REV Cycling’s Matt Taylor completes his longest ride to date — 400km Brevet

What follows is Matt Taylor’s ride report from his longest ride to date – 400km Brevet.  Congrats Matt!!

Ohio Randonneurs 400k Ride Report

What in the world was I thinking?  One of my thoughts at about in the middle of the hardest climb of the day at mile 170.  Entering in to this world of ultra cycling was haphazard at best. I didn’t know what I was getting into.  I’m still a rookie and as you know rookies make mistakes.

After already completing the 200k and 300k, I had a plan for the 400. It’s kind of funny when I think about it, how a my ADHD and OCD kick in when I get nervous about things.  I had been contemplating all my plans to get through this distance. The thing I obsessed about the most was my lights.  Knowing that I would be riding at night, something that I had never done, had me nervous beyond belief.  I was obsessing constantly.  I knew my headlight was good for at least 8 hours but that wouldn’t get me through the day.  With the weather the way it is in Ohio you never know how much you will need it.  Safety first right? I set out to find a mobile charger that would give me plenty of capacity as I was obsessing over my garmin running out of battery too. I’ve had that happen before. But I needed one that would fit in my serfas top tube bag. So onto the internet I went and presto. But when I got it i was laughing so hard, the thing was monstrous and barely fit. I’m still chuckling.

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Nonetheless I am in business!! If it doesn’t work out, I’m only out 40 bucks.  While we’re on the subject of worrying, the weather in Ohio is sketchy at best.  It’s not like out in San Diego where the meteorologists have the most boring and predictable job.  Look out the window and yep the same as every other day in the year.  All week it was scattered thunderstorms.  They finally settled on overcast throughout the morning giving way to sunshine in the afternoon. Low 60’s in the morning and 80 for a high.  If I were George Vargas, I’d require a long sleeve jersey and knee warmers.  Sorry George, I had to say it.  So I think arm coolers would suffice.

If I learned anything from the 300k was bring an extra kit.  There’s just something about a fresh kit to wear.  This proved to be a great idea.  The next thing was nutrition.  How am I going to sustain all day.  One thing about self supporting on these long rides you figure out pretty quickly what can you get at convenient stores that will suffice and isn’t harsh on your body.  My staple has become Muscle Milk.  Every store carries it, easy on my stomach, and it is a quality protein drink. Tastes pretty good too!!  Along with bananas at the control points by the volunteers and carrying my chews for electrolyte replacement I was set.  Also I did my normal pre ride supplementation of Mdrive, Eas creatine, NO2 and a relatively new one called Beta Red by Enduro.  Check it out. It seems to work for long days.

My goal was going to be modest, at a finish of 18 hours.  I really wasn’t sure how I would do.  I had been in contact with the riders that I had been chasing on the 300 and they weren’t going to be there.  The only other rider that I knew was comparable to me had told me that he was taking it easy and so I was on my own.  I had finally learned how to load a course into my garmin that would give me turn by turn navigation as well.  I laminated pocket sized cue cards just in case.

Ride started at 6am and as expected I was going to be by myself.  I didn’t even get out of town and the others were gone.  Meaning I was the rabbit.  Once out of town and heading south to Circleville I had settled into a nice pace of about 18-19 mph.  After about a half mile I just kept thinking this is just too easy.  I never pace this well, as my speed had picked up to just over 20.

When I approached a little burg called Stoutsville, I noticed a little house with an American Flag

headed in the same direction. Ahhh, a tailwind, I knew I wasn’t that strong. I’ll take it nonetheless.

I made it to the first control point in great time at just over 2 ½ hours.  18.1 mph avg.  I made short order of the stop. Ate a banana and downed a muscle milk.  Gone!! Next up was Logan, Ohio and this section is where the climbing starts.  The 400k followed the same route as the 300k and I knew this was going to be the meat and potatoes of the ride.  About 8000 feet gain for this 44 mile section out and back. The back was what I was most worried about.  More on that later.  I rode through Tar Hollow State Park dreading the potholes that I encountered on the last brevet. Thankfully, they had filled them in. Some of them were craters. With the overcast sky and a light fog it was really dark. See, my fretting over the light would come to fruition.

Out of Tar Hollow and on to Logan.  This is my favorite part, hardest climbing and the prettiest views.  Even with the clouds and haze it’s gorgeous.  At the top of Thompson Ridge the view didn’t disappoint.  I will have to take a photo on the way back. I made it into Logan feeling pretty good after all that climbing. Really trying to cut down on my times at the stops I again downed a Muscle Milk and a banana, filled my bottles and off I went.

This next section minus the two moderate climbs going out of town was going to be kinda boring.

