Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Buried
September 29th, 2003

Snowed under with work at the moment. Heras won the Vuelta and Pettachi did it again. Is he the next Zabel? Will Heras replace Lance at USPS when he steps down? Will Armstrong manage a sixth tour victory?

Questions, questions, questions and I’m too tired to think up any answers.

GT are back. Not owned by the same people as before, but they’ve resurrected the brand and launched a new range of bikes. There’s more from Mike Davis over at Bikemagic.

The following was posted on bikebiz and is an interesting slant on an ongoing issue. James Annan sent in a short MPEG of a rider crashing at low speed, on the flat, thanks to a front wheel pop-out. He doesn’t link it directly to his ‘disk brake/QR/wheel ejection’ design flaw theory but it demonstrates, he says, the severity of injuries likely from crashes that fork designers could prevent.The 3MB MPEG can be downloaded from here. James’s comment was:

I believe the separation was due to a stripped thread on the QR, and the wheel literally fell out as the rider lifted the front wheel over a kerb so it looks superficially unrelated to the disc brake, but of course it is disk brake riders who routinely overtighten their skewers (and yes, the rider does have disk brakes). Perhaps a useful warning to those who say ‘just do up the skewer tighter’?”

“Regardless of the cause, it is I think worthwhile as an illustration of the severity of these crashes. Even though he was rolling on flat ground at a gentle pace, he hits the ground directly head first, sustaining facial injuries and a smashed helmet, without even getting his hands off the bars to cushion the fall.

Smelly Plastic
September 27th, 2003

The Vuelta looks like it will have been decided by today’s mountain time trial stage. Roberto Heras is the new leader after crushing Isidro Nozal who could only scrape 43rd. Heras now has a 28 second advantage over Nozal with just one stage to go.

Winter has begun to claw back some of the weather. The summer has been so good, I guess it had to happen, but it’s been such a fantastic few months I think everyone’s a bit miffed to see it go. Anyway it’s already time to start unpacking some of the winter gear, thermal base layers, down jackets, long sleeve tops and bottoms, fleeces.

Fleeces, a fantastic invention. Take knackered old plastic bottles and by processing them turn them into polyester thread and make a textile. One which a certain manufacturer claims is a super friendly, hypoallergenic material. It doesn’t absorb water, break down in appearance or absorb odours. That’s why it’s the backbone for all our Polartec® fabrics.

So why is it that there are so many absolutely stinking fleece jackets being worn by people? Aren’t the fabric treatment instructions clear? Have they run out of soap powder? You can tell it’s nearly winter when you start to get the whiff of a few crusty, sweaty fleeces.

On Form
September 24th, 2003

This is lifted straight from Cyclingnews – great news for British rider David Millar winning today’s stage of Spain’s grand tour (the full report is up here):

Time trial specialist David Millar (Cofidis) showed his versatility today winning the 17th stage between Granada and Córdoba. Alberto Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was second, 36 seconds behind, and Oscar Sevilla (Kelme Costa Blanca) third in the same time. The wearer of the golden leader’s jersey, Isidro Nozal (ONCE-Eroski), had a comfortable day without any problems, as did the rest of the top riders in the general classification. Nozal has led the Vuelta for 14 consecutive days now.

David Millar found the perfect place to attack on the climb of Alto de San Jerónimo with 25 km to go, and got a good gap to the field to win his first stage in this year’s Vuelta. “I’m very, very happy,” the Scot told Spanish TV. “I had plans to win a stage in the last week of the race. I told my team early this morning that I wanted to attack and I didn’t know whether to attack at the top, in the middle or at the bottom of the climb.”

The bike show is on down in London village. I’m not going but one year I intend to get myself organised and make it down there in future.

Chilly has his version of events from this weeks race up at Giant Pygmy. I had forgotten about the gazebo blowing away in the night. You might want to take a look.

Some interesting stuff over at MBA, they’ve got a page and animated diagram explaining how the Fox Talas shocks work. This will be handy for a lot of people, because these shocks are appearing on all sorts of bikes, but not many people know much about them. Click here to take a butchers.

Reverse action rear mechs are something that Shimano have been pushing for a few years. When I test rode my FSR back in ’98 there was an XTR one on the market then and fitted to it. I found the action led to good shifting up the block under pressure when you were looking for a lower gear.

This year both the new XT and XTR are as Shimano call it ‘low normal’, i.e the spring in the mech pushes it into the lowest gear (i.e. the 32T) instead of pulling it into the highest gear (the 11T). Read the pros and cons here.

Now doping in cycling has been big news over the last few years. This year any cases seem to have been rapidly passed over by the media, which isn’t that surprising given the Tour De France’s centennial celebrations, but it seems behind the scenes things have been simmering away and now this article has been posted up on bikebiz:

UCI says world anti-doping org has it in for cycling; suspends links to WADA
In March, the Swiss-based world governing body for cycle sport signed up to the tough anti-doping code proposed by WADA, the Swiss-based World Anti-Doping Agency. At the time, the UCI said it had reservations about the code (it was tough on some sports, lax on others) and, in June, withdrew its signature. Now the UCI has suspended recognition of WADA officials at UCI events thanks to leaks to the French sports newspaper L’Equipe over the Independent Observers report from the Tour de France.

