Monday, December 6, 2010

1992 Bridgestone XO-1, 55cm, with Cyclart custom paint and restoration

This Blog's Namesake WAS For Sale!
Since I have only ridden it once in a decade, I decided to sell off my 1992 Bridgestone XO-1. It's a size 55cm and was custom repainted by Cyclart in the same "tusk" off-white with the pearlescent clear-coat as it originally had ("Cat. 2" level paint job). At the same time, I had a third set of bottle braze-ons added to the bottom of the down tube. This bike is better than new, truly. Grant Petersen gave it to me in 1992, when I was sponsored by Bridgestone Cycles USA. I raced it in the Triple Ironman in France and some other events, but quit riding it about 1996. I had it repainted by CyclArt in about 1999 and only rode it once after that. It's been taking up space (indoors, always) ever since.
Asking price: SOLD.
This bike has been heavily upgraded. In fact, the only original part is the moustache handlebars! All the components listed are new/unused, having been ridden just once since installation (except for the cranks, BB, and post):
- NEW/UNUSED Chris King headset in "3-D Violet"
- Two sets of wheels: A set of NEW/UNUSED custom 650c wheels with Ringlé hubs in "3-D Violet" with matching nipples (28 hole front and 32 hole rear Sun ME14A Rims) which you can see in the photos below. Also included are the original 26" wheels which have been respoked and the hubs regreased (not pictured).
- NEW/UNUSED 9-speed shifting: Dura-Ace down-tube shifters are mounted as bar-ends, with 105 front derailleur and Ultegra rear derailleur and chain.
- Used Ultegra 9-speed era 170mm cranks and BB with 39/53 rings. (These are the only components on the whole bike, except for the handlebars and seat post, with any miles on them!)
- NEW/UNUSED Tektro brakes of unknown type: allow sliding the brake pads up and down six mm's to use either size wheels.
- Circa 1985 Dura Ace non-aero brake levers give ideal cable routing with moustache bars (almost NOS condition).
Other parts include the original Nitto moustache bars, a 27.0 American Classic seat post, Concor Rolls Due saddle, Michelin tyres, and a 10cm Nitto stem which Grant Petersen gave me on a visit to Rivendell HQ.
Note: There are two flaws in the paint job: Some paint has flaked off on the very top edge of the seat lug, adjacent to the seat post. Also, there is a bit too much clear coat on the head tube, on the bike's right side, above the lower head tube lug. You can see both of these flaws in the photos, if you look closely. (Note that the seat post is installed to just above the limit line, which is why it looks high or tall.)
- Chris Kostman
La Jolla, CA
Rivendell Owner/Rider: 1995 to the present (All-Rounder and Roadeo)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Classic Cyclist, Part Two

Image of the author above by Roy Wallack, from the 2010 Rough Riders Rally

-->The Classic Cyclist, Part Two

By Chris Kostman

Originally published in Endurance News #71, August/September 2010: Read the full article online here.

As I explained in part one of this article, Road Cyclists entering the sport over the past fifteen or so years tend to come in by way of mountain biking, triathlon, or fitness, rather than pure road cycling. As a result, most of these “cyclists” lack the knowledge which makes up the foundation of the classic cyclists’ repertoire and which builds upon the backbone of the sport. Continuing with the theme initiated in part one of this article, here are some more things the classic cyclist knows and does:
FOR THE LOVE OF THE SPORTThe classic cyclist rides first and foremost for the pure love of cycling, for the fun and enjoyment that comes from bonding with a simple, beautiful, and ingenious mechanical device and ranging the world. This cyclist rides for the wind in the hair, for the sensation of hot, cold, humid, wet, or dry on the skin, for carving up rolling terrain like riding a roller coaster, for the sensations of a pounding heart, sweaty brow, and heaving chest. The pursuit of adventure, camaraderie, and well-being astride a wheel are the primary driving forces behind every ride. “Training” is reserved only for preparing for specific competitive, or personal challenge, efforts; it is not the only, or usually primary, motive for heading out the door.
MENTORSHIPThe classic cyclist learned skills and etiquette from other classic cyclists, usually one or two masters in particular who took the time to encourage and enlighten the neophyte. Over time, the neophyte also becomes a mentor, passing along knowledge, wisdom, and specific tricks of the trade through specific instructions and by example. Cyclists are not born knowing how to trim a front derailleur, how to quickly clip in while starting on a steep grade, how to scan through the back windows of cars for drivers about to open their doors, or how to ride deep in the drops with a straight spine and relaxed shoulders. Mentors imbue new cyclists with these and many other pearls of wisdom, coaxing them along their journey to mastery.


