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Interview with Gene Palumbo -- World Champion

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Taylor Phinney just won the U23 World Championships in the TT discipline which makes Colorado's total Worlds TT champions for 2010 two! The other World champion in 2010 is Gene Palumbo who won his title a month or so ago in Austria. I've had the luck of racing on Gene's team a few years ago and now the honor of interviewing him.

[303Cycling] Competing in the World Championships isn't something you decide a few weeks prior to the event, how long has this quest been in the plans?

I began thinking about competing at Worlds about 3 years ago after competing at Nationals. I met a guy at Nationals named Thurlow Rodgers who is a World Champion and was intrigued by his success and the fact that he had rainbow stripes on his kit. I thought, Wow, what an accomplishment and how cool to focus and achieve that level of success. I decided then that I would figure out what it took to go to World’s and what it would take to focus in training for the Time Trial event and if I would even have a chance at getting on the podium if I committed to doing so. I heard the event in Austria was very professional, dynamic and a really cool experience.

[303Cycling] What was you life/training like to prepare for Worlds?  (I don't need training plan details but how intense was your training?  Would have this been something like out of the movie Rocky?)

Everything on a daily basis had to do with sticking with my training plan as well as diet, scheduling with my wife and making many sacrifices including family to focus on cycling. My wife and son are 100% supportive and we all schedule our days, weeks and events around my training calendar. How amazingly selfish and egocentric this has all been but without the support of my wife and son this never would have solidified.
In training for the World’s, I tried to leverage the foundation of training and racing established during the past several years. From 2006 through 2008 I was coached by the same USA Cycling certified coach and in 2009 I ended up coaching myself. I went to the World’s in St. Johann, Austria in 2009 and ended up 22nd in the Time Trial and was very disappointed as well as mad at myself for a bad performance. While in Austria I met a guy named Michael Carter and agreed to utilize his coaching services in 2010 with the goal of focusing on my time trialing abilities and trying to win Nationals and Worlds. A large part of the motivation to focus on time trialing was due to lower back problems that have been getting progressively worse. I have found that spending less time in the saddle for long durations and my position on a time trial bike essentially gave me a new life in racing as I had seriously considered quitting many times. The excruciating back pain and associated physical therapy, stretching, core work and time needed to do all these maintenance things, in addition to training, was becoming too much to handle for myself and my family from both a financial and emotional perspective. Coach Carter worked around my back issue by developing a training plan focused on shorter duration training rides with high power intensity. I was basically spending about 10-12 hours per week on my bike and another 3 hours per week focused on lower back maintenance including core and stretching work. Each month I would go to Coach Carter’s studio for Conconi testing to measure how training was progressing and adjusting the training schedule accordingly to accomplish the Nationals and World’s goals. I don’t know if this was something out of “Rocky” but like any athlete that wants to be successful, I was very focused and dedicated to my training schedule. I truly believed I could win if stuck to the training schedule like glue no matter if I was sick, it was snowing or whatever other excuses could have gotten in the way. I believed in Coach Carter’s reputation and planning but I also believed that if I utilized his training plan and kept the rest of my body in killer shape that I would be stronger than anyone else at Worlds. I did whatever I could to give myself a competitive advantage including projecting myself onto the podium for months while training. Part of my training included a mantra my 8 year old son made up for me: “Ride like a bullet train” During races on out on training rides during the past few years I must have repeated this mantra thousands of times!!! I was pretty much riding 6-7 days per week. Monday’s are usually my recovery or Off day and I typically would treat them as active recovery days.

Dust Bowl of Xilinx - Photos, Results and more

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Story from Ben Welnak and Kris Thompson

Photo Credit: Ben Welnak
Armin Bantowsky - High Peaks Masters riding the humps


It's that time of the year - time to kick off the Boulder Cyclocross Series. Race #1 of the series, at Xilinx Park near Longmont, was a great start to the season.

