Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Open Letter: Mavic

Hello Mavic,

     My name is Sean Evans. I am a Mechanical Design Engineer, father of four, and avid cyclist. I am a mountain biker by heart, but I also own (and ride) a road bike. I like that I can jump on the road bike and get a solid ride in without having to drive to a trail. Given the time, I will always choose the mountain bike over the road bike. Mountain biking is how I first heard about your products.
     Many years ago I was at a little race called Iceman Cometh in Northern Lower Michigan. After eating dinner I was looking over the bike and heard a clink when I spun the rear wheel. Perplexed, I spun it again...sure enough....clink clink clink. I stopped the spinning and took a closer look. 3 broken spokes. Not good the night before the race. I had that Mavic was going to be at the Expo that night and that a demo was possible. We went to the expo and I headed straight to the Mavic booth. Frantic, I explained my situation. The guys in the tent were awesome and told me they would hook me up in morning and all I had to do was be there early enough for them to get my bike set up. We got there early and sure enough they threw a set of demo Crossmax wheels on my bike. Truth be told....the wheelset they installed was worth more than my entire bike at the time. This made it even more exciting. I was at the start line and a few people were asking about them. I explained that they were loaners and everyone was very impressed that Mavic would loan such an expensive set of wheels to a beginner level racer. The race went ok....but I loved the wheels. Needless to say...I was hooked.
     Time passed and I stopped riding for a few years. Eventually, about 8 years ago, I started riding again. In typical cyclist fashion my bikes got more expensive and the components followed suit, minus the wheels. The set I wanted I could not afford. The Mavic Crossmax wheels. So I waited. 3 years ago I finally needed to buy a new wheelset. A teammate had a set of Crossmax SL wheels that he wasn't using anymore. Barely used....I got a solid deal on them. My shop owner put a lot of trust in the wheels telling me they would be "bullet proof"....so I jumped and bought them. I set them up tubeless and absolutely loved them. But....the bike is a 26er and last year I made the jump to 29er....regrettably giving the bike and my favorite wheels ever to my son. He loves them too for the record.....but I miss them.
     So that brings me to the point of this letter. I technically don't need a new wheelset...because the wheels that came with my bike are very nice wheels. I WANT a new Crossmax wheelset. While doing some research I was looking around the Mavic.us site and realized that Mavic has a lot more to offer than just the wheels. I knew Mavic put cycling shoes on the market, but I didn't realize Mavic has pedals too. And not only pedals, but the style of pedals I love to ride. I am a huge Time Pedals fan because the SPD style locks me in too much and puts stress on my knees. Wheels, shoes, gloves, pedals, helmets....a lot.
   My question is this: Does Mavic have any sort of ambassador program? I ask because I think it would be an excellent idea. I also volunteer to be the first in the program. I would use shoes, pedals, helmet, gloves, wheels, and whatever else you would be willing to offer. What would I do in return? Well, I write a blog that is read all around the world. I also have a facebook page that has a decent amount of traffic. I would do product reviews. I would do product spotlights. I would also talk to everyone I know about your awesome products. At races, I would wear Mavic shirts, hats, team kit and be a walking/riding billboard. I would also put stickers on my car and bikes as necessary.
     Why Sean Evans? Well.....I love the sport. I love to ride. I love to race. My story might not be the greatest. I have stood on the podium on a few times...but they have been awesome each time. I am doing my first 100 mile mountain bike race in June of this year. I am moving along. If Mavic were to allow me to be an ambassador I would attribute any success to the awesome components and products you have. I would share my stories with everyone, just as I do now. Only I would be able to say "Mavic has been awesome in helping because of...." or "these wheels have truly made climbing faster" or "I see you ride Time, I switched to Mavic and ......" . So many options.
     In closing, please consider an ambassador program. Many well established companies already have them, and the programs help get their products in front of more eyes out on the roads and trails. When people see other people out riding the brands, more attention is given to those brands. People are interested in what other people are using, riding, wearing. If you would like to have a conversation about this I am more than willing. I completely understand if you do not. I doubt this letter will ever even reach Mavic, but I wanted to launch it into cyberspace in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, it would reach the right person.

Thank you for reading,
Sean Evans
Singletrack Chronicles

Sunday, February 22, 2015

First Barry Roubaix of 2015

Jay and I decided to head out into the cold morning air to test out the Barry Roubaix roads. We saw pictures and had reports that the roads were icy, with snow, sandy spots, and some gravel spots showing. I pulled the Defy off the trainer and threw the CX tires on, especially since I knew Jay was bringing his new TCX.

Do I really want to do this?

I left the house a little after 8am and met Jay at the Long Lake Outdoor Center a little before 9. Parking lot was empty. We geared up and off we went. Roads were not bad. Passable....albeit slow. We rode slower to prevent a disaster. I did have one minor accident. I caught a icy ridge and it kicked my bike out from under me and I fell right into the snowbank. No harm. Slow speed. 

Jay B.s Giant TCX (Photo courtesy of Jay B.)

The pic above was one Jay took of his bike at the top of "The Wall". That climb is always rough. I am learning to love the hills. The hills, however, hate me. Felt like I was dragging an anchor. The hills out there are always brutal....but they felt even worse on this ride. I think because it was so cold my body was struggling to stay warm. At any rate it was awesome to be out there riding with a friend and teammate....testing the early season fitness.

After the ride

We got a decent 22 miles in around 2 hours. Average Temperature was 23 degrees according to my Garmin. It felt really good to be outside and riding in the hills. With 5 weeks until Barry Roubaix I have to get outside more...but winter has a cold grip on SW Michigan right now. I felt pretty good after the ride...just cold. The season is coming quick and winter won't last forver.

Below is a video of our ride. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

2015, off an running....er....riding

This year is already off and flying by. Living in Southwest Michigan is always and adventure. We had 2 feet of snow on the ground in November. Hardly any snow on Christmas. And got 18" over the course of two days here a few weeks ago. As I type this we are under a Winter Storm Warning. Lots of blowing snow and frigid temps. So....I hide indoors.

January was a solid month. I started it off right with a ride (outside) on New Years Day. Haven't ridden outside since. I have had a few nice days....but missed the opportunity to get out there and break the monotony of the trainer. Instead I got a few of the Sufferfest videos to change things up.

In total...I had just under 300 miles in January. Just over 400 for the year so far. My speed is pretty solid too for this point in the year. My frustration is my weight. I feel stronger, but I am slowly losing weight. My own fault. Feel pretty good on the bike.....and the legs are surely getting stronger. Nutrition has to be dialed. I will get there.

So....the season is shaping up like this

Barry Roubaix (36 miles)
Lowell 50 (34 miles....or 57 depending on BR results)
Yankee TT
Custer Stampede
Lumberjack 100
Sweat Shaker

Those are verified.

These are not...but on the radar

Hanson 50/100
Ithica 12 Hour
Ruby 50

All I know is that I will be riding a lot to keep my fitness up. Gotta stay focused and be ready on June 20th when I have to ride 100 miles.....wait...RACE 100 miles. Have a goal time in mind right now...but won't let that leak.

Hope you all are enjoying your winter.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year

Said goodbye to 2014 by hanging out with some friends. When I finally got to bed on January 1st it was 4:15 am. I had to be up at 8 am to get ready for the Annual New Years Day ride at Fort Custer with the SWMMBA. I drug myself out of bed and left the house a little after 9. I got to the shop, Custer Cyclery, and a few minutes later Jimmy rolled in. Dan was there already and the three of us headed out from there.

It was chilly.....windy too, but the ride over was a solid warmup. We got to the trailhead right as the group was leaving. I coudn't really tell who was there because everyone was bundled up and had their faces covered. Anyway, off we went. It was fun to be riding Custer again after a long hiatus. The trail was like concrete....and it was actually a little dusty with the pace line we had running through the woods.

At a stop to regather...I saw a lot of the usual suspects. Good to see a lot of the people that I haven't seen in months. After a short break we started up again and just kept moving. It felt really good to be out...cold or not.

So the year started off on a positive. Last year was a decent year. Better than 2013 by about 300 miles. Not terrible for a hefty guy with 4 kids. I am thankful for each mile I can ride. Every pedal stroke....slow or fast.....thankful. 

So....2015 has started and I still can't make up my mind on what I want to do. Do I race clyde...or just age group....or do I even race at all. Only time will tell on this topic. But for now.....Happy New Year everyone.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Not good

Let me just put this out there.....I highly dislike this time of year. Not because of the season...but because of all of the food. It starts with the numerous Thanksgiving dinners and continues all the way thru Christmas until New Years day. The day that many people traditionally "start over" or "set a new years resolution" or whatever else. Blah.

At any rate.....this month has sucked (as far as riding goes). My last ride was November 29th. Yes....24 days....no ride. Here is why....

We went on a cruise on December 6th. We left on the evening of the 4th. I planned on riding the few days before we left, on the trainer, but we were so wrapped up in getting ready to go that I kept running out of time. Then...we drove to Florida and I ate like a hog for a week on the cruise...then drove home. Well.....after being home I just couldn't find the motivation to ride. I was just tired from driving home. Then....it was tonight and I got thinking about it.....3 weeks off the bike. ugh. And I planned on it tonight....but then had to pick up the littles so Chelle could wrap presents. 

So.....clearly I am heavy. What muscle I had is turning back into fat and my body is just starting to hurt. And....it will be a few more days before I will have time to ride. I accept that it is that time of year....but I have a lot of work to do when the Holiday ends. We have a party tomorrow evening and then another Christmas day and our final party on Saturday. Then New Years Eve...and as the story goes....time to reset.....and get on track.

On a related topic.....the actual size of 5 pounds of fat. The first picture below shows how large 5 pounds of fat actually is when compared to a dollar bill. Gross right....

So....that is what 5 pounds looks like....and the picture below is a representation of what 5 pounds weighs. Think about a 5 pound bag of sugar or flour. Pretty heavy....and when you think about the density of fat vs. sugar.....gross.

So...take about 10 of these bags of sugar and that is what I need to lose. Imagine.....a 180 pound guy with 10 of these bags strapped to his body.....from his waist to his chin. That is where my weight is. And slowly but surely i will take each of these bags off my body and throw them away. just like every year. So.....it starts.....yet again....

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 2....20 weeks to go until Yankee

Very good week. It was Thanksgiving on Thursday and my 16th wedding anniversary on Friday. Dang, time flies. Well....lets get to it...

Monday is a rest day on my regimen. I am glad because we are crazy busy on Monday. So, I did Tuesday, Wednesday and I did the Friday session on Thursday Morning. I was confident that I would burn enough calories to eat a piece of pumpkin pie...but more on that later. These workouts went well.....legs are getting that tension in them and the actual sessions are harder than I imagined they would be. Feels like they are working!

Thursday before we headed off to family festivities we figure out the furnace wasn't working. After some investigation I found the drive belt laying on the floor....motor spinning.....not blowing any heat into the house.....on Thanksgiving. Awesome. So, Friday morning I got up early....Home Depot opened at 5am for Black Friday. I left the house at 6:20 only to find out that they don't carry belts because of the vast variety. Try and HVAC place they said.....so I commenced my search. Found one....that closed on Wednesday and didn't reopen until today. I was then looking for a hardware store to check before 8am when all the HVAC places opened...I passed a car parts place. BINGO. 12 bucks later I was on my way home. Installed the belt....started to get dressed for the WMMBA Turkey Burner.

I have missed the past 3 years of Turkey Burners. Kiddos were little and a mix of weather and excuses kept me from going. This year I really wanted to go and a few buddies were heading up to Yankee at 10 for the ride so I joined in. There was a ton of people there....I estimated over 70. Reports were that there were over 40 fatbikes. Awesome. After a few announcements we broke into groups and headed down the trail. Today, we were riding the fatbike trail. A trail that the good people of the WMMBA developed so that people can still ride at Yankee....and not damage the regular trail. Nice. The ride was a lot of fun. New trail is always fun...but so many people made it more fun. I did upload a video here. There was a bit of snow on the ground and temps were in the 20's. Awesome day on the trail.

Saturday, it was mid 50's. I pulled the road bike off the trainer and headed out for a decent road ride....other than the wind. Ugh. I mustered a 16mph average on the Defy with the CX tires on it. Good to ride outside 2 days in a row.

Like I said....good week.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2015 Training starts

I am going to take a different approach this winter. I usually do alright....I drop some weight....I ride outside when I can....and ride the trainer when I can't. I eat better. Yada yada.

I start the spring strong...and by middle of summer I am starting to lose fitness....and by fall I have gained all my weight back and I start back at square one......winter training. So.....it started again....last night.

I am 264 pounds again. Literally...starting where I was at this time last year. But instead of training to RACE next year....I am training to lose weight. Putting all race training aside....and focusing on riding the fat off of my body.

I am not racing Clyde next year so I have a lot of work to do. I have seen a glimmer of how fast I can be when I am 240.....and this year I fully intend to find out how fast I will be at sub 200.

I will either get crushed in Sport Men 35-39 or I will compete. All I know is that I am going to do my best to get this weight off. It started last night. And will continue until I am done.

I started some new supplements that will help me with this trip. I know they will work because after 3 weeks my brain is functioning better. Even though I haven't lost any weight yet I am feeling way better than I have all summer.

Just over 22 weeks until Yankee. 15 week training program. Go.

And....if I can figure it out....I will own a fatbike before too long...and then my adventures OUTSIDE will continue.