The Tour of LC is almost here! Don’t miss this Epic Event!

Join ZiaVelo Cycling for this year’s Tour of Las Cruces, October 29. It is our premier cycling event with scenic routes around Las Cruces. The weather looks like it will be a beautiful fall day, with temperatures around 49 at the start and finishing at around 63 degrees (of course this is subject to change).

Lunch is provided for all participants at the conclusion of the ride at the start location at Memorial Medical Center. Participation awards are given to the first 100 online registrations.

For the Metric Century route (Strava), click here. For the map and directions, click here. For the Garmin gpx file, click here. For the Metric Half-Century route (Strava), click here. For the map and directions, click here. (Slightly different courses from 2016). For the Garmin gpx file, click here.
To register, click here. Online registration will close October 27.
TofLC1TofLC2
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A Few of Our Very Own Win NMORS Series Titles

The NM Off Road Series (NMORS) association supports the sport of cross country mountain bike racing in NM and El Paso, Texas thru a series of races composing the NM Off Road Series. This series is held annually with events generally running from March thru October. At the conclusion of each year the NMORS awards a series title to each of its category champions. ZVC is proud to announce that three of their very own hold Cat 1 titles for 2017, Tammy Risner, Jerry Garcia, and Kevin Quattlebaum. Congrats!

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Attention ZVC Members: Don’t Miss ZVC Kit orders!

It’s that time of year! Race season has come and gone! And most importantly, and what everyone patiently waits for, kit ordering time! If you want yours, be sure to order before the October 30 deadline. Orders will ship on or before December 22 and hopefully beat Santa Claus. All of the ordering information is below.

Also, be looking for ZiaVelo Cycling Membership renewal coming soon to newmexicosportsonline.com.

Welcome to the Voler Online Ordering System

Your team has decided to use the Voler Custom Online Order System for collecting and processing your cycling apparel order. Please follow the steps below to place your individual order for inclusion in the overall team order.

  1. Click on this link to access your team order site: http://www.voler.com/custom/ordering/li/19532
  2. Click on “LOGIN” to enter your Login/Billing Info. Click on “Create Account” to save the information and to create your new User ID and Password. You will automatically be directed to the home page for your team order. If you are a returning customer, please use your original Login and Password.
  3. Click on “Begin Shopping” to gain access to the orderable products page. To place items in your shopping cart, click on the item you want to order, then the options you want to select, then the “Add to cart” button. You can choose to “View Your Bag” or “Continue Shopping” after adding each item. Repeat these steps for each item you want to order.
  4. After placing the last item you want to order in your shopping cart, click on “View Your Bag” to display the items. Carefully review the items and make any necessary modifications or deletions. Because each item is custom built, refunds and exchanges will not be accepted. After you have confirmed your order is correct, click on “Proceed to Checkout” to complete the secure checkout process by entering your credit card payment information.
  5. After you have completed the secure checkout process, an Order Confirmation will automatically be displayed and e-mailed to you for your records.
  6. After the order deadline date has passed, you will no longer be able to access the order site. If you have not completed the checkout process for your order by this date, any items in your cart will be removed. The Order Deadline and the Order Ship Date are displayed on the order homepage. The Ship Date is the date that your order will be shipped from Voler.

Thank you for your order. If you have any questions, please call 800-488-6537 and ask for assistance from a Voler Customer Service Representative, or send us an email at sales@voler.com.

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Gear Up for the Tour of Las Cruces

Join ZiaVelo Cycling for this year’s Tour of Las Cruces, October 29. It is our premier cycling event with scenic routes around Las Cruces.

Lunch is provided for all participants at the conclusion of the ride at the start location at Memorial Medical Center. Participation awards are given to the first 100 online registrations.

