Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘Leadville 100’

Daily Roundup: Planning for bikes, Crankworx numbers up? SF Bike Expo and more

In Bicycle Racing, Daily Roundup, Lance's Chances, Mountain Biking on August 27, 2009 at 10:30 am

SeattleLikesBikes: Why planners need — really need — the reality check of actual bike riders. “One intersection that looked fine on paper turned out to be a spot where a new streetcar track would be a nightmare hazard for cyclists.”

Bicycle Retailer: Crankworx attendance was up despite crappy weather. Really? It didn’t feel that way. It felt more like numbers were a bit down, and in any case I’d be curious to see the data. If you read the release carefully it says attendance was up the “final weekend,” which was fairly sunny. If so, it was not by much. The rest of the time was noticeably slack. You could just look at the lift lines.

No knock on the ‘worx, it’s a great event. Which is all the more reason it has no need to exaggerate.

BikeRumor: Camelbak’s new electronically monitored flow meter showing how much liquid you’ve sucked up on a ride. Christmas stocking stuffer, but otherwise file under Things You Could Probably Survive Without.

SF Bike Expo is set for November 21st in the Cow Palace!

Martha Hucker interviews Melissa Buhl. Next, how about Jill Kintner?

Buhly: “Women’s racing in the US has dropped off a bit. Not from lack of talent by any means, just the depth in entries at the events. I think a lot of it is because it is so costly for them and there is lack of support. Some of the race promoters don’t give enough incentive for pro racers to make the trip. We are racing for free or next to nothing at a lot of the events, and that’s unacceptable for any pro. There are so many talented riders here, but you’ll find them doing other events and other types of riding and racing they enjoy more. I hope we can get a consistent series going that offers that kind of enjoyment in racing again and bring them back.”

One last look back at this year’s Leadville 100. Yes Lance was King, but the ever-humble, gentlemanly and gracious Dave Wiens made a lot of fans too.

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Daily Roundup: Old cyclist guys, Seattle Bike-In, David Byrne coming, Leadville & Crankworx wraps

In Bicycle Racing, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking on August 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Today’s heroes: Septuagenarian cyclists still going strong, an inspiration to all of us callow sexagenarian cyclists.

Mark the calendar: Seattle Bike-In is this Sunday at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill.

Cycle Killer, qu’est-ce que ce? On September 28, David Byrne will be at Town Hall with his new book, Bicycle Diaries. A $30 ticket gets you a copy of the book too…

Great video of Lance and Wiens at Saturday’s Leadville 100.

MTBR has roundup and Top 10 results.

A look back at the Top 10 reasons Wiens was sure to beat Lance.

Humble pie: Yeah I was wrong, Wiens couldn’t hang with Lance after all. Not a surprise, really, but wished it could’ve been a closer race. Sounds like Dave is hanging it up, so next year’s race (assuming Lance defends as he says he will and Levi can keep from breaking something) will be between Lance and Leipheimer. I’m going with Double L! Stay tuned!

Cyclelicious: Empire Grade Road closed due to fire. Richard is a roadie but notes the smoke covers huge mtb sections of the UC-Santa Cruz campus, Wilder Ranch and back down to Henry Cowell State Park. Let’s hope the disruption was only temporary. There’s not much else for mountain biking in that section of the Santa Cruz range.

Crankworx wrap: PinkBike has video of Greg Watts’ winning slopestyle run.

Mountain Bike Action has photos.

Sam Hill and Emmeline Ragot took top honors in the Canadian Open Downhill…with Seattle-based Evil’s Steve Smith taking a bronze. Smith has been putting in some standout results this season after signing with Evil, which was at Crankworx showing off some cool hardware. More later…

We close with a tantalizing thought. Jill Kintner creamed Emmeline Ragot in the “mini-Downhill” Grand Slalom at Crankworx. If Jill had run the Canadian Open Downhill and presumably won, it would’ve given her 3 golds (as well as a silver) for Crankworx 2009! We continue to suspect Jill (maybe nudged by BF Bryn Atkinson) will enter downhill comps some day soon…

In Whistler for Crankworx 2009

In Bicycle Racing, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking on August 14, 2009 at 11:00 am

…but wishing I could be in two places at once, as long as the other one was Leadville Colo.

