30 November 2011

Image of the Day: The Queen and Cav

Picture of the Day: Mark Cavendish awarded MBE
Wondering what they talked about?
"I told her to give me a cheer when we come past.” ~ Mark Cavendish to the Queen of England, recommending she watch the 2012 London Olympics.
MBE: Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)
MBE Medal, "For God and The Empire"

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.

22 November 2011

Picture of the Day: McLaren Venge

Image of the Day: a Prime Minister, a CEO, a Sprinter and a Venge
David Cameron, Ron Dennis, Mark Cavendish and the McLaren Venge
Photo by Specialized
Read and see more images of Specialized Bikes on Pedal Dancer.

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

Giro d'Italia Pink Fighter fan

Be THE face of Giro d'Italia fans - be the Pink Fighter 
Could you be the fan to represent all fans? Could you be the first ever Giro Pink Fighter? The Giro d'Italia is conducting a worldwide search for "the hero of the Corsa Rosa 2012 campaign". RCS Sport, the organizers of the Giro d'Italia, have built upon their unique use of social media to launch their latest campaign in search of the one fan to be the face of all fans for the 2012 Giro d'Italia.
"BE THE NEXT FIGHTER"
This morning, I read PezCycling's Euro Trash Monday report which gave details for entrants. If you are interested in being the Pink Fighter - go for it! Read more about the contest on the Giro website: "Be the next fighter": the new face of the Giro choosing between the fans also read updates about the contest at Giro d'Italia Twitter  
Fan application dates: November 21 to 28th
How to apply: Become a fan on the Giro d'Italia facebook page and then post your photo directly on the Corsa Rosa Facebook wall Giro d'Italia Facebook page 

*Update 11/23/11: The contest has amended their entry requirements, apparently you need to be a guy, age 20-35, and have a "cover model body." These new requirements have drastically cut the number of eligible applicants to the present squad of Assos models and Ivan Basso's cousins. So in the name of swaying votes, I would like you ALL to vote for Joe Praino.
Vote for Joe Praino: If you remember Joe won the Facebook contest to ride along with the Liquigas-Cannondale team during the 2011 Tour de France. Not only did he speak Italian, he was willing to do just about anything the team asked of him while clearly loving every minute. Plus Joe rides and he is gorgeous. I vote for Joe! We all need to see more Joe at the Giro! 

Go to this page http://www.facebook.com/giroditalia and search for Joe's picture below (posted 11/23/11), and comment or "like" him. (even if the official voting has not started - we want his picture to stand out)
Vote for Joe Praino - The Next Fighter
You can see two short and comical video montages on Joe's trip to France and his experience with the tour by clicking on Trip de France: Part I and Trip de France: Part II.
Joe hangs out with cool cyclists - vote for Joe!
Top 10 selection dates: November 29 - December 1 
McCann-Eriksson has been hired by RCS to run the contest, and will select the top 10 Pink Fighter candidates from all applicant photos.
Fans vote dates: December 3 - 5
Fans will vote on the top 10 candidates at the Giro d'Italia Facebook page to determine the top 3 candidates.
Top 3 fans photo shoot dates: December 12   
Leave your calendars open, if you are voted by online fans to be one of the top 3 Pink Fighter candidates, you will need to attend a photo shoot on December 12th (we can assume this will be in Italy). 
The finale: December 15   
THE Pink Fighter will be selected and announced on December 15th. (It is not clear how this final selection will be made, but I am guessing the control might return to RCS Sport).
The real Giro d’Italia 2012 race:
Saturday, May 5th, 2012 from Herning, Denmark, until Sunday, May 27th, in Milan, Italy.  

*PedalDancer.com fan tip: They will likely receive hundreds of profile photos of cyclists on a bike - you might want to do something a bit different! Go big or go home - I would suggest dressing your entire family (and town) in pink, with you in the center of the photo, hoisted on their shoulders, with an imitation spiral trophy. This might just do the trick and get you into the top 10. Including children, small pets, and old bikes in the photo might also work well, or mentioning how your Grandfather raced in the Giro back in the day also tugs on the emotional voter. If you really want to win, you will need to prove that you are an old fan using modern means - you will need to be a genius in using multiple social media techniques yourself. Campaign yourself into the top 3! I'll vote for you.
Ivan Basso - the art of being a Giro d'Italia winner

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


16 November 2011

Two Americans go to the Tour de France

Chris and Zak Tackle the Tour 
I have two friends who live in Colorado and will be embarking on their first adventure of chasing the Tour de France in July 2012. Meet Chris and Zak. Although they have traveled abroad and cycled many a mountain - this is their first cycling trip to the Tour de France. Over the next 6 months I will be writing about the steps they go through, what they learn, and the experiences they have as professional cycling fans on a dream trip to France.
Basically I am using Chris and Zak to inspire topics and teachings on the PedalDancer.com guide for professional cycling fans - and they seem to be okay with it. The series will be titled Chris and Zak Tackle the Tour, and I suspect we will all learn from their adventures. If you too want to go to France, you can join this 6 month step-by-step how-to odyssey. Who knows you might just find yourself in France next July. 

Who: Chris and Zak
What: Le Tour de France 
When: June 30 - July 22, 2012
Where: France. Stages 9 to 20 (some, not all)
Why: because they have watched racing for 8 years and have dreamed of cycling in France and seeing the Tour de France live as fans. 
Word of the Day: croire (kwahr) : to believe
At this point in their journey, Chris and Zak are convincing themselves that making a trip like this happen for themselves is indeed possible. Step by step I say.
Step #1: general planning 
How to plan a trip to the Tour de France will be the first post in this 6 month series (coming soon).

What is next?
After the framework of planning. The next step for Chris and Zak will be to make their airline and transportation reservations. We'll learn about traveling by air, train, bus or rental car with a bicycle.
And in the near future?
After Chris and Zak know where they want to be and how to get there, they will need to make hotel reservations. Look forward to a thorough post by Pedal Dancer to help you learn about how to arrange accommodations for the Tour de France.
More adventures to come, other travel topics we will discuss:
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. 
At the Tour:
Also we will be following Chris and Zak through France to see how they enjoyed their first big trip as fans to the Tour de France. As much of an unknown for us as it is for them.
Photo from ridestrongbiketours
Quotes of the Day: For now let's appreciate what traveling is all about with some quotes about traveling.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
"One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more happy." - Sir Richard Burton
"A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it." -- John Steinbeck
"I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them." - Mark Twain 
"It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'as pretty as an airport' exist." - Douglas Adams
"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." - Miriam Beard
"We are all travellers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend." - Robert Louis Stevenson
"Those who visit foreign nations, but associate only with their own country-men, change their climate, but not their customs. They see new meridians, but the same men; and with heads as empty as their pockets, return home with traveled bodies, but untraveled minds." - Caleb Colton
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust 
"Travel may not be perfect, but it will be real." - Pedal Dancer
"The memories made and the images engraved in your mind are far better than imagination." - Pedal Dancer 

Chris and Zak Tackle the Tour .. the adventure begins
Update Chris and Zak in action: