New Year, New Faces, New Energy

Though it’s been a few weeks since you heard from us, the team has been busy in preparations for 2015. To be honest we’re still on the high from the 2014 season. New teammates with our grassroots riders brought depth to the team and along the way a few solid results:

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NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

*Seamus Powell – Super D National Champion
*Ryan Berliner – Super D National Champion
*Tyler Berliner – Super D National Champion
*Amy Alton – Cat 1 Women XC National Champion

STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

*Wendi Sebastian – 1st place Pro/Open Women NJ State Champ
*Jon Lombardo – 3rd place Pro/Open Men NJ State Champ
*Ryan Hilaman – 2nd place Cat 1 Men Md State Champ

La Ruta podium

LOCAL SERIES

*Seamus Powell – 1st place overall Pro Men POC ESC Enduro Series
*Seamus Powell – 2nd place overall Pro Men POC ESC Super D Series
*Brian Scolforo – 1st place overall Pro Men ESC New England DH Series
*Brian Scolforo – 2nd place overall Pro Men ESC DH Atlantic Cup Series
*Amy Alton – 1st place overall Pro Women POC ESC Super D Series
*Wendi Sebastian – H2H Race Series Overall Winner Pro/Elite Women
*Jess Nankman – 1st place Mid-Atlantic Super Series Women Endurance
*Joel Nankman – 2nd place Mid-Atlantic Super Series Men Endurance
*Andy Brooks – 4th place overall Mid-Atlantic Super Series Pro/Cat 1 Men Open
*April Nabholz – 4th place overall Mid-Atlantic Super Series Pro/Cat 1 Women Open

LOCAL RACES

*Seamus Powell – 1st place Pro Men Killington Challenge
*Jordan Kahlenberg – 2014 Tidewater Challenge Trifecta Overall Winner
*Joel and Jess Nankman – 1st place Co-ed Duo Tran-Sylvania Epic
*Abbey Grimmer – 1st place Pro/Open Women Jamis H2H Series Bulldog Romp
*Abbey Grimmer – 1st place Pro/Open Women Jamis H2H Series Spring Cleaning
*David Flaten – 3rd place Iron Cross
*Ryan Fawley – 3rd place Jamis H2H XC MTB Series Final
*Lester Brown – 3rd place overall Pro/Open Charlottesville Off-road Omnium
*Jamie Yoder – 1st place Women Open WVMBA Big Bear Ultra Light
*Jamie Yoder – 2nd place Women Duo Bakers Dozen
*April Nabholz – 1st place Women U40 Fair Hill Challenge (spring)
*Amy Alton – 1st place Women 40+ Fair Hill Challenge (spring)
*Jess Nankman – 2nd place Women Open Endurance Iron Hill Challenge
*Jess Nankman – 2nd place Women Open Endurance Greenbrier Challenge
*Jamie and Amy – 2nd place Women Open Duo 6 Hrs Brady’s Run
*Amy Alton – 1st place Sport Women Dominion Riverrock Thule Urban Assault MTB Race

UPGRADES

*Wendi Sebastian – upgrade to Pro XC
*April Naholz – upgrade to Pro XC and CX
*Lester Brown – upgrade to Cat 1

1. We want to say congratulations and welcome to the newest members of the Giant Northeast Family:

Dillon Van Wart (NJ) – Dillon is a young up-and-coming rider who this past season won the Jamis/H2H XC race series. He will be focusing on Enduro in 2015.

Dustin Kapustiak (PA) – Many of you may already know Dustin as the Events Coordinator at Bear Creek Mountain Resort, responsible for putting on some of the best XC races in the Mid-Atlantic region. He will be focusing on Enduro in 2015.

Garett Nolan (PA) – Garett is a up-and-coming Jr XC racer making the leap to Cat 1 for 2015.

Hunter Resek (VT) – Hunter splits his time racing XC and CX, and is currently attending Mars Hill University in NC. When on break, he’ll be ripping it up in New England for the team.

Ian Gielar (NH) – Ian is a first-year pro, currently attending the Rochester Institute of Technology where he is the president of the cycling club. He is focusing on XC.

