Vincenzo Nibali is the winner of the 101st Tour de France, a race he led for eighteen days out of twenty-one. It’s also the big return of French riders on the final podium with Jean-Christophe Péraud and Thibaut Pinot second and third respectively. The last stage on the Champs-Elysées went to Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) just like last year. The German outsprinted Alexander Kristoff in a spectacular final sprint on the Champs-Elysées.
The traditional walk in the park
All the way from Evry to Paris, the 164 riders left in the peloton cruised at about 32km/h. The Maillot Jaune Vincenzo Nibali shared some Champagne with his team-mates from Astana. The tradition was respected.
Jens Voigt’s farewell
Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) was the first attacker as the race really started on the Champs-Elysées. Jens Voigt (Trek) was the next one and it look like a lap of honour for the soon-to-be retired rider at the age of 43. The German veteran won the last intermediate sprint of his last Tour de France, after which a crash occurred in the peloton. Runner up Jean-Christophe Péraud (AG2R-La Mondiale) slipped in a curve and a got fright with 43km to go. With the help of three team-mates, he made his way back to the pack five kilometres further. Four riders took the lead with 36km to go: Richie Porte (Sky), Michael Morkov (Tinkoff), José Serpa (Lampre) and Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne).
Kittel makes it four
Porte, Morkov and Serpa insisted as long as they could. Porte was the last member of this breakaway to be caught, with 7.5km to go. His compatriot Simon Clarke (Orica) was the last man to try to escape 5km before the end. But the inevitable bunch gallop saw the domination of Giant-Shimano in the lead out. Marcel Kittel emerged as the winner of stage 21, adding one success to the three he took in the first week of the Tour. Seven stages out of twenty-one have been won by German riders. Peter Sagan crossed the line in ninth position, therefore beating his record of points in the race for the green jersey. The Slovakian champion won the points classification for the third time in a row.
Well I entered the eTape Pennines as a way into the eTape Caledonia which is always oversubscribed – tickets are never available but i like many others entered the double just to get a place. I loved the Scottish event and was looking forward to this one but it is a very different race.
The Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines, England’s first closed road sportive, quickly established itself as one of the toughest sportives in the UK following its debut in 2012. Starting and finishing in County Durham, the 60 mile course takes riders through the ruggedly undulating North East scenery.
With over 2,000 metres of climbing to overcome, it’s certainly a challenging ride, but with panoramic views and speedy downhill sections to look forward to, your hard work is duly rewarded. Cycling Plus took part in the 2012 event and said “Beautiful but brutal, the Etape Pennines has the makings of a classic”.
Located in a busy market town, Barnard Castle provides the dramatic backdrop for the start of this year’s Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines. Upon setting off, riders will soon find themselves riding through the stunning rolling countryside at Middleton in Teesdale, which will warm the legs nicely in preparation for the challenging section which awaits.
Following the completion of this uphill section you will be rewarded with a thrilling downhill section into St John’s Chapel. Use this descent as an opportunity to catch your breath and rest your legs, as before long you will be in scaling yet more climbs in Blanchland, home of the iconic moorland Etape Pennines has become renowned for.
From here you drop down Crawleyside Bank into the town of Stanhope and then climb to the top of Bollihope Common where you will be rewarded with breathtaking views across the dales before going back down to Egglestone and into Barnard Castle to collect your medal.
Well the ride down was good and we watched the weather with a keen eye as the earlier in the week forecasts of torrential stormy armageddon gave way to the possibility of a nice even sunny ride. Organisationally it was quite good – the big bugbear being the parking. We turned up in the camper only to be turned away and told that it opened at 4:30am. So we drove around looking for camper parking and not finding any and had to spend the night in an industrial estate with some chavs playing dance music and kicking a football around post pub kick out until 2am ….. aaargh not what i needed when we were going to be up at 5am.
Then it was race time
Unlike the eTape Caledonia there was nobody in the ride to work with – well maybe the early group had a peleton but our later start certainly didn’t ….. and I think the course although shortened seems to have been shortened at the expense of flat sections where a group might start working together. For the first part of the ride, my friend Jim and I seemed to be pulling along 2 or 3 other guys who either hadn’t cycled in groups before or had not worried about the etiquette of sharing.
I found the route quite brutal in that it was impossible for me to build up a proper rhythm – it seems to be difficult up and then steep down for most of the race. The bonus being that I hit a top speed of over 52 mph which is a max for me.
slight difference in top speed between the sites – so best go with the higher one then.
We managed to lose tom at the start of a KOM section, but we knew he might fall back. But a sudden section that lurched left and up which was damp (or some say had spilt diesel) meant i wheel spun and had to step off on the 20%+ slope walk up 20 foot and get back on. Jim in the meantime had gone on so when i got to the first pit stop i stopped hoping he would be there. He wasn’t so I quickly got a refill – the sun was out and already 20 degrees, and then started going again.
It was on a long climb as i crested that i suddenly found myself catching up so we had only been separated for 5 miles or so. We cycled the rest of the way together (we are pretty evenly matched – he ascends and descends faster and i was better on the less steep gradients)
At the very end 10 miles from the finish he stopped to fill a bottle so i carried on thinking he would catch up …. but he never closed the distance and finished a paltry 1m40s behind me. Tom at this stage was still 10 miles out ….
the stats for the KOM and a sprint section (but why place it right after a climb??)
So I am running a fantasy team in the TdF on velogames and this year I suck bad picking all the people that are dropping out.
Spain’s Alberto Contador crashed heavily during the 10th stage of the Tour de France on Monday and was forced to abandon the race.
the race started with these standings
and ended like this
The double Tour champion spent several minutes being treated by race doctors, blood dripping from his right knee. He got back on his bike and was being helped by his Tinkoff-Saxo team-mates, some four minutes behind the peloton led by main rival Vincenzo Nibali’s Astana team. But having dropped further back the decision was made for Contador to drop out with more than 80km of the stage remaining. His withdrawal comes five days after reigning champion Chris Froome was also forced to abandon.
The action on the Bastille Day stage was expected to ignite on the concluding climb ahead of Tuesday’s rest day, but the Tour lost another leading protagonist after Mark Cavendish’s crash on day one and Froome’s exit.
Contador crashed on the approach to the third of six categorised climbs, the Col du Platzerwasel. The Spaniard received strapping to his right knee and lost four minutes as a result of the delay, falling nine minutes behind the day’s breakaway, which held a five-minute lead on the peloton.
The Astana team of Vincenzo Nibali led the main bunch and did not increase the pace on the 7.1km, category one ascent as Contador’s team-mates dropped back to help him.
Contador began the day in ninth place, four minutes and eight seconds behind Frenchman Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol), who seized the race leader’s yellow jersey from Nibali. But the Spaniard struggled to reduce the arrears in the mist-shrouded Vosges mountains.
The finish at La Planche des Belles Filles was a reminder to Britons of the absent Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Froome won at the summit of the “climb of the beautiful girls” in 2012 as Wiggins took the yellow jersey he held until Paris, when he became the first British winner of the race.
But what happened – did his frame crack causing him to break – that would be something that the big S would really fear. Cannondale for years (in mtb aluminium) had the term CrackAndFail – and it really affected sales. this from velonews
Alberto Contador stood on the wet grass, blood pouring out of a deep cut to his right knee. Photographers swirled around him, the race doctor attended to his injuries. He motioned to his mechanic, a hint of frustration etched across his face. He sat down, dejected, and changed out his left shoe, its buckle smashed to pieces.
He’d just crashed on the descent off the Petit Ballon, just the second of the day’s seven major climbs. Rival Vincenzo Nibali cruised up the road, gaining minutes.
Perhaps it was optimism, or adrenaline, but Contador appeared calm, traces of pain just creeping into the edges of his face. He remounted and rode slowly away. Four teammates quickly came back to pace him.
