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Ibis, altitude, and a little hard work

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, Handjoband 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 eighties, Scot Nicol, Ibis’ founder, enjoyed a cult following for his excellent hand-crafted bicycles. Their material development through the years spanned from steel to aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber. Some of us owned Ibis bikes back then, while those of us that didn’t, lusted for them.

After 20 years with his labor of love, Nicol sold Ibis to investors. The result was Ibis version 2.0, a bankruptcy, and the loss of a once heralded and innovative bike brand.

Fast forward to 2005 -- Ibis made the migration south to Santa Cruz and firmly back onto the bike industry radar screen. Their all new Mojo full suspension bike created a huge buzz at Interbike. The new Ibis once again features Scot Nicol, but this time around he’s accompanied by three others -- Hans Heim, who left Santa Cruz to join Ibis, Tom Morgan, and Roxy Lo. The sleek curves of the Mojo are a direct result of her design contributions and the flexibility (figuratively speaking) of their new favorite frame material, carbon composites. Ibis is once again a company devoted to the soul of their craft. Their lineup is limited to a handful of lightweight, sexy models, but the product design and placement is so thoughtful, they have everything covered --the Tranny is as cutting edge as it gets for cross-country racing and/or single-speeding, the dw-link Mojo is destined to be an all time classic trail/all-mountain bike, and the traditionally styled Hakkalügi is set to impose itself on the ‘cross course.

Ibis still adheres to the notion that they build bikes that they would want to ride and that they could actually pay for. Their history plays an important role in bringing the brand forward, but they haven’t let it be an obstacle in their creative path. This passionate, small company with the big footprint is back, and we’re proud to be a part of it.

– We went to see the premiere of Race Across the Sky on Thursday night. What was heralded as a ‘Lance-fest’ did not disappoint. Sure, Armstrong was prevalent, but he was the winner of this year’s event. The show was rife with images of others too. Much of the attention was paid to Mr. Leadville himself, Dave Weins, and interesting other local riders. We wondered many times during the show if people were watching intently to catch a glimpse of themselves or friends that might have gotten featured in the movie. Bob Roll narrated between the riders offering their take on certain portions of the route or the dynamics of the event that day.

We appreciated the respect that Weins garnered from the locals. It was clearly evident by the hero’s welcome he received in the Leadville High School gym where the pre-race meeting took place. Dave’s appreciation was also apparent as he spoke in front of the crowd, knowing damn well that he may be dethroned the next day. Ken Chlouber, the Leadville 100‘s organizer and number one cheerleader does an inspirational job of simultaneously motivating the riders to go beyond themselves to finish and warning them that it will be arduous and some of them will not realistically make the time cuts.

A few of us here have raced the event in years past, some a handful of times. As a hopeful Leadville entrant, you sign up knowing that you may not get in and that there is a lady in charge who doesn’t care who you are. If your name isn’t drawn, you don’t go -- it’s as simple as that. For those who’ve been denied entry and had their checks sent back, it was funny to see commentary by Dave Weins about the first time he tried unsuccessfully to ride the event. He goes on to say how he called and tried to use his pro mountain biker status to leverage the deal. He was told to try again next year -- end of story. It seems the organizers, like the altitude and weather are all about a level playing field.

The show was truly inspirational in a way that makes you want to go do Leadville or something similar. The organizer’s motto, ‘you are better than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can,’ rings true. If you’ve tested yourself like that, you know. What’s evident is that Leadville is a race that forces you to step it up, involuntarily or otherwise. The route is demanding and the weather and altitude are what make it world class. The show focuses on the Lance race at the front, but that main event is supported by the thousand people on the trail behind who have one of two other possible goals -- a big belt buckle (sub- nine hour finish time) or just finish within cutoff. The despair or anger you would expect from those getting cutoff at checkpoints for being behind schedule is there, but more pronounced is the relief that it is all over. As the race for the masses pushed into late afternoon, weather became a factor for many while the winner is already showered and delivering a post-race interview.

LeadvilleHave we done up for Leadville before? Yeah, and we’ll definitely be riding it again. The sweeping view of the race was insightful compared to the lactic acid and hypoxia induced tunnel vision that we looked through the last time we did it. Perhaps the sign up for this great event will be fuller than ever due to the movie. We expect that it may, but one thing’s for certain. Our entry will be in there and with the luck of the draw, we’ll get to go again…damn those big belt buckles!

– We rode at our Local IMBA epic trail, Syllamo near Mt. View, Arkansas this past weekend. As expected, the trees were glorious and the weather produced a picture perfect fall day in the Ozarks. We’ll be back there again on Saturday, November 7th when we have our Turner Bikes demo/ fall trail maintenance day. Dave Turner, the company’s namesake will be there riding alongside to offer insight into why the new dw-link full suspension bikes work as they do. We plan to offer a trailside lunch and the event is free of charge. For more information on this event click here.

– We’re also proud to announce that we will promote this years Arkansas State Cyclocross Championships on Sunday, December 6th. It will be a new and exciting course just a minute from the Big Dam Bridge and a stone’s throw away from our headquarters right here in North Little Rock. We anticipate that it will offer everything that ‘cross racers could ask for. For more race information, please click here.