Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mountain Bike Worlds open in Switzerland on unlucky note for USA

The UCI Mountain Bike World Championships opened on an unlucky note for the United States with the Americans unable to break the top 20 in the team relay or the junior womenandrsquo;s cross-country events on Wednesday.

Source: USA Cycling News Headlines

America's Top 11 Road Descents

I've plunged and plummeted and careened and careered and in many other action-verb ways pointed my front wheel down the Rockies, the Cascades, the Appalachians, the Green Mountains, the Coastal Range from Cali to Oregon, the Sierra Madres and Nevadas, the Berks, the White Mountains and a good share of the isolated freaks such as Mt. Rainier and, just off Elliot Road in Wayne County, the highest point in Indiana (at which you ought to stop and ask the Gobels for permission to ride across their property before you go). I haven't done all the drops to be had, not even close, really, but I've done enough to know that the best descent isn't a destination. It's a sensation.


Something happens on the best descent. The relief of ending the climb (or, perversely, for many of us, the regret), the speed, the wind, the sound, the thrill, the fear, the rhythm of the corners, the licentious surrender to gravity, the ache of your hands and the strange chilliness that comes on your legs, and the bird on the wing 50 feet below eye level, and a good friend off your wheel, and a hamburger joint waiting at the bottom or maybe just a stop sign and a chance to sniffle your nose and take a cold drink of water--all of it strips you. You forget your life, the worries and the hopes, then as you get deeper into the descent you start to forget to forget and everything floods you--emotion, memory, aspiration, awareness--which means you are close and on down still you forget you are riding and at that instant the most reductive description of you is also the most complete. You are a cyclist going down a road. That is all you are doing and all you are.


The sensation ends.


The best descent is over, one more time.


The experience might have lasted an instant or an hour. Sometimes the enrapture has been so intense that you can't be sure how long you rode in it. To find any sense of time you have to look at your cycling computer, or the angle of the sun, or croak out a few words to the rider beside you. Usually, the road is still downhill, and usually as well you try to ride your way back into the magic and the inevitable failure to do so makes what is gone that much sweeter.


I've been there off the back of the Tourmalet and continuing on down down down the lengthy valley all the way to the base of Hautacam. Hours. And I've been there in the couple of hundred feet of screaming half-corkscrew on Dogwood, just a few miles from my home. Seconds. Each the equal of the other, and of all the other best descents of my life.


Despite the lofty title of this story, there's no guarantee that any of these 10 descents will become one of your best. But we do know for sure that these are great places to chase the magic, roads where the odds tilt sharply in your favor, whether you love to water your eyes on wide-open straightaways, or dive through a tangle of technical corners, or bag elevation-loss bragging rights, or simply sit up and take a good look at the landscape. Whether it comes on one of these roads or on one the next town over, your next best descent is out there waiting to be ridden.


GPS maps of the best descents in the United States:


This site does not support embedded trip maps. View the trip here instead.


Onion Valley Road, California

Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

Bohlman Road/On Orbit Drive, California

Lake Sabrina, California

Whiteface Mountain, Adirondack Park, New York

High Knob, Jefferson National Forest, Virginia

Route 156, Mt. Charleston Wilderness Area, Nevada

Burke Mountain, Vermont

Grand Mesa North, Colorado

Rides compiled by John Summerson

Hat Tip To: Bicycling Magazine

Japan ready to open first indoor velodrome


Izu Velodrome to be inaugurated in October

Source: Cyclingnews News Headlines

Wiggins ready to defend Vuelta lead all the way to Madrid


Team Sky leader praises Froome after taking the red jersey

Source: Cyclingnews News Headlines

Enigma Eclipse review

Sussex-based Enigma specialise in titanium and steel. There aren't too many titanium framesets which sneak under the £1,000 mark, but choose the Enigma Eclipse and you'll get a pound in change. Our test bike, with Mavic wheels and a Campagnolo Athena groupset, would set you back £2,099. There's no sign of corner cutting either.

  • Highs: The beautifully finished frame shows no sign of being entry-level (for a Ti bike). Comfort and speed combine in one easy-to-live-with package.
  • Lows: Very little. The best carbon fibre race bikes at this price do a better job of transferring power to the back wheel, but we're nitpicking.
  • Buy if: You want one bike to do a bit of everything, and keep doing it for a long time to come.

Tubing is straight-gauge not butted, but the down tube flares when it reaches the head tube and bottom bracket to add stiffness where it's needed. The quality of welding and finish is as good as Enigma's top-end frames, which cost nearly twice as much, though our mechanic did spot imperfect dropout alignment. The Eclipse splits the difference between aggression and comfort. It strikes a good balance, and makes this bike equally at home in the local racing league or tackling an Alpine epic.

The rather minimal saddle is more comfortable than it looks. In fact, there's nothing we'd want to change about this bike before taking on a 100-mile-plus sportive. The carbon seatpost helps subdue road buzz at the back of the bike, while the thickly padded own-brand bar tape does the same up front. We're fans of Enigma's handlebar, too, which has plenty of room for large hands on the drops without being too deep. It should suit most riders most of the time. In fact, you could say that about the Eclipse, full stop. It's a good all-round bike with good all-round kit.

Mavic Ksyrium Equipes are light, quality wheels. They spin up to speed quickly, and although there's some flex from the bottom bracket, only those with tree trunks for quads will complain. You'll need a finely calibrated backside to tell the difference in comfort between the 24mm Continental Grand prix tyres and the 23mm tyres fitted to most of the Enigma's rivals. Whether or not the cycling world needs to split the difference between 23mm and 25mm rubber is a moot point, but there's no doubt the supple feel and low rolling resistance of the Continentals contribute to the Enigma's willing ride quality.

Since you can spec the bike any way you want, there's no need to go for Campagnolo Veloce as here, but we'd be tempted to. Gear changes are crisp and the unpainted metal chainset looks just right on a titanium bike.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.

By: Road Bikes & Gear

Canada fields strong team for relay at Worlds


Pendrel, Plaxton, McNeely and Vialle face stiff competition

Source: Cyclingnews News Headlines

Raleigh RSP 22 computer review

This basic unit displays your speed large and bold in the middle of the screen, and only has two buttons to deal with – an advantage for the more technophobic. You can't download any information and its only unusual functions are temperature and calorie counting.

The computer clicks into its mount laterally, so you can't mount it on the stem, and the magnet isn't quite as secure on bladed spokes as some, but to cover heart rate and computer basics at this price it's a bargain. The instructions, though brief, are clear too.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.

Origin: Road Bikes & Gear

Fuglsang looking to limit losses in Vuelta mountains


Dane and Monfort aim for top ten in Madrid

Source: Cyclingnews News Headlines

Cervelo's New R5 VWD Road Bike

IN THE DAYS leading up to the world’s biggest bike show, Eurobike, taking place this week in Friedrichshafen, Germany, got an advance look at Cervelo’s newest offering, the 2012 Cervelo R5 VWD.

First off, the VWD stands for Vroomen White Design, a company within Cervelo that handles all the design and engineering used in the bikes. Second, a quick run-down of Cervelo’s main lines of road bikes: the P series, the time-trial bikes; the S series, the aero road bikes; and the R series, which are more traditional-looking road bikes optimized for maximum stiffness and low weight.

And in case you somehow missed it, at this year’s Tour de France team Garmin-Cervelo won stages on each of Cervelo’s three major platforms—on the P series (the Stage 2 team time trial); on the R series (Tyler Farrar’s sprint victory on the Fourth of July), and on the S series (Thor Hushovd’s two individual stage wins). What’s more, Tom Danielson, the team’s top climber and the highest-placed American in the general classification, rode into the top 10 overall on his matte-black Cervelo R5 CA.

The VWD is for Vroomen White Design. (Daniel McMahon)

So where does the new VWD fit in?

As with all R series bikes the seat stays are very thin, and make for a super-plush ride. (Daniel McMahon)

“This is one of the more traditional bikes, and it’s an incredible standard bike,” said Cervelo’s Mark Riedy. “Some have called the R5 VWD a climbing bike, but it’s not a climbing bike; it’s an all-around traditional road bike. It has a lot of features that make it very light but also quite comfortable.

“And things like BBright and some other aspects of the design make it quite stiff in the right places.”

The VWD has a tall head tube, which debuted with the R5 CA. (Daniel McMahon)

Riedy said the VWD should compete with the Specialized Tarmac, Trek Madone, and similar road bikes.


Source: Bicycling Magazine

E3 Harelbeke to be WorldTour race in 2012


Belgian race to open cobbled Classics season

Source: Cyclingnews News Headlines

3T Ergosum Pro bar and ARX Pro stem review

The bar has a reach of 89mm from centre of the top to centre of the furthest forward point and drops that are angled outwards a little at their ends. This gives plenty of hand positions and a little extra wrist clearance when you're on the drops and standing.

The stem is plenty stiff enough and very well finished, a solid performer. The combination is stiff, though not overly so, and will delight riders who like a precise bar and stem setup at the cost of a little comfort.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.

Hat Tip To: Road Bikes & Gear