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Stephen Fitzgerald

Crazy Circles: Denver’s Meridian Group ride

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Group rides. They are the best of times. You get to hang out with your friends and catch up on life. They pass the time in the saddle and make cycling a social or team sport instead of an individual endeavor.

Race pace group rides are a different animal. While a normal group ride may vary in pace, a race pace group ride pegs the meter from start to finish and can simulate a true racing experience – sans the license, entry fee, and stress of a real race. Colorado has many legendary group rides. Fort Collins says it’s is the toughest. Boulder’s Gateway and Bus Stop rides are stacked with pros. Denver’s FDR ride is quickly developing into a fantastic race pace experience with top riders, but for the time being the Meridian group ride is, in my opinion, the finest race pace group ride to blow the carbon out of your engine.

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LOUISVILLE CRITERIUM THROUGH THE EYES OF A CAT 5

By Races No Comments

I once read somewhere that you should not be trying to win a Category 5 race.  Cat 5 races are for gaining experience and learning, rather than achieving results.  Beginning racers need to learn to negotiate riding in a pack, holding lines in tight turns, and coping with the extremely high intensity.  But make no mistake:  I was racing the Louisville Criterium Cat 5 race to win.

It turns out that I finished 3rd.  Initially I was pretty jacked about this result.  But after a little time to reflect on it, I see some things I could have should have would have done better.  Plus, I’m trying to maintain the perspective that it was only a Cat 5 race… with a field of 23 other novices… for only 20 minutes.  Not exactly epic.  But I am excited about the result and even more excited about what I learned from the experience.  So I truly managed to achieve the best of both worlds.  The following is a report on the entire experience. Read More

Speedtouring: A lunchtime visit to The Vanilla Workshop

By Adventures, The Lab 5 Comments

Rodeo was in Oregon for a weekend of racing at the Gorge Roubaix series, and we were the invite to stop by The Vanilla Workshop to take a tour of one of the finest hand built bike manufacturers that we know of. Rodeo co-founder Peder Horner has a Vanilla touring bike in-production at the shop, and it was a great excuse to check in and see how one of these beautiful bikes comes together. Most of the Vanilla crew was out to lunch, so we had the place mostly to ourselves while Tom Rousculp showed us around the facility. Thanks Tom! We brought the camera along so that we could share the experience of what lies beyond this unassuming door. Willy Wonka style.

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Gorge Roubaix Day 1. A day in photos

By Races

Gorge Roubaix is an irresistible weekend of gravel racing set in the picture perfect hills above The Dalles, Oregon. Entire volumes could be written about the simple beauty of the place, but I’m tired, so just picture perfect emerald green rolling hills threaded with perfect ribbons of tarmac and gravel then dotted with abandoned school houses and farms and you will get the idea.

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Oredigger Classic Crit: A few photos and a few words

By Races

Yesterday was the kick off of crit season and the second race with riders under the Rodeo banner. (The first was the Carter Lake road race done by Patrick Charles).

The course for the crit was almost as brutal as can be created for crit racing. A short and intense wall led into the start-finish area, followed by a mean climb in to a headwind, followed by a fast s-turn descent through some tight 90 degree corners… followed by that first brutal hill again. The effort profile for the course actually looked like perfectly spaced interval efforts. Sometimes only a few hundred watts and some coasting were required, but a few times per lap the wattage spiked to 500-800 watts for extended periods during the tough bits. The net effect was that the races all but shattered shortly after starting and often became loosely spaced TT efforts for dropped racers. There was nowhere to hide from the course, nowhere to sit in and rest, each racer just had to go go go until the bell.

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“Roadie? Oh”: Six flats and an MTB detour.

By Adventures No Comments

Sometimes you plan on rolling out and doing 100 miles in the mountains with friends. Sometimes you get distracted and have an adventure.

Peder and Matt and myself chanced upon the 2nd option recently. We had expected to put in some huge base miles for the upcoming race season. Plenty of smooth ups and downs were on tap, and we were geared up and ready for it.

We should have known from the start that something was amiss though. Before leaving the house Peder found both of his tires flat from thorns. Similarly, I found a flat and a thorn while leaving my house for the meetup. While en route I suffered a 2nd flat. The ride hadn’t even begun and we were 45 minutes behind “schedule” and 4 flats down.

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Rodeo Denver. The first ride.

By Adventures No Comments

Forecasts called for temperatures in the 50s for the first ever Rodeo Denver team ride. As we get started we are a small and humble crew, and we’re okay with that. We haven’t done any races together, we haven’t proven anything, we are simply passing the miles. Such is the nature of fresh starts.

Fresh starts are exciting for that reason as well. How we start out sets the tone for what is to come. We met at the Confluence REI, snapped a pic, and headed for the hills.

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