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    You’d have to live under a rock to be unaware of the wheel size debate that’s currently gripping mountain biking. And since you’re reading this, you probably don’t live under a rock, unless said rock has Wi-Fi. And while we’ve all heard countless arguments favoring each size, what’s certain is that the classic 26-inch wheel size is quickly losing ground, which means that most everyone that’s looking for a new bike is choosing between 27.5- and 29-inch wheels. Your choice will largely depend on your priorities, as each size offers distinct advantages. Let’s dig through them. Bottom Bracket Drop Claims [...]

    Michael Barry: The Pursuit

    Most races are formulaic, especially at the pro level. In the team buses before each race, the majority of the directeurs will be mapping the day out for their riders in a similar fashion. The team leaders will be told to wait in the slipstream of their teammates and the peloton until the final hour or less of racing, where they’ll attempt to burst ahead. Until then, their only goal is to conserve energy and stay fresh for the finale. The domestiques will be tasked with protecting the leaders, keeping them fed, fueled, and in position. Each of the domestiques [...]

    On that fateful day, adrenaline was coursing through my veins, the announcer was on pointe, and I was winding up for a Madison-style kilo. I’d like to say that’s all I remember, but I’d be lying. In fact, it was the slowest three seconds of my life. I think you know right away when something is amiss. I knew instinctively that the way I had somersaulted into the balustrade wall, coupled with the fact that my helmet wasn’t on my head when I landed face first on the concrete, meant that I was not going to be getting up and finishing [...]

    When you’re paying a premium for performance, the last thing that you need after a ride is a numb butt, aching palms, and the feeling that someone twisted your back in a vise. What happened to you becoming “one” with your bike? Where is the magic between man and machine that race announcers speak of? Truthfully, although the frame itself seems to receive most of the accolades for creating this seamless connection, it’s actually the touchpoints that are most responsible. These are the points where you control your bike, sit on your bike, and transfer power to your bike. And [...]

    Over the past month, I’ve worn, tested, and practically lived in nearly every DeFeet product on the market. Whether I was riding, running, or writing at my desk in a pair of work boots, I’ve been wearing DeFeet. And as a longtime “DeFeet enthusiast,” it doesn’t surprise me to say that it’s been a comfortable month. For the sake of not filling your day with 15 product reviews, I’ll focus on my favorite pieces within the line—the Cyclismo Five-inch socks, DuraGlove ET gloves, DuraGlove Wool gloves, WoolEator High Top socks, and the Slipstream Four-inch shoe covers. First Impressions: Aesthetically, DeFeet [...]

    With closing time near, a coworker and I cracked open winter-chilled wobbly pops that a satisfied customer gifted us earlier in the day. His toddler often joined us post-daycare, as was this evening’s case, and he occupied himself with a favorite pastime—chasing a long-legged poodle around the small, bike-filled sales floor pushing a rolling stool, intended to assist sales staff with fitting ski boots, for balance. The four-leg’er, despite being much taller than the mini-human, was scared to death of the little tyrant and rickety caster wheels. But, nonetheless, it was plenty agile to stay one step ahead of the [...]

    When pairing proper clothing with a bike fitted with mudguards or fenders, there are few weather conditions that can make a ride unpleasant. Their protection keeps water from soaking the chamois, and they prevent road grit from turning Lycra into sandpaper. Gone is the spray off of the front wheel that drenches feet along the freezing plume of water off of the back wheel. And on a club ride, everybody is more comfortable without a constant wheel-spray showering their face. While riding in the rain, the majority of the water comes off of the wheels. And once that spray is [...]

    Running? But I’m a cyclist. Depending on who your coach is, and what generation they are from, running is either viewed as a pariah or a secret training weapon. And even if they advocate the latter, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily enjoyable. I remember an old friend telling me that they used to ride up Palomar Mountain and then do a back-to-back run up it in the off-season. Somehow that’s never sounded like “off” anything to me. If you’re racing cyclocross this winter, or planning on taking up winter triathlon, a sanctioned sport that consists of running, mountain biking, [...]