The classic cyclist embraces the whole panorama of weather that Mother Nature provides and doesn’t shirk from riding in less-than-ideal conditions, nor cut a ride short just because the weather takes a turn for “the worse.” Au contraire, the classic cyclist relishes the opportunity to feel more alive and at one with the environment because of dramatic weather. Whether rain, cold, snow, heat, or headwinds, it is all respected without judgment as “just weather being weather.” Riding only on sunny weekend mornings in the same matching “kit” on the same route every week does not intrigue the classic cyclist.

The classic cyclist keeps her steed clean and free of unnecessary add-ons. No more than one gadget is attached to the bike, the handlebar tape is clean (and preferably white), there are no garish colors nor logos, and the entire “ensemble” of the bike itself is understated, simple, and stylish. The classic cyclist also maintains the steed herself, keeps it finely tuned, and knows how to make adjustments on the road. For example, she routinely amazes other cyclists by reaching down to make a rear derailleur adjustment on another’s bike while stopped at a light: a quick flick of the wrist restores that bike’s drivetrain to purring perfection. This deep understanding of the workings of the bicycle allow the classic cyclist to repair, or make work-arounds, for any mechanical mishap encountered on the road. As well, a proper seat pack with a comprehensive multi-tool, two tubes, patch kit, and a small but specific selection of “ride-savers” keeps the show on the road for her and others. Phoning for a ride home is anathema to the classic cyclist.

The classic cyclist acknowledges that driving to a ride start is to be avoided whenever possible. Tacking an extra ten or thirty miles onto any given ride, in order to transit to and from the ride meet-up spot, is a given; these “bonus miles” are appreciated as an opportunity to warm up properly, find a groove, and start or finish any given outing with the proper classic style and mindset.

Click here for Part One, here for Part Three, and here for Part Four of this series.
Chris Kostman has been a classic cyclist since 1982. Besides competing in races as diverse as the Race Across America, the Iditabike Mountain Bike Race, and the 24 Hours of Canaan, he also organizes the Badwater Ultramarathon and Furnace Creek 508 races, a series of four century rides, and the Rough Riders Rally. This is his sixteenth article for Endurance News. Learn more at his blog,, and at

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sean Virnig and Rawland Drakkar Win "Best in Show" at Rough Riders Rally Annual Shindig

AdventureCORPS, Inc. an athlete-run firm producing and promoting ultra-endurance and extreme sports events, lifestyle, and media, hosted the inaugural Rough Riders Rally, a multi-surface cycling festival based in Marin County on July 23-25, 2010 which celebrated the "Any Bike, Anywhere" ethos. The "Best in Show" Award was awarded to Sean Virnig of Rawland Cycles for his Drakkar bicycle.

The Rough Riders Rally was based in Mill Valley, CA in Marin County, the birthplace of mountain biking. Marin County offered truly superb cycling, with fantastic views of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, the Marin Headlands, Mt. Tamalpais ("Mt. Tam"), Tiburon, Mill Valley, the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and dramatic, rugged Northern California coastline.

It was a real treat to have Sean Virnig and his wife Anna attend the Rough Riders Rally. They own and run Rawland Cycles, a three-year-old bike company based in Northfield, MN. We know that time and money are both precious commodities, so we thank them - and all the Rally attendees - for spending both to join us for the Rally. We also congratulate them as Sean's Rawland Drakkar won "Best in Show" at the Rough Riders Annual Shindig on Saturday, July 24.