Some quick links, then I gotta go RIDE!

PinkBike has the rundown on the big Slopestyle course tomorrow. It may be tamer than last year, but that’s probably good. Too many crashes last year. Looking it over, and having seen every Crankworx Slopestyle at Whistler, my view is that this one has more diversity (read opportunity) than any previous. And it’s really set up for viewing.

Let’s hope the crowds come. Whistler is soaked, bros! There are puddles in the parking lot and the trails are not just damp but sloppy in some spots. Plus it’s cold at night.

That said, the sun is out today (Friday) and skies definitely appear to be clearing! So hopefully everyone will come on up tonight and tomorrow for the world’s signature Slopestyle event, Kokanee Crankworx.

As for tomorrow’s Leadville 100, now the “signature” enduro MTB event because of Lance’s omnipresence:

BikeRumor has pics and descrip of Lance’s proto Trek Fuel 9.9 XX whatever. Why doesn’t Trek just call it the Lance Armstrong? If I was at Leadville and Lance whizzed by I’d have a hard time choosing between looking at him or his bike! It should be a great race.

There’re some other familiar names in the lineup, including Travis Brown riding his own customized Trek, caught by Mountain Bike Action. Early on Floyd Landis was supposed to have registered, but he’s not on the official roster. Neither is once-rumored Tinker Juarez. Nor is Chris Eatough, history’s greatest 24-hour racer, who’s apparently racing the FoolsGold 100 instead.

But Dave Wiens, despite modestly downplaying his own chances at a 7th straight title, is still in the mix. BikeRumor has great Wiens interview on the whole enchilada.

Check out the UltraRob blog for inside coverage.

AP setup story in Seattle Times on the race.

BIkePortland is tracking a disturbing cycling-auto encounter.

If you’re in Seattle Sunday and want to pay respects to Jose Hernando and the other fallen of our sport, Michael Snyder at SeattleLikesBikes has a suggestion.

Lance’s Chances: Shoulder status?

In Bicycle Racing, Mountain Biking on August 10, 2009 at 7:30 am

You have to credit Lance Armstrong on one point: He doesn’t make excuses. Since declaring his shoulder a non-factor just a couple of weeks after “Home Depot” hardware surgery drilled and screwed and plated it together again, the subject has not even come back up.

Watching videos of interviews and the Tour, however, I thought his shoulder was quite a bit less than 100 percent. In conversation, he used his left arm and hand more in gesticulating, etc., and never raised his right arm above his shoulder.

On the Tour’s wrenching climbs, Lance stayed more in the saddle than the Lance of old. And he never attacked, either. Maybe his riding style has changed. But a reluctance to sprint or attack would also indicate not wanting to stress the shoulder, since out of the saddle requires more pulling on the bars.

It may well be that the shoulder is virtually healed by now (it’s been more than 3 months). But if there’s any test to tell for sure, it would be this Saturday’s Leadville 100. Nearly seven hours of up and down riding on uneven surfaces takes a toll on perfectly healthy shoulders. If anything’s askew, Lance should start feeling it about hour 4 or 5.

The subject of his shoulder hasn’t come up anywhere in news coverage lately, and I imagine that if asked, Lance would brush it aside. And let’s hope the shoulder isn’t a factor, because we all want a level playing field (so to speak!). But it remains an X-factor at Leadville, because this race is a different beast from what he’s been doing.

Don’t forget you’ll be able to see a live Webcast of the race and get full updates from the Leadville 100 site. As for news coverage, still no rundown on Lance’s prototype Trek Fuel full-suspension bike, and nobody’s apparently talking to Dave Wiens about all this. One problem: Crankworx’s signature event, the Slopestyle competition, is the same day, sucking a lot of mountain bike journalists to Whistler. Let’s hope The New York Times gets on Leadville…Juliet Macur are you there?

Lance’s Chances: Leadville looking better all the time

In Bicycle Racing, Lance's Chances, Mountain Biking on August 9, 2009 at 7:48 am

Lance Armstrong is now King of Colorado, sending a message to Dave Wiens re Saturday’s Leadville 100 joust.

