Cyclist – a new magazine worth subscribing to


Last year on a whim I bought a subscription to cycling+ and I can’t for the life of me think what crappy free gift made me jump in. It seems every month bought the same crappy review of new bikes, reviews of jackets and a relentless comparison upgrade ideology was peddled through its pages.
When we sold and moved I didn’t even bother notifying them although unfortunately the post redirection kept them dropping in.

I had also subscribed to Roleur and although every issue was a photographic gem I think the majority of articles were focused on the hardcore road rider racer fan and didn’t always engage me.

I chance across an American magazine called Paved which seemed to focus less on the equipment and racing but more on the passion. It focused on the bespoke and the strange and the passionate and although had a US focus I think for me it was the passion that got me and kept me engaged in every article.

I bought cyclist at the airport on my way to Istanbul and finally I think I have found something I want to subscribe to. This first issue had some equipment reviewed and some rides explained. They did a sweet article on hidden routes in Switzerland that made me want to go across the channel and hit the tar and the descents …. But it is the focus of articles that had me engaged. There was a great article explaining power metering and why it has a place in enthusiast fitness and training, there was revelation when I read an article on bike fitting and how I had been following the stereotype of fit all these years. It explained the benefits and gave advice on finding the right fitter for you. Best advice was that it wasn’t the bling fitting equipment but rather the fitter and experience that may be the biggest decision.

So magazine subscription here I come ……

Interval set me up


I love running; I hate treadmill workouts. Or, I should say, I hate running on treadmills when I’m at the gym, trying to log a few miles simply because it’s too dark, hot or icy to do it outside, and bored out of my mind. What’s worse is having to face that ugly sweaty runner in the mirror …..not pretty when there is no breeze on the gym.
Enter interval training: Practicing speed intervals on a treadmill keeps it from feeling so monotonous; for me, they make it a little more bearable. But only bearable. Enjoyable is not a word I would use often but this morning did 5 sets of 11kph/17.5kph sets ….. Quick spin on the bike afterwards to get rid of lactic and I feel positively bonny.

So why Interval Running and what does it do for you?

It seems like every day, a new study proves the five benefits of running intervals. From increasing endurance to improving speed and burning fat, incorporating intervals – or periods of intense exertion followed by periods of recovery – into your workout is one of the most effective forms of training around. If you’re ready to get started, keep in mind that a recent study of runners conducted by the School of Science and Physical Education at Esfahan University determined that running a few longer intervals is more effective than running more short intervals. If you still need a little motivation to begin, read on to learn about five benefits of running intervals.

  • Interval training increases endurance When you alternate periods of speed with periods of rest, you engage both of your body’s energy-producing systems: the aerobic and the anaerobic. The aerobic system uses oxygen to create sustained energy fueled by carbohydrates, allowing you to run multiple miles. The anaerobic system draws energy from glycogen stored in the muscles, which provides short bursts of activity. This process doesn’t require oxygen and results in the production of lactic acid, which is what makes you feel achy after working out. According to Dr. George Brooks of the University of California at Berkeley, running intervals develops both systems, forcing the body to create lactic acid during sprints and then allowing the body to break it down as use it as fuel as you recover, preventing muscle fatigue and allowing you to work out longer
  • You can improve your speed running intervals When you run intervals, you teach your body that it can run faster by making it run faster. You can’t sustain your fastest pace for more than a few seconds at best. By running fast for a short distance, allowing your body to recover, and then running fast again, your body starts to become conditioned. When you learn to run at high-speeds over short distances, you’re eventually able to sustain a faster pace over long distances.
  • You’ll burn more fat running intervals than you will running at a steady pace.Research presented by the University of New South Wales in Australia proved that incorporating speed intervals into a workout burns three times as much fat as exercising at a steady pace for twice as long. If you’ve reached a plateau in your weight loss effort, intervals could be the key helping you break through to achieve your goals.
  • Interval training enhances neuromuscular coordination.This connection between your muscles and your mind is imperative for balance and injury prevention. As previously mentioned, running intervals increases the body’s efficiency, allowing it to process and create fuel more effectively and to achieve faster speed. This efficiency optimizes muscle coordination, and gives you better control over your muscles, both conscious and subconsciously. This control allows your body to automatically adapt and maintain balance while avoiding injuries without even having to think about it.
  • Running intervals helps stave off boredom. No matter how much you love to run, there are always those days when lacing up your sneakers feels like a chore. Running past the same old landmarks or climbing onto the treadmills gets boring day after day, and interval training helps to mix things up. Use those familiar landmarks as sprint marks, or use the treadmill clock to keep time as you recover. Pushing your body to its limit will require all of your focus and determination – and boredom will be the last thing on your mind.

SOURCES:

University of California at Berkeley

University of New South Wales

School of Science and Physical Education, Esfahan University

Did you have a good morning?

VSTR backpack travel bag


I am not one to review equipment that often but there is something about this bag that is very very very right. Currently away with a Northface duffle but had real hankering on lust when I saw this waxed canvas beauty.

