The Classics

The Ronde van Vlaanderen has come and gone, and Paris-Roubaix is on tap for this weekend. Can anybody stop Cancellara? Will Hincapie bring home the cobble and velodrome glory? Can Lotto finally grab a classics win? The showdown begins "Sunday, Sunday Sunday"...

Photo dump from the Ronde van Vlaanderen Museum in Oudenarde, BE. More to come.


Stybar's Ride

So you think Cyclocross Magazine had the inside scoop on Stybar's new whip? Well, here's another look at his bike.

There's no mistaking who's tent this is.

And the new decor added to his camper.

And matching bike:

Here's a look at his two bikes during the break after the Espoirs race. He has Pipistrello 34s on the bike now, but would later switch to 32's for the race. Also, it seems as though Stybar has a favorite saddle too. The San Marco on the new Rainbow bike looks to have considerable wear.

Stybar had the Avid Shorty Ultimates on his bike. The Pipistrellos are also the "older" model with the large side knobs. These features were removed for the 2009 model, but the pros seem to favor the grippier tread of the previous generation.

A close up of the PMP hub. Even though Stybar is a Sram sponsored rider, he choses to use a Sram 1070 cassette instead of the Red model like many of the top domestic pros.

A view of Stybar's cockpit. Sram Red shifters decked out in a full white setup, on anatomic drop handlebars. Notice the slight bulge of the cable pushing out the bartape slightly.

The stockpile of wheel bags leaning against the trailer.

Each bag is labeled so the mechanic can figure out which wheels are in the bag, without having to open up each one. This one is the 34 Pipistrellos that we saw earlier on Stybar's bike.

A front view of the bike Stybar raced. Check out the fully integrated handlebar/stem setup and the low profile carbon hoops. I'm surprised that Stybar chose to race on these wheels (compared to the deeper profile ones) considering how sandy the course in Lille was. I do love the Czech inspired spoke pattern.

View from the rear.

Another view from the rear. All of the top riders are interviewed before the race. Cyclocross is a big deal in Belgium.

The man and the machine.

Stybar throwing down during the race, seen here on the B bike.

Stybar went on to finish second to Nys in a two-up sprint. Stybar would go on to finish second again in Ostmalle at the last GVA race of the season to Bart Wellens. He would also finish second to Nys in the series overall standings. Not a bad season though; several high profile wins including the Superprestige overall and World Championship title. I bet he earned one of these. That's right, Stybie cakes!


Hair Hot Pants

I grew up riding mountain bikes, and even raced a bit when I was a junior. I didn't start racing road bikes until I got to college. After several years of racing on the road, I thought it was time to get back on the dirt and start racing some cyclocross. I had a couple of friends who raced cross and they gave the sport a solid thumbs up. So one summer, I bought a cross frame and pieced it together component at a time. By August, I had my first cross bike ready to race. I had no idea where the start learning about the sport.

This was before the dawn of Cyclocross Magazine, so my exposure was limited to the internet. Sites like Mud and Cowbells kept me informed so I didn't look like a total tool at my first race. I soon ordered a couple of DVDs; Transitions 1 and Transitions 2. The latter chronicles life in Belgium as a US cross racer. Along with following the tales of the Euro Cross Camp riders, it features Brandon Dwight. I've never met Brandon, but he runs Boulder Cycle Sport and is also a master's cyclocross national champion. Indirectly, he taught me a lot about cyclocross, as I learned about the intricacies of barrier technique from the old Velonews videos.

While escaping the New England winter and trying to get in shape for spring, I started watching Transitions 2 again. In one of the opening scenes, I noticed one of the largest faux pas of being a cyclist...the dreaded hair hot pants.

This happens when one neglects to shave the entirety of his or her legs, stopping only inches above the tan line. Hairy Short Shorts!

So please readers, next time you're cleaning up your legs before the big race, just go that extra step and so it doesn't look like your wearing hairy hot pants. You'll thank me next fall when you roll your shorts up to apply the embrocation and it goes on silky smooth.

For further reading, please see the old Ask a Pro Column on the ECCC site:

Only one week till the World Championships. Who's going to take it this year?