability education and the sustainability of their community.

We have three components to this:
1) checking out something new to learn about...lecture, film, book, magazine article, etc.
2) volunteering for an organization in the community to help out and learn about something new.
3) school visits to local elementary and middle school students.

Anyways, I volunteer for a Boulder organization called Growing Gardens, since I like to garden and I think it is a great way to foster a sense of community and emphasize sustainability.

Growing Gardens oversees all the Community Garden projects in Boulder (I have a plot in the Holiday Community Garden, just a hundred yards from my house). They also run some really cool programs for kids. One of these, the Chidren's Peace Garden program, educates school groups and other community kids groups:

"Children learn about the source of the food that they eat, nutritional value of vegetables and the fundamentals of organic gardening practices. They experience activities and games designed to encourage peace, respect, environmental stewardship, and friendship." (

Last Friday I helped run a program for 60 second graders from Whittier Elementary in Boulder. The 2nd grade is doing a learning unit on the value of community, taking field trips to places in the community to see how all different types of people and places cooperate and help each other.

These classes came to the Hawthorn Greenhouse, and I got to lead one of the three educational stations. The kids got to tour the Hawthorn Community Garden, talk to gardeners and play some games to learn about gardening; they got to harvest arugula, cucumbers and tomatoes in the greenhouse and make a salad together and share a meal together; in my group, I tought the kids about the importance of community and cooperation, for people (making the garden and greenhouse happen) and also the plant/animal relationships in the garden. The kids also made some pretty cool seed mosaics for a craft project.

These kids were really pysched to learn about all the stuff in the garden and greenhouse, and many got to try arugula for the first time!

that's it for now...


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rad Racing Shout-out

This one's for our Seattle Homeboy Benny, aka Benny Swedberg from Rad Racing (the other best development cross team in the country), and actually he's from Olympia. We know, because Benny (well, his parents) let our whole team crash at their house in 2004 when we were out for the USGP race in Tacoma. Great people, and Benny is one great bike racer.

The kid with the curly black 'fro is gettin' super fast...a few National Championships under his belt, and now he's rocking the Cat 3 men in Seattle.

I just got this info from Rad Racing director Jim Brown:

"Benny soloed off the front of a 60 rider SR Cat-3 field yesterday for the win.
After 5 races he is the Seattle CCX overall leader in the C-3 men(14 years old!!!!!!!)"

We've got 15 and 16 yr olds beating up on the Cat 3s here in Colorado, but Benny is only 14. Pretty dope.

looking forward to seeing you in Boulder next weekend Benny!

Jonathan Vaughters Caught 'Cross' Dressing!

Former professional cyclist and current manager of the TIAA-Cref Professional Cycling Team Jonathan Vaughters was spotted at the Boulder UCI Cyclocross race this previous Sunday. The one time US ranked #1 Denver native dusted off his chamois to compete in his first ever cyclocross race, lining up in the men's 3 division - a hotly contested field consisting of mostly 'Boulder Cat 3 Pros'. "Err, uhhh, it was hard, uhhh... so there you go..." said Vaughters, commonly referred to by the simple moniker JV.

Known as a stellar time trialist and climbing specialist, the usally svelte Vaughters appeared to have packed on some body mass to prepare for his first foray into the competitive world of Cat 3 cyclocross racing. "I've, err, uhh... been mixing, um.. (text, text, text, text) ... mixing whey protein shake with a fine '87 Chateau Neuf de Pape... um, err.. so there you go..." explained the now finely sculpted cyclist.

Some spectators were at first hesitant to believe that Jonathan would deign to lower himself to a Cat 3 race, but these doubts were quickly crushed at the startline where his trademark sideburns were clearly visible. Dr. Allen Lim, a colleauge of Vaughters and by all acounts an intelligent man, responded to these allegations. "Huh. Interesting. He has the sideburns and scientifically speaking those can't be faked. Huh. Interesting. Crazy."

"Contrary to, uh... umm... (text, text, text, text)... popular opinion, I've always been interested in Cyclocross," said Vuaghters. "Chris Boardman and I used to stay up late at night in our bunk beds and discuss the wind-drag coefficient of a 52 kilo cyclocross rider using a 102 in. gear while riding at 78.32% of his or her maximum lactate threshold while the sunlight strikes at a 58 degree angle if the wind was pushing him or her only on the frontal parietal lobe of the lower ibial protuberance instead of the occipital lobe. We were, umm... crazy kids, so... umm, err... there you go...".

Despite an impressive start, Vaughters faded in the third half of the race to finish a respectable 46th. Spectators claim to have spotted JV texting on his Blackberry during the course of the competition.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Strong showing in Boulder Racing UCI event

The TIAA-CREF/CLIF BAR Cross Team made a strong statement at Sunday's Boulder Racing UCI event: that they are ready for next weekend's USGP races.

In the Category 3 race, Taylor Phinney and Andrew Barker quickly joined the 2nd group, not far off the leaders' pace. Taylor, in his 3rd cross race ever, and first in the Cat 3 field, showed tremendous power and surprising technical skill. Andrew rode his usual agressive race, but ended up fading out of the group in the last few laps. Taylor finished strong, capitalizing on a late-race crash in the front group to grab 2nd place!

Recovering from poor starts, Troy Wells and Tejay van Garderen turned in the team's best performances in the Open race.
Troy surged all the way up to the 3rd group, and the race stayed a contest between three groups of 3 for most of the day. As his older brother Todd jumped off the front late in the race to seal the win, Troy battled to stay with veteran Boulder racer Pete Webber (IMBA special projects guy and author, heard on NPR's Weekend Morning Edition, Saturday). Troy ended up finishing 8th, as the cagey Webber laid down a ferocious attack in the long beach running section.
Tejay took a little while to get his Biodiesel engine fired up - early in the race was sitting 3 spots from the tail end of the race - but once he kicked into gear, his ride was nothing short of amazing. Tejay used his raw power and ever-improving technique to pass a lot of riders, and ended up finishing with a fine 13th place.

Part-time Cross team mechanic Nicholas Saucier (and Pro Peloton wrench) was out at the race shooting some photos of the team, with one posted here for your enjoyment. For more photos from the race, check out cyclingnews.

Hopefully the beautiful sunny, warm weather we were treated to at the Boulder Reservoir will be in store for next weekend, as it would really allow us to show off Boulder's blue skies and amazing scenery. And make it an easier weekend on the mechanics!

TEAM CLIF BAR is working to fight climate change