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    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’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 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 [...]

    January in Toronto -- it has no ring whatsoever to it, does it? But when our friends at Cervelo invited us to meet with them at their facility there, nothing in the world could stop us. It’s the sexiest bike brand in the whole industry, with a knack for winning awards that just won’t quit. In December, readers voted Team CSC’s Cervelo Soloist Carbon the best team bike of 2005. And Germany’s Tour magazine recently ran extensive tests of the stiffness-to-weight qualities of 2006′s most anticipated carbon bikes: When it comes to lightness, stiffness, and about a half-dozen other [...]

    It seems like Sherwood Gibson’s mind never stops. So naturally, we’re always eager to see what he and Ventana have cookin’. Makers of some of the smoothest, most beautiful, well-made bikes in the industry, Ventana wowed us with the introduction of the El Capitan 29er full springer in the summer of 2005, only to follow it up with two solid 29er hardtail entries in the fall, El Padrino and El Comandante. We’ve just come to find out that the Ventana Women’s Mountain Bike Team will debut a new lightweight XC frame (with a familiar name) at Sea Otter: El Fuego. [...]

    Congratulations to Ted Chan of San Jose, CA! He’ll be riding with Floyd in January. A few spots are still open for the Power Camp. For more information please visit Team Phonak leader Floyd Landis and our friends at Power Tap will hold their 2nd annual Power Camp from January 21-27, 2006 in Temecula, California. You’ll get in nearly 20 hours of fully-supported training, and every meter you ride and every watt you generate will be tracked by a Power Tap SL powermeter. You’ll have daily post-ride analysis with Allan Lim, PhD, as well as daily lectures from him [...]

    The overwhelming feeling after Interbike 2005 was the fact that there were no big surprises. It seems that the industry’s biggest advances and most exciting changes were all well-marketed in advance of the show. That is by no means to say that there weren’t any great products — on the contrary, there were plenty. It’s just the fact that we already knew what to anticipate. Much of the Interbike buzz surrounded the release of the 6 Point 6 by Intense, a 6.75′ travel all-mountain VPP beast. Intense has been refining the concept for three years in R & D, and [...]

    Over the last few years we’ve always written a general overview of the Interbike trade show — a piece we call the ‘Interbike Confidential’. We try our hardest to give you the inside scoop of the good, the bad, and the interesting. The cycling media has done an increasingly good job at covering Interbike, though. In fact, it’s done great work in the last year or two of covering not just Interbike, but the two other trade shows that immediately precede it — the EuroBike in Germany, and the Milan show. It’s not 2003 anymore, and what we recognize circa [...]

    A frequent question fielded here at Competitive Cyclist is, ‘do you have any Nitrous bikes available for demo?’ Up until now, our answer has been an unfortunate (and fortunate), ‘No’, as we sold our stock many moons ago. Well, that all is about to change, as we’ve secured a full size run of Nitrous demo bikes. Beginning in mid-October, you’ll be able to demo a Nitrous, the revolutionary cross country machine that NORBA champ, Geoff Kabush, has been whoopin’ everyone on, in the same program that we’ve been shipping Fluxes, 5 Spots and 6 Packs all over the country. As [...]

    Not dissimilar to Bigfoot sightings, we’ve been reading the whispers and viewing the spy photos of the 6 Point 6 for the last year, but hard information has been scarce. We’ve finally received word that it will be ready to ship shortly after Interbike at the end of September. With the release of the 6 Point 6, Intense has now answered the call for an aggressive all-mountain machine by mating the ride quality of the legendary 5.5 EVP with the burly aggressiveness of the Uzzi. Understanding the demands that the 6 Point 6 frame is expected to shoulder, Intense employs [...]

    The Granfondo The seriousness of Italian Granfondo culture made itself apparent to me at the hotel breakfast table on Sunday morning about 90 minutes before the ride was to begin. It was 7:00am, and next to the juice, cereal and fruit was a big pot of warm penne, along with a tureen of thin marinara and some freshly ground parmesan. While a meal of early morning pasta is something you read about in the ‘inside scoop’ articles about the pros in VeloNews and Cycle Sport, the idea that a mortal would consider such a meal struck me as insane. I’m [...]

    Background Giovanni Pinarello raced bikes professionally in the 1940′s, and like all pros he fulfilled a lifelong dream when he took part in his first Giro d’Italia. Italy isn’t unlike America, though, in that dreams aren’t always what they seem: 3 weeks after the start Giovanni found himself finishing the race in the maglia nero -- the black jersey worn by the rider in dead last. The lanterne rouge of the modern-day Tour de France is by comparison something of a footnote, one of the million bits of microscopic data that give us wonderful conversation and laughter in the place [...]

    2006 Pinarello and Opera Bike Sneak Peek In time we came down from the foothills of Montello and rode the last km’s back to the hotel. Given that these would be the exact roads we’d take back to Treviso for the final miles of the Granfondo, I knew their flatness and the slight tailwind that accompanied them would be a big help. After cleaning up and eating lunch, I had the opportunity to review the 2006 Pinarello and Opera Bike bike line in detail. Normally, I wouldn’t see these bikes until the Interbike trade show in October. Getting an 8-week [...]