Tuesday, January 31, 2012

516 national champions crowned in 2011

The first of 17 of this yearandrsquo;s USA Cycling National Championships went into the books last month. As we gear up for the rest of 2012, letandrsquo;s take a look back at 2011! Last year, USA Cycling members raced for national titles at 16 national championship events in various locations across the United States. Additionally, two national championship events were held for para-cycling athletes. In all, American cyclists took home 516 national championship titles. These national champions represent the best of the best across all disciplines and categories of cycling. Congratulations to all of our 2011 national champions! Click on the links below to see the names of each national champion.

Source: USA Cycling News Headlines

Video: Haussler back in Europe for stronger 2012


Australian talks Tour Down Under, and a hard finish to his season at La Vuelta

Source: Cyclingnews News Headlines

6 Best Energy Bars

Energy bars have improved in a big way—choose one for your ride

By: Bicycling Magazine

Gallery: Whole Athlete-Specialized Team training camp


Team holds first team camp of 2012 in Marin County

Source: Cyclingnews News Headlines

Muur van Geraardsbergen finale for Eneco Tour


Final stage in Geraardsbergen for the next three years

Source: Cyclingnews News Headlines

Can Motorists and Bicyclists Get Along?

The Multimodal Curmudgeon weighs in

Via: Bicycling Magazine

Scott Foil 20 review

We all know the value of an aerodynamic bike, wheels and helmet for time trials and triathlons, so why not look for some of the same advantage in a road bike? That's exactly what Scott have aimed at with the Foil. It's a fantastic bike only let down by wheels that can't keep up with the pace it sets.

Ride & handling: Aerodynamic design will help you cut minutes from long rides

Let's make one thing clear right from the start â€" the Foil is fast! On the descents we ride most often we noticed that it hit 50kph sooner than we're used to seeing and it whips along on the ï¬,at too. When you get out of the saddle and apply some gas the Foil leaps forwards. 

Holding the drops and pulling hard to get the maximum force into the bike reveals that it's a very stiff frame from front to back. More than simply an absence of tangible ï¬,ex, the Foil gives you a very positive feeling of rigidity that really encourages you to pour in all your effort. It's fun and inspiring.  

Unfortunately, the Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels are nowhere near as stiff and rather shown up by the frame. During sprint efforts we could even hear the spokes 'pinking' like a cooling car engine as their tension came and went with each pedal stroke. Their weight is a clear hindrance when climbing, too. 

Neither is a big issue when you're spinning along on the ï¬,at but a wheel upgrade should be your top priority ahead of some shiny new components, a training camp or feeding the kids! The frame takes the edge off the worst bumps but it's no airbed. The steering isn't as twitchy as you might expect: the Foil turns and carves a line with accuracy and confidence. 

With the stem sat above the spacers you get a sporty position that doesn't demand extremes of ï¬,exibility on your part but which still places the emphasis on speed. Whip out the spacers and you can get a really aggressive position which will keep your back ï¬,at with tri bars fitted. It's just  a shame that the tapered spacers look daft and fit poorly when arranged in a different order.

Frame & equipment: Chassis is up with the best and well deserving of future upgrades

Before now, aero road bikes have all involved some sort of compromise. Traditional airfoil tube shapes are heavier and have less lateral rigidity than conventional frames. Scott say that a target of the Foil was to eliminate these compromises so the frame design approaches the question of aerodynamics from the opposite direction.

Instead of designing the most aero frame possible and then trying to make it light and stiff, Scott started with their excellent Addict as the benchmark and aimed to improve its aerodynamics without compromising the weight and stiffness that have a greater inï¬,uence on the ride quality. Scott say that the solution is the 'virtual airfoil', a tube shape that uses its leading edge to make the air behave as if it's following a long-tailed airfoil shape.

The result is a frame that weighs 1,030g in our 58cm test size and which Scott claim saves you 20 watts at 45kph over the Addict. The top three models, from the £5,999 Foil 10 up to the £9,499 Foil Premium, use Scott's lighter HMX NET carbon fibre. The Foil 20 uses HMF NET which has a slightly lower ratio of high modulus fibres but, Scott say, only adds around 80g to a frame compared to the top versions.

To balance steering integrity against the frontal area, the head tube tapers from 1-1/8 to 1-1/4in at the crown of the full-carbon, aero-profile fork. The frame also features an integrated clamp for the aero seatpost, internal cable routing and an oversized bottom bracket area that adds stiffness, smooths airï¬,ow and is shaped to accommodate an SRM power meter.

The Foil 20 comes equipped with a complete Shimano Ultegra Grey groupset. It's well-proven and handsome kit, if extremely understated for such a racy bike. Two gearing options are available: compact with 50/34-tooth rings and an 11-28t cassette, and standard with 53/39t rings and an 11-25t cassette. Oddly, Scott refer to the latter as '20-speed' but, of course, both have 20 gears. 

The Mavic Cosmic Elites are entry-level aero wheels. The rims are slightly deeper, at 30mm, and they have a basic aero profile that fits the aims of the frame. Don't expect them to surf the air like a set of Zipp 808s though, and keep in mind that they come with a weight penalty. The build is finished off with a Selle Italia X1 saddle and Scott's own oversized Road Pilot Pro bar and stem, all co-ordinated in white.

This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine.

Via: BikeRadar.com Road Bikes & Gear

Colavita riders find reprieve in Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies


Holcomb, Kirchmann, Sanders and Small form core of new team

Source: Cyclingnews News Headlines

Shimano SH-XC50N mountain bike shoes review

Shimano's XC50N strikes a great middle ground, offering good resistance to wet and cold weather without the bulk commonly associated with winter mountain bike shoes, which should make them popular with racers.

It looks similar to Shimano's race-inspired shoes, with two offset Velcro straps and a mechanical buckle (both the buckle and ratchet strap are replaceable), but it's constructed with thicker, more element-resistant materials, which make it warmer, dryer and much slower to saturate than a traditionally built summer shoe. 

Paired with a thick wool sock, this shoe would be our go-to for wet cyclo-cross racing in the 30° to 50°F (-1° to +10°C) temperature range and it's also very comfortable for dry weather or even snowy mountain biking in that same range. When we say the XC50N would be our go-to, there's a caveat â€" its fit. 

For one, the XC50N is only available in whole sizes from 36 to 48 (US). We've used Shimano's half sizes to perfectly fit our feet for years, and we miss that option. We sized up to a size 43, from a 42.5, and made up the difference using a custom orthotic insert and a thicker wool sock. 

The stock insoles provide zero arch support and just a slight bit of metatarsal support, which forced them out of our shoes after just a couple short rides. Unfortunately, this is par for the course in all but the most expensive shoes these days; the insole is all but forgotten under the US$200 mark.

The xc50n's tread offers good traction both on and off pedals:

We raced 'cross and rode mountain bikes in our XC50N shoes

Compounding the fit issue is Shimano's Volume+ last, which is so wide, especially around the ball of the foot, that we double-checked the box after our first ride in the shoes, just to make sure we hadn't been shipped an extra wide version. The shoes contacted our crank arms when set with our preferred cleat position. 

Shimano took the first, size 43, pair back and supplied us with two more pairs to try, this time in a 42 and 43. We stuck with the 43, and the new shoe seemed slightly narrower. If you're thinking of buying a pair, pay special attention to the fit and outside of the shoe, as there seem to be slight inconsistencies.

Shimano put our shoes through a barrage of tests and measurements, and weren't able to recreate our rubbing issue. But Walter Lockhart, Shimano's footwear and lifestyle gear manager, said he'd take into consideration our comments about needing half-sizes. 

"That's something I'm looking at for the future," he told BikeRadar. "Especially within that popular range from 42 through 45. I'm looking at doing more half sizes in that area because I do believe that you need to have that fit dialed in. On some shoes it definitely makes sense, especially a shoe like this."

As for the shoe's width, Lockhart told us: "The concept is to offer an 'all-season' shoe that allows the rider to wear thicker socks. This is the same last as the SH-MW81 winter shoes."

Toe spikes on the pu sole:

The shoes rubbed on our cranks, presumably due to the Volume+ last and added forefoot protection

The crank rub issue we experienced will be more of a problem for 'crossers than mountain bikers, as the latter are less likely to be affected by, or hung up on, the wider cleat position required to avoid this. 

"The model has a multi-density outsole, design to work in a variety of conditions," said Lockhart. "Stiffer lugs at the front for pedaling efficiency, softer density pad in the center for pedal stability and medium in the heel for comfort/traction. The protrusion you're feeling is the added 'armor' protection inlays, a little added protection."

Aside from the fit, we can only praise the performance of the 373g (per shoe) XC50N. We raced cyclo-cross in them and we rode mountain bikes in the snow with them on. The thick sealed synthetic leather and woven synthetic upper are surprisingly warm, and the shoes remained admirably leak-free, unless water was allowed to enter through the top of the shoe. When submerged, the fabric seems to absorb less moisture than usual, but they don't drain well.

The fiberglass reinforced shank in the polyurethane sole makes it stiff enough for the violent efforts of a 'cross race, but it's not in the same class as the uber stiff carbon soled Shimano M315. Shimano list the XC50N as a five on their stiffness scale, with the M315 (which is for all intents a road shoe with some tread and toe spikes) being 11; the XC50N feels more like a seven or eight, to us. 

Walking, barrier hopping and hiking are all reasonably easy in the XC50N. For 'cross the instep tread is much appreciated and works well enough to catch a slippery CrankBrothers Eggbeater pedal in most cases; this isn't a feat the M315 has yet mastered. The ball and heel treads are aggressive enough to deal with the mud and snow we tested in, and the shoes accept toe spikes. The sole is PU but soft enough to offer adequate traction on rock and concrete.

The vent holes are filled with a synthetic weave, which we found very resistant to the elements:

The vent holes are filled with a synthetic weave, which we found very resistant to the elements

Original: BikeRadar.com Road Bikes & Gear

Gallery: Colombia-Coldeportes trains in Italy


Professional continental squad adjusting to Euro climate

Source: Cyclingnews News Headlines

JetBlack S1 Sport turbo trainer review

JetBlack's intro trainer is about as simple as it gets, but it's good enough if it's all you can afford. The simple rectangular-section steel frame, metal roller, magnetic resistance engine and small flywheel come assembled, which is a get-on-and-go bonus.

The frame itself is reasonably stable too. There's masses of flex across the rear axle though, so don't twist your bike about too much to get your torque out. The small flywheel means it picks up speed fast, with no wheel slip. And there's enough resistance to get you sweating with a compact chainset.

There's absolutely no momentum or run-on though, so it feels choppy when you're pedaling. It's loud too, and with lots of numbing buzz through the saddle it's best for short intervals rather than long sit-and-spin sessions.

This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine.

Source: BikeRadar.com Road Bikes & Gear