Sep 3  |  Boulder Bound!

Posted by , September 3rd, 2014 at 5:11PM    

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The Speedvagen Family Racing team is coming to Boulder next week for a team training camp and some early season racing. But, we’re bringing more than just our legs to Colorado.

Cyclocross is at the heart of Speedvagen and The Vanilla Workshop. The first bikes Sacha built for himself and his teammates 15-years ago were all for cross racing and the first Speedvagen he built as a prototype was, you guessed it, a single-speed cross bike. As with others who love the sport, it’s who we are and it’s what comes naturally to us. We love to race cross, and we want to share it with everyone we meet.

Kid’s ‘Cross, skills clinics and course building are just a few of the ways that the Speedvagen Family Racing team gets their hands dirty before the racing ever begins. That’s why in Boulder, Portland, Nobeyama and Austin this year we’ll be creating unique opportunities for the team to introduce people to the sport of cyclocross and feed the fire in those that have already discovered it. Look for the women’s skills clinic at North Boulder Park in Boulder, the Kid’s ‘Cross series at the Cross Crusade and Blind Date at the Dairy in Portland, youth and adult skills clinics around Japan and in Austin.

Below is a schedule of what we’ll be doing and where you can find us! If it’s got an asterisk (*) then it’s a team-only deal but we hope to meet tons of new folks at all of the other events in Portland and Boulder next week!!

*Sept 6th – Speedvagen-ology at The Vanilla Workshop – Portland, OR
Sept 6th – Het Meer Race – Portland, OR
Sept 7th – Fazio Farms Race – Portland, OR
*Sept 8th – Sponsor Visit: Castelli Cycling – Portland, OR
*Sept 9th – Sponsor Visit: ENVE Composites – Ogden, UT
Sept 10th – 8:00am Wednesday Worlds – Boulder, CO (Ouch! So early!)
Sept 11th – 5:30pm Rodeo Adventure Labs Group Ride – Boulder Cycle Sport South (Parking lot)
Sept 12th – 6:00pm Women’s CX Skills Clinic, North Boulder Park, Boulder, CO
Sept 13th – US Open of Cyclocross - Boulder, CO
Sept 13th – 6:00-9:00pm PARTY! at Vecchios Bicicletteria + Special Event!
Sept 14th – Boulder Cup Race at Valmont Cross Park

Full Season Schedule Is Available HERE!

Aug 20  |  A Murder Of Crows Cross Clinic

Posted by , August 20th, 2014 at 11:23AM    

Join the Speedvagen Family Racing team for the best cross clinic on the planet! or at least in Central Oregon. All levels and abilities welcome means that if you’re new to cross this is a solid investment. And, if you’ve got a few years under your belt this is the place to figure out where you can make up a little time with energy saving strategy and techniques to make sure you keep something in the tank for the last lap!

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Aug 7  |  Going Fast In Amsterdam

Posted by , August 7th, 2014 at 9:00AM    
Jon Woodroof (@twotoneams) is at it again, this time on the other side of the Atlantic. You might remember Jon from his Speed Week report last year. Now he and the family are living full time in Amsterdam and he’s been feeling out the race scene. Looks like he’s making an impression. The Google translation from Dutch is pretty fun to read so I left it as is. Original report is in the link to FC Trappist below. Keep up the great work Jon!!
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To the winner, go the flowers. Photo via BuzzWorks.nl

“Eight A’s at the start. No Teun but his fellow terminator Peter. But who has just returned from vacation and hopefully commands his training with bible-like allure that he is in a building phase and today should keep. Lay low Further an American guy that I did see, I think once before but then no pots could break. We ride along with the B’s, but that does not affect the course of the race. After the B’s have been sprint, we continue with eight over. Things happen, but this does nothing to a decision. Until I halfway through the last lap matchless way starter and a sizable gap lettuce. Adieu, fellow Trappists Martje is gone. Look at him; Teun there is a time and not directly the bingo. On the long straight before the last corner I look round again: no cloud in the sky. It is very pleasant because my legs start to run pretty full. Look shortly before entering the curve gleeful once more and see that someone is coming to express it. Holy shit! I wear my legs a bit on, but who refuse rebellious service. I’m not out of the bend or plunges American fury over me where I parting almost pathetic. Afterwards I congratulate him on his victory. I hate like a plug, but keep every inch a gentleman. As I reach out my hand, I look at him again well and see it suddenly clear: a new Teun! A similar physique, the same comet-like development and especially identical insufferable superior smile of young invincibility. I am unable to sleep.”
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Packing it home. Photo via BuzzWorks.nl