But optimism waned, and adrenaline wore off — the two were certainly connected. 10km later, Contador pulled the plug on this year’s Tour de France. He gave his mechanic a small hug and slumped into the team car.
Confusion surrounded the crash; reports of a smashed bike, visions of exploded carbon, swirled around the press room and out through hundreds of thousands of television sets.
Initial reports on the Tour’s race radio, in French, and by NBC Sports’ Steve Porino, that Contador’s bike was “in pieces,” appear to be correct. “His frame snapped in half. They threw it in a heap in the back of the car,” Porino said, noting that he had arrived shortly after the crash.
Contador’s bike broke in the lower third of his down tube and on the top tube just in front of his seat tube. Both tubes were broken clean through, with just a few fibers holding the two pieces of the frame together.
How those failures occurred, though, is not entirely clear.
Specialized, Tinkoff-Saxo’s bike sponsor, initially denied reports that Contador’s bike had broken at all, either resulting in or as a result of the crash, or via some other externality. The company first stated that a bike had fallen off the roof of a car. That story was then amended — it still involved a car, but instead stated that Nicolas Roche’s bike had been run over earlier in the stage. This broken bike was the start of the rumors, it said.
“We have spoken to Alberto’s brother as well as his personal mechanic (Faustino Muñoz) and the mechanic who was at the scene (Rune Kristensen), and contrary to some early, unconfirmed reports, frame failure was not involved in Alberto’s incident today. Nicolas Roche was involved in a separate incident today and while his bike was laying on the road it was run over by a car causing it to break, potentially giving rise to the initial inaccurate reporting,” the original statement read.
But the photos do not lie. Contador is #31, and his race number is on the broken frame. The Roche incident relayed in this statement may be entirely factual, but it is clear that Contador’s bike broke as well.
Specialized later corrected itself again, stating that Contador’s bike that had been run over. A source within the team who was present at the scene of the crash explained that Contador’s mechanic, Faustino Munoz, grabbed his backup bike off the roof, then, seeing the condition of Contador, rushed to his aid, leaving the bike against the team car. The team car drove off and crushed the bike. Photos were taken, and the broken bike story took off.
An alternative potential explanation is that Contador’s bike broke on impact with a large pothole, or on impact with the ground afterwards.
Contador crashed when he hit a hole in the road, according to representatives from his Tinkoff-Saxo team and riders who were nearby.
Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde said he saw Contador’s bars slip, which caused him to crash. “I saw him [Contador] crash right in front of me. His handlebars slipped when he hit a pothole,” Valverde told Spanish radio. “I realized at the feed zone that he abandoned.”
In the event of a direct impact with a large pothole, a compression fracture of the frame is possible, though it is unlikely to occur near the back of the top tube, where Contador’s bike separated. Contador’s fork or head tube would likely fail first. The top tube would likely fail just behind the head tube. If fractures to Contador’s frame did come from the crash, they are more likely a result of the bike hitting the ground or something on the side of the road than a direct result of the pothole.
The likelihood of Contador’s frame breaking before the crash, causing his crash, is close to zero. Munoz is one of the best mechanics in the world; Contador’s bikes are pampered, and Specialized has, historically, designed reliable carbon fiber frames.
The timeline from the crash onwards:
Contador got onto his second bike after the crash, an S-Works Tarmac with a normal Tinkoff paint job, and without a race number. A brief shot on television showed his mechanic picking up his crashed bike, still apparently in one piece. This could support Specialized’s story, or a few strands of carbon could simply have held the bike together. Without being there, it’s impossible to say.
Contador did not swap bikes onto Roche’s McClaren frame, as initially speculated. Roche finished the stage on his second bike, rather than his McClaren. That would support the notion that Roche’s first bike was also run over.
Whether the frame was broken by a car or a pothole, the result is the same. Contador is out of the Tour de France.
LarsBoom (Belkin) won his first Tour de France stage on Wednesday after Dutchman soloed his way to victory on a dramatic day in northern France.
