Welcome to the April 24th, Mid-Week Report!
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Julian Alaphilippe added another Spring classic to his dominant 2019 results sheet. The Frenchman powered passed Jakob Fuglsand, fresh off a third place at Amstel Gold, to the line at the top of the Mur de Huy during this morning’s Fleche Wallone. It is the ninth race win for Alaphilippe and adds to his now 600 point lead at the top of the UCI WorldTour Rider Ranking. Watch the final kilometer below.
WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: 8 TECHNIQUES TO BE FASTER AND MORE CONFIDENT IN CORNERS
For a long time, petrol heads derided American muscle cars for being great in a straight line and utterly useless when they encountered a corner. European performance cars, they argued, were designed for drivers. They had power for speed but also advanced suspension, steering, and weight distribution for superior handling. Well, cyclists can sometimes be thought of in the same way. Having a huge aerobic engine may enable you to go fast in a straight line, but the ability to get around a corner makes you faster in real-world conditions where there are… you know… corners.
Just as being good at descending isn’t about bombing downhill at dangerous speeds, being good at cornering isn’t about always pushing the limits of traction and physics. It’s about being skilled and using good judgment. Whether you’re a beginner who is timid in high-speed turns or a veteran who could use a refresher course, use these tips to be fast, safe, and confident in turns:
1. Focus on the Setup
Brake before the turn so you enter at a speed you could conceivably maintain through the whole corner. Coming in too hot means exiting wider than you anticipated or scrubbing a lot of valuable speed to stay on the road.
2. If You’re in a Pack, Back Off the Wheel Ahead
To minimize the impact of the accordion effect on your momentum (the back of the back accordioning into the front as the front brakes for a turn), back off the wheel ahead of you slightly so you have some space to roll into as that rider slows down. It takes practice, but when you get the hang of it, you can dramatically reduce your need for hard accelerations out of corners by slowing less going into them.
The people around you are braking harder and accelerating harder while you’re using the space between riders to maintain momentum. If you’re in a competitive field, however, be wary of backing too far off the wheel ahead of you, lest you lose that position to someone looking to move up toward the front!
REVIEWED: SELLE ITALIA NOVUS BOOST SUPERFLOW
First things first: there is no other saddle maker in the world that’s been in the business as long as Selle Italia. Heck, aside from Bianchi, there’s no other company period that’s been in the sport as long as Italy’s premier saddle maker. How long, you ask? Selle Italia has been in the saddle game since 1897, and in that century-plus business of producing bike seats, they’ve played a role in the evolution of every saddle innovation that’s come down the pipe.
The four-year-old Novus Boost Superflow short saddle is available in 135mm and 148mm widths. The Novus Boost was released in 2015, and we’ve seen it spec’d on some of the gravel bikes that we’ve tested. A thick, dense pad absorbs vibrations well, and Selle Italia’s Superflow technology significantly reduces pressure in the perineal area. The high-end Novus Boost uses 7×9 carbon rails, while the lower-tier versions use 7×7 alloy rails.
ZAP’S SEA OTTER PHOTO GALLERY
Wait, has it already been ten days since we got back from the Sea Otter?! Indeed it has, thus the delay brought about by the double-duty of keeping a magazine and web site au currant. For Troy and I, our Sea Otter weekend actually began four days earlier when we first headed to Specialized for a private look at and ride of their new Roubaix in the wind tunnel.
From Morgan Hill we made the trip to Monterrey where we attended a succession of new bike and product launches (some we still can’t talk about due to the silly embargo business). Once on-site at Laguna Seca Raceway we faced a cavalcade of new bikes unlike we’d seen in previous years. Running on a “divide & conquer” strategy where Troy went in one direction and I another, herein lies only the bikes and peeps that I captured.
TREK SEGAFREDO RIDER FAILS DOPING TEST
Colombian Jarlinson Pantano has failed an out of competition doping test for the blood booster EPO, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Monday.
“In accordance with UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the rider has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair,” the UCI said on Monday.
American outfit Trek is one of road cycling’s top teams, and have riders such as Australia’s Richie Porte and Germany’s John Degenkolb on their books.
EPO is a doping product which helps deliver oxygen by boosting the amount of red blood cells.
TOUR DE FRANCE TO ADD TO MOUNTAIN TOP BONUSES
Attacking riders at the Tour de France will be further rewarded after an increase in valuable bonus seconds for being the first to crest key summits.
The new system was ratified by the international cycling federation (UCI), a source said Thursday.
The winner of each bonus-point sprint will now receive eight seconds, the runner-up five seconds and the third-placed finisher two seconds, instead of 3, 2 and 1 seconds in place last year.
FIRST RIDE: NINER M.C.R.
So obvious was the coming of a full-suspension gravel bike that even a blind man could’ve seen it looming on the Kanza horizon. After tempting the bike industry for the last two years with prototype versions of varying levels of reality, Niner came clean at the 2019 Sea Otter with an as-close-to-production looking version of their talked about MCR (Magic Carpet Ride) bike on public display.
Not content with just standing among the Sea Otter attendees, we did some advance work to not only provide a first-look of the radical gravel rig, but also a first-ride review.
Full suspension. Let’s not pretend that any of this is new. Bicycles have been utilizing some form of suspension for the last century. Most recently, both Trek and Calfee have advanced the idea of what minimal amounts of rear suspension can do to aid rider comfort, safety, and yes, even performance.
It was back in 2017 when Niner first showed up displaying their aluminum RKT 9 RDO mountain bike that was built up with drop bars. While this seemed to be a bit extreme for a gravel bike (with 100/90mm of front and rear travel), it was evident that the category was progressing.
Fast forward to 2018 and Niner was back at the Sea Otter Classic with what looked to be a carbon prototype (actually an unrideable 3D plastic printed model) that was built up with all the appropriate small parts and components that they had been testing with alloy prototypes. Turns out Niner employees had been riding and refining an alloy prototype. This plastic model being shown was very close to the final design of what would be made from carbon.
BIKE TEST: KONA LIBRE DL
BORN TO BE BURLY
It’s most likely a given that after reading the above title, the strict-diet roadies among us have already turned the page. It’s probably a good thing, because with the introduction of the Libre DL, Canadian bike brand Kona is no doubt bringing their proven mountain bike R&D legacy to the world of dual-purpose bikes.
As the gravel segment continues to define itself, it’s evident that dual-purpose bikes that come out of traditional mountain bike brands roll in a distinctly different manner than those that come from traditional road brands.
And just as so many bike brands have rushed to Emporia, Kansas, to get that catalog photo of their gravel bike with a Dirty Kanza number plate, we know that while any gravel bike can be raced, that doesn’t make them all race bikes. And that’s a good thing.
The very first thing that everyone noticed when the olive green bike was pulled out of the box was that it has more downtube cable ports (4) and accessory eyelets (22) than any gravel bike we’ve yet to meet face to face. What can be done with that many eyelets, you wonder? Basically, as many water bottle racks and fenders you’ll ever need.
If there was one bike we’ve tested recently that belied the complexity of frame sizing, it would definitely be the Kona. This is the second Kona we’ve received where we found ourselves caught out by the Canadian brand’s frame sizing. Kona measures their frames on a center (of bottom bracket) to top (of seat tube) dimension. While we normally ride 55 to 56cm frames, the Kona was measured as a 51cm frame (with a 57cm top tube length), and our 5-foot-10 test riders found themselves pretty stretched out (even with the shorty 70mm stem).
Owing to the big 45mm tires mounted on 700c wheels, the Libre is pushed further skyward, which adds to the bike’s big feel. Luckily, the Libre has a radically sloping tube, which allows for a lower stand-over height.
BELGIAN WAFFLE RIDE MAY 5th
On May 5th, the most unique cycling event in the country is back for it’s 9th addition, The Belgium Waffle Ride. Featuring dirt, gravel and rocky sections over 217km and 13,000ft of climbing, the BWR is sure to give you a taste of the great one-day spring classics of Belgium.
TRUCKEE DIRT FONDO JUNE 8th
The race will consist of three enhanced routes compared with the inaugural event, taking participants as high as 8,006 feet above sea level over Sardine Peak inside Tahoe National Forest. The course is best suited for mixed-terrain, cyclocross, or mountain bikes. Each participant will be encouraged to select a bike that best suits their style of riding, but the courses will all favor the cyclocross format.
The post-race festival will feature loads of family-oriented activities, food trucks, live music and beer provided by FiftyFifty Brewing Company. Immediately following the start of the main race on Saturday, the event will feature a fun, non-competitive, fully supported family ride along the Legacy trail system and through the Truckee Bike Park.
“The Truckee Dirt Fondo is going to be recognized as a staple that pins Truckee to the consciousness of anyone who owns a gravel bike.” – Carlos Perez, Event Director.
King Ridge Foundation, founded by ex-professional cyclist (and Truckee resident) Levi Leipheimer, in close partnership with Bike Monkey will produce a fundraising gala in association with the event in a showing of support for Adventure Risk Challenge, a California 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves at-risk youth.
GRAN FONDO HINCAPIE SERIES 2019
Gran Fondo Hincapie is a series of events that welcomes riders of every skill level for a weekend of riding and celebration of all things cycling. Join current and past professional cyclists, weekend warriors, and first-time riders on routes planned and tested by George Hincapie himself. The Hincapie family currently hosts events in Greenville, South Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Fort Worth, Texas; and Boise, Idaho; with plans for continual expansion to other areas across the United States and the world.
MAMMOTH GRAN FONDO REGISTRATION OPEN NOW
The Mammoth Gran Fondo takes riders along the east side of Yosemite and the High Sierra with incredible views of the Sierra Nevada, Mono Lake, and White Mountains. 75% of the Gran Fondo route is closed to through traffic matching the incredible scentery with the appropriate calmness. Other highlights include: free event photos, all three distances timed, Signature Event socks, 6 Feed Zones with Full SAG/Tech Support, After-Party with Food/Beer/Live Music in the Village at Mammoth!
Is there an awesome event happening closer to you? Send a link to [email protected]