31 January, 2008

Ontario Cycling events Google Calendars

Yes, this information is widely available online, but in order to integrate it into my schedule I've entered the events into Google Calendar: one for MTB and one for Road/CX.

MTB: GCal link | RSS feed
Road/CX: GCal link | RSS feed

I've got most everything from the OCA website as well as some other events including some Western New York stuff. If there's anything I've missed or you think should be added (other than your weekly/local series), please let me know.

20 January, 2008

Landis to race NUE series

Taken from cyclingnews.com:

Floyd Landis has accepted an invitation from the National Ultra-Endurance (NUE) MTB Series to compete in their eight-race series in 2008. Heading into its third year, the National Ultra-Endurance MTB Series features a schedule of 100-mile races held across the United States.

"We are pleased that Floyd has accepted our invitation to come out and race at our events," said NUE Series Director Ryan O'Dell, "These are the kinds of events where everyone is welcome, all ages and abilities. Having Floyd means we can generate additional exposure and attract sponsors that will help us further build our unique brand of racing."

In 2007, Landis raced the Shenandoah Mountain 100, which was the NUE Series finale. Riding for Smith & Nephew - BHRhip.com, he finished third behind Jeff Schalk (Trek / Volkswagen East Factory) and Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication). He also finished second at the Leadville 100, which was not part of the NUE Series.

"The great experience I had last year was a big part of my decision to commit to the whole series," said Landis, "I had a great time and felt very comfortable. It really gets you connected with why we all chose to ride bikes. The races are fun, healthy and very competitive and the racers, staff and sponsors for these events are truly great people. I can't wait for the first race in April."

Landis won the Tour de France in July of 2006, but organizers later stripped him of his title following a positive doping test for testosterone. Original runner-up Oscar Pereiro was awarded the title in October of 2007. Landis' bid to overturn his positive doping test before a hearing involving the US Anti-doping Agency (USADA) was unsuccessful when an arbitration panel ruled to uphold his positive test results and subsequent two-year competition ban in September.

However, Landis is still awaiting the outcome of his final appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with a decision expected in March. In the meantime, he has been serving his suspension, which applies to sanctioned competition. The NUE series is sanctioned by neither the UCI nor USA Cycling.

A source close to Landis told Cyclingnews that Landis was fully committed to the NUE Series regardless of the outcome before CAS. "He's commited to his sponsors and the NUE Series will be his primary competitive forum for 2008. Whether CAS overturns the decision against Landis, it doesn't change his competitive focus for the year. The NUE series is an opportunity for Floyd to keep himself in race form and to continue to provide value to his sponsors who have stood by him."

In addition to attracting many local and regional grassroots racers, the NUE series' growing profile is drawing over time more elite level racers, many of whom are subjected to anti-doping testing out of competition and at other competitions.

When asked if there were any plans to add anti-doping testing for the NUE series, co-organizer, Garth Prosser said to Cyclingnews, "No, we don't have that kind of money. This is old school mountain biking. We could make more money by recycling the beer cans from after the race than from organizing the race." Before making his reputation in the professional road scene, Landis was one of those "old school" racers on the American mountain bike circuit.

The 2008 NUE Series will open April 19 in Tennessee with the Cohutta 100 and will wrap up on September 6 in California with the Tahoe-Sierra 100. See the full NUE series schedule here.

The 2007 series was won by Chris Eatough (Trek / VW), who is expected to defend his title in 2008 although he could not be reached for confirmation.

14 January, 2008

New bike: Kona Major Jake

If I haven't told you already but you've been observant and noticed that Kona Bikes showed up on the sidebar you may have guessed that a new bike was imminent. I've been wanting a 'cross bike for awhile, but I wanted to get something that would do duty as my road bike as well. Thanks to the folks at Liberty! Bicycles I ended up with a good deal on an '07 Major Jake.

A few of the more interesting specs:

  • '07 Kona Major Jake: Easton Ultralite tubing with carbon seatstays
  • Easton EC90X fork
  • Mavic Ksyrium Equipe wheelset
  • FSA Gossamer CX MegaExo crankset
  • 105 shifters & front derailleur; Ultegra rear derailleur
I put a King headset and my fi'zi:k saddle on and had a different stem & bar swapped in at the shop, but the rest is completely stock. So far it rides wonderfully. It's first voyage (off the trainer that is) was a 45km casual road ride with a couple friends. Of course the only part of its first ride worthy of a picture was the flat I got at about 37.5km. Luckily it was a nice quick change - I really like Mavic rims.

Hitting about 63kph on a fast downhill felt good even on the 'cross tires, giving me much confidence in this bike. With a swap to some 23c tires and maybe a 50t chainring, it will do the road gig just fine, since I'm not doing any road racing. I took it through some muddy fields just for fun at the end of my ride, and now I can't wait to get it dirty next fall in some CX races. It will likely see its first race in the Paris to Ancaster this year before it becomes my roadie for the summer.

09 January, 2008

More winter mtb, "moto" style brakes

Saturday saw another nice snowy ride, this time in my new current location of the Niagara region. St. Catharines and the surrounding area has some really great singletrack with Shorthills Provincial Park and a trail system that was built along 12 mile creek.

As you'll notice I've shortened my terribly long brake lines, and I've also swapped them so my right hand operates the front and the left my rear brake - the same as just about every two wheeled vehicle in the world except North American bicycles. I can't say if it was just my tune-up on the brakes or the lever/hand orientation, but I felt my control was better than ever. Certainly remembering not to grab a handful of front brake was easier than I thought, if perhaps only because of the inevitable outcome if I had. I'll keep trying this out for now on the Trek, but if I like it enough I'll switch on all my bikes. The thought of re-taping bars will hold me off that for the time being however...

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