MAC/Betera Coaching Road Bike Skills Clinic

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MAC/Betera Coaching Road Bike Skills Clinic

The 2018 MAC Road Bike Skills Clinic will take place on July 15th from 9 - 11 a.m. at the Ingersoll Rand Campus in Davidson.    If you haven't signed up yet you can do so at Races Online using the link below 

If you want to know what you're getting yourself into here's a basic outline of  how the day will go. 

9 a.m. - Check In and Divide Into Groups

9:15 - 10:45 - Straight Line Drills:    It is essential that your bike handling becomes natural, in a group or race situation, you don’t  always have time to think when confronted with obstacles or other riding hazards.  These drills will help you get comfortable moving around and driving your bike so you can avoid crashes.  

10:45 - 11:00  - Water Break and short Q and A time

11:00 - 12:00  You'll  be moving with your group through three stations:

Station 1 - Grass Riding Games and Drills. 

Station 2 - Obstacle Avoidance and Emergency Stops.  

Station 3 - Cornering

12:00 - 1:00 - Lunch and Informal Q and A. 

1:00 - 2:15 - On the Road Small Group practice.  Each group will head out with a coach to practice specific riding skills tailored to their level. Tho specific drills will vary, given the level of riders in the group we do have a general sense of the things we'd like to practice:   

Beginners can choose to stay on campus for more low key drill practice in the parking lot, or they can go on a gentle group ride around the IR Campus and into Davidson.  You'll be practicing riding in close quarters, holding a line, calling out obstacles, and stopping/starting on varied terrain.   Special emphasis will also be on riding defensively so you can keep yourself safe while out on the road. 

Intermediate riders will work on moving around in a group, riding a pace line and holding speed through corners.  Special emphasis will be on how to really ride as a group, anticipating the moves of others and working collectively to keep the group together.  

2:30 - 3:00 Rider's Choice

Option 1 - Tire Changing 101. 

Option 2 - Mad Skills Obstacle Course Challenge. 

Option 3 - Practice "race laps" around campus. 

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Betera Coaching Van Build Journal

The Betera Custom Adventure Van build-out has started! We have hired super Mechanic and Project Manager, Ashley Parlett Malec. Without her, this dream wouldn't be happening. She will be updating our blog to help our clients and friends follow along with the build. We are very excited about the fun that is in our future! Enjoy!


Sarah Matchett, Kathy Goody, Ashley Malec and Laura Calvin after the 2017 Charlotte Motor Speedway Team Time Trial

Hi All! I’ve been a client and teammate of Sarah and Kathy since I started cycling a few years ago. Maybe there’s something to be said about the bond that is formed between teammates who suffer through training rides and races together because these two are like family to me now.

When they asked me to take on the project of their Adventure Van, I was both honored and scared. I am a mechanic by trade and I have recently started a small company on the side called Oliver Watson + Co that I categorize as "Creativity for hire" and this project was a great fit for my young, budding company but there were many things that they wanted to do to their van that were far outside of my comfort zone. Let’s face it, race cars don’t have solar panels and sinks. I sat down with Sarah and prepared myself to tell her I couldn’t take the job, before the meeting was over she had me feeling uber confident in myself and I said “yes”. I immediately began Googling “DIY Solar”. I am truly grateful that Sarah and Kathy believed in my abilities and forced me out of my comfort zone! 

 As I write this we are a month in to the build and things are really coming together! We wanted to share our journey on the build so we will be posting blog updates until it hits the road! 

 


 The Adventure Van on Day 1. 

The Adventure Van on Day 1. 

After some research and scouting the girls found their donar van for the build! Sarah and Kathy pulled up to my house and they looked like the A-Team which totally worked! The van fits their personalities so perfectly. If only it were four wheel drive! Right, Sarah? 

 “I don’t mean to bug you but I’m just so excited and I want you to start. Like Now. Right Now.” So we did! 

 

 

 

 

 

 


- Strip down

 Adventure Van as a blank canvas! 

Adventure Van as a blank canvas! 

Getting down to the bare bones of the van was obviously the first step! I was pleased to see how flat the walls already were. The 2016 Ram ProMaster is proving to be a great van for an RV build out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


- Plans

 Wall Layout

Wall Layout

We have a blank canvas! Now what? I scooted over to Excel to start laying out a grid of the van. This was handy down the line as I was changing up design and layout, I could easily count the grid to know what was happening to all of my sq. feet and if I had room for the items they wished to add. We’ve changed and modified things since this original but the basics were all in place! 

