Friday, June 29, 2012

Tour de France Picks

The Tour de France is here! The Tour de France is here!

It seems like this years Pro cycling season has just been flying by.  With so much happening it's been hard to devote some time to who I think could make it happen this year. But here it goes anyway...

Pretty much every single article I've read on the subject seems to think this years tour is going to be made up of the Evans and Wiggo Show. I must admit that it's hard to disagree.

Bradely Wiggins is in the best form of his career. He's demonstrated that with a string of week long tour wins this year. Combine that with a previous top 5 showing at the tour and he definitely has a legitimate shot at it. He's an excellent time trialist and has shown himself to have real poise under pressure.

There really are only two things that I see that could derail Wiggo's charge at a tour win (Besides luck.) First his team. They have shown themselves to be right at his side throught the spring and early summer. But the tour isn't just any bike race. It will be surprising to me if I don't see Wiggins islolated in the high mountains. Second is his climbing ability. With the large amount of weight that he's lost he has shown himself to be an excelent climber. But he can't answer those changes in pace like a pure climber can. People like Sanchez, Nibali, and Evans can all put in a serious dig that will put Wiggo on the back foot.

Cadel Evans... He's as tough as a coffin nail. A good time trialist and excellent climber. He's got a good team. Although not a ton of help in the mountains. Like Wiggins, that could come back to bite him in the ass. He does have a lot of grit though. I've rarely seen him give up. His age may be an issue but I think he's still got a lot of power and will.

Vincenzo Nibali is another that I think has the ability to take the whole thing. He's never been given the captain's chair for the tour and I think he will grab this opportunity with both hands.He's an excellent climber with fair time trial ability. I personlly believe his chances of winning hinge on how little (Or a lot of) time he loses in the time trials. Nibali's team is excellent with Basso as a truly awesome super domestique. Vincenzo could very well have what it takes to go all the way to Paris for the win.

Ryder Hesjedal is my dark horse. Not to many people hav been talking about him because of his win at the Giro this year. Most think that the covited Giro/Tour double can't be done in the modern era. I'm not so sure...
Like both Wiggins and Evens, Ryder is an excellent time trialist. He can climb exceptionally well. But like Wiggo he can't handle the severe changes of pace like a pure climber can. His team is exceptional: Vande Velde, Dave Z, Millar, Martin, Danielson... All these guys are amazing in their own right. But as a team they can produce magic. Especially with Jonathan Vaughters at the helm. The only thing that I really see as a detriment to Ryder is if he isn't fully recovered yet. We've seen it with a lot of other riders, Menchov, Basso, hell, even Contador isn't immune to the lack of recovery time between these two monster tours. But something tells me he might just pull it off.

There are of course a boat load of other riders who have a legitimate shot at the win.  Sanchez, Menchov, Leipheimer, Horner (Or Schleck if he's playing opossum.) and Gesink all come to mind. 

I know I'm going to get a lot of heat from some of my American contingent for not putting Levi or Horner on the more prominent list.  And please believe me when I say I would love nothing more than to see either one of them walk up to the top step on that podium. But I just don't see it... They both haven't shown flashes of brilliance lately. As well as the fact that they both are getting a bit long in the tooth. I could see a solid top ten or maybe even top five. But it would be very surprising to me to see them on the podium at the end. A wonderful surprise though, if I was wrong...

So to put it in writting. Guaranteeing that I get it all wrong. I'm going to say this...

GC Podium:
1. Evens
2. Wiggins
3. Nibali

Dark Horses:
Hesjedal, Sanchez and Menchov

Top American:

Climbers Jersey:

Sprinters Jersey:

What a truly exciting moment.

It's tour time baby!!!!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fall Down Go Boom

Evidently, tubular tires don't like to be ridden without tread. I know!? What kinda crap are they trying to sell...

Well last night there was another installment in the Twilight Crit series down in Eugene.

It was a lovely evening.  Beautiful sky's with hardly any wind. A banner day really.

I went down in the Ol' Team Van with Thomas and Kenny.

The race started out normal enough with a flurry of attacks. But none of them were sticking.