This great looking backpack is the result of a collaboration between surf lifestyle brand VSTR and NYC creative studio Partners & Spade. Named the Nomadic Pack, the backpack was designed to withstand long periods of traveling, and is big enough to pack a lot of gear. The bag also accommodates an included detachable messenger laptop bag, and a lightweight stowable hammock. The bag will be available for purchase in June exclusively through Partners & Spade and VSTR online for $395.

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Pharmstrong saga and fallout: An open letter from Greg LeMond to UCI president Pat McQuaid


 

Greg LeMond has called for the resignations of Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen. Gabriel Bouys | AFP

Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond posted a note to his Facebook account Wednesday evening, calling for UCI president Pat McQuaid, as well as honorary president Hein Verbruggen, to step down from their positions. LeMond’s note was first reposted by cycling blog NYVelocity, which, along with Cyclismas.com, launched a fund for journalist Paul Kimmage to aid in his defense against a defamation lawsuit by McQuaid and Verbruggen; that fund on Wednesday surpassed $70,000. VeloNews.com is posting LeMond’s open letter to McQuaid, lightly copyedited but in its entirety, here.

Can anyone help me out? I know this sounds kind of lame but I am not well-versed in social marketing. I would like to send a message to everyone that really loves cycling. I do not use Twitter and do not have an organized way of getting some of my own “rage” out. I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to f##k off and resign. I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycling’s history; resign Pat, if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport.

Pat McQuaid, you know damn well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign.

I have a file with what I believe is well-documented proof that will exonerate Paul.

Pat, in my opinion you and Hein are the corrupt part of the sport. I do not want to include everyone at the UCI because I believe that there are many, maybe most, that work at the UCI that are dedicated to cycling; they do it out of the love of the sport, but you and your buddy Hein have destroyed the sport.

Pat, I thought you loved cycling? At one time you did, and if you did love cycling please dig deep inside and remember that part of your life — allow cycling to grow and flourish, please! It is time to walk away. Walk away if you love cycling.

As a reminder I just want to point out that recently you accused me of being the cause of USADA’s investigation against Lance Armstrong. Why would you be inclined to go straight to me as the “cause”? Why shoot the messenger every time?

Every time you do this I get more and more entrenched. I was in your country over the last two weeks and I asked someone that knows you if you were someone that could be rehabilitated. His answer was very quick and it was not good for you. No was the answer — no, no, no!

The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption.

You can read all about Webster’s definition of corruption. If you want, I can re-post my attorney’s response to your letter where you threaten to sue me for calling the UCI corrupt. FYI I want to officially reiterate to you and Hein that in my opinion the two of you represent the essence of corruption.

I would encourage anyone that loves cycling to donate and support Paul in his fight against the Pat and Hein and the UCI. Skip lunch and donate the amount that you would have spent towards that Sunday buffet towards changing the sport of cycling.

I donated money for Paul’s defense, and I am willing to donate a lot more, but I would like to use it to lobby for dramatic change in cycling. The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen; if this sport is going to change, it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never!

People that really care about cycling have the power to change cycling — change it now by voicing your thought and donating money towards Paul Kimmage’s defense. (Paul, I want to encourage you to not spend the money that has been donated to your defense fund on defending yourself in Switzerland. In my case, a USA citizen, I could care less if I lost the UCI’s bogus lawsuit. Use the money to lobby for real change.)

If people really want to clean the sport of cycling up all you have to do is put your money where your mouth is.

Don’t buy a USA Cycling license. Give up racing for a year, just long enough to put the UCI and USA Cycling out of business. We can then start from scratch and let the real lovers in cycling direct where and how the sport of cycling will go.

Please make a difference.
 Greg

Garmin Fenix – gps in the city


Just a quick link – I will moan about my frustrations using the Fenix in the gym at another time but here is a quick track from a walk into the office this morning. It goes from a hotel – through narrow streets with 5 storey buildings and it was still able to track. Started the gps as i left the hotle and didnt stop walking – took about 1 min to get a fix and then tracked amazingly well. I dont think woods or trees or canyons are going to throw the track off too much.

 

 

the watch is also very comfortable to wear the straps are pretty fab – but it is chunky but doesnt feel much bigger than larger Gshocks, breitlings or Suunto’s …..

lying next to pencil gives you an idea of the height

 

wednesday video


from their rapha site
To the outside world, Vietnam is associated with many things; years of war, endless rice fields, exceptional cuisine. What it is most certainly not associated with, is riding mountain passes on road bikes.

The hillside town of Sapa, located at the edge of north-west Vietnam by the Chinese border, was the start and end point for the second ride of the Rapha Continental Asia. Sapa, a market town in Lao Cai province, lies in the shadow of Phan-Xi-Pang (pronounced ‘fan-si-pan’), at 3,143 metres the highest mountain in the region. Phan-Xi-Pang belongs to the Hoang Long Sien mountain range, the south-eastern outpost of the Himalayas, known by some as the “Roof of Indochina”. At 1,500 metres above sea level, Sapa has a subtropical climate in summer and a very temperate climate during the winter.

