This Saturday is the 11th annual Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer!
For the first time ever I’m asking for a donation at the start for Danny Chew, who created the Dirty Dozen, which FML is based on. Danny was in a solo bicycle accident that has left him paralyzed. Money is being collected to help him with basic needs including making his home wheelchair accessible. Read more about him in this excellent story in Outside Magazine. Looking for $5 to ride and $10 if you are going for points, collected at the start. If you’d like to give additionally, you can use this link, but if riding please bring it day of.
I know there are many organizations that need your money now more than ever. But for those who have ridden this anytime since 2006 I want to remind you I took the exact concept of the Dirty Dozen and simply applied it in Los Angeles. I’ve also never charged and spent my own money for shirts, patches, bananas, coffee, etc in the past. The very least we could do now is give a little back to the Million Mile Man who inspired ten years of hill exploration in our city! Thank you for considering.
This is an event where we ride up 10 of the hardest/steepest/dumbest hills in Los Angeles. See map below.
You can buy these terrific Danny Chew benefit shirts from my good friends at Garbella. Make sure to tell them you are donating from #bikeLA and pick up a pierogi button while you are there. We will have sample sizes at the start and a way to place your order there.
Once upon a time, in a Los Angeles long past, I dreamed of an LA version of Danny Chew’s famous Pittsburgh hill race, the Dirty Dozen. I wanted ‘racers’ to ride their bike deep in the city and I wanted to show bike commuters the fun in a physically challenging ride. In other words, the manifestation of my cycling ADHD- ride everything, everywhere and keep it fun! And of course an obscure nod to BMX history.
That first year -2006- saw pouring rain and possibly more volunteers than riders, but we pulled it off. We showed that Los Angeles has paved roads as steep as anywhere (take that San Francisco) and more importantly we got people on their bikes in an auto-centric city to explore incredible, tucked away locales. I measured it successful when someone in a cycling forum refused to believe that the photos were indeed taken in Los Angeles.
And here we are nine years later at Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer #10. Number ten! Los Angeles is much improved for cycling and the number of events each week is too much for me to keep up with. This could more related to the fact that I am now in my mid-30’s, not my mid-20’s (yet somehow that doesn’t stop me from getting red light tickets on my bike, like the one I got last night!). I’d list some of the groups doing great work for cyclists, but there are so many I’m afraid I’d leave some important people out.
This a long way of saying that Sunday November 8th is this year’s event. If you are first hearing about this now, I apologize! Between my instagram, facebook and twitter I feel like I rarely write on my site anymore. Here is the facebook event.
The standard rules apply- no event-affiliated cars allowed on the route for any reason. No entry fee, no prizes, no bs. Open to anyone and everyone on a bike. Causal, non-competitive cyclists encouraged! PLEASE read through the history for more detail if you plan on riding. Here are some great photos from 2014 to get you stoked. And there’s a video below.
A huge thank you to everyone who has helped out or ridden and the entire #bikeLA world. It’s an honor to be a part of this community and this event wouldn’t be possible without you.
We make these videos to show the various ways veganism can work. We don’t preach one style of eating or body shame; we want plant-based eating and fitness to be accessible to the most people. Showing the interesting stories of athletes in a professional way has never been done. We believe activism and education can be positive, fun AND make a difference. It’s a lot of work to make these and both Sasha and I have invested a lot of time, energy and our own money into this project. So we are seriously indebted to the people who believe in us and have supported us financially!
Bike racing is a tough, unforgiving discipline that requires focus, strength and endurance. But do you think all cyclists are super thin or scrawny? Then you haven’t met any track cyclists. Track cycling is over 100 years old and takes place on a velodrome at speeds nearing 60 miles per hour. There are a variety of track races but they all require one thing: being able to pedal a single speed fixed gear brakeless bicycle at incredibly high speeds. And like sprinters in track and field, this requires a tremendous amount of leg strength for power and output.
So for our next installment in the Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes Series, I’d like you to meet 3 track cyclists who know that eating vegan doesn’t compromise strength and speed on the track. I mean, how many people do you know that require special pants to fit their quad muscles into?
Next we meet Jack Lindquist, formerly of Los Angeles, who now resides in Portland, OR where he manages the one-of-a-kind bikeshop/coffeebar/bar Velo Cult. Jack is a long-time friend of mine and whenever anyone mentions vegans being weak I mention that he can deadlift over 500 pounds. That’s a quarter ton he can pick up off the ground!
Lastly we meet Zak Kovalcik of Portland, OR. Like Jack, Zak is a former bike messenger. He also realized he can go really fast on a bike and decided to ‘pursue’ it. And as you’ll see he has the big wins to prove it. I also want to mention that he rides for the Sizzle Pie Team, mostly because they have kick-ass vegan pizza and a great ‘slice and salad’ special that I always hit up when I’m in Portland!
Here it is, episode number 11:
How great is that? To read more about Zak winning TWO national championships in 2012 check out this article. And isn’t Kevin the nicest guy ever? It’s hard to imagine that someone so incredibly nice could be so competitive. I love that we met him for the first time and he was making this lasagna, and now you can too!
Kevin Selker’s Homemade Chickpea Cheez Vegan Lasagna
Adapted version of an adapted version of the lasagna from Passionate Vegetarian cookbook.
Makes one very large or two normal-sized lasagnas.
1-2 cups homemade breadcrumbs (when you don’t finish a loaf of bread in time, leave the leftover slices out–I leave them on top of my fridge–to dry out, then process them and store. The best bread makes the best breadcrumbs. Store bought breadcrumbs are usually awful.)
Couple cloves of garlic
More parsley or carrot tops or fresh italian herb of your choice
2 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Process the breadcrumbs with the garlic, adding the oil while the blade is spinning. Then add herbs and salt and pulse once more. Set aside.
1 quart (32oz) Prepared chickpeas (If you cook these at home add a teaspoon of baking soda when they’re boiling–it speeds cooking and helps them get extra soft!) Reserve some cooking water from the chickpeas
3 cloves garlic
2 TBSP cornstarch
Handful of flat leaf parsley or carrot tops
Puree the chickpeas in a blender or food-processor. (NOTE: To save time you don’t have to clean it after making the bread crumbs) Add the garlic and starch and puree until smooth, adding the reserved cooking water if needed. The consistency should be like a very soft hummus. Add the parsley or carrot-tops and puree to combine. If the beans were unsalted, add a bit of salt, otherwise probably don’t–it’s OK if this sauce is not very salty.
1 large onion, chopped
Several cups vegetables of your choice. Favorites include:
1 cup roasted bell peppers, chopped
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
Large handful of dried tomatoes, chopped
Large handful of olives, pitted and sliced
Sauté the onion for a few minutes, and add the vegetables in order that they need to be cooked. Do not overcook, as the lasagna will bake also. Some (most) vegetables won’t need to be cooked much or at all, so just add these at the end and kill the heat. Add half of the tomato sauce.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 TBSP flour (whole wheat or white)
1 TBSP chopped garlic
1 TBSP tomato paste
1.5 cups vegetable broth or water (you can use bouillon also)
1/2 cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon (pro-tip: you can use the same lemon!)
Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the flour, and mix, being careful not to burn the flour. Next, add the garlic and tomato paste and mix well. Incrementally mix in the vegetable broth and continue to stir, smoothing out lumps. Bring to a simmer for a minute, then lower the heat and add the lemon juice, zest, and wine. Done!
1 quart (32oz) Tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought marinara)
About 12 ounces of lasagna noodles, either prepared or no-boil
Preheat oven to 350. Cook the lasagna noodles as desired. On the bottom of the pan, put about 1/4 cup of the lemon sauce: enough to coat the bottom. Then put a layer of noodles. On top of the noodles put half of the vegetables, then another layer of noodles. Spread all of the bean filling evenly and top with remaining vegetables. Top with a final layer of noodles. Pour the lemon sauce over the top and remaining tomato sauce (if there is room). Wrap tightly in foil and bake for 45 minutes. Then turn oven up to 450-500 and take the lasagna out. Remove the foil, topping the lasagna evenly with the breadcrumbs. Bake until the breadcrumbs are slightly browned. Let the cooked lasagna rest for a bit before cutting, serve warm.
Enjoy and let me know how it turns out for you! And if you are ever in Portland, Oregon there is more to do than eat so you should stop by Velo Cult and say hi to Jack!
It has been a very long time between posts, even for me, and I apologize. There are a number of reasons so let’s break it down a little.
Speaking Tour Roundup
As many of you know, I went on my first speaking tour in the Spring and it was fantastic. So happy to have this video of one of my presentations thanks to Burning Hearts Media. I can’t thank all of the people involved enough! It’s such a privilege to have friends and colleagues all over the country who helped me out in so many ways. This is what community is all about. Thank you.
No Meat Athlete Book and More
I contributed to this long post on No Meat Athlete that includes a graphic on plant-based sources of nutrients. This was a lot of work, so please check it out and pass it on. Speaking of work and No Meat Athlete, I’m very happy to announce that the No Meat Athlete book is up for pre-order! I wrote a chapter, contributed nutrition tips throughout and included some personal recipes. Excited to have my author page set up on Amazon as well. Matt Frazier is also going on a book tour and I hope to join him on a few dates!
Took a Break From Athletic Events
I probably should have realized this sooner, but I was burned out on racing and training. Even back before I DNF’d the Arizona Trail Race in 2011 I was feeling the effects of many years of training, racing, traveling and having a super hectic personal and professional life. In 2012 I mostly took it easy on the bike and only did two big events for fun. The Dirty Double and Enchanted Forest 24 Hour Mountain Bike race were even harder than they should have been. I tried to focus on ultra-running, but my heart was just never there. I dnf’d the Zion 100 at mile 63, I did finish the Headlands 50-miler (no write-up, just this photo?), but it wasn’t enough to get me through the Oil Creek 100, which I DNF’d at mile 62. I didn’t do a write-up for that race either, but do have this photo of me after blacking out at mile 62. I realize this isn’t ‘taking it easy’ to most people, but switching to ultra-running was my attempt in 2012 to re-inspire myself for racing. It didn’t really work as I just didn’t get the training in to give it a good enough go. I claimed, ignorantly, that I could run a 100-miler on 25 miles a week training. The thing is I barely hit that number as a high week total, let alone average.
Then I got hurt at the second to last cyclocross race of the season in late December. I limped for a week and worried that I re-tore my ACL that I had surgery on when I was 19 years old. Fortunately I did not, but I couldn’t ride for about a month. So that set the stage to not do a single spring time race in probably 8 years.
It has been a very strange year in that regard. I still bike commuted and did the occasional road ride, but not often and definitely not fast. It wasn’t until June of this year that I started riding with regularity. I got a new mountain bike and that has helped a lot. Shout out to Ground Up Speed Shop!
New Day in Life of Vegan Athletes Project Moving Forward
We’ve had some delays but the new site and new project are moving forward! You will not be disappointed. When this launches it is going to garner a lot of my attention and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. For now, don’t forget we have 10 solid Day in the Life of Vegan Athletes episodes.
Secret Project Moving Forward!
I’m working on something with vegan chef extraordinaire Joshua Ploeg that is like nothing I have ever done. It’s huge and has been incredibly time-consuming, but will be so worth it in the end. Be ready to be surprised.
Are you as sad as me that Google Reader ended? I know there are new RSS feeds available that function similarly, but I know I haven’t signed up for any yet. If previously you only read this in Reader I suggest either trying a new feed service or signing up in the right-hand column to have new posts emailed to you.
Winter is always a tough time for me. Yeah, yeah I live in Southern California, how hard can it be? Hard enough! Even though I basically have a degree in behavior change / healthy behavior, I still struggle sometimes myself. Isn’t that always the case? Anyway, I’ve a few half-written (okay, okay they are only in my head!) posts, but for now, since I’m on a video kick, here are a few I’m excited about. And if this site is about anything, it’s about me sharing exciting things.
This first is a fun video featuring my friend Cache, his partner Erin, their rescued companion Yeti and one of my favorite mountain bike trails in Southern California. Erin works at the super awesome Swvre shop, which is featured. Along with my old housemate Dave! And it’s made by my friends Sean and Ace.
Next is this video shows the Cyclocross World Championships recently held in the United States for the first time ever. If this video doesn’t give you chills, check your pulse.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The best activities are the ones where you are actively involved in the process. Like punk rock, where you see your favorite bands at tiny clubs and chat with the band members, the very best cyclocross racers in the world hang out with the fans. It’s healthier for us as individuals AND builds community. Win-win.
Please excuse this For Sale post, but I really need to sell this great bike!
This is my custom build Niner SIR 9 that’s perfect for endurance racing or as a dependable trail-shredding machine.
Niner S.I.R. 9, Medium, 1×10
Rockshock Reba Race fork with lockout
Full XT- cranks, shifter, derailleur, cassette, hydraulic disc brakes
Custom hand-built wheels- rear XT hub, front Shimano Alfine generator hub on 32-spoke Stan’s ZTR Arch Tubeless rims
Chris King headset
Shimano Pro stem, seatpost
WTB Wolverine 2.2 tubeless tires
Bashguard, single-speed chain guide, Rootbeer color
Has very low miles! This build would retail for over $5000, I’m asking only $2200. It’s someone’s dream bike, just not mine. I want to see it go to a good home where it will get the love and shredding it deserves.
SuperNova E3 Triple light (runs on the generator hub, insanely bright) +$200
Please send any questions or come give it a test ride. Bike currently located in San Diego.
Twenty-four hour mountain bike race on a whim? Why not? I’ve been riding a lot with my good friend Mark (who inspired my Risk is Real, Use It post, which you should read if you haven’t yet) and we’ve been talking about how 24-hour mountain bike races could help his Baja endurance motorcycle racing. We missed the Laguna Seca 24hr and just when I was thinking that there’s a serious lack of endurance mountain bike races within a day’s drive of Southern CA, I found the 24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest near Gallup, New Mexico. What’s a few extra hours in the car to hit some new trails?
These races are like a party in a campground with a bunch of riding happening. The 16-mile course, with the exception of the dirt road through staging, was fun single track. Sixteen miles of single track! Very few steep sections which made it the most single speed friendly course I have ever ridden. Didn’t have to walk a single section, even in the middle of the night and elevation above 8000 feet!
Spontaneity has it’s drawbacks, and one was that Mark had to work till 8pm Friday night. Yeah. Our friend Paul, a recent Super Randonneur, jumped in for the adventure and I invited my friend Timoni so we could drop her off in Sedona to see her partner (and get an extra driver!). If you are doing the math and with the time change, this puts us at the race at 8am- four hours before the start. Needless to say my total sleep time in the 36 hours before the race was 2 hours in the minivan. Adventure, right?
This was one of the largest fields I’ve ever raced- over 20 solo single speed and more than 70 total solo racers! I hadn’t raced a 24 hour in almost two years and I hadn’t trained for this, but that didn’t stop me from going out fast on the first lap. So dumb! Ha. The backside of the course had a 20 MPH section with berms and little jumps- I couldn’t help but go fast! A few laps later, and keep in mind that 3 laps is 48 miles of single track mountain biking, which tires out much more than your legs, and I see Mark at our camp spot. Oh no, the elevation and dryness has totally messed up his breathing! When I come around again they tell me my place and suddenly it turns into a race. “Here are your bottles and a bar, get out of here!” I try to reason that it’s too early to talk about placing but they don’t want to hear it and next thing I know I’m out for another lap.
These races are ‘slow’ enough that you can chat with others- which I did to no end. A woman on a 4-female team and I chatted for a good half a lap. She told me how great I was doing and I told her that any idiot can ride fast for 6 hours- the next 18 are what matters. And when I hear myself say, ‘the next 18’ I get a little nervous. What am I doing?
Night comes. I’m still enjoying the course and am loving the cooler temperatures. Fewer riders are out there and suddenly everyone asks about lap number and place. Turns out I’m back and forth for second place in single speed with a 24-hour rookie named Brian. Uh oh. First place was a lap up but Brian and I rode together for a little. He kept talking about how he needed to sleep. Those laps between midnight and 5am are an experience I cannot begin to describe. Everything is slow. And quiet. The forest consumes you. Your brain plays tricks on you. Am I lost? Am I riding in circles? Where is everyone? It didn’t help that the race organizers put skeletons and other enchanted beings along the course!
My new endurance cycling quote, ‘The first 40% is legs, the second 40% is mind. The last 20% is heart.”
