One time I had coffee with Willie Nelson. Experience has proven the waters of Golden, Colo., produce the finest domestic beers. Creating clean content for Competitive Cyclist stems from many hours spent outside pedaling my bicycles.
When it comes to brakes for my XC rig, I want predictable, comfortable stopping power that I don't have to worry about. I don't have much patience for finicky components, and the Guides are dialed right out of the box. The modulation is great due to the new Swinglink cam, and that single-finger-operation is all I've ever needed to quickly dump speed, without any lock-up. The RSC model does provide the most adjustability of the three new brakesets, which is a must if you require specific pad contact and lever reach adjustments.
These have been my go-to trail shorts this year, as the lack of pockets and excess clutter is perfect for a streamlined feel in the saddle. I've been pairing them with Giro's undershorts for long rides, and the combo has been ideal. These work great for casual spins and commuting, too.
This polo has been my shirt of choice for the office, days off, and beers-in-the-bottle-cage rides. It's super soft and flexible, while still being classy enough for more formal settings. I dig the generous button closure, and it's cut plenty long to cover my lower back while riding the bike. I also find that the zippered back pocket is more handy than I thought it would be.
Low weight and a comfortable strap design are top priorities for me when it comes time to select a new lid, which is why the Octal seemed to be the perfect choice. I went with the loud orange color, and I've been wearing it for about four months. Its protective qualities have yet to be tested (thankfully), but the fit is perfect, and it works well with a cycling cap. I've been pairing it with both Specialized sunglasses and POC's Do Blades and haven't had any of the fit issues others have experienced. The vents are big and provide a healthy dose of cooling airflow, which is always nice for those scorcher summer rides. If you are looking for maximum visibility, solid protection, and something slightly different, I think the Octal is a nice choice.
By having two independent cables to control tension, the Vortex Pros have been great for dialing in exact pressure across my feet. The lightweight uppers and stiff soles are positive features, too, but the real highlight for me has been the ability to run lower tension over the forefoot zone to help maintain positive circulation. The Suprell-Tech has also proven to be very durable, and it wipes clean without any issue. Overall, these shoes fit well, have proven very durable after roughly six months of riding, and they look sharp. Good work, Diadora.
Most softshell jackets do a great job of keeping the core warm, but breathability usually suffers. Castelli nailed it with Elemento; it keeps my core warm in cold, dry conditions, and it also breathes better than any other softshell I've tried. This continues to be my go-to for late fall and winter riding.
Paired with knee and leg warmers, these bib shorts have proven to be a perfect addition to my fall and winter riding kit. The smooth fleece on the interior provides just the right amount of insulation, and the chamois is super supportive. Great product, Capo.
I wore this jersey for the majority of my road rides this past fall. The interior has a light layer of soft fleece, which made it ideal from both a comfort and insulation standpoint. The tall collar kept out the drafts and the longer-than-average sleeves held my warmers in place without an issue. Great jersey on its own, or as a layer underneath a shell. Nice work, Capo.
Getting into your boots is truly a necessary evil, but one that can be lessened if you follow a few simple steps. I worked as a bootfitter for more than a decade and witnessed every imaginable way people try to stuff their feet in and lock down. Above Photo: Backcountry Athlete Jenn Berg getting ready at Snowbird, UT Shot By: Re Wikstrom Show me one person who looks forward to pulling on alpine ski boots. I’m not talking about performing this act inside a heated ski shop or next to the roaring fire in the lobby of that fancy country-club-ish [...]
In general, bike racing is a pretty foreign subject to many people on this side of the pond. It’s fairly safe to say that outside of le Tour, the yellow jersey, and “Big Tex” Armstrong himself, the wide and wonderful world of two-wheeled pedal competition is not well known or understood around these parts. So when you take a sport that involves people running and riding with bicycles around a snow- and mud-covered obstacle course, the head scratching seems justified. Welcome to cyclocross. Above Photo By: Tommy Chandler To understand what this cycling discipline is all about, we must take [...]
Above Photo By: Tommy Chandler On their own, they look like something you might wear to a costume party. Little half leg tights, arm sleeves, mesh net tank tops, and even those special covers for your shoes called “booties.” And while they might look a bit ridiculous by themselves, these layers of clothing can make or break your rides when Mother Nature decides to flex a bit of her muscle. Every year, around this time, we go through a transition. Those glorious days of mindlessly throwing on our jerseys, shorts, helmets, and little else before rolling out the door come [...]
Above Photo By: Ian Matteson Steering Your Road Bike Toward the Unpaved The cattle guard stands there like a sleazy doorman at a nightclub. It serves as a barrier, dictating the passage between the smooth paved surface and the unkempt on the opposite side. Several feet deep and just wide enough for a vehicle to pass through, the grid is aligned with iron slats separated from one another with just the right amount of space — a gap that’s tempting for livestock to cross, but one that’s sure to lock the unassuming hoof between the guard’s merciless jaws. Even on [...]
Above Photo: Backcountry employees hiking in the Alta Backcountry, UT Shot By: Re Wikstrom Those unassuming ski pants — like that friend everybody just loves to hate — seem to get all the action without even trying. While you relentlessly carry on with your mission of chasing untracked lines, your lower body is constantly bombarded with all sorts of tasks in the name of keeping you comfortable and dry. Frozen chairlifts, day-long submersion in thigh deep pow (we hope), slushy boot packs, and brutal arctic winds are just a few scenarios your pants experience on a regular day at the [...]
Above Photo By: Re Wikstrom By now you’ve undoubtedly ogled, researched, and wisely chosen a pair of shiny new sticks for the season. But have you given any real thought to the apparel you’ll be wearing? After all, your jacket’s going to be just as much a part of your quest for pow as the boards underneath your feet. And if you think that old taped-together ’80s neon pullover’s gonna be doing you any favors while you’re hunting out nipple-deep pillow lines in the middle of a whiteout storm, it might be time to reassess. Choosing the right jacket for [...]
Above Photo: Backcountry Employees Brian Bernard and Ryan Schoeck Shot By: Ian Matteson Maybe it’s suffering up a long climb next to a close friend. Or perhaps it’s adding a pump and rack to your frame instead of pinning a number to your back. It could even be exploring unknown gravel roads that are miles from the nearest paved surface. You know the ones—you’ve scoped them a few times with a bit of apprehension and heard others say, “That’d be crazy to do on a road bike.” For me, road cycling includes all of this—riding for the hell of it, and [...]