According to the company's website: Rawland Cycles founder Sean Virnig started riding at five when he received his first bike without training wheels. In high school his passion for the bike grew with each hour riding Minnesota country roads on a beloved, steel-framed 1992 Bridgestone RB-1, and in the woods on a 1993 Bridgestone MB-2. (Note: Sean also purchased and still rides the iconic Ibis Scorcher bicycle.)

After a rare illness left him paralyzed for months in 1989, Sean came to appreciate the therapeutic power of cycling when it helped bring him back from the devastation of Guillain-Barre syndrome. Rawland (an English translation of his mother's Norwegian surname) was born of Sean's keen understanding of the simple, yet wondrously restorative magic of the bicycle. Anna, Sean's significant other, not only trims the sail at Rawland, but also gets the credit for conceptualizing the Olaf (and Drakkar) rear dropout. Based in Northfield, Minnesota, Rawland Cycles is some 40 miles downriver from Minneapolis-St. Paul. Northfield was settled in the 1800s by Norwegian immigrants — Viking farmers, through and through — and it's now home to Rawland Cycles, 18,000 people and two colleges: Carleton College and St. Olaf College.

The three days of world-class, multi-surface cycling during the Rough Riders Rally, experienced with incredible camaraderie among the riders with their diverse types of bicycles and attire, made for an extremely memorable and pleasurable weekend for all in attendance. But I think I can state accurately that the highlight for everyone was when Sean's bicycle won Best of Show at the Annual Shindig. The bike and its designers truly deserved the praise and recognition bestowed upon them by their peers.
Above: Sean and Anna with Rally organizer Chris Kostman (center).

Sean had this to say about the Rally and his award:

Thank you for hosting such a wonderful and memorable event. I told Anna the other day that it was like a pilgrimage for me to ride in Marin county. Riding all three routes and receiving the Best of Show award were affirmative for Rawland in every sense of the word. Personally, receiving the “peer-reviewed” recognition meant more than the Best of Show recognitions that were bestowed upon Rawland every time it showed at Interbike in the past three years; I simply could not conceal my excitement when I intuitively picked up the Drakkar after the announcement. That was raw emotion for Rawland, you know. Thank you very much for bringing attention to Rawland. Being Norwegian-German, I sometimes let my “healthy” ego (presumably derived from the latter) get the better of me, and I am not shy to claim that Rawland is an embodiment of cycling at its purest; it is the ride that Rawland enables. Like I said, I am still pretty much influenced by your article, hence our email conversation about a year ago. There is no doubt in my mind that all future Rawland models will be shaped by the Rough Riders philosophy as it becomes more refined in the near future.

Rawland’s mission is to offer frames and forks with designs that allow unique combinations of road and mountain bike components toward their slogan: “Choose your own adventure.”

When asked more about the design features of Rawland bicycles, Sean stated "My tenet comprises of two key factors: tire clearance and rider position. Rawlands can do 58c, be it 26", 650B, or 29er. I am a tickler for wheels/tires with an effective diameter of 700mm. To illustrate, with disc, I can easily swap between 650B mountain wheels with the Pacenti Neo Moto 58c and 700c road wheels with the Rivendell Jack Brown 33c. These tires share a similar effective diameter of 700mm. There are some other advantages as well, especially with wide seatstays, fenders, the conditions in which I ride (e.g., gravel sludge, rain, etc.), and so on. The wheelset swapping enables me to essentially have three bicycles with just one, with these wheelsets and one more for the gravel, or gravel. Moreover, this philosophy enables me to ride all these wheelsets without affecting the geometry.

"And then there is Rawland's signature tall head tube. This enables one to level the saddle and the stem, which is a must in my book. Comfort is the most important factor in my opinion, and the Rawland platform guarantees this for everybody who rides a Rawland. There are less headset spacers as well, which bodes well for both mechanical and aesthetic purposes. I should add that I am not keen about removable frame parts, be it dropouts, suspension parts, and whatnot. I can tell you that Rawland will never have any of that."
In a recent review of the Drakkar, rider / writer T.C. Worley wrote the following:

"Designed in the USA, but made in Taiwan (from the same factory as Surly, Rivendell, Jamis and more), the Rawland frames offer clean welds, classy lugwork and real-world utilitarian touches. The Drakkar sported three sets of bottle cage braze-ons as well as front and rear rack tabs. Frame and fork are disc-brake only, and rear horizontal drop-outs are bare stainless steel for either fixed, single-speed or geared set-ups. You can build this frame into almost anything you can imagine. But fans of suspension should look elsewhere — the Drakkar frame is non-suspension corrected.