The start of the 2010 cyclocross season has seen some dry, summer-like temperatures and today was more of the same, resulting in good turnouts and great racing throughout the categories. With blue skies, high temperatures around 80, and the trails were every thing from hard pack and fast to almost sand like but always dusty. Overall the dusty course really tested riders abilities to cruise through the corners gracefully with little to no brakes... that is if they were interested in the podium. The later fields of the day were graced with fields of sand like dust that rode more like snow than sand forcing you to float or sink. Given all these features the racers quickly spread out on this long open course.

The men's open field was broken open pretty quickly by the Boulder Cycle Sport crew. Allen Krughoff and Brandon Dwight rode out front with a good lead for most of the second half of the race. Allen ended up taking the win in a friendly sprint to the finish.

Full Boulder Racing Results

Top five for the Men's and Women's Open categories:


Allen Krughoff - Boulder Cycle Sport
Brandon Dwight - Boulder Cycle Sport
Peter Webber - Boulder Cycle Sport
Troy Heithecker - Ft. Collins Cyclery
Christian McCarthy - Natural Grocers


Nicole Duke - Hudz-Subaru
Lisa Strong - Hudz-Subaru
Ann Tromley - Tokyo Joes
Melanie Long - Tough Girl
Heather Szabo - Tokyo Joes

Boulder Valley School District BLAST program

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Boulder Valley School District has a very progressive bike education program for 5th graders called Blast. I stopped by Heatherwood Elementary last year and spoke to Landon Hilliard, and Anne Samplonius (pro cyclist) about the program. I also watched the excitement of the kids in participating in this program. Last week Dan Adams with the Blast program told us what Blast is about

The BLAST program is based on the principle that vehicular cycling is an essential life skill and we are doing our children a disservice by failing to appropriately training them in it. Our goal is to have a comprehensive curriculum of bicycle ridership and safety that equips students to ride confidently and competently as a way to get around that becomes accepted as a standard part of the PE curriculum in the BVSD and is therefore offered to every student who passes through the system. To achieve that level of education requires approximately 11 classroom hours. We currently are teaching an abbreviated curriculum that focuses on introducing the basics of vehicular cycling and drilling a few essential confidence building skills that improve safety dramatically. Our program has been growing so we are now working with about 600 students at 6 different schools across the district. We have a few efficacy metrics like a quiz we give before and after to each student that shows uniform improvement. We would like to be able to look more long term to see how students are implementing techniques we've taught and if we are actually increasing the amount the students are riding. Our program is still a work in progress but so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Parents, PE teachers and the students alike request that we come back for more because they had so much fun and valued the program. This bodes well for us as we continue to hone our product, improve our operations and grow our scope.

Green Mountain Sports Cross #1

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Sunday's Green Mountain Sports cross race #1 rolled on under record high temperatures. As I was driving down to the race the car thermometer read 96. When we pulled into the parking lot it was still 95 and I new it was going to be a hot and dusty 45 minutes. The course was typical of the Green Mountain Sports series. There were two run ups and two sets of barriers. The course was bumpy and loose in spots but did not seem as bumpy as years past. The turn out was good with over 300 finishers.

CYCLOCROSS: In 10 Muddy, Beer Stained Steps

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Written by Craig Randall on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Rob O'Dea

1. Dirt + Speed: It’s no wonder many cyclocross races are given the “gran prix” moniker; these suckers are fast and typically circle a short course. Think of it like a road criterium with less chance for limb-thrashing road rash and a propensity for powerslides.

2. Hand-ups: What makes cyclocross such a different animal is that it’s as much about intensity as it is hijinx. “Hand-ups” come in a few varieties; beer hand-ups are when fans place sudsy beverages in the hands of speeding-by racers. It’s like a road race’s feedzone but with a rock n’ roll twist ‘cause these drinks ain’t for hydration. Another common hand-up is cold hard cash. Want the riders to ‘up the pace and incite some chaos? Extend a $5 bill over the course tape and watch these workingmen earn their keep.

