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Posted in Uncategorized on October 10, 2014 by Nick Wigston

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Race report: The ‘Cross Nationals Buzz

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2014 by Nick Wigston

Cyclocross Nationals 2014

The week of the Boulder 2014 Cyclocross National Championships was amped. Juniors grinned ear to ear or scoped the course seriously with their headphones blocking distractions. Masters over 70 sharpened their elbows to contend for stars and stripes. I took it all in with pleasure and the pride of getting to show off something you love at its best.

The non-championship race was a wild ride on off-camber ice that saw girls running icy descents. Fortunately, my Challenge Fangos hooked up great and rolled fast in a straight line. The racing was tight and competitive with lots of back and forth. I was happily in the 5-way sprint for 3rd.

But, as someone who loves chaos, lining up 80th in Sunday’s elite race was something special. Fighting for every position, running the stairs to deafening howls of enthusiasm, hearing the gasps that mean someone went down behind you, the focus of navigating a tough off-camber with eyes blurry from a hard effort, it was all a buzz I could never describe. I fought through a lot of the pack, and took a donut hand-up on the stairs. My Zinn Magster ‘Cross was super responsive and I made lots of passes in technical sections. Impressively, more women lined up for the elite race than men; one more thing to be proud of.

I also got to send off the kids I’ve been coaching in Boulder Junior Cycling to battle for their own wins, one of whom took home the jersey and all of whom won the pleasure of racing a championships in front of their community on a course their coach, Pete Webber, designed. It was a uniquely wonderful race and the organizers did a phenomenal job getting the crowds out.


Rad video of 1st lap in the ditch: Click here to watch video
You can see me get tangled in the first fumble. You can also see the difference between pros and pack fill!


Colorado State Championships

Posted in Cyclocross, Ride Reports, Snow, Team Zinn with tags , , , , , on December 19, 2013 by zinnemily

At the Colorado Cyclocross SW3 State Championships the past weekend Emily Zinn got narrowly outsprinted for second place on her custom magnesium Zinn cyclocross bike.

Photo: Susan Adamkovics

Photo: Susan Adamkovics

“I trusted my lines in the technical sections that held others up and let loose.  I was riding where others walked, both on the uphill off-camber and up the stairs. After a solid start I found myself riding with the leaders from the start and as they dropped off I continued at the front, chasing the lone leader. My bike felt solid on the icy descent and I barely slid at all barreling around the slick corner that followed. I led the final lap, and was gaining on the girl in first, fighting for the State Championship vest, certain that the girl behind me wouldn’t catch me, but around the final corner I heard the announcer’s excitement for a sprint finish, so I tried my best to channel my inner Peter Sagan, but I couldn’t match her acceleration.”

 Emily Zinn Colorado State Championship podium

Snow and sand slithers

Posted in Cyclocross, Ride Reports, Snow, Team Zinn with tags , , , , on December 11, 2013 by zinnemily

Emily Zinn

Finally, back to some real cyclocross. Enough of these lovely, 60 degrees and sunny days with perfect hardpack that make you feel like you’re riding on rails. I want to slip and slide a bit.


It was cold enough that the few inches of snow behaved like light sand if I got caught in the deep stuff, and my bike would start to slither. As the day wore on, the frozen ruts and icy patches began to expose themselves and get slicker, with each lap offering a new surprise and a new patch where your bike thought it might rather be laying on the ground.

The Reservoir course carved up and down the deep sand along the beach, with at least half the course through the sand, but as the snow packed down the sand became hardpack, in most cases it was more forgiving than the conditions the rest of the course. I find that I am more confident in my relationship with my bike than most when the day gets slippery and I move my way up the field, and such was the case both days this weekend in both categories I raced.


Sunday carved through the Battle of the Bear trail network in Golden, CO, and on its own wouldn’t have been a technical course, but with the thawing conditions each lap was a different animal and I gapped girls on the slick descents each time. I managed a feat I didn’t realize I was capable of, as well, taking the wholeshot from the second row.

I finished second behind an astoundingly talented bike handler and all-around tough girl, 12-year-old Katie Clause. Look out for that name in a few years, her face will be on magazines, no question. Now that I’ve thawed and gotten rid of my cold-weather cough I can’t wait for the next day like this.