Scenic for sure but flat.  The organizers put us on a bike path for a ten mile section to the turn around.  While on the path I was cruising nicely but there was nothing to look at.  It was carved out of an old train track and the trees on both sides were large and encapsulated the path like a tunnel.  Close to the turnaround I started to get an odd feeling like I was getting sick. I was wondering if my nutrition plan was failing.  The last ½ mile opened up and just being exposed to the sun that was finally starting to burn away the clouds felt really good. Must have been some sort of claustrophobia.  I made the turn and headed back to a bike shop on the path that was the next control point. The guys at the bike shop were excited to see me.  They had no experience with brevets and were happy to help us out. I used their restroom to change clothes. Man that fresh kit felt good. The owner ask me some questions. He had inspected my bike out of curiosity, and wanted to know what I thought of my power meter and if I relied on it exclusively.  He was a former TT guy and had similar thoughts and was wondering how well it worked training for ultras.  The training being so much different for the two disciplines.  After some more pleasantries he asked to take a photo and off I went.

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I had to alter some of my plans after the control.  They had the bananas and snacks that had been dropped off for us riding.  But nothing else.  So first order of business was a store as soon as I got off the path.  There was a convenient store about a mile off the path and it didn’t disappoint.  Muscle Milk and some peanuts for salt and I was good to go.  I topped off my bottles and gone.

The ride back to Logan was uneventful.  The clouds had gave way to the sun and it felt pretty good.  I was pacing pretty good.  My body as a whole was feeling pretty good.  I was starting to see the results of all my training.  Kind of makes all that hard work worth it. When I got back to Logan for the control point the plan was to do a splash and dash.  But as most of my plans they go awry.  I could feel the jitters from hypoglycemia setting in.  Time for a sugar rush.  I filled my bottles with ice and gatorade.  Sat down for a few just to settle the jitters.  The control point volunteer was a friend and made it easier to just talk for a few minutes.  He’s a sufferer like me so it was good to chat.

The next section as expected was going to be brutal.  The sun was out and starting to heat things up.  As expected Starr Route Road didn’t disappoint me. It was a formidable opponent. Especially at 160 miles in.  If that’s not enough Thompson Ridge was next at 170 and no slouch either.  Totally worth the climb.  Here’s the picture I promised.

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This 22 mile section was harder on me than expected.  Just like the 300k, my foot started to heat up.  I had consulted with George Vargas about this the last time.  He suggested that I try some insoles.  I bought some SQLab for a high arch and they seemed to be doing the job until now. I think I was just putting my foot in a bad position on the down stroke. I repositioned my foot and eased up on my stroke and the burning subsided. Thankfully it didn’t return. Crisis averted! The heat was getting to me.  I went through both of my bottles getting to Laurelville. Not a scheduled stop but definitely needed.  I was feeling good but drained.  I topped of my bottles, got a bottle of Muscle milk, and some M&M’s peanut butter, my favorite.  Now properly fueled, well kind of but you know what I mean. I Headed out of Laurelville towards Tar Hollow, another tough section.  Surprisingly enough my time was really good. I was well ahead of my goal. I knew that I was going to to lose a little more time in this climbing sequence just as I had the last one.  Once in at the control at Chillicothe, I refueled and was off.  No time to waste.

I had 48 miles to go with one more control point.  Good news was only a 1000 more feet of climbing. Bad news it was getting dark.  I was starting to feel that fatigue set in.  My anxiety of it getting dark and not being able to see hazards, not to mention traffic.  Luckily the roads were pretty decent.  And if the morning was any indication of traffic, I should be in good shape.  Remember the monstrous charger? I was making me feel pretty good right now as I was able to put my Serfas True 350 on brightest setting.  Bingo!!  I was able to make up a little bit of time heading to Circleville.  Thank you cycling gods for a bit of a tailwind. They never are this kind to me.  In and out of the control at Circleville, I wanted to let it all hang out.  Leave nothing to take home with me.  26 miles to go and if I pushed it a finish of just under 17 hours.  More than an hour off of my goal.   The gods were still smiling at me and granted me that tailwind again.  I did let them know however of all the times they didn’t give me one.  Just a pass for them now.

At about 10 miles to the finish I decided to reach deep just to see if I could.  Well what do you know, I found it.  Hammer time.  I don’t think I have ever pushed myself like this before.  It felt good to know that if I free my mind of all the constraints of life that I can do just about anything I set my sights on.  My totals for the day were:

249 miles

16:55 total time

14.8 mph avg

11,575 feet of gain

9152 calories

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READY FOR BEER AND PIZZA!!! OH YES AND A MUCH NEEDED SHOWER!!! BUT I HAVE MY PRIORITIES.
Last but not least I want to thank a couple of people.  My best friend, future wife, and partner Amy!!  Thanks for putting up with my crazy adventures on my bike.  You may not understand it but you understand my conviction and desires to push myself to the limits.  I love you!!  And to my mentor, friend and team director George Vargas!!  Thanks for your guidance and friendship!  Without your input and friendship I’m not sure I could get through these events.  Like last time sorry for the rambling, and the grammar.  I’m not a scholar by no means!!

