Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another newsletter from us, good stuff in here!

Your Fitness is our Passion- Coaching - Gear - Classes - Bikes - Private Lessons - Bikefitting
Highlights & Headlines

Bike Advocacy in Seattle
Cycle U coach Lang Reynolds talks about the importance of "spreading the bike gospel."
Tacx Flow and PowerBeam trainers for sale!
See below for more info about great deals on our used trainers.

Reports from the front: Black Diamond sprint triathlon
Coach Colin Gibson shows up and wins it all.

Chris Ragsdale's quest for RAAM 2013
The Cycle University/Apex Racing team and Cycle University are hosting a fundraising event for Chris Ragsdale's 2013 quest to Race Across America (RAAM).
Vote Cycle U Best of Western Washington!
Cycle U is in the running for best bike shop of Western Washington! Click here to vote now! Voting ends Oct 12. If we win, you get a party!

From the Dean...

As I sit at our new West Seattle training center, staring at the Computrainers and multiple projectors and listening to great music, I am blown away by the progress Cycle U has made in the last year. Like any journey to a new destination, when I started Cycle Univeristy 8.5 years ago I had a vision of where we were going and how I wanted to help people enjoy cycling, but I had no idea how we were going to get there. Looking back on it, asking for help was the one thing that allowed us to survive and thrive. From our first employees Adrian, Kristi and Lang to our latest additions Scott, Reinout and Jessi, I had no idea how key it was to have the right people advising and coaching us. I found out that even the coach needs coaches.

I just met with our Specialized rep, Regan, and despite all the hell and turmoil of moving a store, people coming and going, and dealing with all the unknowns that faced us in the last year, we have come out stronger and healthier than ever. This is not my doing. The more I get out of the way and let Cycle U develop with the guidance and care of the great people here, the better we become as a company. The more I try to do (trying to do it all), the less I accomplish. Focus is everything. Just like riding a bike, it takes focus to keep the wheels out of dangers way. It's like texting and driving: you can only do one well. Now I listen to my financial coach, my human resources coach, my retail coach, my marriage coach, and the compounding of the changes I make based on this coaching is making a dramatic improvement across the board. Some of the changes you might notice:

There will be no more Cycle U road team. We just merged with a great group of guys called Apex who have a dialed-in team that offers much more than we ever could to developing racers. We will keep coaching and teaching and we will share the jersey with Apex, but this is another example of simplifying and focusing on what we do best: gear and coaching. We still have a thriving Triathlon team and Junior team, just not the same road team.

No more Spin Classes. Although we use the term Spin Class to describe what we do, we have changed our format completely and now only offer Indoor Cycling with a Coach. We call it Indoor Cycling Elite, or ICE for short. Your coach is next to you and in front of you at each class. Your coach is not getting their own workout or trying to talk over their own heavy breathing like a spin instructor. We invested heavily in new equipment to help you achieve performance breakthroughs and give you accurate feedback so you can see your progress. Classes are rolling daily at both locations. Stop in and check it out! Our listing of current class times and days arehere.

I have date nights at least once a month (actually had 2 last week) and am riding my bike more, both of which are keys to staying married and happy.

There is great momentum, born from a thousand small steps you take daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, that can overcome setbacks. If you keep going through the highs and lows, past the kicks to the gut and surprises, past the disappointments, past the nay-sayers, and keep looking at your goal and dreaming about your destination, you will get there (or to someplace better). The battle is not won on any one day, but merely recognized like coming out of a fog and seeing that you have gotten to a place you barely recognize, a place beyond the dream that set you on your journey. Cycle U is now becoming more clear to me as I get out of the way and let trusted advisors do their jobs, and I really like what I see. Thanks for being a part of it and for allowing us to help you find your destination. We are here to coach and advise you on the road to better performance and health.

All the best to a great winter season,

Craig Undem
About Craig....Craig's lifelong passion is cycling and endurance sport. Since beginning with a collegiate race in 1983 and eventually racing in the World Championships of Cyclocross, winning a World Cup medal in Mountain Bike Racing, placing 2nd in the US in Elite Criterium Championships, racing Track and Triathlon, he has earned the equivalent of a Doctorate in Cycling on the bike.
Off the bike Craig has been a professional cycling coach since 1996, is currently the Director of Junior racing in the state of Washington, CEO and founder of Cycle University, Washington State Bicycle Racing Association Board member, former board member of the Marymoor Velodrome and Cyclocross Association and sought after speaker, coach and fitness expert.
Articles & Details

Bike Advocacy in Seattle
By Coach Lang Reynolds

It may come as no surprise that an avid cyclist such as myself believes getting more people on bikes in the US could address many of the most pressing problems facing this country today. It's even less surprising if you know I first started riding more seriously when I began commuting to middle school and kept it up throughout high school, trying to convince my friends to ride with me, organizing a bike- to- school event at local middle schools, and otherwise spreading the bike gospel.

When I started racing, though, I became... well... rather lazy, and didn't participate in or contribute much at all to the more utilitarian aspects of cycling. It's a strange contradiction that while having in common the use of a bike, racing is often far removed from or in direct opposition to the meliorative effects of cycling. After four-plus hours of hard training, the last thing I wanted to do was get back on a bike to ride to work or the grocery store, and driving or flying hundreds of miles many weekends throughout the season burned more gas than I would care to calculate. While many racers do a great job of commuting and otherwise being good "bike citizens," if you're like me and would like to get more involved in promoting cycling here in Seattle, I've put together below some good organizations, resources and initiatives which could benefit greatly from more voices of support from the racing and recreational cycling communities.

Why should we care? First off, increasing cycling participation and infrastructure greatly improves the safety of cycling, an obvious benefit to anybody that rides a lot. Just this week another professional cyclist was killed by a car in Spain, and closer to home just about everybody has been or knows someone who has been injured in a car/bike accident. Recent data out of Philadelphia confirm other studies which show increases in the number of cyclists on city streets leads to a decrease in traffic accidents involving cyclists. Additionally, there are of course the long-touted benefits of reduced pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and gasoline use. There are also many less-well-publicized yet very significant economic benefits of cycling which can bolster local economies while reducing energy use and congestion. Data from across the US show that people who bike to shops and restaurants spend more than those who drive, building cycling infrastructure creates more jobs per dollars spent than car-oriented projects, and substituting bike trips for car trips saves consumers a lot of money, some of which finds its way back into the local economy.

There are many local organizations working hard on behalf of cycling throughout Washington - you may already be aware of Cascade Bicycle Club and Bicycle Alliance of Washington's excellent advocacy efforts. Cascade's Major Taylor Program, run by former Cycle U coach Ed Ewing, is one of the coolest local bike efforts. Every year Major Taylor gets hundreds of kids out on bikes who might otherwise not have that opportunity. Major Taylor is a great place to donate that bike you haven't used in a while. Another fantastic program for getting kids on bikes is Bike Works.

In addition to local organizations, there are many projects which need your support. Strong support from cyclists who will use the improvements is necessary to overcome gaps in funding and the unfortunately loud volume of small, localized opposition to many of these projects despite their overwhelming benefits for the community. These include projects such as the recently-postponed Ballard Greenway, the proposed (but under threat) 520 Portage Bay Bike/Ped trail, the 65th Street NE cycle track, and Safe Routes to Schools.

Here at Cycle U we're lucky enough to work with people throughout the cycling experience spectrum, from absolute beginners just starting out to hardened veterans. There is nothing quite like the unadulterated joy when someone first discovers the freedom of riding a bike or a new level of competence in adulthood after a hiatus away from bikes. At the end of the day it is this joy and the transcendental nature of riding a bike which is perhaps the best reason we work to bring cycling to as many people as we can. Over the past few years I let some complacency get in the way of things I could have done to help grow cycling here in Seattle beyond the narrow confines of serious enthusiasts. I'm looking forward to putting in more work on this in the future, and I hope you'll join me.

Tacx Flow and PowerBeam trainers for sale! 
$250 for Tacx Flows
$499 for PowerBeams
These are used trainers in good working order! Call or visit our West Seattle shop (206-432-9982) to learn more about the Tacx, and call or visit our Sand Point shop (206-523-1122) to learn more about the PowerBeams.

Reports from the front: Black Diamond Sprint triathlon
Cycle U Coach Colin Gibson, an elite road cyclist, did the Black Diamond sprint triathlon on a whim and won the whole race. (Full disclosure: he's a former collegiate swimmer. But it still shouldn't be that easy!)

I am a weak-upper-bodied cyclist, so I decided to try out the Black Diamond sprint race to see if my arms still worked after several years of using them only to spread Nutella on toast. When Cycle U employees Mary and Dameon caught wind of this, they started giving me all the essential triathlon tips and accoutrements. My game plan was simple: 1) get a wet suit and some KY jelly for speedy transitions, 2) intimidate other racers by peeing in the water before the race, and 3) don't completely suck at running.

Race day, I met up with Mary and a couple other Cycle U racers, who were in the transition zone (TZ, as the pros call it) for the ceremonial sizing up of the competition. Mary provided me with several spray bottles of a substance to apply to various parts of my body/pieces of equipment to make them slippery. I also covered my bike with this substance because I read on slowtwitch it gives you +5w.

It was clear and cold for the start of the 800m, clockwise, diamond-shaped swim, and I lined up on the far left of the beach, which was like 20 yards closer to the first buoy than where everyone else was lined up. We started, and I kicked and clawed my way to the front, following the leaders. My arms felt like the arms of an inflatable flailing-arm tube man. At one point, some milfoil touched my toe and I screamed. I wound up fourth out of the water, 20 seconds behind the leader, by which time my arms felt like the arms of a deflated flailing-arm tube man. I must not have used enough lube on my wet suit because my transition lost me another 20 seconds to the leader. I took off on the bike wet and angry with the pace car in sight.

I figured that the bike is where I would make or break my race, so I put my head down and gave 'er. I took over the lead at about mile 4. By the start of the run, I had about 2 minutes on 2nd and 3rd. At this point, I almost decided to skip the run and just observe the procession of Olympic-distance racers making incredible pratfalls on the topographically complex and water-saturated grass of the transition area. Remembering the undoubtedly huge cash purse available to me, I thought better of it and took off running for the first of two laps on the dirt trail around the lake.

The run was only 2.8 miles, but I had no time checks to my pursuers, so I was running like Jerry Seinfeld after he stole the marble rye from the old lady. Still, after a mile, I heard the pitter-patter of steps behind me, and saw a runner approaching. Figuring my goose was cooked, I slowed up to let him catch me, only to realize that he was on a relay team! We worked together to set pace for the second lap, and then I attacked him with a few hundred yards to go to cross the line clear.

For my efforts, and beneath a banner advertising a gluten-free nutrition product, I was given a loaf of wheat bread and a trophy.

Thanks to Mary and Dameon for the support and advice!

Chris Ragsdale's quest for RAAM 2013
The Cycle University/Apex Racing team and Cycle University are excited to announce our first fundraising event for Chris Ragsdale's 2013 quest to Race Across America (RAAM). Chris, a Seattle native, is considered America's premier ultra distance cyclist and a favorite to win the 2013 RAAM. Over the last few years, Chris has amassed an amazing list of palmar├ęs while overcoming severe physical setbacks and hopes to add 2013 RAAM to this list with the help of an amazing support crew and You. Please join us at the West Seattle Cycle University location to learn more about Chris and Team Ragsdale's preparation for 2013 RAAM. A leisurely ride with Chris and his team will follow the 30-40 minute presentation. This is a great chance to meet and support an amazing local athlete as well as a true ambassador of cycling and we hope to see you there. Please feel free to pass the event information and below RSVP info on to others.

Please RSVP for this event here.

To learn more about Chris before the event go to: http://ragsdaleridesagain.com/default.html

Event Details
What: Come meet America's premier ultra distance cyclist Chris Ragsdale and learn about his 2013 quest to Race Across America
Who: You!
When: Sat Oct 20, 2012, 10 am - noon PDT
Where: Cycle University (West Seattle Location)
3418 Harbor Avenue Southwest Seattle, WA 98136

Chris Ragsdale ramping up. Photo courtsey of http://ragsdaleridesagain.com