Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Guess the Part; Solved!

Folks, we have a winner! Matthew Shapiro did it piecemeal; he figured out it was a CO2 mount... that was half the battle. Then he needed to sort out who made it.

I had a lot of great guesses (and I bet some engineers can use those stabs as ideas for bike solutions... like an aero cable router). The maker: Profile Design. I saw this in a new 2009 catalog (though it's not on the website... your best bet is to ask your local retailer to stock 'em) and I asked to see one. I was thoroughly impressed. But like I said, it lacked the sex appeal of all the carbon stuff that goes into the mags.

It mounts vertically between your hydration system and bottle cage (the square nut serves as a spacer for your other bottle bolt, so the cage is flush.

Once the thing is on, you can screw a CO2 vertically into the threaded hollow, on either end, holding two. The package comes with two mounts, so you can mount as many as four CO2s to a rear hydration system. Mark Vandermolen from Profile Design says you can mount them under your downtube bottle cage as well.

What does it mean? It means for my wife, as you can see in the picture of her bike, she can save space in her tool bag (which she puts in her rear cage on her HydroTail). For race day, she has them at hand, and now wrapped with electrical tape to a tubular tire, or a seatpost.

Erika Csomor, whom is staying here in San Diego and I passed one to, is jazzed, as she said she has typically put CO2s in her Bento Box on race day. Now she has more room for more important stuff in there, like food.

They're easy to access, easy to know how many you have for race day, and you don't need to wrap them to your frame with electrical tape.

Maybe some of you are rolling your eyes: "That's it?" If you race and see stuff littered across the race course, one of those things that causes massive fear of riding over is a CO2 cartridge. The more you can affix stuff to your bike without rudimentary methods, the better off we all are. And you look just a little more pro.

So there it is. It ain't a solution to our economic plunge, but it will make your training and racing a bit more organized. The less electrical tape on a bike, the better.

Thanks for all the great guesses, and thanks to Profile Design for sending me a prize for the giveaway. Maybe I'll do some more of these giveaways again.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Guess the Part, Win a Prize, Part 2, and a fun bet

OK, I've had a few stabs, but no hits. Jordan Rapp excluded himself and gave up, asking to know what it was. He now knows, but is thus eliminated from grand prize contention.

So I'm sending another shot at a cocked angle. It's a bit soft... sorry, my iPhone sucks for macro shots.Other hints: It is comprised of aluminum, for what it's worth. The hardware with it are what is included in the package, if that gives you any leads.

It is a product in the line of a major aerobar manufacturer. American company. But the product, being as small as it is, is not on their website.... at least I can't find it there.

Before I sign off for now and await some more guesses, I gotta put out there a bet my esteemed colleague Brad Culp and I threw together. We're both racing the first week of April; he at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, and I at Ironman 70.3 New Orleans. From what I see, Nawlins will be an easier, flatter course. But heat could be a factor, I don't know. Or cold and rain could be a factor in Oceanside. Could go either way.

But none of that matters to Brad, for his ego is larger than the Obama Fan Club. No, he said he will slay my time by more than 45 minutes. He may be faster than I am, but hell, gimme some credit. I figure I will come withing 30 minutes.

So we have a bet: regardless of condition at either race, I come within 45 minutes of Brad's time, and I get a case of beer of my choice. I fall outside it, I owe him a case.

Of course, if you've seen his blog, you know he like to fancy himself some sort of alcohol connoisseur. Of course, I've seen him drink Zima and say "man, this stuff is awesome, bro, especially when you mix it with Red Bull, gimme a glow stick so I can get loose on the dance floor" so I don't give his brew opinion much credence. Zima? Sad.

I'll take his 45 minutes. He may give me a case of beer, but I'm not all taking. I'll buy him a box of cookies to bury his sorrows in.

Interoffice smacktalk prattle off. Let's have some guesses.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Guess the Part, Win a Prize!!!

Seldom does a bit part wow me. But this one, which I received a couple weeks ago, did. It’s metal, it’s simple, and it will change your life. And there’s a little drawing for this existence-altering piece of technology that ranks up there with the door knob and the round wheel. (You know, after square wheels were just not cutting it).

O.K. I’m exaggerating. But it makes your riding experience, on a smaller scale, more enjoyable. It’s also the kind of thing that I want to put in the magazine, but most will look right past it, as it lacks sex appeal. It’s not carbon, it’s not gloss, and it’s not aero tested. But when I put one on my wife’s Cervelo P3, people were asking “where’d you get that? She’s had to refer all questions to me.But it has utility for triathletes in a big way. It’s good for races, and good for training. Good on road bikes, and good on tri bikes. I visited Dan Empfield and showed it to him, and managed to elicit a “cool.” From him. If ever there was a vote of confidence, that was it.

