Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A New Kind of Ladies' Night
The Pure Austin Driveway Series

by Kat Hunter

W1/2/3 podium, Week 7
The Driveway is one of Austin’s most beloved and popular bike racing venues. Every Thursday evening from March to October, a car racetrack deep in the woods of East Austin transforms into a cyclist’s mecca. As hundreds of competitors and spectators pour in along the narrow country road by car and by bike, you can almost hear the bells tolling, the steadfast parishioners returning yet again for more penance on two wheels.

For years, the series’ popularity has been growing by leaps and bounds. This season, the men’s category 4/5 and P1/2/3 races regularly reach their respective field limits of 75 and 100 riders. Andrew Willis and Holly Ammerman, husband-and-wife owners of Holland Racing and the Driveway Series event, had every reason to expect continued success without changing a thing, so I was surprised when they convened a focus group of women bike racers over the winter off season to talk about how women’s racing could be improved at the Driveway.

To appreciate what such a gesture means, you have to understand the role of women’s racing within the sport of cycling. Races cost money, and women don’t have the numbers to be profitable. When turnout is low or convenience dictates, officials often combine us last minute with men’s fields. Our payouts are half or less the amount awarded to the same category of men. We’re rarely taken seriously. And no one really cares what we think about all of that, nor should they, financially speaking. But it’s awfully nice to be asked.

The Driveway committee meetings, composed of a small group of women racers from various categories and Austin teams, discussed how to improve the Driveway experience over the course of three meetings, and Holland Racing implemented many of those changes in the 2013 season. This Thursday, May 2, marks the first of the new Driveway Series “Ladies Nights.”

The Changes

Last year, the category 3/4 women were the first race of the day, scheduled at 5pm. The 1/2/3 women, though scored separately, raced with the men’s category 3/4 field at 5:30pm. The women's 1/2/3 race was often poorly attended.

W1/2/3 podium, Week 5
This year, the women’s race schedule changes according to the amount of daylight. At the beginning and end of the series, the women race at 5pm in a women’s 1/2/3 and 4, scored separately but starting together. The men’s 3/4 race still offers women’s primes, and some women also choose to race the men’s P1/2/3. In the middle of the season—from May 9 to Sept 26—the traditional women’s 3/4 starts at 5pm, and the W1/2/3 starts with the Men’s 35+ race at 7:45pm or 7:05pm. Many women in the Driveway focus group considered the later master’s race, which typically has a smaller field and less crashes, preferable to the men’s 3/4.

The new “Ladies Nights” occur the first Thursday of May, June, July, and August, offering a women’s only race (1/2/3 and 4 scored separately) on the top track while the master’s 35+ race is held on the bottom track. The Ladies Night format answers many of the requests made by the women in the focus group—a women’s only field, a later start time for those who can’t make it to the track as early as 5pm, and increased recognition. The women's 3/4 is still held at 5pm, which has the added benefit of allowing cat 3 and cat 4 riders to race two women's only races in one day.  

Why You Should Attend Ladies Nights  

W4 podium, Week 6
Though Austin’s cycling culture, which has a long and illustrious history, may not have started at the Driveway, that’s arguably where, heart and soul, it’s being cultivated today. The Driveway Series is an event that’s as much social as athletic. You don’t just go to the Driveway to race—you go to watch, to drink a beer, to catch up on gossip, to show off your bike, to blow off steam, to find your niche in a community that’s as patently and uniquely “weird” as any other Austin tradition.  

As the hub for so much of what shapes Texas bike racing, the Driveway is in a position to significantly impact women’s racing, not only in how it is perceived, but in how it grows and develops in the years to come. There’s a very simple solution to many of the problems in women’s cycling—more women. With more of us actively competing, women could have separate category 3 races, providing a middle ground of learning and development for riders moving up in the ranks. By default, we’d have more clout in organizational decision making, be eligible for more prize money, and avoid the inconvenience of combined fields.

Like those cheesy bar campaigns offering happy hour specials and free drinks for women (minus the calories and the come-ons), Ladies Nights at the Driveway provide ample incentive for the fairer sex to attend in force. In the women’s 1/2/3, $200 prize money is divided among the top five, with awards for the top three in the women’s 4. And most importantly, we get a chance to race in our own field in the prime time spotlight. The top track is completely visible to spectators, so they’ll be able to experience the race from start to finish.

Show your appreciation for a good deed and your love for women’s bike racing by coming out to participate in or watch the Driveway’s first Ladies Night criterium of 2013. Click here for more info. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Race Report, Matrix Challenge

By Allison Atkinson, ATC Racing

The Matrix Crit takes place in the streets of the quaint Wilson Historic District located in downtown Dallas.  White picket fences surround the perfectly green, manicured lawns of the Victorian era homes that line the staging area. Amid this picturesque scene, you'll find the most technical crit course in Texas. With eight 90-degree turns on fairly flat terrain, it's a fast race where hesitation is not an option and crashes can be bone-crushing.

Day one I raced the 45-minute Women's cat 3 at 7:45am. It was chilly enough for arm and knee warmers. I agreed to work with Ash Duban (Comanche Racing), who is an amazing crit racer. It was also her birthday, and she wanted a win. On lap one I worked my way to third wheel, but not much happened until the straightaway after the sixth turn. The straightaway is a false flat about two blocks long, so it is one of the only places one can launch a big attack without worrying about an upcoming turn. I launched my first attack there to kick up the pace and hopefully stir things up. Think Finance, a team based out of Dallas, had a huge presence in this race. Once I was caught, they countered by sending one girl up. Andrea Thomas and Kelly Barrientes attacked the hardest and most often out of the Think women. Instead of being swallowed by the gruppo compacto, I fought my way to the front to stay on wheel one to three. My goal was to chase down as many attacks as possible and keep Ash from having to work too much.  