Boom, who won the 2011 edition of the Tour of Britain, won the 152.5-kilometre run from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut in three hours 18 minutes 35 seconds, but it was what happened behind him that will make the headlines.
Following his crash during Tuesday’s first stage on French soil when he picked up some nasty road rash and injured his left wrist, Team Sky’s Chris Froome started the day feeling fragile. The defending was later forced to abandon after crashing twice towards the start of a treacherous, slippery stage featuring seven sections of cobbles.
“It’s tragic for Chris, for him to not be able to defend his title and have to leave the race in that way must be his worst nightmare, it would have been mine,” said Greg LeMond later. “To come into the race in good form with the potential to win and then to lose it like that is tragic, for him and for the whole team who have been focusing on this race all season.
“It now really opens the race up to Contador and Nibali, Richie Porte will now take on the main responsibility for Team Sky. There is a lot of racing left and the current top 10 will change a great deal, it will take a while yet for things to settle down.”
With Froome out of the race Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was installed as the bookmakers’ favourite to win the 101st edition of the race which concludes in paris on July 27. However, after the Spaniard lost contact with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) the Italian and his team-mates made their way to the front of the race before they turned the screw on Contador.
Supported by Jakob Fuglsang and Lieuwe Westra, the 2013 Giro d’Italia champion powered onwards to increase his lead over Contador.
“Well, we lost about two-and-a-half minutes to a very strong riding Nibali but we’re still confident,” Tinkoff-Saxo directeur sportif Steven De Jongh said afterwards. “Alberto lost touch with the back wheel of Vincenzo and we simply couldn’t close the gap. Fortunately, Alberto didn’t crash at any point and he didn’t have any punctures and not having any crashes is very important concerning the rest of the race.
“We’re five days into the race. Alberto is in peak shape and better than he was in Dauphine and we’re going to do some hard mountain stages. So, we’re still absolutely confident but aware that there’s some hard work to be done in order to make it back to the top of the rankings.”
So Chris Boardman was along at the event but I didn’t even know or wouldn’t have probably seen him as I was carrying my bike above my head trying to get into my starting heat past the 5000 so riders who had completely clogged up the road. I started in a heat 1 or 2 behind where I should have. I tore off and it was 40min before I decided that riding with a heart rate above 160bpm would probably ensure that i blew up at some point. I then started working with 3 other riders and making sure I was loading in the carbs ……
It was my longest ride ever but i loved it. there was a small sprint section thrown in for fun but i had no hope there as I just pulled off the front of the train as I saw the section start and my legs needed their 1 min recovery time at the back of the train. I also blew a small timed KOM section when my chain dropped off – amateur error DOH
I was chuffed at the end having averaged a smudge under 33km/h for the 4 hours it took me and best off all – I beat most of my friends (the doctor did 3h50 incl the time it took the rescue Mavic car to come replace his wives bike after she broke her seat post …) So I have left him off the chart below for being too fit and included Sir Chris Boardman instead who thrashed everyone …..
Doing the eTape Pennines one later in the summer which is supposed to be harder … so I better train for that one.
The main event – a mad dash of jackets and ties to unfold bikes, followed by a 15km race around the Goodwood track, spurred on by the crowd’s roar on the grandstand. The Brompton World Championship is now in it’s 9th year and 2nd year at Goodwood Motor Circuit. Competition to participate remains fierce and the 2014 event is expected to be bigger than ever, with 800 participants invited to compete.
Date: Sunday 27th July
Format: one race; start organised in waves
Distance: 15.2km/9.6miles (4 laps)
Open to all as a single event or as part of the Brompton Treble
How it works…
Always a show-stopper, the race gets underway with a massed Le Mans style start, the pack racing to their folded bikes, unfolding them and speeding off. Jacket and tie are compulsory and there is strictly no Lycra allowed; those looking particularly dapper will be in with a chance for the Best Dressed prize.