For the Metric Century route, click here. For the Metric Half-Century route, click here. (Slightly different courses from 2016).To register, click here.
TofLC1TofLC2
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Attention All Riders Interested in the ZVC Saturday Group Rides: Start time will be 8am beginning September 9

Most of you already no about our Saturday group rides. If you do not, they are a fun-packed, energetic, and inviting ride for riders of different levels and abilities, yet, with a dose of competitiveness for those who choose. It is a ‘no-drop’ ride meaning there a few stops to wait for all to reach certain points and also to help others out if the unfortunate mechanical issue should arise. We welcome all riders to give it a try. There are opportunities to turn back or shorten the ride if necessary. All Saturday group rides will begin at 8am, beginning September 9, leaving from Milagros on University. All riders must wear a helmet, be cautious of other riders, and follow traffic rules.21034649_1414146385307318_2113083392145854665_n

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Four ZVC Racers Win the 2017 NM Road Series Jerseys

ZVC is proud to announce that four of its ZVC Zia racers proved that dedication and hard work pays off, winning themselves the 2017 NM Road Race Series jersey. This jersey goes to the leader of each category, that has raced a minimum of six races, and earned the most points overall. These winners are

  • Mens 3 Kevin Quattlebaum
  • Mens 4 Eric Collins
  • Womens P1/2/3 Tamatha Risner
  • Womens 4 Kathy Alvarez

Way to Represent!

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ZVC Racers Took to the Road, Dirt, and Water, the Past Few Weekends

Many ZiaVelo Cyclists have been busy taking to the road and dirt the past few weekends for races all over New Mexico and Colorado. The ZVC colors have shined brightly in all events! The weekend before last, racers participated in the Tour de Los Alamos road race, the Desert Eagle Time Trial, and the Oak Flats mountain bike race. At the Tour de Los Alamos, notable finishes included Kevin Quattlebaum winning Cat 3, Robert Mercer winning Cat 4, Joseph Garcia coming in 4th place in P/1/2, and Zach Taraschi coming in 3rd place in Cat 4. At the Desert Eagle Time Trial, the second race in the series of three, Marcel Berger won the overall, Joseph Garcia came in 2nd, and Al Senft came in 3rd. Kathy Alvarez had her fastest time, winning the overall in women for the day. A few of these racers along with other ZVC racers will be racing the Record Challenge TT race Labor Day weekend. We wish them our best! Taking to the dirt at Oak Flats was Jerry Garcia, winning his age group and coming in 6th place in the overall Cat 1. Al Senft came in 3rd place in the Cat 1 40-49.

This past weekend, ZVC racers participated in the Santa Fe Hill Climb, the last New Mexico road race of the season. A few others traveled to Boulder, CO to participate in the IronMan 70.3 Triathlon. Notable finishes include Amber Zimmerman coming in 2nd place in Cat 5, beating many racers in the other categories at the Santa Fe Hill Climb. At the IronMan70.3, Terry Casey came in a remarkable 14th place in the overall Pro category. Rachael Greuber also had an impressive finish coming in 9th in her age 25-29 age group. Also participating in this event was Ryan Conklin.

Way to go ZVC Racers!

For more results from these events and others, please check out the results page.

Mountain bike racing continues along with other events. Click below for more information on these events.

Chubby Tire Rendezvous/High Altitude Classic (Cloudcroft, NM) August 20

Dawn ‘til Dusk (Gallup, NM) August 26

Signal Peak (Silver City, NM) September 3

Horny Toad Classic (Las Cruces, NM) September 10

Squash Blossom (Gallup, NM) September 16

Tour of Acoma (Acoma Pueblo, NM) September 17

Cerrillos del Coyote (Socorro, NM) September 23

Tour of Ruidoso (Ruidoso, NM) September 23

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ZVC Racers Participated On and Off Road this Past Weekend with Top Finishes

On Saturday, over in Angel Fire, NM, a few ZVC Zia racers, Jerry Garcia, Kevin Quattlebaum, and Tamatha Risner raced the Oso High Mountain Bike XC. As in years past, donations and revenue from the race went straight to the ALS Association (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/”Lou Gehrig’s Disease”). This year was in honor of fellow cycling enthusiast, Doug Schneebeck, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2010, and passed away just this past October. Doug established Oso High Endurance Sports, which has raised more than $405,000 for ALS research. His family was there as honorary guests and to support the event. ZVC is happy to report that Kevin Quattlebaum got 2nd in the Cat 1 40-49 age group and 2nd place overall. Jerry Garcia won his age group and had a strong 4th place overall finish. Tammy won the Cat 1 40-49 age group and 2nd place overall.

On Sunday, in Albuquerque, the first of three races in the 2017 Double Eagle Time Trial Series took place. There were a few ZVC racers out representing. ZVC is proud to report that Zia racer, Marcel Berger was the fastest rider of the day. The next two fastest racers of the day were also Zia racers, Joseph Garcia and Al Senft. Zia racer, Kathy Alvarez, was the second fastest woman of the day. Also out racing and representing ZVC were Velo racers, David Hughes and Amber Zimmerman, both with strong finishes.

Way to represent, ZVC racers!

Racing continues in our region. Check out some of the next upcoming events.

 

 

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ZiaVelo Racers Claim Top Spots on the Podium

There was plenty of racing this past weekend both on and off road, beginning with Las Campanas, the state road race championship. ZVC colors were in abundance and representing in both women and men categories. In the womens Pro/1/2/3 category, ZVC claimed top spots on the podium. Terry Casey and Tamatha Risner worked hard and pulled away from the others and continued to work hard together until the finish, with Terry coming in 1st , winning the state championship title, and Tamatha in 2nd. Also in this category was Kathy Alvarez who came in 4th.  In the mens Pro/1/2, Marcel was able to pull away soon into the race with competitor Fortunato Ferrara. They continued to pull away and work together until the final sprint. Marcel came in 2nd place, with a strong team of ZVC racers to follow including, Al Senft, Joseph Garcia, and Chris Schlabach. In the womens 4/5 category, we had two new racers to ZVC, Amber Zimmerman and Rachael Greuber. Both worked hard, with Amber coming in 3rd and Rachael in 6th. In the mens 4 category, ZVC won another state title with Robert Mercer’s impressive sprint to the finish with a win and Francis Horton in 5th.  Zach Taraschi had a strong 7th place finish. Eric Collins also raced this category after racing the state criterium race the day before. A special thank you goes out to ZVC racer Jerry Garcia who was at the feedzone and finish to assist racers and hand out water. And as always, thank you to one of our very own, Norm Desrochers, for officiating.

Over in Angel Fire, ZVC racer, Kevin Quattlebaum, raced the Chili Challenge Pro XCT (cross country) and GRT (downhill gravity) race, winning both the Cat 1 40-49 XCT and Cat 3 GRT races. In Gallup, ZVC racers Ryan Read and Sergio Pacheco competed on a 4-man team at the 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest and came in 4th.

Congrats to all of our ZVC racers!

For more results visit our results link from the main menu.

Plenty of racing to be had in July!

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A New Mexican and ZVC Rider Mountain Bikes in South Africa

By Mark Leisher

How did I end up racing for Zia Velo in a South African mountain bike race? As the story goes, a friend retired, moved from Las Cruces to South Africa, took up mountain biking, and then somehow convinced me to do this crazy hard 475km mountain bike race called the “Race to Rhodes” (referred to as RTR from now on), the first stage of the much longer 2300km “Race Across South Africa.” Adventure called, I answered, and with help from family and friends, the dream turned into reality.

Anecdotally (conversation with one of the organizers/racers), this race was formed in part to get racers to interact more with the terrain and communities they are racing through. No GPS is allowed, all navigation is done using compass, maps, and a narrative booklet that contained brief descriptions of critical turns, landmarks, and some distances.

The terrain is well described by the tag line often used in the region: Land of a Thousand Hills. My running joke is that 90% of this area of South Africa is uphill. The hills are tall, the valleys deep; climbs are hard and descents fast. And even in the dry season (early winter), you can count on water and mud at regular intervals.

Most of the RTR course consists of flat, hard packed roads between and through small towns and settlements, small forest roads (lumber is a big regional industry), rough two-track, cow trails, and some single track. The two track, single track, and cow trails usually cross grasslands and in some areas, marshy seeps. Imagine a lot of saddle time bumping over low hummocks of grass and pedaling hard through mud to avoid uncleating.

