Jens Voigt: Shut Up, Everest!

Retired pro cyclists often have a hard time fully retiring, and Jens Voigt (of Shut Up, Legs fame) is no exception. The German former pro decided to start 2017 with a bang and go for the Everest Challenge—riding until hitting the vertical elevation of Mount Everest (29,029 feet). And he did it in snow, sleet, and on his local mountain, the famed Berlin Teufelsberg, which only offers 295 feet of vertical gain. That meant he rode the same climb nearly 100 times in a row, without stopping.

Why would someone do this to himself? In Voigt’s case, charity. He raised 28,000 Euros in donations for Australia’s Tour de Cure, and despite the terrible weather during his ascent ‘up Everest,’ it’s a safe bet that the man who retired and then almost immediately went after—and scored—the hour record on the track just wanted another good reason to ride hard. 

RELATED: Smashing the Hour Record: A Peek into Jens Voigt’s Autobiography

To tackle the climb (over and over again), Voigt opted for a cyclocross bike—better to fight the snowy weather—and a Fitbit Surge with GPS to track his progress as (well as his caloric burn) so he could fuel properly. Fitbit shared some of his data: it took him 400 kilometers of riding up and down to amass 29,527 feet of climbing, and the entire ride took place over 26.5 hours of ride time. 

Before the ride, Voigt offered some tidbits of wisdom from his training. Once he decided that the climb would be up his hometown mountain, he trained almost entirely on that location, working to find the right mix "between effort and relaxing on downhills, to find a speed I can maintain for twenty hours or more.” And typical of most pros, he headed into the attempt wishing he had trained even more: "I will have to use a lot of willpower to go through it,” he said. "My training focused on teaching my body how to change rhythm all the time between climbing and resting on the downhills.” He also focused on keeping his heart rate below his aerobic threshold—160 BPM—to avoid fatigue over the 400 kilometers. 

jens voigt at home
Photograph courtesy of Patrick Pilz/ Fitbit

And pro or not, most riders will feel Voigt’s pain when he talks about his lack of sleep leading into the attempt: "I wish I could get more sleep, but with family life and six kids, and our cat and two dogs and nine rabbits, there is no chance at all to get enough sleep,” he said. "I surely could prepare better, but I choose to be a family man and I don’t want this crazy adventure to have too much effect on my family."

RELATED: 6 Things You Should Never Do Before Bed

It was also surprising that for Voigt, 400 kilometers was the longest he’s ever ridden in one stretch. Will we see him start to tackle crazier distance events in his retirement? Only time will tell, but in three years, he’s gone from a one-hour record to a 26-hour endeavor, so he’s clearly up for anything.

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jens voigt everesting98275

Keep Your Toes Cozy with These Stellar Winter Mountain Bike Shoes

Few things can make a winter ride miserable as quickly as cold feet. So, when the mercury plummets, I reach for the Northwave Celsius Arctic 2 GTX. It’s a lightweight performance winter mountain bike boot that’s designed to keep you warm and dry during hard, fast rides in cold, rainy, and muddy conditions. And it’s great for more than trails: Roadies willing to swap out their pedals for the season can also take advantage of the shoes’ insulation and grippy soles (let’s face it, no one wants to be sliding around on road cleats when the weather is in the toilet). 

     RELATED: How to Keep Hands and Feet Warm on a Ride

The boots feature a tall collar that rises just over ankle height. They have a soft-flocked interior for good loft, a generous toe box to provide room for thick socks, and a molded heel cup to hold the boot in place relative to the foot. The closure is a speed lace-style, has a slide lock that’s easy to grip with gloves on, and firmly cinches the boot over the foot without unduly constricting the fit. Two storm flaps cover the one-piece tongue and the top of the boot: The lower covers the speed lace to protect it from grime and seal the interior of the boot from the elements, and the top one wraps over the lower and snugs the cuff of the boot to your leg to keep water out. 

Get the latest news on great gear by subscribing to Bicycling!

