LESSONS FROM A SHORT SEASON by Nolan Costin

by Accumula Collaborator on

Nolan Costin (@Nolan.c7) is a high school student and accomplished cyclocross and mountain bike racer. His sponsors include Around the Cycle, Skratch Labs and Catella. Nolan raced the NICA SoCalDirt schedule this past year. With three podium finishes already secured, he was on a trajectory to do well at the State Championships in May, but suffered a crash at the start of the Victory at Vail event. With great determination he finished the race, and even placed 9th, but his injuries cut the season short.

In this post Nolan tells us about that day, his subsequent recovery and things he learned along the way.

PART 1: The Crash

“Freshman boys, how many laps are we doing today?” the voice of the race official booms. On the front row, everything is amplified. Although I was nervous, I had been here before. Sitting on second place overall in the NICA SoCal series, and having finally recovered from the flu that had plagued me the previous two races, I was feeling good about my chances. “Five, four, three…” When the countdown got to zero I was able to get just the start I was hoping for, maneuvering into the second position. Then we rounded the first bend and squeezed into a bottleneck. At this time another rider tried to force his way into my position. A touch of the bars ended with me hitting the ground in front of a stampede of determined racers. My chance at the leader's jersey quickly disappeared in a cloud of dust. As soon as I tried to swing my leg over the bike again, I knew something was wrong. But I attributed the pain to normal post-crash bruises which I had often experienced. I never once thought about pulling out of the race. Then, after working my way back to ninth place, I dropped a chain at a critical point. For a second time the odds stacked against me.  I began to think if some higher power had made it their personal mission to make my race miserable. Only after finishing the race in eighth, following a back half of the race filled with trips to the pain cave, did I realize I could not walk. I had to be carried to the car. X-Rays and an MRI at the ER soon revealed a fracture in my acetabulum. My season had come to a skidding halt.

PART 2: Recovery

Ever since I started racing in seventh grade I had never taken more than a couple weeks off.

Being off the bike was frustrating physically. As the weeks went slowly by I found myself itching to ride more and more. So naturally, as soon as I was able to walk, I had to go and do something stupid. I convinced myself fifteen mile hike up to Mt. Lukens with my dog, Dashiel, was a genius idea. Everything was going according to plan when I got to the top, but about halfway down the mountain we ran out of water. I knew I could make it, but the dog had different ideas, found a nice spot in the shade and wouldn’t budge. Out of options, I hiked down to the stream at the bottom of the canyon, then ran back with water for Dashiel. We made it home, but the ordeal probably set back my recovery a bit, and the ego boost of the climb was outweighed by the trouble I caused Dashiel. Lessons learned: carry more water, and don’t rush back into it.

The month and a half of recovery was difficult, yet ultimately enlightening for me. The period  allowed me to reflect on why I ride my bike. Before, my whole identity as a cyclist had been a racer. During the period after my accident I remembered there was more than just winning. I rode my bike because it allowed me to be free with my friends and my thoughts. Now, while I still enjoy racing, and obviously do my best to win, my post-crash self is just as interested in the journey as the result. While this may sound cliche, I think that only after having gone through something like a season ending crash can you truly appreciate its meaning.

Now I am training again, with a...

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The Community of Cycling, by Zeke van Rooyen

by Ryan Weeks on

around the cycle cyclocross socalcross Zeke cx

One of my favorite parts about being cyclist is the community. 

On local group rides, and at races, people have been very supportive to me. Experienced riders often offer me advice about riding in a peloton. Parents in the SoCal High School Mountain Bike League cheer for you no matter what team you are on. Sure, there are the occasional jerks, but generally people are very kind and encouraging.  

The cycling community feels like a big, fun family. And for me, it actually is also family. My grandpa was the one who got my parents into riding. He started riding mountain bikes in his 50’s. My parents raced mountain bikes in their early 20’s. My parents started me riding at a young age. I got my first bike when I was three.

I started racing mountain bikes when I was 11 and cyclocross at age 12. I still go on mountain bike rides with my grandpa. He rips for a 78-year-old.

I particularly like the cyclocross community.  It’s tight knit, everyone seems to know each other better and it has a quirky sense of humor. During SoCalCross races, I’ve been called the Poster Boy for Pantene, asked if I need a scrunchy and heard a “Long Hair Don’t Care!” rallying cry when I pass other riders. The Best Friends Forever Cycling Club loves to give hand ups to racers: donuts, bacon, adult beverages (which I pass on) and “vegan fruit”.

around the cycle, socalcross 

Zeke van Rooyen lives in Pasadena, CA. He recently won the SCNCA Cat 4 Men's District Championship and is training for the U.S. Cyclocross Nationals.

Follow Zeke on Instagram: @ezcycles

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Join our overnight bikepacking trip Aug 19-20!

by Ryan Weeks on | Posted in Around The Cycle Blog Posted in bikepacking

Want to get out of (and above) the city for a night? Come along on our overnight backpacking excursion.  We've enjoyed a few of these overnighters among the staff and want to open up the invitation to you, our customers and friends. 

We'll leave from Around The Cycle at 6pm, Saturday August 19, taking Chaney Trail to the Mt. Lowe Campground. In the morning there'll be a little more climbing, up to Mt. Wilson, before heading back down on the Mt. Wilson Toll Road to Altadena, returning to the shop around noon. 

  • Here's a link to the route.
  • This link provides extra info about the climb up to Mt. Lowe. 

If you're new to bikepacking this is a great way to get started.  Although this route does call for a decent amount of climbing, because it's for only one night it requires a minimum of gear and supplies.  Please plan on being fully self-sufficient.  Here's a list of essentials you'll want to bring:

  • An off-road capable BIKE. It's a good idea to do a thorough safety and maintenance check (several days) before heading out.  If you want a professional eye come by the shop for a pre-ride checkup. 
  • HYDRATION and NUTRITION to get you through until mid-morning when we'll take a break atop Mt. Wilson and have an opportunity to get water and/or food at the Cosmic Cafe.
  • SLEEPING BAG / PAD / SHELTER. Each has their own idea of comfort and minimalism. Bring what suits you and can be transported easily. 
  • HELMET. Required!
  • LIGHTS. It will be near-to-fully dark before we arrive at the campsite.
  • AIR. A small hand pump and/or CO2 supplies. 
  • SPARE TUBES
  • TUBE PATCH KIT
  • MULTI TOOL
  • TIRE LEVER
  • EXTRA CLOTHING. An extra layer for the evening and morning chill is a good idea. 

Please let us know if you'd like to come along.  You can RSVP on our Facebook Events page. 

If you have any questions about the route, how to prepare, etc. don't hesitate to call, write or stop by. 

LET'S DO THIS!

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'Tis the Season for Expansion

by Ryan Weeks on

You heard it right. After operating at capacity for over a year in our little sardine can, we're excited to be moving into a more spacious space. Don't worry, we're not moving far. It'll just be two units over in the same business park, so just park where you normally do. We're excited to be making some changes in the new year as we prepare for this next phase.

Due to the move, we'll be planning to close the storefront from Christmas Eve on into 2017. We will still be selling and shipping products online, and will meet by appointment only during this time if you'd like to purchase products or drop off consignment items. Our re-open date hasn't been set yet, so stay tuned as there are bound to be festivities and giveaways as we celebrate opening the new space. 

A larger space means more opportunity for growth, which also means we'll be needing more help soon. So, if you love bikes and want to be a part of a team that is out to change the bike industry by making the love of cycling more accessible and sustainable please send your resume to ryan at aroundthecycle dot com.

Suzy and I are excited to share that we're expanding too, expecting our first child on January 26th. As a family run business we just want to say thank you so much for your support.

-Ryan

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Welcome to our new website!

by Ryan Weeks on | Posted in ATC Blog

We've got a new look...

...but more than aesthetics, our new website will address some areas that should make your experience with Around the Cycle even better.

Searching for the right bicycle is made about as easy as possible. We've set up filters for type of bikecondition, and your height to see possible matches for you. We've even provided a general sizing chart based on height for more clarity on sizing, so you end up with the right fit.

You can now buy a bicycle direct from us through the website. Gone are the days of tedious over the phone transactions.

We're Listening...

Your feedback is important to us, and out of that we've seen two major areas that we're focusing our website resources on. 

First, we've been busy developing software to better manage our consignment process, and we'll be making some changes soon which should include a consignor login to better see the status of your account and items.

Second, we are also working on an updated customer request program which should help manage the insane amount of requests for bicycles that we don't currently have in stock, helping to even better link up sellers and potential buyers. 

If you have other ideas as to how we (and our website) can better serve you, please let us know. 

-Ryan on behalf of the ATC team

 

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