Team Marty’s Wins the Highlands Gran Fondo

This past weekend Team Marty’s competed in the Giordana Gran Fondo
National Series in Butler NJ with hopes of a team win as well as putting
one of us on the top step of the podium for the overall.  The team
roster included Joe Petillo, Stefan Tessoun, Dan Montgomery and  Victor
Schepisi. Despite some nasty weather the plan was executed perfectly. Team Marty’s
was awarded first place in the Team Category, Dan Montgomery second place in the
Men’s Category and Victor Schepisi as the 2016 Highlands Gran Fondo
Champion

 

Next stop Gran Fondo NJ Sept 11 2016.

30 Days on the new Trek Madone

30 Days on the New Madone

   I’m going to come right out and say this is the best bike I have ever owned!   Before you say yeah yeah let me tell you why.

I’ve ridden many bikes including road, cross and mountain but the new 2017 Madone has been a true game changer.  My impressions after my initial ride was how easily it glides along the road.  When I say glide I mean fast, quiet and comfortable  This is due to advanced aerodynamics and the IsoSpeed decoupler.   This is the kind of bike you don’t mind pushing on being every pedal stroke moves you forward and rewards you with speed.  Even while climbing you can feel the aero advantage which some claim is more important then weight.  Braking is very powerful due to the new dedicated center pull brakes.  Big descents and cornering on rough roads are impressive due to a degree of compliance felt in the front end.  Another nice feature is the integration of a Garmin mount built in to the bars as well as dedicated light mounts front and rear.   I ended up doing my first century on this bike which proved that this bike can do it all from crit racing, group rides, centuries and yes even a recovery ride.    Bottom line if you are in the market for a new bike or want that one bike that does it all the new Madone should be on your short list.

By Victor Schepisi March 2016

Jesse Fat Bikes the Shenandoah 100 MTB Race!

 

A few weeks ago an anonymous friend and I headed down to the Stokesville Campground in Stokesville VA for the Shenandoah Mountain 100. For those who are unfamiliar, the SM100 is a 100 mile MTN bike race with about 12,000 feet of climbing through the Shenandoah mountain range in VA.

The race took place on the Sunday over Labor Day. My companion and I arrived on Saturday evening in the college town of Harrisonburg VA dropped our stuff off at the hotel and hit the local Outback Steakhouse.  We want to bed early for our 4:30am wake up call and dreamed of climbing mountains all night.

In the darkness of the morning we were greeted with a surprisingly warm temperature which was encouraging for the day to come. On the 30 min drive to the campground we witnessed what legend has told. Jeremiah Bishop, an endurance MTN bike pro who is training for an event called “The Munga” in South Africa (look it up) was riding to the SM100 from Harrisonburg.  I yelled some encouraging words out the window to him, he was running front and rear lights as it was complete darkness out on the countryside. Jeremiah is a bad mofo.
Profile
Back to the race: My buddy and I were riding our matching Borealis Yampa fat bikes decked out with HED carbon wheels and weighing in at an incredible 23 lbs!  We didn’t see any other fat bikes out there, but I heard that there were at least 2 others. The others could not have been as cool as ours 🙂

We lined up according to where we believed we would finish which was at the 11 hour mark. This was a bit of a mistake as after about 25 minutes into the race we hit the first section of single track and BAMM, there was a huge traffic jam. With 600 racers out on the course and most of them in front of us we had a long walk ahead of us which caused a big delay in our overall time.  I wasn’t too concerned because for me this was just a long day of training, but it was very boring walking through stuff I knew I could ride. On the bright side I met some nice people.

After I was able to get back on the bike, I pedaled at a very steady pace and didn’t stop this practice all day long. I passed people all day long, kept my rest stops simple and quick (with the awesome volunteers this was made much easier), and had a really really awesome race!

The course is absolutely beautiful, the volunteers amazing, and the scene is just plain old fun. I wound up finishing in 11 hours and 3 seconds or something like that. I feel as though without the traffic jams I would have had about a 10:15 finish time. I was extremely excited to finish in my predicted time, and after I finished I got to take an old school bath in the creek by the campground.

My companion and I both have small children at home so we decided to drive straight home after the race despite being very tired. We got some food, at a disgusting all you can eat Buffett which really hit the spot as at this point the owners of the buffet lost some money on us for sure.

It was a bit crazy for us to attempt this drive, but we’re tough dudes so we went for it. We basically drove for an hour and slept for an hour all night long and arrived in NJ at 5 am the next morning. It was a long haul after another long haul on the bike but as afore mentioned, we are a couple of bad ass dudes so it was not a big deal.

Excuses

We’ve all made the excuses on why not to strap the helmet on.

“It looks stupid.”

“It will mess up my hair”

“It smells bad.”