Think Finance launched attack after attack and snatched almost every prime. Either Ash or I steadily bridged the group back to any girl up the road. I knew that this was not too smart for my personal results, but there were not many Austin girls willing to help us out. At two laps to go, the pace slowed a bit as everyone waited in anticipation for the next big move. A big breakaway never happened, as we were all pretty tired from attacking and chasing. Those who sat in continued to do so. It would come down to a pack sprint.

Basically the first three to get to turn seven would be in the best position going into the short sprint to the finish.  I decided to get a jump on what I knew was going to be a sketchy situation by launching a huge attack coming out of turn four. I kept control through turns five and six, and then jumped again on the straightaway with the last of my energy. A few Think Finance girls, including Thomas, countered, and Ash followed their lead to that important seventh turn. Rounding the corner, I pulled out a half-hearted sprint just to stay in the top 10. I kept my head up to see how Ash did. It was too close to call! Ash thought she got second or third, but was not sure. It turned out that she won by basically a millisecond thanks to her heroic bike throw! We were so excited! I placed seventh.

After a good nap and some food, I lined up for the Women's Open with much less clothing and perfect spring sunshine. My goal was to hang on and help the chase group. I say that because women like Lauren Stephens (FCS/Cycling p/b Zngine + Mr. Restore) and Christina Gokey-Smith (Rouse/OOGIE Racing) are expected to break away.  

From the beginning, I felt a difference compared to the cat 3's. It's not that it was harder for me. In fact, I worked less because of the larger field. The difference was the speed at which we took the turns, plus the extra 15 minutes. The mental focus alone that it took to execute each turn safely and efficiently wore me down. The Open race was also an hour compared to 45 minutes. This was the longest crit I'd ever raced. My hands became numb after 30 minutes from being in the drops. Every time I would jump out of the saddle or countersteer, they'd go completely numb. When it became impossible to shift, I sat up and shook out my hands. It's probably all in my mind, but I felt like my eyes were tired, too!  I had to shake my head and tell myself, "Focus!  Eyes forward!  Stay on her wheel and don't give up your position!"
Four women were in the break that formed: Gokey-Smith, Stephens, Kathleen Hattaway (Jubilee), and Catherine Moore (Think Finance). Jubilee and Think had the biggest presence, and with teammates up the road, they were not going to chase. Ash, Allison Floyd (River City Market Racing), Kim Ciolli (River City Market Racing), a few other "single" ladies, and myself stayed steady to help keep the pace up. We each did our share of attacking and bridging when the group split or someone went off the front. We stayed together and before I knew it, I heard the bell for the final lap. This was where the crash went down.
I saw Andrea Thomas out of the corner of my right eye attack in the same place I made my move in the morning race: turn four. She was up toward the front coming out of turn five. This was an aggressive, smart place to attack, but it's risky because you're rattling everyone's cages right before two major turns. Thomas simply slid out of turn six, taking Michelle Montoya (Jubilee) out as well. This being the last lap, we were all coming into the corner hot, so it was hard to avoid the crash and make it out cleanly. Half the field took off with little hesitation, while FloydCiolli, myself, and others picked up from a dead stop. As disappointing as it was to not make it into the top ten, I was glad to stay upright and live to race another day. I finished thirteenth. Stephens won, with Gokey-Smith second and Moore third.

 Day two I only raced the W3 morning race, same course and same time. The difference was that there were less Think Finance women present. I decided to chill out mid-pack to scope out who to watch for. There were a few girls that stood out and did a lot of pulling. The pace was faster than the day before, whipping around the turns.  For the majority of the race I stayed rear-pack (which is hard not to do when the field is small and everyone is strong), but I'd come out on occasion to attack after turn four and on the straightaway. Ash and I worked to chase down attacks by Rockwall Cycling. Tracy Christenson (Rockwall) managed to stay away for nearly two laps before I bridged up to her.
Here is where you may ask, "What were you thinking???" At two laps to go, I launched the same big attack I did the day before and kept a good position. The problem was that I had no clue how many laps we had left. The lap cards were not displayed, and a bell rang for almost every lap due to the abundance of awesome primes. I underestimated my effort, and what I thought was two to go was actually one to go!  I was wondering why Allison Floyd and other riders kept looking back at me like, "Hello??? Are you going to attack or what?"  I watched the sprint happen and cruised through the finish for tenth place. I was mentally tired and happy to be done, but very mad at myself.

Let it be known that I went into this weekend with fear and doubt in my mind.  I had never been a fan of crits, but knew that if I wanted to race for real I'd have to overcome the fear. I learned that it's okay to feel the fear while bombing down a straightaway setting up for a hard turn. What matters is how you react. I accepted the fear by trusting that all the preparation that went into my cornering skills was legit and that the tires on my wheels would hold me up. I also accepted that I trusted the women I raced with. It's hard but necessary to trust the right people and know they will make it through the corner safe. With the acceptance of fear comes the acceptance that you could go down.
As I was walking to the car to head back to the hotel Saturday afternoon, I witnessed a bad crash in the men's cat 3 race as they took turn four. One rider broke his collarbone and the other broke his arm. Catherine Moore went down on day two of the Open race and was sent to the hospital, where she was slipping in and out of consciousness. There were more crashes than I can mention, but that is part of this brutal sport. On a positive note, the heroic bike throws, strong attacks, and well-deserved wins outnumbered crashes. So streets of the Wilson Historic District will remain like any other neighborhood until we come back next year for the fastest crit in the state! I cannot wait!

Results and pictures on the official Matrix Challenge Facebook page

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boardman Bikes
A British Powerhouse Arrives in Texas

Boardman SLR
Boardman Bikes Spotted in Texas!

Can't decide if you want a stylish, boutique European brand, or a cleverly engineered North American bike? Boardman Bikes may solve the dilemma for you. Chris Boardman is an Olympic champion, three-time World Champion, and hour record holder. Those unfamiliar with his history of time trialing prowess and technical acumen both in training and bike design may enjoy this documentary. Unlike other brands that just pay to plaster a former pro's name on the bike, Boardman Bikes actually employs the person it touts on the downtube as the head of the company's Research and Development department.

So what has the Boardman brain trust produced? A line of time trial bikes that won the 2012 Kona Ironman World Championship, an aero road bike that won ITU triathlon gold and bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, a super-light sub 900 gram frame, and a whole line of road, mountain, and cyclocross excellence. Until now there was no way to get these bikes in the U.S. other than mail order. Austin Tri-Cyclist has brought Boardman Bikes to Texas, with models already in stock for you to test ride! We don't have the space to review every model that Boardman offers here, but we will give you a quick look at two of their coolest options:

The Kona Winning Boardman AiR/TT

Boardmain AiR/TT
Boardman AiR/TT/9.8

This is the time trial bike that Pete Jacobs rode to Kona victory last year. It features an overall shape very similar to a Cervelo P2, but with a trick fork that includes an integrated front brake and a hidden rear brake. Additionally, the stack and reach on these frames are lower and longer than the P2 or the new P3 and P5. Athletes who are frustrated with the high stack trend of some of the usual brands should give this frame a look. The AiR/TT comes in a variety of different builds and colors, all sharing the same frame and fork. The frame is CFD and wind tunnel designed, with a BB30 bottom bracket and internal cable routing. If you've been seeking a well-engineered TT bike, but want your ride to stand out from the crowd in the local transition racks, the Boardman is the ideal choice. Check out the video below for a tour of the bike's features from Chris Boardman himself:

The Gold and Bronze Medal Winning Boardman AiR Road Bike

Boardman AiR
Boardman AiR/9.4

Aero road bikes have been catching on big time, and Boardman's AiR road frames have been proving themselves for years under the Brownlee brothers in draft-legal ITU triathlons. Numerous race wins, ITU world championships, and a gold and bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics have established the bike's ability to go fast and handle well in a pack of triathletes going full gas. Like the TT frames, these road bikes offer lower, more aggressive geometry than other aero road frames such as the the Cervelo S5. They also build up light enough to weigh in under the UCI-legal limit of 15 pounds, even with aerodynamic wheels. The same design philosophy of the TT frame is applied to the road frame, with the stiff BB30 bottom bracket standard and internal cable routing to shave away aero drag. The road frame uses standard brake mounting for ease of maintenance and wheel changes. Again, many models and colors are offered, and all are based on the same frame, so you don't get shortchanged going with a less expensive model. Chris takes you on another tour:

The AiR 9.2S Field Tested

Boardman AiR Veloway Field Test
The Veloway Testing Grounds

I decided to put the aero road bike to the test up against one of the fastest bikes in the world, the Cervelo S5. The testing ground was the Austin Texas Veloway, a 3.2-mile loop featuring short, steep climbs; tight, technical turns; bumpy pavement; and fast, straight descents. The area is also somewhat shielded from the ever-present, gusty winds of Central Texas, which makes comparison easier.

I set the fit coordinates of each bike to be identical – saddle setback, saddle height, and the stack and reach of the bars. I then did a series of laps on the Veloway, alternating from one bike to the other. An important detail is that each run was done on the exact same set of wheels and tires: HED Jet clinchers with Continental GP4000S tires. Since wheels and tires can have a profound effect on speed, handling, and comfort, this is an essential, if annoying, step you must take when test riding or comparing bikes.

The Boardman felt great. I was immediately able to attack the corners just as confidently on the Boardman as I was on my own S5. Comparison with the super-cool Strava website Raceshape confirmed that the bikes were evenly matched around the hairpin turns. Up the steep, short kicker on each lap I would do a 1000-watt surge to get a feel for how the bikes felt at full power, and the Boardman proved to be plenty stiff and stable powering up the hill. The bike showed none of the uncomfortable properties some say they experience on aero road bikes, with everything feeling perfectly composed over the sometimes cracked and bumpy pavement at the Veloway.

Goldencheetah Aerolab
GoldenCheetah's Aerolab
Virtual Elevation
A total of 6 laps were performed, a set of 2 with each bike at increasing power levels: the first at 200 watts, the second at 250 watts, and the third at 300 watts. I was careful to hold the same position with my head, body, and hands for each lap, and I wore a skinsuit to reduce the error that loose clothing can introduce. Using a clever method called the Chung Method, also known as Virtual Elevation, you can take power files from these runs and determine an approximation of the aerodynamic drag. Since public wind tunnel data is not available for the Boardman bikes, I was curious to see if they stacked up well to the known brands. While tests like this are fraught with error from imprecise body position and varying winds, 4 of the 6 runs produced fairly consistent results, suggesting that the Boardman was just a touch less aero than the S5, with a CdA about .005, or 50 grams @30mph more drag. This would put the Boardman AiR in the same ballpark as the Cervelo S2, or Specialized Venge, without tricky custom brakes or tire-limiting rear wheel cutouts.  To put this in perspective, a typical round tube bike would come in at about 300 grams more drag than the S5.  This test suggests definite aerodynamic legitimacy on the part of the Boardman AiR road bike.