I spoke to the head engineer for the American-based triathlon-specific company about the design of this little widget, who said “It was a team effort all around.”

What is it? That’s my question to you. A tab to tape gels onto? A surface for installing race numbers? Hmmmmm…. what could it be?

The first person (aside from those few who know me and have seen it) to sort out what it is and who makes it, I will send you a pair, compliments of the company, and announce the winner at this very globally-read blog. And it will change your life forever. I shot it under studio lighting (flourescent lights) against a contrasting background (my laptop) to give it scale, with one of my best cameras (my iPhone). This is as good as it gets, folks.

No more hints…. Time to give me your best guess!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Press Releases Galore, and some editorial: Macca to SRAM, TBB to Avia



Aliso Viejo, Calif. (December 18, 2008) – AVIA, the leader in endurance sports racing footwear, is proud to announce its partnership with teamTBB. As of January ’09, all teamTBB athletes will train and race in AVIA footwear. TeamTBB’s coaching staff and athletes will also work directly with AVIA’s footwear engineering team on innovative new product designs.

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with the best multi-sport teams in the world,” said Ed Goldman, Vice President of Marketing for AVIA. “Our decision to partner with teamTBB is not simply a one dimensional sponsorship; their athlete assets are unmatched and their commitment to improving the lives of young people through sports is honorable. We are looking forward to a record breaking season in 2009.”

Teamtbb is a development squad that provides hope and opportunity to many young athletes and struggling pro’s that would have had no opportunity or pathway to being able to become an earning professional athlete. Teamtbb provides physical, psychological and mechanical information to all of its athletes and more important its current leading athletes are the role models to the rookie and development athletes.

In addition to its professional and amateur athlete programs, teamTBB also works to ensure that youth around the globe can participate in multi-sport events through its social development projects and its franchise, The Bike Boutique. The Bike Boutique provides unique lifestyle services through its bike lifestyle stores and encourages cycling as a means of transportation supported by its bikeLodging™ services.

Alex Bok, Managing Director of The Bike Boutique Holding and teamTBB says about this new partnership “We have completed a long selection process to finally team up with one of leading endurance footwear companies. Avia became our absolute preferred choice as a result of their shoe technology. Avia’s shoe technology is totally aligned with our coaching staff’s vision of what requirement the ultimate endurance shoe should meet. Secondly, Avia is a company with a unique brand image that is not afraid of taking a fresh and innovative approach to the footwear market.”

Starting in January, AVIA running shoes will be sold in all Bike Boutique locations world-wide. For more information on The Bike Boutique and teamTBB please visit www.teamtbb.com.

About American Sporting Goods
American Sporting Goods is a manufacturer of performance athletic footwear and apparel based in Aliso Viejo, Calif. Brands under the ASG umbrella include AVIA, And 1, rykรค, Nevados, Yukon, NSS, APEX, Turntec and Triple Five Soul.

About teamTBB
teamTBB is a professional organisation for triathlon and bike related sports and nurtures a unique culture by providing hope and opportunity for young athletes. teamTBB is committed to building a better world for youth and has started various social projects around the world.

Alex Bok


We thought Macca to SRAM was inevitable, considering his switch to Zipp a few months ago. And TeamTBB's move with Avia is a smart move; Brett Sutton doesn't pick up a brand without a hands-on look at the product. And after I saw the new AviBolt 2 and the new AviStoltz trail shoe for '09, I thought those two shoes were a massive surge for the brand; the trail shoe (which has no bearing on the tri team, save for co-designer Conrad Stoltz and new Avia signee Melanie McQuaid) is kick ass, with a low heel to prevent ankle rolls and an aggressive, grabby tread) is one I look forward to trying on the trails.

But the AviBolt 2 is gonna shake things up, as it's the shoe that, like the Pearl Izumi Peak, is an underground star. Superlight, low heel, ultra flexible for unimpeded gait, and with a touch of stability, to keep your form together late in the marathon. All these Nike, Asics and with big, cushy heels (especially when worn by middle-aged trophy wives at the gym) are a joke; you shorten the achilles tendon and are effectively running in stilletos, heel striking by default. A shoe with a low heel promotes a midfoot strike and better run form. It ain't for everyone, but for fast runners—or a fast pro tri team—a low, light, racer with a touch of posting is the ticket. Newton has that in the extreme, Pearl Izumi has it in the Peak, Nike has it in the Luna Racer, and now Avia has it in their new '09 shoes. It seems some brands are learning that "gee, big cloud-like heels are the opposite of what real runners need, and that we can run fast like Abebe Bikila did back in the 1960 Rome Olympic Games."

Well, maybe not that fast, or that cool... I'm keeping my Pearls on my feet for now. Anyway, interesting pickups for both SRAM and Avia.