Monday, July 25, 2016

Rockwell Relay 2016, Part IV


The thing I remembered about Leg 3 from last time we did Rockwell was that it seemed like a fairly flat, and even slightly downhill for 56 miles, ending with a little kicker just after crossing the Colorado River to get the rider into the transition point. Mike killed it last time, and I knew he would be just as ready to do the same this time around. The problem was I trying to stay in front of the guy that did so well last time on this leg, and I was starting out on my own.

That said, I was out of the gates trying to hold off Mike for as long as I could.

(When you have no idea where you stand, or anyone else in the race for that matter, you just have to put your head down and push on. You become the only motivation for yourself. Just keep pushing!!!)
It would be some time before I would see my support team, or anyone in fact. Finally when the team showed up, I had one main request.

"Hey, I want time splits. Pull ahead and see how much time passes between me crossing the car, and then for Mike to do it. Then catch up to me and let me know."
(Mike in pursuit!)
Luckily, I don't recall seeing Team 2's support car for about the first half of the leg. This gave me hope that I would at least make Mike work for it. What's more, I saw another team's support vehicle time and again. I figured they were doing time splits on me, and figured they were between Mike and myself. I thought maybe I would have some help so long as they didn't blow by me when they caught up.

But the weirdest thing happened, I never saw their riders. In fact, when I got the time reports from my team, Mike was staying about 10 minutes or so back. They did tell me he had a bike problem. His bike was having issues shifting gears, so Team 2 rushed ahead and got Bob's 2nd bike ready. (Yes Bob is so high maintenance he brought a back up, j/k Bob.) Here, it was perfect, especially as he and Mike used the same clip ins. While I knew this would give me a couple minutes for them to transition, I wasn't sure it was enough.

(Mike switching bikes.)
But it was! The good and bad of it was I did the entire leg as a solo time trial. I didn't get the chance to work with anyone, but I did hold off Team 2 to give Darin a little head start.

(Crossing the Colorado River!)
I finished Leg 2 in 2:42, and we ended twelve minutes ahead of Team 2. Mike had actually passed four riders during his ride, and had put Team 2 into the 8th spot 3 legs in! (And we were now just in front in 7th!) I had added five more minutes on our lead, which I know half of was due to the bike change. Still, I will take joy in my small victory as Mike usually kills me on rides, so I was happy him and I finished realistically within a minute or two of each other.

Shortly after Darin left for our team (and I was still trying to be able to walk upright as my sides were killing me) Mike came in and Kevin was starting the fun climb that starts Leg 4.
(Mike coming in, and Bob probably yelling something along the lines of, "How's my bike!?")

By now, it's just about 4:00 pm, and into the 90's temperature wise. Darin and Kevin are welcomed into Rockwell's race with a short but steep climb. Having been warned, they both seem to not push it too hard out the gates and appear to tackle the early wall with much more ease than I remember it from when I did it last.
(Darin showing the climb who's boss!)

(Welcome to your first cycling event Kevin!)
Darin and Kevin were over the first climb and quick descent, and were on to the 20 mile slight but steady climb that ended about 26 miles or so into their 45 mile leg. Both were doing great, and in good spirits as the temperature got up to triple digits.

Bob, in the meantime, was making use of some of the cooling off supplies to provide entertainment as we sagged for our guys.

(Oh this...this is just the tip of the iceberg that is Bob Crockett. "Ugh hey, take my picture.")
Just before the top of the climb Kevin caught up to Darin. And, as it goes, the fun began. Not only did they have a slight to moderate downhill ride into Hanksville. This year they were treated with a tailwind!

(Just another chance to enjoy the scenery.)
(That close to the rock, but no shade to hide behind.)
Maybe the most amazing part of the race as we reached Hanksville was that while our teams had done very little actual riding together, Darin and Kevin were only separated by just over two minutes as they each came in. Both had smiles probably bigger than when they started.

Now, for us the question was how Rich and Matt would do on Leg 5. This leg would put it to our best rider in our previous race. Would these guys have any better luck? Would the winds pick up and fight as much as the mountains as they pushed to Torrey? be continued...

Friday, July 22, 2016

Rockwell Relay 2016, Part III

(Growing up and visiting grandparents close by, I always look forward to seeing the horse head in the mountain, as he is looking straight at you. Can you see it?)


Guys are coming in, and you don't see your man. You figure they passed him, so you start asking, "Have you seen our guy?"

"Yeah, he's coming, just back a bit."