WADA calls the leak an “untimely publication” and a “breach of protocols” and has released the full report (in French only) on its website “even though some parties involved, including the International Cycling Union (UCI), have not yet completed their review of the document.”

The UCI is furious about the leak of the observers report to a French newspaper, calling it “unacceptable”, and claiming the WADA “always take[s] cycling as privileged target.”

Hein Verbruggen, the UCI president who is also a leading light on the International Olympic Committee, resigned from WADA in June.

He believes WADA is anti-cycling. The UCI and WADA are currently disputing the use of corticosteroids by by pro cyclists with a doctor’s prescription.

WADA doesn’t believe cycle sport is yet tough enough on dopers, pointing out that Igor Galdeano, who tested positive for the asthma drug salbutamol, in July’s Tour de France, would fail WADA’s tests even though he passed the UCI’s controls.

WADA’s report criticises the way pro cyclists are warned they are to be tested, up to 20 minutes ahead of sample taking in the case of a road race.

Dusk Til Dawn
September 23rd, 2003

This weekend’s Dusk til Dawn race was a bit of a ‘mare. Almost as bad as Sleepless in the Saddle, but less painful. The race report is up here.

Things around here are just manic at the moment. It’s that time of year, when everything kicks off once again and before you know it everything’s rushing by you at a rate of knots. One thing’s for sure, I’m going to lose my voice and become ill in the next couple of weeks. There’s something to look forward to then.

Loads of stuff over at Cyclingnews, least not the Vuelta. There’s press coverage of the EICMA bike show in Milan here and some spy shots of bikes from the recent Mountain Bike World Championships in Lugano here. Meanwhile, everyone was pretty excited when Marzocchi unveiled their 6″ travel single crown fork, well how does this 12″ single crown monster grab ya?

Now if you caught someone stringing up a wire to garotte riders in the woods how would you handle the situation? Dom took a certain approach which has received a mix response.

From: Dom
Subject: Trees and barbed wire

I know i should of been riding but i went for a walk with the dog today in the woods and as i was walking in Cann woods looking at the trails i saw a strange bloke in his sixties tieing something to a tree.
So me thinks i will just creep up on him slow and ask what he is up to.
I think when i said hello he was going to die he jumped so far, and i asked what he was doing.
He says to me he is fed up with all the bikes flying through the tree with no respect to others that use the woods so he said he would give them something to think about ( barbed wire )…!
I told him you will only kill one rider and not affect the others but if he has a gripe he should contact the Forestry commision and apart from that i said i ride a bike through the trees as well where upon the topic gets heated a little and he takes a swing at me.
I am now waiting for the cops to turn up at the door as i kinda lost it and hit him but not with my hands or boots.
He went down quick and i took down the wire and took the rest of it and chucked it into the woods.
I told him whilst he was sitting on the deck that me hitting he once was alot lighter than he would of got had a bunch of riders caught him in the act.
I even said sorry to him, but i did say that i would tell all the local riders what he looked like so he better not walk round these woods for a good while.
And i left him, doubled back to watch him get up and walk out to the fire trail and of to the carpark.
I reckon he wont report it.

Read the reactions here.

E-bay is a wonderful place with some absolute crap on it. Here are two cracking examples, somebody’s Mum’s car and a very frightening wardrobe addition. On the subject of MAXing up cars, this tongue-in-cheek page might go down quite well.

Finally a lot of mountain bikers like to think of themselves as endurance athletes these days, well I guess it’s all relative. I mean in comparison to this monk that has spent the last 7 years running 24,800 miles, 24 hours racing a bike ain’t much is it?

Vuelta
September 18th, 2003

Erik Zabel won yesterday’s stage of the Vuelta España beating Tom Boonen by a whisker. Isidro Nozal has the leader’s golden jersey for the eighth consecutive day, while third placed Manuel Beltrán (USPS-Berry Floor) lost over a minute after being caught in the wrong half of the peloton when it split in the final kilometres. Full report over at cyclingnews.

Preparation for this weekend’s race down in Thetford is in it’s final stages. Chilly and I are up for a good placing.

In the US, a road rage incident has led to a cyclist being shot by a motorist. I hope they send him down for a long stretch.

Did you know there’s a Blackbox Rock Shox Duke fork on the market? I didn’t until I took a look at the new Blackbox site. SIDs make a usual appearance, but what’s happened to the Boxxers? On the topic of product information, there’s a whole page from WTB about their rider Mark Weir, right here.

Downieville is reasonably well known over here because so many went over there to ride the World Single Speed Champs not so long ago. There’s a big old set of photos from the place and the recent US Classic race there up on mtbr.

The students are returning and it’s getting a bit frantic around here.

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides