It’s June, still have REI dividend left over?

If you are like me and buy everything you can using your REI Credit Card you may just still have a few bucks left over on your REI dividend.  If so, I can’t tell how much I enjoy my Nathan HPL #20 Hydration Vest.  I recently used this vest running the Leadville Turquoise Lake Half Marathon and it was a life saver.  It fits snug against the body and has a 2.0 L hydration bladder that does a great job reducing the amount sloshing in the vest.

If you are a distance runner or trail runner at all I recommend this vest or any other vest from Nathan.



Buy yours today:
Nathan HPL #20 Hydration Vest

Enjoy the trail and stay hydrated!

twitter: schwarznet
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Ps. I came in 84th in Leadville, I will take it!

Me and my GT2000

Typically I wouldn’t ever recommend trail running mid-day in high heat, especially in Southern California.  However sometimes running mid-day, you can find yourself in places like Peter’s Canyon all alone with just you and your shoes.  I run in Asics GT2000 and highly recommend them for anyone who is looking for a little more stability, but still a light weight trail running shoe!


You can find Asics GT-2000 at

Try them, you’ll love them,


Mountain Magazine with a $15 year long subscription

About a year ago, based on a recommendation from my buddy David MacRunnel I began subscribing to Mountain Magazine. It’s a magazine SOLELY focused on mountain sports and mountain culture.


When I was renewing my subscription this week, I noticed a promo code for a $15, 1 year sub and wanted to pass it along. No idea when it expires.

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More info at:


Andy B

My new Jetboil Flash Backpacking Stove

My buddy Todd and I are going backpacking in a few weeks. The itenerary is still being planned but we know we want to hit Longs Peak, sleep in the boulder field and summit first thing in the morning. From there, move onto another 14er. Hoping to get two nights in the backcountry.

As I continue to develop my backpacking kit I’ve been in need of a stove. The Jetboil Flash came highly recommended and Julie let me pick it up for Father’s Day. Thanks JuJu!

More info on Jetboil:

Jetboil Flash Stove:


Now I have to learn how to cook :)

Andy B

My Life With Lance Armstrong

Outside Online
Friday, August 31, 2012

Last week, just before the news broke that Lance Armstrong had decided to walk away from his battle with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and accept the likely loss of seven Tour de France titles, Betsy Andreu gave an interview to Bill Strickland, an editor-at-large for Bicycling magazine who has written frequently about the allegations that Armstrong doped. Betsy, the wife of one-time Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, has been a public critic of Armstrong’s for a long time, starting back in 2005. That year she and Frankie both gave depositions saying that in 1996 they heard Armstrong tell doctors in an Indianapolis hospital room that he’d used EPO, human growth hormone, cortisone, steroids, and testosterone.

Armstrong has always denied that. As often happens with him, the denial has been accompanied by harsh attacks on the messenger. So, in his telling, Betsy wasn’t just mistaken about what she said she’d heard, she was a liar and a shrew, motivated by “bitterness, jealousy, and hatred.” In fact, her motivation was straightforward: she was subpoenaed to give a sworn statement in a legal dispute between Armstrong and Dallas-based SCA Promotions, which was trying to withhold a $5 million bonus payment to Armstrong based on allegations that he’d doped to win the 2004 Tour de France.

Strickland asked her what it was like to be blasted for speaking honestly. “What’s the upside been, going up against Lance?” she said. “To be publicly and privately portrayed as an ugly, obese, jealous, obsessed, hateful, crazed bitch?” She pointed out that crossing Armstrong wasn’t exactly good for her husband’s career arc in bike racing—she believes he lost his 2006 job as team director for Toyota-United because of the controversy surrounding their statements.

Andreu isn’t alone in being vilified. Others on the list include David Walsh (co-author of the investigative book L.A. Confidentiel, who Armstrong once called “a fucking little troll”), Greg LeMond, Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton, Emma O’Reilly, Richard Pound, Travis Tygart, and me.

I joined Armstrong’s staff in late 2002 as a mechanic, trail builder, and all-around handyman and assistant. At that time, we were friends who had often been on mountain-bike rides together, and he had made a written and verbal commitment to finance my dream of opening an Austin bike shop once my work with him was done. Armstrong soured on me for reasons that had nothing to do with my performance as an employee, and when I was abruptly fired in late 2004, no clear reason was given for my termination. He reneged on the promise about the bike shop and started attacking me, personally and professionally, in a way that ruined my job prospects in Austin. I ended up moving my family to New Zealand to start a new life.

