Houffalize World Cup live

This coming weekend, you can follow the Houffalize XCO World Cup live, right here on dan.gerous.net... The women and men's races will be on sunday, at 10H45 and 14h30 local Belgium time, that's 4H45 AM and 8H30 AM eastern daylight's saving time.

I'm posting this just for you guys, I wont watch the races unfortunatly. With my imminent moving and the associated cleaning, painting, fixing, boxing and the rest, my training is sadly on the back burner these days, I try to do the week's longest rides on saturdays but I can't this week so I'll probably ride sunday instead. I try to squeeze some short trainings on weeknights but it's proving to be difficult these days... I haven't even finished rebuilding my Scalpel for the season yet!


Picture of the day

During the men's World Cup race in Offenburg last sunday... Julien Absalon did his thing and won his 18th World Cup, breaking the venerable Frishi's 17 wins record. Race notes, Kabush was again the best North American in 9th, Sauser crashed and broke his frame, XX brakes and rear wheel (that's quite a crash), Roel and Fontana came in 7th and 8th and José didn't finish...

In the women's race, Ren Chengyuan reminded us that even with the Beijing Olympics behind, the Chinese are still into the sport. She won with impressive strength. It was also Marie-Hélène Prémont's first race of the year and starting from way back, finished 14th, the worst placing from her in years. Young canadian Emily Batty impressed many by taking her make-up and beads to a 10th place and the U23 win. Next week, round three in Houffalize...


New Lefty on the way?

As seen at Sea Otter and reported in mba, here is a new Lefty with 3D forged uppers that are made of a single piece of metal, upper tube and clamps... That means stiffer, lighter and superb looking! Do I smell a carbon version on it's way too?


VVM is coming...

We are currently working on a Grand mountain biking project in the Eastern Townships... Stay tuned.


The Lefty advantage

For those who don't already know about the superiority of a Lefty, take a look at this...


On track with one month to go

That's the look of someone who doesn't know yet but has a non-working front derailleur... stuck in the big ring... and in about three to five minutes, he will be riding up a long dirt road climb that's pretty steep with a part reaching a 15.1% gradient... No walking.

Yes that's me yesterday as I was preparing for part deux of a training ride with the President... Pretty good ride, the 100% big ring was perfect for the plan of the day: ride/climb hard, attack, be aggressive, I'm quite pleased with how it went. Maybe not having the choice to ride on the big ring, getting chased by nasty dogs or trying to test myself against a rider that's strong as a spitting bull all contributed to motivate me to ride hard... Whatever it is, I'm getting there to hopefully be ready for the first races in about a month. We got lucky and had nice temperatures, some sun even though we were supposed to get some rain and finished off with a beer in the spa... Now that's training in fine style! After some hard training comes the well deserved rest and recovery, that's the plan for the coming week...


Roel chases Martin

Want to see what it's like to ride as a Marathon World Champion and 57 times Belgian Champion chasing a mad Swiss on a training ride? Helmet cam from Roel Paulissen chasing Martin Gujan on the World Cup XC course in Pietermaritzburg.

I feel reeeeaalllyyyyy sssslloooowww nooooww...


Easter training, take 2

With a nice sun on friday, I decided to hop onto the cyclocross bike and do a short hilly training ride on various surfaces: pavement, gravel, dirt. After about 45-50 minutes of semi-aggressive riding, I noticed the rear tire felt a bit too wobbly... A slow leak. And I didn't brought anything to fix a flat, stupid I know, I'm too used to ride tubeless setups so flats are a very rare thing. I had to stop at a bike shop to top off the tire on my way home then managed to ride all the way home.

So Saturday I really needed to ride. I was going for a mountain bike ride but an unplanned lunch with my parents who were in town left me with too little time to drive out of the city... So after putting a new tube and tire on the cross bike, I went for more of the same, try to hit the most climbs possible nearby, did parts of the Montreal Women's World Cup road loop, some little climbs around it, the dirt road on Mont-Royal...

I really have not slept enough lately and I didn't feel too energized before I started. As I went though, I felt okay. I even managed to have some little uphill races with some roadies, I was closing long gaps on windy straights, did some attacks, out of the saddle... a little bit of everything and I was going not bad at all, surprising given I have let myself go lately with the training. I'm not up to the level I'd like to be but I could be much worse. But with races approaching, I should try to be more consistent (could be getting harder with an imminent moving), maybe look for group rides in the area to force myself to push it harder, longer... Anybody knows of non-snob group road rides in Montreal?


Picture of the day

On the XC World Cup course in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. You can watch the racing on Freecaster or Universal Bike Racing starting tomorrow. Be on the lookout, I saw several bikes with the upcoming SRAM X.X parts...


Crank Bros. Lefty wheels

I'm all in favor of having more options so, while I would never buy the Crank Brothers wheels (not light, expensive, so-so rear hubs and quite ugly on top of it), some might want the funky wheels on their Lefty equipped bikes... Well, here they come, also available in a slightly less dorky silver.

3, 2, 1, Action!

Are the three Cannondale Factory Racing team members ready to race against the world's top racers? The first World Cup of the year is this weekend...


Picture of the day

And they're back at it, the World Cup circus is gathering in South Africa for the first round of the year. Irina finished 2nd on her first race this year at the South African National Cup's fourth round. The small russian should be battling with the best all season long if she can stay healthy this year.


Picture of the day

Marco Aurelio Fontana... The Cannondale Factory Racing team are doing the last preparations before the real race season starts, that's next week for the World Cup opener in South Africa.


New stuff for 09

After the scariest April 1st I ever experienced, I decided I prefer human powered two-wheelers. So a burning Ducati in a ditch and a shady deal in a dark alley later and all my bikes are back. They are not the only things to be back though: spring, longer days, warmer air and the occasional cyclists that ride against the traffic are here and they all remind us that cycling's true season is just around the corner. The time is perfect for the yearly upgrades and pre-season maintenance on the bikes. I'll try not to get any other bikes this year but the Scalpel is being treated to a few upgrades, just a few tweaks to hopefully make an incredibly good bike a tad better.

I already installed a new saddle over the winter but it's a very minor change. I went from a black Selle Italia SLR XC to a white SLR XC Gel Flow. The Gel Flow version has a bit thicker gel padding and a hole in the middle so weight is the same. The reason for that upgrade was that my butt loves the SLR saddle and I wanted another one for my cross bike and found the white Gel Flow at a great price. Since the white didn't match my cross bike but looks pretty nice on the Scalpel, I put the black one from last year on the cross bike so everything looks nice and my butt is happy on both bikes.

I have also a race wheelset that I actually got last summer but not in time for my last race so it's still in it's boxes. They're super light Notubes Race 7000 wheels (subtly branded as Cannondale, Notubes decals and graphics look very cheap) that make Crossmax SLR feel like anchors. Combined with the use of regular tires instead of UST, it makes a wheelset that's a whopping 720 grams lighter, that's more than 1.5 lbs of rotating weight. These will only be used for racing since they are probably not as bombproof as the Mavic wheels with UST tires.

Both wheelsets will be fitted with lighter brake rotors too, the new Formula R1 with red alloy carriers will match the Notubes wheels red nipples and the Mavic red hubs and spokes... along with the multiple red anodized parts throughout the bike on the crankset, shock and Lefty rebound knobs... Color matching is nice but it's only a bonus, the braking duties will be handled by the Formula R1 brakes. Pretty impressive brakes, very light, nicely designed and hopefully, great performance to match. I have only good things to say about Formula brakes so far, hopefully, their new XC model keeps the trend of excellence going. I started to install them this past weekend, the hoses are more fexible than the way too stiff ones of the Puros and the rear brake install and alignement went fast and easy. The front one was a little bit more tricky. I'm not sure if it's an out of specs IS adaptor or if the pads are not in right but the inside pad hits the rotor's rivets... Very odd as everything is stock Formula. I put some shims between the adaptor and the caliper and it seems to have done the trick but I have yet to fine tune the alignement, I'll look into it more this week when I have some time to do so.

New BB30 bearings will also be installed soon, I'm trying the Enduro Ceramics, hoping they will be durable. While the cranks are off, I'll also be switching the Hollowgram SL spider. Right now I have a very old and slightly crooked triple 5-bolt spider, I'll put a current double one that will reduce the chainline by a microscopic amount, the big chainring will now sit very close to the chainstay but it should make the whole cassette usable when on the big ring even better with the narrow crank spindle.

The last upgrade will make a few fellow blogging cyclists smile: a pair of Ergon grips. I have the weight weenie sickness to some degree and Ergon grips are probably the heaviest grips around so I have been resisting even trying them but I recently put my hands on a pair on a friend's bike... The comfort they provide should be appreciated to the point where the added weight might not be all that important. Plus, the weight dropped by using the R1 brakes offsets it.

I also like the nicely integrated bar-ends some models feature. I like riding my cross and road bikes on the hoods a lot, seems like a better hand position to help pulling to put more torque when sprinting and power climbing, plus it feels better on steep long climbs to shift the upper body's weight forward so there it goes, Ergon. I have a pair of GX2 on my way that I'll cut to use with my Grip Shifts. Yes I know they make some models especially for Grip Shifts but the GX serie is lighter and I find the Grip Shift specific models a bit too narrow, I like a bit more space as I move my hands around a lot when I ride. With bar-ends especially, my hands can feel too trapped so I prefer to cut them to my own width.

Other things going in Ergon's favor: along with Crank Brothers, they have one of the nicest logo of the industry and the company has great support: support for their consumers, support for racers and support for race organisers. If Irina Kalentieva can win World Cups and World Championships with slightly hefty grips, I'm guessing I'll be fine with the few additional grams...


From an era to the next

This has been working in my head for some time now but I finally sealed the deal. I have sold all my bikes that were of any value (Prophet, Scalpel, 9-ball CX9, road bike...) to finance faster wheels... That's right, I'm done riding and racing bikes, sport is for youngsters and poor people anyway so I bought myself an italian steed! Take the kids and the elderlies inside, my name is Dan Gerous!