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    We interview Dr. Allen Lim, founder of Skratch Labs, about their full line of hydration products.

    It’s easy to envy Allen Lim. He’s been everywhere important in the bike world. He’s worked with not only the best teams, but the best riders. He has most journalists eating out of his hand, literally. And his best advice seems to be of the no-nonsense kind. Why isn’t someone with scads of power doing better at bike races? ‘It’s that you’re a shitty bike racer,’ he once told Velo. Lim is mostly off the road these days, but he’s coaching top cyclists and running a business called Skratch Labs. Skratch Labs drink mixes, both their Exercise Hydration Mix and [...]

    Competitive Cyclist visits Cross Vegas during the Interbike 2012 trade show to cheer on our boy Chris MacKay who is riding the all-new, CC-exclusive Wilier Cross Carbon bike.

    Passive recovery is one of those things we want more of in our life. Not just sitting down and drinking water, but something that will massage our body, strengthen our mind, build our muscles. As we’ve written before, compression garments hold a tantalizing possibility. Free speed. Just by pulling on the right pair of socks or squeezing into the right kind of tights, we can recover better and go faster once back on our bike. 2XU, one of the big names in the athletic compression garment business, offers Recovery Compression Tights, part of their Refresh line of clothing. Refresh is [...]

    As the top-shelf cycling clothing gets better and better, technology gets pushed down the line, and now the low-end clothing is as good or better than the premium offerings you could find several years ago. This shouldn’t be news to anyone taking a close look at cycling, but even though we see this stuff every day, the reality hits when we pull on bibs, zip up a jersey, and go for a ride. Capo’s Serie A Jersey and Bibs are toward the bottom of the company’s offerings. They fit in just above the Modena threads and below the Pursuit, and [...]

    - Paying cash for a yacht large enough to land a helicopter on the deck. Subsidizing a new wing of the local modern art museum. A distant third on the industrial tycoon’s to-do list is bankrolling a pro bike race team. Or at least that’s what I figured motivated titans like Igor Makarov and Andy Rihs, not to mention earlier legends of cycling sponsorship like La Vie Claire’s Bernard Tapie and Mapei’s Giorgio Squinzi. If you’re awash in cash and in love with the sport, why not buy a team? There’s a good reason why team ownership has become the [...]

    A Freezer Named Siberia

    - Shall I tell you of the gold-speckled mushrooms I once ate? With great care I pressed them onto a slice of pepperoni pizza. The next four hours were magnificent. At one point I proposed to an oak tree. Ah, memories of youthful drug consumption and the middle-aged bildungsromans that often result. Whether it’s collegiate ‘shrooming or the US Postal pharmacopoeia, it’s like that old cliché about porn: At first, so enthralling. Then soon, the tedium arrives. ‘The Secret Race’ by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle is just that. It’s a coming-of-age story that fascinates in countless ways before a [...]

    Eurobike Confidential

    - Last week we made our annual pilgrimage to Friedrichshafen, Germany for the industry’s largest trade show, Eurobike. While it’s rare to be surprised by what you see there, it’s still an essential event because Eurobike is where a summer’s worth of hype can be confirmed or dismissed. For three days we fondle prototypes and conduct umpteen ten-minute interrogations. By the end of it all, the view of next season in our crystal ball becomes unclouded. Most impressive technology of the show: It was an easy choice to award this to Shimano Dura Ace 9000 mechanical shifting. In an outcome [...]

    The one wheelset life. To us, it seems like folly; three seems about right. Have a solid 28- or 32-spoke set of aluminum-rimmed clinchers for year ’round daily use. This is the set that gets pummeled; dress them in heavy tires with heavy tubes. Then have a set of carbon race clinchers for local and flatter racing. Race tires and latex tubes. Than have a set of carbon race tubulars for out of town and hillier racing. Racing tubulars. The three sets cover all the possibilities, save time trialing, and you can probably get a decent wheel cover for one [...]

    - Dear Lance: Long time, no talk. Looks like last week was nasty in more ways than one. A friend said he saw you on his Delta flight to NYC. You’re flying commercial again? Mellow Johnny’s Airlines has gone the way of Braniff. Bummer. And as far as the USADA business goes, no doubt you’ve been paying out the nose for professional advice. Today’s your lucky day. I’m offering some for free. Buy a copy of ‘Titan’ by Ron Chernow. Yeah, it’s a behemoth. Over 700 pages narrating the life and times of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. The writing is [...]

    - Q: Where have the What’s New updates been for the last two months? A: Off the back, obviously. The last eight weeks have been a blur dominated by two things. One fun, and one not so much. Together they devoured any discretionary hours for diary-keeping. Fun came in the form of summertime riding. A lot of it. And even a bit of racing. In case you’re trying to figure out where your next bike riding vacation should be, make it Park City. One summer here has confirmed for me that it’s paradise, whether your fancy is road or mountain. [...]

    Reviewed: SRAM XX1

    Inside Greg Herbold’s lair, our XX1 loaner bike gets assembled by SRAM’s Chris Hilton and Andy Benz. One look at a bike with the XX1 drivetrain and every front derailleur and chain guide-equipped bike looks cluttered and antiquated. Note the initials on the seatstays— H-Ball’s personal bike. Note to self, rubber side down. Another note to self, those are some pretty narrow tires on for Moab, we’re going to get schooled. If you are lucky enough to be an XX drivetrain owner, you already know how good the cassette is. The same zero flex, machined steel masterpiece is used in [...]

    During our visit to the 2012 Dealer Camp we check out the upcoming line of helmets from POC.

    The Vittoria Corsa EVO CX Clincher is what we’ve been trained to see as a high-performance tire. It has a round profile, a file tread down the middle and diagonal sipes on the shoulders, and a heat transfer label embedded on the edge of the tread. Everything about it says ‘handmade tubular.’ It’s not as modern as a Michelin or Schwalbe, or as industrial as a Continental: the Vittoria embodies the traditional tubular aesthetic. Tests indicate it yields performance on par with its image. The Bike Tech Review tire testing guru, Al Morrison, has tested this tire and found it [...]

    We’ve become fans of mid-weight tires over the years. These are, in our definition, tires that are a hybrid: typically folding beads with a somewhat supple casing, and a healthy amount of tread. Originally, this seemed like a netherworld between fancy racing tires and rough low-end tires, but the offerings seem to get ever better. The Schwalbe Lugano fits in this realm. It’s a fairly pedestrian offering; you probably haven’t noticed that these tires come as standard equipment on many bikes from several brands, including Pinarello and Cannondale. That also tells you something about the tire. It’s good enough to [...]

    We’ve become fans of mid-weight tires over the years. These are, in our definition, tires that are a hybrid: typically folding beads with a somewhat supple casing, and a healthy amount of tread. Originally, this seemed like a netherworld between fancy racing tires and rough low-end tires, but the offerings seem to get ever better. The Schwalbe Lugano fits in this realm. It’s a fairly pedestrian offering; you probably haven’t noticed that these tires come as standard equipment on many bikes from several brands, including Pinarello and Cannondale. That also tells you something about the tire. It’s good enough to [...]

    Eat real food. Seems like advice we’ve heard before from Michael Pollan or Allen Lim. Looking into it online, it seems like Mark Bittman might be the coiner, though it seems his effort to get ERF adopted as an acronym has failed. The principle of eating ‘real’ seems to be something in which more and more people believe. Healthier, perhaps. Even if ‘real’ is kind of an empty adjective; if it exists, it’s real. We generally agree with the idea that eating real food is better (we take it to mean less processed by machines), particularly when it comes to [...]

    Reviewed: open O-1.0

    Mavic has been making shoes for several years now. Mavic’s Zxellium Ultimate Shoe, when seen in Mavic Service Course Yellow, is probably the most recognizable shoe in the pro peloton. While it shares the one buckle with two Velcro strap retention scheme with most other top shoes, it is very much a unique offering. It is those differences, and the yellow, that make the shoe interesting to us. The ‘ultimate’ in the name refers to Mavic throwing all their best technology at the shoe. For example, they claim the shoe is both stiffer and lighter than earlier iterations because they’ve [...]

    Of all the performance-enhancing tools at our disposal, supplements and vitamins seem to reside in the greyest of grey areas. Testing them, as we have done with First Endurance’s MultiV multivitamin and Optygen HP supplement, is a big challenge. It’s not just that there are lots of conflicting studies, or that there’s little regulation in terms of safety or validity of claims, or that the results can take a long time to measure and are subject to so many variables that are nearly impossible to control. It’s that there is no consensus on the subject anywhere. It’s easy to find [...]