They’re Off 01/22/2012


Despite feeling like there is still an eternity of winter to go, the PROs are already off and running. They really don’t seem to have much of an off-season anymore, it really doesn’t feel that long ago that I was sitting on the edge of my sofa screaming at Dan Martin in the finale of the Lombardia. The Tour Down Under has given us a great entrée to the season, with despite some riders commenting that they were “hardly touching the pedals“, the racing appeared pretty fierce on today’s Stage 5. It has also been the first opportunity to see some of the new team kits, bikes, rider swaps, and the return of some fallen hero’s.

I really don’t mind the Kartusha kit. I usually hate red kits but thus one actually does the sponsor proud by managing to stand out in a peleton of various shades of blue, black and white. I really wish Green Edge had done something closer to the national kit that Gerran’s is riding in, he really looks pretty classy. It is not to late yet, you haven’t left the country yet and most of Europe don’t believe the season has started. The LOTTO sponsor must be as happy as a sponsor could be as you can’t really see beyond their name on the team shorts.

Valverde is back, and despite being out for two years, seems to be riding with ease, and took a great win today beating Gerran’s in the sprint. That is pretty impressive even if a lot of riders claim to be not “riding”. Griepel looks fast, lean and mean (well he always looks mean) and seems to have power to spare. With a whole bunch of sprinters now split up and riding against each other I can’t wait to see the first pure sprinters finish, with Cav, Goss, Renshaw, Greipel, Hayman, and Pettachi, going head-to-head. Heinrich Haussler looks to be fit, healthy and looking happy to be back on the bike (despite taking a big bump in the pre TDU crits). Without doubt one of my favorite riders who is coming off a stinker of a season last year I hope to show well in the classics. Oscar Freire, well there is life in the old dog yet, a new team and a pretty new bike seem to have given him an few extra watts and hope of a run in probably his last classics campaign.

Specialized have dialed back the paint on the team frames and delivered pretty sweet looking Venge’s and SL4s. Trek has gone backwards and managed to deliver a completely expected frame compared to the classic Leopard track design from last year. There is no mistake that this is a Canyon, one of my favorite frames may be a tad over-decaled. It is nice to see Bianchi and the Celeste back in the peleton, and I can only imagine that with a team like Vaconsoiel on board they are going to get a lot of airtime.

I can’t wait to Milan San Remo!

Categories: The Other Stuff

PAVE / Barcelona 01/11/2012


Next time I am lucky enough to make a trip to Barcelona I know where I will be spending some time, and probably a lot of Euro’s. PAVE looks like a great bike retail experience, that falls into the category of  “Shrine To Cycling”. With more square footage than they know what to do with, they have introduced some really nice display touches that pay homage to cycling culture. The back lights on the bikes and gallery presentation, the cobble stones cut into the floor, and the wheel art display in the entrance area, all make for what looks like a really unique space. It looks like they are selling pretty much the expected global taste brands, so it is hard to tell if they are carrying any local or Spanish brands beyond Orbea (Their shop site isn’t up yet). Also check out their blog, it looks like these guys know how to ride (nice cornering style on the mountain descent) and they have an eye for a photograph. Great brand, can’t wait to visit.

Categories: Design / The Other Stuff

Elcyclista Poll Results. 12/31/2011


A year of amazing racing. It started well for me when I got invited by Specialized to attend Milan San Remo and watch Matt Goss win, and finished off well with an edge of the sofa World Championship road race. And with that it is time to close out the Elcyclista end of year poll, where we tried to capture the defining moments of the season, and see which one you thought was the best ride of the season. So with a drum roll and a champagne shower, the winner and runners up are:

1. CADEL EVANS with 26.72% of the votes for his ride on Stage 18 of the Tour. He kept his head when Schleck went up the road early on what was being billed as the make-or-break stage. He used his team to keep the gap realistic, and Hincapie and the other teams across the valley to get him to the base of the Galibier still in range. What a ride on the Galibier. He hit the front at the bottom and never looked for any help all the way to the top, riding some of the best climbers in the world of his wheel.

2. JOHNNY HOOGERLAND with 25.95% of the votes for redefining the term “Hard As Nails”. Pulling himself off a barbed wire fence, he rode on to finish the stage, shredded literally,  to pick up the KOM jersey.

3. PHILIP GILBERT with 20.61% of the votes for his Ardennes Grand Slam. Apart from the fact the guy was on fire pretty much all season, winning Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallonne and L-B-L in one season has only been done once before.

Just in case you want to relive that amazing stage 18 from this years Tour, posted below. Thanks for all your support and feedback this year, and here is hoping for an equally amazing 2012 season.

 

 

Categories: The Other Stuff

Bring Back The Bobble Hat 12/10/2011


This is one of my favorite images of Coppi, playing around and keeping warm before a track race. What I always loved about the shot was his hat, and the shear ridiculous size of the bobble. That mixed with that knit jersey he really should look ridiculous, but somehow he doesn’t. Recently I found the work of Annie Larson at All For Everyone (The hat at the top). She has an amazing eye for color and design and makes great one-off pieces. Now of coarse wearing these hats on winter rides back then was a lot easier, in the time before helmets, but with Annie’s hats and this picture in my pocket there is definitely a chance of carrying off a bobble. Maybe even for a bit of spectator fashion? Man I would love to do an Elcyclista hat with Annie.

Categories: The Other Stuff

From Howies: Earn Your Scars 12/13/2011


As some0ne who a few years back face planted the back window of a Volvo and ended up between the driver and passenger seat, I can safely say that the 202 stitches I got on my face and head were both earned, and bought. EMS and surgery are expensive in the US. Love this t-shirt from Howies. It almost makes all that road rash worth while. It comes in black and grey. It also made me think does “Pippo” Pozzato, the so much potential but what happened one, actually have any scars? or is he just all ink and hair (see below). I will let you decide.

Categories: Design / The Other Stuff

A New Favorite Brand: Polerstuff 11/08/2011


Love this brand, especially when they say things like “It’s for people that wonder why everyone is trying to pretend they are going to do first ascents on alpine peaks, instead of celebrating the fact that they are having adventures that are awesome in their own way”. There collection of products is growing all of the time, with a focus on practicality and quality. Their Adventure photo essays are gorgeous.
POLERSTUFF.COM

Categories: Design / Kit / The Other Stuff