I was fairly impressed with how well people were behaving with in the group. We still had some wiggy people. But nothing to crazy. Just the normal locked elbow over reactions from Cat 4/5 racers.

The laps clicked by and I was pretty happy with how I felt. I never felt out of my comfort zone. I mean sure I would be in a little distress when guys would chase a break down. But other than that I was feeling pretty good and looking for a potential move to go.

The prime lap was fairly late in the race. Like around lap 6 or 7 to go I believe. I wasn't in a very good position when we came across the finish line as everyone slowed down after chasing hard for the prime.

 I watched a guy streak up the left side ( I was on the right.) of the group. He was moving with purpose. I watched as he reached the guy who won the prime lap and I could tell that they exchanged a few words.

Uh oh....

Once they latched up and made their way around the corner I knew we were in trouble. 

The duo had about a 1/3 of lap on us once we got around the corner and I had a desicion to make. Do I try to bridge up? Or do I fake an attempt to get the group to close it down for me?  Well someone else did just that as I was still pondering it. And truth be told, I think that's the most irritating thing about the whole race for me. I hesitated, and you just can't do that and expect a great out come. It's just not going to happen.

Anyway, once the group was poked a little to try and get them to move I figured the gap would close back down and we would be in it for a sprint.

Didn't happen.

As soon as that guy pealed off the front of the peloton everyone looked at everybody else to do the work and I knew at that moment that I missed the winning break and I wasn't strong enough to bridge the gap on my own.

I kept hoping someone would try and who I would gladly work with to get up to them but it just didn't happen.

So around and around we went for the last couple laps. I was trying to move up into a decent postion with just one lap to go. Some others were trying to do the same in front of me.  All of a sudden 4 or 5 guys went down. I think they got caught in the transition between the gutter and the asphalt.  I had no time to react and grenaded my brakes trying to stop in time.

Those moments during a crash are always so interesting. There's the "Oh shit! I'm going down. Please don't let this hurt..." moment as you see what's about ready to happen. And then the, "Please don't hit me! Please don't hit me!" thought once you're on the ground (Getting T-boned in the back with someone else's bicycle does NOT feel good. Or getting run over for that matter.). All of that probably only takes a split second but it feels like minutes...

Once I was down on the floor I sat up and took a mental inventory of myself. Just to make sure that everything was still attached. It was...

So I got up and checked the bike. It seemed okay. Wheels still turned. Shifters still worked. Kenny, who was right behind me during the wreck but didn't go down (Lucky bugger.). I started to finish up the race and as soon as I made in around the corner my rear tire blew.  As you can see from the picture above it had good reason to go. I smelled burning rubber when I wrecked. I guess that was my tire being added to the black top.

I was within 3/4 of a lap from finishing so I just fishtailed my was to the end. Riding on a flat kind of feels like riding a cross bike through sand. The ass end floats all over the place. But it was fine. It was a smooth road and I was taking it easy.

As I made my way around the corner I saw another wreck (!?) at the finish line.  This one looked pretty bad. Two guys got tangled up on the left side of the road and one fella basically curb stomped himself. It was pretty bad. A lot of blood and moaning,

I rolled up to him and asked him his name, where he was, what time it was and if he lost consciousness. He seemed pretty lucid and about that time a real EMT came up to him and I just backed off.

Its pretty amazing how quickly that whole race went sideways. I guess that's just racing sometimes...

Thomas did great. He ended up 11th at the end and look like he was in control of his own destiny the whole night.

This was Kenny's first Twilight Crit and he did great. Finished with the group and never looked like he was in trouble. I'm sure with a couple more under his belt and he'll be a force to reconned with.

I finshed up in the same position as last week. Although with a lot less attacking and a lot more falling on my ass. Meh. That's just the way it is sometimes I guess. I shall live to fight another day.

As for my injuries, it really was just my butt that took a pounding (Wait...). I have a small patch of road rash on my left cheek and that's it. I'm sure I'll be a little sore but nothing serious.

Thanks for reading. You guys are swell. I dont care what they say....

Rubber side down,

Big E

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Trans Andes Challenge

This looks like a barrel of monkies with fish in it.... I mean double fun!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

OBRA RR Championships & Twilight Crit

The second and final day of the OBRA Road Race Championships were held this last weekend. With the heat and humidity at stifling levels (For Oregon anyway.) The Master and Junior categories took to the difficult and hilly south Salem course.

If there is one thing about that damn course is that there is surprising little shade and only a hand full of short flat areas. It's either going up or down pretty much the whole time.

Partially because I'm a wussy and didn't want to go out and play. And partially because my team is sponsoring/running the event this year. I felt the need to volunteer for the day. I was a lead car both for the morning and afternoon shifts. Which doesn't suck. But my ass did take a pounding (Wait....).

I started out the day driving for the senior women.  The first and second women on the podium broke away with a little less than a third of a lap under their belts. Once the first real hill came along they exploded the peloton into a thousand feminine pieces. It was pretty impressive. They continued to work together up until the final couple of kilometers of the race. I wasn't holding a watch. But I'd have estimated the next lady coming across the finish line 4-5 minutes after them. It was a dominant show of strength.

I drove for the senior men in the afternoon. 95 (!?) miles in the heat of the day. The group staid together pretty well for the first lap and as the second started a group of four rolled off the front. Once they established a lead they held it for four laps. Two of the men in the breakaway got spit out the back. One on lap 4 and one on lap 5. I don't think it was the pace. It seamed to be the heat and the relentless high pace that just shed them off.

Once the break was down to two. It was pretty obvious who was driving the train and who was just holding on hoping to have something at the end. It's a strange experience to watch all that unfold in a rear view mirror. Like TV, only backwards...

I was really rooting for them to hang on until the end. But a small group of four were making a real charge to bridge the gap in the final lap and they were doing it quickly.

I notice that the guy who had pretty much been hanging on was giving a few digs on the final couple of climbs. Then once the big guy caught back on he'd go right back to hiding again.

Unfortunately the writing was on the wall and with less than 2 kilometers to go they got caught. They both managed to hang on for the sprint but it just wasn't meant to be. A real heart breaker.

Needless to say the big fella wasn't real happy at the end. I believe he thought (And I agree with him.) that if that guy hadn't been dicking around they would have made it. To bad. But it was a great race to watch.

The Ol' Team Van
 Fast forward to Tuesday evening in Eugene and the Twilight Crit Series. This is an on going series that the team has purchased a season pass to. So I'm taking full advantage of and taking the "Ol' Team Van" down whenever I can.

This go around it was myself, Thomas, Steve and Dusty. This was Steve and Dusty's first time at this series.

Just to lay it out there one more time. I can't sing the praises of this series enough. Its a lot of fun. The course isn't particularly exciting. But it's safe (Reasonably so anyway.), fast and really lets you hone different crit skills.

We had a decent trip down to the course minus some rubbernecking on the Belt Line from and accident and Dusty having some sort of severe hatred of guys in tank tops (We've chipped in for therapy...).

Once the race got started we were active from the gate. There was rarely a move off the front of the group that didn't have one of our guys in it. We would either bridge the gap or be initiating the moves. The speed was kept pretty high. Although it didn't feel like it was as high as last week. Our average was in fact a little better (24.7 mph). But it just didn't feel that way.

Dusty went for the prime lap (Anything to do with beer and Dusty is all over it like a fat kid on a cupcake.) and just missed it. 

I tried a counter move right after that that wasn't meant to be. But I could tell that something had a good possibility of staying away because of the hesitation in the group.

Sometimes you can just tell by the way the group acts as a whole that they expect someone else to cover the breaks. It's interesting. I wish I knew what made the difference between that and them not letting anyone get an inch.

Anyway, we kept throwing guys up the road hoping that something would stick. And it really didn't. Until the very end. On the final lap to go everyone was waiting for someone else to initiate the sprint. The fella that shot up the road first is the one that actually won the race. Although by the time we got around to the finishing straight I thought he had already been caught.  Obviously I was wrong...

As we were about 3/4 of lap from the end  Thomas and another guy got a gap from the group and managed to hold on. It was awesome! I might have been able to pay attention the whole time if it weren't for a heavy set racer within the peloton doing one of the stupidest moves I've ever seen.