Lance is looking real strong, dusting the field at the Colorado state mountain bike championships in Snowmass. Wiens did not compete.

There’s some simmering resentment that Lance, who has a house in Aspen but is from Austin of course, was allowed to compete. But the rules said yes, and why not? He brings a lot of attention and commercial weight to anything he does, and both are what cycling really needs.

Our 3-to-2 odds for Wiens are looking shakier all the time. No matter who wins, it should be a great race.

BikeWorldNews has results.

Lance shows off Leadville 100 ride

In Bicycle Racing, Lance's Chances, Mountain Biking on August 4, 2009 at 2:04 am
It's Trek and SRAM for Team Armstrong!

It's Trek and SRAM for Team Armstrong!

Lance tweets his mountain bike but doesn’t tell us what make/model it is (maybe it’s proto!): “mtb is insane. First ride on the new SRAM XX as well. Hands down best shifting I’ve experienced on a mtb.”

From the photo it looks to be a close cousin of the Top Fuel 9.8 frame, but obviously with different kit. SRAM XX does not come cheap, nor is it stock on any Trek (yet). It looks like our man is sticking with a SID 100 fork but going with the DT Swiss rear shock (if so, I would advise him against it and not be the only one) instead of the RP23. (This figures because the components all look to be SRAM.)

This is all hi-zoot stuff but the saying in mtb is “stupid light” and Lance needs to be careful about bleeding-edge kit untested in something as grueling as the Leadville 100. We repeat: We don’t want this race decided by equipment failure!

That said, I run SRAM on my mountain bikes with no problems whatsoever; it’s a great company that has done wonders via acquisitions to challenge the Shimanopoly.

I’m sure Trek wants Lance to show off the latest tech in XC and he has contractual obligations of course. So be it. On paper he’d be hard-pressed to come up with a better kit!

The Leadville 100 will be Webcast starting at 5:45 a.m. Saturday, August 15. Which is a good thing, because I’ll be in Whistler for the Crankworx Slopestyle finals but can tune in on my MacBook at the village Starbux. Hopefully Leadville will be a wrap (for the winners, at least) by Slopestyle time.

Update: Dave Wiens has posted his TransAlp experience. Interesting read on the race and his own ups and downs.

Lance’s Chances: Preview of 2009 Leadville 100

In Bicycle Racing, Lance's Chances, Mountain Biking on August 2, 2009 at 2:27 am

At a glance, it’s Lance.

For his epic rematch of last year’s stirring mano-a-mano Leadville 100, Lance Armstrong appears loaded for bear. A full season of racing under his belt, including the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France (a twofer he’s never done before). Pretty much full recovery from his broken collarbone. A year of incentivization, having admitted defeat to Wiens personally at last year’s race.

And this time, the eyes of the nation if not the world upon him. Come Aug. 15, we can expect unprecedented coverage of the Leadville 100, which always has an avid following among endurance sports cognoscenti but has never made it to the national consciousness.

So yeah, you’d think all the ducks lined up for Lance, right? Despite Dave Wiens having won the Leadville 100 six consecutive times, Wiens is the underdog, right?

Not so fast.

As the only observer to call Lance’s chances correctly in both the Giro and the Tour — to wit, null, void, zip, nada — at a time when major media were saying “Lance can win!” and “Why you can never count Lance out!” Bike Intelligencer feels a certainly burden of prophecy looking to the Leadville 100. Can we maintain our contrarian stance v. Lance? Or is it time to face reality and acknowledge he’s just too primed for Wiens this time around?

First, we have to admit something: Whereas we were 100 percent sure with the Giro and Tour, we’re on shakier ground for Leadville. We feel a bit like Lance going into the Tour, where he noted he lacked the confidence of a win compared to previous Tours. (We kind of chuckled at that one, believing that even a stage win was beyond Lance’s reach, another prediction that came true, albeit barely.)

