Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cyclo-Cross Hits Long Island This Weekend

Photos by Anthony Skorochoads (c)
For both days this weekend, cyclocross will come to Eisenhower Park in East Meadow,  NY.  Likened by its sponsors to "steeplechase on two wheels," competitors will use road racing bicycles outfitted with knobby tires, and in the tough spots--rises, steps and large indentations--competitors will have to get off, and run with their bikes on their shoulders.

Whitmore Landscaping's Super Cross Cup, or more familiarly known as Whitmore's, will take place over Saturday and Sunday with beginner to pro categories and --the race organizers say, accommodations for all ages (though somehow I doubt there will be age categories for 14 and under and 80 and over.)

The races make up the final two events of the Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross Cup series, attracting top regional and national-class racers as well as a few overseas professionals looking for series points, team cup standings, and cash prizes. Gavi Epstein of CRCA/ Foundation told BBB that he plans to compete in the event for at least one of the two days.

For the previous eight years, the Whitmore Landscaping Super Cross Cup was held in tony Southampton. But due to construction, a last-minute change of venue was necessary said race promoter Myles Romanow, adding, "the new course is high-speed [and] both difficult and spectator-friendly." Visitors are welcome.

The racing begins Saturday November 20th at 10am and runs through 4pm.  Sunday's race program begins at 9 am and finishes at 3:30pm. There will be an announcer, music, and plenty of food and drink. One of the expected food vendors is the New York City-based Wafels& Dinges.


Myles Romanow, (631)287-2087
J.P. Partland,  (212)316-1582

RELEVANT LINKS

Kissena Cycling Club website
with race info:
http://www.kissena.info

Registration page: http://www.bikereg.com/events/Register.asp?EventID=11907

Wikipedia on Cyclocross
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclo-cross

Active.com on cyclocross
http://www.active.com/mountainbiking/Articles/Cyclocross-101.htm

Videos showing cyclocross racing
 http://www.crosstube.net/

Monday, November 15, 2010

Italian Police Raid Home of RadioShack's Yaroslav Popovych

Police raided the Milan home of Lance Armstrong RadioShack teammate Yaroslav Popovych in search of performance enhancing drugs, according to Italian media.

The timing of the raid was notable as Ukrainian Popovych appeared in front of a grand jury in Los Angeles on Nov. 3 as part of an open investigation into doping in cycling.

Police and custom officials raided the house in Tuscany on Thursday and seized computers and mobile phones along with unspecified substances.

Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the search warrant was issued by public prosecutor Benedetto Roberti, who is leading several doping investigations in Italy.

Popovych has been working as a teammate of Armstrong's since their days at Discovery Channel, also riding alongside the seven-time tour winner on the Astana and RadioShack teams.

Popovych's lawyer Ken Miller told the Associated Press of the grand jury appearance but declined to give further details.

In recent weeks, the federal prosecutors have subpoenaed several of Armstrong's former teammates and associates including coach Allen Lim and Oakley representative  Stephanie McIlvain.

As usual, no comment from Federal investigators about the investigation which is headed by Food and Drug Administration agent Jeff Novitzky.


Ironically in their coverage of the raid, ESPN displayed a very prominent ad featuring Lance Armstrong promoting  FRS Healthy Energy , with a big title, "Tired of Being Tired?"

Yes, we are tired, tired of this investigation--no, witch hunt-- going after the most tested rider in the world (Armstrong), who has been tested at all times of the day, morning, noon and night, in all regions of the world, by surprise, at a moment's notice. There is no more testing done possibly in any other sport in the world than there is of pro cyclists, thanks to progressive action by the world cycling organization the UCI.

Despite rigorous, if not truly invasive testing of Armstrong (and hundreds of other pro cyclists who have made it),  this is not the first time that a witch hunt has organized with such ferocity against Armstrong. 

He's been dogged by doubters, naysayers, witch hunters, media hunters, and their ilk since he started winning the Tour de France the first time in the 1990's.  What about Miguel Indurain? Eddy Merckx? What about opening investigations of them? It's never too late, you know.  In fact, let's raid all the homes of all cyclists, in the world! That would be a real pay off! (Well it could yield some cheaters, but I think our point is made.)

And let's let all the professional ball players be--because you know, they are too busy with their billion dollar mansions, racing cars, illicit girlfriends and ecstasy parties to take performance enhancing drugs.

The 30-year-old Popovych turned professional in 2002 with the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago Team after becoming the first and only amateur to win the silver medal and then the gold medal in the U23 UCI World Road Race Championships in successive years (2000 and 2001), according to the RadioShack team site. Popovych has also raced professionally for Silence-Lotto.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

KGS Bikes Takes on Frame Builder Passoni

KGS Bikes, a custom bicycle design studio owned by Kevin Saunders, has announced that they are going to be the exclusive custom U.S. bicycle dealer for Passoni of Italy.

Saunders said he conducted research among people who worked in the cycling business in Italy and found that Passoni was "the Italian equivalent of Parlee in the U.S.," though Passoni uses titanium in the manufacture of their frames, and Parlee uses Carbon.  "Passoni's quality and attention to detail are similar, and I feel confident at this level of bicycle that I am providing the best for the customer, " said Saunders.

KGS Bikes is now using Passoni, Parlee, Eriksen, Co-Motion and Zinn for their designed KGS bikes built to spec for premium customers. To make room for their new supplier, Saunders confirmed that the studio will no longer be specifying Formigli frames for their custom bicycles.

Two of KGS's most recent Passoni customers will be spending more than $25,000 each for their completed bike packages, and will use the bicycles to tour Italy. "The frame alone will be $10,000," said Saunders whose least expensive bike package rolls out the door for $7,000. Passoni's most expensive built bike was sold for 40,000 Euros (about $52,000) this year.

KGS Bikes specializes in the premium bicycle market, which attracts a very specific clientele. "The type of client who buys a $25 K bike has had success in life, is over 40 and would rather buy one bike and have it last 20 to 30 years rather than buy a new bike every few years," said Saunders.

Despite a world wide recession, many of the one percent of the world's wealthiest people have turned to bicycles as their new status toys, replacing the BMWs, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis of years past. A bicycle that costs more than most cars, but also establishes the rider as possessing a bike equivalent to a pro, takes status toys to a whole new level.

And then there's the Baby Boomer factor: "Once you get over 40, the value of your time while you are riding a bike exceeds the cost of the bike because your time is worth more," said Saunders.  It's no secret that Baby Boomers make more money than other segments of the population because they are in their prime income earning years, and make up a greater percentage of the total world count. As they reach retirement age, their knees also give out, making cycling the preferred sport over stress-related exercise like running.

Saunders invested heavily to expand his reach during the recession and expects to sell 50 fully built bicycles, and 150 Frame-Ups--which includes the frame built to spec, and all the other parts that make the bike a custom fit including the headset, stem, handlebars, brake levers, saddle and seat post-- in the next year.  

The clients picking up the new Passonis already have two Parlees at their home outside of the U.S., and will keep their Passonis at their U.S. home in Colorado.
Both Passoni and Parlee design bikes that will last 20 years when the rider is doing an average of 12,000 miles per year--for a total of 240,000 miles--a distance that most cyclists can only dream about. 

Although the two clients--let's call them Frank and Judy--won't be doing 12,000 miles this year on either bicycle, they are demanding customers with a chauffeur who drives behind them when they ride so that they won't be mugged while in motion (they live in a country where the wealthy are often kidnapped and held for ransom.)

"They get on these things and ride the wheels of of them," said Saunders using a southern expression that doesn't mean the wheels actually come off.

The Passoni's frame geometry is perfect for the couple, both of whom have relatively short arms lengths for their body height, said Saunders.  "Frank" was an active soccer athlete growing up and had a bad shoulder injury so he has to ride with a shorter reach because of his injury, he added. 

The Balance Point Positioning System (TM) that Saunders developed over 20 years he says will give the rider a perfect position on the bike.  He then draws the whole bike in Computer Assisted Design and sends it to the frame builder.  "And that's the difference, that's what people are paying for," he said.

Saunders started a business in aviation manufacturing where he designed a clip-in medical transport system that was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.  Partly because of this experience and his long term experience with bicycles, Saunders believes he is able to determine what is well made and what isn't when visiting a bicycle frame builder.

Frank and Judy also convinced another couple who they are riding with in Italy, to purchase the same bicycle packages from Saunders.