Aesthetically, the Drakkar makes friends quick. My test bike wore a silvery-green paint color that reminded me of a 1960’s Chevy. Lugwork and thoughtful touches make the bike easy on the eyes. The biplane crowned fork and sea-serpent rear drop-outs — the latter with a built-in bottle opener! — are the kind of custom details that provoke bike-envy among riding buddies. Everywhere I went, people were impressed with my fine-looking ride."

The Rawland Website: Click Here.
T.C. Worley's Drakkar Review: Click Here.
Sean's Photos from the 2010 Rough Riders Rally: Click Here.
The Unofficial Rawland Cycles Tribe page on Facebook: Click Here.
Rough Riders Annual Shindig Photos: Click Here. article by Gary Boulanger about the launch of Rawland in 2007: Click Here.

Above: Sean and his Rawland during the Saturday evening Rough Riders Annual Shindig and Bike Show
Above: Sean with his idol, Charlie Kelley, co-founder of the sport of mountain biking. Photographed Monday morning, at the conclusion of the Rough Riders Rally, at The Depot in Mill Valley, CA.
Above: Rawland Cycles is a sponsor of Adventure Cycling Association. The photo / announcement shown above appears on the back cover of the July 2010 "Cyclo Source" catalog published by Adventure Cycling.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rough Riding featured on

Special thanks to Gene Bisbee for featuring Rough Riding, and the Rough Riders Rally in particular, on his outstanding cycling blog, I visit his site daily, thanks to his wide-ranging coverage of everything from the latest TdF updates to bicycle touring to legal issues, and much more. Gene really runs the gamut with his blogging and I read everything he writes. Click on over to read his post from today about our movement!

"Any Bike, Anywhere" for the Rough Riders Rally in July
by Gene Bisbee at 12:59PM (PDT) on July 9, 2010

Some fellow cyclists who check out my ride and see the gear I use consider me a bicycling luddite, a descendant of those 19th century textile workers who fought progress.

For me, it's usually a matter of economics, instead of aesthetics. But for ultra-cycling promoter Chris Kostman, his choice of bicycles is definitely philosophical.

Check out Kostman with his bicycle in the picture here. What's a guy doing at the top of this mountain with a road bike? Then consider his "Mountain Bikes: Who Needs Them" article penned back in 1993 that announced his "Any Bike, Anywhere" manifesto.

Now, after all this time, Kostman is looking for other like-minded individuals to take part in a Rough Riders Rally on July 23 - 25 in Marin County, California. The event uses paved roads and dirt trails that wind through the scenic Marin Headlands overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Rough Riders

What does it take to be a Rough Rider? Apparently there are no hard and fast qualifying rules. Kostman explains at his Rough Rider website -- or the AdventureCorps website:

"Rough Riding is not defined by the type of bicycle or type of riding surface. Rough Riding is a state of mind, a riding style with limitless freedom and an all-pervasive sense of adventure. The Rough Riders slogan is "Any Bike, Anywhere" and the general idea is to use as little technology as possible while traversing a variety of riding surfaces and terrains. Hence, one of the Rough Riders' mantras is "technique beats technology."

"For some Rough Riders, that means riding a "road bike" with 25mm tyres on "mountain bike trails." For others, it means tackling any and all surfaces while riding a cyclocross bike, an old-school mountain bike, a 70s or 80s era road bike retrofitted with 650B wheels, a classic touring bike, or a world tour-ready 29er rig."

3 days

Kostman is a former RAAM cyclist who heads up AdventureCORPS, which produces extreme sports and ultra-endurance bicycling and running events. He has used his talents to create three days of bike riding that takes in many of the challenges that Rough Riders like to face -- paved road, abandoned pavement, fire roads, dirt trails and single track.