Few competitors have a sense of moment like Lance, and even fewer can dig down deep the way he does when the cards are down. Whereas last year he was in good shape, this time around he’s in world-class shape. And while his opponent, a former World Cup racer himself and Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, is not to be underestimated, he’s also not named Alberto Contador.

That said, we see a lot to like for Wiens. For one thing, while Lance was ripping up Ventoux, Dave was not exactly sitting at home with his legs propped up, watching it on TV. Wiens too was in the Alps, riding the TransAlp Challenge, the world’s toughest mountain bike race and a multi-stage epic in its own right (Wiens’ team finished 7th overall). It’s not like he needed the training — Wiens knows how to prepare for Leadville better than anyone — but for those paying attention, he was sending a message.

Then there’s the whole mtb thing. Riding a mountain bike is so unlike a road rig that they’re almost two different sports. (Credentials: For two decades I was a roadie, doing double centuries, triathlons and other endurance events; then in 1991 I switched to mountain.) Here’s just a few things to consider:

Road riding is based on extended rhythm, or cadence. You get into a zone and build from there. Whether in a time trial, on the flats or a climb, you’re doing the same thing for a long time. The only time you really sprint is at the finish or (if you care) for points. It doesn’t happen that much.

Mountain biking is far less static. It involves constant shifts in tempo, body position, aerobics and strength output. The surface is hardly ever smooth. Cadence doesn’t enter the picture. You pedal downhill. You bust your gut on riser after riser, switchbacks here, rock gardens there.

Your riding position is completely different; in fact, with mountain biking, riding position is always changing depending on terrain. You’re much more upright than the tucked road position. Your musculature is stressed accordingly.

There’s no drafting in mountain biking.

Upper-body strength, and strength-to-weight ratio, matter much more in mountain biking. You have to pull on the bars on climbs, guide the bike carefully on technical sections. You’re always leaning and weighting different parts of the bike. That takes shoulder, arm, chest and back strength, not just leg action.

Mountain biking is bursty. You go anaerobic far more often as you negotiate tricky terrain. A climb on a mountain bike is 100 times harder than on a road bike because your whole body is involved, the grade usually is steeper (you get 15 to 20 percent risers all the time), and you have far less traction. It can be just as fast to get off the bike and push — how often can you say that about road riding?

The point here is, Lance’s season so far has been great for conditioning and endurance, as long as he’s riding a road bike. For a mountain bike, not so much. There’s a reason why cycling success translates from mountain biking to road racing — Cadel Evans, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Ryder Hesjedal — far more prevalently than the opposite direction.

Other variables to keep in mind:

Lance knows how to set up a road bike, whether it be TT, flats or climbs, perfectly for himself. A mountain bike? Hmmm. He hasn’t had enough experience riding mtb, especially recently, to have command of the technology and personal variables. Someone else can set it up for him, and he can consult with lots of experts. But at the end of the day, only he can make certain calls, and he just doesn’t have the data.

Wiens on the other hand rides mountain every day. He’s got it completely dialed. If there’s such a thing as equipment edge, Wiens will have it.

The other thing: Wiens is a local (Gunnison, but close enough). In mountain biking, that counts for far more than road racing. You see locals win or excel at downhill and slalom and even cross-country (albeit to a lesser extent) races in their own back yard where they’re also-rans everywhere else. Home court is an advantage. So is being the underdog.

Wiens also has an experience edge on Lance when it comes to the Leadville race itself. He knows the race’s profile and his own body’s rhythms.

Finally, whereas we know Lance tapped out last year, we do not know Wiens’ real potential at Leadville. We don’t know if Lance ever really pushed Wiens, or whether Wiens was just marking Lance till he needed to go into overdrive.

All of the above, even giving Lance points for a phenomenal comeback season, says Wiens is going to win this thing again. There are always x-factors in mountain biking, particularly equipment failure and crashes, but all things being equal we give the edge to the local.

To repeat, though, unlike the Giro and Tour, we’re not so sure. The race looks to be close for much of the duration. But when it comes time to dig deep, the moment of truth that Lance has made a career out of taking, Wiens will have more in the tank.

If we were taking it to Vegas, we’d go with 3-to-2 odds in favor of Wiens.