The exterior of the boot is sturdy and resistant to abrasion. Thick synthetic leather overlays durable Cordura; together, they cover a wind- and waterproof Gore-Tex Koala membrane that completely wraps the foot and keeps the elements at bay.  Generous reflective elements are positioned at the heel, instep, and outside surface of the toe box. The toe is capped with a rubberized cup, and the aggressive natural rubber sole offers good grip and can accommodate two threaded toe spikes.  Cleat mounting is two-bolt SPD style and has a long range of adjustment that will help offset any change in shoe size over your other shoes. The boots have a slim profile; I never had an issue with the boots rubbing on the outside of my crankarms, something bulkier shoes might do. 

Normally, with a winter boot of this type I need to go up two sizes to get heavy winter socks to fit (I’m normally a size 43). Despite its svelte outside appearance, the interior is roomy and I was pleasantly surprised to fit in a size 44. There was ample room in the toe box to provide loft and warmth around my toes, and the integrated heel cup kept my feet firmly in place. I found the speed lock simple to adjust and easy to use, even with gloves on. The storm flaps made sealing the top of the boot easy, and the boots are tall enough to tuck under my favorite Pearl Izumi bibtights with built-in gaiters for a complete seal from the elements. 

The shell of the boot is water- and wind-proof and did a good job of keeping my feet warm and dry to about 20 degrees. Northwave rates the boots to -5/+25 degrees Celsius (-13/+41 Fahrenheit), but for me, that was wishful thinking. Below 20 degrees I pulled fleece-lined booties over them to get the warmth I needed. That said, the svelte profile of the GTX made donning said booties easy—a size XXL fit easily over the shoes and made them useful in a wider range of temperatures. I also added a thicker winter insole, mostly to accomodate my high arch. There was plenty of room inside the boot to accomodate both the new insole and thick socks. 

The Celsius 2 GTX is a stiff boot and provided good pedaling input. The area around the cleat was deep enough to hit the sides of my SPD pedals and there was little side-to-side rocking. Entry and exit from the pedals was smooth with no binding. I was able to run during frigid cyclocross practice sessions with no problem. Hiking snowy mountain bike trails was solid and surefooted thanks to the deep lugs. The natural rubber sole gripped well in wet and cold conditions, and the addition of sharp ice spikes at the toe allowed me extra confidence when crossing the occasional frozen creek. As promised, the boots remained warm and waterproof, with nary a drop of water getting past the collar. They also breathed well and only succumbed to the greenhouse effect when temps soared to the 50s mid day on a few early morning jaunts. 

The Celsius 2 GTX is available in fluoro-yellow/black and black with blue accents. 

Northwave Celsius Arctic 2 GTX96679

Nobody’s Driving

The word "hero" is bandied about rather cavalierly these days, but every so often somebody performs a truly selfless act of courage and bravery and thus earns the appellation.

What follows is a tale of heroism that falls decidedly under the "bandied about" category, but the mundanity of the circumstances and fatuousness of the protagonist should in no way diminish the thrilling nature of the actions described herein.

But first let’s pause for a moment and honor America:

Now let’s begin.

Yesterday afternoon I was returning by bicycle from the Westchester suburbs to my home in the Bronx, and our story takes place just south of the business district of the village of Hastings-on-Hudson, the wealthy river town the New York Times famously dubbed "Hipsturbia" back in 2013:

Having spent a fair amount of time in this village (it’s less than 10 miles from my home and a frequent ride stop for me) I can assure you that the sobriquet "Hipsturbia" is charitable at best.  For example, while there is a gluten-free bakery you will not see anybody using a bicycle to get around town, and certainly not on a bicycle like this:

Sure, people may move there from Brooklyn, but they’re the ones who never "got" the whole bike thing in the first place and have now embraced an auto-centric lifestyle with aplomb.  If you see someone who looks like that in Hastings you can be absolutely sure they rode up from the city.  You’ll also never see that many people walking in town at the same time, and certainly not in such ebullient attire.  The most recent arrivals may be clinging to their Brooklyn Industries duds, but it only takes a year or two for their wardrobes to turn over and get supplanted by stuff from the upscale malls in the area.

Yes, these are suburbanites through and through, and my smug condescension towards them can only mean I’ll be moving up there any day now.

Anyway, I’d just passed through the strip with the gluten-free bakery and the terminally uncool/borderline non-existent foot traffic when I encountered a double-parked SUV with the tailgate open as though someone had stopped to unload it.  However, as I passed the SUV I realized it was moving.  You know how it goes: you pass a stopped vehicle and the driver picks that exact moment to pull out into traffic, either because they didn’t bother to check for bicycles, or because they did and they just don’t care.

Naturally I turned to scowl at the driver, but as I donned my most withering expression I noticed there was no driver.  A cursory visual inspection of the interior also revealed there were no passengers either.  The car was just moving on its own, slowly, like it was trawling for a parking space.

I was of three minds at this point, as follows:

1) Not my problem and fuck this idiot, plus I’m going to be late to pick my kid up at school if I don’t leave now so buh-bye;

2) Not my problem and fuck this idiot but it would be really entertaining to watch this play out so I should totally stick around and watch;

3) I should probably do something before another driver crashes into this thing or it pins one of these uncool non-existent pedestrians.

Now keep in mind my thoughts were not as well-ordered as they appear above.  Rather, each option sort of cycled through my brain alternately, over and over, like cards in a game of three-card monte.  Option #3 seemed particularly problematic to me since I had no idea why this car was driving itself, and I didn’t want to mess with the thing for fear I’d hurt myself somehow, or else wind up behind the wheel when it lurched inexplicably and smashed through the plate-glass window of a gluten-free bakery.  Still, I didn’t want anyone else to get hurt either.  So, figuring the driver couldn’t be too far away, I began to yell:

"Hey, your car’s rolling!," I cried, omitting the "you fucking idiot" out of sheer tact.

No response.

I repeated myself again and again, and my calls went similarly unheeded.

Having ticked that box, I moved onto Option #2.  However, to justify my gawking, I figured I’d film it under the guise of public service and share it with the world.  So I withdrew my phone and began to shoot.  Unfortunately, the whole time I thought I was filming I actually wasn’t, so when I hit the red button to stop filming I actually started.  Here is the result:

Please allow me explain what you’re seeing.  I’m still calling out to the idiot driver, who I suspect must be in earshot, in the vain hope that they’ll take care of their own goddamn mess.  The car is now moving across the center line (miraculously there is no oncoming traffic at the moment) and is on a collision course with a parked Audi, possibly owned or leased by wealthy arrivistes from gentrified Brooklyn who have given up on being cool because they long for "good schools" and secretly hate bike lanes.  Part of me would very much like to revel in the soft crunching sound of this idiot’s SUV meeting this brand-new Audi’s shiny interlocking rings.  However, another part of me is moved to prevent this from happening.  I’d like to say this is because I’m a good person, but I don’t think that’s the reason.  I suspect the real reason is that all Americans are born with "consumerist original sin."  As such we are genetically programmed to respect status symbols, even while we may consciously resent them.  Indeed, I think the same misguided impulse that moved a bunch of poor white saps to vote for a billionaire douchebag is the same one that finally compelled me to put down my bike, run alongside the runaway SUV, open the door, depress the brake, and move the gear selector from "D" to "P."

(And yeah, I’m pretty sure it was actually in Drive and not just Neutral.)

Once I’d stopped the car–fully in the wrong lane now and mere feet from the parked Audi–I didn’t have time to wonder what to do next because that’s when the driver arrived, let out an exclamation in Spanish, and then went on about how sorry she was.  Given her timely arrival it seemed impossible to me she hadn’t heard me yelling all that time, and I felt fairly certain she had probably been watching in a state of impotence as her car rolled away–which, if you think about it, is the default condition of most motorists.

And with that I took a parting shot of the offending vehicle and continued on my way:

The moral of the story is that most people out on the roads should not be driving, but you already new that.

