Welcome to the August 5th, Mid-Week Report!
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: WELCOME THE CLASSICS BACK
The “Spring” Classics are back on track, the pros took to the Italian countryside on Saturday for the Strade Bianche. Originally scheduled to run in mid-march, Strade Bianche marked the first one-day classic since the coronavirus break.
Belgian Wout Van Aert triumphed in the heat and dust of the Italian summer as WorldTour cycling returned after a five-month absence. The Jumbo-Visma rider, who had finished third in the previous two editions, attacked in the final 13km of the 184km race, crossing the line alone on Siena’s historic Piazza del Campo.
Italy’s Davide Formolo of UAE Emirates was 30 seconds behind with Germany’s Maximilian Schachmann, a further two seconds adrift in third, after nearly five hours in the saddle with temperatures hitting the high of 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
“It’s really nice to say after the first race back that my season is already a success,” said Van Aert.
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WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: TRAIN RIGHT NOW
By Chris Carmichael,
Founder and Head Coach of CTS
There have been times in my life when I’ve envied athletes and coaches in stick-and-ball sports like baseball, football, hockey, and basketball. Even combat sports like boxing and mixed martial arts. There are risks involved in all of them, but they’re also safely ensconced in stadiums, arenas, and gyms. Medical facilities and personnel are on-site, shelter is just steps away, and the field, rink, court, or ring is always the same size and shape. Coaching cyclists isn’t just about physiology, nutrition, and psychology; we also have to teach cyclists to deal with the risks of training and competing ‘in the wild’. Here are the top fears I hear from cyclists working with CTS Coaches, and how you can overcome them.
Top Fear: Cars
Might as well start with the biggest fear of all, getting hit by a car. While many devoted cyclists are incorporating gravel bikes into their arsenals to spend less time on pavement, there’s also been a resurgence of urban and suburban cycling as a consequence of the COVID19 pandemic. As I’ve written about before, it’s going to be a long time before autonomous vehicles provide cyclists with substantial protection. In the meantime, here’s a condensed version of my advice for staying safe in traffic:
- Follow traffic laws: When drivers and riders both act predictably, it avoids the confusion that often results in collisions.
- Ride popular routes: Cars are used to seeing bikes on those roads, and there’s a reason the cycling community has gravitated toward those routes.
- Make eye contact: To increase your chances of predicting what a car will do, look at the driver. Are they looking your way or to the opposite side? Are the visibly irritated or impatient? Are they texting?
- Watch the wheels: Noticing movement from a sidestreet or driveway sooner gives you precious seconds to evaluate whether the car is going to go or stay put.
- Use your voice: You don’t have a horn, but sharp, guttural “HEY!” can be enough to get a driver to look for the source of the noise, which is you. Don’t yell to be aggressive or abusive; the goal is to be noticed.
- Maximize visibility: Bright colors, reflective material, and lights may not offer the level of protection we’d hope for, but they don’t hurt and they’re a good start.
Cyclist Fear: Bad Weather
Training ‘in the wild’ means there’s no cozy clubhouse nearby if it starts to rain/hail/snow, the wind picks up, or lightning starts crashing. The first step to getting comfortable with riding in bad weather is to make sure you’re carrying the gear for it. There are a lot of clothing options for various types of weather; when in doubt, a rain jacket can serve multiple roles and keep you dry, help you conserve body heat, and protect from wind. When you get caught in bad weather, some things to remember include:
- When cycling on wet roads, stopping distance increases (even with disc brakes, just not as much), traction decreases; and wet road paint, wet steel (rails, grates, manhole covers), and wet leaves are the slipperiest things in the known world.
- Maintaining body temperature is key. When determining whether to stop or continue, consider whether you can ride out of the bad weather reasonably quickly, and whether the exertion of continuing will do more to keep you warm than staying where you are.
- Bicycle tires won’t protect you from lightning. The energy output is just too high and tires are too small. Read this in-depth article with practical tips for cycling in a lightning storm.
NEW PRODUCTS: TRY THESE ON
The Pursuit Ultralight is the newest addition to the Swiftwick line. This sock is constructed with the lightest weight, fine-gauge Merino Wool and provides maximum moisture and sweat management. The Pursuit Ultralight wicks moisture and dries quickly, so your feet stay dry and blister-free wherever your adventures take you. The thin, breathable design also features a reinforced heel and toe to maximize durability. It has all the benefits of merino wool but is extremely lightweight, ensuring a great fit in any performance shoe. Now, wool can be your goto in summer heat too. The Pursuit Ultralight is ideal for cycling, running, hiking and golf as well as a great everyday lifestyle sock.
Pricing varies by cuff height and for us the Four and Seven have been ideal.
For more info head to Swiftwick.com
Video: Pat Carrigan
Within KHS’s large assortment of bikes are four different drop-bar build options intended to be used as a gravel bike. To find out more about KHS’s concept of quality with value, we had the opportunity to put the latest gravel build through our testing.
KHS offers the Grit as a complete bike in four different builds ranging from a chromoly frameset at $829 with quick releases, to a $2799 carbon bike with front and rear thru-axles. The Grit 220 we tested comes right in the middle at $1,199 with internal cable routing and a carbon fork (with an alloy steerer). You’ll find a fashionably flared aluminum handlebar mounted on the alloy stem.
The 6061 double butted aluminum frame that has an abundance of mounts including two on top tube for a small pack, rear fender and rack mounts and eight on the fork (six mounts, two eyelets) which allows the bike to be compatible with racks, fenders, and even bike-packing essentials.
Our test bike featured Shimano’s entry-level Sora R3000 nine-speed drivetrain which consisted a 50/34t crankset with an 11-32t cassette. Yes, you might have some cycling friends who boast of their 11-12 speed drivetrains, but this is one of the component details that is ultimately curtailed by cost.
We put the KHS up against routes that ran through a mix of surfaces and technical terrain. Throughout, the bike responded well and felt planted to the ground with a long 104cm wheelbase. We did feel that the reach was on the long-side so we swapped a the stock 100mm stem for a 90mm stem which also improved the handling traits by making it a bit snappier.
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