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    - We’ve all seen the frontal video of the finishing sprint from Milan San Remo. But have you seen this helicopter footage? It tells the story a thousand times more vividly. Cav’s acceleration is mind-blowing seen from here. - Agony of defeat. - Spring is here, and a boy’s fancy turns to traveling-with-bike. Spring ’08 was the first time I ever paid more than $75 to take a bike on a flight. It was $125 to take it along to Europe last year, and on the flight back (only a week later!) the cost went up to $175. In anticipation [...]

    - News story of the week: Bike Snob NYC is now on staff for Bicycling Magazine. An amazing development indeed, since day-in and day-out BSNYC spews white-hot hatred for the casual poseurs who cling to their $9,000 bikes (and not a penny less!) as this week’s passageway to self-actualization. Yesterday’s yoga mat. Tomorrow’s stamp/wine/cigar collection. Today it’s their custom titanium/carbon Dura Ace 7900 bike bought with a 3-month lead time from a fit studio(!) Yesterday it was Yoga Journal. Tomorrow it’ll be The Wine Spectator. But today they’re dropping a check for $12 into the mail for a year’s subscription [...]

    - If you’re in your 30′s you probably remember the advent of cable TV. Mine was a ‘basic cable’ household, which means that when I was age 15 I spent countless hours with the volume low and my face pressed up to the screen in front of the scrambled porno channel. Today’s Direct TV just gives you a dead black screen and the stark notice ‘You are not subscribed to this channel.’ But back in the LeMond/Hinault-era you’d get purple-pink scrambled signals with cubist-like half-asses and quarter-breasts arguably discernible within the kinetic madness there and once every 45 seconds or [...]

    Wet Trails

    You’re riding down you’re favorite trail, ’round a corner, and there’s a huge mud puddle in front of you. You’ve just driven who-knows-how-long to ride this trail and there’s no way you’re turning around. So what do you do? We’ve all been in this situation before, and chances are good we’ll be there again. Many experienced riders question the best way to handle this scenario. We want to help set the record straight. The best thing to do is ride right through the center of the trail at a fairly slow speed. This keeps the damage to the trail at [...]

    The Competitive Cyclist global HQ is 25,000 square feet devoted to the blisses of bike riding, bike racing, and gear-obsessing. The location of our building -- on central Arkansas’ traffic-free Millenium Trail loop, alongside the trails at Burns Park -- is a daily dose of temptation to ride more per day than we really have time for. Take a video tour of our headquarters. We’re often asked the question, ‘Do you have a showroom?’ Yes! It’s a great place to see amazing bikes for sale; about to be fit to their new owners; or assembled-and-waiting for a photo shoot. Bikes [...]

    - Looking for some help here. There’s a word out there -- maybe it needs to be invented -- What’s the word for dressing for today’s training ride based on the forecast for today from 2 days ago? On Saturday I tried to re-enact ‘Into the Wild’ or ‘Alive’ or some other tale involving loss of sanity & digits to frostbite because I dressed for mid-50′s temps…despite the fact it was 38 and raining at the beginning of the ride. There must be a word for fixation on 2-day old forecasts. - Party like a rock star. - Great 20 [...]

    - A lot of great racing happened at the ’09 Tour of California. But none was more thrilling than the finale of the 2nd and deciding stage of Tour du Haut Var in France, which took place on the same day as the Palomar stage at the ToC. Check out this highlight reel. Turn up the background porno music loud. If you’re pressed for time, fast forward to minute 7:00 of the video. The uphill attacks are sick. Utter violence. How do people race uphill this fast? - Based on what I hear and on what I read, is [...]

    - Stimulus: For the bike business, what will it mean? We’ve seen some chatter about using taxpayer lucre to build bike paths and other varieties of ‘alternative transportation’ infrastructure that, in theory, will have the long-term ripple effect of causing people to buy more bikes and lights and baskets and such. But I think I speak for most Americans in not caring much for 2011 at the moment. What I’m interested in is 2009. February, 2009 for that matter. While the big banks are burdened with toxic assets on their balance sheets, the bike industry has two burdens of its [...]