Paul had cooked me up some veggie broth just before midnight and then headed to sleep- he needed to be alert enough to drive back right after the race. I roll through around 130am and the party has dissipated. I pound a yerba mate, eat a little, put on warmer clothes and head into the darkness. Two laps till daylight I tell myself. My legs have given their all for 40% and now my mind is suppose to take over, but it doesn’t want to.
At 3am the only person awake at the entire start/finish is the person who recorded my number. Dead quiet. I make the mistake of sitting down to eat. I feel sick and get super cold. Oh no! I wrap myself in my sleeping bag ‘just to warm up.’ Ugh. I sleep on the ground for about an hour and a half. At the first signs of daylight I groggily head out for another lap. My eyes are closing while I ride. I’m spaced out. I wonder what my equivalent Blood Alcohol Level would be. I focus on the beauty of the forest at dawn. What a privilege to be here! A team rider blasts past me and I imagine how pathetic I probably look barely moving forward.
At camp the smell of coffee is strong. People say good morning and congratulate me on riding still. I’m filthy and wearing the same kit I started with. Paul had made some hot food and coffee, but him and Mark don’t let me relax. My sleep put me back at 4th place. “Let’s go, I’m riding this lap with you.” Mark and I head out and I’m pretty stoked. Him and I first rode BMX bikes together almost 20 years ago! Then Brian rolls up to me. He’s full of energy. Wtf? For a moment we think we’re on the same lap. Are we tied in 2nd place with 3 hours left? Do we really have to duel it out? I’m not sure I want to say ‘fortunately’ or ‘unfortunately’ but he’s a lap up. No need to race. He rode all night.
Mark and I bomb the fast section. It’s dangerous, but oh so fun. I keep looking over my shoulder for that dreaded 1-99 number of a solo single speed racer. That last climb is like a mountain. Elevation still bothering me. And just to state the obvious, my ass hurts like you wouldn’t believe. Finally the start/finish tent is in sight. Lisa, the super human race director, shows me the stats. I’m in third securely. Unless fourth place finishes goes out for an hour an a half last lap I’m good. I’m thankful. But I don’t change out of my kit just yet- if we see him go by and attempt a last lap I have to give chase to hold onto that coveted podium place. Funny the way that works.
I don’t have to go out for another lap! I eat hot food and I lay in the dirt. Relaxation! Getting changed is the hardest thing I can imagine. I almost fell asleep part way through changing. Ha! We roll down to the tent, they count down to noon and the awards start immediately. They say their thank you’s and announce prizes for traveling the farthest to the race and Mark and I got 2nd place! Free giant container of electrolyte drink- what a super awesome thing to do. Thank you! Then podium stuff, then we pack up to head back to California.
On the way we stop at Macy’s European Cafe in Flagstaff for some vegan yuminess and I coordinate via text and the internet to realize that Cara Gillis’ Race Across America 2-person team (check out her vegan challenge!) is on the canyon road between Sedona, where we have to go, and Flagstaff. Yay! Driving down we cheer on all of the teams we see.
It was early Monday morning before I saw my own bed again. What an adventure! Thank you everyone at the 24 Hours of the Enchanted Forest for putting on a spectacular event. Next year they host the 24-hour National Championships and I’m sure it’ll be great. Not sure, I’ll be there, but maybe?
Lastly, here’s an unbelievable skate video. This is how I feel when I mountain bike on fun trails. Have a great weekend! Stay stoked!
I’m an endurance athlete through and through. I don’t know if it’s my bike touring background or just my mental state, but something keeps me in zone 3! I’ve tried recently to expand my racing, mostly through cyclocross, and this inevitably leads to shorter races in general, and the Idyllwild Spring Challenge this past Saturday, specifically.
I scheduled this race because Nicolas signed up, but then he couldn’t go. I emailed the race organizer and she was exceptionally cool about the registration stuff and before I knew it Marissa, Smokey the dog and I were in her car early Saturday morning heading to the mountain town of Idyllwild for my first ever cross-country mountain bike race.
Endurance racers get a lot of credit. ‘You rode how far?’ But racers like Steevo turn themselves inside out weekend after weekend and that’s something I can’t wrap my mind around. I was thinking ‘this is a short race’ but I went out like it was a 2.8 mile race and not 28 miles. At the top of the first climb I was seeing stars and gasping for air! Was it the heat? Am I that out of shape? Oh yeah, we’re at 5000 feet! That helped calm me down. As soon I caught my breath I went balls out. Again. I don’t know if it’s because of where I started in the Open Class pack, but I just didn’t see many people. That makes ‘racing’ harder. Where am I? Where are the other single speeders?
The course was superbly marked, there were volunteers at every potentially confusing turn and after the third big climb, about half-way through, the rest was rolling, mostly downhill technical single track. This is why I’m here! SO fun. Dustier and looser than I thought Idyllwild would be, but still super fun. I started to finally catch people and for a long-ish downhill doubletrack section I used the single-speed skill of tucking behind a geared bike that was tearing it up! She pulled me along until we hit a flatter section and I could pedal again. Suddenly we were passing people left and right. In my blurry-visioned, dehydrated state I was using my last bit of focus beyond trying to stay upright to see if anyone we passed was on single speed.
We finished by returning down the climb pictured above. When I crossed the line I had no idea where I had placed. I just knew that every muscle in my body was sore. I even had crashed in a soft section and the sting of scrapes and bruises was now apparent.
I hydrated, washed off in a sink and then we hung out for the raffle. I love raffles! Legalized gambling. When results were posted I was surprised to see that I got 3rd out of 4 people in the Open Single Speed Class…..and I’m pretty sure the guy I beat was on a fat bike! The results page hasn’t been updated yet to see where I placed against others in the Open Class. Overall though I’m stoked for the experience and Idyllwild Cycling put on a great race. They even had dog-sitting and proceeds went to the local Living Free Animal Sanctuary. Get out there if you get the chance!
We headed into town for eats, stopped at the health food store (somethings never change) and then got falafel at a super friendly Greek spot before heading out of the mountains and back toward the coast. My post-race fatigue is somehow different. More intense and less of a generalized tiredness? I guess that would make sense considering that is the difference between this race and what I usually do. So for all of you endurance racers, get out there to do a shorter race and turn yourself inside out!
Last weekend I had the privilege to ride the Mt Laguna Bicycle Classic, a fantastic AdventureCORPS century in East San Diego County.I rode the pre-ride in 2009 and the 2010 event– somehow finishing in just over 6 1/2 hours. How the heck did I do that? I guess the woman at the aid station who said, ‘I thought you were fast?’ when I leisurely rolled up on the far end of the bell curve knew something I didn’t. And this was before I broke a spoke on my rear ksryium wheel and borrowed a friend’s bike to finish…
As always Chris Kostman took a million photos, most of which are available on the results page. Now it’s no secret that AdventureCORPS helps out my bike club Swarm!, as does Swarm! help at most AdventureCORPS events so what I’m going to say may seem bias. There are a few things that separate a great event from a decent event and AdventureCORPS does them all. Here’s an incomplete list off of the top of my head:
-Clear communication before the event- what the course, aid and start/finish will look like and what participants need to know and have.
-Well-stocked aid stations with friendly, knowledgeable volunteers- not just partners of participants who don’t know anything about cycling, the course or the food/supplements being offered.
-Energetic volunteers! It makes such a difference to have people out there who are stoked. Most AdventureCORPS volunteers have done the events- it makes a huge difference.
-Food at the end that isn’t the same as the snacks at aid stations. Home-made Filipino food with vegan options? Hell yeah!
-Lots of high-quality photos, clearly organized and available for free!
It was a great way to spend my day and my first century since my bike tour last summer! Geez…
This morning the Stagecoach 400 Bike Packing Race kicked off in Idylwild, CA. I really wanted to do this race. I started the motions, was mountain biking more but then just didn’t get my stuff organized. What kind of organization? See my post before I attempted the Arizona Trail Race. My DNF there really has had a huge impact on me- a year later and I haven’t even finished writing about what happened. Even though this course is much more rideable, I still had my concerns and was only willing to show up at the start if I had pre-ridden all of it. But I didn’t get it together in time. Maybe next year? Meanwhile follow the brave souls who are riding this year including Jill Homer, who I link to often, on the Track Leaders Map.
Have a great weekend and I hope Spring has sprung wherever you are and that you’re enjoying these longer days. I know I am!