    Sure, there were a few calm bluebird days tossed in. But we mostly saw massive doses of rain, wind, and even snow pummeling the year’s biggest races this season. It all started back in March with a blizzard-blocking Milan-San Remo, carrying on through a soggy Giro, thawing out for a minute, and returning again this fall for the World Championships and Lombardia. We watched as riders prepared for battle each day, rolling out of team buses fully equipped with the latest weather protection from their teams’ apparel sponsors. The careful observer might have noticed something here, something that wasn’t really [...]

    My name is Jonathan Page. I am an American, but for much of the last 11 years, I’ve lived and raced in Belgium. I came here because I wanted to one day be the World Champion of cyclocross. So far, I’ve made it to the 2nd step on the podium of Worlds, but I haven’t stood on the top! Most weeks, from September to February, I have two races, but I can have as many as five during the tough “Christmas Series races.” Once in a while, though, I’ll have a week with none. This weekend I have quite an [...]

    Sores, lesions, cuts, pinching, boils. No, I’m not talking about a pair of ill-fitting heels that you wore to dance the night away. I’m talking about your saddle. These five ailments yield a visceral shudder, they’re not foreign to women who’ve spent any considerable time in the saddle. And while it may seem like no one ever complains about saddle pain, if you spend a few minutes with a group of brutally candid women, you’ll hear all of the nitty-gritty-details. Sure, with years and years of riding under your belt, you might declare that you have a bum of steel, [...]

    November marks the beginning of the cyclist’s New Year. Although dead leaves blow through the streets, morning frost covers the tarmac, and the sky is a drab and ominous grey, the off-season brings the cyclist a sense of renewal. Through the cold winter, we rejuvenate. The period not only gives us needed mental and physical rest, but it also allows us to reset objectives to start again with a clean slate. We can absorb the experiences of the last season, analyze them, learn from them, and then plan for what is to come. A steady progression in fitness is equally [...]

    Regardless of whether you’ve caught Superprestige fever, or if you never want your race season to end, you’ve surely been wrestling with the idea of adding a cyclocross bike to your stable. And like anything in the weird world of cycling, there are a myriad of options to choose from. That’s why I’m going to walk you through some of the choices that you’re going to be faced with before you make your next big investment. To get you started, hone in on why you actually want a ‘cross bike. If your goal is to just try a race or [...]

    I’ve been riding in the Fi’zi:k R3 road shoes for most of this season, first mounting cleats to them in early May. I waited for the worst of the spring weather to subside so as to not subject the supple kangaroo leather to too much moisture right away. This means, of course, that I rode through the rather warm Salt Lake summer in a shoe constructed primarily of a less-than-breathable material. The surprising part? It wasn’t uncomfortable. First Impressions: Let’s back up, though. The out-of-the-box presentation of this pair of shoes was a genuine delight. Each shoe is mounted to [...]

    There are over 4,000 brick-and-mortar bike shops in the United States, and a handful of internet bike retailers of note. So why shop online at Competitive Cyclist? It’s because we provide the best of both worlds. Even though we operate online, we sacrifice none of the personalized service of a local bike shop. That service starts with our bike experts. Every member of our staff has a grasp of technical detail that’s, well, awesome. And we know that the most effective way to share this knowledge is as unpretentiously as possible. We take pleasure in demystifying jargon. Call us with [...]

    You’ve planned the trip of a lifetime for you and your carbon companion. However, while your travel arrangements are limited to getting to the airport on time, your bike’s transport takes time, money, consideration, and until now, a dash of experience. Photos by Ian Matteson And while the least expensive method of transport is to get a used cardboard bike box out of the dumpster, when your bike arrives on the conveyor belt in a crushed box, you’ll know that you should have reviewed your case options. Cases run the gamut of prices, but so long as they feature a [...]

    Michael Barry: Motorpacing

    A cyclist, especially a racing cyclist, is constantly looking for a reprieve from the wind, to save energy, to gain an advantage, and to move faster. The wind is often our nemesis. We battle it. Sheltered from wind, we find our wings. In the belly of a flying peloton we pedal freely while eating up kilometers; tight in the slipstream of a motorcycle or car, we can easily double our speed. Not only do the riders and vehicles increase our speed, but they also become a carrot, drawing us beyond our perceived limits. Above Photo: Walter Lai The discipline of [...]

    What do you do after riding 470km through three countries in one 17.5-hour pull? Eat vegan pizza in an Italian parking lot at midnight, apparently. Well, I guess that you crack a bottle of champagne with Andrea Peron, too. At least this is what sticks out when I look back at my best/worst day on a bike. Back in August, I chose a different way to get home from EuroBike, one that included a 17.5-hour bike ride with 4,277 meters of climbing from Friedrichshafen, Germany to Fonzaso, Italy. Now, given the tradeshow timeframe, I had some notable industry types accompanying [...]

    Although we’re used to seeing droves of new bikes from our favorite manufacturers every year, the bomb that Santa Cruz dropped with this year’s lineup was downright staggering. The revamped models embraced the burgeoning 27.5-inch wheel standard have proved that it’s here to stay. However, most of the attention paid to the mid-wheeled bikes went to the 5010 and the Bronson. The differences between the models are subtle, at least on paper, which has resulted in a flood of questions from riders wondering, “Which one is for me?” After spending a month riding both, here’s what we’ve discovered. The similarities [...]

    You’d be hard pressed to find a family with more combined mountain bike talent than the Athertons. In 2013, Rachel had her most dominant season yet, which saw her take home both the World Champion stripes and the World Cup overall. After a stunning start to the season, Gee was narrowly edged out of the World Cup’s top spot, which resulted in the closest, and arguably most exciting points race of all time. And while older brother Dan has since retired from Downhill racing, he continues to be a threat on the Enduro World Series, as well as being the [...]

    As someone who’s been involved in the cycling industry, in one way or another, for the better part of 24 years, I’ve heard over and over again that women are not as competitive as men. And while it pains me to hear it, after attempting to start a women’s cycling magazine, and also being party to several surveys aimed at getting more women to ride, I actually feel the weight in the words. But is it that women aren’t inherently competitive, or is it that they just don’t compete in cycling? If you take a look at triathlon participation, for [...]

    Arriving home, I pull off my sweater. The scent of the workshop has woven its way into the fabric: grease, paint, rubber, flux, and oil. In the aromas, I can identify each distinct chemical, but together they mean only one thing. I inhale for half a second as I pull off the sweater. To me, it is the aroma of bikes being built and torches with flames heating tubes in the hands of craftsmen wearing dark glasses and royal blue aprons. It is the smell of fresh paint, ball bearings being carefully placed in cups of white grease, and tubulars [...]

    A blood-curdling shriek pierces the darkness. “Rampage!” It’s Friday night at an impromptu campground in Virgin, Utah. The sun set hours ago, and the revelers are carrying on. Walking through the campsite is like being in an exposed field during an electrical storm. In the moments of eerie silence, you can feel the next eruption coming, long before the thunderous chanting streaks though the night sky. The energy builds like atmospheric static, and when it’s discharged in the form of a deafening roar, the experience is awe-inspiring. We spectators are a force of nature. Good Friends and Ripping Girls: The [...]

    Photos: Ben Kuhns With today’s fabric capabilities, making something water- and windproof isn’t exactly an achievement. Instead, the true testament to design capability is incorporating the aforementioned into something that’s lightweight, comfortable, and breathable. Not surprisingly, though, this is where most manufacturing titans begin to wane. However, what is surprising is that the tiny, American-made first-timer, Search And State, achieved all of the above with its first time out of the gate. And gladly, all of these characteristics are housed in what I can only call, simply the best fitting jacket that I’ve ever ridden in. First Impressions: It’s black. [...]