Just before the final corner (A right hand turn.) this dumb ass went from the far right of the group all the way to the left side in a violently fast and erratic motion. I guess to get a better angle on the corner. Which in and of itself is retarded. You could take anyone of those corners at mach speed at pretty much any angle.  But don't get me wrong. If he'd had the room I still would have thought it was stupid, but not totally moronic. He could have easily taken out the entire group. So he gets the Asshat Award™ for the day. Idiot...

Back to the finish....

After we had the scare from Asshat we rounded the final bend and I could see Thomas still holding a good gap. I don't know what got into me but I just started yelling, "GO, GO, GO!!!! GO, THOMAS GO! YOU SON  OF A BITCH! GO!!!!"

This is Thomas's award
Of course at the time I thought he was going for the win. So that's why I was extra exuberant. But he ended up third. Which is still totally awesome! I think the train has been let out of the station (Get it? Hahahaha, I crack me up...). With a podium under his belt I'm hoping that will give him some confidence to go after it more. Thomas has always been strong. So this just confirms it to me. Well done Bud.

See, he's leaving the station...
 As for Dusty, Steve and myself we all did just fine considering. I ended up 28th (Meh, I was so busy yelling. I forgot to sprint myself.) Steve got 21st which is super solid. As well as Dusty getting 14th.

We all rode aggressively and had a good time. And isn't that what it's all really about?

Thanks for wading through this breathy one.

Rubber side down,

Big E

Friday, June 15, 2012

Famous Friday

Hey y'all!

Today is Friday. As Friday is traditionally famous around here I thought I would slot a few purdy pictures in here to set the weekend off right.

This weekend is also the second of the OBRA Road Race Championships that my team Capitol Velo are putting on. I'll be volunteering again because as I've stated before I'm "fat fit" and this is just a "fit" riders race course. So I'll be enjoying the action from my rear view mirror the whole day.

I got to say I am thoroughly impressed by director sportifs that can stay seated for a 6 hour stage. I've done my lead car work in 3 hour shifts and I was spent by the end of the day. So those guys must be beat!

Anyway, if you are in the Salem, Or are this weekend come out and cheer the racers on. It should be a fun time. 

And now, on with the show...

Anyone into Top Gear will know who this is.

I said what I said and now theres all this... The Beatles.

Kirsten Dunst

Olivia Palermo

I wonder if this was taken in Paris as well...
Please note that with the exception of the brooding model (Probably because she's hungry.) that all these people are smiling. Why, may you ask, are the smiling? Because riding a bicycle is fun. You can't argue with it. It's science....

Have a great weekend!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The USADA vs. Lance

If you have any interest in the professional side of cycling I'm sure you've already heard that the USADA (United States Anti Doping Association) has filed formal charges against Lance Armstrong along with several other people within the US Postal/Discovery cycling teams. Including, but not limited too, the Director Sportif Johan Bruyneel.  The fact that this has happened shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that's been following the Lance saga for any length of time. Once the doors had been quickly closed on the Federal investigation. The USADA had said that they were going to pick up the case and pursue it on their own.

They sent out this letter to Lance, Johan several other people being charged as well as the authorities within the triathlon world (Lance has been suspended from competition, pending the investigation.). The long and short of it is they are charging all of them with use, encouragement of use and distribution of illegal performance enhancing substances.

Again, for anyone that's been paying attention for a while none of these things are new.  And while as always Lance is a polarizing figure. It seems to be a very black and white issue for a lot of people (Lance included.). You're either for him or against him.

But like almost all things its not that simple when you really start to look at it.  Let me explain...

So lets say the USADA goes after Lance with guns a blazing and Lance fires back (Like he's already starting to do.) and it ends up in court. Which I'm sure it will. The USADA has never lost a doping case. But neither has Lance. Mr. Teflon hasn't had one thing stick. When everyone else around him that has been accused has fallen. I'm sure the battle will be epic!

But to what avail? What good is that really going to do?

What if they take Lance down and revoke all the tours that are still eligible (I believe the statute of limitations has run out on all but the 2004 and 2005 wins.) to be taken back?  Who would they give the win to? You would be hard pressed to find someone there that wasn't straight up busted or heavily implicated in a doping scandal already. I'm sure, and lets be frank, the first couple of guys that are on those lists that are "clean" just never got caught.

I know I sound jaded and I'm sure I am. But when you really look at the numbers what difference would it make? Aside from saving the triathlon world from getting a black eye like us, I can't think of one...

In my mind taking the information from convicted dopers that are cooperating with the authorities, like Floyd and Tyler, and trying to improve the policing of the sport right now would be a far better use of resources and man power.

I think that's probably the most realistic and effective thing that could be done at this point in the game.

If you were to look at the system as a whole I think you'd find problems on every level that would make any wider attempt at cleaning up the sport very difficult.  Professional cycling as a whole is an unmitigated mess. There are agencies doing the exact same thing with varying effectiveness. That supposedly have the same authority depending on where the incident occurred or where the athlete is from. You've got various countries (Spain *cough*) that will go to almost any point not to convict their hero's. Come to think of it, America should be tossed into that group too... You've got the UCI who seems to think it's fine to do what ever they want whenever they want. You've the ASO in charge of most of the races that really matter. Trying to control the money and who gets invited to the show with an iron fist. You've got one of the most useless Unions (The cycling union.) in all of professional sport. All these things contribute to the bureaucracy.

So lets look at the past, learn from it, attempt correct the problems and move on.

At least that's my opinion....

Rubber side down,

Big E

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Cycling Hodgepodge

There has been a lot of cycling related stuff going on lately. But quite frankly, trying to find time to write about it has about as difficult as finding reality tv that I give a shit about (Pretty difficult...). So first things first.

The Strawberry Century was this last weekend. This would probably be the spot that I put a few nice photos of the ride with witty comments underneath them. But I forgot to take any... Sorry.  So here is a pic of cute puppies (You can't be irritated when you look at puppies. It's a scientific fact...)

You can't be mad while looking at this... (Don't make me show an ice cream cone too!)

The ride itself was a lot of fun. We had a pretty large group that had some difficulties in staying together. But the natural equilibrium was eventually found and we had a jolly good time.

Some of us rode the 50, others the 75, and a couple the 100. Which meant that people ebbed and flowed through the group depending on what was going on. I chose to do the 50 because it catches 70% of the prettiest scenery and I didn't feel like riding a long way. Meh. I'm lazy I guess...

I really enjoy this ride for several reasons but I think the biggest is the route. Its along lovely country roads that haven't been destroyed by chip seal. You see rivers, fields, lakes and beautiful rolling terrain. Just a really great place to ride a bike. If you have the chance, I'd highly recommend it.

Fast forward to Tuesday evening...

Tuesday was the second evening in  Eugene Twilight Crit Series. Thomas and I headed down to get the first crit race of the year (For us anyway.) under our belts. It was pretty great to turn the pedals in anger again.  I'm not to the point where I can really put myself into the pain locker yet. Has anyone else experienced that? It's like your not even strong enough to really hurt yourself. Its an interesting phenomena. I would say I'm more fat fit. I can go quick. I just don't have the real speed that comes with being lean and I don't think I'm going to get there very soon (Damn you Cold Stone!!!) But I digress...

It was still a barrel of monkey's in a sidecar. I ended up 18th because of a guy who decided that laying himself and his bike down on the ground through the final corner was a good idea. I will never understand why there always seems to be a wreck in the final corner of a 4/5 race. It's like death and taxes. It's going to happen... Everyone gets to excited I guess.

Anyway, I was okay with that (18th) considering the circumstances. Thomas did awesome with a 9th! He was looking strong all night long. So I figured he would do well. He went around the outside in the final corner and managed to avoid the guy throwing a yard sale in the middle of the group.

I'm excited to go down and do some more races there. Hopefully some speed and semblance of form will come with the next few. The average for this race was 24 mph. Which is pretty fast for us slow guys. But I'd like to feel like I'm part of the race instead of pack fodder. 

Well I know this is a quicky. I'll have more tomorrow.

