08 July, 2009

The Fever is in flavor


Does the Bike Give It Away?

Andreas Kloden has some impressive palmares. He's even finished second in the Tour and has good form this year. But despite all that, Astana must not think much of his Tour chances. As you'll see from this picture, he's riding the old Trek TT bike, and not the new one that Lance, Levi, and Alberto have. Ouch. Look at the black bike next to Kloden's. You can see from the front which one is supposed to be faster. Klodi even beat Lance and Levi in the stage one time trial, and was only four seconds behind Contador.

The Telltale (racer) Heart

Polar, a big name in heart rate monitoring, has hooked up a number of their sponsored riders to transponders and is broadcasting their real-time heart rate data to the world. All you need to do is go to Polar Cycling and click through to "live race data." Click around and y0u can enter yourself to win stuff, too.

There's a Lance Documentary being shot

Alex Gibney, the guy behind Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Taxi to the Dark Side, is directing. Here's the easy takeaway from the article, "Hollywood loves beat-the-odds stories, and Sony hopes that Armstrong's return to racing after a 3 1/2 -year absence could prove as enthralling as any make-believe film." Looking for the easy way out? Never thought Hollywood would do that.

Sometimes it's hard being an expert

I don't think I'm alone when I write that the more I know on a subject the more I despair when journalists get things wrong. What about those stories where I'm not expert? Could they be as wrong, too?

Here's a story from Popular Mechanics on Tour Tech that will be at a shop near you. The images on the second page are the disturbing ones. They show an old pic of David Zabriskie on a time trial bike with mechanical shifting. They write, "Zabriskie’s time-trial bike (at top of page) doesn’t yet have new electronic shifting, but his road bike soon will." Only his TT bike at the Tour had electronic shifting on it. He's the guy in the Captain America getup; notice the battery pack on his left chainstay. I guess this is forgivable as the story and pictures appeared in the June, 2009 print edition of the mag, though Z's certainly been playing with electronic shifting at least as far back as February.

But then, they try to pass off titanium cogs as new. They try to pass off aero water bottles as a new thing. They show a conventional Shimano Ultegra brake and caption it with "Pro bike manufacturers mount rear brakes down toward the bottom bracket to declutter the frame. Front brakes are being moved inside or behind the bike’s front fork." So far, this is only true of some time trial bikes. And they show a Zipp 808 wheelset and describe it as a "solid core rear wheel." The 808 is hollow--the only solid core is a disc, which they don't show.

I guess one right out of seven isn't bad.