Day 2 of the rally, for instance, features a 36.5-mile ride over all those conditions and 5,700 feet of elevation gain. The route intersects the Mill Valley to Stinson Beach "Dipsea" running route and boasts view of Mount Tamalpais and (on a fogless day) views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

You can see write-ups on his three-day recon of all the stages at "Rough Riders Rally, Final Recon of all Routes." Kostman shares pictures and descriptions of hte routes, as well as suggestions on how much of the route is passable on different width tires.

Jacquie Phelan

Kostman recently got word that Marin bike racing legend Jacquie Phelan will be joining the Rough Riders Rally. You can read more about her achievements and exploits at Rough Riders website. Other participants include bicycling author Owen Mulholland and "co-creator" of the sport of mountain-biking, Charlie Kelley.

If you're thinking of signing up for this event, do it soon. Registration closes on July 16 or with 100 participants, whichever comes first. Here's the Rough Riders Rally registration page with all the details.

Rough Riders Head Badges in UK Press

Click on over here to read and see the full story about the revival of bicycle head badges, including our very own Rough Riders head badges! Click here for our previous post about them.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jacquie Phelan Joins Rough Riders Rally

We are extremely pleased to announce that Jacquie Phelan, one of the best known and most recognizable faces of mountain biking, will participate in the July 23-25 Rough Riders Rally in Marin County, California, where she lives and rides. Here's here bio from

Jacquie "Alice B. Toeclips" Phelan
was the NORBA Champion three consecutive years - 1983, 1984, and 1985. She is married to inventor Charlie Cunningham, the pioneering bicycle framebuilder whose aluminum bikes and patented brakes allowed Phelan to race unbeaten for six years. Her bike, "Otto" was raced nine consecutive seasons, a testimony to the durability of the heat treated framesets that drew criticism from traditional framebuilders who held that only "steel is real".

(She is a) charter inductee, with Cunningham, to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1988 and (in) 2000 (was) inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame. Along with a dozen others, Phelan co-founded NORBA in 1982, and was a charter member of IMBA. Phelan founded the Women's Mountain Bike & Tea Society. (WOMBATS) in 1987 to encourage women and girl's participation, and produced the sport's earliest skills camps, dubbed Fat Tire Finishing School.

But enough about what the mystery people at Wikipedia have to say about Jacquie. Here she is in her own words:

In this corner, hailing from Fairfax California, Jacquie Phelan, fifty four years old, a hundred and forty five pounds.

Phelan--also known as "Alice B. Toeclips" -- frittered away her youth racing bicycles. "Eat Dessert First" is a cherished motto, along with "Ready, Fire, Aim!"

As the eldest of six, she'd had a snootful of responsibility to last a lifetime. At twenty five she began the lifelong task of letting her parents down. By racing, writing and forgetting to have children, she's managed to craft a curiously stress-free life despite a virulent allergy to employment.

The lone racing woman in a field of fellows, she confabbed a feminist conspiracy to de-program suburban mommy-chauffeurs. Many other women's groups achieve the same objective these days to her great delight, but the Women's Mountain Bike & Tea Society was the earliest attempt to show how incredibly safe, fun and easy offroad cycling is, if you ignore the ads.

Phelan uses the third person a lot, being queen and all.

NOTE: Jacquie penned the cover story of the current issue of the Pacific Sun newspaper. (the local paper in Marin County) She's also the cover model, as seen above. Here's a preview of the first page of the article:
This article is a MUST-READ, so for Jacquie's full Pacific Sun story, click here and click to Page 12, OR click here for an html version of the same fascinating article.

For Jacquie's blog, click here.

Welcome to the Rough Riders Rally! We're excited to ride and socialize with you!

Please note that registration for the Rough Riders Rally will remain open at the standard price of $169 (no late registration upcharge) until July 16, when registration closes (if not sooner, if the field limit of 100 is reached.)