Speaking of the total collapse of society, there’s this:

The bike, aimed at 3 to 6 year olds, lets kids interact with gaming apps while pedaling. The Smart Cycle ($150) comes with one free app and works with four others, including SpongeBob SquarePants and Shimmer and Shine apps ($4.99 each).

The included app features an age-appropriate curriculum based on math, science and social studies.

"They’re learning and mastering content as they pedal, fast or slow, forwards or backwards," Amber Pietrobono, a spokeswoman with Fisher-Price, told CNNMoney. "It’s also how they level up in the games."

Hey, here’s a good way to learn stuff while pedaling: RIDE A FUCKING BIKE TO SCHOOL!

Oh, wait, sorry.  I forgot we were talking about America for a second.

I’m sure everyone will be outraged that the little girl isn’t wearing a helmet.

The Joy of Not Fixing Your Bike

My rear brake has been acting up, and my front derailleur has been rattling, so I took the opportunity to stroll over to the local bike shop to daydream over shiny lights and have a chat with the shop manager while a friendly wrench set about making ridiculously minor adjustments.

While I waited, I told the manager about participating in the National Women’s Bicycling Forum in DC. She in turn told me about her tactics for managing to find the right bike for female shoppers who turn up encumbered by talkative, know-it-all boyfriends and husbands. (Her best trick: Send the guy out to get a burger and beer so good decisions can be made in peace.)

         RELATED: 10 Ways Bike Shops Can Welcome Women

Our conversation was cut short by the arrival of another customer. A woman with a heavy, older mountain bike had come in to have her tires checked; they’d been losing air. I eavesdropped with pleasure on the troubleshooting process, remembering when I’d first learned, as this woman was at this moment, what PSI meant (that’s pounds of air per square inch of tube!), how to read the numbers on the side of the tire wall, and how to use a floor pump.

Such basic knowledge might be all too easy to laugh at once we’ve learned—but it’s also something we’ve all had to find out ourselves. After learning that there was nothing wrong with her bike beyond needing some air, the woman spontaneously shared that an old roommate had left it behind a few months ago and that she’d just begun riding it, “and I love every minute!” She was, in fact, grinning.

         RELATED: 5 Inspiring Cyclists Who Learned to Ride as Adults

My minor adjustments done, I paid up and left, happy with the service and reflecting on the time when I first began to learn the workings of my bike and how to fix them. It had been one of the most empowering experiences of my life. Perhaps equally empowering has been the more recent realization that I don’t have to do it all myself.

In certain social circles, there’s some pressure on women to “have it all,” which often translates into family and career, perhaps growing your own food, and of course doing your own bike maintenance. And sure, my attempts to do everything myself, at least when it comes to bikes, have been transformative. Knowing how to overhaul my drivetrain, fix flats, and change cables has come in handy over the years. It’s saved me money and at times, it’s saved the day. (Looking to up your DIY game? Our bike maintenance course is a great place to start.)

But while I still sometimes choose to, or need to, do my own repairs, I’ve found that I vastly prefer to wheel my bike over to a local shop. I used to feel guilty about this—after all, as an advocate for women’s bicycling, shouldn’t I be as self-sufficient as possible? But the reality has won out—as a person who often has trouble finding time to eat, sleep, and do laundry, shifting into bike maintenance mode to troubleshoot a problem (and often discover more than expected) tends to be more stressful than rewarding. Bringing my bike to a local bike shop to fix a flat feels like an extravagance, but in the end a few dollars, and one friendly conversation always feels like an amazing deal, and a break from my day rather than another stress on it. I may spend as much as $300 a year on bike maintenance, but it’s worth every cent. Knowing how to fix my own bike has freed me to also make the choice when not to fix it. And that’s priceless.

The Joy of Not Fixing Your Bike.86742

105-Year-Old Frenchman Sets Cycling Hour Record for Age Group

A 105-year-old Frenchman set a new one-hour cycling record for his age Wednesday—although Robert Marchand was already in a class of his own.

