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.

Ray’s MTB Park Ohio Road Trip

There was vacation time to burn, but terrible, horrible, awful, east coast weather in the way.  (The weather may actually have been nice, I can’t remember.)  Either way, I needed a change, from the monotony of solo road rides and lapping the same mtb trails over and over again.  It was time to get out of town and do something that no man has ever done before.  (In reality many men, women, and children have done this before, but doesn’t it sound more exciting the other way?)

On preparing for a BMX trip, there is an ever evolving list of things to bring with you.  It is as follows:

  1. RedBull– A necessity for any journey.  They say it gives you wings, but the evidence of that comes from a cartoon commercial, so we can’t rule it out, however can’t prove it to be true in a controlled environment either.
  2. Animal Can I Eat? Soundtrack– This got me stoked for riding as a teenager and still does trick now, especially the Stephen Hamilton part.
  3. Malt Liquor–  No BMX trip is complete without a tallboy of Steel Reserve or better yet a Colt 45. Even if you don’t imbibe in the earthly pleasures of alcohol, you can still throw the full, unopened can at aggressive drivers, or rig up your own roller system in the hotel room.
  4. Your Bike–  This is sometimes overlooked, and when it is your day takes a downward spiral fast. (Actually at Ray’s you don’t even have to bring your bike, they have really nice rentals of MTB, BMX, or 26” Dirt Jumpers.)
  5. Tire Tubes– If you have them with you, you won’t get a flat.  This is Newton’s Law of tube poppage.

So I got these things together along with spirit of wonder and adventure, and got into my car and drove to Cleveland, OH.  The drive is very easy.  It’s literally one road for like 600 miles, and then you do some windy, twisty, turns through the manufacturing area of Cleveland and arrive at Ray’s MTB.

After a six hour drive, I dropped my stuff off at a hostel and went straight to the park.  There was no time  to waste on things like dinner or rest.  The park is enormous. I can’t even describe the magnitude.  They have bike trails, pump tracks, skinnies, ramp rooms, street spines, and very very big jumps. Everything looks smaller on the GoPro… Just Sayin.

There are also a great things to do in downtown Cleveland, like going to local breweries and museums. (The Cleveland Art Museum is free by the way.)

In short, whether you ride a mountain bike, a BMX bike, or a road bike, a trip to Ray’s is a must. They have everything to keep beginners and experts shredding the gnar and having fun. So if you get the chance, do it!

Jamis Dakar AMT Pro 650b Review

Yes your eyes don’t deceive you, that’s Sram X0-1.

Yesterday I was able to demo the Jamis Dakar AMT Pro with 650b wheels. Before I tell you what I thought of the bike, it is imperative that you know my background and thoughts about 650b wheels (or 27.5” for you nerds.)  I am tall-ish (6′ 1.5”) and once I rode a bike with 29” wheels, I thought that there was no need for me to ever ride smaller wheels again.  That was great for a couple of years until 650b wheels gained popularity and people started arguing with me about how great they were.  I thought, “Nah, they’re just a fad that will go away soon.”  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

IMG_20131029_115819083

The actual demo bike with a dropper post. (It was radical.)

When I first mounted this beast, I was impressed with the geometry.  As an All Mountain Bike, I expected it to be very slacked out and climb like this.  (Poorly if you don’t feel like clicking the link.)  The front wheel did feel slacked out, which added a lot of control and handling, but the bike climbed great and didn’t feel like it was robbing me of much energy up the hills.  This was not by any means a cross country race bike, but the up hills were all certainly manageable.

But the downhills make me want to write this like a teenage girl… OMG!!! This was one of the most fun bikes I’ve ever ridden.  On a descending or flat trail this bike takes off like it has a jet engine.  Rocks, roots, switchbacks; the Jamis AMT 650b rolls over everything  with speed.  The geometry and suspension are set up perfectly so that you can get through everything quickly, comfortably, and with a smile on your face.  At least that’s what I did for our entire ride at Ringwood. The Sram X0-1 shifted incredibly smooth, and the chain never came off of the front chainring.  The three-point adjustability worked flawlessly on both shocks which made climbing or riding on fire-roads a lot easier.