Good. He wasn't dead. And he was still moving. A few minutes more passed, and from over the bump in the road Rich appeared.
(The body tells the tale.)
He came in riding at decent clip, but you could tell the ride had taken its toll. Darin was quick to switch the timing chip onto Paul, and Paul raced off.

"How's it going?" I asked.

"Man, I've NEVER had cramps like that before!" Rich replied.

Turns out Rich started up the climb with a group of guys, and was going strong. Then, as it often does, your legs express their frustration in loud, painful shrieks of agony that they've had it. A guy came up to Rich and congratulated him on such a strong ride. He mentioned how he was almost startled with the volume in which Rich yelled out when the first sudden cramp made its appearance.

"I knew that wasn't good," the guy stated.

With all that said, our team was actually the 7th in of the teams that started at the 7:00 am start time. Rich's legs were sure to point out that he didn't leave anything out there, he had put it all on the line. About 18 minutes later Matt finished the 54 mile Leg 1, and Bob took up the race for Team 2.

(Matt giving Bob the high five exchange while Mike moved the time chip to Bob's ankle.)

Now, this much we knew and had planned for. Rich would push it and likely put a little time into Matt on Leg 1. With that in mind, Bob and Paul switched teams at the last minute as Bob had done the most training leading up to Rockwell and was riding very strong. We knew he would be able to eat into any deficit that his team might have, and because Bob has trained his mind to completely tune out his body when it screams for rest and relief, he could possibly blow the whole race wide open. (That stated, on a race like this, we knew any number of issues related to riders getting sick or tired, getting a flat or having any other mechanical problems, could greatly change the outcome for either team, and would dash all hopes of the teams staying together.) We wanted to stay together, but were not at the point that we were going to wait for one another. The way the teams were stacked, we figured each team needed to ride their own race.

The question became, just how much time would Bob pull back? 10 minutes? All of it? More? After sticking around waiting for Team 2, we loaded up and sought out for Paul. He had been riding for about half an hour and the day was quickly warming up.

(Here was Paul, pluggin' away)
We caught up to Paul, and he was doing great, being about 7 or 8 miles into the 45 mile leg. Off on his own, he was riding strong and steady, starting to feel the heat of the day.

Here, I must point out, I did NOT want Bob to catch Paul. While it would have been nice to have a carrot to chase if Mike was out on Leg 3 a few minutes before me, I knew that he would be hard to catch, and I wanted to give Darin a head start on Leg 4 as he had a steep climb right out of the gate that I had built up in his mind to be like climbing out of the Grand Canyon.

So we encouraged Paul along the ride. He simply kept smiling and kept pedaling. Bob was pushing to catch Paul and was continually eating away at our lead.

(Paul coming through a cut out in the mountain 37 miles into his leg.)

(Bob on the hunt for Paul!)

(The descent before the final climb.)
By the time Bob reached the cut in the mountain (see Paul's pictures above), Paul had done his final descent and started the final six mile climb up to the transition point (a Category 2 climb). The lead had been reduced to about 10 minutes. We checked with Paul about a mile into the climb, again changing out bottles and hurried up so I could get ready to finally be riding. At this point I figured Paul should get to the transition point before Bob, but I still wasn't sure just how far back Bob would be.

(Bob shaving time on the final climb!)
 About 40 minutes after Paul started the climb, he reached the transition and I took off.

(Looking back to see if I Bob was in sight. Also, looking out for cars. I'm such a safe rider.)
Paul was in and I was off. I was glad to finally be riding, but was dying to know just how much of a start I would have on Mike. He is competitive, and I am sure Bob if no one else would be egging him on.

Now, I was HIS carrot to chase. But by how much!?

??? be continued...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rockwell Relay 2016, Part II


As noted in an earlier installment, the hope was that we could match up the two teams we had with guys that were close enough in ability that they could ride together. Last time we did the race our team did most of the ride as solo time trialists. In a long, often windy race, this can be very taxing and greatly slow your efforts. We figured if each rider had someone to work with this would not only help them to fight the elements, but hopefully also provide additional encouragement as they could push (or actually pull) each other along.


While that was the plan, we recognized that none of our teamed up riders would match up perfectly well, so we set up the teams in hopes that we would at least remain close to one another in the event the riders could work together and thus shave some time off their efforts. Also, we figured this would help us to avoid having a team lose track of where their rider was like last time.


Friday morning we were up and at 'em. Rich was there with family in tote (so supportive of them to watch him leave from Moab...wait, I think they missed him leaving...I forget...anyways, good for them for coming to Moab.)

