Mid-Week Report: The Latest News, Products and Events

Major changes to SRAM's drivetrain released today and more!

Welcome to the February 6th Mid-Week Report! The modern drivetrain has been redefined with the latest release from SRAM, Enve shows off their new bars and we have an inside look at Squid Bikes.


The latest 12-speed drivetrain to hit the market, SRAM’s AXS system adds more than just an extra gear. From a new app to an entirely new front chainring combo, AXS is redefining the modern drivetrain.



Piriformis stretch

I always try to reduce the number of components or tasks in a cyclist’s workouts. I’d rather you do a few things very well than a bunch of things not so well. This means I keep warm ups simple, prescribe easy-to-execute (but sometimes very strenuous) interval sets, and keep strength routines short. Fewer tasks also increases the chances you’ll actually do all of them! In keeping with this philosophy, I recommend 5 simple stretches when you get off the bike.

Why stretch at all?

I remember NFL Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe telling me he didn’t stretch before practices or games. He joked that you don’t see cheetahs and lions on the savannah asking the gazelle to wait a second while they stretch and warm up. And indeed, in running and power sports, static stretching prior to exercise can limit performance. Muscles and tendons that are tight are effectively stiffer springs, which are more beneficial for some runners and power athletes.

Cycling is somewhat problematic in the way it utilizes muscles. In many forms of weight-supported exercise you generate force both as the muscle is shortening (concentric contraction) and as it is lengthening (eccentric contraction). Cyclists primarily produce force only as muscles are shortening. In addition, the pedal stroke doesn’t use the complete range of motion of the hip, knee, or ankle. And the forward-leaning cycling position encourages shortening of hip flexors and tightening of chest muscles.

When I consider whether cyclists should stretch, I come at it from the range of motion perspective, because cyclists who stretch to preserve greater range of motion through the hips, knees, and lower back have less cycling-associated pain and are more able to maintain effective cycling positions on the bike.


One of the things I like most about the weekly Saturday morning Montrose ride is what takes place the night before. Just as it was when I was racing motorcycles every week, the night before a Montrose ride has become a night of ritualistic preparation. 

If I’ve learned one thing from reading the monthly tips by Chris Carmichael, it’s the importance of being properly hydrated, so I make sure to start sucking down water bottles mid-afternoon on Friday. 

Next on the list is eating an early dinner (no later than 7 p.m.). This one I learned from Neil Shirley when we first started riding Levi’s King Ridge GranFondo. Get the food you need in early to ensure that it goes out before the next day’s ride (this last one is also aided and abetted by ensuring a good cup of joe two hours before the ride rolls). 

Beyond hydration, Chris has also taught me the importance of being properly fueled up for the ride. While eating dinner in Tuscany one night in the company of Tour de France stage winner Eros Poli, I learned that the whole pre-ride carbo-load fad is silly. While I do recall being amazed at the massive breakfast plate I once saw Peter Sagan devouring before a stage in the Amgen Tour of California, neither I, nor most of you, are pushing the pedals with the same intensity and distance as Sagan. 



Enve released an updated version of their carbon fiber Compact Road Handlebar.  Designed for easier electronic drivetrain compatibility, the bar is now plumbed for internal wires.

The Enve Compact Road Handlebar features shaping that can be defined as functionally ergonomic; there are no round sections on the bar except for the clamping zone, yet the subtle shaping on top and in the drops of the bar provide comfortable hand positions and confident handling on the road.

It maintains the same popular geometry as its predecessor with a short 79mm reach and shallow 127mm drop, offered in 38, 40, 42, 44 and 46cm widths, center to center at hoods.

More photos


When the history books record the evolution of modern bicycle drivetrains, they will inform the reader that each of the major brands had a spotlight moment to call their own. Discounting Mavic’s on-again/off-again dive into an electronic drivetrain that started way back in 1993, the notable leaps in drivetrain designs over the years came from Campagnolo, Shimano and SRAM as they shadowed each other with the incremental addition of added gears.

By the time our 10-speed bikes actually accrued 10 gears, most of us figured that, owing to the limits of rear-wheel spacing, all was well and good with the amount of gears we had. However, there were obviously still those who figured there had to be some other recipe of drivetrain technology that had yet to be served up.

And so there was. In 2008 Campagnolo rolled out an 11-speed cluster. The following year Shimano introduced electronics with their Dura-Ace Di2 system. In 2011 those old-world stalwarts in Vicenza, Italy, proved just as capable with high-tech wizardry by also jumping on the battery bandwagon with their EPS drivetrain. SRAM then made the sole leap into wireless drivetrains with their eTap system in 2015. Oh yeah, and then last year Campy jumped out with the first 12-speed road cluster.



RBA: Squid started when and by who?
Emily: Squid came into existence gradually, launching officially in September of 2014. Our four founders, Chris Namba, Peter Knudsen, Marty Woy and myself had spent the previous few years working to build the local Sacramento cyclocross community in ways that felt welcoming and fun focused, with the goal of getting more people on cyclocross bikes. We hosted free cyclocross “pick-up” races, built and lent out cobbled together cyclocross rigs, and eventually managed my program as a first year UCI cyclocross athlete. We all had varied but deep roots in the sport which included professional road racing, working as a bike messenger, managing a professional road team, and bike retail experience. Collectively we had a whole lot of half baked ideas about what the bike industry could look like if we did things our way.

My first year on the UCI cyclocross circuit I went to the hobby store and covered one of my frames in what I liked to call “80s neon throw-up” vinyl so that it would better match my neon kit. I couldn’t go anywhere on that bike without turning heads. That jaw-dropping reaction to the bike was the catalyst for founding an actual LLC. Squid Bikes was the platform for us to carry out some of our wild ideas, creative vision and general love of experiencing the world on two wheels. We didn’t start the company with a clear purpose or goal, or even an expectation of success. We just knew we were doing what we loved and it seemed to be connecting with people.



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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.

Website: www.hincapie.com/granfondo


Photo: VeloImages

The Malibu GRANFONDO will once again start and finish at the world renowned and luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in the heart of Westlake Village.  The course offers up a balanced mix of rolling farmlands, flat and scenic Southern California Coastline and an epic climb with panoramic vistas atop the Santa Monica Mountains.

Three fully stocked, gourmet rest stops at 31km, 77km, and 119km, with the 10 Speed Coffee Truck on course after the final KOM climb at 134km.

As part of the Gran Fondo National Series, the CLASSICO course will include two to three timing sections for series points calculation and determination of Malibu GRANFONDO overall winners. The final miles of the GRANFONDO offer participants the added challenge of riding for King and Queen of the Mountain (KOM/QOM) times as they push toward the summit finish.

The clock stops at the top of the mountain so riders can enjoy a neutralized descent back to a post-ride luncheon at the Four Seasons.

Website: www.ridemalibugranfondo.com


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!

Website: www.mammothgranfondo.com

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