Untapped: It’s Like Magic! 08/01/2015


untapped If like me you struggle with a lot of the mid-ride energy gels giving you an “upset” stomach then you are always happy to hear about a brand coming along and offering something natural. I have been using the Scratch Labs products in my drinks now and love them (especially the Orange flavor) and my wife bought me the Scratch Labs cook book, but I find it really hard to get myself organized to make whats in there as good as it sounds. This summer I was lucky enough to spend time in France on a ride with Ted King (of Cannondale Garmin fame) where I got introduced to UnTapped, a pure Maple Syrup “Athletic Fuel”. I was intrigued as I live in “Syrup country” upstate on the New York/Connecticut border. Syrup wasn’t something I though of as fuel. A few weeks later the guys at Untapped sent me a box to try out and I packed it in the kit bag on a two week trip to the Pyrenees, and this is where it proved to be a magic life saver. You know those days when you get the Michelin map out at breakfast and highlight a route. Something that looks good and will get you home before dark in time for a Panaché by the pool. But sometimes those maps lie, in a really bad way and a “triple chevron” road, well just doesn’t have the triple chevrons on. The climb started poorly with a 17% nice to meet you. That climb was called Col d’Ahusquy. The next 7km sat somewhere around the ever lucky 13% easing of to a what felt like a lovely average of 8-9% for the last 10km. At the top suffering from heat, jet-lag, not eating enough and generally sucking I pulled out the UnTapped with the wise words of Ted King ringing in my ears (“it can get you another 2 good hours…) In it went on the way down and we started the ride home over the Col d’Osquich. It literally is like magic. It kicked in pretty immediately and along with two new bottles of water I was feeling really good again. It was quick and effective and I reckon it got me at least another 2.5 hours. There is more to this than just a sugar kick, its naturally full of minerals and anti-oxidants – its basically just good for you. Its something I will definitely be adding to the every day ride kit. When something saves your ass like this did, you just put it in your pocket and don’t ask any questions – and put in a spare one for a friend in need.

If you want to get your hands on some go here

Me_UntappedRiding in the Pyrenees is serious business, so you better bring the good stuff.

 

Categories: Kit / Rides / The Other Stuff

Up! Up! Up! 05/03/2015


victorychimpgalibierA nice new print from Victory Chimp in collaboration with Galibier.cc, inspired by the legendary Alpine climb of The Galibier. Having sat at the bottom of that climb looking up, it is one of the most inspiring and intimidating views in cycling. The print is available here in an addition of 100.

Categories: Design / Rides

The Meridian Alpine Jacket By Mission Workshop 04/10/2015


Mission_JacketAnother really nice urban riding piece from Mission Workshop, with some seriously nice features and materials.  They chose a fabric that has great stretch qualities making it perfect for a riding position, as well as being constructed from 96 g/m2 Polartec Neo-Shell that will pretty keep out most of what the weather will throw at you. The hood is shaped to work with a helmet and they have an internal media pocket to protect that iphone 6. It comes in two colors, black and charcoal and is available on the Mission Workshop site for $499.

Categories: Design / Kit

The Brookes Lands End And John O’Groats Panniers 03/21/2015


Brookes_Panniers Growing up I used to see a lot of German touring cyclists on the loop around Galway, pushing into an Atlantic headwind with bikes loaded full of bags and things strapped to them. Fast forward a couple of decades and the selection of camping and on-bike kit for touring is pretty astounding and technically advanced. Named after one of Britain’s most iconic routes that stretches the length of the country – this full pannier set stretches the full length of the bike front to back. The bag system uses an integrated Ortlieb mounting system that makes it compatible with pretty much all frame systems. Each pannier allows you to pack a substantial 23L – thats 92L of kit – enough for any trip. With the Ortlieb QL2 mounting system and the bags the system comes in at 1940g.

Categories: Classic / Design / Kit

The Lost Col 08/01/2015


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The Full “Lost Col” photo essay is here

St-Jean-Pied-De-Port is a perfect place for a Pays-Basque Pyrenean raid. An area surrounded by climbs that David Miller called his training ground when he lived in Biarritz, and one that he also called “hell”.  The Col d’Ispeguy was a climb we were drawn back to over and over on our stay there. Riding a climb many times is how you come to know it,  just like your “local” back home. We rode it on brilliant clear hot mountain mornings, in the soft warm evening Pyrenean light, in stifling humidity under hazy skies, with chest thumping thunderstorms in the distance, from the French side, from the Spanish side – every single time the same road offered something different. Featured in The Tour just three times it doesn’t carry the same fame as its Pyrenean sisters – but it is indeed a beautiful and hidden gem. It has had some famous names crest its summit first when raced in anger,  Lucien Van Impe in ’77, Richard Virenque in “92 and Pascal Hervé in ’96. The Spanish side offers a beautiful descent with sweeping corners and a better surface, all the way down to the village of Erratzu and the bottom of another climb The Oxtondo, which makes for a beautiful loop. Ascending the French side from Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry up a “V” shaped valley it has the look of a classic with the road hugging a steeper exposed finish as you near the restaurant (and gift shop, and the biggest selection of cow bells I have ever seen) at the top. It is a climb loved by the locals one that if the Tour ever ventures this far west again will surely get the credit it deserves.

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Categories: Routes

From Furniture Scraps to Gorgeous Saddle 05/26/2015


scraps_saddleThere can be a lot of waste in the manufacturing process, and not always in a way where a second use is obvious. Italian furniture makers Poltrona Frau who make beautiful modern leather furniture have this problem. Lots of small and sometimes oddly shaped off-cuts of very expensive leather. To figure out what to do with the waste they approached the students at Parsons School Of Design here in New york to come up with ideas, one of which was this beautiful red saddle above. For now the products including the saddle are prototypes that will be shown at the Poltrona Frau’s showroom until the end of May. After the show the brand will decide to take one of the prototypes forward into an actual product. Lets hope its the saddle.

Categories: Design / Kit

Enve GPS Integration 03/26/2015


enve_gps_mountA nice new addition to the Enve product line with their integrated GPS holder. Made to be compatible with Garmin head units you get the option of attaching it to the top set or bottom set of bolts depending on your preference for where you want the head unit to level out. It weighs in at 26g and will set you back around $40. Gives your cockpit a nice clean look.

Categories: Design / Kit

And There Was This 03/15/2015


Team_Sky_JaguarThe relaunch of the Jaguar brand has been a resounding success. They are once again making cars that if we could afford them they would definitely be on the list. Their partnership with Team Sky gives them an interesting media platform to get their products good air time in some of their biggest global markets. Last year they did a special edition F-Type Coupe for the Tour De France, only to see Chris Froome crash out. So they decided to try again in Paris-Nice this year and did a special World Champion Edition to follow Bradley Wiggins for the final time trial up to d’Eze. Alas Jaguar can’t seem to catch a break as Wiggins was a no-show for the final stage. No doubt looking at his over night position on GC and taking a peak out the window at the non-typical weather for Nice decided to say “Non” and stay in doors. Not sure they followed Richie Porte in the Jag, but they should have, he won.

Categories: Design / Kit