FC Trappist – wielervereniging: eerste nazomerwedstrijd A http://www.fctrappist.nl/cms/index.php?id=2066

Jul 24  |  Cross Down Under [Updated]

Posted by , July 24th, 2014 at 8:00AM    

Down under the cross season is well under way, in fact the New South Wales state championships is coming up next Sunday! Speedvagen Family Racing team member and photographer, Jeff Curtes, splits his time between Sydney and Portland giving him the best of both worlds and an extra long cross season, May – January!!

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Right now he’s putting his head down and gritting his teeth preparing for a kick ass season in the states. And its working, he took home a top ten in the Elite A’s at the Manly Warringah Cycling Club event last weekend. This is what he had to say;

“Fast and dry and super fun course.  Had a great start and rolled top 5 for first half lap and then dropped my chain in traffic at a slow spot…lost 5 guys and the chase was on!  Love that. “

Next week he’ll make the 3-hour trip to Newcastle for the state championships. With a podium step in his sites for the masters A race we know Jeff, and the rest of the team, is going to be in top form this season.

It’s tough to get shots of Jeff racing because he’s usually the one taking the photos. Many thanks for Joshua Nicholson at Riding Focus for these shots of our man in Australia taking it to 11!

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State Champs Race:

Just back from newcastle…2nd in masters… It was a battle though…super good racing. I got caught in huge crash on start chute on pavement and went down hard…bloodied but machine was still fine and i mounted and chased through the field…caught the leader and took turns for 4 laps on front…was playing it smart and had my move planned in end but blew a tubular  and rode the flat in….darn! 

Full report from Australian CX Magazine here!

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Jul 18  |  Thee Annual Vanilla Workshop Garage Sale!

Posted by , July 18th, 2014 at 10:39AM    

Portland: It’s back!

Grab all of your riding buddies and come join us for lots of great deals on new and used frames, accessories, components and apparel.

We have lots of stuff to blow out and plenty of one-of-a-kind pieces too.

Tina Brubaker will be styling shirts for the ladies on site Friday afternoon for just $11!

Don’t miss it!!!

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Great stuff from Shimano, Continental, Selle Italia, Campagnolo, Paul, Berthoud, Fizik, Honjo, SRAM, Alpha Q, Schwalbe, PRO, Giro, Castelli, Chris King, Sock Guy, LOOK, Henry James, frame building tools and more!

Jul 10  |  Mountains

Posted by , July 10th, 2014 at 10:00AM    

Cyclists love mountains. They’re beautiful, they’re painful. We seek them out and accept the challenges they throw down in front of us. We conquer them, over and again, each time they rise up and lash out again. Still there is no more peaceful feeling than cruising the tree lines.

We’ve had a number of great shots pop up on Instagram recently from around the globe and I wanted to share a few of them here. Share yours with us #speedvagenSV MT Norway

Svolvaer, Norway via @rolfenlorentzen

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Stord, Norway via @speedvagenist

SV MT Utah

The Wasatch in Utah via @utehopkins

SV MT Diablo

Mt. Diablo in California via @msb2tg

SV MT McKenzie2

McKenzie Pass, Oregon

SV MT Japan

Nobeyama, Japan via @ybs_nobeyama

SV MT Italy2

Near Sauris, Italy via @jobunt

SV MT Koppenberg

The Koppenberg via @passioniciclismo

MarkBayer Mt

@markbayer somewhere beautiful.

Jobunt Dolomites

@jobunt in the Dolomites, Italy.

TinaB Mt Bachelor

@earthquaker4 taking in Mt. Bachelor, Oregon.

Jul 3  |  Concerning Tiny Bikes: Part 1

Posted by , July 3rd, 2014 at 9:30AM    

[Note: I'm reposting this from a couple years ago because it's just a great read for anyone that thinks they'll never have a bike that fits. Sam now has two Speedvagen, road and cross, and crushes on both!]