The Giro d’Italia is soon to start …. so if you fancy it join the velogames fantasy league and enter a team. It makes watching it more fun as even if your team isn’t doing that well – you can cheer for individuals.
enter here http://www.velogames.com/giro-ditalia/2014/entryform.php
I have entered 2 teams – but don’t copy as I am no good.
and my second team with more wildcards
How it all works.
Each player takes the role of a Directeur Sportif of a professional cycling team. The aim of the contest is to select the best possible team of 9 riders, while operating within the conditions set on team selection. The better your racers perform during the 3 week event, the more points they will accumulate for your fantasy squad.
You must use the Official Entry Form to submit your team. The Entry Form will be made available once the game is open for entries. It is expected that the opening date will be Wednesday 30th April 2014.
Entry into the Fantasy Giro d’Italia is free for each player.
Only one team is allowed per player. Multiple team entries by a single player is not allowed and could lead to teams being disqualified from the game. If multiple teams are found, only the last team entered by the player will be accepted as the official entry.
The deadline for entries to be submitted is 18:30 CEST (Central European Summer Time) on Friday 9th May 2014.
Team Selection Criteria
In order that each player creates a balanced team, the following two important constraints are placed on team selection:
Teams are given 100 velocredits to select their riders. Velocredits are the Velogames currency. Each rider is given a value in velocredits, based on their prospective points-scoring abilities. The velocredits values are based on past results and recent form, with an emphasis towards those riders who have been successful in past editions of the Giro d’Italia.
Riders are split into 4 Rider Classes, which reflect their supposed strengths, weaknesses and role within their team. These categories are All-Rounder, Climber, Sprinter and Unclassed Riders.
Each team must contain 2 All-Rounders, 2 Climbers, 1 Sprinter, 3 Unclassed Riders and 1 Wild Card. The Wild Card selection may be from any rider category, and allows a team manager to specialise somewhat in the team they pick.
There are no other team selection criteria apart selecting 9 riders, staying within the 100 velocredit limit and making sure that the correct composition of Rider Classes is selected.
Once you have selected a team of 9 riders and they have started the Giro d’Italia, you may not replace them during the race.
There will be no rider substitutions during the race, even if riders abandon during the race. The 9 riders that you start the tour with will be the only riders who will score you points during the event.
You can make unlimited changes to your team up until the entry deadline of 18:30 CEST (Central European Summer Time) on Friday 9th May 2014. Simply click the Change Riders button on your team page to reselect your squad.
Only the last team entered by each player will be activated as an official entry.
It is the responsibility of each directeur to manage their own team line-up as the entry deadline approaches, although Velogames will provide a status for each rider showing whether or not they are on the most recent start-list.
No automatic substitutions will be made so make sure to have 9 active riders at the entry deadline!
Your riders score points for their real-life performances in the Giro d’Italia, based on the Scoring System. You can also follow the link in the main Fantasy Giro menu for the detailed scores.
At the end of the 3 week event, the team whose riders have amassed the most points is declared the winner of Velogames Fantasy Giro d’Italia 2014.
Stage points are given out based on the official race standings, as shown the official race website.
Scores become “confirmed” for Velogames purposes at 23:00 CEST during the evening on the day of each stage.
If a rider is removed from the standings after this deadline, for any reason, the points gained for that stage will stand.
Immediate disqualifications or declassifications (such as for irregular sprinting) will be taken into account when deciding the Fantasy Giro points, as long as these penalties are announced before 23:00 CEST.
Back-dated disqualifications and reversal of results (even for doping offences) will not be taken into account after the 2300 CET deadline, and the rider will keep his points.
This rule certainly should not be viewed as an acceptance of doping. The technical and gameplay issues surrounding back-dated scoring adjustments are difficult. Also, it is not fair to excessively punish players who have selected a rider in good faith, even if that rider is subsequently exposed as a cheater.