Check out Jacquie on YouTube:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Rough Riders Head Badges Now Available: New Style, Ultra Light! ;-)

We have recently connected with a man named Terry Jones who makes a special kind of bicycle head badge. They attach to the frame with special, thin, ultra-strong, two-sided tape. The head badges are bendable, so can be curved tightly around the head tube of any sized frame. See above and below for the silver and brass versions of the head badges with the Rough Riders logo which he just made for us. In the shot below, they are sandwiched around one of the head badges we had made back in November of 2008, for point of comparison. Those were beautiful, but cost $100 each, had to be built for a specific head tube size, and took quite a while to get. They are also "heavy." But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it's also nice to have two different price points.

If you'd like to order one of this new style (which is also "ultra light" - smirk), let us know by Wednesday, July 7. Cost is just $40 for the brass or $45 for the silver ($10 discount is offered to Rough Riders Rally participants). Once we confirm your order, you can mail us a check or pay via Paypal. Contact us via adventurecorps at gmail dot com.

Details: 2&1/4" tall and 1&5/8" wide. The badges are made from .015 brass and are ridged to hold a shape but flexible enough to be done by hand.
PS Just watched the TdF Prologue. Yeah Lance!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Classic Cyclist, Part One

The Classic Cyclist, Part One
By Chris Kostman

Originally published in Endurance News #70, June/July 2010

Photo above of the author (L) and Sky Boyer by Dustin Sharp

Road Cyclists entering the sport over the past fifteen or so years have tended to come in by way of mountain biking, triathlon, or fitness, rather than pure road cycling. As a result, most of these “cyclists” lack the knowledge which makes up the foundation of the classic cyclists’ repertoire and which builds upon the backbone of the sport. Here are some things the classic cyclist knows and does:

The best way to start a ride, or conduct any aerobic activity, is to warm up properly. “Warming up” is not just about elevating heart rate, however; it’s also about gradually warming up the entire body and bringing one’s attention to the matter at hand. This takes time to do it properly. A classic cyclist will take the first ten to twenty miles of a ride, or even a race, to warm up properly, usually staying off the big chainring and two smallest cogs. As a result, he or she will actually ride better and more quickly than the current jackrabbit style of cyclists who catapult onto every training ride or event. Frankly, it’s shocking to me that riders today just take off “like a bat out of hell” even on a training ride, or social ride. Back in the day, at a double century or a road race, riders would all cruise together for the first hour or more, socializing while warming up properly. They’d end up becoming fitter, setting faster PRs than riders today in the same events, getting to know one another better, AND having more fun.


Most cyclists nowadays not only don’t know how to ride in a paceline, but that they don’t even understand why they should. In ultras, or even club rides, where drafting is allowed and the overall intention is to get down the road ASAP, one thing should be kept in mind: Work together, and when it’s not your turn up front, covet that rear wheel of your buddy! In the moment, you may think “it’s too hard to keep up at this speed,” but the classic cyclist knows that riding solo instead of with another means more work and less speed. Where’s the logic in that? Equally important, there’s a beauty and a grace to working with one or more fellow cyclists with an “all for one, and one for all” attitude.

This effort to keep the group together is specifically continued at checkpoints during events; those who arrive together, leave together. (Riders today will often sneakily slip out of a checkpoint a minute or three ahead of the riders whose wheels they were just drafting. Riding solo, or with just one or two others, they will then ride more slowly than they had been in the group. Why not just keep the group together after the checkpoint, too?)


Allow me to let Tim KrabbĂ©, author of “The Rider,” explain:

"The greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure. That is nature's payback to riders for the homage they pay her by suffering. Velvet pillows, safari parks, sunglasses; people have become woolly mice. They still have bodies that can walk for five days and four nights through a desert of snow, without food, but they accept praise for having taken a one-hour bicycle ride. 'Good for you.' Instead of expressing their gratitude for the rain by getting wet, people walk around with umbrellas. Nature is an old lady with few friends these days, and those who wish to make use of her charms, she rewards passionately."