People think I’m pretty hard.  Super tough and gritty and all that.  It’s easy to see why, especially if I have some stubble, which I totally do a lot of the time.  In fact, if a stranger had to describe my whole vibe – my thing, if you will – I’m almost positive that the word they’d use would be “street.”  Hell, if I had a half-link for every time somebody mistook me for Omar Little from The Wire, I’d probably be able to make one of those weird half-link chains by now.

the resemblance is uncanny indeed

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Jun 26  |  What’s up with the 2014 Surprise Me?!

Posted by , June 26th, 2014 at 6:00AM    

Everything in this shop is an evolution. New ideas that build on little, or big things which have been successful in the past. Here, Sacha gives some insight into the design and process involved in creating the 2014 Speedvagen Surprise Me! scheme.

About a year and a half ago (late summer 2012) I took a photo of a team bike in the process of being painted. The top tube was masked with the name Curtes (for team member Jeff Curtes) with masking for the US flag next to it. The frame and the masking had been sprayed with metallic gold paint. The next step was to remove the mask and reveal the color below it. What I got a glimpse of in that photo though, was this 3D effect that showed the outline of the graphics as a result of shadows cast. This was new, subtle, textural, and I knew I wanted to do something with it.

Gold Curtes

Since then, we’ve done a bunch of samples trying to replicate that look, but in different colors and also with a clear coat over the top for protection. While the 3D effect added some dimension it was very subtle and I thought we might be able to layer some color(s) and then sand off the top layers to various depths and reveal hits of the different colors underneath. The test samples ended up being a lot more abstract and organic looking than I had imagined, but I liked it. It was fresh. Admittedly, I can probably credit some of the inspiration for this look to my ’71 Volvo 142 that needs a new paint job, but looks like a hotrod where the top coat has been worn to primer. Anyhow, I knew that this was not just the look for the next round of SM’s, but that this raw graphic style would make it’s way into much of what I do from here on out.

Volvo surf

Taking an existing paint scheme or technique and freaking it out a bit has often yielded good work. The newest of our standard paint schemes is Horizon. It isn’t graphics heavy, but it is bold and and stripe-y and colorful, like a race bike ought to be and the way the three colors stack up offers a ton of cool combinations.

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Five blues to choose from.

This year’s Surprise Me! paint job is a culmination of all of the above. We’ve used different tones of our signature sky blue on top and bottom, as a classic and beautiful base. From there we used a paint worn pattern of Speedvagen shields on the center stripe and distressed other graphics as well. It is this graphics treatment that makes the impact.

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Sanding through the layers of color.

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Each SM! in this run is different; something that we’ve never done before. On each bike the underlying colors of the center stripe are going to be unique to that bike. And the graphics pattern, being that they’re all hand laid by humans, are one-of-a-kind, too.

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Jun 17  |  The Everesting Report via Andy Rogers & Caz Whitehead

Posted by , June 17th, 2014 at 9:48AM    

9022m. 283kms. 15h 27m. 52 repeats.

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We awoke at 1:00am to a cold and foggy morning. After a good night’s sleep I was nervous but ready to tackle what lay ahead of me. A short drive out to Yarra Glen and I was ready to start my Everesting attempt with nothing else standing between me and the biggest ride I’ve ever ventured on. 3:00am, I started my first ascent. Freezing cold with only the beam of my light and the strong glow of an almost full moon to guide my way. Pedal stroke after pedal stroke I became more familiar with the road, trying to keep my mind focused on the now-and-then and away from the daunting task of what was still to come. After 3-hours and 15 repeats riding alone in the dark, the sun finally started to peak its rays across the surrounding mountains. The warmth raising my body temperature and my spirits. I’d already experienced my first low point with my body convinced it should be asleep and one block of 5 reps being significantly harder than the others so the sun was a welcome guest.

At 3000m I was joined by my first familiar face. Plenty more would come and go over the next 11-hours but all would spur me on and keep me from talking myself out of finishing. 4400m. Never would I have thought a cup of tea would be what would pull me off the brink of failure. My body aching and my mind tired, I sat in the back of our beat-up 90s hire car, feeling the warmth of a hot cup of tea flow through my body, all the way to my already beaten toes bringing with it a wave of invigoration.

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I found out the hard way that the ‘Death Zone’ isn’t called that just to be intimidating. It definitely lives up to its name. From here (7000m) to 8500m the going was tough and slow. 13-hours of riding and my body had had enough. No more did it want to climb. The up and down, up and down and the steady stream of traffic flying past me had taken its toll on my mind and all I wanted to do was stop. But how could I. The sun was long behind the enveloping silhouettes of the mountains. The familiar faces that had been keeping me company had thinned to three. But I had to keep going. 5 repeats – just keep going. 4 repeats – just keep going. 3 repeats – just keep going. 2 repeats – just keep going. Just once more. I had to talk myself through the last 500m. But it worked. After 18 long hours I reached the peak. I took a ‘what-if’, grabbed it by the horns and conquered it and it was probably the most satisfying thing I have ever accomplished.

I don’t know if I were to do this again if I’d do it differently. To be honest, I don’t think I could do it again. The climb I chose worked for me. 2.7kms. 6.3% avg. 173.5m per rep. Some of you asked me what gearing I used. What training I did. What food did I eat. These things definitely played an important roll but I think it’s important you’re doing whatever you can to be as comfortable as possible – physically and mentally. The gearing I used was the same gearing I use pretty much every ride. Standard 53/39 crankset and an 11-28t 11spd cassette. This is what I’m used to and having a familiar ratio definitely made me feel comfortable. If the gradient were any steeper I definitely would have considered a compact but everybody’s preferences will change.

Clothing was just layers. The Vanilla Workshop was kind enough to kit me out in one of their fantastic Castelli team kits. I also went into it with a base layer, arm warmers, long-sleeved jerseys and a jacket. With a starting temp of 0 degrees celcius, I was wearing a lot but just gradually removed layers as needed. As long as the kit is comfortable and you have a few layers you’ll be fine. I had a spare set of shoes and knicks just in case I needed the mental kick of fresh clothing but didn’t need to utelise it in the end – fresh chamois cream was a Godsend though. In terms of food/hydration, I made sure I was eating constantly. I made an effort of eating proper food all day. I had bars and energy balls in my pockets for during the reps but had jam sandwiches and bananas in the car for breaks, and salad sandwiches twice for a larger meal. I had one gel with 7 repeats to go. Eating was important. When you’re riding for 15 hours you can’t afford to get a hunger flat so you just need to eat constantly. The same goes for drinking. One bidon of water, one bidon of electrolytes. Drink often. Eat often.

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If I could give one piece of advice it would be don’t overthink it. You’ll psych yourself out. Sure, it’s an immensely daunting task, but it’s just riding your bike. I broke it up into blocks of 5 repeats. After each block, I would have a break at the car, have a stretch, something to eat and start the next block. Not only did it mean I was getting off the bike frequently and giving my body a break, it meant I had smaller targets in my mind rather than thinking about how many more of the 52 repeats I had left to do. I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I was thinking of that all day. In terms of training, I didn’t really do anything specific. I was riding a lot and spending quite a few hours a week on the bike but that’s all I did. I know a few people who did 4400m rep rides in preparation which I’m sure helped but I personally believe it comes down to time on the bike in general. Make sure you’re riding your bike frequently and you’ll be okay.

The other big piece of advise I can offer is support. I was lucky enough that my climb was relatively close the the city so I had people coming out and doing repeats with me most of the day. It helped keep me distracted. It helped keep me smiling. It’s amazing what having someone tapping away at a climb next to you can do. But finally, pick a climb that works for you. If you’re good at short and sharp, pick something short and sharp, but if you prefer long and gradual, pick long and gradual. I know this sounds obvious but people get caught up in finding a ‘perfect ratio’ of distance x elevation gain. There’s no point if an 8% gradient doesn’t work for you.

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I want to say a massive thank you to The Vanilla Workshop and Castelli for supplying me with a kit and being a great support during the whole endeavor. Another huge thank you needs to go to all of those people who supported me on social media letting me know they were watching and cheering me on and especially those who came out and rode with me. I honestly couldn’t have done it without them. But the biggest thank you needs to go to Caz, who was there with me the entire day, making sure I was fed and hydrated, snapping some amazing photos and generally keeping my spirits up. She is amazing.

To those of you whom I’ve inspired, just go and give it a shot. There’s no point sitting at home tossing and turning around in your mind whether you can do it or not, you just need to go try and maybe you’ll be surprised by what you’re capable of; I know I was.

Cheers!

Andy

Jun 9  |  Everesting

Posted by , June 9th, 2014 at 2:00PM    

[Andy Rogers is a photographer and cyclist living in Melbourne, Australia. He joined the Speedvagen family last year and has been making us proud ever since. Here, he makes his debut on Speedbloggen. You can follow him on Instagram & Twitter: @FameAndSpear]

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Andy putting in the time. Photo: Caz Whitehead

Everest. The name alone inspires excitement and fear into most, but  into a few it’s a Siren’s song. Looming 8848m (29092ft) above sea level, Everest stands as the highest point on our planet. Many people have endeavoured to scale to the summit and a very committed few have accomplished this mammoth task. Pushing the limits of the human body to the extreme, attempting to climb to the summit of Mt Everest is seen to be one of the most physically and mentally demanding things we as humans can attest to accomplish. 

Everest. Something about the fear, the inspiration, the mythology surrounding this mountain caught the attention of Andy Van Bergen, one of the faces behind a Melbourne cycling ‘cult’, Hells500. The Hells500 bunch have become well known in Melbourne, and around Australia, for their love of climbing mountains and their tendency to take things to the next level – and then some. Each year Andy will devise what he refers to as ‘The Hells500 Epic’. Varying year-to-year, the Epic is a challenge curated to test to limits of cyclists in the hope of proving to themselves what they can accomplish on a bike and as a reward, be honoured by the ‘grey stripe’, a variant of the Hells500 jersey reserved exclusively for those with the personal strength to complete an Epic.Andy took things to a whole new level earlier this year when he announced what would be the next Epic; Everesting.
The premise; in a single ride, one must complete repeats of the same climb until they have climbed the equivalent of Everest. 8848 vertical meters. But only the first to complete a particular climb would go down in the Hall of Fame. Everesting isn’t about who did it second or third or seventeeth. “History only remembers firsts.” With a day planned, ambitious cyclists Australia-wide began putting their names down on climbs hoping to again, prove to themselves what they were capable of. The Everesting day was a massive success with 65 riders heading out to tackle their own chosen Everest. Due to the success of the initial day, Andy made Everesting a permanent addition. Since February 27th, 70 completed Everest rides have been logged. Most in Australia but spanning the world with New Zealand, England, The USA, Norway and most recently Russia having their own inductees.

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Photo: Gene Bradley

I myself have been tossing the idea around in my head. Which climb would I do? Long and low, or short and high? How would my body cope? Could I even do this? A few weeks ago I decided there was no point spending my time feverishly running over these questions in my head because I would never find the answer. The only way to know for sure, was to try. So on the 11th of June I will attempt to Everest my chosen climb. Cat 3. 2.7kms. Avg. gradient of 6%. 181m gain. With estimations, to reach my goal of 8848m, (I will climb ~9000m just to be safe) I will require 49 repeats. 266kms. An estimated riding time of ~12 hours. This will be longest ride I’ve ever attempted and the longest time I’ll have ever spent on my bike. Previously my largest and most challenging ride was in December of last year where we rode Mt Hotham and Mt Buffalo in the Victorian Alps. This was 8 hours of riding time, 190kms and 3300 vertical metres. To say I’m nervous is an understatement. Not only will I be facing a serious physical challenge, I feel the bigger battle will be the one I have with my mind; trying to keep myself distracted from the numbers that will try and find their way into my head.
If I complete this daunting task, I will be the youngest person worldwide to Everest (21) and, as far as I’m aware, the first of the Speedvagen family. Whether or not I succeed is yet to be seen but hopefully my tale will stand to inspire the rest of our wonderful Speedvagen family to go out and push themselves to places they never thought they could take themselves.Check back for a write-up on my ride as well as some photos. Let’s see how this all turns out.

Take it to 11!

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