3. The hole shot: because they’re short, cyclocross races typically start in a fury with riders sprinting from a wider start line to narrower single track in an effort to snag the coveted hole. Making the hole shot ever more important is that the bulk of a cyclocross race occurs on a narrow course, impacting your ability to pass. Bury yourself to get the hole shot – it’ll hurt but you’ll have great position and, besides, pain is what beer hand-ups are for (see # 2).

4. Call-ups: Cyclocross racing’s most contested race happens before the start gun even fires. The announcer’s “call-up” effectively determines your start line position. If you’re outside of a 1st-through-3rd row call-up you’ll spend your race yo-yo’ing off the back and fighting for thirtieth place. Secured an early row start? Your race will include a fight for the hole shot and a good chance at stealing the ‘w.’ Call-up position is generally determined by your previous racing success (points) or if you’re just a memorable character. Being weird, or being a local, or being well known because of previous race heroics will definitely help your chances of a stellar call-up. But sometimes announcers are just biased. Deal with it. Or just get faster.

Movement Bike -- creating the $10 bike!

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Learn More at

Another inspiring Boulder organization working on creating the equivalent to the $100 laptop. Marius Klee, a personal friend of mine, is heading up Movement Bike to help create the $10 bike. Why is this important? Learn more from Marius himself.

[303Cycling] Is your organization doing the same thing as the $100 laptop?

[Marius] The idea is very similar to the $100 laptop, "One Laptop Per Child", by Nicholas Negroponte, but for transportation. Bicycles serves as fundamental way of mobility in developing countries, as well as Europe or the US, but the main entry barrier is the price. Our long term goal is to scale our project in such a way that we can significantly reduce the cost of the bicycle and empower more people that way.

[303Cycling] How did you get started in this?

[Marius] Every summer throughout college I traveled with NGOs to developing countries (China, Nepal, India, Africa) to volunteer. Studying economics, I researched what tools can be very beneficial and improve the economy. Transportation and mobility are fundamental in our lives, whether it's the transportation of goods, or saving time, or simply being more efficient. I'm motivated by the good that we can bring to people by giving them quality products at low prices. Bicycles have such widespread effects from increased income to lower teen pregnancies (due to the improved economic situation within a family, parents can allow their kids to go to school, which reduces teens getting married early, reduces HIV spread, and creates a more educated population). It is a very powerful tool.

[303Cycling] How far along are you?

Riding Venus de Miles for the first time

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On Saturday, August 29, I joined more than 1,800 other women and a few men dressed in drag to ride Venus de Miles through Longmont and Niwot. We were launched to pumping music, treated to a scenic route and surrounded by camaraderie. The three-year-old event, which was Colorado's first, women-only ride, tripled its inaugural turnout. It wasn't hard to see why.

The Venus de Miles ride raises money for Boulder-based Greenhouse Scholars. As it was explained to us before we hit the roads, only about 11 percent of disadvantaged college entrants graduate. Our society places a great deal of emphasis on graduating students from high school and getting them into college, but then most of them are left to their own devices. Greenhouse Scholars nurtures Colorado residents throughout their higher education years, helping them get scholarships, internships and jobs with the hope they will become community leaders rather than college dropouts.

Coming from Texas, I have participated in many organized rides, large and small. Needless to say, those events didn't feature organic foods, coconut water, compost bins and banjo-playing bands at rest stops. Don't get me wrong - I love a good peanut butter sandwich when riding, but the granola with yogurt and chocolate soy milk were unique twists. The post-ride German sausage I have come to love was replaced by grilled chicken, mixed-greens salad and honey-wheat roll, leaving me feeling like I didn't destroy my workout with lunch.

I was also impressed by the turnout due to the steep entrance fee of $79-$115, depending on what date a person registered to ride. Even though the money went toward a great cause (the ride expected to raise $100,000 for Greenhouse Scholars), these are tough economic times. Trying to budget several hundred dollars per season for rides and races can quickly become a challenge. Despite the high entrance fee, there was no shortage of young and old, experienced and beginner, wings and feather boas and colorful striped socks.


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