The classic cyclist accepts suffering as an intricate part of the experience. He or she certainly doesn’t whine in person, nor blog about “how tough that was” after the fact, nor just “call it a day” like some child collecting up his toys from the sandbox to go home and pout with Mommy.


Whether he or she rides as a lone ranger or a dedicated club rider, the classic cyclist shares a bond with all fellow cyclists. As such, other cyclists are always acknowledged along the road, usually with a tip of the head to riders in the opposing direction, or a cheery hello when passing or being passed. Classic cyclists never ride hi-lessly, wavelessly, and nodlessly by. Likewise, categorizing or deriding other cyclists is a pursuit never considered. All on bicycles are appreciated and respected.


Until about 20 years ago, it was relatively easy to spot a good cyclist. Simply put, good bikes went with good riders. Sometimes good riders went with so-so bikes, but the opposite was almost never true. Unfortunately, that's not the scene today as cycling has become trendy, hip, and stylish. (Note that stylishness is, of course, the absolute antithesis of style.) Cycling has also become a status-related activity, so much so that when one sees a really fine machine humming down the road or trail, it is almost invariably being ridden by someone whose ability doesn't come close to matching his or her checking account. Of course, the classic cyclist can spot the poseur right away, regardless of his or her equipment (but is still nice to him or her).

See the original publication of this article in the scans above and below.

Chris Kostman has been a classic cyclist since 1982. Besides competing in races as diverse as the Race Across America, the Iditabike Mountain Bike Race, and the 24 Hours of Canaan, he also organizes the Badwater Ultramarathon and Furnace Creek 508 races, a series of four century rides, and the Rough Riders Rally. This is his fifteenth article for Endurance News. Learn more at his blog,, and at

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rough Riders Rally; Final Recon of all Routes, Part 3

I just got back from a three-day trip to Marin County to finalize all the details of the Rough Riders Rally, including riding all three of the suggested ride routes with my Garmin 310xt to create the maps, elevation profiles and such. Part One of this blog post describes the suggested Friday ride for the Rally and Part Two describes the suggested Saturday ride. Now here's info about the suggested Sunday ride, briefly (I neglected to bring my camera, so I shot two photos with my phone and re-used two shots of the Saturday route which overlaps this one for a few miles).

This is the classic ride up Railroad Grade from Mill Valley to the top of Mt. Tam, also known as East Peak. No visit to Marin County is complete without this ride. The return is mainly via paved road, after returning to the West Point Inn on Railroad Grade (although several options exist for the descent from Mt. Tam to Mill Valley). This return utilizes a few miles of dirt from the Rally's Saturday ride, and some paved miles on the way back into Mill Valley from the Rally's Friday ride, however this takes a "locals only" route back to The Depot at the very end of the ride.

The final "occasion" of the Rough Riders Rally will be social time at The Depot in downtown Mill Valley, so we all need to end up back there around the same time. Total distance is 20 miles with 2800 feet of elevation gain.

Here's a map and a few photos from this recon ride, but be sure to check out the Garmin Connect page to interact with the map, elevation profile, and more! You can also see these images and more on our website.
Above: Ascending Railroad Grade from Mill Valley up Mt. Tam.
Above: The view of the San Francisco Bay from West Point Inn, most of the way to the summit of Mt. Tam.
Above: The view from the summit (East Peak) of Mt. Tam, looking south.
Above: There's a lot to see from up there, so this sign helps you figure it all out.

Below are links to all the route details for all three suggested routes. If this information and these photos don't make you realize that the 2010 Rough Riders Rally is Not To Be Missed, than I don't know what does!

1.7 mile route from Acqua Hotel to Tam Bikes
Friday ride at Rally: Alpine Dam Loop (Garmin)
Friday ride at Rally: Alpine Dam Loop (Slideshow)
Saturday ride at Rally: Marin Headlands (Garmin)
Saturday ride at Rally: Marin Headlands (Slideshow)
Sunday ride at Rally: Railroad Grade up Mt. Tam (Garmin)
Sunday ride at Rally: Railroad Grade up Mt. Tam (Slideshow)
Rough Riders Rally routes index
Rough Riders Rally home and registration

We hope to see you at the Rough Riders Rally! Please join in the fun!

