Sunday, October 4, 2015

Welcome to Cross...

Cross has arrived!!! And for me it started with ABRA’s Kick Off Cross.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been on a bike in months due to a crazy work schedule, moving into a new house, and traveling for work and weddings.  The only expectation I had for myself was to get muddy!  Mission accomplished!!!

Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling Team powered by Pathfinder at Kick Off Cross

I’ve ridden a cross and mountain bike a handful of times, but not recently.  Something I’ve always struggled with on a mountain and cross bike is cornering.  Usually what runs through my head is “don’t die..You have to go to work tomorrow!”.  Well, thankfully I was able to attend Chris Mayhew’s and Eric Lundgren’s cross clinic not too long ago and we spent a good bit of time cornering!!!  This was definitely helpful for my first race.  I was able to pick good lines and not hit the brakes during any of the turns even the super muddy ones coming out of downhills! 
While I may not have been fast (by any standards)…actually barely moving at times because of the mud and my lack of endurance…It was a blast!! 

Shout out to all of my awesome teammates!  It is invaluable to have experienced racers there with me like Stephanie Lamb and Shawn Geiger giving me tire pressure tips.  Also where else can you find a teammate as selfless as Lamb offering to let teammates use her pit wheels or trade bikes if needed..the answer is no where!!  She is a one of a kind, class act!  EJ Hubstenberger hanging out in the pit cheering us on!  Cara Bacher who was nervous with me at the start and not knowing what to expect, but did awesome on only her second cross race!!!  Way to go!!!  Jeff Gernert who cheered and kept the fire going so we could all have a place to warm up post race!!!  Awesome job to all of my teammates who placed in the races also…Stephanie Lamb placed 5th in the elite 1,2,3 women’s race and 3rd in the 3,4 race… And Anna Lena who placed 2nd in the 3,4 race.

As always, JR Petsko and Gina Desmond—Thank you for providing awesome, fun, muddy races locally!!  This community would not be the same without you and ABRA!
Thanks to our sponsor, the only company I trust to get my bike clean, ProGold Bikes!

So many products to keep your bike well maintained and clean!
Our ProGold Bikes Cleaning Product Section in the bike cave.

The Bianchi Squeaky clean post wash with ProGold Bikes

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In The Pits

With cross already here and ABRA ‘cross season starting this Saturday; I was going to go over a couple of staples that I like to have in the pits at a cross race, and explain why I prefer these certain items.

Kenda 29’er Wheel Bag.
This was something I discovered last year. It’s an awesome wheel storage and transportation means. As you can see here, the wheel bag can hold 2 29er' wheels with Kenda honey badgers that measures 2.4". It also includes a storage area for skewers, a cassette, and brake pads (if you go from carbon to
aluminum rims). The big advantage of these bags over most is that they can hold 2 wheels. Carrying is made simple with either the handle or longer strap, which will make it easier to carry multiple wheelsets over to the pit.

Craftsman Cordless Pump.
This has been a staple in a lot of ‘cross racers' bags. This is a relatively small pump that should last almost a full day of airing up cross tires. People complain that you have to keep it charged, which is a down side; but with electronic drivetrains becoming more popular it’s not that it’s really much more of a pain. Even when there isn’t enough juice to run the pump, you can still use it as a really accurate gauge (with testing it, it would read within 1% of a certified accurate gauge.)

ProGold Cleaning products
When Cyclocross Masters Worlds came to the US, they let the pressure washers freeze overnight. The go-to product in helping to keep the riders moving as their bikes became coated completely in mud was no other than the ProGold "Blast Off." This degreaser spray provides a much more powerful blast than other products I have tried. This is particularly useful in the pits where you may have only minutes to have a rider’s bike ready to go back out on course, just to receive another mud-clogged bike to repeat the process. ProGold also makes a lot of products that work awesome during cross season, from the degreaser bike wash to their extreme lube. And the ProGold towels make cleaning up your bike quick and easy.

Cleaning and tool bag
Of course, a bag of cleaning brushes helps make getting most of the mud off the bike a breeze. A tool bag with the basics to make small adjustments is necessary for things such as straightening bars after a spill or adjusting for wider rims after a wheel change.

And finally the most important..
Team Mates.
Of course having people in the pit for you can make life as a racer a bit more relaxed. For example; having teammates in the pit to hand off your bike, on hot days offer water to you (when permitted), make adjustments to a bike you toss to them in the pit, or just giving you encouragement to dig a little deeper.

PS. If you are in the pit, remember to keep an eye out and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Don't get caught in the middle of a bike exchange.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Perfect Fall Day!

The best thing about living in Ohio is the fall season!  I love the cooler, but very comfortable, temperatures.  I also love the changing colors of the leaves.  And one cannot forget about pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin spice lattes, and of course pumpkin beer!  Just about every brewing company now brews a pumpkin or October beer and I pretty much like them all.  I just wish they didn’t start selling them until September! 

To me a perfect fall day would be to wake up to temperatures in the low to mid 50s.  Enjoy some sort of pumpkin flavored coffee / latte at our favorite coffee shop.  And then hitting some trails with family and friends where the temperature would now be in the low 60s.  Just cool enough to possible require some arm warmers or maybe a long sleeved jersey, but definitely not any winter gear or gloves.  The trees would hopefully still have its leaves, but now instead of green they would be a beautiful mixture of reds, oranges, and yellows.  The day would end by sitting around a camp fire to keep warm while the temperature would by then be falling back down into the 50s and of course enjoying a nice variety of pumpkin flavored beers.

And that would be my perfect fall day!

PS – the worst thing about living in Ohio is the ugly, grey, winter days.

Thanks for reading and God bless!

Monday, September 14, 2015

So,What Have You Been Up To Since We Last Spoke?

I think the most frequently asked question I get is "how do your legs always look so shiny and smooth?" Well, maybe that's not the most FREQUENT question..........But a good question none the less....

The most frequently asked question I get is "I have not seen you lately, what have you been doing with yourself?" As you can guess, my answer is simple, "Enjoying life with my family and friends!!!"

This race season has been so much fun because of the great people I associate with on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis. We really can say that we are friends and more importantly, A FAMILY (however dysfunctional we can be at times).  We really had a great season racing with one another this year and posted some great results.

JR was 4th overall at Tuesday Night Worlds (aka ACA Masters Race) and the team was 3rd overall in points.

Devin was 3rd overall in the ABRA road race series

We also took a great team vacation to Deep Creek Maryland in July where we could all relax, enjoy each others company, and of course ride bikes. Oh, and watch that little bike race in France that goes on each July. Tour De Something or other.....

It was an awesome long weekend away from the everyday stresses that life brings us. We took a nice long ride each day and then came home and BBQ and the soaked in the hot tub. We may have had a few adult beverages, but i'll never tell. (we did)
So back to reality after our trip, Jr and Gina ventured up from West 'by goodness' Virginia and met me, Steph, Jim, Kendall, and Bri for a Pirates game. Fun was had by all that night!! Even by some folks we didn't know, we have been known to be quite and entertaining crew to hang out with n' at.

As it so happened, our waitress was a student at WVU, but we had to show her the 'how to tell how many days in the month' knuckle game......Kids these days don't know squat!!

Hmm, what did I do in August? Well I spent some time with one of my oldest friends that now lives in Northern Virginia.  We just spent a few days hanging out reminiscing about all the dumb things we did growing up together, and in my case, may still do!?!?!?

Unfortunately, one of the reasons why he was in town was because one of our mutual friends had his father pass away suddenly.  It got me to thinking just how short life can be and that I should appreciate it everyday and appreciate all the wonderful people in my life.

So with that, what will the remainder of the year bring? Not in any particular order:

Good Friends

Did I say bikes?!?!?!?

Finally, a huge THANK YOU to all of our sponsors!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Duo Racing 2015 Recap, Part1: Mountain State Dirty Double

With less than normal cycling training miles under our belts, fellow teammate, Derek Clark, and I had decided to team up for some duo racing this summer--two gravel races and one mountain bike relay.    Our agreed upon goal was to try to podium each race.  Although not discussed, I'm certain our unspoken goal was to win each race.   

In May, we signed up for the duo male class at the Mountain State Dirty Double gravel stage race in Rowlesburg, WV.  Because we registered the day of the race, we were uncertain of who are competition would be.  On day one, I felt as if we were struggling to maintain any speed on the asphalt road sections.   But once, the terrain turned to dirt and gravel, Derek and I, riding Cannondale SuperX cyclocross bikes equipped with disc brakes and Kenda Happy Medium tires, appeared to make up on time and pass many other racers.  Despite suffering a flat tire on a chunky-rock downhill fairly early in the race, Derek and I had finished 5 minutes ahead of second place and 9 minutes ahead of third place teams, providing ourselves nice, but not comfortable time gaps going into the second stage of racing.  

At the start of day two the sky decided to open up into a steady rain.   Early on we were past by the mountain bike riding Silverback Racing team of Dan Dapenhart and Chris Miceli on a loose and sandy climb.   Although we had a 9 minute lead on this team, there was a long and twist downhill over seriously rough and loose gravel.  They could create a gap that would threaten our chances of winning stage two and the whole race if we let them get away on this downhill.  Once, we topped the climb, Derek found a big gear to mash his way past the mountain bike duo, skidding his rear tire from side to side throwing rocks and gravel.  I trusted his confidence on this down-hell and just tried to keep up.  We were able to group up with some solo racers once we reached some asphalt sections of road to create a gap on the Silverback Racing team and hold on, free of mechanical issues, to the finish for a stage two and the overall wins.  

Duo Male
121210Chris Jones/Derek Clark  2:20:462:36:124:56:58
229244Dan Depenhart/Chris MiceliSilverback RacingPA2:29:462:42:175:12:03
333245Fritz Kessler/Dan MangesNo one you knowMD2:25:342:54:065:19:40

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Progression of Starting CX

1. Acquire a bike.
As a broke graduate student and owner of short legs, compared to fellow West Pennsylginia members, proved to be a roadblock to find a bike that works. Therefore, I am going to start this off for thanking both Justine Pagenhardt and Erin Setzler for setting me up for my new addition.
As always, make it a Cannondale

The next step is to visit Pathfinder to stock up on all cross essentials including Honey Stinger waffles and LOTS of tubes. Also, be sure to stock up on plenty of items to keep you warm when the weather starts to drop! You can also get any upgrades and/or repairs to your bike from their friendly mechanics. You will see me there soon getting my shifting cables replaced.

2.   Find a coach (aka Rob)
I will make your search for a coach very easy. Go to or email to get in touch with cycling extraordinaire Rob Acciavatti. Rob has his Masters in Physical Therapy and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. If that isn’t enough he also has experience riding professionally in Europe as well as winning two national titles as a collegiate rider. Rob has been a perfect match for me because he adapts my riding schedule around graduate school and my job. Rob also was my physical therapist, at Dynamic Physical Therapy Westover, which gave him a unique perspective to monitor my rehabilitation both in the clinic and on the bike. To this day he continues to help me with any post-injury related pain that may come about during my training cycles.

3. Surround yourself with friends
I am so lucky to have the support a great team to motivate, teach, and most importantly keep cycling fun. I need to make another huge thank you to both EJ Hubstenberger and Shawn Geiger for giving me a daily kick to the butt and answering all of life's questions. Last weekend, a few members of the team all met in North Park to practice cornering, mounts/dismounts, and overcoming obstacles. Being apart of this team is like having a second family at my home away from home. I cannot wait to be able to see them more frequently as cross season approaches.
EJ & Shawn setting up barriers

4.     Find a race
This weekend I will head off to my first cross race in Cleveland, OH and plan on traveling to a couple up that way during the next few months. However, the best races will be right in that greater Morgantown area in the Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association (ABRA) series.  There will be six ABRA cross races to choose from including Kickoff Cross (10/3), Mason Dixon Cross (10/17), Franklin (10/31), White Park (11/14), Pro Bikes CX Fest (11/21-22), and West Pennsylginia (12/5). You can visit for full details including registration.

See you all soon!

Cara J. Bacher