Archive | September 11, 2012

CHAINRINGS — Sunset Cycles Monthly Newsletter


RIDE LEADER NOTES – Don’t Be Afraid of the Dirt
TURNING THE CRANKS – Last Minute ‘Cross Prep
GEARHEAD – Ridley Madness
TEAM NOTES – David Douglas CCX Report
ONE LAP – Cycling-related news from around the globe
SURVEY – What type of rider are you?



Don’t Be Afraid of the Dirt

by Roger Colwell 

In my youth, growing up in the shadows of tall firs on the Oregon coast, some of my fondest memories recall adventures into the hills, unrestrained by watchful eyes of adults. Here, in my outdoor playground, I discovered a love that comes naturally to most kids…the love of dirt, mud, and what my mother liked to call “filthy muck.”

Like most of us, as youthful days waned, I left those “dirty” ways behind, and somewhere along the way gravitated to a daily shower (or two), avoiding puddles, and generally staying clean.

But I’ve come full circle. A few years ago, thanks to the now burgeoning sport of cyclocross, I rediscovered the joys of going straight through the mud puddles, laughing as the dirt hits me right between the eyes (and sometimes in the mouth), reveling in the intense effort that feels so…childlike. Getting dirty became fun again, and it let me remember and re-live those days as a kid when coming home dirty was as natural as breathing itself. Mind you, I’m not the world’s most experienced or accomplished off-road rider, but I love it just the same.

Photo courtesy of Nature’s Essence Photo

If you’re like I was just a few years ago–a clean freak with an aversion dirt–maybe it’s time to unearth your inner child, get dirty, and check out a cyclocross race this fall. If you’re intimidated on any level, just stop by the store for information, advice, and equipment. You’ll soon be on the way to embracing the filth.

As the sun sets on another wonderful summer, I’d like to thank you again for choosing Sunset Cycles, a.k.a. “Beaverton’s Bike Shop” for all of your cycling needs.

NOTE: On this anniversary of a horrific day eleven years ago, I encourage you to take a moment to remember those we lost and also to spread a message of harmony and peace in the world around you. Thanks…r.c.



Last Minute ‘Cross Prep

The ‘cross season is now upon us, but that doesn’t mean you’ve completely run out of time for some last minute preparation. Here’s a quick list of things you need to do now to get ready for your first race:

1. Get a new ride! See GEARHEAD section below for info on RIDLEY bikes available at Sunset Cycles.
2. Attend the final Cross Crusade Beginner Cross Clinic on Wednesday, September 12th at Alpenrose Dairy. You’ll gain valuable insight into the sport, including technique, tips, and tricks. Upper Echelon Fitness also holds clinics every Tuesday and Thursday through September.
3. Have your cyclocross bike tuned up NOW. Repair times vary, so call or visit one of our locations to get on the repair schedule.
4. Consider new tires, tubes, brake pads, wheels, handlebar tape, and other “easy to fix” items on your bike that can be replaced.
5. Plan your season. Cross Crusade and the Grand Prix Tina Brubaker are great places to start.
6. Adjust your training. Here’s a interesting article from legendary coach Chris Carmichael to point you in the right direction.



Each month in CHAINRINGS, Sunset Cycles previews another great Washington County bike ride. With the varied terrain available in our area, each ride is certain to be a winner.

Our ride rating category is simple, ranging from one CHAINRING (easiest) to five CHAINRINGS (most challenging). Here’s the criteria:

One chainring: Flat ride, minimal climbing
Two chainrings: Rolling hills, short climbs
Three chainrings: Moderate hills, possibly some short, steep climbs
Four chainrings: Challenging terrain with numerous, longer climbs
Five chainrings: Very difficult terrain with numerous, steep, long climbs

This month’s ride: Fall Firelanes


Short of owning your own farm and the ability to build your own course, there’s not much better way to train for the ups, downs, dirt, rocks and roots of cyclocross that taking the short ride to Forest Park. Although riding a loop that includes the park’s firelanes includes a fair amount of climbing, it’s the perfect fall ride…even if you never have the intention of seeing a cyclocross starting line. If you don’t have a ‘cross bike, dust off the mountain bike for tons of fun (or stop in the store and do some shopping!). Unlike most of our Washco monthly rides, this ride is a ONE-WAY ride that can be started from either end.

Here’s a link to full route directions and map.



There’s nothing quite as maddening as showing up at a race, knowing you’ve done everything right: Trained well, cleaned up your diet, and banked a ton of sleep…only to have your race day shot to hell by a sub-par bicycle.

Fortunately, Sunset Cycles can help, particularly when it comes to helping you find a new cyclocross bike. While many brands are available in the marketplace, a precious few stand head and shoulders above the crowd. And no other brand has been ridden to the podium at all levels of the sport in the past decade more often than RIDLEY.