    There is a certain sort of durability to the stuff we sell -- impact-resistant rims, clamp force-impervious bars, framesets with stiffness galore. But durability defined this way shouldn’t be mistaken for permanence. I can’t say we ever sold a Pinarello Prince Carbon or a set of Zipp 404′s with the assurance that 15 years from now you’ll still be eager or able to ride it. Take any of the million recent photos from the Tour of California peloton, and consider the tight fleet of bikes you’ll see there. In their speed, their iridescence, and their technology…Does any of it suggest [...]

    As we’ve stated before, Truvativ HammerSchmidt is one of those products that we could barely wait to get our hands on. When we finally did, there was no doubt that the HammerSchmidt was a high-quality execution of a clever design. Truvativ has brought a planetary two-speed gearbox to the masses. We have loved it, both out on the trail and at the local freeride park. One thing we can’t stop doing is thinking of different ways to do things here at Competitive Cyclist. While we don’t claim to be engineers, we do like to tinker. We had an enthusiastic local [...]

    - The most intriguing detail on the new Cervélo S2 and S3 is its cable routing. Instead of feeding into the frame in the downtube, Cervélo made things more aero by feeding the cables into the top of the top tube, directly behind the headtube. Cervélo’s design is a clever one. But after building up a few S2′s and S3′s and getting some mileage on them, we identified opportunities to do some nip & tuck work to the design. For starters, the tension of the cables cause them to pull outward as they loop by the stem. This puts them [...]

    So we just got our hands on a Santa Cruz XC Carbon. Wow. Let’s just say that the bar just got higher. A lot higher. First, the large sample that we received tipped our scale at 4.49 pounds with the Rock Shox Monarch air shock. That’s a good 3/4 of a pound lighter than most XC bikes on the market. While that’s super news for all of us weight weenies, the design isn’t just about being light for Santa Cruz, it was clearly about building a better bike. Their attention to detail on the Blur XC Carbon is first rate: [...]

    - Dueling derny videos. I don’t know which one I love more. Belgium or Texas. - The real race season has arrived. Kneewarmers. Mud-splatter. Overcast skies. Something about February racing in France warms the soul. How many days ’til the Ronde? - The podium at the Tour of Qatar is an awfully tantalizing place. - More proof that no such thing as real cycling journalism exists, did you see regurgitate the Andy-Pruitt-as-messiah story that appeared on two weeks previously? In every element -- the photos, the storyline, the servile flattery to the Genius Of Specialized Body Geometry -- [...]

    Late January Dispatch

    - Much gossiping about the impending Lance vs. Landis battle at the Tour of California. The hot rumor we’re hearing is that the pick-to-click is, in fact, Tom Danielson. Word on the street is that he’s flying. He’s proven in the past that he knows how to rock February. It’ll be interesting to see if he can get Team Garm*n some podium time. - Had some requests to do a weigh-in of the top-tier components from Campy, Shimano, and SRAM. Happy to do so. What you see below are actual weights done on our gram scale, not the manufacturer purported [...]

    - Saw this thread on the Velocipede Forum by framebuilder nonpareil Richard Sachs and it was a surprise. Like you, I spend $60 for my USA Cycling license every year. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know, as card-carrying members, what that buys us? Based on my cursory review of the 2007 USA Cycling 990 Tax Return , I’ve learned the following: $13,323,525: Total annual revenue $8,252,159: Total annual expenses $2,960,768: Compensation, salary, and benefits to USA Cycling officers and employees $3,990,159: End of year savings and temporary cash investment assets $4,077,991: Short term investment assets $100,096 : Total cash grants [...]

    Those of you who follow Competitive Cyclist know that we sold Colnago bicycles for several years. We have great respect for the technology of their frames and for their awesome race heritage. For various reasons, though, we chose to part ways in summer 2008. We did a pretty good job of selling off our on-hand inventory, but we’re still in possession of one final Colnago: It’s a 2007-vintage Extreme Power. It’s size 58cm (c-t), the color is ST03 -- an attractive Red/White scheme. It comes with a Cane Creek S-3 headset, and a painted-to-match Colnago Star Carbon fork. It was [...]

    It’s officially winter. That means that the days are pretty damn short. So by the time most of us get off work, it’s all ready dark outside. That leaves us only a few options: not ride, ride the trainer, or buck up and ride at night. If you are seeing this message you either have javascript disabled or do not have a browser with flash installed or a recent enough version of flash installed. To get the latest flash go here. There’s something eerie about riding at night. I think that’s why most riders shun the trail after dark. For [...]

    SOME QUICK BACKGROUND We first started to comprehend the full force of the global economic meltdown in October 2008. We predicted in a What’s New column back then a few inescapable consequences, all of which are slowly-but-surely coming true. The imminent demise of manufacturers like ABG and Teschner represent the tip of the iceberg. Retailers are proving to be no less susceptible to the pain of failure. And for every one story like these, there are 10 rumors about companies in dire straits. Make no mistake, the culling has begun. Another prediction we made had to do with the pricing [...]

    January comings & goings

    PRO TEAMS & RIDERS - Jon Benet Gerdemann. - Metrösexual. - It’s hard not to feel bad for Baden Cooke. He either misinterpreted promises from the Rock Racing team or he was flat-out lied to (TBD in a court of law). What’s sad is that this mess comes only a couple of seasons after his ‘lost year’ with Unibet. Where there’s a Le Groupement situation brewing, Cooke somehow seems to find it. What’s the real condition of Rock & Republic? Based on the noise about their team, it’s not great. But they’re certainly trying to shuffle the deck to make [...]

    The power of the internet never stops amazing us. Combine a thread about the new Cervélo S3 on the influential Weight Weenies forum with one misinterpreted reply by Cervélo to a consumer and you end up with the hottest rumor on the web since Biggie killed Tupac: Word on the web is that the S3 isn’t compatible with Super Record 11. Is it true? No, it is not true. The purpose of this missive is simple and clear: To clear the air and to explain how and why the Cervélo S3 is indisputably compatible with all Campagnolo 11-speed componentry. The [...]

    The sport of cycling is one that lends itself to territorial rivalries. Tour vs. Giro; Italy vs. Asia; Portland vs. Indianapolis. You needn’t look hard to find how geography breeds enmity. And the table was set in late 2005 for new hostilities to erupt when -- for the first time in time immemorial -- the US Pro Road Racing Championships wasn’t slated for Philadelphia, but instead it was awarded to the humble southern city of Greenville, SC. Philadelphia is a glorious place. And I don’t say that just because I went to college there, or because the best piece of [...]

    What started as a small effort in summer 2008 to upgrade the functionality of our website became a considerably larger labor of love. The net result now, nearly 7 months later, is the biggest upgrade to our site in almost 4 years. It looks different, and it has a good bit of added functionality to make surfing and shopping easier than ever before. And that was our ultimate goal: To make your Competitive Cyclist experience better in every way. By design, these changes aren’t disruptive to the familiar look & operation of our site. And, admittedly, in many cases we [...]

    A quick New Year’s Day postcard from Competitive Cyclist HQ: We’re moving! Economy be damned, we spent 2008 building a gorgeous 25,000 sq ft facility from the ground up. From Friday, January 2nd to Sunday, January 5th we’ll be moving in. Due to the complexities of the moving process, please note the following: We will not be answering the phone on Friday, January 2nd and Saturday, January 3rd. However, we WILL be answering email throughout the moving process. So please feel free to communicate with us via email between Thursday, January 1 through Sunday, January 4th. Ground orders placed after [...]