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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? I’m not sure. The Bronx ain’t burning -- it’s Boulder’s turn now. The drama is sweet and we hope Wiggo aka Mr. October doesn’t end up at Sky now. Watching the slow, simmering mutual hate boil over from time to time will be great fun.

– Wiggo #2: As if he wasn’t already conflicted enough at World’s, he dropped his chain in the TT, blowing his shot at a medal. What’s up with UK’ers and their front derailleur nightmares? When I heard the news the first thing I did was track down an image of his bike out of curiosity whether he was on Di2 or mechanical Dura Ace. Up to now, we still haven’t heard of a single race-changing accident with Di2. Looks like Wiggo was riding mechanical to me. Another vote for Di2: Reduces the likelihood of human error (be it rider or mechanic-caused.)

– Interbike #1: It’s a week since the show and I have 10lbs of catalogs on my desk. Seeing this, the collective creative output of the world’s designers, I know one thing: I have alpine imagery fatigue. The worst enemy most cyclists face most of the time is wind, and the perfunctory wind tunnel photos don’t cut it. I’m talking road biking, not TT’ing. I want the creative types to get more creative: Speak to us about wind. Give me photos of echelons. Ghent-Wevelgem. Tour de Normandie. There’s more carnage out there than what gravity reaps.

– Interbike #2: There’s a big difference between checking stuff out and actually putting it to use. Best example so far is the Giro Prolight helmet. Like everyone else I picked one up in the Giro booth and uttered like a reflex omigod. Then they hooked me up with one and I’ve ridden it for the last week. In 5 words or less: This helmet rules. In more than 5 words: This helmet rules for a lot of reasons:

* The Atmos is significantly more vented, no doubt about it. But the Prolight (200g) is nearly 40% lighter than the Atmos (310g). After about 2min of riding with the Prolight my mind was made up: The weight of a helmet is its more obnoxious characteristic. The way it stifles airflow (vs. no helmet at all) is secondarily obnoxious. The Prolight’s lightness is impossible to not notice. And ventilation issues aside, it more comfortable for reasons other than its lightness. Gone are all the abrasive plastic adjustment pieces. Instead of a RocLoc4 you get a sweatband-like elastic retention system (think FlexFit baseball cap). And instead of plastic strap adjusters below your ears (something that Giro research indicated were only actively used by 10% of the high-end helmet-buying population), you get unmovable soft rubber buttons that stay fixed in one spot: Perfectly below your earlobes. Yeah, I dissed the look of this helmet during the Tour. For the first second third time ever I was wrong. The Giro Prolight is outrageously badass and you need one.

More product feedback for you: Right now (around here anyway) is the right time for the Giordana FormaRed Compactible Wind Jacket. Most importantly it’s black and I don’t understand why we offer jackets/vests in any other color since black has proven to be PRO in all iterations of outerwear. It’s exactly what you need when you leave the house in the 50’s and it’ll maybe touch 60 by the end of the ride. It’s beyond my knowledge to understand how you can gain appreciable warmth from something that weighs less than an iPhone (and stuffs to a size equal to that of an iPhone), but it works. Summer jersey + summer base layer + this jacket is perfect for the 50’s. Being Giordana it has the fashionably sexy Italiano thing going. And did I mention that it’s black -- probably the only color we’ll offer in anything (handlebar tape, bikes, jerseys, vests) starting in 2011.

One more tip: The Hincapie Signature eVent Shell is apparel perfection. Not just because it’s Black. But because it’s made from eVent fabric so sweet in the rain it’s like it has a brain of its own. We’ll have these on the site soon since it’s the perfectly PRO rain jacket and remember this before Lance’s lawyers tell me to take this down b/c it constitutes an unpaid endorsement -- he said it’s single-best rain jacket he’s ever worn and rumor is that GS The Shack will use this jacket as their ‘official rain gear’ for the 2010 racing season. Like the Superlight helmet, like the FormaRed Compactible Vest, the Hincapie Signature eVent Shell will make you look and feel both PRO and HAPPY.

– God bless Mavic. They’ve sent me so many photos of PROs using R-Sys wheels that I’d have to upgrade to a Flickr Premium account to shown them all -- and I’m too cheap to do that. So check out the link for the best-of shots. Most importantly included amongst them are many photos of Our World Champion, Cuddles.

– Speaking of Cuddles, Joe Parkin pens the sincerest appreciation of Cadel Evans on all of the internet. Which brings up a separate point: 6 Years in a Rain Cape aside, I haven’t seen this sort of damning-with-scant-praise of a new world champion since Igor Astarloa, or maybe Romans Vainsteins, or Oscar Camenzind, or Laurent Brochard…That’s not to dis’ the likeability of Cadel (after all, his Aussie teammates already did that for us), but rather it’s a statement of how idiotic it is to have worlds in late September. Flip the calendar around and think of it this way -- Would you hold worlds in the 2nd week of February? Then why in the hell would you hold it 2 weeks from the season’s end? The star power is limited by then, and the heavy-hitters present are surely waning in fitness and motivation. Holding it in June would make better sense (though you’d need to always race in Europe since nobody prepping from the Tour would be keen on traveling trans-continentally for Worlds.) Or how about August? How about right after the Amstel Gold? Heck, I don’t care, but having it this late is a buzzkill for sure.

– Cyclocross season is pretty much upon us. We’ve got a posse here at Competitive Cyclist that digs CX -- both racing it and organizing a December race here in LR. I watched this super-cool video and got struck by 2 things: (1) That camera is unbelievably steady! (2) They go 4 minutes into the race before they hit the 1st barrier. I’m used to 1 minute, barrier, 30 seconds, run up, 1 minute, barrier, etc etc. Just a few dismounts every 9-10min, is that au courant? The course in the video looked technical in terms of picking lines, etc. But I’m used to a lot more time off the bike in CX and I wonder if we should re-consider our course design in light of what we see here…

What a hero. The grey hair!

– A PRO making an unpopular stand.

– I’m thinking about riding a mountain bike so I can better understand this site.