REV Cycling’s Brian Griffith rides is first 400km Brevet – Longest ride to date

I am so proud of what our REV Cycling team members are accomplishing in 2015 season.  It has given me great pleasure to see Brian develop over the years.  He gave us quite a scare when he was hit by a car in 2013. He had multiple fractures including his pelvis.  Along with his recovery from injuries, he had a job change a cross-country move to Massachusetts and the Polar Vortex of 2014! My vision for REV Cycling comes to life when I see the development of riders like Matt Taylor and Brian Griffith.  These are riders who hadn’t ridden centuries and are now riding unsupported 300km and 400km brevets with their eyes set on 24 hour challenges! What follows is a ride report from Brian Griffith. Chapeau for getting your longest ride ever in the books!

New England 400K Race Report
“Is this your idea of fun Mav?” ‐ Goose

There is a lot of preamble leading up to this event. But the long and short of it, is that I put this ride on my calendar a month ago, promptly crashed (thanks to an 86 y/o lady who doesn’t know how to use a stop sign), and did the bulk of my training on a back up rig with an overly aggressive stance that is total hell @ >60 miles. But in the end, everything came together. My bike was fixed, and I was as ready as I was going to be.

For those of you that don’t know what randonneuring is, they are events that are entirely self‐supported. You carry everything with you, and buy additional supplies at convenience stores along the way. Courses are not marked so you need to navigate as well. This would be my first Rando event (brevet).

This would be a 400K, plus miles brevet that would round out to 260 miles total. My longest distance prior to this event was a DNF after 187 miles during the Death Valley Double Century. I rode that ride 6 weeks after my car accident, and I was still recovering from multiple fractures, and ultimately my body just gave out. I figured that now that I was in probably the strongest I’ve been in a long time, the extra 80 miles wouldn’t be a big deal, and this should be doable.

The reason I was doing this was two fold. 1. My lovely wife was away all weekend with the kids at a girl scout function (yes, I choose to do this on my ultimate free time) and 2. I’m contemplating doing a 24 hour race in Saratoga in NY, and training opportunities in the “ultra range” (> 6 hours/century) are rare. These rides allow me to tune my nutrition and see how my body reacts to this kind of stress in general.

My training in general has had to be maximized with the time I have available to me (2 hours in the morning before the wife and kids wake up and a solid weekend ride). So my power base was pretty solid, and I knew the first half of this would be no problem. It was second half that was uncharted territory.

At the start of the ride, my goal was pretty simple. Go out with the lead group, find somebody who’s done this before, and become his BFF. I didn’t want to try to navigate much of this myself as I didn’t have anything to hold my cue card, so I’d have to pull it out of my jersey every few minutes to check where I was. I’ve been testing my Garmin 510 on turn‐by‐turn with some good success, but of course, the morning of, it failed.

When we started out the lead group was doing a relatively tempo’ish pace for me, so I figured I’d stick with them. I knew they couldn’t sustain the effort over the entire ride, so I figured they were just spinning out the legs.

About 5 miles in I reached back for my cue card…. And it was gone! So now I was committed to hanging with these guys for the next 25 miles (first checkpoint was 30 miles out) as I had no way to navigate. I was chatting up some guy (Steve maybe?), he was on a race bike as well, so we were talking shop, so I thought I’d found my bff. Success!

Then all of the sudden I felt a rider come up on us fast, and then just like that, this guy, decked out in old school riding gear, on a sweet steel Lemond, complete with saddle bags and fenders, blew by us. Steve and I looked at each other and gave chase. The guy was riding what equated to a refrigerator so I figured we’d catch him on the rollers heading out of Mass. Naturally, I was wrong. This guy got FASTER on the climbs! I was impressed, and also killing myself keeping up with him. And since I didn’t have a cue sheet, and hence no idea where I was going, I opted to suck it up and ride the fridge train to checkpoint 1.

We made solid time heading into checkpoint 1. When I got there I got off, took my pack off and started planning my nutrition for the next 2.5 ‐3 hours (next checkpoint was 50 miles away). As I’m doing this I see Steve and fridge man get their cards signed, and don’t even bother getting off their bikes, and like that… my BFF was gone.

I got a new cue card, and was about to venture off on my own, when I saw a group of three riders getting ready to leave. They weren’t to far off of Steve’s pace, so I decided to tag along. Turns out this group had a Steve too, and a Tom and Melinda. They had a solid pace going. Melinda was riding a decked out steelie to, so she took climbs a bit slower, which was fine. Otherwise she drove a solid pace. In talking to Steve I found out that Steve is a Paris – Brest – Paris (the Olympics of randonneuring) vet, and doing it again this year. Melinda has done PBP “multiple times”, so these guys knew what they were doing. By the end of the second leg it was pretty well established we would all hang together. My navigation fears had been abated.

At this point I was 80 miles in, and feeling pretty good. I was keeping up on my nutrition goals, and being this far in, it was time to put down some “real” food. So I knocked back a pro‐bar meal bar (think cliff bar). The third leg would be another 50 miles and take us to Gilette State Park in CT, and lunch.