Boulder Cup 55+ podium

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 28, 2013 by lzinn2013

Boulder Cup 55+ podium

The Boulder Cup is the biggest cyclocross race of the season in Boulder each year, and it’s held at our Valmont Park venue that will host the cyclocross national championships in January. Lennard had a great ride and got third place behind winner Karl Kiester and runner-up Russell Thorstrom.

Metal Fatigue and Big Riders

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2013 by Nick Wigston
 Metal Fatigue and Big Riders
Fatigue failure is failure that occurs after repeated cycles of stress, but at a stress that is less than that which would be required for the failure to occur with a single application. Cyclic loading is the key idea here; and we get plenty of that as we ride. The number of cycles to failure by fatigue decreases as the load is increased. This is where the big rider comes in – the rider we at Zinn Cycles specialize in building bikes for. However, metals can also fail at rather low stresses given many repeated cycles of stress. All metals other than aluminum have a “fatigue limit,” which is the stress below which failure will never occur. With aluminum, failure can occur even at very low stresses, given enough stress applications.
Big riders are often very familiar with wearing out and breaking bike equipment. You go through tires much faster than lighter riders, your rear rim develops cracks at the spoke holes, and maybe you’ve broken spokes, chains, hub flanges, seatposts, saddle rails, saddle shells, crank arms, and even frames. To avoid breakage in use, big riders need to replace their weight-bearing bike parts more frequently than would a smaller rider.
Many big riders who go to bike fitters come away set up with longer pedal spindles to properly align the knees over the feet to account for wider pelvic structure, and the recommended saddle will often be wide as well. The stem will tend to be long and the handlebars wide, too. These adaptations “to make the bike look like the rider,” as fit guru Andy Pruitt, director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, often says, can significantly improve the rider’s comfort and efficiency. However, there is a fatigue cost.
The use of longer and wider parts results in higher loads for a bigger rider because they are cantilevered out further from their mounting points; this causes a higher rate of fatigue failure on those parts. A seatpost for a big and tall rider may be extended twice as far out of the frame and get twice as much weight put on it as a small rider’s seatpost, and it will consequently be subject to a higher rate of fatigue failure. One rarely hears of a small rider breaking a seatpost, but many big riders have had it happen to them. The breakage may be attributed to hitting a bump, but that may simply be the straw that broke the camel’s back; the cumulative stresses on the seatpost made it vulnerable so that the single, sharp impact snapped it off. Perhaps the seatpost would have passed a standardized lab fatigue test, but the loads applied and the amount of seatpost extension used in the lab test may be far less than the big rider might apply in use.
Similarly, a big, strong rider pushing on pedals with extra-long spindles screwed into long crankarms will be subjecting those cranks, as well as the spindles, to an extra high rate of fatigue failure. Consequently, the big rider should replace his cranks (and spindles) more frequently than a small rider would. This is the reason we allow our customers to upgrade their cranks at half price. Similarly, we offer a 10% discount to our bike customers on any weight-bearing part they replace on their bikes.
Bike riding is too much fun to have your ride ruined by suddenly breaking a part that has your full weight on it. Big riders particularly would do well to recognize that metal bike parts do not last forever. They have a lifespan, and there is wisdom in replacing them before they break. I have seen a number of owner’s manuals for aluminum stems and handlebars that recommend replacement after three years of use. I think that’s a good guideline for aluminum weight-bearing parts under big riders. For instance, I personally replace my aluminum handlebars after two years of use. Even with ideal maintenance, all components will eventually reach the end of their serviceable life, the length of which depends on conditions and intensity of use.

Emily Zinn on the Podium at last weekend’s ‘cross race in Frisco

Posted in Cyclocross with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2013 by Nick Wigston

“As soon as the sun came out and the snow started turning to mud I knew I could do well in Frisco. The slicker the better for me, because it’s all about trusting your equipment and letting your bike take you for a ride. The brilliant golden of turning aspens with the fresh snow could not have been a more idyllic setting to suffer and feel the cold air freeze your lungs and fingers.” Emily Zinn


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