“I’m just going down the street.”

This may seem like a valid excuse at the moment, but we have to recognize them for what they are… Excuses. I will try not to turn the blog into a scared straight program, but here’s a terrible statistic from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute to motivate you to protect yourself:

In 2009, there were 573 cycling fatalities.  Of the 573, 91% were not wearing a helmet.  To me, that’s frightening.  So even if you’re rolling down the street while your toddler wobbles back and forth on his training wheels, consider putting that helmet on.

There are other factors in how well your head is protected while cycling.  It is important to make sure the helmet fits properly.  This means that it’s not sitting on the back of your head, is not too loose, and is buckled correctly.  Refer to this guide if you have questions:

 

Image

Another issue to keep in mind is the manufacture date of your helmet.  Inside each helmet there should be a small sticker indicating the date that it was manufactured.  Now here’s the controversy. If you were to perform a google search on how often to replace your bike helmet, you will find many opinions about how the Styrofoam in helmets will start to degrade in a certain amount of time.  According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, there is no exact amount of time a helmet is good for, however most manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3-5 years.  If you use your helmet a lot, start looking for a new one a little closer to the 3 year mark, if it sits in a climate controlled environment away from UV light most of the time, the lifespan will be a bit longer.  UV and sweat are factors that add to the Styrofoam breaking down. Make sure you inspect your helmet regularly for cracks caused by accidental drops or storage.

If you’re unsure of how old your helmet is, bring it in and we will help you determine the age and safety.  We can also recommend  specific helmets to you for your riding style.  Here are some examples of differing helmet styles available at  Marty’s Reliable Cycle.

Regular Helmet

Image

Kask “Mojito” Helmet. A low profile, yet fairly traditional road style helmet. Excellent ventilation and adjustability. Perfect for the well rounded cyclist who likes to ride on the road or trails. This is the helmet I personally use, and I love it. MSRP $199

IMG_20140617_101411180_HDR

Specialized “S3” This can double as an XC mountain bike helmet or a road helmet with a detachable visor. Amazing ventilation on the trail or in the paceline. MSRP $160

Aerodynamic Helmet

IMG_20140617_101003022

Giro “Air Attack.” This is for the rider interested in saving watts and shaving seconds. The Air Attack is designed to be very aerodynamic and comes with an optional magnetic eye glass shield. MSRP $199

IMG_20140322_171002755_HDR

Marty does some modeling on the side…

 

Mountain Specific Helmet

IMG_20140617_101110840_HDR

Bell “Super” This is an All Mountain style helmet with additional coverage at the back of the head. A large visor will keep the sun and elements out of your face while you fly down the trail. It also comes with a permanent GoPro mount to record gnarly footage. MSRP $125

Whatever your budget, style, or head size is, we can recommend a safe helmet that fits properly.  The rest is up to you.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for the Lewis Morris Challenge

lewismorris2014

 

New Jersey State Criterium

I don’t usually write race reports because who wants to hear about how I got 5th.  On Sunday I won the State Criterium Cat 3 race, so here comes a very brief race report.

Epic Aero Beard

Epic Aero Beard

On the start line there was about 80+ guys. All the cat 3 dudes came out of the wood work for this one. I was a little nervous when I heard someone say it was their first race of the season. I did my best to stay away from this one as he wobbled around the course.

So this race was a criterium or crit. Basically a crit is a bike race that consists of many short laps around a city block, or more often a business campus. One lap can be anywhere from a half mile to about a mile and a half.

This particular race was a mile circuit; set for an hour and I think it was 26-27 laps. As the race goes on people that fall off the back of the main group get pulled so they aren’t in the way of the group when it comes around. Getting dropped sucks.

Ok, back to the race. There were some early attacks and people were having some fun. I made a big move up the little hill and through the last left turn. I wanted to see how that turn handled at high speed. My plan was to execute this move if the race stayed together and came down to a sprint. Nobody came with me when I jumped, so I held it for a lap and went back into the fold.

There were countless moves, although no significant breaks developed. I had a feeling somone was going to make a big move in the second half of the race in an attempt to breakaway from the field. Most often people who know they can put in big 20min efforts will attempt to get away at this point. The field will sometimes let something go because they get tired and its kinda far from the end of the race.  Sometimes it sticks, but try it too close to the end of the race and the break is getting chased down.

Anyway, some guys went up the road and the race got strung out. I was happy because when the race goes fast it’s usaly safer. I was holding tight and not too sure if the race would stay together. Without a team working for me I just have to hope the other guys unknowingly help me out. Don’t get me wrong, I like going up the road, but when nobody goes with me and without a team I have to pick and choose my battles, and get lucky.

On the last lap, just in case the riders aren’t paying attention to the lap cards, the officials ring a bell. With one lap to go I was feeling good and riding in 20th position I think. We went around the back side of the course and got to the little hill. The right side of the road was open so I ripped past the field just before the wave of riders crashed to the right side. I ripped through the last hard left turn. I knew that I had gaped the field and the last little chicane was going to have them all searching for a line. I just went straight through with my legs burning and my heart going 200bps. My legs stopped wanting to turn over and they were hot on my tail.

I made to the line just in time. ericstatecritericstatecrit2

It was a good day.

Preparing for your First Race (Or Big Event)

So your friends have egged you on and you begrudgingly registered for your first bike race, triathlon, or  charity ride.  Well it’s months away so you don’t have to worry about anything other than getting in shape right?  Yes, but…

Aside from getting into shape, riding miles, possibly running and swimming, you’ll want to make sure that you and your gear are ready to go for race day.  This means more than just putting your bike on the car rack and going.

The first priority is making sure your bike is in good shape, is clean, and fits properly.  We can help you with this.  If you aren’t sure, bring it in!  We offer an exceptional fitting service and can tune your bike up so it rides like new.  If your equipment isn’t working properly it can completely ruin your race or event.

The next priority is you.  You are important!  Spend the appropriate time planning for the event, and ask questions like:  What will the weather be like?  How long (not distance but hours) do you expect to be riding?  Do your existing accessories offer everything you might need for that day?  How much do you need to eat/drink during the event?

If you find you don’t know the answers to these questions, you can always ask the race promoter, or even come in to your local bike shop for advice.  The most important thing to do when it comes to preparation is experimentation!  Try a few different nutritional products during your training and figure out which products work the best for you.    The same goes for clothing. Remember you go the fastest when you’re comfortable.

So you’ve prepared, and you know your stuff.  Your Salted Caramel Gu’s are ready to go into the back pocket of your favorite jersey and your bottles filled with Lemon Lime Hammer Heed are chilling in the refrigerator for tomorrow morning.

Make a list of everything you need to bring and check it while you’re packing up the car.  The feeling is pretty awful when you get there and realize you’ve forgotten your bike! (Believe me, it’s happened.)

When you’re lined up at the starting line, feeling good about yourself and your bike, just remember to relax.  Even experienced racers often forget this.  It’s just cycling, and all about the fun.

addtext_com_MTU0ODA2ODc2OTQ

 

 

Register here!

What’s With the Whole Leg Shaving thing?

In an attempt to answer an age old question, which may parallel the meaning of life (or how it all began), I will do the best I can in outlining all of the reasons why some cyclists decide to bust out a large can of cream, steal their wife’s razor, and go to town on their legs.  Please, feel free to comment if you feel I’ve missed some rationale in the mysticism of cyclists and their habits.
First and foremost, there is a velominati rule stating one must shave to be a “real cyclist.”
Rule #33

// Shave your guns.

Legs are to be carefully shaved at all times. If, for some reason, your legs are to be left hairy, make sure you can dish out plenty of hurt to shaved riders, or be considered a hippie on your way to a Critical Mass. 

This being said, I do take pride in being a hippie on my way to the critical mass, but that’s another issue.  Okay so there’s a rule, but what are the reasons behind it?

It makes you more aerodynamic:

I doubt it makes much of a difference, but it might make you feel faster!  There isn’t really any research out there on the aero benefits of leg shaving, maybe if we started cycling under water it would be a different story.  This is probably the worst reason to shave.

Wounds heal better on smooth skin:

This argument isn’t bad.  The theory goes that debris and bacteria cling to the hair.  If that stuff gets into a wound, you might have a long recovery process.  Along with this, folks say that bandages are much easier to put on and take off.  In the “wound” category, it also makes it much easier to check for ticks (if you’re a mountain biker.) This I can vouch for!

Massage is more effective:

If you ride enough to warrant receiving weekly leg massages, or can afford it for that matter, kudos to you.  It is probably a better experience for the masseur as well.

My girlfriend likes/hates it:

Well, this one’s personal, but hey whatever floats your boat.  If she doesn’t like it you may be looking at some rocky roads ahead.

It makes my legs look  AWESOME!

Yes, it does.  This is probably the best reason to shave your legs.

Everyone else does it:

This last one is true as well, and may not be a great reason, but hey we all want to be part of the club.  It is a secret hand shake of sorts, when you’re walking down the street with your family and see someone doing the same with chiseled caves and legs as smooth as Tennessee whiskey, you share a bond that transcends words.  You know the suffering and hill repeats they’ve endured, the feeling of getting dropped by the fast group, the feeling of finally hanging on.

So grab you razors and cans of cream and go to town! Or don’t.  Hairy or smooth, baggy or spandex, we all ride bikes, so don’t forget that.