Archive for category professional cycling

Ben Swift after ATOC Stage 2 Victory

Completely unedited video of Ben Swift at the press conference after his Stage 2 (or is it 1?) victory at the Amgen Tour of California (you really have to crank up the audio to hear, sorry).

I’ll post a couple of photos tonight or tomorrow with a full write-up of my ATOC adventures after Stage 3 (or is it 2?), tomorrow.

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Pro Cycling Manager 2010

Pro Cycling video game, good idea or bad idea?


City of Folsom plans ToC “viewing event”

The small, historic town of Folsom, east of Sacramento, will host a “viewing party” along Sutter Street on May 17th. Spectators will congregate to watch Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California, which starts in Auburn and ends in Modesto.

The racers will enter Folsom and cross the local landmark Rainbow Bridge around 10.45am before continuing south through Rancho Cordova and on to Modesto. The intersection of Sutter and Riley in Old Folsom – a short, steep climb for the cyclists – marks the first unofficial “sprint point”, according to Robert Goss, director of Folsom Parks and Recreation. This section has been dubbed “The Folsom Prison Breakaway Sprint”.

From Sutter Street, the riders will proceed to Blue Ravine, Prairie City and White Rock Road – all of which are familiar routes for Sacramento area cyclists.

Local businesses and the Folsom Tourism Bureau have offered a $1,000 cash prize for the first cyclist to reach the “sprint point”.

Festivities on the morning of the event, which begins at 9.30am, include a DJ, street vendors, and a prize draw for a customized bicycle donated by popular local bike shop Bicycles Plus. The event is expected to wrap up around 11.30am.

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Paris-Roubaix | The Hell of The North

Speechless, much respect…

Via @TimJackson

Update (by Michael): Sera also liked this video enough to post it. I’ve since deleted the duplicate and changed the title of Kurt’s post, you know, for fun.

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2012 Olympic MTB course

Check out Bike Radar’s sped up video from the recently completed Olympic MTB course.

I’m pretty cack on the old nobbly tires but I think even I could manage this, I’ve never seen such a sterelized looking MTB course…

Dullsville, Iowa.


post-Armstrong, again

Two days ago Lance Armstrong announced his retirement from professional cycling, again. Talking Treads didn’t exist the first time Lance Armstrong retired from the sport of cycling. Good thing too, because if it had, you’d be reading the same post for a second time. My relationship with the idea of Lance Armstrong is complicated. During his reign as champion of the sport I only moderately cared about cycling. I worked at the Recreational Sports office on campus and, as a result, had a passing interest in all sorts of sports I’d previously had no interest in.

It shouldn’t have surprised me that I would become more seriously interested in cycling. I had been a track and cross-country runner in high school and the parallels are pretty obvious. Without getting too far into my history as a cyclist, it was in this timeframe that I got out the Giant Boulder I purchased when I graduated from the 8th grade, and started riding a little single track. It would be a few years before I bought my first road bike (an unbranded steel frame from the late ’70s with shifters on the down-tube with a top tube that measured 6 cm longer than the bike I ride today) but I always see that time working in a bike shop, talking about Le Tour and Lance Armstrong as the catalyst to my self-identification as a cyclist – a roadie to be specific.

So, my history as a cyclist feels linked to Lance. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Lance is credited for inspiring to the renaissance of road cycling in America – and, judging by the number of those ugly Radio Shack jerseys from last year I see out on the road, he still inspires people to start riding. The truth is that, at least for a time, I counted Lance as something between amazing athlete and hero. How couldn’t I? A man, a jerk maybe, but a man who survives testicular cancer and comes back to the sport of cycling and dominates one of the most grueling and difficult events in sports. How couldn’t we mortals be impressed.

It is impossible to talk about Lance without talking about doping – trust me, I’ve tried. The question of whether or not Lance doped might never be answered. Personally, I’m long past defending or accusing Armstrong. It’s not that I don’t care or need to rationalize away the likelihood that all my cycling heros have bent or broken the rules. It’s more that the accusations and positive tests for athletes like Floyd Landis have left me unwilling and unable to say, one way or another, which cyclists are cheaters. Instead, I watch to tour the same way I watched Barry Bonds break the single season home run record – interested but disconnected.

It’s not going to matter if Lance is a convicted or exonerated as cheater (or, more likely, neither) his story has already affected cycling. People like me started riding on the heels of his post-cancer domination. Some long time fans stop caring about the pro-tour as the evidence against Armstrong and other top cyclists grew.