Marchand pedaled for 22.547 kilometers (14.01 miles) in the national velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines west of Paris to the cheers of hundreds of spectators—and when he had finished he said he could have gone faster.

"I didn’t see the sign saying there were 10 minutes to go, otherwise I would have speeded up," the wiry champion told a scrum of reporters, who surrounded him at the finish.

Marchand dismounted and although a coach put a steadying arm around him, he walked off the track without difficulty.

         RELATED: 8 Things About Cycling That Improve With Age

"I’m not tired, my legs aren’t hurting, but my arms are. It has to hurt somewhere!" he said after doing 92 laps of the track.

"I feel emotional—and I’m even asking myself if all this is real!" said Marchand, who was born in 1911, three years before World War I began.

When a reporter asked if he was going to do another lap, he said emphatically: "No!"

Age is slowing him though—three years ago he managed to ride 26.927km in one hour, a record for someone aged over 100.

No Rivals
There was no known existing mark for someone of 105, so Marchand truly blazed a trail on Wednesday.

"Now I’ll wait and see if anyone wants to take me on," he said with a chuckle.

     RELATED: 3 Bad Excuses for Avoiding a Bike Ride

By comparison, the one-hour world record is 54.526 km, set by British Tour de France winner and multiple Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins.

Marchand, a retired firefighter who was a national gymnastics champion and a boxer, attributes his enduring fitness to a healthy diet—and lots of exercise.

"I’ve done sport all my life, eaten loads of fruit and vegetables, not too much coffee," he said before the record attempt.

"I do between 10 and 20 kilometers a day (cycling), but I don’t train outside. I’m afraid I might catch flu!"

How to you stack up to the world’s best cyclists? Watch this video find out:

One of his coaches, Jean-Michel Richefort, said he felt "really emotional" about his not-so-young charge’s achievement.

"He went off very fast and I was afraid he’d have cramp. But he kept his form, he was very focused and he followed a perfect line," he said.

As the celebrations continued, Marchand was asked if he now had his eye on the record for 110-year-olds.

"It’s a long way off—let’s talk about it at a later date," he said.

Want to stay up-to-date on all the latest cycling news and events? Be sure to subscribe!

105-year-old Frenchman pedals into history books.

105-year-old Frenchman pedals into history books.


Retrospective Resolutions

Over the holidays I was doing a major house cleaning, which included sorting my clothing. In the process I discovered something unexpected. Most of my current wardrobe – sweaters, dresses, skirts, even socks and hats and gloves – are of my own making. As a rather proficient knitter and a middling but brave sewer, I have always made bits and pieces by hand. But there is a difference between that, and being able to make most of the clothing I need myself. The latter had long been a dream. But some time in 2016 it became a reality. Is there such a thing as a retrospective New Year’s resolution? If so, I achieved one of those last year. And to notice this was such an odd feeling – like the opposite of (the more usual) making a resolution and not keeping it. So perhaps keeping a resolution without making it is the way to go?

I mention knitting a lot here, which must confuse those who read this blog purely for cycling content. But in my mind, the two are inherently linked. Cycling for transport in this damp, cold and windy climate has influenced the direction of my designs, the choice of yarn I use, the technique I’ve developed, even the speed of my progress. Without cycling and the specific set of challenges it has posed over the past 3 years, I would not have reached my current level of skill, creativity and proficiency as a knitter.  So… thank you, cycling, for this achievement.

The connection between the two things goes deeper though. Because 2016 was also the year I got my bike-tinkering mojo back, and with a vengeance. I have made no secret here of the fact, that I find it difficult working on bikes. In part due to physical strength limitations, in part due to nerve damage in my hands, even the most rudimentary repair and maintenance tasks have always been a challenge – making me feel helpless and inept. For someone who takes 30 minutes plus to change a flat, learning the skill of framebuilding was really an exercise in masochism. It involved so much sweat and tears and handholding, the experience did not make me feel empowered as I’d hoped; it made me feel terrible about myself – if anything, cementing my decision to limit my interest in design to the abstract, and leave the physical aspects of working on bikes to others.

