We have had an unusually warm spell up here in the mountains these past weeks. And if there is one thing we don’t do well, it is heat, humidity, or anything that is not the perfect biking weather. (this is Brett speaking, not Tam. She is much tougher)
In order to beat the heat, I have started riding at night a lot more. I got into this about 3 years ago when I was forced to by entering my first 24 hour race. Since then, it has become a great alternative to riding in the heat or extending the amount of hours in a day to get a ride in.
We have 4 sets of Gemini Lights, which I continue to love. You can see an earlier post about them by scrolling down. These are the most comprehensive light package that I have found in terms of ease of use, compatibility, brightness, weight, etc.
We also had the opportunity to take some of the girls from The Cycle Effect on a hut trip. We are hut trip newbies, so we wantedone that would be easy access, close to trails and comfortable. And we found them. We were fortunate enough to spend 2 days at the Continental Divide Hut and the Point Breeze Hut. These are about 200 yards from each other, sleep 8 each and are right on the Colorado Trail which is amazing riding.
While we were there, we introduced the girls to night riding. The first night, 4 of the girls took out the Gemini Lights in order to seewhat it is like. My phone battery died, but here is a very short clip of them coming back to the hut.
The next night, a young lady (pictured above with the muscles) was feeling overly tough, and thought she wanted to go ride by herself. This immediately got the group’s creative juices flowing and we made a bet with her that she would not go ride a certain section of singletrack by herself. It was about .5 miles, so not long, but I wouldn’t have done it by myself. There are bears, lions, dragons, etc. out there!
So here she goes out by herself. Again, sorry for the short clips.
And then we decided to have a little fun with her. Was it the meanest thing we have probably ever done to a teammate? Yes. Are we all laughing about it now? Yes. This clip is short because some of the things yelled afterwards, while funny, may not be appropriate for all audiences :) In short, go get some lights. Let us know if you are, our clients, friends and family get 50% off Gemini Lights, and they are great.
Take a Spin with Brett and Tam
Calling the Donelsons’ workouts “exercise classes” is like calling Dom Perignon a “beverage.” These cycling-focused sessions command a cultlike following, thanks to the extraordinary charisma and expertise this pair exudes. Ever since the Athletic Club at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa (athleticclubwestin.com) opened five years ago, Brett and Tam have taught their wildly popular CycleFit classes; the addition of the Westin’s cycling studio (completed a year and a half ago) expanded their repertoire to include Computraining (in which participants pedal their own bikes and sometimes train outdoors). Bubbly and outgoing, Tam freely shares know-how developed through extensive race experience (she currently competes on international circuits), while Brett listens intently to students and gives the impression that their fitness concerns are his top priority. Even folks who aren’t gunning for a century or a gran fondo find the classes utterly worthwhile, because as the saying goes, “In Vail, you have to train hard to be average.”
Scoring: One point per class session; five points for donating to The Cycle Effect(thecycleeffect.org), a nonprofit Brett Donelson founded to help local girls develop confidence and self-esteem through cycling
This past winter we were fortunate enough to create a relationship with Gemini Lights, through a local photographer, Daniel Milchev. First, this guy is awesome and so is Gemini. Check out his work here.
We got our hands on 2 Olympus Lights, a Xera LED and a Duo LED. They sent 2 6-cell batteries and 1 4-cell and 1 2-cell battery. This gave us a chance to try out every configuration and see what works best. And the quick realization – they all work really well. You will not go wrong with any of these lights.
I could tell when the box showed up that this company was different. Their product seems to be head and shoulders above the competition in terms of thinking of the little things. Common features amongst all of their lights are:
- They all have pre-programmable light settings. You get 3 different levels of lighting, which I think of as high, medium, low. Within those, there is a 1-10 scale and so you can program your “high” to an 8, medium to a “4” and low to a “2” if you wanted.
- The battery indicator light on the back shines different colors based on how much battery is left. A helpful addition when you need to know if you have to switch batteries before going out for another lap.
- They all come with battery cord extenders. This is so nice. It makes it easy to mount these lights in your jersey, headlamp straps, bar mounts, helmet mounts, chargers, etc.
Here is an interview with them at Interbike – this describes some of the features well.
These lights are the first light we have ever used that we feel has come with everything we need.
First, let’s talk about the Olympus and 6-cell battery. It is the brightest light that I have ever used. It is also by far the smallest and lightest battery that I have used for a light with similar lumen strength. The best thing about it is how well designed it is for your bike. The battery comes in a cloth sleeve, that wraps and velcros around your top tube or other part of your frame. They have short cords that fit this setup, so that you don’t have a ton of slack. The only thing I recommend is put a wrap of electrical tape around the frame where you attach the battery. The rubber texture will add enough friction so the battery won’t slide down the frame.
