Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘tyler farrar’

Great Expectations: Top 10 Bicycling Issues for 2010

In Bicycle advocacy, Bicycle Racing, Lance's Chances, Mountain Biking, Obama Bikes on January 1, 2010 at 3:42 am

Here are our Top 10 things to watch for in the world of cycling for the coming year. Yes we thought about a Top 2,010 list for numerical compliance, but hey, that’d be way too much work.

1. In the Washington State legislature, a “Vulnerable User” bill. Similar legislation failed last year but the Cascade Bicycle Club and its relentless advocacy director, David Hiller, will be trying again. A Traffic Justice Summit in October set the agenda for why legislation is needed: Too many cyclists are being injured or killed with at max a traffic ticket being issued. Growing cycling awareness among elected leaders, particularly in Seattle and King County, should help Cascade’s efforts.

Nationally, watch for additional 3-feet-please laws stipulating wider berth for bikes v. cars.

2. Seattle native Jill Kintner gets her world championship. Kintner narrowly missed the 2009 rainbow jersey in Australia, and the 2009 season that was supposed to be a gradual comeback after winter knee surgery turned into a breakout year. Barring injury, 2010 should belong to Jill. She’s featured btw in a new DVD, “Women of Dirt,” that will premiere in Seattle Feb. 5th.

3. On the road side, how high can Tyler Farrar go? The Wenatchee lad put his stamp on pro sprint competition with a number of impressive showings in 2009, and only a bullet named Mark Cavendish stood in his way for a Tour stage win or two. It’ll be a tall order to beat the Manx Missile, but if anyone has the tools and moxy, it’s a one-year-wiser Farrar.

Flyboys will like it

Stevens Pass Mountain Bike Park: Great things in store

4. Stevens Pass mountain bike park. This has been on the books for what seems like forever, but with release of a sweeping Environmental Impact Statement in December looks ready to finally roll. During the mountain bike season thousands of Seattle-area riders go to Whistler B.C.’s MTB park; it’s time that money and those resources stayed in Washington. Stevens won’t be another Whistler out of the gate of course, but its closer proximity and potential for expansion hold huge promise for the locals.

5. Mayor Mike McGinn’s cycling agenda.
We have big hopes for Seattle’s new cycling mayor and the city’s cycling blueprint. Not that everything will change overnight, but McGinn truly appreciates the bicycle’s role in urban transportation networks, and from his insights and leadership we believe Seattle could emerge as the leading bike municipality in America (currently held by Portland). If nothing else, the mayoral gas bill is sure to shrink from his predecessor’s SUV-hoggin’ totals.

6. Helmet cams rock on. We’re seeing these things everywhere, on freeriders, XC epics, roadie rides. The technology has finally improved to the point where wireless and HD are de facto in new models, plus battery advances mean lighter, less bulky units. The downside is a lot of trail video showing the backside of a guy in front. But for a personal record of your big adventures with virtually no fiddle factor, you can’t beat a helmet cam.

7. More comeback from Lance Armstrong.
The “Lance factor” played a big role in cycling’s expansion through the 2000s and it looks like at least through the coming year Lance will continue to draw headlines. We don’t expect Lance to win, say, the Tour de France, but somehow just being in the race makes him the winner, at least in the American public’s mind. A host of other pro cyclists have more power and ability than Lance at this point in his career, but until someone with enough charm and charisma emerges to take his place, Lance will remain King.

8. Cross-country mountain biking,
too, makes a comeback. This may sound weird, but the signals we’re getting from shops, riders and tour agencies is that the mountain-bike-park thing is starting to flip. (This despite all the excitement over Stevens’ opening.) A new generation of riders whose longest climbs involved a chairlift are going for lighter, longer-distance frames and equipment as a whole new matrix of high-country riding awaits their discovery. Old-timers like us just nod in amusement. Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance’s work on South Snoqualmie Fork trails will pay off in 2010.

9. The economy continues to hammer the bike biz. 2009 totals aren’t available yet, but data through the third quarter suggest a 10 to 20 percent pullback on sales and profit. While much of that is in high-end equipment, and isn’t catastrophic on an annual basis, it nonetheless threatens the sustainability of numerous smaller shops and businesses. Our gut sense is that things will continue — using a bike suspension term — to wallow through 2010, neither much worse nor much better. Only a turnaround in the jobs picture, which will put more people on bikes for transportation and give them discretionary spending for bling and trips, will signal any upside for cycling.

10. Northwest freeride expansion continues. In addition to whatever Stevens Pass comes up with, Galbraith Mountain will undoubtedly continue its march to world-classdom with its ever-expanding, more challenging trails network. Kudos to all the gang up in Bellingham who do such a great job on Galby. Closer to Seattle, Evergreen’s work on Duthie Hill outside of Issaquah is getting all kinds of props. And Evergreen’s Colonnade mini-park under I-5 will remain the best place to sharpen skillz — watch for it in forthcoming DVD format as well.

Duthie Hill from Walter Yi on Vimeo.


Daily Roundup: Meet Tyler Farrar, Bike sharing to Silicon Valley? SF Bike Expo update, Bicycle meditations & more

In Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking, Videos on November 13, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Coming up: SF Bike Expo on Saturday, Nov. 21st. Just added: Dirt-jump competition! What’s more is the platinum list of competitors, drawing heavily on the nearby Aptos (Santa Cruz) Mafia of Jump Jivers like Greg Watts (winner of the past summer’s Whistler Crankworx slopestyle competition), Tyler & Cam McCaul, Paul Basagoitia (only walk-on winner of Crankworx ever), Mike Montgomery, Andrew Taylor and others.

Should be quite the show. More here.

Also coming up: Tyler Farrar, the best pro sprinter the U.S. has produced in two decades, will be at a Cascade Bicycle Club “Evening With” at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Magnuson Park Theater (7110 62nd Ave. N.E.). Get a discount on the $15 tickets by ordering with code CBC Member (if you are one!). Is bike sharing coming to Silicon Valley?

New World Disorder 10, “Dust and Bones,” is now available on iTunes, which is where I hope “Race Across the Sky,” the Leadville 100 epic, soon winds up, because I can’t seem to carve out the time to go to an actual theater and watch it.

RC posts his $.02 on siping mountain bike tires. My rear Nevi is a little worn around the lugs. I’ll give RC’s advice a whirl and see what happens. My gut tells me that siping won’t affect tire longevity simply because if you’re siping you’re undoubtedly riding a lot, and riding a lot is what wears out tires, siped or unsiped.

I’ve long compared mountain biking to meditation, especially to my long-suffering spouse, in an effort to communicate its transportive dimension. Not sure what to make of the Bicycle Meditations site, but if you’re into this sort of thing, here it is.

Daily Roundup: Lance’s coyness, Tyler rools! Fixie Love and more

In Bicycle Racing, Daily Roundup, Interbike 2009, Lance's Chances, Mountain Biking on October 2, 2009 at 2:19 am

Well now Lance has himself in a pretty pickle. With the Tour of California moving to May to avoid the freezing wet of last April’s racing, Lance now has to decide between the Giro d’Italia and the Tour d’Cali. I’m sure his heart is in California but he has Team Radio Shack to think about, and all the big bucks that go with Euro racing. So he’s being coy. First he’s not gonna do Cali, only the Giro. Then — UPDATE! — he says he’s mulling things over. OK by us if he keeps us guessing, long as he comes down on the side of the Golden State.

I know it’s possible to love a bike, and in fact it’s possible to love several bikes at once. I love all my mountain bikes, for instance. I will never love a fixed gear bike, but am not opposed to fixed-gear relationships and in fact support affording fixed-gear lovers the same rights and benefits as all bike owners. So when I read a syrupy encomium to the fixie, I do not disrespect. I link.

Turner was showing a prototype of its DW-Link RFX long-travel trail bike at Interbike 2009, but to me it looks like the thing still needs work. Strange that it’s taking so long, too. We know Dave wants to get it right, but there’s gotta be some subtext here. Licensing? Flat market for hi-end 6-inch bikes? Design tweaks? Whisper in our ear, we won’t say where we got it from…

This Day In Doping: Thomas Dekker is tossed off Team Silence after his B test shows positive. Dekker says it was a one-off mistake he apologizes for and WILL NEVER DO AGAIN! Why are we so uncharitably skeptical? Well, for one, there’s the issue of who sponsored Dekker. To cleanse itself of the embarrassing association with an admitted doper, Silence is changing its name to … Omega Pharma! That’s right, a drug company is financing a pro cycling team. And you wonder why it’s so dang hard to clean up this sport:

“Silence, which is part subsidized by Belgium’s national lottery, has changed the name of its main sponsor on several occasions in recent years. It was called Davitamon from 2005 to 2006, Predictor in 2007 and Silence in 2008 and 2009. All three names are from products among those made by the pharmaceutical company Omega Pharma.”