Then, this year, the Wheel Obsession happened. I don’t know why now, and not earlier or later. People have been trying for years to interest me in the role wheels play in the cycling experience, but it fell on deaf ears. I guess one has to be ready for that kind of thing, ready to process the information. And this year, I must have been finally ready. The result initially was an interest in rim shape, which progressed to an interest in tubular and tubeless setups, and finally in the wheelbuilding process. I had no intention to do the latter myself at fist. But once I tried it, I realised I was actually… good at it. Unlike most other bicycle-related tasks I’ve tried, not only did it present no physical challenges, but it was also, for me, quite intuitive. I can look at a lacing pattern and it makes sense to me; I don’t need instructions. It is as if I can visualise the end result and then space out, letting my hands do the work, until I snap out of my daze and – oh look – it’s done! In that sense it is much like knitting.

Unfortunately, unlike knitting you can’t quite make a regular practice out of building wheels. There are only so many sets you need for yourself after all, and the parts are far too expensive to make them as gifts. But while I won’t be building wheels on a regular basis, the very fact that I can has boosted my confidence in bicycle DIY tremendously. And this too, has felt like an unmade resolution kept.

What about you?  Have you had a bicycle-related breakthrough, achievement or realisation "sneak up on you" over these past few years?  Here’s hoping for 2017!

National Champion Missy Erickson Speaks Out About Her Sexual Abuse

Editor’s Note: Missy Erickson says that as a junior racer she endured three years of sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse from a man connected to her cycling club. Now 26, the multi-time national track champion hopes that her story will increase awareness of the issue and help young athletes in similar situations recognize signs of abuse. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

I started cycling when I was 15 as a way to stay in shape for cross-country skiing during the summer. My parents bought me a Trek. It was a 1300 I think—red and white with a triple chainring and 105 components—and I joined a bike club.

Every Tuesday night, a group gathered for a fast ride. We’d go out on a route along a chain of lakes. Each lake had a sprint at the end. It was like a crit—sprints over and over again. Pretty quickly it became apparent that I was really good at sprinting

I was the only female in the club and the only junior. A man connected with the club took me under his wing. He was twice my age. He showered me with praise, told me how talented I was, and helped me with my training—coaching me for free. I received a lot of special attention, and he made me believe that I could trust him. At the time, my parents were going through what would eventually become a divorce; I didn’t really want to be at home, so he became someone I could talk to.  

The first time any sexual abuse happened was after a ride. When we got back to the bike shop, a group lingered. They left one by one until it was just the two of us. 

He told me there was something upstairs he wanted to show me. So I went upstairs. He told me to sit down, so I sat down. Step by step, I was led into things I had never experienced before. I was alone, with someone I had looked up to, someone who had helped me, someone I had confided in. 

The first instance didn’t last long, but it felt like an eternity. He touched me places I had never been touched. He asked if I was scared; I said yes. And he said that was okay. After it ended, I walked to my car, drove home slowly, ate dinner, and went to bed. I didn’t say anything. I was in shock.

"I was scared that if I said no to him or tried to stop him, everything I’d worked for in cycling would go away. He was powerful and I was like a puppet."

I was scared that if I said no to him or tried to stop him, everything I’d worked for in cycling would go away. That I’d lose the opportunity to be coached, go to races, and find training partners. He was powerful and I was like a puppet.

He told me I wanted this. I was dumbfounded when he said that. How could I have wanted this? He told me not to tell anyone. I was 17. 

missy erickson usa cycling
Missy Erickson rides to victory at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. Photograph courtesy of Missy Erickson (Taken by Brottom Backet)

The abuse happened a dozen more times before I left for college. The emotional abuse was constant. He was possessive of me, texting and calling and demanding to know where I was. I once went out with a boy in my high school. We went to the local park and sat together on the swings. I got a text from my abuser saying he knew exactly where I was and what I was doing. That really freaked me out.

Eventually, I felt like I was so far into it that there was nowhere to go. I accepted it as my fate and my fault. I accepted that speaking out would cause more problems than good. 