Neutralised and Cancelled Stages
If the race is neutralised for any reason by riders or race organisation, then no stage points (finish, sprints, summits, breaks or stage assists) will be distributed following the point of neutralisation.
If sprint, summits or the breakaway points zone have been reached prior to neutralisation, this points will be added as normal.
Classification points (including team and overall classification assists) will be added to team totals as normal at the culmination of the stage.
Daily classification points will also be awarded as normal in the event of a complete stage cancellation.
A scoring update will be made on the evening of each stage, when results are published by the organisers.
A supplementary scoring adjustment could be made if there are changes in the official published results before the official 23:00 CEST scoring deadline.
The aim is to make a daily update. In instances where it is not possible to update the site on a daily basis, a full update will be made as soon as possible to keep the scoring information up-to-date.
Our friends at Collins are providing 20 stage prizes and an overall prize. The team at the top of the final overall standings, and also the teams at the top of the daily stage standings for Stage 2 through to 21, will each receive a copy of the Collins Cycling Quiz Book! If scores are tied in the daily stage standings, the team in the highest position in the overall leaderboard at that time will be deemed the winner of the prize.
Whilst the rest of the country deals with flooding and storm damage (and I have sympathy for their plight) but we in Scotland make the most of the weather and so today was Kitesurfing day. Initial plan was too leave early and get a session in before the rain came in at 1pm but the funny thing is that when the wind is westerly the island of Arran off the coast seems to deflect the worst of the weather especially when it is howling.
Kites Best TS 8m and Best Cabo 6m – Got down later probably after 12 then rigged up. Firstly pumped up the 6m kite as it felt like a good 28-32 knots …. but then the wind lulled before i even left the grass so pumped up the 8m (now officially my big kite as i hate cruising on big kite days) and went down to the beach as the clouds passed sucking in even more wind in its tail … so ran back shoved the 8m in the car and out again on the 6m.
Wind was gusty but good you can see the stats here 18knots gusting 32 when I got on the water and then for the next hour was 17 gusting 28 …. 17 was a bit low for the 6m but in the gusts it was great.
I took the new board down it is a Cabrinha Tronic 137 and it is amazing in the choppy conditions and with the bigger fins (than my last board) it kites a lot flatter so the spray is a bit cleaner and not one eyeful of spray into your eyes …. i love it straight off and the H1 pads and straps are fantastic so comfy.
I tried a few little speed sections between the waves and the board felt fast – but only 21.7 knots max so i am sure the 8m will be quicker as the Cabo sits quite deep in the window (well it is a wave kite)
Apparently, if you write down your goals you are more likely to achieve them.
Well apart from Dryanuary (no booze for January) which I already failed at ….
Fine. I’m gonna put that to the test. Here are my new years resolutions, reinforced with a lovely Talisker 10 year old malt (or Scotchliscious and those west of the water would say) and captured with screen grabs and a leap of faith.
Invest in that touring bike and plan some trips to make it really count.
Increase or improve my Strava KOM and PR status (but not if i have to finish a segment inside my own home)
Not shy away from the Sufferfest turbo sessions
Complete the eTape Caledonian and Pennines with proper training under my belt
Have a bikeFit – to make sure that I improve position, power delivery and comfort
Do at least one mountain bike marathon race this year with close buddies and do the longer distance option (normally 85km and 2000m+ of climbing)
Remember not to be a bad name for cycling (red lights etc)
Campaign and lobby for our two wheeled lot and complete the free Bike film I promised
Sail up the inner hebrides over summer.
Don’t leave the organisation of that sail until the last minute.
Kitesurfing – don’t always jump on port tack only – embrace the learning curve of jumping to starboard (and the occasional smack down)
Ride more. Kitesurf more. Sail more. Run more
Ride more…..Ride more…..
