Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The Man & Me.

Went out for my evening MTB Technique Riding Clinic that I am doing through Der Laufladen last evening with Paul & Wolker. They are 55 and 58 years young respectively, and are doing the TransGermany in the 110years old combined class. A life time of rnning has taken a toll on their bones, so they have turned to mtbing, specifically doing marathons for their active endeavors. It was a lot of fun to show them some skills, we are going to do a weekend clinic with them when I get from the states. They say they lose all of their time on the technical sections, but I am sure they will get that dialed in, i saw an improvement last night, not too mention they had some fun.

Sandi showing the boys how it is done.

We did a clinic last weekend with another group, which was also a good time. Everyone picked up some valuable skills and we rode some great singletrails. This weekend is the German Single Speed Meisterschaft, Sandi & I are as ready as we can be with all of the stuff (life) going on around us. We are not where we used to be racing wise, not that it matters. We ust want to be somewhat competitive and have some fun. Rode with Colin in the Chariot on Monday, that was fun. I found sweet sandy-smooth forest road I took the 'cross bike down. It was good for Colin and it didn't shake him around like a cement mixer.

I miss the pump track, I am trying to get the town here to let me build one. Then maybe a mtb park...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

650b vs. 29er

HMMM, did I make a mistake in buying that 29'er or should I have gone 650b...

Needless to say I am surprised that 2 of the first three bikes we have sold in Germany are 29-ers. All of the 'experts' I have spoken to over here, would not give a 29 better odds the a cube of ice in the fiery depths of unholiness. I myself am not fan either, but this is not about my nor others unwanted opinions, but rather the validity of 650b and 29 and their viability in a market constantly screaming for the latest and greatest.

Finally a high-performance fork for the 9er crowd

It was nearly ten years ago I was exposed to 29er as the TuneUp picked up two identical Viscious Cycles 29'ers, which I was able to ride. While I was not impressed, I watched with the rest of the cycling community as the big wheel revolution grew. First it was a band of small framebuilders and component manufactures, that grew over the last ten years to encompass virtually all major bike and component manufactures. And it is rumored that if Jeremy Horgan Kobowlski gets his Bejing ticket punched, he will be on a Fisher Superlight 29er for the Olympic Games. It has been called a cyclocross course. Also seen sporting a 29er is TwinTowers Ryan Trebon.

Shimano 29 wheels

The last two years during the NAHBS the spotlight has turned towards 650b, offering a more manageable size, less toe-over lap, lighter weight, strongerwheels among other benies. However, 650b is experiencing the same growing problems as did the niner revolution ten years ago, lack of of available components.


Kirk Pacenti can be sited as the epiccenter of the new 650b movement, having been the most recent builder start back up with this design, as Ritchey, Bontrager and others have toyed with this design before. Pacenti with Panracer produced wheels and tires for this new set, and since Kenda and other are on borad as well. But you have to wonder, it took many manufactures time and money to ramp up their 29er production, with 650b is all of that just going to be obsolete? I doubt it. And what about the local hipster-duface that just bought his first 29er? Dohhh!

But don't run out and place you order for a new Sycip (enter any other manufactures name as you wish here) just yet. Companies like White Brothers claim their 29er forks are just fine for 650b applications, huh? Say what? Needless to say there is still a big void of forks, rims/ wheels and tires.

Big wheels make the world go around.

I personally have yet to ride, let alon even see a 650b bike, but as always am eager to give it a ride.

Big Wheel Sites:
Twenty Niner Forum
Everybody needs a good beer

Monday, April 21, 2008

Media vs. Cycling

Sabine takes on the media and doping. Photo: Ralf Scheuble
The relationship between cycling and the media is a delicate one, cycling lives fromthe visibility generated for sponsors and events, and the media enjoys dramatic story lines to fill their pages and broadcasts. Unfortunately the latter has become all too common, a constant tale of drugs, lies and story that has all but villainized the entire sport.

Here in Germany the damage done by the press is catastrophic. Team and events have all packed up and left a vacuum void of competitive opportunities. "It (the media's attack on radsport) is just another reason for sponsors to pull their money out," German pro roadrider Frank Dressler Lehnof (Mitsubishi-Jartazi-Protech) says about the current climate in German cycling.
Frank went on to say, "Nobody wants to do anything, team wise or race organization. A lot of events have just gone away because of these conditions."

The latest in media's spotlight on doping was a Rheinpfalz article on Sunday about the new stricter controls from UCI and how riders are dealing. The article featured former World MTB Champion Sabine Spitz, where she commented on her own experiences with the new doping mandates, along with an extensive line of questioning on other riders.

The author specifically asked Spitz her take on the pending suspension of the Lado and Manuel Fumic for missing a couple of out of competition tests. Most riders I have spoken to won't even candidly take on position on such a line of questioning, but Spitz took it head on saying, "We all know the rules and have to live by them. Obviously if the Fumic brothers are having trouble with this, they have something to hide."

The article went on to elude to the speculations that the Chinese women are doping, once again Spitz in her reply acknowledged these suspicions, "All of the sudden the Chinese women were there (on the front of the World Cup), Ren Chengyuan won Houffalize last year out of no where."

Spitz went on, "We will have to see what kind of controls the UCI will have in place leading up to the Olympic Games, and how the Chinese women will fare in competition. But it surely has raised more than a few eyebrows."

Photo ©: Luke Webber

Spitz has long been a critic of the BDR (Bundes Deutscher Radfahrer) and it "lack" of sufficient doping controls. During the World Cup this past Sunday in Houffalize, Ren Chengyuan repeated her victory from last year, by coming from far behind to win, while Spitz finished five and a half minutes back in 10th. On the men's side, both of the Fumic brothers raced despite a doping charge from the UCI and a possible 1 month suspension from the BDR, with Lado finishing 35th and Manuel 67th.

Photo ©: Fumic Brothers Int.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hops, Wurst & Eingang

One of the pleasures of taking a title like a national championship is that for the following season everytime you line up at a race, you get to wear your nations colors. But what if you were able to wear the forever???

The 2008 German Single Speed Championships are offering the title for good, as it is being promoted as the last one. Two weeks down the road on the 3rd of May the last ever German Singlespeed Championships will take place in Haselbach/Rhön (Haselbach, Bischofsheim an der Rhön).

In an email from Phaty, one of the events founders and webmaster for the Eingang forum wrote:

"For years and years we try to burry this event by running it in The Netherlands or on a 1k lap in Nürnberg, giving the title away in a drawing and not to forget last years event that included a 2k Le-Mans-Run to your bike followed by a 300 Meter (that is 900 ft. or so) downhill to the finish line ... and that was it!

This year we decided give it in the hands of some real XC riders who are all members of the SRAM Factory Racing Team from Schweinfurt. They make sure you get a real Mountain Bike race not some kind of a "Christopher Street Day meets Oktoberfest" Event
Entry fee is like 5€ plus maybe a donation for the local band - I heard they suck! I love it ...

There is no flyer, website, timetable and sure enough there is no sponsor - just pack your stuff drive there, race fast and win ... can't be that hard - really ... !
It is your last chance to win this prestigious title, it will stick with you for ever!"

Sandi & I are hitting this event for sure, it will be sweet to meet up with some disgruntled German MTB'er and have a shot at an eternal title. If you can read German, go to:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

EDGE Composites XC wheels

One of the better developments I have enjoyed as of late, is the development of the carbon mountain bike wheel. Reynolds, DT Swiss, Tufo, Fulcrum and EDGE composites have all their own versions of this. And it not just the weight and svelty looks that have me excited - it is more the ride quality.

matched up on KING ISO disc rear hub

My wheels: EDGE Composites has developed a full line of MTB rims, and I have been riding the first generation 32mm profile ones, one set on Chris King ISO hubs and one set on 240s DT hubs. Both are clinchers setup w/ a tubless kit, 28 hole, disc only and the DT's are about 30g lighter - both top out at just over 1300g (1340 vs. 1310). I have also been riding a set of the Reynolds Topo Tubulars which weigh a whopping 1242g, and are gloued up w/ a set of the Dugast Rhino XL's.

