Zipp Firecrest Track Wheels

Zipp introduces their new Firecrest track wheelsets in the “404” (58mm deep) and “808” (82mm) rim versions. Another touted feature is the new “303” track hubs.

So I guess SRAM feels like they can still eke out some cash from the Red Hook Crit crowd. Maybe I’m just a Debbie Downer, but the brakeless/fixie criterium racing seems like the tail end of the fixie boom/fad of the ’00s.In a way it somewhat parallels the BMX boom of the early to mid-80s when BMX racing carried on in pockets of this nation while trickriding/freestyle disappeared until the X-Games era. That’s not exactly analogous because BMX racing wouldn’t have existed/survived without the progression of junior/juvenile age-groups, whereas the Red Hook Criterium series is the logical evolution of underground, unsanctioned alley cat races into corporate-funded “unsanctioned” live entertainment. Well, maybe “brakeless track bike criterium” racing will show sustainable growth or maybe it’ll just live on as search words for cycling crash video clips on Youtube, only time will tell. Regardless I can’t see these Firecrest track wheels as being the first choice for track cycling’s elite, because the whole Firecrest design philosophy was optimized for road cycling, not track.

More Friction

Trek 1400

As I explained it, friction shifting builds character, and every cyclist should learn how to do it. Read about the history and development of the derailleur bicycle in Frank Berto’s Dancing Chain. This Trek 1400 was equipped with SunTour.

650B Performance Road

gakdds

After all the 27.5+ excitement this week, there’s another wheel size getting some buzz, and it’s 650b. Mark V texted me from the shop last night (where he’s building up, custom “allroad” bikes)

Cannondale is going 650b x 42 for their Lefty suspension gravel bike…as in Jan Heine tyres w suspension fork and disc brakes. Rad

This marks the first performance bike from a mainstream maker that explores 650B/27.5 tyre standard without knobs

Well that’s interesting, huh? As Jan wrote

The thought of a modern carbon bike that can fly over pavement like a racing bike, but handle rough gravel like a mountain bike, and everything in between, is truly exciting.

and I can’t wait to talk to him more about it. If there’s one thing the industry needs is to de-niche their lines, and bring back the all-around great, road bike. Call it made for adventure, gravel, all road, or whatever.

Scott 27.5+

Tuned LT 27.5+

Scott is now within the ranks of manufacturers that have joined the Plus movement – Muffin Top Tires, as grumpy Nathan Wright calls them. For 2016 the company will offer five Plus models: Scale Plus: Scale 710 Plus, Scale 720 plus, Genius 700 Tuned Plus, Genius 710 Plus, and Genius 720 Plus. All models will be equipped with 2.8-inch Schwalbe tires. Scott worked with Schwalbe and determined the 2.8 size provided a good balance of increased traction (+21-percent contact patch) with minimal added rolling resistance (+1-percent). The 2.8 size is slightly narrower than other brands that have been touting 3.0 tires. Scott then tweaked the frame geometry, with slacker head angles and shorter chainstays to take advantage of the increased traction.

The 2016 Scott Plus bikes, roll on Syncros rims with a 40mm internal width, while the Genius range include: Boost hub spacing (110mm front, 148mm rear), 2016 FOX suspension with a new TwinLoc lever and standard crankarm Q-factor. The Genius 700 Plus has 140mm of front and 130mm of rear travel and features Plus tuned suspension.

Prices have not been announced and see the full galleries on G+ and Facebook.

Also, a couple notes on plus sizes from Twitter

Base Power with Quarq and Gord Fraser

Quarq

With our magazine content behind a firewall and in an iOS app, I wanted to bubble up this little bit from Issue 25, to talk more about the Quarq, and the work I did with Gord Fraser.

To get in shape for GFL, I worked with Gord on a solid plan and Quarq equipped my rain bike for the base miles. What resonated, is what Gord said in chat:

“Biggest goal is frequency. Back to basics man. No need to smash v02 max.”

For me, consistency is key. Because I’ve been riding for so many decades, the memory is there. Just have to engage the muscles, get them going, and then the speed will come. Smash the Vo2max later, as Cross season gets closer, and with more workouts from Gord.

I’ll leave the in-depth reviews of power meters to DC Rainmaker, but having used them all at one time or another, what I liked most about the Quarq is the consistent and steady readings. I pedal, glance down at a head unit, and see an accurate number that looks right. That’s all I need.

A funny anecdote is before Gord and I worked together, he asked me if I was a pussy and I replied, “If you mean like the time I brushed shoulders with you on a roller at the front of the group heading back to Monterey? Certainly not!” But what I am is a busy person with not much time to “train,” like I once did. As I shared in the magazine article, I also felt that racing was getting in the way of riding. So I focused on having some really great rides, re-centering on those moments, and then getting back into the drama of racing when it felt right.

It felt right last night at Tuesday Worlds, where I just showed up and it was a very fast points race. In a sea of white/red and red/green, I got in the mix for a lap or two, and enjoyed the feeling of speed. After so much base, and grinding out climbs, opening up the legs felt good.

Don’t think anyone wants to hear the specifics of my training, so the summary is

Hard stuff during the week, in target power zones, then long rides on the weekend at tempo.

Crosssports blogs about all of this too, sharing workouts and the flow of the season. As CrossVegas gets closer, there’s more speed work, and intensity, and really not taking the sport (and myself) so seriously. If you put the focused time in, the fitness will come, and always try to have fun with it. Pin a number on, show up at the line, and let that roulette table of a race spin as it does.

The Quarq I’m using on the rain bike is the Elsa and I agree with Ray who wrote

There’s no doubt in my mind that the Riken (Elsa is the non-Red version) is a solid power meter, capable of helping any athlete train. I saw consistent accuracy, and day to day use is spot-on with any other top power meter on the market.

“Solid and consistent,” just like Gord said and, “Back to basics man.” It’s also nice not to have to worry about whether my left and right legs are both doing equal work.

Finally, earlier this year, Quarq announced a 19% price drop, including the Elsa.

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