I developed an eating disorder. Eating became something I could control in my life, since the rest felt like it was in shambles. I tried to commit suicide twice when I was 18. The first time, as I was trying to slit my wrists, my phone kept ringing and distracting me. It was him calling, and I worried that if I didn’t answer he’d come find me. The second time I couldn’t cut deep enough. It hurt. I didn’t want any more pain. I just wanted everything to stop. That time, I kept thinking about my little brother and what this would do to him. I am so grateful I failed. 

“For so long I believed it was your fault if it happened to you. But it’s not your fault. It’s never your fault.”

I told my abuser I wanted him to stop shortly after I attempted suicide for the first time. I was afraid he would get violent, because he was so angry. 

Getting a scholarship to Fort Lewis College in Colorado was like a gift from God. I’d prayed every day that I could get out of my hometown as soon as possible. Even though I moved a day’s drive away, he didn’t stop calling and texting me. My freshman roommate, who had no idea what was going on, heard my phone ringing like crazy and said to me, “You need to get help for that. That’s not normal.”

I went to see a college counselor, and I couldn’t even fill out the form explaining why I was there; I was too scared. I didn’t talk for the first 30 minutes of our appointment. I just sat on her couch and sobbed. 

The abuse completely fucked me in terms of being a normal teenager. I withdrew from my friends. Even in college, I pushed men away if they got too close. I shied away from relationships for a long time. 

Someone once told me that I have the power of answering the phone or not. And that changed a lot. I didn’t go home for holiday breaks, which limited any chance of seeing him. I started talking about what happened, realizing that it wasn’t my fault, and taking the blame off myself. The issue was never legally resolved—I just moved on with my life, or at least did so in the best way I could.

Counseling has helped. The second time I hung out with my current boyfriend, the subject of how old we were when we became physically involved as a teen came up. I just said to him, “I was 17, and I was raped.” It caught me off-guard that I was so open about it.

I don’t want to be known as the cyclist who was sexually abused. That’s one reason I didn’t talk about it for so long. If this can help someone, or if it makes someone feel like they can reach out to me for help, then it’s worth it. 

I never blamed cycling for what happened. When I rode, it took my mind off life. And the better I got, the more I wanted to win. Winning felt good, and the next thing I knew I was on a World Cup podium and trying to make my first Olympic team

I think this happens to all sorts of athletes—boys, girls, men, women—but no one talks about it. Growing up, no one talked about this stuff; it was as if it couldn’t happen in my small town where everyone went to church. But we need to talk about it. And we need kids to feel that they can bring this stuff up. 

If I could give my 17-year-old self some advice, it would be to get help. Nothing is going to change unless you do. And I’d tell her that what’s happening is not your fault. For so long I believed it was my fault, and that I allowed this to happen. But it’s not your fault. It’s never your fault.

Bicycling is investigating other instances of sexual abuse in cycling. If you or someone you know has experienced physical or emotional abuse from a peer, coach, mechanic, or manager and wish to share your story, please reach out to

missy erickson usa cycling

missy erickson usa cycling


Fake News Alert! Burritos are NOT Dangerous

Here’s some real news that became fake news before the other fake news was in the news….. In April of last year, Rich Dillen posted a parody of a grumpy Merck commenting on the use of disc brakes in the pro peloton.

Funny stuff. Then, almost a year later, this happened.

As Rich explained to me
So Nick “Dip n Spray” Barlow PM’s me on IG to this image of two people in front of the quote on a wall at The Laughing Planet in Portland. And my circle of strange comes collapsing down on my tiny head.
So Rich’s joke is now plastered on a Portlandia cafe wall.
It’s not real.
Don’t know if Laughing Planet is on the joke or not and it doesn’t matter now.
Checking with Velo for comment and no word so far from Eddy.

The post Fake News Alert! Burritos are NOT Dangerous appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Life Goals: The Centenarian Cyclist

From the AP Wire and Reuters….