BIKE SUMMARY 2013RUN SUMMARY 2013
Here are my Strava breakdowns for last year …. now I need to beat them – update will go HERE
Make friends with me on Strava here and I promise to support you …
Recently i was in Cape Verde kitesurfing and although the weather gods failed to line up for me (and I lost a GoPro 3 when the shoddy mount broke and it sank to the bottom of the ocean) – the temp was great and the chap i made friends with said 2 days later saw 25knots and waves breaking outside the bay with clean sections in between …. aaaah well
then it was back to Scotland and winter and i was up in Lewis (part of the outer Hebrides) for the New Year. The wind gods were present and we saw squall after winter squall arrive.
and I sat in the cottage looking out the window as hard rain drilled against the panes of glass and thought ‘c’mon January – I have got to do this’
So I did. Forecast was big so rigged up my new Best Cabo 6m kite (it is a 2013 model but discount made it a good buy) had to adjust the lines slightly and then i headed out.
And it was great.
Such a good kite – a 3 strut kite that is very easy on the bar and it behaves perfectly. Steering quite quick but if on a wave you can kite one handed and the kite has a great drift so it never stalls. Threw it back about 5 times for a jump and it jumps easily as well if not better than my old Best Waroo (which has always been a favourite of mine)
I was only out for 40min so this is by no means a review but i am very pleased with it at the moment. This and the new Best TS 2014 8m means i am covered from 20 – 40+ knots (the only weather I like)
Temp wasn’t bad and with a great Snugg wetsuit, booties, gimp hood and gloves I was sorted. I came off the water boiling (although i only really wiped out twice. The inside of the wetsuit was practically dry. There would have been more photos but the driving rain kept the princess in the car ….. I just played in the waves down to the car park where she moved down to – but the kite was great at going back upwind too …..
Slotting in somewhere between the natural compliance of a modern rigid fork and the complexity and weight of a full-blown suspension fork, Lauf’s Trail Racer is one of the more interesting designs we’ve seen since the go-go days of the early ’90s. Using two sets of four carbon fibre leaf springs per side, the Icelandic fork suspends the front hub behind its forward-swept carbon fiber legs. The result? A 980g, 29er fork with 60mm of traveland – if only on a technicality – no moving parts.
It’s one of those ‘you have to see it to understand it’ bits of engineering then…
In the case of the Trail Racer 29in, spring force and damping are non-adjustable. Oh, and there’s no compression and rebound damping apart from that inherent in the carbon leaf springs. The way in which the Leaf Spring System flexes provides a rising spring rate, running from “stiff” through “stiffer” to “stiffest.” Not a plush trail fork, then. The initially rearward axle path should aid in small bump sensitivity, however, and should “stiffest” not prove stiff enough, there is a built-in bump stop to prevent the sprung dropouts from crashing into the back of the fork leg.
Don’t worry what it looks like, think of the sub-kilo weight.
Conceived just over two years ago, the Lauf Trail Racer 29in is the brainchild of composite prosthetic engineer Benedikt Skulason and his friend and industrial designer Gudberg Bjornsson. Within a year, the duo had quit their day jobs to pursue the concept and since then the company has grown to a staff of five. In its first competitive outing, the Lauf fork took first place at an XC race in Heidmork (near Reyjkavik) under Helgi Berg. While Berg’s riding no doubt played a big part, his 8kg XX1- and Lauf-equipped Focus Raven hardtail couldn’t have hurt.
We could see a fork such as the Trail Racer 29in appealing to riders who like the simplicity and light weight of a rigid fork – but not the sometimes harsh reality. The lack of required maintenance should also appeal to those of us who don’t stop for mud. A total of six color schemes are shown on the Lauf website- some quite handsome. While this first fork is clearly aimed at the XC racing set, there are a number of trail and all-mountain riders on the Lauf staff- and if the Trail Racer takes off they’re going to want to ride something.
Sod the fork. Check out that amazing knitwear!
In green perhaps?
In order to build confidence in the design, Lauf’s prototype units have seen over 140,000 cycles in the laboratory, apparently without signs of wear. A five year warranty will accompany all Lauf forks when they begin shipping next summer. We have questions about target pricing and several other details in to Lauf- more when we have them…