We arrived during the rainy typhoon season (the same time of year as the hurricane season in the West). We knew there was a risk of tropical storms but, experience tells us, this is often the best time of the year to see Asia, a time when local culture shines through unhindered by tourism.

The weeks leading up to our expedition were spent storm-watching and we were fortunate to be in Sapa between two big weather systems that brought seven typhoons to north-east Asia; kismet, or so we thought. We sent an advance party a day ahead to check the routes and logistics, aware that Vietnam’s infrastructure is not the most organised. It was a good job we did, as word quickly came back that a rethink might be needed on a number of fronts:

“Day one route currently has a massive landslide across the road about 70km in, no way we will get the bikes through. Day two is little more than a dirt track, mountain-bike material. We need to change hotels, there’s a huge landslide 4km from the entrance and we could not get the van through. May also put a stop to day three’s loop.”

Undeterred, the rest of us gathered at Hanoi airport to catch the overnight ‘express’ train to Sapa; it would take more than eight hours to cover the 317km to Lao Cai province. As with any journey of this nature, getting there is half the fun, especially when it comes to carting bikes and luggage through the mazy streets of Hanoi and across rail tracks to board an old, slow sleeper train.

From Lao Cai it was an hour’s transfer up to the equally sleepy Sapa, with its 36,000 inhabitants, nestled up in the valley. The guys had managed to book us into another hotel, run by a French patron, who turned out to be cycle-racing fanatic. The revised plan was to ride two out-and-backs from Sapa, taking in a total of 347km and 8,934m of climbing, short of the original plan by about 120km and 2,000m respectively.

With one at 41km and another at 30km, the climbs in the area are long, pretty steep and often Alpine in profile, as is the landscape – the French name for the mountains in this region is the Tonkin Alps. Stands of pine and jagged peaks can beguile you in to thinking of the Colombier or Galibier but then you round the next corner to be confronted with steep slopes carved into rice terraces. The descent and climb to Lao Cai and back to Sapa is the most Alpine-like, with switchbacks and some sweeping, snaking (and very fast) sections.

On the first day, it poured with rain non-stop and we found ourselves riding for long stretches on roads undergoing resurfacing. The continued rainfall also ensured there was plenty of mud and debris.

A highlight of the day was our diversion to a small Hmong settlement along a road once barred to tourists as a consequence of Christian missionary activity in the area; the Hmong traditionally practice shamanism and venerate their ancestors. It’s very likely we were the first outsiders to go up this road for some time and certainly the first to do so on road bikes.

Heading north, away from Sapa, we turned right into a beautiful valley that felt like it was just ours for the day. After navigating some pretty muddy, wet sections, we ended up going as far down the valley as we could before we hit a road that was simply too rough to ride. More stones and boulders than dirt, it was a reminder that landslides remained a very real threat in the area.

We rode back the way we came, which called for a long, 41km climb out of the valley and to the highest pass above Sapa, at 2,006 metres.

The drag out of the valley included a stop for a mechanical in another Hmong village, where pot-bellied pigs, chickens and water buffalo roamed around. The children and women of the Hmong seem to do all the heavy work, carrying tremendously heavy loads from one place to another, while the men travel about on their motorbikes. This is far from an unusual sight in Asia and I have seen old ladies carrying 60kg sacks of pebbles up steep slopes.

The following day gave us good weather with just a couple of short showers and periods of intense heat. We again headed north but continued up and over the highest pass and down into the valley below. About 6km into the descent we hit an unmade construction road that continued for another 20km or so. We continued along the valley floor as we skirted round the Phan-Xi-Pang range.

The final climb back to Sapa turned into a competition with small victories all round. An unseen mechanical meant one of us was left straggling with nothing but the occasional rallying call from the support car to keep him going as the others had ridden out of sight. It was a lonely trudge home.

Travelling back to Hanoi on the sleeper later that night, we shared experiences and discussed the dramas of the trip. It was awe-inspiring riding but we were lucky to ride with so little incident. A week later, another typhoon passed through the area and 19 people died in landslides and flash floods.

This trip would not have been possible without Long Troc from xedap.org, not to mention the great logistical support in Vietnam from Dan and Joe of Marco Polo Travel Adventure Company (Vietnam Mountain Bike). Thanks also to the management of the Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa.

The haunting beauty of the region had a profound effect on all of us that were lucky enough to ride in the area and the hope that we might someday return is perfectly captured in the words of Call of the Mountains, a traditional Hmong folk song:

“The mountains call me, they always have. They’re calling me now, and I will be back there someday.”

 

Pro peloton 650b – a nice titanium 650b mtb


Blog post about 650b and how it suits the smaller racer: it looks just so sweet too……

until the summer of 2011 I had only mountain biked on hard tails. 2011 opened a window into just how much fun can be had on a mountain bike when I received my first dual suspension bike. I was able to descend much easier but to be honest, the bike was a tank. I was a turtle going uphill and while I became more adventurous in letting the bike roll over rocks, I was still not a bold descender because I still felt that front wheel could taco at any time. I wanted a 29r. I had sipped the kool-aid and I wanted to be part of the big wheel revolution. But how when I am pint-sized?Jon at Pro Peloton had been raving about a Boulder custom-made bike builder called Mosaic. Well it was a grand idea and all, but I knew something so ornate would surely come at a pretty penny…just look at the head badge for an idea of what I mean. This is when Pro Peloton and Mosaic stepped in to make it possible. Chris at Pro Peloton fit me into his busy week of bike fits so we could properly work out the dimensions of a frame based around the big wheels. After working out different ideas with bar height and stem length and all those complicated dimensions it became clear a 29r would fit similar to a New Belgium cruiser…we’re talking high rise bar Harley Davidson cruiser silliness. So Chris and Jon brainstormed and worked out dimensions for the middle brother that so far people didn’t want to pay attention to. They hashed out a blueprint of a 650b which looked to be the answer.

Aaron at Mosaic took this project on with enthusiasm as his first 650b project. He did a stunning job with the welds and with Chris and Jon’s impeccable taste of parts to complete the bike, the end result was literally a piece of artwork. The titanium 650b weighed in at a feathery 20lbs so to climb it felt like I was ethereal like the angels. Coming from a road racing background I always cringed at the thought of suspension because there seemed to be so much wasted energy whilst climbing. So, while the dual suspension bike was something new, something fun, my climbing was mentally and physically exhausting. Returning to a hard tail was a breath of fresh air..when you really need it as you’re wheezing at the top of a climb! The bigger wheels also made for more efficient climbing. The DT Swiss suspension fork had the ability to lock out at 80mm so the front end became lower and I could get enough weight over the front end for strong climbing, even on the really steep & punchy climbs. On the flats I simply felt like I had an extra gear because of the bigger wheel circumference. I could roll along at a fast clip and any bumps only felt like minor hiccups. This feeling could only be a sign of positive benefits on the descent!

The Windham World Cup course has been dominated by hard tails and up until a couple years ago, these were all 26″ hard tails. So there are a number of holes which were created through the 26″ wheels diving and biting into the soft dirt following any sort of drop. I remember riding this a few years back and having to be careful not to let my front wheel fold into these and go head over teacup. But all the hype you hear about the 29rs rolling over things? It is all true. The 650b rolled right over these, no problem. I was suddenly able to roll out of these with more speed and confidence. Then came the big rocks which are always a fright to me but the bike allowed me to treat them like pedaling over a handful of skittles. Next came a wicked steep and loose descent snaking through trees to lead into a very sharp left turn. Ahem, I passed 2 people in this section alone. The bike gave me a new confidence and what seemed to be a new skill set. I felt more in control of the bike and I could brush away any nitty-gritty scary details in the course. Maybe this is because I was just a bit higher up and I didn’t have my nose to the ground to see all the details! But I think it is the combination of the titanium which absorbed much of the roughness of the course paired with the bigger wheels which truly rolls better and easier.

The skeptics say big wheels make cornering harder because your center of gravity is higher and the big wheels cannot turn as quick. Perhaps this has truth to it with the 29rs. But the 650b bridges the gap between small and big wheels and I firmly state that I did not lose any control or feel my balance off kilter. I think the 650b is the answer for non-giant people. The bike raised my ability to climb, descend, power along, navigate switchbacks and rock gardens. It made my short mountain bike season a lot more fun and I am craving my next ride on the Ti Mosaic!

Titanium a potted history


Great article on the history of titanium and current and future use ….. From bike radar

Titanium is a metal that has an atomic number of 22 and its chemical element symbol is Ti – which is fitting, as many people in the bike industry often refer to titanium as ‘ti’. This metal doesn’t weigh as much as gold, but like that precious metal it’s corrosion-resistant and can be lustrous in a refined state. And unlike gold or silver, titanium is as strong as steel when properly processed.

While gold has long been sought after as a precious metal, and iron was used to forge tools and weapons for eons, titanium is a relatively new metal. It was only discovered in 1791 by William Gregor in Cornwall, Great Britain. German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth rediscovered the metal about four years later, and named it after the Titans of Greek mythology.

The name is fitting because, for a brief time, it was the material of choice for the titans of the bicycle world. In the 1990s, titanium had its heyday as a viable high-end frame material. It was lighter than steel, stronger than aluminum and easier to work with than carbon fiber. Numerous manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon, but perhaps none of it would have happened had it not been for the Cold War.

“It is fair to say that Russia’s extensive use of titanium for military projects spurred modern day development of titanium,” said Mark Lynskey of Lynskey. “Russia’s development was centered around grade two or pure titanium, as they did not have sufficient sources of vanadium to strengthen the metal.”