Keep in mind that Armstrong went on the offensive first—filing a civil suit that alleged I was extorting him—simply because I was trying to get him to live up to a business agreement we’d made. Unlike some of his foes, such as Landis and LeMond, I had never said a harsh word about him in public. I countersued to protect my livelihood and reputation, and during a battle that was ultimately settled out of court, Armstrong and his lawyers dismissed me as a disgruntled schemer, a line they continue to push whenever my name comes up. A fact sheet that Armstrong’s camp supplies in response to journalists’ queries about me is headlined “Anderson’s Complete Lack of Credibility.”

Armstrong is having a bad year, and it’s about to get worse. His lawyers’ efforts to derail USADA’s case against him—a scorched-earth campaign aimed at destroying the organization outright—failed, so he chose to quit rather than keep fighting. But more revelations are coming soon, with the release of The Secret Race, a tell-all by Tyler Hamilton and co-author Daniel Coyle that promises to expose U.S. Postal’s organized doping program in excruciating detail. Judging by an Associated Press report based on an advance copy, the book could be the death blow to Armstrong’s reputation as an athlete.

Unlike Hamilton, I can’t offer dramatic proof that Armstrong doped—the evidence I saw and heard was convincing to me, but it was also circumstantial—but I can shed light on how he operates as a friend and an employer. This is relevant because Armstrong’s strongest remaining line of defense is that he’s a good guy who’s being victimized, a theme that permeated his statement last Thursday. He still doesn’t admit that he cheated, instead claiming that he’s walking away because USADA’s “charade” is rigged and the legal battles are taking too much of a toll on him and his family. “From the beginning,” he wrote, “this investigation has not been about learning the truth or cleaning up cycling, but about punishing me at all costs.”

Finish here.

SCPS 17 & 18: Santa Cross Weekend- Live at the Greek!

Southern California Prestige Series of Cyclocross, presented by Spy Optic
SCPS 17: Santa Cross Weekend

Photos: Kenneth Hill

Griffith Park hosted the 2-day cross-centric-bicycle festival the Southern California Prestige Series, (SCPS) called Santa Cross. With many years of Santa Cross events nothing came close to this two-day weekend of fantastic racing, advocacy, family (pets included), fun, and friends.

The course was a challenging bringing the longest climb the series has ever seen. It was a one-minute plus pulse pounding grind from the road of the start finish to the top of the park where racers made a long sweeping left back down through the winding grass/dirt sections of the park. And, along this path racers twisted back up punchy climbs that included multiple small six-inch barriers, risky twisting woodchip sections, and the man made Spy Optic, SPY Pit.

Day 1, Saturday, brought early morning rains but it dried out for some perfect cross racing. The grass seemed to have some slick sections that challenged riders but the Hero Dirt was so gripping riders were carving turns like super bike racers, or maybe that was just the Bostrom brothers. The competitors’ battles were exciting all day but, especially the Fixed Gear Championship of SoCal, with the expected winner tattoo on the line. This was a special race brought by Orange 20 and Team Cadence who came out in force to help set up a fun course full of obstacles.

Fixed Gear Championships:Brian Comer (Acua AL2/SDBC) could have raced the some super master’s event but instead brought out his fixed machine to brave the hilly Griffith Park course, showing the crowds and competitors that we are never too old to have fun. While Comer was off the start first with his senior head start discount, it was Austin Horse (Redbull/Oakley) and Hernan Montenegro (Mash) who crushed the first climb ahead of the field to descend into the park.

There was a lot of fantastic riding going on from all competitors whether they decided to ride with or without brakes and actual cross tires or other forms of fixed specialties. Regardless, the skids on course were enough to make people cheer, along with the spring loaded pedal dismounts.

By the second lap Horse had shown who was going to win as he rode himself away from the competition. In second it was Montenegro who controlled the course without brakes and third was Peter Brandenburg.

Elite Women:Turner, Turner Turner! Christine Probert-Turner (The Team SoCalCross) crushed the race from the start showing her form as she continues to get stronger this season. The chase was the Cynergy Bicycles women Julia LaFranchise and Jenna Jammer Kowalski. The two worked hard and separated themselves with Turner away from the field but by the end of lap two it was obvious Turner was going to ride away with the win.

LaFranchise and Jammer went back and forth but towards the end some mistakes allowed LaFranchise to ride in for 2nd. Jammer was a solid 3rd, with Nicole Brandt (LA Velocity) 4th, and Kate Wilson (Connie Cycling) to grab the final podium spot.

