30 November 2011

Shimano Dura-Ace Goes to 11 in 2013

I read this headline and thought - I get a new bike in 2013!

Shimano Dura-Ace Goes to 11 in 2013 by Bicycling.com

26 November 2011

Chris and Zak Tackle l'Tour: planning

Chris and Zak tackle the Tour: learn the route, begin an itinerary
Do you remember Chris and Zak, they are the couple from Colorado who are planning a cycling trip to the 2012 Tour de France (Two Americans go to the Tour de France). We meet up with Chris and Zak again as they begin planning their trip to France, taking it step by step to build their dream trip. The first steps in any travel adventure is to look at a map, decide what you want to see within your route, ask a lot of questions, and begin to make some initial plans.
Part I - 5 Steps to planning a trip to the Tour de France
  • Learn the route
  • Buy maps and guides
  • Build a plan
  • Top 3 wishes
  • Seek advice and learn
1. Learn the Route

To learn the route of the 2012 Tour de France, Chris and Zak go straight to the source - the official Tour de France website (www.letour.com). The route for 2012 was announced in mid October.  

Pedal Dancer Tip: I would recommend planning to see a variety of stage experiences: start, finish, mountain pass, mountain top finish, time trial, feed zone. Each experience is unique. I especially like stage starts because there is hours of fun, the same is true for time trials. Feed zones are actually quite fun and you can gather bottles and chat with team staff waiting to hand up feed bags. When seeing a stage finish, select a town which is fun to visit before and after the fast finish, where you can enjoy a meal or spend some tourist time. Mountain top finishes are thrilling all-day events for fans, they can involve up to 11 hour days for cyclists riding 60-100km to and from the Col, definitely plan a rest day the day after. Pedal Dancer Tip: Within a 2 week trip to the Tour de France, you will be more than happy if you see 4-8 stages of the Tour de France. Even the best Cycling Tour Companies select the best stages for their guests and do not chase the Tour every day. In 2003 I cycled 16 days over parts of the Tour, it was a bit much. This year the Tour de France travels along the Rhone River Valley - I say it is time to take in some vineyards! Pedal Dancer Tip: Once you consider the stages and your travel dates, a picture should emerge indicating where you should fly in and out of France, you are not limited to Paris. I much prefer flying in and out of the smaller airports in France. Also consider using the TGV (high speed trains) to transfer between larger cities. At this point your focus should be deciding what you want to do, making it happen will be covered in future steps.

2012 Tour de France route map
Learn the Climbs: 
To learn the climbs of the Tour de France Chris and Zak visit Climb by Bike - a fantastic resource for climb descriptions and profiles of all the climbs in France. Climb by Bike happens to have a summary page for all the climbs in the 2012 Tour de France. For an excellent climbing resource for climbs in the French Alps visit Grenoble Cycling Pages. For an excellent map of most of the major climbs in the Midi-Pyrenees view VeloPeloton map of Cols in the Pyrenees. Look for future reviews due to come in the next 4 months by CyclingNews, VeloNews, Cycle Sport and other publications.
Pedal Dancer Tip: There are certain climbs that all of us have heard about in conjunction with the Tour de France, maybe you have a few on your bucket list. If you can say "oh I've always wanted to do that climb," and it is not in the Tour de France this year, leave a day to make sure you get to achieve your dream, the climb may be in the Tour next year and you will be able to recall I was there! I think it is more important to make these side trips than trying to see every stage of the Tour de France. 

Every one of these climbs is worth climbing!
Here is a brief list of the locations of the key climbs often featured in the Tour de France: French Alps: Alpe d’Huez, Col de l‘Aravis, Col du Chaussy, Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Glandon, Col de la Madeleine, Col de l'Iseren, Col du Columbiere, Col de Fer, Col de Joux Plane, Col du Galibier, Col de l’Izoard, Col de Lauteret, Col de Telegraphe, Lancets, Cormet de Roseland, Vercours. Near Provence: Mont Ventoux. French Pyrenees: Col d’Aspin, Col d’Aubisque, Col de la Marie Blanc, Col de Peyresourde, Col du Soulor, Col de Tamie, Col du Tourmalet, Hautacam, Luz Ardiden, Cautarets, Col d’Agnes, Col de Boderas, Col de la Core, Col d'Ichere, Superbagneres, Col de Menthe, Port de Bales, Col de Latrape, Col de Port, Col de’Portet d Aspet, Col d’Portillon, Col de Soudet, Col de Tramassel, Hourquette d’Ancizan, Lac d'Estaing, Pla d’Adet.  Tour de France: Ten most famous, infamous mountains

2. Buy maps or guides

Next Chris and Zak visit an online bookstore like Amazon.com (USA), or Drive Alive (UK), or many bookstores in France to purchase Michelin road maps to help in the planning process. They will need several maps for the 2012 Grande Boucle. You may also use the online site at: http://www.viamichelin.com/   

Pedal Dancer Tip: I buy one large map of France for planning only. I highlight each stage start and finish. On this large map I begin to mark TdF stages and other rides I would like to complete while in France. I can then see optimal cities to search for accommodations near or in between the stages. Pedal Dancer Tip: I buy a spiral bound France Atlas and cut out the pages where I will be cycling, leaving the large book at home. I carry these pages with me in my jersey pocket while riding, just in case my GPS device does not locate my position while in the mountains, the altas page will show every intersection, even for small roads. Pedal Dancer Tip: I do use my iphone apps like crazy in France, to locate wi-fi, GPS, etc, only watch the data charges! Pedal Dancer Tip: I still like real maps to see large scale - I decide which Local (yellow) Michelin maps to buy based on the stages I will be attending and where I need to see the roads in great detail. I don't ride with these maps, I use them for planning, but I do bring them to France with me.

Paper maps: These are the corresponding LOCAL (highly detailed) Michelin road maps of France for the 2012 Tour de France (for cycling you will need this level of detail): 
Stage/Date/ Cities/Km/Michelin Map numbers
P Prologue Sat 30 June Liège > Liège 6.1 km, Michelin Map #213 in Belgium
1 Road stage Sun 1 July Liège > Seraing 198 km
, Michelin Map #213 in Belgium
2 Road stage Mon 2 July Visé > Tournai 207 km, Michelin Map #302
3 Road stage Tues 3 July Orchies > Boulogne-sur-Mer 197 km, Michelin Map #302, #301
4 Road stage Weds 4 July Abbeville > Rouen 214 km, Michelin Map #304
5 Road stage Thurs 5 July Rouen > Saint-Quentin 197 km, Michelin Map #304, #305, #306
6 Road stage Fri 6 July Épernay > Metz 210 km, Michelin Map #306, 307
7 Road stage Sat 7 July Tomblaine > La Planche des Belles Filles 199 km, Michelin Map #307, 314
8 Road stage Sun 8 July Belfort > Porrentruy 154 km, Michelin Map #315, #321 and into Switzerland
9 Time trial Mon 9 July Arc-et-Senans > Besançon 38 km, Michelin Map #321
10 Road stage Weds 11 July Mâcon > Bellegarde-sur-Valserine 194 km, Michelin Map #320, #333, #328
11 Mountains Thurs 12 July Albertville > La Toussuire - Les Sybelles 140 km, Michelin Map #333
12 Mountains Fri 13 July Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Annonay 220 km, Michelin Map #333, #332
13 Road stage Sat 14 July Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Le Cap d’Agde 215 km, Michelin Map #332, #339
14 Road stage Sun 15 July Limoux > Foix 192 km, Michelin Map #344, #343
15 Road stage Mon 16 July Samatan > Pau 160 km, Michelin Map #336, #342
16 Mountains Weds 18 July Pau > Bagnères-de-Luchon 197 km, Michelin Map #342
17 Mountains Thurs 19 July Bagnères-de-Luchon > Peyragudes 144 km, Michelin Map #342
18 Road stage Fri 20 July Blagnac > Brive-la-Gaillarde 215 km, Michelin Map #343, #337
19 Time trial Sat 21 July Bonneval > Chartres 52 km, Michelin Map #311
20 Road stage Sun 22 July Rambouillet > Paris Champs-Élysées 130 km, Michelin Map (Paris)
Local Michelin map number guide click map to enlarge

GPS systems: Pedal Dancer Tip: Yes the extra cost for a GPS navigation system in your rental car is worth every penny. If you have a co-pilot you can use a Garmin, iphone, or any GPS hand held unit, but if you are alone, or with a map-challenged friend, use a car GPS system, they are invaluable. I really like that they warn me before I approach an automatic speed ticket camera. I also like that I can program them to speak to me in English (with an Aussie or Irish accent) or in French so I can space-out and enjoy the countryside until the next direction is audibly given. Hand-held or bike mounted GPS systems are excellent while cycling. 

Guidebooks also offer helpful information: Michelin Green Guides to France Pedal Dancer Tip: they are heavy, so cut out the pages you need rather than bringing the entire book. You can now buy some guidebooks for your iPad or as an app for your phone.
Know the regions of France: Understanding the regions and departments of France is very important. Read more about traveling in France on the Pedal Dancer France Travel Page. click map to enlarge
3. Build a plan
Using any software you prefer, or a piece of paper, Chris and Zak write out the dates of the 2012 Tour de France. They include the stage number, date, start and finish cities. Add a column for 3 activities a day, drive time, hotel, and overnight city. Add hotel information as they are confirmed, add airline or train information and any other links or contacts you want to have during your travels. You are building your final itinerary. click image to enlarge
sample itinerary worksheet
Pedal Dancer Tip: When in France - keep it simple. Our motto is three things a day. That might include a stage start, drive to a new city to check into your hotel, plus a dinner out in town. Or an early morning market, ride, picnic. Whatever you do in your day, try to limit it to 3 major activities per day, you will experience the real France in the spaces in between. Pedal Dancer Tip: I also schedule an open/rest day about every 4 days. This allows for weather (that may keep you off a much desired climb), enjoying local culture, and true rest after several long days riding and chasing the Tour de France. Pedal Dancer Tip: build this plan so that it basically becomes your itinerary, one that you can leave at home for family to follow your adventure and use for contact if need be. 
4. Top 3 wishes
Pedal Dancer Tip: Be clear and realistic about your expectations. With their new maps laid out in front of them, Chris and Zak discuss their top wishes they would like to do while in France. They begin by writing these down onto their plan, plotting them into the time schedule of the Tour de France. If they each achieve their top three wishes, their trip is a success, anything else is icing on the cake. Of course the unexpected, always makes for the best memories anyway. You do not need to plan everything. 

dreaming of cycling © Photo by PedalDancer.com
5. Seek advice and learn
Next Chris and Zak sought out resources, people they could ask for advice. I was one of them. Tom and Courtenay from Colorado were another resource, so was Mike from Arizona, and Sue and Scott from Colorado - all cyclists who had traveled to France in previous years. Reading blogs from other travelers is also a helpful resource, or PezCycling travel articles. Also visit Mr. Patterson Goes to Languedoc written by an avid cyclist who lives and rides in France. Read Paddy's VeloPeloton Blog all year long, he writes and photographs about his life living in the foothills of the Pyrenees. 