Perhaps something more will show up about Andy Schleck not doing the Tour de France this year. Or USADA finally putting some charges up against Lance. Looks like a lot is going on.

Until then....

Rubber side down,

Big E

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Bike Review: Trek Domane 6 Series

 I am a lucky boy. Not only did I get to marry my SSHW, have a world (Okay, would you believe nationally? How about locally? Pretty popular amongst some people? My Mom?) famous blog and get to stare at this beautiful mug in the mirror every morning. I also on occasion get to do product reviews. Some of them like the Focus Izalco Pro and the Bontrager Aeolus 5  reviews are still some of my most popular posts. So when the opportunity came a long to review the new Trek Domane 6 Series I jumped at the chance.

I'm not going to lie. My life doesn't always suck...

So on with the review.

The stunning back drop in the bike shop. And no, those wheels (Or the awesome bars on the floor.) don't come with it...

The Trek Domane 6 Series is the fast performance road bike (IE comfort) replacement for the no defunct Pilot series.  The Pilot never did very well in the market place. It did what it was advertised for very well. But I get the feeling that it suffered some PR problems. Especially when it was brought out in the peak Lance years. Making it difficult to explain to a customer why they didn't want to be on the bike Lance Armstrong rode and that they would be far happier on something like the Pilot. Yeah, see what I mean? The poor Pilot was kind of screwed from the start.

Trek has been smarter about how they brought the Domane out to the general public. By showing them what the bike is really capable of under a PRO racer in a gnarly race like Paris-Roubaix. Trek is already giving the Domane model a far better chance of being accepted into the fold.

The price will do a good job as well, starting at $4500 MSRP with full Ultegra and Bontrager Race Lite wheels it is at a good price point for this market. Conversely, if money is no problem and you like doing the full Monty. You can also get it with full Dura-Ace Di2 and Bontrager Aeolus 5 carbon clinchers for an almost astronomical 12K (I just choked a little.)

Visual Impression:

When I first saw the bike I thought it was quite pretty. The black and white color scheme. While having been done to death lately. Looks very nice on this particular ride. The black lines really help accentuate the curves. Which I like a lot.

As with most Trek products the bike is very well made. Joints are tight and clean. Paint is smooth, glossy and no visible blemishes. And if you are thinking to yourself, "Well yeah, it's new...". Think again. I've seen brand new bikes from other companies straight out of the box that left a lot to be desired in the fit and finish category.

There were several design features that caught my eye when looking at the bike.

First was the non-symmetrical chain stays. Since the cycling world has gone to carbon in a big way asymmetrical chain stays are nothing new. In fact, my last three road bikes all featured them. On the Domane however you really notice the difference in size and shape. The drive side is like a beam set on it's edge. Fairly straight and quite large (Vertically). The non-drive side on the other hand has a shocking amount of curve and far more width than than it does height. I assume that's to give the ride that age old cliche of "More vertical compliance and increased lateral stiffness." If I had a nickle for every time a bike manufacturer used those set of terms I'd have a lot of nickles...

And no I didn't turn it around for the photo (Smart ass...).
 Another thing that struck me were the drop outs in the fork. I don't think I've seen drop outs that curved back that far. I'm sure this was to give the fork the proper rake. But it still caught my eye. And it made me wonder why they didn't change the shape of the fork in some manner (Probably something to do that whole lateral /vertical thing...)

Of course any bike that was made for "Spartacus" to ride on the pave of Paris-Roubaix has to have a built in chain watcher. Nothing but the best for the Swiss Bear....

You don't want this guy looking down his nose at your bike....
 The thing that makes the Domane different than any other bike on the market right now is the ISO Speed technology. Sure Specialized has elastomer inserts (Soooo 2005...) But the ISO Speed helps with dampening the most important part of your anatomy on rough roads. As the British like to say, your arse.

Here is a short  propaganda film from Trek to explain why their bike works so well with the Vertical/Lateral problem.

You can really see the space between the seat stays and the seat tube where the elastomer bushing is.
The Ride:

When I review a frame I try my hardest to get the fit as close as possible to my normal set up. As well as using a set of wheels that I'm familiar with. Next to a frame, wheels make the biggest difference in ride Quality. So I used my older Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 for the test ride. I've used that particular set for thousands of miles. That let me know how the frame itself would really behave without focusing on to many things at once.

So lets get to the meat of it.

The Domane does everything that Trek advertises it to do. Almost in a shocking (Get it? Hahaha, I crack me up...) way. Let me explain.

In a lot of comfort or performance bikes the cushiness of the ride is apparent all over. The Cannondale Synapse, the old Trek Pilot and the Specialized Roubaix all have (had) really plush rides. Frankly, to the detriment of power to the ground in some, if not all those cases. In some of those models you only notice it when you're really going hard. With others its all the time.

But the Domane mostly keeps the stiff parts stiff and the squishy parts squishy. I say mostly, and I'll get to that part in a moment. But the ISO Speed dampening system does what it advertises. I was amazed at how different the ride felt through out the three points of contact with the bike (Hands, ass and feet). While riding I would have a lot of road feel through my hands and feet and almost none through my butt. Quite honestly it was a little un-nerving at first. I'm use to getting pretty equal feedback through all my body parts. But regardless of the terrain I barley felt anything through the saddle. Don't get me wrong. You would feel a chuck hole or a seam in the road. But it was severely muted. It's worth a test ride on your own just to feel what I'm talking about. It's that marked of a difference.

The Domane excels at flat rough pavement and descending. With every push of the pedals you would feel the bike move forward. Like wise with descending, the bicycle would remain steady and the steering was accurate and true but not twitchy. It also cornered quite well. Although I don't think it dove into tight corners as well as a purpose built race bike. But then again. It wasn't intended for that either...

Trek set out to build a bike that's designed for a cyclist who wants a light (With Ultegra it weighs in at 16 pounds.) fast, comfortable bike. Something that an average club rider or century killer could use and enjoy. And for those things I think Trek hit it out of the park.

But... (You knew this was coming right? It can't be all farting rainbows.)

It does have a couple weakness in my opinion.

First, climbing in the saddle. I'm not sure how to put this. But it was just harder than it felt like it should be. I'm not sure if it was because of the flex in the ISO system or something else. But if I got out of the saddle that "difficulty" in climbing seemed to go away.

Like wise, I may have been fatigued from previous rides. But I know the route that I took the Domane out on like the back of my hand. And I definitely felt more tired by the end of the ride. Again, part of me wonders if all that awesome flex in the seat post isn't making your legs push that much farther. Maybe even adding a touch more resistance. Or it could be I'm just a big weeny. All of those are true possibilities...


If you are a person who wants to ride all day long with far less fatigue then this is the bike for you. Like wise, if you're the type of person wants 85-90% of the speed and cornering abilities of a race bike but you don't like to get beat up in the process then I can whole heartedly suggest you try the Domane. Its a good bike and worth a consideration.

However if you want to dabble in racing or perhaps you lives at the base of the Dolomite's you may want to look else where. Different horses for different courses...

Thanks for reading!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Cool Video

This is a video about Donald Reed. He's a Salem local legend and all around swell guy.

Donald has spent many years as a professional cyclist (Road, MTB and Cyclocross) and now is giving triathlons a try. With quite a bit of success I might add. He's hoping to qualify for the Hawaiian Ironman. Which considering this is his first year of competition is pretty damn impressive.

From what I understand he did a marathon about a year ago with minimal training and finished in under 3 hours. I couldn't do that if I was on fire and you shoved a rocket up my butt. Some people get all the good genes..


Not these. Although these are a lot nicer to look at...
Please take special note at how many guys he passes on the bike. I guess he came out of the water 22nd and made up all those places during the cycling portion. Did I mention he's pretty fast?
The part where he's double shaking the bottles is my favorite part (I'm not sure what that says about me.). It's like he's doing the "Brison" dance (Inside joke.)

A special thank you to the director/producer Justin Adkinson for letting me post it.

It's also Famous Friday. So here is your celebrity fix~

Pink, being pinky...

Matthew McConaughey (With his shirt off, of course.)
I hope you all have a great weekend!

Rubber side down,

Big E