Next is the Duo LED. This is a double light system in a very small package. This is a fantastic single light option. As I ride, this is going to be my go-to light, with an Olympus on the handle bar. It sends light far and wide for such a lightweight light.
Last, we tried out the Xera LED. This is their smallest light, and we tried it with their 2-cell battery. The battery is small enough to wear on your helmet, and this light is another great option for a stand-alone light. Obviously runtime depends on what power setting you have it on and how big of a battery it is connected to.
I am sure there are other blogs that can go into the exact lumens if you need that info.
What I am certain of is for a number of reasons these are the best lights that I have used. The ease of use of uniform chargers, cord extensions, mounting options and accessories are great. Then the different options in battery sizes and lights makes Gemini a no-brainer for us.
We had the opportunity to be in Fruita, CO on a great spring evening to take them for a test on Rustler’s Loop. That is a GREAT place to test, ride, look around, walk, etc.
There is a short video below. What I look at is after we pass, how bright it is in our path. There is no need for adding any other lighting options, these little lights are plenty bright enough. I am looking forward to spending the summer with them.
As you can see, we started at dusk, so some we didn’t “need” lights, but they still helped.
We are psyched to be working with Gemini and able to offer our clients a great partnership with them as well. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments that we can help you with. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
These athletes have been working on this for a long time. Do not try this at home or without proper supervision and coaching.
Here is a post from one of our athletes, Tam is referred to as “Coach Evil Genius”. Sounds about right. Enjoy.
This is the best and worst season of the year in Vail, CO. Riding in the changing leaves and cooler air is just awesome. YOu never remember it being this good from the last year. But then… it snows. Like today. :( Enough said about that.
The bike team that we coach, the Ells Angels finished their season at the end of August. We had 2 young ladies said that they wanted to race in the Colorado High School Mt. Bike Team. The Vail Valley Composite Mt. Bike Team welcomed these girls with open arms and away we went. Practice twice a week, 3 weekend races and then the State Championships. So in 10 days these girls get to go bak to 18 Rd. In Fruita to ride some of the best singletrack in the country. What a sweet way to end the year.
The girls have gotten so much faster, so much fitter and have had an amazing attitude. The bike racing culture is a hard lifestyle to get into, if you have not been around it. But I would like to say, that after only 2 years, our program with the Youth Foundation has created bike racers. And top 10 finishes out of 20-40 girls is pretty sweet for their second season on a bike.
Now, let me describe the scene for a second… When we pulled into the first race, it looked like the infield of Talladega Nights. A tent city of support for over 350 racers. In it’s 3rd year, this race series has over 350 high school kids racing in it. Can you say “the future of Colorado sports”? The fact that our girls even showed up and raced is an amazing tribute to their courage, hard-work, mentors, coaches, the Youth Foundation and the Vail Community who have supported them.
Pictures speak gooderer than me, so here are some of our favorites, and off to Fruita next weekend. Can’t Wait!
There is a video of the first race also, just one vantage point, but these kids are no joke, as most adults would not make it up this hill. Enjoy!
This past weekend Tam and I went down to Colorado Springs for the USA Cycling Level 2 Clinic. It was a “4-day” clinic, although 2 of them were half days. We started at 8AM on Thursday with on-the-bike drills and skills. Tam and I probably haven’t been on our road bikes in 4 months and I think it showed a little. It was at least very obvious to us.
That afternoon we were inside with a presentation on Exercise Physiology. On Friday the USA Pro Cycling Challenge rolled through town, so we only spent the morning in the classroom. We had a great presentation on track racing by Colby Pearce and then we had the afternoon off to do what we wanted.
Tam and I had every intention of going to watch the races, but we fell asleep and spent the afternoon sleeping in the air conditioning.
Saturday we had a great presentation on BMX racing from Kenth Fallon and a Cyclocross presentation by Kari Studley. All of these presenters so far were clinic participants that have an area of expertise that the USAC staff asked to present while they were at the clinic.
Saturday afternoon was devoted to the business side of things and Sunday Morning was hypothetical training plans and scenarios.
There are so many of these clinic settings that are not worth the time. Tam and I both walked away from this one felling like it was well worth the time, effort and money. It gave us lots of new ideas and contacts, while reiterating that no one out there is re-inventing coaching. The large majority of us just steal ideas from everyone else! Had a quick stop at IKEA on the way home, and back to riding with the Ells Angels.
Although most people’s seasons are slowing down, Tam is going into her championship season with Xterra Triathlon National and World Championships. Stay tuned as we update how she is preparing for those events.
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