Elite Men:The men shot up the hill with Ted Willard (SGD/Felt p.b. iRT) taking the holeshot and leading into the descent. Three turns in Willard crashed in the slick grass where his teammate Jason Siegle took the lead for the remainder of the descent and into the small barrier section. There Siegle bobbled hopping the barriers and riders instantly shot ahead. Gary Douville SGD/Felt p.b. iRT) and Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/Focus) came around Siegle to take the lead. Douville was quick to snap around the corner and continued the teams control through lap one.

Siegle had to work his way back to the front group with Gareth Feldstein (Ritte Racing) and others in the chase. The pace was hard and riders were falling apart quickly with the crushing climb. On the third lap Douville went down on the slick grass descent and Prenzlow was away solo with a small gap back to the chase. He was ridding strong and the chase was changing riders as they were getting closer to the leader.

Then with three to go Ben Bostrom (Sho-Air) started to close the gap leaving the chase group and continuing to gain on Prenzlow. Douville and teammate Anton Petrov were close to Bostrom and rode themselves away from others, also looking for the leader.

With two laps to go Bostrom was on Prenzlow’s wheel and still riding hard. Douville and Petrov were back about 15 seconds then the leaders attacked the climbs again to open more ground. After the Spy Pit Prenzlow lead into the mulchy woodchip section but then Bostrom came around with his two wheel handling skills sneaking by to lead into the final lap.

The last lap the Prenzlow and Bostrom punished eachother up the climb and through the lap and it was Bostrom who rode to his first win of the season. 3rd was Douville, with Petrov 4th, and the winners brother Eric Bostrom (Sho-Air) who continued to move up in the group all day for 5th.

Day 2, Sunday, brought more overnight showers and then the skies took a break to present nothing but sun. It was another perfectly cool SoCal winter race with more epic course conditions. The fixed gear championships were done which left the team gift relay race, K9 costume extravaganza, along with a lot more fantastic Santa Cross racing, thanks to the help of Universal Cycles.

Elite women:The women flew up the start and were eying each other for position as the previous days top winner was not in the field. And, leading down the descent it was the birthday girl Hannah Rae Finchamp (The Team SoCalCross) with Amanda Schaper (Ritte Racing) and the rest of the chase in tow.

Finchamp looked strong was excited about her lead because the girl was not slowing down. Schaper worked hard but the junior having her sweet sixteen was dancing up the hills away from the women. As Schaper and Nicole Brandt (The Team SoCalCross) could not close the gap Finchamp continued to open they faded back. Then Dorothy Wong (The Team SoCalCross) moved her way up in the group to eventually take control of the chase.

Finchamp in the end rolled in for her best birthday ever and first elite win. Her teammates Wong and Brandt were 2nd and 3rd, with Schaper just behind in 4th. And, 5th it was Mandy Melcher who took the final podium spot.

Elite men:The men finally hit the course for the last race of the weekend. The fresh legs of the Gritter’s brothers Brandon and Kyle (Rock N’ Road) took a commanding lead around the top of the course and into lap one. Quickly, the brothers and Jason Siegle gapped themselves off the chase leading into lap two.

It was John Bailey (Bailey Bikes) and Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/Focus) who controlled the chase. On lap two the brothers lead through the descent and a small mistake by Brandon Gritters allowed Siegle to sneak up to second wheel. Then by the time the riders hit the small barriers Siegle pulled the move used on him the day before and he attacked hopping past Kyle Gritters to take the lead. Coming through the start finish and into the climb of lap three he held a eight-second gap on the brothers.

The whole field was chasing hard and it seemed like a matter of time until things would reform and settle in for different tactics later in the race. However, Siegle was holding his gap and in some sections of the course continuing to gain room. Halfway through it was the same, the brothers charging hard after Siegle and Bailey leading the chase of Prenzlow and now Anton Petrov (SDG/Felt p.b. iRT) as others had faded back from the pace.

With one to go Siegle was still off the front with a gap that was between 15-20 seconds most of the lap as he happily took his second win of the season and an early gift from Santa. 2nd was Brandon Gritters with his work horse Kyle Gritters 3rd. Prenzlow and Petrov eventually came around Bailey to take 4th and 5th and finishing another strong day of racing.

It was a fun weekend for rounds 17 and 18 of the SoCal Prestige Series with lots of action and shenanigans. The series takes a break with the approaching holidays and will resume December 31, New Years Eve for round 19 in Irvine, California.

For more information go to: