Sunday, April 19, 2009

Folks, just a quick reminder that I've transferred all content to This is the site that I'll regularly update, put widgets on and continue to evolve. I'll keep updating this site for the next while, but if you haven't already please updates your bookmarks.

Thanks for reading...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Victory Salute Like A PRO

Bike racing and cycling is filled with unwritten rules and etiquette. Above all, style is paramount. All else is of little importance. You're only as good as your last race. I regularly get ridiculed for all my unwitting blunders. However, I know full well that it's part of the Cyclists' Code to mock the ignorant.

For those of you who have been holding back on winning races because you just don't know what you would do when crossing the finish line, allow me to give a few pointers. After you master these important TIPS, it's off to the Pro Tour you go.

Victory Salute Like A PRO

The Solo Victory

1. Ensure one's jersey is fastened to the top and shall be perfectly aligned so all title sponsors are clearly visible.

2 One shall take a quick look behind prior to victory to gloat at the peloton's futile second place sprint.

3. One shall prepare far in advance (preferably in front of mirror) for thee victory salute that shall be unleashed. One shall look 100% confident that this has been done thousand times before.

4. One shall cloak all signs of fatigue at any cost. A war-cry of aggression is acceptable emotion to be displayed.

5. One shall hold the victory salute for minimum of 20 seconds and heed placing hands on bars until soigneur approaches with towel and waterbottle directly before post-race interview.

The Sprint Victory

1. In a sprint finish, one often does not know if the race has been won or lost until centimeters before the finish line. Even so, one's victory salute still requires to have been thought out and practiced. Preparation is key. Omit training sessions if necessary. Sprinters do not train. It is a sign of weakness.

2. It is preferable that one will cross the line with victory salute displayed well before or during the sprint to the finish.

3. Never will one go past the finish line without having a victory salute for the cameras. This is a sign of humbleness (and mistaken for arrogance) and is as good as coming in last.

4. Again, all signs of fatigue are forbidden.

Let me suggest the following salutes:

The Classic. Two hands thrown in the air over one's head


The Chin-up. Another classic


The Crucifix. One must use with care. Only for true champions.


The Single Fisted Punch. Notice the slight backward lean and superb posture.


The Handgun. One needs to be sufficiently gifted to pull this off. Reserved for decisive day of Grand Tour on epic mountain top finish.


The Understated Salute. For the truly humble competitor


Thank The Lord. To be used by one of Italian or Spanish decent. Ideally, kiss crucifix on gold chain, trace sign of the cross on chest, look to the heavens and thank God for the courage he's given on this epic day. Dedication of the victory to one's teammate who passed away last year is highly regarded.


The Unwritten Rules Now Written: Some simple rules regarding the various victory salutes that shall not be forgotten.

1. Arms are to be 180 degrees straight. If bending towards 200 degrees is possible, even better.


2. Palms are to be pointed outwards to the cameras to show sponsorhip on gloves


3. Always zip jersey to the collar when the cameras are on. No one needs to see this:


4. Again, expression of fatigue is absolutely forbidden. The exception to this rule is when on the junk, do not make it too obvious. A slight expression of pain may be necessary to cover up any suspicion. You see Cadel's face everytime he crosses the finish line? You know a guy with that much suffering on his face is clean as a whistle.


5. Tears of joy is permitted only if from Italian decent. Otherwise this is not acceptable.


6. Expression of surprise or shock of winning is absolutely forbidden. Multiple Tour stage victories is the only redemption for this.


7. Multiple race victories warrants this to be pointed out.


8. Expressions of childlike joy is largely frowned upon. Garro's cool though...


9. When you drag the 39yr old Statesman to the line and then pips you at the finish, it is acceptable to raise your arm and bow your head in honor and admiration. You are his subservient domestique and it is written in your contract to make him look good during his final days before Masters racing.


10. Leadout man to salute in celebrating your victory is permitted. Even though he got dropped at the final corner and you had to close his gap, he shall receive a piece of your glory for his feeble efforts.


11. Generally the rules state that you may only raise a single arm up as the leadout man. However, you may display the double arm salute if you let your teammate take the win. As one expert commented, this is the now banned "YMCA Salute"


12. Double points are awarded for the victory salute before the finish line in a bunch sprint


13. A clear indication of who your sponsors are always pleases them. Alternatively, it is permissible to let the world know who's the real boss if the win was inevitable with or without those pesky sponsors or teammates.


14. If by fluke some neo-pro pips you at the line and you've already begun your victory salute, ABORT. Retreat hands back on the bars as quickly as possible and make like it never happened. You let him win - that's the story and stick to it.


15. Under no circumstances will second place suffice. The only respectable response to finishing second after a 200km breakaway is to pound handlebars in frustration.


Now, go win some races.

images from Velonews (Graham Watson)

Glenvale Crit

Glenvale Criterium from cycling tips on Vimeo.


SKCC Criterium Club Championships from cycling tips on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Inside vs. Outside

It's no secret to anyone who took high school geometry that the smaller the circle, the shorter the distance. Did you know that the difference between riding in a 250m velodrome on the black line versus the red "sprinters" line is 8m per lap? That's only over a distance of 250m! That means that if you're riding on the red line (outside) for the entire lap you'll need to be riding faster than the rider on the black line (inside) since he/she has not as far to go. (sorry, I have very limited internet access right now and can't remember the math of this to figure out "how fast" off the top of my head)

The same thing obviously applies to any course you're doing laps on. Why does this help me you ask? If you're in a break away move in a crit over a 1km course for example, take the inside part of the road as much as possible. This can save you approximately 20-30m per lap! (this is just a quick calculation based on the 250m velodrome example above. This can vary depending on the shape of the course you're riding on). Of course you'll need to account for the quickest line to get around those corners at high speed. Many times the large bunch who is trying to chase you down is not taking the optimal line around the course and not taking those corners as quick as your small group in the break can, so not only will your average speed be higher, but you'll also be travelling less distance. This will increase your chances on getting to the finish line before you're caught! Every little bit helps...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Other Side....

Seeing as Wade is away for a few days at one of his many races, I thought I would take this opportunity to provide some insight from the "other half". Coincidentally, I received the following text just as I sat down to write this post...

"Hey there. We're still out for dinner so I'll call you tomorrow. Sat on the beach all day and saw dolphins! Great relaxing day. Have a good night. Love Wade."

Is it just me or was there a glaring absence of cycling mentioned in his message?! I will admit that this isn't the norm. Quite the opposite in fact. Typically, here are a few signs that you might be married to a cyclist.

1) Its 5am and from the comfort of your bed you're awakened to the sound of air being pumped into tires. Good Morning!

2) You make a recipe for dinner that apparently "serves 4-6". Somehow it barely stretches to 2.

3) Speaking of eating, you find your partner needs food and/or drink every two hours all day long. Something about replenishing all those calories he's burning?

4) You go online to do some banking and notice mysterious charges on the account with names like "bikeparts4cheap"....This is cheap?!

5) Your weekend plans revolve around scheduling activities before, after or in between rides.

6) Your spare bedroom looks more like a bike shop than a guest room.

7) Your light switches, cupboard handles, doors, walls etc. are marked by black fingerprints and you don't have children....

8) Your nephews think your husband's job is a "bike racer". I can't seem to convince them that he has a real job too.

9) Your partner is so grumpy that you begin to worry there might be a serious, false alarm, he just hasn't been out for a ride in three days.

On the flip side, I have a happy, healthy husband and all of my "alone" time allows for plenty of my own leisure activities and coffees with friends and family etc., so I don't complain too much!

Most of you reading this probably can't relate but perhaps your significant other could use some consoling. They're not alone!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Weekday Madness

First of all I want lay out the disclaimer that I commend each and every person who rides a bike on any occasion. However, you can't paint all cyclists with the same brush. The time and place where you can see nearly every species of cyclist is on the morning commute. This brings out the best of us and I've taken the liberty of putting them in their own little bucket.

The Weekday World Champ
Every roadie loves the Weekday World Champ. This keenly competitive species of commuter is doing his own race for the rainbow jersey every morning. Usually wearing a free jersey from last years charity ride, solid black shorts, $6 sunglasses, fenders, rear mirror, and any other optional safety features. He will follow your wheel while you're slowly rolling along the road or bike path and then attack you at the opportune time of his liking. Then his head will blow off and soon after you'll come rolling past at the same speed you were doing for the past 20mins. The World Champ botches a trackstand at red lights then punches it off the gun when it turns green. Again, you'll catch up to him shortly and pass him once again.


The Weekday Warrior
There's a bit of an overlap between the Early Morning World Champ and the Weekday Warrior. Here's a guy who rides a mishmash of a decent bike with many gadgets attached, defunct pro kit from 9yrs ago, etc.....but the extent of his riding is the morning commute. He's hit a brick wall somewhere that's all his riding has ever been. The Weekday Warrior usually has some crazy ideas of his own that he's implemented and has never really fit into the cycling world anywhere else. Therefore he's made up his own trends and is seen marching to his own drum. A true legend.


The Newbie
The newbie is trying to do the right thing by giving this commuting gig a shot. This rider usually comes to a half-assed stop with one foot out of the pedal ready at a light and decides to keep going if there's a small break in traffic. The Newbie will ride on sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, roads....whatever it takes to get the job done. The Newbie is scary to watch, swerving all over the road and through traffic and certain death is always in front of him. Luckily drivers take pity on him and he makes it home safe until next month when he tries again.


The Recumbent
This rider usually sports a beard, bright colored jersey or orange safety vest, sunglasses with the leather sides, helmet mirror, panniers, flag on the back...all the fixings. Also scary to watch in traffic. These guys will come rolling along at a respectable pace in a straight line and then come to a grinding halt when they have to turn a corner. This types of commuter cannot work out why anyone would want to ride a regular bike when the drag coefficient, center of gravity and geometry of a recumbent is far superior. Not to mention comfort? 90% of these riders are engineers and will be more than happy to explain to you at length the advantages of riding a recumbent.


Public Transport Commuter
This commuter will take the 30mins of overhead required to get ready for the morning ride to work, but only gets as far as the next train stop. Not certain why this is. 100km commute from work perhaps?


The Glamour Girl
This bird has no idea what she's gotten herself into. She thought it would be stylish to get out on her bike and didn't realize that the quiet streets don't last long before you hit the jungles of morning traffic. She is usually relegated to the sidewalk 5 mins into her ride when her cellphone rings.


The DUI Commuter
This guy doesn't choose to ride his bike for health, fitness, environment, etc. He's riding because he lost his license due to a blood alcohol limit of 2.5 on his last bender. He usually wears a baseball cap, no helmet, blue jeans, a stolen mountain bike, and a 5'oclock shadow at 7am. He also assumes drinking and riding is not illegal so he's is not complaining as he'll make the best of it.


The Courier
And how can I forget the bad boys of cycling...the bike courier.

I doubt that the bike courier would appreciate being called a "commuter", but I don't imagine that many couriers drive to work. Therefore they also fit into this category and are subject to ridicule like everyone else. Tattoos, street-wear, skateboard helmets, etc. It's all part of the lifestyle that you just can't fake (well, apparently the hipsters are fakin' it). The bike courier is the only faction of cyclist who makes us look half cool. The Hell's Angels of cycling, if you will. However, what do you guys say when a big Harley hog rumbles up next to you at a red light and gives it a couple revs? Not so bad-ass now, are we?



That's right - YOU. You didn't think you were gonna get out of it so easily, did you? You're the only one who thinks you're the coolest kat in town. You're the guy who gets all kitted up, pins a number on, rides the Zipps, and has an espresso flavored powergel on your way to work. But I'm sure you have good reason to ride in like this...It could be because you have a race after work, you need to take your bike to the shop at lunch, or it could be because you like to show to all your coworkers how PRO you are. Sorry, but we're the only people on the planet that think spandex, shaved legs, and tiny arms look cool.


The Hardman
This is the guy who hasn't missed a day of commuting to work since 1993. This is a badge of honor to this steed and everyone at work talks about him around the lunch table like he could win the Tour de France. You pipe up every time and try to make them understand that he is not as PRO as you are and that you're in fact the much more dedicated cyclist.


Safety First
This commuter is taking no chances on the way to work. Notice the flashing LED's on panniers, reflectors and bright orange safety vest. Looks like a UFO on a bike. Two water bottles (you can never have enough fluids), panniers and kickstand is mandatory.


Bike Bum
Bums gotta get to work too and I think it's a safe assumption that a bike would be the choice of transport. The Bike Bum doesn't need fancy gadgets like a saddle, air in his tires, or even a rear tire. If this guy only knew about how many empty beer cans were on the side of the roads at Paris-Roubaix he'd have a 10min gap on the peloton for 280km.



The Motorhead

I was out for a walk at lunch and came by this other classic commuter specimen I nearly forgot about. This quirky fellow is usually an engineer of some sort and loves to tinker in his garage. Nothing like a modified bike with a lawnmower engine fit into it. Classic!

Thank God (i.e. the Apple iPhone) for picture phones and mobile blogging or I would have missed this one.