I should mention at this point is that scenery was pretty damn nice. Western Mass and Northern CT is a very pretty place. Rolling hills, farms, etc… I had no time for pictures as this group was ALL business between checkpoints. Probably the one thing I regretted on this ride.

In any case, segment 3 took us down eastern CT, and into rolling hill country. These weren’t hills, they were quick pitches of 8%+ grade. Normally these tend to be fun to hammer up, but with 80‐100 miles under my legs already, and 160+ to go, the thought of blowing up my legs didn’t appeal to me. This is also the point I started

noticing my bike fit may be a bit off. It felt as my seat height was a tad too high. My left knee started to hurt, which has NEVER happened before, and my left foot bed was burning in pain. It was definitely neurological as it was elevated immediately when I unclipped at a light. My back was also stiffening up a bit, which is the norm. Easy enough to stretch on the bike, but it was definitely be time to hit the advil and a seat adjustment at lunch.

Lunch was at Gilette Park in CT. This ride provided some free food for us. The most key of which was ice cold coke. They also had some cold cuts for sandwiches. It looked good enough, so I figured I would give it a go. Complete rookie mistake; don’t test the day of the event! I’d pay for it later.

As for the seat issue, having a steel frame and a steel seat post is a recipe for issues. As is evident by the fact corrosion froze my post to my frame. I didn’t have the tools or the oil to unstick it, so I had to deal with it as is. I’ll need to re‐grease the seat post tube this week.

We’ve been fighting a headwind the whole morning, and I was looking forward to having a tailwind all the way home. So we set out, and within 5 minutes the cold cuts were doing an Icky Woods on my stomach. At this point we hit the steepest pitches of the ride, and it was hard to concentrate with turkey burps. I also could not stomach solid food with this ingestion so I focused on liquid calories (Carbo‐ pro).

After we got out of the hills, the scenery for the remainder of the day took a turn for the worse. First we got to ride through lovely New London (its not), and then we traversed western Rhode Island South to North. Once you get past the ocean communities of RI, the course basically brought us by biker bars, cheesy bars, and just regular local bars. It was late afternoon, but I worried for the riders that would come behind us later when these bars would be in full affect. It turns out this fear was warranted (more on that later).

The fourth leg ended 50 miles later at a Mobil. My stomach still couldn’t handle solid food. Stingers, gel blocks, and meal bars looks completely unappetizing. So I doubled down on the liquid calories in my bottles. Also got some juice from Mobil. Figured the quick sugar would perk me up, and the carbo‐pro would sustain me to the final checkpoint, another 50 miles out.

This leg, is also when darkness fell, which meant our pace started to slow. At this point our group conversation started to wane. Tom the talker was barely heard at this point. It was the beginning of focusing on surviving… and not burying your wheel in a giant pothole. RI had absolutely horrid road conditions.

About 40 miles in on this leg, I got my first taste of bad luck (I would kill for one event without an “incident”); I double flatted. Even with all of my lights, I still hit a minor pot hole. Funny thing is, is it wasn’t that bad, I’ve hit far worse in my days.

But when I hit it, I heard the immediate hiss of a blown tube. When I stopped, I noticed it was coming from my front tire… Sweet! Front tires are a gem to fix compared to back. But when I dismounted, I noticed it was coming from my back too… FRACK! Tom the talker and I double teamed it. Tom took the rear wheel, I took care of the front as well as all of the equipment needed to swap out the two tubes. We were riding again within 5 minutes. On our next big decent I noticed that my back wheel shimmied on heavy braking.

At the next check point, I noticed some of the braking surface was bent out, most likely from Tom’s wrenching of my tire. He wasn’t over aggressive as I was right there when he changed. And this rim was literally a day old (it was replaced from the crash damage and I just got it back Friday). So this is yet another issue I need to address this week.

The final leg was an “easy” 30 miles Milford – Hansom. The checkpoint was at a Mobil. I was craving real food terribly at this point. However, being a Mobil, there were not many options. In the end I opted for some bizarre chimmichanga looking things. Those tasted lovely over the next 30 miles.

The final 30 miles were pretty uneventful and quite. This is also why I typically enjoy riding at night. There is something to be said for complete quite… just need to watch for potholes!

So we wrapped up the last 30 miles and rolled into Hanscom with an elapsed time of 19:44, and a moving time of 17:44. I think we were the second or third group in, so I was also happy with that. I wasn’t keeping track, but my sustained wattage was a tad low at 2 watts/kg, but I attribute that to hanging back with the group. Like I said I viewed this more as an experiment in how my body would handle this much time in the saddle, and not a hammer fest. I have the B2VT in a few weeks and the 24 hour Saratoga, race which I’m not well prepared, for that.

And remember my concern about the course passing all of those bars. Ends up a fellow cyclist was run off the road by some jackass in that area. Fortunately the cyclist was OK, his bike however, not so much.

All in all it was great experience. Learned a lot that will prepare me for future events. The one thing I can’t imagine is completing this event completely alone. I had company, albeit quite company. 19 hours alone on a bike would have been a significant mental challenge.

Finally just wanted to give thanks to a few people. First and foremost my wife Beth. She may roll her eyes at me when I come up with these ideas, but she’s always supportive in the end. Bikebarn racing for getting my ride back to me just in the nick of time, and looking like brand new. And finally George Vargas for his constant encouragement, sage advice, and the last minute spare battery for my headlamp.

REV Cycling’s Matt Taylor completes his longest ride to date – 300km Brevet Ride Report

REV Cycling’s Matt Taylor completes his longest ride to date – 300km Brevet Ride Report.  I am so proud of the progress Matt has made over the last two years.  He continues to build up his endurance and experience in long distance cycling.  Next up — 400km

Matt Taylor 300km picture

My First But Not My Last Race Report

Ohio Randonneurs 300K Brevet

 

I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into. Just to give a little background, I’m relatively a newbie in the cycling world, just barely cycling for 2 full years.  Most of 2014 I spent chasing any century I could find.  I wasn’t paying attention to my body, basically just thought I could ride and get stronger.

 

Fast forward to my goals I set for this year! Complete my first ultra cycling event. But how?  Develop my plan and get it done. After attending my second REV Cycling Camp Palomar, I met and found inspiration from some really great people.  One thing that stuck with me was meeting and talking with multi RAAM finisher Dave Elsberry.  He really inspired me as he was a late bloomer like me to the cycling world.

 

After returning from camp I set my training plan in motion.  With the advice of my LBS owner, I signed up to do the Ohio Randonneurs Brevets. Not that I want to do PBP, but this would be a good test as they are timed, self supported and have the length that I need to ramp up my endurance.

 

The 300k was scheduled to start at 6 am 5/16/2015.  I was a little nervous as the weather forecast was for 80% chance of thunderstorms most of the day, and radar map was showing good promise of it.  My plan was to find a good pace to ride at. I figured that a 15 mph avg was a good goal for me and would put me at a 12 1/2 hour finish. A couple of the riders were ones that I could pace off of as I had rode with them before and they were strong riders.

 

We started off out of Canal Winchester heading southwest towards Chillicothe.  First checkpoint was at 47 miles and not much in between so being stocked up on nutrition and water was important.  As I thought, the stronger riders set a really good pace and I settled in behind them just keeping them close enough and still maintain pace.

 

I arrived at first check point in really good time. And surprisingly dry, just missing a large storm cell. Just over 2 1/2 hours.  I’m pretty horrible at my time off the bike and I’ve been working at efficiency at my stops.  This one was no different and was again my weakness.  Too much time.

 

I left out the same time as the 2 strong riders and settled into a pace as they took off like a rocket.  This next segment was going to get into the climbing portion of the ride. As I was riding I couldn’t help but think of how beautiful this state really is.  Looking across to the east I could see the Hocking Hills Valley and it’s breath taking.

 

Next time station went without a hitch. My time off the bike was much better.  I refueled and I was off.  Still need to improve.  My avg was slowly dropping due to climbs, wind and stops.  Next stop was the turn around point and I was ahead of schedule.  Still needed to push myself as the return leg was going to be into the wind and there was that threat of rain and storms.  Speaking of which, I was really lucky. The rain had been skirting around me all morning.

 

I arrived at the halfway point a half hour ahead of schedule, had a quick lunch and was back on the bike.  I was feeling really good at this point.  My legs were feeling really strong. Must be doing something right.  The first leg on the return was a real challenge.  I got on a road called Starr Route Rd.  Had never been on it before today.  For the life of me I couldn’t believe how tough the climbs were.  One section was a 350 foot climb at a steady 15% I sure as hell didn’t remember going down it.  About halfway through this segment my right foot started getting hot.  You know that burning sensation that feels like a blowtorch under your toes.  Crap that hurts.  Had to start wiggling the toes and ease up a bit on the climbs.  Killing my time!!

 

Arrived at the second to last stop and the speedsters were there as I was consistently arriving as they would be  leaving all day.  But this would change as one of them had their rear rim split at the braking surface.  They were finished as the other one didn’t want to continue on alone.

 

By the time I got to the last check in station my avg had dropped to 14.3 mph and I was feeling a bit pissed off at myself.  I can do better than this.  The heat and humidity was wearing on me and my foot was on fire. So I needed something to kick start me and I sugared up with some M&M’s and loaded my bottles with ice and Gatorade. Not the best thing but I was feeling a bit hypoglycemic.  M&M’s are always a good choice for me.

 

Back on the bike I had renewed energy and focus. My foot pain had subsided and I was feeling motivated.  Entering this last segment I knew it was a lot flatter and I could make up some time. So I dropped the hammer.  47 miles to go.  At about 10 miles from the finish my foot caught on fire again and this time it wasn’t going away.   I slowed up a bit to try to relieve it some but to no avail. This was definitely not in the plans.  As luck would have it the rain that had been skirting around me all day did me a favor and opened up the clouds.  Couldn’t have happened at a better time.  It felt like someone put an ice bag on my foot and I was back in business.  I arrived at the finish right at my goal of 12 1/2 hours and a 15 mph avg.  Foot still hurting but surprised how good my legs and body felt.  Happy to hit another milestone.  Call it in the books.  Thanks for reading, sorry if it was a little long winded.

