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    The Novice

    - The shoes make the man. No secret about that. Joe Parkin dispenses must-have advice about it here. And, speaking of shoes, if dark brown shoes are the must-have pair in your closet, why is it that companies like Sidi and DMT don’t make them in Ferragamo-like deep, rich hickory? Why only black, white, and clown colors? I, for one, would buy a pair of DMT Radials in brown. (Yes, I’ve heard of Dromarti. But we’re talking about PRO-caliber racing shoes here, not preenster shit.) - Preen, to some it’s not always a pejorative word. - Bike Industry #1: A [...]

    DT, DW, DR & the Diss

    --Someone once asked George Mallory why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest. His reply, ‘because it’s there,’ rings as a simple yet ineffective explanation. Along those same lines then, why do we love to ride our mountain bikes? Most days it might be a difficult question as well, but not today. We just spent a weekend at the Syllamo Trail System near Mt. View, Arkansas. The weather was exquisite and the trails…well, the trails reminded us of our love of the bike. It wasn’t a gentle handed reminder like a soft caress to the cheek. No, it was more like [...]

    - Hi Lance: Some quick background. (a) I’m a fan -- both of your sporting accomplishments, and of your passion for fighting cancer & your stand that quality health care is a fundamental human right. (b) I’m a capitalist and celebrate the way in which it’s a 21st-Century fast-forwarding of the primitive manly urge to hunt & gather. (c) On more than one occasion I’ve been tangentially involved in efforts to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Especially given the recent speech I attended by LAF CEO, Doug Ullman, here in Little Rock at the Clinton School for Public [...]

    - A rain supreme. Not for hours or even days, but a full-on month of Old Testament downpour. The city gone intestinal: What were once yards, now a half-digested stew -- brown with mud and leaves in every direction. And what were once roads, now treacherous rinks for autoduel. The thought of riding a bike -- remote as it is for me already with such endless rain and off-season torpor -- it got a dagger in the heart this week thanks to this lung-clotting cold. Prenatally curled on the couch, I hack and blow and try to recall the muscularity [...]

    - Competitive Cyclist is proud to announce the arrival of Ibis bikes. Ibis is one of those brands that we’ve always had on our proverbial top shelf. Their reputation in the nineties was sterling and they injected humor into their bikes with features like Moron tubing (more on the ends), the Toe Jam pump peg, and most infamous, the Handjob cable stop. Their lighthearted approach set them apart in a competitive industry jammed with ex-aerospace engineers, machinists, and welders. The folks at Ibis build bikes that they would want to ride. From the inception in a garage in the early [...]

    I see docents

    - I’ll die someday & I spend time daily trying to get cool with the idea. When my time comes I hope it’s not on the bike. And if that’s how it happens, I bet it won’t be because I ran a red light. I’m a red light running connoisseur, and when I do so it’s almost always for self-preservation. - Dewey beats Truman. - Open invitation: Track me down after the day is done and I’ll buy your dinner and pick up the bar tab to boot. I’m quite pleased to have my training raison d’etre for 2010 buttoned [...]

    Peter Pan meets Lou Reed

    - Do you remember where you were standing when you heard that Dale Earnhardt died? I wouldn’t have either, except that about 5 minutes after the news flash a friend said there was a life-size cardboard cutout of Earnhardt down at a close-by convenience store we frequented. Cardboard Dale had a mini-shelf built into him to hold boxes of Snickers or M&M’s and an thick-bound stack of entry forms for some sort of ‘Drive with Dale’ contest. It was 2001. At that point we were your standard small LBS -- 1,500 sq ft with maybe 3 employees + a high [...]

    Please join us at Competitive Cyclist‘s Turner Trail Day at the Syllamo Trail System near Mountain View, Arkansas on Saturday, November 7th for trail maintenance, Turner mountain bike demos, lunch, and an opportunity to meet and ride with Dave Turner, namesake and founder of Turner Suspension Bicycles. This is a free event. We’ll have a full size run of our dw-link equipped Flux, Sultan, and 5 Spot full suspension mountain bikes. Each is outfitted with a full complement of the finest components from Rock Shox, Avid, SRAM, Truvativ, WTB, Fox, and Mavic. In 2009, Turner Bikes received an across-the-board redesign [...]

    Countdown to Lombardy

    - Autumn is more than a season -- it’s a state of being. The sharpness of July legs has vanished but in exchange you get a fresh brain. Power is not the operative word, rather it’s pleasure in spinning whatever gear feels right, with thoughts permitted to meander as they may. Slow, weak climbing isn’t a cause for panic, rather it’s the reward for the 9 previous months of neurotic self-punishment. October is made for playful lazing, so it’s with outirght pity that I check in on the late season pro race scene. Ask yourself: Could you imagine summoning July-like [...]

    SRAM Red Components

    SRAM Red shifting is crisp, positive, and precise, and the drivetrain is as quiet as a mouse. It’s the lightest and least expensive of all the top-tier gruppos we offer.

    When we first saw SRAM’s XX group at Interbike, we were quite excited to be honest. It was the most exciting thing to happen since our first ride on a RockShox Mag 21. And trust us, we wanted to ride it as soon as we saw it. It just made sense -- lighter, cleaner, simpler. With its debut at the show and the media frenzy that followed, the XX components became fodder for the industry rumor mill -- namely, we began to hear reports that frame compatibility was an issue. While we awaited more information regarding crank and front derailleur [...]

    DMT Radial Shoes

    The DMT Radial is comfortable, light, and stiff, and the 3-strap system is easy to microadjust on the fly. And, they’re also a beautiful shade of blinding white!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdBxCmS5pXU Campagnolo has once again outdone themselves with their new 11 Speed Gruppos. We explain, in detail, the differences between Chorus 11, Record 11, and Super Record 11 in our review of the latest from the masters in Italy.

    Boulder is burning

    - Wiggo #1: Bradley Wiggins had an axe to grind on the eve of the World’s TT. This sort of spleen is rare to see in the media, and I reveled in it not for the specifics, but simply for the honesty. Rare. So rare. There are a limited # of sports tropes out there to be had, and they’re always repeated again & again. We saw Lemond vs. Hinault redux with Contador vs. Armstrong in July. And now Wiggins vs. JV? I’m thinking the ’77 Yankees. Bradley Wiggins as Reggie Jackson. JV as Billy Martin. Or is he Steinbrenner? [...]

    Giro Monaco Gloves

    For too many cyclists, gloves are sort of an afterthought. The Giro Monaco gloves are as close to perfect as any glove we’ve ever owned.

    Interbike 2009

    Every year we close the summer with great anticipation of the upcoming Interbike tradeshow in Las Vegas. The buzz of the show builds all year, as manufacturers leak details of cool new stuff and promise that it will be visible there. The show is a mad rush for us, as meetings and a generally tight schedule keep us very focused on who we need to see when and where. Here are the highlights that distracted/attracted us enough to stop and snap a few photos. SRAM XX One ride will tell the tale. The new SRAM XX gruppo is one of [...]

    Interbike Confidental 2009

    - I went to Interbike and learned that Mavic paid Garm*n Garmin $500k to displace Zipp on their bikes and you’ve gotta wonder if Zipp cared since they’re already killing it exposure-wise w/SaxoBank and Cervelo Test Team and speaking of Cervelo Test Team, they’re on Campy next year apparently. Nothing is less savory than seeing a half-used sample pack of DZNuts mid-day in the stall of a public men’s room. The Artisan Hotel, home of Rapha’s ‘Tastemaker’ party is known to the cabbies as ‘The old Travelodge’. Heinrich Haussler, arguably the most consequential PRO of 2009 proved to be gregarious [...]

    A View From The Equinox

    It’s the same for us every year. The forthcoming Autumnal Equinox signals an official end of summer. It’s a highly anticipated moment on our calendars. Arkansas summers are beyond balmy or even sultry. We get damn hot and sweaty down here. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed that the literal end is soon to come as well. It’s the end of summer. Crankworx is over. The MTB world champions have been crowned. We’ve done Downieville, Single Speed Worlds, and bombed bike parks in Colorado. We’ve had some great local adventures too. Despite the ubiquitous poison ivy and spiderwebs, we logged [...]

    Ms November

    - It’s been a year since I was last in Vegas, for the only reason anyone I respect would ever go there: Interbike. Last year’s highlight was a small dinner with friends over what was mind-blowing sushi and from there we somehow ended up at Michael Ball’s ‘villa’ or ‘bungalow’ or whatever the Wynn calls their 5-rooms-with-your-own-personal-swimming-pool bachelor pads and the most fitting accessory in place was the presence of an authentic Ms. November. Front & center behind the table where Ball tended bar for the dozen of us present was a black & white 8′x11′ glossy of the woman [...]

    Oakley Jawbone

    “Those are serious glasses.” Non-cyclists seem to have a strong reaction to the Oakley Jawbones. We can see what they’re talking about. The spoiler-type flanges sticking out below the frames, the cutouts in the lenses, the matte-aluminum hinge all scream TECHNICAL. Cyclists say the same. The first several who noticed the Jawbones asked, “how is it having the frame on the bottom?” There’s no real reply to the first comment, other than “yes.” Oakley prides itself for making “serious glasses.” And the Jawbones do have lots of little features that make it an eye-catching sport spec that meets up with [...]

    - Now that the Tour de Georgia has died, the Tour of Missouri has become our local PRO race. The closeness of the race to us and the quality of the field (the ProTour contingent of the field, that is) has made following the race doubly appealing. Some random notes scribbled down during the week: * When it comes to the domestic squads trying to hang with the ProTour boys, I’ve gotta give huge props to Team Type 1. In Stage 1, they had a rider (along with an Astana & a SaxoBank rider) in the main breakaway. It appears [...]

    Fox Overhaul

    We love high-tech suspension for our bicycles. As aficionados, we couldn’t see ourselves without it. No bones about it, Fox makes the best dampers in the bike industry. They offer a buttery smooth ride and adjustments enough to tune the suspension for any terrain or to suit the most discerning rider. Even the best parts will eventually need some maintenance, however. Fox states recommended service intervals for their suspension products in its owner’s manuals. For our 32 TALAS RLC 150 15QR, we were due for a fluid service. It was also a great opportunity to freshen up the fork a [...]

    - Is anyone doubtful of Di2 anymore? Based on what we can tell, the pro peloton has fully embraced it. To wit: George Hincapie won the US Pro using Di2. If he had any doubts about it, you can rest assured he would’ve been on mechanical 7900 instead since the USPro championships in his hometown probably only ranked behind Paris-Roubaix as his most important date on the ’09 race calendar. And at the Tour of Missouri we saw no shortage of it on ProTour bikes. Repeat after me: Omigod, electronic shifting is here to stay. We talked to a ProTour [...]

    Endless summer

    - My beautiful legs -- shaved high, tanned to a beautiful brown char, moisturized then embrocated to a reflective shine damn near as blinding as the ocean just outside my hotel window. Calves lined with sinew down their sides, coiled veins snaking from achilles to back of the knee. They never looked better than in that full-length mirror in Carlsbad, CA -- pity that full-length mirror, victim to God knows how many minutes of me-on-my-tippy-toes, my head swiveled around to admire the view. Mine was a full-on embrace of the local customs, so for three days I stayed aware of [...]

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