Matt and Rich had suited up in some of Alpine's latest threads, and were amped and ready to go.

(Showing off the kit, putting out the vibe.)

(Matt double checking things.)

(Rich and Matt starting at the back to size up the competition. Rich looks like he's just trying to stay on two wheels, but I'll give him benefit of the doubt and recall that he was just landing a wheelie across the start line.)
With the 20+ teams heading out together at the 7:00 am start Rich and Matt knew they had the best opportunity to not only work together, but also work with other teams to get them through the rolling hills, wind, and climbs that are found between Moan and Monticello.

With that said, things started out well. Matt and Rich were in sync, and riding together and with other teams. However, not too far into the leg, and group of guys came around the two of them and Rich yelled out to Matt that they should push it and grab on to this group. Rich made the push and caught the tail, but Matt couldn't make the gap.

(Nothing like sitting down to a relaxing breakfast while guys are out there pushing their limits.)
Already, the teams were separated, though not far. Both had found people to work with (at some point Rich's group whittled down to him and another one or two guys) and both were pushing hard to get to the transition point.

(Rich rocking it.)
(Matt on the chase!)
With the final climb in front of them, Rich had about a 12-14 minute lead on Matt. Rich was pushing hard and only about the third guy off the lead. We loaded him up with fresh bottles for the last 10-12 miles and rushed into Monticello to get Paul ready at the transition.

We pulled up, got out, and Paul got changed. We knew the climb would take a bit of time but it wasn't long before the first guy came in. He was followed shortly thereafter by a group of three or four guys. Surely, Rich would be with them. But he was nowhere to be found. He had been right towards the front last we saw him. Minutes past, nothing. Then ANOTHER guy came in! Suddenly, flashbacks to Andrew's ride came creeping back in. Had something happened to Rich? Did he hit his wall? Did he hit a wall!? Did he have a mechanical issue? Should we go back and get him!?

RICH!!! be continued...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rockwell Relay 2016, Part I

Time for me to get started on my write-up...before I forget all the fun that was the training leading up to, and the actual race of Rockwell Relay 2016!


So, last year I took it off from the Rockwell Relay (RR, Rockwell, da Race...) as we just had our 4th child. However, with mounting pressure from a few people, I figured I'd get something organized, and we were able to gather enough guys to fill two teams from the Santa Clarita Valley.


While we weren't sure exactly where guys would fit in (we didn't even all know each other), we had a pretty good idea. In fact, there was really only one leg change between two guys from what we originally guessed to when we rode, so most guys were able to plan out well in advance what their legs would be like. With that said, I'll give a quick bio for each rider...

Team Name - Alpine Apparel 1:

Rider 1 - Rich (36) - Rich is a fire fighter. Two things made this pretty apparent. First, the guy's all swoll up as he gets paid to work out. (Due to this fact alone, we knew he would have the most time to prepare. He is fast, has ridden mountain bikes and dirt bikes since childhood, and though kind of new to the road bike, is a beast. Rider 1 was an easy choice.) Second, the guy shows up to our first team meeting looking like the Assos guy, walking in only in his bib shorts. We all joked that he was ready for his fireman calendar shoot.

Rider 2 - Paul (mid 50's) - Paul is an engineer, and was the last guy to join to round out our two teams. To be honest, I was the most weary about Paul joining the group as I did not know him at all. I was told that he rode, but I didn't know how often or how much. I wasn't sure if he'd be ready for something like Rockwell. (I know that overall we were a bunch of weekend warriors trying to pretend we know how to ride, so it wasn't like we were going to be setting any records, but I really just didn't want to be a team that had to drop out because our riders weren't prepared to ride strong, or at least take on three legs of pain.)

All that said, after my first ride with Paul, I was able to conclude that with his riding pedigree he understood what he was getting into, and that he is about as nice of a guy as you can find. Seriously.

Rider 3 - me (36) - Nothing to report here on myself other than I just hoped to be in better riding shape than last time. And also, to not get sick like last time.

Rider 4 - Darin (low 40's) - Darin has one of those cush 'I work for the city' jobs (just kidding Darin), and is one of the guys that first got me into riding. While he worries his size slows him down on the climbs, he can really put it to me on the flats and the descents. My favorite line from Darin when we started riding together and he would be coasting while I was pedaling feverishly to keep up on a descent, "It's a blessing and a curse." Leading up to Rockwell Darin worried more about how he'd do than anyone of the rest of us that had done it did. He put in the time, and was ready to go.