Josh Chu (VT) – Josh is the youngest member of the team, with some impressive results this past season. He also ski races and brings the experience to his cycling. Josh will be focusing on XC in 2015.

Lisa Most (PA) – Lisa won the Mid-Atlantic Super Series Cat 1 40+ overall title this past season, and brings 15 years of bicycle racing experience to the team. She splits her focus between XC and CX.

Mason Hopkins (VA) – Mason is a multi-time VA State champion in Road, Cyclocross, and Mountain Bike XC. She has been riding with returning team member Lester Brown, and giving him a run for his money. She will be focusing on XC for the team in 2015.

Mike McBride (MA) – Mike is the father of Collin McBride, our resident Jr DH Ripper. He’ll be joining the team in an official manner for 2015, focusing on DH.

Wylie Picotte (VT) – Wylie is attending Montana State University in Bozeman. Having previously split his time between Enduro and XC, he will be more focused on Enduro in 2015.

These fresh faces will be joining the following returning riders:
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Lester Brown (VA)
Ryan Hilaman (MD)
Jonathan Lombardo (NJ)
Collin McBride (MA)
April Nabholz (PA)
Jessica Nankman (PA)
Joel Nankman (PA)
Jake Possinger (PA)
Michael Romanowski (NJ)
Wendi Sebastian (NJ)
Jamie Yoder (PA)
Ryan Berliner (VT)
Tyler Berliner (VT)
Brian Scolforo (MA)
Abbey Alexiades (Currently South America)
Ryan Fawley (PA)
Jordan Kahlenberg (MD)
Jed Schober (PA)

We also want to send best wishes to Seamus Powell, Andy Brooks and Amy Alton who are pursuing new racing ventures for 2015. Seamus is transfering to our family at Giant Factory Off-Road Team after an amazing year. Thank you all for helping to create the culture that is Giant Northeast.

2. We want to commend one of our own. Our team and riders would be lost without locals shops and sales reps who keep us rolling on the best equipment in the industry. This week Giant was in agreement and awarded Michael DeLano (mid-atlantic sales rep) the 2014 Giant Account Executive of the Year! This honor not only reflects his ability to sell product but his commitment to #RideLife. Michael currently resides in Richmond, VA., home to two of our riders. Before landing in RVA he lived in Buffalo, NY and owned a bicycle shop so he is no stranger to the Northeast and cycling. Michael also dabbles in the homebrewing game and is currently a part owner in Ardent Craft Ales located in Richmond. Make sure to swing by on your next trip to VA and enjoy the growing craft brew and cycling scene in the city. ardent Congratulations to Michael and thank you for your service to the mid-atlantic and northeast.
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3. Kudos to those who helped us along the way. Sponsors and partners of any program play a crucial role in the success or development of said entity. We are no exception to this truth and need to take a moment to thanks our sponsors:

Giant Bicycles
SRAM MTB
Avid
Truvativ
Schwalbe
Northwave
Stan’s NoTubes
ProGold Lubricants
ESIGrips
Elete Electrolyte
Enzo’s

Here’s to an amazing year ahead!

Fierce in 2015 #rocksrootsruckus

Fierce in 2015
#rocksrootsruckus

The Last Last Race Report of the Season: Iceman Cometh, XC in Ecuador, and CX in the Mid-Atlantic

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XC in Ecuador with Abbey

While we’ve all been wiping salt off our bikes after icy road rides and popping vitamin D tablets, Abbey Alexiades has been enjoying life along the sunny equator. On the other hand, it sounds like it’s kind of dusty and the air is a little thin. Here are three reports from Abbey about races she’s competed in recently.

Tour Aventura: Guambras Strava Challenge

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Each month Team Guambras, a women’s adventure racing team, and Powerade Ecuador do a Strava challenge. The Guambras girls pick a route somewhere around Quito and you have a month to complete the challenge and faster person will win a prize. For October, the challenge was to ride up to the antennae above Quito and the prize was a Nike Fuel Band.  This route was short, only 7.5 miles but in the 7.5 miles you gain 4500ft and finish at an altitude of 3800m!

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I talked to my coach about wanting to do this so we scheduled it early in the month. I did the route twice because the first time I took the chicken way, instead of riding straight up a steep section. The second time, I got the route correct and was able to ride it in 1 hour 25 minutes.

In the previous challenges, the prizes have gone to the fastest three people, men and women combined. This month they decided to only count the women that completed the route. This meant that even though I was 5th overall, I was still able to win. I was really excited to see their post of facebook, because I was not expecting it.

Strava win

Links: Check out the strava route here, or visit Powerade Ecuador’s facebook page, where the challenges are promoted.

La Ruta de Los Rios

For a complete change of scenery, I decided to head down to the Amazon jungle to race in the La Ruta de Los Rios. A two-part race in a small down called Tena, about 200km and over 2500m lower then where I live in Quito.

Abbey on the starting line for the first stage of La Ruta.

The first race was an urban night race through downtown Tena. It was a 1km loop with a mandatory hike-a-bike section down a long staircase. There were four women racing and we did seven laps. Our race was started 30 seconds behind the Provincial Master B men (Beginner Men age 40-50). I didn’t like having to start behind the men so my goal for the race was to pass as many of the men as possible. I was able to pass all but 2 of the men, which wasn’t too bad. It was a lot of fun riding and trying to pass the men! I won the women’s race and received the leader’s jersey to race in the following day.

Leader’s jersey!

Sunday’s race was 40km marathon race. The course was one big loop that passed through many small towns. The route was either on dirt roads or paved roads with about 2km of single track. The crux of this race was dealing with the heat; it was over 100 degrees for most of the race! Living in Quito I am not use to the heat, it is a perfect 70 degrees in Quito nearly every day!

To help with the heat I tried to ride in the shade as much as possible and I also rode through all the puddles just to try and cool off a little bit. The best part of the race was riding through the villages and having people throwing water over me! This was a huge help! The race organizers also had water stations nearly every 10km, and were handing out half-liter bags of water. It was the perfect amount because I could drink my fill and then pour the rest over my body.

La Ruta podium

Abbey takes top step on La Ruta de los Rios Pro Women’s podium!

I ended up winning the race and coming 6th overall in the 40km course. I really like racing at low altitudes again. It felt so good to be able to breath when riding up hills!

Cactus Trail XCO – Provincial Cup Final

On the starting line with the pro women.

The Cactus trail was a brand new course created just for this race. It was located north of Quito in a small desert microclimate. The trails were dusty and steep. Some of the hardest sections of trails that I have ever raced.

The cactus trail was causing a lot of trouble for me. There was a long downhill with two big drops one after each other. No matter how much I practiced I just couldn’t get the second drop. I went into this race with really low expectations.

Race day came, and the dusty trails were now 6 inched deep of fine dust! The first lap was a mess, the women started in front of the men and there was not a lot of passing opportunities. So there were a lot of frustrated people trying to pass each other.

Abbey takes on the rocky drop.

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Once all the men passed I was able to ease into a good pace and just ride the course. I let myself get discouraged with the lack of passing opportunities and lack of people walking moving out of the way of people on bikes. It was a very new experience. I definitely need to learn to be more aggressive like the other riders, instead of getting discouraged.

Cactus podium

The Cactus Trail XCO Pro Women’s Podium with Abbey in fourth place.

Overall it was a good race. The track was a lot of fun, with big pumps, a pump track-like section and rock gardens.

Flaten Takes On The Iceman

Did I say that most of us in the Mid-Atlantic have switched from MTB to Cyclocross? Okay, well, maybe some, but definitely not all. David Flaten couldn’t put his XTC away and decided to jump into one last XC race for the season.

Bell’s Beer Iceman Cometh Challenge. Kalkaska to Traverse City, Michigan.

Iceman

Thirty-five degrees, mix of rain, sleet, and snow made for one of the gnarliest races I’ve ever participated in. Iceman Cometh was sure to be a memorable race. I started 2nd row behind Brian Matter who was a 3 time winner, and now 4 time winner! Not being able to pre ride the entire course was detrimental to positioning before the first section of single track. I was sitting around 20th place going into the single track when people started crashing, sliding out, and taking other riders out. I tried to take a sip out of my bottle, however when I bit the cap of the bottle, I pulled the cap off and dumped my entire bottle all over myself. This played a psychological roll during the race as I realized I didn’t have anyone in the feed zone, and that was my only bottle. 2 hours of racing with one sip of water is not ideal, even in the cooler temperatures.

Iceman Flaten

I got into a group with Tyler Gauthier, Cole Oberman, a Bissell Pro road team racer, and a BMC pro road racer. We took turns trading pulls with aspirations of catching the lead group who at this point, very early in the race was already 20 seconds up the road due to the very greasy, and selective nature of the first section of single track. World Cup winner Dan Mcconnell of Trek Factory Racing bridged up to our group and seemed to appreciate the free ride as he decided to just sit on.

Iceman mud

Heading into one of the bigger hills in the other wise flat course, my back tire slid out and I had to get off and run. I was just tailing off the first chase group. I rode in no mans land for a solid portion of the race. About 15k from the finish I was caught by the 2nd chase group. I sat on for a few minutes and decided to attack the group. I got away, however shortly after I established a gap by myself, I was crashed out by a spectator who was riding in the middle of the trail. When I said “Rider back, on your left” he moved left. The chase group caught me, but with a surge of adrenaline, I decided to attack again! I stayed away for the rest of the race and rolled in for a top 20 finish. Not a great race, but all things considered, with course conditions, and very fickle occurrences during the race, I guess it was not all that bad. I’ll be back next year!

Check out the Iceman Cometh website here.

Crossin’ in the Mid-Atlantic with April

PACX descent

Though I took some time off from racing mid-autumn for family things, I decided to come back for one last CX push before I got too busy with work during the holidays. My original goal had been to focus on the MABRA Super 8 series, but my decision to take some time off required me to throw that goal out the window, so I sampled races from several series, instead. I was hoping for mud and snow like last season, but the weather was actually kind of nice. Oh well!

MABRA Super 8: Rockburn Cross. Elkridge, MD.

Rockburn podium

Rockburn, Women Cat 1/2/3 Podium.

I love this course. It features a nice stretch of single track, some good climbs, obstacles, chicanes, and a sandpit. I had a really good start and spent the first lap and a half fighting back and forth for third place with another rider. With a field of strong riders chasing us, neither of us wanted to settle in on the other’s wheel and risk getting caught by the field. She would pass and take the lead, and then I would pass back, and then she would pass back. At some point I took a corner too fast and went down; by the time I was back on my feet I’d dropped back to sixth place.

Rockburn

On the last lap I made one of the first tactical decisions I’d ever made in a CX race, which was to plan an attack in advance based on my strengths and the layout of the course. All went as I hoped and I was able to close a gap, attack for a podium position, and then open a gap before descending into the last technical section. I was able to regain a spot on the podium and was pleased with my race.

PACX Series Finale. West Chester, PA.

I love courses with lots of ups and downs and at least one good run-up, and this course did not disappoint. Last year I won the Cat 3/4 State Championship on this course, so I was looking forward to a good race. I hadn’t been racing many PACX races, so I knew only a few women in the field and didn’t know what to expect from the other riders. I had a great start and rode in second for the first lap. On the second lap, a rider passed me to join the leader and I rode in third for the rest of the race. I focused on staying clean and using my momentum to my advantage and exploiting the natural swoopiness of the course to fit in as much recovery as possible between efforts. I was psyched to finish 3rd out of more than a dozen riders.

PACX podium

PACX Women Cat 1/2/3 Podium

MABRA: Sportif Cup Series Championship. Taneytown, MD.

I knew from racing at Taneytown last year that the course would be fairly flat and that I would have to double my efforts to hold any ground at all with the stronger riders. I was hoping for muddy conditions, since I tend to do better on technical courses, but the course was in great shape and was actually missing several of the more technical features from the previous year. The course had two slightly-uphill sections on gravel and pavement. My plan on the starting line was to go hard and get a good spot for the off-road sections, then to draft behind a stronger rider on the road sections.

After one of the road sections was a muddy, uphill corner. Before my race I watched the junior fields dismount and run the corner. Then I watched the B men choose to ride it on a wide, outside line. I wasn’t sure what my plan was, but the day before I had watched the Milton Keynes World Cup in GB and observed Sanne Cant make a pretty wicked pass on KFC by running up a seemingly innocuous corner while Katie rode wide. So I kept that in mind.