A welder in moots' colorado facility: a welder in moots' colorado facility

Unlike carbon fiber, titanium can hold up fairly well on impact

It was in the 1950s and 1960s that the Soviet Union actually pioneered the use of titanium in military aircraft and submarines. But the United States was close behind, and throughout the Cold War titanium was actually considered a “strategic material” by the US government. So important was the metal to the military that large stockpiles of titanium sponge were maintained by the Defense National Stockpile Center, which was only depleted around the year 2000.

Military connections

Just as some of the fastest bikes were made with titanium in the 1990s, the metal was used in what still holds the record for the fastest military aircraft, and it was this project that gave birth to the development of the aerospace-grade titanium that made its use in bikes possible.

“The SR-71 Blackbird project in the US brought the 6Al-4V alloy to production levels,” Lynskey told BikeRadar. “The most direct advance for bicycles came in the development of the 3Al-2.5V alloy. Its primary use was, and still is, hydraulic tubing for commercial aircraft.”

Interestingly, the use of titanium in bicycles actually began during the height of the Cold War. “Titanium in the bicycle frame format has a long history,” said Jon Cariveau, spokesman for Moots. “Teledyne started making bikes made of titanium in the 1960s.”

The Teledyne Titan was one of the first titanium production bikes, along with models from Flema in Germany and Speedwell in the UK. These three brands all experimented with titanium in the late 1960s and produced commercial models in the early 1970s.

While the Flema Super might have been the first titanium race bike, the Teledyne Titan was likely the first mass-produced titanium bike, although not that many were made. One of the problems was the grade of titanium that was available in the commercial markets at the time.

“The first bikes were built of unrefined titanium,” said Cariveau. “There was no alloy at the time, so it was really a very soft material. The development of aerospace really helped make it a material that was usable in bikes.”

And just as the Cold War helped the development of titanium production and its use as an industrial material, the end of the battle opened the door for its use in commercial products.

“It is accurate to say that consumer use of titanium is trickle-down technology from military and aerospace developments, as is carbon fiber,” said Lynskey.

Competing with carbon

By the year 2000, titanium was a reliable alternative to steel in sporting goods, notably golf clubs and bicycle frames. But that other super-material, carbon fiber, also came into its own, taking the cycling world by storm.

“Carbon has without question become the mainstream material for cycling,” added Lynskey. “It’s very workable, able to be mass produced at relatively efficient costs, and has very good strength to weight properties. Titanium’s Achilles’ heel is that it is very expensive.

“As a raw material it’s very costly – you can buy a mass-produced carbon bike frame for about the same cost as the raw materials in a bike frame. It’s also very costly to work with in that much specialized equipment and uniquely skilled labor are needed.”

Moots in colorado has built a loyal following of the brand's titanium bikes: moots in colorado has built a loyal following of the brand's titanium bikes

Moots, in Colorado, has built a loyal following for its titanium bikes

But despite these issues, titanium remains popular with certain riders, which is why companies such as Lynskey, Moots, Dean, Litespeed and Firefly remain in business today.

“Even with its cost constraints, titanium will always remain popular for cycling enthusiasts as it possesses the best balance of light weight, strength, durability and damping,” said Lynskey. “Aluminum and carbon fiber both are lightweight materials but fall short in durability and damping compared to titanium. The best benefit to a rider is – when properly designed – titanium can offer a very solid and stiff frame that is also very forgiving and comfortable.”

Moots’ Cariveau agrees and says that titanium has another advantage that’s often missed by those who watch the pros ride on carbon fiber in the major races.

“Carbon fiber is a really beautiful material. It is only going to get better, but when you’re looking at real world situations where you aren’t handed a new bike when you crash, you see the value in titanium,” he noted. “A bad crash on a mountain bike can just destroy the carbon fiber frame, and while it can be warrantied, you have to deal with stripping the parts and sending it back. Titanium can endure those spills that carbon cannot.”

The shape of things to come

Interestingly, the future of titanium could be in printed materials. While carbon fiber can be manipulated into shapes that require precise bending and welding, its strength is in its long fibers.

But because titanium begins life as a dust-like material – which is often found in sand, making Australia one of the largest suppliers of the metal – it likely has more of a future in 3D printing. It could mean that bikes designed on computers could have frames as aerodynamic as carbon fiber and as strong as steel but printed out and ready to ride.

“We have looked into this, and over the next few years we hope it will give us the ability to create more complex and aesthetically pleasing parts for bikes,” said Lynskey.

How to flag on strava


Someone on a forum was moaning so I put this up. Following the silly story of an American family trying to sue strava …..
http://road.cc/content/news/69272-strava-countersuit-denies-responsibility-case-california-cyclist-who-died-trying

This from strava website ..

OK – my flame suit is on. I know this is difficult topic, but I wanted to consider a follow up. Strava has previously allowed users to flag segments as hazardous – particularly important where those of us who have ridden much of our local terrain are aware that the existence of leader-boards combined with the desire to compete might not lead to good outcomes on some of our routes. Recently several of my fellow riders have noticed that previously flagged “dangerous” segments reappear when other riders create new versions of these old segments. We all understand that it’s very hard to be objective, or to codify “dangerous” vs “safe” segments. So many factors play into what determines the “safety” of a segment. Obviously it’s not clear to folks creating segments why a previous segment was flagged.

So what to do? Two things come to mind. The first is to wonder if a second version of a “flagged” segment could be sent for review – users are prompted if Strava finds similar segments in its database. Maybe there’s a way to have an extra check in this instance. Secondly, perhaps there could be some sort of “guide to safe Strava’ing” or equivalent to help new Strava users think about some of these important issues that might not be obvious at first blush. It could be as simple as a brief note to folks signing up for the first time:

“Some thoughts to help Strava users be the best ambassadors they can:

1) Uphill segments – go for it folks, push as hard as you damn well can. If you think you might pass out, you have permission to ease off/bail and try again another day

2) Downhill segments – think carefully before creating these. What could be the unintended consequences for you, your fellow Strava users or other road users of creating a segment on a particularly fast/twisty/steep/busy section of road? Have you found a descent particularly risky/dangerous – flag it and do the Strava user-base a favor.

3) Stop lines and lights – how about giving everyone a break and really trying to avoid creating segments that go through intersections or finish on stop lines? Getting KOM’s is tough enough without having to risk an infraction or worse.

There, now we’ve got the preachy stuff out the way, go out, ride hard and ride safe”

Have at it people. Anyone else thinking about this stuff?

AC72 goes turtle


Not a great day for the yanks as their entry for the Americas Cup goes over in testing.

That is going to cost a sweet penny to fix. Suddenly the New Zealand entry looks stronger …..

NEWS:

Oracle Team USA’s AC72 has capsized during training. The incident occurred at approximately 1500PT on San Francisco Bay. All crew and team members are safe. It was the boat’s eighth day on the water since the launch in August.

The capsize took place during the team’s eighth day on the water. Conditions were fresh, with building winds whipping up waves against one of the strongest ebb currents of the year. As the team turned the boat downwind, the front of the boat nosedived and the boat pitch-poled.

As tactician Tom Slingsby described it: “We called for a bear-away as we were out training. The winds were blowing about 25 knots, and there was strong ebb current at the time. We started the bear-away, and as the boat accelerated it pitch-poled.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen with the new boat. When the nose went down, the wing hit and a few guys went in the water. We were unsure if the wing would snap, so we all climbed off the boat.

“Luckily, everyone is accounted for and no one was hurt. The wing is pretty badly damaged, and we are working to get the boat back in position to return to Pier 80.”

The crew and boat will return to the team base at Pier 80 in San Francisco and assess the situation further.

Images of the boat after the incident show that the flaps were separated from the main element on the impact, the wing subsequently destroyed as the big cat lay over on its side in increasingly large waves as it was washed out to sea on the strong ebb tide.

As darkness fell, the team was still working to secure the catamaran platform and bring it back to base. The wing is destroyed.

“There’s no question this is a setback. This will be a big test for our team,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “But I’ve seen these guys in a similar situation in the past campaign before we won the America’s Cup. A strong team will bounce back from it. This won’t stop us from winning the America’s Cup.”

Event organizers say the setback to the American team won’t impact the 2013 racing calendar.

“This is a challenge for Oracle Team USA,” said Stephen Barclay, the CEO of the 34th America’s Cup. “The team will assess how to fix the damage caused by the capsize to this boat and will adjust its program as necessary. We expect them to be ready to defend the Cup as planned.”

On One launches a fat bike


Blurb:

Based around a twin top tube frame design, giving optimal material placement and futureproofed mounting points for a high volume frame bag, Fatty features progressive trail worthy geometry optimised for use in true “all terrain” conditions.

We designed the huge On-One Floater 4.0in tyre on 70mm rims to give superb floatation and tracking over a huge range of surfaces, allowing traction where any other tyre would be left bogged down and spinning. Run a 6-15psi they offer an incredible amount of shock absorption, tuneable with the psi used, to give optimal conditions. If in doubt, let air out! The wheels run on our own model Fat hubs, CNC’d from solid 6061 billet aluminium with a 135mm axle spacing up front, and a 170mm rear. Putting the chainline perfectly positioned for tyre clearance on the 100mm wide BB shell. It’s all designed to give a great ride without you having to worry about fixing parts up yourself.

Our 5pc welded fork allows us to control ride quality of the rigid fork, and also equip Fatty with the best handling we’ve found around. A long 55mm fork offset dials the 69deg head angle perfectly in to trail riding up and down, with a light touch when you need it and stability when things get bouncy. Futureproofed with a 470mm fork length, we’re ready for the fat front suspension revolution too.

Build on this model is from SRAM with their X5 10spd group giving 1×10 efficiency and a good low climber gear. The Holzfeller crankset shrugs of everything you can throw at it, spinning on a BB that’s SRAM rated for toughness.

Other finishing kit comes from our proven supplies, new and old. Seatpost size is 31.6mm, an On-One Hotbox stem clamps an El Guapo Ancho B bar, with On-One Bob on grips. Headtube size is Smoothie Mixer standard, so will work with our Slacksets to adjust steering feel further.

Why get Fat? Why not?! It’s a totally new experience, trail capable and fun fun fun. As recently as last week, our chief tester Jon “Shaggy” Ross, rode the whole of the gruelling Trans Provence race route on his proto Fatty, solidly putting this genre on the map for trail capable handling. Four inches of bouncy rubber might be a world away from 150mm full suspension bikes, but it’s like compared cheese and chocolate. Fat is good. Get Fat. Get Fatty.

Production bikes will feature undrilled rims.

Available exclusively as a complete bike, in very limited quantities in early December.

From road.cc – pharmstrong sponsors say goodbye


A number of companies that sponsored Lance Armstrong have moved to distance themselves from him today. The most prominent are sportswear giant Nike, which announced that it has ended its association with him due to “seemingly insurmountable evidence” that he doped during his career and “misled” the company “for more than a decade,” and Trek Bicycles, whose recent history is inextricably linked with Armstrong’s now-nullified Tour wins.

The news came shortly after Armstrong himself said he is stepping down as chairman of Livestrong, the charity also known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which he founded after in 1997 after surviving cancer.

Electronics retailer RadioShack has confirmed it has no current sponsorship deals with Armstrong, without confirming when the last one finished, and said it has ended his relationship with him, and Anheuser-Busch, which owns the Michelob Ultra brand of beer he endorses, has said it will not be renewing his current three-year deal when it expires at the end of the year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Easton Bell, owner of Giro whose helmets Armstrong uses and endorses, has also dropped him today, although like Nike, it will continue its asociation with Livestrong. Eyewear firm Oakley is said to be reviewing the situation.

According to research cited by the Wall Street Journal, Armstrong’s pulling power as a celebrity spokesman – and consumers’ trust in him – has plummeted in recent years. Quoting data from a specialist firm that tracks that data through consumer surveys, it says he was ranked 60th in June 2008 but had fallen to 1,410th by September 2012.

That was after USADA said it was banning him for life, but it’s the subsequent publication of its reasoned decision, and the detailed evidence it contains, that appears to have irreperably damaged the Armstrong brand.

In a statement published on its website, Nike said: “Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner.

It added: “Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”

Nike, which yesterday was awarded the high-profile contract to supply the International Olympic Committee until 2016, replacing its bitter rival Adidas, has come under pressure over the past week to affirmin its commitment to clean sport by distancing itself from Armstrong following publication by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) of its Reasoned Decision against the man who won the Tour de France seven times.

A number of media outlets reported testimony yeterday from Greg Lemond’s wife Kathy given during a deposition in the SCA Promotions case in 2006 that Nike had paid former UCI President Hein Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up a positive test by Armstrong in 1999, a payment she said she had heard about from his former mechanic.

Nike strongly refuted the claim that any such payment had ever been made, saying in a statement yesterday: “Nike vehemently denies that it paid former UCI president Hein Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up a positive drug test. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.”

Yesterday also saw a protest outside Nike’s headquarters in Oregon led by former pro cyclist Paul Willerton, who raced alongside Armstrong for the US national team in the 1992 world championships, the year before Armstrong won the rainbow jersey in Oslo.

Willerton, who left the sport due to his disillusionment with doping, joined fellow protestors in urging Nike to reconsider its decision to stand by Armstrond despite the evidence published by USADA.

Another major sponsor of Armstrong, Trek, said in a release today, “Trek is disappointed by the findings and conclusions in the USADA report regarding Lance Armstrong. Given the determinations of the report, Trek today is terminating our longterm relationship with Lance Armstrong. Trek will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation and its efforts to combat cancer.” Armstrong is believed to be a Trek shareholder, and many believe that it was pressure from the Texan that led in part to Trek dropping the Lemond brand; indeed, Betsy Andreu’s affidavit recalls a conversation with Armstrong: “Lance said: ‘I’m going to make one call to John Burke and fucking shut him up.’ I asked who John Burke was and was told he owned Trek, the bike company that sponsored Lance as well as made Greg LeMond’s bikes.”

Oakley is another company associated with Armstrong that has faced calls to clarify its position.

Regarding Armstrong’s decision to step down from his role with his charity, according to a statement from him obtained by Associated Press, he made his decision so that the charity can focus on its work with cancer victims, rather than it being overshadowed by the continuing fallout from the United State Anti Doping Agency’s investigation which resulted in him being banned for sport for life.

“This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart,” said Armstrong in his statement, quoted in the New York Post. “Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.”

According to spokeswoman Katherine McLane, vice-chairman Jeff Garvey, who was chairman of the charity when it was founded 15 years ago this week, will take over responsibility for the organisation’s strategic planning. Armstrong will remain on the Livestrong board.

LIvestrong’s 15th aniversary is due to be celebrated by a series of events in the coming days in Armstong’s home city of Austin, Texas, including a gala event on Friday evening that is scheduled to include appearances by long-time supporters Robin Williams and Ben Stiller.

Selle San marco regal saddle review


So this riveted saddle has now had around 400 miles under my bum and enough hours in the saddle now to give a review of it. I thought it was great on my first ride but now I can explain my thoughts some more.
If you are a weight weenie then even this titanium railed version is not as light as a lot of alternative choices out there. But if you are an average punter and are looking for comfort then This may be a great choice for you.

First a all a bit of saddle history from me … I think that I am lucky in that I am not the sort of rider that has had a lot of trouble in the past with saddles. I started with a selle flite on my mtb so a minimum perch even over rough ground was fine with me. I have brooks saddles on my brompton and had a brooks swift on one of my older bikes. The lynskey had a ritchey WCS saddle on it and I found the flex quite good even over potholes with 23mm tyres pumped up to 100psi … Then i changed to this. What you will notice straightaway is that surface of the saddle is quite curved compared to flat saddles. This means that your legs in cycling are not impeded in the slightest Blythe saddle. You may think that this is not a problem with your current saddle but once you try this saddle you realise that things feel more free and yet you feel as supported as ever.

I think I read once that Armstrong used an unbranded version in the TDF but then he has been on enough stuff to support an east German cycling team in the 50’s but despite the vagaries of his diet anyone that puts thousands of miles on the bike will know when a saddle is not perfect.

I am not a monster rider although I do put about 4hours in on the saddle on a longer weekend ride. Sometimes I feel a saddle will show up flaws when on the turbo trainer and generally staying seated and with very regular cadence for over an hour. My last saddle the Ritchey WCS made me experience a bit of numbness after a turbo session. With this saddle it feels effortless and I have never had soreness or numbness.

Would I buy it again?
Yes
Is it pretty?
Not really – I think a flat blade or a brooks swift looks sweeter on a bike.
Do you see the saddle?
Not when it is under my arse

 

If you have tried this or another saddle and want to send me a review to put up then get in touch.

Strava Addict – here are some sites that let you get more


The Multiple Ride Mapper

This great app / (website) pulls in all of the rides and runs you’ve ever logged on Strava and displays them on one map. Simply copy and paste your athlete number into the box and be amazed as it pulls in every ride and maps it. If you are struggling to find your athlete number then hit profile in strava and it will show a number in the address bar – this is you.

The website uses opaque lines so if you’ve ridden or run certain roads many times, you will end up with a darker line, whereas roads you’ve only ridden once will be more pale. The map is clickable, and the list on the left hand side takes you back to the ride screen on strava.com if you wony to see an indication of frequency then set opaqueness down to see all your routes clearly.

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Here is a map of some of my rides over the last few months – some road, a few mtb and one or two commutes or runs.

KOM Notifier Service

Created by the same author as the multiple ride mapper above, Jonathan O Keefe, the KOM notifier service will give you detailed notifications about any changes to your KOMs, or indeed any changes in the top 10 positions.
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Segment details

Yet another brilliant bit of coding from Jonathan again, Segment Details can be accessed separately as a standalone thing, but it is also linked from the Strava KOM Notifier Service, above.

This one is really useful for tracking the history of a segment – who’s been KOM in the past, when did so and so take it, how many people have ridden it, what’s the average time taken etc.

RaceShape.com

RaceShape is essentially about analysing the differences between people riding a segment. Say you lost your KOM or if running your CR to someone – you can use this tool to analyse where they were quicker, and so help you to develop your strategy. It works by analysing how the gap changes between two riders, and works with segment data from Strava or Ride with GPS.

Here is a screengrab of a flat canal path section that I took my road bike on – it analyses your time over distance and although I am 3rd on this section I can see that in the first wee bit of the trail where I was chatting to someone with a flat tyre – suddenly that is the 40 sec gone. Although slower than no 1 and possibly no 2 it was close.
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Using no 2 as a baseline you can see where I level out and we are quite matched. By comparison my friend Keith did the route and you can see the slope of his pace and where I eventually catch up and pass. So now that I know this is a section I might just burn it along here (although not on a weekend when there are so many dog walkers perhaps.

Veloviewer

It gives you more stats to play with and get twitchy about than you might ever want. Dig around and you’ll discover a great new way to explore the segments you’ve done, and get ideas about which ones you want to revisit.

Tip: Click the table column headings to sort on that column. You can sort this on average speeds or overall length or steepness and so on.

You’ll discover segments you’ve already done, but never realised were there, prompting you to think about targeting them for a serious effort.

Here is a mtb climb once again using Michael D as the base line and my pal Stuart who is notionally behind me. Interesting to see I started fast but burnt out a bit on the muddy section with the big puddle. I could pretend it may have been dry on the days the others did it or it could just be that I was tired. Stuart and I swap the lead a lot towards the end. Does really let you see where others or quick and where you are slow.

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