Monday, October 27, 2014

Falling For Burnaby Mountain

photo Cycling Art

My Sunday ride started innocently enough. Decked in my fall kit I included my detachable fenders for the real test. I have 'upgraded' them with my new DIY mud flaps I launched myself into the cool morning mist. I was amazed how much the streets were full of leaves and other debris, even the gutters were clogged. No wonder parts of the lower mainland flooded. Negotiating on wet roads made more hazardous with slippery leaves is not fun. A change of pace slowing down to admire the change of colors is fun. Fall is my favorite cycling season. Time to bundle up with a rain cap, wool jersey and wool cap. And this morning was fairly dark - on go the lights. 

Twice I had to stop to clean out dead leaves from my bottom cable guides, fenders and my spokes. That's good news. They both work like a charm, collecting a good amount of leaves and grime for me to scrape off. The front flap measures 14.5 cm minimizing the road spray off my surprisingly dry oversocks. I think the supreme test is to have someone ride behind me to test the spray. I'm positive it will work equally well as the front. Riding up Burnaby Mountain is something special especially in the cold mist. A good way, for me, to collect my thoughts enjoy the scenery with only my heavy breathing breaking the stillness. As I reach the dark summit, the rain miraculously stops good time to don off the gloves to really feel the brake hoods. I'm running on year old plus tyres and there's a certain level of cycling trust they'll guide me a little longer. I have made an order for the robust Vittoria Rubino Pro all weather tyres and expect them by the end of this week. More testing is on the agenda. To say, that my new mud flaps work is an understatement. As I'm descending down Burnaby Parkway I'm glad to have them. The rain and road debris seems to appear out of nowhere and I can't help but think of my new tyres and content to ride in the fall.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday File: Why I Can't Wait For The Tour To Start, Marinoni Debuts In Montreal, DIY Mudflap & New Yellow & Blacks

Whoa! If you haven't seen this, well look what awaits the riders this summer, stage 18 in the Alps...

Lacets de Montvernier,
18 hairpins cut into the side of the mountain, 3.8km at 8%.
via Tinkoff Saxo

The documentary film, Marinoni: THE FIRE IN THE FRAME will make it's Québec debut...

Montréal, RIDM Festival November 21 & 22! 

Read my review here.

My DIY front mudflap...

Marinoni w/ DIY mudflap.
photo Cycling Art

Getting ready for winter riding means plenty of prep. In the past, I've made mudflaps out of leather. This time I'm opting for lighter plastic. I enjoy tinkering and have everything on hand so I used my trusty Dremel tool and with the right gauge of plastic I crafted the ultimate mudflap. And it didn't cost me anything.

New for 2015...

I can't say I like the color choice...
Get ready for the yellow & blacks of Team LottoNL-Jumbo.
When a professional cycling team merges with a professional speed skating team. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2015 Tour de France: A Classic Touch - Hitting The Wall & Tribute To The KoMs

Hitting the Wall,
2014 La Fleche Wallonne.

I wonder whether Dan Martin is thinking of the 2015 Tour de France? If he is selected to ride, then stage 3 can be most interesting. I'll get to that a little later.

A look at the course...

The course has been revealed and special thanks go to race organizers for creating a parcours suited for the climbers. Notably, organizers are keen to pay tribute to the 40th anniversary of the climber's polka dot jersey. Light on time trials and, thankfully, heavy on climbing. I think this Tour is one of my favorites - for the second year in succession cue in cobblestones. On stage 4, seven sections of 'nice' pave to keep everyone focussed. It's 211km long, 13.3km of pave and the riders will be wishing the weather gods will be fair.

A Classic Touch...

The Grand Départ is in Utrecht and then along the North Coast of The Netherlands. Stage 3 finishes on the steep ramp of the Muy de Huy in Belgium. Dan Martin came tantalizingly close to winning La Fléche Wallone and has a proven classic track record in a race that really suits his climbing abilities (2012: 6th, 2013: 4th, 2014: 2nd)...


The beautiful mountains...

A rest day in Pau before the Pyrenees, three summit finishes in a row and up La Pierre St-Martin on stage 10. Cauterets and then the Tourmalet on stage 11. Fearsome ascent up the Plateau de Beille on stage 12. But, the Alps will be mighty nasty. Four days in the Alps with three summit finishes on Pra-Loup (stage 17), la Toussuire (stage 19) and l'Alpe d'Huez. Stage 20 is the penultimate stage before Paris and just looks nasty...

The 21 hairpins (13.8km at 8.1%) of Alpe d'Huez is the perfect icing on this 2015 Tour. It promises to be a dramatic finish. Hugely popular appearing 28 times, last won in 2013 by Christophe Riblon.

The Penultimate stage killer.

The Players...

In my opinion, Nairo Quintana looks well suited to this mountainous Tour. Then again, he won't be alone. He'll have to stay upright along with these guys to the Alps: Contador, Nibali, Froome. But, wouldn't it be fitting for one of these French challengers to take la Grande Boucle? My French picks to break the 30 year drought are; Romain Bardet, Thibault Pinot and Jean-Christophe Péraud.

French dreams can come true.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sylvain Chavanel: Funkengruven

The national champ motoring to victory.
via Bettini

Sylvain Chavanel was doing a number on the roads by winning and ending the Euro road season nailing the Chrono des Nations. Great win for Chava, proving that he's a TT monster, and in a way sad for us cycling fans. We'll have to wait until next season for cycling. Of interesting note is that Chavanel has ended his season and have bought a camper van and is off for holidays. Many years ago, I've enjoyed many holiday adventures with my 1972 VW camper van. I'm sure Chavanel doesn't have a VW camper van but there's something extra special cruising in a VW van. 

"I'm keen to go on holiday with my family before starting up again calmly with 2015 in view. With my newly-purchased camper van, I'm going to discover the countryside and landscape around Mont-Saint-Michel and the beaches of the Normandy landings."

- Sylvain Chavanel.

Funkengruven: The joy of driving, VW style.

photo Red Dots Cycling

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