MABRA podium

MABARA Sportif Cup Women Cat 1/2/3 Podium

I had a good, clean start, took the hole shot, and led the race through the first section of dips and corners until getting passed on the first long, gradual descent. My plan worked well for the first two laps: I would draft behind stronger riders on the road, and then run up the inside of the muddy corner and sneak a position or two back while the other riders rode the wider outside line.  The other riders were really stronger, though, and eventually I got detached and found myself riding mid-field in fifth place and feeling a little dejected. I didn’t feel any better when a rider ahead of me had to abandon with a flat tire, but I did notice that suddenly the third-place rider was back in my sights. I decided I may as well attack, so I did, and was able to pass her. I pushed hard down the slow descent and really put my head down on the long climb. From there on out, I was pretty sure I had it. Finishing third in that race was one of the most rewarding finishes of my season.

Off-Season Report: How to Not Get Sick (according to April and Abbey)

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Sprouts, beets, and red cabbage make up part of a healthy and nutritious winter meal.

This week, April and Abbey discuss how they keep healthy during the winter. We’ve included lots of hyperlinks! Enjoy.

April: During the winter months it can be easy to let our healthy habits lapse, especially when we don’t have the pressure of a racing calendar to keep us focused and motivated. But staying healthy during training season is important, since the off season is our chance to establish the best base possible for a summer of hard racing. Just because you might consider yourself a super fit athlete doesn’t mean you’re automatically immune to every bug out there–so don’t get lazy and let your guard down!

Abbey: The off-season is not only a time to rest and recover from the race season, it is also the time of year where most of us are putting in some of our highest training volume weeks. It is important to stay healthy so that your body can absorb all the quality training time you are putting in.

DON’T GET OVERCONFIDENT

April: Like I said, just because you consider yourself in the healthiest 1% slice of the population (you might be flattering yourself), don’t let your guard down. Any time you’re training hard, you’re stressing your body and temporarily making it more vulnerable to pestilence and disease.

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Keep ‘em clean!

WASH YOUR HANDS

April: Your parents and your kindergarten teacher probably told you a million times. You don’t have to bleach them (lots of biota is good: your body is basically one huge mass of microorganisms, and if you kill all the little guys, you won’t have much left), but at least make a minimal effort to keep the evil vermin at bay.

SLEEP

Abbey: If you don’t rest and sleep enough your body will be too tired to absorb all the hard hours you are putting in. Try to get at least 10 hours of sleep a night. If you can’t get that many hours in, try to take a nap during the day to make up for it. (I realize this will be hard for those working full time or with families, but try to get as close to the 10 hour mark as possible.)

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If you don’t snooze, you’ll lose!

April: Here in the Northeast, we’re getting into the dark hibernation months. It is actually nearly impossible to work a full time job; train enough to establish a solid competitive base; sleep enough to support the extra base training hours; and have any additional life, so you have to make a decision here. If you haven’t made it to the big leagues yet but you’re serious about competitive cycling, you need to cut your family and friends out (unless they’re willing to hang out with you while you ride your trainer in the garage). If you aren’t willing to cut people and all other meaning out of your life, you’ll have to quit your job (the national unemployment rate dropped down to 5.8% in October, but seriously, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would love to take your job) or cut back on sleep (you’ll get sick and you’ll suffer: don’t say I didn’t warn you). So I’ll leave that one up to you to figure out.

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Greens and alliums might help keep the doctor away.

NUTRITION

April: This could be a blog post in itself. Eat live things. Eat fermented things. Beyond beer, I’m talking live culture yogurt, kefir, raw apple cider vinegar, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and so on. Sprout yourself some lentils or sunflower seeds, they’re delicious and nutritious. Eat greens, garlic, and ginger. Enjoy in-season foods. I’ve been living off of roasted root vegetables and steamed cabbage for weeks now, and I feel… great. I’m reading Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson, and she presents some pretty fascinating science on how to get the most nutrients out of your fresh foods (read it).

Abbey:

  • Eat a lot of garlic. Preferably raw to get all the benefits. As a child my mum would force me to eat raw garlic to keep me healthy during the winter. She would slice the clove of garlic really thin and put it on jam toast to hide it. You may not think that jam, toast, and garlic go together, but it is surprisingly good.
  • Eat a lot of ginger. Juice it and shoot it. If this is too much for you to take, make a full on vegetable juice. My favorite juice recipe is: Beets, carrots, garlic, hot peppers, ginger, apple and what ever else I can find in the house. You can add spinach or kale to add some green to it.
  • Frozen Vegetables. In the winter, it is hard to get a good variety of fresh vegetables and what vegetables you can get, have been picked before they are ripe and shipped from warmer climates, losing a lot of their nutrients. Frozen vegetables have been picked when they are ripe and flash frozen, so they can have more nutrients than vegetables imported in from warmer climates. This is also a good way to have a little more variety in your diet.
  • Iron: Many female athletes have iron deficiencies. When you have an iron deficiency you will feel over trained and under rested. Try to eat iron rich food such as spinach, red meats, clams, oysters, and liver.

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GET OUTDOORS

April: Sure, it’s cold. Just keep moving. Go chop some firewood. Pour some cold water over your head (no, not the Ice Bucket Challenge—more along the lines of the daily dousing in some Siberian kindergartens). Get some thick socks and get some fresh air. Participate in one of those winter sports.

Abbey: Spending hours in your basement on a trainer or doing all your workouts inside can get depressing and demotivating. Try to find a winter sport that will take you outside and into the fresh air. Not only is cross training good for you, this can be good for your mental health in the dark grey days of winter. I recommend trying cross-country skiing, which complements mountain biking. Katrina Nash and Evelyn Dong, two if the fastest female racers in the US, both have cross-country ski racing backgrounds.

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KEEP WARM

Abbey: In the era of the “Polar Vortex” you need to keep warm. You don’t ever want to get cold. There are three main ways to get cold.

  1. You are not dressed warm enough. Choose appropriate clothing when exercising outside in the winter or whenever you are going out in the cold. Remember COTTON KILLS. When cotton gets wet it draws heat away from the body and will make you much colder. Choose fleece or wool. I prefer fleece because wool absorbs water/sweat and becomes heavier.
  2. You have not eaten enough. If you have all your warm clothes on and you are still cold, you maybe be calorically deficient. You burn more calories when it is cold so you need to eat more to keep warm. Mmmmm, bacon!
  3. You are dehydrated. Drink more. Carry a thermos of hot tea with you to help keep warm.
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Cashew and bean spooning in spoon. Cozy!

STAY COZY AND HAPPY

April: Don’t get down because it’s so dark and cold. Practice hygge. If you don’t know what, how, or who to hygge, learn! Get some houseplants, for crying out loud, especially some that might give you a winter bloom, like cacti or lemon trees. Keep your house vacuumed, too, and open the windows for fresh air if weather permits (turn down your heater first). Forget that mug of hot chocolate before bed and drink some delicious golden milk (less romantically known as turmeric tea), instead.

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LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

Abbey: Monitor your resting heart rate. Every morning when you wake up take your heart rate. This way you can get a good base line your resting heart rate it.Then if you see that it spikes you’ll know you are overtraining or getting fatigued and you can react before something bad happens, like getting sick. There are several ways to do this. You can go with the traditional fingers on your pulse or download an app. I use an app called Instant Heart Rate. It is free. Simply download it onto your smart phone and then all you have to do it put your index finger on the camera.

Say you get sick. Or injured.

April: What’s the number one (#1!!!) rule? No refined sugar. It’s inflammatory. It’s terrible for you. If you have to have some sweetener while you’re ill, restrict yourself to something with natural antibiotic properties (like honey) or something that is entirely plant-based and hasn’t been unnaturally concentrated (like stevia, which is just a sweet little plant you can easily grow on your windowsill). Processed white flour is basically the same thing as refined sugar, so cut that out, too.

What about training while you’re sick?

April: This is my rule: no training if I’m still in the contagious stages or while I am still getting sicker. First I wait for the tide to turn. The fever needs to break; the sore throat needs to go away; the vomiting has to stop. Being snotty on the bicycle is no big deal; snot rockets are our friends (unless you’re on your trainer, in which case you should please use a tissue). But do yourself a favor and don’t try to ride away the flu.

Best of luck staying healthy!

~April and Abbey

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Freshly harvested garlic — just waiting to keep you healthy!

 

Race Report: Crossnado at Wawayanda State Park.

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We have a short race report this week — just one GNE racer was racing last weekend! Abbey was at the beach recuping from the Vuelta al Cotopaxi; David was settling into his new digs in Harrisonbug; April was in Asheville with her road bike; and the Nankmans were in Pittsburgh for a conference (exploring MTB trails in their spare moments). Though they may not have been racing, you can bet that GNE riders from Vermont to Virginia were digging out their winter riding gear and heading out for some fun weekend riding.

Crossnado (formerly Bubblecross) presented by Team Town Cycle and ProPower Endurance Sports Coaching. Hewitt, NJ.

Mountain bike season has been winding down for a while now, while the local cyclocross season is just entering its peak. Over in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic, racer Mark Romanowski decided to take his Anthem MTB out for a little cyclocross fun at one of his favorite venues; Wawayanda State Park. As a Cat 1 mountain biker, Mike decided to jump into the Cat 3 Open field for his first taste of ‘cross. With roaring winds and near-freezing temperatures, Mike got a legitimate dose of ‘cross weather!

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Mike’s report:

For whatever the reason might be I decided to take part in a cross race. Now I’ve never raced cross before and have actually been on a break from training, none the less I wanted to race. Crossnado took place at Wawayanda State park which I know very well. Well I know the mountain bike trails well that is. Crossnado couldn’t have been a better name for this race. With sustained winds around 20-25mph, temps in the 30s and who knows what the gusts were, I was still looking forward to racing cross for the first time. Now since I don’t have a cross bike, my Anthem was the weapon of choice. It worked out great in the small woods section and the massive sand section, but when we were in the long grass sections I knew it would be hard to keep up with the field.

 

As the race got under way we all fought for position through every turn back and fourth. But as we continued turn after turn and lap after lap, I eventually found myself in no man’s land and this was a bad place to be fighting the crazy winds. None the less I still finished and had a fun time at my first cross race. Perhaps the cross bug bit me…

We hope to see Mike out at some more ‘cross races in the future!

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Sram Spotlight: Joël Nankman

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Sram Spotlight: Rider Profile brought to you by Sram

Meet our grassroots riders, Joël Nankman!

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Hometown: Paramaribo Suriname

Currently Living In: Hellertown, PA

Number of Years Racing:
Swam competitively for 4 years, Kayaked for 2, and have been racing bikes for 9 years.

Race Bike Setup:
Anthem Advanced  27.5 with 120mm Rock Shox Sid fork, Sram X0 10 speed gripshifter with a mix of Sram X0 and X9 parts,  and Giant P-TRX wheelset.

Riding Strength: Rocky gnarly terrain just because I love it.

Favorite Race Course:
That is tough, each race has its own flair. But I would say Rattling Offroad Weekend in Elizabethville, PA if I had to pick one.

Favorite Place to Ride:
Southmountain Lehigh only 15 minute bike ride from home. As far as going to places to ride I would say Tussey Mountain and surrounding trails.

What is Your “Ride Life”?
Sharing my passion with others, and hopefully through cycling making a change in their life for the better.

What do you want to be if you grow up?
I enjoy working in the bike industry. Maybe I will end up working for a larger bike company like Giant. Not that that necessarily requires growing up.

Any advice for young riders?
Smiles are contagious, smile and people around you will smile. Be happy and enjoy life you only get one to live.

Best part about racing mountain bikes?
Doing wheelies and getting pictures of them.

wheelie

Drink of Choice:
Rhum, proper or on the rocks at home, and with coke when out and about.

Most Played Song: Lutan Fyah “Love Is A Smile”

Boxers or Briefs: Boxer briefs

Pets?
Clifford the super trail dog (lab mix rescue), Sniper the fat cat because he steals Clifford’s food, and some dopey goldfish.

Your best cycling hack/tip?
If the sleeves on your jackets and long sleeve jerseys are always too short, get some wrist sweatbands they work like a charm.

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