Rough Riders Rally; Final Recon of all Routes, Part 2

Above: My Rivendell Roadeo at the picnic area along Railroad Grade at the West Point Inn.

I just got back from a three-day trip to Marin County to finalize all the details of the Rough Riders Rally, including riding all three of the suggested ride routes with my Garmin 310xt to create the map, elevation profile and such. Part one of this blog post describes the Friday ride for the Rally. Now here's info about the Saturday ride!

On Saturday, June 26 of my recon visit I rode the route which is suggested for Saturday of the Rough Riders Rally. It is one TOUGH route. It is "only" 36.5 miles, however these are 36 and a half of the most beautiful miles one could ever ride, plus there is a total elevation gain of 5,764 feet. Most century cycling events have less climbing than that!

The route features single track, double track, fire road, gravel road, abandoned paved road, and newly paved road. Some consider this "mountain bike territory," but this route is 99% rideable by an accomplished Rough Rider on a road bike with 32mm cyclocross tyres (or on a cyclocross bike), and perhaps 90-95% rideable on a road bike with 28mm road tyres (some of the long downhill parts might make some people nervous on skinny road tyres).

This time, I rode my Rivendell Roadeo with a low gear of 38 front x 28 rear, shod with Ritchey Speedmax Cross tyres, which have a small amount of tread on them.

Here's a map and a dozen photos from this recon ride, but be sure to check out the Garmin Connect page to interact with the map, elevation profile, and more!
(All images below are in order as if riding the route.)

Also, be sure to check out the full slideshow of this route (from my previous recon rides).

Finally, I have a Pdf of the route sheet for this ride online here (use at your own risk).
Above: I stopped because this couple had a rare Otis Guy mountain tandem, then they pointed out the lovely flowers, and then I learned that the male half of this dynamic duo is Owen Mulholland, the legendary cycling journalist and author! What a treat to meet them both! I invited them to attend the RR Rally and I hope they do! (They had slick tyres on their tandem, by the way!)
Above: Our route crosses the world-famous Dipsea Trail (from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach) and I encountered the Double Dipsea race during my ride!
Above: We exit the Zen Center's Green Gulch Farm via this gate. Next up is some seriously steep single track with a few gnarly 180 degree switchbacks.
Above: During a rare nearly flat part of the Middle Green Gulch Trail. On the steep parts, you do not want to dab or you will have a difficult time getting restarted!
Above: Self-portrait with Mt. Tam behind, at the intersection of the top of Middle Green Gulch Trail and Coyote Ridge Trail.) The camera's POV is north by northwest.
Above: Cruising along Muir Beach at Fort Cronkhite.
Above: I decided to add on some more miles and climbing to this route, in part so that Rough Riders Rally participants can see and photograph the quintessential view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Alas, the world-famous SF summer fog blocked the view when I was there, but hopefully we'll get that view at the Rally! (Intersection of McCullough and Conzulman Roads. Conzulman itself is closed for the summer due to major road work, so we descend back from here on Coastal Trail.)
Above: Almost to the top of the very last climb of the day, atop Bobcat Trail just before it connects into Marincello.
Above: At the end of the ride, on the bridge along the bike path which connects the Acqua Hotel to downtown Mill Valley, with Mt. Tam behind. Good work, Rivendell!

Below are links to all the route details for all three of the suggested routes. If this information and these photos don't make you realize that the 2010 Rough Riders Rally is Not To Be Missed, than I don't know what does!

1.7 mile route from Acqua Hotel to Tam Bikes
Friday ride at Rally: Alpine Dam Loop (Garmin)
Friday ride at Rally: Alpine Dam Loop (Slideshow)
Saturday ride at Rally: Marin Headlands (Garmin)
Saturday ride at Rally: Marin Headlands (Slideshow)
Sunday ride at Rally: Railroad Grade up Mt. Tam (Garmin)
Sunday ride at Rally: Railroad Grade up Mt. Tam (Slideshow)
Rough Riders Rally routes index
Rough Riders Rally home and registration