December 7, 2011

Form & Function: VINER

I heard it said once, that having beauty around us in our day-to-day lives greatly enhances our overall quality of life, which I would have to agree with – especially when beauty comes in the form of a bike. In my opinion, the VINER Perfecta that I rode this season, is as as nice to look at as it is to ride and race. And that goes a long way with me because admittedly I enjoy things that operate exceptionally well, but also look good do it – form and function come together in this bike like the two halves of DNA’s double helix.

There’s little question, that the fact that this bike is designed and handmade in Italy, plays into why it looks the way it does. Everything from the unique contours of the top tube, the subtly flared chainstays, to the colour scheme, all make this an unquestionable work of cycling art that literally makes me happier when I see it. And it didn’t just have this effect on me – not a race went by when I didn’t have at least one person come up and ask about that bike and comment on how nice it was. There aren’t many CX bikes out there that can do that.

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October 6, 2011

A well-tuned VINER

Growing up, we all know the woes/joys of an untuned bike. Bar grips that twisted freely, rusted old chains slathered in black 3 &1 oil to hide the creaking, and the worn brake pads that squack and squeal at every stop… Ah, good times… Now balance that with you most well-tuned bike you’ve ever had. You, have had a well-tuned bike before, right? Well, if you haven’t, you haven’t lived.

Riding and racing are two very different experiences. You ride for fun. If your shifting isn’t quite dialled in, or your tires aren’t pumped up to optimal levels, you don’t really care – you’re just out hammering the tails for all you’re worth, and lovin’ it! Now, when you’re racing, by comparison, the smallest thing can irk you to no end. The slightest cable stick, grit in your drive-train, brake rub or chatter in your brakes can be all it takes to take you out of the game, mentally. It’s sad, but it’s true…. Us cyclists can be that fragile, whether most of us would admit, or not. The truth be told, we like things to run, not just pretty well, but ‘perfectly’, even though, this isn’t possible most of the time. That said, last night at the United Cycle Tuesday nighter, I enjoyed such a moment, when the bike was D-I-A-L-L-E-D in!
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September 29, 2011

Cross season is too short

Yup, cross season is simply too short. As summer winds down, you think, ‘I can’t wait for CX to start!’ and then the next thing you know September is over and you’ve only done two races… Okay, that may not be you. but it is the case for me.

Last weekend I was out at both the ERTC School of Cross and the Hardcore Hop n’ Hurl, in either a racer or spectator role. As a racer, all I have to say is, ‘HOLY CRAP! Is cross ever hard!’ I may have actually thought I was going to die out there on the course… And although death, is an egregious embellishment, I was delirious enough to not realize the race was over, and kept riding for an additional lap. Ahhhh… Good times.

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August 9, 2011

It’s Cyclocross Season!

Yes, that’s right, I’m declaring cyclocross season officially open! Okay, maybe it’s not quite cyclocross season yet, (we still have some great mtb and road racing ahead of us) but I’ve already been out for two CX rides, and seen a lot Facebook chatter about racers getting their new whips built up, tuned up and ready to go. It’s been odd this year: I feel like the weather has played a large role in the early ‘cx itch’. A late start to the race season back in the spring, followed by seemingly endless bouts of serious rain wreaking havoc all across the province, has kept me, and I think a lot of other people ‘off their game’ this year.

I don’t ever recall riding my mtb bike on so many paved trails, dodging sections of bog, as I have this year – it’s been sad, really. In fact, my time on the singletrack this summer so far has been so abysmal, I barely know how to ride anymore – what flow I once had, is gone. Case in point, being up in Canmore for Nationals (just to watch, not to race) I went for an early morning lap of the course, and I was all over the place, taking bad lines, timid on downhills, and just pretty much riding like a idiot. I even crashed on a simple little downhill switchback – injuring my heel somehow… That was a couple weeks ago, and it’s still not 100% – weak sauce, I tell ya. – Read More –