Epic Aspen follow up – George Hincapie waved to us!!

By Jennifer Sage On August 23, 2011 Under Outdoor Cycling, Virtual Rides

This week is the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, the inaugural weeklong stage race through the mountains and towns of Colorado. This is VERY exciting to say the least! I’ll be going to three stages, Stages 2, 3, and 4 one Wed, Thur and Fri and will report back to you. But the biggest news for now….

Allen Jones of Epic Rides was here in Colorado this past week to film two new virtual rides. The first one was Epic Mount Evans, which goes to the highest paved road in the US. I had no desire to be in that video – pedaling at anything over 12,000 feet is not my own idea of fun, and Mt Evans goes over 14,000 feet (4,270m)! But it will be a beautiful and challenging virtual ride, that’s for sure.

However, and maybe I’m a little biased, I think the Epic Aspen ride that we filmed on Friday will be one of Allen’s most beautiful and fun virtual rides. I want to thank Terry Bicycles for sponsoring us for our beautiful jerseys. Epic Aspen will be Epic Ride’s first all-women team!

Indoor Cycling virtual rides
Deb Benjamin, Annemarie Lombard, Jennifer Sage, Joni Kozdeba

This beautiful location is the Maroon Bells, just north and west of Aspen, Colorado. Those two mountain peaks in the background are the Maroon Bells, two of the fifty-four 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado. They are also two of the most dangerous, when it comes to scaling them on foot.

For our virtual ride, we went up the Maroon Bells road, a 7 mile (11.2km) gradual climb. It was amazing because as a national park, they close it to cars at 9am, and take people by bus to the top. We got in right before 9:00, and had virtually traffic-free ride for almost all of it. Lovely! We then descended and went up the valley just to the south, Castle Creek Road to Ashcroft, an old mining camp. As beautiful as Maroon Bells is, I actually prefer the beauty of the 12 mile (19.3km) Ashcroft ride, much of which goes along a river and opens up into an amazing valley surrounded on all sides by peaks. Both rides are lined with aspen trees much of the way, so I cannot wait to go back and do this ride in the autumn when the leaves have turned a golden yellow.

Because of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, many pro riders have been staying in the Rocky Mountains to acclimate to the altitude and train for the upcoming race. As we were ascending a mild part of the Ashcroft climb, we saw a pretty large group of pro riders on their way down. They were going fairly slow, not speeding down the hill, and there were at least 10 or 12 of them, from many different teams. We were pretty focused on the fact that we had a car in front of us with cameras trained on whatever we were doing, but I still did manage to look up and see the pros, just in time to see George Hincapie wave to us (I guess we looked like we were a team motorpacing uphill)! George is unmistakable as the tall rider in the red BMC kit – and besides, I’d recognize that sculpted face anywhere, having seen it climb numerous passes in France during the Tour. That’s George in the photo below at the 2007 Tour de France when he was on the Discovery team, grabbing his musette in a food zone in the Alpes.

To film a virtual ride, Allen mounts numerous cameras on the front, side and rear of his vehicle (he rented a convertible for this one). He takes turns driving in front of us, then dropping back to get shots from behind. It all makes for some really great visuals while you are riding your bicycle indoors, either on your trainer or home Spinner® bike by yourself, or in a class situation with a creative instructor teaching to the video. If you haven’t heard much about virtual classes, you will very soon, because it is quickly becoming a very popular way to conduct classes. I don’t think they will ever replace instructors; rather, they are a great teaching tool and simply become another arrow in an instructor’s quiver.

Filming a virtual ride is interesting. It’s strange riding so close to a car, but thankfully Allen has a lot of experience doing this (This is his 14th DVD)! When the car was behind us, I kept wanting to say, “Car back!” (For you non-outdoor-cyclists, that’s what we call out when we are in a line of riders and a car comes up behind, to make sure everyone knows it’s there). We try to stay together, while also allowing some flexibility with the riders to change positions or drop back a bit or sit or stand as needed. We had to communicate very well with each other to make sure no one got dropped or was working beyond her capabilities. We tried a couple of pacelines, both uphill and on a flatter segment of the Ashcroft climb. I’m hoping that will come out as good material for an instructor to use while teaching to this virtual ride.

All in all we rode 52 miles and finished our day with a fabulous Mexican lunch in the fun town of Aspen.

Here are a few more photos taken directly from the videos of Epic Aspen:

A word on the jerseys provided by Terry Bicycles. This jersey is called the “Peleton” jersey and it is one of the most comfortable jerseys I’ve ever worn. The fabric is unbeatable, and there is vented fabric on the back panel and underneath the arms. The pockets in the back are actually reachable without practically tearing a shoulder ligament (perfect for your mic pack while teaching). One of our riders is an extra small and has a hard time finding bicycle clothing that fits her well, but she looked great in this one! Actually everyone did. Did you know that all members of the Indoor Cycling Association receive a 50% discount on all Terry clothing AND their famous bicycle saddles? Click here for more information on the Terry Ambassador Program.

I’ll keep you posted on when the Epic Aspen DVDs are available. Allen says they take about 6-8 weeks to edit and produce, so early winter you can all ride with me and my girls! 😉


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Joshua Ralph
    August 23, 2011
    5:11 am #comment-1

    Hey Auntie!!

    That trip looked AWESOME!! Joni looks great too, sure looks like you guys had fun! I’ve been thinking about you too, I went for a two and a half day Kayak trip down the Winnebago/Shellrock river here in Iowa. Just went by myself and didn’t take a cell phone, sleeping bag or a tent!! Saw lots of wildlife and it was ver carthartic.

    Well hope you and Jeff are doing great.
    Love Josh

    • mary
      August 24, 2011
      6:58 am #comment-2

      hi josh and jenny,
      great that we are all in touch and enjoying each other’s adventures.
      i spent the weekend on the couch.

  2. Jamie
    September 4, 2011
    9:53 pm #comment-3

    Nice job, never knew about virtual riding. I guess that is how I am going to exercise in the future, virtual exercise!

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