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Video Proof

18 Dec

Thanks to Joe Jacobs of Arkansas Outside for covering the State Cyclocross Championship. He wrote a great article for the site. Find it here.

http://www.arkansasoutside.com/arkansas-state-cyclocross-championship-2013/

He also shot a really cool video of the event too. Check it out below.

2013 Arkansas State Cyclocross Championship from ArkansasOutside on Vimeo.

A big thanks to all the people who made this cyclocross season one to remember.

Thanks for reading.

Branton

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Donut Ride 2013

22 Jan

A few of the Highrollers made a trip up to the Krispy Kreme in Bentonville this past weekend. This is the report.

The meeting time was set for 8 am at the shop. I had prepared my kit the night before and done all my morning chores so that I could be away from the house for a while. The group was undetermined the day before so I was curious who would show up. As I rode onto Dickson street I could see Sam heading down toward me. Upon pulling into the parking lot of the shop I saw Aaron, Art, Emily, and Chris enjoying the brisk morning. Clay pulled up just as I unclipped and our group was complete. We filled bottles and topped off tire pressure before heading north on the Frisco trail. We stayed on the trail until the Gregg street intersection. You can check out the entire ride route here, but I wont bore you with the specifics.

The ride North was great. Everyone was feeling fine. The weather was just cool enough for arm warmers and a vest. Friendly chatter was the only sound to be heard. Even the little rise up out of Johnson was so easy we didn’t even seem to slow down much. Once up on 48th Street I realized why.

That is a very large flag in a very horizontal position

That is a very large flag in a very horizontal position

I knew then that I had better get my turns in at the front before we headed back south. That would be the time for Art and Aaron to move to the front.

Art, looking really good on the bike.

Art, looking really good on the bike.

Once we left Springdale we rode a fun little section of road that parallels Hwy 540 but with a few little whoop-de-doo rollers and 90 degree corners. With a tailwind they were super fun. The road is also looses elevation the whole way. Eventually, we ended up down in a lovely valley that is to the west of Wagon Wheel road. A very pastoral scene made us forget that we were no more than two miles away from the buzzing of the interstate.

I like how two people are more interested in taking pics than enjoying the beautiful valley view

I like how two people are more interested in taking pics than enjoying the beautiful valley view

Eventually, My experience with the route ran out. I knew the roads to get us to the destination, but I also knew the new Razorback Greenway was more complete than it had been the last time I was in that neck of the woods. I wanted to ride some of those new trails but was not sure how to access them. Clay and Emily work in Bentonville, and Clay said he knew where we could get onto the trail. I was a little skeptical. When we rode through a neighborhood and then randomly stopped at some field that looked suspiciously like someones back yard I was even more skeptical. Then we started trekking through the field and ended up portaging our bikes a la cyclocross. It turned out that the trail was just on the other side of the woods.

This time it wasn't my idea

This time it wasn’t my idea

The Rogers trail materialized out of nowhere

The Rogers trail materialized out of nowhere

A year or so ago I was driving up to visit my in-laws when the bridge was being installed. At the time it looked like it was poised to send the trail into the side of the hill. I started calling it the bridge to nowhere at the time. Now, after having ridden that section of the multi-use trails up there, I see that it actually does go somewhere.

The Bridge to nowhere is now the bridge to the future

The Bridge to nowhere is now t he bridge to the future

The trail snakes and shimmies along by the creek for a bit before eventually splitting. We rode a section that took us to the other side of the HWY and up to the location of Highroller 2.0. You can see in these pics the progress being made. The red dirt is the parking lot and the brown dirt (more or less) is where the building will be. The second pic is the view of the site from the bike trail. More on all this in a later post. It is going to be really great!

We stopped to see the progress on HR2.0

We stopped to see the progress on HR2.0

This is the view of what will be the store from the bike trail

This is the view of what will be the store from the bike trail

By this time we were all getting a bit hungry and headed down the road to Krispy Kreme for some treats. The parking lot was full and the line was pretty long. We were greeted by a free hot doughnut right off the line. The donuts were good but I was disappointed that they no longer serve sausage rolls. I can hardly eat a doughnut without a sausage roll to accompany it.

The reward

The reward

We chatted and ate for a bit before someone pointed out that no one was outside watching over the $25K worth of bikes and wheels that we had parked against the shrubs out front. At last, it was time to brave the wind and turn our bars to the south for the ride home.

Thanks for reading
Branton

Mount Magazine Debacle 2012

25 Jun

On May 27 2012 a group of ten Highrollers set out from the shop. We were undertaking a ride that has been many years in the “talking about” phase. The plan was to ride from The shop and finish at the lodge at the top of Mt Magazine. This is the story of our ride.

 

We met at the shop at six thirty and got the follow car ready to go. Kat had made some succulent banana bread and delicious brownies for snacks along the way. Aaron and Neil had driven the cars down the day before and ridden back so our shuttle was already set up. All items were in place as we slowly set off up spring street.

Heading out hwy 16

We go into our groove near Elkins and had a great double pace line five deep ticking off the miles down hwy 16. At the point that we passed the turn off for Terra Studios we were all committed.

I caught this pic just as we were passing the sign for the Pig Trail

This is the view from the Landslide on the decent into Cass. It happened a few years back. The new road offers a much better vista.

The Pig Trail flew by even with a few photo stops. Before we knew it we were rolling down the gradual grade towards Ozark. Even despite the nasty headwind the decent was enough to even it out. Our group split up at the junction of 352. Aaron and Neil, tired from the previous days effort, decided to head straight in to Ozark as the rest of us continued on the longer route.

“harden up”

There was almost a small Mutiny of riders on the road as I announced the inclusion of a mile and a half of gravel road just before our lunch stop. Fortunately everyone was too far in to turn back and no-one else really knew where they were. The group made it through the section with only one wheel succumbing to the sharp rocks.

At least we had a follow car. Chris had a sidewall cut and had to take a wheel from Angie.

At lunch I think we all considered throwing in the towel and just relaxing under the shade trees. After all it was almost seventy miles in at that point. We all rallied after a rest and got our bikes ready to roll on. We said goodbye to Angie, who had arranged her own shuttle from Altus, and headed off through the scenic wine region.

In a perfect world we would have ended in Altus so we could have sampled more of the local fare.

St Mary’s in Altus is a beautiful church inside and out.

We flew from Altus to Ozark.

The section from Altus to Ozark actually had a bit of a tailwind and we seemed to fly along that section with no effort. But somewhere along the way we lost our follow vehicle. As we crossed the Arkansas river I had the feeling that the real ride was just beginning. We rolled by the last gas station for sixteen miles on our way toward Paris. We all had water at that point and were feeling good. Mt Magazine loomed ominously in the distance urging us on towards our ultimate challenge for the day.

As the headwind picked up the sun was blazing and the road temp climbed toward 107. You know the feeling you get when you open an oven door? That was the section between Ozark and Paris. Our Follow vehicle was still nowhere to be seen and we were all getting dangerously low on food and water. I was beginning to get pretty worried and we were just about to pull off and stop when we saw the Paris water tower in the distance. As we were all stuffing our faces and drinking like camels at the Phillips 66 in Paris our follow vehicle finally pulled up. We all caught up on our stories and decided that for the rest of the way the car would shadow us.

From this point on everything is a little bit of a blur for me. I remember feeling really good as we left Paris. I had thrown my Helmet and seatbag into the follow car and was feeling free on the first steep section of the day. However once the climb started in earnest I started feeling it. From then on it was just a matter of making it to the top. It was every man and woman for themselves. Kat did an awesome job of making sure we all had what we needed to get to the top.

Alex is just getting warmed up at the 100 mile mark.

Art has only been riding since October. He demolished everyone on the climb.

Chris on the climb up.

Suncreen anyone? I think I used a whole tube. I look like some sort of Zombie.

You wouldn’t know he just rode 112 miles.

By the time the day was done five of the original ten made it the entire Sunday route. We all had a good time and plan to do the ride again next year.

Thanks for reading,
Branton

The Start

17 Dec

A bicycle ride has many parts. So, lets address the beginning.

A ride may begin in many ways. Inspiration comes in many forms. Discussing routes with friends over beers the night before or a solitary cup of coffee in the morning can equally inspire the course of events that bring a good ride to reality. The process that follows and ultimately results in a ride is a special one in and of itself.

According to the conditions and the terrain a rider must properly chose his kit. Of course, for the majority of the rides a quick fill of a bottle and squeeze of the tires is enough to get us out the door and on the road. I would encourage a bit more attention to detail though. Look at the weather conditions for the day to decide what will be appropriate to wear, think about the roads you will be on and adjust air pressure accordingly, know the group you are riding with and be sure to bring enough food to last your ride. (or be aware of where you might stop for a gas station corn dog)and last but not least please be cognizant of your seatbag. It must be properly equipped to handle most ride situations. (more on that in a later post)

Once steed and kit are in order it is time to go. This is a issue that seems frivolous but trust me once you master it you will understand. proceeding in a forward direction from a stop on a bicycle is a relatively straightforward endeavor, but doing it with style and authority can really get your ride headed in the right direction.

The manner in which a cyclist mounts the machine can be done in several ways but not all are appropriate.

The newsboy: A rider starts on a single side of the Bike and clips in one foot on that side then gets momentum going by pushing off scooter style for a few hops before swinging the pushing foot over the saddle and clipping it in. This is called the newsboy because for many kids with paper routes it was impossible to get on the bike any other way because the bikes they were riding were too big. Are you a paperboy? is your bike extremely ill sized? Then don’t do this. It is awkward and in group situations can prove humiliating.

The waddle: Surely this is the most embarrassing way to get onto a bicycle. it somewhat resembles how I imagine a duck would start out. Normally the rider is a novice rider. They feel at home clipping in at he bottom of the pedal stroke and there fore can’t generate momentum to get going without pushing off a couple of times. During this pushing debacle there is a high possibility of being “tattooed” by the chainring.

The next two methods are considered appropriate for almost all situations. The racer racer is my favorite.

The cross mount: Should be reserved for cyclocross racing. Some triathletes also do a variation of this mount when leaving T1. The mount can be done at speed or from a stop. It requires a little more  bike skill and doesn’t look pretty until the rider has practiced it quite a few times. The rider in one motion throws his leg over the top of the seat while pusing off with the oposite leg with enough force to push rider and machine into motion until the drive leg can start the pedals forward. The best description I have found is actually just to see it in action. check out the video.

The racer racer: I call it that only because at races you always see the front row of guys using this method, and I like to poke fun at racers (yes myself included). This is actually the way I recommend for most people to get going. It is smart, efficient and stylish in an understated way.  The starting position is clipped in on the drive side with the pedal is at the apex of it’s stroke. By standing up on the pedal the rider’s weight moves the bike forward and brings the non drive side pedal up to the top of it’s stroke ready to clip in and begin it’s power stroke.

After mounting up your ride has now begun!

Thanks for reading.

Branton

Highroller’s Cyclocross Adventure

3 Oct

The summer is making way for the cool mornings and evenings of fall. In the natural order of things a young man’s heart turns to …. CYCLOCROSS!!

Seriously, This year promises to be the best year for cyclocross in Arkansas that we have ever seen. Highroller is on the cross train in a big way. In fact we are hosting the Arkansas Super-Prestige series opener at Walker Park on Sunday Oct 16 2011.

The Arkansas Super-Prestige is a points series that is designed to promote more participation in cyclocross events across our fine state.
You can find more info on it at the fine blog of Steve Ericson www.arkansascyclocross.blogspot.com

In preparation for the USAC race we have been hosting weekly practice sessions that we call MICROCROSS. We meet at Walker Park on Tuesdays at 6pm and try out new options for the course as well as introduce new riders to cyclocross.

Here are a few pics of the venue Walker Park so you can get a good idea of what the course could look like.

Lots of tight sections in between the trees

A sand pit?? Hmmmmm.

There are sure to be some open sections for the roadies too.

Here is the Flyer:
CROSS FLIER

Mally Wagnon

16 Mar

Sometimes you find something while riding that you don’t expect. This can mean a spiritual revelation, finding some new geographic feature of your area, an epiphany about a problem in your life, or many other things. I recently explored a couple of roads that I had seen many times before but never gone down. It wasn’t a fast ride or a long ride. It was, however, one of my favorite rides of late.

Mally Wagnon

I started from Highroller on a Thursday. It was a beautiful day and the temps were perfect for knee warmers long sleeve jersey and vest. My specialized deflect gloves were amazing. I rode out my normal ride route on Wyman road. I have seen this road many times before but never taken the time to head down it. I felt my bike pull to the right and before I knew it I was rolling past some beautiful farmland.

Cool old barn.

In the distance ahead I could see an old bridge. I knew from experience that the road would soon turn to gravel. The old steel bridges that are still in use are too narrow for most two lane roads. I was on my Specialized CruX with slick tires and had just put on a new seat bag with fully stocked bits so I figured what the heck and continued on.

We won't see too many of these in the future.

The gravel only lasted a little while maybe 3/4 of a mile. I noted a survey crew that clued me in to the fact that there may soon be a new bridge and full pavement. Once I reached the HWY 16 intersection I had a choice. Continue to a road I knew or continue on my journey of exploration. Across the Hwy I could see that the road continued up toward the top of the mtn.

Steeply!

Once on top I was treated to amazing views of Lake Sequoia and the surrounding countryside.

Nice View

I imagined these haybales were haystacks.

After a screaming decent back to 16 and a quick jog over the bridge I made the familiar right hand turn onto Harris Community Road. I cruised along; enjoying the wind at my back and the afternoon sun pouring over the top of the mountain and filling the valley with warm shadows. I noticed a bit of road out of the corner of my eye and again felt my bike pull me into the unknown.

Warm Shadows ?! What does that even mean?

Again I found myself on a gravel section that accompanied a steam. My pedals turned effortlessly and I found a harder gear with no problem. The road spit me back onto Harris Community Rd and from there it was time to head home.

I made it in just in time to beat the cold and the dark. All in all a great afternoon.

Click below to see the route.

I finished up on the Bike path.

The Route