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    Note to Dario

    Many of you are aware that Dario Pegoretti was diagnosed with lymphoma in May, 2007. While Dario’s skill at building artful and wickedly fast bike frames has made him legendary across the globe, he’s perhaps more loved as bon viveur. Who amongst us doesn’t consider him a soulmate? 10 minutes of conversation with Dario is like a riff from your favorite song, or a passage from your favorite book. His interests are so vast and his exuberance so limitless that few people don’t feel like they share an entire worldview with him. We’re willing him from across the Atlantic to [...]

    First Endurance is a name that’s coming up more and more in cycling nutrition discussions. It helps that they’re starting to advertise and sponsor teams. But we’ve been aware of them for some time, as should any eagle-eyed customer. When we started working on this review, we left the Ultragen and Electrolyte Fuel System (EFS) out on our kitchen counter. We came home that night to mix bottles for our morning ride. While we were mixing, we were hit with an insatiable thirst. Rather than reaching for water or juice, we went for the freshly mixed bottle of Lemon-Lime EFS. [...]

    When the BMC Cycling Team surged to the front of the field late in the final stage of the 2007 Tour of California, many people were surprised. Some might not have even noticed the team at all during the race. And considering they missed the day’s breakaway and their best finish was David Vitoria’s 10th place on the first road stage, it didn’t seem like they had a horse for the finish. They had no reason to be at the front. Fans pulling for the breakaway were annoyed, and those who wanted to see the Discovery team earn their victory [...]

    Has anyone wandered into their local bike shop and seen a chain that is so neglected and rusty it can stand up in the corner of the shop? It’s sad but true that most of us can answer yes to this question. There are people out there who abuse their chains and never give them the proper love. Perhaps even some of us are guilty of chain neglect. The fact is, many people who ride bikes pay little attention to their chains. It seems strange that we often overlook such a crucial component of our drive system. Surely it is [...]

    Stage racing can be as much about logistics as it is racing. This goes for both all those involved with the race and all those watching it. You need not only a map and a timetable, knowledge of how to get to the next spot, but how to do all without going crazy, getting stressed, knowing when to expend energy, when to save it, where to eat, etc…All those in the race need to be up by a certain time, know where breakfast is and how to get there, eat enough, finish in time, get two bags packed, and get [...]

    The Floyd Fairness Fund arrived at the Brooklyn Brewery Wednesday February 7. Unless you were in the know, the Brooklyn, NY event was under the radar. The FFF site, had mention of it, but the real work was done by local cyclists who spread the word on local websites and listservs. The event was listed as a “Town Hall Fundraiser,” and was informational, political, and designed to build grassroots support for the cause. The Floyd Fairness Fund was first announced in January. It was “established to support Floyd Landis in his efforts to clear his name of unsubstantiated doping allegations [...]

    There’s a balance in stage racing. Long stages are often easier than short. Short stages take a long time when you include all the preparation and waiting and transfers. Flat stages can be harder than mountain stages. Domestiques get to rest when the team leader is going his maximum. The Solvang time trial of the 2007 Tour of California demonstrated all of the above. It was a short day, but a long transfer. The circuit was simple, but for the favorites every corner and every hill took on great import. Riders who had no stake in the overall wanted to [...]

    We can’t say it wasn’t expected: Cervélo bikes are proving to be the hottest item in the high-end bike market since the invention of the rear derailleur. It’s a continuation of what we saw in 2006 -- we’re hard-pressed to find another brand that matches their combination of lightness, stiffness, aerodynamics, durability, and style. One great piece of news has been the delivery of Cervélo’s new-for 2007 colors and models. With only a few exceptions, we have every 2007 color and model in stock in almost all sizes. We’re still a bit touch-and-go on the availability of the Soloist Carbon [...]

    In the fall, we got the call. Ridley Bicycles wanted us to come to Belgium to go into the wind tunnel with a number of Predictor-Lotto team riders (Predictor-Lotto is the 2007 version of the supremely successful 2006 Davitamon-Lotto squad). It wasn’t going to be the whole team, just new signees Leif Hoste, Jurgen Van Den Broeck (ex-Discovery), newly-crowned U23 World Time Trial Champion Dominique Cornu, and Tour de France contender Cadel Evans. All four are race winners and serious horses. We were excited to see what they had been doing and if we could save them any time. The [...]

    We’ve all been there before: Someone you love asks what you really want for your birthday or Christmas, but you know better than to attempt conversation about Campagnolo or Assos or Swobo with your Grandma or sister. Instead, make everyone’s life less stressful by suggesting a Competitive Cyclist Gift Card. They’re available for any amount, they never expire, and you can use them to purchase anything we offer. Gift Cards are mailed via complimentary UPS Ground shipping (you can upgrade to faster shipping if you’re a last minute shopper!) No special offers may be applied to the purchase of a [...]

    Welcome to the world of altitude tents, considered by many to be the next frontier of training technology. For nearly 40 years, athletes have been experimenting with high altitude training; the notion of simply sleeping at a high altitude has been around for about 15 years. To achieve this, athletes can install tents in their bedrooms, thereby seamlessly integrating altitude training into their everyday lives. A long list of pros has been testing out the concept. By some accounts, 16 of the top 20 finishers of the 2005 Tour de France, all of the Americans tipped as hopes for the [...]

    Interbike 2006: Y29

    Not to diminish the Fox marketing department proclaiming 2007 as ‘The Year of the Fox’, but our Interbike experience found good evidence that it’s the year of the 29er and red ano in the mountain bike industry. Irony (and mystery) of course is that Fox hasn’t jumped on this growing niche as of yet. As the marketshare leader for suspension forks, you’d think they would be leading the charge for a 29er fork. That’s certainly not the case at this point, and for the moment, Rock Shox has the market seemingly cornered with the Reba 29 family. Whispers at the [...]

    For anyone who knows and loves bicycles, Interbike is a name that titillates. It’s the North American bike industry’s annual trade show, and it possesses enormous importance since North America is the highest dollar volume market for nearly every manufacturer and distributor that exhibits there. For attendees (as opposed to the exhibitors) you feel an irrepressible kid-in-candy-store glee as you walk through row after row of the newest & sexiest bike gear out there. While it’s easy to get fired up about Interbike as a passionate cyclist, it’s undeniable that the show has some disadvantages from a business perspective. For [...]

    Interbike 2006 Preview

    We can hardly believe it’s “that time of year” again, but low and behold, we’re already getting showered with 2007 product, and have a good taste of what to expect at the ‘big show’ later this month. We’ve been shipping 2007 Fox Forx since early June and have finally seen every model including the elusive 32 Float X, which has just arrived. The ’07 lineup is both beautiful and functional, making it easy to understand why Fox has positioned itself as the industry leader in suspension forks. However, because of struggles with production, Fox had to abandon the ProTune adjustment [...]

    Mad March: FR101

    Arkansas plays host to an amazing mountain bike race in the second weekend of July each year -- the Eureka Springs Fat Tire Festival. The first rate event takes place in Eureka Springs, an artsy community nestled in the Northwest Ozarks of Arkansas. The festival attracts great sponsors, hundreds of riders, and thousands of bike enthusiasts alike, competing and observing all disciplines from trials to downhill. It’s really the one time of year that big names in the sport make their way through Arkansas. And as we all know, opportunities to meet your heroes are rare. Even more rare is [...]

    In 2003 Shimano had 90% market share of global road component sales. They were only months away from unveiling 10-speed Dura Ace -- a component line that would further reinforce this position. 2003 was also the year in which SRAM first announced they were embarking on a 3-year plan to manufacture their own road gruppo. Believe it or not, SRAM’s announcement wasn’t met with the sort of wide skepticism you might’ve expected. Rather, the industry as a whole did something worse. It reacted with the taut dismissiveness of a 15-year old girl: Whatever. The announcement was ignored. Blown off. Undiscussed. [...]

    Competitive Cyclist will host a Titus Demo Day at the Burns Park Water Ski Ramp in North Little Rock on Saturday, June 17, from 10:00 – 2:00. The Titus Demo Truck will have Titus Road and Mountain Bikes in a variety of sizes including the Moto Lite, Super Moto and legendary Racer X mountain bikes (aluminum, 29er and ExoGrid models). And, the Modena, Solera, FCR Ti, and ExoGrid road bikes will be available as well. Titus is defined by their unwavering commitment to technology. It shows most famously in their Exogrid series of bikes -- Ti frames whose laser-cut, carbon-reinforced [...]

    Tour fever is getting, well, torrid here at the home offices of Competitive Cyclist. We were like everyone else in anticipating the hardest fought Giro since Visentini v. Saronni or maybe Hampsten v. Breukink, Instead what we got was unadulterated slaughter, with Basso’s margin of victory the largest since the Elizabethan era. As a consequence, it makes le Tour seem bigger than ever before -- as though it’s obligated to pack the excitement of two Grand Tours into one. As we prepare ourselves for an unusual amount of time parked in front of the television (plus an irrepressible urge to [...]

    Our recent trip to the Tour de Georgia wasn’t just phenomenal for the racing we witnessed there, but for the fact that it grabbed us by the scruff of our necks and dragged us down memory lane. It’d been 16 years since we’d last seen truly authentic world-class bike racing on American soil. And, in a nice coincidence, on both occasions what we’d seen were time trials. What were you doing in 1990? Your humble author was taking his licks as a young college student — writing B+ papers in scary sounding classes like ‘Proust, Joyce, Faulkner’, and riding just [...]

    39th place. Every race has one. 39th pretty much never gets you bragging rights. But one beauty (of the many beauties) of bike racing is how the concept of ‘victory’ is oftentimes so personal, and that it might well not include crossing the finish line first. And when it comes to tending to personal ghosts, you probably can’t find a more appropriate setting than where we recently were: Stage 4 of the 2006 Tour de Georgia. A time trial from Chickamauga, GA to Chattanooga, TN. Chickamauga is a town that might have some faint familiarity to you. It’s in northwestern [...]

    An abundance of wind and rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of either competitors or spectators of the 2006 Sea Otter Classic, though it made for extremely challenging conditions no matter the discipline. For much the same reason we’re drawn to suffer-fests in the form of the Mega-Avalanche or Paris-Roubaix, the conditions made for some of the most exciting bike racing we’ve seen in some time, as the athletes not only competed against each other, but the elements and their own mental strength. But the suffering is only one allure of the Classic, the other is the celebration of all things [...]

    Competitive Cyclist and Cervélo have teamed up as title sponsors for live TV coverage for the unofficial world-championship of climbing —Liège-Bastogne-Liège. For $35 you get a 1-year subscription to cycling.tv’s Premium Channel for live and on-demand coverage of the world’s biggest road races, including LBL. Other live coverage for 2006 includes: Fleche-Wallone, the Amstel Gold Race, daily Giro d’Italia, and daily Tour of Switzerland. You can also watch 90-minute highlights shows for each of the races on-demand 24/7. Other on-demand coverage slated for 2006 includes: Het Volk, Grand Prix of E3, 3 Days of de Panne, Ghent-Wevelgem, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of [...]

    ‘A noticeable part of Landis’ win was his unique handlebar position -- which he reconfirmed last week in a wind tunnel here in California. ‘I changed my handlebars a little from last year. Mostly the wind tunnel is minor details. Some of the reason I was there was to confirm my handlebar position is better -- there was some debate whether it was a good idea or not. I think now people can stop debating that!” -- Interview with Floyd Landis on cyclingnews.com after his victory in the San Jose TT stage of the Tour of California. Anyone who earned [...]

    Floyd Landis Power Camp

    Trends are funny things. We saw a dramatic transition from heart rate to power-based training methods in the last 3 or 4 years. As power skyrocketed in popularity, we saw the coaching industry blossom. And as coaching became more widespread, wintertime training camps became ever more popular for seemingly good reasons — the warm weather, the big miles, the chance to spend quality time with a coach you’ll otherwise only know through e-mail and the telephone for the remainder of the year. While we try not to be overly critical here at Competitive Cyclist, we’ve always had a sneaking suspicion [...]

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