Among the thousands of passionate cycling clubs in Belgium’s Flemish region, RIDLEY is held in high esteem, for it’s on their cobbled roads and brutal sandy ‘cross courses where the brand is developed, tested, and proven. From the club level to the World Championships, RIDLEY has been ridden by the best.

In our store you’ll find a number of options to choose from, starting with the entry-level X-BOW. If you’d like to try cyclocross, but aren’t sure if it’s something you’ll love, the X-BOW is probably for you, since it can double as a commuting or winter training bike. An aluminum frame includes rack and fender mounts. We have four in stock, priced at $1595 BEFORE a generous 15% discount on 2012 models.

If riding the LIGHTEST aluminum ‘cross bike in the world sounds good to you, consider the X-RIDE, which features Ridley’s “mudless tube technology” on the front fork and seat stays. We have four 2013 models in stock, featuring SRAM Apex and disc brakes, attractively priced at $2195 (along with a few 2012 closeout models).

For the ultimate Portland ‘cross ride, look no further than Ridley’s X-FIRE, featuring an exceptional lightweight carbon frame for superior control and stiffness. HERE’S an interesting review done by Bike Radar and another HERE. We have three configurations available on 2013 models: SRAM Apex with disc brakes ($2695), Ultegra with disc brakes ($3395), and the Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting version with rim brakes ($4395).

Ridley has offered a limited number of ‘cross bikes for sale in the U.S. Sunset Cycles is one of the largest dealers of Ridley bicycles in our area…come in for a test ride today because the 2013 models are in limited supply…when these bikes are gone, they’re GONE.

Wondering about the disc brake phenomenon? Bicycling Magazine discusses how Ridley is the industry leader.

Here’s a short video preview of the three Ridley models available for a test ride:



Sunset Cycles team member John Bennion had this to say about the first cyclocross race of the season at David Douglas:

“Lessons Learned:

  1. Race day is not the place to try new techniques for the first time. I had heard the Weathers Corollary about not trying new gear or setups for the first time on race day, but this was new. Coming over the double barrier for the 2nd lap, I decided to try a true jump on remount instead of my normal double-skip-leg-swing. I jumped a bit high and landed hard on the seat and broke the rear of the seat shell where the rail is held in place. Heard it…and felt it.
  2. David Douglas is a great course. Fun single track with plenty of grass. Good climbs/run-ups and close in.

Lessons Re-Learned:

  1. Pre-register for races. 90% of my category was in the call up of pre-registered.
  2. ‘Cross is fast – all about acceleration.
  3. Heavy gravel sucks. No crashes–just close calls.

I had a great time. I ran tubeless Hutchinson Pirahnas at 40 psi. Thought it was good for the dry course. Also, wished I had a bigger cassette–I went 11-23, and wished I had a 27. Spun out for one on the first climb, so maybe a bit less pressure next time.”

John’s brother Robert Bennion added:

“David Douglas was a very nice first cyclocross course the begin the season. There was some long grass sections leading into the single track of the woods with to little climbs. Both were rideable but the last one would have been tough to ride. After coming out of the single track there was a lot of deep grass winding around to the start finish where on the second lap you had deep gravel that was skipped on the first lap start.

As John and I were two of the very few riders not called up, we went from mid pack to very back. The race started and riders were everywhere, which didn’t allow any place to pass very well…at least not with my roadie handling skills. John and I were the last in the long line of riders dropping into the woods. On the first little climb we were forced to dismount and try and weed our way around those that were walking. Down the single track and then ran and weeded around a few walkers on the next climb. When I hit the next hill I ran up and tried to find my way around another couple walkers. By that time I was now probably in the top 40 and decided that it was going to be fun to pass as many as possible. I would go all out on those long grass sections and pass a few every lap.

I felt faster than everyone on the grass and probably slower than anyone on the gravel. Once my wheels started sliding out so much that I accepted the fact that I was going down but my wheels gripped up and I kept myself on top of everything and came out of it…got a few cheers and yells for my recovery. Ended up passing people from 43rd place to 26th. Felt really strong despite everything and will need to find my way into the front of the pack in future races.”



Welcome to Chainrings’ new feature, “One Lap,” our way of sharing interesting links from across the cycling spectrum. Enjoy!

More props for the Portland cycling scene

Contador rises from the ashes to win the Vuelta a Espana

A review of Tyler Hamilton’s new tell-all book

29’ers or 27.5’ers?

An airbag cycling helmet?

Why I Race Cyclocross



Speak, oh ye denizens of the Sunset Cycles world! Give us your opinions on this month’s question…