DT 240s version w/ CenterLock Shimano discs

If you have ever ridden carbon cyclocross wheels, you know their benefits, they seem to 'float' on rough terrain, and yet are very deliberate in navigation, cutting with surgical-knife precision the direction they are pointed. This is the exact feeling the carbon mtb wheels deliver, without being difficult to handle. Smooth is the word that comes to mind in their overall performance. The buff out the trail in perfect harmony with well tuned suspension and matching tire pressure (25-28psi). These characteristics rand out even louder on my DT's with their stout 15mm though-axel, providing an even more positive, solid front end. I am all for a possible new through axel standard.

The whole package

Tubeless compared to Tubular, they both have strong arguments, however, for day-to-day riding, or in a mountainous/ rocky envionment, tubeless not doubt. The weight is all but forgotten with the added security of flat protection on tubeless, and what I feel is a slightly better performing setup. Go tubular if you have no children to save up for college for, and just need to have that sweet set of 'race only' wheels. Women would also benefit from the superlight weight, so low rolling resistance of tubulars as well.

This is one of the best applications in the bike industry for carbon. Its strengths are glorified and far out shine aluminum or other materials, and its weaknesses are well guarded and hidden. Besides, who can argue with the sheer sexiness of their appearance. Bonus points for psyching out the competition on the starting line with a set of these.

MTB Fahrtechnik

mittwochs abends

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bundesliga Bilder

My Ride
the conditions
MTB Park Muensingen
The Run-UP
PRO Number Plate


Having spent the last ten years honing my skills in the Colorado racing scene, I have raced some very fast, strong riders. It seemed like all of those experiences/ skills where lost on Saturday when I took to the line at round one of the MTB Bundesliga in Muessingen.

Foul spring weather had been soaking the course all week like most of Germany, so in my pre-ride, my bike doubled its weight in mud. The course was crazy slippery, riddled with roots and rocks, tight twisting sections and some steep climbs. It felt great to be back after a sabbatical last season from racing.

After being called up to the line, I took position behind the German National Masters Champion, someone who obviously doesn't have a day job due to his ultra-fit appearance, and dark tanned skin probably courtesy of some training in Mallorca or the Canary Isles. Did I mention he has a PRO German Champion kit from the Dolphin Trek squad???

From the gun it was 100% on the gas, f-ing fast. We slammed into the first major obstacle of the race, a 100 meter run up, and I was going backwards fast. I was thing of Greg as this would be something he would enjoy. At the top we hit a half-kilometer pave section that saw us draw out in a long drafting line. The speed on display was mind blowing, these guys were FAST! Once we hit the woods, I was moving back in the right direction, but I could feel the legs weren't there for any serious contention, so I set out for a descent finish, or atleast to finish.

I plugged along each lap, my victory was in being able to clean most of the sections on the course while everyone else was portaging their rides. I even threw a couple of cross-ups over the doubles back down in the mtb park in the race village. On the pre-ulitmate lap things went really wrong. I lesser-skilled rider tried an impossible pass to my inside, losing control. The consequences sent me hard over the bars. While trying to get my breath back Paramedics attended to me. I saw blood, and couldn't feel my left hand. After the leaders made their way by I was able to get to my feet, but it was long over. I limped back to the the base area, and retired my number.

It was not to be, but I still enjoyed the experience and look forward to future races. My homework is clear, speed over here is the trump card, something I didn't need in my vertically challenging world of Colorado. I am training with a local road pro, he will surely help lead me to the promise land and I look forward to round 2.