 

 

REV Cycling represents at 2015 Breathless Agony – May 2, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 1.39.51 PMWe are very proud of our athletes who competed and suffered through the 2015 Edition of Breathless Agony — a Southern California climbing century.  REV Cycling was represented admirably by two women, Lori Hoechlin 3rd and Judy Brusslan 8th, in the Women’s overall standing!

Also and equally as impressive was the result put up by the  tandem team of Tony Rodriguez and Camille Longino with a third place finish within the tandem category!

Outstanding work and great representation of how hard work and training can be rewarded by a good result!  Congratulations to all athletes, Lori Hoechlin, Judy Brusslan, Tony Rodriguez and Camille Longino… We appreciate your support!

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Lori Hoechlin and the Grim Reaper

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Tandem team -Tony Rodriguez and Camille Longino

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 1.57.06 PMJudy Brusslan (L)

REV Cycling Represents at 2015 BWR with Three Riders

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REV Cycling sent three riders to ride in the 2015 edition of the Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) on April 26, 2015.  The BWR is a mixed-terrain ride held in San Diego County.  It offers a challenging ride composed of pavement, dirt, gravel and plenty of climbing without any real major climb.  This year’s edition was 140 miles with 12,000 feet of climbing.

The following account was written by Rich Hodgson, one of our most loyal and longest standing team members, who resides in the sparsely populated area of California City.  Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your prospective of the BWR.

I tweaked my normal training just slightly ahead of the 2015 BWR. I got a couple of rides 100 miles + and elevations up to 12k feet. One thing that really helped was climbing The Bear (8.9 miles at 11.8%) a few weeks prior. That really helped put Double Peak in perspective. Yes Double Peak is steep, but it’s only a half mile and then it’s party time. I also had several training sessions prior riding the full BWR built bike on the local single track mountain bike trails to get a feel for handling in the dirt on slicks. Plenty of crashes in training led to no crashes on race day.

I felt pretty good overall throughout the whole race. The total climbing sounds like a lot, but it’s spread out over most of the course so none of it is particularly hard.

The dirt sections were great, cyclocross is my thing so I would love to see more of that. The spacing of the stops seemed a bit extreme, especially toward the end of the day when people are thirsty and tired. The bikini girls had abandoned the oasis stop by the time we got there, but there was still beer in the cooler. So my buddy John Rose donned the coconut bra and I helped myself to a few beers before we departed for Elfin Forest / Questhaven. The course markings were sparse, I managed to get lost and take an unintended tour of downtown Escondido. Overall it was a lot of fun. Definitely one for my annual ride list.

The bike setup was great. I used my Specialized Crux carbon, compact crank, 11‐32 cassette, Stans Grail wheels with Schwalbe One 28mm tubeless road tires. I was able to hammer the dirt sections very hard and didn’t suffer the flats or any other mechanical issues that some folks were plagued with.

George has been very supportive and his advice on electrolytes really paid off as the day wore on.

Lessons learned –

  •  I need to be more diligent about feeding regularly. I don’t do the long stuff on a regular basis so I fell behind on calories per hour.
  •  I suffered some chaffing which hasn’t happened in a very long time, may need to revisit the old chaffing cream.
  •  More training wouldn’t hurt, you never get into an event and wish you trained less.
  •  Coke! I’ve not had soda in years but in training I experimented with Cokes along the way, itworked well for me
  •  There is so much traffic down there, how are you people not killed every time you ride?
  •  Neutral start means something different went you get this far south

Brandon Ewers Joins REV Cycling!

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Name: Brandon Ewers
Age: 32
Date Of Birth: 12/2/1982
Hometown: The Woodlands. Texas Current Residence: Del Mar, California Nickname: Huggybear

Favorite Color: Hot Pink
Favorite Quote: “Be proud but never be content… strive to be more… become more”

1. How did you get into the sport of cycling?
As a kid growing up in Texas, I played every sport I could get into…even if I was terrible at it. I was interested in the pure competition of sport more than anything. The ability to push my mind, body and spirit to the limit was therapeutic and is what motivated me.

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Eventually I found my niche in wrestling at the age of 7, which carried, into my college years. This is how I found the greatest sporting event in the world. I took some time away from wrestling, due to some injuries and burnout, and found myself going from 135 lbs to 187 lbs in a year.

