Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hmm. Stand-up and run "bike" the ElliptiGO has everything except the "go"

Whilst I can understand the "why" - bikes can feel alien at first, especially for runners - I'm not so sure that this idea isn't so niche as to be next to useless. Unless you absolutely have to stand at all times and can't imagine pedalling, why bother?

Just imagine - standing all of the time, constantly in the wind, creating as much drag as you possibly could. And when you hit a hill over 5% what happens? Do you get off and walk? Just to put all of this in perspective I can "comfortably cruise" at 30kmh on my bike, or walk similar distances at around 10-12kmh. In both cases I can handle inclines of up to 21% or so pretty comfortably. So the ElliptiGO would fall in between but be a real get-off-and-slug up hills.  And then there's the price... I guess there'll be a market - there's always a market for something "look-at-me" whacky.   

New ElliptiGO 3C 'running on air' bike released
The company says that runners/riders should be able to comfortably cruise at speeds of between 12 to 15 mph (19 - 24 kph) and be able to handle inclines of up to five percent, or can push their workout up a notch and get up to 20 to 25 mph (32 - 40 kph). Different-sized users can be accommodated by adjustment of stride length (between 16-25 inches/41-64 cm) and by way of the telescopic steering column.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Contador victorious in Giro 2011 - for now at least. Do we care?

It's not just the appeal hanging over his head, it's the whole sense of unease that hangs over the sport. Part - if not most - of which is the residual "Lance effect", that feeling that winning should not look so easy and be so repeatable. As in endlessly repeatable. Yes, I know, you can't judge effort on appearances, and you certainly can't pass judgement on a rider - a person - simply because of their performance on a bike. But Contador was streets ahead, again, against a field that - let's be honest - lacked some of the stars that it should have had. Which probably wouldn't have mattered, given Andy Schleck's current form, but it somehow made this Giro a little less compelling.

Which leaves room to wonder if he'll be able to peak again in July, given that the CAS appeal has slipped back. At least we'll see all of the big guns there, hopefully motivated and on top form for a long, hard - and closely fought - Tour.

And we can't leave Italy without noting the sad loss of life: RIP Wouter.

Giro D'Italia: Stage 21, Route Maps & Results | Cyclingnews.com
Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) sealed overall victory in the Giro d'Italia on Sunday with a third place finish in the concluding time trial in Milan, won by David Millar (Garmin-Cervélo). In the battle for second place, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) held off the challenge of a flagging Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), on a day that saw few decisive brushstrokes added to the Giro's overall picture.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A story worth retelling... David McKenzie and that Giro stage win, 11 years ago...

It didn't get much notice in the local Aussie mass media back then but it was certainly noted by the cycling community. Not just a stage win but a mammoth effort to ride away solo and win alone, almost a minute ahead of the pack. Hard enough to do that in a club crit let alone in a Grand Tour...

SBS: Cycling Central : L’Amore di Teramo
The stage was 182km in length. McKenzie took flight just 18km in.

Some stories say you made a bet with Robbie McEwen, who was riding for Farm Frites at the time...

“It wasn’t so much a bet. They started the stage (with the) usual attacks, left, right and centre. And then I rolled up beside him, and I was trying to get through to attack. By then everyone had called a truce; they called ‘piano’.

“And they were all across the road, and I said (to McEwen): ‘I want to go! I’ve got good legs, I want to attack!’ And he just said, ‘Go! Duck up the inside here. Jump out.’ You know what Robbie’s like – he’s like, ‘F**k ‘em, just do it!’ That was the conversation. That was pretty much what was said.”

SBS: Cycling Central : L’Amore di Teramo
the peloton completely miscalculated the strength and tenacity of the blond-haired boy from Ballarat, and McKenzie won the stage by 51secs. “Nothing beats it. You wish you could go back and have the last 300m of the stage. Every now and then, I wish I could have it just once more,” he told me in our October 2005 interview, days after he announced his retirement from professional cycling. On the 22nd of that month and following the finish of the Melbourne to Warrnambool, a race he won four years previous, ‘Macka’ called it a day.
Some more background...
McKenzie heralded his coming of age with a career highlight by winning stage seven of the 2000 Giro D'Italia in a 164km solo break-away. He capped off a great year by being named Australian Male Road Cyclist of the Year.
And another retelling of that stage win....
Where Are They Now? -David McKenzie
Dave talks about crossing the finish line as if it somehow broke a spell, and recalls Jens Voigt’s comment once about it being a special moment that only the rider can enjoy and understand. Dave is too positive for regrets, but he would love to experience those last few hundred metres again.

The little Aussie Espresso crossed the line 51 seconds clear and was rugby tackled off the bike by an exhuberant support team. The rest is a blur, except the vivid memory that each and every one of the Aussies racing that day all came and hugged him, sharing his special moment.