You might think that traversing remote areas of South Africa would be isolating, possibly even somewhat anxiety-inducing, but the simple truth is that cell phone coverage in this area of South Africa is almost ubiquitous (if you don’t have cell service, moving a few tens or hundreds of meters in any direction is likely to find cell service). This greatly reduces worries about encountering race-ending problems with no help/extraction within reasonably easy reach.

At no time did I feel in any danger and everyone was very friendly (typical South African trait). The race organizers went to great lengths to get communities all along the trails on board with the race, and they’ve done a remarkable job of it. Most of my trail-side conversations were very cordial and the sentiment expressed most often was that RTR racers were a special brand of awesome-but-insane: On one particularly long and difficult climb, a school kid exclaimed, “You don’t have a car?!”

The early winter weather for the 2017 race was generally clear, dry, and sunny. A mix of very hot days, and temps that dropped fast between 3:30-4pm as sundown approached.

Mistakes were made.

Most of you are probably aware by now that my race ended early because of dehydration. I made several mistakes, and one small-but-crucial mistake happened before I ever left home. That small mistake, which would cause trouble very early in the race, was setting my tire circumference wrong in my cycling computer. A senior moment that would come back to plague us.

Incorrect distance readings on the odometer meant that matching the terrain to the maps and narrative booklet became seriously confusing. Nothing seemed to match up. If I had been more alert the first day (not enough time adjusting to new time zone), I would have remembered being briefed that the narrative distances were as accurate as three different GPS units could make them. My odometer was off by quite a bit (up to 1.5kms short in some cases).

Another problem was that my compass (digital, part of my watch) reported every direction as WNW. I had put what I thought was a new battery in the watch before leaving, but I later discovered it wasn’t as new as I thought. Eventually I smartened up enough to put a functioning compass app on my smart phone. Those two mistakes, odometer and compass, helped lead us to a chilly overnight adventure/campout in the Umkomaas Valley, next to the Mkomazi River, which is probably where the dehydration got started.

The race begins.

The race for Group 3 (our group) started pre-dawn in Pietermartizburg, and it was clear early on that it would be me and Andrew riding together behind the other four. I was feeling pretty sluggish from the start, but as the day wore on, I started feeling better. The others in our group had all done this race before and were setting their own pace. We finally got unhitched from rest of our group at a barbwire gate that took us a while to untangle. About mid-morning we got off-course by missing a turn and logged some accidental tourist kilometers. Once we figured out our mistake, we were back on track. By the time we reached the descent (pretty steep concrete path) into the Umkomaas Valley, I was feeling like the race was on! And then we got diverted again.

To make a long story short, we overshot a critical turn that would lead us out of the Umkomaas Valley and ended up bushwhacking through never-ending thickets of acacia in search of the trail. Somewhere between 8 and 9pm, we decided it would be best to stop and try again at first light. It quickly got cold. I was reasonably prepared for cold weather with some extra fat on my bones and warm clothing (which became a liability later), but Andrew began to experience hypothermia symptoms and decided it would be wise to end his race that night. After a call for extraction and an extended push through the bush, he found the support vehicle in the early morning hours.

The hell of Hella-Hella.

I slept fairly well and rose at dawn to repack the bike. The next 1-1.5 hours were spent forcing my way through the bush to get to the cow trail alongside the river. Once on the cow trail, I backtracked quickly to a known position and almost immediately noticed the “Bokkie” (silhouette of a springbok head) sign tacked to a tree next to the trail out. Good timing! I had run out of water shortly after we stopped for the night and needed to find more ASAP. Strike one on the way to dehydration. A few kilometers later, I managed to find the white water rafting center at the base of the notorious Hella-Hella climb, and got topped off with water.

Then came my first real physical test. By the time I started up Hella-Hella (around 9am), it was getting very, very hot. The 9km Hella-Hella climb is all steep, smooth dirt road. Under normal circumstances, I would probably be able to ride most or all of it on a geared bike. But I was on a heavy bike, carrying too much gear (another first-timer mistake), so I spent ¾ of the climb on foot, sweating profusely in the high 80’s heat. I have vague recollections of noticing that I stopped sweating about half way up, which wasn’t a good sign. When I finally made it to the top, I had to ration what what was left to reach the stop for the night (Allendale). Strike two on the way to dehydration.

Allendale at last!

I finally made Allendale, the first overnight stop, around 2:45-3pm the second day. Allendale Farm has some really nice heated cabins with very comfortable beds and as much food as I could eat. And after showering, I ate and drank for the next four hours. I was up again at 2am to eat another full meal before leaving at 4am. I’ve never eaten and drank so much in my life as in that short span of time.

Not long after I arrived at Allendale, the guys from Group 4 arrived. This is when I learned that (some) South Africans have a pungent sense of humor. They were hilarious. Lots of dirty jokes, political jokes, and making fun of Afrikaaners (they were all professionals, South Africans of English, Scottish, and Italian ancestry). Toward bedtime, they all decided to leave at 4am (they were skipping the next overnight stop) and convinced me to ride with them until we got off Allendale Farm. The argument that swayed me was their claim that the owner of Allendale Farm sometimes couldn’t figure out how to get off his own farm using the trail we were given, but they remembered the way. That was one of the best decisions I made during the race.

Our 4am departure was cold, foggy, and marshy. We splashed through a lot of very confusing boggy spots and the bikes were thoroughly coated in mud by the time we made it past a dark Donnybrook and into the forest just before dawn. The other guys were carrying half the gear I was, on bikes half the weight of mine. Part way through the forest I insisted they leave me behind. After that, all I saw of them was their tracks. Which saved me quite a bit of time. I didn’t have to get off the bike a lot to figure out why the map wasn’t matching the narrative according to my odometer. I just followed their tracks in the damp ground.

Centacow to Ntsikeni Nature Preserve.

I made the old mission at Centacow (roughly half way to next overnight spot at Ntsikeni Lodge) around 9:45am and only in retrospect realize that I didn’t eat or drink anywhere near enough for the next leg. I left around 10:30am, and the next few hours were spent climbing up to a saddle that spilled me over into some settlements. At some point, the mismatch between my odometer and the narrative convinced me to make a wrong turn and I started a very steep climb that had to be close to 600 meters in altitude gained. I was hiking it along with a bunch of school kids heading home. After pushing through it, I discovered I had gone the wrong way, but going back would have added hours. Luckily, the road I was on intersected the road I should have been on, and after some texting with race support, I pushed on and found the correct road.

It was fully dark by the time I reached a crucial turn for the Ntsikeni Lodge. And I couldn’t find it. The narrative was vague, and by this time I had figured out the odometer was wrong and race support found the right tire circumference for me. I should have stopped and fixed the odometer problem then and there. The cumulative hydration and caloric deficits I had incurred were beginning to affect my judgment, and it took me another 1.5 hours and a visit with a local to decide I was on the right track. I was. But I made another mistake that would cost me later.

I was out of water with a few kilometers left to go to the Ntsikeni Lodge. After asking a local for directions to the Lodge, I asked him to fill my water bottle. It wasn’t filtered or purified, but I didn’t really notice the odd taste until much later. Most of the remaining ride to the Lodge was uphill through lumpy, grassy tractor tracks. Sometimes the grass was taller than me and I couldn’t see the trail, even with both lights on full power.

Around 10pm, I topped out at a saddle and could see the Lodge lights a couple hundred meters ahead. Downhill. Through marshes. I was a wet, muddy mess by the time I parked the bike for the night. I walked into the lobby, they sat me down, pulled my shoes off and immediately washed them in a tub of hot soapy water. Then I gave them whatever I wasn’t wearing which they promptly washed by hand and hung up to dry next to a wood stove. I ended up paying for that laundry service twice because my judgment was impaired (it was only $8 total, though). Eighteen hours on and off the bike was over. I was so tired I couldn’t eat or drink anything for at least an hour. Then I could barely choke down food, and water felt like it was drying out my body, not hydrating it. Something was wrong, but I thought it was simply fatigue. Strike three on the way to dehydration.

I planned to wake at 7am, pack the bike, eat, drink and leave. I didn’t get out of there until well after 9am. I was having trouble eating and drinking again. Instead, I woke at 5am, pulled out of a sound Ambien-fueled sleep by two large skinks noisily fighting for territory in the unheated cabin and could not get back to sleep. I managed to get a lot more food and drink down at breakfast after taking a handful of Pepto-Bismol tablets. I started feeling pretty good, and after fixing my odometer and receiving a batch of instructions from the Lodge manager on finding a shortcut (“It will save you an hour. I promise!”), I was on the trail again. It didn’t take long to figure out the Lodge manager was full of it so I simply continued on with the map.

The next few hours was an almost idyllic wander through grasslands along the edges of lumber tree plantations. It was bumpy, but I was feeling decent and my legs were working well. I took an extended break at a kraal (corral area) because the narrative was again vague and map didn’t really match what I was seeing even though the distances were correct. After some hiking, I found tire tracks that got me going in the right direction again. Still feeling pretty good, the ride to the next kraal was a pretty enjoyable run around the edges of a notch in the side of a big hill until reaching another kraal around the next shoulder. After passing through a couple gates at the kraal, the trail headed mostly downhill to a paved road.

Toward the bottom of the descent, nausea struck hard and sudden. Everything came up. After resting a few minutes, I managed to choke down what food I had left, got a little water back in me, and I started feeling better. A few minutes later, right in front of a farmer watering a field, the diarrhea arrived. The farmer didn’t say anything, he just shook his head. A few texts later with my brother Craig indicated I was probably dehydrated. I was swilling Nuun tablets, inhaling water, and popping Pepto-Bismol tablets, but was feeling worse and worse. At this point, I pretty much knew there was no way I would make the next stop at Glen Edward. I was out of food and low on water. So I waffled a while as I walked the bike, hoping against the odds to recover enough to continue, but finally decided to withdraw from the race. Later, I realized the unfiltered water I had picked up on the way to the Ntsikeni Lodge probably contributed to the problem considerably.

About 40 minutes after my decision, my friend Andrew arrived to pick me up, and we stopped in Pietermaritzburg on the way back to return the SPOT tracker. We chatted a while with Glen, a race organizer and single speed record holder for the 2300km race. Glen said first-timers often run into navigation problems, which is why they recommend doing the guided tour of the course before racing it.

Back in Kloof.

             Once back in Kloof (where Andrew lives outside Durban), recovery happened fast. It only took a little over a day to get mostly back to normal. I spent the extra time doing a small local safari (a place called the Tala Collection), manning a feed station for the world-renowned Comrades Marathon, eating everything in sight, sampling regional beers, and sleeping.

 Post mortem.

             The race was moved a week earlier than usual this year, to avoid racers having to finish in the snow in Rhodes. But this year turned out to be abnormally warm, so a lot of the cold weather gear I packed was unnecessary. Some other lessons I learned:

  • Take a lighter bike with suspension next time.
  • Take half the gear.
  • Replace batteries with new ones no matter what.
  • Take double the food.
  • Take more hydration choices.

 The end…

Despite it sounding like a miserable, mistake-filled ordeal, I sincerely loved every minute of the experience. As my brother Craig texted once, “You’re alone, on your bike, in the middle of nowhere South Africa. It doesn’t get much better than that!” I made a lot of mistakes, but also learned a whole lot that I’ll need for endurance races to come. And I plan to go back some day to finish the Race to Rhodes.

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Description of photos in order.
1. At the start in Pietermaritzburg.
2. Courtesy of the Umkomaas Valley.
3. At the top of Hella-Hella, looking at the bridge across the Mkomazi.
4. On the way to Ntsikeni, beautiful singing coming from the settlement below.
5. The first kraal; the start of the most enjoyable stretch.
6. Post-race. Chef’s school near Kloof with excellent craft brews
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