Pedal Dancer Tip: I like to read and learn from the itineraries and tips on the Cycling Tour Company websites. They bring clients to the Tour de France year after year and really understand the flow of how much can be covered within a typical 9-17 day vacation. Read more about traveling in France on the Pedal Dancer France Cycling Page.

Below is my video of Lance Armstrong on Alpe d'Huez in 2003 (that is me screaming for him, I sound like I am age 8). hit the > button
The Tour de France is Fun!
Planning is a framework, a probability, not an expectation of exactness. Every person has at least one off-day while traveling, every trip has a number of unexpected occurrences, allow for this. These sometimes make the best stories and memories.

Quote of the Day: "The only aspect of our travels that is interesting to others is disaster." - Martha Gellman
I also admit that people are usually far more interested when I am going somewhere then when I have been somewhere. Anyone who loves travels, such as myself, knows that the planning, anticipation, and excitement is as fulfilling as the actual trip. Enjoy the planning! 

Previous installments in the Chris and Zak series 
Two Americans go to the Tour de France

Future topics in the Chris and Zak Tackle l'Tour series: 
Arranging Accommodations in France for the Tour de France. Renting and driving a rental car in France. Estimating your travel costs to France. Packing for a cycling trip to Europe. Training for the Tour de France. Food and restaurants in France. Tips on traveling around France. Tips on being at the Tour de France. Understanding the race that is the Tour de France. Leaving home in not too much of a panic. And any other topics that happen to arise during their adventure. 

Picture of the Day: Venge Pro

2012 Specialized Venge Pro
Shortly after purchasing a new water heater this morning (I know the toils of being a home owner), I stopped by my local bike shop where I learned that Specialized now sells a 2012 Venge Pro for only $5999. You get all the aero frame design of the S-Works Venge (however not all the details lightness and stiffness of the S-Works + McLaren Venge), for a much lower sticker price.
A more affordable Venge - the every man's 2012 Venge Pro
Specialized 2012 Venge Pro with Sram Red, a beautiful bike Photo © by PedalDancer.com
There are three types of Venge bikes: S-Works + McLaren Venge ($18,000, 12R carbon), S-Works Venge ($8900-$9200, 11R carbon), and the more affordable Venge Pro ($5700-$6000, 10R carbon). The S-Works and the Pro have the same frame design and geometry (and exterior Ui2 unit), but are made of differing quality (technique) of carbon weave material. The McLaren of course is the lightest stiffest design with the Ui2 body hidden inside the frame. The more you pay the more you purchase light weight stiffness (10R, 11R, or 12R). 
Read more - road test and review: Specialized Venge versus Scott Foil, Felt AR and Cervelo S3 by BikeRadar
Venge Pro
Read more about the Venge Pro
3 models of Specialized bikes - Venge Pro Ui2 ($6000), S-Works SL4 ($5000), Roubaix ($5000) frames
Photo © by PedalDancer.com
Specialized Roubaix, SL4, and Venge Pro ready for sale in Denver, CO
Photo © by PedalDancer.com
S-Works Venge
Read more about the S-Works Venge
S-Works Venge, Photo © by PedalDancer.com

S-Works McLaren Venge
Read more about the S-Works McLaren Venge
S-Works McLaren Venge
Photo © by PedalDancer.com
Read more about: Specialized bikes

Folks are going crazy over these Specialized bikes this year, but I admit I am a Scott fan (and I hear the Scott Foil is lighter and stiffer than the Venge), but Scott didn't sponsor a ProTeam in 2011 so they fell off the marketing forefront. However in 2012, Scott will be sponsoring the GreenEDGE cycling team so hopefully we will be hearing much more about Scott bikes in 2012. I love my Scott bike, and someday if and when I buy another bike, it will likely be another Scott. 

CyclingNews.com recently reported that the Cervelo S5 won their reader poll for best road bike. 2011 Reader Poll: Garmin-Cervélo Cervélo S5 wins best team bike.

Read and see more images of Specialized Bikes on Pedal Dancer.

24 November 2011

Giving Thanks

In this fall season when the brisk air of walks in a park, the cool water of swim lap lanes, and the multi colored mats of yoga, remind me how fortunate I am to have movement back in my life this year. I find myself grateful for the plentiful food that fills my body and the flowing wine that fuels my conversation. It is the day of Thanksgiving, a time to pause and be grateful, to count every single blessing and acknowledge out loud how truly magical a carefree day on a bicycle can be, and how immeasurable the love of loved ones can be. To all who give and deserve thanks - Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you.