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France — Nearly a century ago, Robert Marchand was told by a coach that he should give up cycling because he would never achieve anything on a bike.

He proved that prediction wrong again Wednesday.

In a skin-tight yellow and violet jersey, the 105-year-old Frenchman set a world record in the 105-plus age category — created especially for the tireless veteran — by riding 22.547 kilometers (14 miles) in one hour.

Marchand had ridden faster in the past on the boards of the Velodrome National. But he had warned before his latest attempt that his current form was not as good.

Three years ago at the same venue, Marchand covered 26.927 kilometers (16.7 miles) in one hour to better his own world record in the over-100s category.

Fans chanted “Robert, Robert” during the last minutes of his ride and he received a standing ovation once he completed the 92 laps.

Marchand lives in a small flat in a Parisian suburb with a meager pension of about 900 euros ($940), keeps pedaling and stretching every day. It’s as if time had no effect on him and according to his coach, he has a big heart that pumps a lot of blood.

Marchand was born in 1911 and the secrete to his longevity is eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, no smoking, an occasional glass of wine and exercising on a daily basis.

If had been doping, he would not be there anymore.

To stay fit, Marchand rides every day on his home trainer and puts himself through outdoor training sessions on the road when the weather is good enough.

He also doesn’t watch TV, apart from Tour stages.

The post Life Goals: The Centenarian Cyclist appeared first on Bike Hugger.

This Is Going To Be The Best 2017 EVER!!!

It’s 1917!

Sorry, I meant 2017!

After the annus horribilis (a Latin phrase meaning "horrible anus") that was 2016, it was somewhat gratifying to watch it go swirling down the toilet.  However, it remains to be seen what will happen once that hissing sound stops and the bowl fills anew.  At the very least, we can expect at least one carroty turd to resurface on Inauguration Day, and no amount of plunging is likely to consign it to the sewers where it belongs.

Nevertheless, I choose to welcome 2017 as an auspicious year, for it marks my 10th year of blogging:

No, I’m not retiring (yet), I just prefer tombstones to birthday cakes.  Also, my blog’s 10th birthday isn’t technically until June 13th, at which point you can rest assured I’ll mark the occasion in the appropriate fashion:

Still, it’s never too early to start congratulating yourself, and I like to think I’m coasting to the line with a comfortable lead and plenty of time to zip up and thank the sponsors, though this is probably a more accurate representation:

Did I win?  The answer is most certainly yes.  Ten years ago I was a sub-middling Cat 3 with an unfulfilling day job and a debilitating racing habit.  Now I’ve turned into something even more insufferable: an ex-racer, published author, and parent, which is a highly combustible admixture for smugness.  Most importantly, in that time I’ve established myself as very possibly the world’s greatest cycling blogger–and rest assured that when I say "possibly" I mean "definitely," it’s just that my attorneys have advised me to use "possibly" when making pronouncements in order to avoid getting sued.

(This article is possibly about learning how to blow yourself.  See how that works?)

Of course being the world’s greatest cycling blogger (possibly) isn’t just a leisurely spin in the park.  Sure, I get to try out new bicycles from time to time, and marketing people occasionally offer to send me crotchal unguents for free, but maintaining my lofty position in the general classification takes work.  Indeed, in 2017 some of this work will take me away from this blog.  To what degree it does so remains to be seen, but I will endeavor to keep you apprised of my posting schedule of all times.  Also know that when I do take leave of this blog I’ll be working on stuff you’ll get to enjoy later, or at least working on stuff that will allow me to work on stuff you’ll get to enjoy later, so it’ll all work out in the end.


Is that vague enough for you?  Because I could try to be even more ambiguous, but then I’d be venturing into Bradley Wiggins’s package territory:

Hey, who doesn’t like a good drugs package?  Maybe now that he’s retired he can start a "Mystery Drugs Package of the Month Club."

("Dunno, could be anyfink, mate.")
And with that I hereby declare this year…well, if not exactly seaworthy, then at least adrift in a sea of uncertainty:
Here’s to ten more years.  Of something.