(Me, Darin, Paul, Rich)
Team Name - Alpine Apparel 2:

Rider 1 - Matt (29) - Matt is a sales rep for a pharmaceutical sales company, I think. Pretty much he pushes drugs for a living. This is great. Matt is great. May being 29, the youngest, is also great. Matt also being able to train very little and still climb as good as just about all of us...yup, you guessed it, great. What was not so great was Matt informing us on the last real ride before we left for Rockwell that while he repped a drug for those with hemophilia, he also had hemophilia. This meant that his blood had issues clotting, and oh by the way we are just doing a race in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, and if anything happened (he slipped, tripped, fell, simply got a nose bleed, or possibly looked at a mosquito wrong), maybe would bleed out on us. No big deal. I am sure it wasn't that big of a deal, but when the guy starts with 'I should probably tell you this before we are actually racing at Rockwell...' it does make you pause for a minute and wonder, 'Should he be doing this?'

Rider 2 - Bob (61) - What to say about Bob? Bob was probably the best part of last year's ride. He filled in with a few days notice, he was so sure of his diet while riding only to completely change it 20 minutes into his first leg, he didn't know anything about the course, his legs, ANYTHING! He was the guy that half way through the race last time said, 'Oh, we finish in St. George?' And of everyone, he seemed to be enjoying himself during the race most. Bob is crazy!

That said, Bob entered the race this year very motivated. He trained harder than anyone trained. He bought three bikes in the past year leading up to the ride! (Bob does his research, apparently, with OJT. He would find out for himself what would work best for him.) Bob was amped to tackle the climbs he had in front of him, and improve on his previous times.

Rider 3 - Mike (33) - Mike was also one of the guys that did this race back in 2014 with Bob and myself. And like Bob, Mike would be tackling the same legs as before. Having done it before (and done very well) Mike felt more comfortable leading up to the race. This also showed in his preparation. Like last time Mike didn't spend much time on the bike, but built up his health and stamina with running. Had it been anyone else I might have been worried. That said, I knew in the first, and one of the few, rides we did leading up to Rockwell he would be fine as I had to fight to keep up with him.

Rider 4 - Kevin (56) - This year Kevin was the guinea pig to all things cycling/ cycling events related. Recently retired, Kevin just picked up cycling about 10 months before the race as something to do besides playing tennis. Apparently he was tired of beating everyone he played and wanted to conquer something else. It wasn't long after Kevin got his first road bike, and we could see how quick he was picking it up, that Bob, Mike, Rich, pretty much everyone else, started to peer pressure Kevin into joining us for Rockwell. And, being the overly trusting friend that he was as I'm sure he figured we wouldn't ask too much from him as a newbie to the sport, he was a kind enough to accept the challenge. Man, did he have us all wrong. We weren't looking out for him, we were looking out for us! We wanted to complete the teams and go have fun!

(Team 2 - Mike, Bob, Kevin, Matt)

With the teams sorted out, we headed to Moab, got checked in, and were as ready as we were going to be for the race!


I couldn't end this write up and start into the race without talking about the trip itself. Part of doing anything like this, is the fact that this turns into a road trip with a bunch of guys. We drove the Wednesday night before up to Hurricane, stopping in Las Vegas for some incredible sushi. And on Thursday we were sure to stop in Richfield, UT at this amazing dairy for lunch. I hadn't spent much time with Kevin before our trip, but he was like a kid on his first day of summer break after school had just got out when we were traveling. He was laughing, and enjoying the food so much, as he stated, the trip was a success before we ever got into the race.

This was good. I was relieved that he was having a good time. I wasn't so sure he would be feeling the same way 24 hours later...

(At the Ideal Dairy in Richfield)

(Hanging out on a bridge over the Colorado River, just before we went to check in.)

(Prepping the cars before the race.)
(Both teams from the SCV!) be continued...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Cycling From France!

Alright, I'm not actually in France. But I kinda am.

(Pic from a photo shoot we did.)
See, we started this apparel company a year ago, and it's getting noticed here and there. Sure, it's not HUGE, but it's growing. And it's being seen around the world. (Gotta love Instagram, Facebook, pretty much the internet as a whole.)

Recently, we had a freelance write reach out to us about doing an article for her website. Getting this interest from anywhere is pretty cool. Getting the request from someone on the other side of the world is AWESOME!

That said, check out her site, and read up on her article about Alpine Apparel!

What may be the best part about it, was at first she thought my name was Ewan, and not Evan. Needless to say it got plenty of play amongst friends, and now has given me a name for an alter ego should I ever need one.

Oh, and be sure to check out the company's site: