My not quite Top 10 list for 2011

 By: Brian Ecker

As the year end quickly approaches it is always good to reflect a bit on the year that was.  Top 10 lists can be great especially when they are full of wit and humor.  Not sure this will qualify on either of those grounds but it’s worth a try!

Some of the phrases, concepts, facts, and/or opinions that I most often share with my clients:

5) Chamois time actually isn’t training time
4) Yes, compression tights do really work! (While they do make quite the fashion statement it’s probably best to wear them underneath your other clothes.)
3) The fitter you get the faster you go but sorry, it doesn’t get any easier, ie you just go faster………thanks to Greg Lemond for that profound quote.
2) When you ride kinda hard all the time you might get kinda fast but pretty doubtful you will go beyond that. Really hard days and really easy days are the way to go.
1) The Coke Bomb – yes it is real and yes it really works! (Every year that I have given a seminar to a certain collegiate cycling program, at least 75% of the class thinks I am absolutely insane when I share the wisdom of the Coke Bomb)

Favorite races or rides of 2011:

5) Terrible Two – Santa Rosa, CA: 200 mi and 16,000 ft of climbing and descending craziness.  If you are looking to be challenged when you are going up as well as down this is the ride for you.  A mass start ride/race that takes in all the amazing climbs and roads of the greater Santa Rosa area: Trinity, Geysers, Skaggs Springs, Fort Ross, etc etc.
4) Winthrop are fire roads – Rolling the cross bike over in the Methow is pure bliss.  This ride takes in Forest Service Roads 39, 38 and 42 – over 80 miles and 10,000ft of climbing.  Check it out!
3) Slate Peak – New to me this year this gravel/dirt road climb represents over 5,000 ft vertical in right around 20mi.  Great starting point is the Mazama General Store in the Methow Valley. From there you head up the Lost River Rd for some gradual paved uphill where you then eventually hit the gravel and climbing really begins.  The climb tops out at an ever impressive 7,458 ft which represents the highest road in WA State.  While very long the Slate Peak climb is super enjoyable and some amazing vistas await you at the top.
3) The 508 – Furnace Creek 508 is a marquee event that has a reputation for being a battle against the elements.  It will rarely disappoint.
2) Galbreath>South Lookout Towers>Alger Alp>Blanchard Mt Ride – This makes my list cause it’s a hard man’s ride yet I can leave from my doorstep. It’s a mix of road, fire road, and single track with 55mi and 8,000 ft of climbing. The climb up South Lookout is one of the hardest around.
1) Tour of the Unknown Coast – Labeled as California’s toughest century this ride doesn’t disappoint.  Whether you are rolling through the Ave of Giants, slogging against the coastal headwind, grinding up the “Wall”, or screaming down on of the many crazy crazy descents this ride packs it all in. It’s a 100 miles with 9,400 ft of climbing.  

Here’s to a great 2011 and hopeful for any even better 2012!!

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