And if we panned out, we’d make money. Because to the casual observer, this thing looks like the biggest blowout since Ali v. Buster Mathis. Let’s hope they’re wrong and that Leadville 2009 becomes a memorable duel for the ages.

Update: Chris Carmichael on why I might be wrong.

Daily Roundup: Riders down, including Peaty, Leadville 100 heats up, iPhone apps and more

In Bicycle advocacy, Bicycling, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking, Rider Down, Trail Access, Videos on July 21, 2009 at 12:09 am

In the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, a car driver took out two cyclists in a classic dooring incident. I was just thinking the other day how lucky I am never to have gotten doored. Then I almost got doored twice in three days… (Thanks to MyBallard.com)

In Ottawa, a minivan took out 5 cyclists in a classic hit and run. They got the vehicle, they got the driver, let’s hope they get some justice. (Thanks to DrunkCyclist.com)

It happens to the best of us, even the winningest World Cup rider ever. Peaty takes a dive.

PinkBike has the full rundown on the Mountain Bike Nationals at Sol Vista bike park in Colorado this past weekend.

I’ve consistently said that this year’s Leadville 100 is the Lance Armstrong race to watch for 2009 (him having no chance in the Giro and Tour). With all those mountain stages under his belt, Lance has to be considered the favorite. Turns out, though, that the Alps aren’t just for the skinny tire set. Dave Wiens, who kicked Lance’s sorry ass all the way back to Austin last year, is riding the TransAlp challenge, the toughest mountain bike stage race in the world. Go Dave! (Thanks to BikeRumor.com.)

WIRED: 5 iPhone apps to replace bike hardware. Tell me about it. I got the new 3GS and now have 2 cell phones, 3 voice recorders, 2 camcorders, 3 cameras, a GPS system and a bunch of notepads to get rid of. Any reasonable offer considered.

Add to the calendar: Kranked’s new movie, “Revolve,” gets a show on the big screen a week from Thursday, July 30, at the North Bend Theater, with proceeds going to a great cause: Mountain biking access! See ya there…

Cyclelicio.us is doing a Daily Roundup too!

Giro Wrap: Lance’s chances looking ahead

In Bicycle Racing, Bicycling on May 31, 2009 at 10:58 am

The 2009 Giro d’Italia is history, with Lance Armstrong finishing in a solid and respectable 12th place, 16 minutes off the pace after a middle-of-the-pack showing on the final rainy stage. Now all eyes, and maybe even the traveling soap opera that has become Team Astana, shift to the Tour de France, starting July 4 in Monaco.

I have to hand it to Lance: Although he fell short of general expectations, he did better than I expected. Considering he was basically riding to draw media attention to the Giro (and, as always, himself), and in protect-mode for the Tour (no more crashes!), twelfth is a commendable showing.

Yes, he said he was aiming to win. Then he said he would “be happy” with a stage win. All things considered, he’s undoubtedly pleased with a non-DNF. (Side note: Lance being Lance, he’s already engaged in revisionism re his Giro showing — see link below.)

One might assume that Lance is now primed to pounce on the Tour and bring home a record 8th, having honed his conditioning with the Giro warmup. Expect the media buzz to say just that, with a lot of speculation about Lance’s chances for a triumphant return to Paris.

In our continuing role as hype degreaser, we have just three words: Ain’t gonna happen. But that doesn’t mean Lance won’t have had a successful summer campaign. He’s gotten cycling back onto the TV and the pages of daily newspapers, all of which means big money and success for racing and his cancer foundation. For that, he is to be congratulated.

Of more concern is Lance’s crashes — one each in his past three races. Only the collarbone mishap was major, but crashes like this were things the Lance of old had no trouble avoiding. They’ve been crashes of fatigue, where the brain is too tired and reflexes too trashed to stay on point. His latest, touching a wheel and going down, could have been far worse. He landed on the side opposite his repaired shoulder and reported just some soreness and stiffness.

The crashes, combined with Lance’s instigation of the “Slow Ride” protest of a “dangerous” criterium stage in the Giro (all criteriums are dangerous, that’s what brakes are for), suggest his challenges are not entirely physical. Accidents inevitably make a rider more cautious, and the Tour will have its own “dangerous” stages.