21 November 2011

Recommended eating: Beef Bourguignon

The Butcher, the Baker, and the Candlestick maker
Let's skip right past today's headlines of Alberto Contador's impending drug investigation, and news that the Butcher is now being called into the proceedings, and instead head straight to La Lanterne Rouge Cycling Lodge for dinner. What's on the menu - beef! 

Nestled in an ideal location in the heart of the Pyrenees mountains we find Olive, accomplished chef and owner of the cycling lodge, welcoming us to her aromatic kitchen. Olive is today sharing with us her prized Beef Bourguignon recipe.

It so happens that Olive's husband Paddy is the resident photographer and co-owner of the Lodge, and so we are not only given the real authentic recipe, Paddy is providing images that elicit the scent of this wonderful traditional French dish. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches here in the United States, don't hesitate to add these simple ingredients to your grocery list. And don't forget a nice bottle of red wine.

Olive's Beef Bourguignon a step by step recipe to recreate a delicious French tradition. 
adapted Photo by Paddy Sweeney
Word of the Day: Bon Appétit = "Enjoy your meal"

(beef = boeuf, mushroom = champignon, onion = oignon, smoked bacon = lardons fumée, green beans = haricots verts, mashed potatoes = purée de pommes de terre, red wine = vin rouge, delicious = délicieux!)

Can you believe as cyclists there is a place where we can wake up, go climb the Col du Tourmalet, and come home to delicious food like this for dinner? This place exists

18 November 2011

You can never have too much argyle

Scarves and argyle unit at the Garmin-Cervelo team launch party
Please wear argyle - it was clear that this company memo was received by every team member of Team Garmin-Cervelo. Last night the team presentation gala overflowed with miss-matched stuffed chairs and the theme of argyle patterned cashmere sweaters, scarves, and even pants. The pants worn by Christian Vande Velde where unsuspectingly auctioned right off of him at the end of the event (he was clearly disappointed to part with these pants).
Christian Vande Velde in argyle pants
I often watch team presentations in Europe live online, but last night, forty-five minutes from my home, the team who hopes to be considered by fans as the most popular cycling team in 2012, gave a introduction party. The Garmin-Cervelo team is a new team of men for 2012, and yet the diverse squad of riders from varied countries, already appeared quite comfortable with each other.
The new Garmin-Cervelo team for 2012:
A comfortable evening with 2012 Team Garmin Cervelo
Garmin-Cervélo riders 2012: http://www.slipstreamsports.com/ Heinrich Haussler, Andreas Klier, Tyler Farrar, Ryder Hesjedal, Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie, Dan Martin, Sep Vanmarcke, Andrew Talansky, Ramunas Navardauskas, Alex Howes, David Millar, Christophe Le-Mével, Johan Vansummeren, Martin Maaskant, Michel Kreder, Murilo Fisher, Peter Stetina, Ryder Hesjedal, Tom Danielson, Tom Peterson, [NEW] Robbie Hunter, Sebastien Rosseler, Raymond Kreder, Alex Rasmussen, Jacob Rathe, Koldo Fernandez, Nathan Haas, Fabian Wegmann, Jack Bauer, Thomas Dekker, Raymond Kreder, 

The evening in Boulder, Colorado: 
Garmin Cervelo Team Presentation at the Boulder Theater
Robbie Ventura (Versus Announcer, and former pro rider) performed as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. A short-film was shown emphasizing Garmin-Cervelo's team approach, Jonathan Vaughters spoke about the impact the team has had on the sport of cycling, Robbie Ventura then posed questions to 8-10 riders followed by an open question session by the audience. 
Peter Stetina answers questions
Ryder Hesjedal answering a question
Inspirational answers came from Johan Vansummeren and Tom Danielson who shared their belief that this team "makes dreams happen." Danielson described climbing Alpe d'Huez in 2011 in close pursuit of Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck and Frank Schleck during the Tour de France. Vansummeren described his life long dream of winning Paris-Roubaix and stated he specifically signed with Garmin-Cervelo for another 3-years because he credited the team for realizing his dream of winning Paris-Roubaix in 2011.
Tommy D, Heinrich, and Summie
A member of the audience asked that each rider introduce themselves, and the fans in the audience enjoyed this round of introductions very much. This team has incredible talent and if this presentation had been in Europe, we would have likely had a different first row configuration. The packed house also enjoyed a surprise performance by David Zabriskie singing not two, but three verses of "Rolling on the Garmin." (Recommended viewing and listening: Dave Zabriskie sings!)
Dave Zabriskie's surprising stage presence
After a number of lively auctions, the presentation came to an end, but not the evening. 
Robbie Ventura auctioning off an autographed jersey and a ride in a team car for the 2012 USPCC
As most fans flowed out onto the streets of Boulder, the Garmin-Cevelo team members gathered in front of the stage and at the bar to visit and relax with each other. I of course always feeling comfortable to move among the riders, went down into the pit with them as they drank their Stella Artois beers and continued to enjoy each others company.
David Millar and Ryder Hesjedal enjoying a beer
Robbie Hunter, new on the team for 2012, socializing after the presentation
I said hello to Allan Peiper and congratulated him on his new position with the team. I chatted with Johan Vansummeren who was answering Neal Roger's (VeloNews.com journalist) question about the proper spelling of his name. Johan told us that it is Vansummeren, even though we explained to him that the team website spelled his name "Van Summeren." "I'm tired of telling them it is spelled wrong," he said. We laughed as I assured him, "don't worry we'll write in and tell them to correct it." And so I have just done so, we'll see if the spelling gets corrected. (Update: it was corrected!)
Neal Rogers of VeloNews and Johan Vansummeren talking
Johan told me he was looking forward to going home soon, he'd been on the road for a month and he missed his cat. I also spoke with Heinrich Haussler who said that after Paris-Roubaix in April, he will be returning to Boulder for a month to train in Colorado prior to competing in the Tour of California in May. 