Now for the 650b… The hype is real, as this is the do-all wheel size.  I rode right over big pointy rocks with the same confidence I would on a 29er, but was able to really lean the bike over in the corners which enabled me to go faster than if I were riding a 29er.  The conclusion that I came to about these 650b wheels is that they are the ultimate all-purpose wheels if you want to have fun on a mountain bike.  The only time I though that 29” performed better is at slow speed in large rocks.  Does this minor drawback really outweigh the benefits? No not really.  In those circumstances a 650b wheel is much more maneuverable than a 29er which enables you to choose your lines and put the front wheel where you want it to go.  In my opinion, 650b is the only choice for an all-mountain style bike.

A big thanks to Mark for an awesome demo day, trail guidance, and burgers!

A big thanks to Mark for an awesome demo day, trail guidance, and burgers!

Team Marty’s women excel in New Jersey Time Trial Cup

Hunter Mountain Fall Classic

Hunter Mountain Fall Classic

Team Marty’s women Nikki Ragonese and Maryanne Caruso enjoyed a successful run of competition in the 2013 New Jersey Time Trial Cup. Both captured 2nd place overall in two of the Cup’s categories. Nikki grabbed the Category 4 women and Maryanne, the Eddy (aka non-TT bike) category. They also represented Marty’s in the New Jersey State Time Trial, to gain State Championship status with Nikki taking the gold 1st place medal and Maryanne landing the bronze 3rd place in their respective categories.

They capped off the road season on September 7 at the Hunter Mountain Fall Classic road race. Nikki finished in the top 10, and Maryanne in the top 15.

We invited them to share their experiences.

Nikki 

I decided to give time trials a shot this year as a way to ease into bike racing. For me, coming from a triathlon background, time trials seemed to make sense as the next logical step. I already had the bike for it and was used to racing on my own, with no drafting.

My first TT of the season was a short one, only about five miles, and I wasn’t really sure I understood the appeal of getting up early on a damp and chilly April morning for such a short race. I definitely didn’t have the right mindset and made a lot of mistakes that day (I didn’t warm up enough; I almost fell over at the start when I was released to go). However, as the season went on, I learned from my mistakes and realized that I could push myself much harder than I believed possible. I feel like I really understood the TT mindset, after the state time trial, where I was able to push myself at 22 MPH for a little over 25 miles. Every time I wanted to back off and slow down I didn’t give in and just continued to push harder. I never would have thought I could hold that speed on my own for that many miles, but it definitely taught me that I am much stronger than I believed. I think the time trialing has also made me a tougher and more confident cyclist in general.

2nd place Sandrinos Podium

2nd place Sandrinos Podium

Upper Freehold TT

Upper Freehold TT

Maryanne 

In terms of racing, I started with a blank slate this year. While I followed a structured training plan, I had no real strategy going into the season other than few TTs and maybe a road race or two.

My first TT for the season was Readington and I did OK – 5th place. I followed this race two weeks later with the High Point TT, a 5.5-mile climb into High Point State Park. At this point I was in good position in the standings and decided to commit to the Cup series.

Being new to racing, I wasn’t the most experienced or the strongest, which essentially meant I had to show up at every TT for the rest of the season in order to keep advancing in the standings. I was expecting to finish 3rd overall so was pleasantly surprised to move into 2nd place after the Blueberry TT. More importantly, I kept seeing improvements in my performance. For example, I averaged about 19.5 MPH at Readington. By the end of the season I was averaging between 21 and 22 MPH depending on the race course.

Blueberry TT

2nd place Blueberry TT podium

 

Nice Job Maryanne and Nikki! It looks like you had some nice results and it was great to see you both improving. Thanks for supporting Marty’s. We appreciate it very much!