Specialized-Lululemon Victory at UCI World Road Championships
Our sponsored team Specialized-Lululemon made quite the impressive win last Saturday, winning their third consecutive team trial victory against 14 other teams at the UCI World Road Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. Just the day before, three of the team’s riders took a nasty spill on a practice run, sending key rider Evelyn Stevens to the hospital. Undaunted, the team dusted themselves off, and snagged their championship the next day. Stevens said, “I was getting X-rays last night, so it added a little bit more flair. That made it even more special knowing that we were not perfect going into the race,” Stevens told VeloNews at the line. “We just went out and rode flawlessly. It’s super special, because it was a really deep field.”
Well done, girls! Check out the full article at Velo News right here!
The 2014 TransAlp Race – Lee Rodgers gives us the Lowdown
“These Euros, they smell fear,” he said, whispering under his breath lest anyone hear.
“I gotta be honest,” I replied, leaning forward, “the descents on that single track ridiculousness scare the living bejeesus out of me.”
His eyes darted back and forth as though he was awaiting an attack by plastic tray from one of the other competitors that sat around us, hunched over shoveling in their evening rations.
“I know. Me too,” he said through a mouthful of pasta, wolfing it down as though he might be robbed of it at any moment.
“They go down it like fucking mad men!”
It was our 4th day in the TransAlp camp, and the combination of fatigue from riding, exhaustion from not sleeping thanks to sharing a sports gym floor nightly with 300 other men, and The Fear, had me going a little loco.
I thought about fashioning a shiv from my toothbrush that night, but thankfully common sense prevailed.
Ten Lezyne C02 cartridges in a sock was a much better idea…
It seemed like a good idea at the time, to sign up for the legendary Craft TransAlp MTB stage race. 7 stages, 587 kilometers, 19,200m of climbing.
A doddle, I thought. I’d heard it was all fire roads, double track, maybe some goat paths on the high Alps but even I could handle that, even me, who as of October last year had only done one MTB race in my whole life, way back in 1988, when I was 16 and still fresh-faced and (kinda) pure.
After an 18 year break from all racing, I came back to road racing when I was 36, got a slot on a pro team at 37, rode in the UCI AsiaTour for 4 years, survived the tours of Oman and Qatar with the big boys and raced the post-Tour de France criteriums in Europe.
Getting a bit tired of the roadie life and then 41, I fancied a new challenge and signed up for the Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge last year. It was hard, no doubt about it, slogging my 29er through the barren, beautiful landscape of Mongolia, but the route was essentially a road course, just off-road.
There were huge, wide-open expanses, well-trodden, hard-packed track that allowed for drafting and not a meter of what you’d call real singletrack in the whole event.
It was perfect for a newbie to MTB like me.
Yeah, I figured, I can race MTB.
Talk about being lulled into a false sense of security.
7 days over the German, Austrian, and Swiss Alps and then a couple of days in the Dolomites for good measure?
Bring it on.
Famous. Last. Words.
The first day. The start line. 1,200 folks of varying degrees of fitness amassed on a little patch of road in the sleepy, picturesque hamlet of Obberamesgau. The smiles. The tension. Chatting on the start line to Magnus and Fiona, he from Sweden, she from Oz originally, never met them before but felt like old friends. Another reason to love MTB. Roadies might be nice but often you’d never know. Uptight and taut like tightropes, my skinny-arsed brethren usually are. Me, giddy, sat there waiting to go. Ready and raring. And then, suddenly, we’re off. Mad dash to the first corner, hundreds trying to cram through a lane barely wide enough for 5 abreast. Day 2, Day 3, the smiles appear less. Like white rhinos by Day 4, almost extinct. Someone saw one by the toilets but it couldn’t be verified. The ups and the downs. Why do the ups last 3 hours? And the downs only 15 minutes? The unrelenting daily grind. Getting sick of f&*%$#g pasta. Stealing rolls and ham and cheese from the cafeteria in the evening to eat in my sleeping bag like a refugee. Another energy gel and I will either vomit or attack a cow on an Alpen hillside with a steak knife and a bottle of BBQ sauce. And where has my arse gone? My average, normal, perfectly adequate taint, wherefore art thou, old taint! What is this mush of battered, shredded pastrami in your place? Will I ever stop walking like a cowboy?
So many questions, and such inability to think of anything but the kilometers ahead…
I loved it all, really. No seriously. It was wet, it was sometimes cold, then it wasn’t, sometimes, and the Alps reared up around us, encasing us in enough geography to last a life time. Absolutely stunning it was, proper breathtaking, in every sense.
The whole race ran like a Swiss clock, precise and clean, and though the entry fee may seem steep it’s worth every penny. I didn’t hear anyone grumbling about getting ripped off, as you do at some races.
I got schooled, of course. With my level of skill and never having ridden singletrack before, I felt like I went to MTB University, stuffing 3 years of study into 7 days. Not sure if I passed, but I did survive.
I did get good at one thing though.
After days of being gripped by The Fear, it finally began to dissipate. I was still slower then most but I picked enough up from the guys who amassed behind me, yelling ‘’ACHTUNG! ACHTUNG!’ (I seriously only thought that word was used in submarines, or war movies anyway, but no!), watching them fly by, rear brake hard down, front break feathered, arse over the back of the saddle, raised a couple of inches off it, that I stopped having to jump off at every slightly gnarly decline.
And I got real good at yelling ‘Will you f*&k off!’ to them when they got too close, too. Next time – if there is a next time – I’ll be sure to learn that phrase in German before I go.
And in case anyone is wondering, the taint underwent reconstructive surgery and is currently recovering in hospital. I visit the old boy daily, and he’s loving the grapes…
As ever, all this madness was adeptly aided and supported by the crew at Lezyne, and the product performed perfectly throughout. I rode with ‘em, I got no complaints!
Lezyne sponsored rider Jordi Bago took quite the trip to Pamporovo in southern Bulgaria to explore and ride some of the great terrain for enduro riding there, with his new Saracen Ariel 15x bike. Velo Park Pamporovo was his destination, and it looks like it was nothing short of extraordinary.
“We rode with a new friend, one of the best enduro riders from Bulgaria, Dobrimir from Bike Venture. We checked our bikes and got ready to ride the Red line – Malina trail.
“We came up with the lift to the top of the mountain for take the first enduro trail here in Pamporovo with lot of roots and wet zones! There was some step rock gardens that tested our skills, after that is a really flowy part with turns on really nice wood berms with a good view. We cross a fire road and keep riding the trail to a flat part with many lines to get to the low part of the ski station. We get ready for the upcoming fast zone with many natural berms and some rocks that will take us down to some really fast jumps till we get down to lift area! We take the same lift up to go take some other trails in the red line with some little wall rides and jumps!”
Danny MacAskill Gets Some Action at the Playboy Mansion
The famous Playboy Mansion got a visit from our sponsored rider Danny MacAskill recently, giving cycling fans (amongst others) a glimpse of the notorious landmark in a whole different light. Who knew the place could also be a playground for freestyle cycling? Watch Danny do what he does best, with the admiration of a few Bunnies who are cheering him on…
Read the entire article and exclusive interview by Red Bull here.
Lezyne’s own Angie Hohenwarter takes to Taichung, Taiwan in this first episode of ASIAVENTURE, courtesy of MTB Freeride.TV. Watch as Angie visits the Lezyne Taiwan factory for the first time, ride the rugged local trails of Taichung, and visits the night market with the Lezyne crew to try some… interesting treats.
This episode is just the first of many to come of Angie Hohenwarters Asiaventure! Follow Angie as she travels through Asia, riding the different trails and creating her own adventure! Lezyne was proud to have Angie visit our modern Taiwan factory and travel with us through the beautiful city of Taichung.
Jordi Bago recently returned from a collarbone injury to compete for the Bike Cup 2014 uci C1 race in Bulgaria! Finishing a promising 11th place was a good sign at his recovery, we know he wants to get the most that he can from every race!
Jordi has also decided to put on 2 days of training camps! The Downhill Training camp, hosted by Jordi and Bike House, will be available to 15 riders per day and will be happening June 28th – June 29th. We commend Jordi for wanting to help some fellow riders improve their races by teaching them the ways of how to be an expert downhill rider!
‘This is why you do it, and this is why you’re here.’
This is the mantra I repeat to myself, three times over, on the start line every time I race. When the adrenalin and the tension reach fever pitch, I grab hold of my nerves, close my eyes and rest them on my forearms.
‘This is why you do it. And this is why you’re here.’
Three times, every time.
I say it to remind myself that, despite the fear, I love this.
The fear doesn’t come from being afraid of crashing. That’s happened too many times already. It comes with the job.
No, the fear comes from knowing the pain I am about to put myself though, from knowing that no matter how good my last result was, it means nothing now.
You take your wheel to the edge of the precipice and you look over the lip. Every time. When the hammer drops you have a choice, to let the wheel in front of you go…
If you let it go you have become broken. If, when the final push comes and the chance is there to break them and you let that pass, you have lost. It doesn’t matter where the finish line is or where you’ll be placed when you cross it, because you aren’t going to be first.
If you’ve already lost in your mind, you’re lost for good.
Lezyne ambassador Hannes Klausner was recently featured in a two full page story for his antics in Exploring the Unknown. The story was ran in Austria’s biggest daily Newspaper “Kronenzeitung” Sunday issue. 1.5 Million issues were distributed that weekend, an amazing achievement for Klausner!
Lezyne ambassador Hannes Klausner takes to the island of Sao Vicente to take on the trails that no mountain bike has conquered before. Traveling 640 Km off of the coast of Africa, Sao Vicente offered some fresh trails just waiting to be tackled.
“For me the idea of exploring the unknown was to come to this place, no expectations at all and just see what we have. At the end we were the first to explore the mountains in this area with a bike and although it was very difficult due to the windy conditions was a great experience for new places to ride, new and friendly people with a totally different way of living.” – Hannes Klausner