 Floor Layout

Floor Layout


- Fan/Vent Installation

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I decided that the Fan/Vent would be the first thing to go in. I wanted to be certain that it was sealed properly before I installed anything else in the van. So here I am, cutting a massive hole in the roof of their van! Stressful! It worked out tho! I utilized a nice adapter/spacer from Impact3d for the fan to sit down in the vans louvers and get a nice seal on the not so flat roof.  I used 3M WindoWeld and Butal Tape to seal both the spacer and the fan. Stainless hardware of course.

Luckily? We’ve had a ton of rain and the seal of the fan has been tested numerous times and it is sealed nicely! We chose the MaxxAir 5100 10 Speed Vent and Fan. The Fan option is quickly proving to have been a smart choice. It feels like a ceiling fan when ran in reverse and is super handy during these hot summer days! Fan, Done!

 

 


- More Plans

Since I’ve never wired anything before tackling the Adventure Van, I knew I had a lot of learning to do. The girls wanted solar and a Shore Power hookup. That meant we were going with both 120 VAC and 12VDC so a I had a huge learning curve ahead of me. I didn’t want to just copy a plan from online and stick it in the van. I wanted to understand how everything worked and rest easy at night knowing it’s safe and proper. I was fully committed to understanding everything I was about to do. I spent hours studying and learning.

 Wiring Diagram

Wiring Diagram

First, I built a consumption calculator in Excel (I love spreadsheets, stop judging me!) to tally up the size of the needed battery bank. Their electric needs included: laptops, a mini fridge, the vent/fan, lights and phone chargers. Once I settled on the size of the battery bank, I began working backwards on my diagram. And since I’m not an egomaniac (on that day) I sent it off to my husband’s Uncle Dennis (who is a Master Electrician) for his input and clearance on my plans. He made only a few changes which thrilled me! I learned a whole lot in this process and I knew it was a big step in the right direction. More on electrical in the installation portion of this blog.

 


- Solar Panels

 The Solar Panels installed on the Adventure Van

The Solar Panels installed on the Adventure Van

We settled on two 100w Monocrystalline Solar Panels from Renogy Solar. I researched a lot of different solar suppliers and Renogy had great reviews on their customer service so I chose them as our provider. Should the girls have any issues down the road, I wanted a well established parts provider. Their prices were competitive with other suppliers as well. I was very happy with the solar panels and brackets that arrived and only made a few small changes to hardware. I opted for all stainless button heads and nyloc stainless half nuts for a cleaner install. I also added 3M VHB Double Sided tape.  

  The pre-existing roof rack made for a nice mounting surface that didn’t require drilling more holes on the roof. Minimal holes, minimal opportunities for leaks. I left the wiring loose until I was ready to begin my wiring.

 

 

 

 

 


 

- Sub-Floor and Insulation

 The Sub-Flooring after installation

The Sub-Flooring after installation

 DIY Nutsert Puller

DIY Nutsert Puller

I chose moisture resistant AdvanTec 5/8” (from Lowes) for the sub-floor, floor foam that came with the van as insulation and a 3/8 nutsert system for mounting. Maybe a little overkill in bolt size but I wanted a solid/movement free floor for my client and I also wanted the option of attaching things to the floor later in the build. My 3/8 bolt choice has me confident in the install. I sealed the underside of the nutserts and bolts with Silicone adhesive.

 I had to make a DIY nutsert puller since I didn’t have a 3/8 fitting for the tool. Bringing back the shade tree mechanic days but it worked!

 


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- Captains Chairs

The OE Captains Chairs that came in the ProMaster were terribly uncomfortable. I removed them and listed them on eBay. Sarah and Kathy picked out a set that they liked from Discount RV complete with heaters and massagers. They are sporty!

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 The OE seats felt high, like you were driving a bus so I cut and lowered the factory bases to give the seats a better height. The girls also wanted to be able to use their Captains Chairs as an “Office” Space when the van is parked so I installed 360 degree swivels under the seats. 

I updated the hardware to Grade 8 bolts and used blue Loctite to secure them. 

Follow-Up: The swivels from Discount RV mounted nicely but do propose a problem for wiring. The girls will have to be mindful of the wiring harness when rotating the chairs as to not wind it around the base. Otherwise, very happy with the aftermarket swivels which were several hundred cheaper than the factory swivels.  

 

 

 


- Utility Cabinet

I rebuilt the utility cabinet three times. I found it difficult to package so many things (that need room to breathe) in such a small area. The left-side wheel well was a great area for the 15gal fresh water tank so I built the cabinet around that space. I started the build of the cabinet without having the van pre-wired so in an effort to make a route for my wires, I laced the wall with PVC pipe to work as conduit for all of the wiring. I made a solid effort to keep my wiring tidy and the PVC was a big help.