More kudos to Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar, who on Thursday won the opening stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge, then followed it with another win Friday. With “fastest human on wheels” Mark Cavendish out for the season, Farrar stands a great chance of racking up some impressive wins.

Seattle Times ups Tour coverage

In Bicycle Racing on July 16, 2009 at 8:16 am

Followup to yesterday’s note on James Raia’s excellent coverage of Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar in the Tour for the Wenatchee World. Today Washington State’s largest newspaper, The Seattle Times, ran a Raia story on yesterday’s stage as its lead Sports section story. That’s quite an acknowledgment of Raia’s insightful reporting, and Tyler Farrar’s growing prominence in the cycling world.

Farrar again close in Tour stage 11

In Bicycle Racing on July 15, 2009 at 11:26 am

Tyler Farrar is giving us all in the Northwest a real champion to root for. In the world’s biggest bike race, the lad from Wenatchee keeps coming up big, challenging the unbeatable Mark Cavendish time and again, only to fall inches short. Today a heartbeat separated Farrar from Cavendish, who benefits from having a stronger team (Columbia) and a bit more savvy than Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream). Tomorrow, and on Stage 14, Farrar may have more opportunities to finally nail a sprint victory.

Farrar and his many fans are always disappointed when he doesn’t win. But two seconds, and third and a fourth in one Tour de France from a U.S. (Wenatchee)-based sprinter is something I cannot recall ever happening. The big American cycling names in the Tour have been climbers and time-trial specialists, which is what you have to do to win the overall race. Sprinters can lay claim to the title of fastest men on two wheels, but they do not win the Tour. (Sometimes even the best sprinters do not even bother to finish the Tour.)

The last great American sprinter was Davis Phinney, who won a Tour stage in 1986 and again in 1987. Phinney’s son Taylor is lightning fast as well but rides track. For now, Farrar stands alone today among U.S. sprinters in professional road cycling.

Farrar’s name has been well-known in cycling circles locally for some time, and this marks his 11th second-place race finish this year. But he’s emerging internationally as an American star because he’s the only guy capable of challenging “Racer Boy” Cavendish, who today tied a record for British cyclists with his 8th stage win overall. In post-stage interviews, Farrar got lots of attention, analyzing the final uphill sprint for Versus and getting the nod from Phil Liggett as “the second fastest sprinter in this year’s Tour” — which might as well translate to the second fastest in the world. As former world-class racer Paul Sherwen noted, only a slight mistake by Cavendish stands between Farrar and two, maybe three, stage wins. This is Farrar’s first Tour, he’s gaining experience, and one of these days he’ll pull off an upset. It doesn’t hurt his cause that the humble, reflective Farrar has a far more winning personality than the braggart Cavendish.

Kudos to the Wenatchee World for its multimedia, real-time coverage of Farrar’s exploits. The World is running excellent freelance coverage from a veteran cycling writer, James Raia, who is consistently beating the wire services and national-media reporters.

The Wall Street Journal today also profiled Farrar.

Daily Roundup: This Day in Drugs, local bikeboy does good, BC Bike Race sabotage, naked cyclists and more

In Bicycling, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking, This Day In Doping on July 2, 2009 at 3:47 am

This Day in Drugs: Thomas Dekker is out of the Tour for doping…in 2007! Think the UCI honchos are trying to send a message here? Wonder how many of Lance’s old samples they have lying around, waiting for some new technology to analyze?

BC Bike Race, Day 3: Morons are removing course flags to screw up the race. The racers are overcoming the morons.

The only bad thing about having 25-year-old Tyler Farrar, Washington State’s first Tour de France cyclist, in the upcoming Tour will be having to listen to the announcers try to pronounce his home town of “Wenatchee.”

BikeJuju: Naked cyclists are a blogger’s best friend.

The Adventure Life recalls the recent bike recalls. Worth a look-over to make sure your steed ain’t on a list.

Dave Wiens will speak at REI Boulder on July 7. Hope someone blogs it. Hope someone asks how Dave plans to kick Lance’s ass again in the Leadville 100 this year, what with Lance having the Giro & Tour (by then) under his belt.

Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club is auctioning off bib No. 10,000 for this year’s Seattle to Portland classic. Current bid is $120 but c’mon all you bikin’ ex-Microsofties, we can do better than that…