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23 OCT 2016

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Contents JULY-AUGUST 2016

30 52

ISSUE NO. 200 JULY • AUGUST | 2016

SPECIAL FEATURES 30 AUSTRALIANS ON TOUR

46

94

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

JULY • AUGUST 2016

The rolling hills around quaint villages around Bowral provide a scenic backdrop for this riding destination feature. Nat Bromhead spent a few days riding and taking in the sights of the Southern Highlands.

44 TALE FROM THE TOUR

58 LIFE ON THE OPEN ROAD

Ray English has seen more than a few Tours de France, but this tale is beyond even his years. Still the story of the 1926 Tour rider, Emile Brichard is unique and engaging.

Getting away from the everyday day grind can be just what you need from time to time. You might take your bike with you…or you might just take your bike! Steve Thomas has been a fan of bike packing for years and gives us some tips on how he does it.

46 RIO ROLL CALL The 31st Olympiad is upon us and beckoning elite athletes to Rio. Australia will send a strong contingent including world champion cyclists across many disciplines. Peter Maniaty takes a look at who’ll represent and rates their chances.

WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

62 BUNCH OF FIVES Peter Maniaty gets to know five of the Concorders.

PAGE 8

6

From the spectacular Mont Saint Michel to Paris this year’s peloton will cover 3,519km, visiting Spain Andorra and Switzerland along the way. Anthony Tan speculates on who will be the likely Australian contenders in this 103rd instance of the great race.

52 DESTINATION SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS


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Contents JULY-AUGUST 2016

58

98 78 THE FASTEST WAY TO IMPROVE YOUR CLIMBING Whether you’re an absolute mountain goat or velo-vertically challenged, you may well have untapped power that could speed your ascent. Coach David Heatley explains.

FUEL 84 IMMUNE TO TRAINING David O’Reilly discusses the impact of immune system meltdown and how to avoid it.

THE EDGE MASTERCLASS 66 HOTFOOT! Steve Hogg looks at the main contributing factors and what can be done to remedy the painful condition known as ‘hotfoot’.

88 BAND PRACTICE If you travel for work, often it’s not possible to take your bike. Sarah Hunter has some exercise routines that use lightweight and compact resistance bands that will help to keep you in shape if you can’t get out for a spin.

78

WORKSHOP 88 WHEEL CHOICES 101 In the first of a series of articles Michael Hanslip looks at the various options available for consideration around aftermarket wheel choice, from base components to application.

TEST LAB 94 96 98 100 102 104 108 112 116

Kask Mojito Campagnolo Shamal Ultra Suunto Ambit3 Fizik Volta R1 Blackburn Outpost Felt AR2 Fuji Gran Fondo 1.1 Bianchi Intenso Cube Attain GTC

OPINION 120 ON THE RIVET, with Endo

88

Fartlek

8

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

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WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

10 12 16 18

The Big Picture Editorial Local Hero – Michael Rogers Coach’s Corner – Bowral Classic 90km Training Plan

26

Top Gear

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The Big Picture l Alpe d'Huez IMAGE BY EAMON FITZPATRICK

10

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

JULY • AUGUST 2016

WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU


[[ The men who learn endurance, are they who call the whole world 'brother'. ]] – Charles Dickens

11


Off the Front BY GARY HUNT

Editor Gary Hunt – gary@bicyclingaustralia.com.au

Looking Forward

Production Coordinator Joanne Anstee joanne@bicyclingaustralia.com.au Art Director Ana Heraud – aheraud@yaffa.com.au

© NAT BROMHEAD

Graphic Designer Amber Hardwick amber@bicyclingaustralia.com.au

I

T’S HERE AGAIN. WINTER’S

chilly embrace and lengthy darkness returned to our neck of the woods suddenly after a seemingly endless summer. Mornings, despite the cold are a great time to ride, jump-starting your metabolism and energising you for the day ahead. An early ride can serve as some crucial time alone to process your thoughts and resolve feelings, motivation and direction. But if you’re finding it too cold, there’s still time to harden up—or get yourself some kit; base layer, arm warmers, gilet, jacket, or tights to ward off the elements and get out there. Our southern hemisphere winter also brings the Tour de France, the annual jaune coloured spur to get you moving…there’s nothing like a 2am stage finish then being up for a morning ride at 5:30! Or if you need something a little more tangible there’s also the lure of events in the Spring. Best put in 12

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

JULY • AUGUST 2016

the hard yards now so you're not under-gunned come October. Ahhh Winter: easy to say, but it's a good time to get body and bike ready for next season’s action. While on the subject of bikes and events, has the disc rotor brouhaha affected you? While we wait on the UCI for further developments on the trial of disc brakes in racing circles, the WFSGI report into Ventoso’s injury concluded it was most likely caused by a chainring not a rotor. Regardless of this finding there is still much concern in the peloton and broader cycling public about the safety of the new equipment. It would seem there is room for improvement to make rotors safer by rounding the profiles to prevent lacerations in a crash. If the trial is to be reinstated the rounded rotor profiles will probably be the way back. While local club race events will almost universally follow the UCI lead and disallow discs for the time being, you might have heard some concerns about using your disc brake equipped bike in sportive events. There was some rapid action by event organisers in France to ban the use of such bikes after the disc trial was paused, a move which had some riders withdrawing (and possibly others joining!) Here in Australia the major events like the Peaks series and Bowral Classic will allow discs to be used, but it is up to the organiser, so it’s worth asking the question. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy this issue of Bicycling Australia. See you on the road.

WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

Photography Tim De Waele, Steve Thomas, Eamon Fitzpatrick, Nat Bromhead, Sirotti, Sarah Hunter Illustrator Matt Bryant – www.brypro.blogspot.com Contributors Steve Thomas, Pat Howard, David O'Reilly, Peter Maniaty, Mike Humphries, Michael de Wall, Michael Hanslip, David Heatley, Sarah Hunter, Steve Hogg, Ray English, Anthony Tan, Nat Bromhead Proof Readers Jody David Advertising Sales Manager Ben Chand ben@bicyclingaustralia.com.au Executive Publisher James Yaffa Publisher Yaffa Media Pty Ltd PO Box 218, Port Kembla NSW 2505 Australia

Editorial Phone (02) 4274 4884 Editorial Email editorial@bicyclingaustralia.com.au Editorial Fax (02) 4274 0988 Subscriptions subs@bicyclingaustralia.com.au Online subscriptions www.bicyclingaustralia.com.au Freecall 1800 061 577 Phone (02) 4274 4884 Fax (02) 4274 0988

Distribution Australia: Gordon and Gotch New Zealand: Gordon and Gotch Publication Dates Bicycling Australia is published six times a year in January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December. Copyright © 2016 ISSN No 1034-8085 Editorial contributions are welcome. Please send to: editorial@bicyclingaustralia.com.au Publisher’s Note This magazine is dedicated to the glory of God. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

www.acfonline.org.au

Bicycling Australia/Mountain Biking Australia is proud to be a member of the Australian Conservation Foundation

Material in this publication may not be reproduced without permission. While the publishers have taken all reasonable precautions and made all reasonable effort to ensure the accuracy of material contained in this publication, it is a condition of purchase of this magazine that the publisher does not assume any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage which may result from any inaccuracy or omission in this publication, or from the use of the information contained herein and the publishers make no warranties, express or implied, with respect to any of the material contained herein. Bicycling Australia is a Supporter of the Cycling Promotion Fund

GARY HUNT – EDITOR

*Bicycling Australia and the Cycling Kangaroo logo are Trade marks of Yaffa Publishing Group


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Local Hero BY PETER MANIATY

© TIM DE WAELE

TOP CAPTION: One of Rogers' finest moments; claiming a famous victory atop the mighty Zoncolan in stage 20 of the 2014 Giro.

Mick ‘Dodger’ Rogers 2016 WAS ALREADY SET TO BE MICHAEL ROGERS’ FINAL SEASON ON THE UCI WORLD TOUR. HOWEVER ESCALATING HEART PROBLEMS SAW THE MAN THEY CALL ‘DODGER’ ANNOUNCE HIS IMMEDIATE RETIREMENT IN APRIL, AGED 36.

T

HE YOUNGEST OF THREE

14

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

JULY • AUGUST 2016

cyclists of the modern era. In 1988 the Rogers family moved to Canberra and Michael’s first major representative honours came in 1993 when, still just 13, he was chosen to represent the ACT at the National Track Championships; a team that also included older brother Dean and Matthew Hayman. In 1994 Rogers claimed his first National title in the U17 time trial before returning in 1995 to become only the second rider to claim consecutive National junior time trial titles, the first being Brad McGee. By now Rogers was training twice a day, seven days a week. As he explained to The Canberra Times it was a schedule that left little time or energy for school. At the still-tender age of 16 Rogers moved to Adelaide to train under the guidance of Charlie Walsh. Success kept WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

coming. Between 1996 and 1998 he won multiple Junior World and National Championships and Commonwealth Games Gold on the boards, before making the inevitable switch to the road. Rogers medalled in the time trial at consecutive U23 World Championships in 1999 and 2000. Earlier the same year Rogers claimed Stage 2 of the Tour Down Under for United Water-AIS (now Team UniSA). It was their maiden stage win. The cycling world was taking notice and by the end of 2000 Rogers had linked with the all-conquering Italian squad, Mapei-Quickstep, joining at the same time as a 19-year old Fabian Cancellara. Rogers remained with Mapei for its final three seasons in pro cycling, achieving modest success and invaluable experience. It was also with Mapei he was first diagnosed with the congenital

brothers, Michael Rogers was born in the Western Riverina town of Barham, NSW on 20 December 1979. While by no means a cycling family at the time, the Rogers household certainly became one after their father Ian began riding to work when the family moved to Griffith. Ian tried his hand at racing and before long all three sons followed suit with Michael first turning the pedals at the age of seven. Cycling quickly became an obsession. “During my early teens my mind was solely occupied with pro cycling,” Rogers recalled. All three Rogers boys showed considerable talent and each would go on to represent Australia. But it was the youngest Rogers whose star shone brightest, as Michael became one of Australia’s most accomplished

heart condition that would shadow his career. When Mapei left cycling at the end of 2002, Rogers followed Patrick Lefevere to the newlyformed Quickstep-Davitamon team. He made quite an impression becoming the first rider in history to win the World Time Trial Championship in three consecutive years from 2003-2005. Rogers originally finished second in 2003 but was elevated after the winner, David Millar, was rubbed out for doping. It led to the curious situation of Rogers receiving his 2003 rainbow jersey and gold medal at the 2004 World Championships – which he also won – thus seeing the Aussie presented with two gold medals on the same day. In 2006 Rogers joined the T-Mobile squad led by Germany’s Jan Ullrich, who would be sensationally sacked mid-season in connection with the Operación Puerto scandal. The maturing Rogers seemed largely unfazed, finishing in the top 10 on three separate stages of the Tour de France en route to ninth overall in Paris. Significant roster changes saw Rogers joined by an exciting group of emerging riders in 2007, including Mark Cavendish, Adam Hansen and Bernie Eisel. Rogers carried good form into the 2007 Tour de France and rode himself into the virtual yellow jersey position on Stage 8, only to crash out on the descent into Bourg-St-Maurice. “We were over there at the time,” remembered his father, Ian. “It felt like the world had come to an end.” Rogers missed almost eight months and by the time he returned to racing in 2008, T-Mobile had morphed into Team Columbia under the new ownership of American Bob Stapleton. Frustratingly he placed in the PAGE 16 top 10 in both


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Local Hero

LEFT: Rogers has continued working behind the scenes with Tinkoff for the time being, shown here at the 2016 Giro.

MICHAEL ROGERS (Selected results) 1994 1st - U17 National TT 1995 1st - U17 National TT

© TIM DE WAELE

PALMARES

1997 1st - Team Pursuit Jr World Track Champ 1st - Points Race Junior World Track Champ AIS Jr Athlete of the Year 1998 1st - Comm. Games 20km Scratch Race 1st - Ind. Pursuit National Track Champ 2000 1st - Tour Down Under S2 2002 1st - Tour Down Under 1st - Tour Down Under S2 2003 1st – World Champ. TT 2004 1st – World Champ. TT 2005 1st – World Champ TT 2006 9th - Tour de France GC 2007 2nd - Volta a Catalunya 2008 3rd - Eneco Tour GC 5th - Olympic Road Race 2009 1st - National Time Trial Championships 3rd - Tour of California 6th - Giro d’Italia GC 1st - Stage 1 Giro d’Italia 2010 1st - Tour of California 1st - Vuelta a Andalucía 2nd - Crit International 3rd - Strade Bianche 3rd - Tour de Romandie 2012 1st - Bayern-Rundfarth 2nd - Crit du Dauphiné 3rd - Crit International 4th - Tour Down Under 2013 2nd - Tour of California 2014 1st - Stage 11 Giro d’Italia 1st - Stage 20 Giro d’Italia 1st - Stage 16 TdF

16

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

JULY • AUGUST 2016

to resume racing. This was just as well, for 2014 would be arguably the most productive of his career – delivering not just one but three individual Grand Tour stage wins. First, Rogers claimed two stages at the 2014 Giro d’Italia including Stage 20 atop the famed Zoncolan. Soon after he was back in action at the Tour de France. When team leader Alberto Contador abandoned with a broken tibia on Stage 10, Rogers helped to salvage Tinkoff-Saxo’s race claiming a famous victory in the Pyrenees, theatrically bowing to the crowd as he crossed the summit finish line. The curtain was beginning to close and 2015 would be Rogers’ last full season as a professional.

[[ by the end of 2000 Rogers had linked with the all-conquering Italian squad, Mapei-Quickstep, joining at the same time as a 19-year old Fabian Cancellara. ]] road events at the Beijing Olympics, but failed to start in any of the year’s Grand Tours with his season largely railroaded by a virus. The following year delivered several strong results including the highest Grand Tour placing of Rogers’ career, sixth at the Giro d’Italia. 2010 was even better with multiple top ten rides and first in the Tour of California. In late 2010 David Brailsford came calling and Rogers switched to the ambitious Team Sky for the next two seasons. His second year with the Brits was considerably more fruitful than the first, with Rogers finishing fifth at Romandie, winning overall at Bayern-Rundfahrt, claiming second at the Critérium du Dauphiné before playing super domestique as Brad Wiggins secured an historic win at the 2012 Tour de France. Rogers then surprised many by linking with SaxoTinkoff from 2013. At the time his move was considered controversial given Team Sky’s newly-stated zero tolerance WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

doping policy and his past links with disgraced Italian doctor, Michele Ferrari. Rogers vehemently denied ever using performance-enhancing substances. All the same his critics were given new ammunition in October 2013 when he was provisionally suspended after testing positive for clenbuterol at the Japan Cup. Rogers always maintained his innocence and was deeply aggrieved, most notably with former Cycling Australia CEO Adrian Anderson who publicly announced support for the maximum sanctions if Rogers was proven guilty of doping. As things turned out he wasn’t. “Upon careful analysis…the UCI found there was a significant probability the presence of clenbuterol may have resulted from the consumption of contaminated meat from China, where he [Rogers] had taken part in a race before traveling to Japan,” the UCI announced in April 2014. “As a result…he should not be sanctioned any further.” Rogers was immediately free

Perhaps fittingly his two highest placings came in team time trials; second on Stage 1 of the Giro and fourth on Stage 9 of the Tour. The year ended with the announcement that heart concerns would force Rogers to delay the start of his 2016 season. He returned for Tinkoff at the Dubai Tour in February, but was forced to withdraw after just two stages with subsequent cardiac examinations revealing occurrences of heart arrhythmia. Rogers announced his official retirement in April. “All great dreams eventually come to an end,” explained Rogers in a public statement. “Today it’s time to conclude mine by announcing my retirement from racing. Whilst I’m disappointed to miss my 13th Tour de France...I’m not prepared to put my health in jeopardy.” In his 16 years as a professional Michael Rogers enjoyed a career Phil Anderson suggested “any top cyclist would be envious of.” He lives in Mendrisio, Switzerland with his wife, Alessia, and three daughters.


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Bowral Classic Training Plan 2 A LITTLE STRUCTURE IN YOUR TRAINING CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE TO YOUR RESULTS. MICHAEL HANSLIP HAS DEVISED A FOUR MONTH PLAN FOR RIDES OF AROUND 90KM.

18

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

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WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU


Coach’s Corner BY MICHAEL HANSLIP

T

HIS IS THE SECOND OF

three articles intended to assist readers in preparing for the Bowral Classic Gran Fondo in October. If you missed part 1, I discussed what is a Gran Fondo and provided a six month program for those taking on the full distance of 160 km. You might want to track that article down and read it, but rest assured this article will stand on its own. That first article focussed on the 160 km ride because pretty much any rider with enough ambition to start training for the ride from six months out is ambitious enough to tackle the full route. This instalment will focus on the 90 km ride because there are now four months to go until the big day and many of the recently committed will not be wanting to take on 160 km.

90K PREP While you might want to treat this event like a race, the reality is that most people are participating to have a nice ride on their bike in the company of many other cyclists. To this end, the training program I have put together for you is not one designed to optimise your finishing spot; rather it is to make sure you have a pleasant day and get to the end without struggling (too much!). This plan works with two weekday morning sessions and two weekend sessions. As presented those weekday rides are Wednesday and Thursday for several reasons. If the weekend leaves you feeling a bit weary in the legs, then having two days off will maximise your recovery. Even if it doesn’t leave you too tired, you’ll still have fresher legs on Wednesday. Putting the climbing repeat after the climbing interval maximises the effectiveness of the CR. Friday is another

TOP : There's room for you to integrate your regular weekend bunch ride into the training plan. BELOW: Make sure you do your turn in the wind James! 19


Coach’s Corner

[[ ... 90 km in a fast bunch on the flat might take two hours, but the same distance solo, in hilly terrain might well take more than twice as long... ]]

ABOVE: Riding a big event means you'll be able to tag onto passing trains, but time in the wind during training will pay off. TOP LEFT: Be sure to include food and drink management in your training . TOP RIGHT: Follow the drills here and you'll be riding your mates off your wheel! 20

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

JULY • AUGUST 2016

WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

day off in order to feel good for the big ride of the week – the Saturday ride. Sunday’s ride is considerably shorter than Saturdays – backing up with a second ride will more quickly build some endurance in those legs without going over the top in the process. The two weekday rides run around one hour each, depending on how far it is to your local appropriate hill. The reality is that they are based on the number of efforts done in each session so you can shorten or lengthen either with less (or more) warm up and cool down. The weekend rides are intended to build you up to the 90 km distance, and so they are distance based. Riding 90 km in a fast bunch on flat terrain might take two hours, but riding the same distance solo in hilly terrain might well take more than twice as long. Remember that the Bowral area, and course, are quite hilly – it pays to do a lot of your weekend riding on hills if you can.

TIME TO RIDE As with any training program,

the real key to getting the most out of it is consistency of performance. Stick to the schedule and you’ll find your riding progressing nicely. Drop the odd session here and there and it quickly adds up. Having said that, as long as you complete the longer Saturday rides each week you should have little trouble completing the Bowral Classic 90 because the Saturday rides build up to the same distance; 90 km.

THE DRILLS CI = Climbing Interval. The hill you choose should not be so steep as to prevent a high cadence in your lowest gear – so a really shallow slope will often do fine. It should be long enough that you do not reach the top in less than five minutes. Each time you do this drill your first run up the hill determines your target for this week. Go for 4:45 and that is your target location. Turn around and roll down, take about 5 minutes easy pedalling in total before you start again. Second and subsequent times up the hill your aim is to get to that target


Coach’s Corner

spot before 5 minutes have elapsed. Keep repeating it until it takes longer than 5 minutes (5:01 is failure, 4:59 means do another one – if you manage 5:00 it is your call). Warm-up is critical for this drill. CR = Climbing Repeat (# of repeats). This might be the same hill as for CI, or a different one. This hill should take at least 10 minutes to achieve the summit and it can be considerably steeper than the CI hill. Select the gear that, seated and with good form, your best effort finds you pedalling around 60 rpm. Ascent should take around 10-14 minutes but not much longer. Pick a landmark and go to that point every session (making it easy to track your progress). FT = Field Test. Once per cycle you will go out and ride a time trial over a 5 km course. Try to pick something that is relatively flat, has no traffic that could impede your progress (and no traffic lights!) and one where it is fairly easy to go back to the start because you will do it twice (warm up, ride the 5 km course, get back to the start promptly, ride it again, cool down). As a minimum time yourself and observe how you

MICHAEL HANSLIP

Michael Hanslip is an avid cyclist (road, track, XC and DH, commuter and tandem), former professional bike mechanic and a level 2 cycle coach. He has written about 100 articles for aussie bike magazines since moving to Canberra 20 years ago. Find out more at www. michaelhanslip.com

improve. The problem is wind. A good ride on a bad day can be much slower than a mediocre ride on a good day. Ideally you will determine your average heart rate over the course or even average power – and watching these improve is much more “real” than the total time taken. R = recovery (minutes). Recovery rides are active recovery, which means you want to get your heart rate up enough to provide good blood supply to the tired muscles but keep the heart rate below the point where it starts to produce

new fatigue. This is between 60 and 70% of your Field Test heart rate (or power) average, or not so hard that you are unable to sing as you ride. Weekend rides (km). The two weekend rides are based on distance. The important thing is to achieve these distances (there is no target effort) but ideally do these in the endurance building zone. This is between 70 and 88% of your Field Test heart rate (or power) average, or hard enough that you cannot sing but not so hard that you cannot speak in short phrases.

90K PLAN CYCLE STARTING 4-Jul

1

2

3

4

22

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

MON

TUE

WED

THU

FRI

SAT

SUN

Off

Off

CI

CR x2

Off

40

20

WEEK COUNT 1

1 2

11-Jul

Off

Off

CI

CR x2

Off

50

25

2

18-Jul

Off

Off

CI

CR x3

Off

60

30

3

3

25-Jul

Off

Off

FT

R60

Off

40

20

R

4

1-Aug

Off

Off

CI

CR x2

Off

50

20

1

5

8-Aug

Off

Off

CI

CR x3

Off

60

25

2

6

15-Aug

Off

Off

CI

CR x3

Off

70

30

3

7

22-Aug

Off

Off

FT

R60

Off

40

20

R

8

29-Aug

Off

Off

CI

CR x2

Off

60

20

1

9

5-Sep

Off

Off

CI

CR x3

Off

70

25

2

10

12-Sep

Off

Off

CI

CR x4

Off

80

30

3

11

19-Sep

Off

Off

FT

R60

Off

40

20

R

12

26-Sep

Off

Off

CI

CR x3

Off

70

20

1

13

3-Oct

Off

Off

CI

CR x3

Off

80

25

2

14

10-Oct

Off

Off

CI

CR x4

Off

90

30

3

15

17-Oct

Off

Off

R60

Off

ride 2hrs

easy ride

EVENT

0

16

JULY • AUGUST 2016

WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU


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DISTRIBUTED IN AUSTRALIA BY SOLA SPORT Pty Ltd To find your nearset dealer contcat us on info@solasport.com.au

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Top Gear ESSENTIAL STUFF

Top Gear A SELECTION OF INTERESTING ITEMS THAT CAUGHT OUR EYE ... ▲

HOT SEATS Selle Italia has just released a few new saddle designs including the 175g SLR Nubuk; a sueded vintage version of a current favourite with lightweight 7mm titanium tube rails. It would be a suitable addition to a classic steel or ti frame. If you prefer a longer saddle with a perineal cut-out the Novus Superflow L might tickle your fancy. It’s a wider saddle too, at 146mm and again has 7mm ti tube rails to cut weight and add some shock absorption. The split design allows each side to flex independently of the other for a more comfortable ride, while the cover is tough and said to be easy to clean. RRP: Novus Superflow L $249.95, Nubuk SLR $239.95 www.cassons.com.au

SILVERLINE JACKET ▲

PACKING PROTECTION Offering a solution for safely packing frames and a wheels or multiple frames closely together (into a car boot or other storage scenario) Bopworx blocks and straps are made from soft rubber and are quick and easy to use. A couple of double-sided blocks will hold two frames firmly apart to prevent damaging clashes. There’s also a fork strut/stand to prevent the legs being crushed together and a rear derailleur protector as well. RRP: Bop Bumper - $29.50, Double Bumper - $55, Fork Guard - $79, Rear Derailleur Guard - $39.50 www.degrandi.com.au 26

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JULY • AUGUST 2016

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Summer has finally ended so warmer kit may be on your mind. The Giordana Silverline jacket’s fabric is designed to keep out moisture, and the high collar to keep out the cold. Excess body heat and perspiration on the other hand can escape through the side panels and armpits which have no impervious membrane. It has a three pocket back for ample storage, and some high visibility strips for low light safety. The Silverline comes in black, blue and fluoro green. It comes in sizes S - XXXL RRP: $239.99 www.velovita.com.au


WIFI DISCO W SCO SR RAM has staked a strong claim to be leader on thee groupset innovation front by adding hydraulic dissc braking to its wireless eTap groupset. The new braking development is compatible with current eTap deerailleurs but of course requires the new levers and braking hardware. The hoods have been redesigned to offer a slimmer, more ergonomic shape, and the new platform offers SRAM’s renowned Reach Adjust to suit the size of your hands and new, independent ontact Point Adjustment, to eliminate rotor drag. Co The hydraulic eTap groupset will be available in Occtober 2016. RR RP: $TBA ww ww.sram.com

ULTIMA WHEELS FIT TO PERFORM

NEW NITEFLUX

Shimano’s top Road Performance shoe, the RP9 has been designed for comfort and efficiency. The heat moldable Custom-fit Technology used in the upper and insole ensures a comfortable, performanceenhancing fit. This includes capacity to accommodate various instep heights, and sizes out to an E width, plus they have strategically placed vents to allow good airflow. On the performance side, the last is a woven carbon fibre composite structure for good stiffness and power efficiency. RRP: $329 www.shimano.com

Craftworx, based in Brisbane has designed a new carbon wheelset featuring attractive design and some innovative proprietary advancements. They’ve introduced noise-reduction technology, reinforced valve holes and a highly wear-resistant brake track surface. There are three ‘Ultima’ rim profiles including 28mm, 38mm and 50mm depths which incorporate Craftworx anodised hubs or DT Swiss 240s, Sapim race spokes and either stainless steel or titanium skewers. The Ultima range will be landing in Australia soon. RRP: from $1,899 www.craftworx.com.au

Now with a crazy bright 500 Lumens, and an IP67 dust and water proof rating, the entirely clear poly carbonate construction of the Red Zone 8 allows dazzling 360 degree illumination. The light has a fuel gauge to indicate battery level and there are 3D printed saddle rail mounts available to suit. RRP: $149.90 www.fullbeam.com.au

27


Top Gear ESSEN N TIAL STUFF

CHAIN GANG FSA’s p premium,, K-Force Light g 10 and 11 speed p chains are said to be very durable, quiet and efficient, and provide an attractive aftermarket option for drivetrain maintenance and repair. Both versions have 116 links before fitting and are 5.85 and 5.6mm wide respectively and compatible with Shimano and Campagnolo drivetrains. To minimise weight each nickel plated link is slotted and pivots on hollow pins. The 10 speed weighs 250g while the narrower 11 speed is just slightly less at 246g. The FSA 9, 10 and 11 speed Team Issue chains also deliver smooth, quiet shifting though they are slightly heavier and have a black and nickel finish. RRP: K-Force 10sp $89.95, 11sp $99.95 Team Issue 9sp $29.95, 10sp $44.95, 11sp $49.95 www.cassons.com.au

FUNKY SOCKS Versus Socks offers a small range of simple designs, but it’s their Funky line that grabs the attention. The South African company’s Banana sock was an instant hit, which inspired the new Jellybean design. And don’t worry; the all-important sock height is generous and just right. Expect to see more tasty culinary-themed footwear from Versus Socks in the near future. RRP: $20-25 www.leadoutsports.com

900 LUMEN GLOWORM Incorporating custom replaceable lenses to produce a flood, mix or spot beam, the 900 lumen Gloworm CX Urban is an impressive light. It’s a very bright and compact unit with two LED drivers. It’s also very simple to operate, unlike some other ‘smart’ lights. Mounting is via a Garmin compatible bayonet mount, so it’s very quick release for security, and it also has a removable remote switch. The alloy body is chunky, though itt weighs just 200g. A very handy feature of the Gloworm is thaat the light can be used as an external battery to recharge yourr phone or GPS. RRP: $219 www.bicyclepeddler.com.au

VELOCHEF OOK Cyclists love to eat so this is the perfect bookk for cy cyclists everywhere. Velochef is a package of healthy, delicious recipes for those who love to ride - from the man who cooks for professional cyclists around the world! Velochef is a recipe book developed with cyclists in mind by Henrik Orre, chef for Team Sky Procycling. The book includes 80 recipes through 200 pages that are ideal fuel for before the race, recovering afterwards, and even during your adventure. RRP: $39.99 www.dymocks.com.au 28

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Distributed By Cassons Pty Ltd - AUSTRALIA P: +61(0)2 8882 1900 F: +61(0)2 8882 1999 E: enquiries@cassons.com.au W: www.cassons.com.au


AUSTRALIANS ON TOUR NATURALLY, THERE ARE MORE RIDERS FROM THE LAND DOWN UNDER AT ORICA-GREENEDGE THAN ANY OTHER OUTFIT - BUT THERE'S EVEN MORE SPREAD ACROSS THE REMAINING 21 TEAMS AT THIS YEAR’S TOUR. ANTHONY TAN PREVIEWS THE AUSTRALIANS WHO'LL MOST LIKELY BE AT THE GRAND DÉPART FROM MONT ST-MICHEL.

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Australian Riders in Le Tour BY ANTHONY TAN IMAGES BY TIM DE WAELE

31


[[ I’m not going to retire wondering what I could have done. BMC is that big opportunity for me to have that dedicated team, alongside Tejay, to see what we can do. ]] – Richie Porte

His team decided a few years back to become more GC oriented at the world’s biggest bike race, hedging their bets with Andrew Talansky, Ryder Hesjedal and Daniel Martin. But up against men like Contador, Froome and Quintana, the reality was the argyle clad team never really stood a chance of making the podium, let alone actually winning. And still don’t. Furthermore, Hesjedal has moved to Trek Factory Racing and Martin to Etixx-Quick Step, leaving Talansky, the pugnacious American they nickname ‘The Pit Bull’ (who finished 11th last year), and 2016 signing Pierre Rolland (10th overall in 2015) to take up the slack. In short, after once again realising pursuing anything more than a top ten a pipe dream, it leaves ample room for opportunists like Clarke to go in breakaways in search of a stage win. Team boss Jonathan Vaughters effusively described him as “the best road captain out there”; if that’s the case, it’s hard to see him not being selected on that basis alone.

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© SIROTTI

SIMON CLARKE (CANNONDALE)


Australian Riders in Le Tour

© SIROTTI

ROHAN DENNIS (BMC RACING) BMC Racing is not short on experience and it’ll be a massive ask just to make the nine-man cut. However the South Australian earned his place last year and proved as much in the first fortnight, particularly in the Stage 9 team time trial, which they won - thanks largely to him. This year there’s no TTT but that’s not to say Dennis, who finished second overall at the Tour of California, wouldn’t be a worthy asset in protecting and pacing team co-leaders Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen as they vie for a place on the Paris podium.

‘Turbo Durbo’ has been part of OGE’s Tour line-up the past two years and performed his domestique duties to a T, so if one were a betting man you’d say his inclusion for TdF#3 is a fait accompli, form permitting. A powerful rouleur, his role will be not dissimilar to that of Dennis at BMC, only his leaders are opportunists (think Simon Gerrans and the Yates brothers) or pseudo-sprinters (think Michael Matthews) rather than GC riders.

© SIROTTI

LUKE DURBRIDGE (ORICA-GREENEDGE)

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Australian Riders in Le Tour

SIMON GERRANS (ORICA-GREENEDGE)

© SIROTTI

After his 2015 annus horribilis where he developed a painful proclivity for falling off his bike, it was never going to be hard to better that. Things began well with a record fourth victory at the Tour Down Under, but come his perennial hunting ground at the Ardennes Classics, Gerrans fell short of the mark. He was co-leader with Michael Matthews at the Amstel Gold Race yet the rivalry between the pair - reaching fever pitch at last year’s road world championships in Richmond, USA - again proved the team’s undoing. With arguably the strongest team and two contenders it was OGE’s race to lose and they... well, lost. The following Sunday at Liège-BastogneLiège a blizzard saw a less aggressive finale than usual and large group enter the remaining three climbs, but when the blue touchpaper was finally lit on the penultimate Côte de Saint-Nicolas, Gerrans, this time the undisputed leader, went backwards. Michael Albasini, his lieutenant for the day, saved OGE’s Ardennes campaign with a fine second place to Wout Poels of Team Sky. By the time the Tour comes around Gerrans, now 36, and Matthews, 11 years his junior, will not have raced (and certainly not socialised) with each other since Amstel, yet it’s quite likely they will face a similar scenario at the Tour. Should both find themselves in a stage-winning position on the same day, quite clearly, OGE head sports director Matthew White will need to be more explicit in his instructions. Kids nowadays...

It hasn’t been the most auspicious start for DD’s new recruit (where he should have excelled, he floundered in a forgettable Ardennes campaign), so for Haas, selection will completely depend on his form in the month prior to Le Tour. In a talentstacked squad (but which team isn’t?), he’ll be pushing the proverbial uphill just to be included. Made it to Stage 17 last year on debut. Has he been spending too much time playing ‘Attack The Pack’, the card game he and two friends of his invented?!

© SIROTTI

NATHAN HAAS (DIMENSION DATA)

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ENQUIRIES - info@blueglobe.com.au or call 0411 969 154


Australian Riders in Le Tour

ADAM HANSEN (LOTTO-SOUDAL)

© SIROTTI

Of course he’ll be selected, even though he rode (and, naturally, completed) a gnarly Giro d’Italia a month beforehand. Of course he’ll work his butt off for leaders André Greipel and Tony Gallopin, as he’s always done. Of course he’ll serve up some outrageously funny, often self-deprecating, tweets throughout to his 70,000 followers, which tend to become funnier as he grows more fatigued. And of course he’ll make it to Paris some 3,519km after leaving Utrecht, thereby completing his 15th consecutive Grand Tour. Allez, Hanseeno!

HEINRICH HAUSSLER (IAM CYCLING)

© SIROTTI

Like Clarke and Hansen he’s already done the Giro, which could impact his form and consequently selection for the Tour - both in a positive and negative way. But like OricaGreenEDGE and Cannondale, the Swiss-registered IAM Cycling (who will fold by season’s end) will arrive en France with a coterie of opportunists and Haussler is that. It’s been seven years since his crowning moment, when he won the thirteenth stage to Colmar at the 2009 Tour, courtesy of a near200km breakaway with the last 40 done solo. In between it’s been lean pickings, a smattering of top results filling his palmarès - though aside from his national championship victory in 2015 not one to definitively say, ‘Yep, Heino’s back in biz’. Auspiciously, Haussler enjoyed his best Spring Classics campaign since ‘09 with top 10s at Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix; could he upset the apple cart again?

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MICHAEL MATTHEWS (ORICA-GREENEDGE)

© SIROTTI

OGE find themselves in the ostensibly enviable conundrum of having two sets of riders with similar qualities: Yates brothers Adam and Simon, and Simon Gerrans and Michael Matthews. While the Yates twins revel in each other’s company, Gerrans and Matthews wouldn’t be caught dead with each other unless it’s absolutely necessary - such as when both want to race the Tour de France. Gerrans, a bona fide performer in the big-time with two individual stage wins and a stint in the maillot jaune in 2013, has been their go-to guy at the Tour and rightly so. But since his switch to OGE in 2013, as Bling’s done his thing and racked up his share of Grand Tour stage wins (though none yet at the Tour) and turned podiums into victories, he’s very much seen as Gerrans’ heir apparent. Neither appears willing to work for the other - “We’re both winners; we both want to win a race when it comes down to it,” Matthews said after this year’s botched Amstel Gold Race. Yet, if they wish to avoid a repeat of Richmond and Amstel they must cooperate. Considering Gerrans’ past Tour results and previous experience - a veteran of 16 Grand Tours including nine Tours de France versus Matthews’ five Grand Tour starts and just the one Grande Boucle, having ridden his first only last July - odds are that deference will go to the Elder One. How that sits with Bling, we’ll have to wait and find out...

© SIROTTI

RICHIE PORTE (BMC RACING) “Richie’s addition to our roster for next year adds extra muscle and a wealth of experience,” BMC Racing manager, Jim Ochowicz, said in August last year, upon the inevitable news that the Tasmanian was leaving Team Sky. “It also gives us the chance to separate and/or unite our strategies and goals as we see fit throughout the season.” Three months later, at the first training camp in Alicante, Spain, that strategy was crystallised: Porte and Tejay van Garderen would be coleaders in July. To date, things have, from what we’ve seen and heard, gone very smoothly indeed, both dishing out the ‘two heads are better than one’ rhetoric whenever the subject of leadership is raised. “It’s good for Tejay to have me in the team but it’s also good for me to have Tejay,” Porte said. Van Garderen: “A lot of other teams will be nervous when they see a roster with both me and him (Porte) on it.” Granted, they’ve only raced together twice - at Catalunya and Romandie - but so far, their working relationship appears far more cordial and respectful than that between Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome at the 2012 Tour or Gerrans and Matthews since the Worlds in Richmond. Up against the might of Froome, Contador and Quintana, with both yet to crack the podium, perhaps a dual-pronged approach is the only way teams like BMC Racing can match, and maybe, just maybe, beat the three best Grand Tour riders of this generation. Said Porte: “I’m not going to retire wondering what I could have done. BMC is that big opportunity for me to have that dedicated team, alongside Tejay, to see what we can do.” So, let’s see, then...

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© SIROTTI

Australian Riders in Le Tour

CAMERON MEYER (DIMENSION DATA) It’s been three years since he last rode the Tour as a member of Orica-GreenEDGE, part of the winning team time trial formation on Stage 4 in Nice that saw previous stage winner Simon Gerrans inherit the Golden Fleece. Oodles of talent and excellent race craft but unsuited to the blokey culture that permeates OGE, Meyer’s had difficulty discovering exactly what type of rider he is. It’s likely he still doesn’t know - hence the reason for joining Dimension Data. However like OGE, DD is packed like sushi with talent and he’ll be doing bloody well just to make the final cut. 2013 was his Tour debut, so more than anything he needs experience before one can say he can win a stage. If selected, he’ll mostly be working for leaders Mark Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen. But on those other days, if he can learn the ropes from someone like canny Brit Steve Cummings, who has a pedigree not unlike his, then Cam might just stand a chance of making the right move. And from there anything’s possible.

He and Mark Cavendish were virtually unbeatable, nay inseparable, during the heady High Road days but the emergence of André Greipel, Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel meant those times under the backing of US telco billionaire Bob Stapleton must feel like a distant, if not fading, memory. For a few seasons Renshaw tried his hand at being the lead, not lead-out, guy; in short, not so good. And so in 2014 the boy from Bathurst went back to doing what he knew best: leading out Cav’ in the sprints. In the meantime, however, Greipel has built a train to match - and beat - the Quick Step Express; Kittel has been reinstated as King of the Sprint; and Sagan’s versatility has allowed him to take a stranglehold on the maillot vert (green jersey), owning it from 2012-15. Don’t get us wrong: Cavendish, thanks in no small part to Renshaw, still won 10 races in 2014 and 13 last year - a hugely successful season by almost anyone’s standards except perhaps his own. The Manxman famously crashed out of the 2014 Tour in Sheffield and nabbed just the one last year, Stage 7 in Fougères, which took his tally to 26. This year and with a new team the plan was to do the Tour then literally switch tracks at Rio, but with his place in the Omnium far from assured it may just be the former - and if that is the case then he and Renshaw must rediscover that lovin’ feeling. @anthony_tan

© SIROTTI

MARK RENSHAW (DIMENSION DATA)

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Australian Riders in Le Tour

© ASO

[[ 21 stages, 9 mountain stages, two individual time trial stages, and a total distance of 3,519km ]]

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BELOW RIGHT: Four of the likely contenders for sprint glory Sagan, Kristoff, Degenkolb, and Greipel.


041414BBO/BA

IMAGINE PLAY BUILD

info@bikebox.com.au


Australian Riders in Le Tour TOUR DE FRANCE 2016

TOP: Turbo Durbo will be hoping for a strong performance in the two ITT stages.

MAIN IMAGE: Froome looked strong in the Dauphine; will we see a repeat of last year in Paris?

ABOVE: Dieter Senft, AKA El Diablo, has been cavorting on the slopes of the Tour since 1993. Rumours of retirement post the 2014 race proved unfounded and he returned in full flight last year.

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STAGE 1

July 2

88 km

Mont-Saint-Michel / Utah Beach

STAGE 2

July 3

183 km

Saint-Lô / Cherbourg-en-Cotentin

STAGE 3

July 4

223.5 km

Granville / Angers

STAGE 4

July 5

237.5 km

Saumur / Limoges

STAGE 5

July 6

216 km

Limoges / Le Lioran

STAGE 6

July 7

190.5 km

Arpajon-sur-Cère / Montauban

STAGE 7

July 8

162.5 km

L’Isle-Jourdain / Lac de Payolle

STAGE 8

July 9

184 km

Pau / Bagnères-de-Luchon

STAGE 9

July 10

184 km

Vielha Val d’Aran / Andorre Arcalis

REST DAY

July 11

STAGE 10

July 12

STAGE 11

July 13

162.5 km

Carcassonne / Montpellier

STAGE 12

July 14

185 km

Montpellier / Mont Ventoux

STAGE 13

July 15

37.5 km

Bourg-Saint-Andéol / La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc

STAGE 14

July 16

208.5 km

Montélimar / Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux

STAGE 15

July 17

159 km

Bourg-en-Bresse / Culoz

STAGE 16

July 18

209 km

Moirans-en-Montagne / Berne

REST DAY

July 19

STAGE 17

July 20

184 km

Berne / Finhaut-Emosson

STAGE 18

July 21

17 km

Sallanches / Megève

STAGE 19

July 22

146 km

Albertville / Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc

STAGE 20

July 23

146.5 km

Megève / Morzine-Avoriaz

STAGE 21

July 24

113 km

Chantilly / Paris Champs-Élysées

Andorre 197 km

Escaldes-Engordany / Revel

Berne


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Tales from the Tour BY RAY ENGLISH

Le Tour, 1926 THE TOUR OF FRANCE OF 90 YEARS AGO WAS NOTABLE IN MANY WAYS.

L

E TOUR 1926 IS THE

longest Tour in Tour history at 5,745km held over 17 stages, the longest being 433km. There were however 13 rest days. All previous Tours had started in Paris but in 1926 it commenced for the first time outside of the French capital in the town of Evian on the shores of Lac Leman in Eastern France. Fifteen stages later Evian hosted the stage finish from Briancon becoming the only town other than Paris to witness the Tour twice in the same year. The overall winner was 34 year old Belgian, Lucien Buysse. The field of 126 was a mixture of trade teams and Touriste Routiers. Touriste Routiers were the privateers who entered the Tour as solo competitors during the 1920's and 1930's and few lasted more than a few stages. There was one notable Touriste Routier at the start in Evian— the Tour's first Japanese starter, Kisso Kawamuro. His Tour was over when he abandoned on Stage 1! Also on the start line at Evian was an unnoticeable 27 year old Touriste Routier from Belgium attempting his first Tour, Emile Brichard. Like Kawamuro he failed to make the finish of that first stage to Mulhouse but it was not due to lack of ability, but rather a lack of tyres! That first stage of over 300km had been brutal on rubber and poor Emile ran out of spare tyres and he caught the train back home never to return to the Tour. But he was much later to have his place; indeed a unique place in history. Born in 1899 Emile with his family fled to England when Germany invaded Belgium in August 1914.

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[[ ...the Tour's first Japanese starter, Kisso Kawamuro. His Tour was over when he abandoned on Stage 1! ]] Although only 15 he went to work in a factory but soon enlisted into the British army where he trained as a medic and was sent to the Western Front where he miraculously survived the horror of trench warfare. At the end of the war the Brichard family returned to Belgium where eventually Emile tried his hand at bike racing with limited success, though it led him to being on the start line of the 1926 Tour. Emile retired from bicycle racing and became just another ex-rider and life passed by uneventfully, if you count your country

WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

being occupied by the nazis uneventful, until around the turn of the century when Emile was 'discovered' to be Belgium's sole surviving World War One veteran! While being questioned about his life, the still sprightly centenarian mentioned that he had been a racing cyclist and had started the Tour of France in 1926 and was still an avid follower of the sport, proudly saying that he still watched the Tour on TV without glasses. Emile Brichard died aged 104 a few weeks before the Tour was to pass a few kilometres from his home.


RIO ROLL CALL THE BRITS HAVE DOMINATED THE CYCLING PROGRAM AT THE PAST TWO OLYMPIADS. WILL RIO BE ANY DIFFERENT? PETER MANIATY TAKES AN EVENT-BY-EVENT LOOK IN THIS 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES CYCLING PREVIEW.

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2016 Olympic Games Preview BY PETER MANIATY

© TIM DE WAELE

C

YCLING IS ONE OF ONLY

five events to have featured at every Olympic Games since 1896; the others being athletics, gymnastics, swimming and fencing. While the pinnacle of global competition, especially on the track, in recent history it’s been little more than a benefit for British athletes with Team GB securing a remarkable 12 medals from the 18 events across all disciplines in 2012, including eight gold – the same haul it brought home from the Beijing Games in 2008. After the heights of Athens in 2004 where Australia topped the cycling medal count, Beijing was an unmitigated disaster with just a solitary silver medal. Things improved with six medals in London, our lone gold medalist being Anna Meares in the women’s sprint. All the same you can be sure Cycling Australia and High Performance Director Kevin Tabotta will be hoping for a better return in Rio and, on paper at least, the team seems well placed to do so. Following significant generational change in key events and recent coaching turmoil resulting to the sudden resignation of Shane Sutton in April, Team GB will do well to seize anything close to eight titles in 2016 – even with the return of Sir Bradley Wiggins to the Olympic boards. Things are likely to be far more even this time amongst the top nations including Australia, Germany, France, New Zealand and Great Britain. As in London 18 cycling gold medals will be decided in Rio. The bad news is plenty of popular events are absent – especially on the track – such as the individual pursuit, points race, madison and kilo. Mountain bike and BMX have one event each. While, as hinted by UCI President Brian Cookson, the best chance for the Olympic inclusion of cyclo-cross remains targeting the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. The good news is Australia will go in with genuine medal hopes in most events in Brazil, with our strongest chances appearing to lie with the Men’s Individual Time Trial, Men’s 47


HOW ABOUT THE HOSTS?

2016 Olympic Games Preview

© TIM DE WAELE

© TIM DE WAELE

Home nations always seem to rise at the Olympics. But it’s unlikely to be enough for Brazil to feature on any of the 18 cycling podiums in Rio. Brazil has never won an Olympic cycling medal and unlike their Columbian cousins it’s hard to see the host nation making an impression. Their best chances of springing a very big surprise appear to be in the MTB and BMX events with their best result in London coming from Renato Rezende who finished 8th in the men’s BMX. Brazil’s only current UCI World Tour cyclist is FDJ’s Murilo Fischer. He’ll be 37 in Rio and finished 117th at this year’s Santos Tour Down Under.

and Women’s Team Pursuit, Women’s Keirin, Men’s Omnium and Women’s BMX. Let’s take a look at each event and what might happen.

VENUES ROAD RACES

TOP LEFT: Anna Meares will be looking to retain her gold medal in the sprint, and take no prisoners in the Keirin.

TIME TRIALS The 29.8km time trial course uses the same Grumari Circuit from the road race, including the climb up Grumari Road. The women will complete one lap and the men will tackle it twice.

TRACK The Rio velodrome is located at Barra de Tijuca Olympic Park, a site that for many

© TIM DE WAELE

The men’s (256.4km) and women’s (130km) road races could be brutal, starting and finishing at Fort Copacabana, with much of the racing taking place against a backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s sure to favour the climbers, with riders passing through several of Rio de Janeiro’s most iconic tourist spots including the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. The course features two separate circuits. The first is the Grumari Circuit (one lap for women, four laps for men) including around 2km of

cobbles per lap as well as a narrow 1.2km climb that averages 7% with a maximum gradient of 13%. Further to the west, riders will also complete the Canoas/Vista Chinesa Circuit (one for women, three for men) that includes the 8.9km Vista Chinesa climb followed by a technical 6km descent.

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Rio’s mountain bike events will take place in the X-Park precinct of Deodoro Olympic Park with panoramic views over Rio de Janeiro. At 5.4km long, the fast and technically challenging course features climbs and drops and provides multiple opportunities for spectators to see the riders during races. Look out for World Champ road racer Peter Sagan who's switching places with Slovakia's XC MTB champ!

The BMX Centre is also located in the X-Park and was purpose-built for the Olympics. Organisers were forced to make alterations to the 400m course after a test event in mid-2015 with many riders refusing to compete, citing unsafe jumps and turns. Some of the world’s top riders have also been honing their preparations at a full-size replica of the Rio track, built by the US Olympic Committee in Chula Vista, California. PAGE 50

RIGHT: Vino took the road race last time...this year keep an eye out for Porte and Gerrans. BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

MTB

BMX

TOP RIGHT: Shane Perkins' ticket to Rio rests on a strong showing at the International Track Series in Melbourne June 22-26. The Olympic team will be announced on July 5.

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years was home to the Nelson Piquet International Autodrome and hosted the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix ten times in the 1970s and 1980s. The 250m track is Siberian pine, banked to 12 degrees at its shallowest point and 42 degrees at its steepest. As has been well documented, the Olympic track’s construction was beset with problems that saw the lone pre-Games test event cancelled earlier in the year.


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ROAD PROGRAM: 6–10 AUGUST MEN’S ROAD RACE (6 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Alexander Vinokourov (UKR) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Stuart O’Grady 6th Best chances in Rio – Simon Gerrans, Richie Porte Odds of Aussie Gold: 8-1 PREDICTION: BRONZE WOMEN’S ROAD RACE (7 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Marriane Vos (NED) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Shara Gillow 39th Best chances in Rio – Amanda Spratt, Gracie Elvin, Lauren Kitchen, Rachel Neylan Odds of Aussie Gold: 5-1 PREDICTION: BRONZE MEN’S TIME TRIAL (10 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Sir Bradley Wiggins (GB) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Michael Rogers 6th Best chances in Rio – Rohan Dennis, Richie Porte Odds of Aussie Gold: 3-1 PREDICTION: SILVER

MEN’S TEAM PURSUIT (MEDALS - 12 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Great Britain Australia in 2012 – Silver 2016 World Championships – 1st Australia Odds of Aussie Gold: EVENS PREDICTION: GOLD

MEN’S KIERIN (MEDALS - 16 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Sir Chris Hoy (GB) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Shane Perkins 5th 2016 World Championships – 1st Joachim Eilers (Germany) Round 1 Matthew Glaetzer Odds of Aussie Gold: 8-1 PREDICTION: FINAL

WOMEN’S TEAM SPRINT (MEDALS – 12 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Germany Australia in 2012 – Bronze 2016 World Championships – 1st Russia, 4th Australia Odds of Aussie Gold: 5-1 PREDICTION: SILVER

BMX PROGRAM: 17–19 AUGUST

WOMEN’S TEAM PURSUIT (MEDALS - 13 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Great Britain Australia in 2012 – 4th 2016 World Championships – 1st USA, 5th Australia Odds of Aussie Gold: 3-1 PREDICTION: SILVER MEN’S SPRINT (MEDALS – 14 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Jason Kenny (GB) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Shane Perkins Bronze 2016 World Championships – 1st Jason Kenny (GB), 2nd Matthew Glaetzer Odds of Aussie Gold: 2-1 PREDICTION: SILVER

TRACK PROGRAM: 11–16 AUGUST MEN’S TEAM SPRINT (MEDALS - 11 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Great Britain Australia in 2012 – 4th 2016 World Championships – 1st New Zealand, 5th Australia Odds of Aussie Gold: 15-1 PREDICTION: 4th

MEN’S OMNIUM (14/15 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Lasse Norman Hansen (NOR) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Glenn O’Shea 5th 2016 World Championships – 1st Fernando Gaviria (Col), 3rd Glenn O’Shea Odds of Aussie Gold: 2-1 PREDICTION: SILVER

© TIM DE WAELE

WOMEN’S OMNIUM (15/16 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Laura Trott (GB) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Annette Edmonson Bronze 2016 World Championships – 1st Laura Trott (GB), 5th Annette Edmonson Odds of Aussie Gold: 4-1 PREDICTION: BRONZE

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WOMEN’S FINAL (19 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Mariana Pajon (Col) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Caroline Buchanan 5th 2015 end of season rankings – 1st Mariana Pajon (Col), 4th Caroline Buchanan, 8th Lauren Reynolds Odds of Aussie Gold: 4-1 PREDICTION: SILVER

WOMEN’S KIERIN (MEDALS – 14 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Victoria Pendleton (GB) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Anna Meares 5th 2016 World Championships – 1st Kristina Vogel, 2nd Anna Meares Odds of Aussie Gold: 3-1 PREDICTION: SILVER

WOMEN’S TIME TRIAL (10 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Kristin Armstrong (USA) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Shara Gillow 13th Best chance in Rio – Katrin Garfoot Odds of Aussie Gold: 8-1 PREDICTION: TOP 10

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MEN’S FINAL (19 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Maris Strombergs (Latvia) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Sam Willoughby Silver UCI Rankings (March 2016) – 1st Niek Kimmann (NED), 4th Sam Willoughby Odds of Aussie Gold: 3-1 PREDICTION: BRONZE

© TIM DE WAELE

© TIM DE WAELE

2016 Olympic Games Preview

WOMEN’S SPRINT (MEDALS – 16 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Anna Meares 2016 World Championships – 1st Tianshi Zhong (China), 4th Anna Meares Odds of Aussie Gold: 5-1 PREDICTION: BRONZE

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MTB PROGRAM: 20–21 AUGUST WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY (20 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Julie Bresset (Fra) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Rebecca Henderson 25th UCI Rankings (March 2016) – 1st Jolanda Neff (Sui), 20th Rebecca Henderson Odds of Aussie Gold: 25-1 PREDICTION: TOP 10 MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY (21 AUGUST) Reigning champion – Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) Best Placed Aussie in 2012 – Daniel McConnell 21st UCI Rankings (March 2016) – 1st Julien Absalon (Fra), 8th Daniel McConnell Odds of Aussie Gold: 10-1 PREDICTION: TOP 10


Where to Ride - Bowral BY NAT BROMHEAD

DESTINATION

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS WHILE MANY CYCLISTS DREAM OF JETTING OFF TO RIDE IN EUROPEAN CLIMES, THE ROADS AROUND BOWRAL AND NEIGHBOURING VILLAGES IN NSW OFFER SOME SPECTACULAR RIDES AND CHALLENGING CLIMBS MUCH CLOSER TO HAND.

A bunch enjoy a ride along Sheepwash Rd toward Fitzroy Falls.

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[[ To the east of Bowral it’s a vastly different story with several legendary descents leading toward Wollongong, the South Coast, and the sea ]]

D

AMI IM IS PROBABLY

not a name that features all that often in the pages of Bicycling Australia magazine. During a recent bike trip to New South Wales' glorious Southern Highlands the Aussie singer’s Eurovision hit, Sound of Silence, filled the airwaves virtually every woken hour. If it wasn't on the radio or TV it was blaring from the kids’ iPads. It was Sunday night but not any Sunday, this was a special one. Relaxing in a comfy room at Bowral’s Imperial Motel, we were resting our legs after a big day of biking, sampling just a few of the local climbs, descents and passes the Southern Highlands has on offer. Tired, warm, happy and full, the four of us were completely content having just gorged on a sensational dinner thanks to the hotel’s onsite wood fired pizzeria. Cleaning my bike and preparing for the next morning’s sortie to roads and regions unknown, there was the anticipation you might normally expect when cycling a foreign country. Music filled the room - none other than the kitsch, predictable tunes of the world’s biggest song contest being battled out on TV. Though tens of thousands of kilometres away, indeed on the opposite side of the planet, it seemed totally appropriate to be watching Eurovision from Bowral. Yes the village in the heart of the Southern Highlands is a classic Australian country town but the region certainly exudes a strong hint of Europe, well it does for me. The authentic Italian pizza, French patisseries, English antique shops, the local wineries with twisted vines strung along gently rolling hills. And then there’s the cycling.

TOP LEFT: Welcome to Bowral, the bustling business centre of the Southern Highlands region. ABOVE: Picture perfect Bowral, the business hub and heart of the Southern Highlands region. LEFT: A crisp Autumn morning in Bowral, the perfect time to warm up on the bike.

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Where to Ride - Bowral A SLICE OF EUROPE SO CLOSE TO SYDNEY

ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY ILLAWARRA FLY - Knights Hill. Enjoy the thrill of a zip line tour 35 metres above the rainforest. There’s also a scenic tree top walk and 45 metre tower offering views over the Illawarra escarpment and all the way out to sea. THE BRADMAN MUSEUM AND INTERNATIONAL CRICKET HALL OF FAME St Jude St Bowral. A trip to Bowral isn’t complete without a visit to the Bradman Museum. There’s a memorial statue of our greatest ever cricketer, the picture-perfect Bradman Oval, and a cafe alongside the interactive and cutting edge museum. THE EMPIRE CINEMA - Bong Bong St Bowral. A classic old-world cinema which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2015. They don’t build them like this anymore, well worth a visit. FITZROY FALLS - Morton National Park. Stunning scenery abounds in this amazing national park. Wildlife, walking trails, lookouts and outdoor activities for all the family. There are toilets, a picnic area and an onsite cafe.

Kitted up and ready to ride, leaving the hotel at 6am that crisp Monday morning, there was a real French provincial feel in the air. Grabbing a quick cafe au lait and croissant from the appropriately named ‘Gumnut Patisserie’, the anticipation was akin to exploring the byways surrounding a sleepy little village in the middle of France.

DESTINATION BOWRAL But no … this was not Europe but the New South Wales’ Southern Highlands. Instead of being an hour and a half from Paris via TGV, the region is 90 minutes from Sydney by car. Bowral is 2 hours’ drive north of Canberra and about 8 hours (just over 750km) north east of Melbourne. For those travelling from Wollongong and the South Coast, Bowral is roughly an hours’ scenic drive inland. The region is serviced daily by coaches and trains. The thought of a Euro style train / bike / credit card / small pack adventure is not only extremely appealing but an affordable option. The train trip from Sydney Central to Bowral takes just under 2 hours and priced around $20 per person with an extra $12 for your bike.

THE LOCAL CLIMBS If you enjoy riding quiet, country roads set amidst picturesque rural backdrops you’ll fall in love with the Southern Highlands! Throw in the option of some of the State’s toughest mountain passes, gritty climbs and harrowing descents and we are starting to realise one of the nation’s top two-wheel destinations. Ask a local where to ride and there’s a fair chance ‘The Four Peaks’ will be high on the list. Less daunting than its name suggests, the Southern Highlands’ four peaks rolls out of Bowral and takes in about 35km of glorious countryside that includes 440 metres of climbing. Zach Hulm is President of the Southern Highlands Cycling Club and a passionate road, track and mountain bike rider. A four peaks regular, he rides the course most Saturday’s and can’t get enough of it. “The four peaks was designed as a climbing ride and the perfect training course for people heading to Europe to take on such destinations as the Dolomites or Alpe de Huez,” he told Bicycling Australia. “It’s become very popular with a group generally riding it every Saturday morning. We average 25 kph and welcome all riders - club members, locals and visitors to join us. It’s not a big ride but it’s all about the climbing.”

ABOVE LEFT: The Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame in St Jude St Bowral is well worth visiting. TOP MIDDLE: Rooms in the 4-star Imperial Motel in Bowral provide all the conveniences of home and a perfect night’s rest for traveling cyclists. BOTTOM MIDDLE: Pizzas baked in the Imperial Hotel’s 420 degree wood-fire pizza oven are second to none. ABOVE RIGHT: Coffee and a homemade lemonade at the Raw and Wild Market and Cafe in Bong Bong St, Bowral. 54

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A social ride on traffic-free Southern Highlands roads.

Everybody waits for everyone, it’s not about racing but more about people challenging themselves, he added. A proud long-time local, Zach Hulm says the region is “up there as one of the nation’s top cycling locations.” “The southern highlands is one of the most hidden cycling destinations in the country and the most amazing place to train,” he said. “We’ve got climbs, we've got scenic rides, we've got coffee, we’ve got tourism - we’ve got absolutely everything for the visiting cyclist.” Zach’s spot on, the region has it all climbing, flats, epic descents … there’s track training and racing at the Bowral Velodrome. And we haven't even started on the region’s mind-blowing mountain biking. A long term cancer survivor, Zach Hulm is this year’s local ambassador for the Cancer Council. As organiser of the Cycle for Cancer Mountain Bike Challenge, he and a big group of locals recently rode an arduous 5 hour, 70 kilometre loop. “We’ve just held this year’s Ray White Bowral Moss Vale sponsored challenge and in doing so raised $36,000 for cancer research,” Zach said. “About a hundred riders were involved and we were based at Brad McGee’s’ farmstay at Fitzroy Falls. This illustrates the diversity of the cycling and enthusiasm for the sport among Southern Highlands residents and visitors alike.”

THE STATE’S VERY OWN CYCLING CLASSIC With mass participation cycling booming across Australia and the world, the Southern Highlands stands out as the perfect venue for one such event. October 23 2016 will herald the arrival of a new fixture on the national cycling calendar, the Bowral Classic. Starting in the main street of Bowral and finishing, Paris-Roubaix style, at the Eridge Park Velodrome, the Gran Fondo style classic is an event open to riders of all ages and abilities. Local riders like Zach are thrilled the region’s rich offerings will be presented to a wider audience. “The Bowral Classic will really open people’s eyes to the cycling destination the Southern Highlands is,” he said. “We are just an hour and half from Sydney but you seriously could be cycling anywhere in the world.” As enthusiastic as he is passionate about the sport and his town, Zach is looking forward to hearing the sounds of hundreds of cyclists clip in and take up the 160km, 90km or 25km Bowral Classic challenge. “This event, the Bowral Classic, will give people a real understanding of the region’s

[[ The four peaks was designed as a climbing ride and the perfect training course for people heading to Europe to take on such destinations as the Dolomites or Alpe de Huez ]] roads, climbs, descents. It will put the region on the cycling map and rightly so,” Zach added.

FROM THE MOUNTAINS TO THE SEA With the Bowral Classic still several months off keen participants have time to visit the Southern Highlands, spend time in the area and acquaint themselves with the diverse range of cycling on offer. With the township of Bowral the perfect base there are cycling destinations and challenges in literally all directions. Ride west and you’ll enjoy seemingly endless rolling country hills and a neverending rural vista. To the east of Bowral it’s a vastly different story with several legendary descents leading toward Wollongong, the South Coast, and the sea.

A cycling trip to the Southern Highlands is not complete without traversing the aptly named Tourist Road, a scenic byway bridging Bowral with the quaint districts of Glenquarry, Kangaloon and Robertson. After enjoying seriously delicious sustenance at the famous Robertson Pie Shop, the searching cyclist has a serious decision to make. Descend the brake pad chewing Macquarie Pass, or turn right and enjoy slightly less traffic on the (even steeper, Category 1 on the way back up) Jamberoo Mountain Road. Either way you will be descending the Illawarra Escarpment and taking in some spectacular views from the Highlands to the sea. Both descents (and subsequent climbs) should be treated with extreme caution 55


Where to Ride - Bowral

WHERE TO STAY THE IMPERIAL HOTEL MOTEL - BONG BONG St Bowral. With clean, comfortable and spacious rooms, the four-star Imperial Motel is the perfect base while exploring the rich and diverse Southern Highlands region. Bookings essential 4861 1779. TWIN FALLS BUSH COTTAGES - FITZROY FALLS. For quiet, tranquil bush experience away from the hustle and bustle of town you can’t beat Brad and Sharni McGee’s Twin Falls Bush Cottages. Phone 4887 7333 for bookings. A full range of the region’s accomodation options - from bush camping to your own stately manor, can be found on the Southern Highlands website - www.southern-highlands.com.au

WHERE TO EAT WHERE DO WE START? Cafes, restaurants, bars and cellar doors abound throughout the Southern Highlands. A stroll along the main streets of Mittagong, Bowral, Berrima or Moss Vale will reveal all manner of options for even the fussiest of foodies.

HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPERIAL HOTEL - BOWRAL. Authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizza with the freshest of toppings on the best-ever crust! BERKELOUW BOOK BARN & BENDOOLEY ESTATE - BERRIMA. The perfect combination of fine wines, the best food and an amazing book shop make this a must-visit destination. There’s a cellar door, accommodation and sensational coffee. THE SHAGGY COW - MITTAGONG. A licensed cafe serving a wide range of delicious food made from the freshest local products and ingredients. Amazing coffee and the perfect place to stop during a local ride. ROBERTSON PIE SHOP - ROBERTSON. Perched on the side of the road near the top of the Macquarie Pass is the legendary Robertson Pie Shop. And it’s not just meat pies - there’s something for everyone. Tip - the lemon meringue is to die for. BERNIE’S DINER - MOSS VALE. This 50’s style diner in the main street of town offers the best burgers, sundaes, milkshakes and more. RAW AND WILD - BOWRAL. With an everincreasing number of cyclists paying closer attention to diet and health, Raw and Wild Market and Cafe in Bong Bong Street Bowral is well worth a visit. Guilt-free food and amazing coffee. GUMNUT PATISSERIE - BOWRAL. With three stores across the Southern Highlands ( Bowral, Berrima and Mittagong, Gumnut Patisserie could easily be mistaken for a genuine French boulangerie. 56

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CLOCWISE FROM TOP: A visiting group of cyclists enjoy one of the Southern Highlands climbs. Gumnut Patisserie in Bowral’s Bong Bong Street offers French boulangerie-style breads, cakes and pastries. All manner of items can be found in the multitude of antique outlets across the Southern Highlands region.

and respect. There can be a lot of traffic, particularly on weekends. Southern Highlands Cycling Club members enjoy rides from the mountains to the sea at least four times a year. Taking in at least 160 kilometres and 2500 to 3000 metres of climbing in a day, these rides are not for the faint hearted.

TRUE SPORTING GREATS You might think there’s something in the Southern Highlands water that helps breed champions - the region certainly has given us some true sporting greats. World cricket icon Sir Donald Bradman was from Bowral, a visit to the town’s Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame is a fascinating experience. Cricket tragics will look to the bronze statue of ‘The Don’ in awe, even those new to the sport can’t help but admire and be inspired by the Bradman story.

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Australian cycling legend Bradley McGee is often seen riding Southern Highlands roads. The first Australian to wear the leader’s jersey in all three Grand Tours, the Olympic and Commonwealth Games sports star lives, works and trains in the Southern Highlands. Among other commitments Brad and wife Sharni McGee operate Twin Falls Bush Cottages, a lovely farmstay accommodation option set alongside a breathtaking escarpment. It doesn’t end there, Orica Green EDGE sprint sensation Caleb Ewan is yet another legendary Southern Highlands athlete. The ‘Moss Vale Missile’ may be only 21 years young but already has the palmares of a retired champion. It’s unlikely you’ll see him scooting around the Highlands during the pro racing season but if you see a green and blue flash at any other time it might well be Caleb!


© EAMON FITZPATRICK

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LIFE ON THE OPEN ROAD THERE’S NOTHING QUITE LIKE THE FREEDOM OF THE OPEN ROAD. LOOSE PLANS AND A BAG FULL OF NO TIES AT ALL; THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT BIKE PACKING OFFERS.

Dream big, plan a mulit-weekepic, or just get away for the weekend.

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Bike Packing BY STEVE THOMAS

© STEVE THOMAS

I

T’S AMAZING JUST HOW LIBERATING

it can be to simply ditch your possessions and to start all over. But most of us have been raised in a world where material possessions are what life is all about, or so they tell us – did they get it all wrong? How often do you watch a TV documentary or read in the glossy pages of a magazine about some free spirit traveling the world in search of adventure, and how often do your eyes drift with envy? Well, perhaps you can have it both ways, at least in bite sized portions in the world of freedom bike packing. In Australia cycling has only really become acceptable as a mainstream sport and pastime in the last decade or so, before that it was something that was performed on Sunday mornings and just before dark by social outcasts wearing Lycra, and at the extreme end of that scale were touring cyclists. Middle aged guys and gals in khaki shorts with saddle bags, big hats, panniers and beards (on the men that is). That was once the stereotype of cyclo tourists, and of course there are plenty of these two wheeled nomads still roaming the dirt roads of the outback, and between here and the Himalayas. Perhaps they were actually the 'cool' ones, but we just didn’t know it. Touring by bike still gets something of a bad rap from most mainstream cyclists. It’s sometimes seen as a snail-like exercise that involves wearing the same socks for a month, sleeping under bridges and cooking up cardboard and oats twice a day, and there is an element of that to it. If only it could be a little more racy and clean. Forget those huge and dull panniers, don’t even contemplate wild camping and stick with your carbon horse. There’s no need to take a six-month sabbatical. Simply strip life to basics, un-burden your load and hit the road. Looking back I realised I’d bike packed on mini adventures all around the world way back when, more by necessity than by design, and completely bag free. And some of these impromptu mini-epics stack up as some of the finest two wheeled adventures I’ve ever had. One rainy Welsh summer’s night three 59


TOP LEFT: Small saddle or post mounted packs keep you cool and unburdened. MIDDLE: 'Dry bags' are a great idea, fairly inexpensive and they come in a wide range of sizes.

© STEVE THOMAS

© STEVE THOMAS

© STEVE THOMAS

Bike Packing

TOP RIGHT: If you are confident of warm weather the amount you need to pack becomes minimal.

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of us sat huddled around a small table in a local inn. We’d taken on a rough multi day ride, and were two days in and had been banking on a night at a friend’s house along the way. Time had run out and the dark and rain had set in, as had fatigue. We were miles from anywhere, and couldn’t find a bus or a taxi out of the place, so with just a single credit card between us we managed to check into the only room at the inn. We were drenched; I was wrapped in a sheet, one guy was in towels, the other in wet Gore-Tex. Somehow or another we’d been signed up for the weekly pub quiz, and duly came in last as most of the questions were on local village history. At the far end of the scale are those multi week epic adventures through remote corners of the world, which do require a little more planning for safety’s sake, while in the middle are the classic trans Alpine and cross Pyrenean week-long rides that can be done with minimal planning and gear. Closer to home and things get even simpler. There are so many great two to three day rides out there that you can easily bag in a weekend with nothing but a change of clothes on your back, a mobile phone and a credit card in your back pocket and a sense of adventure as company. There are countless rides dotted around the country that you’ve always wanted to do, even routes close to base, which are just a little too far out of range to make it in a day, and too much hassle to make packing the car and sorting backup to do. Planning does of course make things easier, but keeping things open does add to the sense of adventure. When the sun returns why not just cram a few essentials into a pint-sized backpack and hit the open road? But be warned it


© STEVE THOMAS

may be addictive, and could well lead to bigger things.

CASE FILE What, when and where you decide to go will determine how much gear you need to carry, and thus what and how you need to carry it. For the spirit of this article we’re figuring that you will be taking your regular road bike, which does not have eyelets for racks and panniers and that you want to keep things as light and simple as possible. Clamp on rear racks with either a small side pannier or a rack pack are great for longer trips, and when weather conditions can be variable. However they are surplus to requirements if you don’t plan on camping. There are numerous large seat packs and frame bags on the market these days, which can stash most of your gear for a few days, but you do need to be aware of seat post and frame chaffing – especially with carbon. My personal chosen mode for portage is the humble lightweight backpack. With an ultra-light pack I can fit in a change of clothes, a camera and the basics for a few days on the road and hardly feel the burden. In hot conditions this does cause your back to sweat more, but I still prefer this to the other options.

HORSES FOR COURSES The choice of bike will ultimately come down to the terrain, but on the whole we’re guessing that you will be sticking to the hard stuff, with a little dirty turn thrown in along the way. In this case stick to basics, your regular weapon of choice. It is well worth adding a little ‘oomph’ to your ride when venturing off the radar; slightly wider tyres, 28s will

do, and a couple of extra teeth at the rear will give you a little more comfort. Add a small rear light (and even a front) for unexpected bad weather and time out, two large water bottles, a decent pump and spares and you’re good to go.

IN THE BAG The very essence of bike packing is to travel light, very light. That said you do of course need to keep safe and warm, so no matter what the conditions always have a Buff or similar head warmer and a midweight waterproof jacket. These can be worn in any situation and also dry out in a short time. Keep things very light with clothing – take stuff that packs small and can be hand washed and self-dry overnight. Think multi-purpose; kit that can be worn on and off the bike, and try to limit it to one change of casual clothes, plus one set of shorts and a jersey. Garnish with an extra set of shorts in-case things do not dry overnight. If in any doubt on the weather carry a light under-vest, leg warmers, and even glove liners. Wash your kit as soon as you arrive, wring it out in a towel and look for the best place to dry it out (even ask the hotel). There’s nothing worse than wet shoes and shorts. Using SPD touring or MTB shoes is always a good move, and carrying a very lightweight pair of sandals of thongs is a must for anything more than an overnighter. Have cash and a creditcard with you, some ID, and essential medical kit for the estimated time +50% longer, and take miniature essentials – such as toothpaste, sunscreen, contact lenses etc. Keep everything in sealed plastic bags to protect it from sweat and rain.

WHERE AND HARDWARE How much you want to pre-plan and how much you want to stay connected is a personal thing. The true spirit of bike packing is in the freedom of the open road and the adventure, but the reality is that these days we mostly want to have an idea where we’re going, have some sort of time frame, and also prefer to stay connected.

[[ With a small pack I can take a change of clothes, and the bare basics for a few days on the road ... ]] Smartphones are a Godsend for bike packing. Download maps and routes before you hit the road, as coverage may not always be available. With this in mind be sure to (at the very least) take a photocopy or print out of your route and keep it in a plastic bag. Battery life is also an issue, so it’s well worth carrying a power pack, and also charging up at every possible opportunity along the road. In foreign countries get a local sim card on arrival and use Skype or other apps to keep communication reasonable. I always carry a small camera too, but try to keep it to one lens and two spare batteries. These only take up a small space and about 1kg of backpack weight (or carry a compact in a top tube bag or a bar top bag). Plans are like rules – they are there to be bent at times, especially in unfamiliar territory and when conditions can change. 61


A Bunch of Fives BY PETER MANIATY IMAGES BY PETER MANIATY

A BUNCH

HAI NGUYEN

KEVIN ELLENOR

PETER TRUSCOTT

ROBERT VANDER WALL

RONAN KOHN

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OF FIVES

FIVE RIDERS. FIVE QUESTIONS. ONE BUNCH.

WE’LL BE CATCHING UP WITH RIDERS FROM BUNCHES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY IN COMING ISSUES TO HEAR THEIR STORIES AND SEE WHERE THEY RIDE.

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A Bunch of Fives

BUNCH: CONCORDERS, NSW RIDE: Saturday mornings, 40km loop, two groups (fast pace and medium pace) POST-RIDE: Three Spoons Café, Concord West It’s a grey autumn morning in the Harbour City. We rendezvous early at Bicentennial Park, around 15km west of the Sydney CBD and not far from the Olympic precinct at Homebush. Camera and notepad at the ready I’m greeted by persistent drizzle, southerly winds and significantly fewer riders than usual. Just five hardy souls arrive to brave the elements this week, resplendent in a kaleidoscope of wet weather gear and flickering headlights accentuating the early-morning precipitation. Forty kilometres, one puncture and several of layers of mud later, we park up at the regular bunch café stop, Three Spoons, to sip coffee and talk cycling.

RIDER #1: Robert Vander Wall RIDES: Focus Izalco Team SL LIVES: Mortlake OCCUPATION: Management/Training DISC BRAKES ON ROAD BIKES? “Look I think they’ll be good to use. They’re going to spin and stop better. Of course there won’t be much difference to overall weight as you still have the disc itself and all the mechanisms for that. But there’s no doubt they’re coming (to local bunch riders) and yes, pretty sure I’ll be using them at some stage.” CO2 OR PUMP? “I actually take both with me because I’ve come to realise I’m not so 64

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good at using the CO2 cartridges! I was up in Bangkok a while ago and I got off the plane, assembled my bike and picked up three CO2 cartridges. I screwed all of them up and ended up riding about 50km on 40psi one day.” WHAT NUTRITION DO YOU TAKE ON A RIDE? “Usually I take High5 4:1 in my bottle and some energy bars. In the second bottle on longer rides I’ll also take electrolytes.” IS TECHNOLOGICAL FRAUD WORSE THAN DOPING? “Really to me it’s no different. But I am getting a lot more pragmatic about this whole thing these days. I don’t like the idea of doping because it can kill you in the long run. But with the mechanical stuff, how can you enjoy winning when you know you’re cheating like that? It’s basically riding a motorcycle against guys on bicycles!” IF YOU HAD $500 TO SPEND IN A BIKE SHOP RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD YOU GET? “Well that’s not enough for a new bike. It’s not enough for really good wheels either, so I’d probably buy some new kit.”

RIDER #2: Peter Truscott RIDES: Scott Addict LIVES: North Strathfield OCCUPATION: Home Dad DISC BRAKES ON ROAD BIKES? “Obviously they’ve been using them on mountain bikes for years. If you can stop faster and more safely, especially in the wet, then I think it’s probably a good idea. It certainly seems the ways things are going.” CO2 OR PUMP? “I use a pump. It’s more

WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

environmentally friendly and you also have more security in terms of never running out, whereas you can run out of CO2 cartridges in the middle of nowhere.” WHAT NUTRITION DO YOU TAKE ON A RIDE? “On a longer ride I’ll take some muesli bars. On shorter rides, say under 60km or so, I don’t really take much with me at all.” IS TECHNOLOGICAL FRAUD WORSE THAN DOPING? “It’s still cheating. Whether it’s physical doping or mechanical you’re still gaining an unfair advantage.” IF YOU HAD $500 TO SPEND IN A BIKE SHOP RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD YOU GET? “Wheels. Not that there’s anything wrong with the ones I have, but I’m always looking for a new set of wheels, something lighter, something newer, something better.”

RIDER #3: Kevin Ellenor RIDES: Bottecchia SP9 LIVES: Mortlake OCCUPATION: IT Services Manager DISC BRAKES ON ROAD BIKES? “Personally I wouldn’t use them on a bunch ride. But certainly there’s a place for them on commuter bikes, especially in the wet to help you stop quicker. I’d be very concerned about using them in a group for the same reason – because they let you brake faster what would that do the rest of the peloton?” CO2 OR PUMP? “I’m a pump guy, always been a pump guy. Tried the CO2 a couple of times but I find it’s much more efficient for me to change a tyre and use a pump. I’ve never had a problem.”


LEFT TO RIGHT: They have a kit, but wearing it is entirely optional. THE post-ride coffee is a major part of this bunch’s weekly routine LIKE most bunches there’s a hard core who ride regardless of the weather conditions.

something I’d like to try. From a technical perspective they look great but unfortunately it also means you have to change the frame, the wheels, so it’s a huge step up in expense. I’m keen to try it, but not for the moment. As for using disc brakes in racing? We all saw the accident at Paris-Roubaix (involving Movistar rider Francisco Ventoso), so I think it’s something they need to study a bit more and work out if the benefits are worth it.” CO2 OR PUMP? “CO2 for me. I very rarely seem to get flats, although having said that I had one this morning! I think CO2 cartridges are brilliant, I always carry two. Never had any issues.”

WHAT NUTRITION DO YOU TAKE ON A RIDE? “I’ll normally just take a muesli bar. If it’s a bit longer I might take a few snakes or killer pythons in the back pocket as well and sneak one in occasionally. Before a ride I’ll usually have a banana or some yoghurt too.” IS TECHNOLOGICAL FRAUD WORSE THAN DOPING? “Well it’s cheating just as much as doping, but I do think it’s worse in a way. Why? (pauses). I can’t really explain why. (pauses again). Maybe it isn’t any worse, but I do know they’re both bad for the sport.” IF YOU HAD $500 TO SPEND IN A BIKE SHOP RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD YOU GET? “I’d get a whole lot of gear. I’d see what kind of Garmins they have, get a nice couple of pumps perhaps (laughs). I also need a new seat post actually, that’d be pretty handy at the moment.”

RIDER #4: Hai Nguyen RIDES: Malvern Star Oppy C4 LIVES: Lidcombe OCCUPATION: Courier DISC BRAKES ON ROAD BIKES? “I’ve never really thought about them for myself. But if my teenage son (currently a development academy rider) asked for them on his bike? That would be okay if it’s something he really wanted. Personally I haven’t done a lot of research into disc brakes as I don’t intend to use them.”

CO2 OR PUMP? “I use CO2. For me it’s a lot quicker as I find the pump is quite slow. I usually only use about half the cartridge though, just enough to get me home. No explosions that way!” WHAT NUTRITION DO YOU TAKE ON A RIDE? “Not much, really. I’ll have a banana before I start and then drink water during the ride, that’s it. On a longer ride I might also take some gels.” IS TECHNOLOGICAL FRAUD WORSE THAN DOPING? “I think they’re both the same, both bad, both cheating. Riders shouldn’t be doing either.”

WHAT NUTRITION DO YOU TAKE ON A RIDE? “It depends on the length of the ride. I’ll have a banana before, but generally on a short ride like today, 40-50km, probably nothing else. When it gets longer I do tend to take gels. I’ll have one at about the 50km mark. If the ride is longer again, say over 100km, I’ll also take a banana or an energy bar. But for my kind of riding, which isn’t too much about performance, I don’t really think it makes much difference to be honest.” IS TECHNOLOGICAL FRAUD WORSE THAN DOPING? “I think they’re both bad, but wouldn’t say one is any worse than the other. From a certain point of view I think it’s easier to rationalise the use of something like EPO because you can say ‘pretty much everyone else is doing it, so if I don’t do it I’ll be left behind.’ Inherently

[[ I use a pump. It’s more environmentally friendly and you also have more security in terms of never running out... ]] IF YOU HAD $500 TO SPEND IN A BIKE SHOP RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD YOU GET? “Probably some clothing I think, new kit, maybe some new shoes. That would be great. (smiles) Do I get the $500 now?”

RIDER #5: Ronan Kohn RIDES: Cannondale Super Six LIVES: Concord West OCCUPATION: System Integration (IT) DISC BRAKES ON ROAD BIKES? “It’s definitely

you’re doing nothing physically different to everyone else. As for mechanical doping? Come on, you’re putting a motor in your bike and concealing it! That said there’s no place in cycling for either.” IF YOU HAD $500 TO SPEND IN A BIKE SHOP RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD YOU GET? “Well today I’d buy a new GPS computer because mine is starting to fall apart, I’ve had it for a while now and some of the buttons have stopped working. $500 would be about perfect I’d say.” 65


THE EDGE

Masterclass l Fixing Foot Pain BY STEVE HOGG

MASTERCLASS Hot Foot.................................... 66 Band Practice ......................... 72 Improve Your Climbing..........78

FUEL Immune to Training ...............84

WORKSHOP Wheel Upgrade 1.1 .................88

Hot Foot 'HOT FOOT' IS THE NUMB OR BURNING SENSATION IN THE FOREFEET THAT SOME RIDERS EXPERIENCE. HOT FOOT CAN OCCUR FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS BUT ALMOST ALL INVOLVE COMPRESSION OF THE INTERDIGITAL NERVES OF THE FOOT. LET'S HAVE A LOOK AT THE CAUSES AND GENERAL SOLUTIONS.

T

RUE HOT FOOT IS CAUSED

by compression of the interdigital nerves, but there are also some related conditions that can be confused with hot foot and I'll talk about those as well. There is a nerve junction between the base knuckles of each pair of toes. That nerve junction can be irritated if the joints on either side are compressed. The compression can be caused by a variety of causes. I've listed the common causes below with the general solutions. Often more than one stressor plays a part in this but the only way to explain them is one at a time, so here

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goes. There are basically two categories of problem, Mechanical and Functional.

MECHANICAL 1. Shoes that are too tight across the MTP joints (base knuckles of toes). This is entirely avoidable. Many people have wide feet. If a wide foot is forced into a not so wide shoe then the MTP joints will be laterally compressed usually resulting in pain. This can manifest as a burning sensation on the outside of the 1st and 5th MPT joints or as true hot foot where all or most of the interdigital nerves are WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

compressed. Too often wide footed riders purchase shoes that are a size or two too large in length in an effort to get width. Doing this will solve the nerve compression problem but only at the cost of poor cleat position. If a shoe is too long and the foot doesn't fill the full length, then the cleat mounting holes are likely to be too far forward. If the cleats are positioned too far forward and the rider is susceptible, seemingly paradoxically, solving the problem of lateral compression of the MTP joints may even cause the same type of pain through

another mechanism which is explained below. The ideal solution is shoes that are the correct length and width. Several manufacturers make wide shoe fittings. The ones that I am most familiar with are Sidi, Shimano and Lake. Other brands may as well. Sidi produce several wide shoe price points in what they term 'Mega’ while Shimano term their wide fittings as the shoe model with the suffix 'W'. Both the Sidi and Shimano wide shoes are genuine EE fittings. The Lake model CX 237 and CX 402 models in standard width is nearly as wide as a Sidi Mega (EE) or Shimano Wide (EE) The Lake CX 237 Wide is even wider again. I see many clients who are using shoes that are too big; i.e. too long. I always ask the question, "Did you buy these shoes or were you sold them?" Sadly their reply on


many occasions is "I was sold them" which means that the client bought the shoes based on the recommendation of a salesperson. Just so it is clear; a single shoe size is 5mm change in length. A good fitting shoe holds the foot snugly around the heel and instep, has as little excess length as possible and doesn't laterally compress the forefoot in the area of the MTP joints. Don't buy shoes that you can't try on and try really hard to buy shoes that fit well even if that means going against

book for 3 - 5 hours while wearing the shoes. When seated and not exercising, extracellular fluid (lymph) falls to the lowest part of the body, the feet, resulting in an increase in foot volume of up to 10 percent. If after doing nothing but sit for 3 - 5 hours the shoes are still comfortable then there is almost zero chance of them hurting you while you cycle because they are too small or too narrow. As an aside, most riders have had the experience of getting up in the early morning, changing straight

[[ ... Cleats that are positioned too far forward is another common reason for foot pain ... ]] the recommendation of the salesperson. If you are in doubt about sizing when buying shoes, here are a few tips: i. Ask if you can pay for the shoes and return them the next day unused if necessary. If yes, then take the shoes home and sit around watching TV or reading a

into cycling gear and going for a ride only to have to lean down and do up the straps more tightly 10 - 15 minutes in to the ride. Muscular contractions forces lymph fluid around the body and once you start pedaling, foot volume can reduce by the same 10 or so percent causing the need to tighten the shoe.

ii. Many cycle shops don't carry wide fittings. In that case, find the correct length of shoe even if it is tight and request that they order the wider fitting for you to try. Any shop that values your custom will say yes. iii. When trying on shoes always use thin cycling socks as well as any arch support insoles or orthoses that you would normally use. 2. Cleats that are positioned too far forward is another common reason for foot pain. The foot is a lever with the 'effective' lever length determined by foot size and relative cleat position. If the cleat is a long way forward relative to foot in shoe then the plantar fascia, the tendon like layer that connects the heel to the MTP joints is under constant, excessive tension leading to the same nerve compression related pain. There is wide individual variation in how likely a toofar-forward cleat position is to cause pain or irritation, in the sense that a cleat position that is pain free for one, can be the cause of pain for another. If in doubt, follow the general recommendation which is to position your cleat so that the centre of the ball of the foot is slightly in front of the pedal axle when both crank arm and shoe are level. This will solve the problem for most.

STEVE HOGG

Steve Hogg is a Sydney based bike fitter with an international clientele. Steve has trained bike fitters on four continents and written extensively on bike fitting methods and principles.

As a pertinent aside, many other problems can flow from too far forward cleat position. Subject a rider to a challenge to their stability while cycling and they will respond with an asymmetric pattern of compensation. This is as close to an invariable 'rule' of bike fitting as it is possible to get. As a pertinent aside, many other problems can flow from too far forward cleat position. Subject a rider to a challenge to their

TOP LEFT: Numbness or burning sensations in your forefoot can result from more than just doing your straps up too tightly. BELOW: Shimano's RP3 will accommodate quite broad feet out to an 'E' width. These have a recommended retail price of $159.

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[[ A good fitting shoe holds the foot snugly around the heel and instep, has as little excess length as possible and doesn’t laterally compress the forefoot in the area of the MTP joints ]]

Hot foot in the form of plantar fasciitis can result from insufficient arch support though mainly if other stressors like poor cleat position and tight calves are present.

stability while cycling and they will respond with an asymmetric pattern of compensation. This is as close to an invariable 'rule' of bike fitting as it is possible to get. I had a client who has won state championships in TT but looking at his position on the bike it was clear he was sitting quite off centre on his saddle. I did not make a single change to the position of this client’s bike other than cleat position. I could not fault his seat height, seat setback or reach down and out to the bars. What I did do was move his cleats from a position from centre of 1st MTP joint (ball of the foot) 3mm behind the pedal axle centre on the left and 5mm behind on the right to 15mm in front on both sides, a move rearwards of 18mm and 20mm respectively. In his case, and each case is different, this immediately squared him up on the seat! I then added the foot correction he needed but this had no further positive impact on his seating symmetry. I'm relating this to explain that too far forward cleat position can cause a multitude of potential problems, not just hot foot, all with an individual 'flavour.' 3. Riding with your seat too high is an uncommon cause or exacerbating factor in foot pain. This can happen when a rider’s seat height is so high that they have to point their toes just to reach the pedals. Pedaling like this causes strain in the muscles of the lower limb, (calves in the main) Achilles tendon and plantar fascia which can (but not necessarily will) result in the same issue as point No. 2; compression or

tension on the interdigital nerves because of excessive loading of the plantar fascia.

FUNCTIONAL 4. Metatarsophalangeal joints that are too close to the surface isn't a common issue but is far from rare. Usually the tell-tale is a layer of callous over one or more of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th MTP joints. The proximity to the surface can cause pain in the area below when applying force to the pedal (or walking or running): The best solution is to spread and / or elevate the appropriate MTP joints with a 'metatarsal dome'; a flat egg shaped orthotic addition that is normally glued to an orthotic or insole to sit just below the MTP joints. The other factor that can relieve pain for those with MTP joints close enough to the surface to cause pain is to move the cleats as far back as is possible. This shortening of the 'effective' lever length of the foot reduces calf tension, Achilles tendon tension and plantar fascia tension and has a positive effect on hot foot. Depending on the individual, and I've seen some riders who were incredibly sensitive to hot foot, the cleats may need to move as far back as a midfoot cleat position. 5. Lack of arch support is not a common cause of hot foot, but neither is it rare. When we cycle the muscle firing sequence of the legs is overseen by, but not controlled by the cerebellum, the seat of unconscious motor control. Rather, the on and off switching of the muscle of the legs is conducted by the Central Pattern Generator (CPG), a bundle of neurons in the lumbar spine. It is the CPG which fires the basic 'extensor on / flexor off' - 'flexor on / extensor off

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Masterclass l Fixing Foot Pain

'pattern of the leg muscles. The CPG is like a dumb computer. Good information going in creates a good result. Poor information going in creates a poor result. The CPG relies on force feedback from the feet, of which plantar fascia tension is a primary constituent, as its informational input. When we walk or run, the foot is flexing constantly which means that plantar fascia tension is also changing constantly. It is this constant change in force feedback from the feet that attracts cerebellar attention as deserving of

this) is that the CNS (Central Nervous System) gets used to this unchanging pattern of plantar fascia tension and tends to ignore it. As I said earlier, any challenge to our position in space will cause an asymmetric compensatory response. Lack of proprioceptive clarity from the feet is one such challenge and hot foot can be the result in some cases. This is easily remedied by creating a level of plantar fascia tension with an arch support insole that feels mildly intrusive when standing in cycling shoes while off the bike. ‘Mildly Intrusive’ means a

[[ ... Lack of proprioceptive clarity from the feet is one such challenge and hot foot can be the result in some cases. ]] priority for processing, given the massive oversupply of proprioceptive feedback versus cerebellar processing capacity that humans possess. In comparison, cycling causes a more or less unchanging pattern of plantar fascia tension in most people because we are applying force to the pedals via a rigid shoe sole. Yes, there is more tension on the pedal down stroke and lesser tension on the pedal upstroke, but my view (and I believe I can demonstrate 70

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bit more than a rider would be comfortable with having in their walking shoes but not so much that it causes discomfort while riding a bike. A mildly intrusive level of plantar tension doesn't allow the CNS to ignore the feedback from the feet. So in simple terms, if the CPG receives more accurate information about force feedback from the feet, it would seem to allow a more accurate coordination of basic muscle firing pattern of the legs. WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

6. Imperfect cant of one/ both feet. This is not true hot foot but can be painful nonetheless. Human central nervous systems are incredibly adept at compensating by shifting load from a vulnerable area to somewhere else less immediately vulnerable. However, our CNS has no ability to predict the long term outcome of any compensatory response and this is an example of that. I have never seen a pair of perfect feet. I've seen some pretty good ones and a functional foot is one that may be misaligned somewhere, but an absence of callusing means that there is little or no specific area of the foot loaded. Any load experienced by the foot is spread over a wide area. Many people don't have feet as good as that and need some degree of wedging in addition to arch support. Without one or the other, most riders experience no particular pain or discomfort though the price they may pay is perhaps sitting a little less squarely than they might otherwise do on the seat. Perhaps they lean one way but not enough to cause them immediate harm. For others however, their compensatory response to suboptimal alignment or function is an attempt to hold their foot at a cant

inside the shoe. Typically they will invert the foot; that is load the outside edge at, under or behind the 5th MTP joint (base knuckle of small toe). Far less typically, in fact rarely, they will evert the foot and load the inside edge at, under or around the 1st MTP joint (base knuckle of the big toe). It is this unconscious canting of the foot and localising the pedaling load to a small area that can cause pain. Arch support can cure or be part of the solution with wedging taking care of the rest. If you are experiencing symptoms similar to those I am talking about, wedging towards the load bearing area is the best solution for the vast majority. By that I mean that if you are feeling pain under, at or slightly behind the 5th MTP joint, fit a wedge or wedges so that the thick side of the wedge faces the centre line of the bike. That covers most causes of hot foot bar one. Every so often I come across a client who experiences compression of the nerves that end up at the forefoot anywhere from the lower spine downwards. This is such a vanishingly small percentage of the few that experience hot foot that there is specific advice I can offer because each case is different. In these relatively rare cases, the 100% solution lies off the bike by improving global function and stability.


Masterclass l Resistance Band Training BY SARAH HUNTER

Band Practice RESISTANCE BANDS ARE A GREAT BIT OF KIT TO HAVE IN YOU TRAINING ‘ARSENAL’. THEY CAN BE USED TO TRAIN ALL ASPECTS OF FITNESS INCLUDING STRENGTH, POWER, CORE STABILISATION AND FLEXIBILITY. SARAH HUNTER EXPLAINS.

F

OR ME, RESISTANCE

bands come into their own because of their light weight, portability and almost unlimited resistance potential. Having the ability to do some type of training when travelling is great. However, not many of us have the luxury or baggage allowance to travel everywhere with our bike (although we wish we could)! There are many times I have been away on business and not had access to a gym, nor my bike, however I always travel with a resistance band. It is also a great bit of kit to keep at work, I live in Perth and there are some great parks and open spaces in the city where

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you could bust out a quick 30 minute strength training session at lunch or after work. The sky is almost the limit in terms of the number of exercises you can do with resistance bands. They can provide resistance in any plane of movement, and can be attached to different height fixing points to get different angles of movement. Bands do behave differently to free weights, so care must be taken to control the movement when returning from the band’s stretched position. There are a few different types of bands: • Continuous loop bands • Bands with handles WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

• Physio bands Bands have differing levels of resistance, the continuous loop bands range from a couple of centimetres wide for the light weight XS resistance bands to 10cm+ wide for the super strong XL resistance bands. There are a few common mistakes people tend to make when training with bands, here are a few so you don’t make the mistakes others have made before you: • Over stretching the band to get greater resistance. It is at this point that you should invest in the next size band. • Training with too strong a band. This can result in poor

and/or limited movement quality and not getting effective resistance through the full range of motion. • Not effectively controlling momentum or eccentric force (note that the eccentric movement is typically movement with gravity; eg the lowering part of a squat movement). • Not following appropriate progressions and attempting the sexy (most advanced) exercises first. The session outlined below uses a single ‘continuous loop resistance band’. The resistance band I have used is 106cm long (41inches) and 13/16’ wide. It provides resistance equivalent to 5-25kg (equivalent to a small Ironedge Band or a small Force USA band). Don’t be tempted to get a larger band for these exercises – you’ll be surprised how hard they are with the small band.


[[ ... If you do sit for more than two hours a day there is a high chance that your glutes may have forgotten how to activate! ... ]]

BANDED FRONT SQUATS

BANDED SPLIT SQUAT

The front squat is a great exercise as it focuses on not only the quads but the upper back as well. It requires an upright posture, and maintaining this upright posture will increase your core stabilisation.

This exercise targets the quads, hamstrings and glutes. It is a great exercise for correcting strength differential between legs. If you know you have a weaker leg, then always start this exercise with the weaker leg forward first.

• Start with the band positioned under the arch of both feet and across the front of the shoulders, arms need to be crossed and parallel to the floor. • Your feet need to be approximately shoulder width apart and feet can be rotated out up to about twenty degrees. • As you squat down make sure your knees do not collapse inwards. • Keep your chest and elbows up. • Push your hips back as if you are sitting down in a chair and try to keep your knees behind the front of your toes for the entire movement. • Do not descend any lower than thighs parallel to the floor. Repeat 10-12 times.

• Place the band under the front foot, and hold the band at shoulder height in both hands. • Begin by descending – drop the back knee straight down towards the ground, do not let the back knee touch the ground. • At the bottom of the movement your rear knee should be directly underneath your hips. • The front shin should remain vertical with front knee above the toes. • Return to standing position by driving the weight through the heel of your front foot. • Maintain an upright torso during the entire movement. Repeat 10 squats on one side before switching to the other side.

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SARAH HUNTER

BANDED FORWARD MONSTER WALKS

Sarah Hunter is an associate coach for FTP Training. She is a qualified Triathlon Coach and has a certification in Fitness. She's a lifetime competitive athlete with a 20 year passion for cycling including Ironman triathlon, multi day MTB races, TTs, CX and crits. Her passion for cycling and strength training is boundless and infectious.

This exercise really targets the glutes, especially the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus. It is a fantastic exercise for cyclists due to the quad dominant nature of cycling and also helps those of us who sit for most of the day. If you do sit for more than two hours a day there is a high chance that your glutes may have forgotten how to activate! Given that they are the strongest muscle group in the body, we want them to work properly to help generate maximum power on the bike. • Place the band under the arch of both feet. • Keep you arms straight, chest up and back in a neutral position. • Take small forward steps, making sure to keep your knees above your ankles. One set comprises 20-30 steps.

BANDED ‘NO MONEY’ This exercise works on the external rotation of the shoulder. Although cyclists do not often think about training their shoulder muscles, it is important not to neglect this area as the muscles in the shoulder help lock you in to the riding position. This exercise also helps encourage good posture. • Start by holding the band in each hand with your palms facing upwards. • Stand tall with chin tucked in. • Start by retracting and depressing the shoulder blades and then pulling the band apart. • Keep the palms facing upwards and elbows tucked in to the ribs. • Pull the band apart for a count of 1, return to the starting position for a count of 3. Repeat 8-10 times.

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Masterclass l Resistance Band Training

BANDED QUADRUPED DONKEY KICKS This is another great exercise to get the powerhouse glute muscles firing. • Start on your hands and knees with the band looped around the arch of one foot and held securely under both hands. • Flex both feet. • Make sure you engage your core by pulling in your belly button towards your spine. • Actively contract the glute of the leg you are raising. • Kick the sole of the foot directly up to the sky. • Do not let the lower back arch. If you feel that you are hyper extending the spine during this movement then modify the exercise so your forearms are on the ground rather than your hands. Repeat 8-10 times then switch to other side.

BANDED SINGLE ARM ROW Not only does this work the back muscles, but it gives the entire body a workout because you have to maintain a static deep lunge stance during the entire exercise. If you find it too difficult to maintain good posture for the 8-10 reps on each side, then stop when you feel your posture is breaking down. Over time you can build up the number of reps as you get stronger. • Start in a wide lunge position, maintaining a flat back and a straight line from head to shoulders to hips. • Place the band under the front foot and the same side arm holds the band on the outside of the foot. • To start the row, retract the shoulder blade and pull the band in towards the lower ribs. • Keep the torso strong and do not twist. • Keep the elbow close to the side of the body for the entire range of movement. • Pull the band up for a count of 1, return to the starting position for a count of 3. Repeat 8-10 times on each side.

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Masterclass l Improve your Climbing BY DAVID HEATLEY

The Fastest Ways to Improve Your Climbing

© EAMON FITZPATRICK

THERE'S A SPECIAL, GILDED ESTEEM THAT ALL CYCLISTS ATTRIBUTE TO A GOOD CLIMBER... THE ONE WHO VANISHES UP THE ROAD LIKE A VAPOR. COACH DAVID HEATLEY GIVES US HIS TIPS ON CLIMBING BETTER.

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Get up out of the saddle when you have to punch over short climbs and through short, steep sections of a climb.

I

HAD A CLIENT APPROACH

me. He told me the story of how he used to be stronger than all his cycling buddies, but over the course of about a year, they had got the better of him and now each and every ride he did with them he was being smacked over by them. All of them. His buddies started talking about going over to Europe and riding some of the stages of the Tour de France while it was on. He loved the idea of going over there and riding some of the classic climbs. On one hand he was inspired by the idea and on the other, he had just 12 weeks and was filled with a great deal of trepidation at the thought of getting there and being left behind on the climbs. In this article I discuss some pointers to help your hill climbing.

DEVELOP YOUR CORE STRENGTH Improving your overall biomechanical function will make a big difference to your riding. With many of my clients being desk bound it’s become even more important in recent years. It helps with all aspects of your cycling, but it impacts the most on your ability to be able to put out sustained power efficiently over longer climbs. There are many “core strength” exercises around, but the ones that you’ll want to look for are exercises that are performed when you are facedown or facing forward. These mimic the position that you are in while riding. Exercises that are performed face-up, while still good core strength exercises, do not replicate the position that you are in while cycling so, therefore, don’t usually translate well in helping you develop good hill climbing strength. Here is a list of things to look for in core strength exercises: • Exercise that provide forces

that load you diagonally across your body • Exercises that are done with free weights rather than machines • Exercises that involve standing on one leg • Exercises performed with your face down or facing forward • Exercises that are done using multi-joint movements Do a search for Matt Brindle Functional Strength training for cyclists for more in-depth information.

TAKE A SEAT

GET A GRIP

PLEASE BE UPSTANDING

There are two hand positions that we use for hill climbing. The first position is called ‘on the hoods.’ The second position is called ‘on the tops’ with the thumbs wrapped around under the bars. As simple as it seems, it’s really important to get these two positions right as they form the foundation for developing a sound and stable base in which to develop solid power and great form while climbing. Both positions help you to open up your chest, ensuring that you can breathe as deeply as possible and can oxygenate your blood to maximise your climbing speed. Out of the two positions, the ‘on the tops’ position provides the best position for opening up your chest.

Climbing in the seated position is more efficient than standing. The reason for this is that you use fewer muscles when seated on the bike than when you are standing. On longer climbs, it is best to stay seated as much as possible to be efficient. It’s also the preferred climbing style for women; no disrespect intended, but generally women aren’t as strong in the upper body as men to support long stints out of the saddle.

Standing is used when you need to develop short bursts of power. I recommend that you stand when you have to punch over short climbs and through short, steep sections of a climb. If you are lightly built like me, standing while negotiating short sections of a climb is no problem; you’ll be able to dance on the pedals. But if you are carrying more weight than necessary on your upper body, you’ll struggle to stand for anything longer than a few minutes.

SPEND TIME WORKING ON YOUR TECHNIQUE If you are riding hills flat out all the time, you’ll be riding far too hard to focus on your form and

DAVID HEATLEY

David Heatley is the director of CyclingInform, a cycle coaching company founded in 2007. He helps time-poor cyclists training for cycling events get awesome results. Cycling-Inform delivers online cycle coaching to hundreds of cyclists around the world every year and runs training camps in February and November.

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Masterclass l Improve your Climbing

© EAMON FITZPATRICK

The benefits of climbing can literally be awesome.

[[ Too much big chain ring work is like doing too much weight training at the gym. ]] technique. You won’t notice whether you're pedalling correctly or not. Smashing yourself up hills with poor form trains an inferior neurological recruitment of muscle fibres. Training these bad habits will result in robbing you of developing valuable climbing power. By training your hill climbing technique properly, you can uncover your hidden cycling speed and start to climb hills far better than you thought possible. In races, you’ll be in control rather than reacting. In bunch rides, you’ll just ride away from your buddies. The first thing is to climb a hill slowly on your bike. This gives you an excellent opportunity to review your technique. The beginning of your season is an excellent time to check your technique.

SMOOTH IS FAST

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well in the long term. To perfect your seated climbing pedal stroke, you don’t need to electronically analyse your pedal stroke to tell you what’s going wrong. First thing, get yourself well-grounded on the seat. I want you to try this. Jump on your bike on the road or home trainer. Sit on the saddle, ground yourself to your bike and start pedalling. Now you want you to start to pedal around in circles with a little load. I want you to pay particular attention to scraping your foot through the bottom of the stroke, like scraping chewing gum off the sole of your shoe. Once you have that sorted, I want you to focus on the top of the stroke and focus on dragging your foot over the top of the stroke.

NOW PUT IT ALL TOGETHER Try to pedal through the full stroke, over the top, down through the stroke, and then

SLIDE Reducing fatigue on climbs is paramount, and it becomes especially important the longer the climb. PAGE 82 Reducing the

Efficient power climbing is developed from smooth, powerful, relaxed pedal strokes. For longer hills,

stay seated and keep your cadence above 75 rpm. Keep your hands on the tops or the hoods, or alternate between both positions. For shorter climbs, practice standing and keeping good balance, form and driving power straight down into the bike. Initially, you’ll want to keep your cadence high to work on your technique. Concentrate on spinning, even when out of the saddle and rock the bike gently beneath you as you turn the gear over. By doing this, it will not only work on your technique but also your aerobic conditioning. Once you have your climbing technique mastered at high cadences, then start dropping your cadence to start to develop your hill climbing power. The final step is to combine the two together – good technique and climbing power – and start climbing at higher intensities. Build initially from short climbs to longer climbs and continue to keep good form. Don’t sacrifice good form for speed, and it will serve you

finish it off by dragging your foot through the bottom. And repeat. The first thing you’ll notice is that you can only do this with your core locked. Work on keeping your hips as stable and as straight as possible. Let your legs drive from this stable platform. Have your hands rest lightly on the bars. It’s hard work when you start doing it for the first time. Most people only have enough core strength to keep it going for around 15 seconds. So, your goal is to work on this technique on every single ride you do until you can do it for hours. It may take you months, maybe years. But as you master this, you’ll find a heap of climbing power that you never knew you had. You’ll also be able to use it when riding along the flat. I can’t stress how important this is. If there is only one thing that you master from this article, then this is it. It will improve every single aspect of your riding. When you get up out of the saddle, imagine that there are steel rods running down each side of your back, making it rock solid. Stabilise your hips and drive again down into your bike from that solid platform you have made with your hips. Moving slightly forward you use more of your body weight to work the pedals. This is good for longer climbs, but for shorter climbs sit a little back, so you engage your gluteus and really drive down into the pedals, all while keeping the back and hips as stable as possible. Keep your hands firmly gripping the bars. On really steep hills of 10 percent and more, you’ll need to grip those bars and use them as a brace to leverage and support your locked back and hips and drive into the bike with even greater power.


Masterclass l Improve your Climbing

roads while keeping it above 65 rpm on hilly roads (where your gearing permits). By doing so, you’ll help build your cardiovascular fitness and reduce the amount of fatigue you’ll get during your ride. This is the first thing we get all our clients to do when they start on our coaching programs. Now, the physiological reason for a high cadence is very simple. As you increase your cadence, you rely more on your cardiovascular fitness and your endurance muscle fibres (that are designed to work all day) to drive the bike. As you lower your cadence © EAMON FITZPATRICK

fatigue on your body on climbs helps you to maintain your climbing speed for longer. You can adjust your position on the saddle and by doing so, you can emphasize some muscles you use while relieving others. By moving to the rear, you can accentuate the strong gluteus muscles in your butt and push the pedals forward as well as down. When you're feeling too much muscle tension, tightness, or soreness, slide forward towards the nose of the seat. Now you can engage the quadriceps muscles in your

[[ Don’t sacrifice good form for speed, and it will serve you well in the long term. ]] thighs, and you can increase your cadence, and your gluteus can recover. Sliding back and forth like this fights fatigue and makes the most of your energy. It also changes pressure points to improve your saddle comfort.

below 80 rpm, you rely more on your muscular strength using your strength muscle fibres. While these strength fibres deliver more short-term power than your endurance muscle fibres, they also fatigue more quickly.

CADENCE

SLOW IT DOWN TO BUILD STRENGTH Ground yourself on the seat, stable hips, locked core, strong full-stroke pedalling action focusing on the top and bottom of the stroke. Start out with your cadence at 80. Then, over

© EAMON FITZPATRICK

One of the most effective ways to get the most out of your cycle training for endurance events is to keep your cadence high. What I’m talking about here is maintaining your cadence around 90–100 rpm on the flat

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time, drop it to 70, and then 60, then 50, then 40 rpm over time. The best way to do this is to find a hill around five minutes long at a gradient of around 4–7%. Start out doing around six repeats on it at 80 rpm, once every week for two weeks. Then drop your cadence to 70 rpm for another two weeks … I think you get the pattern. Over time, you’ll develop your strength. Remember that during this phase of your training you many find that you'll start to slow up. It is also important

to balance this big chain ring cycling power training with high cadence recovery bike rides. Too much big chain ring work is like doing too much weight training at the gym. You will trash your legs because you don't give them the chance to recover properly, and it will slow you down. Try not to do much big chain ring work and certainly don’t spend hours grinding away on the pedals. Big chain ring work can also be done on the home trainer. Anything that has intervals with cadences of 70 rpm or lower is great. We have a heap of these video sessions that I pass out as part of the training programs so my clients get the best from their trainer and improve their technique and climbing speed. Well, I hope that provides a few pointers to help you climb better. If you have any questions, you can contact me at support@cycling-inform. com. All the best with your hill climbing.

ABOVE: Lastly, dig deep. LEFT: Concentrate on spinning, even when out of the saddle... BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

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Immune to Training PERFORMANCE NUTRITIONIST, DAVID O'REILLY, GIVES US THE GOOD OIL ON OVERTRAINING, AND IMMUNE SYSTEM OVERLOAD.

I

DAVID O’REILLY

David O'Reilly is a performance nutritionist and strength coach who holds a Master of Human Nutrition from Deakin University. He owns Mountain Foundry, bespoke expert nutrition and writes for Mountain Biking Australia and Bicycling Australia. www. mountainfoundry.com.au

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T'S THAT TIME OF YEAR.

That time where you begin struggling to roll out of bed. Dragging your body outside to exercise in ever decreasing morning light and temperature. You can see your breath drifting off into the air, as you exit the front door, not unlike your motivation. Though your brain says otherwise, you know you need to make improvements before the next race season. However, no matter how hard you exercise, you notice you fatigue early. You lack grind on mountain climbs and power on sprints. Your body feels like it's running in its hardest gear. What you are noticing is your immune system collapsing and it needs attention like the rest of your body. Understanding its impact and avoiding immune WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

system meltdown, known as overtraining syndrome, is the key to this winter’s fastest climbs, quickest sprints, and best Strava segments.

THE IMMUNE SYSTEM It’s commonly known that the immune system protects the body from external disease, but lesser known is that it encourages wear and tear healing caused by exercise. Previously, ‘The Open Window Theory’ believed that after exercise the immune system was trashed, allowing nasties in. Today we know that elite cyclists, weekend warriors and couch potatoes all get on average 2-4 colds a year. Immunity does decrease 1525% after exercise but is it a problem, probably not. Immune impaired hospital patients need to lose 50-60% of immunity to

actually pick up the common cold. Exercising at least an hour a day has been shown to actually reduce bouts of the common cold. Those who do the most exercise, within reason, suffer the fewest colds and for the least amount of time. A 2016 review of the evidence confirmed exercising in challenging climates really doesn’t make you worse off but potentially toughens your immunity up. So if it’s not the fact that you had a group ride in the rain, but forgot your jacket, that makes you sick then there must be other important factors. “Strong immune systems are influenced by genetics, training loads, psychological stress, environmental stress and lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep, and hygiene,” says Professor David Pyne, Senior


Fuel l Your Immune System BY DAVID O’REILLY

‘blue light’ they emit. The blue light reduces sleep chemicals produced in the brain, reducing your chances of getting sleepy. So do we fully understand the role of the immune system in exercise? “Absolutely not,” says Associate Professor Tim Crowe from Deakin University. “The immune system is complex and the role of exercise is not fully understood. Combine that with sports nutrition which is a very young science, then you can appreciate nutrition recommendations are not always based on the highest quality evidence and that they change over time.”

NUTRITION AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Sports Physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport. “Hygiene is important, so a lot of work is necessary to educate athletes on the importance of washing hands, coughing etiquette and avoiding infected individuals.” Surprisingly, psychological stress is one of the strongest factors influencing immune health. In a dramatic study where drops of live common cold were given to athletes, those who went on to develop full-blown colds were the most stressed. Good sleep is heavily associated with strong immune health, which is no great surprise. However, people who get overly stressed about not getting enough sleep, often defeat the benefits sleep provides. The simplest thing to improve sleep is to turn off phones at night, or at a minimum, turn off the

One area of the immune system that we have some control over is what foods we feed it. When you exercise, you release stress hormones that can lower your immune function. Good news is that consuming mixes of protein and carbohydrates after exercise reduces the impact of stress hormones. “So the post-exercise meal is not just refuelling the muscles but provides immune function benefits,” says Accredited Practising Sports Dietitian, Simone Austin, dietitian to the Hawthorn Football Club. “A good diet is essential,” but it does not need to be perfect, “an 8/10 diet as a guide,” Simone adds. “Pack a peanut butter sandwich and a tub

of yoghurt, a banana smoothie, a can of tuna and dry biscuits to eat straight after exercise.” Expensive supplements, although beneficial for some, are not the only way to get the nutrients you need.

VITAMIN C A long-term balanced diet, that supplies all essential vitamins and minerals, is the best way to ensure strong immune health. Simone believes “Vitamin C, zinc and possibly iron are the top three” to monitor for immune function, with supplementation only required if your levels are actually low. Vitamin C is not efficiently stored in the body so it is necessary to consume it. “Around three pieces of fruit per day should supply sufficient vitamin C” for most active people. However, excess vitamin C is removed from the body, so supplementation probably won’t improve your cold.

CARBOHYDRATES Carbohydrates are important to reduce fatigue and provide critical energy. Carbohydrate intake during exercise can improve mood and reduce mental stress, two factors that impact immune health. For exercise such as cycling where weight can be a factor, it is important to monitor adequate carbohydrate intake when shedding body weight.

“Carbohydrates taken during exercise have clear benefits in reducing risks of overtraining by altering stress hormones and inflammation,” says Associate Professor Crowe, “This important relationship gets lost in the current exuberance to embrace lowcarbohydrate diets in sport.” Immune cells actually need carbohydrate. Research examining exercise while consuming low carbohydrate diets found increased stress hormones, meaning the body takes longer to rest and recover.

PROTEIN Protein is now becoming important for all sports, not

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Fuel l Your Immune System

[[ ... psychological stress is one of the strongest factors influencing immune health. ]] just for getting ripped. Protein is required for muscle recovery but also builds white blood cells and hormones to protect the body. “Protein spread out evenly through the day is probably most effective,” and often contains “valuable vitamins and minerals,” Simone notes. Choose quality protein providing foods like nuts which contain manganese and magnesium, meats and fish for iron, seafood containing zinc, and milk with its calcium and phosphorous. Protein intake across the day for exercise, including endurance sports, should now be closer to 1.8-2.0g/kg body weight to gain full benefit.

VITAMIN D Vitamin D interest is now gaining traction with common colds appearing more often in those with low vitamin D. One theory is that common colds are more prevalent in winter due to the fact there is less sunlight, which is where we get most of our vitamin D. Sunlight exposure for 15 mins a day provides most people with their vitamin D requirement without risking getting burnt. Longer than this, you really need to slip, slop, slap!

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PROBIOTICS More recently the Australian Institute of Sport, including Professor Pyne, have been examining the importance of probiotics and good gut health. With 100 trillion microorganisms living in your gut, chances are they have a big impact! Examining how exercise positively impacts gut bacteria balance has the potential to help explain inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. Associate Professor Crowe believes “There is some interesting research emerging supporting the role of probiotics in reducing infection risk in endurancetrained athletes. On the flip side, I would describe any rationale for taking high-dose antioxidant supplements to assist recovery as ‘dead’ with research studies showing no longer-term performance benefit and likely impairment of important exercise training adaptations. Get your antioxidants from food, not a pill.” Simone agrees, “Gut health seems important for immune function, with good bacteria potentially helping prevent pathogen invasion. Eat your yoghurt!”

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AUSTRALIAN COMMON COLD QUESTIONNAIRE Feel a cold coming on or just want to keep track of how your winter health is going? Take this questionnaire to get an idea of whether you need to get some rest. Simply tick how you feel for each symptom. If you ticked ‘lots’ or above in at least two categories, you should rest. Alternatively, if you ticked ‘Some’ in 3 or more categories, you may want to think about a rest day or two.

FINE

SOME

LOTS

FEVER CHILLS MUSCLE PAIN WATERY EYES RUNNY NOSE SNEEZING SORE COUGH CHEST PAIN OVERTRAINING SYNDROME So how much is too much when it comes to exercise? Evidence shows that the greatest factor influencing the common cold is exercise duration. Cycling a lot of kilometres a week will potentially reduce the risk of a cold, but deciding to do excessive kilometres for weeks on end with no rest period, can expose you to a problem called overtraining syndrome. Clinically defined, overtraining syndrome is excessive exercise performed without adequate rest resulting in nervous, hormonal and immune system damage. Overtraining syndrome causes excessive fatigue and mood changes that are difficult to recover from. It is difficult to properly diagnose but if you start putting in excessive kilometres each week without proper recovery, you may begin to feel yourself slipping into it. Professor Pyne believes “The athlete, coach, friends and family should be aware of the signs of overtraining. These include poor performances, high fatigue even after rest, reduced body weight, illness and mood change.” Associate Professor Crowe adds “You can’t go past the three R’s: Rest. Refuel. Rehydrate. Refuelling should be a good mix of minimally processed food rather than

relying on shakes, gels and bars.” Both agree that taking note of your body’s signals and reducing exercise accordingly is critical. “Mild symptoms warrant a reduction in training, moderate to severe warrant cessation and a professional opinion,” says Professor Pyne. For those prescribing to the ‘no days off’ mentality, if you end up with at least 2-4 colds a year, plus overtraining syndrome, you are probably going to knock considerably more holes in your training than if you just had a rest.

FINAL THOUGHTS The future of research is now measuring immune function through tears. Evidence appears to show that common colds could be predicted through changes in tear chemicals. The amazing race is now on to create contact lenses that read these chemicals. I propose someone works out how to integrate this technology into cycling glasses and you’ll be able to retire very comfortably! Until then, eat well, exercise within your limits and you will hopefully set your best Strava times this winter. Expert Credits - Professor David Pyne (www.ausport.gov.au) Simone Austin SDA (www.simoneaustin.com) Associate Professor Tim Crowe (www.thinkingnutrition.com.au)


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Workshop l Which Wheels? BY MICHAEL HANSLIP

Wheel Upgrade 1.1 ONE OF THE BEST VALUE WAYS TO ENHANCE YOUR PRIDE AND JOY IS WITH A SET OF AFTERMARKET WHEELS. BUT THERE ARE SO MANY BRANDS, DESIGNS AND SIZES, HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE BEST WHEELS FOR YOUR APPLICATION?

A

S RECENTLY AS TWENTY

years ago the bicycle “wheel” did not exist. Instead we thought about rims, hubs and spokes as separate entities that could be mixed and matched to build up the appropriate wheel for any given bike. It was also virtually impossible to tell from a distance whether a particular wheel was meant for racing, training, touring, cyclo-cross or something else because there were few visible differences amongst the components available for each wheel. The application of aerodynamic science to bike

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riding (and many other things like cars) was in its infancy. The aero bar and the deep-V rim were both unheard of prior to the nineties. Greg LeMond famously used the first aero bar in the pro ranks, but not deep-V wheels, to win the 1989 Tour de France. Just a couple of years later Campagnolo entered the market with their first wheel – the Shamal (it might not have been the very first wheel on the market, but it was a game changer). The Shamal was built around a Record hub – the same hub available as part of a Record groupset (how long has it been since a group included hubs?) except that they were drilled with only 16 holes to match the 16 spokes in the wheel. Not only that, but the holes were slotted to admit the widely bladed spokes chosen by Campagnolo and the holes were drilled a bit deeper into the hub flange to increase strength for the radial spoke

pattern. The rim itself was a highly polished silver alloy V about 40 mm deep. They came as clinchers or singles and were close to 2 kg in weight for a pair (quite heavy by current standards in other words). To achieve the aeroadvantage Campagnolo was looking for they had to build the entire wheel for their customers. Prior to this most wheels were assembled by the bike manufacturer or bike shop using the parts that someone thought was appropriate. A large bike company might have had an entire factory and specialist staff devoted to assembling all of the wheels needed for their range of new bikes. It only took one bad batch of rims or spokes to mess with production schedules. Outsourcing the assembly process to a supplier was an easy step as the market became increasingly wheel oriented and moved away from individual parts.


In an historical sense it seems like an overnight revolution from wheel parts to whole wheels. In reality it took a good decade. Now it can be cheaper to buy a whole new wheel than to rebuild an existing one with a damaged rim. That is, if you can find a replacement rim and someone who knows how to rebuild that wheel. Every busy bike shop used to build dozens of new wheels each week. Now very few even keep spokes in stock or bother to have a good wheelbuilder on staff. Coincident with the changing structure of the bike industry was the introduction of carbon rims. Carbon rims are much stronger and stiffer than the equivalent aluminium rims. Even a shallow section non-aero rim can be built into a strong wheel using low numbers of spokes. A traditionally laced wheel must use multiples of four spokes. In the eighties almost all wheels

used 32 spokes, with the range of variation being four either way (28 for racy wheels, 36 for heavy duty wheels). In the carbon rim era, anything from 16 to 28 spokes is normal, plus there are numerous unusual variations in use; like 18 or 21 spokes. No shop wanted to keep that many different hubs and rims in stock. The switch to production of whole wheels suited most shops and manufacturers well. Over the same period of time

that the wheel has developed, so too have bike frames. In the eighties there were road bikes and mountain bikes. Most companies had several models of each to cater to different price points, but that was the distinction. Now you have everything from aero road, light road, comfort road, sporty road, off-road; plus cyclo-cross, touring and maybe even a dedicated commuting bike in the realm of “road� bikes, each of which is offered

ABOVE: Zipp's 77/177 front and rear hubs. BELOW LEFT TO RIGHT. Zipp 404 Firecrest. Shimano Dura Ace C50 Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL Campagnolo Shamal Ultra

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© 12 Exposures Photography

Workshop l Which Wheels?

[[ Now when I line up in a local club race, every single rider in n my bunch has carbon rims. ]]

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much better as well. Bette er extrusions, tougher alloys, improved designs; now really is a great time for wheels of all ilk. If we once again cast an historical eye over wheels, back in the seventies (and any time prior) all racing bikes used tubular tyres (also known as singles, the tyre is glued to the rim with a tube sewn inside – ie, a single unit ent – necessitating a replaceme of the whole unit should a puncture occur). Non-racin ng n bikes used clincher tyres in a slightly larger size whic h put the brake pads in a g different place, preventing

ABOVE: Riding Irwin's wide 58s. RIGHT: Fulcrum Racing Zero

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at multiple price points (not to mention the plethora of niche bikes from cross-country and trail through to enduro and downhill within the mountain bikes). Even the very specialist market of time trial bicycles has split into triathlon specific models and UCI-legal 'road' models. I’d argue that at least part of the driving force behind the diversification of road bikes into multiple categories was the evolution of the wheel business. And wheels have become big business. There are multiple examples of companies whose sole (or at least main) business is selling wheels. I remember the first time I lined up for a national road series race. There was one guy who had carbon rims in a bunch of 70-odd riders. Now when I line up in a local club race, every single rider in my bunch has carbon rims. But aluminium rims have gotten


          

                         

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Workshop l Which Wheels?

[[ In the eighties almost all wheels used 32 spokes, with the range of variation being four either way ]] wheel swapping. In the eighties, decent clinchers first appeared and they were size 700C (622 mm bead seat diameter same as now, in contrast to 27” wheels with a 630 mm bead seat diameter). It was the beginning of the end for singles. Currently I can only name a handful of really high end road bikes that come factory direct with tubular rims.

Everything else ships with clinchers. Even a couple of pro teams run clinchers exclusively (though the majority are still on tubulars). At the beginning of carbon rims the tubular tyre got something of a renaissance because all the good stuff was for singles only. Then they figured out how to make good carbon clinchers and we went right back to market domination

by clinchers. Where once the main distinction was between clincher or single it moved through a distinction between carbon and aluminium, but now I think there are too many variations for us to mark a thisor-that split in the market. Now that I have introduced the concept of a whole wheel, I am going to spend some time looking at the component parts. In the next issue I will have a look at the heart of any wheel, the hub. In the article you will learn about what makes some hubs better than others as well as how it might affect the overall wheel. Following that look for a discussion of rims – these are really the business

end of the wheel. Deep or shallow, wide or narrow, carbon or bamboo; there are literally an overwhelming array of choices for a rim. Obviously, that leaves spokes for the fourth instalment. There is a lot more to spokes than just joining hub to rim and this article will really only touch on the surface of the science. Finally I will conclude the series with a look at how to shop for a wheel. Ranging from budget to extravagant and from old-school hand built to factory assembled it will be a wrap up of everything covered in the previous articles relevant to selecting the optimum wheels for your ride.

TOP LEFT TO RIGHT: Enve SES 4.5 3T Orbis11 C35 Team. FAR LEFT: Craftworx Speed Pro 11 rim. LEFT: Craftworx Speed Pro 11 rear hub.

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So fast, they need the best braking

Cosmic Pro Carbon SL

Unbeatable combination of an ultralight 40mm deep aero rim, ZLWKDOOQHZZLGHPPSUR¿OHDQGVXSHULRUEUDNLQJWKDQNVWR exclusive iTgMax carbon technology, provides the perfect blend of speed and control.

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Groupe Sportif www.groupesportif.com


TEST LAB

Test Lab l Kask Mojito BY GARY HUNT

Kask Mojito.............................. 94 Campag Shamal Ultra ........... 96 Suunto Ambit3 ........................ 98 Fizik Volta R1......................... 100 Blackburn Bike Pack ........... 102 Felt AR2 ................................. 104 Fuji Gran Fondo 1.1 .............. 108 Bianchi Intenso .....................112 Cube Attain GTC.....................116

Kask Mojito HELMET BRAND KASK HAS A GROWING PORTFOLIO INCLUDING THE PROTONE AND THE AERO INFINITY. WE TOOK A LOOK AT THEIR LIGHTWEIGHT ALL ROUNDER, THE MOJITO.

M

Y FIRST IMPRESSIONS

of the Mojito are that it's quite a good looking helmet with plenty of ventilation. The colour scheme is not overly brash and it appears well made with clean joins between the polycarbonate casing and the inner foam shell. Picking it up it's clear the Mojito is respectably light, actually weighing in at just 268g for the large size 62-64cm version. Taking a closer look, the helmet is blessed with 26 vents. While the Protone and Infinity strive to eliminate the amount of air they'll catch to optimise their aerodynamic attributes the Mojito makes no such effort and accordingly air flow through the helmet and cooling proves to be one of several high points. The cooling prowess of the Mojito contributes significantly to comfort while you’re wearing it on hot days. Likewise the straps of this

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Italian lid make for a pleasant experience. The chin strap is a different material to the rest of the strapping made from what Kask calls Eco leather; a form of leatherette or synthetic, faux leather. Snarking aside, it’s non-allergenic and smooth, good for sensitive chins. The retention system is somewhat different to most other helmets in that it has a pivoting saddle at the rear that houses the tension adjustment dial. After you put the helmet on, the saddle which is designed to fit to the shape of your head swings down till it comes to rest at the junction of the base of your skull, and the top of your neck. At this point you simply tighten the tension dial till it's comfortably secure. Before securing the chin strap you can perform the old 'fit the helmet and touch your toes test' to see if it is in fact a good fit. Ideally the helmet won’t fall off at this point. The Mojito passed


1 SPECIFICATIONS RPP

$229

DISTRIBUTOR

www.italiatech.com.au

with flying colours. While acknowledging that like a saddle, helmet fit is a personal thing and what suits me well won’t necessarily suit anyone else, let me say this. The Mojito is hands down the most comfortable helmet I have worn. I attribute this mainly to the gentle security of the swinging retention system. This is augmented by a very tidy and fairly slimline though well distributed padding system covered in coolmax fabric. The last checkpoint here is the safety of the unit, which of course short of being a crash test dummy is hard to quantify. However while not sporting the latest MIPS anti-wrench features the Mojito is made with an internal reinforcing

frame inside the EPF shell bonded to a tidy polycarbonate outer casing so it should survive an initial impact intact, and continue to protect its precious contents throughout any further impacts of a collision. The helmet appears to provide good coverage at the front and temple area and also in the lower quadrants at the rear protecting your occipital region. And as mentioned earlier the retention system holds the helmet securely in place. The Mojito is a good looking helmet compact and neatly designed so that you won’t look like a mushroom. It has a comfortable retention and securing system and plenty of ventilation to ensure there's no unnecessary build-up of heat and at a reasonable $229 it's very good value.

2

3 1. This photo shows the tension adjusting 'saddle' swung right up.

Prices start from $854 (£436) Shipped to your door! (includes delivery) • Packed in as little as 10 minutes! • Winner of best bike box award (220 magazine).

2. Lightweight and full of holes for good ventilation.

3. The Italians have done it again, delivering form and function.

The only box with a 7 year guarantee!

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• Weighs only 11kg. • See the video on web site of the box being thrown out of a speeding car, with a $5000 carbon bike inside! • Hand made in the UK. • Personalised stickers. Your name, flag or bike.

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95


Test Lab l Shamal Ultra BY GARY HUNT

Campagnolo's Shamal Ultra CAMPAGNOLO HAS KEPT UP WITH THE JONESES DEVELOPING A COMMENDABLE RANGE OF CARBON RACE WHEELS OVER RECENT YEARS, YET THEY HAVE ALSO RECENTLY REVISED THE VENERABLE ALLOY SHAMAL.

C

AMPAGNOLO,

renowned for being big on style, big on function and comparatively big on price, has released the Shamal Ultra; an updated version of their classic deep section wheel launched in the early 90s and ridden by the likes of Spanish powerhouse Big Mig(uel) Indurain. Let’s take a look at the new model and how it stacks up.

only incremental modifications across the entire market. Campagnolo has released two versions of the Shamal Ultra: the basic clincher, and another rim with their ‘two way fit’ design which can be used as a regular clincher with tubes and tyres, or with tubeless tyres, and also with tubulars. There’s just 10 grams difference between the two so the choice becomes one more

[[ Their handling is good and braking performance is exceptional... ]] In the wheel development space there’s been little news of great significance from any of the key players. General trends are towards tubeless and wider rims, carbon fibre and the development of disc brake specific wheels, with 96

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of application and price, than weight. We’re looking at the lighter, clincher version. Campagnolo has followed the rest of the market into a world of wider rims. They’ve retained their Mega G3 spoke pattern on the rear wheel, and kept a radial WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

design on the front. Rim depths and spoke counts differ with 16 spokes laced to a 26mm deep rim on the front and 21 spokes for the 30mm rear. While they look similar from the outside, the clinchers and two way fit rims have significantly different inner rim profiles, negating the use of the clincher in a tubeless context. They don’t have the typical strong shoulder of a tubeless specific to hold a tubeless tyre in place, hard up against the bead hook once inflated. As such they may be prone to having air escape under cornering stresses if used without tubes. So, play it safe and run tubes in your Shamal clinchers, and if you want to go tubeless get the 'two way fit' version. The new Shamals are 17mm internally between the bead hooks, up from just 15mm on the previous version. The wider profile means a more securely

held tyre carcass on the rim. To get an understanding of the benefits of this, grab an inflated party balloon by the inflation tube or knot. When you shake the balloon it flops uncontrollably. Now try it while holding the balloon with a wider grip. The same concept applies with your tyre and the wider rim’s ‘grip’ mean a more stable tyre on the rim i.e. less squirm and therefore better handling and increased steering precision. The wider rim also means a slightly larger contact patch on the road for more traction, a bigger ‘bag’ on the tyre which enables a lower tyre pressure without risk of pinch flats. The wider rim also results in a more vertical sidewall which also reduces the propensity for pinch flats. Campagnolo is always at pains to emphasise their commitment to safety, (note their delayed entrance to the road disc market) and have designed the wheel to be light without compromising strength. The Ultras are wider but not at the expense of extra weight. Excess alloy has been milled out of the rims between spokes where possible resulting in a mass of just on 1495g for the pair, sans skewers or any tape.


SPECIFICATIONS

The Ultra’s hubs feature a carbon fibre body for a bit of bling and to trim a few more grams, and they house Campag’s sealed ‘ultrasmooth bearings’. They’re also beneficiaries of some trickle down tech in the adjustable lock ring designed to simplify bearing preload setup. We rode the new wheels briefly at the Gran Canaria launch and subsequently have been testing them back home for a longer period which has borne out first impressions. The wheels feel tight on the road while cornering, and stiff and spritely when climbing, with no evidence of brake rub—

RPP

$1,699

DISTRIBUTOR

Bikesportz www.bikesportz.com.au

which is probably a good thing, as thanks to the alloy brake track and Campy’s new pad compound these wheels deliver exceptional braking performance. The bearings are very smooth and the freewheel is virtually silent, an attribute that I’m finding more appealing the longer I ride them. Overall the Shamal Ultras are a stiff and light wheelset ready to race, and pricewise are a viable alternative to much of their carbon competition. Their handling is good and braking performance is exceptional, proving that old school alloy can still mix it with the new carbon kids on the block.

1

2

3

4

1. Excess weight has been milled out of the rims between spokes.

3. Spoke fixing in the drive side flange looks chunky and strong.

2. The spokes are bladed, and the nipples oversized alloy, while the hub body is a good looking woven carbon fibre finish.

4. Bearing preload tensioning has trickled down from more expensive hubs; a bonus feature for the Shamal Ultras.

R.A.M Handcrafted Steel Road & Track Frames by Paul Einsiedel - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Heat treated Tange chromoly tubing combined with chromoly composition lugs, crowns and bottom bracket in the ultimate and prestige tubing range. Fully imported fibre laser engraving with rotary axis - for artwork and frame identification for R.A.M. owners. Personalised engraving on the steering column and bottom bracket, high quality automotive primers, colours and hardened clear final coats for longevity of paint finish. Custom professionally developed artwork for an individual look.

Cycle Fitness Nutrition

& Frame

Forks

$1800 NLY

THS O

3 MON

133 Scott Street, Newcastle NSW Phone: (02) 4927 0201 www.cyclefitnessnutrition.com

Terry Hammond Cycles 497 Highett Road. Highett VIC www.terryhammondcycles.com.au

97


Test Lab l Suunto Ambit 3V BY MIC HAEL H ANSLIP

SUUNTO'S AMBIT3 COVERS SOME C CYCL LING GPS TERRITORY AND MICHAEL HANSLIP TRIED ONE ON.

T

HE SUUNTO AMBIT3

Vertical (RRP $679 as tested with heart rate strap) is the newest member of the Ambit3 family of sports watches. The Vertical works perfectly well as a wrist watch with most of the functions you’d expect from a digital watch including date, time, second time zone, stopwatch and countdown timer. Then it adds a suite of outdoor features such as altimeter, compass (with adjustable declination no less) and thermometer. Finally it contains a full set of sport monitoring functions including heart rate monitoring through the optional but highly recommended Bluetooth chest strap, and full GPS functionality – which includes points of interest, route tracking, latitude & longitude and Strava compatibility – and it will pair up with cycling and running specific “pods” (more on this later). Basically the Vertical is designed to be the companion for the active outdoor sporty person across most activities from hiking and biking to running and swimming. I got into action with the lime green watch you see in the photo. Unfortunately the screen stopped working after a few days; they sent me a black replacement to finish the review with. (Even working correctly, however, I found the screen harder to read than similar devices). With several

SPECIFICATIONS

98

RPP

$679

DISTRIBUTOR

www.groupesportif.com

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

JULY • AUGUST 2016

available colours, Suunto can cater to your personal tastes from conservative to extroverted. If you opt for the heart rate strap, it is supplied in a matching colour. I highly recommend the strap because it is unlikely that you already have a Bluetooth strap at home (most modern ones are ANT+) and because it is very clever. The strap’s best feature is data buffering; it records your heart rate when contact with the watch is lost and uploads the info when contact is re-established. Also the strap is less expensive with the watch than separately ($50 extra versus $129 alone) With the Ambit3 being Bluetooth connected, rather than ANT+, it meant that all of my speed, cadence, heart rate and power senders at home were incompatible, with the exception of the power meter on one bike that connects via both ANT+ and Bluetooth. Suunto has recently swapped from ANT+ to Bluetooth so they don’t currently make accessory senders. There are four that the Ambit3 will work with: cadence, speed, power and running. Suunto promises new ones soon. In the meantime a couple of companies offer Bluetooth devices. It did pair with my power meter fine. One issue with the watch is that it can only pair to one accessory of each type at a time. This means if you have multiple bicycles you can’t have them all connected. The Suunto interface is all about choices. Just about every WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

auto-action is switchable. You can choose auto-pause for each sport individually. The GPS signal can be used or ignored for updating the time display. There are four recording intervals that trade lower precision for greater battery life. On saving an activity it estimates recovery time – how long until the user is back to baseline. This initial estimates appeared in line with my experience, and recovery predictions can be fine-tuned by undergoing three recovery tests to allow the watch to learn the user. The accompanying phone “app” and website are both called Movescount. Each activity is a “move” and the summary screen does indeed give you a count (hence Movescount). When the watch and my phone were connected via Bluetooth through the app, the watch gave me a notification of each incoming text, email and phone call and completed activities were uploaded to the Movescount website (which can

be linked to Strava or Training Peaks if you like). My only complaint about the process is how slow the upload is. It might be due to the plethora of data being sent; data nerds will be in heaven! I’ve never seen so many measures: 14 in total when I had the power meter connected including respiration rate, energy expenditure and VO2 estimates. The Movescount website also contains user-generated “apps” for the watch. These short programs bring special functions like realtime hill slope calculations and ski run counters to the Ambit3. The Vertical is provided with a clamp-on cable that is used to both charge and connect the watch to a computer. Yes you can upload workouts wirelessly via your phone, but apps have to be downloaded via the hard-wired connection; and charging must occur at regular intervals as the battery can only be expected to last several days with frequent use. After using the Suunto for a few weeks I think the steep learning curve is worth the effort. The ideal user would be someone who rides and runs and swims and hikes and … that is the outdoorsy sportsperson who isn’t a dedicated cyclist with a garage full of bikes (there are better options for people with a multitude of bikes and for people who only ride). The Ambit3 is clever, attractive and useful. If you are in the target audience for the Vertical, I suggest you check one out.


Test Lab l Volta R1 BY GARYY HUNT

SPECIFICATIO ONS

Fizik Volta R1 MY FIRST RESPONSE ON SEEING THE VOLTA WHEN THEY WERE RELEASED A COUPLE OF YEARS BACK WAS ONE OF SURPRISE GIVEN IT’S SUCH A SIGNIFICANT DEPARTURE FROM CURRENT DESIGN.

T

HE SHAPE IS BASED

around a traditional Italian design; Fizik took the classic vintage shaped saddle and reinterpreted it into the Volta. A sleek handmade product, it does look fast and brings an element of avant garde style.…and it is Italian if you have nationalistic preferences. Fizik suggests the saddle is suitable for riders who experience lower back pain resulting from the more static position of a flat top saddle. The U-shaped section of the Volta allows the pelvis to rock side to side, rotating around the saddle, and the increased range of motion allows the muscles above your pelvis to keep moving rather than remaining static and cramping.

Fizik has a body matching system, their Spine System, to point riders toward the appropriate saddle for them. The system is based around rider flexibility; ‘snakes’ being the most flexible, ‘chameleons’ in the middle and ‘bulls’ being least flexible. The Volta is aimed at the snakes…think 'those who are able to touch their toes'. The R1 is quite light at just 185g. Firm padding covers the carbon and composite shell, which is suspended over a single continuous rail of braided carbon, attached with just five Torx screws. This carbon ‘Mobius’ rail is very stiff…there’s no real element of flex or suspension here, and likewise the composite shell is

extremely stiff. The U shaped, almost conical, flared section of the Volta is certainly striking, and you wonder if comfort may have been sacrificed in the pursuit of design.

Climbing aboard it’s, not surprisingly, a much different feel to a regular flat top. You’re able to vary fore and aft position easily, and there’s no sensation of the edge of the saddle. Given the physical differences between

2. The carbon shell is suspended over a lightweight continuous braided loop which also forms the rails.

1 100

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

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$399.95

WEIGHT

185g

DISTRIBUTOR

Monza Imports

individuals, my experience will be different to many of your yours. There’s no perineal cut out in the Volta, a feature which I appreciate in my usual saddle and something I thought I’d be missing, but even on longer rides I didn’t experience any pain or numbness. In fact I completely forgot about the saddle until asked about it about 50km into a ride. After the first ride I adjusted the nose of the saddle down a degree or two from my usual flat setup which helped to more evenly distribute weight across the saddle.

[[ You’re able to vary fore and aft position easily, and there’s no sensation of the edge of the saddle ]]

1. R1 designated Fizik's top end product.

2

RPP

Comfort is key in saddle choice. I’m not convinced the Volta is the perfect fit for my shape, but it is light, well made and looks pretty sharp. By all means have a go at the saddle sizing units in your local bike shop that determine the width of your sit bones. Then shop around if you need to, ask if they have trial units to get a feel for something that works for you. Find the right one and you’ll be set for life. If you are looking for a new saddle with a touch of class that will set your bike apart visually the Volta may be worth a look for you. The Volta R1 carries a hefty price tag at around $400, but you can also pick up the 235g Volta R3 for substantially less.


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as good as they roll. Care is taken to ensure every step in the manufacturing and the hand building of your wheels is scrutinised by our experienced team and in-house tested to the highest standard.

THE QUALITY Our head designer has had decades of design and

manufacturing experience backed up by a large and experienced R & D team. Our wheels are fastidiously hand built to 0.3 lateral, 0.4 vertical and 0.5mm dish tolerance. They come with 6-pawl 60 ratchet ceramic bearings standard, 2 full sets of IRWIN bespoke brake pads and a 2 year conditional warranty.

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patented IRWIN rim maintains its lateral specification, significantly reducing the thermal expansion on the ceramic braking surface compared to ordinary carbon fibre rims. Combined with unparalleled aero performance and stiffness, we hope you enjoy using them as much as we did perfecting them.

Available in 38, 58 & 85mm profiles along with 38/58 and 58/85mm combinations all with 26mm “Wide” rims. Check out our 2 wheels in 1 disc wheel that comes complete with track adapter.

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Photo courtesy of 12 Exposures Photography

BESPOKE TECHNOLOGY Under intense braking, the


Test Lab l Bike Packing Kit BY STEVE THOMAS

Bike Packing Kit STEVE THOMAS HAS BEEN 'BIKE PACKING' SINCE BEFORE THE TERM WAS INVENTED; WHAT DID HE MAKE OF HIS NEW DEDICATED LUGGAGE SET?

L

ETS FACE IT, STASHING

a few basic supplies and heading out for a weekend of two-wheeled adventure is nothing new, it just happens to have been re-branded as bike packing, which has really caught on. As detailed in my earlier article (Life on the Open Road page 58) I’ve always done this with traditional, and often very basic set ups; yet having seen so many dedicated bike packing set ups entering the market I have been somewhat drawn to them. Finally I managed to find a set that really appealed to me and so bit the bullet and invested a not too shabby 102

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

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sum for a Blackburn Outpost Seat Pack & Handle Bar Roll. Although Blackburn are old and respected charge hands when it comes to quality touring bags and kit, they are newcomers to the bike packing market, which is dominated by smaller niche companies, often with mountain or rock climbing backgrounds. You can pick up packs like these for around $150 each. So, here’s what I got, and here’s what I found.

BLACKBURN OUTPOST SEAT PACK Weighing in at a slight 515 Grams with its 10.5 Litre dedicated dry bag included, WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

this pack is a sturdy yet lightweight piece of kit, and the quality of manufacturing just oozes from its seams. You only need to hold at it to know that like all Blackburn kit – this is made to last, positively industrial strength. The main pack attaches to your seatpost with two Velcro fastening straps, and under the saddle with a detachable draw strap, and then with two more harness like pull straps at the rear. Most of these straps also compress the pack around the main wedge shaped dry bag, which is where you cram most of your gear before slipping it inside and then strapping it in. I was able to stash all of my

gear for a lengthy road trip in this one pack, and it weighed in at around 4kg all in, not bad at all. However it does really stick out at the rear when crammed full, so I took out a few bulky items (which I would only need if it was cold and wet) and the whole thing became much easier on the eye, and on the ride. There are loopholes on the back of pack too, where you can strap on shoes, sleeping mats, and even small animals if you so wish. You do need to refine your packing, as it is a pain to have to open the bag during a ride, but if you keep essential spares and a rain jacket at the top then it’s no big deal. The fastening system is quite solid, but is definitely built for mountain bikes, or those with very long seat posts. I’m six feet tall, and have a fair amount of post showing; but the back two saddle straps fell slightly short, so I ended up securing the bag by looping through a good old toe strap. This did away with the sideways swaying. Overall I was impressed by the quality of the pack, but at its price point you would expect that to be so. In reasonable weather conditions (with shoes attached) I could comfortably manage a tour with this pack alone, which did come as a pleasant surprise – a definite step up from a regular saddlebag, and a sideways move from a backpack.

ABOVE: Work through a trial packing process, ruling items in or out according to your weight goals and available space.


SPECIFICATIONS

OUTPOST HB ROLL Maybe it’s the cowboy in me; but there was something about a handlebar roll that really appealed. Baked beans, coffee, the open fire; nah – I’ll stick to en-suite hotels. Most front rolls I’ve seen strap directly to the bars, which is not a great option for road bikes. The Outpost comes with a regular handlebar bag style mount, meaning that you attach the roll via a simple

I did manage to slide it between the cables with older Shimano shifters too; a little cumbersome but no big issue. Overall, definitely useful, but for road use, and given the price tag I would be more inclined to opt for a regular bar bag, where I can stash stuff for fast and easy access. That said, I also feel uncomfortable not seeing my front wheel, so would try to keep it all behind me if possible.

RPP

Approx $150 each

DISTRIBUTOR

www.blackburndesign.com

1

[[ ...a sturdy yet lightweight piece of kit, and the quality of manufacturing just oozes from its seams. ]] quick release, allowing you to ride on the tops. The roll is simply that; a very sturdy (604 Grams, perhaps more than needed for road riding) straightforward roll, which fastens around a doubleended 10 Litre dry bag. It’s sized to fit neatly between a regular pair of 42/44cm road bars (all diameters) and to leave room for riding on the hoods; but try telling the dry bag that! I can see that this would be great on wider MTB bars; as you could pack in a lot of bulky gear without obstruction. As it was, I used a small bungee to keep it from bursting at the seems; easy, effective and simple, but not ideal. Once on, and secured by the carrying strap, it’s rock solid, and does balance the weight pretty well. The strap hoops are useful too, but for road use it really would benefit from a couple of Velcro patches on the top and a detachable map/ document/phone pouch.

PACK LIST I’m on the road for much of my time, and always have a backpack full of cameras, computers and hard drives – and very little baggage allowance is ever left over for clothing and other such things, so it’s become easy for me to go light. The great thing about bike packing is that it shows you just how little you really do need; even I was surprised. Apart from the tech kit, this is not much more that I would take on my regular travels, and it all fits tightly onto the bike, and could be shaven by 30% if I was unlikely to encounter really cold mountain weather.

TO WEAR ON THE ROAD Bike shoes (I would use MTB shoes mostly – more versatile). Shorts, jersey, helmet, gilet & socks (sometimes). Plastic bag for cash, iPhone and map (the phone can replace this – but I do like paper). Small camera.

2

3 1. The Outpost Roll just squeezes between the shifter hoods on these 42cm bars. 2. Almost fully laden here the seatpack expands rearwards, but

there is room to strap other gear on the outside yet. 3. The drybag bulks up a little but the handlebar roll straps compress it to a neat easily managed size.

103


SPECIFICATIONS FRAME

Felt AR2 56cm

FORK

Felt AR2

SHIFTERS

Shimano Ultegra Di2

FRONT DERAILLEUR

Shimano Ultegra Di2

REAR DERAILLEUR

Shimano Ultegra Di2

CRANK

Ultegra 172.5 52/36

CASSETTE

Ultegra 6800 11-28

BOTTOM BRACKET

Token BB30

WHEELS

Fulcrum Racing Quattro

TYRES

Continental GP4000S II

BRAKES

Ultegra 6800

HANDLEBAR

3T Aeronova Team Steath Carbon fibre

STEM

3T ARX II Team stealth

HEADSET

Integrated 1.125x1.25

SADDLE

Prologo Zero II T2.0

SEATPOST

Felt AR2

WEIGHT

7.7kg

PRICE

$6,149

DISTRIBUTOR

Southcott

7.7kg, 56cm, $6,149

The rear end of the AR2 is strongly built to handle sprinters' power.

Deep aero section frame tubes reveal this frame's speed intentions. 104

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WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU


Test Lab l Felt AR2 BY MIKE HUMPHRIES

Felt AR2 – Ultegra Di2 11s THE ONCE HOMOGENOUS ROAD CYCLING MARKET IS FRAGMENTING INTO SMALLER NICHES, WITH MANUFACTURERS PROVIDING FRAME OPTIONS FOR ALL TYPES OF RIDERS. MIKE HUMPHRIES TOOK THE FELT AR2 FOR A SPIN TO SEE HOW IT PERFORMS.

Fulcrum Quattro wheels and GP400011 are raceworthy spec.

F

ROM THE MOMENT

I was setting up the Felt AR2 it was obvious a significant amount of R&D has gone into the latest variant of the Felt Aero Road frame. Take for example the adjustability of the seat angle: the seat clamp and the mechanism for adjustment is a double barrel cog, which allows for micro adjustments of seat angle, and the simplicity of the seat clamp with two Allen key bolts counter-sunk into the frame which can be tightened from either side of the bike. The aero seat post has a cutout which runs lengthways through the middle of the post that the internal seat clamp tightens onto. Felt supplies rubber grommets to make the post aero that are inserted into the cutouts once the seat height is set. If you plan on setting the bike up yourself, be careful not to cut these grommets too short. This is Felt’s second iteration of the Aero Road frame and they have made some noteworthy innovations in the latest edition. Felt has increased the size of their aero tubing, which they claim is 30% more aerodynamic than traditional road bike tubing. Additionally, the bottom bracket has been beefed up to improve stiffness through the drive train. They have 105


Test Lab FELT AR2

1

2

3 4

also relocated the rear brake to the underside of the chain stays to further improve frame aerodynamics. The frame’s build quality is of a very high standard, as you would expect from a globally renowned brand. Its livery complements the matte carbon finish and the paint scheme had many admirers across the review period. I rode the Felt AR2 in all conditions and also over some gravel roads and found the finish on the frame exceptionally hardy, and easy to clean, especially on the underside of the down tube, where you can sometimes take some stone-chip damage. The Di2 wiring and brake cable routing in the AR2 has 106

BICYCLING AUSTRALIA

JULY • AUGUST 2016

been cleverly designed and serves its purpose well. However the rear brake cable with its inline tension adjuster may prove tricky for the home mechanic, and given the extra length it requires before entering the top tube, the cable was long enough to make occasional contact with my knee. The standard equipment on the Felt AR2 is appropriate for its price bracket and the Fulcrum wheels are no exception. Weighing in at a reasonable 1725g for the pair, they’re a very responsive and stiff wheelset that suits the AR2 frame down to the ground. They appear to be virtually bullet proof as they were tested on some challenging surfaces, such as the unforgiving WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

roads around Wisemans Ferry, north of Sydney. The Fulcrum braking surface offered a consistent feel through the levers and predictable braking performance. The rear brake, positioned on this bike as several other aero frames are wont to do, under the bottom bracket, did suffer some brake rub and so the pads were adjusted to sit a touch wider of the rim than I am used to. While being picky, another down side I find of this mounting position is that the caliper, cable and cable housing are exposed to more road debris and may require more regular cleaning. The AR2 is appropriately

equipped with Shimano Ultegra Di2 which adds only a few extra grams, but to my mind gives nothing away in performance so far as smoothness of shifting goes. I’ve ridden both groupsets concurrently and can find no difference in either front or rear derailleur actuation. The AR2 receives the upgraded etube charging junction box and an internal battery, which is cleverly installed in the aero seat post with a custom Felt fitting. Felt has equipped the AR2 with some nice components at two of the three contact points: a Prologo Zero II T2.0 saddle, 3T Aeronova Team Stealth carbon fibre handlebars and a


[[ Saturday rides with my bunch always incur a few sprint points along the way. The stiffness of the frame and its responsive front end are an obvious advantage in this type of contest. ]]

1. Sleek angular and powerful, the AR2 is a blue and grey stealth fighter. 2. Felt has located the rear brake behind bottom bracket to clean up the seat stays and improve aerodynamics. 3. The Felt AR2 integrates the cables and Di2 wiring for the most part in clever manner and the 3T bars further assist with this integration. 4. The seat clamp is innovatively designed to make the area around the post very clean and importantly, given this bike’s raison d'être, aerodynamic. 5. The bars, headtube and fork all present minimal frontage to the wind. 6. Ultegra Di2 rounds out a quality component spec.

SUMMING UP QUALITY

5

The frame build quality of the AR2 is exceptional and Felt has matched this up with a suite of suitably functional components. The frame’s matte finish and livery are stylishly done, functionally easy to maintain and will wear very well.

6

PERFORMANCE 3T ARX II Team Stealth stem. The saddle is on the firmer side and requires a fair amount of getting used to, but given time, the saddle did become more user-friendly. Bearing in mind saddles are a very individual fit, so when choosing your bike you might request a different size than the 143mm width that is standard on the bike. One of the many highlights of this bike are the 3T Aeronova handlebars. They are ingeniously designed with multiple hand positions from a very comfortable upright riding position with your hands on the top section of the bars to a very aero aggressive riding position with your hands either on the hoods or the drops. The concave shape of the top of the bar just before the bar bends around to the drops provides a comfortable position for the wrists when holding the hoods in a more aero position. In my view, they are one of the

best looking handlebars on the market and as their name suggests, they add the ‘stealth’ factor to the AR2. The 3T stem complements the bars and provides an intuitive connection between the cockpit and the rest of the bike. As you would expect from a product that is frequently used by pro-level sprinters, the 3T stem is very stiff, and it provides good feedback when you are descending and cornering at speed. The Felt AR2 was in its element feeling fast and responsive on flat and undulating surfaces, and winding the bike up produces such a good response it encourages you to push even more. Adding to the frame’s feedback the aero bars really let you get in a position to maximise this aspect of the Felt's performance. I didn't take the AR2 in any road races or crits, but Saturday

rides with my bunch always incur a few sprint points along the way. The stiffness of the frame and responsive of the front end of the bike is an obvious advantage in this type of contest. The Felt AR range tops out with the very exclusive AR FRD and the AR1 w/SRAM Red eTAP, and while this may be a very tempting option and the only choice for some, the Felt AR2 provides an extremely compelling argument too. It sports the same frame quality, albeit with an extra 100g, a very precise and reliable groupset in the Shimano Ultegra Di2, a set of Fulcrum aero road wheels that didn’t skip a beat, and an overall ride quality that many higher end bikes could only aspire to, and all this for a fraction of the cost. Folks planning a new bike purchase from the aero frame ranks would do well to take a closer look at this bike.

The Felt AR2 is almost an all round performer. It is exceptional on fast flat terrain, loves undulations and is easy to handle in windy conditions. It does get slightly exposed on longer climbs where the rider is required to sit in the saddle for long periods of time.

VALUE The Felt AR2 frame and fork are a premium build quality. It's stylish design and a well spec’d machine that requires serious consideration for buyers in this market.

OVERALL The AR2 was pleasantly surprising. The thought of riding an aero road bike day in and day out used to be somewhat daunting. However, over the course of this review the Felt AR2 declared itself as a versatile bike that can handle all conditions, and be great fun to ride!

107


SPECIFICATIONS FRAME

C10 UHM carbon w/ VRTech, internal cable routing

FORK

FC-330 carbon monocoque w/ VRTech, tapered carbon steerer

SHIFTERS

Shimano R-685 hydraulic, 11-speed

FRONT DERAILLEUR

Shimano Dura-Ace, braze-on mount

REAR DERAILLEUR

Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-speed

CRANK

Shimano Dura-Ace, 50/34T

CASSETTE

Shimano Dura-Ac , 11-28T, 11-speed

BOTTOM BRACKET

Praxis conversion bottom bracket

WHEELS

Oval Concepts 723 Disc, Centerlock hubs, tubeless

TYRES

Vittoria Open Corsa, 700 x 28

BRAKES

Shimano R-805 hydraulic, 160mm rotors

HANDLEBAR

Oval Concepts 910 Ergo, carbon

STEM

Oval Concepts 707, 3D-forged 6061 stem body, +/-7 degree

HEADSET

FSA, 1 1/8” upper – 1 1/2” lower

SADDLE

Oval Concepts 700 with pressure relief zone, cromo rail

SEATPOST

Oval Concepts 905, carbon & alloy, 27.2mm diameter

CHAIN

Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-speed

WEIGHT

7.65kg , Size XL

PRICE

Gran Fondo 1.1- $5,750 Gran Fondo 2.1 Ultegra Hydro discs $3,999 Gran Fondo 2.5 105 with mech discs $2,999

DISTRIBUTOR

Oceania Bicycles

7.65kg, 58cm, $5,750

Shimano's 160mm brakes offered brilliant modulation through some wet and wild weather.

The 50:34 by 11:28 drivetrain provides a wide range of ratios for whatever roads you'll find. 108

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Test Lab l Fuji Gran Fondo BY GARY HUNT

Fuji Gran Fondo 1.1 WITH GROWING NUMBERS OF RIDERS TACKLING GRAN FONDOS AND DISTANCE EVENTS, THE SEARCH IS ON FOR A BIKE THAT’LL PERFORM. AND BY PERFORM I MEAN ENABLE A RIDER TO ACHIEVE GOOD SPEED, HANDLE IT WELL, AND DO SO ALL DAY LONG.

Wide carbon clinchers from Oval Concepts and the 28mm tyres offer loads of grip and comfort.

I

N MARCH THIS YEAR FUJI

released their new Gran Fondo range at the Taipei bike show. We had a quick test ride at the launch and happily w were able to secure one of the first units in Australia for a longer l review. The Gran Fondo is touted as an ideal performance endurance bike with all day comfort and race handling. At A first glance it’s a good looking bike. A frame of black undressed carbon with blue accents fitted out with Fuji’s home brand Oval Concepts stem, bars, post and wheels. Aesthetically it’s top of class. Neat touches on the frame include the gear cable porting at the rear derailleur which has the outer cable exit the frame aligned with the stays rather than ballooning out to the side. Also down the back you can switch between the 12mm wind up through axle and a regular 9mm quick release, so you can use another set of wheels on a trainer for example. Fuji has also added a chain catcher at the front derailleur as well as a metal chainsuck guard. Unfortunately there’s no built in cadence sensor though, which would have been a nice extra to keep the sleek lines of the frame uncluttered. Shimano flat mount calipers however deliver in both form and function. 109


Test Lab FUJI GRAN FONDO

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3 4

2 The left hand chainstay like a pitcher’s arm is a little overdeveloped to handle the braking forces a disc setup brings to the hub. Slender seat stays include what would have once been called a brake bridge, though now it helps to keep the stays flexing only in a vertical plane, and avoid any squirrelly deflection that would let the rear wheel choose its own destination. There’s a slight deviation in the stays that’s clearly designed to induce a level of flex and assist with softening road impacts and moderating buzz. Up front the cable porting at the head tube is again very clean—some of the best I’ve seen. The cables 110

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rest neatly against the frame, not able to mark the tubes though, as they’re cushioned by soft rubber cable surrounds. The cables themselves have slim inline tension adjusters so you can tweak shifting if things get slightly out of whack. The fork is one of Fuji’s own blending perfectly with the headtube. Again with the hidden services; another neat porting job has the hydraulics hose enter the fork shoulder with fluid lines, exiting inside the left leg at the perfect angle to mate snugly with the caliper. Front and rear dropouts suit 12mm wind up axles for optimum stiffness. Fuji has even included simple additions like alloy bidon WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

bolts, anodized blue, to match the accents of the frame. These small touches make the bike look very tidy and convey a feel of higher quality. All these features serve their purpose, but on the road one of the most beneficial aspects of the frame is contained within the carbon fibre layup. Sheets of a polyurethane-treated natural fibre have been inserted in significant sections of the fork and stays, adding a level of plasticity that offsets the stiffness of the high modulus carbon fibre surrounding them. Fuji claims this ‘Vibration Reduction Technology’ has reduced road buzz by 24% over their previous model.

As well as adding damping layers inside the tube walls, Fuji uses size specific tube dimensions, based around the idea that smaller lighter riders need lighter gauge tubes in their frame than taller, heavier riders. This discussion also covers factors of weight of the rider, and also the length of the frame tubes where a longer tube of equal thickness is more prone to flexing, as is one subject to greater load. Upshot is, whether you are short or tall, where a frame has size specific tubes, you should experience the same ride qualities. Setting the height of the 27.2mm Oval post was a one time job with a minimalist twin


[[ It’s well capable of holding its own in the bunch, and perfectly at home cruising quiet country back roads and climbs... ]]

1. Oversized tubes surround the bottom bracket to keep things stiff and stable. 2. Flat mount calipers and wind up axles...the Gran Fondo is bang up to speed. 3. Oval's seat post has a simple and effective saddle clamp, with easily accessible bolts.

6

4. The headtube on this 58cm is a tall 22cm. 5. Neat internal hose housing, well finished with quality ports. 6. Wavy stays provoke some vertical flex on impact, to smooth sharp bumps.

SUMMING UP QUALITY The Gran Fondo 1.1 is a high end frame matched to Fuji’s in house Oval Concept components line and Shimano’s mechanical Dura Ace drive train. Braking is also top notch. Move along…there’s nothing to see here but good quality.

5 strap clamp and only 4Nm torque required. They’ve also put a tiny band on the seatpost that will serve to mark the height of the post should you remove it for packing or transit. The post shares a similar undressed carbon finish with the frame and has a simple two bolt saddle clamp at the saddle. The saddle itself is another Oval component that I found comfortable straight off. There’s an alloy stem—also Oval branded, as are the 910 series bars which have slightly flattened tops that are thickly wrapped in suede finish tape… both features adding to the comfort factor, though some may prefer a less bulky finish. Oval Concept 723 disc wheels are a worthy feature on this top end frame, spinning up to speed easily and feeling light on the climbs. At just 670g for the front wheel without the 160mm Shimano Ice Technology rotor or 820g with it, and 840/990g for the rear, they are respectably light. Even

though they carry the extra weight of the rotors, it’s at the hub, lower than the weight of rim calipers. The rims are 23mm deep and a surprising 19mm wide internally allowing the Vittoria Rubino Pro 28mm tyres to inflate to 30mm wide at 90psi, though they’d probably fit 32mm if you feel like getting dirty. The hubs feature a high flange on both sides to cope with extra forces of the brake rotor and cassette on the rear wheel. The 24 spoke front hub is high flange on just the left hand, brake rotor side. Braking performance was great; almost perfect, save for some low level squeal at just over minimum application. Squeeze a little harder to achieve moderate braking or more, and there was no noise at all. The Gran Fondo is 45mm taller and 14mm shorter than it stable mate the Fuji SL, giving a riding position that will reduce pressure on your lower back and shoulders if you want or need it, while the longer

stays and wheelbase enhance stability at speed and also serve to take more bang out of rear wheel impacts. On the road I initially found the more upright position of the Fuji a little strange but that sensation was soon replaced by the revelation of how refined and smooth it was. Regardless the oversized head and down tubes keep the front end plenty stiff enough for direct steering response and really confident handling. It’s simply a pleasure to ride. It’s well capable of holding its own in the bunch too, and perfectly at home cruising quiet country back roads and climbs around the Illawarra. Once at the top, larger volume tyres really let you push the envelope on long fast descents. Overall Fuji has really nailed the brief, producing a fast capable all day bike. If you’re in the market for a new performance endurance bike, or even if you are not, this bike is well worth your consideration.

PERFORMANCE As the name suggests one day epics, and sportifs are all fair game and easy money for this high functioning Fuji machine. But it’s also equally at home in a bunch riding scenario and while it may not be first amongst sprinters it is well able to handle your short sharp rides too.

VALUE With top end components and clearly a well-designed, wellmade frame the Gran Fondo 1.1 will bring years of pleasure and see you through many epic rides. Discussing price seems almost rude, but for $5750 this top end bike seems very good value.

OVERALL The Gran Fondo 1.1 is an exceptional bike. It really does bring together many of the key characteristics you’d expect of a high performing endurance bike, to create a fast, capable, and comfortable machine that should be high on any Gran Fondo rider’s list of bikes to coonsider. 111


SPECIFICATIONS FRAME

Intenso carbon, 1.1/8”- 1.5” head tube

FORK

Bianchi Full Carbon w/Kevlar

SHIFTERS

Shimano Ultegra ST-6800 2x11sp

FRONT DERAILLEUR

Ultegra

REAR DERAILLEUR

Ultegra 11sp

CRANK

Shimano FC-RS500-L 50x34T

CASSETTE

Shimano 105,11-28

CHAIN

Shimano 11speed

WHEELS

Fulcrum Racing Sport

TYRES

Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick 700x25

BRAKES

Reparto Corse RC-471 Dual-Pivot

HANDLEBAR

Reparto Corse Compact Alloy

STEM

Reparto Corse Alloy

HEADSET

FSA Orbit C-40-ACB

SADDLE

Selle San Marco Era Startup Power

SEATPOST

Reparto Corse, alloy 31,6mm

WEIGHT

8.36kg

PRICE

$3,699

DISTRIBUTOR

Solasport

8.36kg, 56cm, $3,699

Solid looking seat stays belie the Intenso's endurance perspective.

Ultegra derailleurs front and rear keep the shifting light and smooth. 112

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Test Lab l Bianchi Intenso BY PAT HOWARD

Bianchi Intenso Ultegra MATT BLACK WITH HIGHLIGHTS IN BIANCHI'S SIGNATURE CELESTE GREEN, THE INTENSO LOOKS AN ATTRACTIVE SPORTIVE PACKAGE. PAT HOWARD HAS BEEN RIDING THE INTENSO AND FILED THIS REVIEW.

Fulcrum Racing Sport wheels are a decent inclusion and help to keep the price down.

T

O ME THE NAME

‘Intenso’ conjures the metal image of a head throbbing climb. The type where your brow drops and sweat drips off of your nose, your legs pump heavily in time with the metronomic thud of your heart, loud above all other noise. A touch too dramatic? This is an Italian bike, humor me! As part of Bianchi’s Endurance Racing range there is certainly a suggestion that the Intenso has intent to travel both fast and long. Intense if you like: a matter of perception? This frame has been through the UCI’s testing and certification process and carries the corresponding sticker announcing it fit and ready for Pro level racing. Intense enough, no doubt! Keep the Passport ready just in case of a call up. Most likely the Intenso’s big brother Infinito will board the plane though. Sharing the same fit as the Intenso but employing refined tube shapes and some super fancy vibration damping materials, the Infinito is the Pro’s weapon of choice for the really rough days. The Intenso is aimed at the recreational rider that wants the same fit as the top tier bike and some of that Bianchi celeste too, thank you very much. Even on our matte black Ultegra spec Intenso, there is a liberal application of celeste graphics. Little Italian flags and the big silver head badge 113


Test Lab BIANCHI INTENSO

1

2 leave no confusion as to the heritage of this machine. The fit is identical to the Infinito, and the dramatically flared head tube is highly reminiscent of the race focused Oltre. Bianchi has pulled some nice elements from their premium machines into the Intenso. The frame and fork are comprised predominantly of carbon, but Kevlar has been strategically layed into the seat stays and fork blades. Bianchi dubs this K-VID (Kevlar Vibration Isolating Device), the intention being that the Kevlar material used will diffuse vibrations more readily than the standard carbon used 114

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elsewhere and help absorb some amount of bump forces. It’s an ideal concept for an endurance-focused platform. Outside of the materials, the Intenso eschews many of the typical shock and vibration damping cues seen on modern endurance bikes. The fork uses a stiffness enhancing 1.5 inch lower bearing rather than the comparatively slender 1.25 that we increasingly encounter. The seat post is a rigid 31.6mm diameter with no inbuilt flex features and the same is true of the seat tube. The seat stays are somewhat beefy when compared with many, their blocky square profile and large WWW.BICYCLINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU

brake bridge and seat tube junction is at odds with most of the Intenso’s competitors. In fact, the Intenso occupies a non-committal middle ground of sorts. It takes as many cues from Bianchi’s more muscular platforms than from common endurance bike fashion, and the fit is relaxed but still awake. Slightly longer chainstays help balance the rearward center of gravity that is encouraged by the slightly generous stack height, but neither proportion is close to the long and tall numbers of many soft riding mile munchers on the market. It will never be viewed as an

aggressive racing position (at least not without an odd stem, or sizing down) but it will still be possible for most regular riders to get low enough whilst having a position that is all-day comfy, and the profile is can pass as a ‘race’ bike quite easily. Whether it’s the K-VID, tubes shapes, materials choice or a mix of the three, the Intenso is a relatively smooth operator If Bianchi had opted to call the Intenso the ‘Alldaycomfyo’ it may have been a more appropriate descriptor. In the saddle the Intenso feels like a long bike, the type that won’t send you flying if you


1. The narrow head tube reduces the frontal area of the Intenso.

4

2. The compact Shimano crank shifts well and offers great range. 3. The Intenso is UCI approved. Just in case you get a call up! 4. Alloy cockpit parts keep the Infinito tracking well, without breaking the bank. 5. This San Marco saddle is generously padded for long days on the road.

3 SUMMING UP QUALITY Bianchi has integrated some nice features and technologies into the Intenso frame and the finish is on par with other brands. Down specced brakes present an opportunity to build on the Intenso’s performance.

5

PERFORMANCE

[[ It takes as many cues from Bianchi’s more muscular platforms than from common endurance bike fashion, and the fit is relaxed but still awake. ]]

Despite appearances, the Intenso is as likely as smooth as a lot of slimmer looking, multi-acronym wearing bikes out there, but it’s certainly no sprinter. The Ultegra Intenso is solid as it is, but could elevate its ride significantly with some extra attention paid to the brakes and wheels.

VALUE ride over some gravel and is cool as a cucumber if you encounter a quick sequence of bumps on the road. I found I felt centered in the Intenso, which encouraged me to stay seated and settle into a nice consistent tempo where I could chug through the miles rather than attack them, and spin the climbs rather than animate out of the saddle. Bianchi has aimed the Ultegra Intenso at the serious recreational rider. Drivetrain is comprised of a selection of Shimano parts; Ultegra shifters and derailleurs operate the otherwise 105 and non-series parts to keep the Intenso

moving forwards at the right price. Even the non-series parts work extremely well. The only chink worth noting were the Bianchi branded Tektro brakes which asked me to test the frames cornering limits to an Intenso level on more than a few occasions, due to their sub optimal power and modulation. I can report that the Intenso will happily carve through all manner of turns, so long as you don’t need to brush off a whole lot of speed immediately beforehand! The stock Fulcrum Racing Sport are a durable training wheel, adding a solid and planted feel to the ride of the

Intenso. I did swap in my own wheels and tires as a test. These helped the Intenso feel much, much faster, moving from an industrial diesel to more of a turbo diesel performance, especially so on the climbs. The ride of the Intenso remained quietly muted and composed, the frame takes a lot of the surface out of the road which lets you ride long and steady. Riders searching for crisp feel and a precise road feedback may find that the Intenso offers more protection than they’re looking for, but over the distance the Intenso defines its own comfort zone.

The Intenso takes a slightly different line to others in terms of fit and ride quality, which is where it’s value lies. Composed and calm but far from lazy, this is a dependable bike for long days in the hills.

OVERALL The Intenso offers a nice middle ground in terms of fit. Not slow, but not too fast. The personality really parallels the fit. For short punchy rides or disco-move climbs the Intenso will be eclipsed by plenty of machines with racier aspirations, but for a day of big hills and long valleys, or a morning cruising with mates the Intenso is ideal. 115


SPECIFICATIONS FRAME

GTC Monocoque Road Comfort Geometry

FORK

CUBE CSL Race, One Piece 3D-Forged Steerer/Crown, Carbon Blades

SHIFTERS

Shimano Ultegra ST-6800

FRONT DERAILLEUR

Shimano Ultegra FD-6800, 31.8mm Clamp

REAR DERAILLEUR

Shimano Ultegra RD-6800GS, 11-Speed

CRANK

Shimano Ultegra FC-6800, 172.5mm

CASSETTE

Shimano CS-6800, 11-32

CHAIN

Shimano CN-HG700-11

WHEELS

Mavic Aksium Elite

TYRES

Mavic Aksion, 65A Compound, 25-622

BRAKES

Shimano BR-RS500

HANDLEBAR

CUBE Wing Race Bar Compact

STEM

CUBE Performance Stem Pro, 31.8mm

HEADSET

FSA I-t, Top Integrated 1 1/8”, Bottom Integrated 1 1/4”

SADDLE

CUBE RP 1.0

SEATPOST

CUBE Performance Post, 27.2mm

SEATCLAMP

CUBE Screwlock, 31.8mm

WEIGHT

8.1 kg

PRICE

$2,999

DISTRIBUTOR

99 Bikes

8.1kg, 56cm, $2,999

Slender stays are a key feature in the Cube's defence against rough roads.

It's good to see a full Ultegra spec on the Attain GTC.

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Test Lab l Cube Attain GTC BY PAT HOWARD

Cube Attain GTC IN A CROWDED AUSTRALIAN RACE BIKE MARKET NEW ENTRANTS CAN FIND IT TOUGH GETTING A FOOT IN THE DOOR. SUCCESSFUL GERMAN BRAND CUBE HAS COME KNOCKING AGAIN AND PAT HOWARD OPENED THE DOOR WIDE. 25mm rubber is standard spec though 28mm would be well worth investigating.

C

UBE IS ONE OF THOSE

brands that have historically come in and out of view every few years here in Australia. The German bike maker is well known in Europe but less so elsewhere, and has changed distributors in Australia semi-frequently. This year Cube has linked a new deal with 99 Bikes. The 99 Bikes chain has over 25 stores across four states, and more on the way. Don’t be surprised if you start to see more and more Cube bikes on the road in the near future. Our immediate benefit from this new supply chain is the Attain GTC Race, which features a top to bottom frame refresh for 2016. The Attain is Cube’s version of the fondo/ endurance bike, with GTC standing for ‘Gran Turismo Composite’ no less. We’ll receive this model as well as the Attain GTC Pro Disc in Australia, paralleled by the racier Agree C:62 Pro and SL Team models. A browse of the Cube catalogue reveals an extensive range, with 99 Bikes cherry picking these four models to hit price points for riders in the recreational and club racing segments. The GTC Race is a nicely specced machine out of the box, running an almost complete Ultegra group and Mavic wheels at a sharp $3,000 price point. The new Agree GTC frame is a modern piece 117


Test Lab CUBE ATTAIN GTC

1

3

4

1. Angular, oversized, skinny. The Attain has it all. 2. Seatstays meet the seat tube, spreading bump forces into the frame rather than the seatpost 3. A slender seat tube houses the sensibly slim 27.2mm diameter seatpost

4. Flip the Cube on its head: even the undercarriage is impeccably finished. 5. Mavic’s Aksium wheels are a quality inclusion 6. Everything about the Cube is geometric. Not surprising really.

2 118

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of kit. The only round tube is the seat tube, everything else is flared, squared or tapered, the effect being a very purposeful and precise looking machine. The carbon fork blades are shallow and slender, connected to an alloy crown and steerer enclosed within a 1.25 inch lower bearing. Cable routing is smoothly executed, and flipping the bike over reveals tidy cable ports in the bottom bracket and a clear adhesive downtube rock protector. Flip it back over and you’ll notice a small graphic warning against clamping the down tube on bike racks. Attention to detail on the Attain is high. Every component is color matched perfectly with the pin sharp paint, but more so each of Cube’s in house parts (bar, stem, post, saddle, tape) is an excellent item in its own right. Sure, the saddle was a bit bulky but it was comfortable none the less. The bar tape was tacky, just squishy enough and looked great. The bend of the bars was spot on. The overriding impression is of a bike that could be worth more than the asking price. In order to relax the ride into Gran Turismo comfort territory, the Cube comes with the almost obligatory skinny seat stays, and a 27.2mm


6 5

SUMMING UP QUALITY

[[ The biggest take out from the Attain is not the measure of comfort that the bike provides, but the feeling of speed. ]]

The Attain offers as much as could be asked at the price point. It’s a smart looking package, beautifully finished, and comes with great drivetrain and wheels which provide excellent performance.

PERFORMANCE seatpost. The seat tube is quite short, exposing a lot of the skinny post too. Otherwise, the frame is reasonably solidly proportioned. The down tube is big and boxy, forming the backbone of the Attain’s ride alongside the minimalist fork. The stock Mavic tyres run at a modest looking stated 25mm with lots of room to spare, I’d hazard that 27-28mm tyre could clear without too much fuss (depending on the brand). The front of the Attain has a generous stack height, placing the rider upright rather than flat. Cube runs a 74mm bottom bracket drop which puts the Attain at the lower and stable end of the spectrum, and the 410mm chainstay length adds to the wheelbase for even more stability. I truly had no idea what to expect of the Attain before I saddled up; it was my first ride on a Cube and I don’t ride with any Cube owners … and this was a brand new model in any case! The skinny stays and post suggested a cushy ride and the tall stack height had me envisioning a lazy day on a soft deck chair. I was unsure what

to make of the skinny fork, and also the alloy steerer. It took a couple of rides before I got the Attain dialed in to my liking, including removing the 10mm headset top cap to get the bars lower, but once I had it all just so I found the Attain to be a cracking good ride. The biggest take out from the Attain is not the measure of comfort that the bike provides, but the feeling of speed. Despite the various skinny tubes employed, the Cube is a very solid bike from front to back, and especially so at the head tube. This means that when you get up out of the saddle the bike feels attentive and enthused. The front wheel darts precisely along with your swaying of the bars and jumping up from the saddle to inject a burst of speed is a gratifying experience. The bike isn’t light due to the entry-level Mavic Aksium wheels and full spread of alloy cockpit parts, but even so it manages to ride light. The rigid spine of the Attain is clearly a part of this, and the road feel is its foil. The Attain is far from a harsh

ride; it supplies a reasonable amount of buzz and feel from the road without bashing you up. I held concerns about the alloy steerer providing a jarring ride, but these concerns were unfounded on the road. The Aksium wheels were a perfect choice, they rolled along beautifully once up to speed and pick up the speed reasonably well for a price point wheel. In terms of feel the Attain is more closely aligned with some of the softer riding race bikes out there than many of its fondo competitors, but provides a more upright ride at the same time. Having more of the fork steerer supported within the tall head tube helps to provide a more precise steering response and a solid bar feel when compared to a stack of headset spacers flapping out in the breeze. As I noted, I needed to remove the conical headset top cap to get the bars low enough for my liking, but riders that don’t need an out and out race position but still want a responsive feeling frame will be onto a winner in the Attain for sure.

Snappy and precise, the Attain delivers beyond the usual fondo bike brief. The position is relaxed but the ride is spirited and enthusiastic, more in line with bikes that trumpet their speed credentials over comfort. But the Attain will go all day too.

VALUE Spec on the Attain is almost the riders dream for a $3,000 price tag. Quality wheels and drivetrain, and excellent in house kit too. There’s no need to upgrade anything on the Attain, though there is room to reduce weight for some extra.

OVERALL As a rider that is reasonably fit but not always in a hurry, the Attain was an overwhelmingly positive experience. The Attain is as happy to take a long ride in the country as it is willing to work some max effort hill repeats or a fast paced group ride. The combination of speed and comfort is easy to like, and the value proposition is right up there too. This could be one of the biggest sleepers on the market.

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n e ve BY ENDO FARTLEK

Gran Fondo Training for Dummies ENDO DEVISES HIS OWN REGIM MEN TO PREPARE FOR HIS NEXT GRAN N FONDO; THE BOWRAL CLASSIC. young Endo pedalling my way to and from school, I was acutely aware that there were three things with which I would always struggle: namely, science and maths. Even still, I could never have imagined that my apparent lot in life as a deductive dunce and numerical nincompoop would so thoroughly paralyse my preparations for a Gran Fondo. In short, cycling training for me has become a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. And while my most confronting goal remains to ascend L’Alpe d’Huez inside Cheryl Crow’s time of 1 hour and 37 minutes, this year’s Bowral Classic and L’Étape Australia now provide an

imposing double headerr of a clear and present dang ger. Where to begin? Let’s be honest, folks, if you’re looking for a leg-up on su uch matters, the Editor of thiss rag has been of little assistance. By any measure, the Ma ayJune edition of Bicycling Australia was a complete and utter disaster. Gary packed it so tightly with content rich in useful information and scientifica ally sound training methods an nd tips that I had to take three wee eks y of leave without pay to fully comprehend what was on offer. o Before I knew it I was trying to negotiate parttime arrangements with my boss so I could roll out Mick “Sleight of Hand” Hanslip’s 6 month plan and

© MATT BRYANT

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ARLY IN LIFE, AS A

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squeeze in five rides per week. I lost another month trying to memorise his acronyms, numbers and components of each training session. Clearly, Hanslip’s basic structure of building intensity and volume through different kinds of rides was the way forward, but I had to somehow simplify the task. After thrashing it out with my bunch, The Old Cranks, we came up with a colour-coded, legendfilled Gran Fondo Training Plan for Dummies: 1. Build your base: go a little bit further and a little bit harder. 2. Ride with intention: mix it up with colour coded rides to overload and adapt. 3. Recover, recover, recover. 4. Develop your core strength: all Gran Fondos are ultimately conquered between the nipples and the knees.

“As long as I live and breathe, I attack”. When you see a hill, get out of the saddle – you might even go up into a bigger gear – and then attack! Attack the hill! Attack your nemesis! Attack your teammates! Just attack! That is the way of The Badger. "The Van Impe" – Lucien was a true King of the Mountains and widely heralded as the greatest climber of all time. Be still in the saddle. Pedal smoothly. Lift your cadence. Find a rhythm that allows you to quietly suffer in the name of KoM glory. Be the graceful grimpeur you always wanted to be.

[[ ... Forget Jensie’s noisy legs. Shut-up everything! Get on the rivet and stay there. ... ]] That’s hardly his fault. But he has what you need: resilience, persistence and cunning. This ride is all about the mileage. Be cool and calculated. Go long, but look after yourself. “The Cannibal” – Eddy Merckx’s coach, Dr Marco Pierfederici, famously shared his top three training tips for cycling success: “Ride the bike, ride the bike, and ride the bike.” The Cannibal simply added a bit of mongrel. Grab a single bidon, stick your credit card in your bibs & go long and

YELLOW RIDES BUILD YOUR ENDURANCE. "The Cadel" – Okay, so Cadel was born in the wrong era.

hard. Ride like you don’t need to get back home today. Of course, there is still the outstanding matter of how one musters up the motivation necessary to get out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to crunch the cranks. I figured I had no choice but to turn pro and pay myself. On the advice of the Fair Work Ombudsman, I consulted the Road Transport and Distribution Award and now earn $22.88 per hour – the same rate as a bicycle courier.

GREEN RIDES ARE ALL ABOUT TEMPO AND SPRINTING. "The Tashkent Terror" – This workout celebrates the unique style of the Uzbek sprinter Djamolidine Abdoujaparov. Jamie Jowett of CyclingTips recently wrote that “watching him sprint was like seeing a fight spill out of a pub, all arms and legs and violence.” Find the flat spots on your ride, get down on the drops and brawl with your bicicleta for 30 seconds. Repeat four or five times, and then drag your ragged rump home. “The King Kelly” – Sean Kelly was all about power and versatility. Forget Jensie’s noisy legs. Shut-up everything! Get on the rivet and stay there. Keep your cadence high. Sit back in your saddle and power through the hills. This is your up-tempo ride.

RED RIDES FOCUS ON CLIMBING AND INTERVALS. “The Badger” – Bernard Hinault was a fighter on and off the bike. He once said,

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