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I was not happy with the way I looked or felt and wanted to make one more attempt at the NCAA National Championships in Kansas that upcoming season after being approached by my wrestling coach to give it one more go. That evening I decided to go into 24 Hour Fitness and begin my intense unorthodox 6-week training program. I was doing a heated circuit training session, which included a 2-hour rotation of stationary rowing machine, weighted box jumps, and running on the treadmill while wearing a sweat suit. A personal trainer by the name of Shanna witnessed this unusual activity and invited me into her spin class the following day. I joined the classes for a month and decided that this is something I would like to pursue. Having zero knowledge of the sport, (Had never even heard of Lance Armstrong) I borrowed a steel bike from a lady I knew who had bought at a garage sale for $65 and joined the local cycling club. That first Saturday club ride did not go as planned… lets just say I got dropped riding out of the parking lot… and it was not the last time I got dropped either.

2. Cycling history:
Having this newfound obsession with cycling, I went out and bought my first bicycle. It was a Cannondale R2000 with Dura Ace / Ultegra mix. The bike was way more than I needed at the time… remember, I am the guy who could not even make it out of the parking lot with the group rides so a bike from Wal-Mart would have been just as good for me. Being ultra competitive, this only motivated me more. I entered my first USAT Cat 5 race only 4 months after getting into the sport. I got last place. Not only did I get last place, I was dropped at mile 4 and rode the entire 56 miles race by myself. I was so far back the peloton finished almost an hour a head of me. All my teammates had time to pack the team van up, get dressed and eat by the time I crossed the finish line. This went on for 2 years. I was dead last every race and only lasted with the peloton for 17 miles of all 31 races I attempted. I was horrible… but the joy of being on a bike was greater to me than the feeling of defeat. I felt free on a bike so I continued to work hard and train. During my 3rd season, things just began to click and I started to finish with the peloton, began to get into breakaways and see ok results but nothing real great. Over the years, I have worked my way up the USAT racing categories and have had some respectable results. Now in my cycling career, I really enjoy giving back to the cycling community and helping others develop and find the passion in cycling.

3. When did you discover endurance riding?
I originally heard about endurance cycling from a local ultra-miler club back home in Texas, but had little interest at the time to ride 100 plus miles as I was still really new to cycling. At the time 35 miles was a lot to me. Fast forward some time, having given up on my wrestling career for cycling on a collegiate level, I began to enjoy riding solo 3-4 hour rides totaling 18-31 hour training weeks as what I call “mental breaks” from my healthcare classes before returning home to study medical terms and design books. I started noticing that 3-4 hour rides began to become easier and easier so my friend Max and I created a game. We would ride the temperature that our Garmin would say. Well being in Texas, it is a normal thing to see 90 plus and even 100 plus days. This began to be a regular occurring thing until one day we decided to ride from Austin, Texas to Shiner, Texas to get beer at the Shiner Bock beer headquarters and ride back. Max rode his track bike with no brakes and I rode my MTB. We ended up getting 212 miles averaging 19.9 mph. This kicked off my passion for ultra distance racing and riding. Since then I have now ridden my MTB solo across the country on a self-supported tour, and raced some pretty well-known endurance MTB events. I am looking to do more ultra events /races with REV Cycling and other ultra endurance enthusiast. My future goals in endurance racing are RAAM and The Silver State 508 just to mention a few of many.

4. How did you hear about REV Cycling?
I was doing hill repeats of Double Peak on my 50×15 fixed gear track bike with 2 friends when I met George at the top of the climb. George came over to us and we all had a really good conversation. George and I share a lot of common interests and visions on life, which made sense for me to join, REV Cycling and what it represents to the general community as well as the cycling community.

5.  What is your connection to breast cancer?
My grandmother had breast cancer, which impacted her life greatly as it does to many unfortunate individuals. It is my goal to create more exposure that we as a community must come together and do more in order to find a cure not only for breast cancer but ALL cancers and illnesses.

Brad Martens joins REV Cycling

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I am very excited to introduce to you Brad Martens.  He hails from Australia and is currently focusing on  triathlon.  But like many of us on REV Cycling his true love is the  bike.  Brad has a very similar story to many of us “late bloomers” in endurance sports overweight, poor eating habits and so on.  Brad made a lifestyle change … he didn’t go on a fad diet … he changed his LIFE! Please help me in welcoming Brad Martens to REV Cycling and REV Endurance Sports!

Brad Martens Bio

Most people who meet me assume I must have been fit and obsessed with endurance exercise and events all my life. This could not be further from the truth. Let me take you back to 2007 when I was a 30 year old man, weighing in at 120kg (264.5 lbs), addicted to junk food and a sedentary lifestyle. I was unfit, obese, and unhappy. Fortunately, one day I decided I was going to change my life. And I did.

As part of the necessary process of getting fit and losing weight I was introduced to the world of running and by late 2007 I was running my first half marathon. It did not take me long to develop an addiction to all things endurance. That half marathon quickly developed into a full marathon then a half Ironman, then an Ironman. It was through my Ironman training that I developed a true love for cycling. I rediscovered the love I had for riding my bike when I was just a kid, when I could pedal and pedal for hours. Riding seemed to come naturally for me and has certainly developed into my strongest triathlon leg. Most would call me crazy but it is those long rides in my training plan that truly excite me, and the quest to get stronger and faster which motivates me each and every day. My weekend is not complete without 100’s of kms of riding under my belt. I truly love it.

8 years on and 50kgs (110 lbs) lighter my goals continue to get bigger and better (and some would say crazier). Over the next few years I aim to complete a number of events including 3 peaks challenge, Challenge Roth, Audux rides, Ironman Netherlands, Hawaii 70.3 Ironman, as well as return to previous Ironman courses to improve on my PBs. Ultimately for me the Holy Grail would be to qualify for Ironman World Championships.

I am proud to be a member of the REV Cycling team and all that it stands for. I was inspired by what George and his team achieve and I am honoured to be part of it. The REV Cycling team truly represent your everyday athletes getting out there and striving to be the best they can be. Whilst we all have our own individual goals, being part of a team who support each other not only helps us to achieve our goals but to also enjoy the journey. I find great joy in assisting others to meet their goals whether it is by leading by example, supporting them through training, passing on my experience from ironman racing, or through my day job as a personal trainer.

The connection each REV Cycling team member has with someone that has suffered through breast cancer also struck a chord with me. It is difficult to find someone these days who does not have a connection with this disease which demonstrates what an important cause it is. I have also had people close to me suffer with this illness, both young and old and I just knew I had to be part of this great team, which I will represent with pride.

I am honoured to be chosen as a REV Cycling Ambassador. I support the lifestyle that you promote and believe that whilst it takes guts and determination to achieve your goals, you also need a great team to support you along the way.

Judy Brusslan El Camino Real Double Century Race Report

Finishing Photo at El Camino Real Double Century

From left to right: Back Row: John Hopkins, Janine Spence, Craig Robertson, Kevin Walsh Front Row: Judy Brusslan and Lori Hoechlin

Our Double Century season has begun in California.  The El Camino Double Century was held February 21 and marked the kick-off to the season.  I have asked the three REV Cycling elite riders (Judy Brusslan, Justin Too and Lori Hoechlin) that took on the early season event to provide a short race report.  The questions I posed to them were:

1.  What did you do during the off-season to prepare for your first Double Century of the season in February?

2.  How did you feel during your first Double Century of the season?

3.  What things went really well?  What things did you learn and hope to improve for your next event.

My hope as team director is to collect the stories of our athletes so that we as a team can learn from the experiences of other riders.  Additionally, and more importantly, provide a resource to the ultra community at large for informative, educational and hopefully entertaining reports from the field.

in her own words here is Judy Brusslan’s race report for the El Camino Real Double Century.

February 21, 6:00 AM: First double century of the 2015 season…I wonder if I am prepared as cyclists gather at the start. I never really got totally out of shape this winter. I had a peak performance at the end of September for Everest Challenge Stage Race, and I did doubles in October and December. After a holiday trip to Chicago, I started training in earnest at the beginning of January. I like long rides with lots of climbing one day of the weekend, a shorter easier ride the next day and then I get out Tuesday and Thursday EARLY (5:30 AM) so I am home in time to shower and get to work. One day hills, one day flats. Luckily I have a training partner who likes to get up early and is stronger than me, so my morning training rides are challenging. I also to yoga to increase flexibility and strength. Yoga has taught me breath control which I am taking much more seriously this year during tough climbs. I kept this schedule for most of January and February and noticed I was getting really tired the week before Camino Real. That week I rode Tuesday, and tried to get as much sleep as possible…thankfully by Saturday I felt good again!

The first part of the ride is LOTS of stoplights, but climbing finally starts on San Joaquin, and I could tell right away that my legs would cooperate. I often found myself near Lori and Craig on the tandem along with a small group and thought this might be a nice way to get down to Oceanside. It went well, even caught them after getting separated at one of the rest stops and we stayed together until the lunch stop. I find it can be a bit mind‐numbing to ride in a non‐rotating paceline for miles and miles and miles, so I was a bit relieved when the train left without me after the lunch stop. I started riding with another friend of mine, and it was good to just ride at my own pace through the rollers. I also noticed that a couple of riders were just hanging on my wheel, and only taking short pulls…good for the ego! The tandem caught us at the entrance to the bike path in Oceanside, after they fixed a flat, and by then I was ready to get back on, and stayed with the group to the end. The only time I felt tired was going up the never‐ending Antonio Parkway…the Cup o’Noodles at Live Oak Canyon was a lifesaver! It was also just lots of fun to have riding buddies for the last 60‐70 miles of the ride.

To improve. I’ve got to get the right combination of riding on my own (more mentally exciting) and staying behind a super smooth tandem (requires HIGH levels of concentration, but a bit mind numbing). Finding a good group where we share the pulls would be more fun, but certainly not as easy and smooth. I need to make sure I keep putting nutrients in my body so I can avoid the tired feeling at mile 160. The tandem allowed me to ride at a super consistent pace, and I see that this is something I need to work on for fast doubles.