 I wanted to ensure that everything is safe and secure so I built a water tight box for the fresh water tank, complete with external drain hose. I also built an air tight propane locker with external vent for the 20lb tank. 

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-Electrical

 I did my homework and I felt ready to start wiring the Adventure Van.. I was apprehensive and very patient with every part of the build. A full week of rain gave me a lot of quiet time in the shop to cut, crimp, solder and heat shrink all of my wires. 

From the beginning I knew I wanted my wiring to be clean and organized. I built a panel to neatly run all of my wiring on and under. Tidy wiring is something that I picked up from in my career as a NASCAR mechanic so this was really my favorite part. 

So here’s what I used and why:

 Renogy 200ah AGM Battery Bank

Renogy 200ah AGM Battery Bank

 

 

Battery Bank: 200ah AGM Renogy Battery - According to my calculations (nerd snort) this Battery Bank will Supply the girls with the power they need for three cloudy days. I went with AGM since it’s a stable gel battery that can withstand colder temperatures. They plan to be in mostly cold areas so I felt this was a good fit. Renogy Brand because again their customer service and reviews were enough to make me a customer.

 CTEK DUAL SMARTPASS

CTEK DUAL SMARTPASS

 

Charger: I was almost ready to pull the plug on utilizing the vans alternator to help charge the battery bank until I stumbled across CTEK. Using the vans alternator just seemed like I was asking to leave the girls stranded somewhere with a dead van battery but I got all giddy when I found some neat stuff being put out by CTEK. I’ve used some of CTEK’s products before and they really are the class of the field so I knew I wasn’t looking at some hokey gadget. I ended up going with the CTEK D250SA paired with the CTEK Smartpass. I’m going to over simplify what these two super gadgets do but it’s quite impressive. In short, these two units teathered together do a bunch of jobs and pack a huge punch! The solar panels and alternator are wired to the unit which works as a five stage charger and MPPT charge controller/isolator. Completely isolating both the battery bank and the vans battery. When the van is started the CTEK system has a voltage sensitive relay built in to isolate the starter battery to ensure that the van battery isn’t depleated. When the system senses that the van is started it then ramps up the amps from the alternator to 120 amps to begin charging the battery bank. It also works as a trickle charger for the vans battery and can utilize the battery bank to start the van if needed. We also have the option to ramp all the way up to a whopping 800ah battery bank if needed so we are barely tapping in to the capabilities of this system but room to grow is a great investment! This little system gave me confidence in the safety of the vans battery and utilizes the alternator in a way that made it worth while. The system also got rid of a lot of extra pieces and parts making my wiring as tidy as I had hoped! 

 AIMS Pure Sine Wave 2000w Inverter Charger with Transfer Switch

AIMS Pure Sine Wave 2000w Inverter Charger with Transfer Switch

 Cutting 4" holes in van bodies feels wrong

Cutting 4" holes in van bodies feels wrong

Inverter Charger: The girls want to run laptops so that means 120VAC outlets! When shopping Inverter chargers again I chose the company with great customer services. I called the folks at AIMS and they were very helpful so I landed on them. I chose the 2000 watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter Charger. I made sure the model I chose had a built in transfer switch so when the ladies decided to hook up to Shore Power all they had to do was plug in. I didn’t want them to have to remember to hit this switch and that switch. Easy is best and safety is paramount. I had to cut another hole in their van for the Shore Power book-up but again, lots of rain has proved that it’s water tight as well! 

 

Wiring: If you’re an electrician you will see that a I went big with all of my wiring. I wanted to forego the race car mechanic in me who thinks in terms of “lighter is better” and build this thing “safer is better”. I used stranded welding wire for all of my 2 and 4 applications and stranded 14 for most everything else. For the AC applications I used 12 and 14 SimPull solid wire Romex.

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Power Supply Cabinet: Tidy is what I wanted and the Progressive Dynamics AC DC Power Control Center have me tidy in a grand way! Toss in a bunch of Mega fuses, breakers and master switches and the van is wired and ready for the utilities!

 

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My Battle with the Summer Slump.

 This is a picture of my own performance management chart from 2014.   Every winter I'd start my season with a strong steady build in fitness and I be feeling great and riding fast during the Spring Racing Season.  Generally my overall training load would plateau in the spring due to the reduced volume that accompanies racing, but I'd also often see new peak power numbers.    Then, the weather would get hot, my kids would be out of school, I'd have a few vacation weeks planned and my riding would suffer.   I'd  hit a lot of group rides but focused interval work would go out the window and my numbers and racing results would suffer.    In 2015 I was training for the Green Mountain Stage Race in September and I simply couldn't afford my usual dramatic drop in fitness in July and August.  To fight the slump,  My coach and I decided to put in  a 2 week VO2 max intensive training block. Actually, if i'm being honest it was really Marianne Holt's decision (thanks coach) and  I did everything I could to wiggle out of it.   We gave in to the fact that I would be riding reduced hours in the summer so we kept rides short but raised the intensity of every ride.  For 14 days straight I didn't ride longer than 75 mins, but each ride included  15 - 20  mins of killer intervals.  Unwilling to do it solo I browbeat some teammates and clients into joining me and for two weeks straight we basically tried to kill each other.   It was rough,  and at times depressing as my legs were so tired I was limping though intervals.  But we tested 5 min power before and after and EVERYONE saw an increase of at least 3% (some as much at 8%).  Even better I had top 5 results in three of the 4 races I did prior to Green Mountain and  I was top 10  there going into the final day.     Ever since 2015 I've kept playing with my personal summer slump buster program and it's now become a full 6 week training cycle that I use every July to put some new snap in my legs.  This year, I'll be starting it on June 25th, the day after BSG 100, and I'm hoping it'll keep me from slumping as I'm planning on doing Pisgah Monster Cross in September!  I'd also rather not do it alone so I"m making it available to all in the Training Peaks Store.    All of us at Betera Challenge you to join us in this 6 week 35 ride adventure.  I'll be coaching some of the sessions as Uptown Cycles on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and riding with members of the RCC Team at Huntersville Business Park for workouts in the evenings.    Misery love company, so I really hope to see you out there!  You can find the  Workouts in Training Peaks  Here, or if you'd like to join a session or two in the studio at Uptown you can  Book Your Trainer  Here.   Coach Sarah

This is a picture of my own performance management chart from 2014.   Every winter I'd start my season with a strong steady build in fitness and I be feeling great and riding fast during the Spring Racing Season.  Generally my overall training load would plateau in the spring due to the reduced volume that accompanies racing, but I'd also often see new peak power numbers.  

Then, the weather would get hot, my kids would be out of school, I'd have a few vacation weeks planned and my riding would suffer.   I'd  hit a lot of group rides but focused interval work would go out the window and my numbers and racing results would suffer.  

In 2015 I was training for the Green Mountain Stage Race in September and I simply couldn't afford my usual dramatic drop in fitness in July and August.  To fight the slump,  My coach and I decided to put in  a 2 week VO2 max intensive training block. Actually, if i'm being honest it was really Marianne Holt's decision (thanks coach) and  I did everything I could to wiggle out of it.   We gave in to the fact that I would be riding reduced hours in the summer so we kept rides short but raised the intensity of every ride.  For 14 days straight I didn't ride longer than 75 mins, but each ride included  15 - 20  mins of killer intervals.  Unwilling to do it solo I browbeat some teammates and clients into joining me and for two weeks straight we basically tried to kill each other.   It was rough,  and at times depressing as my legs were so tired I was limping though intervals.  But we tested 5 min power before and after and EVERYONE saw an increase of at least 3% (some as much at 8%).  Even better I had top 5 results in three of the 4 races I did prior to Green Mountain and  I was top 10  there going into the final day.   

Ever since 2015 I've kept playing with my personal summer slump buster program and it's now become a full 6 week training cycle that I use every July to put some new snap in my legs.  This year, I'll be starting it on June 25th, the day after BSG 100, and I'm hoping it'll keep me from slumping as I'm planning on doing Pisgah Monster Cross in September!  I'd also rather not do it alone so I"m making it available to all in the Training Peaks Store.  

All of us at Betera Challenge you to join us in this 6 week 35 ride adventure.  I'll be coaching some of the sessions as Uptown Cycles on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and riding with members of the RCC Team at Huntersville Business Park for workouts in the evenings.  

Misery love company, so I really hope to see you out there!  You can find the Workouts in Training Peaks Here, or if you'd like to join a session or two in the studio at Uptown you can Book Your Trainer Here. 

Coach Sarah

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Beech Mountain Metric Musings

A few thoughts on the Beech Mt. Metric. This is a hard ride and it is essential that you know your limitations and understand the demands of the course before you show up. 