Our best guess is that Lance will again ride for ceremony’s sake, sucking up the adulation of fandom, promoting his foundation and doing what he can for the squad, which won’t be all that much. Astana’s A team, including last year’s Giro winner and 2007 Tour victor Alberto Contador (he had to sit out last year’s Tour due to no fault of his own), stayed out of the Giro this year to “focus on” (rest up for) the Tour. The Giro is a great race, but it’s still just a warmup to the Tour. Among the big boys, Lance’s glory will be PR more than stage results.

If anything, Lance’s return has shown that what cycling really needs is another Lance Armstrong. An American No. 1 who can galvanize support for the sport in the U.S. while boosting media and commercial interest in the Tour, Giro and Olympics. You have to have icons in this day and age to ensure ongoing youth and junior development. Greg Lemond got the ball rolling back in the 1980s, Lance picked it up in the latter ’90s.

There are promising signs that “legacy Lances,” young American riders, are in the food chain — in particular Taylor Phinney, the son of another world-class American cyclist, Davis Phinney (Taylor is nicknamed “mini Phinney”). Taylor is recording some head-turning results, just today having won Paris-Roubaix in the under 23 class.

Lost in all the current ruckus is Lance’s original motivation for returning to racing. Last summer he got his hind end handed to him by a local hero, Dave Wiens, at the annual mountain bike enduro race, the Leadville 100. Lance vowed a return engagement for 2009 following his European tour, and is registered for the race.

It may be his best chance for a victory this year. He’ll have the conditioning of the tour under his belt, and his shoulder should be a non-factor by race day, Aug. 15.

But mountain biking, as Lance himself knows (having one year competed with mediocre results), is a different beast from road racing. There’s very little successful cross-over, and where there is, as in the case of Cadel Evans, Michael Rasmussen and Floyd Landis (a 2007 Dave Wiens victim who may also race Leadville this year), the transition goes the opposite direction: From top mountain biker to road racer.

Hopefully Lance will avoid another crash or other injury jeopardizing the Leadville event, because ultimately, that may be the Lance Armstrong race to watch in 2009.

New York Times Giro wrap

Team Astana faces deadline

Final Giro results from Velo News

Taylor Phinney wins Paris-Roubaix

Lance in Leadville

Bike Radar: Lance feeling “strong” for Tour, engaged in active revisionism re his Giro placement

Daily Roundup: Iron Horse is broke, Armstrong’s revenge, Chicks and Bikes

In Bicycling, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking on March 19, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News: Iron Horse goes down. We’ve known for some time the company was on the ropes — as a friend put it, “How did those guys screw up so bad?” Iron Horse helped make the DW-link and could’ve rode that, um, horse to surefire success. But somehow it never found quite the right niche or following. RIP. The new hot downhill bike to watch this year is Evil. It doesn’t have Dave Weagle’s link, but he helped design the frame and Evil put together the bling. We’ll be checking it out at Fluidride.

Summit Daily News, Colorado: “When soon-to-be-the-king David slayed Goliath in 1 Samuel of the Old Testament, the people of Israel didn’t say, ‘Great job David, but would you mind doing that again next year’?” Wonderful lede btw. The story is about Lance Armstrong’s return to the Leadville 100, the grueling mountain bike race where Lance got his ass handed to him by Dave Wiens, delighting Wiens’ many fans. Unlike Lance, Wiens has never been suspected of using drugs and is so upright an individual he is in fact beyond suspicion. With Lance the truth will come out some day — you don’t beat an entire peloton on drugs without doing drugs yourself. In the meantime, we can look forward to Dave putting the big hurt on Lance again this year, even if Lance has the Tour under his belt. Mountain biking, as Lance found out when he was winning tours and decided to try his hand at the tougher sport, ain’t for road weenies. ‘Nuf said!

Chicks and Bikes: Nuthin’ but pix. Have you checked out this blog? Inspiring to say the least…

OK guys I linked. Now where's my t-shirt???!!

OK guys I linked. Now where's my t-shirt???!!