Russ’s Bike Camping Adventure

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West Virginia’s state motto is “Wild and Wonderful”. It certainly lived up to it last weekend. Three bike packers set out on an adventure in Pocahontas County WV. Durbin, a tiny town with no stoplight, 1 restaurant, 1 bar and a coal-fired steam engine, was our starting point. We rode the West Fork rail trail for 19 miles steady climbing at 1 or 2% the whole way. The trail followed West Fork Greenbrier River to the headwaters. It was very scenic and enjoyable.
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The High Falls Trail was next up in our plan. The trail is pretty, but it is not really bike suitable. The vast majority of the 1 mile climb was not suitable for mountain biking. However, the descent was mostly suitable. It took us an hour and a half to conquer the mountain. The pay-off was the High Falls of the Cheat River, an amazingly beautiful waterfall. We arrived late in the afternoon and that resulted in quick camp site selection. That is unfortunate because later exploration revealed a few really nice waterside campsites just far enough from the falls to dampen the roar of the falling water.

 

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I awoke early on Saturday and enjoyed the stillness of the deep woods with a hot cup of coffee and watched the water. To quote an Eagles song “I had a peaceful easy feeling”. We decided that a return trip over the mountain was undesirable. That left us with following the train tracks to the town of Bemis. We tried to leave before the first train of the day but we were too late. The engineer waved as the train rolled by and he did not seem to be annoyed with our presence. About ¾ of the way down we saw a very scenic section of the river and decided to take a break.  We walked down the hill to the river bank and enjoyed the water for about 45 minutes. Mike fished a little and we all swam in the swiftly moving water.  We finished the train track and faced our first steep road climb out of Bemis. Even though it was steep, the smooth surface was welcome after the track side trail. We stopped in Glady and ate lunch in a picnic shelter by the road, thank you Glady Church of the Brethren!  The next section turned out to be much nicer than I had anticipated. The road was free of traffic, smooth, shady and at a reasonable grade. We then descended right back down to the Laurel Fork Campground. Our next leg was to the Sinks of Gandy. This ride was gorgeous! The hills were a little steep but still rideable. It felt like we were in Colorado above the tree line, except we could breathe! I have never seen a creek that flows into a hill before, it was really cool and creepy. The birds were circling in the cave and it was difficult to know they were birds and not bats.
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Our final day started with a climb of 1.5 miles to the top of the ridge. We were rewarded with mostly descent for the rest of the trip! The road was shady, smooth and again, rarely traveled. We stopped at Middle Mountain Cabins, a rustic setting in the Wilderness area that would be a great getaway for a group of friends desiring solitude with a roof over their heads. They are managed by the Forest Service if you are interested. We investigated all of the intersecting roads for possible detours. We settled on route 17 which followed a river through a beautiful forest. This road ended at the West Fork Rail Trail mile 7. A downhill finish makes the memory sweeter. We stopped at one of the two restaurants in town to reward our efforts with a burger, some fries and two pitchers of beer. We all appreciated “chairs with a back” one of life’s underappreciated pleasures.13450961_10209954952053822_2218187690506137048_n

For this trip Russ rode an Shimano 8 speed internally geared Surly OrgeThe Bike Lane helped Russ choose from a variety of touring and frame bike bags to carry his supplies.  If you are looking to go on a bike camping weekend, stop by the shop and we can assist you in getting everything you need for a great adventure!

 

 

How Bill’s Road ID saved the day

Bill and Road ID
My Road ID truly saved me that day
From the Road ID Testimonials:
I was recently at a local club’s time trial, and because I work at a fairly popular local shop, I knew at least half of the people there. They all knew me as “Bill from The Bike Lane”, but no one knew much else. During the race, two ladies that had been hiking walked out onto the road that was being used for the race. As I approached them, I said “on your left”, and they turned with a look of “what do you want me to do?”. I was approaching so fast that I asked them to just stay in place. They instead moved right, directly into my path. I swerved and was thrown from my bike into a nearby ditch. I ended up unconscious with lots of road rash and a broken color bone.

When the accident occurred, no one knew who to call or my medical history — it was just “Bill” laying there unconscious. Luckily, someone was able to locate my Road ID, which contained my doctor’s number, who was able to provide some critical information. I tell everyone that comes in the shop the value of a Road ID and how it truly saved me that day.

Bill H.
Churchtown, MD

RAAM Update #3

TBL Mechanic Daniel Wilcox is wrenching for Race Across America Team Green Beret Foundation.  He is sending us updates throughout his adventure.

Hello- Update Monday, June 17th
Unfortunately, we don’t have wireless- so updates may be pretty short.  Here is today’s journey with some pictures.
Race going well. Team 1st place.|edonna, Flagstaff now big climbs to Durango. Very hectic and we are all exhausted.
Hi to all
Daniel
TeamGBF Mechanic
~TBL Mechanic

2013-06-17 06.28.33 2013-06-15 19.23.452013-06-16 19.09.48TeamGBF RAAM

Daniels RAAM Adventure Begins!

TBL Mechanic Daniel Wilcox is wrenching for Race Across America Team Green Beret Foundation.  He is sending us updates throughout his adventure.

Dispatch from RAAM #1

Well, it’s finally here – flying out to San Diego this morning to meet up with Race Across America Team Green Beret Foundation – known as TeamGBF. This all started couple months ago – while installing Lowe’s storm door at new customer as part of my FT handyman job at Rick’s Handyman Services of Alexandria, I asked to use restroom and found it full of many cycling mags – so when I asked cust Dave Viens if he was cyclist, he gave me an odd look and just said – let me show you our garage – and hanging out there were about 20 bikes!!! So we got to talking…..Dave told me he was planning to do RAAM with a 4 man team. Last year I had followed Len Forkas on his solo RAAM with great interest – especially since my cycling buddy Steve G. was crewing! Dave asked me along that weekend on a 54 mile training ride, where I met the rest of the racers – Andrew Schaaf, Gino Elsa, and Dave Johnson. On the ride, I sort of jokingly asked if they needed a mechanic for their RAAM race – and after we all talked it over next day they asked me to join them! They are covering my flight but I am taking time off and wrenching pro bono.

Some of you know me from my being mechanic at the The Bike Lane Reston store!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think my passion for wrenching bikes would bring me this amazing experience…

Their team prep started last August when Dave V decided to do RAAM with no ultra experience – but had done couple 100+ mile off-road mountain bike races. He started gathering interest and scouting for others…it slowly morphed into current members.

Some of you may know of RAAM – it’s a true legend in the ultra-endurance bike racing world. It’s been going on for 30+ years. There is no prize money in this one – just the chance to race 3,000 miles and climb 170,000 feet!

Then the real prep and training started! Of course, many, many, MANY long rides! They are coached by Sue Hefler, who also coached Len Forkas last year. She helped lay out their plan.

Then there’s the crew, supplies, vehicles, travel,spare parts – it’s a FT job! We have about 13 in the crew, an RV which I will be working out of and helping to drive, a Mercedes Sprinter van, and Dave V’s Subaru which was wrapped by one of our sponsors. We have crew chief, nurse, nutritionist, masseuse, navigators, drivers – and only one mechanic! There are 8 bikes for primary racing – road and TT – and couple spares, along with several sets of spare wheels. The RV was donated and picked up in Phoenix. We packed the Sprinter van here with all bikes (I made a wood rack to hold them) and 2 crew drove out to Oceanside CA already.

Dave Viens is one of TBL’s big customers – since 2002 – probably one of our biggest…has purchased around 9 complete bikes plus huge amount of accessories, parts, and service! Big Trek fan! Andrew also rides Madones…They are all wearing custom Louis Garneau team clothing, primarily riding Conti Gatorskin Hardshell tires, using Light & Motion Urban 550s

Their plan is to WIN the 50+ team competition!!! Drafting is allowed for the teams if they want – but not for solo racers – but the plan as of now is 4 hour 2 man rotations where each guy will ride either 1/2 or 1 hour then switch – day and night (with headlights!). We won’t be sleeping much I don’t think. As you might imagine, this is a daunting plan…how would you feel having to get up at 4am to ride down a mountain pas in the Rockies at 40 + mph where you will drop the chase vehicle cause the road is so narrow the car can’t keep up? Or in Kansas seeing a flat road ahead that seems to stretch forever – and there’s a 25 mph constant headwind? But these guys are very well prepared, very positive and might really win!

We will be using Delorme satellite based tracking units that will never lose signal – you can follow at
http://www.teamgbf.com/resources/
Some family members of the Green Berets who have lost loved ones will meet the team along the route. We also put together a 20+ page color booklet with stories from these families we have made copies of.
I will post here hopefully each day, with photos.
Wish us a safe and fast race….

Daniel Wilcox
The Race Across America Team Green Beret Foundation Team:

Andrew SchaafGino Elsea Dave Viens Dave Johnson

Last-Minute Tips for National Bike to Work Day

Happy Bike Month

So, you’ve been thinking about participating in National Bike To Work Day.  You may have even registered with the Washington Area Bicycling Association.  Good for you!

But there’s no reason to NOT ride to work even if you haven’t registered.  But you’ll need to do several things before you head out to the bike trails Friday morning.

No. 1:  Make sure your bike is rideable.  Check your tires NOW and see if they will still hold air.  Pump them up to the recommended pressure (on side of tire) and check back a bit later to see if the air pressure has dropped.  Look for thorns or metal wires that may have worked into the tread.   You really don’t want to have a flat on the way to or from work.  Be sure to bring a spare tube, a compact hand-pump and a few CO2 cartridges and inflator nozzle.  If you haven’t changed a flat in a while (or ever) practice before you head out.

No.2:   Click through your gears a few times, make sure everything is hunky-dory.  If shifting is balky, wipe a bit of lube on the cable and try again.  Lube the chain lightly, as well.

No. 3:  Check your personal gear:  Helmet is an absolute must.  Check fit before you head out.  A loose or too-tight helmet can spoil your ride, not to mention failure to protect your brain.  Gloves will help keep your hands clean and, even with a morning forecast in the low-60s, keep those digits warm.

No. 4: Be seen and heard. Is your bike bell dinging?  Is your head-light and tail-light working?  Check batteries and bring spares.  Remember, your return trip could be at dusk or other low-light conditions.

No. 5:  If you were thinking ahead, you already left a change of work clothes and personal toiletries to freshen your body when you get to work.  You may not notice right away, but you might be perspiring for up to an hour after riding.  You co-workers will notice.  Think about taking a container of those baby wipes.  You may be schvitzing for hours.

No. 6:  Hydrate or get really, really thirsty.  Make sure your water bottle isn’t full of fuzzy funk left from that bottle of Mango juice you put in it a month ago.  Take an extra bottle filled with ice for the return trip home. Put it in the office fridge if you have one. Your mouth will appreciate it.

No. 7:  Communicate.  Make sure your cellphone is fully charged.  The life you save may be someone else.  You would want someone to make that 911 call for you.

No. 8:  This is not a race.  It is RIDE to work.  With temperatures in the 80s, you don’t want to have a crash or  arrive drenched in a pool of sweat.  Enjoy the ride, smile at the other folks and arrive alive.

No. 9:  Scout your ride path BEFORE you head out. Check out great local bike commuting tips and routes at FABB.  Remember things look a lot different from behind a steering wheel than behind handlebars.  Bring a lock to secure your bike.  If it has a combination lock, write the code on a piece of paper in your dry wallet.

No. 10:  Don’t forget your office shoes.  I always kept a pair in my office desk just in case.  If anyone notices, just tell them it is National Work in Your Socks Day.

OK, now get out there, have fun, be careful and congratulate yourself for doing a very cool thing.

Trek Domane- Your King of the Classics

Spartucus's taking the lead at the 2013 Tour de Flanders

Spartucus’s taking the lead at the 2013 Tour de Flanders

Admit it, we have all gone on bike rides with friends and found ourselves playing pro peloton,  choosing which pro rider we want to be and doing play-by-play chatter like Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett as we battle our buddies to imaginary finish lines at the biggest races.

But it doesn’t all have to be fantasy.  The Trek bikes used by professional riders in the biggest races in the world are very similar to the bikes you’ll find at The Bike Lane stores in Springfield and Reston.

Project One Domane 6.9 Spartacus

Project One Domane 6.9 Spartacus

Fabian Cancellara’s Trek Domane 6.9 that he rode to win the Tour of Flanders last Sunday and will ride again this Sunday at the Paris-Roubaix spring classic is not much different from the Domane models you’ll find at The Bike Lane.  In fact, “Spartacus” prefers to ride the comfortable Domane in all of his road races and is capable of producing more than 500 watts of sustained power on the bike, as evidenced by the way he dropped Cannondale’s Peter Sagan on the final climb and time-trialed his way to a stunning one-minute, 26 second gap to secure the Flanders win for his Radioshack-Leopard-Trek team.

Tony M. doesn't stand for Tony Martin; it refers to Cancellara's longtime nickname, Tony Montana (from the movie Scarface). Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.comhttp://velonews.competitor.com/2013/03/gallery/gallery-fabian-cancellaras-trek-domane_279648

Tony M. doesn’t stand for Tony Martin; it refers to Cancellara’s longtime nickname, Tony Montana (from the movie Scarface). Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

The only changes he makes for the cobblestone classics are slightly wider 25mm tubular tires and manual shifting instead of his usual electronic Di2 setup due to the battering the system takes while riding the stony bergs.  He does have a special Trek Project One custom paint job with his SPARTACUS nickname across the top tube and a smaller decal that says “Tony M”, a reference to an earlier nickname from the gangster film “Scarface,” whose lead character was Tony Montana.

His saddle height is 78cm and his saddle-to-bars reach is 62cm.  He uses a 140mm stem, 175 mm crankarms and a regular 53/39 chainring setup.  Fit is just as important to a recreational rider or weekend warrior, as it is for a pro.   Interested in Domane yet?  The TBL folks are experts at getting your personal measurements dialed in so you can ride away this weekend on your new King of the Classics!

Tour de Flanders – Dominated by Cancellara

Employee Highlight- Wayne The Marathon Manimal

The Bike Lane has some incredibly awesome employees!  Todd and I are always amazed at how lucky we are to have such a great crew of employees working for us.  We thought we would take some time to highlight an employee each week so that we can 1. Brag about how awesome each one is and 2. So we can tell you a  little bit more about who we are as a shop and who you might meet when you walk through our door.   We are not highlighting our employees in any particular order, just randomly telling a little something about each one.

Wayne- The Manimal. 


Wayne is a full time Sales Associate who works in our Springfield location.  He started working for us a little less than a year.    Recently retired from the Navy, Wayne has a passion for detail and for making sure every customer is taken care of.  Wayne takes customer service very seriously.  But what most people don’t know is that Wayne runs a marathon almost every weekend. 

He is a member of Marathon Maniacs, as well as, the 50 States Marathon club and he looks to join the 100-Marathon Club early next year.   The Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon this past weekend marked Wayne’s 65th marathon since 9/3/11 and 80th overall!   We think Wayne is a little crazy but he works super hard to reach his goals.  While Wayne runs a lot he also uses his bike for cross training.  So, when he is not pounding the pavement with his feet, he is hitting the trails at Wakefield or Fountainhead Park.  His most recent purchase was a Trek Stache 8.

So whether a customer is riding a bike for the first time or getting ready for a big race weekend, Wayne understands their needs and desire to achieve their goals.  Next time you are in the shop be sure to say “Hi” to Wayne (sometimes he sports a pink goatee) and ask him where he is running to this weekend?