After a harrowing first week that delivered surprises aplenty, the second week of the Tour of Italy was slated to break the race wide open. Those little jabs that were thrown in the first week were slated to become haymakers as the GC contenders stop with the shadow boxing and come out swinging. But some of those GC men were on the back foot and already staggered: defending champion and bib number 1 Hesjedal had two bad days in the ITT and the following mountain stage, conceding nearly 4 minutes and dropping him into 11th place overall. Bradley Wiggins survived the trials and tribulations of the first week, with a good ITT and surviving the following mountain stage without giving up significant ground. But with Vincenzo Nibali resplendent in pink, who would be the one to break his stranglehold of the race?
Continue reading “Giro d’Italia Week 2 Recap” »
Motivation can be a tricky thing for a cyclist to find, especially after a big "A" race or event. But motivation is often what gets us off our ass, off the sofa and onto the bike and lacking it can be deadly for our fitness (and waist line.)
But how do you go about getting your motivation back after you've spent months training for a huge event? What do you do with that gigantic hole left in your life when you don't have a training plan to follow? Today's podcast will discuss a few tips for rebuilding your motivation, including:
Revising your goals and setting new ones if necessary
Taking some time away from structure (ride with friends or do a Strava Challenge)
Going back to fundamentals (and being motivated by your quick progress)
I'm also running a Giro d'Italia special for my Modular Training Plans: enter the code "giro2013" to take 15% off any or all of my modular plans. Hurry though, this offer only lasts as long as the Giro does.
Podcast: Play in new window
The first (and perhaps most beautiful) grand tour of the year arrived and has wound it's way around Italy for a week now. As always, the Giro has been surprise after surprise, with rain and slippery roads playing almost as big a part as the racers themselves. How has the first week developed and what might we see in the coming two weeks?
As for the protagonists (or antagonists depending upon which side of the fence you're on), Katusha is here thanks to the CAS ruling that placed them into the World Tour, although without the defending second place Joachim Rodriguez. Ryder Hesjedal (defending champion) lined up next to Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali, Michele Scarponi, Robert Gesink and the odds on favorite, Bradley Wiggins. It was anyone's guess who could challenge Wiggins for the overall honors of the 2013 Giro, especially after his and Sky's dominating performance in the Tour de France last year. But as has been shown through the first week, the Giro is an unpredictable and fickle mistress, causing a number of the GC contenders to come to grief and leaving us all to wonder who will take home the coveted Maglia Rosa.
In the past few years, the Giro has been criticized as being too intense. Too demanding. Flat out too hard. Michele Acquarone has done a fantastic job in balancing the act in order to ensure star quality participation and exciting racing from beginning to end. Balancing time trial kilometers with mountaintop finishes, flat sprint stages and stages suitable to allow a break to go clear and somehow managing to not tip the balance towards one specialist or another is a difficult task indeed. Let's see how the stages developed.
Continue reading “Giro d’Italia Week 1 Review” »
Since the weather became nice enough to start using tubular wheels again, the eternal frustration with valve extenders has become yet again apparent. Adding to the frustration is the fact that I'm a devout user of the Lezyne Alloy Floor Drive pump (which screws on to both presta and schrader valve stems) and that just doesn't work with a non-threaded valve extender.
And let's face it…that old Park floor pump I have in the garage is a piece of junk at best.
Enter the machined aluminum, laser etched beauty that is the Lezyne alloy 70mm valve extender. With a presta threaded top on it, wrench flats to ensure proper torque on the stock valve and a little baggie (I do mean little, it almost requires tweezers to open and I have fairly thin fingers) full of o-rings to make a perfect airtight seal, these things are more than worth the fifteen bucks that I paid for them.
As well as looking awesome, they function extremely well (at least as well as a piece as simple as a valve extender can.) They threaded presta cap means you can use the awesome screw on Lezyne pump or you can use any standard pump you want, making life infinitely easier.
The biggest downside to these extenders is that they screw onto the top of the existing valve stem and merely provide a conduit for air to get from the pump head to the valve. I'd prefer if the extender actually moved the valve parts out to the end of the valve extender, much like the ENVE extenders do. The issue with these extenders is simply that in order to access the valve (to open or close it, or to remove it to spray in Stans or anything similar) you have to remove the valve extender, and it may still be impossible to access the valve stem anyway (otherwise you wouldn't be using extenders.) That aside, I've had no issues with them, especially as they relate to the Lezyne Floor Drive pump.
The only other thing one could wish for was stealth black with the sweet laser etched "Lezyne" logo on it. But the polished silver certainly looks the part.
It's May, the Giro d'Italia is in full swing with today's team time trial, and spring has arrived in a big way. There's an amazing phenomenon during a grand tour: people are inspired by the efforts of the professional cyclists on TV, plying their trade on some of the most beautiful terrain in the world.
If you're one of those people who uses the Giro for motivation and you want to get a little more out of your spring training blocks, now's your chance. Through the end of the Giro, you can take 15% off any of my modular training plans by entering the code "giro2013" at checkout.
Now's your chance: the sun is shining, the sun is high in the sky and motivation is pouring out of the TV right now. Don't miss the chance to boost your fitness and ride your buddies off your wheel like Vincenzo Nibali or Ryder Hesjedal.
As always, if you have questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact me.