There’s a lot of talk about what the post-Armstrong era of professional cycling in America will look like. Will the new fans stay? Will they abandon the televised races? In my mind, none of that matters. The pro-peloton will survive. The question I think is most important, is will the cyclists that are out there because of Lance – the ones in their US Postal Service jerseys and on their Trek bikes – will they take up the mantle and pass their love of riding to a new batch of cyclists?

Well, will you?

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Family of Jim Rogers marks sad anniversary

On January 31st, 2010, former professional road cyclist and Grass Valley area resident Jim Rogers was struck and killed by an SUV on Highway 174 whilst out for a recreational morning ride. The driver, Patricia Hernandez, was charged with vehicular manslaughter, and her trial begins in early May.

Rogers was riding on one his most beloved routes, the scenic and winding road that connects Grass Valley and Colfax when the Ford Explorer approached from behind and hit him, knocking him off his bike. He suffered severe head injuries, despite wearing a helmet, and died in hospital shortly afterwards. He left behind a wife and two children.

Rogers raced professionally in the 1980s, dominating the popular Nevada City Classic as a member of the PenVelo team. He became quite famous locally, and was considered one of the finest, most aggressive and talented riders ever to come out of California.

Rogers’ widow, Carolyn, has continued advocating for greater car/bike relations in the year since her husband’s death, calling for a focus on the dangers of distracted driving. Authorities prosecuting Hernandez suspect she may have been using a cellphone while driving, which accounted for her failure to avoid colliding with Rogers.

A memorial fund has been established in honor of Jim Rogers, with proceeds to go to college tuition for his son, Nate. You can view the memorial and donate here.

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Lance Armstrong did drugs

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Hammer Nutrition Endurance Fuels – Review

I believe every cyclist has faced cramps, aches or even bonking at least one time in their biking life. These feelings typically stem from one thing the body needs, fuel. I know of many people that grab just an energy bar and ride. This works most of the time, but you could experience slight cramping or soreness after the ride. Having a complete fuel regimen can help correct this dilemma. To cure this, in 1995 Hammer Nutrition Endurance Fuels were created to add to Brian Frank’s E-Caps, a boutique nutritional supplement company. The main products that stemmed from this creation were the Hammer Gel, HEED sports drink and Recoverite.

Hammer Gel is your energy boost you need while out on a ride. It is suggested to consume every one to two hours, but I like to take it right after a big climb, that way I’ll be prepared for the next climb ahead.  It contains no added refined, simple sugars, artificial colors or artificial sweeteners. This is good news for you because that means you are getting high quality carbohydrate energy.  The flavor you taste is made from real fruit; they are Apple-Cinnamon, Banana, Chocolate, Espresso, Montana Huckleberry, Orange, Raspberry, Tropical and Vanilla. In this review, those that are bold were tested. Espresso is always the safe flavor and tasted great. The flavor that surprised me was Montana Huckleberry and Raspberry, sweet, but tasted great as if I were actually eating the berries. Apple-Cinnamon tasted good, but was a bit too sweet for me so a suggestion would be to mix it with your HEED sport drink or just water, which would soften the flavor. Hammer Gel is Gluten-free, vegan friendly, contains no MSG and is Kosher Certified. It should be noted that the Espresso flavor contains 50mg of caffeine and Tropical contains 25mg. Well priced, the single serving will cost $1.30 and more cost effective is the 26 serving bottle, to refill the Hammer Flask, at $19.95.

In the past I was one of those riders that would bring along an energy bar and figured that would take care of me on my ride. However I would cramp late in the ride and sometimes earlier depending on the difficulty. Hammer Nutrition HEED is added to your water to solve this cramping and then some. HEED comes as a fine powder that mixes and stays mixed with your water. Nothing is worse than being out on a ride; taking a sip and having chunks of your electrolyte drink go down your throat. Some riders think that a certain electrolyte drink is a good “aid”. These are filled with high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors. HEED contains none of this; it contains complex carbohydrates and a full spectrum of chelated minerals. What does that mean to me? It means you are getting the healthiest electrolytes to help you attack the hills, pound the pavement and sprint away from the pack. HEED goes down easy; it really tastes great as well. Flavors available are Lemon-Lime, Mandarin Orange, Melon, Strawberry and Unflavored. All except unflavored were reviewed, but I am sure unflavored tastes good, just a hunch. HEED as well is Gluten-free, vegan friendly and Kosher Certified. HEED is priced at a single serving for $1.80 and depending on your ride or length; one to two servings would be expected. You can purchase HEED as thirty two or eighty servings, costing you $24.95 and $46.95 respectively.

Have you ever returned home from your ride and found yourself to be sore or you ached? Recoverite is there to save you. If no meal is planned within about an hour after your ride, drinking Recoverite will help rebuild muscle tissue and restore muscle glycogen, which will all help you ride better the next day and allow your body to obtain all the benefits from your hard workouts. Made with natural ingredients, it a powder mix added to water and I found it to perform as stated. I didn’t ache those nights and wasn’t sore the next day. Flavors for Recoverite are Chocolate, Citrus and Strawberry. Chocolate and Citrus by far tasted the best, I wasn’t a big fan of Strawberry the taste was a bit thick and didn’t go down well, I want to try blending it with ice on my next time out. Recoverite is Gluten-Free and Kosher Dairy Certified. A single serving is well priced at $2.90 and thirty two servings is $49.95.

On each ride I used two Hammer Gels, one HEED in my water bottle and the ride was followed up with a refreshing Recoverite. The cost to follow this regimen would be $7.30 per ride and I honestly felt good during and after each ride. The Hammer Gel, HEED and Recoverite tasted great and weren’t chalky or bitter and the flavors were smooth. I would definitely recommend giving this a try for your next ride.

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Cyclemeter App Review

There are several well developed iPhone GPS apps available today for cycling, but what sets one apart from the others? Recently, I was asked to give Cyclemeter by Abvio a try, to see for myself what made them different.

At first glance, the price is a dollar or two higher than the others at $4.99,  but after using the app only after a few times I realized it is worth every dollar and the old adage of “You get what you pay for.” applies here. Upon launching the app you instantly have in front of you your ride time, distance, speed, remaining distance, average speed and calories burned. These data points are all controlled by two buttons, start and done, with the ability to pause the ride if needed. You can name your route and as well notate what type of activity you are doing, cycling, mountain biking, et cetera, and finally at the bottom of the screen you can see your GPS signal quality.

One of the features that sets Cyclemeter apart, is that you can have it announce your stats via the iPhone speaker or headphones. This really is helpful if you are one, such as myself, that doesn’t want to look down at a computer while navigating through traffic or barreling down a technical trail. While on the subject of announcing, if you email, tweet or post your status on facebook, the app will post your stats every five minutes and even read to you what your family and friends are saying about your ride. These options are fully configurable and as well you maintain full control of whether or not it posts to email, twitter or facebook. The announcements can mute your iTunes and allows full control of your music while you ride. Cyclemeter, as most GPS apps do, utilizes Google map with the choice of Street, Satellite or Hybrid view.

Another feature is the calendar. The calendar keeps track of your rides, all your stats of that ride and as well you can add notes, pretty helpful if you ride in different areas and want to keep track of trail conditions, trail markers or an awesome burrito place you want to go back to. The calendar will also help you keep track of your mileage by week, month or even year and can sync to Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange, AOL, Yahoo, MobileMe, and iCal.

Do you organize your rides? Ever wonder which ride was the one that had that super fast downhill or an awesome climb? Keep track of all your routes and be able to select them and it will guide you through. You can race yourself from your previous route rides and see your “old” self on the map and hopefully outperform and show improvement! Regardless of how you do, it will rank your ride as best, better, median, worse and worst than your previous route ride. Have you ever left your iPhone at home on a ride? You can manually enter your data so at the very least you can maintain the route and your mileage of the ride.

Finally, are you a data head? Well, I am, I love the graphs showing my speed and elevation gain/decent from my rides that the other cycling app have on their websites, Cyclemeter has it built in. I like being able to talk to friends or cycling acquaintances and while trying to explain the ride, I can pull out my iPhone and show them where to go, where to turn and what they can expect from the ride, is it flat or is it a crazy long climb? Now you might ask about exporting GPS raw data file, yes! Cyclemeter will also export to CSV files for your spreadsheet data compiling. Cyclemeter provides you all that you need to navigate, orgainize and train. The app is very easy to use and configure, and I found that everything I want and need from a cycling GPS tool, you will not be let down! Go out and download it on iTunes.

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