The rest of my brief time was spent recognizing people, taking photos, and acknowledging my lack of knowledge in men's clothing. I could not identify the kind of collar Jonathan Vaughters was wearing. There is no doubt there remains much more to learn in this sport.
Jonathan Vaughters in a nice tie collar vest suit combo, accented with argyle
That was fun, I like Garmin-Cervelo 2012! Maybe next year they'll ask all the fans to wear argyle as well. 

VeloNews video of the event: VIDEO: 2012 Garmin-Cervélo team presentation
VeloNews report of the event: Garmin-Cervélo’s Boulder camp was as much for the riders as the fans
Event report by ProVeloPassion: Garmin-Cervélo 2012 Launch Tidbits

Recommended viewing: Dave Zabriskie sings!

David Zabriskie entertains at Garmin-Cervelo Team Presentation
VIDEO: Dave Zabriskie goes solo at the Boulder Theater  Thank you VeloNews for providing this video! 

In the first row of the video are DZ's teammates enjoying the entertainment, L-R: David Millar, Peter Stetina, Tyler Farrar, Tom Danielson, Heinrich Haussler, Johan Vansummeren, Alex Howes, Christian Vande Velde. And a virtual who's who of cycling behind them.
Last night in Boulder, Colorado, Dave Zabriskie, known for his previous singing debut at the Giro d'Italia and various team bus appearances, again wowed the crowd with his original lyric rendition of Rolling on the River. What amazed me most is the man who struggles with interview questions, came front and center at the first request to sing. And although the audience clapped after the first and second verse, Dave, with typical focus, continued right through to the third verse.
Most of us would need to be coaxed into performing to a packed house of fans, but apparently stage performance is Dave Zabriskie's real gift, that US National Championship Time Trial pales in comparison. It was a blast to be there in the audience for this surprise singing performance last night. We were all laughing!

Dave Zabriskie entertained the fans and his teammates at the Boulder Theater last night. Notice Heinrich Haussler on the right trying to captures the moment as his teammates laugh and relax.
Dave Zabriskie sings "Rolling on the Garmin"
Photo by PedalDancer.com
After the party, someone offered to get a picture of me with Dave, so I turned to Dave and said, "I don't usually do this, and I know you don't, but for you I'll do it," he chuckled and now I have a photo of DZ and me. Later, on our way out of the Boulder Theater, I asked Dave, "how do those shoes do in snow?" He paused and chuckled again. What fun to catch Dave Zabriskie off-guard. 

Read and view other photos from the Garmin-Cervelo team presentation: You can never have too much argyle

17 November 2011

Garmin-Cervelo Team Launch 2012

I'm off to a party
Tonight in Boulder, Colorado, Team Garmin-Cervelo is launching their new team for the 2012 season. We'll be at the team presentation ("Gala") at the Boulder Theater tonight. Hopefully I will have stories and photos to share from the event.
Tonight's event reminds me of the Garmin-Cervelo's short sleeve skin suit I saw at Interbike this year. That marvel of a suit which debuted at the 2011 Paris-Roubaix, was timed perfectly to coincide with the big win by Johan Van Summeren - who wore the suit. The 1-piece zip skinsuit was designed for road races and was developed by Castelli, or Garmin-Cervelo Team Manager Jonathan Vaughters, it is a bit unclear. It seems the process of product development is a growing controversy. 
Castelli - the manufacturer of Garmin-Cervelo's short sleeve skinsuit.  
At Interbike 2011, Photo by PedalDancer.com
(I think they mentioned this was the size large) 

It was announced yesterday that Craft will again be providing cycling apparel to Andy and Fränk Schleck. Notice how I did not mention the team name, but the rider name (yes, Frandy is one rider). That is because Craft (a Swedish clothing manufacturer for biking, running, and nordic skiing) worked with Andy and Fränk when they rode for Saxo-Bank. Bjarne Riis, team manager of Saxo-Bank, watched the skinsuit that the team helped Craft develop for Saxo-Bank walk right out the door on the backs of Andy and Fränk when the brothers in turn joined Leopard-Trek. 
Andy and Fränk will continue wearing those Craft designs as they walk onto their newest team - Radioshack-Nissan-Trek in 2012. So where does loyalty lie, and more importantly who owns the design rights? Is it the team manager, the rider offering feedback and promoting the product, the team, or the manufacturer? What if Castelli had abondoned Garmin-Cervelo and followed Thor Hushovd to BMC and carried all the design efforts of Jonathan Vaughters right along with them? Okay maybe not the best example, since BMC uses Hincapie clothing (the company run by George's brother Rich), and George rules the roost, but the point is a curious one. 
Every year when ProTeams shuffle configuration, more is at stake than the simple (yet devastating) transfer of riders and rider points. Sponsors leap teams, abandon or change, equipment is recombined, product spokespersons change, team and clothing logos are revamped, and the question of intellectual property and product design credit grows murkier. 

This is a trend worth noticing. For now - it is time for a party, oh excuse me, a "Gala," after all Jonathan Vaughters is throwing the party. (Of course I am going to report on what he wore!)

Team Garmin-Cervelo partying
Related reading:  

Post Team Presentation Update 11/18/11: 
Read and view other photos from the Garmin-Cervelo team presentation: You can never have too much argyle
Yes, Dave Zabriskie sang: Recommended viewing: Dave Zabriskie sings!

Other reports - from VeloNews  Garmin-Cervélo’s 2012 squad presented in Boulder 
The VeloNews crew were tweeting like crazy from the party, so peruse VeloNews on Twitter or read the Ride_Argyle Tweets

13 November 2011

Quote of the day: Ivan Basso

"I usually do 30-40 thousand meters of climbing in training per month. In May, after the crash on Mount Etna and 12 days of rest, I only did 16,000, but I finished in Lombardia with a smile." ~ Ivan Basso

Basso explaining how his crash in May on a training ride in the 2011 affected his overall performance at the Tour de France in July (where he finished 8th). My brother said it explains to him that he clearly "does not climb enough!" To me it explains that no amount of compu-trainer classes indoors in winter can simulate 40,000 meters of climbing in the Italian or French Alps. I really need to just go there. 

40,000 meters of climbing is 131,233.6 feet - each month! Any amateur cyclist who trains all year round to complete an event with 10,000 feet of climbing in a day, can remind themselves that Ivan Basso climbs 13 times that amount each month in training. There should be no doubt that mountains separate an amateur from a pro. So next time you are suffering on a climb - channel your inner Basso!

This is me out climbing the Col du Tourmalet in 2008. Time on the bike is what it takes.

Update 11/15/11: I should have mentioned I work for my brother, who loves to ride a bike. Sometimes I call him with work related questions in the middle of the day only to recognize the sound of heavy breathing. I usually ask, "where are you climbing now?" After answering my brief question today, in between breaths as he climbed upwards, he added, "okay I only have 39,000 meters of climbing left to do this month, I'm almost there!"

12 November 2011

L'Etape du California is back for 2012

Ontario to Mt Baldy, Saturday, April 28, 2012

L'Etape du California will again offer the chance for amateurs to complete a stage of the Tour of California in a closed course race setting. This year riders will tackle Stage 7 from Ontario to the mountain top of Mt Baldy. The citizens race is organized by Pacific Sports and approved by AEG, the organizers of the Amgen Tour of California. 

The details of the exact route will be out next year, but with the race (and yes, it is a timed event) starting in Ontario and finishing on Mt Baldy, should have a guesstimated route just over 100 miles and 10,000ft elevation gain. The city of Ontario is only 14 miles from the summit of Mt Baldy and 10 miles further south from Claremont, so again it is likely that the route will be similar to the 2011 route, winding back and forth along the foothills before the last final steep climb to the summit of Mt Baldy.

This was the L'Etape du California map from 2011, the route might be similar with added distance - (the city of Ontario is south of Claremont the start of last year's Etape). Read more about last year's L'Etape du California 2011

The 2012 Etape may be similar to the 2011 route, Ontario is South of Claremont
This is the map of Ontario, California in relation to Mt Baldy:
Southern California - L'Etape du California 2012, Ontario to Mt Baldy

The 2012 event will again have a cap of 2,500 riders. You may register on the official L'Etape du California website, or read more information on the race's home page. This is the second year for the event, thousands of riders suffered through the steep ascent to Mt Baldy last year (my brother was one of them) 

Read the post I did last year about L'Etape du California 2011 with pictures, maps and more. Or another post about L'Etape race day in 2011 L’Étape du California.

Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California will take place on Saturday, May 19. Read about the route of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, scheduled for May 13-20, 2012, 2012 Tour of California route announced .

The tradition of the Etape is based on the long-running event L'Etape du Tour in France every year, allowing citizens to ride a choice of two complete stages of the Tour de France, in which over 10,000 riders from around the world participate. Read 2012 l'Étape du Tour Mondovelo.

10 November 2011

BMC bikes

Bicycle manufacturers are good for this sport
BMC has an impressive cycling team, never once have I heard this team sponsor waver in their steadfast sponsorship of their professional cycling team. The team is not BMC dash anything, the team is simply BMC Racing Team.  

BMC stands for Bicycle Manufacturing Company and was founded by American Bob Bigelow in 1986 to assemble bikes for wholesale distribution under the Raleigh brand. He later lost the Raleigh contract but developed the BMC brand slowly, missing a number of major developments in the cycling industry, but surviving. In 2001 Andy Rihs bought the company and redirected the focus back to design, emphasizing the companies Swiss roots.