Stop by ATC to test ride one for yourself!

Boardmain AiR
Boardman AiR/9.0

Official Boardman Bikes Wesbite
Boardman Bikes in Stock at ATC

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Ride for Any Day of the Week
Austin Area Group Rides

Please Click Here

For the updated 2015 Austin group ride list

Depending on tradition and the other riders in attendance, group rides can be good for a lot of things—being social, enjoying an easy day, motivating yourself to do a hard workout, or getting dropped. Here’s a selection of Austin area rides to liven up your week.

Please note: Some ride times vary according to the season, so if in doubt check in with the ride organizer. Ride info verified as of 4/10/2013.

Road bikes recommended for all rides included below unless otherwise noted. “Time” is wheels down – it’s always a good idea to show up 10 to 15 minutes early.

We know we're still missing some! If you'd like to add a weekly road ride to our list, contact us at

Beginner - Moderate - Hard - Insane - Women Only - Just For Fun
View By Day of Week

Beginner Friendly

Rothe Recovery Ride

A social ride led by elite cyclist and coach Stefan Rothe, this Monday evening option is open to anyone on a road bike. The route changes every week, going out east toward McKinney Falls and the Tuesday Nighter course, north along Shoal Creek, or south to 5th street or to Buda if time allows. Ride time is typically 1.5-2 hours max.

StartATC downtown, 923 Barton Springs Rd.
TimeMonday, 5:45pm
Duration1.5-2 hrs
ContactStefan Rothe,

Wednesday Beginner Ride

Hosted by the Bicycle Sports Shop Research Blvd location, this is a good ride for those new to riding or wanting to ease back into the saddle. Learn about group riding on a 60-90 minute ride along bike lanes and neighborhood streets. The route consists of mostly flat roads, with some hills to learn about shifting and cadence.

StartBicycle Sports Shop, 10947 Research Blvd.
TimeWednesday, 5:30pm
Duration60-90 mins
ContactBicycle Sports Shop, 512-345-7460

Friday Truancy Ride

This 17-18 mph ride led by Mellow Johnny’s takes you through neighborhoods and official bike routes for the most part, with minimal travel on large roadways and just a few hills and optional sprint points. This group is very social, usually hanging out for coffee and snacks before and after the ride.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeFriday, 2:30pm
Distance30 mi
Routesouthwest toward airport
ContactMellow Johnny’s, 512 473-0222

Scout-a-Route Ride

Great for cyclists new to riding or commuting, or for those just looking for a casual spin, this ride aids participants in navigating through the city and learning safe bike commuting options. Two groups are offered: 1) riders who can average 12 mph for 15-25 miles with one or two regrouping points, and 2) riders who can average 14-16 mph for 20-30 miles, with an extended mileage option. Routes vary weekly, going through Clarksville, Rollingwood, McKinney Falls, South Austin, East Austin, and more.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeSaturday, 9am

Jack and Adam’s Sunday Ride

The J&A Sunday Ride is a classic in Austin and is usually very well attended. Ride options range from “no drop” to intermediate and advanced. Rides are often led by shop employees or teams that the shop sponsors, such as Neoteric Racing, Jack & Adams Racing Team, Velossimo, and Austin Nationals. Check the J&A blog for the month’s scheduled rides. Note that sometimes rides are canceled for area events, and the ride usually starts from the Steiner Steakhouse once a month. Routes and distances vary.

StartJack & Adam’s Bicycles, 1210 Barton Springs Rd.
TimeSunday, 8:30am
Durationvaries according to level, but is typically 2-3 hrs; Steiner rides are usually 1.5-2 hrs
Routevaries by week
ContactJack and Adam’s, 888-499-0863,


Nelo’s Shop Ride

Always following the same route (see map info below), this ride meets Monday and Wednesday nights between April and September. Although it can be described as “moderate,” the ride gets progressively harder as the summer wears on. Riders regroup at Parliament. Lights required!

StartNelo’s Cycles, 8108 Mesa Dr. #105B
TimeMonday & Wednesday, 7pm from April to September
Duration14.40 mi, 50 min
RouteGarmin Map
ContactDavid Figueroa, 512-338-0505,

River City Market Racing Tuesday AM Hill Ride

This ride, led by the women’s racing team River City Market Racing, meets at 7am for coffee at The Coffee Bean & Tea Lead on Lamar. Roll out is at 7:15am. The route varies, but always hits the hills west of town for a 25-30 mile hard workout. Though the ride isn’t “no drop,” they regroup at the top of each big hill and recover between. Men and women riders welcome.

StartThe Coffee Bean & Tea Lead on Lamar
TimeTuesday, 7:15am
Duration25-30 mi, 90-105 mins
ContactJames Murff,

T&T Violet Crown Ride

Meeting at Mellow Johnny’s every Tuesday and Thursday morning and led by a member of the Violet Crown cycling club, this ride is ideal for the intermediate-level cyclist. Expect a steady tempo ride with an average pace of 16-18 mph. No headphones or aero bars. Experience riding in a group is a must.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeTuesday & Thursday, 7am
Duration1.5-2 hrs
ContactAndy Austin,

Gruppo VOP Friday Ride

Gruppo VOP, formed 14 years ago, is an informal association of cyclists that welcomes all riders. The Friday ride is a 28-mile loop going from Westlake out Bee Caves Rd, down River Hills Rd, and up through Seven Oaks back to Bee Caves Road and the Bee Cave City limit sign. Some riders skip the river valley and go to the Barton Creek West entrance for a 19-mile loop. No aero bars. No membership required.

StartBrad Houston’s house, 1813 Holly Hill
TimeFriday, 6:30am (time varies according to season)
Duration19 or 28 mi
Routesee website
ContactBrad Houston,

The Bagel Ride

Led by the Violet Crown cycling club, this ride usually ends with a celebratory bagel and coffee. The ride starts at the Einstein Bros Bagels on Parmer/North I-35. One group completes 50-60 miles, and another travels 70-80 miles.

StartEinstein Bros Bagels, 12400 N IH35
TimeSaturday, 8:15am
Distance50-60 mi or 70-80 mi
ContactDavid Serrins,

Middle of the Road Ride (MOTR)

The UT Cycling Team leads this intermediate-level, 30-40 mile ride. The front group averages 17-20 mph, and a second group averages 15-16 mph. All participants start together in a large group of 50+ people and naturally split into the intermediate and advanced groups. Routes vary weekly, generally 30-40 miles on in-town bike routes and roads with low to moderate traffic, going to or around areas such as Creedmoor, McKinney Falls, Buda, the 360 loop, Bee Caves, and more.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeSaturday, 8:30am
ContactMellow Johnny’s, 512-473-0222

Gruppo VOP Sunday Ride

Gruppo VOP, formed 14 years ago, is an informal association of cyclists that welcomes all riders. The Sunday ride, ideal as an introduction to VOP, is a 27-mile recovery ride that heads south from Westlake to the South Mopac Loop. It’s the most social of the VOP rides and typically ends by 9:45-9:50am. No aero bars. No membership required. Unless you’re experienced riding in a peloton, please stay at the back of the pack for your safety and the safety of others.

StartBrad Houston’s house, 1813 Holly Hill
TimeSunday, 8am
Duration27 miles
Routesee website
ContactBrad Houston,

Bat City Sunday Team Ride

Led by the Bat City Cycling team, this intermediate- to advanced-level ride starts at the parking lot at the southeast corner of Parmer and Lakeline Blvd, just north of the Bicycle Sport Shop Parmer location. The route and distance change each week, but the group usually travels 50-85 miles at an 18+ mph pace. There are usually a couple of city limit sprints and at least one store stop.

Startsoutheast corner of Parmer and Lakeline Blvd
TimeSunday, 8am
Distance50-85 mi

Bicycle Sports Shop Sunday Ride, Lamar

Hosted by the Bicycle Sports Shop Lamar location, this ride features a different route in south and west Austin each week. Average speed is 14-16 mph.

StartBicycle Sport Shop, 517 S. Lamar Blvd
TimeSunday, 8am
Duration2 hrs
ContactBicycle Sports Shop, 512-477-3472

Sunday Violet Crown Ride

Reputed to be one of the oldest group rides in Austin, this group has been meeting every Sunday morning for more than 30 years. Average pace is 17-18 mph for 50-60 miles, and there are some rest points, but if you get dropped, you’re usually on your own. The ride is well suited for an intermediate rider on a road bike accustomed to riding in groups. No headphones or aero bars.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeSunday, 8:15am
Duration3-4 hrs
ContactDave Henderson,

Sunday Circle C Ranch Cycling Club Ride

This ride is a more spirited version of the club’s no-drop Saturday ride (contact the club for more info). Distances and routes vary, but can range from 35-70 miles, depending on the difficulty of the terrain. The average distance is generally 45 miles, with a speed of 13-15 mph. A few riders tend to go off the front at higher speeds. Expect a pack of anywhere from 4 to 30 riders, with a mix of beginners and seasoned veterans. Inclement weather may cancel the ride. Sign on to the Yahoo Group for more info, including weekly maps. Membership encouraged but not required.

StartStarbucks, 9600 Escarpment Blvd #700
TimeSunday, 8:15am
ContactFacebook Group

Jack and Adam’s Sunday Ride (click here )

ATC Sunday Recovery/Intermediate Ride

Led by ATC employees, this is a very small and casual group, usually between 4 and 20 cyclists. The average pace is 17 mph, and riders regroup at multiple points along the 30-mile route, which heads southeast to Stassney and Burleson. This ride is often canceled for rain or very cold weather; if in doubt, call the shop to check.

StartATC downtown, 923 Barton Springs Rd.
TimeSunday, 9am
Distance30 mi
RouteEast, see website
ContactATC, 512-494-9252,

Pure Austin North Ride

All riders are welcome on this non-competitive North Austin ride, provided they can safely ride a bike two-by-two in traffic and hold 16 mph for 50 miles. Participants range from intermediate-level recreational riders to more advanced bike racers. There are no attacks, intervals, accelerations, or weekend warrior attitudes, but this is not a ride for absolute beginners.

Startfront door of Pure Austin Fitness Quarry Lake, 4210 West Braker Ln.
ParkingTo save gym parking for Pure Austin members, park next door at the Capitol One Bank, which is closed on Sundays.
TimeSunday, 9:00am April to October, 12pm December to March
Distancealways less than 50 mi
Routevaries, 512-417-1001


Gruppo VOP Monday Ride

Gruppo VOP, formed 14 years ago, is an informal association of cyclists that welcomes all riders. The Monday ride is a fast-paced, 32-mile loop that heads south from the Westlake area. Very important: Sometimes the start time and place for the Monday ride varies slightly, so for this ride, email Brad a few days in advance so that the riders know you’re joining them. No aero bars. No membership required.

StartBrad Houston’s house, 1813 Holly Hill
TimeMonday, 6:30am (time varies according to season)
Distance32 miles
Routesee website
ContactBrad Houston,

Tuesday Morning Blazing Saddle Ride

MJ's and the 787 Racing team lead this fast early morning ride, which averages 20+ mph and covers a distance of approximately 40 miles. The route takes on the hills of West Austin. Lights required.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeTuesday, 6:15am
Duration2-2.5 hrs
RouteWest Austin

Gruppo VOP Wednesday Ride

Gruppo VOP, formed 14 years ago, is an informal association of cyclists that welcomes all riders. The very popular, very challenging Wednesday ride is a race-paced, 28-mile loop that goes out and back on Southwest Pkway to Barton Creek Blvd and Bee Cave Road, then through the neighborhoods in Lost Creek. You’re guaranteed to get in some hard efforts and brutal hills on this ride. Be prepared for three highly coveted sprint points. No aero bars. No membership required.

StartBrad Houston’s house, 1813 Holly Hill
TimeWednesday, 6:30am (time varies according to season)
Distance28 mi
Routesee website
ContactBrad Houston,

Pure Austin Driveway Series The Driveway Series is a criterium race, not a ride, but it happens every Thursday evening and is a great way to train. Many Austin area bike racers consider it an essential part of their weekly training plan. For event info, go to

Gruppo VOP Saturday Ride

Gruppo VOP, formed 14 years ago, is an informal association of cyclists that welcomes all riders. The Saturday ride offers ride options of 26, 45, or 52 miles. Like the Gruppo VOP Wednesday Ride, this ride often feels like a race, with multiple sprint points and a consistently high pace. The longer loops follow Wednesday’s route and then continue up Hwy 620 to River Place or Anderson Mill Road. The short ride usually travels back along Bee Caves Rd from the intersection of Hwy 620 and Bee Caves Rd. No aero bars. No membership required.

StartBrad Houston’s house, 1813 Holly Hill
TimeSaturday, 7:30am
Distance26, 45, or 52 mi
Routesee website
ContactBrad Houston,

787 Cycling Team Weekend Ride

787 Racing leads a hard group ride every Saturday and Sunday from Mellow Johnny’s. Average pace is 22-26 mph. Participants should be very experienced riding in groups and be able to handle their own mechanicals. Routes vary.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeSaturday & Sunday, 8am

Bicycle Sports Shop Parmer Ln. Saturday Ride Hosted by the Bicycle Sports Shop Parmer location, this ride offers two options: a fast-paced (18+ mph) 50-mile ride, or a more relaxed (13-15 mph) 24-mile ride.

StartBicycle Sport Shop, 9900 W. Parmer Ln.
TimeSaturday, 8am 
Distance24 or 50 mi
RouteThe 50-mile ride is to the Andice General Store and back, but riders can turn back at any time along Parmer.
ContactBicycle Sports Shop, 512-637-6890

Bicycle Sports Shop Research Blvd Sunday Ride

Hosted by the Bicycle Sports Shop Research Blvd location, this ride is an advanced, hilly journey along Loop 360 with some out-and-backs on the hills.

StartBicycle Sports Shop, 10947 Research Blvd
TimeSunday, 8am
Duration2+ hrs
RouteLoop 360 & area
ContactBicycle Sports Shop, 512-637-6890

Insanely Hard

Heavy Metal Ride

All masochists are welcome, whether dedicated roadie, fixie rider, mountain biker, or whatever-else-on-two-wheels, on this informal Monday-night hammerfest, but be warned you probably won’t be able to hang on, and no one will shed tears for your demise. The group meets at the Pflugerville Pedestrian Bridge. Lights and helmets required. Beer money recommended for after.

StartPflugerville Pedestrian Bridge
TimeMonday, 7:30pm

Tuesday Nighter

Not for the weak of heart, this event has been tearing down farm roads in Southeast Austin at 25-30 mph for what some regulars estimate to be 25 to 30 years. However, the addition of neighborhoods and two stop signs on the course has slowed things down a bit. The ride currently completes three 9-mile laps, with an unofficial “A group” and “B group” determined by who can hang on in the first few miles. The ride is free, and there’s no marked course, no support, no prizes, no judges, and no category system, but make no mistake, this is a race.

VideoTuesday Nighter Hitsory
StartAlum Rock Dr and Thaxton Rd, Southeast Austin
TimeTuesday, 6pm sharp during daylight savings time

ATC World Championship Saturday Ride

Words can’t really describe what the ATC Saturday ride does to your legs and lungs. Earning the reputation as one of the hardest group rides in Texas, the Saturday ride regularly hosts elite-level and professional triathletes and road cyclists. Making the “A group” is usually an accomplishment; for the rest of the masses, numerous splinter groups form off the back. The ride starts with a warm-up down Barton Springs and the Mopac feeder, but get ready to grind it out after the right turn onto Southwest Parkway. This is one of the few group rides that welcomes tri bikes and aero bars—just be sure to stay out of them when you’re in the pack. Free breakfast tacos await back at the shop.

VideoATC Video Montage
StartATC downtown, 923 Barton Springs Rd.
TimeSaturday, 8:30am
Distance30 or 55 mi
Route30 miles, 55 miles: continues north along 620 on the dam loop
ContactATC, 512-494-9252,

Women Only

Mellow Ladies’ Ride

Led by the women of Mellow Johnny’s, this in-town, no-drop ride provides valuable group riding skills and the opportunity to meet other women cyclists. Average pace is 14-15 mph, and some group riding experience is expected.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeMonday, 5:30pm (through November)
Distance20-25 mi

Bikin’ Betties

A very casual, ladies-only ride, Bikin’ Betties welcomes beginning cyclists. The distance traveled is from 8 to 20 miles, always ending at a bar, restaurant, or coffee shop for post-ride refreshment. Since rides vary widely in intensity and distance, check the event details on their Facebook site.

TimeMonday 8:00pm (departs 8:20pm)

Second Saturday Women’s Ride Day

Hosted by the Bicycle Sports Shop Parmer location, Women’s Ride Day offers an opportunity to ride in an easy-paced and friendly setting. Participants can opt between 12-, 25-, and 40-mile options. RSVP in advance for the event, and meet at the shop 15 minutes before the start for an orientation meeting.

StartBicycle Sport Shop-Parmer, 9900 West Parmer Lane
Time2nd Saturday of each month, check the RSVP page for ride times
Distance12, 25, or 40 mi
ContactBicycle Sports Shop, 512-637-6890

AFWC Ladies’ Rider

Led by the Austin Flyers Women’s Cycling Club, this ride offers three difficulty options to accommodate all fitness and experience levels. Average pace is 15-16 mph for a duration of 2.5-3 hours. Routes vary.

StartMellow Johnny’s, 400 Nueces
TimeSunday, 9am
Duration2.5-3 hrs

Just-for-fun rides

The Yoga Ride!

Follow up a short, approximately 5-mile ride with yoga specially designed for cyclists. Bring your own lights, a lock, water, and a yoga mat. Free event.

StartDoug Sahm Hill
TimeTuesday, 6:45pm

Bikes Babes & Gardens

Dubbed a “guerilla gardening adventure,” this ride is sponsored by the Food Is Free Project and Fast Folks Cyclery. Girls, guys, single speeds, fixies...all cyclists are welcome. Helmet and lights are required.

StartLamar Pedestrian Bridge
TimeWednesday, 8:30pm

Rides by day of week


Rothe Recovery Ride, ATC Barton Springs
Nelos Shop Ride, NC
Gruppo VOP, Westlake
Heavy Metal Ride, Pflugerville Ped. Bridge
Mellow Ladies’ Ride, MJ’s
Bikin’ Betties


Blazing Saddle Ride
River City Market Racing Hill Ride, Austin Java
T&T Violet Crown Ride, MJ’s
Tuesday Nighter, SEast Austin
The Yoga Ride!, Dough Sahm Hill


Wednesday Beginner Ride, BSS 
Nelos Shop Ride, NC
Bikes Babes & Gardens, Lamar Ped. Bridge
Gruppo VOP Wednesday Ride


T&T Violet Crown Ride, MJ’s
Pure Austin Driveway Series, Driveway


Friday Truancy Ride, MJ’s
Gruppo VOP, Westlake


ATC World Championship Ride, ATC Barton Springs
Scout-a-Route Ride, MJ’s
Bagel Ride, Einstein Bros. Parmer
Middle of the Road Ride, MJ’s
Gruppo VOP, Westlake
787 Weekend Ride, MJ’s
BSS Parmer Saturday Ride, BSS
2nd Saturday Women’s Ride, BSS


J&A’s Sunday Ride, J&A’s
Gruppo VOP, Westlake
Bat City Team Ride, Parmer
BSS Lamar Sunday Ride, BSS
Sunday Violet Crown Ride, MJ’s
Sunday Circle C Ride, Starbucks Escarpment
ATC Sunday Recovery Ride, ATC Barton Springs
Pure Austin North Ride, Pure Austin Quarry Lake
787 Weekend Ride, MJ’s
BSS Resarch Blvd Sunday Ride, BSS
AFWC Ladies’ Rider, MJ’s

© Copyright 2013, Kathryn Hunter

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Race Report: Cyberknife of Texas Stage Race 2013, Women's 1/2/3

by Allison Atkinson, ATC Racing

This was the first annual Cyberknife of Texas Stage Race. Saturday, The FRESH Road Race, consisted of three 18-mile laps around Lake Tyler in Whitehouse, Texas. This road race had rolling terrain. Attacks from Jubilee started right off the bat at the first right-hand turn off the main road. They sent one woman after the other off the front. The field bridged and caught every one. It was hard! At one point I thought I was getting dropped, but luckily my teammate Sammi pulled me back toward the front of the pack a few times. This was Sammi’s first stage race as a recently upgraded cat 3, and she was riding strong.

 Attacks initiated by Michelle Hayner (Velossimo), Ash Duban (Comanche), and various Jubilee racers continued for the entire first lap. Every hill was an all-out kick to the top, and everyone became strung out into a long pace line on the flat windy section.

 There was a hot spot on lap two. This was the lap where the winning break was formed. After a few rolling hills, Kayla Sterling (Exergy Twenty16) attacked. Initially no one went after her, but then, about 15 seconds later Andrea Thomas (Think Finance) jumped and bridged, followed by Duban and Danielle Bradley (Jubilee). Hayner and both Shama women were not going with the break, so I decided to stay in the pack. I figured we would catch them after they went through the hot spot.

It turns out I was wrong. Although we did end up catching Duban and Bradley, there were still two up the road, and their gap would grow significantly. I was feeling tired from battling the windy section leading up to the hot spot. Even though I was drafting off other girls I was still putting forth a huge effort to hang on each time crosswinds gusted.

 I expected Hayner, Sheri Rothe (Jubilee), or Mandy Heintz (Shama) to break away on this lap. Sammi and I spent a lot of time in the front chasing down a few half-hearted Jubilee attacks as we anticipated the move for the second break. Hayner went first. I was swallowed by the peloton, and we caught her. After that effort Hayner was breathing heavy, so Rothe took that opportunity to launch out from the back of the pack when we least expected it. I was boxed in by her teammates, but Hayner was still at the front. She didn't go after Rothe at first, so I thought we'd bridge as a group, but Hayner, without much recovery, jumped violently to catch Rothe. We chased but were outnumbered by Jubilee blocks.

It was frustrating watching the two drift further and further away, mainly because I knew I was supposed to be there with them. Sammi, Shama Cycles women, Duban, Monica Hyslop, and I worked to keep the pack moving. I moved to the front during the hilly section to spur some action by attacking each hill. All we could do was minimize the gap at that point, which turned out to be over 4 minutes!

It was a soft sprint to the finish and a pack finish time for Sammi and I. The Cobb Cycling Time Trial was later that day. This was a 5.6-mile TT starting at the church and finishing at the same point as the road race. It had one sharp right turn after a downhill, with rolling terrain. The ramp was pretty cool! I focused on staying steady down the first stretch. After trying not to slow down too much for the sharp right turns, I maintained a good effort. The hilly, winding section was fun, but I had to work to stay in my aero bars on some of the turns. Knowing that I was over halfway done, I upped the intensity to the finish. Hayner took the win with a time of 12:59.

Sunday was the Spine and Joint Hospital of Texas Crit, a 45-minute crit that went through the Tyler Junior College campus. The roads were in good condition, and the route consisted of two reasonably sized hills, the larger of the two being right before the finish. Right at the start Bradley and Kim Jennings (Jubilee) formed a furious break. The two got away fast. Bradley’s team did all they could to ensure that the gap was a big as possible, as she needed to up her GC position to earn the last of the points needed for her upgrade from a cat 3 to a 2. The GC leaders did not bother to chase down Jennings and Bradley, as they were not in contention for the podium.

The first lap was fast as we fought for position. I believe it was lap two where Michelle Montoya (Jubilee) went down after hitting a reflector on a crosswalk. She was okay and up and racing again by the next lap. With the exception of the prime lap, the pace was steady, with attacks happening on the major road before the right turn that led into the slightly bumpy downhill straight-away. That road led into a hard right-hand turn up to the hill before the finish. It was important to be in a
position toward the front on that downhill to ensure that you were first going into the hill. I did not do this too well. Although I am a good climber, I was usually positioned mid- to rear-pack, so I had to work extra hard every lap. The women up front would drill the downhill, stay wide, and brake before the turn uphill, which made it hard to smoothly take the inside line at a faster speed without risking a crash. Duban and Hyslop moved ahead for the prime lap, which Duban took. In the end the winning break finished 3.5 minutes ahead of the pack.

With two pack finishes and just an okay TT I took 9th GC. Hayner was 1st, Thomas 2nd, and Sterling 3rd GC. The courses, officials, and volunteers made the Cyberknife of Texas Tyler Stage Race a success and I look forward to racing again next year.

Full Results
Visit ATC Racing's Website

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cervelo Rca
Aero and Light Is Right!

Cervelo Rca - The lightest frame in the world goes aero

Cervelo has long been known for the aerodynamic prowess of their TT bikes and S-Series road frames. Despite this, the R-Series frames, their lighter and stiffer offerings, have been the most popular among both pros and amateurs.  Though subjective qualities like comfort and lateral rigidity play a role in the wide appeal of the R-Series, a large part of the equation is that lightness is simply irresistible to the cycling enthusiast. Unlike aerodynamic claims, which are somewhat abstract and unverifiable to the average customer, a light bike can be directly experienced. You can hold it in your hand – or balanced lightly on one finger, if it's an Rca – and feel the difference.

Our 54cm frame came in at 630g
Cervelo operates a high-tech engineering lab called Project California, an underground R&D Batcave where they hand-build limited edition frames in order to explore and expand the boundaries of bike technology. In 2010, this facility produced the R5ca, a limited release version of their already super-light R5 frame, made crazy light with special carbon fiber layup and assembly tricks.  Last month, crazy just got crazier. The latest limited edition frame from this top-secret nerd factory dropped the weight of the R-Series even further, to just 660 grams (on average), while also adding aerodynamic tube shapes and internal cable routing.

Now cyclists burning the midnight oil over the choice between aerodynamics and stiffness and weight can rest easy, able to have it all in one bike.  The new aerodynamic features save 100 grams of drag (more than 7 free watts at 25 mph) compared to other high-end, non-aero road frames, making it about 1/3 as aero as an S5. The Rca, lighter than anything else on the market, also maintains all the stiffness of  previous R frames. But for now, to own one you'll have to pay the big premium that comes with Project California frames, at around $10,000 for the frameset.  Those of us with more modest bank accounts can look forward to the new aerodynamic "Squoval 3" tube shapes trickling down to the regular R-Series production frames in the very near future.

Rca Features
  • BBright - Stiffness & Weight +Click For Details
  • Squoval 3 - Aero, Light, Stiff +Click For Details
  • Integrated Magnet - Aerodynamics & Aesthetics +Click For Details
  • Nanotech Fork - Weight, Stiffness, Safety +Click For Details
Available now at ATC! We currently have a 54cm frame in stock and ready for purchase, and can have other sizes ordered at your convenience.  If you just want to see what a sub 12 pound bike feels like, and trust us it feels weird, come to our Barton Springs location and just ask!

11.5 pounds!