The Climbs:

  • Old Beech Mt. Rd (begins about mile 4).  This is a steady straightforward climb figure 25 - 35 mins for most people.  It’s about 5 miles long with a false top approximately 1.5 mile from the top.  The average grade is around 4% and there are no really steep sections.   

  • After your first descent you’ll make a hard right on 321 and immediately start going uphill again.  You climb about halfway up this hill (maybe 3 mins) and then there’s a left hand turn down over a bridge and a short hard popper of a climb - you go from descending to a 7% 6 min effort and it’s very easy to get yourself in trouble and there are always a lot of dropped chains here from poor shifting decisions.  The hardest part of this climb is that it’s steepest at the bottom and it keeps going beyond the turn at the top.  So if you overspend yourself in the first 200m you’ll be going backwards after you make the turn at the stop sign. 

  • You then spend about 20 mins winding through the valley with a  few rollers but nothing crazy before hitting next climb. 

  • Mountaindale Road:  This is another steady little 3-4 mile climb much easier and shorter than Old Beech Mt. Having a group to work with would be nice here as you can find a nice steady rhythm and you shouldn’t run out of gears.  15 - 20 mins bottom to top. 

  • Stone Mt.  Road;  This is a nightmare of a 2 miler with an average grade around 10%. 10 - 15 mins and unless you’ve got a 32 and weigh nothing you’ll be standing for much of it.  The biggest mistake folks make here is hitting the bottom too hard.  Up until the second switchback -  ride as easy as the grade allows.  Just be patient and wait for it to get hard - you don’t want to be making it hard at the bottom. 

  • After Stone you loop back around through that same valley you already did riding past the turn on  Mountaindale and straight on to George’s Gap. 

  • George’s Gap:  Another steady 15-20 min consistent climb - it starts quite gradually and builds to about 6% grade in the final 2 miles.  I love this climb - it’s beautiful and just when you start to feel tired of it you’re at the top. 

  • You’ve got about 4 miles to go from the base of Georges Gap until you final big efforts.  Most of this is flat and fast except for Mast Gap which is a 1 mile long nightmare of a hill that is straight and steep and not super fun on tired legs.  Just suck it up and get over it. 

  • 194 form Vaile Crucis - A long steady 30 - 40  min climb (maybe more for some people)  with a false flat about 2/3 of the way up.  This one is hard with mixed grades and some sections over 8%.  It’s hard to find a steady rhythm here.  You’ll descend about 5-7 mins and then you’re there… 

  • Beech Mt - a super hard 3 mile climb again averaging almost 10% with some sections much steeper.  Again unless you are a tiny climber or running climbing gears you can expect to be standing for much of this climb.  

 

The Goals: These are the things you need to figure out before your ride. 

  • Your Gearing - the moment you hit Stone Mt. is not the time to decide if you want that 32.   If you are frequently out of gears riding at grades under 6% you should think about changing your gearing for this outing. 

  • Your ability to stand!  If you can riding standing for several minutes at a time now is a very good time to start practicing this! 

  • Your fueling - it’s hard to eat when climbing and descending - this course does offer a few short sections of flat terrain through the valley and you should make it a point to fuel during these times. 

  • Your pacing strategy - you need to figure out how slow you need to ride the front half so you can stay strong in the final two climbs.  Those are very big asks of anyone and there is real danger in overriding the front part of this course.  If you are worried about you ability to make the elevation demands you must purposefully ride super easy on all the climbs that allow you to do so.  Stone Mt. and Beech will force you to the max no matter what so save your big efforts those moments.  

  • Your brain - you need to be prepared for the mental low spots when the going gets hard. 

 

Suggestions:

  • The ride has a shorter route and it’s  very easy to cut off sections of the course without getting lost.  The first is to cut off Stone Mt. Rd by just staying straight on Mountaindale.  It will reconnect with the ride at Bethel Rd and you’ll effectively cut off about 8 miles  and the hardest climb prior to Beech Mt.   Doing this  will not be as short as doing the 43 mile route but will avoid the really steep pitches of the course prior to Beech itself. 

  • The second is to skip both  the Mountaindale and Stone Mountain climbs by riding straight past Mountaindale Rd and heading right to Georges  Gap.  You’ll end up skipping about 20 miles of the course and cutting off about 2000 feet of elevation.  

  • Park in Banner Elk rather than at the top of Beech Mt.  This will allow you to skip Beech altogether if you get there and are really wasted.  You won’t have to wait for a sag wagon and you’ll still have banked a great climbing day.    Please use the information below so you know where to park in Banner  Elk so as not to annoy the town. 

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