Although started by an American, BMC is a Swiss bicycle manufacturer located in Switzerland. They have supported their title ProTeam since 2008. What began as a Professional Continental team, officially became a UCI licensed ProTeam in 2010. I am sure we can all remember the shock in hearing that George Hincapie had signed with a team that had no guarantee of being invited to the Tour de France. He obviously believed in the vision, because in 2011, BMC won the Tour de France. For the 2012 professional season, they have amassed quite a team. 
BMC pro riders: Cadel Evans, George Hincapie, Alessandro Ballan, Yannick Eijssen, Greg Van Avermaet, Manuel Quinziato, Taylor Phinney, Ivan Santaromita, Amaël Moinard, Johann Tschopp, Marcus Burghardt, Timothy Roe, Chris Barton, Brent Bookwalter, Chris Butler,  Mathias Frank, Martin Kohler, Karsten Kroon, Steve Morabito, Mauro Santambrogio, Ivan Santaromita, Micael Schar, Johan Tschopp, Danilo Wyss, Simon Zahner. New to the team in 2012: Thor Hushovd, Philippe Gilbert, Marco Pinoti, Tejay van Garderen, Klaas Lodewyck, Adam Blythe, Steve Cummings. 
BMC recently announced that they have joined with Hincapie Sportswear, and Holowesko Partners in support of a professional Under 23 development team for the 2012 racing season. The new BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Team is registered with USA Cycling as a UCI Continental team and is the official development program for the BMC Racing Team.
Now let's look at the bikes of BMC. When I was at Interbike in Las Vegas, Nevada, last September, I spent quite a bit of time looking at the BMC time trial bikes. The design and geometry are unique to BMC.  

BMC team bikes: The frames ridden in 2012 will be the same as in the 2011 season. The riders will have a choice of 2 road bikes and a time trial bike. Each rider will make the final decision on what he wants to ride in each race. His choices are:
  • Impec road bike
  • Teammachine SLR01 road bike
  • Timemachine TM01 time trial bike
Below BMC riders at the stage start of the Amgen Tour of California in Livermore, CA, in 2011, where some clearly chose the SLR01 frame, while others chose to ride the Impec:

BMC road bike frames  - SLR01 and Impec
© by PedalDancer.com

BMC Impec - road bike  The Impec was re-launched again at Eurobike 2011 (and supposedly at Interbike) and will be offered in a third (white) color in 2012. Frames have new graphics/colors and upgrades on the complete bikes (Easton stem and Easton Bar, wheels). Prices for the Impec frames starts at $5,500, $7,999 for a SRAM Red up to $14,999. The Impec is available in Dura Ace Di2, Dura Ace, Ultegra Di2, Sram red, Ultegra, and Super Record. The colors offered are red, white and black. Impec is available in two different fits termed "race" and "performance," with five sizes in each line.

The major engineering advancements in the frame of the Impec was in the manufacturing of the carbon tubes and joints. Those bulky joints are referred to as "high-density half-shells" or " Shell Nodes" and reportedly result in flawless frame joints on the Impec. Marketing on the Impec seems to have more to do with construction of the carbon frame, and less about how that technology transfers to performance, although words such as comfort, stiffness, low road noise, and fast descents are associated with the design. According to Bicycling. com, one of the design decisions in making the frame was to have a complete bike weigh in right at the 6.8-kilogram (14.99-pound) UCI limit.

BMC impec Super Record in red
BMC impec Ultegra Di2 bike in white
BMC Impec high-density half-shells Photo by BikeRadar.com
BMC - the impeccable Impec road bike 2011
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC Impec at ATOC 2011
© by PedalDancer.com
© by PedalDancer.com
The second choice in road bike for the team: 

BMC Teammachine SLR01 - road bike: The SLR01 is the bike frame that Cadel Evans rode to win the 2011 Tour de France. The BMC website describes this bike as, "It’s all about efficiency in propulsion and maximum stiffness at minimal weight." The Teammachine SLR01 is available in Ultegra Di2, Sram Red, and Ultegra in red. The (SWA) models come with Dura Ace Di2, Dura Ace, and frameset only. The SLR01 has a BMC special edition Easton wheel EA90 SE (red nipples - black spokes - upgraded hubs). The final price depends on what wheels are chosen, Zipp 404 or Mavic Cosmic Carbone, and which saddle - 3 options from Fizik. Prices range from $3400 for a frameset, $3800 to $6900 for a build.

BMC Teammachine SLR01 Ultegra Di2, Cadel Evans TDF bike
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC teammachine SLR01 (SWA) race series, Dura Ace
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC teammachine SLR01 (SWA) race series, Dura Ace
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC teammachine SLR01 (SWA) race series, Dura Ace
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC teammachine SLR01 (SWA) race series, Dura Ace
© by PedalDancer.com
A bit of trivia: BMC never made the SLR01 frame in the World Champion stripes for Cadel Evans, because the UCI would not allow BMC to make a full World Champion model using the WC colors/stripes in 2011 for sale. However 141 Tour de France Teammachines were made, signed by Cadel Evans, and sold worldwide (in honor of Cadel Evan's #141 dossard number at the 2011 Tour de France). Twenty-five of the 141 bikes were available for sale in the USA, and still might be found for sale if you must have one. 
Cadel Evan's yellow SLR01 2011 Tour de France model BMC bike  
© by PedalDancer.com
Other BMC frame models: BMC also offers a few other frame models for consumer sale including:
  • racemachine RM01 
  • roadracer SL01 
RM01 The racemachine RM01 is available in Ultegra D12, Sram red, Ultegra, and as a frameset only in white, red, and team colors depending on build. RM01 in blue will not be available for the 2012 season. RM01 has the EA90 SL wheelset (last year it was the EA70). Prices range from $3000-$3800.
BMC racemachine RM01 Sram red
© by PedalDancer.com
SL01 The roadracer SL01 is available with Ultegra D12, Ultegra, 105, and Tiagra in white, read, and naked. (The SL02 is no longer offered, it was the same frame as the SL01 but with a different build). Prices range from $2100-$3300. 
BMC roadracer SL01
© by PedalDancer.com
Changes to the bikes in 2012: The Impec was re-launched again in 2011 and offered in a third (white) color. In addition to the new frame graphics/colors, there are upgrades on the complete bikes including stems, bars, and lightweight wheels. Also the seatposts have changed for 2012 back to a normal clamp system seatpost. And of course most models offer internal Di2 cable routing. Visit the BMC Bikes official website for complete specs. 

BMC TM01/TT01- time trial bikes  
  • Timemachine TM01
  • Timemachine TM02
The unique frame design of the BMC time trial bikes certainly stand out in a sea of bikes. The difference between the TM01 and the TM02 is the TM01 has the new Carbon - Integrated Aero Hinge allowing for greater adjustability per rider at the stem and handlebars. Also upgraded componentry with Dura Ace Di2 / Sram Red / Ultegra, in red or blue highlighted black frames. 

The timemachine TM01 is the model that the BMC ProTeam used in the 2011 Tour de France. The geometry of the frame of the TM01 is configured for extreme time trials and for Ironman distances. With a steep riding angle of 77°, the BMC website states that the TM01 permits a suitable triathlon seated position that stretches the rider less and is thus more comfortable. Cadel Evans used the TM01 at the 2011 Tour de France and at the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.

BMC 201 timemachine TM01 time trial team bike - BMC team model
The BMC timemachine TM02 is available in Ultegra / 105, in silver or white frame colors.
BMC TM02 with the more traditional headset and stem
More images of the BMC timemachine TM01 (taken at Interbike 2011 by PedalDancer.com)

BMC TM01 timemachine time trial bike
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC TM01 timemachine
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC TM01 timemachine fork
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC TM01 timemachine seatstays
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC TM01 timemachine handlebars
© by PedalDancer.com
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC TM01 timemachine
© by PedalDancer.com
Adjustable fitting

The big deal about the TM01 is the flip-flop stem heads in different sizes and interchangeable shims and wedges allowing for a variety of bar position adjustments to fit the individual rider on the BMC Timemachine TM01. There are over 32 different positions possible to achieve a just right fit.

BMC Timemachine TM01 adjustable stem
BMC's older version time trial bike was the timemachine TT01 a custom made time trial bike with a more traditional TT bike look. It took 3 years of design and analysis for the engineers at BMC to redesign this time trial bike into the new TM01 for "maximum speed." Although the TM01 might be the latest engineering, the old TT01 was still in use in competition during the 2011 season.

the older version - BMC TT01 custom made time trial bike
The TT01 timemachine still in use in 2011 at the USPCC
© by PedalDancer.com
an older model of the BMC timemachine used at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in 2011
© by PedalDancer.com

BMC TT bikes in Colorado
© by PedalDancer.com
at the USA Pro Challenge 2011  © by PedalDancer.com
According to BikeRadar, the TM01 will be available in January of 2012 to consumers, available as both a frameset or complete bike. At the high end, the TM01 will be equipped with Dura Ace Di2 and Zipp 808s at the retail price of $12,999. Available in either red or blue. SRAM Red and Ultegra Mechanical will also be offered.

Another bit of BMC trivia: BMC used to sponsor the old Phonak pro cycling team. Floyd Landis won the 2006 Tour de France (later revoked) on BMC bikes.

BMC bike reviews:  

More PedalDancer.com photography of team BMC:

HTC and BMC teams depart Palmdale at the Amgen Tour of California in 2010
© by PedalDancer.com
the old 2010 BMC SLX01 road bikes models at the ATOC
© by PedalDancer.com
George Hincapie warming up on his time time bike 2010
© by PedalDancer.com
George Hincapie at the ATOC Los Angeles ITT in 2010
© by PedalDancer.com
Taylor Phinney on his Teammachine SLR01 2011
© by PedalDancer.com
a truck full of BMC bike parts
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC Swiss Cycling team car
© by PedalDancer.com

BMC team car with bikes
© by PedalDancer.com
BMC racing through the streets of America
© by PedalDancer.com
Brent Bookwalter and his BMC Impec at the ATOC
© by PedalDancer.com
More Impec at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine in France
© by PedalDancer.com
© by PedalDancer.com
Cadel Evans in the ITT on Vail Pass 2011 USAPRO in Colorado
© by PedalDancer.com
Taylor Phinney's 2010-11 BMC US National Champion time trial bike at ATOC
© by PedalDancer.com
Other picture galleries: Bike Gallery  and  2012 BMC TM01 Time Trial Bike by BikeRadar
Forum discussions: RoadBikeReview (road bikes) and Weight Weenies (TT bikes) 

Update 01/19/12: BMC Racing: 2012 team bikes By CyclingNews

Philippe Gilbert 2012 Custom BMC bike

Related posts by Pedal Dancer:
View all the other ProTeam Bikes from 2011
Learn about Specialized bikes 
Learn about Colnago bikes 
Learn about Pinarello bikes: Pinarello Dogma2

See some wonderful photographs by PedalDancer.com of Team BMC in Belgium the day before the Tour of Flanders here:  BMC solid through 2016