May 31, 2012

Video - Aaron Closing in on a Podium Spot at the 2012 Trans-Sylvania MTB Epic

Aaron had another awesome ride yesterday in the mud in central PA at the Trans-Sylvania MTB Epic, finishing 4th after a hard fought battle.

Check out his post-race interview on 

Watch more video of 2012 Trans-Sylvania MTB Epic on

Here's the blow-by-blow report from on what sounds to be a very fast and difficult stage:

That's the word Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) used to describe the pace during the Raystown stage, stage number 4 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Only 25 seconds separated Bishop from Barry Wicks (Kona Bikes) at the start of the day. By the end, that lead had ballooned to more than six and a half minutes.
The fourth stage of Trans-Sylvania took place on the rolling whoops and dips of the Allegrippis trails at Raystown Lake a one-hour drive from Camp TSEpic. Allegrippis has proven to be crowd favorite every year and this year was no exception. One of two "remote" stages in the Trans-Sylvania Epic, Raystown is the fastest and smoothest singletrack of the week and racers were greeted with slick and wet conditions that left riders covered with mud at the end of the stage but grinning ear to ear.
"I wanted to show the guys I was back," said Bishop. "I treated the start like a World Cup." Bishop pushed the pace early and quickly pulled a group including South African Matthys Buekes, Justin Lindine (Redline), Aaron Snyder (Scott), Drew Edsall (Kenda/Felt) and Wicks away from the rest. Less than five seconds separated these six riders the first time through the lap point.
The fireworks continued immediately into the second lap as Bishop was determined to shed his adversary Wicks, who had spent the previous two days chipping away at the lead Bishop established in the time trial at the start of the week. Buekes was on the move as well, looking to find time lost during the first two days of the race. Lindine, too, was having none of it, coming past Bishop and into the lead with the intent to send off a final attack. In the flurry of activity Edsall, then Snyder and finally Lindine were dropped from the front group.
Unfortunately for Wicks, as he jumped, his run of luck came to an end with a flat tire leaving Bishop and Beukes alone in the lead. Beukes was looking for a stage win and passed Bishop as he bobbled on one of the final switchbacks in the wild undulations of the Allegrippis trails.
Bishop recovered and in his words, "I kept pushing Matt and pushing Matt, trying one side then the other, until I got by because I knew the first person out of the singletrack had the advantage in the finish. And I wanted this stage win." Bishop found the room the made a final pass, emerged first from Sleek Dog Trail. Buekes attempted a last pass out of the final corner but came up one half bike length short.
Trailing in only seconds behind came Lindine with Snyder on his heels. Edsall finished another minute in arrears with a disappointed Wicks crossing the line more than six minutes behind the winners. Bishop now leads second place Wicks by 6:30 though his lead is anything but secure with the the raw old school trails awaiting the race in RB Winter tomorrow.

May 29, 2012

Follow Aaron at the Trans-Sylvania Epic 2012 - Highlights from Stage 2

Check out video from Stage 2 of the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic -

Watch more video of 2012 Trans-Sylvania MTB Epic on

After early moves by Aaron Snyder and Matthys Beukes, Race leader Jeremiah Bishop and 2nd in GC, Barry Wicks, broke away from the field at the midway point of todays 42 mile stage. Bishop was noticeably struggling and rode Wicks' wheel for the final 8 miles of gravel road. Barry launched a late attack with 1k to go and crossed the line 15 seconds ahead of JB. 

1. Barry Wicks
2. Jeremiah Bishop
3. Drew Edsall
4. Aaron Snyder
5. Cary Smith
6. Matthys Beukes
7. Chris Michaels
8. Justin Lindine
9. Stephan Kincaid
10. Madison Matthews

Also you can follow on

Dylan wins the Tour of Tucker County / 2nd at Stagg Creek Shakedown at Poor Farm

This past weekend, Dylan headed to West Virginia for some road racing in the steep and relentless hills of Tucker County on Saturday and turned around and went south to Richmond for the Stagg Creek mtb race.

The Tucker County road race finishes with the 30 minute, 5 mile climb up Sugarlands Road (12% grade for the first mile, then "just" 6-7% grades for the next three miles).  Dylan countered attacks throughout the race and then attacked on his own on the final climb for the win in the Cat 3/4 senior event, finishing first by just about 45 seconds.

Total climbing was around 6,500 feet in 54 miles.

Results are available here.

Dylan - Winning on the final climb of the day
On Sunday, he kept up the speed at the Stagg Creek Shakedown at Poor Farm mtb race on a very hot day, finishing second on a much flatter and faster course than the day before.  Congratulations!

Results are also available here.

- Jeff

May 22, 2012

Continued Review - Continental X-King 29x2.2 ProTection RTR - First Rides

A few weeks ago we got our team shipment of X-King 29x2.2 ProTection tires.  I described the installation process and how well they held air.  I've now had a few weeks of riding on them with about 175 miles of use and wanted to share some impressions.

The tires roll incredibly fast and are quiet for being quite knobby.  I was riding home last night on a paved trail and noticed that the center treads handle most of the work while on hard surfaces (the tires were covered in mud and only the center 1/3 of the tire seemed to contact a wet road, showing me where the tire was hitting the pavement). I think this is why they roll so quickly as the longer side knobs don't come into play unless you need them.

At the On the Rocks @ French Creek, I put the tires through the wringer with a number of rocky downhills, sharp corners, some steep, rocky uphills and all with some lack of technical expertise (as I'd been off my mtb for 7 days prior to the race).
Standing on the tires while cornering at French Creek
I found I could brake far later than usual (I've been riding some super low knob tires for the past few years - Specialized SLKs, Bontrager X-1 or X-0 and Maxxis Ikons) going into corners given the amount of edging traction and I could climb sections that I usually would have to hop off the bike and run.

Plus, I could descend with little tire pressure (I had a valve leak and rode for part of the race on 10psi or less) and the tire sidewalls held up without any issue.
Mike at French Creek on the X-Kings
Post-race, I took the tires out for a 102 mile loop last week with Mike, through all sorts of conditions ranging from fast hard-pack trails, to loose rocks, mud and sand and pavement.  The X-Kings shined on all surfaces.  I didn't notice any loud noise coming from the raised knobs and they rolled as quickly as the super low knob tires I used the last time I rode this loop.

Mid-way through a 102 mile ride - great on mixed terrain
John rolling through the rocks on the X-Kings
Conti has scored a big hit in my book with the X-King and these will be my go-to tire this year (at least until I get my hands on a set of Race King ProTection tires).  I'll post a much longer term review later in the summer after I've put a few hundred more miles on them.

6.12.12 Update - I took the X-Kings to a Super-D event this past weekend and pushed them hard on the downhill, hitting almost 42mph (67kph).  The tires held well in the corners and traction was far better than other low knob tires that I've run in the past.  I was able to hit a higher top speed in the downhill and brake far later into corners than in years past, dropping 35 seconds off my time in a 3 mile course.  Plus, they handled all of the rocks without a problem.  A lot of other riders crashed on the day, but the X-King was predictable in when it was getting close to losing traction and I could back off the speed a bit.  A good test!

7.3.12 Update - I've been riding a set of Race King 29x2.2 ProTection tires for the past two weeks.  These might be the easiest tires I've ever installed on a set of Stan's Crest rims.  No mess of sealant going all over the place, no fuss and they instantly inflated and held air with a floor pump.

I initially used the Race King on the rear wheel at the central Pennsylvania Stoopid 50 mile race in tons of rocks and roots.  Traction was great and they roll extremely fast, but the sidewalls took a beating on the rocks.  The casing is more of a rounded shape than the X-King tire and thus, when going over rocks, the sidewall rather than the knobbies take a lot of scuffing from rocks.  I would recommend the Race King tires for situations where there aren't as many rocks - rocky terrain is a better fit for the X-Kings (between the two tire types).  In loose over hardpack type terrain, I've found the X-King on the front for cornering traction and the Race King on the back for speed works well for me.

- Jeff

Rumble in the Jungle - Race Report in Photos

Race: Rumble in the Jungle, H2H Series Event #3
Date: May 20, 2012
Location: West Milford, NJ
Conditions: Warm and sunny
Rider: John, 12th (Pro/Elite)

John showed off the new kit this past weekend in the H2H series in West Milford, NJ on an interesting course with lots of rocks and other features.  It looks like a perfect course for the X-King ProTection tires and the Scott Spark 29er to roll through the rocks with ease and no worries about flats.

Here are some shots from the event:

Results are available here.

- Jeff

Wisp XC Challenge - Race Report

Race: Wisp Resort XC Challenge -  Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association Series Race #1
Date: May 20, 2012
Location: Deep Creek, Maryland
Conditions: Warm and sunny
Rider: Dylan Johnson, 1st (Pro/Expert)

Dylan headed out to race in the ABRA series at Wisp Resort in Deep Creek, MD, an area known for having a lot of climbing.  It's a fun resort in the summer time to get away from the heat (the last time I was there, it was 90 degrees in Washington, DC and 55 degrees in Deep Creek - a welcome reprieve from the summer heat) and consequently many folks from DC head there for training camps in the summertime.

Dylan took on the course which featured rocky downhills and double-track climbing.  He rode in a group of three for most of the day and put in an attack on the last climb to win by about 1 minute over second place.  The total time was about 2 hours, 20 minutes, which was fairly long for an XC race, but suited Dylan's ultra-endurance capabilities.

This was also his first race in the new team kit - a great start to showing off our team's 2012 sponsors!

At the start
Heading out for 2.5 hours of climbing and riding rocks
Rocky downhills
Dylan in the lead group of three
Taking the win
Post race - some mud on the course
- Jeff

New Kits!

New jerseys and shorts. They look great and the red and black match my bike (Scott Scale 29er Expert).



ride we did after road side cleaning at Greenbrier State Park

Frederick Bicycling Coalition, Adopt a road, road side cleaning

The Frederick Bicycling coalition adopts a mile section of road along route 40. Jeff and I (mike) offered to help.

Jeff cleaning


Setting up

Our catch for the day

A giant bee I saw waddling across the road

The area we cleaned

102 mile Fairfax Country Epic mountain bike loop

I did this ride on Friday May 18th. It was just Jeff and I (mike).

It was a beautiful day to be outside (70 degrees and sunny) and we rode a loop that we did last in snow and 22 degree (F) temperatures in mid-February with Dylan, Ian and Kevin also along.

We started off early (7:30 am) to beat the DC traffic to get to the trailhead at Old Georgetown Pike and we didn't finish our ride till about 8:45 pm. We hit Difficult Run, Lake Fairfax Park, the Fairfax Cross Country Trail, Fountainhead Park, Laurel Hill Park, Accotink Park and Wakefield Park - pretty much all of the major mountain bike parks and trails inside Fairfax County (or at least those that we could make into a big loop)

The last 10-15 min it was very dark and hard to see. The ride took so long because I was having a bunch of mechanicals that added 4-5 hours to our ride, including a snapped front brake lever (I rode for 60 miles with just rear brakes) and brake pads that decided to die after getting so much use on the rear (we had to do a trail-side swap and mostly rebuild the old brakes).  This is why it's such a good thing to have a race and a training bike. My training bike takes a lot of abuse during the week from these long rides and my race bike is pristine and ready to go on the weekends.

Jeff, 70 miles in

Jeff, giant dirt jumps near Wakefield Park

Trying to rebuild a sheared-off front brake lever following a crash (the rebuild attempt didn't work)
The Conti X-King 2.2 ProTection RTR tires were awesome for this ride - fast rolling, quiet and tons of grip
Gorgeous singletrack

Using maps on an iPhone in a case to keep us going in the right direction
While the sign said "Please Brake for Snakes" all we saw were lots of deer ticks
Getting rid of ticks that were trying to hitch a ride home with us

The loop